Vucic: We are ready to discuss compromise, but never humiliation of Serbia (RTV/RTS/Tanjug)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has stated that Serbia is always ready to discuss a compromise solution, but it will never be ready to discuss any humiliation of Serbia. In his address to the nation, Vucic said he wanted to inform the public about the talks with EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak and US Envoy Mathew Palmer. “There talks were correct and concerned primarily the topics in the future dialogue – what is it that we want from each other. We and the Albanians, but also what we expect from the EU, as well as what they expect from us,” he said.
He said that Serbia does not advocate a frozen conflict and that it should not be left to our children. “The dialogue will be continued in a very short period of time. It is about days. Serbia will respond to the invitation and be ready to discuss a compromise solution, but not humiliation,” Vucic said. He stated that he was ready to submit a report to the Serbian parliament on the dialogue with Pristina before or after its resumption in Brussels. He pointed out that Serbia advocates the fate of missing persons from Kosovo and Metohija, but he explained that he expects the Albanian side to engage on that issue as well. “It is our idea. Say where you think there are graves, we will excavate that place. We are asking for that for us as well,” Vucic added. He explained that we will have a verdict on Mladic on 8 June, and pointed out how it was set when the UN session will be taking place. “The verdict against Ratko Mladic will be pronounced at 3 pm, and at 9 pm the Security Council will report on the UN report on non-compliance with the mechanism and the Jojic-Radeta case,” Vucic said, emphasizing that The Hague Tribunal did not provide Serbian courts with an opportunity to investigate war crimes. “Imagine what kind of trust this is when you don’t allow Serbian courts to decide on such cases,” he added. Vucic says that it will be a difficult situation for the entire Serbian people and Serbia, and as far as the SC session is concerned, there is also a technical problem. Namely, as he said, Serge Brammertz was enabled to address the session virtually, by video conference, and for the time being, as the President of Serbia, who expressed his desire to address the session, it was not possible. “I hope that it will be possible, and if it is not, we will have to find a way to go to New York, despite all the obligations and almost impossible circumstances, because I have the right to attend live,” he said. What is more important than technical issues, as he says, is the essence.
A few days after that, there will be talks with the Albanians “to do great and good things for our country”.
Dialogue with Pristina to resume between 14 and 17 June (Blic)
The Belgrade-Pristina dialogue is due to resume between 14 and 17 June, it was agreed at Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s meeting with US and EU special envoys Matthew Palmer and Miroslav Lajcak on Thursday, Blic reported, quoting unofficial sources. Lajcak has said earlier a date for a meeting between Vucic and Kosovo PM Albin Kurti had been set and would soon be announced by EU foreign policy and security chief Josep Borrell. In an Instagram post after the meeting, Vucic wrote that he had had a good conversation with Palmer and Lajcak, adding: “The dialogue with Pristina to be continued soon, I believe in the possibility of reaching a compromise solution.”
Selakovic: Dialogue, compromise only way to reach agreement with Pristina (Tanjug)
Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic met on Thursday with EU Special Representative for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and other regional issues of the Western Balkans Miroslav Lajcak. Selakovic said that Serbia supports the work of the Special Representative, but that it also expects that his engagement will contribute to the progress of the dialogue in order to reach a political and compromise solution. He reiterated that our country is ready to cooperate with all actors of the international community that can help resolve open issues with Pristina, but that Brussels remains a central place for dialogue. Dialogue and compromise are the only right way to reach a sustainable agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, he underlined and pointed out that the final outcome of the compromise would be a situation in which neither side gets everything, but everyone gets enough. He also recalled that Belgrade fulfilled all the obligations from the dialogue, while Pristina, even eight years after reaching the Brussels agreement, has not fulfilled the main part, and that is the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO).
We started the dialogue believing in the EU as a strong and credible guarantor of the implementation of all agreements reached, so we rightly expect Brussels’ activities towards Pristina aimed at fulfilling the obligations assumed by the Brussels agreement, which is the formation of the ZSO, Selakovic said. The only thing that has been evident so far is Pristina’s lack of readiness to implement this, as also clearly confirmed by Albin Kurti’s most recent statements, he said. The meeting was also attended by Special Representative for the Western Balkans and Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Department of State Matthew Palmer.
Palmer: US sees mutual recognition as the outcome; Agreement between Belgrade and Pristina absolutely possible in 2021 (Blic/B92)
US Special Envoy for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer said on Thursday that when it comes to borders and territories, he does not see it as an issue on which Kosovo is ready to engage. Palmer adds that he believes that there are much more productive areas for discussion at this moment that need to be addressed. Such as, for example, missing persons, an area around which both parties can reach an agreement. At the same time, he points out that the United States encourages, as it has done so far, the full implementation of the Brussels agreement, and all its areas, including the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO). In an interview with Blic, he said that he would like to see both sides seriously engage again in the process that will lead to an agreement and normalization of relations, and open the way to Europe. Asked whether Kurti and Vucic could be the ones to sign the agreement in 2021, Palmer said that he thought it was absolutely possible. “I think it is absolutely possible. But it is really up to them, and what we would like is to encourage them to get involved. Both President Vucic and Prime Minister Kurti have strong political support, they are in a position to get seriously involved in the whole process, identify the parts where an agreement can be reached and help move the whole process forward.” He reiterated that the US “sees mutual recognition at the outcome that finally leaves this topic in the past, and puts Serbia and Kosovo into a position to move forwards”, adding more time and hard work will be needed for this. He points out that the goal of the dialogue is complete normalization of relations. And he says that is what is necessary in order to re-establish the European perspective that both Serbia and Kosovo aspire to. On the conclusion that Serbia does not recognize Kosovo, he says that he understands. “I understand that, and it’s not something that starts with, it starts with identifying key topics such as missing persons, freedom of movement.” Asked if he might have brought some non-paper, which is now appearing in the EU, Palmer said that he came empty-handed. “No, I came empty-handed. I came with a message. And the message is that the US and the EU are partners in the process of facilitating the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. Miroslav Lajcak is the EU special representative for dialogue and other issues in the Western Balkans. Serbia and Kosovo are the parties to the negotiations and they are the ones leading the process. Miroslav Lajcak is mediating the talks, and the United States is supporting the process.” He added that non-paper means nothing. “There are many things and topics that can be discussed, I reject those random non-papers for which no one accepts responsibility. When it comes to borders and territories, I do not see it as an issue that Kosovo is ready to engage in, and I believe that there are much more productive areas to talk about at the moment.”
Which borders are fixed?
He says that the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia are fixed, and that no one is talking about changing the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that no one is talking about changing the borders of North Macedonia, and that this is not an issue. “What is at stake here is defining a normal relationship between Serbia and Kosovo, and what Belgrade and Pristina can agree on. We will help their path to the EU, and Serbia and Kosovo are striving for a European future. Kosovo wants to be a part of it and in order to achieve that, they have to agree and a normal relationship is something that the EU and NATO will demand. The US would like to see a European Serbia, a European Kosovo, and all the countries of the Western Balkans in the EU family. It is exactly what this dialogue is about, identifying areas that need to be worked on and addressed, in order for the relationship to function the way normal relationships work.”
Serbian Orthodox Church on the agenda of the dialogue in Brussels?
He also referred to whether the Serbian Orthodox Church should be on the agenda of the dialogue in Brussels. “Certainly the Serbian Orthodox Church and the position of the SPC in Kosovo is something about which it is normal for Serbia to be interested, and I think it is very important that the position of the Serb ethnic community in Kosovo is strong, and that Serbs in Kosovo see Kosovo as their home, a place where they can raise their families, where their children can have safe and prosperous lives, and ensuring the protection of church property in Kosovo is an important part of that.” He says that Decani is not only important to Serbs, and that it is part of the common cultural heritage of all mankind. “I have not been to Decani for more than 20 years, this was my first visit to the monastery after a long time. And I visited the church again, and those frescoes in that church in Decani are, I would say, the most beautiful in Byzantine art on the entire planet. That church, as a work of art, belongs to all of us. It is important to preserve and maintain that artistic heritage, both for the Serbs and for the people of Kosovo and for the Americans.”
Italy’s significant contribution to security in Kosovo and Metohija (Politika)
Chief of the General Staff of the Italian Armed Forces, General Enzo Vecciarelli, is on an official visit to Serbia, at the invitation of the Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Army, General Milan Mojsilovic, the Serbian Army announced. During the meeting between the two generals, they discussed the security situation in the region and military cooperation, with an emphasis on joint participation in the UN peacekeeping operation in Lebanon. Special attention was paid to the impact of KFOR on the security of the Western Balkans and the importance of the Italian contingent within KFOR for the preservation of peace and security in Kosovo and Metohija and the protection of the Serbian national, cultural, historical and religious heritage.
Braje: KFOR remains in Kosovo as long as needed (FoNet/N1/RTV)
NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Public Diplomacy Baiba Braje said on Friday the KFOR mission would remain in Kosovo and act in line with the provisions of the UN Security Council 1244 to guarantee a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all communities in Kosovo. In a video address to the conference dubbed “Serbia and NATO – Partnership for the Future”, she added that would be the case for as long as needed, recalling NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s statement during his recent meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. The conference was organized by the Strategic Policy Council in cooperation with the Bulgarian Embassy as a contact country for Serbia-NATO relations. Braje said that NATO fully supported the dialogue and normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina under the EU auspices, adding Vucic reaffirmed his commitment to the dialogue. She added that NATO had always been committed to peace and stability in the Western Balkans and said that no vision of peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic region could exist without peace and security in the Western Balkans. Braje said that most countries in the region were NATO members, but some countries, like Serbia, had made a different decision, and the Alliance respected it, adding the country was a respected and vital partner of the Alliance. “Serbia and NATO have a developed relationship full of respect, and we are cooperating very well. Serbia is a respected and important partner of the Alliance; it is important for NATO, and NATO is important for Serbia,” Braje added in a video message.
Balkans again in focus of big powers (Politika, by Jelena Popadic)
The latest non-papers, improvement of cooperation of Greece and Kosovo and announcement on a possible membership of Kosovo in NATO indicated that the Western Balkans region is again in focus of big powers, Politika writes. The daily also reminded of recent speculations that even Russia and China might get engaged in solving of problems in the Western Balkans, as a counter-balance to the Western countries “that are mostly advocating interests of Pristina”.
Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic presented a similar thesis during his visit to Moscow as well and said that Russia and China, as members of the UN Security Council, will have to get engaged in solving of Kosovo issue. On the eve of a meeting of US President Joseph Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, public in Serbia also speculated that Putin is determined to express his support to Serbia when it comes both to Kosovo and turbulences in B&H. Political analyst Dragomir Andjelkovic said that they will most likely discuss only principles but, in case the Western Balkans comes up as a topic of this discussion, Russia will certainly support Serbia’s stances. Andjelkovic assessed that Russia will insist on consistent implementation of international laws when it comes to protection of the Dayton Peace Agreement and Kosovo as well. Predrag Rajic from the Center for Social Stability assessed that Biden and Putin will certainly mention the region during their meeting because Biden discussed it during his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well. However, Pajic added that this will be merely an exchange of opinions without any major “tectonic shifts”.
Izetbegovic and Covic agree to try to reach adoption limited changes to Constitution, talks on amending Election Law to continue (Nova BH)
SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic and HDZ Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) leader Dragan Covic met in Sarajevo on Thursday in order to discuss the issue of amending the Election Law of B&H, which is one of the outstanding issues that B&H authorities are required to deal with. On this occasion, Izetbegovic and Covic both agreed to try to reach adoption of limited changes to the Constitution of B&H. However, the two political party officials failed to reach a concrete agreement pertaining to amending of the Election Law. They expressed willingness to continue with the talks on solving this issue. Addressing a joint press conference after the meeting, Izetbegovic announced that a new round of talks will take place soon, and that other parliamentary parties in B&H should join the talks. Izetbegovic specified: “The next meeting should be a meeting of leaders of parliamentary parties. In the meantime, Mr. Covic and I will attend a meeting with our friends from the international community and try to define the minimum of what we agree on when it comes to implementation of the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the Constitutional Court (CC) of B&H.” The SDA leader concluded that no common stance has been reached yet, but the standpoints on everything have been significantly brought closer together, adding that there is mild optimism in this regard.
Covic told journalists at the press conference that this meeting was another opportunity to discuss issues from the previous period that remain unsolved, the most important being the issue of amending the Election Law. Covic stressed that the time has come to meet with “witnesses of the agreement reached in Mostar last year”, on the local elections of Mostar and the framework for amending the Election Law. He assessed that the part of the agreement regarding the Mostar elections “has, more or less, been implemented”. Covic told reporters that any adopted solution for this issue must be simple. He hopes that before the joint session of both Houses of the B&H parliament, which will be held on June 16, they will be able to hold talks with the international community representatives. He said that he and Izetbegovic agreed that 2021 should not be wasted, and an agreement on the Election Law must be reached before the year ends. “HDZ B&H accepted that there is a need to adopt, as they say, amendments to the Constitution to a lesser extent. That means amendments to the Constitution that will enable for example to (Dervo) Sejdic or to Mister (Jakob) Finci for them to really be candidates and to be elected as members of the Presidency. We must adopt the constitutional amendments; and HDZ B&H is ready for that”, Izetbegovic told reporters. Covic emphasized that there are matters that will not be changed and will not be discussed. He said this refers to the constituent status of the three peoples in B&H and their legitimate representation. He said all other topics are open for discussion. He did not wish to speculate on possible models for solving this issue, but said there were around 10 offered models – which all work and could be acceptable. The two leaders also talked about the formation of the Federation of B&H (FB&H) government. They said there was still not enough support to complete this process.
Covic to Sattler: There cannot be postponement of changes to election legislation (FTV)
The current political situation was discussed by HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic and Head of the EU Delegation to B&H, Ambassador Johann Sattler. Indispensable topic of the meeting was the Election Law of B&H. Covic pointed out that there cannot be postponement of changes to the election legislation and he welcomed the strong engagement of European and international partners to achieve this goal. After the meeting, Sattler took to Twitter to write that they also discussed European Commission’s (EC) 14 key priorities necessary for B&H’s progress.
Sattler wrote that he and Covic underlined the need for an inclusive process regarding the 14 key priorities and the constitutional and electoral reform in B&H. They also touched upon EU’s support for economic recovery and vaccines delivery in B&H. Covic said that legitimate representation of constituent peoples and respecting the peoples’ rights are the basic components for functioning and development of B&H. Covic also stressed that success in elimination of discrimination will help develop dialogues of all political stakeholders and enable focus on socio-economic reforms and improving lives of the citizens. Daily also reports that the two officials welcomed the political agreement on the IPA III funds, which will help the EU path of the Western Balkans countries.
Dodik: I am very skeptical about possibility of progress regarding changes to B&H election legislation (BHT1)
Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik stated on Thursday that he is very skeptical about the possibility of progress related to changes to the election legislation in B&H. In his opinion, there is no option for political representatives of Bosniaks and Croats to reach an agreement about this issue and according to Dodik, this represents a problem that was transferred to the level of B&H. Dodik assessed formation of the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) is pointless and it will not lead to changes, arguing that formation of the group for the alleged reform is just an attempt to have stalemate that will not be solved with work of the IAWG. Dodik said SNSD will not allow that representatives of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of B&H take part in work of the IAWG, arguing that the CEC demonstrated intentions during the local elections aimed at implementing certain policies and not laws. Dodik added that the CEC annulled the elections in Doboj and Srebrenica, but did not do it in Mostar and some other communities in the FB&H although there were complaints.
Novic: IAWG is not independent because it was formed by political parties, unlawfully appointed members of B&H CEC cannot be part of IAWG (Glas Srpske)
The daily carried an interview with member of the B&H House of Peoples Sredoje Novic (SNSD), who is also a member of the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) for electoral reform. Novic said that if some foreign ambassadors were able to unite political parties and reach consensus on electoral reform, the IAWG would not have been established. “If it were able to function independently, things would be different. However, speaking about independence of this group today is pure utopia”, said Novic. He explained that the IAWG cannot be viewed as an independent body because it was established by political parties. However, the main issue is what is IAWG supposed to achieve – make progress or maintain status quo. According to Novic, it seems that majority of international and local officials want to maintain status quo. Asked to comment the fact that many international officials welcomed the establishing of the IAWG, Novic said that some members of the international community want to collect points by saying that they established the IAWG and identified what needs to be done. “However, they have not done anything concrete,” Novic emphasized. Asked to comment the fact that IAWG members have different opinions on participation of the Central Election Commission (B&H CEC) in the electoral reform process, Novic said that there are obviously different views and this is generally good, although it makes work more difficult. However, he warned, constant insisting of some parties and members of the international community on participation of B&H CEC in work of the IAWG is “leading the entire thing to failure”. According to him, the current members of B&H CEC were unlawfully appointed and that is why they cannot be members of the IAWG. Speaking about the future work of IAWG, Novic said that it is uncertain if any results will be achieved, since the IAWG was formed without clear tasks. According to him, political leaders should have agreed on priority changes and give clear instructions to the IAWG about the goals.
Cavara: HR Inzko destroyed democracy in B&H (FTV)
FB&H President Marinko Cavara asked to comment appointment of Christian Schmidt as new High Representative (HR) in B&H, said he would not speculate on Schmidt and his capability of making changes in B&H. That assessment can only be made after someone finishes his mandate. He said current HR Valentin Inzko proved to be incapable of making any changes. B&H did not have any benefits from his work, but only damage he left behind, Cavara concluded. “He destroyed democracy in B&H,” Cavara points. When speaking about Schmidt, Cavara said he would not welcome anyone’s arrival to B&H, but hopes Schmidt will do his job well. I hope he will not use his Bonn Powers, he adds. “Any use of Bonn Powers would mean violation of the rule of law and democracy in B&H,” Cavara stated. In his conclusion, Cavara said B&H leaders must do their work in a way that proves this country no longer needs international supervision, the Office of the HR (OHR) or a HR.
Inzko: PIC’s decision is sufficient for appointment of new HR (Al Jazeera Balkans)
HR Valentin Inzko stated that the decision of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) is sufficient for the appointment of a new HR in B&H, i.e. decision by the representatives of the countries supervising the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). Inzko also said B&H is far from fulfilling the requirements necessary for closing down the OHR in B&H and that Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik influences the extension of the OHR mandate with his statements. “All HRs have been appointed or elected, there have been some changes with regard to that, via the PIC,” said Inzko and reminded of one instance when Christian Schwarz-Schilling was appointed HR in B&H without confirmation from the United Nations (UN) Security Council, “but it was not an obstacle for him, although rarely, to use the Bonn Powers”. Asked by a journalist to comment on allegations that Russia will oppose the extension of the EUFOR’s mandate in B&H, and if Russia has the mechanisms for that, Inzko said: “I am optimistic about that. As you know, Russia has always extended the EUFOR’s mandate, and others mandates as well, for already 25 or 26 years. As far as I can remember, Russia only on one occasion abstained with regard to the extension, five or six years ago”.
Asked if he feels he failed to fulfil the promise to impose the law banning genocide denial, having in mind awards are presented and the genocide is still denied, Inzko said: “It is very concerning. Not only that individual politicians in Republika Srpska were awarded, but the awards have been confirmed”. Asked if he thinks, towards the end of his mandate, that a different approach would contribute to reach political agreements in B&H sooner, Inzko said: “I am not fully satisfied with these ten, 12 years. But, you should bear in mind that I was tasked by the international community to close down the OHR, to have less of Dayton in future, and more of Brussels. Therefore, Mr. Schmidt should have a new approach, so we can open a new chapter, and it will be a mixture of the first ten very successful years, when our presence was strong and the remaining ten years, when the focus was on local responsibility and the EU.”
OHR: Serbia can get information on work of OHR from reports submitted to UN Security Council (Glas Srpske)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced that for the first time, Serbia is going to demand from new HR Christian Schmidt regular reports on his work. The OHR responded to this announcement saying that all HRs present periodical reports to the UN Security Council, and all those reports are publicly available. “Serbia is also guest at all sessions of the Council which are dedicated to B&H. The HR appreciates the constructive role of President Aleksandar Vucic in improving relations with B&H. If Vucic has any concrete questions or doubts, the HR will gladly meet with him,” the OHR stated in response to the daily’s request for comment.
Dzaferovic: Serbia should support work of OHR (Oslobodjenje)
Member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic responded to statements of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic from Wednesday by saying that Serbia has nothing to do with the issue of appointment of the HR. According to Dzaferovic, Serbia is, as a side in the war in B&H, signatory of the Framework Agreement and some annexes, including the Annex 10. Dzaferovic argues that Serbia only has obligations to support work of the HR. “B&H wants good relations with the neighbors, and the only condition is that they respect B&H as much as B&H respects them,” said Dzaferovic.
Dodik: Bonn Powers of HR are distant past; New HR needs to be appointed by UNSC (RTRS)
Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik hosted a press conference in Istocno Sarajevo on Thursday. He assessed that due to the attempt to appoint a new HR, the relations within B&H are undermined once again. Dodik highlighted that there is a serious halt in the process of dialogue in B&H. He stressed that Bonn Powers are remnants of the past and that the RS believes that the new High Representative needs to be appointed by the UNSC. Dodik explained that the RS will accept the new HR only if he is appointed through this institution. He announced that the RS officials will address the General Secretary of the UN regarding this and they will ask Germany to review this situation. Dodik assessed that the PIC is completely delegitimized because it calls for the creation of rule of law, while violating the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA). He is satisfied with the fact that Serbia will use its right to demand reports from the OHR. Dodik said: “I believe that not only Serbia, but Croatia too need to return to their posts as co-signatories of the DPA and reviewing the effects of implementation of the DPA and its annexes.” He assessed that the DPA has been significantly devastated by the self-will of former HRs. Dodik stressed that the topic of peaceful dissolution cannot be taboo, just like the idea of B&H as a unitary civic state is not taboo either. He announced that Serbia allocated half of the funds for the implementation of projects in three municipalities in the RS and one in the FB&H.
Dodik said he would write to Germany to ask from the country “not to put its diplomat in an embarrassing position’’, because Dodik will not recognize the new HR if he is not confirmed by the UN SC. “The confusion arises due to the fact that it is not known who the HR is today. The PIC alleges they have appointed someone, and we still have HR Valentin Inzko. Therefore, it is only an addition to the overall mess they have created here in relation to management or violation of regulations and I think that with this attempt and playing with the appointment of the HR, the international factor embodied in the PIC delegitimized itself as a place of implementation of laws. And all their communiques are ridiculous, which aim at pointing to the need to implement or create rule of law, taking into account that they impudently violate the Dayton Peace Agreement and our local legislation,” said Dodik. Dodik also said that 25 years after signing the DPA the organization of B&H should be finalized. Dodik added that the policies of the international community have been implemented by force and the HR in B&H and the PIC played a significant role in that, noting that all that laid the foundation for peaceful dissolution of B&H. “Peaceful dissolution requires people to peacefully agree how to do it, with freedom of travel, freedom of trade immediately after that. That is what represents the peaceful story, the violent story could be an issue, and I am against it,” said Dodik. Dodik also said the situation in B&H is unsettled, which is reflected in, among others, appointment of officials at the state level and the situation in the intelligence sector, due to which all stakeholders in B&H should agree. Dodik added that the RS will not give up on insisting on the respect for international law and Annex 10 that clearly prescribes appointment of the HR in B&H. “As a B&H Presidency member, I will address, so will the RS President and all officials, we will address the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the President of the UN Security Council and all the UN Security Council Member States, full members and those who are not, and inform them about this situation and the precedents”. Dodik said Bosniak officials welcomed Schmidt’s appointment as they cannot wait for a new “tutor” to arrive, which will control them and try and impose solutions. He said Bosniak officials hope that the new High Representative will come to B&H and only implement the things that Bosniaks want. “That will not happen,” he concluded.
Kalabukhov: Russia will not support appointment of Schmidt as new HR (RTRS)
Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik met Russian Ambassador to B&H Igor Kalabukhov on Thursday. The two officials agreed that the OHR is an outdated institution and that it represents a classic anachronism. Kalabukhov highlighted that it is time that B&H politicians and representatives of people with constituent status make decisions about B&H. He stressed that Russia will not support the appointment of Christian Schmidt as the new HR, because Russia advocates the closing of the OHR. Dodik stressed that the fact that there is no international consensus for the appointment of the new High Representative proves that the OHR should not exist. He highlighted that the RS advocates consensus and the respecting of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA). Dodik and Kalabukhov discussed the recent session and conclusions agreed upon by the PIC. “Russia believes that international law must be respected and that is not just particular for B&H, as Russia seeks respect of international law on a global scale,” Dodik told the reporters. He emphasized that the new High Representative would be appointed legally if the UN Security Council (UN SC) held consultations with all sides in the DPA – the RS, the FB&H, Croatia, Serbia and the joint institutions of B&H. Then the proposed candidate would simply be confirmed by the UN SC, he added. When speaking about the OHR, Dodik said this institution has done everything except the implementation of peace. Along the line, the OHR “devastated the DPA”, he assessed. Dodik said the OHR has been trying to reconcile the peoples in B&H since 1996 and it did not make any progress whatsoever. “They are constantly reconciling us, and with their decisions they bring us to a position of total conflict in B&H, like this story of appointment of the HR,” Dodik underlined.
Russian Embassy to B&H: Appointment of new HR without approval of UN SC is illegitimate; PIC SB Communiqué is unbalanced and tendentious (BHT1)
Following the two-day online session of the PIC, the Russian Embassy to B&H stated on Thursday that the appointment of a new HR without the approval of the UN SC is illegitimate. The Russian Embassy also said that they failed to agree with the final and the official conclusion of the session because they find it unbalanced and tendentious. The Russian Embassy also stated: “We did not agree with the final Communique from the PIC session, because we consider it to be uneven and tendentious. Many items of the document exceed the mandate of the Steering Board. Moreover, some of the statements are contrary to, not only the spirit, but also the letter of the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) in B&H”. “We reaffirm Russia’s commitment to the fundamental Dayton (Peace Agreement) principles of equality of the three constituent peoples and two entities with broad constitutional competencies. We start from the fact that there is no alternative to their independent dialogue based on mutual respect on all current issues,” the Embassy said.
Cvijanovic: End of Inzko’s mandate was supposed to mark end of experiment of international community (RTRS)
RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic stated on Thursday that the end of the mandate of incumbent HR Valentin Inzko was supposed to be the end of the great experiment of the international community in order to enable the true elected representatives to be the only ones responsible for decisions and processes in B&H. She commented on the meeting of the RS ruling majority and opposition with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, saying that she hoped for a more synchronized appearance at the meeting. Cvijanovic assessed that they were not synchronized because the opposition rejected her invitation to a meeting in Banja Luka. She assessed the meeting in Belgrade as successful and constructive. Commenting on the call of Inzko issued to new HR Christian Schmidt to come to B&H with Bonn Powers, Cvjianovic said that the RS will not accept the imposing of any solutions. “What we continuously say, the only thing that can save this country is to go back to the original state, because we in the RS, as well as other stakeholders, agreed on such state, not on this state where the HR or some PIC will manage the process the way they do”.
Komsic and Dzaferovic in official visit to Montenegro (N1)
Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic and Croat member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic arrived in Podgorica on Thursday to meet Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic. The two B&H Presidency members met Djukanovic at a work dinner.
Komsic told N1 that the goal of their work visit is the continuation of the good relations between the two countries. He stressed that Montenegro citizens elected who they wanted and B&H will continue to cultivate good relations with this country. Komsic stressed that he wishes the same for Serbia and Croatia. According to N1, it was unknown why Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik did not visit Montenegro alongside his two colleagues. It was announced that Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro Dritan Abazovic will visit Sarajevo soon. Komsic stated that it is important to build good relations with countries in the region which are NATO members and support sovereignty of B&H. He added that there is a lot of room to improve relations between B&H and Montenegro, underlining that this visit is just beginning of stronger cooperation between two countries.
Milanovic: Plenkovic is promoter of right to lie (Hina)
President Zoran Milanovic on Thursday called Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic a promoter of the right to lie who had now classified himself “under authentic interpreters of battles from the Homeland War” and declared himself “almost a war commander”. The President wrote this on Facebook, reacting to Plenkovic’s comment on his proposal that the anniversary of the Croatian military and police Operation Storm be commemorated in other cities besides Knin. Milanovic accused Plenkovic of “denigrating the proposal to commemorate Operation Storm in other cities in which heroic battles were fought in the Homeland War, and not only in Knin, declaring himself – with the words ‘many of us look at Knin differently’ – almost a war commander,” Milanovic wrote. The President added that the initiative to commemorate Operation Storm “also where hundreds of Croatian defenders were killed, near Petrinja and Glina, for instance, was proposed to him by war generals and commanders who fought liberation battles”. Asked by the broadcaster to comment on President Zoran Milanovic’s proposal to commemorate anniversaries of the Croatian military and police Operation Storm in Knin every five years and to commemorate the anniversary in Glina this year, Plenkovic said on Wednesday he didn’t know about it, but he found “the repeated use of double criteria particularly indicative”.
“He constantly talks about Knin as some kind of train station, a barracks. Many of us look at Knin differently, at its role, at Zvonimir’s City, at the Knin Fortress, at the symbolism of the flag at the Knin Fortress. Those are different views,” Plenkovic said, referring to the turbulent history of that Dalmatian region.
More frequent negative rhetoric of Serbia is not in the spirit of good neighboring relations (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Montenegro has defined good neighboring and regional cooperation as one of the key bases of our foreign policy. That is, bearing in mind size of our state, as well as geographical area, the national interest of all its citizens that overcomes framework of any Government and represents long-term goal to which all political parties and actors should seek. After establishing the new Government, as one of our priorities, we defined the need for improvement of relations with all neighbors, particularly with Serbia – in addition to that speaks sincere wish of Prime Minister Krivokapic to host Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, call of Minister Radulovic to Minister Selakovic in first week of the mandate, as well as many visits of our ministers to the Republic of Serbia. Yet, it is impossible to close eyes in the front of disturbing rhetoric and media headings that are directed against Prime Minister Krivokapic and Government of Montenegro, from very start. Serbian state leadership has participated in this, using unpleasant vocabulary such as “whims”, ministers in their government, as well as low rate officials of the SNS, that use terminology that absolutely does not suit to the spirit of good neighborhood, on daily basis. Zdravko Krivokapic is not only Prime Minister of one independent state, but also eminent university professor. Not respecting his social status and almost rude communication, speaks more about people that are offending him, not to speak about interference in internal affairs of other state – Montenegro, member of the UN, NATO, that is farthest along in the EU negotiations. We take as unacceptable for anyone, and Serbia also, to have paternalism relation towards our country, its Prime Minister and Government. This even more because in the last six months, this Government, nor its Prime Minister, have not done any step that could justify this approach and rhetoric that is, at the least, undiplomatic. On the contrary, from the very start of this Government mandate, during the all meetings the commitment for improving relations with Serbia has been conveyed. Montenegro is state of all its citizens, no matter how they express nationally – it belongs to everyone. All citizens are equally constitutive, because each of them has, during the history, someone with sward, someone with knowledge, someone with acts – unconditionally and unforgettably give itself to Montenegro. Our Montenegro. Therefore, right and only address for overcoming eventual problems and achieving of full rights of all citizens is Government of Montenegro and Montenegrin state. We do not have luxury to renounce one single person. On the contrary, we strive for social inclusion of all citizens. So, any “appropriation” of 30 % of our citizens is inappropriate, and could be considered as interference in internal issues of one sovereign state. We are thankful to the citizens of Serbia for donating vaccines, as state that has first helped to Montenegro. During the history, Montenegro has done the same for Serbia. That is something that friends do, even if there are different interpretations of specific topics. Montenegro is ready, with great pleasure, to assist Serbia in all those areas where it is recognized as frontrunner in regional processes – EU integration, cooperation with the NATO in accordance with Serbia’s ambitions, and many others where we can learn from each other. That is the only manner for building equal and sincere relation, where there is no and could not be “the older one”. Mutual respect of sovereignty and independence, institutions and officials are the only relation on which further improvement of our relations is possible, in the spirit of good neighborhood, friendship and historical ties of our two countries.
Krivokapic: I would be an unworthy Prime Minister if I had signed Fundamental Agreement in Belgrade in that way (RTCG/Euronews Serbia)
Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic has told Euronews Serbia that he will sign the Fundamental Agreement between the Serbian Orthodox Church and Montenegro and that he is not doing anything secret. He states that it is exclusively a legal issue and that there is no politics. PM Krivokapic has said that he would be an unworthy Prime Minister if he signed the Agreement in Belgrade during the evening visit to Patriarch Porfirije, and added that he did not plan to resign. In an interview, Krivokapic has pointed out that he suggested 30 October as the date of signing the Agreement to pay tribute to “the one who spiritually revived everything in Montenegro” referring to Metropolitan Amfilohije.
If there is no solution, let the people decide (RTCG)
If we do not reach a joint solution, the will of the people will always decide, and I am not afraid of the will of the people, said one of the leaders of the DF, Andrija Mandic. Speaking about the current relations in the ruling coalition, Mandic said that “in the spirit of unity, we want to continue our relations, which were very severely disrupted at one time.” Namely at the request of Metropolitan Joanikije, Mandic addressed those present at the ceremony after the reception in front of the temple. Mandic said that in the time ahead, the metropolitan has more of a role, and that he expects to help “us who have a misunderstanding to find some solutions”. He reminded that “difficult words and major challenges have fallen between us at this time.” “But I can tell you, on behalf of the group of people I represent, that we are ready to work together and find a fraternal solution. We are ready to respect others, but we also expect to be respected,” Mandic said. If there is no common solution, Mandic said, the will of the people will always decide. “I am not afraid of the will of the people, I know that the will of the people broke on 30 August, when the former regime ended and that regime will never return, no matter how much there is a campaign that this godless stumble regime will find a way to return,” Mandic said.
Collapse on the horizon: Ministries asking MPs to adopt budget asap (CdM)
The synchronized urging of the executive power sent to the MPs to adopt the budget as soon as possible are just a confirmation of the information CdM obtained a few days ago that the state budget is almost empty. The government says that if the budget is not adopted soon, the country is in danger of collapse. The budget projected by the Government of Zdravko Krivokapic at €2.5bn was supposed to officially start to be applied on 1 June, but that did not happen because it was not adopted. The debate on the proposed budget ended on 20 May, but it did not get the green light from MPs because DF requested new consultations with Krivokapic on several issues, including the census and the provision of money for compensations to mothers. The DF previously announced that it would not vote for the proposed budget until Parliament adopts the prosecutorial laws, which have been adopted in the meantime. The MPs submitted as many as 51 amendments to the proposed budget, on which the parliamentary committees should first decide, and only then parliament. It is difficult to predict when and whether the budget will be adopted. Minister of Finance and Social Welfare Milojko Spajic claims that the proposed budget is the best in history because the maximum was achieved in relation to, as he says, the mischief that awaited the government.
Mickoski: Zaev and Buckovski coordinate secret negotiations for the Declaration adopted by Bulgarian parliament to become part of the EU negotiating framework (Republika)
The information I received from diplomatic sources about the new betrayal prepared by the Zaev-Buckovski duo is alarming. Buckovski in Sofia, and Zaev from Skopje, are currently coordinating secret negotiations offering the Declaration adopted by the Bulgarian Parliament to become part of the negotiating framework with the European Union, VMRO-DPMNE leader informed on social media on Thursday. Part of the document of the Bulgarian parliament includes disputing the genesis and uniqueness of the Macedonian language, revising the history and period of our anti-fascist struggle, as well as appropriating important figures from Macedonian history as Bulgarians and a number of other concessions that are disastrous for Macedonia. Zaev swore that he does not accept negotiations on identity and language, and by accepting the Bulgarian Declaration to be part of the EU negotiating framework, he directly puts us in a position to negotiate on the Macedonian identity and language. It is a move equal to betrayal of the Macedonian people, Mickoski wrote. He says that according to his information, the Zaev-Buckovski duo plans to be signed by them, without a debate and adoption of the document in the parliament of Macedonia. If Zaev accepts this, it means that he puts us in a position to deny the Macedonian identity and to accept that we have existed as a nation since 1945, which is a nonsense and shame for all of us and for our ancestors and future generations. We must not allow these two political fraudsters to humiliate the sacrifice of our ancestors and endanger the future of our descendants. That is why we should be ready to defend the Macedonian identity as an integral part of European values, and not allow it. Let’s be ready for blockades and mass protests! No crossing the red lines! No for another national defeat, Mickoski said. As regards Zaev’s statement that he was given the Portuguese proposal over the Bulgaria-Macedonia dispute, Mickoski says that only a political amateur like Zoran Zaev is building a debate over a proposal that was expressly rejected by the Bulgarian side, which means that any subsequent proposal would be dramatically worse and more harmful than the previous one.
Osmani: European principles protect us in dispute with Bulgaria (TV 24)
What protects us in the dispute with Bulgaria are principles, not just ours, but above all else European principles. They are our strongest argument in this dispute, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani told TV 24 on Thursday evening. We try to argue those principles before Bulgaria and our friends. Justice is just one of the principles, but there are many principles that have protected the European idea for the last 75 years. In all the waves of EU enlargement, there have been attempts to impose bilateral issues, to slow down the process, but the bloc has always emerged stronger over those obstacles and has always succeeded. It did it based on respect for the principles, Osmani said. He said that June is the option or December rather than August and September because in September the country will be holding election campaign again. In this analysis of all events, June seemed to him as the best opportunity, but what happened in Bulgaria, complicates that unique chance, Osmani said. He pointed out that for now the Portuguese proposal is on the table, which we assessed as a good basis together with European friends, but not Bulgaria. He believes that this is a proposal that addresses the sensitivities of all three parties.