Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vucic, Pusic: Serbia should get start date in June

4/29/2013 7:04:00 PM

ZAGREB - Serbia's First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister Vesna Pusic agreed in Zagreb on Monday that Serbia should get a start date for EU entry talks in June. Pusic, who is also serving as the Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, said at a joint news conference following the talks with Vucic, who is also Serbia's defense minister, that Croatia supports Serbia on its path toward joining the bloc. “Croatia maintains the stance that it is absolutely necessary to grant Serbia a start date for EU accession talks in June,” Pusic said. Vucic said that the EU membership is Serbia's strategic goal and that the country's leadership expect to obtain a start date for EU entry talks in June. Speaking about cooperation between the two countries, the Croatian minister thanked Vucic for his visit which would help improve the bilateral relations which are heading in a constructive direction. 

 The minister underlined the importance of economic cooperation between the two countries, especially in terms of Croatia's EU entry on July 1, adding that certain preparations were made to make sure that economic cooperation could develop further. Vucic said that Croatia and Serbia are key countries of the region and that their relation is essential for regional growth. 

We should foster relations in a rational and pragmatic way, so that they could also be better on the economic and political planes than they have been so far, Vucic said. Asked about whether Croatia and Serbia might drop the genocide lawsuits against each other, Pusic said that is extremely important issue for Croatia, underscoring that it is also important to resolve the issue of the missing people, noting that “certain progress” has been achieved with respect to that, which opens up a possibility for talks on that issue. She thanked Serbia for cooperation and information which led to the identification of the people that had gone missing in Sotin near Vukovar, eastern Croatia. Replying to the question about the lawsuits, Vucic also said that is not an easy issue, but that Serbia remains open for talks, and voiced confidence that the two countries will arrive at a common solution. ----------- 

On joint participation in third market 
 Vucic conferred Monday with Croatian Defense Minister Ante Kotromanovic about military cooperation between the two countries, including possible joint participation in the third market and in peacekeeping missions. The two officials discussed military-military, military-educational, military-economic and military-medical cooperation between Serbia and Croatia. Vucic suggested that Serbian and Croatian military experts should meet as soon as possible, in order to concretize the cooperation and invited Kotromanovic to visit Serbia soon. Kotromanovic stressed this is a good opportunity to develop relations between the two countries, faster and better than before.

 "Our cooperation is at a very low level and this is a good opportunity to raise it to a level we have with other former Yugoslav countries, because there is a lot potential for that," Kotromanovic concluded. Vucic and Mimica on EU path of Serbia and Croatia Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia's deputy prime minister and defense minister, met Monday in Zagreb with Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister Neven Mimica to discuss the European path of the two countries. 

 The topics of the meeting also included economic cooperation and joint international projects for attracting foreign investments. Vucic said good relations are important for the two countries and thanked the Croatian official for the support his country is offering to Serbia in the EU integration process. Croatia's deputy PM said this was a very important visit, at a good time, when both countries are on the right track toward the EU. "Everything that happened in the past must not be an obstacle to the development of future relations between the two countries. We cannot allow differences in out views of the past to negatively affect our future cooperation," said Mimica. Vucic invited his Croatian counterpart to visit Serbia in the near future so they can continue talks on more concrete projects, the government press office said in a release. -------------- 

Vucic: Pragmatic approach to future relations 
 Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia's deputy prime minister and defense minister, met Monday in Zagreb with Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister Vesna Pusic, where he said that a rational and pragmatic approach to building future relations between Serbia and Croatia is significant for both countries and their people. "It is quite clear we have different views of the past and it is quite clear we cannot reach an agreement about this. However, a rational and pragmatic approach to building future relations between Serbia and Croatia is significant for both countries and their people,“ said Vucic. The Croatian deputy PM, who is also the minister of foreign and European affairs, said her country supports Serbia’s EU path without reservations. Vucic thanked Croatia on the support and stressed that EU accession is Serbia’s strategic goal and he expects Serbia will get a starting date for accession talks in June. The topics of the meeting also included economic cooperation, cooperation in the area of EU integration, missing persons, and the problem of property rights and pensions, the government press office said in a release. ----------- 

Croatian president meets with Serbian deputy 
PM Serbia's First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said during a meeting with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic in Zagreb Monday that the two countries should turn to the future, and the Croatian President said that Serbia can count on Croatia's unreserved support in European integration. Vucic and Josipovic discussed bilateral relations, regional cooperation and the development of economic relations, and the issues of missing persons and returnees, the Serbian government's media relations office said in a release Monday.

 Josipovic stressed that the communication between the two countries must intensify in order to prevent the dissemination of false or misleading information. “Individually, we are small countries and can hardly make any profit on third markets, but together we have a chance. We support Serbia's path to the European Union, as Europe will not be complete without you. You will have our unreserved support along the way. Stability in the region is very important to us,” said Josipovic. The Serbian deputy prime minister thanked Croatia for backing Serbia on its European path. “Despite the past and the differences in its interpretations, we must think of the future and our relations. We have opened a lot of issues today, and soon we will form expert teams who will discuss the realization of our plans,” Vucic said Josipovic pointed out that “the public have detected all the problems we have had between us and with a bit of will all the issues can be resolved quickly.” “Property issues, tenancy rights, citizenship, these are all issues that should be resolved as soon as possible,” both officials agreed. Vucic's meeting with Josipovic marked the end of his one-day visit to Croatia. ---------- 

Pusic: Room to discuss withdrawing lawsuits 
 Croatia’s Deputy Prime Minister Vesna Pusic said after a meeting with her Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in Zagreb that the door is opening to a conversation about the withdrawal of Croatia's and Serbia’s reciprocal genocide lawsuits before the International Court of Justice, since the first serious steps have been taken to resolve the issue of missing persons. “When we see that we are making considerable progress on the missing persons issue and coming closer to resolving it, then we are also close to being able to talk about withdrawing the lawsuits,” Pusic said at a joint news conference at the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Vucic, who was on his first official visit to Croatia, said this is not an easy issue, but Serbia remains open to talks. 

He said it is just for the families to know where the remains of their loves ones are buried. Serbia recently presented Croatia with information about a mass grave in Sotin, on the outskirts of Vukovar, from which the remains of 13 Croatian civilians were exhumed last week. Saying she is glad to see Vucic in Zagreb, Pusic noted they discussed issues left over from the 1990s war, economic issues and cooperation in European integration. Pusic congratulated Vucic and Serbia on the success in reaching an agreement in Brussels, “which will be a contribution to the stability and European future of the region, for these two countries, and for all other countries, Croatia included.” Vucic said Serbia does not consider Kosovo a state and sees the issue differently than Croatia. Croatia supports Serbia's EU path without reservations and maintains the stance that it is absolutely necessary to grant Serbia a start date for EU accession talks in June, Pusic said. “We also talked about solving housing rights and pension issues,” said Pusic, adding that Croatia is ready to consider certain objections the Serbian side voiced about the housing rights issue. 

 Vucic said the relations between Serbia and Croatia are “the backbone of the region” and must be based more on honesty and credibility and less on emotions, as was the case in the past. “Croatia and Serbia are key countries of the region and there should not be any emotions there, our relations should be developed rationally and pragmatically,” said Vucic. 

 The issue Belgrade will insist on is pensions and housing of Croatian citizens of Serb nationality who fled to Serbia after Operation Storm, said Vucic, noting there has been progress. “We are thankful to Croatia for supporting Serbia’s European path and happy about the fact that Croatia will become an EU member country,” said Vucic, expressing readiness for the two countries to develop economic cooperation, cooperate in third markets, and make reciprocal investments. “In addition to the rights of Serbs in Croatia, we also talked about the rights of Croats in Serbia,” said Vucic, adding that Serbia will solve any problems in line with international law. Photo Tanjug, N. Milosevic

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