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DAILY SURVEY 11.05.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC: ALBANIAN POLITICIANS ARE CHIEF THREAT TO PEACE IN BALKANS AND EUROPE

BRISEL, 10 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has stated that Albanian politicians were the chief threat to peace and stability, not just in the Balkans but in Europe as well, and that the EU should realize that. Asked to comment on the statement by Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj, who said that "talk about a Greater Albania is not on the agenda of either Kosovo or the Albanians in general," but represented the "spreading of fear by Belgrade," Dacic told the Brussels portal EurActiv (euractiv.com) that this was "completely absurd". "The coordinated statements of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and Bujanovac Mayor Jonuz Musliu, show that a Greater Albania is the primary goal of all Albanians," Dacic said. "I deeply regret that the European and the international community, especially the EU, considering that the Western Balkans is its next-door neighbor, are not reacting to the fact that Albanian politicians are the biggest threat to peace and stability, not just in the Balkans, but also in Europe," the Serbian minister stated. He added that the EU should protect its principles and accomplishments "if they still apply and are still honored." Dacic told EurActiv that "we are witnessing another attempt at fraud like in 1998, when the promoters of Kosovo claimed that the Kosovo Liberation Army had been formed by the Serbian secret police." "Unfortunately, the entire world and the international community believed them and Serbia was bombed, in violation of international law. I sincerely hope that they will not believe the Kosovo politicians' lies today, and take them for granted," Dacic warned.

OLIVER POTEZICA, SERBIAN AMBASSADOR TO LIBYA, DIES

BELGRADE, 10 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Ambassador to Libya Oliver Potezica died after he was in a major traffic accident a few days ago in Tunisia, BETA learned at the Serbian Foreign Ministry on May 10. The ministry said in a May 9 press release that Ambassador Potezica had been seriously injured in the crash, after which he was taken to a hospital in Sousse. The announcement read that Potezica had been in Tunisia on official business related to the operation of Serbia's embassy in Tripoli, and that Foreign Ministry general secretary Veljko Odalovic had visited him after the accident.

NIKOLIC MEETS WITH CANDIDATE FOR UNESCO GENERAL DIRECTOR

BELGRADE, 10 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic met in Belgrade on May 10 with the candidate for UNESCO's general director, Mushaira Hatab, who handed him a letter from Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, thanking Serbia for its support to her candidacy, the Serbian Presidency has stated. Nikolic told Madame Hatab that Serbia supported the Egyptian candidate because of the two countries' friendly relations in the past, and because of the excellent relations which are needed for building a future for their citizens, the statement reads. Madame Hatab thanked President Nikolic personally for support to her candidacy and explained her future work program. She laid special emphasis on the importance of education and stressed that, if she was appointed general director, she would dedicate a large segment of UNESCO's operation to that segment, the statement reads. Nikolic said that, beside the already existing friendly relations between the two countries and the need to maintain them, he supported her candidacy because Egypt "knows how to observe the world from all aspects and understands other cultures in the right way."

CHIEF OF STAFF DIKOVIC AT SERIES OF OFFICIAL MEETINGS AT CONFERENCE IN ATHENS

ATHENS, 10 May 2017 (Beta) – The chief of general staff of the Army of Serbia, Gen. Ljubisa Dikovic, participated in a conference of chiefs of staff of Balkan countries, in Athens on May 10, the Serbian Defense Ministry has stated. Besides General Dikovic, the conference was also attended by the chiefs of staff of the armies of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Turkey and Montenegro, and the deputy chief of staff of the armed forces of Albania. After the presentation of annual reports of the Coordinating Group and working sub-groups for asymmetrical threats and for education, training and exercises, the participants in the conference stated that they were convinced their work would secure the further development and realization of projects and activities which would make that form of regional cooperation even more successful. The chairs of the military committees of NATO and the EU, the chief of general staff of the Slovenian military, the director of the general staff of the Croatian armed forces and the commander of the NATO Joint Command Naples, participated in this year's conference as guests. Dikovic had bilateral meetings with the host of the conference, Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, and discussed further activities within the engagement of the European Union's combat group HELBROC, and with the chief of general staff of the Army of Montenegro, about the possibilities for developing bilateral military cooperation. After the conference, the chief of general staff had a bilateral meeting with the head of the Military Committee of NATO, Gen. Petr Pavel.

JOKSIMOVIC: SERBIA WILL GO TO U.N. OVER WALKER'S STATEMENT

BELGRADE, 10 May 2017 (Beta) – Jadranka Joksimovic, Serbia's minister in charge of EU integration, said Serbia would go to the U.N. over a statement by William Walker, former head of the OSCE verification mission in Kosovo and Metohija, that he was working on the project of establishing a Greater Albania. "Of course. We should go to [the U.N.]. The Greater Albania project isn't just Serbia's problem. It involves the territory of several Balkan countries and I think this is cause for concern for us all," Joksimovic told the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation. She said Walker's statement was proof that the Greater Albania project was not just a project to "flirt" with ahead of an election, but something real. Commenting on announcements that former special envoy to Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright may become part of Pristina's team in negotiations with Belgrade, Joksimovic said lobbying was a fact of life and a legitimate pursuit, but that the choice of personalities was significant. "It's indicative that these are people who, while in office, were directly tied to the events that produced many changes that were detrimental to Serbia. We can see now that the choice is very indicative," she said.

CHEPURIN CONGRATULATES VICTORY DAY

BELGRADE, 10 May 2017 (Beta) – Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Alexander Chepurin expressed congratulations on May 9, on the occasion Victory Day in World War II, describing it as the greatest joint victory of the Russian and Serb peoples. At a May 10 reception at the Russian embassy, Chepurin said many Serbs had fought side by side with comrades from the Red Army for the liberation of Yugoslavia and all of Europe. We have to remember that the cost of victory was a myriad of victims. If there was a minute of silence for every casualty of World War II, the world would be silent for 75 years, said Chepurin. He thanked the prime minister and president elect of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, for thanking the Russian people in Russian, but also thanked the Serbian citizens who marched down the Belgrade streets with the Immortal Regiment on May 9.

SCOTT: U.S. AGAINST CHANGING OF BORDERS IN BALKANS

BELGRADE, 10 May 2017 (Beta) – The U.S. ambassador to Belgrade, Kyle Scott, stated on May 10 that the U.S. government was against the changing of borders in the Balkans. Asked to comment on the stands of the former chief of the OSCE mission in Kosovo and Metohija, diplomat William Walker, about the creation of a Greater Albania, he said that Walker was entitled to a private opinion, but that this was not the stand of the U.S.. The stand of the U.S. is against changing the borders in the Balkans, against the creation of a Greater Albania, a Greater Serbia... Mr Walker is a private person and can say what he likes. I don't know what he said, exactly, other than hearing about the comments in the media. What I know is that the U.S. government advocates stability in the region, Scott told reporters in Belgrade after the presentation of the annual awards of the Independent Journalists' Association of Serbia for investigative journalism.

BELGIAN AMBASSADOR: ADMISSION TO EU BASED ON MERIT

BELGRADE, 10 May 2017 (Beta) – The Belgian ambassador to Serbia, Leo D'aes, said on May 10 that Serbia would be admitted to the European Union after it fulfilled all the conditions, and added that Serbia and other countries in the region had the full support of the EU. In his address to students at the Faculty of Political Studies and the Faculty of Law in Belgrade, D'aes referred to the visit by the EU high commissioner for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, to Belgrade in March as a clear signal of that support, and to her statement on the occasion of Europe Day that the Balkan region was a priority for the EU. D'aes said that the goal of pre-accession negotiations with the EU was to find ways to fulfill the conditions, and that the EU and Belgium were doing everything to help in that process. He said the candidate countries' objective difficulties were taken into consideration in that process, and particularly referred to the problem of Kosovo in Serbia's case. As for Kosovo, D'aes said that was a difficult subject, but one extremely important for Serbia's progress in the negotiations, because the EU could not permit itself to import conflicts. He said that the patience and skill of statesmen were necessary to bridge the differences and reach a mutually acceptable agreement through dialogue. D'aes said the EU faces numerous geopolitical challenges and that it is necessary for the Union, in cooperation with NATO, the candidate countries, the U.N. and with third countries, to work on energy diversification, the strengthening of social justice and exchange of students, while the Schengen sector, the banking union and defense should be strengthened within the Union itself. As the main points of the accession process, D'aes cited the rule of law, fulfillment of the candidate country's potentials and progress in integration, wherein all the candidates can expect assistance from the EU in problems which they cannot solve by themselves.

EU COMMISSIONER ELZBIETA BIENKOWSKA VISITS SERBIA

BELGRADE, 10 May 2017 (Beta) – The European commissioner for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises, Elzbieta Bienkowska, is paying an official visit to Belgrade on May 11, during which she is to meet with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and attend the ceremonial signing of an agreement with banks under the EU auspices. The European commissioner will attend the signing of the agreement on guarantees between the European Investment Fund (EIF) and two banks in Serbia (UniCredit and Intesa). The agreement will secure direct guarantees for banks, for cheap loans to about 6,000 small and medium enterprises in Serbia, totaling EUR200 million in the next three years, the EU Info Center has announced. Bienkowska will also participate in the panel discussion "Industrial policy and development of small and medium enterprises in Serbia's process of accession to the EU", organized by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce. Among the participants of the panel discussion will be Minister for Agriculture Goran Knezevic, the president of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Marko Cadez, the acting director of the Office for European Integration, Ksenija Milenkovic, and the executive director of EIF, Pier-Luigi Gilberto. During the visit to Belgrade, she will also meet with the minister without portfolio in charge of European integration, Jadranka Joksimovic.

EBRD SLIGHTLY INCREASES GROWTH PREDICTION FOR SERBIA

LONDON, 10 May 2017 (Beta) – After strong momentum in 2016, when economic growth rose to 2.8 percent, Serbia will have growth of 2.9 percent in 2017 and 3 percent in 2018, and the driver of growth will be domestic demand, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced on May 10. This year's economic growth in Serbia will be lower than the average for the region of South East Europe of 3.1 percent, and lower than growth in Montenegro, Albania and Kosovo. In the report from November 2016, the EBRD predicted economic growth of 2.7 percent for Serbia in 2017. The main driver of growth in Serbia will be domestic demand, with an increase in investments and an improved business environment, in the light of the successful fiscal consolidation and ongoing structural reforms. The increase in employment and salaries will incite a further recovery in spending, the EBRD stated in the report titled Regional Economic Prospects.

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