Sunday, November 27, 2011
Serbia and KiM / Serbia and the EU
While continuous dialogue between Belgrade and Priština is deemed important, the simple continuation thereof will not determine Serbia’s bid for EU membership. According to Dejan Vuk Stanković, an analyst based in Serbia, if Serbia is admitted to the EU despite continuing blockades in northern Kosovo, the Union would admit Belgrade simply on the basis of goodwill. If barricades were to be withdrawn while agreements between Priština and Belgrade were implemented with political support from Belgrade, EU membership would be more likely. The opinion of Germany is of special importance and will make or break Serbian membership to the Union. As Stanković stated, should Germany accept that the Priština – Belgrade dialogue be continued without tangible results, Serbia is likely to receive membership. Stanković, however, recalled Wolfram Mas’ statement by which EU membership is not a gift, but must be deserved adding that mere membership is not the goal. Instead, the goal is that citizens of Kosovo and Serbia can resolve open questions regarding their daily lives. In any case, former ambassador to Paris and political science professor Predrag Simić added that dialogues are not likely to lead to tangible results as negotiators leave without agreed upon mandates from the Serbian government.
Continued dialogue between Priština and Belgrade were finally announced on the 21 of November. Head of Belgrade’s negotiation team Borislav Stefanović stated that the EU is most likely to expect a settlement concerning the administrative crossings by Jarinje and Brnjak adding that Serbia will propose differing solutions. In other words, Stefanović pursues to achieve that Kosovo abandon its desire for independence. In addition, Stefanović seeks to revisit hitherto reached agreements, as implementing them would threaten Serbia’s constitutional laws as well as the UN resolution 1244. Meanwhile, Edita Tahriri, head Kosovo’s delegation announced that a solution to the current situation is only possible by the “integration of border management” which implies Kosovo’s independence. Such a solution would be in line with EU principles. Answering to questions regarding the neutrality of EULEX in accordance with UN Res 1244, Tahriri stated that EULEX is no longer neutral as the mission agreed to uphold the laws of Priština’s government. Stefanović stated that themes discussed will include questions regarding university diplomas, regional representation of Priština and administrative crossings while discussions revolving around telecommunications and electricity are possible.
Boris Tadić meanwhile stated that continued dialogue with Priština does not imply explicit nor implicit recognition of Kosovo while assuring that Serbia will continue to lead a constructive policy toward Kosovo. Tadić further said that Belgrade seeks to resolve the problems of citizens resident in Kosovo and does not wish to get rid of them without a real solution. In this vein, Serbia will continue its search for solutions, as problems in Kosovo may be lead to problems in Serbia – a region of the EU. Meanwhile, protecting Serbian citizens in Kosovo is among the most important missions in view of the Serbian government as well as its presidency.
Minister for the interior Ivica Dačić, however, stated that Serbia will subsist even if denied EU membership. If the price for Serbia’s EU membership means giving up Kosovo, than Serbia should never agree to such a deal as Serbia’s vital national interest are at stake. According to the minister, numerous EU member states see it as Serbia’s duty to recognize Kosovo, a stance he described as “unprincipled and hypocritical”. Dačić explained that Serbia cannot “shut its eyes” concerning attacks on Serb citizens in Kosovo as an attack on them is also an attack on Serbia. If Serbia proofs unwilling to help the people in Kosovo, then the people will help themselves, Dačić added. Therefore, Serbia must try to solve problems in Kosovo by peaceful means and continued dialogue. The very next day, Dačić stated that Serbia should not say that it would never go to war over Kosovo as doing so would send the wrong message to Kosovo’s prime minister Hašim Tači. According to Dačić, a “balance of fear” is important for continuous security in the region. The minister again stated that physical attacks on Serb citizens resident in Kosovo is an attack on Belgrade arguing that the Turkish minister was able to state that an attack on BiH meant an attack on Turkey. Yet, according to Dačić, Serbia is not allowed to make the same statements. Dačić recalled that full recognition of Kosovo was hitherto never a condition for EU membership adding that Serbia fulfilled all the conditions he saw thus far in documents regarding Serbia’s EU integration.
“Dačić: Srbija može da opstane bez EU”. Ekonom East Media Group. Accessed November 21, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/169186.html
“Lisovolik: Očekuje se stagnacija ekonomskog rasta u Evropi”. Ekonom East Media Group. Accessed November 20, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/169106.html
“Nismo bili nežni s Vladom Srbije”. Accesed November 20, 2011. www.politika.rs/rubrike/Ekonomija/Nismo-bili-nezni-s-vladom-Srbije-lt.html
“Tadić: Pregovori s Prištinom ne vode proznanju Kosova”. Ekonom East Media Group. Accessed November 21, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/169154.html
“Uz podstrek EU moguć dogovor o prelazima”. Dnevnik. Accessed November 22, 2011. www.dnevnik.rs.politika/uz/-podstrek-eu-moguc-dogovor-o-prelazima
“Stefanović: Uz podstrek EU moguć dogovor o prelazima”. Ekonom East Media Group. Accessed November 21, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija//169132.html
“Stanković: Nastavak pregovora nije dovoljan za kandidaturu”. Ekonom East Media Group. Accessed November 20, 11. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/169108.html
“Dačić: Srbija može bez EU”. Radio-televizija Srbija. Accesed November 22, 2011. www.rts.rs/page/stories/sr/story/9/Politika/994924/Dačić%3A+Srbija+može+bez+EU.html
“Dačić: Potrebna ravnotežna straha”. B92. Accessed November 23, 2011. www.b92.net/info/vesti/index/php?yyyy=2011&mm=11&dd=23&nav_category=11&nav_id=559964
Oliver Dulić, minister for the environment and spatial planning demented rumors regarding a possible crisis within the Serbian government adding that there are disagreements as to the Kosovo policy and EU integration. Dulić assured that the ruling coalition is not threatened and stated that elections will be held as announced. The minister added that he does not believe that any party is interested in overturning the current government, especially not in light of the upcoming announcement on Serbia’s EU membership accession announcement.
Head of the International Monetary Fund in Serbia Bogdan Lisovolik stated that stagnating EU growth is likely to affect Serbia. Serbian trade with EU states is sizable while Italy, Germany and Bosnia i Herzegovnia account for the largest trading partners. Italy will most likely go through a recession and Serbia’s connections with Italy lie in the banking sector, foreign investment and export business. Germany too will experience stunted economic growth while BiH is significantly tied up in the EU market. While the situation or Serbia is not optimal, Lisovolik nevertheless predicted an economic growth of 1.5%. If, however, negative economic growth rates a deeper recession in Italy transpires than foreseen, Serbia’s numbers too are poised to fall.
“Dulić: Nema krize Vlade”. Ekonom East Media Group. Accessed November 21, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/169131.html
“Blagojević: U vladajućoj koalicije nema ozbiljne krize”. Blic Online. Accessed November 21, 2011. www.blic.rs/Vesti/Srbija/290359/BlagojevicU-vladajucoj-koalicije-nema-ozbiljne-krize
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Serbia and the EU
Deputy prime minister Božidar Đelić announced that the Serbian government plans on restoring its dialogue with Priština as doing so is a condition for EU membership. A renewed dialogue with Priština is set as the goal for the Serbian state, according to Đelić, so as to gain EU candidacy status – the decision on Serbia’s status will be made public in the coming weeks while Serbia was meeting with British and French governmental officials regarding EU candidacy the past week.
Vojislav Koštunica launched a debate in Serbia regarding the necessity of Serbia’s EU membership as, according to the former president, Serbian membership would imply good neighborly relations with Kosovo in the form of an independent state. Koštunica stated that Kosovo, recognized by 22 EU member states, poses the first problem Serbia faces regarding its membership, yet, according to the former president, it was time that Serbia reevaluate and examine the EU’s problems namely the Unions economic crisis and the potential ending of eastward expansion thereof. Koštunica added that it was becoming clear that the EU was comprised of first and second class states while he fears that Serbia would become a third rate member of the Union. He suggested that Serbia take inventory so as to find out whether or not EU membership was desirable. Meanwhile, there are questions whether or not the current government will survive should Serbia not be given the status of EU candidacy. According to “a member of the leading coalition”, the government will not necessarily fall should Serbia not receive candidacy while Tomislav Nikolić, head of the governments strongest opposition coalition, announced that Serbia is destined to fall should she be denied candidacy. Head of Serbia’s Liberal Party (LDP) Bojan Đurić summed up his attitude by repeating Dačić who stated that “there is no extraordinary crisis in Serbia, she is simply in a crisis of formation, the same crisis she has been in for the past 20 years”.
“Da li će vlada pasti ako ne dobijemo kandidaturu”. Politika Online. accessed November 20, 2011. www.politika.rs/rubrike/Politke/Da-li-ce-vlada-pasti-ako-ne-dobijemo-kandidaturu.lt.html
“Koštunica: Da li je ulazak u EU interes Srbije”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 17, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/168900.html
“Đelić: Dijalog s Prištinom jeste uslov”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 14, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/168628.html
Srđan Srećković stated that it would be best if the Serbian Renewal Movemement Party (SPO) would come out on the same ticket with the Democratic Party (DS) for the next election adding that the heads of the party will decide on the matter once elections get on the way. In his announcement, Srećković pointed toward the parties’ cooperation with the current government albeit differing opinions on “day to day matters”. Head of Serbia’s Socialist Party (SPS) Ivica Dačić stated his desire to continue his parties’ cooperation with the Party of United Pensioners of Serbia (PUPS) and United Serbia (JS) as it had withstood the test of time having garnered 7.6% of the vote during the last elections while Dačić believes it realistic to achieve 15% of the overall vote in the coming elections. Asked about the current situation regarding the conflict between the DS and SPO, Dačić answered that the conflict between two parties ought not to impact the effectiveness of state institutions while when cooperation is not possible, it is better to hold new elections to prevent governmental mal practice.
Serbia’s economic minister Nebojša Ćirić stated that Europe’s dropping economy poses a potential threat to the Serbian economy as a number of EU states no longer import goods from Serbia. In addition, domestic demand too has dropped. Pensions and wages are low, while the unemployment numbers surpass the 20 percent mark, hardly a situation in which domestic demand will increase.
The UN’s resident coordinator William Infante strongly criticized the Serbian government due to lack of significant results in fighting corruption. According to a report released by the UNDP, the government and police forces are among the most corrupt in the state. Infante pointed out that anti corruption undertakings were flawed from the outset given that no written specifications have been made on how corruption was going to be fought. Infante directed part of his criticism toward Mirko Cvetković who was supposed to implement a plan of action regarding the fight on corruption. He further stated that the media is often not objective as outlets are owned by parties and thus not impartial. Instead of relying on the print media, Infante suggested alternative ways, including Facebook and/or Twitter, of disseminating information to the public. Politika Online meanwhile announced that Facebook might proof more efficient in distributing candidates’ electoral campaigns. There are around 2,5 million people on Facebook while 20,000 people use Twitter in Serbia.
Serbian prime minister Mirko Cvetković stated at an energy forum held in Montenegro that Serbia is ready to participate and cooperate in projects such as the securing of energy supply to the region, technological improvement and expansion of transport and storage facilities. Initially, Cvetković refused to partake and only joined the event once Bekaja was asked to leave the hall. Thereafter, the prime minister spoke to Turkish prime minister Raccep Tayyip Erdogan recalling that Serbia was given an important mandate with the state’s involvement in building the south stream pipeline. With the development of gas infrastructure through Serbia, unemployment numbers would be reduced which in turn would strengthen the social component of the market economy while Serbia may act as a bridge between states not directly involved in the project. According to Cvetković, Serbia is in the process of identifying projects that would involve other regional states. Envisioned projects include the construction of reversible hydro connection between Republika Srpska, Serbia and Italy, the implementation of renewable energy projects and the laying of telecommunication cables – these projects would be realized parallel to constructing gas infrastructure and gas storage facilities.
“Čerić: Želim da i na naredne izbore izađemo sa PUPS i JS”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 19, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/169074.html
“Jevtinija kampanja na Fejsbuku nego u hali”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 20, 2011. www.politika.rs/Stranice/141083.lt.html#
“Cvetković: Srbija otvorena za projekte energetskog snabdevanja”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 17, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/168901.html
“Infante: Najkorumpiraniji su država i policija”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 15, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/168695.html
“Ćirić: Opasnost od pada tražnje na tržištu EU”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 15, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/168708.html
“Srećković: Za SPO najbolje s DS-om”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 14, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/168593.html
Serbia and Kosovo i Metohija
As Beta and Danas reported, a number of Serbian government officials prevented the Serbian government to adopt a conclusion which would provide the Kosovar Supreme Council with the highest authority regarding disputes in the province of Kosovo. An agreement regarding cadastre and registry books was not reached in Belgrade due to disagreements among Serb ministers. As Danas reported, signing off on the cadastre agreement would mean that Serbia recognizes the Kosovar Supreme Court with which various ministers did not agree. Serbia did not, and will not in the near future, acknowledge the Kosovar Supreme Court. Regarding the situation in Northern Kosovo, state secretary for Kosovo and Metohija Oliver Ivanović stated that it was not impossible that Serbs in Northern Kosovo will proclaim independence if the West keeps on insisting further talks regarding the implementation of customs seals in favor of Kosovo.
“Ivanović: Nije isključeno da sever KiM proglasi nezavisnost”. Politika Online. accessed November 20, 2011. www.politikao.rs/rubrike/Politika/IvanovićNije-iskljuceno-da-sever-KiM-proglasi-nezavisnost.lt.html
“Srbija zamalo priznala Vrhovni sud Kosova”. Danas.rs. accessed November 13, 2011. www.rs.danas/danasrs/politika/srbija_zamalo_priznala_Vrhovni_sud_Kosova.56.html?news_id=228008
“Danas: Srbija zamalo priznala Vrhovni sud Kosova”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 14, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija.168605.html
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Serbia’s president Boris Tadić stated that he was not able to sign the document “Preokret” (Turning Point) which was presented to him by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO). Tadić explained that it was an “illusion and delusion” to think that Serbia would accelerate its admission to the EU with a changed policy toward Kosovo. At the same time, Tadić added that the Great Powers will not allow questioning gains thus far brought about in Kosovo. Tadić noted that it was an anomaly and questioned why the LDP and SPO had invited him to sign the document in the first place. He stated that he was not able to change Serbia’s course of policy on Kosovo to bring it in line with the Ahtisaari Plan as was proposed the LDP and SPO adding that doing so would lead to an exodus of Serbs from Kosovo so that in three months time no Serb would be left in Kosovo. Upon the president’s refusal to sign the document, head of the LDP, Čedomir Jovanović, criticized the president. In a written statement, Jovanović stated that the president “was seriously wrong” if he deemed the “Preokret” document extreme and in any way unpatriotic. Insead, Jovanović stressed that “Serbia had no time to lose” and that signatories to the document included the bravest representatives of Serbia’s civil society. Tomislav Nikolić meanwhile stressed that he will insist on renewed dialogue with Priština regarding the status of Kosovo i Metohia. Nikolić, as he put it, addressed EU officials and he will seek support from the USA and Russia in his endeavor. “Serbia must not discontinue its institutions in Kosovo” and if the discontinuation thereof becomes a stipulation that is tied to EU membership, then “the EU should consider if it wants Serbia in the EU or not”. Tadić meanwhile is walking a fine line stating that the Albanian side would like to see a simple process by which Kosovo was acknowledged while Serbia cannot do that. However, according to Tadić, this does not mean that a solution is impossible to find. In an analysis of the transpiring events, Predrag Simić, professor of political science at the Belgrade University, stated that events such as the above are part of the pre-election contest in which differing parties situate themselves in differing camps. What is clear, according to Simić, was that there a two sides are transpiring; one side will argue that the future of Serbia lies in EU membership while the other will stress national security and the importance of Kosovo.
The Chief Mufti of the Islamic Community in Serbia Muamer Zukorlić announced that the Islamic community will unite regardless of official Belgrade support or lack thereof. Zukorlić assured that he is not interested in politics. Instead, he explained, he is interested in politicians’ action. The Mufti stated that Muftis and Imams are not allowed to participate in politics as was decided ten years ago and that he accepted this decision. Zukorlić added, however, that he will not stand idly by when politicians start to meddle in the matters of the Islamic community. Turkish foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu arrived in Belgrade on the 12th of November where he met with foreign minister Vuk Jeremić. He was scheduled to meet with Tadić and later with Muamer Zukorlić so as to find a solution to unite the split Islamic community of Serbia.
Boris Tadić stated that Serbia was not being asked to meet new conditions, but that Serbia needed to find out who was hiding war criminals for its own sake. This he told reporters upon meeting Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague in Belgrade. It was important to detect, according to Tadić, if there was/is a political network that protected war criminals and that these needed to be found for the protection of the security system and respect for the rule of law in Serbia.
“Još bez dogovora o prelazima”. Radio-televizija Srbija. Accessed November 13, 2011. www.rts.rs/page/stories/sr/story/9/Politika/990020/Još+bez+dogovora+o+prelazima.html
“Davutoglu u Beogradu”. Radio-televizija Srbije. accessed November 12, 2011. www.rts.rs/page/stories/sr/story/9/Politika/989676/Davutoglu+u+Beogradu+.html
“Tadić: Važno otkriti ko je pomagao skrivanje optuženika”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 9, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija.168277.html
“Zukorlić: Jedinstvo bez obzira na Beograd”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 8, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija.168173.html
“Tadić: Ne mogu da potpišem document Preokret”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 6, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/168075.html
“Nikolić: Insistiraću na ponovnom dijalogu o statusu”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 6, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/168073.html
On November 9th, KFOR removed the barricade that was months before erected by Serb citizens on the administrative border crossing of Jarinje near Leposavića. Serb citizens resident in Leposavića, Leška and other towns nearby hurried to protect the barricades and to erect a new one in its place. KFOR thus employed tear gas and stated that the employment thereof was necessary so as to disperse the crowd. State Secretary Oliver Ivanović stated regarding the incident on the border that the actions taken by KFOR were wrong and that such action will not prevent Serbs from creating alternate routes to Serbia.
“Probijena barikada blizu Jarinja”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 9, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/168289.html
Serbia and the EU
Karl Bilt meanwhile assured Serbia that the removal of the barricades on the Jarinje and Brnjak crossings are not regarded as new conditions that decided for or against Serbia’s EU membership while solving the question of the administrative border crossing between Serbia and Kosovo was. According to Bilt, Germany did not stipulate the removal of the barricades until the 9th of December which is when the commission decides on Serbia’s EU membership. However, there are questions within the EU itself. For instance, some states wonder whether an eastward expansion is necessary. Bilt expressed his concern not with regard to Serbia, but concerning EU enlargement per se as the EU is faced with economic and financial problems.
“Bilt: Uklanjanje barikada nije povezano s kandidaturom”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 10, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/168332.html
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Serbia and Kosovo i Metohija
Russia’s foreign minister Sergej Lavrov stated that circumventing UN Resolution 1244 in an attempt to resolve the Kosovo issue was a “gross violation of international law and may lead to destabilization in the Balkans”. In an interview with the evening news, the minister reiterated that Russia will not recognize the “self-proclaimed” independence of Kosovo adding that Moscow will continue to act within the boundaries of the international law. Asked about the trafficking of human organs in Kosovo, Lavrov answered that “without an impartial and diligent investigation into the illegal trade of human organs, reconciliation and normalization in the Balkans will be hard to achieve”. Russia supports Serbia’s proposal of a special investigation regarding illegal trafficking that would be carried out under the guise of the United Nations. Answering the question regarding U.S. plans to deploy missile defense systems in Romania, Lavrov explained that such actions illustrate that the U.S. will go in with its plans regardless of Russia’s worry about said implementation. Lavrov asserted that Russia was willing to prolong its dialogue on missile defense with the U.S. adding that Russia was forced to protect its security should Russia be ignored in the future.
Kosovo, meanwhile, has started to issue biometric passports which counts as one of the conditions for visa liberalization. At the ceremony, interior minister Bajram Redžepi stated that citizens will receive their passports 15 days from the date of application. The ceremonial issuing of passports was held in attendance of prime minister Hašim Tači as well as a “large number of foreign ambassadors”. Tači stated that the issuing of biometric passports was an important step for Kosovo.
KFOR removed the barricades that were erected by Serb citizens by the Brnjak administrative crossing only to be re-erected later by those same citizens. Such circumstances did not unravel by the Jarinje crossing. Serb citizens, according to Politika Online, were especially nervous regarding a rumor that the barricades were to be removed upon an agreement reached between KFOR and Belgrade. KFOR, meanwhile released a statement stating that all actions undertaken on the border are carried out upon consent with Serbian officials.
“Kfor uklonio barikadu, Srbi podigli još veću”. Politika Online. accessed November 5, 2011. www.politika.rs/rubrike/tema-dana/Kfor-uklonio-barikadu-Srbi-podigli-jos-vecu.lt.html
“Kosovo počelo da izdaje biometrijske pasoše”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 1, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/167635.html
“Lavrov: Moskva ne menja stav o Kosovu”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 1, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/167677.html
“Lavrov: Zaobilaženje rezolucije 1244 vodi destabilizaciji”. Smedia. accessed November 1, 2011. www.smedia.rs/vesti/vest/79157/
Serbia needs to maintain privileged relations with Russia as economic cooperation amounts to nearly as much as does Serbia’s and the EU’s, as was declared following a meeting on economics last week in Belgrade. Aleksandar Konuzin, Russia’s ambassador to Serbia, stated that cooperation is especially high in the energy sector. Russia’s goal is, according the Konuzin, that Serbia become the main exporter of energy in, as well as well as beyond the region. Konuzin stated that Russian investments to Serbia were the highest since the inception of cooperation between Belgrade and Moscow pointing toward a greater cooperation in the future. ABS Holdings president and vice president of the Democratic Party (DS) Nenad Popović stated that Serbia’s relations with the EU would be better if Moscow – Belgrade cooperation were stronger adding that wise economic policies will preserve and maybe even further Russian – Serbian relations in spite of closer EU – Serbia relations.
“Konuzin: Saradnja s Rusijom približava Srbiju EU”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 1, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/167634.html
According to Blic, the Serbian government refused to sign an agreement of reconciliation between the two Islamic communities brought to Belgrade by the Turkish foreign affairs minister Ahmed Davutoglu. The reason for Belgrade’s refusal, as Blic writes, was that only one muftiat was to be led by a person that is close to Adem Zilkić while five six spots were reserved for people close to Muamer Zukorlić. “Nothing would be achieved except the elimination of the Islamic community that is based in Belgrade would such an agreement be signed”. According to Blic, neither Serbian president Boris Tadić nor minister Vuk Jeremić wished to support such an agreement. The six mufti’s would be present in Novi Pazar, Tutin, Sjenica, Prijepolje, Priboj and Nova Varoš. However, president of the Islamic community of Serbia Samir Tandir denied these allegations asserting that nobody in the government was foreseen to sign the agreement. Tendir told Beta that these allegations are the result of somebody’s “nerves”.
Mufti Muahmed Jusufspahić of Serbia stated that secularism should be respected suggesting non interference of religion into politics as well as non interference of politics into religion when he was faced with the question of a Serbian – Turkish mediating role between the two Islamic communities of Serbia. Answering the question of Wahhabism in Serbia, Jusufspahić said that there about 300 “expressed” Wahhabis in Serbia who “cannot” pose a problem to the Islamic community of Serbia. He pointed out that not every “so called” Wahhabi is a terrorist while, however, there are enough terrorists among them. Jusufspahić added that there are also “plenty” of criminals within the ranks of the Wahhabi movement.
As Politika Online reported, assistant police director Saša Mitrović warned a few months ago that there are signs for possible attacks by Wahhabis in the Balkans. The two most influential “radical Islamist Bosniak factions” are the so called Nesretis and Tekfiris. The Nusretis are under the command of Nusret Imamović from Maoče, BiH. The Nusretis reportedly insist on Jihad, a topic that is a frequent topic in the group’s sermons. According to conducted investigations following the attack on the U.S. embassy last week, there is information that Jašerević worked in Maoči having travelled to Austria often. From this, Politika writes, one can extrapolate that Jašerević belonged to Nusreti’s group. Leading the Tekfiris is Nedžak Balkan from Austria. The group has decided not to preach Jihad while not ruling it out completely. Relations between the two factions are allegedly not good while they plan on improving them. Politika further reported that, according to “reliable sources”, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrived in Belgrade this past week so as to investigate the terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. The FBI reportedly sought to cooperate with the Serbian ministry for the interior. Upon arrival in Belgrade, the investigators are thought to travel to Novi Pazar so as to gather information regarding last week’s shooting. According to Politika investigations, the FBI plans on meeting Ivica Dačić, minister of the police, so as to obtain information Serbia has gathered thus far about radical Islam in the Balkans.
“FBI istražuje vehabije i u Novom Pazaru”. Politika Online. accessed November 5, 2011. www.politika.rs/rubrike/tema-dana/FBI-istrazuje-vehabije-i-u-Novom-Pazaru.lt.html
“Jusufspahić: Principi IZ su čisti i jasni”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 2, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/167758.html
“Tandir: Razgovori nisu prekinuti”. B92. accessed November 1, 2011. www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2011&mm=11&dd=01&nav_id=554109
“Propao sorazum o pomirenju dve Islamske zajednice”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 1, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/167675.html
Serbia and the EU
Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, welcomed the Commission’s decision to grant Serbia the status for EU candidacy while sending a message that Serbia must continue its dialogue with Kosovo as the crisis following violence in northern Kosovo was unacceptable. In Buzek’s words, Serbia is very close to candidate status and the start of membership negotiations. The key, however, are normalized relations with Kosovo. “It it is a requirement”. For instance, free movement of people and goods must be guaranteed. Minister for Kosovo i Metohija Goran Bogdanović meanwhile asserted that Serbia will not withdraw Serbian institutions from Kosovo as this would represent a “quite ethnic cleansing” of Serbia’s own people. Answering on Serbia’s withdrawal of institutions as part of the EU’s conditions, Bogdanović stated that this is inacceptable as Serbian citizens are only held in those parts where Serbian institutions exist.
“Bogdanović: Srbija ne odustaje od institucija”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 4, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/167934.html
“Buzek: Neophodno nastaviti dijalog s Prištinom”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 3, 2011. www.emg.rs/vesti/srbija/167823.html