Daily Survey

Belgrade, July 19, 2012


SERBIA

NIKOLIC: I AM READY TO LEAD FIGHT FOR KOSOVO

BELGRADE, July 19 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has said he is ready to assume responsibility and lead the fight for Kosovo, announcing that he will gather all important people in the country in order to create a negotiation platform and invite the UN to join the negotiations.
"I will gladly assume that historic responsibility. I will gather all those that mean something in Serbia politicians, intellectuals, businessmen, church dignitaries, so that we could finally create and stand behind a platform which will be based on the Constitution and be in the best interest of the people of Serbia. Only then can the negotiations take place," Nikolic said in an interview for the Wednesday edition of Vecernje Novosti.
He said he will insist that both the EU and the UN take part in the future political negotiations on KosovoMetohija, and explained that the issue of KiM and its connection with EU membership is not something only one man, party or the government should be responsible for. "This is why I keep calling for a consensus," Nikolic said, and added that Serbia should have the initiative in negotiations and not just go to Brussels in order to agree to something as it had been the case so far.
The Serbian president said that he had made the final list of agreements reached with Pristina which Belgrade has been interpreting in one way and the EU and Albanians in another.
For example, it has been kept secret that the name of Kosovo can be followed just by an asterisk at regional meetings, without the footnote. Another deception is that Serbs in northern Kosovo do not have to take Kosovo license plates. In order to take them, they have to enroll as citizens of Kosovo. There are also doubts about the integrated border management issue. With this seemingly innocuous solutions we are bringing Kosovo's independence to a close, he pointed out.
Nikolic underlined that the selfproclaimed state of Kosovo would not be allowed to become a UN member, and announced he would propose solutions for Kosovo which have already been implemented, such as the status of Germans in Belgium or the example of South Tyrol.
Asked whether Serbia could turn to Russia and other allies if the recognition of Kosovo was made a formal condition of EU accession, Nikolic said Serbia's orientation must always be for the people to live well. "This means we will look for other roads, which we have not buried until now either. The EU is our top choice, but not our only option. It is true there are unconditional cooperations, but I know how much EU membership would mean to us. There is a lot we can swallow and keep silent about for the sake of the EU, but not everything."
Commenting on his statement he would never be president in Pristina, Nikolic said: "How would I go there? In a tank? They did not let me enter Kosovo even when I was an opposition leader. Former president (Boris Tadic) was also not able to go there whenever he wanted."
Asked what he would do as the commander in chief of the Serbian armed forces if Taci attacked northern Kosovo, Nikolic responded with a question: "If someone attacked northern Kosovo using force, would they not consider that Serbia could use force to win Kosovo back? Who decides when force is justified and when it is not," noting that the modern world should not idly watch the violence against Serbs in the north.
Nikolic also said the new government would be made up of serious people aware of the economic and foreign policy challenges facing the country. "I expect the new ministers to get down to work as early as next week, because Serbia cannot stand in place any longer. It has been sinking for long enough," said the president.

PORTUGUESE AMBASSADOR ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR SERBIA

BELGRADE, July 18 (Tanjug) - Portugal's newlyappointed Ambassador to Serbia Maria do Carmo de Sousa Pinto Allegro de Magalhaes announced on Wednesday, in talks with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, the support of her country for Serbia's efforts in joining the EU, and wished Nikolic success in that respect.
The Portuguese ambassador underlined, after Nikolic received her letter of credentials, that the countries' excellent bilateral relations so far and Serbia's determination to become part of the EU gave way to new possibilities in developing economic and cultural ties between Portugal and Serbia, all to the benefit of the two peoples.
Nikolic thanked Portugal for the support and underlined that Serbia would prove its commitment to European values by establishing EU standards, launching an unscrupulous fight against corruption and crime, reexamining all disputable privatisations and creating a favourable business environment for foreign investors.
The Serbian president wished a warm welcome to Portugal's newlyappointed ambassador, voicing hope that her stay in Belgrade would be a pleasant one, Nikolic's cabinet released.