Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eurasian News Updates (Nov 27- Dec 21)

Russia-China - The possibility of gas supplies by pipeline to China depends "on the outcome of commercial negotiations," said Deputy Chairman of Gazprom Alexander Ananenkov, stressing that Chinese partners are well informed of Russia's position on this issue. "At present, Gazprom is actively working to organize the supply of additional volume of natural gas to Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Russian leaders have reached agreement with the respective political leaders of the DPRK and the Republic of Korea "- said Ananenkov. Analysts from Societe Generale believe that China in the near future will become a major importer of gas, but the vendor is not likely to be Gazprom, but instead, Turkmenistan and even the United States. From another perspective, China is challenging Russia as Turkmenistan’s main buyer of natural gas.

China does not regard Russia as a strong power and does not consider it necessary to correspond its foreign policy in the FSU with Russia. This was stated by the chief editor of "Problems of national strategy," Ajdar Kurts, speaking in Moscow at the round table "between Russia and the United States: Central and South Asia in a big game." "China did not grow into an ally against the strengthening of U.S. influence, but into a completely independent geopolitical rival in the former Soviet Union, "- said the expert. At the same round table, A. Derenikyan, the representative of the Russian Association of Cross-Border Cooperation in Tajikistan, said: "China is interested in further weakening of Russia's position in the region." He considers it possible that in future the United States and China will agree on how to share the Russian heritage in this region. With regard to this question, the head of the Ural Branch of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies (RISS) Dmitri Popov stated that Russia, U.S. and China are three distinct rival in Central Asia who recognize themselves as such. According to him, Russia's main objective should be to understand how it can take advantage of the contradictions between U.S. and China in the region. In addition, during a meeting with president Medvedev, the Russian political scientist Alexei Pushkov said that Russia needs to strengthen its position in the heart of Eurasia.

Elections to the State Duma of Russia were a reflection of the will of the Russian people, said chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman at a press briefing. "China - he concluded - respects the choice of the Russian people and supports the development of Russia on the path that corresponds to the situation in the country."

China-Uzbekistan - "Uztransgaz" and PetroChina International Company Ltd. signed a contract for the supply of Uzbek gas to China. This was said upon the beginning of the construction of the third branch of the "Uzbekistan - China" gas pipeline. Initially, natural gas from Uzbekistan will go through the second branch of the pipeline. With the completion of the construction of the third branch, the technical possibilities for the export of Uzbek gas will increase significantly. In accordance with the framework agreement, China is planning to buy from Uzbekistan annually 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The designed capacity of the third branch of the "Central Asia-China" pipeline - 25 billion cubic meters annually; the length of the pipeline within the territory of Uzbekistan - 529 miles. Deliveries of gas through the third branch of the pipeline should begin in January 2014, and reached the planned capacity in December 2015. Funding for the project (about $ 2.2 billion) will be financed by loans of the State Development Bank of China, as well as direct investments from CNPC.

China-Kyrgyzstan - Kyrgyz Natural Resources Minister Zamirbek Esenomanov recently said China is willing to help finance development of Kyrgyzstan’s mining industry, reported November 21. The Kyrgyz ministry industry’s equipment is obsolete, Esenomanov said, adding he had reached agreement with Chinese Land and Resources Minister Xu Shaoshi on Chinese aid in upgrading a laboratory and equipping three northern geological expeditions. Meanwhile, Kyrgyz economist Zhumakadyr Akeneyev called for Kyrgyzstan to join the Russian-Kazakhstani-Belarusian Customs Union, warning that Kyrgyzstan was an appendage of the Chinese economy.

The dispatch of the U.S. Embassy in the KR of January 22, 2010 provides an analysis of the actions the Chinese government and the diplomatic corps to enhance the Chinese cultural influence in Kyrgyzstan. Recently, the PRC Embassy in Bishkek made a successful diplomatic move by agreeing to transfer 20,000 units for receiving television signals in exchange for permission to broadcast their transmission of two channels in Bishkek. One of the channels have started relaying programs on China Central Television to Russia. "This measure, as well as the Confucius centers, opened at two universities, demonstrate a significant increase of Chinese influence in Kyrgyzstan."- says the ambassador.

China-Tajikistan - The increasing number of illegal Chinese migrants in Tajikistan, a country that produces hundreds of thousands of migrants each year itself, has prompted the Tajik government to consider measures to regulate Chinese labour migration. The Tajik government says it discusses illegal migration problems with Chinese companies operating in Tajikistan and the Chinese government, including that country’s migration agency. Besides that, the government and the International Organisation for Migration plan to implement several new projects to help Chinese migrants adapt and gain access to healthcare and to regulate the flow of Chinese migrants to Tajikistan.

China-Turkmenistan - Workers have begun building a second gas refinery capable of exporting natural gas to China. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov December 13 attended the ground-breaking ceremony on the right bank of the Amu Darya River. Construction is scheduled to be completed in June 2014, reported. Another refinery already supplies 5 billion cu. m. of gas annually to the Turkmenistan-China pipeline. The new refinery is expected to provide 9 billion cu. m. of gas annually.

Ukraine-Tajikistan - Tajik Presidents Emomali Rakhmon and Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych December 15 witnessed the signing of seven new agreements, reported December 16. The agreements covered collaboration between their countries’ constitutional courts and Olympic committees, as well as various forms of economic co-operation. In face-to-falk talks, Yanukovych called for an extension until 2020 of a co-operation programme in trade, energy, transport, science, agriculture and other fields, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. Rakhmon cited hydro-power as a venue for co-operation. In 2010, Tajik-Ukrainian trade reached US $200m (951m TJS), 65% more than in 2009.

Eurasian Economic Commission - The Russian, Belarusian and Kazakhstani presidents December 19 signed a treaty forming the Eurasian Economic Commission, RIA Novosti reported December 19. “This is the most serious step in the cause of forming the Eurasian Economic Space,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said. Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus formed a Customs Union in 2010. Uzbek President Islam Karimov December 20 praised efforts at Eurasian integration. “The CIS has a future,” Karimov said during an informal summit of CIS heads of state. “It has to play a role as co-ordinator of our complex interaction.” “The Eurasian Union and everything else (in terms of Eurasian integration) are the natural and pre-ordained development of everything happening today in the world,” he said.

Zhanaozen Riot in Kazakhstan - The clashes between police and protesting fired oil workers in Zhanaozen, Mangistau Oblast, during Kazakhstan’s Independence Day celebrations, left 10 dead, 75 injured. The demonstrators tore down the stage and ceremonial yurts prepared for the holiday, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. They also set fire to the Ozenmunaigaz company building, city hall and a nearby hotel, ITAR-TASS reported. The strikers, who have been demanding better wages and working conditions for seven months, objected to municipal use of Yntymak Square for the celebration, RFE/RL reported. The strikers have had a tent city on the square during their protest. According to a statement from the general prosecutor’s office, Relative calm has returned to Zhanaozen, a city of 90,000 in Western Kazakhstan, after unrest erupted December 16, and continued through the weekend. But local residents say the situation is still tense and peaceful protests were reported in Aktau and Almaty December 17 and 18. Authorities are still making mass arrests in an effort to restore order in Zhanaozen. Prime Minister Karim Massimov, meanwhile, promised to find jobs for fired oil workers who had been on strike since May, demanding better pay and benefits.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Газпром: Поставки газа в Китай зависят от переговоров" (Gazprom: Gas supply to China depends on negotiations)

"США или Туркменистан могут заменить Россию при поставках газа в Китай - аналитики" (U.S. and Turkmenistan could replace Russia to supply gas to China - analysts)

"Туркменистан: Экспортное соглашение с Китаем подрывает позиции Газпрома" (Turkmenistan: China Export Deal Undercuts Gazprom’s Leverage)

"МИД Китая: Выборы в России отразили волю народа" (Chinese Foreign Ministry: Elections in Russia reflected the will of the people)

"Эксперт: Китай стал геополитическим конкурентом России на постсоветском пространстве" (Expert: China has become a geopolitical rival to Russia in the post-Soviet space)

"Пушков: Россия должна укреплять свои позиции в центре Евразии" (Pushkov: Russia needs to strengthen its position in the heart of Eurasia)

"Эксперт: Россия должна извлечь выгоду из противоречий Китая и США в Средней Азии" (Expert: Russia should take advantage of the contradictions of China and the United States in Central Asia)

"Эксперт: США и Китай разделят наследие России в Средней Азии" (Expert: U.S. and China will share the legacy of Russia in Central Asia)

"Пекин будет закупать узбекский газ вместо российского--Новый удар по «Газпрому» на китайском направлении" (Beijing will buy Uzbek gas instead of Russian gas--New blow for "Gazprom" in the direction of China)

"WikiLeaks: Как Китай проявляет "мягкую силу" в Кыргызстане" (WikiLeaks: How China influences its "soft power" in Kyrgyzstan)

"Китай поможет Кыргызстану" (China to aid Kyrgyz)

"Таджикистан рассматривает меры по недопущению нелегальной миграции из Китая" (Tajikistan considers measures to prevent illegal migration from China)

"Туркмены строят 2-ой нефтеперегонный завод" (Turkmens begin building 2nd gas refinery to serve China)

"Янукович, Рахмон обсудили сотрудничество" (Yanukovych, Rakhmon pledge Ukrainian-Tajik co-operation)

"Россия, Казахстан, Беларусь создают Евразийскую экономическую комиссию" (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus form Eurasian Economic Commission)

"Каримов хвалит евразийскую интеграцию" (Karimov praises Eurasian integration effort)

"Столкновения полиции и демонстрантов в Жанаозене" (Zhanaozen police-demonstrator clashes lead to deaths)

"Жанаозен: ситуация нормализуется, говорят власти" (Zhanaozen returning to normal, authorities say)

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Serbia’s minister for EU integration Božidar Đelić stated that he will not withdraw his resignation upon Serbia’s failure to secure EU status. Prior to December 9th, Đelić declared his utmost confidence that Serbia was to be granted membership adding that he would resign as minister of EU integration should the Union’s decision be otherwise - the EU meanwhile postponed Serbia’s membership status to February/March 2012. Đelić, however, stated that the EU integration remained to be the most favorable strategic goal for Serbia while the upcoming decisions on Serbian integration will remain contentious. The reason for this, said Đelić, was that the EU was in its greatest crisis, economically as well as institutionally.

President Boris Tadić also discussed systemic changes as he stressed that Serbia’s institutional transformation has been recognized by all EU member states. The president, however, pointed out that next year will not be a decisive year whereby citizens are to recognize noticeable alterations in their living standard. Anybody who releases contrasting statements, according to Tadić, is not truthful. Instead, he pointed toward the successful infrastructural improvements regarding the repair of roads and bridges. The biggest problem for Serbia is her trade deficit. There is no solution without increasing exports which is part of the decade long chronic problem regarding Serbia’s economic downward trend. A report released by the ministry of finance indicated that Serbia’s debt amounted to 14.48 billion Euros – in other words, Serbia’s debt amounts to 44.8% of its gross domestic product (GDP) and has therefore grown since the 2010 fiscal period when debt amounted to 42.9% of its GDP. According to the law on budged systems, Serbia’s debt is not to exceed 45% of its GDP.

The president further stressed that as long as Serbia’s economy remains in dire straits; there will be no solution to the Kosovo question. Solving Serbia’s economic problems is therefore of greater significance than the Kosovo question, according to Tadić, as economic growth allows for improved international relations while resolving the central question of existence regarding Serbia’s citizenry. The economic question is the defining problem of our day and there is no state that can survive in political isolation, said the president adding that whatever political situation a state is about to make, it is central to take into consideration that the world is interconnected. Serbia, moreover, must avoid backward policies that lead to political unrest and instability. Tadić also stated that Serbia’s goal must remain EU membership despite the Unions economic problems while doing so does not stipulate that Serbia is no longer allowed to pursue economical and political cooperation with other states. In addition, the president questioned those who propose to “freeze” the current conflict in time as well as how and with whom’s help to resolve the conflict in the future while inquiring the opposite spectrum of politicians that proposed a complete reversal of decisions taken thus far. Who, Tadić asked, will explain to Serbs living in Kosovo that they will lose rights thus far attained should the Ahtisaari plan be implemented? The president thus stressed that Serbia ought to strive to promote a policy that includes a future with the EU as well as Kosovo. Cooperation to resolve the Kosovo question with other states, including “Washington, Moskau, Brussels, Peking as well as Albanian interlocutors” if of utmost importance while Serbia must pursue balanced politics. What matters in the end, however, is the voice of Serbia’s citizens.

Rasim Ljajić, minister of labour, employment and social affairs, stated that by deciding against Serbia’s EU status, anti European politicians gained strength. Ljajić explained that Serbia must continue to implement institutional reforms adding that doing so would remain important even if Serbia were to be denied membership status again in March of 2012. The minister also stated that Serbia has not given up on implementing UN Resolution 1244. Ljajić, however, cautioned politicians to refrain from being too secure regarding political success should Serbia be granted membership status pointing toward Croatia’s HDZ election debacle despite securing EU membership.

“Javni dug na kraju novembra 44.8 odsto BDP. Beta. accessed December 16, 2011.

“Profitirale antievropske snage”. B92. accessed December 12, 2011.

“Ekonomija klučo pitanje za Srbiju”. Radio-televizija Srbije. accessed December 11, 2011.čno+pitanje+za+Srbiju.html

“Tadić: Dogodine nema blagodeti”. B92. accessed December 11, 2011.

“Đelić neće da povuče ostavku”. Beta. accessed December 11, 2011.

Serbia and KiM

Boris Tadić announced that UN Resolution 1244 still provided the legal basis by which the Kosovo question can be resolved adding that he has a clear political plan as to how to resolve the problem. He did, however, not specify what the exact steps toward the goal of resolving the Kosovo problem were. The president explained that the request for Serbia to recognize Kosovo’s independence was on the table during negotiations with the EU while Serbia denied doing so. In clarifying Ivica Dačić’s statement, Tadić elucidated that the EU did condition Belgrade’s recognizing of Priština prior to Serbia’s recognition of EU membership status. However, not in the manner of Dačić’s words. Ivica Dačić had earlier stated that Serbia is only to be granted EU membership status lest she recognize Kosovo. Head of the EU delegation to Serbia Vincent Deger too demented such allegations stating that the EU at no point in time stipulated that Serbia must recognize Kosovo prior to being admitted as a prospective member to the Union. Deger added that such a stipulation would be futile given that five out of 27 members state themselves did not recognize Kosovo. Tadić clarified that resolving the Kosovo question is a political battle adding that he is sure that Serbia’s European partners will understand that accepting a sovereign Kosovo is a possibility that is unacceptable to Serbia. Moreover, Europe will understand that without a Serbian state located centrally in the Balkans, there will be no peaceful and stable future as is in the interest in all of Europe. Tadić concluded his speech by thanking Russia’s contribution of humanitarian aid to Serbs resident in Kosovo adding that no one humanitarian convoy aught to be stopped “especially not if the convoy is destined for Serbs resident in Kosovo who are truly the most vulnerable ethnic minority in Europe today”.

Earlier this week, a convoy carrying humanitarian aid destined for Serbs in Kosovo was halted at Jarinje and Brnjak as reported by the Russian news agency ITAR-TAŠ. Russian ambassador to Serbia Aleksandar Konuzin thus stated that the EULEX mission is once again no longer neutral subjecting the delivery of humanitarian aid to questions of politics. The delivery is stated to include mobile aggregates, blankets, food items and cots.

“Dežer: Priznavanje Kosovo nije uslov za kandidaturu”. Politika Online. accessed December 14, 2011.

“Moskva će problem konvoja na Kosovu pokrenuti u Briselu”. Glas Javnosti. accessed December 14, 2011.

“Tadić: Srbija nije prihvatila zahtev da prizna Kosovo. Politika Online. accessed December 13, 2011.

Bosnia i Herzegovina (BiH)

Head of South East Europe’s anti terrorism team Dževad Galijašević told Srna that the head of Bosnia’s Islamic Community Mustafa Cerić was given a large amount of money to support the Wahhabi movement in BiH. Galijašević, in an answer to the open letter written by Cerić, stated that he did not invent the problems that plague the Islamic community today. In his open letter, Cerić wrote that the “moving story” about Wahhabis was an invention by self-styled experts on terrorism comparing the treatment of Muslims in the region to the Jews in Spain during the inquisition in 1492. Galijašević further stated that the religious and political support is a real problem for Bosnia inviting Cerić to explain his repeated comparison of Bosniaks to Wahhabis adding that the Bosniak public does not support Wahhabi’s while he, Cerić, does. Galiješavić further stated that it would actually be better if Cerić were to explain how “he organized the planting of a bomb” under the Islamic Community (IC) that wounded the prior head of the IC effendi Jakub Selimoski as well as other murders taking place prior to Cerić’s ascendance to the post of the IC’s helm. Another question involved the finances of the IC.

In related news, the collegiate news paper Dnevni Avaz accused Bakir Izetbegović who is a member of the BiH government, to have protected members of the Wahhabi movement for years. Questions directed at Izetbegović include why he has protected the movement for years, what exactly his role was in “Islamsizing ” the Bosnian Army to the damage of Bosniaks as well as how many mujahedeen had exactly passed through his office between 1992 and 1997. The article further accused Izetbegović of playing a role in BiH’s mafia and criminal activity in cooperation with companies/groups such as Al-Šidi from Riyadh, BBI Centar, BiH’s Telekom and the OKI Company. Moreover, the doors to BiH’s EU accession are slated to remain closed on account of Izetbegović which will further hinder the state to prosper. A statement released by Izetbegović countered that such accusations had negative impacts on BiH, especially on its citizens. Furthermore, according to Izetbegović, none of the above accusations are truthful.

“Avaz: Izetbegović godinama štiti vehabije”. Vesti Online. accessed December 18, 2011.

“Cerić dobio novac da podrži vehabije”. Vesti Online. accessed December 18, 2011.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Whether or not Serbia receives EU candidacy status will not influence the upcoming elections as Rasim Ljajić, minister for labour, stated. Elections are likely to be held in March 2011. The minister added that even if Serbia were given EU status, elections would not be held early while no new requirements were added to Serbia’s EU accession requirements while there are changes to the hitherto requirements. The regional representation of Kosovo, for instance, is among those conditions changed. Ljajić added that that he expects a positive outcome for December 9th adding that Serbia is already in pre election mode.

Upon learning that Serbia will not yet be given EU candidacy status, prime minister Mirko Cvetković reminded foreign investors that Serbia is nevertheless an attractive state despite Serbia’s not receiving of EU candidacy status. Instead, she ought to be seen as a state on its way to the EU. The prime minister added that he does not believe that the EU’s decision will weigh heavy on Serbia’s economy while it will have negative impact on Serbia’s citizens. Cvetković added that he seeks to persuade Božidar Đelić to remain in office as he did not do his job badly. At any rate, Serbia will continue its policies of EU integration.

“Cvetković: Standard ne pade zbog EU”. B92. accessed December 10, 2011.

“Ljajić: Raspisivanje izbora ne zavisi od odluke Saveta EU”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed December 7, 2011.

Serbia and the EU

Serbia’s president Boris Tadić expressed moderate optimism concerning Serbia’s EU status at the outset of the past week. Following a conference hosted by the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Tadić stated that Serbia ought to stay optimistic while not being non-realistic concerning the “certainty of Serbia’s membership status”. He further noted that should Serbia not be granted status, Belgrade should nevertheless work and look to a future as part of the EU as membership is in the interest of Serbia’s citizenry. The president highlighted that membership was especially pertinent for Serbia’s youth who without the prospect of EU membership are poised to look toward an insecure future. Tadić further criticized earlier statements made by officials who proposed that Serbia does not need the EU and instead can work to achieve alternative political solutions. The president added that Serbia, in addition of having to secure EU membership status, needs to ensure a functioning system while finding sustainable solutions regarding the conflicts that ensued in the 1990’s.

In a press release from December 6th, Tadić stated that Serbia fulfilled all requirements, while Serbia deserved the status of EU membership accession. In a report issued by the Commission, Serbia received a positive assessment by which Belgrade’s cooperation with the ICTY as well as efforts at resolving Serbia-Priština problems were acknowledged. The president, however, reminded that Serbia does not yet know whether or not she will receive membership status or not.

Serbia, however, was not granted EU candidacy status on the 9th of December. Instead, Serbia will learn in March 2012 if a new round of negotiations will lead to EU candidacy status. Boris Tadić congratulated Montenegro and Croatia on their membership status adding that he is not surprised that Serbia was not granted EU membership status. Serbia, he added, will continue to seek EU membership status nevertheless.

“EU Procena u februaru, status u martu, I dalje uslovno”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed December 9, 2011.

“Srbija ispunila uslove za kandidaturu”. Beta. accessed December 6, 2011.

“Tadić: umereni optimista oko dobijanja statusa kandidata”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed December 3, 2011.

Serbia and KiM

Serbian president Boris Tadić called on Serbs resident in Kosovo to accept the agreement reached in Bonn, Germany, attained on the 3rd of December. At the SPD led conference, an agreement regarding the administrative crossings between Kosovo and Serbia has been reached. Priština and Belgrade agreed to post administrative officials from Kosovo and Serbia while EULEX will administer the system. Tadić appealed to Serbs on the barricades as well as to their leaders to accept the plan. However, the president recalled that Serbia agreed to post Serb and Kosovar officials on the administrative crossings and not on the border between Kosovo and Serbia. Serbia, in other words, will not recognize – “nor will recognize Kosovo’s independence” in the near future. Tadić reminded citizens, however, that now is the time to differentiate between politicians and populists adding that real and sustainable solutions are necessary for the state. Furthermore, the current situation does not ask for nationalist and patriotic commitments, but for viable solutions behind which one is able to stand – “I can stand behind my solutions” – the president added.

Later on, Zubini Potok’s mayor Slaviša Ristić and KFOR commander Adolf Konrad agreed found an agreement by which barricades by Jarinje will be removed. According to the agreement, a checkpoint – controlled by KFOR officials and members of the Kosovar police force – will be set up were they plan on controlling traffic. This means that people will remove themselves from the barricades which points toward a normalizing situation in northern Kosovo.

Edita Tahiri stated that the joint solution reached regarding the administrative crossing between Serbia and Kosovo was the result of joint action between Priština and Belgrade. Tahiri stated that the joint solution was in line with EU concept while it agreed with Kosovo’s constitution adding that Serbia, with said agreement, acknowledged the border between Kosovo and Serbia. “Kosovar rules will preside on the side of Kosovo while Serbian rules will preside in Serbia”. EULEX, meanwhile, will be the guarantor of the agreements agreed upon will be implemented. Kosovo’s president Hašim Tači meanwhile stated that the agreement regarding the joint administration of the crossing will ease movement of goods and people while Serbia “de jure” acknowledged Kosovo’s borders with Serbia.

“’De jure’ priznanje Kosovoa”. B92. accessed November 7, 2011.

“Postignut dogovor za Jagnjenicu i Jarinje”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed December 5, 2011.

“Edita Tahiri: Sporazum sapečaćeni rezultati akcije na severu”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed December 6, 2011.

“Tema dana: Tadić Kosovski Srbi da private sporazum o prelazima”. Politika Online. accesed December 3, 2011.

“Grenzkonflikt: Serbien bestaetigt Einigung mit dem Kosovo”. Die Zeit Online. accessed December 3, 2011.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Serbia’s president Boris Tadić announced that any existing links between Serbia’s political structures and the organized crime are severed adding that the upcoming elections are crucial in fighting the organized crime. According to Tadić, the fight against crime was not carried out with determination and only gained considerable strength with the current government. Tadić stated that the organized crime is not the generator of corruption as practices common in the nineties are no longer prevalent in Serbia. Tadić explained that Serbia, as well as other Eastern European states are no longer heavens for the organized crime as they know that they will be systematically rooted out. Successes listed by the president in proof that fighting against the organized crime is successful included the seizure of more than two tons of cocaine from South America as well as the confiscation of property paid for by criminal activity worth 350 million Euros.

Vojislav Koštunica, leader of the Serbian Democratic Party (DSS) stated that Serbia should “forget” about EU membership and instead ought to develop as an independent political state. According to Koštunica, Serbia should follow its national and state interest as opposed to bowing down to Brussels. Brussels, Koštunica continued, is not Serbia’s capital city: “we have a state and her name is Serbia”. Koštunica assured that he does not wish for Serbia to become isolated. Instead, he wishes to cooperate with all EU states. The leader of the DSS stated that policies tied to Serbia’s seeking of EU membership status comes with the price of losing Kosovo adding that the current government is ready to sacrifice Serbia’s state and national interests only so as to receive EU membership candidacy.

“Koštunica: Srbija da zaboravi na članstvo u EU”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed December 4, 2011.

“Tadić: Prekinuta Veza kriminala i politike”. Kurir. accessed November 29, 2011.

“Tadić: U Srbiji nema veze kriminala i politike”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 29, 2011.

Serbia, the EU and KiM

Brussels announced that Serbia is likely to receive EU candidacy status with the stipulation that continued talks between Kosovo and Serbia be fruitful. Upon a dialogue between Serbia’s vice president Božidar Đelić and head of the Belgian embassy, Đelić stated that since the danger of escalating violence in northern Kosovo is reduced, Serbia can count on Belgium’s support regarding candidacy status. Meanwhile, Serbia is likely to know if it will receive candidacy status by December 5, 2011.

Continued dialogue between Priština and Belgrade was taken up again on November 30th this past week. Borislav Stefanović stated that despite the difficult situation in northern Kosovo, both parties seek to find a solution regarding Priština’s representation in regional forums as well as crossings. Prior to the eighth round of talks, Stefanović stressed that KFOR should no longer try to remove the barricades by force adding that dialogue with Priština will continue to be difficult as Kosovo will not succumb from its self proclaimed status of being an independent state.

Tadić meanwhile advised Serbian citizens of northern Kosovo to remove the barricades. Defense minister Dragan Šutanovac echoed this notion as he noted that the security situation in northern Kosovo is critical emphasizing that Serbs should listen to their president. Head of the European Union caucus Nada Kolundžia added that the barricades are starting to threaten the lives and security of the citizens on the barricades as well as local residents. In such a situation, Kolundžia stated, one should forget about policies and incentives in the interest of people’s lives and security. Šutanovac added that it is not in his or the governments interest to arm-twist anybody into accepting the presidents wishes while it was important that Serbs on the barricades should work with the government as doing so lies in Serbia’s greater interest.

Meanwhile, the dialogue between Zubini Potok’s Mayor Slaviša Ristić and the KFOR’s commander of the German/Austrian unit Franz Pirkerk ended without any results save for an agreement that solutions to the situation in northern Kosovo will be brought about peaceful ways. In the near future, KFOR will not attempt to remove any barricades while Pirkerk stated that KFOR wants to establish a checkpoint by which to selectively inspect through traffic.

“Bez dogovora Srba i Kfora”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed December 2, 2011.

“Šutanovac: Srbi sa severa Kosova treba da uklone barikade”. Studio B. accessed November 30, 2011.

“Šutanovac: Srbi sa severa Kosova treba da uklone barikade”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 30, 2011.

“Stefanović: Barikake odigrale ulogu”. Politika Online. accessed November 30, 2011.

“Stefanović: Barikade odigrale ulogu”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 30, 2011.

“Đelić: O status ćemo znati 5. XII”. B92. accessed November 29, 2011.

“Đelić: Belgija za status kandidata Serbije”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 29, 2011.