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DAILY SURVEY 10.12.2018.
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MADAGASCAR WITHDRAWS RECOGNITION OF KOSOVO'S INDEPENDENCE

BELGRADE, December 7 2018 (Beta)- The Malagasy Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed Serbia's peer ministry that Madagascar has decided to withdraw a decision to recognize the independence of Kosovo, according to a Dec. 7 press release. The Serbian foreign ministry reported that Madagascar's note was sent on Dec. 5. Madagascar has thereby become the 12th state to revoke its earlier decision to recognize the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo, the ministry released. The Republic of Madagascar, an island off the coast of East Africa, recognized Kosovo in November, 2017.

VULIN: SERBIA HAS DEVELOPED MINORITY RIGHTS TO HIGHEST EUROPEAN LEVEL

BLEGRADE, December 9 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said at the opening of a fair dedicated to national minorities on Dec. 9 that minority rights in Serbia had been developed to the highest European level. "Those much richer and more developed than us who boast big achievements in minority or human rights would have a hard time actually measuring up to Serbia when it comes to attitudes toward minority communities," the ministry's press service quoted Vulin as saying. Minorities participate in the defense of the country in the Army of Serbia, which is part of the Defense Ministry, first of all as good people, patriots, professionals, people who by doing their jobs are keeping every Serb, Hungarian, Croat and Bosniak safe. "When they work in the Army of Serbia, they keep all of us safe. All religious freedoms are secure and guaranteed in the Army of Serbia, everyone can satisfy their religious needs in accordance with their rules and customs, and we are profoundly proud that the Army of Serbia is just like Serbia itself -- multiconfessional, multinational, an Army of Serbia that represents its Serbia and every citizen," Vulin said. He said minorities in Serbia would never be "hostages to the policy of anyone outside Serbia." "Never, regardless of the behavior of this or that government, will any other countries in the region that have a minority here be able to sour relations and our attitude toward national minorities in Serbia. Whatever politicians across our borders do for the good or bad of their people, their countries, Serbia, never will our attitude toward national minorities be caused or connected to their attitude toward Serbia," Vulin said. Office director Suzana Paunovic said there were 26 national minorities living in Serbia, and that Serbia was successful in preserving cultural and traditional wealth, along with harmony and unity.

SERBIA OPENS TWO NEW ACCESSION CHAPTERS IN BRUSSELS, ON DEC. 10

BRUSSELS, December 9 2018 (Beta) - At a Dec. 10 Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels, Serbia will sign only two chapters in accession talks with the European Union (EU). Belgrade had hoped to open another one, but some EU ambassador suggested on Dec. 7 that its opening should be postponed altogether. Serbia will open Chapter 17 on economic and monetary policy, and Chapter 18 on statistics, despite Croatia's opposition and view that no new chapters should be opened, suggested by the Working Party on the Western Balkans Region (COWEB), based on the European Commission's remark that the government in Belgrade had not made much progress in reforms supposed to support the rule of law and independence of the judiciary. Officials at the Council of Ministers of the EU told Beta that during a debate at the COWEB meeting, the Baltic states and some northern EU members cautioned that Serbia had done nothing to adjust its policy towards Russia and the Union's foreign and security policy. The Serbian authorities are claiming that they have completed preparations for opening seven more chapters in membership negotiations with the Union. Chapter 17, which will be opened on Dec. 10, is about the independence of the central bank where economic and monetary policy is concerned, and prohibiting the central bank from financing the public sector directly. Furthermore, the public sector cannot have preferential access to financial institutions, which helps a market economy operate properly. Chapter 18 on statistics is about providing reliable and accurate statistics for the evaluation of the status of a society and state institutions.

SERBIAN DELEGATION PAYS TRIBUTE TO SERBIAN PILOTS KILLED IN ARMENIA

BELGRADE, December 7 2018 (Beta) - Representatives of the Serbian defense ministry and Army of Serbia laid wreaths on Dec. 7 at a monument to seven Yugoslav army pilots killed 30 years ago in a humanitarian mission in Armenia, the ministry said in a press release. Seven members of the Yugoslav Air Force and Air Defense, Vladimr Ercic, Predrag Marinkovic, Milenko Simic, Milan Micic, Borisa Mosurovic, Milisav Petrovic and Jovan Zisov were killed on Dec. 12, 1988, in a plane crash during a Yugoslav humanitarian mission to assist Armenia in the wake of a devastating earthquake. The memorial was erected in 1995, and government and military delegations along with members of the pilots' families laid wreaths on the memorial along with a large group of Armenian citizens. The delegation was headed by the commander of the 204th Air Force Brigade, Brigadier General Zeljko Bilic, who thanked the Armenian people for honoring the pilots, adding that Serbian-Armenian friendship "will never die out." During a three-day visit to Armenia, the delegates and the families also laid wreaths at a memorial inside the Genocide Museum.

SERBIAN-AZERBAIJAN ECONOMIC MIXED COMMITTEE SITS IN BELGRADE

BELGRADE, December 7 2018 (Beta) - Economic cooperation between Serbia and Azerbaijan needs to be boosted, along with bilateral trade, which is symbolic at just USD5 million, Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic said on Dec. 7. Bilateral ties need to be strengthened in agriculture, tourism, the IT and energy sectors and infrastructure, Minister Ljajic said in Belgrade after a session of the Mixed Committee on Economic Cooperation between Serbia and Azerbaijan. The Serbian minister said that Azerbaijan was mulling joint investment opportunities in the area of agriculture, cattle breeding and farming for producing grain, wheat and corn, which will be discussed. Azerbaijan is also interested in investing in Serbian spa resorts, Ljajic said, announcing a new business forum in Baku, on Dec. 24. In order to expand trade, preferential trade agreements have to be signed as the most acceptable and most effective model, allowing both states to lift customs tariffs on certain products, Ljajic explained. The minister thanked Azerbaijan for supporting Serbia, and voting against Kosovo's attempt to join Interpol. Azerbaijan's Minister of Economy and Industry Shahin Mustafayev said that Serbia and Azerbaijan were strategic partners who supported one another in the international arena.

DAILY SURVEY

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