Daily Survey

Belgrade, April 19, 2012

SERBIA

SUTANOVAC VISITS SERBIAN PEACEKEEPERS IN CYPRUS

LARNACA, April 18 (Tanjug) - Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac visited members of the Serbian Armed Forces (VS) involved in a UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus.Sutanovac met with the soldiers at the base they are stationed in and expressed his satisfaction about their engagement.He said that Serbia derived multiple benefits from sending members of its defense system forces to peacekeeping missions as it was thus a partner in preserving global peace, adding that that it meant more security in Serbia and more opportunities for attracting investment.In 2011, Serbia signed a stand-by arrangement with the UN, under which over 500 VS soldiers are ready to take part in peacekeeping missions if needs arise, said Sutanovac.He said that Serbia was negotiating increasing the number of VS peacekeepers in Lebanon and that it wanted more of its soldiers in Cyprus, but that did not depend solely on Serbia.VS soldiers apply for participation in peacekeeping missions voluntarily and they receive specialized training, Sutanovac said, adding that he is glad to see the interest increase.The Serbian peacekeeping team in Cyprus is comprised of a total of 46 VS soldiers, including two women, and a female official of the Serbian Interior Ministry.The Serbian peacekeepers are part of the Slovakian-Hungarian contingent. They told Tanjug that they had excellent cooperation with their colleagues in performing regular daily activities - patrolling, controlling traffic, securing camps.Before visiting the base, Sutanovac met with senior officials of international military forces at the UN peacekeeping mission's headquarters.

CoE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY ELECTION MISSION IN BELGRADE

BELGRADE, April 18 (Beta) - The Council of Europe (CoE) Parliamentary Assembly PreObservation Mission, headed by Jean Charles Gardetto, held separate meetings with party caucus representatives to learn about the political situation in Serbia ahead of the May 6 votes. Gardetto said the mission had come to Belgrade to prepare for observing the May 6 elections, adding that the goal of their visit was to learn about the political situation prior to the general elections in Serbia for preparing an opinion of the CoE Parliamentary A, according to a statement from the parliament. The delegation was interested to learn about the changes of the election laws, ways for financing election campaigns, number of women and national minorities in the election process and presentation of political parties in the media.

MILANOVIC: REHABILITATION OF MIHAILOVIC IS COWARDLY APPROACH

ZAGREB, April 18 (Beta) - Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said in Zagreb that he views the court process for the rehabilitation of Dragoljub Draza Mihailovic in Serbia as a bad and cowardly approach. He said that he does not approve of this process and that he views it extremely negatively, but that, as the Croatian prime minister, he cannot influence it, as he could not influence a process in Croatia. "When chetnik ideology is the issue, there is no ideology, just a bad practice," Milanovic said before the parliament, when Croatian Democratic Union MP Vladimir Seks asked him about the court process in Serbia for the rehabilitation of the chetnik movement leader, Mihailovic. Milanovic said that he declares his stand on this matter in talks with representatives of the authorities in Serbia who, as he said, also have a negative view on this. "For everyone who has lost someone, this is a difficult subject, and it pulls us down like a weight all the time," the Croatian prime minister said. He reiterated that he cannot influence court processes in Serbia, just like Croatia expects to be treated the same regarding the court processes in that country.

KOSOVO & METOHIJA

BOGDANOVIC: INVESTIGATE IF THERE ARE MILITANTS IN NORTH KOSOVO

ZVECAN, April 18 (Tanjug) - Ministar for Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) Goran Bogdanovic urged the international community representatives to investigate if there were any armed extremist groups in the Kosovo north and to disarm them if they found them.Bogdanovic told TV Most from the northern Kosovo town of Zvecan that there were a number of videos posted on the Internet showing armed civilians in northern Kosovo and that it should be investigated.He added that it was a result of Pristina's attempts to take over the control of the north through violent unilateral moves.Over the past few days, several footages made by an Albanian TV station emerged on the Internet showing Kosovo Albanians armed with long "tubes" and trying to clear the path leading to the Albanian villages in the municipality of Leposavic with the help of heavy machinery.Bogdanovic cautioned about "Pristina's adventurism" that could lead to unforeseeable consequences."This is a serious moment and high time the international presence demonstrated the resolve to suppress Albanian extremism," Bogdanovic said and called on EULEX to immediately clear up the murder Seljver Haradinaj.Pristina and the Albanian extremists are only using the opportunity to purport that the killing of the Albanian, who was injured in Kosovska Mitrovica, was ethnically motivated."Because of this, the international representatives have to disarm the militants and to prevent Pristina from encouraging extremists and their unilateral moves," Bogdanovic said.

ROMANIA NOT CHANGING STANCE ON KOSOVO

BRUSSELS, April 18 (Tanjug) - Romania will not change its stance and will not recognize the independence of Kosovo, Romanian Foreign Minister Christian Diaconescu said in Brussels on Thursday.Diaconescu conveyed Bucharest's stance on the Kosovo issue to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during their encounter on the sidelines of a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, the Romanian news agency Agerpres reported.For our part, we clearly expressed our position, and we have not changed it. Romania will not accept the province (Kosovo) because, according to international law, it does not meet all the requirements for functioning as a state, Diaconescu said.The foreign minister, however, pointed out that the situation has to be analyzed, especially in the context of the development of relations Belgrade will establish with the province.

DREWS CALLS ON ALL SIDES TO PRESERVE PEACE

PRISTINA, April 18 (Tanjug) - Commander of KFOR, Major General Erhard Drews, said in Kosovska Mitrovica that the situation in the Kosovo north ahead of the Serbian elections was tense and urged all parties to preserve peace.He said that KFOR troops deployed in the northern part of Mitrovica were there to ensure peace for all citizens of that part of Kosovo, Pristina-based RTV 21 reported.Visiting KFOR soldiers in Tri Solitera, a neighborhood in the northern Kosovo city, Drews said that the situation after a recent explosion in the urban settlement had now calmed down and thanked the soldiers for their presence and efforts to ensure a secure environment.I would not say that the situation has been exacerbated by the recent events, said the KFOR commander. However, we should say that the situation is getting really tense with the approaching of the Serbian elections.Drews called on the Kosovo government to remain restrained and not to take any action similar to that of July 26 the year before, bearing in mind what the consequences of that operation had been.The government of Kosovo should be ripe enough to use opportunities to prevent the holding of Serbian elections in the north and act in the way it should, in coordination with the international actors, said Drews.The commander of the international forces in Kosovo also met with the Serbs who were there in tents near a barricade at the bridge on the Ibar River, which divides the town into the Serb and Albanian sides.

KFOR: NO INDICATIONS ABOUT ARMED GROUPS IN KOSOVO

PRISTINA, April 19 (Tanjug) - A deputy spokesman for KFOR said Thursday that KFOR did not have any information about the existence of any armed groups in Kosovo.Kosovo Force deputy spokesman Mark Stimmler said that KFOR was not aware of any evidence showing that there were either more or less armed individuals in Kosovo than what was usual.Comenting on the demand from Serbian Minister for Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) Goran Bogdanovic, who urged the international community representatives to investigate if there were any armed extremist groups in the Kosovo north, the deputy spokesman told Tanjug that KFOR had not received any request to conduct a relevant investigation.On Wednesday, Bogdanovic called on the international community to investigate if there were any armed extremist groups in the Kosovo north and to disarm them if they found them.The minister for KiM told TV Most from the town of Zvecan that that there were a number of videos posted on the Internet showing civilians armed with long "tubes" in northern Kosovo and that it should be investigated.He added that it was a result of Pristina's attempts to take over the control of the north through violent unilateral moves.Stimmler quoted KFOR Commander Erhard Drews as saying Wednesday that the situation in the Kosovo north was getting tense with the apporaching of the Serbian elections and urged all parties to preserve peace.The KFOR commander said that the tension has increased and that the situation was likely to remain that way until the elections. KFOR strengthened its presence in the north to make sure peace is kept, he added.KFOR deployed its soldiers to the northern, Serb side of the city of Kosovska Mitrovica with the mission to ensure peace is kept there.

SERBIA – ECONOMY

KONUZIN: EU WILL GO UP AGAINST TRADE AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA

CAJETINA, April 18 (Tanjug) - On its road of accession, Serbia will be faced with the EU request to cancel its Free Trade Agreement with the Russian Federation and it will experience economic consequences, Russian Ambassador in Belgrade Alexander Konuzin cautioned on Wednesday.In talks with businessmen in Cajetina, south-east Serbia, Konuzin underlined that the Serbian government is not fully aware of the problem, as it is preoccupied with pre-accession funds and ways to attract foreign investments.The Russian Federation is interested in preserving the scope of trade with Serbia, Konuzin said, underlying that the bilateral cooperation between the two countries could be further expanded from the field of energy and infrastructure to agriculture and the food industry. He called on the entrepreneurs to be more active in seeking partners on the very competitive Russian market. As for the potentials of the Cajetina municipality, Konuzin pointed in particular to agriculture and delicatessen products, and also health tourism which should be presented in Russia in June.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION: SERBIAN MACROECONOMIC PLAN OPTIMISTIC

BELGRADE, April 18 (Beta) - The European Commission described as "rather optimistic" the Serbian government's macroeconomic plan, envisaging GDP growth of 2.8 percent for the period 20122014, but the Brusselsbased Commission did not give its own estimate on said growth. In its latest economic analysis, the Commission said the Belgrade government forecast to have a 1.7 percent cut in the budget deficit and have it reduced down to 2.9 percent of GDP in 2014. The document further pointed to the February decision to put off the analysis of the program agreed between Serbia and the International Monetary Fund for Serbia having digressed from the agreed budget for this year. The Commission cited Serbia's EU candidacy as an important event, stressing that an increase of GDP, despite loosing momentum since mid last year, had reached 1.6 percent compared to one percent in 2010. The Commission also said Serbia's foreign debt had been stabilized to around EUR24 billion, or 75 percent of GDP. The payment balance deficit has been increased due to an increase of imports and decrease of exports, hitting 9.5 percent of GDP last year.

SERBIAN INVESTMENTS ARE WELCOME IN CROATIA

ZAGREB, April 18 (Tanjug) - Serbian investments and companies are welcome in Croatia, it was stated at the official opening of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) Representative Office in Zagreb Wednesday.The aim of the Office is to increase the presence of Serbian capital and companies on the Croatian market and improve the two countries' economic cooperation.The economic cooperation between Serbia and Croatia is improving, but there is a lot of room and potential for its progress in all branches, and joint penetration of third markets.Serbian Ambassador to Croatia Stanimir Vukicevic said that today's event is a step forward in cooperation between Serbia and Croatia, which should not only boil down to trade but should also include other forms of cooperation.The opening of the PKS in Zagreb represents a historic moment and opens a new chapter in bilateral relations that the economic climate of the entire region depends on, Representative Office Director Drenislav Zekic.Head of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Nadan Vidosevic stressed that Croatia is open for Serbian investments, adding that the two countries are competitive and compatible.One should not waste time with the past, but should rather turn to the future, he said, adding that the eastern Adriatic region should be a bridge between the EU and the rest of the world.PKS President Milos Bugarin stressed it is possible to promote and develop several forms of economic cooperation, particularly in the metal industry, shipbuilding, and agricultural and food industry.He stressed that the Serbia-Croatia exchange is almost balanced, noting that one should promote regional cooperation and encourage joint penetration of third markets.Trade between the two countries stood at USD 933.6 million in 2011, 26.7 percent higher than in 2010.Serbia's export to Croatia was at USD 466.4 million, rising by 52 percent compared to 2010, while import went up by 8.8 percent, reaching USD 467.2 million.Croatia is Serbia's 9th biggest export and 12th biggest import partner.

IT PARK CONSTRUCTION WORKS KICK OFF IN INDJIJA

INDJIJA, April 19 (Tanjug) - Embassy Group, an Indian property developer, began the construction works of an IT business park in the northern Serbian town of Indjija Thursday.After the ceremony of laying the cornerstone at the construction site, Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic said that he was highly confident that the day would be a turnaround in Serbia's IT development and a new chapter in teh country's economy.He said that the IT park will create about 1,000 jobs for young experts, adding that in about 10 years from now, the number should reach 25,000 IT experts and engineers.Cvetkovic said that the fact the construction of the park was taking place in the times of economic crisis was an encouragement for Serbia and a proof that the government had pursued a stable economic policy, managing to preserve the country's business potentials.Indjija's IT park has international significance as it will be exports-oriented, said Cvetkovic.The cornerstone laying ceremony was attended by Embassy Group Chairman Jitendra Virwani, President of the Executive Council of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina Bojan Pajtic, Indjija Mayor Goran Jesic and Indian Ambassador to Serbia Nengcha Lhouvum Mukhopadhaya.The project includes the construction of Class A office space in four office buildings covering a total of 25,000 square meters.The project will be carried out in several phases, and the first phase is planned to be completed in the second quarter of next year.Over the next five years, the park could expand to up to 250,000 square meters of office space.