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DAILY SURVEY 02.11.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC IN PARIS: SERBIA ADVOCATES DEPOLITIZATION OF UNESCO

BELGRADE, 1 November 2017 (Beta) - Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic stated in Paris on Nov. 1 that Serbia was advocating the depolitization of UNESCO and remained dedicated to the joint struggle against all forms of violence and extremism in international relations, especially in the protection of cultural heritage. According to the transcript issued by the Serbian Foreign Ministry, Dacic stated at the session of the General Conference of UNESCO that Serbia had witnessed, "on the tragic example of its cultural and spiritual heritage" in Kosovo, how important UNESCO's role was in the protection and preservation of heritage. He said that the "Serbian historic, cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is immeasurably important, not just for the national identity of Serbia, but because it is also part of the valuable European and world heritage, which has to be additionally protected." Serbia is advocating the depolitization of UNESCO because politization jeopardizes the fundamental values which the Organization is based on and, in that way, additionally undermines its reputation and influence in the world. UNESCO must serve the collective vision of a better world and we believe that the solidarity of all member countries and concerted efforts are crucial, Dacic stated. He said Serbia advocated consistent adherence to the Constitution of UNESCO and an approach based on dialogue and agreement. In his words, UNESCO's focus must remain on the struggle for freedom of opinion and speech, especially in the media, with care for the safety of journalists as an inseparable element of that freedom. He also congratulated Audrey Azoulay on her election to the post of Director-general of UNESCO.

DACIC MEETS WITH NEW UNESCO DIRECTOR GENERAL

BELGRADE, 1 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Nov. 1, in a meeting with UNESCO's newly appointed director general, Audrey Azouley, that considering any application for membership by Kosovo could generate division and politicize the work of the organization. Dacic told Azouley, whose appointment begins on Nov. 10, that he was confident her extensive professional experience in culture and information at the national and international levels would permit her to find a solution to the many challenges facing UNESCO, the Ministry said in a press release. "In this context, he stressed that considering any request for membership in UNESCO by 'Kosovo' at a future session of the Executive Council or General Conference would have a considerable influence on division in the Organization and further politicization of its work, which is not in the Organization's interest," the press release read. Dacic stressed the importance that Serbia attached to protecting monuments of the Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo, especially those on the World Heritage List that are in jeopardy, and the importance of continuing UNESCO's engagement in this area.

VUCIC TO CEPURIN: SERBIA WILL PROTECT NATIONAL INTERESTS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

BELGRADE, 1 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Nov. 1 told the Russian ambassador in Belgrade, Aleksandar Cepurin, that Serbia would protect its national and state interests in international relations, its independence and sovereignty in deciding, and freedom as the highest value in the Serbian people's heritage, stated the Serbian president's media service. The statement reads that Vucic handed Cepurin a letter of gratitude to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu, for his contribution to the development of the two countries' relations. The Serbian president and the Russian ambassador talked about the political dialogue and economic cooperation, especially in energy, as the binding tissue for all fields of trade. They also acknowledged the possibility of greater scientific cooperation and establishing relations with science parks in Russia.

BRNABIC: SERBIA'S AIM IS TOP 30 ON DOING BUSINESS LIST

BELGRADE, 1 November 2017 (Beta) - Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated on Nov. 1 that she was pleased with Serbia's progress on the World Bank's Doing Business List for 2018, where it is 43rd, and that she expected Serbia to be among the top 30, the year after that. "The challenge is great because it gets harder to progress as you climb towards the top of the list, but we are optimistic because most reforms only show the effect on the Doing Business List three years after they are carried out," Brnabic said at a gathering in Belgrade to discuss the publication of the latest report of the World Bank that ranks countries according to how easy it is to do business in them. She recollected that Serbia had progressed 12 places on the Global Competitiveness List of the World Economic Forum and that the World Bank recently pronounced it the best country in South East Europe in terms of reforms. She announced the electronic registration of entrepreneurs and commercial companies for the first quarter of next year, while those who would prefer the "old fashioned" way will be able to finish all procedures in 15 minutes. The prime minister said the government had initiated the termination of using rubber stamps and that taxpayers will be able to show tax inspectors electronic invoices, instead of having to print payment slips.

BRNABIC EXPECTS POSITIVE OUTCOME OF LAST REVISION OF IMF ARRANGEMENT

BELGRADE, 1 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated on Nov. 1 that she expected a positive outcome of the last revision of the three-year arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She said Serbia had shown that it is a credible and reliable partner in the most difficult of circumstances, even with the politically unpopular reforms of fiscal consolidation. "The IMF knows what we are like when reforms have to be started and finished," Brnabic stated. She added that the goal was to preserve fiscal discipline in 2018 and 2019, continue the reform of public administration and to keep the focus on the rule of law. The IMF mission, headed by James Roaf, arrived in Serbia on Oct. 26 for the eighth, last revision of the current three-year arrangement with Serbia, and the plan is for the visit to last until Nov. 7. The precautionary arrangement worth 1.2 billion euros expires in February 2018, and Serbia has not used the approved funds.

STEFANOVIC AND CHIEF OF INTERPOL'S BUREAU IN RUSSIA DISCUSS COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 1 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic had talks in Belgrade on Nov. 1 with the chief of the National Central Bureau of INTERPOL Russia, Aleksandar Prokopcuk, about cooperation in the fight against terrorism and organized crime. According to the statement, Stefanovic and Prokopcuk also discussed the suppression of trafficking in illegal drugs and humans and cooperation in the field of high technology crime. They concurred that cooperation between the two ministries was at an exceptionally high level, as was the exchange of information between the two national bureaus of INTERPOL. Stefanovic pointed out that Serbia was dedicated to the international cooperation of crime police divisions within INTERPOL and the exchange of information, aimed at effectively suppressing all forms of crime.

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