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DAILY SURVEY 06.06.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC MEETS RUSSIAN DUMA SPEAKER

BELGRADE, 5 June 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and the speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin agreed on June 5 that friendly ties between Serbia and Russia had reached the level of a strategic partnership, wishing all forms of cooperation to grow in the future, the Serbian foreign ministry reported. The two high-ranking officials said that "based on the excellent political relationship, it is realistic to expect that economic and cultural relations, as well as joint projects in different areas, should be stepped up." More comprehensive and deeper cooperation between the two parliaments and their committees, especially in the economy and investments, could also contribute to firmer bilateral ties," the foreign ministry added in the press release.

VUCIC: SERBIA IS PROUD OF COOPERATION WITH RUSSIA

BELGRADE, 5 June 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on June 5, after a meeting with the Russian State Duma speaker, Vyacheslav Volodyn, that "Serbia is proud of its relations with Russia, the best in modern history." "We have maintained an honest relationship with Russia, and are proud of our friendship. Serbia is a small state, but it has managed to keep its independence. I would like to thank Russia for never exerting pressure on us, and for preventing so-called Kosovo from joining the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization," President Vucic said in a press release. Vucic said that Serbia would work to strengthen economic ties with Russia, in order to, as he put it, "use the advantages of the free-trade agreement" with Russia. The Serbian president underlined that Russian investments in Serbia were very welcome, and briefed the Duma speaker on the status of the national economic reforms and the creation of a favorable business climate in Serbia. Vucic also expressed his thanks for the good arrangement for procuring military equipment, which allows Serbia to carry out a long-awaited modernization. The two officials also discussed economic cooperation, joint arms industry initiatives on third markets, and the development of infrastructure, it said in a press release.

RUSSIAN, SERBIAN SPEAKERS OPEN COOPERATION COMMITTEE SESSION

BELGRADE, 5 June 2017 (Beta) - The Serbian speaker, Maja Gojkovic, said on June 5 that Serbia's strategic foreign-policy priority was the EU integration process, but that the country would also maintain good bilateral relations with its traditional friends and partners, like Russia. "To carry out comprehensive reforms is important for our own sakes. We believe that the EU integration process has great potential for the development of our own bilateral relations, too," Gojkovic said at the opening of the second session of the Committee for Cooperation between the Serbian parliament and the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament. Gojkovic thanked Russia for its "strong and continuous support" regarding Kosovo and Metohija, as well as for its support multilaterally in preventing Kosovo's moves to join organizations like UNESCO. "Russia's support to the Serbian efforts to reach a sustainable and mutually acceptable solution through the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue is immeasurable," Gojkovic added. The Serbian speaker said that the inter-parliamentary committee proved to be an excellent platform to exchange views on various topics, and that parliamentary relations are very important for the development of overall bilateral relations. The Duma speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, said at the beginning of the session that bilateral and economic cooperation should be the theme of the talks, but that serious emphasis should be placed on efforts to curb terrorism, extremism and illegal migrations, and to protect fundamental human rights. "Terrorism knows no borders, and all states should share a uniform position on this, so that terrorists can have no future. People will be killed as long as there is no united stand, and we cannot understand this," the Russian speaker said. The cooperation committee discussed the role of parliamentarians in addressing the issues of regional stability and security, inter-parliamentary cooperation between Serbia and Russia as a boost to bilateral relations, the issue of Kosovo and Metohija and the role of the international community in supporting the dialogue.

GOJKOVIC, VOLODIN: RUSSIA'S SUPPORT IN UNESCO, RUSSIA, SERBIA'S IN CoE

BELGRADE, 5 June 2017 (Beta) - Serbia expects Russia's support regarding the question of Kosovo membership in the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), while Russia expects Serbia's help in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Serbian speaker, Maja Gojkovic, and her counterpart in the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, declared following a meeting in Belgrade, on June 5. After the meeting in the Serbian parliament building, Gojkovic said that Russia would support Serbia again in the next vote on Kosovo's move to join the U.N. cultural wing. "We've discussed the possibility of Kosovo reapplying for UNESCO membership, and how important it is for the protection not only of Serbia's, but also the world's cultural heritage. We have agreed that like in the previous vote, Russia will support Serbia again," Gojovic told reporters in the parliament building, adding that she had thanked her Russian counterpart for his country's steady refusal to recognize an independent Kosovo. Volodin said that he expected Serbia to support Russia in the PACE, from which, as he put it, the Russian delegation "has been excommunicated." "The PACE should undergo certain changes. First of all, the statute should be revised, as well as the organization's manner of conducting its business so as to secure the rights of all the delegations," the Russian Duma speaker said. Volodin said that a traditional friendship linked Serbia and Russia, and that never in history had there been a time when the two countries had turned their back on each other. The Russian parliamentarian also said bilateral relations should be deepened and strengthened, both through parliamentary cooperation and trade, economic, educational and cultural ties. The Duma speaker also said that another illustration of Serbia's friendship to Russia was how well the cemetaries of the Russian liberators of Belgrade he had visited were maintained.

SERBIAN, MONTENEGRIN INTERIOR MINISTERS MEET IN BELGRADE TO DISCUSS COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 5 June 2017 (Beta) - The Serbian and Montenegrin interior ministers, Nebojsa Stefanovic and Mevludin Nuhodzic, said at a June 5 meeting in the Serbian capital, that the two police departments would be able to curb all types of crimes by strengthening collaboration. Minister Stefanovic described the cooperation between the two ministers as very good, adding that the exchange of information was daily, the Serbian interior ministry reported. Stefanovic said that the two police departments worked together to curb organized crime, arms and drugs smuggling, "but also to prevent any extremist or terrorist organization in the two territories." The Serbian interior minister said that "this kind of cooperation demonstrates the sincere intention to unrelentingly fight organized crime, and make criminals realize that there is no safe place for them." "We have agreed that only an orchestrated campaign, firm leadership and full pressure on criminal gangs like those in Skaljari and Kavac, which are active in Serbia and Montenegro, can check crime," Minister Stefanovic said, adding that with his Montenegrin colleague he had discussed the idea of setting up joint investigating teams for specific crimes. Minister Nuhodzic said that Serbia and Montenegro had been threatened by "the same or very similar security challenges - transnational organized crime, illegal migrations and terrorist threats." "However strong a state can be, it can hardly fight the global threats and challenges alone," the Montenegrin minister said.

DJORDJEVIC, HANSEN PRAISE SERBIA-DENMARK DEFENSE COOP

BELGRADE, 5 June 2017 (Beta) - Defense Minsiter Zoran Djordjevic and Head of the Danish Mission in Serbia Morten Skovgaard Hansen on June 5 advocated promoting bilateral cooperation in all domains, particularly in the defense field. Addressing a celebration to mark the centennial of establishing diplomatic relations between Serbia and Denmark, Djordjevic thanked Denmark for its support to Serbia's EU integration, the formation of the Danish business club that assembles companies interested in investing in Serbia, and for the realization of projects related to the defense system. Djordjevic said he hoped that bilateral defense cooperation would the pillar for boosting cooperation in other domains, adding that "the Serbs and the Danish could learn from each other." Hansen said that Denmark backed Serbia on its EU path, which would "bring important benefits to Serbia's citizens," adding that the further implementation of reforms would bring more investment and job creation. According to Hansen, over the past decade, bilateral cooperation has developed through a wide range of projects, particularly those in the defense field. The reception at the Army Hall was attended by U.S. Ambassador in Serbia Kyle Scott and numerous representatives of the diplomatic corps and the Serbian Army, former defense minister Dragan Sutanovac, and Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic.

JOKSIMOVIC, MORO DISCUSS REFORMS, EUROPEAN INTEGRATION

BELGRADE, 5 June 2017 (Beta) - Serbia's minister in charge of the country's accession to the European Union (EU), Jadranka Joksimovic met on June 5 with the outgoing French ambassador to Serbia, Christine Moro, informing her that Serbia had opened eight out of 36 accession chapters, and is expecting to open two more soon. The Serbian minister and the French diplomat discussed bilateral relations, Serbia's EU accession process, relevant reforms, the situation in the region, issues of relevance to the EU and other important topics, the Serbian government's press office announced. Minister Joksimovic underlined that the country's commitment to continuing the accession process was undeniable, and that membership of the Unoin was Serbia's strategic imperative. Joksimovic said that the EU integration was an opportunity for Serbia's development, but that the Union, too, would benefit from Serbia's EU membership in the future, as the Union was Serbia's natural environment. Joksimovic and Moro agreed that regional cooperation was important for economic development and political stability, describing progress in the reform process and the rule of law as vital for the continuation of Serbia's EU accession. Minister Joksimovic wished the French ambassador every success in her work in the future, thanking her for open and constructive cooperation during her term in office in Belgrade, especially France's assistance to Serbia on its path to the EU.

DAILY SURVEY

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