Stefanovic thanks China for supporting Serbia’s territorial integrity (Beta/Politika)
Serbian Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic and Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo talked about bilateral relations and the coronavirus pandemic. Stefanovic thanked China for its support for Serbia’s territorial integrity and its national interests and reiterated that Serbia’s support for the One China policy was principled, a statement from the Defense Ministry said.
He thanked China for sending doctors and medical assistance to curb the disease in Serbia. China’s donations to the Serbian Armed Forces, he said, have contributed to their modernization and raising operative capabilities. Ambassador Chen Bo stressed China’s firm support for Serbia and its legitimate demands to preserve its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Joksimovic, Portuguese Ambassador on Portuguese chairmanship (Beta)
Serbian Minister of EU Integration Jadranka Joksimovic talked with Portuguese
Ambassador to Serbia Maria da Silva Pina on Portugal’s priorities and plans ahead of its
assumption of the EU chairmanship in the first half of 2021, the current status of Serbia’s accession talks with the EU as well as the intensification of bilateral cooperation. She thanked Portugal for its active support in the process of European integration and voiced the expectation that during the country’s chairmanship over the EU Council, Serbia would have the opportunity to speed up negotiations on membership with the EU. The Ambassador underscored that Portugal would keep supporting Serbia’s European road in the future, and that the positive signals and concrete aid from the EU and its member states would be exceptionally important at a time when all of Europe was struggling to cope with difficulties caused by the pandemic.
“Although enlargement policy is not one of the planned priorities, Portugal will not only not neglect enlargement and the European integration of the Western Balkans, but it will endorse additional progress and this will create an opportunity for Portugal and Serbia to step up their bilateral cooperation in addition to cooperation in European integration,” she said.
Petkovic: Vucic’s visit to Kosovo and Metohija not banned but canceled over Patriarch’s death (TV Pink/Tanjug/RTV)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was not banned to visit Kosovo and Metohija, said the Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Petar Petkovic, stressing that this visit was planned, but that it was cancelled over the death of Patriarch Irinej. Petkovic elaborated the chronology of events, noting that he had first announced the visit to Kosovo and Metohija for last Saturday, and that afterwards Stubla sent a request to visit the same day the Kizevak location near Raska, where the grave was discovered. “Stubla’s request shows that she did not intend to visit earlier this location, because this can be approved only by the authorized judge of the Higher Court, war crimes department. She wanted to make a political show and to strike on the normalization of relations and the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue,” Petkovic told TV Pink. He says the Office for Kosovo and Metohija afterwards informed Pristina that President Vucic wants to visit northern Kosovo and Metohija, as well as five locations in Metohija for which there are suspicions that they are mass graves of Serbs and non-Albanians. “We asked Pristina to start excavating those graves as soon as possible, but they refused. When we raised the issue in the dialogue, the Pristina side refused to hand over the KLA archives because those documents show exactly how many such locations there are,” noted Petkovic. Petkovic says that after President Vucic’s request to visit Kosovo and Metohija, the EU joined in with the message that tensions need to be lowered over the Serbian and Albanian public and cancel both visits.
Comic: What I am doing now is DS policy (NIN/Beta)
Serbian Minister of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue Gordana Comic has said
that what I am doing now is the Democratic Party (DS) policy, as there was no guarantee that anything had changed in the authoritarian regime “but obviously it has a desire, because were that not true there would be no ministry. “This Ministry would have the same unified policy
and same value system in any government, with any authorities and any opposition,” Comic told NIN magazine. Asked what the sphere of social dialogue meant, she replied it is the effort to lay foundations of a space which people who cannot stand each other would enter to discuss subjects that are in the interest of society. “We have monologues, people who scream that everything is great, others screaming that nothing is how it should be, while the citizens inhabit the deep space between the two in which they cannot hear anyone talking about the real problems that need to be worked on,” Comic said.
Istraga.ba in possession of recording showing how HJPC’s Tegeltija gave promise to former HJPC member Buha that he will appoint her sister as judge in Banja Luka District Court (Al Jazeera Balkans)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) web portal Istraga.ba has published recording of a phone conversation in which one can mostly hear the voice of President of the B&H High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) Milan Tegeltija, as well as his collocutor, Milijana Buha, who used to be a HJPC member until recently, whose sister Sanja Cegar works as an expert associate in the Banja Luka District Economic Court. According to the recording, Tegeltija gave promise to Buha that he will appoint her sister to the post of a judge in the Banja Luka District Court and he also said: “It should not be a problem for her to apply in Gradiska or Prijedor and that she works there for a year and we shall transfer her here afterwards. I will deal with the tactics because you are not familiar with it.” The conversation also shows Tegeltija explaining to Buha how to arrange this without endangering her career and the position in the HJPC and without involvement of media. Tegeltija told Al Jazeera Balkans that he does not want to comment on, as he called them, ridiculous attempts of manipulation and discrediting by the web portal Istraga.ba with constructions taken out of context through illegal, unreliable and fabricated content. “The only thing that I can confirm is that member of HJPC Milijana spoke to me about the issue of her conflict of interest in the case of her sister applying to a vacancy notice a year or two years ago, which is quite normal, and that I told her that this would represent conflict of interest in that situation. As one can see, a year or two years after those conversations, Sanja Cegar is still an expert associate in the Banja Luka District Court, where she was when those conversations were conducted. Therefore, in this case, everything is clean as a whistle,” Tegeltija was quoted as saying. The Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor of the HJPC has confirmed that it received a complaint against Tegeltija after the ‘Istraga.ba’ portal published abovementioned audio recording. Both Tegeltija and Buha denied the accusations. Tegeltija said that there is nothing disputable in this case and that he does not intend to comment on ridiculous manipulative and discrediting attempts through statements taken out of context based on certain unlawful, inaccurate and contracted contents.” Buha stated that all her conversations with Tegeltija were related only to the possible conflict of interest, noting that she has never asked Tegeltija to help the appointment of her sister as a judge. She stressed that the accusations represent an attempt to disqualify her sister from vacancies to which she might apply in the future.
OSCE calls on competent bodies to conduct swift and detailed investigation on all allegations concerning corruption and inappropriate behavior of any member of HJPC (Nova BH)
The OSCE Mission to B&H called on competent bodies to conduct swift and detailed investigation on all allegations concerning corruption and inappropriate behavior of any member of the HJPC. It was added from the OSCE Mission that they are not in position to confirm authenticity of the audio recording of the conversation between HJPC President Milan Tegeltija and former HJPC member Milijana Buha. They underlined that any activity implying that appointments in B&H judiciary have been carried out on the ground of any factors but professional merits additionally confirms results of an analysis conducted by the OSCE Mission and results of the analyses of many investigative journalists and media. It was emphasized in the OSCE Mission’s statement that any incoherent procedures of appointments, including evidence that during appointments priority has been occasionally given to personal or political relations over demonstrated merits, decrease efficiency of judicial system and additionally undermine trust of the public to institutions. The OSCE Mission to B&H also called for investigation, stressing that nobody is above the law – not even the holders of high-ranking judicial functions.
US Embassy: Integrity of High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council and other judiciary institutions is crucial (FTV)
FTV reports that the US Embassy to B&H commented the most recent scandals in the judiciary. According to the US Embassy, integrity and professionalism of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) and other judiciary institutions is crucial. The US Embassy has called for all relevant institutions, particularly B&H Prosecutor’s Office to earnestly address and investigate allegations of corrupt activities in the judiciary.
Russian Ambassador Ivantsov holds farewell meeting with RS officials (ATV)
Outgoing Russian Ambassador to B&H Petr Ivantsov held a farewell meeting with the Republika Srpska (RS) officials in Banja Luka on Thursday. The RS officials said that the RS is grateful for the consistency that Ambassador Ivantsov had when it comes to defending the political stances of the RS in regard to the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). B&H Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik stated that Ivantsov expressed understanding towards the RS and B&H during his mandate and that Russia is an important country in implementation of peace in B&H and an important partner of the RS and B&H. Dodik further said that Ivantsov’s mandate will be remembered as a period of promoting strong and principled partnership that was built, as well as a period of the Russian Ambassador’s commitment to hear the views of the RS in the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), where he was a respected member. “I am glad that you understand our policy of preserving the DPA. You were a true friend and you had a sensibility for our views. We share the basic values of international law with your country,” Dodik was quoted as saying. RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic stated that Ivantsov showed consistency when it comes to the defense of the RS’ political views in relation to the DPA. Cvijanovic emphasized that the RS needs friends who understand the reality and who do not want to take part in violent changes of the DPA or the disruption of relations within B&H that is evident. “We appreciate those who want harmony to rule internally and that harmony can rule thanks to adherence to the international agreement, and that is why Russia’s role is really great,” Cvijanovic stressed.
Ivantsov said that he has always advocated for the Dayton rights of entities and peoples in B&H and that he did not make difference between Bosniak, Croat or Serb politicians. “I advocated for the peoples here to live in peace, cooperate and seek solutions together,” Ivantsov said, adding that he is leaving B&H with the hope that he did something good for the RS, but also for B&H. “I wish the people of the RS peace, prosperity and stability,” Ivantsov emphasized. Ivantsov stressed that Dodik’s address before the UN SC was useful and that it is good that voice from the RS was heard for the first time. “This meeting made it possible for members of the Security Council to hear not only those official addresses that are held twice a year. They should also listen to people who represent not only their political parties, but also their peoples,” Ambassador Ivantsov underlined. Igor Kalabuhov will take over as the new Russian Ambassador to B&H.
Cvijanovic: Dodik’s address to UN SC was opportunity to hear truth about situation which RS is in (ATV)
ATV carries that the recent address of B&H Presidency Chairman and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik to the UN Security Council (UN SC) continues to provoke reactions. The RS officials stressed that the only difference between the High Representative and the Constitutional Court (CC) of B&H is in whom the Bonn powers formally belong to. The officials of the RS noted that the fact that High Representative Valentin Inzko is bragging about not using the Bonn powers that often means nothing to them. RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic said that Dodik’s address to the UN SC was an opportunity to hear the truth about the situation which the RS is in. “When Valentin Inzko says – I did not use Bonn powers. You did not, but judges of the CC, foreign judges wrote in their memoires, that they had to consult the High Representative when reaching decisions. Whether he is called Valentin Inzko or something else, we do not care. Practice to reach a decision of the CC and to consult with someone who is the High Representative is unacceptable,” Cvijanovic underlined. Cvijanovic stressed that Dodik’s speech at the UN SC meeting dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) was statesmanlike and striking. Cvijanovic pointed out that many condemnations that came both from political Sarajevo and from foreign ambassadors mean only one thing – that people are not used to a dose of truth. Experts, on the other hand, claim that increasingly frequent statements from the OHR that the need to use the Bonn powers is growing could be seen as a threat, adding that problem is the way in which Inzko interprets the Bonn powers. The RS government Secretary General Sinisa Karan stated that the RS is the biggest protector of the Constitution of B&H and the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA) today and it is an absurd to accuse the RS of being the biggest violator of the Constitution of B&H and the DPA. According to Karan, Serb member of B&H Presidency and B&H Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik presented clear stances of the RS on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the DPA before the UN SC on Tuesday. He stressed that the RS’ stances presented in reports to the UN SC are important so that everyone who is interested in the situation in B&H can have an overall picture – not one-side one as presented by High Representative Valentin Inzko. According to Karan, the RS has survived a number of pressures, false accusations, disputing, deprived allocations of funds and bans, but despite everything the RS has proven that it can exist and survive.
Zvizdic warns that he will leave party if those responsible for defeat in local elections do not resign (Al Jazeera Balkans)
Al Jazeera Balkans carries that turmoil in SDA, which is ruling and one of the largest political parties in B&H, continues. After SDA was shaken in the local elections and defeated in Sarajevo and other major cities, SDA Vice-President Denis Zvizdic warned that he will leave the party, along with many other members – if those responsible for the defeat do not resign. Zvizdic especially pointed out Sebija Izetbegovic, the wife of SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic. Zvizdic called SDA’s defeat in the local elections in Sarajevo humiliation, stressing that reconstruction of the party has to start in the B&H capital. “President of the Cantonal Board and his vice-presidents, including Mrs. Izetbegovic, have to step down from the positions they have in the party. This is the only way to save SDA and to try to restore the voters’ trust. The party must be reset,” Zvizdic was quoted as saying. Zvizdic concluded that SDA lost more than 70,000 votes and that this is consequence of the many affairs that rocked the party in the previous period. Zvizdic pointed out the ‘Asim’ affair in which the former closest associate of the SDA leader spoke of many malversations in an audio recording, as well as ‘Respirators’ affair because of which the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H is conducting an investigation against Federation of B&H Prime Minister Fadil Novalic (SDA) due to suspicious purchase of Chinese respirators. Asked if he knew about SDA’s member Denis Zvizdic’s request for the removal of some SDA members and resignation of the Sarajevo Canton Board leadership, Izetbegovic said that he was surprised by Zvizdic’s statement, his attitude in the crisis and towards people, noting “he made a wrong judgement, I am not a man that you give ultimatums to, nor do I think ultimatums should be given to renowned commanders such as Mr. Fikret Prevljak who has already offered his resignation”. Izetbegovic added that responsible persons should deal with the consequences of poor election results, but first it needs to be established who they are. Asked if the result of local elections in Sarajevo is the consequence of the local SDA leaders’ work, or it reflects the situation at the state level, Izetbegovic said it is combination, including the crisis and nervousness caused by the crisis and the pandemic, as well as “affairs that are blown out of proportions and social networks, most effective in Sarajevo.
Izetbegovic and Zvizdic enter open conflict about responsibility for party’s poor results in local elections (O Kanal/Dnevni avaz/TV SA)
SDA leader and deputy speaker of B&H House of Peoples Bakir Izetbegovic talked to O Kanal and commented the condition that Denis Zvizdic set for him staying in the party- departure of individuals who constantly inflict the damage and resignation of leadership of SDA Sarajevo Canton Board. Izetbegovic said that he has not expected Zvizdic to present such stance, adding that he often learns about Zvizdic’s important stances from the media and that he knows Zvizdic in “different light”. “He has made a somewhat bad assessment and now he will have a chance to meet me. I am not a man to whom ultimatums are made, nor I think that ultimatums should be made to prominent commanders, such is Mr. Fikret Prevljak. Anyway, he already offered his resignation. In general, I do not think it was a good to use a word that someone has to do something, because the chances are reduced. People do not like to be ordered around, they are elected. If those who made mistakes need to face the consequences, we will first see who those people are. Then they will go. They will not be ordered around by Bakir Izetbegovic, or by Mr. Zvizdic” said Izetbegovic. Izetbegovic added: “People who left this country during the war, will not be insulting those who defended it. They will not order us around, this is something that as SDA leader, I am guaranteeing.” Briefly after, deputy speaker of B&H House of Representatives and SDA Vice President Zvizdic answered Izetbegovic: “I was looking the appearance of my friend, Mr. Izetbegovic. This appearance had a dose of nervousness, which is completely logical, all of us from the SDA leadership should be concerned by such catastrophic results in SC and we should be nervous and concerned. This appearance has a dose of latent aggression, which left no effect on me, because my friend Bakir is well aware that I do not work under any pressures or blackmails, this has no effect on me,” Zvizdic told TV SA. Zvizdic further noted that nobody in SDA should be surprised by his statements that party leadership should resign, underlining that Izetbegovic gave him nothing, but it was SDA who nominated him for certain posts and he repaid the party with huge number of votes. Commenting Izetbegovic’s statement that “people who left country during the war will not be insulting those who defended it” Zvizdic explained that he did not leave B&H, but was heavily wounded and was evacuated to Germany for medical treatments and numerous operations. Vice President of SDA Adil Osmanovic commented the election results and he told daily that it is up to the SDA Presidency to make final and concrete moves. Commenting Zvizdic’s condition, Osmanovic said that Zvizdic comes from Sarajevo Canton and certainly is well familiar with the situation. “However, the Collegium of the party concluded that SDA has to provide answer to certain affairs, which happened in brief period of time and that there are no escaping the responsibility,” said Osmanovic.
Krivokapic presents composition of the government (CdM)
Presenting the final proposal for the composition of the new government Prime Minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic announced today that the deputy prime minister is URA leader Dritan Abazovic. Krivokapic proposed the following candidates for the ministers: Defense Minister Oliver Injac, Interior Minister Sergej Sekulovic, Foreign Minister Djordje Radulovic,
Milojko Spajic will be Minister for finances and social welfare, Minister for education, science, culture and sport Vesna Vratic, health minister Jelena Borovinic Bojovic, Ministers for economic development Jakov Milatovic, Minister of capital investments Mladen Bojanic,
Tamara Srzentic Minister of public administration, digital society and media, Minister of ecology, spatial planning and urbanism candidate Ratko Mitrovic, Minister of agriculture, forestry and water management Aleksandar Stijovic and Minister of justice and minority rights Vladimir Leposavic.
During a mass rally, Mickoski calls on Zaev to resign (Republika)
Speaking before thousands of supporters in front of the Government building, VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski called on Zoran Zaev to resign as Prime Minister after his complete surrender on all issues of national identity and history. Resignation for Zaev, freedom for the people, Mickoski said at the opening of the protest. “There are things that are sacred and which are not for sale, at least for anyone with a sane mind and common sense. Things that make us special and are part of our identity. We’ve been silent for too long, we held our heads bowed for too long. Now is the time to say enough, for Macedonians to fight for what is right. What Zoran Zaev is doing to Macedonia is shameful treason, endearing himself to the Bulgarian political elite just to keep his office. He gave up on the sacrifices of the Ilinden Uprising, of the partisans who were the descendants of Ilinden, walked over their bones, Mickoski said. Over a thousand cars joined the long column along the Ilinden Boulevard in Skopje, on route to the government building. Additional protests are planned for tomorrow, in several Macedonian cities, organized by VMRO but also spontaneously by citizens self-organizing online. A large faction in the ruling SDSM party is openly rebelling against Zaev’s cave on all Bulgarian demands and this is adding to the calls for him to resign. “I ask you to consider this as a protest that transcends parties. We must be united and that is the only way we can win. This is a very serious crisis and we are bound to act,” Mickoski said.
VMRO-DPMNE will initiate a vote of no confidence in the Zaev government (Republika)
During a TV interview held shortly after the large VMRO-DPMNE protest rally in Skopje, opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski announced that the party will initiate a vote of no confidence in the PM Zoran Zaev Government. “This will be good opportunity for Zaev and his top diplomats Bujar Osmani and Nikola Dimitrov to explain what they did and if they deserve to carry on. The Parliament is evenly split, let’s see what happens,” Mickoski said. Zaev’s ruling coalition has only 62 seats in the 120 seat Parliament, and VMRO-DPMNE has indicated that a number of SDSM representatives or coalition members have been privately preparing to jump ship. The proposal will be submitted next week, and the debate should begin the week after.
Today protests in Kumanovo, Tetovo, Veles, Kavadarci, Prilep, Ohrid and Bitola (Republika)
A protest under the motto “Zaev’s resignation, freedom of the people” will be held today at 6 pm in Kumanovo, Tetovo, Veles, Kavadarci, Prilep, Ohrid and Bitola. VMRO-DPMNE calls on all citizens to join in defense of national interests. “It is time for the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia to unite and put an end to the madness of Zoran Zaev, the man who wants to sell the national interests. Zaev should publicly apologize for the insults against the Macedonian citizens and our ancestors and heroes. Zaev cannot deliver anything good for his country and he must leave. Resign immediately! Only with the resignation of Zoran Zaev, Macedonian citizens will live better,” says the party’s call.