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DAILY SURVEY 04.12.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC MEETS WITH WESS MITCHELL IN WASHINGTON

BELGRADE, 1 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met in Washington with the new assistant U.S. secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Wess Mitchell, the Foreign Ministry announced on Dec. 1. The Serbian minister is the first official from Serbia to speak to a senior U.S. administration official, the press release reads. "The talks were very complex, I focused on one subject only how to find common ground for the U.S. and Serbia. Bearing in mind centuries of friendship and a long tradition of diplomatic relations, I insisted on finding a minimum of common ground -- if we cannot find the maximum, in order to contribute jointly to the stability of our region," Dacic said. He added that the talk with Mitchell was very important in this context and that he expected him to visit Serbia next year. "Serbia has a constructive approach, Serbia wants to contribute to the stability of the region, but Serbia also wants its interests to be acknowledged and a just and lasting solution to be found for all issues in the region, especially the issue of Kosovo and Metohija," Dacic said after the meeting.

DACIC: U.S. DENIES FUTURE INVOLVEMENT IN BELGRADE-PRISTINA DIALOG

BELGRADE, 1 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has said that the U.S. administration has denied claims by Hashim Thaci and Ramush Haradinaj, about the U.S. getting actively involved in the Belgrade-Pristina dialog. "What Thaci and Haradinaj are saying, the U.S. administration has absolutely denied, even in a talk with (EU High Representative) Federica Mogherini. They told Mogherini that the U.S. was not behind the statements of the ethnic Albanian leaders," Dacic told the Voice of America. The Serbian foreign minister said the U.S. officials that he spoke with during his three-day visit to Washington had told him that the U.S. would not run from participation in the Belgrade-Pristina dialog, but that the issue should be resolved with a consensus, that is, the agreement of both sides. Dacic added that the U.N. General Assembly had transferred the dialog to the European level and that any change in format should entail a new conversation on the format. Dacic also told VoA that he wanted to acquaint the new assistant U.S. state secretary in charge of Europe and Eurasia, Wess Mitchell, with the need for a permanent solution to the Kosovo issue, that is to say, a mutually acceptable solution that would support the interests of both Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija. Hashim Thaci told the Belgrade website Remarker in an interview published on Nov. 29 that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence had confirmed that the U.S. would become more involved in the Belgrade-Pristina dialog.

DACIC: SERBIA DOESN'T WITHDRAW WARRANT FOR HARADINAJ'S ARREST

BELGRADE, 3 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Dec. 3 that Serbia had not withdrawn a warrant for the arrest of Ramush Haradinaj, nor the full indictment against him, recalling that his name was removed from Interpol's notice at the request of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). "That does not mean that the arrest warrant has been withdrawn, and we will take all legal steps to rectify the situation. These is a large politicization of warrants and when arrests happen in certain countries, they are not entirely unbiased about them," Dacic said. Dacic added that Serbia would not stop prosecuting those suspected of the gravest crimes against Serbian citizens. "A move to withdraw the arrest warrant would have meant that we have given up on prosecution, which of course we have not. Not only has Serbia not withdrawn the warrant, but it has left the indictment unchanged, too. We are tracking them down, and always will," Dacic said.

VUCIC TO TALK WITH PUTIN ABOUT SERBIA'S GAS SUPPLY

BELGRADE, 1 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Dec. 1 that during his upcoming visit to Russia he would discuss gas supplies to Serbia with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. President Vucic said at a press conference that Serbia's gas consumption was growing "dramatically," as a result of the country's "industrial and economic growth." The president recalled that in 2012 Serbia spent 1.28 billion cubic meters of gas, as opposed to this year's 2.2 billion and that expectations were that spending would grow to 2.8 billion cubic meters in three years. "We believe that Serbia will need around three billion cubic meters by 2021, when the contract that we signed with Russia expires. The figure shows that Serbia is making strides in industry and production, as factories are always major gas consumers," Vucic explained. The Serbian president promised to try to "make good arrangements for the Azotara and MSK companies, whose production is fully dependent on gas." When asked if Russia had provided any guarantees or funds for Serbia's participation in the Turkish Stream, Vucic said that was not the way the matter was discussed. "We opened the issue a year ago, and we are still talking. The visit might have a tangible result, or not," the president said.

VUCIC OFFERS ASSISTANCE TO ALBANIA

BELGRADE, 2 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has offered assistance to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama after disastrous floods which hit the south of Albania, the Press Office of the Serbian President announced on Dec. 2. The Office said in a press release that President Vucic had expressed his regrets over the consequences of the flooding. The president also said that Serbia was prepared to offer full technical support and assistance to Albania in curbing the consequences of the disaster.

VULIN, LANCASTER: SERBIA-UK RELATIONS BEST IN DEFENSE

BELGRADE, 1 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin and British Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said in Belgrade, on Dec. 1 that defense relations were the best area of overall bilateral ties between the two nations. According to a press release from the Defense Ministry, Vulin and Lancaster discussed hitherto activities in bilateral military cooperation, and launching new initiatives, too. They also considered the current political and security situation in the region and world. The two officials said new security challenges, risks and threats in the form of terror, economic and energy dependence and uncontrolled migrations of from crisis areas demanded that every form of cooperation be raised to the highest possible level. Noting that Serbia had a high regard for the role of KFOR and its British service members, Vulin said the founding of a Kosovo army was completely unacceptable to Serbia and that Resolution 1244 of the U.N. Security Council clearly determined that KFOR was the only armed force there, according to a press release from the Serbian ministry.

DAILY SURVEY

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