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Belgrade Media Report 04 December 2017

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Monday 04 December 2017

LOCAL PRESS

• Serbian Interior Ministry: Serbia appeals against Interpol’s decision to rescind arrest warrants for Haradinaj and 17 more people (RTS, Beta)
• Stefanovic: Ramush Haradinaj still wanted under arrest warrant issued by Serbia court (RTS)
• Kuburovic: Scandalous step by UNMIK, says Serbian (Tanjug)
• Vulin: UNMIK violated rule on status neutrality (RTV)
• Dacic: Warrant for Haradinaj’s arrest isn’t rescinded but “blacked out” (Tanjug, RTS, B92)
• President Vucic: How come that Serbs are to be blamed for conflict between Bosniaks and Croats? (RTS)
• Dacic: Croatia’s reaction to ‘Prlic et al.’ verdict hypocritical (Tanjug, RTS)
• Vucic offers assistance to Albania (RTS)
• Ex FM recalls dramatic moments around UN Kosovo resolution (Beta)
• Jeremic: Gruevski laundering money through Belgrade authorities (Nasa TV)
• Serbian Patriarch Irinej: Unbreakable ties between Serbia and Russia (Vecernje novosti)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina
• Dodik: It is good that members of B&H Presidency will visit Serbia, because that proves Serbia’s central role in regional relations (ATV)
• Ivanic: Visit to Belgrade important for calming down tensions (N1)
• Dodik: Croatia blaming Serbia and Serbian people is obnoxious (Srna)
• Covic-Plenkovic meeting: It is necessary to look for solutions and calm situation down (Vecernji list)
• UK, German and Austrian media comment on shameful messages by Croatian officials (TV1)

Croatia
• President to attend Security Council session dedicated to ICTY (HRT)
• ICTY to form commission tasked to investigate death of Praljak; Book of condolences opened at the seat of the Croatian Assembly of Generals (HRT)

Montenegro
• Knezevic: Opposition faced elections defeat; DF won’t boycott elections (Pobjeda)
• Sekulic: SDP has no right to be angry (Pobjeda)
• Jovanovic: Montenegro’s done a lot for reconciliation in region (Pobjeda)

fYROM
• Gruevski: I will resign and I hope it will help resolve this crisis (Meta, Kurir)
• Zaev won’t comment Gruevski’s resignation but is demanding a strong opposition and a more responsible government (Meta)
• VMRO-DPMNE: Gruevski and Mijalkov are not connected to the privatization of factories in Serbia (Meta)
• Name compromise must be reached, says Greek FM (MIA)

Albania
• Floods Unite Albanian Politicians (ADN)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

• Petritsch: Serbs can be united only in EU (Deutsche Welle)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Serbian Interior Ministry: Serbia appeals against Interpol’s decision to rescind arrest warrants for Haradinaj and 17 more people (RTS, Beta)

The Serbian Interior Ministry announced on Dec. 2 that it would appeal Interpol’s decision that an international arrest warrant issued by the Serbian judiciary after Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and another 17 persons was “no longer in force.”

“Having accepted a complaint from the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF) decided on Dec. 1 that the Interpol would no longer treat these notices and would delete them from its system,” the interior ministry said in a press release.

The ministry also said that it would send an initiative to the Ministry of Justice and the War Crimes Prosecutor “to file a joint complaint against Interpol’s decision,” adding that the authorities were already discussing the details of the decision.

The Serbian justice ministry has not been notified of Interpol’s decision to revoke a warrant for Haradinaj’s arrest issued by a Serbian court,” Beta learned at the ministry on Dec. 2.

The ministry explained that the Interpol could not rescind an arrest warrant issued by a member state, but that only the authorities of the country concerned could.

As for the warrant against Haradinaj, it was issued by the War Crimes Department of the Higher Court in

Belgrade, the ministry specified, adding that to Serbia, Haradinaj was still a war crimes indictee. Haradinaj said on Dec. 2 that he had received no official notification of a decision to revoke the Interpol notice against him and another 17 persons from Kosovo.

 

Stefanovic: Ramush Haradinaj still wanted under arrest warrant issued by Serbia court (RTS)

 

If Haradinaj is at any moment available to our prosecution authorities, we will arrest him because a warrant for his arrest by a Serbian court is still valid, Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic has stated.

Serbia, he said, will urge Interpol to revise its decision. I hope the country will still have an active arrest warrant that is going to be visible in every country in the world.

“If Ramush Haradinaj is within the reach of our prosecuting bodies, we will arrest him, because there is still an active arrest warrant by a Serbian court for him,” Stefanovic has said.

 

Kuburovic: Scandalous step by UNMIK, says Serbian (Tanjug)

Minister of Justice Nela Kuburovic also issued a statement on Saturday, describing UNMIK’s act as “scandalous”, “taking on the role of the state and entering a complaint with Interpol” against the arrest warrant issued by Serbia against Haradinaj and 17 other persons from Kosovo, which Belgrade suspects of war crimes. These arrest warrants have been in effect since 2004 and

they still are, Kuburovic told Tanjug.

“The question is whether UNMIK can at all cite the resolution that the Interpol General Assembly adopted in 2010, bearing in mind that these warrants for Haradinaj and the others were issued back in 2004,” she said.

It is disputable that after 13 years arrest warrants that have been in effect even with Interpol the entire time are being called into question.

Kuburovic reminded that in June Serbia responded to UNMIK’s objection related to the warrant for arrest warrant for Haradinaj and the others suspected of crimes in Kosovo.

“In our response to the UNMIK objection we explained in detail the cases being conducted by the War Crimes Prosecution, what phase they are in, based on which legal regulations the warrants were issued, and based on which legal stipulations the cases are being

conducted” she said.

 

Vulin: UNMIK violated rule on status neutrality (RTV)

By deciding to rescind Interpol’s warrantee for Haradinaj, UNMIK has violated the rule on status neutrality, stated Serbian Minister of Defense Aleksandar Vulin.

“For us Haradinaj is a war criminal and we will do everything that one day he will be held accountable before justice. That one day justice will catch up with him for the numerous Serbian victims that perished by him and his units, and for someone to be held accountable.”

Vulin believes that because Ramush Haradinaj has been removed from the Interpol warrant, Serbia should seek and explanation at the next session of the UN Security Council.

“What I believe would be very advisable to do is to demand that the Security Council explain to us how UNMIK can pass such a decision and to take a good look at whether with this act UNMIK violated the rules on status neutrality. Is it possible that UNMIK is acting this way? No whose behalf and based on whose authorization has it given itself the right to remove a war criminal from Interpol’s arrest warrant,” he said.

Vulin said that UNMIK has damaged its reputation among the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija (RTS)

Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin told RTS that at the UN Security Council all members should be asked whether UNMIK acted it in its own name, in the name of the administration in K&M or on the basis of the mandate given by the members of the Security Council.

Vulin said that UNMIK has damaged its reputation among the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. “UNMIK, with its actions, disturbed the position of Serbs in Kosovo, because they are amnestying the war criminal and trying to protect him from justice,” Vulin said.

“UNMIK violated the rule of neutrality, UNMIK did not issue a warrant, but the competent court of the Republic of Serbia, UNMIK in not allowed and cannot do this. This is a violation of the status, the rule of neutrality, which is the base of its mandate,” the minister Vulin said.

 

Dacic: Warrant for Haradinaj’s arrest isn’t rescinded but “blacked out” (Tanjug, RTS, B92)

The removal of Haradinaj from Interpol’s warrant does not mean that the warrant has been rescinded, but that it has been “blacked out”, and Serbia will use all legal means to correct that, stated Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic.

When asked to explain the difference between the rescinding of the warrant and “blackening it out”, Dacic explained that “rescinding means that Serbia is rescinding the warrant.”

“Rescinding would mean that we are rescinding the warrant, which means that we have given up on persecution and searching for him. We have not given up, we should fight to correct that. We have not rescinded the warrant nor the entire indictment, and therefore we are looking for him and we will search forever,” Dacic said.

He claims that a problem is also the great politicization of Interpol’s arrest warrants, where when there is an arrest “those countries behave opportunistically and don’t look unbiased at what Interpol should do.”

“Interpols should in organize the search for those people throughout the world, in a technical sense. They are accused of the gravest war crimes and we certainly will not give up from persecution. Serbia has not rescinded anything” Dacic said.

 

President Vucic: How come that Serbs are to be blamed for conflict between Bosniaks and Croats? (RTS)

Commenting on possible pressures from the EU in a situation in which someone in the region wants new conflicts, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated on Friday that “we only need to refrain from doing them the things that they do to us.”

Vucic stressed that he is particularly surprised over the statements in Croatian media after the verdict in the ‘Prlic et al’ case, according to which Serbs are to be blamed for the conflict between Bosniaks and Croats. “I did not understand this logic. How come that Serbs are to be blamed for conflict between Bosniaks and Croats? We will always be denying such nonsense and will fight to preserve integrity of our country as well as dignity of our people”, said Vucic.

 

Dacic: Croatia’s reaction to ‘Prlic et al.’ verdict hypocritical (Tanjug, RTS)

Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic assessed as “unbelievably hypocritical” the comments by Croatian officials regarding the latest verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the case of former political and military officials of the so-called Herzeg-Bosnia, Jadranko Prlic and others. Dacic argued that Croatia should not attack Serbia but face the past with regard to its conflicts with Bosniaks.

“Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has once again brutally attacked Serbia on the occasion of the verdict that refers to Croatia’s aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croats’ crimes against Bosniaks” said Dacic.

 

Vucic offers assistance to Albania (RTS)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has offered assistance to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama after disastrous floods which hit the south of Albania, the Press Office of the Serbian President announced on

Dec. 2. The Office said in a press release that President Vucic had expressed his regrets over the consequences of the flooding. The president also said that Serbia was prepared to offer full technical support and assistance to Albania in curbing the consequences of the disaster.

 

Ex FM recalls dramatic moments around UN Kosovo resolution (Beta)

Vuk Jeremic says that he still believes that a decision made in 2010 to change Serbia’s draft UN General Assembly resolution on Kosovo was “completely wrong.”

“I was informed from Belgrade that it was decided to change the resolution the evening before the vote, where I had secured a majority for our original text. I was in shock and trying to contact Belgrade,” Jeremic, at the time Serbia’s foreign minister, who now heads the People’s Party. Beta reported this, adding that Belgrade in September 2010 withdrew the original draft one night before the voting, and instead “came out with a compromise solution agreed with the EU.”

“Nobody wanted to contact me, or reply to the many dramatic messages I was sending via all available channels. They knew what my opinion was, and it’s the same today – that decision was completely wrong,” Jeremic told the website. He added that “many people asked him why he did not resign at that point.”

“Those who were supporting us up until that moment were pretty confused – and up until then they communicated only with me. Had I resigned, a significant number of those countries would highly likely have recognized Kosovo in the following days and weeks. That I could not allow,” Jeremic said.

Speaking about the decision to ask the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion through a UN General Assembly resolution, he said it was made by the state organs, instead of “on somebody’s personal whim.”

“That was done to buy time, because immediately after the unilateral declaration of independence, a large number of recognitions of the so-called republic of Kosovo started arriving, under fierce diplomatic pressure from the US and other influential countries. By seeking the advisory opinion, that process was significantly slowed down, and an opportunity arose to use that time for diplomatic activities,” he said.

“In our concrete case, a ‘catch’ was found by means of the court concluding that ‘the act of the declaration of independence does not violate international law’. However, at the same time, the court said this was not the way in which statehood can be established, and in that context underlined the key importance of UN Resolution 1244,” Jeremic said.

 

Jeremic: Gruevski laundering money through Belgrade authorities (Nasa TV)

People’s Party president Vuk Jeremic urged on Dec. 1 investigative agencies to look into ties between Vojislav Sparavalo, director of the SCMG company, which bought 14. Oktobar in Krusevac, and the former Macedonian regime. Jeremic said on Nasa TV that the Serbian Progressive Party’s claims that a strategic partner had been found for 14. Oktobar, which has been under a receivership since January 2016, when the firm’s value was estimated at around EUR48 million, were untrue.

He said it was, in fact, the Czech Czechoslovak Group that bought 14. Oktobar in October — but only the headquarters, for four million euros, via the Belgrade-based SCMG and that it was a direct deal, without bidding.

“The assets were just grabbed, the fired workers were not restored to work,” Jeremic said. He said that, according to the law, direct sales deals were applicable only in special cases, and that what is “special in this case is that the deeply corrupt dictatorship of Vucic‘s political twin Nikola Gruevski was toppled this year in Macedonia.”

“Then people from that regime, first of all Saso Mijalkov, the former secret police chief and Gruevski’s right hand man, began a panicked funneling of money made through corruption in Macedonia using various schemes, from haven islands, the Netherlands, and in the case of 14. Oktobar, via the Czech Republic,” the People’s Party leader said. Jeremic added that a serious investigation was in its final stages in Macedonia, in which international law enforcement was involved too, into Mijalkov and

others from the former Macedonian government, and urged Serbian investigative organs to look into 14. Oktobar. Citing it as an “innovative example of the funneling of state funds with elements of a receivership,” Jeremic said money was moved from the state-run Belgrade Business School, via the Kontiki travel agency for the needs of “a sports club close to a sitting Serbian minister.”

He called on this minister to resign, and on investigative agencies to look into the entire case. Jeremic also said he had copies of the contracts between Kontiki and the Belgrade Business School and between Kontiki and the sports club.

 

Serbian Patriarch Irinej: Unbreakable ties between Serbia and Russia (Vecernje novosti)

“The Serbs have always had special ties to Russia, and in hard times we expected hope and help from Russia. We wish to continue to have such strong spiritual, but also other bonds – that is why nobody can separate us from Russia, regardless of all the pressure being exerted now,” Serbian Patriarch Irinej told the believers who gathered in the Church of Apostles Peter and Paul, the daily Vecernje novosti is reporting.

The patriarch also spoke about Kosovo and Metohija, describing it as our “great wound” and a territory where more than 1,300 Serbian churches and graves of persons of great importance to the nation are located. “Kosovo and Metohija is a holy land for us Serbs. We expect help from the Lord, but also from our brotherly Russia, to preserve that holy land of ours,” Irinej said, and added: “We are gladdened that Russia is back on its feet and that Orthodoxy is on the rise in the brotherly country. Russia is a great hope nor only of the Orthodox world, but of the entire Christian world. Wherever the Russians go they show the great virtue of love.”

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

Dodik: It is good that members of B&H Presidency will visit Serbia, because that proves Serbia’s central role in regional relations (ATV)

Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik stated on Sunday that it is a good thing that the members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency will visit Serbia next week, because Serbia will prove, in that way, that it has a central role in the regional relations. He added that the border issues between the two countries, as key points of discussion between B&H and Serbia, need to be resolved as soon as possible. Dodik stated that the RS already gave its official stance on this matter, that it will support Serbia in any decision, but he added that he expects that the official Sarajevo will try to obstruct this process.

“The issue of border that needs to be defined is one of the key issues, considering the fact that the RS has taken a stance on the issue and it does not see anything unacceptable in the proposal coming from Belgrade. We can expect Sarajevo to cause problems without any reason or cause. In any case, I believe that the issue is going to be open and stances will be at least somewhat harmonized,” stated Dodik.

 

Ivanic: Visit to Belgrade important for calming down tensions (N1)

Serb member of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Mladen Ivanic said that the upcoming visit of members of B&H Presidency to Belgrade is important for calming down political tensions and restoring normal relations. He said he believes that some open questions could be on the table, such as the agreement on border or reconstruction of bridges over Drina river, but added that there is no political will in Sarajevo. “If there is a good will, we will be able to resolve this. However, I know how to recognize the vocabulary, and I feel that there is no will in Sarajevo to deal with this” said Ivanic.

 

Dodik: Croatia blaming Serbia and Serbian people is obnoxious (Srna)

Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik underlined that no decision reached by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) mentions that Serbia and Serbian people are aggressors, nor that the RS is a joint criminal enterprise as many were trying to put it that way. Commenting on the way in which Croatian authorities reacted to the ICTY’s final verdict against former political and military officials of the so-called Herzeg-Bosnia, Dodik stressed that it has become obnoxious to keep blaming Serbia and Serbian people for that matter. He reminded that the Croat people decided to take part in the referendum on independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) and, after only one year, they got into an armed conflict with Muslims and thus admitted they were wrong to participate in it. “Of course, they did that under the influence of the policy of former President of Croatia Franjo Tudjman. Now we know and we can read that Tudjman played the leading role and had an influence on the former leadership of Croats in B&H” Dodik explained.

He further stressed that Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic should finally start dealing with the destiny of Serbs who got killed during the operation ‘Oluja’ instead.

“According to what The Hague has said over the past days, Serbs are not mentioned anywhere. Unfortunately, Serb victims were not mentioned either, although it should have been recognized that crimes were committed against Serbs as well”, Dodik argued, referring to the examples of Mostar, Mrkonjic Grad and other areas. “The Hague did not touch upon this segment, nor did it render any verdict for crimes against Serbs. It is obvious that The Hague, as well as Croatia, considered Serbs to be a target that you do not have to prove if it is justify to kill them”, Dodik said, adding that Grabar-Kitarovic should finally stop with such insinuations.

RS President and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik commented accusations that he and HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic are obstructing Euro-Atlantic path of B&H, and that their alliance has “Russian signature”, and he stated that such claims are “a nonsense cooked in a kitchen in Sarajevo”. “Whenever they face a problem related to the European road, they try to transfer it to Banja Luka or Mostar. Everyone know the deadlock is in the joint institutions, and the potential that was supposed to ensure by the Muslims in needed majorities for the European reforms is in their hands, and that Bakir Izetbegovic is unable to ensure anything,” said Dodik and added that Izetbegovic and his politics are currently more focused on Turkey than on the EU.

 

Covic-Plenkovic meeting: It is necessary to look for solutions and calm situation down (Vecernji list)

After the meeting with Croat member of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Dragan Covic held in Zagreb on Friday evening, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic stated that it is historic fact that Croatia was supporting B&H when the situation was most difficult, ever since the referendum on independence of B&H until creating of pre-requisites for signing of the DPA.

Plenkovic stressed: “We have examined the situation with Croats in B&H and expressed dissatisfaction with parts of the verdict which refer to incompletely established factual situation that this verdict has.” He announced his coming to Mostar next week here he will meet with representatives of Croats, Croat People’s Assembly and veterans’ associations.

Covic said that it is necessary to balance the situation in B&H together and continue to look for solutions for B&H. He added that priority is to establish equality of Croats with other two peoples. Covic and Plenkovic expressed dissatisfaction with parts of the verdict. They also discussed the possibility of legal disputing of the verdict through revision. They expressed regret because of the death of Croatian General Slobodan Praljak. Covic said that they want to send a clear message that the verdict is unacceptable and they stand behind every honorable member of HVO. Covic also called on Croats to stay calm and to ignore provocations. He added that Croats will know how to clearly respond to such temptations and this sort of disturbing by political instruments. Covic stressed that the processes of the EU integration must not be slowed down, but it has to be strongly accelerated, so that relations in B&H can be normalized. Daily learns that the next days will be marked by numerous meetings of Croat officials in order to help the Croat officials sentenced in The Hague and their families and also in order to find the solution for disputing of the verdict together with Croatian officials.

 

UK, German and Austrian media comment on shameful messages by Croatian officials (TV1)

UK, German and Austrian dailies reported on “shameful” messages of Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, in which they glorified war criminals who were convicted in ‘Prlic et al’ case.

UK-based Guardian assessed that Plenkovic is the first European prime minister who supported a war criminal, and underlined that Plenkovic said simply that the UN court’s verdict was a “deep moral injustice”. German press deems that suicide of Slobodan Praljak in the courtroom was a staged attempt of representing him as a martyr.

Der Spiegel carried that Croatian mourns after a war criminal, and added that Grabar-Kitarovic ended her visit to Island and returned to Croatia after she learned about the suicide. German daily stressed that Praljak was a war criminal and one of main participants of the joint criminal enterprise, which was ordered by then Croatian President Franjo Tudjman.

Berliner Morgenpost carried that Praljak obviously wanted to present himself as a victim of judiciary and a martyr, and added that the verdict confirmed involvement of Croatian leadership in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). The daily reminded that on the eve of the verdict, Grabar-Kitarovic expressed hope that six Croats will be acquitted of charges, and used to praise the role of Praljak in the war.

Austrian daily Der Standard stressed that Croatian right-wing parties benefited from Praljak’s suicide, and added that Croatian Government has no legal options to launch revision of the verdict. The daily said that upon reactions by Croatian nationalists, Praljak was not a war criminal but a saint, and noted that Plenkovic announced legal and political steps, although he knows that he cannot do anything. Der Standard further said that Grabar-Kitarovic is collecting votes for her re-election in 2019.

Austrian daily deems that statement by HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic is the most scandalous, who said that the verdict is a crime against all representatives of Croat people in B&H. The daily presented Covic as a leader of a nationalist party, and an exponent of policies that did not give up on Herzeg-Bosnia project.

Die Tageszeitung concluded that Croatia has always had difficult times facing the past and that nationalists still favor the Ustasha regime.

 

Croatia

 

President to attend Security Council session dedicated to ICTY (HRT)

The president’s office has confirmed that President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic will be taking part in a session of the UN Security Council next Wednesday dedicated to the work of the Hague court. The session was called ahead of the closing of the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the end of 2017.

Attending the session will be the court president, chief prosecutor and the president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Courts which will continue the work of the ICTY. On Wednesday, under the appeals proceeding against six Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the appeals council of The Hague court confirmed that a Croatian joint criminal enterprise existed aimed at ethnically cleansing parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H).

Croatia was not the aggressor in B&H but rather did the most for that country to survive, said President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, stressing that The Hague court did not fulfill its basic purpose – to ensure justice – instead, it turned into a political arbiter.

 

ICTY to form commission tasked to investigate death of Praljak;  Book of condolences opened at the seat of the Croatian Assembly of Generals (HRT)

The ICTY decided to form an independent expert commission to investigate circumstances of death of Slobodan Praljak. The ICTY stated that this commission will start working next week in order to complete the investigation prior closing of the ICTY. The investigation will focus to internal work of this court. It was underlined that prior to Praljak’s case, no smuggling of poison in the ICTY detention was recorded in this institution. Spokesperson of the ICTY Nenad Golcevski stated that the investigation was launched in order to complement the investigation of Dutch authorities regarding the death of Praljak. Golcevski also said that the ICTY got information from the Dutch prosecutor that Praljak’s remains will remain under the jurisdiction of the Dutch police until the completion of the investigation. “At this moment, we do not know nor did the Dutch authorities announce, and they might not even know when the investigation will be completed,” Golcevski explained, noting that investigation into Praljak’s death is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Dutch authorities.

Book of condolences for late Praljak was opened at the seat of the Croatian Assembly of Generals on Friday. A number of Praljak’s comrades, friends and citizens signed the book of condolences, thus paying tribute to Praljak. Secretary of the Croatian Assembly of Generals, General Marinko Kresic, said that one has to fight for the truth and promote it. “What Praljak did could not have been predicted, nor was it an act that carried a message. Message is that no one should do that,” Kresic underlined. Representatives of the Croatian Assembly of Generals further said that with his act, the world saw how Praljak fought for freedom, when he was no longer able to fight for the truth. Among the people who came to the seat of the Croatian Assembly of Generals to sign the book of condolences for Praljak was Croat member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Dragan Covic. Covic said that the final verdict in the case ‘Prlic et al.’ is criminal, noting that there would be no B&H today if it was not for the HVO. Covic stressed that Praljak’s last words that he is not a war criminal were stronger than anything else that was said before the ICTY in the last 24 years.

 

Montenegro

 

Knezevic: Opposition faced elections defeat; DF won’t boycott elections (Pobjeda)

One of the Democratic Front (DF) leaders and president of the Democratic People’s Party (DNP), Milan Knezevic, declines the idea of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and possible “Macedonian scenario” in Montenegro. He estimates the opposition faced another election defeat. Knezevic says the Democratic Front (DF) has already proposed joint protests and a non-party presidential candidate to the rest of the opposition.

Commenting on the results of the local elections, Knezevic states the opposition has to be united in order to replace the government led by the Democratic Party of Socialist (DPS).

“The fact that the DPS will form a government in four municipalities tells more about some opposition parties, i.e. the Democrats and their desire to settle with the DF. This resulted in the DPS’s landslide in all municipalities”, says Knezevic.

He concludes that no opposition leader should believe in his/her victory in presidential elections after results of the recent local ones.

 

Sekulic: SDP has no right to be angry (Pobjeda)

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has no right to be angry with the election processes in Montenegro. It should be angry with itself and its political principles, DPS MP Predrag Sekulic told Pobjeda commenting on the SDP’s allegations that “the Macedonian scenario in Montenegro becomes a reality”.

SDP Presidency member Ivan Vujovic said that “the Macedonian scenario becomes a reality due to further criminalization of the electoral process by DPS”.

“All electoral processes so far have undoubtedly been absolutely clean. Citizens had the right to decide in equal conditions who they would vote for. And our colleagues from the SDP have entered the same problem as earlier election losers – when they lose, they seek the culprit in everyone except in themselves. They forget that they changed their political narrative, betrayed their political agenda and changed all their yarns back into cotton by coalition with Democratic Front” Sekulic said.

 

Jovanovic: Montenegro’s done a lot for reconciliation in region (Pobjeda)

The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party in Serbia Cedomir Jovanovic in his interview with Pobjeda says Montenegro has done a lot for reconciliation in the region, whereas NATO membership represents the final stage in overcoming ‘90s turmoil. Jovanovic emphasizes that denial of genocide and crimes has to be put on the margins of the society.

He claims the society has been deeply divided and as such, catastrophic for the future of our children. “At least we should respect the victims, but it seems to me that some reactions in public indicate a large majority of our politicians still hasn’t faced and accepted responsibility for committed war crimes”, Jovanovic tells. In his opinion, Bosnian-Serbian-Croat war criminals will behave as innocent until the society changes. “It’s time to resolve problems and actively seek for political solutions to many issues”, says Jovanovic.

 

fYROM

Gruevski: I will resign and I hope it will help resolve this crisis (Meta, Kurir)

No matter what the outcome of the election analysis will be, I will resign to the organs of the party, stated the leader of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski, in an interview with “Kurir”.

“The evening after the first round of elections, I clearly stated that the party leader carries the greatest responsibility. Then in a television interview, I explained that in a team which competes, whether its politics, sports, business or in any field, the biggest responsibility by definition is carried by the first person. Those who know me well and those who understand political messages well understand me. Regardless of the outcome of the election analysis, even if objectively, my guilt is small or the least, or even the smallest, however, if it is determined that I have no objective guilt over defeat, I will resign to the organs of the party”, said Gruevski.

He says this step is part of his basic principles and values. According to him, VMRO-DPMNE will organize an urgent congress, where, in addition to the adoption of the report on the election analysis, members will be electing a new president of VMRO-DPMNE.

“I thought that even then, on the evening of October 15th, but because of the actual elections, I said it with political terminology, and that’s what I mean now, and since the two rounds of the elections have passed, the emotions of the campaign calmed down, I can say it in the most directly way or not”, added Gruevski, who said that the analysis of the election will take another two weeks, and that his resignation is not related to its outcome.

 

Zaev won’t comment Gruevski’s resignation but is demanding a strong opposition and a more responsible government (Meta)

I don’t want to indulge myself in commenting issues regarding our primary political opponent but I will state again that a strong opposition will make the government to be more responsible, more transparent and more committed to its citizens, replied Prime Minister Zoran Zaev when asked by a journalist to comment about VMRO-DPMNE party leader, Nikola Gruevski’s, announced resignation.

Those are internal processes, that the members of VMRO-DPMNE along with the leadership and the managing structures will decide what it’s best for them – said Zaev at the Government, where the International day for people with disabilities was marked.

In an interview given for Kurir portal, Gruevski announced that he will resign before the party’s bodies and which is expected to summon an extraordinary congress in order to elect a new party leader.

 

VMRO-DPMNE: Gruevski and Mijalkov are not connected to the privatization of factories in Serbia (Meta)

Neither does VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski nor Saso Mijalkov have anything to do with the privatization of factories in Serbia, VMRO-DPMNE responded to an interview with the former Serbian foreign minister and leader of the Opposition People’s Party, Vuk Jeremic, in which he urged investigating authorities in Serbia to investigate the links between the former Macedonian government and Vojislav Sparavalo, the director of the company SSMG, who bought the “14 October” factory from Krusevac.

“Neither the President Nikola Gruevski, nor Sasho Mijalkov were withdrawing money from Macedonia to buy companies in Serbia, as the media have reported under the control of SDS. Zoran Zaev and SDS need to defocus the public with all kinds of manipulations to hide the shame that the citizens see on a daily basis. The stated allegations in the interview that were reported were from portals close to the SDS are completely inaccurate and we strongly deny them”, stated VMRO-DPMNE denial.

 

Name compromise must be reached, says Greek FM (MIA)

A name compromise must be reached in order to open Macedonia’s accession path to the EU and other organizations, says Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in an interview with daily “Ethnos“.

“In the case of fYROM, our neighbors believed they could join these organizations by avoiding an agreement with Greece, which is impossible, while some of us believed that inertness of foreign policy is our weapon”, says Kotzias.

He adds that Athens and Skopje have now realized they should work on the grounds of consensus and compromise.

“Our interlocutors are now aware of the fact that a sincere compromise needs to be reached regarding the name of our northern neighbor. It is true that some in the EU had illusions in the past that the road to EU and other organizations required no compromise”, says Kotzias.

The Macedonia-Greece name talks under the auspices of UN envoy Matthew Nimetz are expected to resume in Brussels on December 11-12.

 

Albania

 

Floods Unite Albanian Politicians (ADN)

“Together for a faster reaction against catastrophes”, this was the message given by the politicians these days of heavy rain in Albania.

For the first time, majority and the opposition left behind their conflicts and collaborated to help the citizens to cope with flooding.

Prime Minister Edi Rama appeared on the side of the democrat mayor of Kamza, Xhelal Mziu late on Friday visiting the flooded areas of Kamza.

“We should make the homework in order to prevent this situation in the future,” said Rama. Meanwhile, Mayor Mziu said that he has two projects to solve the flooding situation in Kamza.

 

INTERNATIONAL PRESS

 

Petritsch: Serbs can be united only in EU (Deutsche Welle)

In an interview to Deutsche Welle (DW), former High Representative in B&H and former Special Envoy of the EU for Kosovo Wolfgang Petritsch commented on the European integration and said that the development of a united Europe “must be an absolute priority primarily for Serbs because only in a united Europe Serbs can be united”. Petritsch emphasized that no multiethnic, multinational or any kind of alliance similar to former Yugoslavia can be reconstructed and he added that people in the region must understand this. Asked to explain how come local politicians do not advocate this positive perspective in united Europe, Petritsch said that this is because “it is always about power and such matters in former Yugoslavia are defined in line with ethnic boundaries”. Petritsch concluded by saying that it is high time, having in mind that the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is about to be closed, for people to take more responsibility and start thinking pro-European and less in the context of ethnic categories.

 

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