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DAILY SURVEY 07.12.2017.
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SERBIA

VUCIC: BOSNIA WILL NOT RECOGNIZE KOSOVO

BELGRADE, 6 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated on Dec. 6 that Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had friendly relations and that he was assured by members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina that Kosovo's independence would not be recognized, for as long as Serbia does not take a different stand. After a meeting with the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vucic said the talks were not easy, "but we are not here to like each other, but to solve problems." "Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have economic relations which are above the level of political ones, which I do not view as bad at all," Vucic stated. He said that they discussed the issue of the two countries' border and made a proposal in "non-paper form". Vucic said he believed an agreement in principle was reached for "a square meter-for-square meter exchange" of parts of territory near the municipalities of Priboj and Rudo. "The important thing for us there is the Belgrade-Bar railway, which passes near the town of Strpci, and we offered an equivalent area in our territory to the Bosnian side," Vucic said. In his words, the other issue are parts of the territory near the Zvornik and Bajina Basta hydroelectric power plants, where Serbia first requested that it hold the entire area, but it was later agreed that Serbia is allowed the right of international servitude on the 14 and 19 hectares in question, for the next 99 years.

CAVUSOGLU: SERBIA TRUE FRIEND TO TURKEY

BELGRADE, 6 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met in Belgrade, on Dec. 6 with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and discussed bilateral ties, economic cooperation and the participation of Turkish companies in regional infrastructure projects. Vucic said Serbia remained committed to the further improvement of bilateral relations and cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, and to ongoing political dialog at high and top levels, the president's office said in a press release. Cavusoglu said Serbia was a true friend to Turkey, and that Vucic's policy was good for the entire region, the press release reported. Cavusoglu also called the visit of Turkish President Rejep Tayyip Erdogan to Serbia "excellent," thanking Vucic for his personal contribution to its organization. The Serbian president voiced satisfaction with the level of bilateral relations, calling it the highest ever, as evidenced by a large number of exchanged visits by officials in the previous period, including Erdogan's. Vucic said "Serbia expects the start of work of the Serbia-Turkey High Cooperation Council, whose formation is envisaged in a joint political declaration made during Erdogan's visit, to provide an especially great contribution to the further bolstering of relations," the press release noted. Vucic also said two more Turkish factories would be opened before the year is out in Serbia, in Lebane and Zitoradja, the statement added. He thanked Turkey, another candidate EU member, for supporting Serbia's EU bid, the press release said.

BRNABIC: BOSNIA SERBIA'S KEY REGIONAL PARTNER

BELGRADE, 6 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at a Dec. 6 meeting with members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that Serbia considered Bosnia one of its key partners in the region. At a meeting in Belgrade with Dragan Covic, Bakir Izetbegovic and Mladen Ivanic, Brnabic said she was happy with the good economic cooperation and the steadily growing foreign trade between the two countries, the Serbian government said in a press release. The collocutors said cooperation could improve with a boost to investment, the execution of infrastructure projects and joint ventures into third-party markets. Brnabic said Serbia was pleased that there was mutual support in EU integration and regional cooperation, adding that she valued the successful cooperation between Serbia and Bosnia in multiple regional initiatives within the Berlin Process. The Serbian PM and members of the Bosnian Presidency agreed that regional stability and sincere dialog to resolve all open issues were important to the development of West Balkan countries. The Bosnian Presidency members also had a meeting with Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic.

BRNABIC, WB DIRECTOR: SERBIA HAS MADE STRIDES

BELGRADE, 6 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met in Sofia, on Dec. 6 with World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva to discuss cooperation. The meeting was held on the eve of the international conference Stronger Regional Integration in the Balkans, taking place in Sofia on Dec. 7. Brnabic and Georgieva agreed that, thanks to comprehensive economic reforms, Serbia had reached macroeconomic stability over the past few years and succeeded in achieving financial consolidation, as confirmed by its progress in the WB Doing Business rankings, the Serbian government said in a press release. Other topics at the meeting were WB projects in Serbia in infrastructure, energy, health care, education, public administration reform, financial sector development and the small and medium enterprise sector. Brnabic briefed Georgieva on the progress in implementing the World Bank program Strategic Framework for Partnership 2016-2020, which focuses on fiscal sustainability, financial and macroeconomic stability and building institutional capacities, the press release reads. The Serbian PM said regional cooperation was one of the basic priorities of her cabinet and that creating a common economic area in the Balkans would increase economic growth, reduce unemployment and boost the standard of living for citizens. Brnabic added that Serbia attached great importance to advancing cooperation with Bulgaria, especially in building the Nis-Sofia highway, part of Corridor 10, and the reconstruction of the Nis-Dimitrovgrad railway.

KUBUROVIC: SELECTIVE JUSTICE OF THE HAGUE TRIBUNAL

BELGRADE, 6 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic stated at the session of the U.N. Security Council on Dec. 6, that the Hague tribunal had delivered "selective justice". As proof, Kuburovic cited the fact that of the 161 persons the tribunal had indicted, 109 were Serbs. "Among the convicted, 70 percent are Serbs", the Serbian justice minister said. Recollecting that hundreds of thousands of Serbs had been driven out of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, Kuburovic said that the tribunal had not convicted almost anyone for those crimes. She dismissed the claims in the reports of the president and chief prosecutor of the Tribunal about Serbia not cooperating in the case against members of the Serbian Radical Party Petar Jojic and Vjerica Radeta, who are accused of contempt of the Tribunal. Kuburovic said that the estimate of the Tribunal's officials about there being "no political will" for that in Belgrade was "wrong and unacceptable". She recollected that the court in Belgrade had rejected the request from The Hague for arresting and extraditing Jojic and Radeta "based on the law, harmonized with the Tribunal's statute." Kuburovic urged the Security Council to consider Serbia's proposal for its citizens convicted by the Tribunal to serve sentences in Serbian prisons.

COVIC: WORK IS NEEDED ON ISSUES THAT BURDEN BOSNIA-SERBIA RELATIONS

BELGRADE, 6 December 2017 (Beta) - The head of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dragan Covic, stated in Belgrade on Dec. 6, that members of the Presidency and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic discussed the improvement of cooperation and "getting rid of issues that burden relations" between the two countries. At a joint news conference with Vucic in the Palace Serbia, Covic said that Bosnia and Herzegovina would adjust its views regarding Belgrade's stands on Serbia's internal matters. "The topics inclued how to improve cooperation, get rid of the issues that burden our relations, and remove trade barriers," Covic stated. He said the joint stand was that border issues with neighbors had to be solved and thanked Vucic for "alternatives for the border", since open issues were an obstacle to Bosnia's applying for EU membership. "We must find a solution for the border together, through much more intensive communication. We reach agreements more slowly for our part because of the complexity of relations within Bosnia. Leave us more room to reach a stand," Covic stated. After Covic's address, a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, stated that Bosnia's foreign policy was conducted from Sarajevo, with consideration for the stands of the neighboring countries. The news conference in Palace Serbia was attended by the Serbian minister for trade, tourism and telecommunications, Rasim Ljajic, the minister for construction, transportation and infrastructure, Zorana Mihajlovic, and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.

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