BELGRADE, August 23, 2004
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
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SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
VUK DRASKOVIC GIVES INTERVIEW TO PRISTINA DAILY “KOHA DITORE”
PRISTINA, Aug 20 (Tanjug) - Serbia-Montenegro Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic told the Friday issue of the Pristina daily Koha Ditore in an interview that in addition to being retrograde, Slobodan Milosevic's policy was also anti-national. "Unfortunately, a lot of people in Serbia still do not understand this and view hatred, conflicts, spite that can only hurt themselves and support to everything evil that befell us between 1990 and 2000 as Serbian patriotism," Draskovic said. Draskovic said that Milosevic was responsible for everything that had happened in Kosovo-Metohija until June 10, 1999. "UN, KFOR, UNMIK and ethnic Albanian majority are responsible for ethnic cleansing, murders, kidnapping, torching and other crimes against Serbs after June 10, 1999," he said and added that the position of a minority was a mirror that clearly reflected the face of the majority. "In this mirror, one can see that more than 200,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians were expelled from Kosovo since June 1999, that nearly 2,500 Serbs were either killed or reported missing, that about 150 churches and monasteries and more than 40,000 Serb houses were torched," Draskovic said.
Responding to the comment that the Serbian public knew little about crimes committed in Kosovo and that the Serbian Prosecutor's Office was not dealing with this, Draskovic recalled that the slogan "Reconciliation for the sake of future" had been launched in 2001. "I said that we all - Serbians, Albanians, Croats and Bosniaks - have a greater need for a previous "Truth for the sake of reconciliation" programme and I believe that it is still not too late for all to tell the full truth about their crimes and condemn them unconditionally, without trying to justify their crimes by the crimes committed by others," he said. Only thus will Serbs, Albanians, Bosniaks and Croats "experience the catharsis and open the door" to great obligations of reconciliation and repentance, he said. "We have the obligation to get out of the hell created by the primitive tribal notion that evil is only that caused to us by others, while we see our evil as the national good," Draskovic said.
Regarding initiatives for the withdrawal of a lawsuit which Serbia-Montenegro had filed against NATO members, Draskovic said that all members of the Serbian ruling coalition were in favor of withdrawing Milosevic's lawsuits against eight NATO member-countries. "My stand is specific, because I am in favor of us withdrawing these lawsuits unilaterally and unconditionally, while others favor the solution under which Serbia-Montenegro should withdraw its lawsuit against NATO simultaneously with the withdrawal of the Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatian lawsuits against Serbia-Montenegro," he said and added that this could not be achieved simultaneously. He voiced belief that Belgrade's decision on an unconditional withdrawal of its lawsuit against NATO would result in the subsequent withdrawal of Bosnia's and Croatia's lawsuits.
POLT:U.S. EAGERLY AWAITS EXTRADITION
BELGRADE, Aug 22 (Beta)-U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade Mike Polt has said that the U.S. had an "iron resolve" to bring International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia suspects Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic to justice.
In an interview with Politika on Aug. 22, Polt denied any agreement between Belgrade and Washington for the trial of four Serbian generals indicted by the ICTY at home, in exchange for Mladic's handover.
Asked how urgent the extradition was for the U.S. administration, the ambassador answered: "I will answer your question in the same way that I recently answered a question about the deadline for Mladic's extradition to the ICTY. The answer is: yesterday. That urgent."
The U.S. ambassador denied claims that Washington was getting ready to dissolve the court, even if some ICTY suspects were not caught before 2008, when the court's mandate ends.
LJAJIC DENIES DEADLINE FOR EXTRADITION OF GENERALS
BELGRADE, Aug 23 (Beta)-Rasim Ljajic, chairman of the National Council on Cooperation with the ICTY, says no deadline has been set for the extradition of four indicted generals to the U.N. Tribunal in The Hague. He adds that nevertheless Serbia-Montenegro has to improve its cooperation with the court if it wants to avoid strong international pressure.
"By extraditing the generals we will just be buying more time to extradite Mladic. When we resolve the Mladic issue the doors to the international community will be wide open," Ljajic is quoted as saying in the Aug. 23 issue of the Blic paper.
He adds that the Council has sent the Tribunal copies of 187 documents it asked for. According to Ljajic, the Supreme Defense Council will soon release 25 individuals from their obligation to keep secret confidential information. "This will wrap up our obligations as far as witnesses are concerned," Ljajic continues.
Ljajic says Serbia-Montenegro has to demonstrate a readiness to cooperate as soon as possible because in the event of another early general election in Serbia, cooperation could be put off until the second half of next year.
LJAJIC:SERBIA-MONTENEGRO SHOULD WAIT BEFORE IT WITHDRAWS LAWSUIT AGAINST NATO
BELGRADE, Aug 20 (Tanjug) - Serbia-Montenegro Minister of Human and Minority Rights Rasim Ljajic told Tanjug on Friday that the Council of Ministers was in charge of deciding on a possible withdrawal of the lawsuit against NATO member-states, but that a formal legal initiative to this effect had not been made yet. Ljajic reaffirmed a Serbian government stand saying that the giving up of a lawsuit which FR Yugoslavia had filed to the International Court of Justice in The Hague calling for the compensation of damage caused during the NATO bombing in 1999 was in the sole jurisdiction of the state union, rather than the Serbian parliament. He said that the lawsuit should not be withdrawn at this moment, because if it did our country would not get a single "concession." Ljajic said that there were political arguments for the withdrawal of the lawsuit because we could not sue the countries which we expect will let us join international organisations, but that the expert team's view, pointing at legal reasons for not withdrawing the lawsuit, should also be observed.
LJAJIC: MOTION OF HUNGARIAN DEPUTIES IN EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IS BAD MOVE
BELGARDE, Aug 22 (Beta)-The announcement of deputies of the European Parliament from Hungary that they would start a debate before this body about interethnic incidents in Vojvodina, is a bad and unwarranted move, the Serbia-Montenegro minister for human and minority rights, Rasim Ljajic, said on Aug. 22.
"I believe that the Hungarian government's move was above all counterproductive, for the simple reason that certain elements in Vojvodina would welcome this move and use it further to aggravate and polarize the political sentiments in the province," Ljajic told the B92 TV station.
He said such ways of solving interethnic problems would "only strengthen certain nationalist groups and forces."
SERBIA NEEDS NEW BUSINESS AND EXPORT STRATEGIES SAYS TADIC
KRUSEVAC, Aug 21 (Beta)-Serbian President Boris Tadic stated on Aug. 21 that the state should form new business and export strategies, because without a strong economy, political issues in Serbia would never be solved.
"As in many other fields, such as the national and security strategy, so we lack a strong strategy in the business sector," Tadic said after his visit to the Trajal tire factory in Krusevac.
Tadic said that as Serbia's president he would insist on such strategies, although it was not a part of his mandate.
"Although I am not the premier, whose job is to take care of such matters, I will not stop being concerned about our companies and economy. Economy is the foundation of everything. Without a strong economy we have no chance of solving our political issues, starting with Kosovo, security, protection of borders and the improvement of the country's political position," he said.
The president said the authorities had to work constantly on the opening of new jobs and improvement of living standards, and added that this was "the key task of every state official."
TALKS ON IMPROVING COOPERATION WITH MEXICO, MALAYSIA AND GUINEA
BELGRADE, Aug 20 (Beta)-The assistant Serbian minister for international economic relations, Jasmina Hadziabdic, had talks with the ambassadors of Mexico, Malaysia and Guinea on Aug. 20, about possibilities for the improvement of economic cooperation with their countries, the Serbian government has stated.
According to the statement, in separate talks Hadziabdic and the ambassadors agreed on potential fields of joint interest, and concluded that the priorities of future bilateral relations should be higher forms of economic cooperation, transfer of technologies, personnel training and forming of joint enterprises.
The participants in the talks expressed readiness for inciting businessmen to start direct commercial negotiations, in which their states would help them by creating a system of regulations that would be in the function of the further affirmation of business subjects, it was said after the meetings.
ANNIVERSARY OF WWI BATTLE MARKED IN SERBIA
LOZNICA, Aug 22 (Tanjug) - Speaking at the marking of the 90th anniversary of the battle of Cer, chief of the Serbia-Montenegro General Staff Lt-Gen Branko Krga said in Tekeris on Sunday that this had been one of the most famous battles in World War I and the "first major victory of the Serbian Army and the first allied victory against the Axis." "This could be achieved only owing to the unparalleled courage, endurance and dedication of Serbian soldiers" and great military skill of the Serbian Supreme Command, "especially Second Army Commander General Stepa Stepanovic, who was promoted into a duke for his success at the battle of Cer," Krga said. He said that our people and state were even today trying to help create conditions that would enable the coming generations to live in peace and achieve greater prosperity. "By establishing closer cooperation with other countries and their armies, as well as by joining international security institutions, we are trying to secure conditions for a more certain future," Krga said.
REXHEPI, RUGOVA CALL ON KOSOVO SERBS TO VOTE IN ELECTION
PRISTINA, Aug 20 (Beta)-On Aug. 20 Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova and Premier Bajram Rexhepi urged Kosovo Serbs to vote in Kosovo's upcoming general election, saying that this was for their own good.
Following a meeting with UNMIK chief Soren Jessen Petersen, Rexhepi also called on Belgrade to reverse its decision advising Kosovo's Serb community against voting.
"It would be good for Kosovo Serbs to take part in the election and I believe that Belgrade will realize this and change its mind," said Rexhepi, adding that he expects Belgrade not to hamper the election if it already does not intend to encourage Serbs to vote.
On Aug. 20 President Ibrahim Rugova and Pascal Fieschi, head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, also called on Kosovo's Serbs to take part in the election.
In a meeting with Fieschi, Rugova said Kosovo's institutions have made considerable headway in regard to ethnic minorities.
KUJOVIC SAYS WILL START CAMPAIGN FOR REFERENDUM IF BELGRADE REFUSES DIALOG
PODGORICA, Aug 20 (Beta)-Montenegrin Deputy Speaker Dragan Kujovic said on Aug. 20 that the Montenegrin authorities would start campaigning for a referendum on independence if Belgrade refused to sit down for talks on a peaceful dissociation of the union.
Kujovic told BETA that "there is sense in insisting on dialog" despite opposition in Serbia to announcements that the Montenegrin government will officially motion for talks on dissociation.
He said that Brussels should participate in the talks between Podgorica and Belgrade because "a senior representative of the international community put his signature on the Belgrade Agreement."
Kujovic said, "Running away from talks on peaceful dissociation will only confirm that the Serbian authorities have no good reasons to want to preserve the union."
EU INVESTS 100 MILLION EUROS IN MONTENEGRO IN THREE YEARS
PODGORICA, Aug 22 (Tanjug) - Through the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR), the European Union has invested more than 100 million euros in Montenegro in the form of grants, EAR spokesman in Podgorica Dragan Mugosa has said. He said that the EAR was presently working on the realisation of a series of valuable programmes in Montenegro. "It has been envisaged to provide expert assistance to the Ministry of Justice for the implementation of new public administration laws, to the Ministry of Finance for the realisation of budget management software, to the Ministry of Transport for the realisation of loans and assistance to the Ministry of Economy for economic restructuring and privatisation," Mugosa said.