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DAILY SURVEY 09.03.2017.
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SERBIA

SERBIA, ERITREA SIGN AGREEMENT ON POLITICAL CONSULTATIONS

BELGRADE, 8 March 2017 (Beta) - The foreign ministers of Serbia and Eritrea, Ivica Dacic and Osman Saleh, signed a memorandum of understanding between their two ministries, in Belgrade on March 8, which is to establish political consultations on issues of joint interest. During the talks, before the signing of the memorandum, Dacic and Saleh concurred that relations between the two countries were good and friendly and that room existed for intensifying cooperation in all fields, especially in the economy, stated the Serbian ministry. Dacic said there was a gret deal of room for developing trade between the two countries, which is currently low, bearing in mind the economic possibilities of Serbia and Eritrea. Saleh said Serbia and Eritrea were two brotherly nations that share the same values, especially regarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of countries, the statement reads. He added that Eritrea would continue its support of Serbia's foreign policy priorities in all international institutions and forums in which it takes part. The Serbian minister said this was the first visit since diplomatic relations were established between the two countries in 2012, and that it had historic meaning because of that. Saleh invited the Serbian foreign minister to visit Eritrea, stated the Serbian Foreign Ministry.

NIKOLIC INVITED TO VISIT CHINA AT END OF MARCH

BELGRADE, 8 March 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic received an official invitation on March 8, from Chinese President Xi Jinping, to visit China on March 30 and 31. The invitation was conveyed to Nikolic by the Chinese ambassador to Serbia, Li Manchang. According to a statement from the president's media service, Nikolic said during the meeting with Manchang that "relations between Serbia and China are excellent and economic cooperation is on an upward trend." They also discussed the progress of joint Serbian-Chinese investments in commerce and opportunities to expand bilateral cooperation. Nikolic thanked the Chinese ambassador for the rapid progress in the realization of the project of the steelworks in Smederevo, stressing that it would be important to start a similar commercial project soon. Commenting on the political situation in the region, Nikolic said Serbia's priority was to preserve stability and peace in the Balkans, the statement reads.

VUCIC: I EXPECT SUPPORT FROM EU, U.S. AND RUSSIA REGARDING KOSOVO ARMY

BELGRADE, 8 March 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic stated on March 8 that forming the army of Kosovo would represent a violation of Resolution 1244 of the U.N. Security Council and of the Constitution of Kosovo, and that he expected support and assistance from the EU, the U.S., Russia and "everybody else" in connection with that issue. At a news conference at the Kopaonik Business Forum, Vucic said that he and Hashim Thaci had not agreed about the forming of the Kosovo armed forces during their telephone conversation on March 7. "These talks are not easy, but they are polite. Have we agreed on the formation of the Army of Kosovo? We have not. These matters are too big to be played with, and I wonder if they are doing this because of some internal election. I hope there isn't anyone in Pristina being guided by the principle of doing this, so as to win a few more votes," the prime minister stated. He urged the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija to "not be frightened" and not to abandon their homes. "We will do our best to exert influence through diplomatic means. According to the Brussels agreement, we have guarantees that the security forces cannot set foot in the north of Kosovo without the approval of the local population there, and of NATO. I hope that certain people understand how much we are doing for peace and stability, despite the enormous pressure," said the prime minister. Vucic added that he had also discussed the formation of the Kosovo security forces with the EU high representative for foreign policy and security, Federica Mogherini, and that the conversation had not been "easy". "I told Mogherini what I thought about it. She is a polite woman, but our conversation was not easy. I do not understand many things in our region - what are the real reasons for the situation in Macedonia? I do not understand everything that we are getting from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Pristina, but we must work to preserve peace, stability and safety of Serbia, that is our job," Vucic stated.

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