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Belgrade Media Report 22 July 2019

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Monday 22 July 2019


• Vucic: No reason to rejoice, Haradinaj’s resignation politically motivated move (B92)
• No comments from EU regarding Haradinaj (Tanjug)
• Djuric: Chase after Serbs started after Vucic’s address (RTS)
• Spain will not change position regarding Kosovo and Metohija (RTS)
• Botsan-Harchenko delivered credentials to Vucic addressing him in Serbian (Tanjug/B92)
• How close our we to an agreement between Serbia and B&H on borders (Tanjug)
• Raskovic Ivic: Decision on boycott of elections should be made carefully (Blic/FoNet)
• Bosniaks expect Inzko to impose law on ban of genocide denial (Politika)
• Gojkovic slates elections for Medvedja Municipal Assembly for 8 September (RTV)


Bosnia & Herzegovina
• Supreme Court of Netherlands: The Netherlands partly responsible for death of 350 citizens of Srebrenica (BHT1)
• Dodik: If B&H is normal country, Croat, who is against Peljesac Bridge, would not be member of Presidency (Vecernji list)
• Komsic and Dzaferovic reacted to the decision of the RS parliament on the RS’ vital interest in regard to the construction of the Peljesac Bridge (BHT1)
• SDA Presidency holds session (TV1)
• Zeljko Komsic takes over post of B&H Presidency Chairman (BH TV)
• Dodik comments on Haradinaj’s resignation (TV1)
• Plenkovic welcomes decision of RS parliament regarding Peljesac Bridge (HRT)
• These countries still haven’t recognized Montenegro (Pobjeda)
Republic of North Macedonia
• Pendarovski: I don’t intend to pardon Zaev if he committed crimes (Nezavisen vesnik)
• Haradinaj meets Meta after resignation (AND)
• Von der Leyen: EU should give Albania its hand, as Europe itself can be damaged if doors are closed (Radio Tirana)


• Why Are the US and EU Allowing a Bully Dictator Like Rama in the Balkans? (Citizen Truth)

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Vucic: No reason to rejoice, Haradinaj’s resignation politically motivated move (B92)


Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic held a news conference to comment on Ramush Haradinaj‘s resignation and its potential implications. “I understand rejoice, in a way a kind of satisfaction due to the fact that Ramush Haradinaj was summoned by the court. However, there is no reason to get excited about it. We will assess all the facts and consequences of this act, in particular with regards to the relations between Serbs and Albanians, and the attitude of the international community towards Serbia and its people on Kosovo and Metohija.” Serbia will react with maturity and composure, despite open hatred shown on the part of the Albanians towards Serbia which they regard as the main culprit, while the resumption of dialogue is crucial, said Vucic. “Ramush Haradinaj’s resignation presents political trick in order to boost his popularity. He leads internal battle within Kosovo and Metohija, fighting his local political opponents,” Vucic said. “We envisage that they will release him in 48 hours. I have no doubt about it, he will return as a great Albanian hero, reaching the peak of his popularity,” Vucic pointed out. He also said that the imposed tariffs on Serbian goods will not be abolished and that western countries will pressure Serbia stronger under the pretense that they summoned Kosovo leaders to the Hague. He deems that Serbia will be pressured to recognize Kosovo’s independence and that people in Serbia should be fully aware of that. “Serbia will continue to insist on dialogue resumption, and as tariffs will not be lifted, we’ll discuss Balkan economic unity with the leaders in the region,” he announced. “At the same time, there is silence about the crimes against the Serb and non-Albanians, they keep quiet about that, speaking only about its political implications,” he emphasized. According to Vucic, continuation of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue on stabilization of the relations is crucial for the peace and stability. “But, we are afraid that political developments in Kosovo will be further delayed and dialogue postponed. Haradinaj will go to The Hague next week, only to be released in 48 hours, so that he could return as a great hero of the Albanian people,” Vucic said. In the meantime, Serbian President reiterated, creating a majority without the Serb List will become a priority, prior to the next Kosovo elections.


No comments from EU regarding Haradinaj (Tanjug)


EU Spokesperson Maja Kocijancic stated that Brussels had been informed about Haradinaj’s decision, not giving away anything additional. “At this moment, we do not have further comments,” said Kocijancic. EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn are yet to react to the developments.


Djuric: Chase after Serbs started after Vucic’s address (RTS)


The expected chase after the Kosovo Serbs has started after the address of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, the Head of the Office for Kosovo Marko Djuric said on Sunday. He stressed that the arrest of Goran Stanisic was intended to create a false image of Serbs as criminals in the international institutions and media, but also to create some sort of a counterbalance after Kosovo KLA leaders were summoned to The Hague. Stanisic was visiting Kosovo quite often and never experienced problems at the crossings. Djuric assessed the arrest was another in a series of attempts to intimidate Serbs in order to finish the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo, especially its northern parts. “We harshly condemn the arrest of Goran Stanisic and activation of some confidential lists and false indictments by temporary Pristina institutions, and we demand his immediate release,” said Djuric.


Spain will not change position regarding Kosovo and Metohija (RTS)


Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met today with Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain Raoul Bartolome Molina on the bilateral relations of the two countries and the possibilities for enhancing economic cooperation. Serbia will always be a true friend of Spain and strive to maintain solid and stable relations and a traditional friendship between the two nations, Brnabic said, and expressed gratitude to Spain for its principled stance on the non-recognition of the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo. Ambassador Molina confirmed that Spain will not change its position on Kosovo and Metohija and will continue to provide support in protecting Serbia’s national and national interests. He stressed that at the same time, Spain will continue to provide unambiguous support to Serbia’s EU integration, which it considers important as a factor of regional stability and a reliable partner of the EU.


Botsan-Harchenko delivered credentials to Vucic addressing him in Serbian (Tanjug/B92)


Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received today credentials from the newly appointed Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Botsan-Harchenko. Botsan-Kharchenko who is a Balkan expert, spoke to Vucic in the Serbian language and said that he was honored to be able to deliver letters of credit to the Serbian President. He pointed out that he wants to work on further improvement of cooperation between Serbia and Russia, which is already at an extraordinary level.


How close our we to an agreement between Serbia and B&H on borders (Tanjug)


The General Secretary of the Serbian Foreign Ministry and the Chairperson of the government Commission for delineation with Bosnia and Herzegovina Veljko Odalovic said agreement of the two countries on the border issue is possible, despite the fact that the authorized bodies dealing with this problem have not met for the past nine years. According to him, the agreement is necessary for the sake of huge infrastructural projects which are in a stalemate due to the border issue. “It is important to arrange a meeting of the two commissions because we don’t have too complex and difficult issues and mysteries here,” he told Tanjug, adding that this problem will become a subject of arbitration if the agreement is not reached. Odalovic said certain progress has been made two months ago when representatives of Bosnia and Serbia determined two undisputable spots along the border between the two countries. “That gives me hope that there is a will in Bosnia and Herzegovina for meeting and talks on these subjects. Serbia insists on resuming the talks where they stopped nine years ago, with the topics that were agreed back then, and to start heading towards a solution that is acceptable for both countries,” he said. According to him, Serbia already informed Bosnia of assembling a commission to deal with this matter and is ready for the meeting. “It is possible to discuss how to determine the state border but annexes must solve the problem of hydropower plants and Belgrade-Bar railway, and also optionally the issue of enclaves,” Odalovic told media. He recalled that the last meeting of Bosnia’s and Serbia’s commissions in charge of this issue was held in June 2010 in Belgrade, when they determined certain rules and criterium that are supposed to lead to the final solution. According to him, there was a good initiative that was agreed in principle but then Bosniak member of Bosnia’s Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic dismissed it. “Bosnian side then insisted on determining the border which had existed at the time of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s secession from Yugoslavia, and we had a very clear stance that geographical, economical, demographical and infrastructural segments must be taken into account in order to have a functional and sustainable line, which would have as few potential problems in the future as possible,” explained Odalovic. He added that those criteria are valid in all places that were affected by war conflicts or forceful secessions, and according to which the international agreement on borders was signed. Those should be, as Serbia suggests, applied in four disputable cases: hydropower plants Zvornik and Bajina Basta, 10-kilometre long railway Belgrade-Bar, which passes through Bosnia, and the municipalities of Rudo and Priboj. “Those are our positions we will insist on,” he stressed.


Raskovic Ivic: Decision on boycott of elections should be made carefully (Blic/FoNet)


The deputy leader of the People’s Party Sanda Raskovic Ivic said that the opposition’s decision on the boycott of elections should be made very carefully and not before the autumn. According to her, the return of the opposition to the Serbian parliament should be a joint decision and that a true change of atmosphere in the parliament is a condition for that to happen. “If the regime is certain about its domination, why it keeps escaping the civilizational standard of equal conditions for all actors in the election race,” she told Blic. The deputy leader New Party Zoran Zivkovic opines the decision on the boycott of or participation in the elections should be made the moment elections are called. Zivkovic told FoNet the boycott of parliament’s work should continue but with frequent exceptions. According to him, the major step, which media won’t like, should be putting an end to the talk on relations within the opposition, and possible boycotts. Agreements should be reached out of the sight of public and it should be carefully decided on the moment when some decisions are made public, said Zivkovic.


Bosniaks expect Inzko to impose law on ban of genocide denial (Politika)


Suring the marking of the 24th anniversary of sufferings of Bosniaks in Srebrenica, which took place on 11 July in Potocari, High Representative Valentin Inzko announced that next year Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) will have the law on banning of genocide denial, adding that he is already working on that. Politika writes that many people believe that with this, Inzko confirmed readiness to fulfill the demands of the Organizational Board for Marking of Srebrenica (Genocide), whose members earlier announced that they will ask Inzko to impose this law. According to the daily, the question that is discussed now is whether Inzko will impose the law, or he will “trust” some of the competent proponents, i.e. B&H Presidency, B&H Council of Ministers, delegates and representatives in B&H Parliament and parliamentary commissions, letting them propose the law. On the other side, daily reads, RS politicians are not dealing with HR’s idea, because it is contradictory to their stances, portrayed in unified opposition to adoption of this law. Besides the fact that they deem that the statement which Inzko made in Potocari “creates an additional crisis in B&H”, the Republika Srpska (RS) officials reminded that “times when High Representatives imposed the laws are relict of the past”, while Serb member of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik stated that if Inzko would impose this law “he can count on holding of a referendum on the status of the RS”.  If this law, Politika writes, reaches parliamentary procedure, it is evident that it will not be adopted, being that RS representatives in B&H Parliament will not vote in favor of it and daily comments that Inzko is aware of this. The next thing that could happen and according to the daily this is the scenario desired by Bosniak politicians and Sarajevo- based media, is for Inzko to impose the law and this, as Head of SNSD Caucus in B&H Parliament Stasa Kosarac said, would confirm that he is “a megaphone of Bosniak politics”. Daily contacted the OHR to get their stance on this, but Spokesperson Mario Brkic told the daily that they have nothing more to say about Inzko’s stance, than the official stance, which was delivered to the daily in written as well. “We have nothing to add to what the High Representative stated about this issue on several occasions, including in Potocari on July 11, when he advocated adoption of the law which would ban genocide denial in Srebrenica. When the draft law, which refers to genocide denial, and possibly Holocaust denial, is ready, it should be submitted to adequate bodies so B&H parliament could discuss this issue later on,” reads the OHR statement.


Gojkovic slates elections for Medvedja Municipal Assembly for 8 September (RTV)


Serbian parliament speaker Maja Gojkovic signed the decision to slate elections for the Medvedja Municipal Assembly on 8 September. This decision shall come into force on the day it is published in the Official Gazette, which also sets in motion the timeline for the electoral activities.




Supreme Court of Netherlands: The Netherlands partly responsible for death of 350 citizens of Srebrenica (BHT1)


The Supreme Court of the Netherlands has confirmed on Friday its earlier decision according to which the Netherlands is partly responsible for the death of 350 citizens of Srebrenica who were killed in July 1995. The Supreme Court decided that the Netherlands is responsible in the proportion of ten percent in the context of probability that imprisoned men would have survived if Dutch soldiers had kept them in the military base. This proportion was 30 percent in 2017. The Netherlands’ highest court stated that Dutch UN peacekeepers evacuated the men from their military base near Srebrenica on 13 July 1995, despite knowing that they were in serious jeopardy of being abused and murdered by Bosnian Serb forces. Chair of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands Kees Streefkerk said that the Dutch battalion denied male refugees the chance to stay out of the hands of the B&H Serbs. “As the court of appeals decided, this was wrong because at that time, they knew that the refugees are seriously jeopardized and that abuses and murders should have been prevented. Responsibility of the state was limited to ten percent and surviving members of their families can seek compensation from the state,” Streefkerk said. The Dutch Embassy to B&H issued a press release which reads: “It is good that everything is clear now. The state accepts the decision of the Supreme Court and admits responsibility for the loss that the Court determined. The Dutch government will see in the upcoming period as to how to deal with that responsibility, respecting the decision of the Supreme Court. Once again we want to express our condolences to the families of the victims.” Croat member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic, stated that the verdict is disappointing to both victims and citizens of B&H. He stated that he will support the efforts of Associations to continue seeking justice at the European Court of Human Rights. The associations of victims and the public have fiercely reacted after the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled that the Netherlands bears very limited responsibility for the death of around 350 men from Srebrenica. They find it disputable that the verdict reduced the responsibility of the Dutch Battalion from 30 percent to 10 percent. They also feel “humiliated” as they were not provided with translation services during the rendering of the verdict. President of the Association of Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves Munira Subasic told reporters that she is very upset and surprised by the verdict. “I will never forgive them,” she said. Vice President of the Association of Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves Kada Hotic stressed that the Netherlands is responsible – no matter how much. “They are 100-percent responsible. I experienced a completely uncivilized approach to victims today. They did not allow us to have translation, to hear and to understand the verdict,” Hotic said.


Dodik: If B&H is normal country, Croat, who is against Peljesac Bridge, would not be member of Presidency (Vecernji list)


Serb member of the B&H Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik, asked as to why he invoked veto with regard to the Peljesac Bridge, said: “Because it is not in Republika Srpska (RS) interest to have new problems with neighbors, in this case Croatia. We should focus on resolving of current problems, such as the border near Kostajnica, building of a bridge in Gradiska, construction of the landfill un Trgovinska Gora… I am one of those politicians who believe that there should not be interference in internal issues of other countries. The Peljesac Bridge is for me exclusively an internal issue of Croatia.” Asked about speculations that in this way he “paid back debt” to HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic, Dodik said: “There are many speculations in politics. Neither I owe something to Covic, nor he owes something to me, but for this reason exactly we cooperate very well when political issues are in question… This relation has never been against the interest of the third side, Bosniaks in this case. We are trying to measure our every move with regard to every issue. Our policy is not the policy of trade, but the policy of cooperation that should make possible that peoples that we represent, together with Bosniaks, are affirmed in the right way according to the capacity of the constituent status, as the DPA envisages it… I believe that the future belongs exactly to the relations that Covic and I have built and the movement that follows us.”  As for the issue of authority formation, Dodik said: “… I have to say that those who believe that Serbs are very sorry because there is no authority are very wrong. This serves us as a proof that B&H cannot be sustainable and functional. This is the proof that there is an attempt here to impose certain concepts, which are not in interest of all… This period of time shows that B&H, as a state, does not have any sense.” Asked as to who is responsible for “subordinate” position of the Croat people, Dodik said: “… It is the fact that that the DPA clearly defined that some decisions, even in the Federation of B&H, cannot be passed if there is no a representative of Croats. High Representatives eliminated this and brought the Croat people in an unbearable situation. I can see this and I do not want this to happen to Croats any longer but also not to my people either. Therefore, the Bosniaks and Bosniak political elite are the only ones, who could change the things in B&H.” Dodik added that there is no will for this from the Bosniak side adding that Bosniaks want to dominate Croats and then the RS and Serbs. Dodik also said that it is confirmed again that B&H is a failed concept of the international community, not because of the DPA, but because the international community has degraded the DPA and created almost impossible practices in B&H with regard to deciding on important issues. Dodik added: “If the situation is normal it would never happen that Bosniaks elect a Croat member of the B&H Presidency, who votes against the Peljesac Bridge and Croatian national and state interests.” Dodik explained that this is the omission of those who put signature on the DPA and Dayton Constitution on behalf of the Croat people. As for the issue of Kosovo, Dodik said that the RS is ready to accept everything that Pristina and Belgrade agree upon. He also said that the issue of Kosovo and the RS can be compared. Dodik concluded that the DPA was mistake because it preserved B&H. He believes that very successful communities should have bene established, which would live in peace and tolerance. He added that the current relations in B&H does not give it big chances to survive.


Komsic and Dzaferovic reacted to the decision of the RS parliament on the RS’ vital interest in regard to the construction of the Peljesac Bridge (BHT1)


Croat and Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency, Zeljko Komsic and Sefik Dzaferovic respectively, reacted on Friday to the decision of the RS parliament on the RS’ vital interest in regard to the construction of the Peljesac Bridge whose initiator was B&H Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik. Dzaferovic said that he will continue to fight for the interests of the state of B&H, its sovereignty and territorial integrity. “Mr. Dodik and the RS parliament, with its Thursday’s decision, did not protect the vital interest of the entity. They actually violated vital interest of B&H and I am completely sure that with such a move they can enter a very dangerous zone of violation of vital interests of the entity itself” Dzaferovic underlined. Komsic said that following rotation at the B&H Presidency, he will seriously consider forwarding of a new set of conclusions which will ask for solving and determining of the border at sea with Croatia. “I believe that Thursday’s session of the RS parliament was skillfully used and burdened by many manipulations and inaccuracies, such as that one is planning to launch a dispute because of the Peljesac Bridge, when by simply reading the disputed conclusions of the B&H Presidency, it is visible that this county wants to realize its rights in terms of protection of its own sovereignty and territorial integrity, in the concrete case, regarding the undefined border at sea. I will insist on solving of that issue in the capacity of B&H Presidency Chairman by not solving other issues until this part, which is related to solving the border at sea with neighboring Croatia, is solved.” He added that Dodik’s stance is result of a deal with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. “As far as I know, Dodik promised the Croatian President that he will stop that at the B&H Presidency,” Komsic said.


SDA Presidency holds session (TV1)


SDA Presidency held a session on Friday in Sarajevo at which the Statute of the party was discussed, as well as the political situation in the state. Izetbegovic called on SNSD representatives on Friday to stop obstructions in the work of the B&H parliament because thirty laws and a number of important documents are waiting to be adopted. Following a session of SDA Presidency, Izetbegovic called on SNSD to propose a program of work of the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM). Izetbegovic also called on HDZ B&H to propose a candidate for the post of Federation of B&H President in order to start the formation of the Federation of B&H Government. Izetbegovic stressed that it is necessary to submit the Annual National Program (ANP), adding that NATO will be discussed subsequently. “We expect finally, nine months after the elections, for the B&H CoM Chairman-designate who will come from SNSD to propose a program of work for the 2019-2022 mandate to the B&H Presidency and caucuses in the B&H Parliament which would enable appointment of new convocation of the B&H CoM,” Izetbegovic said. Izetbegovic also said that the support of the veto on the decision of the B&H Presidency by the RS parliament regarding the Peljesac Bridge is nonsense. He added that the mechanism of vital entity interest cannot be tied to the construction of a bridge which affects the entire country. Izetbegovic stressed that the right to open sea is a priority of B&H and not RS. He said that it is a problem that the B&H Presidency always has one member which protects the interests of other countries. Izetbegovic said that the decision of the RS parliament is unclear, since it should be their interest to have open sea access as well.  Commenting on the second instance verdict of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, Izetbegovic said the verdict is shameful and the murder of men and boys from Srebrenica cannot be looked at through percentages. He said that SDA Presidency assessed as “disgraceful” the ruling of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands limiting the responsibility for the killing and genocide in Srebrenica down to percentages. “It is inappropriate to use any kind of percentage to establish responsibility. The only percentage of responsibility can be 100 percent,” Izetbegovic stressed.


Zeljko Komsic takes over post of B&H Presidency Chairman (BH TV)


Croat member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic took over the post of the Presidency’s Chairman on Saturday. For the past eight months, Serb member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik was at this post. BN TV reporter noted that in the past eight months, the Presidency was unable to fulfill its most important task of appointing the Chairman of the B&H Council of Ministers (B&H CoM), since the ruling parties could not reach an agreement in the matter. Komsic stressed that is necessary to harmonize the budget of the institutions of B&H, reach a compromise with regard to appointment of the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) Chairman-designate and solve the problem with regard to submission of the Annual National Program (ANP) of B&H. Komsic voiced dissatisfaction with the fact that the BiH Presidency held only four sessions in eight months of the term of Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik at this post. “The question about reasons should be addressed to him. Is it because of his trips Banja Luka – Sarajevo or he spends more time in Banja Luka than in Sarajevo? Maybe the reason is the fact that the B&H CoM Chairman-designate has not been appointed yet, so he is obstructing the work of the B&H Presidency in some way” Komsic said. He noted that it is possible to talk to Dodik about business and construction projects, but not about political matters, particularly when it comes to the country’s path towards NATO that Dodik disapproves “because he owes Russians too much”.


Dodik comments on Haradinaj’s resignation (TV1)


Commenting on the decision of Kosovo Prime Minister and former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) Ramush Haradinaj to resign on Friday after being summoned as war crimes suspect in The Hague, Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik, who met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade on Friday evening, greatly supported this stance. “The fact that Haradinaj was not sentenced before the ICTY and that he is being summoned now for a similar thing leads to conclusion that this is a story about farce that is supposed to be a basis for additional pressure on Serbia and Vucic,” Dodik assessed on Saturday.


Plenkovic welcomes decision of RS parliament regarding Peljesac Bridge (HRT)


Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic welcomed on Friday a decision of the RS parliament that vetoed a decision of B&H Presidency to demand from Croatia to stop with the construction of the Peljesac Bridge, in order to avoid violating B&H’s right to access to open sea. Plenkovic assessed RS parliament’s decision as good. Speaking about the Gradiska Bridge, Plenkovic reminded that when he assumed this post, he said that a new bridge in Gradiska must be constructed. He said: “The project was launched, the contract was signed. This is good both for Croatia and B&H”.


These countries still haven’t recognized Montenegro (Pobjeda)


Out of 194 countries in the world, the following ones still haven’t recognized Montenegro as the state: Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Equatorial Guinea, Yemen, Cameroon, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, St Thomas and Prince Islands and Tonga.

The first country that recognized Montenegro’s independence was Iceland and it happened on 8 June. One of the first countries that recognized the state of Montenegro were Russia, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Belgium, Algeria, Andorra… Iceland was the first country that ratified the Accession Agreement between Montenegro and NATO. The last country that recognized Montenegro was the Bahamas – in 2017 when the diplomatic relations between the two countries were established, writes Pobjeda daily. When it comes to the diplomatic relations, Montenegro still hasn’t established them with the Republic of Kiribati, which recognized our country in 2014. As for the diplomatic missions, Montenegro has 30 embassies in 30 countries worldwide, 6 permanent missions and 4 general consulates.


Pendarovski: I don’t intend to pardon Zaev if he committed crimes (Nezavisen vesnik)


North Macedonia’s head of state Stevo Pendarovski says that he is committed to reconciliation, a long process involving many political and social stakeholders. On VMRO-DPMNE’s remarks that the head of state perceives reconciliation as amnesty for Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his associates, Pendarovski says he does not intend to pardon Zaev or anyone else in his party or the Government if crimes are committed. Regarding his recent statement that revolutionary Goce Delchev had declared himself as Bulgarian, but fought for independent Macedonia, the President says it has strengthened the country’s negotiating position. “The Macedonian public should know that the commission comprised of historians from both countries entered an impasse. When reaching the period of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Bulgarian side insisted, probably politically motivated, that everything that had occurred in that period is inscribed as part of the Bulgarian history, while all revolutionaries and events to be defined exclusively as Bulgarian. Following series of consultations with our academicians and Macedonian members of the commission, I decided that our team needed wind in its back, a political framework for future discussions.” says President Pendarovski. Otherwise, he adds, we would have been blocked by Sofia on our EU path by the end of the year. “The last meeting of the commission in Skopje was not productive, a next one is scheduled in September. Meanwhile, members have intensive communication, circulating materials on both sides towards finding a common ground on these issues. The primary objective of this commission is to discuss individuals, but not all, discuss events, but not all, over the course of these two centuries of shared history, so that it is not entirely Bulgarian, because, first and foremost, this is not a historic fact,” notes Pendarovski. Regarding the date for EU accession negotiations, the President says there is no Union member claiming that North Macedonia should not start negotiations by the end of the year. “I was assured during my recent visits to Brussels and Berlin that the delay is purely from technical reasons and there is no political background, as speculated by domestic and part of international media,” says President Pendarovski.


Haradinaj meets Meta after resignation (AND)


Former Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj announced that he met with Albanian President Ilir Meta on Sunday in Pristina. Haradinaj said that they have exchanged views on the political reality in Kosovo, Albania and the region, as well as on the processes that Kosovo is going through.  He stressed that joint engagement in the face of challenges strengthens the Albanian factor. Meta had earlier expressed support for ex-PM, stating he is “proud of Ramush Haradinaj and that he is convinced of his innocence”. In a Twitter post, he wrote that “there is no pressure that can break down the statesman and the national hero”. “From now on, we all have to sleep less, to be worried more and strongly unite so that Kosovo and our region remain intact in our peace and security as well as in the European future,” the President added.


Von der Leyen: EU should give Albania its hand, as Europe itself can be damaged if doors are closed (Radio Tirana)


European Commission (EC) newly elected President Ursula Von der Leyen voiced her pro-opening stance of membership negotiations for Albania and Macedonia. Von del Leyen said the EU should give Albania its hand, as Europe itself can be damaged if doors are closed.

“I am in favor of opening negotiations. We should open accession negotiations with the countries once the European Council concludes that the criteria are met. We should give our hand to Albania, to these states. We share the same continent, the same story, we are neighbors, and if we close the door for this region, we are damaging ourselves,” said Von der Leyen. The EU has offered some Western Balkan countries accession prospects for 2025, but has recently kicked off the negotiations for Northern Macedonia and Albania.




Why Are the US and EU Allowing a Bully Dictator Like Rama in the Balkans? (Citizen Truth, by Francesca Norton, 19 July 2019)


On the reception held for the National Day of France, the French Ambassador to Albania, Mrs. Christina Vasak criticized her colleagues by saying that ambassadors do not judge or replace Albanian authorities. That was a slap in the face to her colleagues regarding their behavior in the country. She stressed that “diplomats are here to understand, support, accompany, but in no case to judge, or replace competent authorities.” Obviously, the French ambassador could no longer stay silent about the communist-style voting that took place on June 30, which she called “strange elections.” Strange they were, indeed. The strangest vote in the entire European continent, comparable only to the hardest and cruelest regimes of all times. One party ran for the 61 municipalities; one party administrated the voting; one party counted the votes; and as expected, the one party won. But despite all this farce, the Central Elections Committee has not yet given, two weeks after the voting day, the final results. Why? Because there have been many irregularities. The numbers of votes are higher than the number of the voters, showing that even in one a party vote, the manipulation was grave. The International Observation Mission of OSCE/ODIHR, which came to observe the disputed local elections of June 30, said that the election process gave voters no meaningful choice. In a preliminary report, the mission said that the elections were held “with little regard for the interests of the electorate.” Ambassador Glover, who has observed several previous elections in Albania, criticized the organization of the elections in a unilateral way by the ruling party. She also said that the Socialist-controlled Central Electoral Commission had “interpreted the law in a creative way,” which left the administration of the vote in the hands of the Socialist Party. After this tragic-comic situation, a very serious question arises. Why are the US and the EU embassies silent about what is happening in Albania, a NATO member, and a country aspiring to join the EU? Many ambassadors in Tirana have been alarmed with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama – with his political bullishness toward the opposition, the people, and even the institutions of the country. For many years he has been politically bullying the opposition leaders and members of parliament and using his propaganda to turn them from victims into the guilty, and himself from the bully to the hero. His political bullying again went too far when he started parliamentary procedures for the impeachment of the President – the only government authority which is not under his control – in order for him to usurp every single institution in the country. PM Edi Rama, presently, controls the one-party parliament, one-party local government, one-party Prosecutor General office, one party judiciary branch, one-party media, one-party every authority in the country. Yet, the US and EU embassies kept silent about the June 30 election and did not join the appeal for a postponement of the election, because they feared a regional precedent for future elections in the Balkans countries might occur. But, as diplomatic as this might seem, this is not true. In contrary, they are practicing a double standard, because, as seen on the document attached to this article, the US and EU embassies were the ones who supported the postponement of the elections in Macedonia in 2016. Because, as stated in their document addressed to the PM, the set date for voting did not offer the necessary conditions for organizing credible elections and postponement to a later date would restore the citizens faith in the electoral process, ensure fair competition, and move the country beyond the political crisis – as well as ensure a credible electoral process in which all citizens and parties should freely participate. And in Macedonia’s case, the elections were postponed not once but twice with the US and EU blessing. Why such a double standard? Why in Macedonia did they push for postponement and in Albania they remain silent in the face of grave violations of human rights and democracy – in an electoral process where officially only 21% of Albanians voted (de facto only 15%), most of whom were forced and threatened with dismissal from their workplace? Why is such a political and national dictatorship and bullying tolerated? Albania is the most corrupt country in Europe, the world media has dubbed it the “Columbia of Europe.” The whole world can see very clearly what is happening in this small country. Albanians are refusing to vote and support their government. A rally took place recently in front of the White House in Washington DC asking President Trump to see what is really happening in Albania. Albanian religious communities are appealing for an urgent solution to the crisis and for the protection of the principles of democracy. The only ones “see no evil, hear no evil” are the foreign embassies in Tirana, who, with their indifference, are allowing a western loving country to fall into the abyss.

Dr. Francesca Norton is a peer news writer for Citizen Truth. She is a political analyst, human rights activist and author of many articles and analyses in the international media.


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