Belgrade, February 07, 2012
CVETKOVIC CONFERS WITH IMF MISSION
BELGRADE, Feb. 06 (Tanjug) - Serbian Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mirko Cvetkovic conferred Monday with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) technical mission headed by Zuzana Murgasova.
The meeting focused on implementation of agreed fiscal policy measures, 2012 budget, macroeconomic framework for 2012, and numerous structural reforms recently carried out by Serbia.
In the days to come these issues will be discussed by the representatives of IMF and the Serbian Finance Ministry, the Government Media Relations Office reported.
Official talks between the IMF and Serbian representatives started Monday morning with a plenary meeting at the National Bank of Serbia (NBS).
The talks aimed at reaching an agreement on the completion of the first review of results of the current standby arrangement began in Belgrade on February 2, and will last until February 9.
The arrangement approved to Serbia on September 29 amounting to EUR 1.1 billion (935.4 special drawing rights), was reached out of precaution, i.e. with no intention of using the funds except if need be.
As part of the current precautionary arrangement, the talks with IMF took place in Belgrade in November, and the decision on completion of the review was first to be made at a meeting of the IMF executive directors on December 23, but was postponed until the two parties' stands on the current fiscal policy converged.
SUTANOVAC, BESIMI: COOPERATION IMPORTANT FOR STABLE REGION
BELGRADE, Feb. 06 (Tanjug) - Defence ministers of Serbia and Macedonia Dragan Sutanovac and Fatmir Besimi, agreed in Belgrade on Monday the two countries' cooperation was extremely important for the stability and progress in the region.
The two agreed that cooperation between the two ministries would help regional stability and stressed the importance of the defence industry, healthcare and education.
"We wish to expand cooperation with Macedonia, especially in terms of the defence industry, where they have achieved development," Sutanovac stated.
This is the first visit from an official of the Macedonian Ministry of Defence in five years, Sutanovac pointed out, adding that there was a high level of agreement when it came to the military.
"Macedonia is important to Serbia regarding defence in the region, military education and healthcare," Sutanovac stated, inviting his Macedonian colleague to attend the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Serbian aviation.
Macedonia is present in peace missions and its experience, together with its shared history with Serbia, could be a good guideline for future cooperation in those missions, Sutanovac remarked.
The two officials underlined that the location of the countries of Southeastern Europe was an inherent security risk, meaning crossborder crime, but they also emphasized that it was not a challenge solely for the military, but a problem for all security agencies.
Besimi insisted that the two countries have no problems concerning military cooperation and underscored that all future issues should be resolved peacefully, through democratic dialogue. The visit is important for further cooperation, which has so far yielded excellent results, Besimi noted. It also signifies stronger cooperation, which we want to improve, particularly when it comes to sending Macedonian soldiers to Serbian military schools, he stated.
VARRICCHIO: ITALY TO SUPPORT GIVING SERBIA CANDIDATE STATUS
BELGRADE, Feb. 06 (Beta) - Italian Ambassador to Serbia Armando Varricchio said in Belgrade, on Feb. 6, that Italy would support the European Council granting Serbia the status of candidate member of the European Union at a forthcoming session.
Italy has long been supporting Serbia in its bid to join the EU and all political forces in the country agree, Varricchio told reporters at a rally at the School of Medicine.
The ambassador went on to say that Italy's support to Serbia on its road to EU membership would be confirmed when Gianfranco Fini, head of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, visits Belgrade on Feb. 8.
Italian media announced that Fini would come to Belgrade on Feb. 8 to communicate to the Serbian authorities "the political message" of Italy's support to Serbia's efforts to join the EU.
KONUZIN WITH ORDER OF SAINT SAVA
BELGRADE, Feb. 06 (Beta) - Patriarch Irinej, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, presented on Feb. 6 in Belgrade the greatest decoration of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Order of Saint Sava, First Class, to Russian Ambassador Alexander Konuzin.
"I see the decoration as affirmation of our joint understanding of the highlevel, comprehensive relations between Russia and Serbia, two sister Orthodox churches and the brotherly peoples of our countries," said Konuzin at the ceremony at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade.
Presenting the decoration, Patriarch Irinej said that he was pleased to present Konuzin, on behalf of the church, with "the highest decoration for everything he has done for the Serbian people and the Serbian church" in the country and abroad. He highlighted the importance of Konuzin's humanitarian activities in Kosovo, where he had, according to Irinej, helped those most in need.
Konuzin said that Russia and Serbia had "reached the highest level of cooperation in many different areas," and said he expected that the bilateral relations between the two countries would "continue to strengthen constantly."
"We are interested in a stable, prosperous, independent Serbia which will enjoy great standing in the world," underscored the Russian ambassador.
The Russian ambassador said that Russia was concerned about "information that Russian language classes are being abolished in schools."
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
STEFANOVIC: WE ARE NOT GIVING UP ON RESOLUTION 1244
BELGRADE, Feb. 06 (Beta) - Belgrade chief negotiator in talks with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic said on Feb. 6 that Serbia was not giving up on references to Resolution 1244 of the U.N. Security Council in Kosovo's representation at regional assemblies.
"There are several options, and each one includes a reference to Resolution 1244, and then we'll see," Stefanovic told BETA.
Stefanovic said Belgrade was continuing its everyday consultations with the international community in the hope that a mutually acceptable solution mentioning Resolution 1244 will be found.
"Pristina is refusing everything, the situation is still, unfortunately, like that, but we are not alone with Pristina in the negotiating process, luckily, because if we were, there would likely never be any agreement," said Stefanovic.
Stefanovic said there were no new details on a date to resume the Belgrade Pristina dialog, and that there may be new information this week.
REFERENDUM IN KIM WILL DAMAGE SERBIA POLITICALLY
BELGRADE, Feb. 07 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister for Kosovo Metohija (KiM) Goran Bogdanovic said that holding a referendum in KiM north might not be a huge economic damage, but would cost Serbia dearly in political terms.
Bogdanovic believes that if held, the referendum can only damage the interests of the citizens both north and south of the Ibar River, especially the latter ones. He stressed that the referendum would also frustrate the interests of the Serbian authorities, who fought for the rights of KiM Serbs.
"Holding a referendum would undermine our credibility and capacity in the talks with the international community. We all know the outcome in advance, since we are all against Kosovo's institutions. Why bother then, unless the purpose is scoring some points in daily politics. Certain individuals want to ingratiate themselves with Belgrade structures ahead of the elections, at the expense of the common people," the online edition of Press, a Belgradebased daily, quoted Bogdanovic as saying.
Press said that the cost of holding the referendums in the four Serb municipalities in northern Kosovo (Kosovska Mitrovica, Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic) on February 1415, would not exceed EUR 500.
The expenses would be paid from the local selfgovernments' budgets, which in themselves are allocations from Belgrade's state coffers.
Representatives of the referendum commissions claim that the commissions' members will waive the money for their service. The entire cost to cover the printing of a total of 40,000 ballots, of which 1,300 will have the content written in the Albanian language, will not exceed RSD 50,000, they add.
Bogdanovic said he doubted the referendum costs would reach no more than EUR 500, stressing that there were already posters and billboards in northern Kosovo calling citizens to come to the referendum, which also cost money. "Money is being spent for no reason, while the citizens struggle to just survive," Bogdanovic observed.
ZBOGAR: FIGHT AGAINST CRIME, NORTH AND VISAS
PRISTINA, Feb. 07 (Tanjug) - European Union's Special Representative (EUSR) in Kosovo Samuel Zbogar said late Monday that key priorities of the EUSR in Kosovo would be fight against crime, restoration of normality in northern Mitrovica and visa liberalization process.
Zbogar stressed that EU would also endeavor to promote the dialog between Belgrade in Pristina, freedom of movement in the Kosovo north, visa liberalization and the stabilization and association negotiations.
Zbogar was introduced as the new EU special envoy and the new head of the EU office in Pristina at a reception organized in that city. Head of EULEX mission Xavier Bout de Marnhac also addressed the gathering. He said that Kosovo had entered the final stage in its relations with the EU and that Pristina should now focus on creating better conditions for the EU to come closer to the citizens of Kosovo.
Our joint task is to build a European Kosovo, Zbogar said.
General de Marnhac said that a major priority for his mission was to establish law and order in northern Kosovo. EULEX assistance to institutions in the process of visa liberalization, in the fight against organized crime and corruption and in establishing law and order in the north are the three key priorities of EULEX, said the head of the mission.
The reception was also attended by Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga, Prime Minister Hasim Taci, representatives of political parties, civil society and diplomats accredited in Pristina.