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DAILY SURVEY 13.11.2018.
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SERBIA

DACIC WITH RUSSIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: EXCELLENT COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 9 November 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said in Belgrade on Nov. 9, that the two countries had excellent cooperation and that economic relations were on an upswing. After a session of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic, Science and Technology Cooperation between Serbia and Russia, which they co-chair, Dacic and Borisov told reporters that the two delegations had considered contracts and agreements to be signed during the forthcoming visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Serbia mid-January. According to them, the meeting had two purposes -- to pave the way for Putin's visit to Serbia and to prepare for a session of the Inter-Governmental Committee, to be held after Putin's visit, in the first half of 2019. Dacic said there was no need to discuss political ties between Russia and Serbia, describing them as being "at the foremost level of friendship, mutual support and understanding between two nations," and added that economic relations were on an upswing. "Trade worth USD2.3 billion in the first nine months of the year almost matches last year's USD2.6 billion. Export from Serbia to Russia was USD350 million, 17 times more than in 2005," Dacic said. Borisov described Serbia-Russia relations as "exceptionally good," noting that cooperation was excellent, trade was growing dynamically and was ten percent higher than in 2017.

DACIC: PAPAL VISIT WOULD BE GOOD FOR SERBIA

BELGRADE, 9 November 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Nov. 10 that he believed a visit by Pope Francis to Serbia would be good for the country and the people. "We very often look at relations with the Vatican through the prism of problems around the church in Croatia in World War II, etc. Relations with the Vatican are much more than that issue," Dacic said. The Serbian minister stated that it would be good for representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church to keep in touch and have meetings with the Vatican.

VUCIC MEETS WITH RUSSIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

BELGRADE, 9 November 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met on Nov. 9 with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov and discussed relations between the two countries and preparations for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Serbia in January 2019. Vucic said there was forward movement in railway infrastructure, energy and technical military cooperation between the two nations, adding that the Turkish Stream was very important to Serbia, the Serbian president's office said in a press release. Borisov, also the co-chair of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic, Science and Technology Cooperation between Serbia and Russia, said trade and political relations were at a high level, the press release said further. The Serbian president said there was room to advance agricultural production and that he was confident there would be more and more products to be sold on the Russian market. The meeting included Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Zorana Mihajlovic, Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin and Mining and Energy Minister Aleksandar Antic.

VUCIC MEETS WITH ANGELA MERKEL IN PARIS

BELGRADE, 11 November 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Nov. 11, in Paris, where the two officials were attending ceremonies to commemorate Armistice Day, the Office of the Serbian President reported. Vucic and Merkel discussed bilateral relations, economic cooperation, the situation in the region and Serbia's accession to the European Union (EU), the Office went on to say in a press release. Vucic briefed the chancellor on the status of the talks between Serbia and Kosovo, and Pristina's latest decision to increase taxes on imports from Serbia and Bosnia, underlining that it was difficult for him to understand irresponsible acts of breaking an agreement, undermining regional cooperation and stability. The Serbian president also shared with Merkel very recent reports of Serbia's economic growth, thanking her for increasing German investment in Serbia, as German companies employed more than 52,000 Serbs. The chancellor welcomed Serbia's economic successes, stressing that she wished to help protect peace and stability in the Western Balkans, the presidential office released. The meeting between the president and the chancellor was suggested by Merkel, during the European People's Party's conference last week, in Helsinki. Vucic also met with French President Emmanuel Macron, discussing Macron's upcoming visit to Belgrade, and with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, with whom he had discussed President Putin's visit to Serbia. The Serbian president also met with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

VUCIC EXPECTS GERMANY TO CONDEMN UNDERMINING OF CEFTA

BELGRADE, 11 November 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Nov. 11 that he expected Germany to condemn the undermining of the CEFTA agreement, i.e. Pristina's decision to increase duty on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, noting that no-one could comprehend such an irresponsible, frightening move. I think the Germans will take an unequivocal stand on the undermining of CEFTA, Vucic said after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, adding that he was not saying this would be a result of the talks, but of consistent German policy. According to him, just like Germany is behind Kosovo's independence because that is their policy, "I also know they will certainly denounce the policy of undermining this agreement." Vucic said he had told Merkel that he could not understand such an irresponsible move on the part of Pristina -- undercutting a deal of years' long standing. Vucic said it was frightening to think what the minds that made such a decision could do, and that he "feared" this. Speaking about the relationship with Pristina, Vucic said Serbia stood for a policy of compromise, understanding and the protection of state and national interests.

VUCIC: SEATING ARRANGEMENT IN PARIS DOESN'T REFLECT BALANCE OF POWER

BELGRADE, 11 November 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Nov. 11 he didin't want to make a scene over the seating arrangement at the central ceremony commemorating Armistice Day in Paris, where his Kosovo counterpart, Hashim Thaci's position was better than his own. When asked about the seating politics, giving very good seats to the Croatian and Kosovo presidents, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and Hashim Thaci, whereas Vucic, the president of a WWI ally that had made the ultimate sacrifice during the war, was in the third row, the Serbian president said that the sitting arrangement made no sense, but that he didn't want to share his suspicions as to how it had happened. President Vucic insisted it didn't mirror the true balance of power, underlining that French President Emmanuel Macron was visiting Belgrade in 20 days, not travelling to Pristina, and that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, was coming as well, with hardly any chance of visiting Pristina. "I believe that the decision not to make a scene, but to protect our position, was the right one," Vucic said, promising to invite thousands to welcome Macron during his visit to Serbia, to demonstrate true Serbian hospitality for him. The president said he had important talks in Paris, and did a good job for Serbia.

VUCIC THANKS MONDOLONI FOR WONDERFUL WORDS, RESPECT FOR SERBIAN VICTIMS

BELGRADE, 12 November 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Nov. 12 thanked the French ambassador to Serbia, Frederic Mondoloni, for his apology over the seating arrangements during the ceremonies commemorating Armistice Day in Paris, promising a magnificent welcome for French President Emmanuel Macron, expected to visit Serbia early in December. "I'm grateful to Ambassador Mondoloni for his wonderful words and respect for Serbian victims," Vucic wrote on Twitter. Ambassador Mondoloni said on Nov. 12 that the seating arrangement during the ceremony marking 100 years after the Armistice ended the First World War was "an awkward gesture he regrets very much," asking the Serbian president and the Serbian people to accept his apology.

STEFANOVIC: TODAY'S SERBIA BUILDS FUTURE FOR ITS DESCENDANTS IN PEACETIME

BELGRADE, 11 November 2018 (Beta) - A central wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate Armistice Day on Nov. 11 was held next to a monument to the defenders of Belgrade, at the capital's New Cemetery. The Serbian government's delegation that attended the ceremony commemorating the centenary of the Armistice that ended the First World War was led by the Serbian interior minister, Nebojsa Stefanovic, who said that Serbia wished to use the ceremony to pay profound respect to the soldiers and civilians killed in the battles for peace and freedom. The minister said that not only heroic feats should be remembered at anniversaries, but also the ultimate price our ancestors had paid to win freedom for themselves and their country. The courage and integrity of Serbian soldiers were best described by their contemporaries, Stefanovic said, quoting a U.S. WWI minister impressed by their heroism, Robert Dessing, as saying that the most famous chapter in the history of the First World War would be titled "Serbia." Stefanovic underlined that there were history records of their bravery, but also of enormous suffering and terrible consequences, as Serbia lost between 1.1 million and 1.3 million people, more than a half of men fit for military service, and the country was completely devastated. "It's no wonder that Queen Natalie's ramonda was chosen to be the symbol of the Armistice, because even when completely dry, it can fully recover when watered again. It's also called a phoenix flower, and just like the flower, Serbia was back on its feet after the First World War and other suffering it endured in its wake," Stefanovic said. Minister Nenad Popovic, Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, Belgrade's deputy mayor, Goran Vesic, diplomats, including the Russian and German ambassadors, Alexander Chepurin and Thomas Shieb, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi, the British ambassador, Denis Keefe, and others laid wreaths at the monument to commemorate Armistice Day.

JOINT TACTICAL EXERCISE WINNERS' CENTURY COMPLETE

BELGRADE, 10 November 2018 (Beta) - The Army of Serbia joint tactical exercise titled Winners' Century 1918-2018 in honor of the centennial of the end of World War I was completed around 4 p.m. on Nov. 10 with a display in the Titel military compound. The attractive exercise was held on the River Tisa by imagining the bank as enemy territory. The territory was conquered in an advance from the river and with infantry, with support from the air. The Winners' Century exercise was held in ten locations with around 8,000 Army of Serbia members and used 125 tons of munitions. It began at 9 a.m. at the Pasuljanske Livade training ground, as Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, cabinet members and representatives of the Ministry of Defense and Army of Serbia looked on.

DJORDJEVIC MEETS WITH MONTENEGRIN COUNTERPART TO DISCUSS SOCIAL DIMENSION OF EU INTEGRATION

BELGRADE, 10 November 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs Zoran Djordjevic met on Nov. 10 with his Montenegrin counterpart, Kemal Purisic, to discuss social aspects of European integration, as well as an initiative for access to the European Social Fund. "The Western Balkans can work together to make a breakthrough in strengthening the reforms required along their path to the European Union (EU). Signing a declaration to advance social policy in the Western Balkans is very important, as it would create conditions for access to the European Social Fund," Djordjevic was quoted as saying by his ministry. Purisic said he was pleased that the Serbian labor ministry had launched an initiative to bring the region together, adding that Montenegro would always support EU perspectives, especially in the areas that had a direct impact on the quality of living.

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