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DAILY SURVEY 03.08.2017.
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U.S. - ADRIATIC CHARTER SUMMIT

BRNABIC WITH PENCE: SERBIA'S INTEREST PEACE, STABILITY OF WEST BALKANS

PODGORICA, 2 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on Aug. 2 told U.S. Vice President Mike Pence that Serbia's primary interest was keeping peace and stability in the West Balkan region, to which Serbia was contributing with its constructive approach and would continue to do so. According to a press release from the Serbian government, Brnabic stressed that not only preserving peace and stability in the region, but also resolving all open issues through dialog and seeking compromise, could contribute to progress in the region, continuing reform processes and building mutual connections. Cooperation between the two countries in security was also discussed, with the conclusion that the area of the armed forces and police had seen the greatest strides in the previous period. On this topic, Brnabic stressed Serbia's full dedication to the fight against international terrorism and readiness to make an active contribution to curbing this global problem, the press release noted. Brnabic and Pence also discussed the Brussels dialog and the implementation of agreements, when the Serbian PM underscored the necessity of forming the Community of Serb Municipalities soon. During the meeting, taking place on the sidelines of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter summit in Podgorica, Brnabic said she was pleased "about the recently concluded successful working visit by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to Washington," stating that the visit had given encouragement to the further development of cooperation between the two states and that this showed that the advancement of overall bilateral relations with the U.S. was one of Serbia's foreign-policy priorities. Brnabic stressed the importance of the hitherto support of the U.S. to the process of Serbia's EU integration and expressed the hope that Serbia would have the support of the new U.S. administration too, in this area, the statement went on to say.

BRNABIC: SERBIA NEUTRAL, BUT RELIABLE PARTNER TO NATO

PODGORICA, 2 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in Podgorica, on Aug. 2 that, while Serbia espoused military neutrality, it was a responsible, predictable and reliable partner to NATO, and fully respected its neighbor's decision to join the alliance. According to a press release form the Serbian government, Brnabic said during the working portion of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter summit that Serbia was committed to cooperation with all its partners, reiterating that the country remained dedicated to closer cooperation with states in the region, rather than isolation. She said the preservation of international peace and security were a challenge to the whole international community and that Serbia was fully committed to the values of the United Nations when it came to maintaining peace. Brnabic recalled that the Serbian armed forces had been participating in peacekeeping operations worldwide since 2003, and that right now there were 332 Army of Serbia members deployed to preserve peace and help the most vulnerable. According to her, there are Serbian soldiers deployed in the Congo, Liberia, Cyprus, Lebanon, the Middle East, Somalia, Central Africa and Mali. She added that, according to the number of service members deployed, Serbia was in a high seventh place in Europe, and 45th in the world. Brnabic said Serbia affirmed its commitment to cooperation with EU countries and institutions by participating in U.N. and EU peacekeeping operations. On the topic of regional security, Brnabic said Serbia had made an active and constructive contribution to resolving the migrant crisis, which has garnered it frequent praise.

BRNABIC: AS IT STANDS, BELGRADE PRISTINA DIALOGUE AT PRESIDENTIAL LEVEL

PODGORICA, 2 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Aug. 2 in Podgorica that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue would, by the look of things, be raised to the presidential level. Brnabic told Prva TV in Podgorica, where she met, among others, with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on the margins of the Adriatic Charter Summit, that Serbia had fulfilled most of the Brussels Agreement and that it was now up to Pristina to implement what had been signed. In her words, Pristina should above all implement the Community of Serb Municipalities and Serbia agrees on that matter with the U.S. and other powers. She said that a meeting with Kosovo President Hashim Thaci had not been planned at the summit in Podgorica and that she had only greeted him in passing. Brnabic also conveyed to reporters Pence's satisfaction with the Serbian government's commitment to continued cooperation with the U.S. "Vice President Pence voiced his satisfaction with the recent meeting with President (of Serbia Aleksandar) Vucic and the Serbian cabinet's general commitment to going into further cooperation and implementation of agreements on better economic, business and military security cooperation, but certainly always with respect for Serbia's complete military neutrality," said the prime minister.

SERBIAN PM MEETS WITH PM OF MONTENEGRO, BOSNIA IN PODGORICA

PODGORICA, 2 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on Aug. 2 told her Montenegrin counterpart, Dusko Markovic, that Serbia wanted to continue fruitful cooperation with Montenegro and that all unresolved issues should be tackled in dialog, in a mutually acceptable way. In a talk on the sidelines of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter summit in Podgorica, Brnabic said that, when it comes to EU integration, cooperation with Montenegro was very affirmative, a press release form the PM's office read. The Serbian PM also praised Montenegro's progress toward EU membership and stressed that one country's success in the bid to join the EU brought the entire region closer to the same goal.
In a talk with Denis Zvizdic, head of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brnabic said Bosnia was one of Serbia's most important economic partners. She said Serbia strongly supported the growth of relations with Bosnia, which it sees as one of the key partners in the region, a press release form the Serbian government reads. The Serbian prime minister said economic cooperation between Serbia and Bosnia could be advanced through greater trade, investment cooperation, infrastructure projects and jointly breaking into third markets, especially in the military contracting and construction industry.

BRNABIC ASKS PLENKOVIC TO SPEED UP PROCEDURE AFTER COMPLAINTS ABOUT NEW FEES

PODGORICA, 2 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on Aug. 2 asked Croatian Prime Minister Andreja Plenkovic to have the Croatian ministries of agriculture and trade contact the Serbian side, which has sent a letter over new Croatian measures for products from Serbia, as soon as possible. She repeated to reporters in Podgorica, after a summit of leaders of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter, that the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture had sent a letter to the responsible Croatian ministries. Brnabic voiced the conviction that, if the problem is not resolved between the two ministries, the European Commission would step in, as the measure levied by Croatia is not in line with the stabilization and association agreement. Croatia has passed measures expanding the list of fruit and vegetables that need to pass phytosanitary control on the border and increased by 22 times, the fees on the import of the same products from non-EU members. According to Brnabic, the measure is not fair and does not encourage regional cooperation.

SERBIA

VUCIC, EUROPEAN OFFICIAL ON BELGRADE-PRISTINA DIALOGUE, SERBIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS

BELGRADE, 2 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Aug. 2 talked with the director for Western Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey at the European External Action Service, Angelina Eichhorst, about the situation in the region, the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Serbia's European integration and the relationship between Serbia and Russia. According to a statement from the president's office, Vucic and Eichhorst said that peace and stability in the Western Balkans were the most important prerequisite for economic progress. Eichhorst said that the EU completely supported President Vucic and Serbia in the efforts to have the country and region make headway on the European path and in legal and economic reforms, reads the statement.

VUCIC, U.S. ARMY DELEGATION: COOPERATION IN DEFENSE WELL-DEVELOPED

BELGRADE, 2 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met on Aug. 2 with a delegation of the U.S. Armed Forces and concurred that cooperation in the field of defense was the best part of the overall relations between the two countries, with respect for Serbia's military neutrality. According to a press release from the president's office, Vucic highlighted cooperation with the National Guard of Ohio as an example of well-developed cooperation, stressing that the cooperation being realized through the State Partnership Program was important for peace and stability in the region. "It is very important that a U.S. high-level military delegation is visiting Serbia as part of a course of direct familiarization with the strategic environment in which they will perform their new duties, because each exchange of opinions contributes to better understanding and the enhancement of cooperation," said Vucic. The press release reads that the collocutors also touched on the situation in the region, and the president said that "peace and stability in the Western Balkans and the country's economic progress are the priorities of Serbia's policy." The U.S. army delegation consists of 21 brigadier generals and commodore admirals who have recently been promoted to higher ranks. The delegation is headed by retired General Philip Breedlove, former commander of NATO's forces in Europe.

VUCIC, FRATTINI ON SITUATION IN REGION, SERBIA'S RELATIONS WITH GREAT POWERS

BELGRADE, 2 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke in Belgrade on Aug. 2 with the president of the Italian Society for International Organization, Franco Frattini, about the situation in the region, the European path and Serbia's relations with the world's great powers. Vucic said that, regardless of all big pressures from various sides, Serbia will continue to consistently preserve and protect its political postulates, its independence and sovereignty in making important decisions, read a statement issued by the Presidency. Frattini said that the most important thing was for Serbia to keep its role of a factor of stability in the region and added that Serbia would maintain that position during Vucic's term in office, said the statement. He also voiced the belief that Serbia would be capable of achieving important results as regards approaching the EU, and that the biggest challenge would be the preservation of the policy Serbia had been building for so long and with which it was now being identified.

KUBUROVIC, FRATTINI: JUDICIAL REFORM ONE OF REQUISITES FOR SERBIA'S FURTHER PROGRESS TOWARD EU

BELGRADE, 2 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Justice Nela Kuburovic and the president of the Italian Society for International Organization, Franco Frattini, concurred on Aug. 2 that a successful judicial reform, which must establish the strong independence and accountability of judicial workers, was one of the requisites for Serbia's further progress toward the EU. According to a statement from the Ministry of Justice, Frattini underscored that one of the conditions for that was the strengthening of the Judicial Academy, which was to become the sole point of entry of judges and prosecutors to the judiciary, as well as a pillar of their professional advancement. He pointed out that the European Commission would welcome any proactive role Serbia took on, in strengthening the rule of law and the independence and accountability of the judiciary, and added that there could be no insistence on independence without insistence on accountability. The collocutors discussed the Ministry's further activities within Chapter 23 in the negotiations with the EU geared toward strengthening the independence and accountability of judges and prosecutors. Speaking of amendments to the Constitution, the minister said a broad consultation process regarding the amendments was under way, adding that the amendments would refer to changing the manner of appointment of judicial workers, for the sake of strengthening the judiciary's independence. She also stressed that the Ministry of Justice would not form a final draft of those amendments without the expert opinion of the Venice Commission. Where the fight against corruption is concerned, Minister Kuburovic and Frattini also talked about the possibility of establishing special groups, tasked with combatting corruption and money laundering in sports, like the ones in Italy.

DJORDJEVIC, SWEDISH AMBASSADOR: RELATIONS BETWEEN TWO COUNTIES VERY GOOD

BELGRADE, 2 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Labor Minister Zoran Djordjevic and Swedish Ambassador to Belgrade Jan Lundin said on Aug. 2 that relations between the two countries were very good and that there was room to improve cooperation, especially in gender equality, preventing domestic violence and protecting child rights. Calling Sweden a "great partner and friend to Serbia," Djordjevic proposed a high-level meeting in the near future to define modes of future cooperation in order to maintain the achieved level of bilateral relations and further advance them. He added that it was necessary to continue negotiations in order to conclude a new social insurance deal, the Ministry of Labor said in a press release. Describing Serbia as a "factor of stability" in the Balkans, Lundin said his country supported Belgrade on its path to the EU and offered help in adjusting legislation and regulations to the EU's through various programs and projects.

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