Vucic: Merkel mentioned no plan, dismisses White House criticism (Tanjug)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Tuesday Serbia was not in an easy position concerning Kosovo-Metohija and that it needed dialogue to resume as soon as possible, but noted that he did not know what was to be discussed with someone who had imposed non-civilizational taxes in the 21st century. When asked about German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s alleged plan for solving the Kosovo issue, Vucic said he had not seen such a plan. “I cannot comment on something I do not know. I have spoken on the phone with Chancellor Merkel, but she did not tell me anything. She did not mention any plan,” Vucic told reporters in Lucani, central Serbia.
Vucic said the Kosovo and Metohija situation was very complicated and that not many people were willing to understand this. “On a daily basis, we are making all efforts to maintain stability and to be able to maintain it and guarantee safety to our people across Kosovo and Metohija,” he said. Vucic also dismissed the criticisms coming from Washington concerning the inappropriate
rhetoric of Belgrade and Pristina, stating that he personally “had not made a single extremist statement in the last five years”. Vucic told reporters in Lucani that he would like if from the White House they would point out what statement by Serbian officials had been extremist.
“In the past five years, you cannot find anything on me. The journalists once caught me when I swore quietly when we were at Cacak, during the floods, and that was the only time where they could have caught me being indecent,” Vucic said.
Palmer meets Serbia’s opposition leaders in Belgrade, no comments afterwards (Beta/N1)
A part of Serbia’s opposition met with Matthew Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary at US Department of State – Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs on Tuesday, but the leaders of the Alliance for Serbia (SzS) refused to comment on the meeting, the Beta news agency reported.
Palmer also did not give any statement. Earlier on Tuesday, Vuk Jeremic, the head of the Popular Party, a part of SzS, told N1 morning program the meeting was scheduled with “the real opposition,” alluding on a few parties that are not a part of the ruling coalition but are consider to be close to it. “Those who are the real opposition have become a legitimate interlocutor to the international community and that’s why we have the meeting with Palmer today as those who believe that the institutions should be ignored and elections boycotted unless the circumstances change,” Jeremic said.
KFOR Commander: Kosovo is a state that differs greatly from the one it was 20 years ago (Beta)
Twenty years after international peacekeepers entered Kosovo, the Kosovo Force (KFOR)
commander, Major General Lorenzo D’Addario, said on June 11 that the feeling of despair and fear that ruled at the time was replaced with 20 years of peace and progress. At a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of KFOR’s entry to Kosovo, D’Addario said that KFOR
had ensured security for everyone, creating conditions for political and social life to continue,
working together with other international organizations and missions. “As a result, Kosovo is a state that differs greatly from the one it was 20 years ago. Kosovo has had 20 years of peace and progress,” the KFOR Commander said, adding that there was much more yet to be done, and that reconciliation with the past required courage for a compromise. Admiral James Foggo, the commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples, said that KFOR was the Alliance’s largest operation in Europe, which remained a guarantor of peaceful environment and freedom of movement for all communities.
Obradovic: Parliament boycott to continue (FoNet)
Dveri leader Bosko Obradovic said on Wednesday that the opposition would continue its boycott of parliament until it receives guarantees that the situation in parliament will be normalized, the media freed and conditions secured for fair elections. “We don’t want to take part in reality programs,” Obradovic told the media in the lobby of parliament. He said that the authorities should turn the promises they made following criticism in the latest European Commission report on Serbia into deeds.
Ninamedia poll: 89 percent of citizens against NATO membership (Beta)
As many as 89 percent of citizens do not support Serbia’s accession to NATO, but most of
the interviewed didn’t know that not a single NATO member had a war in its territory, showed a poll by the Ninamedia agency, carried out within the Atlantic Council of Serbia’s project titled Euro-Atlantic Integration in the Eyes of Serbian Media. The US Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott said at the presentation of the poll on June 11, in Novi Sad, that he was not surprised by the results, because the citizens of Serbia had not forgotten NATO’s military intervention. He added it was important that journalism was based on facts, but that some media in Serbia “simply do not want to” publish positive reports on the Alliance. Norwegian Ambassador Arne Bjornstad said that the Alliance should face the challenges, and change the negative image it had in Serbia. The Ambassador also said that it was necessary to promote the advantages of NATO membership. Milivoje Mihajlovic, a journalist, said that a completely negative portrait of NATO dominated the tabloids, and that it was better 12 years ago. “Since the end of 2007, the phrase ‘Euro-Atlantic integration’ has been shortened to ‘European integration,’ which is a clear signal of the state leadership’s policy,” Mihajlovic explained.
Macron in Serbia on 15 and 16 July (Politika)
French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Serbia on 15 and 16 July as Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s guest, Politika learns. The fact that Macron will pay a two-day visit shows a desire by official Paris to confirm and continue strengthening the good relations, including increasingly developed economic cooperation and annual exchange that reaches one billion Euros. A special honor for Serbia is that the French President is coming to Belgrade right after the main national holiday on 14 July – Bastille Day. All this points to the fact that Paris wants to significantly activate its presence in Serbia and the region, while Belgrade is an unavoidable stop on this path. The meeting between the Presidents of Serbia and France will be an opportunity for improving bilateral relations, but also for reaching greater understanding on a whole range of issues, including Kosovo as the most important among them.
Police of one entity is not entitled to cross into territory of another without consent (Srna)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik said that, according to the B&H Constitution, the police forces of one entity are not entitled to cross into the territory of another, without the consent of that entity. Commenting on the announced formation of the police reserve force of the Federation of B&H, Dodik told that it was right thing to do if they believed there was a need for such force in order to increase security, stressing that Republika Srpska (RS) assessed that the police reserve force was needed. “We wish them luck, we will not challenge anything as we do not interfere with their things as they are constantly trying to interfere with ours,” Dodik said. He says an agreement to deploy the federal police or some other police forces to the territory of RS is required, stressing that such an agreement would not do. “If one believes that RS Police need to be engaged to guard the border, because they are incompetent and inert, then the RS Police will do it and we do not need any help,” Dodik stressed. He said that the barracks in RS were RS assets, not the B&H Armed Forces’. “Of course, they can have their own insignia, but the ones RS has will have to remain there,” Dodik said. Asked whether the B&H Armed Forces informed him of the intention to mark all military locations and barracks in B&H with identical insignia, Dodik said they did not and noted the military barracks in RS would remain the same.
Dodik: B&H AF will not be deployed at border with Serbia and Montenegro (N1)
At the request of Croat member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic, an emergency session of the B&H Presidency dedicated to the migrant crisis in B&H was held Tuesday, but it failed to yield results. Namely, the B&H Presidency members failed to support any of the conclusions of which three were key – to deploy members of the B&H Armed Forces (AF) at the border with Serbia and Montenegro, to allow Frontex to protect the border with Croatia, i.e. with the EU and for the entire B&H to carry the burden of the migrant crisis. Dodik voiced opposition to all three abovementioned conclusions, stressing that the B&H Armed Forces (AF) will not be deployed at the border with Serbia and Montenegro. Dodik stressed that he asked for such a measure a year ago, but that “they said that this is impossible and that this does not fall under the jurisdiction of the B&H AF.” Dodik added that he, as the Serb member of the B&H Presidency, cannot accept deployment of the AF at the border with Serbia and Montenegro. Komsic, on the other hand, said that Dodik does not want a solution to the migrant crisis, calling on Dodik to think things over until the next regular session of the B&H Presidency. Komsic stressed that one should constantly remind of the fact that it was precisely Dodik who proposed deployment of the B&H AF members to the border, adding that he hopes Dodik will again change his mind to the benefit of citizens of B&H and solving of this burning issue. Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic said that the B&H AF members who would be deployed at the border would not carry weapons and that they would only assist the B&H Border Police. “The B&H AF can have other tasks in all of that and for the entity structures to take part under the supervision of the B&H Border Police, to technically equip the B&H Border Police and to protect the border,” Dzaferovic said. Dodik stressed that the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) should be blamed the most for the situation regarding the migrant crisis in B&H, stressing that the B&H CoM is acting sterile and it failed to do anything to alleviate the crisis. Meanwhile, B&H CoM Chairman Denis Zvizdic stressed that there are requests, especially from the RS, to increase control of the eastern border. “But, when we send and prepare an agreement to send an additional number of police officers there, this is being disputed. One is asking for management of the migrant crisis, but in accordance with the system that all migrants are accommodated only on the territory of the Federation of B&H. Those are paradoxical requests and we as the B&H CoM will not agree with that,” Zvizdic underlined.
Dodik congratulates Putin on Russia Day (Srna)
Chairman and Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik sent greetings to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the fraternal people of the Russian Federation on the occasion of the Russian Day. “I am using this opportunity to reiterate my commitment to working together on strengthening friendly relations between our peoples in all fields. The Russian and Serb peoples are connected via traditional friendship, deep cultural and spiritual ties that we have been promoting thanks to you,” Dodik said in his greetings. With the sincere desire for further prosperity of the Russian Federation, Dodik expressed his deep respect for the president of the Russian Federation, announced the Office of chairman and Serb member of the B&H Presidency.
Ivantsov: Russia does not accept interference into internal affairs of others (Srna)
Russian Ambassador to B&H Petr Ivantsov said that Russia categorically refused interference in other countries’ internal affairs, thus it was interested in a stable, prosperous and independent B&H. “Russia, as one of the guarantors of the Dayton Peace Agreement, sees its task in promoting strict adherence to the standards and principles of the Dayton Accords in accordance with the guaranteed equality of the two entities and three constituent peoples,” Ivantsov said. In his address at the reception over the Russia Day, which was held at the Europe Hotel in Sarajevo, he pointed out that Russia firmly held those positions with no intend of changing it. “Local stakeholders must resolve independently all issues of vital interest for B&H through dialogue in accordance with the procedures defined in Dayton. The imposition of these or other international recipes will not lead to the finding of sustainable compromises as it has been repeatedly shown,” Ivantsov said. He stressed that Russia systematically developed cooperation with B&H in all sectors including education and culture, adding that Russia was among the largest foreign investors and foreign trade partners. Ivantsov stressed that bilateral cultural and humanitarian exchanges were progressing. He added that the audience was greatly interested in the performances of cultural and artistic ensembles from Russia, as well as the exhibitions and shows of Russian film in the RS and the Federation of B&H. “We are pleased with the fact that young people study Russian language more actively and use the available opportunities for free education at the leading Russian universities,” Ivantsov said. He said that Russian educational institutions provided 63 state scholarships this year, while nine professors from B&H would be staying this summer in Russia to improve skills in teaching Russian language. “Our common goal is a strong, safe and powerful Russia, open to partnership and cooperation with the entire world based on equality and mutual respect,” Ivantsov concluded. The reception was attended by Dodik, RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic, Deputy Chairman of the House of Peoples Nebojsa Radmanovic, deputy to the House of Peoples Dusanka Majkic, His Eminence Metropolitan Hrizostom of Dabar-Bosnia, the leaders of the SDS Vukota Govedarica and the PDP Branislav Borenovic, and numerous representatives of diplomatic, political and religious circles.
Czech Minister Petricek visits Sarajevo and holds meetings with members of B&H Presidency (BHT1)
Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomas Petricek paid an official visit to Sarajevo on Tuesday. Petricek met with members of the B&H Presidency, Chairman of the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) Denis Zvizdic (SDA), Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Crnadak (PDP), RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic (SNSD) respectively. It was concluded that in the coming period economy and business will be one of the priorities of bilateral cooperation. It was underlined that the Czech Republic is to take over the leadership of the Visegrad Group as of this year in light of which Petricek said that B&H will remain one of the priorities as well as in 2020 when they take the leadership of the EU. He said that B&H remains one of the priority countries when it comes to about 50 projects, approximately worth 3 million Euros per year.
Cerovic: SPC wants a ‘Greater Serbia’, plans mayhem (CDM)
A statement of the President of Montenegro and leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists, Milo Djukanovic, that the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, CPC, is going to restore its independence, has drawn numerous reactions. It seems that the leading Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) bishop in Montenegro, Metropolitan Amfilohije, was greatly surprised by this statement, especially having in mind that President Djukanovic, according to him, has been declaring himself as an atheist. The Montenegrin Orthodox Church top cleric, Metropolitan Mihailo,
on the other hand, welcomes Djukanovic’s statement. He claims Djukanovic earlier advocated for the independence of CPC, but times were different and it wasn’t convenient to mention it.
Commenting on the current events, a publicist and writer, Rajko Cerovic, in an interview with CDM tells he has several clear messages – the CPC must regain its independence, this kind of historical injustice must be corrected, and that the State won’t tolerate the fact that the SPC wants to form great Serbia in Montenegro. Cerovic also claims that the state wasn’t ready for this action for a long time, but decided to take the necessary steps as it has had enough of the SPC. He made a point of being clear about one thing – if Montenegro wants to survive as the state, it mustn’t allow such status of SPC in Montenegro. “It’s about an obstructive institution that ever since 1918 has been doing whatever it wants to do. It is ruining the Montenegrin temples and trying to modify everything,” Cerovic was adamant.
Vucic is calling a meeting with his people in Montenegro (CDM)
President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, says he’s not pleased with the circumstances of Serbian people in Montenegro. Therefore, he says that in the coming days he is going to meet with ‘his’ people from Montenegro. This announcement comes after the Montenegrin government had adopted the Proposal Law on the Freedom of Religion and particularly after president of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, said that the independence of Montenegrin Orthodox Church had to be renewed. This statement has brought on near hysteria and Vucic intervened.
Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral wants to oppose to the amendments to the Law on Freedom of Religion during the convocation on the Holy Trinity Day. The entire story has turned into a political story as Democratic Front interfered. Judging by the common practice, Vucic’s people DF leaders and President of the Serbian National Council in Montenegro, Momcilo Vuksanovic. He said that Belgrade would try to help Serbian people in Montenegro without meddling into the internal affairs of the state. Meeting with “his” people pretty much sounds like meddling. Together with his people, Vucic is going to come up with a message for official Montenegro which is going to be passed on Holy Trinity Day. Momcilo Vuksanovic asked Vucic in a letter to engage all his state capacity in order to protect Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbian national identity in Montenegro. Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral has invited the clergy and believers to defend the faith and our sanctuary objects and all the dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church as they are being endangered by the provisions of the Proposal Law on Freedom of Religion, recently adopted by the government of Montenegro.
Debates in North Macedonia over early elections (Nezavisen vesnik)
By the end of this week, Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev will decide whether to reshuffle the governing cabinet or announce early elections. This will all depend on the meeting that PM Zoran Zaev will hold with German chancellor Angela Merkel where he will be informed on the position of the German government regarding the date of the opening of accession talks. “If no date for the accession negotiations is given this summer, then all options are open, including early general elections,” Zaev warned. Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani has also signaled important developments. “In Thursday, along with PM Zaev we will be meeting chancellor Merkel in Berlin where we will learn what will happen in July and in October,” Osmani said. On the other hand, the opposition says that a caretaker government must be formed in order to hold fresh elections. The leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Hristijan Mickoski says that his party will win the next elections. “I’m convinced that we will win the next elections. We will form a new government and Macedonia’s EU integration will then be a sure thing,” Mickoski declared last night in a televised interview. The Albanian opposition also says that it’s ready to head to early elections following the numerous failures of the current government with regards to reforms.
Boycott of the census – a disaster for the state (Nezavisen vesnik)
Due to a trivial reason, the draft law on the population census, families and households has suddenly disappeared from the parliamentary procedure, where it entered Friday under a European flag. The European Affairs Committee, according to its President Artan Grubi, failed to provide a representative of the EU Mission, nor did it invite representatives of the diplomatic corps and other guests, bearing in mind that aside from the draft census law, the EC report is also on the agenda. “We scheduled the committee session on Friday afternoon, but the EC’s report is also on the agenda, so due to the short preparation period we failed to secure a representative from the EU Mission, nor invite the diplomatic corps, non-governmental organizations and other guests,” cites Grubi without stating when the committee session will be held. The parliament’s website does reveal a new date for holding the committee session. SDSM MPs say that the session was postponed by President Grubi without any explanation.
Opposition accuses of yet another betrayal
VMRO-DPMNE threatened to boycott the census, if the envisaged solutions for enumeration of those who are absent from the country remain in the draft law for longer than one year. According to VMRO-DPMNE, the provision according to which the data for persons who are temporarily working or staying abroad can be provided by an adult who knows them by giving their own personal identification number and personal identification number of the person for whom they provide data in the census is disputable. According to the party, the law was drafted without consulting, and by placing the European flag the government tries to pass a legal text in a fast-track parliamentary procedure, without a public debate during which the views of the opposition and the citizens would be shared. SDSM Spokesperson Kostadin Kostadinov says it is extremely important to conduct the census in the country, which, as he says, has not been conducted for years due to political calculations by the then ruling VMRO-DPMNE. “I expect that all political subjects will understand the essence and need of the population census. I also expect from VMRO-DPMNE to encourage and give up its intentions to boycott, there is a way in the framework of the Parliament, within negotiation groups and within the parties where it can be discussed, and finally a make a decision which will be in the interest of the citizens,” said Kostadinov. The boycott of the census must not happen, said the director of the State Statistical Office Atanas Simovski. He also explained that the reason for the withdrawal of the draft law was not party disagreements, but rather that there wasn’t a representative of the EU, because the law is marked with a European flag. “A possible boycott will be a disaster, not for our institution, not for the census, but for the state,” said Simovski. Final preparations for the trial census are underway. On Wednesday, the enumerators will have their training, and already on Friday they will be out on field work in a total of 13 municipalities.
Diaspora to be enumerated on a separate list
The expert public is baffled by the latest political calculations for a statistical operation that needs to answer several key questions – how many people live in Macedonia, how these people are living, what are their real social, economic, regional problems, so that the appropriate policies are applied in the future. With the census, which will cost the country 522.751.000 Denars (nearly nine million euros), data on geographical, demographic, economic, educational, migration, and ethnic-cultural characteristics will be provided against the idea of the State Statistical Office to have no ethnic count, which sparked fierce controversy in the public.
One of the changes in the draft law is that the census will cover all those who live abroad longer than one year. “The Social and Economic Council of the United Nations along with Eurostat provide recommendations that must be respected. International standards say that those that are over 12 months abroad should not be included in the total population number of the country. There will be a separate graph for them. This group of people enters the total population of the country where they live and work. This also applies to foreigners who have been staying in the country for more than a year. They are included in the total population number here,” explains the former director of the Statistical Office, Doncho Gerasimovski. He does not see anything disputable about the fact that a close member of the family will be able to provide information about the person who is currently abroad, nor the fact that the emigrants will be allowed to self-enumerate in the period between 1 March and 21 April 2020 on a separate application, which is available on the website of the State Statistical Office. “The envisaged census will be implemented with the so-called combined method, something that has not been a practice so far, and used to be a practice in other countries. This method involves simultaneous field inventory with that classic method, a ‘face to face’ interview, but also use of data from registers, or databases. In the census application, the database of dozens of institutions, starting from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Pension Disability Fund, the Health Fund, the Employment Agency, the Public Revenue Office will be intersect and checked. It is it is not as if anyone can be easily registered. This is a whole system for managing the database. If it is determined that they have no activity in the country for a longer period of time, they will be registered, but on a separate list, for people who live and work abroad,” said Gerasimovski. What is particularly important is that according to the proposed legal solution, the Statistical Office is now the only competent authority for carrying out the statistical operation. It was not like that in 2011. The political body was responsible for the so-called census committee composed of 25 members. That’s why the process ended as it ended – infamously, with the termination of the operation. On the eve of the census, resignations by the members of the census committee were flying all over the place. First Vice President Abdulmenah Bexheti resigned, followed by President Vesna Janeva. Bexheti said in a statement for Nezavisen vesnik that the ethnicity question was the reason why the census was not realized. Disagreements among the members of the then census committee also came up over the different interpretation of Article 6 of the Census Act regarding the enumeration of citizens living abroad for more than one year. The law stipulated that citizens living abroad for less than 12 months should be enumerated, while members of the committee that were of Turkish and Albanian nationality were in a position with the census to include all those living abroad for more than one year, as is the case with the new draft law. The Special Public Prosecutor’s Office, due to the controversial interruption, opened a case against the leaders of the then ruling VMRO-DPMNE and DUI, Nikola Gruevski and Ali Ahmeti, for suspected misuse of their powers. According to the prosecutor Fatime Fetai, on 10 and 11 October 2011, the suspects agreed to stop the census, causing damage of 175 million Denars.
The Statistics Office denies fake news about the census
Regarding the information in the media about the withdrawal of the draft text of the law on the census of the population, households and apartments in the Republic of North Macedonia in 2020 and the reasons for the withdrawal, the State Statistical Office strongly denies the fake news over the interpretation of certain articles of the law. “The public debate on the draft text of the census law began in mid-2018, with the public familiar with the draft text through a number of interviews in the media and a wide debate organized by the Office, which included the civil sector and the research centers, academia and the media. After this phase, the draft text of the Law was posted on the ENER site and was made available for comments, notes and suggestions. It should be noted that no objection was received,” the SSO said. Regarding the compliance with the standards, all standards and recommendations of the United Nations and Eurostat were strictly respected at all stages of the preparation of the draft census law, and the complete operation is already, and will stay under constant monitoring by Eurostat. “Regarding why the draft law is marked with a European flag, we would like to remind that for several years in the report of the European Commission, in chapter 18 – statistics, one of the main benchmarks is the implementation of a census on population, households and apartments and the preparation of this statistical action are backed up by the IPA programs – 2015 and 2017. The State Statistical Office, as before, is available for explanations regarding the census activity and the provisions of the law, and strongly opposes the spreading misinformation regarding this extremely important statistical operation for the country as a whole, and for each individual separately,” said the SSO.
President Meta in a press conference: I invite the parties to understand the indispensability of dialogue and finding solutions (Radio Tirana)
Albanian President Ilir Meta has come to another press conference one day after the Socialists started the procedures for his dismissal. The decision of the head of state came as a result of his decision to cancel the June 30 local elections. In this extraordinary conference, the head of state stated that he has not violated the constitution and that the annulment of the elections has been done with full responsibility. “With high responsibility on June 8 before the protest, I made the decision to abrogate the decree on elections. The decision was taken with full responsibility based on facts and information that on 8 June there could be instability for the lives of citizens and the Constitutional order. Since the announcement of the decision, I have unfortunately noticed some different reactions that the President has violated the Constitution. I’m forced to stand in front of you for those who have wrongly read the text. The constitution from Article 1 and until the end does not specify the deadline for conducting the elections, and it does not say that elections should be held on the 30th of this month, but it is determined by the Electoral Code. I assure the citizens that the elections will be held at a later date and within a timely manner in line with the constitution. I call on the parties to seriously read the constitution, to use this space to find an excuse for the inclusion of all Albanians in the elections. I am ready to make important decisions in the country’s interest and the constitutional spirit. I invite the parties to understand the indispensability of dialogue and finding solutions,” Meta said.
Juncker believes Albanians should vote (ADN)
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama was received on Tuesday by the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on his official visit to Brussels. At a joint press conference with Rama, EC President Juncker requested that EU member states acknowledge Albania’s merit in the reform progress. “Albania is ready for the next step, so we have asked the Council to open the accession talks. There are some obstacles to overcome. Albanian authorities have met the requirements. If we ask a country to do this or that and it does, we should not say ‘no’ to aspirations. I am in favor of opening negotiations with Albania,” Juncker said, while noting that it is no secret that some countries are skeptical. “I have assured the Prime Minister that I will defend every statement of our report. Work does not stop in June. Despite the decision of the EU Council, Albania should continue with reforms. Given the importance of political unity to achieve the goals of a nation, such as Albania, all parties must engage in democratic institutions,” he added. Regarding the issue of local elections, Juncker said the election must be held, otherwise it can affect the country’s European perspective. “I don’t want to interfere with this election process. I have shared my views. Elections must take place. Citizens should vote for their convictions, but we will not interfere with this process. Elections should be held, and if not, this can affect Albania’s European perspective,” he stated. Rama said “it is time for Europe to do what we expect, to recognize our merits and to give the green light for opening accession negotiations”. He stressed that Albania does not require anything more or less than it deserves.
Kocijancic: Parliament is legitimate, Albanians should be guaranteed the right to vote (Radio Tirana)
Maja Kocijancic made a statement about the developments in Albania. European Commission spokeswoman writes: “We are following the developments. This is an issue that the Albanian institutions should treat in line with the existing legislation and jurisprudence, in full respect of constitutional and democratic principles. As already stated, we consider that the decision to renounce parliamentary mandates and not to participate in local elections seriously hinders the functioning of democracy in Albania. This was a deliberate choice of opposition parties. Representatives of the opposition have been replaced in parliament, which functions. It is now essential to uphold the constitutional right of Albanian citizens to vote in local elections and to ensure the continuity of local government. We repeat our call from all sides to urgently engage in a constructive dialogue to overcome the current political situation”.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES
Kosovo decorates Bill Clinton with a ‘freedom medal’ (AFP, 11 June 2019)
Kosovo decorated former US president Bill Clinton with an “Order of Freedom” medal on Tuesday in gratitude for his support for the former Serbian province as it cleaved away from Belgrade 20 years ago this week. As president, Clinton ordered US troops to join the 1999 NATO intervention that ultimately ousted Serb forces from Kosovo, where they had been battling ethnic Albanian rebels. The move has made him a hero in Pristina, where he landed Tuesday ahead of the 20th anniversary of June 12 — the day when NATO troops entered Kosovo and the war was over. In a ceremony broadcast on TV, a smiling Clinton was handed the medal by President Hashim Thaci. “No prize can award your contribution, the highest decoration you can receive is the freedom of Kosovo itself,” Thaci told Clinton. The US president said he would “always be proud” of his contribution. “I happened to be president of the United States when you needed someone to stand up and say no more ethnic cleansing, no more running people out of their homes, no more killing innocent civilians. There’s gotta be another way,” he said. The former Democrat leader added that despite a “very contentious political environment in America, you (Kosovo’s independence) seem to be one of the things that all Americans agree on”. Clinton, who already has a statue in Pristina and a street named after him, will deliver a public speech on Wednesday for the anniversary ceremony. Immediately after the war Kosovo was turned into a UN protectorate. A decade later it declared independence in 2008 with support from Washington and much of the West. Yet Serbia has never accepted its statehood and the former war foes continue to clash diplomatically, hampering Kosovo’s efforts at full global recognition.
Idolatry much? Kosovo honors Clinton, Albright on 1999 war anniversary (RT, by Nebojsa Malic, 11 June 2019)
Former US President Bill Clinton and top diplomat Madeleine Albright are among Western leaders flocking to Kosovo to receive honors by ethnic Albanian militants they backed in the 1999 NATO war against Yugoslavia.
Falsely claiming that Yugoslavia was committing “genocide” against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, NATO launched an air war in March that year, violating its own and the UN charter. Thousands of civilians perished, including ethnic Albanians the alliance claimed to be protecting, before an armistice was signed that allowed NATO to occupy the province as peacekeepers.
On Tuesday, Clinton arrived in Kosovo to receive honors from the ethnic Albanian authorities. He was presented with a medal by “President” Hashim Thaci, and a commemorative postage stamp bearing his face. Clinton was welcomed to the stamp “club” by Representative Eliot Engel (D-New York), current chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee and another outspoken supporter of the ethnic Albanian cause. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was also on hand, praised by Clinton’s spokesman as someone who “played a vital role in ending conflict and bringing peace in Kosovo.” Albright was widely credited as being the main driving force behind the 1999 NATO attack on Yugoslavia, approvingly dubbed “Madeleine’s war” by some US media outlets. She is also supposed to be honored by a statue in one of Pristina’s squares already named in her honor. According to local media, the monument was commissioned last month and estimated to cost €19,788 – approximately $22,500. The ceremony is scheduled for June 12, the date on which NATO troops entered Kosovo as peacekeepers, following the 78-day war on behalf of the “Kosovo Liberation Army” (KLA) militants that sought to separate the province from Serbia and Yugoslavia. The ethnic Albanian militants, led by Thaci, eventually declared independence and were swiftly recognized by the US and most of its allies. About half the UN refuses to recognize Kosovo, however, including Russia, India, China – and Serbia itself. UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which authorized the NATO presence in Kosovo, also declared the province a sovereign territory of Serbia. The US and its allies have systematically ignored much of the resolution’s provisions, however, turning a blind eye to widespread acts of terrorism, ethnic cleansing and abuse directed at the province’s non-Albanian residents, which culminated in the March 2004 pogrom of Serbs across Kosovo. Other participants in the 1999 war have also expressed pride in their “achievement” recently, including NATO supreme commander at the time, General Wesley Clark, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. This week’s celebrations are hardly the first instance of outright idolatry displayed by ethnic Albanians towards their NATO sponsors, whether in Kosovo or in Albania proper. A six-foot statue of Clinton was erected in 2009 on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina. President George W. Bush, who led the recognized of “independent” Kosovo, was rewarded with a 9-foot statue in the Albanian town of Fushe Kruje in 2011. More recently, the city of Sarande in Albania unveiled a bust of Hillary Clinton in June 2016, anticipating her victory in the upcoming US presidential election.