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Belgrade Media Report 16 August

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LOCAL PRESS

• Brnabic: Vucic to fight for peace in Brussels (TV Pink/RTV/Tanjug)
• Vucic: No comparison between Serbian Armed Forces and so-called Kosovo army (Tanjug/RTS)
• Rakic: Ambassadors of the Quint told us to accept the independence of Kosovo (B92)
• Dveri Party unveils platform on Kosovo (Beta)
• Matic: Wine fair to also promote tourism industries of Open Balkans states (Tanjug/Politika)
• Hill: I’m not pursuing anti-Serbian policy, I’m here to build stronger Serbian-US relations (RTS)
• Refugee Commissioner says almost 10,000 migrants in Serbia (Beta)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina
• UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office confirms its support to HR Schmidt’s intention to impose changes to B&H Election Law (Dnevni avaz)
• Diplomatic sources say Croatia does not support HNS initiative for B&H to move its embassy to Jerusalem (Hayat)
• US Congress to discuss two law proposals dealing with B&H and Western Balkans (Oslobodjenje)
• Is Erdogan coming to support or pacify Izetbegovic (Nezavisne)
• Turkovic: There is danger that mandate of EUFOR Althea Mission will not be extended in November (Oslobodjenje)
• First group of German soldiers arrive in B&H as part of EUFOR mission (N1)
• Kovacevic: RS has nothing against ALTHEA mission, but it has never said that it is in favor of arrival of any new military troops, including German troops (RTRS/ATV)
Montenegro
• Abazovic: If government doesn’t fall, a big reshuffle about to happen – everyone’s invited apart from DPS and SDP (CdM)
• Maddocks: Another change of power doesn’t necessarily mean instability (Pobjeda)
• Dzomic: No future agreement can encroach on rights guaranteed and recognized to SPC by Fundamental Agreement (CdM)
• Zakharova on the expulsion of the Russian diplomat from Montenegro: An illogical decision (CdM)
Republic of North Macedonia
• Mickoski: If Kovacevski gathers 80 MPs for constitutional changes, I will fulfill the promise given the next day, if he fails, let’s hold elections (Republika)
• USA recognizes the languages of Western Balkans – it is stated in the proposed legislation for aid to the region (VoA/Libertas)
Albania
• President Begaj received by Kosovo PM (ADN)
• Osmani: Kosovo and Albania to reach mutual protection agreement (ADN)
• Kosovo revokes decision to limit power supply after coop with Albania (ADN)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Brnabic: Vucic to fight for peace in Brussels (TV Pink/RTV/Tanjug)

 

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Tuesday President Aleksandar Vucic would fight for peace at Brussels meetings with representatives of NATO, US and Pristina on Wednesday and Thursday. “We have come thus far due to unilateral moves by Albin Kurti and due to a huge lack of responsibility by the EU. In April next year, it will be ten years since implementation of the backbone of the Brussels agreement, the Community of Serb Municipalities, has been thwarted because the entire EU, which is the guarantor of that Brussels Agreement, cannot make the people in Pristina implement that. And then they put the ball in our court and say ‘you will be the ones to blame’. What for?” Brnabic said. She said Kurti had denied Kosovo Serbs the right to vote – a fundamental human right – twice this year. “Following physical abuse, destruction of their property, desecration of Serbian churches, monasteries and cemeteries, he first denied them the right to vote in January. And then what happened? The reaction from the EU and the Quint states, including the US, was so serious that he repeated that in the 3 April elections,” Brnabic said. The EU is letting Pristina violate the Brussels agreement by allowing it to mount police raids in the north of Kosovo-Metohija and to harass local Serbs, and then it says Belgrade and Pristina are equally responsible for tensions in Kosovo and Metohija, Brnabic said. Fiscally and macroeconomically, Serbia has become one of Europe’s top performers, but all of that is at risk unless peace and stability are preserved, she said. Kurti can only cause a war to gain an alibi for all his failures, Brnabic said. “That is why we must maintain internal stability and solidarity and maintain peace to ensure Serbia can continue to grow stronger,” she said.

 

Vucic: No comparison between Serbian Armed Forces and so-called Kosovo army (Tanjug/RTS)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday there was no comparison between the Serbian Armed Forces (SAF) and the so-called Kosovo army. “As regards the strength of our armed forces and what should not exist – the so-called Kosovo army, which I do not underestimate – there is simply no comparison between the two,” Vucic said in response to questions from reporters. He said no Kosovo armed forces were allowed to exist under UN SC Resolution 1244 but that Quint states had given the green light and armed the so-called Kosovo army to a serious extent, alongside Turkey.

 

Rakic: Ambassadors of the Quint told us to accept the independence of Kosovo (B92)

 

The Head of Office for Kosovo and Metohija Petar Petkovic, President of Serb List Goran Rakic and four mayors from the north of Kosovo and Metohija address the Serbian public. Rakic said that he and four mayors from the north of Kosovo and Metohija met with the ambassadors of the Quint countries and that at that meeting they heard from them that their countries support the independence of Kosovo and Metohija and Pristina’s moves. He states that they agreed that the session would not be open to the public, but due to the weight and seriousness of the message they received, they have a moral, human and political responsibility to explain and inform the people and the public what was discussed at that meeting, which lasted more than two hours.

“Their countries support Kosovo’s independence, that is why they, as representatives of the countries they come from, support independence, they absolutely support the decisions that Pristina makes, and in particular they underlined and emphasized that they support Pristina’s decisions on license plates and the introduction of some kind of entry-exit document,” he said and added that they refer to the fact that Pristina did it in accordance with some agreement. He also stated that it is heard that those who live in Kosovo and Metohija will be issued a document that will allow them to stay in Kosovo and Metohija for 90 days. “My child has to cross the border, i.e. an administrative crossing every 90 days. Now we have to accept that we are foreigners there. Our fathers, grandfathers… some of us want to become foreigners, or to assimilate us. Or to expel us from our centuries-old hearths,” Rakic said. He added that the mayors stated that it was not in accordance with the agreement, but that the ambassadors said that they should “accept the reality on the ground” and the independence of Kosovo. “We looked at Brussels and our President Vucic, for us, it is not over,” he said, adding that the only instance where open issues are resolved is dialogue. “We do not recognize unilateral decisions. The only thing they believe is that a solution will be found in Brussels, for us who live down there.” As he stated, he expects that through the dialogue in Brussels, Vucic and his team will find a way to overcome the crisis, because this will not last a few days or weeks, it will now be a year since the protests started. “They can support and make decisions in their favor, but for us it is unacceptable. The only relevant thing is the Brussels table. When we have unilateral moves, we have a reaction from the Serbs. Acquired rights cannot be taken except by force. They have force, they have laws, they can pass some laws by force. We will not accept that they take our license plates. They call KM plates Milosevic’s plates. That is not true, those are Serbian license plates,” Rakic concluded.

 

Dveri Party unveils platform on Kosovo (Beta)

 

Ivan Kostic, vice president of the right-wing Dveri (Doors) party, said on Monday that the party had created a platform for returning Kosovo under the constitutional and legal auspices of Serbia, which it would distribute to all caucuses and national institutions, and stated that this was one of the most significant topics for the parliament to convene on. “This platform is our attempt to find a consensus and unity about our people in our southern province instead of it being, if such a session were to happen, a monologue of the representatives of the regime without taking suggestions from other caucuses,” Kostic told a news conference. The platform envisages “cessation of Euro-Atlantic integration until the withdrawal of recognition of Kosovo and Metohija as independent by the states that have acknowledged its secession and the withdrawal of NATO from Serbian territory”. It is necessary to “declare NATO occupation on a part of Serbian territory — in [the Autonomous Province of] Kosovo and Metohija, and demand returning the Kosovo issue under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Security Council and consistent enforcement of Resolution 1244”.

 

Matic: Wine fair to also promote tourism industries of Open Balkans states (Tanjug/Politika)

 

Serbian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Tatjana Matic said on Monday the first Belgrade international wine fair, to be held early next month, would be unique, not only as an event promoting wine and gastronomic tourism, but also as one promoting tourist destinations in the Open Balkans states. “The Wine Vision of Open Balkan is one of the first joint steps that will materialise the Open Balkan ideas and strategy. The event is a product of joint work by three states and an ideal opportunity for not only putting the Open Balkan wine trails on the world map of wine tours, but also for establishing our countries better and more easily on the world map of attractive tourist destinations,” Matic said in a statement released by her ministry. She said she expected the new fair, which will bring together exhibitors from the region and worldwide, to become a traditional event and a must-see European festival of gastronomy and tourism. Under the patronage of the governments of Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania as part of the Open Balkans initiative, Wine Vision of Open Balkans will be held at the Belgrade Fair on 1-4 September.

 

Hill: I’m not pursuing anti-Serbian policy, I’m here to build stronger Serbian-US relations (RTS)

 

US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill said – answering questions on Twitter – that he does not pursue an anti-Serbian policy and that he is in Serbia precisely to try to build much stronger Serbian-US relations. When asked, “When will America stop leading an anti-Serbian policy and start respecting Serbia as it deserves to be respected, as an ally in two world wars and a friendly nation” – Christopher Hill pointed out that Serbia and the US have many things in common. “More things connect than divide us and I think we can do a lot more in this relationship. I assure you that, starting with President Biden, we are very interested in improving those relations,” said Hill. He stressed that they are interested in improving relations in many areas – economy, politics, foreign policy… Hill also said Serbia and the US should try to have a common understanding regarding issues that may not affect them directly, but on which they have many reasons to cooperate. “We are really looking forward to much stronger relations and that is what I am committed to here,” said Hill.

 

Refugee Commissioner says almost 10,000 migrants in Serbia (Beta)

 

Serbian Refugee Commissioner Vladimir Cucic said on Tuesday that more than 6,000 migrants are housed in refugee centers with more than 2000 outside those facilities. He told Beta that that 6,305 people are housed in government operated refugee centers. “There are a lot of migrants entering the country and we are sure that there are 9,861 in the country at present,” Cucic said and added that more migrants come into the country during the summer. “We registered a rise of 67 percent of people in refugee centers compared to last year,” the Commissioner said. According to him, the numbers are not alarming but are serious. Cucic said there are 2,889 Ukrainian nationals in Serbia with just 84 of them in refugee centers. “Those people have requested help with health care, enrolling children in school and residence permits,” he said.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office confirms its support to HR Schmidt’s intention to impose changes to B&H Election Law (Dnevni avaz

 

UK national of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) origin Tarik Delic contacted the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office inquiring about UK’s stance on the use of the Bonn Powers by High Representative Christian Schmidt to impose changes to B&H Election Law. In the response, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office formally confirmed that it supports Schmidt’s intention to impose the law changes. “It is clear that after years of political and legislative stagnation and multiple failed attempts at reform, especially in the Federation of B&H (FB&H), we need to find new solutions to resolve the serious problems B&H faces”, reads the letter sent to Delic. The letter also warns that the political situation has deteriorated over the past years and that there is little domestic political will to break that cycle. “We welcome the High Representative’s intention to tackle this serious situation by looking for a broad and balanced package of electoral integrity measures that improves the functionality of the FB&H in Parliament, aids formation of the Constitutional Court and helps with the government formation process”, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office stated.

 

Diplomatic sources say Croatia does not support HNS initiative for B&H to move its embassy to Jerusalem (Hayat

 

High-ranked diplomatic source from Croatia stated that initiative of the Croat People’s Assembly (HNS) and its leader Dragan Covic that B&H should move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem does not have support of Croatia. Reporter reminded that after Israel Embassy in Tirana commended amendments to the Election Law of B&H proposed by HDZ B&H, HNS decided to launch abovementioned initiative. Reporter noted that failure to support HNS’ initiative is obviously official stance of Croatia and represents another political slap to policies of Covic. Journalist from Croatia Davor Gjenero stressed that Croatia strictly follows joint European policy and will not even discuss support to Covic’s initiative. Leader of Croat Party of B&H (HS B&H) Bozo Skopljakovic stated that Covic’s statements are hypocritical and bring Croats to situation to distance from his statements and acts. Skopljakovic claims that new declarations of HNS will bring nothing good, but will additionally undermine relations between Bosniaks and Croats and will bring official Zagreb to difficult position. Skopljakovic claims that thanks to some subjects from Israel, Covic destroyed Mostar-based ‘Aluminij’ company and that Israel is his new protector. Reporter commented that the fact Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs distanced from Covic is evidence that Croatia is extremely discontent with his policies. Gjenero also stated that official Zagreb is discontent with failure to reach agreement on changes of the Election Law of B&H, sabotage of talks in Brussels and increase of tensions between Bosniaks and Croats. He added that since the US and the EU are discontent with Covic’s behaviour, it seems he is closer to leave political scene. Reporter commented that due to lack of friends in the West, Covic and his civic association HNS turned to lobbying in Israel.

 

US Congress to discuss two law proposals dealing with B&H and Western Balkans (Oslobodjenje

 

The daily reports that B&H and Western Balkan region have been in focus of the US Congress in recent period. Namely, US House of Representatives members Ann Wagner and Susan Wild presented the proposal of the ‘Upholding the Dayton Peace Agreement Through Sanctions Act’ on 20 July. This Bill expresses support to B&H’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, multi-ethnic character and the prosperity of the Republika Srpska (RS) entity, the Federation of B&H (FB&H) entity, and the Brcko District within one B/H. It calls for imposition of sanctions with respect to foreign persons undermining the Dayton Peace Agreement or threatening the security of B&H. The Act calls on B&H to implement the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, to encourage robust participation in the October General Elections, to support the robust use of targeted sanctions against persons who undermine the Dayton Peace Agreement and democratic institutions, including by blocking, boycotting or not recognizing the results of elections. Furthermore, the Act urges the EU to join the US and UK in sanctioning B&H Presidency member Milorad Dodik. (8) to expose and condemn the Government of Russia for its role in fueling instability in B&H and undermining the Dayton Peace Agreement, the role of the Office of the High Representative, and the European Union Force in B&H’s Operation Althea. The Act also has the purpose to expose and condemn the government of Russia for its role in fuelling instability in B&H and undermining the Dayton Peace Agreement, the role of the OHR, and the EUFOR’s Operation Althea. The Act stipulates that not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of the Act, and every 90 days thereafter, the President of USA shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of foreign persons that are determined to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, any action or policy that threatens the peace, security, stability, or territorial integrity of B&H. The Act also targets persons determined to be responsible for corruption such as the misappropriation of public assets, expropriation of private assets for personal gain or political purposes, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources or bribery. The sanctions may include blocking of assets, revoking of existing visas for travel to the USA and denying the right to travel to the USA. US Senator Jeanne Shaheen introduced the proposal of the new bipartisan bill called ‘The Western Balkans Democracy and Prosperity Act’. This bill is co-sponsored by Senators Roger Wicker, Thom Tills, Dick Durbin, Ben Cardin, Chris Van Hollen and Chris Murphy. This proposed act emphasized the significance of the Western Balkan region for European peace, stability and prosperity. It also highlights corruption and misinformation as the main obstacles to the economic and political development of the region. This act establishes a regional trade and economic competitiveness initiative, as well as an anti-corruption initiative. It codifies two US executive orders that would grant authority for sanctions against those who threaten peace and stability in the Western Balkans and are engaged in corrupt behavior. Commenting the proposed bills, professor of the Department for International Relations and European Studies of the International Burch University Adis Maksic stated that he does not believe that the bills will significantly help in the fight against corruption. He reminded that USA has already made decisions, issued warnings and even imposed sanctions, so the two latest bill proposals are in line with the existing US policies. However, he underlined, successful fight against corruption requires a comprehensive approach which targets not only individuals but also institutions, and which aims to change the entire political culture. However, he warned, nobody in the West has the energy for such an approach. Maksic noted that politicians in the region compete in manipulating with ethnic sentiments and in spreading fear. According to him, the USA and other Western powers sometimes even aid political leaders, which is currently the case with the intention of the OHR to impose changes to B&H Election Law. “Activities of the OHR to this extent right before the start of the election campaign, which were launched because of the higher interests of the USA and EU, will additionally incite nationalism and allow the self-proclaimed national leaders to present themselves as the saviours of the threatened nations. It is difficult to expect concrete results in fight against corruption as long as we are in the position of pawns on the chessboard of global politics”, said Maksic.

 

Is Erdogan coming to support or pacify Izetbegovic (Nezavisne

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay an official visit to the region, and according to available information, the Turkish leader will definitely visit Belgrade and Sarajevo. The daily notes that for some analysts, Erdogan’s arrival in B&H is completely unnecessary because, as they say, the foundations of his policy are not good, while others believe that one should listen to what Erdogan has to offer. According to political analyst Velizar Antic, only one question is being raised here and that is whether Erdogan will continue to support SDA and its leader Bakir Izetbegovic or whether his appearance and political address will now be in a milder form. “If he supports Bakir Izetbegovic, it will give him wind at his back, as well as SDA, to achieve a much better election result. In their previous action they had the support of the Turkish state, however lately we have seen that Erdogan is making some statements in which his views do not coincide with Izetbegovic’s views,” Antic said, adding that this is precisely why it is difficult to answer the question of whether Erdogan is coming to “pacify” Izetbegovic or to give him support. “We should wait and see what his statements will be like. If he provides support as before, they will certainly know how to use that in the elections. But these discrepancies that can be seen lately, as well as good relation between Erdogan and Dodik, but also good relations with Vucic and Serbia, are a sign that one should wait for him to arrive in the region,” Antic underlined. On the other hand, political analyst Enver Kazaz said that there could not be a more wrong visit, “or a more wrong politician who bases his power in Turkey on conservatism, populism and authoritarianism.” Kazaz explains the statement “wrong person in B&H” with two examples. “On one hand, it is Izetbegovic’s Ottomanophilia and Turkophilia, i.e. giving Recep Tayyip Erdogan some kind of messianic role and leadership over the Bosniaks. On the other hand, the flattery of Milorad Dodik, in the expectation that Erdogan, due to good relations with Serbia, has an understanding of the position of Serb nationalism in B&H,” Kazaz emphasized. In addition to this, Kazaz does not want to ignore the role and play that Erdogan has in relation to the issue of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. “Trying to play between the West and Russia on a thin wire that roughly isolates Turkey from the West, so we do not know where Turkey will be placed in the future geopolitical context. I will say one thing about that, B&H can achieve internal peace only thanks to the negotiations of its internal subjects, and this means no identification with Turkey, Russia or Germany, but responsible political work from within,” Kazaz pointed out. The date of the Turkish President’s visit is still unknown, but it is being speculated that he should arrive in Sarajevo in August or September.

 

Turkovic: There is danger that mandate of EUFOR Althea Mission will not be extended in November (Oslobodjenje

 

B&H Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic warned that there is the possibility that EUFOR troops will be forced to withdraw from B&H soon. Namely, the UN Security Council is expected to vote on extension of the Althea mission mandate in B&H in nearly November. However, she warned, the current geopolitical circumstances are a cause for concern that the decision on extension of the Althea Mission mandate might be blocked. Turkovic expressed hope that there will be no blockade, and she underlined that EUFOR has been one of the main pillars of security in B&H for many years. Turkovic emphasized that the international military presence in B&H should not be reduced or eliminated. She reminded that the current events in Ukraine increase the fears and uncertainties, as well as the potential danger of destabilization.

 

First group of German soldiers arrive in B&H as part of EUFOR mission (N1

 

The first group of German soldiers arrived in B&H on Monday as part of the EUFOR mission. On 8 July, the Bundestag approved the deployment of German soldiers in B&H. The German Army participated in the EU mission in B&H from 2004 to 2012. “EUFOR is pleased to announce the arrival of a German military contingent to the Operation ALTHEA which will bring the total number nations contributing soldiers to EUFOR to 20. Our first colleagues from Germany have arrived on Monday and the rest will be deployed in stages. The number of personnel to deploy will be up to a maximum of 50,” spokesperson for EUFOR Catherine Smyth said. German soldiers will participate in work of EUFOR HQs and conduct coordination in process of training of members of B&H Armed Forces (AF). Two teams for communication and monitoring should be stationed in RS and they will be in contact with local residents. The German Embassy in Sarajevo confirmed for the daily that the first contingent of German soldiers arrived Monday in B&H, where they will be stationed as part of the EUFOR ALTHEA mission. On this occasion, the Government of Germany announced that stability and security in B&H and the entire Western Balkans are of essential political importance for the EU and its member states. “Operation EUFOR ALTHEA and the support of the High Representative for B&H are a guarantee for that. Bearing in mind the internal political tensions on one hand and the Russian attack on Ukraine on the other, the increased engagement of Germany is a clear commitment to the long-term stabilization of B&H on the way to Euro-Atlantic structures,” the German government stated. The daily notes that although the German media did not particularly report on the arrival of the German contingent these days, there were many reports on the sudden transformation of the Bundeswehr in light of the Russian-Ukrainian war. In a speech by German Chancellor Olaf Sholz in the Bundestag a few days after the start of the war in Ukraine, Germany announced a new era of German defense policy, which will be based on more active involvement of the Bundeswehr, procurement of new equipment and weapons, and capacity building. Germany has also created a special fund of one hundred billion Euros, which will be fully invested in equipping the army, in addition to the regular budget increases planned for defense.

 

Kovacevic: RS has nothing against ALTHEA mission, but it has never said that it is in favor of arrival of any new military troops, including German troops (RTRS/ATV

 

Advisor to Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik, Radovan Kovacevic, said Monday that RS has nothing against the ALTHEA mission, but it has never said that it is in favor of the arrival of any new military troops, including German troops. Commenting on PDP leader Branislav Borenovic‘s statement that Dodik spoke with German Foreign Minister Annalena  Baerbock and allowed the arrival of German troops in B&H, Kovacevic said that Dodik did speak with Baerbock , as he was at many other addresses, including Moscow and Brussels, where he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Council President Charles Michel, “and he repeated every time that the RS has nothing against the ALTHEA mission because it is the best option for peace and security in B&H.” Kovacevic pointed out that the RS has done its best to raise its capacities in terms of security, “and today it can be freely said that the RS is safe, but it can never be safe from stupidity, and Branislav Borenovic’s statements are clear proof of that”. ATV reported that the announced arrival of German soldiers to B&H sparked numerous reactions, adding that PDP presented their stance about this issue a day before. PDP Vice President Igor Crnadak commented on this issue for ATV and he said that people in the RS have way bigger concerns than strengthened military presence of Germany in B&H. In his opinion, everything is better than seeing SNSD stay in power. Crnadak added that it would be the best if there was no foreign army in B&H at all, but people no longer pay any attention to this and they are terrified of the option that SNSD will again steal the elections and stay in power for four more years. Kovacevic reacted by saying that all this represents an insult for voters and for all people in the RS who clearly said whom they want to see in power. According to Kovacevic, this is an alibi that PDP is using to justify its election failures. Borenovic did not want to comment on this issue for ATV but he proposed to ask Dodik about this issue arguing that he actually welcomed additional presence of German soldiers in B&H. Kovacevic reacted and said that Dodik really did discuss the ALTHEA mission with many world officials and he stated that the ALTHEA mission is good for safety in B&H under one condition, but he also said that he does not support intensified presence of German soldiers. Kovacevic explained that when he mentioned the condition, Dodik meant that no troops will march in front of schools in the RS demonstrating force and the only address to do this is HQ of SDA. The reporter noted that SDS – as the party that praises for creating the RS – failed to react to this issue.

 

Abazovic: If government doesn’t fall, a big reshuffle about to happen – everyone’s invited apart from DPS and SDP (CdM

 

Speaking about the parliament session when MPs are supposed to vote over the election of members of the Judicial Council, Prime Minister, Dritan Abazovic, urges MPs to vote for it. As for the parliament’s session scheduled for 19 August, when a no-confidence vote will be held, the PM announces that a big cabinet reshuffle is going to happen if they survive a no-confidence vote and everybody is invited apart from the DPS and the SDP. On the election of Judicial Council, he further adds: “It’s a part of the European Agenda, three issues that we need to close as soon as possible.” Commenting on the agenda point referring to a vote over amendments to the law setting up the new municipality of Zeta and that everything depends on the Civic Movement URA, Abazovic says that “amendments will be proposed”, noting that they’re “trying to come to a solution along with citizens”. On the government session scheduled for Friday when a no confidence vote will be held, the PM believes that the situation is being quite simple. “Everyone who wants Montenegro to keep up with the fight against organized crime and corruption, who doesn’t want the Fundamental Agreement to be struck down and choose the road of reconciliation and stabilization, won’t back the initiative. Everyone who wants Milo Djukanovic to rule, to besmirch the fight against organized crime and corruption and support the hatred speech or discrimination against certain religious or ethnic communities will vote for the fall of the government.” Abazovic underlines that he didn’t take over as prime minister due to the armchair (status).

 

Maddocks: Another change of power doesn’t necessarily mean instability (Pobjeda

 

In a statement for Pobjeda daily, the UK Ambassador to Montenegro, Karen Maddocks, assesses that another change of power in the coming period doesn’t necessarily mean instability. She points out that Montenegro needs to strengthen institutions and become a stable country, for which, as she says, there has to be agreement between government and parliamentary majority.

On the Fundamental Agreement and whether it slowed down Montenegro’s progress on the road to the EU, the Ambassador says that the decision was up to the government. “The UK is more focused on whether Montenegro can meet its obligations as a NATO Ally and carry out needed reforms in order to strengthen its institutions and become a stable resilient country – for the prosperity of both Montenegro and the international community.”

 

Dzomic: No future agreement can encroach on rights guaranteed and recognized to SPC by Fundamental Agreement (CdM

 

Archpriest-Stavrofor Velibor Dzomic has stated that the rights and interests of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) in Montenegro are protected by the Fundamental Agreement that the church signed with the state. Dzomic, who was a member of the SPC expert team for the preparation of the Fundamental Agreement, has added that “this is why the publicly declared opponents of SPC in Montenegro are protesting”. “If the question of concluding an agreement with the so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church (CPC) is raised, then the question of the obligation to conclude an agreement with some new religious communities that ‘borrowed’ the names of some other churches and religious communities also opens up. Why would the so-called CPC be ahead of them? We will see what will happen, but it is up to us to preserve unity as a blessing of Saint Sava”, said Dzomic. He has stated that the SPC “cannot influence with whom and when the state of Montenegro will conclude agreements, but no future agreement can encroach on the rights that SPC is guaranteed and recognized in Montenegro”.

 

Zakharova on the expulsion of the Russian diplomat from Montenegro: An illogical decision (CdM

 

Montenegro’s decision to expel a Russian diplomat represents the unwillingness and inability of the official Podgorica to distance itself from the policy of blindly following the destructive line of the West, said the spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Maria Zakharova. She points out that this blind following of Western politics is detrimental to international security and cooperation, as well as to one’s own national interests. “We consider this outburst by the Montenegrin authorities as another episode of the hybrid campaign launched by the West and its satellites against Russia. In this we see the unwillingness and inability of the official Podgorica to move away from the policy of blindly following such a destructive line to the detriment of international security and cooperation, as well as its own national interests,” said Zaharova. She stated that the expulsion of the Russian diplomat from Montenegro is unfounded and without logic and that Moscow is leaving behind the right to reply. Zaharova added that there is neither logic nor reason to do such a thing in that decision. We remind you that on Friday it was announced that a Russian diplomat was declared “persona non grata”. Soon after, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia announced that appropriate measures would follow.

 

Mickoski: If Kovacevski gathers 80 MPs for constitutional changes, I will fulfill the promise given the next day, if he fails, let’s hold elections (Republika

 

VMRO-DPMNE leader, Hristijan Mickoski, proposed Monday the government of SDSM and Dimitar Kovacevski to immediately put the proposal for constitutional amendments on the agenda at the next session of the Parliament, adding that if the government gathers 80 deputies, then he will fulfil his promise and will permanently leave politics, and if not, then PM Dmitar Kovacevski should accept early parliamentary elections. “I believe in every single deputy from the VMRO-DPMNE’s group in Parliament that under these circumstances they will not vote for changing the constitution and that if such a thing happens, I will leave politics permanently, because they have my full confidence,” he emphasized in Tetovo. “Here today I will go one step further here in Tetovo, a message to the government led by SDSM and DUI, to Dimitar Kovacevski immediately after the parliament, i.e. the deputies return from annual vacations, that the first item of the first session in the parliament should be a proposal to amend the Constitution of Macedonia. And if he collects 80 MPs, I will fulfil the promise the next day. If he does not have 80 MPs, let’s go to early parliamentary elections. Here is an honest and fair offer,” said Mickoski.

 

USA recognizes the languages of Western Balkans – it is stated in the proposed legislation for aid to the region (VoA/Libertas

 

In addition to rooting out corruption, the bill for aid and support to the countries of the Western Balkans, introduced last week by a group of US senators, also states that the US recognizes the languages and will continue to support the cultural heritage of the region. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, explaining what the bill provides for the region, told Voice of America that the US Secretary of State will be able to offer technical assistance to the countries of the Western Balkans that want to develop national strategies to fight corruption. “Dealing with corruption is a very important part. And what the legislation does is authorize the secretary of state to provide technical assistance to countries that seek help in addressing their corruption challenges,” Shaheen said.

Regarding the part of the proposed legislation regarding languages ​​and how she views the fact that Bulgaria denies the existence of the Macedonian language, Shaheen admits that “there are long-standing historical differences between ethnic groups and countries in the region”. “And as we look at how to move forward into the future, I think it’s important to try to resolve some of those long-standing challenges that exist, just as we saw Greece and North Macedonia finally resolve their differences over the name and what that meant for the cultures. of both countries. We need to see more of those kinds of compromises, which will allow countries to move forward and focus on the future instead of being stuck in the past,” Shaheen said. According to her, the leaders of the Balkans should focus on integration in the European Union, and not on promoting conflict. “When we talk to the people on the trip at the end of April and every time I have been in the region in the past, I have heard from the citizens in those countries that they want peace. They want stability, they want to see an end to the conflict. They want to have opportunities for themselves and their families. And my message to the leaders of the Western Balkans is to think about what their citizens want. Think about the future and what is good for your country. The way forward is looking towards democracy, looking towards integration with the European Union, with the West and not by continuing to promote the conflict that was so disastrous for their citizens in the past, says Shaheen. She emphasizes that a renewed focus on democratic progress is especially important at a time of ethnic tensions and efforts by Russia to foment conflict in the region. As Russia looks at where it might go after Ukraine, of course the Western Balkans is one of those places, which is why the war in Ukraine is so critical. We are thinking about how we will do everything possible to support Ukraine and its efforts against Russia’s brutal unprovoked war. I can’t imagine that anyone, anywhere in the world, and especially in Europe and the Western Balkans, looking at what’s happening in Ukraine, thinking that they would want Russia to come in and do this to their countries, Shaheen said. She says that the proposed legislation aims to ensure economic progress and encourage trade in the Western Balkans, not only with the US, but also with Europe and neighboring countries, as well as create an environment with employment opportunities for young people.

 

President Begaj received by Kosovo PM (ADN

 

The President of the Republic of Albania Bajram Begaj met with the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti during his visit to Pristina. In the announcement distributed by the presidency, it is said that Begaj had a meeting with Kurti as well as the Speaker of the Parliament of Kosovo Glauk Konjufca. He stated that the common primer will be ready for the 110th anniversary of Albania’s independence and work will be done on the major project of the Albanian Encyclopedia. “President Begaj has welcomed the commitment of the two governments for the development of a National Assembly on November 28, 2022, a moment that, according to him, will convey to the entire Albanian people and the international community messages of the unity of the Albanian factor and our aspirations for development, peace and best democratic values. The President of the Republic has hailed the prudence of Kosovo’s institutions in dealing with the crisis of 31 July and supported the legitimate right of Kosovo to extend its authority and establish the rule of law in the north of the country, in cooperation with the USA and the EU. In the meeting with Prime Minister Kurti and speaker of parliament Konjufca, the Head of State emphasized that the common primer will be ready for the 110th anniversary of Albania’s independence and work will be done on the major project of the Albanian Encyclopedia”, the announcement of the presidency states. After the meeting with his counterpart Vjosa Osmani and the Speaker of the Parliament of Kosovo Glauk Konjufca, Begaj also visited the memorial of former President Ibrahim Rugova. Afterwards, the Albanian head of state is expected to hold a meeting with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti. In the joint conference with President Osmani for the media, Begaj emphasized that he is happy to visit Albanianism’s home and emphasized the support that Albania gives to Kosovo for membership in NATO and all important international organizations. President Osmani, has thanked Albania for the help it has given in the integration processes, stating that Albania has been the voice of Kosovo, where there has been no representation. In a joint conference with her Albanian counterpart, Bajram Begaj, Osmani said that Kosovo’s objective is integration into the EU and NATO, pointing out that by the end of the year, they will apply for candidate status. Furthermore, she added that it is important that Kosovo and Albania have a treaty for common defense to react in a reciprocal way in case of an attack on one of these two countries. “I congratulate Albania on its achievements on the road to the EU. We in Kosovo are happy about Albania’s achievements. Albania has supported Kosovo in all periods, meanwhile you have been our voice where we are not represented. We will further intensify relations in all areas. Our strategic objective remains EU and NATO membership, therefore we will apply for EU status by the end of this year. The fact that Albania is a member of NATO is greater security for us. Security has become a priority. We are coordinating with our strategic partners so that the region feels safe. Regarding the cooperation between the two sides, it is more important to have a mutual protection treaty with Albania. I have been looking for such an internship for several years. So, I think it’s time to take the right steps. Preparations are being made to implement the agreements and equal treatment without discrimination. We expect the EU to be more vocal. We expect clear signals from the EU to be given in relation to Serbia that it should stop these actions that affect security in the region”, said Osmani, among other things.

 

Osmani: Kosovo and Albania to reach mutual protection agreement (ADN

 

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani said on Monday that it’s time Kosovo and Albania made a mutual protection agreement as safeguard against a threat to their security. “As for bilateral cooperation in the security and defense sector, it’s very important for us to have a mutual protection agreement with Albania, which would make a reciprocal response possible if our two states are attacked,” Osmani said at a joint press conference with her Albanian counterpart, Bajram Begaj. Osmani said that Kosovo would apply for the status of a candidate country in the EU accession process, and that it counted on Albania’s experience and professionalism along the path to EU membership. In a comment on the situation in Kosovo’s north, Osmani said that “it’s Serbia that’s been using warmongering rhetoric against Kosovo, while its actions are threatening peace and stability.” The Kosovo president also said that she expected “the European Union to send very clear signals to Serbia to stop it”. The Albanian president said that the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue should end with “mutual recognition at the core of a comprehensive agreement,” adding that U.S. President Joseph Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had suggested it earlier.

 

Kosovo revokes decision to limit power supply after coop with Albania (ADN

 

Kosovo’s Ministry of Economy announced on Monday afternoon that the citizens of Kosovo will be supplied with electricity without interruption. Through a post on Facebook, the ministry said that the announced reductions were avoided after the cooperation with Albania. The Ministry has also warned of other collaborations “to address the energy crisis”. The government of Kosovo has also confirmed the regular electricity supply. In the late hours of Sunday, the Kosovo Electricity Distribution Company (KEDS) announced that the citizens of Kosovo would face reductions from 15 August. The reductions, according to KEDS, would start from 08:00 according to the organization: six hours with electricity and two without it. KEDS has justified this decision with the high prices for purchasing electricity in international markets. On August 9, KEDS requested the Energy Regulatory Office (ERO) to increase electricity tariffs. Last month, KEDS also warned of a “very uncertain” winter due to the energy crisis affecting Europe. Even last year, Kosovo was affected by the energy crisis, so consumers were faced with reductions and price increases. The two power plants in Obiliq, Kosovo A and B can produce energy up to 800 megawatts per hour, while the needs of consumers, during the winter, reach up to 1,300 megawatts per hour. In Kosovo, about 94 percent of energy is produced by burning coal, while about 6 percent comes from renewable sources such as hydropower plants, wind power plants, and solar panels.

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Belgrade Media Report 30 September 2022

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