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DAILY SURVEY 11.07.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC: SURVIVAL OF SERBS IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA IS SERBIA'S PRIORITY

BELGRADE, 10 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on July 10 that Serbia's efforts were concentrated on the survival of the Serbian community in Kosovo and Metohija, the protection of their rights and the Serbian Orthodox Church's cultural heritage and properties in Kosovo and Metohija. Speaking at the conference titled Serbs and Albanians, Which Path to Choose?, Dacic said Belgrade was strongly committed to the talks with Pristina, as the negotiating process had no alternative, but that Serbia wouldn't let anyone humiliate and undermine the nation. The minister said that unlike some western partners, Serbia didn't think KiM was a done deal, but that it was only at the negotiating table that a solution could be reached. "Serbia's priority is the survival of the Serbian community, respect for the rights of the Serbs in KiM, their economic prosperity, and the protection of the Serbian Orthodox Chuch's cultural heritage and property in KiM," Dacic said. As for the talks in Brussels, the Serbian foreign minister said that "Serbian political sensibility is strong enough to feel the right moment for resolving the KiM issue, and to invest all the energy and power to reach a compromise, lest a historic chance for agreement with the Albanian community be lost." Minister Dacic said that the results of the dialogue in Brussels were not satisfactory, as after five years no substantial change or breakthrough had happened. Quite the contrary, Serbia faces repeated challenges as to how to implement the agreements reached earlier, said Dacic. The minister added that Serbia's diplomatic activity, which, as he put it, "has resulted in an increasing number of decisions to withdraw the recognition of so-called Kosovo," reflected Serbia's right and duty to protect its own interests in relations with other states, and to affirm respect for international law.

DACIC MEETS WITH ROSSOTRUDNICHESTVO'S HEAD

BELGRADE, 10 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met on July 10 with Head of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Cultural Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) Eleonora Mitrofanova. Dacic thanked Mitrofanova for her contribution to the development of bilateral relations, and for her engagement as Russia's ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The minister also expressed gratitude for the commitment of the Russian partners and Rossotrudnichestvo to the project of painting the interior of the St. Sava Church in Belgrade, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported.

BRNABIC: REGION NEEDS ECONOMY FOCUSED ON DIGITALIZATION, INNOVATION AND IT

BELGRADE, 10 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at the fifth Summit on the Western Balkans within the Berlin Process in London, on July 10, that a new model of economic growth needed to be applied in the region which would focus on digitalization, innovation and IT. The summit where the leaders of the region and highest European officials are talking about current economic, political and security subjects was opened by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who organized a reception for the delegation chiefs. At a panel on economy, Brnabic said a joint challenge for the countries of the Western Balkans was achieving faster and more dynamic GDP growth, the Serbian government has said in a statement. Speaking about the challenges facing the region, she said that the region needed EUR4 billion annually in foreign direct investment while working intensely on lowering youth unemployment, as well as brain drain. Brnabic said that "the region needs a new model of economic growth based on investing in innovation and new technology, research and development and creating a favorable climate for startups." "Strengthening regional cooperation is our chance and we cannot miss it," Brnabic said. She said that the Serbian government was focusing on fighting corruption, modernizing public administration and the systemic introduction of e-services for citizens and the economy, which would improve working conditions and raise the citizens' quality of life, the statement added. "Investment in infrastructure is the basis of a strong economy, without good infrastructure there can be no development of trade nor faster economic growth," the prime minister said. She added that the region needed to speed up its implementation of the Multi-Annual Action Plan for a Regional Economic Area, which was adopted at a summit in Trieste in July 2017, which encompassed trade, investment, mobility and digital connections. The statement added that Brnabic had pointed out the importance of a Regional Investment Platform jointly prepared by the regional chambers of commerce, which offered a possibility for investing in the region to potential investors. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, European Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn, European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development President Suma Chakrabarti and other European officials are attending the London Summit. In addition to Germany and Austria, other EU partners were invited - Croatia, France, Italy and Slovenia. Greece is attending for the first time as the host of the next summit in 2020, which is seen as a reward to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for solving the Macedonian naming dispute.

KUKAN: EU EXPANSION TO WESTERN BALKANS NEEDS TO CONTINUE

BELGRADE, 10 July 2018 (Beta) - Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Eduard Kukan said in Belgrade, on July 10, that Serbia and Albania were very important Western Balkan states, and that it was important to continue the EU enlargement so as to include the region. Kukan, the chairman of the EP committee on cooperation with Serbia, said at the conference Serbs and Albanians - Which Path to Take? that the European Union always had a broader perspective in mind when speaking about the two states. It goes without saying that Serbia and Albania are important actors in the region, and we consider them part of the enlargement process. It's necessary that the process continue, Kukan said. He added that a good relationship between Serbia and Albania had a positive impact on the entire region, but that it was also the other way round - when it was bad, there was a bad impact, too. Kukan said that great responsibility was on the leaders of the states, and that they had to encourage the citizens to work together and connect, which would produce long-term good results. I'd like to underline the personal example a leader can set - if the leader is engaged and courageous, he's sending a strong message to the people, Kukan said. Kukan added that he was pleased to see Serbia opening chapters in the EU accession talks, hoping that Albania would soon begin membership talks with the Union.

AMBASSADOR: SERBIA HELPED PEOPLE, DEMOCRACY IN TURKEY AFTER FAILED COUP

BELGRADE, 10 July 2018 (Beta) - The Turkish embassy in Serbia will organize a series of events on Democracy and National Unity Day in Turkey, July 15, i.e. the second anniversary of a failed coup there, Turkish Ambassador Tanju Bilgic said in Belgrade on July 10, stressing that Serbia had immediately supported the Turkish people and democracy after the failed coup. At a news conference held at the Turkish embassy in Belgrade, Bilgic said that Serbia and Turkey were friendly countries and that "Serbian officials supported Turkey's democracy." The Turkish ambassador recalled that the attempted coup in the night between July 15-16 in 2016 when 251 citizens were killed and over 2,000 injured was the most horrific terrorist attack in Turkey's history. He said that in association with Turkish institutions in Belgrade the embassy would organize programs in four Serbian cities on Democracy and National Unity Day. He said that first a photo exhibition would open in Novi Sad on July 12, while trees would be symbolically planted in Sjenica as a way of remembering the victims, adding that in Novi Pazar a commemorative gathering for the victims of the event would be held. In Belgrade on July 14 a children's bicycle race will take place at Kalemegdan as a token of friendship and cooperation between Turkey and Serbia.

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