Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press service
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DAILY SURVEY 06.08.2018.
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BACKA PALANKA, August 4 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic reiterated on Aug. 4 that there would not be another Storm for Serbs, and that Serbia would always support its people, and never allow anyone to persecute and humiliate them. At a ceremony in Backa Palanka, commemorating the victims of Croatia's Storm war operation and marking Remembrance Day for killed and exiled Serbs, President Vucic said that Serbia was changing, that it refused to stay silent, but was saying openly that crimes against Serbs did happen, and that attempts to annihilate the Serbs had been made as well. "We did not dare say a crime, exile, annihilation or arson, but today we can. On behalf of the Serbian people, Serbia is speaking up today, without a shred of hatred or calls for vengeance, wishing nothing more than the truth and elementary justice. I want to tell you again, and you will know if I am serious enough, that there will not be another Storm for the Serbs only because they are Serbs," Vucic said. The president said that this was the message not only for the Serbs, but for everyone else as well, that Serbia was no longer a refuge for Serbs, but a country supporting its people, not letting anyone to persecute, kill and humiliate them. The ceremony commemorating the Serbian victims in the operation Storm was attended by Serbia's senior officials led by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Republika Srpska's leaders, headed by Zeljka Cvijanovic, representatives of the Army of Serbia, the Serbian Orthodox Church, associations cherishing the traditions of Serbia's liberation wars and many citizens. The Serbian Commissariat for Refugees and Migrations report that more than 200,000 Serbs of Krajina were exiled during the Storm, while over 2,000 people were either killed or went missing.


BELGRADE, 5 August 2018 (Beta) - Serbia's minister, Nenad Popovicstrongly criticized Croatia on Aug. 5, which he described as begin dominated by Nazism and the concept of a master race, and warning that it was impossible to establish genuine trust, peace and stability in the region with Croatia's incumbent leaders. "The way that the Croatian leadership marked the anniversary of the Storm (the war operation) in Knin shows that Nazism keeps eroding Croatia, and that the predominant state ideology there is the 'master race' concept as defined by Adolph Hitler," Popovic said in a press release. The minister without portfolio in charge of innovation and technological development urged Croatia, "provided that it truly wants lasting regional peace as Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic says it does, to allow Serbs to restore the legal framework preceding their exile from Croatia" in the 1995 war operation Storm. "As long as the current Croatian leadership is in power, with its anti-Serbian hysteria and offensive campaign against all things Serbian, we can not talk about genuine trust, peace and stability in the region," the minister went on to say in the press release. Minister Popovic cautioned that the Serbian government "is doing everything possible," to prevent Serbs from returning to Croatia and "intimidating the Serbs living in Croatia with daily efforts to spread hatred and animosities," adding that "it is this very same hatred that came before the Croatian Nazis' attempt to destroy Serbs and Jews," in World War II.


BACKA PALANKA, August 4 2018 (Beta) - Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik said in Backa Palanka, on Aug. 4, that Croatia's military and police operation Storm was a criminal enterprise, and that he was confident that the Serbs would find the strength in this century to unify their states. "It is the duty of this people and this generation of Serbian national and political leadership to devise a national and state policy in this century, and that the Serbian national policy should be a policy of unification, not of divisions," Dodik said at the central commemoration of all Serbian victims. President Dodik said that the hoped Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic would manage to secure a just solution for the Kosovo issue and asked him to use all of his energy to protect the Serbs in Republika Srpska. "We love Serbia. We consider Serbia our own country. We see Republika Srpska and Serbia as a single area - state-wise and politically. We believe we have the right to that. We have the right to express ourselves, and to believe in that," Dodik said.


BELGRADE/JERUSALEM, August 5 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Ambassador to Israel Milutin Stanojevic severely criticized the participation of the Israeli military in a ceremony celebrating the anniversary of the Croatian 1995 combined military and police operation Storm, in Knin, on Aug. 5. Stanojevic told the Times of Israel that Serbia "is deeply disappointed" over the participation of Israeli planes and pilots in the military parade that celebrates the operation, the greatest exodus of the Serb people since the end of World War II." He added that Israel's participation in the festivities was "not a friendly gesture toward Serbia." Three Israeli F-16s flew over Knin together with Croatia's MiG-21s as part of the celebration of the operation. The embassy of Israel said in a press release that Croatia had bought the F-16 aircraft from Israel and that their inclusion in the parade on the 23rd anniversary of Storm was only related to the sales contract. It has no political elements nor any connection to the historical relations between Serbia and Croatia. In this sense, the solid friendship between Israel and Serbia will never be jeopardized in any way, the statement read.



BELGRADE, August 4 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has stated that there is no compromise solution for Kosovo and Metohija and that it was "not even in sight." Vucic told reporters on Aug. 4 that he would discuss the solution if it became possible to attain. In an open letter to Kosovo and Metohija citizens on Aug. 3 Vucic urged the people of Kosovo and Metohija not to allow themselves to be provoked and to respond to any challenges in a peaceful, civilized and dignified manner, adding that Serbia would ensure security and a future in Kosovo and Metohija through political methods. Vucic said peace was Serbia's highest interest and that it was ready to fulfill its commitment to them and protect their lives and peace, if necessary. "While I am at its head, Serbia will not permit organized violence against Serbs and their holy places, or their persecution. There will be no new Storm in Kosovo and Metohija. Peace is the supreme value for Serbia and the Serb people, and we strive to protect it through the tough talks that we have with political representatives of Albanians and the international community," Vucic said. Commenting on the deadline that the European Union named for Pristina to complete the adoption of the Statute of the Community of Serb Municipalities, Vucic said Pristina "again will not lift a finger to form the Community of Serb Municipalities." "Please, do not do anything about this that any among the Albanians, or some of the international community, could use as an excuse to take any action against you," Vucic told Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija.


BELGRADE, August 4 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Aug. 4 that multiple measures and decisions had been adopted at a National Security Council session relating to the Serbian cabinet, members of the Army of Serbia and other security forces in order to step up combat readiness and make sure Serbia is ready for all challenges. He told reporters in Belgrade that Serbia should be capable enough even as a militarily neutral country of ensuring the peace for its children and the future. "We will do everything to preserve peace and stability, almost at any cost, but we will never again permit new Storms. Everyone knows I am not saying empty words, anything that we would not do. My answer to everyone who wants to attack and commit a pogrom against the Serb people is that there will be no new Storms, the Serbian state will not permit them," Vucic said. He rejected claims that Pristina and Belgrade had colluded to cause incidents, and said that over the last ten days various global services had meddled in political and media life, which had led to having to respond to gossip, not to the fact that Pristina has not fulfilled its only obligation -- to form the Community of Serb Municipalities. "Over the last days we have had actions from various power centers that something terrible is brewing, that terrible criminals from Belgrade are preparing something with slightly less terrible criminals in Pristina. Whoever says that must be not only malicious, but deeply sick," Vucic said.


BELGRADE, Augustu 5 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met in Belgrade, on Aug. 5, with representatives of Serbian parliamentary parties and cultural institutions in Montenegro, in order to discuss employment issues and opportunities to improve their position. The Montenegrin delegation shared its concerns about the position of the Serbian community in Montenegro and presented a strategy for Serbia to help them improve it. President Vucic promised that Serbia would always support its people and protect its national identity outside Serbia as well. Vucic added that Serbia would help as much as it could to improve the economic, ethnic and cultural position of Serbs in Montenegro while respecting its neighbor and its laws in the process. A Montenegrin MP, the Democratic People's Party leader, Milan Knezevic, said that on the institutional side, the position of Serbs in Montenegro was the worst in the past 100 years. "The Serbs are portrayed as an anti-state and anti-systemic element. They have been offered sto accept silent assimilation, and give up all their values," Knezevic said to reporters after the meeting with the president. Knezevic, who is also a member of the Democratic Front's presidency, said that a mere two percent of Serbs were employed in the state administration, even though they account for 30 percent of the population. The chair of the New Serbian Democracy's political council, Budimir Aleksic, described the position of the Serbs in Montenegro as equal to the position of Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia during World War II. The True Montenegro leader, Marko Milacic, said that formally speaking the Serbs were not a minority in Montenegro, and that they should never accept that, but that they were not a constituent people either. The meeting was attended by Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, too, who said that Serbia did not want to interfere in Montenegro's internal affairs, but that it was interested in Serb rights in Montenegro.


BRUSSELS, August 3 2018 (Beta) - The office of European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini announced on Aug. 3 that, "as far as we understand, work is still being done" on drafting the Statute of the Community of Serb Municipalities, and noted that Belgrade and Pristina had agreed "clear guidelines and deadlines." The four-month deadline within which Pristina undertook to draft the Statute expired on Aug. 4. The EU is also asking that tensions that could threaten the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina be avoided. "As soon as the managing team (for the Statute) officially notifies the EU how far it has gotten in its work, it will be incorporated at the next high-level meeting in Brussels (between representatives of Belgrade and Pristina)," read a press release issued by Maja Kocijancic, Mogherini's spokesperson. She added that both sides had agreed "clear guidelines and deadlines, including the drafting of the outline statute of the Association/Community within four months since the managing team began operating." "At a time when both sides are fully committed, together with the EU high representative, to establishing a legally binding agreement on comprehensive normalization, the EU expects -- as the two presidents agreed at a meeting on the highest level in Brussels on July 18, that there will be no tension on the ground that might threaten the common goal of normalizing relations," Kocijancic said.


BELGRADE, August 5 2018 (Beta) - U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott said on Aug. 5 that Washington would only weigh in on any agreement between Belgrade and Pristina once it has seen it, adding that he did not expect Donald Trump's administration to make any drastic changes to the stand on Kosovo and Metohija. The interests of the U.S. do not change from president to president. What we have wanted since the Bush administration, via Obama to Trump, is peace and stability in this region, a transformation toward democracy, stronger economic ties, toward integration into the EU. So I don't believe our policy will change, Scott told Radio Belgrade. He said the U.S. believed there could be no stability or progress for the region without normalizing relations and a long-term agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. Scott stressed that war was always a mistake. The decision to bomb in 1999 was made after a decade of bloodshed in the region and it stopped the bloodshed. But that does not mean there were no mistakes. There were innocent civilian victims, Scott said. We regret any civilian victim, he added.



BELGRADE, August 3 2018 (Beta) - The interim institutions in Pristina have lifted a disputed act levying a 30 percent protective customs tariff on the import of seasonal fruit and vegetables, and corn, introduced on July 13, Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic said on Aug. 3. Pristina lifted the protective tariffs on 14 products last week, and the latest decision applies to the remaining seven fruits and vegetables, the Ministry of Trade announced. Ljajic said the turnabout was the result of "pressure and a resolute response by Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro," which "put up a united front against this and any other type of barrier in trade" at a ministerial meeting in Belgrade last week. "The four countries will continue to insist on lifting the remaining customs and extra-customs barriers already imposed by Pristina. Only through the free flow on people, goods and services can a common economic area in the Western Balkans arise, which is absolutely in the interest of all sides in CEFTA, as it would boost the competitiveness of our economies and create room for new investment in the region," Ljajic said. He recalled that Pristina's still had trade barriers for flour and thermo blocks from central Serbia, milk and dairy products from Bosnia and beer from Montenegro.


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