Vucic: Signed must be implemented, but not according to Pristina’s regulations (RTV/Tanjug)
Asked to comment on the position of German Chancellor’s spokesman Steffen Seibert, who said that everything that was signed in Brussels in 2013 and 2015 must be implemented and that the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) must be implemented in accordance with Kosovo regulations, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that it is normal that it must be implemented. The point is, he explained, that nothing will happen if everything is insisted on in accordance with Pristina’s regulations. “Nothing will happen if that happens, we did not go to negotiations so that everything would be according to their regulations,” he said. “But I can’t even worry about it anymore, their messages are vague to me even though I’m a political veteran and even though I am highly experienced politician. I understand opponents when they behave rationally, we want peace and cooperation, but I don’t understand their approach to solving problems,” Vucic concluded.
Dacic: EU plays the deaf and dumb mediator; Conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh can be a warning for all in the region (RTS)
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic told the morning news of Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) that Serbia is not siding in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh, but that the goal is for the conflicts to cease and for all to return to the negotiating table. He says this can be a good warning for all in the region as to how little time is needed to reignite some conflict and how important it is to preserve peace and stability in the entire region.
When it comes to the dialogue in Brussels, talks were supposed to continue in Brussels on Monday, however, as Lajcak stated, they were postponed over the corona virus. Dacic says this is the formal reason for postponement. “I think that the key reason is, as it has always been, Pristina’s obstruction and constant attempts to impose some topics, whereby the already signed and agreed in Brussels is not being realized. If corona has been now the reason for postponement, then what was the reason all these seven years for postponing the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) and how long do they plan to postpone this,” wondered Dacic. “How do they think this dialogue should look like, that you will constantly continue to discuss some topics, and that what you signed is not valid at all. It was not signed by anyone third, fifth from the side, it was signed, besides Thaci and me, by Catherine Ashton. The EU must say whether its signature has any value,” adds Dacic. He says that he believes it will, since they are constantly playing a deaf and dumb mediator of these talks that has not power to hit with a fist on the table when this agreement needs to be realized. “Without that Pristina certainly will not dot this and they will now also try to somehow avoid this Washington agreement. They signed it only not to quarrel with the US, hoping and cheering for Biden to win, i.e. for Trump to lose at the elections, so they will not have to implement what they had signed,” said Dacic.
Djuric: If the ZSO idea is dead, then the possibility of success of dialogue is also dead (TV Prva)
The Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric stated today that Belgrade is absolutely always ready for a dialogue with Pristina, but that there are serious problems in the dialogue, since the representatives of Pristina say that they do not want to talk about the ZSO.
“If the idea of the ZSO is dead, as Pristina says, then the possibility of the success of the dialogue is also dead,” Djuric told TV Prva. Djuric pointed out that, if the EU fails to reason with the representatives of Pristina and bring them back to the table to discuss the ZSO, then he cannot expect the talks to be productive and have results. Djuric pointed out that the agreement on ZSO was reached seven and a half years ago and that it must be implemented. “We have a very clear mandate of President Vucic and the government, and we insist on the implementation of the agreement on the ZSO,” Djuric emphasized.
Abazovic: It is logical that my coalition wants functions in security services (Danas)
We need to understand that Montenegro has never “skipped” the first stair of democratic development which is – change of power in the elections. In other words, until the last elections, Montenegro was the only country in Europe that has never changed power in a peaceful and democratic way in its parliamentary history. In that context, a very important step forward has been taken, because our citizens have finally returned their sovereignty and have felt for the first time that their vote really matters, says in the interview for Danas Dritan Abazovic, president of URA while answering the question related to the accusations that he is legitimizing great Serbian project. On the other side, it’s completely logical that the opposition is extremely heterogeneous in a society in which DPS has been ruling for three decades, while creating and cherishing ethnic and national tensions. “However, although ideologically heterogeneous, new parliamentary majority has already demonstrated great level of maturity, with the adoption of the Agreement which obliged all parties to continue to purse Montenegro’s foreign policy course, commit to strong EU integration and respect obligations of NATO membership. The new government won’t deal with particular interests of any party. It will deal with major problems DPS has left behind, primarily in the economy and fight against accumulated corruption and crime. We’re glad that all parties have accepted our new concept of expert government,” Abazovic said.
Is the information that your coalition claims authority in the services of the future government true? Is it real that you can change the security system with your expert government and how do you intend to do that?
Abazovic: URA is the only constituent of this new Government that has openly advocated for NATO membership and whose policy has always been EU-oriented. In that sense, it’s logical that URA has an impact on the selection of staff members in security sector and to insist on the appointment of the best and most competent experts. We won’t allow anybody to gamble with Montenegro’s interests.
Do you really plan to dismantle security services, the octopus of the existing regime?
Abazovic: The challenges that lie ahead are big and very complex, but we have no dilemma that the reform of the security services is the key prerequisite for efficient fight against crime and corruption. Everybody knows that security services are non-democratic regimes are often used more for tracking political dissidents and critics of the regime than for protecting national security and fighting crime. It is, therefore, necessary to change that from the root if we want Montenegro to successfully implement necessary reforms and become the next EU member state.
We’ve seen recently that new political movements which promote and represent ideas of social justice, democratization, ecological sustainability, solidarity and gender equality have achieved significant results in MNE and Croatia. Is there potential for cooperation with Croatia’s National Security?
Abazovic: The tendency of the movements you mentioned to grow stronger, the movements whose policy is based on the green-left ideas that make senseless the established ethnic-national patterns that have been shaping the public discourse in region countries for decades, makes anyone who really wants to get out of the 1990s politics happy. URA and ‘Black and white’ platform have led to that quality change and have reconciled warring factions in MNE. I believe there will be room for closer cooperation among the three groups, because everything is based on similar program and ideological foundations.
Do you believe in the wider wave of change that the organization of the politics and parties similar to you might bring to the region?
Abazovic: Absolutely! Our region deserves more and can do more, especially in democratization of institutions and overcoming numerous social divisions. I believe that time is yet to come. Montenegro’s experience is the best example that no one is untouchable and invincible and that changes are possible. New people will reconcile Montenegro and they can reconcile the region too. It is high time we left the matrix of the pas. Freedom is here, let’s take it!
All three B&H Presidency members to pay official visit to Brussels on Tuesday (N1)
All three members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, Milorad Dodik and Zeljko Komsic respectively, are set to travel to Brussels on Tuesday. This is their first visit together after a while and they have been dealing with many issues in the past months. N1 spoke with Presidency Chairman Dzaferovic and he said that they will travel to Brussels with a joint stance and platform. He was called to this meeting, but he decided it would be the best if all three Presidency members go to Brussels. Dzaferovic said this will send an important message that good things actually happen in B&H. Dzaferovic said the main goal of the meeting will be to talk about the candidate status of B&H for its membership in the EU. Dzaferovic said that realistically speaking B&H can expect to receive its candidate status by the end of the current year or by the end of spring 2021. He underlines that if B&H shows true willingness for fulfillment of 14 priorities stated in the European Commission’s (EC) Opinion, if it solves smaller issues first and then works its way up to the bigger issues, than the EU leaders will see its commitment and grant the country its candidate status. The B&H Presidency members will meet with European Parliament President David Sassoli, European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. Dodik stressed that B&H Presidency members will try to inform the EU officials about the development of the situation in B&H. “It (B&H) is preserved in the inability to function effectively,” Dodik underlined.
Dodik: Time when only one side in B&H was blamed by EU and international factor for everything has passed, new dialogue is necessary (RTRS)
Members of the B&H Presidency are set to travel to Brussels on Tuesday. RTRS finds that meeting with the EU officials is scheduled for Wednesday. Ahead of this visit, Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said that B&H is entering a complex period and that the problem it is currently facing can only be solved through dialogue. Dodik points that this primarily refers to the violations of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). Dodik said that people understand that the time has passed when the EU and the international factor, primarily the Western one, blamed only one side for the situation in B&H and took rigorous penalties against it. Dodik confirmed that all three members of the B&H Presidency will travel to Brussels on Tuesday in order to, as he noted, attempt to inform officials of the EU about development of the situation in B&H that is conserved based on the inability to function efficiently. On this occasion, Dodik confirmed that the B&H Presidency members are expected to meet with European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Oliver Varhelyi and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. According to the Serb member of the Presidency, there is a need to inform the EU officials that the method the EU and the international factor used, where only one side is blamed for everything, can yield no results and that a new dialogue is necessary. The Serb member of the Presidency expressed willingness to discuss “everything the High Representative (HR) did to detriment of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA)”. He added: “Any change in the DPA is possible only if the two sides, Republika Srpska (RS) and the Federation of B&H, agree on it. That never happened, because the HR violated the international law and imposed regulations. They are trying to legalize that by keeping silent.” In his opinion, the HR’s constant “changes to the DPA” should be a subject to discussion.
Komsic: I was slightly surprised with the invitation to visit Brussels, this meeting was not initiated by B&H (FTV)
Member of B&H Presidency from rank of Croat people Zeljko Komsic, talking about the visit of members of B&H Presidency to Brussels said that he was slightly surprised with the invitation to visit Brussels, adding that this meeting was not initiated by B&H. “I do not know whether the EU Delegation to B&H participated in it or it came from high level in Brussels,” stated Komsic. He underlined that B&H Presidency members should also pay a visit to Brussels on 9 October, when they will meet with President of the European Council Charles Michel. Komsic underlined that he believes one of the main topics during the meeting in Brussels will be progress B&H made on the EU path and how far it went with implementation of 14 recommendations from the European Commission’s (EC) Opinion to B&H’s request to become the EU member. He stressed that the methodology to implement 14 the EC’s priorities is one “the Europeans” insisted on. He explained that according to this methodology, B&H is expected to implement most simple priorities first and most complex ones last. According to Komsic, the most complex ones are those concerning fundamental human rights, i.e. implementation of the ECHR’s decisions, adding that implementation of these decisions requires amending of the Constitution of B&H. He emphasized that B&H managed to solve the issue concerning local elections in Mostar. Komsic explained that elections in this city will be held, adding that adoption of new Statute of the City of Mostar is a completely different issue and it is questionable whether it will be adopted. Komsic also said that during Tuesday meeting in Brussels, members of B&H Presidency will inform their hosts about what B&H did to make progress on the EU path and probably hear about expectations of the EU. Komsic stressed that B&H is capable to make some additional steps towards the EU membership in 2020, adding that he primarily refers to adoption of the law on public procurements, amending of the law on the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) of B&H, reform of public administration, adoption of law on conflict of interest. He reminded that his party DF sent to parliamentary procedures Proposal of Law on Public Procurements, adding that this law is in line with what the EU has been requesting. He added that it is yet to be seen whether it will get support in the parliament of B&H. He stressed that B&H has to solve its obligations concerning progress on the EU path, adding that it can be done in line with step-by-step method. He added that it is questionable whether there is political will in B&H to deal with complex issues. Komsic explained that he refers to verdicts of the ECHR that require completely different organization of B&H as country. He went on to saying that it is hard to believe HDZ B&H and SNSD would accept such reforms, because HDZ B&H has been requesting further divisions on ethnic ground and SNSD has been refusing to talk about equality and fundamental human rights in RS.
Tegeltija: B&H could confirm its participation in initiative ‘Mini Schengen’ by end of this year (ATV)
Chairman of the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) Zoran Tegeltija stated on Monday that B&H could confirm its participation in the initiative ‘Mini Schengen’ by the end of this year. Specifically, Tegeltija expects B&H’s confirmation before the beginning of the summit in Sofia, planned for late November. Tegeltija said that ‘mini Schengen’ is the issue of foreign policy of B&H, which the B&H Presidency is in charge of conducting. “At the last session, Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik requested that the Presidency passes a decision according to which B&H would join that regional program, while the other two members (Chairman and Bosniak member Sefik Dzaferovic and Croat member Zeljko Komsic) were not willing to endorse it. However, they asked the CoM to prepare its point of view on the benefits that B&H would experience if it joins it”, Tegeltija noted. The CoM Chairman assessed that change of some politicians’ stance pertaining to ‘Mini Schengen’, who are from Sarajevo and who had opposed this regional concept, means that B&H could join the initiative before the end of the year.
Komsic on meeting of SDA and HDZ B&H leaders with Plenkovic: I am against this type of communication, because Croatia obviously observes us as territory and not as country (FTV)
Member of B&H Presidency from rank of Croat people Zeljko Komsic,asked to comment the meeting between leaders of SDA and HDZ B&H with Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic that commenced on Monday in Zagreb, emphasized that in his opinion, it is wrong thing to make internal issues of B&H legitimate topic in Zagreb. He criticized the decision of Croatian officials to treat B&H officials exclusively as representatives of constituent peoples in B&H. “I would never participate in such type of communication,” said Komsic. He added that he talked with leader of SDA Bakir Izetbegovic on Sunday about abovementioned meeting, adding that Izetbegovic deems that it is better thing to talk. Komsic reiterated that it is not good thing to legitimate this type of communication, because Croatia obviously observes B&H as territory and not as country. Komsic stated that neither member of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik represents majority of Serbs in B&H nor leader of HDZ B&H Dragan Covic represents majority of Croats in this country. “This is wrong paradigm accepted in the region. Unfortunately, we sometimes let them do this and allow Zagreb and Belgrade to act as tutors of peoples in B&H,” said Komsic. He explained that this is actually about keeping B&H in subordinate position to Serbia and Croatia. Komsic underlined that both, Serbia and Croatia have their “representation offices” in B&H which prevent B&H to make progress in some areas, adding that among other things he refers to NATO path of B&H and amending of the Election Law. Komsic also criticized official Zagreb for interfering in some internal issues of B&H, such as amending of the Election Law. He added that Zagreb should end such practice, because B&H does not meddle in internal issues of this country. He added that Dodik has been supporting HDZ B&H’s demands concerning the Election Law and the story on the third entity in order to strengthen the position of RS, as well as to present B&H as a completely divided country and to start with some secession.
PM: Important to talk with the representatives of all peoples in B&H (Hina)
It is important to talk with the representatives of all peoples in B&H, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Monday, ahead of his meeting with the leader of the HDZ B&H Dragan Covic and SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic in the government House arranged for Monday evening in Zagreb. “We have a continued dialogue with representatives of the peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina for some time now. I think that it is important to open communication with all the peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mr Izetbegovic is a very influential person, particularly as the leader of the SDA, said Plenkovic. “With today’s visit we are continuing dialogue on the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the status of Croats, certain legislative solutions, equality and here, I primarily think of the election law,” Plenkovic underlined. He added that ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords, the incumbent election law “undermines the spirit and letter of that agreement.” Two weeks ago, Plenkovic received the Serb member of the tripartite B&H presidency, Milorad Dodik, which resulted in various reactions in B&H. “That visit had a multifaceted benefit so that we can open many issues that we are ourselves are dealing with. Croatia is a significant partner to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the fact is that we will be faced with a lot of similar meetings at various levels. That will greatly assist B&H so that things are not swept under the carpet,” Covic told a press conference last week in Mostar. Covic added that there is no reason why Dodik, as the legitimate representative of the Serb people, should not meet with anyone in the world, including senior officials in Zagreb. Izetbegovic believes that with his experience, Plenkovic could help mend relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and between Croats and Bosniaks but warned that steps like meeting with Dodik in Zagreb do not contribute to that.
Plenkovic, Covic and Izetbegovic discuss the rights of Bosnian Croats (HRT)
The current election law in neighboring B&H enables Bosnian Muslims to vote in political representatives for Bosnian Croats. Croatian political leaders in B&H and Croatia have been calling for this injustice to the rectified. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic received Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Covic and Bosnian Muslim leader Bakir Izetbegovic in Zagreb on Monday. The focus of discussion was on ensuring equality for all three constituent peoples in B&H. This specifically deals with the election law, which is crafted in such a way as to block the right of Bosnian Croats to elect their own political representatives. “The visit is a continuation of our dialogue on the future of B&H and the position of Croats there. And here I’m first and foremost thinking about the election law, which unfortunately, as it currently stands, disavows the spirit of the Dayton and Paris agreements. Our position is very clear, it is not good that we have a situation in which Croats, as the smallest constituent peoples in B&H, are put in a position in which they, politically speaking, don’t have their representatives in the highest bodies of government,” Plenkovic said. The Bosnian Constitutional Court has already deemed the existing election law as unconstitutional and called for a new law to be adopted. However, Bosnian Muslim politicians have blocked such a move at every turn. The court’s decision has also been supported by the European Union and other international institutions, which are pressuring the Bosnian Muslim leaders to amend the law and ensure equal rights for Bosnian Croats.
B&H’s Croat leader: Bosnia can’t function without equality of Croats (Hina)
B&H Croat leader Dragan Covic said in Zagreb on Monday that the way in which the Croats were currently treated in that country would lead to the non-functioning of the state. “It is important to realize that it is dangerous to reduce the least numerous (constituent) people to a status of a minority,” Covic said referring to some statements made by Bosniak leaders in Sarajevo. “This will be the path towards the permanent non-functioning of B&H” Covic said after Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic received him and Bosniak leader Bakir Izetbegovic of the SDA party for the talks in Government House in Zagreb. The HDZ B&H leader Covic called for talks on this matter. He added that the agreements on amending the election law and on holding the local elections in Mostar could be a starting point for bringing the views of the Croat and Bosniak sides closer. The agreements have defined timelines and targets which should be achieved until the end of this year so that the issues could be hammered out in the parliament next year, Covic said.
The Law on Freedom of Religion to be suspended as soon as possible (CdM)
Political Council of the New Serbian Democracy said that “it is necessary to suspend the Law on Freedom of Religion as soon as possible”. Apart from that, the session concluded that heads of the NSD and Democratic Front should take over Montenegro. “Future government needs to sign Fundamental agreement with SOC and only then can the new law be drafted”, it was concluded. They added that all parties had to participate in the negotiations over the formation of the government. “Judging by the results of the elections, it is clear that Serbian people and its political representatives have made considerable contribution to the destruction of the decades-long regime and, therefore, their share in the government is expected to be in proportion to the results,” the statement said.
Opposition Draft on the Electoral Code / Yuri Kim: The opposition took over the responsibilities and continues to stay engaged (Radio Tirana)
US Ambassador Yuri Kim reacted from Himara on the Electoral Code draft of the opposition, reiterating that she is pleased, the opposition took over the responsibilities and continues to stay engaged. She also highlighted that the parties should keep their word for ‘June 5’, while emphasizing that they should bring real proposals to the table. Today, the United Opposition submitted to the Political Council its draft amendments to the Electoral Code that provide for a 100% opening of the lists, allowing pre-election coalitions and adjusting the gender quota in the mandates in case it is not respected. “I am very pleased that the opposition outside the parliament took its responsibilities to stay engaged to find a way to represent their people. She also stated that it is extremely important for all the parties to put forward the proposals that are real and the counter-proposals that are areal. I understand that the opposition has put a concrete proposal today. I am very pleased to have also heard that the SP will take this counter-proposal, and there will incorporate to the extent possible and there will be a real debate. This standard of conduct of transparency and inclusion is exactly what we should expect from a country that is a member of NATO, an EU candidate, and a chairman-in-office of the OSCE. They are high standards but you deserve them,” Kim was quoted as saying.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES
Migrants pitch tents in Serbia, prepare to cross into EU states (Reuters, by Fedja Grulovic, 29 September 2020)
SUBOTICA, Serbia – Dozens of migrants from the Middle East and Africa have set up tents outside Subotica, a town in northern Serbia, with a view to sneaking over the nearby border with Hungary and on to Western Europe. According to the Asylum Protection Centre, there are around 1,000 migrants in the northern province of Vojvodina waiting to try to cross into neighbouring countries including Romania and Hungary en route to wealthier parts of the continent. A further 1,000 or so were in Belgrade, many of them living in the open air in parks or on river banks before they also moved north towards the border. “We have 150 migrants entering the country from the south every day,” said Rados Djurovic, executive director of the centre. Samir, from Morocco, said he had tried to cross the border with Croatia to travel on to Germany, but was stopped by police and military patrols. Now he is outside the camp in Subotica waiting to cross to Hungary. “We are staying here, we have nothing, we are waiting, and I pray all the time that I will make it to (Western) Europe some time,” he told Reuters.