Vucic: They will provoke a new 17 March and they’ll finish the job (TV Pink/B92/RTV)
Asked whether there will be a continuation of the dialogue at the highest level in Brussels at all, since the Pristina says it will not, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that what he has been talking about for a long time and what he warned both the EU and international officials about is happening right now. “And that is that Albanians do not think that Serbs should have anything in Kosovo. They think that those who allowed them to create a state will just push a button and Serbia will only recognize the so-called independent Kosovo,” Vucic said and warned: “They will produce a new 17 March, with the aim of expelling the 95.000 Serbs who remained and thus finish their assignment,” he commented from Istanbul, where he is expected to meet with the Turkish President.
Dacic: ZSO closed topic for Serbia as well (TV Palma Plus/Tanjug/RTV)
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has stated that the issue of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) is also a closed topic for Belgrade as well, which is not being negotiated because it was already signed and needs to be realized. Dacic thus responded to the statement of the provisional institutions in Pristina Avulah Hoti, who said that the ZSO is a closed issue.
“What to negotiate, when it was signed. So, should someone see now after the agreement in Washington whether the points from that agreement will be realized. Serious partners do not do that,” Dacic told TV Palma Plus. He states that a moratorium was agreed in Washington for activities for withdrawing recognition and for Pristina’s activities in the other direction, and that after that, Pristina called on Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) to recognize Kosovo. “I showed Richard Grenell a letter from the so-called Kosovo foreign minister to B&H calling on B&H to recognize Kosovo. The Americans immediately called Hoti and everyone else on his team and asked them why they had done so. Serbia adheres to the signed agreement. “Pristina is not abiding,” said Dacic. “What is the difference between Brussels and Washington. When Washington says something, it is an iron fist, and Brussels obviously is not. Brussels obviously does not want to use its authority. We have heard from Brussels and Berlin a hundred times that there are no border changes, although they have changed our borders, and we have never heard that Pristina must form the ZSO,” Dacic emphasized.
Drecun: First arrest of Chambers for KLA crimes is crucial step, new indictments being prepared (RTS)
The Chairperson of the Serbian parliamentary Committee for Kosovo and Metohija Milovan Drecun told the morning news of Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) that the first arrest of the Special Chambers for the KLA crimes is a crucial step. “So far, there has been a lot of speculation about whether indictments will be filed and confirmed, and whether a trial will take place. We see that this process is taking place. This is the first confirmed indictment. The indictment containing Hashim Thaci and Kadri Veseli is expected, and others,” Drecun points out. He notes that the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office continues with investigations and is working on gathering new evidence, which means that new indictments are being prepared. Drecun believes that by submitting to the veterans of the so-called KLA documents suspected of originating from the Special Court, the entire work process of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office has been compromised and that this may affect future prosecutions and trials that are expected to take place. He hopes that the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office, in addition to prosecuting those responsible for crimes committed by the KLA against Albanians, will also prosecute those responsible for crimes against the Serb people. Regarding Pristina’s refusal to discuss the ZSO in Brussels, he estimates that the Albanians are not sincere in the talks with Belgrade and that they had the goal of somehow gaining recognition from Belgrade. “There will be no progress in the talks between Belgrade and Pristina without the formation of the ZSO. Now it is Pristina’s responsibility to see if its behavior will eventually even lead to the interruption of talks in Brussels,” Drecun concluded.
Djuric: Only technical level talks on Monday (Tanjug)
The Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric has told Tanjug that the Serbian delegation will travel to Brussels on Monday for talks at the technical level to discuss the return of Serbian property in Kosovo and Metohija. He says there will be no high-level meeting next week. “It is now necessary and crucial for the future of the dialogue for Pristina to prove in action its readiness to work on the implementation of the ZSO, and we will insist on that in every meeting, at every level, including the one on Monday,” said Djuric.
Mandic: Vijesti concern wants to turn dominant victory of Serbian people into somebody else’s victory (TV Pink)
President of the New Serbian Democracy, member of DF, the cornerstone of the coalition ‘For the future of Montenegro’ Andrija Mandic says that the opposition “won the elections in Montenegro by the force of Serbian people and nobody can deny that fact”. He told TV Pink that Serbian people had interest in representing the new government and that they should be represented on the basis of the support they had in the elections. “Coalition ‘For the future of Montenegro’ is the dominant force,” Mandic said. He pointed out that the fact that four MPs from the lines of Bosniak and Albanian parties that once were in coalition with DPS had voted for Aleksa Becic was a good thing. The new majority now has 45 MPs, while DPS coalition, led by Milo Djukanovic, has gone down to 34 seats. “I believe this difference will be even bigger in days to come, and that will enable us to reach an agreement more easily,” he said. As Mandic says, they won’t allow the smallest coalition partner to select Serbian representatives. In fact, no one can appoint representatives to anyone. “I am a Serbian politician from Montenegro. And I don’t want to allow anyone to appoint ‘other Serbs’ on my behalf or on the behalf of my organization,” he said. Asked if it is true that Dritan Abazovic asked for the armed forces, police, Agency for National Security and requested that political representatives of Serbs shall not be part of the government, which was endorsed by Bishop Amfilohije, Mandic said it was not true that Abazovic had requested that, he just said that these departments could not be delegated to Serbs and that only those Serbs he had picked could enter the government. “We’ve got a tam around a medium – Vijesti. This medium wants to turn the victory of Serbian people into someone else’s victory,” Mandic said. He doesn’t think there will be any problems with the formation of the new government. He points out that rules must be obeyed and that everybody needs to understand that no one can appoint staff members within the Serbian national being.
B&H Council of Ministers adopts Revised Strategy for Processing of War Crimes (N1)
The B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) unanimously adopted on Thursday adopted Revised Strategy for Processing of War Crimes. Reporter noted that this document was adopted after two-year-long negotiations. Its adoption was one of B&H’s tasks from the European Commission (EC)’s Opinion. The Revised Strategy includes Annex B, which was a subject to debate among the relevant factors in B&H. Annex B implies several tasks, including that, within 90 days, the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H is required to submit data on the number of persons convicted based on a final verdict, the number of cases that are in the appeals procedure, the number of cases awaiting the first-instance verdict, the number of cases that are in the process of investigation, the number of cases in which investigations have been suspended, as well as the number of persons who have not faced a criminal procedure. This part of the strategy also defined that the work of the supervisory body is reduced, while the Court and the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H, and international representatives have been introduced as observers. In addition, the annex defined regional cooperation that should be realized in line with the international standards, international bilateral and multilateral agreements, protocols, and other regulations on mutual cooperation. Given that the adoption of the strategy was preceded by his meeting with Head of the EU Delegation (EUD) to B&H Johann Sattler and B&H Minister of Foreign Affairs Bisera Turkovic, Chairman of the B&H CoM Zoran Tegeltija was asked by journalists whether the Revised Strategy was adopted under pressure. Tegeltija replied that this strategy was adopted following talks. B&H Minister of Justice Josip Grubesa, whose ministry proposed the strategy, said: “B&H is a country of incredible possibilities. Everything is possible here.” Grubesa expressed an opinion that adoption of the Strategy represents “a very important moment for B&H” by which B&H showed it is capable of starting the reform of judiciary in B&H.
The adoption of the Revised Strategy was welcomed by leadership of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) of B&H, as well as by representatives of the EU. Namely, the EU will in fact finance the Strategy implementation. Sattler welcomed adoption of the Strategy as “an important step that this country has made towards the EU”, noting that it was adopted thanks to joint efforts. “The ultimate goal is to complete the most complex cases by 2023, and I hope that this will now be possible,” Sattler added. Representatives of Republika Srpska (RS), who participated in drafting the Revised Strategy, welcomed its adoption, as well. Director of the RS Center for War Crimes Investigation Milorad Kojic said that a significant number of cases will now be transferred to entities, but that entities will deal with less complex cases. President of the B&H Association of Victims and Witnesses of Genocide Murat Tahirovic noted that it is necessary to insist on setting priority on prosecuting war crimes from the ‘A’ list of cases, which the ICTY forwarded to the judiciary in B&H.
Viskovic announces lawsuits over false accusations (RTRS/Srna)
RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic has said that all accusations regarding his alleged participation in events in Srebrenica of July 1995, which have been published by certain federal media as of late, are false, which is why he announced lawsuits for slander and the even stronger struggle for (RS). Viskovic has said that there will be several lawsuits against internet portals and individuals and that he will use legally stipulated forms to protect himself and his family, as well as the office of RS Prime Minister. “Clean conscience is that which keeps a man going in life. I and my family have clean conscience. It is even disgusting for me to comment on all these accusations and lies. This is why I did not comment in the past few days as I don’t want to roll in the mud in which those who are attacking me are rolling,” Viskovic told RTRS. Noting that a campaign for the upcoming local elections is approaching, Viskovic has said that some parties, particularly the SDA in the Federation of B&H (FB&H), are not doing well and they want to collect cheap political points this way. “I maybe lived in the conviction that B&H perhaps has a future and that developments can be directed towards a better life for citizens, but it is obvious that those who are swearing by B&H are thus hitting the last seam to make B&H disappear,” Viskovic said.
Izetbegovic: SDA defends civic principle, HDZ B&H defends ethnic principle; Serbia “de facto” recognizes Kosovo without saying it “de jure” (FTV)
Leader of SDA Bakir Izetbegovic commented on the current political issues, the relations between SDA and HDZ B&H, relations within SDA, the initiative ‘Mini Schengen’, the recent visit of leader of SNSD Milorad Dodik to Zagreb, the agreement between Pristina and Belgrade in Washington. Asked what is the problem between him and HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic reminding that Covic recently accused him of betraying his own words and what they signed in Mostar, Izetbegovic said: “I did not say anything. I signed a document with Covic in presence of friends from the international community (IC) that we will try to solve something that we fail to solve for 12 years. I could have leave and say make a parliamentary (commission), this is not the issue of mater of the two leaders. Why do I torture myself politically in all this to listen to these types of reports? Like in the case of Mostar; we must sit and try to find a solution, some balance. I think that this is not impossible. However, it is not simple at all. I can give up tonight in the news and say that I do not want to deal with this. However, I see no other way to make a balance between aspirations of SDA and civic parties, left-oriented and HDZ that is persistent in making blockades”. Asked whether he and Covic agreed to solve the issue of Mostar first and then the issue of the FB&H government or vice versa, Izetbegovic said: “No. Not at all. I never agreed to such thing. I did not see that we could have insisted on this earlier bearing in mind the current constellation made of Mr. (leader of SBB B&H Fahrudin) Radoncic, Mr. Covic, Mr. (leader of DF Zeljko) Komsic and we from SDA because we would ruin authorities that we established in a hard way. I did not want to insist by now. However, now is the final time. It is time to say enough. We cannot be blackmailed to negotiate about the things”. In his opinion, the FB&H government manages to do its job in the best possible way. He underlined that SDA always suffers a little bit in order to find a solution and until others accept the minimum of requests. In this regard, he mentioned the path to the NATO and adoption of the revised war crimes prosecution strategy on Thursday, adding that leader of SNSD Dodik had to accept the minimum and the ‘A’ list that SDA demanded. Speaking about the relation between SDA and SBB B&H, Izetbegovic assessed the relation as complex and controversial even in case of personal relations between him and Radoncic, adding that there are oscillations in the relations. Izetbegovic added that he advocates cooperation and he does not want further outwitting with Radoncic, arguing that previous outwitting did not hurt SDA but others; B&H and the fragile constellation of authorities. According to Izetbegovic, he remains silent to many statements that he does not find important and that will not cause definitive damage or ruin authorities trying to patiently preserve the coalition and move on. In his opinion, Radoncic is a capable and a pragmatic politician who managed to keep the same level of power in authorities, despite of the fact that the party’s election result weakened in the elections in 2018. Izetbegovic said: “The fact that he says something sometimes, you know, it is acceptable in politics especially ahead of the elections. To cover up some motives, intentions, no big deal. We forgive this. He probably needs to distance himself from SDA ahead of the local elections in order to make SBB visible. He is a brave politician unlike some others who win elections and then, they cannot enter the political arena. He preserves his people. He will never leave authorities. We are rivals, associates, coalition partners etc. all at the same time and things are the same with all others”. Asked why he thinks that the recent visit of Dodik to Zagreb, Croatia was not good, Izetbegovic answered by saying: “They say that proving the obvious is the most difficult thing”. He reminded that Dodik is on the black list of the US, he awarded a general who bombed Zadar, he keeps B&H parliament on a standby, he gives statements on separation of the RS and he avoids the NATO path of B&H. Izetbegovic asked why Croatian officials called on Dodik for a visit circumventing Chairman of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic (SDA) who leads constructive, peaceful and integration policy. In his opinion, the aim of the visit is to make additional pressure on himself and SDA that is convenient for Covic during their ongoing negotiations. Izetbegovic announced that he will meet Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic next week but not in Zagreb, adding that he will meet Croatian President Zoran Milanovic when he meets his counterpart Chairman of the B&H Presidency Dzaferovic. He added: “We will not put this at the level of ethnic relations of Bosniaks, Croats etc. I will discuss the relations with Mr. Plenkovic next week, I think. These people should not be left to Dodik. We should communicate and tell our side of the story”. Asked whether the initiative ‘Mini Schengen’ represents the idea of the ‘Greater Serbia’ or is this a chance for B&H, he said that this is a chance for B&H. In his opinion, the initiative has raised some concerns and “fear that Europe is giving us a substitute and that we will never enter the EU”. Izetbegovic added that this is not a political but economic association that will speed up primarily flow of goods. In his opinion, B&H should not be afraid of the competition of Serbia or Albania, adding that this could be a good practice for entering the EU. He also argued that B&H could join the initiative on a temporary basis, for the period of three, four years. Commenting on the recently signed agreement between Pristina and Belgrade in Washington, Izetbegovic assessed that the agreement is good both for Serbia and Kosovo. In his opinion, there will be many of these types of agreements between Serbia and Kosovo in the future period that will mean that Serbia “de facto” recognizes Kosovo without saying it “de jure”.
Djukanovic congratulates Becic: I firmly believe that together we will ensure maximum commitment to Montenegro’s development (CdM)
President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic sent a congratulatory note to Aleksa Becic on becoming president of the parliament of Montenegro and wished him success in performing that function. “The Agreement you have signed recently with coalition partners which promotes Montenegro’s European and Euro-Atlantic path, guarantees respect for the assumed international responsibilities, expresses preparedness for further reforms and faster adoption of European standards and confirms the correctness of the well-chosen and traced strategic course of our country,” Djukanovic’s note said. He firmly believes that everybody will ensure maximum commitment to economic and democratic development of the country and civil multi-ethnic society.
Djukanovic to put forward proposal for the prime minister-designate by 23 October (CdM)
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic will put forward proposal for the prime minister-designate by 23 October. “In accordance with the Constitution, Montenegro’s president will carry out the defined procedures and put forward prime minister-designate for the constitution of the new government within 30 days from the day parliament was constituted,” the President’s Office said. The 27th convocation of the parliament of Montenegro was constituted yesterday. All MPs of the new parliamentary majority (41) supported Zdravko Krivokapic as prime minister-designate.
Djukanovic -Toudic: New political reality is the confirmation of democratic maturity (CdM)
New political reality is the confirmation of democratic maturity of Montenegro, said Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, during the meeting with the Ambassador of France to Montenegro Chrstine Toudic. “I firmly believe that significant progress has been made in the previous period, especially in the area of defense and security. I express my sincere thanks to the Republic of France for understanding our Euro-Atlantic aspirations, and active process of EU accession,” Djukanovic said. He underscored the importance of further improvement of cooperation through harmonization of agreements defining requirements for actions of the French agency for development in Montenegro. Djukanovic said he expected the agreement in the area of defense, civil protection and police cooperation to be signed soon. Toudic highly rated relations between the two countries and the progress that has been made in the previous period. She agreed that the best results had been recorded in defense and security, which she considers essential. She expressed her satisfaction with the results of new French school in Montenegro. “Interlocutors exchanged views on the current political affairs in Montenegro and in the world,” the President’s cabinet said. Toudic pointed out that the change of power “was peaceful and democratic”. “That’s sign of democracy in Montenegro, what contributes to its image and the proof of the maturity of Montenegrin society,” she said.
Pesic: Montenegro will continue to implement NATO policies (CdM)
Director General of the Directorate for Politics and Planning Defense, Major General Rajko Pesic, took part in the meeting of NATO political directors held via video conference. On the eve of the incoming meeting of NATO defense ministers, political directors discussed progress countries have made in the implementation of key NATO policies. “Having regard to the activities in strengthening collective defense system and the level of the adaptation of the Alliance with contemporary security challenges and threats, it was emphasized that a significant progress has been made in the domain of the improvement of decision-making process in case of crisis,” Ministry of Defense said. Pesic said that joint efforts of member states, mutual solidarity and strong trans-Atlantic connection were the core of success and credibility of the Alliance. In that context, he pointed out that Montenegro would continue to implement policies of the Alliance and thus contribute to efficiency and successful implementation of activities, with the aim of strengthening collective defense. “The meeting confirmed once again that political dimension of NATO had to be strengthened. Therefore, it is necessary to further improve cooperation and intensify consultations among members.
Picula: All political actors must respect state symbols of Montenegro (CdM)
Commencement of work of the new parliament of Montenegro is the first step towards the formation of the new government. Statement made by newly appointed president of the parliament Aleksa Becic is highly encouraging. He announced resumption of reforms and emphasized the importance of the EU path. “I expect continuous and productive cooperation with the new parliament of Montenegro, committed work on Montenegro’s progress, especially in key areas of the negotiation process. As the most important representation body, the new parliament must cherish cooperation, dialogue and constructive discussions, despite political differences. That’s the key for successful parliamentary democracy,” said Tonino Picula, EP Rapporteur for Montenegro. Unfortunately, the new parliament will have only 19 female MPs, three less than in the previous one. Picula holds that institutions, symbols and the Constitution of Montenegro deserve maximum respect. He calls on all political actors in Montenegro to respect state symbols and institutions of Montenegro and act in accordance with constitutional principles.
Karakachanov says Bulgaria will act to postpone the opening of EU accession talks with Macedonia (Republika)
Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Krasimir Karakachanov said that Bulgaria will move to postpone the opening of EU accession talks with Macedonia, as the country still hasn’t delivered on the demanded concessions. Bulgaria wants Macedonia to agree to a new reading of history under which legendary VMRO leader and national struggle hero Goce Delcev will be declared an ethnic Bulgarian, and has sent a memorandum with a long list of historic grievances to the European Council. Bulgaria will not oppose holding the first inter-governmental conference (the opening of accession talks) but we will say that the time is still not right for it. There is a very clear condition that each candidate country must first resolve all disputes with its neighbors before it call begin accession talks. Bulgaria should change nothing in its approach, since October we’ve said that if the 2017 Friendship Treaty is not respected, we will oppose having the conference, Karakacanov said. EU member states are discussing whether and when to open the accession talks with both Macedonia and Albania, and opposition from one member state can block the move. In an interview, Karakachanov was critical of the Macedonian EU integration official Nikola Dimitrov, saying that he has done nothing to improve relations. They think they can cover this up and hope that someone in Brussels will pressure Bulgaria and force us to back off. Obviously, they don’t understand how the EU operates. They had three years to re-educate themselves. When someone is not ready to begin attending first grade, there are preparatory courses that he needs to take. I say this on behalf of the government, Karakacanov stated in the clearest yet indication that Bulgaria will not allow the opening of accession talks for Macedonia.
Electoral reform, opposition – majority clash continues (Tirana Times)
Clashes between the opposition and the Socialist majority on the electoral reform continue as they debate whether or not they should seek the assistance of the OSCE / ODIHR in the decision-making process. In a lengthy discussion on Tuesday, the opposition urged the Socialist party to seek answers from the OSCE / ODIHR about the current Electoral Code mechanism for coalitions, the formula for distributing mandates, open lists, changing electoral rules 6 months before elections, as well as violations of equality in the political race. However, SP representative Damian Gjiknuri refused to turn to the OSCE / ODIHR, as long as all parties are still not making an effort to reach an understanding. The opposition said it was concerned about a change in electoral rules a few months before the election by the Socialists because it violated equality in the race, citing suspicion on the Socialists’ proposals on open lists and the electoral system, including the formula of the distribution of mandates. The time for the approval of the new formula on the open lists, coalitions as the electoral threshold is running, and everything will have to be concluded within the next 7 days. In a post on Twitter, US Ambassador Yuri Kim brought to the attention of Prime Minister Edi Rama, President of the opposition Lulzim Basha and other political leaders, the commitments made in the June 5 agreement and other measures that went beyond this agreement, emphasizing that proposals and counter-proposals must be made in good faith. According to President Ilir Meta, the current situation risks being an obstacle for the country’s advancement on the path of European integration. “Unfortunately, the behavior with the constitutional changes, unconstitutional and completely one-sided, that attacked, or tried to attack the 5 June Agreement, shows that we are in a course opposite to what is expected from all Albanians and all our serious partners in the European Union, “Meta stated after holding a meeting with the ambassadors of the European Union countries. Meta added that the responsibility lies solely with the government. “There is still some time left to reflect and I wish there is reflection. Otherwise, the responsibility will be solely on one culprit. There will be no two or four culprits. There will be only one culprit, who for his personal fate seeks to question the fate of 4 million Albanians,” the President said.
Varhelyi: Constitutional Court should be completed prior to the First Intergovernmental Conference between Albania and the EU (Radio Tirana)
The Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood in the Western Balkans Oliver Varhelyi has called on all political parties in Albania to support without delay the process of establishing the Constitutional Court. While welcoming the opening of proceedings for the two vacancies in this court, Varhelyi said that it should be completed prior to the First Intergovernmental Conference between Albania and the EU. “I welcome the opening of application procedures for two vacancies of Albanian Constitutional Court. Essential that all authorities support this process with no delay. This is a key requirement of the European Council. Conclusions prior to 1. IGC. EU continues to support Albania on its accession path,” Commissioner Varhelyi said.
Speaker Ruci met with Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Tahiri (Radio Tirana)
The speaker of the parliament Gramoz Ruci received the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo Besnik Tahiri. During the meeting they discussed current issues of developments in Kosovo and the region. Ruci noted that Albania welcomed the economic agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, signed in the presence of US President Donald Trump. “This Agreement paves the way for final agreement and mutual recognition. Of course, the 4 September agreement is not everything we Albanians would like. But the opening of the Kosovo file on the desk of the US President is a guarantee of a process without turning back, until the final settlement of the recognition of Kosovo. Albania also supports the EU-mediated Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. The end result should be a legally binding agreement, which enables mutual recognition between the two countries, Kosovo’s membership in the UN and the EU, as well as fair treatment of minorities, in accordance with the Constitution.” Tahiri thanked the Ruci for the reception and support that Albania gives to Kosovo in this very important phase of developments and underlined that “It is very useful to unify the positions of both countries in the diplomatic plan and in the international arena. The support and experience of Albania is very useful in the work of Kosovo institutions and agencies.”