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22 October 2021 Continuous communication with EU on further reforms

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, together with Minister of European Integration an Chief Negotiator Jadranka Joksimovic, met today with Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret and the ambassadors of the EU Member States.

The topics of the  meeting were 2021 EU Enlargement Package and in particular the Report of the European Commission on Serbia for this year, as well as the next steps in the process of accession to the EU.

She underlined that Serbia has continuous communication with the Delegation of the EU and all Member States and that it speaks openly about further reforms, first and foremost in the field of the rule of law.

The Prime Minister assessed that this year's Report on the progress of Serbia gives an objective evaluation of everything the Serbian government has achieved on speeding up the political and economic reforms, by which one of the strategic priorities has been fulfilled.

Acording to Brnabic, it is of particular importance that the European Commission has given a clear recommendation that Serbia reached the criteria necessary for opening two clusters of chapters.

Today we have an opportunity to present to you, as representatives of the EU and EU Member States, additional information on the adoption and implementation of all necessary reforms, the Prime Minister stated.

For this reason, it is important that this meeting is being held immediately after the release of the European Commission's Report and before the final decision of the Member States on whether they will support the opening of clusters, she said.

Brnabic voiced her hope that these additional explanations will contribute to Serbia obtaining consent for the formal continuation of negotiations by the end of this year.

She also underlined that the European Commission's recomendation for the further opening of clusters is very important politically, not only as an incentive to the government to continue implementing its reform plans with motivation and responsibility, but also to the citizens of Serbia and all in the region, who in this way receive once more a clear confirmation on the perspective of membership in the EU.

The Prime Minister pointed out that Serbia wishes to make additional progress in all areas, especially in the field of the rule of law and that continuous communication with the Delegation of the EU in Serbia and all Member States is of particular importance to that end.

Joksimovic stated that the Report provides the necessary balance in the evaluation of everything Serbia has achieved in the previous period.

According to her, in some segments the implementation of reforms is faster, in some other somewhat slower, but progress has been noticed in all areas and is noted down in the Report itself.

She voiced hope that the general assessments from the European Commission, which speak in favour of honesty, dedication and capability of the Serbian government to implement policies which are important for the accession process in time of pandemic, will be a sufficient orientation for the Member States to agree on the furtheropening of clusters.

Ambassador Giaufret expressed gratitude to the Serbian government for convening this meeting with ambassadors of the EU Member States, describing it as a positive indication of Serbia's dedication to strengthening dialogue on reforms for the sake of solving priorities and necessary activities identified in the yearly Report of the European Commission.

 

Source/Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs


15th October 2021 Selaković in UNSC: Dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached are the only right way to resolve all open issues

Distinguished President of the Security Council,

Esteemed members of the Security Council,

Distinguished Special Representative,

I would like to thank Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Guterres and Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK Mr. Tanin for the report submitted and for their efforts made towards the implementation of the UNMIK mandate. I would also like to thank the members of the Security Council for the continued attention they have devoted to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. The Republic of Serbia highly values the activities of the Mission of the United Nations in Kosovo and Metohija and supports it in carryingt out its work as efficiently as possible, pursuant to the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and undiminished in scope, aiming to build and preserve lasting peace, stability and security in the Province.

Mr. Tanin,

Please accept the expressions of our gratitude for your engagement and the cooperation we achieved during your term of office.

Mr. President,

Deep regret and concerns are raised by the fact that the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija in the past period has been marked by an increasing number of various ethnically motivated attacks and incidents targeting Serbs, which was also stated in the Report; that the provisional institutions of self-government (PISG) in Pristina continue to take unilateral steps and refuse to implement the agreements reached in the Brussels dialogue; and that institutional discrimination against Serbs, attacks on the sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the undermining of the economic sustainability of Serb communities on the Province have continued.

We are witnessing that dangerous provocations by Pristina are taking place every day, at an acceleratied pace, thus seriously threatening the safety of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and directly violating the agreements and arrangements reached within the Brussels dialogue.

The lates violent incursion of the so-called ROSU units into the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, n 13 October, is the ninth incursion of its kind. Tear gas, shock bombs and unbrsidled violence are becoming a matter of everyday life for Serbs in the north of Kosovo and Mtohija, and that must be stopped immediately.

In the last attack with firearms and chemicals used by Pristina special forces, 71-year-old Verica Djelic died as a result of chemical used in the intervention, 10 unarmed civilians were wounded, one of them 36 years old Srećko Sofronijević was critically wounded in the back with of an automatic rifle. A three-month-old baby, who miraculosly remained unharmed, was also the target of the shooting.

The false excuse for the lates unilateral action, as EU High Representative for Foreign Affaires and Security Policy Josep Borrell called it, was the fight against organiyed crime and smuggling. Ladies and gentlemen, Serbia is strongly against organiyed crime and smuggling, but the members of the UNSC should know that such an important and general global goal, which we all share, was cynically used for an armed attack on unarmed civilians, which bewgan with an automatic rifle raid of pharmacies in which patients of Serbia and other nationalities are supplied with vitally important medicines. Four days before the local elections in Kosovo and Metohija, in order to gain votes in an irresponsible and inhumane way, fully motivate by separtist goals, the current PISG regime used medicines on which people's lives depend to prove its position on the status contrary to UNSCR 1244.

Only a few days earlier, another provocation on the part of Pristina led to a dangerous crisis, when personnel of the so-called ROSU unit, armed with long firearms and reinforced with armoured vehicles, were deployed to administrative crossings between central Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija - Brnjak and Jarinje -  in order to remove Serbian license plates and replace them with temporary ones, thus violently preventing the free movement of citiyens.

These events do not fall within the reporting period covered by the latest Report of the UN Secretary General in the work of UNMIK, but it is incumbent upon us to address them on this occasion, in order to have eveyone understand how dramatic the situation on the ground has been and how serios the consequences of Pristina's unilateral actions can be.

The incursions of heavily armed Pristina police formations, composed exclusively of Albanians, into the nort of Kosovo and Metohija, under various pretexts and motives, with the use of excessive force, are provocations that have an extremely dangerous potential to destabilize the already sensitive security situation on the ground. The goal of the latest incursions of Pristina's special force personnel into the north of the province was to provoke the Serbs and additionally intimidate them with a demonstration of force, as well as to provoke Belgrade to react hastily in some way.

It is obvious that with such moves Pristina aims to erase the 10 years of dialogue, which is the only way to resolve open issues. These provocations once again demonstrate that the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristin, not only do not intend to implemenent everything agreed in th Brussels dialogue, but that their goal is to completely deny dialogue as a means of resolving problems. An effective response to Pristina's lac of credibility and their dangerous play with fire, which could have unforeseeeable consequences, cannot be provided by calling on ''both sides'' for constructiveness and restraint, whic has long been a manner in public communication of some important factoras in the international community. There is only one source of destabilization, it has a name - and that is the provisional institutions of seslf-government in Pristina - and after the event of 13 October, it is clear that it can and needs to be stopped by urgent and decisive action of the international community. It is now quite obvious that these are no longer sporadic and isolated provocations by Pristina, but that this is an organized campaign of ethically motivated violence and discriination against Serbs.

Wealso express our concern ove the latest imposition of tariffs by Pristina on certain products originating from central Serbia, which was made public on 8 October. We remind you that the unilateral decision of Pristina to imposle duties on productds fro central Serbia in November 2018 resulted in a de facto complete trade blockade and a long-term stalemate in the dialogue beween Belgrade and Pristina. In contrast to Pristina, which persistently seeks to raise barriers towards central Serbia through unilateral acts, Belgrade is persistently and consistently working to liberalize the flow of people, goods, services and capital, which is the basical goal of our ''Open Balkan'' initiative, North Macedonia and Albania joined this initiative, but Pristina did not.

Distinguished members of the Security Council,

In the period from March to September this year, which is covered in the latest Report, close to 100 ethnically motivated attacks were carried out against Serbs, their private property, religious and cultural heritage sites, The increase in the frequency of attacks was accompanied by the strengthening of the intensity of ethnically motivated wiolence, which more and more ofen targets children, the elderly, women, the few returnees present there, as well as churches and other property of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

This systematically intensifies the ubiquitous sense of insecurity of the remaining Serbs, but also deters potential returnees, who are in fact being told that local Albanian communities can attack them wih impunity and prevent them from returnig to live in their own homes.

The most striking example of the position of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is the case of the displaced person Dragica Gašić, who moved into her apartment in the municipality of Djakovica again in early June. In that town - to which local Albanians proudly refer as a place forbidden to Serbs - Ms. Gašić, on her return, first facecd physical and verbal attacks by citizens of Albanian nationality living there. Instead of being provided protection, that seriously ill woman then became a victim of institutional persecution as well, that the local self-gvernment bodies and the police unleashed against her. Since this is a person who is the first and only Serb returnee to Djakovica after more than twenty years, it was to be expected that, at that moment, at least civil society organizations would attempt to protect her rights. Howeve, NGOs from Djakovica soon joined te activities aimed at the expulsion Ms. Gašić, including those receiving funding from international donors for projects related to strengthening democracy and the rule of law.

I must also mention the latest attack on the house of the only remaining Serbian woman in the center of Pec, retired teacher Rumena Ljubić, whose windows were stoned twice in just 24 hours on 13 October.

Dragica's and Rumena's fate is a frightening reflection of the real situation of human rights that almost every one of over 200,000 displaced serbs and non-Albanians would face in Kosovo and Methija - provided that they gather the courage to return to their homes in the Province after mor than twenty years. I would like to remind you again that since 1999, only around 1,9% of internally displaced Serbs and other non-Albanians hav achieved a sustainable return to Kosovo and Metohija.

Thereore, I believe that the aforementioned will encourage the members of the Security Council and the international presence on the ground to devote priority attention inthe future to the issue of the return of displaced persons, which is an important part of the UNMIK mandat under UN Security Council Resoluton 1244.

I therefore thank the Secretary-General in particular for keepin this extremely important issue in focus and for calling aganin, in the conclusions of his Reprot, for the creation of conditions for the sustainable returen of internally displaced persons onad the sustianable reintegration of returnees.

Distinguished members of the Security Council,

Serbian medieval monuments in Kosovo and Metohija, including monuments that, due to their exceptional value but also cnstantly being subjets to threats are inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger, are still among the most endangered cultural heritage in Europe.

I wish to recall that there are ove 1,300 Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija. Attacks on Serbian cultural and religious heritage are at the same time attacks onthe identity of Serbs in the Province and directly affect their sense of safety.

A striking example of disrespect for Serbian cultural and religious monuments in the Province is the case of the Visoki Decani monastery. The  monastery, which has been the target of attacks and shelling several times since 2000, is still secured by KFOR forces due to being under a threat. It is faced with a series of hostile actions, and the perpetrators are not deterred by the fact that this is a World Heritage Site. Despite frequent declaratiory statements, even the decision of the so-called ''constitutional court'' of the PISG in Pristina five years ago confirming ownership of Visoki Decani Monastery over 24 hectares, is not respected. We welcome the assessment made by the UN Secretary General in his Report.

Dear Mr. President,

The Republic of Serbia remains committed to finding a compromise political solution, as prescribed under Resolution 1244, whic will ensure lasting peace and stability. We firmly believe that dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached are the only right way to resolve all open issues.

As a state committed to the respect for international law and a member of the United Nations, Serbia opposes any attempt at estabilishing an artificial balance betwe the parties in the dialogue, as well as the relativization of responsibility for unilateral acts.

We note with concern that not even eight years after reaching the Brussels Agreement, the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities has not been initiatted, although Belgrade his fulfilled all its obligations under that  agreement.

There are also numerous and repeated examples of Pristina violating  or obstructing agreements reached in dialogue, in the areas of energy, justice, freedom of movement and visits by officials.

One such example is the verdict sentencing Ivan Todosijevic to two years in prison, which is also pointed out in the Secretary General's Report. The Brussels Agreement was directly breached, which was also stated by the representatives of the European Union. With its conduct Pristina caused immeasurable damage to the reconciliation process in Kosovo and Metohija.

Despite the interpretation from the European Commission that this is a violation of the Brussels Agreement, because Todosijevic had to be sentencedby a panel consisting of the majority of judges of Serbian ethnicity, Pristina still does not take any action in this regard.

Pristina also continued with the practice o banning Serbin officials from entering the territory of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.

We believe that it is important that the international community, and especially the European Union, as the guarantor of the agreement, firmly insists that the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina start implementing al the agreement reached.

Distinguished members of the Security Council,

As before, the Repubilic of Serbia remains fully committed to resolving the issue of missing persons, as also demonstrated through full cooperation with relevant international mechanisms as well as participation in the work of the Working Group on Missing Persons. We expect that the representatives of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina will fulfill their obligations.

Bearing in mind everything I delivered here today in may address, we hold the position that the international presence in Kosovo and Metohija, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, is still necessary. In addition to UNMIK, the presence of KFOR as the main guarantor of security and EULEX, due to its engagement in the field of the rule of law, is also imortant. I would like to emphasize once again that Serbia fully supports respect for international law, comprehensive implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and activities of UNMIK in an undiminished scope and with adequate financial resources, so that the Mission fulfills the mandate entrusted to it under the Resolution.

Thank you.


30 September 2021 President Vučić attended ceremony of the beginning of works on the modernization and rehabilitation of the Niš-Brestovac railway

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, have attended today the ceremony of the beginning of works on the modernization and rehabilitation of Niš-Brestovac railway at the international Cooridor 10 as well as signing of the agreement between the Public Company Koridori Srbije and Consortium STRABAG AG and STRABAG d.o.o. Beograd on the construction of the first phase of the Highwaz of peace in the section Merošina - Merošina 1.

"In Donje Međurovo the 23km loong railwaz is build and 75 percent of it will be financed bz the European Union. It is enormous money for us, great encouragement and respect. This railway and highway are important both for us and Europe. I am very grateful to Mrs Von der Leyen for  coming to NIš today and Niš becomes the center of all Balkan corridor, it becomes the Balkan crossroads'', said President Vučić adding that Serbia was entirely committed to the implemeentation of the agreements signed so far under the auspices of the EU.

''We will do our best not only to preserve peace, but also to reach more agreements whic would mean security of everyone in the Balkans and better life and economy for all of us. We know what our job is. As much as we can, taking into account the difficulties due to the relation with Priština, we will do eveything to make progress on the European path'', said President Vučić and thanked the President of the European Commission for kind words and wish to see Serbia in teh EU.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, emphasized that today Serbia had alredy godne a long way to the EU membership, it had made an incredible progress and efforts in the past years and improved conditions in different sectors. She said that she strongly supports the European integrations of Serbia.

''This is a very special moment. Signing of this agreement is a symbol of our great cooperation and projects of connections through which we jointly build oru European future, because the future of Serbia in the European Union is better.  The corridor connects Serba to Austria and Greece and is really the driving force of economy. It is the driving force for the Serbian economy, investments, the economic plan which already functions in Serbia'', said the President of the European Commission.

 

Source: www.predsednik.rs

Photo: Dimitrije Gol


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