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DAILY SURVEY 31.08.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC: U.S. SUPPORT IMPORTANT FOR REGIONAL STABILITY

BELGRADE, 30 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on Aug. 30 told U.S. Senator Ron Johnson that U.S. support was important for regional stability. Dacic also said Serbia was dedicated to regional peace and stability. The minister stressed that U.S. support was important in this light too, and voiced interest in the additional development of the mentioned positive dynamic in bilateral relations in future, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release. Johnson said Serbia was one of the most important countries in the region and that the U.S. wanted to support its efforts to establish a stable and prosperous society, the Ministry's press release reads further. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Johnson also met in Belgrade, on Aug. 29 and discussed granting diplomatic status to members of the Serbian-Russian humanitarian center in Nis, attracting U.S. investment and the dialog on Kosovo. The senator, who heads the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, said on Aug. 29 that he hoped Vucic and the Serbian people would oppose all attempts to obtain diplomatic status and immunity for the members of the Serbian-Russian humanitarian center. He also stated that Serbia was significant for regional stability and that its place was alongside Western democracies, adding that immunity for the Serbian-Russian humanitarian center in Nis would send a bad signal for foreign investment.

STEFANOVIC DISCUSS COOPERATION IN COMBATING CRIME WITH CYPRIOT AMBASSADOR

BELGRADE, 30 August 2017 (Beta) - Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanović met in Belgrade on Aug. 30 with Cypriot Ambassador to Serbia Constantinos Eliades, to discuss bilateral police cooperation in combating organized crime and all other forms of crime. They also discussed ways to boost international operative cooperation within Interpol, according to a release from the Interior Ministry. They also confirmed good and friendly bilateral relations, the release said.

MIHAJLOVIC, BILGIC DISCUSS UPCOMING VISIT OF TURKISH PRESIDENT

BELGRADE, 30 August 2017 (Beta) - Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlovic on Aug. 30 met with Turkish Ambassador to Serbia Tanju Bilgic to discuss the upcoming visit to Serbia of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They also discussed protocols and agreements in the infrastructure field, which Serbia and Turkey should sign during Erdogan's visit, according to a release from Mihajlovic's office. It was said that the construction of the Belgrade-Sarajevo highway was one of the most important projects in which Turkey was ready to invest. Mihajlovic proposed that several different feasibility studies for the highway construction would be developed to help the authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina (B-H) and Republika Srpska to make a decision on the highway route in the B-H territory. There is no dilemma on the highway route through Serbia, it said in the release. They also discussed joint projects, including the Morava airport near Kraljevo, which should be fully adapted for civilian aviation, and its importance for western Serbia. The meeting also touched on Turkish engagement in the reconstruction of regional roads in the areas of Novi Pazar and Tutin.

KUBUROVIC DISCUSSES NEW PROJECTS WITH USAID DIRECTOR FOR SERBIA

BELGRADE, 30 August 2017 (Beta) - Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic and USAID Director for Serbia Azza El-Abd have said that so far, USAID's projects in the judiciary have contributed considerably to improving the efficiency of the judicial system, and strengthening capacities of courts, particularly of misdemeanor courts. They also discussed the implementation of USAID's new projects in Serbia, which aim to strengthen the rule of law and battle corruption, according to a statement from the ministry. They said they expected new projects related to strengthening the rule of law and improving the systemic fight against corruption to produce even better results, particularly underlining the importance of projects dealing with corruption as they were highly important for citizens, Serbia's further progress on the EU path and the fulfillment of activities envisaged under the Action Plan for Chapter 23, dealing with the judiciary and fundamental rights. The two officials also underlined the partnership between Serbia and USAID, and USAID's support to reforms in Serbia.

RESOLUTION OF FATE OF 10,416 MISSING IN EX-YUGOSLAVIA NECESSARY FOR REGION'S STABILIZATION

BELGRADE, 30 August 2017 (Beta) - The head of the Serbian government's Commission for Missing Persons Veljko Odalovic said on Aug. 30 that the resolution of the fate of 10,416 missing persons as the result of the conflicts in the territory of the former Yugoslavia was an important condition for stabilizing the situation in the region.  "This large number of missing persons is the gravest consequence of all the conflicts in the territory of the former Yugoslavia," Odalovic told RTS on the occasion of Aug. 30, International Day of the Missing.  He said that there has been a major standstill in the process of finding the missing in Kosovo and Metohija since 1999, as there was no readiness in Pristina to share information from the archives of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the archives of international organizations that were present there at the time. He also said that Serbia had submitted a legitimate request for seeking more than 4,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians.  Odalovic further said that without new information about the potential locations where persons had been buried, there could be no progress in searching for the missing. "We have requested information. The bodies of the Serbs and other non-Albanians that we are looking for are in the area of Kosovo and Metohija, or in Bosnia-Herzegovina (B-H) or in Croatia," Odalovic said. He added that more than 900 bodies of Kosovo Albanians that had been found at locations in central, Serbia had been identified and handed over to their families.  "We have also handed to the International Red Cross Committee more than 2,500 documents that we possessed, while in return we have received none," Odalovic said.

FATE OF 1,658 MISSING IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA STILL UNRESOLVED

BELGRADE, 30 August 2017 (Beta) - Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric stated on Aug. 30 that some 5,800 people had been reported missing in the conflicts in Kosovo and Metohija, while the fate of 1,658 persons had not been resolved, including 540 Serbs and other non-Albanians.  "Those who truly care about peace and reconciliation will do everything in their power to resolve the fate of all the victims of the clashes in this region," Djuric said on Aug. 30, on the occasion of International Day of the Missing.  He said that the clashes in Kosovo and Metohija were specific as a large number of persons had been reported as missing "before the eyes of the international forces," which "were incapable or did not wish to end the bloody conflict."  Djuric further said he expected everyone in the region to be equally committed to resolving the fate of the missing in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, whose families were still suffering inexpressible anguish today, but also disappointment because of the inefficiency of the relevant bodies to resolve the fate of more than 10,000 persons who had been reported missing in the conflicts. "Today, however, I do not want to separate the victims either among the Serbs or among the Albanians, because if there is anything that connects these two peoples in Kosovo and Metohija, then it is the inconsolable pain for the loss of so many lives, and that pain cannot be healed by keeping silent, by hatred, or dreams of vengeance," Djuric noted.

LINTA: SERIOUS OBSTACLES EXIST TO SEARCHING FOR, IDENTIFYING MISSING SERBS

BELGRADE, 30 August 2017 (Beta) - Miodrag Linta, president of the Alliance of Serbs in the region, said on Aug. 30 that there were serious obstacles, hindering the process of searching for and identifying the missing Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina (B-H), Croatia and Kosovo, and added that the families of the missing were particularly insulted because hardly any progress has been made to punish the crimes committed against the Serbs. "It is obvious that the governments in Zagreb and Sarajevo and interim institutions in Pristina have not shown any sincere will to make concrete progress toward resolving the fate of the missing Serbs, regarding the exhumation and identification of mortal remains," Linta said in a statement on the occasion of International Day of the Missing. He also said that the families of the missing Serbs were particularly insulted over the fact that hardly any progress had been made in punishing crimes committed by the members of the Croatian Army, the B-H Army and the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). "In the past period, trials for crimes against the Serbs in Croatia, B-H and Kosovo and Metohija were biassed, as those responsible for the crimes were either acquitted or given ridiculously small sentences, which has additionally added to the humiliation of the victims and their families," Linta said. He also described as shameful the fact that the War Crimes Prosecutor's Office in Serbia had not been sufficiently committed to investigating the crimes perpetrated against the Serbs in the region of the former Yugoslavia.  "Since it was set up in 2003, the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor's Office has filed 64 indictments against 184 persons. Of the total, two persons were Bosniaks, two Croats, 21 Albanians and as many as 159 Serbs, or 86 percent of the total number of the accused," said Linta, who is also an MP in the Serbian parliament.

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