Saturday, July 7, 2012

DS party leader shakes hands with Kosovo Albanian PM

BELGRADE, ZAGREB -- Democratic Party (DS) leader and former Serbian President Boris Tadić had numerous meetings at the 7th Croatia Summit on Saturday, said reports from Dubrovnik.
Boris Tadić (Tanjug, file)
Boris Tadić (Tanjug, file)
Among them was Kosovo Albanian PM Hashim Thaci, with whom Tadić was photographed shaking hands.
Tadić said that the handshake with Thaci "had no historical importance but that it was good because the two peoples had a problem that needed to be solved".

He told Tanjug that if the problem was not solved it would persist and cause suffering to the next generations.

According to the DS leader, politicians are obligated to solve problems and not to make sure that they do not feel uncomfortable.

Tadić met with Croatian President Ivo Josipović and Prime Minister Zoran Milanović this morning and he is scheduled to meet with Croatia’s Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić later today.

He also met with former Slovenian PM Borut Pahor, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, various EU representatives and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon but stressed that they would talk in Belgrade on Sunday.

Serbian officials are not attending the summit due to Thaci’s participation.

“The meeting Tadić was avoiding while he was a Serbian president is happening today,” writes Zagreb-based daily Večernji list reported earlier on Saturday.

“Even though Tadić is a former president, he is still the highest-ranked Serbian politician who is meeting with the Kosovo prime minister at an international gathering,” the daily pointed out.

According to Večernji list, U.S. diplomats were trying to persuade Tadić to come to the first day of the Croatia Summit on Friday but he did not go to Dubrovnik.

Although Serbia was invited, it did not send its representatives to the Croatia Summit. Serbia did not attend the summit in the previous years due to participation of the Kosovo PM.

Aside from Croatian top officials, prime ministers and high officials of the countries of the region, the U.S., EU and NATO are attending the summit.
The "Golden Down", in the Greek Parliament: We will fight to liberate the Northern Epirus"

Macedonia: Measures for better relations with Greece

SKOPJE -- The Macedonian government has proposed a set of measures aimed at intensifying the country’s relations with Greece.
A view of Skopje (Tanjug, file)
A view of Skopje (Tanjug, file)
The two countries’ relations have been at a standstill for a long time due to a several-decade long dispute over Macedonia’s name.
Greece has blocked Macedonia’s EU integration process over the name dispute.

At a press conference on Saturday, Macedonian government Spokesman Aleksandar Gjorgjiev presented an agenda that envisages meetings between state representatives and officials, signing of the a cooperation declaration, a joint education-historical committee, a joint contact-center of the Interior Ministries and opening of a new border crossing near Dorjane.

The future meetings will be aimed at improving the dialogue and strengthening mutual trust, according to Gjorgjiev. He added that the two countries’ ministers and PMs would meet and that it would intensify the talks in the UN and help Macedonia and Greece reach a solution.

Commenting on Greece’s statements that the EU door will be closed for Macedonia if it keeps insisting on “macedonianism”, Gjorgjiev said his country would not go into debates aimed at diverting the attention from the crucial issue – solving the name dispute.

Two Serb returnees murdered in Kosovo

UROŠEVAC -- Milovan Jevtić and his wife Ljiljana were murdered around 22:00 CET on Friday in the village of Talinovac near Uroševac.
Milovan Jevtić (B92)
Milovan Jevtić (B92)
The spouses were around 55 years old and Milovan was a village council representative, Serbia’s Ministry for Kosovo has stated.
Uroševac Municipality Coordinator Milan Janjić has said that it is still unknown how Milovan and Ljiljana Jevtić died.

Kosovo Deputy Interior Minister Saša Rašić says that police believe they were murdered.

He told Tanjug that the Kosovo police had launched the investigation and that special investigative units were working on the case, adding that circumstances surrounding the murder were still unknown.

Janjić said that Ljiljana had arrived to Talinovac several days ago and that the other village residents had not heard anything since their house was located in the outskirts of the village.

A neighbor, who came for a visit, found the bodies.

“EULEX and Kosovo police sealed off the house,” Janjić told KiM Radio.

Village council representative Branislav Milenković said he had last seen the Jevtić’s on Friday. He asked the police to evacuate five or six Serbian families from the village, but a policeman said that they should not worry about their safety.

Janjić said that Milovan and Ljiljana Jevtić returned to Kosovo in 2004.
Lazarat, Balla accuses Berisha

Lazarat, Balla accuses Berisha
The Socialist MP, Taulant Balla, declared in an interview for Top Channel that the “Berisha” government lacks of the political will for attacking the illegal traffics, especially the drug traffic.

Balla declared that Berisha doesn’t enter the Lazarat and other villages for protecting his own interests.

“A compromise for this is the vote, which is a political interest of the Democratic Party, the government of Sali Berisha and Berisha himself, rather than fulfilling an important EU criteria, such as the success in the war against drug traffic”, Balla declared.

By expressing the opinion of his political party, Balla says that the Minister of Integration and the Minister of Interior are lying when they say that the war on drug traffic criterion has been fulfilled.

According to the Socialist MP, this war has not been lost by the police, but the governing policy, which has failed. He asked the suspension of the head of Lazarat Commune and his prosecution.

“He must be prosecuted, after being fired by the Prime Minister, over the many problems that are related with the cultivation of cannabis in Lazarat. It is Berisha’s personal interest, and completely against the national interest, which Berisha has in common with the Head of the Lazarat Commune, that makes you understand that the problem is not with the Gjirokaster Police Directory”, Balla declared.

Friday, July 6, 2012

This summer arrive in Greece  the M1A1 Abrams US Tanks  

Concentration of Turkish Army at Greek Thrace borders

Gearing has entered accepting the donation of 400 U.S. battle tanks M1A1 Abrams, and the line (as has already written the from May) has been and currently debated issues of support and use the floats factory, but details of the load.
Hopefully, maybe in the summer, however, in any event within the year, the M1A1 Abrams will equip the Greek T / H and M / K brigades and will replace the outdated LEO1A5, and the remaining M60A3 in front line units.
One of the reasons for the acceleration of the commission is the vertical support of militant force of first Turkish Army in Eastern Thrace, which now has come to be staffed on staff as a whole, almost, of the Greek Armed Forces and the three branches, with over 100,000 staff!
It is the largest concentration of military personnel in proportion to the area where are concentrated across Europe and one of the largest in the world, perhaps with the border of North and South Korea to gather today to such an extent similar personnel.
Accepting the donation of the M1A1 was not so stuck on the issue of funding the war as the German lobby in the ED when they are received in that particular part "German-" Armor Division of the GES and elsewhere: even took "soldiers Networks" and NGOs (!) to speak up against their receipt, and various Improbable "journalists" until ... Austrian parliamentarians and other such fun.
All this to avoid "the German monopoly" in the tanks, which in any event had to offer something similar to that used for tanks LEO2A4.
In any event the tanks come (to note the willingness of former A / GES and former Defense official Minister F.Fragkou and partially counterbalance in the power balance in the Evros region.
The LEO1A5 will be transported to the islands to replace the M48A5. The number "48" is perceived when designed: Three years after the end of WWII ...
Department news

Greece wants to renegotiate policies, not targets - PM

Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras gestures during a parliament session in Athens July 6, 2012. REUTERS/John Kolesidis
ATHENS | Fri Jul 6, 2012 8:03pm BST
(Reuters) - Greece will meet targets set by international lenders, but needs more time and wants to renegotiate policies that make its fiscal situation worse by preventing a return to economic growth, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Friday.
In his first policy speech since taking office, Samaras outlined his government's priorities before a confidence vote on Sunday. Samaras said his aim was not to demand a change of the goals set in the 130 billion euro bailout deal keeping Greece afloat, but in the austerity policies imposed to meet them.
"We don't want to change the targets," Samaras told parliament. "What needs to change is that which is hampering us from attaining the targets. We want to fight the recession."
The ruling coalition of Samaras' centre-right New Democracy party and two centre-left groups which emerged after June 17 elections wants to change austerity measures that have hit the poor hardest and stifled an economy shrinking for a fifth year.
Samaras, who was laid low by eye surgery days after being named prime minister, conceded that Greece had missed targets included in its bailout programme but promised to do everything to keep the country in the euro.
He outlined an agenda of growth-boosting measures - ranging from speeding up privatisations to tax reform and battling bureaucracy to making the country investment-friendly.
But he lashed out at euro zone partners who have openly said Greece risks leaving the euro if it fails to keep its pledges, saying it was difficult to move ahead with privatisations while foreign leaders publicly discuss such options.
"We can't have foreign officials speaking publicly about Greece returning to the drachma," he said. "They can't undermine what we are trying to achieve.... This must stop."
Greece, which is due to run out of cash in weeks without support from the troika of EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank lenders, has fallen behind agreed targets partly due to a two-month political limbo of repeat elections.
It was due to come up with an additional 11.7 billion euros of cuts in June to merit the next loan instalment.
Samaras said it was clear fiscal adjustment would take more than two years, as initially agreed with lenders, repeating a pre-election call to lessen the pain of austerity by getting the troika to extend the period to four years.
"The adjustment must not take place over two years, but longer. And the programme misses its targets because of the recession, this is no reason to take more fiscal measures as we have done so far. Recession must be stopped, not continuously deepen," he said.
"With this uncontrolled recession, the programme's funding needs are rising. We want this to stop and to start getting out of this dead end," he said. "This is the subject of our 'renegotiation'."
European leaders have made clear there is little room to manoeuvre and Greece must catch up with lost time on its commitments if it is to receive any more cash. A total of 240 billion euros have been pledged to Greece so far in a rescue effort aimed at stopping its debt crisis from spreading to the rest of the euro zone.
Samaras' conservative government has stumbled off to a rocky start, with its initial pick for finance minister resigning over health problems and the prime minister himself unable to travel to an EU summit because of his eye surgery.
On Thursday he met top officials from the troika, on their first meet-and-greet visit since the new government emerged. Government officials said the talks focused on where Greece had fallen behind and what areas needed quick implementation.
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, who also met the troika, said the officials told him he faced a tough time at a meeting with euro zone counterparts on Monday.
Government officials said the top priority was to convince partners Greece now had a government that was determined to take on the huge task, regain credibility and then start discussing changing parts of the deal.
Opposition parties criticised the government for not pushing for an immediate renegotiation of the bailout.
"They promised the Greek people a renegotiation but they are promoting a tough implementation of the bailout instead," the main opposition radical leftist Syriza party's spokesman Dimitris Papadimoulis said in a statement.
(Writing by Dina Kyriakidou; Editing by Peter Graff)

Ex-NATO general Clark new advisor to Romanian PM

BRUSSELS -- Retired U.S. army general Wesley Clark, who led NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia, will advise Romania's Prime Minster Victor Ponta on security and economic issues.
Wesley Clark
Wesley Clark
Clark will not be paid for his services, Ponta’s office told AFP.
“He will offer his expertise to help the Romanian government build a new strategy to stimulate growth and create new jobs", said Romanian PM's office.

Vienna-based financial daily Wirtschaftsblatt reported recently that Clark was planning to return to Kosovo and that his Canadian-based firm Envidity had applied for a license to exploit coal in western Kosovo.

Envidity wants to produce synthetic fuel from the coal and is planning on investing USD 5.6mn in the next six years, the daily wrote.

Clark’s firm could produce up to 100,000 barrels of fuel a day if it managed to find sufficient coal reserve.

Wirtschaftsblatt added that there were about 14 million of tons of total coal reserves in Kosovo.

The former U.S. general has always had excellent relations with Kosovo Prime Minster Hashim Thaci’s government, the daily pointed out, adding that the Kosovo Economy Ministry had confirmed that there had been meetings with representatives of Envidity.

15-Year-Old Student from Northern Epirus was Named Miss Albania 2012

 0  3
0 ShareThis3 A 15-year-old student coming from Dropolis in Northern Epirus was appointed Miss Albania 2012. The beauty competition took place in the country’s capital, Tirana.
Cleoniki Deliyiorgi  lives in Ioannina along with her family. Her father, Michael Deliyiorgis, has been sentenced for the deadly explosion which occured in 2008 in an Albanian laboratory. The incident took place in Gerdec, Albania. Due to the explosion, 26 men were killed while several others were injured.
Despite being quite young, Ms Deliyiorgi was allowed to take part in the competition. On the contrary, Greek nominees must be over 16 to participate in such contests.
Beautiful Cleoniki Deliyiorgi, who totally deserved this title, will represent Albania in the Miss Globe Contest 2012.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Saudis are buying nuclear-capable ballistic missiles from China 


Army chief tours administrative line base, police checkpoint

DOBROSIN -- Serbian Army (VS) Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Ljubiša Diković on Thursday visited Base Dobrosin, located in the Ground Safety Zone (GSZ).
Gen. Diković visits the MUP checkpoint in Dobrosin (Tanjug)
Gen. Diković visits the MUP checkpoint in Dobrosin (Tanjug)
The zone stretches along the administrative line between central Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija.
The VS said on its website that the general also visited a Serbian police (MUP) checkpoint in Dobrosin, which recently came under attack when terrorists from the Kosovo side of the line shot at police officers.

At the military base, Diković met with soldiers and their commanders, and learned about the conditions under which they perform their duties in the area where they are deployed to secure the administrative line and the GSZ.

Earlier in the day, the Serbian Army chief attended the annual conference of chief VS NCOs, held at Base Jug, located near the town of Bujanovac.

Greek party slams British PM over migration statement

ATHENS -- Greek party PASOK is hoping that British PM David Cameron will take back his statement that Britain will close its borders for Greeks if they exit the eurozone.
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos
PASOK expressed hope on Thursday that Cameron “will either retract or rephrase his statement” on possible “closing of British borders for Greeks” if their country left the eurozone.
"Is Great Britain, which is not a member of the eurozone, so interested in the unity and stability of the eurozone that it is threatening policing measures which violate all principles, basic freedoms and rules of the European Union?" the party, which is a member of Greece's new three-party conservative-led government, said in a statement, ANA news agency has reported.

PASOK believes that "it would be preferable if the British prime minister, rather than making remarks that are insulting or create a false sense of nervousness in the markets, elaborated on the information regarding the manipulation of the Libor interest rate by directors of British banks and took better care of the fiscal figures of his country."
Berisha's son sues "Zeri" newspaper
Top Channel TV

Berisha's son sues "Zeri" newspaper
The son of Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Shkelzen Berisha, has filed a lawsuit against the “Zeri” newspaper in Prishtina, claiming 100 EUR for moral damage over slander.

 Shkelzen Berisha’s lawyers say that the lawsuit was filed against the newspaper, the chief editor Astrit Gashi and journalist Enis Veliu. Besides moral and financial compensation, they demand the removal of the article from the Zeri web page.

On 16 April 2012, “Zeri” published an article titled “Berisha with the Serbian mafia against Kosovo”, speaking about a meeting of the Prime Minister’s son with the Serbian businessman, Vuk Hamovic, one of the richest people in Balkan, together with Damir Fazlic.

The newspaper says that the Serbian businessmen have paid the Albanian high instances to stop the construction of the power line between Kosovo and Albania, so that Serbia can guarantee the power supply of Kosovo, since it can import electric power only from Serbia.

The Board of Written Medias had rejected Berisha’s request in June, who had asked the newspaper to deny his meeting with the businessmen.

“Zeri” newspaper says that they own facts and evidence that prove everything written on the article of 16 April 2012.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Papoulias: Greece Eager about Joint Energy Projects with Bulgaria

Diplomacy | July 4, 2012, Wednesday| 107 views
Bulgaria: Papoulias: Greece Eager about Joint Energy Projects with Bulgaria
Greek President Karolos Papoulias (L) and his Bulgarian counterpart Rosen Plevneliev (C) review the presidential honour guard, outside the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece, 04 July 2012. EPA/BGNES
Greece deems it highly important to boost its bilateral energy projects with Bulgaria, Greek President Karolos Papoulias told Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev in Athens.
Plevneliev arrived on a two-day visit to Greece on Wednesday, and was welcomed by his Greek counterpart. He discussed with Papoulias the acceleration of the Bulgarian-Greek gas interconnection, a pipeline that is supposed to link the natural gas supply systems of the two countries.
"Greece believes it is extremely important to encourage the Bulgarian-Greek cooperation in all large-scale energy projects," the Greek President stated, as cited by Focus.
"The gas interconnection between Bulgaria and Greece is of major importance for Bulgaria's energy diversification since at present we are dependent on the supplies of natural gas via Ukraine," Plevneliev stated in turn.
"We have agreed that the future our neighbors, especially in the Western Balkans, lies with the European Union," Papoulias said further during his joint news conference with Plevneliev.
"Further strengthening and encouragement of our cooperation with friendly Bulgaria is important. The spirit of solidarity and understanding that underlies the relations between our two nations, especially in a time of crisis, is an example of cooperation between friendly and neighboring countries," he added.
During his talks with Plevneliev, Greece's President also wished good luck to Cyprus, which took over the rotating EU Presidency on July 1, 2012, for a six-month period.

Tags: greece, Bulgarian President, Greek President, Rosen Plevneliev, EU presidency, Cyprus, natural gas, Interconnection Greece-Bulgaria, interconnector

Greek Cyprus ratifies military cooperation deal with Israel

The Greek Cypriot administration ratified a defense and military cooperation agreement with Israel in its parliament on Tuesday, opening the way for military arms trade between Greek Cyprus and Israel.

The agreement between the two administrations was signed in January 2012, during Greek Cypriot Defense Minister Dimitris Iliadiss visit to his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, in Tel Aviv. The agreement was submitted to the parliament of Greek Cyprus on Monday.

According to Greek Cypriot media outlets, the agreement, titled Mutual Protection of Confidential Information, envisages secrecy of bilateral military and defense programs and protection of confidential information exchanged between the two governments. The agreement bars the submission of its principles or actions undertaken in relation to it to any national or international court in the case of a dispute or disagreement between the administrations.

Israel and Greek Cyprus have started to seek closer ties in regards to cooperation in the fields of energy and defense, which may present challenges for Turkey.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to Greek Cyprus in February, the first ever visit by an Israeli prime minister to the island. Israeli President Shimon Peres also had talks with Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias during a key visit to the island in November 2011, discussing gas finds in the eastern Mediterranean, a discovery that has sparked a crisis between Turkey and Greek Cyprus.

Israel, which also conducts drilling off its coast, has strained relations with Turkey as well. Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and suspended military agreements after a UN panel investigating a deadly May 31, 2010, raid on an international aid flotilla headed for Gaza said in its report that Israels blockade of Gaza was legal.
Greek female spy steals war plans from Turkish Narco-terrorist Military

According to the Turkrab newspaper Star, Greek-Turkish war plans were stolen by a Greek female spy. That newspaper also said the latest figures of the military espionage problem in Turkey is that 49 corrupt Kemalists were arrested, 45 of whom were currently active. The Turkish police is looking for details on her, as she supposedly stole items from the naval base in Mamaris and the General Staff of the Navy to Greece. According to the article she stole details on military exercises, war plans and drawing on the locations of cameras on military sites. She also deleted the security camera footage from when she committed her theft.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Security chiefs of US visit Saudi Arabia

 George Tenet again in high staff of US President

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, right, meets with Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, left, during a condolence call at the Royal Court in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Standing behind Panetta our the members of the official US Presidential Delegation from left to right, George J. Tenet, former Director of the CIA, Elizabeth Jones, Acting Assistant Sec. of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Michael Morell, Deputy Director of the CIA, and Robert S. Mueller, Director of the FBI. Panetta is leading a Presidential Delegation to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to attend the memorial service for Prince Nayef bin Abbel-Aziz. AP Photo logo AP Photo 1 week ago US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, right, meets with Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, left, during a condolence call at the Royal Court in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Standing behind Panetta our the members of the official US Presidential Delegation from left to right, George J. Tenet, former Director of the CIA, Elizabeth Jones, Acting Assistant Sec. of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Michael Morell, Deputy Director of the CIA, and Robert S. Mueller, Director of the FBI. Panetta is leading a Presidential Delegation to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to attend the memorial service for Prince Nayef bin Abbel-Aziz

US Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta, left, and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, right, react as they exchange coins with one another on the tarmac prior to their departure from King Abdul Aziz International Airport, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,Thursday, June 21, 2012. Looking on are former CIA Director George J. Tenet, left center, and Frances Fragos Townsend, far right, former Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security. Panetta, Mueller, Tenet and Townsend, where members of the US Presidential Delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to offer condolences for the passing of Crown Prince Nayif bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud.

 Reuters/Jeddah US security chiefs visited Saudi Arabia yesterday to convey President Barack Obama’s condolences for the death of Crown Prince Nayef, underscoring the importance of a relationship seen as key in the battle against Al Qaeda. 

The delegation was led by Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and included Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, Counter-terrorism John Brennan and former Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet.
Mike Morrell, the CIA’s deputy director, also joined the delegation which met Prince Salman, the new crown prince. 

“The president wanted me ... to convey to you not only our sorrow for your loss but also our best wishes to you in your new position,” Panetta told Prince Salman at the Royal Court in Jeddah, where delegations from around the world were visiting. 

Nayef, who was interior minister for 37 years, built up a formidable domestic security apparatus which crushed Al Qaeda inside the kingdom and has helped foil attempts by the militant group to attack international targets from its base in Yemen. 

“He played a pivotal role in strengthening the relationship between the US and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Panetta said in a statement late on Tuesday.

King Abdullah on Monday named Prince Salman, defence minister, as his new heir.
OMONIA ignores the Albanian Census, begins the Registration process for the Greeks in Southern Albania

Top Channel TV
Polls / Think Institutions must allow the registration of the Greek minority from OMONIA?

GJIROKASTER - Organization of the Greek minority in Albania, Omonia, will start recording at July 24 south of the country, because it recognizes the results of the census conducted last year by the Albanian authorities. According to Omonia, census data shows no real Greek minority in the country.

The decision to launch a parallel recording of the minority population was taken by the Board of Omonia on Saturday. Thus, the forms will be distributed throughout the southern areas where OMONIA thinks that the Greek minority lives. In the recording will also attend those who currently do not live in Bangladesh, says a press release the organization wrote in Greek.

Organization of the Greek minority in Albania does not recognize the census held in Albania, last year, whose results are not published yet by local authorities. According to her, only a minority census organized by it would reflect the real number of Hellenic origin population in southern Albania.

OMONIA claims that registration process will be orderly and European standards.
Kosovo situation, concerning
 Top Channel Tv

Kosovo situation, concerning
The General NATO Secretary, Anders Fog Rasmussen, declared that the situation in Northern Kosovo is concerning. He appealed all parties to find a peaceful solution for the conflict.

He underlined that they need a political solution, but by excluding the division of Kosovo.

During an interview for the Serbian news agency “Beta”, quoted by Free Europe, Rasmussen declared that it is important to go through these issues step by step, and the first step is the creation of a dialogue between Belgrade and Prishtina, under the EU supervision.

He said that even in the future, NATO will have a presence in Kosovo with 5000 or 6000 troops.

“The division of Kosovo is out of any discussion, and it is very important to make it clear for the entire western Balkans. It is very important for the government of Prishtina to understand the significance of including all communities in the political and public life in Kosovo”, Rasmussen declared.

Serbs in Kosovo block roads and stage protests

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Serbs on Tuesday blocked several roads in northern Kosovo to once again send a message that they "do not wish to be integrated into Kosovo's institutions".
A file photo of a road block in northern Kosovo (Tanjug)
A file photo of a road block in northern Kosovo (Tanjug)
North of the Ibar River Serbs form a majority population that rejects the authority of the government in Priština and the unilateral declaration of independence made by ethnic Albanians in early 2008.
This morning, all major roads in the municipalities of Zvečan, Kosovska Mitrovica, Zubin Potok and Leposavić were blocked, and would remain closed for one hour, it was announced.

Also at around 09:00 CET, local Serbs gathered near the main bridge in the divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, blocking several roads there as well.

Meanwhile, south of the Ibar in Gračanica - one of the enclaves inhabited by Serbs in this part of the province - a protest has been announced for the afternoon against what organizers said was the poor state of human rights afforded to their community.

Those gathered will also protest against the force and brutality used by Kosovo police during the recent Serbian holiday of Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day).

Kosovska Mitrovica District chief Radenko Nedeljković told reporters that with protests today, Serbs in the north wished to once again decisively send a message to the international community and Priština that they "would not accept Kosovo's institutions".

The citizens were gathering in the north of the province, continued Nedeljković, to show that they already have institutions - those of Serbia - which they believed were "the only guarantee of their survival".

"We do not want Kosovo's institutions, those same institutions that several days ago on St. Vitus Day perpetrated brutal violence. I do not know if anyone in the international community realizes that Priština is carrying out institutional persecution and torture against Serbs and other non-Albanians," the district chief stated.

Nedeljković also said that Serbs expected the international community to carry out "a comprehensive investigation" into the Vidovdan violence - "and punish the perpetrators accordingly".

Further gatherings and blockades of roads will depend on the activities of the international community and Priština, he noted.

"The people who showed up here while the temperature reaches over 30 degrees centigrade are determined, united, and armed with patience and wisdom. We will persevere," Nedeljković concluded.

U.S. official in Belgrade for meetings with party leaders

BELGRADE -- U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon European and Eurasian Affairs and his deputy Philip Reeker are visiting Serbia this week.
In Serbia because he likes Belgrade: Philip Reeker
In Serbia because he likes Belgrade: Philip Reeker
As soon as he arrived here, Reeker headed for the United Regions of Serbia (URS) headquarters, where Ivica Dačić had just wrapped up his meeting with Mlađan Dinkić.
Asked by a B92 reporter why he took the trip to Serbia, he answered, "because I like Belgrade".

Tanjug is reporting that the U.S. embassy in Serbia said the visit was "part of Reeker's regular activities in the region".

His meeting with Dinkić lasted about an hour, but none of the participants were in the mood to talk to journalists afterwards.

Reeker also conferred with LDP, SPS, and SNS leaders Čedomir Jovanović, Ivica Dačić and Aleksandar Vučić, in separate meetings.

No statements were made for the press after any of the encounters.

The U.S. official is scheduled to stay in Serbia for three days, and will also meet with President of the Democratic Party Boris Tadić.

Philip Gordon is expected to arrive in Serbia later during the week.

A source told B92 earlier in the day that Reeker would arrive on Tuesday and was expected to meet with Ivica Dačić, who was last week given the mandate to put together Serbia's new government.

The U.S. official will also meet with leaders of all leading parties, according to this.

This will be the first visit of U.S. officials to Serbia since the May parliamentary and presidential elections, and it can be viewed as that country's increased interests in the developments concerning the forming of a government in Serbia.

B92 has also learned that Dačić attempted to have a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, but failed, as it was "agreed that he will first have to meet with high U.S. officials that will visit Belgrade".

This position deepened speculations that relations between Washington and the leader of the Socialists (SPS) are not as Dačić would wish them to be.

Suspicion that the U.S. does not look favorably at the possibility of Dačić as Serbia's prime minister were deepened after his visits to Russia, which allegedly showed interest in buying Serbia's large public companies that are yet to be privatized such as EPS and Telekom.

Additional doubts were raised after misunderstandings over Dačić's statements about a return of Serbia's security forces to northern Kosovo, while a scandal over the Gendarmerie oath was especially analyzed. The oath was authored by its commander Bratislav Dikić, who Dačić's trusted man in the police, and who is one of police officers that Washington did not look to favorably even before.

With interpretations of his statements and by condemning the Gendarmerie oath Dačić attempted to correct these omissions later.

The source also said that beside the American, some European diplomats had become more cautious when it comes to appointments of future advisers and ministers, some of which already made an effort to cause certain dilemmas and trepidation, while the media in Serbia published this type of information.

Fight against corruption and crime is one of the most important tasks ahead of the next government, while there have not been sufficient guarantees that this fight will be carried out in the best possible way, appraised the U.S. administration. It is expected that all these issues will be covered during the meetings in the coming days.

The B92 source added that it is certain that Washington's final stance will also influence their numerous European colleagues, and that it will become obvious very quickly how many of them will support a government coalition made up of SNS-SPS-URS.

Meanwhile, other media in Belgrade are reporting that the actual reason for the visits is that the U.S. does not want to see Ivica Dačić in the office of prime minister. Hillary Clinton therefore sent Reeker to lobby for a "grand coalition" between the Progressives (SNS) and the Democrats (DS).
AlbaniaA new ten-year tourism strategy is being drawn up by Albania’s government in an effort to capitalise on the country’s increasing numbers of tourists.

Aldo Bumci, Minister of Tourism, revealed that the government is working on ways to ensure that the country is able to sustain infrastructure growth and increase tourist numbers year on year by improving Albania’s services.

"Tourism is playing a vital role for the Albanian economy. Accounting for around 11% of the nation's GDP, tourism brought in 1.2 billion euros in profit in 2011 and with tourist numbers rising to more than 4 million last year it is important that Albania produces a long-term plan to capitalise off the back of its growing popularity,” said Ravin Maharajah, Partner of Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa in Albania.

"Indeed what is encouraging for business investors, holiday makers and property buyers alike is the fact that despite the economic downturn seen across the Eurozone, Albania's economy is still performing at a steady rate. In fact, it was recently revealed by Finance Minister Ridvan Bode that the influx of foreign direct investments has substantially increased from around 250m euros in 2006 to around 850m euros in 2011 which certainly inspires confidence in the nation," he added.

Those looking to invest in a property in Albania will begin to see developments in the country, starting with a 22 kilometre two-lane motorway on a new alignment around the town of Fier, situated near the coast in central Albania. Aiming to improve travel times and safety, the motorway will not only connect Albania to its neighbour Greece but will employ an estimated 1,550 workers per year across its three year period.

"Albania has new roads, a new airport, stunning coastline and superb weather similar to Greece and it won't be long until we see more and more people visit and purchase holiday properties in this beautiful country." commented Maharajah.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ending Kosovo’s supervised independence
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Ending Kosovo’s supervised independence
The International Leading Group held a meeting in Vienna where they decided to end the supervised independence of Kosovo. This group is composed of the USA, the EU countries that have recognized Kosovo and Turkey. Kosovo’s PM, Hashim Thaci, was present in the meeting.

The Austrian Foreign Minister, Michael Spindelegger declared that this is a historical day for Kosovo.

Starting from today, Kosovo’s international supervision has ended, while the International Civil Office mandate will end this September, according to the Austrian Minister, quoted by Free Europe.

He expressed his pleasure for the fact that Vienna was the country where the Ahtisari Plan was created, and that the supervised independence is ending in the same city.

“We know that Kosovo will face more challenges, and it must do its homework, but e also know that Kosovo has done a wonderful job these years”, the Austrian Minister declared, hoping that one day Kosovo will be part of the European integrated structures.

The ICO chief, Peter Faith, declared that Kosovo has progressed a lot in the last years.

“The political solution for north will be based on three principles: no violence, no divisions, with the Northern Kosovo belonging only to Kosovo, and the third principle is that the northern issue will not remain a frozen conflict”, Faith declared.

Prime Minister Thaci stated that this is a historical day for Kosovo, and the merits go to its public institutions and the international community.

Thaci declared that the remaining challenges are related with Northern Kosovo, the rule of law, the economic development and the democratic reforms for which he has declared that Kosovo is working upon.

“I am aware that we must reinforce the rule of law and increase the citizens’ trust. We must increase the economic cooperation level. I want to underline that we are determined to increase our involvement with all communities of Kosovo, especially the Serbs in the north, who deserve to enjoy all the rights that have been granted to them with the Ahtisari plan and Kosovo’s Constitution”, Thaci declared.

Even after the international supervision will be over, the EU will continue being present in Kosovo through EULEX of KFOR, which is led by NATO.

Kosovo-Albania, joint traffic police patrolling
01/07/2012 20:31

Kosovo-Albania, joint traffic police patrolling
The Kosovo and Albania Police will patrol together in the Albanian territory during the tourist season.

The agreement was renewed this Sunday at the Vermice border and will continue until August 30th of this year.

The first group of Kosovo police agents arrived this Sunday and they will continue with the other groups.

Police representatives of both countries have shown good results in the past for offering safety to the citizens and for preventing road accidents.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Anne Applebaum
Anne Applebaum
Opinion Writer

Greece’s political crisis persists

eleven days ago, the apocalypse did not happen. The Greek elections took place, and the radicals did not win. Syriza — the neo-Marxist, anti-austerity party whose members call one another “comrade” and whose policies include the creation of 100,000 new government jobs — did not get the most votes. New Democracy, the establishment center-right party, emerged victorious, though just barely. They formed a shaky coalition with two center-left parties and promised to push through the budget cuts that the European Union has imposed as a quid pro quo for propping up Greece’s economy. The financial world breathed a sigh of relief: Crisis averted.
That relief may have been premature. Eleven days ago, the apocalypse did not happen — but since then, the apocalypse has continued to unfold in slow motion. The new government has pledged to maintain “austerity” even as crises of various kinds erupt all around it. The newly appointed finance minister resigned after being hospitalized on the day he was supposed to be sworn in. The newly appointed deputy minister for the merchant marines resigned after being accused of conflicts of interest. The newly appointed prime minister is recovering from an emergency eye operation and couldn’t attend a crucial European Union summit this week. Early Wednesday morning, three armed men drove a bus containing gasoline canisters through the entrance to Microsoft’s Athens headquarters and then set it alight. No one was hurt, and the building didn’t blow up, but the ground floor was heavily damaged.
Anne Applebaum
Applebaum writes a monthly foreign affairs column and contributes to the PostPartisan blog.
Meanwhile, the excruciating squeeze on the oversize Greek budget continues, producing strikes, angry speeches and dramatic headlines. Greece’s recession deepens and tax revenue continues to fall. In the coming months, the new government must decide how to cut 150,000 jobs by 2015 instead of creating more, and to reduce government spending by billions if it wants to stay solvent. This would be asking a lot of a popular, respected government. For a government disliked and distrusted by much of the population — and apparently plagued with dramatic health and personal finance problems — it may prove impossible.
In truth, a good solution to Greece’s problems can’t be found in left, right, conservative, liberal or any other kind of politics, because Greece’s problems don’t have an ideological solution. Greece’s problems are about simple math: The Greek government is bankrupt. If it wants to spend more, it needs to borrow money. Nobody wants to lend Greece money unconditionally, however, because Greece is unlikely to pay it back. Whether Greece is in or out of the euro, and whether the rest of Europe does or doesn’t offer to help, Greece will face this problem for a very long time.
Although there aren’t any other good options, Syriza continues to speak for those who think that there are. Syriza continues to promise an alternative: No austerity, more spending, more government jobs. Reject the conditions that Europe demands in exchange for sending good money after bad. Reject what many Greeks perceive as a foreign, German-led attempt to undermine their nation. Wave a magic wand, and let money pour into the economy. Never mind that it can’t be done: If Greece breaks its budgetary promises, Europe will stop lending, Greek banks will fail and the country will be forced into a rapid exit from the euro. In the long term, this outcome might well be better for Greece. In the short term, there would be massive chaos.
Syriza doesn’t put it quite like this, of course, because the party doesn’t have to. Its politicians are still out of government and do not have to choose between the hardships of austerity and the chaos of exiting the euro. But until they are forced to confront that challenge — until Greeks are persuaded that there are no good alternatives, no magic wands — Greek politics will be chronically unstable. Expect more emergencies, more resignations, maybe even more attacks on corporate headquarters. Until the Greeks are convinced that austerity is the right policy — or until they are determined to take the consequences of leaving the euro — the crisis has not been averted but merely postponed.
Anne Applebaum is director of political studies at the London-based Legatum Institute and writes a bi-weekly column for The Post. Her e-mail address is

IM: Gendarmerie shouldn’t use Kosovo-centered oath

BELGRADE -- Serbia's Interior Minister Ivica Dačić says the Gendarmerie should stop using the oath which says that there are no Serbia and Serbian people without Kosovo.
Ivica Dačić (FoNet, file)
Ivica Dačić (FoNet, file)
He believes that one should not give anybody a reason to doubt Serbia’s good intentions.
Dačić said on Saturday that it was not Gendarmes’ official oath and that he had never approved the text.

“Every Serbian police (MUP) unit has its patron saint day and Gendarmerie’s patron saint day is St. Vitus Day, so I assume that this is why everything else has to do with it,” he explained.

The minister assessed that the oath should not be used anymore so there would not be any doubts whether it represents a metaphor or a threat.

According to him, Gendarmerie or any other army or police unit would never do anything that could jeopardize peace and stability without a command from the state top.

Dačić repeated that Serbia and the Serbian government wanted to be a factor of stability and assessed that it was in Serbia’s best interest to have peace and stability in the region.

The Gendarmes’ oath focuses heavily on Kosovo, saying there is no Serbia and no Serbian people without it.