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Belgrade Media Report 22 January

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LOCAL PRESS

• Vucic: Serbs want to survive in Kosovo and Metohija without revenge (Novosti)
• Djuric: Serbia uniting to help people in Kosovo and Metohija (Tanjug)
• Odalovic: Vucic’s visit calmed down Kosovo Serbs (Tanjug)
• Drecun: Vucic sending message to Serbs that Serbia is with them (Radio Belgrade)
• Stefanovic: No exchange of data with Pristina (TV Pink)
• Chepurin: Russia requests participation of Serbian organs in investigation into Ivanovic’s murder (RTS)
• French Ambassador: Friends tell the truth (FoNet/RTS)
• Vulin to Mondoloni: Lectures for Pristina, Belgrade keeping promises (RTS)
• DJB, Dveri to run together in Belgrade elections (Tanjug)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina
• Federation of B&H Statistics Institute warns B&H will submit two different results of population census as part of answers to EC Questionnaire (Hayat)
• Zvizdic’s high treason; He recognizes results of RS’ census! (Dnevni avaz)
• Izetbegovic says work on SDA’s proposal of changes to Law on Elections of B&H continues with help of EU and US (TV1)
• Another political bloc will be established in the RS several months before the general elections (TV1)
• Parties considering scenario of indirect election of members of Presidency of B&H in B&H parliament (Dnevni list)
• SzP will offer joint candidates for RS President and Serb member of B&H Presidency (TV1)
• Dodik: SNSD will have candidates for posts of RS President and Serb member of B&H Presidency (ATV)
• Unitarianists in B&H force Serbs to secession, and Croats to third entity (Vecernji list)
• Inzko again on RS Day (EuroBlic)
Montenegro
• Presidential elections scheduled, candidates still unknown (CDM)
• Montenegro will continue contributing to the alliance (CDM)
• Montenegro and Kosovo examples of successful cross-border cooperation (CDM)
fYROM
• There is room for improvement of language bill – French Ambassador Thimonier (MIA)
• UN mediator Nimetz says his name proposal guards state’s identity (Sitel)
• Hoyt Yee: Macedonia and Greece have real opportunity to solve the name issue (MIA)
• Sela: The Alliance of the Albanians is still open to negotiations for its return in the government (Meta)
• MFA condemns the burning of the Macedonian flag in Thessaloniki (Meta)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

• Presentation of the Enlargement strategy, February 6 in Strasbourg (European Western Balkans)
• Portentous Assassination Rocks the Balkans (Strategic Culture Foundation)
• Massive Thessaloniki protest on FYROM name concerns government (To Vima)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Vucic: Serbs want to survive in Kosovo and Metohija without revenge (Novosti)

 

It was neither easy nor pleasant. I called all my political opponents to Mitrovica. We talked on the phone. I am pleased because I have done an extremely important job for the unification of our people in Kosovo and Metohija. This is how, exclusively for Novosti, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic sums up the marathon thirteen-hour long talks with Serbs in Banjska, Kosovska Mitrovica, Gracanica, Laplje Selo… during which he assured our compatriots that they must remain in their homes, but he also eased the tensions after the trauma brought on by the perfidious murder of Oliver Ivanovic. “I was obliged to talk to everyone about the interest of the Serbian people; that they have to remain in their own country. All those people that greeted me in Laplje Selo never welcomed anyone since the introduction of a multiparty system. I understood well that those people came to fight for their country and people, their families, for survival.”

How did you experience the fact that your political opponents marked this gathering as transparent staging?

“It is terrifying for me when they say this is a kind of political “cooperative” or “big brother”, and it is well known that realities in Serbia have been patented by thieves who are attacking me. I have introduced open and honest conversation with the people, I wanted to hear what their everyday problems are and can we solve them, without playing nice to anyone. Frankly, we couldn’t solve 90% of their problems, but we could 10%.”

What did you specifically learn in that direct contact with the people?

“Three key things have been pointed out to me. First, there are those who live richly and receive high salaries from the state of Serbia, while others get nothing from the state. Second, those people made it clear to me, and I myself believe in this, that with a little more effort and engagement we can help them and make life easier. Third, it seems to me that I spoke about the situation in Kosovo and Metohija in a rational and real way, even if many do not want to hear that. Of course, it did not appeal to the Albanians, unfortunately, nor to some in Serbia that would like to never hear from Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. I understand why Albanians are bothered to hear about little Milan from Suvo Grlo who lost his father and whose brother was shot at, or that his mother with six children lost her husband and her son was shot at. But until now, there were only stories of Serbs being criminals.”

Where those upsetting life storied new for you too?

“The most important thing is that for the first time people saw the true faces of Serbs who have lost their loved ones and who only wish to survive. They do not seek revenge. They are asking for Serbs to still live in their homes. There were really many wonderful people with bitter destinies.”

How did you personally experience the fact that some opposition leaders in Belgrade and in Kosovo and Metohija are practically accusing you and SPP of murdering Oliver Ivanovic?

“When someone has the need to accuse the head of the state for something like that, and at the same time never once went to Kosovo and Metohija or has ever seen Ivanović, it is best to keep quiet, and not react to the attacks of those who think they are human, but don’t look like human. At the end, when your conscience is clear, when you work in the interest of your people, then you have to resist all of that and go on forward. I watched how they went wild because of my talk with our people in Kosovo and Metohija, because of everything they did not ever dare to do, nor they wished to do, nor were they ever interested in it. Who attacked me? Rada Trajkovic, who represents 0.0001% of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. Such people like some foreign offices, but that doesn’t matter when the people don’t like such persons. Or Dragan Djilas – a man who organizes telethons to appear in all of them and play the greatest humanitarian, and he got richer, and the people got poorer.”

 

Djuric: Serbia uniting to help people in Kosovo and Metohija (Tanjug)

 

The Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric has stated that the result of the visit of President Vucic to Kosovo and Metohija is that Serbia is uniting in an attempt to help our people in the southern province, just as the Kosovo Serbs are uniting in a wish to jointly, with the help of the state, fight for their survival. “This visit gives key contribution to do our best to overcome this difficult challenge and hard pain and I am certain that this is the right path to persevere. There is a future for the Kosovo Serbs, it is in gathering, in the joint work on revival,” Djuric told Tanjug. “Serbia was able to see yesterday that its people in Kosovo and Metohija is surviving thanks to the support of the state, thanks to the fact that the state is present in their lives – and through personal income, various forms of welfare benefits, and I will remind that our people in Kosovo and Metohija also have special increase of personal incomes and through programs in the sphere of agriculture, promotion of birthrate and we certainly need to do much more in this field,” said Djuric.

 

Odalovic: Vucic’s visit calmed down Kosovo Serbs (Tanjug)

 

The General Secretary in the Serbian Foreign Ministry Veljko Odalovic has stated that the goal of the visit of President Vucic has been achieved – to calm down the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. “The message was sent that everything will be done to ensure the Kosovo Serbs a more normal and safe life, not only for those in the north, but also for those in other parts of Kosovo and Metohija,” said Odalovic. “When we add up everything, the Serbs were a legal target, because nothing is being undertaken against known criminals, there is no investigation, no processing. It is very important to stop this agony and to shed light on this painful murder,” said Odalovic. Commenting the statements of certain opposition leaders that the authorities “drew targets”, he says that the least they could have done at this moment is to be silent, that this would have been “fair, humane, and civilizational”. If somebody wished to deepen clashes among the Serbs with this terrorist act, they partially achieved this,” said Odalovic.

Speaking about the announcement that the Kosovo organs will announce today the results of th investigation into the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, Odalovic says he would like to hear more than what had been known so far.

 

Drecun: Vucic sending message to Serbs that Serbia is with them (Radio Belgrade)

 

With his visit to Kosovo and Metohija only several days following the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, President Vucic is sending a message to the Serbs there that Serbia is with them and that it is ready to help their survival in regions where they live, the Chair of the Serbian parliament Committee for Kosovo and Metohija Milovan Drecun told Radio Belgrade 1.

He assesses that Vucic’s visit to Kosovo and Metohija has arrived at the right moment and in dramatic circumstances.

When it comes to the investigation into Ivanovic’s murder, he says that the Albanian side most probably will not share significant information from the murder investigation.

Speaking about the establishment of the Special Court for war crimes of the so-called KLA, Drecun says that he believes this court will be established. He thinks that political pressure by the US and other Western countries on the Albanian not to abolish the Law that envisages the establishment of this court is sincere, because this would be a serious political slap for Washington. This is also supported by the statement by William Walker that “the time has come for the political scene in Kosovo and Metohija to be cleansed, because the current setting disables progress of Kosovo and Metohija”.

 

Stefanovic: No exchange of data with Pristina (TV Pink)

 

The Serbian Interior Ministry doesn’t have official exchange of data with Pristina and didn’t receive anything official from Kosovo investigative organs regarding the case of the murder Oliver Ivanovic, Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said. He says that it seems that the investigation is being headed in a direction that is slowing down the process, or that it is insufficiently quickly proceeding because plenty of disinformation has been given. “We will see what they will announce tomorrow, I would like them to find anything that could lead to fast discovery of perpetrators, but the messages are not encouraging, neither the acting, i.e. non-acting on the ground. Nothing from that encourages,” Stefanovic told TV Pink. He says that Serbian organs can help in the investigation and the message has been form the first moment that, regardless of who is behind Ivanovic’s murder, the perpetrators and those who ordered the murder must be most severely held responsible and that Serbia will do everything it can as a state, all institutions will be hooked up in order to help find Ivanovic’s assassin. “As far as we are concerned, this is a matter that is completely sincere and unchanged. The problem is that, many days have gone by since our requests, you have seen the response of the Pristina side, their prime minister, where it is clearly stated that Serbian investigative organs will not be allowed participation in that process,” said Stefanovic.

 

Chepurin: Russia requests participation of Serbian organs in investigation into Ivanovic’s murder (RTS)

 

Russia resolutely condemns the terrorist act of the murder of Oliver Ivanovic and requests an adequate investigation along with participation of representatives of competent Serbian organs in full capacity, as well as international organizations, in accordance with United Nations Resolution 1244, the Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Chepurin said in today’s talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Chepurin pointed out that Vucic’s visit to Kosovo and Metohija represents a brave act, the President’s Office for Media Relations stated. The Ambassador offered condolences on the occasion of Oliver Ivanovic’s murder. He underlined that non-fulfilling of the decrees of the Brussels agreement on the Community of Serb Municipalities by Pristina and the problem with the operating of the Court for KLA crimes was now even more visible in Kosovo and Metohija.

Vucic opines that this visit was very important for uniting the Serbs and for the position of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. He stressed that he had felt on that occasion their need to share their problems and said he would invest great effort in helping them and making their lives easier. Vucic and Chepurin agreed that the upcoming visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Belgrade and the marking of 180 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries was an opportunity to once again point out the significance of cooperation and friendly relations between Serbia and Russia.

 

French Ambassador: Friends tell the truth (FoNet/RTS)

 

France is Serbia’s friend, and friends tell the truth, that there will be no Serbia’s integration into the EU without an agreement on Kosovo, French Ambassador in Belgrade Frédéric Mondoloni told FoNet in an interview. He says that we should use the fact that the Balkans is high on the EU agenda in the first half of this year. For us the 2013 Brussels agreement is very important, but it is necessary for Belgrade and Pristina to implement it, said the French Ambassador, who knows that Serbia has done a great deal. He says that one should go to the end with the logic of continuing the dialogue with Pristina, said Mondollini, who also welcomed the internal dialogue in Serbia so the opinion of all sides on this topic could be heard. I know that taking important steps was envisaged, which has been now disrupted with the abominable murder of Oliver Ivanovic. There will be difficulties and tensions, but let us not allow the ghosts of the past to return to the region, he said. “France, without any second thoughts, was supporting Serbia’s efforts to become EU member and helped the country in that. France is Serbia’s friend and friends speak truth to each other. So, I believe that Serbian President and government know, and I know that Serbian people also know, that there will be no integration of Serbia in the EU without the agreement on Kosovo,” Ambassador Mondoloni said.

 

Vulin to Mondoloni: Lectures for Pristina, Belgrade keeping promises (RTS)

 

Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin has reacted to the statement of the French Ambassador by saying that he should not try to equalize Belgrade in the obligations as it is keeping promises, and Pristina that is not implementing the prescribed, and that we would appreciate that he holds a lecture in Pristina. “Vucic has demonstrated that he knows how sovereignty of Serbia and Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is preserved, but does the French Ambassador know what is written in the Brussels agreement? Does he know that Pristina has not yet established the Community of Serb Municipalities and that it is trying to abolish the court for war crimes of the KLA before it even started working,” wondered Vulin. He wonders when he is already speaking about the ghosts from the past whether he knows that over thousand Serbs have been killed since the arrival of the international community and that nobody has been held responsible for their deaths.

 

DJB, Dveri to run together in Belgrade elections (Tanjug)

 

The Enough Is Enough (DJB) and Dveri movements will run together in the Belgrade elections, leaders Sasa Radulovic and Bosko Obradovic announced on Friday. Their electoral list will be named Make These People Leave Without Letting Those People Return.

Obradovic says Dveri Movement has entered a coalition with the DJB Movement because it considers it to be sincere opposition and alternative to the current and previous authorities.

Radulovic pointed out that these are political organizations with great ideological differences, but that the issues that connect them are the struggle against corruption, against partocracy, against a partisan state and the struggle against secret contracts, regardless of who signs them.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

Federation of B&H Statistics Institute warns B&H will submit two different results of population census as part of answers to EC Questionnaire (Hayat)

 

Representatives of the Federation of B&H Statistics Institute warned that Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) will submit two different results of the population census as a part of the answers to the European Commission (EC) Questionnaire for B&H – the one published by the B&H Statistics Agency and the one published by the Republika Srpska (RS) Statistics Institute. The difference between the two results refers to 58,000 citizens. Representatives of the Federation of B&H Statistics Institute also noted that according to the Constitution of B&H, the results published by the B&H Statistics Agency are the only valid information. Representatives of the ruling authorities expressed in Istocno Sarajevo a few days ago satisfaction with the harmonized answers to the EC Questionnaire, but the question remains if the EC will be satisfied too, once it receives two different versions of the aforementioned results, the presenter concluded.

 

Zvizdic’s high treason; He recognizes results of RS’ census! (Dnevni avaz)

 

Dnevni avaz daily learns that along with the answer of B&H Statistics Agency to the EC Questionnaire, DEI also sent to translation and verification on Friday the answer of the RS Statistics Institute regarding the census results. Daily comments that this is a result of “compromise” that Chairman of the Council of Ministers (CoM) of B&H Denis Zvizdic signed adding that there is still no official explanation why Zvizdic decided to make such a scandalous move. Daily speculates that Zvizdic actually gave in under pressure of Republika Srpska (RS). Deputy Director of Federation of B&H Statistics Institute Fadil Fatic confirmed that both answers are in the data adding that this is illegal. SDP B&H issued a statement on Friday, asking from Zvizdic to urgently explain to the public why and how answers to the EC’ Questionnaire contain different data about population census in B&H. SDP B&H asks on basis of which law and what decision Zvizdic and SDA decided to recognize census published by the RS authorities when the only data the EUROSTAT has recognized are data published by the Statistics Agency of B&H. Zvizdic reacted to the claims of SDP B&H that answers to the questions from the EC Questionnaire contains data on the B&H population of both the BiH Agency for Statistics and the RS Institute of Statistics. “Precisely because of the stated facts that the B&H CoM has managed to compensate for the lack of responsibility and inactivity of the SDP B&H staff, SDP B&H is trying to convince the public of the correctness of their attitudes with malicious petty political statements, concealing the fact that the answers to questions from the Questionnaire do not change the laws, nor is anything accepted, nor do the answers to the questions have supremacy over the applicable legal framework. The Questionnaire is based solely on the principle of constitutional powers, high level of expertise and review of the current situation in the country. All these answers are based on these principles,” Zvizdic said in a press release.

SBB B&H Press Office issued a statement on Friday condemning consent of CoM of B&H allowing Zvizdic to submit to the EC illegal “results” of the census made by RS Statistics Institute. SBB B&H insists that this decision is annulled immediately and that data of B&H Statistics Agency, which was published in accordance with law, is used only. Independent Block representative Sadik Ahmetovic is shocked with the fact that Zvizdic and Federation of B&H Prime Minister Fadil Novalic agreed that data of the RS Statistics Institute is also included in the answer to the EC’ Questionnaire about the census. Ahmetovic added that this is another betrayal of state interests that the current SDA leadership agreed with. He also said that in this way Zvizdic also damaged Bosniak returnees in the RS and showed disrespect towards decisions of B&H Constitutional Court. Ahmetovic announced that he will initiate a discussion on this scandalous decision in B&H parliament. The EU Delegation to B&H commented the issue with different or double answers to the EC’s Questionnaire and stated that the quality of answers is important for the exact estimate of the situation in the country, adding it is up to B&H authorities to decide how they plan to present any differences in stances of the different levels of authority in their answers. EUD Spokesperson Jamila Milovic-Halilovic told the daily that according to the experiences of other countries that went through this process, it is not unusual to have additional information requested at a later date. Milovic-Halilovic and noted that when it comes to the 2013 census in B&H, the EU will act in accordance with the conclusions of the EUROSTAT, which read that the census has been conducted in accordance with the international and European standards.

 

Izetbegovic says work on SDA’s proposal of changes to Law on Elections of B&H continues with help of EU and US (TV1)

 

Member of the B&H Presidency and SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic announced that the work on SDA’s proposal on changes to the Law on Elections of B&H will continue and added that the European Union and USA will assist in this process. Izetbegovic told press that HDZ B&H’s proposal on changes to the Law on Elections of B&H and warning of the European Commission that we must implement ‘Sejdic-Finci’ ruling are two opposite things. Izetbegovic reminded that the Federation of B&H House of Peoples has 17 delegates, while the Constitution stipulates that one delegate should be appointed from each of ten cantons, which means that this leaves little room to implement the decision of the Constitutional Court.

 

Another political bloc will be established in the RS several months before the general elections (TV1)

 

Yet another political bloc will be established in the RS several months before the general elections. It will be a pro-European bloc and its establishment was initiated by SDP to serve as an alternative in the RS. The bloc gathered all Bosniak political parties, except SDA, and some of Croat political parties. In total 11 political parties as well as intellectuals met in Banja Luka with the goal to discuss establishment of this bloc. Vice President of SDP Drasko Acimovic said that the goal is to unblock the European integration. All left-wing parties from the Federation of B&H welcomed establishment of this bloc. Leader of “Our Party” Predrag Kojovic told press that the Our Party in general supports the idea of uniting of left-wing parties in the RS so that they can present a single list in elections. “However, we do not think we would like to repeat what happened with ‘Domovina’ which, under a mask of such movement, actually got several seats in the RS National Assembly,” Kojovic added. The reporter noted that, in order to avoid this from happening, the pro-European bloc distanced itself from ‘Domovina’ coalition in the RS. SDA assessed that establishment of this bloc will be detrimental to everyone but SNSD. Anes Osmanovic (SDA) said that he thinks Bosniaks and pro-Bosnian bloc in the RS should be united and have a single list in elections otherwise they will be “no political factor in the RS”.

SDP announced that its politics will be based on multi-ethnicity, freedom and equal rights of all citizens. Acimovic said that the European integration must be unblocked and economy, which is in the focus of their activities, must be intensified.

 

Parties considering scenario of indirect election of members of Presidency of B&H in B&H parliament (Dnevni list)

 

Dnevni list daily reads it is highly likely that both HDZ B&H and SDA’s proposals of changes to the Law on Elections of B&H will not secure the necessary majority in the B&H parliament, which is why political quarrels will continue. Daily learns that “narrow circles of political parties” are again discussing the issue of indirect election of members of the Presidency of B&H, a solution that was stipulated in the so-called ‘April package’ of constitutional reform in spring of 2006. Allegedly, both SDA and HDZ B&H support this possibility, but their support is conditional. Namely, SDA supports it on condition there is an agreement on role of chambers in the B&H parliament, whilst HDZ B&H supports everything and the only thing that is unacceptable is that other (peoples) elect Croat member of the Presidency of B&H and delegates in the House of Peoples. At the same time, continues the daily, HDZ B&H insists on dominant role of the House of Peoples, which would elect members of the Presidency of B&H, which is out of question for SDA, which is of position it is the House of Representatives which should elect members of the Presidency of B&H. The problem in the whole story is the fact that the RS authorities are firm in their position that member of the Presidency of B&H from the RS has to be elected directly by citizens of the RS in direct election. According to daily, even if members of the Presidency of B&H from the Federation of B&H were to be elected in the B&H parliament and member of the Presidency from the RS were to be elected directly, it would mean asymmetry is accepted, which in turn would raise the issue of legitimacy of members of the Presidency of B&H.

 

SzP will offer joint candidates for RS President and Serb member of B&H Presidency (TV1)

 

PDP Vice President Igor Crnadak told that the Alliance for Changes (SzP) will nominate a joint candidate for the RS President and for the Serb member of B&H Presidency. He noted that one of them will be a member of PDP, while the other one will come from SDS.

 

Dodik: SNSD will have candidates for posts of RS President and Serb member of B&H Presidency (ATV)

 

SNSD leader Milorad Dodik said that SNSD will have candidates for the posts of RS President and Serb member of the B&H Presidency in the upcoming general elections in B&H. Dodik said that names of SNSD’s candidates for the two abovementioned posts will be announced when the time for that comes. Dodik stressed that as far as his candidacy is concerned, everything will be known on 18 May. By then, SNSD should reach an agreement with DNS, which wants to nominate a DNS member either for the post of RS President or the post of Serb member of the B&H Presidency. It is no secret that DNS leader Marko Pavic would gladly run for RS President in the upcoming elections.

 

Unitarianists in B&H force Serbs to secession, and Croats to third entity (Vecernji list)

 

Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina President Marinko Cavara from HDZ B&H argues that the Washington and the Dayton agreements have been changed to the detriment of Croats, which resulted in Croats ending up in a subordinated position i.e. they cannot exercise their legitimate rights and there is a feeling that Croats cannot influence adoption of important decisions. All this led Cavara to say that “in case we cannot make sure the Constitution and the Law on Elections is changed, then we must look for solutions in another way”. Asked to elaborate on that statement, Cavara says we are in a situation that leads to establishing of a unitary state, which is something Croats and Serbs will not accept. Asked to comment on consequences of unitary policy, Cavar replied by saying such policy “forces Serbs to look for solutions outside B&H, aimed at establishing independent RS,” whilst Croats “speak more frequently – we have no other solution but the third entity”. All this led Cavara to say this situation should be a warning to everyone in B&H and that solutions, which include legitimate representation of peoples, should be identified.

 

Inzko again on RS Day (EuroBlic)

 

High Representative Valentin Inzko again commented the Republika Srpska (RS) Day and suggested the RS authorities to choose 21 November, i.e. the date of signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, as the date which should be marked in the RS.

 

Presidential elections scheduled, candidates still unknown (CDM)

 

Presidential elections have been scheduled for 15 April but it’s still unknown who’s going to be a successor to Filip Vujanovic. While parties keep silent, political observers emphasize the DPS’s candidate appears likely to win the largest number of votes. Meanwhile, no party has announced its candidate. According to unofficial information, DPS will have either Milo Djukanovic or Milica Pejanovic-Djurisic. The latest research reveal 39,7% of citizens support Milo Djukanovic and 25.9% of them support Milica Pejanovic-Djurisic. It’s evident that the opposition won’t go into the elections with a joint, non-party nominee. Civic opposition doesn’t have unique position and they didn’t want to discuss the issue with the Democratic Front (DF). It seems more and more obvious that Aleksa Becic is likely to run for the country’s presidency. Recent survey shows that 30.1% of citizens would support his candidacy. According to CEDEM’s survey, 16.8% of citizens would support the founder of Prava Crna Gora (Real Montenegro) Marko Milacic and he will probably run for presidential elections.

Democratic Front (DF) has announced they want to go into elections under a non-party nominee and rumors say Andrija Jovanovic would be the most eligible candidate. Vasilije Milickovic, Montenegrin businessman, has confirmed he will be running for the post. Some activists of the civil sector and users of social media believe prof. Djordjije Blazic should express interest in presidential race, whereas a group of people began collecting signatures for Ranko Crni Djurisic’s candidacy. Scientist Dragan Hajdukovic has announced he will be running for the country’s presidency as well.

 

Montenegro will continue contributing to the alliance (CDM)

 

Montenegro, as a new NATO member, will confirm its full commitment to implementing the alliance’s policies and continue to contribute performing its tasks in order to effectively respond to contemporary security challenges and threats, said the head of the Defense Policy Directorate, Ivica Ivanovic, at a meeting of NATO political directors. The meeting was held at the headquarters of NATO in Brussels, and was chaired by NATO Deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller. “Montenegro is fully prepared to contribute to the fulfillment of key NATO tasks in the upcoming period, as well as to work diligently in the field of full military integration in the alliance,” Ivanovic said, adding that our country will advocate the open door policy and provide full support to the integration of the entire region into the Euro-Atlantic community. On the eve of the upcoming NATO Defence Ministers meeting scheduled for 14 and 15 February, political directors discussed issues dedicated to the improvement of the collective defense system, the current security situation, as well as further activities to strengthen the concept of defense and deterrence. Special importance is given to intensifying NATO and EU cooperation in order to more effectively address the challenges of the current security environment characterized by complexity and unpredictability.

 

Montenegro and Kosovo examples of successful cross-border cooperation (CDM)

 

Concrete and visible results of previous Montenegro and Kosovo’s joint projects, which have contributed to the comprehensive development of the border area, confirm the success of the cross-border cooperation concept, said the Minister of European Affairs Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic at the closing conference for the Ipa Cross-border Cooperation Program Montenegro – Kosovo 2011-2013. He called to mind that within the framework of the Cross-border Cooperation Program Montenegro-Kosovo 2011-2013, 9 projects were implemented, totaling €3.7m, which significantly contributed to achieving concrete program goals, including economic development of the program area, protection of its biodiversity and promotion of sustainable use of natural resources, with special emphasis on agriculture, forestry and tourism development.

Pejovic announced that three times higher sum, i.e. €10m has been allocated for the cooperation between Montenegro and Kosovo in the period 2014-2020. Deputy Minister of Local Government Administration of Kosovo, Becir Fejzulahu, said that these projects contributed to the change in the way of thinking and work of all actors, since they took appropriate measures to carry out their work more effectively in order to achieve economic growth. The head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro’s cooperation section Hermann Spitz said that the EU was satisfied because it contributed to improving the quality of life in the border area through project support. He pointed out that 9 implemented projects not only contributed to development, but also promoted common European values ​​such as mutual respect and cooperation.

 

There is room for improvement of language bill – French Ambassador Thimonier (MIA)

 

French Ambassador Christian Timonie believes he isn’t the only one who has failed to understand the law of languages ​​because ‘it is a very complicated text, at least in terms of its content, as well as consequences. “On the other hand, to be completely honest, there is a room for improvement of the text itself, which is  possible because it is a matter of debates, as the process has not been completed yet and I would not like to make a comment” Timonie says.

In regard to Athens-Skopje ongoing activities for settling the name dispute, Timonie notifies that the latest developments to that effect have been attracting great attention with everybody waiting “for the white smoke to come out, like when a pope is elected”. “Significant progress has been made and now it should be exploited. I must say that the new government has done its best to improve the relations with Athens. We also noticed that the Greek authorities have expressed a spirit of openness, which is something new and creates a different climate, because it takes two to tango. The fact that an agreement has been reached to find a solution speaks for itself” the French Ambassador says, reaffirming the international community’s general consensus on the necessity of the name dispute settlement. He also commended a decision of opposition VMRO-DPMNE MPs in spite of their boycott of the parliament’s work to retake their seats during the speech of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the supreme legislative body. Such gestures are important because they reflect the unity in the Macedonian society for turning of the country’s strategic goals into reality.

 

UN mediator Nimetz says his name proposal guards state’s identity (Sitel)

 

I am not interfering in the state’s identity, but strengthen it. You have a strong identity, not only since the independence, but also in the course of the former Yugoslavia and the Ottoman Empire, the UN mediator in Skopje-Athens name negotiations, Matthew Nimetz, says in an interview with TV Sitel. “I’ve tried to cover the most serious problems and take into consideration the interests of both parties. I believe the identity is safe under the proposal and my ideas will make it stronger. I’ve written the proposals on four pages and handed them over to the authorities” Nimetz says, adding that he intends to visit both countries in the next 10 days. The name dispute is harmful for both countries if its settlement is to be delayed further, Nimetz says, notifying that the climate for talks is more favorable than it was the case in the past. “Athens comes out of the economic crisis, being more self-confident and trying to play a more important role in the region. There is a new government in Skopje, which seems to be committed to solving the problem. Now I have two governments with serious people, two serious prime ministers and two ministers of foreign affairs, here is the opposition and media and at some point you must make a decision. Now is the right moment as there are no election processes. Don’t wait for another 25 years, as you will be here but I won’t” Nimetz says.

 

Hoyt Yee: Macedonia and Greece have real opportunity to solve the name issue (MIA)

 

Macedonia and Greece have a real opportunity, maybe the best one, for solving the so-called name issue, says US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian.

He believes that there is a political will in both Athens and Skopje for reaching an agreement on the matter for good. A hard work is required to that effect as this is not a simple matter for resolving, Yee says. It would have been good if the issue was settled 25 years ago, but if the two countries keep working as they do at the moment under the auspices of UN mediator Matthew Nimetz, Yee says “we believe a solution is absolutely possible”. The United States, he says, strongly supports the Bulgaria-Macedonia treaty, which is a good start of or even a prelude to Bulgaria’s EU Presidency. “We believe these are very positive steps, not only for the two countries, but for the entire region. It is examples of how two countries are truly committed to reconciliation and finding solutions…When two countries have a political will almost everything is possible” Yee says. He also commends the efforts of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his government to work with Macedonia, which has emerged from political crisis and aspires to join the European Union and NATO.

 

Sela: The Alliance of the Albanians is still open to negotiations for its return in the government (Meta)

 

The Alliance of Albanians’ party leader, Zijadin Sela, announced yesterday in Debar that the AA is still open to negotiations for its return in the government led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, but only if they meet the well-known demands. He demands full responsibility for the corruption of all party officials regardless of their ethnic background. “We have had many meetings with international factors where we often are asked to be a part of the government since without the Alliance ‘s MPs, Zaev cannot sustain the government” said Sela. He also stressed that he is supportive for prolonging the reforms because he is convinced that the EU and NATO accessions are this country’s key task. He issued tough words on part of DUI because, by his own words, it hasn’t done anything for the rights of the Albanians.

 

MFA condemns the burning of the Macedonian flag in Thessaloniki (Meta)

 

The Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) reacted to the major protest yesterday in Thessaloniki, where a Macedonian flag was burned. Despite building confidence measures by the two governments, unfortunately, there are still incidents of people still living in the past, said the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The entire region and our two countries are on the right track of good neighborly relations that will result in fulfilling the Euro-Atlantic integrations of our country, as well as the stability and economic development of the entire region. Unfortunately, isolated incidents like yesterday in Thessaloniki still occur, caused by individuals and groups who still live in the past and in policies of confrontation and national isolation, whose actions we condemn as hate and impatient politicians. The majority of citizens want to develop close and friendly relations” reads the reaction from the MFA.

 

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

 

Presentation of the Enlargement strategy, February 6 in Strasbourg (European Western Balkans, 22 January 2018)

 

BRUSSELS / STRASBOURG – The Enlargement Strategy, entitled “The Credible Enlargement Perspective for the Western Balkans” will be presented on February 6 during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the portal European Western Balkans is exclusively learned. As confirmed for our portal in Brussels, the College of European Commission, chaired by President Jean-Claude Juncker, will meet in Strasbourg that morning and adopt the final text of the strategy by noon. The Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, will present the strategy before the members of European Parliament on the same day at 15:00. At that time, the strategy will be publicly disclosed through the portals of European institutions, as well through the media. According to the media, who had an insight into the strategy, the document “The Credible Enlargement Perspective for the Western Balkans” will include general guidelines for a faster process of integration of all countries in the region, as well as more specific evaluation dates for Montenegro and Serbia. According to the indicative timeframe of the European Commission, 2019 will be crucial for the countries of the Western Balkans. The document on “comprehensive normalization of relations” between Serbia and Kosovo is expected to be signed that year, while Albania and Macedonia should open accession negotiations with Brussels, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will receive the status of candidate for membership in the European Union.

Also, the same year will be crucial for Montenegro and Serbia in negotiating the so-called “blocking” chapters 23 and 24 that refer to the judiciary and fundamental rights, and justice, freedom and security. The College of Commissioners, comprised of the 28 Commissioners, meets at least once per week. In practice, the Commissioners meet every Wednesday morning in Brussels, however, during the plenary sessions of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the meeting takes place on a Tuesday.

 

Portentous Assassination Rocks the Balkans (Strategic Culture Foundation, by Stephen Karganovic, 20 January 2018)

 

Serbian community leader in the NATO-occupied Kosovo, Oliver Ivanović, was gunned down, mafia-style, in front of his party offices in the town of Kosovska Mitrovica on January 16.

As the old Romans used to say, de mortuis nihil nisi bene, of the dead nothing but the good. Mr. Ivanović did nothing that anyone is aware of to merit such a ghastly fate. But it would also be a mistake to regard him as the Gandhi or Mandela of Kosovo’s Serbs. He was a career politician, with everything that encompasses, including rumors of shady deals on the side. Curiously, his profile was that of a “moderate” and “cooperative” local politician. For that, he was rewarded by Pristina authorities with a war crimes indictment so preposterous (the obligatory bevy of false witnesses included) that even their own Supreme Court was compelled to throw the conviction out. But what matters here is that Ivanović was a symbolic “high value target”, to use the terminology favored by those who are probably behind his murder. The “lone gunman,” to again borrow an expression from their lexicon, will probably never be apprehended. At most, some patsy will be convicted of the crime, just for form’s sake. Ivanović’s assassination was a classical Tavistock Institute production and it fits in perfectly with the current drive to achieve the recomposition of the political leadership in the Balkans. We saw that process start last year in Macedonia with the installation of the lackey, Zaev. In anticipation of the re-opening of the Eastern Front, the Balkan rear must be secured. Recalcitrants must be replaced by the obedient, and the obedient must give way to the even more servile. The shots which killed Ivanovic were a warning to all the Balkan puppets and clowns of what could happen to any of them in broad daylight, if they as much as entertain in passing the thought of diverging from the party line.

It is interesting that William Walker, of El Salvador death squad fame who later engineered the phony Račak incident which served as the pretext for the bombing of Yugoslavia and eventually the occupation of Kosovo, known as a fervent booster of the sordid entity he helped hatch, a few days ago refused – just like that, refused – to accept a decoration for his past devotion from the hand of Kosovo’s current President. The President that Walker helped put in office would be wise to remember Kissinger’s classical adage. He should pay worried attention to Walker’s discourteous but portentous gesture. Does Walker know something about the fate reserved for the Kosovo Albanian leadership that they themselves do not? Perhaps, time will tell.

As for the background of this murder plot, it would be foolish to suspect the Albanians, though they obviously are being set up collectively as the patsies. The cui bono analysis tells us plainly that with official recognition of their secessionist enterprise now within grasp, they had nothing to gain and much to lose from such a destabilizing outrage. The overall purpose of the assassination was not to advance the Albanian agenda but to execute a psy-op which sets the stage for renewed managed conflict, should the decision be taken to go that route. And, just as importantly, it is to fire a shot that would be heard throughout the Balkans: lethal for the unfortunate target that was selected, but a robust warning to all the other local chieftains.

The suspension by Serbia of participation in the fabled “Brussels process,” in reality the mandated incremental divestment by Serbia of its cultural heartland, supposedly triggered by the assassination, was no more than political rhetoric and grandstanding. Politicians perform such maneuvers routinely in similar situations, to create the appearance of minding the national interest. Things will soon return to normal, as the impression left by the murder dissipates and the incident ceases to be front page news. Serbia’s simulated withdrawal from the talks will not be a serious obstacle to the pursuit of its imbecilic political elite’s “cherished dream” to be accepted by the EU, above all because these are not dreams, but orders from above which must be carried out. That, plus breaking ties with Russia, plus NATO membership, is why their services were hired in the first place and why they were installed in power, in various, progressively worse incarnations, in the year 2000. They must perform as instructed, and to understand their predicament it is sufficient, once again, to recall the pedagogical nature of this assassination, as explained above.

So a safe bet can be made that after the killing there will be no stiff requirements for the Albanian side to comply with in order to resume the talks; that will simply happen when the public are distracted by something else. Everything will soon go back to “normal” in Brussels because those who are conducting this process on the Serbian side have made a Faustian deal and painted themselves into a corner. They have no way out of it but to continue to tread the path of ignominy.

The writing is clearly on the wall. Brussels expects Serbia to disengage from Kosovo and to sign off on it because that is the only way to secure and legalize NATO’s land and base grab in 1999. It is entirely up to Serbia’s leaders to invent the formula according to which the assigned job will be done. All past brave official declarations (including that Kosovo is part of Serbia forever) are subject to revision and change by politicians facing the necessity of ensuring their own survival. Their instructions are to find a creative way to do it and to get the job done!

It will be a vain endeavor to expect the EU, or any of the Western “partners” beyond the ocean, in the wake of the assassination, to make a show of even-handedness and exert pressure on the Pristina authorities to negotiate constructively with Belgrade. There is no past history of putting pressure on Kosovo, so the question is essentially what pressure will be put on Serbia.

Condolences will be accompanied by not so subtle threats, such as denial of EU membership prospects unless Serbia rejoins the negotiations. To a normal and responsible leadership, of course, that would not be a threat at all but rather a welcome pretext to drop the EU charade altogether and to geopolitically reorient itself in a rapidly changing world. But, unfortunately, all of Serbia’s geopolitical eggs are in the EU basket. As a result, Serbia is in the absurd position of being blackmailed to abandon its historically most important territory, not to mention loyal citizens of all ethnic groups and religions living there, for the sake of joining a moribund European Union. Of course, even if the EU did amount to something Serbia is being asked to sacrifice its heritage for the privilege of becoming a dumping ground for EU trash and a source of dirt-cheap labor for its corporations. A bad deal, no matter how you look at it.

The frightening thing is that the spiritual assassination of the Serbian people – because without Kosovo the nation is truly reduced to a zombified corpse – is being conducted without its input, awareness, or implicit, much less overt, consent. Of course, as in most contemporary “democracies”, the public’s consent for the resumption of the Kosovo talks, or for anything else of consequence for that matter, is entirely unnecessary. Especially with an undemanding public, such as Serbia’s, which practices the manners of all well-bred children, who were raised to be seen, but not heard.

Kosovo will not be asked to fulfill any conditions beyond conducting a cosmetic investigation of the murder which will yield no tangible results. Pressure, however, will be on Serbia to disregard the outrage as quickly as possible and go back to “business as usual.”

 

Massive Thessaloniki protest on FYROM name concerns government (To Vima, 23 January 2018)

 

The masses at the four-hour demonstration in Thessaloniki yesterday surpassed all expectations, as at 3pm the organizers announced that an amazing 400,000 protesters from all over Greece had inundated the seafront of the country’s second largest city, but police, which always tends towards very conservative estimates of protest turnouts, put the number at around 90,000.

The protest was intended as a resounding message to the government that it does not have a blank check in negotiating the terms of a settlement with Skopje on what the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be called internationally and in its bilateral relations, and on whether Greece’s northern neighbor will be able to claim that they are the keepers of a Macedonian nationality and language, which historically have been core elements of FYROM’s irredentist agenda. The government did everything in its power to limit attendance at the protest, including persuading Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece to come out against FYROM protests and labeling those would participate as fellow travelers of Greece’s neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, which may in the end have produced a boomerang. The event opened with a salutation from Metropolitan bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki, widely viewed as a nationalist firebrand, and retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Frangoulis Frangos, who has been touted as the prospective leader of a new right-wing nationalist party, which he denies but does not entirely rule out. The demonstration was attended by New Democracy and Independent Greeks MPs representing electoral districts in northern Greece, and by Macedonia prefect Apostolos Tzitzikostas, who had challenged Kyriakos Mitsotakis for the New Democracy leadership.

 

Seafront ‘packed’

Hundreds of buses from all over Greece descended on the northern capital, with regional clergy having been urged by Anthimos to attend the protest, despite the urgings of Ieronymos, who has no direct authority on local bishoprics around the country. ‘’Demonstrate my Greek Macedonian brothers, on land and sea, toward persons known and unknown, on television and radio, to Europeans and Americans, to Russians and Asians, on the open seas and on the vast expanse of the sky, the great truth, the witness of history, the song of our slain heroes, the psalms of the monasteries, the most true message of history – that Macedonia was and remains the fatherland and cradle of Greeks, and that Macedonia means Greece and Greece means Macedonia,’’ Anthimos declared.

 

The resolution of the demonstration

Organisers produced a resolution which demanded that the government ‘’preclude any prospect of accepting of the, from most ancient times, name Macedonia and its derivatives’’, and that was approved at the start of the protest.

 

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