Brnabic, Fabrizi: Only together can we overcome challenging times (RTS/Tanjug)
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Saturday, at the celebration of 9 May – Europe Day, that the strategic priority of our country is EU membership. At the reception in the Botanical Garden “Jevremovac”, hosted by the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi, Brnabic expressed satisfaction because the crisis with the coronavirus did not prevent the celebration of Europe Day. She stated that it is important to celebrate peace, solidarity and togetherness in such times of crisis, emphasizing that only together can we overcome challenging times. She reminded that Europe Day is marked as a memory of Robert Schuman, who paved the visionary path to a united Europe, which then overcame fears, traditional enmities, isolationism and revenge and brought peace and prosperity. According to her, 70 years later, we were shaken by a new world crisis in which the enemy is different, but the victims of the struggle are equally devastating. The decisions made by the then leaders of Europe seven decades ago can be a guideline for us to respond to the current crisis in a similar way through unity and solidarity. That is why Serbia donated €2 million for the joint fight against COVID-19 and sent planes to help friends in Italy, she stated. Also, as she added, Serbia tried to help everyone in the region, leaving all mutual differences aside. Brnabic also emphasized that the EU’s help to Serbia is important, conveying that President Vucic recently drew attention to the fact that the Union is the most important donor in Serbia in the fight against coronavirus, and that the Union has strengthened our health system in the last 20 years and helped with €490 million in grants and loans. The citizens of our country know how to appreciate that, she said and expressed satisfaction that she sees increasing solidarity on European soil, because that is the only way we can fight the virus. Expressing gratitude to Serbia for the solidarity it showed in the fight against COVID-19 in the previous period, Fabrizi reminded of the principles of the EU that have maintained it in the past 70 years to stand as a beacon of peace, prosperity and democracy. He said that, regardless of the difficulties, Robert Schuman’s message must continue to inspire – solidarity in action, unity in reaction, respect for human rights and democracy.
Dacic: UN and SC are precisely the ones that should have a final say in resolving the issue of Kosovo and Metohija (Tanjug)
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic participated on 8 May in a high-level informal meeting of the UN Security Council entitled “75 years since the end of the Second World War on European soil – lessons learned for prevention of future disasters, the responsibility of the UN Security Council”. At the meeting, which was held via video conference, Dacic recalled the extent of the suffering and misery that World War II brought the former Yugoslavia, which in terms of the number of victims in relation to the number of inhabitants is unfortunately ranked third in the world. He pointed out that the Serbian people, together with the Allies, managed to resist and defeat the occupiers and thus inscribe themselves in golden letters in the history of mankind, and task their descendants with cherishing the memory of this great suffering, but also a great victory. We are proud to point out that the former Yugoslavia actively participated in the founding of the UN and was among the top fifty signatories to the UN Charter. Serbia emphasizes at every occasion that the UN is today equally necessary as when it was formed and its relevance must not be questioned, Dacic pointed out. However, we are witnessing occasional use of unilateral measures and actions which undermine and call into question the effectiveness of multilateralism and international cooperation mechanisms, he pointed out and cited as an example the decision on the use of armed force and aggression against the FR Yugoslavia in 1999, as well as a unilateral act by which the temporary institutions in Pristina declared the independence of the so-called Kosovo. This violated UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and seriously endangered stability of the Republic of Serbia, but also of the entire region, the Minister stated and assessed that the United Nations and the Security Council are precisely the ones that should have a final say in resolving the issue of Kosovo and Metohija.
Botsan-Kharchenko: New SC resolution to solve issue of Kosovo (Politika/Beta)
Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko has said that the definitive solution to the Kosovo issue should be determined in the UNSC with a new resolution to replace Resolution 1244. The Security Council’s unflagging attention to the subject of Kosovo is one of the conditions for solving this problem, Botsan-Kharchenko told Politika on Saturday. He said that only Belgrade and Pristina could assess the currency of the idea of “partitioning Kosovo,” or any other. According to him, a sustainable denouement to the Kosovo issue is achievable only as a result of weighing the balance of mutual interests and compromise — based on international law, without designs or timelines imposed from the outside. The chief criterion for us is that the solution must be acceptable to Serbia, Botsan-Kharchenko stressed. Asked about the possibility of Russia officially joining the talks on Kosovo, he said the first thing needed for that to happen was an invitation from Belgrade.
MP Sevarlic: I am going on hunger strike over high treason and impossibility to discuss in parliament violations of territorial integrity of Serbia and Resolution 1244 (FoNet)
Independent MP Miladin Sevarlic has stated that the Serbian parliament is a disgrace that serves for implementing unanimity of the ruling party, assessing that the SNS is nationally irresponsible. Dressed in national costume, Sevarlic showed journalists in parliament the statement of Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko in the daily Politika in which he underlined that resolution 1244 should be replaced, and then he released a recording of the statement by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Kosovo acquiring sovereignty throughout its territory. “Serbia does not recognize the separatist state of Kosovo, while it forces its citizens to become members of their assembly and government,” said Sevarlic. “Is this High treason? Will we wake up one day in central Serbia, within some other state with this leadership? Why aren’t we launching the issue of Kosovo’s departure from the Serbian power system and annexation to Albania? What does this parliament serve for?” asked Sevarlic.
First hunger striking Serbian MP gives up protest (N1)
Independent MP Miladin Sevarlic told reporters on Monday that he was ending his hunger strike after identical protests by ruling coalition MPs and Dveri leader Bosko Obradovic proved more attractive to the media. “I was suppressed in the media because of the popularity of the parliamentary majority on one side and Dveri on the other,” Sevarlic said. He was the first of four MPs to start a hunger strike on Sunday. His protest was against state policy on Kosovo and he was joined later by Dveri leader Bosko Obradovic. SNS officials Aleksandar Martinovic and Sandra Bozic brought armchairs out in front of parliament and launched their own hunger strike saying they were protesting over the fact that the prosecution had done nothing following an incident caused by Obradovic last week. Sevarlic said that the issues raised by Obradovic and the two SNS MPs were not as important as the Kosovo issue. “I personally don’t think there is any country in the world that would give up 12 percent of its territory for any reason, especially not to join the European Union,” he said.
Serbian Foreign Ministry submits diplomatic note to North Macedonian Embassy (Beta/Tanjug)
The Serbian Foreign Ministry submitted a diplomatic protest note to North Macedonian Embassy in Serbia over the printing and publication of a postage stamp by the Macedonian Post Office showing the geographical map of the fascist statelet of Independent State of Croatia (NDH) whose mention, the Ministry said on Saturday, evokes memories among Serbs and Serbian residents of the darkest period in world’s modern history. The Foreign Ministry requested that the disputed postage stamp be immediately withdrawn from circulation and that its printing and publication be condemned by the government of the Republic of North Macedonia, the statement said. The protest note states that the Serbian Foreign Ministry expresses its strongest protest against the printing and publication of the postage stamp with a geographical map of the fascist Independent State of Croatia, which includes parts of the Republic of Serbia all the way to Belgrade, parts of Montenegro and all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Such attempts at historical revisionism grossly disrupt bilateral relations between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia, as well as cooperation and stability of the entire region,” the protest note reads. It adds that the publication of the stamp is perceived as a hostile provocation directed against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Serbia, as well as an insult to the entire Serbian people, who “died in hundreds of thousands during the Second World War” in NDH’s concentration camps.
Serbia’s diplomatic protest note to EU over Nikola Tesla (TV Pink/Beta)
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic told TV Pink that Serbia sent a diplomatic protest note to the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Maria Gabriel, on the occasion of the announcement on the European Union’s website stating that Nikola Tesla was a Croat. “I’ve repeated several times that if Nikola Tesla had lived in Yugoslavia (during the Second World War), he’d have ended up in the Jasenovac concentration camp,” Dacic noted. On Friday, Serbian Culture and Information Minister Vladan Vukosavljevic also stated that he hoped that EU institutions would apologize to the Serbian public and that this “inappropriate mistake” would be corrected without delay.
RIK adopts decision on continuation of election activities (Beta)
The Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) adopted a decision on the continuation of elections activities for the parliamentary elections. Commission Chairman Vladimir Dimitrijevic recalled that the elections had initially been called on 24 March and scheduled for 26 April, but that the commission terminated all activities because of the state of emergency. “Now, the deadlines for all election activities, [for the elections] to be held on 21 June 2020, are on again,” Dimitrijevic said at the commission’s first meeting since the state of emergency had been introduced, adding that the new deadlines will be defined by a special act.
Another 62 cases in Serbia (B92)
Until 3pm there have been another 62 cases, in total 10,176 infected. There have been three more deaths, in total 218. There are 1,123 people in hospitals.
Inzko: It is real miracle that IC still has time for B&H (Face TV)
High Representative Valentin Inzko, asked about negative reactions to his latest report to the UN Security Council (UNSC), said that every analysis should be followed by adequate steps but “it is a real miracle that the international community still has time for Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H)” especially when numerous conflicts are taking place across the world. He claims that he was glad to see the EU summit taking place in Zagreb because the summit itself and attention of the international community is very important for B&H and the rest of the Balkans. He underlined that he always had support of the US, as well as the UK and other countries, and he was very content with this support, even more so after the US Ambassador to the UN explicitly told him twice during the session of the UNSC that he has support of US President Donald Trump’s administration. “Look, I do not take this as personal support. It is support for B&H, for B&H’s future and the future of its citizens,” Inzko stated. He compared himself to a reporter or a photographer in a sense that he tells it as it is and he is not trying to make things look better than they are, similar to how a reporter will report the facts or a photographer will not try to make his photos prettier after they are captured. He stressed that he did not personally bid farewell to B&H or violate the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA) and he only reported statements given by B&H politicians but he would gladly report positive statements if SNSD leader Milorad Dodik and other B&H politicians can come up with any. As for possible use of the Bonn powers, HR Inzko stated that his power stems from being “the final interpreter” of the DPA. He claims that increasing number of countries are reconsidering possible use of the Bonn powers, especially for violations of the DPA, and he may be expected to use them but the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) has yet to make such decision. He explained that he would like to have support from the international community for of his decisions because they would be more efficient. Nevertheless, he pointed out that he already has strong support within the PIC and this was clearly visible in the fact that his budget for the next year will not be reduced. Commenting on the appointment of former High Representative Miroslav Lajcak as the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkans regional issues, Inzko said that Lajcak was given strong support at the Zagreb summit but Lajcak’s primary task is the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue while regional cooperation is secondary. He deems that Lajcak has just started and he should be given a chance to do something. He stressed that Lajcak’s arrival does not upset him at all because he is objective and he supports anything that is positive. However, Inzko emphasized that the status of Kosovo is completely unrelated to the status of Republika Srpska (RS). He revealed that all attendees of the UN SC’s session gave full support to territorial integrity of B&H and no one even mentioned possible secession of any of B&H’s parts. He reiterated that Lajcak’s primary task is the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and the status of Kosovo is completely unrelated to the status of the RS, adding that it would be pointless to discuss improbable scenario where Serbia will be offered to swap Kosovo for the RS because entire international community supports B&H’s territorial integrity. Asked to comment on preparations for the 2020 local elections in B&H, HR Inzko commended the President of the Central Election Commission of B&H (B&H CEC) for professional approach to her job, namely for insisting on the CEC having sufficient funds at its disposal to organize the local elections. He explained that the state has to pay around BAM four million for organization of the elections and logistics and it may be possible to come up with certain internal reserves in the state budget but if not, the state will have to find new resources. “Not having the elections in B&H this year would be unthinkable. I personally feel that the elections will be regular and fair and the situation will start improving from October onwards,” Inzko said. He pointed out that it would be irresponsible to hold the elections in case the coronavirus intensifies again but funds should not be a problem and he expects from Minister of Finance of B&H Vjekoslav Bevanda to secure necessary funds through reserves approved by the decision on temporary funding of B&H institutions or through the adoption of the state budget. As for possible changes of the Law on Elections of B&H, Inzko said that Croats’ discontent with the Law on Elections should be the subject of a dialogue and the issue of the Law on Elections should be resolved through relevant commissions in the Parliament of B&H but changes needed for the 2020 local elections to take place as planned can be made immediately. Commenting on the issue of Mostar, Inzko agreed that failure to hold the elections in Mostar again is shameful because the elections are the most important element of democracy. He stated that the Constitutional Court (CC) of B&H can do something about Mostar or the CEC of B&H can come up with a temporary solution but the best way to resolve the issue of Mostar is to do it in the parliament of B&H. He reminded that the Office of High Representative (OHR) already intervened by imposing a special statute for the City of Mostar, adding that most of the statute was created with consent but things have not been functioning in the last 12 years and a bit more political will can help resolve the issue. He stressed that there is still some time left and the local elections can be held in Mostar as well if the issue is resolved by July. He noted that addressing the issue of Mostar is first and foremost the task of the Head of the OSCE Mission to B&H but it would be good to have unanimous stance of the international community.
Dodik: I do not have adequate replacement for Kosarac in B&H CoM, he will suffer political consequences within SNSD (N1)
The SNSD Executive Committee, which met on Friday, discussed the fate of B&H Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Stasa Kosarac (SNSD) following the so-called ‘corona party’ in Sarajevo. SNSD Executive Committee failed to reach any kind of decision in regard to Kosarac. However, SNSD representatives said that they cannot initiate Kosarac’s removal because they do not have clear guarantees that a Serb, i.e. SNSD member will be automatically appointed to the position of B&H Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations. SNSD leader Milorad Dodik said that SNSD’s disciplinary commission will discuss the Kosarac case. Dodik announced that Kosarac will not be able to run in the next two election cycles. “The greatest pressure for Kosarac to be removed is not coming from the RS itself, i.e. from the RS public, if we exclude the opposition. What is delicate is the fact that if we remove him now, we are not certain that we can get an adequate replacement for him and we are looking for a way to implement that in a way, at the same time,” Dodik said.
SDA and HDZ comment failure to call elections for Mostar (Dnevni avaz)
SDA City Board of Mostar issued a statement expressing regret that the B&H Central Election Commission (B&H CEC) failed to call the local elections for Mostar, but the party noted it is very important that the CEC has left a possibility that the elections in Mostar do take place. “It is necessary to do everything for the agreement to be reached through B&H parliament. In case this does not happen after all, we deem that in line with the ruling of European Court of Human Rights the Constitutional Court of B&H must assume part of responsibility, because this judicial institution has a mandate to resolve this Gordian Knot” reads the SDA statement. HDZ B&H City Board of Mostar issued a statement reacting to the report of High Representative (HR) Valentin Inzko to the UN Security Council in which he said there has not been any true political dialogue to solve the situation in Mostar. “The result of the negotiation is well-known to everyone, the so-called A and B models, as original local solutions, agreed with much attention for every of the involved sides in Mostar City Hall and the only thing left to do was to decide for one of these models there, where this is only possible, in the B&H parliament,” reads the HDZ B&H statement.
Radoncic: Dzaferovic’s opposing to deportation is encouraging illegal migrants (BHRT)
Speaking for BHRT, B&H Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic stated that when he took the office, he managed to change the local public and the international community’s perception of migrants as a humanitarian problem, because they are in reality a security problem. He added that he had developed a plan for their deportation. However, his plan was “brutally opposed” by B&H Presidency member Sefik Dzaferovic and B&H Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic. According to Radoncic, this has only encouraged the illegal migrants who no longer respect police officers. “I am afraid that this will encourage numerous migrants to move towards B&H in one big wave, because they have the feeling that certain fractions or parts of the government are absolutely protecting them,” said Radoncic. Commenting the decision of the Central Election Commission of B&H to call the local elections in October, Radoncic said that there has been no fair election in B&H since 1995. He explained that the two recently appointed Central Election Commission members were appointed under great political influence of SDA and the Commission is no longer politically neutral.
Sattler: There must be political will for steps forward on the European path (Dnevni list)
Head of the EU Delegation to B&H, Ambassador Johann Sattler, asked to comment on the recently held EU-Western Balkans Summit and whether the EU enlargement plan has been stopped because the summit declaration is not mentioning the enlargement, replied by saying, among other issues, that amid the Coronavirus crisis there was a summit of leaders of all 27 EU Member Countries and representatives of the Western Balkans countries “who gave a very generous offer and talked about the European integration in general”. “And as far as concrete actions are concerned, we have a decision about opening of negotiations with two countries and we have a harmonized methodology. One should not forget that. The positive message for the region is that we, the EU, are again expressing an unambiguous support to the European perspective,” said Sattler. Asked what the biggest obstacle on B&H’s EU path is, Sattler replied by saying that a simple answer would be the country’s complex organization. “But I would say perhaps the real or accurate answer is the political will. You must have the political will for steps forward on the European path” said Ambassador Sattler who reminded of the Presidency of B&H’s recent initiative to make genuine steps on the EU path. “So, I can only appeal to all local leaders to unite around the initiative,” added the Ambassador.
Politicians, analysts argue neither B&H politicians nor EU truly want B&H to become EU member (EuroBlic)
The daily argued that B&H went from a new momentum in fulfillment of 14 key criteria of the European Commission (EC) for B&H to an open confession that some of those criteria will never be fulfilled. The daily reminded that first HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic refused to participate in the work of a working group formed by the Presidency of B&H, with a reasonable explanation that B&H already has the Coordination Mechanism, and then there was “disappointing Declaration” from the EU-Western Balkans Summit which did not mention the membership in the EU but only “the European perspective”. In the end, the daily noted, Serb member of the Presidency of B&H Milorad Dodik stated that Republika Srpska (RS) is not ready to renounce of its right to veto in B&H institutions. “We are not disputing European integration, but it seems to me that the Opinion of the EC and 14 criteria were written in such way that B&H will never get to that” Dodik told RTRS. President of the Main Board of SDP Sasa Magazinovic agreed with Dodik’s stance and said “the policy of the EU towards B&H has been deeply unfair lately”. Magazinovic added that it is clear that B&H will be unable to meet the 14 criteria unless it changes the Constitution and he claimed: “It became clear that the message ‘fulfill the 14 criteria’ is actually the message ‘you are not welcome in the EU’”. Magazinovic also assessed that domestic politicians are willing to promise many things but do little to fulfill their promises. Executive Manager of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights Branko Todorovic said that the EU and B&H, i.e. entire Western Balkans, are in a position which can be assessed as a “policy of mutual lying” because “Brussels pretends to be serious, concerned and enterprising towards the Balkans and we too pretend to have activities and commitment towards Brussels,” and he noted that such show will continue for another ten years or so. Todorovic argued that B&H political leaders do not actually want to lead the country towards the EU “because they are busy with being corrupt. Why should they be dealing with the EU when they need to take BAM millions in four years” and he noted that European integration would mean the end of political career for many. On the other hand, Todorovic noted, Brussels is completely preoccupied with its own problems while each of the member countries have their own interests and favorite countries. “To the EU, the Western Balkans is on margins, they are dealing with it occasionally through declarations and initiatives. They are letting B&H live in an agony, they are letting China, Russia and USA have an influence in their own front yard. Citizens in the region are politically immature, gullible, in mutual quarrels and divided, short-sighted and have been falling for manipulations for the past 25 years, they have no clear awareness on elections, protests and civic disobedience,” Todorovic concluded. Political analyst Tanja Topic stated that the EU has demonstrated inconsistency towards B&H on many occasions and argued that it is not in the interest of political elite in B&H to have the country become a member of the EU. However, Topic noted that the matter should be viewed from a different point of view as well and explained: “If we decided to become a member of the EU, then we should respect rules which exist in that house. Membership in the EU is voluntary”.
Day of Victory over Fascism in World War II and Europe Day marked throughout B&H (O kanal)
Day of Victory over Fascism in World War II and Europe Day – was marked in several B&H cities on Saturday. Marking of 9 May in B&H this year was more modest compared to previous years due to the fact that gatherings have been banned because of the coronavirus pandemic. O Kanal noted that representatives of the authorities in B&H marked Victory Day on Saturday and that the only thing they have in common on this date is that they all commemorate victims. President of the Alliance of Antifascists and Veterans of the People’s Liberation War of B&H (SABNOR B&H) Sead Djulic said that “this will not diminish the strength of messages and common antifascist connection of all us who are fostering the idea of antifascism in the area of former Yugoslavia.” SNSD leader and Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik stated on Saturday that he believes that one of the strongest words of the Serb people is the word freedom. “We died for that freedom, our ancestors, many of our contemporaries died in the past war,” Dodik said. On the other hand, SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic stated that “communists defeated fascists in 1945 and ‘Zlatni ljiljani’ (Golden Lilies) defeated them in 1995.” (Golden Lily was the highest military decoration of the Republic of B&H Army.) Civic activists believe that this is proof that antifascism in B&H turned into a nationalist struggle. Chairman of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic and member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic laid flowers and marked this day at the Kovaci Cemetery in Sarajevo on Saturday. Komsic said that B&H chose the side a long time ago, the side of civilization, democratic world with remembering of everything that happened in the WWII and during the past war in B&H.
Announced mass for Bleiburg victims spark reactions (FTV)
Ahead of marking of the Victory Day, the announcement on holding a mass in Sarajevo on Saturday (16 May) for victims of Bleiburg has sparked huge reactions. Archbishop of Vrhbosna Vinko Puljic confirmed holding of the mass and said that “they will not forget the victims for whom they have the obligation to pray”. In a statement for Laudato TV on 28 April, Puljic said: “Bishops of both Bishops’ Conferences (of B&H and Croatia) gave me the mandate to lead a commemoration for victims of the Bleiburg. Since I cannot go to Austria, to the Bleiburg field, we agreed that I do it at the Cathedral (of Sacred Hearts) here, in Sarajevo”. According to Puljic, he will announce his stance on everything following a sermon and the mass. Member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic and Chairman of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic condemned the announcement. Dzaferovic said: “It is obvious that Bleiburg is primarily being used for the attempt of rehabilitation of the Ustasha ideology in days when entire Europe is marking the victory over fascism. I see no connection between Sarajevo and Bleiburg. If there should be a prayer for someone in Sarajevo in the context of the World War II, then there should be a prayer for thousands of innocent victims of Vjekoslav (a.k.a.) Maks Luburic and the Ustasha regime”. Komsic reacted by saying: “When he already decided to serve a mass in Sarajevo for those killed in Bleiburg, I will dare to advise respectable Cardinal Puljic to also pray for souls of those who were innocent victims of the same criminals”. Member of the HSP B&H Nikola Raguz expressed full support to Puljic and condemned stances of parties in Sarajevo that in his opinion, do not choose means to earn some cheap political points. SDP B&H, SDA, the Independent Bloc, NS also reacted and characterized this as revision of the history, rehabilitation of the Ustasha regime and glorification of the fascism. SDP B&H called for peaceful protests. President of the Jewish Community in B&H Jakob Finci stressed that there is no a single reason to organize this mass in Sarajevo. “I was disappointed in Cardinal (Vinko) Puljic who accepted this, because he is aware of the situation and of the fact there is frozen conflict in B&H which does not need much to flare up again”, explained Finci. Leader of SDA Bakir Izetbegovic stated that when the World War II period is a topic, it is only decent to talk exclusively about victims of Maks Luburic (Ustasha regime officer responsible for numerous atrocities committed in Sarajevo during the World War Two) and not about some other victims,” emphasized Izetbegovic. He went on to say that honoring of Bleiburg victims turned gradually into relativizing, rehabilitation and celebration of Ustasha regime. Secretary General of the B&H Bishops’ Conference Ivo Tomasevic said that there is nothing disputable about the abovementioned mass, because prayers for the dead have been held in churches for centuries. Vice President of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) of B&H Ruzica Jukic also reacted to disputes on whether Sarajevo should be part of events honoring Bleiburg victims. Jukic published a statement on her Facebook account reading that members of B&H Presidency Komsic and Sefik Dzaferovic have requested Cardinal Puljic to review his decision (to hold mass for Bleiburg victims in Sarajevo). Jukic added that this represents interfering of civil authorities in work of one religious community and request to Puljic not to preach Catholic faith. Reporter commented that issue of Bleiburg is another part of history that has been causing disunity among politicians, religious officers and numerous citizens. Commenting on the criticism, the Croat People’s Assembly (HNS) of B&H, which is the co-organizer of the announced mass service, stated that such condemnations represent attack on the Catholic Church and Archbishop of Vrhbosna Cardinal Vinko Puljic.
Israeli Embassy condemns the Mass for Bleiburg killings in Sarajevo (N1)
Israel’s non-resident Embassy for B&H condemned, on Sunday, the Mass for Bleiburg killings announced by the Catholic Church for 16 May in Sarajevo, saying they strongly stand by the Jewish Community in Bosnia’s condemnation of this event, asking the Church to reconsider its intentions. “The state of Israel stands firm and raises its voice against all attempts of revisionism and any such and similar regrettable narratives. The Jewish Community under NDH suffered in terms which are impossible to describe. Jews were sent to their death to Jasenovac and other death camps during this terrible period alongside so many other peoples” the Tirana, Albania, based Embassy said in their statement. “Attempting to portray all victims of WW2 as same or similar is not only incorrect, but it is highly dangerous and destructive for the reconciliation all our nations strive to achieve. We are aware many families lost their loved ones in the immediate aftermath of WW2, however, we must make a clear distinction between multitudes of innocent victims who were taken by force, often in the middle of the night and sent to death camps, such as Jasenovac and Donja Gradina, along with their entire families, by those individuals who were sentenced for organizing and committing such atrocities, even though some of them were not eligible for a fair trial,” the Embassy noted. The Independent State of Croatia was a puppet state of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy during World War II. It was formed in parts of occupied Yugoslavia in 1941, after the invasion by the Axis powers. Its territory was made up of most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia, parts of modern-day Serbia and Slovenia. The Embassy warned that we must not believe nor convince ourselves and others that innocent WW2 victims and victims such as those in Bleiburg can be compared. “Conclusively, we wish to express our full support of the stance expressed by the Jewish Community in B&H whose more than 10 thousand members were systematically murdered by the Nazis and their NDH collaborators, a community whose leaders unequivocally condemn the aforementioned attempts,” the Embassy pointed out. “Importantly, it has become clear such attempts are also condemned by the highly esteemed citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina most of which can be proud of their families’ contribution in the anti-fascist legacy and the war against Nazism and their collaborators.” Additionally, the Embassy commended “the highest leaders of B&H, including the members of the Presidency, the members of the Collegium of B&H’s Houses of Parliamentary Assembly, the local leaders in the Municipality of Sarajevo and many other leaders in the country who were united in the condemnation of the event.” They concluded saying that they join the call of many leaders and of the Jewish community to the Catholic Church to reconsider their initiative.
N. Macedonia pulls controversial NDH postage stamp, PM dismisses those responsible (N1)
Wishing to thank Croatia for their support to North Macedonia’s EU accession process, the N. Macedonian authorities issued a postage stamp showing B&H, parts of Serbia and Montenegro as part of the Greater Croatia from the time of the fascist statelet – Independent State of Croatia (NDH). The postage stamp from the “North Macedonia in the EU” series was issued on the occasion of the Victory in Europe Day and apart from showing the St. Mark’s square and the stylized Croatian flag in the borders of the Greater Croatia, it evidently shows the said countries within those borders. North Macedonia-based MKD news portal was first to spot the mistake, saying that the designers, editors and the director of the North Macedonian Post Office obviously had no idea about Croatia’s geography and history. That same day, Serbia and B&H sent protest notes to N. Macedonia, demanding apologies and that the stamp be withdrawn which it was, just hours later. North Macedonian Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski dismissed all members of the Philatelic Council, and the disputed postage stamp with the map of the NDH was annulled, B&H Ambassador in Skopje, Dragan Jacimovic said on Saturday. Earlier that day, the Post Office of that country apologized for the mistake. Jamcilovic said he spoke with Spasovski regarding the controversial postage stamp who informed him that the Council had been dismissed along with the head of the philatelic department at the Post Office.
FB&H Ministry of Health Crisis HQ announces new phase of lifting of measures imposed in fight against coronavirus pandemic as of Thursday (O kanal)
The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FB&H) Ministry of Health Crisis Headquarters has announced a new phase in lifting of measures imposed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic as of Thursday. Assistant FB&H Minister of Health and member of the FB&H Ministry of Health Crisis Headquarters Goran Cerkez, spoke about the announced measures and recommendations of health authorities. He said that new measures the FB&H Ministry of Health Crisis Headquarters will propose to the FB&H Civil Protection Crisis Headquarters in this phase will refer to opening of kindergartens, reactivation of public transportation, opening of coffee bars, restaurants and dental clinics, etc. Cerkez reminded of protective measures that should remain in effect after lifting of measures for the aforementioned sectors, calling on all citizens to behave responsibly and respect recommendations of health authorities for the upcoming period of weakened activity of the coronavirus infection. He said that lifting of measures brings certain risks in terms of growing level of virus transmission, but that epidemiologists and health authorities carefully monitor the situation and follow the example of countries in the region and world when it comes to the fight against the pandemic. Cerkez warned that a small number of citizens in the FB&H behave irresponsibly and they do not respect protective measures as if the pandemic is over, which is very dangerous and puts at risk the health and lives of vast majority of other citizens who respect all measures and recommendations. Asked to assess if the current situation in the RS could affect the RS given that the number of cases of coronavirus infection and the number of deaths in the RS is higher compared to the FB&H where the epidemiological situation is satisfactory, Cerkez said that the state of emergency erases all borders and all the territories are open when it comes to the virus, which means that both entities in B&H should be observed as a whole. He stressed that there is no way to prevent the import of the virus from the RS to the FB&H and vice versa. Cerkez assessed that the epidemiological situation in the FB&H and the Sarajevo Canton (SC) is stable now, but there is always a risk posed not by people from the RS but from those in the FB&H who do not respect protective measures such as social distancing and wearing face masks. Cerkez concluded that police forces must intensify their work in the field and warn any citizen they found without face mask, in order to raise awareness on importance of protection.
Dodik: State of emergency will be abolished by 20 May (ATV)
The Executive Committee of SNSD convened on Friday to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic in the RS and other issues. President of SNSD Milorad Dodik announced that the state of emergency in the RS should be abolished by 20 May. The RS government will request this from the RS parliament next week. Dodik said that SNSD seriously approached solving of many issues during the pandemic, together with the RS institutions. The SNSD President assessed that the measures gave results and the lives of the citizens have been preserved. He stressed that this was possible mostly thanks to the work of medical staff in the RS. Dodik added that it is possible that quarantine facilities at the border crossings will be abolished in the next 10 days, but this will depend on the decisions that will be made by the neighboring countries as well. He stated that RS institutions reacted in an adequate manner in order to mitigate severe economic consequences in the RS. He further announced that every business that suffered losses and could not work until May will be paid contributions and taxes for the month of May by the RS government, and that media outlets will receive help as well.
Cvijanovic: Numerous interventions in favor of workers (Srna)
RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic expressed satisfaction with the RS government’s numerous interventions aimed at providing assistance to workers in real sector. She said that the government has met its commitments with regards to payment of contributions to workers who have not been working in March due to measures imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus infections in the RS. Cvijanovic also said that the government of the RS will fulfil its obligations with regards to payment of minimum wages and contributions in April, adding that social partners are informed about every government’s move and they “are making joint decisions about some things”. According to Cvijanovic, the authorities in the RS are committed to improving the standard of workers and increasing their salaries. Furthermore, according to daily, Cvijanovic talked about some other pressing issues, and said that some of the 14 priorities set before B&H by the EU can be resolved immediately through the coordination mechanism. The others, according to Cvijanovic, should be discussed in an attempt to find the formula for carrying out certain obligations without undermining constitutional competences. President of the RS said that the EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit was supposed to reaffirm the region’s EU membership prospect, but she also noted that some believe expectations were greater that what was presented as a perspective.
Coffee bars, restaurants, hair and beauty salons, gyms and fitness centers in open in the RS to reopen as of Monday (BHT1)
Bars and restaurants in the RS are to resume work on Monday. After objections, the initial instructions on epidemiological measures have been adjusted, however there is no official information on the new rules. The RS Public Health Institute is still working on the comprehensive new instructions. It is expected that the revenue of the said businesses will decrease by 30 per cent and the question raised by the owners is if these businesses will manage to survive under the existing conditions.
Commercial tests for COVID-19 to be available at RS Public Healthcare Institute at price of 100€ (RTRS)
The RS Public Healthcare Institute announced on Sunday that commercial tests for COVID-19 will now be available at the price of 100€. This service will only be provided to persons who have to work abroad, as well as to students and pupils who have to continue their education abroad. Acting Director of the RS Public Healthcare Institute Branislav Zeljkovic confirmed this information and stressed that the commercial test kits were not purchased using the donor funds, explaining that they were actually purchased using the funds of the RS Public Healthcare Institute. He added that the case is about a real-time PCR analysis in accordance with recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).
B&H Covid-19 stats: Country’s total at 2,141, more than half has recovered (N1)
B&H has recorded 24 new cases of infection with the novel coronavirus over the last 24 hours, with all new patients reported in the RS, while the FB&H confirmed no new cases of infection today, the healthcare authorities of both regions said on Monday in their daily press conferences.
B&H has so far recorded 2,141 patients and its death toll stands at 112. 1,115 patients have recovered to date. The total of 23,309 lab tests has been performed in the FB&H, 382 in the last 24 hours. The FB&H has so far confirmed 993 Covid-19 patients, of whom 637 recovered and 35 died. As for the RS, its authorities have performed 735 in the last 24 hours with 24 positive outcomes, including a doctor at the University Clinical Centre of Banja Luka, the region’s administrative center. Alen Seranic, the RS Health Minister, said the number of positive patients is under control and still under 5% in relation to the number of those tested. So far, RS has reported 1,129 Covid-19 patients, 462 have recovered and 74 died. The Brcko District has no active patients at the moment. Of 19 reported cases, 16 have recovered and three died.
Croatia transfers 86 tons of medical supplies from China (Hina)
Around 86 tons of protective medical equipment intended for the Croatian healthcare system and other services fighting the coronavirus epidemic was flown to Zagreb from Shanghai on Sunday morning, the government said. It was the seventh, and for now last, shipment from China, delivered by an SF Airlines aircraft. Further supplies would be brought by land and sea. The latest shipment included 80 tons of disinfectant and face masks which the Croatian government bought from the Sinopharm company, as well as six tons of donations, including ventilators, face masks and visors provided by the Alibaba Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation. The shipment also included a donation from the Meheco company to Zagreb’s Hospital for Infectious Diseases, a donation from Zhejian Province to Istria County, and a donation to the Civil Protection Service from the CitizenGO initiative and Cai Yu, a businessman who helped with the opening of the franchise of the Zagreb Museum of Illusion in Shanghai.
Phase 3 of easing restrictions: what to expect? (HRT)
Croatia will further ease on Monday restrictions enacted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, allowing elementary schools, shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, national parks to reopen. Public school grades 1-4 are headed back to class on Monday, but things will be quite different for both teachers and students. Under the guidelines issued by public health authorities, students suffering from medical conditions that may put them at greater risk must stay home, as do students whose close family members fall into this category. Furthermore, parents can opt not to send their kids back to school. Many schools are expecting few students to return and are reorganizing classes by combining age groups. Public rail services will resume on Monday. Rail traffic has been limited to freight transport for the past six weeks. The drop in train traffic has raised concerns about safety at railroad crossings and the national rail operator Hrvatske Zeljeznice has issued a statement warning drivers to be aware of oncoming trains and to abide by warning signals and signs. Trains have also been ordered to blow their whistles when coming up on a road intersection. Intercity buses will begin operating this week, but with fewer available seats to leave room between passengers. Bus companies have been instructed to mark off seats that must remain unoccupied. They will also have to disinfect armrests, headrests, and any other surface that passengers may have touched after arriving at the destination. National parks will also open to visitors on Monday. Most are planning to open some if not all of their restaurants and cafes.
Coronavirus: Mass serological testing of Croatian population begins (TMN/Jutarnji list)
As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on 11 May, the ELISA test is a method of serological diagnosis that detects certain classes of antibodies, IgM, IgG and IgA in the patient’s serum. The first serological testing to see just how many of Croatia’s residents have actually been infected with the new coronavirus, perhaps without ever knowing, has now begun. The Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) has started coronavirus serological testing which should provide us with a long-awaited answer about the prevalence of coronavirus in the population of Croatia, i.e., what percentage of Croatia’s residents have been infected, perhaps asymptomatically. Serological testing includes 1,100 blood samples from citizens collected from hospital laboratories, health centres and public health institutes. ”So far, as part of the validation of these tests, in addition to serum samples from patients who have been confirmed to have had a coronavirus infection, we’ve also tested 120 people from the general population and healthcare professionals with the ELISA test. Based on such a small number of respondents, it’s currently much too early to talk about the prevalence of coronavirus among the general population. As announced by the director of the CNIPH, Dr. Krunoslav Capak, this week, we’ll begin testing a larger number of respondents, which will allow for us to gain a better insight into the level of infection of our population,” said Dr. Tatjana Vilibic-Cavlek, head of the Department of Virological Serology of the CIPH, for Jutarnji list. ”The ELISA test is a method of serological diagnosis which proves the presence of certain classes of antibodies, IgM, IgG and IgA, in the patient’s serum. Depending on the proven antibodies, we can tell if it they’ve had an acute or recent infection, or if they’ve had earlier contact with the virus. If a person has antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, it means that they have acquired immunity, but we don’t know much more about the duration of that immunity because this coronavirus is a brand new virus and too little time has passed since its appearance to talk about long-term immunity,” she added. Serological tests are also being conducted in other European Union countries, and results from the Czech Republic and neighboring Slovenia show that between two and five percent of the population have been infected with the new coronavirus in those countries. In the event that something of a similar result here in Croatia, it would, according to estimates, mean that a maximum of 125,000 Croatian residents have been infected, which is certainly insufficient to achieve collective immunity (herd immunity), which is between 60 and 70 percent in the case of the new coronavirus. That is, for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to stop spreading among a population, its infection rate must be between 60 and 70 percent.
Slovenian FM describes ‘fresh start’ in relations with Croatia (Hina)
Slovenian Foreign Minister Anze Logar said over the weekend that their current administration, led by Janez Jansa, wanted good relations with all neighboring countries and that relations with Croatia had improved even though the border dispute remains unsolved. In an interview with a Ljubljana daily, Logar said good relations should be based on respect, the rule of law, and certain intangibles. He said that while some contentious issues still hadn’t been resolved, Ljubljana-Zagreb relations had been given a fresh start and that there existed mutual respect and trust. Logar said the previous Slovenian government sued Croatia before the end of its term over its non-compliance with a controversial border arbitration ruling without having secured a political consensus. The minister said previous Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar had pressed the border issue on the international stage but failed to make any progress. He said this caused unnecessary tension between the two countries, which was only now being defused by the current government. Logar further noted a thaw in relations as he cooperates intensively with his Croatian counterpart, Gordan Grlic Radman, during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the minister noted that the Jansa government remains steadfast in the implementation of the border arbitration ruling.
One needs to stop telling fairytales about EU enlargement (Slobodna Dalmacija)
Commenting on the recently held EU-Western Balkans Summit, Slobodna Dalmacija daily notes that the Coronavirus pandemic reduced the summit to “the right, virtual level, which is in line with the current political situation in the EU and its attitude towards the enlargement and the situation in the so-called Western Balkans”. According to daily, every story about the EU enlargement, or alternatively about the European perspective of the Western Balkans countries is today an empty story, adding that the story about the European perspective at the summit was also “a pure bluff”. The author went on to say that one has to thank the Coronavirus pandemic for putting the summit into a virtual world and indirectly underlining two vital issues the EU and Croatia have to find answers to. Firstly, how to transform the EU in line with new times, needs and possibilities of the EU Member Countries. And secondly, to help the Western Balkans countries become a security dam, not a security threat to the EU. Concluding the article, daily reads one has to stop telling the fairytales about the (EU) enlargement “in which people who tell them and people who listen to them do not believe for a long time now”.
Recommendations for Croatian and foreign citizens entering the Republic of Croatia (HRT)
The Croatian Institute of Public Health has published recommendations for Croatian and foreign citizens entering the Republic of Croatia, they are obliged to adhere to them for 14 days, they are to limit leaving accommodations to only when necessary, wear masks and maintain physical distance. Upon entering the Republic of Croatia, Croatian citizens are no longer subjected to self-isolation measures lasting 14 days, but upon entering, the border police hand them a leaflet with instructions from the Croatian Institute of Public Health. It is recommended that they limit contact with other people and that they perform only the most necessary and urgent tasks outside their home during 14 days from the day they entered the Republic of Croatia. If a foreign citizen intends to cross the state border, they must meet one of the following conditions – have documentation proving ownership of real estate or a vessel in the Republic of Croatia, they are going to a funeral, they have documentation proving an invitation by a business in the Republic of Croatia or an invitation to a business meeting. All other foreign citizens who have a business reason and do not have the appropriate documentation should announce their intention to enter the country at the following email address: email@example.com and they will receive a response as soon as possible. Such persons are obliged to keep contact with others to a minimum and adhere to instructions on reducing the risk of disease transmission, to measure body temperature in the morning for 14 days after entering the Republic of Croatia and if it is higher than 37.2 degrees Celsius and if they have any signs of illness, they should call their chosen family doctor or the epidemiologist responsible for their area.
Report symptoms of illness
If people develop symptoms of the disease upon entering Croatia, they should stay in their accommodation and call their host, ie the organizer of their arrival, who will inform an epidemiologist or a primary care physician, or, outside their working hours, call the emergency medical service or contact the nearest COVID clinic. If a person has signs of illness when entering Croatia, the border police will inform the sanitary inspector. Such persons are recommended not to enter the Republic of Croatia, and if for urgent reasons they still have to cross the state border, they will be sent by the shortest route to the competent healthcare institution for testing and treatment, i.e. testing and isolation. People who have a fever and symptoms of an acute respiratory infection should delay their arrival in Croatia. Croatian and foreign citizens can request additional information and clarification by calling the 112 or 113 information telephone numbers. “About 200 people have so far applied to enter Croatia,” said Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic, the head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters. “About 200 people according to information I received from the Border Administration. I think that more than half are citizens of the Republic of Slovenia,” said Bozinovic.
Croatia confirms 9 new coronavirus cases, 1 death in last 24 hours (N1)
Nine new cases of coronavirus infection have been registered in Croatia in the last 24 hours, bringing their total to 2.196, while the death toll has increased by 1 to 91 in total, Health Minister Vili Beros told a daily press conference on Monday. On the southern island of Brac, the new hotspot of the infection, 7 people have tested positive, and 2 more are from Brod-Posavina County, all exhibiting mild symptoms, Beros said.
Coronavirus measures to be in place as of Monday (CDM)
The National Coordination Body for Communicable Diseases, NKT, has decided to ease certain lockdown measures which are to take effect as of Monday. The NKT will allow personal and public transportation of passengers – but within the regions, the work of healthcare institutions will be normalized, while religious communities will be allowed to perform religious services, committing themselves to adapt their activities to the current epidemiological situation. Upon the proposal of the Public Health Institute, the NKT has agreed to ease temporary measures concerning movement between municipalities by allowing movement within the regions as follows:
-In the coastal region between the municipalities: Bar, Budva, Herceg Novi, Kotor, Tivat, Ulcinj and the Old Royal Capital Cetinje.
– In the central region between: Podgorica, Cetinje, Danilovgrad, Tuzi, Niksic, Savnik and Pluzine.
– In the northern region between the municipalities: Pljevlja, Zabljak, Bijelo Polje, Berane, Mojkovac, Kolasin, Plav, Rozaje, Andrijevica, Petnjica and Gusinje. No more than two adults may be transported in a passenger motor vehicle at the same time, unless members of a joint family household are transported. It’s also possible to transport passengers via internal maritime transport. The NKT has agreed that the normalization of the situation in the country’s healthcare system should gradually start:
-The Clinical Center of Montenegro, general and special hospitals and institutions in the healthcare system network will ensure a gradual availability of specialist examinations for all patients;
– All patients will wear face masks during their stay in the healthcare institution (provided that the patient’s clinical condition allows wearing of a mask and that it doesn’t endanger the patient’s respiratory function) and the physical distancing rule among patients will be respected.
-A notice on valid temporary measures for prevention and control of the novel coronavirus will be prominently displayed;
– Hand sanitizers will be provided at the entrance/exit of a health institution;
– Screening programme for colon cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer will be postponed while temporary measures are in place;
– Measures that enable rational and efficient use of human resources in the current epidemiological conditions will be implemented in health centers;
– The Tolosi health center will still serve as a reception for patients suspicious of being infected with Covid-19
– Referral and transport of patients for treatment outside Montenegro will be ensured solely in life-threatening cases.
Emphasizing the fact that the ban on public gatherings is still in force, the NKT has allowed religious communities to perform religious services, while they [religious communities] commit themselves to adapt activities to the current epidemiological situation.
Religious communities now have to:
– Limit the number of persons who can be in a religious facility at the same time during the religious service – one person on 10 sqm, while physical distancing rules must be respected;
– Provide hand sanitizer at the entrance/exit of a religious facility;
– Display a notice on the maximum number of persons who can be inside a religious facility at the same time at the entrance;
– People in a religious facility have to wear face masks apart from religious officials who take part in religious services;
– Up to twenty people can be present in an open space area belonging to a religious facility, while keeping physical distancing is mandatory
– The responsible person in a religious facility ensures consistent compliance with the prescribed measures.
Markovic: Montenegro set to become coronavirus-free destination (CDM)
Prime Minister Dusko Markovic has said that Montenegro is set to become a coronavirus-free destination and announced that they are going to prepare for the forthcoming tourism season at the same time taking care of the health of the citizens. “We will prepare our country for the summer tourism season, the continuation of investments and new partnerships over the next weeks, at the same time taking care of the health of our citizens, in order to mitigate the adverse effects of the coronavirus crisis more quickly,” the Prime Minister said. According to him, Montenegro has shown the ability to respond to the Covid-19 epidemic effectively.
No new cases of coronavirus in Montenegro (RTCG)
It is the sixth day in a row since no new cases of Covid-19 have been registered in Montenegro, the thirteenth in total. The number of infected people has not changed and is 324. The number of recovered is 290, which is 16 more than yesterday. There are currently 25 patients, by municipalities:
Herceg Novi: 1
Bijelo Polje: 1
SDSM-led coalition takes a stand for mid-June election (MIA)
The SDSM-led coalition “We Can” took a position at a meeting on Sunday that a decline in the spread of the coronavirus should be used as an opportunity to go to the polls in mid-June, i.e. June 14. Leaders of the SDSM coalition parties agreed to present their position at the leaders’ meeting to be hosted by President Stevo Pendarovski on Tuesday. “We came to the conclusion that our country needs election as soon as conditions are right. If the rate of new coronavirus infections keeps declining and the crisis is under control, this would be best in terms of both health and economy, as well as democracy. The election should take place in a situation when the coronavirus peak has passed and the virus is declining, as people’s health wouldn’t be threatened, especially when considering that a second peak is expected in fall and it would be irresponsible to put people’s health at risk,” SDSM leader Zoran Zaev said after the meeting.
According to him, this would open up an opportunity for the country to better prepare for the second coronavirus wave, with a proper government, parliament and functional institutions to respond to the economic effects of the crisis. Zaev underlined that the coronavirus crisis has badly affected the economy, and therefore, fully legitimate parliament and government are necessary to take effective steps in overcoming the crisis. The SDSM leader noted that other countries have also opted for elections seeing that the pandemic is declining, and it was also encouraging that the ODIHR mission could deploy observers to monitor the election. “Our country has taken timely measures and it’s coping well with the virus, but it’s still not the time to relax. Therefore, we urge citizens to comply with all recommendations of health authorities,” Zaev said. He expects consensus to be reached at the leaders’ meeting scheduled for Tuesday and an election date to be set in line with recommendations of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. As regards conducting the election, Zaev said it should be done in line with recommendations by health authorities, while parties should agree on the details of organizing the election. Asked if he expected a dirty election campaign, the SDSM leader said he hoped it wouldn’t be dirty and urged everyone to avoid such campaign behavior.
Mickoski: We’re in favor of election that won’t put people’s health at risk (MIA/Telma TV)
VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski said Sunday that the party is in favor of election this summer, but an election that won’t put people’s health at risk. Mickoski reiterated that VMRO-DPMNE’s priority is, above all, people’s health, and then, fair and democratic election. He told Telma TV that VMRO-DPMNE’s position for the upcoming leaders’ meeting is that people’s health is the first and foremost priority. Only then, any election dates that would enable fair and democratic political platform presentation can become a topic of discussion. “To talk about an election date, I’d first like to listen to what health authorities say, as well as the SEC president in terms of the time necessary to make preparations for early parliamentary election,” Mickoski said. He pointed out that in line with legal norm, about 60 days are necessary to organize election after the state of emergency expires. “We’re in favor of election this summer. We’re in favor of election that won’t put people’s health at risk. Election that will bring a new government that will know how to deal with the effects of the coronavirus,” the leader of VMRO-DPMNE said. Mickoski voiced hope that consensus will be reached as regards the election date. He noted that even though the citizens would be making a choice at the election, whereas political parties would seek citizens’ support, it is also necessary to have credible international OSCE/ODIHR observers, in addition to other various factors at play that need to be analyzed before making a final decision. Mickoski urged all political stakeholders to show maturity and rise above the situation, not to put people’s health at risk, not to be led by personal political interests, but by the people’s interests.
MFA offers apology to Serbia, B&H, Montenegro and Croatia over postage stamp gaffe (MIA)
The Foreign Ministry confirmed to MIA that it has sent an apology to the Serbian authorities through the chargé d’affaires at the Belgrade embassy for the gaffe of the Post of North Macedonia national company, saying an unintentional design-related blunder has been made for which adequate measures are taken. The controversial postage stamp, showing a map of ‘Great Croatia’, has been withdrawn and a decision was made to dismiss the head of the philately department and the council in charge of approving postage stamps. An official apology from the Post of North Macedonia was also conveyed, expressing regret for the gaffe to publish the stamp.
The Foreign Ministry ‘clearly and categorically’ dismisses having any connection with the ‘unfortunate event’ and expresses regret to the citizens of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), Montenegro and Croatia. Regional cooperation and good neighborly ties are the backbone of North Macedonia’s foreign policy. “We remain committed to our efforts to be more engaged cooperating with the immediate and close neighborhood in meeting the remaining EU integration reforms in the interest of all citizens in the region,” the Ministry tells MIA.
Islamic Community of Macedonia determined to reopen all mosques tomorrow (Republika)
The Islamic Community of Macedonia (IVZ) announced that it is definitely going to open the mosques on Tuesday. With two weeks of the month of Ramadan remaining, IVZ said that will reopen the places of worship to allow the Muslims to attend the religious rites. The state is obliged to prepare a set of measures and the religious communities need to follow them. Maybe we needed to have better coordination between the religious communities and the Government, but the reality is what it is, the decision has been made, and we need to adapt to the situation and see if we can protect public health, said Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani. Osmani was strongly critical of the procession held in Struga last week, when Orthodox Christians celebrated St. George’s day, calling for accountability from the organizers. The Islamic Community said that it will require all who attend prayers to wear masks, that the mosques will be cleaned up regularly, and that as much of the sermons as possible will be held outdoors.
In North Macedonia 22 new COVID-19 cases, 64 patients recover (MIA)
Twenty-two new COVID-19 cases have been registered in North Macedonia in the past 24 hours, while 64 patients recovered, the Ministry of Health said in a press release Monday. Of the recovered, in Skopje – 17, Kumanovo – 9, Prilep – 12, Tetovo – 3, Struga – 12, Ohrid – 9, Gostivar – 1, Kichevo – 1. New coronavirus cases have been registered in Skopje – 13, Prilep – 2, Tetovo – 7. This brings the tally of coronavirus patients in North Macedonia since the onset of the epidemic to 1,664. Of these 1,200 people have recovered, 91 passed away, while the number of active cases in the country is 373. Thus, of the 1,664 coronavirus patients in North Macedonia now, Skopje has 563 (of which 128 active), Kumanovo-408 (of which 44 active), Debar-51, Shtip-35 (of which 2 active), Prilep-178 (of which 58 active), Tetovo-117 (of which 58 active), Struga-67 (of which 4 active), Veles-107 (of which 49 active), Bitola-23 (of which 4 active), Ohrid-15, Kavadarci-5 (of which 1 active), Gostivar-19 (of which 4 active), Gevgelija-4, Strumica-2, Kriva Palanka-6 (of which 2 active), Radovish-4, Krushevo-3, Kochani-31 (of which 5 active), Probishtip-2, Kichevo-2, Negotino-9 (7 are residents of Demir Kapija), Demir Hisar-1, Makedonski Brod-2, Pehchevo-3 (of which 2 active), Delchevo-1 (active), Valandovo-1 (active), Vinica-2, Kratovo-2 (active), Berovo-1 (active). Over the past 24 hours, 145 coronavirus tests have been carried out. Of these, 122 through the Institute for Public Health, 17 through the Zhan Mitrev Clinic, 6 through the MANU lab. A total of 19,241 COVID-19 tests have been carried out so far in North Macedonia. According to the Ministry, the Clinic for Infectious Diseases has not admitted new patients in the past 24 hours. A total of 42 patients are being treated for COVID-19 there at the time. Two patients are on ventilators, while 20 need oxygen support. Five new patients have been admitted at the “8 September” hospital in Skopje. A total of 18 patients are being treated for COVID-19 there now. Four patients show severe symptoms and four others are put on ventilators. Two patients, showing COVID-19 symptoms are hospitalized in Bitola, while three patients are treated for the infection at home. In Shtip, seven coronavirus patients are being treated at the hospital, and one other patient is being treated at home. A total of 49 patients, who have tested positive or show coronavirus symptoms, are being treated for COVID-19 at the infectious wards in the hospitals in Prilep, Veles, Kumanovo and Tetovo, the press release reads.
Rama-Soreca press conference/ Rama: Ready to sit down with Meta and Basha to send a message of national unity to Brussels (Radio Tirana)
Prime Minister Edi Rama has come out together with the EU Ambassador to the country Luigi Soreca in a press conference on Europe Day. Rama stated that Europe Day, finds us in an extremely extraordinary situation that prevents us from the usual rituals in celebrating this special day, thanking the EU leaders for their support to the Western Balkans and Albania.
He said the aid would continue from the European budget in the second half of 2020. Rama also unveiled the discussions with the President of the European Commission, with the enlargement commissioner with the President of the Council to include the ECB in this assistance through an interaction between the BoA and the national banks of the region and the European Bank to significantly facilitate the whole process of financing the economy. On Europe Day, Prime Minister Edi Rama said that in order to continue on the path to EU membership, he said he is ready to sit down with President Ilir Meta and leader of Democratic Party Lulzim Basha, to send a message of national unity to Brussels. “We are preparing to continue integration. I thank our friends in Brussels who are staying close to us in the experience of negotiating membership. Now that the negotiations are open and preparation is required, the work plan has been detailed for the coming months. The government carries the main weight, but here all the actors need to contribute, we do have the will to sit down with the President of the Republic, the chairman of the opposition and representatives of independent institutions. Let this be a table where we will express the common will, where everyone does his duty, without imposing himself on the other but to give a strong message of national unity. In this process, we all want Albania’s integration into the EU. We are ready to sit down with the President, the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary opposition, so that we can all contribute,” he said.
Opposition getting ready for ‘all-out war’ (ADN)
Former prime minister of Albania denied the existence of an agreement between Prime Minister, Edi Rama and President Ilir Meta or between Rama and opposition leader Lulzim Basha. He said that all these are lies articulated by the head of government to manipulate all people near him. Berisha guaranteed that the movement initiated by the President Ilir Meta goes on and one of the last action is reaction against Ardian Dvorani. “The Albanian opposition will be tougher after the pandemic and is getting ready for an ‘All-out War’ and bigger protests,” warned Berisha adding tougher reactions of civil disobedience.
Albania records lowest number of new Covid-19 Cases (ADN)
Albania recorded only 4 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, flaring up hope that the situation is significantly improving. The same number of patients has also recovered during the last day. The recent cases have been reported in Tirana, Kamza and Shkodra. There are currently 187 active cases of Covid-19 throughout the country. The situation in the hospitals has been stable for days. Currently, 28 patients are hospitalized in two COVID hospitals and only 3 of them are in intensive care. “In the past 24 hours, 121 citizens suspected of being affected by Covid-19 were tested and 4 of them turned out positive, 2 citizens in Tirana, 1 in Kamza and 1 in Shkodra. To date, 872 citizens across the country have tested positive for Covid-19. 654 citizens have recovered, about 75% of all affected. Despite the easing of measures, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection calls the citizens to abide by the rules, maintain physical distance and maintain personal hygiene” said Public Health Institution representative, Eugena Tomini. The geographical distribution of active cases is as follows:
Tirana – 87
Kruja – 56
Shkodra – 17
Kamza – 12
Fier – 5
Kurbin – 3
Elbasan – 3
Mirdita – 1
Berat – 1
Durresi – 1
Korca – 1