Brnabic: I will not apologize, I said the truth about the ‘people from the forest’ (RTS)
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) that she would call the leadership in Pristina as people from the army had they not been members of a terrorist group. “I don’t know how to call these people and for everybody to understand with whom we are dealing. It is extremely difficult, and it turned out almost impossible, to negotiate with these people. They themselves are saying that if they don’t achieve for Serbia to recognize Kosovo that they will return to the forest,” said Brnabic. She says she is angry with the EU and US for forcing her as a woman to sit with people responsible for the worst things. We are trying to lower the tensions for the sake of the future, she said. We are looking for every opportunity for dialogue and compromise, she said. Asked what she expects from the announced meeting in Paris at the beginning of July, she said that if France organizes it ‘we will be there’. She notes the Belgrade delegation will be in Paris, because it wants to lower tensions and try to make space for dialogue, but assessed that the interests of the leaders in Pristina are not peace, stability, rule of law. She says she doesn’t know where the story on delineation came from when nobody on the other side is speaking about compromise, nor anything else but recognition of independence of Kosovo and Metohija. She assessed that the leaders in Pristina were trying to obstruct the dialogue and succeeded in this, primarily with the taxes. “They are trying for the provocations to be more frequent. With the latest operation in northern Kosovo and Metohija they demonstrated arrogance and cruelty. Unfortunately, the reaction of the international community, the EU, people with diplomatic passports, has been mild, there is no reaction to the idea of unification with Albania, but the greatest concern is the systemic campaign against the Serbs in northern Kosovo and Metohija,” said Brnabic.
Vucic thanks Russia for condemnation of police operation in Kosovo (Beta)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic thanked Russia for condemning the Kosovo police operation in northern Kosovo. In a talk with Russian Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin in Belgrade, Vucic expressed gratitude for support and timely and resolute condemnation of the repeat raid by the Kosovo special police and the brutal apprehension of Serbs, whose purpose was the intimidation of the Serb people in Kosovo. According to a press release issued by the president’s office, Vucic thanked Volodin for Russia’s strong and consistent support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia and efforts to resolve the Kosovo issue peacefully and diplomatically, through dialogue. On the topic of problems in the dialog with Pristina, Vucic said that Pristina had not met a single condition of the Brussels Agreement — to form the Community of Serb Municipalities.
Volodin: Police raid in Kosovo’s north is a provocative act (Beta/Politika)
The Russian Duma speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, said during a visit to Belgrade that a “raid” by the Kosovo special police in the north of Kosovo was “a provocative act” designed to intimidate the Serbs and take control of the area by force. Volodin underlined that the Serbian people could count on Russian support in the future, as well. “The Organization of the United Nations should voice its view. It is their determination and concrete steps that not only authority but also peace in the Balkans depend on,” the Russian speaker said before the Serbian parliament. He said that “a lack of clear reaction by the EU to Pristina’s provocation raises doubts as to the Union’s ability to mediate the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.” Volodin underlined that it’s necessary to respect the UNSCR 1244. “Double standards and interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state have become a normal thing to do for some countries…We find it intolerable. It is necessary to resist it if we want to protect our people, our country, its sovereignty, and independence,” the Russian speaker maintained. Mentioning Libya and Iraq as two examples, Volodin said that “the problem is that the principles of international law have been forgotten, and a U.N. solution ignored, in a bid to create a unipolar world.”
Gojkovic: UNMIK presence in Kosovo under the same mandate is vital (RTS/Beta)
Serbian parliament speaker Maja Gojkovic met with the speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Vyacheslav Volodin, and the two heads of parliament opened the fourth session of the Serbian parliament – Russian State Duma Cooperation Commission. “Serbia is resolved to continue to consistently and adamantly uphold the fundamental principles of international relations, responsibly develop cooperation across the board with all of our friends, among which the Russian Federation takes pride of place, as well as interested partners. I would like to stress that, in the interest of international peace, stability and security, the Republic of Serbia stands for the principled and consistent application of international law which we see as a defense against one-mindedness and chaos, and the tenet of free and equal cooperation on the international scene, without the use of sanctions as an instrument of coercion. To that end, I would like to stress that the Republic of Serbia has not nor will it ever impose sanctions against the Russian Federation and people,” said Gojkovic. She thanked the Russian Federation for its unswerving principled support in the matter of Kosovo and Metohija. “The Russian Federation’s support in finding a sustainable and mutually acceptable solution in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue is immeasurably important to Serbia. The Russian people are aware both of the principles we stand for and the reality of the world in which we fight for these principles”, said Gojkovic, thanking Russia for its support in opposing the self-declared state of Kosovo’s attempts to join UNESCO, INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization and other international organizations. Gojkovic said that Serbia keeps pointing out that the unreduced presence of UNMIK with an unchanged mandate as guarantor of the status neutrality of the international presence in Kosovo and Metohija is vital for the security and building of trust between the communities in Kosovo-Metohija. “On the other hand, we have to regretfully note that there has been no progress from the other side as regards the establishment of Community of Serb Municipalities. We would like to warn of the unacceptability of Pristina’s unilateral acts, especially the formation of the so-called Kosovo army contrary to UNSCR 1244, regional arrangements and the Brussels Agreement and the imposition of 100% taxes on goods from Belgrade i.e. violation of CEFTA. The recent adoption of the so-called genocide resolution is one more of Pristina’s unilateral moves which blocks the dialogue and continues to divert attention from the real crimes committed by Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija, especially in the Special Court for War Crimes. I would also like to inform you that the so-called Kosovo Assembly had passed a Dialogue Platform for the, purportedly, final, inclusive and legally binding agreement for the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina which proves that Pristina does not want to continue the dialogue with Belgrade.” Gojkovic said that the recent violent incursion of Pristina’s special forces into the northern municipalities of Kosovo and Metohija when, it would seem not at all by accident, they savagely beat with the butts of their rifles UNMIK member, Russian national Mikhail Krasnoshchekov, confirms that Pristina, with the support of its mentors, will not drop its intention to use brutal scare tactics to force the Serbian population to leave its century-old hearths for good. She added that “What is especially worrying is the reaction or rather lack of by the only people with the actual authority in Kosovo and Metohija to maintain the security and safety on its territory”. Volodin said that the session of the Commission contributes to the strengthening of the two countries’ strategic partnership, grounded in friendship, egalitarian dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation. He reminded Gojkovic of the series of bilateral agreements signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Serbia which had contributed to the development of cooperation in the fields of industry, digital technology, nuclear energy and agriculture. Volodin agreed with Speaker Gojkovic about the singular importance of the joint energy project. He said that Russia and Serbia’s stance of international affairs has always been fairly similar, including the defense of Serbia’s legitimate interests in the matter of Kosovo a nd Metohija, stressing that it can only be resolved through dialogue and respecting Resolution 1244. He said that modern challenges and threats call for new defense architecture on the Eurasian territories and opined that the parliamentarians’ active participation in the 141st IPU Assembly in Belgrade is a good place to seek a solution to the burning global issues.
Dacic: Respect the situation in the field (O2)
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic stated that it was impossible to find an adequate resolution to the Kosovo issue except to “respect the situation in the field”. “It is impossible to find an adequate solution to the Kosovo matter apart from respecting the situation in the field – whatever one holds, that should be one’s. In that case, the north of Kosovo cannot fall under the sovereignty of Pristina and that is the end”, Dacic said for O2 TV. The matter of Kosovo would be swiftly resolved if the international community was in agreement on this, but this is about “a
geo-strategic game which does not depend only on the standpoints of Belgrade and Pristina”, he said. “If the international community agrees that the issue of Kosovo should be closed, it would soon be resolved, but there is disagreement, not between the West and Russia and China, but rather between the European countries and the US,” Dacic said.
Lajcak: OSCE closely monitoring situation in Kosovo; Vucic: Important that OSCE maintains neutral approach (Beta/RTS)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with Slovak Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman-in-Office Miroslav Lajcak to discuss bilateral relations, the situation in Kosovo, regional issues and Serbia’s EU accession, the Office of the President reported. Vucic thanked Slovakia for resisting pressure, and persevering in its firm decision not to recognize the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo. The President underlined that it was very important for Serbia that the OSCE was maintaining a neutral approach to Kosovo’s status, especially in the
Mission’s field work. “The Western Balkans are the focus of Slovakia’s OSCE chairmanship, and we’ve been watching the situation in Kosovo and Metohija very carefully,” the Slovak Minister said. Lajcak also met with Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, promising that Slovakia, as a friendly state, would continue to assist and support Serbia on its path to the European Union, adding that the future of Serbia and the region was in the EU. The Serbian government quoted Lajcak as saying that the stability and progress of Serbia and the region were tied closely to a compromise to be reached with Pristina. Having underlined that there was no alternative to dialogue, Minister Lajcak underlined that it was necessary that Pristina revoke its taxes to overcome the current situation, and continue the dialogue.
Dacic: Dialogue is reanimated (Beta/Tanjug/RTS/Novosti)
At a joint press conference with the Slovak Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Miroslav Lajcak, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said that Kosovo Albanians are determined to keep on obstructing the dialogue, and in effect finding a solution, because he estimates that it would not be in their interest. “The dialogue is being reanimated…. Whether that will succeed depends on the reanimators, on the success of the people who should be breathing new life into the dialogue,” he said. According to Dacic, everyone wants to bring the US into the dialogue but without Russia. It’s clear what this is about. He said the purpose of the upcoming conference of Western Balkan and European leaders in Paris was to make Pristina to revoke a 100-percent taxes. “A dialogue is possible only after Pristina does so,” Dacic said at a press conference. Dacic said that it’s unclear what may happen in the coming period, underlining that Serbia was prepared to sit at the negotiating table after Pristina revokes the taxes. The Slovakian Foreign Minister refused to speculate as to what may happen in Paris, but said that any opportunity for talks is a good one.
Mustafa: National Albanian Council to be financed by Albania (Beta)
The Albanian government has adopted a proposal by foreign minister Gent Cakaj to take on the obligation of regularly financing the Albanian National Council in Serbia, while the sum will be determined also based on a proposal from the Council, the president of the body, Ragmi Mustafa, has said. Mustafa told Beta that the Law on National Councils enables other forms of financing in addition to the state’s, such as grants from different sources, which are usually from the minority’s homeland. He said that the body was not functioning at full speed, after a 40 percent drop in state funding, caused by a boycott of a 2011 census by the Albanian population of Bujanovac, Presevo and Medvedja, and the fact that estimates of the number of people in these municipalities in 2015 have not been considered.
Cvijanovic accuses SDA of arbitrariness and attempts to use political blockades in order to push SNSD away from B&H authorities, claims that SDA uses connections with foreign factor to maintain standstill in B&H (RTRS)
Republika Srpska (RS) President Zeljka Cvijanovic asked to comment on the formation of the authorities at Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) level, said that failure to form the authorities at B&H level affects functioning of both entities, namely because certain agreements require ratification or consent from B&H. Cvijanovic warned that failure to form the authorities is detrimental to B&H’s reputation because outgoing convocation of the Council of Ministers of B&H (B&H CoM) refuses to accept new obligations but also because outgoing ministers lack legitimacy, credibility and synchronization with entity authorities. She stressed that the formation of the authorities was singled out as the main priority by everyone, including the EU officials, and focus is on the formation of the CoM but the formation of the Federation of B&H authorities is very important as well. She argued that conditions regarding the appointment of the CoM Chairman-designate and B&H’s path to join NATO are a part of “political game” which is coordinated by political Sarajevo with the purpose of securing more time. She accused SDA and its partners of arbitrariness and attempts to use political blockades in order to push SNSD away from the authorities of B&H. She claims that SDA deems SNSD unfit to take over the authorities and processes at B&H level and SDA uses its connections with “certain people within what we like to refer to as foreign factor” to unjustifiably hold everything in B&H in a standstill. She pointed to blockades and delays of certain projects, agreements and arrangements which would bring benefits to B&H and its citizens, saying: “Therefore, political topics are dominant here but we must not forget that political topics, besides political narrative, are always in the background of economic, financial and every other type of arrangement that are set to take place”. She underlined that B&H authorities should have been formed by now but the RS and its authorities are managing to resume normal life despite lack of interaction with the level of B&H. Cvijanovic said that the activation of the Membership Action Plan (MAP) is just an excuse for one of the sides involved in the formation of the authorities to set what seems to be unacceptable conditions, all in an effort to maintain standstill and keep SNSD away from the authorities. She claims that SDA would have found some other reason or issue to continue its political game and delay the formation of the authorities. She condemned SDA for demanding from SNSD to respect the Law on Defense of B&H while ignoring legal deadlines for the formation of the authorities as set by the Law on Elections of B&H and the Law on B&H CoM. She stressed that the RS insists on democratic principles which allow the institutions to voice their opinion, especially those directly elected by the voters such as the RS parliament. She pointed out that B&H will fail to make any progress in case ongoing standstill continues until next general elections or SDA tries to form the authorities with the opposition parties from the RS but such scenario would lead to even better election results for SNSD. She added that she is not sure if any law or initiative would be adopted in the parliament of B&H in case SNSD is excluded from the ruling coalition. Asked to comment on the issue of Kosovo, Cvijanovic said that Kosovo officials rejecting possibility of the formation of Serb community in Kosovo similar to the RS in B&H simply confirmed the fact that the RS has good concept and constitutional protection for its position. She criticized the international community for mild response to every unconstitutional activity of Kosovo authorities. She noted that the RS authorities are constantly working on protection and development of the RS but Kosovo remains “serious element of instability” for entire region.
Colak: Croats will insist on amendments to Law on Elections of B&H (Vecernji list)
Delegate in the Croat Caucus of the House of Peoples of the B&H parliament Barisa Colak (HDZ B&H) asked about the planned amendments to the Law on Elections of B&H that the Croat People’s Assembly (HNS) proposed, said that they can offer more proposals, but all of them will contain the most important thing for the Croat people – legitimate representation of the three constituent peoples. “That is the whole point. Of course, we need a collocutor for that. The problem is not in solutions, the problem is in the participants who finally need to accept the solutions that are equal for all… If we fail to resolve the issue of the Law on Elections this year, which is something we should not even think about, next year we will face a critical moment,” said Colak and pointed out the need to hold the local elections in Mostar. He added it is first necessary to form the state-level authority and then focus on amending the Law on Elections in all the segments, including implementation of the decision of the Constitutional Court of B&H in the ‘Ljubic’ case. Colak underlined once again that the HNS and HDZ B&H are willing to discuss all other proposals, but under a condition that they include legitimate political representation of the constituent peoples. However, he went on to say, Croats are aware that they cannot make the change alone, and they need partners to do that. Asked about the crisis caused by failure to form the authorities after the elections, he said that this issue can be resolved with some political will.
B&H HJPC Disciplinary Council rejects disciplinary complaint against B&H HJPC President Milan Tegeltija (ATV)
The Disciplinary Commission of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of B&H (HJPC) rejected the disciplinary complaint against B&H HJPC President Milan Tegeltija which was filed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel four days ago. Furthermore, the Disciplinary Commission also rejected the request for Tegeltija’s suspension. The Disciplinary Commission also rejected the request for Tegeltija’s suspension. Namely, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel requested temporary suspension of Tegeltija from his post, until completion of a disciplinary procedure related to his meeting with businessman Nermin Alesevic, who allegedly bribed Tegeltija through mediation of inspector of the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) of B&H Marko Pandza. B&H Minister of Security Dragan Mektic deems the first-instance decision of the Disciplinary Commission as criminal, stressing that everything was staged, i.e. planned, and that this is an indicator that nothing is functioning in the judicial system in B&H.
Crnadak meets Palmer, discusses authority formation in B&H (Oslobodjenje)
B&H Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer on Tuesday in Washington. The main topic of the meeting was the situation in RS and B&H, with focus on the process of authority formation. According to a press statement issued by the Foreign Ministry of B&H, Crnadak said that Palmer knows situation in B&H, and the US is clearly very interested in the progress of B&H and the region. “During his next visit to B&H, for the session of the Peace Implementation Council, Palmer will also visit Banja Luka, and we agreed to continue our talks then,” said Crnadak.
Stoltenberg: NATO’s main priority is to help maintain peace and stability and to work with entire Balkan region (Al Jazeera Balkans)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that conflict in the Balkans could have extremely negative consequences for the entire Europe which is why it is in NATO’s interest to maintain peace and stability in the region. Asked how much the latest events in Kosovo are threatening peace and stability in the region, Stoltenberg said that there is concern that dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is not working anymore, adding that NATO strongly supports re-establishment of that dialogue. “We need a political solution. At the same time, KFOR is present; we are still there to protect all communities, all people in Kosovo, including Serbs, and to keep safe and secure the environment. Therefore, there is concern over the fact that the dialogue is not working and that we are seeing some incidents that have contributed to high tensions, but at the same time, I believe that it is absolutely possible to restart the dialogue and find a political solution,” Stoltenberg underlined. Stoltenberg added that NATO is closely monitoring the situation and that NATO believes that the decision to impose one hundred percent tariffs on goods from B&H and Serbia is not helpful. “It is actually making a difficult situation even more difficult,” Stoltenberg said. Asked how important it is for NATO for B&H to become a member of the Alliance, Stoltenberg said that NATO is a strong alliance without B&H. “But, we have stated that we are supportive of their aspirations to move closer to Euro-Atlantic integration and we have been ready to take the next step towards membership with the Annual National Program or plan. If they are willing to send that, we are willing to receive it and then start to work with them. But, at the end of the day, this is a decision that B&H needs to make on its own. NATO has never forced any country to join the Alliance. We have excellent friends and partners which decided not to become members of NATO,” Stoltenberg said, adding: “When it comes to B&H, it is their decision. If they decide that they want to join, then we sit down and see how we can help them move towards membership. If they decide that they do not want to join, it is a decision of B&H. NATO’s main message is that we respect the sovereign right of every nation to choose their own path.” Asked what is the significant of North Macedonia’s membership in NATO, Stoltenberg said that all 29 NATO member states highly value and welcome the fact that North Macedonia is very close to becoming a full member of NATO. “Partly because we see that this is really result of courage and political wisdom by this country, by their leaders and by the Government of Zoran Zaev that they were able to overcome historical disagreements and problems and move forward towards more stability, more peace and security in this region,” Stoltenberg stressed, adding that this can serve as an example for the rest of the region. “Yes, there are problems, there are disagreements, there have been wars and we have seen bad things happen in this region, but at some stage we need to not forget about the past, but overcome the past, overcome the difficulties and disagreements and then move on and create more peace, more stability and work together,” Stoltenberg underlined. Asked what is NATO’s main priority in the Balkans, Stoltenberg said that NATO’s main priority is to help maintain peace and stability and to work with the entire Balkan region to the benefit of the region, but also to the benefit of NATO.
Stoltenberg: We are ready to welcome you into the NATO family (Nezavisen vesnik)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised North Macedonia’s journey towards European and transatlantic integration during a visit to Skopje on Monday (3 June 2019), saying: “NATO membership will bring greater security and prosperity for all the people of North Macedonia.” At a press conference with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Mr. Stoltenberg also highlighted that foreign investment in North Macedonia has increased over threefold in the last year, saying “security is the foundation of prosperity”. Mr. Stoltenberg praised the courage and determination shown by both Skopje and Athens to resolve the country’s name issue through the historic Prespa Agreement. He said he looked forward to welcoming North Macedonia as the thirtieth member of the Alliance: “Throughout NATO’s history, our open-door policy has been a success, strengthening our Alliance and contributing to Euro-Atlantic security. You will soon be part of that success.” He urged the country to continue reforms, including on rule of law, security and intelligence, and in the defense sector, saying “Continuing the pace of reforms is important, as you prepare for full membership. We will continue to support you on this path.”
Meta meeting Lajcak (Radio Tirana)
Albanian President Ilir Meta received the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Miroslav Lajcak. Meta praised the attention of the Slovak Presidency to the Western Balkans region and the support of the Albanian candidacy for the leadership of the Organization during the year 2020. “In this undertaking, Albania will rely on the expertise of the OSCE Secretariat and partner countries, ensuring continuity of priorities with the previous presidencies, including Slovakia,” said Meta. The head of state also encouraged the strengthening of bilateral relations between Albania and Slovakia, including a greater cooperation within the Visegrad Group. Focusing on the OSCE’s Albanian Presidency for next year, President Meta stressed that this is a very big responsibility that requires a very serious commitment, considering the impact it has on the image of the country. “It is imperative that, during the OSCE Presidency, Albania should reflect the genuine values of democracy, rule of law and respect for fundamental freedoms, appropriately embodying the image of the Organization,” Meta said. In this context, the Head of State highlighted the necessity of urgent resolution of the deep constitutional, institutional, political crisis in the country, through reflection and dialogue.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES
Moscow seeks justice for Russian diplomat beaten up in brutal Kosovo attack (TASS, 5 June 2019)
MOSCOW, Russia will press for punishing all those responsible for beating up Russian national Mikhail Krasnoshchekov, a staffer of the UN mission in Kosovo, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Wednesday. “The arrest and beating of a Russian citizen, UN staffer who enjoys diplomatic immunity, testifies to a climate of utter lawlessness in the territory, absolute defiance of international law and rules of civilized international contacts. Russia will keep a close watch on progress in the investigation of this incident and press for the punishment of all those responsible along the whole chain of command,” she said.
President al-Assad receives Patriarch Irinej of Serbia (SANA, 3 June 2019)
Damascus – President Bashar al-Assad on Monday received Patriarch Irinej of Serbia and the accompanying delegation in the presence of Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All East John X Yazigi. President al-Assad stressed that what Syria and Serbia have been exposed to in terms of foreign interference attempts to undermine their sovereignty and undermine their social fabric, and the two countries’ peoples steadfastness in the face of such attempts, constitutes solid basis for building popular dialogue and cooperation that establishes groundwork for a long-term relationship that serves the interests of both peoples. For his part, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia voiced confidence in Syria’s ability to emerge from the conditions it is going through and reclaim its historical role as an effective state in establishing stability and spreading peace and love in the region. He stressed that the Syrian people’ s determination and insistence to remain united in the face terrorism which he has witnessed during his visit has strengthened this confidence. The Patriarch highly appreciated President al-Assad’s principled and strong stances in support of Serbia and Kosovo. President al-Assad in turn expressed pride in the profound humanitarian stances of Patriarch Irinej to promote the values of love and reject extremism.
Gh. A. Hassoun / Hazem Sabbagh