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Belgrade Media Report 25 November

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LOCAL PRESS

Vucic: Serbia has no problem to find every missing person (Tanjug/RTS/RTV)
Vucic, Botsan-Kharchenko on Patriarch, cooperation and joint projects (RTS)
Dodik: High Representative can no longer do any harm to RS, although he is constantly trying to do so (TV Happy)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dodik and Covic address UN Security Council (RTRS)
Inzko, Covic and Dodik make concluding remarks before UN SC (RTRS)
NATO Parliamentary Assembly adopts report on Balkans which calls on member countries to help B&H overcome political stalemate (Nezavisne)
B&H Presidency members Komsic and Dzaferovic jointly extend their congratulations to citizens on occasion of Statehood Day of B&H (Nova BH)
Radoncic congratulates Statehood Day: Thousand-year state continuity of B&H is unquestionable (Dnevni avaz)
EC recommends opening of negotiation between EU and B&H on Eurojust membership (Dnevni avaz)
Croatia

Croatian PM’s special advisor Granic: Dayton agreement has been changed to detriment of Croats (Dnevni list)
Montenegro

Abazovic has received threats from Keljmendi’s clan (Dan)
Republic of North Macedonia

Albania

Kamberi worried on trials against Albanians in Presevo Valley (ADN/RTK)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

Bosnia and Serbia plan joint military exercise (Radio Free Europe)

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LOCAL PRESS 

Vucic: Serbia has no problem to find every missing person (Tanjug/RTS/RTV

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has stated on Tuesday evening that he had requested entrance to the territory of Kosovo and Metohija after the Kosovo Foreign Minister requested to come to Raska, but that it was agreed with EU representatives for these visits not to occur, and not to speak publicly about this. “Now, in order to make a big story, as well as about that lie that I threatened them with the Nagorno-Karabakh scenario, even though they understood very well what I wanted to say, they said that Vucic was not welcome in Kosovo,” he said. Vucic told journalists in Belgrade that Kosovo Albanians, after mass graves were discovered near Raska, where Albanian bodies are believed to be, wanted to send the Foreign Minister to Raska to, as he put it, make some kind of political show there. “We told them that it was absolutely inappropriate at the moment, but that if they wanted to, I would go first to the north, and in seven days I would go to dig in the vicinity of Djakovica. Since they sent us a letter, we sent them a letter,” said Vucic. He says that then agreement was made with the Europeans for no one to go anywhere and not to go public about this, but the Albanians violated this. “Then people from Europe called and said that we should agree, that everything should settle down, that no one should go anywhere, but we agreed not to talk about it in public, so that the Serbian public, the Albanian public, would not be disturbed. We said that there is no problem, we have nothing to hide, we just want to have what we have given others the opportunity and to have that right. And then they went public how very strong and smart they were because they banned me to enter,” said Vucic. He said he was proud of the fact that he is the President of a state that is not joking and has no problem finding everyone missing and that he can say that no crime should go unpunished and hidden. He added that the remains of 15 people were not excavated near Raska without the knowledge and approval of the Serbian authorities. He also explained that Belgrade in Brussels, when the topic of the missing was opened, said that it would advocate for the search for anyone’s remains because it is a civilizational achievement, but also that they asked for excavations to be carried out at five locations in Kosovo and especially in Metohija, where Belgrade believes that there are buried Serbs, so that the representatives of Belgrade would attend the excavation, but the Albanians, as he states, did not accept that.

Vucic, Botsan-Kharchenko on Patriarch, cooperation and joint projects (RTS

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko and asked him to convey his gratitude to President Vladimir Putin for the letter of condolence on the death of Patriarch Irinej. Vucic also pointed out that the attendance of the Russian Orthodox Church representative Metropolitan Ilarion at the funeral of the Patriarch was a confirmation of closeness of the two churches and the two nations. Botsan-Kharchenko shared his memories of Patriarch Irinej and his commitment to the completion of works on Saint Sava Temple. They also discussed current issues of Serbian-Russian relations and bilateral cooperation, expressing hope that a visit to Serbia by one of Russia’s top officials would take place by the end of the year. The two paid particular attention to the implementation of specific agreements and joint projects in the field of infrastructure and energy and expressed hope that key projects would be completed within the agreed deadline.

Dodik: High Representative can no longer do any harm to RS, although he is constantly trying to do so (TV Happy)

Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik stated that the High Representative can no longer do any harm to Republika Srpska (RS), although he is constantly trying to do so, but that his solutions are always temporary. Dodik said that B&H has international supervision and an international protectorate, ruled by a foreigner who was not elected. He stressed that the RS remains committed to the application of the letter of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA), but that it will definitely not fight for the salvation of something that obviously no one wants to be saved, especially the international community which personified in the High Representative and the Bonn powers has been doing harm to the RS for years. Dodik stressed that Serbs in the B&H joint institutions are responding to numerous pressures and requests aimed at further weakening of the RS on a daily basis, recalling that current functioning of B&H is not in line with the DPA. “I understand how some people find it boring but I will never get bored with saying that B&H has no constitutional competences over the judiciary, secret service or any kind of tax revenues, all of which B&H has today,” Dodik stated. Dodik stressed that no one can stop the integration of the RS and Serbia and for them to exist as two countries in these areas, whether someone likes it or not. Dodik claims that his greatest achievement so far is the RS’ strict policy not to discuss certain issues and topics and the RS will definitely not accept imposed constitutional changes or help legalize previous violations by the international community as long as he and SNSD are defending the RS’ interests. Dodik explained that the RS needs to adopt serious approach in order to keep its current position and the situation in B&H should be assessed realistically as it is in other multiethnic countries. As the leader of SNSD, Dodik spoke of SNSD’s victory in the local elections, stressing that he is convinced that SNSD will rehabilitate voters’ support in Banja Luka with the goal of having it in the rest of the RS. “The best development period of Banja Luka is the rule of SNSD and that can be exactly shown in various places,” Dodik underlined. Dodik denied that he threatened to halt subsidies for heating in Banja Luka and said that he warned about problems related to heating and wondered what newly elected Mayor of Banja Luka Drasko Stanivukovic intends to do about it, but that his statement was interpreted as a threat to Banja Luka citizens. He assessed that it was illogic to ask him if SNSD will support newly elected Mayor, especially after Stanivukovic was constantly attacking SNSD with false accusations in the election campaign. Dodik also said that the RS remains of the position that there will be no collective centers for migrants in the RS. He also noted it is impossible to imagine, due to the migrant crisis, that the Armed Forces of B&H will be deployed on the border with Serbia. “It will not happen as long as I am in the Presidency of B&H because my consent is necessary as well,” added Dodik.

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

Dodik and Covic address UN Security Council (RTRS)

At the online session held on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA), Chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Milorad Dodik and HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic addressed the UN Security Council instead of the B&H Presidency members.  On the occasion, Dodik said that the DPA is one of the most important documents of the international law after the WWII, but the High Representatives have changed the Agreement, changing the spirit of the DPA. Dodik noted that Serbia, Croatia, Republika Srpska (RS) and 50 per cent of the Federation of B&H (B&H) citizens wants the High Representative (Valentin Inzko) to leave “but he continues to manipulate the Security Council” presenting untruths, and “benefits he receives for that”. Covic outlined the important period of great challenges B&H is going through. “I believe that we within B&H must make an important step and in the next six months adopt amendments of the Election Law in accordance with decision of the Constitutional Court of B&H,” said Covic, noting that he expects support from the international community in resolving this vital issue in the process of democratization and full integration within the EU. In his introductory address, Inzko said that the DPA is interpreted to the benefit of political parties and the secessionist policy has become a standard, preventing a compromise among peoples and the progress of the country. He reminded of Dodik saying that no one can prevent integration of the RS and Serbia. Inzko said that glorification of convicted war criminals by both Dodik and Covic and their political parties is not the way to build the reconciliation and permanent stability. Dodik commented on Inzko’s statements, saying he is ready to work without Inzko’s interference on functioning of B&H as a country with two entities and three constituent peoples, otherwise it would be legitimate to direct the RS toward integration with Serbia. RTRS reports that Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya, who initiated the meeting expressed his regret for SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic not participating in the meeting. Nebenzya said that the format of the meeting allowed to invite unofficial representatives, because their opinions before the UN Security Council are important, noting that by inviting political parties’ leaders the importance of the B&H Presidency is not diminished. RTRS reports that Izetbegovic’s letter was read, in which Izetbegovic notes that the choice of participants from B&H is wrong, indicating a worrying trend of ignoring of the B&H institutions, an intentional attempt by neighboring countries to diminish importance of the B&H Presidency and transfer its competence to leaders of the three political parties.

Inzko, Covic and Dodik make concluding remarks before UN SC (RTRS)

In his closing address to the UN SC High Representative for B&H Valentin Inzko thanked for the support provided to the Office of High Representative (OHR) and offered to continue, together with the international community, providing support to progress and stability in B&H. Inzko added that the meeting is not the place for him to respond to accusations directed to the High Representative, but clarified that he has not imposed any decisions since 2011 and the decisions have been made by the B&H Constitutional Court. Inzko noted that the OHR is committed to all peoples and it does not work against any of the constitutional peoples in B&H, noting he provided support to the Serbian Orthodox Church. Inzko expressed his shock and disappointment with Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik calling late Paddy Ashdown a criminal. In conclusion, Inzko thanked HDZ leader Dragan Covic for helping in ensuring that local elections in Mostar are held. In his concluding address, Covic thanked for the opportunity to address the UN Security Council, noting that difficult political environment in B&H is the reality, and the solution should be sought by joint efforts. Covic added that the B&H’s European path should be marked by the EU candidate status in 2021, and until then the issue of Election Law, legitimate representation of constituent peoples should be resolved in order to send a clear message B&H has its European future. Covic noted that the biggest threat to B&H is Unitarianism, not the multi-ethnicity B&H has built its reality on for centuries. In his closing address, Dodik thanked the UN for allowing small nations to present their views at important forums such as it is the UN Security Council meeting. Dodik said that some ideas have been present for 25 years, but the reality in B&H has changed with successes as well as manipulations that need to be addressed. He noted that B&H has a future as a Dayton construct with two entities and three peoples until “Croats request their entity, and then it is a country of three entities and three constituent peoples which would be just”. Dodik referred to criticism on his actions, false worry about the processes in B&H, such as young people leaving B&H, expressed by some of the participants, and the support to the B&H Constitutional Court, noting that the Constitutional Court’s single role is to implement the Constitution. Dodik also referred to questions regarding the glorification of war criminals, noting that he does not support war criminals, as a man who helped Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats equally in the war. Dodik added he supports conviction of all war criminals, but The Hague Tribunal was not fair toward Serbs, having in mind the disproportionate number of Bosniaks brought before The Hague Tribunal. The European integration is supported by Serbs, but without sacrificing their fundamental rights under the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) and the B&H Constitution, the EU is the goal by cooperating with communities as is the case in Belgium, and only through cooperation of all levels of government the solution may be reached. Dodik said that according to the Venice Commission’s opinion from 2005, the European path of B&H cannot go hand-in-hand with the OHR and the B&H Constitutional Court’s judges. He referred to the role of Permanent Representative of B&H to UN Sven Alkalaj noting that Alkalaj is his subordinate and without his approval Alkalaj did not represent B&H, but himself at the UN Security Council meeting “it is a violation of the Constitution, what he did this evening, and violation of the law, but of course there will be no sanction, because the Court is under management of foreigners, foreign embassies, the OHR and Bosniaks”. Dodik added that Inzko is making efforts in ensuring support of other countries to punish “Milorad Dodik, the Chairman of the B&H Presidency for alleged glorification of war crimes”. Dodik invited Inzko to remove the plaque dedicated to Radovan Karadzic in Pale together with him, noting that it is not the solution because the removal does not represent the opinion of the people. Dodik said that allegations about him supporting war crimes are mere speculations and spin in an attempt to “by eliminating people, you try to ensure processes that have failed to ensure in 25 years”. B&H needs local solutions and international support. Dodik apologized if his statements were seen as attacks, concluding that he only wanted to point out the issues, noting that it would be a disaster if the UN would to continue “with brutal confrontation with people as was the case in the past 25 years”. Dodik said that he wants B&H of peace, stability, and he cannot accept the imposed B&H because his people does not accept it. Dodik added that the RS does not support the NATO membership of B&H, but understands the power of the NATO and the cooperation is welcomed. After Dodik’s concluding remarks, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya thanked all the participants for their role and expressed belief that the conference was useful for perception of the situation from the aspect of confronted sides. He said that the meeting revealed high level of support to the DPA and brought a conclusion according to which there is no future for B&H without compliance with the DPA. “Also, we all agree that we want to see stable and modern B&H in which peoples face their future without international interference and the international community has an obligation to help them achieve that,” Nebenzya concluded.

NATO Parliamentary Assembly adopts report on Balkans which calls on member countries to help B&H overcome political stalemate (Nezavisne)

The 66th annual session of NATO Parliamentary Assembly was held in online format due to coronavirus pandemic. B&H was represented by members of Delegation of B&H parliament to NATO Parliamentary Assembly Asim Sarajlic and Nikola Lovrinovic. Members of the Assembly were addressed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and previous President of the Assembly Attila Mesterhazy. According to Stoltenberg, NATO is the only place where countries of Europe and North America meet on a daily basis. He underlined that the Alliance should be used more as forum for open discussion on a wide range of security issues. The Assembly adopted the Declaration which gave its backing to a major drive to modernize the Alliance by keeping it strong and united politically, strong militarily and making it better equipped to bolster global peace and stability. In a special report on challenges for peace and security in the Western Balkans, which was prepared by French member of NATO Parliamentary Assembly Jean-Charles Larsonneur, NATO member states have been invited to assist intensifying of the talks between Belgrade and Pristina and overcoming of the political stalemate in B&H. According to the Report, member states and NATO MPs have to strengthen cooperation with strategic partners of the Alliance around the world in order to assist strengthening of the rule of the law in the Western Balkans.

 

B&H Presidency members Komsic and Dzaferovic jointly extend their congratulations to citizens on occasion of Statehood Day of B&H (Nova BH)

Croat member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic and Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic jointly extended their congratulations to the B&H citizens on the occasion of the Statehood Day of B&H, 25 November. Komsic and Dzaferovic emphasized the need to turn towards positive and constructive processes, further internal reintegration, economic development and integration into the EU and NATO. Komsic stated: “Those who do not mean well for our country will not stop us on that path. They may try, but they will not succeed. The majority of B&H citizens believe in the correctness of that path, because they know where they belong to and where their homeland belongs to.” According to him, these two alliances were formed on the basis of the world anti-fascist struggle and B&H joining them would be a logical and natural sequence of events. Komsic said that the future of B&H is not in the national, political or ideological divisions. He stressed that if B&H wants to be part of the modern and civilized world it will be necessary to respect each other more and give up on narrow personal, political or party interests in order to preserve the state. Dzaferovic pointed out that 25 November is a date that symbolizes the highest values and he reminded that the statehood of B&H was renewed in the Resolution, adopted on that day in 1943 by the National Anti-Fascist Council of the People’s Liberation of B&H. Dzaferovic added that this was when B&H’s multiethnic character and equality of citizens and peoples were affirmed. Dzaferovic said that it is necessary to turn towards positive and constructive interests, the further integration of the state, economic development of B&H and EU and NATO integration. Dzaferovic also stated that obstructive ideologies and policies of divisions must be stopped because B&H citizens from all three ethnic groups do not want an environment in which tensions are continuous. Dzaferovic and Komsic placed the focus on the future of B&H and stressed that because of all victims that died for B&H, one does not have the right to lose hope in it.

Radoncic congratulates Statehood Day: Thousand-year state continuity of B&H is unquestionable (Dnevni avaz)

SBB B&H leader Fahrudin Radoncic congratulated Statehood Day- 25 November to all B&H citizens. He underlined that on 25 November 1943, B&H peoples and citizens confirmed their dedication to live in a country of equality, unity and solidarity. Stressing that B&H’s thousand-year statehood continuity is unquestionable, Radoncic concluded that joint effort can contribute to making B&H a country of prosperity, economic development, justice and equal opportunities.

EC recommends opening of negotiation between EU and B&H on Eurojust membership (Dnevni avaz)

The European Commission has issued a recommendation for opening of negotiations between the EU and B&H on cooperation between the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) and competent bodies in B&H. The recommendation reads that B&H is one of the EU’s crucial partners and that B&H established a point of contacts with Eurojust in 2014, in order to launch negotiations on signing of the cooperation agreement.  Further on, the recommendation further noted that taking in consideration the political strategy, operational needs of judicial bodies in the EU and potential benefits from the strengthened cooperation in this sector, the EC deems that it is necessary to launch negotiations as soon as possible in order to regulate the cooperation between Eurojust and B&H. “The stance of the Commission regarding B&H and Turkey has been described in the regular Commission reports for 2020. In case of both countries, signing of the international agreement, which enables personal data exchange with Eurojust, has been conditioned by necessary changes of data protection laws”, reads the recommendation. It was explained that the agreement should provide legal grounds for cooperation between Eurojust and competent bodies of other countries: “Cooperation should be especially directed to prevention and fight against terrorism, prevention of organized crime, especially illegal arms trade, drug smuggling and migrant smuggling, as well as fight against cyber-crime,” reads the recommendation.

 

Croatian PM’s special advisor Granic: Dayton agreement has been changed to detriment of Croats (Dnevni list)

Special foreign policy advisor to the Croatian Prime Minister and former Croatian Foreign Minister and participant of the talks in Dayton Mate Granic said that a part of the Dayton agreement about election of member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been changed, and that Zeljko Komsic does not represent Croats. According to Granic, if legitimate representatives of Croats say that Komsic does not represent them and that he has been elected owing to votes of other people, then it cannot be hidden and the truth must be spoken. He went on to say there is no dilemma that the Dayton agreement has been changed to the detriment of Croats, arguing that Croatia would have never signed the Dayton agreement had it been able to foresee that this will happen. “This is an issue that needs to be solved in order to be able to move on,” added Granic.

 

Abazovic has received threats from Keljmendi’s clan (Dan)

Member of the criminal group of a drug kingpin from Kosovo, Naser Keljmendi, has threatened president of URA, Dritan Abazovic. According to the information of Dan, this person has Montenegrin documents and lives in Kosovo and Metohija. URA Civil movement held an extraordinary press conference and stated that they had information that Dritan Abazovic is subject of threats by a criminal clan from the region. However, representatives of the party didn’t want to say who that person is. Police from Kosovo also declined to answer if they have been contacted regarding this matter. Following serious claims by the Civic Movement URA officials that their leader, Dritan Abazovic, has been threatened by a regional crime gang, and that Veselin Veljovic, Head of the National Police, is going to be responsible if anything happens to him, this body (National Police) has responded, stating that they have been undertaking all the necessary activities to protect Abazovic. They also point out that there is no operative data or information saying that his safety has been endangered. “The National Police has been continuously undertaking all legal actions to protect Abazovic. Based on legal procedures, Abazovic and all those who possess any information about the threats to his life should inform the competent bodies about it.” It’s noted that the police carry out extensive inspections in order to collect facts that they lean about from media representatives and public appearances of individuals. The police also recalled that Abazovic himself publicly thanked both the National Security Agency and the National Police for their engagement to protect his safety. “Zoran Mikic was invited to the National Police for a meeting with the Assistant Director, Dragan Blagojevic, and informed about the measures and actions taken by the police, based on the request for security assessment of Abazovic,” the police explained. According to them, the competent security services will continue to collect all data and information concerning Abazovic’s safety, and if needed, undertake other necessary measures that fall under their competence, along with the continuous communication with Mikic and Abazovic.

 

Kamberi worried on trials against Albanians in Presevo Valley (ADN/RTK)

The Albanian Deputy in the Serbian parliament Shaip Kamberi, representing the Presevo Valley (Luginen e Presheves), held a meeting with Albania’s alternate Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj having in the focus of the discussion the issues concerning the situation in Presevo Valley, a statement released by Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. “The necessity to undertake some actions for the significant increase of the international sensitivity with regard to the process of the erasing of the addresses of Albanians in the Presevo Valley was discussed by the interlocutors,” said the statement. Shaip Kamberi, an Albanian MP in the Serbian parliament, whipped ‘democracy’ in Serbia telling the full parliamentary hall in the inaugural plenary session on October 28 this year that the “situation of democracy in Serbia is worse than under former president Slobodan Milosevic.” “We cannot vote for such a government and parliament speaker,” he said. “This new government is a continuation of the past ones, which have never fulfilled the decisions for the Presevo Valley,” Kamberi noted, who was accused by the newly elected speaker Ivica Dacic, the minister of foreign affairs in the previous government of Serbia, of despising and insulting the parliament, and said that he won’t allow this to happen. “Dacic warned me that he would not allow such speeches, but we will not stop, despite the measures he can take. Freedom of speech is allowed both by law and by the regulation of the Assembly,” Kamberi told Kosovo’s public broadcaster RTK during an interview in a harsh reaction to Dacic’s threats. In the meantime, during Kamberi’s meeting on Monday with Albania’s senior diplomat Cakaj it was expressed the deep concern on a number of judicial processes against Albanians just because of the use of the national symbols.

 

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES 

Bosnia and Serbia plan joint military exercise (Radio Free Europe, 24 November 2020)

For the first time after the armed conflicts of the 1990s, the armed forces of B&H and Serbia will engage in a joint military exercise on Bosnian territory. “This is a regular cooperation within the operational capability program required by NATO” Bosnian Defense Minister Sifet Podzic told Radio Free Europe. “That’s a standard cooperation we had before and will have in the future” he added. The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina approved the exercise on November 19, days before the anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war. It will take place next year on Mount Manjaca. Podzic explained the exercise was planned within the regional cooperation program stipulated by the US-Adriatic Charter – strategic partnership towards the integration into Europe’s political, economic, security and defense institutions. The Charter was founded in 2003 by Albania, Croatia, North Macedonia and US, in order to help the aspiring countries to join the NATO. Bosnia and Montenegro officially joined in 2008, while Serbia has a status of observer.

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