Friday, 19 February 2021

Third Sitting of the Committee on Kosovo-Metohija

At the sitting held on 19 February 2021, the members of the Committee on Kosovo-Metohija reviewed the Office for Kosovo-Metohija Activity Report for the period January – December 20209, submitted by the Office for Kosovo-Metohija.

Igor Popovic, acting assistant director of the Office for Kosovo-Metohija, presented the Activity Report to the Committee members. Popovic explained in detail the assistance provided by the Office in the field of justice and property issues to persons living in the Autonomous Province and internally displaced persons, as well as the legal support to the local self-governments in Kosovo-Metohija, and assistance in the fields of business, economic development and infrastructure projects.

Speaking of legal assistance in the reporting period, 330 letters were sent, 140 parties were received for verbal consultations and in 932 instances, advice was provided by telephone and/or electronically. In said period, the Office continued to provide assistance to persons of Serbian and non-Albanian nationality, against whom the judiciary of the Provisional Institutions in Kosovo-Metohija had mounted criminal proceedings for alleged serious crimes committed during armed conflicts on the territory of AP Kosovo-Metohija or for other criminal offenses under the indictments constructed in order to exert pressure to evict the remaining Serb and non-Albanian population and prevent the return of displaced persons.

In the reporting period, the Office continued to provide assistance to the Serbian Orthodox to protect church property by financing the work of the Legal Service of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren.

63,509,641 RSD were invested into improving quality of life and creating the conditions for further survival and stay in terms of providing a faster and more efficient ways to stimulate the economic sector and create a more favourable environment. With these funds, dozens of units of equipment, large and small mechanization for agricultural farms were procured, agricultural facilities renovated in several municipalities and spring and autumn sowing assisted in returnee communities.

By the Conclusion of 13 February 2020, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Program for the allocation and use of financial resources to support the economic development of non-Albanian communities, which provided funds in the amount of 137,539,000 RSD, large part of which - 72,096,231 RSD, was invested into the development and construction of the project "Paradise Spa". The Office also provided assistance to "Gazivoda" water supply, to the needs of the population from the three municipalities.

The Office helped eight municipalities in Kosovo-Metohija in the construction and reconstruction of domiciles, where 29 residential buildings were reconstructed, by providing assistance in the amount of 79,951,409 RSD. In the reporting period, through four projects in three territories: Leposavic, Kosovska Mitrovica and Zvecan, the Office reconstructed several residential buildings, allocating 461,032,158 RSD for the realisation of said projects.

In the continuation of the sitting, Popovic explained that in addition to the funds allocated from the budget, additional funds in the amount of 12,000,000 RSD were allocated during the year for the construction of a PCR laboratory for the purpose of combating the coronavirus.

The acting assistant director also submitted a report concerning the Office’s worn on the return and survival, infrastructure project planning, IPA project management, international cooperation, implementation of agreements, cultural heritage protection, public service support, welfare and assistance to local media. Popovic also spoke about Chapter 35, as well as financial affairs.

Following a constructive discussion, the Committee members accepted the Office for Kosovo-Metohija Activity Report for the period January – December 2020.

On item two on the agenda - current state of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Committee members were addressed by Miloje Zdravkovic, Assistant Director of the Office for the Coordination of Affairs in the Process of Negotiation with the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government in Pristina.

Zdravkovic informed the Committee members about the situation and dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, stressing that they had been blocked from 2018 to April 2020.

He noted that in the first Agreement on Normalization of Relations between Belgrade and Pristina, signed on 19 April 2013, the first six items regulate the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities, where Pristina did not fulfil any of them, which is the main problem in the continuation of the dialogue.

Speaking about Chapter 35, which concerns the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina and is specific because it contains a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the agreements reached within the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, he concluded that its opening is not possible until the full implementation of the first Normalization Agreement is achieved.

Zdravkovic pointed out that what burdened the dialogue in addition to the fact that Pristina did not fulfil its obligations from the Agreement, was the imposition of the 100% tax tariff on goods from Serbia in 2018, until April 2020 when Miroslav Lajcak was elected European Union Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, whose appointment restarted the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

He stated that so far, in the period from June 2020 to the end of 2020, there have been 11 rounds of negotiations addressing the issues of missing persons, internally displaced persons and economic cooperation. There is an agreement in principle on these issues, but no arrangement has been reached so far.

The problem we are faced with, Zdravkovic stated, is that during the talks with the provisional institutions of Pristina in Brussels, our side demanded the opening of archives, i.e. the KLA diary, which is otherwise available to their institutions, while the Pristina side denied that such a thing at all exists.

He also spoke about property and financial claims and stressed that Pristina insists on reciprocity in those areas.

Under item miscellaneous, the Committee passed a Decision amending the Decision on the establishment of the Working Group, with the following change: MP Svetozar Andric, Deputy Member of the Committee on Kosovo-Metohija, is relieved of duties of member of the Working Group for the Collection of Facts and Evidence for the Investigation of Crimes Committed against Serbs and Other National Communities in Kosovo-Metohija.

Also, the members of the Committee passed the Decision regulating the manner in which the meetings of the Working Group for the Collection of Facts and Evidence for the Investigation of Crimes Committed against Serbs and Other National Communities in Kosovo-Metohija are to be held.

The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairman MA Milovan Drecun, and attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Nebojsa Bakarec, Milica Obradovic, Nenad Mitrovic, Milan Savic, Milos Terzic, Tamara Pilipovic, Aleksandar Mirkovic, Rajko Kapelan, Slavisa Bulatovic, Ljubomir Maric, Djordje Todorovic, Zarko Bogatinovic, Zvonimir Stevic, Djordje Kosanic and Danijela Veljovic.

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monday, 19 april
  • 11.00 - sitting of the Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Committee (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 3)

  • 11.30 - the National Assembly standing delegation headed by Dacic takes part in PACE session (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)

  • 12.00 - sitting of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 1)

  • 12.30 - sitting of the Committee on the Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy (National Assembly Building, 14 Kralja Milana Street, Blue Salon)

  • 13.00 - sitting of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 4)

  • 13.00 - sitting of the Committee on Finance State Budget and Control of Public Spending (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Small Hall)

  • 15.30 - sitting of the European Integration Committee (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 3)

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