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DAILY SURVEY 29.12.2017.
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SERBIA - CROATIA

VUCIC: CROATIA HAS IMAGINED THE ETHNIC CHARACTER OF BRAWL IN SONTA

BELGRADE, 28 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Dec. 28 that information gathered by police and the Security Information Agency indicated that the Croatian authorities had imagined the inter-ethnic character of the conflict and fight in Sonta, in the municipality of Apatin in Vojvodina. "But what can we do - whenever they (the Croats) have nothing to do, they say something against the Serbs," Vucic told reporters in Lebane. Earlier on Dec. 28, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic condemned the attack on three young men of Croat ethnicity in Sonta, and stated that a protest note had been sent to the authorities in Serbia. The attack on three Croat young men in Sonta was reported to the public on Dec. 27 by the president of the Democratic Union of Croats in Vojvodina, Tomislav Zigmanov, who said that three young Croat men had been beaten up and that "derogatory ethnic references were made" during the incident. The police in Sombor then announced that they had discovered the three young men who, in Sonta in the night between Dec. 24 and 25, after a verbal conflict, caused a fight in which several persons participated, and that criminal charges would be pressed against one 19-year-old male and misdemeanor charges against the other two. The police stated that the incident was not ethnically motivated, and that, during their operative work, they had not found any indication to that end.

SERBIA'S AMBASSADOR IN ZAGREB REJECTS CROATIA'S PROTEST NOTE OVER INCIDENT IN SONTA

BELGRADE, 28 December 2017 (Beta) - The Serbian Foreign Ministry stated on Dec. 28 that the Serbian ambassador to Croatia had refused to accept a protest note from the Croatian Foreign Ministry, over the allegedly ethnically motivated incident in Sonta, a town in Vojvodina, and accused Zagreb of taking advantage of the incident, which had nothing to do with the ethnicity of its participants. The statement reads that Ambassador Mira Nikolic, who was summoned to the Croatian Foreign Ministry on Dec. 28 in connection with the recent, allegedly ethnically motivated incident in Sonta, told her hosts that it had been established that the motive of the conflict was not the ethnic background of either the plaintiff or the perpetrator. "It is unclear how the incident in question could have been qualified in that way, when two members of the same nationality participated in it," the statement reads, adding that "the Serbian ambassador had warned that such acts of Croatia, in different circumstances, could destabilize the otherwise peaceful situation in multinational environments and the harmonious relations of members of numerous ethnic communities in Serbia." "The Serbian Foreign Ministry regretfully acknowledges this as yet another case of willful misinterpretation of an incident that had nothing to do with ethnicity, in a way that creates a distorted image about the peaceful cohabitation of members of different ethnic groups in the Republic of Serbia." "Such stands of the Republic of Croatia do not contribute to the building of trust and stability, which both sides declaratively advocate, but which the Republic of Serbia fully contributes to by its stands and concrete activities. We hope the Republic of Croatia will in the future refrain from such acts and direct its efforts toward building and promoting good neighborly relations, which is in the interest of not just our two states, but of the entire region, as well," reads the statement of the Serbian Foreign Ministry.

SERBIA

RUSSIAN OFFICIALS SEND HOLIDAY NOTES TO SERBIAN FOREIGN MINISTER

BELGRADE, 28 December 2017 (Beta) - During a courtesy call on Dec. 28 Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin conveyed to Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin's and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's holiday greetings. The Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that on that occasion Chepurin and Dacic "summarized the results of cooperation between the two countries in 2017 and agreed that a recent visit by a Serbian government delegation to Moscow, spearheaded by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, had been exceptionally successful and in accordance with the achieved level of bilateral relations." Dacic "voiced his thanks again on the occasion for Russia's strong and consistent support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia," the Ministry's statement said. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin wished Dacic "a year of new possibilities and success in all of his undertakings," while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov "underscored that the Serbian-Russian strategic partnership suited the interests of both peoples and that dialogue was strengthened on every level," the statement said. "I remember our meetings in the outgoing year with warmth and count on continuing a meaningful dialogue with you on Feb. 21-22, 2018 in Belgrade during a visit on the 180th anniversary of Russian-Serbian diplomatic relations. We are ready for further coordinating steps with our Serbian partners on the international scene," Lavrov's note read.

DACIC: VISIT OF JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER IMPORTANT FOR DEEPENING COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 28 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic talked on Dec. 28 with the newly appointed ambassador of Japan, Junichi Maruyama, about connecting the two countries' economies, increasing Japanese investments in Serbia, and joint appearance on third markets. They concurred that the forthcoming visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Serbia would significantly contribute to the improvement of overall cooperation between the two countries, stated the Foreign Ministry. They said during the talks that relations between Serbia and Japan were on a constant upward trend and multifaceted, on bilateral and multilateral planes. The Serbian foreign minister voiced gratitude for the high level of solidarity of the people of Japan with Serbia, through donations and assistance, and said that support and solidarity were mutual and represented a lasting value in the further development of friendly relations.

VUCIC EXPECTS GERMAN INVESTMENT TO RISE IN 2018

BELGRADE, 28 December 2017 (Beta) - On Dec. 28 Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with German Ambassador Axel Dittmann to discuss bilateral relations, German investment and Serbia's European road. Vucic and Dittmann stressed that political relations between Serbia and Germany had significantly improved, while the Serbian president voiced his gratitude for the support that Germany was offering Serbia on its European road, as well as its devotion to stabilizing the situation and ensuring cooperation in the Western Balkans, especially through the Berlin Process. In a statement from his office, Vucic stressed that German companies in Serbia today employed around 43,000 people and added that in 2018 German investment was expected to rise through four new projects. Ambassador Dittman confirmed Germany's support for Serbia's accession to the EU, as well as the reform process, especially in the area of the rule of law. The Serbian president and German ambassador stressed the importance of regional stability and cooperation within EU integration, the statement added.

GOVERNMENT ABOLISHES VISAS FOR CITIZENS OF SURINAM

BELGRADE, 28 December 2017 (Beta) - At its Dec. 28 session, the Serbian government adopted the decision on abolishing visas for the citizens of Surinam. The government's statement reads that the expected effect of the decision is a greater number of visits and tourists from Surinam in Serbia, as well as potential investors. The decision enables the creation of a more favorable business environment and a comprehensive improvement of bilateral relations between the two countries, the statement reads.

DAILY SURVEY

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