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Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia: daily survey of 19 May 2009

Updated news from Serbia
by Emanuele G. - Wednesday 20 May 2009 - 1816 letture

REPUBLIC OF SERBIA - MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

DAILY SURVEY - Belgrade, 19.05.2009.

CONTENT: SERBIA - NEIGHBORS

- VUJANOVIC: DIFFERENCES ON KOSOVO DON’T HAVE TO BE OBSTACLE

- FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL: VUJANOVIC’S VISIT FOR NEW START

- JEREMIC ON RELATIONS BETWEEN SERBIA, CROATIA

- CROATIAN AMBASSADOR SURPRISED AT JEREMIC’S UNEASE

- STEFANOVIC: SERBIA, BULGARIA TO FOSTER RELATIONS

SERBIA

- JEREMIC: FOREIGN AFFAIRS PRIORITIES HAVE BEEN MAPPED OUT

- STEFANOVIC: BIDEN’S VISIT CONFIRMS SERBIA’S ROLE IN REGION

- CZECH SENATE DELEGATION MEETS WITH SERBIAN MPs

- INTERNATIONAL ASSEMBLY ON RELATIONS BETWEEN SERBIA, EU

- EU SOURCE: SERBIA STILL FACING PROBLEMS FOR VISAFREE TRAVEL

- GREEK AMBASSADOR VISITS VOJVODINA

KOSOVO AND METOHIJA – SITUATION, REACTIONS

- EU MINISTERS HAPPY WITH EULEX INITIAL RESULTS

- GALLACH: EULEX HAS GOOD COOPERATION WITH SERBIA

- SEJDIU: LOCAL ELECTIONS IN AUTUMN

- SPOKESMAN: MORE SERBS RETURNING TO KPS

SERBIA – ECONOMY, FINANCE

- GAZPROM, SRBIJAGAS PLAN TO ESTABLISH BANK IN SERBIA

- SOUTH STREAM THROUGH SERBIA WILL COST EUR700 MILLION

- KONUZIN: GAS PIPELINE IS OF INTEREST TO ALL PARTIES

- A - TEC BID NOT BINDING, NO NEW TENDER

- SERBIA’S MAIN FOREIGN TRADE PARTNERS RUSSIA, GERMANY

- 100 PUNTOS DAILY TO BE MADE IN KRAGUJEVAC AS OF THIS WEEK

SERBIA - NEIGHBORS

VUJANOVIC: DIFFERENCES ON KOSOVO DON’T HAVE TO BE OBSTACLE

BELGRADE, May 18 (Beta) - Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic said on May 18 in Belgrade that the differing viewpoints on Kosovo’s independence did not have to be an obstacle to continued relations between Serbia and Montenegro. After speaking with Serbian President Boris Tadic, Vujanovic said that he hoped that Belgrade and Podgorica would overcome their conceptual differences as far as negotiations on dual citizenship, which is in the interest of both sides, were concerned. Following a meeting in the Palace of Serbia, Tadic said that he expected the process of appointing a new Montenegrin ambassador to Belgrade to be completed very quickly and underlined that the two countries had historical connections which were important to the stability of the entire region. He said that the Kosovo issue remained open and added that Serbia was "not hiding the fact" that Montenegrin recognition of Kosovo’s independence hurt "because it came at a delicate moment when Serbia had opened a debate on the international status of Kosovo in the international justice courts." The Montenegrin president, who began his three-day visit to Serbia on May 18, emphasized that the two countries had reached interstate agreements, or they were in the final stages, in almost all important fields, including defense and security, transport, protection of the environment and culture. He also said that there was good communication and economic links between the two countries and underlined the importance of Serbian investment in Montenegro’s economy. Tadic emphasized that for Belgrade it was not acceptable that Serbian people in Montenegro had the status of a national minority, as that was not the case for Montenegrins in Serbia, but that this would be discussed further. "We also recognize that our citizens from either side of the border travel freely, without any kind of visa, passport...that in the field of education we have exceptional results, in the exchange of students, pupils...[and that] we have great potential and opportunity in the field of scientific research," said Tadic. He added that Serbia had a large interest in investing in the Montenegrin economy, especially with regard to the privatization of the energy sector, in which the Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) was interested. The Montenegrin president will continue his visit to Serbia on May 19 by meeting with Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and other leaders.

FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL: VUJANOVIC’S VISIT FOR NEW START

BELGRADE, May 18 (Beta) - The visit of Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic to Serbia is being used to find "new potential and a new start" in bilateral ties, despite Podgorica’s recognition of Kosovo, Foreign Ministry Political Director Borislav Stefanovic told Belgradebased B92 TV on May 18. "Now the conditions have been created for Montenegro and Serbia to discuss all the things that bring us closer and they are many," Stefanovic said speaking about Vujanovic’s three-day visit to Belgrade. He added that the only outstanding issue is Montenegro’s recognition of Kosovo. Stefanovic said further that the expulsion of the Montenegrin ambassador following the acknowledgment of Kosovo’s independence "was done with the aim of avoiding a deterioration of the ties between the two countries and the two peoples." He added that "it was a good move, because nothing else that links the two countries was jeopardized." Commenting on the announced establishing of full diplomatic ties at the ambassadorial level between Podgorica and Pristina, Stefanovic said it will not be much welcomed in Serbia, adding that Belgrade will "respond adequately."

JEREMIC ON RELATIONS BETWEEN SERBIA, CROATIA

BELGRADE, May 18 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said on May 18 that one of his country’s foreign policy priorities was to improve relations with other states in the region, adding that the relationship with Croatia was encumbered by that country’s genocide lawsuit against Serbia. In response to the remarks Liberal Democratic Party MP Nenad Prokic made in parliament, Jeremic said relations with Croatia had not been damaged by his statement, but encumbered by the fact that Croatia had sued Serbia for genocide. Jeremic said Serbia had not filed a countersuit, but that one was being prepared. "It is a fact that one country is suing us for genocide, it is a fact that one country is threatening our territorial integrity by recognizing Kosovo, it is a fact that there is no symmetry in the ways Serbian capital is treated in Croatia and Croatian capital in Serbia," he stated. Jeremic went on to say that, in his opinion, these matters hampered relations between Serbia and Croatia much more than "one statement I made that ethnic cleansing had been committed in Croatia in 1995, during Operation Storm, which is a truth." He added that his one statement about the ethnic cleansing of Serbs, no matter how painful to anyone who heard it, hurt relations between the two countries much less than the reasons he cited.

CROATIAN AMBASSADOR SURPRISED AT JEREMIC’S UNEASE

BELGRADE, May 18 (Beta) - Croatian Ambassador Zeljko Kupresak said he is surprised at Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic’s unease concerning Croatia’s genocide lawsuit against Serbia. "The lawsuit was filed ten years ago and I am surprised that the apprehension did not exist earlier, but that it has appeared now when the International Court of Justice has proclaimed its jurisdiction over the case. Also, I do not see any reason for apprehension in Croatia should Serbia decide to file a countersuit," Kupresak told Pancevo Radio. He added that the past should be left to the international judicial bodies, which will give their opinion on what happened. "We shall turn to the future, the EU, a better life, and good neighborly relations on a level where we will be building better relations for our children," Kupresak explained.

STEFANOVIC: SERBIA, BULGARIA TO FOSTER RELATIONS

BELGRADE/SOFIA, May 18 (Tanjug) - Bulgarian-Serbian relations are good and will continue to be fostered regardless of who is in power in the two countries, thanks to the closeness above all between the two peoples, Borislav Stefanovic, Chef de Cabinet of Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, said in a BTA interview. Serbia’s relations with Bulgaria are the best in the economic field, and also in the fields of culture and education. "There is a considerable Bulgarian minority in Serbia, it is a bridge between the two countries and has an enormous potential to bring us closer together, he said. Serbian President Boris Tadic was recently in Sofia, where he had positive and successful talks with his Bulgarian hosts. They found they had a big disagreement on the matter of Kosovo’s independence, but also a potential for future successful cooperation in all other fields, he said. Concerning the opening of new border crossings, Serbia is completely open for talks on this matter. "The border crossings should be as little as possible ’border’ and as much as possible ’crossings’, because our ambition is to be EU members together with Bulgaria," he said. "Serbia has fulfilled all conditions set by the European Commission for visa liberalization, and I expect the process to end successfully and as soon as possible," he said.

SERBIA

JEREMIC: FOREIGN AFFAIRS PRIORITIES HAVE BEEN MAPPED OUT

BELGRADE, May 18 (Beta) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said on May 18 that foreign affairs priorities the defense of the constitutional order through diplomatic means, European integration and the improving of regional relations remain mapped out and have not been changed, and that the intensity of the defense of the country’s sovereignty would not be decreased. In a principled debate on amendments to the Law on Foreign Affairs in the Serbian parliament, the minister said that Kosovo was one of the government’s priorities, and that the intensity of defending the integrity and sovereignty of the country would not be decreased. According to him, the pressures on countries to recognize Kosovo are "drastic and daily, and at the highest level." Following objections by the opposition to amendments to the Law on Foreign Affairs, Jeremic said that the priority was the continued professionalization of the diplomatic service. Following criticism of the discretionary right of the minister to employ, which was proposed as an amendment, Jeremic said that there was not a single ministry in the world in which the minister did not have that right, and that it was because of that foreign affairs were a specific branch of the state administration. "Relations with foreign countries are sometimes complicated and demand certain skills and knowledge which can’t be so easily found within the framework of state administration," said Jeremic and added that a lex specialis was not being made, but that this was about the specifics of diplomacy because there had to be a first secretary, a charges d’affaires or an adviser.

STEFANOVIC: BIDEN’S VISIT CONFIRMS SERBIA’S ROLE IN REGION BELGRADE, May 18 (Beta) - Foreign Ministry Political Director Borislav Stefanovic on May 18 said the visit of U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden to Belgrade shows that Serbia is perceived as the flagship of European integrations in the region. "It is a big political win for Serbia to be able to host U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden who is coming with a message of cooperation, because it clearly shows that Serbia has the key position and role in the region and that Serbia is counted on as a country that should lead the entire region on the path of European integrations," Stefanovic said. According to him, Kosovo will most probably not be addressed, but added that should the issue come up, the Serbian officials would reiterate their position. "There is no formal agenda," Stefanovic said, adding that the talks with Biden will tackle "regional cooperation, economic cooperation with the U.S., and cooperation in the security domain."

CZECH SENATE DELEGATION MEETS WITH SERBIAN MPs

BELGRADE, May 18 (Beta) - Jiri Dienstbier, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security of the Czech Senate, told Serbian MPs in Belgrade on May 18, that all parties in the Czech Senate supported Serbia in its bid to join the European Union, the parliament announced on May 18. A delegation from the Czech Senate committee had separate talks with delegations from the Foreign Affairs Committee and European Integration Committee of the Serbian parliament, spearheaded by committee chairmen Dragoljub Micunovic and Laslo Varga. "Dienstbier showed particular interest in the resumption of Serbia’s negotiations with the EU on the Stabilization and Association Agreement and pointed out that all political parties in the Czech parliament supported Serbia on its European journey," the announcement read. The process of ratifying the stabilization deal was blocked by the Netherlands’ demand for full cooperation with the Hague tribunal from Serbia, which is not a substantiated reason, Micunovic said, adding that conditioning the resumption of the process of association with the EU by meeting the remaining obligations to the international court did not take into account the democratic processes in Serbia. "Dienstbier agreed with the assessment of his collocutor and said the EU ’held an entire people in its pocket’ under the pretext of incomplete cooperation with the Hague [tribunal] and that an unequal position toward all people in this region was a blatant violation of international law," the press release read.

INTERNATIONAL ASSEMBLY ON RELATIONS BETWEEN SERBIA, EU

BELGRADE, May 18 (Beta) - Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Alexander Konuzin said on May 18 that Serbian relations with Russia were not the alternative to the country’s relations with the European Union or vice versa, that Russia did not oppose Serbia’s European prospects, but that the country should continue to cultivate its relationship with Russia. Serbia’s relations with the EU and Russia do not cancel each other out. We have nothing against Serbia’s bid to join the EU, Konuzin said at an international conference on relations between Serbia and the EU, held at the Institute of International Politics and Economics. Konuzin stated that it was up to Serbia to set its priorities, one of which was integration into the EU, but that Belgrade had made it clear that maintaining the best of relations with Russia was also a priority. Milica Delevic, director of the Serbian government’s EU Integration Office, said at the conference that entry into the 27nation bloc was Serbia’s strategic goal and assessed that the impact of the economic crisis would not be critical to the process. Marina Jovicevic, assistant foreign minister of Serbia, said the government was committed to European integration and that its position was that Serbia had met the political criteria in cooperation with the Hague tribunal. Thomas Gnocchi, a representative from the European Commission’s delegation in Serbia, stated that, after last year’s election, there was consensus among the political forces on the country’s European integration. Gnocchi added that many reforms had been implemented in Serbia, especially in fulfilling the conditions for visa liberalization. He further stated that the crisis must not be an excuse for slowing down reform and reminded that the European Commission planned to give EUR100 million in direct assistance to the Serbian budget. Gnocchi went on to say that the EU paid much attention to relations with neighbors, that enlargement was "not part of the problem, but part of the solution," and that European integration had proven an efficient response to the economic crisis.

EU SOURCE: SERBIA STILL FACING PROBLEMS FOR VISAFREE TRAVEL

BRUSSELS, May 18 (Beta) - The European Commission has wrapped up a report on the progress of the Western Balkan countries in meeting the conditions for visafree travel to the EU, noting that Serbia is still facing certain difficulties in being placed on the white Schengen list, a source from an EU country told journalists. In the evening of May 18, European Commission officials could not confirm to BETA whether the report has already been submitted to the Czech presidency. The source added that according to the practically finalized report, Macedonia has fulfilled all the criteria for visa liberalization. The report says further that visas could be abolished for Montenegro, while Serbia still has "certain problems," the source added. Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina have not met certain important conditions from the roadmap pertaining to reforms, adoption of laws and other necessary measures, required for visafree travel to the EU.

GREEK AMBASSADOR VISITS VOJVODINA

NOVI SAD, May 18 (Beta) - Greek Ambassador Dimosthenis Stoidis said in Novi Sad on May 18 that Greece strongly encourages Serbia’s European path, adding that Athens is ready to share its experiences in the EU integration process. After meeting Vojvodina Assembly Speaker Sandor Egeresi, Stoidis said he understands Vojvodina’s aspirations to accelerate the European integration process, according to a statement from Egeresi’s office. The ambassador stressed that Greece supports visa liberalization and placing Serbia on the white Schengen list right after Belgrade meets the necessary requirements. Stoidis added that during his visit to Serbia in July, Greek President Karolos Papoulias will also tour Vojvodina and Novi Sad.

KOSOVO AND METOHIJA – SITUATION, REACTIONS

EU MINISTERS HAPPY WITH EULEX INITIAL RESULTS

BRUSSELS, May 18 (Beta) - On May 18, in Brussels, European Union foreign ministers voiced satisfaction with the "initial results" of the EULEX mission in helping Kosovo’s authorities to strengthen the rule of law and in its contribution to the safety of all inhabitants, regardless of ethnicity. A press release from the EU ministers’ session pointed out that EULEX would play an important role in creating stability in the region, in accordance with the region’s European prospects. The ministers also praised EULEX’s efforts to ensure successful deployment of all its parts throughout Kosovo. EU High Representative Javier Solana confirmed at a news conference after the session that he had discussed the situation in Kosovo with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

GALLACH: EULEX HAS GOOD COOPERATION WITH SERBIA

BRUSSELS, May 19 (Tanjug) - Spokesperson for EU High Representative Javier Solana, Cristina Gallach, stated Tuesday that EULEX has good cooperation with Serbia and that information exchange and consultations have already given good results. We cooperate well with Serbia. We have opened a headquarters in Belgrade so as to improve our communication and information exchange that are aimed at the continuation of EULEX operation across Kosovo, not only in one of its parts. That exchange and consultations have already given positive results, Gallach told the Cologne-based radio Deutsche Welle. Gallach mentioned that there are certain problems in the field, but that EULEX is explicit that violence is unacceptable. If there have been conflicts, they have been localized, and I may say that the situation concerning safety in Kosovo is satisfactory and that EULEX is doing a good job there, Gallach said.

SEJDIU: LOCAL ELECTIONS IN AUTUMN

PRISTINA, May 18 (Beta) - Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu said on May 18 that there was a consensus among political parties to hold local elections in Kosovo in the autumn. After consultations with political party representatives in Kosovo, Sejdiu said that everyone had agreed that the elections should be held in autumn, but that the exact date had not yet been confirmed. Sejdiu announced that he would hold separate meetings very soon with party representatives and then he would propose an exact date on which to hold the local elections.

SPOKESMAN: MORE SERBS RETURNING TO KPS

PRISTINA, May 18 (Tanjug) - Forty three Serb police officers have reintegrated the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) so far, KPS spokesman Arber Beka told Tanjug Monday. Seven Serbs reintegrated KPS today, putting their total number to 43, he said. KPS expects more Serb police officers to return the next few days, he said, adding that over 250 suspended officers have this possibility. After Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008, Serb police officers demanded to be placed under UNMIK’s chain of command. About 300 of them who wished to leave KPS were on paid suspension until May 15, when they were given a deadline of July 1 for their return or be fired.

SERBIA – ECONOMY, FINANCE

GAZPROM, SRBIJAGAS PLAN TO ESTABLISH BANK IN SERBIA

BELGRADE, May 18 (Beta) - Russia’s Gazprom and Srbijagas are planning to establish a joint bank in Serbia, stated Srbijagas CEO Dusan Bajatovic on May 18. "The founding of a joint bank would make the financing of joint operations in Serbia much more easy," Bajatovic said at a press conference. Bajatovic was unable to go into detail about the plans for founding a bank in Serbia. Gazprom owns Gazprombank, which previously announced its entry onto the Serbian market, and Milos Bugarin, the president of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, said during a visit to Moscow on March 5 that Gazprom had announced that it would establish a Gazprombank in Serbia.

SOUTH STREAM THROUGH SERBIA WILL COST EUR700 MILLION

BELGRADE, May 18 (Beta) - The cost of constructing the South Stream gas pipeline through Serbia will be at least EUR700 million, Srbijagas CEO Dusan Bajatovic announced on May 18. The work will be financed by loans which will be taken out jointly by Srbijagas and Gazprom, Bajatovic said at a press conference, adding that the loans would be repaid from the joint company’s profits. The South Stream gas pipeline will enter Serbia near Zajecar, and the main hub should be located near the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica, said Bajatovic. He said that the gas pipeline will have two routes, one of which will go from Paracin toward the south and which will supply gas to, among others, Macedonia and Sarajevo. The second route will go toward the north and will supply Republika Srpska, added Bajatovic. The gas pipeline passing through Serbia will be 450 kilometers long and its capacity will be at least 20 billion cubic meters annually, he said.

KONUZIN: GAS PIPELINE IS OF INTEREST TO ALL PARTIES

BELGRADE, May 18 (Tanjug) - Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin said Monday that the gas pipeline project South Stream is of interest to Russia and to all other counties via which the gas pipeline will stretch and added that a feasibility study on the pipeline construction will be completed by the middle of 2009. I am satisfied with the signing of the agreement and we have been entirely dedicated to the project since its beginning and I am absolutely positive that Russia will fulfill all its obligations, Konuzin said during a break in the international conference "Serbia and EU" held in Belgrade. Konuzin underscored that Russia has enough funds to realize the construction of the pipeline and added that the whole project is in common interest of Russia and other counties that participate in it.

A - TEC BID NOT BINDING, NO NEW TENDER

BELGRADE, May 18 (Tanjug) - A committee for the election of a strategic partner for the Mining and Smelting Basin Bor (RTB Bor) on Monday concluded that the document submitted by the A - Tec Industries AG company does not represent a binding bid for strategic partnership and that its form and contents fail to meet the criteria and requirements of the public invitation and instruction for bidders. A - Tec’s document is only a letter of intent and, since its form and contents fail to meet the criteria and requirements of the public invitation and instruction for bidders, the committee has declared it incomplete and as such not subject to further consideration, the Serbian Economy Ministry announced. Since in question is a company that has both regional and national importance, the Serbian government will continue supporting RTB Bor and a new tender will be called only after the metals market recovers and the price of copper is higher, a statement said.

SERBIA’S MAIN FOREIGN TRADE PARTNERS RUSSIA, GERMANY

BELGRADE, May 18 (Tanjug) - Serbia’s main foreign trade partners in the first quarter of 2009 were Germany in exports(194.5 million dollars) and the Russian Federation in imports (561.4 million dollars), the Republican Statistics Institute has announced. Next on the list of Serbia’s export partners are Bosnia - Herzegovina - BiH (188.4 million dollars) and Italy (179.1 million dollars), while on the list of import partners, Russia is followed by Germany (398.3 million dollars) and Italy (320.6 million dollars). Foreign trade was the most extensive with EU countries - more than one half of the overall trade, while a surplus was realized with BiH, Montenegro and Macedonia. The biggest deficit appears in trade with the Russian Federation due to the import of energy, primarily oil and gas, as well as the insufficient use of the Bilateral Free Trade Agreement by Serbian exporters.

100 PUNTOS DAILY TO BE MADE IN KRAGUJEVAC AS OF THIS WEEK

KRAGUJEVAC, May 18 (Beta) - By May 22, the production of Puntos in the car factory in Kragujevac should be raised to 100 vehicles a day, or 2,000 a month, Zoran Bogdanovic, the director of Zastava Cars, said on May 18. Since the start of production on March 31, 1,200 Puntos have been assembled and 1,900 car bodies manufactured. According to Bogdanovic, the production of the diesel version of the Punto should begin in the next month and a half and it is planned that by then the modernization and added equipping of the factory for that program will be completed. Over the next month and a half, new equipment will be installed in the Karoserija car body unit, which will enable the manufacture of 100 Puntos a day within only one work shift. Zoran Mihajlovic, the president of the Zastava factory’s independent trade union, told BETA that the union was expecting Fiat’s plans connected to the start of production of the new model in Kragujevac to be finalized soon. "If Fiat doesn’t intend to begin the production of the new model in Kragujevac in the next two years because of the economic crisis, we would suggest that they introduce the production of some other model from the current Fiat program," said Mihajlovic. Under the agreement signed by the Serbian government and Fiat in Turin on Jan. 30 this year, it is envisaged that at least 15,000 cars will be manufactured in Kragujevac during 2009.

For further information:

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia


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