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Belgrade Media Report 02 June 2021

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Wednesday 2 June 2021

LOCAL PRESS

Vucic: Serbia will request report from HR for the first time (RTV/RTS/B92)
Dacic: Serbia does not accept imposed solutions for Kosovo and Metohija (Tanjug/RTV)
Dacic: Serbia, Russia will always support each other (Tanjug/RTS)
Can Christian Schmidt bypass the UN SC? (Politika)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dodik: HR is undesirable figure in the RS (ATV)
Dzaferovic: It would be better if Dodik schedules Presidency session instead of going to Belgrade for consultations (Hayat)
Salkic: Newly appointed HR Schmidt should put end to Serbia’s silent annexation of RS (Hayat)
Nelson discusses appointment of new HR in B&H with Dodik (N1/Nova BH)
Vucic accepts Schmidt, Dodik regime facing capitulation! (Dnevni list)
Political Directors of PIC SB begin two-day online session (O kanal)
Croatia

Croatian Foreign Minister: Western Balkans are ‘strategically important’ to NATO (Hina)
Montenegro

Leaders of parties within the For the Future of Montenegro bloc: We lost our patience after Krivokapic’s latest gesture, now propose agreement with Democrats and URA (CdM)
Republic of North Macedonia

Zaev: Nationalistic policies emerged because Europe has failed (Klan Macedonia TV)
Albania

Soreca: Start of membership talks will accelerate confrontation of justice with organized crime in Albania (Radio Tirana)
Xhacka: Albania committed to Collective Security and NATO 2030 Initiative (ADN)

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LOCAL PRESS 

Vucic: Serbia will request report from HR for the first time (RTV/RTS/B92

The meeting between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the delegation of the Republika Srpska (RS) ended in the building of the General Secretariat of the President. The delegation from Banja Luka is led by the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Milorad Dodik, and RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic. In addition to Vucic, the meeting is also attended by Serbian Prime Minister Brnabic, as well as Ministers Nikola Selakovic and Aleksandar Vulin. After the meeting, Vucic said that there were talks on important issues.

“These are not easy and simple days for the Serb people. It seems that it is allowed to say anything against Serbia and its people without any reaction even when Kurti openly says he won’t form the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) despite that it has been signed,” Vucic said. “I informed our friends from the RS about the problem of Kosovo and it is certain that these are not the days when Serbia should lose its spirit. Talks with Palmer are awaiting me this afternoon, tomorrow with Palmer and Lajcak, so we’ll see how and what we will do next. What I can say now is that our reactions will be very strong, because when someone pushes you against the wall, you have to show both sharpness and strength and show that things can’t and won’t go like that. I am telling Kurti in advance, there can be no blackmail and he will be treated like any other representative of the provisional institutions,” Vucic stressed. “It’s visible that there is no desire to negotiate in Pristina. If someone thinks that I will agree to recognize the so-called republic of Kosovo, they don’t even have to travel to Brussels. That will never happen,” he stressed, and pointed out that world powers, the United States, Germany, France, are also seeking direct recognition of so-called Kosovo. Speaking about the Office of the High Representative (HR) in B&H, Vucic announced that according to Annex 10 of the Dayton agreement, he will ask for the report from the HR for the first time and express his views and listen if the RS has something to say about it. “I said that, for the first time ever, Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic would, in line with his powers, request a report from the HR on the situation in B&H. Serbia will start acting in a way it has not acted so far, but in accordance with what has been signed,” Vucic said. Those are positive and valid legal norms, and under Annex 10 to the Dayton agreement, the HR is also obliged to inform the interested parties, which include Serbia, Vucic added. Serbia will always be with the RS, while respecting the integrity of B&H, as well as that of the RS, Vucic added. “I think it is very dangerous to play with the Bonn powers and the imposition of laws, without respecting the Dayton agreement, without the consent of the three peoples, without the consent of the RS,” Vucic said. He said that Serbia would not support the implementation of the Bonn powers by which someone would try to create a political situation in the RS. Dodik said that the Office of the HR should be abolished and pointed out that his party did not want to abolish the Dayton agreement. “We don’t want problems, dramatization, but only the implementation of the Constitution. We’re not anti-Dayton side, anti-constitution side, we demand the respect of the international law and the B&H Constitution,” Dodik said. He recalled that a UN Security Council resolution should confirm the election of the HR. “Without it, there is no legitimacy…We asked President Vucic to help us – we understand this situation and the position of Serbia, which has its problems – which are our common problems – and that is Kosovo and Metohija,” Dodik told reporters after the meeting.

Dacic: Serbia does not accept imposed solutions for Kosovo and Metohija (Tanjug/RTV

Serbia is constructive in the EU-facilitated dialogue with Pristina and wants compromise that will bring peace and stability over the long term, Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic said in Moscow on Wednesday, adding that Serbia would not accept imposed and unilateral solutions.

“They tell us – give up on Kosovo and Metohija and the path to the EU is open to you. That is not what partners say to each other. We want to join the Union, we are working hard on that and that goal is not changing, but we do not accept having to face obstacles no one else has faced on that path, and a recognition of illegal secession is not something that can be expected from any sovereign state,” Dacic said in an address in the Russian State Duma. The situation with the sanctions against Russia is similar, Dacic said, adding that Serbia would never impose sanctions on Russia and that, having been targeted by the very same mechanism of pressure, it knew very well how unjust the mechanism was. “Russia is one of Serbia’s largest economic partners. There is no economic sector where we are not seeing huge growth, starting from the energy sector, road and railway infrastructure and agricultural production to the chemical and the wood industries…,” Dacic said. There is more room in the economy that must be used, particularly in joint arrangements in high-technology projects, he said. “We are heading in that direction also when it comes to cooperation in medical sciences. Is there a better example of that than the fact Serbia has become the first country in Europe to produce the Sputnik V vaccine with approval from your Gamaleya Institute, which has developed that great vaccine?” Dacic told the Duma deputies.

Dacic: Serbia, Russia will always support each other (Tanjug/RTS

Serbia and Russia are friendly countries that will always support each other, Serbian Parliament speaker Ivica Dacic said in Moscow after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday. Dacic said they had discussed bilateral relations, challenges and problems, as well as mutual cooperation and support and regional issues. “We had a good, friendly conversation. Lavrov is a great friend of Serbia and the Serbian nation. We also discussed their current foreign policy issues and preparations for a meeting with Biden,” Dacic said. He said some of the upcoming events would likely affect Serbia, with the US President to meet with NATO partners and then with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on 16 June. “That imposes upon us the need to think globally to see who we need to count on,” Dacic said. Dacic will meet with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and speak in the Russian State Duma on Wednesday.

Can Christian Schmidt bypass the UN SC? (Politika, by Dusanka Stanisic) 

In a statement to Politika, advisor of the Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milan Tegeltija said that if the appointment in line with the Dayton Agreement and resolutions of the UN is missing, Christian Schmidt will have no authority as the High Representative. According to Tegeltija, Schmidt will not be a legally-appointed representative which means that he can represent countries that appointed him but he cannot have the status of a High Representative and authorities arising from the Annex 10 the way the agreement and the Resolution 1031 stipulate. Tegeltija also said that the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB) does not have the authority to appoint a High Representative (HR), arguing that even if it did, it cannot make the appointment without consensus, which it does not have. Politika notes that, out of seven former High Representatives, only German diplomat Christian Schwarz-Schilling “by coincidence or not, did not have this confirmation either”.

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

Dodik: HR is undesirable figure in the RS (ATV)

Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik reminded that the RS is one of signatories. Dodik added that the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) in B&H is an informal body, underlining that it is logical to ask how it is possible for an informal body to pass formal decisions. “What kind of fraud it is? It is something we have to make clear”, explained Dodik. RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic stressed hat the RS institutions have a clear stance on the High Representative, as well as about B&H that needs to function on the ground of the DPA. She went on to saying that the RS does not accept imposed solutions, adding that this entity is open for partnership and talks. “It is open for legal procedure in regards to any appointment,” stated Cvijanovic, adding that if the international community insists on democratic principles in B&H, they should respect the same principles. We expect the support of Serbia in the fight for justice and a better life, said Cvijanovic. Dodik reiterated that the HR is an undesirable figure in the RS. The RS has already expressed its views on the violations of the Dayton Agreement and the decisions of the HR – through the conclusions of the RS parliament. The RS President expects to receive the support of Serbia in its fight for justice. “Serbia already has enough of its own burdens, ballast and pressures and we are always aware of that. We want to support Serbia to go through all the difficult temptations it has, but we also know that we have the support of Serbia to fight for what is right, and for justice and a better life in the RS,” Cvijanovic emphasized.

 We will write to all relevant institutions and the RS parliament has made its decision and no one should ask us how we will act. The HR can only exist there, we will agree to talk to him but we will not have cooperation,” Dodik clearly stated. All imposed solutions are unacceptable for the RS. It is open only for partnership, talks and legal election procedures at any time, the RS officials reiterated.

Dzaferovic: It would be better if Dodik schedules Presidency session instead of going to Belgrade for consultations (Hayat)

Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency and SDA Vice-President Sefik Dzaferovic commented for Hayat on Tuesday on the meeting that Vucic is scheduled to host for RS senior officials and the RS opposition leaders in Belgrade on Wednesday. In his comment, Dzaferovic stated that it would be better if Chairman and Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik schedules a session of the B&H Presidency, which he has not been doing during his chairmanship, instead of going to Belgrade for consultations. In addition, Dzaferovic assessed that the main problem in the functioning of B&H lies in the lack of the political responsibility mechanism. The Bosniak member of the Presidency underlined that this mechanism was active until the High Representatives (HR) suddenly stopped taking action. The Bosniak member said that the newly-appointed HR Christian Schmidt needs to help B&H in establishing this mechanism. He concluded that this would lead to preventing blockades on entity and ethnic grounds.

Salkic: Newly appointed HR Schmidt should put end to Serbia’s silent annexation of RS (Hayat)

Bosniak Vice-President of the RS Ramiz Salkic stated that he welcomes appointment of German diplomat Christian Schmidt as the new HR in B&H. Salkic reacted to the meeting in Belgrade on Wednesday. In his reaction, Salkic warned that – as he was quoted – “today Serbia uses special and parallel ties with the RS entity in B&H as a pretext to pursue an aggressive policy in various areas with the aim of silently annexing the RS entity and creating a new ‘Serbian world’ in the Balkans”. Salkic presented an opinion that B&H “will remain trapped in the jaws of ‘Greater Serbia’ aspirations towards the B&H territory” as long as representatives of Serbs in B&H continue to go to Serbia for consultations. The RS Vice-President thus called on the newly appointed HR, as the supreme interpreter of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA), to put an end to “silent annexation of this entity, carried out through unfounded institutional cooperation between the RS entity and Serbia with the aim to undermine territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H”.

Nelson discusses appointment of new HR in B&H with Dodik (N1/Nova BH)

US Ambassador to B&H Eric Nelson discussed with Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik on Tuesday the appointment of Christian Schmidt. The Ambassador stressed the US support to the appointment and the vital role that the Office of the High Representative (OHR) has in “facilitating the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement”. “We urge political leaders to focus on the reforms needed to further European path of B&H, to improve economy and lead to B&H’s graduation from international supervision. Divisive rhetoric only serves to slow down progress that all B&H citizens will benefit from,” the Embassy said following the meeting. After this meeting, Nelson said that he told Dodik that all domestic leaders need to calm things down, ease the harsh rhetoric and turn to economic reforms which lead B&H on its path to EU, which would mitigate the influence of the international factor in B&H. Nova BH carries that the international community in B&H is mostly focused of the stances of Dodik and Dodik’s refusal to accept the new HR for B&H, noted the reporter. All international representatives are trying to diplomatically explain to Dodik how important it is for him to accept the new High Representative, because, as they said, the role of OHR in the implementation of the DPA is still large.

Vucic accepts Schmidt, Dodik regime facing capitulation! (Dnevni list)

Dnevni list writing about the appointment of Christian Schmidt for a new High Representative (HR) daily reads that several (unnamed) international sources in Sarajevo have confirmed that the Western countries will bypass the Russian veto in the United Nations Security Council (UN SC) and just inform the UN Secretary General and the UN SC Chairman about the appointment. On the other hand, continued the daily, there are speculations according to which Russian President Vladimi Putin gave the ‘thumbs up’ for Schmidt long time ago, however he publicly advocates that the international administration must leave B&H. The daily further reads that Milorad Dodik has requested to meet Aleksandar Vucic and that the meeting will take place in Belgrade today, which triggers the daily to say it is clear that Dodik will request from Vucic to provide support to his plans to implement new sabotages. According to the daily, judging by Vucic’s statements that were obviously carefully timed, Dodik could be disappointed. The daily went on to say that if speculations about Russia approving Schmidt’s appointment or that Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will reach a consensus about it and Vucic getting the first hand information from Berlin and Moscow are true, then Dodik has been abandoned and left at the mercy of the West.

Political Directors of PIC SB begin two-day online session (O kanal)

A two-day online session of Political Directors of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB) has started on Tuesday. Ambassadors of the PIC SB will discuss implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace and the overall situation in B&H. A communique from the session is supposed to be published on Wednesday. O Kanal reported that the PIC SB is also supposed to confirm the appointment of German Christian Schmidt as a new HR as well as a report on the situation, i.e. progress of B&H that according to the reporter, was not positive enough to bring some visible progress. According to the reporter, reports issued over the last couple of years have been worse because there was small or almost no progress when it comes to progress of B&H and implementation of reforms. Besides, the latest reports emphasized war rhetoric and nationalism and underlined those changes must happen. According to analysts, Schmidt as a new HR means a lot for B&H because he enjoys German support which could mean change of the course and policy of the international community towards B&H. The reporter noted that back in the 2008, there were high expectations from B&H in terms of working more seriously on the progress and this is when the engagement of the international community was not so big but this did not turn out so efficient. The ‘5+2’ conditions were also set in 2008 as conditions for closure of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) and this was primarily related to democratization of the society, rule of law and reaching fiscal stability, adoption of some laws. Diplomat and historian Slobodan Soja assessed via a video link that when it comes to the EU path, B&H is in a deadlock and almost in the same position as it used to be before, if not even further from the EU than ever. Soja added that “a HR is there and he is supposed to take B&H to the EU a little bit faster but this is obviously not happening”.

Croatian Foreign Minister: Western Balkans are ‘strategically important’ to NATO (Hina)

“Western Balkans are strategically important to NATO”, and “NATO should advocate a reform of B&H’s electoral legislation,” Croatia’s Foreign Minister, Gordan Grlic-Radman, said at an online meeting of NATO foreign ministers, Hina reported. A statement from the Croatian Foreign Ministry also quoted the minister as saying that “support to Bosnia and Herzegovina should be stepped up and that the engagement in Kosovo should continue,” Hina said.

“The Minister also said that NATO and its member-states should advocate a reform of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s election law to enable legitimate representation of all three constituent peoples and avoid discrimination of citizens in B&HH’s institutions,” Hina said, quoting the unsigned press release sent by the Foreign Ministry to the media. NATO foreign ministers met on Tuesday ahead of a summit of leaders of NATO countries, to be held in Brussels on 14 June.

 

Leaders of parties within the For the Future of Montenegro bloc: We lost our patience after Krivokapic’s latest gesture, now propose agreement with Democrats and URA (CdM)

After Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic gave up on the signing of the Fundamental Agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) basic principles of our coalition have been undermined. After this move, we lost our patience for Krivokapic and won’t support him until he fulfils his promise with no delay. The bloc ‘For the Future of Montenegro’ has a duty beyond politics and any other interest – it was underlined at the meeting of the heads of parties comprising that coalition in Podgorica. They also agreed to sign a precise and clear coalition agreement with partners from the ruling majority, which would be binding for both its signatories and representatives in the executive power. According to them, Krivokapic broke the promise given to citizens, the Church, the late Metropolitan Amfilohije and Patriarch Irinej. “His failure to sign the Fundamental Agreement represents an inappropriate and irresponsible relation towards believers and the SPC, and is a biggest political blow to our coalition. It’s obvious that anybody else, starting from smaller coalition partners to employees in certain NGOs, have a greater impact on the government than us who back it with a two thirds majority. It’s not only unacceptable but humiliating as well,” they stated.

 

Zaev: Nationalistic policies emerged because Europe has failed (Klan Macedonia TV)

North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that “non-papers” on border change and

the announcement of formation of a party called Ilirida, which would advocate federalization of the country along ethnic lines and autonomy for Albanians, had emerged as the protagonists of nationalistic policies in the region when Europe had failed. “The phenomenon of ‘non-papers’ and now, the Ilirida project, which has been initiated again, are the protagonists of nationalistic policies in the region, and not only in the region, when Europe fails. It is a signal for Bulgaria and also for Brussels that they should as strongly as possible support the integration of this region into the EU,” Zaev told Klan Macedonia TV. According to Zaev, stepping up the integration of the region is the EU’s debt to the Western Balkans. “North Macedonia is an example of a country which, using the concept ‘one society for all,’ has integrated all ethnic communities. We are an example for resolving the issues in the region and between neighbors. I am proud to hear Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic say that the Prespa Agreement is a model also for resolving open issues between Serbia and Kosovo,” Zaev said.

 

Soreca: Start of membership talks will accelerate confrontation of justice with organized crime in Albania (Radio Tirana)

The EU Ambassador in Tirana Luigi Soreca says that the start of membership talks will accelerate the confrontation of justice with organized crime in Albania. “It is an important moment, because this will allow Albania, i.e. the EU agencies, to accelerate the level of interventions, but also the ways of interventions. So, the sooner we start membership talks, the more we will hit organized crime and assets that have been created illegally. So, I see a rapid acceleration after these talks start.” Ambassador Soreca also spoke about the first results of the concept “Follow the money” which, according to him, is marking the beginning of the fight against crime and illegal assets. General Prosecutor Olsion Cela has instructed prosecutors to focus on confiscation. And as you know, for me this is the starting point, the starting point of the war, of the crackdown on organized crime and illicit wealth. So, this is happening more and more, every day, said Soreca.

Xhacka: Albania committed to Collective Security and NATO 2030 Initiative (ADN)

Albania remains committed to ensuring collective security for decades to come and supports the new strategic concept of the NATO 2030 initiative, has guaranteed Tuesday the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Olta Xhacka. She released this main message during her speech at the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers, held through video conferencing. During the same speech, Xhacka presented Albania’s positions on important issues of NATO 2030 vision, while emphasizing the importance of further strengthening the unity and cohesion of the Alliance. “The time has come for NATO’s approach to the Western Balkans to be structured and consolidated into a proper alliance strategy in the region,” underlined Xhacka. However, the meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense of the NATO member countries precede the preparations for the summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Alliance countries, which will be held on 14 June in Brussels. This summit is expected to open a new chapter in transatlantic relations, delivering a strong message on transatlantic unity and cohesion, as well as making strategic decisions on NATO’s future adaptation.

 

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