We’re committed to preserving peace and respecting Brussels agreement but we won’t allow the humiliation of either Serbia or its citizens, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday. Vucic received the Ambassadors of the US, Great Britain, France, Italy and Germany, as well as the Head of the EU Delegation, who requested the de-escalation of the crisis in the north of Kosovo and Metohija, Office for Media relations of the President of the Republic of Serbia announced.
Vucic canceled the meetings with Russian and Chinese Ambassadors
Vucic canceled today’s meetings with the Russian and Chinese Ambassadors, it was announced from the Office for Media relations of the President of the Republic of Serbia. The announcement of the Office for Media relations did not specify the reason for the cancellation of the meetings, but it was added that the media would be informed about the new dates later.
Stefanovic: Serbian Army hasn’t trespassed anywhere where it shouldn’t be (TV Pink/Beta)
Serbian Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said today that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had given the order to heighten the alert of the Serbian Army units across the Ground Safety Zone along the administrative line with Kosovo, but stressed that the Serbian Army has not trespassed anywhere where it should not be. Stefanovic told TV Pink that the army is ready to defend its people, and that a heightened state of alert and presence along the administrative line with Kosovo is primarily a preventive mechanism. “In our territory, we have the right to deploy (units), no one will be telling us what to do, it is our sovereign decision. We are not violating any international agreement, the army has not trespassed anywhere where it should not be,” Stefanovic specified.
Moscow calls on NATO, EU to get Pristina to withdraw forces from north and prevent escalation (Sputnik/B92/Tanjug)
Moscow is urging NATO and the European Union to call on Pristina to withdraw its forces from northern Kosovo and Metohija and thus prevent escalation, reports Sputnik. Russia is concerned about the situation in Kosovo, the events are developing according to the scenario going from bad to worse, said the spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova.
“We stress once again: NATO forces in Kosovo and EU’s rule of law mission have the necessary mandates to prevent lawlessness and therefore bear full responsibility for the protection of civilians and ensuring peace and security,” Zakharova said in a comment published on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry. This reaction coming from Moscow followed the news that KFOR patrols arrived at the checkpoint Jarinje on the administrative line in order to maintain security and freedom of movement.
Drecun: If KFOR wants to be a stability factor, let it act like that (RTS)
The Chairperson of the Serbian parliamentary Committee for Kosovo and Metohija Milovan Drecun confirmed for Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) this morning that there was a meeting between KFOR and the Pristina self-government yesterday, and that KFOR was offered to replace ROSU at the checkpoints, but it is not known whether that was accepted. “KFOR was also present on 20 September, so we got a destabilizing situation, if they are already a factor of stability, they must not allow it, KFOR and EULEX knew that Kurti would do it, and they did not oppose it,” Drecun points out. According to him, when KFOR takes care of security, it must also take into account the political situation in the north. “If KFOR wants to be a factor of stability, let it act like that. I am afraid that the appearance of KFOR may be caused by our activities in Serbia proper and showing the presence that they are there to monitor the situation,” Drecun said, recalling that special police members unnecessarily harassed Serbs, while KFOR was not there. He emphasizes that the political action is the most important – to force Pristina to withdraw the special forces.
Starovic: Whether they will go to Brussels depends on the development of the situation (RTS)
Until there is a return to the situation we had before and the withdrawal of special units, there will be no talk of continuing the dialogue in its political dimension, the State Secretary of the Serbian Foreign Ministry Nemanja Starovic told the RTS morning press review. He confirmed that an invitation had arrived from Brussels to continue the technical dialogue, in which the Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Petar Petkovic should participate, but that the development of the situation today and tomorrow would determine whether the dialogue would take place and what it would look like. “There can and will be no talk of continuing the dialogue process in its political dimension until the preconditions that President Vucic has already talked about are met – until we return to the status quo ante, to the situation we had before withdrawing these unilateral moves,” he said.
Selakovic: Serbia and Mexico committed to same values (RTV/Tanjug)
Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic began on Tuesday night his official visit to Mexico with a meeting with President of the Mexican Senate Olga Sanchez Cordero. Selakovic said that he is greatly honored to have the opportunity to attend the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence and other important jubilees which this state marks this year. He thanked Sanchez Cordero for her personal contribution to building relations between Mexico and Serbia and for the recent ratification of the Agreement on cooperation in the field of education, culture and sports, which has been unanimously adopted by the Serbian parliament.
The Serbian Foreign Minister underlined that both countries are dedicated to the same values, the respect for international law, territorial integrity and sovereignty, and the right of every state to choose its own path of development. According to Selakovic, Serbia is strategically committed to EU membership, but since Belgrade was the birth place of the Non-Aligned Movement 60 years ago, it also dedicates great attention to its ties with the countries of Latin America.
erbia is the only successor state of Yugoslavia that has an embassy in Mexico City, but we want our mission in your country to be additionally developed and improved, Selakovic stated. The Minister also briefed his interlocutor on economic reforms, which have made Serbia the fastest-growing economy in Europe. He also invited her to pay an official visit to Serbia.
Serbia highly appreciates Mexico’s consistent position not to recognize so-called independent Kosovo (Tanjug/RTV)
Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said today during a meeting with President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that Serbia is committed to improving overall bilateral relations, with a special emphasis of the intensification of political dialogue and economic cooperation. Selakovic said that in that context, the visit of President Obrador to Serbia would be of special, historic importance. He underlined that Serbia highly appreciates Mexico’s consistent position not to recognize the so-called independent Kosovo and its support to the inviolability of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia. The Minister informed Obrador about the current situation in Kosovo and Metohija, the latest provocative moves by Pristina, and the danger to which Serbia’s sacred sites and its cultural heritage are exposed. Selakovic also expressed readiness for strengthening cooperation in many areas, such as culture, science, sports, education, tourism and cooperation of cities and municipalities.
Office for Kosovo and Metohija: Serbs will not be a target for extremists (Tanjug/Kosovo Online)
Yesterday’s attack on a group of Serbs who went to the southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica to carry out administrative work, is the true image of today’s society in self-proclaimed “Kosovo”, which has for years been built on a toxic and mindless hatred towards the Serb people and everything Serbian, stated the Office for Kosovo and Metohija. A group of some 15 Serbs from municipalities in the north of Kosovo and Metohija was attacked yesterday in the southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, while they were handing over documents at the Agricultural Agency. A group of Albanians physically attacked them, and fortunately there were no serious injuries, although some of the Serbs were assaulted with bottles and knives, writes Kosovo Online. “This inadmissible incident is a continuation and a consequence of Pristina’s mindless actions, whose special forces have been provoking the Serb people at the crossings in the north of Kosovo and Metohija for days. A multiethnic society is not created with knives, bottles, demonstrations of force, or hatred towards neighbors and fellow citizens, and these days it has become more than clear that Pristina wants Serbs either not to exist or to be imprisoned in reservations, without the right to movement, language and free opinion,” the statement said and added: “Those who call for ‘two sides’ to deescalate, let them see today, unless they want to continue to close their eyes to reality, that the ‘other side’ in this savagery consists of unprotected people, whose rights are endangered. Serbs will not be a target for extremists, because the attack on every Serb in Kosovo and Metohija is an attack on the entire Serbian people, and whose inspiring the witch-hunt against our people will be held responsible for what they are doing.”
EU expects chief negotiators of Belgrade, Pristina in Brussels by end of week (Tanjug)
The EU is working intensively on organizing a Brussels meeting between representatives of Belgrade and Pristina at which the situation in northern Kosovo and Metohija and a restoration of freedom of movement would be discussed, Tanjug learns. According to sources in Brussels, the meeting could take place already by the end of this week. At the same time, a trip to Brussels by US special Western Balkans envoy Gabriel Escobar has been confirmed for this week, with the situation in Kosovo-Metohija as the only item on the agenda. Following the EU’s multiple calls for dialogue as the only way of resolving the current crisis in Kosovo and Metohija and all other open issues, EU High Representative Josep Borrell has announced the negotiators of Belgrade and Pristina would discuss the situation in northern Kosovo and Metohija and freedom of movement in the coming days. “Both chief negotiators coming to Brussels in the coming days is a first positive step. It is crucial that they come with a mandate to discuss the way forward and find sustainable solutions that are in the interests of the citizens,” Borrell noted in a written statement. Diplomatic sources in Brussels said negotiations with Belgrade and Pristina were still underway but that the possibility of a meeting being held already at the end of this week was not ruled out. EU spokesperson Peter Stano confirmed on Monday the chief negotiators of Belgrade and Pristina, Petar Petkovic and Besnik Bislimi, would meet in Brussels on Wednesday. Earlier, Stano noted that the chief negotiators’ coming to Brussels would be a first positive step in a resolution of the current situation in Kosovo and Metohija. He also said the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue had not collapsed and that the EU believed an agreement between the two sides on a resolution of the current crisis, as well as on a comprehensive solution for a normalization of relations, would be possible in the end.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Council of Ministers (CoM) has three more days to adopt a decision on temporary financing, otherwise the B&H budget will be blocked and over 20,000 civil servants and employees will not receive their salaries. B&H Foreign Minister and Deputy Chairwoman of the B&H CoM Bisera Turkovic has written to Chairman of the B&H CoM Zoran Tegeltija, requesting from him to urgently convene the B&H CoM’s session, noting the legal obligations are violated. BHT1 reports that, although not confirmed by the Office of High Representative (OHR), High Representative (HR) in B&H Christian Schmidt has reportedly written to Tegeltija requesting him to convene the session. Oslobodjenje daily also learns that Schmidt recently sent a letter to Tegeltija asking him to schedule session of CoM to adopt decision on temporary financing, reminding Tegeltija that ‘budget’ is a constitutional category. Tegeltija earlier stated for the media that the session would be held, without specifying the date. “We will follow the conclusions and act in interest of the Republika Srpska (RS), and that is all we can say at the moment. There are many decisions to discuss, to asses to what extent they pose a threat to the RS, or a larger number of individuals. There is, also, a decision on temporary financing, but also the willingness of the RS to pay the salaries to employees until the process is unblocked,” Tegeltija was quoted as saying. BHT1 reports that the B&H Ministry of Finance and Treasury has informed the decision on temporary financing was delivered to the B&H CoM on 3 September. “The B&H Ministry of Finance and Treasury has undertaken all necessary activities prescribed by law in the procedure of the budget adoption, as well as in the decision-making process for the Decision on temporary financing, and we are not able, nor we have the competence to interpret laws and potential actions of other institutions,” reads the statement by the B&H Ministry of Finance and Treasury. BHT1 reports if the issue is not resolved within the next three days, there is no legal way for the October salaries to be paid, and none of the obligations of B&H in October, including external debt, would be serviced.
O Kanal carries a statement of employee in the B&H Ministry of Foreign Affairs Miroslav Vujcic who underlined that blockade of work of B&H institutions is not even in interest of those blocking work of institutions. He explained that failure to adopt the decision on temporary financing will leave thousands of RS employees without salaries. Leader of SDS Mirko Sarovic stated that the opposition parties will discuss whether possible participation of ministers from RS in the B&H CoM with regard to adoption of the decision on temporary financing violates conclusions of the RS parliament. SDA claims that Tegeltija is the most responsible for the current situation. SDA’s Adil Osmanovic underlined that the only solution to solve the current crisis is that B&H Parliament adopts the law imposed by a High Representative so that it can possibly amend it. On the other hand, representatives of opposition parties in the Federation of B&H deem that besides SNSD, SDA and HDZ B&H are equally responsible for the current situation. Our Party’s Damir Arnaut explained that if Tegeltija fails to organize holding of a session of the B&H CoM in two consequent weeks, deputy chairs from SDA and HDZ B&H have the right to organize the session.
Cenic: It is not legally possible that salaries for 7,000 civil servants from the RS are paid from the RS budget (Nova BH/BHT1)
Commenting on the statements by Milorad Dodik that the salaries for 7,000 civil servants from the RS will be paid from the RS budget, economic analyst Svetlana Cenic said it is not legally possible. “Even if individual contracts are signed with all the employees, there is no possibility to pay contributions. Then, there is the issue of the Federation of B&H (FB&H) and the employees from the FB&H, who can also file a lawsuit against all those who made such a decision,” said Cenic. BHT1 reminds that, since the beginning of this year, B&H has been functioning on temporary financing, and the B&H Law on the budget of institutions of B&H and international obligations of B&H was not adopted at the B&H House of Representatives (HoR) due to the decision by representatives from the RS not to participate in the decision-making process.
Tegeltija meets UK, Russian Ambassadors to B&H, points out that policy of imposing solutions is unacceptable (RTRS)
Chairman of the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) Zoran Tegeltija held separate meetings with UK Ambassador to B&H Matthew Field and the Russian Ambassador to B&H Igor Kalabukhov in Sarajevo on Monday. Tegeltija and Field discussed the current political situation in B&H and Tegeltija underlined the need for a stronger communication based on arguments in order to understand stances of all political actors in B&H. Tegeltija assessed the policy of imposing solutions and circumventing institutions in B&H as well as democratically-elected representatives of authorities as unacceptable. During the meeting with Kalabukhov, Tegeltija emphasized the need for an internal dialogue and respect for the Dayton Peace Agreement and constitutional competences of all levels of power in B&H as conditions for undisturbed functioning.
Dodik: RS will withdraw consent from agreements on B&H AF and HJPC (FTV)
Member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said on Monday evening that the RS will withdraw consent from agreements on formation of B&H Armed Forces and the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) of B&H. Dodik said that the RS has been making a list of everything High Representatives imposed or through agreements and consents the RS gave.
RS CC finds amendments to RS Criminal Code and Law on non-implementing decision of HR do not violate vital national interest of Bosniaks (BHT1)
The RS Constitutional Court (CC) has found that the vital national interest of Bosniaks was not violated with the Law on Amendments to the RS Criminal Code and the RS Law on Non-implementing the Decision of the High Representative (HR), because, according to the RS CC, the laws equally refer to all citizens. BHT1 reports that the RS CC issued a statement that the disputed normative solutions do not have ethnic dimension, and refer equally to all citizens of the RS, regardless of their ethnic affiliation. The RS CC’s Council for Protection of the VNI explained their standpoint by saying that among other things, the disputed normative solutions have no ethnic dimension and they equally refer to all citizens of the RS.
Our Party proposes constitutional reforms, including abolition of B&H Presidency (Nova BH)
Our Party (NS) representatives in B&H House of Representatives Predrag Kojovic, Damir Arnaut and Mirjana Marinkovic-Lepic, together with NS leader Edin Forto and NS’ Sabina Cudic, presented their solutions to constitutional reforms. The first change they proposed is that instead of having a tripartite B&H Presidency, B&H has only one president whose competences would be rather reduced. Their second reform proposal regards the abolition of B&H House of Peoples (HoP) and strengthening B&H HoR that would have 66 seats instead of 42. Our Party MPs stated that B&H HoP is “a graveyard of good laws.” According to Our Party’s proposal, the same as it is case in cantonal parliaments, members of constituent peoples and Others would form their ad hoc Caucuses in the B&H HoR to protect vital national interests and other important issues. According to the proposal, there should be one President of B&H and a Vice President and the President will be elected in the B&H parliament and each B&H citizen – regardless of ethnicity – can be a President who will have no essential but ceremonial competences. The proposal predicts abolition of the B&H House of Peoples (HoP) and application of a model like the one in the entity parliaments, while the B&H parliament will have a speaker and a deputy speaker.
Our Party’s proposal of constitutional changes unacceptable to SNSD (ATV)
Representatives of Our Party (NS) in the B&H HoR submitted a proposal for an amendment to the B&H Constitution to the parliamentary procedure. ATV argues that they claim these were minimal changes, although it would seem to completely change the organization of the already shaken B&H and diminish the rights of the constituent peoples, which is why they are unacceptable for SNSD, noted the presenter. This a new attempt to create a civic state, coming from Sarajevo, commented the reporter. The proposal would abolish the three-member Presidency and the B&H HoP. According to the proposal, the B&H CoM would become the government and would deal with foreign policy, appointments and defense. NS representative in the B&H HoR Damir Arnaut stated: “The majority in each caucus can seek protection of the vital interests of the people to whom they belong, or others. If the majority in another caucus opposes the case, it goes to the Constitutional Court for a final decision”. Head of the SNSD Caucus in the B&H HoR Snjezana Novakovic Bursac told them that they should first get familiar with the past and then with the real situation in B&H. Novakovic Bursac replied to the statement of NS leader Edin Forto, who said that the changes to the Constitution are more realistic than the secession of the RS: “Worthless attempt in a political but also in an essential sense. What they can never understand, the RS for 30 years now, it is so rooted in us its inhabitants. These users of funds, primarily foreign and generous donations from such foundations, simply cannot understand that”. According to political analysts, it is insane to deal with constitutional changes without a serious and studious approach, i.e. without analyzing the consequences of such reforms in B&H, added the reporter. Political analyst Filip Matovic stated: “With this move, they have shown that in no way do they want to pay attention to the feelings, thoughts or anything else that an entire people that makes up at least 30 percent of the population of this country thinks. So, I think that in this way they have shown that their policy is directed in the same direction as the policy of the SDA, SBB and all parties coming from Sarajevo”. This was not the first time that the creation of a civic state was proposed, commented the reporter. Such demands have been opposed for years by Serbs and now by Croats, who claim that they want changes to the Election Law, but those that guarantee the election of their legal representative, concluded the reporter.
US Embassy: None of B&H’s two entities has right to secede (Fena)
Neither the Dayton Agreement nor the Constitution of B&H entitles any of the country’s two entities to the right to secede, the US Embassy said on Tuesday commenting on the latest statements by B&H’s Serb Presidency member Milorad Dodik. “Territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H as an integral state of two entities and Brcko District are guaranteed by the Dayton Peace Agreement. Neither the Dayton nor the Constitution of B&H gives the right to any entity to secede,” the Fena news agency quoted the Embassy’s Public Relations Office, which commented on Dodik’s statement that he would ask for all the decisions imposed by the High Representative to be revoked in six months otherwise the RS would declare independence. “Responsible leadership requires participation in government and adoption of key economic reforms as well as transparency reforms to improve the lives of citizens, not retrograde calls that only offer loss of any chance in the future,” said the Embassy.
Messages about EU enlargement sent after meeting of speakers of parliament of Western Balkan countries in Slovenia (AJB)
A meeting of the Speakers of Parliaments of Western Balkan countries was held in Slovenia, which sent a message that the EU needs to give a clear signal to the countries of the Western Balkans about the way they can expect and when they can expect the EU enlargement in their region. The Speakers of Parliaments spoke about returning trust in the continuation of integration which has been slowed down because of, among other things, unsolved issues between the countries in the region. The meeting was organized by Slovenia, for which this topic is one of their priorities of their Presidency of EU Council. The delegation of Kosovo cancelled their participation in the meeting. The meeting was held before the summit of leaders of the EU and Western Balkans, which is supposed to be held next week and confirm the EU perspective of the region. Speaker of Slovenian parliament Igor Zorcic was quoted as saying: “The signals so far do not seem to have strengthened confidence in the enlargement process. It is all the more important that Slovenia, as a member of the EU that has historical ties with the countries of the Western Balkans and is familiar with this area, preserves and expands the debate on enlargement. I am convinced that today’s joint declaration is a good introduction to the summit of leaders of EU and the Western Balkans”. Speaker of the Montenegrin parliament Aleksa Becic stated: “I really think that on the example of Montenegro, the EU can show whether the enlargement process really lives in practice. I think it would be very important, in relation to what we talked about together today, to hear that answer and see if the plans of this convocation of the EU Commission from the beginning of the mandate will come true, that their aspirations are that by the end of the mandate of this convocation of the EU Commission, at least one country in the Western Balkans will be ready for membership.”
Dzaferovic visits N. Macedonia: EU not complete without Western Balkans (N1)
European Union will not be complete without the Western Balkan countries, and European integration of the region is a mutual interest of both the Union and these countries, said a message conveyed on Tuesday by Chairman of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic and President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski. Dzaferovic and Pendarovski met in Skopje to discuss bilateral relations of the two countries, Western Balkan’s perspective of European integration and NATO integration of B&H. They agreed that B&H-North Macedonia relations are friendly, not being burdened with any open issues but that there is room for improvement in the economy. They stressed that European Union will not be complete without the Western Balkan countries, and European integration of the region is a mutual interest of both the Union and these countries. They also expressed support to the Sofia agreement on a common regional market within the Berlin process, which was signed by B&H, North Macedonia and other countries in the region.
Milanovic: There is a government in Belgrade that talks about a “Serbian world” (HRT)
After marking the 30th anniversary of the Croatian Navy, the President of the Republic Zoran Milanovic answered journalists’ questions. We have an unresolved situation in the region, there is a government in Belgrade that talks about a “Serbian world”, he said, among other things. “There are things we can control and things we can’t control and things we don’t know. Croatia can be calmer than ever. We have power. Power equals territory. It’s a big thing and an obligation. We need to invest in the military, otherwise we will not be able to maintain everything we procure. It’s not just planes, its ammunition, supplies, it all has to have a background. It is not just for demonstration, but also, God forbid, for use. The situation in Kosovo does not directly threaten us, but we are watching it. It will be difficult for both Belgrade and Kosovo to progress towards the EU in such a guard. Kosovo has not yet been recognized by everyone, not even EU members. It is an obstacle that we have been looking at for years and it is difficult to overcome, I call for de-escalation,” said the President. “I call on Croats every time to be rational, if they do not live in Croatia. Look around you a little so you don’t offend your neighbor. Be aware of who you are, what you are, keep your tradition, your name, but you may live in Subotica. And Subotica in 1900, had 100,000 inhabitants (Split 15,000, Zagreb 60,000), and half of them were Bunjevci Croats. So the largest Croatian city, but it did not survive because it was far away and was not in the motherland, it was not destined. Is Subotica in a “Croatian world” I ask? It is larger than almost all communities inhabited by Serbs in Croatia in the province. But Subotica is not in a ‘Croatian world’ and I cannot claim that and make ambiguous statements. That is the Republic of Serbia, Vojvodina. Croats live there and there are no more than 50% of them,” explained Milanovic.
Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Milanovic considers the situation in Montenegro to be serious, in which some politicians and their supporters do not want Montenegro as an independent state. “In that NATO member, Croatia’s neighboring country, the situation is such that part of the political parties of Montenegro are directly accountable to the authorities in Belgrade,” he said. “Unlike Montenegro, Croats in B&H see Sarajevo as their capital and care about B&H and care about being represented as a constituent people by the politician they elected” he stressed. Milanovic, as well as the government of the Republic of Croatia, advocates an amendment to the election law in B&H which would prevent the outvoting of the minority, Croat people, which resulted in Croats not electing the current member of the three-member presidency Zeljko Komsic as the representative of the Croat people. “Compared to Montenegro, the situation in B&H is regulated and those who cause problems for Croats do not understand how simple the solution is,” said Milanovic.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Monday that Croatia is a “safe country” and that his government “is keeping its eyes open” to what is going on in the neighborhood, Hina reported. “Croatia is, as we said a year and three months ago, a safe country. “That’s the most important thing and it has a bearing on our international position to the largest extent possible” Plenkovic said after a meeting of the leadership of his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party. He was asked by the press to comment on the annual report by the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA), which cited risks of growing Serbian extremism, radicalism and increasingly frequent cyber-attacks. He stressed the importance of the issue of the relationship with the Serb minority being dealt with in Croatia, in a spirit of tolerance, inclusion and co-existence. He said that his government is also taking care of the rights of the Croats in Serbia, B&H, and elsewhere. Speaking of terrorist threats and cyber-attacks, Plenkovic said that these are global phenomena that affect all countries. “We remain vigilant and are still in a position to strengthen our security and intelligence system and the capabilities of the Croatian military and police in the context of our entry into the Schengen area. The procurement of multi-purpose fighter jets is under way and they will be in Croatia in 2024.” Plenkovic noted that his government had upgraded the homeland security system and increased the protection of national interests. Asked about growing tension in Kosovo and Montenegro and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s ultimatum to NATO, Plenkovic appealed for common sense and de-escalation on the Serbia-Kosovo border. He stressed that Croatia’s messages were always aimed at defusing tensions there.
Abazovic on government reshuffle: I am not sure we are close to a solution (TV Vijesti)
Two weeks since the Democratic Front and Democratic Montenegro agreed, and Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic accepted to reshuffle the government, its Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic said that the Civic Movement URA would not avoid dialogue. “I’m not sure we’re close to a solution, but maybe something will come out of it. My appeal is that the parliamentary majority should first agree on the matter that is urgent – that is the Prosecutorial Council. It is something that cannot wait and that is to the detriment of everyone, if it continues like this. And my appeal is for it to be a turning point in some future agreements” Abazovic told TV Vijesti. “I think it is good that similar political entities agree. We had a big divergence of views in the previous period, which tormented the citizens and sent one wrong message, maybe we continued with some disagreements, I hope that they will be eliminated in the coming period. The fact that the Democrats and the DF have found a common language is a good thing for some future political relations in Montenegro,” said Abazovic. Asked whether URA will agree to a government with politicians, Abazovic said: “If we are going to change the concept, it’s great… to make a new government from scratch – for politicians to come in from all options, to make a new distribution and for it to be a new effect that should achieve some results, which, perhaps, we did not achieve in this period, but I do not share the opinion that this government has failed.”
The views of minority parties that a transitional or minority government may be the only model for overcoming the crisis are seen as a conceptual but not a realistic concept. He reiterates that they are not interested in the politics of the past of any political option, but above all in the fight against crime and corruption and European integration.
Minority or government of electoral trust as the way out of crisis (Pobjeda)
The concept of a minority government, through the gathering of all pro-European forces, would be a very good way out of the political crisis. Another concept we offer is a government of electoral trust, in which all political entities would be included and which could have a term of six months or a year, and its main task would be to restore civil confidence, and prepare the conditions for early parliamentary elections or elections at all levels,” says Ervin Ibrahimovic, leader of the Bosniak Party and head of BS caucus in an interview for Pobjeda. Ibrahimovic adds that the initiative for the government reshuffling “completely exposed the devastating results of the ‘experiment’ of the ruling majority on the expert government”. He says that early elections are inevitable. He also points out that the government is not able to preserve the multiethnic harmony and the concept of a civil and secular state, but also expresses the expectation that BS will receive an official invitation to be part of the government.
The enlargement of the Western Balkans is the path to stability, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Djordje Radulovic, stating that moving towards the future Montenegro knows that it is an inseparable part of Europe. “Enlargement of the Western Balkans: a dead end or a fast lane? I believe that it is none, but that it is actually a path to stability. Montenegro is committed to the future and on that path, we continue to count on your support,” Radulovic told the 17th Salzburg Europe Summit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Radulovic emphasized that Montenegro, moving towards the future, is an inseparable part of Europe, but that challenges must be addressed. “That we have an obligation to lead forward the country in which we were born for generations to come,” Radulovic said, quoting writer Borislav Pekic. “One should love the land of one’s children, not one’s grandfathers. Because the honor will not depend on where we come from, but where we are going.” On that path, as he said, Montenegro has support that goes beyond any policy, and that is the fact that 80 percent of citizens want their country to be part of the EU. In the context of politics, he believes, the campaign in the domestic context, which suggests that the western orientation belongs to one party, is wrong. “On the contrary, the European values on which our foreign policy is defined are a common direction of several political options in the parliament,” Radulovic pointed out.
Zaev concedes that early general elections are possible if he loses the local elections in October (Republika/Sitel TV)
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev acknowledged that a defeat for his SDSM party at the local elections in October could spark early election – which is the position of the VMRO-DPMNE party. In a Sitel TV interview, Zaev insisted that SDSM will win the elections, but left open the possibility that his government will go down in case of defeat. We can’t discount early general elections if the citizens show us that they disagree with our policies, Zaev said. Zaev’s government clings to power with just 62 votes – out of 120 in the parliament, and it’s expected that a rebuke in the local elections could prompt some of his coalition partners to desert him.
The ruling SDSM party began its local election campaign in Bitola. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev is trying to maintain his current near total domination over the majority ethnic Macedonian municipalities, and insisted that voting for SDSM will guarantee that the town or city will have “good cooperation” with his government. Our offer is one of a green agenda, quick economic development and infrastructure investments in all municipalities and regions, Zaev said.
Yesterday was the first official day of the electoral campaign and while Zaev was in Bitola, VMRO-DPMNE held a rally in Ohrid. The elections are scheduled on 17 October, when the council members and some of the mayors will be elected. It’s expected that most mayoral candidates will be decided in the second round, two weeks later, when the two best placed candidates will face in a run-off.
VMRO-DPMNE begins the election campaign – Mickoski promises change and new values (Republika)
VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski called on the voters to turn out in large numbers and to vote out the SDSM candidates in the coming local elections, as the only sure way to put an end to the PM Zoran Zaev regime. Mickoski was speaking at the first campaign rally of the party, which traditionally takes place in Ohrid, where he presented the mayoral candidate doctor Kiril Pecakov. With your votes, remind the government of the things it is desperate for you to forget. And make the right decision for your future, the future of your family, the future you want and deserve, Mickoski said. He accused Zaev of lying to the voters, with unmet promises, including what is a major issue in Ohrid – completing the half-finished highway to Kicevo. SDSM promised 5 to 7 percent growth of GDP – they are stuck at 2 percent. They promised foreign investments, but the only investments we see are in the Zaev family marijuana plantations. They promised 600 kilometers of highways and 550 kilometers of expressways, and can’t even complete what the previous VMRO led government began, Mickoski told the supporters gathered in the ancient theater in Ohrid. The opposition leader promised that VMRO-DPMNE will deliver change and concrete projects for the citizens, as well as victories in the local elections. The changes will include a change of the system of values that is in place now, and which results with mismanagement from the political elites. We will introduce a new style of work, based on principles and accountability. The infrastructure projects we are proposing will have specific deadlines and will quickly link us to the European cities. And the victories we promise will restore faith, restore the spirit of our people, of all the ethnic groups, that it is possible that the entire country wins and that Macedonia is again a success, Mickoski said.
Mickoski called on voters from all ethnic groups to support the opposition, specifically addressing the largest minority – the Albanians. “Zoran Zaev treats you as he treats the Macedonians – he thinks he owns you and that he and Ali Ahmeti will decide for you. We had a wrong approach to inter-ethnic relations from start, and now, for three decades, we are building up our patriotic positions, while we are stuck in place and our citizens, Macedonians, Albanians, Turks alike, pack up and leave the country. Zoran Zaev shows excellent understanding of inter-ethnic issues on paper, but in reality he does nothing to tear up the walls around us. When 14 people die on his watch, in a fire in the hospital in Tetovo, he flees the press and neither he, nor his coalition partner DUI can’t look the people in the eye, Mickoski said. Zaev is facing protests against his government and his DUI coalition partner after the catastrophic fire, in which most of the victims were ethnic Albanians.
Rama in Kosovo as tensions rise, Serbia threatens military intervention (Tirana Times)
Tensions continue to be high at Kosovo’s northern border with Serbia, where a row over vehicle license plates has led to border closures, ethnic Serb protests, torched Kosovo government offices and Serbia’s military amassing on Kosovo’s border. In the midst of the crisis, Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama visited Pristina where he said Kosovo has a right to apply reciprocity rules for license plates with Serbia, adding Belgrade was overreacting to the situation. A group of Serb citizens are blocking the main roads in northern Kosovo to protest the Kosovo government’s decision to implement the reciprocity measure with Serbia for the use of temporary vehicle license plates. Serbia, which doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s statehood, has for years forced Kosovo vehicles to remove their license plates and use temporary Serb ones once crossing the border. Last Monday, the Kosovo government sent special police units to enforce its decision that Serb vehicles must now be forced to do the same. The move provoked an angry reaction from Belgrade, which said it had raised the level of military readiness as its planes and helicopters, many recently obtained from Russia, flew near the border with Kosovo. Armored vehicles and troops were also stationed 2 kilometers away from the border points. In Pristina, Rama said Serbia is overreacting and should stop its “theatrics.” “Kosovo is in the right,” Rama said, “Serbia has no right to make a mountain out of a molehill … as if the Kosovo government is seeking war when it is simply implementing a reciprocal agreement.” At a joint conference with the Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Rama said Kosovo should carefully address its deployment of special police units to the conflict area so the issue does not become a problem “between Kosovo and international friends and partners.” Prime Minister Rama said that the Albanian government is convinced that the problem should be resolved through dialogue. Kurti said that Kosovo is open to talks which have been rejected by Belgrade, while reiterating that the measure of reciprocity is not directed against Kosovo Serbs. “We have made an offer with which we said that it is not worth having temporary license plates on both sides,” Kurti said. Kurti added the special police unit was not in the north to demonstrate force, but to protect border crossings and border police.
Rama: Disputes should be resolved through dialogue (Radio Tirana)
The Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama supports Kosovo in the recent tensions with Serbia. In a joint conference with his counterpart, Albin Kurti he considered reciprocity an elementary norm. “The application of reciprocity of license plates is an elementary norm, but also an agreement reached in time between the two respective governments. I want to say here today, the position of Albania, which I consider clear and fair, from the first moment it appeared, the right here is with Kosovo,” said Mr. Rama. Rama emphasizes that the recognition of Kosovo should be an irreversible reality for Serbia. “Also, one of the priorities of Albania as a member of the UN Security Council will be to promote the recognition of the irreversible reality of Kosovo by all. There is no discussion that in the first place and above all it is Serbia that should recognize Kosovo, it is unfortunate that instead of the concrete progress of the dialogue towards mutual recognition, today we are witnessing the theatrical maneuvers of Serbia. Disputes should be solved through dialogue,” said Rama. During this conference, Rama was also asked about the Open Balkans where he stressed that now more than ever, he is convinced that this project should continue. “I am even more convinced today, and I say very honestly, that the Open Balkans is the only strategic direction so that we do not get stuck, cyclically, in the mud of the past and to get the most out of our potential, as Albanians, but also as a region,” said Rama. The two prime ministers met for the first time after the formation of the new government, this is the first official visit of Prime Minister Edi Rama to Kosovo, at the invitation of Prime Minister Albin Kurti, where it was also decided that the meeting of the two governments will take place in Durres in end of November.
Rama stresses Kosovo won war, Serbians fly around in helicopters (ADN)
Kosovo won the war and Serbians come around flying in helicopters and jets, declared Monday Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama from Pristina while underlining that “war is done at the table now”. These remarks were related to the tense situation in northern Kosovo, where incidents were recorded following the latter’s decision to put into force the reciprocity agreement and not allow vehicles with Serbian number plates move in its territory. Rama spoke also about the Open Balkans initiative, admitting that Serbia profits from it, but adding that everybody benefits. Some claim that the fact of Serbia profiting underrates it and overshadows Kosovo’s strategic issue. “Serbia definitely profits, but we also benefit, we all benefit. Why deprive ourselves of this? Some say this underestimate and overshadows the strategic issue of Kosovo. I think that in an atmosphere where a part of society does tourism, trade, economy the tension is much lower. We do not choose our neighbors; we do not choose our brother and our neighbors. It took so many years. You were born in time of war. How much longer will we wait? Kosovo has won the war. They come around by planes and helicopters, I do not know what they do there. From victorious to behave as beaten?! The war now is done at the table. Who is good let them take it with politics? It cannot be taken with helicopters and tanks,” said Rama.
Rama considers Berlin Process too slow (ADN)
The Berlin Process initiated by the European Union is very slow, 1-8 years have passed and no benefit has been seen from it yet, emphasized Monday Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama as he labelled the process as “too slow”. During the conversation with students in Kosovo, Rama said that Albania should have started negotiations with the EU and that the country is their hostage, expressing dissatisfaction with the bloc regarding the abolition of Kosovo visas and the opening of negotiations with Albania. “Albania should have started the negotiations because they have made the decision and it does not start. Now, we have the story that Bulgaria wants Macedonia to admit that in the past they were Bulgarians. These are things that are not up to us. They do not hold us hostage because they are against us, but because they have domestic policy reasons. The EU was founded by men with ideals, today the EU is guided by local interests and polls. There is no other way for us. We will make Albania and Kosovo with EU standards based on those principles embodied by the EU. This is what we need to pass on to future generations. When they take us in does not depend on us. It is up to us to do our best to expand here. The EU does not come here and tell us not to remove the borders. The EU has launched a process, the Berlin Process. But what is his problem? 7-8 years have passed and we have not seen anything. The process is very slow and depends on the meetings they organize. We have to do a very simple thing. Transport documentation should not be multiple. The file of Albanian documents should suffice. This means an increase in employment, in income. There is data that it is a catastrophe that the waiting hours at the borders of the Balkans during 1 year are 1100 years. These are wasted time”, he declared.
Kurti: We should remove barriers between our countries, to boost cooperation (Radio Tirana)
The Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti expressed the opinion that the two government cabinets should boost cooperation and increase joint projects. “Kosovo and its citizens rejoice in the progress in Albania. Beyond the challenges, our two governments have the opportunity and potential to realize the projects expected from the citizens of both countries. We must increase cooperation for more justice, equality and prosperity for the two countries,” said Kurti. He stressed that the barriers should be removed as soon as possible, in order to facilitate the economy of both countries. “We will work together for the market to be more unique, for citizens and goods to remove the obstacles as soon as possible and faster. This is possible between us, because we have full trust in each other,” said Kurti in his speech at the joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama.