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Belgrade Media Report 26 October 2021

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Tuesday 26 October 2021

LOCAL PRESS

Brnabic: I am committed to constitutional reforms and safety of journalists (RTS)
Vucic, Schmid discuss OSCE involvement in Serbian reforms (Tanjug/Politika)
Vucic, MacLeod discuss strengthening of Serbia-UK relations (Tanjug/RTV)
Giaufret: EC report a sincere and factual assessment of Serbia’s efforts in EU integration (Tanjug/RTS)
Petkovic meets Kharchenko (RTV)
Drecun: Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija want full coordination with Belgrade (RTS)
Djilas: If we decide on boycott, it will be different (Beta)
Property of displaced in Kosovo and Metohija increasingly usurped by Albanians with the help of false contracts (Novosti)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Dodik meets with Dacic in Banja Luka: RS is only self-sustainable entity in B&H (ATV)
Cvijanovic meets Dacic and Pasztor; Cvijanovic: We agree institutional relations of Serbia and RS are at their highest level ever (FTV/ATV)
Opposition parties in RS meet in Banja Luka: They announce new protests, joint candidate at elections in Prijedor, say they will not attend session of HoR on Tuesday (N1)
Citizens gather in front of OHR; Protesters content with meeting in OHR and announce more protest activities in upcoming period (N1/Nova BH)
Magazinovic calls participants of conference in Paris to express support to imposing of sanctions against Dodik (Dnevni list)
Escobar: There will be no war in B&H; US relation with Serbia is neither good nor bad, it is complex (AJB/FTV)
Cvijanovic: RS authorities willing to talk with everyone on current crisis in B&H (AJB)
RS officials: We are ready for talks with EU, US officials but not to detriment of RS (RTRS)
30th anniversary of RS parliament marked with solemn academy in Banja Luka (ATV)
Croatia

Croatian Embassy sharply condemns attacks on Croat symbols in B&H (Hina)
Covic expresses optimism there will be agreement on changes to Law on Elections, says impositions and sanctions would be counterproductive (Vecernji list)
Montenegro

The committee is questioning Abazovic, Katnic, Vuksic (CdM/RTCG)
Republic of North Macedonia

Zaev: The government coalition is stable; this is not the time for early parliamentary elections (Nezavisen vesnik/Sitel TV)
Albania

Rama meets the Prime Minister of Bavaria: A determined ally on the European path (Radio Tirana)
Albania-UN renew commitment to work together for sustainable development over next five years (Radio Tirana)

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LOCAL PRESS

Brnabic: I am committed to constitutional reforms and safety of journalists (RTS)

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic talked on Monday with Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Helga Schmid about the reforms implemented by the Serbian government in numerous areas, especially the rule of law, media freedoms and security of journalists, but also about cooperation in the region and global problems facing the entire Western Balkans. Brnabic expressed gratitude to the OSCE Secretary General for the support that the mission provides to Serbia in key reforms, emphasizing that it is equally personally committed to both constitutional changes and the safety of journalists, especially women in journalism, because, as she emphasized, it is red a line not crossed. One of the topics discussed was the participation of women in the public sphere and their representation in leading positions, and Brnabic pointed out that she was pleased to say that in some local governments and cities in Serbia, women are in the lead in leadership positions , while the Office for IT and eGovernment has as many as 60 percent of women in those positions. That was not the plan, but the reason lies in the fact that women did the job the best, Brnabic underlined.

The interlocutors exchanged opinions on areas in which it is possible to deepen Serbia’s cooperation with the OSCE Office, such as regional cooperation, especially when it comes to organized crime and trafficking. Climate change has been identified as a topic of particular importance, with Schmid added that the Mission will continue to provide expert assistance and co-operation in all areas deemed necessary by Serbia.

Vucic, Schmid discuss OSCE involvement in Serbian reforms (Tanjug/Politika)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Monday met with OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid to discuss the OSCE’s involvement in reform processes in Serbia, as well as the priorities of future cooperation, Serbia’s European path and rule of law reforms. Vucic noted the significance of the cooperation with the OSCE and said the institution’s experiences were important for advancing the reform processes in Serbia, in particular in the advisory aspect of implementation of reforms, as well as regarding support for strengthening of democratic institutions, encouraging dialogue and supporting the civil sector. “Work on continued reforms is of key interest to Serbia for further progress of the country in all areas, as well as for maintaining stability in the region,” Vucic noted, adding that work on furthering regional connectivity was one of the fundamental starting points of Serbia’s foreign policy and that full EU membership was the country’s priority. Schmid noted that the OSCE, as a dependable partner to Serbia, would continue to share its experiences with Serbian institutions when it comes to the best practices on the reform path. She commended the results and evident progress Serbia had achieved in all relevant areas, as also indicated in the latest European Commission report on Serbia. She said particular progress had been made in the economy and the contribution to regional stability and connectivity. Schmid particularly noted the OSCE’s readiness to support the advancement of the media situation in Serbia, as well as the situation concerning rule of law and implementation of the green agenda standards. The parties also said the OSCE’s role was of particular significance for regional security and that, in line with the organization’s principles, Serbia was firmly committed to continue to make a full contribution to regional stability, an official statement said.

Vucic, MacLeod discuss strengthening of Serbia-UK relations (Tanjug/RTV)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Monday met with UK Ambassador to Serbia Sian MacLeod to discuss further strengthening of bilateral and economic ties between Serbia and the UK. Vucic and MacLeod also discussed Vucic’s attendance at the upcoming COP26 UN summit on climate and climate change, to be held in Glasgow in seven days. Vucic noted that, in a time when the entire world was fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the issues of climate change and the energy crisis must not be put on the back burner as the consequences of ignoring such comprehensive problems would be disastrous for humanity. He thanked the UK for financing the Morava Corridor project, in which the country is participating alongside the US, the presidential press office said in a statement. The parties also discussed concrete economic cooperation on projects of national significance for Serbia. MacLeod said the UK was pleased the issue of climate change had become important in Serbia, too, and that Serbian government efforts aimed at raising awareness of the significance of the issue were evident. She added Serbia’s attendance at the COP26 summit was extremely important. The Ambassador also noted the numerous possibilities opened up by the fight against climate change, not only in terms of environmental protection but in terms of technological and economic development as well. Speaking about bilateral and economic cooperation with the UK, Vucic reiterated Serbia’s commitment to strengthening of political dialogue at the highest level, which he said would also help strengthen the cooperation between the two countries in various areas of mutual interest, including the economy and defense. He also said there was a need to strengthen the cooperation within international organizations as Serbia and the UK were both sincerely committed to the principles of multilateralism.

Giaufret: EC report a sincere and factual assessment of Serbia’s efforts in EU integration (Tanjug/RTS)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday met with the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret to discuss the European Commission’s (EC) latest report on Serbia’s progress in the EU integration process, the dynamics of the accession talks and further advancement of cooperation. Vucic said he was pleased the EC report was objective and that, through an analysis of the relevant aspects, it demonstrated Serbia’s progress in all areas, also indicating areas that required additional work, the presidential press office said in a statement.

Vucic particularly noted that full EU membership remained one of Serbia’s foreign policy priorities and said he was confident that, to a great extent, the EC report would also be an additional incentive for continuing reforms, in particular in the fields of rule of law and the green agenda. The parties agreed that support from the EU and its institutions was enormously significant in the process as Serbia was sincerely committed to its European perspective. Giaufret reiterated the report was a sincere and factual assessment of Serbia’s efforts in European integration and that it provided guidelines for the required further action. He said the report took note of Serbia’s renewed commitment to delivering on an EU-related reform agenda. The commitment is reflected in an increased number of government initiatives aimed at meeting EU criteria, Giaufret added. He reaffirmed the EU’s full support for Serbia’s reform efforts, adding that he looked forward to continuing the cooperation on solving open and outstanding issues, with the EU to continue to watch closely the state of rule of law in Serbia, which he said was crucial for further progress on the EU integration path. According to the statement, Vucic and Giaufret also discussed advancement of cooperation, as well as regional issues, economic relations and infrastructure projects.

Petkovic meets Kharchenko (RTV)

The Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Petar Petkovic talked on Monday with Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko, whom he acquainted with the political-security situation in Kosovo and Metohija in light of the recently held provincial elections and the latest incidents in the province. Informing the Russian Ambassador about the results of the provincial local elections, held on 17 October, in which the Serb List won in all ten Serb-majority municipalities, the Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija pointed out that the Serbs agreed to participate in these elections, just because they support the Brussels. agreement and because they expect the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO).

Petkovic stressed that Belgrade would not give up insisting on the immediate formation of the ZSO with all the competencies that belong to it in accordance with the Brussels agreements, and at the next meeting in Brussels it will demand concrete steps in that direction, which was also pointed out by the EU. Belgrade remains consistently committed to dialogue, as the only possible means of resolving disagreements peacefully and creating preconditions for lasting security stabilization in the Western Balkans, although, according to Petkovic, the Brussels dialogue is currently hostage to Pristina’s unwillingness to implement thus far reached agreements, primarily the undertaken obligation of forming the ZSO. Petkovic thanked the Russian Ambassador for Moscow’s consistent support for Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, adding that Serbian-Russian relations will continue to strengthen in the spirit of traditional friendship between the two countries and two peoples.

 

Drecun: Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija want full coordination with Belgrade (RTS)

With its result, the Serb List confirmed in the local elections in Kosovo and Metohija that the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija want full coordination of the actions of their political representatives with official Belgrade, the Chair of the parliamentary Committee for Kosovo and Metohija Milovan Drecun told the morning press review of Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS). Drecun said that the Serbs clearly responded to all unilateral measures of Pristina with a good result of the Serb List in the first round of the local elections, and that the high turnout of Serbs was recorded in northern Kosovo and Metohija. “The high trust given to the Serb List, and thus to official Belgrade, has shown that the Serbs are not afraid of any violent actions by Pristina, that in the future they will respond in an united manner to possible such new actions, and that is a good thing for the Serb List, it thus confirmed its political strength and could deal with a request to Pristina that, if the ZSO is not formed, it will soon give up participation in the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina,” said Drecun. He pointed out that difficult negotiations with Pristina await us in November, which will take time, but also that Self-Determination and Kurti have stated that the Brussels agreement is not valid for them and that it is contrary to the so-called constitution of the provisional institutions. “We have a very unclear situation where EU officials, who are the mediator in these talks, warn that the ZSO must be formed, that there is talk of the ZSO, Pristina says that it will not form the ZSO. And now we are waiting. I think Lajcak is strangely silent, he is not making announcements, while he is the one who should prepare the talks,” said Drecun.

Djilas: If we decide on boycott, it will be different (Beta)

Freedom and Justice Party president Dragan Djilas said on Monday that nothing further could be changed with respect to election conditions and that if the biggest opposition parties opt to boycott the vote, it would be a different boycott that last year’s. “We are aware that there is no chance here for a fair election until the regime is changed. How we will change the regime is something we’ll see soon,” he told a news conference, adding that a joint decision on whether to run would be made soon and announced to the people. Asked if he remained unswayed on not proposing a candidate for an interim media monitoring body, Djilas called the body a sham mounted together by the Serbian Progressive Party, the Socialist Party of Serbia and the gentlefolk from Europe. “And shame on Tanja Fajon and Fleckenstein. You came to us, pro-Europeans of 30 years standing, agreed on a paper with Vucic and Dacic, and said ‘that’s it’. You turned your back on all European values. We will finish this ourselves,” Djilas said.

Property of displaced in Kosovo and Metohija increasingly usurped by Albanians with the help of false contracts (Novosti, by Dragana Zecevic)

Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija are increasingly under a new form of Albanian pressure – usurpation of property. Apart from the physical abduction that marked the years after the NATO aggression, one can hear more and more often about cases of cadastral registration of Albanians on Serbian property with the help of fictitious and falsified documents. Serb associations will inform Pristina institutions, the authorities in Belgrade, but also the international community about the new form of violence in the province. Djokica Stanojevic, the President of the Association of Displaced Serbs from Djakovica, whose family was targeted by an usurper, testified for Novosti about the methods of seizing property. The entire family property of Stanojevic, who had to leave their homes in Kosovo in 1999, was transferred to an unknown Albanian on the basis of falsified documentation. “At issue are two houses of 240 square meters, and 160 square meters of auxiliary facilities, as well as two halls with an area of 2,000 square meters. We have acquired that for generations, and the valuable property is owned by my brother Milan. All this was magically transferred by a certain Pajazit Naim Zumberi to himself,” says Stanojevic. According to him, the power of attorney over the property was faked, which was falsified in Kosovska Mitrovica, and the false contract on the alleged purchase was certified by a notary in Rozaje, where the alleged price of the property was paid to the Crnogorska banka. The Stanojevic family handed over all their goods in the province for safekeeping to the UNMIK agency Habitat, which was responsible for proving ownership and from which they received proper certificates that the property is in their ownership and that they can dispose of it.

According to Stanojevic, this type of machinations has taken a swing in Kosovo and Metohija in recent years. Several cases have been uncovered, but it is especially worrying that a large number of Serbs have been damaged this way, and people do not even know that they have been robbed. “We were lucky that an honest Albanian told us that seizure was being prepared, and we found out the details by searching for the papers in the cadaster. We requested the cadaster in Djakovica to provide us with proof of ownership of the property, but the authorities deliberately procrastinate. Our request is obstructed so that the deadlines for appeals would expire, so that the decision on false ownership would become final,” Stanojevic emphasizes. Stanojevic claims that during the struggle to save his own property in Djakovica, he learned about dozens of cases of alienation of Serbian property. “Almost all Serbian property has been usurped. In the former Srpska Street in the city center, where about 2,000 Serb families lived before the war, each house is either occupied or used for other purposes. Many were also destroyed – testify the displaced from this town, where 8,500 Serbs lived in the center until 1999. Today, only Dragica Gasic and three nuns live in Djakovica.

REGIONAL PRESS

 

Dodik meets with Dacic in Banja Luka: RS is only self-sustainable entity in B&H (ATV

 

Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency Milorad Dodik met with Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic in Banja Luka on Monday. On this occasion, Dodik and Dacic confirmed that the Republika Srpska (RS) parliament and the Serbian parliament are set to hold a joint session next month. Dodik and Dacic assessed that the RS was created at a turbulent time but it managed to preserve its institutions. Dodik and Dacic agreed that the RS has managed to survive in the wartime years and it is important that its position is preserved now in peace as well. Dodik said that the RS is the only self-sustainable entity in B&H and once again announced that the RS parliament will pass decisions to restore its competences in the coming days. According to Dodik, the RS will only work on restoring its constitutional position. “That is why there are attempts to change its position, strength and sustainability of the RS through various decisions – primarily by the High Representatives (HRs) and the Constitutional Court (CC) of B&H – in an unconstitutional, anti-Dayton, and criminal way,” Dodik noted. The Serb member of the B&H Presidency pointed out that Serbia and the RS have shown that they can independently manage their resources, in democracy. Dacic informed Dodik that the RS has Serbia’s absolute support and that everyone seeks to preserve peace. Dacic presented his opinion that, for decades, there have been attempts to play false when it comes to the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) and to seize the RS’ competences to the point where entities would be left without any significance whatsoever. “Serbia will always care for the RS. A meeting with representatives of all Serb political parties from both sides of Drina River will take place in November at the Palace of Serbia,” Dacic was quoted saying. He stressed that there is a need to maintain “the live connection between Banja Luka and Belgrade”. Dodik noted that the representatives of the RS asked for talks on all disputable issues with the Federation of B&H (FB&H), which, as he said, were rejected by SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic. Dodik pointed out that talks are possible with everyone, except with new High Representative Christian Schmidt. “Until that Schmidt or someone else is appointed in the Security Council by a relevant resolution to have the powers of the High Representative, there is no need for us to accept his appointment, a foreigner who would like to pass laws here,” Dodik said following his meeting with Dacic in Banja Luka. Dacic, on the other hand, said: “You have the absolute support of the Republic of Serbia, based on the Dayton Agreement, where we believe that any capital decision concerning the relationship and position of peoples and entities and the position of a central government at the B&H level, if it changes, must be based on the consent of all three peoples and both entities.” Dodik confirmed that he is not giving up on the adoption of laws that would challenge a number of competences of the state of B&H and transfer them to the RS level. “We all want peace and we want peace to be preserved. We also want the constitutional positions and competences of the RS to be preserved,” Dacic emphasized. Dacic stated that Serbia supports the RS to preserve its institutions based on the Dayton Agreement and added that new pressures on the RS are nothing new as they have been present for decades. In his opinion, this is an attempt to play out the Dayton Agreement so that the entities become insignificant. Dacic said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Serbian government and Serbian parliament are “making no difference between Belgrade and Banja Luka, Nis and Trebinje, because our goal is prosperity of Serb people regardless of where they live”. Dacic reiterated that Serbia respects the DPA and territorial integrity of B&H with the RS as its comprising part and he also said that “as an individual, I can say that I will never agree to abolition of the RS. I am an advocate of peace and solving of all problems by an agreement”.

Cvijanovic meets Dacic and Pasztor; Cvijanovic: We agree institutional relations of Serbia and RS are at their highest level ever (FTV/ATV

 

Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic met withRS) President Zeljka Cvijanovic and speaker of the RS parliament Nedeljko Cubrilovic. Cvijanovic stressed that the RS and Serbia will not give up on their joint strategic projects despite blockades which are mostly political in nature and which come mainly from political Sarajevo. “They are the enemies of every big project in the RS,” Cvijanovic underlined. Cvijanovic added that domestic dialogue is the key to resolving all problems, and that B&H is contaminated by outside influences. ATV Banja Luka carries that Cvijanovic met with Dacic and speaker of the Assembly of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina Istvan Pasztor in Banja Luka on Monday. Cvijanovic posted on her Instagram accounted that she agreed with both Dacic and Pastor that institutional relations of Serbia and the RS are at their highest level ever. Cvijanovic wrote that they all expressed commitment to further strengthening of cooperation and brotherly relations.

Opposition parties in RS meet in Banja Luka: They announce new protests, joint candidate at elections in Prijedor, say they will not attend session of HoR on Tuesday (N1

 

Representatives of the RS opposition parties held another meeting in Banja Luka on Monday afternoon. Following the meeting, they announced new protests and that they will have a joint candidate at the elections for a new Mayor of Prijedor. According to the opposition, no request that they presented during the protests on 2 October was met and they formed a team that will decide about the future tempo of protests in the RS. Representatives of the opposition said that they will not show up at a session of the B&H House of Representatives (HoR) on Tuesday. According to announcements, they will be in the building of the B&H parliament but they will not take part in the decision-making process because they do not want to betray conclusions of the RS parliament. Members of the opposition announced that they will hold an informal meeting with SNSD MP Nebojsa Radmanovic. Leader of DNS Nenad Nesic said that Radmanovic invited them for a meeting on Tuesday at 11,00hrs and they decided to go to hear proposals of SNSD, adding that they jointly decided to stick to conclusions of the RS parliament. Leader of PDP Branislav Borenovic addressed media and said that SNSD wants to transfer their failure and incapability to citizens of the RS and B&H which is why they do not want to take part in something like that. Borenovic underlined that they will not take part in any decision-making process in the B&H parliament until solving of the issue of the law that Valentin Inzko imposed. Leader of SDS Mirko Sarovic underlined that the Collegium of the B&H parliament should find a model according to which HR Christian Schmidt would address them as Christian Schmidt and not as the HR. The reporter noted that Sarovic did not want to reveal his source, but allegedly, he learnt that the HR Schmidt will address the UN Security Council as Mr. Christian Schmidt and not as the HR at the beginning of November.

 

Citizens gather in front of OHR; Protesters content with meeting in OHR and announce more protest activities in upcoming period (N1/Nova BH

 

According to N1, around 100 citizens came in front of the building of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Sarajevo on Monday to protest. During the protest, protesters whistled and carried posters and one of them called on HR Christian Schmidt to do his job or to leave. Asked to comment on the small number of people who joined the protest organized via social media, one of the protesters said that people lost faith and trust and they became way too pessimistic, while some mentioned that many people were working on Monday at 10,00hrs. One of the protesters, old lady Sadeta Dedovic said that she is doing it for her grandchildren and that she loves B&H without any ethnic preferences. President of the alliance of disabled war veterans and paraplegics in the FB&H Mujo Aganovic also joined the protest and said that they sent open letters to international officials. Aganovic called on the EU, US and international institutions in B&H that are guarantors of the Dayton Peace Agreement and its implementation to stop demolition of the state of B&H and to stop a call for bloodshed. Representatives of the OHR met some of the protesters, heard their demands and supported and approved civic activism. Former speaker of the RBiH Assembly Miro Lazovic also joined the protest and after the meeting in the building of the OHR, he said that he expects from the OHR to make concrete moves in line with an agreement with the EU and the US administration. Lazovic said: “The international community has the obligation, primarily the five key countries guarantors of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) and the HR, who in accordance with Annex 10, has his role and has the obligation to react, primarily towards Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik.” One of organizers of the protest Suad Djozic said that representatives of the OHR were interested in one of the posters that they carried and which called on the HR to do his job or to leave, adding that they informed them that Schmidt is intensively working, that he will present his report before the UN Security Council and thus, they will see some results.  Djozic said for Nova BH that SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic and HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic should not be “amnestied, because they are the tip of the iceberg, of everything that is wrong in B&H”. One of the organizers Sejda Catic stated that they were asked to continue organizing protest activities, while one of the protesters Sejfudin Hodzic said that they pointed out the need that the HR talks not just with politicians but also with citizens. According to N1, protesters expressed content with the meeting in the OHR and announced similar protest activities in the upcoming period.

Magazinovic calls participants of conference in Paris to express support to imposing of sanctions against Dodik (Dnevni list

Chair of SDP B&H Caucus in the parliament of B&H Sasa Magazinovic on Monday addressed participants of a conference organized in Paris by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and parliament of Sweden. The conference focused on growing populism and radical right-wing movements that are using xenophobia, racism and intolerance as a tool to politically strengthen themselves. “B&H is one step from escalation because of a politician who, among other things, is using hate speech. His name is Milorad Dodik and he is a member of the Presidency of B&H. He is a man who denies Srebrenica genocide, attacks religious identity of citizens in B&H, insults journalists and political opponents…He is a man who blocked state institutions because of the decision of the High Representative to prohibit genocide denial. He is a man who brought the state to the brink of a war. Why is this happening? This is happening because he was not stopped in time and primarily because the international community tolerated this and even chose him as a partner,” Magazinovic said and argued that any radicalism must be stopped in its root otherwise consequences might be tragic. Magazinovic also called all countries to support imposing of strict sanctions against Dodik and warned: “Remember, should there be a conflict in B&H, it will spread to the entire Balkans and this will not be only the responsibility of radical people like Dodik, but of all in Europe who could have prevented it but failed.”

Escobar: There will be no war in B&H; US relation with Serbia is neither good nor bad, it is complex (AJB/FTV

Special Envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar stated that there will be no war in B&H, arguing that he does not know why people speak about the war, when they should be speaking about economic development. He noted that currently there are talks with numerous officials, discussing how to enable this region to move forward. Escobar noted that nobody is yet speaking about sanctions for B&H officials: “Sanctions can be directed against individuals, but we are still in dialogue phase.” Escobar underlined that entities have no constitutional competencies to unilaterally withdraw from the institutions and he stated that it is high time for B&H citizens to start building their country and stop leaving it. “There will be no war in B&H and I do not know why people speak about the war and they should speak about economic development. When people get out to vote, I think they have clear options between those who wish to continue with ethnic divisions from the nineties and those who want to move forward”, said Escobar. He stated that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has US support as long as he is following European path: “Our relations with Serbia are neither good nor bad, it is complex. I hope that this ‘partnership in development’ which we have with Serbia, will be able to help stability in the region.” Asked if he trusts the Montenegrin government and whether NATO should share information with authorities in Podgorica, Escobar said that they have US support: “I hope they will continue to reject voices which get them further away from Europe.” According to unofficial information, Escobar should arrive in B&H at the beginning of next month. Escobar did not specify when he is coming to B&H, but he was clear in his message to the citizens of B&H that there will be no war, but also no sanctions for now. Escobar stressed that the focus will be on dialogue. “Nobody is talking about sanctions yet. We are currently still considering and debating. We will see how it will work, but sanctions can be directed against individuals, but as I said, we are still in the dialogue phase. There will be no war in B&H,” Escobar underlined. Meanwhile, the US State Department stated that threatening state-level institutions divides B&H citizens and denies them a more prosperous and stable European future. Chairman of the B&H Council of Ministers (CoM) Zoran Tegeltija (SNSD) Monday spoke with Escobar over the phone. FTV stressed that judging by Tegeltija’s statement issued after the phone conversation, he and Escobar discussed development more than they did the blockade coming from his party. “Speaking about the internal relations in B&H, Chairman Tegeltija pointed out that respecting the constitutional competences of all authority levels in B&H and the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) is the only solution for the smooth functioning of B&H,” the statement issued by Tegeltija’s Office reads. SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic has also spoke with Escobar. Izetbegovic stated that Escobar told him that he will visit B&H in November. As to whether he believes that the US will impose sanctions on individuals in B&H, Izetbegovic said that he believes that it will go in that direction. “(I believe) that America saw that things have crossed the line and that there is no turning back and that certain things must be handled in the same way they were handled fifteen years ago,” Izetbegovic stressed.

Cvijanovic: RS authorities willing to talk with everyone on current crisis in B&H (AJB

 

Addressing media in Banja Luka on Monday, RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic commented on the upcoming visit of European External Action Service (EEAS) Managing Director for Europe Angelina Eichhorst and US Special Envoy for Electoral Reform in B&H Matthew Palmer to B&H, scheduled for 27-30 October. In her comment, Cvijanovic said that the RS authorities are willing to talk with everyone on the current crisis in B&H. However, Cvijanovic noted: “What frustrates us is the fact that we spoke so many times but none of our collocutors want to understand. If you admit where the problems are, you need to remediate them. If you remediate them, then you need to correct the deviations. If you correct deviations, then you need to recognize what you as the international factor have created, and I know that is a big bite for them.” The RS President added that it is necessary to try to resolve a crisis rather than to live permanently in such situation. The RS President stressed that the RS authorities are open for resolving the crisis, but she added that the crisis was “imposed” with former High Representative (HR) Valentin Inzko’s law. She concluded that the RS authorities would have reacted the same way to any law imposed by “someone who is not a domestic institution.”

RS officials: We are ready for talks with EU, US officials but not to detriment of RS (RTRS

 

On the occasion of celebration of the 30th anniversary of the RS parliament in Banja Luka on Monday, Serb member of the B&H Presidency and leader of SNSD Milorad Dodik and other RS officials met Serbian officials and among other things, they discussed the current political situation in B&H. Commenting on the upcoming visits of US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State Gabriel Escobar and EEAS Managing Director for Europe Angelina Eichhorst to B&H, RS officials stated that they are ready for talks with the officials but not at expense of the RS, its citizens and the Constitution. The reporter characterized the visits as the diplomatic offensive towards the RS and B&H. Ahead of the visit to B&H, Eichhorst had a phone conversation with Dodik, leader of SDA Bakir Izetbegovic and leader of HDZ B&H Dragan Covic and international officials called for continuation of dialogue about the political crisis in B&H. RS officials stated that they are ready for talks but they also reminded of one of the conclusions of the RS parliament which calls on the FB&H for dialogue about the situation in the FB&H and possible solutions for the future of the RS and the FB&H. RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic stated that even this time, they are ready for talks with domestic politicians – who previously rejected the aforementioned call – but also with the foreign factor in B&H that in her opinion, contributed to deepening of the crisis with certain decisions. RTRS noted that the CC of B&H is the best example that foreigners are the main source of crisis while the last decision of former HR Valentin Inzko led to the biggest post-Dayton crisis. RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic also pointed out the role of the international community. He stated: “Those who initiated all the crises are calling us for talks, for coexistence, for welfare of B&H. Well gentlemen, you who made the problem can solve it very easy; remove the reasons that created the problem and there would be no problems here for the three peoples to coexist.”

30th anniversary of RS parliament marked with solemn academy in Banja Luka (ATV

 

A solemn academy on the occasion of marking the 30th anniversary of work of the RS parliament was held in Banja Luka on Monday. Attendees at the solemn academy emphasized that establishing the RS parliament, which was initially the Assembly of Serb People in B&H, was a response to the policies of leaderships of Muslims and Croats at that time and it aimed to ensure the survival of Serb people in B&H. Attendees, namely representatives of the ruling authorities of the RS and the guests of the academy, stressed that 30 years later the RS parliament continues preserving the constituent status and equality of Serb people. In his speech as host of the academy, RS parliament speaker Nedeljko Cubrilovic noted that the legal and political continuity of the RS parliament goes on and he pointed out that the RS parliament has always faced difficult times. Cubrilovic stressed that the most difficult period happened 30 years ago, but overcoming the challenges that occurred and reoccurred throughout its entire work took place through solutions reached by all parties from the RS. Serb member of the RS Presidency Milorad Dodik addressed the solemn academy, noting that the RS parliament has always been the most important means of defense from violation of RS’ rights stemming from the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA). Dodik said he is most proud of the law on formation of the RS Army, which was adopted by the Assembly of Serb People in B&H back in the early 1990s. Dodik said that he is convinced that they will spend the next 30 years strengthening their role in the world that remains unfair to them like it was in the beginning. He added: “In a world that does not want to understand but wants to apply force, I think that we will have the need for sacrifice and self-sacrifice but without sacrificing peace of the people.” Dodik again repeated that he is not a Bosnian Serb but a Serb. Dodik stated that he will not meet Christian Schmidt, but talks with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the US Department of State Gabriel Escobar and European External Action Service (EEAS) Managing Director for Europe Angelina Eichhorst are possible. Dodik reiterated that Christian Schmidt is not the HR. In her speech, RS President Zeljka Cvijanovic said that the Assembly of Serb People in B&H was the only institution created before the RS itself and it was created as “the last line of defense of Serbs’ interests” in former Yugoslavia. Cvijanovic expressed hope that the RS parliament will continue defending the RS’ interests. Cvijanovic said that many violently and illegal taken competences will be returned and the RSNA will play a key role in this process. She underlined: “We do not want anything less or more than what was and still belongs to us in line with the Dayton Agreement and the Constitution. We will use all political and legal means at our disposal for this struggle.” RS Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic stated that he is uncertain what could have happened to Serb people in B&H if the RS parliament had not been formed. Serbian parliament speaker Ivica Dacic was a guest at the academy and he delivered a speech saying that Serbia wants prosperity of Serb people, wherever they live. Dacic referred to the RS and the RS parliament as unavoidable factors in the plans for the future, concluding that fate of Serb people cannot be decided without their consent. Dacic said that perseverance and development of the RS is the issue of the most significant importance for Serbia and this will always stay like this. Dacic added that the RS is a significant political factor, adding that all decisions in B&H can be reached only with the consent of the RS and he repeated this stance during a meeting with partner, leader of SP Petar Djokic. Djokic expressed content with the fact that once again, Dacic came and reiterated messages of political leadership of Serbia and its support to fight of the RS to keep its identity and autonomy within B&H. Dacic announced that the RS  and the Serbian parliaments will hold a joint session in Belgrade next month. Dacic said that the RS has managed to survive these 30 years. Dacic claimed that the RS not only preserved its institutions but also people’s faith that they can be alone on their own land. Dacic pointed out that this means that the RS has absolute support of Serbia on the grounds of the Dayton Peace Agreement. “Istanbul often says that an attack on Sarajevo is an attack on Turkey, and the West says similar things.” Dacic argued: “Then who can prohibit us from saying that an attack on the RS is an attack on Serbia? We support talks and agreements of people but we do not support annulment of results of Dayton by force. In this context, you have Serbia’s full support.” The officials underlined the need to preserve, defend the RS and hand it over like that to future generations. According to announcements, adoption of important decisions for the RS is about to happen in the RS parliament in the upcoming period because imposing, disputing, outvoting and undermining of the legal system and the constitutional order became present on a daily basis in B&H and just some of the challenges that the RS is facing with.

 

Croatian Embassy sharply condemns attacks on Croat symbols in B&H (Hina

 

The Croatian Embassy in B&H on Monday strongly condemned the frequent attacks on Croatian symbols in that country and warned that these are serious incidents that authorities in the country must not ignore as they create feelings of fear and insecurity. After a monument to killed soldiers of the Croatian Defense Forces (HVO) had been desecrated in Vitez over the weekend, the embassy today issued a statement to condemn in the strongest terms the incident and underscore that the Vitez case, as well as another recent incident against the Catholic church in Bihac, are just two in a series of similar worrisome cases. “This vandal act, and recent threats to Croatian political representatives in Bugojno and the violent tearing down of the Croatian flag in Bugojno and Vares, comprise serious incidents directed against the Croatian people in B&H,” the statement says noting that attacks on Croatian premises and symbols create fear and distrust and must not be ignored. “Hence the Embassy of Croatia calls on the highest competent institutions in B&H to condemn these incidents, and to shed light on their background and punish those responsibly,” the statement said. The Embassy recalled that the Croatian state wishes to be a sincere friend and is committed to all efforts to support that country on its European and Euro-Atlantic journey, to guarantee the equality of all three constituent peoples and all citizens, and to strengthen the respect of coexistence, tolerance, and rule of law.

Covic expresses optimism there will be agreement on changes to Law on Elections, says impositions and sanctions would be counterproductive (Vecernji list

HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic asked if there is a possibility of reaching an agreement on changes to the Law on Elections of B&H with SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic, to which he replied: “Absolutely”. Asked to elaborate on his optimism, Covic said he is a realistic optimist and that if he personally does not believe in the agreement, then he cannot represent the people in the talks. Talking more about the issue, Covic said: “When big friend of our homeland (US envoy for electoral reform) Matthew Palmer recently informed me about possible solutions, I told him that, if we wat rationality with two areas, then we do not need 11 governments, parliaments, judicial institutions. There can be two. However, it is too early to talk about it.” Asked about the issue of erasing of the ethnic prefix, Covic replied by saying, among other issues, that any decrease of rights of constituent peoples is absolutely unacceptable. “The prefixes can be, naturally, changed, but in our language, it is well known what the prefix is,” said Covic adding that whoever has the ambition to, intentionally or unintentionally, erase the constituent peoples “I will clearly say: you cannot touch it”. “Of course, my wish is to reach a compromise. I believe in it and will do my all that we finish the talks as early as this week. I am sure that the representatives of the US and the EU will give their contribution that it happens,” added Covic. Asked if the talks held so far raised the issue of the House of Peoples (HoP), the HDZ B&H leader said the HoP is more important than the Presidency of B&H, arguing that ‘we’ have offered out solution for the issue, stressing that the legitimate election is condition for everything. Asked to comment on recent moves of the RS authorities, Milorad Dodik, events at the Presidency of B&H and the accordion at the Presidency, Covic said the events showed how the Presidency of B&H is dysfunctional and does not reflect B&H and the will of the three peoples. “Dodik, as far as I gather from the talks, wants to protect the Dayton, in other words the constitutional position of the RS. I spoke to him on two occasions. He wanted to explain me his moves, and I informed him about meetings that are expected to take place regarding the electoral reform and negotiations of political parties.” Asked if he perceives moves of the Serb side as road towards secession from B&H, Covic said that during talks with Dodik he never heard the word ‘secession’. Asked to comment on calls for intervention of the OHR and announcements of possible sanctions against Dodik, Covic replied by saying he is a man of dialogue, which is why he believes there is no place for sanctions against anyone, arguing that hundreds of officials have been penalized in the last 30 years. “And what we got? Nothing,” added Covic. He went on to say that the High Representative should not enact any decisions in B&H: “You saw what Valentin Inzko did on the way out. The very act of imposition is problematic. Schmidt must protect Dayton relations in B&H. He did not get the full support of five permanent members of the Security Council, which is not good.” Asked to comment on Schmidt’s request to address the B&H House of Representatives, Covic said that in his opinion it would make sense to address both chambers “because that is the way the parliament functions”. “If the address would deal with lowering tensions, reform activities, changes to the Law on Elections, the road to the EU, then it is welcomed. Impositions and sanctions would be counterproductive,” said Covic. Asked how the crisis can be overcome and whether there will be conflicts, Covic said that there will be no war, that one should not be thinking in that direction and that we must do everything to make sure we manage the crisis and solve some of fundamental issues once and for all. Asked how he sees the removal of the Chief Prosecutor (of B&H Gordana Tadic), Covic replied by saying that Tadic is a representative of the Croat people and not the Croat policy as somebody wanted to portray it. “The way the process of her removal was carried out, with announcements from Sarajevo on how it will happen, is the worst thing that happened to B&H, I talked about it with Izetbegovic as well,” said Covic. Asked if there will be the (general) elections next year, Covic said: “If we change the Law on Election, and I am sure we will, there will be the elections”. When asked what would happen if there is no agreement, Covic failed to provide a direct answer, instead he replied by saying that “the numerical concept” is now a strategy, stressing it is not only Croats who are leaving B&H and that four or five times more Bosniaks have left the country.

 

The committee is questioning Abazovic, Katnic, Vuksic (CdM/RTCG

 

The Parliamentary Committee on Security and Defense is questioning the leaders of the security sector and the prosecutor’s office regarding the security situation in the country. Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic, Acting Supreme State Prosecutor Drazen Buric, Chief Special Prosecutor Milivoje Katnic, Director of the National Security Agency Dejan Vuksic and Chief of the Special Police Department Dragan Radonjic are questioned at the session which is closed to the public. The decision on the control hearing was made by the Committee unanimously on the initiative of the president of that body Milan Knezevic. On the eve of the session of the Committee Knezevic told the RTCG Portal that the parts of the security sector should never be allowed to break away from the Constitution and the law and merge with organized crime.

“The control hearing should show the importance of institutions tasked with fighting organized crime and corruption. I can’t even guess what information we will get tomorrow, but it is certainly a common obligation to contribute so that parts of the security sector never again break away from the Constitution and law and merge with organized crime,” Knezevic pointed out. Explaining the initiative Knezevic said that it was no secret that the situation in Montenegro was disturbed, not only in terms of security, but also in the socio-political situation, and that it was a consequence of the inherited decades-long situation.

 

Zaev: The government coalition is stable; this is not the time for early parliamentary elections (Nezavisen vesnik/Sitel TV)

The governing coalition is stable. The communication is complete. It is legitimate for everyone to fight for the votes, said the leader of SDSM Zoran Zaev, commenting on the announcements of the coalition partner Besa that in the second round of the elections they will give their support to the Alliance of Albanians. Speaking on the central daily Sitel TV, Zaev said that he was not disappointed that the LDP and DOM, as coalition partners, did not publicly call on their voters to give their support in the second round to the coalition candidates. He says that they have differences with the coalition partners, but that they share general values ​​such as the fight against corruption, judicial reforms, European integration. That is the beauty of a democracy and freedom. We have common values ​​in the coalition and that unites us. It is important to mobilize all voters with whom we share common values, said Zaev. According to him, the citizens sitting at home would mean the return of the old regime. We did not lose to VMRO-DPMNE, but to those who stayed at home. Some of them addressed a serious punishment due to the efficiency in the work and the personal solutions, but I believe that we changed the approach in our campaign. Sitting at home is a complete support for our opponent, said Zaev. In the second round, he believes that SDSM will have a visible victory and expects a visible difference in favor of SDSM in Skopje, Chair, Karpos and Centar. If SDSM loses Skopje, Zaev reiterated that he will not be able to lead the government because the opposition would obstruct the policies of the central government. However, according to him, this does not mean that it is time for early parliamentary elections. He says that the parliamentary majority is safe, and not for early parliamentary elections because according to him the next two and a half years are a unique chance to develop the economy and to valorize what has already been done. He announced that several more MPs will join the ruling majority, but he will announce it after the elections. All major issues are closed. We do not have open ethnic issues at home, we do not have open issues with our neighbors, we know and work on the five points with Bulgaria. I believe that after 14 November, when the elections in Bulgaria end, until the next session of the Municipal Council, we have enough time to finish it and get the first intergovernmental conference, said Zaev.

 

Rama meets the Prime Minister of Bavaria: A determined ally on the European path (Radio Tirana)

During his visit to Germany, Prime Minister Edi Rama had a meeting with the Prime Minister of Bavaria Markus Soder. Rama says that Soder is a determined ally of Albania and the Western Balkans on the European path. The Prime Minister emphasizes that with Soder “we will work to strengthen economic and trade relations between Bavaria and Albania”. “Munich, Germany – Meeting with the Prime Minister of Bavaria, Markus Soder, a determined ally of Albania and the Western Balkans on the European path, with whom we will work to strengthen economic and trade relations between Bavaria and Albania,” said Rama in a reaction as he also published footage from the meeting.

Albania-UN renew commitment to work together for sustainable development over next five years (Radio Tirana)

Deputy Prime Minister Arben Ahmetaj and UN Resident Coordinator Fiona McCluney sign the 2022-2026 Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework as the UN marks its 76th anniversary. The government of the Republic of Albania and the United Nations Team in Albania announced this Monday, the renewal of their commitment to a joint work program for the next five years, while Ahmetaj and McCluney signed the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026. The signing ceremony took place during a two-theme event marking the 76th anniversary of the UN, held at the Palace of Brigades in Tirana. The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania and the UN Office in Albania, with the participation of key development partners in the country. In the spirit of UN Day and the presentation of the Secretary General’s latest report on the ‘Common Agenda’, aimed at strengthening governance for present and future generations, Deputy Prime Minister and Co-Chair of the Albania-UN Joint Executive Committee Arben Ahmetaj announced that the Government and the UN system in Albania have agreed on a new Cooperation Framework (UN) which will start this January and will last until 2026. The new Cooperation Framework is based on Albania’s top priorities, European Union membership and meeting the national commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030 and its nationalized MDG-focused objectives for health. and quality education, good governance and the rule of law, public service delivery and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and effective recovery. The Cooperation Framework aims to commit an amount of USD 282 million for the full cycle. In his speech held at the signing ceremony, Mr. Ahmetaj praised the current cooperation between Albania and the UN and promised continued support for cooperation with the UN: “As we complete a successful cycle of joint work with UN agencies in Albania, we are ready to renew our commitment to sustainable development,” he said. On behalf of the nineteen UN agencies and programs with or without representation in Albania, UN Resident Coordinator Fiona McCluney reiterated the key areas of work of the new Cooperation Framework and the urgency for action in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. “At the heart of our joint action is our commitment to fighting poverty, promoting human rights and gender equality, protecting the environment and tackling climate change and supporting economic and social reforms,” ​​she said. The UN Day is celebrated worldwide on October 24 each year to mark the anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding document, the United Nations was formally established. This year the UN Day celebrations in Albania are held while Albania takes over the mandate in the UN Security Council for the next two years.

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Belgrade Media Report 03 December 2021

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