Vucic: I will not be dividing our people any further (Tanjug/RTS/Beta)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke on Wednesday about the Freedom of Religion Law in Montenegro to say that the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) is the only canonically recognized Church in Montenegro. Asked if there is hope for the Serbs and our Church in Montenegro, whether the controversial proposal of the law on church property would be withdrawn, and what awaits us if the law is passed in this form – the president said that he had approached Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic in the best possible, human way to expressed his concerns about the law. “We have no right to interfere, certainly not in a direct way. I have expressed my concern to Djukanovic, he views things differently. Our view of passing that law is different, but it is happening in the country where he is president. I have to respect the rights of another state, and it is my duty to show concern for the survival of the Serbian people and the church”, Vucic said in Vrdnik. He recalled that he must take into account respecting the rights of another state, but, on the other hand, to always show concern for the survival of the Serb people and the SPC. He pointed out that some people deliberately wanted to misinterpret a statement by which he gave his point of view on the issue from two angles: “I said that Dedeic and the Montenegrin Orthodox Church were formed as a non-governmental organization before 2006, and it is clear that the only canonically recognized (Church) is the SPC. Some tried to abuse that (statement),” Vucic said. He said he would not respond to Bishop Amfilohije’s insults with insults, nor does he want to be dividing our people in Montenegro. “However, I can say a lot about the results in Montenegro and in Kosovo and Metohija both of Amfilohije and those he supported,” remarked the president and recalled that during the rule of those praised by Amfilohije a pogrom of the Serb people took place in Kosovo and Metohija, that independence of so-called Kosovo was declared during the same time, while today there are 17 countries who have withdrawn their recognition of Kosovo. “If this policy is not better than the one before, if the policy that took Montenegro away is better than today’s policy of respect for Montenegro, and which is not guilty of the previous one, then I don’t know… I won’t respond to insults with insults.” concluded President Vucic.
Brnabic: We need to talk to the government of Montenegro (RTS)
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Tuesday, responding to a question about the draft Law on Religious Freedom in Montenegro, that we need to be smart and thoughtful and talk to the government of Montenegro to prevent the situation from escalating further, so that the interests of the Serbs in that country and of the SPC are protected. On a visit to the Radar Center near Valjevo, she spoke about the controversial law that Montenegrin members of parliament will vote on Thursday, saying that it was important to remain composed and not make inflammatory statements. “The situation is thankless, whatever we do it will be as if we were meddling in the internal affairs of Montenegro,” said Brnabic.
Patriarch Irinej: Stand to be defended in parliament not on the street (RTS/Vijesti)
The Belgrade Patriarchate and Bishop of Budimlje-Niksic Joanikije have denied the claims by the leaders of the opposition Democratic Front that they have the blessing of the Serbian Patriarch for gathering believers in front of the building of the Montenegrin parliament as a sing of protest against the adoption of the Law on Freedom of Religion. The Secretary of the Belgrade Patriarchy, deacon Aleksandar Prascevic, told Vijesti that Serbian Patriarch Irinej had blessed the stand to defend the stand in the parliament and not on the street. Bishop Joanikije underlined that everything is being done in agreement with Bishop Amfilohije. He adds that he is not preventing anyone from expressing free will and that he is not interfering in this.
Communique of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church (spc.rs)
As regards the latest developments in Montenegro relating to the announced adoption of the draft Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Legal Status of Religious Communities, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church hereby expresses its support to the archbishops, clergy, monasticism and faithful people of the dioceses: Montenegro and the Littoral, Budimlje-Niksic, Mileseva and Zahumlje-Herzegovina, to continue defending their religious rights in Montenegro, encouraged by the power of the Holy Spirit and the prayerful representation of the saints of our own kin. As already stated in the official statement of the Holy Assembly of Bishops, we now reiterate that we are against the draft Law by which representatives of the authorities in Montenegro want to forcibly take away churches and monasteries and the belonging properties from the Metropolitanate and Dioceses of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and whose provisions would abolish the inalienable right of every individual to freedom of religion and conscience. Bearing in mind all the consequences of adopting such a Law, we appeal to the members of the Parliament of Montenegro to listen to the voice of the bishops and the faithful of our Holy Church which has been unequivocally and clearly expressed at two church-people’s assemblies, and not to vote in favor of this draft Law. At the same time, we support the initiative proposed by His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral and sent to the Legislative Committee and the Parliament of Montenegro to withdraw the proposed Law from the parliamentary procedure, which would create conditions for the preparation of a new one that would be in accordance with the standards of modern democratic states and acceptable to the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Drecun: What’s most important for Serbs is to respect their election will (TV Pink/Tanjug)
The Chairman of the Committee for Kosovo and Metohija Milovan Drecun says that Pristina is always waiting for the last moment to form a government after elections, and that the same is happening now – but that the most important thing for the Serb people is to respect their will expressed in elections, and that is for the Serb List to represents them in all institutions.
Drecun told TV Pink that Albanian leaders’ “games are already tiresome” and that the biggest problem is Albin Kurti and his Self-Determination Movement, who want two key positions – of the president and the prime minister in Pristina. “We are interested in the attitude towards the Serb people and their will, which was expressed in elections where they made it clear that exclusively the Serb List can represent the Serb people in all institutions. If Kurti, or his potential coalition partner don’t respect that then the situation will be very bad and unacceptable to us,” he said. He added that such a situation would be unacceptable for the international community as well – for the second largest people in Kosovo and Metohija not to be represented in that new executive authority. “Kurti is slowly realizing that he cannot do what he intended, to completely eliminate the Serb List and annul the electoral will of the Serb people. He is slowly coming to rational political behavior that he will have to make some deal with the Serb List,” Drecun said.
He added that it will be interesting to see what the fate of Hashim Thaci will be and who will take over the dialogue with Belgrade. He said it would suit the international community for that role to be given to someone who is ready to immediately create conditions for the talks to continue. “The United States would like the process to be accelerated and completed next year. To come up with a solution for Kosovo and Metohija, but a solution that will not dispute their key position, that Kosovo is some sort of a state. According to Americans, the self-proclaimed statehood of Kosovo cannot be disputed,” says Drecun. He stresses that in the last few years Serbia has been making progress in every way, while that the self-proclaimed state of Kosovo has been falling behind. When it comes to the Little Schengen initiative Drecun says it marginalizes the Greater Albania project, while Serbia is thus making wise, bold moves that diminish the capacity of Albanian politicians.
Jeremic: Kosovo is issue of all issues (RTS)
People’s Party leader Vuk Jeremic said in a rare appearance on RTS on Wednesday that after the elections the issue of Kosovo will have its turn. He says this issue is most probably the issue of all issues not only for 2020, but further on as well. “What type of dictatorship will prevail in Serbia after these elections, whether the type of the dictatorship of Milo Djukanovic or the type of the dictatorship of Lukashenko, will depend from the way in which Aleksandar Vucic will treat Kosovo following these elections – whether he will sign or not the agreement that will take Kosovo to membership in the United Nations,” says Jeremic. He claims that Kosovo can become a UN member only with a Serbian signature and in no other way. He assesses that if Kosovo becomes a UN member there is nothing that can prevent two UN member states to unite. “Therefore, Albania and that Kosovo, which would be created this way, as a new UN member, these two states could and would certainly do this – they would unite into one state, into a ‘Greater Albania’,” said Jeremic. He wonders what would be the treatment of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), which would remain in the borders of this independent state, in this ‘Greater Albania’. To the comment that he is speaking about hypothetic situations, Jeremic responded: “Look at what is happening in Montenegro. You see in what kind of situation is the SPC in the brotherly Montenegro. What would be the situation of SPC in ‘Greater Albania’, which would be a direct consequence of delineation?” He says he is surprised with the conciliatory, almost complicit, attitude of the Belgrade authorities towards what is happening in Montenegro regarding the adoption of the Law on Freedom of Religion and the legal position of religious communities. Talking about the idea of a mini-Schengen, Jeremic says this way a single administrative space for accepting an enormous number of refugees from Turkey is being created if Turkish President Erdogan would decide to let them towards Europe. “If you negotiate such things, you need to seek the opinion of institutions that are competent for this. None of such opinions did the President of the Republic seek, because he would then be told that Holland launched this April a suspension of the visa-free regime of travel for Albanian citizens, and then stopped halfway. If Holland would launch again this and adopt it, this would have as a consequence the abolishment of a visa-free regime of travel for all signatories of this mini-Schengen, including Serbia,” claims Jeremic. Asked what is his plan for Kosovo, Jeremic said: “Absolute no to any kind of document that would have as a consequence Kosovo’s UN membership, while any kind of engagement with the Pristina authorities that would help normalization of living circumstances on the territory of the province, as well as the rest of Serbia, would be something we would be prepared to discuss.”
Decision on boycott definite
Jeremic that the decision to boycott the coming elections is definite with no chance of being changed. “The authorities will stand in the elections, the regime along with those who play the opposition…. There are no conditions for elections and nothing is going to change,” he said. He said that the goal of the boycott is to create normal living conditions. Jeremic asked the anchor why he was invited to appear on RTS. “I think you invited me to play at being normal and to show things as being normal in Serbia and in my opinion, things are not normal on the public broadcaster and in society,” he said. He added that what opposition leaders have to say will not be important once it reports the details of a sexual harassment case against a ruling party mayor, when journalist Milan Jovanovic whose home was burned to the ground because of his reporting and when whistleblower Aleksandar Obradovic who revealed dubious deals at the Krusik munitions plant appear on the RTS.
Tepic: Dacic took money from arms dealers to finance revoking of other countries’ recognitions of Kosovo (Beta)
Opposition MP Marinika Tepic on Tuesday accused Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic of taking money from business people and arms dealers to finance efforts to convince other countries to revoke their recognition of Kosovo. “Did Dacic abuse his official position by getting money to revoke recognition of Kosovo from prominent business people and arms dealers and did he take more than a million Euro in cash from (arms dealer) Slobodan Tesic alone,” Tepic, deputy leader of the Party of Freedom and Justice, told a news conference. “I hope that Dacic will think twice before trying to deny this after his recent attempt to deny that he had been warned by the United States when the US Embassy denied his claim and confirmed what I said,” Tepic said. She said that President Aleksandar Vucic had to have known about that and called him to provide answers to her questions. Tepic rejected the President’s claims that talking about scandals in the military industry was having a negative effect on those companies and was actually an attempt to destroy them. Foreign Minister’s cabinet chief Nikola Nedeljkovic called for an investigation into Tepic’s claims, adding that he would sue her over the claim of collecting money for the campaign to revoke recognition of Kosovo.
Serbian government proposes changes to law on local elections (N1)
The Serbian government wants the law on local elections changed to define the time frame to call those elections. Under current law, elections for local (municipal and city) councils have to be, at the latest, 30 days before the end of the term in office of the local councils. The law adds that the elections have to be held within a period of no less than 45 and no more than 60 days from the date that they were called. The government wants the law changed to say that local elections have to be called at least 45 days before the end of the term in office. A statement from the 24 December cabinet meeting said that the government feels that “the proposed solution allows for greater flexibility (than current solutions) in regard to setting the deadline to call elections (at least 45 days before the end of term in office of the local councilors) and in setting the date of local elections which can be useful and of practical importance in certain political circumstances”. Regular local elections in Serbia should be held in the first half of next year. The authorities have indicated that they would be held on the same date as parliamentary elections which President Aleksandar Vucic said would be held either on 26 April or 3 May.
Komsic urges Vucic to suspend national defense and security strategy of Serbia as it would undermine regional peace and stability; Dzaferovic warns of violation of sovereignty of B&H (N1/BHT1/Al Jazeera)
Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin presented on Wednesday the Proposal Defense and National Safety Strategy of Serbia to members of the Serbian Parliament, and there, preservation of B&H’s entity, the RS, was stated as Serbia’s “priority foreign policy issue”. The document caused strong reactions in B&H public. N1 reveals that the RS is mentioned on the fourth page of this document and the thirteenth page says Serbia’s goal is to preserve the RS within B&H in line with the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) and improve the status of Serbs in the region and the world. Minister Vulin said seven national interests were determined in this document: the preservation of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia; preservation of internal stability and safety of Serbia and its citizens; preservation of existence and protection of Serb people, where ever they might live; etc. Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic reacted calling the Strategy “a repacked version of late Slobodan Milosevic’s strategy”. B&H Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic reminded Serbia that some of the signatories of the DPA are members of the NATO. “They will soon arrive at the border near Drina River to prevent such Serbia’s fantasies. B&H should and will become a NATO member state primarily due to plans that come from Serbia which express aspirations towards part of territory of the sovereign state of B&H. If they, in Serbia, wish to give up on the Dayton Peace Agreement, they should say so, we will be glad to try and arrange things in B&H a bit differently”, Komsic said in his statement. Komsic urged on Wednesday Vucic to suspend the national defense and security strategy of Serbia, after it was presented at the session of the Serbian parliament in Belgrade on Tuesday. Komsic warned that adoption of this strategy would undermine regional peace and stability. Dzaferovic warned that the strategy represents a serious violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of B&H. Komsic underlined that adoption of the Strategy would represent undermining of regional peace and stability as well as introduction into new tensions in the Western Balkans. Komsic went on to saying that B&H needs and should become member of NATO exactly because of plans from Serbia expressing pretensions towards part of territory of sovereign country B&H. SDP B&H representative in the B&H House of Representatives (B&H HoR) Sasa Magazinovic said that no country is allowed to make decisions or “arrangements” in another country. He adds that Serbia exerts efforts to present itself to the world powers as a “stability factor in the region” but all the moves this country makes show otherwise. Magazinovic noted that if things were reversed, and a strategy was adopted in B&H which aims to arrange some parts of Serbia and meddle into its internal affairs, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic would immediately react and condemn such behavior.
Dodik reacts to comments of Dzaferovic and Komsic (ATV/RTRS/Srna)
Member of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik reacted to recent stances of members of the Presidency Zeljko Komsic and Sefik Dzaferovic regarding Proposal Strategy of Defense and National Security of Serbia presented in the parliament of Serbia. In a statement for Srna, Dodik stated that considering their rhetoric about Serbia and its leadership, it seems civic war that occurred in B&H during 1990s has never ended for Dzaferovic and Komsic. Dodik emphasized that Serbia is sovereign, independent and friendly country that has sovereign right to decide about all important issues for Serb people and Serb state. “We are extremely thankful to them for observing the RS as priority foreign policy issue”, emphasized Dodik. He emphasized that he cannot understand cause of hysteria in Sarajevo, adding that possible goal of it is to preserve need to deteriorate relations with B&H’s two most important neighbors: Serbia and Croatia. “The RS welcomes adoption of the Defense and National Safety Strategy of Serbia, since it will be a guarantee of stability on both sides of the Drina River, but also the stability of the region”, said Dodik in a statement for RTRS on Wednesday. He underlined that no one will be allowed to touch the RS which, he says, probably angers Komsic and Dzaferovic, as they believed “we are their loot for the taking”. Prior to this, Dodik made a statement for Srna and said that Komsic and Dzaferovic are still in war, which can be concluded from their statements about Serbia and its leadership. “We are grateful that the RS is a priority foreign policy issue for Serbia”, Dodik said and emphasized that Bosniak leaders should not use Serbia for their own goals, nor should they comment the country’s internal affairs.
Dzaferovic: Program of Reforms of B&H is first ANP for NATO (BNTV)
Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic stated that document Program of Reforms of B&H has been submitted to NATO. (NB: BN TV does not state when or where this statement was made) Commenting claims that there are two documents in the public, Dzaferovic said that he knows of one document which is in English and has textual and tabular part. Dzaferovic stressed that he will advocate for this document to be published on the official web site of the B&H Presidency. Asked what the Program of Reforms of B&H provides for and what it covers, Dzaferovic said that “it covers all those issues which, as a subject to reforms, a country that applied for the Membership Action Plan (MAP) should have.” He recalled that B&H back in 2009 applied for MAP. “That Plan was conditionally approved to B&H in 2010 at a summit in Tallinn – condition is related to registration of property. On 5 December 2018, B&H was asked to submit the first Annual National Program (ANP). That document is called the Program of Reforms of B&H and it contains all those issues which the country should process having in mind the current state of relation and cooperation with NATO. Those are economic-political issues, defense issues, those are security issues, issue of resources and legal issues,” Dzaferovic said.
SDS caucus in RS parliament demands entire text of Program of Reforms of B&H (BHT1)
Representatives of SDS caucus in the RS parliament have sent a request to RS parliament speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic to deliver them the entire text of the Program of Reforms of B&H. They sent the same request to the B&H Presidency. Meanwhile, PDP representatives in the RS parliament Drasko Stanivukovic and Jelena Trivic and SDS representative in the RS parliament Nebojsa Vukanovic were distributing the Program of Reforms of Ba7H to citizens outside the RS Presidential Palace in Banja Luka on Wednesday. They explained that the aim is to inform the public on the content of the document that was sent to the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Stanivukovic told reporters that the 10th, 13th, 15th and 17th page of this document mentions the Brcko District and the FB&H, while the RS is not mentioned anywhere, “when we talk about the entire document on 53 pages and 23 pages we got, as well as the version that refers to NATO”. “The name is not mentioned anywhere in the entire document, not even in the English version, the translated version, any kind of version or the false version we got,” Stanivukovic said. “We will highlight with markers parts (of the document) which precisely say that the goal of this document is integration into NATO, that the goal is Euro-Atlantic integration, that B&H is going there,” Stanivukovic said. “Focus is on NATO integration… People got support in the elections because of no to NATO. Today, in this document, there is yes to NATO,” Stanivukovic underlined.
Stanivukovic calls on Lukac to resign; Opposition to organize protests on Thursday (O Kanal/N1)
O Kanal reported that reactions to a discussion and incidents from a session of the RS parliament that took place in Banja Luka on Monday keep on coming. During the session, RS Minister of Interior Dragan Lukac (SNSD) hit PDP MP Drasko Stanivukovic. After Lukac hit Stanivukovic, he said: ”Go, sit there you monkey”. According to O Kanal, this was the peak of the dramatic discussion on the Program of Reforms of B&H for the NATO. Commenting on the incident on Tuesday, Stanivukovic called on Lukac to resign. Stanivukovic also called on citizens for protests. Addressing media, Stanivukovic said: “Just imagine what they (the ruling officials) are doing behind cameras in the assembly, if they are doing this in front of the cameras? What those people do behind cameras if they are ready to do this in front of the cameras?” Commenting on the incident, Lukac argued that “prevented Stanivukovic to endanger him”. Representatives of the opposition in the RS parliament announced that they will stage peaceful protest at the Mladen Stojanovic Park in Banja Luka on Thursday, calling on citizens to support them after incidents that happened at the special session of the RS parliament on Monday. They said that they will demand removal of RS Minister Lukac due to the fact that he physically attacked PDP MP Stanivukovic during the session. Stanivukovic announced that he will file a criminal report against Lukac for inflicting him bodily injury during the attack. Lukac told the press conference on Tuesday that he will not resign from his post and that behavior of the opposition MPs was inappropriate, stressing that the RS parliament’s session would have been held normally if parliamentary leadership had issued sanctions for MPs who behaved inappropriately. He denied that he inflicted injuries to Stanivukovic, noting that he only pushed him away to prevent him from endangering him.
Banja Luka Police Administration says it is establishing facts on incident at RS parliament (ATV)
The Banja Luka Police Administration stated on Tuesday that police officers at the Banja Luka Police Administration got informed about the events during the special session of the RS parliament in Banja Luka on Monday. In line with the information, they are establishing the facts and circumstances. Also, the Banja Luka Police Administration has not received a report from PDP representative in the RS parliament Drasko Stanivukovic with regard to this case, reads a statement issued by the Banja Luka Police Administration. Instead, Stanivukovic submitted a request for a protest and held another performance outside the Banja Luka Police Administration. Meanwhile, numerous reactions have been recorded after the special session of the RS parliament. Representatives of both the ruling coalition and the opposition agree that everything that happened during the session reflects “primitivism, a lack of culture and an attempt to perform a circus show”. RS parliament speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic said that the leadership of the RS parliament put a lot of effort to maintain order and peace and to prevent an incident in the hall. He assessed that it was clear from the beginning that certain representatives came to the session in order to cause an incident and intervention of security guards at the RS parliament. Cubrilovic apologized for what has happened during the session, and confirmed that the Rules of Procedure have been violated. He also said that the RS parliament leadership tried to act the same towards MPs from both ruling parties and the opposition, but stressed that it was impossible for them to restore order among those who did not want the order to be restored. Dodik also said that Cubrilovic should have restored order in the RS parliament in a timely manner.
Pavic and Rodic resign as DNS leader and deputy president, Trninic to be removed as RS Minister of Transport and Communications (ATV)
Marko Pavic submited an irrevocable resignation as the leader of DNS after 16 years. Dragutin Rodic also resigned as the deputy president and Secretary General of DNS. RS Minister of Transport and Communications Nedjo Trninic (DNS) is also about to leave the RS government. In a letter he sent to members of DNS Presidency, Pavic explained that he is resigning for health-related reasons because all further activities could endanger his health or life. Besides that, he would like to contribute to solving of the problems that DNS has been facing since the last elections. “Thank you to all honest members of DNS for good cooperation. It was a pleasure working with you,” reads the letter. Rodic explained that it would be pointless for him to remain at his post in the current circumstances in the party. “There is a struggle for the leading role in the party, in a way that has never happened before in DNS. It was always an institutional policy that we were known for. Once DNS achieved its best result, it started to fall apart,” Rodic said. Trninic stated that he expects to be removed at the session of the RS Government in Banja Luka on Thursday. Instead of him, DNS will nominate its Vice President and representative in the RS parliament Djordje Popovic. Commenting on this issue, RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic stated: “Mr. Trninic still has not been removed from the post of the Minister of Transport and Communications, but I sent a notice to the RS President and the RS parliament speaker asking for their opinion with regard to this initiative. As soon as I receive their opinion, he will be removed. It is the stance of the policy of DNS, it is not my personal stance.” According to speculations, Lejla Resic (DNS) could also be removed from the post of the RS Minister of Administration and Local Self Government. DNS Vice President Nenad Nesic stated: “As far as Mrs. Resic is concerned, I expect everything to be given back to the party bodies. DNS Presidency will convene in the upcoming hours or days and it will take a stance on the current situation and suggest certain steps with regard to further leadership of the party and officials who perform certain functions in the ruling authority on behalf of DNS.” Members of DNS are now expected to elect a new leader and Deputy President and, according to sources close to the party, Nesic and DNS Vice President Darko Banjac are most likely to be elected to these posts. DNS Presidency is expected to hold an urgent session in order to discuss the latest developments in Banja Luka on Tuesday evening.
US Embassy: No room for threats in democratic discussion (Hayat/FTV/N1)
The US Embassy to B&H issued a statement on Tuesday, condemning the violence which occurred in the RS parliament on Monday evening. They stated that violence and threats cannot be used in a democratic discussion and it is not a way to overcome difference in opinions. The US Embassy called for professional and civilized dialogue. “There is no room for violence and threats in a democratic debate, and this is not how to address different opinions”, the US Embassy said in the press release. “This is not the way to resolve differences in opinion. We strongly condemn physical attacks and urge the necessity of professional, civilized dialogue,” the Embassy tweeted.
Djukanovic: Nobody can jeopardize Montenegro’s stability (CDM)
Asked if he would be willing to withdraw the Proposal Law on freedom of Religion, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic replied shortly: Of course not, why would I do that? “This is a very carefully drawn up enactment. I can’t tell if there will be any amendments or not. DPS has never been closed to improvement initiatives”, said Djukanovic on Wednesday at a ceremony organized to mark 47th anniversary of the Faculty of Law. Djukanovic claims that tensions over the law can’t go as far as to jeopardize fundamental heritage of modern Montenegro. Commenting on the statement made by the Serbian President that Serbia “is not happy with that law”, Djukanovic said that his Serbian counterpart had tried to deny the facts.
“I guess those things need no further discussion. I believe that the law adopted in 1977 should be replaced with the new one”, pointed out Djukanovic. Journalists asked the President what he had talked about recently with Vucic in Tirana. “It wasn’t anything special. Just current affairs. There was no polemic”, said Djukanovic.
Patriarch Irinej met with DF leaders, Mandic and Knezevic received blessing for fighting in defense of SPC (IN4S)
His Holiness Patriarch Irinej has blessed the leader of the New Serb Democracy Andrija Mandic and the leader of the Democratic People’s Party Milan Knezevic to fight in every place and in every circumstance and not to give up from defending our holy Orthodox Church. As IN4S learns, Mandic and Knezevic thanked the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) on the stand and the support of the SPC Holy Synod regarding the announcement of the adoption of the draft Law on Freedom of Religion and the seizure of the property of the only canonically recognized Orthodox Church. They acquainted the Patriarch with the situation in Montenegro that is dramatic. The DF caucus sent an invitation to citizens to gather at 11am today in front of the Montenegrin parliament where a debate and voting of the Law on Freedom of Religion is planned.
Outgoing Prime Minister: If the opposition stalls laws, I will not resign on 3 January (Republika)
If the opposition continues to block higher wages and pensions laws I will not resign on 3 January, outgoing Prime Minister Zoran Zaev threatened on Wednesday. I am the first to wish to follow all procedures. But if the opposition is allowed to find ways in the parliament, and has the right to stall laws on higher salaries and higher pensions, on realizing state projects that are important for citizens, they are serious reasons for SDSM to even talk about postponing the elections, Zaev said. -The elections have been called for and they will take place on the 12th of April. I’m the first who wants to adhere to all procedures, but if we let the opposition to find ways in a tangible way, as it has according to the Rule Book, to block the laws for higher salaries and pensions, state projects that have a higher significance for people’s lives, then these are serious reasons to talk about postponing the elections – said Zaev. Proof that SDSM is preparing for elections and wants them to be organized, according to Zaev, is that SDSM has called for a session of its Central Board during which the technical prime minister has to be decided about including the additional deputy ministers for internal affairs and labor and social policy.
Zaev expects a new mandate and a continuation of the economy’s growth (Meta/MRTV)
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev gave an interview for the National broadcasting service MRTV and he expressed his expectations to receive a new clean mandate at the next parliamentary elections, a continuation of the growth of the economy, the country’s international integrations, the legal segment to become more functional and making Macedonia into a better place for living. “If I win a whole mandate dedicated to the economy I believe we shall be able to achieve a lot. Let’s serve as an example for all others, the integrations to contribute to foreign investments, the use of funds and our local capacities, knowledge, existing resources for the welfare of our nation. In such ambient we can expect to keep the young here,” said Zaev. He also said that the favorable conditions for that we created during the past two and a half year mandate. “Parallel to the reforms we implemented, we have managed to achieve what have been waiting for the last 30 years i.e. a NATO membership and commencing the EU negotiations. For me these tasks were achieved as we took part in the NATO summit and only Spain remains to ratify it and it will. We are waiting for their government to be formed and their parliament to ratify it. Also, regarding the EU, through the European Council and the European Commission, it was verified that all of the conditions were met i.e. we have managed to achieve everything it was expected of us,” said Zaev and announced a vetting of the judiciary.
Debate with PM Rama, Haradinaj apologizes to Albanians (ADN)
Outgoing Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj apologized to Albanians for bothering them, following recent controversies with Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama. As Haradinaj stated, all Albanians are brothers and sisters despite their religion, political party or region. Moreover, the Outgoing Premier declared that he feels sorry for the disagreement with Rama, even though he clarified that when it comes to national issues, his stance is not taken to please someone or to make him feel angry. “All Albanians, regardless of religions, regions, political parties, are brothers and sisters. We are one. When it comes to national interests, I have not positioned myself without crying first. And when I take a stance, I do not do it to make a favor to someone or to make him angry. When I came up against the division and against Trepca remaining in Serbia, I didn’t bother who got angry. We apologize to all Albanians who are getting bothered by us now by this language used,” Haradinaj said.