Vucic: We have some malicious people in the international community who want conflicts and want to drag us into them (B92/RTS/Tanjug/Politika/Beta/Novosti)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Raska that he had come to listen to the representatives of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija about the events and to agree on what to do next. An emergency meeting was held in the military barracks in Raska due to the shooting in the north of Kosovo and Metohija. A Serb was wounded in the action of the Kosovo police.
Upon arrival to Raska, Vucic told the Kosovo Serbs that he had informed Miroslav Lajcak, the EU Special Envoy, about the latest development in northern Mitrovica, adding “I told him what I thought and ended the conversation”. After the address of some Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija, Vucic addressed those present at the session. “I will not talk too much about the past, nor about how many of us there were before, how we fell to 11% of Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohija… I will not go through bad solutions from 1999, including being silent about the pogrom in 2004. Even when Pristina declared its independence, we were silent in Belgrade,” said Vucic. He added that he did not want to reiterate what happened in 2011, when the guys present were persecuted by their own country. “I know what ordinary people think. But I will tell you something. I did not ask you to be with me because you like something, because there is hardly anything nice going on in Kosovo and Metohija. I am quite sure that you know very well that we fought hard and tried to preserve the people, without endangering the entire people and the whole of Serbia,” Vucic said. “I think the same as you, but the question is what is our smartest reaction,” said Vucic. He explained that the Albanians had the support of at least one state, and that that state was not a member of the EU. Vucic emphasized that some Western powers are rushing the Albanians because they have a desire to destabilize everything. “Their goal is to destabilize Serbia,” Vucic said. “I’ve never heard of anyone being arrested for biscuits and cans of drink in full gear. Their army, they fired, we found shell casings, from caliber 556,” Vucic added. He says that there are three reasons why all this is being done, the first is that the great powers are rushing them. “Their wish is to destabilize everything, so that they can better manage the processes. Don’t forget that their goal is not only an independent Kosovo, but also the weakening of Serbia. Do you think that one of those countries finds it great that Serbia is the first in the region in terms of salaries? Therefore, it is strong enough to invest in churches, monasteries, factories, and even in their army? Of course not, so they want to slow down Serbia. That’s the first reason.” “Today, I am afraid that we have someone who is completely irrational in Pristina and we have some malicious people in the international community who want conflicts and want to drag us into them, of course I would like to keep the peace, but I will also tell you that we have no choice.” Vucic then added that emotion is present in everything that is happening, adding that no matter what happens, Serbia and Belgrade will be with the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. “We are facing a difficult period, there will be pressure on the Republika Srpska, before the spring they will seek its disappearance, and everything will fall on the shoulders of Serbia. And the most powerful countries in the world will work on all that,” Vucic added. He said that on 4 August 2017, he said that Serbia would not allow new pogroms and storms. “That’s why I came here right away… Serbia and Belgrade are with you.” Vucic said that he had only one message: “I am not like others, and this Serbia is not like it used to be. We will keep the peace. We ask NATO to do its job, I also ask the people of Albania not to bring order by violence, and if they try again, my answer will be crystal clear. In that fight in which we have to protect the lives of children, I tell you with certainty, we will win.”
Vucic tells Gendarmerie to be ready (RTS/Beta/N1)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic visited on Wednesday the Gendarmerie base in Kraljevo and told the police force to be ready, following the incidents in northern Kosovo earlier in the day. “We will do our best not to be in such a situation and not to come to that position, but if the state calls on you to protect our people, I know you will not only respond but that you will perform a sacred duty in the most honorable way possible. Thank you very much for that,” Vucic said. He promised them higher salaries, housing, and the solution to other problems to give them and their children a secure future. He added that Belgrade would preserve peace and stability at almost any cost, but “if we have no way out, if we are attacked, if people are killed, as they almost were today, then we will have to protect our people”. “And when I tell you to protect our people, that means we will win. There is no surrender, no withdrawal,” Vucic told the Kraljevo Gendarmerie Detachment. He asked them to be ready, to work, to practice, and that the state would do its best to make life easier for them and their families.
Peaceful but tense in northern Kosovska Mitrovica (RTS)
It was calm but tense this morning in northern Kosovska Mitrovica, after no police activity or gathering of the locals had been registered during the night, Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) reported today. Barricades which were erected on Wednesday in northern Kosovska Mitrovica and near the settlement of Rudare near Zvecan have been removed and traffic flow has been restored. Traces of clashes are still visible in the streets of Kosovska Mitrovica – tear gas canisters, stun grenades containers and cartridge cases, while the police have removed several cars set on fire on Wednesday evening. Several Serbs were injured in the clashes. Srecko Sofronijevic, aged 36, who suffered the heaviest injuries and underwent surgery, is now stable. The clashes broke out after border police officers, together with police officers, had raided several shops, triggering gatherings of the local citizens, and later on Kosovo special police units arrived. The Kosovo police have reported that eight officers were injured and several vehicles damaged in the clashes. The police have also said that eight persons have been detained and arrest warrants issued for some ten people, including two Serbs.
Pristina’s behavior crossed the red lines because firearms were used against people who protested peacefully. That is absolutely unacceptable and it will not be tolerated, and that is the path that leads to harsh destabilization, the Chair of the Serbian parliamentary Committee for Kosovo and Metohija Milovan Drecun, told the morning news of Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS). “It is necessary to conduct an investigation and establish responsibility. We must seek an internationally independent investigation in the first place to determine who ordered the use of firearms. They did it under the pretext of fighting crime and in fact used it to demonstrate force and provoke violence in the north Kosovo,” says Drecun. “The international presence should provide a safe environment for everyone’s life. Pristina threatens the survival of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. Our people have shown that they can organize quickly, but in that defense of the right to life and survival, synchronization with Belgrade is needed. We insist that KFOR, which has the mandate to ensure a safe life of all, realizes its mandate. If KFOR does not want this, our message is that we will only protect the safety of the people, and that message has the preventive power to sober up the hot heads who think they can forcibly occupy the north of Kosovo and Metohija under the pretext of establishing the functioning of Kosovo institutions,” Drecun said. He says that we have easily went over Pristina’s plan for the gradual occupation of the north of Kosovo and Metohija and the use of special forces to establish complete control in the north of the province. “Nobody has anything against the fight against organized crime, but this cannot be reduced to just that. It is difficult not to be under the impression that this action had a political dimension, before the elections, by raising tensions against the Serb people. Kurti wants to demonstrate determination in front of voters how he fights organized crime that is eroding the Kosovo society,” he said.
Godfrey: Strong pressure (Novosti)
We are following very carefully the situation in north Mitrovica. I saw the statements by President Vucic, Prime Minister Brnabic, Petar Petkovic, I am in contact with the colleagues in Pristina, the Quint Ambassadors here in Belgrade. Rest assure that we are exerting strong pressure on Pristina and that we expect that people assume responsibility for their actions, US Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey told Novosti. Asked whether they were surprised by the Kosovo police action and whether he thought that such moves prevent any kind of progress in the process of normalization of relations, the Ambassador said that at the moment he didn’t have enough information about the latest incident. “There are opportunities that should be used for progress. The monger we postpone to treat unresolved issue the worse matters get.”
US Embassy: Present Ambassador Godfrey remains focused on his job (Beta)
The US Embassy in Belgrade was unable to confirm on Wednesday the claims in the media about Christopher Hill being appointed as new US ambassador to Serbia, and stated that the present Ambassador Anthony Godfrey remained focused on his job. Any possible announcement on the nomination of a new ambassador would come from the White House, Beta was told at the Embassy. The Embassy recollected that Ambassador Anthony Godfrey had been in his position for two years, that he serves at the pleasure of the President and that he remained focused on his job. “When the White House announces his successor, there is an orderly process of sending a formal nomination to the Senate, scheduling a hearing, and, pending the results of the hearing, a confirmation vote,” the Embassy stated. Blic reported on Wednesday, quoting diplomatic sources, that the experienced US diplomat who knows the region well, Christopher Hill, would be nominated as the new US ambassador to Serbia.
NATO: We’re fully focused on situation in Kosovo as per UNSCR 1244 of 1999 (N1)
Answering a question on Wednesday about the current situation in northern Kosovo, populated mainly by the local Serbs, an unnamed NATO official said that the Kosovo police is conducting a law enforcement operation across Kosovo. “The NATO-led KFOR mission is in constant communication with all relevant Institutions in Kosovo and with representatives of the International Community, and it remains fully focused on the daily implementation of its UN mandate – as per United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999 – to continue ensuring a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all communities living in Kosovo. KFOR also continues to support the implementation of the recent arrangement on de-escalation, and the way forward in northern Kosovo reached between Belgrade and Pristina, under the auspices of the EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue,” the official said.
Borrell calls for urgent end to violence in northern Kosovo (Beta/B92)
EU High Representative Josep Borrell called on Wednesday for the urgent end to violence in the northern part of Kosovo. “Unilateral and uncoordinated actions that endanger stability are unacceptable. All open issues must be addressed through the EU-facilitated Dialogue,” Borrell tweeted. He added that he was in permanent contact with Belgrade and Pristina.
Von Cramon criticizes Borrell because he criticized the Albanians
The European Parliament’s rapporteur for Kosovo Viola von Cramon criticized Josep Borrell’s statement regarding the situation in northern Kosovo. “Please criticize countries where rule of law is not implemented. EU should support countries fighting organized crime and corruption. State institutions doing their job deserve our full respect. EU-facilitated Dialogue is not about daily police operations,” she stated.
Selakovic: Gratitude to Argentina for supporting our territorial integrity (Politika/Tanjug)
Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic met with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Argentina Pablo Tettamanti. Selakovic stated that the relations between Serbia and Argentina are friendly and that they are based on mutual understanding and support. He added that an important link in relations is the mutual commitment to respecting international law and adhering to the policy of dialogue as well as building consensus as the foundation of international relations. Selakovic noted with satisfaction that political dialogue and high-level visits have intensified in recent years, and on this occasion he also extended an invitation to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina to pay an official visit to Serbia. He also conveyed our interest in organizing political consultations between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs in the coming period. Selakovic thanked Argentina for its continuous and active support for our territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as for the support it provides us in international organizations. Talking about economic cooperation, Selakovic stated that trade exchange is growing, as well as that there are potentials for its improvement, especially in the fields of agriculture, pharmacy, construction, IT and renewable energy.
Selakovic thanked Eritrea for its consistent support on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija (Politika/Tanjug)
Selakovic met with the Foreign Minister of Eritrea Osman Mohammed Saleh, who participated in the gathering marking the 60th anniversary of the first conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Selakovic assessed that there is plenty of space for strengthening the political dialogue at high and highest levels through the exchange of visits, as well as for the improvement of economic cooperation, reminding that next year our countries will mark ten years of diplomatic relations. Selakovic thanked Eritrea for its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, as well as for the consistent support it provides our country in international organizations. Selakovic stated that trade, agriculture, agro-industry and defense industry are areas in which there is room for the cooperation development. Also, according to him, the two countries have insufficiently developed legal and contractual foundations for cooperation, and we should work on that.
Emphasizing the potential for cooperation in the field of education and culture, Selakovic called on young people from Eritrea to use the possibility of applying for the scholarship program in our country within the project “World in Serbia”, through which thousands of young people from friendly countries will be educated annually.
Relations between Serbia and DR Congo have traditionally been good and friendly for 60 years (Tanjug/RTV)
Selakovic met on Wednesday with the Minister of Regional Development of the Democratic Republic of Congo Didier Mazenga Mukanzu. Selakovic thanked the Minister for participating in the gathering of the NAM Countries, which ended in Belgrade, and for which he said was extremely important and very successful. Selakovic assessed that bilateral relations are traditionally good and friendly, reminding that this year we are marking not only 60 years since the first NAM conference, but also 60 years of bilateral relations between Serbia and DR Congo. He pointed out that the two countries should maintain good dynamics of political dialogue and continue with the realization of visits at high and highest levels. Selakovic thanked his interlocutor for his principled position regarding the non-recognition of the so-called Kosovo and consistent positioning on this issue in international organizations. Selakovic informed the guest about the increase in the number of scholarships that our country provides through the “World in Serbia” program, invited young people from Congo to use the opportunity to study for free in our country and expressed the expectation that this type of cooperation in education will further improve relations between our countries and people. Selakovic said that attention should be given to the development of economic relations, and he mentioned trade, agriculture and the IT sector as areas in which cooperation improvement is possible.
Friendship between Serbia and Bangladesh dates back to the early days of the NAM (Tanjug)
Selakovic spoke on Wednesday with the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Abdul Momen.
In the context of the gathering held on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the first conference of the NAM, Selakovic pointed out that the friendship between our two countries dates back to the early days of this movement, reminding of excellent relations and friendship between Tito and Bangladesh’s first president Rahman. Selakovic thanked Minister Momen for the delegation of Bangladesh being represented at a high level during the commemorative meeting of the NAM. Selakovic assessed that the current relations between our two countries should be intensified, and emphasized that visits at high and highest levels would especially contribute to that. He pointed out that next year, proud of their common history, Serbia and Bangladesh will mark 50 years of diplomatic relations, and that this jubilee is an opportunity to improve cooperation through joint activities in both countries. Selakovic conveyed Serbia’s readiness to improve economic cooperation and increase trade, noting that it is necessary to intensify contacts among business entities of the two countries, in order to adequately use the potential for investment and business cooperation. Selakovic informed the Minister of Bangladesh that Serbia has quadrupled the number of scholarships within the “World in Serbia” project and that starting next year, a thousand young people from many friendly countries around the world will receive scholarships to study in Serbia. He expressed hope that young people from Bangladesh will also apply in large numbers.
Use the potentials to improve cooperation with Belarus (Tanjug)
Selakovic met with the Deputy Foreign Minister Belarus Sergei Aleinik. Selakovic stated that the relations between the two countries are based on sincere traditional friendship, cultural, historical and religious closeness, and that bilateral cooperation is successfully developing, but also that there are numerous areas where not all potentials have been used. The Minister stated that our interest is to hold regular meetings at high and highest levels. The interlocutors also agreed to intensify cooperation between the two ministries and hold political consultations by the end of the year. Selakovic thanked Belarus for its firm and fraternal support and the policy of non-recognition of the unilaterally declared independence of the so-called Kosovo, as well as opposition to Pristina’s membership in international organizations. Speaking about economic cooperation, Selakovic stated that it is not at the expected level and that it should follow excellent political relations, as well as that joint engagement is needed in order to increase the volume of trade.
Venezuela firm in supporting Serbia’ territorial integrity (Tanjug)
Selakovic hosted, at a dinner meeting, the Foreign Minister of Venezuela Felix Plasencia, who is on a bilateral visit to our country. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of agriculture, the goal of which, according to Selakovic, is to revive economic cooperation between the two countries. After the signing, Selakovic stated that Serbia is a European country committed to its European path, but that it should not forget its friends around the world and on different meridians. He expressed his appreciation for the visit of his colleague from Venezuela and thanked that friendly country for its firm and active position which supports our territorial integrity and sovereignty and stands firmly with Serbia in resolving the Kosovo and Metohija issue. Plasencia said after the signing of the agreement that his country is committed to friendship with Serbia, and that it is firm in supporting its territorial integrity.
Emphasizing the importance of the agreement signed today in the field of agriculture, he said that Venezuela wants to learn from Serbia, and that coming to Belgrade, he was impressed by the appearance of our fields and the way the land is cultivated here. “It is important for us to be on friendly terms with one important country in Europe, and we are the gateway to America for you. Caracas is a natural gateway to the Caribbean, Central and South America, and we feel that Belgrade is our gateway to Europe,” said Plasencia. He pointed out that Venezuela wants to strengthen economic and business ties with Serbia, and thus with the rest of Europe. Plasencia thanked Selakovic for the warm welcome and congratulated him on the excellent organization of the meeting of the NAM Countries in Belgrade. Selakovic to pay an official visit to Venezuela and offered assistance with the reopening of the Serbian Embassy in Caracas.
Dodik: RS will initiate procedure of restoring of its competence with or without support of RS opposition (RTRS)
Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Milorad Dodik stated that nothing can prevent return to the original Dayton either, which he specified as restoring the competences that were taken away from the RS and transferred onto the level of B&H. He announced that the RS will initiate the procedure of restoring its competence “with or without the support of the RS opposition”. He rejected PDP’s allegations that he lacks support even from Serbia and Russia for this latest initiative. The RS Veterans’ Organization (BORS) issued a statement, calling on the Serb people and the Serb political parties to stand united “in preventing degradation of rights of Serbs and in going back to a consistent implementation of the Constitution of B&H and the original Dayton Agreement”. In a statement to RTRS, legal expert Radomir Lukic assessed that it will certainly not be easy to implement the initiatives regarding restoring competences in practice.
RS opposition says they support genuine DPA, but what Dodik is doing by announcing return of RS competences can be very dangerous for RS (BN TV)
Representatives of Republika Srpska (RS) opposition stated on Wednesday that they advocate the genuine Dayton Peace Accords (DPA), but what SNSD leader Milorad Dodik is doing by announcing the return of the RS competences that were transferred to the level of B&H by SNSD and he himself can be very dangerous for the RS. SDS leader Mirko Sarovic said that he does not trust Dodik at all and that he does not like the way how Dodik announced the return of the RS competences without institutions or any kind of preparations and through various spins on a daily basis. He added that Dodik pushes the RS and its people in a hopeless situation and his only goal is to rescue himself. Sarovic stressed that Dodik should be reminded of the fact that such huge things such as the return of the RS competences cannot be announced or planned in a way he thinks is appropriate, because it requires serious internal consensus of political and other factors to see where the RS goes in a series of nowadays challenges. DNS leader Nenad Nesic stated that his party also opts for the genuine DPA and the RS’ independence, but DNS calls on SNSD and the ruling coalition to act responsibly and implement the previous conclusions of the RS parliament. He added that only after implementation of these conclusions DNS will be ready to support all the proposals regarding the return to the genuine DPA and return of the RS competences. Nebojsa Vukanovic of the RS SDS Caucus stressed that Dodik tries to hide all the scandals and affairs involving the ruling structures and himself by producing new crisis, noting that he is now trying to return the competences that were transferred to the level of B&H by SNSD and he himself. Vukanovic said that Dodik’s wants to sacrifice the RS as a whole and provoke the international community in order to cause sanctions against the RS and the RS citizens. He concluded that Dodik’s only goal is to gain political benefit and present himself as a great patriot, but the truth is that he is actually nothing but a traitor who was tasked by the international community to destroy the RS. Nesic said that the RS government needs to start first with respecting the RS parliament’s conclusions adopted so far. “We adopted conclusions both on the work of SIPA and on the work of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), and all these”, pointed out Nesic. Some of the RS SNSD MPs replied that the RS is best defended by respecting the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) and by returning competencies to the RS, instead of fearing the embassies.
Reactions of other RS politicians to Dodik’s latest announcement on independent RS in scope of Dayton B&H (EuroBlic)
Following SNSD leader Milorad Dodik’s latest announcement, the daily wondered whether this represents a step back in comparison to desired full independence, a skillfully formulated mantra hiding the secession as the ultimate goal or just another short-lived political maneuver of Dodik. The daily argued that the answer will be known only after, if at all, the RS parliament revokes consent to formation of the Armed Forces of B&H, Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA), State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) of B&H and several other institutions. Opposition parties in the RS already distanced themselves from “Dodik’s radical measures”. PDP Presidency announced that it will not support any political initiatives that will represent a path to uncertainty. SDS leader Mirko Sarovic was more cautious and he said that everyone in the RS would like to see it independent but he added that he is afraid “such moves made by a single person, without any consultations or real chances, might bring the RS in great danger”. PDP Vice President Jelena Trivic assessed that Dodik’s softened his initial rhetoric because he is no longer talking about an independent RS but only about return of certain competencies which were transferred onto the level of B&H by SNSD structures in the first place. Trivic added that PDP will not follow the policy Dodik advocates because it represents “gambling with the RS”. “This radicalization by Dodik is directly proportional to his fear from leaving the authorities. He is not dealing with any kind of strengthening of the RS, he made the RS (citizens) move out, he weakened and destroyed the RS and now he is trying to save himself by such activities,” Trivic told the daily and argued that he does not have anyone’s support. The daily said that SNSD’s political program on independence within B&H is nothing new and reminded that Spokesperson for SNSD Radovan Kovacevic said on 11 September 2017 that SNSD will continue to base its policy on ‘independent RS in Dayton B&H’ while “those who are working on destroying of Dayton (Peace Agreement) and Dayton B&H will have to be aware of the fact that they will be the ones who will turn us solely towards the principle of ‘independent RS’ because Dayton B&H will no longer exist”. The daily added that it is interesting to know that PDP leader Branislav Borenovic said in September 2017 that “Dodik’s story on independence is an introduction to isolation and disappearance of the RS” to which Kovacevic replied by saying that “PDP’s task is to leave us without an alternative and no way out”. Kovacevic explained to the daily that this program was created by SNSD back in 2014 and it is based on the principle of ‘independent RS in scope of Dayton B&H’. Kovacevic announced that SNSD’s conclusions will be known after a session of the Executive Board of SNSD and will be harmonized with SNSD’s coalition partners and then those will be offered to opposition parties as well: “After that, we will go to the RS parliament.” Member of SDA Presidency Alma Colo assessed that an independent RS in scope of Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) is impossible because the RS, as in line with the DPA, is an entity in scope of B&H while B&H is the only state with its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Crnadak: HR is reality and he already visited Belgrade twice and talked to Serbian officials (Oslobodjenje)
Oslobodjenje daily carried interview with PDP Vice President and RS PDD’s representative Igor Crnadak who at the beginning commented behavior of Milorad Dodik, stating that Dodik obviously decided to push his “ridiculous ideas to the end”. Crnadak argues that with this Dodik is endangering Republika Srpska (RS), peace and stability, adding that it is obvious that SNSD has huge crime to cover up. Crnadak deems that Dodik’s latest moves undoubtable lead B&H and the RS towards the abyss: “True patriot is the one fighting against corruption. We have million thefts investigated by the prosecutor’s office. This money was not stolen from the RS by Bakir (Izetbegovic) or by NATO, or Vatican or any other imaginary enemy. Those funds were stolen by those in power and those close to the authority”. Crnadak underlines that new composition of the RS government has to make it clear that fight against corruption is a priority. Asked about opposition in the RS and recent statement of PDP leader Branislav Borenovic who said that next year’s elections are “make it or break it” for the opposition, Crnadak said that there is a huge discontent and the current authority led the RS into the corner. He argues that it does not matter what will happen to opposition leaders, but what will happen with the RS and its citizens: “If the regime led by SNSD would continue to rule even after the elections, this would destroy the RS.” He argues that he does not even contemplate the possibility of opposition losing the elections. Asked about the crisis, created after “imposing of Inzko’s law” and whether it will be concluded soon, Crnadak said that the RS parties adopted joint conclusions and the SNSD undermined all that, adding that Dodik was working in B&H Presidency, Council of Ministers was working and SNSD once again proved that partisan interests are their priority. Crnadak argues that joint agreement no longer exists and stressed that SNSD, HDZ B&H and SDA carry the biggest responsibility and if it is easy for them to reach agreement about various appointment, then they need to reach agreement and solve this issue as well. “High Representative is a reality. He visited Belgrade on two occasions already. He talked to Serbian officials and it is impossible to avoid him,” said Crnadak.
Dodik expects fight against law imposed by Inzko will continue before B&H CC (Nova BH)
Leader of SNSD Milorad Dodik expects that the fight against the law imposed by former High Representative to B&H Valentin Inzko will continue before the B&H Constitutional Court. Dodik stated: “We keep the promises. We said we would not accept that law. First, he has no right to impose it. Secondly, it is absolutely unacceptable for such a law of that content to be imposed. What is more important is implementation. So, our Constitutional Court told us that was ok. We went through that procedure. It is likely that (the law) will reach the B&H Constitutional Court, which will, by inertia, consider everything in the RS to be invalid. I certainly have to say that it will be valid. After that, there is no need to even go to the Assembly. We will ensure that our laws are implemented.” Dodik said that whoever face possible criminal processes on this basis can count on the institutional support from the RS. With regard to possibility of disputing the RS’ laws through rulings of the B&H CC, Dodik noted that the ruling would not affect implementation of these laws. The Serb member of the Presidency was quoted as saying that implementation of the RS’ laws cannot be prevented by anyone, especially not by “the non-existent HR”. Dodik replied to those who doubt his intentions during a press conference on Tuesday: “They are a little skeptical, so they said a month and a half ago that we would ‘blow out’. Here we have built up even more, so we will go further. Take it easy, I have time. There is no one to worry about stability. I stand for stability.”
Covic perceives SNSD’s initiatives in the same way he perceives those who want to dismantle B&H and create a state without three constituent peoples; Magazinovic: Everything that Dodik is doing has characteristics of coup d’etat (FTV)
After Tuesday’s statement of leader of SNSD Milorad Dodik on future political action, the views of politicians in B&H seem to have never been more distant. FTV stressed that while politicians in Banja Luka believe that Dodik is playing his last card, the messages of politicians from Sarajevo are clear – this is an attempted coup and a sharp reaction is necessary. FTV underlined that SNSD’s announcements on independent RS within Dayton B&H and on the withdrawal of signatures from the agreements on the army, indirect taxes, as well as the B&H High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) raised a new political storm in an already difficult situation in B&H. SNSD’s announcements that many competences will return to the RS level have been met with sharp reactions. Commenting on SNSD’s announcements, HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic said that he perceives them in the same way he perceives those who “want to dismantle B&H and create a state without three constituent peoples.” “We should see what the real problem is. Whether the problem is creation of Dayton 2 without any political basis or consent” Covic said. Covic claims he has not heard anything from Dodik that cannot be compared to what is being promoted by others in B&H. “I see the same as those who want to dismantle B&H in a way to create a state without three constituent peoples. I just said that to my colleague Izetbegovic. ‘Take care to see what the real problem is’,” stated Covic. The program announced by Dodik on Tuesday also mentions formation of a new intelligence agency and according to SDP B&H MP in the B&H House of Representatives (HoR) Sasa Magazinovic, everything that Dodik is doing has the characteristics of a coup d’etat. “Mr. Dodik outlined a number of activities that he wants to do, but which are legally unfounded and it is clear to everyone that he cannot do that. When it comes to an intelligence agency or any institution of the RS, I am not sure if he wants to form a new agency or legalize some structures that are doing that job,” Magazinovic said. SNSD’s announcements provoked reactions in the RS as well. Magazinovic argued that there are no preconditions to discuss any law or reform process until the current situation is solved and he added that this is a problem a prosecutor’s office should be solving.
OHR Press Service currently unable to specify when they can provide answer on whether OHR would react to political situation and Dodik’s announcements; EUD and US Embassy express support to territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H (N1)
N1 carried reactions to the initiatives and moves from the RS, primarily pertaining to the rejection of the amendments to the Criminal Code of B&H imposed by former High Representative (HR) Valentin Inzko and the initiative announced by Serb member of the B&H Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik on an independent RS within the Dayton B&H. Specifically, the decree of RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic on declaring Inzko’s amendments invalid on the territory of the RS was published in the RS Official Gazette on Wednesday. This followed a day after Dodik announced the initiative for an independent RS within the Dayton B&H seeking return of certain competences from the B&H level to the RS and announcing withdrawing of the RS from the B&H Armed Forces (AF), the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA), and the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) along with prohibiting activity of the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA), the Court of B&H, and the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H on the territory of the RS. While the Office of the High Representative (OHR) is yet to react to these initiatives, the Press Service of the OHR confirmed to N1 that they have received numerous inquiries from the media in the context of reactions to the situation and they were unable to specify when they would provide an answer to whether the OHR would react to the current political situation and Dodik’s announcements. Meanwhile, the EU Delegation (EUD) and the US Embassy in B&H issued statements, both expressing support to territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H with two entities and Brcko District. The EUD’s statement reads that the EU supports B&H’s administrative organization, reminding that the EU’s membership application was received from B&H with such administrative organization. In its statement, the US Embassy underlined that political actors in B&H should focus on improving the functioning of B&H rather than undermining the Dayton Agreement. According to the US Embassy, the US can use sanctions for those who undermine the Dayton Agreement. According to N1, the US Embassy warned that stories like these attempts to draw the attention of citizens away from the current affairs, and corruption that has been eroding the B&H society. The Embassy called on all political actors to act responsibly in terms of making progress, in order for all citizens to feel the improvement in B&H. The US Embassy in B&H said: “Elected B&H leaders have the opportunity, through the B&H Parliament, to propose, consider, reject, amend and adopt laws. The security and prosperity of all in B&H depends on their leaders working through appropriate institutions and working together to promote trust building, mutual respect, reconciliation and functionality” the US Embassy in B&H stated. “USA support the key role that the High Representative has in monitoring and providing of support to implementation of civil aspect of Dayton Peace Agreement. USA strongly support territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H as single state with two entities and Brcko District.”
Komsic, Dzaferovic meet Roth and warn that current developments undermine constitutional organization of B&H (N1)
At their meeting with German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth, Chairman and Croat member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic and Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic jointly warned that the current developments undermine the constitutional organization of B&H and underlined that no one will silently observe all of the announcements related to dissolution of B&H.
Leadership of B&H HoP meets over coffee, agree they will continue talks; Izetbegovic says he is ready to talk with Dodik without international mediation even about application of law former HR imposed (BHT1)
Leadership of the B&H House of Peoples (HoP) met on Wednesday over coffee and agreed that they will continue talks. BHT1 noted that thus, the B&H HoP will not be unblocked, there will be no session of the Collegium of the B&H HoP and there are no proposals for solving of the complex political crisis in B&H. Deputy speaker of the B&H HoP Nikola Spiric (SNSD) said that there was way too big interest for a working coffee of leadership of the B&H HoP. Deputy Speaker of the B&H HoP Dragan Covic (HDZ B&H) stated that the working coffee was successful while when it comes to everything else, they agreed that they should talk. According to the reporter, they failed to offer a solution for the institutional crisis but speaker of the B&H HoP Bakir Izetbegovic (SDA) showed good will and he changed his mind that he will not talk with leader of SNSD Milorad Dodik without mediation of representatives of the international community. According to Izetbegovic, there could also be talks about application of the law that former HR Valentin Inzko imposed, arguing that the law can be put out of force while a new one – the same or similar law – can be adopted in the parliament of B&H and thus, this would end blockade of institutions. The reporter noted that Izetbegovic is even ready to introduce Jasenovac in this entire story. Spiric said: “Why there is no need for dialogue about open issues here? Because someone always expects that someone will impose the law and this is God’s punishment for B&H.” Covic said: “Laws are adopted in the parliament. Now, we have a solution that was imposed. There can only be agreement, everything else can be just an agreement between all those who reach decisions in the parliament nowadays.” BHT1 noted that for Covic and Spiric, the success of the meeting was reaching consent on the need to talk about open issues at the level of B&H without international mediation. Covic admitted that last week, he had separate meetings with Dodik and Izetbegovic. Covic stated that the goal of the meeting was to try, through talks of officials within B&H, to find solutions for the current political situation in B&H and for everything which B&H has undertaken as an obligation through various agreements. “I am primarily referring to the Election Law, certain reforms on the European path. To try to implement it as soon as possible… The conclusion is very clear, we have very little time, a month or two, practically by the end of the year, and we have never been in a worse political situation and bigger crisis since the Dayton until today,” Covic underlined. Izetbegovic presented his opinion that nothing can be agreed until SNSD and the RS parliament “change some of their decisions”. Izetbegovic noted that Spiric does not want to act contrary to the RS parliament’s decisions. Spiric commented on the informal meeting of the Collegium and welcomed the fact that such conversations are taking place, without mediators. “Agreement cannot be reached without conversations,” Spiric remarked, adding that everyone should realize that the challenges should be openly discussed. He added: “Twenty-five years since the Dayton (Agreement signing), B&H is in a situation where HRs are imposing laws.” Covic stressed that one of the reforms and tasks that await the B&H institutions, which are currently blocked, is the issue of amending the Election Law. “Based on the current stance, no representative of Croat people will allow erasing the constituent peoples from the Constitution of B&H, because that is the foundation of B&H,” Covic stressed. ATV reports that the B&H HoP sessions will be suspended until further notice, and no decisions will be made without the representatives of Serbs. The reporter comments that Izetbegovic has for the first time faced with this fact, and he admitted that for as long as the Serb representatives respect conclusions of the RSNA, there will be no sessions. The reporter comments that Izetbegovic once again did not miss the opportunity to call on the OHR and the B&H CC to help, and goes on to say, that after initially saying he would not meet with Dodik and Covic, Izetbegovic later invited himself to Banja Luka to meet with Dodik.
Covic is of view B&H is in the biggest crisis since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). Commenting on the RS, Covic said: “The RS, just like the Federation of B&H, is independent to an enviable level even today. There is no issue about that. The DPA, Annex 4, clearly defined that.” Covic said the issue of amending the B&H Election Law should be finalized within one month. Izetbegovic will go to Banja Luka on Friday to, among others, meet with SDA members in the RS institutions. Covic said that having coffee was successful but everything else was on the level that they understood each other that they need to talk. They also understood each other that there will be no sessions in near future and there will be no meetings with the three leaders, added the reporter. Izetbegovic stated: “I am not in favor of that format – just Covic, Dodik and I.” Izetbegovic claimed he is ready to talk with Dodik one-on-one. “I am willing to talk to him about it directly one-on-one. When I am in Banja Luka, I will not have time for that, because the whole day is in the program, but it can happen in the days ahead,” stated Izetbegovic. Spiric said that the working coffee took place in a good atmosphere and that they discussed all the challenges, “aware that problems exist, that they culminate and that the answer is that there must be internal dialogue without intermediaries in response to the challenges”. Commenting on the fact that Izetbegovic will be in Banja Luka on Friday, Dodik said that Izetbegovic has the right to come to Banja Luka, but that he will be in Sarajevo on Friday. “I am willing to talk,” Dodik noted.
Bozinovic: EU unprepared for new migrant wave, Croatia nod doing dirty work (Hina)
Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said on Wednesday that Europe was not prepared for a new migrant wave, rejecting allegations that Croatian police were doing dirty work for the EU. “Many studies by Croatian and international institutions warn of the possible arrival of a large number of migrants as a result of the situation in Afghanistan. Europe must prepare itself for that. However, frankly speaking, the European Union is not fully prepared,” Bozinovic said at a meeting of the Croatian Parliament Committee on Human Rights and Rights of Ethnic Minorities. The Committee met to discuss pushbacks of migrants by Croatian police on the border with B&H. Bozinovic said that in the event of a new migrant wave a huge burden would fall on Croatia’s shoulders. He said that Croatia could then be asked what it had done to ensure that migrants did not pass through its territory in large numbers, which would call into question its ability to guard the EU’s external border. Speaking of the situation at the border, Bozinovic said that despite the efforts by the Croatian police, migrants were able to get across the Croatian border, which is more than a thousand kilometers long, as shown by citizens’ reports of their holiday cottages and farm buildings being broken into by migrants. These illegal border crossings are not accidental or without risk to migrants, local population and border police, he noted. Bozinovic said that this was a security challenge against organized crime that should not be underestimated, stressing that 4,000 people smugglers had been arrested so far. He said that the Interior Ministry was seeing an increased number of asylum applications, while at the same time it also frequently faced accusations that it was denying migrants access to asylum. “The fact is that none of these people come to official border crossings to apply for international protection because they know that they do not meet the criteria for such assistance or they do not want to enter the asylum procedure because they risk being returned from EU countries which are their final destination,” Bozinovic explained, adding that 80 percent of asylum seekers do not wait for the outcome of this process but they simply disappear. Migrants go to other countries, but they cannot do this legally, without the assistance of smuggling rings who make money on other people’s misfortunes, Bozinovic said. He dismissed allegations made in the media that Croatia was doing dirty work for the EU, noting that migrants trying to reach Austria or Germany would have to pass through Croatia anyway, whether it was a member of the EU or not. National chief of police Nikola Milina said that preventing illegal migration was a strategic priority as part of which the police were increasing their legal and technical resources. Committee member Dragana Jeckov of the Independent Democratic Serb Party asked if there was cooperation with security services in neighboring countries, to which Milina said that the Croatian police maintained close cooperation with those services, but added that joint patrols had been suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. Confirming the cooperation, Bozinovic said that the neighboring countries did not have the same interests as Croatia. “B&H wants migrants to get across the border and enter Croatia as quickly as possible, while our interest is to prevent illegal border crossings,” he said.
Knezevic: If negotiations fail, we’ll boycott government laws and require international intervention for new elections (Pobjeda)
If talks over the government reshuffle fail, the Democratic Front, DF, will continue to boycott the parliament, all government laws, including the budget, and will seek the international mediation for creating conditions for extraordinary parliamentary elections, one of the leaders of the DF Milan Knezevic told Pobjeda. Knezevic sees internationalization of the political crisis in Montenegro as the only solution if the negotiations fail as “our institutions and the political system in the state have been blocked”. The negotiations over the government reshuffle have been halted after URA, run by Dritan Abazovic, first rejected the concept including 16 ministries and three vice presidents, as well as the new meeting of the leaders of the parliamentary majority, until an in-depth analysis of the performance of prime minister and all ministers is carried out.
Zekovic: Government and Becic block parliament; instead of dealing with citizens’ problems, they deal with their positions (CdM)
The parliament of Montenegro is not functioning, no sessions are organized. The ruling majority has some other priorities. They are trying to agree on positions, and that is probably the most important thing. It is also more relevant than the work of parliament, the adoption of laws and other acts necessary for the normal functioning of the state apparatus. Parliament speaker Aleksa Becic and his service have found time for the parliament’s website to be available in Cyrillic as well. Nothing controversial, but it seems that, by putting “make-up on the premises”, new paintings and carpets, this was more important than what is the key role of parliament. Social Democratic Party’s deputy leader Bojan Zekovic says that the blockade of Parliament by the majority, in which parliament speaker himself participates by his behavior, has not been recorded in the parliamentary practice. Zekovic adds that the parliamentary majority does not solve the citizens’ problems, but is exclusively engaged in the fight for securing party-affiliated positions.
Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic claims that some want to fall him out with DPM Dritan Abazovic, the Democrats, and the Democratic Front (DF). That is why he says that if he is a problem, it is easy to solve, and he calls for his dismissal. If some wish for elections, he invites them to inform the citizens about it. The question of whether it is acceptable for the DF leaders to enter the government is, he points out, not just a question for the Prime Minister, but for all the leaders of other parties. Asked whether there would be a resumption of negotiations, he says that he thought that the third meeting would be elegant, and very short, with an agreement. Krivokapic says that he will decide after the parliamentary majority expresses its position whether the leaders of the Democratic Front should be in the government. He was satisfied with the beginning of the negotiations but, as he said, he was surprised in the meantime by the views of certain political parties. Speaking about the third meeting of the parliamentary majority he said that everyone should deal with what is their competence. “After two meetings I thought that the third one would be elegant, very short. Everyone wants to set me against the Deputy Prime Minister, the Democrats, the DF. Let’s not argue. If I’m the problem, solve it easily. If you want new elections, tell the citizens. If the government does not suit you – dismiss it. It seems to me that some parties are preparing for the elections, and I am not thinking about them,” Krivokapic said. He pointed out that it is very important to officially reconcile and start implementing projects. He could not say whether he accepted the Democratic Front in the government. “It should be an agreement of the parliamentary majority, and after that I will have an opinion. Everyone is waiting for me to say something so that they can position themselves based on that. I will not do that anymore,” he pointed out. Krivokapic told reporters that nothing has changed compared to October last year, and he hopes that the leaders will understand that this government lasts thanks to the citizens.
Pendarovski talks with Portuguese FM to lift EU blockade (Nezavisen vesnik)
In Malmo, on the sidelines of the International Forum for the Remembrance of the Holocaust, President Stevo Pendarovski met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, Augusto Santos Silva. At the meeting, President Pendarovski and Minister Silva discussed the possibilities for Northern Macedonia’s progress in European integration, in anticipation of the European Union meetings to be held by the end of this year. Thanking for the support so far and the constructive proposals from Portugal to overcome the blockade caused by the objections of Bulgaria, President Pendarovski underlined that the prolonged stalemate in the EU enlargement process will have long-term negative consequences on the development and stability of the entire region. The two interlocutors at the meeting expressed the expectation that during the current Slovenian presidency of the EU, a step forward will be made in the process of accession of Northern Macedonia to the EU. At the meeting, President Pendarovski and Minister Silva also discussed the bilateral relations between the two countries, expressing readiness to improve the overall relations, as well as the development of political dialogue at the highest level.
Strong message of Yuri Kim: Leaders on all sides must make difficult, but necessary changes for a better future (Radio Tirana)
US Ambassador Yuri Kim has issued a strong message to the leaders of Albanian political parties urging them to give up the old customs of the communist system. In her message posted on Twitter, the American diplomat talks about difficult but necessary changes that according to her, Albanian politicians from all sides should make “the next generation has a better future”.
“Thirty years after the end of the communist dictatorship, Albanian leaders on all sides must seize the opportunity to give up the bad habits of the past, to make difficult but necessary changes, so that the next generation can have a better future. Ambassador Kim’s statement comes after a meeting she had with Deputy Prime Minister Arben Ahmetaj, with whom she said she shared the views of the United States on a range of issues, from property issues, justice reform, the fight against corruption, or even democracy and business. “I met with the new Deputy Prime Minister Arben Ahmetaj to emphasize the US desire for a strong partnership with Albania on democracy, defense and business. I also underlined that the US takes the issue of corruption very seriously as part of our national interest. We call on the government to take real action so that Albania is fairer, stronger and richer. We discussed the importance of resolving property rights, including the digitization of registers to counter unlawful interference; implementing justice reform so that citizens and investors rely on clean courts; addressing money laundering and other concerns described by the FATF. Thirty years after the end of the communist dictatorship, Albanian leaders on all sides must seize the opportunity to give up the bad habits of the past, to make difficult but necessary changes, so that the next generation can have a better future. If not now, when? The US will continue to be with you in full support,” writes Kim.