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09STATE19781 2009-03-03 22:10:00 UNCLASSIFIED Secretary of State
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1. Post is authorized to present the following statement at
the March 5 Permanent Council meeting in Vienna.

Begin text:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you as well, Ambassador Urstad, for your comprehensive
and balanced report. We agree that Serbia continues to take
positive steps along the path of democratic reform despite
the political and economic challenges that 2008 presented.
This has been facilitated by the collaborative relationship
your mission enjoys with the government of Serbia, and by the
hard work and dedication of your staff.

We value greatly the continued work of the Mission in law
enforcement reform, accountability, and transparency. We are
encouraged to hear that there is good cooperation with the
Ministry of Interior. The positive results of the public
perception survey on citizens' view of the police highlight
the important work of both the Mission and Serbian Ministries
in this critical area.

Serbia still faces daunting challenges with corruption and
organized crime, and we view the Mission's assistance in
these areas as essential. Serbia's establishment of the
Anti-corruption Agency is a positive step, and we hope that
the authorities will provide the necessary support.

We applaud the Mission's progress in rule of law, including
support for comprehensive reform of the courts, judiciary,
and prosecution. Implementation of legislative changes
adopted in 2008 will consolidate this progress.

We commend the mission for the excellent work it is doing to
help Serbia meet international human rights standards and to
fight discrimination and intolerance. We take note of your
point regarding the unresolved problem of refugees and IDPs,
and call on countries in the region to live up to commitments
made in the Sarajevo Declaration of 2005. We congratulate
Serbia on the appointment of a National Coordinator for
Combating Trafficking, and look forward to adoption of the
National Action Plan in 2009.

We welcome the progress Serbia has shown in its cooperation
with the ICTY over the past year. We hope that this will
continue, and we congratulate the Mission for its role in
facilitating this cooperation.

Ambassador Urstad, the work of your Mission is helping Serbia
advance its aim of Euro-Atlantic integration. While
challenges remain, such as implementing the numerous laws
passed in recent months, the trend is positive. We value the
contribution the Mission has made to this process. In
closing, let me wish you and your highly competent and
dedicated staff all success in your future endeavors, and
thank you for the hard work you put in during your time in

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

End text.