Bosnia and Serbia on economic conquest in Saudi Arabia

The first joint delegation by trade officials from Bosnia and Serbia to visit Saudi Arabia aims to create a united front for the two Balkan states when it comes to boosting arms exports and economic cooperation. 

The delegation including Bosnian Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Mirko Sarovic and Serbian Minister of Trade and Tourism and Communications Rasim Ljajic arrived in Riyadh on Sunday and lasted through Monday.

On Monday, the two ministers announced the creation of a new trilateral committee, which will “support and oversee activities for boosting trade and those related to the realization of Saudi investments in Serbia and Bosnia”, according to the news agency Beta. 

Serbia has had a less close relationship with the Gulf state, but is looking to build on ties following a visit by Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz to Serbia in 2015. Banja Luka-based economic analyst Damir Miljevic said a key goal of this visit – apart from generally courting investment – was to facilitate exports of military equipment and expertise from both Balkan countries to the Gulf kingdom. 

“In Saudi Arabia, there are a lot of weapons systems that are 40, even 50 years old, and that could be repaired and updated by companies from the Balkans,” Miljevic said.

“Bosnia is trying to help Serbia to ‘open the door’ to Saudi investments, and Serbia is eager to use this opportunity and establish important contacts,” economic expert Zlatko Hurtic said.
“In my view the real effects at this stage are to launch some initiative that might be of interest to both countries, to relax the tense relations between the two countries, and gain some political points, internally and externally,” he said.  

Also, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce signed in Riyad today a memorandum of cooperation with the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce stipulating boosting economic cooperation, while the President of the Serbian Chamber, Marko Cadez announced that a delegation made of Saudi investors was due to visit Belgrade in April or May. 

(Balkan Insight, BIRN, 30.01.2017)

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/bosnian-serbian-delegation-launches-charm-offensive-in-saudi-arabia-01-30-2017#sthash.gW8kMHcA.dpuf

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