Belgrade, January 24, 2012
SERBIA – USA - EU
U.S.: DIALOGUE WITH KOSOVO KEY TO SERBIA'S EU PATH
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (Tanjug) - The United States supports the ongoing dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo and that is a key component of Serbia's path towards EU accession, U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland told Tanjug.
She said that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's intent in her phone call was to try to encourage and support Serbian President Boris Tadic "in all that he is doing to try to take Serbia towards the EU."
"We are continuing to encourage and the Secretary did in her phone call normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. We think it is good for both countries and good for the region," Nuland said.
When asked whether Serbia deserved to get the EU candidate status, Nuland said that it is obviously a decision for the EU to make when it meets in March, but added that "for arguably decades now the U.S. has supported increasing integration of all of the Balkan states into European institutions."
TADIC: INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SHOULD KEEP WORD
BELGRADE, Jan. 23 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic expressed expectation on Monday that after the statement of U.S. official Philip Ricker that Serbia is not required to renounce UNSC Resolution 1244, a solution to the issue of Pristina's regional presentation would be found within 24 hours and that it would be based on the document.
In an interview for reporters, Tadic underscored that he found Ricker's statement both positive and surprising.
I hope the international community would keep its word, and I expect that (EU mediator in the Belgrade Pristina dialogue Robert) Cooper would come forth with the solution for Pristina's presentation immediately, which would mean that the Kosovo licence plates would also bear the insignia of UNSC Resolution 1244 since Serbia was not required to renounce the document, Tadic said.
He added that he would check the verity of the international community's word in the talks with Cooper who is supposed to visit Belgrade this week.
The president said that the fact that the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton initiated their phone talk points to interest of the U.S. in Kosovo Metohija and the solutions Serbia has to offer regarding this matter. He told her that Serbia would never recognise Kosovo's independence and that it respects Resolution 1244 and is looking for a solution for regional presentation of Pristina which would not constitute an implicit recognition of independence.
In a statement for reporters following the meeting with presidents of the Association of Free and Independent Trade Unions, Tadic said that the worst thing is when solutions are sought and plans implemented without any interest in Serbia's stands.
The call to Clinton was not coordinated with the visit of U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Ricker.
WESTERWELLE: REALISTIC CHANCES FOR CANDIDACY IN FEB
BRUSSELS, Jan. 23 (Tanjug) - German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle stated in Brussels Monday that Serbia has realistic chances of winning the EU candidacy in late February, noting, however, that the time is running out for fulfilling the imposed conditions.
Germany remains strongly committed to Serbia's EU perspective, Westerwelle stated at the news conference in Brussels, where a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council is under way.
Earlier on Monday, Westerwelle conferred with Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic on the sidelines of the meeting. The conditions imposed by the European Council on December 9 show the way, Westerwelle stressed, adding that both sides need to fulfill them.
The European Council's conclusions from December 9 request from Belgrade to reach an agreement on regional representation of Pristina, to implement the agreements reached so far, and to help EULEX with its mandate in Kosovo. Westerwelle said that, by February, everyone should work hard so that Serbia would not miss the opportunity of becoming an EU member state.
There is no time for stalling, Westerwelle warned.
Earlier today, immediately after the meeting with Westerwelle, Jeremic stated that Serbia and Germany now have a much better mutual understanding for their respective positions on Kosovo, and added that Serbia will work hard in order to obtain EU candidacy in February.
In the meantime, Jeremic also conferred with Swedish and Slovak Foreign Ministers, and he is also expected to meet his Romanian and Danish counterparts, as well as EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele.
JEREMIC:MORE UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN SERBIA, GERMANY
BRUSSELS, Jan. 23 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic stated Monday after a meeting with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle that at present there is much more understanding between the two countries regarding Serbia's EU candidate status.
"The talks were very useful," Jeremic said after meeting Westerwelle at the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels. "Both sides have the same goal i.e. a positive decision on Serbia's candidate status in a few weeks," Jeremic said.
He expressed belief that the talks between EU foreign ministers regarding Serbia and Kosovo, which are currently underway, will have a positive outcome.
The head of the Serbian diplomacy said that he and Westerwelle agreed on a mechanism for continuation of the toplevel consultations with Germany, whose opinion will be crucial in deciding on Serbia's candidacy late in February. However, Jeremic said that it would be ungrateful to forecast the final result of the efforts made towards the EU candidate status.
Jeremic added that he will meet with Westerwelle again in about ten days in Munich.
During his two-day visit to Brussels, Jeremic will confer with a number of European foreign ministers, including those of Sweden, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Denmark.
FUELE: CANDIDACY POSSIBLE IF CONDITIONS ARE MET
BRUSSELS, Jan. 24 (Tanjug) Serbia can get candidate status for EU membership if it fulfills the conditions in time, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said Tuesday.
Fuele met with Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic in Brussels on Tuesday.
I acknowledged the commitment of the Serbian leadership to European integration. I stressed the EU still expects an active approach to the continuation of the dialogue with Pristina, and tangible progress, especially on the issue of regional representation, Fuele said in a written statement for the media.
According to him, if progress is made in time, the European Council will confirm the decision to grant Serbia candidate status at its next session.
ASHTON: SERBIA MUST MAKE PROGRESS IN DIALOG WITH PRISTINA
BRUSSELS, Jan. 23 (Beta) - "On Jan. 23, foreign ministers from the European Union voiced great optimism in Brussels that Serbia and Kosovo would continue to make strides in their relations with that 27nation bloc," said EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.
"I believe there is strong desire for Serbia to fulfill its promises to us, to continue the dialog with Kosovo and make progress that will allow us to make a positive decision on its candidacy for EU member in late February," Ashton said after a session of the foreign ministers.
She also announced Robert Cooper, the European mediator in the Belgrade Pristina dialog, would visit the two cities on Jan. 24.
KOCIJANCIC: SERBIA DISCUSSED IN POSITIVE TONE
BRUSSELS, Jan. 23 (Beta) - All the foreign ministers of the European Union supported Monday in Brussels the continuing of European integration of Serbia, spokeswoman for EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton Maja Kocijancic said.
They also expect a speedy resumption of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and an agreement on a regional representation of Kosovo, she said.
Discussion of EU foreign ministers on Serbia today was held in a positive tone, Kocijancic told reporters at the end of the meeting.
The EU Council of Ministers convened primarily to discuss an embargo on the import of Iranian oil, but the issue of Serbia and Kosovo is also on the agenda.
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic had bilateral talks with several European colleagues on the sidelines of the Council of Ministers meeting, including the foreign ministers of Germany, Sweden and Slovakia. He is also to meet with EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele on Tuesday.
FUELE : TADIC - CLINTON TALK BENEFICIAL
BRUSSELS, Jan. 23 (Tanjug) - European Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said Monday in Brussels that he believes it is useful that Serbian President Boris Tadic and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed Kosovo this past weekend.
Fuele said he is not familiar with the content of the talk, but the United States' involvement in finding a solution for Kosovo is beneficial to all sides.
According to a press release which the State Department delivered to a Tanjug correspondent on Sunday, in the phone call which happened at the initiative of the U.S. State Secretary, Clinton appealed to Serbia to continue its efforts aimed at normalizing relations with Kosovo.
The U.S. Secretary of State also added the United States is ready to help both sides.
Talking on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting in Brussels, where the situation in Kosovo is one of the topics on the agenda, Fuele commented on Sunday's EU accession referendum in Croatia, calling its outcome a positive message to Serbia and other countries in the Western Balkans.
They should take advantage of the momentum created by Croatia's successful preparations for EU accession, Fuele concluded.
TADIC, IVANOV DISCUSS TWO COUNTRIES' BILATERAL RELATIONS
BELGRADE, Jan. 23 (Tanjug) - On Jan. 23, Serbian President Boris Tadic had talks with Macedonian President Djordje Ivanov about the two countries' bilateral relations, according to the Serbian president's media service.
During the informal meeting between Tadic and Ivanov, they also discussed the continuation of European integration of Serbia and Macedonia. Tadic congratulated Ivanov on the victory of Macedonia's national handball team against Poland at the European Championship currently taking place in Serbia.
JEREMIC CANDIDATE FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT
BELGRADE, Jan. 24 (Tanjug) - Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic is a candidate for President of the United Nations General Assembly, Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti reported Tuesday.
"Serbia has officially submitted its Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic as a candidate for the President of the United Nations General Assembly," Novosti write, citing an unnamed source.
If elected, Jeremic would head the General Assembly for one year, and his first official appearance would come in September 2012, when the new annual session begins, writes the paper.
NATASA VUCKOVIC ELECTED PACE VICE PRESIDENT
BRUSSELS, Jan. 23 (Tanjug) - Member of the Serbian parliament's permanent delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Natasa Vuckovic was elected vice president of this oldest European organization, the parliament stated on Monday.
The first regular PACE session, which comprised the Serbian parliament's delegation, elected Jean Claude Mignon from France as PACE president, and Natasa Vuckovic as one of the vice presidents.
When adopting its final agenda at the opening of the Winter Session 2012, PACE decided to hold a current affairs debate on "The Russian Federation between elections".
On Wednesday, PACE will discuss the report on the honoring of obligations and commitments by Serbia prepared by the PACE Monitoring Committee.
PACE will also table the situation in Belarus and the functioning of democratic institutions in Bosnia Herzegovina.
During its five-day sitting, PACE is to elect a new Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, and discuss guaranteeing the authority and effectiveness of the European Convention on Human Rights, protecting human rights and dignity by taking into account previously expressed wishes of patients, and advancing women's rights worldwide.
On Wednesday, PACE will be addressed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and President of Finland Tarja Halonen, the statement reads.
NOVI SAD MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF FASCIST CRIME
NOVI SAD, Jan. 23 (Beta) - On Jan. 23, Novi Sad marked the 70th anniversary of a World War II raid, in which the Hungarian military killed at least 1,300 Novi Sad denizens and dumped their bodies in the icedover Danube.
Serbian Orthodox Church patriarch Irinej led a memorial service at the Raid Victim Quay. He said the Raid had claimed the lives of Serbs, Jews and Roma, just because of their different ethnicities or religions.
Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Jerusalem, said crimes such as the Raid were the result of a policy of racism and antiSemitism by the Nazi Third Reich and its allies.
On behalf of the Jewish Community of Serbia, Rabbi Isak Asiel also held a service. Novi Sad Mayor Igor Pavlicic and Vojvodina Assembly Speaker Sandor Egeresi attended the ceremony.
Ahead of the commemoration, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the city authorities clashed over which of them would organize it and who would be invited to speak. There is public dispute over the number of Novi Sad natives slain in the roundup, as some researchers claim that, rather than approximately 1,300, the body count was between 3,400 and 4,000.
SERBIA - K&M – DIALOG
STEFANOVIC: BOTH FOOTNOTE AND RESOLUTION 1244
BELGRADE, Jan. 23 (Tanjug) - Chief of the Belgrade negotiating team in dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic said on Monday that the date for the resumption of talks has not been not set, but, however, added that Belgrade would accept the footnote 'without prejudice to the status of Kosovo' when it comes to Pristina's regional presentation, solely in addition to the reference of United Nation Security Council's Resolution 1244.
Not wanting to specify the details of the proposal, Stefanovic told Tanjug that he believes that the formulation 'without prejudice to the status' can be usable, but only with the use of Resolution 1244.
This may be useful, but hardly enough, Stefanovic said.
According to him, the date for the resumption of talks has not been set because the two parties' positions on the regional presentation of Pristina are still very different, which, as he put it, will be discussed at a meeting with EU mediator Robert Cooper, who is coming to Belgrade this week.
This will be a chance to talk about different options for resolving the issue of regional presentation, which, for us, absolutely presupposes the use of Resolution 1244. We will have an opportunity to find a solution which includes the Resolution with Cooper, Stefanovic said.
He refuted the claims by chief of Pristina's team Edita Tahiri that Pristina proposed the footnote, and qualified as untrue her statements that the EU is behind the proposal. The EU is not behind any options, save for the one which both parties will accept. Pristina is not proposing anything. Pristina's proposal in such talks is actually a nonexistent term, and I would really like to put an end to such allegations, since Pristina simply does not have such an approach to the dialogue, Stefanovic concluded.
KOSOVO ACEPTS FOOTNOTE, BUT NOT RESOLUTION 1244
BELGRADE, PRISTINA, Jan. 23 (Tanjug) - Pristina's lead negotiator in the dialogue with Belgrade Edita Tahiri stated on Monday that Pristina finds it acceptable to be represented in regional initiatives with its name and a footnote saying "without prejudice to the status".
In a statement for Tanjug, Tahiri said that would be a balanced solution, as it would respect the stands of both sides, and that as regards Pristina it could be an acceptable solution for the key issue of the next round of the talks.
I must say that the views of the two sides are at the moment far apart, as Serbia is insisting on adding the reference "1244" to the name of Kosovo, which is unacceptable for us, Tahiri said, explaining that UN SC Resolution 1244 has become too narrow both in political and legal sense.
As regards the continuation of Belgrade Pristina talks, Tahiri said that the exact date would probably be known following the visits by EU facilitator to the dialogue Robert Cooper to Belgrade and Pristina, scheduled for later this week.
I think that the visit will bring the views of the two sides closer, and contribute to resolving the key issue, Tahiri said.
She said that Pristina is ready to endorse the option which would envisage that the name of Kosovo be coupled with the footnote saying "without prejudice to the status". Such phrasing would acknowledge the fact that Serbia has not recognized Kosovo, and this is how Serbia would interpret it. At the same time, it would strike a balance between the sides (to the dialogue), since Pristina and the countries which have recognized Kosovo's independence would interpret it as reading 'independent Kosovo', Tahiri said.
At first, Tahiri claimed this to be Pristina's proposal, but when asked to comment on the EU stand regarding it, she said that it was Robert Cooper who brought the proposal forward.
BILDT:CONTINUING DIALOGUE ON KOSOVO MOST IMPORTANT
BRUSSELS, Jan. 23 (Tanjug) - Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt said on Monday in Brussels that the most important thing for Serbia now is to continue its dialogue with Pristina as soon as possible in order to get the EU candidate status in late February.
We talked about Serbia and Kosovo and agreed that it is necessary that both sides show a constructive attitude in the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, Bildt said to the press during a meeting of the EU Council of Ministers on Monday in Brussels.
It is important that the agreements reached so far be implemented, but the most important thing is to continue the dialogue as soon as possible, Bildt said.
Bildt conferred on the sidelines of the meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, but no statements were issued after that meeting.
FITOU:ELYSEE TREATY MODEL FOR KOSOVO AND SERBIA
PRISTINA, Jan. 24 (Tanjug) French Ambassador to Kosovo Jean François Fitou said Kosovo and Serbia should have something akin to the Elysee Treaty between France and Germany, which was aimed at reconciliation between the two countries, Pristina daily Kosova Sot reported Tuesday.
In a debate in which the French and German ambassadors talked about the past of the two countries, Fitou said Serbia and Kosovo should learn from the Elysee Treaty.
I believe you will move forward when you start looking forward. Whenever you look back, you will move backwards. This is one of the lessons of the Elysee Treaty, Fitou said, according to Kosova Sot.
Dukadjin Gorani, advisor to the Kosovo prime minister, agreed that there is a need for an agreement similar to the Elysee Treaty between Serbia and Kosovo. Of course there should be an Elysee Treaty between Kosovo and Serbia, but I think that would be very hard to achieve right now, Gorani said.
The treaty, concluded at the Elysee Palace in Paris by French president Charles de Gaulle and first chancellor of postwar Germany Konrad Adenauer on January 22, 1963, put an end to an era of hostility between the two countries, which are today considered the driving engine of the EU.