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Belgrade Media Report 11 August

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LOCAL PRESS

Kuburovic: We will not drop warrants against KLA members (Novosti)
Vulin: Pristina wants to include its policemen in patrols (Tanjug)
Chinese Ambassador: Kosovo and Metohija issue to be solved within Resolution 1244 (Napredak/Politika/Tanjug)
Stefanovic in Azerbaijan – support to principles of territorial integrity (RTS)
United Opposition of Serbia established (Beta)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Bihac Mayor Fazlic, Advisor to Director of B&H Border Police Hoffmann, B&H Service
for Foreigners’ Affairs Deputy Director Buzar comment on migrant crisis in B&H (FTV)
Cikotic, Varhelyi discuss migrant crisis in B&H (FTV)
Montenegro

National Coordination Body: Pre-election campaign facilitated (CdM)
Republic of North Macedonia

Parliament sworn in once MP terms are verified, says Pendarovski’s office (MIA)
Unsuccessful Zaev – Ahmeti meeting: No agreement on government formation reached (Republika)
Mickoski: Ahmeti told me he will try to negotiate with Zaev, I wished him good luck (Republika)
MoI says regulation on bilingual police uniform emblems should be sent to the government (Republika)
Albania

Integration / Germany has set these conditions for Albania (Radio Tirana)

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LOCAL PRESS 

Kuburovic: We will not drop warrants against KLA members (Novosti

The proceedings that are conducted before the Serbian courts were initiated on the basis of material evidence, so that there is no legal explanation and reasons to drop the warrant for the convicted criminals, Serbian Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic told Novosti regarding demands from Pristina for Belgrade to drop warrants against KLA members. According to her, Serbia has provided irrefutable evidence of the fight against war criminals before The Hague Tribunal and the UN Security Council, and has made the biggest contribution to establishing the rule of law in the region, and that provisional institutions in Pristina are neither first nor the only ones to be bothered by Serbia’s principled position. Kuburovic assessed that the attempt to adopt the law on protecting the values of the KLA struggle was “a desperate act of refusing to face the truth that it was a terrorist criminal organization”, and that it was also “an attempt to intimidate and stifle every common sense and voice of the people, not only of the Serbs living in Kosovo, but of all citizens regardless of ethnicity”.

Vulin: Pristina wants to include its policemen in patrols (Tanjug

Commenting claims that the Serbian Army (VS) has crossed the administrative border with Kosovo and Metohija, Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Monday, , that this is not true and that at issue was a simultaneous patrol between VS and KFOR, which followed no predetermined direction and added there have been no illegal crossings. Vulin described this as regular activity. “The simultaneous patrol of the VS and KFOR and regional command center East – the Turkish contingent and two US contingent, were on patrol between 16.50h and 18.10h from the direction of the village of Muhovac towards the village of Donje Kacarevo, along a predefined administrative line,” Vulin said. “The trajectory of this patrol is precise and is set in advance,” Vulin added and concluded that this is an attempt by Pristina to once again attack the VS. “The objective of these attacks is to include Kosovo police forces into these patrols, which the VS has rejected several times already, because an agreement was signed with KFOR, not with some KPS,” Vulin concluded, underlining that Belgrade recognizes only KFOR as organization assigned to security throughout the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.

Chinese Ambassador: Kosovo and Metohija issue to be solved within Resolution 1244 (Napredak/Politika/Tanjug

China has always considered the right way to resolve the issue of Kosovo and Metohija to be within the framework of the valid UNSCR 1244, said Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo.

In an article she wrote for the magazine Napredak, a part of which was carried by Politika, she wrote that China is in favor of finding a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija through dialogue between the relevant parties. “China respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, understands and supports its legitimate interests in Kosovo and Metohija and appreciates the efforts to find a solution through dialogue,” stated Chen Bo.

Stefanovic in Azerbaijan – support to principles of territorial integrity (RTS

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic met in Baku with the Azerbaijan Security Council secretary Ramil Usubov and the country president’s advisor Hikmet Hajiyev, to discuss the current cooperation between the two countries and the possibility of its improvement, particularly in the security issues. “The interlocutors agree that firm and friendly relations exist between the two head of states, Aleksandar Vucic and Ilham Aliyev and that there is a great capacity for the further cooperation,” the Interior Ministry’s statement said. They also voiced satisfaction with the close cooperation of the two countries within international organizations, especially underlining the importance of support to principles of territorial integrity of states.

United Opposition of Serbia established (Beta

The United Opposition of Serbia (UOS) was set up on 10 August by the organizations that had already worked together within the Alliance for Serbia and an informal organization, the Serbian Opposition, rallied around a common cause they described as “replacing Serbia’s incompetent, arrogant, corrupt regime estranged from the people and built on the will of one man.” “In the fight for a democratic society we will use all the means of non-violent political struggle available, including all forms of civil disobedience,” the Turnaround Movement leader Janko Veselinovic said while presenting the objectives and members of the new opposition group.

The inaugural agreement was signed by the Civil Platform, the Democratic Party, the Democratic Alliance of Vojvodina’s Hungarians, the Nation-Building Movement of Serbia, the People’s Party, the People’s Movement of Serbs in Kosovo and Metoija, the Free Serbia Movement, the United Trade Unions of Serbia “Sloga,” the Party of Freedom and Justice, the Sumadija Region and Djordje Vukadinovic. As said at the press conference, the new coalition is open to everyone else sharing the same goal. “The Dveri movement didn’t join the UOS, even though is had met all the requirements of membership, but we will work together,” Veselinovic said, adding that the new coalition had grouped those who had never cooperated with Aleksandar Vucic‘s regime, but respected the Agreement with the People and didn’t take part in Serbia’s “false elections” last June.

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

Bihac Mayor Fazlic, Advisor to Director of B&H Border Police Hoffmann, B&H Service 

for Foreigners’ Affairs Deputy Director Buzar comment on migrant crisis in B&H (FTV

Bihac Mayor Suhret Fazlic, Advisor to Director of B&H Border Police Svevlad Hoffmann and B&H Service for Foreigners’ Affairs Deputy Director Mirsad Buzar spoke on FTV about the growing migrant crisis in B&H. Fazlic said that the migrant situation in the Una-Sana Canton (USC) has never been worse and that radical measures are not excluded. He warned that the migrant crisis in the USC and Bihac has escalated already and that the USC authorities, police and inspection bodies cannot do much when it comes to radical measures, but that he is actually afraid of radical measures that could be taken by citizens themselves. Fazlic stated that there is a number of cases in which everyday life of local population and business of entrepreneurs and companies is endangered. He stressed that it is intolerable that B&H authorities and institutions that need to do their job and address the migrant crisis in a comprehensive manner keep finding excuses for doing nothing, concluding that such behavior causes embitterment and great dissatisfaction of citizens in the USC. Hoffmann stated that the Border Police of B&H is faced with a huge migrant wave from neighboring countries at the eastern border, primarily from Serbia and Montenegro, adding that members of B&H Border Police are exposed to an unseen migrant pressure every day. He added that B&H Border Police is aware of certain problems in terms of organization, technical capacities and shortage of staff, noting that there is currently a shortage of 450 police officers in B&H Border Police. Hoffmann stressed that B&H Border Police is not responsible for this problem but that there is no adequate response and reaction from state-level authorities that need to address this problem. “B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) should be aware that in case that B&H Border Police remains unequipped, this state will be faced with even bigger migrant problems”, Hoffmann stated. He reminded that certain foreign institutions seem to be more interested in more efficient organization of B&H Border Police than part of B&H institutions, and the best proof is the fact that the European Commission (EC) donated BAM 5.5 million to B&H Border Police. However, he reminded that this donation has not been realized yet because B&H CoM has not passed implementation acts based on which the funds would become operational. Hoffmann also said that he is surprised by indolence of the authorities and institutions in the Sarajevo Canton (SC), where city streets are full of migrants who beg for money by selling handkerchiefs. According to Hoffmann, generally speaking he is surprised by indolence of B&H agencies that do not work based on legal acts that are binding for them. Buzar stated that he is aware that B&H Service for Foreigners’ Affairs is one of the agencies the work of which was criticized in the context of the migrant crisis in B&H, but that many things do not fall under the competence of this agency. He reminded of a series of competences B&H Service for Foreigners’ Affairs has when it comes to control of migrants’ movement. He noted that during 2019, B&H Service for Foreigners’ Affairs has registered over one million of cases of registration of residence of foreigners in B&H and there are between 10,000-11,000 residence approvals at annual level. Buzar added that B&H Service for Foreigners’ Affairs has issued 3,700 measures of deportation for foreigners since 2018, but that the process of deportation is rather complicated as it requires prior identification. He stressed that B&H Service for Foreigners’ Affairs encourages foreign citizen to voluntarily leave B&H and some 850 foreign citizens have left the country in this way since 2018.

Cikotic, Varhelyi discuss migrant crisis in B&H (FTV

B&H Minister of Security Selmo Cikotic and EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Oliver Varhelyi discussed on Monday the migrant crisis in B&H. Varhelyi expressed readiness to include B&H in the EU’s wider migration policy in terms of more quality border procedures, the asylum policy and readmission process, i.e. the return of migrants to countries of their origin. He also announced the additional financial assistance.

 

National Coordination Body: Pre-election campaign facilitated (CdM

At the request of a number of political entities and the expressed need for direct communication with voters and better presentation of election programs and lists in the pre-election process, the National Coordination Body proposed to the Ministry of Health to amend orders to enable indoor and outdoor political rallies, while limiting the number of attendees and complying with prescribed epidemiological measures – maintaining distance, hand hygiene and wearing protective masks. Up to 100 people are allowed to gather outdoors, and up to 50 people indoors, while political entities are responsible for the organization and compliance with measures during the gathering.

 

Parliament sworn in once MP terms are verified, says Pendarovski’s office (MIA

A mandate for the formation of government should be handed over ten days after Parliament is sworn in according to constitutional provisions. The parliament is sworn in the day the terms of MPs are verified, the President’s office tells MIA. Stevo Pendarovski’s office was asked for a comment after outgoing speaker Talat Xhaferi has stated that without a speaker elected, the parliament is not constituted. In 2016, the then-chairman Trajko Veljanoski sent a letter, dated December 30, 2016, informing then-president Gjorge Ivanov that the parliament had been constituted with the verification of MP terms although speaker hadn’t been elected, Pendarovski’s office explains. Pendarovski’s office is waiting for chairman Talat Xhaferi’s letter to inform the President that the parliament was sworn in on 4 August 2020 after MP terms were verified. Regardless of the letter, in accordance with the Constitution, the deadline for handing over the mandate to form a government to the candidate of party/parties having parliament majority started on 5 August 2020, the President’s office tells MIA. Earlier, Xhaferi told TV21 that the parliament cannot be constituted without an elected head of the legislative house. He is yet to sent a letter to the head of state regarding the formation of parliament, which would mark the start of the deadline for handing over a mandate. The tenth parliament was sworn in 4 August at a constitutive session held in line with the protocols of health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19. Out of 120 MPs, 117 attended the session, which took place in parliament’s Grand Dome hall. The agenda of the constitutive session included four items, but only the first two were closed. The rest, including the election of Parliament Speaker, deputies and members of the Committee for Election and Appointment Related Issues, will be discussed as soon as adequate conditions are in place, according to Xhaferi. Macedonia held early parliamentary polls on 15 July. The SDSM-led coalition won the elections securing 46 seats whereas VMRO-DPMNE’s coalition won 44. DUI won 15 seats, the Alliance for Albanians-Alternativa coalition 12, Levica two and DPA one. Under the Constitution, the head of state has ten days after the parliament’s constitution to hand over the mandate for the formation of government. The PM-designate within 20 days should submit a program to parliament and nominate candidate for government members. Parliament elect the government with majority of votes.

Unsuccessful Zaev – Ahmeti meeting: No agreement on government formation reached (Republika

SDSM and DUI leaders, Zoran Zaev and Ali Ahmeti respectively, met in the parliament on Monday, within the negotiations over the formation of a parliamentary majority and a government, but no agreement has been reached yet. Asked if the obstacle for successful negotiations is DUI’s request for an Albanian Prime Minister Zaev briefly answered that if he gives too many comments, he will not help the negotiation process. I am sorry, but today there is no agreement, said the leader of SDSM after the meeting in the parliament. Zaev, however, announced that the negotiations will continue in the coming days, expressing satisfaction because, according to him, the narrative of the coalition agreement was made. Ahmeti confirmed that no agreement has been reached, but expressed confidence that there is a real possibility for an agreement. An agreement has not been reached and we hope that such an agreement is possible because the state should not be left without executive power. It is in the state interest to continue the partnership, which closed many important topics – NATO membership and the start of negotiations with the EU. We expect a positive epilogue from these talks. We are investing in getting the issues in the right direction, Ahmeti said.

Mickoski: Ahmeti told me he will try to negotiate with Zaev, I wished him good luck (Republika

VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski said that during his recent meeting with DUI party leader Ali Ahmeti, Ahmeti told him that he will begin initial coalition talks with SDSM. According to Ahmeti, this is because SDSM won the ethnic Macedonian vote in the chaotic 15 July elections. Ahmeti is a person who has experience in this, and I wished him luck in negotiating a coalition. We will build a coalition based on our program and we will not bother the citizens with our frustrations. Talks are on-going and I ask you to be patient, Mickoski said during a press conference today, when asked about the coalition talks so far.

MoI says regulation on bilingual police uniform emblems should be sent to the government (Republika

Interior Minister’s post is in relation to the signing of regulation that should be sent to the government, the Interior Ministry (MoI) says Monday in a statement after Agim Nuhiu revealed he had signed regulation on bilingual police uniform emblems. Explaining the process further, the Ministry says that the decree amending the decree on police uniform and uniform insignia is adopted by the government of Macedonia, followed by a rule book on dress code and uniform policy, which should be passed by the Interior Minister. Article 1 of the Law on the Use of Languages says that Macedonian language and its Cyrillic alphabet is the official language across Macedonia. Any other language spoken by at least 20% of the citizens (Albanian) is also official in accordance with the law, the Ministry says in a press release. Under the law, uniforms worn by the police, the fire brigade, and by healthcare officials in Skopje and in the municipalities where at least 20% of the citizens use an official language other than Macedonian have emblems in Macedonian and the language used by at least 20% of the citizens, according to the press release. Also, the Interior Ministry notes that a working group was set up at the Ministry on 11 July 2019 tasked with analyzing and aligning the regulation on police uniform with provisions of the Law on the Use of Languages and the constitutional changes. The working groups, it adds, has prepared texts of the decree amending the decree on police uniform and its insignia and a rule book amending the rule book on dress code and uniform policy.

Integration / Germany has set these conditions for Albania (Radio Tirana

The Western Balkans are at the top of the agenda of the German presidency of the Council of the EU, but the concrete progress of states towards EU integration – from the opening of negotiations and chapters – depends on their commitment to the rule of law and media freedom,” said Susanne Schutz, Director for the Western Balkans for BIRN. Germany took over the six-month presidency of the European Union this July, and Schutz says she wants to see “a new impetus” in relations between the bloc and the Western Balkans. This follows the EU decision to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia, and the 3.3 billion-euro solidarity package agreed for the region, to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “We want to continue this positive dynamic. This means, first of all, that the foundations for accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia should continue to be laid, completing the negotiation structures. We intend to hold the first intergovernmental conference with North Macedonia and, if the conditions are met, also with Albania during our presidency of the Council,” explained Schutz, who has also been Germany’s ambassador to Albania. “Reforms in the justice system as well as reforms in the election law have been identified as priorities for Albania by Germany and the EU,” she said. “Since the constitutional changes in 2016, we have seen that justice reform, including the vetting of all judges and prosecutors, and it is extremely challenging,” she added.

“It is a long and complicated process, which has temporarily led to a partial dysfunction of the judiciary. However, we are convinced that there is no alternative to this essential process. “Once completed, the rule of law in Albania will be strengthened for the benefit of the Albanian people,” she continued. Germany is also monitoring electoral reform in the country, as well as developments about the new media legislation that the government sees as an opportunity to regulate cyberspace, but  the critics also see as an attempt to curb media freedom. “Media freedom is a very important topic for the German government in general and certainly during our presidency of the European Council,” said Schutz. “A free and independent media is the backbone of any living democracy. That is why freedom of the press and media is also very important in the accession process.” “The new draft law on media in Albania does not yet reflect international standards and best practices,” she warned. “We see the latest opinion from the Venice Commission as an adequate guide for the ongoing work within the Albanian parliament to improve the draft law, especially regarding the definition of its scope, the proportionality of fines and the independence of AMA bodies (Authority of Audiovisual Media in charge of monitoring planned changes). The European Commission’s latest interim report rightly described the draft law as deficient in certain areas and not fully in line with EU standards and best practices regarding press and media freedom. “Improving the law in these aspects would be an encouraging step on Albania’s path to the EU,” she said. Germany intends to finalize the negotiating frameworks and hold the first intergovernmental conference with North Macedonia and, if the conditions are met, even with Albania during the Council presidency. “We will work hard with our partners in the EU and with North Macedonia and Albania to achieve this goal,” Schutz concluded.

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