Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press service
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DAILY SURVEY 10.09.2018.
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BELGRADE, 7 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met on Sept. 7 with OSCE high commissioner for national minorities Lamberto Zannier and discussed the standing of ethnic minorities in Serbia, and of the Serb minority in the region, the ministry said in a press release. Dacic said Serbia was devoted to advancing the status of minorities in Serbia and across the region. Both officials voiced the expectation that successful cooperation would continue.


BELGRADE, 9 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said during a Sept. 9 visit to Kosovska Mitrovica that it was an outright lie that he had agreed to "surrender Kosovo and Metohija" by the end of the year, and that his only desire was to win more rights for the Serbs in KiM through a compromise, adding that Serbia had no draft version of a solution for KiM, nor anything close to it. Having noted that a solution for KiM was not in sight, Vucic said that, "I pray there will be one in the next 10 or 20 years." The president underlined that it was not borders that he wished to change, but the rights of Serbs living in KiM. "I want us to win for you all the rights that you are entitled to. I want you to have the right to life, to freedom, to work, to learn and move. For those rights we are prepared to make compromises," Vucic said. "We need to live together, by each other's side. We have to negotiate. Someone, at some time in the future, will have to reach an agreement with the Albanians. The story that some day we will be able to retaliate is just a fairytale. There will be no easy solution for us, or for them. There will be more children, ours and theirs, to stay here though," Vucic said. The president said that his job never included "a mad vision of a Kosovo without Albanians," or worse yet, without Serbs, and that he was not doing his job in "a Serbia in the heavens," but this one. "We have already fallen from heaven and smashed our heads hard...This is why I am telling you about reality today, instead of singing war songs. I promise we will not let anyone use arms and ammunition against you," Vucic said, which elicited a strong applause from the crowd. President Vucic said that he would not allow anyone to humiliate Serbia, explaining that a compromise was when everyone gets something, and no one gets everything. At the beginning of his speech, Vucic thanked the Serbs in Kosovska Mitrovica for protecting "the Serbian existence in Kosovo and Metohija" and never giving up. "It is my duty to say that, my dear friends, we will always be on the side of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, for better or for worse," Vucic promised which elicited an applause.


BELGRADE, 8 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sept. 8 that his reason for visiting Kosovo and Metohija was to preserve peace and stability, and to try to build better relations between Serbs and Albanians for the sake of their future. Standing in front of the dam at Gazivode Lake, where he began his two-day visit to Serbian communities in Kosovo and Metohija, Vucic said that was the spot where the depth and weight of discord between Serbs and Albanians was easiest to see. "The Gazivode dam, built in 1981, is hugely important to Serbs and Albanians. Most of Metohija gets its water from here, as does Pristina in the summer. The lake is of vast importance to us, too, because people cannot survive in Ibarski Kolasin and Zubin Potok without Gazivode," Vucic said. He added that Serbia had invested almost RSD128 million in rebuilding the Gazivode dam and announced that another RSD12 million would be secured for that purpose by the end of September. Earlier on the president of Serbia toured the Center for Ecology and Sports Development and the Red Cross Center in the municipality of Zubin Potok. Vucic added that the completion of a waterworks was of crucial importance to this municipality in northern Kosovo, and that the state of Serbia had secured between EUR7 million and EUR8 million for that purpose.


BELGRADE, 9 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Kosovska Mitrovica that he had come with a comprehensive economic plan for all ten Serbian municipalities, promising that Serbia would invest more in the public sector there. Vucic confirmed that tens of millions of euros would be invested in hospitals, and EUR13 million in Trepca. The president added that the clinical center in Kosovska Mitrovica would be "the pride" of the local community, worth EUR10 million, while another two million would go to Gracanica. Serbia will also invest in a kindergarten in Strpce, and three municipal water systems. "We need to build many roads for our people. We have to visit every village in Metohija and help out. There is no one in the whole wide world who can stop us from doing that," Vucic was explicit. He said that Serbia was prepared to help Kosovo and Metohija more than ever, by allocating EUR71 million a year at this point, but that it was ready to invest "considerably more." "You will get all the money and the plan that we talked about, and I think that is the most important thing for our people," Vucic said.


BELGRADE, 8 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said at a Sept. 8 business forum in Leposavic that the government would provide subsidies for businesses in central Serbia willing to invest in Kosovo and Metohija and encourage them to invest in Serbian and Albanian communities alike. "We will create a good subsidy program, and it will be discussed at a government session as a decree," Vucic said after he had toured stands at the Business Forum where he met with local businesspeople and learned about their programs. Vucic said he was aware that the second largest problem related to investing in KiM was the legal security of doing business. "For that, too, we will try to find a solution or support those who have to offer that type of guarantee. We might seek a solution based on real estate in central Serbia, corporate guarantees and the like, doing everything we can to make you interested in investing in Kosovo and Metohija," Vucic said. He said that the people of Kosovo and Metohija were hardworking, and that most of their products were exported to Western Europe, Russia and Serbia. Vucic called on Serbian businesses to invest in Albanian municipalities too. "Make money, do business for yourselves and for your companies. Our goal is to make Serbia as economically powerful as possible," he said. The conference was attended by some 100 entrepreneurs, including business owners from Serbia proper, four northern KiM municipalities and six from the south of the territory.


BELGRADE, 8 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced on Sept. 8 that the state would invest EUR13 million into the Trepca Mine, near Leposavic, and also said a battery factory would be built in the municipality and that would provide jobs for 300 people. While touring the remodeled Agricultural Vocational High School in Lesak, Vucic said unemployment, in addition to a sense of insecurity, were the biggest problems for people living in Kosovo and Metohija. "We have a lot more money than before and we are going to solve that problem (unemployment)," Vucic told people who assembled in front of the school. He announced that the Vocational School, which currently has 90 students, would get a dormitory soon, for 150 to 200 students. Vucic also announced the arrival of machinery in seven to ten days for building a road between the villages of Vracevo and Rvatska, and for other local roads after that. "Thank you for caring for your fatherland and your hearth, and we will take care of you and your children with your help," said Vucic, who left the school for a Business Forum in Leposavic.


BELGRADE, 8 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Branislav Nedimovic said on Sept. 8 that his ministry had allocated RSD200 million to assist farmers in Kosovo and Metohija. A total of RSD110 million will be invested in seeds, and RSD90 million in mechanization, Minister Nedimovic said at the Business Forum held in Leposavic. "The goal is to provide new jobs for the Serb people, to launch fresh agricultural production, support existing resources, as well as the employment of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija," Nedimovic said. The business conference in Leposavic brought together business owners from central Serbia, Kosovo and Metohija, and was organized within a visit to KiM by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.


BRUSSELS, 7 September 2018 (Beta) - High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said on Sept. 7 that she was confident the Kosovo and Serbian presidents would resume talks and reach a legally binding agreement for the normalization of relations in the coming months. Given that a joint meeting with the two presidents, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci, did not take place on Sept. 7, Mogherini said she would call the next meeting for before the ministerial meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, which will be held in the last week of September. The EU high representative said she had separate meetings with the two presidents, adding that "the difficulties remain," according to a press release issued in Brussels. "I will call a new high-level meeting in Brussels before the ministerial week of the U.N. General Assembly, to bring the two parties together and compare their work on the contents of the agreement," Mogherini was quoted as saying in the press release. The EU official said that she had several rounds of talks with Thaci and Vucic "in a bilateral format," and discussed "all of the issues on the table." "The difficulties remain. I have every confidence in both presidents' commitment to continuing the process, and reaching in the coming months a legally binding agreement on the comprehensive normalization of relations, in line with international law," Mogherini said. A spokesperson for the high representative, Maja Kocijancic, explained that the "ministerial week" was the last week of September.


BRUSSELS, 9 September 2018 (Beta) - Spokeswoman for the EU high representative Maja Kocijancic has expressed regret on the part of the European Union over a decision by Pristina to ban the visit of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to the village of Banje, in the Srbica municipality. We ask everyone responsible for public order to guarantee security and free movement in the daytime, the media in Pristina quoted her as saying. According to Kocijancic, full engagement in preserving peace and security for Kosovo citizens and the Serb people, and wisdom and peace, are what was now needed. Kocijancic said Vucic's visit to northern Kosovo had gone smoothly until the roadblocks to Banje, which was on the president of Serbia's itinerary. Ramush Haradinaj decided early on Sept. 9 after the roadblocks were put up to ban Vucic's visit to that part of Kosovo, over what he described as a concern for the security of the protesters.



BELGRADE, 7 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at a meeting with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Louis Ross, that his country had provided nearly a billion dollars in support for development projects in Serbia since 2001, which had helped economic growth and advanced the work of local communities, the Serbian government has said. Brnabic thanked Ross for his first visit to Serbia, underlining that it was the right time for the development of political and economic bilateral ties. "We are proud of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of President Wilson's decision to fly a Serbian flag over the White House to cherish the alliance between the two states," the Serbian PM said, adding that their bilateral relationship had to be based on shared history, as well as the potential of the Serbian expatriate community and considerable U.S. investments in Serbia. The prime minister was quoted as saying in a press release that the U.S., one of Serbia's largest foreign investors, had invested nearly four billion dollars and created 17,000 jobs. Brnabic underlined the importance of the U.S. based NCR and Microsoft, whose arrival in Serbia was a great incentive for economic and technological development. She explained that one of her government's goals was to transform the Serbian economy from investment-based to an innovation and knowledge-based economy, and that it had been working very hard to make this possible. Brnabic said that a lack of 15,000 IT experts was a big challenge, which her cabinet was trying to overcome by reinventing the education system and offering re-qualification to junior programmers, intend for IT talents and those willing to change their carriers. The U.S. official noted how important it was that leading U.S. companies were operating in Serbia, adding there was still plenty of room for investment in Serbia. He praised Serbia's reforms and said that he expected more dynamic economic cooperation.


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