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Belgrade Media Report 23 May

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• Somalia to reconsider decision on Kosovo recognition (Beta)
• Serbia and China, friendship of steel (Tanjug)
• What will authorities do about celebration in Albanian areas (Beta/B92/Politika)
• War crimes prosecutor says his report on region mainly negative (N1)


Bosnia & Herzegovina
• Dodik: Sarajevo politicians do not accept Serbs as constituent people (Srna/N1)
• Covic and Dodik meet in Mostar (FTV)
• Dodik meets Ivantsov: Formation of B&H CoM more uncertain than ever (ATV)
• Everything ready for meeting between Dodik and Putin (ATV)
• Dodik ends communication with Komsic (TV1)
• Tegeltija denies any involvement in illicit activities Extraordinary session of HJPC scheduled for Thursday (FTV)
• HDZ Campaign turns from European to national(istic) issues (Hina)
• Pupovac: We mustn’t settle only for EU membership (Hina)
• Moscow: Conviction over the terrorism attempt might worsen Montenegro-Russia (CDM)
Republic of North Macedonia
• Zaev: In a few days we will see if I can dismiss DUI officials (Republika)
• Xhaferi given a map of Greater Albania during a TV show in Kosovo (Republika)


• Two Migrants Found Dead In Tanker Truck In Serbia (RFE/RL)

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Somalia to reconsider decision on Kosovo recognition (Beta)


Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic paid a visit to the Federal Republic of Somalia, where he held bilateral talks with the President of that country, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo, and with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. A mutual readiness to restore traditionally friendly relations of the two countries that date back to the time of close cooperation within the Non-Aligned Movement was expressed at the meeting. The President of Somalia underlined that his country does not support separatism and unilateral moves that undermine international law and international order. He stated that Somalia will reconsider and abolish all decisions of the transitional government from 2010 that have no legitimacy, including the decision to recognize Kosovo’s unilaterally proclaimed independence, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Serbia and China, friendship of steel (Tanjug)


Serbian parliament deputy speaker Veroljub Arsic and MPs Stefana Miladinovic and Tijana Davidovac greeted the delegation of the Chinese National People’s Congress Ethnic Affairs Committee. Serbian parliament speaker Maja Gojkovic and himself, Arsic emphasized Serbia and China’s ‘friendship of steel’ and strategic cooperation. Arsic said he was very pleased by the Chinese delegation’s comprehensive official visit which will, he said, encourage China and Serbia’s cooperation to reach new heights. He said that the 2016 strategic partnership agreement had contributed to development of national, regional and global significance. He added that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s recent participation in the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, promoting peace and economic cooperation, speaks volumes of the excellent bilateral relations between Serbia and China. Xiao Huaiyuan, head of the delegation of the Chinese National People’s Congress Ethnic Affairs Committee, thanked the MPs for the welcome, agreeing that the relations between the two countries are at a historic high, supported by political understanding and rich economic cooperation. He stressed that the two countries owe their strong relations to their presidents whose example demonstrated how to build bilateral relations. Xiao Huaiyuan said that the aim of the visit is to promote and strengthen friendly relations between the two parliaments and the committees in charge of the same or similar issues. Arsic thanked China for its support of Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and in so-called Kosovo’s UNESCO and INTERPOL bids. He said that this is testament of China’s true friendship, adding that Serbia does not endorse the international declarations concerning China’s internal organization and believes that Taiwan and mainland China are an integral part of the People’s Republic of China. Xiao Huaiyuan thanked Serbia for its principled stance on the matter, stating that China’s stance on the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija will remain unchanged.


What will authorities do about celebration in Albanian areas (Beta/B92/Politika)


“A reaction will follow if state authorities estimate that a violation of the law has been made during the organization of ‘Captain Leshi Days’ in Bujanovac.” This was stated by the president of the Coordination Body for the municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja Zoran Stankovic. “It is true that there is a discrepancy between the statements of certain Albanian leaders and their respect for the laws of the Republic of Serbia. Local Albanian leaders respect the laws of our country in their daily work and work with us for the benefit of the citizens of these municipalities,” Stankovic said, adding that Albanian officials Edi Rama, Bujar Nisani and Ilir Meta have told local Albanians during their visit to the region to solve all their problems inside the Serbian authorities, as citizens of Serbia. Stankovic, however, said in a statement, that respecting the interests of its citizens, the state has no right to react to provocations, lies and manipulations, but is obliged to act responsibly, professionally and in a civilized way.

With the support of local authorities in Bujanovac, this four-day event has been held since 2001. Stankovic reiterated that Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja have been, and will remain, an integral part of the territory of Serbia. Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin asked on Wednesday what it would take for the prosecution to react to the manifestation celebrating a terrorist and a proven killer. In addition, according to a press release, our country did not undertake in any agreement the obligation of celebrating and marking the memory of the killed terrorists and a dissolved, defeated organization. “I do not know what it will take for the prosecution to react, but at last we have to show that the celebration of the killings of Serbs in Serbia is simply not allowed,” concluded Vulin.


War crimes prosecutor says his report on region mainly negative (N1)


Chief prosecutor at the Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals Serge Brammertz told N1 on Wednesday that his report on the level of cooperation between the countries of the region and the tribunal is mainly negative. He will address the UN Security Council in mid-July to say that the situation in the region is deteriorating but that he believes there is room for improvement. Brammertz said that there is progress in terms of greater numbers of prosecutors dealing with war crimes cases but added that he is concerned because state officials have been glorifying convicted war criminals in every country in the region. He said he does not see progress in terms of reconciliation. When I was in Sarajevo I saw them use three different history textbooks depending on whether there are more Serbs, Croats or Bosniaks in the school. If there is no common understanding of the past and there is refusal to look at the past how can you agree on a common future, he said. He warned that the current generation of politicians, including some who have experienced the war is leaving the new generations a burden because they are not being truthful about the past. That is dangerous and has to be dealt with, Brammertz said.




Dodik: Sarajevo politicians do not accept Serbs as constituent people (Srna/N1)


A Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik says the Council of Ministers (CoM) not being formed in B&H eight months after the elections is the biggest issue, so is the message by Sarajevo politicians who do not accept Serbs as a constituent people, nor their political will expressed in the elections. “Sarajevo politicians are getting rid of the Serbs from the political system of B&H as they do not respect the will of the Serbs expressed in the elections, and they do not allow Croats the same, who are fighting for their constitutionality,” Dodik, who is also the B&H Presidency chairman, told N1. He emphasized that the CoM, which was supposed to be replaced long time ago, was only politically damaging B&H because, as he said, it was an unprecedented practice that one man /Denis Zvizdic/ was the chair of both legislative and executive authorities and that the same ministers were in the Parliament. “This is another setup in B&H. We agree on one thing, which also applies to B&H’s membership in the EU as a priority, and then something else is done. The candidate status would bring new dynamics to B&H and I cannot believe that those who are advocating for B&H refuse it,” said Dodik, who is the SNSD leader. According to Dodik, Croats and Serbs could have formed the executive power at the B&H level in December, but Bosniaks prevented it. According to him, B&H Presidency members’ visit to Brussels was also futile because the two other members of the Presidency /Zeljko Komsic and Sefik Dzaferovic/ acted fraudulently and charlatan-like towards the key EU leaders and the B&H citizens. Dodik, who is also the SNSD leader, said that the meeting about the formation of the Council of Ministers has not yet been scheduled with SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic, while the talks on this subject are regular with the HDZ leader Dragan Covic. When it comes to the leader of the Union for a Better Future of B&H, Fahrudin Radoncic, Dodik says that Radoncic’s practicing of politics and possible contribution to the stabilization of political situation in B&H is not disputed, but the intent of his media Dnevni Avaz is to “demonize” the political opponents. Dodik says he does not feel responsible for the political crisis in B&H, saying he regularly checks his political credibility in the elections, as he and the party he heads convincingly win with the highest number of votes.


Covic and Dodik meet in Mostar (FTV)


Chairman of the B&H Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik paid a visit to Mostar on Wednesday. Dodik met with HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic in the headquarters of HDZ B&H in Mostar. According to statements that Dodik and Covic made before the meeting, it will be difficult to come to formation of the authorities. Namely, Dodik said that no steps forward towards formation of the authorities have been made, because of the Bosniak parties. Covic previously spoke with SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic, on Tuesday, and reiterated HDZ B&H’s stance that this party accepts partnership with the parties that it can work on amending the Election Law of B&H with. Addressing media after the meeting, Dodik and Covic confirmed that they agree that formation of the authorities is now up to SDA and its leader Izetbegovic. Dodik and Covic concluded that the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) should be urgently formed, and that wasting time in this regard causes delays on the EU path of B&H, as well.


Dodik meets Ivantsov: Formation of B&H CoM more uncertain than ever (ATV)


Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik met Russian Ambassador to B&H Petr Ivantsov in Istocno Sarajevo on Wednesday. Dodik told Ivantsov that the formation of the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) is more uncertain than ever. Dodik and Ivantsov discussed the current political situation in B&H and the relations between Republika Srpska (RS), B&H and Russia. Dodik said that the economic cooperation between the RS and Russia is at a very high level and they intent to improve it further. Dodik and Ivantsov also discussed the construction of the gas pipeline Turkish Stream’ and its section from Bijeljina to Banja Luka. This will be one of the topics discussed during Dodik’s visit to Sankt Petersburg. Dodik said on Wednesday that it would be useful for the representatives of the Federation of B&H to talk to Russian representatives about the gas pipeline in order to increase the gas supply in the entire B&H.


Everything ready for meeting between Dodik and Putin (ATV)


Speaker of the RS parliament Nedeljko Cubrilovic met members of the Committee for International State Affairs of the Russian Duma in Moscow on Wednesday. Cubrilovic confirmed for ATV that everything is ready for the meeting between Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin in Sankt Petersburg during the Economic Forum which will take place in June. Cubrilovic said that preparations for this meeting are being finished in Moscow, everything is defined and it is very likely that the meeting will happen. Reporter stated that it is still unknown what the topics of discussion of the two leaders will be. One certain topic will be the connection of the RS to the gas pipeline ‘TurkStream’. Cubrilovic stated that all meetings that took place in Moscow in the past two days are the consequence of good relations between Dodik and Putin, who paved the path of this cooperation. He added that they did not sign any agreements in Moscow, but announced that another meeting will take place in Banja Luka soon and concrete agreements on cooperation will be signed then. The relations between BiH, the RS and Russia were discussed, as well as the modalities of cooperation between the parliaments of the RS and Russia. Chairwoman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko said that Russia is interested in the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) and development of cooperation between Russia and RS.


Dodik ends communication with Komsic (TV1)


The verbal conflict between colleagues in the B&H Presidency continues. The Chairman of B&H Presidency, Milorad Dodik, told on Wednesday that he and Zeljko Komsic, his Croat colleague who recently sued him over a speech, are “done” both on a political and on a personal level. Dodik said on Wednesday that Komsic, is irrelevant and politically marginal. Dodik stressed that he is ending his communication with Komsic after Komsic filed a criminal report against him. According to Dodik, “Komsic plays his game and this belongs to people who are politically marginal. We are done personally and we have nothing to do politically. I will certainly support things that are in the interest of the people I represent. I cannot choose B&H Presidency members,” Dodik stated. Croat member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic responded to B&H Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik’s announcement that he is ending communication with him, saying that “he was not aware that he started something with Dodik.” Komsic said that Dodik is trying in a very rude and violent way to impose himself as an arbitrator in things that are a matter of the B&H judiciary. “That is unacceptable because B&H Presidency member cannot allow himself to adjudicate in accordance with his political stances.” As for the criminal report, Komsic said that Dodik has the right to be angry, but that he should primarily be angry at himself. Komsic stressed that he did not encourage Dodik to do or say what he was doing and saying, advising Dodik to calm his nerves down “because that is better both for him and for those he is representing.”


Tegeltija denies any involvement in illicit activities Extraordinary session of HJPC scheduled for Thursday (FTV)


The High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) of B&H has been shaken by an affair related to corruption allegations of magazine Zurnal against HJPC President Milan Tegeltija. Namely, Zurnal reported that Tegeltija received bribe, through mediation of inspector of the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) of B&H Marko Pandza from Banja Luka, in exchange for speeding up work on the case of entrepreneur Nermin Alesevic. According to Zurnal, Alesevic gave bribe in the amount of 1,000 € to Pandza, who then delivered the money to Tegeltija, so that work on the case of the Sarajevo Canton (SC) Prosecutor’s Office related to Alesevic, at the time when Dalida Burzic was the SC Chief Prosecutor, would be accelerated. In a media statement, Burzic dismissed her involvement and emphasized that she heard of Alesevic only when he sent her a cake. The Prosecutor’s Office of B&H has formed a case to investigate the allegations. The Office of the Disciplinary Counsel with the HJPC issued a statement to FTV, which reads that the allegations of Zurnal do not fall under the field of disciplinary responsibility. Tegeltija scheduled an extraordinary session of the HJPC for Thursday in order to clarify whether or not he took the bribe. In a press statement, Tegeltija denied the allegations that were presented against him. Tegeltija noted that Alesevic complained to him about “groundlessly long delays” in the case in question, but emphasized that he explained to Alesevic that he as the HJPC President cannot interfere in the prosecutorial case. Tegeltija added that he told Alesevic “in front of witnesses” to submit a written complaint to the HJPC so that adequate measures could be undertaken.  OSCE calls for a thorough investigation, while BIRN warn that the citizens of B&H are losing confidence in state institutions due to corruption in prosecution and the judiciary. Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik expressed his support to Tegeltija. “Mr. Tegeltija entered the HJPC with a high ambition to try to introduce order. Like everyone who comes there with such ambition, he ended up with facing accusations, which I believe are false”, Dodik underlined. Still, Dodik once again criticized the HJPC of being “unconstitutional”, saying that “a group of people” in the HJPC cannot appoint all judges and prosecutors in B&H. The B&H Presidency Chairman also expressed his support to HJPC Vice-President Ruzica Jukic, who presented serious accusations that the US Embassy to B&H interfered in work of judiciary when its representatives held a meeting with judges Branko Peric and Goran Nezirevic, and prosecutor Tomislav Ljubic instead of with the HJPC leadership.


HDZ Campaign turns from European to national(istic) issues (Hina)


Speaking at a Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) rally on the campaign trail in Split on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister and party leader Andrej Plenkovic said that members of the HDZ party were the greatest sovereigntists. In his speech, Plenkovic underscored that President Franjo Tudjman, the HDZ and the Croatian people accomplished the Croatian sovereignty in 1990, 1991, 1992 and during the 1991-1995 Homeland Defence War. He said that the present-day Croatia had been created by Democrat Christians who honored Christian values. During the rally which the HDZ held in the second biggest Croatian city ahead of the 26 May elections for the European Parliament, Plenkovic said that HDZ was aware of the Christian values and Christian roots. “It is essential given that in the 1950s Democratic-Christian politicians from the family of the European People’s Party (EPP) made Europe the greatest peace and development project such as it is nowadays.” He warned that some of the candidates vying for the EP elections are people who would like to dismantle the European project and who believe that someone else would build Peljesac Bridge, roads, railways and reconstruct airports, or build an LNG terminal.

Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic said the EP elections would be actually choosing between those who carry out development projects and those who give false promises. The top candidate of the HDZ slate, Karlo Ressler, said that people should not be deluded by those who offered bleak prospects.


Pupovac: We mustn’t settle only for EU membership (Hina)


The leader of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) and its top candidate for the European Parliament, Milorad Pupovac, said at the main campaign rally in Glina on Wednesday that Croatia must not settle only for EU membership but success which, as a member state, it would generate for its citizens and for Europe, underlining that the Serb people in Croatia needed success. He said the people of the Banija region needed success too so they could say that “after years of failure and suffering, with their votes, they can achieve success for Serbs in Croatia and for Croatia.” “We want a civilized Croatia, a Croatia in which the voice of intolerance won’t dominate, a Croatia in which no voices which spread the message of fear or hatred will dominate. Croatia will then resemble the country it was before joining the European Union, a country of Croatian and European ideals,” said Pupovac. Serbs in Croatia see the EU as a success project which depends on how much each member state puts into that project, he added. Non-party candidate from slate 24 Dejan Jovic said the candidates on the slate advocated a united and increasingly strong Europe. “Our wish is for Europe to spread to all those countries which wish to become EU member states. We don’t want any solid walls between the countries in the EU and those outside, and we believe that’s in the interest of Croatia, the Western Balkans and the EU,” he said.


Moscow: Conviction over the terrorism attempt might worsen Montenegro-Russia (CDM)


Conviction over the alleged coup attempt in Montenegro made on 16 October 2016 is a proof that Montenegrin justice system is definitely politicized and subject to the manipulations from the outside, said the Department for Information and Press of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs while pointing out that it will additionally worsen Russia-Montenegro relations.

“Once again, we categorically deny taking part in the incriminating attempts to organize illegal actions and we find such accusations completely groundless. The court’s decision is the element of the conjuncture internal political struggle, whose objective is the elimination of the opponents of the current government”, reads the response of the Department for Information and Press of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Zaev: In a few days we will see if I can dismiss DUI officials (Republika)


Prime Minister Zoran Zaev commented Wednesday on DUI’s Grubi statement that the request for vetting has nothing to do with the announced purge, and said that the truth will eventually be known. Asked if he could dismiss officials from DUI, he said: Let’s wait a few more days and see what happens. He said he didn’t want to comment on the government reshuffle. On Tuesday, Zaev met with Ali Ahmeti, but specific names were not indicated. Meanwhile daily reports, citing party sources, that the President Stevo Pendarovski appointment of Erol Musliu as director of the Intelligence Agency is considered a strong “slap in the face” for DUI. According to the newspaper, Musliu was mentioned in 2011 as a potential candidate for director, when Gjorge Ivanov was president, but DUI strongly reacted to that, deeming him as an inadequate candidate. But now Ivanov is no longer a president and obviously, DUI’s influence in the presidency is much weaker.


Xhaferi given a map of Greater Albania during a TV show in Kosovo (Republika)


Parliament speaker Talat Xhaferi was given a map of Greater Albania while attending a TV show in Kosovo. The promotional video for Xhaferi’s appearance shows him meeting a man wearing the Albanian skullcap who hands him a map of Greater Albania. Among Albanian nationalists, Greater Albania is the goal of uniting Albania, Kosovo with territories from Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece and Serbia into one state. Xhaferi was an officer in the Yugoslav national army, joining the Macedonian army after the collapse of Yugoslavia, but in 2001 deserted to the terrorist UCK/NLA organization which fought for the establishment of a greater Albanian state in the Balkans.




Two Migrants Found Dead In Tanker Truck In Serbia (RFE/RL, 23 May 2019)


Serbian authorities said two migrants died and two others were in serious condition after hiding in a tanker truck near the border with Hungary. The men were discovered on May 21 in northern Serbia when the truck driver opened the tank and saw them lying unconscious. Hospital officials in Novi Sad told RFE/RL’s Balkan Service that the migrants suffered heatstroke and suffocation. One died on May 22 and the other died overnight. The two others are in intensive care. According to the Serbian Interior Ministry, at least two of the migrants were from Afghanistan.

Thousands of migrants fleeing war and poverty have been moving through the Balkans in a bid to reach wealthy nations in the West. But up to 4,000 remain stranded in Serbia after the EU closed the so-called Balkan route in 2016.

With reporting by AP

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