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Belgrade Media Report 22 August

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LOCAL PRESS

• Vucic: Nothing new in US demand for recognition of Kosovo independence (RTS)
• Dacic: US supports Serbia’s position that Kosovo issue is not solved (Tanjug)
• Dacic: Invitation to “Kosovo” for meeting in Helsinki is a precedent (Tanjug)
• Djuric: Serbia and China would continue to be allies in defending international law and state sovereignty (Beta/Politika)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina
• Dodik: Agreement says it all, I don’t accept any kind of compromise (RTRS)
• Wigemark pays farewell visit to RS PM Viskovic (TV1)
• Kovac: Croats could achieve equality if B&H is reorganized in three regions according to model of Belgium (TV1/BHT1/RTV Herceg Bosna)
• DF: The devil does not sleep (Avaz/TV1)
Republic of North Macedonia
• Public Prosecution requests 30-day detention for Katica Janeva (Republika)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Vucic: Nothing new in US demand for recognition of Kosovo independence (RTS)

 

In an apparent reaction to the State Department statement after his meeting with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York on Tuesday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Washington’s stance was bad for Serbia but wasn’t a novelty. Vucic told RTS on Wednesday evening that there was nothing new in the US view that Serbia should recognize Kosovo’s independence, but added that we don’t change our stand. He added that a good thing for Serbia was that the US supported the country’s European path and don’t say what a deal between Belgrade and Pristina would be, but reiterated it was bad they request mutual recognition. “That is not essentially big news, neither is it a new US stand. It recognized Kosovo’s independence in 2008. We cannot change that decision, but we tried to enjoy in our myths,” he said. Vucic said he presented Serbia’s views to the US officials he met and reiterated that it’s out of the question for the Serbs to get nothing and Albanians get everything.

Earlier on Wednesday, Vucic met with Mathew Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary at US Department of State – Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and Damon Wilson, the executive vice president at the Atlantic Council, a foreign and public policy think tank based in Washington. The topics of their talks were Kosovo and the US – Serbia relations. “I’m extremely grateful to Pompeo, Palmer and Wilson. It was important to me that I could present our views. If we move the US’ stand toward Serbia for an inch, we will make a small wonder. But I’m not naive to believe that the US will change the decision on recognition of Kosovo’s independence, nor will I make false promises,” Vucic said. He added the situation for Serbia was not an easy one, but extremely difficult, and promised that Serbia’s authorities will continue to protect their country and the Serbs in Kosovo. “A long, serious and responsible conversation with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer about Belgrade-Pristina relations as well as about overall Serbia-US relations,” Vucic wrote in a post on the BuduchnostSrbijeav Instagram profile that also included a photo from the meeting. The topic of Kosovo dominated the conversation with Wilson. “Protection of the interests of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and safeguarding of the vital national and state interests of Serbia was the essence of my efforts in the conversation with Mr Wilson,” Vucic also wrote in the post.

 

Dacic: US supports Serbia’s position that Kosovo issue is not solved (Tanjug)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demonstrates Washington has changed its approach to solving the Kosovo issue and that the US is pushing for a compromise solution that would also take Serbia’s interests into account, says Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. “One should not think the US has changed its position on Kosovo’s independence,” he told Tanjug Wednesday, but noted that US national security adviser John Bolton, State Secretary Pompeo, Vice President Michael Pence and President Donald Trump himself believe further negotiations are necessary and that compromise must be sought. Commenting on Tuesday’s Vucic-Pompeo meeting and the messages that have since been coming in from New York, Dacic said Washington was representing our position that the Kosovo issue has not been solved. “That is a major thing and a big change compared to the claims that were coming from the former US administration,” he said.

 

Dacic: Invitation to “Kosovo” for meeting in Helsinki is a precedent (Tanjug)

 

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic assessed today that EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, by inviting Pristina to participate in the Helsinki meeting, is trying to create a precedent that Belgrade would have to accept, which would certainly not happen. Dacic said in a statement to Tanjug that for the first time, at the end of her term of office, Mogherini changed her practice and invited Pristina to a meeting to which EU candidate countries were invited.

Dacic indicated that because of Pristina, Mogherini changed the format of the event and said she had invited partners. In a formal sense, this will not violate our principled position, as the Gymnich format will be applied – with only the name and surname of the participants, without state characteristics, Dacic emphasized. He stressed, however, that this was essentially unnecessary because there are many meetings at which Kosovo participates and should not be at a place that it did not reach in terms of its development. According to Dacic, the aforementioned meeting in Helsinki, despite Pristina’s participation, will not be an opportunity to discuss the continuation of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. Dacic said it is a meeting of foreign ministers held once a month, organized by the EU presidency and chaired by the High Representative, in this case Federica Mogherini. Why would “Kosovo” be rewarded if they did not respect the Berlin conclusions, the Brussels Agreement or many other arrangements, and introduced fees that directly interrupted the dialogue, Dacic asked, recalling that Spain also protested the aforementioned calls to Pristina.

 

Djuric: Serbia and China would continue to be allies in defending international law and state sovereignty (Beta/Politika)

 

The Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric informed the Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo about the position of the Serbs in Kosovo, saying that the local Serbs were exposed to growing pressure. Djuric thanked Ambassador Chen on China’s support

for Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and the friendship reflected in the growing economic cooperation, according to a release from the Office for Kosovo and Metohija.

He said that Serbia and China would continue to be allies in defending international law and state

sovereignty and work together on building a world where peaceful cooperation, while respecting differences, would be a geopolitical standard, it said in the release.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

Dodik: Agreement says it all, I don’t accept any kind of compromise (RTRS)

 

Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Milorad Dodik says there should be no calculations about the formation of authorities at the B&H level, that the agreement signed by the three political leaders says it all clearly and that he will not agree to any kind of compromise about the matter. Dodik pointed out it was a matter of legitimate representation and that election winners were very well known. “I will only say there is no price we are prepared to pay to calculate about the talk of NATO, including the formation of the Council of Ministers. Look at the families of killed Italian soldiers who were here during operations during the bombing. Their courts assigned them compensation because they had not been informed that depleted uranium was going to be dropped here, because of which they got cancer. Seventeen of them have died. And now we have German soldiers speaking up as well,” Dodik told the public broadcaster RTRS.

 

Wigemark pays farewell visit to RS PM Viskovic (TV1)

 

Head of the EU Delegation (EUD) to B&H and EU Special Representative (EUSR) Lars-Gunnar Wigemark paid a farewell visit to RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic on Wednesday. On this occasion, Wigemark stated that both NATO and EU integration are important for B&H, but explained that submitting the Annual National Program (ANP) for NATO does not mean membership in NATO. Wigemark underlined that the focus is set on the European path, noting that the EU regrets to see that the B&H Presidency did not appoint the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) chairman-designate on Tuesday. “It is easy to make dramatic media statements, but this is not a theater. This is reality. That truly affects your (B&H’s) relations with the EU that we care so much about. You (B&H) are a part of Europe, and it is in everyone’s interest to solve that issue as soon as possible,” said the EUSR.

 

Kovac: Croats could achieve equality if B&H is reorganized in three regions according to model of Belgium (TV1/BHT1/RTV Herceg Bosna)

 

President of the Commission for Foreign Affairs of the Croatian parliament Miro Kovac stated that Croats could achieve their equality with Serbs and Bosniaks if B&H is reorganized in three regions according to a model of Belgium. Kovac announced that the Croatian authorities will become even more engaged when it comes to B&H, according to provisions of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA). Kovac emphasized that Croatia will not interfere in B&H’s internal affairs, but added: “Croatia signed the Dayton Agreement and is obliged to take care of stability in B&H and to advocate meeting of obligations referring to the Constitution”.

 

DF: The devil does not sleep (Avaz/TV1)

 

DF issued a press release on Wednesday reacting to the statement of Miro Kovac. DF’s statement reads: “The devil does not sleep. Day after day, the citizens of this country are served insane ideas about its break-up in three parts.” According to DF, Kovac said that Croatia does not interfere in internal matters of B&H as another, sovereign country just after “going into a tirade against us”.  DF concluded that it is therefore clear why the NATO path is the only right path and why this concept of future B&H encounters resistance.

 

Public Prosecution requests 30-day detention for Katica Janeva (Republika)

 

The Public Prosecution Office requests 30-day detention for SPO’s chief prosecutor Katica Janeva on suspicion of abuse of office in connection to the Racket case. Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, State Public Prosecutor Ljubomir Joveski said there are grounds, on the basis of collected evidence so far, to probe Janeva’s involvement in the Racket case.

 

 

 

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