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DAILY SURVEY 22.05.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC: BSEC IMPORTANT FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH, PEACE IN THE REGION

BELGRADE, 21 May 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on May 21 that the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) offered a good framework for the development of cooperation and building confidence in the region, and that apart from economic ties, the organization was important for regional peace and stability too. "The importance of the organization lies not only in providing a framework for economic interests, but it also contributes to stability, security and general prosperity," Dacic said at a special meeting of the BSEC Council of Foreign Ministers, in Istanbul. The meeting was hosted by Turkey, the current chair of the organization. The Serbian foreign minister said that regional cooperation was one of Serbia's foreign-policy priorities, and that he supported any initiative to promote dialog, multilateral economic cooperation and good neighborly relations in the region, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. "It is up to member states to develop their cooperation, in order to create conditions for prosperity and solidarity, to ensure regional peace," Dacic was quoted as saying by his ministry. The Serbian foreign minister said that the BSEC's results "make it very clear that the organization has great potentials, but also demand stronger ties and the realization of tangible projects in areas of mutual interest." Dacic will lead Serbia's delegation at the next BSEC summit, on May 22. The summit will release a joint declaration.

DACIC: MIGRANT CRISIS HANDLED WITH RESPECT TO HUMAN RIGHTS

BELGRADE, 19 May 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on May 19 at a Council of Europe (CoE) ministerial meeting in Nicosia that Europe's greatest challenge in managing mass migrations is how to handle the process while respecting human rights. At the 127th meeting of the CoE foreign ministers, Dacic said that Serbia shared the Council's view that "urgent measures are required to protect the children of migrants and asylum seekers, especially unescorted children. In addition, active engagement is needed to prevent human trafficking and all types of abuse, and to punish the traffickers." The Serbian foreign minister said that Serbia, as a state on the Western Balkans migrant route, had faced a wave of nearly one million refugees and migrants, who passed through the country's territory since the crisis broke out, adding that the state had paid special attention to vulnerable groups, children in particular. "The Asylum Act provides special care for asylum seekers with special needs, including minors, while guardians have to be secured for unescorted minors and their accommodation in special centers. Proper healthcare and education measures have been taken to support underage migrants," Dacic was quoted as saying by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Serbian foreign minister recalled that "unfortunately Serbia has had an extensive and painful experience in dealing with refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs)," explaining that 29,457 refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina still lived in Serbia, alongside over 200,000 IDPs from Kosovo. Speaking at a panel debate called "Reinforcing Democratic Security in Europe," Dacic said that Serbia was fully committed to the protection of standards and values as defined by the European Conventions on Human Rights, supported the CoE secretary-general's conclusion that the efficiency of the European Human Rights Court should be supported in processing and implementing the rulings. At the 127th CoE ministerial conference, the Czech Republic took over the Council's six-month presidency from Cyprus.

VUCIC, RUSSIAN OFFICIAL DISCUSS GREATER ALBANIA IDEA

BELGRADE, 19 May 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and chairman of the committee on international affairs in the Russian parliament, Leonid Slucki, warned at a May 19 meeting in Belgrade of the danger that "the idea of a Greater Albania" posed to regional stability, the Serbian government has said. The Serbian prime minister underlined Serbia's commitment to peace and cooperation in the region, thanking Russia for its support to Serbia's views and policies, and for respecting the country's territorial integrity and refusal to recognize an independent Kosovo. Prime Minister Vucic said that Serbia wished to develop economic cooperation with Russia and that he expected the St. Petersburg Forum to be an opportunity for its ministers to discuss different forms of cooperation, Vucic was quoted as saying by his cabinet. The Russian Duma official said that the Russian speaker, Vjacheslav Volodin, would visit Serbia on June 5.

DJORDJEVIC DISCUSSES MILITARY, TECHNICAL COOPERATION IN BELARUS

BELGRADE, 21 May 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Defense Zoran Djordjevic met on May 21 with the president of the Military and Industrial Committee of Belarus Sergey Pavlovich Gurulov to discuss the development of bilateral military-technical and military-economic cooperation. The Serbian defense ministry said that the two officials discussed establishing a joint committee for military and technical cooperation, designed to strengthen ties between the two defense industries. The Belarusian committee is in charge of implementing a defense economic policy, monitoring the work of companies in the military-industrial sector and military-technical cooperation with foreign states, the ministry explained in a press release. Minister Djordjevic received a medal for strengthening military cooperation with Belarus, and a Belarusian Defense Ministry plaque.

NEW ARMY CONTINGENT DISPATCHED ON MISSION TO LEBANON

BELGRADE, 19 May 2017 (Beta) - A new contingent of Serbian Armed Force members, consisting of 163 soldiers of the Second Brigade of the Land Forces and 12 staff officers and members of the national support element, was dispatched on May 19 to the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. According to a press release from the Ministry of Defense, the sendoff of the infantry troops and the protective regiment at the Ribnica barracks in Kraljevo was attended by the Chief of General Staff Ljubisa Dikovic abd Land Army and Second Brigade commanders, Lt. Col. Gen. Milosav Simovic and Col. Zeljko Kuzmanovic. Wishing the soldiers a successful mission, Dikovic said that it was an important mission the Serbian army had been part of for the past six years and which had so far involved 1,285 Serbian soldiers. "You are continuing a tradition, of more than six decades, of the Serbian army's participation in peacekeeping missions and you will perform tasks in the same zone where members of our army were 60 years ago. You will have the opportunity and honor to spread the good word about Serbian citizens and the Serbian Armed Forces, because we are building a better Serbia and we want it to be strong," said Dikovic and handed a Serbian flag to the commander of the infantry unit, Maj. Predrag Ruzic, and the commander of the protective regiment, Lt. Vladica Tasic. At this time, 329 members of the Serbian Armed Forces are engaged in 10 multinational operations worldwide.

EU ALLOCATES EUR1.5 MILLION TO FOUR MUNICIPALITIES IN SERBIA'S SOUTH

BELGRADE, 19 May 2017 (Beta) - Investors from the European Union will set aside EUR29 million this year to support 40 development projects in southern Serbian municipalities, director of the Swiss Cooperation Office Ursula Laubli has said. At a meeting between representatives of the EU Progress and Serbian municipalities, Laubli said that 15 local self-governments had applied for funding so far, and that four had already received donations worth EUR1.5 million. Having congratulated the municipal representatives from Serbia's south on the results they achieved, Laubli underlined that they should keep up the good work in line with the Memorandum of Understanding, signed between the EU Progress and 34 southern Serbian municipalities in 2015. "The better the results, the more certain EU support is. More importantly, benefits for the population will increase, too," the Swiss office chief said. Under the program, 79 companies owned by women, young people and vulnerable groups were opened, employing 100 people since it began. Through the EU Progress, the EU and the Swiss government have supported 248 projects contributing to the social and economic development of 34 local self-government in the southeast and southwest of Serbia, and 136 projects have been completed already.

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