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DAILY SURVEY 05.09.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC TALKS DEVELOPING COOPERATION WITH QATARI AMBASSADOR

BELGRADE, 4 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met in Belgrade on Sept. 4 with Qatari Ambassador Mubarak bin Fahad Al Thani and discussed bilateral and multilateral cooperation and developing friendly ties between the two countries. Al Thani handed Dacic an invitation from Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani to visit the country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. The Serbian foreign minister also received an invitation to participate in the 2018 Doha Forum which examines political, economic, regional and international issues, the statement said.

DACIC MEETS WITH CIVILIAN REPRESENTATIVES OF OHIO NATIONAL GUARD DELEGATION

BELGRADE, 4 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and the civilian representatives of an Ohio National Guard delegation said in a Sept. 4 talk that establishing the civil portion of cooperation between Serbia and Ohio constituted a significant segment of relations between Serbia and the U.S. The officials said that this form of cooperation contributed to enhancing relations in several areas, through different initiatives for linking companies from Serbia and Ohio and the connecting of academic and cultural institutions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said in a press release. During the meeting, both sides voiced their mutual satisfaction over the visit by representatives of the Ohio National Guard to Serbia, based on cooperation which is part of a state partnership that goes back to 2006. The collocutors agreed that the sizable Serbian diaspora in Ohio was an added reason for enhancing cultural, educational and economic ties between Serbia and that state, the statement read. The Ohio state military and civilian delegation arrived in Serbia on Sept. 3 and will return on Sept. 9, while its civilian portion is being headed by South Euclid Mayor Georgine Welo. The delegation will also visit Kraljevo, where a sister city ceremony will be held, the statement added.

VUCIC MEETS WITH AMBASSADOR TO DISCUSS UPCOMING VISIT TO CHINA

BELGRADE, 4 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met in Belgrade, on Sept. 4, with the Chinese ambassador to Serbia, Li Manchang, to discuss his upcoming visit to China, saying that it was a comprehensive strategic partnership that connected the two states, and that Sino-Serbian relations had reached an all-time high. The presidential press office quoted Vucic as saying that he was "glad to be visiting the friendly China again soon, and to define new paths of development for the bilateral partnership and comprehensive cooperation with President Xi Jinping." Vucic said at the meeting that he was impressed by the results of the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing, the press office said in a press release. The Serbian president said that "the respect China gives all states, regardless of size, and without interfering in their internal affairs or attaching political strings, deserves support from all those who believe in the ideals of true equality and solidarity," and reaffirmed "firm support to the principles of the New Silk Road." Vucic announced at the end of July that during his visit to China in September, a contract for the construction of a highway section from Preljina to Pozega would be signed with the Chinese authorities.

BRNABIC: PUBLIC SECTOR NEEDS TO EMBRACE CHANGES BROUGHT BY NEW TECHNOLOGIES

PARIS, 4 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at a panel of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, on Sept. 4, that the public sector ought to be in the service of the citizens and the economy and embrace the changes brought by new technologies, noting that she was not trying to control them. "Precisely because of this I have been talking about e-governance so much, because it enables easier and faster services and puts the focus on the needs of citizens and the economy, instead of the needs of public servants," Brnabic said at the OECD panel devoted to blockchain technology. The Serbian prime minister said in her introductory speech that the digitization and modernization of the Serbian economy was her government's priority. Brnabic said that her government "is working to make Serbia a European leader in the IT sector, which is already growing by 20 percent yearly." She said that Serbia had "world-class companies" in the area of blockchain technology, and added that there was a Blockchain Initiative of Serbia, charged with additionally improving this technology and promoting Serbia's results internationally, the Serbian government said. Blockchain is one of the most important new technological developments in the world. It enables the distribution of data which is kept in a larger number of computers connected to each other instead of in one spot only, which enables a high degree of protection and guarantees safe transactions that cannot be abused, a statement said. At the end of the panel, Brnabic met with OECD secretary general Jose Angel Gurria and held a bilateral meeting with Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.

HAHN: SOLUTION UP TO BELGRADE, PRISTINA

BELGRADE, 4 September 2018 (Beta) - European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn has said that Belgrade and Pristina should be allowed to identify a solution for the normalization of their relations alone. In an interview with Radio Free Europe, the EU enlargement commissioner was clear that the solution should never be "detrimental" to the others in the region, and that the condition the EU insisted on was "wider regional stability." When asked if he feared that the solution could have negative effects on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and other states, Hahn said it's too early to discuss this, as Belgrade and Pristina were still negotiating. Some ideas have emerged. Let's look at it this way -- people are still working on further negotiations for a better harmonization of ideas. I believe that the package a legally binding agreement between Belgrade and Pristina should offer must include several elements, and then we'll look at the final ideas. However, I think that both sides are fully aware of international - if not concerns, than certainly constraints, and I feel that many solutions are possible within that, Hahn said.

MIHAJLOVIC: SERBIAN, RUSSIAN FRIENDSHIP STRONG, TOGETHER EVEN IN DIFFICULT TIMES

BELGRADE, 4 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic visited the 23. Oktobar elementary school in Sremski Karlovci on Sept. 4, alongside Russian Ambassador Alexander Chepurin and representatives of the Russian and Serbian railway companies. She wished the students plenty of success in the new school year and thanked the Russian ambassador and Russian railways for everything that they had done for the school, the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure said in a press release. The Russian RZD international company remodelled and refurnished the school's Russian-language classroom. "The Russian lab offers the possibility not only of teaching Russian, but learning about a beautiful and magnificent country. Learning about Serbian-Russian friendship, which has proved steadfast in difficult times in the past, and about the great Russian writers and world classics. The new classroom also reveals how much stronger we are when together and when we are connecting, and knowledge of language is the path to that," Mihajlovic said. Ambassador Chepurin congratulated students on the start of the school year and stressed that their main job was to study well, which was also important to the country, as bright children were its future. He further thanked Russian railways for organizing a contest and field trip to Russia for Serbian children, which additionally contributed to mutual friendship and connecting. RZD International GM Sergei Pavlov said that Serbia and Russia were linked together by a beautiful history and that the governments of the two countries were working on nurturing and advancing these relations. He announced that the company would continue to aid Serbian schools.

SERBIA ASSUMES CHAIRMANSHIP OVER FORUM OF SLAVIC CULTURES

BELGRADE, 4 September 2018 (Beta) - A session of the leadership of the Forum of Slavic Cultures was held in Belgrade on Sept. 4, where Serbia assumed the one-year chairmanship. The administration in the coming period will be headed by Minister of Culture and Information of Serbia Vladan Vukosavljevic. Vukosavljevic reminded that the Forum has existed for nearly 15 years and that its purpose was to bring the Slavic peoples closer and connect their cultural avenues, but also to more successfully represent the Slavic cultural identity to the global community. Forum of Slavic Cultures director Andrea Rihter from Slovenia said that the Forum connected 300 million Slavs, 13 states and 13 languages. "All of Europe has 750 million people, meaning that we are half of Europe," Rihter said, stressing that the Slavic nations had a long tradition and heritage which the West did not have. She stressed that, other than similarities, there were dissimilarities among the Slavic peoples, too, which was why the Forum was attempting to "soften barriers and build bridges between nations, because without music, words and theater everything would stop." Rihter said that, beside culture, the Forum was working on creating ties and improving them in the areas of the economy, tourism, science and education. She announced that next year Slovenian President Borut Pahor would sponsor a gathering in Brdo Castle near Kranj, where the Forum originated in 2004.

MALI: CONCESSION FOR BELGRADE AIRPORT TO BE PAID BY YEAR'S END

BELGRADE, 4 September 2018 (Beta) - The Nikola Tesla airport concessionaire, France's Vinci, will pay the concession fee by the end of the year, Serbian Minister of Finance Sinisa Mali said on Sept. 4. After a meeting with a delegation of the American Chamber of Commerce in Serbia, Mali said to reporters that the concession contract would be signed after the payment had been made. A contract awarding Vinci a 25-year concession to run the Belgrade airport was signed in March. Vinci has to pay EUR501 million in a one-off concession payment, while the annual concession tax will vary between EUR4.4 million and EUR15 million. According to earlier announcements, the concession fee was to be paid in September.

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