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Belgrade Media Report 16 August 2021

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Monday 16 August 2021

LOCAL PRESS

Vucic: Those rocking Pristina in the cradle, will continue so (RTV/RTS/Tanjug)
Odalovic: Wherever the Americans were, they left that place, Pristina needs to thinks about that (RTS)
Mirovic says goal of activities related to Srebrenica is to guide political processes in certain direction (Novosti)
Governments of Serbia and RS are working as a team (Politika)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Merkel calls on Inzko and Schmidt for consultations on Wednesday and after that, she will meet with Putin (ATV)
Vulin: Serbia is against any kind of imposing of laws in B&H and against any kind of disrespect for Dayton Agreement (ATV)
Lukac and Vulin hold meeting with representatives of Serbs in FB&H; Vulin: As long as Vucic is President of Serbia, Belgrade’s policy will be preservation of peace and stability in region (RTRS)
Experts say Moscow’s diplomatic note stating that it does not accept Schmidt as new HR represents strong support to RS and commitment of RS institutions for respecting DPA (RTRS)
Embassy of Russian Federation in B&H issues diplomatic note officially stating that it does not accept Schmidt as new HR in B&H (FTV/N1)
Cubrilovic: Purpose of Inzko’s decision is to justify unitarization of B&H (Fena/Nezavisne)
Trivic: We remain to be opposition to SNSD and Dodik, but not to the RS (Oslobodjenje)
Dodik to Ambassador Nelson: Enough of your meddling in B&H (Srna/Nezavisne)
Prodanovic says current crisis is biggest since Dayton, argues part of international community bears responsibility for it (Glas Srpske)
RS MoI: Ministry did not issue an order for acting in accordance with the law imposed by Inzko (Srna)
Head of Jablanica Municipality announces that he will file criminal report against Dodik because he did not give consent for use of B&H AF helicopter in extinguishing fires (O Kanal)
B&H Presidency adopts conclusion tasking B&H Ministry of Security with using all mechanisms to ensure adequate response to current and future situations related to natural disasters, including wildfires (O kanal)
EUFOR replies to Komsic: EUFOR does not possess equipment for extinguishing of wildfires from air (BHT1)
Grlic Radman calls on Prosecutor’s Office of B&H to process war crimes against Croats (Dnevni list)
Croatia

Plenkovic: Repatriation of Croatians from Afghanistan organized (Hina)
Cavara: Bosniak political elites still have wartime goals; We do not place hopes on role of HR; HRs have made big damage to Croats so far (Slobodna Dalmacija)
Montenegro

Joanikije’s enthronement a final step in the occupation of Montenegro (Dnevne novine)
SDP seeks urgent session of Cetinje assembly: Joanikije’s enthronement should be cancelled (CdM)
Republic of North Macedonia

Mickoski: VMRO-DPMNE to run for a convincing victory with many new names (Republika)
Macedonia’s government prepared to help US and accept Afghan civilians, says Zaev (Republika)
Albania

Open Balkans, EU reacts: We welcome the leaders’ commitments for regional cooperation (Radio Tirana)
American Department of State in favor of the Open Balkans initiative: Common Regional Market, essential for the progress of the Western Balkans! (Radio Tirana/VoA)
Open Balkans, Kurti strong messages to Tirana (Radio Tirana)
US government in talks with Tirana to shelter Afghani citizens (Tirana Times)
DP Chair calls for Albania helping Afghans fleeing Taliban (ADN)

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LOCAL PRESS

Vucic: Those rocking Pristina in the cradle, will continue so (RTV/RTS/Tanjug)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated on Saturday that the fact that Pristina is still not returning the land to the Visoki Decani Monastery, which it is obliged to do, speaks of the strength of the pressure of some others on the Pristina authorities. “If they (in Pristina) are ready to answer every question – we will not, because we are dissatisfied, and I don’t know with what, then it is clear that those who are rocking them in the cradle, which they have outgrown, will continue to do so regardless how many bad things they will see,” said Vucic to the statement of the journalists that the deadline for Pristina to return 24 hectares to the Visoki Decani Monastery has expired, which was decided by the so-called Kosovo Constitutional Court, and which did not happen. Vucic also said that the attack on Nikola Peric was terrible, and that it was clearly and unequivocally motivated by hatred towards the Serb people. Peric (23) from the Novo Brdo village of Zebince, was beaten in front of his house a few days ago while returning cattle from the pasture, he was seriously injured, and he was operated on in the hospital in Gnjilane, after which he was released home. “It is our job to help our people, to fight as much as we can, to improve conditions, that is why there is a Kosovo supplement. We give a 50 percent higher salary to teachers in Kosovo and Metohija than in Serbia proper,” said Vucic. As he pointed out, that is what the state can do, because more than that is neither realistic nor possible. “I would be lying if I said that we can provide without effective authority in Kosovo and Metohija much more than what we are doing today. And I think they understand that. We will continue to do that, and I believe that with further, accelerated progress of the country, we can do even more,” said Vucic.

 

We are worried with strengthening of Kosovo security forces

Vucic stated that what worries Serbia is the strengthening of the Kosovo security forces.

Responding to Tanjug’s question whether the announced NATO exercises in Kosovo and Metohija are really just a routine thing or a contribution to preserving security in the province, or whether they have a political connotation and messages, he said that only NATO is in Kosovo and Metohija, after the withdrawal of Russian forces in 2000. He pointed out that Serbia has very correct relations with the Secretary General of the Alliance Jens Stoltenberg, and he hopes, he says, that we will be able to maintain such a relationship on all issues. “We don’t have any say, NATO is there and that’s it. We are only worried about the strengthening of the Kosovo security forces,” Vucic stated. Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Christian Schmidt and Valentin Inzko in Berlin on Wednesday. Commenting on the upcoming meeting, Vucic said that every meeting with Chancellor Merkel is important. “With that, she wants to show her commitment to resolving the issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) and provide full support both to Inzko’s decisions, as well as Schmidt’s decisions in the future. There is no doubt and no dilemma. Schmidt is a very influential man, a very influential politician. He is from CSU, from the Bavarian sister party of CDU. Merkel is nearing the end of her mandate and she wants to give full support to Schmidt. It is a perfectly clear, unambiguous message, it seems to me,” Vucic stressed.

 

Odalovic: Wherever the Americans were, they left that place, Pristina needs to thinks about that (RTS)

Secretary General of the Serbian parliament Veljko Odalovic told the morning press review of Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) that the Taliban are someone who “nourishes” the shariat, which has been put on hold even in many Muslim countries. “The US has demonstrated irresponsible behavior. What they did, they withdrew people and agreed with some countries, their favorites, to receive them,” Odalovic says. According to him, the Americans, wherever they were, left that place, and Pristina needs to think about that as well. Odalovic added that the people from Afghanistan will be displaced and that the Taliban will allow everyone to leave, because their goal is a clean territory, but they will not allow people to return. “Everyone has been fighting the Taliban for years, and now that the Americans have withdrawn and are withdrawing their people, it turns out that they have won,” Odalovic said, noting that this could be a message for other conflicts in the world to go the same way. Albanian media report that refugees from Afghanistan can also be accommodated in Kosovo and Metohija.

On unification of Albanian parties in Kosovo and Metohija

Odalovic also referred to the unification of Albanian parties in Kosovo and Metohija in order to take over power in Serb areas as well. “They are trying to minimize the influence of Serbs in Serb areas as well,” Odalovic pointed out, adding that Serb areas were attacked by the aggressive settlement of Albanians who want to change the ethnic structure in Serb areas. He notes that some Serbs also appear on those Albanian lists, in order to show the illusion of a multiethnic society. “However, I hope that the Serbs will be smart, responsible and organized enough and that they will achieve influence in the elections,” Odalovic said.

Mirovic says goal of activities related to Srebrenica is to guide political processes in certain direction (Novosti

 

Prime Minister of Autonomous Region of Vojvodina Igor Mirovic told Novosti that pressures against Serbia are nothing new and assessed that these will grow stronger as Serbia grows stronger in this part of Europe. Asked whether there is an ongoing action to label Serbs as genocidal people, Mirovic said that he was disappointed the most by the decision of Montenegro to bring back up the issue of definition of crimes in Srebrenica as genocide by adopting a resolution, although it already adopted one 13 years ago. Mirovic assessed that it is obvious that “mentors of false civic concept in B&H” imposed this issue with the goal to impose the feeling of collective guilt onto Serbs, which would then be followed by adequate sanctions and pressures towards certain political processes: “This is actually the goal of all these activities related to Srebrenica.”

Governments of Serbia and RS are working as a team (Politika, by Mladen Kremenovic) 

 

Politika carried a lengthy interview with Republika Srpska (RS) Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic and at the beginning of the interview Viskovic noted that it is not easy to live in the country where “Sarajevo” uses every chance to raise the issue about “the most sensitive and for us, Serbs the most important issue”, which is cooperation with Serbia. Asked what kind of B&H would be acceptable for Serbs, Viskovic said that this would be B&H where one respect the other, without undermining the other one’s interests. He underlined that majority responsibility for this lays with Sarajevo i.e. Bosniaks. Viskovic also underlined that Croats also have certain issues and their right are disputed on a daily basis, adding that there are announcements that Croats will also try to boycott institutions in the case the agreement on B&H Election Law is not reached. “They will also be forced to this in order to have their voice heard” said Viskovic. He noted that despite Bosniak’s intentions to force Serbs to hate the place they live in, Viskovic stressed that this will not happen: “This is our homeland for a thousand years, Serb ground is both here and in other entity where Serbs no longer live”.  Asked about announcements from the RS about opening of dialogue about future of B&H with the Federation of B&H (FB&H), Viskovic said that no progress has been made in this regard and while he RS President presented the RS delegation to the FB&H partners, no response was provided. He noted that situation is now additionally complicated as the RS parties reached unity and agreement after the latest decision imposed by Valentin Inzko. He noted that “certain factors” in Sarajevo are bothered by this unity and they are trying to find a weak link, but Viskovic noted that parties from the RS abide by the agreement and he believes that none of the parties can afford itself to endanger RS interests. Viskovic noted that he believes that everyone will verify the possible information aimed to undermine this unity and he believes that the unity will not be destroyed: “We have reached a red line, under which nobody has right to go. In practice this means that Inzko’s decisions will not be published in the RS Gazette and hence RS institutions will not act on this law”.  As for security challenges in this regard, Viskovic noted that there are interfering of competencies between SIPA and RS Ministry of Interior, but the RS MoI will not act on this matter. Asked if failure to participate in the work of B&H bodies can have negative consequences for the RS, Viskovic explained that the RS parliament was precise and stated that RS officials should participate in the work of B&H institutions in cases when this can cause damage for the RS. Even though many things in B&H have been imposed unilaterally and without agreement, Milorad Dodik is often criticized for causing instability with inflammatory rhetoric and Viskovic noted that things have not changed since forming of the RS, where Serbs are labeled as “bad guys”, while others are “saints” who allegedly advocate B&H, coexistence, integrity, rights of citizens and peoples. However, Viskovic noted that things are rather different, underlining the very fact that there are 15% Bosniaks in the RS and only 2.5% Serbs in the FB&H. “This shows us where the ethnic cleansing was conducted, who advocates multi-ethnicity and offers right to the others” said Viskovic adding that there are certain cantons where Serbs are not even recognized as a constituent people and where they do not participate in authority bodies. He stressed that they are proud of coexistence in the RS, where everyone can achieve their rights and while there are individual incidents they are at a minimal level. On the other hand, Viskovic said that they receive daily information about Serb people in the FB&H being deprived of basic living conditions, arguing that they even tried to secure vaccines for Serbs in the FB&H, being that they were not considered priority for “Sarajevo”. Talking about joint projects with Serbia, Viskovic underlined the project of hydroelectric power plant ‘Buk Bijela’ and negative comments that this project caused from “Sarajevo” where terms such as aggression and silent annexation were used. He argues that it is a paradox that COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination showed that Serbia is truly the biggest friend of entire B&H. Viskovic stressed that if there were any wisdom, Sarajevo would welcome this project, as the RS welcome every project in this entity, adding that he cannot understand reasons for opposing this project, except of “pathological hatred towards Serbia and Serb people”. Asked about debates pertaining the appointment of Christian Schmidt, Viskovic said that after thirty years it is high time for elected officials to take over responsibility for the country. “All until the High Representative and foreign judges in Constitutional Court of B&H exist, the country has no sovereignty, but it is a protectorate, which those who swear in B&H do not want to get rid of. Sometimes I think that only Serb people cares for B&H. Only we call for the talks. I would like to see a serious analysis what is it that the RS is doing that deserves it to be sentenced to such animosities, to have us threatened with bans and imposing of decisions. Is it normal in the 21st century, in the middle of Europe, which we are, to be banned for your own stance? This is worse than protectorate, because even in such organizations, people have had right to their stances and we are banned this,” says Viskovic.

REGIONAL PRESS

 

Merkel calls on Inzko and Schmidt for consultations on Wednesday and after that, she will meet with Putin (ATV

ATV reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on former HR Valentin Inzko and the HR Christian Schmidt for consultations on Wednesday. Merkel is supposed to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin two days after that while topics of the meeting remain unknown. The reporter noted that thus, Merkel is not wasting any time ahead of end of her mandate. According to ATV, the Russian Embassy to B&H sent a diplomatic note and once again, expressed its view on the new HR in B&H by reminding that the UN Security Council (UN SC) did not formally accept him as a candidate for this position. Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences at the University in Banja Luka Milos Solaja stated via phone that it was logical to expect that Germany will be active participant in implementation of policy of the international community in B&H because their candidate Schmidt assumes the post of the HR whoever agrees with this or not.  In his opinion, the meeting will be brief as positions are already known. Member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik stated that Schmidt is missing legality and legitimacy as the UN SC did not confirm him and that “he falsely represents himself as the HR”. Dodik added that Schmidt surely enjoys the political support of the US and a significant part of European countries. The reporter noted that this does not mean that those in the RS will welcome Schmidt with open arms, as they say goodbye to Inzko who left nothing but chaos in B&H with imposing of the law on denial of the genocide. Delegate of SNSD in the B&H House of Peoples Lazar Prodanovic commented on this issue by saying that part of the IC is still not aware of what they made in B&H. Prodanovic stated that he is not an optimist that the authorities at the level of B&H will begin to function anytime soon, adding that the RS needs to be politically wise in the long-run.

Vulin: Serbia is against any kind of imposing of laws in B&H and against any kind of disrespect for Dayton Agreement (ATV

 

Serbian Minister of Interior Aleksandar Vulin stated on Saturday that Serbia is against any kind of imposing of laws in B&H and against any kind of disrespect for the Dayton Agreement. He urged all politicians not to impose anything ever but to respect democratic procedures because in his opinion, this is the only way for peace to prevail in the region. Vulin stated: “We are very concerned about everything that is going on in B&H. We are worried about pressures against the RS. We are concerned due to imposing of laws that should impose the truth and you cannot impose the truth via laws. We are worried because such laws refer only and always to Serbs. We are concerned about the possibility to use these laws as a political mean for arrest of disobedient ones. We are concerned because in this way, the atmosphere in B&H was made very much worse.”

Lukac and Vulin hold meeting with representatives of Serbs in FB&H; Vulin: As long as Vucic is President of Serbia, Belgrade’s policy will be preservation of peace and stability in region (RTRS

 

RS Minister of Interior Dragan Lukac and Serbian Minister of Interior Aleksandar Vulin held a meeting with representatives of Serbs in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FB&H) in Drvar on Saturday. Meeting participants discussed the position of Serbs in the FB&H and problems they are faced with. Vulin said that Serbia will always support Serbs, regardless of where they live. “If the FB&H does not have the ability or the will to take care of its citizens of Serb ethnicity, the Republic of Serbia is there to take care of all its Serbs, regardless of where they live. Any assistance to Serbs living in the FB&H should be understood as assistance to the FB&H, because that means that they have to allocate less money from their budge,t” Vulin underlined. Vulin added that as long as Aleksandar Vucic is the President of Serbia, Belgrade’s policy will be preservation of peace and stability in the region. Lukac warned that many Serb villages in the FB&H still lack electricity, deeming this as a devastating fact. Lukac stressed that the RS will continue to support returnee municipalities in the FB&H. “The authorities in the FB&H, both cantonal and the FB&H authorities, must work harder to help Serb returnees in these municipalities and provide them with basic living conditions. This certainly includes electricity and water, and these are things that still, even after so many years, have not been overcome,” Lukac emphasized. Vulin and Lukac visited Drvar on Saturday and talked with representatives of five municipalities – Bosanski Petrovac, Drvar, Bosansko Grahovo, Glamoc and Odzak – about the position of Serbs in the FB&H. A message was sent on Saturday that Serbia, as long as it is led by Vucic, will work to preserve peace in the region and help all Serbs, regardless of where they live. “Any assistance to Serbs living in the FB&H should be understood as assistance to the FB&H because it is less money that they have to set aside from their budget, because it is less money that they have to take from their taxpayers,” emphasized Minister Vulin. The inevitable question, asked by members of the press in Drvar, was related to the law imposed by Valentin Inzko, 12 days before his departure. “On the day when Austro-Hungary sent a similar ultimatum more than 100 years ago, but on that day, it imposed a law on the Kingdom of Serbia, which seems to aim to permanently poison relations in B&H, to permanently quarrel with the people who live here,” Vulin assessed. Any change of the Dayton Agreement and any decision that is not accepted by all three constituent peoples and the two entities that make up B&H is unacceptable for Serbia, Vulin said.

Experts say Moscow’s diplomatic note stating that it does not accept Schmidt as new HR represents strong support to RS and commitment of RS institutions for respecting DPA (RTRS

 

RTRS carries that official Moscow has a clear and consistent stance against the appointment of the new HR in B&H. RTRS recalled that the Russian Embassy in Sarajevo issued a diplomatic note stating that it does not accept Christian Schmidt, who was not appointed legally or legitimately by the UN Security Council (UN SC). Experts say that this represents strong support to the RS and the commitment of the RS institutions for respecting the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). In an interview for the Russian Federal News Agency, RS parliament speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic expressed gratitude to Russia, which, together with China, launched an initiative in the UN SC to close the OHR. “Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my gratitude to Russia and its representatives for their contribution to the fight for the functioning of international law. The Russian Federation provides an example of how the international community should act and be present in B&H,” Cubrilovic was quoted as saying. RTRS stressed that Serbia, as the guarantor of the DPA, can only accept decisions that were made with the consent of all three constituent peoples in B&H. Experts stress that the Russian Embassy’s diplomatic note is a message to the RS that it must vigorously oppose the undermining of the DPA to the detriment of the RS, and for the sake of centralized B&H.  Political scientist Rajko Petrovic believes that it is very important that one of the countries that are guarantors of the DPA does not recognize Schmidt as someone who will be a partner in future talks between the RS and B&H. “Of course, it is very important that the leadership of the RS has such a position and it is obvious that this time they will have important international support in that sense,” Petrovic underlined. Lawyer Branko Lukic stressed that Schmidt wants to be able to arrest and remove people in the RS, noting that this must not be allowed. “That will not be accepted. There is an open denial of Inzko’s law, which is a really insane act of a man who was inactive for 12 years and who decided to do the last stupid thing at the end of his mandate,” Lukic was quoted as saying.

Embassy of Russian Federation in B&H issues diplomatic note officially stating that it does not accept Schmidt as new HR in B&H (FTV/N1

 

The Embassy of the Russian Federation in B&H has issued a diplomatic note officially stating that it does not accept Christian Schmidt as the new HR in B&H. The note issued by the Russian Embassy in B&H states that the UN SC has not formally agreed to Schmidt’s candidacy and that Russia therefore does not consider him a legitimate HR. The Embassy of the Russian Federation in B&H confirmed for N1 on Friday that a diplomatic note was sent in which it expresses respect for the OHR, but also states that the Russian Federation does not consider the appointment of Schmidt as HR legitimate, given that the UN SC did not formally agree with his candidacy.

 

Cubrilovic: Purpose of Inzko’s decision is to justify unitarization of B&H (Fena/Nezavisne

 

RS parliament speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic stated in an interview for the international edition of Fena news agency that the motive behind the decision of Valentin Inzko to impose amendments to B&H Criminal Code sanctioning genocide denial is the wish of the West to justify unitarization of B&H and apply additional pressure on Belgrade. Cubrilovic added that it is difficult to say what is the final goal of Inzko’s initiative, but things become somewhat clearer when one takes the stances of some Bosniak politicians into account. According to Cubrilovic, one gets the impression that such decisions are serving the interests of only one people, while the Serb people never got the chance to defend its status and its position in the same way. He underlined that the RS has its competences which it must preserve. Cubrilovic underlined that the RS demonstrated its political unity in the special session of the RS parliament dedicated to Inzko’s decision. He argued that the High Representative is no longer needed because he inflicted a lot of damage on the RS, stripped it off its competences and favored only one political option and only one people. He also stated that the decisions of the HR “added oil to the fire” and they did not help stabilize the situation. According to Cubrilovic, the only solution is that B&H starts dealing with its problems without foreign influence of the international community. Cubrilovc thanked Russia and its representatives for their contribution to the fight for functioning of international law in the territory of B&H, and noted that Russia’s initiative to end the mandate of the HR is giving hope. He reminded that the representatives of the RS are determined not to participate in work of B&H institutions until the matter of law imposed by Inzko is resolved.

Trivic: We remain to be opposition to SNSD and Dodik, but not to the RS (Oslobodjenje

Oslobodjenje carried an interview with PDP Vice President and representative in the RS parliament Jelena Trivic who commented the agreement of RS parties which followed the decision of Valentin Inzko. Trivic noted that it was Inzko who improved rating for Milorad Dodik, adding that opposition’s stance regarding Inzko’s decision is not caused by SNSD’s stance. She continued by saying that PDP is opposition to the RS authorities, but not to the RS and nobody should hope that any of the RS parties will accept this solution of former HR Inzko. Trivic underlined that opposition parties clearly rejected the SNSD’s offer for forming of “transition or concentration government”, stressing that they remain to be opposition to all SNSD’s bad policies. Asked about the RS cooperation with new HR Christian Schmidt, Trivic noted that RS parliament conclusions regarding cooperation with Schmidt do not say that RS officials should not be meeting Schmidt, but that he is not legally appointed. She elaborated that Dodik stated later on that he will not be meeting Schmidt, but this is his personal stance, while she personally deems that it is necessary to speak with Schmidt, but these talks should be held through RS institutions and RS representatives in B&H institutions, as no meetings at partisan level would produce any results. “Those who hold power in the RS need to find a modality how to generally overcome this crisis. They need to be led by RS interests, not partisan’s. Opposition can suggest how would we overcome this if we were the authority, but we cannot and we are not supposed to do this instead of the authority. Schmidt is here whether we like it or not. We can call him the former German Minister but rejecting to speak to him is not offering of the solution, but raising of tensions and additional creating of chaos,” said Trivic. Asked whether Dodik violated the agreement between the RS parties, Trivic said that knowing Dodik and how he changes his stances, she is not surprised Dodik gave up on the things he agreed to. She underlined that non-participation in the decision-making process implies not voting on any issues, including the agenda. Trivic argues that she is especially irritated by constant retelling of the phone talks, which Dodik is presenting, that he allegedly has with opposition leaders arguing that things need to be kept at the level of the RS parliament and no further activities are needed: “There are stances and conclusions of the parliament and they need to be implemented.” Trivic further stressed that Dodik has ability to persuade himself into the untruths and he believes that statements and interviews of opposition representatives are written by someone else. “After the latest statements of member of B&H presidency Milorad Dodik, where he insulted BN TV and opposition representatives, it is clear that imagines that unity in a way that we need to defend him and not the RS. The joint stance on Inzko’s decision does not mean that we are defending Dodik, but the RS,” said Trivic. Trivic further noted that Inzko’s law has jeopardized freedom of speech in B&H, arguing that it also jeopardized the research of “basic facts regarding the wartime events”, adding that it turns out that The Hague Tribunal was the one to give the final judgement about history and not the historians. She argues that this political crisis can be overcome only through dialogue between Serbs and Bosniaks, as people in the RS cannot accept these imposed solutions and it is necessary to find compromise. “Those who think that the situation should remain as it is and that Serbs should reconcile with the imposed solution, do not wish well to anyone in B&H and do not want reconciliation. If parties from the Federation of B&H refuse dialogue on this matter or if RS representatives are refusing to talk with Schmidt, this political crisis can last indefinitely, which would not be good for anyone,” concluded Trivic.

Dodik to Ambassador Nelson: Enough of your meddling in B&H (Srna/Nezavisne)

 

Milorad Dodik conveyed a message to US Ambassador to B&H Erik Nelson, saying that it is enough with his lessons. In statement to Srna, Dodik commented Nelson’s message that “sanctions are possible against the politicians who undermine progress in the western Balkans, as well as against those who support them in this” to which Dodik said that it is enough already. “It is enough, it is necessary to stop here Mr. Nelson. Do you not think that this refers to you as well? Enough of your interfering into internal matters of the country where you are an Ambassador. Enough of your lessons which you hold to your hosts,” said Dodik. He criticized Nelson arguing that he remains silent “when others slander Serbs calling them bad people and ‘genocidal’, but you are very vocal when, in your opinion, something is allegedly being said about others”. Dodik underlined that Nelson is constantly taking the side of Bosniaks/Muslims and constantly working against Serbs. “Enough Mr. Nelson, you act as a democrat and you support the years long practice of imposing of the laws, without any grounds, non-elected foreigner whom You and Your country support. Enough, it is truly enough already! It is more than enough,” said Dodik.

Prodanovic says current crisis is biggest since Dayton, argues part of international community bears responsibility for it (Glas Srpske

In an interview to the daily, Serb delegate in the House of Peoples (HoP) of (B&H and member of Constitutional-Legal Affairs Commission Lazar Prodanovic (SNSD) said that it is true that the current crisis is the biggest one in the post-Dayton B&H but he argued that this is not the RS’ fault, as many claim, but it is the fault of foreigners. Asked whether domestic leaders can overcome this crisis on their own, having in mind that the situation has been cemented thanks to imposing of the HR’s decision on prohibition of genocide denial, Prodanovic replied by saying that one of solutions might be revoking of the decision, although nothing similar has ever happened yet. At the same time, Prodanovic added, legislative solutions that are acceptable for everyone in B&H should be adopted and the international community “should be wind in the back of reaching of agreements in B&H and it should not side with anyone”. Asked whether it is realistic to expect the decision to be revoked, Prodanovic said that everything is possible if there are talks and he argued that “foreigners contributed to such situation. Instead, they should have provided a stronger support to reform processes and European path and then we too would have come to realization that compromise and agreement of the three people and two entities are possible”. Prodanovic added that, in the current situation, one side expects a more radical approach and punishing of others who do not act in line with their will, while the other side deems it is constantly exposed to demonizing and fears of additional reduction of their constitutional competencies. Prodanovic reiterated that a part of the international community holds a great responsibility in this situation and warned that undemocratic moves can only additionally complicate the situation. “Imposing of the decision by Valentin Inzko at the end of his years long mandate and arrival of a new High Representative (Christian Schmidt) whose appointment the RS disputed because of strategic mistakes in the appointment, created such an ambient in which a solution is further and further away,” Prodanovic claimed. Prodanovic reminded that a similar situation happened with regard to the Structured Dialogue on Justice, but the approach to solving of that problem was different and more constructive. “I think the international community is not aware of how big of a problem it created. They should not pour oil over fire, but they should extinguish fire which they planted,” Prodanovic argued and added that he hopes the Serb unity will survive. Asked whether there could be more problems in the future, like the problem related to expired mandates of members of the Governing Board of the Central Bank of B&H, Prodanovic said that it is highly likely that such problems might occur both in diplomacy and in the Armed Forces of B&H and he reminded that everything in the Parliament of B&H has reached a standstill, from fulfillment of the 14 priorities of the European Commission, adoption of the budget for this year to changes to the election legislation.

RS MoI: Ministry did not issue an order for acting in accordance with the law imposed by Inzko (Srna

 

In a statement for Srna, the RS Ministry of Interior (RS MoI) said that the allegations that this Ministry issued any order on the actions of its members in accordance with the imposed Law on Amendments to the Criminal Code of B&H were incorrect. “The RS MoI did not bring any telegram, nor any act in that regard, and we deny the information placed by individuals and certain media”, it is stated in the answer from the RS MoI to Srna’s question whether the correct information was published on certain news portals that said the Ministry issued an order for acting in accordance with the law imposed by Valentin Inzko.

Head of Jablanica Municipality announces that he will file criminal report against Dodik because he did not give consent for use of B&H AF helicopter in extinguishing fires (O Kanal

 

O Kanal reports that wildfires in Stolac, Capljina and Jablanica are still active. Wildfire above Komadinovo vrelo on Mount Cvrsnica is threatening the location with the most endemic species in B&H. O Kanal stressed that firefighting units are on the ground, while the request for a much-needed helicopter has not even been put into procedure. Because of that, the Head of Jablanica Municipality, Damir Sabanovic announced that he will file a criminal report against member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik because he did not give consent for the use of helicopter of the Armed Forces of B&H (BiH AF) in extinguishing the fires.

B&H Presidency adopts conclusion tasking B&H Ministry of Security with using all mechanisms to ensure adequate response to current and future situations related to natural disasters, including wildfires (O kanal

 

The B&H Presidency held an extraordinary session on Friday, which was attended by B&H Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic and member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic. Komsic and Dzaferovic adopted a conclusion tasking the B&H Ministry of Security with using all mechanisms to ensure an adequate response to the current, but also future situations related to natural disasters, including wildfires. Komsic and Dzaferovic concluded that the B&H Ministry of Security will have to use all available mechanisms to ensure an adequate answer to the current and future situations regarding natural disasters in B&H. They suggested the B&H Ministry of Security to consult with the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center (EADRCC) and to report to the B&H Presidency every seven days.

 

EUFOR replies to Komsic: EUFOR does not possess equipment for extinguishing of wildfires from air (BHT1

 

After Chairman of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic asked the EUFOR to help extinguishing wildfires from air, the EUFOR replied that they do not possess equipment for extinguishing this sort of fires. The EUFOR confirmed that they received the letter in which the engagement of their forces for abovementioned purpose was demanded. They stressed that they are ready to provide support to firefighting services in a way that they can make an insight of the terrain from air in order to determine the location of the wildfires and direct firefighters in the field if that is necessary.

Grlic Radman calls on Prosecutor’s Office of B&H to process war crimes against Croats (Dnevni list

 

Dnevni list reports that in company of HDZ B&H President Dragan Covic, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman visited B&H, where he visited, among other places, the Tomislavgrad area that was badly hit by wildfires lately. FM Grlic Radman met with Canton 10 Prime Minister Ivan Vukadin and Head of Tomislavgrad Municipality Ivan Buntic and said that Croatia has sent Canadair airplanes (firefighting airplanes) in order to help fight the fire in the Tomislavgrad area and that Croatia would help all other neighboring areas with the same enthusiasm.  The daily further reads that during the visit to Kresevo on Saturday, the Croatian FM used the opportunity to say that Croatia will not allow stigmatization of the Homeland War and the operation ‘Bljesak’ (Flash), at the same time calling on the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H to process numerous war crimes committed against the Croats in B&H that have not been punished so far. The FM reminded that the Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague looked into events during ‘Bljesak’, which authorities in B&H now want to be processed.

 

Plenkovic: Repatriation of Croatians from Afghanistan organized (Hina

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Sunday there were 20 to 30 Croatian nationals in Afghanistan and that their employers had organized their repatriation. He said all services were involved with regard to the Croatian nationals in Afghanistan and that Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman was in daily contact with them. Plenkovic said most of those people were working as part of various international engagements and arrangements. He said that after so many years, the Afghan authorities did not make it independently for long and that there was a sort of disorganization now, but that it was good that there did not seem to be many casualties. “In any case, it’s not good that the Afghan authorities have been so fragile after the withdrawal of international forces.” Asked about “the US President’s withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Plenkovic said it was not only him. “He entered a process that… had begun before,” he said, adding that “the Croatian army withdrew almost a year ago… and some other states decided to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan.” “That attempt to build a state in such a society, so divided, often tribally organized, evidently failed and it’s a lesson we will have to consider well on the international level,” Plenkovic said. “In relation to what was attempted, I think the intention was good, but after 19 years it was evidently time to see if the Afghan authorities, after so much investment, training, attempting to build a state, could keep that state functioning, but that didn’t happen, unfortunately.”

Cavara: Bosniak political elites still have wartime goals; We do not place hopes on role of HR; HRs have made big damage to Croats so far (Slobodna Dalmacija

 

Slobodna Dalmacija carries an interview with HDZ B&H official and Federation of B&H (FB&H) President Marinko Cavara. Asked as to who stands behind the recent launching of criminal procedures against Croatian Generals for Croatian military-police operation ‘Bljesak’, Cavara said that it is hard to say who exactly stands behind this. However, Cavara added that there has been an obvious, political attack on judicial institutions in B&H, primarily directed by SDA. Cavara also says that SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic stated recently that SDA has finally taken over control over the HJPC and the Court of B&H. According to Cavara, they are trying to do the same with the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H based on the removal of Chief B&H Prosecutor Gordana Tadic. Cavara believes that there are double standards applied when Tadic and President of the Court of B&H Ranko Debevec are in question, since Tadic was sanctioned much more strictly for a minor offense, while Debevec’s offenses are much more serious, but he avoided stricter sanctions due to his connections with SDA and OSA Director Osman Mehmedagic. Cavara concludes that the goal of SDA is to influence the process against FB&H Prime Minister Fadil Novalic in ‘Respirators’ affair just as in the case against Mehmedagic.

Asked if the Serb side has an interest to raise the issue of ‘Bljesak’ at this moment, Cavara said that probably there is an interest of their side as well but that the interest of SDA in this case is much bigger. He added that the efforts are being exerted in order to have all institutions under their control. Asked if B&H Justice Minister Josip Grubesa and Tadic could act in a different way when this case is in question, Cavara explained that Grubesa is a part of the executive authority and he cannot manage or comment the judicial system in a different way. Grubesa added: “We have the HJPC, which elects judges and Prosecutors and it is completely separated from the Ministry and the executive authority. This is about an experiments of the international community in B&H. This has turned out to be another failed experiment, but the things are the way they are…” Asked if the same scenario can be expected when Croatian military-police operation ‘Oluja’ is in question, Cavara said that such scenario is quite possible if they fail to defend the judiciary from the political influence. He added that he recently informed representatives of the Croatian government that it is absolutely unacceptable that taking over of the repressive and judicial apparatus by one people and one political party takes place without any reaction of the Croat(ian) side and the internationals community. Cavara reminded that HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic stressed the same in his talk with High Representative Christian Schmidt. Cavara noted that they cannot believe that Croatia is the biggest problem to the political elite in Sarajevo. He added that this is a part of the plan to rule the FB&H and in accordance with wartime goals that B&H becomes an Islamic country. He added that it is clear then that they see Croatians as their number one enemy, despite of the fact that they helped them a lot and rescued them during the war. As for the Croatian policy towards Croats in B&H, Cavara said that he is glad that Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Croatian President Zoran Milanovic have almost identical stances about B&H, as well as about protection of abovementioned Croatian Generals. Cavara also noted that Bosniak political elites are doing everything so that changes to B&H Election Law do not take place. He added: “Their goal is, without changes of the election legislation, to rule the whole FB&H by the end of the next year and gradually whole B&H.” Cavara added that this is unacceptable for the Croat side and he hopes that there will be negotiations with the Bosniak side and they also expect the support of the international community. Commenting on the journalist’s claim that now the OHR and foreign embassies do not insist at all on implementation of the Mostar Agreement, Cavara said: “You are right …This is another example of hypocrisy of the Bosniak political elites but also of inertness of the international community. They took part in the Agreement, they are its witnesses, they are in favor of implementation of the Agreement, but they would not insist on it too much. The support of the Republic of Croatia is important with regard to this so that the second part of the Agreement can come to life…” Cavara expects that the agreement on the election changes will be reached by autumn at the latest adding that small details are only left to be agreed upon and this can be done fast if there is willingness for it. He concluded: “The Bosniak political elites, led by SDA, are looking for one alibi-policy so that the agreement is not reached.” Asked about expectations from new HR Schmidt, Cavara said: “We do not place hopes on the role of the HR and we have never done this. The HRs have made big damage to Croats so far. I will just remind you of former HR Valentin Inzko, who earned a lot of money based on creating of mess. In 2011 he annulled the decision of the Election Commission on election of the FB&H leadership and made impossible filing of any appeal with an explanation that this is temporary, but it lasted the next four years. I hope that the new HR will not make such solutions that he will end this mandate of the OHR in B&H and work on implementation of the Dayton Agreement, whose ground is equality of constituent peoples and that every citizen has equal rights and not as, there is an attempt to present it, that citizens have equal rights as collectivities, constituent peoples.”

 

Joanikije’s enthronement a final step in the occupation of Montenegro (Dnevne novine

 

Following the election win and the formation of a clero-nationalist government whose intentions are best reflected in actions of Vesna Bratic, the final step of that process is the enthronement of a person who denies the Montenegrin nation and who’s an undisguised fan of fascist Aleksandar Rakovic – Joanikije Micovic – in the Cetinje Monastery and the organization of census, the DPS MP, Predrag Boskovic, tells in an interview for Dnevne novine. According to him, the enthronement ceremony represents a high-risk event which strives to make a final step in the occupation of Montenegro. Boskovic has a message for the occupiers – in 1.000 years of its statehood, no one has ever conquered neither Cetinje nor Montenegro, and neither will the passing comic characters best personified by one of the performers of this dirty operation, Aleksandar Vulin.

SDP seeks urgent session of Cetinje assembly: Joanikije’s enthronement should be cancelled (CdM

The SDP Vice President and Councilor in the Cetinje Assembly, Nikola Djuraskovic, announced that he was going to demand an urgent session of the assembly in Cetinje aiming to insist on the cancellation of Metropolitan Joanikije’s enthronement and propose for it to be held somewhere else. The Old Royal Capital’s Assembly needs to have clear position and defend Cetinje from the SPC’s and its political supporters’ attempts to humiliate it,” he stated.

The SPC still hasn’t officially confirmed that the enthronement ceremony of Metropolitan Joanikije will be held on 4 September in the Cetinje monastery.

 

Mickoski: VMRO-DPMNE to run for a convincing victory with many new names (Republika

The leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Hristijan Mickoski informed on Facebook that the Central Committee of VMRO-DPMNE met and confirmed the decisions for candidates for mayors in the upcoming local elections. “The candidates determined so far will be announced tomorrow. VMRO-DPMNE is running in these elections with many new faces, with new energy, new vision for development, solving as many problems as possible. The best is yet to come. Finally, these elections are more than just local, it is a decision what kind of municipality, what kind of future you want, and in what country you want your children to grow up. VMRO-DPMNE is going to run for  a convincing victory, for a historical turn, for changes, for a new beginning, for showing in action that there is a difference!” wrote Mickoski.

Macedonia’s government prepared to help US and accept Afghan civilians, says Zaev (Republika

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Sunday that Macedonia has informed the United States it stands ready to help in saving lives of civilians from Afghanistan. Afghanistan is facing a possible humanitarian catastrophe and that is why we, the Government, have informed our strategic partners the United States that we are ready to assist in accordance with our capabilities and needs. In order to save the lives of the local population, we informed that we are ready to accept Afghan civilians, who have been working for peace in that country for the past 20 years, were local support to allied NATO forces, including our army, as well as to accept activists from democratic humanitarian organizations and human rights organizations in Afghanistan, said Prime Minister Zaev on Sunday. He said that for that purpose they would provide accommodation, and the costs during the stay of the refugees, to the final destination, would be fully covered by the United States. We are a country of solidarity, our people and our society have always given support and help, just as we have received help during major disasters, Zaev said.

 

Open Balkans, EU reacts: We welcome the leaders’ commitments for regional cooperation (Radio Tirana) 

The European Union welcomes the leaders’ commitment to regional cooperation. This is what the spokesperson of the Union for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Ana Pisonero, said for the Express newspaper regarding the idea of ​Open Balkans. According to Express, Pisonero also recalled the commitment of Western Balkan leaders to establish a Common Regional Market

“We welcome the leaders ‘commitments to regional co-operation, an essential element of the Western Balkans’ European perspective and an integral part of the Stabilization and Association Process. We understand the desire to move forward. At the same time, a process that spans the entire Western Balkans region is essential. “In this context, it is important for the region to make progress in establishing a Common Regional Market, a political commitment made by the six regional leaders at the Sofia Summit last autumn,” Pisonero said in a written response.

Pisonero also said that the EU is creating investment opportunities in the region through the Economic and Investment Plan and that it is now up to the region to use these opportunities properly. “We are bringing important investment opportunities in the region through the Economic and Investment Plan. It is now up to the region to make good use of them to its full economic potential and to establish a common regional market based on EU rules.” The Federal Government of Germany has also stated that regional cooperation initiatives have benefits. The US has also said that Kosovo should be more open-minded towards regional initiatives.

American Department of State in favor of the Open Balkans initiative: Common Regional Market, essential for the progress of the Western Balkans! (Radio Tirana/VoA

The United States strongly supports the continuation of efforts in the Western Balkans to deepen and strengthen comprehensive regional integration, in line with EU rules and standards, a State Department spokeswoman said in a statement to VoA. Asked by VOA’s Albanian Service about the United States’ stance on the Open Balkans initiative, embraced by Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia, but not by other countries in the region, the spokesman said in a statement that the US calls on leaders in the region “to strive to find opportunities to reduce trade barriers, increase economic competitiveness and build integrated, dynamic economies at the service of their citizens”. The Declaration considers the creation of a Common Regional Market – one that guarantees the free movement of people, goods and services – to be “essential for attracting investment and economic growth”. “The Western Balkans is a region with great untapped potential, which is reflected in the vision and efforts of its peoples to create a prosperous and successful region, fully integrated into the European Union,” she said in a statement to the Voice of America.

Open Balkans, Kurti strong messages to Tirana (Radio Tirana

Prime Minister Albin Kurti says that Albania and Kosovo should be connected with each other first, thus not jeopardizing after opening with other countries. Kurti sent his message to the tribune “Albanian Causes – before and after Hasan Prishtina”, organized by the Institute of Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of Albanians in Skopje.”The message I want to give today is that of being close to each other, with joint projects, coordination and work. “Only when we are strongly connected with each other, we will be able to open up to our neighbors without taking risks,” Kurti wrote in his message, reports the Office of the Prime Minister of Kosovo. The Prime Minister stressed that no Albanian politician should cooperate with crime, while saying that the orientation of Albanians is the west. “Our direction as Albanians is the west, our allies are the US and the EU, our legitimate aspiration is equality with other peoples of the Balkans and peaceful and democratic national unity, and our most urgent task is to fight corruption and pave the way for economic development.  “The region gains long-term security and stability only from the punishment and isolation of criminals, and none of the Albanian politicians should cooperate with crime”, said Kurti. He said that the partners are helping in the fight against the negative Russian-Chinese influences in the region. “Good times are coming for Albanians but also for our neighbors, because our great partners are more determined than ever to help us in our fight for justice and democracy, but also against the negative Russian-Chinese influences in our cities and countries, but also in the region. “I am sure that the Albanians, in all the Balkan countries where they live and work, will not miss this important historical moment,” said Kurti. Kurti’s views come at a time when much is being discussed about the so-called “Open Balkan” regional co-operation initiative initiated by Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia.

 

US government in talks with Tirana to shelter Afghani citizens (Tirana Times

The Biden Administration is holding secret talks with Tirana and Pristina in an effort to provide shelter for civilians that have collaborated with US forces in Afghanistan. This information was originally published by Reuters. The news agency quoted two American Diplomats as their source. The Albanian and Kosovar governments have not as of yet confirmed that such talks have taken place. The US Government is actively trying to convince other countries to shelter the displaced civilians until their US Visas can be processed. Although these civilians would theoretically stay in countries willing to shelter them for a limited amount of time, many are hesitant to agree in light of possible national security repercussions and Covid-19 related implications. The American Diplomats quoted by Reuters have stated that thousands of at risk civilians will likely be temporarily accommodated in countries such as Qatar, although there has been no official confirmation of this. There have been similar talks with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, but they seem to have produced little to no results. Taliban forces have been

advancing rapidly and have, as of today, captured more than 80% of the territory of Afghanistan. There have been reports that in some areas they have been allowed to enter freely, and have been received amicably by the army. The speed of their advancement has baffled the Afghani government and the West, and the fall of Kabul seems to be only a matter of time.

Albania has a long history of taking large groups of displaced individuals at the request of the US government. Under Berisha’s premiership Uighur Muslims were sheltered in Albania. Moreover, a camp in the Albanian countryside houses thousands of highly secretive Iranian Rebels. In a report by the New York Times, this group called the People’s Jihadists are described as either Iran’s government in waiting or a duplicitous terrorist cult that forbids sexual thoughts. It is estimated that the US is looking to temporarily shelter up to 80,000 Afghani civilians in other Countries. There are many concerns connected with their possible relocation to Albania.

These people could theoretically pose a national security concern, and it is unclear whether the US government will later on grant each of them visas to relocate to the US. Sources quoted by Reuters have stated that the US has offered economic and political concessions to Kosovo should they agree to temporarily shelter a few thousand Afghans. It is undoubtedly the case that similar concessions have been proposed to the Albanian government. Sheltering thousands of displaced Afghani citizens is a decision that should be taken after extensive consultations with the Albanian people. The fact that such talks have not been made public means that the government does not think there would be any negative repercussions should it decide to take in displaced afghani citizens. The fact that Albanian governments have in the past been willing and that they continue to consider taking in groups of foreigners in exchange for behind the scene political and economic favors is not reflective of democratic rule.

DP Chair calls for Albania helping Afghans fleeing Taliban (ADN

 

Chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) Lulzim Basha has highlighted Sunday that empathy and solidarity to those people that have fought to create a democratic order in Afghanistan must not be lacking from Albania. Through a message on Facebook, Basha spoke in favor of providing shelter to those Afghans linked with the US that are running away from their homeland now that the Taliban have taken over almost all of their country, while declaring that as a member of NATO, Albania enjoys rights and obligations. On the other hand, he marked that risks on Albanians’ national identity due to the depopulation of Albania do not arise from the strategic solutions within NATO and strategic cooperation with the US, due to the misgovernment, which has made the country uninhabitable for its citizens. “As a NATO member, Albania enjoys rights and obligations. From these obligations arise the responsibilities to stand by our strategic partner the US and our allies in resolving the humanitarian crisis that is precipitating in Afghanistan. Albania must play, as we have done before, its part, in proportion to our conditions and opportunities. Empathy and solidarity with those who have fought to establish a democratic order in Afghanistan cannot be lacking. Risks on our national identity, as a consequence of the depopulation of Albania, do not arise as a result of strategic solutions within NATO and strategic cooperation with the US, but because of the misgovernment of the minority that has made the country uninhabitable for its citizens.” As it is our duty to be at the height of international commitments, it is also our duty to be at the height of Albania’s challenges, to have a government that works for the people and supports their legitimate aspirations to live with dignity and well-being in their country,” said DP’s Chair.

 

 

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Belgrade Media Report 07 December 2021

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