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DAILY SURVEY 18.08.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC: MAJOR COUNTRIES AGAINST TAKING KOSOVO OFF THE AGENDA

BELGRADE, 17 August 2017 (Beta) - The first deputy prime minister of Serbia, Ivica Dacic, has stated that the major countries, primarily Russia and China, have not agreed to the removal of the issue of Kosovo from the U.N. agenda, the termination of the U.N. mission in Kosovo and Metohija, and of Resolution 1244. "It is very important for Serbia that the issue of Kosovo and Metohija remains in the focus of the United Nations, and the Security Council," Dacic explained in a written statement about the U.N. Security Council session and his meeting with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He pointed out that several major powers, and not just Pristina, had demanded during the Aug. 16 session of the U.N. Security Council for the issue of Kosovo to be removed from the U.N. agenda, for meetings to be less frequent - every six months instead of every three, and that some major powers for the first time called for the termination of the UNMIK mission in Kosovo and Metohija. "It is important for us that the international community keeps within its focus all the problems that exist in Kosovo and Metohija, and that is why this session, despite it having been quite tumultuous, has been very important for us because, for who knows how many times we have reiterated that Pristina is not fulfilling its tasks from Resolution 1244 and the Brussels dialogue, and that Pristina is not implementing the Brussels dialogue," Dacic stated. He said he had presented the data about the Serbs "having been the greatest victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing," citing that, of the more than 200,000 expelled Serbs, only 1.9 percent had returned and, of the tens of thousands of Serbs who once lived in Pristina, Urosevac, Pec, Podujevo, there were now fewer than a thousand left, and even fewer than a hundred in some towns. He and Guterres discussed Kosovo and Metohija and the continued participation of the Serbian military and police in U.N. peace missions throughout the world. Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced that he would have a phone conversation with President Vucic next week, and discuss regional stability.

DACIC: WE ASKED FOR HAGUE CONVICTS TO SERVE SENTENCES IN SERBIA

BELGRADE, 17 August 2017 (Beta) - The first deputy prime minister of Serbia, Ivica Dacic, has stated that he requested during his meeting with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres that the prisoners convicted before the Hague tribunal, who are Serbian citizens, serve their sentences in Serbia. In a written statement, Dacic explained that the request was made due to the inhumane conditions they were enduring in the countries where they are serving their sentences. "Estonia is particularly prominent in that. Disregarding the fact that a prison sentence is a punishment in itself, the conditions of serving that sentence are such that we must and have demanded an end to the practice of only Serbia not being allowed to have its citizens serve (their sentence) in our country. If it was allowed for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, why not Serbia," Dacic stated.

BRNABIC, KEEFE ON IMPLEMENTING REFORMS IN SERBIA AND BREXIT EFFECTS

BELGRADE, 17 August 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in a discussion with British Ambassador in Belgrade Denis Keefe on Aug. 17 that it was very important that Serbia continue implementing reforms, enhancing the education system in Serbia, and establishing e-administration in its full capacity while strengthening the IT sector. The Serbian prime minister thanked Keefe for Great Britain's support in the areas of the rule of law and the stability of the Western Balkans and said that alongside fiscal consolidation, those were important questions for Serbia, a statement said. Brnabic also thanked Keefe for Britain's support to the projects being realized by the Serbian government, which apply to modernization and increasing the efficiency of the state administration and creating an environment for offering e-administration services to citizens in the economy. The British government is already supporting Serbia through the Fund for Good Governance, the statement said. Brnabic and Keefe discussed the effects of Brexit and bilateral cooperation between the two countries during and after Great Britain left the EU. According to the statement, Ambassador Keefe voiced his satisfaction with the fact that Great Britain would host the Western Balkans summit in London in 2018. The two officials said that Foreign Office Permanent Undersecretary Simon McDonald's up-coming visit to Serbia on Sept. 11-12 would enhance relations between the two countries as would a visit from the House of Lords of the United Kingdoms's Parliament delegation at the end of September. The importance of the 180th anniversary of diplomatic ties was also stressed, which both countries will mark with a series of manifestations this year.

MIHAJLOVIC AND PAVLOV DISCUSS REALIZATION OF RAILWAY PROJECTS

BELGRADE, 17 August 2017 (Beta) - The Serbian minister for construction, transportation and infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlovic, had talks on Aug. 17 with the general director of the Russian company RZD International, Sergei Pavlov, about the railway modernization projects which this company was realizing in Serbia, financed by loans from Russia. According to the statement, Pavlov informed Mihajlovic that $10 million had been saved, compared with the planned cost of works, during the reconstruction of the Bar railway, on the Resnik-Valjevo segment. "Work on the reconstruction of the Resnik-Valjevo railway is progressing in full accord with the contract and the planned dynamics," Pavlov stressed. Mihajlovic and Pavlov also discussed the project for the modernization of the Stara Pazova-Novi Sad segment, where the construction permits for the first phase - for tunnels and viaducts, have already been issued, while works on the open railway, within the second phase, will be defined in a separate contract. "Railway modernization, including that of the Belgrade-Budapest route, is one of the strategic goals of the government. I expect cooperation with the RZD to be as successful here as it has been on the projects that have already been completed," Mihajlovic stated.

DJURIC: UNMIK IS THE WITNESS THEY ARE TRYING TO REMOVE

BELGRADE, 17 August 2017 (Beta) - The director of the Serbian government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Marko Djuric, stated on Aug. 17 that, by defending itself at the session of the U.N. Security Council, Serbia was defending international law, while others were undermining the foundations of international principles. Djuric said in an interview to the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation (RTS), that Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic presented the facts about the situation in Kosovo and Metohija at the U.N. Security Council's session, and described Serbia's attempts to reach a solution through dialogue. "It is cynical that other representatives say that the changing of borders could not be discussed, when they tried to change them just a few years ago," Djuric stated. Commenting on the request by Kosovo's ambassador to the U.N., Vlora Citaku, which she made during the session, for the mandate of the U.N. mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to be terminated, Djuric said that this was an act aimed at "removing an embarrassing witness." "Since the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo is illegal, it is necessary to remove embarrassing witnesses, and UNMIK is the witness of everything that is going on in violation of international law," Djuric pointed out.

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