Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press service
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DAILY SURVEY 15.05.2018.
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NEW YORK, 14 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on May 14, at the United Nations Security Council's session on the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), called for the format of the Council's sessions on Kosovo to remain the same, as opposed to the demands from the West. Minister Dacic said at the session in New York that Serbia was strongly committed to resolving all issues through dialogue, confident that his country had demonstrated "admirable political maturity and credibility" over the past years. The Serbian foreign minister also accused Pristina of having failed to fulfil its obligations. "Five years ago, I signed the first agreement on the principles governing the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, the so-called Brussels agreement. As I've said, it wasn't at all easy to reach the agreement, and it hasn't been easy for Serbia to fulfil the obligations it undertook by signing it. Yet we've fulfilled nearly all of them, including the most sensitive political aspects, the integration of the police and judiciary, for instance. On the other hand, Pristina, too, accepted its own obligations when it signed the agreement, the most important being to set up the Community of Serb Municipalities, covered by as many as six points of the agreement," Dacic said. The minister noted that Pristina had failed to implement the vital part of the agreement. "Statements by Pristina's representatives, like the latest one that the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities will be made conditional on a seat at the United Nations, only confirmed that Pristina has no honest intentions to honor the Brussels agreement, but to violate it most blatantly instead. It is with regret that I need to note that the head of the EU Office in Pristina has exceeded the limits of her mandate, and expressed support for Pristina's platform, disregarding the agreement the EU, too, has signed," Dacic said. The Serbian foreign minister added that radical ideas had emerged such as closing down UNMIK, altering its mandate, transforming it into a political mission and extending the interval between the Security Council's quarterly sessions. "The situation in Kosovo and Metohija has changed since 1999, but it's far from ideal, and if we have a look at any report by the Secretary General on the work of the UNMIK since 1999, it's clear that Kosovo is not 'a young democracy' or 'a multi-ethnic society' coming across a challenge or two, as some are trying to make it look," Dacic said. The minister said that over the past 19 years UNMIK had done a lot to change the situation in KiM, but the job's not done yet. Dacic noted that it was the duty and obligation of the Security Council to help find a solution for KiM, and support the normalization of the situation in the territory. Dacic also said that in his last report, the U.N. secretary-general offered facts to prove that the situation in KiM was still unstable, and that an international presence was more than necessary. "You probably remember that at the last session we were all deeply shaken by the brutal murder of Oliver Ivanovic, the leader of the Freedom, Democracy and Justice movement and one of the most prominent Serbian politicians in Kosovo and Metohija. Pristina's representatives promised before this esteemed assembly that they 'will leave no stone unturned' to identify and punish the perpetrators. They haven't been identified or processed, while we know very little about the investigation, except that 'no progress has been made,' and that the investigation was taken over by Kosovo's investigative office, 'due to the complexity of the case'," Dacic said. The Serbian foreign minister said that Serbia and the Serbs in KiM were deeply upset at the March 26 events in Kosovska Mitrovica, when an internal dialogue on KiM was "stopped by a barbaric raid by the Kosovo special police, who were armed to the teeth," Dacic said.


NEW YORK, 14 May 2018 (Beta) - U.N. Security Council member countries on May 14 presented different positions on the future of UNMIK in Kosovo. The U.S. said that UNMIK had been slated for completion long ago, Russia maintained that the mission would continue to play an important role in Kosovo, while France said that the fund for the mission's operation should be adjusted to the situation in the field.
During the session, which reviewed the quarterly report on Kosovo to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, U.S. representative Michele Sison said that UNMIK had been ready for shutdown long ago, that the mission had to be reduced and that there should be fewer Security Council sessions on UNMIK. Sison also said that the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo implied the full implementation of the achieved agreements, stressing the formation of a Community of Serb Municipalities and an energy agreement. The Russian representatives said that UNMIK had been created in the Security Council and that this body was the only one to decided on the mission's future, noting that the U.N. would continue to play an important role in the (Serbian) province. "Russia's position remains unchanged: Resolution 1244 of the U.N. Security Council is the foundation for solving the problem, which is possible only through negotiations and in accordance with international law," the Russian diplomat said.
Great Britain's representative said that his country encouraged Belgrade and Pristina to continue progressing toward a solution, which was crucial for prosperity of the entire region, noting that good neighborly ties were crucial for stability.
The French representative said that the normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations was the only path for future generations.
China's representative said that Beijing honored Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and that Resolution 1244 was an important legal basis for resolving the Kosovo issue. He called on both sides to pursue a solution through dialogue, noting that tolerance, reconciliation and peaceful co-existence were in the interest of all the communities and were necessary for Kosovo's progress.


NEW YORK, 14 May 2018 (Beta) - Speaking at a U.N. Security Council session on May 14, UNMIK Chief Zahir Tanin said that the previous period in Kosovo had been marked by a regression of the political discourse, following the arrest of Belgrade's chief negotiator in the dialogue with Pristina, Marko Djuric. Presenting a new quarterly report on Kosovo to UN. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Tanin said that the main objectives for Kosovo's EU prospect remained the strengthening of the rule of law and curbing corruption and organized crime. He also said that Djuric's arrest on March 26 had resulted in the escalation of rhetoric on both sides and the Serb Ticket leaving the Pristina government, which represented a step backward in the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina. Tanin said that the new, extended EU commitment in the Western Balkans represented a unique opportunity to move from a standstill in the Belgrade-Pristina relations, adding that a new level of engagement was required to see concrete progress in the positions of Belgrade and Pristina. "Brussels' new focus at all levels is offering a chance to Belgrade and Pristina to leave behind the current difficult situation and to take the dialogue to the next stage of real progress," he added. Tanin also said that Belgrade and Pristina should pursue the dialogue and normalization of ties and that it was necessary to avoid reinterpretations of the past and instead look to the future. "I call on all leaders to deal with the future and move on," Tanin said. He congratulated Kosovo on the ratification of the demarcation line with Montenegro, saying that it was an important step on the EU path and visa liberalization. He also welcomed the adoption of a new draft law on the Criminal Code of Kosovo, reiterating that it was necessary to strengthen the rule of law and protection of human rights in Kosovo. Tanin also commented on the fruitful talks and commitment in the U.N. Kosovo Trust-building Forum, held in Ljubljana on May 7 and 8. In Ljubljana, leaders of all communities from Kosovo met to discuss ways to build a positive road for the future in six themed areas: media accountability, access to impartial justice, economic growth, access to public services, religious co-existence and education reforms," Tanin said. "Motivated and energy-filled individuals from the entire Kosovo society discussed prospects of building trust through a wide spectrum of positive actions and cooperation," the UNMIK chief said.



BELGRADE, 14 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbia's minister in charge of the country's accession to the European Union (EU), Jadranka Joksimovic, said on May 14 that the value of the European Commission's grants to Serbia should be increased. The minister met with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Director for Serbia Daniel Berg to discuss the bank's support to Serbian small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in raising business standards and productivity, and improving the quality of work, Joksimovic's office released. The goal is to coordinate access to the IPA 2018 and EBRD funds, in order to improve the accessibility of the EBRD's loans for the development of small and medium-sized companies and ensure local economic growth. Minister Joksimovic agreed that it was necessary to develop an efficient model to combine the IPA grants and EBRD loans. Joksimovic and Berg agreed that further cooperation was necessary to boost energy efficiency projects.


BELGRADE, 14 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin visited the Brussels-based European Defense Agency (EDA) on May 14, reiterating that Serbia maintained a neutral military status, which allowed it to work together with its partners in the East and the West alike. The Ministry of Defense reported that Vulin met with the EDA chief executive, Jorge Domecq, to discuss the results of Serbia's cooperation with the agency, as well as the political and security situation in the region. The two officials noted that the agency was a very important partner to Serbia in military medicine, mine clearance and helicopter training, the Ministry went on to say in a press release. "Equally important to Serbia is the EDA's assistance in promoting Serbian products on European markets, especially ammunition. For that reason, the standardization processes that can be developed with the agency are of the greatest importance for Serbia," Vulin said. The Serbian Ministry said that it was the first visit by Serbia's defense minister to the EDA headquarters since the Administrative Contract was signed with the agency in 2013.


BELGRADE, 14 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic said at a May 14 meeting with Japan's new ambassador to Serbia, Junichi Maruyama, that Serbia was interested in his country's designs for an underground line to link Belgrade's airport and the center of the capital. "Our goal is to connect with our neighbors, and strengthen ties with all international partners. I hope that we'll soon sign cooperation agreements with Japanese partners, especially in the areas of air and water transport, and energy efficiency," Mihajlovic was quoted as saying by her office. The minister underlined that Serbia was a politically and economically stable state, successful in running major infrastructure projects. "We are finalizing Corridor X, and are working on Corridor XI, developing railway lines and waterways, investing in Serbia's airports," the minister said, adding that she was pleased that the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was interested in taking part in her ministry's infrastructure projects. Ambassador Maruyama suggested that a JICA delegation should meet with the construction ministry's representatives as soon as possible.


BELGRADE, 14 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbia's deputy prime minister, Mnister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic, met on May 14 with Egypt's ambassador to Serbia, Amr Aljowaily, to discuss opportunities to develop bilateral ties. Minister Mihajlovic said there was room for cooperation, not only in transportation, but also in the construction and infrastructure sectors, bearing in mind the large number of projects Serbia was carrying out, or planned to launch. The Egyptian diplomat said the two states shared a long tradition of good relations, which served as a good basis for "the development of bilateral ties." The ambassador underlined that the number of Serbian tourists visiting Egypt was growing, and that there was a clear need to launch a direct flight to link Belgrade and Cairo, as two relevant locations to link the Balkans and the African continent. The minister and the ambassador also talked about the possibility of exchanging views in the area of water transportation, especially in the context of tourism, also encouraging participation of Egyptian builders in Serbian fairs. As a present, Mihajlovic gave the ambassador a kilim rug, made by women living in Serbia's villages, included in the Etno Mreza network.


BELGRADE, 14 May 2018 (Beta) - The British ambassador to Serbia, Denis Keefe, said on May 14 that the atmosphere at the U.N. Security Council's session on Kosovo didn't always contribute to the normalization of relations and reconciliation between Belgrade and Pristina. In a comment to Beta on the allegations that Great Britain was launching an initiative to change the format of the Council's sessions on the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the ambassador said the matter was discussed in New York, and that we should wait and see what happened at today's session. The British diplomat explained that "it's something the U.N. Security Council keeps talking about, not some new initiative or great conspiracy, as certain tabloids love to invent." "The most important issue has always been if U.N. debates on Serbia and Kosovo can advance the process of normalization and reconciliation. We don't hide that we don't think it's not always the case. We want to see if the debates about Serbia and Kosovo are constructive, whether they contribute to reducing tensions, look into the future and support the process leading to the normalization of relations or not," Keefe explained. When asked about alleged activities by the Quint states to step up the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, the British ambassador said that he didn't want to speculate, but that it's common diplomatic practice to talk with close friends and partners about different ideas as to how to support initatives you want to see work in reality. "One of the things we want to support is progress in the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue, along with full normalization," Keefe said. When asked what his country expected as the outcome of the normalization process, Keefe said that the European Union had set the normalization of relations as a goal, but that it was up to the parties involved, Belgrade and Pristina, to use the talks to find out what that might mean for them, and rely on their international partners in their search for a solution. "It's the process to be conducted by Serbia and Kosovo. Who else can find real solutions to the open issues? The EU brokers the dialogue, and we support it. We hope for opportunities to support the process. We are doing that because, first, it's one of the issues that has to be solved for Serbia to join the EU, but we are also doing it because we feel that without long-term solutions to the remaining difficult bilateral issues in the Balkans, you can't achieve the security, stability and progress that everyone needs," Keefe said.


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