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DAILY SURVEY 31.01.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC ENDS VISIT TO VATICAN EARLY

BELGRADE, 30 January 2018 (Beta) - After the meetings with Secretary for Relations with States within the Holy See's Secretariat of State Paul Gallagher and the Vatican's Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic ended his visit to the Vatican. According to the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dacic cut the visit short having learned of his father's death.
Dacic and Gallagher confirmed the importance of bilateral relations and cooperation, and expressed readiness to make the ties more dynamic. Gallagher conveyed the Vatican's interest in working together with Serbia to protect the Christian heritage in Kosovo and Metohija. Minister Dacic thanked him for the Vatican's firm decision not to recognize the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.
Dacic and Parolin discussed the development of bilateral cooperation and the situation in Kosovo and Metohija. The Belgrade-Pristina negotiations were one of the topics, and the Serbian foreign minister underlined that Serbia was truly committed to the dialogue. Parolin said that the Holly See was carefully monitoring developments in the Balkans, and in the same context, the talks between Belgrade and Pristina.
Dacic attended a Jan. 29 audience with Pope Francis, organized for participants in the International Conference on the Responsibility of States, Institutions and Individuals in the Fight against Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Area. The minister was supposed to attend a general audience on Jan. 31, and meet with the pope on the same day.

DACIC, LAUDER DISCUSS GLOBAL MANIFESTATIONS OF ANTI-SEMITISM

BELGRADE, 30 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and the president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Ronald Lauder, expressed concerns over increasingly frequent manifestations of anti-semitism across the world, particularly in Europe, describing as intolerable all attempts at rewriting history. Dacic and Lauder had a fringe meeting during the International Conference on the Responsibility of States, Institutions and Individuals in the Fight against Anti-Semitism in the OSCE Area that took place in Rome, on Jan. 29. The minister and the WJC leader agreed that Serbia was committed to preserving the memory of the Holocaust victims, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported on Jan. 30. Lauder said that the Jews across the world were thankful for what Serbia had done in the past, given its own sacrifice in particular, and that they regarded very highly Serbia's treatment of its own Jewish community today. The Serbian foreign minister said that Serbia was committed to the remembrance of the Holocaust victims, and that his country would fight those who were trying to diminish the crimes that had been committed or find an excuse for the perpetrators, as if no crimes had ever been committed against the Jewish people at all. Minister Dacic said that Serbia was the first state to pass a law to implement the Terezin Declaration, and eliminate the consequences of the confiscation of the Holocaust victims' property. In his speech at the conference, the WJC president warned about attempts at historical revisionism and playing down the Holocaust and all other crimes committed during World War II. Lauder condemned the growth of extreme right-wing and pro-Nazi parties that some European states had permitted, the ministry said in a press release. Launder was quite positive about the role of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his personal contributions to the fight against anti-semitism, underlining that today's Jews lived more freely in Moscow than in "Paris, London, Malmo and Berlin."

SERBIAN PM, IRISH MINISTER DISCUSS REFORMS, EU

BELGRADE, 30 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met in Belgrade, on Jan. 30, with Irish Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee, who welcomed the reform process in Serbia. The Irish minister noted changes in the rule of law and the fight against corruption, suggesting that joining the European Union would be the best way for Serbia to reach the goals and values the country was aspiring to. McEntee said that Serbia had a safe EU accession prospect, which a state committed to the EU integration and difficult reforms could expect, the Serbian government quoted the Irish minister as saying in a press release. Ireland's official added that it was very important to continue the Belgrade-Pristina talks, describing them as a vital condition for relational stability. The Serbian PM expressed thanks for the Irish support to Serbia's EU accession, suggesting that creating a positive business environment, strengthening the rule of law and stepping up the fight against corruption were the key points for the Serbian government's success, and a solid base for a stronger relationship between Serbia and Ireland. The prime minister said that Serbia was "determined to implement the necessary reforms, and step up the EU accession process in the coming months and years," stressing that Serbia had already reached macro-economic and fiscal stability. Brnabic said that Serbia's major tasks included infrastructure projects and state administration reform, as well as reforming the education sector, which she believed was the most important of all.

RS, SERBIAN MINISTERS DISCUSS BOOSTING POLICE COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 30 January 2018 (Beta) - Serbian and Republika Srpska interior ministers Nebojsa Stefanovic and Dragan Lukac met in Belgrade on Jan. 30 to discuss improving police cooperation. They described their cooperation as exceptional and stated that it was necessary to continue the fight against all criminal groups operating in the region, the Serbian Interior Ministry has said. The collocutors agreed that the two police forces would continue to exchange "interesting information security-wise" as part of the fight against organized crime and corruption, potential terrorism and extremism.

MEETING IN BELGRADE TO DISCUSS CROATIAN, SERBIAN MINORITY RIGHTS

BELGRADE, 30 January 2018 (Beta) - Open issues and the development of minority rights in Serbia and Croatia are the chief topics of the 7th session of the Serbian-Croatian Mixed Committee for Ethnic Minorities in Belgrade, on Jan. 30. The meeting at the Palace of Serbia, the first in three years, which will continue on Jan. 31 in Backi Monostor, near Sombor, was attended by Serbian Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Branko Ruzic and Vojvodina's Deputy Premier Djordje Milicevic. The session involves 20 representatives of Serbian and Croatian authorities, and minority representatives. Croatia's co-chair Zvonko Milas said that in 2016, Croatia and Hungary were named as good examples of minority rights protection. Milas expects progress to be made in the Serbian-Croatian relationship, especially for the benefit of minorities. The Serbian Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government quoted Minister Ruzic as saying at the session that Serbia was prepared to work with Croatia to develop cooperation, and that a constructive approach by both sides was required for a result.

SERBIA, TURKEY SIGN NEW FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

BELGRADE, 30 January 2018 (Beta) - A new agreement on free trade between Serbia and Turkey and an agreement on fostering and protecting investments was signed in Ankara on Jan. 30 by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade Rasim Ljajic and Turkish Minister of the Economy Nihat Zeybekci. The text of the agreement on free trade was initialed during an official visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Serbia in October last year, while the Jan. 30 signing creates the conditions for ratification in the parliaments of both states, followed by the agreement's activation, a statement said. Owing to the new agreement on free trade, for the first time Serbia will have the ability to export 5,000 tons of beef a year to the Turkish market as well as defined quotas of raw and refined sunflower oil, seeds and certain kinds of bakery products. The quotas for exporting certain sorts of vegetables and prunes to Turkey will also be doubled. During the meeting with Minister Zeybekci, Ljajic asked that the export of a certain quantity of meat to Turkey be allowed before the treaty's ratification. Zeybekci said that the authorities would look for the corresponding legal basis to meet Serbia's request. The Serbian Ministry of Trade said that the signing of an agreement on fostering and protecting investments had created the requisite for the arrival of new Turkish investors to Serbia, as the conditions for their business operations were improving. Ljajic also met with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek and Minister of European Affairs Omer Celik in Ankara.

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