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DAILY SURVEY 01.12.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC: MINIMUM OF JOINT INTERESTS BETWEEN SERBIA, U.S. NEEDED FOR REGIONAL STABILITY

BELGRADE, 30 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Nov. 30 that Serbia and the U.S. needed to find a "minimum of shared interests" so that they could contribute to regional stability. "There is no stability in the region if the U.S. cannot find a shared interest with the biggest country and biggest people in the Balkans, which is Serbia and the Serbian people," Dacic told the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation. After a several-day visit to Washington, he said that "in that sense one should look for the minimum of joint interests so that we can contribute to the stability of the entire region." Dacic said that the U.S. was leading a policy of its own and that it was interested in Russia's influence over the region. Speaking about a recent Atlantic Council report on the U.S.' new strategy for the Balkans, he pointed out that in a formal sense that was not a document made by the U.S. administration, but rather by an NGO which could have some degree of influence, but "not necessarily." As for possible requests for changing the format of negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, Dacic said that Serbia had not transferred the negotiating process to the EU, but rather that it was a proposal by the EU. "During the time of [former Serbian president Boris] Tadic's administration, the U.N. General Assembly enacted this resolution and that format cannot be changed just like that," Dacic said. He added that no one had formally voiced a proposal for changing the format of the talks and that he thought there were large differences between the EU and U.S. over the matter. "Let's not tell any fairy tales, the U.S. was always in some way present behind the scenes during this dialogue," Dacic said.

VUCIC: INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY GUIDED BY DOUBLE STANDARDS

BELGRADE, 30 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Nov. 30 that the international community's approach to Serbia was hypocritical and guided by double standards. As an example, he cited the reactions to statements of Croatian authorities after the Hague tribunal's verdict to representatives of Bosnian Croats. "I am satisfied because we do clean our own backyard... Imagine what would have happened, had I as president, seven days ago, after the verdict to Mladic, which 95 percent of citizens view as illegal and bad, said what they said, or those who should be our role models in the EU. If I had said that the verdict was unjust and that we would fight against it with all means, and then went to Pale to comfort the people there a day later?" Vucic said. He added that it was hypocritical that Serbia had received objections regarding the fact that a retired general of the Army of Yugoslavia, Vladimir Lazarevic, who had been convicted by the Hague tribunal, once gave a lecture at the Military Academy. "Do you want to make us look crazy? Are you saying that what applies to you does not apply to us? And they say we failed to fulfill conditions for the chapters. Who failed? Do you want us to beg? No. You don't have to open any chapters," Vucic said. The Appeals Chamber of the Hague tribunal on Nov. 29 ruled in the appellate proceedings of former high-ranking officials of the so-called Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, that the war in Bosnia was an international military conflict and a state of occupation, and confirmed the existence of a joint criminal enterprise to ethnically cleanse parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the accused, Slobodan Praljak, ingested poison after the pronunciation of the verdict which sentenced him to 20 years in prison, and then died in hospital, after which the Hague tribunal stopped work.

VUCIC: WE UNDERSTAND MESSAGES, DEMANDS AND OUR OBLIGATIONS

BELGRADE, 30 November 2017 (Beta) - On Nov. 30 Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told representatives of the EU that Serbia had understood the messages and demands that it was receiving, as well as its obligations, the Serbian presidential office has said. Vucic attended a working lunch hosted by Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi, also attended by ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives from the EU. The topics of the working lunch were the situation in the region, the preservation of peace and stability, dialogue with Pristina, Serbia's European road, reforms and the rule of law.

BRNABIC IN HONG KONG: HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY FOR MORE POSITIVE TALK ABOUT BALKANS IN 2018

BELGRADE, 30 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at a gathering in Hong Kong that a historic opportunity existed to start talking differently about the Balkans next year, much more positively, which is not usual for the Balkans, the Serbian government stated on Nov. 30. Brnabic was the keynote speaker at the gala dinner, which the British weekly The Economist organized as part of the annual conference The World in 2018, in Hong Kong. "We now have a historic opportunity. With dedication, courageous political decisions, by leading, with ability and readiness to compromise, and with a little luck, the Balkans has the opportunity to change its image. This would mean that, in 2018, Europe itself will look different and that the Balkans is part of the solution, not a problem which the EU or other countries would have to solve," Brnabic said. Before that, Brnabic spoke about the current political and economic reforms in Serbia, the process of European integration, relations with the EU and Russia and cooperation with China, primarily within the One Belt One Road initiative. Besides the Serbian prime minister, some of the main participants of the conference were the executive director of the Save the Children organization and former prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. The focus of this year's conference of The Economist were geopolitics and economy. The participants discussed global trends, from business and politics to science and culture. The conference and gala dinner were attended by political leaders, representatives of multinational companies, diplomats, scientists, athletes and artists.

LJAJIC: TRIBUNAL HAS NOT CONTRIBUTED TO FASTER RECONCILIATION IN THE BALKANS

BELGRADE, 30 November 2017 (Beta) - The president of the National Council for Cooperation with the Hague tribunal, Rasim Ljajic, said on Nov. 30 that the tribunal neither could, nor did contribute to a faster reconciliation process in the Balkans. Ljajic told Prva TV that the process of reconciliation was complex and very distant, but that talks should focus on restoring mutual trust, needed for free communication, movement of people, economy and developing cultural ties. "True reconciliation should take place in the hearts and minds of the people," said Ljajic, who is also the Serbian deputy prime minister. In his words, the Hague tribunal is a consequence of the fact that domestic judiciaries were unprepared and unable to prosecute the perpetrators of grave crimes. Recalling that some verdicts of the tribunal were controversial, especially the acquittals, Ljajic said that the Hague tribunal had not tried all those who had committed war crimes.

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