DACIC, CHINESE OFFICIAL: VISA ABOLISHING IS PROOF OF TWO COUNTRIES' STRATEGIC RELATIONS
BELGRADE, 19 April 2017 (Beta) - Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and a high official of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Guo Shaochun, concurred on April 19 that the two countries' agreement on abolishing visas represented one more confirmation of the strategic relation between Serbia and China, and that it opened possibilities for the further development of cooperation. Dacic and the director of the Sector for Consular Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said they expected consular relations to continue to follow and assist the development trends of political and economic cooperation. Besides the meeting of the Chinese delegation with the Serbian foreign minister, the Serbian Foreign Ministry also hosted the consular consultations of the two ministries on April 19, at the level of assistant ministers for consular affairs. The agreement to mutually abolish visas for all citizens of the two countries came into effect on Jan. 15.
DACIC WITH EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
BELGRADE, 19 April 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on April 19 spoke with a delegation of the European Council on Foreign Relations, spearheaded by former Swedish foreign and Prime Minister Carl Bildt, about political and economic circumstances in the region and in Serbia, and about the process of the country's EU integration. Dacic underscored Serbia's strategic commitment to EU integration, while both sides agreed that Serbia was the bedrock of stability in the region. The officials were briefed on the recent presidential election in Serbia and assured that Serbia would continue with its policies, based on EU integration and good neighborly relations. The ECFR is an international think tank founded in 2007, whose purpose is to exchange views and ideas on key issues in international relations from a European perspective, a press release reads.
SERBIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WITH MAYOR OF HOFU, JAPAN
BELGRADE, 19 April 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic told Hofu Mayor Masato Matsuura how grateful Serbia was for the Japanese city's decision to host Serbia's national volleyball teams ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, in 2020. Both officials voiced satisfaction with the good relations between Serbia and Japan, which are continually advancing, and affirmed mutual readiness to improve cooperation further in the areas of economics, culture, education and others spheres of mutual interest, a press release read. The Belgrade Social Work Center, the Biocide and Medical Ecology Institute and the Belgrade Water and Sewage public enterprise on April 19 received one new passenger and delivery vehicle each, and a new cistern to improve the quality of services for Belgraders and migrants in the Serbian capital. Masayoshi Yamato, first secretary at the Japanese embassy in Serbia, presented Deputy Mayor of Belgrade Andreja Mladenovic the keys to the delivery vehicle. The value of the vehicles is around USD 100,000, and they were procured using Japanese government funds as part of a project run by UNDP, in cooperation with the Ministry of State Administration and the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration.
TOSKAS: SERBIA AND GREECE - PILLARS OF STABILITY IN UNSTABLE ENVIRONMENT
BELGRADE, 19 April 2017 (Beta) - The interior ministers of Serbia and Greece, Nebojsa Stefanovic and Nikolaos Toskas, met in Belgrade on April 19 and discussed the development of cooperation in the battle against organized crime, illegal migration and joint activities in emergencies, and announced that the concrete results of agreement would be presented during a joint session of the two countries' governments that will be held this year. "The two countries represent pillars of stability in an unstable environment, where threats and dangers are constantly emerging", Toskas told reporters in the Palace Serbia, after a meeting with Stefanovic, with whom he also discussed the situation in the region and the dangers and threats Serbia and Greece are facing. Stefanovic said after the meeting that he and Toskas had discussed how to secure greater safety for the two countries' citizens in the context of the migrant crisis. According to Stefanovic, one of the topics was the suppression of organized crime, terrorism and drug trafficking, and establishing direct contact between the two police forces, which should make their work much more effective. Stefanovic said he also used the meeting as an opportunity to thank Greece for its principled stand regarding the non-recognition of Kosovo independence. He added that he and Toskas had discussed Serbia's further steps on the path to the EU, since Greece was "an important support and pillar for Serbia in that context of international cooperation."
MINISTERIAL TEAM FORMED TO PROTECT AGROKOR'S SUBSIDIARIES AND THEIR SUPPLIERS
BELGRADE, 19 April 2017 (Beta) - The ministers for trade and economy of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Montenegro agreed at their meeting in Belgrade on April 19 that they would implement measures to prevent the stabilization of Croatia's Agrokor taking place at the expense of its subsidiaries in their respective countries. The meeting resulted in the formation of a ministerial team, which will communicate daily to exchange information and take joint action to preserve jobs, suppliers' interests and maintain the stable operation of Agrokor's firms in each of their countries. One of the conclusions of the meeting was that each country should control the financial and goods' flows in connection with Agrokor, in keeping with the laws that apply in the four states. The minister for trade and economic relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirko Sarovic, told reporters after the meeting that Slovenia would also pass a special law soon, a "lex Mercator", in order to protect that company from the possible outflow of funds into the accounts of Agrokor, but that other countries where Agrokor's subsidiaries operate have not yet envisaged the passage of such a law. Serbian Minister for Trade Rasim Ljajic said that Serbia was in a somewhat better position than other countries where Agrokor had subsidiaries, because Mercator S, which employs around 9,000 people, is majority owned by Slovenia's Mercator. According to Ljajic, laws enabling the protection of Agrokor's subsidiaries outside Croatia without a "lex Agrokor," are already in place. The meeting of the region's ministers about Agrokor was attended by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who reiterated that Serbia would not allow its domestic companies to suffer damage because of the crisis in Agrokor. More than 60 companies in the region operate within the Agrokor system, which is based in Zagreb, Croatia, and these companies employ around 60,000 people. In Serbia, Agrokor is the owner of Mercator S, Dijamant, Frikom, MG Mivela, Kikindski Mlin and Nova Sloga.
KNEZEVIC INVITES BELARUS INVESTORS TO SERBIA
BELGRADE, 19 April 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Minister for Commerce Goran Knezevic stated in Belgrade on April 19 that he had invited investors from Belarus to utilize the financial and non-financial incentives for direct investment in Serbia, to participate in the privatization of 160 companies and form joint ventures with Serbian companies, in order to appear on third markets. In the statement after the signing of the Memorandum of mutual understanding and cooperation in the field of competition policy with the representatives of the business and political delegation of Belarus, he said that, according to the roadmap from January, the goal was for trade between the two countries to increase to $500 million per year. "According to our figures, trade in 2016 amounted to 80 million dollars, and to 100 million according to the statistics of Belarus. We have now had serious and constructive talks about how to increase the level of trade," stated Goran Knezevic, who is also the head of the inter-government commission for cooperation with Belarus. The minister for antimonopoly regulation and trade of Belarus, Vladimir Kotlovic, stated that "there are no barriers between Serbia and Belarus because the legal framework for cooperation has been created, the agreement on free trade signed and visas have been abolished."
SERBIA, BOSNIA INK MEMO ON MANAGING DRINA WATERSHED
BELGRADE, 19 April 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Branislav Nedimovic and Bosnia and Herzegovina Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Mirko Sarovic signed a memorandum on the management of the Drina River Basin in Belgrade, on April 19. The total value of the project is USD8.7 million, while the World Bank has approved USD2.6 million in assistance to Serbia for the project. Nedimovic said the project would be launched within days and that it would last four years, resulting in "a system of early flood warning," which he said was "very important because the Drina is unpredictable." Sarovic stressed that the signed memorandum applied to integrated Drina watershed management and was being funded by the Global Fund for Climate Change, and executed through the WB. "The memorandum applies to countries in the Drina Basin, that is, Montenegro, with which a document like this has already been signed, and Serbia and Bosnia," said Sarovic.
MIHAJLOVIC WITH SOUTH KOREAN DELEGATION ON DIRECT FLIGHT
BELGRADE, 19 April 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Transport Zorana Mihajlovic met with Suh Hoon-Taik, the deputy minister of civil aviation at the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, to discuss cooperation, primarily in air transport, more specifically, in establishing a direct flight from Serbia to South Korea. The South Korean delegation expressed interest in a direct weekly flight between the two countries, the Ministry of Transport announced. Mihajlovic and then-South Korean Ambassador to Serbia Lee Dohoon signed an agreement on air traffic, a pre-condition for introducing direct flights, one year ago.
DJURIC TALKS ABOUT ATTACKS ON SERBS WITH INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY REPS
BELGRADE, 19 April 2017 (Beta) - The director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Marko Djuric, held an urgent meeting in Belgrade on April 19 with the representatives of EULEX, about the increasingly frequent attacks against the Serbs, and open threats with violence coming from extreme political and religious circles in Kosovo. At the meeting, Djuric asked the international representatives to take concrete and decisive steps towards preventing threats to the safety of people and property, and the further deterioration of the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija. The director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija also had a telephone conversation with Angelina Eichhorst, the European External Action Service director for Western Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey, about the current security situation in Kosovo and Metohija and the prospects of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.