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Belgrade Media Report 09 September

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LOCAL PRESS

Vasiljevic: Serbian security services warned Vucic (TV Prva)
Vucic’s media advisor: Moving embassy to Jerusalem not final; Grenell may come (TV Prva)
Stano: The Belgrade-Pristina agreement must cover all open issues (RTS)
Varhelyi: The EU continues to work on economic development and reconciliation (RTS)
Stoltenberg: Dialogue is the only way to reach a lasting solution (RTS)
Grenell: You can always count on Kurti being against the United States (RTS)
Mihajlovic: Washington agreement opens way for “four billion USD” worth of investments (Beta)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Avaz interview with Serbian President Vucic (Dnevni avaz)
Dodik requests extraordinary session of Presidency on relocation of B&H Embassy in Israel; Komsic wants special session on recognition of Kosovo; Dzaferovic says no special session will be held (FTV)
Kovacevic: RS does not and will not recognize self-declared Kosovo; Stevandic: Komsic’s request is way more unrealistic (Glas Srpske)
SDS leader Sarovic: Possible decision to relocate B&H Embassy in Israel should not be passed hastily (O kanal)
US Special Representative for Western Balkans Palmer to arrive in visit to B&H on Wednesday (Nova BH)
HDZ B&H’ Covic, SNSD’s Dodik reach agreement on joint participation in local elections in Canton 10 (N1)
US Embassy, EUD, OHR: Support to territorial integrity of B&H; No drawing of new B&H maps (Oslobodjenje)
B&H CEC President Bakalar announces that B&H CEC will continue cooperation with IFES regardless of RSNA conclusions (EuroBlic)
Foreign Ministry reached decision on forming Commission for NATO Integration (Dnevni avaz)

Montenegro
Opposition in Montenegro closer to forming government, signs agreement (Vijesti)
Carpenter: Western partners closely monitor rhetoric and actions of future govt (Nova M)
Husovic: BS would support the government without DPS and DF (RTCG)

North Macedonia
Mickoski is strengthening the opposition, Zaev is nervous (Republika)

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LOCAL PRESS 

 

Vasiljevic: Serbian security services warned Vucic (TV Prva)

The media advisor to the President of Serbia, Suzana Vasiljevic, told TV Prva that our secret services knew that Pristina would put point 10 on paper. She reminded that Pristina delegation said before leaving for Washington that they would ask for the recognition of Kosovo. “Our security services have received a warning that this point will be on paper” she said. 

 

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, then warned some of the EU leaders by phone and tried to explain to them that the point would be on paper. According to Vasiljevic, they claimed that it would not exist and that it would only be about the economy. 

 

The special envoy of the President of the USA, Richard Grenell, himself hinted that a surprise could be prepared for the Serbian delegation. 

 

“In the end, you saw that there was a point” said President Vucic’s adviser, explaining what was happening behind the scenes of the cameras during the Serbian delegation’s stay in Washington, where the agreement was signed with Pristina, in the presence of the US President. 

 

“The moment he saw that point on paper, there was no more conversation for Aleksandar Vucic. I have been working with him for eight years and when there is a problem, he is almost pathologically focused on it. He did not even speak at dinner” Vasiljevic said. 

 

The pressures on the Serbian delegation were terrible, because the future of the country depends on one of your words, “YES” or “NO”, Vucic’s advisor pointed out. However, the President of Serbia said that Serbia cannot continue the conversation in Washington unless that point is dropped. 

 

She reiterated that the Minister of Finance, Sinisa Mali, who was part of the delegation in Washington, told the media that there was a point on mutual recognition on the table and that our delegation was under great pressure. 

 

PKS President Marko Cadez, she says, praised the economic part, which, from the beginning, was good for Serbia. 

 

She points out that President Vucic rejected that point and that after that there was a break of almost two hours, and when the negotiations were settled, that point was no more present on paper. “That point has been dropped” Vasiljevic said. And then, she says, problems arose for the Pristina delegation because they were left without a point because of which they came to Washington, followed by the issue of Lake Gazivoda and the name “Republic of Kosovo”. 

 

According to her, there is not a single thing from the signed agreement that is harmful for Serbia, and the very name of the agreement has been changed because it is written on paper that the agreement was not signed by Serbia and the so-called Kosovo but between Belgrade and Pristina instead. 

 

In addition, the American side admitted that injustice was done to Serbia, which, as Suzana Vasiljevic claims, is a precedent in itself for the United States. 

 

Asked how she commented on the fact that Albin Kurti announced on Twitter after the Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) press conference that the obligations assumed by the Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions of Pristina, Avdulah Hoti, in Washington by signing agreements, “do not oblige” Self-Determination “when they return to the cabinet”, Vasiljevic said that it is a statement of intent signed in the presence of the President of the United States, which is a binding document. 

 

She says that the American administration strictly adheres to the fact that whoever is in power should respect the agreements signed by the previous authorities. “There will be great pressure from the international community on us and on Pristina. All this shows how difficult Serbia’s position is.” 

 

Asked how she sees Ivica Dacic‘s comment, to which Grenell also responded, and whether it was “laughter or mocking laughter” in Grenell’s tweet, she said that Grenell’s comment was more about the seriousness of what was agreed in Washington, since she knows that the Serbian side will fulfill everything it has done. She adds that some former ministers minimize Serbia’s success in Washington by measuring it by the size of the chair. 

 

She emphasized that the President of Serbia had a tete-a-tete with the US President for the first time in many years, and that Donald Trump dedicated 15 minutes to listen to him before the elections and the fight with COVID-19, as the president of a small country from the Balkans. 

 

She also commented on Dragan Sutanovac‘s tweet, which shows that Trump is sitting in exactly the same way with the most important people from his team for fighting coronavirus, whose members are sitting across from him in chairs the same as President Vucic, stating that the setting is always the same, just changing the number of chairs. 

 

She pointed out that such a protocol is the same for the representatives of all other countries, considering that measures are being applied to prevent the spread of Covid epidemic. 

 

Vucic’s media advisor: Moving embassy to Jerusalem not final; Grenell may come (TV Prva)

 

Suzana Vasiljevic, the media advisor to Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, told the Belgrade TV Prva on Wednesday the country’s decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was not final and that “we haven’t signed anything since that provision was not on our paper, it is on Pristina’s paper.” “The moving of the embassy is not a final decision. The next steps will be discussed, but all that depends on Israeli’s moves” Vasiljevic said. 

She added the reactions to the moving of the embassy were mostly positive and that Serbia did not receive “any serious complaints,” announcing Vucic would speak about that in the next period. Vasiljevic also said that “the signed agreement is in fact’ statement of intent’, but is a binding document. There are no negative sides in the agreement; it’s most beneficial for Serbia and the Western Balkan region.” 

 

She added the US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalization of relations Richard Grenell might come to Serbia after September 20. 

 

Vasiljevic confirmed that Adam Boehler, Chief Executive Officer of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) would come to Belgrade and “perhaps Grenell and the topics would be the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (in Kosovo) and the economic obligations.”   

Stano: The Belgrade-Pristina agreement must cover all open issues (RTS)

EU spokesman Peter Stano says that the EU will not define the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, and that it is up to the two sides to agree within the set parameters. Peter Stano states that the EU does not rewrite the agreement as a recipe, but says that it must cover all open issues, be legally binding and in accordance with EU laws and international law. 

Whatever the two sides agree on, and it is based on these parameters, will be a satisfactory solution” Stano explains. He also says that the EU is engaged in the process of normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, because that is a key element for progress on the EU path, which “both sides have marked as their top priority.” “EU integration means joining the EU, if you want to join the EU, you must have normalized relations and all open issues with your neighbors resolved” Stano said. He adds that the EU, after talks within the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels, has already planned the next meetings at the expert and high level, which it considers the best indicator of Brussels’ commitment to achieving normalization between Belgrade and Pristina and their progress towards the EU. 

Varhelyi: The EU continues to work on economic development and reconciliation (RTS)

Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi says he is satisfied with the progress made at the high-level dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which was conducted under the auspices of the EU. “When it comes to the agreements signed in the White House, the EU is ready to accompany it by working on further economic development and reconciliation” Oliver Varhelyi said. Varhelyi met with the Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions of Kosovo, Avdulah Hoti, in Brussels. Earlier, he met with President Aleksandar Vucic, who informed him about the meetings and agreements from Washington. 

 

Stoltenberg: Dialogue is the only way to reach a lasting solution (RTS)

After talks with Avdullah Hoti, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that dialogue is the only way to achieve a lasting political solution in the Western Balkans, and at the same time welcomed the last round of EU-mediated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, the Alliance’s website said. Stoltenberg talked with the Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti, about the agreement reached in Washington on the normalization of economic ties between Belgrade and Pristina, and pointed out that NATO is firmly committed to stability in the Western Balkans through the KFOR mission in Kosovo. 

According to him, the mandate of KFOR remains unchanged and its goal is to preserve the security and safety environment and freedom of movement for all residents of Kosovo, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244. 

 

Grenell: You can always count on Kurti being against the United States (RTS)

The White House special representative for the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, Richard Grenell, stated that he can always count on the leader of the Self-Determination Movement, Albin Kurti, to be against the United States, reacting to Kurti’s criticism of the recently signed agreement in Washington. Returning to the announcement of the leader of the Self-Determination, Grenell wrote that “one thing is for sure, you can always count that Albin Kurti will be against the United States”, adding that Kurti “was also against Obama‘s ideas and against Bush‘s ideas”. “Symbolism does not pay rent, jobs do” Grenell concluded. 

 

Mihajlovic: Washington agreement opens way for “four billion USD” worth of investments (Beta)

The agreement on normalization of economic relations between Belgrade and Pristina will enable new investments in the infrastructure facilities worth close to four billion USD, outgoing Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic said on Tuesday. Mihajlovic said that participation in financing the sections of the Nis-Merdare-Pristina highway would be discussed with the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC), which is to open an office in Belgrade. 

 

DFC, whose delegation visited Serbia in February, is interested in making funding in this region, she said. “It is up to us to take this opportunity because it is in our interest to build the infrastructure. This economic agreement [opens the possibility to] consider the construction of another highway from Bujanovac, through Gnjilane to Strpce, as well as the construction of 

a railway across Merdare to Pristina”, Mihajlovic said. 

 

The president of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Marko Cadez announced on Tuesday that the representatives of DFC would arrive in Belgrade on 21 September “in order to prepare for the opening of the office as soon as possible and the faster start of the implementation of agreed projects” 

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina 

 

Avaz interview with Serbian President Vucic (Dnevni avaz)

Daily carried a full-page interview with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic given after the signing of the Agreement with Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti in Washington and continued negotiations in Brussels.  

 

Asked what was truly signed in Washington, Vucic said that he does not want to take about this in terms of winning and losing, adding that after a long time Pristina agreed to take part in the so called ‘Mini-Schengen’, which is exceptional for Albania, Serbs, as well as for Bosniaks. Vucic underlined that this will result in serious savings in operational business, where for instance the working permit issued for Tirana, Pristina or Skopje will be valid in Belgrade as well. President Vucic stressed that ‘Mini-Schengen’ will bring thousands of things that will simplify lives of citizens and bring them guarantee that they will live in peace. “This will stabilize entire region” said Vucic, adding that they also agreed many infrastructural projects, such is construction of Nis- Pristina highway, and underlines that it is also important for Serbia that in the following month or two, the premises of American Development Fund (ADF) will open in Belgrade.  

 

Asked about political part of the Agreement, especially concerning the Serbian and Kosovo embassies in Jerusalem, Vucic underlined that they have not accepted the mutual recognition. He noted that “they” wanted Serbia to say that it is fine for Israel to recognize Kosovo independence, but Serbia did not want to take part in this and they stated that Israel is an independent country which has right to do whatever it wants, but at the same time Serbia conveyed a clear message to Israel. Vucic underlined that economic issues are crucial.  

 

Asked about the region, Vucic said that he will never give up on the idea, for which he believes that is healing for entire region, which is ‘Mini- Schengen’. “That is our connecting. Whether we will be accepted to the EU that is one question and what we can do alone, for ourselves, for our peoples, to build the structure… One of the projects is very important for us, we have been talking the entire time about this with the Europeans and we will additional talk about this with Americans, and that is the Belgrade- Sarajevo railroad”, noted Vucic. He stressed that talks about the railroad and Sarajevo- Belgrade highway are much more important than the talks about a chair that he set on during his meeting with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.  

 

He dismissed ridicules about this, wondering whether he was supposed to refuse to sit down and refuse the chance for a bilateral meeting with President Trump. (Following meeting with President Trump the picture was published in media, where Vucic is sitting in front of Trump and many ridiculed the picture saying that it looks like Vucic is sitting in detention in principal’s office) Vucic underlined that he acted responsibly and protected interests of Serbia. He dismissed all the criticism and underlined that nobody talks about benefits and he once again underlined that Serbia did not sign any document mentioning two embassies.  

 

Asked if Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) was mentioned in Washington considering the speculation that there could be some trade at the expense of B&H and considering the documents that Milorad Dodik submitted him with, Vucic said that there was no talk about this during Dodik’s visit to Belgrade and meeting in Washington were not discussed. He noted that Dodik submitted him with documents concerning the violations of Dayton Agreement, but denied that B&H specifically was discussed in Washington. “I do not think that was Dodik’s expectation. People, Serbia respects integrity of B&H, just as we respect the integrity of Republika Srpska (RS) within B&H. We have no issues with that. we want better relations” ends Vucic.  

 

Asked about reactions from Russia, such was of the Spokesperson of Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, Vucic said that they have been listening for eight years that Serbia is Russia’s servant. Denying this, Vucic said that Russia is Serbia’s friend and noted that they also reacted and apologized. Vucic noted that Serbia is a small country and their main concern is protection of independence and freedom of Serbia. Inset ‘I regret tensions in Montenegro’ – Vucic expressed regrets because of tensions in Montenegro which followed the parliamentary elections. 

Dodik requests extraordinary session of Presidency on relocation of B&H Embassy in Israel; Komsic wants special session on recognition of Kosovo; Dzaferovic says no special session will be held (FTV)

 

Member of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency from the rank of Croats Zeljko Komsic requested an extraordinary session of the Presidency of B&H on recognition of Kosovo as an independent country to be held on Wednesday. This request represents a response to the request of member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik to hold the extraordinary session of the Presidency on relocation of B&H Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Both requests were submitted on Tuesday. Komsic requested the extraordinary session to be held at 10:45 hours, while Dodik requested the extraordinary session on issue he proposed to be held at 11:00 hours.  

 

Chairman of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic decided that no extraordinary session will be held on Wednesday. Earlier, Dzaferovic submitted the request to a hold regular session of the Presidency where four items would be discussed.  

 

In a statement for media Dodik said that regardless of Dzaferovic’s claims that his request will not be included in the agenda, according to the Rules of Procedures of the Presidency he has to schedule the extraordinary session of the Presidency in line with request of a member of the Presidency. “I see they also have some initiatives. I am not against their initiatives, regardless of what they refer to” underlined Dodik, adding that there should not be taboo topics in the Presidency. Dodik also said that Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and US Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer was already informed about his initiative to move the B&H Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  

 

Kovacevic: RS does not and will not recognize self-declared Kosovo; Stevandic: Komsic’s request is way more unrealistic (Glas Srpske)

Commenting on requests of members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Zeljko Komsic and Milorad Dodik for holding of sessions of the B&H Presidency, Spokesperson of SNSD and adviser of the Serb member of the B&H Presidency Radovan Kovacevic stated that the RS does not and will not recognize the self-declared Kosovo. Kovacevic added that Dzaferovic must schedule a session at requests of the other two members of the B&H Presidency and in case of outvoting at the first session, they will move the issue to the next one and if there is no change, there is the option to invoke the mechanism of protection of the vital interest. He underlined: “The stance of Republika Srpska (RS) is absolutely known. The RS will never allow that B&H recognizes Kosovo as an independent state and there will be no change about this”.  

 

The daily reported that Head of the Serb Caucus in the B&H House of Representatives and leader of the United Srpska Nenad Stevandic shares the same stance. Stevandic said that member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic, who called on Dodik’s ideas populistic, has presented a way more unrealistic request. He added: “What he is doing is even beyond the agenda that the self-declared Kosovo signed a couple of days before in Washington”. 

 

Head of the RS Representation Office in Washington Obrad Kesic said that moving the B&H Embassy to Israelm from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be acceptable in the US administration as a significant progress in the official relations with B&H. Kesic added that hypocrisy of members of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic when speaking about this issue is visible. He argued that when Dzaferovic and Komsic advocate some things that they find acceptable, then there is no problem but now, they do not want to discuss this issue and therefore, their hypocrisy is clear. 

 

SDS leader Sarovic: Possible decision to relocate B&H Embassy in Israel should not be passed hastily (O kanal

 

Leader of SDS and former Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Mirko Sarovic, asked to comment announcement of member of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik that he will launch an initiative in the Presidency of B&H to relocate Embassy of B&H in Israel to Jerusalem after Serbia was obliged to do it, stated that he was surprised this issue was part of Serbia-Kosovo agreement on normalization of economic relations. He went on to saying that obviously, the US President Donald Trump wanted to get something from abovementioned agreement that can be used in his pre-election campaign. He added that possible decision to relocate B&H Embassy in Israel should not be passed hastily.  

 

Leader of SDS underlined that Dodik will definitely use this topic to increase tensions in B&H over next month or two, as well as an argument in upcoming meeting with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer to prove that he is a friend of the US Administration and President Trump. Sahbazovic reminded that the Croat People’s Assembly (HNS) warned that in case of failure to reach agreement to amend the Election Law of B&H, they will request reorganization of B&H and formation of their own territorial unit, Sarovic stressed that since B&H is ahead of local elections, this is definitely pre-election activity aimed to mobilize voters. He stated that everyone has right to launch initiative to change the Constitution of B&H, adding that it is hard to change any part of it. Sarovic added that everything that is the result of consensus among constituent peoples can be accepted, underlining that no ultimatum can be accepted.   

 

US Special Representative for Western Balkans Palmer to arrive in visit to B&H on Wednesday (Nova BH)

US Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer will visit Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) on Wednesday. He is expected to meet with representatives of B&H authorities, the international community and political parties and discuss a number of topics, including the upcoming local elections, economic issues, consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic, etc.  

 

B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) Chairman Zoran Tegeltija said ahead of the visit that economic topics such as launching a new investment cycle and how to curb economic effects of Covid-19 will be in focus of Palmer’s meeting with the Federation of B&H (FB&H) and the Republika Srpska (RS) Prime Ministers and the B&H CoM delegation. According to Tegeltija, the Coronavirus pandemic greatly affects B&H’s economy and in order to launch the new large investment cycle the state has to be responsible for projects, which is something the B&H CoM will certainly address.  

 

Commenting on the visit, SDS leader Mirko Sarovic stated that he expects that messages conveyed from Palmer’s meetings with B&H officials will mean that certain topics related to B&H should not be brought in connection with some other topics and processes that are currently active in Kosovo and Serbia.  

 

PDP leader Branislav Borenovic commented on expectations from the announced meetings with Palmer and said that it is very important that the B&H CoM Chair and the FB&H and the RS Prime Ministers understand that they have to do their job and respond to economic, social and demographic challenges.  

 

B&H Presidency member Milorad Dodik announced on Monday that he will inform Palmer on an initiative to relocate B&H Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Analysts deem that Palmer will convey a message during his visit that the USA has not given up on this region, but that some new strong messages are not expected.  

 

Deputy Speaker of B&H House of Representatives and Vice President of SDA Denis Zvizdic said that the US policy towards B&H is constant and already known, adding that this is a good sign of a stable B&H and stable relations to which the US insist. 

 

Program coordinator at the Center for Applied European Studies (CPES) in Belgrade Igor Davidovic said that as long as political leadership in B&H has no willingness to seriously address internal issues in the country, positive scores cannot be expected because of the initiative to relocate B&H Embassy to Israel. 

 

HDZ B&H’ Covic, SNSD’s Dodik reach agreement on joint participation in local elections in Canton 10 (N1)

Leader of SNSD and member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Milorad Dodik met leader of HDZ Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) and Deputy Speaker of the B&H House of Peoples Dragan Covic in Mostar on Tuesday. The officials discussed the current political situation, the local elections in B&H and in the City of Mostar, work of executive and legislative authorities at the state level, as well as dysfunctionality of the state level on key issues like solving of the migrant crisis. The reporter noted that the migrant crisis and regularity of the local elections were the main focus of the talks.  

 

Following the meeting, only Dodik briefly addressed media. Speaking about cooperation with HDZ B&H, Dodik said: “We have good cooperation with HDZ (B&H). I believe that we understand each other about many issues and this is never to detriment of the third ones (Bosniaks), but obviously the agreement that Mr. Covic and (leader of SDA Bakir) Izetbegovic achieved regarding Mostar has elements that we find very interesting. One of the elements is the story about the Election Law. As far as I know, the deadline for them to start their talks on the Election Law will expire in around ten days and this is all that we discussed”.  

 

Dodik said that he does not understand why the local elections in Mostar will be held two months following the local elections in the rest of the B&H, but the important thing is that things have moved from a standstill and it is good that the elections in Mostar will be held this year. He also mentioned the B&H Election Law by reminding that Covic said in June this year that the B&H Election Law will be present until the end of this year, while negotiations should begin at the beginning of September but there were no talks about this issue yet. The reporter noted that he meant on talks between Croats and Bosniaks, while Dodik said that he still expects that the talks will be held after all. 

 

US Embassy, EUD, OHR: Support to territorial integrity of B&H; No drawing of new B&H maps (Oslobodjenje)

Daily comments that SNSD leader Milorad Dodik and HDZ Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) leader Dragan Covic held a meeting in Mostar on Tuesday, arguing that this meeting took place only day after the session of Croat People’s Assembly (HNS). Article reads that in a statement to the daily, the US Embassy to B&H fiercely condemned the invoking of territorial autonomy, directed by the HNS. “The US stance on this issue is known and remains unchanged. We decisively reject any further geographical division of B&H, including the possibility of forming of the third entity and we strongly oppose the reorganization based on ethnic principles. US is fully dedicated to principles of Dayton Peace Agreement- B&H as democratic, multi-ethnic, sovereign and independent country with two entities, three peoples and unquestionable territorial integrity. Any changes of election legislation have to have wide political support and present step towards European integration” stated US Embassy.  

 

EU Delegation to B&H (EUD) stated that the European Union supports sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of B&H. “Political stakeholders in BIH need to focus on vital reforms, necessary for country’s path towards the EU, which are in interest of citizens as well”, stated EUD. In statement to the daily, Office of the High Representative (OHR) stated: “The High Representative and PIC Steering Board, have on several occasions confirmed that there will be no new drawing of B&H map and fiercely condemned the rhetoric and activities which calls for territorial reorganization of the country, which creates tensions regarding the main aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which, by signing them, the leaders of Croat people agreed with. We call on political parties to give up such rhetoric and to cooperate in best interest of all B&H citizens”.   

 

B&H CEC President Bakalar announces that B&H CEC will continue cooperation with IFES regardless of RSNA conclusions (EuroBlic)

After Republika Srpska (RS) National Assembly (RSNA) endorsed the statement of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency member Milorad Dodik rejecting the memorandum on cooperation between B&H Central Election Commission (B&H CEC) and International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) as harmful for vital national interests of the RS, CEC President Zeljko Bakalar announced that B&H CEC and IFES will continue their cooperation regardless. He explained that B&H CEC and IFES started cooperating already in 1995 and that the memorandum was supposed only to formalize cooperation which already exists.  

 

Commenting Balakar’s statement, ‘United Srpska’ leader Nenad Stevandic stated that Balakar is acting in an unconstitutional manner. “I believe that the judiciary should have a say in this. Anyone who puts themselves above institutions, fails to do their job in line with law and degrades their job” said Stevandic. He underlined that B&H CEC is not an institution of IFES but an institution of the state of B&H in which Serbs have a say too.  

 

Head of SNSD Caucus in RSNA Igor Zunic stated that IFES’s cooperation with B&H lasted until 2002, and had the form of different training programs and conferences in which IFES participated together with B&H CEC, and that kind of cooperation was not problematic. However, he underlined, IFES is now becoming active again upon invitation of the illegal B&H CEC in an attempt to interfere with the election process in B&H. He underlined that B&H CEC members can exchange experiences with IFES, but there will be no direct interference and influence on election process.  

 

SDS’s Zoran Vidic stated that RSNA is discussing vital national interests only over some unimportant issues, while really important issues are approved by Dodik without RSNA’s opinion. According to Vidic, there is no reason why B&H should reject free technical assistance from anyone. He noted that SNSD has cooperated with international organizations in the past as well. 

 

Foreign Ministry reached decision on forming Commission for NATO Integration (Dnevni avaz)

Daily reads that Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Foreign Ministry has reached a decision on establishing of a new Commission for NATO Integration. Daily learns that this decision was submitted to the B&H Council of Ministers and names of the Commission members were already objected by Republika Srpska representatives, because of which the Ministry appointed replacements. Article noted that the Commission has 21 members and the decision on this could be discussed at CoM’s session on Thursday. Daily carried some of the names of the Commission members, arguing that it will be chaired by Deputy Foreign Minister Josip Brkic.   

 

Montenegro 

 

Opposition in Montenegro closer to forming government, signs agreement (Vijesti)

 

The Montenegrin opposition harmonized and signed a draft agreement in front of reporters, saying it would not withdraw the recognition of Kosovo’s independence, would improve cooperation with NATO as a member state and would depoliticize key institutions to fight against corruption and crime. 

 

The leaders of three opposition parties, Zdravko Krivokapic the head of ‘For Montenegro’s Future,’ Aleksa Becic, president of ‘Peace Is our Nation,’ and Dritan Abazovic, the head of ‘Black on White’ coalition said the signing of the draft was a proof they were going along the road that wouldn’t be changed ‘as spun’ by some politicians and media. 

 

The draft also said that the three signatories would not initiate any changes of the state flag, coat of arms and national anthem, i.e., that they would respect the Constitution. There won’t be any political revanchism, and a new government will bring laws in line with the European Union standards to join the bloc as soon as possible, the draft says. New authorities will offer the minorities to take part in governing the country, regardless if they are represented in the parliament or not. 

 

Carpenter: Western partners closely monitor rhetoric and actions of future govt (Nova M)

 

Surveys have shown that the people of Montenegro are increasingly worried about corruption and organized crime in their country so it’s not strange that they wanted to change the government, a former Pentagon official and a Managing Director of the Penn Biden Center, Michael Carpenter, told Nova M. However, he warns that the Western centers are closely monitoring the rhetoric and actions of the new government, as there’s concern that the new ruling alliance might informally adapt to the interests of Russia despite their official statements. 

 

It’s not strange that the Montenegro parliamentary elections showed the need for change after 30 years, but still, there are concerns over the future Montenegrin foreign policy. Therefore, the international addresses will closely monitor actions of the new government. 

 

“When I hear the winning coalition saying that they want to annul the recognition of Kosovo or reconsider the role of Montenegro in NATO, it raises serious concerns. In this regard, the Western allies will closely monitor the rhetoric and actions of the new government” Carpenter pointed out. 

 

On the assessments that the church was the one that won in Montenegro’s earthquake elections on 30 August, he noted: “The strong role of the church is perfectly compatible with European democracy, as long as it stays out of politics. In situations when the church gets involved in politics, as is the case in Russia, the situation becomes less healthy for democracy” he underlined. 

 

Husovic: BS would support the government without DPS and DF (RTCG)

 

The Bosniak party would support a government made up of Democrats and the Civic Movement URA, without the DF and DPS, to which the LP, SDP and SD would also be invited. This was said for TVCG by the leader of BS, Rafet Husovic, who presented such a position at yesterday’s meeting with the representatives of Democratic Montenegro. In any case, says Husovic, the final position will be taken when the parliament is constituted, the parliamentary clubs are elected, and when it is clear in which direction the new government will go. 

 

Representatives of the Bosniak Party talked to representatives of that political group yesterday, at the initiative of Democratic Montenegro. The first man of the Bosniak Party conveys his impressions. “I think that they agreed more or less that these three entities would form a new government. In essence, they offered us to be part of that new government. They have clearly stated that they do not intend to be in the new government with the DPS” stated Husovic. 

 

And the Bosniak Party presented its position. That in the last elections, as Husovic says, civil, multi-religious, multinational Montenegro won. “For that reason, if we look at the composition of parliamentary clubs and political parties that participated in these elections and deserved the attention of Montenegrin voters, it is clear that there is at least a two-thirds majority for such a civic Montenegro” Husovic said. That is why, says Husovic, they had a clear offer for the Democrats and the civic movement URA. 

 

“That they form a new government, that somehow these two big entities and DPS and DF in the beginning or not be part of the government at all, we have expressed expectations that with or without us, we are ready to support such a minority government. It would be good for the LP, SDP and SD to participate in such a composition” Husovic pointed out. 

 

According to Husovic, it is not clear to the Bosniak party what the expert government will look like. “For that reason, given this heterogeneous structure in the For the Future of Montenegro coalition, I believe that the Democrats deserve to lead the government and take responsibility for all the events that follow these elections” Husovic said. In any case, he says, he will wait for the parliament to be constituted, for the parliamentary clubs to be elected, and for it to be clear in which direction the new government will go. “After that, the BS should definitely take a position on all these issues” Husovic pointed out. 

 

He notes that the partnership between the Bosniak Party and the Democrats will continue, regardless of their position. Where the interest is pro-European Montenegro, he says, he will have the support of the Bosniak Party. 

 

Republic of North Macedonia 

 

Mickoski is strengthening the opposition, Zaev is nervous (Republika)

 

The opposition will be staging protests. The leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Hristijan Mickoski called for a protest on Wednesday, September 9, against the increase in the price of electricity. He called on all those who do not agree with the measures and policies of the government to join the protest, which should be just one of a series of protests in the coming period. 

 

The protests show that Mickoski is determined not to allow a new 4-year term of the government led by SDSM and DUI, which not only did not fulfill the promises of a better life, justice and equality, but also fail to handle the coronavirus crisis that leaves thousands of citizens on the streets and without basic income. 

 

And it is no coincidence that protests are taking place now. Obviously, Mickoski has the support of other opposition parties to push the government. In fact, he himself announced that it is a matter of strengthening the opposition. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, Mickoski said that the broad opposition front would be an expression of injustice, poverty and the government’s failure to offer anything new. 

 

The government offers old promises, and only the growing debts and the budget gap are new. This government will fall on the protests, and the opposition will strengthen. What follows is a broad opposition front and enormous discontent among the people, which will be an expression of revolt for poverty, for the debts they leave us and for the injustices they cause us. What has been built during the past four years? 

 

We do not have another four years to give to the mafia to spend, Mickoski told Deutsche Welle. 

That Mickoski can succeed in his intention is shown by the fact that the government barely formed a slim majority to form a government in the latest parliamentary elections showed that the opposition won more votes than the government. 

 

The changes that are taking place in the region also show that the changes are part of a broader picture. The united opposition in Montenegro managed to oust Milo Djukanovic, who has ruled the country for 30 years. Previously, there were changes in Slovenia and Greece, and mass protests have been taking place in Bulgaria for two months now, while dissatisfaction is growing in Albania as well. Obviously, this wave of change will not bypass Macedonia either. 

 

This is exactly the reason for the nervousness of the government, and especially of the leader of SDSM, Zoran Zaev, who went to meet all ambassadors in the country seeking support. Following the announced protests against poverty and increase in electricity prices, lacking arguments and instead of implementing realistic policies, he ignored the protests and even arrogantly tried to make insults. 

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Belgrade Media Report 29 November 2022

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