BELGRADE, July 31, 2006
SERBIA – I C T Y
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
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KOSTUNICA SAYS SERBIA HAS NO DILEMMA - BOTH KOSOVO AND EU
BELGRADE, July 31 (Tanjug) - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has said that Serbia will never agree to give up Kosovo-Metohija for the sake of speedier accession to the European Union.
In an interview published by the daily Danas on Monday, Kostunica said that Belgrade would use all legal means to respond if independence were granted to the province and added that he was confident that the resolution of the future status of Kosovo-Metohija would not be unfavorable for Serbia.
The prime minister said that a part of the international community counted only on one solution - Kosovo's independence and stressed that nobody had faced the condition to give up part of their territory to join the European Union. "This cannot happen to Serbia either," Kostunica said and added that "Serbia has no dilemma - it wants both Kosovo and the European Union."
DRASKOVIC - PARLIAMENT SHOULD DECIDE ON FOREIGN POLICY
BELGRADE, July 31 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic said that he would request the Serbian parliament to vote on the state foreign policy that he pursued at the next session. "If a no confidence vote is adopted, the Serbian Renewal Movement will walk out of the government, since my pro-European policy is also the policy of my party," Draskovic told the Belgrade daily Blic on Monday.
Asked if the prime minister had promised him majority at parliament for his election, Draskovic said he had not requested this. "It is clear that as the Serbian foreign minister I opened the door widely everywhere. The fact that this door was not entered or entered in the wrong way due to interior policy mistakes cannot be blamed on the foreign minister," Draskovic said.
He said that he would not seek Democratic Party support for his election to the office of foreign minister and that he would not apologize to the Socialist Party of Serbia and Serbian Radical Party or anybody else for the fact that he was still alive and that Milosevic could not kill him.
DRASKOVIC CALLS FOR URGENT CEASEFIRE IN MIDDLE EAST
BELGRADE, July 31 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic urged an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East late on Sunday and added that the people in Lebanon were the main victim of the conflict.
The Serbian foreign minister warned that unless conflicts ceased a global cataclysm might occur and that its epicenter would be in the Middle East. "Israel is in too much danger as a state and Jews as a nation," Draskovic said in the Belgrade Pink television's prime-time news broadcast.
MINISTER DRASKOVIC RECEIVES CHRYSANTHOPOULOS
BELGRADE, July 28 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic received on Friday Ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, Organization for Black Sea Economic Cooperation secretary general.
Draskovic and Chrysanthopoulos discussed priority activities in the upcoming period of the organization’s presidency, to be taken over by Serbia in November next year, the Serbian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
SERBIAN-GREEK FRIENDSHIP GROUP TO BE FORMED BY PARLIAMENT
BELGRADE, July 28 (Beta) - Serbian Parliament Speaker Predrag Markovic talked on July 28 with Greek Ambassador to Serbia Hristos Panagopoulos about parliamentary cooperation between the two countries.
As was stated by the parliament speaker's office, Panagopoulos informed Markovic about the former cooperation between the Greek Parliament and the parliament of the state union of Serbia Montenegro, and expressed a willingness to continue to improve that cooperation on the parliament level of the "two independent states, Greece and Serbia."
Markovic informed the ambassador about an initiative by 18 members of the Serbian Parliament to form a Serbian Greek friendship group.
Markovic stressed that, regardless of the summer recesses in the sessions of both parliaments, after official letters from the speakers of both the Serbian and Greek parliaments, cooperation between the friendship groups could begin in August this year.
SERBAN PRESIDENT VISITS CHILDREN'S FRIENDSHIP SCHOOL
MITROVAC NA TARI, Jul 30 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic visited Sunday the children's Friendship School on Mt. Tara, and said that the needs and wishes of children are very important to him and that he cares more for the views of children than for those of adults.
The school is organized for the sixth time from July 21 to August 5 by the Our Serbia humanitarian organization for about 400 children from Serbia and Serb enclaves in Kosovo-Metohija and for children of expatriates. The school program includes workshops in education, entertainment, sports and creative activities.
PROTOCOL SIGNED ON BUILDING BRIDGE, BORDER CROSSING
RACA, July 28 (Tanjug) - Serbian Capital Investments Minister Velimir Ilic and Republic of Srpska Minister of Transport and Communications Nedeljko Cubrilovic signed on Friday a Protocol of intent on the establishment of a joint border crossing and the construction of a bridge at Raca, in the presence of the Serbian and RS premiers.
Prime Ministers of Serbia and RS Vojislav Kostunica and Milorad Dodik assessed, on that occasion, that the building of the bridge and joint border crossing at Raca, near Bijeljina, would speed up traffic, the flow of goods, people and capital. The bridge at the Raca border crossing Raca, whose construction works will start in the autumn, will be called Europe and in will be invested six million euros.
Prime Minister Kostunica has announced that in the autumn will be signed a new agreement on special relations of Serbia and RS, in keeping with the Dayton Agreement, emphasizing that Serbia was urging respect for international law and international documents, and he added that all parts of the Dayton Agreement had to be observed.
SERBIA – I C T Y
KOSTUNICA: DELAYS IN OBTAINING INFORMATION FROM ICTY
BELGRADE, July 28 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said on July 28 that the Serbian government had received all the information about Hague indictees with a certain amount of delay.
"Had we known in February what we found out some time later, things would be clearer," said Kostunica at the border crossing in Raca, commenting on a statement by Hague tribunal Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte that the Serbian prime minister "knows exactly" where Mladic was hiding until February 2006. Kostunica said that Serbia had "really good" cooperation with the Hague tribunal but that certain media reports may create the impression that this is not so and added that actual cooperation is most important. He said that an Action Plan that has been harmonized with the Hague tribunal and Brussels and adopted with Carla del Ponte's consent, was completed a few days ago.
"The implementation of the Action Plan, which involved the establishment of an Action Team, has begun. It is important to show our good will because cooperation with the Hague tribunal puts Serbia in a different position, especially when it comes to European integration and negotiations on Kosovo. We will take action in this way," said Kostunica.
The prime minister refused to comment on a statement by Tomislav Nikolic saying that he would use arms to defend Kosovo if it declares independence but said that there is a consensus among political parties in the Serbian Parliament regarding the mandate of the negotiating team for talks on Kosovo's status in Vienna. "We are satisfied with the consensus and the power of the arguments we presented, especially in Vienna. All that the negotiating team is doing will be put before the Serbian Parliament. Our consensus, the power of our arguments and the fact that we will be held responsible by the Serbian Parliament is more important than anything else," said the prime minister.
DULIC-MARKOVIC SAYS MLADIC MUST BE ARRESTED SOON
BELGRADE, July 31 (Tanjug) - Sebrian Deputy Prime Minister Ivana Dulic-Markovic has said she believes that it is evident how much effort Brussels is making to show us that the EU door is open and that our future depends on ourselves and fulfillment of political conditions, primarily the arrest of Ratko Mladic.
"We have to arrest General Mladic as soon as possible. If we really cannot do this, then we should document to our partners what we have done and convince them that we have done everything in our power. Convince them that we are really working and not deceiving them... Not (deceiving) Carla del Ponte, ICTY, or, in particular, ourselves," Dulic-Markovic told the Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti on Monday.
She said that "the resumption of talks on our accession without full cooperation with the ICTY might be possible." "I believe, however, that this is not a good solution, since we would face the same condition in a few months and we would meanwhile relax, like we tend to do," Dulic-Markovic said.
DEL PONTE: THERE IS NOW THE POLITICAL WILL TO ARREST MLADIC
BELGRADE, July 29 (Beta) - The Hague tribunal's chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, has said that with the adoption of the Action Plan in Serbia, there is for the first time the political will to arrest former Bosnian Serb wartime commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic.
"The situation should change now and the government should secure Mladic's apprehension. After the Action Plan, I would like to see the operational plan. And I would like to be a part of this plan!" Del Ponte said in an interview with Vecernje Novosti of July 29.
Saying that the last information on Mladic from Belgrade was the Security and Information Agency report of April 29, Del Ponte stated that according to last year's and this year's reports, the Serbian authorities had not been searching for Mladic in order to arrest him, but in order to make him surrender voluntarily.
Adding that Mladic would never do so, Del Ponte said that during her last visit to Belgrade, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica did not promise to arrest Mladic but that he would "give" him to her.
"I only remember that he firmly held my hand and said that he would give me Mladic and that Mladic will be in the Hague! And of course April was the deadline to do so!" said Del Ponte, adding that Kostunica was probably told that Mladic would surrender and that "he was deceived and surprised, as well."
ACTION PLAN COORDINATED WITH ICTY, EU, US – COORDINATOR
BELGRADE, Jul 30 (Tanjug) - Coordinator of the team for the implementation of the Serbian government's Action Plan for completing cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Rasim Ljajic said Sunday that Belgrade had contacted representatives of ICTY, the European Union and the US in drawing up the plan. Suggestions were received from all three sources and most of them were incorporated in the plan and in its operations part aimed at arresting former Bosnian Serb war commander Ratko Mladic,Ljajic told B92 TV.
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
DRASKOVIC SAYS THERE WILL BE LIVELY ACTIVITIES IN VIENNA
BELGRADE, July 31 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic said late on Sunday that a series of meetings on technical issues in connection with the future status of Kosovo-Metohija had been scheduled in Vienna in August and added that unless they ended by the end of the month, the status negotiations might not be held at all.
"UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari might propose the final solution for the province's status to the Contact Group and UN Security Council," Draskovic told the Belgrade-based Pink television.
He said that there was no compromise regarding the status of Kosovo-Metohija because two stands had clashed - Serbia's stand, based on the UN Charter and international law, under which another state may not be created in a sovereign state's territory against its will, and the Kosovo Albanian stand, under which independence is the ultimatum. Draskovic said that these two stands might be reconciled if the international community changed its attitude by encouraging Kosovo Albanians to "make a step towards compromise."
NEGOTIATING TEAM CALLS FOR PROPER EVALUATION OF STANCES
BELGRADE, July 28 (Beta) - On July 28, the negotiating team for Kosovo and Metohija said that it was extremely important for international mediators to recognize the Albanian side's "unilateral aspirations and covert threats," voiced during the first round of negotiations on Kosovo's status.
The negotiating team said that it was very important that the international mediators devote special attention to analyzing Belgrade's arguments at the July 24 meeting in Vienna, the Serbian Government Media Office said in a statement.
The members of the negotiating team also reiterated their willingness to continue talks on decentralization, the protection of Serbian monasteries, churches and other cultural and historical monuments, and economic and property issues which have been the topic of negotiations in Vienna for months.
Belgrade plans to present convincing arguments that will reaffirm its will to find a compromise on questions that need to be solved as a prerequisite for the protection of human rights in Kosovo and attaining the basic standards of multiethnicity.
The negotiating team also said it expected international mediators to focus their efforts in upcoming rounds on reaching agreement on questions of vital importance to the survival of the Serb people in Kosovo, the return of displaced persons and generally the free and dignified existence of Serbs in Kosovo.
ITALIAN DEPUTY FM URGES RESPECT OF SERBIA'S INTERESTS
BELGRADE, Jul 29 (Tanjug) - Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Famiano Crucianelli said that Italy wishes to help in resolving the issue of Kosovo-Metohija with full respect for Serbia's interests, without prejudice or imposition of any unilateral solution.
Italy is concerned over the apparently diametrically opposed views regarding Kosovo and therefore wishes to help in resolving the issue of Kosovo-Metohija with full respect for Serbia's interests, without prejudice or imposition of any unilateral solution, he said.
In this, Italy is guided by two principles - firstly that whatever solution is accepted, it must not jeopardize Balkan stability, and secondly, that it must preserve multi-ethnicity in Kosovo, Crucianelli told the Saturday issue of Belgrade daily Politika. Referring to Serbia's integration in the European Union, he said that Italy will request the same conditions that were in effect for other states to apply to Serbia too.
There must be no dual standards. This applies to the entire Western Balkans and this region must not be allowed to remain a "black hole" on the map of Europe. After Romania and Bulgaria, it will be Serbia's turn for EU membership, but when this will happen depends on Serbia, Crucianelli said.
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE CONCERNED ABOUT KOSOVO SITUATION
BELGRADE, July 28 (Beta) - The U.N. Human Rights Committee on July 28 expressed concern over the low level of human rights protection, over the discrimination against minorities throughout Kosovo and Metohija, and over the very small number of minority members returning to the province.
As reported by the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Committee expressed its concern in its conclusions, published on July 28, concerning the implementation of the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights in Kosovo and Metohija.
The U.N. body is also worried about the limited freedom of movement and the inability to access basic rights of minority members, who live in microenclaves, including the right to personal documents, to the use of legal medicines, and to health and educational services.
The Committee expressed particular concern over the fact that the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as ethnically motivated criminal deeds, have not been punished, and it specifically pointed to what happened in March 2004.
In the report, UNMIK is also criticized because it did not investigate the crimes properly and bring the perpetrators before the face of justice, and regret is expressed because there is no full cooperation between UNMIK and the Hague tribunal.
SCHOOK CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL MISSION FOR NORTHERN KOSOVO
PRISTINA, July 31 (Tanjug) - In an interview to the Pristina daily Zeri, deputy UNMIK head Steven Schook urged the drafting of a framework for an international mission, which would be in charge of northern Kosovo.
He said that he would not call this a special UN or EU mission, but a general international mission in northern Kosovo. According to Schook, after some time the international community would transform this mission into local institutions or in another way determined under a decision on the final status of Kosovo.
ICG URGES CREATION OF KOSOVO ARMY
BRUSSELS, PRISTINA, July 28 (Tanjug) - The International Crisis Group (ICG) issued a report on Friday, urging that the Kosovo Protection Corps become an army that would have the key role in the period after the declaration of Kosovo's independence, which this NGO undisguised advocates.
In the report, the ICG, which was headed by Martti Ahtisaari until 2004, said that the international community was just a few months away from a decision which should make Kosovo a state and urged the creation of a Kosovo army with limited capacity and size and oriented at international peacekeeping missions.
According to the ICG, this army would help develop a stable, multiethnic or at least ethnically neutral identity of the new state. The new army would have light weapons, be multiethnic and have between 2,000 and 3,000 people, who would be trained by NATO. This ICG proposal is completely opposite to Belgrade's platform on essential autonomy, under which Kosovo would have full freedom to organize its own life, except defense and foreign policy.