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Belgrade Media Report 5 December 2019

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Thursday 5 December 2019

LOCAL PRESS

• Putin: Serbia will be supplied with gas (Beta)
• Vucic: Military-technical cooperation is excellent (RTS)
• Palmer: US wants normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations; Serbia’s reliance on Russian army is not good for its progress (N1)
• Vucic: Pristina obstructs talks and dialogue (RTS)
• Djuric on Todosijevic verdict: All rights of Serbs in Kosovo are suspended (Tanjug)
• Dacic: Belgrade expects the international community to influence the new Pristina authorities to abolish taxes (RTS)
• Borrell: I want to go to Kosovo and Serbia, but not before new gov’t is formed in Pristina (Beta)
• Macron: Opening of chapters doesn’t improve life in Serbia (RTS)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina
• PIC SB completes its two-day session, discusses situation at local level, migrant crisis (N1)
• Dodik: PIC is body that is not stipulated by DPA so commenting on its Communiqué is out of place; Migrant crisis is not issue that PIC should be dealing with (ATV)
• HR Inzko: Certainly Mr. Dodik from Laktasi is not one who will interpret DPA (BHT1)
• Palmer, Sattler, Inzko and Kavalec meet with Izetbegovic and Covic to discuss situation in Mostar (Hayat)
• Members of B&H Presidency start two-day official visit to Slovenia, meet Slovenian President Borut Pahor (BHT1)
• NATO Summit ends in London; NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Appathurai: NATO is not imposing anything on B&H (Nezavisne novine)
Croatia
• Twelve potential Croatian presidential candidates submit nominations (TCN)
Montenegro
• Markovic: Montenegro is in the place where it can contribute to peace and stability (CDM)
Republic of North Macedonia
• Xhaferi forwards VMRO proposal for a quick NATO vote to the Government (Republika)
Albania
• President Meta in Kosovo, praises the aid given by Kosovo’s authorities (Radio Tirana)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Putin: Serbia will be supplied with gas (Beta)

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on Dec. 4 that Serbia would be supplied with gas, in any event and via any route, even if Russia were not to reach the agreement with Ukraine about gas transit into Europe. “We discussed the increase in gas deliveries to Serbia” Putin said in Sochi after the meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, congratulating him on Serbia’s economic growth. “The issue that we are considering is whether we can

supply larger quantities of gas without transit through Ukraine” he said. Putin added that Serbia’s participation in the Turkish Stream was being considered with Balkan and European partners. He said the segment of the pipeline from Bulgaria to the border with Hungary was “almost complete” that 90 percent of piping had been laid and that the issue of pumping stations was nearing a solution, i.e. that “it is a matter of several weeks.”

 

Vucic: Military-technical cooperation is excellent (RTS)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic assessed that military-technical cooperation with Russia is excellent and added that Serbia has bought “many powerful and good things from Russia”. “The last time I was at the Victory Parade in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin advised me what to buy. I listened to that advice, and that should come to us in Serbia” he said. Serbia ordered four Mi-35M helicopters from Russia last year and the helicopters were delivered to Belgrade two days ago. Vucic added that Serbia would continue to equip its army in line with its financial capabilities, but just before leaving Sochi, he said that reorganization instead of buying new weapons would be a priority now. Putin said that Russia is also helping to strengthen Serbia’s defense capabilities and that there is a modern humanitarian center in Nis that helps to remedy the effects of natural disasters and emergencies.

 

Palmer: US wants normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations; Serbia’s reliance on Russian army is not good for its progress (N1)

The US State Department envoy for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer told N1 on Wednesday that Washington wants to see a full normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, including mutual recognition. If they recognize each other they could resolve disputes as neighbors” Palmer said.   Palmer said that Belgrade and Pristina need to sit down, reach an agreement and draw their route to a European future together adding that they need to see what compromises are needed.   They need an agreement which the public on both sides will accept and support as the best way forward. He warned that the agreement has to be implementable, just and long-lasting. Palmer said that the Western Balkans continue to be a priority in American foreign policy, adding that Washington wants the region to view the US and European Union as the partners they chose themselves.

 

He refused to comment a recent Pentagon report about Russia’s influence in Serbia, saying that the US sees itself as a partner to all the countries of the region. According to Palmer, Washington is a better partner than Russia. He said Serbia’s reliance on the Russian military is not good for progress. Palmer said that the US has close military cooperation with Serbia and will continue to work to deepen that cooperation. Palmer said he thinks the US “is better partner for all in the Western Balkans than Russia” and will do everything to make it clear to leaders and citizens of the region.

 

Vucic: Pristina obstructs talks and dialogue (RTS)

“We do not need the recognition of Pristina, I expect normalization, but Pristina obstructs talks and dialogue” said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic after the opening of works on the Moravian highway. He reminded that Belgrade is always ready to resume talks on KiM with Albanian side as soon as they abolish the taxes. This is how the Presedent Vucic responded when asked by journalists to commented on Matthew Palmer‘s statement that the US wants to see a full normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations with mutual recognition. “We do not long for their recognition. It would be good if we continued the talks, although I am not too optimistic” Vucic said. The president also said that we are always ready to talk if they abolish the taxes and said: “They know the way, then come and start talking.”

 

Vucic called it frightening that Ivan Todosijevic was sentenced to two years in prison for saying that the crime in Racak was fabricated, and said that he himself repeats that it was a fabricated crime and asked if they are going to sentence all of us? “All members of the Serb List will repeat the same thing, and I repeat, the crime in Racak was fabricated, everything was falsified by that scammer, a scammer (The Kosovo Verification Mission – OSCE mission head William) Walker” Vucic said.

 

Djuric on Todosijevic verdict: All rights of Serbs in Kosovo are suspended (Tanjug)

Albanian chauvinists officially suspended all rights of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija to freedom of thought and speech, by sentencing Ivan Todosijevic to two years in prison for saying, based on historical facts, what every Serb knows and feels, the Director of the Offices for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric said. Marko Djuric said that Ivan Todosijevic officially became a victim of the apartheid, because of his boldness to speak the truth, and that the state of Serbia will give him every form of protection against the persecution.

“We are all Ivan Todosijevic! What he said bothers them, because of their fake state, which like a house of cards rests on lies and concealing of crimes, and that is why they are panicky afraid of any voices of the truth” Djuric said. He adds that no one can force the Serbian people, with court rulings and decrees, to close their eyes. “No one can force, with their judgments and decrees, Serbian people to accept fabricated interpretations of the past, close their eyes to the irrefutable truths regarding fabricated crime against civilians in Racak and agree to the cover up of crimes committed by the KLA terrorists” Djuric said. He points out that the Pristina judiciary has inflicted unprecedented damage on the reconciliation process in Kosovo and Metohija, by putting itself openly in the service of the chauvinist campaign against the entire Serbian people in the province. “I urge the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija to continue to talk as boldly and truthfully as they have, about the KLA crimes and the fact that Western intelligence services and their propaganda machinery have created a false image of the events in Racak, to give the NATO a reason for war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia” Djuric said in a statement. Djuric send a message to Pristina, that they will never succeed to break the will of Serbs to survive in Kosovo and Metohija. “Don’t hope to break the will of the Serbs to survive in Kosovo and Metohija by imprisoning their political leaders, and by unlawful rulings. Serbia and the Serbian people are only further strengthened in their determination to resist the Nazification of the society in our southern province” concluded the Director of the KiM Office.

The Basic Court in Pristina sentenced Ivan Todosijevic, a former minister of administration and local self-government in the Kosovo government, to two years in prison for alleged incitement to national, racial, religious hatred, unrest or intolerance.

 

Dacic: Belgrade expects the international community to influence the new Pristina authorities to abolish taxes (RTS)

In his address at the 26th OSCE Ministerial Summit in Bratislava, Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said that the official Belgrade expects the international community to influence the new Pristina authorities to abolish 100 percent increased taxes on products from central Serbia and return to dialogue. Dacic said that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, as the only way to resolve problems in the province, had been “blocked for more than a year”. Pristina’s politicians, Dacic noted, by their irresponsible, unilateral moves, such as the introduction of 100 per cent taxes on goods from central Serbia, not only threatened the survival and rights of the Serb community in Kosovo, violate the regional CEFTA Free Trade Agreement, but also make a compromise and a viable solution, with which neither side would feel victorious or defeated, impossible to reach.

“In order to find such a solution, we expect the international community to influence new Pristina authorities to abolish this unilateral measure and in good faith return to dialogue as the only way to solve problems in the province” Dacic said.

 

Talking about the situation in the region, Dacic said that the Western Balkans is deeply disappointed at the moment, not only by the slowdown, but by the stalled EU enlargement process. He assessed that this situation sends a bad message to the countries of the region and favors the strengthening of radicalism as well as the strengthening of unilateralism in solving mutual problems. “I deeply believe that it is only through compromise, flexibility and willingness to take into account the interests of others, not just our own, that sustainable solutions can be found for the problems that are present in the region” Dacic concluded.

 

Borrell: I want to go to Kosovo and Serbia, but not before new gov’t is formed in Pristina (Beta)

EU High Representative Josep Borrell stated on Dec. 4 that the Western Balkans must remain at the top of the political agenda of the European Union, stressing that the region’s European prospects cannot be closed or changed. During his address and talks with members of the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, Borrell said that, for this reason, the Zagreb summit EU-Western Balkans in May next year has to be prepared well, and that he was “strongly dedicated to the Western Balkans’ European prospects.” He reiterated that he wanted to go to Kosovo and Serbia soon, but that he saw no point in visiting Kosovo before the new government was formed there. Borrell reiterated his view that the lessons from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia and the consequences it brought about were still valid, and that “we must not deny the European prospects of the Balkans.”

 

Macron: Opening of chapters doesn’t improve life in Serbia (RTS)

Emmanuel Macron, the French President, reiterated on Thursday his opposition to the opening of new chapters in the accession negotiations between the candidate countries and the European Union before the reform of the process itself, describing the current one as too bureaucratic and non-relevant, RTS reported. Stating Serbia as an example, Macron asked: “Does the opening of the chapters improve life in Serbia? I would say – no. That’s why the whole process should be reconsidered.”

During the NATO Summit in London, he advocated more EU investments in education, culture and economy in the Western Balkans. “I was in Serbia in July and said there the skyscrapers that are constructed in Belgrade are not the European investments.” He added that the enlargement policy could be reformed before the EU Summit in Zagreb in May next year.

Macron said the “EU made a collective mistake declaring the EU membership as our only relationship with the Western Balkans.” According to him, the process should be more political and followed by a strategic partnership which would allow more investments. Macron said Paris was not the single opponent within the EU regarding a starting date for EU talks with Skopje and Tirana, but added he would take all the blame if that would be easier for the others. However, Macron said, that “the ultimate goal is to link the Western Balkans to Europe firmly. We know it’s a geopolitical challenge to avoid the intervention of other countries, destabilization that is a risk for both the region and Europe. Some may see that link as the EU membership, but it should be clear that it means a strategic partnership and more investments.” “Many say let’s open negotiations now because we know they won’t be over in less than ten years. But that means we are playing with a whole generation if we say we’re opening the negotiations that will never end. Europe has done that with Turkey, and it is going on for 40 years. That’s bad politics” Macron said.

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

PIC SB completes its two-day session, discusses situation at local level, migrant crisis (N1)

The Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB) Political Directors met in Sarajevo on December 3-4, 2019 to review the process of implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP), which remains the basis for a stable, secure and prosperous Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). The PIC SB welcomed the nomination of the new Chairman of the B&H Council of Ministers (B&H CoM), Zoran Tegeltija, along with the decision adopted by the B&H Presidency regarding the submission of the Program of Reforms of B&H to NATO. The PIC SB expects that, with the unblocking of the formation of the B&H CoM, the B&H Parliament will start working, thus accelerating the pace of reforms, including fundamental reforms upon which the EU will take a decision regarding B&H’s next steps. The PIC SB recalled specifically the provisions of the GFAP under which the entities are obliged to comply with the decisions of B&H institutions and to provide the necessary assistance to the government to enable it to honor the international obligations of B&H. Functionality of the state-level institutions should be enhanced, rather than undermined. In this respect, the PIC SB recalled its statement of November 13 concerning the Conclusions adopted by the Republika Srpska (RS) National Assembly (RSNA). “The interests of all levels of government are best served not by rolling-back essential reforms, but by, implementing forward-looking reforms that support and strengthen the security, stability and prosperity of B&H and promote local ownership. The conclusion seeking to criminalize violations of the RSNA positions would violate basic standards of democracy by exerting extreme pressure on officials from the territory of the RS and constitute a direct attack on the autonomy and independence of state-level officials, in violation of the Constitution of B&H”, it was stated in the Steering Board’s communique.

 

The PIC SB discussed the management of migration and border security, as exclusive competencies of the state, from an institutional perspective in the presence of Directors of the B&H Border Police and the B&H Service for Foreigners’ Affairs, Zoran Galic and Slobodan Ujic respectively, underlining the need to support state-level authorities to perform their duties. The PIC SB emphasized the necessity for strengthened cooperation among all levels of authority in B&H, including sharing the burden of hosting migrants. It called on political leadership to take responsibility and provide sufficient budget and tools to help the state agencies improve their effectiveness in addressing migration-related problems, including border management. “Some of the information we have received is shocking. Mister Galic cannot fill 500 positions in the Border Police, so now we have one person on every 25 kilometers of the border; how can they secure the border then?” High Representative (HR) Valentin Inzko asked. “We spoke about budget issues as well and Mister Ujic informed us about the treatment of foreigners…” he concluded.

 

The Russian Embassy does not support the communique issued on Wednesday, saying that the document is biased and does not contribute to the improvement of the internal political dialogue in B&H. The Embassy officials do not see any problem with the RSNA’s conclusions either.

Statement issued by the Russian Embassy to B&H reads that Russia’s partners in the PIC Steering Board “did not find the courage to qualify the declaration adopted at the Congress of SDA on September 14 the way it should be qualified, believing that it is better not to say anything about this anti-Dayton act, the one actually caused the reaction from the RS”. “We cannot accept artificial aspiration towards centralization and unitarization of the state, which is in collision with the Constitutional logic and the will of peoples in B&H” reads the statement issued by the Russian Embassy.

 

Dodik: PIC is body that is not stipulated by DPA so commenting on its Communiqué is out of place; Migrant crisis is not issue that PIC should be dealing with (ATV)

Asked to comment on the Communiqué adopted by the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC SB), Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Milorad Dodik told Srna news agency on Wednesday that PIC is a body that is not stipulated by the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA) and that there is no legal basis for its existence. Dodik noted that commenting its Communiqué is thus out of place. Dodik stated: “The Republika Srpska (RS) National Assembly (RSNA) did not adopt conclusions that would be binding for the PIC or seek their stance. However, I cannot help but notice that they (PIC) have not qualified them (RSNA’s conclusions) as anti-Dayton or unconstitutional, either.” Dodik pointed out that the High Representative is stipulated by the Annex 10 of the DPA, but not for dealing with internal issues in B&H. The B&H Presidency member stressed that the High Representative should not deal with the issues that do not refer to the implementation of the DPA. When it comes to the fact that High Representative Valentin Inzko stated that the entire country is responsible for dealing with the issue of migrants, the B&H Presidency member assessed that “the migrant crisis is certainly not an issue that PIC should be dealing with, especially not in a way they did today”. Dodik added that Inzko’s statement about Serbs in Austria represents an “absolutely inappropriate comparison”.

 

HR Inzko: Certainly Mr. Dodik from Laktasi is not one who will interpret DPA (BHT1)

High Representative Valentin Inzko discussed the current issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) following the two-day session of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB). Asked to comment the fact that Serb member of the B&H Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik practically declared the OHR and PIC as non-Dayton categories and said that the OHR and PIC are not necessary for him to interpret the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) Inzko said that “certainly, Mr. Dodik from Laktasi is not the one who will interpret the DPA.” “The DPA has different chapters. For example, Annex 4 is the Constitution, then Annex 7 is return of refugees, while Annex 10 is the High Representative. Annex 10 was signed by both (late Serbian President Slobodan) Milosevic and (late Croatian) President (Franjo) Tudjman, but also by the then President of Republika Srpska (RS) Nikola Koljevic. They asked for the Office of the High Representative to be founded and now they allegedly would want that to no longer exist. But, one should comply with what one signed. The best, or the most that they can do for that Office to no longer exist is to cooperate, fulfill the ‘5+2’ agenda and then the international community would asses that the time has come to close down that Office” Inzko said. Inzko underlined that the High Representative is the only interpreter of the DPA, “and no one else.”

 

Palmer, Sattler, Inzko and Kavalec meet with Izetbegovic and Covic to discuss situation in Mostar (Hayat)

US Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer, US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Eric Nelson, Head of the EU Delegation to B&H Johann Sattler, High Representative Valentin Inzko, Head of the OSCE Mission to B&H Kathleen Kavalec and Chargé d’Affairs at the UK Embassy to B&H Ruth Wiseman met on Wednesday with leader of SDA Bakir Izetbegovic and leader of HDZ B&H Dragan Covic to discuss issue of Mostar, i.e. failure to hold local elections in Mostar. Participants of this meeting agreed that citizens of Mostar have been deprived of the right to vote for too long and that it is necessary to conduct urgent measures in order to enable them to vote in local elections in 2020. Representatives of the international community (IC) expressed preparedness to support initiatives launched at local level and aimed to reach a compromise solution.

 

The US Embassy to B&H issued a press release on Wednesday according to which Palmer and representatives of the international community (IC) in B&H met with Izetbegovic and Covic to discuss the need for elections in Mostar. The statement reads: “The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) made clear in its ruling on Mostar elections that the responsibility to resolve this impasse falls on the parliament.  As two of the parties with significant representation in parliament and with a strong base in Mostar, SDA and HDZ B&H have a particularly important role to play in finding a politically acceptable solution that can be written into legislation before the 2020 elections are called in May.”

 

HR Inzko said that the elections in Mostar should be viewed separately from the changes that are to be implemented in the Election Law and that the elections should take place ahead of the changes. “We have said that there are issues surrounding the Election Law. This is clear. This is no secret. There are certain wishes of HDZ B&H. They want the Election Law to be changed. We believe this can be done in parallel while Mostar is being addressed, which is important and urgent. The Election Law is also important, but we have a little more time” Inzko said.

 

Members of B&H Presidency start two-day official visit to Slovenia, meet Slovenian President Borut Pahor (BHT1)

Members of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Zeljko Komsic, Sefik Dzaferovic and Milorad Dodik are paying an official visit to Slovenia. B&H Presidency members met with Slovenian President Borut Pahor with whom they agreed a new initiative towards the EU. B&H Presidency members and the Slovenian President discussed the current political situation in B&H, Slovenia and countries in the region, as well as the migrant crisis and Croatia’s intention to dispose of nuclear waste on the location of Trgovska Gora. “We came to a conclusion – and we are glad that it is as such – to intervene, if necessary together, towards the institutions of the EU, the European Commission (EC), the new EC, in order to solve the issue of migrations in a satisfactory manner, in a way to solve them where they occur” Komsic underlined.

 

Dodik said that “the EU is trying to help in the sense of remittance of money and direction of policies that need to be conducted there.” “I want to say that we do not want money for those kinds of things, just like we do not need migrants and that this needs to be solved in a different way and not with an attempt to station (migrants) in B&H,” Dodik underlined. Pahor stressed that he supports enlargement of the EU to the Western Balkans and that Slovenia especially supports B&H. Dzaferovic stressed that the most important thing from Wednesday’s meeting is the issue of initiative which was launched at the meeting and which will be forwarded to the new EC. “To immediately, at the start of work of the new EC, to put the issue of membership of the Western Balkan countries in the EU into focus of the EC as soon as possible” Dzaferovic underlined.

 

B&H Presidency members and the Slovenian President also discussed the ‘Little Schengen’, welcoming the initiative, but stressing that it cannot serve as replacement for the European path of B&H. Pahor emphasized that B&H is a key country when it comes to the EU integration. The President of Slovenia reminded that North Macedonia implemented significant reforms and fulfilled all the EU’s conditions, adding that it did not get green light for beginning of the EU accession talks. “In March we will get opportunity to correct this mistake if we want to preserve our credibility” said Pahor. He expressed hope the EU policy will understand the position of B&H.

 

Dodik underlined that there is no consensus on the NATO membership of B&H, reiterating that Republika Srpska (RS) will not give its consent for the membership but rather abide by its stance on military neutrality. Dodik said that he expects from the EU to prevent migrants from reaching B&H. “I am grateful to President Pahor for the understanding that this issue should be solved jointly, primarily to direct it towards the beginning of genesis and the crisis itself, which is at the entry to the EU. I think it is necessary to insist on dealing with that issue. A humanitarian crisis related to migrants is difficult and it is in the focus of attention of many media. The EU is trying to help in a sense of allocating funds and directing policies applied there. I want to say that we do not need funds for this kind of situation, but we also do not need the migrants. That should be solved in a different way, rather than by attempting to place them in B&H”, Dodik presented his opinion. As for the issue of Trgovska Gora, Pahor reminded that Slovenia proposed a solution for disposal of nuclear waste to a location close to ‘Krsko’, but that Croatia insists on its location. “We are aware of the fact that the location of Trgovska Gora is disputable for B&H” he added.

 

Komsic confirmed that women and children from Syria will be deported to B&H soon. “Those are women and children of people who are former fighters on the foreign battlegrounds in Syria”, Komsic explained, adding that these women and children will mainly be reunited with their families who remained in B&H. Komsic added that “this is a matter of a human need to take care of our citizens”. He assured the citizens that B&H agencies are working in coordination and cooperation with friendly countries and agencies on a detailed monitoring of this process. Pahor thanked the B&H Presidency members for the information about the deportation, and confirmed that they agreed for the two countries’ intelligence services to exchange all the necessary data to prevent possible incidents that could cause fear among citizens, including those in Slovenia.

 

NATO Summit ends in London; NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Appathurai: NATO is not imposing anything on B&H (Nezavisne novine)

The NATO Summit ended in London on Wednesday with the adoption of declaration which reads – among other things – that the Alliance remains open for new members. “We are committed to open door policy, which strengthens the Alliance and has brought security to millions of Europeans. North Macedonia is here with us today and will soon be our newest Ally. We are committed to the success of all our operations and missions”, reads the Declaration adopted by heads of state and heads of government of 29 NATO Member States. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference after the Summit that NATO believes North Macedonia’s membership is good not only for the country, but for the entire region as well.

 

NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs James Appathurai told reporters after the Summit that NATO’s interest in the Western Balkans has increased significantly over the past several years, mainly because of Russia’s and China’s activities in the region. Daily’s reporter asked Appathurai to comment on Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Program of Reforms and say if this document actually represents the Annual National Program (ANP) within the Membership Action Plan (MAP); Appathurai responded by saying that the most important thing for NATO is the fact that the document will enable continuation of reforms in the sector of defense, which he referred to as to one of the most successful reforms in B&H. “We welcome the fact that some sort of solution has been found with regards to this issue. Furthermore, this program gives us the basis to provide additional support in the fields identified by B&H as those that should be reformed” said Appathurai. He underlined that NATO wants to make it clear that nothing is being imposed on B&H, and that it is all about providing technical support in sectors marked as priority by B&H. “Also, we are glad that submission of this document has enabled formation of new authorities, but it has never been NATO’s condition” Appathurai concluded.

 

Talking about the region of Western Balkans, Appathurai said that NATO will continue paying significant attention to the region, and underlined that Serbia has the right to make partnership with whomever it wants. “We respect sovereign decisions made by countries, regardless of whether those decisions are of political or economic nature. We want to emphasize that we want to be active in the region to help promotion of reforms and to assist to Euro-Atlantic future of countries that want us to do that”, he concluded. Asked to comment on Serbia’s decision on military neutrality, Appathurai briefly said that countries which decide to remain neutral would have to allocate much more money for defense than those which are members of some alliance. The Declaration adopted at the end of the Summit in London also reads that NATO is faced with threats coming from Russia and China, and underlines the NATO Member States’ commitment to fight against terrorism, and especially the Islamic State.

 

Croatia

 

Twelve potential Croatian presidential candidates submit nominations (TCN)

The State Electoral Commission of Croatia has received 12 potential presidential nominations, while the official list of candidates will be disclosed no later than Dec. 6. Among those who are hoping to run in the election are incumbent President and candidate of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, and Social Democratic Party candidate and former prime minister Zoran Milanovic. Out of the hopefuls likely to become presidential candidates, nominations were also submitted by singer Miroslav Skoro, who is backed by right-wing parties, and MEP and former Zagreb Commercial Court judge Mislav Kolakusic. All who wished to submit their nomination had to gather at least 10,000 signatures within 12 days. The sixth presidential election in Croatia will be held on Dec. 22, and if a new president is not elected in the first round, the runoff will be held on Jan. 5, 2020.

 

Montenegro

 

Markovic: Montenegro is in the place where it can contribute to peace and stability (CDM)

Montenegro is in the place where it can contribute to peace and stability, said president of Montenegro’s Government, Dusko Markovic, who is attending NATO Summit in London.

Prime Minister said that meeting leaders of ally countries was a great opportunity for Montenegro to confirm its NATO membership, which is crucial to our security. Markovic says that the Summit is a confirmation of the power of union and solidarity of its members.

“Decisions made at the Summit today encourage and improve NATO policies and its ability to counter threats. NATO’s commitment when it comes to Western Balkans is clear. The attendance of North Macedonia proves it” says Prime Minister. Markovic says this was a great opportunity for Montenegro to reiterate that it supports NATO and cherishes its values. “NATO is important for security of the region and our country. Cooperation between Montenegro and NATO is very comprehensive. This was a very successful Summit that conveyed messages of unity, power and solidarity” pointed out Markovic. President of the Government confirmed that messages conveyed by French president, Emmanuel Macron, were also discussed at the Summit. “We should work on strengthening NATO. Macron himself agreed” said Markovic.

China’s progress was also one of the topics discussed at the Summit. “China is a chance and a challenge for Montenegro and the Alliance as a whole. We should do our best to understand China as much as we can” says PM.

 

Republic of North Macedonia

 

Xhaferi forwards VMRO proposal for a quick NATO vote to the Government (Republika)

Speaker Talat Xhaferi forwarded the proposal from the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party to hold a vote on ratifying Macedonia’s NATO accession protocol to the Government. VMRO is proposing that the vote is held now, without waiting for Spain to complete the final ratification of the protocol, as any delays due to the Spanish political crisis could then affect Macedonia’s early general elections scheduled for April 12th 2020. The Parliament is supposed to be dissolved on February 11th, and if Spain ratifies the protocol after this date, Macedonia will not have a Parliament to complete the process at least until after the elections on April 12th. Outgoing Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, whose SDSM party is trailing in the polls in light of its many corruption scandals and the failure to open EU accession talks, has used this prospect as a reason why the elections may have to be postponed. VMRO cites the example of Montenegro, which completed its NATO ratification protocol ahead of several member states as proof that there is no need to wait for Spain and put the elections in jeopardy.

 

Albania

 

President Meta in Kosovo, praises the aid given by Kosovo’s authorities (Radio Tirana)

The President of the Republic of Albania, Ilir Meta was in Prishtina, and met with the leader of Vetevendosja Albin Kurti and LDK leader Isa Mustafa. Meta thanked them for the solidarity shown and concrete assistance in supporting the families affected by the 26 November earthquake.

“I thank the Chairman of Vetevendosja Albin Kurti, and the Chairman of the Democratic League of Kosovo, Mr. Isa Mustafa, for the solidarity they have shown and the concrete assistance they have provided in supporting the families affected by the 26 November earthquake. As winners of the parliamentary elections, I wish them success in their partnership for the creation of new governing institutions. Kosovo has every opportunity to be an example of good governance in our region” said Meta.

The president of Albania presented decorations to the members of the Kosovo Security Forces (KSF) Search and Rescue unit for their efforts following the recent earthquake in his country. President Meta told a ceremony at the Kosovo Defense Ministry that the Order of the Golden Eagle was presented for helping save victims of the earthquake which he said united all Albanians. “Albania was not left alone. Our partners helped but Kosovo was the first country to come help save many lives” he said. Meta said decorations would also be presented to the Kosovo Police, the power company, firefighters from Suva Reka and rescue teams from Trepca and Novo Brdo. A total of 51 people died and some 3,000 were injured in the November 26 earthquake in Albania which left thousands homeless.

 

 

 

 

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Belgrade Media Report 17 January 2020

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