Belgrade, January 31, 2012
JEREMIC EXPECTS SUPPORT FOR UN CHAIR CANDIDACY
BELGRAD, Jan. 29 (Tanjug) – Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic stated that he expects Serbia to get the majority support of the world for his candidacy for the chair of the United Nations General Assembly."I expect Serbia to get the majority support of the world," Jeremic stated for Belgrade TV B92.He added that this is Serbia's candidacy rather than his personal candidacy, and that the decision to submit of the bid was made by Serbia's top officials.The head of the Serbian diplomacy explained that this is one of the most prestigious offices in the UN, and that the appointment to such a position would be an affirmation of the country's foreign policy and reputation."The chair will be elected by the majority vote of the UN member states. In the last few years, Serbia has conducted a multidimensional foreign policy, open to the entire world. Its current position in the international community makes the candidacy quite likely," Jeremic said.He added that the relations which certain countries have towards Kosovo and the overall resolution of this issue should not be related to the office of the UN General Assembly chair.Jeremic noted that there are countries in the world which disagree with Serbia's foreign policy, but that there are just a few of those which do not respect it."This is a top office which may be aspired by a country of Serbia's size. This is a matter of reputation in the world. There are reasons for optimism, but we are yet to see the outcome," Jeremic said.
PUSIC: JEREMIC'S RUN AT THE LAST MINUTE
ZAGREB, Jan. 29 (Tanjug) - Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Vesna Pusic stated that Croatia will support Lithuania's candidate for President of the United Nations General Assembly, because Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic ran for the office at the last moment.Vuk Jeremic's candidacy came unexpectedly, and at the last minute, she told Tanjug late Monday commenting on the writings of the Croatian news portal Vecernji list, and added that it is uncertain what the outcome of the elections in Serbia will be like.Pusic confirmed that certain talks about the support to the Lithuanian candidacy were published earlier.Vecernji list, citing unnamed sources from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, reported that the candidacy of Vuk Jeremic was not met with approval in Croatia.Croatia could hardly support Jeremic because it can not be predicted what will be the outcome of the elections, and therefore the policy of the neighboring country, the text reads.
MONTENEGRO SUPPORTS JEREMIC'S CANDIDACY FOR U.N. ASSEMBLY
PODGORICA, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Montenegro supports Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic's candidacy to become the president of the United Nations General Assembly, the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry announced. Zoran Jankovic, the ministry's general director for multilateral affairs and regional cooperation, told Dnevne Novine daily that the candidacy process had already begun, that Montenegro continued to follow the candidate nomination process and that Podgorica's official stance was to support its closest neighbor in international organization nominations. "There is no reason for this not to be the case here too. Especially because it concerns a highranking representative of Serbia," said Jankovic. Jeremic's sole competitor is Lithuania's Ambassador to the U.N. Darija Leinarte who, according to the Croatian media, has Croatia's support.
SERBIA – REGION
JEREMIC: OPPORTUNITY FOR THE STATES TO STRENGTHEN THEIR TIES
BELGRADE, Jan. 29 (Tanjug) – Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said he will, at the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) meeting, put forward a proposal before the regional countries to mark together the 100th anniversary of the Balkan Wars under the slogan "From the Balkan Wars to a Balkan peace," an opportunity for the states to strengthen their ties. An informal summit of foreign ministers of the countries partaking of the regional initiative is taking place in Belgrade today.Jeremic told journalists ahead of the meeting that a joint effort by regional neighbours could turn the anniversary into "yet another opportunity to get closer together and look to a common future, despite the fact that the entire region and the whole continent is faced with really serious problems.""Today, we meet in Belgrade at the moment so difficult for the economy of Europe and the whole world. The economic moment is entailing political consequences, one of which is the enlargement enthusiasm ebbing, at least when it comes to the EU's speedy spread into the Balkans," the Serbian minister said.The new developments only call for a more committed regional cooperation, Jeremic stressed."In the times to come we will turn to one another and there will be an increasing need for a closer engagement within the neighborhood," Jeremic said.Pointing out that Tuesday's meeting is extremely important, he recalled that last year Serbia had presided over practically all current regional organizations in this part of Europe.In 2012, Serbia took over the presidency of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and a decison on the OSCE presidency for 2015 will be formally reached this year as well, the foreign minister said.He announced that the regular SEECP Summit will also be held in Belgrade this year.The SEECP meeting, which will be opened by Jeremic, will be attended by Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Rocen, Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Popovski, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. As announced by the Serbian Foreign Ministery, the meeting will also engage Head of the EU European External Action Service Miroslav Lajcek and Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council Hido Biscevic in topics concerning regional development.Jeremic will hold a number of bilateral talks at the sidelines of the meeting.
PUSIC: CROATIA SUPPORTS REGION ON EU PATH
BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Croatian Foreign and European Minister Vesna Pusic said that it was absolutely in Croatia's interest that Serbia and countries in the region reach EU standards as soon as possible. "It is absolutely in the interest of Croatia that countries in the region achieve EU standards as soon as possible, begin to function according to them and become part of the area in which there is free trade, business and travel," Pusic told Prva TV. According to her, the region cannot be stable if there is no "stable neighborhood." Speaking about the possible withdrawal of the genocide lawsuit, Vesna Pusic reiterated the stance that Serbia and Croatia must find a model for bilaterally resolving open issues.
VAN ROMPUY: CROATIA'S SUCCESS MOMENTUM FOR REFORM IN REGION
BRUSSELS, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Croatia's success, having signed an agreement on European Union membership, will serve as momentum for the remaining Western Balkan countries to make progress in reforms on the path toward the EU, said EU leader Herman Van Rompuy after speaking with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic in Brussels. Van Rompuy underscored that Croatia would continue to "play an important role in encouraging good neighborly relations and regional cooperation in the Western Balkans."
K&M – DIALOGUE
DJUKIC DEJANOVIC: CAREFULLY EXAMINE ALL ASPECTS OF ELECTIONS IN KIM
BELGRADE, Jan. 29 (Tanjug) – Parliament Speaker Slavica Djukic Dejanovic stated on Monday that when adopting a decision on calling local elections in Kosovo-Metohija (KiM), relevant bodies need take into consideration the Serbian Constitution, laws and UNSC Resolution 1244, as well as the situation in the field and the results reached in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue so far.The individuals bearing the greatest responsibility, that is citizens' representatives and political leaders, will certainly have to adopt the decision on the basis of these points, Djukic Dejanovic told Tanjug and added that for the time being, she is not familiar with the nature of the decision.When asked whether the stand of the international community would have the key influence over the decision and whether calling the elections in KiM can affect the decision on Serbia's EU candidate status which is due in March, Djukic Dejanovic replied that although there is no conditioning, these matters are interlinked.The more issues are resolved in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, including the issue of institutions in northern Kosovo and the position of Serbs in enclaves, protection of Serbian heritage and monasteries, the easier it would be for the international community to assess what the country has done in terms of their criteria, the parliament speaker said.According to the laws and the Constitution, KiM is an integral part of Serbia but this is only one aspect when it comes to calling the elections, because the situation in the field is delicate and local elections cannot be realised easily, Djukic Dejanovic said and added that this is why a political estimate and an agreement on calling local elections in Kosovo are very important.In addition to this, according to Resolution 1244, the international mission needs to give its consent for calling local elections. A part of the opposition and Kosovo Serbs are calling on Belgrade to organise elections on all government levels and in the entire territory of KiM.Serbian Minister for Kosovo-Metohija Goran Bogdanovic stated that the government has not discussed the matter of whether the parliamentary elections would be held in the territory of Kosovo as well.
ASSEMBLY OF KOSOVO MUNICIPALITIES BACKS REFERENDUM
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Jan. 30 (Beta) – On Jan. 30, the delegates of the assembly of municipalities of Kosovo and Metohija unanimously backed a referendum in northern Kosovo on recognition for Kosovan institutions, and urged people to "respond to the call to the referendum in full numbers and thus show their loyalty and dedication to the state of Serbia." At a session in Kosovska Mitrovica, the delegates supported a petition by the Old Serbia Citizens' Association of Gracanica, asking President Tadic and Parliament Speaker DjukicDejanovic to organize elections in Kosovo at all levels local, provincial, parliamentary and presidential. "Not scheduling an election in Serbia's southern province would entail further failure to abide by the Constitution of Serbia on the part of the official authorities," warned the delegates, stating that if it were to do this, the government would have effectively renounced Kosovo as an integral part of Serbia. The assembly of municipalities rejected a fourpoint plan by Tadic to resolve the issue of Kosovo, opining that it was no different than the Ahtisaari plan, which introduced an independent Kosovo, and which was dismissed by the U.N. Security Council and the parliament of Serbia.
EU FACILITATOR ROBERT COOPER TO VISIT KOSOVO
PRISTINA, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Robert Cooper, the European Union's mediator in talks on technical issues between Pristina and Belgrade, is to visit Kosovo on Jan. 31, the Kosovo government announced. The office of Pristina head negotiator Edita Tahiri said she would meet with Cooper in the afternoon. The main topic of talks between the two should be how Kosovo is to be presented at regional assemblies and the implementation of deals achieved to date. Tahiri's office announced she and Cooper had spoken via videolink on Jan. 27, when Tahiri asked that Kosovo take part in regional initiatives as an independent and sovereign state. Tahiri reportedly dismissed a proposal from Belgrade that Kosovo's presentation contain a reference to Resolution 1244 of the U.N. Security Council, deeming the document legally and politically obsolete. During the videolink conversation, Tahiri and Cooper also touched on the completion of the technical protocol of the dialog on integrated management of the border, i.e. administrative line crossings.
SERBIA – ECONOMY
SERBIA OWNER OF STEEL MILL IN SMEDEREVO
BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Tanjug) – Prime Minister Cvetkovic signed the agreement on the purchase of the steel mill in Smederevo with the representatives of the U.S. Steel company, by which the Serbian government became the owner of the plant.The agreement was, on the behalf of the company, signed by U.S. Steel Vice President for European Operations David Rintoul.After the agreement was inked, Cvetkovic pointed out that the government has no intention of staying the owner and manager of the steel mill in Smederevo, but will do everything to find a strategic partner and provide future for the plant.The government will put in maximum efforts to maintain the production, find a strategic partner and a way for the plant to start doing business with profit after the crisis, he said.Cvetkovic also said that on the example of the steel mill it has been proved to the full extent how much the world economic crisis is strong and how much it affects Serbia.He pointed out that the government also decided that taking over the mill is a better option than closing it, and added that the measure has a social character, since it preserves work places and takes care of the country's economy.The Serbian government bought back the Smederevo steel mill from the US Steel company for a symbolic price of one US dollar on Friday, with the aim of maintaining production and preserving jobs for over 5,000 employees.
TADIC: WE ARE ALREADY NEGOTIATING SALE OF STEEL PLANT
BOR, Jan. 30 (Beta) – President Boris Tadic said that the Serbian government was already negotiating with strategic partners about taking over the Smederevo Steel Plant. "The future strategic partner must meet two conditions that they have an iron mine and coke which is needed for steel production," Tadic told journalists while touring the Copper Mining and Smelting Complex (RTB) Bor. Tadic underscored that the state was taking over the Smederevo Steel Plant from U.S. Steel not in order to become the owner of the company but rather to ensure that production does not stop and the people who work there are not left jobless. "The state is not for getting involved in production, rather it wants to protect jobs," said Tadic who added that more than 5,500 people, and 100,000 people indirectly, would be left jobless if the steel plant were to close. The Serbian government will sign a contract on the takeover of the Smederevo Steel Plant for USD1 on Jan. 31. The decision to take over the plant was made after U.S. Steel announced that it was considering closing the facility, which has been making losses due to the economic crisis and decreasing exports.
CIRIC: MORE THAN EUR1 BILLION FROM FIAT EXPORTS IN 2013
BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Economy Minister Nebojsa Ciric said on Jan. 30 that Fiat Automobiles Serbia exports in 2013 should come to between EUR1.1 and EUR1.3 billion, and a further EUR1 billion in exports by subcontractors connected to the Fiat factory. At the "Financing Growth in Serbia" presentation, Ciric said that the food and automobile industries would be Serbia's main exporters in the coming period. "Over the next three to five years large investments are expected in agriculture, and pharmaceutical and constructions firms are the most favorable for investment," underscored Ciric. He recalled that the state's "good" automobile industry strategy had made it possible for the 120 firms which currently operate in Serbia to do just that and said that this trend ought to continue. The minister of economy said that in the next period the state would also try to attract investors from countries whose companies had not invested in Serbia so far.
U.S. COMPANY TO BUILD RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
NIS, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Representatives of the U.S. company Clean Earth Capital and the City of Nis signed on Jan. 30 a sales contract on the land of the former Bubanjski Heroji barracks, on which the American company should build commercial and residential buildings. The contract was signed by Clean Earth Capital owner Philip Bay and Nis Mayor Milos Simonovic, and the signing of the contract was also attended by U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Mary Warlick. The U.S. company bought 15 hectares of land in the Serbian Army's Bubanjski Heroji barracks in Nis and should invest around EUR60 million in the residential and commercial complex construction project. U.S. Ambassador Mary Warlick said that Clean Earth Capital's investment was a good example of economic cooperation between the U.S. and Serbia. "I am a great optimist that in the coming period this year new investments will be made in Serbia by companies from the U.S.," said Warlick after the signing in Nis.
LISSOVOLIK: BUDGET DEVIATIONS ABOVE ONE PERCENT OF GDP
BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Bogdan Lissovolik, the head of the Belgrade office of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said that state debt, envisaged in the 2012 budget, was more than one percent of GDP above the agreed limit approximately EUR300 million. At the "Financing Growth in Serbia" conference, Lissovolik told journalists that an IMF mission would come to Belgrade on Feb. 2 and that it would speak with government representatives about ways to eradicate deviations from the agreed level of budget guarantees and state debt in 2012. According to him, the IMF expects the budget deficit and state guarantees by the end of this year to be at a level which does not increase public debt too much. The IMF Belgrade Office announced on Jan. 20 that a revision of the precautionary arrangement with Serbia had been postponed because the level of debt in the 2012 budget exceeded the agreed limit.
SERBIA – EU
MRKONJIC & MAAS RECONCILE DIFFERENCES ON EU SUPPORT
BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – German Ambassador to Belgrade Wolfram Maas said that EU support for Serbia went beyond that given to other countries. "Unfortunately, the public and some decisionmakers are not aware of the scope of the aid which Germany and the EU give (to Serbia)," said Maas in the presence of Serbian Infrastructure Minister Milutin Mrkonjic who has previously made statements that he is not satisfied with how the EU is acting toward Serbia. The German ambassador reiterated that the EU had given an offer to Serbia and that now it was up to Serbia to accept the invitation and move toward the EU. "It's important that the EU does not leave Serbia to go down that path alone," said Maas who underscored that, according to a Serbian government survey, more than 70 percent of aid came from EU countries. He also underscored that 19 percent of Germany's bilateral aid went to Serbia. Mrkonjic, who was sitting next to Maas at a presentation of the Serbian heating plant renovation project, which Germany is aiding, following his criticisms, hugged the German ambassador and said that he had an impulsive nature and that his criticism of the EU had been his reaction when Serbia's application for candidate status was rejected.
DEGERT: CONDITIONS FOR EU CANDIDACY CLEAR & ACHIEVABLE
BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Vincent Degert, head of the European Union's delegation to Serbia, said on Jan. 30 that the conditions Serbia was required to fulfill to gain the status of candidate EU member on Feb. 27 were clear and achievable. Further implementation of the agreement with Pristina, further development on the issue of Pristina's representation at regional conferences and EULEX and KFOR being able to execute their mandates throughout Kosovo are three clear and reachable goals, Degert said at a public discussion on EU integration in the Serbian parliament. Degert stressed that the terms to move forward in European integration, including setting a date for broaching talks, were also fighting corruption, media reform, justice system reform and increasing the economy's competitiveness. Degert denied claims by MP Slobodan Samardzic that the EU had put its expansion on ice. All EU members want to see Serbia in the union, Degert said, reminding that Serbia had European funds at its disposal in the association process.