MINISTARSTVO SPOLJNIH POSLOVA
GENERALNA DIREKCIJA ZA
INFORMISANJE I KULTURU
Direkcija za informisanje
27. Februar 2009. F A X
V R L O H I T N O
SVIM DKP REPUBLIKE SRBIJE
REPUBLIC OF SERBIA
MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Belgrade, 27. 02. 2009.
SERBIA - ICTY VERDICT - REACTIONS
- MILUTINOVIC ACQUITTED, OTHERS GET FROM 15 TO 22 YEARS
- TRIBUNAL'S SENTENCES ARE TOO SEVERE, SAYS CVETKOVIC
- IT WAS A POLITICAL PROCESS FROM THE START, DACIC
- LJAJIC: VERDICT WILL RESULT IN ANTIHAGUE SENTIMENTS
- SEJDIU: VERDICT PROVES REGIME'S RESPONSIBILITY FOR CRIMES
- TADIC CRITICIZES PERSECUTION OF DODIK
- PORTUGAL SUPPORTS SERBIA ON ITS WAY TO EUROPEAN UNION
- SERBIA IS STRONGLY COMMITTED TO EU
- CVETKOVIC GRATITUDES TO GREEK GOVERNMENT FOR SUPPORT TO SERBIA
- SUTANOVAC AND MEIMARAKIS ON KOSOVO AND MILITARY COOPERATION
- CVETKOVIC: GOVT. ACTING IN INTEREST OF CITIZENS IN KOVACEVIC CASE
- UN: SERBIA URGENTLY NEEDS GENERAL ANTI-DISCRIMINATORY LAW
SERBIA – ECONOMY, FINANCE
- CVETKOVIC: SERBIA AMONG LEADING COUNTRIES IN DEALING WITH CRISIS
- DINKIC EXPECTS BIGGER PRODUCTION IN ZASTAVA THAN PLANNED
- DINKIC: ONE BILLION DOLLARS FROM TOURIM THIS YEAR
- MEMBERS OF AMCHAM WILL STAY IN SERBIA
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA – SITUATION, REACTIONS
- TITOV AND STARCEVIC DISCUSS KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
- HILLARY CLINTON REITERATES U.S. SUPPORT OF KOSOVO
SERBIA - ICTY VERDICT - REACTIONS
MILUTINOVIC ACQUITTED, OTHERS GET FROM 15 TO 22 YEARS
THE HAGUE, Feb. 26 (Beta) - The Hague tribunal acquitted former Serbian President Milan Milutinovic of charges for crimes against Kosovo Albanians in 1999, and sentenced the other five former political, military and police officials with 15 to 22 years in prison for taking part in a "joint criminal venture."
Judge Iain Bonomy's chamber convicted former Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic (aged 60), Yugoslav Army Third Army Commander Nebojsa Pavkovic (62), and Police Chief of Staff in Kosovo Sreten Lukic (55) to 22 years of prison.
The verdict names Sainovic, Pavkovic and Lukic as crucial participants in the deporting of several hundred thousand Kosovo Albanians between March and June 1999, which had the aim according to the prosecution "to change the ethnic balance in order to consolidate Serbian control" of the province.
They were found guilty of all five counts of the indictment forced displacement, deportation, murders, and a forced transfer of Kosovo Albanians.
Generals Dragoljub Ojdanic (67) and Vladimir Lazarevic (59) were convicted to 15 years in prison for "helping and supporting" the crimes, but with no intention of committing a mass displacement of Albanians. They were found guilty of helping and supporting forced displacement and deportation, that is, of two out of five counts brought by the prosecution.
The acquittal of Milutinovic of all charges brought against him by the prosecution was explained by the chamber by a lack of evidence that he had "significantly contributed to the joint crimes," considering that he had no direct control over the Yugoslav Army and Serbian Police forces, which had committed the crimes. Also, the chamber assessed that Milutinovic had no authority to prevent and punish the crimes.
The judges' verdict established that it has been proved that Serbian and Yugoslav forces in 1999 had deported thousands of Albanians from Kosovo by conducting a widespread and organized terror campaign, including mass murders.
The chamber also determined that the mass displacement of Kosovo Albanians was not caused by NATO bombing or by the conflict of the Yugoslav Army and Serbian Police with the Kosovo Liberation Army, as was claimed by the defense.
Sainovic and Ojdanic have been in the Tribunal custody since spring 2002, and Milutinovic since Jan. 2003, when they voluntarily surrendered. Generals Pavkovic, Lazarevic and Lukic surrendered to the court in 2005.
TRIBUNAL'S SENTENCES ARE TOO SEVERE, SAYS CVETKOVIC
BELGRADE, Feb. 26 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic stated on Feb. 26 that the Hague tribunal's sentences against five former top Serbian officials, who were found guilty, were inappropriately severe.
"The sentences of the Hague tribunal are inappropriately severe, especially if the acquittal of Ramush Haradinaj is taken into consideration," Cvetkovic said before the Serbian Parliament, while replying to a deputy's question.
Cvetkovic said he is expecting the former Serbian officials to appeal against the sentences and added that the state will help them in this process.
After the session, Cvetkovic told reporters that, regardless of its disagreement with the sentences, Serbia is still supporting the Hague tribunal in principle and that it believed that "every criminal is personally responsible for his crime."
IT WAS A POLITICAL PROCESS FROM THE START, DACIC
BELGRADE, Feb 26 (Tanjug) - Serbian Deputy Premier Ivica Dacic has said that Thursday's verdict of the tribunal in The Hague to the former Serbian and Yugoslav political and military leaders only confirms that this was a political process from the very start.
"The ruling of The Hague tribunal is, in a way, a confirmation that the entire process was politically conducted from the very start and that it served to legitimize the then views, which were one of the reasons for the bombardment of our country," Dacic told Tanjug. He explained that he was referring to views that Serbia was the cause of all the problems in Kosovo and Metohija, that crimes were committed against the ethnic Albanians, which, in a way, served to justify the NATO air strikes on the country.
"We, as a state, believe that all who committed war crimes should be punished, but it is absolutely certain that the state of Serbia has not carried out systemic genocide, nor crimes against other nations either in the territory of the former Yugoslavia or within Serbia in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, Dacic said .
LJAJIC: VERDICT WILL RESULT IN ANTIHAGUE SENTIMENTS
BELGRADE, Feb. 26 (Beta) - The Hague tribunal's verdict for the former top Serbian officials for crimes in Kosovo will result in the strengthening of antiHague sentiments in Serbia, the chairman of the National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, Rasim Ljajic, estimated on Feb. 26.
"It is inevitable that this verdict will be compared to the acquittal of Ramush Haradinaj. This will additionally strengthen the impression about the Hague tribunal's double standards," Ljajic told BETA, commenting on the possible effects this verdict will have on public opinion in Serbia.
He stressed that the fact that would complicate matters for the state is that the existence of "a joint criminal venture" has been established, while the alleviating circumstance is that the former Serbian president, Milan Milutinovic, was acquitted.
SEJDIU: VERDICT PROVES REGIME'S RESPONSIBILITY FOR CRIMES
PRISTINA, Feb. 26 (Beta) - The Hague tribunal's guilty verdict for the five former officials of Serbia confirms the Serbian regime's responsibility for the crimes committed in Kosovo, President Fatmir Sejdiu said on Feb. 26.
"I believe in the tribunal's verdict. Serbian authorities have committed numerous crimes on the territory of Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. The verdict confirms individual accountability, but also that of the regime for the crimes that had been committed," Sejdiu said at a news conference in the U.S. Department of State, after a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Kosovo government spokesman Memli Krasniqi said in Pristina that the Hague tribunal's verdict confirmed that top officials of Serbia and the FR Yugoslavia stood behind the terrible crimes committed in Kosovo.
"The government of Kosovo appreciates the ruling of the Hague tribunal. I believe it has shown once again that terrible crimes had been committed in Kosovo and that top officials of Serbia and Yugoslavia were directly involved," Krasniqi told BETA.
TADIC CRITICIZES PERSECUTION OF DODIK
BELGRADE, Feb 26 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic on Thursday strongly criticized the daily persecution in Bosnia- Herzegovina (BiH) of Republika Srpska (RS) Premier Milorad Dodik which aims to tarnish his personal and professional integrity, Tadic's public relations service has announced.
"A dialogue with arguments on the internal order of BiH is the only way to reach a democratic solution. The recent past should not be repeated when democratic procedure was replaced by the instrutmentalization of the judiciary in political aims," Tadic stated. He said that "Serbia strongly urges a stable RS, and thus a stable BiH," adding that the constitutional changes in BiH would be possible only with agreement between the democratically elected legitimate representatives of the three constitutive nations: Serbs, Bosniacs and Croats. Tadic reiterated that the Republic of Serbia, as the guarantor of the Dayton Peace Accords, supports in a principled and unequivocal way the territorial integrity of BiH, the statement said.
PORTUGAL SUPPORTS SERBIA ON ITS WAY TO EUROPEAN UNION
Serbian Parliament Speaker Slavica Djukic Dejanovic welcomed on Feb. 26 a three member delegation of the European Movement in Portugal, headed by university professor Armando Marques Gajdes, the Serbian Parliament has announced.
Members of the Portuguese delegation are participating in the conference "Portugal, Experience and Success in the European Integration Process," organized by the European Movement in Serbia and the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
The statement reads that the Portuguese guests emphasized that their country supported Serbia on its the path to joining the European Union and that Portugal was ready to help.
Slavica Djukic Dejanovic said that the renewed interparliamentary cooperation could be a basis for strengthening the overall bilateral cooperation between the two countries, especially economic, and emphasized the importance of Portugal's support of Serbia on the international stage.
SERBIA IS STRONGLY COMMITTED TO EU
BELGRADE, Feb 26 (Tanjug) - During their today's meeting with a delegation of the European Movement from Portugal, Serbian parliament Vice-President Gordana Comic and parliament Committee for European Integrations Chairman Laslo Varga underscored that Serbia is strongly committed to the process of European integrations.
They informed the visitors from Portugal that Serbia's priorities in 2009 are to get included in the White Schengen List and to submit its application for the candidate-state status in the European Union, the Serbian parliament stated on Thursday. Comic and Varga thanked Portugal for the extended assistance to Serbia in the integration process, evaluating that Portugal's experience may be of great help to Serbia in its progress towards the EU.
Members of the Portuguese delegation underscored that Portugal supports Serbia's European path, evaluating that Portugal's experiences in the process of accession in the EU may be very useful for Serbia and its European prospects. They underscored that there are great similarities between Serbia and Portugal and expressed their readiness to assist Serbia in its path towards its accession in the EU.
CVETKOVIC GRATITUDES TO GREEK GOVERNMENT FOR SUPPORT TO SERBIA
BELGRADE, Feb 26 (Tanjug) - During a meeting with Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis on Thursday, Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic expressed gratitude to the Greek government for its support to Serbia in its defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Cvetkovic also thanked the Greek government for its support to Serbia on its path to European integrations, particularly in the area of the visa regime liberalization. Premier Cvetkovic expressed his satisfaction over the good cooperation between the defense ministries of Greece and Serbia, adding that he expects the cooperation to get even better.
Meimarakis underscored that Greece and Serbia share the same vision of progress and promotion of cooperation in all sectors, the government office for cooperation with media said in a statement. Cvetkovic and Meimarakis evaluated that the military cooperation between Serbia and Greece is important for the region's stability and security, the statement read.
SUTANOVAC AND MEIMARAKIS ON KOSOVO AND MILITARY COOPERATION
The Serbian and Greek defense ministers, Dragan Sutanovac and Evangelos Meimarakis, agreed on Feb. 26 to find a solution for Kosovo based on international law, ensuring stability and security in Southeast Europe.
"Greece supports Serbia in its effort to protect its own interests within the international law framework because by protecting international law in Kosovo we are protecting international law wherever it may be threatened," Sutanovac told journalists following his meeting with Meimarakis.
Sutanovac said that Meimarakis had told him that Greek soldiers would continue to participate in KFOR and that Greece was not intending to reduce its contingent.
Sutanovac added that they had concluded that the region's stability greatly depends on relations between Serbia and Greece, which contributes to that stability, as well as that the two countries were interested in regional cooperation.
Meimarakis emphasized that the Western Balkans issue needed to be constantly monitored and that the two countries shared a joint vision which would allow Southeast Europe to become a secure and stable region in which development and cooperation based on understanding would prevail.
"Greece supports Serbia's European perspective, not only because of the friendship between our two nations, but mainly because Serbia is an inseparable member of the European family and has an important role in the region. NATO also believes that Serbia's role is exceptionally important. That's why we believe Serbia should participate in all regional organizations," said Meimarakis.
CVETKOVIC: GOVERNMENT ACTING IN INTEREST OF CITIZENS IN KOVACEVIC CASE
BELGRADE, Feb 26 (Tanjug) - Serbian Premier Mirko Cvetkovic said Thursday that the government's measures in the case of Miladin Kovacevic, charged by the US judiciary for beating a US student, "are in the most profound interests of the citizens."
"The interest of the citizens is reflected in Serbia's wish to have the best possible relations with one of the major world powers," Cvetkovic said during Question and Answer Day in parliament. He added that, in the case of Kovacevic, he could not go into detail, because the matter has been classified as a state secret, but added that when it is unclassified, he will be prepared to speak about everything in detail.
UN: SERBIA URGENTLY NEEDS GENERAL ANTI-DISCRIMINATORY LAW
BELGRADE, Feb 26 (Tanjug) - The office of the U.N. permanent coordinator to Serbia on Thursday expressed its deep concern over the cancellation of the press conference called by non-governmental organization Gay-Straight Alliance, which was scheduled to be held at the Sava Center today.
The U.N. office also evaluated that the event is yet another indicator of Serbia's urgent need for a general anti-discriminatory law. The Office commended the prompt response of the Serbian government and the state secretary in the ministry for human and minority rights in regards to the event. The clear message that there is no tolerance for discrimination which the state secretary sent out to the public is of great importance for the promotion of the human rights culture in Serbia, it was underscored in the statement. It was also stated that the cancellation of the press conference called by the Gay-Straight Alliance is an act of discrimination that is contrary to the Serbian Constitution and international law norms.
SERBIA – ECONOMY, FINANCE
CVETKOVIC: SERBIA AMONG LEADING COUNTRIES IN DEALING WITH CRISIS
BELGRADE, Feb 26 (Tanjug) - Serbian Premier Mirko Cvetkovic said Thursday that Serbia is among the top countries in the world with regards its budget stimulus which amounts to 2.17% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and aims at preventing the negative effects of the global financial crisis. In response to MPs questions in parliament, Cvetkovic explained that funds amounting to 0.58% of the GDP have been earmarked for boosting the economy, 0.95% for infrastructure investing and 0.64% for the National Investment Plan. Cvetkovic stated that, in adopting measures for combating the crisis, the government is applying the principles of political uniqueness, solidarity and continuity, meaning that the development of crisis is monitored on a daily basis and the measures are adapted accordingly.
Cvetkovic recalled that in Serbia the crisis appeared in the form of the drop of trust in the banking sector by the citizens, and that this is why they started withdrawing their savings from banks, which, in turn, caused the government to react by rising the level of insured deposits and lifting foreign currency savings interest rate taxes so that, in the second half of December and January, money started returning to the banks. He noted that, subsequently, in agreement with businessmen and the banking sector, a new package of stimulative measures was developed in the form of loans to the economy for securing liquidity and stimulating exports, in addition to loans to citizens for stimulating the demand for domestic products. Cvetkovic set out that the other package of measures included saving at all levels, especially in the state organs.
DINKIC EXPECTS BIGGER PRODUCTION IN ZASTAVA THAN PLANNED
BELGRADE, Feb 27 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister of Economy and Regional Development Mladjan Dinkic expressed his expectation that in 2009 the envisaged level of automobile production in Zastava will be exceeded by far.
Answering journalists' questions in the Serbian parliament, Dinkic said that Zastava planned a minimal production of 15,000 automobiles for 2009, but that the citizens' interest, only a few days since the beginning of the implementation of the government's program for subsidized loans, indicates that the demand for the model 'Punto' will be far bigger. Serbian government brought the decision on Thursday on selling the model 'Punto' at the system old for new, which will enable the replacement of cars older than 10 years, regardless of the brand. Cars purchased in this way will be 1000 euros cheaper and they will cost 5,999 euros.
DINKIC: ONE BILLION DOLLARS FROM TOURIM THIS YEAR
BELGRADE, Feb 26 (Tanjug) - Serbia expects to get one billion dollars from tourism this year, and hopes this will prove that the investments in this field have been worth their while, Premier and Minister of Economy, Mladjan Dinkic, said on Thursday, while opening the 31st International Fair of Tourism in Belgrade. Dinkic pointed to the fact that five years ago, Serbia's revenue from tourism had been only 300 million dollars and that last year, it had reached three times the sum, noting that the country had good prospects in that respect, whatever the effects of the economic crisis.
The minister said that he had signed an agreement on cooperation with Syrian Minister of Tourism Saad Allah Agha Al-Kal'aa, who had offered that his country represented a bridge for Serbia and its trade with the Arab world. Dinkic expressed satisfaction over the record number of exhibitors at the fair, and pointed out that some new countries, such as Libya and Syria, were among the 850 exhibitors, and thanked Cyprus for having rejoining the event after two year pause. The participants of the Fair were also welcomed by Ghassan Aidi, President of the International Hotels and Restaurants Association, who voiced satisfaction over the fact that the organisation would hold its next General Assembly in Belgrade.
MEMBERS OF AMCHAM WILL STAY IN SERBIA
BELGRADE, Feb 27 (Tanjug) - There is no danger that the members of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) will withdraw from Serbia, since they represent serious companies with a long investment tradition, it has been noted after a meeting of the AmCham Finance Committee.
The Committee's chairman, Vladimir Cupic, said that in spite of the pressure of the global economic crisis, most companies would decide to continue to do business and maintain the present level of employment, and save the money by lessening some other expenditures.
Cupic pointed out that the investment activities of 180 foreign and domestic companies, members of the AmCham, would continue, although their investments would not be as big and as intensive as they would have been had there been no crisis. On the behalf of AmCham, he expressed satisfaction over the measures the Serbian government and the National Bank of Serbia had introduced to cushion the impact of the economic crisis, pointing out that the country had reacted "faster than usual" and that some of the measures "hit the real target."
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA – SITUATION, REACTIONS
TITOV AND STARCEVIC DISCUSS KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
MOSCOW, Feb 26 (Tanjug) - Russian and Serbian deputy foreign ministers, Vladimir Titov and Fedora Starcevic respectively, met Thursday to discuss Kosovo and Metohija, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced.
The two officials focused on "various aspects of the developments in the situation linked to Kosovo and the functioning of the UN mission in the province," a statement said. "Views were exchanged on issues linked to the request of the UN General Assembly for a consultative conclusion of the International Court (of Justice) about the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo," the statement said.
HILLARY CLINTON REITERATES U.S. SUPPORT OF KOSOVO
On Feb. 26, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated the U.S. support of Kosovo, and vowed that Washington will continue to advocate the recognition of Kosovo independence by more countries, the media in Pristina reported.
Speaking at a news conference after her meeting with Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu and Premier Hashim Thaci, Clinton said they had discussed the political and economic challenges faced by Kosovo, which she referred to as "the youngest democracy in the world."
I told them that the U.S, together with its partners in the EU, will continue to support the youngest democracy in the world, Clinton stated.
Sejdiu expressed great gratitude to the U.S. for its strong and constant support of Kosovo. "Without the role of the U.S. and our joint allies, Kosovo would not be at this point of political development," Sejdiu said.
Thaci stressed that Kosovo "is a country of all of its citizens with affirmed rights of minority group members" and said he expected Kosovo to soon become a member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
According to the schedule, top Kosovo officials will be received by U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden after their meeting with Clinton.