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Belgrade Media Report 21 June

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LOCAL PRESS

Vucic thanks Kazakhstan for supporting Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty (Tanjug/RTS)
Vucic: No resolution on Srebrenica as long as I am President (Beta/RTV)
Patriarch Porfirije: You betrayed Amfilohije (Tanjug/B92)
Brnabic: Austria-Western Balkans Summit in Vienna without concrete agreements (Tanjug/RTS)
Selakovic: Cooperation with Russia key to preserving Serbia’s positions (Tanjug/RTS)
Grushko: Solution to Kosovo issue exclusively within UNSCR 1244 (Tanjug/RTS)
Stefanovic denies claims a deal to counter Russia’s influence was signed during Wallace’s visit (Beta)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

B&H Presidency members assess attendance at SEECP summit in Antalya as successful for B&H (Hayat)
Dodik says he stressed that there is no consent in B&H for path to NATO membership during recent meetings he held in Turkey (Nova BH)
Dodik comments on his participation at SEECP Summit and talks with Turkey’s President Erdogan, says RS opposition spreads lies about what Declaration promotes (RTRS)
Podzic: B&H is on the last step for NATO membership (FTV)
Zunic: NATO membership will never be option; Formation of team for talks with FB&H about future of B&H is underway (ATV)
B&H Presidency members hold separate meetings with Lajcak (FTV)
Dzaferovic says Turkey plays constructive role in Western Balkans, notes The Hague Tribunal played important role in establishing of facts and truth (Federalna.ba)
Cavara accepts call of RS to talks on future of B&H; SNSD’s Majkic says Bosniaks are not showing readiness for any kind of dialogue; United Srpska’s Vasic claims Izetbegovic is obstructing all processes with goal to abolish RS (EuroBlic)
Izetbegovic sends letter to Covic, says negotiations are over (Hayat)
Izetbegovic says SDA is ready to continue talks on changes to Law on Elections but only if it would gather representatives of all parliamentary parties, legal experts (Dnevni list)
Dodik says SNSD will not support only symbolic changes to election legislation (Oslobodenje)
Komsic and Dzaferovic commend decision of Montenegrin parliament to adopt Resolution on Srebrenica (BHT1)
Dodik says Resolution on Srebrenica is hostile act (BHT1)
RS officials strongly criticize adoption of Resolution on Srebrenica in Montenegrin parliament (ATV/Glas Srpske)
Izetbegovic: Serbia is not prepared to face the truth of the past under Vucic (N1)
Croatia

Milanovic calls for unity on status of Bosnia Croats (Hina)
Montenegro

Adoption of Resolution on Srebrenica and removal of Minister Leposavic continue to spark reactions in Montenegro (Nova M)
Abazovic: It should be clear to everyone, especially to official Belgrade, that Montenegro is an independent state (Vijesti)
Knezevic comments on Resolution on Srebrenica, says he expects wave of similar resolutions in region aimed at abolition of RS (Nova M)
US State Department welcomes Resolution on Srebrenica (MINA)
Albania

Xhacka in Antalya: EU must continue to remain committed to the region through concrete actions and keeping its promises (Radio Tirana)

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LOCAL PRESS 

Vucic thanks Kazakhstan for supporting Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty (Tanjug/RTS

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received a farewell visit from Kazakh Ambassador Gabit Syzdykbekov on Monday, thanking him for his contribution to the strengthening of Serbia-Kazakhstan cooperation as the first Kazakh Ambassador residing in Belgrade. Vucic highlighted the significance of a decision by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to raise Kazakhstan’s diplomatic representation in Belgrade to embassy level and said that Kazakhstan, a country with which Serbia established diplomatic relations 25 years ago, was Serbia’s important partner in the international political scene. Vucic expressed the hope Tokayev could visit Serbia in the anniversary year, the press office of the Serbian President said in a statement. Vucic thanked Kazakhstan for supporting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia through non-recognition of the so-called Kosovo, and expressed the hope Kazakhstan would continue that support in international organizations. The parties agreed Serbia and Kazakhstan needed to focus on strengthening economic and all other types of cooperation and highlighted a need to expand the legal and contractual basis.

Vucic: No resolution on Srebrenica as long as I am President (Beta/RTV)  

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday that he would not allow the Montenegrin parliament’s adoption of a resolution on Srebrenica to “collectively stigmatize every member of our people,” as the resolution was general and “does not mention the individuals who committed these horrific acts.” Answering a journalist at a Police Day celebration, Vucic said that as long as he was president of Serbia he would not sign any resolution on Srebrenica passed by the Serbian parliament, and that two such documents had been proposed. According to him, those who advocate adopting a resolution on Srebrenica in Serbia want to “curry favor with certain ambassadors, expecting that they will bring them to power one way or another.” He said it was “clear as day” that the Montenegrin parliament’s resolution on Srebrenica “goes against the vital interests of the Serb people.” “We responded calmly. I didn’t say one word, nor do I care about them. I want nothing to do with them, they can do their jobs however they like,” Vucic said, adding that Montenegro had interfered in something that was none of its business, since Srebrenica was not in Montenegro.

Patriarch Porfirije: You betrayed Amfilohije (Tanjug/B92

Serbian Patriarch Porfirije criticized the government in Montenegro, which, as he said, betrayed the trust of Metropolitan Amfilohije. Thus, Montenegrin government put itself in the service of the forces of this world, which exist only and exclusively on polarizations, the patriarch stated.

In a sermon at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Sremcica, the patriarch said that recent events in Montenegro have shown that “those who are on the wings and in the strength of Metropolitan Amfilohije have come to build bridges, blunt blades, bring people together regardless of their origin and the way they pray to God… have betrayed the trust of the metropolitan”. “They betrayed the grace of God by that, I dare say, and put themselves in the service of the forces of this world, which exist only, brothers and sisters, exclusively and only on polarizations,” the Patriarch stated. Quoting the proverb “divide and rule”, the patriarch said that in that way, some declare themselves whites, and others blacks. All of us, Porfirije said, have our own peculiarities and specificity, but it was not given to us by God to be distant from each other and not to understand each other. “We support that every nation has its own state, we see in that a blessing and an expression of freedom, the opportunity for everyone to develop their specific gift and to give themselves to others, but also to receive others in their arms…”, Serbian Patriarch said in a sermon published on the Temple TV page on YouTube.

Brnabic: Austria-Western Balkans Summit in Vienna without concrete agreements (Tanjug/RTS

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated on Friday that the representatives of the Western Balkan countries in Vienna agreed that everyone feels equally frustrated when it comes to European integration and the EU’s attitude towards the countries of the region, adding that they failed to agree on other issues, such as the declaration and regional agreements. Brnabic told reporters in Vienna, where she participated in the Austria-Western Balkans Summit, organized by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, that of all the problems that exist when it comes to European integration, the two biggest ones are the fact that there are EU member states that are absolutely against enlargements and the issue of setting new precedents. According to her, it is a political game that will be counterproductive because people will get tired. I think it would be more honest for those member states to say that there is no enlargement for them, but I do not believe that will happen, she emphasized. The second problem, as she pointed out, is setting a precedent, and the latest is that members resolve bilateral issues using European integration.

When asked if there are joint declarations, Brnabic answered that they do not exist, unfortunately, and that the declaration of Chancellor Kurz and EU representative Miroslav Lajcak was accepted. Until the last moment, we tried to find a compromise, Serbia agreed to many things, but somehow in the end, Kurti removed that declaration from the table, Brnabic explained. She mentioned that this is a new reality and that it will not be easy, and added that she believes that now more and more partners in the EU understand how difficult it all is. Brnabic explained that two completely different signals arrived from Pristina in just two days, and in that sense she stated that yesterday Vjosa Osmani allowed the adoption of much more serious documents, the Strategy for Southeast Europe, where “Kosovo” is mentioned, not only with an asterisk. but also with a footnote and referred to the Brussels Agreement, while today we have a different message. Speaking in general about what was discussed during the Summit in Vienna, Brnabic said that it was challenging to talk about regional stability and hear something new, considering that they are meeting for the third time in a few days. She expressed gratitude to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for organizing the Summit, as well as for always openly showing commitment to the stability of the region, but also sincerely pushing the EU enlargement agenda. “What we expected did not happen, nor did the opening of the cluster. It is important that we came to say what our views are,” says Serbian Minister for EU Integration Jadranka Joksimovic. She says that Austria showed initiative and that they were not against the opening of the cluster. She says that Serbia has actively entered the new methodology and that numerous reforms have been implemented, especially in the domain of the rule of law. “The answer is not what we expected,” she adds. She points out that the process is ongoing.

Selakovic: Cooperation with Russia key to preserving Serbia’s positions (Tanjug/RTS

Serbia and Russia are brotherly and friendly countries that always help each other, Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said on Friday, noting that cooperation with Russia was key to preserving Serbia’s positions in international organizations and forums of which Pristina is trying to become a member. After a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko, Selakovic said Grushko’s visit to Belgrade affirmed the fact that the brotherly and friendly relations between the two countries were characterized by high-level meetings. “We discussed the cooperation of our two ministries and further improvement of cooperation at bilateral and multilateral level, and expressed the hope we would be able to welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin and Minister Lavrov by the end of the year,” Selakovic said at a joint press conference with Grushko. Selakovic said they had also discussed the Belgrade-Pristina talks in Brussels and that he had expressed gratitude to Lavrov and Grushko for the selfless assistance and for Russia’s support for preserving the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia. “We are also grateful for the support in all international organizations of which Pristina is trying to become a member. Our cooperation with Russia is key to preserving our position in those organizations and forums,” Selakovic said. Selakovic said bilateral trade with Russia was lower relative to 2020 but was seeing growth trends in some segments.

Grushko: Solution to Kosovo issue exclusively within UNSCR 1244 (Tanjug/RTS

Russia and Serbia want to invest in development of economic cooperation and strengthen political dialogue on all issues regarding regional cooperation as well as global problems, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko said in Belgrade on Friday, reiterating Russia’s stance that a solution to the Kosovo and Metohija issue should be sought exclusively within UN SC Resolution 1244. At a press conference after a meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic, Grushko said containing the coronavirus pandemic would create more possibilities for political dialogue and continued development of economic and cultural ties between the two countries. “Today we had a very substantial exchange on all issues of significance to development of our cooperation. We hope visits by our senior officials, including a visit to Serbia by President Vladimir Putin, will be organized and that they will affirm the strategic nature of our relations.” Grushko said. He said Russia shared the commitment of the Serbian side to “multi-faceted development of the strategic partnership between our countries” and that it appreciated Belgrade’s principled position on military and political neutrality, as well as the strengthening of cooperation with the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union.

Stefanovic denies claims a deal to counter Russia’s influence was signed during Wallace’s visit (Beta

The Serbian Defense Ministry has issued a statement denying the claims that, during UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace’s recent visit to Serbia, the two countries had signed a deal to counter Russia’s influence. “In light of the false news reports, and with the intention of truthfully informing the public, the Ministry of Defense points out that during the visit of Wallace to Serbia, no document mentioning Russia was signed, nor did minister Wallace say anything to that effect,” it says in a written statement sent by the Serbian ministry to Radio Free Europe (RFE) in the evening on Sunday. The letter was sent in response to RFE citing UK daily The Telegraph’s claims that an “important deal” to counter Russia’s “malign influence” and “manipulation” had been signed in Belgrade between Serbia and the UK and that London promised to help Serbia defend itself against these. Following Wallace’s meeting with Stefanovic, the Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that the two officials have signed an Arrangement on Improving Cooperation in the Field of Defense, without disclosing any further details. According to the ministry’s statement to RFE, “the only document that was signed during the visit” had been the Arrangement on Improving Cooperation in the Field of Defense, adding that Russia “is not mentioned” anywhere in it.

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

B&H Presidency members assess attendance at SEECP summit in Antalya as successful for B&H (Hayat

 

The Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency attended the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) Summit in Antalya during the weekend. The summit officially ended on Saturday and the B&H Presidency members assessed the summit and the meetings that took place during their visit as successful. The members of the B&H delegation assessed that it is important that Turkey is interested in economic projects in B&H, including the construction of the highway from Belgrade to Sarajevo. Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic stated on Sunday that Turkey gave B&H the most favorable free trade agreement of all countries they have one signed with. He added that Turkey always helps B&H and they are grateful for this. Dzaferovic reminded that good relations between the two countries were maintained through previous bilateral meetings. Chairman of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said that it is significant that many high-ranking officials met at one event and they discussed some key topics, primarily the Covid-19 pandemic and economic development. He assessed that it is important that Turkey is showing interest for economic projects in B&H and it is certainly a country that can help B&H.

Dodik says he stressed that there is no consent in B&H for path to NATO membership during recent meetings he held in Turkey (Nova BH

 

B&H Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik stated on Sunday that during the recent meetings he held in Turkey, he once again stressed that there is no consent in B&H for the path to NATO membership. He added that this was imposed at the SEECP Summit in Antalya as well, reminding that support to European future of the region was expressed and commitment of summit participants for the cooperation with NATO was also confirmed at the summit. According to Dodik, of all countries that participated at the summit, only Serbia, B&H and Moldova are not part of the NATO pact and do not plan the NATO integration. “B&H has been under protectorate for a long time, which greatly affects the EU integration,” Dodik concluded.

Dodik stated that Republika Srpska (RS) remains committed to the military neutrality and to what the RS parliament adopted. He said that the RS had the courage to adopt the declaration on military neutrality and officials from the RS are totally harmonized in their activities arising from the declaration. He emphasized that there is a declaration of the NATO from the latest summit which reads that Georgia, Ukraine and some other countries are in the process of the NATO integration while B&H is in the process of cooperation and not integration. He underlined: “If B&H or the Federation of B&H can enter the NATO, they should and we will see how they will go on without us.” Dodik stated that once and for all, they should put an end to the thesis because as he said, “there is no NATO”. According to Dodik, they keep on saying one story for the purpose of the public while there is a paper that reads that there is no prejudging of membership in the NATO.

 

Dodik comments on his participation at SEECP Summit and talks with Turkey’s President Erdogan, says RS opposition spreads lies about what Declaration promotes (RTRS

 

Serb member of the B&H Presidency and B&H Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik (SNSD), gave an interview to RTRS in Antalya where he is participating at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum. Asked to comment on his participation at the SEECP Summit in Antalya on Thursday and his talks with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Dodik said that they discussed the investments and political status of B&H, reminding that Erdogan himself said that B&H can function only in case that a minimum of interests of all peoples in B&H is found and that he absolutely understands the situation in B&H in this regard. Dodik noted that he reminded Erdogan that the situation is difficult as B&H is under foreign protectorate and that Turkey as member of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) needs to take in regard the stance of other peoples in B&H – not just of Bosniaks, which led to Erdogan’s comment that B&H can be function only through reflection of joint interests. He added that most of the talk was marked by economic topics and that they also discussed the construction of the Sarajevo-Belgrade highway, the way how to improve trade between B&H and Turkey and the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. Dodik reminded that Erdogan also mentioned the possibility to hold trilateral meetings between Turkey, B&H and Serbia on one side and Turkey, B&H and Croatia on the other side. Asked to comment on the joint declaration adopted at the SEECP Summit regarding the European and Euro-Atlantic integration of countries signatories he himself signed, Dodik reminded that declaration stresses that the EU and Euro-Atlantic integration are based on current obligations, interests and aspirations of countries and said that he sees nothing disputable in the fact that he signed the declaration. According to Dodik, the Republika Srpska (RS) opposition that criticizes him for that copies the stances of Muslim media and spreads lies about what the declaration actually promotes. He asked RTRS to show the public that this declaration stresses clear difference between the EU and Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as that the RS opposition tries to deceive the public by similar spins and lies. “The RS people should not worry as there is no story about NATO integration of B&H, reminding that even NATO structures said in its main declaration that the cooperation with NATO is what is stipulated for B&H – not the integration,” Dodik asserted. Asked to comment on Croatia’s plan to hold negotiations on the reform of election legislation in B&H with foreign partners and insisting on the status of constituent peoples, Dodik said that this issue is clearly defied in B&H Constitution and this is not the problem in B&H but the problem is with those who insist on the story about civic organization of B&H “that is supposed to assimilate and subordinate other in B&H”. He concluded that he believes that B&H does not have big chances to succeed and the main problem in B&H is that there is no approach at all. SDS leader Mirko Sarovic said Dodik’s move means that B&H is firmly threading its path towards the NATO. Sarovic said that Dodik is a fake patriot, reminding that he used to be decisively against the NATO integration in order to score cheap political points and now he is the main promoter of the NATO path of B&H. Former B&H Presidency member Mladen Ivanic was a bit harsher with his reactions, and said Dodik is nothing more than a “rural liar”. PDP leader Branislav Borenovic commented that the fact that Dodik signed this declaration proves that he takes path to the NATO membership of B&H. Commenting on the issue, Damir Arnaut (Our Party) said that SNSD has a history of cooperation with NATO, expressing hope that they will finally realize that B&H is actually a NATO area in which Russia cannot accomplish its geostrategic goals.

Podzic: B&H is on the last step for NATO membership (FTV

 

B&H Minister of Defense Sifet Podzic said that B&H is in the Membership Action Plan (MAP) in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which is the last step for full membership, but this process, especially in the last three years, is extremely politicized. He assessed that in B&H more time should be dedicated to spreading understanding and real facts about NATO and encouraging reasoned performances of the academic and scientific community as well as young people to make decisions concerning their future. He said people should talk more about the benefits and what is good about membership in the NATO Alliance, and not to constantly insist on skirmishes, since NATO is the most serious multinational organization. “B&H is in the MAP. We have terrible controversies about that and we have been holding unnecessary discussions for three years; whoever is not clear on this matter, should intervene with NATO to change that. MAP is the last program that NATO has in its genesis before full membership,” he underlined.

He explained that the MAP is a plan that a country enters into and it shapes what tasks, reforms and processes it will do within that plan. However, B&H lost the whole of 2019 in discussions on what the Annual National Program (ANP) would be called, after which it was decided that B&H would call the program the Reform Program. Podzic says that B&H Presidency members, Zeljko Komsic and Sefik Dzaferovic, insisted at the time that B&H must continue NATO integration and that a compromise solution be found and a Reform Program adopted, which was eventually sent to Brussels. That document specifies what should be done in a period of one year. At the beginning of the year, reports of planned measures from the program were sent to Brussels, and at the beginning of July, an invitation is expected to be extended to Podzic and B&H Minister of Foreign Affairs Bisera Turkovic, so they can be presented with an assessment of that report. “The most important thing is that the NATO path has not been stopped and we are on the last step before admission to full membership. For all our activities in this area, we have relevant decisions of the political bodies of B&H. How long we will be in the MAP and when the allies will say we have met the conditions and invite us to apply for membership is up to us,” Podzic said. He reminds that this will require a decision that can be made in the B&H Presidency because that institution is responsible for security policy, also the Presidency can make a decision and ask for confirmation from the B&H parliament, and a referendum on the issue can be requested, but it must be then conducted on entire B&H territory. The Minister of Defense says that B&H still has a lot of work to do, but emphasizes that the Ministry of Defense is doing quite well because there are people who understand the process and make efforts, but the problem is that B&H still has not adopted this year’s budget and fulfillment of obligations is questionable. Podzic also says it is necessary to work on modernization and other things, but he expects more obstructions because many decisions will have to be made even though the allies recognize B&H’s problems. However, he expressed hope that B&H will become a member, but it depends on the country how long the process will last.

Zunic: NATO membership will never be option; Formation of team for talks with FB&H about future of B&H is underway (ATV

Head of the RS SNSD Caucus Igor Zunic, commenting on reactions of the opposition in the RS to the declaration that Milorad Dodik signed in Antalya last week although Dodik clearly said that there is no consent on the NATO path in B&H, said that Dodik made it clear that B&H is not going towards the NATO especially after the RS parliament adopted the declaration on the military neutrality. Zunic argued that the opposition in the RS keeps on taking some words out of the context reminding that former leader of PDP and former Serb member of the B&H Presidency Mladen Ivanic signed a document on the Euro-Atlantic path of B&H, while former B&H Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Crnadak (PDP) said that there is no alternative for the NATO path of B&H. Besides, Zunic also reminded that representatives of the opposition did not want to take part in a session of the RS parliament when MPs adopted the resolution on military neutrality of the RS. Zunic stated: “It is clear that B&H has no option due to blockade and the stance of the RS – we can have cooperation with the NATO and it was never called into question, we can have fair relations with them, we cannot neglect the influence and the power of the NATO – but joining the membership was never the option. It is not the option now. It will not be the option in the future.” Asked about activities on talks of the RS with partners from the Federation of B&H (FB&H) about the future of B&H, Zunic reminded that the RS parliament adopted a number of conclusions on formation of a team for negotiations with the FB&H and for launching of negotiations between the three constituent peoples. According to Zunic, formation of this team is underway and the RS will officially send a call to the FB&H very soon. Zunic stated: “As I understood, the Bosniak political elite does not want to get involved in this type of negotiations. They simply still wait for the international foreign factor – or I do not which factor – to influence on developments in B&H. They are still accepting that we stay the protectorate, the way we are. I believe that (launching of) these kinds of talks will be difficult. However, I am happy about the stance of Croat political parties from the FB&H that already gave a green light for these kinds of negotiations. I believe that if Bosniaks refuse to get involved in the talks, we will surely find a partner in the FB&H on the side of Croat parties and I believe that we can reach significant conclusions about the future of B&H.” Speaking about the SNSD’s proposal of the law on examination of origin of property that is supposed to be discussed at a session of the RS parliament scheduled for Tuesday, Zunic stated that that he expects a fierce discussion about this law. In his opinion, the document implies that no one will be granted amnesty or exempted from application of the law. According to Zunic, they will demand a 90-day-long public discussion about the document and SNSD called on all political parties to get involved in drafting of the law. Zunic underlined that this law is 90-percent the same as the law in Serbia that regulates this matter.

B&H Presidency members hold separate meetings with Lajcak (FTV

 

On the last day of their visit to Turkey, B&H Presidency members Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic met on Saturday with EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkan regional issues Miroslav Lajcak. They discussed the pace of implementation of reforms stipulated by 14 recommendations from the European Commission’s (EC) Opinion. Dzaferovic and Komsic said that despite pressures the EU should remain persistent in its principles when it comes relations with B&H. They also stressed that it is necessary to establish a mechanism of responsibility that would prevent blockades and obstructions in the work of authorities. B&H Presidency Chairman Milorad Dodik met with Lajcak on Friday evening and stressed that dialogue between the elected political representatives in B&H represents a key to success. Dodik also said that many internal agreements in B&H were destroyed by intervention of the international community.

Dzaferovic says Turkey plays constructive role in Western Balkans, notes The Hague Tribunal played important role in establishing of facts and truth (Federalna.ba

 

Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic, who attended the Antalya Diplomatic Forum, said that Turkey plays a very constructive role in the Western Balkans region and he added that B&H and Turkey have friendly relations and support each other. Dzaferovic added that, when it comes to bilateral relations of the two countries, the most important things right now are the construction of Sarajevo-Belgrade highway and use of advantages provided by the free trade agreement. Asked to comment on the recent verdict to Ratko Mladic, Dzaferovic assessed that The Hague Tribunal played a very important role in history, it established the truth and delivered justice. “There is no punishment that could serve as a satisfaction for genocide victims and their families. However, having in mind that The Hague Tribunal sentenced this criminal to the maximum sentence this Tribunal can render speaks for itself,” Dzaferovic added and concluded that future relations in B&H and region must be developed based on facts and truth established by The Hague Tribunal.

Cavara accepts call of RS to talks on future of B&H; SNSD’s Majkic says Bosniaks are not showing readiness for any kind of dialogue; United Srpska’s Vasic claims Izetbegovic is obstructing all processes with goal to abolish RS (EuroBlic

The daily reminded that the RS authorities announced launching of a dialogue with the FB&H on future of B&H and also reminded that Bosniak politicians immediately rejected this proposal, while SDA said that this matter can be discussed in the Parliament of B&H only. At the same time, FB&H President Marinko Cavara (HDZ B&H) recently supported the idea and said that he will accept the call to talks. “Croats want to have a tri-partite discussion. For the time being, Bosniaks reject it and any attempt is doomed to failure with them. I think the talks in this form, between peoples and entities, is necessary and regardless of the fact some condemn this procedure, I think it is well-intended,” Cavara said. Delegate in the House of Peoples (HoP) of B&H Dusanka Majkic (SNSD) said that whenever there is no readiness to discuss anything in a country it becomes clear what kind of a situation that country is in. “Serb politicians have been trying for a long time to launch talks in order for relations in B&H to be brought to some kind of a normal level. This means launching of talks on topics on which we can reach an agreement, but also topics we have never discussed before,” Majkic argued and said that Bosniak politicians are not showing readiness for any kind of dialogue. Majkic claimed that this is no coincidence and reminded that, in past, many things have been solved in favor of Bosniak politicians thanks to interventions by the High Representatives. “Launching of talks would mean that there is a chance for a different outcome and Bosniak politicians are afraid of that. Once there are no more foreigners, Bosniak politicians will have no other option but to sit down and talk,” Majkic concluded. Representative of ‘United Srpska’ Kostadin Vasic said that “the matter is simple, there are no Bosniak politicians but there is only one and his name is (SDA leader) Bakir Izetbegovic. He is the one who is obstructing all processes with the goal to abolish the RS, but he will not manage to do that”. Vasic argued that Izetbegovic is skillfully exploiting the Islamic Community in B&H and is manipulating with it with the goal to collect votes for his party, by which he imposes himself as the leader of all Bosniaks. Finally, Vasic argued that Izetbegovic keeps B&H in a stalemate position and has the support of a part of the international community in this: “This country will see no good until Izetbegovic leaves the political scene”.

Izetbegovic sends letter to Covic, says negotiations are over (Hayat

Leader of SDA Bakir Izetbegovic sent on Saturday a letter to leader of HDZ B&H Dragan Covic which reads that negotiations of SDA and HDZ B&H about changes of the B&H Election Law are over but there is room for all parliamentary parties to take part in this story, as well as for domestic and foreign experts in the advisory role. Izetbegovic reminded Covic that change of the election legislation – that implies change of the Constitution of B&H – is the issue of vital importance for each citizen of B&H which is why the process should be transparent, each proposal should be carefully analyzed while each solution should be harmonized with representatives of all parliamentary parties, with help of the B&H Central Election Commission, legal experts and the NGO sector. According to Izetbegovic, it is necessary to expand the talks due to the need to secure two-third majority in the Parliament of B&H for any solution regarding change of the Constitution of B&H but it can hardly be achieved without the US and the EU. Izetbegovic stated: “As I emphasized before, it is necessary – through implementation of all verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the Constitutional Court of B&H – to preserve and promote the sensitive balance of the civil and the ethnic that is the basis for the Constitution of B&H. The solution must be such that all citizens in all parts of B&H are given the passive and active right to vote, i.e. to remove any kind of a discrimination. This is the European standard to which the EU strongly and constantly insists, demanding implementation of verdicts of the ECHR with the warning that any kind of a solution that additionally deepens ethnic divisions in the country is unacceptable”.

Izetbegovic says SDA is ready to continue talks on changes to Law on Elections but only if it would gather representatives of all parliamentary parties, legal experts (Dnevni list

 

SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic sent a letter to HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic with regard to the implementation of the Political Agreement on Principles on Changes to the Law on Elections of B&H, which was signed in Mostar on 17 June 2020. Izetbegovic assessed that that the form of negotiations between representatives of only SDA and HDZ B&H exhausted its possibilities and noted that SDA is ready to continue negotiations but only in a form that would also gather representatives of all parliamentary parties as well as domestic and legal experts as advisors. Izetbegovic reminded that the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) has already been formed in the B&H parliament and argued that talks at the highest political level should support the work of the IAWG. Izetbegovic’s letter noted that each process must be carried out in a transparent manner, each proposal must be carefully analyzed and each solution must be harmonized with representatives of all parliamentary parties with assistance of representatives of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of B&H, legal experts and non-governmental sector. Finally, Izetbegovic also argued that it is necessary to carry out a wider negotiation because 2/3 support in the House of Representatives of B&H is needed for any solution related to changes to the Constitution of B&H.

Dodik says SNSD will not support only symbolic changes to election legislation (Oslobodenje

 

SNSD leader Milorad Dodik stated on Saturday that SNSD will not support just any reforms of the Law on Elections of B&H and explained that election of members of the Presidency of B&H in the FB&H is an important matter, but he noted that the RS has nothing to do with that because it is only up to Bosniaks and Croats to agree how they will solve this matter. “We are interested in the FB&H House of Peoples in terms of having true representatives of Serbs elected there to help their local communities,” Dodik said and noted that he is not sure whether the FB&H will be able to reach an agreement on changes to the Law on Elections of B&H “regardless of meddling by foreigners”. Finally, Dodik noted that the RS will never agree to have merely symbolic changes related to technical issues: “Unless there will be a thorough reform of election legislation, I see no reason why we should jeopardize the entire system by making some alterations”.

 

Komsic and Dzaferovic commend decision of Montenegrin parliament to adopt Resolution on Srebrenica (BHT1

 

Members of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic welcomed the adoption of the Resolution on Srebrenica in Montenegrin Parliament. “That Resolution will not complicate relations between B&H and Montenegro. On the contrary. It will strengthen otherwise friendly relations between B&H and Montenegro. As far as Republika Srpska (RS) is concerned, and as far as Serbia is concerned, and when I say that I am talking about political elites, about religious elites, intellectual elites. I am not talking about the people. Those elites will have to face the truth,” Dzaferovic underlined. Komsic stated that the adoption of the Resolution on Srebrenica represents a civilizational act, especially because of the fact that the Resolution bans the genocide denial. Komsic also said that Serbia and RS should do the same, i.e. adopt a resolution.

Dodik says Resolution on Srebrenica is hostile act (BHT1

 

Chair of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik stated that he perceives the adoption of the Resolution on Srebrenica in the Montenegrin parliament as a hostile act, and that he will know how to treat, as he said, that Montenegro which that majority makes. “As an act of hostility towards us, towards the RS, Serbs, Serbs as a whole, Serbia… We see it as an act of interfering in internal matters,” Dodik said. Dodik also assessed that it would have been better if the Montenegrin MPs read the report on Srebrenica prepared by the Independent Commission with Gideon Greif at the helm and presented their stance on it. Dodik also claimed that Montenegro actually introduced the verbal offense and added: “If B&H never adopted such document, one should raise the question of what motivated Montenegro to present its stance on it, especially if this was about a tragic case which had nothing to do with that country. If DPS had a crisis of conscience, as its leader participated in wartime events in 1990s, it is unclear what guided other political parties towards the adoption of the shameful resolution in the parliament of Montenegro”.

RS officials strongly criticize adoption of Resolution on Srebrenica in Montenegrin parliament (ATV/Glas Srpske

Serb delegate in the HoP of B&H Dusanka Majkic (SNSD) said that it will be interesting to see who really voted for the Resolution on Srebrenica in Montenegrin Parliament. Majkic said that there was no doubt that the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic‘s party came out as the winner, but she believes that they are not yet aware of the weight of what they did. “At a time when the world’s greatest authorities, such as (the Israeli historian) Gideon Greif, openly point out that there was no genocide in Srebrenica, and hardly anyone can claim otherwise, at that time, the Parliament of Montenegro happened to do that,” stated Majkic. Spokesperson for SNSD Radovan Kovacevic was quoted as saying: “The adoption of the resolution banning the denial of genocide in Srebrenica by the parliament of Montenegro is not only a blow to the Serb people and the RS, but a blow to freedom of opinion and public speech, because it punishes all those who would speak contrary to the imposed stereotypes regarding this crime”. Kovacevic said that he believes it was no coincidence the resolution appeared when the report of the Independent International Commission for Investigating the Sufferings of all Peoples in the Srebrenica Region, led by Professor Gideon Greif, appeared in public. RS deputy speaker Milan Petkovic said that the adoption of “the shameful” Resolution on Srebrenica represents “sticking of a finger in the eye of Serbs with the goal to break apart Serb unity that was achieved in that state”. Petkovic added that he hopes this Resolution will once again unite Serbs in Montenegro and he wondered why the Montenegrin Parliament did not adopt a resolution on Jasenovac or Armenia “but only on alleged genocide in Srebrenica”. Deputy speaker of the HoP of B&H Nikola Spiric said that the Resolution was not adopted with the goal to express respect for the victims and he assessed that this move will deepen political conflicts in Montenegro. Spiric said that it would be good if former Yugoslav countries agreed on a single document by which they would condemn crimes committed by all sides. PDP issued a press statement saying that the adoption of the Resolution caused embitterment and disappointment among the people of the RS and added: “We urge all relevant factors to get engaged in processes by which we will clearly let everyone know that Serb representatives in the RS and B&H will not adopt anything similar anywhere at any cost”.

Izetbegovic: Serbia is not prepared to face the truth of the past under Vucic (N1

The Resolution on the Genocide in Srebrenica which Montenegro recently adopted benefits the development of better relations in the Balkans, and Serbia, under president Aleksandar Vucic, is still not ready to face the truth about what happened in Bosnia in the 1990s, the leader of SDA Bakir Izetbegovic wrote on Sunday. Izetbegovic said the Resolution condemning the genocide in Srebrenica and prohibiting its denial, which Montenegro’s Parliament adopted on Thursday, represents “a big step towards accepting the truth about the events of the 1990s, which is the basis for continuing to establish trust and build better relations among the states and peoples of the Balkans.” “Unfortunately, the nervous reactions coming from Serbia show that there is still no readiness on that side for that kind of confrontation with the truth,” Izetbegovic wrote, arguing that this is best evidenced by the reaction of the Vucic who complained that Montenegro is ‘interfering in the issue of Srebrenica’. “Montenegrins and Montenegro, as well as all peoples and states belonging to the civilized and democratic world, should certainly ‘interfere in the issue of Srebrenica’. Any crime committed against innocent people, and especially genocide, concerns every just and truthful person in the world, every nation and every state,” he wrote, noting that many other countries also condemned the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. Montenegro “does have something to say” about the genocide, he argued, noting that the country was “pulled into” the B&H was under the policy of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. “With this attitude, Montenegrins, like the best European nations, have shown that they are ready to reject historical misconceptions and to build future relations with their environment on the foundations of the truth – no matter how bitter it may be,” he wrote. Izetbegovic argued that “a few years ago, it seemed as if Serbia as well, led by Vucic, would have the strength to confront the past.”

“Unfortunately, this has not happened and will likely never happen. Vucic is returning to self-deception in which any Serb or Serbia can never be guilty and responsible for the evil committed. And they are guilty,” he stressed, adding that this was confirmed by the verdicts of The Hague Tribunal and the International Court of Justice. “Both courts ruled that genocide was committed in Srebrenica. Most of the Serbian military and political leadership was sentenced before The Hague Tribunal, and before the International Court of Justice, Serbia was the first country in the world to be found guilty of violating the UN Genocide Convention” Izetbegovic added.

 

Milanovic calls for unity on status of Bosnia Croats (Hina

The Croatian Heritage Foundation marked its 70th anniversary at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb on Friday, with President Zoran Milanovic calling for unity on the status of Croats in B&H. In his address, the president called for unity on key matters, saying that today one of them, to a certain extent, was the status of Croats in B&H. “Their homeland is B&H as it was designed 26 years ago by an international agreement which was signed by Croatia and which it will honor in good faith.” Milanovic said there was a big chance to position Croatia among the most advanced states in Europe” there where it never was but where it belongs.” He said the Croatian nation had been a dream whose realization depended on “a few goods, right people” who gathered around that idea at a certain moment in history. The Croatian Heritage Foundation is an institution representing a “firm and safe bridge to the homeland” for about 3.5 million Croats and their descendants around the world, it was said at the event. The deputy speaker of the B&H parliament’s House of Peoples Dragan Covic thanked Milanovic for “speaking very loudly these days about the role of the Croat people in B&H.” “We are proud to have Croatia as our homeland, but we won’t renounce B&H as our homeland either. There’s 15% of us in B&H, but as the least numerous, we are the most industrious. We are the leaders of all positive integration processes in B&H,” Covic said. He thanked Croatia’s officials for encouraging Croats in B&H to preserve their equality as a constituent people and ensure legitimate representation at all government levels. The Croatian prime minister’s envoy, Zvonko Milas, underlined the importance of focusing on the young as a guarantee of the survival of the relationship between Croats in Croatia and abroad. The Croatian parliament speaker’s envoy Zdravka Busic said the communist authorities had declared the Croatian Heritage Foundation a hotbed of nationalism for connecting Croats in Croatia and abroad and eliminated its leaders from the Croatian people’s political and public spheres in Croatia and abroad. “Today the Foundation realizes about 60 programs and events, connecting 45 countries on all continents where Croats and citizens of Croatian descent live in larger numbers,” its director Mijo Maric said, calling on young people of Croatian descent from around the world to attend the Foundation’s Croatian language, history, culture and folklore seminars this summer.

 

Adoption of Resolution on Srebrenica and removal of Minister Leposavic continue to spark reactions in Montenegro (Nova M

 

The adoption of the Resolution on Srebrenica and removal of Minister of Justice, Human and Minority Rights of Montenegro Vladimir Leposavic continued to spark reactions in Montenegro. Opposition political parties led by DPS agreed that by supporting the Resolution on Srebrenica they “saved dignity of Montenegro before the democratic world”. Two leaders of the Democratic Front Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic criticized on Friday their coalition partners, Democratic Montenegro Aleksa Becic and the ‘URA’ leader Dritan Abazovic, accusing them of, together with Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic, voting for the “most disgraceful Resolution”. Mandic and Knezevic stressed that crime had been committed in Srebrenica, but not genocide. In an interview for Nova M, newly-elected Bosniak Party leader Ervin Ibrahimovic said: “It was clearly said from the what the citizens of Montenegro think about the Srebrenica genocide and the convicted war criminals”. Due to the most recent events, Mandic requested new coalition agreement, new Prime Minister or early parliamentary elections. Krivokapic said that the resolution on Srebrenica, which the parliament adopted, was “unnecessary” and that he neither initiated nor he supported the adoption. Krivokapic said that this document would “further deepen the divisions.” “I am showing equal respect for all victims. It is individuals and not whole nations who are behind the crimes. No people can be genocidal because of some individuals among them,” said Krivokapic. He also reminded that Montenegro already adopted European Parliament’s Declaration on Srebrenica before. DF MP in the Montenegrin parliament Slaven Radunovic announced a boycott of the work of the Montenegrin Parliament because of the adoption of the Resolution on the Genocide in Srebrenica. Representatives of ‘URA’ party stressed that political situation in Montenegro is no more difficult than it was, noting that the government exists as long as there is a majority in the parliament. Leader of SDP Montenegro Rasko Konjevic said that Montenegro’s decision is connected to the need to face the joint past together and to move on towards the future. He believes that such acts and decisions aim to leave the past in the past, and to move forward without clinging onto bad ideas from the past. Montenegrin MP and leader of Montenegro’s Bosniak Party Ervin Ibrahimovic said that he is overwhelmed with emotions and proud, not just because of what the resolution means to Bosniak people but also because Montenegro once again showed it has the capacity to make decisions and clearly abandon everything that was bad for the region. He reminded that Montenegro has joined NATO in 2017 and it is the leader in the European integration in the region, adding that the adoption of the resolution is simply another step forward and the society in Montenegro has been preparing for it. According to Ibrahimovic, the most important thing is there are no winners and losers among the peoples in the region and the adoption of the resolution is victory for truth and justice, which is Montenegro’s gain. He underlined that the resolution is in no way detrimental or aimed against any of the peoples in the region. He explained that the resolution acknowledges the Srebrenica genocide and the murder of over 8,000 Bosniak civilians but it also reads that the peoples as such cannot be genocidal whatsoever and responsibility can only be individual. He pointed out that the resolution proposes declaring June 11 as the day of remembrance for the Srebrenica genocide victims in Montenegro but it also strongly condemns all war crimes committed on the territory of former Yugoslavia.

Abazovic: It should be clear to everyone, especially to official Belgrade, that Montenegro is an independent state (Vijesti

 

“I appeal to all actors to get rid of nationalism, hostility and the past, because it has not brought us anything good. Let us be committed to solving the problem and changing the future.” It should be clear to everyone, especially to the officials from Belgrade who have been dealing with Montenegro a lot lately, that this is an independent state that decides on its own destiny and does not agree to humiliations, Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic told Vijesti. Messages sent to Montenegro arrived from official Belgrade from two addresses. The President of Serbia stated that the Resolution on Srebrenica is against the vital interests of the Serbian people. While the President of the Assembly of Serbia, Ivica Dacic, called on the newly elected Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, Joanikije “to get involved in resolving the political crisis in Montenegro and to deal with Prime Mister Zdravko Krivokapic“.

Abazovic also said that there was no fear that the DPS would return 

“There is no fear of the return of the old regime. Regardless of some disagreements, harsh words or nervousness, I am sure that all members of the parliamentary majority will not gamble on the historic upheaval that took place last August, when the democratic wheel was first launched. Especially because we are still waiting for the octopus to be dismantled because it largely depends on the judicial authorities which are on the way to their consolidation,” said Abazovic.

He said that the situation in Montenegro is being exaggerated, especially abroad 

“I think that sometimes, unnecessarily, we exaggerate the situation and we tend to succumb to general propaganda that takes place more strongly outside the country than in Montenegro itself. Just remember how many such situations there were and they were all, in the end, overcame in a pretty good way.” How many attacks were there in the period of decisions on running in the elections, forming the government, proposing prime ministers, what happened when the Agreement came … A lot of dust, but a little concretization. Therefore, relaxed! It should be clear to everyone that “Montenegro’s national interests are ahead of any party calculations. We must affirm the civic concept and European policy and all our decisions must be compatible with those goals. There is no discussion about that,” Abazovic said.

He reminded that Montenegro pursues a good neighborly policy 

“I appeal to all actors to get rid of nationalism, hostility and the past, because it has not brought us anything good. Let us be committed to solving the problem and changing the future. I am ready for dialogue with colleagues and it is very necessary at the moment. Both the prime minister and party leaders, the parliamentary majority knows that the way out of this situation is in conversation and agreement,” concluded Abazovic.

Knezevic comments on Resolution on Srebrenica, says he expects wave of similar resolutions in region aimed at abolition of RS (Nova M

 

One of the leaders of Montenegro’s DF Milan Knezevic said that a new anti-Serb atmosphere is being created with the Resolution on Srebrenica adopted by the parliament of Montenegro. Knezevic said that it seems to him that the Resolution was not written in Montenegro and that the NATO embassies contributed to the Resolution being adopted in the parliament of Montenegro. Knezevic expressed fear that the Resolution was a platform for conflict with Serbia in April 2022, when Presidential elections and elections for mayor of Belgrade are supposed to be held. Knezevic claimed that he expects a wave of similar resolutions in the region aimed at abolition of the RS.

 

US State Department welcomes Resolution on Srebrenica (MINA

 

The US State Department welcomed the Resolution on Srebrenica adopted by the parliament of Montenegro. “The position of the US on this issue is long-lasting and unwavering. This painful chapter of European history must never be denied or forgotten”, reads the statement.

 

Xhacka in Antalya: EU must continue to remain committed to the region through concrete actions and keeping its promises (Radio Tirana

 

The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Olta Xhacka participated in the Antalya forum on “Neighbors See Together: The Future of Europe”. The meeting was attended by panelists such as MEP Sergey Lagodisnky, EU Representative for Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak or former Romanian Prime Minister Viktor Ponta. During her speech, Xhacka stressed that the European Union must continue to remain committed to the region through concrete actions and keeping its promises. “Enlargement policy is based on the iron principle of assessing the merit of each country. It also requires predictability of the process, through which any achievement of standards or criteria should lead to the next step on the road to the EU. Such a process, credible and tangible, is an irreplaceable support for the difficult reforms that we are implementing,” said the Minister during her speech. Lajcak and Lagodinsky stressed that there should be no more delays in opening negotiations between Albania and North Macedonia. For three consecutive days, the Summit and the Ministerial of the South East European Cooperation Process were held in Turkey, as well as the first Diplomatic Forum of Antalya, attended by heads of state and government from over 30 countries, where Albania was represented by a delegation led by Xhacka.

 

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Belgrade Media Report 03 December 2021

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