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Belgrade Media Report 23 October 2020

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Friday 23 October 2020

LOCAL PRESS

Dacic: UNMIK to continue implementing its mandate (Beta)
Vucic: Things are more complicated than Pristina imagines (RTS/Tanjug)
Lajcak: Solution will be painful compromise (RTS/Tanjug)
Dacic: With Vucic it was not “take it or it leave it” (RTS/Tanjug)
Varhelyi says EU unconditionally committed to integration of Western Balkans (Politika)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dodik: Essence of talks and meeting between RS leadership and Lavrov will take place in Istocno Sarajevo (ATV)
Kavalec: B&H authorities, including CEC and Prosecutor’s Office, have to respond to reported election irregularities (Dnevni avaz)
B&H Prosecutor’s Office raises indictments against OSA’s Mehmedagic, Pekic (RTRS)
Montenegro

Ministry of Interior goes to DF, justice to Democrats and URA gets defense (Dan)
Medojevic: If Movement for Changes does not get vice-president’s position, we’ll think about entering the government (CdM)
Husovic: Abazovic will soon realize that he is in more unfavorable situation than Bosniak party (Antena M)
Republic of North Macedonia

Zaev sees no reason to resign if there is a Bulgarian veto (Republika)
Ramadani: NATO should react to Karakachanov’s threat to Macedonia (Kanal 5)
Albania

Albania first Muslim majority state to adopt IHRA Antisemitism Definition (ADN)
EU welcomes Albania’s resolution against antisemitism (ADN)
US: IHRA Antisemitism Definition continues Albania’s anti-hatred tradition (ADN)

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LOCAL PRESS 

Dacic: UNMIK to continue implementing its mandate (Beta

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the UN, Ivica Dacic, Serbian parliament speaker, said on Friday that Belgrade expected the UN UNMIK mission in Kosovo to continue implementing its mandate, adding his country remained strongly committed to the goals and principles of the UN, which were more relevant today than ever. Recalling that former Yugoslavia, of which Serbia is one of the successors, is one of the UN founders and one of the first 50 signatories to the UN Charter, signed on 26 June 1945, in San Francisco, and entered into force on 24 October 1945, Dacic has said Serbia has attached special importance to the top world organization in preserving Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. “We always stress that UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which reaffirms Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, remains in force. UNMIK’s neutral status presence continues to be essential for stability and the creation of conditions that should lead to lasting and a sustainable solution to the issue of Kosovo, and we expect the mission to continue with the implementation of its mandate,” Dacic said.

Vucic: Things are more complicated than Pristina imagines (RTS/Tanjug

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said at a special online panel within the Belgrade Security Forum, that Pristina must change its stand that the only solution is for Serbia to recognize the so-called independence of Kosovo and to realize that all signed agreements need to be implemented.

that they should change the atmosphere, implement everything, starting with the first agreement signed in April 2013, get people closer to each other. Vucic said that for Serbia the situation regarding Kosovo and Metohija was not easy, having in mind that out of 27 EU member countries 22 recognized the so-called independence of Kosovo, but pointed out that, in line with the UN and SC Resolution 1244, everything is the opposite from that some great powers claim. He underlined that Serbia is not in an easy position and that is why Serbia wants to see compromising solution between two sides, adding that there is no other alternative. “Will it be easy, are we ready for a compromise? You will always hear from Pristina that Serbia only needs to recognize Kosovo, that they will do the same and that then everything is solved. However, it is more complicated than that,” said Vucic. “Both here and in Pristina, it is still difficult to discuss realistic options, rationally, the narratives are not helpful. All of us, we need to be more realistic. We need to respect each other, if we say everything opposite, what would be the conclusion? It does not mean we are not ready for a compromise solution. But you need to understand more Belgrade’s position and position of Serbs in Kosovo”, he said. He concluded that both sides have to be equally dissatisfied, or at least a bit satisfied if Kosovo and Serbia are to reach a compromise solution.

Lajcak: Solution will be painful compromise (RTS/Tanjug

EU Special Representative for Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajcak said that the resolution of the Kosovo issue will be a painful compromise. To promote reconciliation, we have to come to terms with the past, we cannot change it, but we can work on it, he said during Belgrade Security Forum, adding that dialogue should be above daily politics. He stressed that no matter how painful it might be, the process should be left to the experts, not politicians.

He said that normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina is an essential element in solving challenges in the region and that it is necessary to achieve three goals – normalization of relations, achieving solutions based on European values and norms to bring the region closer to the European future, and that the entire process contributes to regional stability. “We must come to terms, with the very recent tragic past. While we cannot change the past, we can learn from it. Despite divisions, Western Balkans has more in common than many think. Not just history, but also future”, Lajcak said. He assessed that all actors in the dialogue are in a monumental process, extremely challenging and difficult, adding there cannot be a victory for one and defeat for the other.

 

Dacic: With Vucic it was not “take it or it leave it” (RTS/Tanjug

The new Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic told people who think that the position of the parliament speaker is degrading for him – that this is the highest function he has performed so far. He told reporters in the Serbian parliament that his conversation with Aleksandar Vucic did not take place in the categories of “take it or leave it” or “I need you – I don’t need you”, stating that the leader of the Serbian Progressive Party had several options, but that it was not for the public. Dacic thus answered the question whether he would have chosen that position if he could have chosen. He added that he wants to make the work in the parliament serious and announced the next session for Saturday, at which the Law on Ministries will be discussed, which, as he said, is a precondition for forming the government. “My task is to protect the parliament from attacks on that institution and from those who want to degrade it, as well as the whole of Serbia,” said Dacic.

Varhelyi says EU unconditionally committed to integration of Western Balkans (Politika)

EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi assessed that the issue of security of the Western Balkans is also the issue of European security and he added that the EU is unconditionally committed to the integration of the region and removal of any kind of threats in it. Varhelyi also said that the Western Balkans is the priority for the European Commission (EC), which it demonstrated by adopting the decision on the start of talks with North Macedonia and Albania, as well as by providing unprecedented support in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Varhelyi reiterated that the Economic and Investment Plan of the EU for the Western Balkans worth 9 billion Euros has the goal to make a long-term contribution to economic recovery of the region and concluded by saying that the Plan can also contribute to investments worth 20 billion Euros.

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

Dodik: Essence of talks and meeting between RS leadership and Lavrov will take place in Istocno Sarajevo (ATV)

Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov will pay an official visit to B&H on 28 October. Spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova stated that during his visit to B&H, Lavrov will meet with Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik. Zakharova stressed that Lavrov is scheduled to meet with the B&H Presidency members, the B&H Minister of Foreign Affairs and other B&H representatives. Dodik said that he is particularly pleased that Lavrov will visit Republika Srpska (RS) and that the essence of talks and meeting between the RS leadership and Lavrov will take place in Istocno Sarajevo. Dodik underlined that the RS has great relationship with Russia regardless of all pressures. Dodik stressed that accusations of alleged Russian interference in the internal affairs in B&H are incorrect and that those who make such accusations are the ones who interfere most in those affairs. Due to the epidemiological situation in the region, Lavrov has cancelled his scheduled visit to the region to all countries but Serbia and B&H.

Kavalec: B&H authorities, including CEC and Prosecutor’s Office, have to respond to reported election irregularities (Dnevni avaz)

Speaking for the daily, Head of OSCE Mission to B&H Kathleen Kavalec noted that politicians should not be using the election campaign as an excuse to violate epidemiological measures and jeopardizing of public health. “We call on all candidates to lead pre-election campaign, which do not contain negative and irresponsible rhetoric and rhetoric of divisions and to focus on concrete issues which are important for citizens, such as strengthening of rule of law, opening of new jobs and improving of public services and dealing with corruption,” said Kavalec. She added that negative rhetoric and unethical behavior endanger progress and reforms in B&H before and after the elections, adding that inflammatory statements are especially dangerous during the election period as they can provoke violence and endanger election process. “Independent observers continue to register inflammatory statements from one election cycle to another. Citizens of this country deserve more. We share the opinion of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and of the EU that the election laws and regulations in B&H, which includes provisions on hate speech, can improve and need to be harmonize with international standards. In our opinion, the election reform should be a priority after the election cycle is completed”. Asked about numerous malversations which have been registered, Kavalec said that these are concerning reports and the OSCE calls on all relevant authorities in B&H to act proactively and process all reports about possible election frauds. “Authorities in B&H, which includes B&H CEC and Prosecutor’s Office, have to respond to reported irregularities and provide information to the public about the ways in which they reacted. It is equally important to encourage all citizens to report irregularities to B&H CEC”, said Kavalec. Commenting the decision of Personal Data Protection Agency, which noted that voters’ registry for voting from abroad is to be removed from B&H CEC website, Kavalec said that OSCE welcomed recent invitation of B&H CEC to citizens calling on them to review the voters’ registry for voting via mail and to report all irregularities. She underlined that it is of outmost importance for voters’ registries to be transparent and public. Asked about the work of Prosecutor’s Office of B&H concerning the election frauds, Kavalec stressed that it is evident that progress has been made this year in reacting of the prosecutors’ offices, adding that while certain positive steps have been made, much more can be done. Because of this, OSCE recently initiated series of meeting with law enforcement agencies in B&H. Kavalec noted that they deem that introducing of new technologies can represent a step forward and securing of higher transparency and integrity of the election process.

B&H Prosecutor’s Office raises indictments against OSA’s Mehmedagic, Pekic (RTRS)

The B&H Prosecutor’s Office filed on Thursday an indictment against Director of the B&H Intelligence-Security Agency (OSA) Osman Mehmedagic and Head of the Cyber-Security Department in the OSA Muhamed Pekic. They are indicted of abuse of office, resources and capacities of the OSA during August 2020 for the purpose of their private interests in order to get information and photos about the sender of an anonymous criminal report against Director of the OSA Mehmedagic. The case refers to exemption of a video from the branch office of ‘BH Posta’ in Sarajevo where the anonymous report against him was filed. According to the reporter, this was an illegal act and they justified it by mentioning threat for state security while only a couple of days later, the videos appeared in Sarajevo media. The Prosecutor’s Office of B&H also filed a motion to prohibit them to perform their official duties and to ban them contact with employees of the OSA. The indictment was forwarded to the Court of B&H for confirmation. The Court of B&H has eight days at disposal to announce its stances. Asked to comment on this case, Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik told media on Thursday that prosecutors should do their job in line with the law. Dodik stated that this issue must be solved in accordance with the law, but that the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) has an obligation to undertake certain measures against officials against whom an indictment is issued. “Prosecutors should do their job. There are many speculations surrounding that. That should be completed in a way that everything should be in accordance with the law and in that respect, I believe that there are obligations in the B&H CoM to undertake certain measures against every official and appointed individual in B&H bodies against whom an indictment is issued,” Dodik underlined.

 

Ministry of Interior goes to DF, justice to Democrats and URA gets defense (Dan)

 

Prime minister-designate and holder of the list ‘For the future of Montenegro’, Zdravko Krivokapic, has made a draft of the division of departments in the new government, Dan finds out. According to that draft, his coalition would have eight departments and one vice-presidential position: Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Science, Ministry of Sport, Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Public Administration. By the proposal of Krivokapic, ‘Peace is our nation’ coalition would get Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This coalition would also have position of the vice-president of the government. ‘Black and white’ coalition would have vice-president function in the government, for the coordination of security services and departments of defense, agriculture and rural development, culture and the media. Krivokapic kept the position of the minister of finance for an expert of his own choice, as well as the position of the government’s secretary general. The draft envisages that head positions in the Agency for National Security and Police department should be covered by professionals from URA. The draft does not stipulate the function of the Minister without portfolio and it is not certain yet whether that function will exist in the new government at all. As Dan finds out, amendments to this draft should be minimal. Krivokapic held meeting with the representatives of Democratic Montenegro yesterday. Today, he will have meeting with Andrija Mandic and Dritan Abazovic. Krivokapic said several times this week that he would refrain from making public statements until the Government was formed.

Medojevic: If Movement for Changes does not get vice-president’s position, we’ll think about entering the government (CdM)

Owners of Vijesti and the Church have greater influence on the prime minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic, than the coalition ‘For the future of Montenegro’ has, leader of the Movement for Changes Nebojsa Medojevic, said at the press conference. The public should know that the government is composed by Misko Perovic, Daka Davidovic, Zeljko Ivanovic, Gojko Perovic, with the assistance of Vladimir Bozovic. If Krivokapic fails to show respect of the MFC regarding the position of the vide-president of the Government for democratic transition, reforms and coordination of fight against organized crime, we will express our view on the participation in the government” Medojevic announced. “I hope Krivokapic knows that he is the prime minister-designate of the country and that citizens gave him the mandate” Medojevic said. He added that MFC had transparently expressed interest in the position in the Government and particularly for the function of the vice-president of the Government for democratic transition, reforms and coordination of fight against organize crime and corruption, together with the defense department. In order to demonstrate that MFC has been fighting for changes for all these years, they have expressed their readiness to reach compromise with Black and White coalition, as they aspire to the same positions. “If colleagues from this coalition or their owners accept the position of the vice-president of the government for reforms, democratic transition and fight against organized crime and corruption, then I will give up on portfolio of the Minister of Defense. We have shown that we are ready to boil all our wishes down to one place,” Medojevic said. He said that prime minister-designate would pay attention to voters’ wishes for healing changes. “Coordination of reforms for us, and Ministry of Defense for Vijesti. If it’s true that the second family is going to appoint its people in the areas of reforms and other segments, then we need to see the names. We have said that we will vote for any government with no DPS in it, but we see now is suspicious, leads us to believe that Milo Djukanovic is forming the government,” Medojevic said.

Husovic: Abazovic will soon realize that he is in more unfavorable situation than Bosniak party (Antena M)

Decision of the Bosniak party (BS) not to enter the government of Zdravko Krivokapic is the most important decision, Rafet Husovic, president of this party said for Antena M. One of the reasons for such decision is the fact that it is unclear what the new majority intends to do. “First, they are talking about the expert government and then about the government composed of politicians, then we have influence from the side, and influence of the church. We honestly believe that these people should be given chance to prove that they are able to lead this country in a serious way” he says. Husovic adds that citizens have suggested them to enter the government. As far as the Agreement of the three coalitions reached after the elections is concerned, Husovic said that the first parliament session had shown that the agreement was not obeyed. Commenting on the statement made by Dritan Abazovic, Husovic said that his message sounded threatening. “Only after the government is formed, will Abazovic understand that he will be in much more unfavorable position than BS,” Husovic said. “If we take a more thorough look at the analysis of the elections, we’ll see that 98% of Bosniaks voted for the sovereign block. However, I expect the tripartite coalition to find somebody who will represent Bosniaks”. Husovic recalls what he said earlier: “Members of minority nations in the region always had their suitcases packed, ready to leave. I said in 2006, if we get independent Montenegro, Bosniaks, unpack suitcases forever. Many people ask me if that’s still valid – I think it is. We’ll do our best to make it happen”.

 

Zaev sees no reason to resign if there is a Bulgarian veto (Republika)

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev sees no reason to resign if Bulgaria vetoes the holding of the first intergovernmental conference, which according to announcements should be held during the German presidency of the EU, i.e. by the end of the year at the latest. “I absolutely do not agree with the thesis that I should take responsibility and resign, because before the elections my main promise was the start of negotiations with the EU. The main aspect of the campaign was the fight against Covid-19, the new Macedonian economy, the purging of the judiciary and the rule of law in the country. I will not avoid answers to any question in the future, but until the last moment I believe that we will succeed in the negotiations on the differences with Bulgaria” said Zaev in response to a reporter’s question at Thursday’s press conference in the Government. He stressed that so far, they have shown serious success in talks and negotiations and in the progress of the country. “Today we are a member of NATO and we have a decision to start negotiations with the EU after 15 years. No matter how this is compared to the previous governing political structures, we are still years ahead of what is an alternative in our country,” said Zaev.

Ramadani: NATO should react to Karakachanov’s threat to Macedonia (Kanal 5)

The President of the Euro-Atlantic Council of Macedonia, Ismet Ramadani, condemned the statement of the Bulgarian Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov, who said that he would send the engineering regiment of the Bulgarian Army to remove the monuments in the country.

“Karakachanov’s statement is serious, but also absurd. Because the statement comes when they and we are members of NATO, there are some rules among the allies when such statements are not acceptable. I expect the NATO headquarters and even the Secretary General to react. There should be a reaction because if you make such a threat to an ally, it already exceeds all limits of behavior between NATO members,” Ramadani told Kanal 5.

 

Albania first Muslim majority state to adopt IHRA Antisemitism Definition (ADN)

The Albanian parliament has endorsed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism making Albania one of the first majority-Muslim countries to adopt the definition. The IHRA definition, an inter-governmental organization including 34 member countries, is an internationally agreed classification of antisemitism used to help define and combat antisemitism in the countries that have adopted it. The decision comes ahead of the upcoming Balkans Forum Against Anti-Semitism being conducted in partnership between the Parliament of the Republic of Albania, the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement and the Jewish Agency for Israel. The conference, starting next Wednesday, seeks to create a united front for Balkans countries to work together against anti-Semitism. Participants will include Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama, the speakers of parliament from Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia, plus officials from United Nations, United States, United Kingdom and Israel. “It is good news that we, the Albanians and the peoples of the Western Balkans, a region that has suffered more than any other part of the world, the consequences of ethno-centrist and religious-centrist views and attitudes, join this emancipatory action of contemporary civilization: the fight against anti-Semitism,” said Gramoz Ruci, speaker of Albania’s parliament. “All nations that throughout history have protected Jews from extermination and support them today against stigma have a right to be proud. But we Albanians have more reasons to be proud because Albania is the only country in Europe where all Jews were taken under protection and rescued during World War II. Our homeland, Albania, in difficult times has served as a substitute soil for Jews. Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Director Sacha Roytman-Dratwa congratulated the Albanian parliament for having adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and expressed that other countries, including Muslim majority states would act similarly. “At a time when anti-Semitism is increasing across the world, the IHRA definition has never been more important. Not only does it spell out exactly what Jew-hatred looks like, but adopting IHRA’s definition makes clear that anti-Semitism has no place in free, democratic and tolerant societies such as Albania.”

EU welcomes Albania’s resolution against antisemitism (ADN)

EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca greeted Thursday adoption of “On the approval of the usable definition of Antisemitism defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance” resolution by the Albanian parliament. He also guaranteed the EU is decided to combat “all forms of Antisemitism and foster Jewish life” and promised that the EU present formally for consideration a comprehensive strategy on antisemitism in 2021. “We welcome the resolution adopted by Albanian Parliament which adopts IHRA definition of Antisemitism. EU is determined to fight all forms of antisemitism and foster Jewish life. To support national actions, the EU will table a comprehensive Strategy on antisemitism in 2021,” tweeted Soreca.

US: IHRA Antisemitism Definition continues Albania’s anti-hatred tradition (ADN)

Adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism resumes Albania’s long tradition on combating hatred, pointed out Thursday the US Embassy in Tirana. The draft resolution “On the approval of the usable definition of Antisemitism defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance” was adopted in the Albanian parliament after it was proposed by the Socialist Party (SP) Parliamentary Group. “The parliament adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism. This act continues Albania’s long tradition of fighting hatred. It also reminds us of Albania’s history of courageously sheltering victims of persecution, no matter the cost and regardless of the danger. The United States is proud to call Albania a partner and ally as it continues its commitment to the dignity of every individual” emphasized the Embassy. On 28 October, the Albanian parliament, in cooperation with Combat Anti-Semitism Movement (CAM) and the Jewish Agency for Israel will jointly organize the Inaugural 2020 Balkans Forum against Anti-Semitism.

 

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