Daily Survey

Belgrade, February 27, 2012



BRUSSELS, Feb. 27 (Tanjug) - French Foreign Minister Allan Juppe stated in Brussels that the foreign ministers of EU member countries reached an agreement to grant Serbia EU candidate status.The agreement was reached on Monday, and today there were finally no objections, Juppe told reporters during a break at the meeting of foreign ministers, AFP reported.The formal decision will be adopted on Tuesday and it needs to be confirmed during the EU summit which would be held on March 1 and 2.


BELGRADE, Feb. 24 (Tanjug) - Foreign Minister Jeremic stated that Serbia is now just one step away from obtaining the status of a candidate for EU membership, and added that the key agreement was reached, when disagreements between Germany and Serbia were resolved.Kosovo will not be represented as a state in regional organizations. Kosovo is not a state and the agreement reached in Brussels confirms that, Jeremic told TVPrva.He noted that, after all misunderstandings between Germany and Serbia were cleared up, and everyone within the EU supported that, there was no more room for Pristina to resist reaching the agreement with Belgrade.Jeremic also said that he hopes that a positive decision on Serbia's status will be made in Brussels next week.He pointed out that some countries started to show certain reservations in the last moment, giving the example of Romania, whose request related to the position of the Vlach minority in Serbia should be taken seriously.The conditions for acquiring the EU candidate status were clear. They have been fulfilled in a way which is in line with important, basic state interests, the Constitution of Serbia and Resolution 1244, and I believe we have every reason to hope for a positive outcome, Jeremic concluded.


BRUSSELS, Feb. 27 (Tanjug) - EU leaders should reach a final decision on whether Serbia fulfils the criteria to become a candidate for EU membership at a series of meetings this week.President Boris Tadic will also be in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday, where he will have talks with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.The first meeting of the EU leaders will begin this morning, with Europe's foreign ministers getting together for a Foreign Affairs Council meeting.EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said Monday morning, ahead of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting, that the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina on Kosovo's representation in regional forums was a huge success.I kept in contact with President Tadic and Kosovo Prime Minister Taci to see for myself if the agreements are fully honoured, Ashton told journalists. Entering the EU Council building, where EU foreign ministers will hold sessions today and tomorrow, Ashton said that the ministers would discuss Serbia and Kosovo after a debate on the latest developments in Syria.The EU foreign policy chief will submit her report on the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina and the work of the EULEX mission before the Council today.Since issues concerning EU enlargement do not fall into foreign, but rather general affairs, the ministers will only exchange opinions about Serbia and Kosovo, after hearing Ashton's report about the work of EULEX and the recently completed round of the Belgrade-Pristina dialog.Tommorow, the ministers will meet in the same composition as the General Affairs Council and have formal deliberations on Serbia's candidacy on the occasion.Although their decision will be made known officially only at the closing press conference at the end of the day, media expects to get information about it through its sources a few hours earlier.The decision, however, will not come into force before it is confirmed by the EU heads of state and government at an EU summit in Brussels on March 1-2.The decision will be incorporated in the conclusions which will be published at the end of the second day of the session.It is expected that EU ministers and leaders will spend most of the time discussing Europe's debt crisis and the situation in the Middle East, whereas the issues regarding the Balkans, including Serbia, will be in the background. Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic and Minister of Agriculture and Trade Dusan Petrovic will meet with European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday.According to announcements, during his one-day visit, Petrovic will take part in the forum dubbed "Discover Serbia as Investment Destination," which is held under the auspices of the Brussels-based research organization Friends of Europe.


BRUSSELS, Feb. 26 (Tanjug) - Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said Monday that Serbia has fulfilled all the conditions for EU candidate status, but added the ministers will make their recommendation Tuesday.I think Serbia has fulfilled the conditions for candidate status, Bildt told reporters in Brussels on Monday, ahead of a two-day meeting of European affairs ministers of EU member countries.The Swedish FM also said he hopes the agreement which Belgrade and Pristina reached last week will open the door for Kosovo to start a contractual relation with the EU. This is of great importance to Kosovo, Bildt said.


BUDAPEST, Feb. 26 (Tanjug) - The foreign ministers of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia on Friday jointly proposed granting Serbia the EU candidate member status at the EU foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels next Monday.In a letter addressed to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele, the ministers noted that Belgrade has taken all necessary steps on its reform pathway and met its international obligations.The decision by the EU foreign ministers could be confirmed at the EU summit on March 1, the ministers said in statement reported by Hungarian News Agency MTI.


BRUSSELS, Feb. 26 (Tanjug) - Greece wholeheartedly supports Serbia's EU candidacy and advocates its recognition as a candidate for the EU membership, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on Friday.Ahead of the meetings of the EU Foreign Ministers and the European Council on Serbia's EU candidate status in Brussels next week, Greece would like to once again stress its wholehearted support to Serbia's EU candidate status. Furthermore, Greece is satisfied over the growing number of EU member states which agree with this view, reads the statement delivered to Tanjug.Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Stavros Dimas had a number of contacts with his European colleagues and EU officials in order to promote granting Serbia the EU candidate status at the next meeting of the European Council.It is indisputable that Serbia has already carried out important reforms in terms of internal affairs so as to meet the political criteria set by the European Union. Moreover, its constructive cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the development of the dialogue with Pristina show that Serbia is a factor of peace and cooperation in the Balkans, the statement adds.



BRUSSELS, Feb. 24 (Beta) - The delegations from Belgrade and Pristina reached agreement in Brussels on Kosovo's presentation at regional assemblies and integrated management of crossings, Belgrade chief negotiator Stefanovic said. He said Kosovo's name at regional conferences would include a footnote that does not prejudge the status of the territory and that aligns with Resolution 1244 and the opinion of the ICJ on Kosovo's declaration of independence. Pristina's demand that the footnote also refer to that declaration was not accepted, Stefanovic added. He stressed that the agreedupon solution was in accordance with the national and state interests and constitution of Serbia and Resolution 1244. Serbia has fully met all requirements for the status of candidate member of the EU agreement on Pristina's regional presentation, the implementation of the integrated crossing management deal and freedom of movement in Kosovo. It is now up to the member countries, i.e. the Council of Ministers, to make the right decision, Stefanovic said.


BELGRADE, Feb. 24 (Beta) - President Tadic welcomed the agreement reached between negotiators from Belgrade and Pristina, opining that this meant that Kosovo would not attend regional forums as an independent country. "The agreement means that the Both Europe and Kosovo policy I conducted and for which I had support from Serbian citizens has passed this historic test, proving that the approach is the only realistic and resultyielding one. This policy ensures Serbia's European future, preserves our natural interests, but also shows that Serbia is an instrument of stability in South East Europe," Tadic said. Tadic said the supreme national interest was in removing obstacles to Serbia's status of candidate for full membership in the EU, which will open up all new prospects to the country and all its citizens.


BELGRADE, Feb. 24 (Beta) - Foreign Minister Jeremic said the Feb. 23 visit by his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle to Belgrade was key to "clearing up misunderstandings" and achieving the deal between Belgrade and Pristina. "I feel the key understanding and the key agreement were reached [late on Feb. 23] between Germany and Serbia. After all misunderstandings between the German and Serbian state leadership were cleared up, after the understanding was confirmed by all other key actors in the EU, there was no more room for Pristina to continue to resist," Jeremic told Belgrade's Prva TV. Jeremic stressed Kosovo would not be presented as a state at regional assemblies, because "Kosovo is not a state as long as the state of Serbia exists," and added that the deal in Brussels affirmed this too.
The Serbian foreign minister said the country was "one step away from EU candidacy" after this deal.


BELGRADE, Feb. 24 (Tanjug) - The last round of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue in Brussels yielded an agreement of the following content:Arrangements Regarding Regional Representation and Cooperation
1. Both parties confirm their commitment to effective, inclusive and representative regional cooperation.
2. To this effect 'Kosovo*' is the only denomination to be used within the framework of regional cooperation.
3. The footnote to be applied to the asterisk in para 2 above will read"This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence."
4. 'Kosovo*' participates on its own account and speaks for itself at all regional meetings.
5. Where new agreements are to be initialled and/or signed, a representative of 'Kosovo*' will sign under the designation in paras 2 and 3 above.
6. As concerns modifications to existing agreements signed by UNMIK, nothing in these conclusions will be interpreted as prejudicial to UNMIK's legal rights. A representative of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) will bi invited to meetings organised within the framework of arrangements for which it is a signatory. It is for UNMIK to decide whether to attend any particular meeting.
7. Hosts of meetings will be encouraged to avoid the display of national symbols except for their own and those of the EU, taking into account the statutes of relevant organisations.
8. The EU as Facilitator will inform relevant regional organisations and entities of these arrangements for denomination, representation and signiture. They should be reflected in the practical organisation of regional meetings. The EU will monitor the implementation of these arrangements.
9. Both parties and the EU will urge partners to support these arrangements and to assist in their implementation.
10. The regional organisations referred to in these conclusions are existing and future intergovernmental organisations or arrangements whose aim is to promote cooperation or integration in the Balkan region. "Regional meetings" inclides meetings of these organisations and also ad-hoc or informal meetings with similar aims. It also includes meetings with EU institutions in the context of the European agenda.
11. These arrangements are adopted on an interim basis.


BELGRADE, Feb. 24 (Tanjug) - Belgrade negotiating team chief Borislav Stefanovic stated Saturday that Serbia has not recognized Kosovo's independence by reaching the agreement on Pristina's regional representation, adding that in fact the deal has given a new life to the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and a confirmation in the international arena. Stefanovic said at a press conference in the Serbian government that he is satisfied with Friday's round of the talks, reiterating that Resolution 1244 has once again been confirmed thus gaining new strength at the international scene."Opinions coming from Washington and Pristina that the agreement will help wider recognition of Kosovo are not correct," Stefanovic pointed out.He noted that the opinion of the International Court of Justice, which had been requested by Serbia, confirmed that Kosovo's declaration of independence did not constitute a violation of the international law but it did not recognize the ethic Albanians' right to secede.


BRUSSELS, Feb. 24 (Beta) - EU officials on Feb. 24 hailed the BelgradePristina agreement on regional cooperation, reached in the dialog on technical issues. They stressed that the agreement represented "an important step forward" on the two countries' path to Europe. "We hail the Feb. 24 agreements on regional cooperation and integrated border/boundary management. These agreements represent an important step forward," read a joint statement of EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele."The agreements are important not only for Serbia and Kosovo, but also for the region's stability and thereby for the EU as well," the statement added. "One agreement puts into an operating form the integrated border/boundary management agreement, while the other consolidates regional cooperation and ensures that all are represented adequately. Both agreements represent new steps on the EU path," the statement said. Ashton stressed that the agreements on regional cooperation and integrated border/boundary management "are especially welcome" for Serbia considering that the Council of Ministers would be debating Serbia's candidacy next week.


WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (Beta) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Pristina's decision to make an agreement with Belgrade on Kosovo's representation "is very smart and courageous." She added that it would bring Kosovo closer to the EU and increase the number of states recognizing Kosovo's independence. "I am an optimist concerning the progress made by Kosovo and I am happy that this important political decision will bring Kosovo closer to EU integration. I encourage the people of Kosovo to stand behind that decision and support the achieved progress," Clinton told the Voice of America in the Albanian. Commenting on the remark that certain people in Kosovo believe that Pristina's appearance at international conference with a footnote mentioning Resolution 1244 could jeopardize the thus far achievements relating to Kosovo's independence, Clinton said she disagreed. "I actually believe that this will help to increase the number of states that have recognized the Republic of Kosovo as it will remove the excuses that there is no progress in Kosovo-Serbia relations," she explained. Asked whether she was concerned with the fact that five EU member states had not acknowledged Kosovo, Clinton replied positively. She stressed that Washington wished all countries recognized Kosovo, but noted that it would take time.



BELGRADE, Feb. 26 (Tanjug) - Foreign Minister Jeremic said that the policy 'Both EU and Kosovo' is the only path for Serbia to move forward and rejected any notion that the agreement reached in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina represents grand treason.According to him, dropping this policy would leave the country aimless and lead it into unforeseeable dangers."If anybody was afraid the policy is unsustainable, they have little reason to doubt now - this is a sustainable policy and it will continue. This is a policy of continuity. Kosovo and the EU are its foundation," Jeremic said appearing on B92 television. Jeremic vehemently denied the accusations that the agreement from Brussels is grand treason and humiliation."This government would not have stayed together if that were the case, not would I be doing this job," Jeremic said.Asked what concession Serbia made in Brussels, Jeremic explained: "The change is that we agreed to have a name plaque at all in regional meetings, and that this will be used as a model at regional initiatives, as well as international organizations outside the region - UN, OSCE, everything stays the same with UNMIK."He also said there is a great chance Germany will clearly support Serbia's candidacy on Tuesday and added that the only country expressing any reservations right now is Romania, over the position of the Vlach minority.He said Belgrade has been in touch with Bucharest over the weekend to try to resolve the issue.


BELGRADE, Feb. 27 (Tanjug) - Serbian parliament Speaker Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic said that the republic and local elections in the country would be called on March 13."We will call elections in the whole country, but they will not be general local elections because some councilors' terms will not expire in this period," Dejanovic told Radio and television of Serbia. She added that the elections in Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) would be held in cooperation with the international community, as envisaged by Resolution 1244. Dejanovic noted that the elections will be held on April 29 or May 6.She added that MPs would complete the first extraordinary session today and vote on personnel changes in judiciary, and then begin a new session, at which they should ratify a huge number of different agreements and contracts.



BANJA LUKA, Feb. 24 (Tanjug) - Government representatives of both entities of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia stated in Banja Luka that regional states should demonstrate solidarity and readiness to assist each other in emergency situations.The participants of the meeting, aimed at reaching an agreement on coordinated activities in case a fast melting of snow causes floods, stated that the significance of the meeting exceeds the indirect motive for the gathering, adding that the message of the meeting is that regional countries should show solidarity and readiness to assist each other in emergency situations.The officials also expressed satisfaction with the agreement reached between Belgrade and Pristina, and expectation that Serbia will soon be granted the EU candidate status. Prime Minister Cvetkovic told the journalists that the participants concluded that the melting of snow should cause no major problems."It is good that this meeting was held because the conclusions define the need for joint activities and solidarity. That is a positive regional political message, and I am happy to have personally taken part in the sending of this message," Cvetkovic stated after the meeting.As the host of the meeting, Republika Srpska PM Aleksandar Dzombic said that participants agreed competent ministries from regional countries should act in coordination in case the situation gets further aggravated by the end of the winter.According to him, the participants at the meeting backed regional cooperation in emergency situations and agreed to appoint coordinator ministers who would moderate activities in cases of floods and analyse the compatibility of the flood-defence systems.Reflecting on other topics of the talks, Dzombic pointed out that special attention was attached to cooperation on infrastructure projects such as construction of roads, bridges and railway lines.The officials established that economic activities need to be backed especially as regards joint presentation on third markets, Dzombic stated.All meeting participants congratulated Croatia on the successful referendum on EU accession and expressed expectation that the Zagreb government would back its neighbours' efforts in the process of European integration.Expressing gratitude to the colleagues from the region for their kind regards, Croatian Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said that Croatia would continue to support its neighbours in the process of European integration.The meeting was also attended by Montenegrin Prime Minister Igor Luksic, Chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) Council of Ministers Vjekoslav Bevanda and Prime Minister of the BiH Federation Nermin Niksic.


BELGRADE, Feb. 27 (Tanjug) - Prime Minister of Republika Srpska (RS) Aleksandar Dzombic has stated that RS is a permanent entity fighting for justice in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), and added that the cooperation between the governments of RS and Serbia has never been better.He said that all potential changes in the Dayton Agreement are possible only with the full consent of both BiH entities and the three constitutive peoples.Neither entity's initiative for changing the agreement is of importance unless it is accepted by the other entity and all the three constitutive peoples. The efficient work of BiH joint institutions cannot be based on centralization and the transfer of responsibilities from an entity to joint institutions, he told Monday's edition of daily Vecernje novosti.Dzombic announced that the third joint session of the governments of Serbia and RS should be held in several months in RS, pointing out that the mutual cooperation is at the highest level.The two governments have agreed that an institute 'Ivo Andric' be established in Andricgrad, which is being built in Visegrad. Serbia is financing the completion of the school dubbed 'Srbija' in Pale, and the project of purchasing computers for schools in RS, financed by Serbia, has been realized successfully.Dzombic also said that around EUR 1.5 billion was invested into RS from 2005 to 2011, and that Serbia was the biggest investor, with more than EUR 770 million of investments.The data clearly shows how much we rely on Serbia and to what extent the country is important for us as a trade and economic partner, he underlined.The prime minister said that the recent meeting between members of BiH Presidency, Serbian President Boris Tadic and President of Croatia Ivo Josipovic held on Mount Jahorina opened a new phase of regional cooperation.



BELGRADE, Feb. 25 (Tanjug) - Members of Kosovo special police unit ROSU carried out an action in the villages near Gnjilane searching Serb houses and arresting several people, a number of sources said.The Kosovo Police have not still confirmed these allegations.Tanjug was told in the Kosovo Police that they can give no information regarding Saturday morning's action in the Gnjilane region, adding that a public statement will be released during the day.Head of the Kosovo-Pomoravlje District Dragan Nikolic said in a statement that one resident was beaten up during the action, and that four were arrested, while Director of Gracanica Health Care Center Rada Trajkovic said that six Serbs were brutally beaten and then arrested.According to her, ROSU conducted the action in the village of Pasjane near Gnjilane, during which they broke into houses, brutally beat and arrested Serbs."The action was carried out against unarmed people and members of the households who did not put up any resistance while faced with excessive force. Six Serbs were brutally beaten, some of whom suffered severe injuries and were then arrested," Trajkovic said.


BELGRADE, Feb. 25 (Tanjug) - Interior Minister Ivica Dacic confirmed that four members of the Serbian police (MUP) and one more person were arrested near Gnjilane, eastern Kosovo, qualifying it as Pristina's provocation, and announcing reciprocity measures unless the situation is clarified within 48 hours.Dacic told Tanjug that the arrested MUP members are living near Gnjilan but work in Vranje, eastern Serbia, and while speaking about the reciprocity measures he recalled that there are members of the Kosovo Police Service living in Raska, Nis and Vranje, southern Serbia, who were involved in the actions of seizure of administrative crossings."Serbia did not take any repressive measures against them back then. Serbia's police officers do not work in Kosovo, moreover the fact that some people live in Kosovo-Methoja but work in Vranje is not a reason to curtail one's freedom," Dacic said. Dacic recalled that according to Resolution 1244 and the Kumanovo Agreement, the Serbian police was displaced from Kosovo-Metohija, and that for instance the Gnjilane police is now located in Vranje.The same is with the Kosovo Police Service, Dacic said, adding that there are Serbs who are members of the Kosovo police and commuting to work from Raska, Nis and Vranje, adding some of them have even took part in Pristina's attempt of seizure of the administrative crossings in the summer of 2011.Dacic qualified ROSU's action as yet another provocation by the Pristina authorities which may thwart the Brussels agreement."We urge a detailed investigation and the release of the arrested since there is no legal basis to arrest persons for working in police administrations in central Serbia which cover certain municipalities in Kosovo," Dacic said.The minister noted that the Kosovo police stated that the arrested Serbs may be charged with infringement of the constitution of Kosovo."We all have it clear how great a number of persons could be arrested for the violation of the Serbian Constitution, but Serbia will not do that," Dacic said, recalling that Serbia is calling for a probe into the entire case and whether the international missions were familiar with the action.


PRISTINA, Feb. 26 (Tanjug) - Head of the OSCE Mission to Kosovo Ambassador Werner Almhofer has expressed concern over recent security incidents in eastern Kosovo when a number of Serb houses were set on fire.A house belonging to a Kosovo Serb family in Gnjilane town centre was set on fire for the second time in the past seven months, while two houses belonging to Kosovo Serbs in Cernica village were set on fire in January, the OSCE statement reads.All three properties were uninhabited, the statement adds.These cases of arson are cause for concern, Almhofer said.We welcome the public condemnation of the incidents by the municipal authorities and call on the police to conduct thorough investigations into these and all other incidents affecting communities in Kosovo and bring the perpetrators to justice, the OSCE head said.Almhofer also called on the municipal authorities to step up efforts to reach out to communities and address their concern.


GRACANICA, Feb. 26 (Tanjug) - Interior Minister Ivica Dacic stated that the goal of the arrest of Serb police officers in Kosovo was to divert attention of ethnic Albanians from the agreement reached between Pristina and Belgrade in Brussels.Dacic told after a session of the Emergency Situation Headquarters that in the manner Pristina wants to show that Serbia's police is present in Kosovo, although in fact this is not true, recalling that the four arrested policemen are working in Vranje, southern Serbia, where the Gnjilane police administration was relocated in 1999.If Serbia had police in Kosovo, the international community would face much less difficulties, Dacic noted.


GNJILANE, Feb. 27 (Tanjug) - EULEX judge Mariola Pasnik remanded to one month in custody Monday five of the six Serbs from Kosovsko Pomoravlje who were arrested two days ago in an operation of the Kosovo police ROSU in the region of Gnjilane.Lawyer Dejan A. Vasic identified them for Tanjug as Zlatko Denic, Mladen Dimitrijevic, Nikola Trajkovic, Dragan Stojkovic and Goran Matropazovic.They were remanded at the motion of special prosecutor Basri Morina on the suspicion of the following crimes: attack on Kosovo's constitutional order, preventing official persons from performing their duty and unauthorized possession, control and use of weapons.The hearing, which started Sunday and concluded early Monday morning, was held behind closed doors.