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DAILY SURVEY 20.07.2018.
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SERBIA - EGYPT

VUCIC, EGYPTIAN SPEAKER CALL FOR STRENGTHENING COOPERATION PRIMARILY IN AREA OF ECONOMY

BELGRADE, 19 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Egyptian Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal Sayyed Ahmed agreed at a meeting in Belgrade on July 19 that relations between the two countries were good and friendly and called for strengthening cooperation, especially in the economic sphere. After the meeting, Vucic stressed that Egypt was a true friend to Serbia and the Serbian people and that working on intensifying cooperation at all levels was necessary, especially economic relations. Vucic said he hoped that Egypt would continue to honor Serbia's interests in international organizations. He stressed that Serbia in the Balkans and Egypt in the Middle East and on the African continent shared responsibility for the stability of their respective regions, which was another connecting point for strengthening relations between the two countries. A statement from the Serbian president's office quoted Ali Abdel Aal as stressing that Egypt and Serbia were friendly states at the international level and pointed out that Egypt would not forget the support that Serbia offered in 1973 and 2013 in Egypt's fight against terrorism. He said that economic cooperation was not on par with the level of political relations and added that Egypt had good construction companies that were engaged around the world, especially on projects for building bridges, canals and roads, and that he hoped that they would soon enter the Serbian market. The two officials also touched upon tourism and establishing regular flights between Belgrade and Cairo, while Vucic extended an invitation to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to visit Serbia.

ALI ABDEL AAL AHMED: SERBIAN-EGYPTIAN DIPLOMATIC TIES ARE MODEL OF FRIENDLY COOPERATION

BELGRADE, 19 July 2018 (Beta) - Egyptian Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal Ahmed said on July 19 that, for 11 decades now, relations between Serbia and Egypt had represented the model of diplomatic relations of two friendly countries, which would continue to develop. "Egypt never forgets the friends who were there in difficult times. Our excellent relations are a part of the past, present and also the future," Ali Abdel Aal Ahmed said at a special session of the Serbian parliament, attended by representatives of the government and the diplomatic corps. He further said that, since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took office in 2014, relations between Serbia and Egypt had been "excellent and prosperous" and that those political relations could expand onto the fields of economy, trade, agriculture and the defense industry. Ali Abdel Aal Ahmed said he was awaiting the signing of agreements for developing trade between the two countries, which would form committees, and also the establishment of direct flights between Belgrade and Cairo. "These are the things that will truly strengthen the levels of our cooperation," said the Egyptian parliament speaker. After the address, Ali Abdel Aal Ahmed opened an exhibition of historic documents of the two countries, in the parliament lobby.

SERBIA

SERBIA AND SURINAME SIGN MEMORANDUM OF COOPERATION BETWEEN DIPLOMATIC ACADEMIES

BELGRADE, 19 July 2018 (Beta) - The foreign ministers of Serbia and Suriname, Ivica Dacic and Yldiz Deborah Pollack-Beighle, signed a memorandum of cooperation in Belgrade on July 19, between the two countries' diplomatic academies and institutes. Dacic said after the signing of the memorandum that he signed four agreements during his visit to Suriname in February. "We want our cooperation to be comprehensive, political, economic, in the field of education - student exchange, grants and military education. Our cooperation also takes place on the multilateral plane. We want to help each other because we have similar views on the international situation," Dacic stated. He added he was grateful to the state of Suriname for withdrawing its recognition of Kosovo's independence, adding that this act was "the initial point" for other countries to withdraw their recognition. The foreign minister of Suriname, Yldiz Deborah Pollack-Beighle, said her country wanted to cooperate with Serbia in the fields of defense, energy, fishing and tourism. We want to learn from you in the field of information technology, because you are good in that field. Also, we could cooperate in sports, because you are good at basketball and football, Pollack-Beighle said. She added that they had arranged a meeting between the delegations of Suriname and Serbia on the margins of the next General Assembly of the United Nations.

DACIC: NECESSARY TO PRESERVE UNMIK

BELGRADE, 19 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on July 19, in talks with U.N. Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, Miroslav Jenca, that it was necessary to preserve the dynamics and format of sessions of the U.N. Security Council on the work of UNMIK, and the mission itself, as the guarantor of status neutrality. Dacic reiterated Serbia's dedication to finding a sustainable compromise for Kosovo and Metohija. Jenca thanked Serbia for its contribution to the U.N. peace operations and in other spheres of activity of the world organization, and pointed out the significance of Serbia's role in the region. During the talks, they exchanged opinions on current political events in the region and stressed the importance of preserving peace and stability, and of further reform processes.

VUCIC: SERBIA READY TO SEIZE POSITIVE MOMENT TO SPEED UP EUROPEAN INTEGRATION

BELGRADE, 19 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbia is ready to seize the positive moment, created by the strategic document of the European Union on the credible policy of enlargement in the Western Balkans, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on July 19, during a meeting with the European commissioner for budget and human resources, Guenther Oettinger. A statement from the president's office reads that Vucic said elements of the draft EU budget, like the ones about additional investments in innovation, infrastructure and agriculture, should be used, and that it was important that the current draft budget envisaged a significant increase in pre-accession aid to potential candidates. Vucic also said he expected stronger support from the European Commission in speeding up the process of accession negotiations, and that it stemmed from the report of the European Commission that Serbia was carrying out numerous political and economic reforms and that it was ready to continue to do so. Oettinger said that it was very important for him to know Serbia's expectations regarding European funds. We have constructive relations and, despite the various challenges and obstacles, Serbia, with the full support of the European Commission, is successfully and continuously progressing on its European path, Oettinger said.

VUCIC, COVIC ON IMPROVING RELATIONS BETWEEN SERBIA AND BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

BELGRADE, 19 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met in Belgrade on July 19 with Croat member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Dragan Covic, with whom he discussed further improvement of relations between Serbia and Bosnia and overall relations between the Serbian and Croatian peoples and the situation in the region. A statement from the Presidency said that Vucic had supported improving relations, the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and cooperation between the three peoples. The two officials also took a look at joint infrastructure projects as well as the positive results of this year's International Business Fair in Mostar, where Serbia was a partner state. Covic spoke about the importance of maintaining stability in the region with Vucic, especially after the upcoming elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina in October. He acquainted Serbian President Vucic with an initiative by the Bosnian Presidency to organize a round table on the goals of sustainable development with the presidents of neighboring states - Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro, which were signatories of the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, which should contribute to regional closeness and cooperation.

VUCIC SUPPORTS FORMING OF RESEARCH FOUNDATION FOR WESTERN BALKANS

BELGRADE, 19 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on July 19, during a meeting with the president of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Joerg Hacker, that he supported the initiative for the forming of a Research Foundation for the Western Balkans, stated the president's office. During the meeting on bilateral cooperation in the fields of science and education, within the Berlin Process, Vucic said that the foundation's future activities could have an effect in keeping talented young people in Serbia and in the region, and in the return of young scientists from the world and the development of their careers in the country. Hacker said four conferences of scientific institutions from the Western Balkans had been held so far, yielding the first results in the stabilization of relations within the scientific circles in the region, and he also declared readiness for developing scientific cooperation between Serbia and Germany.

JOKSIMOVIC, OETTINGER ON MODELS FOR USING EU FUNDING

BELGRADE, 19 July 2018 (Beta) - The Serbian minister in charge of European integration, Jadranka Joksimovic, talked in Belgrade on July 19 with the European commissioner for budget and human resources, Guenther Oettinger, about models and ways for using the EU's financial assets for development. They concurred that the new draft budget of the EU envisaged a significant increase in funding for pre-accession aid to countries of the Western Balkans, read a statement released by the Ministry of European Integration. Oettinger said this increase would depend on a candidate country's progress in the accession process, while Joksimovic stated that it was important "for research, developing the economy, and especially agriculture and sustainable regional development." Although the EU budget for the period from 2021 to 2027 does not envisage funds for potential new members, Oettinger said, there is possibility for that to change. He added that such was the case when Croatia was joining the EU, and that, if a new member was admitted, its participation in the Union's programs would be considered through separate legal acts. The European commissioner commended the established structures for programming the pre-accession funds in Serbia and underscored the importance of the further strengthening of Serbia's capacities.

KUBUROVIC, LUTTEROTTI: COOPERATION BETWEEN SERBIA, AUSTRIA IN JUSTICE PROFESSIONAL AND FRIENDLY

BELGRADE, 19 July 2018 (Beta) - On July 19 Minister of Justice Nela Kuburovic said during a discussion with Austrian Ambassador to Serbia Nikolaus Lutterotti that cooperation between the two countries was professional and friendly and that a joint project for strengthening prison capacities in Serbia had been launched recently. Kuburovic announced that the construction of a Justice Palace in Kragujevac would soon begin and that Austria's Strabag would be the contractor. The Ministry of Justice quoted her as saying that by the end of summer a draft version of constitutional amendments would be handed to the Serbian cabinet for adoption, after which a proposal for changing the Constitution would be sent to parliament for further procedure. Lutterotti stressed that Austria took over the EU chair on July 1 and that EU enlargement to South East Europe was at the top of its agenda. He said that Austria was continuing to offer support to Serbia on route to the EU and that reforms of the justice system were an important part of accession. Lutterotti added that there was a large number of Austrian companies and investors in Serbia and that Serbia was an important economic partner to Austria, that judicial reform and legal security were vital to the inflow of new investment.

MALI: SERBIA DOES NOT NEED FINANCIAL AID, ARRANGEMENT WITH IMF GOOD SIGN FOR INVESTORS

BELGRADE, 19 July 2018 (Beta) - Serbian Minister of Finance Sinisa Mali said on July 19 that a new arrangement with the International Monetary Fund was a good sign for investors because it showed that in the past period Serbia had achieved good financial results and therefore did not need financial aid. The IMF Board of Directors confirmed at a session in Washington on July 18 a new arrangement with Serbia which will last 30 months, i.e. until January 2021. The new cooperation program with the help of the Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) is advisory only and does not envisage the use of financial means. "This is yet another step on our road toward structural reforms and a good sign for investors. It is important that we maintain macroeconomic and financial stability, that we improve our economy, raise competitiveness and secure a high growth rate, because only that means new jobs and a better standard of living for our citizens," Mali said. According to a statement from the Ministry of Finance, Mali explained that the main objectives of the IMF program were to maintain the public debt within the defined constraints relative to GDP, maintain the total deficit in the defined range relative to GDP, reforms of the public sector payment system, continuing reforms of the Tax Administration and cutting deadlines for VAT tax returns and the adoption of a new law on fees and keeping inflation in the defined target range.

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