Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press service
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DAILY SURVEY 04.12.2018.
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BELGRADE, December 3 2018 (Beta) -Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Dec. 3 that Serbian-Chinese relations had reached "an all-time high," and that the two states had established a strategic partnership and a dynamic dialogue. "Serbia is one of the first states to support the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as soon as it was launched in 2013, and has backed it up steadily since," Dacic said at the opening of the "Belt and Road" conference hosted by the Serbian parliament. Minister Dacic added that Serbia's geostrategic position, along with excellent relations with China, made it possible for Serbia to become an important point on the "Belt and Road" route, and to be involved in a large number of infrastructure projects. Dacic said that the Maritime Silk Road for the 21st century would link Serbia, a landlocked country, with China, through the Indian Ocean and the Aegean Sea. In addition, a land line project from the Port of Piraeus and the Belgrade-Budapest railway will connect Serbia with central and northern Europe, the minister explained. "The Belt and Road Initiative will go down in history as a positive contribution to global connectivity and economic growth," Dacic underlined. The Serbian foreign minister recalled that the "Belt and Road" project was initially an economic project, but it had grown into a comprehensive cooperation format, involving culture, technological cooperation and education.


BELGRADE, December 3 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Dec. 3 that the announced formation of the Army of Kosovo and not lifting a 100-percent tax on goods for Serbia would have disastrous consequences if someone doesn't call Pristina to its senses very soon. Vucic told a news conference in Belgrade that he would meet with representatives of Russia, China and the U.S. on Dec. 4 and may ask for a session of the U.N. Security Council to discuss the situation in Kosovo and Metohija. He reiterated that Serbia would not agree to blackmail by Pristina and would never recognize Kosovo as independent. Vucic said that, even after meeting with EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, ethnic Albanian authorities in Kosovo were not yielding on the tax hike, which they have no right to institute either under the Stabilization and Association Agreement or CEFTA. He said the Army of Kosovo being formed was not in line with the constitution of Kosovo and placed the region in grave danger. "It brings the entire region into the highest degree of danger. Those moves by the ethnic Albanian leadership are not only irresponsible, but bring us into the greatest danger. I don't even want to say out loud what their intention and desire is," Vucic said. He said high taxes on goods from Serbia would not have a major fallout in the Serbian economy and that their purpose was to drive out Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija.


BELGRADE, December 3 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said at a Dec. 3 meeting with European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn that Pristina's move to increase duties on Serbian products was an additional violation of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), and that the move was leading to the full destabilization of the region, and stronger escalation. "Vucic thanked Hahn for his understanding of the situation, a wish to resolve the problem and assistance to Serbia in the EU accession process, underlining that peace and stability were key to regional progress, as well as the European integration. Vucic noted that Serbia was prepared to continue the dialogue with Pristina, after Pristina revokes the irresponsible moves," says a press release. The Serbian president repeated that there would be no counter-measures, because Serbia wished to remain a reliable partner not only in the region, but in Europe and the world as well. Hahn said that long-term stability required reconciliation and good neighborly relations, offering full support to efforts to resolve the crisis in a peaceful manner, with respect for the international law and regional agreements. Vucic said in Belgrade, on Dec. 3, that he had discussed Pristina's moves with Hahn, including a new and increased tariff on imports from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as regional stability.


BELGRADE, December 3 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Dec. 3 that a visit by his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, scheduled to take place this week, was postponed because of riots in France. Vucic explained at a press conference that he talked to the French president on Dec. 3, and that he asked him to shift the visit to a later date, in a few weeks. "I know how difficult it is to carry out credible economic reforms," Vucic said to reporters. The French authorities say that 136,000 people participated in the "yellow vest" protests, taking place across France on Dec. 1. The French interior ministry reported that 263 persons were injured in the riots, 81 of them members of the security force. The "Yellow Vest" movement has organized protests across France since Nov. 17, over a decision to increase fuel taxes as part of a new environmental policy, but the protests have grown into a demonstration of general discontent with President Macron's policies.


BELGRADE, December 3 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic expressed concern in Katowice, on Dec. 3, at the U.N. Conference on Climate Change, over the effect climate change was having on the environment and people's lives, and stressed that joint action by all countries was needed to solve this problem. "We must be united, regardless of whether we are industrially developed countries, territorially small or large, in transition or not. This is a subject that is not about national or religious affiliation, political and personal inclination, it is a matter important to us all who inhabit planet Earth," Brnabic said. She added that no country could solve climate change on its own, pointing out that joint action was necessary for positive results. The PM stressed that Serbia was clearly committed to all initiatives of this kind that entail acting immediately. She recalled that Serbia had felt the effects of climate change in the recent past, specifying the floods of May 2014 and last year's drought that impacted the national GDP, trade and the standard of living. PM Brnabic said environmental protection was one of the most important issues in the process of joining the European Union, one that demands by far the most investment -- over EUR15 billion. Present at the opening of the conference were world leaders, heads of state and government, including U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the prime ministers of the Netherlands and Spain, Mark Rutte and Pedro Sanchez, and European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic. Brnabic met with the presidents of Austria and Bulgaria, Alexander van der Bellen and Rumen Radev, PM Rutte, and World Bank chief executive officer Kristalina Georgieva on the sidelines of the conference.


BRUSSELS, December 3 2018 (Beta) - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) strongly supports the Belgrade-Pristina talks, including "possible border adjustments," hoping that the two sides will reach a mutually acceptable solution, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels, on Dec. 3. Stoltenberg spoke ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, who will meet with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini on Dec. 5 to discuss "relations between NATO and the Western Balkans." When asked by a journalist if the Northern Atlantic Alliance feared that a solution in the Belgrade-Pristina talks involving a kind of "border correction" might have some security repercussions, Stoltenberg said that "NATO strongly supports the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, since it's the only way to find answers to unresolved issues." The NATO leader recalled that he used a recent visit to Belgrade to underline the importance of the talks. "When it comes to possible border adjustments, I have to note that NATO supports the dialogue, and I hope the two sides will find a solution that's acceptable for Belgrade and Pristina alike," Stoltenberg said. Stoltenberg also said that "it's important that all actors refrain from challenging moves and provocative messages, and try to reduce tensions and make progress instead." The Alliance's secretary-general underlined that "NATO will continue its presence in Kosovo, where there's a NATO operative mission, KFOR, which is very important for stability." "KFOR wil continue to be unbiased, so that we can be sure that stability and security will be guaranteed, and that progress will be made towards political efforts to reach a solution through political negotiations," Stoltenberg concluded.



BELGRADE, December 3 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian Competition Commission has approved the purchase of the Belgrade Agricultural Corporation, PKB, and three daughter companies -- Eko Lab, PKB Agroekonomik and PKB Veterinary Station, to Al Dahra of the United Arab Emirates. The commission believes that the takeover will not threaten competition on the Serbian market in dairy, wheat, seed and apple production, in animal husbandry, laboratory testing and veterinary care, as Al Dahra only produces and sells apples in Serbia. Al Dahra, registered in Irig, bought the real property of PKB and its daughter companies for a little over EUR105 million early in October. The value of the livestock of PKB, estimated at around EUR17 million, will be added to the base price. Al Dahra announced an investment of EUR30 million in advancing the business of PKB, further development of the irrigation system and modernization of the dairy production capacity over the next three years. Al Dahra also plans to invest EUR15 million in optimizing PKB business and its capacity to produce higher yields and better-quality milk. Al Dahra has been operating in Serbia since 2014, when it bought 51 percent in Rudnap Agrar.


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