Belgrade, March 19, 2012
SERBIA - RUSSIA
JEREMIC MEETS WITH LAVROV, TORSHIN
MOSCOW, March 16 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic met in Moscow with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and Alexander Torshin, deputy chairman of the upper house of the Russian parliament.
Jeremic also spoke with metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, and attended a liturgy at a Moscow church.
Jeremic told a joint news conference after his meeting with Lavrov that there had practically been no changes in relations between Serbia and Russia since Belgrade became a candidate for membership in the EU.
Lavrov and Jeremic said the two countries' positions on Kosovo fully coincided, stating that the issue could only be resolved by upholding international law, U.N. security council resolution 1244 and the dialog between Belgrade and Pristina.
Lavrov said Russia supported Serbia's efforts to investigate cases of human organ trafficking in Kosovo, and that it favored solving this issue in front of the U.N. Security Council.
The two ministers said economic cooperation was on the upswing, that the volume of mutual investments was growing, and that projects were being executed, primarily those related to energy.
JEREMIC AT COMMEMORATION OF KIM POGROM VICTIMS
MOSCOW, March 17 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, who is paying a twoday visit to Russia, attended Saturday the liturgy in the Moscow Church of Saint Peter and Paul's, where a commemoration of the victims of the pogrom that took place in Kosovo on March 17, 2004, was held.
The holy liturgy was served by Vicar Bishop of Moravica Antonije, who recalled the human victims and damaged and destroyed orthodox holy sites, some of which are more than six centuries old and under UNESKO's protection.
The bishop urged believers to pray for all the victims and thanked the Russian Orthodox Church, its clergy and believers for giving spiritual and material support to Kosovo Serbs, and also the Russian government for allocating USD 2 million for the restoration of orthodox churches in Kosovo Metohija (KiM).
Vicar Bishop Antonije also thanked Jeremic and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who signed a protocol on Russia's participation in the painting of Belgrade's Saint Sava Cathedral on Friday. The holy liturgy in the orthodox church built in 1700 was also attended by diplomatic delegation of the Serbian Embassy in Russia and dozens of citizens.
BOGDANOVIC: MARCH POGROM GREATEST SUFFERING OF KOSOVO SERBS
BELGRADE, March 17 (Tanjug) - The March 2004 pogrom represents the greatest suffering of the Serbian people in Kosovo Metohija (KiM) in recent history, and on this day we have to pay respect to the innocent victims of Albanian extremists' organized violence, Serbian Minister of KiM Goran Bogdanovic stated on Saturday.
A devastating and at the same time disturbing fact is that the instigators and organizers of the pogrom have not been not identified yet, Bogdanovic told Tanjug.
Only the individuals who mainly committed minor offences during the eruption of violence have been punished. Those who came up with the pogrom achieved their goal the ethnic cleansing of Serbs in six towns and nine villages, to which none of them has returned, he said.
According to him, the outburst of the March violence led to a series of political developments, while one part of the international community made an observation that the unresolved status was one of the key drivers of the unrest, which was later used as an alibi for the illegal proclamation of Kosovo's independence.
The international presence in the province bears the responsibility for not preventing the March pogrom, but also for not identifying and punishing the organizers and instigators. By not acting, the international community seems to be sending the message to Albanian extremists that any crime against Serbs will go unpunished, Bogdanovic pointed out.
The minister also said that he will keep asking EULEX and all international factors in the province to find the main organizers of the March violence, but also the killers of 14 Serbs in Stari Gacak, children in Gorazdevac, the Stolic family from Obilic and perpetrators of the crime in Livadice and a number of other crimes committed against the Serbs.
PETROVIC: SERBIA HOPES FOR START OF ACCESSION TALKS BY 2013
WASHINGTON, March 17 (Tanjug) - Serbia is a part of Europe and hopes it will start accession talks with the EU by the end of the year, Serbian Ambassador to the U.S. Vladimir Petrovic has said.
He told Foreign Weekly the EU candidate status received at the start of March resulted from hard work on reforms since the democratic changes in 2000, adding that EU membership was Serbia's strategic goal.
Petrovic explained that Serbia's accession into the EU was not a goal in itself, but represented a reform of the society in accordance with European laws and values.
When asked if the EU and eurozone crisis could affect Serbia's choice to join the EU, Petrovic answered that there was awareness about the economic problems in the eurozone , but added that he believed the EU would overcome those problems and continue existing in its current form.
Politically speaking, it is one of the greatest peace projects in history, he remarked. Historic enemies have become close allies through EU membership, Petrovic added. Trouble in the Balkans started in World War One in 1914 and should end when all the countries of the region enter the EU and complete the project, he pointed out.
The talks between Belgrade and Pristina do not mean that Serbia recognizes Kosovo's independence, he stressed, adding that Belgrade was willing to find a peaceful solution, but that it would continue lobbying against Kosovo's independence.
DELEVIC: SERBIA READY FOR TALKS WITH EU
BELGRADE, March 19 (Tanjug) - From the administrative and technical aspect, Serbia is ready to start accession talks with the EU, as it already has a foundation and a mechanism for negotiating teams for the dialogue, Head of the EU Integration Office Milica Delevic has said.
"The structure was formed even before drafting the National Plan for EU Integration (from 2008). It was made in such a way as to fit the chapters that will be negotiated with the EU," Delevic said for the Monday edition of Politika.
"Also, we have developed several levels from those guiding the process at the highest level, to highlevel state officials who represent the second echelon, to the people doing concrete work on certain issues," Delevic explained.
She added that at the highest political level, a coordinating body brings together the prime minister and the ministers whose departments are most involved in EU integration.
The second expert group includes state secretaries, who have been appointed the heads of 33 subgroups the same number as the areas to be negotiated with the EU.
"Around 600 people have been working as part of this structure," said Delevic, adding that the makeup of the new government will undoubtedly affect the composition of the existing teams.
The new Serbian government will likely agree on provisional deadlines for adopting European standards in key areas and outline Belgrade's priorities in the talks with Brussels.
The first items on the table will be chapters 23 and 24, pertaining to the judiciary, human rights, liberties and security.
AMBASSADORS IMPRESSED WITH SANDZAK
NOVA VAROS, March 19 (Tanjug) - Ambassadors from 13 African and Arab countries finished their threeday visit to Sandzak on Sunday with a meeting with local officials and businessmen from Prijepolje, Priboj and Nova Varos.
During their visit to the region located in the south west of Serbia, the ambassadors visited several dairies and slaughterhouses in Tutin and Sjenica, and furniture and footware factories in Novi Pazar.
They said Sandzak has great economic potential and its people are its greatest resource. The diplomats urged local businessmen to appear at international fairs in their countries, saying the doors of their embassies in Serbia are always open to them.
Minister without Portfolio Sulejman Ugljanin met with the ambassadors on Friday, March 16, in Novi Pazar, when he said their visit is of great importance not only for Sandzak but for all of Serbia.
Ugljanin said the members of the diplomatic corps are visiting Sandzak in order to get better acquainted with its culture and take with them beautiful memories.
The minister said that underdeveloped regions are kept away from the peoples' sight and the Office for Sustainable Development of Underdeveloped Areas seeks to draw public attention to them, recalling the main objective is economic development based on knowledge.
The purpose of the ambassadors' visit was gathering information about the developmental and tourism potential in the municipalities of Tutin, Sjenica, Prijepolje, Nova Varos, Priboj and the city of Novi Pazar.
The delegation was made up of the ambassadors of Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Iraq, Congo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia.