Friday, May 31, 2013

Hague: Serbia shows responsibility

5/30/2013 6:02:00 PM

BELGRADE - British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday in Belgrade that Serbia has shown full responsibility and seriousness and that he is very optimistic about its expectation that it will get a date for opening accession talks with the EU from the European Council towards the end of June. In a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Ivan Mrkic, Hague said the Serbian leadership has done precisely what it said it would do over the last few months of intensive talks, and that Brussels and all EU member countries have recognized this. This has created a very favorable impression of Serbia and its efforts related to the EU accession process, he said. Mrkic informed Hague about all the activities Serbia is undertaking in the implementation of its agreement with Pristina, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a release. 

 The Serbian foreign minister noted that it needs to be understood that the quality and content of the implemented measures is more important than the speed of their enactment. Hague and Mrkic also talked about the ministerial meeting of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) set to take place on Friday in the Macedonia city of Ohrid, with Hague welcoming the decision to go forward with the event. The ministerial meeting was supposed to precede a SEECP summit planned for this weekend, which was canceled after three countries - Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Romania - objected to an invitation for Kosovo. Meanwhile, the presidents of Albania and Croatia announced they would not take part since Kosovo is not invited. Hague is on a one-day visit to Serbia, where he has already meet with President Tomislav Nikolic. Serbia's First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday during a meeting with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague that Serbia has meet all conditions for getting a start date for EU entry talks, while the UK official called for an effective implementation of the Brussels agreement. “After being granted the date and creating a more favorable climate, we hope for a greater number of investments from the United Kingdom,” Vucic said, and his office announced in a release. At the start of the meeting, Hague said that he came to give an encouragement to Serbia's progress toward the EU. The UK foreign secretary welcomed the progress in normalizing relations between Belgrade and Pristina, and called for an effective implementation of the Brussels deal. The progress on the ground will be a guarantee for further advancement along the path toward EU membership, as well as security and stability for citizens of Serbia, Hague underscored. Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday in Belgrade that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue brought a great step toward a solution for the problems in Kosovo and toward peace and stability in the region. According to a release from the Serbian government's press office, in the meeting Hague noted that he came to Belgrade to encourage the Serbian government and offer support to Serbia on its European path. 

 The British minister called for an efficient implementation of the Brussels agreement. Dacic said the goal is to find a just solution for the problems in Kosovo and to ensure peace, stability and a safe life for the Serbs in the province. Great Britain should help improve the position of Serbs in Kosovo, said the prime minister, stressing that Serbia has fulfilled all conditions for getting a date for EU accession talks. The two officials also discussed opportunities for advancing economic cooperation between Serbia and Great Britain. --------------- 

Serbia should not to be subjected to pressures 
 Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said Thursday that Serbia has done much over the past year's time, adding that it should no longer be subject to any pressures and that it rightfully expects to get a date for the start of accession talks with the EU, and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague gave Nikolic assurances that London will support Serbia's efforts. We have to show that we are doing our best for the well-being of the Serb community in Kosovo-Metohija, President Nikolic said during his meeting with the guest from the United Kingdom. According to Nikolic, the Serbs should be deciding for themselves about their own security, income, education, health both in the north and south of the province. 

 As much as we consider it important to get the date, we will not do anything in the last moment, or under pressure, as was the case until now, the Serbian president's press office cited Nikolic as saying. Hague congratulated the Serbian president and senior government officials on the progress made and on the firm and decisive leadership shown so far, giving Serbia assurances that the United Kingdom will support the recommendation to give Serbia the date to open the EU accession talks. Regarding the implementation of the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, Hague expressed the expectation that a sustainable and constructive progress will show soon.

 I am here to encourage you on your European path and to convey the spirit of support, which my German colleague Guido Westerwelle had already done, said Hague. Nikolic said that Serbia should no longer be subject to any pressure, because it has shown that it is willing to resolve all problems through dialogue and became a guarantor of peace and stability in the region. The Serbian president pointed to the historical alliance of the two countries and expressed regret that it has been undermined in recent history. The United Kingdom is a very important partner to Serbia, and we want to deepen and improve the bilateral relations in all areas, Nikolic said. As a man who respects tradition, though not a monarchist, I particularly appreciate the fact that the UK gave refuge to the Karadjordjevic royal family in exile, Nikolic said. Photo Tanjug, Z. Zestic

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