The Hague and Kosmet were the main topics of talks with the US President’s advisor for national security, Steven Hadley, stated Serbia and Montenegro Minister for Foreign Affairs Vuk Draskovic in Washington. Draskovic said that he conveyed to Hadley expectations that until next month Serbia and Montenegro will fulfill conditions for the positive assessment of the Feasibility Study for the association with the EU and proposed that in that case the State Union be immediately admitted to the PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE.

Following the termination of the procedures of appeal, the Hague Tribunal Chamber of Appeals brought the final verdict and sentenced Dragan Nikolic – Jenki to 20 years of imprisonment for crimes committed in summer 1992, in Susica Camp near Vlasenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina. According to the 1st degree verdict Nikolic was sentenced in December 2003, to 23 years of prison, after which his defense filed a complaint. In September 2003, Nikolic pleaded guilty of 9 murders and torture of Bosniaks and other non-Serbs in the Susica Camp as well as persecution of non-Serb population from the region of Vlasenica.

In his talks with Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, President of the Czech Parliament Lubomir Zaoralek stated in Podgorica that in the process of resolving of the state status of Montenegro, the official Prague will respect democratically expressed will of its citizens. Djukanovic informed Zaoralek about the relations within the State Union, its non-functioning and Montenegro’s propositions for the arrangement of future relations between Podgorica and Belgrade, it has been communicated from the Prime Minister’s Cabinet. As a member of the EU and NATO, the Czech Republic is interested in the stability of the West Balkan and the adoption of standards, which will enable its inclusion in European trends, Zaoralek emphasized. The Montenegrin Assembly President Miodrag Krivokapic also spoke with Zaoralek.

Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic said that the functioning of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro has proved it to be expensive and inefficient. In talks with the Czech Assembly President Lubomil Zaoralek in Podgorica, Vujanovic said that relations between Montenegro and Serbia were the best when they were independent states, his cabinet announced. Zaoralek said that it is important that the will of Montenegrin citizens, expressed at a democratic referendum, should decide about the future of Montenegro. The collocutors agreed that there is need and large potentials for a better cooperation between Montenegro and the Czech Republic.

On the occasion of the two years’ anniversary of the adoption of the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said he believes that the inclusion of the state union in the EU is the best solution for the country and that the continuation of the process of integration represents a much better and more rational solution than any new disintegrations of the state, which would create further problems. Kostunica assessed that a positive assessment of the Feasibility Study is very important for the future of the state union and that it is expected by the end of March. In his written statement, Kostunica emphasized that Serbia is firmly in favour of the European path of the state union and that that is in the best interest of both Serbia and Montenegro.

Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic said that Serbia and Montenegro ought to agree on holding direct elections to the state union parliament immediately after fulfilling obligations towards the Hague Tribunal. On the occasion of the two years’ anniversary of the adoption of the Constitutional Charter, Marovic told the Podgorica DAN daily that he believes in the possibility of compromise between Serbia and Montenegro on the elections. Serbia and Montenegro Assembly President Zoran Sami assessed that the state union has a future. Sami said that in the case of the disintegration of Serbia and Montenegro the issue of borders and an entire series of other problems would be opened and would again destabilize the region.

UNMIK spokesperson Jeff Billie said that talks between Belgrade and Pristina, at the level of working groups for missing persons, should continue in the second half of February. Billie said that UNMIK appreciates the good will and readiness of Belgrade to take part again in dialogue on missing persons, to which, as he specified, UNMIK will give full support, as has been done in earlier talks on the same topic by representatives of the International Red Cross. The UNMIK head hopes that the meeting will be held in Belgrade, Billie said and added that UN representatives have been receiving positive signals from the Kosovo government for those talks.

The Republic of Srpska Interior Minister, Darko Matijasevic, said in Banjaluka that the RS police was maintaining regular contacts with the family of Hague indictee Radovan Karadzic, but would not specify any details. The contacts are in line with our legal obligations and the intention to use the institution of voluntary surrender and the collection of data on the movements of Hague indictees and Mr Karadzic among them, Matijasevic said. Those activities will last until full cooperation with The Hague has been achieved in the Republic of Srpska, Matijasevic stressed.

It will be very difficult to fulfill the standards in Kosmet which are the condition for negotiations on the final status of the Province, stated former High Representative to Bosnia-Herzegovina and EU envoy to Kosmet Wolfgang Petritsch. He reminded that the fulfillment of standards, such as the return of Serbs, freedom of movement and basic human rights, is the obligation of UNMIK and provisional institutions in Kosmet, but the process so far indicates that this will not be easy. Commenting the fact that some Serb villages have been without power for months, he said that the position of Serbs, who have remained in the Province in spite of tragic events, is tragic and everything must be done to help those people.

Serbia and Montenegro Foreign Minister, Vuk Draskovic is visiting Washington, where he will have talks today with the National Security Advisor to the US President, Steven Hadley. In an interview to VOICE OF AMERICA he said that he did not know the whereabouts of General Ratko Mladic, but underlined that Serbia and Montenegro must completely fulfill obligations towards The Hague Tribunal. We will not be able to begin talks on EU accession without complete fulfillment of obligations towards the Tribunal. This means that all indictees must be in The Hague when negotiations on accession begin, Draskovic said.

Republika Srpska police are in contact with the family of Radovan Karadzic every week in order for him to surrender voluntarily to Republika Srpska authorities, the VECERNJE NOVOSTI daily writes. In return, Karadzic is offered legal and financial aid before The Hague Tribunal and care for his family. Members of the Karadzic family confirmed that this communication has been going on for several months. Spokesperson of the Center for Public Security for eastern Sarajevo, Radovan Pejic said that the Republika Srpska police have been attempting to establish contact in every way possible with all Hague indictees and to convince them to surrender voluntarily, and at the same time to locate them and extradite them to The Hague.

Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic expressed his belief that the State Union would receive the Feasibility Study in March and accelerate the negotiating process on the Stabilization and Association Agreement to the EU, and that it will become a PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE member in the meantime. In an interview to the VECERNJE NOVOSTI daily, Marovic assessed that concrete results of Belgrade’s cooperation with The Hague Tribunal are encouraging and that the State Union should take a European course this year.

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