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DAILY SURVEY 25.09.2018.
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SERBIA

VUCIC MEETS CHEPURIN AHEAD OF MOSCOW VISIT

BELGRADE, 24 September 2018 (Beta) - Ahead of a scheduled visit to Moscow and talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received Russian Ambassador Alexander Chepurin and told him that he expected the meeting with his Russian counterpart to be very significant to advancing the friendship between the two countries, the Serbian Presidency's seat announced. "President Vucic said he was honored to have the opportunity to speak with President Putin and that he expects this meeting, too, to be greatly important to further solidifying the friendship between the Serbian and Russian peoples, and to the development of comprehensive cooperation between the two nations," the statement read. Vucic said the stability of Serbia, and peace and cooperation in the region, were the basis of state policy, but that nothing must threaten the sovereignty and independence of the country, and clearly and unambiguously confirmed that Serbia would remain militarily neutral. Vucic and Chepurin considered concrete proposals of strategic projects of economic cooperation in various areas, like energy and infrastructure, and stressed that such projects would bring great benefit to the economic progress of Serbia and Russia. In that connection, a session of the Mixed Committee on cooperation between the two countries was announced soon.

JOKSIMOVIC: FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE COMMON GROUND

BELGRADE, 24 September 2018 (Beta) - A subject for all collocutors, including those who agree on nothing else, is fighting climate change and reaching sustainable development, Serbian EU Integration Minister Jadranka Joksimovic said on Sept. 24. She told the Climate Action - New Approach to the Negative Effects of Climate Change conference, held in Belgrade as part of Climate Diplomacy Week, that climate diplomacy was an important part of diplomacy as the "science of overlapping all interests and relations." According to her, Serbia has undertaken to meet all 17 goals in the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, which include ending hunger, healthy living, prosperity for all, access to drinking water, good infrastructure, sustainable forest consumption, production and management. She stressed goal 13 -- urgently fighting climate change and its effects. "Everything we're doing in the process of integration into the EU is geared toward sustainable development," Joksimovic said. She added that the plan was to build a sustainable system whose benefits would be enjoyed not just by the generations of today, but those of the future, too. She said Serbia had pledged itself to meet the 2030 Agenda goals by signing all conventions related to environmental protection, but also by "creating the great scientist Milutin Milankovic, who left his mark on climatology." She underscored that a lot of money was set aside in Europe to build a sustainable and comfortable life system. "Serbia wants to become a sustainable community and a member of the developed and sustainable EU," Joksimovic said.

JUSTICE MINISTER, NEW UNICEF DIRECTOR TALK COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 24 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic met on Sept. 24 with the new UNICEF director in Serbia, Regina de Domicis, and discussed cooperation between the two institutions and protecting human and children's rights. According to a press release, De Dominicis voiced pleasure and gratitude to the Justice Ministry for its consistent work to protect human rights, especially those of children, and praised the department's efforts to advance the judiciary for the benefit of children and the success in implementing alternative penalties. Minister Kuburovic stressed that the government had adopted the outline law on legal aid, facilitating access to justice for a large number of citizens, and added that the right to legal aid will be granted separately to children in all procedures involving their rights. Kuburovic said enough time had been left for all responsible institutions to prepare for the enforcement of the new law, and voiced the conviction that the ministry and the UNICEF office in Serbia would continue to work together in this area.

MALI TALKS WAGES, PENSIONS WITH IMF

BELGRADE, 24 September 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Finance Minister Sinisa Mali met on Sept. 24 with a delegation of the International Monetary Fund and discussed pensions and salaries in the public sector and reforms of the Tax Administration. The Finance Ministry announced that the head of the IMF delegation, James Roaf, had also talked with Mali about a package of stimulative measures related to the planned reduction in the tax burden on salaries, whose implementation is expected from 2019. Another topic was the status of capital investments in infrastructure and their planned increases for 2019. The occasion of the IMF mission's visit to Belgrade was to review the results of the implementation of the new program of macroeconomic and structural reforms, backed by the Policy Coordination Instrument, which was approved to Serbia on July 18 for a period of 30 months. After completing a three-year arrangement in July, Serbia and the IMF mission entered a new, non-financial advisory agreement, geared toward the implementation of structural reforms, whose results will be reviewed in five semiannual sessions. The IMF delegation is slated to be in Belgrade until Oct. 4, and talks with the Finance Ministry delegation are to continue on Sept. 25.

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