Serbian PM cancels visit to Brussels, talks with US officials - media

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, who is also the PM-designate with the mandate to form the country's new government after a snap election held in April, has cancelled his visit to Brussels, scheduled for June 21, as well as his previously scheduled bilateral meetings with senior US officials and will travel to the USA on June 23 aboard the first direct Air Serbia flight from Belgrade to New York, the Politika daily said on Monday, quoting well-informed sources close to Vucic. 

"Both the visit to Brussels and the visit to the USA were scheduled long ago and planned in detail, which makes their cancellation a big surprise with potentially far-reaching political consequences," the Belgrade-based daily said.

It noted that it did not manage to confirm this information on Saturday, either with Vucic or his staff.

"In the absence of such confirmation, it is a thankless task to speculate about the reasons for the cancellation of the important meetings with EU and US leaders," Politika said, stressing that "this is happening at a very delicate political moment, in the wake of parliamentary elections when the country still does not have a government and the public has no idea which parties will be making up the new government."

The daily said that Vucic made the decision to cancel his trip to Brussels over the weekend "after talking on the phone with the most senior EU officials."

"During those courteous yet very reserved conversations, western officials were informed that Vucic would not go to Brussels until the Serbian government was formed, regardless of who may form it," Politika said.

Vucic said earlier that the government would be formed before June 16 and a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, however, the deadline was shifted in the meantime so that the process of government formation would not coincide with the visit of the Chinese president.

Vucic confirmed that the government would definitely be formed in the first third of the legal deadline that started running last week, when the parliament was inaugurated.

Vucic's office announced that on Monday afternoon Vucic would hold a meeting with US Ambassador Kyle Scott and the head of the EU Mission in Serbia, British diplomat Michael Davenport.

The announcement did not specify what the meeting would be about but the talks will be taking place several days after the European Commission dismissed claims by the pro-government tabloid "Informer" that Scott and Davenport were behind a conspiracy against the government and Vucic.

Informer accused Scott and Davenport of involvement in attempts to radicalise protests over personnel changes at Radio-Television Vojvodina and the unlawful demolition of facilities in Belgrade's Savamala neighbourhood on the right bank of the Sava river, where the project "Belgrade Waterfront" is to be implemented.

The project, worth more than three billion dollars, has been declared by the government as a project of national and public importance. The government's partner in the project is a real estate company from Abu Dhabi.

"Belgrade Waterfront" has been surrounded by controversy from the very beginning and its transparency has been questioned.

Last update: Mon, 13/06/2016 - 11:34
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