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DAILY SURVEY 17.05.2017.
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SERBIA - CHINA

VUCIC: XI JINPING FULLY SUPPORTS SERBIA-CHINA AIR LINK

BEIJING, 16 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said in Beijing, on May 16, that Chinese President Xi Jinping fully supported the opening of an air route to link Serbia and China, regardless of whether the planes to Belgrade would take off from Beijing or Shanghai. "It is up to us to finalize the technical part of the job and negotiate with China's companies. We don't have the required capacity, and the move might create great losses. In order for the new flight to be profitable, it takes two or three years," Vucic explained to reporters in Beijing, where he is attending the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The Serbian PM underlined that it was very important that the green light had been given to a direct flight between China and Belgrade, and that tangible agreements could be expected very soon. Vucic said that the Chinese president had confirmed that Chinese investors were interested in the privatization of Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport. The prime minister said that he had discussed the RTB Bor smelting and mining complex with two Chinese companies.

MIHAJLOVIC SIGNS AGREEMENT TO FINANCE BELGRADE-BUDAPEST RAILWAY

BEIJING, 16 May 2017 (Beta) – During her visit to Beijing, Serbian Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic signed on May 16 a loan agreement with China's EximBank, providing financial support to the reconstruction and modernization of the first section of a Belgrade-Budapest high-speed railroad. The preferential loan worth USD297.6 million will cover the dual-track rail section from Belgrade to Stara Pazova, and has been approved with a five-year grace period and is to be repaid over the course of 20 years. This will be the first high-speed rail in Serbia, allowing for speeds in excess of 200 kilometers per hour. The construction works will begin this year. Minister Mihajlovic said that for Serbia the Belgrade-Budapest high-speed rail was the most important project within China's One Belt, One Road initiative, as the new rail would be placed on the main route from the Greek port of Piraeus to Central Europe. "This section is of great importance for Serbia, because it will be the fastest direction of national exports to EU states. It is also very important, because it will link Belgrade with Vienna, and other European cities. Once it's finished, Belgraders will travel to Novi Sad around half an hour, and will arrive in Subotica in less than an hour," Mihajlovic said after the signing ceremony.

MALI: COOPERATION BETWEEN SERBIA, CHINA HAS NEVER BEEN BETTER

BEIJING, 16 May 2017 (Beta) – The mayors of Belgrade and Beijing, Sinisa Mali and Cai Qi, said on May 16 that cooperation between the two capitals, solidified through a series of projects, would be given another boost by a direct airline linking the two. The two mayors met in Beijing to discuss China's investments in Serbia worth a few billion euros, the Belgrade city administration reported. Mayor Mali was quoted as saying that a direct flight between Belgrade and Beijing would increase the number of tourists. Mali said that the Days of Beijing in Belgrade and the Days of Belgrade in Beijing were yet another confirmation that bilateral relations had never been better. "Belgrade will organize a series of sporting, business and cultural events in September to bring the two capitals and the two nations even closer," the Belgrade mayor said.

SERBIA

DACIC MEETS WITH OUTGOING BELARUSIAN AMBASSADOR

BELGRADE, 16 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met on May 16 with Belarusian Ambassador Vladimir Chushev, a statement from the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said. Dacic said that cooperation between the two states had been successfully developing over the past several years, both at a political level and at the level of cities and municipalities in Serbia and Belarus. He said that this cooperation owed a lot to Chushev, who was decorated by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic with a Serbian flag first degree for his merits in strengthening relations between the two countries. Dacic wished Chushev all the best in his professional and personal life and voiced the hope that he would continue developing relations between Serbia and Belarus in the area of protecting national interests on the international plane in his new capacity. On May 16, Dacic also met with Azerbaijani Ambassador Eldar Hasanov to discuss current issues in relations between the two countries, especially economic ones, and the possibilities for their improvement. Special attention was paid to cooperation and mutual support in international organizations. They agreed that there was a mutual interest in conducting dialogue at the high and highest levels and state visits in the coming period. Serbia's interest in enhancing visa liberalization between the two states was stressed during the discussion, which will positively affect trade and the development of tourism.

VUCIC: NO REASONS FOR CONCERN, SERBIA HAS GOOD COOPERATION WITH KFOR

BEIJUNG, 16 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said in Beijing, on May 16, that Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija were safer with a stronger KFOR presence, adding that there were no reasons for concern. "There are no reasons for concern, because we have good cooperation with KFOR. We feel safer, and feel that the Serbs in Kosovo are safer when there are more KFOR troops around," Vucic said when asked by a journalist to comment on reports that the U.S. was sending more troops to Kosovo, and if that was a reason for concern. Vucic added that only KFOR could protect the Serbs in Kosovo. "There's no other way. How can we protect our people along the Morava Basin in Kosovo, how to protect our people in Gracanica and Metohija? Only KFOR can do it. If that's the purpose, we are thankful, if it's not, I don't know what to tell you. I don't think there's any other purpose though," Vucic said.

KUBUROVIC: PRISTINA'S NONCONSTRUCTIVE ATTITUDE MAKES DIALOGUE DIFFICULT

NEW YORK, 16 May 2017 (Beta) – Serbian Minister of Justice Nela Kuburovic said at a May 16 session of the U.N. Security Council that Pristina had been using the talks and the normalization of relations as a means to blackmail Belgrade and the European partners. At the session in New York, where the U.N. Secretary General presented his report on Kosovo, Minister Kuburovic criticized a French court's decision not to extradite to Serbia a former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leader, Ramush Haradinaj, adding that everything that was happening in Kosovo had started with "the lies promoted by people like William Walker, who doesn't even hide his ambition to create a Greater Albania and projects to that end." Minister Kuburovic urged the states that refused to recognize the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo not to change their minds, and appealed to the states that recognized an independent Kosovo to "reconsider the decision, thus contributing to the efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution, proceeding from the unacceptability of unilateralism as a way to resolve any matter." Kuburovic said that no progress had been made in establishing the Community of Serb Municipalities, even though that was "the most important part of the First Agreement on the Normalization of Relations." The Serbian minister said that the problem would not be solved by "incidental criticism" of Pristina from the West, rather that the European partners and respected members of the Security Council should speak in a united voice, urging Pristina to fulfill its obligations as to the Community of Serb Municipalities as soon as possible. "Lofty promises are no longer enough - we need tangible actions," Kuburovic said. Kuburovic said that the dialogue had no alternative, but that it should proceed with more responsibility and true commitment to compromise. She said that Serbia hoped that "Pristina will realize that together with Belgrade it has to identify mutually acceptable solutions for all open issues, which cannot be based on a dictate or fait accompli." Having said that it was unacceptable that Pristina could use the dialogue and normalization of relations as a means to blackmail Serbia and the European partners, Kuburovic added that this kind of attitude of Pristina "culminated at the beginning of March, when the Kosovo Assembly passed a resolution to suspend the dialogue, tying it effectively to one person, charged with the most monstrous of crimes." "Then came open threats by Albanian political leaders from the region that the borders would be changed to create the so-called Greater Albania, if their ambitions as to the EU integration process were not satisfied in a fast-tracked procedure," Kuburovic warned. The Serbian justice minister said that Serbia would describe as "shameful, illegal and scandalous" the ruling of a court in Colmar, France, to refuse to extradite Haradinaj, who had been suspected of the gravest war crimes, adding that the ruling was "a violation to the universal principle of international law to prevent impunity for war crimes." She described as "particularly unacceptable and ungrounded the conclusion that Ramush Haradinaj's extradition to Serbia might have extremely difficult consequences for himself." Minister Kuburovic highlighted as a particular security challenge in Kosovo the continuing return of Islamist fighters from the wars in the Middle East, and growing political and religious extremism. Kuburovic said that the EU-brokered dialogue was the most appropriate tool to build trust between the Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo, and an important mechanism to support the EU efforts to solidify peace, stability and the EU integration process in the region.

JAPANESE AMBASSADOR: SERBIA'S HUMAN, ECONOMIC AND NATURAL POTENTIALS MAKE IT KEY SEE STATE

BELGRADE, 16 May 2017 (Beta) –The Japanese ambassador to Serbia, Juichi Takahara, said at a May 16 meeting with the minister in charge of Serbia's EU integration, Jadranka Joksimovic, that Japan belived that Serbia's location, human, economic and natural potentials made it the key state in the region of South East Europe (SEE). Japan supports Serbia's EU accession, because the implementation of European norms creates a business setting that guarantees security to potential investors, not only from the Union, but from the broader international community as well, which is a prerequisite for growth and economic cooperation, Ambassador Takahara was quoted as saying by Joksimovic's ministry. Joksimovic and Takahara discussed bilateral relations, especially in the context of Japan's donations and development assistance, Serbia's EU accession process, the ongoing reforms, the situation in the region and other topics. They also touched on an initiative Joksimovic and Takahara had arranged earlier for Japan's expert volunteers to travel to Serbia to help local self-governments to prepare regional development projects. The minister thanked the government in Tokyo for permanent donor assistance, especially in the wake of disastrous floods in Serbia, and during the migrant crisis. Japan was one of Serbia's most active development partners, the minister said.

FABRIZI PICKED AS NEW EU DELEGATION CHIEF IN SERBIA

BRUSSELS, 16 May 2017 (Beta) – EU High Representative Federica Mogherini has appointed Sem Fabrizi as chief of the EU Delegation to Serbia, the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels announced on May 16. Fabrizi was previously the chief of the EU Delegation in Australia. Mogherini, who helms the EEAS, appointed a total of 41 chiefs of EU delegations around the world on May 16.

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