Daily Survey

Belgrade, August 24, 2012

SERBIA

SLOVENIA WILL SUPPORT SERBIA ON EU PATH

BELGRADE, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Ivica Dacic and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa agreed Thursday that Slovenia will help Serbia on its path towards EU membership, the government press office said in a release.Also, the two officials agreed in a telephone conversation that it is necessary to develop good relations between the two countries and make additional efforts to improve economic cooperation.Jansa congratulated Dacic on assuming the post of prime minister and expressed his conviction that the two governments will be making efforts to speed up cooperation in all areas to mutual benefit.

PAJEVIC: EC REPORT - "A SCAN OF ACHIEVEMENTS"

BELGRADE, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –Director of the Serbian government's Office for EU Integration Milan Pajevic said on Friday that a European Commission (EC) report, which would be published in early October, would be "a scan" of the situation in Serbia as seen by the EU, so it could hardly be qualified as only "positive" or "negative".

MINISTER PETKOVIC CONFERS WITH CDNL CHAIRMAN

BELGRADE, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –Minister of Culture Bratislav Petkovic stated Thursday after a meeting with Chairman of the Conference of Directors of National Libraries (CDNL) John Tsebe and Acting Manager of the National Library of Serbia Dejan Ristic that Tsebe will advocate Serbia's interests at international forums. Tsebe, director of the National Library of South Africa, is on a three-day visit to Serbia during which he will visit the National Library of Serbia, the Belgrade City Library, the Library of Sabac, and the Yugoslav Archives.The minister of culture conferred Thursday with Tsebe and Ristic, presented the problems that librarians are facing, and got Tsebe's support and assurance.The CDNL chairman expressed satisfaction over the meeting with the minister and explained that the South African ambassador to Serbia is a great friend of the National Library of South Africa and its often guest, and that this is the reason of his visit.Tsebe congratulated the Serbian government and the minister of culture on their concern over the development of libraries, noting that libraries are important for the development of a society.Tsebe will visit Thursday the National Library of Serbia, where he and Ristic will sign a memorandum of understanding between the national libraries of Serbia and South Africa.

SERBIA – ECONOMY

DACIC WITH CITIBANK ON PLANS IN SERBIA AND REGION

BELGRADE, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –Prime Minister Ivica Dacic will meet with Citibank representatives in Belgrade for talks about the bank's business plans in the country and the region Friday, the government's media relations office said in a release on the same day.The Citibank Representative Office in Belgrade was registered in December 2006, and had started its operations in May 2007.Citibank led a consortium of banks that granted a loan of EUR 700 million to Telekom Srbija telecommunications company to buy a 65 percent stake in Telekom Srpske.Citibank is part of Citigroup, an American multinational financial services based in New York and formed in 1998.Citigroup has the world's largest financial services network, spanning 140 countries with approximately 16,000 offices worldwide.

SBERBANK SEEKS PARTNER FOR SMEDEREVO STEEL MILL

BELGRADE, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Deputy Chairman of Moscow-based Sberbank Sergey Gorkov discussed Thursday the possibilities of finding a strategic partner for the Zelezara Smederevo steelworks.Dacic and Gorkov also discussed the possibility that this biggest Russian bank provides support to the export of Serbian products to Russia. During the talks, Dacic pointed to the advantages of Serbia as an investment area and voiced hope that Sberbank will significantly influence the improvement of economic relations between Serbia and Russia. Gorkov said that so far this bank has invested EUR 100 million in Serbia and that it plans to invest the same amount by the end of the year.During the meeting it was agreed that Sberbank will help find a strategic partner for the Zelezara Smederevo steelworks. The meeting was also attended by Minister of Finance and Economy Mladjan Dinkic, says a statement by the government's office for media.Sberbanka has purchased Austria's Volksbank, thus taking over its offices in Serbia, and already announced credit expansion in the country as of September.

IMF MISSION TO VISIT SERBIA IN MID-SEPTEMBER

BELGRADE, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Serbia Bogdan Lissovolik said in a statement Friday that the IMF would send a delegation to Serbia in mid-September, with the aim of analyzing the factual situation in the Serbian economy.The main task of the mission will be to review the latest macroeconomic indicators and forecasts, but the IMF delegation would not discuss the stand-by arrangement between the Fund and Serbia.Lissovolik said that the mission would also discuss IMF's concerns over the recent amendments of the Law on the National Bank of Serbia, which in the opinion of the Fund undermined its autonomy, and their concerns about the situation in the fiscal sector.

KOSOVO

INTERNATIONALS URGED TO STAY IN SAME NUMBERS

BELGRADE, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –The Serbian government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija (KiM) urged the international community Thursday to act in line with UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon's report on KiM and keep their presence in KiM in the same numbers as before until those responsible for the murders of over 1,000 Serbs were found and prosecuted.Commenting on a statement by Kosovo Prime Minister Hasim Taci that Serbs are becoming increasingly satisfied with the overall security situation in Kosovo and that the question about their safety is not a key issue any more, the Office for KiM urged the international community to expedite the investigation into the allegations about human organ trafficking.The office also demands from the international community not to hesitate in determining a fair compensation for a total of 33,411 housing units owned by Serbs and other non-Albanians in KiM that were destroyed, damaged or taken away from rightful owners prior to and including 2000, and for another 930 housing units destroyed in the March 2004 pogrom.The office points to two murders of Serb returnees in the village of Talinovac, several assassination attempts at returnees to the village of Zac, beatings of returnees to the city of Pec, blasting of the home of the Djokovic family in the center of Pristina, all taking place over the last three months alone.It also pointed out that nine years had passed since the murder of Serb children in the village of Gorazdevac, a crime nobody had yet been prosecuted for.

DEPLOYMENT OF NEW FORCES IN KOSOVO IN PREPARATION

VIENNA, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –Deployment of the German-Austrian battalion of the Operational Reserve Force (ORF) in Kosovo is in preparation at KFOR's request, Tanjug learned from the Austrian Defense Ministry on Thursday.

UP TO BELGRADE AND PRISTINA TO DECIDE ON TOPICS

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Tracey Jacobson said on Friday that the delegations of Belgrade and Pristina would decide on the topics of high-level talks, and presumed that the issue of north would be part of the dialogue.In a live broadcast on Kosovska Mitrovica-based Radio Kontakt Plus, Jacobson said that the U.S. strongly supports the process aimed at normalizing the relations between Belgrade and Pristina, and that, in her opinion, the solution for the Kosovo north should be part of a comprehensive proposal for the resolution of the Kosovo status.She noted that the proposal grants certain rights and guarantees to the Serbian community in Kosovo, referring to the guaranteed seats in the Assembly, educational opportunities according to the Serbian syllabus, and possibilities for electing police officers.It is of immense importance that the Serbian government voiced readiness to enter further talks, and implement the agreements that have been reached so far, Jacobson said.It is also very important that the dialogue be continued, and previous agreements implemented, Jacobson said.Jacobson, who has recently assumed the duties as U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, stressed that the EU had been very clear when it demanded that the authorities in Belgrade abolish the so-called parallel institutions.The U.S. administration keeps calling on the authorities in Belgrade to abolish parallel institutions, and cooperate with the Kosovo government in a transparent way, so that the Serbian community can have access to the best health care and educational services, she said.It is also very important that the Kosovo government and EULEX are investigating all the crimes committed in Kosovo, and they should keep working on that, Jacobson added.

SERBS DOUBT LICENSE PLATES MAY HAVE BEEN MARKED

BELGRADE, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija have doubts as to whether special license plates have been allocated to them at the Centre for registration of vehicles, so that they could be "marked" while driving across the province, but Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Redzepi dismissed such claims."The residents in the Kosovo Morava River basin feel uneasy, and those who obtained the RKS license plates get in their car with fear. We have suspicions that a special series of license plates numbers have been assigned to us, so that we could be clearly visible on the road, which makes us a direct and easy target for extremist Albanians at any moment," head of the Kosovo Morava River basin district Dragan Nikolic said to Belgrade-based daily Politika.More than a month ago, Serbs submitted all the necessary documentation so that they could drive across Kosovo-Metohija, and they have not obtained them yet, which stirs doubts even further, he noted.Even in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbs who got the double license plates (in addition to the one issued by the Serbian Ministry of the Interior) say that it is evident that this part of Kosovo has been "marked by specific letter combinations"."These are lies. There is no difference in letter combinations. There are mere political insinuations. Anyway, the license plates for Kosovo have been done by the same Slovenian company that did the same job for the Serbian Interior Ministry," Redzepi said to Politika.The issue was also addressed by Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic at the meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, the daily notes.Drawing on the report authored by the European NGO Diadikasia entitled "Freedom of Movement: Issuance of RKS license plates to members of non-Albanian communities in Kosovo", Dacic said that there is a pattern according to which only certain couples of letters are issued to members of the Serb community."This worrisome, highly discriminatory practice was confirmed to the authors of the report by a Kosovo police official, who is quoted in the document as saying that 'it is a public secret that Serb cars are marked,'" Dacic said.

KFOR: SITUATION IN KOSOVO STILL FRAGILE

BERLIN, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –The general situation in north Kosovo is still fragile and likely to deteriorate, and therefore KFOR has requested activation of the German-Austrian battalion of the Operational Reserve Force (ORF), the German Federal Ministry of Defence has released.The KFOR commander said early in August that the freedom of movement of the EULEX mission has considerably improved in the previous months, but that the situation is not stable yet, the statement reads.The KFOR commander believes that there are still potentials for new deterioration of the situation, the website adds.In that sense, the KFOR commander requested through competent NATO services for the ORF battalion to stay in Kosovo at least by December 15.The Italian ORF battalion, which is in Kosovo at the moment, will be there only by September, and for this reason the NATO Command in Naples issued a preliminary order on August 22 for activation of the German-Austrian reserve battalion, which is on stand-by, the website adds.This battalion should replace the Italian one by September 30, and be in full readiness in Kosovo by October 1. The goal, as underlined, is to support further stabilization and improvement of security situation in Kosovo.Tanjug learned at the Austrian Defense Ministry that German-Austrian ORF battalion is being prepared to be sent to Kosovo on request of the KFOR commander.KFOR did not want to comment on reports of the German daily Der Spiegel, which announced the deployment of 700 soldiers of the German-Austrian battalion, stating that, despite the presence of around 5,800 soldiers of international forces and one operational reserve Italian contingent of around 700 men, NATO has qualified the situation in Kosovo as still unstable, primarily near the administrative line with Serbia.KFOR only told Tanjug that an extension of the mandate of KFOR's battalion has been requested.

SERBIA – REGION

JOSIPOVIC: TIME WILL COME TO TALK WITH NIKOLIC

ZAGREB, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –Croatian President Ivo Jospovic expressed Thursday confidence that time will come to talk with the President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic after he shows that he has changed compared to the 90s. I am sure that time will come to talk with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, Josipovic said.I have repeatedly emphasized that some of his statements were inappropriate, especially regarding Vukovar and Srebrenica, but I believe that there will be changes, Josipovic said after talks with representatives of the Serb community in Croatia. When President Nikolic shows that he is now a different politician from the one he was the 90s, there will be no obstacles to meet and discuss cooperation between the two countries, Jospovic said, the Croatian media reported. Josipovic said he wants Croats and Serbs in Croatia to form a good relationship based on equality of all citizens, but also on the recognition of Croatia and its values.

PUSIC: RATIFICATION OF ACCESSION TREATY- PRIORITY

ZAGREB, Aug 24 (Tanjug) –Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic pointed to the importance of regional cooperation and announced the possibility of a meeting with Serbia's new Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic, as well as visits to Macedonia and Albania.It is in the interest of Croatia that the entire region is stable, and that regional countries follow the EU road as soon as possible, Pusic said in an interview for the Hina news agency.As for Croatia, the ratification of the Treaty of Accession is an absolute priority, Pusic said, voicing expectation that it would be no hindrances in that regard, even in the Slovenian parliament.On several occasions, Slovenia cautioned Croatia that it would not ratify its accession treaty as long as Zagreb does not give up on the request for the return of money to the savers of the former Ljubljanska banka.This refers to the debt of DM 545 million without interest, which Zagrebacka banka and Privredna banka are trying to acquire through the court proceedings, with the support of the Croatian government.However, Ljubljana demands that the Ljubljanska Banka debt issue be resolved as part of the negotiations on the succession of Yugoslavia, which Zagreb declined.It would benefit our relations, if the Slovenian government tabled a draft ratification document for a parliamentary debate as soon as possible, Pusic said, underlining that the issue of Ljubljanska Banka should not be linked to the ratification of Croatia's accession treaty.Croatia stands ready to discuss the issue, and has accepted a proposal which envisages that financial experts of the two countries should tackle the issue, she said.Pusic announced that Zagreb would soon talk with Brussels about the EU conditions regarding the respect of the Schengen Agreement, which is, as she put it, related to the lasting solution for the issue of borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina.