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Belgrade Media Report 08 March 2021

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Monday 8 March 2021

LOCAL PRESS

Vucic: West will demand that we recognize Kosovo (Tanjug/RTS/Politika/Novosti)
Selakovic: Fight against all forms of crime priority for government of Serbia (Tanjug/RTV)
Odalovic: Pristina needs to open archives (RTS)
Krivokapic: We would welcome Prime Minister Brnabic as the closest because we have no one closer than Serbia (Blic)
Palmer: Deal must be acceptable to both Belgrade and Pristina (N1)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Sattler meets Izetbegovic, Covic and Dodik (Dnevni avaz)
Magazinovic says opposition must be included in process of changing of Election Law on B&H, says behavior of Ambassador Sattler is shocking (Dnevni avaz)
Mijatovic urges Sattler to include SDP B&H in talks on changes to Law on Elections of B&H (Dnevni list)
Joint Statement on Position of Returnees in RS and Srebrenica signed by Reis Kavazovic and representatives of pro-Bosnian political parties (Dnevni avaz)
Niksic explains he did not sign Statement on Position of Returnees in RS and Srebrenica for political reasons (Dnevni avaz)
Nesic, Stevandic claim goal of Statement of Srebrenica is to divert attention away from FB&H and to change constitutional structure of B&H (EuroBlic)
Schmidt’s appointment as new High Representative will be confirmed soon, he will take over office in June (Nezavisne)
RS parties and institutions reject initiative of Zvizdic to solve issue of non-prospective military property at B&H level (ATV)
Pahor points out importance of EU enlargement in Western Balkans (O kanal)
Vucic claims that changes of DPA are B&H’s internal issue and he does not want to interfere; Vucic dismisses possibility of RS seceding from B&H, claims that no one wants secession or creation of new states and it will not happen (Face TV)
Croatia

Mikulic criticizes Magazinovic over his statement on Ambassador Sattler (Jutarnji list)
Montenegro

We put an end to the Freedom of Religion Law, says Abazovic (CdM)
Niksic: Incident near Djukanovic’s house (CdM)
Russians won’t need visa to enter MNE (Dan)
Republic of North Macedonia

Zaev offered the opposition the possibility of forming a broad government (Sloboden pecat)

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LOCAL PRESS 

Vucic: West will demand that we recognize Kosovo (Tanjug/RTS/Politika/Novosti

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said after the session of the National Security Council on Saturday, that Serbia is in a very difficult position when it comes to Kosovo and Metohija.

The Albanian authorities wanted to make a deeper impact on the Serb population. They succeeded in something “by buying human souls” south of the Ibar, because of misfortunes, they absolutely didn’t manage anything in the north. He announced at the press conference that the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina should be continued at the beginning of May, but that Serbia in the entire western hemisphere is expected to accept the independence of Kosovo.

I just want to say that we will protect national interests and preserve what has not been lost by irresponsible politicians in previous years, he said. He added that the Serbian side will insist louder and clearer than before on the full implementation of the Brussels Agreement and on the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities, as envisaged by the implementation agreement of 2015. We will wait for that and we will refer to the words of European representatives and Lajcak that what has been agreed must be fulfilled.

Selakovic: Fight against all forms of crime priority for government of Serbia (Tanjug/RTV

Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said today that the fight against all forms of crime is at the top of the priorities of the government of Serbia and an indispensable segment of the EU accession process. Participating in the video link at the 14th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which is being held in Kyoto, Selakovic pointed out that this is our moral obligation, in order to leave a better world behind us for generations. Selakovic emphasized that Serbia has set the goal of combating high-tech crime, human trafficking, terrorism and illegal migration in the “Second National Assessment of Threats from Serious and Organized Crime” from 2019. He pointed out that our country has timely established the normative and institutional framework which regulated the prevention of abuse in that area, as well as that the Special Prosecutor’s Office for High-Tech Crime, a special court department and a special police unit have been established. As Selakovic emphasized, Serbia is guided by the postulates of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption in the fight against corruption. He singled out the efforts of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, as an independent state body, in protecting the public interest, building individual and institutional integrity, strengthening transparency and accountability of public administration. We strongly condemn all forms of terrorism, including extremism and radicalism, and we advocate their complete eradication, implementing the relevant UN resolutions and conventions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the head of Serbian diplomacy pointed out. According to him, for the efficient and successful fight against these complex phenomena, it is crucial to build the capacity of our societies and states, with the exchange of experiences at the regional and global level. Selakovic thanked the Japanese Ambassador Hikihari for the skill of conducting negotiations on the harmonization of the Kyoto Declaration and its adoption, which is an important indicator of commitment to creating and maintaining an institutional framework for crime prevention as one of the main preconditions for promoting sustainable development goals.

Odalovic: Pristina needs to open archives (RTS

Serbian parliament’s General Secretary Veljko Odalovic told Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) that no conflict in the Balkans in recent history began because we wanted to fight among ourselves, and because we could not live together, it was always the interests of someone who provoked and supported those conflicts. Two days ago, the remains of Ranko Grujic, who died from NATO bombs, were reburied in Brestovik near Pec. He was buried during the war, and his grave was dug up in 1999 and the body taken away. According to him, the remains were later found at the Pec grave, because some repairs were made and by taking samples, a DNA confirmation was obtained that it was Ranko.“An appeal to the international community to open its archives, this had to be noted by some KFOR contingent or a soldier who found the body,” Odalovic said.He says that the bodies of seven Serbs were found in Djakovica a few years ago, in 1999 the event was recorded, the picture exists, the bodies. “We waited for 19 years to get the documentation, which KFOR made but did not share, in order to find the Sutakovic family in the bunker, where three minor children were killed and the father and mother were killed in the most brutal way,” he said. As he points out, we are asking the international community for archives and to make Pristina, for the so-called KLA, which presents itself as a formation, to open those archives, to see what happened to the people because the people did not get lost in the forest, they were kidnapped and most of them were brutally liquidated, and the question arises where the bodies are.

Krivokapic: We would welcome Prime Minister Brnabic as the closest because we have no one closer than Serbia (Blic

In an exclusive interview for Blic ahead of the 100 days of the new government, Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic says that he would never recognize independence of Kosovo.

Have you planned a meeting with the Serbian state leadership? 

“I sent an official invitation to Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic to visit Montenegro and my invitation remains open. We haven’t received any response, if we exempt responses to journalist questions as to who would welcome the Serbian Prime Minister. We would welcome her as the closest relative and closest person, because we have no one closer than Serbia. The Prime Minister brought the first vaccines to Podgorica, and I told her then that we are hoping to see her soon to welcome her as it befits Montenegrins and as a Prime Minister deserves.”

The Kosovo issue is big and important inside Montenegro as well for one part of citizens, but also for the relations with Serbia. Many hoped or wished for change of stand on independence. What is here reality and what only a wish? 

“The issue of Kosovo and Metohija is an emotional issue par excellence and it is completely clear that they consider Kosovo to be an inalienable part of Serbia. That part of our nation will think this way whatever the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina will be in the end. If I were the prime minister of Montenegro in a situation when Montenegro had not yet recognized Kosovo, I would never had given consent for this to happen. But, everything was finished before my entering of government and before this government. I heard those who say that the government passed this decision, so let the government withdraw it. Let us hypothetically do this. The government would be toppled in the parliament at the first next session. DPS would do everything to again form a government and again pass the same decision for Kosovo. Everything else is an imagination based on wishes. However, this is not an issue of a wish, but a reality.”

Palmer: Deal must be acceptable to both Belgrade and Pristina (N1

The US will not impose solutions to Belgrade and Pristina, but an agreement on the normalization of relations must be acceptable to both sides’ leaders, and peoples of Serbia and Kosovo, Matthew Palmer, Washington’s special envoy for Western Balkans, has told N1 on Friday. He said it is perfectly normal, and added he didn’t believe there was a deadline but that the US saw the issue as urgent. “The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be, and the challenges will be more complicated,” Palmer said. He added the US supported the EU and its envoy for the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajcak and said he hoped the two sides would soon resume the talks. Speaking about a burning issue of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO), whose implementation was dragging on for over seven years, Palmer said: “We clearly tell our partners in Belgrade and Pristina – it’s an obligation, and it must happen.” Palmer also said he didn’t see any contradiction in Albin Kurti’s statements, the most likely Kosovo’s next prime minister, who said the dialogue with Belgrade was not among his key priorities. “I heard his priorities are transparency, good management, fight against corruption… these are our priorities too,” Palmer said but added that Kosovo would have to deal with foreign policy and cooperate with neighbors. Asked if the US expected Serbia to move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as Belgrade said it would during the last year’s meeting with the former President Donald Trump, Palmer said that at the end, it’s Serbia’s decision where its embassy will be. “Our is in Jerusalem and will stay there.” Referring to the European Parliament (EP) report on Serbia in which the EP demanded from Belgrade to solve several serious affairs, Palmer said such cases should be resolved in line with European values and on the foundations of the European law. “Serbia’s EU membership will request much more than the normalization of relations with Kosovo,” Palmer warned, adding the standards for joining the bloc had 80,000 pages. “The rules are complex and demanding for the membership in that exclusive club.” They demand progress in media freedom, democratic, election reforms, transparency, good management, Palmer has told N1 TV.

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

Sattler meets Izetbegovic, Covic and Dodik (Dnevni avaz

 

The Head of the EU Delegation (EUD) to Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), Johann Sattler faced criticism of the opposition parties because of the meeting with leaders of SDA, HDZ B&H and SNSD Bakir Izetbegovic, Dragan Covic and Milorad Dodik respectively. Answering the daily’s inquiry about the meeting, the EUD responded that this meeting was an opportunity to exchange opinions about the fight against COVID-19, efforts towards economic recovery of the country and making of progress on carrying out of 14 key priorities of the European Commission. “Constitutional and electoral reforms, which can be achieved in this year when there are no elections, were discussed during the meeting as well. Dialogue about these reforms, throughout political spectrum is of key importance in order to secure wide support and in the end adoption in the Parliament of B&H. Public consultations with civil society are also crucial in all healthy democracies”, EUD stated. The SDP’s Vice President Vojin Mijatovic fiercely criticized the fact that the meeting was attended only by leaders of SDA, HDZ B&H and SNSD. SDP’s Sasa Magazinovic said that the role and behavior of Ambassador Sattler is shocking.

 

Magazinovic says opposition must be included in process of changing of Election Law on B&H, says behavior of Ambassador Sattler is shocking (Dnevni avaz

 

Chair of SDP B&H Caucus in the House of Representatives (HoR) of B&H Sasa Magazinovic said that it is unacceptable to know that there are no representatives of opposition parties in the Working Group in charge of development of changes to the Election Law of B&H. Magazinovic added that the decision on future election process is too important to exclude opposition, media and public in general from this process. “The conclusion, which imposes itself, is that outlines of a solution in line with wishes of (HDZ B&H leader) Dragan Covic already exist, as well as that those have an unconditional support of (SNSD leader) Milorad Dodik and (SDA leader) Bakir Izetbegovic, who is still trying to find a model according to which he would be able to fulfill Covic’s wishes and not have a part of the public condemn him for doing so,” Magazinovic said. Magazinovic also said that the role and behavior of Ambassador Johann Sattler is “shocking” and added: “They are talking to us about transparency, yet they are not being transparent. They are talking about European values, yet they do not adhere to those. They are talking to us about democracy and including of citizens in the process of adoption of decisions, and then they exclude even the Parliament and they reach agreements with party leaders in catering facilities. This is called hypocrisy”.

Mijatovic urges Sattler to include SDP B&H in talks on changes to Law on Elections of B&H (Dnevni list

 

Vice President of SDP B&H Vojin Mijatovic wrote an open letter to Head of the EU Delegation to B&H Johann Sattler saying that he is happy to see, based on Sattler’s posts on Twitter, that he is aware of natural beauties of B&H and that it is a country with maintained multi-cultural character and European values through its history. However, Mijatovic wondered if Sattler is aware of the fact that he is “participating in dismantling of B&H society in the most brutal way either through actions or lack of actions. Are you aware of the fact that people you constantly negotiate with outside of B&H institutions are up to their necks in crime and corruption in this country, including even enormous abuse of EU funds coming from EU member countries’ budgets? Is it possible Mr. Sattler that you do not know who (SNSD leader) Milorad Dodik, (SDA leader) Bakir Izetbegovic and (HDZ B&H leader) Dragan Covic are? Is it possible that it is EU’s stance to support changes of the Law on Elections of B&H in line with wishes of Dragan Covic and with consent of Dodik and Izetbegovic, which will permanently cement nationalism, hate and divisions in this country?”. Mijatovic added that he wants to believe none of these are the EU’s stances or personal stances of Sattler and urged Sattler to urgently include SDP B&H in talks on changes to the Law on Elections of B&H because this party will not allow “execution of civic B&H”. “This is the last call to return the process of changes to the Law on Elections to institutions of B&H and parliament of B&H, instead of having ethnic chiefs carry out this process behind closed door,” Mijatovic noted.

 

Joint Statement on Position of Returnees in RS and Srebrenica signed by Reis Kavazovic and representatives of pro-Bosnian political parties (Dnevni avaz

 

Following Thursday’s meeting of representatives of pro-Bosnian parties with Reis Husein effendi Kavazovic and signing of a joint Statement on Position of Returnees in Republika Srpska (RS) with an emphasis on Srebrenica, the daily reminded that the Statement was signed by Fahrudin Radoncic SBB B&H, Bakir Izetbegovic SDA, Elmedin Konakovic (NIP), member of B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic SDA and Federation of B&H Prime Minister Fadil Novalic SDA. The only one who attended the meeting but did not sign the Statement was SDP B&H leader Nermin Niksic. Kavazovic said that he felt the urge to act as a mediator for political representatives from different levels of authorities who might help find policies that would represent a concrete response to latest development of events in the RS and especially the attempt to completely eliminate Bosniaks, Croats and all other non-Serb citizens from the political life “and to complete the process of so called ethnic cleansing, especially in Srebrenica as the place where genocide was carried out”. Kavazovic added that the goal was also to encourage politicians to place interests of all citizens of B&H above interests of any political party. The daily also carried the entire text of the Statement on Position of Returnees in the RS and Srebrenica and noted that the Statement defined obligations of those who signed it in ten items:

1. Overcome all party interests in future political activities of pro-Bosnian parties in the RS and place the state of B&H and its citizens who are returnees to the RS in focus,

2. Strengthen position of integration forces in this part of B&H through joint activities and make lives of returnees easier,

3. Develop a comprehensive program on survival and sustainable development of Bosniaks and Croats in the part of B&H which is currently a part of B&H’s administrative unit – the RS entity – within 60 days,

4. Demand earmarking of annual funds for support to returnees in the amount of 0.2% to 2% during defining of budgets of B&H, entities, cantons and municipalities, 5. Provide unconditional institutional healthcare in the FB&H for returnees to the RS,

6. Develop a study and define a plan on establishment of B&H school centers in the RS so that returnee children would not have to endure discrimination in studying their mother tongue and ethnic group of subjects.

7. Insist on filing of lawsuits in all fields against institutions and individuals who violate basic human rights and make any kind of discrimination,

8. Insist on adoption of the Law on Restitution at the level of B&H and on signing of an agreement between the Islamic Community of B&H and state of B&H,

9. Define and adopt, within 60 days, a comprehensive plan on revitalization of Srebrenica which should be supported by all state institutions, political parties, non-governmental organizations and wide circle of public and which should include 10-year projection of political, economic and cultural activities in Srebrenica with clearly expressed goals and method for assessing of achieved results,

10. Insist on adoption of a new Statute of Srebrenica, which must secure equality in legislative and executive authorities, i.e. secure a special status for Srebrenica within the RS and B&H and have it proclaimed as the region of a special European importance.

Niksic explains he did not sign Statement on Position of Returnees in RS and Srebrenica for political reasons (Dnevni avaz

 

SDP B&H leader Nermin Niksic, in order to explain why he did not sign the joint Statement on Position of Returnees in the RS and Srebrenica which Reis Husein effendi Kavazovic offered to leaders of pro-Bosnian parties to sign on Thursday, published on Facebook his preparations for the meeting and noted that this post offers an insight in chronology of his statements. Niksic said that, at the meeting, he first apologized for “shame Bego Bektic caused to himself and everyone in SDP B&H” and he asked other participants of the meeting to say whether he (Niksic) disrespected agreements and promises previously made during meetings in ‘Holiday Inn’. “It is satisfaction enough for me that they said I did not do that but it is clear to me that SDA and its paid bots will surface this up whenever they need to justify themselves, just like SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic reiterated it on Monday for FTV by saying that SDP in Srebrenica helped SNSD,” Niksic said. Speaking about the text of the Statement, Niksic said that it “it seems as if it was written to once again throw dust in eyes of people and once again knowingly deceive them”. “I especially want to raise the question of why we had to sign the joint statement on these political matters with the Islamic Community of B&H. Political parties can sign mutual agreements on cooperation and support to a religious community or communities. I think that such agreement of the parties, whose leaders are Bosniaks, with the Islamic Community was a new attack – shot at B&H which might end it, right here in Sarajevo” Niksic argued. Niksic announced that SDP B&H will participate in all activities that will protect and assist returnees and create preconditions for sustainable survival. He also noted: “I cannot sign this statement for political reasons, even if I did not have any remarks to the text. SDP B&H is a multi-ethnic political party, it has members throughout B&H, members of all peoples and it is inappropriate for us to affiliate with any ethnic bloc. The question is do we need Serbs and Croats who do not hesitate to say that genocide was committed in Srebrenica or that there was the Joint Criminal Enterprise, who mark March 1 as the Independence Day, who recognize B&H as their own state. I do not want to doubt in good intentions of the organizer of this meeting and author of the Statement, but it is also not appropriate for us to throw a lifebelt to SDA in the situation in which they enabled HDZ B&H in the Federation of B&H and SNSD and HDZ B&H at the state level to have the absolute power to block all processes”. Niksic said that the goal of SDP B&H is to strengthen the state with political center in the parliament and Presidency of B&H and not in the Islamic Community of B&H. Niksic reminded that SDP B&H, together with its partners from The Four, proposed a law on support to returnees in Srebrenica which stipulates defining of an annual plan and program on development and earmarking of financial funds for the realization. Niksic added that the law was defined in such way that it could not be blocked by the RS and contained a number of economic measures.

Nesic, Stevandic claim goal of Statement of Srebrenica is to divert attention away from FB&H and to change constitutional structure of B&H (EuroBlic

 

Commenting on the joint Statement on Srebrenica, which was signed by representatives of pro-Bosnian political parties, representative in the House of Representatives (HoR) of B&H and DNS leader Nenad Nesic said that the document represents an attempt to divert attention away from problems in the Federation of B&H (FB&H) and shift the focus onto the RS. Nesic reminded that one of the burning problems in the FB&H are vaccines against coronavirus, having in mind the FB&H is the only one worldwide which failed to acquire a single vaccine although 3,700 people already died of consequences of coronavirus. Nesic added that the concern of SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic for returnees is best illustrated by the fact there are almost no Serb returnees in Grahovo, Drvar and Glamoc. Apart from this, Nesic reminded that Serbs still do not have the constituent status in two cantons of the FB&H and have no right to their own language and alphabet. “Bosniak politicians do not care about people because all of them got vaccinated or are about to be vaccinated in Croatia, including Minister of Foreign Affairs of B&H Bisera Turkovic”. Representative in B&H HoR and leader of United Srpska Nenad Stevandic said that the Statement was “a joint enterprise” signed with the goal to change political relations and constitutional structure of B&H. “This is a part of a joint operation which coincides with pressures of High Representative Valentin Inzko on the RS parliament and with the spin on materials from the past war, as well as with statements of a part of the international community which advocates some kind of a reorganization of B&H,” Stevandic argued. Stevandic reminded that the return to the RS is much better and stronger than in the FB&H and claimed that multi-ethnicity in the RS is at a much higher level than in the FB&H.

Schmidt’s appointment as new High Representative will be confirmed soon, he will take over office in June (Nezavisne

 

The daily reported that due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that the new US Administration still has not appointed its key officials, there has been a delay in appointment of the new High Representative. According to daily’s German sources, the decision will be passed within a few weeks, and Germany’s candidate for the post Christian Schmidt will be appointed new High Representative. Regardless of the delay, Schmidt is expected to take office in June 2021. He is currently trying to establish contact with all key officials in B&H and present his concept and plans to them. Once his appointment is confirmed, he is expected to address the wider B&H public. His goal will be implementation of the “5+2” agenda for closure of OHR, but there will be no deadlines set for its implementation. The sources told the daily that Schmidt is closely cooperating with the Office of Special EU Representative and that they will work together on implementation of the European agenda and realization of the 14 priorities defined by the European Commission. Schmidt will also cooperate with USA, EU member states and members of the Peace Implementation Council. He will use all the tools available to him, but his goal will be to encourage local political leaders to implement reforms and lead a constructive dialogue. According to the daily, Schmidt will have the authority of Germany’s support, but he will not be a German High Representative. The daily also noted that he is very familiar with the situation in B&H and local political leaders.

RS parties and institutions reject initiative of Zvizdic to solve issue of non-prospective military property at B&H level (ATV

 

ATV analyzed the stances of the RS regarding the recent initiative to regulate the use of non-prospective military property in B&H. MP Denis Zvizdic (SDA) submitted a request with the Council of Ministers (CoM) of B&H to create a draft of the law which would define the allocation of non-prospective military property to local communities. This has not been done yet. Chair of B&H CoM Zoran Tegeltija said that B&H officials have been discussing this issue for more than one decade now. He added that he believes the initiative of Zvizdic will not receive support in B&H institutions and that it should be solved differently. Delegates of SNSD in the B&H House of People (B&H HoP) announced that they will block any attempt to take over rights from the RS, including this initiative. Delegate of SNSD Dusanka Majkic said that property cannot be registered based on a decision, but only based on laws. She added that she believes that the story behind this initiative is that someone needs money and it is important to highlight this. The RS institutions rejected the initiative, saying that property issues are the competence of entities. Milorad Dodik said that B&H does not have the right to own property and the RS will never vote for property at the B&H level. Dodik said that property is not an unsolved issue and it has been solved by B&H Constitution.

Pahor points out importance of EU enlargement in Western Balkans (O kanal

 

According to Slovenian President Borut Pahor, enlargement of the EU in the Western Balkans is necessary for peace and security of the entire Europe and countries of the Western Balkans. He underlined that traditionally, Slovenia has always been and will be an ally for the EU enlargement in the Western Balkans. Pahor announced that the Western Balkans will be one of the topics once Slovenia takes over the presidency of the EU. Pahor stated that enlargement of the EU to the Western Balkans is difficult issue, adding that it is of extreme importance for peace and security of the Western Balkans and the EU. He went on to saying that Slovenia advocates the EU integration of the Western Balkans countries. President of Slovenia emphasized that this will be one of main topics that will be discussed at Brdo-Brijuni Summit that is scheduled for next month. Talking about the fact Slovenia will take over presidency over the EU in summer, Pahor underlined that the EU accession of the Western Balkans will be important part of their program. “It is my wish that at that conference in Ljubljana there will be an understanding among the European leaders that for peace, security of the entire EU and the Western Balkans, a strategic decision on faster integration of the entire Western Balkans is very important for both the EU and the Western Balkans,” Pahor said. Chair of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik stressed the support for the initiative of the President of Slovenia for Europe to treat the whole region in a special way and not reduce it only to the issue of technical implementation of requirements in regard to enlargement. “We know that there have been moments in the history of the EU when enlargement decisions have been made solely for political reasons,” Dodik underlined. Pahor met members of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik, Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic in Sarajevo. The officials discussed issues related to the Coronavirus pandemic, migrations and the EU integration of B&H. According to announcements, Slovenia will donate nearly 5,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to B&H. Chairman of the B&H Presidency Dodik expressed gratitude to Pahor for the announcement on donation of 4,800 doses of the vaccines. Dodik announced that B&H will attend the Brdo-Brijuni Summit and concluded that the pandemic caused numerous economic problems not just in B&H but also in Slovenia and other countries. Dodik reminded that B&H economy depends on economies of the EU and that Slovenia is the fifth ranked when it comes to the list of B&H’s foreign trade partners. Dodik underlined: “We believe that this kind of progress should continue”. Dodik said that the Presidency of B&H and the Council of Ministers (CoM) of B&H will decide about distribution of vaccines between entities and Brcko District.

Vucic claims that changes of DPA are B&H’s internal issue and he does not want to interfere; Vucic dismisses possibility of RS seceding from B&H, claims that no one wants secession or creation of new states and it will not happen (Face TV

Face TV carried an interview with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic who spoke about the fight against the coronavirus and Serbia’s donation of vaccines to B&H, possible changes of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA), the formation of the so-called ‘Mini Schengen’, the construction of Sarajevo-Belgrade highway, his wartime past and transformation from far-right politician with extremely nationalistic stances and rhetoric into a centrist who supports Serbia’s membership in the EU and possibility of the RS seceding from B&H. Commenting on possible changes of the DPA, Vucic said that he does not want to interfere because this is B&H’s internal issue and his only advice is to make sure that such changes will not make the situation worse than it is although an agreement between three constituent peoples would probably improve everything in B&H. He claims that he told members of the Presidency of B&H how he does not understand Bosniaks because the DPA is more beneficial to Bosniaks than to Serbs in terms of relations with Serbia but he refused to get further into details because he promised not to talk in public about his discussion with members of the Presidency of B&H. Asked about the formation of the so-called ‘Mini Schengen’, in particular allegations that it is his personal project and the goal is to unify all territories populated by Serbs into what is commonly known as the Serb land, Vucic stated that he does not know how anyone can be opposed to closer relations and better cooperation between B&H and Serbia without considering huge benefits this brings, i.e., joint phytosanitary inspections will reduce waiting lines at border crossings, the citizens will have no problems traveling from one country to another and better roads will reduce time spent travelling. He deems that those who truly believe in aforementioned allegations are shortsighted and he never uttered the phrase Serb land. In rebuttal, he said that better roads and highways will be beneficial to everyone, for example Bosniaks from Sandzak will need less time to come to B&H and vice versa once Sarajevo-Belgrade highway is constructed. Commenting on possibility of the RS seceding from B&H, Vucic reminded that no one in Serbia spoke about the RS’ secession and said that he is not afraid to speak his mind at any occasion regardless whether or not Serb member of the Presidency of B&H and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik is in his presence. He claims that no one in Serbia took it against Bosniak member of the Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic when Bosniak politician from Sandzak Sulejman Ugljanin described Serbia as a fascist state during Dzaferovic’s visit to Novi Pazar, mainly because no one cares what Ugljanin has to say. He stressed that he already told what he thinks about possible secession of the RS to Bosniak and Croat political leaders, as well as Dodik himself, but there has to be more mutual trust and Bosniak political leaders must show mote respect for the RS in order to get the same response from Serb political leaders. He pointed out that Serbs are currently more in favor of secession no matter what others may think about this but Serbs are not the only ones to blame for such stance. He underlined that no one wants secession or the creation of new states and it will not happen whatsoever, which is why he is calling for cooperation. He said that that the only thing he can guarantee is that Serbia will respect the international law and the DPA but Serbia is not asked to do anything more than this. He explained that he does not his love for the RS but he also has enormous respect for B&H, so much so that it would not be wrong to say he loves B&H and he sees no problem with this. As to his relations with Dodik, Vucic confirmed that their relations are good although they may not share the same opinion all the time. Nevertheless, he refused to reveal more details about differences between him and Dodik because they agreed not to speak in public about this, saying that he will continue to show nothing but respect to elected RS officials because he does not want the relations between the RS and Serbia to be as bad as they were during the war in B&H. He noted that B&H and Serbia have different perception of what happened in the past but B&H was internationally recognized as an independent state and Serbia will continue to work together with B&H while seeking to improve their cooperation in the future. Commenting on the fight against the coronavirus and Serbia’s donation of vaccines to B&H, Vucic said that Serbia and B&H, as well as the rest of the region, share the same suffering and problems. He claims that global relations, relations in Europe and in the region and the balance of power in general are shifting rapidly. He claims that the coronavirus is largely responsible for such changes as it helped Germany and China to emerge as true global superpowers. “More has changed during last year than in previous 20 years. When we see at the growth rates in the region alone and see how much Serbia has progressed as opposed to most others (countries) in less than two or three years, this tells that the coronavirus is changing everything and we should rely more on each other. If we do not understand this and keep thinking that we should hold bureaucratic speeches in which we are thanking everyone who want to hold us down in permanent poverty while having no cooperation between us because we hate and despise each other and we teach our kids to hate those of different faith in our neighborhood, well, then we are very stupid and it is no wonder why well continue to sink deeper and people will continue to leave the region,” Vucic said.  He disagreed with Hadzifejzovic’s assessment that his decision to visit personally come to Sarajevo and donate vaccines against the coronavirus is a huge political victory for him and a terrible defeat of all levels of the authorities in B&H, adding that he sees the situation differently because he has a bit more experience than B&H political leaders. He explained that he instructed other Serbian officials to start preparing for procurement of vaccines after he inquired about delivery of vaccines through the global mechanism for equitable access (COVAX) on multiple occasions and the EU officials could not come up with definitive answer. He stressed that unlike North Macedonia, Serbia did not rely solely on the EU simply because it was told to do so and the Serbian authorities were instructed to engage in bilateral talks with ‘Pfizer’ while he personally spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Xi Jinping in an effort to procure vaccines from manufacturers based in those three countries. According to Vucic, the only thing he sees as a defeat for all countries in the region is not knowing how to join forces, trust each other and act together. He pointed out that he will be very happy if lives of B&H citizens are saved due to vaccines donated by Serbia but what is more important now is to see what the future brings and if it is possible for the countries in the region to do more things together or speak to the international community with one voice because dissonance, conflicting stances and mutual animosity will bring nothing good to any country in the region.

 

Mikulic criticizes Magazinovic over his statement on Ambassador Sattler (Jutarnji list

 

Representative in the FB&H House of Representatives (HoR) Mario Mikulic from HDZ B&H, criticized SDP representative in the B&H HoR Sasa Magazinovic. Mikulic said that opposition parties always react when there is work on positive processes in B&H, reminding it was High Representative Valentin Inzko, US and UK Ambassadors Eric Nelson and Matthew Field respectively, and Head of the EU Delegation to B&H Johann Sattler were some sort of witnesses of the ‘Mostar agreement’ and guarantors of its implementation. According to Mikulic, Magazinovic’s strong statement against Sattler and the EUD is rather strange, having mind the fact that the aforementioned diplomats are proven friends of B&H. Mikulic added by saying that the Law on Elections will not be changed by Dragan Covic, Bakir Izetbegovic and Milorad Dodik, instead it will be changed by the parliament of B&H.

 

We put an end to the Freedom of Religion Law, says Abazovic (CdM

The initiative for the assessment of constitutionality of the Freedom of Religion Law aims to put an end to the story telling Montenegro’s cultural heritage would belong to someone else, that is, to Cacak, Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro and the Leader of the Civic Movement URA Dritan Abazovic noted. The Black on White caucus sent an initiative to the Constitutional Court for the assessment of constitutionality of Article 12, which refers to the protection of cultural heritage. “Our MPs voted for the religion law twice and we consider it liberal, good and equitable, and therefore, as a good solution for our legal system,” Abazovic told journalists.

Niksic: Incident near Djukanovic’s house (CdM

Near the family house of the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic in the village of Rastoci in Niksic, a minor incident occurred while the supporters of the For the Future of Montenegro coalition were driving in a convoy. A small group of supporters of Djukanovic’s politics was in front of his house, when there were skirmishes with the convoy participants, the police have unofficially told CdM. At one point, a stone was thrown at the convoy, on which occasion a window on one of the cars was broken. The police have unofficially told CdM that no one was hurt in the incident. The police have been working on identifying and finding a person who threw the stone.

Russians won’t need visa to enter MNE (Dan

The government of Montenegro has passed the decision granting temporary exemption from visas for citizens of the Russian Federation, who will be allowed to enter, cross the territory and stay in Montenegro from 1 April to 31 October 2021 for up to 90 days for a period of 180 days from the first day of their entry with a valid travel document, without visa. The government has also enabled a temporary visa-free entry for citizens of Kazakhstan and Armenia, in the period from 1 April to 31 October 2021.

 

Zaev offered the opposition the possibility of forming a broad government (Sloboden pecat

 

The Prime Minister of North Macedonia and the leader of SDSM, Zoran Zaev, offered the largest opposition party VMRO DPMNE the possibility of forming a broad government.

“We offer cooperation in every possible aspect. This is the first time I am saying this, I want to open a debate on joint government and government with the opposition. But to have a man to talk to, (VMRO DPMNE leader Christian) Mickoski cannot be talked to” said Zaev in an interview for Sloboden pecat. The Prime Minister of North Macedonia added that if a reasonable man is found in VMRO DPMNE, and not in his party, then, as he said, let Zaev be excluded, just so that the two parties can talk. “We have to unite our people because it is necessary – the people are too divided. Secondly, to deport the administration, and that is possible if both sides are inside. Clientelism in the judiciary and administration will disappear when everyone is in power” Zaev said. This is not the first time that Zaev has offered a broad government coalition to the Macedonian opposition. He had previously done so at one of the leadership meetings in the final phase of negotiations with Greece over Macedonia’s name, but then VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski rejected the offer. The leader of the Democratic Union for Integration Ali Ahmeti does not agree with the statement of his partner, the leader of SDSM, Zoran Zaev, to form a government with the opposition. Ahmeti says that the role of the opposition is to criticize the government, and according to him it happens in all countries in the world. The opposition gives its remarks, even if they are not in place, it is the role of the opposition, not only in our country, but in all developed countries, because only in special cases they can become part of an important process, otherwise they they have the task of disagreeing with the parliamentary majority, Ahmeti said, TV21 reports. From boasting about a stable majority Zaev reduced himself to stories of broad government only to escape responsibility. If his proposal is an escape from responsibility, then he should know that VMRO-DPMNE does not make pacts with criminals, you will end up in prison, VMRO-DPMNE said in a press release on Sunday. “All this comes after he was forced by the public and international factors to send him to prison, Zaev now takes the place of Saso Mijalkov, with the intention to manage like puppets with those like Todorov who in an alleged shift in VMRO-DPMNE are working for Zaev, for personal gain only. Zoran Zaev’s game is transparent. He is left without the Marriott coalitions, the various doctors of death as they called themselves, and now he is trying to interfere directly in VMRO-DPMNE. The orchestrated action with some former ministers who are no longer part of VMRO-DPMNE shows that Zaev is behind the various initiatives, Marriott coalitions, all in order to cover his fear,” said the party.

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Belgrade Media Report 23 April 2021

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