Selakovic: All nations must enjoy equal rights and dignity (Tanjug/RTS/RTV)
Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said on Sunday, on the occasion of the anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Charter, that all nations, both large and small ones, must enjoy equal rights and dignity. History teaches us, and the UN Charter warns, that only by respecting the goals and principles to which we are all committed can we build the world we want – a world based on the sovereign equality of all states, a world in which we resolve all disputes peacefully and preserve international peace and security, a world in which we respect the territorial integrity of each state and work together to improve the social and economic progress of all peoples, said Selakovic. Recalling that the UN Charter is the constitution of the international community, the alphabet of international law and the legal imperative that regulates international relations, Selakovic pointed out that Serbia consistently follows the rules and principles contained in the Charter. Selakovic joined the international action “Our Rules are the UN Charter” by reminding of the value of that document.
Selakovic: OSCE in Pristina most significant status-neutral international presence implemented in keeping with UNSCR 1244 (Tanjug/RTS/RTV)
Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic met on Monday in Belgrade with OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid, who said Serbia’s partnership with the organization remained strong and commended the country for its contribution to stability in the region and beyond. At a joint press conference with Schmid, Selakovic said Serbia considered the OSCE to be one of the most significant regional security organizations that was now a platform for dialogue and a unique format for addressing the security challenges in Europe, as well as beyond. Selakovic said he had exchanged views with Schmid about future work of the organization and noted that Serbia maintained extremely good cooperation with the OSCE. Serbia is committed to the OSCE and its principles, as was particularly evident during its chairmanships of the OSCE in 2015 and the Forum for Security Co-operation in 2017, he said. “With the 50th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act approaching, I expressed Serbia’s readiness to work, together with other participating states, on reaffirming the OSCE principles, especially those established by that act,” Selakovic said. He noted that, unlike the other 52 OSCE member states, Serbia had two OSCE missions in its territory – in Belgrade and in Pristina. Selakovic said Serbia was particularly proud of the cooperation with the OSCE mission in Belgrade, which he said was making a significant and unselfish contribution to reform processes in Serbia, aimed at creating a better, more orderly and more efficient society. Selakovic added that he had also discussed with Schmid the work of the OSCE mission in Kosovo and Metohija and that he had informed her of the latest developments in the province in September and October. He informed Schmid of the growing tensions in Kosovo and Metohija and the fact that, over the past ten months, the number of ethnically motivated attacks targeting the Serb population has seen a major increase. “An important aspect of the conversation about Kosovo and Metohija is the functioning of the OSCE mission in Pristina, which we consider to be the most significant status-neutral international presence by a regional international organization on the ground that is being implemented in keeping with UN Resolution 1244,” Selakovic noted. He said he had also briefed Schmid on Serbia’s views on developments in the region, noting Serbia’s commitment to building good-neighborly relations, maintaining stability and strengthening regional integration. Schmid said the conversation with Selakovic had been constructive and that they had noted the significance of the role of OSCE as the largest international security organization that had a unique approach to peace and security. She said peace and security should be viewed in the context of economic and environmental issues, as well as with regards to human rights. She said that, since chairing the OSCE in 2015, Serbia had been contributing to stability in the region and beyond. Schmid said the meeting had also addressed reforms and Serbia’s progress, the OSCE’s work in Serbia, as well as security sector reforms aimed at improving the police and making it a service to citizens. She said the OSCE would continue to support implementation of legislation and reforms to achieve the set objectives.
Vucic: Serbia will not support sanctions against Republika Srpska (Tanjug/RTS/Politika/Novosti)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said late on Saturday the position of Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency, that the Republika Srpska (RS) does not want to cause problems to anyone in any way and is ready for dialogue was a very responsible and rational approach, and added that Serbia would not support any kind of sanctions against anyone in the RS. “Dodik said unequivocally that there is no whim or a desire on the part of the RS to cause any kind of problems to anyone anywhere, but that their moves are a reaction to the right to use of forests and agricultural land being taken away from the RS contrary to the Dayton Agreement and handed to the central authorities,” Vucic told a press conference after meeting with Dodik in Belgrade. Vucic said he had reiterated during the meeting that dialogue with Bosniaks was very important and that, despite derogatory statements from Sarajevo, there was no alternative to it. He also said Serbia would absolutely oppose, and would not comply with, anyone’s sanctions against anyone in the RS. “That is our clear, firm and unequivocal position and we ask everyone that we hold discussions and solve problems through dialogue, and I saw a lot of space for that and good will on Dodik’s part,” Vucic said. He noted that sanctions would lead to a heated atmosphere and domino effects on various sides that would bring no good. “I call on all those who think that sanctions are a done deal and just a matter of implementation to think again before making such a decision. Serbia will not join sanctions and there will be no blockades on the Drina as long as I have influence on political life in Serbia,” Vucic said. Those who think sanctions solve problems are knocking on the wrong door, and they will shut the door to themselves both in Belgrade and in Banjaluka, he said. Vucic said the meeting had also addressed the issue of the RS army and that he had conveyed to Dodik several important messages from Europe and the world. “We discussed all major topics concerning Serbia-B&H relations. Dodik informed me of his views on everything that is going on in the RS and B&H. We discussed specific projects and I asked Dodik that we accelerate several things and do them together,” Vucic said, adding that the discussions had also addressed infrastructure development and links between Serbia and the RS and Serbia and B&H. He said they had also talked about the energy situation and the preparation of a joint platform for discussions with various partners about constructing a gas pipeline to Banjaluka that would ensure energy stability to the RS. Vucic also said faster decision-making in Sarajevo regarding a motorway to Serbia was important because such a link between Serbs and Bosniaks would have a very healing effect on the two peoples and economic relations. Speaking to reporters about the situation in B&H, Dodik said it was complex but that no one in Sarajevo wanted to discuss it and that, instead, there was talk of conflicts and calls for sanctions. “No conflicts are possible, I am not ready to sacrifice peace for the RS, but I am personally ready to sacrifice myself for the RS,” Dodik said. He added that Sarajevo wanted to rule on all issues in order to run political processes in B&H.
Continuous communication with EU on further reforms (Tanjug/RTV/RTS/Beta)
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, together with Serbian Minister for EU Integration and Chief Negotiator Jadranka Joksimovic, met on Friday with the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret and the Ambassadors of the EU Member States. The topics of the meeting were 2021 EU Enlargement Package and in particular the Report of the European Commission on Serbia for this year, as well as the next steps in the process of accession to the EU. She underlined that Serbia has continuous communication with the Delegation of the EU and all Member States and that it speaks openly about further reforms, first and foremost in the field of the rule of law. Brnabic assessed that this year’s Report on the progress of Serbia gives an objective evaluation of everything the Serbian government has achieved on speeding up the political and economic reforms, by which one of the strategic priorities has been fulfilled. According to Brnabic, it is of particular importance that the European Commission has given a clear recommendation that Serbia reached the criteria necessary for opening two clusters of chapters. Today we have an opportunity to present to you, as representatives of the EU and EU Member States, additional information on the adoption and implementation of all necessary reforms, she stated. For this reason, it is important that this meeting is being held immediately after the release of the European Commission’s Report and before the final decision of the Member States on whether they will support the opening of clusters, she said. Brnabic voiced her hope that these additional explanations will contribute to Serbia obtaining consent for the formal continuation of negotiations by the end of this year. She also underlined that the European Commission’s recommendation for the further opening of clusters is very important politically, not only as an incentive to the government to continue implementing its reform plans with motivation and responsibility, but also to the citizens of Serbia and all in the region, who in this way receive once more a clear confirmation on the perspective of membership in the EU. Brnabic pointed out that Serbia wishes to make additional progress in all areas, especially in the field of the rule of law and that continuous communication with the Delegation of the EU in Serbia and all Member States is of particular importance to that end. Joksimovic stated that the Report provides the necessary balance in the evaluation of everything Serbia has achieved in the previous period. According to her, in some segments the implementation of reforms is faster, in some other somewhat slower, but progress has been noticed in all areas and is noted down in the Report itself. She voiced hope that the general assessments from the European Commission, which speak in favor of honesty, dedication and capability of the Serbian government to implement policies which are important for the accession process in time of pandemic, will be a sufficient orientation for the Member States to agree on the further opening of clusters. Ambassador Giaufret expressed gratitude to the Serbian government for convening this meeting with ambassadors of the EU Member States, describing it as a positive indication of Serbia’s dedication to strengthening dialogue on reforms for the sake of solving priorities and necessary activities identified in the yearly Report of the European Commission.
Dacic: Everyone mostly happy with document for improving electoral conditions (RTS/Beta/Politika)
Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic said on Sunday that everyone is mostly happy with a document outlining the improvement of election conditions resulting from unmediated negotiations between the regime and the opposition and that he expected the representatives of the seven strongest parties or coalitions who participated in the talks to sign it. Dacic told RTS that the document defines the rules and that the next step was for it to be signed formally this week by the representatives of the opposition parties and coalitions who took part in the talks– the Dveri Movement, the Movement for the Restoration of the Kingdom of Serbia, the Democratic Party of Serbia, the DJB coalition, the Serbian Radical Party, the Zavetnici, and the environmentalist party Healthy Serbia (Zdrava Srbija). “They are all expected to run in the elections. The elections are set to take place on 3 April, that’s what our papers said,” he stressed, adding that the parliamentary and Belgrade local elections should be called mid-February while the presidential election would be called in March, 90 days prior to expiration of the President’s mandate. He said the authorities had pledged to implement everything from a parallel dialogue mediated by European Parliament members, too, even though, according to him, the formations of Freedom and Justice Party leader Dragan Djilas and People’s Party leader Vuk Jeremic do not want to take part in this, and that it would serve as a basis for establishing a media monitoring body to keep track of the opposition’s air time during the election campaign. He added that the agreement covered electoral law, the election process, things like submitting tickets and collecting signatures, voting roster checks and monitoring voting day and results, and the matters of the media and campaign funding. Local, parliamentary and presidential elections were agreed to be held simultaneously.
Giaufret calls for return to inter-party dialogue (Beta)
The Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret on Friday called all political parties in Serbia to resume a constructive dialogue and warned that the political climate in Serbia remains polarized. Speaking after a meeting with parliament speaker Ivica Dacic, Giaufret said that the inter-party dialogue was meant to reach a wide consensus and added that the aim is for Serbia to achieve progress on the way to EU membership. The EU Ambassador was there to hand Dacic the latest European Commission report on Serbia’s progress on integration into the EU. He said that the report notes progress in some areas but also the use of inflammatory language in parliament, calling for a peaceful dialogue.
Djilas tells MEPs that dialogue on election rules failed (FoNet)
The leader of the Freedom and Justice Party (SSP) Dragan Djilas called on European parliamentarians Tanja Fajon, Vladimir Bilcik, Knut Fleckenstein and Eduard Kukan to restrain themselves from sending any further documents regarding the inter-party dialogue on election rules in Serbia, adding that the dialogue ended in utter failure. Responding to the proposal of the MEPs that opposition parties should name a member of the supervisory body for media, which will control the representation of the opposition in media during the campaign, Djilas said that the dialogue between the ruling parties and the opposition ended in utter failure.
“Responsibility lays entirely on you as European inter-mediators that decided to abandon European values and stand in defense of the non-democratic and autocratic regime of Aleksandar Vucic,” Djilas stressed. He also said that the document offered by the MEPs at the end of the dialogue, which according to him was accepted by only two relevant ruling parties, the SNS and the SPS, brought no change into the election rules in Serbia. “Yet another confirmation that the document that you had proposed is meaningless are newly proposed changes to the Serbian Information Law as a result of the document adopted by Serbian regime and you,” Djilas added in the note. Janko Veselinovic, the leader of the Together for Serbia (PzP) movement, as well as Pavle Grbovic, the leader of the Free Citizens’ Movement (PSG), also told the MEPs they would not nominate their candidates for the supervisory body.
Kosovo’s ‘decisions’ have no legal force (TASS/Tanjug/Politika)
Decisions taken by the unrecognized state of Kosovo have no legal force, the Russian Embassy in Serbia told TASS on Friday, commenting on Pristina’s decision to expel two Russian diplomats. “We don’t recognize Kosovo’s ‘independence’, hence, we don’t recognize its ‘government’ and other ‘structures’. None of Pristina’s decisions have legal force for us. We cooperate with the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), including on this matter, on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244,” the Embassy said. “We consider attempts to hamper Russian diplomats accredited at the UNMIK to carry out their lawful activities that are entirely within the framework of international law as absolutely unacceptable,” the Embassy said in a statement.
Kosovo team prevented from participating in World Boxing Championship (RTS/EuroNews)
The Serbian authorities banned the Kosovo national boxing team from entering Serbia proper to participate in the 2021 World Boxing Championship being held in Belgrade. The team was told to remove their uniforms which displayed Kosovo national symbols. The team refused, as AIBA, the International Boxing Association, had promised them fair and equal treatment in this respect. The association also wrote that they are in contact with Serbian authorities to remedy the situation.
Is there way out of dead-end street in B&H (Politika, by Mladen Kremenovic)
Professor at the Faculty of Political Science in Banja Luka Zeljko Budimir told Politika that the crisis in B&H “is the product of activities of the High Representatives and B&H institutions which were taken over by Bosniaks who completely ignored consensus and constituent status of people as the way in which the state community can be preserved”. The daily reminded that “unconstitutional decisions” caused the RS parliament to decide, at the end of July, that Serb representatives in B&H institutions will participate in the work of those institutions in a selective manner and wondered whether the call of High Representative Christian Schmidt to talk about disputable issues might represent a signal that a solution might be primarily in an agreement on distribution of the state property. The daily argued that distribution of property is the most serious issue and most frequent source of misunderstandings in B&H and it is also the key issue that needs to be solved for the OHR to be shut down. Several days ago, Serb member of the Presidency of B&H Milorad Dodik reminded of the meeting of leaders of six parties some ten years ago in Banja Luka, on which occasion an agreement on distribution of property was reached and it was agreed that B&H institutions will get to use property they need for their functioning, while the rest of the property will be registered to the entities. However, the daily noted, the Constitutional Court of B&H included forests and agricultural land to the list of property which the RS is not entitled to and the RS “got mad” because it deemed that this issue was defined by the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). Budimir said that the RS reacted in the only possible way, i.e. it invoked the Constitution of B&H and DPA in an attempt to return to Dayton organization. President of the Forum of Citizens from Tuzla Vehid Sehic told the daily that the only way to solve a problem is by reaching an agreement, but he said he doubts domestic politicians are willing to reach an agreement that would satisfy all sides. Sehic added that it would be the best if domestic politicians discussed these matters alone, but the question is whether they are willing to do that at all. “Foreign representatives were put to a big test too because we got to this situation in the first place thanks to their policies. I hope reason will prevail because it is high time fear of people is dispersed although it is clear that there can be no conflict,” Sehic said.
Vucic announces meeting with Izetbegovic in upcoming period (O Kanal)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic stated that the meeting with SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic would be organized in the upcoming period to activate Serb-Bosniak dialogue. Addressing the media, Vucic said “I especially despise those in Belgrade, Banja Luka and Sarajevo, who think problems are resolved with sanctions. Dialogue is the best method for resolving an issue. In the upcoming weeks, I will talk with Bakir Izetbegovic, as a Bosniak leader, because I think it is very important to open Serb-Bosniak dialog, to talk about each other with more respect.”
Dodik meets Vucic in Belgrade (N1)
Addressing the press conference held after the meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said that the key issues discussed are related to the situation in B&H, noting “the situation is complex, a culmination of different events in the past’’, i.e. abolition of the Day of the RS, change of the RS’ emblem, “which were followed by the decisions on the status of the agricultural land and forests, the decision of the Constitutional Court (CC), with three foreigners and two Bosniaks, where they have majority of five out of nine (judges) and they issue different decisions”. Dodik added that the current situation in B&H was such that “the RS, as a signatory of all annexes of the Dayton Agreement, including Annex 4, i.e. the B&H CC, has been dispossessed of agricultural land and forests, which has not been done to the Federation of B&H (FB&H)”. Dodik noted that, with a special decision of the B&H CC, agricultural land and forests in the Brcko District were given into ownership to the Brcko District “although it is a joint property of the two entities, i.e. the Brcko District is under definition and the Constitution, a joint property of the two entities”.
Dodik reminded of decisions imposed by High Representatives, unilateral decisions regarding the participation in the United Nations (UN) General Assembly session, without the consent of the B&H Presidency, and other similar situations, including “arbitrary cancellation of the Armed Forces and Serbian Army exercise, immaculately prepared to be carried out’’, noting that all those events “culminated relations in B&H to the extent that they need to be resolved right way, or the country will not succeed in functioning”. Dodik said he had informed Vucic that the RS “in almost unbearable atmosphere of pressure’’ gave its consent for the RS Army to be abolished and for the B&H Armed Forces to be formed. “All efforts made after that to translate the situation in the Constitution have failed. Current situation is that the B&H Constitution does not recognize the jurisdiction of B&H over defense, and if you read it literary, there is no room for the military” said Dodik. He added that the RS would continue with its activities, and he would continue discussion with Vucic, and “my other friends from the international sector” in order to reach the best assessment. “The RS has been damaged. We are stripped of powers with persistent force, and by implementing creeping brutal force by the international factor that functions there. In the end, we got a man who poses as the HR, who was not appointed at the UN Security Council. It is a confusing situation, in which no one wants to talk and negotiate, but you can only hear loud statements, not only from Sarajevo, but also from big powers, that only deal with us only superficially, about the situation being so aggravated that a conflict is possible. Conflicts are not necessary. And, I said I am not willing to sacrifice the peace for the RS, but I am willing to do everything and sacrifice myself for the RS,” said Dodik. Dodik reminded of the recent session of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), when “six Bosniak prosecutors voted to remove Chief Prosecutor who is Croat”, noting that none of Serbs or Croats voted. “It is what Bosniaks are doing in Sarajevo. They want to take control over judiciary, that will rigorously, using force (…), try to manage political processes in the future,” said Dodik. Addressing the press conference President Vucic informed that the project documentation for the Trebinje Airport would be completed in March 2022, with funds for the construction and land expropriation already been ensured. Vucic added that the value of the construction amounts to EUR 70 million, and the cost of equipping of the Airport amounts to EUR 20 million, noting the Airport should be in function before the end of 2023. He reminded that the construction of gas pipeline between Serbia and Banja Luka, an important infrastructural project, has also been discussed. Vucic added that he and Dodik had discussed all political issues, noting that “from what President Dodik told me, I understood there are three important issues”. Vucic said that Dodik had unequivocally said there “is no caprice, nor desire for the RS to cause any issues for anyone anywhere, but that their actions were caused, i.e. they are reaction to taking away the right to use forests and the right to agricultural land from the RS contrary to the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA), and transferring it to the central authorities. I think a very important message, that President Dodik presented you today, is that if that issue is resolved, he is willing to talk, and when he says that, he is willing for the institutions of B&H to function, which, I think, takes away arguments from those who want to say that Dodik and the RS are to blame”. Vucic added he had said “there is no alternative to dialog, we need to have a dialog with Bosniaks, the dialog needs to be responsible, and that we all need to abandon our dreams of potential life or victory over another people, because I think we can win only if we talk, agree and think about the future of both (peoples)” said Vucic. He said he had also discussed the RS army with Dodik, and “I conveyed a number of important messages of people from Europe and the world to President Dodik (…) and I am very grateful to him for expressing the willingness to hear more opinions in the next 14 to 15 days from different people”. Vucic added he would go to Banja Luka if invited, noting it is not only important to try to preserve the peace, but also “to show, what President Dodik showed everyone tonight, that the RS is not a source of problems, but that all of us in the region are willing to talk and assist in finding a way out of the crisis’’, noting he expected talks with Dodik, as well as with international representatives to continue “and you will have a lot to see, particularly at the beginning of November”. Commenting on the potential sanctions against the RS and Dodik, Vucic said that Serbia would oppose any sanctions. “We cannot make decisions, but we will not support, nor we will act in accordance with any sanctions imposed by someone against anyone in the RS. Our position is very strong, very clear and unequivocal, and, not to use the word ‘warn’ because it is inappropriate, and would not fully correspond to the truth, we plead to them to talk, to resolve the issues with dialog. In the discussion with President Dodik tonight, I saw a lot of room, I saw his willingness. We are all willing to resolve issues with dialog, and the sanctions will only lead to heated atmosphere, to domino effects from different sides that will bring nothing good to anyone,” said Vucic. Vucic emphasized that he finds very important a message of Dodik that he is ready for talks and unblocking B&H institutions if this problem is resolved, noting that this means that all those who want to say that Dodik and the RS are to be blamed for the current situation in B&H would no longer have arguments for such thesis. Vucic assessed that talks and dialogue with Bosniaks have no alterative and that he believes in this regardless of the fact that any similar proposal is usually not welcomed by Sarajevo at all. Vucic stressed that the overall situation in the field of energy was also one of the topics given the fact that the current energy crisis on the global level threatens economic survival of large number of countries in the region. Vucic noted that they held detailed talks on how to prepare a joint platform for talks with all possible partners, including the partners in the region that are the EU member states and representatives of the Russian Federation, on the construction of a gas pipeline leg from the territory of Serbia to Banja Luka, because it is very clear now that Serbia is stable in this field despite difficult situation in the field of energy in Europe as it has constructed an expensive gas pipeline. Vucic concluded that Serbia will continue to be strong and to be factor for preservation of stability in the region. Dodik was asked by reporters if he stays resolute in insisting on return of the RS’ competences that this entity is entitled to in line with the DPA and if expects support of all political parties in the RS on this matter, including the opposition.
Djokic: Vucic takes care of the RS; Sarovic: All that Vucic said after meeting Dodik are things that SDS is fighting for; Borenovic: Serbia worries about the RS, unlike Dodik (BN TV)
Serbia is the guarantor of the Dayton Peace Agreement and protector of the RS interests, and that will remain to be true, said SP RS leader Petar Djokic. Djokic emphasized the fact that Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, takes care of the RS – in a special way, and that gives courage and motivation to people in this entity. “That strengthens our faith and confidence, that we are together, that that policy – which we implement together, has meaning, and that we will abide by it together,” Djokic told reporters. Djokic said: “Dodik had to draw attention to injustice done for almost two decades to the RS, by taking away its competencies, through the role of the High Representative (HR) at first, and, after that, they changed the HR’s role with the Constitutional Court (CC) that today is an unjust court, violating basic relations in B&H with its decisions.” Djokic added it is of great importance that Dodik “especially in the past days, clearly said he is not fighting against the integrity of B&H, but for the integrity of the RS within B&H”. All that Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, said after Saturday’s meeting with Milorad Dodik, are the policies that SDS advocates and which this party fights for, said SDS leader Mirko Sarovic. In his comment on this meeting, Sarovic said Dodik probably did not get what he expected because, Sarovic points out, Vucic only confirmed the policies that are advocated by SDS. This was completely clear from Vucic’s statement on dialogue being the only option, and that there is no alternative in this case, Sarovic added. Sarovic agrees with Vucic that talks must be held with Bosniak leaders, as Serb and Bosniaks must talk and find solutions for most pressing issues in B&H. Vucic emphasized that no rash moves will be good, and he advised B&H leaders to take their time, hold talks, and find solutions in a peaceful manner. Sarovic says Vucic is right when he says no unilateral decisions should be made in B&H – as they are unacceptable, and they do not lead anywhere good. “I wish to underline that SDS spoke about all this in the past days – me, personally, and other SDS members. That means that it is necessary to reach a certain consensus in the country regarding all issues, to see if we have, or do not have, a plan for those matters, and for us to lead smart policies,” Sarovic said, adding that SDS advocated such smart policies over past days, and SNSD strongly attacked SDS due to these proposals. Sarovic stated that Vucic supports making smart moves, and he believes problems can be solved only with cool heads. “It is quite clear that we are dealing with chaotic authorities that are rushing and have no serious plan, but are making unilateral, inappropriate moves, without wider consultations, and what is worse, they are instilling fear in the public of the RS due to dragging one into conflicts and threats of war,” Sarovic was quoted as saying. “We have not heard how and in what way he intends to return competencies. He only confirmed that he would play some of his games, without any clear plan and realistic steps, until the elections, but now obviously ‘under the handbrake’, clearly establishing that the line must not be crossed.” PDP leader Branislav Borenovic said Serbia takes care of the RS’ interest within the Dayton Peace Agreement, unlike Milorad Dodik. Borenovic emphasized that Serbia leads a reasonable, normal and mild policy – in which RS’ interest is sought and protected within the Dayton Peace Agreement. Serbia believes that the RS must be protected, the PDP leader stresses. Borenovic said the RS can be protected and preserved in a rational and reasonable way, through internal agreement, and since it is internationally recognized – this fact cannot, in any way, be disputed. “I see this as a clear message that nobody has the right to toy with the interest and position of the RS, and nobody can make risky moves that could endanger the RS’ interest,” Borenovic says. Assessing Dodik’s behavior, Borenovic said he makes risky moves and he, sometimes, even does things in a selective way, which could even harm the RS. Borenovic underlines that Dodik’s personal failure, and the failure of his coalition, is seriously endangering the RS – as Dodik wants to transfer this negativity onto the RS. Borenovic also said Dodik’s coalition on the state level, with SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic and HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic, has failed. All this is extremely dangerous, Borenovic concluded.
Komsic: Dodik cannot be saved by Vucic, only by adoption of changes to B&H Election Law according to wishes of HDZ B&H (N1)
N1 carries that messages sent from the meeting between Aleksandar Vucic and Milorad Dodik are still being analyzed. Vucic called for talks between Serbs and Bosniaks, stressing that these talks have no alternative. However, as N1 noted, Vucic’s call was not met with enthusiasm.
SDP B&H’s Denis Becirovic said that Vucic must finally understand that there can be no negotiations between Serbs and Bosniaks because we do not live in the Middle Ages. “Only two member states of the United Nations – Serbia and B&H – can negotiate, talk and cooperate,” Becirovic was quoted as saying. B&H Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic stressed that Dodik cannot be saved by Vucic, but only by the adoption of changes to the B&H Election Law according to the wishes of HDZ B&H which are supported by Russia, which would mean the end of B&H’s NATO prospects. Nova BH reminds that Vucic stated: “Dialogue must be responsible. We must both give up on our own dreams of a possible life and victory over another people because I think we can only win if we talk.” Dodik would be willing to talk in the next 15 days, but is not clear to the leaders of the SDA with whom would Dodik talk. Vice President of SDA Adil Osmanovic stated: “Who should he talk to? He is the one who, without any serious reason, led to the blocking of the work of the institutions of the state of B&H”. Becirovic was quoted as saying: “It is time for Serbian officials to accept the enduring fact that B&H is an independent, sovereign and indivisible state. Also, it is high time for Vucic and Dodik to stop interpreting the issue of B&H state property unfoundedly and one-sidedly.”
SDP, Nesic, Salkic comment Vucic-Dodik meeting (Dnevni avaz)
With regards to the meeting between Aleksandar Vucic and Milorad Dodik, SDP B&H issued a statement. “We honestly hope that latest statements from the meeting of Aleksandar Vucic with Milorad Dodik show that they also understood what kind of adventure Dodik launched and that nobody’s post is worth endangering of peace and stability of the entire region,” reads the statement. SDP stressed that dialogue has no alternative and stressed that issues can be solved only within constitutional and legal competencies in B&H institutions – the parliament, Presidency and Council of Ministers. “This is why we deem that it is good to know that Vucic controls Dodik, but this in no way means that he can interfere into our internal relations. It is time for him and everyone with similar pretentions, to understand that their partner for the talks is exclusively in B&H Presidency. This is why there is no rational explanation for his continued support to secessionists and those who undermine Peace Agreement, which he tried to do now with the alleged opposing the sanctions which might be imposed,” reads the SDP statement.
In a statement to the daily, DNS leader Nenad Nesic commented the messages conveyed after the meeting between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Milorad Dodik. “We have heard a message that agreement and dialogue have no alternative, that peace in B&H is not and will not be endangered and that is the thing that is best to hear. Also, I am glad that we have heard that Vucic will not support further dissolution of the RS, losing of competencies. With this, Vucic unambiguously stood behind the RS. I deem that Dodik needs to lose in elections and leave managing of the RS and B&H to people who are ready for agreement and who have better idea about how to proceed into the better future,” said Nesic. Commenting the meeting between Aleksandar Vucic and Milorad Dodik, Bosniak RS Vice President Ramiz Salkic said that Vucic did not say anything special that Dodik did not know before. Salkic underlined that careful analysis of Vucic’s statements reveal that he never said that he is ready to talk to B&H Presidency about existing issues. “He would like to reduce this to the level of the peoples, certain groups and individuals. If Vucic has good intentions towards B&H, he will direct Serbian Prime Minister with the Chairman of Council of Ministers. And he will further talk to B&H Presidency about the issues that are evident and present,” said Salkic. He noted that for ten years, Dodik is exerting psychological pressure on citizens of this country and they are leaving the country. “Dodik is creating the atmosphere of fear, mistrust and possible conflict. He needs to face sanctions because of this and be removed from political scene. There is no reason for us to be content now because he announced that he will unblock work of institutions. This is not about change of course, but about some tactical story. I do not see any kind of change here,” said Salkic.
Tabakovic on meeting of Dodik and Vucic: This was just waste of time (Hayat)
Milorad Dodik said after his meeting with Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade that he supports extension of the EUFOR mission in B&H. Hayat finds this interesting, and says that Dodik often changes his stances and he shifts his focus very frequently. Dodik is now focused on talks about the forests, which he believes are owned by the RS. The CC of B&H is clear in this situation, that state property is a matter that will be discussed in the B&H parliament, and not in the RS parliament. President of the Bosniak Caucus in the RS Council of Peoples (RS CoP) Alija Tabakovic commented Saturday’s meeting between Dodik and Vucic, and said this was just a “waste of time”. Tabakovic said it was clear that Vucic and Dodik did not have good intentions towards B&H. That being said, Tabakovic pointed out that Vucic distanced himself from the RS’ arbitrary moves – done by representatives of the authorities led by SNSD. Vucic does not support the idea of demolition of the constitutional order of B&H, Tabakovic said. He reminds that reason for creation of blockade at the state level was the imposed law on prohibition of genocide denial, which was adopted by Valentin Inzko. Tabakovic said Dodik now turns the focus on some other issues, and completely ignores the reason for starting all this in B&H. “What must be clear to everyone is the fact that the Constitutional Court (of B&H) did not take away RS’ property, but it ordered the B&H Parliament– as the state Parliament, to adopt a law on forests, for the RS as well, and to regulate the way in which ownership would be treated,” Tabakovic explains. The public property belongs to the state, he underscored.
RS MoI Holds Tactical Exercise/ Reactions (RTRS/Nova BH/Dnevni avaz)
The RS Ministry of Interior (RS MoI) hosted a police tactical exercise simulating the de-escalation of a terrorist attack on the Jahorina Mountain on Friday. The police members showed readiness to answer to many challenges. RS Minister of Interior Dragan Lukac said that the exercise was announced and planned beforehand, answering to claims of Chairman of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic who assessed the exercise as provocation. Komsic reminded that he informed US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State Gabriel Escobar on Thursday about “new provocation” of Serb member of B&H Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik in the form of police exercise organized by the RS MoI. Komsic stated that the RS MoI and gendarmerie units take part in the exercise and it is clear that this is nothing but yet another provocative move aimed at causing conflict. Bosniak Vice President of the RS Ramiz Salkic called on the international community to react and said that the IC needs to restrain the behavior of the RS authorities. Salkic stated: “It is an additional pressure, a provocation on Bosniaks and Croats, first of all on Bosniaks. Certainly, in this context it is least a political demonstration-tactical exercise, but it is something else (instead). Certainly, those who have a mandate need to react.” The reporter notes that an airplane of EUFOR arrived unannounced at the site of the exercise and flew by during the execution. Lukac assessed that the EUFOR officials should have announced something like this since they knew that helicopters of the RS MoI would be flying over as well. He said that they did not let the second helicopter fly up in order to avoid any incidents. Lukac said that EUFOR officials were on site with them and they could have seen everything and nothing was hidden from them.
EUFOR confirmed that they monitored the exercise, noting that this is in line with their mandate: “EUFOR monitors any activities or locations within B&H for Situational Awareness and/or to ensure Secure Environment is not threatened in any way, as per mandate”. They further stated that the exercise was not recorded, but only monitored and they denied Lukac’s claim that RS MoI helicopter could not take off because of EUFOR’s plane. “EUFOR has complete and undisturbed freedom of movement on the land, air and water in entire B&H. regardless whether the exercise was in the RS or somewhere else in B&H,” reads EUFOR statement.
Schmidt asks to address B&H parliament (Dnevni avaz/N1)
High Representative Christian Schmidt sent a letter to Collegium of B&H House of Representatives, asking them to address the Parliament. HR noted that he requests this address “with a goal to discuss the current, increasing political tensions” as well as his stances and priorities for the future. Schmidt stated that he is asking for meeting with the Collegium to take place as soon as possible and he suggests October 28th or 29th. Speaker of the B&H HoR Denis Zvizdic said: “The request will be at the session of the Collegium and Extended Collegium on Tuesday, and I am certain, taking into account the fact that the HR is a part of the international peace agreement and a very important link in functioning of B&H and implementing the civil part of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA), that those who come to the session of the Collegium and the Extended Collegium will support the session to be scheduled at which the HR will address us”. Head of the Serb Caucus at the B&H HoR Nenad Stevandic said the position on attending the session of the Extended Collegium would be agreed with SNSD. Head of the SDS-PDP-DNS Caucus at the B&H HoR leader Mirko Sarovic said the decision on the participation would be made on Monday. Head of the SNSD Caucus at the B&H HoR Snjezana Bursac Novakovic said: “There is still time until Tuesday. However, given the current situation, we are still following conclusions of the parliament. We do not have a problem to talk with anyone, but not yet in the capacity of HR, because we are of view there is currently no appointment in accordance with the rules.” Deputy speaker of the B&H House of Representatives (HoR) Nebojsa Radmanovic stated that he would not attend the session of the Collegium of the B&H HoR or the Extended Collegium, noting he did not know what the decision of other members would be in regard to request by Schmidt to address the B&H parliament. “If the Collegium accepts without us that Schmidt addresses the parliament, we will not attend that session,” Radmanovic was quoted as saying. PDP’s Mira Pekic stated that PDP representatives will be in B&H parliament building, but they still have not decided if they will attend the session Schmidt’s address or not. Pekic noted that Schmidt’s request along with Eichhorts and Palmer’s visit represent a form of diplomatic assault on political representatives of the RS, as well as the FB&H. N1 reports that Serb member of the B&H Presidency and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik reiterated on Friday he did not recognize Schmidt as the HR. Addressing the media, Dodik said Schmidt could remove him from the post and prohibit him from entering the B&H Presidency building, noting “I am only talking about hypothetical possibilities. It is better for me to leave honorably and with dignity, than to be a coward, someone who can be broken that way. I am not stupid to play a hero before the US, or someone else. But the US is wrong, and that makes it easier for me. The US is wrong, it is pampering these Serbs here, I am being framed, it is trying to impose solutions, it is talking about joint state, which is being made by the Western factor, not only the US. Whether they want it or not, they are creating a Muslim state.”
Izetbegovic, Jenca talks about current situation in B&H during meeting in Sarajevo (Hayat)
On Friday, SDA leader, Bakir Izetbegovic, met with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas of the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, Miroslav Jenca. The current situation in B&H was discussed at the meeting, with a special focus on the blockade of work of state institutions and the threat of violating the Dayton Peace Agreement by some political forces from the RS. Jenca pointed out that any unilateral activities that endanger the Dayton Peace Agreement, and thus peace and stability in B&H and the region, are unacceptable for the UN. He stressed the need to preserve the progress made since the signing of the Peace Treaty. The process of reconciliation and overcoming the legacy of war in B&H was also discussed. In that context, Jenca said that the UN strongly opposes the practice of denying genocide and other war crimes, as well as glorifying convicted war criminals. Izetbegovic informed Jenca about the current situation regarding the negotiations on changes to the Constitution and the election legislation in B&H.
Niksic calls on Quinta and Russia Ambassadors to motivate Schmidt to prevent violation of DPA (FTV/Dnevni list)
Leader of SDP Nermin Niksic sent a letter to Ambassadors of Quinta countries in B&H, as well as to the Ambassador of Russia in B&H. In this letter the SDP leader called on the Ambassadors to motivate High Representative Christian Schmidt to act in line with his authorizations in order to prevent violation of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA). Niksic emphasized that crisis and public violation of the Constitution of B&H are at the scene and that SNSD and its leader Milorad Dodik are at helm of these activities. Dnevni list reports that Niksic also wrote, among other issues, that denying the right to use official languages in B&H, failure to respect the state symbols, spreading the hate speech, failing to respect judgments/decisions of the Constitutional Court of B&H and the European Court of Human Rights were just introduction into the latest, lasting crisis and suspension of the state institutions. Niksic stressed that any passivity and failure to implement obligations from the Annex 10 represent violation of the Dayton agreement.
Cavara: Inzko partially responsible for current crisis, I understand RS representatives who want to protect its interests (Nezavisne)
The daily carried an interview with the FB&H President Marinko Cavara (HDZ B&H). Speaking about the current political crisis in B&H, Cavara noted that instead of working on processes which everybody wants such as EU integration, B&H is dealing with tensions and mutual accusations. In his opinion, the current crisis was partly created by former High Representative Valentin Inzko who imposed amendments to B&H Criminal Code prohibiting genocide denial in the last week of his tenure. According to Cavara, this was “a strange decision” without a purpose. He underlined that B&H has democratic authorities and the High Representative cannot impose laws. “On the other hand, you cannot accuse anyone for this situation. It is difficult to say who is responsible. However, it is much less important to look for culprits, it is necessary to put an effort into seeking the possibility to reach an agreement on key issues in B&H. Primarily, those are stabilization of relations, electoral reform, implementation of decisions of B&H Constitutional Court, implementation of decisions of the European Court for Human Rights in Strasburg and everything else that is necessary for relaxation of relations among constituent peoples,” said Cavara. He also noted that there is still no single view on the past, and detailed discussions about it can only lead to new problems. Asked to comment the intention of the RS to restore its competences, Cavara replied: “What is happening is absolutely not good. I understand the representatives of the RS who want to protect its interests if institutions of the state serve the interests of only one party and one man, and they are looking for ways to protect themselves. It is not good that we are in a situation where we are moving away from the possibility of agreement and the possibility of working in synergy to create rule of law. We need to return to talks and discuss how to solve key problems, and even discuss if the competences can be restored. However, that it is a question for legal experts, and not for me.”
Speaking about the electoral reform, Cavara said that the electoral reform should have been implemented in line with the Mostar Agreement which was signed last year by SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic and HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic. The first part of the agreement on election in the city of Mostar was implemented. However, Cavara underlined, Izetbegovic is not showing any willingness to implement the other part of the agreement on changes to B&H Election Law, and he even refuses to discuss the matter. Cavara welcomed the appointment of US special envoy for electoral reform Matthew Palmer, noting that USA is the most significant international factor in B&H. However, he noted, Palmer has not made any concrete moves since his appointment. “We are aware that this year is passing and that the elections are scheduled for next year. We believe that without the decision on legitimate representation, there are no conditions for democratic election. SDA and pro-Bosniak parties are trying to push out Serbs and Croats from talks, and I hope that the international community is not so naive anymore,” said Cavara. Commenting the fact that results of the 2018 General Election have not been fully implemented in the FB&H yet, Cavara said that the refusal of Bosniak political elite to discuss key issues is pushing B&H into an even deeper crisis. He accused Bosniak political elite of attacking anyone who does not share their opinion and accepting only the likes of B&H Presidency member Zeljko Komsic or FB&H Vice President Milan Dunovic who Cavara described as “string puppets”. “Those who do not wish to have talks based on foundations of B&H’s organization, they are destroying it in the insane desire to create a unitary and mono-ethnic state,” Cavara said. Asked to comment the decision of High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) to remove Gordana Tadic from the post of B&H Chief Prosecutor, Cavara stated that Tadic, just like former HJPC President Milan Tegeltija, is being targeted because she is not obedient to the Sarajevo-based Bosniak political elite. According to Cavara, the entire disciplinary process against Tadic was staged with the goal to get rid of her, and SDA now has full control over the Court and Prosecutor’s Office of B&H. He noted that any absence of reaction from the international community is concerning. Cavara accused SDA of trying to control the entire law enforcement system in order to cover up crimes committed by its members and stage processes against political opponents.
EUD: Eichhorst holds phone conversations with Dodik, Izetbegovic, Covic and Turkovic raising EU’s concerns over political situation in B&H (BHT1)
The EU Delegation (EUD) to B&H issued on Sunday a press release, which reads that European External Action Service (EEAS) Managing Director for Europe Angelina Eichhorst had phone conversations with political leaders in B&H – SNSD leader Milorad Dodik, SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic and HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic, as well as with B&H Minister of Foreign Affairs Bisera Turkovic. In the phone conversations, Eichhorst raised the EU’s strong concerns regarding the political situation in B&H and urged the leaders to work with more energy and focus, together on a solution, through dialogue, compromise and a full return to the B&H institutions. Eichhorst stressed the need to put an end to divisive and provocative rhetoric and actions, which includes questioning the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. According to the press release, the phone calls come ahead of her visit to B&H, which she is scheduled to pay together with US Special Envoy for Electoral Reform in B&H Matthew Palmer on 27-30 October. Eichhorst called for continuation of the dialogue, finding of a solution for the current political crisis and focusing on reforms. Eichhorst reiterated the EU’s unequivocal commitment and support to B&H’s EU perspective as a single, united and sovereign country, underlining that an early agreement on constitutional and electoral reform is of utmost importance.
Patriarch Porfirije pays two-day visit to Banja Luka Eparchy (Nova BH)
Serbian Patriarch Porfirije paid a two-day visit to the Banja Luka Eparchy on Friday. He was welcomed in Banja Luka by large number of believers, Banja Luka Episcope Jefrem and representatives of political circles of the RS. After religious ceremony he served in Banja Luka, Patriarch Porfirije held a meeting with the RS government officials, Milorad Dodik, Banja Luka Mayor Drasko Stanivukovic and other officials. Porfirije commended the resilience of the Serbs and the SPC in this region during the past years. Patriarch Porfirije addressed faithful ones and said that the RS and its citizens are evidence god did not leave his people. Porfirije stressed that he came to meet in love with people and to comfort himself with their faith. Following meeting with Patriarch, Dodik said that Patriarch’s visit is gift for the RS and message that Serb people should be united.
Plenkovic: Croatia advocates B&H’s integrity, sovereignty and quality functioning (HRT1/AJB)
The Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic stated that he warned about the situation in B&H at the EU Leaders Summit in Brussels, during the discussion about foreign policy issues. Plenkovic warned about tensions in B&H and actions, above all, of the Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik. Plenkovic announced that talks between the EU and the US will be held in Sarajevo next week, on the occasion of the current situation and the political crisis in B&H. Plenkovic stated: “I opened the question of the follow-up discussion that took place on Brdo near Kranj. I must admit that this was well received in the section on external relations. First of all, I warned about the situation in B&H, about the tensions that exist, about the actions of Mr. Dodik, who with these announcement sends messages of destabilization of the functioning of B&H. Croatia stands for a united B&H, for its independence, its sovereignty and quality functioning.” Croatia advocates B&H’s integrity, its independence, sovereignty, quality functioning, but I also clearly stressed that the EU needs to help, together with our partners, I primarily refer to the US, to reach timely agreement on the reform of the Election Law,” said Plenkovic. Plenkovic said all top EU officials are aware of the gravity of this situation, and they condemn Dodik’s behavior. “Of course, I emphasized that it is necessary to act in a timely manner, that means during this year, and to reach a consensus regarding the Election Law – which would enable for Croats, as equal constituent peoples, to choose their own representatives in a legitimate way,” Plenkovic told reporters. The reporter comments that Plenkovic and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic broke the silence on Friday, Plenkovic by calling for action and Vucic by “inviting Dodik for report”.
Biden is sending the mighty five to solve crises of Western Balkans (Jutarnji list)
Jutarnji list daily reads that the Western Balkans has not been this tense for a long time and that the region is on verge of conflict. According to daily, leaders are also worried by Russia’s role, which would land a serious diplomatic blow if it fails to allow extension of EUFOR’s mandate in B&H (in the UN Security Council). According to the daily, this situation is a result of the US’ long absence and the EU’s wandering, which leads Palokaj to say that the Biden administration has decided to return the old, experienced diplomatic guard to the Western Balkans, who know almost everything about the Balkans if something like that is possible and who were among key players during the war and the peace talks. Namely, daily notes that President Biden has decided to send Christopher Hill as the new US Ambassador to Serbia, which is in the daily’s opinion the key address for stability or instability of the region. The daily reminds that Hill has vast experience in the Balkans and was one of key US diplomats, along Richard Holbrooke, in setting up the Dayton agreement foundations, and was also involved in peace talks about Kosovo. Daily further reads that Jeffery Hovenier, who is currently Deputy Ambassador to Turkey, has been appointed the US Ambassador to Kosovo, and that Hovenier used to work at the US Embassy in Zagreb and was involved in peace talks about Kosovo. Furthermore, daily reads that Michael Murphy will be the new US Ambassador to B&H, reminding that Murphy used to be special advisor at the US Embassy in Sarajevo and that his specialties are NATO and security structures in Europe, especially in the Balkans. The article further reads that Gabriel Escobar was appointed Special Representative for Balkans a few months ago and that James O’Brien, an experienced diplomat from the time of Madeleine Albright and one of authors of the Dayton agreement from the shadow, will play an important part too. Daily however notes that despite the abovementioned appointments, success is not guaranteed because circumstances have changed. Namely, the daily notes that the EU is divided regarding Kosovo because five EU members are siding more with Russia than with the EU majority, whilst the second problem is that the EU does not want to guarantee EU membership to the Western Balkans countries.
UN Secretary-General Guterres hosts Abazovic and Radulovic in New York (Gov. Press service)
Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic and Minister of Foreign Affairs Djordje Radulovic met with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Montenegro as an ecological state is an excellent concept. We are working to further strengthen environmental awareness to contribute to the UN’s sustainable development goals. Every member of the United Nations is necessary for the joint success of preserving the core values of the UN, Abazovic pointed out. The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that the future of civilization rests on sustainable development and that it has no alternative. Abazovic emphasized the importance of preserving regional stability and the necessity of full integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union, as a precondition for the stability and prosperity of the Region, but also of Europe.
Montenegro will continue to support all UN activities that lead to preventing the negative effects of climate change, said Radulovic. In that sense, Radulovic emphasized that climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time and that Montenegro remains a reliable partner of the UN, adding that there is no alternative to sustainable development. Montenegro is a reliable and important partner of the UN. We want to strengthen cooperation with Montenegro, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pointed out. The officials agreed that territorially small countries can make a great contribution on a global level. Abazovic invited Guterres to visit Montenegro.
Maddocks: I advised the government to carry out investigation into Cetinje events (Pobjeda)
I urged all Montenegro’s neighbors to respect its sovereignty as an independent nation. Those living on the territory of Montenegro should decide on its future, the UK Ambassador to Montenegro Karen Maddocks says in an interview for Pobjeda. She underlines that the freedom of religion or belief is an important principle and should refer to all religions. On the Cetinje events in September and her approval of the police action even though there was evidence that it was against the Montenegrin people, Maddocks said: “During talks with the government here, I clearly stated that it’d be appropriate for the Government to carry out a public investigation in order to see whether we can learn something from it, having in mind that there were many different perspectives and opinions over this matter. As far as I could understand, the investigation is underway.” Commenting on the arrests following the Cetinje protests, she said: “I’d be inappropriate that I, or any other person, including the media, comment on the apprehension of certain individuals, without knowing all the facts.” When it comes to the relations between Montenegro and the UK and areas in which it could be improved, the Ambassador notes: “There’s a cordial and long-standing relationship between Montenegro and the UK, which has continued during the change of power in your country. We have excellent cooperation in defense and foreign policy, education, democratic institutional reform, as well as in the area of the rule of law reform – including training for judicial officials, cooperation with the police and tackling corruption. We hope to conclude a bilateral trade agreement between the United Kingdom and Montenegro in the near future.”
Montenegro out of function, state blocked over positions (CdM)
None of the three branches of government in Montenegro is currently operating at full capacity. The government cannot get the quorum, Parliament does not sit, the judiciary is practically in the acting position… This is the result of the work of a narrow majority that won power in the elections on 30 August 2020 and in a year managed to seriously shake all the pillars of the state. The Montenegrin government has no support in parliament, and the experiment with “expert” staff has proved more than unsuccessful. “Experts” in the government have led to the never worse Progress Report on Montenegro, while stagnation and setbacks are recorded in almost all areas. Party-affiliated employment at good state positions, nepotism, employment of relatives, best men and friends also contributed to that… Someone will have to end this agony. The question is if anyone has political guts to do it. Montenegro is out of function because a comfortable seat is more important than citizens, and the fear of the election race is so strong that clowns and politically immoral hypocrites – as they called each other at the time, still hold hands tightly with the repetition of the sentence: elections do not suit anyone.
Picula: Montenegro’s place in EU, government missed a year for reforms (Pobjeda)
Montenegro has a place in the EU despite critical assessments from the Progress Report, European Parliament rapporteur for Montenegro Tonino Picula has told Pobjeda. He notes that the government has failed to maintain the pace of the accession process in the past year.
Following the publication of the Progress Report on Montenegro, Picula says he is concerned about the slowdown in integration. “In a situation of high and omnipresent polarization, which reflects the current composition of the Montenegrin Parliament, and the blockade within the rather conflicting ruling majority, the stagnation further affects the destabilization of the country. Montenegro should certainly avoid cementing the current situation,” Picula points out. Picula previously said that it seemed to him that politics in Montenegro was clericalized, and the church politicized. Asked if he thinks that this is still the case and if so, what should be done to strengthen civil society, he explains that he would not like European politics and the media to be interested in the situation in Montenegro from one incident to another. “For the time being, however, I do not see that a dialogue of key parties has been established that would really open up space for reducing situations with serious consequences for the state of civil society,” Picula explains.
Dimitrov: There is an obligation for Bulgaria not to interfere in the internal Macedonian affairs (Nezavisen vesnik/RFE)
In the Agreement, the provision for non-interference in internal affairs is reciprocal. In that sense, our obligation not to interfere in the Bulgarian internal affairs exists, but there is also an obligation for Bulgaria not to interfere in the internal Macedonian issues. But perhaps the first issue is the right to self-determination and self-expression and here is the conflict of positions with the agreement and the legal framework in some way that makes the agreement, said in an interview with RFE, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Nikola Dimitrov.
Regarding the work of the Commission for Historical and Educational Issues, Dimitrov says that what governments can do is to create a positive climate for the smooth work of historians, but politicians cannot tell historians what to do and what not to do. So, our task is a positive environment. The problem in the work of this Commission is above all the idea that their work should be a condition for our progress towards the EU. When that pressure and blackmail is put, not only that a positive environment is not created, but a negative environment is created and that is why I think that regardless of the wishes, the big problem in the current constellation of relations, positions and politics on this issue is in that. We want results from that Commission for historical and educational issues, but an ambience of blackmail has been created, Dimitrov emphasizes. Asked about the 5 + 1 plan discussed at the Brdo Summit near Kranj, Slovenia, Dimitrov said it was crucial whether the technical government in Bulgaria could deliver if a solution was found. It is very important to know, if we find understanding, given the date of the elections, both presidential and parliamentary in Bulgaria, whether the technical government can deliver the green light, adopt the negotiating framework and hold the first intergovernmental conference, that is crucial. Secondly, for us, the Macedonian language in the negotiation framework is extremely important, the formulation for the Macedonian language in terms of the fact that the country should translate all, the whole corpus of European legislation into Macedonian and have a sufficient number of translators before becoming a member, to be written as for all other European languages, said Dimitrov. Those points, Dimitrov said, are the context of the implementation of the Friendship Agreement with Bulgaria, but the overall package must include the start of negotiations, meaning the adoption of the negotiating framework, the holding of the first intergovernmental conference. What I mentioned is extremely important to us, the Macedonian language, the Macedonian identity, which is absolutely our job. It is also very important for us that the accession process brings Europeanization – whether we move forward towards the EU, open clusters, meet benchmarks, etc., depends on the reforms at home. No, that process cannot depend on things that are not in our competence in any way, for example the work of the Committee on Historical and Educational Affairs. “If our progress in the EU depends on historians, then it is very difficult to call that process Europeanization,” Dimitrov said. Extremely important, Dimtrov emphasizes, is a provision of the Friendship Treaty, Article 14, which states that the Treaty may not affect the rights and obligations that the states, the contracting parties, both have assumed under other international conventions, agreements, etc.
Article 14 is in some way related or is the other side of the commitment not to interfere in internal affairs, because both we and Bulgaria have certain rights and obligations that we have undertaken under other international conventions and that does not mean interference in internal affairs. For example, the European Convention on Human Rights and our role as a member state of the Council of Europe, Dimitrov emphasizes.
Peleshi to NATO counterparts: Greater attention to Kosovo (Radio Tirana)
On the second day of the meeting of the ministers of the Alliance countries in Brussels, the political leaders also discussed NATO-EU cooperation. As part of this cooperation, Albania has contributed for three years to the NATO mission in the Aegean Sea, but the presence of the Armed Forces in Mali and B&H should also be underlined. In this session, Minister Peleshi also focused on the growing role of Russia and China in the region. “These two countries are advancing their strategic objectives in our region, through such historical, cultural, economic ties, or through their influence in countries or parts of the region.” Peleshi in front of his counterparts did not leave without mentioning the events of recent weeks in Kosovo, for which he asked for greater attention from the Alliance. Recent events in northern Kosovo are not and should not be treated as isolated. We are witnessing a disturbing model presented to us by the Serbian side, which continues to be equipped with modern weapons systems from Russia and China, trained together and as we witnessed recently, sent troops to the border with Kosovo, who were blessed ‘also by the Russian ambassador in Belgrade. In our view, this is a very disturbing message, to which the Alliance should pay due attention. During the work of this Ministerial, Peleshi also met with the Ministers of Defense of the countries contributing to the NATO mission in Latvia. The Ministers discussed the current and planned contributions, as well as any issues related to the progress of this commitment. Albania is one of the countries contributing to the NATO Group Battalion in Latvia, which has military composition from countries such as: Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. So far, our country has contributed to this mission with 1392 troops in total.
Nikola: Austria, strong support for the opening of negotiations (Radio Tirana)
The speaker of parliament Lindita Nikolla met with the President of the Austrian parliament Wolfgang Sobotka, to whom she expressed gratitude for the strong support of Austria for the opening of negotiations. The meeting took place during her stay in Athens, in the framework of the Parliamentary Conference of the Council of Europe.During the meeting it was discussed about the continuation and expansion of the excellent cooperation between the two parliaments as well as the contribution of parliamentary diplomacy in promoting comprehensive cooperation. Nikolla and Sobotka expressed the will of the Albanian parliament and the Austrian parliament to deepen cooperation in promoting parliamentary contribution to the consolidation of democratic institutions, promoting youth political participation, modernizing parliamentary services and other aspects. Nikola thanked Sobotka for Austria’s contribution and support to the negotiation process. Sobotka expressed the commitment that the government and parliament of Austria, as well as him personally, will continue to support the European path of Albania and the Western Balkans as well as the holding of the first EU-Albania Intergovernmental Roundtable within 2021.