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DAILY SURVEY 03.09.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC: SERBIA SUPPORTS MULTILATERALISM

VIENNA, 31 August 2018 (Beta) - Serbia accepts effective multilateralism and implements it, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in Vienna, on Aug. 31. Dacic underlined that Serbia shared the approach through its activities in international and regional organizations and initiatives. Bearing Serbia's future membership in the EU in mind, it wishes to contribute to the strength of peace, stability and economic progress, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Dacic as saying in a press release. Effective multilateralim was the central theme of the meeting in Vienna, hosted by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, supported by Austria as the current EU chair. The message from the conference was to take multilateralism as a response to unilateralism, promoting trust in international institutions, rules and partnerships, and the equitable distribution of the burden by all actors. The Serbian foreign minister, who took part in an Aug. 31 informal conference in Vienna of the EU foreign ministers and representatives of EU candidate countries, held a fringe meeting with Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney.

VUCIC, ZAEV: COMMON BORDER CROSSING WILL CONTRIBUTE TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

BELGRADE, 2 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev met in Presevo, on the Serbia-Macedonia border, on Sept. 2 and discussed a common border crossing. Zaev told a joint news conference that this day marked the start of a project for Serbia and Macedonia to have only one border and customs checkpoint. He said this would mean citizens would be able to cross the border in one spot with only one stop, halving waiting times on the border between the two countries. Zaev said this was one more example of the great friendship between Serbia and Macedonia one that would continue to grow, and thanked the World Bank for its support for the project. Vucic said the unified crossing would encourage people to pass through Serbian and Macedonian territory more quickly and easily, making both countries more competitive. Zaev voiced the desire for more border crossings between the two countries.

VUCIC PRAISES COOPERATION WITH BRITAIN DURING A MEETING WITH KEEFE

BELGRADE, 31 August 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said at a meeting with the British ambassador to Serbia, Denis Keefe, that he was grateful for his government's commitment to the Berlin Process, expressing Serbia's interest in stronger economic ties and larger-scale British investments, according to a press release. Ambassador Keefe said that the Western Balkans Summit in London had made it clear that his country wished to play a positive role in the region and the region's European future, and that it shared the goal of reaching lasting stability in the Western Balkans. The British diplomat said that the British government continued to support Serbia's reforms through digital transformation and e-governance projects, financed by the Good Governance Fund. Vucic underlined Serbia's need to reach a permanent and just solution for Kosovo and Metohija, which would not contradict Serbia's national interests. "Serbia will never accept a solution that would humiliate the state and the people," Vucic said.

BRNABIC, HAHN: IT'S NECESSARY TO PRESERVE REGIONAL STABILITY

BELGRADE, 1 September 2018 (Beta) - Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn met on Sept. 1 to discuss regional stability, and agreed that all bilateral issues had to be addressed through dialog with neighbors. The Serbian prime minister said in a press release that they had underlined at the meeting in Novi Sad that economic ties should be strengthened together as a shared base for all of the states of the region to make progress. Prime Minister Brnabic said that Belgrade was ready to continue the talks, but recalled that Pristina had yet to fulfil its obligations arising from the Brussels agreement, or more specifically, that the Community of Serb Municipalities had not been created yet. The Serbian prime minister thanked Hahn for financial support to the reconstruction of the Zezelj bridge, acquainting the EU enlargement commissioner with a poll conducted by the Serbian Ministry for European Integration, showing that 55 percent of citizens of Serbia supported the country's accession to the EU. Hahn tweeted earlier on Sept. 1, that he had " a very good meeting" with the Serbian prime minister. The EU official wrote they had discussed "further steps in Serbia's accession talks, the Serbia-Kosovo dialog, rule of law, a constitutional review in the judicial sector and the EU's steel safeguards." "I also welcome the creation of a Joint Working Group for Media Strategy," Hahn wrote.

MOGHERINI: EU SUPPORTS BELGRADE-PRISTINA AGREEMENT IN LINE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW

VIENNA, 31 August 2018 (Beta) - High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said the Union would support any agreement between Belgrade and Pristina consistent with international law and the EU acquis. Mogherini said in Vienna, on Aug. 31, that the European Commission (EC) was looking to complete the Belgrade-Pristina talks in the coming months, before the Commission's term expired, but that a solution had to be in line with European values that do not favor ethnically "clean" states. "Any mutually agreed outcome will receive our support if, as it was being discussed now, consistent with international law and the European acquis," Mogherini said after an informal conference of EU foreign ministers, attended by representatives of candidate countries. The EU high representative underlined that European history was based on overcoming and preventing ideas of ethnically pure states. "I hope this will reassure all those nervous about the ideas circulating right now. We are working very seriously on something difficult, challenging yet not impossible, which is still not right there," she explained. When asked about her opinion on changing borders or swapping territories, Mogherini refused to comment on what she described as specific elements of the dialog. "I believe it is important, especially at informal meetings, to protect ourselves, and those working with us. This is why I am not going to comment on any specific position expressed behind closed doors," Mogherini said. She admitted to difficulties in the talks, saying that no one was trying to hide them, but that she could see that the ministers appreciated "commitment and determination to resolve one of the most complicated and painful regional problems, with plenty of consequences for the region and tensions in Europe." "I have seen at the table today, as well as over the past few days, very strong support for the dialog, commitment and engagement by [Aleksandar] Vucic and [Hashim] Thaci in this delicate phase," the EU high representative said.

ECONOMY

VUCIC TALKS WITH JTI: SERBIA, JAPAN WILL EXPAND COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 31 August 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told a delegation of Japan Tobacco International in a talk on Aug. 31 that he was confident that Serbia and Japan would expand cooperation in the ensuing period to new areas, read a press release issued after the sit-down in Belgrade. Vucic expressed gratitude to JTI, Japan's largest investor in Serbia, for launching a new production line in a factory in Senta, which reflects the continued development of their business operations and the modernization of production in Serbia. He briefed the delegation, spearheaded by JTI Group president Yasutake Tango, on the latest, successful economic indicators, which confirm an upward trend in the Serbian economy, the presidential office's press release further read. The statement noted that Tango thanked Vucic for the support and efforts to create a stable business environment. Also present in the meeting was Japanese Ambassador Junichi Maruyama. JTI bought the Senta Tobacco Industry in 2006 and has since invested over USD180 million in the factory.

CHINA'S ZIJIN SELECTED TO BE RTB BOR'S STRATEGIC PARTNER

BELGRADE, 31 August 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian government decided on Aug. 31 that the Chinese Zijin company would be the Bor mining and smelting complex's new strategic partner, said Serbian Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antic. Minister Antic explained at a press conference that Zijin had offered to buy a 63 percent stake in the Serbian mine, having prepared a business plan worth USD1.26 million. The Chinese company promised to invest USD350 million, pay for the mine's USD200 million debt and keep 5,000 jobs. The strategic partnership deal should be signed in September, and Zijin is prepared to take over operative management of the company early next year. The minister also said that the Chinese offer was considerably better than Russia's U Gold, which had offered an investment plan worth USD836 million for a 65 percent share in the Serbian mining complex. "The situation is absolutely clear, and the tender commission has recommended Zijin to the Serbian government and it is this decision that the cabinet made shortly before this press conference," Antic said. The minister underlined that the Chinese bid included USD200 million for settling the Bor mine's accumulated debt to creditors, including the smelter's, and a pledge to invest USD320 million in the Cerovo mine by the third year, which should provide long-term stability. Antic also said that the offer guaranteed fresh investment in the Majdanpek mine, and Bor's pit and smeltery. The minister added that the new strategic partner had also promised to fully employ the company's capacities in the first two years after the takeover, which is close to 80,000 tons a year, increasing the target to between 80,000 and 120,000 tons a year by the sixth year. He explained that the current output was 43,000 tons. Antic underscored that the government made sure that the tender included the obligation of the future strategic partner to handle pollution problems, and that the Chinese partner had agreed to invest USD136 million in resolving environmental problems. The minister dismissed concerns that the contract with Zijin could clash with the Stabilization and Association Agreement that Serbia had signed with the EU, pledging that the tender procedure was completely transparent, and that he expected no problems in finalizing it.

NEDIMOVIC, ALJOWAILY ON RENEWING SERBIAN WHEAT EXPORTS TO EGYPT

BELGRADE, 31 August 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Agriculture Minister Branislav Nedimovic met on Aug. 31 with Egyptian Ambassador to Serbia Amr Aljowaily with whom he discussed renewing the export of Serbian wheat to the African country after almost 30 years. According to a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nedimovic and Aljowaily also talked about advancing the exchange of agricultural products. It was noted that further cooperation would contribute to improving the relations between the two traditionally friendly nations.

DAILY SURVEY

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