Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press service
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DAILY SURVEY 31.05.2017.
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BELGRADE, 30 May 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic and former South Korean foreign minister Yu Myung-hwan agreed on May 30 that the key question of the Korean crisis was the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Hwan said that regional cooperation in Northeast Asia was a very important, shared vision of all of the countries in the region. Speaking at a seminar titled Regional Stability and Cooperation in the Korean Peninsula and the Balkans, Hwan said that key elements of that vision were the nonproliferation of nuclear arms, a contract on free trade and a cultural union in which states would accept and respect the cultures of others. Hwan said that a power shift was happening in Northeast Asia and that it was always a moment of crisis with the potential for clashes to break out and that a smart policy needed to be led. Hwan pointed to North Korea and its nuclear program as the biggest threat. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said that the results of presidential elections in the Republic of Korea and the first statements by Moon Jae-in, Korea's new president, gave reason for optimism that a solution to the conflict could only be achieved peacefully. "Serbia favors the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the implementation of all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, the continuation of six-sided negotiations and resolving all questions between the two Koreas exclusively through peaceful means, though dialogue," he said.


BELGRADE, 30 May 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in Belgrade on May 30 that it was evident that the region's trade potentials had been underused, and economies not fully integrated into global markets. At a conference titled The Berlin Process - Achievements and Prospects, Minister Dacic said that the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) was one of the successful trade cooperation models. The Serbian foreign minister said that the upcoming summit in Trieste should ensure progress in strengthening regional cooperation in the Western Balkan transportation sector and integration into the European Union. The minister said it was quite possible if "as planned, the agreement on establishing a transportation community is signed in Trieste, on July 12." "All institutional steps have been taken at the national level, and Serbia will initial the agreement by the end of the week," Dacic said, adding that it was in Serbia's best interest that the Secretariat of the Transportation Community be headquartered in Belgrade. Dacic said that the Berlin Process, too, was a great incentive for Serbia, developing joint economic, political and security interests in the Western Balkans. President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Marko Cadez underscored that three years after the Berlin Process had been launched and the Chamber Investment Forum had been established at the 2nd Western Balkans Summit in Vienna, the goals of the integration of the region's economies were defined. "Not a week goes by without joint activities by regional economies to help politicians shape their decisions as to how to boost the economies of the Western Balkans to make a profit," Cadez said. Cadez added that at the next summit in Trieste, on July 12, the General Secretariat of the Western Balkans would be formed to connect business communities. He believes that the slogan for the Western Balkans' economic integration should be One Region, One Economy. Germany's ambassador to Serbia Axel Dittmann said that the integration of the Western Balkans was complementary to the region's EU integration. Regional youth cooperation is vital, because young people are the proponents of reconciliation and cooperation, the German diplomat said. The ambassador added that good infrastructure was a prerequisite for the integration of the Western Balkans Six. "In 2015 and 2016 several infrastructure projects were arranged for the Western Balkans, and they are at different stages of realization now," he said, adding that infrastructure attracted investors and ensured a single regional market. The Italian ambassador to Serbia, Giuseppe Manzo, underlined that a joint goal was to boost the economic growth of the region and Europe. "History has taught us that economic ties should encourage political dialogue," Manzo said. The Italian diplomat also said that Italy supported the economic integration of the Western Balkans, and that the upcoming business conference in Trieste would focus on small and medium-sized enterprises, constituting a "backbone of the region." President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce Safet Gerxhaliu said that it was economic cooperation that united "the Europe we aspire to." "In order for regional cooperation to succeed, a visa-free regime has to be granted to Bosnia and Herzegovina, too," Gerxhaliu said, adding that people should not be punished for the "mistakes politicians have made." Commenting on Gerxhaliu's words, Dacic said that a political problem for regional cooperation was that Bosnia hadn't recognized the independence of Kosovo. "Since Bosnia and Herzegovina hasn't recognized the independence of Kosovo, it is in a special situation, but Serbia is offering assistance in solving the problem," Dacic said, adding that "it's strange" that the EU had failed to address the problem and give a recommendation.


BELGRADE, 30 May 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic and U.N. Resident Coordinator in Belgrade Karla Robin Hershey signed on May 30 a development partnership framework for developing partnership between the government of Serbia and U.N. Team in Serbia for the period from 2016-2020. At the signing ceremony on Ministry premises in Belgrade both sides voiced the expectation that the five-year development partnership framework would provide a new impetus to the further advancement of cooperation between the Ministry, Serbian offices and agencies and the U.N. system in Serbia. Hershey said that the estimated value of the program activities was around USD170 million for a five-year period, of which the U.N. had already delivered USD63 million to Serbia in 2016. She added that in the previous partnership strategy from 2011-2015, Serbia was helped with USD230 million, which included relief to flooded areas, migrants and refugees. Dacic said that the development partnership framework was the basis for receiving aid from the U.N. system, which included 19 agencies in Serbia and was devoted to fostering and enhancing the economic, social and environmental development of Serbia. "This document is fully harmonized with the Serbian government's developmental priorities, in all areas of economic and social development, as well as the process of negotiations between Serbia and the EU and the U.N. Agenda for Sustainable Development by 2030," Dacic said. The Serbian foreign minister said that the document, "which contains five pillars and nine outcomes" that needed to be achieved by 2020, represented a "road map" for advancing good administration and the rule of law, economic development, the growth of employment, environmental protection and fighting climate change, as well as the integration of culture with the overall process of sustainable development.


BELGRADE, 30 May 2017 (Beta) - Macedonian Ambassador to Serbia Vera Jovanovska was called in for a May 30 interview at the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to explain the circumstances that had led to tapping the phones of adviser to the Serbian embassy in Skopje Goran Zivaljevic, the president of the Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia, and Politika journalist Miroslav Lazanski. The Macedonian ambassador was asked to explain how the transcripts of tapped conversations had leaked to the public, the Ministry reported. The Macedonian ambassador was invited for an urgent interview at the Ministry on May 30, after the Serbian ambassador to Macedonia, Dusanka Divjak-Tomic had been called in by the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that "discontent and concerns" could be conveyed to her over the unauthorized presence of a Serbian diplomat, Goran Zivaljevic, in the Macedonian parliament building during an April 27 riot. The Serbian Ministry reported that Macedonia had been asked if the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had called in the ambassadors of all states whose representatives were seen in the parliament building during the protests in Skopje, or if it was just the Serbian ambassador. Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on May 29 that it was very interesting that other foreign intelligence officers were also in the parliament building on April 27, but that Macedonia never interviewed their ambassadors. Jovanovska said that the Macedonian agencies had no information on the presence of other foreign intelligence agencies in the parliament during the riots, and that she had no information as to how the transcripts of phone conversations of Zivaljevic, the president of the Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia and Lazanski had leaked to the Serbian press, the Serbian foreign ministry reported. The Macedonian ambassador said that there was an ongoing transition of government in Macedonia, and that all misunderstandings would be resolved in the coming period.


BELGRADE, 30 May 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said at his last press conference as head of government, on May 30, that he had done what he thought was best for the state and the citizens, leaving the treasury in good condition for his successor. A lion's share of the news conference was about economy. Vucic described the economic results as excellent, reporting a budget surplus of nearly RSD10 billion, expecting it to reach EUR100 million by mid-year, and the public debt of 67.1 percent of GDP. Vucic reiterated that a public sector pay and pension increase could be expected near the end of the year, and that the minimum wage would go up as well. Speaking of regional relations, Vucic said serious tensions existed, but that the problems were "not swept under the rug." He also said that a degree of trust had been built with Bosnia and Herzegovina, that relations with Montenegro and Macedonia were "far from poor," and that the most complicated of all was the relationship with Pristina, but that it was always better to talk. The outgoing prime minister said that as Serbia's president, his goal would be to develop relations in the region. Vucic said that Serbia had improved its reputation in the eyes of the world, but that he wasn't completely satisfied, and that the state had a lot more to do to get broader support from the international community, and to deepen the relationships with Russia, China and the U.S. Speaking of constitutional changes, the prime minister said that they required a general social consensus, because, as he put it, it would shape the image of Serbia in the next 20 to 30 years.


BELGRADE, 30 May 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Defense Zoran Djordjevic attached special importance to Russia's support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia, committed to development of cooperation in the defense sector with all partners. Djordjevic said at a May 31 meeting with the Russian ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Chepurin, that Serbia wanted to strengthen defense cooperation with all partners, in line with foreign policy priorities, and with full respect to the policy of military neutral status, the Ministry of Defense reported. The minister and the ambassador agreed that the Serbian-Russian cooperation in the defense sector was well-developed, and exchanged opinions on the current political and security issues. Djordjevic and Chepurin confirmed that the Serbian-Russian relationship was in line with the Declaration of Strategic Partnership, extremely good and traditionally friendly, the Ministry said in a press release.


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