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DAILY SURVEY 04.06.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC TALKS KOSOVO AND METOHIJA WITH CHEPURIN, GIVES THANKS FOR RUSSIA'S STANCE

BELGRADE, 1 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Alexander Chepurin talked about Kosovo and Metohija and interstate cooperation on June 1. Dacic expressed gratitude to Russia for its "firm and consistent support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia, its consistent and strict respect for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, as well as for efforts to resolve the issue of Kosovo and Metohija through dialog and with a mutual readiness to compromise," reads a statement. A statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads that Chepurin and Dacic are happy with the quality of political dialog and bilateral cooperation, as well as with cooperation in international organizations and their mutual support.

VUCIC: I AM VERY CONCERNED ABOUT LATEST EVENTS IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

BELGRADE, 1 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on June 1 that he was very worried by the latest events in Kosovo and Metohija. "I am afraid that they have decided, with someone's tacit support, not only to instill anxiety and fear in the Serbs, especially Serb returnees south of the Ibar, but also with what they did with Marko Djuric and with the failure to conduct an investigation into the murder of Oliver Ivanovic to create additional fear in the north of Kosovo," Vucic told the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation. He said that he was "afraid that at some point they will take other measures" and asked "people in the international community" to take care of that. The Serbian president also said that he knew how everything had functioned in Kosovo and Metohija prior to 2003. "Back then we had a harmonized story, standards before status, and they did not exist then like they do not exist today. The click and trigger for giving some sort of independence to the Kosovo autonomy were the riots of 2004, when Albanians took matters into their own hands and always with the direct support of certain western countries," he pointed out. Asked how the international community was reacting to all the goings on in Kosovo and Metohija, Vucic said that "the whole time they are talking about an agreement that does not exist." "What will the international community say, they sit and look at me and bow their heads. The whole time they are talking about an agreement that does not exist, they do not know what to do with themselves," he said. He also said that the statements made by Kosovo representatives were "terrifying" because they were directly telling all of Europe and the world that they did not care about the Community of Serb Municipalities. "They are not interested in the Brussels Agreement," added Vucic. Commenting on the holding of a festival called Mirdita, Good Day, in Belgrade, Vucic said that in that way Serbia had shown it was different, "which the citizens of Serbia should be proud of."

VUCIC SPEAKS BY PHONE TO TURKEY'S ERDOGAN

BELGRADE, 3 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke over the telephone with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and during what he described as "a long and friendly conversation," the two presidents agreed that economic and political bilateral ties have been developing successfully, and that a joint effort might produce an even better result, the Serbian presidency announced on June 3. President Erdogan invited Vucic to attend the grand opening of the TANAP gas line on June 12, in Eskisehir, which Vucic accepted and he will pay another one-day visit to Turkey, the presidency released. Vucic also asked the Turkish president to encourage Turkish businesses to invest in Serbia.

VUCIC: WE RESPECT BOSNIA'S INTEGRITY, BUT WE DO NOT HAVE TO SPEAK ABOUT IT EVERY DAY

BELGRADE, 1 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic reiterated on June 1 that Belgrade respected the Dayton agreement and the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the integrity of the Serb entity of Republika Srpska, but that he did not think he needed to repeat this stance on a daily basis, as he believed that it was "crystal clear." "I have said a hundred times that Serbia respects the Dayton peace accords and the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the territorial integrity of the Republika Srpska entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina. You have never heard any other statement than this. But I guess Serbia has to explain itself every day. I absolutely will not explain positions that are crystal clear. Clean as a whistle," he said. Vucic said this after being asked what he thought about a statement by Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik, who recently said at Belgrade's Faculty of Political Sciences that Republika Srpska and Serbia ought to form a state union. The Serbian president went on to say that he could not understand the need of some countries in the region who wanted to see what Belgrade would say every time someone made a statement like that, as if he and other officials had not made their stand on the matter clear a long time ago. Vucic added that, to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina was a neighbor with which it wanted to have good relations and wanted to improve relations.

VUCIC: RECOGNITION OF CRIMEA WOULD HAVE BEEN SERBIA'S SHOT IN THE FOOT

BELGRADE, 2 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that Serbia refused to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia as that would be tantamount to a decision to support an independent Kosovo, or for Serbia, to "shooting itself in the foot." "Step into Serbia's shoes for a moment. Which permanent member of the U.N. Security Council supports Serbia's territorial integrity? Russia. Is Serbia expected to shoot itself in the foot?" Vucic was quoted by Sputnik as saying to France's Le Monde. In the same interview, Vucic said than back in 2014, Belgrade did not support international sanctions against Moscow, however clear its ambitions to join the European Union (EU) might have been. The Serbian president said he saw no contradiction in Belgrade's efforts to join the EU and maintain a good relationship with Moscow at the same time. "There is no contradiction there. The French president said the same - Russia is a friendly state. We wish to solidify traditional ties with Russia, along with trade cooperation. From a military point of view, Serbia is sticking to its neutral military status. Nevertheless, the country is firmly on the EU path. And I say this in Brussels, Washington and Moscow alike," Vucic said in the interview. The Serbian president noted that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had never criticized Serbia's ambitions to join the Union either. Crimea became a part of Russia in March 2014, after a referendum following a coup in Kiev. The unification with Russia was supported by 96.77 percent of Crimean voters, and 95.6 percent of the citizens of Sevastopol. On the other hand, Ukraine continues to refer to Crimea as a temporarily occupied territory.

BRNABIC CONGRATULATES SPAIN'S NEW PRIME MINISTER

BELGRADE, 1 June 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic congratulated Spain's newly elected prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, on June 1, saying that Serbia remained a true partner and friend to Spain. "I wish you every success in performing your duties as head of government, which requires hard work, commitment and patience in facing the challenges that lie on the path towards progress and the well-being for your country and citizens," Brnabic wrote. The Serbian prime minister added that Serbia remained committed to fostering a good relationship and strong ties between the two nations. The Socialist leader, Pedro Sanchez, was elected Spain's prime minister on June 1. Sanchez replaced Mariano Rajoy, who lost a parliamentary confidence vote which was requested by the Socialists following his party's involvement in a corruption scandal.

SFRY SUCCESSOR STATES SIGN CONTRACT ON SALE OF APARTMENT IN NEW YORK

BELGRADE, 1 June 2018 (Beta) - The successor states of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have signed a contract in New York on the joint sale of a SFRY era "residential apartment" on Park Avenue for USD12.1 million, which was the best bid received, according to a June 1 statement. The Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in the statement that the contract was signed on May 31 and that the joint sale of the apartment in New York was the first case of implementing Annex B to the Agreement on Succession Issues. That, the ministry added, is the result of a committed, two-year engagement of all the successor states and a major success for all of them. The apartment has been empty since 1992, when the last SFRY permanent representative to the U.N. left, which is why it was not in a "presentable state," the statement added. Serbia is the coordinator state for the sale of the apartment and is entitled to 39.5 percent of the net revenue, i.e. USD3.487.939,21. The sale of this piece of real estate will also directly save this year's Serbian budget USD108.745, which is the amount by which the Foreign Ministry's current maintenance expenses will be cut. The joint sale of four more SFRY facilities is under way - the permanent mission of the former Yugoslavia to the U.N. in New York, the embassy in Bonn, the embassy in Bern, and the embassy/residence in Tokyo.

ITALIAN AMBASSADOR: HELP US HELP YOU

BELGRADE, 1 June 2018 (Beta) - Italian Ambassador to Serbia Carlo Lo Cascio said on June 1 at a ceremony marking Italy's Republic Day that his country supported Serbia's European integration, adding that both sides were aware of the challenges on that road. I would only ask you to do one thing - help us help you, said Lo Cascio at the Italian embassy at the ceremony marking the Italian national holiday. Lo Cascio, who is performing diplomatic office in Belgrade for the second time, having first been adviser to the Italian ambassador in 2005, said that not much had changed since his return and that he felt the same in Serbia as in Europe both then and now. "This is Europe," he said. The ambassador voiced his satisfaction with the fact that Serbia had launched the negotiating process, adding that the reforms carried out within that process were difficult, but in the interest of Serbia. The ceremony was attended, among others, by Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic, several ministers, opposition representatives, members of the diplomatic corps and others.

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