Thursday, 30 June 2011

Day to Respond to Parliamentary Questions on a Current Issue

The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Prof. Dr Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic, set Thursday, 30 June 2011, starting at 10 a.m., as Day to respond to parliamentary questions regarding the following current issues: “Results of the cooperation of the Republic of Serbia with the Hague Tribunal”, “Relation between the Republic of Serbia and military alliances” and the “Policy of the Government of the Republic of Serbia towards the southern Serbian Province in the context of western diplomats’ open requests that recognising the so-called independent Kosovo is a condition for accession to the European Union”, proposed by the Serbian Radical Party Parliamentary Group.

Minister of Kosovo-Metohija Goran Bogdanovic, Minister of Justice Snezana Malovic and Minister of Labour and Social Policy Rasim Ljajic, as well as War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic and head of the Serbian Negotiating Team in the talks with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic responded to the questions.

Authorised representative, MP Boris Aleksic, asked why the Government was negotiating with the representatives of the so-called Government of Hashim Thaci who was designated by Dick Marty in his report as head mafia boss and participant in the kidnapping and killing of Serbs and trafficking in their organs. He asked whether by negotiating with those marked by the German Secret Service as mobsters we were de facto recognising the independence of Kosovo-Metohija.

Minister of Kosovo-Metohija Goran Bogdanovic said that the Government has no intention to recognise the self-proclaimed independence of the Province and that Belgrade did not see the negotiations with Pristina as a confirmation of that independence. The negotiations with Pristina simply aim to improve the lives of all the citizens in Kosovo-Metohija, particularly Serbs, and are in the interest of the state of Serbia.

Minister Bogdanovic restated that the Government’s policy toward Kosovo-Metohija is based on the Serbian Constitution and the Assembly’s resolutions from 2007 and 2008, declaring the talks with Pristina the only way to solve the problems of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija. He stressed that no one expects Serbia to recognise the Province’s independence as a requisite for EU accession and that the Government would never recognise the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo-Metohija.

Bogdanovic said that the status of Kosovo-Metohija is a key issue for Serbia which will be the topic of the negotiations after the completion of their technical aspect.

MP Boris Aleksic repeated that the status of Kosovo-Metohija is regulated by the Serbian Constitution and that by commencing the unconstitutional negotiations with the representatives of Thaci’s Government, according to international law, Serbia is de facto acknowledging the independence of Kosovo.

Minister Bogdanovic said that Serbia has some authority in Kosovo-Metohija and is trying to employ negotiations and compromise to improve the lives of the Serbian and other non-Albanian population, as well as the Albanian population.

Emphasising the difficult economic position of the Albanian population in the south of Serbia, MP Riza Halimi, asked how long they would play hostage in the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, when the problems of the pensioners who had spent their working years in Kosovo would be solved and how the issue of university diploma validation would be resolved.

MP Velimir Ilic asked what the role of the Ministry of Kosovo-Metohija was if its representatives did not take part in the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina and what has been done to improve the economic position of the Serbian population in the Province.

Minister of Kosovo-Metohija Goran Bogdanovic said that the Ministry is assisting the representatives of the Negotiating Team since it is well aware of the situation in the Province. He said that various measures have been aimed at founding small and medium enterprises in the last two years and opening up jobs in Kosovo-Metohija, particularly in agriculture. Special attention was paid to returnees to the Kosovo-Metohija Morava valley.

MP Velimir Ilic asked Minister Bogdanovic for a report on the results of their work of Kosovo-Metohija.

MP Slobodan Samardzic opined that the process of recognising the independence of Kosovo-Metohija by Serbia is nearing its end and that the agreement between Beograd and Pristina would be the final act of recognition. In view of it he asked about the form the document would take.

Minister of Kosovo-Metohija Goran Bogdanovic restated that Serbia would never recognise the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo-Metohija and that the negotiations do not prejudice the Province’s future status.

Requesting the floor once more MP Slobodan Samardzic said that the fact that Serbia talks to Pristina as an equal party indicates that the recognition is nearing its end. In addition, the EU requests that Serbia establishes good-neighbourly relations with Kosovo-Metohija, and such relations can only be developed between two states. Samardzic asked whether there is any indication when the status issue may be broached, i.e. when the second stage of the negotiations might be announced.

Minister Bogdanovic stressed that until Serbia recognises Kosovo-Metohija and it receives a chair at the United Nations it is not independent. Although some world powers have recognised the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo-Metohija and oppose the opening of negotiations on its status, two thirds of the countries in the world do not recognise Kosovo as an independent state, said Minister Bogdanovic.

Reminding that the Government urged a boycott of the parliamentary elections in Kosovo-Metohija, MP Zoran Ostojic said that Kosovo Serbs still took part in the elections submitting a list of their own. He asked how much was spent on the campaign. Minister Bogdanovic refuted the claim.

In his second address, MP Zoran Ostojic asked how the republican budgetary funds allocated for the financing of local self-government institutions, public enterprises, social benefits and pensions in Kosovo-Metohija were being spent. Minister Bogdanovic responded that eight local self-governments in Kosovo-Metohija were recently dissolved as a savings measure and that there was still room for further cuts in irrational spending.

MP Vladimir Milentijevic asked whether the statements of the head of the Pristina Negotiating Team were true that Serbia would accept several agreements in the field of transportation, telecommunications and other offering solutions which contain explicit signs of Kosovo independence.

Head of the Negotiating Team Borislav Stefanovic stressed that Serbia and its Negotiating Team will do nothing to confirm the independence of Kosovo and that the agreed solutions would enable the resolution of the problems faced by the Serbs in the Province. He also added that they expected to soon reach agreements on three of the four topics of negotiation and warned that Pristina was the origin of various interpretations of the agreements and incorrect information.

Stefanovic said that the citizens of Kosovo-Metohija will definitely not be able to use the so-called Kosovo passports and license plates saying Republic of Kosovo and bearing the Kosovo coat of arms. He also stressed that Serbia is making an effort to include the United Nations, in addition to the EU, into the negotiations.

MP Aleksandra Jankovic asked about the relationship between Serbia and NATO and other military alliances. MP Milos Aligrudic asked about the Government’s attitude toward the cooperation with the Collective Security Treaty Organisation founded in Moscow and whether it would request the status of observer in the organisation. He also asked how come the NATO conference was organised in Belgrade considering that Serbia is merely a member of the Partnership for Peace.

Aligrudic asked whether the Government was aware that NATO was training the members of the Kosovo security forces i.e. the Kosovo military.

Answering the last question, Borislav Stefanovic said that it is a known fact and it poses no threat to Serbia.

MP Zoran Krasic asked whether and how the state of Serbia assisted the defendants at the Hague Tribunal.

Minister of Labour and Social Policy and head of the National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal Rasim Ljajic said that the state was doing all in its power to assist our citizens in line with the Law on Cooperation with the Tribunal and first of all provide them with all the necessary documentation. MP Zoran Krasic said that the Hague defendants need legal assistance.

MP Miroslav Markicevic asked why the negotiations with Pristina were headed by the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, why they had not presented their negotiation platform at the National Assembly and did not keep the Assembly appraised on the course of the negotiations.

Borislav Stefanovic announced that they would present the results of the negotiations with Pristina to the National Assembly restating that the talks and agreed solutions did not mean recognising the self-proclaimed independence of the Province.

MP Bozidar Delic stressed that when it proposed the current issues to be debated at the Day to Respond to Parliamentary Questions, the Serbian Radical Party Parliamentary Group requested that they be addressed by the President of the Republic of Serbia, Prime Minister, Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs, because only they can provide substantial answers. Delic asked why the agreements with NATO had been signed by ministers, or even state secretaries, saying that it was no longer clear whether we were formally a NATO member state or not. He also asked when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would decide on Serbia’s attitude toward the CSTO.

MP Ljubomir Kragovic asked when the National Assembly would debate the situation in Kosovo-Metohija and why the Government representatives persuade the Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija to remain ”under Thaci’s rule”. Claiming that no one enjoys the freedom of movement in the Province, Kragovic expressed his doubts that the right would be guaranteed to all after the completion of the negotiations.

MP Vjerica Radeta asked whether the arrest of Hague defendant Hadzic or good-neighbourly relations with the false state of Kosovo were the first condition for EU accession, or if they were both conditions for it.

Borislav Stefanovic repeated that the negotiations did not aim to establish good-neighbourly relations between Serbia and Kosovo but to resolve some practical, life issues so as to help the Serbs living there, as well as the Albanian population.

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