Brnabic: Pristina seriously jeopardized regional stability (Tanjug/RTS)
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic warned on 25 September that Pristina has seriously jeopardized local and regional stability after sending heavily armed special units to the north of Kosovo who are exerting brutality against the peaceful Serb population. Brnabic spoke at the general debate of world leaders, as part of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. “On the pretext of enforcing new license plate rules, Pristina dispatched heavily armed special units to the north of the province. This is yet another brutal violation of the Brussels agreement, and this irrational show of force has ignited a major crisis,” Brnabic noted. “It disrupted the supply of food and medication to Serb communities in the north of the province.” “Local Serbs who peacefully gathered to protest this measure were met with tear gas and police brutality,” she said. Of all the challenges we face, the most worrisome for Serbia is the maintenance of peace and stability in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija. For more than two decades, we have been constantly drawing international attention to the problems that non-Albanian population is facing in Kosovo and Metohija. Physical safety, respect for and protection of human rights, especially of minority communities, are far from satisfactory. We are now witnessing a constant increase in the number of attacks targeting Serbs, their property and religious heritage in Kosovo and Metohija. To illustrate, there were 55 such incidents in 2014, 62 in 2016, 71 in 2020, and 100 since the beginning of this year. The total number of attacks in 2020 has already been surpassed by June of this year. According to the UN, Kosovo and Metohija is still the territory with the least number of returnees (internally displaced Serbs) of all post-conflict areas in the entire world! I will give you just a few examples to depict how life of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija looks like. On the 11th of May the house of Radoje Pumpalovic, 81-years old returnee to Kosovo in the village of Dubrava, in Istok municipality, was attacked. This was the 5th attack on him in the same year. Again… he is 81 years old. Since June 2021, multiple attacks were carried out against Dragica Gasic, 59-years old woman, the first Serb returnee in Djakovica after 22 years since the end of the conflict. Attacks include stoning of her apartment, banning her from shopping for food in the local store and petitions by civil society organization demanding her eviction from the city. On 2nd of July, in the village of Gobulji near Vucitrn, a group of Albanians attacked 13-year old Nikola Peric. The attack occurred when he was returning home from the school playground with three friends. Attacks on Serbian medieval churches, monasteries and monuments in Kosovo and Metohija, make them some of the most endangered cultural heritage sites in Europe. Monastery Visoki Decani was recently listed, by Europa Nostra, as one of the 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe in 2021. The Advisory Panel of Europa Nostra noted that Decani is the only monument in Europe under robust military protection for a continuous period of 20 years, although it constitutes a monument of ultimate historical and cultural importance for Europe and the world. This spiral of violence occurring in Kosovo and Metohija culminated at the beginning of this week. On the pretext of enforcing new license plate rules, Pristina dispatched heavily armed special units to the north of the province. This is yet another brutal violation of the Brussels Agreement, and this irrational show of force has ignited a major crisis. It disrupted the supply of food and medication to Serb communities in the north of the province. Local Serbs who peacefully gathered to protest this measure were met with tear gas and police brutality, thus seriously threatening local and regional stability. Despite of all the challenges and daily provocations, Serbia remains strongly committed to finding a compromise-based solution that will ensure lasting peace and stability. Dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached – are the only proper way to resolve all open issues. However, almost 9 years after reaching the Brussels agreement, as the 1st agreement on normalization between Belgrade and Pristina, the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities – the backbone of this agreement – has not yet even begun. I would like to appeal, once again, to the international community, and especially the EU, as the guarantor of the Brussels agreement, to firmly insist that the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina start implementing all of the agreements reached. The Republic of Serbia, by defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity, at the same time defends international law, the UN Charter, legally binding UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and the supreme authority of the Security Council when it comes to the preservation of international peace and security. We attach special importance to the activity of the UN Mission in Kosovo and Metohija and expect it to continue to implement its mandate in the Province in accordance with this resolution. Our generation shares the common destiny of the modern world, which is becoming increasingly complex in terms of geopolitics, technology, health, climate. In the face of these challenges, Serbia will continue nurturing international partnerships, on a predictable and transparent basis. We will continue pursuing the rule of law reforms on our EU path, which is our strategic foreign policy goal. We see this as inseparable from achieving sustainable peace, stability and prosperity. We will host, together with the Republic of Azerbaijan as the current chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, a commemorative high-level event marking the 60th anniversary of the First Non-Aligned Movement Conference, which was held in Belgrade in 1961. We are very much looking forward to hosting our friends from all parts of the world in Belgrade in October this year. We will further enhance cooperation across the Balkans, through the Open Balkans initiative and Berlin process, by opening borders, harmonizing differences, and further integrating our region.
In conclusion, over the past 7 years, Serbia has been transformed: we sparked an economic revival, created opportunities for young people, cultivated a tech boom, and improved Serbia’s position abroad. The progress we have made has allowed Serbia to better face and survive the pandemic. The world now faces a turning point. The recovery from COVID-19 and sustainable reconstruction will not proceed if issues, new and old, are not handled by joint forces and collaborative international actions. This pandemic taught us one important lesson: unless all of us are safe, no one is safe – so we can either win together, all of us – regardless of how rich or poor, large or small, from Europe, Asia, Africa, America or Australia, or fail together. But, if anything, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the issue of climate change, should have taught us to stand together.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Friday in New York the US was in the process of forming teams to deal with the Western Balkans and that, already in the coming days or weeks, she expected the country to devote more attention to political issues and provocations in the region. Brnabic was speaking to Serbian media after a meeting with Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary for Political Affairs at the US Department of State, with whom she discussed the current situation in Kosovo and Metohija. Brnabic said the meeting had been excellent, sincere and open. “America is in the process of forming teams that will deal with the Western Balkans. That is their generation change that is taking place right now and, in the coming days and weeks, I certainly expect greater American presence and greater attention to political issues and all provocations that are going on,” Brnabic said. She also noted that Serbia had great support from the US on the EU integration path.
Brnabic: Guterres told me Kosovo is not a state (RTV/Tanjug/Politika)
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on 25 September that the leaders of some countries that she met with in New York now saw clearly how serious the situation with Kosovo was. “It’s important for me to note that I was a little surprised by how clear it now seems to be to some leaders in the world that this situation has never been more complex, more serious, and truly on the verge of conflict. They asked me what can be done to move away from that edge. I said – dialogue,” Brnabic told RTS. Brnabic said the reactions of the leaders with whom she had discussed Kosovo on the sidelines of the conference were mostly better than she expected. She also commented on a statement by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, who during the General Assembly session called on UN members to recognize Kosovo’s independence, stating that it was a call to recognize the new reality in Europe. “The best response came from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. His first sentence in our meeting was to say ‘Kosovo is not a state to us’,” she said.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated today that the Brussels agreement is clearly being violated in Kosovo and Metohija, because there should be no ROSU special units in the north of our southern province, noting that the Community of Serb Municipalities has not been formed even nine years after the agreement. She told TV Pink that the EU is not doing anything at this moment, i.e., it is doing very little on the issue of Kosovo. She stated that at this moment nothing nice can be said about the behavior of the European Union, which is a mediator in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and whose signature is on the Brussels agreement. According to her, the EU not only tolerates the Brussels agreement not being implemented for nine years, but is silent on its clear violation. She said that the representatives of the United Nations told her that Kosovo was not a state for them. She reminded that she had a very good meeting with the Undersecretary for Political Affairs of the State Department Victoria Nuland, who, as she pointed out, has great respect for President Vucic. The US fully understands what is currently happening, Brnabic underlined, but also pointed out that they will soon form a new team that will deal with the Western Balkans. According to her assessment, the US has a much clearer position and a better understanding of everything that is happening in Kosovo than its partner in the EU.
Selakovic: Countries worldwide seeking cooperation with Serbia (Tanjug/RTS)
Countries around the world respect Serbia and want to cooperate with it, and are increasingly interested in opening embassies in our country, Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said on Friday in New York. Selakovic held 25 meetings in the first three days of his visit to New York, where he is attending a UN General Assembly session. “Countries around the world, even those whose views on the Kosovo and Metohija issue differ from ours, want to cooperate with Serbia,” Selakovic told Tanjug. He noted that, despite the coronavirus pandemic – which he said had disrupted global processes in all areas, including in international diplomacy – the Serbian delegation in New York, headed by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, had had various meetings with officials from around the world. “I have had 25 meetings so far, including 22 with foreign ministers of various countries, and this morning alone, I met with the ministers of Venezuela, Bahrain, Indonesia, Syria and Ghana.”
Selakovic: Great importance of selfless, principled Russian support for Serbia (Tanjug/Politika)
Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic talked on 25 September in New York with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Selakovic pointed out that the relations between Serbia and Russia are sincere, open and traditionally friendly, which is evidenced by the extremely good cooperation in all fields. Selakovic underlined the constant strengthening of political cooperation, which, according to the minister, is greatly contributed by regular meetings at the highest and highest level. Selakovic especially stated that the excellent relations between President Aleksandar Vucic and Vladimir Putin are of special importance for the overall cooperation. He also pointed out the very good communication between the two ministries of foreign affairs, reminding of Minister Lavrov’s visit to Serbia, and his return visit to Russia, and invited the head of Russian diplomacy to pay an official visit to Serbia. The interlocutors discussed the situation in the Western Balkans region, as well as the upcoming session of the Security Council dedicated to the regular report of the UN Secretary General on the work of the UNMIK Mission in Kosovo and Metohija. On this occasion, Selakovic also thanked Russia for its selfless and principled support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia. He also emphasized the importance of Russia’s strong support for our state and national interests in international forums, especially in the UN and the Security Council. Also, Selakovic informed his Russian colleague about the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, and the latest unilateral moves and provocations of Pristina, thanking for the way in which the Russian Foreign Ministry reacted to the latest incursion of special units of Pristina police in the north of the province. The ministers also discussed the situation with the pandemic in both countries, as well as further cooperation in the fight against coronavirus and the started production of the Sputnik V vaccine in Serbia. Selakovic expressed hope that Minister Lavrov and the Russian delegation would participate in the gathering in Belgrade on the occasion of marking the 60th anniversary of the First Conference of the Non-Aligned, emphasizing that it was a good opportunity for their new bilateral meeting, the Foreign Ministry said in a statemen
Vucic: In case NATO does not react, Serbia will (TV Pink/Politika)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said late on Sunday he had sent an unequivocal message to NATO that, if the alliance failed to react in case of a pogrom against Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija, there would be a reaction from Serbia. In an appearance on a TV Pink talk show, Vucic said Serbia had merely placed its army troops on heightened alert and had not entered the territory of Kosovo-Metohija because, under the Kumanovo Agreement and all subsequent decisions, including the one on opening administrative crossings, it had no right to do so. “We have said unequivocally, and I have reiterated also to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, that we will not enter Kosovo and Metohija with our troops because we do not want to endanger peace,” Vucic said, adding that, in case of a pogrom against Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija, Serbia would wait for a NATO reaction for 24 hours. “In case the pogrom against our population continues, Serbia will react and will not let that go on,” Vucic explained. He expressed the confidence that NATO had understood him well and would take all measures to protect the Serb population.
Stoltenberg calls for dialogue; Belgrade, Pristina need to show restraint (Beta)
NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that it is vital that Belgrade and Pristina show restraint and resume dialogue. After telephone talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Premier Albin Kurti, Stoltenberg tweeted that the conversations were about the need to de-escalate in the north of Kosovo. He added that NATO would ensure a secure environment and freedom of movement for all. Vucic told him that Serbia in no way violated the Brussels agreement or Resolution 1244, nor did it jeopardize the peace. According to a press release issued by the Presidency, Vucic said after talking to Stoltenberg that it was now seven days of the complete occupation of northern Kosovo and Metohija by armored vehicles orchestrated by Pristina, while the entire international community remains ‘thunderously quiet’. Vucic said that everyone is suddenly concerned when they see Serbian helicopters and aircraft flying over the territory of Serbia proper, because I suppose they shouldn’t exist or fly until the Kosovo premier or someone in the international community allows this.
Borrell: Additional provocations in northern Kosovo unacceptable (Beta)
EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on Sunday that he was continuing to follow developments in northern Kosovo closely and told both sides that any new provocations or unilateral and uncoordinated actions are unacceptable. “Serbia and Kosovo need to unconditionally de-escalate the situation on the ground, by immediately withdrawing special police units and dismantling roadblocks,” Borrell said in a statement issued by the European External Action Service. Borrell added that Belgrade and Pristina should find solutions to defuse the situation and agree on a way to move forward, stressing that the EU will actively support these efforts. “Both Kosovo and Serbian leaders are fully responsible for any risks to the safety and well-being of local communities is on both Kosovo and Serbia. I stressed this in my calls with President Vucic and Prime Minister Kurti this week,” Borrell is quoted as saying. He noted that the EU-mediated dialogue remained the only platform to address or resolve any issues between the two sides, including matters pertaining to the freedom of movement or vehicle license plates, adding that he strongly urges Kosovo and Serbia to use it.
Michel urges Belgrade and Pristina to resume dialogue (FoNet)
European Council President Charles Michel called for calming down of the situation in the north of Kosovo for the continuation of Belgrade-Pristina talks in Brussels. In his Tweet on Saturday evening, Michel said he was closely communicating with High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell on this matter. “Time for both Serbia and Kosovo @avucic and @albinkurti to step back and to deescalate including withdrawal of Special Police Units and barricades and to continue negotiations on the proposal of EUSR @MiroslavLajcak,” Michel tweeted.
Escobar: Serbia, Kosovo should not militarize situation (Beta)
Serbia and Kosovo should refrain from detrimental rhetoric and discuss the issue of license plates in Brussels, instead of militarizing the current situation at the border, Gabriel Escobar, US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, has said. Escobar said that, together with its European partners, the U.S. was actively engaged in the crisis caused by increased tensions between Serbia and Kosovo, and hoped for progress in the next seven days. “We believe that both sides should refrain from detrimental rhetoric and focus their attention and energy on the EU-mediated dialogue that we support 100 percent,” Escobar said, adding that he was in touch with the EU representative for Serbia-Kosovo talks, Miroslav Lajcak, on a daily basis. Escobar said that Lajcak had some very good suggestions with regard to the dispute over car plates and that he was trying to bring both sides to Brussels to discuss a sustainable solution, but that it was up to them to agree to discuss it, go to Brussels and talk about the issue there.
Stefanovic visits Raska and Rudnica bases in company of Mojsilovic and Botsan-Kharchenko (Beta/Politika)
Serbian Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said in Jarinje on Sunday that the condition for defusing tensions in northern Kosovo and returning to dialogue was the withdrawal of Kosovo’s special forces from the territory. Accompanied by Serbian Chief of Staff Milan Mojsilovic and Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko, Stefanovic inspected forces in a barracks in Raska and at the Rudnica base, which are in a state of elevated combat readiness. Army of Serbia aircraft continued to fly over the area around the Jarinje crossing on the administrative line with Kosovo. Stefanovic stressed that it had been seven days since Pristina began the complete violation of the Brussels agreement and the UNSCR 1244, which he said threatened the stability of the entire region. He stressed that Belgrade was willing to talk, with a view to preserving lives and ensuring peace and stability. Botsan-Kharchenko expressed Russia’s support for Belgrade’s position, which, as he assessed, is aimed at de-escalating the situation in Kosovo. “This situation is raising a great concern in Moscow,” he said. He also noted that Pristina shows no sign of seeking a compromise in the dialogue with Belgrade and that this shows Pristina’s “dangerous line” and pressure on the Serbs, which can result in new conflicts. He accused Western partners, the EU and US of applying double standards and closing their eyes to a situation that they did not want to understand, including who was to blame for what was happening.
In the context of the current tensions on the administrative line with Kosovo and Metohija, Belgrade is showing the greatest responsibility and restraint, the Russian Embassy in Serbia told TASS today, after Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko toured on the administrative line. “As part of close contacts between the Russian and Serbian Ministries of Defense, at the suggestion of the Serbian side, Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko and Military Attache Aleksandr Zinchenko accompanied Serbian Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic and Chief of General Staff Milan Mojsilovic on 26 September on a trip to inspect Serbian military units stationed in the areas of the country bordering the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, in strict accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the military-technical agreement from Kumanovo,” the Russian Embassy in Serbia stated, as reported by Tanjug. On that occasion, detailed opinions were exchanged with Serbian partners regarding the situation in the north of the Serbian province as a result of provocative steps taken by Pristina, the statement added, noting that the visit showed that the Serbian side acts with the greatest responsibility and restraint approved by the Council for National Security headed by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. “It was once again stated that the only way to ease tensions caused by Pristina is to stop all its unilateral actions and return to the situation before the crisis,” the Russian Embassy said in the statement: “We are grateful to the Ministry of Defense of Serbia for open dialogue and trust and we are ready to continue it. Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, will pay due attention to a solution for Kosovo.”
Dodik threatens with new withdrawal and ban on work in B&H institutions over B&H CC decision on RS Law on Forests (FTV)
The decision of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) on the Republika Srpska (RS) Law on Forests caused harsh reactions. While some expected the decision, others consider it as a coup d’état, noted the presenter. While the boycott of B&H institutions is still underway, Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik threatened with new withdrawal and ban on work. Dodik announced a reaction from the RS which could result with withdrawal of Serb staff from B&H institutions and agencies. Dodik stated: “In Dayton (Peace Agreement), it says that B&H can, that it has one chairperson of the (B&H) Council of Ministers (CoM) and two ministries. We will withdraw the rest of our people from the B&H CoM, from various agencies. We will ban the activities of the police, the Prosecutor’s Office, that is, the SIPA and others who are hybrids. If they want such a Bosnia we can work, if they do not, then that Bosnia does not deserve to exist at all”. Dodik announced that the RS will respond to the B&H CC’s decision in the RS parliament. Dodik called on decision-makers to gather in the RSNA and annul everything that is outside the Constitution and the DPA. “I have been of the opinion for a long time that things must go in the direction of us going to the parliament, annulling all decisions and withdrawing our consents that we gave in the past, such as, say, the consent for the army and withdrawing from that structure, withdrawing from the agreement on indirect taxes and withdrawing from the agreement on the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), because we see what they are doing up there. Also, annul the existence of SIPA on the territory of the RS, indirect taxes and all those institutions that were created on the basis of that,” Dodik said. Dodik stressed that it is necessary for the RS parliament to give a three-month deadline to the RS Government to prepare new legislation to establish an indirect tax service of the RS, army and HJPC of the RS, adding that it is important to reject the competences of the B&H CC and declare all laws ever passed by the High Representative as invalid on the territory of the RS. “To accept exclusively what is written in the Dayton, in the letter of the Dayton. That means the reduction of the CoM to three ministries, and for it to be an auxiliary body of the Presidency of B&H and nothing more. Abolish the application of the law on the CoM in the RS and draft brand new legislation in the RS in a few months’ time. In the second phase, if that does not happen, initiate the declaration of independence of the RS in a peaceful manner,” Dodik said.
After the B&H CC reached its decision confirming that certain provisions of the Law on Forests of RS are not in accordance with the Constitution of B&H, RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic assessed the decision of the B&H CC as coup and an anti-Dayton attack on the RS and its competences defined by the Constitution. Cvijanovic stressed that unconstitutional attempt at the gradual centralization of B&H, by an institution for which the Dayton Constitution should be sacred, irreversibly destroys both the trust among the peoples in B&H and the very foundations on which it rests. “What is worrying is precisely the lack of legal certainty. Someone that should have been the main protector of the Constitution and constitutionality is basically changing the Constitution and creating some new rules. Therefore, those are unacceptable things and I believe that the reason for that is the fact that B&H is one big experiment,” Cvijanovic emphasized. RS parliament speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic pointed out that the RS should say that decisions which are made with the support of part of the foreigners have come to an end. SDS leader Mirko Sarovic is of the opinion that the latest move by the B&H CC will destabilize the situation in B&H. Sarovic said that “unfortunately, the B&H CC has based this decision on a previous, unprecedented decision related to the agricultural land”. Sarovic inferred from this that such CC’s ruling will result in similar, future decisions, including regarding waters, ore, and other resources. Sarovic stated that the RSNA’s special session on this issue needs to be held as B&H CC stepped out of the constitutional interpretation framework. He reminded that the Constitution of B&H does not have any kind of regulations concerning the property of B&H. Sarovic pointed out: “The inventory of state property was conducted by the OHR (Office of the High Representative), I think in 2005, when none of these resources were listed as state property. Do you think that (the former High Representative Paddy) Ashdown and some other High Representatives would not reach for their decisions and the Bonn Powers?”. PDP representatives believe that the B&H CC’s decision is not a legal act, but political violence, while DNS believes that there is no court that can deprive the RS of its property and resources. PDP leader Branislav Borenovic said that this decision is an attack on the territorial integrity, which was determined by the Dayton Peace Agreement. Borenovic emphasized that the B&H CC’s decision is not a legal act but a political one, and that it has become clear that attacks on the RS have become more frequent. “A few months ago, we had a decision of the CC which excludes agricultural land from the ownership structure of the RS. Now we have the seizure of forests which are a huge resource of the RS, if we know that 1.2 million hectares in the RS are under forest. With its politically motivated decisions, the CC is trying to tear the RS apart piece by piece,” Borenovic was quoted as saying. Meanwhile, the message from Sarajevo is clear. DNS leader Nenad Nesic believes that this is a scandalous decision which leads to new heightening of relations in B&H.
RS parliament deputy speaker Milan Petkovic (United Srpska) stated: “The DPA with the Constitution of B&H as its integral part defines the ownership of land and it reads that the entities are owners of their land.” RS Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Boris Pasalic stated: “This is about a million hectares, this is about the value of over BAM 7 billion minimum. So that is something we certainly will not allow. In the long run, this decision is not so bad for the RS, because it only assures us that this path we have taken, and that is the road to the original Dayton, is the right path”. Pasalic said that the decision will not change anything in the wood industry in the RS. “We expected such decision, and we announced it after the appeal. It is clearly a political decision,” said Pasalic.
The B&H CC passed a ruling on Thursday ruling parts of the Law on Forests in RS which read that forests are in ownership of the RS, as unconstitutional. B&H Presidency member Sefik Dzaferovic claims that the B&H CC’s decision is in accordance with the Constitution of B&H. “The state of B&H must pass a law that will regulate the issue of state property and management of state property, and that is its job. It is not the job of any other authority level in B&H. The state law will determine the role of other authority levels, because that is what the decision of the Constitutional Court says,” Dzaferovic underlined. Dzaferovic stated on Saturday that instead of ending the anti-Dayton blockade of work of state institutions and returning to constructive work in interest of all citizens, Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik continues to move in a very dangerous direction. Dzaferovic added: “It is high time that he stops. His announcement that he will proclaim independence of the RS in six months refers to the path, which can only pull down the DPA and endanger peace in B&H. His ultimatum that B&H Armed Forces, judiciary and other institutions must be abolished will never be accepted. Not now, not is six months or ever.”
Izetbegovic: B&H’s path to EU blocked by RS (Hayat)
Speaker of the B&H House of Peoples (HoP) Bakir Izetbegovic attended on Thursday the Tenth Conference of Parliamentary Speakers of Southeast European Countries and the Visegrad Group members. On the occasion, Izetbegovic said that B&H’s EU path is currently at standstill. “The reason for that are blockades and crisis caused by political powers from the RS entity, only because they are prohibited by law to deny genocide and glorify war criminals. Citizens of B&H are hostages of those who are of view they have the right to deny the genocide” Izetbegovic was quoted as saying. Izetbegovic also said the influence of the Southeast European Countries on the future of the EU is unquestionable, but the form in which they will participate in creating that future is questionable. Izetbegovic called on member countries to have zero tolerance when creators of destructive policies are in question. Izetbegovic also spoke about the B&H Election Law and he said: “We expect from EU representatives that, in accordance with their own principles, they help adoption of an adequate solution for changes of the Constitution and B&H Election law with their active engagement.”
Cubrilovic: Izetbegovic thinks democracy is what he says or what his political option dictates (RTRS)
RS parliament speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic stated that at Friday’s session of the leaders of the parliaments of the countries of Southeast Europe in Budapest, he had to react due to inappropriate statements of speaker of the B&H HoP Bakir Izetbegovic, emphasizing that there are no other solutions in B&H, except compromise ones. Izetbegovic stated in Budapest that B&H’s European path is at a standstill, accusing the RS of being responsible for that. Izetbegovic also said that B&H citizens are hostages of those who consider it their inalienable right to deny genocide. “Probably aided by part of the international community, which gives him wind in his sails for such views, he thinks democracy is what he says or what his political option dictates. He attacked everyone else, except the Grand Mufti and his political option. Everyone else is to blame, only he is not. I had to react here and say that B&H has no other solutions, except the compromise ones, and that Mr. Izetbegovic is one of those who belong to the group of disruptive factors within B&H itself,” Cubrilovic underlined.
Dodik claims that declaration of RS’ independence would cause loud reaction across globe but nothing more than that (RTRS)
Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik asked about possible peaceful dissolution of B&H and independence of the RS, Dodik said that he wants the RS to be independent and he does not hide it because he sees this as the only way to ensure preservation of the Serb people. Nevertheless, he reiterated that his proposal is to first try returning to the original DPA by rejecting imposed decisions and laws and withdrawing the RS’ consent for the formation of the institutions that are not stipulated by the DPA, such as the B&H ITA, the B&H AF and the SIPA. He confirmed that he discussed the situation in B&H with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and other foreign politicians at recent demographic forum in Hungary, adding that everyone in the RS should keep calm and not let increasing nervousness in the Federation of B&H (FB&H) affect them because all necessary preconditions for the RS to become independent are in place. He went on about how efforts to preserve B&H failed despite enormous military and financial intervention as Bosniaks became impatient waiting to take over everything after then-convocation of the RS authorities reacted mildly to enormous transfer of the RS’ competences. He noted that he was labeled “a bad guy” for standing up to this but he does not mind because he was elected and given mandate to protect the interests of the RS. He recalled how many foreign politicians wanted to preserve B&H simply because they were completely opposed to the formation of a Muslim state in Europe, further arguing that current US President Joe Biden and many other foreign politicians see the RS as an easy target because they do not want to admit to being wrong false narrative about B&H and Srebrenica as a springboard for their career in politics. According to Dodik, the Biden administration is appointing officials who came to the prominence in the 1990s, such as newly appointed US Special Representative for Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar whose convictions about the region are deeply rooted in this particular period of time, but this means nothing because the citizens will decide what happens. He deems that declaration of the RS’ independence would spark loud reactions and the world would start paying more attention to problems in the region but nothing more would happen whatsoever. He stressed that he is serious enough not to disclose everything he knows but peaceful dissolution will surely happen and Bosniaks may provoke few minor incidents but Serbs will not give them any reason to engage in serious armed conflicts. Dodik noted that it is simply impossible for 1.8 million Bosniaks to exterminate 1.1 million Serbs in B&H but the RS is currently occupied with other problems and once they are solved, he sees no reason not to push for peaceful dissolution of B&H. Commenting on the address of Chairman of the Presidency of B&H Zeljko Komsic to the UN General Assembly, Dodik said that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had a duty to inform the UN General Assembly about Komsic was not given consent to address the Assembly by other two members of the Presidency of B&H and the Presidency as a collective body did not adopt any decisions which would allow Komsic to do so. He claims that he is waiting for everyone to settle down before he takes action but certain UN representatives already wanted to know more about what is going on in B&H. He pointed out that he sees no reason why the RS would respect the UN if the UN disrespects the RS but in this case B&H is being disrespected. He agreed with reporters assertion that Komsic violated the decisions of B&H itself by meeting Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani in New York even though B&H did not recognize independent Kosovo and said that Komsic is guided by his stances, not by B&H’s decisions. He argued that Komsic is most comfortable when surrounded by people who blame the Serb people for everything wrong, which is why peaceful dissolution of B&H would be the best for everyone.
Komsic meets Osmani and Djukanovic in New York; Dodik: This meeting shows what kind of state B&H is; Other comments (Glas Srpske)
The daily carries that Chairman of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic met with President of “self-proclaimed” Kosovo Vjosa Osmani and Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic in New York. Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said that this meeting showed what kind of state B&H is. He added that Osmani did not even care about the fact that B&H did not recognize Kosovo since they are all united in the unhidden hatred towards Serbs. Dodik noted that Kosovo has not got any international recognition in New York and it will remain to be “a wannabe state”, while B&H is an impossible state, which is falling apart. Dodik concluded: “It was clearly seen in New York that these two countries created by force, B&H and Kosovo, are not a subject of the international policy and law and it is clearly seen that their position at the international scene keeps reducing as the time goes by, which is also a destiny of Montenegro led by Djukanovic.” SDS leader Mirko Sarovic said that the abovementioned meeting is a diplomatic scandal. The Association of Serbs from B&H in Serbia reacted to behavior of Komsic and condemned his accusations that Serbia has aspirations towards B&H. Sarovic stated that Komsic has additionally contributed to the deepening of the crisis in B&H by addressing the United Nations General Assembly without consent and in accordance with the relevant procedure under the B&H Constitution, as well as by meeting with representatives of the so-called Kosovo. “I think it is a diplomatic scandal. B&H did not recognize Kosovo. The B&H Presidency Chairperson is expected to respect that,” said Sarovic.
Milanovic: My words will be superfluous when Croats are equal people in B&H (Hina)
Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said on Saturday his statements like the one that he was also the president of Croats not living in Croatia would be “completely or somewhat superfluous” once Croats were able to elect their representative in B&H on their own. “It’s a difficult situation when I have to say that I’m also the president of Croats not living in Croatia, who have the right to vote because they are Croatian citizens. And not just Croats. There are Bosniaks and Serbs in B&H who also have Croatian citizenship. Perhaps they vote, perhaps they don’t. When Croats are able to elect their representative in Sarajevo on their own, equally as the other two constituent peoples, then those words of mine will be completely or somewhat superfluous,” Milanovic told the press. He was responding to B&H Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic, who said on Thursday that by saying that he was also the president of all Croatian citizens in B&H while Komsic was not, Milanovic had surpassed even Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. “If you want to chase Croats out of B&H or alienate them from B&H, then you’ll deprive them of those fundamental constitutional rights, while simultaneously accusing those who only fight for basic house rules of being destroyers and comparing them with warmongers,” Milanovic said, adding that “the more Croats insist on that right, the more, more than before, they care about staying there.” Responding to Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin‘s statement earlier this week that Milanovic was “one of the stupider Croatian politicians” Milanovic said he did not have “my own loudmouths and rabble-rousers who will roundly insult Vucic.”
Croatian Security and Intelligence Agency: Western Balkans remains burdened by unfinished stabilization processes (HRT1)
The seventh published Public Report of the Croatian Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) for 2020 and 2021 concluded that Croatia is a secure and stable democratic country, and that in such a challenging time and dynamic security environment there were no indications of its significant destabilization. Islamist radicals within the Western Balkan communities also pose a security threat, pointed out the reporter. According to the report, the phenomena of Greater Serbia extremism are still present in some neighboring countries, and the Greater Serbia ideology is manifested in the denial of the territorial integrity of Croatia and neighboring countries. The Western Balkans remains burdened by unfinished stabilization processes. Internal political instability marks the political situation in neighboring B&H, added the reporter. According to the report, the continuation of tendencies to gradually repeal the basic principles of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA), such as diminishing the constitutional rights of Croats in B&H, could negatively affect the position of Croats as the least numerous people in B&H, political stability and interethnic balance within B&H. Tensions and incidents can occur in Kosovo, but also in Montenegro, which contributes to instability and uncertainty in the Western Balkans, added the reporter. The report said that some state policy makers in Serbia promote the concept of the ‘Serb world’ as a single Serb political people, i.e. a single political and state union of all Serbs in Southeast Europe in which all Serbs should follow one political direction, that of the official Belgrade. The report spoke about the pandemic which, according to the report, has further fueled the rise of extremism and radicalism, especially in the context of disinformation and conspiracy theories about the response to the crisis. The threat is posed by radicalized individuals of extreme right and extreme left ideologies, added the reporter. The report also spoke about the issue of false news in which want to present Croatia as an unreliable member of NATO and the EU; cyber-attacks on Croatian institutions and search for missing persons. When it comes to security challenges, it is noted that the intensity of illegal migration in Southeast Europe is on the rise.
There’s a growing problem in the Western Balkans and today we should no longer primarily focus on the enlargement issue but the issue of threatened stability, which brings us closer to what we had been repeating during all those previous years, particularly from Podgorica – the stability of the Balkans and the integration must be treated the same – President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic told reporters in New York where he took part at the 76th UN General Assembly. The EU, according to him, is the locomotive of the European continent, and the Western Balkans is part of the European continent, so it cannot move away from those problems and treat them as the Balkan ones. “The EU must treat Balkan issues and warnings from various addresses that have been coming for years, including from our side. I’m not satisfied with the intensity of attention devoted to those warnings over the past years, and that’s why we’re facing a big issue today,” Djukanovic assessed.
Escobar: Russia destabilizes Montenegro (CdM/VoA)
In an interview for Voice of America, Gabriel Escobar, the deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs at the US Department of State, has said that Russia destabilizes Montenegro. Asked how the USA perceives the concept of the ‘Serbian World’ and the recent initiatives of President Aleksandar Vucic and other officials who have been promoting the Serbian identity and “unity” in the region, and whether that trend could destabilize the region, Escobar said the time would show, but that there were no grounds for conflicts in celebrating one’s own culture while living in another country. According to him, Russia has a specific role in Montenegro. “I know I keep repeating it – the European integration and NATO membership are an important means, but the messages to specific parties and governments that the introduction of destabilizing factors in governments and government positions represent a worrying phenomenon, are important as well”. He’s worried about the presence of Russia and China in the Balkans.
Abazovic: Those who don’t believe changes are possible but based on clear principles should find other partners (CdM)
Changes in Montenegro are possible but must be based on clear principles. Those who don’t want to accept it should find other partners, the Leader of the Civic Movement URA, Dritan Abazovic, told at third URA’s election convention in the town of Danilovgrad, which elected 50 members, vice presidents and a president. Abazovic also said that their party’s name is Montenegro. “Our mission is to get out of the Balkan area and become one of the European countries. I understand that citizens want everything quickly, overnight, but in reality, it doesn’t go like that. Last year’s 30th of August was historic because the citizens got their sovereignty back.” According to him, Montenegro should be a home for all the citizens regardless of their affiliation. They defended peace in Montenegro and are going to continue doing it everywhere, he said. “We should take a chance and direct Montenegro to real topics, i.e. the economy, openness… Our fears are irrational, Montenegro should be open, it’s the greatest comparative chance and we should continue believing in that kind of Montenegro,” he stressed. Abazovic continued by noting that URA had taken a great responsibility for transforming Montenegro. “Spend less time on social media and be relaxed, we’re going to win. We don’t want Montenegro to get back to the times when the referendum was held, our mission is to reconcile the two sides.”
Krivokapic’s Op-Ed: The facts we don’t hear due to their noise (The PM press service)
At the inauguration of the US President John F. Kennedy in January 1961, one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, Robert Frost, read his famous poem, The Gift Outright, which begins with a touching verse: “The land was ours before we were the land’s”. I recalled those verses on the night of August 30th, overwhelmed with a sense of freedom and debt. The debt to those whom this is yet to become land, to future generations of daughters and sons of Montenegro, to whom someone wanted to leave only one legacy – divisions. Since the first day of the new government, the defeated oligarchy of the DPS and its satellites, unprepared to accept the loss of power and privileges, has tried and is trying unsuccessfully, by provoking incidents, generating divisions and abusing sensitive identity – ethnic and religious – issues, to conceal economic crime against this country and to gain for itself the legitimacy of the so-called exclusive protector of the state and national rights of the people, all with the aim of creating the illusion that stability of Montenegro is not possible without it. Recent events, however, have confirmed that the cause of all the incidents that have taken place in our country in the last year has been instructed precisely by the aforementioned political-criminal caste. With regard to its noise and tensions it produces, including choral solidarity from certain irresponsible addresses, which say that “the expert government turned out to be a failed experiment, which didn’t yield results” I would like to remind all Montenegrin citizens of the important facts:
– Thanks to the activities of this Government, Montenegro will record economic growth of 10% in 2021.
– Unlike 2020, when the income from tourism amounted to only €144 million, this year’s income from the tourist season amounts to about €700 million.
– In the period from June to August 2021, a budget surplus of over €100 million was achieved.
– This season’s VAT revenues (nearly €209 million) are at a higher level than in the record 2019, when they amounted to about €196 million, which is the result of an excellent summer tourist season, but also increased discipline due to the introduction of electronic fiscalization of cash registers.
– Deposit in banks in 2021 increased by nearly €400 million, and exports of goods by €60 million.
– Montenegrin public debt was reduced from 103% of GDP (which was the amount of public debt in 2020) to 88% of GDP in June this year.
– The above described stabilization of Montenegrin public finances, additionally enabled: introduction of child allowance for all children up to the age of six, provision of free textbooks for all primary school children in Montenegro (worth more than €2 million), and increase of minimum wage by 13%, including old-age benefits.
– The Government of Montenegro concluded an important hedging arrangement with two European and two American banks in July this year, thus protecting the country from currency risk and reducing the interest rate for the loan taken from the Chinese Exim Bank (for the highway) from 2% interest in Dollars, to 0,88% in Euros. Thus, we will save eight million annually, which will go directly to the budget.
– Such a committed public finance management has created the preconditions for Montenegro to achieve the largest capital budget in its history in 2022, which will make it a large construction site.
– A new national airline company, Air Montenegro, was established and launched within a record period of time, while its first commercial flight was organized only four months after its establishment. In the meantime, regular and seasonal flights to Belgrade, Ljubljana, Istanbul, Zurich and Sarajevo have been launched.
– National Council for the Fight against High-Level Corruption has been established, which has already demystified the processes of illegal allocation of housing loans and apartments under favorable conditions, including publishing of a part of the documentation on the construction of the first section of the highway.
– This Government organized the largest narcotics seizure in the history of Montenegro – more than a ton of cocaine in Zeta, and adopted the Decision to ban the storage of tobacco products within the Free Zone of “The Port of Bar”, which further confirmed its determination to persist in its fight against organized crime.
– The Ulcinj Salina and Port of Budva were returned to state ownership.
– Olive groves and land in Valdanos were returned to the citizens of Montenegro. The Nature Park “Platamuni” was proclaimed the first marine protected area in Montenegro, while the “Katic” region also received the status of a nature park and protected area of national importance.
– The government has terminated 12 concession agreements for the construction of small hydropower plants so far, and stopped allocation of new concessions, except in one case where the concession was awarded to the Montenegrin Electric Enterprise (EPCG), as it was established that there would be no adverse environmental impacts.
– Thanks to the efficient work of the Government, in the context of timely procurement of vaccines and fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, 45.4 percent of adult citizens in Montenegro have been vaccinated since May.
– Owing to its hard and dedicated work, in just ten months this Government received support, compliments and congratulations from some of the most important European addresses. For example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a conversation we had in Tirana, identified Montenegro as the most advanced country – candidate for membership in the European Union. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, who hosted me warmly in London, expressed strong support to our Government in the fight against organized crime. The French President Emmanuel Macron sent to me a special letter, expressing support to our European perspective and announcing implementation of a project of the French Development Agency (ADF) worth €50 million, intended to support the financing of small and medium enterprises and municipalities.
– The government has prepared proposals for numerous laws that will enable further reforms and improve the legal system.
Hence, from all the above, it is more than obvious that the expert Government has achieved extraordinary results in less than ten months. We are aware that it can always be better. That is why its doors remain open for all well-meaning, honest, hard-working and professional people, who are ready to contribute to the active fight against crime and corruption, raising the national economy and living standard of all citizens, and to our European agenda and defined foreign policy course. Montenegro deserves to be the best place under the sun. We are working to achieve it.
EU needs to step up decision-making process (Republika/Der Standard)
Sometimes, the EU members forget the reason for working together, and that is because we are mutually beneficial. The EU is the best project in the world that guarantees democracy and freedom and therefore needs to step up the decision-making process, which means that small countries should not be treated in the same way as large states, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said in the interview with Austrian-based daily Der Standard. Ahead of the visit of the President of the EU Commission, Ursula Von der Layen to Skopje, Prime Minister Zaev said that after sixteen and a half years of waiting, there is not much to do given that our country has been a good example in recent years when it comes to behaving in a European way. We are certainly not the best, but we are the good news from the Western Balkans. Currently, the EU is considering the recommendations that will be given at the Western Balkans Summit in early October, and there are EU countries that do not even want the Union to continue to focus on the Western Balkans,” said Prime Minister Zaev, emphasizing that when it comes to governing the continent, the EU is interested in having us there, because China and Russia also have economic interests in this area, which, as Zaev stressed, do not necessarily have to do with European and democratic values. In the interview, Prime Minister Zaev pointed out that Macedonia can give more examples of resolving various disputes, which it will share with other Europeans. One of them is the Ohrid Peace Agreement, which is fully implemented and is a model that shows that minority issues can best be addressed by strengthening local self-government. This is a very useful model, not only for Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also for EU countries that have interethnic problems. They could use it- it is about giving power to the citizens. When it comes to identity issues, the Prespa name agreement with Greece can be an example for Europe, Zaev added in an interview with the Austrian daily.
Zaev and Mickoski again at the same table, but in a relaxed atmosphere (Republika)
In anticipation of the German Bundestag election results, the leaders of the two largest parties in Macedonia Zoran Zaev and Hristijan Mickoski found themselves at the same table at the German Embassy in Skopje. Instead of a heated political debate, this time the atmosphere is more relaxed for the leaders of SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE, and next to them is the German Ambassador Anke Holstein. Part of the Macedonian political leadership and diplomats were are at the German Embassy, following the outcome of the elections, after which the new German Chancellor will be elected in the Bundestag, successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has held the post for the past 16 years. According to polls, the SPD leads with 26 percent of the vote, while the CDU / CSU coalition holds 24 percent. The SPD managed to improve its result from the previous parliamentary elections by more than five percent, while the CDU / CSU lost support by almost nine percent.
Zaev to respect the resolution proposed by VMRO-DPMNE in parliament, and supported by SDSM, not to defocus the public (Republika)
We do not expect anything more than for PM Zoran Zaev to respect the resolution proposed by VMRO-DPMNE in the Parliament, and supported by all parties, including SDSM, said VMRO-DPMNE. And everything else that Zaev says, and is related to the issue with Bulgaria, aims to divert the attention of the public from the 14 victims in the fire, whose investigation is hindered by the government, no other excursion of Zaev must hinder the investigation. Instead of talking about history, which he probably did not even learn, let Zaev start with the responsibility of Ilir Hasani and Venko Filipce, and how 14 people were burned alive, and the whole government is avoiding responsibility. Zaev’s hypocrisy came to the surface a long time ago, and he will be severely defeated in the upcoming elections, said the opposition party.
1.824.864 citizens are eligible to vote in upcoming local elections (Republika)
The State Election Commission closed the Voters’ List at a session on Friday. 1,824,864 voters are eligible to vote in the local elections on 17 October 2021.
Rama calls for recognition of Kosovo at UN General Assembly (Tirana Times)
During his speech at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Edi Rama asked for the recognition of Kosovo by the members of the UN. “This large assembly is not and will not be complete without one of the states of our region, the Republic of Kosovo. It is not an obsession, nor do I mention it to pay lip service to the cause. It is an invitation to acknowledge the new realities in the heart of Europe, through the Balkan region” declared Rama. Echoing his past speeches at the UN General Assembly, Rama said that the work started by the international community in Kosovo “needs to be finished,” adding that Albania would support the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia as “the only alternative which will lead to mutual recognition between two states.” Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabic reacted immediately by saying that Rama’s remarks were not good for the regional security “The best answer was given by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. In the first sentence, he told me that ‘Kosovo is not a state to us.’ This is the best diplomatic response,” said Brnabic, as reported by the Serbian media, adding that “I don’t see why a prime minister should intervene in the internal affairs of another country some use the podium to gain political points.” Albania for the first time in its history will join the Security Council of the UN as a non-permanent member for the term 2022-2023. The importance of this decision was underlined also by Rama, who juxtaposition it to the isolation that Albania has had during the Communism dictatorship. The Council has the power to impose legally binding measures on the countries that are members of the United Nations, and it can provide also the opportunity for each member to advance different issues. It will remain to be seen whether Albania will use its mandate to advance the issue of Kosovo’s recognition. During the speech at the UN General Assembly, Rama made the remarks on Kosovo immediately after discussing about the EU integration path of Albania and the Western Balkans. While emphasizing the development of the common regional market between the six Western Balkan countries as a further step to bring closer the region with the EU, Rama mentioned also the Open Balkan Initiative as an initiative that would implement the 4 EU freedoms in the region. The Initiative has divided the WB, with the government of Kosovo strongly opposing it, and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina refusing to take a position on this issue. For Rama, the EU integration remains a national priority goal for the country. The Prime Minister used the stage of the UN General Assembly to thank Turkey for its support with vaccine doses, which enabled Albania to start the process of massive vaccination against COVID-19, but also the EU Commission, and other EU countries who helped Albania with vaccine donations. Afghanistan, a key topic raised by many of the world leaders that took previously the stage at the 76th Session of UNGA, was also in the focus of Rama, who considered the decision to open the door to Afghan refugees a “moral duty.” The Albanian PM recalled how Albania has responded to similar crises in the past, mentioning how the country became the only European country to have more Jews after than before the Second World War, or remembering how Albania welcomed half a million of people from Kosovo who escaped the war in 1999. Another issue addressed by Rama was the climate change. On that matter, Rama declared that Albania has become the first in the region to endorse a strategy on climate change, and that a special law on climate change “has been adopted in December 2020.” According to Rama, Albania has set the goal to reduce gas emissions by 45% in the next decade, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Rama visits Kosovo amid tensions with Serbia (ADN)
Prime Minister Edi Rama will visit Kosovo on Monday (today) to meet with the main political leaders as Pristina and Belgrade are in one of the tensest situations of recent years. Rama’s first meeting will be with Prime Minister Albin Kurti, with whom he will talk about the recent tensions with Serbia, but it will also be the first meeting after a long time that the two prime ministers reply at a distance for Open Balkans initiative. The position of the Albanian Prime Minister on the reciprocity of license plates with Belgrade is expected to be published at a press conference. Rama will not meet with President Vjosa Osmani or Parliament Speaker Glauk Konjufca. But he will meet with three opposition leaders: Ramush Haradinaj, Memli Krasniqi and Lumir Abdixhiku. During his stay in Kosovo, Rama will also decorate the academic, Rexhep Qosja. Since last Monday, Kosovo has started to implement the reciprocity agreement on license plates with Serbia. Until now, only vehicles moving from Kosovo to Serbia had to place temporary Serbian license plates, while from 20 September 2021, vehicles moving from Serbia towards Kosovo have to place temporary Kosovar license plates. This caused anger especially on Serbians living in the north of Kosovo, who blocked the road. Military or Police force from both countries have deployed at border causing fear of a possible armed conflict between them.
The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania: We call on Serbia to withdraw its armed forces (Radio Tirana)
The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania called on Serbia to “withdraw the armed forces sent to the border with Kosovo”. They also called on Serbia to work on an urgent de-escalation of the situation. The press release points out that Albania is particularly concerned about “the deployment of Serbian armed forces near the border with Kosovo and military planes flying near and above Kosovo’s airspace, which encourages individuals to provoke unrest and violence, as well as to destabilize Kosovo.” “These acts are contrary to international agreements aimed at ensuring order and stability in that part of the region. We call on Serbia to withdraw its armed forces sent to the border with Kosovo and work on urgent de-escalation of the situation. We call on all actors to show restraint and immediately return to dialogue, as the only way to move forward and resolve open issues in the spirit of cooperation, to which Albania is irrevocably committed, in its bilateral and multilateral efforts” the ministry said. It is added that Albania “as an ally in NATO and a responsible member of the United Nations, will do everything in its power to support all efforts to immediately de-escalate the situation and return to dialogue.”