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Belgrade Media Report 18 September

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LOCAL PRESS

• Djuric: UN’s inevitable role in resolving Belgrade and Pristina relations (Tanjug)
• Vucic: Only Cosic, Djindjic and I have presented a plan on resolving the Kosovo issue (Tanjug)
• Serbian president says no complete list of missing persons exists (Beta)
• Brnabic in Berlin: Serbia a committed partner to Germany (Beta)
• Vucic willing to deal on Kosovo but angered by tariffs, US Senator Murphy says (N1)
• For 20 years German governments have worked on dismembering of Yugoslavia, stance on Kosovo is hypocritical (Vecernje novosti)
• Angelina Eichhorst EU Envoy for Kosovo? (Blic)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina
• Dodik says RS already has response to SDA Program Declaration (ATV)
• Dodik discusses SDA Program Declaration with Sarovic and Borenovic, calls them to withdraw from B&H CoM (BN TV)
• HDZ B&H’s Colak: Declaration shows that SDA does not respect others (Glas Srpske)
• Kavalec new Head of OSCE Mission to B&H (N1)
Croatia
• Minister: Croatia will not change its policy towards migrants (Hina)
Republic of North Macedonia
• Тusk-Zaev: The country has done its share, now EU leaders should do their share (Nezavisen vesnik)
Albania
• Tusk: Albania’s integration in the interest of all member states (Radio Tirana)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Djuric: UN’s inevitable role in resolving Belgrade and Pristina relations (Tanjug)

 

The United Nations has an inevitable role in the process of resolving Belgrade-Pristina relations, Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Duric said at a meeting with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Zahir Tanin. Djuric and Tanin exchanged views on the current political and security situation in Kosovo, as well as on the upcoming UNMIK report which is being prepared for the UN Security Council, the Office for Kosovo and Montenegro announced. According to Djuric, Serbia sees the UN’s role, in the process of resolving relations between Belgrade and Pristina, as inevitable role, the processes which are by their nature primarily internal within Serbia, with an element of foreign interference. Djuric also reminded that the EU-sponsored dialogue was conducted based on the mandate of the UN General Assembly, and that more than six years, or exactly 2,341 days, had passed since Pristina’s main obligation to form a Community of Serb Municipalities was not implemented and that the EU didn’t ensure the implementation of this agreement, of which Serbia has repeatedly informed the Security Council.

 

Analyzing the position of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija, Djuric expressed his expectation that the report would state that the human and political rights of Serbs in our southern province were drastically impaired after the introduction of anti-civilization taxes by Pristina on goods from central Serbia. Djuric drew attention to the fact that the interethnic provocations and attacks by Albanian extremists on members of the Serb people are ever-increasing, which is not instigating a sufficiently serious and decisive response from the part of the international community that has the greatest impact on the ground. The director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija expressed his expectation that the upcoming provincial elections, with the help of international organizations and representatives, would take place in as much democratic atmosphere as possible, and that the Serbian people would be guaranteed the right to freely elect their representatives in the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina.

 

On this occasion, Djuric thanked Tanin for his personal contribution to the advancement of the position of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija, and for UNMIK’s consistent commitment to respecting the international laws and the framework provided by UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

 

Vucic: Only Cosic, Djindjic and I have presented a plan on resolving the Kosovo issue (Tanjug)

 

President Aleksandar Vucic said that, apart from the writer and former Yugoslav president Dobrica Cosic, the assassinated prime minister Zoran Djindjic, he was the only one to present any plan on Kosovo “Just remind me of a single plan of any of my political opponents, except from opposing anything that I propose” Vucic told the press. “Their plans comes to this – ‘it is all ours and will remain ours’… Don’t lie to the people, act in a responsible way… It is easy to cater to people’s feelings, but I have zero respect for such people” Vucic said.  He said that nobody had ever suggested any plan for Kosovo, apart from Dobrica Cosic and Zoran Djindjic, which were “immediately rejected”.

When asked by the N1 journalist to share with us his plan on Kosovo and Metohija, Vucic said: “No, I cannot share it with you, not a single one… I support Dragan Djilas‘ plan, I haven’t heard it yet, but his plan and the plan of a genius Bosko Obradovic, along with the 30-year-old student’s plan, that must be the best plan ever” Vucic said ironically.

Asked about critical notes coming from the individuals from the Serbian Orthodox Church, Vucic said: “Just let them do their job, I would prefer if they could do their jobs, not meddling with politics, but it’s good, maybe we should let them deal with politics as well” Vucic concluded.

Vucic also said that it was the U.S. that had enabled Pristina to enforce a decision under which voters in the upcoming snap elections in Kosovo could use only IDs issued in Kosovo to verify their identity. “It is the U.S. that enabled them to do so, the Europeans did not allow it” Vucic told reporters in Belgrade.

 

Serbian president says no complete list of missing persons exists (Beta)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told the families of people missing in Kosovo that no definitive list of missing persons has been compiled yet. “Unfortunately, our state did not investigate everything that happened in 1999 or after the year 2000 and we still have no official list of people killed and missing in Kosovo but we believe we will complete that difficult job,” he said during a visit to the offices of the Association of Families of the Missing and Abducted in kosovo. Vucic told the families that the authorities will do everything they can to find their loved ones. “The state will certainly continue doing everything possible and investigating the fate of the people missing and kidnapped in Kosovo” he said. The president welcomed the fact that the remains of seven Kosovo Serbs had been found in the Djakovica area, adding that the fates of another 570 missing Serbs and non-Albanians have to be found as well as those of missing Albanians.

 

Brnabic in Berlin: Serbia a committed partner to Germany (Beta)

 

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said that the purpose of her visit to Germany was to additionally strengthen ties with that country, and that she did not expect any “quantitative” leaps on its stance on Kosovo during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On the first day of her visit, Brnabic met with business owners who said that ties with Pristina and a frozen conflict in Kosovo still posed a source of instability. The second thing that they said was necessary was working on connecting the region. The Serbian prime minister started her two-day visit to Berlin with a meeting with the president of the German Federal Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Mario Ohoven. On Sept. 18 she will meet with the German chancellor.

 

Vucic willing to deal on Kosovo but angered by tariffs, US Senator Murphy says (N1)

 

US Senator Chris Murphy believes that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is willing to recognize Kosovo but is angry over the 100 percent tariffs imposed by Pristina on goods from Serbia. Writing on his blog about his recent visit to Belgrade with Republican Senator Ron Johnson, the Democratic senator from Connecticut said: “We both believe that he (Vucic) is willing to strike a deal with Kosovo to recognize their independence, but right now, he is mad as a hornet over the 100% tariff. We both press him to get back to the negotiating table as soon as possible, and he says that as soon as the tariff is lifted, he is ready to talk again.”

 

The senator says he was told by officials of the US embassy in Pristina the tariffs have badly hurt Kosovo’s fragile economy. Murphy said the visit to Serbia by the two senators lasted just a few hours but is important “because the Trump Administration gives little attention to the still simmering conflicts in the Balkans”.

 

“Our visits to places like Belgrade and Pristina are the highest-level American delegations these countries are likely to receive during Trump’s tenure. And especially in a place like Serbia, which also has strong relations with Russia, it’s important for Americans to keep showing up so that we keep our relationship alive,” he wrote, adding that “the visit ended with a very well attended press conference with Vucic, where we all reaffirm the importance of the US-Serbia relationship”.

 

For 20 years German governments have worked on dismembering of Yugoslavia, stance on Kosovo is hypocritical (Vecernje novosti)

 

Germany’s stance that Kosovo’s independence is a done thing, as well as opposing the border adjustments or division, is hypocritical and arrogant, said German Left Party parliamentarian Zaklina Nastic. “These messages about the ‘done deal’ are hypocritical. For 20 years, the German governments have worked one after the other to split Yugoslavia along ethnic lines, despite EU and UN recommendations not to do so” said Nastic. “And when, after nearly 30 years of instability, Serbs and Kosovo citizens are close to agreeing on how to live next to each other, the German government says the time of redrawing the maps is over. This attitude is arrogant and ridiculous” said Nastic for Vecernje novosti daily. The Left Party recently supported Czech President Milos Zeman‘s proposal to revoke the decision on recognition of Kosovo’s independence.

“It was definitely a mistake that Germany among the first recognized the independence of Kosovo. It was a violation of Serbian and international law and it is in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244” Nastic added, recalling that the situation in Kosovo has deteriorated significantly since the recognition.

 

Angelina Eichhorst EU Envoy for Kosovo? (Blic)

 

Some countries of the European Union (EU) will ask of the chief of European diplomacy Josep Borell to appoint a special representative who would deal with the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, and the most frequently mentioned name for the candidate is Angelina Eichhorst, reports Blic daily. Eichhorst has been working in the EU for already two decades and her possible appointment would allegedly be the way to modify the consequences of appointing Borell concerning the dialogue. “The explanation which can be heard among the halls is dissatisfaction with the results of the chief of diplomacy Federica Mogherini, that she was not one hundred percent dedicated to these tasks and that someone has to deal only with this matter”, writes Blic citing “well informed diplomatic sources”.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

Dodik says RS already has response to SDA Program Declaration (ATV)

 

SDA Program Declaration is continuation of late Alija Izetbegovic’s ‘Islamic Declaration’ and Republika Srpska (RS) already has a response ready, said Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik on Tuesday. He added that SDA wants B&H in which this party would be given the right to make all decisions without consulting anyone else, thus arranging the country towards their needs and goals. The first session of SNSD’s new Main Board will be held on Wednesday in Banja Luka and, as previously announced, SNSD will adopt an action platform in regard to the blockade created at the state-level. This action platform will be sent to the RS National Assembly (RSNA) for further deliberation. However, SNSD members underline that SDA Program Declaration further complicates the process of formation of the state-level authorities in B&H and SNSD’s new Main Board will reveal its stance on the matter after conclusion of Wednesday’s session.

Commenting on SDA Program Declaration on Tuesday, Dodik said this document calls for “dissolution of B&H” but, as he said, “SNSD will offer a wise solution”. Dodik believes this solution will be acceptable for all relevant parties in B&H, adding that the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in B&H will not be able to dispute this solution.

 

“I am trying to gather all political forces in the RS to prompt a single response. We will also propose to the opposition parties that are part of the ruling structure at the level of B&H to leave the partnership with SDA, which would mean that their staff should leave B&H Council of Ministers (CoM). We would also reject any kind of talks on formation of authorities with SDA at that point” Dodik stated.

 

Dodik discusses SDA Program Declaration with Sarovic and Borenovic, calls them to withdraw from B&H CoM (BN TV)

 

President of SDS Mirko Sarovic and President of PDP Branislav Borenovic met President of SNSD Milorad Dodik in on Tuesday evening. The meeting was organized by Dodik who invited the two leaders to discuss the Program Declaration of SDA. The meeting lasted one hour. Sources of BN TV stated that Dodik requested from Sarovic and Borenovic to withdraw from the current convocation of the Council of Ministers (CoM), which they rejected. Dodik informed them that he is forced to heighten tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) in the upcoming days for the sake of the public and asked them not to counter him publicly.  Dodik announced that SNSD will reveal conclusions which will cause additional turmoil in B&H, for the sake of the public. BN TV has information that presidents of all parties from the RS, which are in the B&H Parliament, will meet Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade on Saturday.

 

HDZ B&H’s Colak: Declaration shows that SDA does not respect others (Glas Srpske)

 

Deputy Head of the Croat Caucus in the House of Peoples (HoP) of the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Barisa Colak (HDZ B&H) told daily that the main thing which can be concluded from the declaration adopted at the SDA Congress on Saturday is that SDA does not respect the will of others. Colak said that every political party has the right to propose various political solutions, or ask for changes to the existing ones, and that is all legitimate for as long as others are not excluded from the process. “The issue of equality should be positioned very clearly. Every other solution which does not respect this fact leads to nowhere. It leads to additional deterioration of relations in B&H, and takes us further away from the modern democratic state” said Colak. He believes that SDA’s declaration would additionally slow down the process of formation of authorities in the country. “It would probably have long-term consequences, but it would definitely have short-term ones. It would be good to establish authorities as soon as possible, because we cannot resolve a single issue without authorities”, said Colak. Commenting on the fact that deadlines for implementation of the agreement on formation of authorities – signed by leaders of SNSD, HDZ B&H and SDA – have been breached, Colak assessed the contents of the agreement as “very valuable”, adding that one should continue insisting on implementation of this agreement. Colak also said that the fact Bosniaks are currently at the helm of the House of Representatives, the House of Peoples and the Council of Ministers of B&H is not good. “Unfortunately, there is a provision of the law which makes such things possible, and it was devised as some sort of transitional solution but I guess no one thought such things will be happening” Colak concluded.

 

Kavalec new Head of OSCE Mission to B&H (N1)

 

Former US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec has been appointed the new Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). She will take office on September 24. Kavalec served as the Director for Russian Affairs at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, as well as the Deputy Permanent Delegate and Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Mission to the UNESCO in Paris. She was also the Deputy Coordinator for US Assistance to Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia and served as the Director of Conflict Prevention at the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization.

 

Croatia

 

Minister: Croatia will not change its policy towards migrants (Hina)

 

Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic has said that Croatia will not change its policy towards migrants, which has been recognized by the European Commission, underscoring that the country will continue reinforcing the protection of its borders against irregular crossings and, in parallel, enable the integration of migrants who want to stay in Croatia. “We are ready to respond to any situation in the event of a stronger influx (of irregular migrants)” Bozinovic told reporters at an international conference on homeland security in Zagreb on Tuesday.

 

Addressing the conference, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic warned about possible recurrence of migrant crisis, and said that Croatia would respond to such developments in a responsible manner, protecting its borders.

 

In his comment on the president’s speech, the minister told reporters that, being a sovereign state, Croatia protected its territory and had reinforced human and technical capacities to that end. He noted that the developments in the Middle East and north Africa are being followed, as those areas are sources of a large number of migrants. “Currently, there is no direct threat” Bozinovic said, adding that Croatia had stepped up control of migrations. He also underscored a rise in the number of arrests of migrants’ smugglers as a result of both higher pressure from migratory routes and improved efficiency of law enforcement authorities. The minister commented on Croatia’s obligation to integrate migrants relocated from Greece, Turkey and Italy.

“Some 252 people have been integrated in Croatia under that scheme, and the process is going on well” Bozinovic said, recalling that the government assumed that duty in 2015.

 

Republic of North Macedonia

 

Тusk-Zaev: The country has done its share, now EU leaders should do their share (Nezavisen vesnik)

 

North Macedonia has already done its share, and now EU leaders should do their share, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said at the joint press conference with PM Zoran Zaev.

“Skopje is the best possible place where I would like to appeal to the leaders of the European Union: Now you do your share. Because North Macedonia has already done its share. Your country, within the last two years, has done everything that was expected of you for the EU to be able to launch the negotiations in line with the European Commission’s recommendation. Together we have withstood one of the biggest migration crises that Europe has faced since the Second World War. It was for all of us a very difficult and demanding test of responsibility and effectiveness of action. Your country passed this test better than many EU Member States. You have also found a solution to the dramatic political crisis in your country. A solution based on democratic principles, decency and common sense. And through your Friendship Treaty with Bulgaria and the Prespa Agreement with Greece, you have become champions of political rationalism and political maturity in your region. These achievements are truly impressive, internationally recognized and should not be wasted by the EU,” Tusk said.

When the EU leaders met in June, three months ago, they committed to deliver a “clear and substantive” decision – in October – on whether to open accession talks with North Macedonia, he added.

 

“I expressed my personal views clearly back in June: your country, within the last two years, has done everything that was expected of you for the EU to be able to launch the negotiations in line with the European Commission’s recommendation. That continues to be my strong conviction. Your country has done everything. That is also why I came to North Macedonia today. I wish to make it crystal clear: there is no doubt in Brussels about your political commitment to the rule of law and to fighting corruption,” Tusk noted, adding that of course, anybody can at anytime and anywhere do more, especially when it comes to implementation. But we know very well that your government is determined and consistent in this, also as regards the continuation of the work of the Special Prosecutor’s Office.

 

Zaev expressed gratitude to Tusk for the support and assistance during his overall five-year term of office. “In the period until the upcoming session of the European Council, let us crown this mutual friendship and support with a joint historical success in October. Joint because it is joint interest of both North Macedonia and EU. This is a period of greatest importance for achievement of the strategic goals of our country with a long term and substantial significance for our citizens,” Zaev said at the press conference.

 

After 10 positive recommendations from the EC, the optimistic conclusions of the Council in 2018 and 2019 and the results that we created we are more and more convinced that we are prepared to tackle all challenges brought by accession negotiation process, Zaev added.

 

“Our expectations and ambitions for the council of the EU on 15 of October and European Council on 17 and 18 of October are the adoption of a decision for the opening negotiations for accession without further ado. Tusk will chair this historical session for us of the European Council where the EU member states should confirm this decision and that is why I had informed him in detail about all efforts we have made in the past two and half and also in the past 15 years as a country candidate for membership in the EU that expects to initiate negotiations,” PM Zaev said.

 

“By initiation of the accession negotiations, we enter a deep and a long transformational journey towards the aim – membership in the EU. This process has been undoubtedly proven to be a necessary tool that will generate positive and successful stories in countries candidates,” said Zaev.

 

Albania

 

Tusk: Albania’s integration in the interest of all member states (Radio Tirana)

Prime Minister Edi Rama and EC President Donald Tusk held a joint press conference at the conclusion of the meeting. Rama assessed the senior Brussels official as an EU enlargement lawyer, awarding him the Medal of Public Gratitude. For his part, Tusk called for the European Union to open negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. He stated that Albania’s integration is in the interest of all member states. “Without the integration of Albania and the Balkan countries there is no security. That means no one is doing anyone any favors” Tusk said.

The EC president said he wanted all countries in the region to pursue the European dream.

“Today, thanks to your efforts, we have approached this goal. No one should have any more doubts about it” Tusk was quoted as saying.

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