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Belgrade Media Report 4 September 2020

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Friday 4 September 2020

LOCAL PRESS

Serbian Government adopts declaration of support to Vucic (RTS)
Mali: Belgrade asked to recognize Kosovo’s independence; Grenell: Not true (Tanjug)
Dacic: Vucic brutally snubs recognition of Kosovo in Washington (FoNet, Pink TV)
Vucic from US: Kosovo’s recognition not on agenda anymore; O’Brien: Good talks (Tanjug)
Brnabic: Vucic is not the kind of person to be served ultimatums, we are a little concerned (Beta, Pink TV)
The meeting between Vucic and Trump has been confirmed if economic agreements are signed (RTS)
Grenell: Serbia, Kosovo deserve vibrant economies (Nova.rs)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dodik: It is clear from Vucic’s statements Serbia wants peace and compromise (ATV, RTRS)
Ambassador Nelson: USA remain dedicated to Dayton peace, but every constitution needs to be changed and adapted to new circumstances from time to time (Nezavisne)
B&H CEC organizes draw of political entities to determine order on ballot for local elections (Nova BH)
Dodik: Instead of sending congratulatory note with wish to cooperate with future Government of Montenegro, crying can be heard from Sarajevo in recent days due to the choice people of Montenegro have made in elections (ATV)
SPS leader Selak: Media and politicians in Sarajevo are undermining stability of Montenegro (Nezavisne)
Izetbegovic, SDP condemn incidents in Montenegro (FTV)

Montenegro
First discords within Montenegrin Opposition around the character of the new government (RTCG)
Challenges of the new government (CDM)
Djukanovic says his party is ready to be opposition in Montenegro, he will cooperate with new government (CDM)
Republic of North Macedonia

DUI’s Ahmeti leaves Pristina after testifying at Kosovo’s Special Court (MIA)
Our duty is to serve the citizens, PM Zaev tells ministers (MIA)
Gov’t will prioritize EU integration, implementation of reforms, PM Zaev tells EU ambassadors (MIA)

Albania
EU: Discussions on regulatory framework for Tirana and Skopje in September (Radio Tirana)
Rama: There is no sea agreement with Greece without the approval of the President (Radio Tirana)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Serbian Government adopts declaration of support to Vucic (RTS)

 

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated on Sept. 3 that the Serbian government had adopted a declaration of support to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic during the talks 

with the representatives of Pristina in Washington. “The Serbian government has adopted a declaration that expresses the strongest possible support to the Serbian President, during the difficult and complex talks that he is having in Washington in the best interest of all citizens” Brnabic said, reports RTS. Brnabic said that “it is crucial that we stand united at this moment, because only through unity can we succeed in the fight for our interests.” She added that it was extremely important for progress to be made in the normalization of economic relations with Pristina, because that directly affected the quality of life of all the citizens. 

 

Mali: Belgrade asked to recognize Kosovo’s independence; Grenell: Not true (Tanjug)

 

Sinisa Mali, Serbia’s Finance Minister, said Belgarde “got the worst paper ever, with a part about the mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia during the meeting at the White House, and that President Aleksandar Vucic was under immense pressure, but the US President Donald Trump‘s special envoy tweeted it was not true. 

 

“There are 16 points on the document, ten of which mean the mutual recognition” Mali said, during the break in the White House meeting, reports Tanjug news agency. He said that the pressure on Belgrade was enormous and that 20 participants, not only the Albanian delegation, “are very aggressive at every word from our delegation members.” Mali reiterated Belgrade delegation came to talk about the economic issues, but many others, including Vucic, said they would not be surprised if the political topic would also be on the agenda. 

 

Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdulah Hoti are in Washington as a part if the Belgarde – Pristina dialogue on the normalization of relations. 

 

Hoti has said that all the topics had one goal – to end the dialogue with mutual recognition, while Vucic said: “there is no surrender.” The talks at the White House are mediated by Grenell and the National Security advisor Robert O’Brien. He later tweeted some progress reached during the morning meeting. The meetings are supposed to last two days and there were speculations that Trump might join them. Vucic said if he was right about the surprising issues that might be presented to Belgarde, he would not meet the US President. 

 

Dacic: Vucic brutally snubs recognition of Kosovo in Washington (FoNet, Pink TV)

 

Ivica Dacic, Serbia’s outgoing Foreign Minister, said on Thursday, that President Aleksandar Vucic “in a fierce way” refused the point on the paper offered to Serbia’s delegation at the start of the Belgrade – Pristina talks at the White House which meant Belgarde’s recognition of Kosovo independence. 

 

Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister are in Washington for the Belgarde – Pristina dialogue on the normalization of relations which is facilitated by the US President Donald Trump‘s special envoy for the talks Richard Grenell and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien

 

“I was told from Washington that Vucic in a fierce way rebuffed that point. He has clearly said it is unacceptable for Serbia and that he will behave in line with (Serbia’s) Constitution. Besides, the issue is not whether Vucic will accept or not,” Dacic told Pink TV. He said that a paper with such content had never been presented to Serbia’s delegation before. “The word was about other things, but this was an attempt to extend the agenda besides the economic issues” Dacic said. 

 

Vucic from US: Kosovo’s recognition not on agenda anymore; O’Brien: Good talks (Tanjug)

 

After the second round of Belgrade – Pristina talks at the White House, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic said the recognition of Kosovo would not be on the agenda of the next meetings anymore after he rejected a point on the paper offered to the two delegations by their American hosts. “Serbia should not be afraid about the recognition of Kosovo. It won’t happen. Full stop” Vucic told reporters after the session. 

 

On the other hand, the head of the Albanian delegation, Prime Minister Abdulah Hoti told Klan Kosova TV that “we won’t talk about other issues except for the recognition.” He later said that “agreements which are unacceptable for Kosovo have never come nor will come out of the White House. We have made a big improvement in economic cooperation, and we are a step closer to end this issue. Everything we talk about with Serbia relates to recognition. The question of (the borders) has not been mentioned neither would it be ever.” 

 

However, Vucic said that “the American side was fair, they listen to us, and I think that point will not be in further documents,” Vucic said, adding the first document was titled ‘Economic Normalization.’ He added the talks would go on “tonight and in the morning.” “We’ll see if we can reach a deal. We have come here in good faith, and we still hope for it” Vucic said. 

 

He added there was some progress in the talks facilitated by US President Donald Trump‘s envoy Richard Grenell and National Advisor Robert O’Brien regarding the economic topics. Still, he added it should wait for the outcome. Vucic said Grenell and O’Brien were surprised, “I wouldn’t say speechless,” with what he said about the part of the paper demanding mutual recognition between Serbia and Kosovo. 

 

O’Brien tweeted the talks were very good, and progress was made. “Very good round of discussions this afternoon with the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo. They made real progress today. Talks continue tomorrow!”  

 

Vucic confirmed that US President’s daughter Ivanka Trump, was in the meeting, speaking about some business topic. He added she might visit Serbia. Asked about the possible talks with Trump, Vucic said he didn’t know if that would happen but that he would accept the invitation. He said he could even have a few minutes face-face meeting with the US President. 

 

Earlier, Vucic said he would reject the meeting if there were some surprising topics on the agenda of the talks.   

 

Brnabic: Vucic is not the kind of person to be served ultimatums, we are a little concerned (Beta, Pink TV)

 

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said that talks with Pristina in Washington would be difficult but that she did not expect Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to be presented with an ultimatum. She told Pink TV that political subjects were not on the agenda of the meeting, but that they were inevitable. “We are a little concerned because the Albanian media in Kosovo and Metohija have been hailing the meeting as the most important date for Pristina or the so-called Republic of Kosovo since its unilateral declaration of independence. It is possible that they have information that we don’t” Brnabic said adding that she did not expect ultimatums, and that Vucic “is not the kind of person that you serve ultimatums to.” 

 

Commenting on Pristina’s behavior, she said that “it is absolutely not interested in” economic subjects even though they were a priority for everyone. She said that Serbia had the U.S.’ understanding for its wish to focus on economic themes and thanked it for “recognizing the agenda for which Vucic has been pushing” for years, such as an initiative known as the mini-Schengen. 

 

The meeting between Vucic and Trump has been confirmed if economic agreements are signed (RTS)

 

The meeting of President Aleksandar Vucic with the President of the USA, Donald Trump, during the day was confirmed, reports the RTS reporter from Washington. The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, and the Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions of Kosovo, Avdulah Hoti, will sign the agreed economic agreements in the presence of Trump. There is no point in the document on mutual recognition. The American envoy for the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Richard Grenell, announced on Twitter that the day was productive and that he had hopes. 

 

Yesterday, after the meeting with the representatives of Pristina in the White House, Vucic said that he rejected the point that speaks of mutual recognition and that it will no longer appear in the documents. When it comes to the economy, he pointed out that there are many good things that can be agreed upon. 

 

Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said yesterday that the discussion that the delegations of Belgrade and Pristina had during the first part of the dialogue in Washington is expected to end, announcing progress on economic issues. 

 

Grenell: Serbia, Kosovo deserve vibrant economies (Nova.rs)

 

The US President’s special envoy Ambassador Richard Grenell told NewsMax that Serbia and Kosovo deserve vibrant economies but warned that Western companies aren’t willing to expand in the region because of the perceived conflict. 

 

“The people of Kosovo and Serbia deserve to have a vibrant economy and I’m always optimistic that we can do more,” he said adding that “western companies should be able to expand in this region” but aren’t because that there’s a perceived conflict. 

 

Grenell explained that the White House is “trying to do is upend the political process by just focusing on the economics and job creation”. He recalled that Belgrade and Pristina reached agreements on air, road and rail traffic. “We took these three historic agreements and furthered them and tried to get the two sides to come together to do economic normalization” he said. 

 

The ambassador said that President Donald Trump saw the political conflict and asked how the two sides were doing economically. “When we found out that the economics were stuck as much as the politics President Trump said let’s try to focus on the economies and see if we can change that dynamic and that will ultimately change the politics on both sides,” he said adding that he asked if the politicians would reject politics and just think about creating jobs for young people after 20 years of political fights. “If the economies are good the political fights become fewer,” he said. 

 

“I think we’ve been trying the same thing politically for a long time with politicians around the table … that’s a recipe for disaster. We’re trying to flip it and focus on the economics of the region with job creation as the focus. The private sector community in Kosovo and Serbia have been very excited about this,” the ambassador said. According to Grenell, anything that relates to job creation should be put in the agreement. 

 

Asked about the claims of surprises at the start of the talks, Grenell said that there are surprises in all negotiations. “Surprises are good. They press the sides to do more. We had some surprises, but I don’t think either side was that surprised. They like to pretend before the media that they are more surprised than they actually are” he said. 

 

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina 

 

Dodik: It is clear from Vucic’s statements Serbia wants peace and compromise (ATV, RTRS)

Serb member of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik stated on Thursday that messages Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic conveyed right before his meeting with the Pristina delegation in Washington represent messages that should be read carefully, as they clearly show that Serbia wants compromise, peace, stability and progress not only within the country but in the region as a whole.  

 

Commenting the announcements that besides economic topics, participants of meeting in Washington might discuss some other topics, Dodik stated that this could make already complicated situation more difficult. The Member of the B&H Presidency emphasized that he does not believe the US would sacrifice stability of the entire region, because they had invested a lot in stabilization of the situation in this part of Europe. He underlined that any document requesting recognition of statehood of Kosovo would automatically launch the issue of the status of the RS. He reminded that the US discussed possible independence of the Republika Srpska (RS) during the war in B&H.  

 

“The paper which would demand recognition of Kosovo independence would automatically raise the issue of the RS status as well, whose independence was discussed by the USA even while the civil war in B&H was ongoing” said Dodik commenting the talks between Belgrade and Pristina. 

 

Ambassador Nelson: USA remain dedicated to Dayton peace, but every constitution needs to be changed and adapted to new circumstances from time to time (Nezavisne)

The daily carried an interview with US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Eric Nelson. Asked to comment frequent speculations that change of US Administration would bring changes to US-B&H relations, Nelson stated that US policy is consistent because USA remains dedicated to the Dayton peace which create room for B&H to renew its institutions and democracy, and to secure progress for its citizens. “We strongly support Dayton peace and defense of territorial integrity and sovereignty of this country. The Dayton peace ended the war, and the Constitution which was created in Dayton provided the starting point to rebuild the country. No constitution is eternal. Every constitution needs to be adapted to new circumstances from time to time. B&H must adopt changes which will allow it to function better and make it safer and more prosperous. Many reforms need to be implemented. Some of them will refer to the Constitution, but all of them will depend on constitutional process and require dialogue and compromise” said Nelson. However, he added, there are no US initiatives for constitutional changes, only US support to initiatives for necessary reforms in B&H.  

 

Asked to comment the dispute regarding cooperation between B&H Central Election Commission (BIH CEC) and US organization International Foundation of Election Systems (IFES), Nelson stated that integrity of election process is very important priority for US assistance in BIH and throughout the world. “We Americans know best how complicated elections are. We have a long list of recommendations by ODIHR, OSCE and GRECO, and B&H wants to adhere to standards of these organizations. B&H CEC asked for our help, and IFES has the experience from around the world to offer advice regarding voter lists for example…All activities will be implemented by local institutions in B&H. They (IFES) did the same job in Serbia and Montenegro this year, and they were active in Kosovo and North Macedonia before that” said Nelson. He expressed hope that the debate on this matter will be based on facts. 

 

Commenting the results of recent parliamentary and local elections in Montenegro, Nelson stated that the elections were successful because they were held in a peaceful and democratic manner with good voter turnout. He added that respect for minorities and dialogue represent the key to democracy. Asked to comment reactions of official Sarajevo to the election results which were negative in several cases, Nelson said that people in B&H should focus on current challenges inside B&H. “Rights of every citizen are important no matter where they live and to which ethnic group they belong” said Nelson. 

 

B&H CEC organizes draw of political entities to determine order on ballot for local elections (Nova BH)

The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) organized on Thursday a draw of political entities to determine their order on the ballot. The draw was publicly broadcast on the website of this institution and it was adapted to the epidemiological situation related to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

 

At the beginning, Spokesperson for the CEC Maksida Piric explained that the draw would be recorded with an additional camera, too, that zoomed in to record the names of the political entities. According to Nova BH, that was all when it comes to use of electronic technology in the election process of B&H and there is no possibility for electronic manner of casting votes. Nevertheless, the EU welcomed solving the issue of the Mostar elections as a positive thing related to the election cycle in B&H.  

 

EU Special Representative (EUSR) and Head of the EU Delegation (EUD) to B&H Johann Sattler stated: “If it was possible to solve the issue of Mostar, then it is possible to solve other major issues in B&H. In that context, I am optimistic that, in the next two to three months, before the elections, we can solve some other issues, too.”  

 

Former CEC member Vehid Sehic commented on the issue of the lack of electronic technology in the election process in B&H, saying that electronic voting can by no means be implemented in this country. Speaking about the fact that the CEC established that 25 applications for voting in the elections in B&H were signed using names of deceased citizens, Sehic specified that the registry office for the deceased as well as other relevant institutions are obliged to submit their updates to the CEC “in a short period of time” to inform it about someone losing their citizenship, having passed away, or moving away from B&H.  

 

Reporter noted that record number of political entities will participate in upcoming local elections – 543 of them. Out of this number, there are 129 political parties, 333 independent candidates, 72 coalitions and nine lists of independent candidates. Some analysts deem that politics became business. Reporter noted that it is easier to register political party than an enterprise. Many believe that rather low election threshold of three percent is the reason for increasing number of political entities participating in elections. Political analyst Zarko Papic said that this could be changed, i.e. different political entities would be forced to merge if election threshold was increased.   

 

Dodik: Instead of sending congratulatory note with wish to cooperate with future Government of Montenegro, crying can be heard from Sarajevo in recent days due to the choice people of Montenegro have made in elections (ATV)

Commenting on the situation in Montenegro, Serb member of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik stated on Thursday said that Montenegrins said in the elections what kind of government they want to have in the next four years and any interference in this matter from abroad would be dangerous and detrimental. “Instead of sending a congratulatory note with a wish to cooperate with the future government of Montenegro, crying can be heard from Sarajevo in recent days due to the choice people of Montenegro have made in the elections” Dodik stressed.  

 

According to Dodik, the most important thing is that the election process passed without obstructions, that all political actors are aware of results and that they recognize such results. He added that competent police bodies in Montenegro are the ones that should deal with recent unpleasant scenes from several cities in Montenegro where Bosniaks-Muslims live, noting that the outgoing government has an obligation to find the perpetrators of these vandal acts. Dodik assessed that political and religious Sarajevo try to internationalize incidents in Montenegro believing that it is helping the outgoing government, which is quite irresponsible.  “I am of the opinion that no one outside Montenegro should interfere. That is why I believe that the behavior of Bosniak political and religious leaders in B&H is not only harmful but also dangerous, since the terminology they use and the argumentation which is nothing but the repetition of old matrices does not contribute to calming tensions in our neighboring and fraternal state, and is more for internal use” Dodik asserted.  

 

He also expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro reacted promptly and stood in defense of coexistence and good relations with Muslims, concluding that it is important to remind that Muslims have also supported the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro during the past months in struggle to preserve the holy places.  

 

In an interview for Srna news agency, Dodik condemned statements of member of B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic in which he described winners of elections in Montenegro as supporters of Greater Serbia policies and initiators of religious incidents. Dodik commended behavior of leaders of coalitions that won elections in Montenegro, as well as behavior of Serb Orthodox Church (SPC) priests in this country following incidents in Pljevlja. He stated that by visiting Pljevlja after incidents, leaders of winning coalitions prevented intentions of some centers to present them as retrograde forces. He also stated that it is important to discover organizers of abovementioned incidents as soon as possible. Dodik went on to saying that the political party which has been ruling over Montenegro for the last 30 years is also responsible to provide peace and stability. Dodik emphasized that if statements of Komsic, member of B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic, leader of SDA Bakir Izetbegovic and Head of Islamic Community in B&H Husein Kavazovic were analyzed, one could conclude that their policy was defeated and that religious incidents occurred in B&H.  

 

Also, Dodik expressed content with the fact SPC reacted swiftly to incidents and expressed support to Muslim community in Pljevlja. Dodik reminded that before parliamentary elections in Montenegro, Komsic openly supported politics led by current Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic. He emphasized that Komsic should accept the fact Djukanovic’s DPS was defeated in elections. He rejected Komsic’s claims that those supporting Greater Serbia project won in Montenegro, adding that this represents intimidation of those living outside of Montenegro and inappropriate interference in internal issues of a neighboring country. Dodik said that some could conclude that behind care of Sarajevo for Bosniak community in Montenegro is dangerous anti-Serb policy. Member of B&H Presidency reminded that he had been openly supporting the fight to preserve the status of SPC in Montenegro. 

 

SPS leader Selak: Media and politicians in Sarajevo are undermining stability of Montenegro (Nezavisne

 

SPS leader Goran Selak stated that the official Sarajevo is using a type of media-political aggression in an attempt to interfere in internal relations within Montenegro which is the same as the one they are accusing Belgrade of using against Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). According to him, the behavior of Sarajevo-based media and politicians is absurd. He accused them of trying to incite conflicts and undermine stability in the neighboring country. “SDA from Sarajevo is defending Bosniaks from people who got themselves organized in order to protect their neighbors and their property. They are spreading hatred against Bosniaks in Montenegro who are constantly appealing to calm down tensions and who are justified to believe that this is a matter of provocations said Selak. 

 

Izetbegovic, SDP condemn incidents in Montenegro (FTV)

President of SDA Bakir Izetbegovic said that no one can remain indifferent to the threats of a new Srebrenica happening in Pljevlja. He expects Montenegro authorities to work on uncovering of the perpetrators of the attacks in Pljevlja. SDP condemned the attacks in Montenegro as well. Meanwhile, The Islamic Community of BiH (IZ) announced that it will send its delegation to Montenegro soon to personally check what the Bosniaks in that country face during this time. Head of IZ B&H Husein Kavazovic condemned the provocations to Bosniaks in Pljevlja. 

 

Episcope of Zahumlje, Herzegovina and the Littoral Dimitrije sent a letter to Head of Islamic Community in B&H Husein Kavazovic in which he underlined that Serb Orthodox Church (SPC) in Montenegro did not organize attacks on Muslims but rather protected them. This letter represents reaction to Kavazovic’s statement related to the attack on Muslims in Pljevlja in which he accuses SPC of choosing to be one of leaders of processes during which violent incidents have been taking place and innocent blood has been shed. Dimitrije underlined that no blood was shed in Pljevlja, adding that the leader of negative processes in Montenegro are outgoing authorities and not SPC. The letter also reads that Episcope Dimitrije wants to believe that Kavazovic’s reaction is the result of the lack of information and not to cause new divisions and instability in Montenegro. 

 

Montenegro 

 

First discords within Montenegrin Opposition around the character of the new government (RTCG)

 

Even though the public belief was that the formation of the new Montenegrin Government without Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) led by Milo Djukanovic would be just a formality, the first statements after the victory of the three opposition tickets at the elections showed that among these political entities there was no expected consent regarding the setup of the Government. 

 

The leader of Movement for Changes Nebojsa Medojevic said that he was not a supporter of the government of experts, which was believed to be an agreed principle in the previous statements. As RTCG reported Medojevic emphasized that the leader of the list of the coalition For Future of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapic was academician without a lot of political experience and that he was put there by Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC). 

“We do not need dentists or surgeons, because we will not take out teeth or liver. We need experts in politics, who know how this is done and I hope that we will reach a compromise between experienced political leaders and experts” Medojevic said. Medojevic also emphasized that the view of Democratic Front on Kosovo was clear and if they should be able to impact it – they would annul the decision of recognizing Kosovo. In his comment of the statement of the third strongest opposition group URA led by Dritan Abazovic, Medojevic said that URA had no one else to change the government with besides Democratic Front and Democrats. 

 

“Abazovic is certainly under pressure of secret service, Albanian nationalists and Islamic fundamentalists, but there must be no compromise with DPS… Djukanovic will perhaps 

try to buy off someone from the opposition, but the mood of people in Montenegro is such that anyone even thinking about offering their hand to DPS would be lynched, his life would be in danger” Medojevic said. 

 

The leader of the Montenegrin opposition Democratic Alliance (DEMOS) Miodrag Lekic, whose organization was a member of Peace is Our Nation coalition also stated that he was 

against the idea on Montenegrin government of experts. “What does the government of experts mean? Should an expert be a Defense Minister? Interior Minister? Someone with 

political weight must go there with a responsibility to carry out the reforms” Lekic emphasized. 

 

Abazovic said that he would expect the start of discussion on formation of the new Montenegrin Government in the upcoming days and he emphasized that the citizens would expect it to be a government of experts. He stated that he would expect resistance, and that he could see Djukanovic trying to “prepare something” but he emphasized that he would like to invite the citizens on “extreme peace and tolerance”. He added that he believed that the pressures, especially against him and his movement, would increase in the upcoming days, 

but this was something they had to take into account. 

 

Krivokapic said that the date of formation of the new government would depend on the current authorities, which “is doing everything to spread out this process, because they are currently destroying certain materials”. “There was a great activity on leaving us without proof for something that was pretty certain until yesterday. After the State Election Commission officially discards all objections, we will propose the future Prime Minister in a short period of time” he said and added that the government would be formed before the 

expiration of the 90-day deadline 

 

Challenges of the new government (CDM)

 

Montenegro will not withdraw from NATO and it will not annul recognition of Kosovo, says leader of “Crno na bijelo” coalition, Dritan Abazovic, who is planning formation of expert government with coalition around Democratic Front and Democrats. Although these two items have been high on the agenda of DF, the way thing are now, they won’t be changed, despite expectations of a great majority of voters. 

 

Two very important questions for pro-Serbian electorate in terms of identity won’t be addressed in the new government. It remains to be seen whether Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral will agree with that, especially if we remember that in 2014, Metropolitan Amfilohije said in a statement for Regnum Russian information agency: “NATO is doing now what Hitler and Mussolini were doing to K&M. In their times, Kosovo was part of the “Great Albania”. Northern part was in the occupied Serbia, but still in Serbia. But NATO is worse, because they took away from Kosovo though violence and crimes. Therefore, NATO is not defense alliance, it’s national-fascist pact that continues activities of Hitler and Mussolini”. In 2008, at protests against recognition of Kosovo, Metropolitan said: “This is the most shameful betrayal of Montenegro”. New reality has set Metropolitan high in the political bar in MNE. Will Metropolitan agree to challenge his views that easily? 

 

However, one thing is certain. Former opposition must forget about relaxed politics, boiled down to critics and shifting the blame to others. They will have to learn to bring decisions and assume responsibility thereof. 

 

Djukanovic says his party is ready to be opposition in Montenegro, he will cooperate with new government (CDM)

 

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic has said that the Democratic Party of Socialists is ready to be the strongest opposition party in Montenegro and that he, as the President of the state, will abide by his constitutional powers as far as the cabinet is concerned. He said that the Democratic Party of Socialists had accepted the unofficial results of elections and did not believe that the final result would be any different. 

“As far as the formation of the cabinet goes, as you know, this is a job that has yet to begin. We will see whether this tripartite coalition which won 41 seats, can truly achieve the level of program and political closeness to create a cabinet and assume responsibility for the execution of executive power in Montenegro” he said. He added that his party was ready to become the 

country’s strongest opposition party and act responsibly, adding that it would continue to look after the country’s strategic national interests in the period to come. 

 

Republic of North Macedonia 

DUI’s Ahmeti leaves Pristina after testifying at Kosovo’s Special Court (MIA)

DUI leader Ali Ahmeti on Thursday around 4:30 pm left EULEX’s premises in Pristina where he was interviewed by the prosecutors from the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. He was questioned by the prosecutors for two days, on Wednesday and Thursday. Yesterday he was questioned for almost eight hours, starting at 9:30 am until 6 pm. Ahmeti today was questioned from 10:30 am, MIA’s Pristina correspondent reports. Leaving the EULEX offices today, Ahmeti spoke to reporters briefly, noting he was interviewed in the capacity as a witness. “Until the process is completed, I cannot reveal any information because it would be against the law” he stated. 

 

Earlier, Artan Grubi, DUI’s top official who accompanied Ahmeti in Pristina, told TV21 that they would return to North Macedonia once Ahmeti’s interviewing was over. According to Albanian language media in the region, Ahmeti was questioned in the capacity of a witness as one of the founders of KLA. He participated in the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict.  

 

Our duty is to serve the citizens, PM Zaev tells ministers (MIA)

We have to serve all citizens regardless of their ethnic background, party affiliation, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, color of the skin, origin, social background, education, religion, political belief, age and social status, PM Zoran Zaev told his ministers while handing them over mandate letters. 

 

“In the parliamentary elections held in July, the citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia elected us to continue to move the country forward. They entrusted us with their vote and it is our duty during the four-year term to provide a better life for them, a life they would want for themselves and their loved ones,” Zaev said at the Thursday’s session, stressing that the citizens elected a government that would fight against the novel coronavirus, address the health and economic crisis, and improve the Macedonian economy, for job creation and better environment among other things. 

 

“I expect the ministers while performing their duties and implementing the government’s work program for the next four years to be engaged unreservedly with full professional commitment” he said. 

 

PM Zaev on his part vowed that he would be more open with an improved two-day communication with the citizens and the communities in a need of help from him and his associates. Presenting the mandate letters, Zaev reminded the new ministers that ‘everyone is replaceable.’ “This should motivate us further to serve the citizens better and more efficiently” he stressed. 

 

Gov’t will prioritize EU integration, implementation of reforms, PM Zaev tells EU ambassadors (MIA)

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Deputy PM in charge of Fight Against Corruption, Sustainable Development and Human Resources Ljupcho Nikolovski, Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani and Justice Minister Bojan Marichikj met Thursday morning with ambassadors of EU member states to North Macedonia, the government said in a press release. 

 

Zaev presented at the briefing the cabinet’s priorities for the next four years, focusing on North Macedonia’s Euroatlantic integration. He noted that during its previous term,the government completely shifted the focus of the country’s foreign policy, solving decades-long disputes with neighbors. North Macedonia during this period also joined NATO and got a green light to start EU accession talks. 

 

“During this term we’ll implement reforms. Although aware of challenges brought on by the coronacrisis, we’re fully focused on reforming the judiciary, transforming economy, protecting the environment and improving the standard of living in North Macedonia. By 2024, we plan to open 80% of EU accession chapters. Moreover, we’ll continue to support implementation of IPA 3” Zaev said. 

 

Deputy PM in charge of Fight Against Corruption, Sustainable Development and Human Resources Ljupcho Nikolovski presented to ambassadors the priorities of his cabinet. “This office was established to link the Commission for Prevention of Corruption and the executive branch, in line with GRECO recommendations issued March 2019. Moreover, this cabinet will also be in charge of sustainable development and human resources. We’ll take steps to improve education, environment, healthcare, as well as the business climate” Nikolovski said. 

 

New FM Bujar Osmani presented at the briefing the three key priorities of North Macedonia’s foreign policy, which align with its strategic aspirations to speed up the process of Euroatlantic integration. “Primary focus will be put on starting EU talks, as key step in achieving our strategic aspiration of acquiring full-fledged EU membership. Thus, we expect support from strategic partners, the U.S. and other NATO allies. Additionally, we’ll promote good-neighborly relations, strengthen multilateralism, and improve contribution to implementation of regional initiatives” Osmani noted. 

 

Justice Minister Bojan Marichikj stressed the importance of starting EU talks and North Macedonia’s commitment to justice. “Together with partners we’ll establish a model for efficient judicial cleanup. We need effective judiciary that promotes fight against corruption and respect of human rights. With the support of European partners, we’ll also implement a system for monitoring judicial processes” the Minister added. 

 

EU Ambassador to North Macedonia Samuel Zbogar presented at the briefing EU’s expectations regarding implementation of reforms in North Macedonia, stressing that the country’s European partners remain committed to offer help in overcoming challenges brought on by the coronacrisis, as well as assistance in implementing reforms. Ambassadors expressed their respective governments’ congratulations, as well as expectations for intensifying cooperation at bilateral and multilateral level. 

 

Albania 

 

EU: Discussions on regulatory framework for Tirana and Skopje in September (Radio Tirana)

As Albania hosts the first Albania-EU intergovernmental roundtable, Brussels returns to technical talks on the regulatory framework of negotiations with Albania. Enlargement Commissioner’s spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic confirmed to A2 that for Tirana and Skopje, September marks the resumption of discussions, to then receive the agreement of member states. 

 

“Discussions on the regulatory framework of negotiations for both Albania and North Macedonia in the European Council started before the summer and will continue in the fall, with the aim of their approval by member states,” said Kocijancic. On the other hand, sources close to the Albanian negotiating group, confirmed for A2 that the Working Group of the European Council will discuss in September at the technical level the negotiating framework for Albania and North Macedonia, but there is still no date for the first intergovernmental roundtable. 

 

Albania hopes for the help of Berlin, which holds the rotating presidency of the union until the end of the year, although Prime Minister Rama has been cautious in his optimism. In order to start membership talks, a number of conditions have been set for Albania, such as the progress of justice reform, the return to power of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court, tangible results in the fight against corruption and organized crime, and a consensual electoral reform. 

 

Rama: There is no sea agreement with Greece without the approval of the President (Radio Tirana)

Prime Minister Edi Rama stated that there is no sea agreement with the Greek government without the approval of the President. “There can be no sea agreement with Greece without the approval of President Meta. It is the president who signs the agreement and then the president has the opportunity to send it and appeal to the Constitutional Court. A confusing statement of the former Greek president has led to a confusing situation, but in this situation, there is nothing real. Nothing can be done without the approval of the President” said Rama. 

 

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