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Yugoslav Daily Survey, 98-02-19

Yugoslav Daily Survey Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Yugoslavia <>

Yugoslav Daily Survey




    Tanjug, 1998-02-18

    Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic left Paris on Wednesday evening, ending his official visit to France at the invitation of his French counterpart Hubert Vedrine. Jovanovic left Paris for a visit to Madrid at the invitation of Spanish Foreign Minister Abel Matutes.


    Tanjug, 1998-02-18

    Premier of the Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik said on Wednesday he was pleased with the talks he had had with U.S. officials earlier in the day. Dodik, who began a several-day visit to Washington on Wednesday, has had a series of contacts with U.S. functionaries. Dodik said that on his first day in Washington, he had met, among others, with Special Envoy to the Balkans Robert Gelbard to discuss the overall political situation in the Republika Srpska. During the meeting it was noted that the recently formed Government in the Republika Srpska has helped stabilise the Dayton process, according to Dodik.

    He added that the United States had shown readiness to support and maintain contact with the Republika Srpska Government. He also had talks at the World Bank, in the course of which it was agreed that the Republika Srpska should get a 20-million-dollar credit under extremely favourable terms.

    Dodik said that the funds would be funnelled to small industrial and agricultural companies in the Republika Srpska. He added that, in the matter of concrete U.S. economic aid for the Republika Srpska, a number of bilateral agreements had been reached and should be implemented shortly. In the course of the day, he met also with U.S. undersecretary for finance David Lipton. Dodik is scheduled to meet also with Director of the U.S. Agency for Internationa Development (USAID) Brian Atwood. Over the next two days, Dodik will have a series of contacts with local officials, and is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Friday.


    Tanjug, 1998-02-18

    Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic conferred in Banja Luka on Wednesday with Russian Federation Sarajevo Mission Chief Alexander Aksenyonak on the arbitration process for the inter-entity line of demarcation in the region of Brcko and the current situation in Republika Srpska. After the talks, President Plavsic said Brcko must remain within Republika Srpska. Aksenyonak said he believed the definite decision about Brcko should be positive for Republika Srpska. Brcko will also be discussed on February 25 at a meeting of the Contact Group, and the final word will be given by arbiter for Brcko Roberts Owen, Aksenyonak said. He said the political situation in Srpska was improving and that the election of the new Government, headed by Prime Minister Milorad Dodik, meant the start of democracy in these lands. Aksenyonak also announced the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov to Bosnia-Herzegovina in mid-March this year.


    Tanjug, 1998-02-18

    Federal Justice Minister Zoran Kenzevic told Tanjug on Wednesday that during talks last week with Hague Tribunal Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour it was concluded that cooperation so far had been successful and was on an upward trend. "Difficult questions have been practically reduced only to the extradition sphere, but we agree that this issue will not represent an unsurmountable obstacle for our future successful cooperation," Knezevic said. Recalling that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), as a signatory of the Dayton Peace Agreement, absolutely insisted on its consistent respect, Knezevic set out that both the public and certain political, and even expert circles, have incorrectly come to the conclusion that FRY has special obligations towards the Hague Tribunal, especially regarding the extradition of our citizens at the Tribunal's demand. Our obligations towards the Tribunal mainly stem from the 1996 agreement on the opening of an office for contacts with the International Tribunal's Prosecutor. This agreement was reached with the U.N. Secretary General because of the well-known position on the Tribunal's character, Knezevic said. The fact that the agreement was reached with the U.N. Secretary General testifies to FRY's principled stand that it accepted this activity but in direct communication with him as an institution of the international community, Knezevic said. However, he recalled that FRY had expressed huge reserves after the setting up in 1993 of the International Court for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Serious Violations of International Law in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia. Knezevic said that such a stand was taken primarily due to assassements that the constituting of such a body on a temporary basis, was unsuitable for an institution which should deal with such important and sensitive areas, as well as because of the overstressed political dimension of this institution. "We believe the Tribunal was practically more an institution aimed at conducting a political trial of Yugoslavia and its citizens, rather than a legal institution and we supported this with concrete examples," Knezevic said. At that time, FRY also drew attention to the fact that of the ten indictments rised, nine referred to Serbs, and that the tribunal applied different legal qualifications to the same acts. Thus, Serbs were almost always charged with the most serious criminal acts of genocide and war crimes, while members of non-Serb nationalities faced less severe charges for the same acts. FRY regularly warned the relevant international factors and Tribunal representatives about this, and the same was done during Arbour's visit, Knezevic said. "Such occurances have become rarer with time, and the Tribunal has become more a legal institution, thus winning our trust. After the setting up the the Tribunal's office in Belgrade in 1996, the corresponding Yugoslav bodies pledged to act according to the Tribunal Prosecutor's requests for legal aid, but only if these demands are not contrary to the Constitution, and FRY and international laws," Knezevic said. He underscored that primarily it is necessary to bear in mind that FRY accepted cooperation with the Hague Tribunal as part of international legal aid recognized by our internal laws, i.e. the Penal Code, and that we have such cooperation with other institutions and countries. "With this agreement, we have accepted those forms of cooperation with the Tribunal which were within our laws regardless of the fact that the Tribunal is not a state. At the same time, we wanted, through such contacts with this institution, to show that FRY is willing to cooperate," Knezevic said. In this respect, he added that the fact that the Hague Tribunal has its own acts which regulate its status, FRY has not accepted, nor can it accpet the concept that the regulatives of the Tribunal, as an international institution, have precedence over internal laws because there is no basis for this in our domestic laws, ranging from the Constitution to other legal documents. According to Knezevic, the international community's continuing pressure for FRY to act in keeping with the demands of the Hague Tribunal is, basically, more in the form of political pressure, something like the stronger excerting pressure of the weaker. "It is necessary to bear in mind that our position towards the Tribunal is currently shared bu many countries and political circles throughout the world. Thus, the French Foreign Minister recently categorically stated that he refused to allow French troops who were stationed in Bosnia, to be present in the Hague, even as witnesses, and cited the same arguments which FRY had," Knezevic said. Knezevic recalled that in recent talks with the Ambassadors of France and Germany he had asked why should the Yugoslav Justice Minister act differently from the French Defence Minister. The response was that extradition is not the sole instrument for meeting the Tribunal's demands, but that persons indicted should voluntarily come to the Hague, Knezevic said. Regarding proposals for the possibility of the voluntary surrender to the Tribunal, Knezevic warned that this is a matter to be decided by the person indicted and in the sphere of human rights and freedoms, which FRY respects. However, Knezevic said that this should not lead to the conclusion that FRY is unwilling to cooperate with Hague and that this cooperation is not being carried out successfully. The issue of extradition is one of the key issues, but this cooperation does not end here. This is supplemented by the fact that since its opening, the Tribunal's office in Belgrade has submitted to the corresponding FRY bodies about 40 requests for legal aid, he said. The corresponding FRY bodies are informed about the suggestions of the Tribunal's Prosecutor for reconsidering our internal laws if they represent an obstacle to the demands for the extradition of indicted persons. "The corresponding bodies will take a position on this proposal, they will assess its justification in view of our national and state interests within which it is necessary to bear in mind our need and readiness to cooperate with the international community," Knezevic said. He set out that both the international community and the Tribunal view the extradition question more as a political than a legal form of pressure of FRY, and this is why it is a possibility that this issue burdens future relations. Knezevic said that what was important is that Yugoslav laws recognize criminal acts mentioned in the indictments and this is why there is a possibility that all perpetrators of such acts are tried in FRY and that the corresponding bodies are willing to do this, and such cooperation is expected from the Hague Tribunal. "The people of Yugoslavia have been the recognizable victim of the perpetrators of such criminal acts and this is why we expect full cooperation and trust in the Yugoslav legislation and its bodies that all who committed such acts will be held accountable," Knezevic said. All these facts should serve to bring back the trust of the representatives of the international community and the Tribunal in the Yugoslav legal system and our genuine intention that all perpetrators, if they are within the grasp of FRY bodies, will be punished, Knezevic said.


    Tanjug, 1998-02-18

    Kosovo District Deputy head Veljko Odalovic and Provincial Information Secretary Bosko Drobnjak met here on Wednesday with Italy's Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) Ricardo Sessa. At the start of the talks, Sessa recalled the traditional friendship between FRY and Italy, which is also actual today and this is why the Italian Government is interested in the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, the Provincial Information Secretariat said. He expressed concern over the escalation of terrorism and said that dialogue is the only real way for resolving problmes. Terrorism is a big problem and a threat to all citizens of Kosovo and Metohija, Odalovic set out agreeing that dialogue is the only way towards a solution. However, he said that there is no dialogue solely due to the insistence of the representatives of the Albanian national minority in the secessaion of this part of the territory. Both sides underscored that the announced elections of the non-existent "Republic of Kosovo" represent the distancing from the problem of Kosovo and Metohija. Odalovic expressed hope that the Albanians would see reason and that the elections would not be held. It was agreed that a group of experts from Italy would visit Kosovo and Metohija to review the possibilities of economic cooperation and humanitarian aid for the Province, the statement said.


    Tanjug, 1998-02-18

    Kosovo District Deputy Chief Veljko Odalovic and Provincial Information Secretary Bosko Drobnjak received in Pristina on Wednesday U.S. Embassy Belgrade Mission head Richard Miles and his associates. In the brief but very constructive talks, Miles conveyed the concern of the U.S. Government over the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, and the stand that the United States does not support any form of terrorism or violence in order to realize political goals. Miles also said he would convey to leaders of ethnic Albanian political parties the U.S. Government stand that they must more clearly condemn terrorist actions by the so-called Liberation Army of Kosovo. The sides agreed on the issue of the education agreement, that it was necessary to make aditional efforts to step up the realization of this agreement, which would be a good example for settling other issues. The elections announced by ethnic Albanian leaders for March are in no way conducive to a settlement of the problem, but, on the contrary, further aggravate the situation, the Secretariat statement quoted Odalovic as saying.


    Tanjug, 1998-02-18

    A European Union (EU) delegation, headed by European Commission Department Chief for Yugoslavia Hansjoerg Kretschmer, visited on Wednesday the Provincial Secretariat for Information of Kosovo and Metohija in Pristina and talked with secretary Bosko Drobnjak. The Provincial Secretariat for Information said in a statement that Kretschmer showed an interest at the beginning of the talks for the overall situation in Kosovo and Metohija which has grown increasingly complex because of repeated terrorists attacks. The international community must exert a more concrete influence on Albanian political leaders for them to unequivocally condemn terrorism, which represents a danger for all the citizens of Kosovo and Metohija, Drobnjak said. It was mutually assessed that Kosovo and Metohija is an inalienable part of the Republic of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and that the two sides can reach a solution only through dialogue. Drobnjak said that the announced elections for the so-called "Republic of Kosovo" was a step away from imminent dialogue and a peaceful solution, and Kretschmer described the announced elections as illegitimate and without legitimacy or validity for the international community.

    Special emphasis was place at the talks on the need for greater efforts to carry out the agreement on education and that the solving of existential issues was the best way for finding the final solution.

    Kretschmer was interested in the opening of a EU office in Pristina whose existence, according to him, would help disperse the illusions of the Albanian national minority about an independent Kosovo.

    Drobnjak replied that that was an issue in the competency of the Federal Government, the statement said.


    Tanjug, 1998-02-18

    Yugoslav Ambassador in Austria Dobrosav Veizovic organized on Wednesday at the U.N. headquarters in Vienna a reception on the occasion of Yugoslav Culture, Tourism and Culinary Days. Attending the reception were over 200 foreign diplomats, businessmen, reporters and Austrian political and public figures. Also present, Serbian Minister of Culture Nada Popovic Perisic told Yugoslav reporters that the Viennese event should be a model for the presentation of our culture and tourism in the world. "Culture is the best and easiest way for the return of the FRY into the world. Our achievements should be presented through culture. I believe that culture will open the door for intensified communication of Yugoslavia with the world," the Serbian Minister of Culture said. Addressing to the guests at the reception Ambassador Veizovic pointed to the role of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as one of the founders of the United Nations, which contributed significantly to its development. "The FRY, faithful to the principles of the World Organization, wishes to further maintain and develop friendly relations between peoples and states on the basis of equality and noninterference, and also the principles of solidarity and joint responsibility for the fate of the world," Ambassador Veizovic said.


    Tanjug, 1998-02-18

    Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic said talks with French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine in Paris on Wednesday had been an inportant step in promoting political dialogue and creating conditions for the speedier development of overall relations and cooperation between Yugoslavia and France. Speaking at a press conference, Jovanovic said he had had a wide exchange of opinions with his counterpart and host on issues of the promotion of Yugoslav-French relations, developments in southeastern Europe, and prospects for promoting relations between Yugoslavia and the European Union, in which France has important influence and great weight. We agreed that our overall relations, including economic cooperation, should and could be on a much higher level, that this was the interest of business circles of Yugoslavia and France, that this was the interest of the speedier development of a part of Europe, which has not reached the corresponding level in the economic sense, said Jovanovic, who arrived on an official visit to France late Tuesday. He said Yugoslav-French cooperation was of importance for the implementation of the Dayton-Paris Peace Accords as well, encouraging peace and economic development in the region. Jovanovic expressed satisfaction with the mutual agreement to intensify contacts between representatives of Governments, business and cultural circles of the two countries. We jointly agreed that this was the mutual interest and that this was work and engagement both for stability in the Balkans and an important precondition for general stability in our continent, as the common home of countries and peoples, said Jovanovic. Jovanovic said he was happy that Vedrine had shown understanding for Yugoslavia's legitimate goals to set up a full partnership of relations with the European Union, to normalize its status in all European institutions and other international organizations. It is Yugoslavia's interest, but also of all these orgaizations, that Yugoslavia be a direct participant in their structure, he said. All the common objectives and developments in this important part of Europe can be achieved more easily and quickly with Yugoslavia within world and European institutions, Jovanovic said. Jovanovic especially underscored that he had a constructive exchange of views with Vedrine on the promotion of the peace process which resulted in agreement that it was necessary to continue with the due and comprehensive implementation of the Dayton-Paris Accords. He especially pointed out the positive role of Yugoslavia in this process. The minister said he was certain these talks enabled not only the better undertanding, but were an important step in the promotion of overall relations between Yugoslavia and France. Minister Vedrine described the over two-hour talks with Minister Jovanovic as very interesting, specifying thay had covered a range of the most topical issues in the relations between the two countries and the most important international subjects. He said the path had been opened for Yugoslavia's return to Europe and agreed wuth his Yugoslav counterpart that conditions for comprehensive Yugoslav-French cooperation were very favourable.Jovanovic and Vedrine underscored that the Yugoslav economic and French business circles were equally interested in economic cooperation. They especially underscored the importance of direct investments in the Yugoslav economy which were made possible by Yugoslavia's reformist laws, primarily those on privatization and concessions. The current scale of trade of 170 million dollars annually was assessed by both sides as not satisfactory and far below the real possibilities. It was also pointed out in the talks that the normalization of relations between Yugoslavia and the European Union and the return of autonomous positive measures (preferential status in Yugoslav-E.U. trade), presented an imporant precondition for the speedier development of economic cooperation between the two countries, and the more efficient meeting of expectations of Yugoslav and French businesmen. Jovanovic met also with French Minister in charge of European Affairs Pierre Moscovici on Wednesday. It was noted in the talk that the EU was interested in normalizing relations with Yugoslavia, which it deemed an important country in the region of southeastern Europe.

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