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DAILY SURVEY 22.05.2018.
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SERBIA - AZERBAIJAN

VUCIC: RESPECT GROWS BETWEEN STATES THAT VALUE THEIR FREEDOM

BELGRADE, 21 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said during his visit to Baku, on May 21, that Azerbaijan's support meant very much to Serbia, having noted that respect was developing between the states that valued their independence and freedom. "Azerbaijan's support over Kosovo and Metohija means very much to Serbia, and I can't say that a block of states is being created, but there is definitely growing respect among the states that value their independence and freedom. Azerbaijan greatly respects Serbia, and Serbia feels the same respect for Azerbaijan," Vucic said to reporters. The Serbian president said that Azerbaijan was very important to Serbia as a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is largely unsupportive of Serbia in the Kosovo affair, which is why it is important "to have Azerbaijan on your side." Vucic said that Italy's new government was a major European problem, promising to do exactly the opposite of what Paolo Gentiloni's cabinet did, including a decision to leave the Eurozone. "The plot is thickening everywhere, and it's very important to work together with countries like Azerbaijan to try to protect our own independence, freedom, peace and stability, and to provide a boost for our economies," Vucic said. Speaking of the region's accession to the European Union (EU), the Serbian president said that it was difficult to say anything before the European Commission's decision in June, but that it was clear at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia, on May 17, that "it won't be easy," and that the climate in Europe had changed. "I could see in Sofia, and it was pretty obvious to everyone that it won't be easy for Albania and Macedonia to open accession talks, whatever they might do. There's a different climate in Europe now, France and Holland are more rigid about this. We supported Tirana and Skopje, hoping that they will start negotiations with the EU, but it's not our decision," President Vucic said. Vucic said that "some sort of development can be expected, so as to say that something is on the table, some good news of sorts, but without actually opening negotiations." In a comment on a chance for Serbia to join the EU in 2025, President Vucic said that no one could say what might happen until then, and that Serbia "has to do its part of the job first, regarding the rule of law and different freedoms" at home. "Once we've done that, the most difficult obstacle of all will still lie there - the normalization of relations with Pristina. No one can say at this point if it will happen, or how...we can only guess," the president said. Vucic said that it's impossible to say what might happen, and under what circumstances, and he warned that a new wave of migrants might hit Europe. "There's a serious danger that twice, or three times as many migrants could reach Europe. It's just one of the dangers surrounding us. Not even the dawn of World War I was as complicated as the current situation is," Vucic said. The president said that he had discussed the situation in Europe and beyond with his Azerbaijan counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, that they had agreed on many issiues, and decided to continue cooperation in a variety of areas. Vucic also invited Aliyev to visit Serbia, and expects him in March or April, 2019. The Serbian president said that Azerbaijan's Azvert company had presented "serious results' in the construction of a highway linking Ljig and Cacak, and that the plan is for the company to move to a 19km long route between Ostruznica and Bubanj Potok. Vucic added that he had substantial, very good talks with Prime Minister Nomruz Mammadov, and that he would discuss the country's investments in Serbia with the Azerbaijan president later, in the evening.

SERBIA, AZERBAIJAN INK AIR, ROAD TRANSPORT COOP AGREEMENTS

BELGRADE, 21 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbia and Azerbaijan signed air and road transportation cooperation agreements in Baku on May 21, according to a statement from the Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry. "These are two very important agreements, one of which aims to improve cooperation in the field of road infrastructure construction and to further develop trade and economic relations with Azerbaijan, while the air transport agreement should create conditions for establishing direct flights between Baku and Belgrade," Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Zoran Mihajlovic said. Mihajlovic signed the agreement as a member of the Serbian delegation visiting Azerbaijan, headed by President Aleksandar Vucic. She stressed that good political relations served as a good precondition for successful bilateral economic and infrastructure cooperation, adding that she expected Azerbaijani firms to take part in major infrastructure projects in Serbia. "We are open for cooperation with Azerbaijan on new projects. The Azvirt company is our reliable partner, as the construction of the Ljig-Preljina section of the Corridor XI highway proves," Mihajlovic said. In Baku, Mihajlovic also signed a cooperation agreement on plant protection and quarantine. Vucic and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev signed a joint action plan on a strategic partnership between the two countries. Serbia and Azerbaijan also signed two memoranda of cooperation between the health ministries in the domains of health care and medical sciences and on cooperation between the two justice ministries.

SERBIA

DACIC MEETS WITH U.N. CANDIDATE FOR DIRECTOR GENERAL OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF MIGRATION

BELGRADE, 21 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met in Belgrade, on May 21, with the U.S. nominee for the post of director general of the International Organization of Migration (IOM), James Kenneth Isaacs, to discuss the upcoming election at a special session of the IOM Council in Geneva. Ken Isaacs briefed Dacic on his humanitarian field experience and work in the domain of migrations, asking for Serbia's support to his nomination, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported. Apart from the United States, Portugal and Costa Rica also put forward their candidates for the post. The election will take place in Geneva, on June 29.

SERBIA, CANADA SIGN AIR TRANSPORT AGREEMENT

BELGRADE, 21 May 2018 (Beta) - Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and Stephane Dion, Canadian special envoy to the EU and Canadian ambassador to Germany, in Belgrade on May 21 signed an air transport agreement, which has been described as an important step for strengthening connections between Serbia and Canada. The two officials expressed satisfaction over improved bilateral relations over the past few years, primarily through "a revitalized high level political dialogue and the development of economic cooperation through important Canadian investments in Serbia's economy," according to a statement issued after the meeting. Dacic thanked Dion on Canada's continous support to Serbia's Eu integration and on its recognition of Serbia's commitment to the ongoing reforms, the statement from the Serbian Foreign Ministry said. Both officials said it was important to find points of connection between Serbia and Canada in the future. The centennial of the end of World War I, which is marked this year, is seen as a good opportunity to remember the historic alliance between the two countries and peoples, and also the tradition of the two countries in their struggle for preserving the civilizational heritage and values, the statement said.

PM DISCUSSES INDIA'S TAFE PLANS IN SERBIA WITH COMPANY'S CEO

BELGRADE, 21 May 2018 (Beta) - Prime Minister Ana Brnabic had talks on May 21 with Mallika Srinivasan, chairwoman and CEO of the Indian company TAFE - Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited, who said that the company was planning to invest several million euros in production plants in Serbia. In April this year, Tafe acquired Serbia's tractor maker IMT for some RSD66 million. The meeting was also attended by Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Minister Branislav Nedimovic. Srinivasan informed Brnabic about Tafe's plans and preparations for launching the production of upgraded Euro 3 tractors, stressing that a prototype had been presented at the Agriculture Fair in Novi Sad last week. She stressed that the company would primarily be focused on the production of machinery for small farming households, which accounted for the biggest portion of the company's output. Srinivasan also said she was interested in cooperation with the Serbian government to facilitate the procurement of machinery for these small agricultural households.

JOKSIMOVIC MEETS WITH FRENCH SENATE'S DELEGATION

BELGRADE, 21 May 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian minister in charge of the country's accession to the European Union (EU), Jadranka Joksimovic, met on May 21 with a delegation from the French Senate's Committee on European Affairs to discuss the messages of last week's EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia, Serbia's EU accession and reforms, bilateral relations and the situation in the region. Minister Joksimovic said that the EU integration was the best mechanism for overall state development, and that the purpose of reforms was to improve the standard of living and the lives of citizens. Joksimovic recalled that 12 accession chapters had been opened, and that Serbia was ready to open five more, expecting to open at least two or three under Bulgaria's presidency of the Council of the EU. The French committee members underlined that Serbia "proved itself as a constructive partner to the EU, contributing to the stability of the region and beyond." They agreed that the reforms in the rule of law were most important, and that they should go deeper. The French guests said they were expected to prepare a report for the Senate, and that "a generally positive tone" would prevail.

DJORDJEVIC MEETS U.S. NOMINEE FOR IOM'S DIRECTOR GENERAL

BELGRADE, 21 May 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs Zoran Djordjevic met on May 21 with the U.S. candidate for Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), James Kenneth Isaacs. The Serbian labor ministry quoted Djordjevic as saying in a press release that his department had developed excellent cooperation with the IOM, and that it could always rely on the organization's support in handling mixed migration streams across Serbia. Minister Djordjevic presented the projects run jointly by his ministry and the IOM, as well as the outcomes that "made the life of the migrant population in Serbia so much easier." "The Serbian government continues to pursue a credible, humane policy in handling the migrant crisis, with full respect not only for human rights, but also for the interests of Serbian citizens," Djordjevic underlined. Isaacs presented his own plans for the organization, praising cooperation with Serbia. The U.S. nominee for the leading IOM post underlined that cooperation between states and different partners, in addressing migrations, was of vital importance for the proper management of migration trends.

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