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DAILY SURVEY 21.11.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC, U.S. AMBASSADOR DISCUSS REGIONAL, BILATERAL, INTERNATIONAL ISSUES

BELGRADE, 20 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met on Nov. 20 with the U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, to discuss current regional affairs, bilateral and international issues. The meeting took place as part of regular bilateral consultations ahead of Minister Dacic's visit to Washington, where he will be attending an Atlantic Council conference. During his visit to Washington, the Serbian foreign minister will also have a series of meetings with U.S. senior officials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported. Ambassador Scott reiterated his country's support for Serbia's EU accession, hoping that Serbia would continue to pursue a constructive regional policy, the Ministry said in a press release.

VUCIC: SERBIA PINS GREAT HOPES ON BULGARIA'S EU PRESIDENCY

BELGRADE, 20 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Nov. 20 that Serbia had high expectations of Bulgaria's Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) in the first half of 2018, hoping that EU enlargement would be one of the priorities, the Office of the Serbian President said in a release. In a telephone conversation with Bulgarian Prime Minister Bojko Borisov, the Serbian president thanked him for Bulgaria's support for Serbian accession to the Union. Vucic and Borisov agreed that strengthening the rule of law was sending a good signal to foreign investors, the presidential office released. The two officials also discussed cooperation within the Council for Cooperation between Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, suggesting that the next meeting of the Council, taking place in Belgrade early in December, should be used as an opportunity to strengthen regional ties. The Serbian president and the Bulgarian prime minister also talked about the progress made in implementing infrastructure and energy projects, including the Belgrade-Sofia highway, the gas inter-connection project, and rail and road transportation initiatives between Serbia and Bulgaria.

VUCIC MEETS ALEXANDER SOROS TO DISCUSS REGIONAL COOPERATION, EU INTEGRATION

BELGRADE, 20 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met on Nov. 20 with a deputy chairman of the Open Society Foundation's steering committee, Alexander Soros, to discuss regional cooperation and the Foundation's support to Serbia's EU accession, media reform and rule of law. President Vucic said that his country's strategic goal and chief priority was full membership in the European Union (EU), adding that Serbia was prepared to carry out social reform and meet European standards, the Serbian Presidency reported. The Serbian president also said that the Western Balkans belonged in the EU, and that Serbia, occasional negative processes in the region notwithstanding, remained committed to resolving all open bilateral issues with its neighbors at the negotiating table. The Presidency quoted Alex Soros as encouraging Serbia to keep on playing a constructive role in stabilizing the Western Balkans, underlining that the Foundation was ready to offer full support to the reform processes and entrepreneurship in Serbia, as well as a program of Roma integration. The Serbian president and the Open Society Foundation's official agreed that it was necessary for Serbia to carry out the reforms, especially to strengthen the rule of law.

LJAJIC, RUZIC IN GEORGIA DISCUSS WAYS TO DEVELOP BILATERAL COOP

BELGRADE, 20 November 2017 (Beta) - The deputy prime minister and trade, tourism and telecommunications minister, Rasim Ljajic, and Public Administration and Local Self-Government Minister Branko Ruzic, met in Tbilisi on Nov. 20 with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili to discuss ways to further develop political and economic relations, according to a release from the Serbian government. Kvirikashvili said that Georgia would abide by its position not to recognize the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo, given that the principles of the inviolability of borders and non-interference in internal affairs of other countries had to be a basis for overall stability in international relations, the release said. He called on Serbia's businesspeople to exploit benefits and subsidies provided by the Tbilisi government to foreign investors, and also Serbian construction firms to take part in various infrastructure projects in Georgia. In Tbilisi, Ljajic and Georgian First Deputy Prime Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili signed an agreement on economic and trade cooperation, while Ruzic and Georgian Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani signed a memorandum of cooperation in public sector reform. The two sides agreed that by next June they would harmonize agreements on mutual investment promotion and protection and joint projects for third markets and, by that time, to hold a first session of the mixed committee for economic cooperation to define all fields of joint activities, it said in the release. The two sides also agreed to exchange experience in public sector reform.

MATVIYENKO: RUSSIA AND SERBIA ARE STRATEGIC PARTNERS

BELGRADE, 20 November 2017 (Beta) - Russian Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko said on Nov. 20 that Russia and Serbia had a strategic partnership that covered all fields of cooperation. "Today, Russia and Serbia have a strategic partnership that covers all fields of cooperation, including the political level, high and top level meetings of the parliaments and government, with a positive trend in trade relations," Matviyenko said, while addressing Serbian MPs. She said that this year, bilateral trade had recorded a 16 percent increase with a tendency of further growth, while investment cooperation had been increased, primarily in the fields of energy and transportation. In these domains, she underlined the Serbian railway modernization project and the development of the oil and gas company Naftna Industrija Srbije (NIS). Matviyenko further said that the bilateral free trade agreement, signed in 2000, "has been meeting expectations," and creating favorable conditions for continued cooperation. She reiterated Moscow's support for Serbia's territorial integrity regarding Kosovo, stressing that "the tragic event" of NATO's aggression on Yugoslavia "rendered the fragmentation of a European country acceptable." "Seventy-three years ago, together we liberated Belgrade. Today, we consistently back Belgrade regarding Kosovo (...) I assure you that Serbia can continue to count on the support of Russia and the Russian people," Matviyenko said. She also said that relations between Russia and Serbia stood as an example of "historic friendship and brotherhood, mutual respect, trust and overall cooperation," noting that a great deal of credit for that went to the presidents, governments and parliaments of the two countries.

DAILY SURVEY

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