Belgrade, April 24, 2012
MINISTERS CALL FOR DURABLE SOLUTION FOR REFUGEES
SARAJEVO, April 24 (Tanjug) Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said Tuesday that resolving the issue of refugees and displaced persons will help advance the overall process of regional reconciliation and put an end to enmity.
At the opening of the International Donors Conference on Durable Solutions for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, Jeremic noted that over 600,000 refugees reside in Serbia and over sixty percent of these belong to the most at risk category.
According to the UNHCR, Serbia was ranked amongst the top five states in the world with a protracted refugee situation. "Within the Joint Regional Program, for instance, our working groups will need to establish a common standard in the field of data exchange," Jeremic said, adding that "doing so should pave the way for a resolution to outstanding property and pensions issues, in turn contributing to the alleviation of the sentiments of distrust amongst affected communities."
Jeremic said this would require the casting aside of antiquated ways of thinking about each other as rivals or adversaries, as well as futile attempts to apportion blame that inevitably lead to bitter self-perpetuating divisions, with their accompanying calls for vengeance.
"I am convinced that we can find the courage needed to reach out to each other, so the wounds can heal and the region prospers in peace and security," he said.
According to Jeremic, "all those who fled their homes deserve to have their dignity returned to them." "That is the ultimate goal, and we should not lose sight of it: to bring an end to enmity in the Western Balkans," said the Serbian foreign minister. He expressed belief the Donors Conference would help alleviate the plight of around 74,000 men, women and children living in some 27,000 households.
The Sarajevo conference represents the start of a new phase, because having secured financing for the housing needs of the most vulnerable refugees, the region can now focus on other, equally important issues, he said.
An international donors' conference taking place in Sarajevo on Tuesday is expected to bring in EUR 584 million to provide homes to 27,000 refugee families a total of 74,000 people in Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia and Montenegro.
Serbia should receive EUR 335.2 million, Croatia 119.7 million, BiH 101 million and Montenegro 27.7 million from the donation fund.
ISRAEL AND SERBIA COOPERATE AT ALL LEVELS
BELGRADE, April 24 (Tanjug) Israeli Ambassador to Serbia Yossef Levy said that it is with great pride that his country is celebrating 64 years since its declaration of independence, stressing that Israel cooperates with Serbia at all levels and that bilateral relations are excellent.
On this day, we are celebrating 64th anniversary of this miracle, the return of the ancient people to their home and the establishment of the modern State of Israel, Ambassador Levy said at a reception held at Belgrade's hotel Hyatt on the occasion of Israel's Independence Day.
Sixtyfour years ago, Israel was a desert, marsh, and now we are a leading country in cutting edge technologies and innovations, with 10 Nobel prizes, he said.
Levi emphasized that it is with great pleasure and an open heart that Israel cooperates with Serbia at all levels, with both the ruling coalition and opposition.
The celebration brought together many public figures, including Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, who underlined that the ties between Serbia and Israel are strong and deep, full of mutual understanding and solidarity, as the two countries are linked by "the common history, the history of suffering."
Jeremic noted that Israel is a significant investor in Serbia, and voiced hope that successful investments are yet to follow.
"As the government that will certainly stay in power, we will spare no effort to make your investments even more successful," Jeremic said.
Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948.
SUTANOVAC: SERBIAN ARMY FACTOR OF STABILITY IN REGION, WORLD
LESKOVAC, April 23 (Beta) - Serbian Defence Minister Dragan Sutanovac stated on Monday that during the ceremony to mark the Day of the Serbian Army in Leskovac, southern Serbia, the Serbian Armed Forces demonstrated that they constitute the factor of stability both in Serbia, region and the world.
In a statement for reporters, Sutanovac stated that a number of citizens in downtown Leskovac had a chance to see a competent, well equipped and professionally trained army.
He added that the skills demonstrated by the members of armed forces show that the army has rightly been recognised as a stability factor not only in Serbia, but also in the region as well as in a number of peacekeeping missions worldwide in which its members are participating.
Sutanovac congratulated the holiday to all members of the Serbian Armed Forces, especially to those who are far away from home in the Ground Security Zone and are safeguarding Serbia's and their own security.
DJUKIC DEJANOVIC CONGRATULATES ARMY ON ITS DAY
LESKOVAC, April 23 (Beta) - Acting president and parliament speaker Slavica Djukic Dejanovic congratulated members of the Serbian Army on their Day in Leskovac, southern Serbia, on Monday and expressed belief that the forces would get their chief commander on May 6 when general elections should be held.
After the military parade in downtown Leskovac to mark the 23rd Day of the Serbian Armed Forces, Djukic Dejanovic told reporters that the parade presented what contemporary education, skills and modern technologies used by the Serbian Army can do.
We had a chance to see just how possible it is for peace and security to be the reality in our future, Djukic Dejanovic stated. She recalled that April 23 has been chosen as the Day of the Serbian Armed Forces because it is the date when the decision to stage the Second Serbian Uprising was adopted in 1815.
The parade commemorated the tradition of the Army's commitment to the government and nation, to the tradition surrounding the figure of the Serbian soldier who was willing to give his own life to preserve the honour of the fatherland, Djukic Dejanovic stated.
DIKOVIC: WE ARE READY TO STOP TERROR SPILLOVER
BELGRADE , April 23 (Beta) - Serbian Armed Forces chief of staff Ljubisa Dikovic said on April 23 that the military was ready to prevent any security threat or terrorism spillover from Macedonia, where tension between Macedonians and ethnic Albanians is high after a recent murder of five.
"The Serbian army and security forces are able to prevent absolutely all spillover of terrorism or any other form of security threat from Macedonian to Serbian territory," Dikovic said as a guest on TV B92.
He stressed that recent events in Macedonia were an internal matter, and voiced hope that the security problems would be surmounted and solved.
Commenting on Serbian Armed Forces Day, April 23, Dikovic said the military's professionalization was a huge success, and that gear was now in the forefront.
"I wouldn't say that our army is poor, but there are parts of the system that are obsolete," said Dikovic, underscoring that the coming period would see particular attention paid to equipping the air force.
DACIC: ASYLUM SEEKERS ARE COMMON PROBLEM
BELGRADE, April 23 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister of Interior Ivica Dacic and Luxembourg's Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, MarieJosee Jacobs, agreed on Monday that a solution to the problem of Serbian asylum seekers in Luxembourg requires mutual cooperation.
"The number of Serbian people who seek asylum in European countries has rapidly increased in Luxembourg. Although in 2011 the total number of the asylum seekers dropped by 7,164 when compared to 2010, the problem is still present, and the greatest progress in resolving it was recorded in Sweden, " Dacic said after meeting with Jacobs.
Dacic said that the countries with asylum seekers from Serbia are aware which legal conditions allow the abuse of the right to asylum and added that the deadlines for asylum cases are being shortened.
The situation is the same in Luxembourg, where the procedure lasts from three to six months, and where only one out of 947 persons was granted political asylum, Dacic stressed.
"Very few of the asylum seekers are granted asylum because the authorities in the countries in which they apply for asylum are aware that their chief motive is economic and not political. As of May 1, Sweden will be implementing a European regulation which says that anyone who abuses the right to asylum will be denied entry in that country and all EU membercountries in the period of two to five years," he said.
SERBIA – ECONOMY, FINANCE
CIRIC: LARGE COMPANIES INTERESTED IN SERBIA
HANNOVER, April 23 (Tanjug) - Serbia's Minister of Economy and Regional Development Nebojsa Ciric has said Serbia is in the second investment cycle, when large multinational corporations are showing interest in investing in it.
Serbia has had large investments from Italy and Austria so far, and the start of the arrival of German companies is slowly becoming apparent, he told Tanjug commenting on the international fair of technology in Hannover.
Ciric named Boss as an example, stressing the importance that a company like that, with 1015 patents each day, had decided to open a plant in Serbia.
According to the minister, Boss's investment proves that large multinational corporations are starting to invest in Serbia and view the country in a different way.
Between April 23 and 27, the 2012 Hannover Messe will host ten companies from Serbia and the metal cluster of the Serbian province of Vojvodina.
Under the slogan 'Metal and Machines', the Serbian joint national stand will present the latest achievements and production programs in metal and machine industry.
Moreover, Serbia will present its potentials at a meeting dubbed 'The Day of the Serbian German Economy' on Tuesday.
Besides Ciric, the event will also be attended by Chairman of the Board at Deutsche Messe AG Wolfram von Fritsch, Chairman of the Board of the Eastern Committee of German Economy Eckhard Cordes and Prime Minister of Lower Saxony David McAllister.
There is great interest among German companies for The Day of the Serbian German Economy, with over 120 companies registering to take part.
Ciric said he was pleased so many businesses had registered to participate in discussions on Serbia, because it proved they were interested in increasing export and investing in Serbia.
"If we manage to convince one, two or three good German companies that Serbia is the right place for them, I think we will achieve a very good result," Ciric told Tanjug.
PIPELINE SECTION GETS OPENED IN LESKOVAC
LESKOVAC, April 23 (Tanjug) - The 52kilometer Nis-Leskovac section of the MG11 main gas pipeline and a sevenkilometer gas distribution network in the city of Leskovac were put into operation Monday.
The investment in the two southern Serbian cities totaled about USD 15 million. The network is ready to have its first consumers of natural gas connected, namely, Yura Corporation factory, Nevena Leskovaccosmetic products company, Mladost construction material producer and the city's heating plant.
The ceremony in the southern Serbian city was attended by Advisor to the prime minister for Energy Petar Skundric, Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin, Executive Director of Yugorosgaz the company implementing the project Vladimir Koldin, and Mayors of Leskovac and the nearby city of Vranje, Slobodan Kocic and Miroljub Stojcic, respectively.
Skundric noted that the requirements were met to move forward with the construction of the pipeline to Vranje and to cover the entire southern Serbia.
He noted that the planned investment in the gas sector over the following four to five years, worth about EUR two billion, would contribute to overall socioeconomic recovery of the country.
This year we will have begun the implementation of the most important gas infrastructure project in Serbia, the construction of the arm of the Southern Stream pipeline through Serbia, Skundric said.
It is expected that gas will start running through the pipeline in 2016 and 2017 and that its initial annual capacity will be 18 billion cubic meters, while by 2025, the capacity is expected to reach 40 billion cubic meters.
Ambassador Konuzin said that the projects in Serbia were at the very core of the Serbian and Russian cooperation and their implementation should not be restrained by any conditions except by one they should be of mutual benefit to both countries.
The construction of the South Stream, reconstruction of Serbia's power plants and railroads are all due to begin very soon, he said.
In September 2010, Yugorosgaz launched the construction works on the 122kilometer MG11 Nis-Leskovac-Vranje main gas pipeline.
SOSKIC: NO ARRANGEMENT WITH IMF HURTS SERBIA'S IMAGE
WASHINGTON, April 24 (Tanjug) - Not having an arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would hurt Serbia's image as a country which manages to keep its revenue and spending in check in the longterm, National Bank of Serbia (NSB) Governor Dejan Soskic has said.
In an interview with Tanjug's correspondent in Washington on Monday, Soskic said that together with a delegation of the Serbian government, he had had a series of meeting with representatives of the IMF, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.
We concluded a new precautionary standby arrangement with the IMF just last fall and it is very important to get it back on the right track as soon as possible, said Soskic, nothing Serbia should form a new government and parliament quickly because it needed new regulations which would speed up reforms.
This is particularly important in the domain of fiscal activities, as it would allow us to maintain our relatively solid position in the international financial market in terms of financing our total debt, said the NBS governor.
According to Soskic, it is important to form a functional parliament which will be able to pass all the necessary legislation. He said the talks in Washington were open, intensive and productive, adding that one of the topics were the modalities of assistance the World Bank offers to Serbia.
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
BOGDANOVIC: ELECTION WOULD NOT VIOLATE RESOLUTION 1244
BELGRADE, April 23 (Beta) - Serbian Minister for Kosovo and Metohija Goran Bogdanovic said on April 23 that Serbia would do its utmost to have presidential and parliamentary elections held in Kosovo, adding that they would not be a violation of Resolution 1244.
According to a press release from the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija, Bogdanovic met with Peter Schmitz, director of the Europe and Latin America Division at the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations, in Belgrade.
They agreed that it was necessary to reach agreement on holding elections as soon as possible and do everything to avoid tension and exacerbation of the situation.
RASMUSSEN: EULEX INSUFFICIENTLY EQUIPPED
BRUSSELS, April 23 (Tanjug) - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen voiced a series of criticisms against the activities of EULEX mission in Kosovo and said it was not either wellequipped or sufficiently competent to perform the tasks it was entrusted with.
In his address to the European MPs, Rasmussen pointed out that NATO is facing tasks in Kosovo, especially in the northern part of the province, which were not envisaged in the plans when the mission was granted its mandate and comes as a consequence of insufficiently developed EULEX capacities.
We need closer cooperation in order to ensure true division of work between NATO and the EU, Rasmussen said during the debate in the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.
He called on European MPs to use their influence and ensure that EULEX gets sufficient political support and funds in order to meet its mandate to the full extent. We would like to see the strong role of the EU verified in a strong EULEX, he said.
The NATO official devoted the greatest part of his address to the situation in Afghanistan and the forthcoming NATO summit in Chicago.
He expressed strong support to the placement of antimissile shield in the territory of Europe and expressed regret that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not attend the Chicago summit scheduled for May 20 because of the differences in opinions as regards this matter.