THE UNBIASED OBSERVERS, Issue 35


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Friday, 19 August 2011

Politics and others:

Albania:

  • ACR Agreed to Meet Miners’ Demands after a 25 Day Long Strike

Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria receives US assistance for treatment of obsolete munitions
  • Bulgaria organizes a tender for building of a fence over its border with Turkey
  • Bulgaria’s ex EU Commissioner faces challenging hurdles in the presidential contest

Croatia

  • Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic Will Not Be Replaced

Kosovo

  • KFOR: Situation in the North Tense
  • Former Kosovo Liberation Army Commander Faces ICTY Retrial

Macedonia

  • Macedonia’s President and Admiral Samuel J. Locklear Discuss Macedonia’s Membership in NATO

Montenegro

  • Serbian Ambassador Says Montenegro’s Accusations against Serbia Are Groundless

Serbia

  • Blic: “Pristina Lobbies against Serbia’s EU Accession”
  • US will Continue to Support Serbia’s Integration in EU
  • Tanjug “Czech foreign minister says Balkans out of EU is a time bomb”
  • ICTY: “Ratko Mladic Is Not In Hospital”

Turkey

  • Turkish F-16 Continue the Operation Against PKK Bases in Iraq; Turkey Launches Drastic Measures in the Fight with Terror

Economy:

Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria’s saga over Belene Nuclear Power Plant continues: Bulgaria Sues Russia’s Atomexportstroy

Croatia

  • Croatia’s Government and Commercial Banks on the Way to Agree on Fixing the Issue with Franc-Pegged Housing Loans

Greece

  • Austria, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Slovenia Demand Greece to Provide Collateral;

Greece’s Second Bailout under Question;

  • Tourism Helps Greece Decrease Current Account Deficit

Turkey

  • Hurryiet: “Gold Rush in Turkey”

BALKANS – POLITICS & OTHER

Albania

ACR Agreed to Meet Miners’ Demands after a 25 Day Long Strike 

Tirana , Austrian Company ACR, which is operating the Bulqiza chrome mine under a concession agreement, announced on 18 August, the 25th day of miners’ strike, that it is ready to sign an agreement on miners’ demands, also accepting a 20% pay rise, ATA reported. “ACR agrees to meet workers’ demands to increase their payment by 20%, beginning from the date the memorandum is signed”, ACR press release says.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria Receives US Assistance for Treatment of Obsolete Munitions

Sofia, Bulgarian and US officials visited Chelopechene, a disposal depot storing tonnes of obsolete munitions outside Sofia three years after it was rocked by a series of powerful explosions, shaking apartment blocks and panicking thousands of people living in the area of Sofia. Sofia Press Agency reported that the delegation included Deputy Defence Minister Valentin Radev and US Ambassador to Bulgaria James Warlick who were present during a demonstration of detecting and disposing of explosive materials. The demonstration is part of the “Hot Summer 2011” operation. The US Department of State announced earlier this year it has assisted the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Bulgaria in safely destroying 500 surplus Man-Portable Air Defense Systems ( MANPADS ) missiles and 500 grip stocks ( launchers ).

Following the disposal operation, the US Department of State will provide additional funding to support clearance operations around the site of the catastrophic explosion of obsolete munitions.US assistance and funding was provided by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs ( PM/WRA ).

Around 7 am on 3 July, 2008 the Bulgarian capital Sofia was shaken by powerful gunpowder explosions as a military storage facility located in the northeast Sofia Quarter of Chelopechene exploded. The explosions initially caused panic among the two-and-a-half million residents of the Bulgarian capital as the authorities including the Defense Ministry, the General Staff of the Army, and the Interior Ministry failed to react and explain the causes of the explosions for almost an hour after they started. The explosion also raised many questions related to the ownership of the storage facility and the way of treatment of obsolete munitions. Nobody was injured in the Chelopechene explosions but the blasts did cause material damages in the northern suburbs of Sofia. The military storage site was reported to contain more than 20 tons of conventional explosives, which continued to go off for days after the initial blasts were over, and it took the authorities several weeks to secure the site.

The munitions storehouse explosions at Sofia’s Chelopechene led the US State Department to include Bulgaria in the list of states with poorly maintained munitions depots. Bulgaria is reported to be the only NATO and EU member state with exploding munitions facilities.

Bulgaria Organizes a Tender for Building of a Fence over its Border with Turkey

Sofia, Twenty one companies have filed documents for a public procurement for designing a fence along the border with Turkey. The fence will be reportedly built to prevent the spreading of foot-and-mouth disease. Over the spring of 2011, a number of villages in the remote Strandzha region in south-east Bulgaria bordering on Turkey experienced severe outbreaks of FMD, leading to the destruction of hundreds of heads of livestock.

Officials said they believed the disease was spread from flares in Turkey by wild animals roaming the Strandzha Mountain forests. The decision to build the protective fence was taken in April by the Bulgarian government. The winners of the tender for the design of the fence are expected to be selected within 3 weeks, after which local authorities will stage a public procurement for its construction.

Bulgaria’s Ex EU Commissioner Faces Challenging Hurdles in the Presidential Contest

Sofia, Bulgaria’s former European Commissioner Meglena Kuneva is likely to end up at the Constitutional Court over controversies related to her eligibility for presidential runner.

Bulgaria’s Ataka nationalist party has renewed its efforts to prevent the country’s former European Commissioner from running for president, saying she does not have the constitutional and moral right to do that.

“The Bulgarian Constitution requires that candidates for president are eligible only if they have lived in the country in the last five years. Kuneva does not meet that requirement since she has served as political advisor of European Commission Vice President Siim Kalas since April 2010,” nationalist leader Volen Siderov says, quoted by Novinite.com. “She must face the court and be brought to justice over the damage she caused to the state, including the shut-down of Kozloduy nuclear power plant,” Siderov comments.

Siderov, who will also run for head of the state, plans to initiate a sign-up in parliament and approach the magistrates from the Constitutional Court over the issue. He needs the signatures of just 48 members of parliament to do that.

Kuneva, Bulgaria’s chief negotiatior for accession during the cabinet of Simeon Saxe-Coburg (2001-5), may also be prevented from running for president over her term as European Commissioner from 2007-2009.The main argument of Kuneva’s opponents is that during her term in Brussels she has been contracted by the European Commission and has served as a representative of the citizens of all European Union countries, not just Bulgaria.

Croatia

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic Will Not Be Replaced

Zagreb, Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic has said that he regards President Ivo Josipovic’s request for his replacement as an attempt to shift attention from the essence of the problem, adding that he “has not erred by even one inch”, Hina Agency reported.

Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said she would not replace Gordan Jandrokovic though President Ivo Josipovic had insisted on that.

Speaking to reporters in Zagreb on 18 August, Croatia’s President Josipovic blamed Jandrokovic for lacking knowledge on ambassador nomination and appointment procedures.

According to Croatia’s President, Jandrokovic should be dismissed “because he is damaging the state and Croatia’s reputation in the world.”

Jandrokovic, who is Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, rejected the president’s accusation, claiming that Josipovic’s request for his replacement was an attempt to shift attention from the essence of the problem.

“I am confident that I have acted according to the procedure,” Jandrokovic said, denying he had done anything inappropriate in the appointments of ambassadors.

Josipovic said one third of the nominees were non-career diplomats and that many did not come back to work at the foreign ministry after their terms of office expired.

Kosovo

KFOR: Situation in the North Tense

Pristina, KFOR Commander Erhard Buehler has stated that the administrative crossings in the north of Kosovo will remain under KFOR control until a sustainable solution is reached during the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. Tanjug quotes the KFOR commander as saying that the situation in the north of Kosovo is rather tense, since criminal groups are mingled with hardline elements and political representatives. According to the General, these groups are against the rule of law, since they are making gains in the absence of law. These groups, according to Buehler, are intimidating the residents of northern Kosovo.

The decision on KFOR control over Norther Kosovo administrative crossings will remain valid until the talks in Brussels are resumed and the first results achieved

Former Kosovo Liberation Army Commander Faces ICTY Retrial

Pristina, Ramush Haradinaj, Lahi Ibrahimaj and Idriz Balaj were returned to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, for a partial retrial after the prosecution convinced an appeal judge that two key witnesses had not been heard. The prosecution argued that Hardinaj and Ibrahimaj had been found not guilty in 2005 because witnesses were “threatened and blackmailed” and could not deliver the necessary testimony, the Balkan Insight reported.

In 2008, Haradinaj and Balaj were acquitted of all charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity following a three-year trial. Brahimaj was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for cruel treatment and torture. The trio in the case, known as Haradinaj et al, were previously indicted on charges related to the murders, kidnapping, tortures and rapes of Serbs, Roma and Albanians between March and September 1998. During the conflict in Kosovo, Haradinaj was a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, Balaj was the commander of the Black Eagles Unit within the KLA, and Brahimaj a KLA member stationed in the force’s Jabllanice headquarters in the western Gjakove municipality.

Haradinaj, 43, was indicted in 2004 while serving as Kosovo’s Prime Minister, and voluntarily surrendered to the Tribunal. The leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, has received widespread political support in Kosovo. Until July 2011, the Tribunal has indicted 161 persons, with ongoing proceedings for 35 accused and concluded proceedings for 126 accused, out of which 64 persons are sentenced.

Macedonia

Macedonia’s President and Admiral Samuel J. Locklear Discuss Macedonia’s Membership in NATO

Skopje, President Gjorge Ivanov had a meeting with Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, commander of the NATO Joint Operations Command, Naples. The meeting, held in Ohrid on 18 August, focused on the NATO- Macedonia cooperation. Ivanov and Locklear expressed satisfaction with the excellent cooperation and underlined Macedonia’s contribution to the stability of the Balkan, wider region, by its participation in the peace missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia/Herzegovina and Lebanon, the President’s Office said in a press release, quoted by MIA Agency. The two also discussed the dispute, imposed by Greece on Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration processes.

“Macedonia has met all NATO membership criteria and its admission to the Alliance would bolster the country’s contribution to the stability and prosperity of Europe,” President Ivanov said.

Montenegro

Serbian Ambassador Says Montenegro’s Accusations against Serbia Are Groundless

Podgorica, Serbian Ambassador in Podgorica, Zoran Lutovac, said that Montenegro has launched a groundless campaign against Serbia, while Montenegrin politicians debate an election law.

“This time Serbia is being accused, absolutely without grounds, that it does not want Montenegro to adopt an election law and thereby probably receive a date for negotiations with the EU,” responded Lutovac in a statement for press agency MINA.

Ambassador Lutovac pointed out that the adoption of electoral legislation is an internal Montenegrin issue to be decided upon by representatives of the people and the nation’s parliament.

Every success Montenegro records on its path to European integration is also good for Serbia and the entire region, as that would contribute to the success of each and every country individually,” Serbia’s ambassador to Montenegro said.

As reported earlier, the Election Law is one crucial steps of Montenegro on the path of accession to EU. The Election Law has been discussed by the local politicians in association with Serbian language reintroduction. Recently, an agreement was reached that the Serbian language should be included in schools curricula.

Serbia

Blic: “Pristina Lobbies against Serbia’s EU Accession”

Belgrade, Pristina is lobbying against Serbia’s advancement in European integration as well as for recognition of its independence as it fears that Kosovo will remain a failed state, Serbian government officials have told the Belgrade-based Blic newspaper.

The officials, whose names were not revealed by the newspaper commented that “Kosovo is increasing their demands and conditions for the success of the dialogue with Belgrade” because they were taking advantage of an important moment for Serbia. The daily quotes an earlier statement by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic that “Pristina wants to ruin our European plans.” Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Tachi has received a great number of European officials in Pristina over the recent weeks. This is not the first time Serbia is hard-pressed ahead of important dates for the country, such as obtaining the EU candidacy status and the date of accession negotiations, but “Hashim Tachi cannot ruin our European plans,” Djelic said. The government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Blic that Pristina had been given full support from EU’s major powers to maximize its demands.

US will Continue to Support Serbia’s Integration in EU

Belgrade, The U.S. will continue to support Serbia on its European path and the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue represents a means to overcome contradictory issues and find solutions that would contribute to people’s well-being, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker stated in Belgrade on 18 August, Tanjug reported.

Reeker underscored that one of the aims of the two countries’ cooperation refers to expansion of partnership in the years to come, the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade stated in a release following the meeting between the U.S. diplomat and Serbian officials.

The U.S remains an ardent advocate of Serbia’s European integration and it will continue to support Serbia on its EU path, Reeker said and added that in this context, the U.S. sees Belgrade-Pristina dialogue as the means for the two countries to solve open issues and find solutions that would contribute to better life for people in Kosovo and Serbia.

Tanjug “Czech foreign minister says Balkans out of EU is a time bomb

Belgrade, Following Croatia’s accession, the EU should first admit Western Balkan countries, as otherwise it nurtures a time bomb in its immediate neighborhood,” Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has said for the Vienna-based daily Die Presse, also quoted by Tanjug.

“The Balkans will not settle until we finally make the borders insignificant. This is possible only in the EU.Furthermore,” with the unemployment rate of up to 60 percent we can only have social unrest there, he said.

Asked whether that meant the EU should first grant membership in the European community to Serbia, and even Albania, before Ukraine, Schwarzenberg said that the Czech Republic considered Moldova and Ukraine less urgent issues.

ICTY: “Ratko Mladic Is Not In Hospital”

Belgrade, ICTY Spokeswoman Nerma Jelacic dismissed reports that Ratko Mladic is in the Bronovo Hospital, explaining that for now she cannot give further details about the Hague indictee’s health, Tanjug reported.

“I can confirm that he has not left the detention facility in Scheveningen. In line with the Tribunal’s rules, I cannot give further details in relation to health of any indictee, Jelacic’s statement reads. Certain Belgrade media reported that Mladic had hernia surgery on 17 August in the Dutch Bronovo Hospital, where to now, a number of ICTY detainees underwent medical examination and treatment.

Turkey

Turkish F-16 Continue the Operation Against PKK Bases in Iraq; Turkey Launches Drastic Measures in the Fight with Terror

Ankara, 16 F-16 took off from different bases in Turkey to participate in a second night operation against PKK bases in Northern Iraq. The Turkish army has not attacked PKK sites in Iraq for more than a year.

Turkey’s Security Council convened on 18 August to discuss the country’s anti-terror strategy, recommended the adoption of tougher measures against outlawed groups, making new arrangements in the law enforcement structure and pressuring the internal and international supporters of the illegal groups. The bimonthly National Security Council, or MGK, was upon the initiative of President Abdullah Gül and it was attended by top civilian and military officials.

Hurryiet Daily reports that during the meeting, which came a day after Turkish jets have bombed PKK targets in northern Iraq in retaliation for the Hakkari attack, participants discussed a complete overhaul to Turkey’s strategy against the PKK, including the following measures:

Cross border operations: The Turkish Air Force will continue to launch aerial operations against PKK targets in northern Iraq as long as they are deemed necessary. The military’s bases in Diyarbakır and Batman have been reinforced with ammunition and other weaponry necessary for operations. Some fighter jets have also been dispatched from the Balıkesir base in the country’s northwest to Southeast Anatolia. Likewise, Turkey’s land forces were also mobilized in recent days, especially in regions close to the Iraqi border.

Mandate to be extended: Though there is no sign of imminent cross-border operations into Iraq by land forces, sources have not ruled out the possibility. Turkey’s last massive operation into northern Iraq was conducted in the winter of 2008. The MGK has decided to extend a parliamentary mandate for another year that allows the government to conduct cross-border operations since the current mandate expires on Oct. 18. The Foreign Ministry will hold meetings with the Iraqi government to ease the conditions for the Turkish military’s cross-border operations and its strategies of hot pursuit when necessary.

More intelligence from the US: The U.S. has been providing real-time intelligence to Turkey since late 2007, allowing the Turkish military to conduct efficient cross-border operations into northern Iraq. There are plans to demand more military assistance from the U.S., sources said.

Special attention to Hakkari: Turkey’s most remote province, Hakkari, which borders Iraq and Iran, has long been the theater for the PKK’s most deadly attacks against troops. Apart from geographical difficulties that hinder an effective military response, the province is also known as a place where the state’s control is weakening. In more rural areas of the province, a number of “recruitment camps” have been reportedly set up, providing an important source of manpower for the PKK.

Terror acts to escalate: As stated by Murat Karayılan, senior PKK member, the terrorists are preparing for more attacks both in urban and rural places. Apart from targeting security personnel, the attacks could also focus on metropolitan areas. Intelligence reports predict that the attacks could be expanded to the country’s Black Sea and East Anatolian regions. The MGK discussed ways to protect citizens from escalated terror acts.

Police-military cooperation: The most important change in the strategy is creating an alliance between the military and the police in the fight against terrorism. The strategy envisages a central role for the police’s special teams, especially in rural areas of Southeast Anatolia. Authorities also hope to deploy professional army units in high-risk areas, particularly on the border with Iraq, meaning that newly recruited soldiers will not be dispatched to critical posts.

New role for governors: Under the MGK’s plans, governors will play a key role in providing coordination between the police and the military in order to avoid confusion. The duties and responsibilities of governors are expected to be reinforced through legal arrangements.

Intelligence pool: As part of the new mechanism, the intelligence gathered by different law enforcement units will be collected under one roof and will be processed at the Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security. The processed intelligence will be directly sent to security units in the field so that they can operate more efficiently against the militants.

Political support: The MGK also reviewed the political support given to the PKK by some pro-Kurdish political parties and its effect on the fight against terrorism. A number of civilian organizations are in direct relationship with the terrorists, intelligence reports show, fostering the PKK’s increasing influence, especially in urban areas of Southeast Anatolia. Methods of breaking political support for the organization remain an important target in the anti-terror fight.

International support: The PKK receives some of the most support from outside the country anywhere in the world, according to intelligence reports. Its main financial source comes largely from Belgium, the Netherlands and some other Western European countries. Ongoing work with the U.S. to force some European institutions to cut the financial links of some groups known to be affiliates of the PKK will be intensified. The MGK also reviewed regional supporters of the PKK, in northern Iraq, Syria and Iran and mulled over ways to break these ties.

 

BALKANS ECONOMY

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s Saga over Belene NPP Continues: Bulgaria Sues Russia’s Atomexportstroy

Sofia, Russia’s Atomstroyexport did not react to the ultimatum issued by Bulgaria’s National Electric Company (NEC) to withdraw its appeal against NEC over payments in arrears. Now NEC sues the Russian company over unsettled equipment claims for the Belene NPP project.

The new development comes in spite of the fact that last week Bulgaria and Russia started negotiations on their claims for one another over delayed payments for equipment for the Belene nuclear power plant, parallel to the general talks on the fate of the troubled project.

Russia’s Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, and Bulgaria’s NEC started their talks on the new issue last week. The two parties agreed to negotiations after Atomstroyexport had filed a EUR 58 M suit in the International Arbitration Court in Paris. NEC threatened with a counter suit for EUR 61 M.

The goal of the new round of talks is to settle the mutual claims without resorting to arbitration.

NEC set a deadline that Atomstroyexport should withdraw its suit from the International Arbitration Court in Paris before 16 August. On 17 August NEC announced that the Russians had not complied with its ultimatum and that it was in a final phase of preparation to file an EUR 61 M compensation suit against Russia at the Arbitration Court of the International Chamber of Commerce in Geneva., Bulgaria’s news site Novinite. Com reported.

In addition to the demand that Atomstroyexport should withdraw its appeal against Bulgaria by 16 August, NEC  also insisted that by the end of September 2011 the two parties should draft a schedule to settle their mutual financial claims, while the financial group would continue its work unperturbed.

Under the new circumstances, however, NEC said it had now asked the Arbitration Court in Paris for detailed information on the Russian claims, and that it was going to present its legal case the following week.

“The lawsuit filed by Atomstroyexport can compromise both the relations between the two parties, and the Belene project as a whole. In this sense, the withdrawal of the claims would have been a proof that Atomstroyexport is indeed interested in the further realization of the project,” Novinite. Com quotes a statement of NEC dated 18 August.

The future of the 2000-MW Belene power plant remains vague and presently, the dispute focuses on unsettled equipment issues. The construction works of Belene NPP had first started in 1980s.

Atomstroyexport, the company chosen to build the second Bulgarian NPP formally confirmed in late July 2011 that it had filed a lawsuit for EUR 58 M against Bulgaria’s National Electric Company at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris as a result of NEC’s failure to pay on time for already completed works. Atomstroyexport claims that it has been completing tasks on the Belene project on credit, on Bulgaria’s request, and regardless of its dispute with the Bulgarian government over the price of the NPP, and the need to sign a final construction contract.

Greece

Austria, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Slovenia Demand Greece to Provide Collateral;

Greece’s Second Bailout under Question

Athens, The eurozone assistance package for Greece agreed last month is in danger of being undermined after four more countries suggested they want Athens to provide collateral on 18 August, as it did in a separate agreement with Finland, for it to receive their share of the EUR 109 B bailout, Kathimerini writes.

The requests from Austria, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Slovenia led to Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos coming under attack from New Democracy, which claimed he had “opened Pandora’s box” by coming to an arrangement with Finland.

The first country to object to the Greek-Finnish deal was Austria. “If there is a model for collateral, Austria would also make a claim,” said Finance Ministry spokesman Harald Waiglein. Slovakia followed thе suite. The five (Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia) countries’ combined contribution amounts to 10 percent of the EUR 109 B Athens is due to receive. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that this deal still had to be approved by the other eurozone members. New Democracy slammed his handling of the affair, claiming that the minister had celebrated the eurozone deal too early and had not heeded the conservatives’ warnings.

Tourism Helps Greece Decrease Current Account Deficit

Athens, Tourism is once again propping up the Greek economy, as Bank of Greece data indicate that the rebound in arrivals from abroad has translated into an increase in revenues.

In June there was a 21.7 percent rise in revenues from tourism compared with the same month in 2010, as receipts amounted to EUR 1.49 B, versus EUR 1.23 B last year, Kathimerini reports. In the first half of the year tourism spending in Greece amounted to 3.21 billion euros, posting growth of 12.6 percent over the same period in 2010.

Receipts from exports showed an 11.1 percent rise and this has also helped in the reduction of the country’s deficit in the balance of payments by 14 percent in June: It came to EUR 1.58 B, down EUR 258 M from June 2010. In the first half of the year the deficit in the account balance shrank by 6 percent year-on-year to end at EUR 13.3 B. A worrying figure in June was the 11 percent decline in transport receipts, traditionally dominated by shipping revenues.

Kosovo

700 Bulgarian Companies Enter Kosovo’s Market

Pristina, About 700 Bulgarian companies are making the first moves to enter Kosovo’s market following Pristina’s government’s embargo on import of goods from Serbia, Bulgarian media reported. A Bulgarian delegation headed by Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Naydenov paid a visit to Pristina on 17 August to discuss export of Bulgarian food to Kosovo.

Kosovo businessmen stated for the Bulgarian National Radio that they are interested in the development of trade relations with their colleagues in the Bulgarian agricultural sector, adding that Bulgaria now has a realistic chance to enter Kosovo’s market and make a profit in the agricultural trade with Pristina of nearly EUR 300 M per year.

According to Bulgarian electronic media, Kosovo needs an urgent supply of food and agricultural products from Bulgaria.

Serbia

Serbia Negotiates a EUR 1 Billion Agreement with IMF

Belgrade, Representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has arrived in Belgrade to have talks on a new precautionary arrangement with the Serbian authorities, the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) has said. The precautionary arrngement would last 18 months and Serbia would have access to funds in the amount of about EUR one billion, which it could withdraw if needs arise.

The IMF mission, headed by Albert Jaeger, will be staying in Belgrade from August 18 until 30. If the mission and the Serbian government agree on an economic policy to be implemented in the future, the IMF Executive Board could approve the new precautionary arrangement at the end of September.

Turkey

Hurryiet “Gold Rush in Turkey”

Ankara, Investment demand for gold in Turkey registered the strongest rate of growth globally according to a 2Q 2011 report the World Gold Council, cited by Hurryiet.

Demand almost doubled to 13.6, equal to 144 percent rise in value to 1 billion Turkish Liras.

The price of gold exceeded $1,816 an ounce on 18 August, as demand for the safe-haven investment rose on resurgent worries about a possible new recession in the global economy.

The global gold prices are hitting record highs, but they have not affected the rising demand for the commodity in Turkey, India and China, the three countries that together account for almost 60 percent of global jewelry demand.

(Mariela Zamfirova, MBA; 19 August 2011)

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About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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