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DAILY SURVEY 16.05.2017.
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SERBIA - CHINA

VUCIC SUGGESTS THAT SERBIA SHOULD HOST THE NEXT ONE BELT, ONE ROAD CONFERENCE

BEIJING, 15 May 2017 (Beta) – During his visit to Beijing, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on May 15 that the next conference "One Belt, One Road" should take place in Serbia. "I agree with Chile and Greece's suggestion that the forum should take place once a year, or once in two years. We are one of the smallest states here, and I feel free to suggest that the next conference should take place in Serbia. I know this is not very modest on my part, but you are welcome to Serbia," Vucic said in his speech at Lake Jenchi near Beijing. Vucic also said that he hoped the construction of a Belgrade-Budapest railroad would begin at the end of the year, to "link Serbia and Hungary, and be a major railway in South Eastern Europe." The Serbian PM said that Serbia expected bids for concessions for the Nikola Tesla airport, which he described as "the fastest growing in Europe," adding that he had talked with his Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsypras, about the development of rail and road infrastructure between Serbia and Thessaloniki. Speaking about the energy sector, Vucic said that Serbia was part of the Trans-Balkan energy grid, but that it is necessary to find a way to reach Russian gas lines in the future. "Russia is our responsible gas provider. We need to set up an inter-connector between Serbia and Bulgaria, so that we can obtain gas when Russia builds the gas pipeline to Turkey," he added. Vucic also said that Serbia was working on several projects with the European Union to build a highway between Belgrade and Pristina.

MIHAJOVIC: COMMERCIAL CONTRACT FOR HIGHWAY TO POZEGA TO BE SIGNED IN NOVEMBER

BEIJING, 15 May 2017 (Beta) – Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic said in China, on May 15, that a contract for the Preljina-Pozega highway on Corridor XI would be signed in November. "At a meeting with the vice-president of the China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) and the higest-ranking representatives of the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), it was agreed that a commercial contract to finance a section between Preljina and Pozega be signed in Budapest, next November, at the conference of China and 16 European states," Mihajlovic was quoted as saying by her ministry. Minister Mihajlovic said the works could begin next year. She recalled that the construction would be an opportunity for Serbian companies to get a new job, and that the estimated value of the complete section to Boljare and the border with Montenegro was EUR2.1 billion. Mihajlovic spoke in Beijing about the Serbian infrastructure during a separate panel discussion at the One Belt, One Road conference, attended by more than 30 international speakers. She also signed a memorandum of understanding with the two Chinese companies on the construciton of the highway from Preljina to the border with Montenegro, the Fruska Gora corridor, the Novi Sad-Ruma road, totalling EUR2.5 billion. The signing was attended by Serbian PM, Aleksandar Vucic.

MIHAJLOVIC, SZIJJARTO DISCUSS BEGINNING OF BELGRADE-BUDAPEST RAILWAY CONSTRUCTION

BEIJING, 15 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbia's deputy prime minister, Zorana Mihajlovic, met in Beijing on May 15, with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Pete Szijjarto, to discuss the construction of a high-speed dual-track railroad to link Belgrade and Budapest, and the modernization of the rail line the two states have been carrying out together with China.
Mihajlovic's construction and infrastructure ministry quoted the minister as saying to Szijjarto that a consensus had been reached at her meetings with Chinese partners that the beginning of works on the first leg between Belgrade and Stara Pazova might coincide with the summit of China and 16 European states next November, in Budapest. The Hungarian minister said that since bilateral talks were progressing very well, it was realistic to expect that Hungary and Serbia would carry out the reconstruction works at home at a similar pace. The two ministers underlined that a trilateral group, scheduled to discuss the project in Budapest, on June 8, might talk about the other details referring to the beginning of works, as well. After a meeting with China's prime minister and president, Minister Mihajlovic on May 16 will sign a contract with the EximBank, providing funding for the initial high-speed rail route. The Serbian minister thanked Szijjarto for Hungary's substantial assistance to Serbia last winter, as the country had sent an icebreaker to clear the River Danube and reopen it to navigation.

LINE MINISTER: NUMBER OF CHINESE TOURISTS DOUBLES YEAR-ON-YEAR IN Q1

BELGRADE, 15 May 2017 (Beta) – Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Minister Rasim Ljajic said on May 15 that in the first three months of this year, the number of tourists from China was up 105% from the same period last year. He also said that the number of Chinese tourists would show a particular increase after establishing the direct Belgrade-Beijing air link.  "Serbia is the only country that has a visa-free travel agreement with China, meaning that after direct Belgrade-Beijing flights are established, Sebria's capital could become a regional center for Chinese tourists," Ljajic said. According to the Statistics Office's figures, a total of 4,157 tourists from China, Hong Kong included, visited Serbia in the first quarter of 2017. Ahead of his ongoing visit to China, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said he would try to ensure a final agreement on introducing direct flights between Serbia's and China's capital cities.

FAIR OF CHINESE COMPANIES IN BELGRADE MAY 18 TO 20

BELGRADE, 15 May 2017 (Beta) – An international fair of Chinese producers titled "2017 Zhejiang Export Fair Serbia," featuring more than 60 companies from China's Zhejiang Province, will be held in Belgrade from May 18 to 20, the organizers have announced. The fair, which will be organized in Serbia for the first time, will present the latest products from the industries of construction materials, furniture, house appliances, lighting and interior decoration. Zhou Longjiang, the assistant general director of the Chinese company, Zhejiang Broad International Convention and Exhibition, the fair organizer, said that this was the first time that the province was organizing such an event. "Last year, Zhejiang Province's import from Serbia was worth USD124 million, while exports totaled USD120 million. We believe that it is necessary to organize such an event to meet market demand," he said. A company representative, Xia Linhong, said that the fair would boost bilateral trade. "Serbian companies will be able to directly order products, without leaving the country, while assistance will be offered to small and medium-sized enterprises as their orders will be smaller, to avoid any possible problems," Xia said. The event is hosted by Zhejiang's foreign trade department, one of the sponsors is Belgrade's Belmaks center, while the fair is being supported by the Chinese Embassy in Serbia, the Serbian Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Ministry and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.

SERBIA

FOREIGN MINISTRY COMMEMORATES SERBIA'S AMBASSADOR TO LIBYA

BELGRADE, 15 May 2017 (Beta) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 15 held a commemoration for the Serbian ambassador to Libyia, Oliver Potezica, whom Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic described as one of Serbia's most valuable experts on the Middle East. Minister Dacic said in his speech that Ambassador Potezica would be remembered for his briliant mind, professionalism and creative energy. "Today we are bidding farewell to our dear coworker, Ambassador Oliver Potezica. He was a man who has never been associated with an ideology, but who lived for ideas. The state was his sole ideology, and he always had national interests in mind," Dacic said. The Serbian foreign minister said that Potezica always believed that personal growth was of the utmost importance, and that he liked "not only to ask, but also to pass on his knowledge." Minister Dacic said that Potezica served as the ambassador in Libya before and after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. The commemoration was attended by Potezica's family, friends and colleagues.

GOJKOVIC VISITS DOHA TO DISCUSS DEVELOPMENT OF SERBIA-QATAR RELATIONS

DOHA, 15 May 2017 (Beta) – The Serbian speaker, Maja Gojkovic, attending the 17th; Doha Forum, met with Qatar's officials to discuss the development of bilateral cooperation. Gojkovic met with Speaker of the Advisory Council Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khulaifi and Foreign Minister Mohammad bih Abudlrahman Al-Thani, the Serbian parliament reported on May 15. Gojkovic said that Serbia was willing to develop cooperation with Qatar, "underlining the importance of intensive political dialogue," and a visit to Serbia by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. She invited the speaker of the Advisory Council to visit Serbia, informing him that an MP Group of Friendship with Qatar had been set up in the Serbian assembly. The importance of cooperation based on increased trade volumes, investment, educational and cultural ties was stressed at Gojkovic's meetings in Doha. The two-day conference in Doha, called "Development, Stability and the Refugee Crisis," is discussing political changes in the world, economic problems, investment and the economic role of refugees.

REMAINS OF BELARUSIAN LIBERATORS OF BELGRADE TRANSPORTED TO MINSK

BELGRADE, 15 May 2017 (Beta) – Representatives of the Serbian government, the City of Belgrade and the Belarusian Embassy attended a May 16 ceremony at the Cemetery of the Belgrade Liberators to mark the beginning of the solemn transfer to the All Saints Church in Minsk of the remains of Belarusian soldiers killed during the liberation of the Serbian capital, in October 1944. Speaking to those who attended, Deputy Mayor of Belgrade Andreja Mladenovic said that the transfer of Serbian soil from Belgrade to Minsk was part of a new chapter in the brotherly relations between Serbia and Belarus. "Relations between the Serbian and Belarusian peoples are very good, those between Belgrade and Minsk in particular. It is a great honor for us to attend a ceremony which is very important for the relationship between the two nations on this holy ground, where the Red Army soldiers who liberated Belgrade have been buried," Beoinfo quoted Mladenovic as saying. Minister of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Aleksandar Vulin said that the Serbian people had the highest regard for freedom, and that the alliances they had made while fighting for freedom would be remembered forever, honoring "the duty to respect the memory of fallen heroes." The Belarusian ambassador to Serbia, Vladimir Cusev, said that the memory of World War II soldiers was "a memory of heroes and victors who helped to halt fascism, the greatest evil human civilization has suffered."

OSCE MISSION IN SERBIA CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES

BELGRADE, 15 May 2017 (Beta) –The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in Serbia celebrated International Day of Families on May 15, opening the doors of its mission to employees' families. Head of the OSCE Mission in Serbia Andrea Orizio said that a decision to receive the families of the staff was a new and important experience, the OSCE Mission said in a press release. "This gesture offers an opportunity to raise the awareness of family safety and increase the level of knowledge on the importance of education for all members of society, including minorities," Orizio said. The international organization underlined that openness and transparency in work, as well as the culture of diversity, were the values the Mission was committed to. At this point, the Mission staff come from 11 OSCE member states.

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