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Belgrade Media Report 13 July 2020

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Monday 13 July 2020

LOCAL PRESS

Belgrade-Pristina dialogue resumes via video conference (Tanjug/RTS)
Lajcak: Parties agree on key elements of dialogue (Beta)
Borrell: Normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations requires political courage on both sides (Beta)
Vucic: Kosovo situation almost hopeless (TV Pink)
Vucic briefs Botsan-Kharchenko on continuation of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue (RTS)
Brnabic: Discipline crucial for curbing spread of coronavirus (BBC/Tanjug)
Vucic starts talks on government formation (Tanjug)
Dacic: Decisions on opening borders change daily (TV Prva/Tanjug)
SDA is getting votes on Srebrenica (Novosti)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

The commemorative session on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide took place in Srebrenica (Hayat)
UN Security Council holds high-level commemoration on occasion of marking 25th anniversary of genocide in Srebrenica (Nova BH)
Dodik: Adoption of law, which Dzaferovic is calling for, would return verbal offense to B&H (ATV)
Dzaferovic: Everything about Srebrenica genocide is known and truth is integral and verified by different final rulings of international courts (Hayat)
Dodik: Fact that HR is being pushed to adopt law banning genocide denial indicates that this is questionable truth (RTRS)
European Parliament honors victims of Srebrenica genocide (O kanal)
EU officials Michel, Von der Leyen and Borrell issue joint press statement on occasion of 25th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide (Dnevni avaz)
B&H CEC adopts conclusion to launch initiative for adoption of amendments to B&H Election Law, in order to ensure its own financial independence (ATV)
Croatia

Croatian Prime Minister, President: Srebrenica must never be forgotten (Hina)
Jansa: Croatia’s entry into Euro and Schengen Area is in Slovenia’s interest (Hina)
Montenegro

Djukanovic: Genocide in Srebrenica is an eternal admonition, a wake-up call for all our nations (CDM)
Markovic to meet European officials in Brussels (CDM)
Republic of North Macedonia

Pendarovski: Srebrenica a reminder of the virus of intolerance to diversity (MIA)
Three-day election silence goes into effect (MIA)
Today, 716 people with Covid-19 and in self-isolation are voting in North Macedonia, tomorrow 8,852 sick, powerless and chronically ill (MIA)
Albania

Commission of Inquiry into the dismissal of President Meta to convene (Tirana Times)
Rama: In remembering Srebrenica, we must go beyond commemoration and words and actively learn the lessons (Radio Tirana)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

Serbian president’s upcoming visit to Iran to open new chapter in bilateral ties (IRNA)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Belgrade-Pristina dialogue resumes via video conference (Tanjug/RTS)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who participated in a trilateral meeting of the EU, Belgrade and Pristina via a video link on Sunday, said that the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina has resumed after 20 months, and that an agreement has been reached on the topics for the meeting in Brussels, scheduled for 16 July. Ahead of the meeting, the President held bilateral consultations with EU High Representative Josep Borrell and EU Special Representative for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina Miroslav Lajcak. The trilateral video conference “Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina”, under the EU auspices, is an introduction to the continuation of dialogue scheduled for 16 July. Vucic, Prime Minister of the provisional institutions from Pristina Avdullah Hoti and mediators Josep Borrell and Miroslav Lajcak took part in it. The video conference was chaired by Borrell, who said that the goal is to continue the process in order to reach a final comprehensive and legally binding agreement on the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, which would resolve all open questions. Such an agreement is crucial for a better future for the people of Kosovo and Serbia, for their European perspective, as well as for the stability and security of the entire region. All this is also crucial for the EU, Borrell said before the start of the video conference.

 

Lajcak: Parties agree on key elements of dialogue (Beta)

 

The EU Special Representative for normalization talks between Belgrade and Pristina Miroslav Lajcak said on 12 July that a video conference between representatives of Serbia, Kosovo and the EU had produced an agreement on the key elements of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

Lajcak said after the conference that the parties had also agreed on the agenda for the next meeting in Brussels, on 16 July. “I am glad to be able to say that the EU-mediated dialogue on the overall normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo has been restored after 20 months,” Lajcak said, thanking Serbia and Kosovo for their “constructive engagement.”

 

Borrell: Normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations requires political courage on both sides (Beta)

 

EU High Representative Josep Borrell said on 12 July that the EU was striving to restart serious and intensive efforts to normalize relations between Belgrade and Pristina, adding that it was not going to be an easy process, and that it would require political courage, commitment and the involvement of both sides. “The EU has been and will continue to be prepared to support and facilitate efforts to reach a comprehensive, final, legally binding agreement to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia, encompassing all open issues,” Borrell said in a video message before a video round of the high-level dialogue.  Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Kosovo Prime Minister Avdulah Hoti and Miroslav Lajcak, will reportedly take part in the conference. “The absence of a solution hinders the development of both sides. We know that it is not, and has never been, an easy process, but it is urgent to work on peace and progress in the name of a shared future. It will require political courage, commitment and the involvement of both sides in the spirit of compromise and pragmatism,” Borrell said.The EU high representatives explained that an agreement “is key to a better future for the citizens of Kosovo and Serbia and their European outlook, but also the security and stability of the region, with all that being crucial for the EU as well.”

Vucic: Kosovo situation almost hopeless (TV Pink)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday that the Kosovo situation is almost hopeless, adding that “a hard battle is coming” in the negotiations with Pristina. Speaking live on a TV Pink evening show, Vucic said that Belgrade’s goal is to lose as little as possible in the dialogue with Pristina. “The goal is to get something, lose as little as we have to and get some of what was lost between 2000 and 2008,” he said. He refused to discuss Belgrade’s negotiating position claiming that could harm Serbia’s interests in Europe and the world. According to Vucic, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel showed great interest in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue for geo-political reasons and because “they know that a frozen conflict can’t be maintained indefinitely”. “Conflicts and wars are not in anyone’s interest,” he said. Vucic has dismissed as baseless reports by certain Serbian media outlets about an alleged ‘Russian trace’ in Belgrade protests. “I have no proof of this whatsoever,” Vucic told TV Pink when asked about Russia’s possible role in the protests. Commenting on the cancellation of a meeting with the Russian Ambassador to Serbia scheduled for 8 July, he said it had been cancelled for technical reasons. “For technical reasons, I am meeting with the Russian ambassador tomorrow,” Vucic said. Vucic said, however, that he was “equally unhappy” about the activity of certain US, German and Russia media, since he saw no difference between them.

 

Vucic briefs Botsan-Kharchenko on continuation of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue (RTS)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met earlier today with Russian Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko, and asked him to convey his gratitude to President Vladimir Putin for the cordial hospitality he conferred to him in Moscow during his stay on the occasion of the Victory Parade. Vucic said that for him, this was yet another expression of President Putin’s respect for our country. He noted that they had a good conversation on major political issues and that the President of Russia confirmed that he would visit Serbia in October. Vucic and Botsan-Kharchenko discussed the implementation of concrete agreements on strengthening bilateral cooperation. They also discussed the situation in the Western Balkans, especially the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, on which Vucic briefed Botsan-Kharchenko regarding the continuation of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

 

Brnabic: Discipline crucial for curbing spread of coronavirus (BBC/Tanjug)

 

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated that if the number of patients with coronavirus does not start to drop, a curfew will be reintroduced in Belgrade, as well as the restrictive measures that were in force in March and April and the closure of the country. On Friday night, Brnabic told the BBC radio show Newshours that the proof that the protests have nothing to do with the curfew is that the government had never made such a decision. A ban on the operation of service facilities from 9 pm to 6 am was the first official decision we made. Until then, everything was just discussed and no final decision was made, she explained. Brnabic also pointed out that Serbia was one of the countries that had the most success in the fight against infectious disease COVID-19 in March and April, but also that it had almost the strictest measures in Europe during the first wave. The country was closed, we had curfew, sometimes from Thursday night to Monday morning, and that gave results. However, one cannot live and work that way. We expected the second wave in the fall, but, in fact, the first wave never ended. She pointed out that, as soon as such type of ban was lifted, the numbers started to grow again, and pointed out that this time the government tried different tactics, that is, to appeal to citizens to be disciplined, wear face masks and hold distance. Speaking about the elections and that many criticize the government that the worsening of the epidemic is a direct result of the holding of the elections, Brnabic said that the elections was something that had to be done and that other countries also held elections, such as South Korea, France and Bavaria in Germany.

Asked about negotiations with Kosovo’s leaders and how optimistic she is that some kind of solution will be reached and whether Serbia could recognize Kosovo, she said she is happy that negotiations are continuing because that is something Serbia has always called for.

 

Vucic starts talks on government formation (Tanjug)

 

President Vucic scheduled consultations for the formation of the new government, the media report. As planned, a meeting with the leader of the Sandzak SDA, Sulejman Ugljanin, is scheduled for Tuesday at 9 am, and immediately after that, at 10 am, the president will meet with representatives of the Albanian Democratic Alternative. A meeting with the leader of the Justice and Reconciliation Party, Muamer Zukorlic, is scheduled for Wednesday, and then on the same day with the leader of the SVM, Istvan Pastor. Consultations with the leader of the Serbian Patriotic Alliance (SPAS), Aleksandar Sapic, will be held on Friday, 17 July, at 9 am, and on Monday, 20 July, with the head of the Socialists – Ivica Dacic. Consultations with the SNS are also planned for Tuesday, 21 July, at 9 o’clock.

 

Dacic: Decisions on opening borders change daily (TV Prva/Tanjug)

 

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic stated that decisions on opening or closing borders for our citizens change every day and that Serbian citizens, when it comes to neighboring countries, can travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Hungary without any tests or quarantine. In a statement to TV Prva, Dacic said that the EU had made certain decisions, but at the level of a recommendation, and that the recommendation was to put Serbia on the green list of countries.

However, he pointed out that every country makes decisions individually and those decisions change on a daily basis. He specified that Croatia yesterday announced that it will be possible to enter that country with a negative test or 14 days of isolation, North Macedonia requires a negative test, while in the case of Slovenia we are on the red list and isolation of 14 days must be respected, but transit is allowed. Serbian citizens cannot enter Romania and Greece, the Minister stated and noted that the same applies to Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium, while our citizens can go to Germany, with 14 days of isolation. Serbian citizens can travel to Luxembourg, Great Britain and the US, but they are barred from entering Russia, China, Israel, Morocco, Japan, Australia. Dacic recalled that we had problems with Greece because there is a discrepancy between the ministries of foreign affairs and health, considering that the country first announced that our citizens could freely enter Greece, and then did not open the border crossing, whereas now they have decided that our citizens cannot enter that country. He pointed out that Greek authorities said that there have been a lot of infected tourists from Serbia, adding that it is a big question whether this decision will change, but that it is in Greece’s interest to open the border because of tourism. Regarding Montenegro, Serbian citizens can still not enter that country, Dacic said.

 

SDA is getting votes on Srebrenica (Novosti)

 

Bosniak political parties, with SDA at the helm, exploited 11 July and the anniversary of sufferings in Srebrenica to promote their own policy and win some political points ahead of this year’s local elections, Novosti reports. The daily gives examples of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic (SDA) and Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic (SDA) in this context. Namely, Turkovic “self-willingly proclaimed 11 July as the day of mourning and ordered diplomatic-consular representation offices of B&H worldwide to lower flags of B&H at half-mast”, while Dzaferovic, without consent of the B&H Presidency, attended an online commemoration which was organized by the B&H Mission to the United Nations, on which occasion he again called to adoption of a law on prohibition of genocide denial in BiH, which is something the RS rejected as unacceptable on several occasions in past. Political analyst Dzevad Galijasevic said that SDA is turning Srebrenica and 11 July into its own political capital and he added: “For (SDA leader) Bakir Izetbegovic, Srebrenica is a point of revenge against other people, primarily Serbs”. Galijasevic also assessed that latest moves of Turkovic and Dzaferovic represent “self-goals for Srebrenica and Bosniak people”. “SDA has not done anything for Srebrenica for decades and I remind you that BAM millions of donations for Srebrenica arrived to Sarajevo. This money stayed in Sarajevo,” Galijasevic argued. Chair of Serb Caucus in the B&H parliament Nenad Stevandic said that he is not surprised with behavior of SDA officials and he explained: “Everything, including Srebrenica, is abused in B&H and it is interesting that this comes from SDA, i.e. the party that swears by B&H the most. It is obvious that the only important thing is to use July 11 to deliver as much hate towards Serbs in the RS”.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

The commemorative session on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide took place in Srebrenica (Hayat)

 

The commemorative session on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide took place in Srebrenica on Saturday. The commemorative session included a number of video messages from officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), as well as European and other international officials. According to Hayat, the general message conveyed at the commemorative session was that the international community (IC) failed to defend Srebrenica 25 years ago, that ending genocide denial is the precondition for reconciliation, and that Srebrenica remains the dark stain on the conscience of mankind. Hayat briefly reported that High Representative Valentin Inzko addressed the session via video link, yet he failed to fulfill his promise to advocate adoption of the law on banning genocide denial. Being among a number of former and current international officials who delivered their video messages at the session, former US President Bill Clinton stated that “this anniversary is a disturbing reminder of the horrific price we all pay when humanity is forgotten”. Charles, Prince of Wales, said that the IC had failed those who were killed in Srebrenica, as well as those who survived the genocide but lost their loved ones, underscoring that this must never repeat itself. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reminded that “a large number of perpetrators has not been held responsible for what they did”, and said that there should be no denial of what happened. President of the Mechanism of International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) Carmel Agius spoke about having the chance to visit places of execution and mass graves, and never being able to forget the photos of corpses in front of the warehouse in Kravica or the faces of those who were aware they would die. MICT Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz stated: “Before the eyes of the world, senior leaders used propaganda to incite ethnic hatred and dehumanize their neighbors. Leading officials used that power to terrorize and destroy, only because the victims were Muslims.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “A quarter of a century ago, the UN and the IC failed the people of Srebrenica. As former Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, it will haunt our history forever.” President of the European Commission (EC) Ursula Von der Leyen pointed out that Srebrenica is still an open wound on the European conscience. “Some of the displaced families never returned to their homes. There are survivors who still wake up in the middle of the night. As a woman, mother and wife, I can only try to imagine the depth of your pain. I am with you with all my heart. It is also difficult to comprehend the scale of this enormous tragedy”, said von der Leyen. President of the European Parliament (EP) David Sassoli stressed: “It is our obligation to do all we can to prevent these crimes from happening again.” French President Emmanuel Macron referred to Srebrenica as “a painful symbol of failure of the IC to provide protection to civilians who needed to be protected”. Croatian President Zoran Milanovic noted that the genocide is such tragic event that remains a painful wound in the history of modern Europe. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the Srebrenica genocide is “one of the most painful and most shameful pages in the history of Europe”.

 

UN Security Council holds high-level commemoration on occasion of marking 25th anniversary of genocide in Srebrenica (Nova BH)

 

The UN Security Council (UN SC) on Friday held a high-level commemoration via video link on the occasion of marking the 25th anniversary of genocide in Srebrenica. The UN SC commemoration was organized by Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Permanent Mission to the UN. Addressing the commemoration, President of the United Nations General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande stated that genocide must not be forgotten and that prevention is key action in which the UN failed in 1995. “We bear collective responsibility for that.” Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng stressed that there are those who doubt that genocide was committed and who glorify war criminals as heroes, adding that one must fight hard against such rhetoric and such behavior. Addressing the UN SC commemoration, B&H Presidency Chairman Sefik Dzaferovic stated that it is necessary to adopt a law banning the denial of genocide which, according to him, would be the best expression of respect towards the victims. Dzaferovic also called on the UN SC members to protect the respect of verdicts of UN courts, especially those related to the genocide in Srebrenica. Dzaferovic underlined that genocide happened in 1995 and that this was “an industry of death and a carefully planned operation aimed at eliminating Bosniaks from eastern Bosnia.” Dzaferovic also said that officials of the RS and Serbia are denying genocide and glorifying war criminals who have been convicted of genocide. Dzaferovic said that he expected High Representative Valentin Inzko to impose a law banning the denial of genocide, as he promised back in July 2019.

 

Dodik: Adoption of law, which Dzaferovic is calling for, would return verbal offense to B&H (ATV)

 

Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said that the B&H Permanent Mission to the UN did not have the consent of the B&H Presidency to participate in organizing a commemorative gathering organized by certain members of the UN Security Council (UN SC), which was held online on Friday and addressed by Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic. Dodik stressed that the views expressed by Dzaferovic on that occasion are not the views of the Presidency of B&H, but his personal views. Asked to comment Dzaferovic’s address in which he expressed his opinion that it is necessary to pass a law on the prohibition of denial of genocide, Dodik pointed out that adoption of such a law would return verbal offense to B&H. “That would take us all away from the truth and from reconciliation.” He expressed deep regret over all the victims in Srebrenica and the surrounding villages, be it Serb or Bosniak victims, and called on everyone to come to the much-needed truth about the events in Srebrenica and its surroundings from 1992 to 1995 through the truth, and without prohibitions and taboos.

 

Dzaferovic: Everything about Srebrenica genocide is known and truth is integral and verified by different final rulings of international courts (Hayat)

 

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, Chairman of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic stated on Saturday that everything about the Srebrenica genocide is known and that “the truth is integral and verified by different final rulings of international courts”. Dzaferovic noted that the rulings according to which genocide was committed in Srebrenica make it clear that the genocide was planned and committed in a systematic way, by forces of first Republika Srpska (RS) President Radovan Karadzic and wartime RS Army Main Staff Commander Ratko Mladic, backed by units from Serbia. SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic warned that “war criminals are being decorated” and genocide in Srebrenica is being denied. Izetbegovic thus expressed support to the initiative of the associations of mothers of Srebrenica in which they demanded revoking of the decorations to Karadzic and Mladic, along with other convicted war criminals. Izetbegovic added that it is high time for the law on banning genocide denial to be imposed.

 

Dodik: Fact that HR is being pushed to adopt law banning genocide denial indicates that this is questionable truth (RTRS)

 

Leader of SNSD Milorad Dodik said that Srebrenica is the place where one truth cannot be favored, adding that truth has to be built on facts and not on speculations. “Srebrenica is the place of suffering of Bosniaks, it should be said. However, Serbs and those from the rank of other peoples also suffered. This is the place where one truth cannot be favored,” underlined Dodik. Dodik said that the increasing number of requests made to the High Representative (Valentin Inzko) to impose the law banning genocide denial indicates a questionable truth. “We respect the pain of the mothers of Srebrenica, with both white and black scarves, and we respect suffering. We believe in this regard that all types of crimes should be condemned no matter who they were perpetrated against,” Dodik said. “I have heard a constant demand lately to ban something and deny it. You cannot build the truth on it. Whether something happened or not. If something is suspicious, like their story, with which they want to say that genocide happened, then it cannot be forced by law. It is just a story about a new verbal offense or something like that,” Dodik explained. Dodik stated that they cannot stand behind the truth fabricated by biased international institutions like the tribunal in The Hague that only condemned Serbs. He said that no one can force them to accept this.

 

European Parliament honors victims of Srebrenica genocide (O kanal)

 

The European Parliament (EP) conveyed a message on Friday that there is no place in the EU for glorification of war criminals and for denial of crimes. It was underlined that the Europe must not forget what happened in Srebrenica or its liability to prevent and stop Srebrenica genocide. European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi stated that genocide in Srebrenica remains open wound in the heart of the Europe. He added that this reminds the Europe of its liability for failing to prevent Srebrenica genocide. “That is why it is our obligation to remember Srebrenica forever”, said Varhelyi, underlining that all those responsible for abovementioned massacre have to face consequences of their acts.  The EP’s Special Rapporteur for B&H Paulo Rangel addressed the EP and said that political leaders have to choose truth, justice and cooperation to overcome tragic past and build more prosperous future for new generations. Rangel said that Srebrenica cannot happen ever again. Croatian MEP Tonino Picula underlined that courts’ rendered verdicts reading that genocide was committed in Srebrenica, adding that it is a fact.

 

EU officials Michel, Von der Leyen and Borrell issue joint press statement on occasion of 25th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide (Dnevni avaz)

 

President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen and EU High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell issued a joint press statement on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide. “On July 11, we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, one of the darkest chapters of modern European history. Our hearts and thoughts are with the victims of this tragic event, their families and their loved ones and all those whose lives have been affected. We honor the memory of those laid to rest and all those still missing”, the press statement noted. The EU officials stated that this anniversary is a painful reminder for them and added: “25 years ago Europe failed to live up to the promise that never again would there be such tragedy on our continent. It is also a powerful signal of the need to stand up firmly and without exceptions for the universal values – human dignity, in particular – which underpin our Union. 25 years later, it is our duty to remember. We must confront the past with honesty and look to the future with determination to support the next generations, not least young people from across the Western Balkans, in building a better common future”. The press statement also noted that Bosnia and Herzegovina has come a long way in restoring trust, within and between the country’s communities and concluded that “for peace and reconciliation to continue, the way forward must include the recognition of suffering, mutual respect and dignity”.

 

B&H CEC adopts conclusion to launch initiative for adoption of amendments to B&H Election Law, in order to ensure its own financial independence (ATV)

 

The B&H Central Election Commission (CEC) recently adopted a conclusion to launch an initiative for adoption of amendments to the B&H Election Law, in order to ensure its own financial independence. The B&H CEC adopted the conclusion explaining that they want to avoid another situation in which there would be no funds two months after calling the elections. “Having in mind that the task of organizing and holding the elections must be assigned to an independent body, for which the funds necessary to hold the elections must be secured within the legally stipulated deadlines, the B&H CEC is initiating amendments to the B&H Election Law, according to which the funds necessary to hold the elections would be secured within the legally stipulated deadlines. At the same time, they would offer an alternative way of overcoming the problem of securing the funds, if they cannot be secured within the legally stipulated deadline for some reason” reads a statement issued by the B&H CEC. According to SNSD, the B&H CEC is “everything but independent” as it is composed of the staff from SDA, SDS and PDP. SNSD representative in the B&H House of Representatives (HoR) Sanja Vulic assessed that this is another “desperate attempt” of the B&H CEC that does not have any kind of argument in favor of postponement of the elections. “This is only about a poor rating of political parties that are represented by (members of the B&H CEC) Mr. (Suad) Arnautovic, (Jovan) Kalaba and Vanja Bjelica Prutina at the CEC. Their poor rating is forcing them to keep finding excuses as to why we should postpone the elections,” Vulic said. DNS leader Nenad Nesic stressed that the B&H CEC should be independent in both political and financial terms. However, the main problem is the fact that it is not independent in political terms, according to Nesic. “It is already financially independent and it has never been politically independent,” Nesic explained. United Srpska leader Nenad Stevandic assessed that there is something much bigger behind the decisions of the B&H CEC. He deems that the goal is for Bosniaks to win the elections in Mostar and Srebrenica with the help of SDS and PDP whose staff is in the B&H CEC.

 

Croatian Prime Minister, President: Srebrenica must never be forgotten (Hina)

 

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Saturday that the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, which he described as one of the worst atrocities committed in Europe after the Second World War, should and would never be forgotten. “A quarter of the century has passed since one of the most heinous atrocities on European soil after the World War Two, was committed in Srebrenica. It is with deepest respect that we commemorate today more than 8,000 Bosniak men, boys and civilians killed in Srebrenica and we also show our deep sympathies to their families and dearest ones. The victims of Srebrenica must not and will not ever be forgotten” Plenkovic wrote in a press release issued on the occasion of commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the eastern Bosnian enclave into the hands of the Serb forces. The atrocities perpetrated in Srebrenica are a tragic and undeniable fact which serves as an admonition. Plenkovic went on to say that “all of us must be committed to the efforts aimed at establishing and promoting the truth about Srebrenica.” Being a friendly neighbor of B&H, Croatia will always help that country in its endeavors to build a brighter future as a state of three equal constituent peoples, Plenkovic said, reiterating Zagreb’s commitment to helping B&H on its journey towards its European Union membership. President Zoran Milanovic warned that a systematic, intentional and brutal massacre of more than eight thousand people – took place 25 years ago in the east Bosnian town of Srebrenica. “In the history of modern Europe, and especially of one State and people, the Bosniak people in B&H, such a tragic event is still a painful memory and a test of our humaneness. In addition to the sincere condolences that I extend to them today, and not for the first time, to the families of the Srebrenica victims and to the few survivors, it is important to show them that we understand their pain and that we do not allow a negation of the genocide that indeed took place in Srebrenica,” Milanovic said. He pointed out that it did take place and it is no longer necessary to prove, the world knows who perpetrated the genocide in Srebrenica. “For the sake of the future, and for the sake of the present, it is important to say and acknowledge that the Serbian people as a whole are not and cannot be guilty of the genocide, the responsibility cannot be laid on most of the Serbian people or on the Serbian people in general. Moreover, it is important to say that all the perpetrators, the real perpetrators and the chief perpetrators have yet to be punished. The responsibility of each and every one of us is for the truth to be accepted and let the victims rest in peace. However, our even greater responsibility is to accept the families of the victims and the survivors as our equals, give them faith in the existence of those human and European values, and not keep them captive of the past. The Srebrenica victim must be one of the key and well-learned lessons of European humaneness, credibility and sincerity,” the Croatian President concluded in his video message.

 

Jansa: Croatia’s entry into Euro and Schengen Area is in Slovenia’s interest (Hina)

 

Prime Minister Janez Jansa said on Friday that Croatia’s admission to the euro area and the Schengen zone of passport-free travel was in Slovenia’s national interest. He criticized the policy of the Slovenia’s two previous governments which advocated the blocking Croatia’s membership of those two areas, underlining the futility of that conditionality policy. “The recent past has shown us that Slovenia’s vociferous opposition to Croatia’s entry (into the OECD,  the Schengen or the euro area) has led us into this situation which we have with the (border) arbitration agreement, and there is no use of that,” Jansa told the Slovenia Television on Friday evening after he met his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenkovic earlier in the day for the talks on the bilateral relations and the latest developments surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic. “Slovenia is a responsible member of the European Union” said Jansa explaining that Ljubljana would insist on the implementation of equal criteria for all euro area and Schengen zone aspirants. “The adoption of the common currency (the euro) has not been only the possibility but also the obligation since 2004, and it is not about whether or not to adopt the euro but about when to do that,” Jansa said adding that it would be pragmatic for Slovenia that the euro could become the sole legal tender in Croatia as soon as possible.

 

Djukanovic: Genocide in Srebrenica is an eternal admonition, a wake-up call for all our nations (CDM)

 

Genocide in Srebrenica, the shame of all us who didn’t prevent it, is the testimony of a dreadful reality of a bloodshed, eternal admonition and reminder for our people that there’s no safe future without truth about the past,” said Milo Djukanovic, Montenegro’s President, on the occasion marking 25th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica. “I honestly regret not being able to be with you in Potocari; to bow down to the shadows and pay tribute to victims of the genocide in Srebrenica, on my own behalf and on the behalf of my people; to express compassion towards those who are burying the remains of their closest ones; and to commend families of the victims of the massacre for the persistence they had demonstrated in the fight for justice and truth,” Djukanovic said. “This terrible crime arises the same questions even after 25 years. Why? Where did that monstrous thought of eradicating one nation come from? There’s no clear answer, other than the history that preceded this crime,” Djukanovic pointed out. According to him, such criminal thoughts are anchored in great state ideologies. “They still exist. They are source of evil and suffering, platform for association of criminals. As long as such ideologies live and have their advocates, the danger of the similar suffering will prevail. Remembrance of the crime in Srebrenica is a call for truth search, and a reminder that we must not ever forget that justice is our duty,” Djukanovic said. Srebrenica, he says, is the synonym of a crime, but “we must make sure it becomes synonym of justice as well”. “We are proud of the fact that Montenegro was the first country in the region that adopted Declaration on Accepting the Resolution of the EP 11 years ago. We are determined to contribute to preserving the memory of victims in Srebrenica and all crimes committed in ex-Yugoslavia. That’s the only way to true reconciliation and stability of the Western Balkan. Hail the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica,” Djukanovic concluded.

 

Markovic to meet European officials in Brussels (CDM)

 

Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic will hold meetings with European officials today and tomorrow. Montenegro’s PM will meet President of the European Council Charles Michel High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli and European Commissioner for Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, the Government has announced. “First official meetings after the new establishment of terms in European institutions and after Germany took over presidency over the EU Council, are aimed at intensifying Montenegro’s accession negotiations,” the government said.

 

Pendarovski: Srebrenica a reminder of the virus of intolerance to diversity (MIA)

 

President Stevo Pendarovski in a video message on Saturday commemorated the Srebrenica genocide that took place 25 years ago, when more than 8,000 Bosniaks, mostly men and children, were systematically killed. This is, without a doubt, one of the darkest events in modern European history for which there is no rational justification, he says. “Some of the perpetrators have already faced justice before the International Court of Justice. Some of the survivors gained courage to look into the eyes of their executioners and to forgive those who repented of their crimes. But many continue to live with the horrific traumas further reinforced by the denial and relativization of the truth about the crime,” Pendarovski says in the video message. The Memorial Center and the Mothers of Srebrenica, the President stresses, through a clear message, testify of the collective past and are the conscience of our generation. “They do not incite hatred, nor do they seek revenge, for it deepens injustice. They only seek truth and justice as a precondition for peace.” History, he says not only in the Balkans, teaches us that the idea of ethnically pure territories always leads to tragedy. And the recent Balkan wars have shown that genocide, after the Holocaust, can be repeated. If one generation does not speak, the next will forget, thus leaving a fertile ground for new conflicts. “In addition to memory, alternatives are built through education that promote solidarity and compassion for the other, respecting the innate dignity of each person. Unity in diversity is protected by mechanisms that combat systemic injustice,” Pendarovski adds. The 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, he says, comes at a time of a pandemic of Covid-19 that every day kills thousands of people around the world. “Srebrenica is a reminder of the dangerous virus of intolerance to the diversity,” Pendarovski underscores. The President calls for societies in which there is a place for each of us. “Let us make a home in which we can accept each other despite our differences. Because we are all human.”

 

Three-day election silence goes into effect (MIA)

 

Election silence goes into effect starting midnight until July 15 at 9 pm ahead of this week’s early parliamentary elections. Parties and coalitions presented their election programs to the voters across the country in the past 20 days as part of the campaign, which started on 24 June. Fifteen coalitions and political parties take part in the parliamentary elections vying for votes.

“During the election silence, media outlets should continue to cover the election process, but all forms of media representation of the participants in the election campaign should end,” the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services has said reminding the media outlets in the country. Under the Electoral Code, the Agency noted, reporting any information, airing photos and videos related to or with election participants involved, any form of media coverage which openly or covertly is in the service of a party’s campaign is considered violation of election silence. Also, data revealing the identity of political actors and/or individuals involved in incidents or irregularities on election day as well as media statements by candidates, political party officials and office holders is also violation of election silence, according to the Agency.

 

Today, 716 people with Covid-19 and in self-isolation are voting in North Macedonia, tomorrow 8,852 sick, powerless and chronically ill (MIA)

 

The Municipal Election Commissions have accepted 716 requests from people who are positive for the coronavirus or are in self-isolation, for the voting that is to take place today in the early parliamentary elections which will be held on Wednesday, July 15th. Tomorrow, the sick, the powerless, the chronically ill, people in prisons, nursing homes and under house arrest will vote.

Voting at 3,480 polling stations in the country’s six constituencies will take place on Wednesday, July 15. Citizens will be able to vote for 1,578 candidates from 15 parties and coalitions. 1,814,263 people have the right to vote.

 

Commission of Inquiry into the dismissal of President Meta to convene (Tirana Times)

 

Following a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Commission of Inquiry into the dismissal of President Ilir Meta will convene in a meeting on Monday. The meeting will involve discussions about the final opinion of the Venice Commission, which backed President Meta in the issues of the Constitutional Court appointments, as well as the President’s impeachment. In its final opinion focusing on the appointment of judges to the Albanian Constitutional Court, requested by both the Albanian parliament and the President, the Venice Commission noted The Judicial Appointments Council “created a major procedural incident” when it sent time lists of candidates first to the President and then to Parliament. According to the document, “it should be clear that the date of submission of the lists would have significant consequences due to the possible implementation of the automatic appointment, based on the 30-day rule.” Moreover, for four vacancies there were only 6 candidates, whose names were on the lists of both institutions. The Commission concluded that in a situation of lack of clarity and in the absence of a functioning Constitutional Court, the nomination by default of Arta Vorpsi to that Court should not have been considered valid, as the President had raised a question relating to the interpretation of the relevant procedure. The clash between the parties began after Meta decided not to appoint one of the candidates for the vacancy to be filled by the Head of State, arguing that he had already filled a vacancy and it was up to parliament to proceed with electing a candidate from the lists. According to the majority, Meta failed to abide by the 30-day deadline set by the law, and as a result, the top-ranked candidate Arta Vorpsi was automatically named. The parliament followed with the election of two candidates, while Meta subsequently decreed from his list Marsida Xhaferllari who was invited to take the oath, along with the two candidates elected by parliament. Meta spoke about an attempt by the majority to take over his powers and launched a fierce battle against the Chairman of the Justice Appointments Council, Ardian Dvorani, whom he described as the cause of the created situation and a man who had worked on behalf of the ruling majority. All of this, as well as the further decision of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee, set up to dismiss Meta as president, to expand the scope of his work, not only on the occasion of the decree canceling the June 30 elections, but also on the appointments to the Constitutional Court constitute the first part of the more than 40-page petition Meta filed with the Venice Commission.

 

Rama: In remembering Srebrenica, we must go beyond commemoration and words and actively learn the lessons (Radio Tirana)

 

Paying his respects to the Bosnian victims of the Srebrenica genocide in 1995, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said that in remembering this atrocious crime, we must go beyond commemoration and words, and actively learn the lessons.

“The scale and depravity of this genocide is a tragedy that burdens our souls today, twenty-five years later,” he said. “I pay respect to the victims who were mercilessly killed and offer my deepest condolences to the families of those who perished.” The Prime Minister said he was appalled and concerned by a growing trend to rewrite the history of the crimes that unfolded in Srebrenica and the surrounding areas in the summer of 1995. “The malicious revisionism of history can lead to the same mistakes and crimes being committed again. Local and international judiciaries have documented what happened in Srebrenica and its vicinity in 1995. This underscores the necessity of justice being served. Impunity is not an option,” he said. “We always say that Srebrenica must never be repeated but just a few years later there was a devastating conflict in Kosovo.” He concluded: “Responsibility for the crimes rests with the perpetrators. But societies are also culpable if they do not remember and learn from the lessons of what happened in Srebrenica.”

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

 

Serbian president’s upcoming visit to Iran to open new chapter in bilateral ties (IRNA, 11 July 2020)

 

Belgrade – Iranian Ambassador to Serbia Rashid Hassanpour described Iran-Serbia relations based on friendship and paving the path of growth, and said that the upcoming visit of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will surely open a new chapter in the two countries’ relations.

In an exclusive interview with IRNA on Saturday, Hassanpour said that President Vucic is going to visit Iran in the near future. The envoy said that at least 10 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) will be signed between the two countries during President Vucic’ upcoming visit to Iran.

He added that Iran and Serbia maintain good potentials to enhance cooperation for the expansion of relations in the fields such as agriculture, industries, mines, construction, energy, and petrochemicals, as well as tourism. He went on to say that “we have observed the expansion of trade exchanges between the two countries for instance in 2018 the amount of exchange reached $52.3 million which the share of Iran’s export to Serbia was $42.4. Hassanpour noted that Serbia offers Iran several scholarships annually in the form of “the World in Serbia” program in the field of education, adding Iran is also considering to grant a few scholarships to Serbian learners.

The number of Persian language learners at Belgrade University has now exceeded 300 pupils. In 2019, the Iranian chamber was opened at the University of Eastern Biology, which is a great step towards attracting more students interested in Persian and familiar with the culture of Iran.

He said that the establishment of the Persian language course at the University of Belgrade is also put their final steps and expected that Persian language education from the following year (2021-2022) will be taught in the form of new and independent courses.

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