Vucic: Serbia sincere, dependable partner of France (Tanjug/RTS/RTV)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday received a farewell visit from French Ambassador Frederic Mondoloni, thanking him for his exceptional contribution to the strengthening of Serbian-French relations and for the respect for Serbia he demonstrated during his tenure. Vucic said a recent visit by French President Emmanuel Macron had been the crowning achievement of Mondoloni’s diplomatic work and that the visit had reaffirmed an intent by Serbia and France to improve political and economic cooperation, as well as cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, based on their long-standing friendship and an agreed strategic partnership. This is also reflected by the number of bilateral documents signed and agreements to be fulfilled in the period to come, Vucic’s presidential press office said in a statement. “President Macron’s visit has marked the history of Serbian-French relations forever,” Vucic said, adding that France could always count on Serbia as a sincere friend and a dependable ally.
NATO respects Serbia’s sovereign right to choose partners (RFE/Beta)
NATO fully respects the sovereign right of all states, including Serbia, to choose their own political and security arrangements, the Alliance said on Monday in a reply to Radio Free Europe on the Russian donation of armored vehicles to the Serbian armed forces. The NATO statement said that RFE should ask official Bucharest about the decision to block the transport of those vehicles via the Danube through Romania. NATO has partnership relations with Serbia, the statement said and recalled the civilian emergency services disaster exercise with NATO partner countries. It added that the Alliance has invested millions of Euros to help Serbia destroy more than 200 tons of munitions and has worked with it to train Iraqi medical staff.
Vulin comments NATO statement (RTS)
Commenting the NATO statement – that the Alliance respects the sovereign right of all state to choose their own political and security arrangements, Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin has told the morning news of Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) that Serbia is a significant and reliable partner. “Serbia is not a terrorist territory as Kosovo, but a safe country.
The stronger we are, the war will be farther away from us. A strong Serbia is a guarantor of stability and peace in the Balkans,” said Vulin.
Serbian authorities, opposition meet behind closed doors (N1)
Representatives of the authorities and the opposition met behind closed doors on Tuesday as part of preparations for a dialogue on elections conditions. The meeting was organized at the Belgrade University School of Political Science (FPN) whose Dean Dragan Simic told N1 that the it came at the initiative of the Open Society Foundation. He said that the meeting opens the dialogue on election conditions. An N1 reporter saw Internal Affairs Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) MPs Vladimir Orlic and Vladimir Djukanovic, Freedom and Justice Party leader (and Alliance for Serbia chair) Dragan Djilas, Democratic Party (DS) leader Zoran Lutovac and opposition MP Marinika Tepic enter the FNP building. The meeting, which was opened by Dean Simic, was also attended by Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence chief Sonja Liht, Open Society Foundation official Milan Antonijevic (moderator of the round table) and Bojan Klacar from the CeSID election watchdog.
Sarovic says his intention is not to pave his own way to post of B&H CoM Chairman (Hayat/Avaz)
Commenting on his recent statement according to which he is ready to become Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Council of Ministers (CoM) Chairman, B&H Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations and SDS leader Mirko Sarovic told Hayat that his intention is not to pave his own way to the post of B&H CoM Chairman. He explained that his statement actually conveys a message that SDS and its leader will be focused on political developments in B&H and will have their say. Sarovic assessed that the upcoming period is quite uncertain and all options are possible, including the one that negotiations on formation of executive authority might fail since they are currently in deep crisis. He added that this was the reason why SDS as a serious political party felt that there is a room for SDS to hold talks with everyone on the future authorities and the future of B&H as a whole. SDA did not officially comment Sarovic’s intention and Republika Srpska (RS) politicians interpreted SDA’s silence as a sign that a model of new parliamentary majority “has already been tailored in Sarajevo political circles with assistance of a part of the international community”. RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic told Dnevni avaz that SDS and SDA have already agreed on the adoption of the Annual National Program for NATO and activation of the Membership Action Plan (MAP) and she added: “I will not say this as the President of the RS but I will say it as Vice President of SNSD – great! If SDA said that this is the most important of all preconditions and that they will form the authorities only if this precondition is fulfilled, then this means SDS has accepted this to be the most important precondition and to form the authorities in this way. Great. We are waiting for them”. HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic commented on speculations that SDS might be a new partner of SDA and HDZ B&H and he said that those are merely cheap spins. Covic added that delays in formation of authorities are unnecessary and harmful and warned that one cannot “carry out autistic politics and buy time to avoid respecting of election will of citizens for much longer”.
B&H Foreign Minister and high-ranking PDP official Igor Crnadak stated on Monday that if the scenario of new B&H CoM being formed by SDA, HDZ B&H and SNSD fails, the next CoM Chair will probably be a Serb from the RS who is not from the coalition led by SNSD. He stated that relations between SDS and PDP are such that the two parties would be able to agree on formation of B&H CoM within two days.
Boskovic: DF undermines foundations of this state and does everything to turn Federation into entity of one people (Vecernji list)
Deputy speaker of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina House of Representatives (HoR) Mladen Boskovic (HDZ B&H) who told ero.tel that “the illegitimate, second Bosniak member of the Presidency of B&H and his political party are the last ones who should talk about legitimate representatives of peoples and legitimacy”. According to Boskovic, “they undermine foundations of this state with their actions and do everything that the Federation of B&H becomes an entity of one people”. He went on to say that DF has realized that changes to the Law on Elections of B&H, which should make sure that peoples are represented by their legitimate representatives, are a realistic option, which would mean DF can no longer claim positions intended for Croats owing to the Bosniak votes.
Holocaust must not be forgotten, Croatian President says (Hina)
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem on Monday, expressing deep sorrow for the victims in Croatia, Europe and the world and saying that the Shoah, the tragedy of the Jewish people, would and must never be forgotten. She also expressed sympathy with the victims’ families and their descendants. In the Hall of Remembrance, she lit the Eternal Flame in memory of the six million Jews killed in Nazi pogroms and camps during WWII, and laid a wreath at the slab beneath which are victims’ ashes. This was not the president’s first visit to Yad Vashem. She said that every time she visited it, she was shaken by the tragedy of the Jewish people and the blackest hour of humankind. As president of Croatia, a country founded on antifascism and the Homeland War, I’m especially proud of all the Croatian righteous among the nations and the many other Croats who, in the darkness of war and unspeakable crimes, were a symbol of light and courage, she said. There are 115 Croatian righteous among the nations. The tragedy of the Jewish people and the pain of the survivors are a lasting reminder that the values of humankind, peace and democracy must never be taken for granted, the president said. May it not be forgotten so that it never happens again. Tikkun olam – let’s be better, Grabar-Kitarovic said. She gave Yad Vashem director Dorit Novak a book by Esther Gitman, an American Jew from Sarajevo, about the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, “Pillar of Human Rights”. Novak thanked Grabar-Kitarovic for her commitment in recent years and advocacy of preserving the memory of, as she said, the six million cruelly killed souls.
Political dialogue in North Macedonia is expected to resume after the holidays (Nezavisen vesnik)
Political dialogue in North Macedonia is expected to resume at the end of August. Once the country’s parliament convenes again, it is expected to discuss the bill on the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the fate of the Special Prosecutor’s Office. Opposition party VMRO-DPMNE has announced that it has prepared its version of the bill which relates to the fate of the Special Prosecutor’s Office. According to this bill, the Special Prosecutor’s Office will be part of the Public Prosecutor’s Office. VMRO-DPMNE Spokesperson Dimce Arsovski says that the opposition has demanded that those prosecutors who work at the Special Prosecutor’s Office return to their previous positions, after which they must be investigated about their possible involvement in the “Racket” case and only then can they apply for a position at the new prosecutor’s office. Justice Minister Renata Deskoska, who is sponsor of the government bill, says that she’s ready for talks with the opposition. According to her, all VMRO-DPMNE is trying to do is to delay the process.
Zaev: Law on the Public Prosecution should not be conditioned on early elections (Nezavisen vesnik)
According to North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, adopting the Law on the Public Prosecution should not be conditioned on early elections. “We are against early elections”, Zaev told reporters on Monday. “A solution needs to be reached, but not through a snap election. We’ll give public reconciliation a chance so working groups can do their job,” Zaev said, adding that they were likely to come up with a solution “as soon as this week.” He said talks were being held at the moment and the government had accepted many suggestions given by the opposition.
Zaev said that the government was also considering the VMRO-DPMNE-proposed Law on the Public Prosecution. He wouldn’t comment on media reports alleging that Katica Janeva had asked for an anti-forensic SPO data erasure. Instead, Zaev said the question should be addressed to the relevant authorities and urged the institutions to continue the investigation.
Greek Defense Minister: Only way to challenge the Agreement is to create a legal argument if one of the parties violates its terms (Nezavisen vesnik)
Once the agreement has been signed and ratified in parliament, it creates a plethora of legal responsibilities which make it difficult for anyone to disengage, Greece’s Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said in an answer to a question about the Prespa Agreement. The Greek Minister, also a lawyer, says the only way to challenge the agreement at some point is to create a valid legal argument if one of the parties violates its essential terms, adding that “beyond that, it’s not something that can be changed or annulled”. “New Democracy and the Prime Minister himself said they’d do everything to improve this agreement – which we have characterized as bad and damaging to our national interests – to improve its different points to the benefit of the country. “What I said a few days ago, which was distorted, is that it is appropriate to create a legal agreement if one of the parties – and here I mean Skopje – violates the essential terms of the agreement, so that at some point it can be challenged on that basis. Beyond that, in reality, it’s not something that can be changed or annulled by a single law or a single article,” said Panagiotopoulos.
Rama: We are not becoming part of Europe to bring on headache to European leaders, but we want to build a European country (Radio Tirana)
Present at the “Convoco” Forum in Salzburg, Prime Minister Edi Rama was interviewed by Hans Ulrich Obrist, the artistic director at the Serpentine Galleries. Rama spoke about the country’s EU path, while saying that although Europe is not doing well “we still want it”.
“First of all, Europe is a Peace project and for the benefit of other generations, so we cannot give up. Europe is not doing well, but we still want it. We are not becoming part of Europe to bring headaches to European leaders, but we want to build a European country,” Rama said.
Focusing on the political situation in the country, Rama said: “We have a very difficult political life. The quality of democracy does not depend on how much we agree. We do not agree either about the time. We have to become matured. Integration into the EU is important.”