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Belgrade Media Report 15 October

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LOCAL PRESS

Vucic: It’s not Kurti who came up with this idea, it’s designed by others (Politika/B92)
EU calls for dialogue, says unauthorized actions by Kosovo authorities should be avoided (Beta)
Vucic discusses northern Kosovo with Borrell (Beta/RTS)
Russia’s fierce message to NATO: KFOR to fulfill its obligations in keeping with Resolution 1244 (Politika/Beta)
Godfrey: Serbia, US partners in facing joint challenges (Beta/RTS)
Selakovic: 3.100 days without progress (Tanjug/B92)
Petkovic: Kurti is generating a crisis for a handful of votes (RTS)
Serbia ready to hand over case of Edin Vranj and 26 other cases to B&H (Novosti)
Brammertz: I am grateful to Vucic (B92)
Dodik: High time to establish control over forces under Pristina authority (Novosti)
US President nominates Christopher Hill new Ambassador to Serbia (N1)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

RS officials comment Vucic’s claim that great powers will demand abolition of RS: RS can resist all pressure (Nezavisne)
Dodik invites Ambassadors of EU member states for meeting in Istocno Sarajevo; Quint Ambassadors fail to attend meeting; Dodik: This is not about secession, people should not be afraid, there will be no war (FTV)
PIC Ambassadors meet; OHR: PIC expects from all leaders to dismiss rhetoric that leads to destabilization (O Kanal)
EUD: EU supports territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H (Hayat)
Stano: Commitment of EU to territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty of B&H is only framework (BHT1)
US Embassy: US steadfastly supports B&H sovereignty (Dnevni avaz)
NATO: We support sovereignty and integrity of stable and safe B&H (Dnevni avaz)
Schmidt and Linhart discuss crisis in B&H (BHT1/N1)
RS President says RS leadership has been trying for months to hold talks with political parties in FB&H to jointly resolve problems, Croats ready for talks but Bosniaks reject them (RTRS)
Sarovic: SDS supports transfer of competences to RS; SNSD is dragging RS into chaos and dead ends (BN TV)
Trivic: It is Dodik’s wish to live in constant political chaos and constant political crisis, which he believes he would profit from (Nova BH)
Nesic: Dodik and SNSD do not deserve this much attention (Dnevni avaz)
Banjac: B&H must return to original Dayton Agreement (Nezavisne)
Niksic: This is the most radical that we saw from Dodik until now; B&H has never been in such big crisis since Dayton Agreement; I do not think HR is passive (FTV)
Croatia

Malenica: The purpose of the request of the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H is to defame Operation Flash (HRT)
Montenegro

URA and DPS together against the SPC: Is the vote in the Constitutional Committee of the parliament of Montenegro an announcement of a new coalition? (Vijesti/Novosti)
Markovic: Political crisis can be overcome through elections; DPS ready to resolve situation together with civilian and European forces (CdM/Vijesti)
Abazovic, Zaev: Relations between Montenegro and North Macedonia are an example that other WB countries should follow (Gov. Press Service)
Albania

Venice Commission: Constitutional Court has no jurisdiction to review the validity of local elections (Radio Tirana)
Basha meeting with the US congressional delegation; US our strategic partner (Radio Tirana)

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LOCAL PRESS

Vucic: It’s not Kurti who came up with this idea, it’s designed by others (Politika/B92)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic commented Wednesday’s action of the Kosovo police in the north of Kosovo and Metohija. “As for Kurti, he knows what his real intentions were. Nothing will happen at the Security Council, as they have the support of the big five. Whatever. We can expect the support of China and Russia, but that will not change the situation on the ground,” Vucic said on Thursday during the visit to the Brose factory in Pancevo. “It’s not Kurti who came up with this idea, it’s designed by others. Let them do their job, we’ll do ours. There are various posts on social networks, I wrote one on Instagram yesterday,” he added, referring to the post on that social network in which he spoke about what was happening in Kosovo and Metohija. “It is difficult for a person until he makes a decision, you ponder upon it for days, weeks, years. And when you make it, then you are completely relieved,” said Vucic. He stated that yesterday they came to arrest chocolates with heavily armed and with armored vehicles, their goal was provocation and attacks on Serbs. “All this was covered by several arrests in Kosovo, so that they could say that it was fighting organized crime. ‘Come on, don’t lie’,” Vucic pointed out. When asked how he will help Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija if they are attacked, he pointed out that the KSF armored troops cannot come according to Resolution 1244 without the consent of NATO and four mayors of Serb Municipalities. “This is their seventh or eighth major incursion in order to show their strength. Everything they think they can do to the Serbs, let them try, so they can see what our reaction will be. Surrender is not an option and it is up to us to fight… As far as I am concerned, no matter how difficult it is for us, I know what to do. We will protect our people. Full stop. How? I hope you will never have to see it,” Vucic said.

EU calls for dialogue, says unauthorized actions by Kosovo authorities should be avoided (Beta)

Unilateral actions that are not in synch with the international community, KFOR and the Serbian side on the part of the Pristina authorities are unacceptable, as is violence that threatens stability, and the only place to eliminate tensions is the EU-mediated dialogue, European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said on Thursday. He stressed that this was the essence of the message from EU High Representative Josep Borrell who bore in mind that the situation in the north of Kosovo was very fragile and sensitive. “What we said on 13 October and what we pointed to two, three weeks ago is that unilateral actions must be avoided so as not to add fuel to the fire in terms of possible further clashes and escalations. This is contrary to what we have been doing all along, which is solving problems tied to the north of Kosovo or broader relations between Serbia and Kosovo, in harmony and within the dialogue being mediated by the EU,” Stano explained. The EU official stressed that the crux of the matter was that actions needed to be harmonized. Though there are no special rules that prevent the authorities from conducting activities from the south to the north, the established method is doing this in harmony with the international community, informing KFOR before any actions are taken and also that the representatives of people on the other side be informed so that they are not surprised and do not react like they reacted, Stano said.

Vucic discusses northern Kosovo with Borrell (Beta/RTS)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had a telephone conversation with the EU High Representative Josep Borrell about the crisis in northern Kosovo. They concurred that all tensions must be reduced and problems solved rationally, the office of the President announced on Thursday. Vucic reiterated Serbia’s stance regarding the latest crisis in northern Kosovo, informed the high representative about the facts and accepted his appeal for everything to be done for things not get out of control, the statement reads. Vucic added that Serbia wanted peace and stability more than anything else and that it was ready to resume the dialogue with Pristina at any moment.

Russia’s fierce message to NATO: KFOR to fulfill its obligations in keeping with Resolution 1244 (Politika/Beta)

Russia has fiercely condemned the 13 October move of the Pristina authorities, describing it as being in connection with the upcoming local elections. The spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova stated that Moscow decisively condemns the disruptions by Kosovo’s officials ahead of the 17 October local elections. “Thus, we are witnessing a demonstrative unwillingness on the part of the Kosovo Albanians to give up their aggressive plans aimed at clearing this territory from non-Albanian residents by creating unbearable conditions of existence for them.  It is clear that the radical ‘government’ headed by Albin Kurti does not feel bound by any commitments and openly disregards even those in the West who continue to lobby for the international legitimization of Kosovo’s unlawful unilateral independence. We would like to warn Pristina that its policy, combined with the vague reaction of its foreign sponsors, is inevitably provoking a slide into an open clash and destroying the prerequisites for continuing the already stalled dialogue between the sides. We urge the Kosovo Force to implement its mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and bring to heel the rampaging Kosovo Albanian radicals. We would like to point out that the NATO-led international contingent is fully responsible for maintaining peace and security in the region,” she said. Zakharova added that NATO bore complete responsibility for securing peace and stability. She said the Kosovo police special forces once again raided the north of Kosovo and thus violated the agreement reached a few weeks ago with EU mediation.

Godfrey: Serbia, US partners in facing joint challenges (Beta/RTS)

US Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey said on Thursday that Serbia and the US were durable partners in facing joint challenges. At a gathering on the 140th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Serbia and the US, Godfrey said that the frequency and increasing content of cooperation spoke of the strength of relations between the two countries. Godfrey said that the spirit of an agreement on US military aid to Yugoslavia in 1951 lived on today, adding that it was reflected in various forms of aid. He added that Serbia’s road to the EU was the top joint objective of the two countries. Since 2001 we have given Serbia USD1.16 billion in aid. U.S. firms have invested four billion dollars and created jobs for 20,000 workers in Serbia. A technology park recently opened by the NCR company will contribute to creating 5,000 jobs, Godfrey said. Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic said that 14 October 1881 when diplomatic ties between the Principality of Serbia and the US were established “is an important date” in Serbia’s national and diplomatic history. He also said that Serbia and the US were continuing cooperation “as partners” and added that the two countries could cooperate in many areas.

Selakovic: 3.100 days without progress (Tanjug/B92)

The UN Security Council will consider today the regular six-month report of the UN Secretary General on the work of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Serbia will be represented at the session by Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic, while Vjosa Osmani, President of the provisional Kosovo institutions, will represent Kosovo. The report will be presented by the Head of UNMIK and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Zahir Tanin, who said that the new report focuses on government reform, the rule of law, security issues and the situation with the coronavirus pandemic. On the eve of the session, as part of regular consultations, Tanin talked separately with the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and the Prime Minister of the so-called Kosovo Albin Kurti. The session starts at 4 pm CET. The previous session of the UN Security Council, at which the six-month report on the work of UNMIK was discussed, was held on 13 April in an online format, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Selakovic will have the opportunity to speak at the United Nations in New York today about the operation in the north of Kosovo and Metohija in which Pristina used firearms, at the Security Council session at which the regular six-month report of the UN Secretary General on UNMIK’s work will be discussed. Serbian foreign minister will also be able to talk about a number of unilateral moves by Pristina, such as on Wednesday, when under the false pretext of responding to smuggling, Kosovo’s armed special forces used shock bombs and firearms, injuring one Serb seriously, with a dozen of people sustaining light injuries. At this session, the first one which has not been held in video format since the outbreak of the pandemic, Serbian head of diplomacy will be able to warn of Pristina’s unilateral actions as the worst way to resolve disagreements, because that produces problems, not solutions. That is why before leaving for New York, Selakovic, speaking about the importance of regular consideration of Kosovo and Metohija in the UN Security Council and the upcoming session dedicated to the work of UNMIK, expressed the expectation that the latest events in the north of the province will be adequately and objectively presented in the UN Secretary General’s Report, given that such reckless moves by Pristina could lead to severe consequences and destabilization. Today, Selakovic will repeat on the East River that Belgrade continued to insist on the protection of the Serb population in Kosovo and Metohija and the preservation of peace and stability. The session will be an opportunity for the Minister to express concern that the number of attacks targeting Serbs and their property, as well as the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church, has increased in the past period, bearing in mind that 106 such ethnically motivated incidents have been recorded since the start of the year. In light of all these developments, the Minister will emphasize once again that it is of key importance for Serbia to continue UNMIK’s engagement in an undiminished scope and with an unchanged mandate, although the United States is committed to bringing the mission’s mandate to an end. The session of the UN Security Council is an opportunity to reiterate once again that Belgrade is approaching the talks constructively and is committed to finding compromise solutions, and to emphasize that eight years have passed since the signing of the Brussels agreement, and that in exactly 3.100 days there has been no progress on the commitments taken over by Pristina, primarily in connection with the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities. The previous session of the UN Security Council, which discussed the report on the work of UNMIK and the situation in Kosovo in April, was remembered for being interrupted soon after it began, because during the speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Donika Gervalla, the symbols of Kosovo were visible, so Russia reacted, demanding that the flag be removed.

Petkovic: Kurti is generating a crisis for a handful of votes (RTS)

The Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Petar Petkovic told the morning news of Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) that Albin Kurti incursion into the north of Kosovo and Metohija two days ago in order to have something to offer his voters before the local elections, since there is nothing else. Petkovic said that the regular report of the UN Secretary General on UNMIK’s work would be presented today at the UN Security Council session, and the Serbian Foreign Minister would present the facts faced by the Serb people. “I do not expect anything special. Considering that the West supports Kurti and Pristina, whatever crises they cause, they are a child of the West, we must know that well in our battle for Kosovo and Metohija,” he said.

Petkovic says that the statement of some embassies in Pristina, after the action of the Kosovo police and the incursion into the north of Kosovo and Metohija, show that they support terror and violence. “They say that there was an action to fight against the smuggling of goods, they did not even mention that Srecko Sofronijevic was shot, that a woman in whose yard a lot of tear gas was thrown died,” Petkovic states. He points out that Pristina does not have the right to enter the north of Kosovo and Metohija with long pipes because, according to the annex to the agreement from 2013, the consent of the KFOR commander and the mayor of four municipalities in the north is needed. “They attacked Coca-Cola and Fanta and broke into the pharmacy. If we had not managed to keep regular reports on the situation on the ground in the Security Council, who would testify today about all these terrors in Kosovo and Metohija about everything that happened,” Petkovic notes. According to him, it is clear to everyone that Kurti did not enter the north to deal with the smuggling of goods, as it was announced. “The drug trade and everything else is in the south, he wanted to enter the north before the elections to clear himself in front of the public, to clear himself because he had to withdraw when the sticker regime was established. Kurti is generating a crisis for a handful of votes, he has nothing to present to the voters, the tested recipe is to attack Vucic, Serbs, and to enter the north,” Petkovic opines. He points out that it is important for the Serbs to take part in the local elections on Sunday and, he says, for the candidates of the Serb List to win. “They have the support of Vucic and Belgrade, thus maintaining our umbilical cord, it is a guarantor for further investments. Others outside the Serb List are the disruptors of Serbian unity, they have the support of Pristina. Let’s keep all ten Serb municipalities in Kosovo,” says Petkovic.

Serbia ready to hand over case of Edin Vranj and 26 other cases to B&H (Novosti

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with representatives of Serbian judicial and police authorities in Belgrade on Thursday. They concluded that the case of Edin Vranj, the former official of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FB&H) Police Administration who was arrested on war crimes charges by the Serbian police at the Uvac border crossing one month ago, will be transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). Vucic said that Serbian and B&H prosecutors are supposed to meet on Friday, stressing that Serbia does not want anything in return but that this is an “unilateral act of friendship” initiative. Serbian Minister of Interior Aleksandar Vulin stated that Serbian prosecutorial bodies have filed war crime indictments against 26 citizens of B&H for crimes committed against Serbs. He added that Serbia is ready transfer these cases to B&H authorities that will have a chance to show how their justice looks like. The War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office of Serbia previously stated that it proposed to the Higher Court in Belgrade that further action on the indictment against Vranj is handed over to the B&H judiciary. The decision regarding Vranj was made in accordance with the provisions of the agreement on regional cooperation between the two countries. Vucic stressed that there are no longer secret indictments or criminal reports in Serbia. According to announcements, Serbia respects the jurisdiction, legal system and the territorial integrity of B&H with this move. Vucic said that in this case, they want to send message of peace and cooperation to people in B&H primarily to Bosniaks and to some Croats.

Brammertz: I am grateful to Vucic (B92)

Serge Brammertz, Chief Prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal, welcomed Aleksandar Vucic’s statement on strengthening cooperation with B&H in relation to war crimes. “I welcome today’s announcement by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic that Serbia is taking steps to strengthen legal co-operation with B&H on war crimes cases. This is important for building trust between the two countries and supporting justice,” Brammertz wrote on Twitter. As he explained, in recent talks with Vucic in Belgrade, they agreed that arrests at border crossings undermine successful co-operation among prosecutors in the region. Brammertz wrote that he was grateful to Vucic for dealing with this issue, starting with the measures announced today. “Since the Serbian and Bosnian war crimes prosecutors will meet soon, I expect them to make concrete agreements on the transfer of a much larger number of cases. My office will continue to work with fellow prosecutors on these cases, including access to our evidence and expertise,” Brammertz wrote. “Victims must see that war crimes suspects or indictees will be tried regardless of their place of residence and that justice will be served,” he concluded.

Dodik: High time to establish control over forces under Pristina authority (Novosti

Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik stated that the attack on the unarmed Serb people in front of the eyes of the international military forces in Kosovo, have disturbed not only Kosovo, but also all the regions where Serbs live. “Such behavior has no justification and in case the international community does not put an end to such raging of Kosovo police, they will be responsible for everything that could happen in the future. Serbia and Serbs have done nothing to provoke unpleasant scenes, and it is high time forces under Pristina authority were put under control,” Dodik stated.

 

US President nominates Christopher Hill new Ambassador to Serbia (N1)

US President Joseph Biden nominated Christopher R. Hill as the new Ambassador to Serbia, the White House said on Thursday, replacing Antony Godfrey, who had served in Belgrade since October 2019. Hill is “a career member of the foreign service. Most recently, he has been the 2021 George Ball Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs,” the statement said. It added that “before retiring from the Foreign Service in 2010, Hill served as US Ambassador to Iraq, Korea, Poland and Macedonia, as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and as Head of the US delegation to the 6 Party Talks on North Korea. Earlier in his diplomatic career, he was a member of the negotiating team whose efforts led to the Dayton Peace Agreement, ending the Bosnian war. For ten years, Hill was Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and then Chief Advisor to the Chancellor for Global Engagement and Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy at the University of Denver. He earned a BA at Bowdoin College and an MS at the Naval War College. The recipient of numerous honors, including the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations and the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Award, Hill speaks Serbian, Polish, Macedonian and French.”

REGIONAL PRESS

 

RS officials comment Vucic’s claim that great powers will demand abolition of RS: RS can resist all pressure (Nezavisne

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated on Wednesday that the most powerful countries in the world are going to insist on abolition of Republika Srpska (RS) by string 2022. Commenting his statement, SNSD Secretary General Luka Petrovic stated that there are justified concerns over the increasing pressure against Serbia, and noted that the recent incidents in Kosovo are not a coincidence. In his opinion, it is natural that Serbia, as one of the guarantors of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA), is interested in its implementation and the interests of Serbs. United Srpska leader Nenad Stevandic stated that the RS officials have been aware of what Vucic said even before, but Vucic made sure that the wider public gets informed about the situation. However, he underlined, the RS will resist all pressure and survive. Head of DEMOS Caucus in the RS National Assembly Spomenka Stevanovic stated that Vucic is surely well-informed, and noted that the RS has been under pressure since the war ended. However, she underlined, the RS has the capacity to protect and even strengthen its status within the DPA. SDS’s Davor Sesic stated that Vucic’s statement is a cause for concern. He noted that while the RS is under constant pressure, the guarantors of its survival are its people, responsible politicians, Serbia and Vucic. DNS’s Dusko Ivic stated that there is no concern for the RS as long as its citizens live.

 

Dodik invites Ambassadors of EU member states for meeting in Istocno Sarajevo; Quint Ambassadors fail to attend meeting; Dodik: This is not about secession, people should not be afraid, there will be no war (FTV

 

Leader of SNSD and member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik invited Ambassadors of the EU member states for a meeting in Istocno Sarajevo on Thursday to discuss the current political situation in B&H. FTV noted that only 11 out of 28 Ambassadors of the EU member states came for the meeting, while Dodik claims that 14, 15 Ambassadors attended it. The reporter noted that Ambassadors of Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Sweden and Norway, as well as a deputy of the Ambassador of the EU to B&H attended the meeting. Representatives of authorities of the RS were also present at the meeting: RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic, RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic, RS parliament speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic, Chairman of the B&H Council of Ministers Zoran Tegeltija, SNSD MP Nikola Spiric and other representatives of the ruling authorities in the RS. Ahead of the meeting, the UK Embassy to B&H reacted and stated that they will not attend the meeting and told Dodik that they regularly meet with political actors in B&H, offering him another date for holding of a meeting jointly with partners of the UK Embassy in B&H. Following the meeting, Dodik spoke about secession of the RS from B&H but according to the reporter, in a slightly different tone than usual, by saying that “this is not about a secession” adding that people should not be afraid because there will be no war. He underlined: “The RS has the right to its constitutional position and this is not anything beyond this; that our actions are not actions of dismantling of the territorial integrity but no one can make us accept the illegal HR (Christian Schmidt) who would reach laws for us tomorrow, claiming that we accepted him before. There you go, we do not accept him, he can freely walk around here praising.” The RS leadership stressed that the Constitution and guaranteed Dayton rights of the three peoples and not just one people is what the RS is advocating, adding that they want talks and not impositions. Following the meeting, Dodik stated that the RS will declare all laws of High Representatives null and void, adding that the RS parliament will decide on that. Dodik sent a message to the Ambassadors who failed to attend the meeting in Istocno Sarajevo. “We told them that the RS, without hesitation, and due to mistrust, violation of the Dayton Agreement and everything else that we have been saying lately, will continue its activities in regard to constitutional behavior. We agree with the unrecognized PIC (Peace Implementation Council) which stated that it is their goal to preserve the constitutional order. That is our goal as well. Finally, a thing we agree upon. We are not against the territorial integrity of B&H and we agree with that as well. We are for constitutional position in B&H. It is unequivocally clear and the RS will only undertake measures to restore constitutional competences to it. Preparing all those acts in the next few days, we will have an opportunity to schedule a session of the RS parliament at which we will decide to withdraw our previously given consent for reform of the army, reform of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) and reform of the fiscal system and establishment of directorate for indirect taxes. Of course, we will regulate the situation in those areas with accompanying acts. We will adopt laws on nullity, invalidity and non-application of the laws of B&H imposed by the High Representative on the territory of the RS. That is about 140 laws, including the law on the Court, the Prosecutor’s Office, SIPA, Intelligence Service, and others, public procurement because that was also taken away from the RS. Electoral legislation was taken away as well, and everything we recorded belonged to the RS. In that, there will be no negotiations and talks. One can only inform those who are interested about it… This is not secession. I told the ambassadors today (Thursday) since we heard some things that they claim are not threats but warnings, and one is that the RS could be isolated. Having in mind our talks with friends within the EU, I can bet that the European Commission (EC) will not reach a decision on any sanctions against the RS nor against any individual. Whether this will be done by Germany or some other countries, we cannot guarantee that, but the EC will definitely not,” Dodik emphasized. Dodik stated that it is certain that the EC will not impose sanctions against the RS, but he warned that the day when the EU or EC pass a decision to impose certain sanctions or remove the RS from their projects in B&H will actually be the day of the RS’ independence. Dodik added that in case that Europe imposes sanctions – the RS will not be left without investments because Russia and China will be the RS’ supporters. Dodik noted that the RS will insist on return of its competences otherwise it will disappear. He said that it would not be unrealistic to see scenario of abolition of the RS Government and the RS parliament, concluding that “this is not stubbornness but decisiveness the RS will not give up on”. “If they think that they can threaten us with sanctions, then we can say that we have a right to our political decision,” Dodik underlined.

PIC Ambassadors meet; OHR: PIC expects from all leaders to dismiss rhetoric that leads to destabilization (O Kanal

 

PIC Ambassadors held a session on Thursday. Following the session, the Office of the High Representative (OHR) stated that they again confirmed that it is crucial for citizens that institutions at all levels of power including the B&H Armed Forces (AF) function and that all political representatives are responsible to take part in their work. The press release also reads that the PIC expects from all leaders to dismiss rhetoric that leads to destabilization and divisions and to end all activities in this direction including threats with secession and disputing existence of B&H as a single and sovereign state that is formed of the two entities. The PIC Ambassadors’ statement reads that they support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H and that it is important for B&H citizens that all B&H institutions are functioning. PIC stressed that all political representatives are obliged to participate in the work of institutions in order to serve those who elected them. The Russian Embassy to B&H stated after the session that the statement issued by PIC SB does not represent the position of the entire international community in B&H and should be ignored. The Russian Embassy reminded that it does not accept Christian Schmidt as the new High Representative and that it did not participate in discussion or creation of the statement. The statement of the Russian Embassy to B&H reads that they do not recognize the legitimacy of the new HR because he was not legitimized by the UN institutions in New York in the first place. The Russian Embassy stressed they disagree with text of the statement, adding that their partners violated “acting line of PIC SB” and “frivolously published a standard note”.

EUD: EU supports territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H (Hayat

 

The EU Delegation (EUD) to B&H stated on Thursday that they support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H, including its current administrative organization. The EUD reminded that B&H applied for the EU membership under the current organization and it was accepted as such. They stressed that the constitutional framework of B&H does not offer a legal basis to entities to perform one-sided withdrawals from established B&H institutions or to ban the application of B&H laws in the entities. EUD stated that all of this slows down the progress of B&H on the EU path and it endangers reforms achieved in the past 26 years. They stressed that continuation of blockade of B&H institutions, complete lack of constructive dialogue and use of inflammatory rhetoric in the public are fully unproductive and they just lead to instability and delay in implementation of vital reforms.

Stano: Commitment of EU to territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty of B&H is only framework (BHT1

 

Commenting on the statement of leader of SNSD Milorad Dodik that at least seven EU member states would support a peaceful dissolution in B&H, spokesperson of the European Commission (EC) Peter Stano: “The position of all 27 EU member states is very clear. We strongly support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of B&H. The EU’s commitment to B&H’s territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty is a general framework. Whoever does anything that deviates from that path will be completely unacceptable to the EU. Efforts, attempts, steps and actions, and even statements that call into question the unity and territorial integrity of B&H are not acceptable. We call for an end to inflammatory rhetoric and divisive rhetoric, which includes questioning the roles of B&H state institutions. That is not acceptable because B&H has a clear European future and that is the message of the EU.” “B&H has a clear European perspective, and we work with B&H as a whole country, which is a sign of our commitment to the integrity and sovereignty of that state,” said Stano.

US Embassy: US steadfastly supports B&H sovereignty (Dnevni avaz

 

In regards to the latest statements of member of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik, the US Embassy issued a statement. “The USA steadfastly supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H as one country with two entities and Brcko District, as well as the essential role of the High Representative in monitoring and supporting the implementation of civilian aspects of the Dayton Peace Accords,” US Embassy tweeted. The US Embassy has stated that the US is prepared to use all available sanctions against people who undermine or enable undermining of the Dayton agreement, arguing that the sanctions are not replacement for responsibility of all leaders in B&H to reject destabilizing actions and to work on improving of the functionality through institutions of B&H.

NATO: We support sovereignty and integrity of stable and safe B&H (Dnevni avaz

 

In a statement to the daily, representatives of NATO Alliance stated that they strongly support sovereignty and integrity of stable and safe B&H: “We continue to encourage reconciliation and we appeal to political leaders to avoid rhetoric of divisions. We are dedicated to maintaining of strong political dialogue and practical cooperation with B&H and we offer constant support to efforts of Euro-Atlantic reforms for the sake of everyone in B&H.”

Schmidt and Linhart discuss crisis in B&H (BHT1/N1

 

The High Representative to B&H Christian Schmidt and the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Linhart held a meeting in Sarajevo. The OHR stated that they discussed the crisis in B&H, especially from the aspect of challenging the functionality and territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H. They said that the international community will help B&H but that domestic factors have to do their part of the job. It was stated that strengthening B&H institutions, functionality and rule of law are the conditions that need to be met for B&H to gradually leave the international supervision and moves towards EU membership. Linhart stressed that it is very important now that B&H continues with implementation of key reforms on the EU path, and that the EU is ready to help B&H but that it has great expectations from B&H leaders. According to the statement issued after the meeting, talks between the two officials were focused on preservation of territorial integrity and sovereignty of B&H. Speaking about the current political crisis in B&H and his competences, Schmidt said that Bonn Powers will not be used for time being. He stressed that competent authorities in B&H are the ones that should act and that he should not be expected to pass all the decisions and resolve problems, because this is not the way how things work. Schmidt also said that it is inacceptable to advocate independence without readiness to make decisions. He called for decision-making in B&H institutions, particularly for compliance with decisions of B&H institutions – including decisions of the Constitutional Court of B&H.

 

RS President says RS leadership has been trying for months to hold talks with political parties in FB&H to jointly resolve problems, Croats ready for talks but Bosniaks reject them (RTRS

RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic stated on Thursday that the RS leadership has been trying for months to hold talks with representatives of constituent peoples, institutions and political parties in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FB&H) with an aim to jointly resolve problems. She said that Croat representatives were the only ones who expressed readiness for talks, especially on amendments to the Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), but that Bosniaks reject talks. “Bakir Izetbegovic was sending some letters in which he said that we have nothing to talk about this, but I still think that we have missed a lot and that we could have launched certain topics to start resolving things, as well as that there is a common interest in this. I do not understand a state in which someone reject talks and thinks that dialogue is not a recipe for moving forward but that arresting someone and settling of accounts is a solution, or those who think that judiciary needs to be controlled in order to settle accounts with the RS, threaten to the RS functionaries and then talk about coexistence,” Cvijanovic concluded, noting that she does not want to live in such a state. Cvijanovic, who told Srna that she does not know whom Zeljko Komsic and Sefik Dzaferovic are threatening, and that they need to be reminded there are not state forces if people from the RS do not take part in them. According to Cvijanovic, regarding their story that they will not allow the secession, the RS president said she needs to correct them. “We are not talking about the secession but about respecting the Constitution” said Cvijanovic. She stressed that it is worrying that positions of the opposition in the RS and Bakir Izetbegovic are matching. The RS President added by saying that the OHR cannot engage into any struggle as wished by Izetbegovic, arguing that collaboration between the OHR and radical policy of SDA have led B&H into this situation.

Sarovic: SDS supports transfer of competences to RS; SNSD is dragging RS into chaos and dead ends (BN TV

 

RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic accused the opposition of being against the constitution and the original Dayton Peace Accords (DPA). President of SDS Mirko Sarovic answered these claims, saying that SDS was a state-making party that participated in the creation of the original DPA and the constitution. He stressed that it was sad that those who transferred the competences from the RS level to the B&H one are now trying to impose themselves as the protectors of the original DPA. Sarovic stressed that the original DPA is a part of the program of SDS and they advocate the return of all competence of the RS from the B&H level. He highlighted that it is necessary to achieve consensus in the RS about how this will be done and a dialogue with the FB&H needs to be conducted as well. Sarovic reminded that SNSD voted in both the RS parliament and the B&H parliament for the transfer of competences. He stressed that they oppose the dragging of the RS into chaos with rigid rhetoric and policy led by SNSD. Sarovic assessed that the RS is being pushed into a dead end and new crisis. He assessed that the current situation is madness that SNSD is dragging them into. Sarovic stated that SNSD is leading the RS towards a spiral of unrest and conflict, expecting normal people to remain silent which will not happen. He stressed that the officials have responsibility towards one million people who look up to them and trust them. Sarovic believes that important and significant topics for the RS should not be left to a group of adventurers to be dealt with. Sarovic criticized SNSD leader Milorad Dodik and his associates and called on Dodik to reconsider his actions. “I think that those who are making decisions in the RS, do not know where they are leading us, and they do not have a plan or any solution. The impression is they are not doing this for us, for the people and the Republic, but for their own survival, because they believe if they impose such big issues and bring us into completely chaotic situation in the country, we would forget normal issues, that we would forget issues related to the pandemic, the issue why the death rate in B&H is the highest in Europe”. Nova BH reports that Sarovic also referred to the statement by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in regard to world powers demanding abolishment of the RS by spring, saying it would be fair from Vucic to say who had led the RS to the current situation, and to acknowledge who is currently leading the RS. Sarovic said that it is obvious that Ambassadors of certain countries do not want to talk to Dodik, but added that this is Dodik’s problem now. Commenting Dodik’s meeting with Ambassadors, Sarovic said: “In fact, I actually do not know what a man wanted to say or to achieve. I think that he simply cannot be a person who is part of the solution, but can only add oil to the fire. I would say that he is already in a phase where he defends himself and I do not think that he can defend RS or anyone else”. He agrees that Dodik is adding oil to the fire: “Instead of solving some current crisis which were or are created some time ago, most notably after Inzko’s decision, to open some diplomatic channels and internal dialogue with political stakeholders in B&H, we now have adding of some new crisis. There seems to be no end to this,” said Sarovic.

Trivic: It is Dodik’s wish to live in constant political chaos and constant political crisis, which he believes he would profit from (Nova BH

 

The meeting between high-ranking officials from the RS and European ambassadors held on Thursday in Istocno Sarajevo has sparked reactions among the opposition political parties in the RS. Nova BH reports the opposition is of view that the meeting is an attempt of Serb member of the B&H Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik “to get out of the situation he got himself into” and it is clear things did not go according to the plan, with ambassadors who attended the meeting not supporting Dodik. The opposition in the RS believes many things said “behind the closed door” would remain a secret, and Dodik presented to the public only those things that currently suit him. Nova BH reports that the opposition political parties also reacted to Dodik not abandoning initiative for special session of the RS parliament. Commenting on the meeting, RS PDP representative Jelena Trivic said for Nova BH: “Whether those will be talks where some things will be discussed without being broadcasted, I presume it will be on that level, that they will present their opinion in regard to the overall situation, which the public will not be informed about. The wish is clear to live in constant political chaos and constant political crisis, which he believes he would profit from. However, I think, this time it will all be futile. Unfortunately, he is doing that for his interest, interests of his political party, while dragging the RS into all that, which is not good for the RS”. Nova BH reminds of a strong conflict between the opposition and the authorities in the RS in the past days in regard to topics Dodik wants to impose at the special RS parliament’s session. The opposition accused SNSD and Dodik of being unprincipled, and they called on Dodik to call for special session to discuss all criminal scandals in the RS, after which the topics Dodik want to impose, by the end of this month or at the beginning of the next month, could be discussed.

Nesic: Dodik and SNSD do not deserve this much attention (Dnevni avaz

 

DNS leader Nenad Nesic gave a statement to the daily commenting the meeting of the RS leadership with the Ambassadors to B&H, stating that he was always the one to advocate the talks. “When it comes to response of the Ambassadors this is not a question for me, but for the organizers. However, it is also question for the international community. In fact, the question imposes itself, what is their international credibility, if they even enjoy it” said Nesic and added that Milorad Dodik and SNSD do not deserve this much attention.

Banjac: B&H must return to original Dayton Agreement (Nezavisne

 

NPS leader Darko Banjac attended the meeting of the RS officials with representatives of foreign embassies in Istocno Sarajevo on Thursday. Following the meeting, Banjac stated that it is necessary to return to the original Dayton Peace Accords (DPA) which was repeatedly altered by force. He underlined that according to the original DPA, B&H does not have its own property and noted that it is ridiculous that politicians and people have to defend the Constitution from judges of B&H Constitutional Court. Banjac also stated that all participants of the meeting agree with SNSD leader Milorad Dodik who clearly told the ambassadors that the RS will not give up on its demands.

Niksic: This is the most radical that we saw from Dodik until now; B&H has never been in such big crisis since Dayton Agreement; I do not think HR is passive (FTV

 

Leader of SDP Nermin Niksic, asked how SDP observes activities of leader of SNSD Milorad Dodik that jeopardize the territorial integrity and the Dayton Agreement, said that they decided to act in several directions. In this regard, he mentioned that they requested an urgent meeting with High Representative (HR) Christian Schmidt, Head of the EUD and EUSR Johann Sattler to address Embassies of countries that signed the Dayton Agreement as witnesses and SDP also addressed the Socialist International and the Party of European Socialist. According to Niksic, they want to inform them about the situation in B&H and to direct their attention that “this crossed all lines, that there is a blockade of state institutions, anti-state activities coming from people who really headed into a road without return”. Niksic said that Dodik is aware that he cannot go back and because of that, he is ready to cause and lead to some sort of a conflict to save his positions and his kingdom. Niksic called on all citizens in B&H not to fall for this story adding that he is sure that the number of those who are ready to again sacrifice themselves and their children to wage war is not high while at the same time, he is aware that only one spark would trigger people on all sides who would welcome this. In his opinion, this is why it is so important to urgently react and prevent this by use of all means. Niksic argued that this is the most radical that we saw from Dodik until now and in his opinion, B&H has never been in such big crisis since the Dayton Agreement. Asked whether the passive stance of Schmidt led to this kind of a political destruction and advocating for the secession, Niksic said: “I do not think that he is passive. The man just came and besides, he came at the time when a certain blockade was already present here. If I was him, I would hardly make some big cuts at this moment. I would first try to talk to everyone, to gather everyone. As you can see, the man was in Croatia, in Serbia to talk, to take part and I believe that he is very well informed, that he knows the situation here in B&H very well and I am sure that he will not stay passive and that he will do his job.” Commenting on the recent events in Kosovo, Serbia and the recent statements coming from Serbia, Niksic argued that some statements and behavior remind of events from the 1990s but he is sure that once again, this will all turn out to be nothing but another show. As for the statement of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic that some big forces will request abolition of the RS, Niksic assessed that Vucic is balancing with his statements very well but he is aware of his position, the position of the RS and Serbia and he cannot go into a direction of making some radical adventure. Niksic said that he feels sorry for people who still believe that other peoples jeopardize them, adding that what really jeopardizes them are corrupted and criminal authorities. Niksic underlined that SDP B&H will not calmly watch and listen to stories about dismantling of B&H, but they also do not want to fall into a trap to talk who is a bigger nationalist and thus, neglect the story about salaries and pensions. Niksic said: “Therefore, Dodik’s behavior is well figured out not to talk about crime, corruption and this. He is aware of his political end and this is why his awareness can be dangerous for the situation in B&H.”

 

Malenica: The purpose of the request of the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H is to defame Operation Flash (HRT

Minister of Justice and Administration Ivan Malenica said at a government session on Thursday that the purpose of the request of the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H is not to process war crimes, but to defame the military-police operation Flash. At its 80th session, the Government issued a conclusion ordering the Ministry of Justice to reject the request of the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H dated February 8th this year. Croatia received a request from the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H “requesting the prosecution of high-ranking Croatian officers and generals due to a well-founded suspicion of violating international law within Operation Flash, related to the alleged shelling of Kozarska Dubica and Bosanska Gradiska”, said Minister Ivan Malenica. After analyzing the request and accompanying documentation, the relevant ministry concluded that “the purpose of the actions of certain competent bodies of B&H is not to prosecute war crimes or punish individuals responsible for crimes, but to defame the military-police operation Flash as one of the key foundations of independent and territorial Croatia”, said Malenica. He warned that “satisfying requests could lead to the violation of the sovereignty, security and legal order or other important interests of the Republic of Croatia”. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that this was an important decision in the national interest and in the interest of protecting Croatian generals and commanders, and Operation Flash.

 

URA and DPS together against the SPC: Is the vote in the Constitutional Committee of the parliament of Montenegro an announcement of a new coalition? (Vijesti/Novosti

Whether a new coalition is being formed in Montenegro is a question that has been current for more than a month, after the Civic Movement URA refused to participate with the Democrats in the reconstruction of the “expert” and “non-political” government, which became relevant after the session of the Constitutional Committee of the parliament of Montenegro held on Thursday.

Namely, the deputies of URA, DPS and Liberal Party again voted against the interests of Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), deciding not to reject the proposal of URA, i.e. the coalition “Black and White”, for the deputies in the Assembly to declare themselves regarding the provision of Article 12 of the Law on Freedom of Religion, despite opposition of the government, DF and Democrats! On 4 March, members of the “Black and White” coalition submitted to the Constitutional Court an initiative to assess the constitutionality of Article 12 of the Law on Freedom of Religion because, as they said at the time, “they have no problem examining the legal solution they voted for in parliament at the highest institutional level” especially bearing in mind that the Law has caused numerous controversies in the public. In the Article 12 of that Law, for which adoption the deputies of the “Black and White” coalition voted, states that “in cases of transfer, removal from the state or alienation of goods that represent the cultural heritage of Montenegro, and on which the religious community has the right of ownership, the provisions of the law governing the protection of cultural property shall apply.” The government of Montenegro was also against the initiative of Abazovic’s coalition, which, submitted to the Constitutional Court its opinion and assessed it as unfounded, because the provision of Article 12 of the Law on Freedom of Religion does not violate any of the principles established by the Constitution. Deputies of the coalition “Black and White” with DPS, SDP, SD and LP were on a joint task this summer during the dismissal of the Minister of Justice Vladimir Leposavic and the adoption of the Law on Genocide in Srebrenica …

 

Markovic: Political crisis can be overcome through elections; DPS ready to resolve situation together with civilian and European forces (CdM/Vijesti

“Montenegro is going through one of the most difficult and complex periods since independence, and the current government, with its overall activities, has brought Montenegro to the level of democratic survival,” says Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) MP Dusko Markovic told Vijesti. Markovic adds that the political crisis and the system blockade can only be resolved through elections, emphasizing that “the DPS is ready to work with civil and European forces on resolving the crisis through either elections or a transitional government”. “I can express neither personal nor political attitude that is positive in relation to the current political environment and the overall situation in the country. Today, in Montenegro, due to the actions of this government, we are no longer talking about the Montenegrin perspective and the challenges that stand in the way of the European perspective, but about how we will preserve democratic development in general and how we will save Montenegro from its further devastation,” Markovic points out. He stresses that the DPS left the current government a country that was a leader in the region in terms of potential, capacity and reputation. Markovic believes that during the maturing period of Montenegro numerous mistakes were made. “I think that our key mistake, or lack of policy, was on one issue from which other shortcomings arose. Working on strategic orientation and implementation of foreign policy priorities, we forgot, or we have not managed to deal with the problems of citizens, their individual problems, their standard of living, quality of life,” he points out.

Abazovic, Zaev: Relations between Montenegro and North Macedonia are an example that other WB countries should follow (Gov. Press Service

Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic met with Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev. Let’s rebuild the destroyed bridges and build new bridges of friendship in the Western Balkans. Montenegro and North Macedonia are a regional example of sincere and excellent cooperation that others should follow, it was said after the bilateral meeting. Abazovic pointed out that full membership in the European Union is Montenegro’s strategic goal and a foreign policy commitment that has no alternative. Together with the Republic of North Macedonia and the rest of the Western Balkans, we want to be part of the enlarged EU, convinced that Montenegro is the first next member of the EU, Abazovic emphasized. Abazovic stated that Montenegro is continuously committed to regional cooperation and has an active role in building a more stable and safer region, and wants to share its experience with other Western Balkan countries. Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev pointed out that the relations between the two countries are an example to other countries in the region and beyond. Zaev stressed that the two countries should enhance economic cooperation and that the Republic of North Macedonia wants to share its experience with friendly countries in attracting foreign investment. Abazovic and Zaev stated that the two countries have excellent cooperation at all levels, without open issues, and that they are focused on mutual support in achieving priorities and the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

 

Venice Commission: Constitutional Court has no jurisdiction to review the validity of local elections (Radio Tirana

The Albanian Constitutional Court has no jurisdiction to review the validity of local elections: this is the conclusion reached by the experts of the Venice Commission in the draft opinion prepared in response to the request submitted in July by the Constitutional Court itself. The draft opinion will be discussed in the plenary session the next day when the final text is expected to be approved. The case in the Albanian Constitutional Court was raised by the Association of Municipalities of the country. After the hearing held on 23 June, where the allegations of all parties were heard, the members of the Court decided to address the Venice Commission with 3 questions. The first question was whether “can Article 131, point 1, of the Constitution be interpreted that the Constitutional Court has jurisdiction to assess the constitutionality of the electoral process?”. This question relates to the various allegations raised over the Court’s jurisdiction in this matter. The article for which interpretation is required specifies in point 1, letter “e” that the Constitutional Court decides on issues related to the eligibility and incompatibility in the exercise of the functions of the President of the Republic, deputies, officials of bodies provided by the Constitution, as and by verifying their choice”. Exactly this article is referred to, among others, by the Association of Municipalities. As the Constitutional Court itself explains in the letter sent to Venice, this moment is included in the Constitution after the intervention made in the framework of the decriminalization reform, to recognize the right of appeal to the affected person, since it is a restriction of a constitutional right. The experts of Venice, after a long legal analysis, conclude that the competence of the Constitutional Court does not include reviewing the validity of local elections. “This does not prevent the Constitutional Court from exercising its control over the electoral legislation.” Following this finding, the answers to the other two questions, which in fact were in support of the first, no longer carry any weight, also because in content they seek answers to questions which were touched upon in the previous Opinion of the Venice Commission. Given the principle of periodicity of local elections and that of political pluralism are provided as basic constitutional principles, what would be the relationship between them in a situation where there is a risk of violating each principle? Which principle would prevail over the other? This is the second question. In fact, the issue raised has found a relatively broad argument of the Commission, in its Opinion of 2019. In the current draft opinion experts specify that “the principles of periodicity of elections and political pluralism are unlikely to conflict with each other, as they are expressed in very different types of rules. Pluralism may be a legitimate aim to intervene in periodicity, but for that aim to prevail, the interference must have a legal basis and be proportionate. Parliament has a wide discretion to decide on providing a legal basis for postponing elections; in the absence of such a basis, the Constitutional Court may consider the postponement as unconstitutional”. The third question also raises an issue that has also been addressed before. “In a situation of a climate of legal uncertainty, has the conduct of public authorities and political parties violated the right of voters to have meaningful choices?” Should they have ensured the highest interest of the voters?  The bodies involved in the election process of June 30, 2019 have held different positions. This is due to the fact that during this period, the Constitutional Court was not functional and that there was no other court request submitted to any court instance. According to Venice experts, “Question no. 3 raises the issue of legal uncertainty in the context of the 2019 local elections. Even if such legal uncertainty cannot be challenged, political uncertainty has profoundly and repeatedly affected the Albanian political scene to an even greater extent. While public authorities and political parties have not secured the highest interest of the voters, the reason does not come simply from their actions, but from the constant controversy between them, which goes to the point of eroding the very legitimacy of democracy before the electorate.” For this reason, according to experts, it remains the co-responsibility of public authorities and the entire political spectrum to restore trust in Albanian institutions and in the electoral processes. This implies the responsibility of all these stakeholders to promote political dialogue between all political forces, as well as between national institutions, such as the Central Election Commission, among others. It also means restoring a meaningful choice for voters. “All these elements are sine qua non preconditions, but not exclusive to democratic elections.”

Basha meeting with the US congressional delegation; US our strategic partner (Radio Tirana

Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha shared photos from the meeting with the US congressional delegation and Ambassador Yuri Kim at the PD headquarters. Basha says he has shared with them the concern about the situation in Albania, the high level of corruption and what he calls the election massacre. Another point of discussion as quoted by the leader of the Democrats was the situation in Kosovo and the region. He says that the closure of Kosovo-Serbia talks as soon as possible would serve peace in the region. Basha reiterated that the US is a strategic partner. “I am pleased to welcome the delegation of the US Congress and Ambassador Yuri Kim and to express my gratitude to you and the DP for the extraordinary support that the US has given to the Albanian Nation. I shared with them our concern about the situation in Albania, the high level of corruption, the election massacre and the links between politics and crime. We also discussed the situation in Kosovo and the region. Closing the Kosovo-Serbia talks as soon as possible with mutual recognition would serve peace and stability in the region, which today remains fragile. I reiterated that for me and the DP, the USA is our strategic partner and the closest possible economic, political cooperation and in the field of security is our main priority,” writes Basha.

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