Vucic: Peace, working together is future (Tanjug/RTS)
The future lies in working together and in peace and the most important thing for better life of citizens is to develop economic relations and preserve peace and stability, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Banjaluka on Thursday. “We had a session of the Cooperation Council, I listened closely to all opinions about the political situation in Republika Srpska (RS) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). For us, it is important to develop the economies while preserving peace and stability to ensure a different and better future for citizens,” Vucic said.
It is important that people in the RS and Serbia see that they will have jobs, that their children will be able to stay in their ancestral homes and that they will have a future without the burden of concerns that existed 25-30 years ago, Vucic said. “We should know that peace is the future and that working together is the future,” Vucic told a press conference with the Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik and RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic. He said B&H was Serbia’s third-largest export destination and its seventh-largest trade partner overall, behind Germany, Italy, Russia, China, Hungary and Romania. “B&H is a very important partner for us and I believe trade can be significantly higher in 2021 than it was in 2020, when there was a 11 percent decline due to the coronavirus, at a time when we reached a trade volume of over 2 billion Euros,” Vucic said.
Session of Coordination Body for Serbia’s EU accession held (RTV/Tanjug)
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic chaired on Wednesday the session of the Coordination Body for the process of Serbia’s EU accession, dedicated to the most important current issues in the process of our country’s accession to the EU. This primarily refers to the new government’s coordination structure for negotiations with the EU, harmonized with the principles of the new methodology of the EU enlargement policy. Serbian Minister for EU Integration and Chief Negotiator of Serbia for Accession Negotiations Jadranka Joksimovic informed members of the government and representatives of the Coordination Body that we expect an intergovernmental conference to be held by the end of June, at which the implementation of the new methodologies for our country will be presented. According to her, accepting the reformed way of joining the EU, Serbia responsibly and timely introduced the cluster approach in its coordination structure and thus committed itself to even more thorough harmonization of reform activities and additional political synergy and stronger political leadership of the process, as the new methodology requires. The activities of the government in all six clusters were considered, primarily those in the first one, which refers to the rule of law. It was concluded that additional efforts should be directed to reach the transitional criteria in that segment, which were set by the EU, and which are the most important for further progress of the negotiation process. Joksimovic emphasized that in difficult epidemiological conditions last year, we completed the revision of action plans for negotiating Chapters 23 and 24 in consultation with the EU and civil society, assessing that in that way the reform continuity was achieved. In particular, preparations for the potential opening of cluster 3 – competitiveness and inclusive growth and cluster 4 – green agreement and sustainable connectivity were discussed, as well as further activities to accelerate the implementation of reforms in the accession process. At the meeting, which was attended by representatives of all ministries, Joksimovic presented the improved and changed negotiating structure, in accordance with the principles of the new methodology. Given that the new methodology defines six leading EU policies, it was agreed that the negotiating groups, which until now, according to the previous methodology, worked mostly independently, will now be thematically linked within a single cluster, which will be managed by cluster coordinators. In this way, as explained, the coherence of the Negotiation Support Team will be achieved and the political leadership of the process will be improved, as a new approach and demand.
Bujanovac joins “Community of Albanian Municipalities in the Region” (Juzne vesti/RTS)
Councilors of the Municipal Assembly of Bujanovac adopted the request of the Community of Albanian Municipalities in the region that the municipality join the organization, which made Bujanovac officially a part of the community. The Director of the Tourist Organization Shuajb Neziri, who explained the proposal, said that the membership would bring benefits to the citizens of the municipality, reports the portal Juzne vesti. All councilors of Albanian parties and one of the representatives of the Roma, write Bujanovacke, voted for this request, in the explanation of which it is written that this will lay the foundations for strong and long-term cooperation in the region where a third of the population is Albanian. The initiative for Bujanovac’s accession to the community came from a meeting with the president of the community, which was held in Tirana, where the center of the organization is. “The community will serve to exchange experiences with all member municipalities and achieve partnerships for sustainable development. We will work on joint projects and platforms in the field of urbanism, innovation, environmental protection, culture, art,” said Neziri.
Vucic with Kurti in Brussels in mid-May (Politika)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will be on Monday, 26 April, on a working visit in the EU headquarters. On that occasion, there will be no talks with the Prime Minister of the provisional institutions Albin Kurti, as speculated by certain provincial media over the past days. As Politika lears, the meeting between Vucic and Kurti is expected in Brussels in mid-May. The objective of Vucic’s visit and his discussions with top EU officials will be accelerating Serbia’s EU integration. Vucic will make the visit at the invitation of EU High Representative Josep Borrell, who will host a luncheon for a top-ranking delegation from Belgrade. Prior to that, Vucic will meet with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and is also scheduled to speak with Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi. A meeting with EU Envoy Miroslav Lajcak is also on the agenda of Vucic’s trip to Brussels, with the two expected to discuss a continuation of the process of normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations.
Dacic calls inter-party dialogue meeting for 28 April (FoNet)
Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic said on Wednesday that talks with the political parties that do not want European Parliament mediation in the inter-party dialogue on election conditions has been scheduled for 28 April. Dacic told MPs that those parties would come to parliament for the meeting in the small hall. “Those are the parties that have said that they do not want that (EU mediation) and all the parties of the ruling coalition have been invited as well as the president who has been invited as both state president and leader of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) but it’s up to him whether he will take part and how,” Dacic said. He said that he spoke to Prime Minister Ana Brnabic about implementing conclusions, conducting public debates and reaching a wide-ranging consensus on the announced constitutional amendments.
Patriarch tells OSCE mission chief church ready to discuss problems (Beta)
Serbian Patriarch Porfirije said on Wednesday that the church is always ready to discuss ways to solve problems standing in the way of peace and cooperation in the region. Patriarch Porfirije told OSCE Serbia Mission chief Jan Braathu that an inter-faith dialogue is important as the way to reach and preserve a peaceful life together. He said that he appreciates the efforts of Raska Prizen Bishop Teodosije and his subordinate clergy who were subjected to false accusations aimed at causing anxiety and jeopardizing the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. The press release quoted Braathu as saying that the OSCE appreciates the efforts of the Patriarch to build peace and stability, adding that the Patriarch can expect his full support because one of his priorities is helping develop religious tolerance.
Dacic’s message to Bosniak politicians in B&H: Do not support independent Kosovo (Dnevni list)
Speaker of the Serbian Parliament Ivica Dacic said that he would advise Bosniak politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), who fight for preserving of territorial integrity of B&H, to not openly support independence of Kosovo and undermine territorial integrity of Serbia because every country “has its own Kosovo”. Dacic told Bosniak politicians not to talk about Kosovo because they must be aware it is viewed through their attitude towards the issue of territorial integrity. According to him, one who fights for preserving territorial integrity of B&H should not openly support undermining of territorial integrity of any other internationally recognized country. When it comes to the alleged non-paper about changes to borders in the Western Balkans, Dacic said he has not seen the non-paper, arguing it would appear that “everyone has become dull” about ‘Greater Albania’, whilst they mind mentioning of Republika Srpska (RS) and Serbia. In this context Dacic added that ‘we’ advocate the Dayton agreement, maintaining integrity of B&H, equality of three peoples and two entities, preservation of the RS, but are against creation of ‘Greater Albania’.
Roth: Fantasies about changing borders belong to failed past (Nezavisne/DW)
Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth stated that change of borders does not solve any problem in the Western Balkans, as well as that this story can be very dangerous and reopen Pandora’s box full of conflicts. In an interview with Deutsche Welle in Albanian, on the occasion of the so-called ‘non-paper’ allegedly submitted by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa to European Council President Charles Michel, Roth said that the present and future of the Western Balkans are in reconciliation, close regional cooperation and moving away from nationalism and revanchism. “The countries of the Western Balkans are and remain countries of multi-religious and multiethnic societies. It is a precondition for peace, prosperity and democracy. I am convinced that the Slovenian Government has clearly distanced itself from fantasies about changing the borders, because no one in Europe is interested in that” Roth said. Roth stressed that the memories of the war events of the 1990s of the last century should be a sufficient warning for everyone, adding that fantasies about changing the borders belong to the failed past.
US, UK Embassies, EUD condemn negative rhetoric; OHR is silent regarding Izetbegovic’s statements (Dnevni list/RTRS)
The US Embassy to B&H responded to the daily’s request to comment latest statements of SNSD leader Milorad Dodik and SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic. Namely, Dodik announced formation of team for negotiations on dissolution of B&H, and Izetbegovic said that he cannot say that there would be no war in B&H. The US Embassy stated that B&H citizens deserve more from their leaders than disruptive actions which have the goal to shift attention away from primarily economic and electoral reforms, as well as reforms in the field of rule of law which will help the country move forward. “Inflammatory rhetoric which mentions war, secessionism and B&H is dangerous, irresponsible and unacceptable. As far as the status of B&H as a state is concerned, it is not opinions that matter, but facts and international law. Territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H are guaranteed by the Dayton Peace Agreement” the Embassy stated. Furthermore, the US Embassy reiterated that USA’s stance on Dayton Agreement and the future of B&H as an integral state destined to join the Euro-Atlantic community remains unchanged. “We are dedicated to the principles of Dayton – B&H is a democratic, sovereign, and independent state with unquestionable territorial integrity,” stated the US Embassy. UK Ambassador to B&H Matthew Field stated that the stance of UK and the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) on status of B&H is well-known and it remains unchanged – disintegration of B&H is not possible. Field reiterated that UK and PIC remain dedicated to the territorial integrity of B&H and its fundamental structure of a single, sovereign state comprising two entities. “The entities have no right to secede from B&H and the only exist legally by virtue of the B&H Constitution. All contrary rhetoric leads to divisions and diverts attention away from crucial work on improving lives of citizens and work on economic and health consequences of the pandemic,” Field wrote in a Twitter post. In a written statement to RTRS, the EU Delegation (EUD) to B&H provided a comment on the warmongering statements, which reads: “We call on all political actors to refrain from the rhetoric of divisions and creation of unnecessary tensions and, instead, to focus their attention on work and constructive dialogue that is required for B&H to move forward on its chosen path to the EU”. Reporter noted that the Office of the High Representative (OHR) is still silent when it comes to rhetoric used by SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic.
Turkovic sends instructions to B&H embassies in regards to non-paper (BHT1)
B&H Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic sent an instruction to all diplomatic-consular representation offices of B&H concerning information about existence of non-paper that allegedly calls for retailoring of borders in the Western Balkans. The instruction reads that B&H diplomats should inform authorities of their host countries that every malicious idea denying continuity of B&H in its internationally recognized borders jeopardizes huge progress achieved over last two decades with strong international assistance. It further reads that B&H embassies need to present precise and correct information about B&H, its legitimate institutions and processes. Among other things, the instruction reads that B&H is an independent, internationally-recognized state that is a member state of the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the other international organization, but also a state that filed application for the EU membership and a partner country of the NATO. The instruction also reads that promotion of ideas on change of borders in B&H is contrary to democratic principles, human rights and relevant decisions and stances of institutions of the EU, while calling the territorial integrity of B&H into question represents the harshest violation of the Constitution of B&H and its international and legal status and the position.
Reactions to Turkovic’s instruction sent to B&H diplomatic offices regarding non-paper (ATV)
Comments that B&H Minister Turkovic bypassed B&H Presidency when she sent instructions to all diplomatic and consular missions to inform the authorities of the country where they have their headquarters, about the disputable non-paper document. This non-paper includes the idea of changing the borders of B&H, which Turkovic called malicious. The Serb Member and Chairperson of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik stated: “The Constitution of B&H is not respected at all. We have far more examples of violations of the Constitution to which she has never reacted, but she is ready (to react) to the story, which is not the property of B&H and did not start from here. Serb representatives have their views and know how to work”. Reporter added that when it comes to Serb diplomats around the world, Turkovic’s instructions will not be respected without the confirmation of B&H Presidency. B&H Ambassador to US Bojan Vujic stated: “Minister Turkovic’s letter did arrive to the Embassy of B&H in Washington. Such instructions should be delivered by the B&H Presidency in order to be valid and binding, and we will act accordingly. I hope that other colleagues will have the same stance”. The instructions of the B&H Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reached the address of the former consul in Frankfurt, Luciano Kaluza. Instructions like this, Kaluza said, only ignite the fire. “One of the causes is, on the one hand, the incompetence of the people who work there, and on the other hand, even a certain type of malice with the intention of complicating such a complicated situation even more,” commented Kaluza. Turkovic did not ask for the consent of the B&H Presidency, which is in charge of the foreign policy, for decisions on B&H joining the statement on human rights in Chinese regions, B&H joining the Declaration on the presidential elections in Belarus and others.
Idea of peaceful dissolution and mentioning of war stir controversy on political scene in B&H (N1)
N1 carried that retailoring of borders, a peaceful dissolution, and mentioning of war have lately been the main issues that stir controversy on the political scene in B&H. Namely, after the alleged Slovenian ‘non-paper’ on retailoring of borders in the Western Balkans, SNSD leader and Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik announced the initiative for conducting negotiations on a peaceful dissolution of B&H. SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic said that he will never let genocide perpetrators rule part of B&H, and he noted that he will lead the people “in case of a war”. On the other hand, SBB B&H leader Fahrudin Radoncic stated that Izetbegovic and “his genocidal coalition partner” Dodik should start working for the benefit of the citizens rather than to intimidate the people. According to Radoncic, B&H survived “much more dangerous documents than (Slovenian Prime Minister Janez) Jansa’s alleged document or Dodik’s secessionist ‘wild goose chase’”. Our Party (NS) stated that the issue of integrity of B&H should not be used for diverting the attention from one’s own political incapability. Independent Bloc (NB) filed a report to the B&H Central Election Commission (CEC) over SNSD’s YouTube campaign for a peaceful dissolution. ‘People and Justice’ (NiP) leader Elmedin Konakovic said it is almost strange how Izetbegovic just comes up with new topics and new problems right on the day when the trial of his party colleague and Federation of B&H (FB&H) Prime Minister Fadil Novalic is to take place. Konakovic said this is convenient for Izetbegovic and serves as a distraction. Konakovic also said that Dodik diverts attention from the fact that Repblika Srpska (RS) is not financially stable and has to take out another loan to keep afloat. SDP B&H leader Nermin Niksic says nobody is talking about coronavirus vaccination, the ‘Respiratori’ affair or economic problems, they are only talking about new wars. SBB B&H leader Fahrudin Radoncic said the only war that B&H needs is war against corruption, war against the coronavirus and war against crime. Izetbegovic categorically rejects any talk on a new war, while Radoncic believes the only solution would be to remove all the incapable leaders in B&H that brought the country to these desperate times. Referring to RS calls for dialogue on “B&H’s future”, FB&H President Marinko Cavara (HDZ B&H) said that the FB&H does not avoid a dialogue, underscoring that dialogue is necessary for solving the key issues at the levels of entities and B&H. Cavara stated: “I understand that the political parties from the RS are aware that it is difficult to reach agreements at the level of B&H and that they are following what is happening at the level of the FB&H. Manner to enable functioning of both the state and the entities is being sought.” Leader of the Independent Bloc (NB) Senad Sepic urged the SDA leader not to mention war again because, according to him, this is the last thing people who are in a situation in which they currently are need. “In this ‘war’ with the pandemic you should have proven that you are worthy of being in front of the people. And we saw what it is like when people such as yourself are in front of this people,” Sepic said. Representative in the House of Representatives (HoR) of B&H Mirjana Marinkovic-Lepic (Our Party) said that current tensions can be brought in connection with talks on changes to the Election Law of B&H and with the campaign for next year’s general elections which obviously already started. Marinkovic-Lepic said that redefining of internal organization of B&H or its external borders is impossible as the Dayton Peace Agreement guarantees the existing borders.
SDA calls on PIC SB to sanction Dodik due to secessionist threats (Hayat)
SDA called on member states of the Peace Implementation Council’s Steering Board (PIC SB) to sanction Chairman of the B&H Presidency and leader of SNSD Milorad Dodik due to secessionist threats that jeopardize the Dayton Peace Agreement. According to SDA, it is the final time for the PIC to stop retreating before political bullying and to sanction proponents of secessionism and thus, prevent destabilization in the country. SDA claims that this is the basic obligation of the PIC that is defined in the DPA and the London Conference. SDA stated: “His constantly-repeated statements that threaten with secession of the RS and undermining of the DPA followed by blockade of B&H institutions, disable the much needed political and social dialogue that should serve to speed up integration processes in the benefit of all citizens and peoples in B&H.”
Cvijanovic: SDA has undermined all that could have been undermined in already weak B&H and now they want to wage war again and impose sanctions on politicians in RS; RS will not wage war (Srna/RTRS)
In an interview for Srna, RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic commented on the fact that SDA sent a request to the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC SB) asking for imposing sanctions on Chairman of the B&H Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik for his statements which SDA consider as a threat to the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA). Cvijanovic stated that she wonders if there is anything that SDA can do on its own except for calling on the High Representative (HR), the PIC, and the international community (IC) to react. Cvijanovic noted that SDA has undermined all that could have been undermined “in the already weak B&H” with its destructive behavior and together with “their loyal followers in the form of the HRs”, and now they would want to wage war again and impose sanctions on politicians in the RS. Cvijanovic called on SDA to forget the idea of a war and to stop crying out to the embassies, because the RS will not wage war. “When it comes to the sanctions, they have only strengthened our conviction that the RS should be preserved” the RS President underscored. The RS President noted that the RS will be what its citizens want it to be, adding that the citizens do not want to be terrorized by anyone from Sarajevo or the rest of the world. She said: “When SDA talks about the much-needed political and social dialogue, it seems like a bad joke because they hinder any dialogue, living in the imagination that their country will be persistently repaired and beautified by someone from the outside. Meanwhile, they will continue to use the stories about a multiethnic country to fight back anyone who does not support the platform of creating a Muslim country.” In addition, Cvijanovic considers that Izetbegovic would have had a different perception of sanctions if he had faced them personally. “He deserves them, for his problematic wartime and post-war ties to different radical happenings in this area. However, he has not faced them, because the hypocritical IC stands by him. That time is passing”, Cvijanovic assessed.
Cvijanovic warned that SDA and B&H, which they defend, impede coexistence, development and implementation of economic and infrastructure projects in the RS. Cvijanovic presented a stance that the RS is not willing to sacrifice its functionality for the sake of Izetbegovic’s ideological projects “as it is clear what his concept of fake multi-ethnicity is”. Cvijanovic wonders if there was anything, other than a persistent threat of war, that SDA could do on its own, without calling on the High Representative, the PIC and the International Community. Cvijanovic said that that time had passed and that it would be better for them to get war out of their heads and to stop crying in embassies, because RS will not wage war.
RS parties, officials comment Izetbegovic statement, idea of peaceful dissolution; Borenovic calls on Dodik to end political cooperation with SDA (N1)
Commenting recent statements of SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic, the RS opposition called on Milorad Dodik to end every form of political cooperation with SDA. DNS leader Nenad Nesic said that Dodik should show that the RS is his priority and stand against the calls for war. “Calling one people genocidal is a sufficient reason for ending political cooperation”, he added. PDP leader Branislav Borenovic assessed that the aim of the inflammatory rhetoric of both Dodik and Izetbegovic is to divert the intention from the issues of delays in vaccination, the affair of malversations with the purchase of respirators, the affair of the icon that caused disputing between Russia and Ukraine, and the multi-million-worth borrowings. SNSD’s Sanja Vulic said that to no one is crazy to go to war because of Izetbegovic’s frustrations. Vulic claimed: “Izetbegovic obviously has a problem with himself because he lost power in Sarajevo, he cannot sort things out in his party, he has a problem with his wife (Sebija Izetbegovic) who does not want to move from the position of director of Sarajevo Canton University Clinical Center (KCUS)”. Members of the ruling coalition in the RS held a meeting on Wednesday at Kozara Mountain. Dodik said he supports a peaceful dissolution in B&H, but without any violence or conflicts. After the meeting, he addressed a press conference and said their main goal is to avoid conflict at all cost, but still continue talks on B&H’s future. He believes that rhetoric of SDA leader Izetbegovic, Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic and Croat member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic is just a “rhetoric of losers”. This statement was made just hours after Izetbegovic stated in an interview that he “would rather die today than allow for those that committed genocide to rule over one part of B&H”. He said he will stand against any such ideas, and all those that even consider or try to begin such things, will be stopped at the very beginning. The RS officials have been discussing a formation of a team which would be tasked with holding talks with the Federation of B&H side on potential solutions for B&H’s future. “The RS will not split up through a war, but if there are no ideas that give the RS what it deserves, then we have the right to think about this as well” Dodik told the reporters. The RS opposition also commented the recent rhetoric, and they concluded that the published ‘non-paper’ was probably created by Dodik and Izetbegovic with the goal of raising tensions ahead of the 2022 elections. The RS opposition says there will be no war in B&H, and their solution for all the problems is a united stance. Head of the SNSD Caucus in the RS parliament Igor Zunic noted that the initiative for a dialogue between the RS and the FB&H comes at the right time, considering the geopolitical situation. Zunic elaborated on his opinion by saying: “For a certain period of time now, some parties in the EU and other institutions outside B&H have considered B&H to be dysfunctional because the High Representative (HR) forcibly reversed the Dayton Agreement. I think that, through the conclusions, we will direct the initiative towards certain bodies in the RS and B&H, because the time has come to finally sit down and openly discuss the future of B&H.” United Srpska leader Nenad Stevandic called on the Quint countries, High Representative Valentin Inzko, and the RS opposition leaders to condemn Izetbegovic’s statements in which he refers to Serb representatives as genocidal. However, there is no political unity in this regard, since the RS opposition refuses to support the proposed platform for dialogue. SDS leader Mirko Sarovic assessed that the idea of the ruling coalition in the RS lacks seriousness. Honorary leader of PDP Mladen Ivanic stated that all abovementioned developments are sign of an agreement reached by Izetbegovic and Dodik, adding that this is logical conclusion because abovementioned developments are beneficial exclusively for abovementioned two leaders. He also stated that final result of rhetoric of leaders of SDA and SNSD are increased tensions in B&H society.
Leaders of opposition parties in RS meet on Mt Jahorina, discuss preparations for 2022 general elections in B&H, refuse to reveal names of their candidates for Serb member of Presidency, President and PM of RS (N1)
Delegations of SDS, PDP, DNS, and ‘List for Justice and Order’ led by Nebojsa Vukanovic held a meeting on Mount Jahorina on Wednesday in order to discuss joint participation in the 2022 general elections in B&H as well as current political issues. RS opposition leaders agreed that they will jointly participate in the general elections. The opposition leaders clarified to the journalists that they still have not discussed possible candidates for the general elections and that they only agreed that they will have joint candidates for the key positions, the Serb member of the B&H Presidency and the RS President. However, they underlined that this is just one in a series of planned meetings focusing on preparations for the general elections, and concluded that the key goal is to be united in participating in the elections in order to win and thus defeat what they call a criminal regime in the RS. In addition, the opposition leaders announced that the opposition parties will insist on amending the Election Law of B&H at least in the technical part related to video surveillance and scanners, in order to prevent major electoral thefts. SDS leader Mirko Sarovic stated that not a single name of a possible candidate in the general elections has been mentioned. “There were individual nominations, media assessment, personal assessment, and that is legitimate. That is not a problem. We assessed together that we should primarily expand,” Sarovic confirmed.
Grlic Radman and Logar claim that disputable non-paper does not exist (HRT1)
Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Anze Logar, Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gordan Grlic Radman and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi di Maio signed a statement on cooperation between the countries in the North Adriatic in the fields of transport, environmental protection and maritime road safety. Logar and Grlic Radman were both asked questions regarding the alleged Slovenian non-paper document on changing the borders in the Western Balkans and they both said such a document does not exist. Grlic Radman stated: “Given the fact that one of Slovenia’s priorities is the forthcoming presidency of the EU Council on 1 July, we cannot talk about any other non-paper, and in the end, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa distanced himself from that paper”. Logar stated: “By organizing the EU-Western Balkans summit on the European perspective of the region, Slovenia wants to add exactly the dimension mentioned earlier by Luigi di Maio, the strategic dimension of the importance of the region’s inclusion in EU integration for security and geopolitical reasons. In this way, we want to raise the debate to the highest possible level within the EU”. Logar briefly said that “this demonic document does not exist”. At the same time, Grlic-Radman said that Croatia is only informed about the non-paper, “which has evolved into a document in the meantime” about Bosnia and Herzegovina as a “country that wants to be given the status of (the EU) candidate country”. This document, according to Grlic-Radman, was initiated by Croatia.
Djukanovic: Vucic’s self-pitying whining; he puts himself in role of promoter of Greater Serbia politics, redrawing borders would cause war (CdM)
President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic has commented on the claims of President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, who stated recently that cave nationalism was on the scene in Montenegro and stressed that it was Vucic’s self-pitying whining of the Serbian President, who put himself in role of promoter of Greater Serbia politics. Speaking about non-paper, which was first mentioned by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, Djukanovic has warned that any redrawing of borders would provoke war. The non-paper that Jansa allegedly submitted to Brussels envisages the unification of Kosovo and Albania, the annexation of parts of the RS to Serbia, and Croatian cantons in B&H to Croatia, as a way to resolve open issues in the Western Balkans and speed up the path to EU and NATO – which makes this document malefic, Djukanovic says. He adds that the content of this document is no surprise to him. Djukanovic stresses he suspects that the moves of the government of Montenegro in the last 5 months were not the result of ignorance, but of bad intentions to bring Montenegro to its knees without identity and economic potential. According to him, the new government uses political rhetoric to protect itself from unpleasant questions about what it is doing to promote the country’s economic and democratic development, and stresses that the new government’s moves convincingly testify to its lack of vision.
According to Djukanovic, it would be good for them to rationalize their thinking now and to get closer to the Fundamental Agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church. “We hope that it won’t occur to this government to do that in a behind-the-scenes procedure,” he points out. Speaking about the incidents in Pljevlja, Djukanovic says that they have become common in Montenegro’s new political reality. He has recalled the intolerance after the parliamentary elections, emphasizing that it is good that the members of the government condemned those events. When referring to cooperation with the Democrats, he says that “we will form a coalition with those who want to follow the European path with us,” Djukanovic concludes.
Abazovic promises public debate and VC’s opinion (Dan)
Montenegrin deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic met with representatives of opposition parties on the occasion of the announced changes to the prosecutorial laws. Abazovic promised them that after the public debate the final draft amendments to the Law on the State Prosecutor’s Office would be sent to the Venice Commission (VC), Dan reports. SDP deputy leader Bojan Zekovic finds the proposed draft law unacceptable because, as he says, it is a showdown with the VC’s views, while the DF sees it as a “strong normative setback” in relation to the current solution. SD MP Boris Mugosa says that the discussion with Abazovic was constructive, but that they still could not get an answer as to who the author of the draft is, and that the very fact that the names of the people who wrote the draft are hidden indicates certain shortcomings. Genci Nimanbegu states that the Albanian List is ready to conduct a dialogue on determining proposals that are in the interest of the state and citizens, and not some political orientation.
Injac meets with President Pahor (Gov.PR Service)
On the second day of the official visit to the Republic of Slovenia, Minister of Defense Olivera Injac met with President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor. Minister Injac pointed out that the meeting represents a meeting between friends. She added that the cooperation between Montenegro and Slovenia has always been extremely important on the path to achieving independence, as well as progress in the field of NATO and European integration. Injac emphasized that Slovenia has significantly contributed to the quality of our reform processes, stressing its role in the progress of the region, bearing in mind that the country is a role model for the countries of the Western Balkans. President Pahor assessed that the traditionally good neighborly relations between the two countries are based on intensive political dialogue, common values and meaningful cooperation in numerous areas. He also pointed out the expectation that Montenegro’s negotiations with the EU will continue at a faster pace, and that Montenegro will become the first next member of the Union. In that context, he noted that the integration of the Western Balkans will be the focus of the agenda during their presidency of the EU Council, adding that Montenegro can count on Slovenia’s political and expert assistance.
Injac welcomed the planned priority goals of the Republic of Slovenia during its forthcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will begin in June 2021, and especially defined areas of action in the field of defense related to cooperation with the Western Balkans under joint security and defense initiatives. Minister Injac also met with Chairman of the Slovenian Parliamentary Committee for Defense Samo Bevk, and members of the Committee. The meeting exchanged opinions and views on the current political, social and economic situation in Montenegro, the Republic of Slovenia and the Western Balkans region, as well as current cooperation projects between the two countries in the field of defense. Delegation of the Ministry of Defense of Montenegro also visited the Park of Military History Pivka, which includes a museum exhibit of the submarine that Montenegro donated to the Republic of Slovenia in 2011. On that occasion, Minister Injac and Slovenian Minister of Defense Matej Tonin unveiled a memorial plaque on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the donation of the submarine to Slovenia.
Elections, one killed and four wounded in Elbasan (Tirana Times/VoA)
A 56 year old, Pjerin Xhuvani, who is thought to have been a supporter of the Socialist Party campaign, was killed today in the city of Elbasan, writes the Voice of America. The police reported that the suspected murderer, Arber Papleka, engaged in the Democratic Party campaign, has been arrested for the killing. Four other people were injured, including a police officer who was trying to prevent the crime. According to VoA “the dynamic of the event remains unclear. It is suspected that supporters of the Democratic Party blocked the vehicle through which Xhuvani was moving, and demanded the intervention of the police, as they suspected that he was moving to buy votes.” Also, different non-official sources suggest that between the two sides there was an exchange of fire, claims VoA. Papleka after being arrested has declared to the police that he shot for self-protection. VoA writes that Xhuvani had previously been denounced by the Democratic Party, as part of the conflict between the DP supporters and those of the Socialist Party in Elbasan during the Summer Day celebrations. According to the police statement “some persons suspected of having knowledge or connection with the event were escorted to the Local Police Directorates of Elbasan and Tirana.”
President seeks return to normalcy as murders, wounding’s engulf Albania (ADN)
Albanian President Ilir Meta has demanded Wednesday that the situation goes back to normal as Albania has been swept by a wave of killing and wounding’s, mostly in electoral offices of the political forces of the country. Apart from the appeal for return to normalcy, Meta called on the police to solve the crime that happened earlier yesterday, in which Pjerin Xhuvani got killed and Emiljano Prenga, Pavlo Vuksani, Eltjon Bodinaku and Xhensila Sota got injured. In addition, the Head of State accused Socialist Party (SP) Parliamentary Group Chairman and political leader of the Socialist Party for Elbasan, Taulant Balla of being the head patronageist of his city. “I call for a return to normalcy and for situations that end in tragedy not to happen again. The State Police must uncover the crime as soon as possible and bring to justice the persons who have committed this crime. Between Mr. Balla and Mr. Bardhi, I would like to choose Mr. Bardhi, because I have known Balla since he came to the Socialist Party. Taulant controls every situation in Elbasan, he is the chief patronagist of Elbasan because he passes every tender, he controls every business and individual,” declared Meta.
EU Delegation: We call for restraint and avoidance of violence (Tirana Times)
The EU Delegation in Albania reacted after the violent episode in Elbasan, calling for a peaceful campaign election. “We call for restraint and avoidance of violence, inflammatory rhetoric and hate speech in this crucial moment of the electoral campaign,” wrote the EU Delegation through Twitter. Following the same line as the United States, that earlier in the day called for the rejection of violence and urged the law enforcement institutions to investigate the act, the EU Delegation in Albania said that “the violent act that took place in Elbasan today must be rapidly investigated by the competent authorities, and clarity about responsibilities needs to be made and followed up thoroughly.” The episode in which one man was killed and 4 others were injured including a police officer in the middle of the day for political reasons, shocked the country 4 days before the parliamentary elections of 25 April. While the tension of the electoral campaign had already been growing during the last week, especially after the secretary of the Democratic Party for Kavaja, Bledar Okshtuni, was wounded on Monday by a firearm while being at the electoral offices of the DP in Kavaja, the episode marks the most violent episode of these elections.
Soreca: 50 EU teams to monitor polling stations and the counting process (Radio Tirana)
The EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca held an online meeting with the heads of the EU mission in Albania. It is reported that at the top of the conversation was the final preparations for the 25 April elections. Through a post on the networks, Soreca writes that 50 teams from the EU will monitor the 25 April elections both in the polling stations and in the counting process.
“The heads of the European Union Missions in Albania met again today to complete the preparations for Sunday’s elections on 25 April. The EU diplomatic corps will deploy 50 observation teams to polling stations throughout Albania, who will stay there during voting and counting procedures, in support of the OSCE / ODIHR,” Soreca wrote.