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DAILY SURVEY 22.03.2017.
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SERBIA

DACIC MEETS WITH NEW AMBASSADORS FROM LUXEMBOURG, NORTH KOREA, SUDAN

Belgrade, 21 March 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic greeted on March 21 the ambassadors of Luxembourg, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea and Sudan in Serbia. During his meeting with the accredited ambassador of Luxembourg, who is on a non-residential basis and is seated in Luxembourg Jean-Louis Thill, Dacic thanked the country's support for Serbia's European integration so far and conveyed the expectation that it would continue in the future. During the meeting, both officials said that bilateral relations were good and friendly with room for improvement. Also, both sides voiced their satisfaction with the upcoming visit of Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Jean Asselborn to Serbia on March 28-29.
Dacic voiced his gratitude to the new Ambassador of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, who is on a non-residential basis in Bucharest, Ri Pyong Du, for the principled position of his country with regard to the question of Kosovo and Metohija. Commenting on the escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula, he said that Serbia favored lowering tensions and finding a diplomatic solution through negotiations between the involved parties, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
In a discussion with the new ambassador of Sudan, Ilham Ahmed, Dacic pointed to the need to strengthen political dialogue between the two countries and develop cooperation in the areas of culture and education, and thanked Sudan for its position on the question of Kosovo and Metohija. The Serbian foreign minister voiced his satisfaction with an announced visit by Sudanese Interior Minister Ibrahim Gandura to Serbia and voiced Serbia's readiness to hold regular political consultations with the Sudanese side. The new ambassadors earlier handed in their credentials to Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic.

VUCIC, SCOTT: UPWARD TREND RECORDED IN SERBIAN-U.S. RELATIONS

Belgrade, 21 March 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and the U.S. ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, said on March 21 that bilateral relations were expanding, which provided for a boost in the interest of U.S. companies in investing in Serbia, the Serbian government reported. Vucic and Scott discussed the situation in the region, and agreed that "Serbia's responsible policy" contributed to peace and stability in the Western Balkans. The Serbian PM and the U.S. ambassador also discussed the relationship between Belgrade and Pristina. Vucic said that Serbia remained committed to the dialogue and the Brussels agreement", even though the interim administration in Pristina has made several irresponsible moves over a brief period of time, threatening the dialogue and the agreements made in Brussels," the cabinet said in a press release.

VUCIC MEETS WITH MEMBER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT KNUT FLECKENSTEIN

Belgrade, 21 March 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic met on March 21 with Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Knut Fleckenstein, to discuss the situation in the region and Serbia's key role in maintaining peace and stability in the Western Balkans, the Serbian government said in a press release. Vucic thanked Fleckenstein for the support of his political group to Serbia's EU accession. Fleckenstein is vice president of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, a political group in the European Parliament. The Serbian PM also thanked Fleckenstein, the Chairman of the German aid and welfare organization, the ASB - Workers' Samaritan Federation, for the ASB experts and volunteers' cooperation with the Serbian authorities in assisting migrants in Serbia. Vucic underscored that the ASB had built refugee centers in Dimitrovgrad and Subotica, and provided different types of direct assistance, helping not only the migrants, but also the Serbian authorities. Fleckenstein praised Serbia for being accountable, responsible and well-organized in handling the migrant crisis.

GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY APPROVED FOR U.S. NCR TO OPEN 1,500 JOBS IN SERBIA

Belgrade, 21 March 2017 (Beta) - The Serbian Ministry of Economy and the U.S.-based NCR company signed on March 21 a subsidized contract worth EUR 10.2 million to build new premises in Serbia, and open 1,500 new jobs in the country. The company has been operating in Serbia for five years, employing 2,134 people based on the Serbian government subsidies. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who attended the signing ceremony in the Serbian government building, said he expected NCR to be one of the largest employers in Serbia. The NCR CEO, William Nuti, said that it was a big day for his company, which considered jobs very important. Nuti said that the new premises in Belgrade, the construction of which would take between 18 and 24 months, would be "world-class." The company's CEO underscored that the value of the NCR investment in Serbia was USD 400 million, and that the company was committed to long-term investment in Serbia.

MIHAJLOVIC DISCUSSES RAILWAY PROJECTS WITH EIB DIRECTOR

Belgrade, 21 March 2017 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic met on March 21 with the European Investment Bank (EIB) Director for the Western Balkans Dubravka Negre to discuss a finance plan for a bypass railway around the city of Nis and other railway projects in the south of Serbia, worth a total of EUR 230 million. Minister Mihajlovic briefed the EIB director on the importance and dynamics of the Nis railway project worth EUR 87 million. Her ministry has prepared the complete documentation, and Mihajlovic and Negre discussed opportunities for cooperation in the construction of the railway section, the Ministry of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure said in a press release. Negre said that the EIB was interested in the project, and that the Serbian government might get a donation, that is, a grant from the bank. The reconstruction of the Sicevo-Dimitrovgrad railway section worth EUR 84.4 million was also discussed, as the bank is participating in the financial part of the project, as well as the electrification of the Nis-Dimitrovgrad section, along Corridor X, requiring another EUR 59 million. To cover the cost of all these projects, Serbia has applied for EIB donations worth EUR 118.6 million.

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