SERBIAN OFFICIALS SEND LETTERS OF CONDOLENCE OVER ATTACK IN ST. PETERSBOURG
BELGRADE, 3 April 2017 (Beta) - Serbia's top government officials on April 3 sent letters of condolence following the explosion at a subway station in St. Petersbourg, killing at least ten and injuring 50 people. Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic sent a letter of condolence to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin and the families of the victims. "The attacks on the peaceful citizens of St. Petersbourg, who suffered many similar totalitarian and terrorist acts in the past, was an attack on the civilized world and all of us," Nikolic said. He said that Serbia would always be Russia's firm supporter, as it has always been.
"We were deeply shaken by the news of the horrible explosion at a subway station in St. Petersbourg, in what clearly was a mindless act of terror," the cabinet quoted Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic as saying in his telegram. Vucic said that such events reminded everyone that "a joint, decisive struggle against this plague, which knows no borders" should be everyone's priority, to protect the citizens and make it possible for them to live without fear.
Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic sent his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, a telegram promising Russia and its citizens "Serbia's unreserved support in the struggle against terrorism."
The Serbian parliament speaker, Maja Gojkovic, sent letters of condolence to the president of the Russian Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, and the president of the Council of the Federation, Valentina Matviyenko.
The Serbian interior and defense ministers, Nebojsa Stefanovic and Zoran Djordjevic, lit candles outside the Russian embassy building in Belgrade, paying their respects to the victims of the attack on April 3.
VUCIC IN MOSTAR, MEETING OFFICIALS IN REGION
MOSTAR, 3 April 2017 (Beta) - Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in Mostar on April 3 met with Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina (B-H) Presidency chairman and Croatian member, Mladen Ivanic and Dragan Covic, respectively. "We particularly addressed the situation in B-H, I exchanged opinions on the situation in Macedonia with all, which is a bit of a burden for each of us," Vucic said. Late on April 3, Vucic also met with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. In a statement to RTS in Mostar, Vucic said that the task of the leaders in the region was to present in Mostar their countries' economic potential and to work on developing and enhancing relations. He thanked the hosts for their hospitality, describing as important the presence of Serbian businesspeople at the fair in Mostar, which opens on April 4. According to Vucic, representatives of 18 Serbian companies arrived in Mostar, while another nine will be present at the agriculture and wine fair.
CONGRATULATIONS TO VUCIC FROM BRUSSELS, MOSCOW AND U.S. AMBASSADOR
BELGRADE, 3 April 2017 (Beta) - The European Union (EU) and Russia's officials, the U.S. ambassador to Serbia, European officials and regional representatives congratulated Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on his victory in the April 2 presidential vote. We would like to congratulate you on your election as President of Serbia, confirming the strong support you enjoy among the population of your country. This vote of confidence shows that the people of Serbia fully endorse the European path you have chosen, and which will lead to EU membership. We wish you success in further pursuing this path by promoting the reforms associated with the ongoing accession process which will bring a better life to all citizens. Stable and functioning institutions, the rule of law, and the fight against corruption are crucial for further positive economic developments. We are confident that you will continue to promote cooperation and reconciliation in the region, essential for stability, peace and prosperity. Your determination will also be key to continue the progress in the EU facilitated Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. We would like to reiterate the European Union's full support for Serbia's European reform agenda and look forward to working with you in the future as President of Serbia, said the president of the European Council Donald Tusk and the president of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker.
Vucic was also congratulated by the EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn, and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was confident Vucic would contribute to the further expansion of bilateral ties, the Kremlin quoted the president as saying. "Such a convincing victory speaks of broad support for your efforts aimed at the ongoing economic and social tasks ahead of Serbia, the implementation of a constructive, balanced foreign-policy course," Putin said. The Russian president underlined that Vucic was viewed in Russia as "a principled supporter of the development of friendly relations between the two states," and said he was confident that the new presidential post would help him develop the Serbian-Russian strategic partnership.
Vucic was also congratulated by the U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, who conveyed his country's readiness to support Serbia in its reforms, especially in the rule of law and judiciary, and to support it on its path to the EU. The Serbian government reported that the ambassador underlined that he viewed Prime Minister Vucic's victory as the voters' commitment to his policy and Serbia's prosperous future. The ambassador said he was pleased that the election day had unfolded without major irregularities and problems, which the embassy's team of observers had confirmed.
Vucic received congratulations from Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitanovic, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Belorussian President Aleksander Lukasnko, Bulgaria's former PM Bojko Borisov. The Serbian Electoral Commission reported that after the votes by 95,27 percent of the electorate had been processed, Vucic won 55.04 percent of the vote, succeeding President Nikolic in the post.
VULIN DISCUSSES MIGRANT CRISIS WITH SWEDEN'S OFFICIAL
BELGRADE, 3 April 2017 (Beta) - Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs Aleksandar Vulin met on April 3 with Nicola Clase, a coordinator for migration and refugee issues at the Swedish foreign ministry. Vulin's ministry reported that the two officials had discussed the consequences of the migrant crisis. The labor ministry quoted the Swedish official as commending Serbia's efforts in handling the problem, underlining that bilateral cooperation would continue. The ministry went on to say in a press release that Vulin had underlined the importance of a united European response to the migrant crisis.