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Belgrade Media Report 22 June 2021

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Tuesday 22 June 2021

LOCAL PRESS

Vucic informs Serbian MPs on Belgrade-Pristina negotiations (Beta/B92)
Vucic presents report on dialogue with Pristina to part of opposition (RTS/Tanjug)
Dacic before the session on Kosovo and Metohija: Difficult to reach consensus, parties must not be divided on most important issues (RTS)
Support of Italy to Serbia in EU integration process at all levels (RTS/Tanjug)
Reactions of Serbian officials to the statement of the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry (RTS)
NATO plants resolutions on Srebrenica throughout Balkans (Novosti)
Borrell: EU-US cooperation to help Belgrade-Pristina dialogue (Tanjug)
Brnabic, Borrell to attend EU-Serbia IGC (Tanjug)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Cvijanovic confirms that negotiation team for talks on future of B&H is formed; Reactions (RTRS)
Cvijanovic and Tegeltija react to Turkovic’s initiative for exhibition at UN headquarters in New York dedicated to Srebrenica genocide (ATV)
Podzic’s statement that B&H is one step ahead of NATO membership provokes reactions in RS (BN TV)
Interview with German Ambassador to B&H (Nezavisne)
Montenegro

Resolution on Srebrenica is not directed against Serb people and Serbia (MFA)
Djukanovic: Serbian officials are manipulating (RTCG)
Mandic comments on Resolution on Srebrenica: Montenegro is platform and tool in hands of Serb enemies (MNA)
Bojovic wonders why parliament of Montenegro neglects WWII crimes committed in Montenegro while Srebrenica Resolution passed procedure so quickly (MNA)
Republic of North Macedonia

Nikoloski addresses Bulgaria at the Council of Europe: Regardless of your veto, we are Macedonians who speak Macedonian (Republika)
Albania

US lobbies strongly for opening of negotiations with Albania; Pressure on EU (Radio Tirana)
Soreca: It’s the first time that all member countries have clearly expressed their support for Albania (Radio Tirana/Euronews)

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LOCAL PRESS 

Vucic informs Serbian MPs on Belgrade-Pristina negotiations (Beta/B92

The 5th special session is underway in the Serbian parliament, at which President Aleksandar Vucic informs MPs on the course of Belgrade-Pristina negotiations. He said that today is not an easy task before us and that it is not the time for excessive expectations or expectations that are not in line with the reality around us. “We will have to continue to address it responsibly with a strategic view of the future and awareness of how we want to leave the country to our descendants,” he said.

The West will not change its mind 

“It is a question that is in the subtext of almost every one of our political topics, every one of our state-building efforts, but much deeper in essence, identity, economic, and every other issue,” he explained. Vucic pointed out that we used to have to postpone the issue of Kosovo, but we did not solve it. He pointed out that we are obliged towards the citizens of Serbia to solve this issue.

Vucic pointed out that it is a debt to every member of our people in the country and abroad. The future of our children and our state depends on how our generation will solve the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, he pointed out in his address to the assembly. He referred to the exodus of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija, especially at the time of the arrival of international forces in Kosovo and Metohija. “There are no more than 95.000 Serbs, and no more than a million Albanians,” said Vucic, adding that the ratio of Albanians to Serbs is 1:15. “That speaks enough about the weight that our people and our country are facing… We have done a lot to be proud of. On average, we have given about 500 million euros for our people a year,” said Vucic, adding that the outflow was smaller, although the trend has continued for people to go to Serbia proper for a better life. He pointed out that the frozen conflict does not suit us, that is, that Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija are not up to it. “They live incomparably harder and they want negotiations so that we can reach a compromise. If someone unfreezes the conflict, it is not a question of who has more weapons, who is stronger, but who has the right to return children in coffins,” said Vucic and stated that western countries will not change their position on Kosovo’s independence.

Majority present 

Before the beginning of the session, Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic determined that the majority is present in the parliament, and that he also accepted the proposal for a debate regarding the report on the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina by a majority. As previously stated, the agenda includes the Report on the work of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija in the period from May 2019 to June 2021 and the Report on the negotiation process with the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government in Pristina from May 2019 to 15 June, 2021. Both reports were submitted by the Serbian government, but they will be presented to the deputies and the public, as announced by the President. The report states who has participated in the negotiations so far, what topics have been discussed and what has been implemented so far. It was stated earlier that Pristina has not fulfilled its obligations, first of all it has not formed the Community of Serbian Municipalities, the issues of police and justice have not been fully resolved, there is no major progress on energy, telecommunications or cadaster, the number of official visits has decreased, there is no progress in the recognition of diplomas. The report states that the improvements are made in the field of economic cooperation, freedom of movement and movement of people, goods and capital.

Vucic: We do not need frozen conflict in Kosovo and Metohija 

We do not need a frozen conflict in Kosovo and Metohija because, unless a compromise solution is found, we can get into a situation where someone can “unfreeze” that conflict, Vucic said in the parliament on Tuesday. Vucic noted that it was easy to say that Serbia needed a frozen conflict, and that Serbs living in difficult conditions in Kosovo and Metohija, particularly the population of Serb enclaves there, thought otherwise. “They do not live the way we here do, but in a much more difficult way and that is why they want there to be negotiations so that we can reach a compromise solution at any time in the future. If not, then we will get into a situation where someone will ‘unfreeze’ that conflict,” Vucic said. Commenting on the opinion of some people in Belgrade that Serbia should just wait for as long as possible because it would grow stronger over time while Kosovo would become weaker and weaker, he said that the argument was true from the economic point of view, but that it was questionable whether it was also true from the political point of view.

 

Vucic presents report on dialogue with Pristina to part of opposition (RTS/Tanjug

A meeting of the Serbian working group on inter-party dialogue without foreign mediation, at which Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic presented a report on the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, was held in the Serbian parliament on Monday. Vucic made no statements after the meeting.

The meeting was attended by Democratic Party of Serbia President Milos Jovanovic, Enough Is Enough leader Sasa Radulovic, Dveri Movement leader Bosko Obradovic, Serbian Party Oathkeepers representative Milica Djurdjevic Stamenkovski, Serbian Radical Party deputy leader Aleksandar Seselj and Healthy Serbia President Milan Stamatovic. Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic stated on Monday night that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic presented the representatives of the non-parliamentary opposition with a report on the dialogue with Pristina, all dilemmas and problems of the current course of dialogue and all pressures faced by Serbia. Dacic told reporters in the Serbian parliament that this was a unique and perhaps the first meeting of its kind in recent years, bearing in mind that Vucic and party representatives spoke at the first meeting about the need for the government and the opposition to communicate on state issues. “Everyone emphasized the need to make all political efforts to protect and defend national and state interests. Serbia is as strong only as it is united. This meeting, I think, showed a high degree of unity, state unity on the most important national and state issue, and that is the issue of Kosovo and Metohija,” stated Dacic. He says that both he and Vucic expressed satisfaction with the atmosphere and attitudes of the parties that participated, stating that seven opposition parties were present. “The meeting showed a high degree of state unity on the most important issue, and that is the issue of Kosovo and Metohija,” said Dacic.

Obradovic: Fierce opposition, but not to the state 

Bosko Obradovic told the press in the Serbian parliament that Vucic briefed them about the so-far result of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue on the normalization of relations, adding those were details which they did not know and now got a chance to learn about them. “We had an opportunity to present our views, and we expect the authorities to take them into account in the next period,” Obradovic. “We are a very fierce opposition to this government, but we are not the opposition to the state of Serbia. When the state of Serbia tries to defend Kosovo and Metohija as part of Serbia, know that the Serbian movement Dveri will always be with its state, as we will oppose any government, including this one, if at any moment it decides to head in the direction of recognizing the false state of Kosovo, and we have clearly said and emphasized that today in our conversation,” Obradovic said. “If the conclusion is not to recognize Kosovo, then this was a significant meeting and Dveri will remain faithful to that conclusion,” Obradovic said.

Dacic before the session on Kosovo and Metohija: Difficult to reach consensus, parties must not be divided on most important issues (RTS)

Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic told the morning news of Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS), before the special session of the parliament dedicated to Kosovo and Metohija, that there are political parties that cannot understand that there can be divisions on many issues, but that on the most important ones, such as Kosovo and Metohija, there must be state unity and political stability. Dacic said, on the occasion of the parliament session at which President Aleksandar Vucic will present the report on the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, that it is very difficult to reach consensus.“Unfortunately, there are political parties that cannot understand that there can be divisions on many issues, but that on the most important ones, such as Kosovo, there must be state unity and political stability,” he said. Yesterday, a meeting was held with non-parliamentary parties without the mediation of foreigners at the request, Dacic stated, of both Vucic and those parties. He estimates that these are patriotic parties, which have the position that there should be no differences regarding national issues. “In that sense, it was agreed and concluded that such meetings should be held regularly, and that gives special political strength, in addition to today’s session,” Dacic pointed out. He notes that nothing has changed in the dialogue on Kosovo and Metohija regarding the gravity of the situation. “The challenges have remained the same, maybe even stronger, the pressures are getting more serious, we are being asked for everything, but we are offered almost nothing,” Dacic said, adding that that is why Vucic asked him to address the deputies and tell them about the gravity of the situation. He is convinced that Vucic will not succumb to pressure, that he will never recognize the self-declared independence of Kosovo, but that he will invest everything to preserve peace and reach a compromise. As for the dialogue with the rest of the non-parliamentary opposition, mediated by the European Parliament, Dacic says that part is still in the preparatory phase. “It primarily depends on the agenda of the MEPs, they had a travel ban. It is time to start that part of the dialogue as well. A date is being considered, when they could come to Belgrade, between 8 and 11 July, but that has not been confirmed yet,” said Dacic.

 

Support of Italy to Serbia in EU integration process at all levels (RTS/Tanjug

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic spoke today with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio about the most important economic and political processes in the country and the region and the support which Rome provides to Serbia in the process of European integration at all levels.

Brnabic said that Serbia is carefully observing Italy’s recovery from the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, given that this country is one of Serbia’s most important economic partners. She underlined that our country cannot be strong without a strong Italy. Speaking about the reforms that are being carried out on the path to full membership in the EU, Brnabic emphasized that Serbia is ready to open two clusters, and that Italy has once again proved to be a friendly country in the enlargement process by sincerely advocating their opening. According to her, the stability of the region is of special importance, both in the economic and political sense, and that is why Belgrade is doing everything to start a dialogue with Pristina, as well as to strengthen regional economic connections. The Italian Foreign Minister praised Serbia’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic and the vaccination of the population against coronavirus, noting that other countries, not only the region, but also the EU, will have to recognize Serbia’s achievements too. When it comes to EU enlargement, Di Maio said that Serbia is a natural part of Europe and that is why Italy provides it with all kinds of support on that path, and that bilateral relations between Italy and Serbia serve as an example to other members of the Union.

He also said that he agrees that the joint session of the two governments will give additional impetus to the high-quality interstate relations.

 

Reactions of Serbian officials to the statement of the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry (RTS

Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic and Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic assessed that the statement of the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry that the Resolution on Srebrenica was not against the Serbs and Serbia was hypocritical. Selakovic said that he was surprised with the hypocritical and cynical tone of the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry’s statement. “I think it was inappropriate to call upon the friendship and brotherhood between the Serbs and Montenegrins and at the same time defend the document whose ill intentions toward the Serb people cannot be denied by any additional readings and explanations,” said Selakovic. “Montenegro’s Foreign Ministry’s lectures about Serbia’s media and authorities for discovering real intentions of the Resolution on Srebrenica and for not accepting its content as a hand of friendship are signs of serious political hypocrisy. That has nothing to do with Serbia but with Montenegro’s internal problems in which Serbia has not and will not interfere,” Selakovic said in a written statement. “On this occasion, I must most resolutely reject and condemn the phrases of some Montenegrin politicians about the alleged interference of Serbia in the internal affairs of Montenegro, because Serbia did not recognize, for example, Boka as an independent state, but official Montenegro recognized the unilaterally declared secession of Pristina in the form of so-called republic of Kosovo, that is, supported the most direct attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia,” said Selakovic. He added the statements about the lack of collective responsibility were ‘phrases’ because Montenegro’s parliament did not personalize its condemnation of the Srebrenica event. That is, despite the opposite claims, an apparent attempt to stigmatize the whole Serb nation.

Dacic: This government in Montenegro also agreed with Bishop  

Dacic assessed the statement of the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry as hypocritical, in which his call to Bishop Joanikije to react is called anachronistic, because, says Dacic, the government in Montenegro was agreed at the meeting with Bishop Amfilohije. “How is it not the church’s interference in political matters?” Dacic asked, adding that he was not interested in the removal of Zdravko Krivokapic, but believed that everyone should agree and work in the interest of the Montenegrin and Serbian people and thus not break the promise to the citizens. Dacic explains that yesterday he called on Bishop Joanikije, having in mind the responsibility of the metropolitanate for proposing the holder of the list in the elections, to deal with the situation in the ruling coalition because they won on the wave of processions. “At the intervention of the late Bishop Amfilohije, Krivokapic was appointed the leader of the list. Based on that, they won the elections. Now the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry says that my call to include the Bishop is anachronistic, that is is a call to overthrow the system, and what were they doing with Amfilohije until a few months ago,” Dacic asked. “I am not causing any problems for Montenegro, I am not interested in Montenegro and their internal politics. I am just saying to keep your hands farther away from Serbia, you are interfering in our internal affairs, because you have recognized Kosovo, because you are passing resolutions against Serbian interests,” said Dacic.

NATO plants resolutions on Srebrenica throughout Balkans (Novosti)

Novosti claims that the Resolution of the Montenegrin parliament “which condemned alleged genocide in Srebrenica” will obviously be just the first of many documents “that will come both from outside and from within with the main goal to declare Republika Srpska (RS) as genocidal creation” and noted that even Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic warned about this. The daily also noted that its collocutors argued the leading NATO countries are behind this “obviously synchronized operation aimed against Serbia” because they are activating their representatives in the region in order to reduce the influence of Russia in the Balkans. “This means that there is a possibility some other countries, members of the Alliance, might soon adopt documents similar to the one adopted by official Podgorica” the daily added. In the meantime, two proposals of a resolution on Srebrenica were delivered to the parliament of Serbia – one requested condemnation of crimes and the other requested condemnation of genocide. Predrag Rajic from the Center for Social Stability told the daily that this represents a continuation of exerting of pressures on Serbia and added that he is sure there will be more similar resolutions and documents in an attempt to weaken the position of the RS and present it as ‘genocidal creation’ because of which it should be abolished. Professor Bojan Milisavljevic from the Faculty of Law in Belgrade told the daily that NATO is behind all of this and explained that the NATO operates through its member countries with the goal to reduce the influence of Russia in Serbia and region, as well as to reduce influence of Serbia on Serbs outside of borders of their mother country. “By this, I am referring to Serbs in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina because Serbia started carrying out a constructive and active policy with this regard,” Milisavljevic said and claimed that this will also be used as yet another argument in talks on Kosovo which would exert pressure on Serbia to give up.

Borrell: EU-US cooperation to help Belgrade-Pristina dialogue (Tanjug

EU foreign policy and security chief Josep Borrell said on Monday he expected stepped up EU-US cooperation to help the dialogue process between Belgrade and Pristina. When asked by Tanjug if he had discussed with US President Joe Biden the latest round of the Brussels dialogue between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the Prime Minister of the provisional Pristina institutions, Albin Kurti, Borrell responded that he had briefed US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on the subject. “Now there is very good cooperation between the US and Europe. There is no longer competition from the US side… Now we are in strong cooperation, and it is going to help,” Borrell said. Borrell also said that, during a Council of the EU meeting earlier in the day, he had informed EU Foreign Ministers of the latest round of the dialogue, held on 15 June, as well as of an intention to hold another round before the summer. Borrell did not respond to a Tanjug request to give his take on Kurti’s cooperativeness as a new partner in the dialogue on normalization of relations with Belgrade.

Brnabic, Borrell to attend EU-Serbia IGC (Tanjug

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic will be heading the Serbian delegation at Tuesday’s EU-Serbia intergovernmental conference (IGC) in Luxembourg, sources in Brussels have confirmed to Tanjug. The delegation will also include European Integration Minister Jadranka Joksimovic and Serbia’s Ambassador to the EU Ana Hrustanovic. The EU delegation will be led by the bloc’s foreign policy and security chief Josep Borrell and the conference will also be attended by Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi and EU ministers of European affairs. The Brussels sources said it would be an opportunity for an official start of the implementation of a new methodology in the accession talks with Serbia, particularly as regards stronger political governance and Serbia’s greater interaction with EU member states when it comes to priorities in the accession process. “The intention is to thus give a new impetus to accession talks and we expect it to mark a new turning point in the talks with Serbia,” a senior EU official has told Tanjug. The IGC is expected to review Serbia’s achievements in the reform process, in particular in rule of law. The Brussels source said “no chapters would be opened or closed” at Tuesday’s conference in Luxembourg but that Serbia could open a cluster in the negotiating talks in 2021 if it met the conditions.

REGIONAL PRESS 

 

Cvijanovic confirms that negotiation team for talks on future of B&H is formed; Reactions (RTRS

Republika Srpska (RS) President Zeljka Cvijanovic said that in line with conclusions of the RS parliament, negotiation team for talks on future of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) has been formed. She added that this team can be additionally filled in if necessary. Cvijanovic stressed that the opposition in the RS refused to participate in this activity. She went on to saying that some of they explained that there is no need for them to participate in it when they did not participate in adoption of the RSNA conclusions. RS President explained that information about the RS authorities’ activities was delivered to the Federation of B&H (FB&H) President and representatives of constituent peoples. Cvijanovic added that HDZ B&H as most dominant Croat party expressed interest to participate in abovementioned talks. She concluded that as far as it concerns Bosniak politics, primarily SDA, their rejection of the RS parliament can be recognized as ignoring of problems. ATV reminded that the RS parliament adopted 10 conclusions on 11 May, regarding the initiative for dialogue on possible solutions for B&H between the RS and the FB&H and between three constituent peoples – Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks.  Hayat reminded that FB&H President Marinko Cavara (HDZ B&H) accepted the invitation for the dialogue, which led to reaction of FB&H Vice Presidents Melika Mahmutbegovic (SDA) and Milan Dunovic (DF). They stated that Cavara can hold talks with whomever he wants and he can even exchange opinions on B&H’s future, but only on his own behalf or on behalf of his party – not on behalf of the FB&H. Head of the RS SNSD Caucus Igor Zunic said that he expects that after sending the initiative to the FB&H and the other two constituent peoples, that everyone will respond to the call and that program and work plan for talks will be drafted after that. Zunic added that it seems that Bosniaks do not want to take part in the negotiations as they count that B&H can function as a protectorate and that foreigners can define processes in B&H which is his opinion, does not represents any future. Head of the RS DEMOS Caucus Spomenka Stevanovic said that she does not expect much, but she hopes that the stance that talks about problems are unnecessary will prevail among Bosniak representatives in the FB&H. Stevanovic added that the problem with Bosniaks is that they were thought that the international community (IC) will solve their problems.

 

Cvijanovic and Tegeltija react to Turkovic’s initiative for exhibition at UN headquarters in New York dedicated to Srebrenica genocide (ATV

 

Without the consent of the B&H Presidency, B&H Minister of Foreign Affairs Bisera Turkovic sent a letter to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, asking him to enable an exhibition to be held at the UN headquarters in New York dedicated, as Turkovic stated in the letter, to the Srebrenica genocide. While addressing the media, RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic stated that she did not agree with any ‘solo acts’ of that kind and that she does not agree with anyone dominating in the international representation of B&H at the expense of someone else. Cvijanovic added: “We always said that no one should be provoked but of course one needs to be aware who is representing whom, and why. B&H is complex, our domestic policy is complex, and therefore out foreign policy must also be complex. In doing so, one should take care, which unfortunately was never the case in Sarajevo”. The Chairperson of the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) Zoran Tegeltija commented: “It is not an initiative of one institution but of an individual. Personally, I think that it does not depend on the (B&H) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but on the host, who should organize it, and that the host will keep in mind who he is talking to, and that B&H institutions are not behind that initiative. Unfortunately, this is one in a series of unnecessary initiatives of the B&H Ministry of Foreign Affairs”. Namely, without consent or approval of B&H Presidency, Minister Turkovic and B&H Ambassador to the UN Sven Alkalaj are planning to organize exhibition dedicated to Srebrenica victims in premises of the UN in New York. Delegate in B&H House of Peoples (HoP) Dusanka Majkic (SNSD) said that Serbs should go from defensive to offensive position and prove that similar activities are not in favor of any people. Leader of SDS Mirko Sarovic said that any activity that is related to competences of B&H Presidency and is done without approval of the Presidency is unacceptable. Advisor to the Serb member of the Presidency of B&H Radovan Kovacevic said that the RS will certainly not stay in such B&H in which it would not be respected and added: “This is a proof that talk of representatives of the RS and FB&H on future of B&H are needed. This is something inevitable and only in this way we might find a way for B&H to survive”.

Podzic’s statement that B&H is one step ahead of NATO membership provokes reactions in RS (BN TV

 

The latest statement of B&H Minister of Defense Sifet Podzic that B&H is one step ahead of the NATO membership causes reactions in the RS. PDP’s Igor Crnadak stated that what the RS opposition has been mentioning since the end of 2019 seems to be true, reminding that Milorad Dodik as B&H Presidency member agreed to B&H’s Annual National Program (ANP) for NATO in order to make possible the formation of state-level authorities and they named this document the program of reforms with an aim to deceive the public. He added that owing to this move B&H is already in the Membership Action Plan (MAP) and it seems that Dodik will soon say “Welcome NATO” instead of his words “Goodbye B&H” stated before the RS parliament.

Commenting on Podzic’s statement, members of SDS Presidency stated on Monday that the RS opts for military neutrality only. According to SDS leader Mirko Sarovic, the RS should keep its military neutrality and only the RS citizens should decide on this issue at a referendum. He stated that Dodik continues to annul his own words when it comes to the NATO path of B&H, after Podzic denied Dodik who said after he returned from Turkey that he did not sign any documents on B&H’s accession to NATO. Sarovic said that in the capacity of B&H Presidency Chairman, Dodik has signed a number of documents leading B&H and the RS towards NATO. He stressed that SDS’ stance is that the RS and B&H should remain military neutral, reminding that Serbia has a clear stance regarding its military neutrality and therefore there is no reason for the RS to advocate for the status other than Serbia’s.

 

Interview with German Ambassador to B&H (Nezavisne

The daily interviewed German Ambassador to B&H Margret Uebber. Asked why Germany opted for Christian Schmidt as a new High Representative (HR), she said that with his appointment, the German Government wants to return B&H high to the international agenda while at the same time, they want to give full support to meeting the agenda ‘5 +2’. She underlined: “The German Government is convinced that the function of the HR is still important for meeting civil aspects of the Dayton Agreement, strengthening of stability and security, as well as guaranteeing territorial integrity of B&H. At the same time, meeting the ‘5+2’ agenda, the HR gives an important contribution to B&H getting closer to the EU. The German Government is convinced that Christian Schmidt – based on his experience in the political and parliamentary life and based on his impressive knowledge about B&H and the entire Western Balkans – is highly appropriate to meet this task.” Asked what changed bearing in mind that Germany used to advocate that B&H politicians should take over more responsibility while the Office of the High Representative (OHR) should not play a way too strong role, she stated that presence of the international community in B&H cannot and should not release domestic politicians of their primary responsibility for destiny of the country and its people. Uebber added that along with its partners, Germany clearly pointed out that this responsibility is primarily on political actors of B&H while the international community can always take over the support role and only this role adding that unfortunately, we still see small effort in B&H to implement the necessary reforms so that the country can move forward. She said: “Besides, we notice disturbing increase of rhetoric that calls into question the territorial integrity and thus, stability and security of B&H. This is why the OHR still plays an important role.” Asked whether the OHR should be closed, Uebber stated: “Along with other members of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board, we aspire to close the OHR in some middle-term period. However, the condition for this to happen is meeting the ‘5+2’ agenda that was agreed in 2008 together with Russia. We would like to see faster progress, but meeting the ‘5+2’ agenda is mostly in hands of B&H. Obviously, the OHR is still necessary.” Asked how Germany observes the Dayton Agreement; is it outdated, is it modern, does it belong to the past or it is good for the future of the country, Uebber stated that the Dayton Agreement stopped the horrible war in B&H from 1992-1995 and since then, it guaranteed peace and created the basis for stabile development of the country. She added: “The Dayton Agreement still has a central meaning. At the same time, especially when it comes to the Constitution of B&H, we do not observe it as something that cannot be changed in general, changes must be possible. Per example, implementation of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights Sejdic-Finci in terms of election legislation reform would demand limited change of the Constitution.” Asked whether something is changing in approach of the EU and other partners towards B&H bearing in mind that the public again hears about possible sanctions, penalties or interventionism, Uebber stated that at this moment, the EU does not consider any sanctions or similar measures towards Western Balkan countries. She said: “All countries of the region aspire towards the EU membership. The precondition for this to happen is implementation of the European Acquis and European standards especially in the rule of the law sector. The EU supports countries in the region to implement the reforms and reach the standards, while at the same time, it clearly says that meeting the standards is a precondition for the EU membership. At the same time, the EU must also meet its promises given to countries of the region.” Commenting on how the German-US cooperation, that seems to be much better, reflects on the Western Balkans, Uebber assessed that Germany and the US share the interest for peaceful and stable development in the Western Balkans and this reflects on their cooperation in the region. According to the Ambassador, they have close and long-year cooperation with the US Embassy to B&H about all issues regarding development of the country especially within the so-called Quint countries. Speaking about cooperation with other partners like the Russian Embassy to B&H, Uebber stated that they closely cooperate with other partners from the EU and they jointly support work of the EU Special Representative. She added: “I already mentioned the form that we have in the Quint. However, we cooperate here with other partners too, we cherish good contacts and open dialogue.” Asked about the three top priorities for B&H in 2021, Uebber underlined: “Reforms, reforms, reforms. This year, there are no elections in B&H which is why this is a chance to conclude reforms and begin its application so that the country is ready for the European path. Guidelines on this road are the 14 priorities of the European Commission (EC) that must be met with even greater commitment than it was the case by now. The Public Procurement Law and the law on avoiding conflict of interest are in the drafting (phase) and they should be adopted as soon as possible. Work of the judiciary must be improved and this especially refers to the Law on the High Judicial and the Prosecutorial Council. We believe that this would be a very important reform step towards more of the rule of the law. Finally, a big job to reform election law is ahead of us. It is of the biggest importance that the 14 priorities of the EC are harmonized with the election system in a way to make it harmonized with European standards and recommendations of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Venice Commission. We believe that it is of special importance to implement the decision that I already mentioned, the Sejdic-Finci as well as other relevant verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights.”

 

Resolution on Srebrenica is not directed against Serb people and Serbia (MFA

 

The Montenegro Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on Monday that the resolution is not directed against the Serb people and the Republic of Serbia. The press release of the Montenegro Ministry of Foreign Affairs also reminded that responsibility for the genocide is individual as the international law and verdicts of The Hague Tribunal stipulate. According to the press release, media reports in Serbia on news from Podgorica are directed against the Montenegro government, Montenegro Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic and Speaker of the Montenegro parliament. Montenegro Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed additional concern with the fact that the speaker of the Serbian parliament Ivica Dacic called on a religious official in Montenegro to deal with the speaker of the Montenegro parliament Aleksa Becic. The Montenegro Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminded Dacic that Montenegro is an independent, secular and sovereign state. According to the Montenegro Ministry of Foreign Affairs, such messages are unthinkable and can be interpreted as calls for undermining of the state order in one country but they sincerely hope that this was not Dacic’s intention. Dacic reacted by saying that he is not making any problems to Montenegro as he is not interested in Montenegro and their internal policy. Among other things, it has said that it is inappropriate and utterly wrong to treat Montenegrin citizens of Serbian nationality as members and “concern” of the Republic of Serbia. The Ministry points out that everything we hear and read these days is just an incomprehensible and strangely motivated attempt at political and media spin of the text of the Resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica, aimed directly at the ruling structures of Montenegro. “The Resolution on Srebrenica genocide, adopted by the parliament of Montenegro on Thursday, is a document that is not and cannot be directed against any people or state, least of all against the Serb people and Serbia”. They emphasized that there are no genocidal people but only individuals, which was clearly stated in the document. Montenegro’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that Belgrade’s reaction is an attempt of political and media manipulation of the Resolution’s text, directed towards the Montenegro authorities.

Djukanovic: Serbian officials are manipulating (RTCG

The objections of the Serbian officials to the fact that the Montenegrin parliament has adopted the resolution on Srebrenica “are nothing new”, estimated President Djukanovic on Monday.

“It is attempted to manipulate that the resolution is a condemnation of Serbia and the Serbian people, even though it contains a precise part (in which it is said) that the condemnation of genocide cannot relate to a people, and rather that genocide was committed by individuals, and that it is up to politics to create a clear distance in relation to those individuals who committed such inhumane acts,” said Djukanovic. Referring to the Sunday comments of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who posed the question of why in fact Montenegro was bringing a declaration on Srebrenica, Djukanovic said that Montenegro did not interfere in the matter of Srebrenica, but rather in “the matter of genocide”. “Srebrenica is not Serbia’s yard, but rather Bosnia’s yard. Wherever genocide takes place, a common sense politics has to condemn it. Notwithstanding whether it happened in Rwanda, or on the Balkans,” Djukanovic said.

Mandic comments on Resolution on Srebrenica: Montenegro is platform and tool in hands of Serb enemies (MNA

 

One of the leaders of Montenegro’s DF Andrija Mandic said he believes that the renewal of topics like Srebrenica is not accidental and emphasized that the Serb people are most indignant at the people who came to power in Montenegro thanks to the strength of the Serb people. Mandic reminded that Montenegro had already been a platform for an attack on Serbia, and pointed out that. from this distance, the victory over the regime of the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic achieved in last year’s elections did not change anything. “Montenegro is still a platform and a tool in the hands of Serb enemies and a dominant attack on Serbia,” Mandic stated. Mandic said that since the crisis of the government and parliament, he had not heard from the Prime Minister of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapic, and pointed out that Krivokapic proved to be different from the Christian he presented himself during the election campaign.

Bojovic wonders why parliament of Montenegro neglects WWII crimes committed in Montenegro while Srebrenica Resolution passed procedure so quickly (MNA

Montenegrin MP Dragan Bojovic (Democratic People’s Party – DNP) wondered why Srebrenica Resolution passed the procedure in Montenegrin Parliament so quickly while resolutions on war crimes from WWII in the territory of Montenegro have been waiting for months to come to the agenda. As an example, Bojovic argued that everyone have been silent about the massacre in Velika for nearly 80 years while, on the other hand, “the parliament of Montenegro discussed Srebrenica twice already and adopted resolutions and declarations on Srebrenica although Srebrenica is in the territory of another state. With all due respect for all victims of wartime events, who authorized us to present final judgments on events in other states?”. Bojovic concluded by saying that there can be neither justice nor reconciliation if “there are first class and second class victims, if we in the region remember of Srebrenica but keep our mouth shut when it comes to, for example, Jasenovac or Bratunac or Jadovno, or if even ‘Storm’ and ‘Flash’ operations are celebrated”.

 

Nikoloski addresses Bulgaria at the Council of Europe: Regardless of your veto, we are Macedonians who speak Macedonian (Republika

No matter how long we are blocked and vetoed, we remain Macedonians who speak the Macedonian language, said VMRO-DPMNE Vice President Aleksandar Nikoloski during his remarks in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, where he discussed the report on the April elections in Bulgaria. Bulgaria is blocking Macedonia from opening its EU accession talks, as it demands that Macedonia rewrites its history and redefines its national identity. “One thing that is as well mentioned is the hate speech. We are witnessing that since the protests started in Bulgaria, the hate speech rose. The second thing are the attacks against my country, against Macedonia and Macedonians. Bulgaria is blocking the opening of accession talks with Macedonia in the past two years for political reasons and, if you will, for electoral reasons, They continue to do that, violating basic human rights of Macedonians such as self-identification, nomination of our language and our history, and of our heritage, and they are a step away from doing that tomorrow at the General Council of the European Union and block our accession talks. I have only one thing to say to them. We know who we are, we are Macedonians. We know what language we speak – we speak Macedonian. We know our heritage and our history and no matter what kind of decision they make tomorrow, all of Europe knows who we are and what we are. They should feel the shame of the consequences they are making,” Nikoloski said. Nikoloski also named the other objections in the report, that parties engaged in vote buying, intimidation of voters from the socially disadvantaged categories and that the protests showed public distrust in the government, before focusing on the issue of Bulgaria’s abuse of its veto powers to pursue a nationalist policy toward Macedonia.

 

US lobbies strongly for opening of negotiations with Albania; Pressure on EU (Radio Tirana

When there are only 24 hours left for a positive decision-making for the negotiations with Tirana and Skopje, the American lobbying towards the senior leaders of Brussels and the foreign ministers gathered in Luxembourg continues. European Union Foreign Minister Borrell confirmed that Secretary of State Blinken had asked in a conversation with him to take concrete steps for the finalization within the year of the final agreement Belgrade-Pristina. “I have been in constant communication with my American counterpart, Secretary of State Blinken. I want to confirm that there is already a fruitful cooperation between the US and the EU on the issue of integration and also on a Belgrade-Pristina agreement. There is no competition between us and this will help the success of these processes. I informed the ministers and I hope that there will be developments before the end of the summer season,” said the Head of EU diplomacy, Joseph Borrell. Albania has already met all the conditions, while despite the diplomatic commitment of Brussels and Washington, there are still no signals from Bulgaria that it will lift the veto on Skopje. Dutch Foreign Minister Kaag, when asked by reporters, said that they should expect even unforeseen surprises regarding the decision on Tirana and Skopje. Even the head of the SP Parliamentary Group, Taulant Balla with a post on Facebook has given positive signals for the negotiations.

Soreca: It’s the first time that all member countries have clearly expressed their support for Albania (Radio Tirana/Euronews

The Ambassador of the European Union in our country, Luigi Soreca, one day before the final decision of the EU has given an interview for Euronews Albania. Soreca says that dividing the roads of Albania and North Macedonia towards the EU does not seem to be an option. “Both countries have met all the conditions set by the Council in March last year. It has a clear purpose of member countries; to move both countries forward together, because the regional dimension of enlargement is very important. Some member states are still discussing about North Macedonia. You may need a little more time. I believe that the goal is to keep the countries together at the moment. But enlargement is also based on merit. It is important not to disappoint those who worked, for the EU to decide to give them what they deserve,” said Soreca. The achievement, according to the ambassador is great as long as for the first time all countries, including skeptics have announced support for the negotiating table. “I emphasize that tomorrow is an important day for Albania, because all member countries have clearly expressed their support for Albania. This is the first time this has happened. The Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, France, Germany, all countries say that Albania has fulfilled what was asked of it,” said Soreca.

While congratulating Albania on performing its ‘homework’, Soreca said it is important not to waste time, while underlining that the October summit under the Slovenian Presidency is very important for the Western Balkans. ” Make sure this year is the year of the Western Balkans. Under the Slovenian Presidency, there will be a very important summit for the Western Balkans in early October. It is important to go to this summit with good news,” said Soreca.

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Belgrade Media Reprot 22 October 2021

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