Belgrade, March 21, 2012
TADIC, VOLLEBAEK DISCUSS NATIONAL MINORITIES
BELGRADE, March 20 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic said Tuesday at a meeting with the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the OSCE mission Knut Vollebaek, that Serbia would continue to apply the highest standards in protecting the rights of national minorities.
In a statement, the press service of the Serbian president stated that the topic of discussion was the position of national minorities in Serbia.
The Serbian president said that the country will continue to respect its international obligations and meet the highest standards in protecting the rights of national minorities, the statement says. Tadic and Vollebaek also discussed the importance of the Serbian Presidency of the OSCE in 2015.
WARLICK: U.S. RELIABLE PARTNER ON SERBIA'S EU PATH
NIS, March 20 (Tanjug) - U.S. Ambassador to Belgrade Mary Warlick stated Tuesday in Nis, on the occasion of marking USAID's anniversary of working in Serbia and worldwide, that the U.S. will remain Serbia's reliable partner on the EU path.
Warlick also said that in the past years the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) invested more than USD 810 million in Serbia, and that over USD 660 million was invested in the country thanks to the agency.
The USAID has worked on community revitalization, strengthening of the economy and the reform of judicial and government institutions together with citizens, NGOs, local communities, media and the Serbian government, Warlick said at the ceremony.
USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Paige Alexander said that hers and the presence of Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia Daniel Rosenblum within the State Department shows how much the region is important for the U.S. government, adding that this is also a proof of partnership between the U.S. and Serbia.
Director of the USAID Mission to Serbia Susan Fritz stated that the ceremony is a proof of a successful partnership with the Serbian government, NGOs, companies and citizens, citing the examples and effects of cooperation with those who demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit.
Mayor of Nis Milos Simonovic thanked the USAID for a successful cooperation and pointed to joint projects carried out with the agency.
USAID launched its mission in Serbia in 2011. The U.S. federal government agency was created by former U.S. president John Kennedy in November 1961.
SERBIA – K & M
BOGDANOVIC, VOLLEBAEK ON KOSOVO SITUATION
BELGRADE, March 20 (Tanjug) - Minister of Kosovo and Metohija Goran Bogdanovic met in Belgrade on March 20 with OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Knut Vollebaek on the position of nonAlbanians in Kosovo and the mission's readiness to focus on protecting Serbian churches and monasteries.
Bogdanovic thanked Vollebaek for his role in building trust between the province's different ethnic communities and pointed out that honoring resolution 1244 and the neutral status of all international missions was critical, a statement released by the ministry said.
Knut Vollebaek said that the OSCE would continue to work on questions vital to protecting the basic human rights of all communities in Kosovo.
ODALOVIC: ELECTORAL COMMISSION TO CONTACT UNMIK
BELGRADE, March 20 (Tanjug) - The Republican Electoral Commission will contact UNMIK in a day or two concerning legislative elections which are due in Kosovo on May 6, commission member Veljko Odalovic said on March 20.
"The Republican Electoral Commission has so far not contacted UNMIK in any way, and we will wait a day or two before asking them about our mandate holding legislative elections," Odalovic told BETA. He recalled that the Serbian Cabinet was in charge of discussing local elections with the U.N. mission.
Holding local elections is in the jurisdiction of municipal and city electoral commissions, and the Serbian Cabinet can transfer this authority to the Republican Electoral Commission like in 2008.
Separate sources told BETA that a joint session of Kosovo's four northern Serb municipalities had been called for noon, March 21 and that the session would be held in the Zvecan assembly. The subject of the meeting will be the political and security situation and upcoming elections on May 6.
The conclusions that will be adopted will be handed over to the relevant republican bodies and international missions in Kosovo Metohija, Zvecan municipal assembly speaker Dobrosav Dobric said.
ASHTON: PRISTINA-BELGRADE DIALOG "HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT"
BRUSSELS , March 20 (Beta) - EU senior representative Catherine Ashton hailed in Brussels the agreements that the Belgrade-Pristina dialog had so far produced as "historically important," despite the opposition of some.
During a meeting with members of the European Parliament's foreign political committee, she said that the five EU member states that had chosen not to recognize Kosovo's self-styled independence had their "own reasons" for that and stressed she believed that strengthening relations was crucial and that "Kosovo's future is to become a part of the EU.'
There is consent for this among the bloc's members, she added.
"The importance of the Serbia-Kosovo dialog is such that what we have arranged so far is of historical importance," Ashton said, adding that "we know that the road to applying (the results of the dialog) is fraught with difficulties, we know that some would not like it to succeed."
Ashton said that "it is clear that plenty of effort will be necessary for this and that we must steer these efforts toward continuing" the dialog.
EU DEMANDS THAT AGREEMENT IS HONORED
BRUSSELS, March 20 (Tanjug) - The EU has sent a message to Belgrade, Pristine and other countries in the western Balkans stressing the necessity of Belgrade and Pristine to fully honor the agreement on Kosovo's regional presentation, a senior EU official in Brussels told BETA on March 20.
Very clear messages that the agreement must be honored were sent to all sides, the official said.
He said that it was absolutely in the interest of all of the parties involved and countries in the Western Balkans, for the agreement to be honored and carried out, as well as that the agreement "is completely clear, unambiguous and is official."
He added, however, that representatives of the authorities in Belgrade had made the mistake of immediately walking out of meetings when Kosovo was not being presented in the right way, saying that what they should have done was to insist that Kosovo be presented as agreed.
SERBIA – ECONOMY, FINANCE
TADIC: INVESTMENTS LIKE SWAROVSKI OFFER PROSPECTS
BELGRADE, March 20 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic said Tuesday that he is pleased that the Austrian company Swarovski will build a new factory in Subotica, thus investing EUR 21 million and providing jobs for 550 people in Serbia.
"Hundreds of investments such as Swarovski offer prospects for thousands of people in Serbia, but people in Serbia also have to undertake the initiative for starting a business," Tadic said on the occasion of the signing of two agreements which make it possible for the Austrian company to launch jewelry production in the country.
Tadic underlined that the agreements are being signed only few days ahead of Austrian President Heinz Fischer's visit to Belgrade. "Serbia and Austria continually build on their relationship. Austria fully supports Serbia's EU path," Tadic said. He also said that Austria significantly helps Serbia, both politically and through investments, to build a civil and efficient society. "We can learn a lot from Austria," Tadic underlined.
Addressing Swarovski officials at the presidential building in Belgrade, the president said: "Thank you for coming to Serbia and I hope you will never leave."
Tadic pointed out that the company started as a family business to become the world number one in jewelry manufacture, and added that this should be "a kind of instruction and encouragement" for Serbian entrepreneurs that it is possible to create a company of international stature from a small enterprise, if one goes into the business with courage and innovative ideas.
The president expressed hope that Swarovski will expand its business in Subotica or some other town in Serbia. "Serbia has proved its competitiveness to attract investments and open new jobs. This is the result of the work of the current government and institutions. We never stopped negotiating with investors and now, when we are at the end of our mandate, many solutions which should improve people's life are being found," he said.
Swarovski CEO Markus Lange Swarovski and Serbian Minister of Economy Nebojsa Ciric today signed an agreement concerning funds for direct investment, whereas the agreement on alienation of construction land was inked by Langes Swarovsk and Mayor of Subotica Sasa Vucinic.
The ceremony was also attended by Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic, Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Oliver Dulic and Austrian Ambassador Clemens Coya.
UNOBSTRUCTED MOVEMENT OF FOOD BETWEEN SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
BUDVA, March 20 (Beta) - The agriculture ministries of Serbia and Montenegro signed three interstate agreements in Budva on March 20, which will enable the unobstructed movement of food, stated the Serbian Ministry for Agriculture.
According to the statement, the signed agreements deal with the mutual recognition and acceptance of evidence on the fulfillment of the prescribed conditions for food and animal fodder of plant and mixed origin, cooperation in the protection of plant health and with cooperation in veterinary medicine.
After signing, Serbian Minister for Agriculture Dusan Petrovic said the agreements regulate the way in which Serbia and Montenegro will recognize mutual certificates of food safety for human and animal use. He recollected that Serbia has a similar agreement with Macedonia.
ESTI ENERGY INTERESTED IN OIL SHALE IN SERBIA
BELGRADE, March 20 (Beta) -The Estonian company Esti Energy is interested in investing in the exploitation of oil shale and the production of oil in Aleksinac, the director of the company, Prit Raid, stated on March 20 in Narva, Estonia.
He told reporters from Belgrade, who are paying a visit to Estonia, that the company is interested in joining the project for the exploitation of oil shale in Aleksinac, if it is realized, adding that the project is still in an early phase.
Professor of the Faculty of Mining and Geology in Belgrade, Vojin Cokorilo, told the Estonians that the estimated potential geological reserves of oil shale in the Aleksinac basin is around two billion tons, or more than 1.1 billion barrels of oil.