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DAILY SURVEY 17.02.2017.
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SERBIA

BRENDE: FASTER EU INTEGRATION OF SERBIA GOOD SIGN FOR NORWEGIAN INVESTORS

BELGRADE, 14 February 2017 (Beta) - The foreign minister of Norway, Boerge Brende, visited Belgrade on Feb. 14 and said during the talks with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic that Norway supported Serbia's EU integration, because it was a good sign for attracting more Norwegian investors. Vucic and Brende discussed relations between Serbia and Norway, the migrant crisis, the situation in the region and Serbia's European path, while Vucic stated that Serbia and the region were faced with many challenges, and that it was necessary to preserve peace and stability for the region's countries to make economic progress. Vucic said that relations between the two countries were very good and thanked Norway for its humanitarian aid and donations to Serbia. He also welcomed Norwegian investors' greater interest in Serbia as proof that the business climate was improving, reads the statement of the Serbian government.
Dacic and Brende concurred during their meeting that Serbia should be the exporter of stability in the region and announced that talks about the development of cooperation between the two countries would continue during Dacic's visit to Oslo in spring. At a joint news conference with the Norwegian foreign minister, Dacic stated that trade between the two countries was relatively small compared with what was possible, and that it had amounted to about EUR 50 or 60 million last year. Norway, he stated, has so far donated more than EUR 250 million in humanitarian and development aid in many sectors, including aid for the mitigation of flood damage and for the migrant crisis. Dacic said that Serbia would support Norway's attempt to become a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, at the 2020 vote.

XI JINPING CONGRATULATES NIKOLIC ON HIS BIRTHDAY

BELGRADE, 15 February 2017 (Beta) - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Feb. 15 offered Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic birthday felicitations, Nikolic's press service has announced. In the note, Xi wished "good health" and good fortune to Nikolic and said that in June last year he had paid a successful visit to Serbia during which he had the chance to fully experience the friendly feelings toward the Chinese people. It was with joy that I noticed that, among the countries of Central and East Europe, the constant deepening of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Serbia has developed best, along with the constant expansion of practical cooperation in all areas, a statement said, adding that Xi expected Nikolic to visit Beijing.

GOVERNMENT: WORLD OFFICIALS CONGRATULATE SERBIA ON STATEHOOD DAY

BELGRADE, 15 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic received congratulations from a number of state officials on the occasion of the Statehood Day of Serbia, the Serbian government announced in statements to the media on Feb. 15 and 16. Congratulations arrived from the prime ministers of China, Li Keqiang, of the Czech Republic, Bohuslav Sobotka, of Slovenia, Miro Cerar, of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, of Poland, Beata Szydlo, of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman, of Slovakia, Robert Fico, of Turkey, Binali Yildirim, of Kazakhstan, Bakhytzhan Sagintayev, of Algeria, Abdelmalek Sellal, of Israel, Benyamin Netanyahu and of Belarus, Andrei Kobyakov. The statement reads that congratulations were also sent to Prime Minister Vucic by the president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, the prime minister of Romania, Sorin Mihai Grindeanu, the acting president of Bulgaria, Ognyan Gerdzhikov, the prime minister of Tunisia, Youssef Chahed, and of Cambodia, Hun Sen.

VUCIC AND ZVIZDIC FOR SOLVING PROBLEMS THROUGH DIALOGUE

BELGRADE, 15 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and the head of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denis Zvizdic, concurred in Belgrade, on Feb. 15 that all issues in the two countries' relations should be solved through political dialogue, the Serbian government has stated in a press release. Vucic and Zvizdic said that the future work of the Serbian government and of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina would be oriented towards the strengthening of that dialogue. The two officials also discussed the possible infrastructure projects which would improve the traffic connections between Serbia and Bosnia, and economic cooperation. The meeting was also attended by the speaker of the House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Safet Softic.

DEFENSE MINISTER MEETS WITH U.S., RUSSIAN, ITALIAN AMBASSADORS

BELGRADE, 14 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic met in Belgrade on Feb. 14 with the ambassadors of the U.S., Kyle Scott, of Russia, Alexander Chepurin, and of Italy, Giuseppe Manzo. Djordjevic and Scott concurred that military cooperation was one of the most developed segments of relations between Serbia and the U.S., and noted that more than 120 joint activities were planned for this year, not counting the various forms of education and specialization courses for members of the Army of Serbia, reads the statement of the Defense Ministry. Minister Djordjevic cited the development of base "South" as one of the priorities set by the Defense Ministry and the Army of Serbia in international military cooperation.
Djordjevic and Chepurin said they were satisfied with the degree of cooperation in the field of defense, which was defined by the strategic partnership and excellent political and overall relations between the two countries, the Defense Ministry stated. They said that the realization of joint activities in bilateral military cooperation in the recent period had strengthened the functional and operative capabilities of the Army of Serbia, and that all mutually acceptable forms of cooperation would be continued and intensified.
Djordjevic and Manzo, the Italian ambassador, concurred that a high degree of understanding existed between Serbia and Italy, and that the military education cooperation was the foundation of future relations, it was stated after the meeting. Djordjevic said that cooperation between Serbia and Italy in defense was well-developed, citing the joint participation in the multinational U.N. operation in Lebanon.