Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press service
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DAILY SURVEY 22.03.2018.
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BELGRADE, 21 March 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on March 21 that Serbia had proposed that the meeting of presidents of Russia and the U.S., Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, take place in Belgrade. "As a militarily neutral country, Serbia has the foreign-policy capacity to host the presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States of America together. It would be the ultimate affirmation of the policy we as a state are conducting," Dacic told Sputnik. On March 20, Trump called Putin to congratulate him on his electoral win, and later said he wanted to meet with Putin "in the not too distant future," while the Kremlin announced that the conversation had included a special focus on a possible bilateral encounter. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later told the press that there were no specific plans for the two presidents to meet. Dacic said "Belgrade is completely ready to host a meeting such as this, which has planetary importance."


NEW YORK, 21 March 2018 (Beta) - During a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on March 21, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres declared support for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation (RTS) has reported. Vucic said it was important that Resolution 1244 of the U.N. Security Council be honored. Guterres declared support to the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and stated that all problems must be solved peacefully. The office of the Serbian president has stated that Vucic and Guterres discussed the situation in the region and the current state of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. Vucic will soon inform the public in Serbia about the contents of this and other meetings he had in New York, the statement reads.


BELGRADE, 21 March 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated on March 21 that it seemed to him that the western powers firmly maintained the stand of keeping Kosovo independent, and added that this was very hard for Serbia. "I am not satisfied. I had in-depth discussions with people who decide about many things, from different capitals of the West, and it seems to me that their stand is to firmly keep to the principle of preserving Kosovo's independence, and that is very hard for us," Vucic told the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation (RTS). Asked about how satisfied he was with the meeting at the United Nations and all other meetings over the past few days, Vucic replied that he was satisfied with the work and efforts of the Serbian side, but not with the results. He said that "the western countries do not wish to discuss the issue of where the territory of Kosovo belongs; they consider that to be a closed issue." "After three days of difficult meetings, which I cannot speak about too much, my conclusion is that, in order to prepare a platform for the citizens, I must have support from the international community. This was a disappointment to me, we understood the message, it is now up to us to continue working," Vucic said. He added that he stated during the meeting that "they had opened Pandora's box in 2008, by not honoring Resolution 1244." "For a long time now, we have been talking about the future of Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija, and attempting to find a compromise solution. The Albanian side is doing their work, the international community theirs, and I have endeavored that we bring Serbia back to the surface, from the abyss in which we were," he stated.


BELGRADE, 21 March 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on March 21 that the German delegation that is to visit Serbia would not bring a paper with a legally binding agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. Vucic told the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation that the main thing was for us to know what Germany wants and what it doesn't want. "I know it, but I can't speak of it here," the president said.


BELGRADE, 21 March 2018 (Beta) - The speaker of the Serbian Parliament, Maja Gojkovic, met in Sweden on March 21 with the speaker of the Swedish Parliament, Urban Alin, and Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Valstrom, and discussed Serbia's European integration and the dialogue with Pristina. According to the statement of the Parliament speaker's office, during her official visit to Sweden, Gojkovic thanked this country for its support to Serbia's European integration. Gojkovic said that Serbia advocated dialogue and compromise in resolving the Kosovo problem, but that this did not mean that one side should get everything and the other side nothing. She added that, even after four years, the Pristina authorities had not formed the Community of Serb Municipalities, despite it being the crucial part of the Brussels agreement. The Swedish foreign minister said her country was a friend of Serbia and a supporter of the EU's enlargement in the Western Balkans, and that she hoped the forthcoming summit in Sofia would be productive and good. Valstrom pointed out that she encouraged Serbia to continue with the reforms and European integration, while the speaker of the Swedish Parliament said Sweden always supported the EU's "open doors" policy. They also talked about the additional development of cooperation between the two countries through parliamentary ties, the statement reads. The two parliament speakers discussed the development of cooperation at the level of parliamentary committees, especially for European and foreign affairs, and those in charge of gender equality and environmental protection.


BELGRADE, 21 March 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian minister for European integration, Jadranka Joksimovic, on March 21 reiterated that Serbia had completely prepared the negotiating positions for five chapters: 33 - financial and budgetary provisions, 9 - financial services, 13 - fisheries, 18 - statistics and 17 - economic and monetary policy. We believe that, after the Progress Report in April this year, the EU member states will approve the opening of a more sizeable package of chapters by the end of Bulgaria's presidency, Joksimovic said during a meeting with the Czech ambassador to Serbia, Ivana Hlavsova. They discussed bilateral relations between the two countries, the process of Serbia's accession to the EU, reforms, the Enlargement Strategy and other current issues, reads the statement of the Serbian government. Joksimovic pointed out that Serbia viewed the Enlargement Strategy as a concrete political signal, which indicated that our country was being seriously counted on as a credible candidate for admission in the EU. The minister reiterated that 2025 was not being perceived as the fixed year of admission, but as an incentive and an encouraging proposed framework. Joksimovic thanked the Czech Republic for its assistance so far in the process of European integration, because that country particularly helped in establishing the system for Serbia's participation in the EU's civilian missions. In her words, Serbia has recognized the countries of the Visegrad Group, of which the Czech Republic is a member, as a good platform for additional cooperation. Ambassador Ivana Hlavsova stated that Serbia would have the Czech Republic's continued support in the accession process.


BELGRADE, 21 March 2018 (Beta) - In the resumed technical dialog in Brussels, Belgrade insisted on the issue of establishing the Community of Serb Municipalities, but Pristina was not ready to discuss it, the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation quoted Marko Djuric, head of the Serbian government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija, as saying. Djuric spearheaded the Serbian negotiating team in the dialogue round of March 19 to 21. Earlier, the European Commission announced that no further progress had been made in the new round of technical talks. Brussels urged Belgrade and Pristina to redouble their efforts to implement the agreements reached to date, emphasizing that progress in normalizing relations was the key factor in their bid to join the European Union. A press release noted that the two sides' chief negotiators, Marko Djuric and Avin Arifi with their teams, resumed the earlier talks, with EU mediation, rearding the unfulfilled deals reached earlier in the dialogue. Particular stress was on the agreement on the Community of Serb Municipalities, energy, the bridge in Mitrovica, the integrated running of the administrative crossings and freedom of movement, the statement read further. This was the second round of technical negotiations since the beginning of the year. It was held ahead of a meeting between the Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci, scheduled by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini for March 23.


BRUSELSS, 21 March 2018 (Beta) - No further headway was made in the new round of negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina at the technical level in Brussels, the European Commission announced on March 21, urging both sides to redouble their efforts to implement earlier agreements. The EC's statement reminds both sides that progress in the normalization of relations is key to their advancement toward the EU. The two sides' chief negotiators, Marko Djuric and Avin Arifi with their teams, met in Brussels, from March 19 to 21, with EU mediation, for talks at the technical level. They continued earlier talks on the deals reached in the dialogue held under EU auspices, which remain unfulfilled, in particular the agreement on the Community of Serb Municipalities, energy, the bridge in Mitrovica, integrated running of administrative crossings and freedom of movement, read the statement by EC spokesperson Maja Kocijancic. Though the negotiations were thorough, no further progress was made. The EU urged both sides to redouble their efforts to enforce the deals, recalling that progress in normalization of relations is key to their bid to join the EU, the press release notes. The last round of the dialogue at the technical level was held late in February, under EU mediation, after almost a year-long pause.


KRAGUJEVAC, 21 March 2018 (Beta) - Swiss Ambassador to Serbia Philippe Guex said on March 21 that Switzerland would donate roughly EUR100 million to Serbia over the next four years. He told BETA that Switzerland was among the four leading foreign donors in Serbia, primarily at the level of local government, but also in business, dual education and energy efficiency. For that, we have almost EUR100 million for Serbia in the next four years, Guex said, adding that since the start of cooperation in 1991, Switzerland had donated approximately EUR350 million to Serbia. The ambassador noted that Switzerland pursued this policy of solidarity with Serbia largely thanks to a large Serbian expatriate community in Switzerland, almost 200,000 people with dual citizenship. He said Serbia had already taken steps that are significant for its development in macroeconomic policy, but that there remained a lot of room for improvement in the sector of attracting foreign investors, legal regulations and judicial independence. Guex told BETA that Switzerland's mission was to be a "source of inspiration" to Serbia in educational reform. We don't mean to cast ourselves as teachers, we only wish to give advice to Serbia, as it is in fact impossible to copy one system in another country, in different conditions, said Guex, who held a lecture in Kragujevac, as part of the Days of Economists, before students of the Faculty of Economics, on the topic Economic and Political Characteristics of Switzerland - Lessons for Serbia.


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