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Belgrade Media Report 19 October 2020

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Monday 19 October 2020

LOCAL PRESS

Brnabic: ZSO must be formed according to agreement, not as NGO (TV Pink/Tanjug)
Odalovic: Brussels has instruments to force Pristina to form ZSO (RTS)
Djuric: Serbia and US on the verge of possible redefining of relations (Politika)
Djukic Dejanovic: I don’t know anything about Socialists entering new government (Beta)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Vulin: It is in our interest for RS to progress and be successful and we only want peace, nothing more (ATV)
DNS abandons ruling coalition in the RS (ATV)
Other reactions to DNS decision to leave RS’ ruling coalition (BN TV)
Inzko claims that IC decided against further use of Bonn powers as it began new phase where responsibility is assigned to B&H political leaders and homemade solutions are preferred (Face TV)
Croatia

Serbia and Croatia express readiness to improve relations (Hina)
Covic: Election Law needs to be changed by end of year as elections in Mostar are to be held on 20 December (HRT1)
PM says President will bring into question purpose of his office (Hina)
Montenegro

Bosniak Party: We won’t join the new govt due to ideological differences (CdM)
Djeka received Krivokapic’s invitation, final decision of coalition still pending (Dan)
Albanian list is offered tourism and human and minority rights departments (CdM)
Republic of North Macedonia

Mickoski calls for leaders’ meeting over talks with Bulgaria; Zaev sees no need (Republika)
Dimitrov: Official start of EU talks – either joint achievement or joint failure (Republika)

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LOCAL PRESS 

Brnabic: ZSO must be formed according to agreement, not as NGO (TV Pink/Tanjug

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told TV Pink on Sunday evening that the issue of Kosovo and Metohija and the relation with Pristina remain one of the biggest challenges for the security issue of the country. She underlined that Serbia implemented everything agreed in Brussels and says that the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO), which is Pristina’s obligation, must be formed as agreed, and not as a NGO. She noted that there is no further dialogue regarding the ZSO and that it is disappointing that the EU, which, as she stressed, is also the strategic goal of the new government of Serbia, allowed for the ZSO not to be formed even seven years since it was agreed. She says that it is a civilizational norm and red line that if you agree on something and sigh, then you also implement this. She stressed that the issue of Kosovo and Metohija remains the par excelance issue for Serbia’s security so that it would not occur that one day someone, intentionally or accidentally, creates a situation with a provocation that we have an armed conflict, like in the case of Nagorno-Karabakh. “We cannot allow this,” she said, assessing that Serbia has much more to lose than Pristina…” Pristina hasn’t done much, she says. “That is why I am afraid that when politicians have no ideas, especially in this part of the Balkans, when they have no idea how to make a quality of life, then they raise tensions. I am afraid of that and that is why this will be one of the biggest challenges in the mandate of the new government,” concluded Brnabic.

Odalovic: Brussels has instruments to force Pristina to form ZSO (RTS

General Secretary of the Serbian Foreign Ministry Veljko Odalovic told the Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) press review that the ZSO makes up the first six points of the Brussels agreement and that it was planned to be formed after the Serbs took part in the 2013 elections that Serbia supported. “The Serbs would never have entered such an arrangement, formed municipalities and be part of these institutions had they not believed that the Brussels agreement would create a framework of one collective joint functioning in the areas defined by this agreement. This is something that Pristina interpreted as it had interpreted,” said Odalovic.

He says that the constitutional court of this quasi state has given itself the right to assess the principles that were agreed between Belgrade and Pristina on which the ZSO was supposed to be formed and it declared them unconstitutional, yet it was incompetent. He thinks that the Brussels administration has instruments and can force Pristina to do what it had accepted and what is their obligation and then we can proceed further on.

Lavrov’s arrival is confirmation of good relations 

Odalovic points out that the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on 28 and 29 October precisely confirms the continuity of good relations and politics, and it neutralizes various speculations over the past days on relations between Serbia and Russia. “What is very important is that one such high official will confirm during his visit to Belgrade what we know very well – that Russia is our strategic partner and someone with whom we have no problems. Our plan is to upgrade our relations and each visit of Lavrov or President Vladimir Putin brings precisely a new quality of relations. He says that the agenda for the talks has not been finalized yet. He notes that they will talk in any case about the future, foreign policy and economic topics that are very important because Russia is present here, it is someone, as he put it, on whom we can rely, to exchange information regarding Kosovo, expectations of both the Washington and Brussels agreements.

Djuric: Serbia and US on the verge of possible redefining of relations (Politika

The newly appointed Serbian Ambassador to the US Marko Djuric has told Politika in an interview that he was appointed to the post at a moment when the two countries are on the verge of a possible redefining of relations, which would, despite the animosity from the near past and disagreements that exist even today between the two countries, should return to the track of old friendship and alliance. He says that is in Serbia’s interest to improve its image in society and to establish new channels of cooperation with the world’s largest military, political and economic power. “This is not a deviation from our official policy of neutrality, but a matter of complementing that policy,” said Djuric. Djuric spent more than seven years at the helm of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, and as his greatest success he stresses the fact that some kind of peace has been preserved, as well as political unification and consolidation of Serbs in the southern province. “The greatest result, however, is not of material nature. In the period when I was at the helm of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, our people in the province grew from an atmosphere of defeatism and almost hopelessness into a proud and strong team. What he found when he became the Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, as he says, are the inherited agreements that tied the hands of Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija. “Today, Serbs are capable of fighting for their position and interests in Kosovo and Metohija with political means and one vote,” says Djuric. Asked to comment the fact that the Albanians have not formed the ZSO for more than seven years, Djuric notes that the Albanians have an obsessive need to eradicate Serbs as a political, demographic and economic factor, and that the ZSO is designed precisely as a guarantee for the survival and development of the Serbs on the ground. Asked what the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija is, Djuric states that the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh sobered up those who ridiculed Serbia’s constant warnings that Kosovo and Metohija is still a powder keg that can explode if handled irresponsibly and that there are today a number of destabilizing factors. He also referred to the new Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Petar Petkovic, and stated that he was an honorable, smart, entrepreneurial man who was dealing with the battle for Kosovo and Metohija out of deepest patriotic motives. “The Office for Kosovo and Metohija remains in safe and reliable hands, and our people in the southern province can rely on him,” said Djuric.

Djukic Dejanovic: I don’t know anything about Socialists entering new government (Beta

Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, a member of the Serbian Socialist Party (SPS) Presidency, told Beta that she did not know if the representatives of her party had discussed the formation of the new Serbian government with Serbian Prime Minister-Designate Ana Brnabic. “I’m sure no talks were held before 16 October, about the SPS entering the new government of Serbia. I was in Kragujevac over the weekend, and I don’t know if the topic was discussed in the meantime,” Djukic Dejanovic said. She also called the rumors spread by some media outlets of her being the new parliament speaker absurd. “I’m not an MP, and therefore, I cannot be elected to hold an office in the parliament,” she explained. Dragan Markovic Palma, the leader of the United Serbia (JS), which is the SPS coalition partner, also told Beta he has no information about the formation of the new government. “I don’t know if any talks happened over the weekend. I’m out of the loop,” Markovic said. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has announced that the final decision on the composition of the new Serbian government will be made during the session of the party’s Presidency, scheduled for 20 October.

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

Vulin: It is in our interest for RS to progress and be successful and we only want peace, nothing more (ATV)

ATV carried an interview with Serbian Minister of Defense Aleksandar Vulin. Asked to comment the initiative for all citizens of Repblika Srpska (RS) to automatically get Serbian citizenship, Vulin said that he believes that one should think in that direction, noting that he cannot speak on behalf of the Serbian Government or the Serbian Parliament which are yet to comment on that initiative. “But, I personally believe that all Serbs, regardless of where they are born, should have the automatic right to (Serbian) citizenship,” Vulin said. Speaking of the relations between Serbia and the RS, Vulin stressed that they have never been better. He noted that the RS and Serbia always had good and brotherly relations, even in times of sanctions. Vulin recalled that the Republic of Serbia allocated about EUR 62 million for the RS. “There is no municipality and no city in the RS which does not have something that was made with the money of Serbia – from ambulances to the square that we had the pleasure of opening in Istocno Novo Sarajevo – Square of the Republic of Serbia, kindergartens, schools, money that is being allocated for the budget needs of the RS. That is concrete cooperation. Cooperation is when the Ministry of Defense (of Serbia) secures money from its budget to find appropriate jobs in ‘Kosmos’ or to do that with Bijeljina-based ‘Orao’ which should overhaul some of our engines. People in the RS need to know that as long as Aleksandar Vucic is leading the Republic of Serbia, they are not forgotten. We see them as part of our everyday life,” Vulin underlined.

Asked why some politicians in Sarajevo see something negative in cooperation between the RS and Serbia, Vulin said that not some, but all politicians in Sarajevo see something negative in cooperation between the RS and Serbia. “I did not hear a single politician in Sarajevo that says – what is more natural than to have Serbs cooperating with Serbians. Besides, that shows just how much they are insincere and hypocritical. You are for unitary Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), that is your right. You are for a united B&H, B&H above all or whatever you call it. But, you constantly have a problem with Serbia investing in a part of that same B&H called the RS. Is it a part of B&H or not” Vulin said, recalling that Serbia also invested in the Federation of B&H (FB&H)? He wondered why the FB&H does not want to invest in Drvar for example. “Is it because Serbs live there? If Serbs did not live there, the FB&H would invest money in Drvar. Why does it not open a plant there? Serbia opened ‘Jumko’ and we employed one hundred women. Why was this not done by someone else? We are happy when we have an opportunity to invest in the RS and wherever Serbs live. That is our right. We take care of all Serbs and no Serb is too far away,” Vulin underlined. Asked to comment SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic‘s reaction to the recent meeting between Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik, HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic and Serbian President Vucic, Vulin said that it is neither diplomatically wise nor statesmanlike to tell neighboring country such as Serbia who it can receive and who it cannot receive. “We are a sovereign country and why is it a problem for us to receive Covic? Why is it a problem for Aleksandar Vucic – the President of the Republic of Serbia – to receive Milorad Dodik? He (Izetbegovic) should be happy about it. What is interesting in that statement is that Izetbegovic is not so angry at the fact that Vucic invited Dodik and Covic, but at the fact that he did not invite him. That is what hurts him” Vulin emphasized. He stressed that Izetbegovic should learn not to interfere in Serbia’s internal matters, “just like we are not interfering in B&H’s internal matters.” “We are a country that is guarantor of the Dayton Agreement and it is in our interest for B&H to be peaceful. It is in our interest for the RS to progress and be successful and we only want peace, nothing more,” Vulin said. Speaking about the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, Vulin stated that negotiations will last for a long time and that he does not believe that the solution for Kosovo will be found soon.

DNS abandons ruling coalition in the RS (ATV)

The Presidency of DNS held a session in Banja Luka on Saturday, on which occasion it adopted a decision according to which DNS is leaving the RS ruling coalition at the entity and B&H levels. At that respect, the DNS’ representative in the B&H House of Representatives (HoR) and its delegate in the FB&H B&H House of Peoples (HoP) will leave the Caucuses of RS’ ruling coalition. On the other hand, the local boards of DNS will take individual stances on coalitions at local levels. DNS leader Nenad Nesic, said that the DNS Presidency’s conclusions defined the obligation for the municipal and city boards of DNS to submit their proposals for future coalition participation in the local elections, by 21 October, at 15:00 hours. “The DNS Presidency will pass the final and binding decision in this regard” Nesic added. SNSD is expected to take an official stance with regard to DNS’ decision, in the context of removal of DNS’ personnel from posts in the authorities, in the upcoming days. Representatives of parties that make up the ruling coalition in Republika Srpska (RS) held a meeting in Banja Luka on Sunday evening in order to analyze DNS’ decision to leave the ruling coalition. The meeting in Banja Luka was attended by DEMOS leader Nedeljko Cubrilovic, SNSD leader Milorad Dodik, SNSD Vice-President Zeljka Cvijanovic, SNSD Vice-President Radovan Viskovic, NDP leader Dragan Cavic and ‘United Srpska’ leader Nenad Stevandic. Earlier in the day, there were many reactions to DNS’ decision to leave the ruling coalition. Dodik said that he respects DNS’ decision to no longer be part of the ruling coalition in the RS, but that this decision will not affect the position of the RS government. Dodik stressed that many members of DNS announced that they will remain committed to the coalition. “I will conduct at least a telephone conversation with (DNS leader Nenad) Nesic to tell him that it is not at all polite to attribute others what is already lying on their backs and spreading around them – the story about money-grubbing and abuses. If there is a synonym for that, then it is the group of DNS from Istocno Sarajevo and no one else,” Dodik underlined, adding that time for a showdown with that group of people was when they were kicking money at a festivity that they organized. Cvijanovic stressed that DNS’ exit from the ruling coalition cannot disturb the election process nor further development and construction of the RS. Cvijanovic said that DNS’ decision to leave the coalition at the beginning of the campaign for the upcoming local elections is unusual, but that it would also be unusual to continue an engagement without enough sincerity and mutual trust. “One scenario is always to replace those staff with other staff from the coalition. The other scenario is for them to change their mind. Things that I had the opportunity to hear which are being addressed to SNSD are absolutely not true. SNSD is the largest political party here and as our president said yesterday (Saturday), why should we tolerate anyone? Everyone has a right to their opinion, of course, but you do not have the right to be insincere, you do not have the right to label others, you do not have the right to say that someone destroyed your political party because political party is preserved by having adequate leadership and adequate structure. No one can destroy your party if you know how to run it,” Cvijanovic underlined. Meanwhile, the City Board of DNS in Banja Luka announced that it will remain in a coalition with SNSD in Banja Luka regardless of the decision of DNS leadership to terminate the coalition with SNSD at the RS level. Secretary of the City Board of DNS in Banja Luka Ljubo Ninkovic said that he will not change his decision regarding the coalition with SNSD in Banja Luka and support to SNSD’s candidate for the post of Banja Luka Mayor Igor Radojicic. The Municipal Board of DNS in Srebrenica also stated that it will not give up on the coalition agreement and it will support to joint Serb candidate for the post of Head of Srebrenica Municipality.

Other reactions to DNS decision to leave RS’ ruling coalition (BN TV)

Leader of SDS Mirko Sarovic said that the decision of the DNS Presidency to leave the coalition with SNSD is a brave decision, arguing that this move will certainly bring changes at the political scene in Repblika Srpska (RS) while SDS always remain open for cooperation, but it is up to DNS to decide about their future. Sarovic congratulated DNS and their leader Nenad Nesic for such principled and brave decision that will certainly leave impact on the political events in the RS in the upcoming days. Sarovic said: “I believe that this may be a hint that institutions will get the priority in relation to the dictatorship of some individuals”. President of DEMOS Nedeljko Cubrilovic stated on Saturday that he is not fully informed about the decision of DNS. He added that the leader of the ruling majority, which DNS left on Saturday, knows best what the future steps will be. Cubrilovic said that they will be able to discuss the consequences of the decision of DNS after they have assembled the official stances of all coalition partners. PDP welcomed the decision of the DNS Presidency to leave the coalition with SNSD. Member of PDP Drasko Stanivukovic said that this is a brave act. In his opinion, this may turn out to be the most important political event during the local elections in B&H that may even turn over things in some local communities and – in some other communities – strengthen the advantage of candidates who represent changes that they advocate. He added that he is happy about this decision and this should have happened way before bearing in mind the torture that some members of DNS suffered for almost two decades which is why he characterized the decision as brave and important. Stanivukovic expressed hope that DNS will remain firm in their stance and not change their mind after five, ten days and that DNS will try to find partners among people who are totally new, who are friends of the RS and each of the city and the municipality in the RS and people who advocate a different kind of policies. In this regard, he mentioned people who welcome diversity and members of PDP are ready to be this type of people who work without pressures, blackmails and who respect diversity and different stances.

Inzko claims that IC decided against further use of Bonn powers as it began new phase where responsibility is assigned to B&H political leaders and homemade solutions are preferred (Face TV)

Guest of Face TV was High Representative (HR) Valentin Inzko who spoke about recent visits of B&H political leaders to Zagreb and Belgrade respectively, preparations for the 2020 local elections in B&H, possible use of the Bonn powers, the formation of the so-called ‘Mini Schengen’, criticism aimed at his work, possible shutdown of the Office of High Representative (OHR) and upcoming visit of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov to B&H. Asked if recent visits of B&H political leaders to Zagreb and Belgrade respectively had an underlying motive and if there is a connection between these visits and allegations about impeding rearrangement in the region, Inzko said that nothing in B&H can be concealed for more than few days, not even private conversations, and it may take a bit more than few days in this case but details and true intentions behind those meetings will be revealed sooner or later. He claims to have no information other than those reported by the media but perpetuated talks are always welcome although they should include all sides whatsoever. Asked about possible use of the Bonn powers, Inzko explained that the Bonn powers were used in around 800 cases prior to his appointment as the HR, including more than 200 cases where they were used against B&H politicians. He clarified that he has been tasked mainly with full implementation of the Agenda 5+2, after which the OHR would be shut down. He said that the international community decided against further use of the Bonn powers and began a new phase where the responsibility is assigned to B&H political leaders and “homemade solutions” are preferred. He singled out the agreement regarding the elections in Mostar as an example of a good homemade solution and reminded that B&H political figures were took the leading role in this case while Head of the EU Delegation to B&H Johann Sattler and US Ambassador to B&H Eric Nelson were mere attendees during talks. He reminded that he needs to have unanimous support within the PIC in order to impose sanction upon any B&H politician or to make any other major decision. Commenting on possible shutdown of the OHR, Inzko refused to rule out this possibility and said that he is not fully content but the OHR has done some work by maintaining peace, keeping B&H united and preventing negative activities. He stated that the HR remains the supreme authority for interpretation of the DPA until the Annex 10 of the DPA is abolished but this in turn will affect the DPA’s delicate balance and it will be necessary to amend the Constitution of B&H. He underlined that such major changes should include the entire international community. He stressed that he expects the OHR to assume a bigger role in the near future rather than to be shut down but this can only happen when the international community assesses the situation in B&H as bad and changes its official policy. Asked about the formation of ‘Mini Schengen’ and possible accession of B&H, Inzko stated that he sees nothing questionable in the formation of ‘Mini Schengen’ as long as it is not aimed against anyone or any country in particular. As for warnings that Serbia will seek to establish domination and impose its will upon other countries within ‘Mini Schengen’, Inzko said that the formation of ‘Mini Schengen’ is backed by the US as well and it would surely be helpful regarding certain issues, i.e. long delays at border crossings. He deems that integrative approach and equal treatment is the best possible solution but the idea of ‘Mini Schengen’ should first be tested on practical issues, such as aforementioned delays at border crossings, before moving on to other sectors. He pointed out that claims about B&H not needing to join ‘Mini Schengen’ since it has yet to put the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) fully into effect are not wrong but ‘Mini Schengen’ based on open and honest mutual relations and cooperation is not a bad thing. He underlined that there are many allegations but proper discussion and work cannot commence until entire content and all articles of the agreement on the formation of ‘Mini Schengen’ are revealed. He recalled the difficulties that the citizens of European countries had before the Schengen Zone was introduced, saying that ‘Mini Schengen’ will bring benefits but honest mutual relations are required and the agreement has to be assessed in entirety before anything else can be done. He reminded that BAM is one of the most stable currencies in Europe and the trust in it reflects in record amount of savings deposited by B&H citizens but B&H should for now focus on the CEFTA while the formation of ‘Mini Schengen’ can be discussed when all factors, including the agreement on the formation, are presented to the public. According to Inzko, it would be good to examine the relations and cooperation between the EU countries and incorporate good common practices into ‘Mini Schengen’. Asked to comment on upcoming visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to B&H, Inzko said that both Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Serb member of the Presidency of B&H Milorad Dodik on multiple occasions and such meetings are a part of Russia’s foreign policy, interests and goals. He stated that visits of Russian officials should remind officials in the West to visit B&H more often. He underlined that he has to defend the EU in this context because all high-ranking EU officials visited B&H at least once. He categorially denied that the EU and the West in general agreed to let Russia take over the Western Balkans but no one should blame Russia for acting upon its own interests and instead of complaining, the Western Europe should focus on its own work and intensify it. He said that B&H citizens often tell him of their deep disappointment and this is one of main reasons why he expects from the international community to initiate a new phase with stronger involvement of the international community.

 

Serbia and Croatia express readiness to improve relations (Hina)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman have expressed a readiness to intensify dialogue and improve relations between their countries for the benefit of both nations and the Croat minority in Serbia and the Serb minority in Croatia. The Serbian President has expressed a willingness to ensure “representation of the Croats in the provincial and in local parliaments in Serbia in the way Croatia has ensured for its Serb minority,” Grlic Radman told a joint press conference after bilateral talks with Vucic on Friday evening. The meeting was held after the formal handover of the birth house of Josip Jelacic (1801-1859), the Ban (governor) of Croatia, in Petrovaradin to the Croat community in Serbia. “We are ready, already next week when the formation of the new government begins, to make access to local administrations for members of the Croatian community in Vojvodina considerably easier,” Vucic confirmed. Grlic Radman described their meeting as “affirmative, good and substantial.” “Peace, stability and good neighborly relations are of the utmost importance. I think there is a good will on both sides that we need to intensify the dialogue” Grlic Radman said, adding that the relationship between the two countries can be improved. He said that efforts should be stepped up in the search for missing persons from the 1991-1995 war, adding that both countries were looking for 1,869 people in total. “We have opened a new chapter of cooperation. We see the past through different glasses, but we live in the present and need to define the future. We are oriented towards each other” the Croatian foreign minister said. Noting that the talks were “neither pleasant nor easy” for either of them, Vucic said that such talks are the best because regardless of the differences of views on the past, steps have been agreed that will benefit both the Croats in Serbia and the Serbs in Croatia. “It is good for our nations for us to come closer together rather than grow apart, and there are many reasons for that. We are both much smaller than we think of ourselves,” Vucic said, stressing the need to preserve peace and improve ties between the Serbs and Croats. Agreeing with the need to intensify the search for missing persons from the war, he said that the number of Serbs unaccounted for since the war was not smaller than that of missing Croats. “This is a civilizational and, above all, humanitarian issue, whether someone’s mother will be able to light a candle on her son’s grave, regardless of whether her son is a Serb or a Croat. We need to make progress, that is important for the sake of those families. We need to intensify our efforts, and that’s what we also expect from the Croatian side,” the Serbian President said.

Covic: Election Law needs to be changed by end of year as elections in Mostar are to be held on 20 December (HRT1)

B&H is preparing for local elections which are to be held on 15 November. Many are worried whether the conditions to hold the elections will be met because of the epidemiological measures. There is still no agreement on a new Election Law. Croats in B&H demand changes to Election Law in accordance with the verdict of the B&H Constitutional Court which said that no one should impose their leaders on them as was the case with Croat member of B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic. “This is abuse of representation and it is a cancer in the political functioning of B&H. The only way to ‘cure’ this is with election legislation,” said HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic. Covic said that the Election Law needs to be changed by the end of the year as the elections in Mostar are to be held on 20 December. Leader of SDA Bakir Izetbegovic said: “When it comes to legitimate representatives that Mr. Covic insists on, it is possible to go into that direction but only when it comes to jurisdictions that deal with protection of vital national interest.” There will be no changes to Election Law until Federation of B&H (FB&H) government is formed was said to be Izetbegovic’s attitude. Izetbegovic said that “Croats have, on the state level and entity level, significantly higher number of representatives within the structure. When it comes to leading posts, they have almost 50% more (of representatives)” Izetbegovic’s math is simple, the percentage of Croats determines the percentage of leading posts Croats can have while at the same time he ignores the constitution and constituent status and equality of peoples, commented the reporter. While Croatia is accused of meddling in B&H elections there is abuse of absentee votes in B&H. Serb member of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said: “I think that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is solely the ministry of Bosniak people and of one political party and that it has nothing to do with B&H.” The pandemic is worsening the situation for B&H which already has a weak economy, concluded the reporter.

PM says President will bring into question purpose of his office (Hina)

PM Andrej Plenkovic has said that President Zoran Milanovic‘s activity contains elements of destabilization, that he is minimizing and downplaying the fight against coronavirus and social radicalization and that if he continues acting like that, he will bring into question the purpose of his office. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with HDZ members who are war veterans, Plenkovic said that the attack on the government building this past Monday was a criminal act with elements of terrorism and that the line had been crossed. “I have no problem with anyone attacking me politically… I live with that, more than Milanovic does, for example for the past four years, as the prime minister who won elections twice and who beat Milanovic as well. Maybe that’s why he is so nervous.” “He should understand as the president that speaking or writing against someone is not the same as coming to the government building with a machine-gun and pistol and committing a crime,” Plenkovic said, stressing that people want peace and security and that they want economic problems to be dealt with. Milanovic’s narrative is identical to that of the left, Plenkovic said, adding that there is also the far right, which is characterized by exclusiveness, extremism and intolerance and which approves and has understanding for the attacker on the government building. In that context, he mentioned Homeland Movement leader Miroslav Skoro and the Bridge party. He then pointed to his government’s economic results, progress on the path to euro adoption and the fight against corruption. If president goes on like this, he will bring into question purpose of his office. “Some may just have a big mouth, and some a lot of tasks to deal with. The way he (Milanovic) performs his duty, if he continues like this, he will bring into question the purpose of the institution of president. If we have an institution that stands in the way of serious processes, the fight against coronavirus, the fight against corruption and now the fight against radicalism, we may ask ourselves what its agenda is,” he said. Asked about responsibility for radicalization in society, Plenkovic said that not everyone was responsible and that his HDZ party was committed to values of inclusiveness, tolerance, European values ad creation of a positive atmosphere in society. “There are protagonists whose rhetoric incites hatred and intolerance, for example when someone says that they are against the Croat-Serb trading coalition or that cooperation between the ruling party and representatives of ethnic minorities, including the Serb minority, is unacceptable,” he said, noting that a part of the left political scene, including the president, and left pundits do not want to recognize his party’s evident transformation. Plenkovic said that he wanted a Croatia that is not radical or intolerant or against ethnic minorities being part of the parliamentary majority. As for Milanovic’s statement that Plenkovic did not know anything about the investigation into the JANAF corruption case and knew everything about the investigation into the attack on the government building, Plenkovic said that those were two entirely different things. He added that preliminary investigations into corruption cases were not a matter of national security and that police and prosecutors worked on them without any interference from the government. As for the attack on the government building, he said that it had to be established if the perpetrator had been under someone’s influence, if someone had helped him and if there were other such potential assailants. A political battle has to be launched to erect a cordon sanitaire around political parties that condone or have understanding for crimes such as Monday’s attack, he said. Asked about his security having been stepped up, Plenkovic said it was a matter of police assessment but he confirmed having received threats. Plenkovic arrived for the meeting with HDZ war veterans in a bullet-proof limousine. He also said that he did not intend to meet with Milanovic because he did not see how a person downplaying coronavirus and radicalization of society could be of help.

 

Bosniak Party: We won’t join the new govt due to ideological differences (CdM)

Due to different approach and certain ideological differences with some members of the new government regarding important social issues in Montenegro, as well as their attitude towards minority nations, both in the recent past and current political programs, the Main Board of the Bosniak Party has decided that this party, under current circumstances, shouldn’t take part in the future government. By making this decision, the Main Board of the Bosniak Party supported its commitment to remain as an independent and authentic political entity, a representative of the political interests of the Bosniak people and other citizens, the party said in a statement. The Bosniak Party, they added, remains committed to the principles of democracy, rule of law and democratic reforms. They will closely monitor all future events in the country and back all positive reform-oriented processes. “We’ll be partners in all future projects of the government aimed at social and economic improvement, as well as allies of all political forces focused on the well-being of a civil, multiethnic and European Montenegro.”

Djeka received Krivokapic’s invitation, final decision of coalition still pending (Dan)

The leader of the bloc ‘Unanimously’ and the MP in the Parliament of Montenegro, Fatmir Djeka, told Dan daily that they had received an official invitation of the prime minister-designate, Zdravko Krivokapic, for talks over entering the new government. He couldn’t tell more about it at the moment, as the coalition still hasn’t decided what to do. “The coalition will reconsider the overall situation and we’ll see what to do. Anyway, I cannot tell you more about it at this moment,” Djeka noted. He recently said that the common position of the bloc ‘Unanimously’, that is, of all its parties – the Democratic Party, the Democratic Union of Albanians and the Democratic Association in Montenegro – was that they would not take part in the Democratic Front-led government. “We’ve already said that we would gladly back, or maybe even join, the government led by the Civic Movement URA and the Democratic Montenegro,” Djeka said.

Albanian list is offered tourism and human and minority rights departments (CdM)

During the talks with the prime minister-designate, Zdravko Krivokapic, and Nik Djeljosaj and Genci Nimanbegu, Albanian list was offered human and minority rights department and tourism department, CdM finds out. Nimanbegu and Djeljosaj handed over the document with their requests. Djeljosaj said after the meeting that “Montenegro will be more democratic” if their requests were accepted. He pointed out that program commitments were the most important thing for them.

 

Mickoski calls for leaders’ meeting over talks with Bulgaria; Zaev sees no need (Republika)

 

I do not believe that Bulgaria will block Macedonia’s EU integration process and I call for that not to happen, says VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski. However, he called for a leaders’ meeting of the relevant political parties for the talks held with the eastern neighbor, because these issues are not resolved over the phone. Except for Bulgaria, leaders’ meetings should discuss the census, the education platform, the poor economic situation, ie issues related to the future of the citizens. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev does not want a leaders’ meeting on blackmail from Bulgaria after opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski requested it. “I do not see the need for a leaders’ meeting. Especially with a man who has no position on any important, national or strategic issue!” He says that the Macedonian language, Macedonian identity and uniqueness are internationally confirmed and recognized by the whole world.

Dimitrov: Official start of EU talks – either joint achievement or joint failure (Republika)

Efforts are being made and activities are under way as regards holding the first joint intergovernmental conference with the EU as Macedonia is preparing for a positive scenario, Deputy PM for European Affairs Nikola Dimitrov said Saturday. It cannot be ruled out that there will be no intergovernmental conference by the end of this year, but if the reason for that is the Macedonian language, I am okay with that, said Dimitrov. He stressed that diplomatic efforts are being made to find a way out of this situation, but, as he said, the field is not unlimited. Our right to self-determination in the 21st century and on this continent cannot be disputed and if the Macedonian language becomes an obstacle to EU integration, the adjective in the name of the EU will become disputable, because you cannot be European and interfere in the right to a nation to say what it is and what language it speaks. This is not the way to build a truly healthy friendship, which will be based on mutual respect, said Dimitrov. He says that at the moment the decisions in the EU are made by consensus and that the country depends on all member states.

Dimitrov does not consider that the work of the Joint Macedonian-Bulgarian Commission is unsuccessful, especially if the fact that such commissions from other countries have been working for decades is taken as a reference point. That is why, he said, I think that the Macedonian-Bulgarian commission works productively and at full steam. He added that efforts are being invested in the bilateral relationship with Sofia and soon, in the next few days and weeks, the result will be seen.

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