DACIC MEETS WITH WB CONSULTANT
BELGRADE, 8 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic spoke with World Bank consultant William Isaacs on Feb. 8 about the WB supporting the government in executing its program and defined priority goals, the Serbian Foreign Ministry said in a press release. Dacic thanked the WB for getting involved and supporting the government's efforts to formulate and adopt the action plan to implement its program under the principle of so-called administration based on expected results, the press release read. The action plan was adopted on Nov. 17, 2016, when, with WB support, a new approach was utilized in implementing it, the press release recalls. The government will thus be able to follow all activities with the goal of producing results in the defined periods, establishing possible internal and external risks in priority execution and expected effects on citizens.
DACIC, JOVANOVSKA-TIPKO: SERBIA-MACEDONIA RELATIONS BASED ON GOOD NEIGHBORLY RELATIONS
BELGRADE, 8 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Macedonian Ambassador to Belgrade Vera Jovanovska-Tipko agreed on Feb. 8 that relations between the two countries were good and that an enviable level of political dialog had been achieved at the topmost and high levels. The interlocutors also said Serbian-Macedonian relations were founded on good neighborly relations and it was agreed that the two foreign ministries would step up working contacts and consultations, the Serbian ministry said in a press release. They exchanged opinions on further steps to advance cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, which, it was announced, applies particularly to infrastructure, energy, culture, but also facing common challenges like the migrant crisis.
MADAGASCAR PARLIAMENT SPEAKER REAFFIRMS STANCE AGAINST KOSOVO'S RECOGNITION
BELGRADE, 8 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic met in Belgrade on Feb. 8 with the speaker of the National Assembly of Madagascar, Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, who reaffirmed Madagascar's stand against recognizing the independence of Kosovo. Nikolic said that Serbia appreciated the fact that Madagascar had maintained its principled stand on that issue, it was stated by the president's office. "We will soon have another battle, to keep Kosovo from becoming a member of UNESCO, and those who destroyed Serbia's holy sites in 2004, from being entrusted with caring for these sites. It would be impermissible and perilous for such a precedent to take place, not just for Christianity, but for the whole of civilization," stated the Serbian president. Nikolic said Serbia remained oriented towards full EU membership, but not at the cost of recognizing Kosovo and Metohija as independent. The speaker of the parliament of Madagascar stressed that the two countries had a history of friendly relations and that there was an obvious need for strengthening and intensifying bilateral cooperation, both parliamentary and economic.
CHINESE AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH PRESIDENT NIKOLIC AND MINISTER DJORDJEVIC
BELGRADE, 8 February 2017 (Beta) - The Chinese ambassador to Serbia, Lee Manchang, had talks in Belgrade with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic. During their meeting, Nikolic and Lee discussed the realization of joint Serbian-Chinese commercial facilities and prospects for future economic cooperation. Nikolic laid special emphasis on the current political situation in the region, stressing that Serbia's priority was to maintain stability and peace in the Balkans, the Presidency has stated. During the meeting with Djordjevic, Lee and the minister discussed the two countries' cooperation in the defense field, the Defense Ministry has stated. Djordjevic said that China was one of the most reliable partners of Serbia, adding that it very much appreciated the Chinese side's principled support for Serbia to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity in Kosovo and Metohija by peaceful means.
JOKSIMOVIC: SERBIA TO OPEN NEW CHAPTERS IN EARLY MARCH
BELGRADE, 8 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbia's minister in charge of EU integration, Jadranka Joksimovic, said in a Feb. 8 talk with OSCE Mission chief in Serbia, Andrea Orizio, that Serbia expected to open chapters it is technically ready for in late February or early March, reads a press release by the government's media office. "Serbia expects to open the chapters it is technically ready for -- 26, on culture and education, and then 20 and 29, on industrial policy and entrepreneurship, and the customs union, respectively, at the First Inter-Governmental Conference during Malta's chairing of the Union, at the end of this month or early in March," Joksimovic said, adding that Serbia remained cautious in announcements due to earlier experiences. The minister and Orizio also discussed reforms, activities and the organization's plans, the process of Serbia's EU accession and regional cooperation, but also stepping up cooperation with the OSCE Mission. The reforms being implemented are in the service of improving the standard of living and a better life for citizens, while EU integration is the best mechanism for the country's internal development and progress, said Joksimovic, adding that EU membership was the Serbian government's strategic commitment, reads a press release from her office. She also stressed the progress made in areas covered by Chapters 23 and 24.
LJAJIC: BOSNIA'S GENOCIDE LAWSUIT WOULD FREEZE RELATIONS WITH SERBIA
BELGRADE, 8 February 2017 (Beta) - If Bosnia and Herzegovina requests the revision of the genocide lawsuit against Serbia before the International Court of Justice, political relations with that country will be temporarily frozen and economic ones probably kept at a minimum level, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Rasim Ljajic stated on Feb. 8. At a news conference regarding the results of the CEFTA agreement, he told reporters that it should first be seen if Bosnia would in fact submit the request for revision, considering the high criteria of the International Court for establishing whether genocide had been committed. "The precondition for a new lawsuit is the finding of new facts. Over the past ten years, Serbia cooperated with the International Court in a transparent fashion and extradited (to the Hague) all those indicted for crimes," Ljajic said, adding that all options would be considered, regardless of the gravity of the crimes. The Bosniac member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the leader of the Party of Democratic Action, Bakir Izetbegovic, announced on Feb. 7 that Bosnia would request a revision of the lawsuit against Serbia for aggression and genocide before the International Court of Justice in the Hague, if it is found within the next ten days that additional facts existed which could represent grounds for reopening the lawsuit. "There will be a revision. In the next ten days, I will invite all the experts, the academic community, politically active people who have already contacted me to discuss the elements for the revision of the lawsuit," Izetbegovic told reporters after the session of his party's presidency.
THREE QUARTERS OF CEFTA COUNTRY TRADE MUTUAL
BELGRADE, 8 February 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Trade Rasim Ljajic said on Feb. 8 that the Central European Free Trade Agreement had yielded good results and that the trade amongst one another accounted for three quarters of the countries' trade. He told a conference on the CEFTA implementation results over the past decade and new challenges that Serbia's trade had risen 2.5-fold in that time and that Central European countries were the country's number 2 trade partner, after the European Union. "Results that good were achieved by prioritizing the economy, and because economy took the road and politics travelled rough," Ljajic added. Ljajic further noted that "ten years ago Serbia's trade with CEFTA countries was EUR1.8 billion and now it is EUR 2.8 billion, while the surplus was 1.1 billion and is now 2.1 billion," adding that Serbia had exported four times more than it imported from those countries. "How much CEFTA means to Serbia is revealed by the fact that it exports more to Bosnia and Herzegovina than to the U.S., Russia and China put together, and three times more than to France," Ljajic said. CEFTA was inked on Dec. 19, 2006 by Serbia and UNMIK/Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova. Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia left the deal after joining the EU.
LJAJIC: SERBIA WILL NOT JOIN WTO SOON, BECAUSE OF GMO
BELGRADE, 8 February 2017 (Beta) - The Serbian minister for trade, tourism and telecommunication, Rasim Ljajic, stated on Feb. 8 that he did not believe Serbia could join the World Trade Organization (WTO) soon, because of the immense public pressure against the placement of genetically modified (GMO) goods on the market, which is a condition for admission into the organization. "The main problem for WTO membership is the amendment of regulations about GMO. We have an explicit ban on the production and trading in GMO, while that is allowed in the WTO member countries. It will be difficult to change our regulations because there is also immense resistance among the public to lifting that ban," Ljajic told BETA. He added that multilateral and bilateral negotiations with each member country were necessary for WTO membership. "Out of the 163 WTO member countries, we would have to complete negotiations with four - Brazil, Ukraine, the U.S. and Russia. After that we would have to conduct multilateral negotiations and endorse the standards of the organization," Ljajic said. In his words, 25 countries are currently negotiating about joining the WTO.
SERBIA'S LEADERS CONSTRUCTIVE, PRISTINA NOT TAKING STEPS TO APPROACH
MOSCOW, 8 February 2017 (Beta) - Moscow believes that the Serbian leadership was "constructively disposed" and doing a great deal to reduce tension in Kosovo, but it has not seen Pristina doing anything to approach them, the high-ranking Russian diplomat in charge of the region of South East Europe at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Aleksandar Bocan-Harcenko, stated on Feb. 8. In an interview to the RIA Novosti agency, Bocan-Harcenko said that Moscow was constantly in contact with Belgrade. "Naturally, we are in permanent contact. Cooperation with Belgrade is very intense regarding the attempts to push Kosovo's membership in international organizations. However, Belgrade has the 'lead role' in that situation and we are helping in those efforts," stated the Russian diplomat. Bocan-Harcenko said he did not see "Pristina taking steps to approach the efforts of the Serbian leadership, who are doing a great deal to reduce the tension."