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DAILY SURVEY 13.04.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC: TALKS ON PERMANENT SOLUTION FOR KOSOVO AND METOHIJA ARE IN INITIAL PHASE

BELGRADE, 12 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic stated on April 12 that claims that the Community of Serb Municipalities would be formed according to Kosovo law were "ridiculous," and that talks about the permanent solution for KiM were in the initial phase. "It would be the same as if the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina were to annul parts of the Dayton agreement -- that is ridiculous. They are just probing how firm we are," Dacic told the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation, adding that Serbia's stand was clear and that there would be no compromise or dilemmas regarding the Community. Dacic pointed out that he believed the talks about the permanent solution for Kosovo and Metohija were in the initial phase and that "the dialogue that is currently underway is about technical issues." Commenting on a visit of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, he said it would be a good opportunity for a discussion, recollecting that the 180th anniversary of the establishing of diplomatic relations between Serbia and France next year.

VUCIC, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER: FROZEN CONFLICT NOT A GOOD SOLUTION FOR KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

BELGRADE, 12 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian agreed in Belgrade, on April 12 that a "frozen conflict" was not a good solution for Kosovo and Metohija, and that the issue should be solved. Le Drian told a news conference held with President Aleksandar Vucic that France lamented the March 26 arrest in Kosovska Mitrovica of Kosovo and Metohija Office director Marko Djuric, and that his country had immediately responded to the arrest. The French minister said that the Brussels agreement needed to be carried out, and that the agreement acknowledged both sides. He said that economic cooperation, including big French companies doing business in Serbia, encouraged trust between Serbia and France. The Serbian president said that Serbia and France were true friends, and that France was one of the biggest investors in Serbia, as its companies employed 11,000 people.
Serbian Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic and Le Drian signed an amendment to an agreement between the Serbian and French governments for financing previous feasibility studies for a project on building a subway in Belgrade. Director of the Office for National Security and Protecting Secret Information Goran Mamic and French Ambassador to Serbia Frederic Mondoloni signed an agreement on behalf of the Serbian and French governments on the exchange and mutual protection of secret information.
Le Drian had separate meetings with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. The Serbian prime minister and French foreign minister said that the two countries strived toward improving bilateral relations through intensifying dialog at the highest level, proof of which was an upcoming visit by French President Emanuel Macron to Serbia. The Serbian and French foreign ministers agreed that Serbia and France would jointly mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the 180th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations next year.
The Serbian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that Drian had conveyed French President Emanuel Macron's wishes to visit Serbia by the end of the year and to have the Memorial of Gratitude to France, which is being reconstructed by both states, unveiled during his visit. After the talks, the ministers of foreign affairs of Serbia and France placed wreaths at the French military cemetery.

VUCIC: COMMUNITY IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE CREATED ACCORDING TO EXISTING LAWS, BUT AFTER HARMONIZATION

BELGRADE, 12 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic denied on Apr. 12 that the Brussels agreement envisaged the formation of a Community of Serb Municipalities according to existing Kosovo laws, and said that it was arranged that the Community be formed only after amendments, i.e. the "harmonization" of laws. After laying a cornerstone for an industrial park in Kragujevac, Vucic told journalists that the entire point of the talks in Brussels was that Serbia did not recognize Kosovo's independence, while Pristina thinks that there is a complete legal framework and that, conversely, the talks would be meaningless and of no use. "If everything is proceeding according to Kosovo law, then why did we go to Brussels?" Vucic asked. When asked by journalists whether he would visit Ankara or Moscow on May 7, the Serbian president replied that he had not received an invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend his inauguration in Moscow on May 7, adding that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had invited him to visit Ankara on May 7. Vucic added that he had not discussed the matter with Putin, and that they had talked about Kosovo and other matters over the phone. As for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel scheduled for April 13, Vucic said Merkel was the most important partner and that talks in Berlin would not be easy.

VUCIC CONGRATULATES ALIYEV ON ELECTION VICTORY

BELGRADE, 12 April 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic congratulated the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, on his election victory, it was stated by the Presidency of Serbia. Vucic stated that he was pleased to be able to visit Azerbaijan soon, and expressed the wish for joint work to continue on the further development of the traditionally friendly relations and strategic partnership between Serbia and Azerbaijan.

VUJOVIC INVITES CHINESE INVESTORS AND COMPANIES TO INVEST IN SERBIA

BELGRADE, 12 April 2018 (Beta) - During a conference in Beijing, titled Macroeconomic and Fiscal Framework for the Successful Implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, Finance Minister Dusan Vujovic called on Chinese investors and companies to invest in Serbia, Vujovic's office stated on April 12. Vujovic said Serbia was actively participating in the Belt and Road Initiative by developing infrastructure projects and connecting from south towards Europe and within the West Balkan region, with road and railway networks. He added that, besides infrastructure, Serbia also had projects in the fields of environmental protection and energy.

SCOTT: WE SUPPORT STEPS TOWARDS FORMING OF COMMUNITY OF SERB MUNICIPALITIES

BELGRADE, 12 April 2018 (Beta) - The U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, stated on April 12 that he supported the steps that have been taken with the aim of forming of the Community of Serb Municipalities, and that it was a very important step forward. We support the steps that were taken recently after a long time, regarding the forming of the Community of Serb Municipalities. I expect the negotiations to be difficult, but that is an important step forward, Scott told reporters in Belgrade. Asked whether the Community of Serb Municipalities should be formed "according to the Brussels agreement or the laws of Kosovo," Scott replied that the question was a contradiction in terms, because the Brussels agreement envisaged that laws would be adopted in keeping with the laws of Kosovo and Serbia. Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic stated that the Brussels agreement and the agreement on implementation stipulated that the two sides would adjust their legal frameworks to the Brussels agreement.

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