Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press service
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DAILY SURVEY 15.05.2017.
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BEIJING, 14 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic attended in Beijing on May 14 the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, during which he had a number of bilateral meetings, according to a statement from the Serbian government. During the forum, the prime minister met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The Serbian prime minister, who is on a visit to China until May 17, also met with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the British minister of finance, Philip Hammond, and with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.


BEIJING, 13 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic met in Bejing on May 13 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on economic cooperation between the two countries and the situation in the region, as well as about joint infrastructure projects. Vucic said that Serbian-Turkish economic relations were getting better and better and thanked Erdogan for inciting Turkish companies to invest in Serbia, the Serbian government said in a statement. He expressed satisfaction with the growing interest of Turkish investors, as well as with the expansion of existing facilities owned by companies already operating in Serbia. Erdogan issued an official invitation to the Serbian prime minister to visit Turkey immediately upon taking office as president, saying that the visit would help develop the two countries' relations. "Serbia is very important to the peace and stability of the Western Balkan region and, even though we do not share borders, we consider Serbia a neighbor. We have very good relations, but I hope that we will expand this cooperation in all fields," the Turkish president underscored. The Turkish president also stressed that more work should be done on joint infrastructure projects, such as the Ladjevci airport in Kraljevo and the Tutin - Novi Pazar - Sjenica highway.The two leaders arranged the signing of an agreement on the full freedom of trade relations between Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey, which will be signed in Belgrade in the coming months.


BEIJING 13 May 2017 (Beta) – On the second day of a Serbian delegation's visit to Beijing, several memorandums of cooperation were penned with Chinese companies in the fields of infrastructure, industry and education, and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic talked with Chinese businesspeople about cooperation possibilities in the military, transportation and aviation industries. A memorandum of understanding and cooperation on the Belgrade - South Adriatic project, for sections from Preljina to Pozega and from Pozega to Boljare, as well as a memorandum of understanding and cooperation on the Novi Sad - Ruma expressway construction project were signed with representatives of the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). The memorandums were signed by minister of construction, transportation and infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic, Minister of the Economy Goran Knezevic and Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali, in the presence of Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who voiced his satisfaction with cooperation with Chinese companies in building Serbia's road infrastructure so far. After the signing of the two memorandums, worth a combined EUR2.5 billion, Mihajlovic said that the construction of the Preljina - Pozega section of the highway to Montenegro could start next year. Ministers of education and the economy Mladen Sarcevic and Goran Knezevic signed agreements in the area of education and for a project for the construction of a Chinese-Serbian industrial park in Belgrade. The Belgrade mayor said that the industrial park deal, penned with the CBRC, would secure thousands of new jobs for Serbian citizens and that some 10 Chinese companies would invest in Belgrade. Mali said that two Chinese companies had also been shortlisted for a Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport concession, and that their bids were expected on May 30. An arrangement was reached with Poly Group representatives for an agreement on the completion of the construction of a sewer in Belgrade and a wastewater treatment plant in Veliko Selo will be signed in the next 30 days, said Mali. Education Minister Mladen Sarcevic and a Huwaei company representative signed an agreement on strategic partnership for the development of ICT infrastructure in education institutions. Aside from a number of bilateral meetings with international officials, in Beijing Vucic also had talks with representatives of numerous Chinese companies. He spoke with Higer bus manufacturer representatives, who are considering cooperation with the Belgrade-based Ikarbus. The officials said that they would export buses made in cooperation with Ikarbus to the regional market, while Vucic said that the Serbian government "is ready to back this potential project with subsidies, too."During a meeting with Vucic, HengKang company representatives, expressed their interest in investing in the aviation and metal industries, medical equipment trade and the privatization of the RTB Bor mine and smelter complex. The Serbian prime minister invited them to come to Serbia and get acquainted with the potentials of medical tourism, adding that the state was ready "to provide major support for the privatization of RTB Bor." Vucic discussed cooperation in the military and arms industries and security and information systems with Poly Group representatives. Vucic informed the Poly Group representatives that the Serbian cabinet had proposed that the Serbian Parliament pass a law under which foreign companies would be allowed to invest in Serbia's military industry up to 49 percent, which is supposed to facilitate progress and boost production modernization in the arms industry, the government said in a press release. The delegation headed by Vucic is partaking in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, organized under the patronage of Chinese President Xi Jinping.


BEIJING, 14 May 2017 (Beta) – Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic said on May 14 in Beijing that the construction of a section of a highway to Montenegro, between Preljina and Pozega, could start next year, the Ministry said in a press release. "Having signed a memorandum, we now have to gather the required documentation and we could finish that by the end of the year," said Zorana Mihajlovic, who signed two memorandums of cooperation with the China Road and Bridge Corporation for projects worth EUR2.5 billion in total. The first agreement pertains to the construction of the highway to the border with Montenegro in Corridor 11, for the sections from Preljina to Pozega and from Pozega to Boljare, which run 140 kilometers in length. According to initial estimates the construction of these sections would cost roughly EUR2.1 billion. The second agreement is on the construction of one of the most important motorways in Vojvodina, the Fruska Gora Corridor, i.e. an expressway from Novi Sad to Ruma, a part of which is a tunnel through Mt. Fruska Gora. This section is 123 kilometers long and its estimated value is about EUR400 million. Mihajlovic said the implementation of these projects would also bring new jobs to domestic companies.



NOVI SAD, 13 May 2017 (Beta) – Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic said in Novi Sad on May 13 that Serbian diplomats in Libya would have to carry out most of their activities in Tunisia. He said that there was only one diplomat left in Libya after the death of Ambassador Oliver Potezica, while others would join him soon. Dacic said that they would have to carry out most of their activities in Tunisia, like other embassies."Potezica died on that road, on the way to Tunisia," Dacic told reporters at the International Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad. He explained that, after everything that has happened, the embassy could not be closed, and instead only relocated, because if it was closed, the procedure of opening a representative office would have to start from scratch. Dacic said that Serbia had several embassies whose fate was being seriously considered, such as the ones in Syria and Iraq, i.e. in other countries where "terrorist activities are frequent."  "We have reduced the presence of our people, no one was killed in Tripoli, where there is no danger. As far as Ambassador Potezica is concerned, he was killed in a car accident and the various stories appearing in the media, that it happened during a kidnapping attempt and the like, need to be cooled down," said Dacic.


BELGRADE, 14 May 2017 (Beta) – Changes have happened in France, a new president has been elected, and a decision has been made that Serbian Ambassador Rajko Ristic be reinstated in Paris, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has said. At the end of April, Ambassador Ristic was ordered to leave Paris for consultations in Belgrade over a French court's decision not to extradite Ramush Haradinaj to Serbia, but he is now resuming his duties in Paris, the Danas daily reported on May 14. Minister Dacic said that Serbia had not changed its mind about the extradition of the former Kosovo Liberation Army leader, Ramush Haradinaj, or that he be tried in France instead, as there was ample evidence that he had committed crimes. The Serbian foreign minister said that the Serbian ambassador had been invited to a reception by the Paris mayor to celebrate the election of France's new president.


NOVI SAD, 13 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said during a May 13 visit to Novi Sad that Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were important foreign trade partners, and that bilateral trade had reached over EUR1.5 billion, but that they "are not satisfied" with the result. "We want a higher volume of trade, better cooperation and joint operations in certain markets. This is what we should do in the future, to seek out mutual interests, instead of trying to find what else we could argue about," Dacic said at the opening of the International Agriculture Trade in Vojvodina's capital. Minister Dacic said that Bosnia was one of Serbia's five most important foreign trade partners. His Bosnian counterpart, Igor Crnadak, said that cooperation with Serbia was very important for his state, which was precisely why "we are not satisfied with the volume of foreign trade," and pledged to work on expanding it. "We want more, to increase the volume of trade and improve the trade balance, because at this point Bosnia imports more than it exports. We are working on this together, and joint operations in third markets are particularly important for us," Crnadak said. Bosnia's foreign minister said that economy was an area which most powerfully "propels states into the future, and at the same time keeps them away from the ridiculous things that they have unfortunately dealt with in the past." To illustrate the point, Minister Crnadak pointed to a joint trade representative office established by the two states in Istanbul.


BELGRADE, 13 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said that Serbia was prepared to defend everyone and everything that was entrusted to its keeping by the Constitution, the Vecernje Novosti daily quoted Nikolic as saying on May 13. The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo leader, Ramush Haradinay, who is also a former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leader and a former Kosovo prime minister, said that if Serbia refused to erase from its constitution a preamble on Kosovo and Metohija, he would include one-third of Serbian territory in the Kosovo constitution as soon as he was elected prime minister, and that the starting point would be the Serbian city of Nis. "Haradinaj is a dog who has tasted human flash, and needs to be punished, so that he no longer foams at the mouth," Nikolic said in an interview with Novosti. The Serbian president added that everyone was free to want what they may, adding that in some states hatred towards Serbhood had been rekindled with impunity. "Haradinaj was freed in France (where he was arrested under a Serbian warrant for his arrest) and now he thinks that he will never be punished if he commits a crime against a Serb. As long as the EU states do not wash away the sin of recognizing Kosovo's self-styled independence, he will continue to evade justice. Hatred towards Serbhood has been rekindled in some states with impunity," Nikolic said. President Nikolic also said that "we will hear all kinds of things until elections for Pristina's interim institutions are over."


BELGRADE, 12 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbia's deputy prime minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, who is also the country's interior minister, met in Belgrade, on May 12, with U.N. Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Karla Robin Hershey, to discuss joint activities in the future. Hershey underlined that she regarded very highly the interior ministry's contribution to international peacekeeping missions across the world, underlining the readiness of her organization to assist the ministry in building a safe society, the Ministry of Interior quoted the U.N. official as saying in a press release. Minister Stefanovic said that the U.N. had helped his ministry respond to different challenges arising from the migrant crisis, and had provided timely assistance for Serbia after disastrous foods in 2014. Speaking on cooperation between the U.N. and his ministry, Stefanovic placed a heavy emphasis on drives for the legalization of weapons, in which forfeited weapons were destroyed, underlining that the campaign was carried out for several years, in successful collaboration with the UNDP. Minister Stefanovic said that the interior ministry was carrying out a series of preventive activities with school children, in order to make them safe, suggesting the development of cooperation in that field. The interior ministry also quoted Stefanovic as underlining the importance of training programs for appropriate actions in risky situations and natural disasters, as well as those on the dangers of drugs, Internet abuse, weapons and traffic.


BELGRADE, 12 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs Aleksandar Vulin met in Belgrade, on May 12, with Deputy Director-General of the department for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission Simon Mordue. Mordue, who helmed the EU delegation, and Vulin discussed the migrant crisis, and the efforts of the Union and the states along the Western Balkans route to find a joint political response to the crisis. Minister Vulin said that Serbia would continue to handle the crisis in a humane way, develop dialogue with other states in the region and build up institutional capacities to implement migration-related measures and policies, Vulin's ministry said. The EC official said that the EU would continue to provide financial assistance and support to Serbia to improve border management, identify and register migrants, boost the readmission process, manage returns and improve conditions in migrant centers. The two officials also discussed the funding of a program to facilitate voluntary returns and reintegration of migrants with their countries of origin, being carried out in collaboration with the International Organization for Migrations.


BELGRADE, 12 May 2017 (Beta) – Austria's ambassador to Serbia Johannes Eigner said on May 12 that Serbia "is on the right path" to the European Union (EU). "Austria strongly support Serbia's undeniable pro-European orientation, and its efforts to join the EU," the ambassador said at a meeting with the minister in charge of Serbia's EU accession process, Jadranka Joksimovic. The Serbian government quoted the ambassador as promising that Vienna would provide Belgrade with the biggest possible assistance in the accession process. Minister Joksimovic thanked the Austrian diplomat for his country's support to Serbia in the accession talks with the EU, adding that the activities in the process had confirmed "a solid pace of Serbia's advancement towards full membership in the Union." The minister recalled that Serbia and the EU had opened eight negotiating chapters so far of which two were temporarily closed. Joksimovic said she expected that during Malta's EU chairmanship, which ends in late June, Serbia would be able to open an additional two chapters - Chapter 29 - Customs Union and Chapter 7 - Intellectual Property. The Serbian minister underlined that Serbia was ready for cooperation in strengthening regional stabilty as a prerequisite for development and growth.


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