Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eurasian News Nov 20-27

Turkmenistan-China - Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov November 22 began a four-day visit to China, and concluded the visit on Friday. During his stay in Beijing, Berdymukhamedov held talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and met with top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao. The visit is Berdymukhamedov's third state visit to China since he assumed the presidency in 2007.

Berdymukhamedov traveled to south China's Shenzhen and Hong Kong on Nov. 24 and 25. In Shenzhen, he met with secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Wang Yang. Turkmen natural gas began flowing to Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, during a ceremony in Shenzhen, where visiting Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and other dignitaries communicated via television with Chinese pipeline workers in Guangzhou. The gas is expected to help relieve an energy shortage in densely populated, industrialised southern China. Turkmen gas is expected to reach Shenzhen by the end of 2011 and Hong Kong by the second half of 2012. According to Wang Yang, the governor of Guangdong, one of the country's most prosperous regions, the province's demand for gas is expected to reach 60 billion cu m by the end of 2020, against 9 billion cu m in 2010.

During the visit, the two sides issued a joint statement on Wednesday in Beijing saying that they would establish a long-term, stable and strategic energy partnership. In particular, the two countries signed a deal that will allow Turkmenistan to increase its natural gas supply to China up to 65 billion cubic meters (cu m) from the current contracted delivery volume of 40 bcm annually via pipelines. This will support China's rising demand for the fuel and its efforts to cut emissions.

"Kommersant" draws attention to the fact that Turkmenistan intends in future to deliver more gas to China than it has ever sold to Russia before (about 42 billion cubic meters per year until 2008, now supplies dropped to 11 billion cubic meters). The parties did not mention When exactly Turkmenistan will be able to deliver 65 billion cubic meters gas per year. According to a source having access to the negotiation, it will not happen before 2014-2015.

China will purchase the additional gas at the price China is paying now ($250 per thousand cubic meters), lower than the price on the European market ($400). In return, China is ready to finance further development of the South Yoloten (the country has already invested in it $ 4 billion) and to participate in expanding the capacity of the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China gas pipeline.

This Turkmenistan-China gas deal raised Russia's concern that it could make the Russia-China gas deal more difficult to reach, because Russia is losing the Chinese market to Turkmenistan. However, on the other hand, it also makes the deal between Turkmenistan and the EU harder, which is in Russia's interests.

Among other documents signed during the visit - an agreement on cooperation in the field of education, training of police, anti-money laundering and counter terrorism, extremism and separatism.

Russia-Uzbekistan - Russia remains the largest trade partner of Uzbekistan. Russia's share amounted to 24.3% of Uzbekistan's turnover for the first nine months of this year. The volume of export and import transactions between Uzbekistan and Russia for the first nine months of this year increased by 5.64% to 4.591 billion dollars, compared to the same period of 2010. The exports of Uzbekistan to Russia amounted to 2.92 billion dollars, while imports from Russia - 1.66 billion dollars. The five largest trading partners of the Republic also includes Kazakhstan, China, South Korea and Turkey.

Kazakhstan - President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan claimed that Kazakhstan has entered the top three countries with the fastest growing economies, summing up the development of the country for twenty years of independence at the regular convention of the party "Nur Otan" on Friday in Astana. He also said that Kazakhstan has entered the top twenty countries in terms of attractiveness to investments.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan has become the world’s top uranium producer, reported November 24. Now producing 33% of worldwide mined uranium, Kazakhstan leads Canada (18%) and Australia (11%). Until two years ago, Kazakhstan was the third-leading producer. The country mined 13,957 tonnes of uranium from January to September, according to state-owned Kazatomprom.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Бердымухамедов прибыл с визитом в Китай" (Berdymukhamedov begins China visit)

"Туркменистан начал поставки газа на юг Китая" (Turkmenistan begins supplying gas to southern China)

"Туркмения пообещала увеличить экспорт газа в Китай" (Turkmenistan promised to increase its gas exports to China)

"Китай и Туркмения расширили газовое сотрудничество" (China-Turkmenistan gas cooperation extended)

"Туркмения обязалась поставлять в Китай до 65 млрд кубометров газа" (Turkmenistan committed itself to supply China with 65 billion cubic meters of gas)

"土库曼斯坦增加对华供气量对俄罗斯有利有弊" (Turkmenistan increases gas supply to China-both good and bad for Russia)

"Туркмения выбила "Газпром" с рынка Китая" (Turkmenistan has beaten "Gazprom" on the Chinese market)

"Новый договор Китая с Туркменией о поставках газа может осложнить переговоры страны с "Газпромом", - эксперт" (The new treaty between China and Turkmenistan on gas supplies could complicate the negotiation between China and "Gazprom" - expert)

"Из Туркмении дешевле" (Cheaper from Turkmenistan)

"Россия остается крупнейшим торговым партнером Узбекистана" (Russia remains the largest trade partner of Uzbekistan)

"Товарооборот Узбекистана с Россией за 9 месяцев превысил $4,58 млрд" (Turnover between Uzbekistan and Russia for the first 9 months of 2011 exceeded $ 4.58 billion)

"Назарбаев: Казахстан вошел в первую тройку стран мира с быстрорастущей экономикой" (Nazarbayev: Kazakhstan has entered the top three countries with the fastest growing economies)

"Казахстан - крупнейший производитель урана в мире" (Kazakhstan now world’s top uranium producer)

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.

“Lisovolik: Očekuje se stagnacija ekonomskog rasta u Evropi”. Ekonom East Media Group. Accessed November 20, 2011.

“Nismo bili nežni s Vladom Srbije”. Accesed November 20, 2011.

“Tadić: Pregovori s Prištinom ne vode proznanju Kosova”. Ekonom East Media Group. Accessed November 21, 2011.

“Uz podstrek EU moguć dogovor o prelazima”. Dnevnik. Accessed November 22, 2011.

“Stefanović: Uz podstrek EU moguć dogovor o prelazima”. Ekonom East Media Group. Accessed November 21, 2011.

“Stanković: Nastavak pregovora nije dovoljan za kandidaturu”. Ekonom East Media Group. Accessed November 20, 11.

“Dačić: Srbija može bez EU”. Radio-televizija Srbija. Accesed November 22, 2011.čić%3A+Srbija+može+bez+EU.html

“Dačić: Potrebna ravnotežna straha”. B92. Accessed November 23, 2011.


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.

“Blagojević: U vladajućoj koalicije nema ozbiljne krize”. Blic Online. Accessed November 21, 2011.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eurasian News This Week

Russia-Kazakhstan-Belarus - Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on Friday signed a decree to set up a joint body to oversee and regulate the economy and trade in the three nations, paving the way for an economic union of the three former Soviet republics. The Eurasian Economic Commission will be set up in January to regulate and to gradually take over functions in shaping and executing economic, trade and currency policies from Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh authorities in a way similar to the economic bodies of the European Union. The commission would help to set up the Eurasian Economic Union of the three nations by 2015, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said at a televised news conference.

Russia-Kazakhstan - During January-September this year, exports of Kazakh goods to Russia grew by 48% over the same period last year, announced at a government meeting by the Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Republic Kairat Kelimbetov. According to him, export growth should be attributed to the work of the Customs Union (CU) of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Anatoly Serdyukov and Adilbek Dzhaksybekov, defense ministers of Russia and Kazakhstan, discussed during a meeting the steps to form a unified air defense system. In particular, they identified concrete steps for the 2012-2014 Integration of Russian and Kazakh air defense systems, the formation of a unified information space. In addition, they discussed some issues of cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan in the framework of the CSTO.

Russia-Caspian Sea Region - Russian State Duma ratified an agreement on security cooperation in the Caspian Sea. One of the key provisions of that document states that ensuring security in the Caspian Sea is the prerogative of coastal states. The issues of military security are not regulated.

China-Kazakhstan - China supports Kazakhstan's efforts to combat terrorism, the state's national security and social stability, said in a statement of Chinese Foreign Ministry. According to the statement, China and Kazakhstan will enhance cooperation both bilaterally and within the framework of the SCO in countering the "three evil forces" to ensure peace and stability in the region.

China-Turkmenistan - President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov will visit China during November 22-25. The two countires are expected to sign several agreements on the further development of energy cooperation.

US-Russia-China-Iran - The administration of U.S. President said that Iran is unprecedentedly in isolation, because the leading world powers are united in their resistance to Tehran's attempts to obtain nuclear weapons. In his speech upon the closure of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, President Barack Obama said the United States, China and Russia are united in their objective of not allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Obama said that the recent IAEA report confirmed that although Iran has no nuclear weapons, its work does not comply with international obligations. Obama said the United States, China and Russia will hold consultations on possible measures to resolve this issue through diplomatic means.

Russia-China - Putin said at a meeting with leading German businessmen that Germany has stepped down from the first place in terms of trade turnover with Russia, while China has taken Germany's place with $80 billion, "and maybe even $ 90 billion" trade turnover with Russia by the end of this year.

China's demand for natural gas will exceed the needs of Europe by 2030, and will be more than 300 billion cubic meters. These predictions are voiced by the Deputy Chairman of OAO "Gazprom" and the head of OOO "Gazprom export" Alexander Medvedev on the international forum "Gas of Russia 2011". "This opens up prospects for Russian gas in any case, even with the development of shale gas produced domestically in China and LNG (liquefied natural gas) from other countries," suggested Medvedev. Medvedev said that currently China and Russia are considering two options of supply route from Russia to China, carrying a total amount of 68 billion cubic meters gas.

Russia-Tajikistan - Russia had detained some 1,500 Tajik migrant labourers for possible deportation as of November 16, according to the Interfax news service, which cited the Federation of Migrants of Russia. As of November 15, Russian authorities were holding 245 Tajiks for deportation, compared to 84 November 8, according to Safiallo Devonayev, head of Tajikistan’s Migration Service. The Kremlin and Devonayev both deny the recent roundups are linked to the recent Tajik imprisonment of two Russian pilots. However, the aviation firm for which the pilots worked has reportedly announced its intention to file a lawsuit against the Tajik government, according to press reports.

Kazakhstan-Turkenistan-Uzbekistan - Faced with a shortage of Uzbek gas, southern Kazakhstan has begun importing Turkmen gas. As of November 1, Uzbek daily gas deliveries fell to 100,000 cu. m. from 397,000 cu. m., Kazakh Vice-Oil and Gas Minister Berik Tolumbayev said, adding that by November 10 Turkmen gas had made up the difference in Zhambyl Oblast and other locations. Talks with Uzbekistan to resolve the shortage had failed, Tolumbayev said. Uzbekistan did not explain the reduction in deliveries to Kazakhstan, Fergana News reported, adding it could be linked to production declines in Uzbekistan or to growing domestic demand.

Turkmen Gas - Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Baimurad Khodzhamukhamedov November 16 said estimated Turkmen oil and gas reserves have increased by more than 1.5-fold since 2006, media reported. Total hydrocarbon reserves as of October 1 measured 72.21 billion tonnes, compared to 45.44 billion tonnes on January 1, 2006, he said.

Kazakhstan - Per capita income in Kazakhstan rose 15.2% between September 2010 and September 2011, media reported November 15, quoting the country’s Statistics Agency. The average per capita monthly income has reached 46,057 KZT (US $311), the agency said. Atyrau Oblast, Almaty city and Mangistau Oblast had the highest incomes, while South Kazakhstan, Zhambyl and Almaty oblasts had the lowest. Meanwhile, consumer prices rose 6.5% between December 2010 and October 2011, the agency said.

Pakistan-Turkmenistan - Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and visiting Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov November 14 agreed to expedite the $7.6 billion (Rs. 658 billion or 21.6 billion TMM) Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, media reported. The two sides also agreed to start nonstop flights between Pakistan and Turkmenistan in order to develop a trade corridor in the region, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

Pakistan-Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan - The Pakistani federal cabinet November 16 approved the import of electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to address Pakistan’s chronic power shortages, media reported. Federal Minister for Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said Pakistan has an agreement to import 1,000MW from the two Central Asian nations, Dunya News reported. The power would come as part of the regional CASA-1000 electrical-transmission project.

China-Pakistan - Pakistan and China November 14 began staging joint military exercises near Jhelum in Punjab Province, according to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement. The countries intend to share experience and information during the real-time two-week joint exercise, the ISPR said. It is the fourth military exercise between the two countries since 2004 in which both countries’ special forces are participating.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Россия, Казахстан и Белоруссия создают несоветский союз" (Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus to establish non-Soviet Union)

"Россия, Белоруссия и Казахстан сделали важный шаг к созданию Евразийского экономического союза" (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have taken an important step towards the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union)

"Поставки казахстанской продукции в Россию выросли 48%" (Kazakh goods to Russia grew 48%)

"Минобороны: Россия и Казахстан создадут единую систему ПВО" (Defence Ministry: Russia and Kazakhstan will establish a unified air defense system)

"Россия ратифицировала соглашение о сотрудничестве в сфере безопасности на Каспии" (Russia ratified agreement on security cooperation in the Caspian Sea region)

"Китай поддерживает усилия Казахстана в борьбе с терроризмом - МИД КНР" (Chinese Foreign Ministry: China supports Kazakhstan's efforts to combat terrorism)

"Президент Туркмении посетит Китай с визитом 22-25 ноября - МИД КНР" (Chinese Foreign Ministry: President of Turkmenistan will visit China November 22-25)

"США, Китай и Россия решили консультироваться о путях предотвращения получения Ираном ядерного оружия" (U.S., China and Russia decided to hold consultation on how to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons)

"США, Россия и Китай едины по ядерной проблеме Ирана" (U.S., Russia and China are united on the Iranian nuclear issue)

"Белый дом: США, Россия и Китай едины в отношении Ирана" (White House: U.S., Russia and China are united against Iran)

"На стороне президента Сирии остались только Россия и Китай" (On the side of the Syrian president left only Russia and China)

"Китай обогнал Германию по товарообороту с Россией" (China has overtaken Germany in trade with Russia)

"Газпром: Рынок КНР открывает перспективы российскому газу в любом случае" ("Gazprom": Chinese market offers prospects to Russian gas in any case)

"РФ задержала 1500 таджикских мигрантов" (Russians detain 1,500 Tajik migrant workers)

"Казахстан импортирует туркменский газ из-за нехватки узбекского" (Kazakhstan imports Turkmen gas to plug Uzbek shortfall)

"Туркменистан: запасы нефти, газа выросли в полтора раза" (Turkmen oil, gas reserves increase 1.5 times)

"Казахстан: доход на душу населения вырос на 15,2%" (Kazakh per capita income grows 15.2%)

"Пакистан, Туркменистан согласились ускорить TAПИ" (Pakistan, Turkmenistan agree to expedite TAPI)

"Пакистан импортирует электричество из Кыргызстана, Таджикистана" (Pakistan to import electricity from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan)

"Пакистан, Китай начали военные учения" (Pakistan, China launch military exercises)

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.

“Koštunica: Da li je ulazak u EU interes Srbije”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 17, 2011.

“Đelić: Dijalog s Prištinom jeste uslov”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 14, 2011.


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.

“Jevtinija kampanja na Fejsbuku nego u hali”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 20, 2011.

“Cvetković: Srbija otvorena za projekte energetskog snabdevanja”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 17, 2011.

“Infante: Najkorumpiraniji su država i policija”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 15, 2011.

“Ćirić: Opasnost od pada tražnje na tržištu EU”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 15, 2011.

“Srećković: Za SPO najbolje s DS-om”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 14, 2011.

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.ć

“Srbija zamalo priznala Vrhovni sud Kosova”. accessed November 13, 2011.

“Danas: Srbija zamalo priznala Vrhovni sud Kosova”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 14, 2011.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Eurasian News This Week

Russia-China - Russia formally concluded negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organization, and could become a full member in the summer of 2012. China welcomed the conclusion of the negotiations on Russia's accession to the WTO and believes that Russia's membership will enhance the organization's role, said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei. "We believe that Russia's WTO accession will strengthen the universality and representativeness of the WTO, as well as expand the influence of the multilateral trade organization," said the Foreign Ministry spokesman.

China remains the largest trading partner of Russia for the first 9 months of 2011, reported the Federal Customs Service. Trade turnover between Russia and China in January-September 2011 increased 45 percent compared to the same period of 2010 to 60.5 billion dollars. EU as a whole is the biggest economic partner of Russia, accounting for 48 percent of its foreign trade turnover in January-September 2011. According to the Ambassador of China in Moscow Li Hui, the trade turnover between Russia and China in 2011 could reach $ 70 billion by the end of the year. Li stressed that China is already a major trading partner of Russia.

SCO - The Shanghai Cooperation Organization held a prime minister-level meeting on Monday in St. Petersburg, and from the outcome it appears the group is continuing its trajectory away from being a security group -- as it appeared to be in the mid-oughts -- toward being a more economically oriented body. China talked about the need to expedite the selection of cross-border trucking routes, which China intends to issue loans for. The Russian Prime Minister also backs the strengthening of the SCO infrastructure shape. In order to provide favourable conditions for international roads, rail and air transport, it is necessary to create large logistic centers and transportation corridors.

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would contribute $500 million to the CASA-1000 electricity project, by which hydropower from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan would be transmitted to India and Pakistan. And he endorsed the idea of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline. The group also endorsed the idea of a new China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway. In addition, China raised the plan to develop the northwestern province of Xinjiang as a hub of trade with Pakistan. Russian prime minister Putin said that “Russia would welcome the positive review of applications to join our organization in one form or another from any interested nation. The authority of the SCO will continue to grow. ”

On the summit the prime ministers of the SCO member states also discussed the unsolved problems of Europe and the U.S., including the impending recession and the need to counter such threat. According to them, a new and more equitable world order needs to be established. Not only the six SCO member states participated in the summit, but also officials from Iran, Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In particular, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that Iran wants to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Russia-Kazakhstan-Belarus - Dmitry Medvedev, Alexander Lukashenko and Nursultan Nazarbayev will hold a meeting on 18 November in Moscow. The agenda of the meeting - the problems of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, in the framework of which a single customs territory formed on July 1, 2011. Particular attention will be given to the next stage of integration - the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as the improvement of supranational governance processes of integration.

China-Uzbekistan - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan held a meeting with Chinese Ambassador Zhang Xiao, during which the parties discussed bilateral relations. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, the most important stage in relations was the state visit of Islam Karimov to China during April 19-20 this year, which elevated the Uzbek-Chinese partnership to a qualitatively new level. According to State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan, trade between the two countries amounted to $ 2085.3 million in 2010, export - $ 899.9 million and imports $ 1185.4 million. On the territory of Uzbekistan operates 347 companies with Chinese investment.

Kazakhstan Terrorist Act - Seven people, including five police officers, have been killed in an attack by radical Islamists on a police station in the southern city of Taraz this Saturday. Deputy Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan Nurmakhanbet Isayev recognized that the suspect is MK Kariyev, a 34-year-old follower of the ideas of jihad, who blew himself up when getting caught. Among the seven victims, five were police officers.

Russian Military Expenditure - Alexei Kudrin, Russia’s former finance minister, criticized the federal budget and defense spending proposals, saying the government can’t rely on an oil price of $100 a barrel and expenditure increases must be offset by reductions elsewhere. Russia’s decision to increase military spending to 3 percent of gross domestic product must be reviewed, Kudrin said at the Sberbank conference. “If we increase expenditure somewhere, we must cut in other areas.” Russia gets most of its export earnings from oil. Urals crude, the country’s chief export blend, has gained 23 percent this year to $113.42 a barrel, and reached $122.88 on April 8.

Russian Gas - According to the data from International Energy Agency, Russia will remain to be the largest producer of natural gas till 2035 and will be the main source of the growth in its global supply, preceding China, Qatar, USA and Australia. However, experts warn that Russia is facing challenging tasks in the energy sector: "Major oil and gas fields in Western Siberia are depleted, and a new generation of more expensive deposits need to be developed both in in Western Siberia and in the new frontiers Eastern Siberia and the Arctic. "

Turkmenistan Oil and Gas - Turkmenistan plans significant increases in oil and gas production by 2030. Turkmenistan foresees annual oil and gas extraction of 67m tonnes and 230 billion cu.m., respectively, by 2030, according to figures presented at an OSCE-organised energy conference in Ashgabat November 4. It plans to export 180 billion cu. m. of gas yearly. Current Turkmen annual oil production is about 10m tonnes and gas exports are about 20-23 billion cu. m. Turkmenistan exports almost no oil. At the same conference, Turkmen Oil and Gas Minister Bayramgeldy Nedirov said signing of an agreement on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-India-Pakistan gas pipeline was “imminent". The pipeline has been under consideration since the 1960s.

Kyrgyzstan-Turkey - Turkey gave military vehicles and other military equipment to the Kyrgyz Defence Ministry November 4, Defence Ministry spokeswoman Aizada Igibayeva told Central Asia Online. The equipment worth US $1.76m (80.3m KGS) will be distributed among different military bases in Kyrgyzstan. The two countries have co-operated militarily since 1992.

Articles referred to in this post:

"Вступление РФ в ВТО будет способствовать усилению этой организации - МИД КНР" (The joining of Russia into the WTO will help strengthen the organization - China's Foreign Ministry)

"Китай по итогам 9 месяцев остается крупнейшим торговым партнером России" (China remains the largest trading partner of Russia for the first 9 months in 2011)

"Российско-китайский товарооборот может достичь $70 млрд" (Russian-Chinese trade turnover could reach $ 70 billion)

"На саммите ШОС решено установить новый миропорядок" (The SCO summit decided to establish a new world order)

"Россия и Китай отберут у США проект 'Нового Шелкового пути'?" (Russia and China will select the U.S. project "New Silk Road"?)

"Тегеран подал заявление на вступление в ШОС" (Tehran applied for SCO membership)

"Путин выступил за расширение ШОС" (Putin called for the expansion of the SCO)

"ШОС зовет Иран в свои ряды" (SCO invites Iran to its line)

"Президенты России, Казахстана и Белоруссии обсудят в Москве евразийскую интеграцию" (The presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus to discuss Eurasian integration in Moscow )

"В МИД Узбекистана обсудили узбекско-китайские отношения" (Uzbek-Chinese relations discussed in the Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan)

"Генпрокуратура Казахстана признала события в Таразе терактом" (Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan recognized terrorist attack in Taraz)

"А.Кудрин вновь раскритиковал рост военных расходов в России" (Kudrin again criticized the growth of military spending in Russia)

"Россия останется крупнейшим производителем газа до 2035 года - доклад Международного энергетического агентства" (Russia will remain the largest producer of natural gas till 2035 - report by the International Energy Agency)

"Туркменистан планирует увеличить добычу нефти, газа к 2030" (Turkmenistan vows oil, gas production increases by 2030)

"Турция предоставила кыргызам военное оборудование" (Turkey supplies military equipment to Kyrgyzstan)


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.š+bez+dogovora+o+prelazima.html

“Davutoglu u Beogradu”. Radio-televizija Srbije. accessed November 12, 2011.

“Tadić: Važno otkriti ko je pomagao skrivanje optuženika”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 9, 2011.

“Zukorlić: Jedinstvo bez obzira na Beograd”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 8, 2011.

“Tadić: Ne mogu da potpišem document Preokret”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 6, 2011.

“Nikolić: Insistiraću na ponovnom dijalogu o statusu”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 6, 2011.


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.

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.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Eurasian News This Week

Russia-China-SCO - Russia and China stand for accelerating the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). This was announced this Thursday by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

"The SCO has repeatedly in different formats and at different levels confirmed that the organization's membership is open to other countries in the region which are ready to comply with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the organization and other international documents adopted within it," he said, "We have similar positions with China on this issue, and we actively promote the idea of ​​expansion." "This issue is present in all forums, including the upcoming November 6-8 meeting in St. Petersburg," added Lukaszewicz.

"This is about Pakistan and Iran, who filed the application; and India intended to join the SCO; and Afghanistan expressed the desire to become an observer; Turkey would like to have a dialogue partner status." recalled the Foreign Ministry. "Of course, the expansion of the SCO is not so simple, it requires careful analysis and evaluation", he stressed.

Kyrgyzstan-China - The future president of Kyrgyzstan, Prime Minister Atambaev, and his political allies seem intent on calibrating the cash-strapped country’s foreign policy so that it aligns with Bishkek’s dire economic needs. This is likely to force Kyrgyz officials into a delicate balancing act in which they are challenged to keep the country’s two largest trading partners - Russia and China – happy. “To win an election without Russian support and the votes of the Russian-speaking population is difficult. But as president he will have to accommodate a quieter, more necessary force – that force is China.” said Osmonakun Ibraimov, who served as a state secretary under former president Askar Akayev and later became an economics professor at Manas University in Bishkek.

Atambayev made membership in a Moscow-led customs union, along with a general orientation toward Russia, a cornerstone of his successful presidential campaign, even though making good on such a pledge could threaten the crucial trade relationship with China by muddling tariff policy. At the same time, Kyrgyz policymakers, including Atambayev’s allies, are taking steps to assuage potential Chinese concerns by helping Beijing fulfill an old dream: construction of a Chinese-Kyrgyz-Uzbek railway.

Chinese officials have long entertained hopes for expanding the Kyrgyz export corridor, underscored by the fact that their plan to lay more than 300 kilometers of steel rails across the heart of Asia dates back to the late 1990s, when Kyrgyzstan’s WTO membership spurred Beijing to mull new export strategies. The railroad would be “like a port for a landlocked country” that would “connect Kyrgyzstan with the global economy,” said Ibraimov. As an early proponent of the rail route, he maintains the project could help unify Kyrgyzstan economically. Currently, only one mountainous highway connects the northern and southern provinces. The train track is planned to run from Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to Andijan in Uzbekistan, where it would link into the Uzbek rail network and shave hundreds of kilometers off the existing China-Europe route. Uzbekistan has already agreed in principle to pay for its own section of the track, which would total only 50 kilometers or so.

On the Kyrgyz side, economic necessity is running up against national pride. The idea of a Chinese-owned track slicing through their country sits uncomfortably with many Kyrgyz, who are emotionally averse to an increase in Chinese influence of any sort. Many Kyrgyz look distrustfully at China’s rapid growth, fearing their giant neighbor could swallow the tiny country.

Turkmenistan-EU - The European direction is an important vector of Ashgabat's new energy policy, said President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on the International Conference "Global integration of energy markets - ensuring energy security" on Thursday afternoon. Berdimuhamedov in his address said that at present, Turkmenistan is actively developing its own pipeline systems, and "the work of delivering Turkmen natural gas to Europe has become one of the main goals of Turkmenistan's energy policy. And, accordingly, Trans-Caspian pipeline system is an important project that demonstrates the readiness of Turkmenistan to the mutually beneficial cooperation with all interested parties." Turkmen president also stressed that at present there is a discussion of a gas pipeline "Turkmenistan - Afghanistan - Pakistan - India."

Articles referred to in this post:

"Россия и Китай выступают за ускорение процесса расширения ШОС" (Russia and China stand for accelerating the expansion of the SCO)

"Кыргызстан: Китай хочет проложить железнодорожный 'Шелковый путь'" (Kyrgyzstan: China wants to pave the railroad "Silk Road")

"Президент Туркмении: Энергетический вектор Ашхабада направлен в Европу" (President of Turkmenistan: Ashgabat energy vector is directed to Europe)

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.

“Kosovo počelo da izdaje biometrijske pasoše”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 1, 2011.

“Lavrov: Moskva ne menja stav o Kosovu”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 1, 2011.

“Lavrov: Zaobilaženje rezolucije 1244 vodi destabilizaciji”. Smedia. accessed November 1, 2011.


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.


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.

“Jusufspahić: Principi IZ su čisti i jasni”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 2, 2011.

“Tandir: Razgovori nisu prekinuti”. B92. accessed November 1, 2011.

“Propao sorazum o pomirenju dve Islamske zajednice”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 1, 2011.

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.

“Buzek: Neophodno nastaviti dijalog s Prištinom”. Ekonom East Media Group. accessed November 3, 2011.