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25. February 2013.

Minister of Regional Development and Local Self-government, Verica Kalanovic, said on Friday that the Ministry headed by her would financially aid the building of a maternity ward in Presevo and intensify cooperation in the planning of an industrial zone.

As stated by the Ministry of Regional Development and Local Self-government, Mrs. Kalanovic met with Mayor Ragmi Mustafa and concluded that the problems that troubled Presevo were the same as those that dogged other municipalities in Serbia. According to her, those problems included unemployment, low salaries and a large number of people that left the municipality not to return to it, as well as problems related to local, regional and economic development. She said that the building of the maternity ward in Presevo would be fully supported, adding that the Ministry of Regional Development would financially assist with the continued works on the maternity ward.  

"I think it’s great that a large number of children are born here and I’m of the view that we should build a maternity ward that should last over the next 50 years and in accordance with all modern standards", said Mrs. Kalanovic.

She added that cooperation in the planning of the industrial zone would be intensified, since the location was very attractive due to the proximity of Corridor 10 and the railroad.

"Let's work together to make this industrial zone on 14 acres  a well- planned and a well-built infrastructure with the proper internal infrastructural arrangement  and good management. This is the only way to have the most benefit from it ", she pointed out.

The Minister, who described the talks with Mr. Mustafa as dynamic, friendly and constructive, invited her interlocutor to come to Belgrade for a meeting, where, further activities for improving the cooperation and implementing the project would be determined by the Ministry’s and municipality’s experts. 

Mrs. Kalanovic participated in Presevo in the forum  "By Dialogue against Stereotypes that We are All the Same ", which is the first in a series of forums dedicated to strengthening democracy in the local community and improving the quality of life of citizens in the municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja.

In addition to Minister Kalanovic, also participating in the forum was the Head of the EU Progress program, Mr.  Greame Tyndall, who said that the Steering Committee of the program, which is funded by the EU and the Government of Switzerland, decided to extend the program until March 2014 , and that there were approximately five million euros left in its budget.  

Mr. Tyndall also said that the EU Progress program was a kind of preparation for the EU accession funds and that over 170 projects were or had been financed through it. He stressed that political stability, too, was important for economic development.   

Mrs. Kalanovic, Mr. Mustafa and Mr.Tyndall were answering the questions and responding to the suggestions of businessmen from Presevo, who spoke about specific business problems.

The forum was organized by the Centre for Democracy and Development of South Serbia from Leskovac and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as part of  the project  "The Initiative for Public Advocacy of  Civil Society", which is run by the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC).

Source: Tanjug News Agency and Jugpress