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DAILY SURVEY 20.11.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC: LEGALLY BINDING AGREEMENT ON NORMALIZATION WITH KOSOVO IS NOT A NEW IDEA

BELGRADE, 17 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in Belgrade, on Nov. 17, that the idea of a legally binding agreement on the normalization of relations with Kosovo was not new, and was launched at the opening of Serbia's accession talks with the European Union (EU). Dacic said that there was clearly a big difference between Pristina's and the EU's understanding of what the agreement should include, and that the Union could maintain only a status-neutral view, as five EU states had refused to recognize Kosovo's independence. "Do you know when these states will give their consent to the idea that Serbia should recognize Kosovo's independence in order to join the EU? Never! But let us not pass on the burden to those states, but fight to the end alone instead," Dacic said after a meeting with Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo. The Serbian foreign minister said that "hardly anyone knows" what the legally binding agreement should contain, and that there would certainly be pressure over the independence of Kosovo. "Our position is firm and clear, and we have no intention of changing it. We are open to talks, but not to accepting unilateral moves," Dacic said.

DACIC: GREAT POWERS CLASH OVER RUSSIAN-SERBIAN HUMANITARIAN CENTER

BELGRADE, 17 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in Belgrade, on Nov. 17, that great powers were clashing over the Serbian-Russian Humanitarian Center in Nis, adding that Serbia had said "a hundred times" that it would not take part in it. When asked for a comment on a statement by Ben Hodges, U.S. Army Europe commander, that the story surrounding the Center was a mere "facade," and that he did not believe it, Dacic said that the commander should be dismissed. "If they truly believe the center in Nis to be that important, the commander should be dismissed," Dacic said. The minister reiterated that only "five Serbs, four Russians and a dog" were there, and that the final decision about the center would take Serbia's interests into account.

DACIC OFFERS GREECE AID IN WAKE OF FLOODS

BELGRADE, 17 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on Nov. 17 spoke with Greek Ambassador to Serbia Elias Eliades and again expressed his deepest condolences over the lives lost in the floods that have hit Greece. The Serbian minister voiced readiness on the part of the government to provide assistance to Greece, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release. Dacic and Eliades emphasized their pleasure at the "traditionally high level of bilateral ties and frequent meetings of officials" from Serbia and Greece, the statement read further. The collocutors recalled that the next meeting of the High Council for Greek-Serbian cooperation should take place in Belgrade next year, the press release noted. At least 15 people have died in floods which hit Athens' poor industrial suburbs on Nov. 15.

VUCIC: JOINT PARATROOPER TRAINING MULTIPLY BENEFICIAL

BELGRADE, 17 November 2017 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said that he is very happy with a joint exercise of Serbian and U.S. paratroopers, which ended on Nov. 17, and that such joint training events were beneficial in numerous ways. "Joint training contributes to improving knowledge, but also to creating partnerships and friendships where they have not always existed in the past. Both goals have been met and thanks to the U.S. embassy too, to the U.S. European Command and the National Guard of Ohio," Vucic told reporters at the Lisiciji Jarak airport after the Winter 2017 exercise. He said he was proud of the Serbian soldiers who have shown they can jump from American planes using American round parachutes, which are not used by the Army of Serbia, which are faster and have harder landings than square parachutes. U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott said training Serbian and U.S. paratroopers was important and also a symbol of joint preparations for challenges that the future may bring. He said the American paratroopers were impressed with the abilities of their Serbian colleagues, and declared the exercise a success.

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