"Kosovo talks to continue in March"

Aleksandar Vučić has announced that talks between Belgrade and Priština would continue "sometime between March 13 and 18."

Source: Beta, Tanjug

The SNS leader and deputy prime minister in the caretaker government made the statement on Thursday, during his visit to the SPC Banjska Monastery near Zvečan, in northern Kosovo.

Vučić told journalists that he would "then insist on solving the problem of the arrest of four Serbs, including Oliver Ivanović," Beta reported.

"I have spoken with Catherine Ashton and all other officials about Oliver Ivanović's case and we will continue to do so," said the deputy prime minister and added that Serbia would "use every means to seek that the basic human rights of the detainees are respected."

He noted that some of the detainees are not even charged with the most severe crimes, while for others the description of their crime or indictment in its entirety are being changed, so it is not clear why they are in custody for so long.

"It is evident that some political reasons are behind all of this," Vučić concluded.

Vučić said that Serbia will urge the international community, with all available means, to respect fundamental human rights of its citizens - Oliver Ivanović and three other Serb detainees.

Vučić noted that it is completely clear that this was "an arbitrary detention", in which someone can hold the Serb suspects in custody as long as they want without proper reasons.

Underscoring that the situation is the most difficult for the families of the detainees, Vučić said that the Serbian government will do everything it can at the top political level.

Besides Ivanović, Dragoljub Delibašic, Laza Lazić, and Žarko Veselinović were also in detention. Veselinović was on Friday released to house arrest by an EULEX judge.

Ivanović has been in detention since January 27, while former police chief in the Serb-majority part of Kosovska Mitrovica Dragoljub Delibašic has been in custody since February 4.

The two were arrested on suspicion of involvement in an alleged war crime in 1999 and post-war incidents in 2000, including an aggravated murder, and for inciting to ethnically motivated murder.

Veselinović was arrested by the EULEX police in Rudare, Zvečan municipality, northern Kosovo, and sentenced to nine months in prison for illegal possession of weapons.

Veselinović was still in custody on suspicion of attempted murder of two members of a Kosovo special police unit.

Lazić, who is from the Serb enclave of Štrpce south of the Ibar River, was arrested for interfering with the second round of the local elections on December 1, 2013, and charged with "acts against Kosovo's Constitution."

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić protested against Ivanović's arrest as he addressed a regular session of the UN Security Council dedicated to Kosovo, on February 10.

He said that the arrest took place just before the mayoral elections in northern Kosovska Mitrovica - where Ivanović was one of the candidates - and demanded his release.

On the same day, the Serbian government provided guarantees that Ivanović and three other Serbs would be available to the EULEX mission during their trials.


"Serbs in Kosovo will be safe and will survive"

Serb Progressive Party (SNS) leader and Deputy PM Aleksandar Vučić said on Thursday in northern Kosovo that he "guarantees Serbs security and survival."

Politics Thursday, February 27, 2014 15:56 Comments: 14
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