Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press service
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DAILY SURVEY 05.12.2018.
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BELGRADE, December 4 2018 (Beta0 - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had a telephone conversation on Dec. 4 about the current political situation, the Office of the Serbian President reported. President Vucic thanked Chancellor Kurz, whose state chairs the Council of the European Union, for a personal role in solving problems in the Balkans, and in the efforts to reduce tensions. Vucic also thanked Kurz for support to Serbia's EU accession.


BELGRADE, December 4 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met on Dec. 4 with the Czech ambassador to Serbia,Tomasz Kuchta, to discuss her visit to the Czech Republic at the invitation of her Czech counterpart, Andrej Babis, as well as bilateral ties, the Serbian government reported. Brnabic underlined the importance of the Czech Republic's support to Serbia in the EU accession process, as well as to Serbian government reforms. The prime minister also touched upon the situation caused by "Pristina's unilateral decision to introduce a 100-percent tariff on imports from Serbia," breaking the Central European Free Trade Agreement and, as she put it, threatening the survival and safety of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. Prime Minister Brnabic said that all the obstacles aside, Serbia continued to call for peace, and she was confident that partners in the Union would exert additional pressure on Pristina, in order to continue the EU-mediated dialogue supposed to produce a compromise between the two sides. Ambassador Kuchta said that the Czech Republic considered Serbia a country with great economic potential, and that the upcoming visit by the Serbian PM would be a good opportunity to develop overall bilateral cooperation. Brnabic said she was pleased to be given the opportunity to meet the Czech senior leadership, adding that the visit coinciding with the centennial of Czech-Serbian diplomatic ties was sending an important signal.


BELGRADE, December 4 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian minister in charge of the country's accession to the European Union, Jadranka Joksimovic, met on Dec. 4 with Renata Alt, a member of the German federal parliament, to discuss bilateral relations, Serbia's activities in the accession process and the situation in the region. Minister Joksimovic said that in Serbia's eyes it was imperative to preserve regional stability and cooperation, explaining that destabilization was not in Serbia's interest. She was quoted by her ministry as saying that Pristina's decision to raise duties on imports from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, "supported by Tirana," was "threatening the fundamental values of the Union and regional stability, which might translate into a long-term European problem." The German MP said that her country was monitoring very carefully the regional developments, and that it was interested in preserving peace and stability, the ministry went on to say in a press release. Minister Joksimovic noted that Serbia was committed to the EU accession, placing special emphasis on reforms, especially those provided by the Chapters 23 and 24 on the rule of law. Joksimovic said that the Serbian government had accepted all recommendations by the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe's authority that was quite positive regarding Serbia's constitutional amendments shaping the national judiciary.


BELGRADE, December 4 2018 (Beta) - A cooperation agreement was signed on Dec. 4 between Jiao Tong University and the universities in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis at the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development has announced. The agreement was signed by Minister of Education Mladen Sarcevic, the Jiao Tong University vice president for education and international relations, Xu Xuemin, and rector of the Nis University and the prorectors of the universities in Belgrade and Nis. The agreement envisages student exchanges in the areas of mathematics, physics, agriculture and management and the mutual funding of accommodation and food costs, a statement said. Sarcevic said that the agreement should to be a motive for the Serbian scientific and academic community. "We now have an opportunity to forge much deeper connections and cooperate in different scientific fields," he said. The Jiao Tong University in Shanghai was founded in 1896 and is one of China's most prestigious universities.


BELGRADE, December 4 2018 (Beta) - On Dec. 4 Minister of Environmental Protection Goran Trivan said that Serbia "has taken serious steps" to open Chapter 27 in negotiations on accession with the EU and solving the question of pollution which had moved Serbia closer to developed European countries, a statement has said. On the sidelines of a ministerial conference called Innovative Solutions for Reducing Pollution in South East and Eastern Europe, being held in Belgrade, he met with representatives of a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) delegation headed by coordinator for the Mediterranean Gaetano Leoni. Trivan thanked UNEP for choosing Serbia to host its international conference, which he said meant that the organization appreciated the measures that Serbia was taking to open and solve key environmental issues. Leoni said that the countries of the region were characterized by preserved biodiversity, a wealth or resources and significant development capacities, which was why curbing pollution was an especially important mission. The holding of this conference in Belgrade and its results will be of the highest importance for holding UNEP's assembly in Nairobi next year, Leoni said.


BELGRADE, December 4 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Office for Kosovo and Metohija chief Marko Djuric said on Dec. 4 that Pristina had "wiped the floor" with attempts by some European representatives to get Kosovo to lift a 100-percent import tax on Serbian goods, and that announcements of the formation of a Kosovo army were the most direct threat to the security of Serbia and the region. "This kind of army would serve exclusively for conflicts with Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and to protect what they call the independent state of Kosovo... Serbia will not allow and not have its hands tied if anyone tries to threaten its security," Djuric told the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation. Djuric said that KFOR and NATO were obligated by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 to disarm the army if created. He said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had pointed out the seriousness and danger of the situation with European Commissioner Johannes Hahn and the ambassadors of Russia, China and the U.S. Djuric said that he was sure that Pristina's measures would not be enacted if everyone in the international community used their authority. Djuric condemned a ban on the entry of the Belgrade Partizan basketball team to Kosovo, describing the act as the "ghettoization of Serbs."


BRUSSELS, December 4 2018 (Beta) - European Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn asked his hosts in Pristina, on Dec. 3, to discuss a 100-percent tariff on products from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina before relevant forums, so that a tangible and quick solution could be found, as the problem "can be solved for the benefit of all." These were the words of Hahn's spokesperson, Maja Kocijancic, speaking in Brussels on Dec. 4, when she also noted that the commissioner was prepared to engage in the process. Kocijancic underlined that during his visit to Pristina, Hahn had requested that the Kosovo authorities withdraw the 100-percent tax they had imposed on imports from Serbia and Bosnia, because the move was contrary to regional cooperation, the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) and the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), overall negative effects on the region notwithstanding. A journalist's question had been what the EU could do to make Pristina respect the CEFTA and SAA, given that the Kosovo authorities refused to withdraw the increased tariff, despite Hahn's request. Kocijancic wanted to make it very clear that "regional trade and economic cooperation are important for economic growth and preparations for an entry into the Union's internal market." She explained that "the partners on both sides are those to discuss proposals, and Commissioner Hahn is ready to take part in the process." "Our position is very clear, there's no change and we'll continue to work within that framework," Maja Kocijancic said. When asked if the EU possessed some tangible measures it could implement for the authorities in Pristina to respect the European Commission's request to withdraw the 100-percent tax, she said that Commissioner Hahn discussed very specific matters on Dec. 3. It's his partners on the ground that matter, they are the ones to discuss it, and I believe that the European Commission, when it comes to those specific measures, has offered a very clear position. We will continue to act, and we believe this can be solved for the benefit of all, Kocijancic said.


BELGRADE, December 4 2018 (Beta) - Any refashioning of borders according to ethnic lines, including the border between Serbia and Kosovo would present "a huge defeat of the democratic value system" and could have repercussions in the way of a new world war, German MP Josip Juratovic said in Belgrade on Dec. 4. In a statement to BETA Juratovic said that the region of the Western Balkans had only one chance - to live according to the principles of the EU through strengthening the central European agreement on free trade, as a prerequisite for economic development and the development of a market. On the subject of relations in the region, Juratovic said that one of the unsolved questions between Serbia and Croatia was the issue of missing persons and veterans. He said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and he had discussed the possibility of Croatian veterans visiting Stajicevo in Serbia, and Serbian veterans visiting Croatia, adding that this would be gesture of good will "as veterans are often an instrument in political arguments." "The majority of Croats have nothing against Serbs and a large majority of Serbs have nothing against Croats. This region has a chance if there is mutual trust," said Juratovic, who participated in an international conference called The Dynamics of Regional Cooperation and Bilateral Relations in the Western Balkans, in Belgrade. Juratovic spoke of the consequences that redrawing borders would have for example in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Crimea. He said that 50 percent of Bosniaks were moderate and would be happy if Croatia and Serbia offered their hand. "The suffering people of Bosnia and Herzegovina have nowhere to go," the German lawmaker said, adding that he was an advocate of a unified Bosnia and Herzegovina. "The idea of changing borders in Europe is absurd because it would mean the failure of the democratic system. This would be the case in the event of corrections of the border by Serbia and Kosovo. That would mean a new world war. Drawing ethnic borders in Europe is impossible," Juratovic said.


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