Vucic: We are hoping Greece will not recognize Kosovo (Tanjug/RTS/Politika)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday he had been officially notified of Greece’s intent to raise the level of its relations with Pristina to that of political directors, and added that he was relying on the friendship with Athens and hoping it would not go a step further and recognize Kosovo. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Patriarch Porfirije and bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Vucic recalled that, when Pristina had imposed taxes on Serbian goods, Greece had offered an option to exchange trade offices with Pristina, and noted that it had now gone a level higher. “On Friday, we were officially notified they would raise their relations with Pristina to a higher level, the level of political directors, the highest possible level below ministerial level,” he said. He said he would plead with Greece not to make the move because the next step would be a recognition of Kosovo’s independence by Athens. That is a problem because it does not only show Europe could unite over the Kosovo issue against Serbian interests, but also because that is contrary to the international legal order, he explained. He said there was an additional danger of other countries being pressured to do the same. “This is a very difficult situation for us. We have called the Greek ambassador for a conversation, but we have taken no measures as we are relying on friendship and hoping they will take no further measures and get closer (to Pristina),” Vucic noted. When asked if he had received assurances that Greece would not recognize Kosovo, he said he was receiving such assurances every day but that it was a fact that Athens was raising the level of its relations with what it itself referred to as Kosovo. A very difficult political period is ahead of Serbia, but surrender is not an option regarding this or other issues, Vucic said.
Vucic after meeting with Patriarch, bishops and Dodik (Tanjug/B92/RTS)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic hosted Patriarch Porfirije and the bishops of the Serbian Holy Synod for lunch in Belgrade. He pointed out to the numerous dangers and important meetings regarding Kosovo and Metohija. “I am happy to have hosted Patriarch Porfirije and as many as 35 bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and we discussed key issues for the Serbian people,” Vucic said after the meeting, which was also attended by the Chairman and Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Milorad Dodik. As he said, they discussed both the situation in Kosovo and Metohija and in the Republika Srpska (RS), and all the problems we are facing. “We were open, it seems to me that we understood each other well. The Church has the view that the unity of the state, people and church is important, it is important for us to have as close views as possible and to share them with Church representatives, understanding the fact that the church is separated from the state and the principle of secularity is respected,” Vucic said. He said that in the conversation he pointed out that Serbia is economically stronger today than ever, that it is growing faster than ever, but also that it is so until we can keep peace and stability and while we can keep political things under control in the entire region. “I pointed out to them the numerous dangers, the many important meetings that we will have in the coming period, primarily on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. I saw that they were surprised by the Greek reaction,” said Vucic. Vucic stated that the essence of the move of the Prime Minister of the interim Kosovo institutions in Pristina Albin Kurti is a “performance”. As Vucic says, Kurti talks all the time about Kosovo’s cultural heritage and Kosovo’s heritage, not Serbian. Vucic said that on the occasion of the letter that Kurti addressed to the abbot of the monastery Visoki Decani, father Sava Janjic, in which he presented him with “the commitment of the Kosovo government in the protection of the Kosovo heritage of all communities in Kosovo”. “It can be Kosovo’s heritage within the Serbian. It is the Serbian cultural heritage. It is a monastery that belongs to the Serbian Orthodox Church. They worked similarly in Montenegro, where they claimed that it was the Orthodox Church of Montenegro, not the Serbian Orthodox Church. They are doing the same thing and the only question is when they will present Kosovo’s Miras Dedeic and establish a non-governmental organization in their police,” said Vucic. As he said, it is a performance on the part of Pristina and it is not clear to him how the public does not understand that. “Kurti tells you not about the Serbian, but about the Kosovo heritage. The Decani Monastery is the heritage of the state of Kosovo. The whole game is that he talks about loving Serbs, that he wants to talk to Serbs that they live well in the independent state of Kosovo, but he will not talk to Serbia, because Serbia has nothing to do in Kosovo,” Vucic explained. Vucic stated that they understand that some politicians do not notice Kurti’s performance, but not that our media do not notice that. “We have a heavy burden ahead of us. Our clergy reacts wisely, so they do not respond to every provocation and they understand well all the provocations. We will face with a lots of trouble ahead of us,” Vucic told reporters after a meeting with Patriarch Porfirije and the bishops of Serbian Orthodox Church.
Dodik expresses dissatisfaction
Vucic conveyed that at a lunch with Patriarch Porfirije and the bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Dodik expressed dissatisfaction with the decision to appoint a new High Representative in B&H. “Dodik informed the archbishops and the patriarch about the situation in the RS, and clearly and unequivocally said that RS expresses dissatisfaction with the completely clear decision to appoint a new High Representative for B&H. We will see,” Vucic said. He stated that Serbia is somewhat more reserved on that issue, but that, as always, there will be support for our people in the RS.
Vucic to Botsan-Kharchenko: Days ahead difficult for our country; Botsan-Kharchenko to Vucic: Russia’s active support for defense of international law norms and, thus, Serbia’s territorial integrity (RTV/Tanjug)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko discussed the situation in the region. Speaking about the planned continuation of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Vucic said that the days ahead were difficult for our country, but that he would invest a lot of energy in Brussels to protect the state and national interests of Serbia, fighting for compromise. Botsan-Kharchenko confirmed Russia’s active support for the defense of the international law norms and, thus, the territorial integrity of Serbia. They agreed that the policy of peace and cooperation is of the utmost importance for the further development of the Western Balkans. The two officials reviewed the progress of economic cooperation between Serbia and Russia and pointed out that joint infrastructure projects, as well as projects in the field of energy, follow the planned dynamics and will greatly contribute to our country’s economic progress and quality of life. Vucic and Botsan-Kharchenko also discussed the next bilateral contacts between the officials of the two countries.
Brnabic against redrawing borders accepted by United Nations (Politika/Tanjug)
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated on Thursday that the government does not want to comment the non-papers which appeared in connection with Kosovo and Metohija because they are informal policies, and it is not known who their authors are. Answering the questions of Serbian MPs in the Serbian parliament, Brnabic pointed out that the government did not support or refute any of them because that is not the way it engages in politics. There are only speculations and whatever we say, we would disclose our cards, which we do not want to do, she said and repeated that she is against redrawing the borders that are accepted by the United Nations. According to her, redrawing the borders raises the issue of regional stability, and those who recognized the so-called state of Kosovo opened the Pandora’s box which is difficult to close. We have seen that in Georgia, Spain. These are the consequences of opening the Pandora’s box, Brnabic reiterated and pointed out that she sees no reason for the state to react to unofficial documents. We have a platform for Kosovo and Metohija. We also have a platform that was adopted in this House, but we must also say that since 2014, we have been facing a reality that we have not sponsored, she pointed out. She underlined that President Vucic showed that he is fighting the best he can, and the result is the fact that the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina must continue, although for most countries that issue was closed and put to the files. I see no other way but dialogue and I hope that Pristina will find the courage and strength for that dialogue, which is in the interest of all of us. We are always ready for dialogue and conversation, said Brnabic. She reiterated that Kosovo and Metohija is a province within Serbia and that this is not brought into question, but that Serbia is always ready for talks because that is the only way to preserve regional stability.
Stefanovic with UNOB Head (RTV/Tanjug)
Serbian Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic met on Thursday with the newly appointed representative of the UN Secretary General and the Head of the UN Office in Belgrade (UNOB) Mari Yamashita. He congratulated Yamashita on her appointment, wished her a lot of success in her new position and expressed hope that during her mandate, the cooperation between the Defense Ministry and the Serbian Army with the UN Office, as in previous years, will be to the mutual satisfaction. Stefanovic stated that the United Nations is the most important international organization for Belgrade, which is especially important for Serbia in terms of protecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity. According to him, good cooperation with the UNOB is of key importance, having in mind that it is the main channel of communication with the UN Mission in Kosovo and Metohija (UNMIK). In that context, Stefanovic expressed the expectation that UNMIK would remain engaged to an undiminished extent and with an unchanged mandate in the southern Serbian province. Also, he emphasized that the engagement of members of the Serbian Army in UN peacekeeping operations represents a concrete contribution to the preservation of international peace and security, to which Serbia, as he pointed out, attaches exceptional importance.
SPC: Krivokapic presented Patriarch so far untold reasons for postponing of signing of Fundamental Agreeement (RTS)
The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) announced, on the occasion of Thursday night’s conversation between Zdravko Krivokapic and Patriarch Porfirije behind closed doors in the Patriarchate in Belgrade, that representatives of the Holy Synod of Bishops and the government of Montenegro fully harmonized the text of the Fundamental Agreement between the SPC and the Montenegrin state. The SPC states that the government of Montenegro then verbally confirmed that Krivokapic would arrive in Belgrade in the afternoon, in order to solemnly sign the Fundemental Agreement with Patriarch Porfirije. The same intention of Krivokapic was verbally confirmed to the Patriarch from the Cabinet of the Montenegrin Prime Minister. “After several hours of delay and informing the head of the Serbian Church about a number of completely different reasons for the delay in departure from Podgorica, Krivokapic arrived at the agreed meeting at around 9 pm,” the statement reads, underlining that Krivokapic “presented so far untold reasons over which he considers that the signing of the Agreement must be postponed”. It is added that the Patriarch listened to those reasons with attention, great patience, but also even greater surprise, not in the least realizing the adequacy and justification of Prime Minister Krivokapic’s intention not to sign the Agreement, which was the only reason for his arrival at the Patriarchate in Belgrade. “His Holiness the Patriarch and the present hierarchs expressed great regret and concern for the further position of the SPC and its faithful people, considering that only with it, although it has absolute majority of the people in Montenegro, that the Agreement has not been signed that guarantees its legal position, and thus the religious and civil rights of the people of Saint Sava, which is an act of open discrimination,” the statement reads. It was said that the SPC and its faithful people will not give up on defending their rights and their sanctities in these circumstances. Prime Minister Krivokapic then announced on Twitter that he had come to Belgrade to convey the will of the Montenegrin people that Bishop Joanikije of Budva-Niksic be elected Metropolitan of Montenegro-Littoral and that the Fundamental Agreement between the SPC and the state of Montenegro be signed on 30 October, the day of the death of Metropolitan Amfilohije.
Inzko: Dayton does not foresee peaceful dissolution of B&H (Politika)
In an interview to the daily, outgoing High Representative Valentin Inzko explained that his tendering of resignation following the appointment of Christian Schmidt as the new High Representative on Thursday was a usual procedure and he reminded that the same was done by his all six predecessors. Inzko said that he will leave B&H carrying nice memories but not entirely satisfied and he added that he is sorry that he will not leave B&H with legal order behind him. Inzko said that the change of the High Representative is less important for the future of B&H and added that ‘change of paradigm’ is much more important because it is necessary for everyone to start thinking in a different way as some in B&H still live in wartime past. Inzko assessed that the role of the international community in B&H was important and useful, especially during the first years of its presence because B&H got one of the most stable currencies, it got joint armed forces, border police, joint vehicle registration plates, passports, six new ministries, flag, etc. “We provided citizens certain safety, just like EUFOR did. I am sorry we did not have stronger activities in the field of rule of law,” Inzko said and noted that he believes the biggest success of the international community would be to withdraw once it is no longer needed in B&H. The daily reminded that former high representative Wolfgang Petritsch assessed that the OHR is now “a part of the problem and not of a solution” while Head of the EU Delegation to B&H Johann Sattler said that “it is necessary to strive to a reduction of the international presence in B&H” because it is “incompatible with B&H’s membership in the EU”, and asked Inzko to comment on the frequent initiatives for shutting down of the OHR which also come from the RS and Russia. Inzko replied by saying that: “When speaking about downsizing, the EU should start with itself because it has two offices in B&H. As far as the OHR is concerned, those politicians who talk the most about the need to shut it down are exactly the ones who deserve the most credits for its stay”. Inzko reminded that, when he assumed the post of the High Representative in 2009, he received a paper which said “shutting down of the OHR as soon as possible” but only if ‘5+2’ preconditions are fulfilled first, including the revival of the rule of law. “When I saw how things are, I assessed that the presence of the international community in B&H will continue for a while after all”, Inzko said and noted that there were occasions over the years when “we were ready for shutting down” but gave up because of stories on turning the inter-entity boundary line (IEBL) into borders as well as claims that the Constitutional Court (CC) of B&H should not be respected, that B&H is an impossible state and that a peaceful dissolution is needed. Inzko reminded that only the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) can decide on shutting down of the OHR and it can do so only upon a recommendation by the High Representative which has to be substantiated with a proof on fulfillment of preconditions. Asked to state whether the call of the RS to the Federation of B&H (FB&H) on talks on future of B&H, which the FB&H rejected, was a chance for domestic politicians to finally “take destiny of B&H into their own hands”, Inzko replied by saying that he thinks SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic said that such type of talks should be carried out in institutions, i.e. in the parliament of B&H. “Banja Luka first called to talks on a peaceful dissolution and then they changed it into talks on future of B&H. This is exactly what caused suspicion of some, because it became unclear whether motives are pure or not and what is hiding behind such intention” Inzko added. Asked to comment on non-papers, Inzko said that those caused a major political damage and created the atmosphere of instability. “No peaceful dissolution of B&H was foreseen in Dayton. I would never sign that, because my mandate is to protect integral B&H with the existing borders, i.e. the same borders it had when it was admitted as a member of the United Nations on 22 May 1992,” Inzko added. Speaking about the RS parliament’s decision to reject his request to revoke awards to sentenced war criminals and his announcement on possible imposing of a law on prohibition of genocide denial, Inzko said that he is still considering what to do when it comes to the awards because “a punishment is not the goal, the goal is to have catharsis and I am sorry that this has not been done”. Inzko also said that he does not want to speculate on the law on prohibition of genocide denial “because there are some other combinations as well. I live in hope that a domestic solution will be found because a domestic solution would be the best solution”. Finally, the daily asked Inzko to comment on the fact Serb side argued that he is carrying out an anti-Serb policy because he opposed the construction of ‘Buk Bijela’ hydro-electric power plant. Inzko said that he supports investments in general but there are two disputable things when it comes to ‘Buk Bijela’ – first, there is a court proceeding underway and it is necessary to wait for its outcome and, second, there is a ruling of B&H CC according to which rivers too represent the state property. “The FB&H does not have such problems and, apart from this, one cannot comment something that was constructed in that entity before the Court proclaimed rivers as the state property back in 2011,” Inzko concluded.
Inzko resigns, PIC SB appoints Schmidt as next HR (BHT1)
High Representative (HR) Valentin Inzko submitted his resignation on Thursday, after which the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC SB) passed a decision to appoint member of the German Bundestag Christian Schmidt as the next HR. Inzko’s resignation will enter force on 1 August, on the day when Schmidt should officially assume the office. The decision to appoint Schmidt was not endorsed by Russia, due to assessing that this represents violation of the common practice for appointing the HR. Other members of the PIC SB assessed that Schmidt is capable to successfully re-launch certain processes, which were started by his predecessors but are currently stagnating, where the priority will be set on implementation of goals from ‘5+2’ Agenda. Schmidt, who is the Bundestag member, is a Vice-President of the Christian Social Union (CSU), he used to be the German Minister of Agriculture in the period 2014-2018. Schmidt is known for having good relations with NATO, the US and B&H’s neighboring Croatia. According to BHT1, this fact could determine the direction of further action. The PIC SB expressed gratitude to Inzko for his “long, exceptional commitment and enormous contribution to the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement as well as to safety and stability in B&H in the past 12 years”. “The Steering Board looks forward to working with Mr. Schmidt, after taking office as High Representative on 1 August 2021, when Mr. (Valentin) Inzko’s resignation takes effect. The PIC Steering Board thanks Germany for the initiative and is convinced that Mr. Schmidt will accelerate the fulfillment of the conditions and objectives of the 5+2 program and contribute to stability in B&H by ensuring consistent implementation of the civilian aspects of the General Framework Agreement for Peace. The OHR will now notify the UN Secretary-General of the PIC Steering Board’s decision”.
Schmidt: I will dedicate myself to OHR vigorously and in close exchange with international community, responsible parties and citizens of B&H (Al Jazeera Balkans)
German diplomat Christian Schmidt confirmed for Al Jazeera Balkans that he has been appointed the next High Representative in B&H. “I am satisfied that the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council has acted in line with the proposal of the government of Germany and entrusted me with a task of succeeding Valentin Inzko in the Office of the High Representative in B&H. I will dedicate myself to this Office vigorously and in close exchange with the international community, with responsible parties, as well as with citizens of B&H. B&H is not an unknown country to me. My political assignments as parliamentary rapporteur, state secretary and federal minister have often taken me to this beautiful country on the Sava and Drina rivers, the joint statehood of which I supported after the dissolution of Tito’s Yugoslavia in 1992. I want to thank Valentin Inzko for his extraordinary engagement in the office. I am convinced that he will continue his mission with even more focus until the handover of the Office on August 1, 2021. In line with the good practice, I will be more careful about giving political statements on B&H until I take up duty. The main focus of my preparatory work will be on achieving close coordination with other international and supranational leaders and on exchange of ideas with elected representatives, but also with citizens, especially younger generations. It is important to follow the country on what is certainly going to be a challenging path to Europe,” said Schmidt.
International community’s reactions to Schmidt’s appointment (Dnevni avaz)
The German Federal government issued a statement congratulating Christian Schmidt for his appointment as the new High Representative. “We are congratulating Mr. Schmidt for taking over the post and wide support of the international community, which he received for his candidacy. Germany will continue to do everything to secure for B&H to receive necessary international support. We explicitly express gratitude to outgoing HR Valentin Inzko, from whom Mr. Schmidt will take over the post on 1 August, for his engagement and credits in the country,” reads the statement. The US State Department congratulated Schmidt on his appointment as the new HR in B&H. Spokesperson for State Department Ned Price published a post on the Twitter: “The US congratulates Christian Schmidt on his appointment as the next HR for B&H. We thank Ambassador Inzko for his service and look forward to continued partnership to support the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords”. Commenting the appointment of Schmidt, the Russian Embassy to B&H stated that ignoring the principle of consensus represents a flagrant violation of the common practice of election of a HR in B&H. The press release reads: “No appointed person will have the necessary international-legal legitimacy without the approval of the UN SC and the person could not be considered a HR in terms of the Dayton. We call on our partners to reconsider consequences of their activities without consensus and legitimacy that may have destabilizing effect on already difficult situation in B&H.” Russian Ambassador to B&H Igor Kalabuhov previously said that their stance is that the OHR should be closed and that there should be no talks on the appointment of a new HR. “No nominee without the approval of the UN Security Council will have the necessary international legal legitimacy and will not be able to be considered a HR in terms of the DPA,” wrote Russian Ambassador to B&H Kalabukhov.
Dodik: Inzko’s resignation is international community’s bluff, RS has no intention of cooperating with illegitimate High Representatives (ATV)
The Office of the High Representative (OHR) confirmed that High Representative (HR) Valentin Inzko has resigned. German diplomat Christian Schmidt will replace him as early as on 1 August. According to reporter, the agreement on the appointment of Schmidt was reached at the end of 2020, but Germany decided to wait for the new administration to take up its duties in the United States. On the other hand, Serb member and Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said on Thursday that Inzko’s resignation is an international community’s bluff, through the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) which formally and legally does not exist. “No new HR has been appointed. Annex 10 (of the Dayton Peace Agreement) states that the signatory parties – meaning Serbia, the RS, the FB&H and Croatia – should reach an agreement about the name, which is then confirmed by the relevant resolution of the (UN) Security Council, and that is the procedure for the arrival of the new HR,” said Dodik. According to reporter, Dodik also said that the RS has no intention of cooperating with illegitimate HR. As far as Dodik is concerned, such decisions can be used to appoint the HR but only for the FB&H. Dodik concluded that only Bosniaks have the reason to celebrate, because they will have yet another protector. Dodik said that as far as he is concerned, Inzko is the last HR. “The fact that Inzko was a local fool – when it comes to his behavior there over the past several years – that is their problem,” Dodik said. “Formally speaking I believe that they, if they want to bring the new HR, they could only bring him for the FB&H. They will most certainly not bring him for the RS. So, we will not respect his decisions in this way, since he was brought in as the new HR in this way,” Dodik points out. He added that he still does not believe Schmidt will arrive to B&H, but if he does, he should not think that he will achieve anything through arrogance. “I tell him that we do not have the intention of working with illegally appointed HR,” Dodik concluded.
RS MPs comment appointment of new High Representative (Nezavisne)
Peace Implementation Council Steering Board appointed German politician Christian Schmidt as new High Representative. Commenting the decision, Head of the RS SNSD Caucus Igor Zunic stated that SNSD’s stance is that B&H should not have the High Representative or that kind of “non-protectorate”. According to him, decisions on political processes should be left to domestic politicians. SDS’s Miladin Stanic stated that B&H does not need a protectorate, but agreements of all three peoples. “I am against the appointment of Schmidt or any other High Representative because the High Representative does not respect the Constitution of B&H or its laws. This is Europe, there is no room for protectorates here” said Stanic. United Srpska representative in RS National Assembly Milan Petkovic stated that the RS National Assembly has declared its stance on OHR already. “Schmidt is always welcome to the RS and B&H as a tourist. If he wishes to engage in some kind of diplomacy, we will gladly welcome him, but we no longer need mentorship and tutorship. I welcome (High Representative Valentin) Inzko’s departure, if he comes here, maybe someone will welcome him”, said Petkovic. O the other hand, SDA’s Senad Bratic believes that the mandate of the High Representative should be extended due to the political circumstances. He reminded that obligations of the High Representative are defined by the Annex 10 of the Dayton Peace Agreement. “Attacks against the Dayton Peace Agreement and sovereignty of the state, as well as against state property in recent period are constant. Everything indicates that we need the office of High Representative,” said Bratic.
Borenovic believes that appointment of Schmidt as new HR proves intention of international community to seriously deal with B&H that is not ready to be country without HR; Kovacevic criticizes Borenovic’s statement (RTRS)
Leader of PDP Branislav Borenovic believes that the appointment of Christian Schmidt as a new High Representative proves the intention of the international community to seriously deal with B&H that in his opinion, is not ready to be a country without a HR. Borenovic said that the conditions for the abolition of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) were not fulfilled and the leaders of the biggest parties in B&H are to blame for this. He assessed the appointment is a new chance in B&H and they expect a lot from the new High Representative. Spokesperson for SNSD Radovan Kovacevic reacted to the statement of Borenovic that B&H is not ready to exist without a HR and said that Borenovic’s legitimization of a HR is disgrace.
FB&H reactions to Schmidt’s appointment (Dnevni avaz/Nova BH)
Commenting the appointment of Christian Schmidt as a new High Representative (HR) in B&H, SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic said on Thursday that the next HR can hardly be more informed about the situation in B&H and more well-intentioned towards the country than HR Valentin Inzko. However, according to Izetbegovic, it is possible that the next HR will have greater support, which “would allow some things to be done”. Izetbegovic reminded that Inzko’s activity mainly focused on expressing concern for the situation in B&H. SBB B&H issued a press statement welcoming the decision of member states of Peace Implementation Council’s Steering Board regarding appointment of Schmidt as the new HR. “We convey congratulations to Mr. Schmidt and Germany, his country, which appointed him and we welcome him to our country. We trust that the OHR, with Christian Schmidt at helm, will continue to carry out their role in B&H and accelerate fulfilling of conditions and goes from ‘5+2’ agenda” reads SBB statement. The Croat People’s Assembly (HNS) welcomed the appointment of Schmidt. They added that the agreement signed between political leaders of B&H in 2020 is the guarantee of political processes necessary for the changes to the B&H election legislature and limited changes to the B&H Constitution. HNS B&H believes that cooperation with Schmidt will be successful. HDZ B&H’s Lidija Bradara said that they expect from this HR to be the last one and added that they want from each HR to want to help B&H on its EU path.
Dodik attends discussion ‘Original Dayton or peaceful separation in B&H’ in Belgrade: Peaceful separation is good at least to enhance our negotiation position, to gain something back; I believe position of RS will be solved in next ten years (RTRS)
Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik attended a discussion titled ‘Izvorni Dejton ili mirni razlaz u B&H’ (Original Dayton or peaceful separation in B&H) in Belgrade on Thursday. The information-political portals Sve o Srpskoj and Fakti organized the discussion with the support of the RS Representation Office in Serbia. Prominent analysts, professors and diplomats from the RS and Serbia attended the event. RTRS noted that the discussion is a result of aspirations to hear stances and proposals that may help in preparation of a platform for talks with representatives of the FB&H about the future of B&H without foreign mediators which the RS parliament launched at the beginning of May. On this occasion, Dodik underlined that “the RS will stay if our people stand behind a strong political concept that aims to save the RS.” According to Dodik, the disintegration of the Dayton has begun as of the day it was signed and everything that was written in the Dayton is not functioning which is why they wanted to say that they are one of the sides, that they want their status and that they want to talk. Addressing attendees of the event, Dodik said that they are under attack because of saying that a peaceful separation is one of the options. Dodik added: “A peaceful separation is good at least to enhance our negotiation position, to gain something back. I believe that we cannot go back to the original Dayton as long as we do not make others; once they realize that there is nothing more for them to do but this, they will accept this but it will already be late for them.” According to Dodik, they will form a negotiation team, they will inform and call for meetings in order to document that they did all this. Dodik underlined the importance to connect the issues of the RS and Kosovo as much as possible – that in his opinion, westerners successfully managed to disconnect – and he said that they should not go into any adventure but to build a clear, political structure that will be clever enough to know what to do and to integrate with Serbia. Dodik stated: “We preserved it (the RS) for already 25 years and I believe that its position will definitely be solved in the next ten years. The only thing that I find right and sustainable is for it (the RS) to become an independent state and as such, to merge with Serbia within a certain, previously-agree form.” Political analyst Aleksandar Pavic said that it is strange that the RS managed to hold this long bearing in mind the extent of violation of the Dayton Agreement and especially because the political Sarajevo has no intention to return to the original Dayton but it wants to achieve a war-time goal with the help of foreigners. According to Pavic, the goal is centralization of B&H and abolition of the entities and the concept of a civil state. Analyst Zoran Milivojevic said that the international relations are way too sensitive and underlined the need to be patient, to stick to the original Dayton not allowing to call the principal of the Dayton into question. In this regard, he mentioned the state with the two entities and the three peoples. Professor at the Banja Luka Faculty of Political Sciences Nenad Kecmanovic assessed that the RS should launch an equal dialogue of the three peoples on the future of B&H without foreign mediators. Kecmanovic added: “This is an attempt to get to talks. Talks are not binding and if it turns into a sort of negotiations – especially an agreement – it would be good for everyone. If not, we have the Slovenian, bye in Sarajevo, see you in Brussels within the EU.” Analyst Darko Tanaskovic pointed out that when it comes to B&H, they are faced with the stance of some western countries that the current borders – including the borders of the so-called Kosovo – cannot change and this is a fact. In his opinion, political actors at the international scene will do everything to keep the stance and thus, adjust the situation in the field to all this. Dodik also met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and leadership of Serbian Orthodox Church. Asked to comment Dodik’s statement and stance of official Belgrade, Director of Center for Regionalism, Aleksandar Popov said that Vucic could get rid of Dodik in one move if he wanted to, but this idea is Vucic’s exit strategy for Kosovo, arguing that if Vucic accepts the independence of Kosovo he can use the RS as leverage to appease citizens in Serbia. As for Dodik’s ideas about retailoring of borders, Popov deems that Dodik is using this to toy with his voters, and added that this is not possible as change of borders in the Balkans cannot be carried out without spilling of blood. Analyst Milan Antonijevic deems that debate in Belgrade should not be a cause of fear for anyone, arguing that the only influence that Dodik’s statements could gave is on voters who will vote for and against Dodik. He deems that this debate was futile.
Delegation of US Congress visits Sarajevo, meets Minister Turkovic (Oslobodjenje)
Deputy Chair of Council of Ministers and B&H Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic met on Thursday in Sarajevo with a delegation of the US Congress, led by Congressmen Robert Anderholt and John Moolenaar. The officials discussed fight against consequences of COVID-19 pandemic, current political situation in B&H, as well as friendly relations between two countries which were evaluated as extremely good and substantial. Turkovic expressed content by the fact that US Congress for many years is providing support to B&H’s progress towards EU and NATO integration.
B&H reaches agreement with Croatia regarding disputed border crossings (BHT1)
B&H Minister of Communications and Transport Vojin Mitrovic talked with Croatian Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic on Thursday. On this occasion, Mitrovic and Butkovic reached an agreement to launch an initiative to permanently resolve the issue of closing down five border crossings between B&H and Croatia for B&H carriers. It was also agreed that until final resolving of this issue trucks can undisturbedly cross the disputable border crossings. Mitrovic confirmed that he did not receive any formal, written form of the agreement. “However, there is a verbal agreement with Mr. Butkovic, who is willing to make sure this is respected. This should enable the trucks to cross the border crossings. The initiative to formally resolve this will be submitted today,” Mitrovic added. “Croatia needs to harmonize the new rulebook with the Treaty. At the moment, we have border crossings where the movement of goods and passengers is allowed, but we do not have roads that allow transport. The amendment to the ordinance will determine the routes that will enable the transit of goods through Croatia,” stated Mitrovic.
Plenkovic discusses strengthening bilateral cooperation with Chinese delegation (HRT)
On Thursday, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic received Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign policy diplomat and the director of China’s Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office. The focus of discussion was on relations between the Brussels and Beijing and economic cooperation between Croatia and China. Plenkovic pointed out that the global pandemic had shown the importance of good governance and multilateral cooperation. He thanked the Chinese authorities for their co-operation in the regular supply of medical protective equipment during the pandemic and for their willingness to continue co-operation in the fight against coronavirus. This is the first high-level in person meeting between Chinese and Croatian politicians since the onset of the pandemic. Plenkovic reminded of the successful summit in Dubrovnik and the visit of Prime Minister Li in 2019 and said that the framework for China’s cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries has valuable potential as a unique initiative that builds bridges between Europe and Asia and is complementary to overall China-EU relations. For his part Jiechi said that China also supports continued cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries, relying on market principles to create mutually beneficial projects: “Mr. Prime Minister, you have placed special emphasis on the development of relations with China and the furthering of practical cooperation between our countries. We in China value that a lot. I want to inform you that we in China have also put great significance on our relations with Croatia, to further cement our strong ties and strengthen the development of our two countries” Jiechi said. Plenkovic and Jiechi expressed satisfaction with the continuation of the implementation of large projects in Croatia, such as the Peljesac Bridge and other investments – from the construction of transport infrastructure to investments in renewable sources of energy. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Croatia and China in 2022, the Croatian Prime Minister expressed his wish for Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Croatia to see the completed Peljesac Bridge. Total trade between Croatia and China amounted to $1.39 billion last year, and work is underway to establish a direct airline route connecting Beijing and Zagreb, so as to facilitate the arrival of Chinese tourists in Croatia. Almost half a million Chinese tourists visited Croatia in 2019. Jiechi concluded that China is open to importing Croatian products and expressed a desire to continue to increase trade between the two countries.
MPs vote again in favor of amendments to prosecutorial law (CdM)
After President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic returned the Law on Amendments to the Law on the State Prosecutor’s Office to parliament for reconsideration, the MPs have voted in favor of the same legal solution again. All 41 MPs of the ruling majority voted in favor. Opposition MPs have boycotted the vote. It’s recalled that MPs adopted the amendments to the Law on the State Prosecutor’s Office on 12 May. Representatives of the ruling majority composed of the DF, the Democrats and the URA Civic Movement, despite the adverse opinion of the Venice Commission, supported the changes to this law. Even then, opposition MPs boycotted the vote. Djukanovic refused to sign the act and returned it to parliament for a new decision. He stated that the constitutional and legal systems of Montenegro were endangered by this law.
Djukanovic’s cabinet: Instead of fanatical obsession with President, Krivokapic should focus on PM position (CdM)
Instead of a fanatical obsession with the character and work of the President of Montenegro, it would be expedient for PM Zdravko Krivokapic to concentrate on performing the position of Prime Minister, if he can, which has inevitably been getting away from his hands, Djukanovic‘s cabinet has stated in the reaction to the Prime Minister’s statement that the President returned the prosecutorial law “from fear of being the first to be prosecuted”. “The serious violation of the independence of the Prosecutorial Council, as well as the clearly expressed opinion of the Venice Commission that it is ‘not convinced that the scope of reforms is sufficient to prevent the risk of politicization of the Prosecutorial Council’, are just some of the reasons clearly stated by the President on the occasion of deciding on the Law on Amendments to the Law on the State Prosecutor’s Office” the reaction says. Finally, the reaction points out, the Prime Minister’s statement is a clear and unambiguous message to European partners and Montenegrin citizens that the adopted Bill confirms the strong political influence on the independence of the judiciary.
President Pendarovski meets with Pope Francis (Republika)
President Stevo Pendarovski, who is paying a visit to Rome to pay tribute to Ss Cyril and Methodius, met Thursday with the Head of the Roman Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Francis. The meeting highlighted the excellent bilateral relations between the Republic of Macedonia and the Holy See, which are based on deep historical ties, shared spiritual and cultural values and traditions. Pendarovski reaffirmed his interest in deepening relations with the Vatical in all areas of common interest and stressed the importance of the Catholic community in Macedonia and its contribution to our society. President Pendarovski also pointed out the importance that our country attaches to the promotion of inter-religious dialogue and respect for religious freedoms. After the audience with His Holiness, Pope Francis, Pendarovski met with the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolini.
Roth hopes a positive decision is taken on Albania (Radio Tirana)
The German Minister for Europe Michael Roth is paying a two-day official visit to Tirana. The progress of the integration process and the issue of opening negotiations of Albania with the EU were the focus of the meetings. Roth met with Prime Minister Edi Rama. Both interlocutors addressed a press conference. In his speech, Rama said that the holding of the First Intergovernmental Conference depends on the internal affairs of the EU. He drew attention to the stalemate between North Macedonia and Bulgaria. However, the Prime Minister of Albania demanded that the Union implement the decisions. Rama added that our country has fulfilled its tasks for the integration process. Roth said that Albania has made many achievements and for this reason we are working so hard that a positive decision is taken by the EU Council of Ministers on 22 June. He added that the EU does not leave anyone alone and that the Western Balkans is the inner courtyard of the European Union. He also focused on political developments. “The majority that came out of the election is clear, and I say that as a Social Democrat,” Roth said. Roth is coming to Albania as he is currently on a two-day visit to North Macedonia. Before arriving in Skopje, German State Minister for Europe Michael Roth said it was high time the EU fulfilled its promises to start membership negotiations with northern Macedonia and Albania.
Premier calls on EU to convene first Intergovernmental Conference (ADN)
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has appeared Thursday at a joint press conference with German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth, where he stressed that Albania has done all its homework for the opening of negotiations with the EU. Rama highlighted that the EU must implement the decision it has taken, adopting the negotiating framework and convening the first intergovernmental conference. However, Rama pointed out a problem that has prevented the holding of the first intergovernmental conference, such as the conflict between North Macedonia and Bulgaria. The latter have been urged continuously to find a compromise on pending bilateral issues to avoid delaying the accession process any further. “I have the honor to welcome today a dear friend of Albania and Albanians and a vocal advocate of European travel of our entire region, including Albania, the German Minister of State for European Affairs. We all know that this visit coincides with a time on the eve of another meeting of the European Council for an important decision-making related to Albania and North Macedonia. Today, they are not the only ones, but also those who yesterday, even if they thought, did not say that Albania has done all its duties. And the adoption of the negotiating framework based on the decision taken to open negotiations by the EC and to hold the pre-intergovernmental conference is simply an internal matter of the European Council. At a moment when, beyond the fact, there seems to be a more positive trend than ever internally, the EU faces another surprise from the Balkan world, related to the stalemate of North Macedonia and Bulgaria. In my view, in our view, we have a long time since when must have opened the process immediately and the EU must implement the decision it has taken, adopting the negotiating framework and convening the first intergovernmental conference,” noted Rama.