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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press service
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DAILY SURVEY 06.03.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC, KORCOK DESCRIBE SERBIA, SLOVAKIA AS FRIENDLY STATES WITH IMPORTANT HISTORIC TIES

BELGRADE, 5 March 2018 (Beta) - The Slovakian and Serbian foreign ministers, Ivan Korcok and Ivica Dacic, respectively, agreed in Belgrade, on March 5, that their states were friendly, but that there was room for improvement in the economy, announcing celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations. At a joint press conference with Minister Dacic, at the Palace of Serbia, Korcok said that the two states shared important historic ties, and that they should use them to build their cooperation in the future. The Slovakian minister added that economic cooperation needed improvements, saying that the energy sector and innovation were the areas where the two states could work together for mutual benefit. "I am on a diplomatic tour of the Western Balkans, because I want to find out about the progress these states are making on their path to the European Union," Slovakia's acting foreign minister said. He has replaced Miroslav Lajcak, elected president of the U.N. General Assembly. The Slovakian minister praised Serbia's efforts to identify a solution for Kosovo, confident that Belgrade and Pristina were able to find one to serve the interests of both sides, which is of vital importance for regional stabiltiy. "Progress has been made in the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, and a legally binding document should look after the interests of both sides," Korcok said in Belgrade, adding that on March 6 he would be visiting Tirana, as Albania was an important partner of Slovakia. The Serbian foreign minister thanked Korcok for Slovakia's continuous and firm support to Serbia's EU accession, and, as he put it, his firm support to Serbia's criticism of Kosovo's independence.

DACIC, NORTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR: NO OPEN ISSUES BETWEEN BELGRADE AND PYONGYANG

BELGRADE, 5 March 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met in Belgrade, on March 5, with North Korea's ambassador to Belgrade Ri Pyong-du, to discuss bilateral relations and the development of cooperation. Having noted that there were no open issues between the two countries, Minister Dacic thanked the ambassador for Pyongyang's decision not to recognize the unilaterally recognized independence of Kosovo, adding that Belgrade expected it not to change it in the future either, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted the minister as saying in a press release. Dacic reiterated Serbia's commitment to the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula and a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue based on talks, adding that Belgrade welcomed a thaw in relations between North Korea and South Korea, and the Pyongyang-Seoul joint performance in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyongyang, hoping the two would uphold the trend in the future as well. The Romania-based ambassador, accredited to Serbia on a non-residential basis, expressed readiness for the development of cooperation, recalling a traditional friendship rooted in the days of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and promising that support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia would continue.

PM, SLOVAK OFFICIAL DISCUSS BILATERAL TIES, DEVELOPMENT THROUGH ECONOMIC COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 5 March 2018 (Beta) - Prime Minister Ana Brnabic on March 5 met with acting Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Ivan Korcok to discuss bilateral relations and possibilities to further promote them through cooperation in the economy, the energy sector and innovations. Brnabic said that setting a possible EU accession date for Serbia was an encouraging and positive decision, which would have a positive effect on the country's further integration process. She said that fiscal consolidation and achieving long-term macroeconomic stability provided for a favorable business environment and additional security to foreign companies wishing to invest in Serbia. Korcok stressed that Slovakia firmly advocates EU enlargement to the Western Balkans. According to him, Serbia has been recognized as the leader and the crucial country for preserving stability in the region and Slovakia is strongly committed to being a constructive partner and support to Serbia on its EU accession path, adding that progress in the rule of law was crucial for Serbia's EU path.

VUJOVIC: SERBIA SHOULD HAVE NEW ARRANGEMENT WITH IMF WITHOUT FINANCIAL SUPPORT

BELGRADE, 5 March 2018 (Beta) - Finance Minister Dusan Vujovic said on Mt. Kopaonik on March 5 that Serbia had successfully completed a three-year stand-by arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and should agree a new program, in the form of a non-financing tool. Speaking at the Kopaonik Business Forum, Vujovic said a new arrangement with the IMF, through Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI), would enable Serbia to more easily address challenges that it could encounter in the next period. At a panel titled "Government's achievement, problems and solutions," Vujovic said that a 3.5 percent growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was planned for 2018, based on projections of better results in agriculture and energy sector, while new sources of growth would be needed in 2019. According to him, after achieving fiscal stability, the government will have no trouble in maintaining the budget deficit at 0.7 percent of GDP. He recalled that in 2017, the budget surplus stood at 1.2 percent of GDP, although a deficit of 1.7 percent of GDP had been planned. Vujovic went on to say that it was important for Serbia now to be given an investment rating, which would mean that it had been recognized as a reliable country with a favorable business environment. He added that in order to reach a sustainable and fast growth, Serbia needed macroeconomic stability, more investments, greater productivity and a stable financial sector to support investments. IMF European Department Deputy Director Thanos Arvanitis said that the time was right for Serbia to continue reforms, strengthen the economy and complete its EU accession process. "Serbia has done much to improve the labor market and conditions of doing business and to strengthen the financial sector, but structural reforms require additional effort," he noted.

U.S. AMBASSADOR, BECHTEL-ENKA DELEGATION DISCUSS ROADS WITH MINISTER MIHAJLOVIC

BELGRADE, 5 March 2018 (Beta) - The U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, and representatives of the Bechtel-Enka consortium, on March 5 visited Serbian Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic, to discuss three road construction projects Serbia had been preparing. These include the Morava Corridor, a highway linking Pojate and Preljina, the Highway of Peace to connect Nis, Merdare and Pristina, and a Belgrade-Sarajevo highway, the ministry specified. Minister Mihajlovic said that the pace at which the documentation for the Morava Corridor was being prepared was "as planned," and that negotiations on possible financing models lie ahead. Bechtel's president for Europe and the Middle East, Stuart Jones, said he was "impressed with results in the Serbian infrastructure sector," adding that his company was interested in cooperating with the state, the ministry released.

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