Belgrade, 26. 03. 2008.
C O N T E N T :
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KOSOVO AND METOHIJA – REACTIONS, SITUATION
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SERBIA – ECONOMY
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JEREMIC GIVES LECTURE AT HANOI DIPLOMATIC ACADEMY
HANOI, March 25 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said in Hanoi on Tuesday that the world powers which are imposing the independence of Kosovo and Metohija province present as their main argument the crimes committed in Kosovo, and yet they are opposed to the same solution being applied for other states where such developments also occurred.
Serbia has been told that it committed atrocities against Kosovo Albanians, that reconciliation is impossible, that Kosovo Albanians can get satisfaction only through the fulfillment of their maximalistic demands, that the time for negotiations has passed, that Serbia has no choice but to accept such a result, Jeremic said in a lecture given at Vietnam's official Diplomatic Academy. During the countless talks he had with foreign diplomats, Jeremic said, he had asked what is so unique in the case of Kosovo.
Jeremic had pointed out the crimes that occurred in Rwanda, the ones taking place in the Sudan, and he had asked the politicians why they were not advocating the partition of these countries. What is the line that Slobodan Milosevic crossed, and that the leaders of these states did not, Jeremic asked.
Jeremic pointed out to the Vietnamese students the case of the Iraqi Kurds, who were even killed with poison gas by ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and who enjoyed practical independence since the First Gulf War in the early nineties.
The Serbian foreign minister said he had asked foreign diplomats why the partition of Iraq had not been imposed, and that usually no reply had been forthcoming. On some occasions, the diplomats said that a forcible partition of Iraq is not in the interests of the stability of that region, and that it is therefore not in anyone's interests to propose such a move, Jeremic told the students.
The Middle East is not South East Europe and Iraq is not Serbia, he said, but the parallels are astounding and they deserve some thought.
One cannot simply say that it would not be wise to enforce a solution on Iraq or in the Arab-Israeli conflict, while at the same time claiming that this is acceptable in the case of Kosovo, Jeremic said.
The Kosovo secessionists have been rewarded for refusing to play in keeping with the rules of well-meaning negotiations, the minister said, and the imposing of a radical solution to the ethnic conflict came without any explanation as to how such a move will promote the European values that the entire region wishes to embrace.
This must be faced, Jeremic said. This attempted gross violation of international law has revived a global debate on the legitimacy of internationally recognized borders, he told the Vietnamese students.
The Serbian foreign minister also indicated that there are dozens of Kosovos all over the world which are delighted at the attempted legitimization of unilateral secession in the international system.
Warning against this very real and disturbing danger, Jeremic pointed out that the only way to avoid a disaster is to reopen the negotiations on a mutually acceptable solution for the future status of Kosovo.
ALEXEEV SAYS RUSSIA TO KEEP COOPERATING WELL WITH SERBIA
BELGRADE, March 25 (Beta) - Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Alexeev on March 25 said that his country will not change its position and will continue to cooperate well with Serbia, regardless of the potential change of state leadership after the May 11 general election. After a reception at the Socialist Party of Serbia headquarters on the occasion of his pending departure from the ambassadorial post, Alexeev said that Russia "can help Serbia the most in the economic field."
Speaking about the humanitarian aid to Serb enclaves in Kosovo announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Alexeev said that Russia is in touch with the Serbian government, "with which it is putting together a list of the most necessary things.” The ambassador also said that medical equipment, hygiene products, food and other necessities will most likely be shipped through Serbia, adding that Russia is also in talks with UNMIK on their delivery.
Asked whether Russia will set up a military base in Serbia, as previously announced by several Serbian politicians, Alexeev replied that there has never been talk of that and that "such a task will certainly never be appointed.” Socialist Party leader Ivica Dacic thanked the Russian ambassador for his contribution to developing good relations between Serbia and Russia, and gave him an icon of Saint Djordje and a bottle of plum brandy, "to remind him of the days spent in Serbia."
GOOD SERBIA-CROATIA RELATIONS CENTRAL FOR REGIONAL STABILITY
VIENNA, March 25 (Tanjug) - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic said in Vienna on Tuesday that good and friendly relations between Zagreb and Belgrade are very important for the stability of the region, and that, in spite of having recognized the independence of Kosovo, Croatia wants to continue maintaining good relations with Serbia, from which it expects the same stand toward Zagreb.
Croatia is very interested in the best possible, stable and comprehensive relations with Serbia, he said. Regardless of the new situation following the recognition of Kosovo, Croatia will continue with the same policy, Jandrokovic said, speaking at a press conference after his meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik.
The Austrian foreign minister, for her part, underscored that Vienna, as well as the European Union (EU), will continue to stress the European offer to Belgrade.
They are working together on finding a way to make the European future more clear to the people of Serbia, on how to present that future in a concrete way, she said.
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA – REACTIONS, SITUATION
ROSSIN: SERBIAN MINISTERS IDEA CAN BE DISCUSSED
PRISTINA, Mar 25 (Tanjug) - UNMIK deputy chief Larry Rossin said Tuesday that the proposal by Serbian Minister for Kosovo-Metohija Slobodan Samardzic can form the basis for talks between UNMIK and Belgrade but that some parts of that plan are not in keeping with UNMIK's mandate.
The proposal has been forwarded to the UN and UNMIK expects further instructions, he said. Rossin refused to speak about misunderstandings he had with Kosovska Mitrovica regional administrator Gerald Galucci regarding last week's UNMIK police and KFOR action in a Mitrovica court. This is an internal UNMIK issue, he said.
Samardzic presented to Rossin on March 16 a proposal for joint implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 by UNMIK and Serbia. He said earlier that the plan was drafted jointly by his ministry and the Foreign Ministry and forms part of the action plan adopted by the Serbian government.
IVANKO: UN TO TAKE POSITION SOON ON MINISTER SAMARDZIC'S PROPOSAL
CAGLAVICA, March 25 (Tanjug) - UNMIK spokesman Alexander Ivanko said on Tuesday that the United Nations were expected to respond soon to the proposed agreement handed over by Minster for Kosovo and Metohija Slobodan Samardzic to UNMIK deputy chief Larry Rosin.
In an interview with Radio Caglavica, Ivanko said that he had insight into the text of the document on a functional division of Serbs and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, relaying the statement by Rosin that certain segments of the accord were not in keeping with UNMIK's mandate in Kosovo.
I do not think that any kind of division in Kosovo is possible because many Serbs live here in enclaves and they have to cooperate with their neighbors, and these are ethnic Albanians. We have to try to develop a multiethnic society in Kosovo, and in a multiethnic society there should be no divisions. We have to talk about how to integrate everyone into one society, and not to divide them, Ivanko said.
He explained that the document sent to UNMIK does not in any way mention the return of Serbian forces to Kosovo, as it was wrongly reported by the media.
SEJDIU, THACI REJECT SAMARDZIC'S PROPOSAL
PRISTINA, March 25 (Beta) - The president and premier of Kosovo, Fatmir Sejdiu and Hashim Thaci, on March 25 rejected any possibility of partitioning Kosovo. Commenting on a proposal by Serbian Minister for Kosovo and Metohija Slobodan Samardzic, they said that this or any other document proposing division was unacceptable to the state of Kosovo.
Sejdiu said they had not discussed the proposal with UNMIK, as it had not been sent to Kosovan institutions, only to UNMIK. If anyone at any time proposes division, we will have no other response. We treat Kosovo as an integral territory. There are difficulties in the north which have existed before, but we will demand from UNMIK, EULEX and NATO to maintain security, which is in the interest of the region, Sejdiu said. He added that Kosovan institutions would be good partners, cooperating in making Kosovo functional, in its entirety and all its parts.
Thaci was even more explicit. Various plans and ideas, bad and even worse for Kosovo, may be dreamt up in Belgrade, but they are unacceptable to the institutions of the state of Kosovo. Kosovo has its legitimate institutions with full authority over its entire territory. It also cooperates with international institutions and NATO. That is why Belgrade's proposals for Kosovo are unacceptable and cannot be implemented, Thaci said. He told Kosovo media not to place much stock in such plans and reiterated that Kosovo was the safest and most protected state, with a unified and indivisible territory.
Samardzic has stated that an agreement had been proposed to UNMIK on “creating an atmosphere of functionally separating Serbs and Kosovo Albanians in Kosovo."UNMIK said the plan had been forwarded to the U.N. headquarters in New York, but first deputy head of UNMIK Larry Rossin told the BBC that UNMIK considered the partitioning of Kosovo on any basis unacceptable.
IVANKO: UNMIK READY TO HELP RUSSIA SEND AID TO KOSOVO
MOSCOW, March 25 (Tanjug) - UNMIK spokesman Alexander Ivanko expressed the readiness of the UN Mission to help Russia in its announced sending of humanitarian aid to Serbian enclaves in Kosovo and Metohija.
Ivanko told Russian news agency Interfax they were ready to help Russia on the issue. The UNMIK representative however added that the UN Mission had not received yet any official demand from Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at consultations on Monday with the cabinet of ministers, instructed the government to look into the sending of humanitarian aid to the population in Serbian enclaves.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov said that in Moscow was being worked out a route for aid deliveries and the future beneficiaries of humanitarian aid.
TACI: RUSSIA'S AID FOR SERBS TO GO VIA KOSOVO GOVERNMENT
PRISTINA, March 26 (Tanjug) - Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo Hasim Taci has said he opposed Russia's sending its aid to Kosovo Serbs without a corresponding coordination with Kosovo institutions.
According to the Pristina Albanian-language daily Zeri, Taci called on Russia to discuss the issue with Pristina if it wanted the aid to reach the ones it was aimed for.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would soon send humanitarian aid to Kosovo Serbs.
According to out-going Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Alexander Alexeyev, talks are under way with the Serbian government on defining the list of required goods.
UNMIK spokesperson Aleander Ivanko expressed readiness of the UN Mission to assist Russia in sending the announced humanitarian aid to the Serb enclaves in Kosovo and Metohija.
AMBASSADOR: RECOGNITION OF KOSOVO DEPENDS ON INTERESTS
SARAJEVO, March 25 (Beta) - Macedonian Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Mihajlo Trpkoski said on March25, in Banjaluka, that Skopje would decide whether or not to recognize Kosovo in accordance with national and state interests.
"At this time we cannot answer if we will recognize Kosovo or not, it will simply be considered as an issue of national or state interests,"Trpkoski told the press. In Banjaluka, Trpkoski met with Republika Srpska President Rajko Kuzmanovic, Premier Milorad Dodik and Parliament Speaker Igor Radojicic.
GOVERNMENT NOT TO RECOGNISE KOSOVO FOR TIME BEING, TOPOLANEK
PRAGUE, March 25 (Tanjug) - Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has postponed the date for the recognition of Kosovo and Metohija's independence until further notice, as the proposal that Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg was to lay out to the government as early as next week, ahead of the NATO summit, does not enjoy the support of all the ministers and it would not be approved.
We will not discuss next week the independence of Kosovo. Should the government take a vote now on the subject, the proposal would not get sufficient support, Topolanek told reporters.
Discussions about the recognition of the independence of the southern Serbian province were out off by Opulence until further notice, so that foreign political and economic analyses of such a move could be conducted.
According to the Czech daily Dnes, the decision relating to Kosovo could be influenced also by the position of President Vaclav Klaus, who from the very outset was against the recognition of the independence of the southern Serbian province.
Topolanek, leader of the Party of Civic Democrats that was founded by Klaus, earlier made statements that his country would recognise the independence of the southern Serbian province, once it obtains confirmation that in Kosovo are guaranteed, among other things, also the rights of minorities.
Czech Christian Democrats, one of the parties in the ruling coalition, also said on Tuesday that they had a problem with the issue of recognition of the independence of Kosovo and requested from the prime minister a special meeting of the coalition devoted to the topic.
Besides President Klaus, the independence of Kosovo is also strongly opposed by the opposition parties - the Communists and the Social Democrats.
CHRISTOFIAS: CYPRUS DOES NOT RECOGNISE KOSOVO'S INDEPENDENCE
MOSCOW/NICOSIA, March 26 (Tanjug) - Cyprus does not recognise the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo and Metohija, Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias said on Wednesday.
The one thing that Kosovo and Cyrus have in common, as far as the situation in these regions is concerned, is that in both cases, the basic principles of international law and legality, as well as the decisions of the UN, are constantly being violated, the Cypriot president said in an interview for the Ellada magazine, which is published in Russia.
He underlined that the territorial wholeness, sovereignty and independence of both Serbia and the Republic of Cyprus were being violated in the most brutal manner. According to him, Cyprus, as a state whose territorial integrity and sovereignty were being violated for 34 years now, could not recognise the results of separatist actions that were aimed against Serbia and its territorial wholeness.
HEGARTY: ARMS DELIVERY MAY, DOES NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN
GRACANICA, March 25 (Tanjug) - Commander of KFOR's Multinational Task Force Centre Brigadier General Gerry Hegarty said on Tuesday that the decision of U.S. President George Bush to send arms to Kosovo was political, and added that the shipment may, but also does not have to be realised.
Their declared intention to deliver arms to Kosovo may, but does have to come true. Should something like that happen, we are here to assess the situation, Hegarty told Radio Gracanica. He said he believed that, sooner or later, Kosovo defence forces would be established, that they would be about 2,000-strong and that they will most probably get some kind of weapons. I am not a politician, and these are political decisions, the general said. He added that if the weapons were to come, they would most probably have some kind of legal course, or be supervised, unlike the weapons that are illegally introduced into Kosovo.
Underlining that this was just his assumption, Hegarty said that Kfor, regardless of everything, would hold on to a key link in the chain when it comes to security in Kosovo.
Kfor has its role, I know there are certain problems in terms of freedom of movement, but the problem has to be resolved equally by all communities in Kosovo. The greatest responsibility in terms of freedom of movement lies with Kosovo Albanians, or the Kosovo government that should convince the population that freedom of movement is possible for all, Hegarty said.
SERBIA – ECONOMY
MILOSAVLJEVIC: GOVT DID EVERYTHING TO STABILIZE MARKET
BELGRADE, March 25 (Beta) - The Agriculture Ministry and the Serbian government last year did everything in their power to stabilize the cooking oil market, Serbian Agriculture Minister Slobodan Milosavljevic said on March 25.In November 2007, the government approved the duty free import of15,000 tons of cooking oil, which would have provided citizens with cheaper supplies, but the imports have not been carried out to this day, Milosavljevic told a news conference.
The minister also said that this could mean there is no cheaper oil, because, as he put it, he can see no reason why someone operating in trade would not make a profit on the imports. So far there have been several hints that the imports will be carried out, but growing raw material prices on the global market have made importing nearly impossible to carry out, Milosavljevic said. However, he believes that farmers' plans to increase sunflower fields to 180,000 hectares this year will enable the market's stabilization and balancing out of the price of cooking oil.
MODERNIZATION OF SERBIAN RAILWAYS CONSIDERED
BELGRADE, March 25 (Tanjug) - The general director of the Serbian Railways - Milanko Sarancic, and the president of the US company General Electric (GE) for Italy and South East Europe - Giuseppe Recchi, met in Belgrade on Tuesday to discuss possibilities for the participation of GE in introducing electric power for the running of the Nis - Dimitrovgrad rail line.
Following a meeting in the Serbian government building, Sarancic said that in question is a project involving the development of the electric, signals and telecommunication spheres of the Nis - Dimitrovgrad rail line - the sole that still needs to be powered on Corridor 10. Sarancic said that today's meeting considered the possibility that GE also could play a part in the modernization of the close to 200 kms of railways in central Serbia, as it is necessary to update the rail lines from Kraljevo to Stalac, Lapovo and Raska towards Kosovo.
"We also spoke about the possibility that GE helps in the realization of the second biggest project in Serbia: the Belgrade - Bar rail line, which requires major modernization, the speeding up of the trains and a change of the tunnel profiles," Sarancic underscored.