DACIC SENDS CONDOLENCES TO COLOMBIA
BELGRADE, 4 April 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic sent a letter with his condolences to Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar for those who died in a natural disaster in Mocoa, the Foreign Ministry announced on April 4. According to the Ministry, Dacic said that he was deeply saddened by news of a large number of deaths in natural disasters in Mocoa, in the province of Putumayo. "I will use this opportunity to send my deepest condolences and most genuine sympathies for the families who have lost their loved ones," the prime minister said in the telegram. In the landslides that hit the Colombian town of Mocoa 254 people lost their lives, including 43 children, President Juan Manuel Santos said on April 3, adding that the numbers were still rising. The mudslide struck in the night between March 31 and April 1 when three rivers flooded.
VUCIC, PLENKOVIC DISCUSS AGROKOR
MOSTAR, 4 April 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on April 4 that he had discussed the problem of Agrokor with his Croatian counterpart, Andrej Plenkovic, during a working dinner in Mostar, attended by other regional leaders, too, promising that Serbia would do everything to protect the employees of the Croatian group's firms in Serbia. "The Croatian government is doing everything, and we'll see what we can do as a state and a government, even though our hands are tied. I'm afraid that things have gone too far though," Vucic said to reporters in Mostar. The Serbian PM added that Serbia would do everything to protect Agrokor's employees in Serbia, but said that there was no such thing as an omnipotent state, and that there was no magic wand to cure Agrokor. The Croatian prime minister told reporters in Mostar that he had briefed on Agrokor's status his Serbian counterpart, Serbia's next president Aleksandar Vucic, and the chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denis Zvizdic. "I have informed them about what the Croatian government has been doing to ensure the stability of the national economy and finances, including a new special law to be debated by the parliament on April 5, allowing for enforcement managements in companies of strategic importance," Plenkovic said to reporters. Croatia's head of government said that Croatia wanted to ensure the company's liquidity again, which in turn would make it possible for Agrokor to pay its suppliers, and for the companies within the group a normal operation, reconstruction and security for the employees. The regional officials have traveled to Mostar to visit a business fair, opened on April 4, and closing on April 8.
VUCIC, ZVIZDIC DISCUSS INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS, STABILITY
MOSTAR, 4 April 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on April 4, after a meeting with the chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denis Zvizdic, that they had discussed important regional topics and the problems surrounding the situation of Croatia's Agrokor. "We talked about opportunities to solve those problems outside Croatia. I'm not sure we have found a good solution for us, but we'll certainly try to keep those jobs," Vucic said. The Serbian prime minister said that the idea was for everyone in the region to discuss "all kinds of regional connections." "When you build roads, you connect people, it's not just a stretch of concrete and steel," Vucic said, adding that Turkey was interested in joining infrastructure projects. Vucic also said that it was necessary to preserve peace and stability in the Balkans, as common a phrase it might seem to be, because the region was like "communicating vessels," and problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia affected Serbia, too. Zvizdic said that they had talked about the development of regional cooperation, economic ties and infrastructure projects in particular, as they could accelerate the flow of goods. The Bosnian official said he had also discussed with Vucic the possibility of connecting Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro with energy grids.
STEFANOVIC: SERBIAN, RS POLICE DETERMINED TO PRESERVE STABILITY
BANJA LUKA, 4 April 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said in Banjaluka on April 4 at a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the Republika Srpska Interior Ministry that the police forces of the Republic of Serbia and Republika Srpska were determined to confront all security challenges, preserve stability and do everything to ensure that citizens feel safe. "We face numerous challenges and instabilities in the region. Potential terrorist attacks are becoming a real threat around the world, and our region has not been spared," a Serbian Interior Ministry statement quoted Stefanovic as saying. He said that fighting terrorism was a point that further connected the Serbian and RS interior ministries. He said that arms smugglers, human traffickers and drug dealers "have long ago risen above borders in their cooperation" and that their criminal activities threatened not just security but economic progress and democratic practices, too. Stefanovic said that it was necessary for all states in the region to "remain immune" to any attempt to violate stability. Serbian Minister of Defense Zoran Djordjevic also participated in marking RS Police Day.
DJURIC: COMMUNITY OF SERB MUNICIPALITIES IS A PRIORITY, AS AGREED IN BRUSSELS
BRUSSELS, 4 April 2017 (Beta) - Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric said on April 4 that for the Serbs of Kosovo the Community of Serb Municipalities remained a priority, as had been agreed in Brussels. "The Community of Serb Municipalities can be established only in line with the agreements reached in Brussels, instead of Pristina's internal political decisions," the Serbian government official said to reporters in Belgrade, answering a reporter's question as to whether Serbia would accept the establishment of the Community with respect to a ruling by the Kosovo Constitutional Court. In reaction to Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa's words that Pristina was prepared to start working on a statute for the Community based on the Kosovo Constitution, Djuric said he would trust actions, rather than words. Djuric said that Serbia wanted to see if the authorities in Pristina intended to respect the agreement or cater for their own political needs. "From what we have been able to see so far, they have never been ready to respect the letter and spirit of the agreement," Djuric said. He recalled that over the past few months the officials from the European Union, the United States and the international community had urged the establishment of the Community, but that Pristina had turned a deaf ear to their appeals. "They should use all the influence they have to strengthen the political collective rights of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, and the Community is the best way to do so," the director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija said.
CADEZ: MOSTAR FAIR UNAVOIDABLE STOP IN REGIONAL COOPERATION
MOSTAR, 4 April 2017 (Beta) - The International Economic Fair in Mostar has grown to become an unavoidable event in regional cooperation, as entrepreneurs have recognized the importance of establishing ties and holding joint activities, Serbian Chamber of Commerce president Marko Cadez said in Mostar on April 4, according to the Serbian Chamber of Commerce. "We are aware that our markets are small and that we must find a way for companies to cooperate, not just through mutual trade, but joint ventures in third markets, to invest, hammer out deals and found joint holding companies and enterprises," Cadez said. Serbia's stand was visited by Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic, members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Mladen Ivanic and Dragan Covic, Croatia's and Serbia's prime ministers Andrej Plenkovic and Aleksandar Vucic. Cadez said he saw the visits as a sign of strengthening economic ties. He said that the Serbian Chamber of Commerce had brought 50 companies to Mostar, three times as much as last year. Cadez met in Mostar with the presidents of the chambers of commerce in the region, gathered in the Chamber Investment Forum of the Western Balkans, within preparations for participating in the upcoming Western Balkans Summit in Trieste. The Mostar fair is being held from April 4-8, while exhibitors from 30 states are participating.