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Belgrade Media Report 3 June

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LOCAL PRESS

Brnabic with Palmer: Serbia is devoted to resumption of dialogue with Pristina; Full US support (RTV)
Selakovic with Palmer: Cooperation with US priority, unacceptable avoidance of Pristina to fulfill obligations (RTS)
Dacic meets with Shoygu (Politika/Tanjug)
Serbian Foreign Ministry: Despite Montenegro interfering in Serbia’s internal affairs by recognizing the illegal secession of part of its territory, despite opposition of most of its citizens, Serbia consistently offers a hand of support and friendship to Montenegrin citizens (Tanjug/RTV/RTS)
New non-paper: Visegrad Group seeks greater support to Western Balkans (Beta/Klix)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

RS representatives meet with Serbian President Vucic (ATV)
Cvijanovic: RS looks up to Serbia and is grateful for its support (RTRS)
Cubrilovic: Delegation from the RS unanimous at meeting in Belgrade that OHR should end its mandate or at least appoint HR in line with DPA and legal acts (RTRS)
Borenovic: Meeting in Belgrade useful, RS’ position on DPA unquestionable; SDS leader Sarovic: It would be good thing if HR will be submitting reports on work to Serbia (RTRS)
Inzko: Serb politicians have nothing to fear when it comes to new HR, perhaps Dodik fears due to being aware he is violating DPA (N1)
Dzaferovic: Meeting in Belgrade will not have any effect on OHR; Vucic, Dodik comment react to Dzaferovic’s statement (Nova BH)
Salkic: Before he leaves B&H, Inzko should complete his promise and impose a law banning genocide denial (Hayat)
Other reactions to meeting of RS officials in Belgrade (N1)
PIC SB welcomes appointment of Schmidt as new High Representative in B&H; Unequivocal commitment to territorial integrity of B&H reaffirmed (Hayat)
SDA, Our Party, SDP officials welcome appointment of Schmidt as new HR in B&H and conclusions adopted by PIC SB (BHT1)
Delegation of international officials points out need for involving B&H Central Election Commission in work of IAWG (FTV)
Komsic’s advisor responds to Grlic Radman: B&H’s Program of Reforms does not mention representation of peoples, but it speaks about equality for all citizens (Oslobodjenje)
Croatia

European Commission says Croatia is ready to join Schengen Area (HRT)
Montenegro

Nikolic: Krivokapic should initiate a vote of confidence in government (RTCG)
Becic: Krivokapic shouldn’t resign, Democrats support him (CdM)
DF: Without agreement, elections are the only possible solution; Krivokapic proposed to foreign embassy that Spajic be new PM (CdM)
Republic of North Macedonia

Zaev: Country is doing everything to find a solution with Bulgaria (Republika)
Radev: Bulgaria requires guarantees over Macedonia’s EU accession (MIA)
De Sousa: Sofia-Skopje dialogue needed without making a fuss (Republika)
Satisfied with his good policies, Zaev expects his parliamentary majority to enlarge (Republika)
Massive turnout in the local elections, and then there will have to be early parliamentary elections (TV Alfa)
Zaev: Why hold early elections, Mickoski doesn’t even use “N” from North, imagine what will happen to the country (Republika)
Albania

Llalla: US and EU Ambassadors wanted Berisha and Meta arrested (Tirana Times/Syri TV)

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LOCAL PRESS 

Brnabic with Palmer: Serbia is devoted to resumption of dialogue with Pristina; Full US support (RTV)  

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer that one of her country’s foreign policy priority was to intensify the cooperation with the US and that Belgrade remained committed to the dialogue with Pristina on the normalization of relations. “The boosting of the political dialogue and the highest-profile visits are in our interest, and I hope that we will have a chance to mark the 140th anniversary of Serbia-US diplomatic relations,” Brnabic said after meeting Palmer in Belgrade. Regarding the dialogue with Pristina, Brnabic underlined that the dialogue with the provisional institutions is in the focus of the government, but that it is necessary to issues that has been earlier agreed within the dialogue, primarily the Community of Serb Municipalities, to be implemented. “Belgrade fulfilled all obligations and expects to see the same on the other side for the dialogue to have sense. One of them is the issue of finding and identifying missing persons, and we are fully committed to complete solution of that issue,” she said. Palmer underlined that the US strongly supports the dialogue conducted under the EU auspices and the role of the EU Special Envoy Miroslav Lajcak and praised the turn of Belgrade and President Aleksandar Vucic to the talks with Pristina. “Belgrade will continue to advocate for achieving a sustainable compromise in the dialogue with Pristina, while protecting the interests of the Serbs there, as well as preserving the state and national interests of our country,” Brnabic pointed out. Palmer emphasized that one of the priority interests of the US is stability and security of the Western Balkans, and praised the role of Serbia in regional initiatives, which will significantly raise the quality of life of all citizens in the region, but also further improve regional empowerment. It was also pointed out that the focus of US activities in Serbia will be on investments in infrastructure, and investments in renewable energy sources. Palmer pointed to the need to ensure that the media environment allows different opinions to be heard.

Selakovic with Palmer: Cooperation with US priority, unacceptable avoidance of Pristina to fulfill obligations (RTS

Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer, who will meet today with President Aleksandar Vucic. Selakovic said that the improvement of all areas of cooperation with the United States is one of the foreign policy priorities and pointed out that Serbia is determined to intensify cooperation with the current US administration, the Foreign Ministry announced.

Emphasizing the jubilee – 140 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Serbia and the US, Selakovic expressed hope that, in accordance with the conditions of the pandemic, that important anniversary would be adequately marked, and that a high-level visit would demonstrate the US’ commitment to improving relations. When it comes to economic cooperation, he emphasized the commitment to its intensification, especially having in mind the potentials for the improvement of economic activities. Selakovic said that it is of key interest for Serbia to preserve peace and stability in the region and the orientation of the region towards more intensive economic cooperation, and in that sense he pointed out that improving good neighborly and mutually beneficial relations is a fundamental and unchanging starting point of Serbia’s overall foreign policy. .

 

Dialogue on normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina is the only right way 

Selakovic pointed out that the dialogue on the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, with EU mediation, is the only right way to reach a sustainable agreement between the two sides. He underlined that the key compromise is a responsible and serious approach, and said that Serbia would continue to participate in the talks in good faith and that it was ready to continue the dialogue. “We consider it unacceptable for Pristina to avoid fulfilling its obligations, primarily the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities, insisting only on mutual recognition,” Selakovic stressed, adding that Albin Kurti’s current inflammatory rhetoric does not contribute to creating a favorable atmosphere for dialogue. Selakovic also said that the agreement on the normalization of economic relations from Washington was complementary to the EU activities and that it was a step towards the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

Concern over physical attacks on churches and monasteries 

Selakovic expressed concern over the frequent physical attacks on the facilities of the Serbian Orthodox Church over the past period and pointed out that the Visoki Decani monastery was recently included by the organization “Europa Nostra” on the list of the seven most endangered cultural monuments in Europe. He thanked Palmer for visiting the Visoki Decani and meeting with the Bishop of Raska and Prizren Teodosije, and the Abbot Sava Janjic two days ago, as well as for the statement given on that occasion regarding the monastery property. Speaking about Serbia’s EU integration, Selakovic thanked Washington for its continuous support on the path to full EU membership, to which Serbia is committed as its priority strategic commitment.

 

Dacic meets with Shoygu (Politika/Tanjug

Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu met in Moscow on Wednesday, noting that strong cooperation between Serbia and Russia and mutual support were crucial for defending common interests. They agreed that the level of bilateral relations was very high and discussed opportunities for further cooperation within a strategic partnership between Serbia and Russia. “The discussions addressed the current situation and challenges at regional and global level, and the parties agreed that strong cooperation and mutual support are crucial for defending common interests,” the Serbian parliament said in a statement.

Dacic thanked Russia for the support it has provided to Serbia in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic, including shipments of the Sputnik V vaccine and its production in Serbia. Shoygu reiterated Moscow’s support in the preservation of Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Dacic also thanked Russia for that aspect of its support, which is related to the Kosovo and Metohija issue.

Serbian Foreign Ministry: Despite Montenegro interfering in Serbia’s internal affairs by recognizing the illegal secession of part of its territory, despite opposition of most of its citizens, Serbia consistently offers a hand of support and friendship to Montenegrin citizens (Tanjug/RTV/RTS)

By taking care of the Serb people, Serbia does not interfere in anyone’s internal affairs, but contributes to the democratic standards in respecting individual and collective rights becoming a universal value in the region, the Serbian Foreign Ministry said. “Serbia has been showing for years that it is a true pillar of stability in the region, consistently insisting on a policy of non-interference in the affairs of other countries, but does not intend to give up concern for the position of the Serb people in neighboring countries,” the Ministry said in response to accusations from Podgorica over Belgrade’s “negative rhetoric and appropriation of 30 percent of Montenegrin citizens”. Serbia has such an attitude towards Montenegro, where the Serb people make up a significant percentage of the population, notes the Ministry. The statement reads that the care for the position of one’s own people, especially in the countries in which they are domicile, is completely in line with the democratic achievements on which modern Europe is based. Other countries care about the position of their people with equal rights, and naturally expect its members to enjoy the highest possible rights in neighboring countries, the Ministry points out. “If we compare the percentage of the Albanian population in Northern Macedonia and the Serbs in Montenegro, and then the political rights enjoyed by one or another nation, every objective observer will notice a noticeable discrepancy. Namely, Serbs enjoy incomparably less rights,” the statement reads. If all countries in the region want to become part of the EU, and they want to, they must respect approximately the same, universal standards in guaranteeing rights to national communities, and Serbia does not expect anything more than that, notes the Ministry. The statement added that “the Serbs and Serbia do not want anything other than cooperation and harmony with the fraternal Montenegrin people, based on advanced democratic traditions, but also our traditional friendship”. “Serbia is, therefore, not only a good neighbor, but also a brotherly country, on which both Montenegro and the Montenegrin people will always be able to rely, and we are convinced that we will resolve all open issues, including the position and rights of Serbs, in a friendly, civilized and democratic way,” the Foreign Ministry said. The Ministry emphasizes that Serbia has a legitimate and indisputable right to take care of the position of the Serb people wherever they live, as well as the right to express dissatisfaction when the rights of the Serb people are endangered or when they are discriminated against. Thus, as it is stated, Serbia “does not interfere in anyone’s internal affairs, but contributes to the democratic standards in respecting individual and collective rights becoming a universal value in our region”. “Despite the fact that Montenegro interfered in Serbia’s internal affairs by recognizing the illegal secession of part of its territory, despite the opposition of most of its citizens, Serbia consistently offers a hand of support and friendship to Montenegrin citizens, hoping that, after years of political and historical turmoil in which everything is done to corrupt the incorruptible, the relations between our states and peoples will again be at the highest level,” says the Ministry.

New non-paper: Visegrad Group seeks greater support to Western Balkans (Beta/Klix)  

The four countries of the Visegrad Group – Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, together with Austria, have sent a new non-paper to EU leaders about the Western Balkans. Quoting diplomatic sources, the Sarajevo-based portal Klix reported on 2 June that the document did not deal with the issue of borders, but called for the European Union’s greater support to the entire Western Balkans. The foreign ministers of these countries have also called for the countries and citizens of the Western Balkans to be included in the official talks about the future of the European Union because, as the five countries believe, they have that right and should have the possibility to express their stances about the EU’s future, since they have prospects of membership. According to the announcement, the initiative of the group of states should be sent to the EU leadership, including the European Commission and the Commissioner for enlargement Oliver Varhelyi.

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

RS representatives meet with Serbian President Vucic (ATV

 

Officials of the Republika Srpska (RS) and representatives of parliamentary parties in the RS met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade on Wednesday to discuss the appointment of the new High Representative (HR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). The meeting in Belgrade was initiated by RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic and besides the representatives of all political parties from the RS and all institutions in the RS, the meeting was also attended by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and ministers in the Serbian government, Nikola Selakovic and Aleksandar VulinATV stressed that a clear message of Serb unity on both sides of the Drina River was sent from the meeting which lasted about an hour and a half.

 Namely, members of the delegation of the RS informed the Serbian President about their doubts and concerns in regard to the appointment of the new HR which, according to them, was not carried out in accordance with Annex 10 of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). Representatives of the RS further stated that the situation in B&H is complex, and that the only solution is to return to the framework of the DPA. Serb member and Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik stated that the RS representatives are not against the Constitution and the DPA, but that appointment of the HR should be made in accordance with Annex 10. “We believe that the OHR should be closed and the time for that has long passed. Back in 2005, conclusions on that were adopted, but adoption of some five goals and two conditions brought that into a position by some from the international community that the OHR will never be closed. We are against any kind of rehabilitation of this in terms of adoption of Bonn powers or any kind of attempts at creating new legislative solutions,” Dodik emphasized. Vucic stated that he carefully listened to everything that representatives of the RS told him, stressing that he understands their concerns, but that it is necessary to look at the broader political situation which both B&H and the entire international community are in. “I understand why people in the RS look at the non-compliance with the legal procedure, or change of legal procedure, with trepidation, but I also asked my friends from the RS to understand what practical politics is,” Vucic underlined. “From now on, we will regularly seek reports from the HR and we are convinced that HRs will fulfill that obligation towards the Republic of Serbia,” Vucic emphasized. Vucic stressed that he will always talk with the HR, adding that he has a high opinion of Christian Schmidt and that he appreciates him as a politician. “We have to talk about everything and you cannot reach decisions at the expense of one party and in favor of other parties”, Vucic pointed out. “We are a side, and that annex was signed by Milan Milutinovic, on behalf of the Republic of Serbia”, Vucic further explains. In line with the Annex 10, Vucic says that Serbia will ask the High Representative for a regular report on the situation in B&H. “We are certain that High Representatives will, if they remain at the territory of B&H, fulfill that obligation towards the Republic of Serbia,” Vucic stressed. Vucic also said Serbia will have to talk with the High Representative, but it will also ask for a report on situation in B&H and strongly oppose any attempt of using Bonn Powers. He said Serbia will always hear the RS’ point of view in any important matter. Asked if Schmidt is acceptable for Serbia, since he plans to seek a report from him, Vucic said that this does not depend on Serbia, but on decisions of the UN Security Council (UN SC). He said he knows Schmidt for many years, he is an experienced and serious politician. He said he would not call them friends, but they are very close associates, which have deep respect for each other. He said their relations do not have anything to do with the appointment or the use of Bonn Powers. He said he will talk with Schmidt and ask for a report on B&H. I am certain we will receive this report, Vucic concluded. Participants of Wednesday’s meeting in Belgrade underlined that this meeting was directed towards preservation of the DPA and that it was not to the detriment of B&H or Bosniaks. “Serbia is not interfering in B&H’s internal matters. We would want it to (interfere more), but that is not the case. But, in any case, Serbia has its responsibility as a signatory of Annex 10 of the DPA and Annexes, such as Annex 10,” Dodik said. Vucic stated that Serbia will not allow to be banned from respecting international public law “just because we do not want to allow you to tell us that 900,000 or a million Serbs west of the Drina do not exist.” Vucic emphasized that it is time to focus more on issues of economic growth. Thanks to good economic results, Serbia recently helped four municipalities in the RS and the Federation of B&H and the Serbian President announced significant financial assistance for two more municipalities in B&H.  Meanwhile, Dodik stated that he spoke with US Ambassador to B&H Eric Nelson via phone. On this occasion, Dodik reiterated the RS’ stances that appointment of Christian Schmidt as the new HR was not carried out in accordance with Annex 10 of the DPA. Dodik is appalled with the fact that the country that for the most part created the DPA is doing almost nothing to protect the DPA in its original form. Dodik stated that if the appointment of the new HR is not confirmed in the UN Security Council, he will not have legitimacy for the RS. “We do not want problematization of relations. We do not want dramatization. We want application of the Constitution. We are not an anti-Dayton side, we are not an anti-constitutional side. We only seek respect for the international law and of course the Constitution of B&H which was violated by the HRs on a large scale. We have enough fear that this will happen having in mind that one is trying to come up with a new name in a speculative way,” Dodik underlined. At a joint press conference in Belgrade on Wednesday, Vucic and Dodik were asked about their stances on the Srebrenica genocide. Vucic responded by saying that Serbs need to show respect to Bosniak victims in order for the Jasenovac victims to be remembered, too. “We need to respect the Srebrenica victims. I think that this is neither the right place nor time to go into legal terminology”, the Serbian President underlined. Dodik wondered why journalists are trying to make him recognize the genocide. “We will not, because it did not happen. Our stance is clear, regardless of the efforts from the Federation of B&H to present Serbs as genocidal,” Dodik noted. Dodik also said that there is a constant need of Bosniaks, with support of international partners, to present Serbs as genocidal people and to lead the policy of hatred and condemnation of everything with Serb prefix.

Cvijanovic: RS looks up to Serbia and is grateful for its support (RTRS

 

RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic published an Instagram post following the meeting of RS high-ranking officials and parliamentary party representatives with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade on Wednesday. In her post, Cvijanovic underlined that the RS looks up to Serbia and is grateful for the support and the security Serbia provides. Cvijanovic assessed that it is important to discuss all issues of importance for Serbia and the RS. “One of them is the appointment of the new HR, done contrary to procedures defined in the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA). This was an opportunity to hear from President Vucic about economic success of Serbia, which showed that it is a strong and serious state despite all pressures it faced in recent decades”, wrote the RS President. She assessed that criticisms that came from Sarajevo on the meeting in Belgrade are a sign of overall weakness.

Cubrilovic: Delegation from the RS unanimous at meeting in Belgrade that OHR should end its mandate or at least appoint HR in line with DPA and legal acts (RTRS

 

RS parliament speaker and DEMOS leader Nedeljko Cubrilovic commented on the meeting of RS high-ranking officials and parliamentary party representatives with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade on Wednesday. As one of participants of the meeting, Cubrilovic said that the delegation from the RS was unanimous in its stance that the Office of the High Representative (OHR) should end its mandate or at least appoint the new High Representative (HR) in a manner regulated by the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA) and all legal acts. Cubrilovic noted that the RS will respect all international obligations and that they believe that Serbia will request from the HR to submit reports on his work to Serbia. In his opinion, that is the HR’s Dayton obligation.

Borenovic: Meeting in Belgrade useful, RS’ position on DPA unquestionable; SDS leader Sarovic: It would be good thing if HR will be submitting reports on work to Serbia (RTRS

 

PDP leader Branislav Borenovic assessed that the meeting of RS high-ranking officials and parliamentary party representatives with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, held in Belgrade on Wednesday, was useful and that its participants sent a message that the RS’ position on the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA) is unquestionable. When it comes to appointment of the new HR in B&H, Borenovic stressed that it is necessary to strictly implement the Annex 10 of the DPA. Borenovic said that SNSD leader Milorad Dodik should look up to Vucic and behave responsibly as Vucic does. You cannot just create tensions all the time, Borenovic says, adding that big issues can only be tackled by presenting solid arguments and not by making a circus out of everything. SDS leader Mirko Sarovic commented on the meeting and assessed that it would be a good thing if the HR in B&H will be submitting reports on work to Serbia, as one of the signatory countries of the Annex 10 of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA). Sarovic also said it was not fair that RS opposition leaders were called to this meeting just to observe and not take part in any talks or decision-making. He said stances were set prior to the meeting and opposition was just called to support them. This is a joint matter, a joint interest, and we must work together, Sarovic emphasized. Sarovic said that this is not the time for a show of force because it is unnecessary. “We need to show more intelligence, wisdom and agree on certain key issues but on an equal footing,” added Sarovic. DNS leader Nenad Nesic said that the meeting in Belgrade showed that there is no doubt that difficult days are ahead of the RS, but he is glad that there was a unanimous stance that B&H no longer needs the Office of the High Representative (OHR).

Inzko: Serb politicians have nothing to fear when it comes to new HR, perhaps Dodik fears due to being aware he is violating DPA (N1

Outgoing HR Valentin Inzko provided a statement to N1 and said that he told the newly-appointed HR Schmidt that he should not be coming to B&H without the Bonn powers. Inzko provided a comment regarding the meeting in Belgrade, pointing out that Serb politicians have nothing to be afraid of when it comes to arrival of the newly-appointed HR. Milorad Dodik might be afraid of Mr. Schmidt, but other Serb politicians have no reason to fear” Inzko noted. The outgoing HR added that Schmidt will be a guarantor of the DPA, which includes the RS and Federation of B&H, and whoever respects the DPA has nothing to be afraid of. “Perhaps Milorad Dodik fears, because he is aware that he is violating the DPA,” Inzko emphasized. He concluded the opposition leaders – SDS leader Mirko Sarovic, PDP leader Branislav Borenovic, and DNS leader Nenad Nesic – showed no concern over Schmidt’s arrival.

Dzaferovic: Meeting in Belgrade will not have any effect on OHR; Vucic, Dodik comment react to Dzaferovic’s statement (Nova BH

 

Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic commented on the visit of the Republika Srpska (RS) officials to Serbia on Wednesday. He assessed that it would have been much better for Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik to convene a session of the B&H Presidency to discuss the B&H budget for 2021 rather than to go to Belgrade. Dzaferovic stated that the meeting in Belgrade will mean nothing in regards to the Office of the High Representative (OHR) and B&H. Dzaferovic said it is interference by Serbia in internal affairs of B&H. Commenting on this, Dodik said: “He is free to meet with everyone, and we do not see any conspiracy, with the Turkish representatives and many others, and we have never comment that in the same manner. Serbia does not interfere with internal affairs of B&H, although we would like it to”. Reacting to Dzaferovic’s statement that Serbia interferes in internal issues of B&H and has no authorities when it comes to appointment of the HR, Vucic assessed that Dzaferovic only presented his personal opinion, which lacks institutional power, and called on him to read Annex 10 and learn who signatories of that document are. “I do not think that what Dzaferovic is doing for his people is very wise,” he added. Dodik also touched on Dzaferovic’s accusations that Serbia is interfering in internal issues of B&H, and said that Dzaferovic should try to conduct rational rather than illusory policy. “If he thinks that we will abolish ourselves and disappear only to please him, he should know that he cannot count on that. That will never happen,” Dodik stated.

Salkic: Before he leaves B&H, Inzko should complete his promise and impose a law banning genocide denial (Hayat

 

Bosniak RS Vice President Ramiz Salkic, commenting the meeting between RS and Serbian officials that was organized on Wednesday in Belgrade, said that B&H will be in a lot of trouble as long as its officials go to other countries and their leaders for proposals and solutions. Salkic emphasized that Serbia is a signatory of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA), but it constantly falsely presents itself as the guarantor, which it is not, with the aim of interfering with internal affairs of B&H. He said that origins of the denial of Srebrenica genocide are in Serbia, and Serbs in B&H only follow such stances blindly. He also pointed to the many projects and activities of Serbia in the RS, which have the goal of immersing itself in all aspects of the society, thus eventually trying to connect all public companies and institutions of Serbia and the RS. Salkic said the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), the international community (IC) and the High Representative in B&H must put a stop to these things. The incumbent High Representative, Valentin Inzko, said he would impose a law banning genocide denial in B&H, if the leaders of this country are unable to reach a solution on their own. Nothing has been done to this day.

Asked if there is still time for Inzko’s decision, before he leaves B&H and is replaced by Christian Schmidt, Salkic said Inzko should complete his promise. He should not leave before completing this promise he gave to citizens of B&H, Salkic points. Salkic said this law should be imposed and it should include ban on entry to all those that deny genocide in Srebrenica. Commenting Schmidt’s appointment, the RS Vice President said change after 12 years is good, but no speculations can be made as to whether Schmidt would be efficient in his work or not.

Salkic stressed that the RS officials cannot do anything and their meeting in Belgrade will not stop certain processes. Salkic said that Bosnian Serbs need to solve all of their issues in B&H since they are fully protected through entity voting and they have an entity that is unfairly called only after one people living in it. He assessed that those things need to be changed in the future. Salkic also said that it is necessary to change the name of the RS, which is “unfairly named only after Serb people”.

Other reactions to meeting of RS officials in Belgrade (N1

 

SDA Vice President Safet Softic commented on the visit of the RS officials to Serbia on Wednesday and he noted that the meeting shows nothing new in Serbia’s attitude towards Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). “This represents a political play, aimed at showing how Serbia cares for the RS. By this, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic strengthens his position in Serbia, while providing unreserved support to what Dodik is doing in B&H,” Softic stressed. In his opinion, Dodik is putting effort into disintegrating the state of B&H. SBB B&H Vice President Admir Cavka noted that Schmidt should help B&H become a strong European state and that he will lead B&H towards the EU and NATO. SDP B&H Vice-President Vojin Mijatovic wondered if the newly-appointed HR “will have the mandate to put an end to collaboration with crime” and to lead B&H into the EU and NATO.

PIC SB welcomes appointment of Schmidt as new High Representative in B&H; Unequivocal commitment to territorial integrity of B&H reaffirmed (Hayat

 

The Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB) Political Directors welcomed the appointment of Christian Schmidt as the new High Representative and expressed their full support to him in strengthening the stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) by ensuring consistent implementation of the civilian aspects of the General Framework Agreement for Peace. The PIC SB also commended the incumbent High Representative, Valentin Inzko, for the outstanding work he and his team have done for the stability and development of B&H. This was stated in the Communiqué issued by the PIC SB after a two-day session that ended on Wednesday. This was the first PIC SB session since Schmidt was appointed, on 27 May. On the first day of session, the PIC SB met with mayors of Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Mostar, as well as with leadership and representatives of the Brcko District government. The communiqué issued on Wednesday shared the conclusions from the PIC SB session. The Russian Federation did not agree with the Communiqué. The PIC SB reminded all parties of their obligation to comply fully with the General Framework Agreement for Peace, all its annexes, and decisions of the High Representative. It reaffirmed its unequivocal commitment to the territorial integrity and fundamental structure of B&H as a single, sovereign state made of two entities. The PIC SB welcomed the initiative of the B&H Presidency to lead reforms aimed at fulfilling 14 key priorities from the European Commission’s (EC) Opinion with the aim to move forward on the EU path of B&H. B&H’s citizens need their leaders to focus their energies on delivering of basic yet significant economic, rule of law and electoral reforms this year and to COVID response essential to citizens’ welfare and economic recovery. “Despite the repeated appeals to make use of the current year, as a non-election year, to carry out and speed up the agreed reform path of B&H, almost half of 2021 has elapsed without significant positive development. The PIC SB repeatedly urged the B&H authorities to reach agreement on limited constitutional and electoral reform, addressing the European Court of Human Rights’ Sejdic/Finci and related judgements on non-discrimination”, the Communiqué stated. The PIC SB said it supports all efforts by B&H leaders and citizens to engage in dialogue and concrete actions to promote trust and reconciliation and calls upon all leaders to cease divisive rhetoric and actions. The PIC SB calls on B&H leadership, to jointly honor all war victims and survivors as the foundation for a peaceful future. The PIC SB expressed its disappointment with the lack of commitment to reforms reinforcing fiscal transparency and stability, promoting a single economic space and strengthening the local economy, including through the International Monetary Fund Extended Fund Facility (IMF EFF) requested by B&H. The PIC SB reiterated that ensuring uninterrupted adequate financing and unimpeded functioning of B&H institutions is an essential component of those efforts and urged the adoption of the 2021 state-level budget that allows B&H institutions to meet their needs and discharge their obligations. B&H officials were called to strengthen cooperation among all levels of authority, provide sufficient funding and develop a migration management and asylum system to manage migration and border security as the exclusive competence of the state. It was emphasized that both entities should equitably share the responsibility of meeting humanitarian obligations in accommodating migrants.

SDA, Our Party, SDP officials welcome appointment of Schmidt as new HR in B&H and conclusions adopted by PIC SB (BHT1

 

The Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SC) welcomed appointment of Christian Schmidt new High Representative (HR) in B&H, and expressed hope Schmidt will ensure full implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP). BHT1 reports that Schmidt’s appointment, as well as the conclusions adopted by the PIC SB were welcomed by B&H political officials. SDA is of view Schmidt will have greater support from the international partners in order to fulfil what is expected. SDA MP at the B&H House of Representatives (HoR) Alma Colo said for the media: “I think the new HR should bring new energy to the OHR in B&H, accelerate processes, assist us to fulfill the key priorities on our EU path.” HDZ B&H leadership refused to comment conclusions adopted by the PIC SB and the confirmation of Schmidt’s appointment. Our Party leadership welcomed the appointment of new HR in B&H, but called for the PIC Ambassadors to stop giving legitimacy to nationalists. ‘Our Party’ leadership stated they are aware the international partners are lacking political will necessary for the removal of senior state officials un B&H, but if they do not intend to use the ‘Bonn Powers’ for those who interfere with the processes in B&H, the international partners should not give them new opportunities. The ‘Our Party’ leadership stressed the importance of new practice in B&H and expressed hope the new HR will act in that direction. Our Party MP at the B&H HoR Damir Arnaut said: “I welcome the PIC’s decision. It shows the commitment of the international community (IC), i.e. its key parts engaged in the processes in B&H, to our country, as well as to peace and stability in our country”. SDP MP at the B&H HoR Sasa Magazinovic said he is certain the ‘Bonn Powers’ may be invoked, i.e. “the IC lost its patients with regard to the leaders with empty rhetoric, who raise national tensions, and pull the country backwards”. DF MP at the B&H HoR Dzenan Djonlagic said: “What I would like to see as his first decision is the law on denial of genocide and war crimes in B&H. I think that passing such law would relax relations in B&H”. The reporter comments in order to relax the political environment in B&H, the PIC Ambassadors expect cooperation among all levels of government, and it can be hoped 2021 is the turning point towards strengthening the rule of law and combating corruption which is the key part of the process of B&H joining the EU.

Delegation of international officials points out need for involving B&H Central Election Commission in work of IAWG (FTV

 

The delegation of international officials pointed out, at the session of the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG), the need for the involvement of the B&H Central Election Commission (CEC) in the work of the IAWG. The international officials also stated the need to remove discrimination and return the confidence of citizens in the election system. The IAWG session was attended by the Head of the OSCE Mission to B&H Kathleen Kavalec, the Head of the Delegation of the EU and the EU Special Representative in B&H Johann Sattler and the US Ambassador to B&H Eric Nelson. Kavalec, Nelson and Sattler told the IAWG that their job is to fight corruption, which was followed by demands, such as the implementation of the verdicts of international and domestic courts, new technology in the election process and the institute of criminal responsibility. The reason for these demands are the elections in B&H which are a unique example of corruption, added the reporter. Sattler stated: “At the end, this will have to be a single package. That is why all actors need to be willing to make compromise. This game that is being played, and which in the end does not yield any results, is not good, not even for the citizens of this country, which expect results. I call on political leaders to leave their emotions and disagreements aside and to place focus on what can be done”. Nelson stated: “The reform effort will require the participation of many sides and it is necessary to hear the voices of the civil society, as well as the competent organizations, including the experts of the B&H CEC”.

SNSD and HDZ B&H fiercely oppose the involvement of the B&H CEC in the IAWG, added the reporter. Member of the IAWG Barisa Colak (HDZ B&H) stated while addressing the media that it is known they have serious reluctance regarding the B&H CEC due to, as Colak said, the illegal manner of appointment of the B&H CEC. Member of the IAWG Sredoje Novic from SNSD said that it is up to them to solve this and that they have enough time. “It remains to be seen who we will invite to the IAWG,” added Novic. Unlike HDZ B&H and SNSD, SDA and the opposition have the same stance that without the B&H CEC, this process makes no sense. Member of the IAWG Damir Arnaut from Our Party (NS) welcomed the example given by Kavalec when she said, as quoted by Arnaut: “You cannot improve a library without the help of a librarian”. Chairperson of the IAWG Alma Colo from SDA said that the fact that the B&H CEC does not participate in the work of this working group is a big handicap and that she will insist on that. Despite this, the IAWG is working without the B&H CEC and this practice does not seem like it is going to change, commented the reporter. Even though the demand for the involvement of the B&H CEC was clear, HDZ B&H sent a message that the international community has to have access to a fair mediator, i.e. without conditions. This was an interesting response from HDZ B&H, as HDZ B&H has set many conditions for the changes to B&H Election Law since the negotiations started, commented the reporter. All suggestions, amendments and recommendations on improvement of the B&H Election law were postponed for the next session. Every Wednesday a new task is set for the next Wednesday, added the reporter. Due to this kind of dynamic, optimism of certain members of the IAWG could fade, as well as the expectations that B&H will gain a new Election Law based on domestic arrangements, concluded the reporter.

Komsic’s advisor responds to Grlic Radman: B&H’s Program of Reforms does not mention representation of peoples, but it speaks about equality for all citizens (Oslobodjenje

 

Slaven Kovacevic, advisor to B&H Presidency member Zeljko Komsic, responded to statements of Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman who called on NATO to get involved in electoral reform in B&H based on legitimate representation of constituent peoples. Kovacevic said that B&H sent to Brussels the Program of Reform which does not mention any legitimate representation of constituent peoples, and noted that this principle was rejected by NATO member countries such as Germany. Kovacevic added that by submitting the Program of Reforms, B&H did not take any obligations regarding representation of the constituent peoples, but B&H did take the obligation to secure full equality for all of its citizens. He noted that Croatia endorsed this, and added that Grlic Radman should inform the Croatian public about everything that Croatia agreed to support. According to Kovacevic, NATO will be able to provide an adequate answer to the devastating ideas about ethnic divisions in B&H.

 

European Commission says Croatia is ready to join Schengen Area (HRT

On Wednesday the European Commission called for the Schengen Border Area to be expanded to include Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. The commission says that all three member states have met all of the technical criteria to join the common visa policy. The European Commission’s Home Affairs Commissioner, Ylva Johansson, noted today that Croatia guarantees that it will protect the bloc’s external border and the human rights of migrants: “Croatia is ready to enter Schengen, and so are Romania and Bulgaria. And I expect the council to welcome Croatia into the Schengen Area.” Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic expressed his confidence that Croatia achieve its goals of joining both the Schengen Area and the Eurozone: “I believe that we will achieve this goal, we have met all of the criteria. I am firmly confident that both goals of deeper integration will begin in 2022 with Croatia joining the Schengen Area, and then followed by the Eurozone.”

 

Nikolic: Krivokapic should initiate a vote of confidence in government (RTCG

In Montenegro, we have an unsustainable situation in which Zdravko Krivokapic remains Prime Minister, despite the fact that he does not have the support of 41 MPs, which is necessary for him to remain in that position, says DPS MP Milos Nikolic. In a statement for RTCG, he points out that Montenegro essentially does not have a government and that Krivokapic would have to ask parliament for a vote of confidence. He stresses that the situation in the society is catastrophic, that we do not have an adopted budget, police officers do not have fuel for cars, etc. He adds that there is revenge in education, as well as the blockade of the European path.

 

Becic: Krivokapic shouldn’t resign, Democrats support him (CdM

 

Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic should not resign, Democratic Montenegro supports him, parliament speaker Aleksa Becic said. “I regret that, as in other European countries, we do not have a legal obligation for everyone to act independently. We should measure our forces in the elections and have a clear picture of everyone’s legitimacy. Democratic Montenegro has been and will be a partner of this Government. Anyone who thinks differently has the right to test it. Democratic Montenegro respects what it promised on 4 December,” Becic told journalists. He says that the Democrats support and will support this government.

DF: Without agreement, elections are the only possible solution; Krivokapic proposed to foreign embassy that Spajic be new PM (CdM

DF MPs have not yet received a response from the Democrats and the URA to the invitation to sign a coalition agreement, which would include resetting the executive power – the new government and the new Prime Minister within the same majority. At the press conference, they said that Zdravko Krivokapic no longer enjoys their trust, and they mentioned the elections as a possible way out of the crisis. Nebojsa Medojevic, the MP from that political group, says that in the modern parliamentary democracy, after a clear position that the DF would not vote for the dismissal of Minister of Justice Vladimir Leposavic, it was clear that the Prime Minister did not trust him. He again called on the URA Civic Movement and the Democrats to sign the coalition agreement. He claims he has information that Krivokapic was in a foreign embassy where he proposed Minister Milojko Spajic for the new Prime Minister.

 

Zaev: Country is doing everything to find a solution with Bulgaria (Republika) 

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev assures that the country is doing everything to find a solution with Bulgaria and if it succeeds, immediately on 23 June it will hold its first intergovernmental conference with the EU. At the same time, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said in Sofia that Bulgaria requires guarantees over Macedonia’s EU accession. I believe we’ll all be smart and finally reach a solution to make progress. Portugal’s proposal is a good basis for finding a solution with Bulgaria. If we succeed, the first intergovernmental conference should be held on 23 June, Zaev said on Wednesday. The Portuguese presidency, said Zaev, surprisingly positively came up with an inventive and creative solution. I do not want, he stressed, to raise expectations, and called on the EU, including Bulgaria, to deliver, because they owe it to us. He also said he was ready to go to Sofia and ask for a solution in a pragmatic way. To ask for a solution on pragmatic grounds, knowing that no one wants to trample on our Macedonian language and Macedonian identity. That will be the case, but still we, the two friendly countries, must find a solution, said Zaev. Bulgaria in 2018, said Zaev, convened EU Summit for the Western Balkans and we should ask Bulgaria to remain a leader in European integration in the Western Balkans, including Macedonia.

Radev: Bulgaria requires guarantees over Macedonia’s EU accession (MIA

Bulgaria requires guarantees over the EU enlargement in Macedonia, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said on Wednesday during a joint press conference with Portuguese counterpart Marcelo de Sousa, MIA reports from Sofia. The most important task is to restore dialogue between Sofia and Skopje at all levels, Radev said. He noted that the Portuguese presidency and personally President Marcelo De Sousa could help find a constructive approach. That approach must be based on respect for the views and problems of the countries we are talking about and respect for their positions. Based on this approach, I see the opening of a perspective for intensive continuation of the dialogue, for the development of appropriate roadmaps, appropriate documents and relations at all structural levels, which will provide the appropriate guarantees for us, especially to be convinced that the enlargement process will be efficient, stable and irreversible, Radev said. As for whether Skopje meets the conditions, there is a whole list of formal conditions, the Bulgarian president said. According to him, work should be done so that young people in both countries do not hate each other.

De Sousa: Sofia-Skopje dialogue needed without making a fuss (Republika

Portugal welcomes and admires the efforts at dialogue between Bulgaria and Macedonia. We support the concrete steps in support of dialogue, making a fuss does not help, it gets in the way, Portuguese President Marcelo De Sousa said Wednesday in Sofia. There are European countries with different positions on the matter of EU enlargement. Portugal has a principled position – it supports EU enlargement and does not want there to be presumptions on the matter. As for the Western Balkans, we know the history, the geography, we know that the issues are sensitive, not only for the EU member states, but also for the countries that want to join it, De Sousa said at Wednesday’s joint press conference with Bulgarian President Rumen in Sofia. He said that it is of the utmost importance to open paths through which differences will be overcome. Portugal’s stands for constant dialogue, understanding, understanding the problems of the others, without prejudices or complexes about EU enlargement, said Portuguese President De Sousa.

Satisfied with his good policies, Zaev expects his parliamentary majority to enlarge (Republika

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev thinks that the parliamentary majority can only enlarge, not shrink, due to positive policies implemented by the government in all areas. He added that there’s no need for early parliamentary election, so that citizens experience the benefits of a full-term government. Zaev announced that for the upcoming local elections SDSM will form a coalition with its current partners, but, as he said, it will be further decided whether it will be for the first or second round of the elections. The good policies, he stressed, are reflected in a stable multiethnic society, clear economic prospects, economic measures that lead to an increase in the average and minimum wage, as well as a better standard of living for citizens in general.

Massive turnout in the local elections, and then there will have to be early parliamentary elections (TV Alfa

A vote for smaller political parties is a vote for SDSM. Because in the end (PM Zoran) Zaev formed a government, it happened last year, he won votes as much as he won, with pressure, with bribery, with some traditional voters in SDSM. The votes in the right were divided, most went to VMRO-DPMNE, some to Levica, some to smaller political parties and Zoran Zaev formed a government with just 2 more MPs, said Aleksandar Nikoloski, Vice President of VMRO-DPMNE in an interview with TV Alfa on Wednesday. Nikoloski pointed out that homogenization of the opposition votes is necessary in order to win a convincing victory in the local elections, but also in the early parliamentary elections in order, as he said, to get rid of Zoran Zaev once and for all. Nikoloski believes that a change of government requires a mass turnout in the local elections, pointing out that with a turnout of 70 percent VMRO-DPMNE will win over 40 municipalities, and thus even if SDSM doesn’t agree to hold early parliamentary elections, they will take place in a few months.

Zaev: Why hold early elections, Mickoski doesn’t even use “N” from North, imagine what will happen to the country (Republika

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev thinks that the parliamentary majority can only enlarge, not shrink, due to positive policies implemented by the government in all areas. He added that there’s no need for early parliamentary election, so that citizens experience the benefits of a full-term government. The good policies, he stressed, are reflected in a stable multiethnic society, clear economic prospects, economic measures that lead to an increase in the average and minimum wage, as well as a better standard of living for citizens in general. Those are the policies of the current government. Everything else is the risk we have to accept. My first opponent Hristijan Mickoski does not even use “N” from North, you can imagine what will happen to the country, Zaev said, adding that there’s no need for early parliamentary elections, so that citizens experience the benefits of a full-term government.

 

Llalla: US and EU Ambassadors wanted Berisha and Meta arrested (Tirana Times/Syri TV

Former EU ambassador Romana Vlahutin and former US ambassador sought to have Sali Berisha and Ilir Meta arrested. These were the allegations made by former Prosecutor General during the recent interview with Syri TV. The former Prosecutor-General stated that Ms. Vlahutin requested the arrest of Sali Berisha during a meeting at the prosecutor’s offices. As per Llalla’s claims, the former EU ambassador stated that Albania should follow Croatia’s example and arrest Sali Berisha in order to become an EU Member State. In a separate incident, Mr. Llalla alleged that the former US ambassador Donald Lu had requested the arrest of Mr. Meta, who currently serves as President. The former Prosecutor-General has previously sent a letter to the US Congress denouncing the Ambassador’s alleged interference in the justice system. Furthermore, Mr. Llalla claimed that the former US Ambassador sought to impede the investigation into the explosion that took place at Bankers Petroleum in Fier during a meeting in which the Ambassador allegedly appeared together with a representative of Bankers Petroleum. Mr. Llalla was recently sentenced to a two-year prison sentence by the Tirana Court of First Instance for concealment of property.

 

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Belgrade Media Report 07 December 2021

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