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DAILY SURVEY 16.04.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC: I GUARANTEE UNDER 100 COUNTRIES WILL RECOGNIZE KOSOVO

BELGRADE, 14 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has said that the goal of his political activity is to reduce the number of countries that have recognized Kosovo to under 100. In an interview published in the Apr. 15 issue of the Politika daily, Dacic said he had put together a team to focus exclusively on the issue of reducing the number of countries that recognize Kosovo, explaining that he considered this a priority in Serbia's political activity. Asked whether his plans were realistic, Dacic said he "guaranteed" it. On the topic of the Community of Serb Municipalities, the minister said he did not believe there was one person in the European Union who justified Pristina's resistance to forming a community of Serb-majority municipalities.
Earlier, on April 13, Dacic met with Alexander Zuev, assistant U.N. secretary general for rule of law and security institutions at the U.N. Peacekeeping Operations Department, who said UNMIK remained an important factor in the preservation of stability, a press release read.

DACIC: WILSON WAS A GREAT FRIEND TO SERBIA

BELGRADE, 13 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Apr. 13, the 100th anniversary of alliances between Serbs and Jews and Serbs and Americans in WWI, that it was in the interest of these peoples to have relations at the level that they enjoyed under U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. Addressing the descendants of the heroes of WWI, the ambassadors of Israel and the U.S., Alona Fisher-Kamm and Kyle Scott, and students of the University of Belgrade at the Museum of Serbian Diplomacy, Dacic said he had set in motion an initiative to erect a monument to Wilson in Belgrade. An exhibition of copies of documents from the U.S. Library of Congress, the National Library of Israel and domestic archives are on display at the Museum. Dacic announced two exhibitions: Serbs and Jews in the Great War, to be held in Jerusalem from May 15-20 and an event marking 100 years since the Serbian flag was flown on the White House, from July 25-28. U.S. Ambassador Kyle Scott said the American people did not have a long history and did not look to the past, but to the future, but said that "we can look back to improve relations in the future."

VUCIC: A CONFLICT IN THE BALKAN WOULD DRIVE US ALL A CENTURY BACK

BELGRADE, 13 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Berlin, on Apr. 13, that Serbia was committed to peace and stability, and that any conflict in the Balkans would send all of the region's countries back 100 years. At a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vucic thanked the chancellor for her interest in Serbia and the Western Balkans, saying that the region would have faced more crises without her attention. "We have noted major steps forward in our bilateral relationship. Germany and Serbia have had growing trade which reached EUR4.3 billion last year, and has grown by 12.6 percent in the first two months of 2018. We expect it to reach five billion, possibly by the end of the year," Vucic said. The Serbian president said after the meeting with the German chancellor that Serbia would take part in a summit in Sofia, adding that any failure to attend would be detrimental to the state and pose new problems, the Vecernje Novosti newspaper reported on Apr. 13. Merkel had said previously that it would be very important for Serbia to attend the EU-Western Balkans Summit in the Bulgarian capital in May. The upcoming conference in Sofia is controversial insofar as some states have stated that they "do not want to sit at the same table" with representatives of Kosovo, an unrecognized state.

VUCIC TALKS TO SCOTT: SERBIA DOESN'T INTERFERE IN RELATIONS BETWEEN GREAT POWERS

BELGRADE, 15 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met on Apr. 15 with U.S. ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott to discuss the situation in Syria following air strikes by the United States, Great Britain and France. President Vucic said that Serbia condemned the use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world, but that as a small territory, it did not want to interfere in relations between the great powers, the Serbian presidency stated in a press release. "Serbia is very keen to protect its neutral military status. It wants to talk with, and develop a friendly partnership with everyone," the president said. Ambassador Scott said the U.S. was confident that the Syrian authorities were responsible for the chemical attack in the eastern Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7, urging Serbia to offer its full support to an investigation carried out by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. President Vucic said in an earlier interview for Russia Today that Serbia condemned the use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world, but that it was impossible to charge Russia with poisoning a former double agent, Sergey Skripal, without evidence.

GOJKOVIC: REGION MUST RECOGNIZE COOPERATION OPPORTUNITIES

BELGRADE, 14 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic, who also heads the permanent delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the South East Europe Cooperation Process, said in Ljubljana, on April 14, that it was necessary that the region recognize concrete opportunities and projects to advance cooperation. She told the plenary debate Outlook of SEECP PA in Light of New Geopolitical Relations in Europe that Serbia was dedicated to its membership in the EU and reformatory processes. Ahead of the start of the plenary session, Gojkovic spoke with the head of the national assembly of Slovenia Milan Brglez about improving relations between the two countries.

REMEMBRANCE DAY FOR VICTIMS OF JASENOVAC ATROCITY MARKED IN DONJA GRADINA

BELGRADE, 14 April 2018 (Beta) - Remembrance Day for the victims of the Ustashi atrocity in the Jasenovac concentration camp and its largest camp, Donja Gradina, was marked at the Topole cemetery field in the Donja Gradina memorial, near Kozarska Dubica, by laying wreaths. Top officials of Republika Srpska, spearheaded by President Milorad Dodik, placed wreaths at Topola. On behalf of Serbian institutions, Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic laid a wreath, stating that the extermination of prisoners in Jasenovac and other camps in the Independent State of Croatia was" systematic, premeditated and organized." Delegations of former Jasenovac prisoners from Serbia and prisoners of war in WWII from Republika Srpska, delegations of Jews from Israel and Jewish communities in Republika Srpska and of Roma from Serbia and Republika Srpska also laid wreaths at the memorial. EU special representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, representatives of the embassies of Russia, the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Great Britain in Bosnia, and representatives of the OSCE and the Office of the High Representative also honored the victims of Jasenovac.

NIKOLIC, CHEPURIN DISCUSS COOPERATION, VISIT TO MOSCOW

BELGRADE, 13 April 2018 (Beta) - President of the National Council for Coordinating Cooperation with Russia and China Tomislav Nikolic met on Apr. 13 with the Russian Ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Chepurin, to discuss the development of bilateral economic ties and an upcoming meeting with Russia's deputy prime minister, Dmitry Rogozin. Nikolic said that Rogozin and he would discuss launching specific projects in innovative technologies and other areas, in which it was possible to boost economic cooperation in line with a Strategic Partnership Declaration, according to a press release. Nikolic is visiting Moscow on Apr. 16 to meet with Rogozin, who is also a co-chair of the Serbian-Russian Intergovernmental Committee on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

ECONOMY

BRNABIC WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF RIO-TINTO GROUP ON INVESTING IN SERBIA

BELGRADE, 14 April 2018 (Beta) - On April 14, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met in London with the representatives of the Rio-Tinto global mining and metalworking group in charge of the lithium-borate project at Jadar, near Loznica on opportunities for investment in Serbia and various aspects of developing the Jadar project, the Serbian government said in a press release. Brnabic spoke with chief executive of energy and minerals Bold Baatar and Rio Tinto Ventures director Andrew Latham, who said they saw an attractive investment destination in Serbia. Prime Minister Brnabic said the government intended to permit the exploitation of jadarite ore and production of lithium-carbonate in Serbia, to make further development of industrial production using new technology possible. Joint work was agreed at the meeting on developing the project within the Working Group for Jadar, founded after the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation in July 2017.

AUSTRIAN AMBASSADOR: WE ARE READY TO STRENGTHEN COOPERATION WITH SERBIA

BELGRADE, 14 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antic met on Apr. 14 with Austria's newly-appointed ambassador Nikolaus Lutterotti to discuss bilateral cooperation with a special emphasis on energy. "We are ready to strengthen cooperation further, especially by building new mini hydropower plants, given Serbia's considerable hydropower potential. There is also a growing interest on the part of Austrian companies in applying cutting-edge technologies to improve energy efficiency in the construction sector," Lutterotti said. Minister Antic said that overall economic relations between the two states had reached an appex, describing Austria as one of Serbia's major trade partners.

TWENTY CHINESE COMPANIES SEND REPRESENTATIVES TO BELGRADE BUSINESS FORUM

BELGRADE, 13 April 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian Chamber of Commerce hosted on Apr. 13 a Serbia-China Investment and Trade, attended by 20 Chinese companies and 80 Serbian businesses. Dragan Ugrcic, an assistant to the Serbian economy minister said that the Serbian government was offering incentives to foreign investors, including grants, customs-free arrangements for opening new facilities, and expanding existing ones, inviting Chinese businesses to take part in Serbian privatizations, as there were 120 firms left for sale. Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Li Manchang said that Serbia and China had established fruitful cooperation over the past few years, adding that Serbia was the first state that China had permitted a visa-free regime with.
On the same day, Serbian Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic met with a delegation from the Chinese Council for the Promotion of South-South Cooperation to discuss joint infrastructure projects and the development of bilateral economic ties. The meeting was attended by the Chinese ambassador to Serbia. Lyu Xinhua, the chairman of the Council, said the purpose of the visit was for Chinese business owners to "learn more about the major areas of economic and trade cooperation between the two states," adding that Serbia had qualified labor to offer in addition to a favorable legal framework and opportunities for direct exports to the European Union and the region.