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Belgrade Media Report 14 July 2019

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Monday 15 July 2019

• Ministry of Defense: General Bandic walked out of meeting over misuse by Pristina (Tanjug)
• Faster flow of people, goods between Serbia, North Macedonia (Tanjug)
• Kolakovic: France, Macron seeking to boost presence in Serbia (Tanjug)
• Doutry: Macron visit to renew French presence in Serbia, region (Tanjug)


Bosnia & Herzegovina
• Dodik: OHR and international community supporting Bosniak side (Srna)
• Dodik visits HDZ B&H HQ in Mostar (TV1)
• Tuzla Canton Assembly gets new leadership (BHT1/Hayat)
• Grabar-Kitarovic admits that Croatia is pushing migrants back into B&H (Avaz)
• B&H delegation to attend meeting on migrant crisis in Brussels (Avaz)
• Slovenia and B&H register growing number of illegal migrants (HRT1)
• SPC is trying to turn believers into supporters of the national interests of Serbia (TVCG)
Republic of North Macedonia
• New US Ambassador Kate Byrnes presents her credentials to Pendarovski (Republika)
• CEC member refutes Bardhi’s accusations of forged ballot papers (ADN)
• Vasili accuses ruling majority of destroying free elections (ADN)
• DP states Albania is most corrupt country in Balkans (ADN)
• RP leader meets US officials (ADN)


• Serbia Reiterates Principled Position about Venezuela (Prensa Latina)

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Ministry of Defense: General Bandic walked out of meeting over misuse by Pristina (Tanjug)


The Serbian Ministry of Defense on Friday said General Predrag Bandic, who was heading a Serbian delegation at a Brussels meeting on normalization of air traffic in the Balkans, had lodged a stern protest and walked out of the meeting after representatives of the Pristina provisional institutions attempted to promote independence of the so-called “Kosovo” and its non-existent institutions. The Pristina delegation misused its attendance at the meeting, the ministry said. The Ministry said there had been a condition that the Pristina delegation members must be designated by name and surname only, in particular considering the meeting had been organized by NATO, an organization that does not recognize the so-called “Kosovo”. Although there was no plan for him to address the meeting, the head of the Pristina delegation was given permission to speak, after which he attempted to promote independence of the so-called “Kosovo”, instead of speaking about the topic of the meeting, the ministry said. General Bandic lodged a stern protest over this and the Serbian delegation left the meeting, which ended shortly afterwards, it said.


Faster flow of people, goods between Serbia, North Macedonia (Tanjug)


Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic and Minister of the Interior of North Macedonia Oliver Spasovski signed on Friday in Belgrade an agreement on the establishment of joint controls at the Presevo-Tabanovci border crossing, which will enable faster flow of passengers and goods. The initiative for signing the Agreement last year came from Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev, and now it received a formal framework. Stefanovic stressed that this agreement will allow citizens of Serbia and North Macedonia, but also all those who transit through the territory of our states, to reach their destinations more efficiently, faster and more economically. He stressed that this will help the faster development of the economy of our countries, and added that the working groups of the interior ministries of the two countries will continue to work on considering locations where new border crossings can be opened.


Kolakovic: France, Macron seeking to boost presence in Serbia (Tanjug)


France is seeking to strengthen its presence in Serbia and the region, Aleksandra Kolakovic from the Belgrade Institute of Political Studies has said ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Serbia on Monday and Tuesday. The visit has a political, economic and cultural significance, she said. The fact Macron has decided to come to Serbia in the year that marks 180 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries and visit the Monument of Gratitude to France and the Cemetery of the Liberators of Belgrade is also significant, Kolakovic told Tanjug. “That indicates a desire of the president and the administration of France to honor the Great War and the most glorious period of French-Serbian ties, in which the idea of eternal friendship and brotherhood in arms emerged,” she said. Besides economic cooperation and the signature of over 20 economic agreements, Kolakovic expects Kosovo and Metohija to be one of the major topics of Macron’s visit. Macron is very committed to a continuation of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue despite the fact that France recognizes Kosovo, she said.


Doutry: Macron visit to renew French presence in Serbia, region (Tanjug)


The message of French President Emmanuel Macron‘s upcoming visit to Serbia will be that Paris wants to renew its presence in Serbia and the region and rebuild the Serbian-French friendship, says Marion Doutry, the Belgrade correspondent of the Paris daily La Croix.

Macron’s visit is a good opportunity to renew the relations between the two countries, which have become “somewhat distant” lately, she said in a statement to Tanjug. When asked if Macron might also bring messages concerning Kosovo, Doutry said she was unsure Macron was willing to get into an adventure on slippery ground and make “grand statements” about Kosovo. “He will definitely say the Kosovo issue should be solved by Belgrade and Pristina and that EU member states will mediate and back dialogue,” she added. Germany has slightly withdrawn from the Balkans – where it has been the main international stakeholder – opening up space for France and other countries to consider the possibility of boosting their significance in the region, she also said.




Dodik: OHR and international community supporting Bosniak side (Srna)


Milorad Dodik, the Chairman and Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency, stated Friday the OHR and international community in B&H have always been anti-Serb motivated, one-sided and supportive of one story and one side, primarily the Bosniak-Muslim one. Commenting on the OHR’s stance that the High Representative would not attend a commemoration for Serb victims until genocide in Srebrenica was no longer negated and until people stopped speaking against B&H, Dodik pointed out that such OHR’s stance was not a new thing from Kallay until Inzko, who belong to the same state and the same ideology. “Serbs have always been expected to demonize and punish themselves, and if possible, to accuse and banish themselves from these parts,” Dodik told the press in the Konjic village of Borci where a newly-renovated church of Sts Peter and Paul the Apostles was consecrated on Friday. The story about genocide has not been proved which is why people are now forbidden to think, said Dodik, even though, he added, that same West always talked about the freedom of thought. “There are many examples which do not confirm the claim of genocide. We demand a joint international commission whose seat does not have to be in Banja Luka, or in B&H for that matter. Let it be in Brussels. Let them create a story about suffering which will be objective, instead of having it done by political courts,” suggested Dodik. The High Representative to B&H and other representatives of the international community are one-sided and anti-Serb motivated, he said. “That can be seen from the talk of how RS has to be degraded, the rights of Serbs and Croats reduced and the central role boosted. No such thing will happen; that time is long gone and that will never happen,” emphasized Dodik. He asked how could Inzko not be ashamed to say there were little Serbs here, when his ancestors killed 40% of Serbs on two occasions here. “And he says there are little of us here? This proves what kind of characters they are. Our people lay in graves in Susnjar, Jasenovac, Prebilovci,” said Dodik.  The Church of Sts Peter and Paul the Apostles has been renovated in memory of Sts Peter and Paul the Apostles and in memory of little boys Petar and Pavle Golubovic, who were killed together with their parents in 1992 in Konjic, and according to Dodik, the suffering of the boys is a proper example and proof of the suffering on the basis of an ideology of hatred, which was the official Bosniak policy at the time. “Is the suffering of Bosniaks any different from the suffering of these two boys? If I had the power, I would bring back to life all innocent children, whether they be Serbs, Croats or Bosniaks,” said Dodik. Dodik submitted that the Federation of B&H treated Serb returnees terribly. “Things are not like that in RS. Let them find an example where Bosniak returnees have no power or water supply,” Dodik said. According to him, the population that suffered the most in B&H in the 1990s war and after it were Serbs in the territory of the present-day Federation of B&H, from Sarajevo to other places. Dodik gave an example of Bihac, which in the 1960s had 55% of Serbs, while today it only has around 30, and also Drvar where some 5,000 Serbs are totally ignored by the Federation authorities, and those people would have all moved out had they not received help from RS. “RS respects every Bosniak, Croat and everyone else who lives in its territory and we have reconstructed many villages,” noted Dodik. Commenting on the current state of political affairs in B&H, Dodik suggested nothing was functioning in this country. “The parliament is not working, the Council of Ministers does not exist, so why would there be any budget,” asked Dodik.


Dodik visits HDZ B&H HQ in Mostar (TV1)


Media outlets caught the unannounced visit of Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik to Mostar on Friday, where he visited HDZ B&H’s Headquarters (HQ). According to TV1’s information, Dodik spent around 15 minutes in the building before continuing his trip to Trebinje. In a brief statement, issued by HDZ B&H, it was stated that HDZ B&H’s top officials and Dodik discussed formation of the state authorities and current political situation in B&H.


Tuzla Canton Assembly gets new leadership (BHT1/Hayat)


The Tuzla Canton Assembly got new leadership on Friday during the fourth continuation of its inaugural session. BHT1 stressed that this marked the end of the rule of PDA. Proposal for the new leadership of Tuzla Canton Assembly was supported by representatives of SDA, SBB B&H, DF, SB&H, one representative of PDA and two representatives of SDP B&H. Tuzla Canton Government was removed immediately at the first extraordinary session of the Tuzla Canton Assembly. The TC government led by Prime Minister Jakub Suljkanovic was removed at the session of the TC Assembly on Friday. The opposition objected the method of election of the Serb and Croat Caucuses’ representatives and SDP B&H announced it will file a motion with the Constitutional Court of the FB&H. SDP B&H representatives stated that the party will officially ask representatives in the TC Assembly Zarko Vujovic and Husein Tokic to return their mandates to SDP B&H because they won them owing to SDP B&H list of candidates. Vujovic was appointed to the post of speaker of the TC Assembly. He told media after the session that SDA will most likely nominate new TC Prime Minister as this party has parliamentary majority. Vujovic stressed that new TC government will be appointed within the legally set deadline, i.e. prior to 1 August.


Grabar-Kitarovic admits that Croatia is pushing migrants back into B&H (Avaz)


Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic admitted that Croatia was pushing migrants back to B&H, and helping them re-enter the country outside of regular border crossings. The daily reminded that Grabar-Kitarovic gave those statements in a “shocking interview” to Swiss TV station SRF, which has recently published a report on Croatian police officers’ violence against migrants and the ways migrants are being pushed back into B&H without anyone informing the country’s authorities about it. In a short statement to daily, Mayor of Bihac Suhret Fazlic said that he has warned competent institutions about this problem at the end of 2018 and again at the beginning of 2019. “I have written letters to the B&H Council of Ministers, the Border Police and ministries of security and foreign affairs, and informed them that I had personally witnessed police officers from Croatia entering the territory of B&H in woods near Lohovo, and bringing migrants. To date, I have not received any kind of response, nor has the state done anything to prevent this from happening. This practice has simply continued,” said Fazlic. He believes that Croatian police are not just sending back migrants who had entered Croatia from B&H. “I believe that they are bringing us migrants who have entered Croatia from Serbia, and I have already spoken about it, and they are even sending us migrants pushed back by Slovenia, although it is against international regulations and conventions dealing with the issue of illegal migrants,” concluded Fazlic.


B&H delegation to attend meeting on migrant crisis in Brussels (Avaz)


The B&H delegation with B&H Minister of Security Dragan Mektic, Director of the Border B&H Police Zoran Galic, Director of the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs Slobodan Ujic, Una-Sana Canton (USC) Prime Minister Mustada Ruznic, USC Minister of Interior Nermin Kljajic and USC Police Commissioner Mujo Koricic, as well as Bihac Mayor Suhret Fazlic, are going to attend a meeting with the representatives of the European Commission on Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels, in order to discuss the issue of migrant crisis in B&H. The daily learned that B&H delegation is not going to change its stance on the position of the migrants in Vucjak center and agree to return them to the center of Bihac. Also, they will request shutting down of the ‘Bira’ and Miral’ migrant centers, where there are currently more than 3,000 migrants. The EU previously announced it does not plan to finance the Vucjak migrant center due to its closeness to the Croatian border. According to daily’s source, the delegation will insist on determining another appropriate location for the center, one outside the city. However, the source stated there is a reason to fear B&H becoming the biggest migrant center in Europe. “If the EU intends to invest enormous amount of funds in a reception center, it means we can soon expect migrants from 18 centers in Serbia to start crossing porous B&H borders,” stated the source and noted it is unlikely many of them will cross airtight Croatian border.


Slovenia and B&H register growing number of illegal migrants (HRT1)


The Slovenian government plans to set additional 40 kilometers of a fence along the border with Croatia, in order to prevent migrants from crossing the border illegally. The Slovenian government explained that the number of illegal migrants has increased over the past two months. B&H has also registered a growing number of illegal migrants crossing the border, which is why the Una-Sana Canton (USC) authorities announced introducing of extraordinary measures in order to restrict the movement of migrants. USC Minister of Interior Nermin Kljajic noted that they are unsatisfied with the current management of migrants in the USC. He stressed that the USC cannot be a collective center for migrants in B&H. As many as 9,000 migrants have arrived in B&H since the beginning of the year. The EU has promised to allocate funds for accommodation and food, while B&H is accommodating migrants at the location of Vucjak near the Schengen border, which used to be a waste disposal site, the reporter noted.


SPC is trying to turn believers into supporters of the national interests of Serbia (TVCG)


The main inspiration for initiating discussion about church in Montenegro is the attempt to secure reconciliation. Saying that Serbs are going to be expelled are pure manipulations aimed at blurring the essence and shirking responsibility for profound division of the orthodox being in our country, said the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic in the TVCG show “Ziva istina” (Whole Truth). The President says that Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) is trying to turn believers into supporters of the national interests of Serbia.


Opened doors for everyone

Commenting on the letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Djukanovic says that the model for overcoming divisions lies in the formation of Orthodox Church of Montenegro which will contribute to further social cohesion of Montenegro. “I want to help get out of this situation and I count on the Metropolitanate and its clergy. They are welcome to be part of the solution”, said Djukanovic.


Autocephalous Montenegrin Orthodox Church existed

It was founded by the Montenegrin ruler Ivan Crnojevic and many historical documents can testify to its existence. “Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Montenegro has its history and tradition and it is Montenegro’s duty to start renewing Montenegrin Orthodox Church,” said Djukanovic.


Opponents of the renewal of the Montenegrin independence

Djukanovic says that many opposed to the renewal of Montenegrin independence. “Our country wasn’t renewed overnight. Montenegrin Orthodox Church won’t be renewed overnight. It is necessary to develop a good strategy and I already know what the outcome of this fight will be. Montenegro will have its autocephalous church,” said Djukanovic. As he says, important factor of divisions and discord in Montenegro is Serbian orthodox Church. “They are trying to turn believers into the supporters of the national interests of Serbia and they are doing so by destroying legal system of Montenegro and meddling into strategic commitments of Montenegrin state policy,” said Djukanovic. As far as the case of the church in Rumija is concerned, Djukanovic says that the country has shown great tolerance. However, in the future, it’s not going to be so. Legal system has to be obeyed. “Either somebody is a loyal citizen or a wrongdoer. Either in suits or in mantles, wrongdoers will finally end up wearing prison uniforms,” said Djukanovic. Any unlawful act will eventually be the subject of investigation.


Europe has to be responsible for its every corner

Talking about the EU course, Djukanovic reiterated that EU membership and European quality of life remained the most important objective of Montenegro.


Dialogue with the opposition

DPS leader said that the opposition refused to acknowledge the outcome of the elections held in 2016, even though they were obliged by agreement to do so. He said that his party was ready for the dialogue with the opposition over the solutions to some problems they see as limiting.

Djukanovic said he was proud of two dates – dates which have paved the European Montenegro.


New US Ambassador Kate Byrnes presents her credentials to Pendarovski (Republika)


Newly appointed US Ambassador to Macedonia Kate Byrnes handed her credentials to Stevo Pendarovski on Friday and also met with Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov. In her remarks, Byrnes said that she is looking forward to welcoming Macedonia as the next NATO member, and assured Pendarovski that the two countries will have stronger ties as formal allies. Byrnes said that the US has worked for over 25 years to integrate “North Macedonia” into the Western institutions and have it dedicated to democracy, individual freedoms and the rule of law. She welcomed the deployment of Macedonian soldiers on US led missions and the education exchange. Pendrovski agreed that Macedonia is committed to joining NATO and the EU and to supporting the US in its global war against terror. During her meeting with Minister Dimitrov, Byrnes was quoted as welcoming excellent progress made by “North Macedonia”, referring to the name change. The new Ambassador was deputy chief of mission in Athens as the Prespa treaty was pushed on both countries.


CEC member refutes Bardhi’s accusations of forged ballot papers (ADN)


The secretary general of the Democratic Party, Gazment Bardhi, issued a document that he said proves that the ballot papers arrived in customs checkpoints at 7:58 on 30 June, while the voting process had started. Meanwhile, member of the Central Election Commission, Bledar Skenderi, refuted Bardhi’s accusations with some other proofs. According to Skenderi, the documents indicate that Voting Ballots for Vau i Dejes were produced in Slovenia and crossed the border around 1:30 on June 30 and were distributed before 6:00. The CEC member also stated that next day will also publish the certification from the TIMS system as to when the car passed in the Hani i Hotit checkpoint. “The ballot papers have crossed the border at 1:30 on 30 June. Our employees have waited and delivered the them to the CEAZs. All voting centers were open at 7.00 am according to the provisions of the Electoral Code!,” said Skenderi.


Vasili accuses ruling majority of destroying free elections (ADN)


Vice-Chairman of Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI) Petrit Vasili accused this Sunday ruling majority of stealing public funds and of destroying free elections. Meanwhile, Vasili gave credit to the opposition for achieving its goal of demobilizing the ruling majority for links to crime and corruption, also the criminal purchase of votes as well as for their conversion to the conviction of all Albanians. In addition, he announced that immediate elections within the shortest limits, which the legal time allows for the conduct of inclusive elections, are inevitable, any delay is intolerable and destructive for the country, also that any delay or diversion would give time to the anti-state and anti-law to advance in a disastrous and incurable illness. Nevertheless, Vasili proclaimed that opposition has much greater responsibility than before, they are in charge of solving these critical moments, because Albanians have given this task to the opposition, which is ready to get Albanians out of the crisis, starting with elections as first decisive step. “The majority has been discredited as a criminalized robbers of billions of euros of public money, but also the destruction of free elections where 30 June was their peak. The opposition has already fulfilled all its objective of demobilizing the majority for links to crime and corruption and the criminal purchase of votes as well as for their conversion to the conviction of all Albanians. Immediate elections within the shortest limits, which the legal time allows for the conduct of inclusive elections, are inevitable. Any delay is intolerable and destructive for the country. Any delay or diversion would be time for antibody and anti-law to advance in a disastrous and unhealthy illness. The opposition today has much greater responsibility than yesterday, to guarantee a secure future for the future, which could not be undermined by the very serious consequences of today’s ruling Rama and rebirth. Only Immediate Elections will save the country today from the unprecedented difficulties of tomorrow. The country today demands a way out of the very dark tunnel of deep political, constitutional and social depression. They are in charge of solving these critical moments of the Albanians and the time they have charged the opposition. Opposition is ready to get Albanians out of the crisis, elections are the first decisive step others come after,” said Vasili.


DP states Albania is most corrupt country in Balkans (ADN)


Former MP of Democratic Party (DP) Jorida Tabaku declared this Saturday that Albania is the most corrupt country in the Balkans. Tabaku stated that this was caused by Prime Minister Edi Rama‘s government, adding that DP won’t retreat until Rama’s removal. “Albania has the most corrupt government in the Balkans. Albania suffers increased poverty and unemployment. The Economy is in a difficult situation because the country is not at all attractive for foreign investment! This is the conclusion of 3 consecutive reports these days by the Department of State, IMF and the EU over the country’s crisis,” said Tabaku.


RP leader meets US officials (ADN)


Republican Party leader Fatmir Mediu said he held a work meeting with attorney of US President Donald Trump, Rudi Guiliani, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and with former PM of Albania Sali Berisha. He said that the political crisis was the main topic of discussion, but also other issues of interest to our country. The leader of the PR continued accusations against Prime Minister Edi Rama, who according to him, is destroying the constitutional system only for personal interests. “Rama is leading Albania towards the destruction of the constitutional system and pluralism for his personal interests by building a narcotic state,” said Mediu.




Serbia Reiterates Principled Position about Venezuela (Prensa Latina, 12 July 2019)


Belgrade – Serbia has reiterated Friday its principled political position based on respect for international law, non-meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign states, and dialogue as a way to resolve conflicts. The first Vice President of the government and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ivica Dacic, expressed that firm position of Belgrade before the ambassadors of Argentina, Brazil and Canada, who reported on the common position in their actions regarding the crisis in Venezuela in the framework of the so-called Lima Group. Dacic stressed that his country understands the difficult situation that Venezuela is going through and, consequently, the neighboring states and praised the negotiations as a way to reach a lasting solution to the situation in that South American country, a statement from the press office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Dacic and the heads of mission of those three countries – Estanislao Angel Zawels, Eduardo Botelho Barbosa and Kati Csaba, respectively – considered the dialogue as constructive and friendly and expressed their willingness to continue communication in the future for the exchange of criteria.

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