Belgrade, January 27, 2012
JEREMIC: AFRICAN COUNTRIES PRESSURED TO RECOGNISE KOSOVO
ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 26 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic stated on Thursday that African countries which have not recognised Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence are still subject to high pressures to change their stand.
The combination of pressures, blackmails and dirty money induced a part of African countries to change their stand, although they had been refusing to recognize an attempted secession of a part of a sovereign state's territory for a long time, Jeremic stated after several bilateral meetings on the margins of the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa.
In an interview for Tanjug, Jeremic said that only a small number of countries changed their stand on the issue of Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence and that a considerable number of countries in Africa still do not recognise Kosovo.
Immense efforts and high sums of money were invested in Kosovo's secession from Serbia, Jeremic noted and added that this continues to be a matter that bothers many international factors.
We have no other alternative save for using all available funds and resources with a view to remaining politically and diplomatically engaged, together with AU members and other world countries, in order to keep the level of Kosovo's recognition low, Jeremic stated.
He underscored that one important topic discussed with highest representatives of African countries referred to economic cooperation as a field for which, as he said, new possibilities have started opening after the recent ministerial meeting of the NonAligned Movement.
At the moment when the world is going through a crisis and everyone is looking for new markets, Serbian companies can make use of political relations with African countries to realise the potentials, Jeremic stated and recalled that 1.000 tractors would be exported to Ethiopia during 2012.
The Serbian minister conferred with over 15 foreign ministers from Africa and representatives of countries attending the Summit as observers.
Out of 54 AU member states with which Serbia fosters diplomatic relations, 16 countries have recognized Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence, and 38 have not done that. The Serbian foreign minister will also have bilateral meetings in the Ethiopian capital on Friday, when preliminary meetings of African foreign ministers ahead of the 18th AU Summit are due to finish. The topic of the forthcoming AU Summit will be "Boost InterAfrican Trade". Besides the Serbian delegation, which has an observer status in the organization, the AU Summit will be attended by senior officials of a number of European states.
TADIC: NO ROOM FOR INTOLERANCE ON ANY GROUNDS
BELGRADE, Jan, 27 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic said on Friday that Serbia is an open and responsible society, in which there is no room for those who may threaten anyone because of their religious, national, ethnic or any other affiliation.
“We will not accept intolerance, bigotry and hatred which are uncomfortable with these differences. No prejudices which intend to justify them will change our belief that our shared human identity is above all that,” Tadic said on Friday at Staro Sajmiste, where he laid a wreath at the monument to victims of genocide in the Second World War as part of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony.
“We will never accept, and no one may ever accept, that others be threatened and denigrated because they are different from us,“ the Serbian president said. According to him, Serbia is an open and responsible society, which aspires to join the European community of peoples, and therefore those who committed crimes against humanity cannot find shelter in it.
Tadic said that he has always worked to the aim of making the Jewish community in Serbia feel an equal and constituent part of the society. “We are witnesses to certain inclinations and attempts aimed at forgetting the facts and reviewing the history. That must not and cannot happen in Serbia,” Tadic underlined.
The Serbian President said that Serbia will spare no effort to preserve and restore the monuments dedicated to the Holocaust victims, and to mark all the sites of their great suffering in Belgrade and other parts of Serbia.
Expressing gratitude that he has once again been honored to attend the ceremony marking the day which testifies about one of the most tragic events in recent European history, he reminded that between 1939 and 1945, German Nazis "in a beastly endeavor against those who were on the side of liberty and human dignity" killed over six million Jews across Europe.
"Here and in the Jajinci camp, German Nazis and domestic collaborators killed over 7,000 Jews in 1941 and 1942, most of them women and children, in gas chambers, and already in 1942 declared to all that Belgrade had been liberated of Jews," Tadic said. "I call on you to once again count on your fellow citizens and neighbors, who are here with you and whose memory is vivid, and who are trying to preserve the past experiences of dehumanization in order to be able to recognize in the present what will make their human and their future peaceful," Tadic concluded.
TALKS ON SERBIA-ITALY MILITARY COOPERATION
ROME, Jan. 27 (Tanjug) Serbia's and Italy's defense ministers Dragan Sutanovac and Giampaolo Di Paola met in Rome to discuss joint participation of Italian and Serbian forces in EU and UN peacekeeping missions, and joint appearance of the two countries' defense industry in the markets of Africa, Asia and the Far East.
Sutanovac, who is on a working visit to Rome, told Tanjug that Italy is currently in the process of taking over the command of a large peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, where around 1,000 Italian soldiers are deployed. "We discussed the possibility of joint involvement in the mission, where the Serbian army currently has six officers. We also want to take part in EU peacekeeping missions, and in Operation Atalanta (in Somalia) where Italy has its ships," said Sutanovac. He added the two countries have a long history of military cooperation.
"We have now laid new foundations for cooperation, primarily in education and training, both of our cadets and officers, and of special forces," Sutanovac said, adding he and his Italian counterpart also talked cooperation of military institutions and the possibility of marketing joint products in third markets. According to him, the goal is to market joint products of the Military Technical Institute and its Italian partners in large markets such as Africa, Asia, the Far East and South America.
In a statement for Tanjug after the meeting with Sutanovac, Di Paola pointed out the two countries have longstanding special relations which will continue to develop and strengthen. He said educational exchanges of military personnel will continue in the future, and added they discussed the possibility of Serbia taking part in EU or UN operations carried out by Italy.
We are more then open to working together, once the Serbian government decides to take part, said Di Paola. He added Italy strongly supports Serbia's accession to the family of EuroAtlantic institutions.
We are looking forward to it, we strongly believe in this and we will work on it inside the EU and bilaterally, he said. The minister added Italy strongly supports Serbia's European path and hopes candidate status will be granted in March, which is Serbia's key foreign policy and defense goal.
During his visit to Rome, Sutanovac also visited the Joint Command of the Italian Armed Forces, and will finish the visit Friday night at the closing of the Month of Serbian Culture in Rome, which presented Serbia's cultural heritage and art to Italian audiences.
SERBIA, AUSTRIA INK SOCIAL SECURITY DEAL
BELGRADE, Jan. 26 (Beta) - Serbia and Austria on Jan. 26 signed an agreement on social security, which will enable some 300,000 Serbian citizens living in Austria to realize all rights in social and work insurance.
Serbian Labor and Social Policy Minister Rasim Ljajic and Austrian Minister for Social Affairs and Consumer Protection Rudolf Hundstorfer signed the agreement at the Palace of Serbia.
"Some 300,000 Serbian citizens living in Austria, as well as Austrian companies in Serbia, can now realize all pension, invalid and health insurance rights and insurance in case of unemployment and work related injuries," Ljajic said.
Ljajic stressed that Austria was one the biggest investors in Serbia, having invested around three billion Euros in the Serbian economy since the year 2000. He added that Austria had also secured EUR31 million through donations and projects.
Hundstorfer also recalled that his country was among the biggest investors in Serbia. He added that the agreement would put in place a social network for the better security of Serbian citizens and Austrian companies.
OSCE, CoE HEADS OF MISSIONS ON JUDICIAL SITUATION IN SERBIA
BELGRADE, Jan. 26 (Beta) - The heads of missions of the OSCE and Council of Europe (CoE) in Serbia, Dimitrios Kypreos and Antje Rotemund respectively, met with the president of the High Judicial Council Nata Mesarovic to discuss the situation after personnel changes in the council's makeup and the intervention of Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic.
"Mesarovic expressed readiness to resolve the situation, stressing that one judge has already been elected to replace a member who has resigned. We underlined that it was necessary to act swiftly in order to establish the High Judicial Council as soon as possible so that the legitimacy of its decisions would not be questioned," Ambassador Kypreos told BETA on Jan. 26.
Antje told BETA the ombudsman's opinion that the council working with an incomplete makeup was illegitimate "deserves to be reviewed in detail and taken into count along with earlier recommendations by international organizations."
The OSCE and CoE officials stressed that judicial reform was an important precondition for Serbia's EU integration.
MAAS: CONDITIONS FOR CANDIDACY SHOULD BE MET SOON
BELGRADE, Jan. 26 (Tanjug) - German Ambassador to Serbia Wolfram Maas called on Serbia Thursday to fulfill the conditions for the EU candidacy as soon as possible, stressing that there will be no new conditions, and that no major importance should be attached to the announced referendum in northern Kosovo.
The Serbian government stated their position that the referendum has no legal basis, which is why no undeserved importance should be attached to it, even if it is held, Maas stated in an interview for Tanjug.
Referring to Serbia's chances of obtaining the EU candidacy in March, Maas pointed out that candidacy is achievable, but that conditions set at the European Council summit in December should be fulfilled as soon as possible.
As Maas specified, the conditions are the implementation of agreements reached in the dialogue, including the agreement on integrated border management, Serbia's support to the extension of EULEX and KFOR's mandate to the entire Kosovo, and finding of a solution for Pristina's representation in regional forums.
When asked about his assessment of Belgrade's proposal for regional representation of Kosovo, he said that it is crucial that the proposal is acceptable for both sides.
The two sides need to agree, and if an encouragement is necessary, it comes from the EU facilitator Robert Cooper and the EU's authorized structures, he said.
Commenting on the fact that Pristina continues to dismiss all proposals made by Belgrade, Maas said that Germany in the past made it completely clear that it expects a reasonable approach to the dialogue from both sides.
As for Serbian President Boris Tadic's plan for the solution to the situation in Kosovo, Maas said that he is not completely familiar with it, but has rather learned about the four proposed items from the media.
The four items, Maas said, are something that Tadic rightfully insists should be resolved so as to normalize the situation in Kosovo. That is indisputable, and in line with the European values, he added.
However, Maas pointed out that the framework it can be realized in should be considered.
Mass denied that there is an EU enlargement fatigue and that Germany is in favor of suspension of the EU's enlargement process.
SERBIA - K&M – DIALOG
STEFANOVIC: NO AGREEMENT OR DIALOG WITHOUT RESOLUTION 1244
BELGRADE, Jan. 26 (Beta) - Belgrade chief negotiator in the dialog with Pristina, Borislav Stefanovic, on Jan. 26 denied Pristina's claim that in early February an agreement would be reached on Kosovo's regional presentation, which would not mention U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, but would not have the words "Republic" of Kosovo either.
"Neither can we can give up Resolution 1244, nor do we intend to do so," Stefanovic said. He added that "in any case, we do not consider it a big concession if it does not say the Republic of Kosovo, but it should say only what is in the international law and what has been very clearly established by the Resolution," Stefanovic explained.
"It is of course untrue they have already published false information (the Pristina daily Koha Ditore) prepared by the Pristina leadership," Stefanovic said at the Kragujevac Law School, where he spoke to students about diplomacy and the negotiating process.
Stefanovic further said he had handed several proposals to the EU mediator in the dialog, Robert Cooper, for Pristina's presentation at regional gatherings, which all contain Resolution 1244.
Cooper will try to exchange views on a possible dialog continuation with Pristina's chief negotiator Edita Tahiri via a videolink, because a snow storm prevented him from flying to Pristina on Jan. 26, BETA was told at the European Commission.
NATO:KFOR IMPARTIAL, NO WITHDRAWAL FROM KOSOVO
BRUSSELS, Jan. 26 (Tanjug) - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday in Brussels at his monthly press conference that NATO troops had dealt effectively with the unexpected flareup of tensions In Kosovo.
NATO troops maintained a safe and secure environment for all the people in Kosovo. Troops acted firmly, carefully and impartially and in full accordance with their United Nations mandate, he said in his annual report on the events in 2011 and challenges in 2012.
Throughout 2011, the NATOled force in Kosovo KFOR has continued to provide peace and security in Kosovo. Under the mandate provided by UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 10 June 1999, KFOR contributes towards a safe and secure environment in Kosovo and the freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo, irrespective of their ethnicity, he said.
Amid the heightened tensions and clashes in Northern Kosovo, KFOR acted carefully, firmly and impartially, with a view to guaranteeing the people of Kosovo a stable environment, freedom of movement and security, Rasmussen said.
Meanwhile, at the political level, NATO has continued to support the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina under EU auspices, which is the only way out of the crisis. Both parties need to find a sustainable solution to a number of important issues as well as contribute to both the reconciliation and normalization process in the area, he said.
These developments have prompted NATO to adjust its planned calendar. With the Operational Reserve Force deployed in order to strengthen NATO's deterrence posture, the reduction of KFOR has been delayed with the aim to ensure the ability to maintain a safe and secure environment if tensions arise, Rasmussen said. The Alliance will assess the situation at the beginning of 2012 and decide at what stage KFOR forces can be reduced to a lower level, he said.
SERBIA – ECONOMY – FINANCE
CIRIC: GOVERNMENT DETERMINED TO HELP U.S. STEEL
SMEDEREVO, Jan. 26 (Beta) - Serbian Minister for the Economy Nebojsa Ciric stated on Jan. 26 that the Serbian government's firm stand is that a way should be found for helping the company U.S. Steel Serbia to keep working.
"One should leave a deadline for the working group to present concrete proposals," Ciric said, pointing out that any proposal must be approved by the owners and management of U.S. Steel.
He added that the problems of the steel factory in Smederevo were caused by the drop in demand in Europe and in the world, because of which many steel factories have been closed down. Ciric stressed that the Serbian government is in permanent contact with the officials of U.S. Steel and that possible options for helping the company are being considered.
The central office of U.S. Steel in the U.S. announced that it will decide on Jan. 31 about the fate of the steel factory in Serbia, because of its bad business results, caused by the global economic crisis.
Of the two blast furnaces in the Smederevo steel factory, one has been put in the socalled silent running mode and, since Jan. 9, the factory's employees have been working four days a week and are receiving 60 percent of their pay for the fifth day.
U.S. Steel Serbia employs around 5,500 people. It has a share of five percent in Serbia's total production output and accounts for around 14 percent of the country's exports.
TEXTILE FAIR OPENS IN NOVI PAZAR
NOVI PAZAR, Jan. 26 (Beta) - The textile fair "Balkan Textile 2012" opened in Novi Pazar on Jan. 26, in which companies from this town and from Turkey are taking part.
The participants are 39 Turkish companies that produce textile and related materials and 11 companies from Novi Pazar. The fair has been organized by the town and by the Forem association, under the patronage of the Turkish Ministry for the Economy, and will last until Jan. 28.
The general director of the Forem company from Istanbul, Oguz Yalcin, estimated that the fair is a good opportunity for establishing better cooperation between businessmen from Turkey and Serbia.
While opening the fair at the Pendik sports hall, Yalcin recollected that Turkey is among the leading world countries in the production and sale of textiles.
"We know that Novi Pazar is a textiles town, known for the production of clothes. We have been welcomed here warmly, and I believe that all companies will make good business deals," Yalcin said.