DACIC, MADAGASCAR PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ON IMPROVING RELATIONS
BELGRADE, 7 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Madagascar Parliament Speaker Jean Max Rakotomamonjy agreed in Belgrade on Feb. 7 that improving all forms of bilateral cooperation was in the joint interest of Serbia and Madagascar, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said. Minister Dacic voiced his gratitude for Madagascar's support for Serbia's foreign policy priorities and said that he expected it to continue. Dacic said that bilateral cooperation could improve, especially foreign trade which was insufficient relative to the economic possibilities of both countries. In the discussion which was described as cordial, the officials agreed that relations between Serbia and Madagascar were traditionally friendly and that there was a need for continuous political dialogue. Jean Max Rakotomamonjy said that "the brotherly people of the two countries share the same values" dating back to the former Yugoslavia, which had a leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement and helped liberation movements in African counties, a statement said. He proposed the formation of a Serbia-Madagascar parliamentary friendship group. The Madagascar parliament speaker also met on Feb. 7 with Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTERS OF SERBIA, BELGIUM ON EUROPEAN INTEGRATION, COOPERATION
BELGRADE, 7 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and Belgian Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Jan Jambon agreed in Belgrade on Feb. 7 that bilateral relations were good and friendly, and that there was room for their further improvement and for strengthening political dialogue. Serbia's Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that Dacic had thanked Jambon on Belgium's continuous support for Serbia' European integration and that he expected it to be the same in the future, too. Belgium's interior minister voiced his gratitude over Serbia's demonstrated readiness for future cooperation, especially in the fight against terrorism and crime. Jambon and Dacic also discussed the migrant crisis and other security challenges, the statement said.
DACIC WITH DIRECTOR OF EUROPEAN PUBLIC LAW ORGANIZATION
BELGRADE, 7 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met on Feb. 7 with Spyridon Flogaitis, director of the European Public Law Organization, to discuss cooperation with that association. Flogaitis laid out his organization's activities and contribution to the area of education and promoting public law, the Serbian Foreign Ministry said in a press release. Dacic told Flogaitis that Serbia was ready to continue and expand cooperation, the press release also notes.
DACIC: OPENING OF CHAPTERS ON FEB. 27
BELGRADE, 7 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said the opening of new chapters in Serbia's process of EU integration had been announced for Feb. 27. Asked whether he had confirmation of the date, he told the Feb. 7 issue of the Belgrade daily Danas: "That's how it is for now." Serbian Minister Jadranka Joksimovic, in charge of EU integration, said late last week that Serbia expected to open three more chapters in its EU negotiations late in February or early in March. She said Serbia was technically ready for Chapter 26, education and culture, and Chapters 20 and 29, industrial policy and entrepreneurship, and the customs union, respectively.
DJORDJEVIC, CUSEV: MILITARY COOPERATION BETWEEN SERBIA, BELARUS HAS IMPROVED
BELGRADE, 7 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic and Ambassador of Belarus in Belgrade Vladimir Cusev concurred on Feb. 7 that military cooperation between the two countries had improved, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement. Djordjevic and Cusev discussed ways for further improving military and technical cooperation between Serbia and Belarus, as well as the possibilities for intensifying cooperation in the area of peacekeeping operations and military education. Minister Djordjevic thanked Belarus for its support in the realization of Serbia's foreign policy priorities as well as its legitimate efforts to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity in Kosovo and Metohija. They also voiced their satisfaction with an Agreement on Military and Technical Cooperation signed by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic during a visit to Belarus.
DEAL ON SERBIA-BELGIUM POLICE COOPERATION
BELGRADE, 7 February 2017 (Beta) - The ministers of internal affairs of Serbia and Belgium, Nebojsa Stefanovic and Jan Jambon, signed an agreement on police cooperation in Belgrade, on Feb. 7, a document that deals mainly with fighting organized crime and terrorism. The Belgian minister recalled the two big terrorist attacks in his country, adding that the goal of Serbia-Belgium cooperation was to avoid scenarios like these. "The exchange of information on terrorist fighters returning to Europe and Belgium via Serbia is also important to us," Jambon specified. The ministers said Serbia would improve its citizens' safety with the agreement with Belgium and become part of the "broader European network" in the fight against organized crime. It was announced that the two countries would exchange information and jointly train police officers.
MISCEVIC: SERBIA'S JOINING EU IS IN CROATIA'S INTEREST
BELGRADE, 7 February 2017 (Beta) - Head of Serbia's negotiating team for EU membership talks Tanja Miscevic said on Feb. 7 that in resolving open questions in relations between Serbia and Croatia a starting point ought to be that Serbia's joining the EU was in the best interest of Croatia and that Croatia's membership in the Union was in Serbia's interest. At a conference on relations between Serbia and Croatia called Croatia Our Neighbor, Tanja Miscevic said that Croatia was now using the context of negotiations to resolve questions which were in both sides' interest to resolve. She said that the issues of ethnic minorities, archives and missing persons, as well as the issues of borders which, as the most important, ought to be opened as soon as possible. "The best approach in the best national interest of Croatia would be Serbia's accession to the EU, period. As it is in the best national interest of Serbia for Croatia to be a member of the EU. I believe in this deeply," Tanja Miscevic said at the gathering organized by the Center for Foreign Policy. Based on that, she said, good arguments could be developed which could help resolve bilateral questions. Miscevic said that it was not in Croatia's interest to have countries that were not in the EU on its borders, which was expensive and inefficient, as the migrant crisis had revealed.
DJURIC: SERBIA GRATEFUL FOR SPAIN'S SUPPORT WITH KOSOVO
BELGRADE, 7 February 2017 (Beta) - Director of Serbia's Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric said on Feb. 7 that Serbia would never forget Spain's support with Kosovo and Metohija, a key issue for Serbia's state and national interests. "Defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country, Spain, alongside Serbia, supports the universal principles of international law that apply to all countries in the world and whose purpose should be to secure peace and equality and the rule of law among states and peoples," Djuric told reporters after meeting with Spanish Ambassador Miguel Fuertes Suarez in Belgrade. Ambassador Suarez recalled that Spain had not recognized Kosovo's independence and would not diverge from that position. He said relations between the two countries were exceptional and that Serbia could count on Spain's friendship. Djuric also met with Olivera Scepanovic on Feb. 7, a third year student of art history at the Pristina University's Faculty of Philosophy based out of Kosovska Mitrovica. Scepanovic will spend the next few months at a faculty in Madrid thanks to a scholarship.
DJURIC: SERBIA CLOSELY MONITORING IMPLEMENTATION OF WALL DEAL
BELGRADE, 7 February 2017 (Beta) - Marko Djuric, director of the Serbian government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija, said on Feb. 7 that Serbia was closely following the implementation of the agreement to raise a structure instead of the wall in Kosovska Mitrovica North, which was torn down on Feb. 5. Asked whether there would be any issues and whether the work would go ahead as planned, Djuric said no one had the right to manipulate what had been agreed. "We are closely following the implementation of that agreement. We don't feel anyone has the right to play around with or manipulate what was agreed between the sides," Djuric told reporters at the Palace of Serbia. Asked whether there had been any attempt to change the format of the dialogue, Djuric said part of "the plan" against Serbia in preceding days had been excluding Belgrade from the dialogue process to "additionally undermine the interests of Serbs" in KiM. "Now it was obvious why someone was trying to divide and buy off the Serb ticket and create a situation where Serbs won't attack in coordination, acting mutually and in cooperation with Belgrade," he said. Djuric said that plan had fallen through and that this had been compounded by the Serbian prime minister having gone public with what was happening.