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DAILY SURVEY 15.12.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC: KOSOVO IS OUR JERUSALEM

BELGRADE, 14 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in Belgrade on Dec. 14 that Serbia and Israel had friendly relations with a rich tradition and added that Kosovo was Serbia's Jerusalem. Speaking at a conference marking 25 years since the establishing of diplomatic relations between Israel and Yugoslavia, that is Serbia, Dacic said that Serbia appreciated Israel's principled stand regarding the non-recognition of the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo and that "this positively reflects on the quality and content of overall relations." "Ladies and gentlemen, Kosovo is our Jerusalem," Dacic said in his introductory address. The Serbian foreign minister said that relations between Serbia and Israel could be described as "being on the right track," with prospects of having even more quality and content, adding that good relations were being proven by the developing political dialogue, growing economic cooperation and the presence of Israeli investments in Serbia. He said he was very honored to be opening the conference, as the first deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Serbia, together with the ambassador of Israel to Serbia, Alona Fisher-Kamm, to mark 25 years since the re-establishing of diplomatic relations. Dacic said it was his "personal opinion" that the former Yugoslavia's breaking diplomatic relations with Israel had been a big mistake. Yugoslavia broke diplomatic relations with Israel in 1967, during the Six-Day War. In her address, the ambassador of Israel in Belgrade, Alona Fisher-Kamm, thanked Serbia for the direction in which relations were going, to the benefit of both nations. She pointed out that trade and Israeli investment in Serbia had grown. With the conference called Jubilee Years, the Embassy of Israel marked 25 years since the establishing of diplomatic relations with the former Yugoslavia, that is Serbia, and key dates in the history of Israel from 1897 to 2018.

DACIC: SERBIA KEEPS PRINCIPLED STAND REGARDING JERUSALEM

BELGRADE, 14 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in Belgrade on Dec. 14, commenting on the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, that this was "a very sensitive issue," that the conflict of Israelis and Palestinians had been going on for a very long time and that "a mutual solution should be found through dialogue." "That is a topic that many international organizations are dealing with. Serbia is keeping its principled stand," Dacic told a news conference at the Foreign Ministry when asked to comment on the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem and the capital of Israel.

DACIC, JHINAOUI: NEW CHAPTER IN POLITICAL COOPERATION BETWEEN SERBIA, TUNISIA

BELGRADE, 14 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian and Tunisian ministers of foreign affairs Ivica Dacic and Khemaies Jhinaoui agreed in Belgrade on Dec. 14 that relations between the two countries were friendly and that "a new chapter has opened" in political cooperation between the two states, which stretched back to the time of the Non-Aligned Movement. Dacic and Jhinaoui, who attended a signing ceremony for a Protocol on the Cooperation of National Libraries of the two countries, recalled that the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations was being celebrated this year. "We are proud of the history of our relations, our cooperation that goes back to the time of the Non-Aligned Movement. Just how good our relations are is seen in a treaty on canceling visas signed in July 1965," Dacic told a news conference with Jhinaoui. Dacic voiced his gratitude with what he said was "Tunisia's consistent position" where the recognition of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence was concerned, "despite strong pressure and the lies that are present on the global scene." He also presented a joint initiative, i.e. a proposal for a street in Belgrade to be named after Tunisia, and reciprocally, for a street in Tunisia to be named after the Republic of Serbia. He said that economic cooperation could be better and that it equaled EUR33 million in the first ten months of 2017. Jhinaoui also met in Belgrade with Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic.

VUCIC, HERNANDEZ DISCUSS SERBIA AND CUBA'S MUTUAL SUPPORT

BELGRADE, 14 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met in Havana on Dec. 14 with the speaker of the National Assembly of Cuba, Esteban Lazo Hernandez, and discussed the two countries' cooperation in economy, but also mutual support on the international plane, reads a statement issued by Vucic's office. Vucic thanked Cuba for its position on Kosovo and Metohija and for advocating the respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty of member countries of the United Nations, and added that Serbia would continue to support Cuba in the U.N. and in other international organizations. "We are proud of our friendship and I believe this visit will improve our economic cooperation," Vucic said. He also said that Serbia was interested in increasing the volume of trade because, in his opinion, there was room for cooperation in the fields of agriculture and food industry, biotechnology and genetic engineering, tourism, construction and energy. An increase in trade between Serbia and Cuba, Vucic said, is possible "bearing in mind the economic reforms which Cuba has started, which open doors to foreign investments and cooperation in trade," the statement reads. Hernandez said Cuba was a true friend to Serbia and recalled that the two countries' diplomatic relations had been going on for 75 years now.

GOJKOVIC: SERBIA'S PRIORITIES ARE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN POLICY, REGIONAL STABILITY, ECONOMIC GROWTH

BELGRADE, 14 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic said on Dec. 14 that Serbia's priorities in 2018 would be the preservation of an independent foreign policy, peace, regional cooperation and stability, and economic growth. Speaking at the conference "The Economist - The World in 2018" in the Serbian parliament building, she said that the global risk challenges, such as terrorism, cybercrime, migration, climate change, did not avoid Serbia, which must have a response to them like the rest of the world did. As the most important foreign policy goals next year, she cited membership in the EU and the preservation of the best possible relations with Russia, China and the U.S. Gojkovic believes that reforms have enabled the stabilization of public finances, an increase in salaries and pensions and in foreign direct investments. "We can say that life will be better in Serbia in 2018," she said, adding that the business environment would be improved because Serbia wanted to cooperate with the immediate neighborhood. She said that cooperation in the region was progressing, but not at the pace Serbia would like it to.

VULIN: SERBIA TRULY RESPECTS BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, AND TRULY LOVES REPUBLIKA SRPSKA

BANJA LUKA, 14 December 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Defense Aleksandar Vulin reiterated in Banjaluka on Dec. 14 that Serbia was devoted to peace and stability, stressing that for that it needed to have the support of all the countries in the region. "Serbia truly respects Bosnia and Herzegovina, and truly loves Republika Srpska," Vulin said after meeting with the RS president, Milorad Dodik. He stressed that Serbia respected Bosnia and Herzegovina's territorial integrity and sovereignty, adding that the government in Belgrade believed that RS had its own place which could not in any way be diminished or threatened by any later interpretation of the Dayton Accords. "The state of Serbia is a guarantor of the Dayton agreement and it must be followed and carried out unconditionally," Vulin said. He further said that Serbia could accept anything arranged by the representatives of the two entities and three peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Vulin said that Serbia was trying to economically help RS, announcing that the Serbian Ministry of Defense would substantially increase the volume of cooperation with the RS defense industry. The Serbian defense minister explained that his ministry had secured money for an overhaul of airplane and tank engines at the Pale-based Special Engines Factory and the Orao maintenance facility in Bijeljina. RS Premier Zeljka Cvijanovic attended the talks with the Serbian Defense Ministry delegation.

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