Internationale organisationer International organizations
Verdensbanken, IMF m.fl. World Bank, IMF etc.
OSCE, Europarådet OSCE, Council of Europe (CoE)
EU European Union (EU)
ICTY - Tribunalet i Haag ICTY
Balkan, generelt The Balkans
Kosóva Kosóva [Kosovo]
Øst Kosóva / Presevo-dalen / Syd-Serbien Eastern Kosóva
Serbien Serbia-Montenegro. Serbia
Makedonien Macedonia [FYRoM]
USA United States (US)
Danmark (Norge, Sverige) Denmark (Norway, Sweden)
Serbia’s failure to arrest and transfer indicted suspects to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (Tribunal) led to the suspension of talks on a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union (EU). Low-ranking officials were brought to justice in domestic war crimes trials. Discrimination continued against Romani and other minorities, especially in Kosovo.Rapporten om de forskellige lande kan nedtages som PDF fra: http://thereport.amnesty.org/document/15
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An UNMIK regulation in February effectively withdrew the jurisdiction of the Ombudsperson’s Office over UNMIK. The Human Rights Advisory Panel, proposed as an alternative mechanism on 23 March, failed to provide an impartial body which would guarantee access to redress and reparations for people whose rights had been violated by UNMIK. It had not been constituted by the end of 2006.
Recommendations to strengthen protection for minorities by the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, made public in March, were not implemented. The UN Human Rights Committee criticized the lack of human rights protection in Kosovo following consideration of an UNMIK report in July. In November the European Court of Human Rights considered the admissibility of a case against French members of the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) brought by the father of a 12-year-old boy killed in May 2000 by an unexploded cluster bomb that the troops had failed to detonate or mark. His younger son was severely injured.
Impunity continued for the majority of perpetrators of ethnically motivated attacks. Most attacks involved the stoning of buses carrying Serb passengers by Albanian youths. In some cases, grenades or other explosive devices were thrown at buses or houses, and Orthodox churches were looted and vandalized.
Three predominantly Serbian municipalities declared
a “state of emergency” on 2 June following attacks they considered ethnically motivated, and announced a boycott of the UNMIK police and the Kosovo Police Service (KPS). Additional international police were deployed and ethnic Albanian KPS officers withdrawn.
* On 1 June, a Serbian youth was shot dead on the road between Zve½an/Zveçan and Zitkovac/Zhitkoc.
* On 20 June, a 68-year-old Serbian man who had returned the previous year to Klinë/a was reportedly shot dead in his own house.
* In June, two Romani families reportedly left the village of Zhiti/Zitinje after an incident in which an ethnic Albanian was later arrested. War crimes trials Impunity for war crimes against Serbs and other minorities continued.
* On 11 August former KLA member Selim Krasniqi and two others were convicted before an international panel of judges at Gnjilanë/Gjilan District Court of the abduction and ill-treatment at a KLA camp in 1998 of ethnic Albanians suspected of collaborating with the Serb authorities. They were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. A visit to Selim Krasniqi in prison by Prime Minister Agim Çeku provoked an outcry.
UNMIK police failed to conduct investigations into outstanding cases of abducted members of minority communities. On 13 October the bodies of 29 Serbs and other non-Albanians exhumed in Kosovo were handed over to the Serbian authorities and to families for burial in Belgrade.
Excessive force by police
* On 25 May, 33 women, 20 children and three men required treatment for exposure to tear gas and other injuries after UNMIK police beat people and used tear gas in the village of Krusha e Vogël/Mala Kru®a. Women had surrounded a convoy of armoured UNMIK vehicles escorting defence lawyers for Dragoljub Ojdani», indicted by the Tribunal with responsibility for the murder of over 100 men and boys in the village in 1999. An UNMIK inquiry found that the police had used reasonable force, but acknowledged that the incident could have been avoided with adequate preparation. On a number of occasions, UNMIK and KPS officers used excessive force in peaceful demonstrations against UNMIK and the Kosovo status talks by members of the non-governmental Vetëvendosje! (Self Determination!) organization.
* On 23 August, 15 people were reportedly ill-treated following arrest at Pristina police station. The Acting Ombudsperson asked the prosecutor to open an investigation in the case of one man whose arm and nose were broken and eyes injured.
* On 6 December the commander of Peja/Pe» KPS and two KPS officers were suspended following a detainee’s death in custody.
* Most Romani, Ashkali and Egyptian families living on lead-contaminated sites near Mitrovicë/a voluntarily moved to a former military camp at Osterode at the beginning of 2006. Some Roma remained at one site until it was destroyed by fire. There was a lack of meaningful consultation with the communities before relocation and on the rebuilding of their former homes in the Romani neighbourhood of south Mitrovicë/a. Some of the community returned to newly built houses in December.
In February the European Court of Human Rights decided it was not competent to rule on a petition by the communities that their economic and social rights had been violated, on the grounds that UNMIK was not a party to the European Convention on Human Rights. * In early 2006, a senior KPS officer was reportedly removed from his post and other officers given training after a complaint to the UNMIK police commissioner by two gay men. After being assaulted on 31 December 2005 in a village outside Pristina, they had been taken to hospital by KPS officers and asked to file a complaint, but were later subjected to insulting and degrading abuse when their sexual orientation was discovered. Officers told them, incorrectly, that homosexuality was unlawful in Kosovo.
The rate of return of people displaced by the conflict in Kosovo remained low, although it was reported in June that some 400 Serbs had agreed to return to Babush village near Ferizaj/Uro®evac. Those forcibly returned to Kosovo from EU member states were rarely provided with support and assistance by the authorities. Violence against women
Up to three cases a day of domestic violence were reported by the UNMIK police. The Ministry of Justice and Social Welfare agreed in July to provide funding for the women’s shelter in Gjakova/Ðakovica, and promised financial support for other shelters.
Trafficking for the purposes of forced prostitution continued to be widespread. Reportedly, 45 criminal proceedings related to trafficking were taking place in July. Little progress was made in implementing the Kosovo Action Plan of Trafficking, published in 2005.
Pristina/Brussels, 14 May 2007: The Security Council needs to decide Kosovo’s status within the next weeks or risk reigniting violence that would again destabilise the Balkans.
Kosovo: No Good Alternatives to the Ahtisaari Plan,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, concludes that the recommendation of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari for “supervised independence” and his detailed implementation proposals are the best that can be achieved. It explains why Serbia’s private preference for partitioning the province north of Mitrovica would be immensely damaging, not least for most of the 7 per cent Serb minority; analyses the diplomatic lineup in New York, which has shifted strongly in favour of the plan after a mission to the region; and calls on the Council to pass a resolution endorsing the Ahtisaari plan, with only such non-critical modifications as may help persuade the main hold-out, Russia, not to veto.
“The Ahtisaari plan is the best recipe for the creation of a democratic and decentralised society that ensures minority rights”, says Alexander Anderson, Crisis Group Kosovo Project Director. “By decentralising governing powers to the municipalities, the proposal works well with the European Union’s multi-ethnic vision for the Western Balkans”.
In 1999, Serbia rejected an international proposal for ending an insurgency in Kosovo and launched an offensive against the rebels, which drove nearly half the Albanian population into neighbouring countries, displaced hundreds of thousands of others and resulted in large-scale atrocities. Following NATO air strikes, the Serbian army pulled out of Kosovo, and the Security Council adopted Resolution 1244, establishing the framework for UN administration. After years of limbo as a UN protectorate, Kosovo is again before the Council. Ahtisaari’s plan offers the perspective of independence while giving the small Serb minority extensive rights and security, including privileged ties with Serbia.
The major obstacle is the threat of a veto by Russia, which insists Kosovo and Serbia must agree on the province’s future. Ahtisaari mediated talks for more than a year before concluding this was impossible. Crisis Group agrees and points out tensions in Kosovo could well pass the breaking point soon if the status issue is not resolved by summer. Crisis Group recommends small revisions to the plan, however, in order to demonstrate responsiveness to Russia’s prerogatives, in particular creation of a Special Envoy for Minorities and a two-year moratorium before Kosovo can apply for UN membership.
The Kosovo Albanian leadership should refrain from declaring independence unilaterally and design a strategy to protect the Kosovo Serb community, especially during the early independence period.
“The choice is now between an imposed international solution and no solution at all for the foreseeable future”, warns Sabine Freizer, Crisis Group’s Europe Program Director. “Any delay in coming to a decision on Kosovo’s status will seriously complicate an already fragile situation, and partition would benefit only the extremists”.
Why No Negotiations?
Because negotiations make sense when they are held between equal parties. Kosova is not equal to Serbia. Kosova is not a state as Serbia is.
Because Serbian structures in Kosova have not been dismantled.
Because not only is Kosova oppressed by Serbia, but also by UNMIK. Kosova is governed and ruled by the anti-democratic regime of UNMIK.
Because the institutions of the system that this regime has established and controls, will be necessarily led by corrupted and blackmailed people, such as those in Kosova today.
Because through negotiations Serbia is attempting to justify its ambitions to re-establish de-facto control of our population and territory, even through partition.
No negotiations because the negotiations are being planned for Kosova, not for Serbia. Resolution 1244 will be the basis for negotiations, and as is known, this Resolution preserves nominal Serbian sovereignty over Kosovo and encourages the de-facto restoration of this sovereignty.
Because the negotiations do not plan to seek compensation from Serbia for the 12,000 killed, 3,000 kidnapped, 20,000 women raped, one million expelled and 120,000 houses destroyed. The negotiations are designed to complete the rehabilitation of the Serbian state.
Because the negotiations will finally equate crime and genocide (Serbian state) with the victim (Kosova population); and, aggression with a war of liberation.
Because the negotiations should be conducted without conditions. Our country is being forced to accept conditions: we have to fulfill arbitrary standards and non-negotiable principles.
Because Serbia was never identified as the aggressor who exercised repression and terror for more than a century. On the contrary, after the fall of Milosevic, Serbia was rehabilitated automatically (without fulfilling any conditions) and was admitted into international institutions and bodies.
Because Kosova does not lack status, but the people of Kosova lack freedom. The prisoner does not negotiate. No negotiations because they inevitably imply willingness to compromise. Freedom cannot be a compromise. Freedom is a non-negotiable state.
Because the start of negotiations represents the end of independence and statehood as a possibility. For Serbia, this is enough, because negotiations will give them territorial autonomy for the Serbian population in Kosova. This will legitimize existing Serbian enclaves in Kosova, as well as their expansion and the establishment of new enclaves. This has already started with the decentralization process.
Because many issues can only be negotiated with Serbia once she accepts the non-negotiable precondition – the will of the people of Kosova.
45.000 kilometer gennem Kosovo. Denne gang deltog over 1800 mennesker fra 28 nationer
21-05-2007 kl. 11:17
Af Kurt Ø. Sørensen, major, presseofficer
Der er intet operativt at melde hjem om, da alt er stille og roligt i vores område. Bataljonen gennemfører dog stadig et stort antal kontroller af civile køretøjer med henblik på at finde ulovlige våben og ammunition. De gennemførte kontroller har ikke givet anledning til bemærkninger.
For at operationer skal lykkes og blive en succes kræves planlægning i mindste detalje samt koordination med alle involverede parter.
Det samme har været gældende for "Operation DANCON-march", som blev gennemført med over 1800 deltagere fra 28 forskellige nationer.
Det skete den 13. maj, hvor vejret viste sig fra den bedste side. Blå himmel og en temperatur tæt på de 30 grader i skyggen, måske lige lidt for varmt til en marchtur på 25 km i uniform, i bjergrigt terræn og med ekstra 10 kilo på ryggen, men sådan var vilkårene denne dejlige maj-dag her i Kosovo.
Alle medarbejdere i Camp Olaf Rye stod på den anden ende i flere dage op til denne søndag, men alle havde gjort et fantastisk stykke arbejde, og søndag morgen klokken seks var alt klart, eller næsten da. Pladsen summede af aktivitet, der manglede selvfølgelig lige et par småting, men soldater og civile arbejde igen meget intens og ud fra en plan, som var gennemført til mindste detalje. Ingen behøvede at sige noget, alle fulgte planen, og pludselig og i god tid før start var alt klart. Man kunne næsten høre sekundviseren bevæge sig og nærme sig klokken halv ni, hvor de 1800 deltagere ville blive sluppet løs.
I mellemtiden var alle deltagerne begyndt at dukke op, og ud af de 1800 deltagere kom der ca. 1600 fra andre steder i Kosovo. Disse 1600 kom kørende i busser eller andre militære køretøjer, og det føltes på et tidspunkt, at alt var kaos ude på de etablerede parkeringspladser, men var ikke tilfældet. Alt gik som planlagt og pludselig var tiden kommet hvor marchen skulle startes.
Bataljonens stabschef gik på podiet. Der blev budt velkommen, og kort tid efter blev snoren klippet over og marchen sat i gang. Dette blev ledsaget af musik og improviseret lys (alarmblus).
Marchen forløb uden problemer og de første deltagere kom hjem efter 2 timer og 17 min, hvilket må siges at være en imponerende tid på 25 km march/løb.
Ved ankomst til målområdet blev der igen registreret, og deltagerne fik herefter et landgangsbrød samt noget vand, hvorefter der var tid til afslapning.
Omkring klokken fem var alle deltagerne ude af lejren igen, og bataljonens soldater kunne så gå i gang med nedtagning og oprydning af området igen, hvilket skete med smil på læben, og efter et par timer var alt på plads, og bataljonen kunne se tilbage på endnu en succes. Vores velfærdskontor kunne ånde lettet op, de havde løst endnu en opgave til alles store tilfredshed, hvilket også blev nævnt af mange af de deltagende gæster.
Bataljonens ambulancekøretøj (SISU) med personel samt læge og to sygeplejersker har været med panserinfanteriet ude i en nærliggende bjerglandsby for at tilbyde lægehjælp til de lokale. Der blev behandlet seks personer, som var utrolig taknemmelige og glade for vores besøg. Undersøgelser og behandling foregik på feltsenge ude i naturen. Lidt anderledes, end hvad man er vant til i Danmark. Nogle af de lokale havde ikke set en læge siden 1999!
Det var utroligt spændende og afvekslende for vores sanitetspersonel, og det var dejligt at kunne være med til at hjælpe de virkelig trængende personer, som ellers ikke har mulighed for at komme til læge.
Bataljonen vil foretage disse lægebesøg lidt oftere i den kommende tid for også på denne måde at vise vores tilstedeværelse samt vise, at vi er i stand til at gøre en forskel.
Bataljonens ambulancekøretøj har også været ude som støtte for franskmændene til minerydning. Der blev fundet en håndgranat, hvor splitten var trukket, men granaten var ikke sprunget. Opgaven i en sådan situation er at være til stede, hvis nogen skulle komme til skade ved tilintetgørelsen af granaten. Der skete heldigvis ikke nogen skade.
Onsdag i sidste uge gennemførte bataljonen øvelse i modtagelse af personer, som ikke tilhører bataljonen, men som arbejder for en af de civile organisationer hernede og dermed har en identitet som gør, at vi skal tage os af dem, hvis der opstår uroligheder og disse personer er tvunget til at forlade det område, de arbejder i og søge beskyttelse. Scenariet var Kosovo i brand.
Stabskompagniet er den enhed, som har ansvaret for modtagelse af disse personer. Det kræver mange ressourcer, da alle ankomne skal behandles korrekt og ens.
Køretøjer skal kontrolleres og gennemsøges, personer registreres og beslutning skal tages om hvor disse personer skal føres hen. Der skal inddrages våben og eventuelle andre ulovlige genstande, mærkning og opbevaring af disse. Der skal sørges for mad og indkvartering til de personer, som bliver godkendt til at kunne komme ind i lejren. Der skal træffes beslutning om, hvor de personer, som ikke kan godkendes til at komme ind i lejren, skal sendes hen, og hvem der gør det.
Der var klargjort mange "momenter" som i køretøjer eller gående kom bevægende sig mod lejren. Det betød, at der pludselig var kø ved modtagestedet og dermed pludselig en stor og vanskelig opgave for vores kompagni at løse.
Efter øvelsen fik kompagniet en god og konstruktiv tilbagemelding. Der var ting som var gået godt, og der var ting, som kunne gøres bedre. Men henset til at det var første gang en sådan aktivitet blev øvet, ja så må man sige, at det gik godt. Dog er der ting som skal rettes til, og øvelsen vil blive gennemført et antal gange i fremtiden, så bataljonen er helt klar til at klare en sådan opgave også.
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Alle hjælper til med moské-byggeri - men de har heller ikke så meget andet at give sig til. Rolig uge på den operative front
14-05-2007 kl. 13:03
Af Kurt Ø.Sørensen, major, presseofficer.
Bataljonen gennemfører dog stadig et stort antal kontroller af civile køretøjer med henblik på at finde ulovlige våben og ammunition. De gennemførte kontroller har ikke givet anledning til bemærkninger.
Frivillige Kosovo-albanere bygger moské To unge fyre i arbejdstøj slæber på en pose med cement, tre andre bakser med en stige, to står oppe på kuplen, der er under konstruktion, og en hel del ældre kosovo-albanske herrer iagttager interesseret byggeriet.
Alle i den lille landsby giver en hjælpende hånd, hvis de kan, og det kan de fleste, eftersom de færreste har et arbejde, der skal passes. Arbejdsløsheden er nemlig omkring 80 %. Ja, det lyder voldsomt, men langt størstedelen af indbyggerne i Kosovo står uden et reelt arbejde. Dette er et stort problem, for selv om den yngre generation bliver godt uddannet, er det selv med en universitetsgrad nærmest umuligt at få et arbejde. Hvis man ikke har bekendte, der enten kan anbefale én eller er fra en af de indflydelsesrige familier, som kan "trække i nogle tråde", er udsigterne til at få et arbejde dårlige.
Heldigvis klarer mange af Kosovos indbyggere sig ved at have husdyrhold og mindre arealer til dyrkning af afgrøder. Dette er en stor del af de lokales hverdag, og LMT4 (Liaison Monitoring Team) hører derfor en masse om opdræt og pasning af får, geder, høns osv.
Kosovo-serbiske folkedragter, harmonikamusik og dansende børn i Zubin Potok Det lokale politi standsede trafikken den formiddag, hvor byens lokale skolebørn dannede optog og dansede folkedans på gaden foran kulturhuset. I forårssolen blev optoget akkompagneret af harmonikamusik på ægte Kosovo-serbisk vis, mens forældre og andre nysgerrige tog billeder af deres kære små. Ganske som det foregår hjemme i Danmark.
Der blev snakket med en af de unge tilskuere, der dog hurtigt fik fortalt, at hun hellere ville danse moderne dans end sådan noget gammeldags folkedans. Sådan en festlig begivenhed er en gylden mulighed for at få en snak med de lokale, og langt de fleste vil meget gerne fortælle om deres hverdag og om de problemer, de kæmper med.
"Når katten er ude, danser musene på bordet", siger et gammelt ordsprog. I den forgangne uge, kunne ordsproget være blevet levet fuldt ud - hvis ikke lige det var for chefens strenge ordre om det modsatte.
Dette var den første uge, hvor kompagniet måtte undvære chefen, men soldaterne har nu ikke oplevet den store forskel. Der arbejdes fortsat med de daglige/natlige patruljer, og det tætte forhold til de lokale indbyggere opretholdes i kompagniets område.
Derudover fortsætter den træning, som kompagniet konstant gennemfører for at kunne fastholde deres nuværende niveau. Dette gælder specielt førstehjælp, skydning og disciplinen "kontrol med uroligheder", hvor der hver eneste uge trænes i scenarier, der vel mest minder om det, der skete på Nørrebro tidligere på året. Selv om der forsøges på at gøre hvad man kan for at skabe så realistiske rammer som muligt, kommer det nok ikke helt op på samme niveau fra "modstanderens" side.
Eftersom en del af kompagniet fortsat er på leave, er ovenstående rigeligt til at holde kompagniet beskæftiget. Desuden er kompagniet inde i en periode, hvor der kommer mange besøg, og også her har kompagniet opgaver. Herunder falder bl.a. det ambassadørbesøg, bataljonen holdt i den forgangne uge.
Kompagniet havde i den forbindelse fået tre opgaver: Opstilling af et æreskommando, opstilling og fremvisning af materiel, samt en rundvisning i kompagniets område. Alle tre ting forløb godt og på en velfungerende måde. Specielt skal fremhæves kompagniets indsats som "VIP-beskyttelse" under rundturen i Mitrovica. Man kunne tydeligt mærke, at ingen skulle komme for tæt på soldaterne, og der var 100 % styr på sikkerheden.
Dette smittede da også af på vores gæster, der tog sig god tid til dels at passere den berømte/berygtede bro "Austerlitz", dels til at standse op og stille en lang række spørgsmål om situationen og hvad kompagniet gør i det daglige.
May 15, 2007
The Law 9720 dated April 23, 2007 “On the internal audit in the public sector” came to me to be decreed on April 27, 2007, a law, which based on Article 85.1 of the Constitution, I decided not to decree and to return it to the Assembly to be reviewed.
Democratic governance and serving the interests of citizens is based not only in the fair implementation of the Constitution and laws, but also in exercising with responsibility and transparency of its functions. The transparency in the daily activity of public officials is no doubt one of the elements and requirements of constitutional governance. The requirement for transparency becomes more significant when the economic activity of state institutions is being discussed. The control or the auditing of such an activity, of the management and use of public funds and whole financial activity of the public sector institutions is a fundamental legal and political obligation of the Rule of Law.
The Constitution of Albania as many other constitutions based on the democratic principles of governance has charged the role and function of controlling the economic activity of the public sector to the institution of the State Audit. The Constitution, in its Article 162 determines that “The State Audit is the highest institution of the economic and financial control. It submits only to the Constitution and laws. The Chairman of the State Audit is elected and discharged by the Assembly with the proposal of the President of the Republic.” This constitutional position of the State Audit is closely linked to the principle of separation and balance of powers. It is exactly this important principle of governance that requires for the control of the activity of public bodies to be carried out not by a branch of power whatever it might be, but by a body which is not part of any legislative, executive and judicial power. Hence, such an institution is a link among three branches of power, but dependent on the Constitution and laws and not of a specific branch of power. Such a position of the State Audit would guarantee the independence of this institution, would secure the impartial implementation of its functions, without suffering the influence of the legislative, executive or judicial power. For this reason the Constitution has determine clear criteria and standards for the nomination and discharge of the Chairman of the State Audit by charging this election upon the Head of State and Assembly. The Constitution, in order to guarantee the independent functioning of this body that controls the use of budgetary funds, has also regulated in a separate chapter the field of its activity, the rapport with the Assembly and the immunity of the head of this institution.
I have assessed this constitutional and political prism also in the law that came to me to be decreed. It results to me from the analyses of this law that it is being threatened exactly the spirit transmitted by the Constitution in the case of controlling the economic activity of the public sector.
Firstly, I judge that Article 2 of the Law doubles the constitutional role of the State Audit, because the implementation field of the internal audit according to the law that has come to be decreed is the same with the functions charged to the State Audit by the Constitution and its organic law, which is passed with the votes of the three fifth of all the members of the Assembly. The Articles 162 and 163 of the Constitution and the Articles 1 and 7 of the Law 8270 dated December 23, 1997 “On the Stated Audit” amended, have clearly determined the position and role of the State Audit in the governing system of Albania. The doubling foreseen by the law that has come to be decreed would be unnecessary and would create a doubling of competences between the State Audit and the internal one.
Secondly, to give the competency for auditing and controlling of the independent institutions or bodies that do not depend from the executive power to a body depending from the executive branch of power, and more concretely to the Minister of Finances, no doubt would go contrary to the political system of governing under the Rule of Law. Although the Article 5 of the law determines the principles of legitimacy, independence, impartiality and secrecy as general principles of the audit functioning, the field of the activity of the internal audit, its organizing and dependency do no guarantee the independence and the impartiality of this unit.
Thirdly, the field of implementing the internal audit, foreseen in Article 2 of the law, the composition of the internal audit foreseen in Article 9, the dependency and competences of the general directorate of the audit, foreseen in Articles 15 and 16, the obligation of the independent institutions to secure the fulfillment of the internal audit, foreseen in Article 25 are provisions which directly threaten the principle of the separation of powers, foreseen by Article 6 of the Constitution. No branch of power can impose its wills over the other branches of power. The executive power cannot force the institutions nondependent on it to secure the fulfillment of the service of internal audit, because the Constitution has charged this function to an independent institution such as the State Audit, exactly to safeguard the independence of the branches of power. At the same time, the very independent institutions have their own internal audit.
Fourthly, Article 26 of the law equals the General Directorate of the Audit with the State Audit, when it requires the collaboration and exchange of information between these two institutions. This goes contrary to Articles 162, 163 and 164 of the Constitution. The Constitution has determined that the State Audit is the highest institution of economic and financial auditing and its field of activity, and that the Assembly is the body where the State Audit presents the report, views and information it posses.
I think that the law does not suffer only from the need to amend a few provisions. Because it has been founded upon an unconstitutional concept, it must be reviewed substantially and not formally by amending some its articles. Under these conditions, I think that it must be reviewed and re-formulated based on a different philosophy from which the law that came to be decreed was founded, because I am of the opinion that the strengthening of internal auditing to verify the use of the budgetary funds is very important and prevents abusive phenomena. At the same time it would be helpful for the very exercise of constitutional functions of the State Audit.
Thanking you in advance for your understanding,
The President of the Republic
Prime Minister Berisha participated on Thursday in the meeting of the Atlantic Policy Advisory Group (APAG), which took place in Albania on the 10th and 11th of May 2007. Participants in the meeting included representatives of all the EAPC (Euro – Atlantic Partnership Council) member countries, presided by Mr. Martin Erdman, Assistant to the NATO Secretary General.
Among the important issues discussed during this meeting were NATO’s role in the solution of important issues for the region, the integration of the Western Balkan countries in the Euro – Atlantic community, as well as the future of the Euro – Atlantic integration and NATO’s role in this important process.
In his speech, Prime Minister Berisha paid special attention to the Kosovo issue and said that Kosovo is facing a historical decision. “A further delay in the decision of the Kosovo status would endanger the stability of this country. It would increase insecurity, seriously deflect economic development and create great social problems. I believe that a unified position of the NATO member countries is of utmost importance for the resolution of this problem. That is why I would like to invite once again the Belgrade authorities to have a more realistic position towards the Kosovo issue”, - said the Prime Minister
Prime Ministers Berisha thanked all those present in the meeting in Albania, expressing his gratitude to NATO and its member countries for the precious support they have given to Albania in its aspirations for NATO membership, especially in the framework of the Adriatic 3 Charter. The Prime Minister encouraged the cooperation of all region countries in this aspect. “The Balkan Countries can build their best future by cooperating with each other and not by the domination of one nation over the others. It is already been proven that domination policies do not produce stability”, – he said
The Prime Minister also talked about reforms undertaken in the country, stressing that the government is totally committed to the war against organised crime, corruption, informality, etc. He mentioned some clear economic achievements, such as the economic growth, which will reach 6 per cent this year, the great increase in exports, the increase of interest of foreign companies to invest in Albania, etc.
Prime Minister Berisha in the Crans Montana Forum: Albania has made huge steps towards attracting investors 10/5/2007
Prime Minister Berisha participated today in the opening session of the Crans Montana Forum, which is held in Albania for the second time in two years. Among the participants were the President and founder of the Crans Montana Forum, Jean Paul Carteron, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Agim Ceku, as well as other international and Albanian business leaders.
In his speech, Prime Minister Berisha thanked the guests, who by participating in this important event showed respect and confidence in Albania and in the possibilities it offers. He continued with the presentation of some of the achievements and progress made by the Albanian government during the last year.
Amongst others, Prime Minister Berisha said:
"The Crans Montana Forum, which is held in Albania for the second time, is a very important event for our country. I take this occasion to thank Mr. Jean Paul Carteron and his team, Prime Minister Ceku, as well as all the participants who through their participation show a great deal of respect and confidence in Albania and the possibilities it offers.
This years Forum finds a different Albania. In one year Albania has signed the Stabilisation Association Agreement with the EU and is working intensively for the implementation of the Interim Agreement with the EU. Albania has given clear evidence of contribution in the field of internal and regional security and this is why it received a very important message from the Riga Summit, according to which it is one of the potential NATO member candidates in the Summit of Bucharest.
This year, Albania has also made many changes in the economic field and has made big steps towards its prior objective: being the most welcoming country, the country where you can easily, quickly and surely achieve your projects and dreams.
During this last year we have made important changes in the fiscal system, I can call it a revolution, through which we aim for Albania to be the country with the lowest taxes in Europe. From July 1st until January 1st we will install the flat tax. We decreased the social security contributions by 30 per cent and other similar reforms will be made in the months to come. We have decreased the energy price for businesses by 33 – 45 per cent, we have totally transformed bureaucracy and now the business registration procedures take only 8 days, instead of 42, the business electronic registry is completed and soon we will open the first One Stop Shop, through a programme sponsored by USAID in the framework of the Millennium Threshhold Programme. We have also made very important steps in the legal framework: we have adopted the new Public – Private Partnership Law and the Procurement Law, which will transform Albania into the electronic procurement country.
We are also working for the improvement of the fiscal administration, in the framework of the Millennium Threshhold Programme. We will soon implement an integrated tax system and the online tax. The customs barriers have been abolished and serious steps toward the improvement of the business climate have been made. Great and comprehensive efforts are being made to bring the country into the digital age. This is a difficult assignment. Albania has an unacceptably low rate of digitalization, but the country is working hard to catch up with the digital age, as an Archimedes lever, and quickly leave behind hundreds and thousands of unnecessary connections.
I mentioned the electronic registry we will soon implement, but I will also mention the electronic customs, taxes, procurement, schools. We will soon tender for the most advanced citizen identification system, digital ID cards and passports; we are digitalizing the property archives; the school internet programme is advancing quickly and will be achieved within 2008. All these efforts have given tangible results. Albania resembles a construction site, where it is impossible to see at first sight all the elements designed by the architect, but where results are obvious.
International institutions believe that we are advancing quickly and that the Albanian economy has earned the admiring enthusiasm of foreign analists. Allow me to give you some facts: the economic credit is advancing very quickly and 70 per cent of this credit is addressed to business; the demand index is very high; we have a two digits sales index; last year exports increased by 20 per cent and in the first four months of this year, regardless of the implementation of the Interim Agreement with the EU, exports have doubled compared to the same period of 2006; we predict an economic growth of 6 per cent, but I am sure it will be higher. Leaving statistics aside, there are other indicators that are much more important than the ones I just mentioned, such as your presence here today. There are amongst you representatives of big regional and European companies who foresee billions of euros of investments and investment projects in Albania. If we compare 2006 with 2004, foreign investment per capita increased 4 times and went from $28 to $130 per capita. This is an admirable increase, but the absolute value is still unacceptable. I am confident that this year will mark a greater increase in this field.
Albania offers great opportunities. Albania has excellent macroeconomic stability and its macroeconomic indicators are identical to those of Finland. Albania has a 6 per cent economic growth, 2.4 per cent inflation and a 2.6 budget deficit. But our country offers other, very important advantages. It has the youngest, most dynamic and most affordable workforce in Europe. Just a few months ago, some big Italian companies left China to come to Albania. I consider this decision to be very wise, for Albania has an excellent geographic position. The west coast of the peninsula is Europes gateway to the Balkans and the Balkans gateway to Europe. Albania has great potential and natural sources. Its wonderful coast is almost unexploited and its mountains are untouched. The country is one of Europes richest in water and only 6 billion kw/h of its water potential is exploited. Albania is the country of great mineral deposits, one of Europes richest in chromium, nickel, copper and other minerals.
Through the standards we are implementing, the lowest taxes and industrial parks in construction, we offer great and real opportunities. You should never think of Albania only as a market. The agreement signed in Bucharest creates a free trade zone beginning in Croatia and ending in Moldova. Free trade agreements with countries in the region are being implemented every day.
I wish you luck and hope that you will follow the excellent example of tens of other big companies who joined the Albanian business community this year. San Paolo Imi, Societé Générale and Banca Popolare are the three banks that settled in Albania lately. Unica and Aspis joined the insurance market. EVN, Vatech, Strabag, Alpine, General Electric, ACG Consortium, Falcione and many other important companies started operating in Albania last year and entered the Albanian banking and insurance system, the cement production market and the energy sector. Some of them have profited from the "Albania 1 euro" initiative, which was totally included in the Public – Private Partnership Law.
Once again, I would like to heartedly thank you for your presence today and for the great honor you made to Albania through the confidence you have shown.
Violence against women was common and few perpetrators were brought to justice. Women and children were trafficked for forced prostitution and other forms of exploitation. Detainees frequently alleged ill-treatment by police officers during, or in the hours following, arrest. Investigations and prosecutions related to such allegations were rare, although in some cases police officers were disciplined. Conditions of detention, especially pretrial detention, were harsh.Rapporten om de forskellige lande kan nedtages som PDF fra: http://thereport.amnesty.org/document/15
EBRD to finance new Albanian ferry terminal
€14 million will enhance trade and regional integration
The EBRD is lending the Albanian Port of Durres, the country’s main commercial port, €14 million to help finance a new ferry terminal and rehabilitate two quays to improve passenger and cargo services. The project is being co-financed with the European Investment Bank.
The loan will enable port authorities to develop an efficient, effective, modern port that meets international standards. It will help finance the construction of a building for passengers and vehicles, customs handling, as well as supporting works arising from the reorganisation of existing port cargo operations.
Ridvan Bode, Minister of Finance of Albania said that the Port of Durres project is without doubt one of the most important for the Albanian Government. The loan will support the modernization of the largest port of the country and is yet another important contribution coming from the EBRD who is co-financing the project with the EIB, EU and the Albanian Government.
Murat Yildiran, EBRD Head of Office in Albania, said the Bank loan is important for supporting the Albanian authorities’ strategy to develop key regional transport links to promote economic development and regional integration in the Balkans and wider Europe.
The EBRD is one of the largest investors in Albania, having committed more than €335 million in 36 projects, ranging from infrastructure to energy and small and medium-sized enterprises to non-banking financial institutions.
The Port of Durres, owned by the Albanian government, is a core part of the regional transport network in Southeast Europe, and an important centre for international trade and travel. The project will help enhance transport between Albania and its European neighbours, improving links especially with countries such as with Italy, Macedonia and Bulgaria and benefiting both businesses and tourists.
The Port of Durres is by far the largest commercial port in Albania, transporting on average around 80 per cent of the country’s international ship-borne traffic. The port is currently involved in four main activities -- ferry operations, cargo operations, container operations and oil storage operations.
The EBRD is one of the largest investors in Albania, having committed more than €335 million in 36 projects, ranging from infrastructure to energy and small and medium-sized enterprises to non-banking financial institutions.
Tirana, May 12, 2007-- A signing ceremony took place today in the Ministry of Finance for the Financing Agreement of Development Policy Operation (US$ 10 million). The agreement was signed by the Minister of Finance, H.E. Ridvan Bode and the World Bank Country Manager for Albania, Mr. Nadir Mohammed. The ceremony was held in the presence of senior government officials and World Bank project team members.
The Development Policy Operation is the first in a series of three Development Policy Operations (DPOs), designed to support some of the key aspects of the Government’s National Strategy for Development and Integration aimed at tackling the twin challenges of sustaining growth (primarily through private sector development), and improving delivery of public social services. A third objective, improving governance and strengthening accountability mechanisms, will be the main cross-cutting objective of the DPO.
Following these objectives, the DPO program is structured around three components:
* Improving the investment climate for private sector-led growth. This component will support Government plans to reduce constraints to growth by strengthening the regulatory environment for business, improving the functioning of land markets, and improving the oversight of the non-bank financial sector.
* Improving fiscal sustainability and effectiveness of public service delivery. The focus here will be on the health, social insurance and water sectors. Actions will address health financing, the health sector regulatory framework, the pension policy and its implementation, and the policy and incentive framework in the water sector.
* Improving public finances and public administration. The third component aims at improving public financial management, furthering reforms in public administration, and advancing decentralization by supporting the strengthening of local finances.
Expected program outcomes include reduction in business costs, more productive public expenditures and investments, improved management of the civil service, and progress towards more sustainable and effective public services in water, health and pensions. Over a longer-term, the program should also lay some of the key foundations for and thus contribute to increased exports and private sector investment, sustainable growth and reduction in corruption.
The credit has a maturity of 20 years, with a 10 years grace period.
Albania joined the World Bank in 1991. World Bank commitments to the country to date total approximately US$925 million for 64 operations.
For more information about these projects: http://www.worldbank.org.al
Serbia’s failure to arrest and transfer indicted suspects to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (Tribunal) led to the suspension of talks on a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union (EU). Low-ranking officials were brought to justice in domestic war crimes trials. Discrimination continued against Romani and other minorities, especially in Kosovo.Rapporten om de forskellige lande kan nedtages som PDF fra: http://thereport.amnesty.org/document/15
Gross violations of rights of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija
Belgrade, May 21, 2007 – Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said that rights of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija are being grossly violated, and UN representatives in their reports are not providing correct information to the international community on the situation in the southern province.
In an interview for the Russian television channel “Vesti 24”, Kostunica said that a lot of questions are being asked regarding the respect of human rights, the right to live and move freely, as well as regarding the protection of sites sacred to the Orthodox Church.
Serbs are not returning to Kosovo-Metohija, and the most terrifying aspect of this issue is that it is not the just the Albanian areas but places where Serbs have always lived and are still living, to which they cannot return, said Kostunica. He stressed that this fact is shameful not just for the interim administration and the international community, but also to a great degree for the UN Mission in Kosovo-Metohija and the UNMIK chief.
Kostunica also stressed that UN representatives at Security Council sessions are misinforming the international community concerning the question of rights of Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo-Metohija.
The truth is that once 40,000 Serbs lived in Pristina, the capital city of Kosovo-Metohija, and today this number is less than 100, and in northern Kosovo-Metohija, all the cities except Mitrovica, have been cleansed of Serbs, said Kostunica.
The Prime Minister said that it is a fact that Kosovo Serbs cannot move freely, that the vast majority of the Serb population did not return to the province where some 150 churches and monasteries were torn down.
The double standards being applied when it comes to respect of human rights in Kosovo-Metohija, pointed to by Russia at the very start, are also being brought into question, said Kostunica.
According to Kostunica, owing precisely to these efforts by Russian diplomats a UN Security Council fact-finding mission recently visited Belgrade and Pristina whose members were able to assess for themselves to which extent human rights are being respected in the southern province.
The situation is extremely different from the one presented by the UNMIK chief and UN Special Envoy for negotiations on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija, said Kostunica for Russian television.
The Serbian Prime Minister said that Russia and Serbia have principled positions concerning Kosovo-Metohija, call on the respect of international law and advocate peace.
He said that such policy is beneficial for the entire world, while the plan of Martti Ahtisaari proposes violation of the UN Charter that guarantees sovereignty of every country in the world, including Serbia.
He also proposes the violation of Resolution 1244 that confirms Serbia's territorial integrity, Kostunica said and added that Ahtisaari was biased from the very start of negotiations on Kosovo and that he had led the International Crisis Group (ICG) before he was appointed special envoy of the UN Secretary-General.
Speaking about the activities of this group which during the visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Moscow proposed placing a two-year moratorium on Kosovo's accession to the UN and the appointment of a special envoy for return of refugees, Kostunica said that ICG dedicated itself more to aggravating the crisis in the region than solving problems.
He recalled that this group proposed giving independence to Kosovo-Metohija, and then Ahtisaari himself proposed the same, but his plan is unacceptable because nothing good can be made of something so bad.
Commenting on the statement of Condoleezza Rice that Kosovo will never again be part of Serbia, Kostunica said that no country can resolve the destiny of another one and that only the UN Security Council has that right.
The Security Council is a UN organ and it cannot violate the UN Charter. The very idea of giving independence to Kosovo is the harshest violation of international law and no country in the world has the right to call on others to do that, the Serbian Prime Minister underlined and voiced hope that the UN and the Security Council will not take the wrong road and violate the UN Charter and the principle of sovereignty of member states.
Serbia will never accept Kosovo's independence, Kostunica reiterated and called on everyone to return to international law.
It is necessary to return to the beginning, to international law, to return rights to Serbs and work out a solution that will satisfy both Belgrade and Pristina, the Prime Minister pointed out, adding that this is not difficult because it is only necessary to stick to the existing Resolution 1244.
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Serbia will not consider options beyond substantial monitored autonomy for Kosovo-Metohija
Belgrade, May 21, 2007 – Serbian Minister for Kosovo-Metohija Slobodan Samardzic said that regarding the future status of Kosovo-Metohija, Serbia will not consider anything beyond the general concept of substantial and monitored autonomy for the southern province, but is open to talks on the manner of implementing that plan.
In an interview for the news agency Tanjug, Samardzic said that as far as the manner of implementation of substantial and monitored autonomy for the southern province is concerned, Serbia will be open to possibilities in a fair negotiations process, and ready to accept some solutions which are perhaps better than the submitted proposal by the Serbian negotiation team.
Therefore, I will not negate that in advance and the negotiation process could perhaps even contribute to improved regulation in many areas on which the lives of people in Kosovo-Metohija depend, than what we have proposed, said Samardzic.
He said that thus far the Serbian negotiating team has not been presented with any good arguments by the Albanian side, particularly Ahtisaari’s team, which could negate the Serbian proposal, but that does not mean that it might not happen in the future, said Samardzic.
Shedding light on the position of the newly formed Ministry for Kosovo-Metohija according to the solution offered for the southern province, Samardzic reiterated that those solutions will be advocated for the future status of the province which will safeguard the interests of Kosovo Albanians, so that they are able to regulate their lives with the highest degree of autonomy, while the interests of Serbs are protected, and they too have the freedom to realise their aims in Kosovo-Metohija within Serbia.
That is the solution offered in the plan of substantial and monitored autonomy, said Samardzic, adding that the state platform has contained this solution since May 2006 and presented it through more than 500 amendments proposed on the plan by UN Special Envoy Marti Ahtisaari.
The solution presented by Belgrade for the Kosovo issue was also submitted in a summary form to representatives of the UN mission in Kosovo-Metohija, recalled Samardzic.
In that platform the interests of all sides are satisfied; interests of Serbs, ethnic-Albanians, regional peace and European integration and the preservation of international law. So when I talk about priorities, it is important that we should appear at international forums as frequently as possible on the basis of this platform, to make as many contacts as possible and explain and present our stand in the best possible manner, said Samardzic.
Samardzic believes that the process of determining the future status of Kosovo-Metohija must unfold through negotiations, and negotiations should be entered with the good will of any eventual mediator so that, as he put it, “this catastrophic situation which Marti Ahtisaari with his team forced upon everyone does not arise again”.
Samardzic does not see any possibility as yet of the formation of a joint US and Russian council on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija.
As yet I don’t see a common language, their positions differ hugely, and that is not because of Russia, which in fact, is acting according to international law, rather because of the US and a few of their western allies, who had the intention of drastically violating international law and seize practically 15% of the territory of a UN member country, said Samardzic.
The Minister for Kosovo-Metohija said that two different positions are in question here, extremist and reasonable, adding that the extremist position gradually must move closer to a normal solution, one which respects international law, the UN Charter and several resolutions, concluded with the UN SC Resolution 1244 adopted in June 1999, since it could not gain its final goal, because it is not possible to adopt a new resolution in the UN Security Council to support it, said Samardzic.
Of course, this process cannot be easy and quick, but those who wanted us to settle the matter with a few months of negotiations with the Albanians and recognise the independence of Kosovo-Metohija on the basis of concessions in denetralisation, are now negotiating with Russia on joint stands for a new resolution, said Samardzic.
According to Samardzic the Russian position is clear, a new resolution in the UN Security Council can only confirm the basic elements of Resolution 1244, and they include the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, and it must incorporate those elements of the Resolution 1244 which have not been realised, and that is the entire issue of human rights, and above all, the issue of return of Serbs, insisted upon by Russia.
Samardzic said that the process is going on gradually and it will force, above all the US, and then the EU to form a new framework or a new Security Council resolution, in accordance with international law and especially the European tradition in resolving the minority rights issue.
It will take a long time to reach such a consensus at the highest level, which will lead to a negotiation process and a consensus at the level of the sides involved in the issue, concluded Samardzic.
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Finding solution for Kosovo will take months
Kosovska Mitrovica, May 18, 2007 - President of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Sanda Raskovic-Ivic said today that finding a solution for the province's status will take months, and not weeks as some say.
In an interview to Kontakt Plus radio from Kosovska Mitrovica, Raskovic-Ivic said that draft resolutions on Kosovo prepared by the US and Russia confirm that the question of the province's future status is not simple and that it will not be easy to find a solution.
The President of the Coordinating Centre voiced hope that Kosovo will not be taken away by force from Serbia and added that she believes in Moscow's position concerning the southern Serbian province.
She said that the new Serbian government will continue to work on the improvement of living conditions of Kosovo Serbs since they are the main protectors of the Serbian identity.
Raskovic-Ivic called on Kosovo Serbs to remain consistent and brave and to believe that there are people in Belgrade who will fight for their interests in the best way using diplomatic means.
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Russian veto in UNSC opens new chapter in Kosovo negotiations
Belgrade, May 14, 2007 – Coordinator of the state negotiating team for Kosovo-Metohija Slobodan Samardzic said yesterday that the announcement of Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin that Russia may veto a resolution by the United States and its allies on Kosovo-Metohija opens a new chapter in solving the issue of the southern Serbian province.
Samardzic told news agency Tanjug that now it is very likely that the US plan will not pass as it will be prevented by the Russian veto.
He added that Serbia is ready for this new chapter as it has the new Constitution, a new negotiating platform, comprehensive amendments, a good plan for Kosovo and good political will and therefore expects the process to continue.
The announced veto is not just encouraging for Serbia, it is also the warning for the US and its allies and partners. This is a principle-grounded warning and we hope that the EU will now realise it will have to formulate its policy toward Kosovo-Metohija by itself, Samardzic said.
The US is now time-restricted as it insisted that the final decision is made by end-May, he said and noted that complex political issues call for more patience and more time for negotiations.
Assassins of prime minister Zoran Djindjic get maximum sentencePM Vojislav Kostunica har udtalt flg. (iflg. Den Serbiske Regering):
Belgrade, May 23, 2007 – Former commander of the Special Operations Unit (JSO) Milorad Ulemek aka Legija and his assistant Zvezdan Jovanovic have been convicted today for the assassination of Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic and each got a maximum sentence of 40 years of prison.
The twelve convicts, members of the gang that killed the prime minister, were sentenced to a total of 378 years of prison.
Ulemek was sentenced to 40 years of prison for plotting the murder whereas Jovanovic got the 40-year sentence for assassinating prime minister Djindjic and wounding Djindjic’s guard Milan Veruovic.
Former JSO member Zeljko Tojaga got a 30-year sentence and former JSO member Sasa Pejakovic an eight-year sentence.
Former employee of the Security and Intelligence Agency (BIA) Branislav Bezarevic was sentenced to 30 years of prison.
“Zemun clan” member Aleksandar Simovic was convicted to 35 years and Dusan Krsmanovic to 30 years of prison.
Milos Simovic received a 30 year sentence, Ninoslav Konstantinovic 35 years, Vladimir Milisavljevic 35, Sretko Kalinic 35 and Milan Jurisic received 30 years of prison.
Chief judge Nata Mesarevic said that Zvezdan Jovanovic fired two shots from a sniping rifle from 14 Admirala Geprata Street on March 12, 2003.
One shot gunned down prime minister Djindjic and the other wounded his guard Veruovic, the chief judge said.
According to Mesarevic, in 2002 and in early 2003, Ulemek and Spasojevic organised a criminal group in order to jeopardise the constitutional order and for material gain and power.
Mesarevic said that the aim of the criminal group was to kill the prime minister and instigate a feeling of insecurity among citizens.
Belgrade, May 23, 2007 - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said today that the sentence to the assassins of prime minister Zoran Djindjic has a special importance for the state, the entire Serbian society and functioning of the country's legal system.
Kostunica told the Tanjug news agency that the assassination of prime minister Djindjic was a heavy blow for Serbia. He said that the completion of the court proceedings, pronouncing sentence and doing justice has great importance and sends out the message that the state and the hand of justice will reach everyone who has committed crimes.
Serbia dedicated to fulfilling standards conditioned by EU integration process
Belgrade, May 23, 2007 - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica talked today with President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) René Van der Linden. Kostunica said at the meeting that Serbia respects all European values and is strongly engaged in fulfilling the European standards required for the EU integration process.
This gives Serbia the full right to expect and demand to be respected as an equal partner by all European institutions, which primarily means that the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected with Serbia just as with other European states, said the Prime Minister.
He accentuated that the international order is based on the respect of the international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, adding that Serbia cannot be exempted from the rules that apply to the rest of the world nor can anything be offered in exchange for its territory.
Kostunica stressed that in line with all European values, national minorities are guaranteed the rights determined by the degree of autonomy and added that in line with those values, Serbia offered the highest degree of autonomy to the ethnic Albanian community in Kosovo-Metohija.
The Prime Minister warned of the dangers of indulging separatists’ threats and emphasised that such an approach to resolving the national minority issue would have detrimental consequences not only in the region, but also worldwide.
President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly René Van der Linden wished Serbia success in its presidency over the European Council of Ministers.
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Serbia’s Council of Europe chairmanship great opportunity for country’s affirmation
Belgrade, May 23, 2007 – Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic and President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) René Van der Linden agreed today that the forthcoming period of Serbia’s chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers is a great opportunity for affirmation of Serbia as a democratic country strongly committed to common European values.
Jeremic and Van der Linden discussed Serbia’s six-month chairmanship that started on May 11.
In the meeting which also discussed the issue of Kosovo-Metohija, Jeremic said that Serbia supports a sustainable and compromise solution that will respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country. He also reiterated that Kosovo independence is unacceptable.
Montenegro declared independence from Serbia and Montenegro and was recognized as a UN member state in June. Some progress was made towards overcoming impunity for war crimes and political killings. Torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officers were widespread.Rapporten om de forskellige lande kan nedtages som PDF fra: http://thereport.amnesty.org/document/15
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (Tribunal) did not return cases under its jurisdiction to Macedonia for trial. Parliamentary elections that resulted in a change of government were marred by violence between ethnic Albanian parties. Investigations continued outside Macedonia into allegations that the authorities unlawfully transferred a German national into US custody.Rapporten om de forskellige lande kan nedtages som PDF fra: http://thereport.amnesty.org/document/15
Two agents of the intelligence service were charged in connection with the alleged abduction of seven people in the context of the “war on terror”. Migrants suffered ill-treatment, and there were concerns about forcible return. Migrant children were held in detention on at least two occasions. A draft law aimed at bringing the country’s asylum procedure in line with international standards was being finalized but had not been passed by the end of the year. Conscientious objectors continued to face persecution. Women victims of domestic violence or trafficking and forced prostitution were not granted the necessary protection.Rapporten om de forskellige lande kan nedtages som PDF fra: http://thereport.amnesty.org/document/15
After the introduction of new legislation in previous years, there was little evidence of progress in the implementation of reforms. There were continued prosecutions of people expressing their peacefully held opinions. Human rights further deteriorated in the eastern and south-eastern provinces in the context of an increase in fighting between the security forces and the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK); there was an increase in attacks on civilians in other areas by armed groups. There were reports of excessive use of force against demonstrators by law enforcement officers during violent protests in the city of Diyarbak¹r in the south-east of the country. In spite of a general decrease in allegations of torture or ill-treatment, there were reports that such abuses were widespread in police custody against those detained during the protests. There were continued concerns about unfair trials and conditions in “F-type” prisons. Little progress was made in creating shelters for women victims of violence.Rapporten om de forskellige lande kan nedtages som PDF fra: http://thereport.amnesty.org/document/15
Italy lacked a comprehensive asylum law. The government failed to forward extradition requests for 26 US citizens to the USA in the Abu Omar rendition case. Several migrants were given an expulsion order and some were sent back to their countries of origin based on counter-terrorism laws in place since 2005. No specific crime of torture was provided for in Italian law.Rapporten om de forskellige lande kan nedtages som PDF fra: http://thereport.amnesty.org/document/15
April 12, 2007
Statement by Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank President
Paul Wolfowitz: Let me just say a few words about the issue on everyone’s mind. Two years ago, when I came to the Bank, I raised the issue of a potential conflict of interest and asked to be recused from the matter. I took the issue to the Ethics Committee and after extensive discussions with the Chairman, the Committee’s advice was to promote and relocate Ms. Shaha Riza.
I made a good faith effort to implement my understanding of that advice, and it was done in order to take responsibility for settling an issue that I believed had potential to harm the institution. In hindsight, I wish I had trusted my original instincts and kept myself out of the negotiations. I made a mistake, for which I am sorry.
Let me also ask for some understanding. Not only was this a painful personal dilemma, but I also had to deal with it when I was new to this institution and I was trying to navigate in uncharted waters. The situation was unprecedented and exceptional. This was an involuntary reassignment and I believed there was a legal risk if this was not resolved by mutual agreement. I take full responsibility for the details. I did not attempt to hide my actions nor make anyone else responsible.
I proposed to the Board that they establish some mechanism to judge whether the agreement reached was a reasonable outcome. I will accept any remedies they propose.
In the larger scheme of things, we have much more important work to focus on. For those people who disagree with the things that they associate me with in my previous job, I’m not in my previous job. I’m not working for the U.S. government, I’m working for this institution and its 185 shareholders. I believe deeply in the mission of the institution and have a passion for it. I think the challenge of reducing poverty is of enormous importance. I think the opportunities in Africa are potentially historic. We have really been able to call attention to the progress that’s possible in Africa, and not just the despair and misery in the poorest countries. I think together we’ve made some progress in enabling this institution to respond more effectively and rapidly both in poor countries and in middle income countries to carry on the fight against poverty. I also believe—even more strongly now than when I came to this job—that the world needs an effective multilateral institution like this one that can responsibly and credibly manage common funds for common purposes, whether it is fighting poverty or dealing with climate change or responding to avian flu. I ask that I be judged for what I’m doing now and what we can do together moving forward.
Statements of Executive Directors and President Wolfowitz
Washington, May 17, 2007
STATEMENT OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS
Over the last three days we have considered carefully the report of the ad hoc group, the associated documents, and the submissions and presentations of Mr. Wolfowitz. Our deliberations were greatly assisted by our discussion with Mr Wolfowitz. He assured us that he acted ethically and in good faith in what he believed were the best interests of the institution, and we accept that. We also accept that others involved acted ethically and in good faith. At the same time, it is clear from this material that a number of mistakes were made by a number of individuals in handling the matter under consideration, and that the Bank’s systems did not prove robust to the strain under which they were placed. One conclusion we draw from this is the need to review the governance framework of the World Bank Group, including the role as well as procedural and other aspects of the Ethics Committee. The Executive Directors accept Mr. Wolfowitz’s decision to resign as President of the World Bank Group, effective end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2007). The Board will start the nomination process for a new President immediately.
We are grateful to Mr. Wolfowitz for his service at the Bank. Much has been achieved in the last two years, including the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative, the Clean Energy Investment Framework, the Africa Action Plan, and the Avian Flu Initiative. 2006 was a record year for IDA lending, especially in Africa. The Bank has launched emergency action programmes in Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, and played a key role in the Lebanon and Afghanistan donors conference. In March, after an unprecedented global consultation process, we adopted a new strategy for the Bank’s work on Governance and Anti-Corruption. And we have new strategies for Rapid Response in Fragile States, for the Health Sector and for the Financial Sector. We thank Mr Wolfowitz for his leadership and for championing the Bank’s work across so many areas.
It is regrettable that these achievements have been overshadowed by recent events. Mr Wolfowitz has stressed his deep support for and attachment to the World Bank and his responsibility, as its President, to act at all stages in the best interests of the institution. This sense of duty and responsibility has led him to his announcement today. We thank him for this and underscore our appreciation for his commitment to development and his continuing support for the World Bank and its mission.
STATEMENT OF PAUL WOLFOWITZ
I am pleased that after reviewing all the evidence the Executive Directors of the World Bank Group have accepted my assurance that I acted ethically and in good faith in what I believed were the best interests of the institution, including protecting the rights of a valued staff member.
The poorest people of the world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa deserve the very best that we can deliver. Now it is necessary to find a way to move forward.
To do that, I have concluded that it is in the best interests of those whom this institution serves for that mission to be carried forward under new leadership. Therefore, I am announcing today that I will resign as President of the World Bank Group effective at the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2007).
The World Bank Group is a critical institution with a noble mission, that of enabling the world’s poor – and particularly the more than a billion men, women and children who struggle to survive on less than a dollar a day – to escape the shackles of poverty. I have had the privilege of visiting World Bank Group staff and programs in some 25 developing countries in the last two years. I’ve had a chance to see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears how eager people are to work hard if they have a chance for a good job, how excited children are to have a chance for the first time to go to school, and how willing parents are to sacrifice so that their children can have a better future.
It has been truly inspirational to be able to help them achieve their goals and it is a privilege for all of us in the World Bank Group to have a chance, every day that we come to work, to make a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate. I am grateful to have enjoyed that privilege for nearly two years and I am proud of what we have accomplished together as a team.
We provided record levels of support last year to the poorest countries of the world, $9.5 billion, through the International Development Association (IDA) and we are headed to a new record this year. Half of that support is going to Sub-Saharan African countries, also setting new records;
* We are further increasing support to the poorest countries through the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative completed last year which canceled $38 billion of debt owed by the HIPC countries to IDA, along with specific commitments by the IDA donors to provide additional support to make up for the lost reflows to IDA on a dollar-for-dollar basis;
* And last year we transferred a record amount of Bank Group income, $950 million, to IDA, including the first-ever transfer from the IFC to IDA;
We have not only increased the quantity of resources available to the poorest countries through IDA, we are also making those resources more effective, and we are providing greater assurance to donors that they are being used properly:
· By helping developing countries strengthen systems of governance and supporting their efforts to fight corruption and to recover stolen assets;
· By placing greater emphasis on measuring the results our support is producing, although much more work needs to be done in this area; and
· By strengthening cooperation among donors, and particularly among the Multilateral Development Banks in such areas as fighting corruption and averting unsustainable debt burdens;
We have also strengthened our work significantly in a number of important specific sectors, particularly:
· Infrastructure – which was a major concern of the Finance Ministers from Africa when I first met with them two years ago;
· Combating malaria, a preventable disease that is killing 3,000 people a day, most of them children and most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the last 18 months we have approved over $360 million in assistance for anti-malaria programs compared to $50 million in the first five years of this decade.
· Here, too, we are emphasizing quality as well as quantity, pressing the development of a “malaria scorecard” to track results and effectively coordinate the work of the many donors so that gaps can be identified and filled.
Some of the work which has been most inspiring to me has been the Bank Group’s response to countries emerging from conflict, countries with new leadership which urgently need assistance to consolidate peace and jumpstart recovery:
· We have responded with unprecedented speed to help fragile states with new leadership, such as Liberia, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
· We have adopted a new Rapid Response and Fragile States policy to enable us to move faster in situations with new opportunity and to encourage more of our staff to work in fragile states.
· We have helped lead successful donor conferences for many post-conflict countries, including Afghanistan, Lebanon and Liberia.
Our work is important, however, to more than just the poorest countries. Indeed, the majority of the world’s poor live in the more successful developing countries, our partners in middle income countries, which borrow from the IBRD.
· These countries still seek help to deal with their large challenges to fight poverty and preserve their environment, but the World Bank Group needs to be increasingly innovative and flexible if we are to be useful to these countries which are already highly sophisticated and have access to many other sources of funds. To do that we developed a new “Middle Income Country Strategy” last year and we are working hard on implementing it.
Some of our most important work has been strengthening the development of the private sector, which is the most important source of the growth and jobs that people need to escape poverty:
· The International Finance Corporation, which works with the private sector, has been setting impressive records, including $8 billion in new commitments this year.
· What should inspire us even more than the numbers is the greatly increased emphasis the IFC is placing on the development impact of their work and on expansion into “frontier markets.” Indeed, Africa is the fastest growing region for IFC work – a five-fold increase in five years – and the IFC has greatly expanded its field staff in Africa.
· Perhaps most of all, I am proud of the innovative work the IFC is doing, through the “Doing Business” report, to help developing countries identify the obstacles to private sector growth and I have been delighted at how eager many governments have been to remove those obstacles once we help identify them.
This is not an exhaustive description of the work of the World Bank Group – or even just the part that I have been involved in – but I need to mention one more thing: the importance of the World Bank partnership with the developed countries to promote sustainable global development:
· The Bank helps rich countries carry out their obligation and their interest to help the world’s poor.
· We support the interest of the developed countries to mobilize global resources for common purposes, such as containing the spread of Avian flu – where the Bank has played a leadership role – or to preserving the planet’s environmental heritage, as we are doing in Brazil and the DRC, by supporting Amazon Basin and Congo River Basin initiatives.
· Most important of all has been the Bank’s development of the Clean Energy Investment Framework which we were first asked to do by the Gleneagles Summit of the G-8 in July 2005. As the world mobilizes resources to diversify energy sources, reduce carbon emissions, avoid deforestation and help countries deal with the effects of climate change, most of those resources have to come from the developed countries. The most productive place to invest them will often be in developing countries. The World Bank Group has been and continues to be in a unique position to facilitate those investment flows and the Global Environment Facility and the Clean Energy Investment Framework form the foundation on which the Bank Group can build.
All of that work – and much more – is only possible because of the dedicated efforts of very hard-working staff. I am particularly impressed by our staff in country offices, including remarkable local staff members, many of whom face daily risks to their health and security in order to help the poor whom we strive to serve. They too have been treated unfairly by much of the press coverage of the past weeks and they deserve better. I hope that can happen now.
I have made many strong appointments both from inside and outside the Bank of which I am personally proud. My Senior Management Team is an exceptional group of talented managers and devoted international public servants who it has been an honor to have as friends and colleagues.
But, I am particularly proud to have appointed two African women as Vice-Presidents in key positions, each of them a former cabinet minister with real world experience in solving problems in democratically elected Sub-Saharan governments. Only when African voices with African experiences are fully empowered at the Bank, will the Bank be seen as a center for solutions in that part of the world. We need senior leaders who have real-world experience in tackling the toughest challenges in the poorest countries.
I am also grateful for the dedicated professionalism of the many staff throughout the World Bank Group who have stayed focused on their work during the recent controversy. In the month of April alone, they delivered nearly $1 billion of support for Africa, an innovative new strategy for Bank work in the health sector, and a strategy for Bank Group support for financial sector work in developing countries, and much more. I am particularly grateful to the entire staff of the President’s office who have given me such strong professional support throughout the last two years and particularly during the last month.
It is inspiring to work with people like those and I will miss them.
Finally, I want to say a special word of thanks to the many people inside and outside the Bank who have publicly or privately expressed their support for me and asked me to stay. One of the most moving was a phone call I received from the democratically elected President of a Sub-Saharan African country. It was a private call so I will not quote him by name. But he thanked me for doing so much, in his words, to make the World Bank an institution “that listens, that cares, that understands and that takes action.” If that is true, and if I have “touched the hearts of Africans,” as he told me, then the last two years have been worth it.
I hope I can continue working with him and with the many other Africans, official and non-official, who have been such an inspiration to me – although I will have to find other ways to do so. They are the ones who have convinced me that Africa has a real chance to turn a corner and join the progress that we have seen in many other parts of the developing world in recent decades. It is those Africans who are stepping up – often at great personal sacrifice and even risk, to bring peace, good governance and sound policies to their countries that are the reason for hope. They deserve all the support that the World Bank Group can give them and I hope they get it.
The next President will have my full support. Hopefully the difficulties of the last few weeks can actually strengthen the Bank by identifying some of the areas of governance and human resource management where reform is needed.
Change should not be feared, it is something to welcome. It is the key to keeping this important institution relevant and effective in the future and meeting the needs of the world’s poor, and of humanity as a whole.
QUESTION: On Wolfowitz, please. Can you tell me about the current efforts to appoint a successor and the extent of the State Department's involvement in that, if any?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, the lead on this is Secretary of Treasury Paulson. He's in the process of collecting some names that he will forward to the President for the President's consideration of who the President will nominate as the next president of the World Bank.
I can't tell you whether or not the State Department has played any formal role in that process. Secretary Rice, I'm sure, will offer her views if she's asked either by the President or Secretary Paulson about this. And she may also have some thoughts that she'll offer up on her own. I haven't talked to her and asked her whether or not she has any names in mind that she has suggested to Secretary Paulson. In any case, even if I -- she did have names, I'm sure we -- at this point, we wouldn't share them.
But the President is committed and Secretary Paulson is committed to forwarding names of people who are well-qualified and who would merit selection and nomination as the next president of the World Bank.
QUESTION: Do you think this whole episode has damaged the bank's reputation?
MR. MCCORMACK: Well, you know, I can't tell you whether or not it's damaged the reputation of the World Bank on the international scene. Certainly, it's been a very trying period for the bank and -- you know, President Bush talked about it and he's sorry that it came to this because Paul Wolfowitz is a good man who is committed to fighting poverty around the world. He is committed to lifting up those most in need around the world. But it's been a very difficult, difficult couple of months while this whole episode has played out.
The World Bank is an important institution and there are a lot of very, very capable skilled professionals who work there and obviously, we can all benefit from their expertise and I think they can also benefit from perspectives of others on the outside who might have different ideas about how to go about the work of poverty alleviation and development. The United States has a few of those ideas, talking about making grant vis loans. And there's now a mixture of that, more of a mixture at the World Bank and that's healthy.
But it's an important institution. There are a lot of people there who are skilled professionals who should be proud of the work that they do and it's in -- you know, the World Bank, I expect, will continue to be an important institution in the international system concerned with issues of poverty alleviation and development.
QUESTION: And does America traditionally have the right to appoint the president? Is that how it works?
MR. MCCORMACK: That has been the tradition, that the United States President has appointed a person to that job and that traditionally has been an American.
QUESTION: And was there any issue about this when you were talking to European leaders about whether this would -- this tradition would continue in view of what's happened?
MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not sure. In Secretary Rice's phone calls, that didn't come up.
QUESTION: Over at the World Bank, is it conceivable, possibly never having thought it possible, but to perhaps ask outgoing Foreign Minister Tony Blair to perhaps become the World Bank president? Could that conceivably happen?
MR. MCCORMACK: I don't know that he's looking for the job and I'm not sure that anybody's suggested that. I've seen it floating around in the media, but I'm not sure that that's been a point of discussion.
QUESTION: Do you think that Bob Zoellick would be a good choice? I mean, do you think he has the right characteristics?
MR. MCCORMACK: (Laughter.) You know, look, I'm not going to get in the position of nominating people for jobs I'm not sure that they want. But Bob Zoellick obviously is a very -- aside from the question of whether or not he would make a good president of the World Bank, not for me to speak of, but he is obviously a great diplomat and somebody with deep experience in these issues.
Europe's Role in the World
Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs
Remarks at the Europa Forum Program, Berlin, Germany, May 9, 2007
Assistant Secretary Fried delivers remarks at the Europa Forum Program. Thank you Hans [Buerger, Deputy Chief Editor of ORF-TV, Austrian TV]; it is a pleasure to be in Berlin. And this is my fifth trip this year, which says a lot about the depth of European and American ties, one of the subjects I will be speaking about today.
I have been asked to speak on "Europe's Role in the World" and you have sought an outside perspective, albeit that of a close Ally.
Now how close is that? Let me assure you that there is no closer partnership in the world than that between the United States and Europe. The U.S. and Europe do not constitute a single polity. But we do form a single community of values, interests, and responsibilities. Our roles in the world are not the same, but they are inextricably close, by choice but also by our very natures.
We may play different positions, but we do play the same sport, and we are on the same team.
Our identities are bound up by our commitments to human rights, rule of law, freedoms of religion and the press, and to market economics. The United States and Europe are centers of power and wealth and, as such, have special responsibility to help our fellow human beings and, yes, help shape the world.
This is not simply altruism. An open, prospering world, increasingly characterized by the rule of law and deepening democracy, is better for us all, and far better than a closed world of hostile ideologies and spheres of influence. We have learned this the hard way.
We have also learned, we the U.S. and the Europeans, the hard way that events in far off corners of the world, in failed states, will affect us.
There is little that we can do by ourselves. There is much we can do together. Where we cooperate and collaborate, we generally succeed. This is the case from Kosovo to Afghanistan. And I sleep better at night when I know America embarks on a mission with Europeans at our side.
This optimistic picture of transatlantic relations flies in the face of conventional wisdom about transatlantic rifts. But there is more popular support for the transatlantic alliance than the punditry in Europe and America often realize or are willing to admit. Poll after poll reveals a popular mandate for Europe and America to work together on the major issues confronting our societies.
Let me cite a German poll , that of the Bertelsmann Foundation, that has just come out, which shows that vast majorities on both sides of the Atlantic want transatlantic cooperation on issues as far ranging as democracy promotion, proliferation prevention, climate change, and energy security.
A large majority in Germany -- 73 percent -- want to see both us working together to prevent countries such as Iran from developing nuclear weapons. That figure rises to 74 percent in Spain-and to 79 percent in Finland. American support for that is 81 percent.
When it comes to the supposedly controversial subject of promoting democracy worldwide, 84 percent of Germans want to work together with America to this end. That's ahead of the 72 percent support in the U.S but behind that of Spain at 85 percent.
Germans, Spanish and Americans have statistically identical views on the need for transatlantic cooperation to promote energy security -- 80, 83, and 81 percent respectively.
And huge numbers, 78 percent of Americans and 73 percent of Europeans, support cooperation on climate protection.
Across eight European countries, only an average of 4 percent said they did not want, and did not support, closer cooperation between the United States and Europe.
Bertelsmann's own conclusion was that "there is a clear mandate among the citizens of Europe and the USA for close transatlantic cooperation. Both parties see the other side as a vitally important partner."
I take pleasure in this endorsement for the core of my own country's foreign policy toward Europe today, which calls for cooperation in resolving common problems we face throughout the world.
This mandate was endorsed last week by our leaders, at the EU-U.S. Summit.
Our leaders agreed to:
* Support determination of final status of Kosovo -- supervised independence -- where we both have troops under NATO.
* Coordinate security and civilian support for Afghanistan, were we also have troops under NATO.
* Consider additional sanctions in Sudan, to put pressure on that government so that it ends the genocide in Darfur.
* Promote the rights of the Cuban people, who deserve democracy no less then we.
* Advance cooperation on energy security and climate change.
* A Framework for Transatlantic Economic Integration;
* A U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement; and
* An agreement on exchange of classified information between the U.S. and the European Union.
The Framework is ambitious and substantive, and it is the original initiative of Chancellor Merkel. It will greatly reduce regulatory obstacles to building a genuine transatlantic economy, already the most robust in the world.
The Air Transport Agreement will allow every U.S. and EU carrier to fly between every city throughout the European Union and the U.S.
Our declaration on energy security and climate change paves the way for concrete practical cooperation that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, an environmental crisis of our time.
We have made progress because we have made efforts. From the start of his Second Term, President Bush has reached out to Europe. Europe has reached back, and our relations are again on a strong footing.
In the time remaining to the current American Administration, we will work with Europe together on many challenges: Iran, Lebanon, Israel-Palestine, and more.
I want to discuss today two longer term challenges.
* One is conceptual and organizational: we need an integrative approach to global crises, one that brings together military capabilities and reconstruction and development.
* The second is strategic: we need to find a framework for working with, and dealing with Russia, a great nation that deserves respect and with which we seek cooperation, but about whom we have concerns and with whom we have some differences.
On the first challenge, I am not talking about a division of labor between soft and hard power. Like talk of Mars and Venus, this tends to draw divisive lines. In fact, we all need to exercise both powers.
The world remains a dangerous place. We have to sharpen all tools at our disposal and learn to work in an integrative, comprehensive fashion.
The use of force is no virtue, but it may be our necessity. Force by itself will not bring success. But those who pretend we can dispense with force altogether are deluding themselves.
Let us recall a field where our forces and our civilian agencies are equally involved: Afghanistan. We need military means to confront and, yes, take out the Taliban. Success does not come from battles, however, but from schools and roads and good governance and jobs. We need teachers. But we need security forces to protect the teachers from the Taliban who could descend into town under cover of darkness and kill them.
Challenges Europe and the United States face in the early 21st century may well include those in which insecurity and dysfunctionality are linked, and we need integrated tools of security and development to meet them.
We have to think of this conceptual framework -- and apply the real world lessons we are learning in Afghanistan -- as we sort through the institutional questions of NATO, the European Union, the UN, World Bank and the other organizations we turn to and work with and are part of.
We must overcome habits of mind and policy and bad habit. To be blunt, we need to overcome the stigma that many in Europe attach to the use of force, and we need to see it as sometimes integral to our efforts to support human development. And to be equally blunt, America must recommit to what some in my country still refer to derisively as "nation building."
And we must do away with rivalries that have kept our best instruments from working together. The inability of the European Union and NATO to work together is no longer just a nuisance: it costs lives and threatens our success where we cannot afford failure.
I hope that at the end of the current American Administration, we can resolve to put aside institutional theology in favor of integrated effort.
Can we agree, for example, on the following?
* Total, unrestricted cooperation on the ground between EU and NATO operations and activities. Our principles should be transparency, coordination, and integrated action, not institutional separation.
* Greater strategic coordination among NATO and European Union leaders -- after all, 21 countries are in both organizations. Our Foreign Ministers have a strategic discussion over dinner every three to four months. Why not Foreign Aid Ministers, Defense Ministers, or even Prime Ministers? And can we support Javier Solana and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer leading this effort, instead of imposing limits upon them?
* And finally, we need regular, practical coordination between NATO and EU staffs in Brussels -- and not, please, under cover of darkness, but as an authorized activity backed by both organizations.
Now let me turn to Russia, even more on our minds this week than usual. Russia and the West have dealt with one another -- sometimes well, more often uneasily -- since at least Peter the Great. It would be hubris to proclaim some policy to resolve overnight the relationship between Russia and the West.
We've had some spectacular differences with Russia recently: CFE, Estonia, Missile Defense; and persistent differences, increasingly over democracy. And more differences may arise, possibly over Kosovo, for example.
But let us be steady. It is long-term partnership with Russia that we seek, and not simply management of difficulties. Let me suggest some principles for relations with Russia through what will be a complicated period as Russia moves toward an expected transfer of power this year and early next.
One is tactical: the United States and the European Union should cooperate with Russia when at all possible; push back only when necessary; and at all times be realistic about Russia.
In this regard, encouraged by the wise advice of Chancellor Merkel, the United States is intensifying strategic dialogue with Russia, including on CFE, missile defense, and post-START arrangements. Secretaries Rice and Gates have agreed to a "two-plus-two" format with their counterparts, suggested by the way by the Russians, to consider these issues. We seek common approaches on missile defense, not rhetorical sparring.
A second principle is values based: we should be clear about what sort of Russia we want to see emerge from its unfinished transformation. We do not want a weak Russia. This does nothing for America or, I dare say, nothing for Europe. But a strong Russia must be strong in 21st century, not 19th century terms.
In this century, a strong state must include a strong civil society, an independent media, a strong independent judiciary, and a market economy regulated by independent state institutions. On this basis, a nation may build the rule of law, which makes a good life possible. A strong center is part of this healthy mix, but a strong center in a state of weak institutions, is not.
We should be realistic about Russia. This starts with the understanding that Russia even today is freer than under the Communists, and arguably freer than at any time under the Tsars.
But Russia is a great country and it can do better than that low standard.
We have a stake here, we Europeans and Americans. History suggests a link between a nation's internal arrangements and values on one hand, and its external behavior on the other. Democracies have their flaws, but are apt to be better neighbors and better actors generally.
A third principle is that we should approach Moscow as friend and potential ally everywhere in the world, but we should not pay a price for cooperation, nor indulge Russia when it behaves as if a residual sphere of influence over its neighbors is its due.
Europe and the United States should continue to speak out honestly and if necessary frankly about the use of political and economic pressure against smaller, vulnerable neighbors, such as Estonia and Georgia.
Countries like Estonia and Georgia have their own responsibilities to build better relations with Russia, to be sure. Estonia should continue to reach out to its Russian community, not because it is pressured to do so, but because Estonia is a democracy and respects the rule of law, and such outreach is the right thing to do. President Ilves has made clear his commitment to such a positive approach.
Georgia should avoid the temptation of adventurism, and continue to work toward peaceful, responsible resolution of the separatist conflicts on Georgian territory. President Saakashvili has recognized his responsibility in this regard. We should all support Georgia as it deepens its reforms at home and, on that basis, seeks to draw closer to the transatlantic family and our institutions.
Russia has its own responsibilities, including the recognition that the countries that emerged from the Soviet empire, such as Estonia and Georgia, are truly free and sovereign.
And we -- Germany, Europe as a whole, and America -- have responsibilities of our own to recognize that there is no grey zone in Europe, no implicit sphere of influence for Russia, no outside veto over the fate of these newly free countries. They must be free and responsible to write their own history, for good or ill, whether with us, based on their own readiness to share our values and join our family, or otherwise.
Today is May 9, when Russia celebrates Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. That victory was heroic, purchased at terrible price. The United States recognizes Russia's strong feelings about it. My country will always remember its wartime alliance with Moscow and we honor the courage and sacrifice of Soviet soldiers in defeating Nazi Germany. But Russia must find ways as well to recognize that while Russians' feelings are strong and have validity, so do the feelings of some others, especially those whose liberation from the Nazis did not mean freedom.
Relations with Russia are likely to remain a complex mix of partnership, some friction, some perceived competition, but hopefully growing partnership for some time to come. We cannot resolve all our differences in the next 20 months. But we can, perhaps, put relations with Russia on a productive, frank, and, given my country's electoral calendar, bipartisan footing.
There is much the United States and Europe can and must do in the world. In all our endeavors, neither the United States nor Europe can go it alone. Unilateralism, isolationism, appeasement -- none of these approaches ever works to the long-term good. The sterile indulgence of Euro-bashing or, its twin, anti-Americanism, should join other "-isms" in the dustbin of history.
America in the world needs Europe and, may I suggest, Europe needs America. Our task is not to put our relationship on the Freudian couch and anxiously take its temperature every few weeks, but to put it to work in the world to resolve the problems only we can resolve together: peace and security; the advance of prosperity; the common challenge of climate change and energy security; the fight against disease and poverty, and misery.
So let us do so. Thank you.
VERDENSBANKENS PRÆSIDENT, PAUL WOLFOWITZ, TRÆDER TILBAGE DEN 30. JUNI 2007 Bestyrelsen i Verdensbanken har den seneste måneds tid kulegravet Wolfowitz' involvering i forfremmelsen af hans kæreste Shaha Riza og både Bankens bestyrelse, personale og medlemslande har udtrykt dyb bekymring over situationen. Udviklingsministeren udtaler:
"Paul Wolfowitz har mistet den troværdighed og tillid, der er nødvendig for at kunne stå i spidsen for en institution, der rådgiver lande om god regeringsførelse og bekæmpelse af korruption. Heller ikke personale og bestyrelse har længere den nødvendige tillid til Wolfowitz.
Der skal ikke kunne drages tvivl om Verdensbanken troværdighed. Det betyder, at Bankens præsident skal holde sin sti helt ren. Det betyder også, at Bankens procedurer bør gennemgås for at sikre, at lignende sager ikke kan opstå i fremtiden.
Jeg har været meget tilfreds med processen i Bankens bestyrelse. Vi har fra politisk side bedt bestyrelsen om at kulegrave sagen. Det er den blevet. I den givne situation har vi fået den bedst mulige løsning, og nu skal vi se fremad, så Banken kan komme videre med udviklingsarbejdet.
Det er vigtigt, at der relativt hurtigt udpeges en ny præsident, der nyder bred opbakning og accept fra medlemslande og de ansatte".
Redigeret 18. maj 2007
Transcript of Remarks and Replies to Media Questions by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov at Joint Press Conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Moscow, May 15, 2007
Foreign Minister Lavrov: Today ends the action-packed visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Russia. Many meetings with members of the Russian leadership took place, including today’s meeting with Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia. As the chief outcome of the visit I want to stress the confirmation by the United States of America and Russia of our commitment to partnership.
We discussed the work program that the Presidents outlined during their last meeting. We have a concrete list of tasks approved by them, which have a great significance not only for the two states, but also for the international community as a whole, because they concern many things having a direct relationship to security and the development of all countries of the world. They are the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the fight against international terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime, and the promotion of more effective, safer methods of developing peaceful nuclear energy.
Based on the accord reached by Presidents Putin and George Bush last year in St. Petersburg, work is under way to combine the initiatives of the two leaders that must eventually help develop nuclear energy for the benefit of all the states honestly and conscientiously fulfilling their obligations under the NPT Treaty and simultaneously lower the risks of nuclear weapons falling into wrong hands.
Another initiative of the two Presidents, concerning forming a global coalition to combat nuclear terrorism, is also being actively realized. More than 30 states have already joined it, and the number of those wishing to take part in it is growing. We agreed to actively continue forming this important coalition, which, undoubtedly, will enable all states to feel more secure.
We continue dialoguing on strategic stability issues. Our representatives are closely working on what to replace the START Treaty, which expires in 2009, with.
We are also grateful to the US for the support of Russia’s line on integration into world economic structures. As you know, bilateral negotiations on Russia’s accession to the WTO are already over. US President Bush has confirmed his support for the soonest completion of the multilateral negotiations. We hope that they will soon be held successfully. We are also grateful to the US for the support of the start of negotiations on Russia’s accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. We expect that the decision will already be made in Paris tomorrow.
Besides, Russia is keen to join the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. In this regard we also count on interaction with our American partners.
Having today discussed all these matters, we also examined international problems: the Middle East, where we are partners in the Quartet, and Kosovo, where our positions do not yet coincide. But of course this work needs to be continued, in order to arrive at a solution which suits everybody. Above all, as we in Russia believe, at a solution which will be acceptable both to the leaders in Pristina and to the leaders in Belgrade.
We have quite a few other themes of an international character. Practically any regional or international situation is an object of our cooperation and engagement and of our exchange of views.
In conclusion I will say that today at the meeting with the President of the Russian Federation an agenda for the present year was agreed, along with a schedule of contacts at the highest level. I shall particularly note that Condoleezza Rice stressed, and this was actively backed up by President Putin, the necessity not to allow Russian-American relations and the Russian-American partnership to become hostage to the pre-election cycles which are beginning in both countries. This is our common understanding, our common task. That’s the way we’re going to conduct our affairs in the coming period.
Question: Can you explain what underlies the relatively harsh rhetoric that Russia and the US exchanged these past few months?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: I do not think that the position of Moscow towards the US in the last few months can be described as hostile rhetoric. I think that it will be more correct to regard the statements that apparently prompted your question as an invitation to a more frank dialogue on all themes. First and foremost, on the issues on which our positions diverge. Such issues will always be there, and the Secretary of State said about this; there are no two big countries between which a complete, absolute harmony exists.
Moscow invites the US to have our cooperation extend not only to the spheres where we have already reached agreement, where our interests coincide, but also embrace the fields where our interests diverge. This is the kind of dialogue that Russia invites. It seems to me that at the level of our Presidents that understanding is there. Understanding that instances will always exist where the positions will be incompatible. But it is extremely important to honestly state our views to each other, strive to understand each other, and in the situations where even this will not help make the positions compatible, promote one’s own line in such a way as not to harm the partner’s interests. That’s what it is all about. One may, of course, bury complex problems deep under the carpet and not talk about them, but surely that will not be a partnership anymore, but something else. We want to be true partners with the US, and I hope that’s reciprocal.
I would also like to add with regard to missile defense. I fully support what the Secretary of State said about the need to think about the threats ahead together. That’s what we suggest and believe that a joint analysis of the threats is the starting point which will enable us to reach a common denominator and common agreement. I expect the planned contacts to be dedicated just to this.
Question: The summit in Samara is approaching. How do you assess the fact that relations between Russia and the European Union, which are, of course, very important both for Europe as a whole and for the international community, are becoming hostage to the position of one of the European countries?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: Although I risk running up against critical analysis by journalists, I want to recall an episode when President Yeltsin met with President Clinton in the US. Journalists asked the Presidents why relations between Russia and the US were approaching a catastrophic boundary. The late President Yeltsin replied: There is no catastrophe in the relations; it is you, journalists, who are a catastrophe. President Clinton burst into such loud laughter that it was difficult to suspect him of an unnatural reaction. Later the press criticized Yeltsin for his such harsh treatment of it.
I do not want to apply the same term to what is presently occurring in the media coverage of relations between Russia and the West. I want to say that the crisis about which the journalists are talking largely bears an artificially created character. We are not going to interfere in the European Union’s internal procedures. The European Union itself decided on the principles for its functioning and on its enlargement. I am convinced that the European Union will itself cope with the problems that it has.
Of course, we are interested in seeing Europe, as Henry Kissinger once put it, have “one telephone number” and “speak with one voice.” The sooner our European colleagues manage to arrange true coordination, the more effective I think will be cooperation with the European Union by the Russian Federation as well as by the United States, because the United States has its own advanced dialogue with the European Union – there was a summit in Washington only recently.
Question: The United States and Russia have not reached agreement as to the US proposal on missile defense. What threat is contained in this for bilateral relations? What can be done to prevent this from adversely affecting relations between the countries?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: I think that we can divide this question into two parts. There is the military-strategic part. In questions of military-strategic stability there are its own immutable laws – actions, counteractions, defensive, offensive systems. These laws operate regardless of how somebody would like to see this or that situation. The military has its own duty – to figure out threats and take countermeasures. This scheme operated, is operating and will continue to operate. It also operated in the previous times when strategic stability was being disturbed, when NATO was enlarging, when the CFE Treaty did not succeed in entering into force in its adapted form, and when the US was withdrawing from the bilateral ABM Treaty. The other side took the reciprocal steps that enabled it in the understanding it had to restore, maintain and preserve strategic stability. This is the military-strategic aspect of the problem. I repeat it, there are its own laws here, which continue to operate.
The other side, about which the Secretary of State said, is politics and strategic relations, if you like. Their own laws also operate here. They are based on reality. The realities that exist in the world are inevitably taken into consideration by responsible politicians. The reality is such that Russia and the US inevitably have to be, and will remain, partners if both countries become aware of their responsibility for the destinies of the world, for the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and for the struggle against international terrorism, drug trafficking, and organized crime. If we become aware of our responsibility for the sustainable development of the world economy and the economies of individual regions. I am convinced, I sense it that such responsibility is present on both sides.
The differences in our approaches towards some or other aspects of the developments in the world situation will persist; in some or other questions this will inevitably show itself: we are two countries too big to regard everything completely identically. But we are also too big to try to build our strategic line in relations with each other on the basis of individual, even if very important, but nevertheless individual problems. President Putin and President Bush see the perspective strategically. Today at the meeting of the Secretary of State with the President of Russia the talk was also about this. We are convinced that both our administrations must reinforce the foundation created, so that after the elections both in Russia and in the US those who will come into the Kremlin and the White House continue work on a solid foundation. Both sides have that understanding.
Question: You spoke of minimizing the areas of disagreement. Did you manage to find a common position, that is reduce the differences over the status of Kosovo? What will happen if Russia resorts to its veto power as a member of the UN Security Council on a draft resolution on Kosovo?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: Of course, we have as one of the tasks in our relations what you said about, notably – to minimize the degree of our differences. I think that today, perhaps, as regards Kosovo this did not occur. But that our understanding of the positions of each other has widened and deepened – I think that’s correct and one can say so.
Again, a clearer understanding of the positions of each other does not mean that we agree. But at least we see the arguments and the consequences which either party presumes for itself in the event of a particular outcome. Our stand on Kosovo, which Russian President Putin has clearly confirmed today, rests on international law, on the Charter of the United Nations, on the Helsinki Final Act of the OSCE and on the Rome Declaration of 2002, when the Russia-NATO Council was created five years ago. This Declaration reiterates the commitment of all the NATO participants and Russia to conscientiously observe our obligations under international law, under the UN Charter and under the Helsinki Final Act. Our stand also rests on UNSC resolution 1244. The US is convinced that there is no way other than approval of the Ahtisaari plan. Russia is convinced that there is no way other than the continuation of negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade. Today we frankly and honestly stated our arguments to each other. They were heard and, of course, will help build our relations more trustfully, in particular on this problem. Although so far they did not help bring our positions closer, this was a very useful conversation, a useful discussion anyway.
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