Daily Survey



Belgrade, 26. 05. 2008.

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BELGRADE, May 26 (Tanjug) - Vojislav Kostunica said that right now, Serbia, which was a European country ever since it had first been set up, needed a national government that would primarily take care of the country's national and state interests. "The idea of a national government can be realised if there is an awareness of the moment Serbia is in today. And this, above all, means that Serbia has to create a national government independently, without any pressure or foreign influence, which will primarily take care of Serbia's state and national interests," Kostunica assessed in a statement for Tanjug. He underlined that the new national government should begin negotiations with the EU on an equal footing, since equality in negotiations was something that had characterised the talks with all other countries, which had to be the case with Serbia as well. We need not mention the fact that equality in relations is something what is guaranteed by the very founding acts the EU rests upon, Kostunica said. "And speaking of Europe, such propaganda has been launched as of lately that it seems that only this year people have realised that Serbia is in Europe," the DSS leader noted. "Serbia has been a European country for the past couple of centuries, ever since it was first set up, and so far, there has been no other Serbia but that which is part of Europe in the economic, political, cultural, and in every other respect," Kostunica said. According to him, if we take into consideration the fact that Serbia is on the European continent and that no one has the intention of moving it elsewhere, the "obligation of the new national government is to protect our basic interests and ensure a strong economic development of the country." "This is the real and only reason why the national Serbian government should be set up. In the days to come, we will see whether we have the strength, the will and the political consciousness we need to create a national government and thus protect the basic interests of the country and the people," Kostunica concluded.



BELGRADE, May 26 (Tanjug) - The Hague-based International Court of Justice opened on Monday court proceedings regarding the lawsuit Croatia filed against Serbia for genocide the country allegedly committed in the war 1991-95. The first part of court proceedings was opened at 10 a.m., and it refers to the complaints Serbia has already placed against Croatia for having filed a lawsuit against the country on July 2, 1999. The proceedings will focus solely on the jurisdictions of the court, they will last five days and the verdict is expected in fall. The Serbian legal expert team, headed by Tibor Varadi, will try to prove today that at the time when Croatia filed the lawsuit, Serbia was not a member of the UN or a signator of the Convention on Genocide, and that therefore, the International Court of Justice is not authorised for resolving this dispute.


BELGRADE, May 23 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic and Indian Ambassador to Belgrade Ajay Swarup signed Friday a program on cooperation in science and technology from 2008 to 2010. The agreement will help foster bilateral relations, Jeremic said, noting that the two countries already have close cooperation on all issues, including political ones, India has a firm and clear stand against recognition of Kosovo independence, he said. Serbian Minister of Science Ana Pesikan said that a delegation of her ministry visited India last February and conferred with Minister of Sicence and Technologu Kapil Sibal. Swarup said bilateral cooperation will be productive and mutually useful. The program envisages joint research on IT, agricultural, bio and nano technology, energy efficiency, management of water ressources and other sectors. India and the then Serbia-Montenegro signed an agreement on cooperation in science and technology in 2004.


ATHENS, May 23 (Tanjug) - Helping Serbia remain close to the European Union is the main goal of all EU foreign ministers, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said on Friday after a meeting with her Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn in Athens. Bakoyannis said that the Greek Foreign Ministry welcomed all steps to that end. "The message of the EU is clear. We want Serbia within the EU in the long term, for the good of its people and the entire region. We want to hope that this choice that was confirmed by the Serb people through their vote (at parliamentary elections) will be implemented by a pro-European government," Bakoyannis said. Asselborn said after the meeting with Bakoyannis that he was trying to coordinate a dialogue among European politicians within the Socialist International in order to persuade the Socialist Party of Serbia to make an agreement with the pro-European coalition in Serbia, the ANA news agency reported. Asselborn added that Greece and Bakoyannis, in particular, had made great efforts to promote Europe's rapprochement with Serbia and expressed hope that the EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday would facilitate the formation of a pro-European government in Belgrade.


LAUSANNE, May 23 (Tanjug) - The takeover of the Serbian car factory Zastava will make it possible for the Italian car giant FIAT to increase production, but it will also encourage Serbia's industrial and technological development, Sergio Marchione, Executive Director of the FIAT Group has said. The signing of a memorandum of understanding with Zastava in early May made the basis for cooperation, which will be useful for both sides, Marchione said at the Lausanne University. He mentioned the agreement with Zastava as the latest of more than 30 agreements that FIAT had made since February 2005. A delegation of FIAT economists, lawyers and engineers are at Zastava this week and, as Tanjug was told by Zastava Vehicles Group Managing Director Zoran Radojevic, they are working on the preparation of documents for the signing of an agreement on strategic cooperation with Zastava car and truck producer.



BELGRADE, May 24 (Tanjug) - We will prevent the United Nations from making a decision under which it will transfer its authority in Kosovo-Metohija to Eulex, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said late on Friday. Speaking for the prime-time news broadcast of the Belgrade-based Pink Television, Jeremic said that he was getting ready to go to New York with this goal in the next few days and that no changes should be expected on June 15, when the Constitution of the so-called state of Kosovo is to be promulgated. He added that he was in constant close contact with the UN Secretariat-General. "We are fully engaged on this issue and are working with the UN Security Council and all relevant factors within the UN with the aim of preventing such a thing, because the transfer of UN authority to any other international presence calls for a relevant UN Security Council decision, which will not happen," Jeremic said. "The fact that the so-called Constitution of the so-called state of Kosovo will be promulgated by the so-called parliament of this self-proclaimed state on June 15 has no weight either for us, or for the United Nations and we are working for this being so," the minister stressed. He said that Serbia was carefully coordinating all its steps with Russia and all other major Security Council members and stressed once again that the United Nations would not make the decision to transfer its authority.


KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, May 26 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister for Kosovo-Metohija Slobodan Samardzic said in Kosovska Mitrovica late on Sunday that local municipal assemblies in Kosovo-Metohija would be constituted in line with the Law on Local Governance, within 15 days from the date of release of official local election results. Samardzic said that the Republican Electoral Commission had already given some instructions for the establishment of municipal assemblies in Kosovo following the May 11 elections. The constitution of local councils and administration is very important, because Serbia would implement its functions in the province legally and legitimately through these local bodies of authority, Samardzic said. Samardzic said that the situation in northern Kosovo was "complicated and tense, especially with UNMIK and EU mission, because they cannot find the way to monitor the independence of Kosovo."


PRAGUE, May 24 (Tanjug) - Czech President Vaclav Klaus told the Saturday issue of the MF Dnes newspaper that he was ashamed because of the decision of his country's government to recognise the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo-Metohija. President Klaus demonstrated his disagreement with the government's May 21 decision to recognise the illegal act of the provisional Kosovo Albanian institutions in Serbia's southern province by receiving Serbian Ambassador to Prague Vladimir Veres, after which he said emotionally: "I did not believe that I will have to be ashamed," the Prague daily reported. The government in Belgrade on Friday withdrew Ambassador Veres to consultations, like it was done in the case of all other states that had recognised Kosovo. The Czech president stressed that he had been especially alarmed by the words of Ambassador Veres that Serbs had not taken it personally when Kosovo was recognised by countries such as Finland and the Netherlands, but that they were hurt by the action of the Czech government.


PRISTINA, May 23 (Tanjug) - UNMIK spokesman Alexander Ivanko said Friday that it is not known when and how the UNMIK mission in Kosovo will be reconfigured. Ivanko told Tanjug that all decisions linked to this mission depend on the UN headquarters in New York. Now we are operating within UN Security Council Resolution 1244. We understand that the real situation in the field will change after June 15, when the Kosovo constitution comes into force, but how UNMIK will be reconfigured is currently being discussed and will depend on the New York - based UN seat which will issue instructions about this, Ivanko said. The International Steering Group for Kosovo, which met in Pristina on Thursday, concluded that the Kosovo government would assume the UNMIK powers in administering Kosovo after June when the new constitution comes into force. Asked whether all or only certain powers would be transferred from UNMIK to the Kosovo institutions, Ivanko said that all depends on what kind of instructions will arrive from the UN headquarters in New York.


PRAGUE, May 23 (Tanjug) - UNMIK Chief Joachim Ruecker said Friday that UN Security Council Resolution 1244 remains in force and that the UN mission would have a role even after June 15, when the Kosovo constitution comes into force. In an interview to Radio Free Europe, Ruecker said that there can be no overlapping of international missions and that, as long as UN SC Resolution 1244 remains in force, the UN would have a role to play in Kosovo, which includes the period after June 15. Ruecker underscored that UNMIK would continue acting in accordance with the changing circumstances in the field. The UN mission will have its function in political reporting from the field, from Pristina towards New York and the UN SC. UNMIK will maintain its third pillar - the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), while the economic development section will stop functioning in June, Thus, the new manner of the mission's presence will be more visible, Ruecker set out. He added that it is necessary to resolve the issue of who will divide the competences with EUlex - the EU judicial - police mission. One issue remains unresolved and this are the UN powers in the sphere of the rule of the law and how this will link up with the EUlex mission, Ruecker stated, adding that there can be no overlapping of missions, since this would not be fair towards the taxpayers worldwide. Speaking about the Serb local elections, Ruecker recalled that UNMIK views them as illegal and that their results have no legal basis in Kosovo. He underscored that it is necessary to decide the fate of the local authorities that he appointed in keeping with his powers, since the Serb community boycotted the Kosovo elections. I have to see whether I will extend their mandates, or whether elections will be held.


SOFIA, May 23 (Tanjug) - NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev agreed in Sofia on Friday that it was necessary to preserve the security and stability in the territory of Kosovo and along its borders. The two officials said that KFOR would play the central role in that sense. Speaking about Serbia, Scheffer said that Belgrade had received from the NATO Summit in Bucharest in early April very clear positive signals which should show NATO's interest in the processes in the country.


ATHENS, May 23 (Tanjug) - The Greek government Friday confirmed that Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has conferred with the recently appointed foreign minister Skender Hyseni of the government of Kosovo, whose declaration of independence has not yet been recognized by Athens. "There is no change in the Greek stance on the issue of Kosovo," foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos stressed, while confirming that there had been a brief meeting between Bakoyannis and the Kosovo official on the sidelines of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit in Bulgaria. Asked why the meeting had not been announced, the spokesman replied that "short and informal meetings of this type, lasting only a few minutes, are routinely held on the sidelines of international conferences and are not always announced". During the meeting, Bakoyannis had repeated the known Greek position on the issue of Kosovo, the spokesman added. Koumoutsakos told reporters that the meeting was requested by Hyseni, Greek agency ANA reports. He also pointed out that Athens had never concealed that a new state of affairs had arisen in Kosovo, adding that Greece would make a decision "after examining all aspects and ramifications of the new facts for the security of the region and in the context of wider national interests".


BRUSSELS, May 24 (Tanjug) - The EU mission for Kosovo (Eulex) will not be able to start on June 15 as envisaged, Eulex spokesman Victor Reuter said on Saturday. According to Radio Free Europe, Reuter said that he did not want to discuss dates, weeks or months, because this would be speculation, but that it was well-known that the situation on the ground was not easy. The mission is still being built, people are still arriving in Kosovo, but the mission will not be fully functional on June 15, he added. According to him, there are two reasons for this - an international political framework and technical problems on the ground.


BRUSSELS, May 26 (Tanjug) - EU Council of Ministers President, Slovenian Foreign Minister Rupel, said in Brussels that he expected the Eulex mision to be more or less deployed in Kosovo by the time when the Kosovo Constitution takes effect on June 15. The deployment is going slowly, but surely, Rupel told reporters before the Council session, where the problems of Eulex on the ground and internationally will be discussed. The Constitution of "independent Kosovo" adopted by parliament in Pristina, which received the approval of EU special representative Peter Feith, should take effect on June 15. The refusal of Kosovo Serbs and Belgrade to give legitimity to the Eulex mission and the fact that Moscow blocks any transfer of authority from UNMIK to the EU mission, cause concern in circles in Brussels, which have already informally announced that its full functioning to the period would be postponeed by a period of between a couple of weeks and a couple of months.


SOFIA, May 24 (Tanjug) - KFOR will remain in the province in keeping with its mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1244, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said in Sofia late on Friday. We do not deal with the recognition or non-recognition of states and the recognition or non-recognition of states does not depend on us, Scheffer said, according to the Bulgarian news agency BTA. The provisional Albanian institutions in Serbia's southern province on February 17 unilaterally declared the independence of Kosovo-Metohija, which has been recognised by 21 or the 26 NATO member-states. Addressing a joint news conference with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin, Scheffer said that it was important for the united Nations and European Union to assess the situation after June 15 in the light of redistribution of their authority in Kosovo.


PRISTINA, May 25 (Tanjug) - NATO announced Sunday an increase in its troop presence in Kosovo and Metohija with the first 200 British troops who arrived on May 24. NATO plans to increase its 16,000-strong troop presence in Kosovo by 600 in total, the DPA news agency quoted a NATO spokesman as saying Sunday in Pristina.They are expected to arrive in the Serbian-majority north in the coming days, the same source said.NATO's 16,000-strong troops in Kosovo, known as KFOR, come from 34 different countries. According to the NATO spokesman, the troops are expected to remain for one month and their task will be to help provide security in Kosovo ahead of June 15, when the new constitution of Kosovo is expected to come into force and local institutions assume responsibility for the province, Germany's news agency reported.