Belgrade, August 22, 2012
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL SESSION ON KOSOVO
DACIC ADDRESS TO UNSC: FOR HIGH-LEVEL TALKS, AGAINST EXCLUDING UN
NEW YORK, Aug 22 (Tanjug) –Prime Minister Ivica Dacic stated on Tuesday during a session of the UN Security Council (UNSC) that Belgrade is ready for high-level talks on the Kosovo issue.At the same time, he opposed the implementation of any solution that does not have the consent of the UNSC, such as the announcement by the international Steering Group regarding the implementation of the Ahtisaari Plan."The new Serbian authorities, the new government and the new president, intend to implement all the agreements reached so far, insisting at the same time that Pristina must do as well. While the technical dialogue should continue, it is not a panacea. Serbia is ready for high-level talks. Negotiations on all outstanding issues cannot be avoided," Dacic said in his address to the UNSC.He underscored that Serbia as a country remains fundamentally committed to a process that would ultimately lead to lasting peace between Serbs and Albanians, adding that the EU-facilitated dialogue is part of this endeavour.Dacic used the chance to make it clear that "Serbia will never, under any circumstances, implicitly or explicitly, recognise the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian authorities because it is not the result of mutual agreement.""On this fundamental issue, our nation will remain united," he said.According to him, Serbia will continue to defend its constitutional order using all peaceful means at the disposal of a democratic member state of the UN.However, he underscored that the political will to compromise shall also be required by both sides. "Belgrade cannot only keep giving, and Pristina taking. Such an approach could never produce a legitimate and sustainable agreement, for its basis would not be consent, but imposition," he noted."My government is ready to engage in good-faith at all levels in order to achieve a mutually-acceptable, comprehensive solution on the final status of Kosovo," Dacic said.On behalf of Serbia, Dacic expressed sincere gratitude to the majority of UN member states that respect Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and have not recognised Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence and recalled that no solution for Kosovo's status has been approved by the UN Security Council, and no comprehensive settlement has been accepted by the stakeholders, which is why "it is the position of the Republic of Serbia that Kosovo cannot be allowed to accede to any international organization in which membership is reserved for sovereign states.""With respect to the interim arrangements achieved in Brussels during the EU-facilitated technical talks, as referenced in paragraph 14 of today's Report, I underline that they are without a doubt status-neutral and accord with resolution 1244," Dacic said."Serbia remains fundamentally committed to a process that would ultimately lead to lasting peace between Serbs and Albanians. The EU-facilitated technical dialogue is part of this endeavour. In this regard, let me underline that the new Serbian authorities intend to implement all the agreements reached so far, insisting at the same time that Pristina must do so as well. While the technical dialogue should continue, it is not a panacea. Serbia is ready for high-level talks. Negotiations on all outstanding issues cannot be avoided," the prime minister stated.He noted that the political will to compromise shall also be required by both sides, as "Belgrade cannot only keep giving, and Pristina taking.""Such an approach could never produce a legitimate and sustainable agreement, for its basis would not be consent, but imposition. My Government is ready to engage in good-faith at all levels in order to achieve a mutually-acceptable, comprehensive solution on the final status of Kosovo," Dacic noted.Reflecting on the insufficiently transparent reconfiguration of EULEX and the announcement of the International Steering Group regarding the forcible implementation of the Ahtisaari Proposal which Serbia has not accepted, Dacic said that these constitute disturbing developments.Dacic said that "it is the view of Serbia that the only institution of indisputable and universal legitimacy authorized to make these sorts of changes is the Security Council.""As what EULEX calls its "reconfiguration" has not been put before the Security Council for approval, nor was it authorized by anyone representing the United Nations, it does not conform to Resolution 1244," the prime minister said."Moreover, unilaterally "removing the executive authority of the international organizations operating in Kosovo [...] is a further demonstration of Pristina's complete disregard of the exclusive jurisdiction of the Security Council in this matter," Dacic said."Let me underline that despite these disturbing developments, our longstanding position on the European Union's engagement in Kosovo remains unchanged. We believe the EU should sustain its status-neutral efforts in order to build the missing institutional environment and improve the dismal societal conditions in the province. I would to clearly state the position of Serbia that deeper engagement by EULEX is required, not a retrenchment," Dacic said."If EULEX does not have enough capacity, an alternative is for UNMIK to review its own reconfiguration and presence level," the prime minister noted."Should it become necessary, Serbia will work through the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly to ensure additional funds are allocated to UNMIK through the forthcoming budgeting process," Dacic said.Speaking about the decision by the Kosovo authorities to ban the use of Serbian license plates issued for Kosovo, Dacic quoted the European NGO Diadikasia which stated in its report that "there is a pattern, according to which only certain couples of letters are issued to members [...] of the Serb community," and another Kosovo official who said that ""it is a public secret that Serb cars are marked.""Seven decades after the Old Continent saw the end of regimes visually marking members of ethnic groups in public, the practice has now returned to European shores," Dacic said.Speaking about the investigation into the allegations included in Dick Marty's report on human organ trafficking, Dacic said that in order to uncover the full truth, the Task Force needs to examine all allegations from the Council of Europe report which identifies a number of senior KLA officials as having "played vital roles as co-conspirators in various categories of criminal activity," including human organs trafficking."Serbia underscores our belief that the Security Council must play a significant role in this matter, because it is the body able to secure the obligatory, binding cooperation of the member states," the prime minister stated."We are committed to forging a lasting peace between Serbs and Albanians in the Balkans. For such a peace to be lasting, it will also need to be just. I say this to you not only as Serbia's Prime Minister, but foremost as someone who was born in Kosovo and Metohija, in Prizren-a city that in the Medieval period served as the Serbian capital, a city in which today barely twenty Serbs remain. This will require both parties to make difficult and courageous decisions. We are ready to do our part," Dacic concluded.UNMIK chief expects talks to resume soonUNMIK chief Farid Zarif has expressed the hope that the new Serbian government will soon be ready to continue its dialogue with Pristina and that all the parties involved will focus on promoting the talks and implementing the agreements reached so far.Speaking at the ongoing UN Security Council meeting, Zarif noted that a significant progress in terms of international presence had been made in Kosovo.EULEX has performed extensive internal restructuring to be better able to conduct its activities, and according to opinion polls, the number of Kosovo citizens who trust the activities of the United Nations has increased by 15 percent since 2010, Zarif said.It remains vital to be thoroughly committed and capable of responding quickly where the hitherto rules could not help ease the political situation, Zarif said, adding that conditions should be created for a valid representation of the northern Kosovo population.When this is realized, it will mean that good will and political maturity of all parties has started to show, he said.Protection of human rights, clarification of the fate of missing persons and return of refugees all remained UNMIK priorities, Zarif said.It is in nobody's interest to maintain the current status quo, Zarif said.Taci:Status settled, Serbs' safety no longer issueKosovo's Prime Minister Hasim Taci said in New York on Tuesday Kosovo's status was settled and that the safety of the Kosovo Serbs was no longer an issue.According to Taci, Kosovo has built democratic and multiethnic institutions.Taci, who decided to attend a meeting of the UN Security Council after an announcement that Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dacic would attend as well, said in his address to the UN's highest body that Kosovo had built democratic and multiethnic institutions, and that Pristina was now a safe place.According to Taci, the Kosovo Serbs are satisfied with the security situation, their safety is no longer a key issue and Pristina is now safer than most of the capitals in the region.Different views on Kosovo in UN SCThe ambassadors of the member nations of the UN Security Council stated different views on the situation in Kosovo during the meeting on Tuesday, so the UK ambassador talked about progress and willingness to end supervised independence, while the Russian stressed the need to follow Resolution 1244.The differences in the council members' attitude towards Belgrade and Pristina are indicated also by the order in which the diplomats welcomed Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Kosovo's Prime Minister Hasim Taci. The German and British ambassadors welcomed Taci first, while the Russian, Portuguese, Moroccan and Indian ambassadors welcomed Dacic first.UK Ambassador Philip Parham said the end of supervised independence was a recognition of the progress made in Kosovo.The UK expects the talks between Belgrade and Pristina to continue soon, and the key thing is for Belgrade to implement the agreements made so far in the technical dialogue, including the ones on regional representation and border management, Parham stated.He believes regional cooperation and good relations with neighbours are key for the EU integration of Kosovo and Serbia, and that Belgrade and Pristina should make room for compromise in their talks.Parham also noted the UK thought it necessary to dismantle the parallel institutions in northern Kosovo and for the authorities in Pristina to support the minorities in Kosovo in a practical way.Russian Ambassador Nikita Zhukov supported Belgrade's views, which had been presented by Dacic, and pointed out that UN Security Council Resolution 1244 remained binding to all.Russia's position on Kosovo remains unchanged, stressed Zhukov, adding that UNMIK was the primary international presence in Kosovo.Zhukov pointed out to the pressure exerted on Serbs in order to get them to leave Kosovo and he criticized ethnically motivated killings and inefficient investigations into those incidents.Deputy Chinese Ambassador to the UN Wang Min said his country advocated respect for Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and that Resolution 1244 should be followed in solving the Kosovo crisis.Wang stated the situation in northern Kosovo was still serious, calling on all sides to refrain from actions that could cause new tension.He congratulated the new Serbian government on being elected, calling on Belgrade and Pristina to resume their dialogue, which he said was in the interest of peace and stability for the entire Balkans.Wang is also concerned about allegations of organ trafficking in Kosovo, stressing that his government supported an investigation led by the UN.U.S. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo congratulated Kosovo on the announcements of ending the supervised independence, remarking that a multiethnic and democratic country was being built there.DiCarlo underscored the danger that criminals and hardliners posed to peace in northern Kosovo, adding that there was still no freedom of movement.Parallel institutions have no place in Kosovo and should have been dismantled a long time ago in accordance with Resolution 1244, she asserted.DiCarlo welcomed the resumption of the dialogue, commending all the statements by Dacic and Taci about everything agreed so far being implemented.The U.S. condemns the killing of two Serb returnees, takes seriously all the allegations from Dick Marty's report and supports the investigation led by Clint Williamson, she said.The ambassadors of Morocco and India emphasized that the situation in northern Kosovo was still fragile and had to be monitored daily and expressed particular concern over the attacks on buses carrying Serb children and the murder of two Serb returnees.The ambassadors of Pakistan and Columbia underline the role of UNMIK.
DACIC: STATUS CANNOT BE RESOLVED OUTSIDE UNSC
NEW YORK, Aug 22 (Tanjug) –Prime Minister Ivica Dacic stated in New York that the Serbian government is ready to discuss all Kosovo-related issues, and conduct a dialogue not only on technical but also on high political level, but added that the only thing that will not be allowed is to resolve the Kosovo status outside the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).Dacic told Tanjug's correspondent after the UNSC session on Kosovo that he used the opportunity to present the views of the new government and President Tomislav Nikolic to the UNSC member states in terms of Serbia's commitment to peace, security, and stability in the region.The government is committed to final, comprehensive, peaceful solution for Kosovo-related problems starting from the fact that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence cannot be recognized, the prime minister said."We are ready to discuss all issues and conduct a dialogue not only on technical, but also on high political level, and we will put into practice the agreements reached by the previous government in Brussels," Dacic added.He underlined that the only thing that the government will not ready to do is to indirectly contribute to the resolution of the Kosovo status without previous UNSC decision.Dacic underlined that Belgrade wants to be constructive, and contribute to the resolution of problems, without making new ones."Unilateral moves by any of the sides do not lead to peaceful solution, and we are against transfer of responsibilities from the international missions to the so-called Pristina authorities without the UNSC approval," Dacic said.He added that although he took part in the UNSC sessions earlier, he was told that it been a long time that such a constructive and peaceful debate was held in view of this issue, as practically all states supported the address by the Serbian delegation and its commitment to peaceful resolution of problems.Moreover, they condemned the incidents which took place in Kosovo in the previous period, the prime minister added."Many countries have condemned the violence against returnees for the first time, and underlined their commitment to independent investigation into human organ trafficking," Dacic concluded.
REQUEST FOR PRIVATIZATION CONSTITUTIONALITY REVIEW
BELGRADE, Aug 22 (Tanjug) –The Serbian government's Office for Kosovo-Metohija has filed a request for review of constitutionality of privatizations throughout Kosovo-Metohija with the Constitutional Court of Serbia, the office has published on its website.The request refers to all privatizations carried out from 1999 to date, the statement reads.Aleksandar Vulin, the office's director, told last week the Frankfurt- based Serbian language daily Vesti that the office will renew the request for review of constitutionality of privatizations in Kosovo.
VOLKER HALBAUER APPOINTED AS NEW KFOR COMMANDER
BERLIN, Aug 22 (Tanjug) –German Major General Volker Halbauer will be new KFOR commander in Kosovo and he will replace Major General Erhard Drews, German media reported.The handover of duties was scheduled for September 7 and the new commander is also the head of the German land forces headquarters in the Defence Ministry.Since the deployment of international troops in Kosovo in 1999, Halhuber is the sixth German commander over KFOR, the media recalls and notes that the German Bundesver in Kosovo had 872 soldiers out of 5.600 KFOR members and the German contingent is the second largest after the Italian unit.
KONUZIN: RUSSIA WILL FURTHER ASSIST SERBIA
BELGRADE, Aug 22 (Tanjug) –Serbia can count on further financial assistance from Russia, in addition to a USD 800 million loan dedicated to the Serbian railways, Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Alexander Konuzin said.We are discussing that. Of course, we should first hear what Serbia needs, and then we should act in concert to define possibilities for resolving these issues, Konuzin said at the meeting about the realization of the Russian loan for railways.Ambassador Konuzin voiced expectation that the talks would yield some concrete results very soon.At the meeting, Minister of Transport Mrkonjic and representatives of the Serbian and Russian railways announced that construction works on the second track of the Belgrade- Pancevo railway, which would be financed by the Russian loan, would start in autumn.The contractor's agreement for the realization of railway projects would be signed by the end of the year.For the construction works to start, Serbia needs to secure around EUR 550,000 for the expropriation of property, and the review commission at the Ministry of Construction and Urban Planning has to confirm the project, said representatives of the Serbian Railways.Mrkonjic accepted Konuzin's proposal that the Serbian and Russian railways should establish a strategic presence in the region, and announced that the Ministry of Transport would earmark the funds for that.The Serbian minister said that the whole sum of the Russian loan (USD 800 million) dedicated to railways would be used for that purpose exclusively, and would not be channeled to some other needs.
DATE FOR START OF EU TALKS LATE IN 2013
BELGRADE, Aug 22 (Tanjug) –Laslo Varga, deputy head of the Serbian parliament's EU Integration Committee, stated that due to the dialogue with Pristina, Serbia will have to wait for another year until it gets a date for the beginning of the EU accession talks."The chances for Serbia to get a date for the start of the EU accession talks in spring or summer, as some hope, are very small," Varga said for Belgrade daily Politika.He noted that the European Commission will release its report on Serbia's progress in October, saying whether it recommends the country's further integration process."If the date for the beginning of the EU accession talks is not set, Serbia will probably get some new tasks. The EC will consider the issue of progress again in a year, meaning next autumn, and therefore I believe that it is quite unlikely that Serbia will get a date for the beginning of the talks before December 2013," Varga explained.If a political dialogue with Pristina starts, it is unrealistic to expect that it will end in two or three months, and since this is the most important precondition, Serbia will certainly have to wait for a year before it gets the date, Varga added.He said that exceptions are also possible, adding that this was exactly the case with Serbia that got the EU candidacy in March, which is unusual.