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DAILY SURVEY 07.03.2018.
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TRILATERAL MEETING

DACIC, CRNADAK HOLD INFORMAL MEETING IN MOSTAR

MOSTAR, 6 March 2018 (Beta) - In Mostar, on March 6, ahead of the start of a trilateral meeting of Bosnian presidency members with the presidents of Serbia and Croatia, an informal meeting of foreign ministers of Bosnia and Serbia Igor Crnadak and Ivica Dacic was held. Crnadak and Dacic talked about bilateral relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, as well as relations in the region, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina has said. Dacic confirmed his participation in a WB6 ministerial meeting which will be held in Sarajevo on March 16. The ministers discussed future cooperation between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina within the process of European integration, based on a cooperation treaty between the Bosnian Council of Ministers and Serbian cabinet in the process of accession to the EU. At the end of the meeting the ministers concluded that the trilateral meeting of members of the Bosnian Presidency and the Serbian and Croatian presidents was hugely important from the standpoint of contributing to the lasting stabilization of the region and resolving open issues, the statement said.

VUCIC: IT'S IMPERATIVE TO BUILD PEACE, STABILITY BETWEEN SERBIA, CROATIA, BIH

MOSTAR, 6 March 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Mostar, on March 3, that it was imperative to build peace and stability, and strengthen economic and trade ties between Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. After a trilateral meeting with the BiH and Croatian leaders, the Serbian president said that high-ranking talks between the three states were "never sweet and easy." "It is our duty to create frameworks in which the people will feel safe, work, earn more and live better," the Serbian president said at a joint press conference. President Vucic invited everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina to attend a commercial expo in Mostar next month, adding that Serbia was a friend of the fair, bringing the biggest number of exhibitors to the event. Having noted that the three states shared a multitude of problems they had inherited, Vucic said that the efforts were under way to alleviate some, and solve the others. "We have discussed highways to link Sarajevo and Belgrade. We are ready to do it," Vucic said, adding that Serbia was equally prepared for the reconstruction of the Belgrade-Zagreb railway line. The president specified that Serbia had allocated EUR250 million for the reconstruction of the Ruma-Sid railroad section. The Serbian president underlined that it was necessary to lift administrative barriers between the three states, suggesting that customs tariffs, taxation rates and incentives should be the same in all the three as well. He made it clear that it wasn't a bid at creating a new Yugoslavia, but rather an effort to create stability and ensure economic growth. "We won't be able to keep people from leaving until they are offered a proper job and a much higher salary. Likewise, investors will not come until they feel confident about our market, political stability, peace, different and better relations we need to build in the future," Vucic said. President Vucic reiterated that Serbia supported the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the equality of the three constitutive peoples and two entities within, underlining that Serbia had no intention whatsoever of meddling in the country's constitutional change. Speaking of border disputes between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the president said that Serbia was prepared to resolve the issue, hoping that a solution would be identified soon, given its importance for bilateral relations and the two states' accession to the EU. President Vucic said that his Croatian counterpart, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, was expected to visit Belgrade soon, promising that all the requests by the Croatian ethnic minority in Serbia would be addressed by then. Vucic also announced that the next tripartite meeting should take place in Novi Sad.

MEMBERS OF BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY: QUESTION OF CHANGING ELECTION LAW INTERNAL QUESTION

MOSTAR, 6 March 2018 (Beta) - Bosnian Presidency Chairman Dragan Covic has said that a meeting of heads of state from Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia was an opportunity to open certain controversial questions between the three states, which had long weighed down the relations between these countries. "The subjects [that we discussed] were an economic, social and demographic approach to our nations' problems. The essence of the meeting was the EU's strategy for expansion and we looked for joint points to improve relations," Covic told a news conference. According to him, the officials discussed building an atmosphere so that the executive authorities in all three states became more capable of solving open issues, which primarily pertained to the future of the three countries. Covic said that the purpose of the meeting was to build a good economic environment so that Bosnia and Herzegovina could continue as forcefully as possible to the EU.
The Bosniak member of the Bosnian Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, said that the EU's new strategy offered a chance to stem the outflow of young people from the country, and said that the principles contained in the EU's new strategy were a cure for Bosnia. Izetbegovic stressed that an urgent problem existed between Bosnia and Croatia regarding the construction of the Peljesac Bridge, adding that Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic had reiterated that Croatia backed Bosnia's right to gain access to the sea. "We discussed infrastructure and a highway in the shape of a ring that would link Bosnia and Herzegovina to Serbia," Izetbegovic said.
Serb member of the Bosnian Presidency Mladen Ivanic has said that good relations in the triangle of the three states enable good relations inside Bosnia and Herzegovina. "We have many things that we share, like infrastructure and economic relations. Trade is growing strongly. Our people have a lot to gain from that and this should be worked on," Ivanic said. He stressed that the question of building a bridge on the Sava between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia near Gradiska, as well as the problem of the Bratoljub Bridge that linked Ljubovija and Bratunac needed to be solved.
The three Presidency members confirmed at the meeting that changes to Bosnia and Herzegovina's election law had not been particularly discussed, except for notifying the Serbian and Croatian presidents that it was an internal question, which needed to be solved in regular parliamentary procedure, while honoring court decisions on the issue and the equality of all three peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mladen Ivanic said that the question of changing the election law "is more difficult than believed," stressing that the issue would weigh down the political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina until the October elections. Bosnia has an obligation to adopt changes to its election law by the end of May so that it can apply the European Court of Human Rights' verdict in the Sejdic-Finci case, as well as the Bosnian Constitutional Court's decision that applies to the selection of delegates in the Lower House of the Muslim-Croat Federation's Parliament and councillors in the Mostar City Council. The Croat side is seeking changes to the election law to prevent the selection of the Croat member of the Bosnian Presidency by Bosniak majority vote, as the case was with electing Zeljko Komsic.

SERBIA

SERBIAN OFFICIALS VOICE CONDOLENCES AFTER RUSSIAN PLANE CRASHES IN SYRIA

BELGRADE, 6 March 2018 (Beta) - On March 6 Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic voiced his condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin after the death of 39 people in a Russian transport aircraft which crashed in Syria on March 6. "At this sad time the Serbian people stand by the Russian people," Vucic said in his note and begged Putin to "convey words of support and true sympathy to the families of those who died," on behalf of all Serbian citizens and his own.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic sent a telegram with her condolences to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. "We received the news with great sorrow... of the crash of the military plane in Syria. In the name of the Serbian government and me personally, I voice my deepest condolences to you and the families of the deceased," Ana Brnabic was quoted as saying by the Serbian cabinet.
Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin voiced his condolences to his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu in a letter in which he said that the entire world "ought to respect the sacrifices that Russia suffers to prevent the evil that is the Islamic State from appearing in other countries and cities."
A Russian An-26 aircraft crashed in Syria on March 6 while landing at the Khmeimim air base, the Russian Ministry of Defense said, adding that there were no survivors. The Interfax agency said that the crash might have been caused by a technical error.

BRNABIC: SERBIA, GEORGIA ARE FRIENDLY STATES

BELGRADE, 6 March 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at a March 6 meeting with Georgia's Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze that Serbia and Georgia were friendly states, and that the similarities they shared in their culture and tradition provided a good basis for the development of the relationship. The Georgian politician, who's also a deputy prime minister, said that the potential of economic cooperation between the two states was underused, given that they had signed an agreement on economic and trade cooperation, the Serbian government reported. The Serbian PM said that the principle of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity was an important moment in the bilateral relationship, thanking Georgia for a firm decision not to recognize Kosovo's independence. Brnabic added that signing an agreement on public administration reform, which pertained to creating a more efficient and transparent administration, was an important step toward more effective cooperation. The Georgian foreign minister said that a business forum in Georgia was an opportunity for Serbian and Georgian businesspeople to make contacts and plan new projects. The Serbian cabinet reported that Janelidze had invited Brnabic to attend the Open Government Partnership summit in Tbilisi, in July, expected to attract representatives from 70 states. The conference will be attended by the Georgian prime minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

BRNABIC: SERBIA'S GOAL TO APPROACH SWITZERLAND

BELGRADE, 6 March 2018 (Beta) - Deputy state secretary of the Swiss Foreign Ministry Krystyna Marty Lang handed on March 6 a new strategy for economic and development cooperation with Serbia in the next four years to Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic. The strategy envisages EUR90 million in donations from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation for the period from 2018 to 2021, the Serbian government has announced. Brnabic said that the previous strategy had greatly contributed to economic development and enhancing public administration, energy efficiency and renewable energy resources, the statement said. The new arrangement envisages substantial funds for continuing the application of dual education in Serbia, the Serbian prime minister said. Lang said, according to the statement, that Serbia had achieved good results in conducting reforms and that it was essential that it continue to strengthen its economy and advance its legal framework for the purpose of creating easier business conditions for future investors. According to Brnabic, Serbia's goal is to approach Switzerland in the area of information technologies, digitization and innovation, the statement said.

KUBUROVIC, CROATIAN AMBASSADOR DISCUSS VISIT BY CROATIAN JUSTICE MINISTER

BELGRADE, 6 March 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Justice Nela Kuburovic talked on March 6 with Croatian Ambassador to Serbia Gordan Bakota about a visit by the Croatian Minister of Justice Drazen Bosnjakovic to Belgrade at the end of March. According to a statement from the Serbian government, Kuburovic and Bakota agreed that the meeting would be a good chance to show the readiness of both sides to truly cooperate and their devotion to solving disputes and that if this brought concrete results, that would be a major step forward in relations between the two states and establishing stability in the region. During the meeting both officials stressed that good regional cooperation and bilateral relations were in the interest of both states, especially in the area of the judiciary. Bakota said that Croatia was ready to offer Serbia its full support in the negotiating process, as well as expert support in implementing activities in Chapter 23 of the accession talks with the EU.

DAILY SURVEY

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