SERBIA - GERMANY
DACIC, GABRIEL: VERY GOOD SERBIA - GERMANY RELATIONS
BELGRADE, 12 April 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel on April 12, and both agreed that relations between their two countries were very good, to which in-depth dialog at a high level and successful cooperation in all areas had contributed, the Serbian Foreign Ministry announced. They particularly stressed the importance of economic cooperation and the fact that Germany was one of the biggest investors in Serbia, and that the volume of foreign trade had reached EUR 4 billion last year. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic stressed that Serbia wished to advance overall cooperation with Germany, both politically and economically. Recalling, as a reliable and responsible partner, that Serbia made a considerable contribution to stability and boosting cooperation in the region, he stressed the commitment to continuing constructive policy in that direction. The minister thanked Germany for its support to the Serbian EU integration process, which remains one of our key foreign policy priorities, the press release read.
VUCIC: STRATEGIC GOAL EU WHILE KEEPING GOOD RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA, CHINA
BELGRADE, 12 April 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on April 12 that Serbia's strategic goal was membership in the European Union, while maintaining good relations with Russia and China. "Serbia has a brave and honest policy, and speaks its mind to everyone. In Moscow, we say Serbia is on the European path, and in Washington and Brussels we say we want good relations with Russia... Serbia is a sovereign, free and independent country and our strategic goal is the EU, while preserving good relations with Russia, China and other countries, and that is the policy we will continue," Vucic told a news conference, after meeting German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. Vucic also said Germany had contributed to peace and stability in the region and that he expected more support in reforms to pave the way to the EU. He said trade between the two nations was EUR 4 billion, EUR 1.75 billion of which is from Serbian exports, much higher than before. He said 370 German companies, which employ 35,000 people in Serbia, were partly to thank. "We expect to do a lot in future, primarily in the rule of law, to attract more German investors," Vucic declared. He also said he expected an even more in-depth dialog between Serbia and Germany and that he looked forward to continuing the dialog with Pristina and preserving good relations in the region.
GABRIEL: SERBIA SHOULD CONTINUE REFORMS, NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS WITH PRISTINA
BELGRADE, 12 April 2017 (Beta) – German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on April 12 that Serbia should continue the process of reforms and normalization of relations with Kosovo, a necessary condition before it can become a member of the European Union. The electoral victory gives reason for joy, but also carries great responsibility in the reform process and further development of relations with Kosovo, which, for the EU, is a necessary condition to agree in the end for Serbia to be a member, Gabriel said after congratulating Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on winning the presidential election in Serbia. He praised the cabinet Vucic headed, stating that it had stayed the course of advocating stability in the entire region and on the road of EU integration and he likened it to a guarantor of stability in the region. Gabriel also said Germany appreciated the path Serbia was beating and that it was a factor of stability in the Balkans. Asked when he expected Serbia to become a part of the EU, Gabriel said he could not give a time frame as it would depend on the pace of reforms, but also on relations with Pristina. Germany feels an obligation to be there for Serbia and other countries, in their bid to join the EU, and to support Serbia in becoming a member as soon as possible, said Gabriel. Mentioning the post-election protests in Belgrade and other Serbian cities, Gabriel said that was a part of democracy and that it was important that they were peaceful and without state interference, and added that the government had a responsibility to show that Serbia was a stable country that guaranteed stability for the entire region.
SERBIA - CHINA
NIKOLIC: I ADVOCATE EVEN STRONGER ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH CHINA
BELGRADE, 12 April 2017 (Beta) – Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic stated on March 12, during a meeting with a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, Chang Chun Shien, that Chinese investments had given new momentum to Serbia's heavy industry, and that he advocated the establishment of even stronger economic cooperation between Serbia and China, the president's office has stated. Nikolic announced during the meeting in Belgrade that Serbia would soon present a prospect with projects that will be offered to foreign investors, and told his guest that China should certainly recognize the mutual interest in them. As for cooperation in the field of agriculture, the earlier agreed arrangements are about to be realized, like meat exports to China, and it is certain that much more room for improvement exists in that field, because our country is a producer of high quality agricultural products, which will certainly be welcomed on the Chinese market, the Serbian president stated. Chang Chun Shien said that last year's signing of the agreement on a comprehensive strategic partnership between Serbia and China opened numerous opportunities for further cooperation, and stressed that Serbia is nowadays a country which China views with great confidence, and which plays an important role in the economic development of this part of Europe. He also said he was convinced the interest of Chinese companies in future cooperation with Serbia would be immense, especially after the visit of President Nikolic to China, when the strong friendship between our two nations was clearly demonstrated. Nikolic and Chang said they hoped the two countries would succeed in realizing numerous economic projects in the forthcoming period, and concurred that China's "One Belt - One Road" initiative represented a great opportunity for development for all the included countries, and that Serbia was prepared to provide full assistance to all the countries which are interested in establishing better cooperation with China.
VUCIC WELCOMES CHINA'S GLOBAL STRENGTHENING
BELGRADE, 12 April 2017 (Beta) – During the April 12 meeting with a delegation of the Communist Party of China, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic welcomed the strengthening of that country's role on the international plane, it was stated by the government's office for cooperation with the media. During the meeting with the Chinese delegation, headed by a member of the Politburo of the party's Central Committee, Chang Chun Shien, Vucic said he was pleased with the visit of the Chinese delegation as one more confirmation of the "steel friendship" and the comprehensive strategic partnership of the two countries. He stressed the importance of China's principled stand on the non-recognition of the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo and its support in international organizations regarding this issue. At the meeting, which was also attended by the Chinese ambassador to Serbia, Li Manchang, Chang said Serbia was becoming more and more popular in China and that interest in the development of bilateral economic cooperation was notable. While thanking Serbia for its support to China on the international plane and to the "one China" policy, Chang informed Vucic about the positive trends in economic indicators, and about the plan of the Chinese state and party for the development of the Chinese society and economy, which envisages the fight against poverty and the country's modernization. The Serbian prime minister drew attention to the fact that the high level of political relations between Serbia and China was accompanied by the accelerating development of economic cooperation, through bilateral relations and through the China-CIEZ mechanism, proof of which are the infrastructure projects which Chinese companies are realizing in Serbia. Vucic and Chang also said they hoped for a direct air line between Serbia and China to be opened soon, which would greatly contribute to the development of cooperation and to the two peoples' learning about each other.
MALI, JANG UNVEIL MONUMENT TO CONFUCIUS AT FORMER EMBASSY SITE
BELGRADE, 12 April 2017 (Beta) – Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali and Communist Party Politburo member Zhang Chunxian on April 12 unveiled a monument to the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, at the erstwhile site of the Chinese embassy in Serbia, destroyed in the 1999 bombing of then-Yugoslavia, the city authorities announced. Mali and Jang first laid a wreath on the memorial to the victims of the bombing, which killed three and injured 20. Mali said the monument to Confucius was Belgrade's celebration of "the sincere and unbreakable friendship between the two peoples and two states." "This monument becomes the symbol of the friendship and collaboration of the two peoples, but also of the heartfelt intention to make that friendship and cooperation better from day to day. If there were more people in the world who followed Confucius' teaching, there would be less evil and conflict and more philanthropy and desire to advance in the areas of tolerance and understanding," Mali said. Jang said Confucius' thoughts had become an integral part of Chinese tradition and culture over thousands of years. The completion of the monument on the Square of Serbia-China Friendship has special importance. The friendship between our countries reaches beyond space and time, and also contributes to cultural exchange, said Jang.
DJORDJEVIC AND BELARUS AMBASSADOR DISCUSS DEVELOPING DEFENCE COOPERATION
BELGRADE, 12 April 2017 (Beta) – Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic met on April 12 with the Belarus ambassador to Serbia, Vladimir Cusev, and discussed opportunities for further developing the two countries' military technical cooperation. Djordjevic and Cusev concurred that this was a field which, together with scientific and technical cooperation, provided broad possibilities for strengthening military technical capacities, which is in the mutual interest of the otherwise developed military relations. They also discussed plans for the visit of businessmen from Belarus to Serbia in the near future, when a part of the delegation will visit the Defense Ministry and the production capacities of Serbia's defense industry. During the meeting, Cusev expressed condolences to Djordjevic over the death of pilots Lt.Col. Nenad Culibrk and Capt. Dejan Pandurovic, who died when their Super Galeb G-4 jet crashed.
SERBIA, BOSNIA PLANNING MEETINGS ON BORDERS, OLD SAVINGS
BELGRADE, 12 April 2017 (Beta) – The foreign ministries of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have launched initiatives for meetings between the two sides' experts to discuss old foreign-currency savings belonging to Bosnian citizens, and on holding a meeting of the Inter-Country Diplomatic Commission on Borders, the Serbian ministry announced on April 12. An April 11 meeting in Sarajevo reviewed bilateral issues, regional cooperation and EU integration, while both sides agreed that relations between Serbia and Bosnia were good and unencumbered by any serious problems, the press release elaborated. The interlocutors also noted that the two states had signed 75 agreements, but that there was an interest in shoring up the contractual-legal framework, therefore a list of deals was exchanged so steps could be taken toward their completion. The representatives of both countries' ministries stressed that membership in the EU was their foreign policy priority and voiced readiness to extend mutual support in the process. State secretary Nemanja Stevanovic spearheaded the Serbian delegation, while Deputy Minister Josip Brkic led the Bosnian envoys.
MINISTER OF COMMERCE INVITED TO ATTEND ST. PETERSBURG ECONOMIC FORUM
BELGRADE, 12 April 2017 (Beta) – The Russian ambassador to Serbia, Aleksandar Cepurin, on April 12 conveyed an invitation to Serbian Minister of Commerce Goran Knezevic to participate in the international economic forum in St. Petersburg, from June 1 to 3. Cepurin said the forum was being organized under the auspices of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will speak there about the plan of economic reforms in Russia in the next few years. During their meeting, Knezevic and Cepurin discussed possibilities for the development of economic cooperation between Serbia and Russia. According to Cepurin, the Russian side is interested in investing into some of the existing free zones in Serbia, and in organizing joint production and appearances on third markets, both in the region and in the world. Cepurin stressed the Russian companies' interest in cooperation in the manufacture of trucks, machine building and the railways.