16+1 Summit focuses on linking W. Balkan states - Serbia | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

23 March, Saturday

16+1 Summit focuses on linking W. Balkan states - Serbia

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The summit of transport ministers of China and 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe began in Serbia's capital Belgrade on Tuesday.
The summit is part of China's 16+1 multilateral platform initiative facilitating cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC).
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who officially opened the summit, said the reason of the gathering is to find new ways of cooperation.
"Connecting the region today is of crucial importance for progress," he said, and pointed out that when it comes to ex-Yugoslavia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Romania has no highway that can connect them.
Vucic said these countries are the main trading partners and must be connected.
"The essence is to connect, to exchange goods, services and to reduce the operational costs. That's why we invest a lot of money in the development of infrastructure, river ports and roads. We are ready to listen to the advices of our Chinese friends, and to extend full cooperation to the 'One belt, One Road' project," said Vucic.
Zorana Mihajlovic, Serbia's minister of civil engineering, transport and infrastructure, said his country could become the leader in Europe with respect to implementation of infrastructure projects, thanks to the mechanism of cooperation between China and the CEEC.
Pointing out Belgrade-Budapest railway line and the road route to Montenegro, Li Xiaopeng, China's transport minister, said significant progress has been made in cooperation between China and the CEEC.
Li called on the countries to continue to invest in joint efforts to deepen cooperation.
Aleksandar Antic, Serbian minister of mining and energy, said this format is getting stronger every year and bringing more options to the region in cooperation with China to benefit the entire region.
Deputy Mayor of Beijing Wang Hong pointed out that the countries of central and eastern Europe and China have a traditional friendship. He said concrete plans are being made in order to improve the cooperation and the living standard of people.
The 16+1 was established in 2012 as a multilateral platform facilitating cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) -- including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia.
Meanwhile, third forum of mayors of major cities of the participating countries is also held in Belgrade.


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