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Belgrade Media Report 3 October

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LOCAL PRESS

• Vucic: Serbia to align visa policy with EU by end of year (Tanjug/RTS)
Brnabic: Serbia committed to principles of freedom, respect for international law (Politika/Tanjug/RTS)
• Vucic to German envoy: There will be no independent Kosovo as Berlin plans (Beta)
• Bulgaria-Greece gas interconnector put into operation (Tanjug)
• Serbia remains committed to European path, values (Tanjug/RTS)
• Vucic speaks with Donfried (Tanjug/Politika)
• Brush: All ambassadors were disappointed with Vucic; Brnabic: that statement shows that Serbia changed (VoA/RTS/Politika)
• Petkovic: Single-digit number of re-registered vehicles in one month (RTS)
• Serbian opposition in Washington: Serbia needs to align foreign policy with EU’s (Beta)
• Hill: Serbia too dependent on Russian energy (Nova S)
• Konrad: Serbia should join sanctions against Russia (Politika)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina
• Schmidt imposes amendments to B&H Election Law to prevent blockades in formation of authorities and to ensure functionality of FB&H (FTV)
• EUD comments Schmidt’s decision: Strengthening of functionality of B&H institutions is key priority on EU path (Dnevni avaz)
• US Embassy firmly supports Schmidt’s decision: This solves issues which have been burdening FB&H for years (Dnevni avaz)
• Ambassador Reilly: We support Schmidt’s decision, functional authorities are crucial to ensure progress and stability (Dnevni avaz)
• Plenkovic welcomes Schmidt’s decision to impose changes to B&H Election Law (Klix.ba)
• B&H politicians react to HR’s decision (Klix.ba/Dnevni avaz)
• B&H CEC publishes preliminary data on midnight; Becirovic, Komsic, Cvijanovic to enter B&H Presidency: Trivic and Dodik both declared victory (Oslobodjenje/Glas Srpske)
• Becirovic addresses public expressing gratitude for support (Oslobodjenje)
• Niksic: For first time Bosniak member of Presidency is not from ethno-nationalistic party (Oslobodjenje)
• Izetbegovic admits defeat, says SDA improves its scores (Oslobodjenje)
• Komsic declares victory (Oslobodjenje)
• B&H CEC: Dodik has the most votes for the president of the RS (Nezavisne)
• Kristo: Election results from local communities with Croat majority show that HDZ B&H convincingly won the elections; Cavara insists Kristo is legitimate representative (Oslobodjenje)
• Sarovic admits he lost race to Cvijanovic; Cvijanovic: My victory demonstrates support of citizens to SNSD (Glas Srpske)
• Arnautovic: I am pleased how election day has passed, I hope irregularities will undergo adequate sanctions (Hayat)
• Media on irregularities registered in Doboj including incident with OSCE observer (ATV)
• International, regional officials on general elections 2022 (ATV)
Croatia
• Croatia’s foreign ministry condemns Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian regions (Hina)
Montenegro
• Shortest session ever! Djukanovic did not get a word (Kurir)
• Djukanovic: I won’t dissolve the parliament, re-examination on proposed PM-designate is unconstitutional (VoA/CdM)
• Djurovic: Parliament shows it works, Djukanovic shouldn’t creatively interpret Constitution, I won’t resign (CdM)
• Djurovic responded to former ruling majority concerning their initiative for Djukanovic’s dismissal (CdM)
• Radunovic: We have majority for new govt, Djukanovic should invite Lekic for consultations (CdM)
• Djukanovic: I defeated many more serious opponents than Dritan Abazovic (CdM)
• Djukanovic: Goal is to return Montenegro to Greater Serbia, Abazovic a contractor (MINA)
• Djukanovic: Montenegro strongly condemns any attempt to appropriate parts of Ukrainian territory (CdM)
Republic of North Macedonia
• Bulgarian President Radev reminds of the bilateral obligations (MIA/Telma)
• Sofia’s rhetoric toward Skopje calmer now, Pendarovski says after meeting Radev (MIA)
• EC Head: I welcome positive momentum between Bulgaria, North Macedonia (MIA)
• Pendarovski and NATO’s CEE presidents reject Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian
• Land (MIA)
Albania
• President Begaj reacted to the annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia (Radio Tirana)
• UN, Albania-US resolution against referendums in Ukraine, Russia vetoes (Radio Tirana)
• Senator Jeanne Shaheen meets President Begaj, Rama and govt & opposition representatives (Radio Tirana)
• American senator: We greatly appreciate Albania’s support regarding the war in Ukraine and the help to resettle Afghan refugees (Radio Tirana/VoA)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Vucic: Serbia to align visa policy with EU by end of year (Tanjug/RTS)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced in Budapest on Monday a Hungary-Serbia-Austria trilateral summit had resulted in an agreement under which Serbia would align its visa policy with the EU to a significant degree by the end of the year. At a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Vucic said they had discussed all major and difficult issues the three countries were facing, including energy and the financial situation, because Hungarians and Austrians, “let alone we who are poorer than them, know well how much pressure everyone is under and how difficult it will be to get through the autumn, winter, as well as the spring”. “Unlike others, who are optimistic, I am afraid next winter will be even more difficult,” he added. Vucic said he was grateful joint action was being taken in a field where Serbia was a specific case. “We again have an increase in the number of refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan and other countries. At the same time, we also have people coming from Russia. As of today, we have a total of 17,000 people from Russia and Ukraine registered as residents in Serbia. All that is not a small burden for a relatively small country such as Serbia,” Vucic said. Vucic noted that the alignment of Serbia’s visa policy with the EU would make it impossible “to use Serbia as a country of entry for illegal migration towards the West, rather than for real needs”. “We decided to try to help both Austria and Hungary, as well as Serbia, through joint work. Our experts will meet in Belgrade on October 8 to make a draft agreement. Then we will meet in Belgrade to make an action plan to protect our countries, as well as other parts of Europe,” Vucic noted. He also thanked Orban and Nehammer for supporting Serbia on its European path.

 

Brnabic: Serbia committed to principles of freedom, respect for international law (Politika/Tanjug/RTS)

 

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated on Sunday that Serbia stands for indiscriminate observance of international law, which means that the territorial integrity of internationally recognized states is inviolable in the case of each country. At the commemoration of the Remembrance Day of the Suffering of Serbs, Roma and Jews in Jajinci, Brnabic pointed out that territorial integrity cannot be violated in the case of one country and inviolable in the case of another. She underlined that the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law kept peace in the world, and that their trampling in the case of Serbia opened Pandora’s box, whereby the selective interpretation of the principles of international law led the world to where we are today. According to her, in the case of our country, for the first time after the Second World War and the formation of the UN, of which Serbia is one of the founders, the basic principles of the UN and international law were brutally and recklessly violated. She said that the UN was formed after two world wars to prevent a third and save humanity from the sufferings inflicted by wars, especially those that would be brought by the III WW. Brnabic stated that the challenges that Serbia is facing today are formidable and that the pressure our country is exposed to is directly proportional to the degree of hypocrisy of the great powers that are pressuring us. She said that Serbia is not ashamed to express a policy committed to the principles of freedom everywhere in the world, and that the speech of the Serbian President at the United Nations is proof of that. The commemoration of the Remembrance Day and the laying of wreaths on the monument in Jajinci were attended by Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic and Ministers Tomislav Momirovic, Darija Kisic and Novica Toncev, deputy speaker of the Serbian Parliament Sandra Bozic, Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces Milan Mojsilovic, officers of the Serbian Armed Forces, Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community in Serbia Isak Asiel, emissary of the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, surviving Nazi concentration camp inmates, representatives of the diplomatic corps and victims’ families.

 

Vucic to German envoy: There will be no independent Kosovo as Berlin plans (Beta)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told German envoy for the Western Balkans Manuel Sarrazin that “there will be no independent Kosovo” as Berlin plans. Previously, the German diplomat stated that, in the context of the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo, the creation of a “new Republika Srpska” will not be allowed – referring to the Serb-majority semi-autonomous entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina. “I did not know that the Germans were deciding on that, it is good that Mr. Sarrazin said that publicly. I can tell him, and I highly appreciate him, there will not even be an independent Kosovo as you are planning,” Vucic said. Asked about the front page of the Croatian weekly Express, which compared him to Adolf Hitler, Vucic said that it was freedom of the media and that “everyone can publish what they want”. “Nonetheless, one thing stung my ears. Imagine that those who welcomed Hitler with flowers were saying that to those who fought against him from the first day. That says more about those who did it,”, the Serbian President said. Vucic assessed that the geopolitical events surrounding Ukraine and Russia’s decision to annex four Ukrainian regions will certainly have serious consequences on Serbia. Regarding sanctions against Russia, he said that Serbia is fighting for its policy as long as it can, and that its policy is defined by the conclusion of the National Security Council.

 

Bulgaria-Greece gas interconnector put into operation (Tanjug)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic attended the inauguration ceremony of the gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece, 182 kilometers long, to which Serbia will be connected. The opening of the gas pipeline was also attended by President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Prime Minister of Romania Nicolae Ciuca and President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski. Vucic congratulated Bulgaria and Greece on completing the construction of the interconnector and added that the construction of the interconnector between Serbia and Bulgaria has already begun. He pointed out that the project will be completed within a year and that he hopes that next year at this time a similar ceremony will be held in Serbia. Works on the construction of the new gas pipeline between Bulgaria and Greece were completed in mid-July, and today the first commercial deliveries begin. The pipeline will transport gas from Azerbaijan via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and from other sources via the planned liquefied natural gas terminal in Alexandroupolis in northern Greece. As previously announced, the gas pipeline is starting to operate with a capacity of three billion cubic meters of gas per year, with prospects for an increase to five billion. At the beginning of this year, with the support of the EU, Serbia began the construction of a 109-kilometer gas interconnector with Bulgaria, from Nis to Dimitrovgrad, on its territory, and the works should be completed by September 2023. With that gas pipeline, Serbia will be connected to the gas pipeline between Bulgaria and Greece, that is, it will be able to supply gas from Azerbaijan or from the LNG terminal (for liquefied natural gas) in Greece.

 

Serbia remains committed to European path, values (Tanjug/RTS)

 

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic spoke on Friday with rapporteur of the European Parliament for Serbia Vladimir Bilcik and member of the delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee for Stabilization and Association of EU-Serbia Matjaz Nemec about the European integration of Serbia, reforms in the field of the rule of law, parliamentary cooperation, but also the current global situation. Brnabic assessed that Serbia stands firmly on the European path, and that the strategic determination of the government that will be formed is a strong continuation of reforms in the area of ​​the rule of law, which are in the fundamental interest of our citizens. She reminded that such commitment was demonstrated during the mandate of the outgoing government. In the previous period, the recommendations of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) were implemented when it comes to improving the electoral process, as well as a large number of recommendations of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the Council of Europe anti-corruption body, in the field of anti-corruption. These results, together with the amendments to the Constitution in the area of ​​justice, show how credible our country is as a partner that fulfils the reform steps on its European path. What is missing is the adequate valorization of what has been done and the lack of positive signals from the European Union for the enlargement process, both for Serbia and the Western Balkans, she said. Instead, as she noted, we mostly hear criticism and constantly new demands from Brussels.

Representatives of the European Parliament pointed out that, regardless of the current difficult circumstances facing the European Union, there is a clear determination for Serbia to be part of the Union and that joint work in many fields is necessary in order to speed up this process. They assessed that conditions have been created for stronger parliamentary cooperation within the Interparty Dialogue process. Brnabic reiterated that Serbia will remain committed to the European path and values, in accordance with the interests of our state and citizens and our national interests.

 

Vucic speaks with Donfried (Tanjug/Politika)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke on the phone with US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried on Friday. Vucic and Donfried agreed that stepping up bilateral cooperation in all fields was a common interest. They discussed the process of resolving the Kosovo issue, and Vucic presented the familiar and principled positions of Serbia. Speaking about the situation in the region, they concluded that progress in the region rested upon maintaining peace and stability and that that was a priority for actions in the Western Balkans, the presidential press office said in a statement. Donfried strongly objected to the signing of a plan on consultations between the foreign ministries of Serbia and Russia. Vucic noted that Serbia respected the territorial integrity of all UN member states, including Ukraine, but that the principle had not been and was not being respected when it comes to the territorial integrity of Serbia.

 

Brush: All ambassadors were disappointed with Vucic; Brnabic: that statement shows that Serbia changed (VoA/RTS/Politika)

 

Jennifer Brush, former deputy head of mission and chargé d’affaires at the US Embassy in Belgrade from 2007 to 2010, told Voice of America (VoA) that the European Union does not ask for much and did not receive much from Serbia, including recognition of responsibility for the wars of the 1990s. “Ambassadors took turns trying to talk to Vucic and trying to encourage him to be a transformative leader who would make a departure from the 90s and transform Serbia into a constructive and productive member of the European Union and the liberal world order. And everyone was disappointed,” Jennifer Brush said. Responding to Jennifer Brush’s statements, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic says that the time has passed when ambassadors were the only ones who had to be satisfied with the Serbian President. Jennifer Brush’s statement is another indicator of how much Serbia has changed, Brnabic wrote on Twitter. “The chargé d’affaires from the time when ambassadors were the only ones who had to be satisfied with the Serbian President and the government. The people – less important. Another indicator of how much Serbia has changed,” said Brnabic regarding Brush’s statement, which, among other things, said that “the EU does not ask for much and it didn’t get much from Serbia, including recognition of responsibility for the wars of the 1990s”.

 

Petkovic: Single-digit number of re-registered vehicles in one month (RTS)

 

The Head of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Petar Petkovic announced that in a month, the number of re-registered vehicles with Serbian license plates is in the single digits, of which only two are Serbs from northern Kosovo. Petkovic stated in a statement that with every new video released by Albin Kurti and Xhelal Svechla, the Serbs in Kosovo are more determined not to give up their legal and legitimate license plates issued by the state of Serbia. “KM plates cannot be illegal, because they are issued by the authorities of the Republic of Serbia in accordance with all legal procedures on their territory and are accepted everywhere in the world,” said Petkovic.

What is illegal, he points out, is the abolition of status-neutral KS plates by Pristina, the construction of illegal ROSU bases in the north of the province and the refusal to form the Community of Serb Municipalities for almost ten years, which is an obligation they undertook in Brussels. “The effect of Kurti’s and Svechla’s videos is best illustrated by the fact that in one month the number of re-registered vehicles with Serbian license plates is single-digit, of which only two are Serbs from the north of Kosovo and Metohija. This clearly shows that no amount of video messages and threats from Kurti and Svechla together can intimidate the Serbs in Kosovo, because no one can take away their right to be citizens of Serbia who do not want to live in Kurti’s so-called state,” said Petkovic.

 

Serbian opposition in Washington: Serbia needs to align foreign policy with EU’s (Beta)

 

During a visit to Washington, a Freedom and Justice Party delegation met on Friday with the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez to discuss the importance of aligning Serbia’s foreign policy with the European Union’s, in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The party reported that its delegates, Dragan Djilas, Borko Stefanovic and Marinika Tepic, as representatives of Serbia’s largest opposition party, presented an initiative for Serbia to host a regional center for combating corruption and organized crime. “Corruption and crime know no borders, and as national and international investigation bureaus, prosecutors and judges have been linked via official channels as well, the regional center would maximize their results and minimize the risks, especially threats to national judiciaries,” the Freedom and Justice Party quoted its leaders as saying in Washington. The delegation reconfirmed the party’s strong commitment to respecting the Constitution of Serbia in terms of the non-recognition of Kosovo’s independence, and the democratization of Serbia in the context of poor media freedoms, corruption and the serious economic situation.

 

Hill: Serbia too dependent on Russian energy (Nova S)

 

US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill said on Saturday that Serbia was too dependent on Russian energy and needed to diversify its energy sources. Hill told TV Nova S that Serbia had alternative energy sources. “It could be said that Serbia relies too much on Russian energy. We’ve seen in recent months that Russia isn’t an especially reliable source of energy and that Russians mix politics with delivering energy,” he said. He said that Serbia sorely needed to diversify its energy sources and that the US would like to be part of that process. He added that Serbia had to be careful with its energy use this winter. Hill also said he would help Serbia maximize the potential of its energy sources and that he hoped that Russia would one day be a reliable supplier of natural gas, as opposed to using it to blackmail other countries like now.

 

Konrad: Serbia should join sanctions against Russia (Politika)

 

Germany’s new Ambassador to Serbia Anke Konrad has said that Germany, like many of its partners, urges Serbia to join sanctions against Russia as part of its further association with the European Union. “The decision on what stance to take, with regard to this flagrant violation of international law, and how to respond is up to Serbia,” Konrad told Politika, noting that Russia “is waging war against its neighboring nation Ukraine contrary to international law”. She stressed that the future of Serbia and its neighbors in the Western Balkans was in the EU and added that human rights were another important topic. “I’m glad that EuroPride, in spite of certain irritations, was held for the first time this year in Southeast Europe, and that Belgrade has sent the message that discrimination on any basis will not be tolerated,” Konrad said.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

Schmidt imposes amendments to B&H Election Law to prevent blockades in formation of authorities and to ensure functionality of FB&H (FTV)

 

High Representative (HR) Christian Schmidt imposed new amendments to the Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Election Law on Sunday. The reporter notes that the amendments do not refer to direct elections, but to post-election negotiations on political party coalitions and establishing indirectly elected bodies. FTV reports that the new amendments to the B&H Election Law are introducing mechanisms to prevent blockades, and strictly set deadlines aimed at ensuring functionality of the Federation of B&H (FB&H), after which none of political parties or elected officials will be able to keep the FB&H “a hostage”. Addressing the press conference, Schmidt said: “With this decision, I have increased the number of delegates in the House of Peoples, that allows distribution of mandates in a way that it corrects the over-representation of each of the three constituent peoples in individual cantons, which was discussed in the Ljubic case and some other rulings. Furthermore, for the first time the Others from all cantons may be represented in the FB&H House of Peoples. The aim of these decisions is to prevent paralysis of the FB&H after the elections. That is why I am doing that and issuing these decisions today. There is no way to threaten the structure of B&H as a single, sovereign state composed of two entities with three constituent peoples and the Others. And all of them have and should have their rights protected”. Schmidt also said that this is not and cannot be a large-scale reform of the Election Law of B&H, which is still necessary: “My decisions will help this state be able to prepare these talks in a democratic manner so that those produce results. Also, this is not an implementation of decisions of state and international courts. This still needs to be done as soon as possible. If I could, i.e. if I had the right to do that, I would have done it already. However, the right to change provisions of the Dayton Constitution of the state is solely in hands of B&H parliament”. Schmidt also urged the new convocation of B&H parliament to implement the Sejdic-Finci ruling, Zornic ruling and all other rulings rendered by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and courts in Sarajevo. “I discussed these measures with many political leaders, academicians, representatives of civic society associations and representatives of the international community over the past several weeks. Different political parties presented their proposals on how to improve functionality of the state and of the FB&H. They presented their concern and gave ideas on how to keep the country and peoples together. I took in consideration many of those things”, Schmidt said and added that domestic leaders, unfortunately, were unable to reach consensus among themselves on those matters. Schmidt said that “nobody can order the will to work jointly on behalf of cantons, entities and state. As a precondition for success, it is necessary to have a mental and moral change in heads of individual people and politicians here in B&H. I also added a constitutional provision which introduces the right for everyone to directly participate in political decision making, and especially the youth has the right to present their interests and needs. This is not based on ethnic affiliation, but this will not jeopardize the right of constituent people to protect their vital interests. However, I see this as urgent and necessary so that more room is given to wisdom and commitment of B&H citizens”. The Office of the High Representative (OHR) on Sunday evening stated that these decisions will establish the ambient for future electoral and constitutional reforms, including fulfilment of obligations which B&H accepted on the path to the EU integration: “These measures will also strengthen constitutional mechanisms of protection for constituent people which were secured by the Dayton Peace Agreement and Constitution and will, at the same time, prevent abuse or paralysis of the system”. The OHR added that decision making in legislative bodies will be improved because both Houses of the FB&H Parliament were given deadlines for discussion on documents of the other House and deadlines were also set for institutions and officials to appoint judges of the FB&H Constitutional Court. The package also included prevention of abuse of vital national interest by defining the range of matters that can be the subject of it and the Constitutional Court was granted the authority to appoint members of the Panel for Protection of the Vital National Interest. Schmidt also ordered the number of delegates in Caucuses of all constituent people in the FB&H House of Peoples to be increased from 17 to 23 and the Caucus of Others to have 11 instead of seven delegates. Schmidt also decided that the Election Law of B&H shall be changed when it comes to the application of the latest population census in order to harmonize it with the FB&H Constitution. In addition to this, timely election of delegates of the House of Peoples by Cantonal Assemblies will be ensured by empowering the Central Election Commission to redistribute seats from cantons where assemblies do not fulfill this responsibility within a specified period. In order to solve the problem of nominations for President and Vice Presidents of the FB&H, Schmidt decided that, in the absence of support of eleven delegates, successive rounds will allow nominations by seven members or then four members, and also decided to improve transparency and expediency in the approval of slates of candidates for Federation President and Vice Presidents by specifying timelines and methods of voting on slates in the Federation House of Representatives and simplifying approval in the Federation House of Peoples.

 

EUD comments Schmidt’s decision: Strengthening of functionality of B&H institutions is key priority on EU path (Dnevni avaz)

 

The EU Delegation to B&H issued a statement, commenting High Representative Christian Schmidt’s decision to use Bonn powers and impose the changes to B&H Election Law and FB&H Constitution. “The EU in B&H takes a note of High Representative Schmidt’s decision to amend the Constitution of the FB&H entity and the Election Law of B&H. This was a decision of the High Representative alone. The executive powers of the High Representative (Bonn Powers) should be used solely as a measure of last resort against irreparable unlawful acts. Strengthening the functionality of B&H’s institutions is a key priority for the country’s path to the EU. Over the course of almost a year, the EU and United States facilitated discussions on constitutional and electoral reform. We deeply regret that it was not possible for political parties to agree on a balanced and negotiated package of reforms that would comprehensively address unresolved issues, including those related to functionality of the FB&H and its House of Peoples. Constitutional reform, as required by the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and Venice Commission in relation to the B&H Presidency and B&H House of Peoples remains an urgent and unfulfilled task. Equally, OSCE, ODIHR and GRECO recommendations in relation to the transparency and integrity of elections remain outstanding. The leaders of B&H political parties agreed in Brussels on 12 June to address this question within six months after the formation of new authorities. We urge them to honor this commitment. The European Council recently stated that it stands ready to recognize Bosnia and Herzegovina as a candidate country and invited the Commission to report on the implementation of the 14 Key Priorities. Following today’s elections, the EU trusts that all political actors will work together to ensure the swift formation of legislative and government authorities at all levels. The EU expects newly elected officials to take full responsibility for ambitious reforms that advance the interests of citizens as well as the country’s further progress on the European path in line with the Commission Opinion’s 14 Key Priorities,” reads EUD statement.

 

US Embassy firmly supports Schmidt’s decision: This solves issues which have been burdening FB&H for years (Dnevni avaz)

 

US Embassy to B&H issued a statement expressing support to High Representative Christian Schmidt’s decision to use Bonn powers and impose the changes to B&H Election Law. “We welcome High Representative Schmidt’s decision today to bolster the stability and functionality of B&H through amendments to the FB&H Constitution and the B&H Election Law.  This action was both urgent and necessary. The High Representative’s decision addresses problems that have plagued the FB&H for many years.  Four years after the 2018 elections, the FB&H has not implemented the results, and the FB&H Constitutional Court is nearly paralyzed.  This has deprived FB&H residents of their constitutional rights, undermined the rule of law, and emboldened ethno-nationalists across B&H.  Together, these problems threaten B&H’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and multiethnic character. For years, political parties have had multiple opportunities to resolve outstanding functionality and power-sharing problems in the FB&H, including in August and September when the High Representative called on them to search for a good-faith compromise.  Instead of doing so, many of them have found new ways to attack this country’s institutional integrity. B&H citizens need and deserve a functional government that responds to a growing number of internal and external crises.  Dysfunction is not just irresponsible, it is dangerous. When the Republika Srpska (RS) ruling coalition took steps to undermine state institutions and the integrity of B&H, the international community took action to sanction the leaders responsible.  When self-interested leaders attempted to hold election financing hostage, the international community took action to provide the CEC with the resources necessary to hold elections and to protect B&H citizens’ democratic rights.  The international community cannot allow FB&H dysfunctionality to continue for yet another four years, and it can no longer place its faith in empty pledges and commitments by political leaders that, this time, they will negotiate in good faith, they will make meaningful compromises, and they will put the interests of the people they represent above their own, narrow ethnonationalist or financial interests.  The time is past for empty paper promises from leaders who consistently fail to deliver. All parties will find things they like and things they dislike in the amendments.

Some will be disappointed that this decision does not change the fundamental structure of government in B&H. The Dayton Peace Agreement defined B&H as one country consisting of two entities, three constituent peoples, Others, and all citizens.  The High Representative cannot amend the Dayton Constitution; that is the responsibility of B&H’s political parties, as the European Court of Human Rights has underscored.  The High Representative’s responsibility is to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement. This includes ensuring that B&H’s institutions and their power-sharing mechanisms function. If they do not function, then citizens are unable to debate and decide whether and how they want to modify the way they are governed. The restoration of functionality to the FB&H is the first step toward restoring the internal balance B&H requires to address governance issues, deliver prosperity, respond to wider geopolitical challenges, and secure its place in the Euro-Atlantic community of nations. The United States strongly supports B&H’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and multiethnic character.  It is now up to the political leaders of the Federation to use this opportunity to put aside their differences, work for progress, and build a better future for those they represent. Those who seek to break this country’s institutions, whether from the FB&H or from the RS, to benefit their political interests will be held accountable,” reads Embassy’s statement. Spokesperson of the US Department of State Ned Price posted on his Twitter commenting the High Representative Christian Schmidt’s decision to use Bonn powers and impose the changes to B&H Election Law. “The High Representative’s decision addresses problems that have plagued the FB&H for years. This action was both urgent and necessary to ensure B&H’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and multiethnic character,” wrote Price.

 

Ambassador Reilly: We support Schmidt’s decision, functional authorities are crucial to ensure progress and stability (Dnevni avaz)

 

UK Ambassador to B&H Julian Reilly posted on his Twitter, expressing support to High Representative Christian Schmidt’s decision to use Bonn powers and impose the changes to B&H Election Law. “The United Kingdom supports the role played by the High Representative and his Office in B&H. It is a source of regret that the powers of the High Representative continue to be needed in B&H, but in the absence of domestic political will or leadership, the High Representative has an important part to play in implementing the Dayton Accords and supporting the framework for a prosperous future. His decisions today should be seen in that light. Functional governments, at all levels, are crucial to ensure progress and stability. Domestic political actors must now work together to implement the election results and to support the reforms needed for B&H’s progress on its Euro-Atlantic path,” wrote Ambassador Reilly.

 

Plenkovic welcomes Schmidt’s decision to impose changes to B&H Election Law (Klix.ba)

 

Croatian Prime Minister Andej Plenkovic welcomed the decision of High Representative Christian Schmidt to impose changes to B&H Election Law and FB&H Constitution. He underlined that Croatia has been supporting Schmidt’s intention to impose the changes since the negotiations on electoral reform failed. Also, they have been discussing this matter with representatives of all countries. According to Plenkovic, the changes imposed by Schmidt secure the political survival of Croats and contribute to legitimate representation in the FB&H Parliament in Government. However, Plenkovic emphasized, it will be necessary to continue with negotiations after the election in order to secure equality of all constituent peoples in B&H Presidency as well. “We are once again witnessing Bosniaks outvoting Croats, which undermines functionality of B&H and harmonious relations of constituent peoples”, said Plenkovic.

 

B&H politicians react to HR’s decision (Klix.ba/Dnevni avaz)

 

SNSD spokesperson Radovan Kovacevic, commenting the announcements that High Representative Christian Schmidt will impose changes to Election Law of B&H, Kovacevic said that Schmidt is not the High Representative and has no business to impose anything in B&H. “You know our stance about Schmidt, he is not the HR and has no right to impose anything, or to interfere in life in B&H. Based on Dayton Agreement and annex X, no High Representative has right to impose anything. Our stance is clear. We in RS will never agree to something that is imposed. Things are clear here. With international support, the Bosniak political factor did everything to destroy Croat constitutional factor and they greatly did things to also destroy Serb constituent factor. These are the things we will fight against,” said Kovacevic. Leader of HDZ 1990 Ilija Cvitanovic commented the decision of HR. He stated that he is against anyone imposing any decisions in B&H because nobody who wants to live in a sovereign and free state does not wish to accept imposed solutions. However, he added, Schmidt had to finish the job he started, and he had to react to the public and brazen theft of posts that belong to Croats in FB&H House of Peoples and B&H Presidency. In Cvitanovic’s opinion, Schmidt’s latest decisions are a step in the right direction, but they are not enough. He underlined that Croats will never accept the fact that they cannot elect their own member of the B&H Presidency. He emphasized that DF’s Zeljko Komsic does not represent Croats. He also said that Croats cannot accept any reduction of competences of the House of Peoples. Leader of the Croat Republican Party (HRS) and member of the Croat People’s Assembly Slaven Raguz stated that HR Schmidt managed to solve only a part of the problem with his decision to impose changes to B&H Election Law and FB&H Constitution which was announced on Sunday evening. According to him, Schmidt’s decision will partially resolve the issue of protection of legitimate political representation of constituent peoples, but it will also create new administrative chaos. He noted that some cantons already have problems with filling the Serb Caucus, and this will be even more difficult with the increased number of delegates. He also criticized Schmidt for failing to tackle the issue of election of B&H Presidency members. Raguz said that Schmidt’s decision came too late, and he accused Schmidt of diminishing transparency of the election process with his earlier decisions.

SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic commented the decision of HR Schmidt: “It (decision) definitely strengthened the position of HDZ. Mechanisms of unblocking have also been imposed, which we only superficially reviewed. We will analyze it more tomorrow,” said Izetbegovic. SDA Presidency member Halid Genjac said he is convinced that Schmidt made decisions which serve the interests of B&H citizens and which are not discriminatory. SDA’s Alma Colo also said that Schmidt’s decision protects the interests of B&H. Colo reminded that Schmidt said he made the decision in order to unblock the implementation of election results, which serves the best interests of B&H. Colo noted that Schmidt increased the number of FB&H House of Peoples delegates and justified this decision by claiming that it implements the ruling of B&H Constitutional Court in the ‘Ljubic’ case. “We will have to analyze what this means…The principle which exists in the FB&H Constitution according to which each canton elects at least one Croat, one Bosniak and one Serb remains in force, and that guarantees that there is no discrimination”, said Colo. Leader of NiP Elmedin Konakovic stated that the decision of HR Schmidt to impose changes to B&H Election Law and FB&H Constitution is not good, because it brings changes only in the FB&H and creates asymmetry between the entities. He noted that the international community is obviously capable of making bold decisions, especially when they serve certain interests. “We expect such engagement of the international community in the RS as well”, said Konakovic. In his opinion, the proposals discussed during the negotiations in Neum were much better than the decision imposed by Schmidt on Sunday. Konakovic emphasized that the announced in the past that Schmidt would impose such decision and added that it would have been better if the decision on amendments to B&H Election Law was passed by B&H parliament. President of B&H CEC Suad Arnautovic commented the HR Schmidt’s decision to use Bonn powers and impose the changes to B&H Election Law and FB&H Constitution. Arnautovic said that B&H CEC are facing a great deal of work, being that number of delegates in FB&H House of Peoples is not increased to 80. “This will have to demand also the correction in certain bylaws,” said Arnautovic. He said that he cannot comment the decision at the time. Member of B&H CEC Irena Hadziabdic stated that they are not focused on their main task, which is publishing of election results. “we have the information, the decision has arrived and it has been published, but we did not pay enough attention to it,” said Hadziabdic.

 

B&H CEC publishes preliminary data on midnight; Becirovic, Komsic, Cvijanovic to enter B&H Presidency: Trivic and Dodik both declared victory (Oslobodjenje/Glas Srpske)

 

According to first preliminary, unofficial and incomplete results that the B&H CEC published on midnight, 54.73% of polling stations in the Federation of B&H have been processed and according to these data candidate of united opposition Denis Becirovic (SDP) and DF’s candidate for Croat member of B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic were in the lead. 39.57% of polling stations were processed from Republika Srpska (RS) and the data show that SNSD’s Zeljka Cvijanovic will be a new member of B&H Presidency from the RS. These results were confirmed from SDP, DF and SNSD HQs, while SDA’s Bakir Izetbegovic and SDS’ Mirko Sarovic admitted the defeat. First preliminary election result started arriving soon after the polling stations were closed. Initially, both DPD’s Jelena Trivic and SNSD’s Milorad Dodik declared victory in the race for the office of RS President. Addressing media at 2:00, Dodik declared victory once again, announcing that he won 262,986 votes, while Trivic won 235,552 votes. “The election was fair. The party (SNSD) got the Serb member of B&H Presidency and that is Zeljka Cvijanovic, and I am the new RS President. At this point, I can definitely confirm these victories”, said Dodik. Trivic declared victory in race for RS President, stressing that she will be president of all citizens in the RS. She underlined that they will follow Serbian national politics. On the other side, SNSD spokesperson Radovan Kovacevic stated that around 72.6% of votes have been processed and that Milorad Dodik is in the lead. The daily reported that little more than a half of registered voters in B&H used their right to vote and underlined that B&H CEC has 30 days to publish and verify election results.

 

Becirovic addresses public expressing gratitude for support (Oslobodjenje)

 

In his first address to the public, candidate of the joint opposition for Bosniak member of B&H Presidency Denis Becirovic (SDP) thanked everyone who voted for him, and he thanked opposition parties which supported him. Conveying a message to the EU and NATO, Becirovic said that they should award a status of a candidate to B&H as soon as possible, because B&H belongs in the EU and NATO. “The message to citizens is, let us unite about the future, we have no time for quarrels. People are leaving. This mandate needs to be mandate for development, progress and cooperation,” said Becirovic. He conveyed a message to B&H’s neighbors, saying that the war has left a devastating consequences, calling them to get serious for the sake of people, because every form of destabilization would return everyone to dark ages.  He concluded that he is the candidate who won the highest number of votes.

 

Niksic: For first time Bosniak member of Presidency is not from ethno-nationalistic party (Oslobodjenje)

 

Commenting the preliminary results, SDP leader Nermin Niksic said that fir the first time since the war, B&H has a Bosniak member of B&H Presidency, Denis Becirovic, who is not a member of ethno-nationalistic party. He also congratulated Zeljko Komsic, underling that citizens elected two members of B&H Presidency who are not members of ethno-nationalistic party. Niksic noted that he expects SDP’s result to follow the result of Becirovic. “This is the first step, where we take over responsibility and change the situation and system in B&H,” said Niksic.

 

Izetbegovic admits defeat, says SDA improves its scores (Oslobodjenje)

 

Following publishing preliminary results, SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic stated that he lost elections as he competed against eleven parties. “It was difficult to expect that it is possible to win over 11 united parties. If for instance, there were nine of them, it would not be enough. I would singlehandedly win nine or ten parties, but 11 was too much. When it comes to SDA, it will even after such difficult mandates, strengthen its position. I think we will have the best result in last 20 years,” said Izetbegovic. He noted that he kept his result and noted that SDA will improve its results. Asked if he will remain to be the SDA President, Izetbegovic said that he will, but it remains to be seen if there will be some turmoil. “Why should we punish ourselves when we improved the score. The only problem is uniting of other parties against SDA. People have not lost trust in SDA, because we won 10% and more votes,” said Izetbegovic.

 

Komsic declares victory (Oslobodjenje)

 

DF leader Zeljko Komsic declared his election victory for Croat member of B&H Presidency, and he congratulated other winners. He noted that this reflects the image of the future authority in B&H. As for the DF, he said that current parliamentary results seem good, and it remains to be seen if the party will remain at the level from 2018 or it will be even stronger.

 

CEC B&H: Dodik has the most votes for the president of the RS (Nezavisne)

 

According to preliminary data from the B&H CEC, Milorad Dodik, SNSD’s candidate for the RS President is leading compared to his opponent from the PDP, Jelena Trivic. According to these data, based on 527,418 counted ballots, Dodik won 242,851 votes, and Trivic won 212,542 votes. Although it was announced, CEC members did not address the media, and the results were published on the CEC website. Branislav Borenovic, PDP president, says that they are not giving up on the claim that their candidate Jelena Trivic is the new president of the RS. He announced criminal charges for what he claims was electoral fraud that took place during the night He said that numerous examples indicate that there are illogicalities, and that the sample at their disposal indicated that Trivic won. “Win fairly, we’ll congratulate you, but don’t steal,” Borenovic said. Trivic said that it is suspicious that the CEC announced during the night that there was no data for the RS President because the committees did not submit the data to the system within the deadline. She added that at the polling station in Krajisnik, where her family comes from, according to official votes, she won zero percent of the vote, and that this is statistically impossible. “Because we know that there were thefts at the level of the entire RS, we will request that the election process be repeated at the level of the entire RS,” she said. “Maybe we won’t be able to push this to the end with a repeat election, but we will push all the frauds to the end,” said Trivic.

 

Kristo: Election results from local communities with Croat majority show that HDZ B&H convincingly won the elections; Cavara insists Kristo is legitimate representative (Oslobodjenje)

 

HDZ B&H candidate for Croat member of B&H Presidency Borjana Kristo said that parties gathered around HNS convincingly won elections in cantons where Croat people is in majority. HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic repeated stances he presented during the campaign, noting that elections showed that Bosniaks are the biggest people in B&H and can provide 200,000 votes to elect Croat member of B&H Presidency, adding that he finds this to be wrong and not god for B&H. He noted that their predictions came true, and the election were held in impossible conditions, with the Law which enables election engineering. HDZ B&H Deputy President Marinko Cavara said that results are clear and Kristo is a legitimate representative. He said that results, i.e. the places form where they come from, will show that Kristo was a right choice. In the end, he noted that HDZ i.e. HNS sees as their partners all parties which gain support within their respective peoples. Kristo stated that she feels like the victor among the Croat people and underlined that the election results represent a great victory for the Croat people. She thanks parties gathered around the Croat People’s Assembly for recognizing the significance of the moment and rallying around one joint candidate. According to Kristo, election results from local communities with Croat majority show that HDZ B&H convincingly won the elections.

 

Sarovic admits he lost race to Cvijanovic; Cvijanovic: My victory demonstrates support of citizens to SNSD (Glas Srpske)

 

SNSD candidate for post of B&H Presidency member Zeljka Cvijanovic won majority of votes in RS. Her main opponent from SDS Mirko Sarovic admitted defeat. Cvijanovic said that her victory clearly demonstrates that citizens support SNSD and its candidates for key posts. “I thank all citizens of RS. I will continue, just like in the office of RS President, to give my best and work for the interests of Srpska and all its citizens”, said Cvijanovic. Sarovic said that he did not expect such a big difference in votes between him and Cvijanovic, and noted that unexpectedly, she got a lot of votes in Bijeljina which contributed to her victory. However, said Sarovic, he will congratulate Cvijanovic only when the official final results are announced by B&H Central Election Commission.

 

Arnautovic: I am pleased how election day has passed, I hope irregularities will undergo adequate sanctions (Hayat)

 

Chairman of the B&H CEC Suad Arnautovic, asked to elaborate on the day of the general elections in B&H, said he is pleased how the election day passed. Commenting on the irregularities during the election day, Arnautovic thanked prosecutor’s offices and the police for a more active engagement during the election day on handling reports of irregularities. “The CEC warned the public to pay attention to possible electoral theft and it announced an increased work of prosecutors and police in the field. I hope that the irregularities will undergo adequate sanctions”, the CEC Chairman underlined. The CEC Chairman was asked about the incident in which five members of a local polling station commission in Novi Grad (Republika Srpska) were arrested for election malversations, to which he replied that the relevant judicial authorities will provide information about the case. “The golden rule is that we should not comment on the process that is in progress”, he added. Arnautovic also explained the procedure regarding closure of the polling stations, specifying that they can be closed up to three hours following 19:00 hours, when the closing is planned, if the local election commissions decide that is necessary.

Member of the B&H CEC Vlado Rogic that the B&H CEC is very content with the election process. Rogic added that aside from around ten extraordinary situations – out of which one or two can be characterized as a crime while the rest of the nine or eight cases can be characterized as violation of the public peace and order – they can assess the election day as successful. According to Rogic, they received 25 serious reports about violation of the election silence and 35 reports on grave violations of the election process. Asked to comment on the irregularities in Bosanski Novi, Doboj and Zvornik, Rogic stated that the case of Bosanski Novi is really the most difficult case where 50 ballots for each level of power in B&H were already filled which is why polling station committee did not even begin with the election process. Rogic said that most likely, the B&H CEC will hold a session on Monday and probably reach a decision on postponing of the elections in Bosanski Novi. In this regard, he specified that the B&H Election Law mentions seven to 30 day-long deadline. Rogic stated that unfortunately, they could not prevent this case and he added that law enforcement bodies got involved and according to his information, all five members of the polling station committee in Bosanski Novi were detained.

 

Media on irregularities registered in Doboj including incident with OSCE observer (ATV)

 

ATV reported on the election day in Doboj. The election day in Doboj passed peacefully, although it was perhaps expected that there would be incidents due to incidents in previous elections, commented the reporter. Doboj citizens voted at 106 polling stations. More than 62,000 Doboj citizens had the right to vote. According to the data processed by Doboj City Election Commission, there was a voter turnout of 42 percent by 15:00 hours. Seven complaints were submitted to Doboj City Election Commission. These were complaints of the observers, which were mostly about interference in the competences of the polling station committee. Doboj City Election Commission rejected the complaints as unfounded. An attack on an OSCE observer marked the election day in Doboj. Namely, it was reported that he was attacked in front of one of the polling stations around 11:00 hours. The police arrived and found that he had no injuries. He himself gave a statement that he was not attacked, however, a few hours later he went to the police and reported the attack. He allegedly gave several different statements to the police, that he was attacked and that he was not attacked, commented the reporter. Basically, what happened was that he entered the polling station to take photos and did not have visible accreditation, which is why he was removed from that polling station, added the reporter.

 

International, regional officials on general elections 2022 (ATV)

 

The High Representative to Christian Schmidt visited polling stations in Istocno Sarajevo and Hadzici on the election day on Sunday, wanting to see if the election process went smoothly. He commented that not everyone will be happy with the election results. “My message is – go and vote. You do not have to vote for your friends, vote for the best program. This is not voting for your friends, but for those that could lead this country towards a better, and safer future. Next month will be crucial for European integration, and because of that I ask you to come and decide, on your own, who will give best foundations for a better future”, Schmidt stated. Schmidt stated there should be no excuses not to go to polls, and although not all will be happy after the elections, election results should be accepted. Addressing the media, Schmidt said: “Like many people from the international community, I visited a polling station to be assured the voting process is going well. It is important that observers are in their places, not only those from political parties, but also those from non-governmental sector. There should be no excuses not to go to polls”. Schmidt stressed the importance of the election law, after the country faced blockades, and he expressed hope that a step forward will be made with these elections. “Elections belong to the citizens and not to the parties,” he concluded. Head of the EU Delegation (EUD) to B&H and the EU Special Representative in B&H Johan Sattler visited the B&H CEC on Sunday. On the occasion, Sattler wished the B&H CEC members “all the best on what will be a busy, but very important day for B&H democracy”, and to the citizens of B&H “a smooth voting day” and called on them to report all irregularities they witness to the B&H CEC.

US Ambassador to B&H Michael Murphy visited the polling station at the Dobrinja Grammar Schools in the Sarajevo-based District of Dobrinja on the election day on Sunday. He stressed the importance of the election day for B&H citizens and integrity of the election process, calling on citizens to react in case of irregularities. “The election day is an important day in any democratic system and an opportunity for voters to decide who will lead them. It is also the time for those who led the country in the past four years to be accountable for the good and bad things they have done”, Murphy stressed. US Senator Jeanne Shaheen visited the polling station at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Istocno Sarajevo as an OSCE’s observer. She expressed hope that voters will use their chance to vote and show their will, because free and fair elections are the best indicators of democracy. Shaheen said free and fair elections are the basis of every democratic society, and she hopes voter turnout in B&H will be very high. “In that way, they will show what kind of a future they want”, the US senator pointed out. A delegation of the Supreme Election Council of the Republic of Turkey visited B&H to observe the 2022 General Election on Sunday. Council Chairman Muharrem Akkaya expressed hope that the election results will contribute to strengthening of democracy in BiH. He emphasized that this is a very important election for B&H and noted that all elections are a celebration of democracy. “We wanted to be with the people of B&H on this festival of democracy, may the election pass in a festive atmosphere”, said Akkaya. Commenting on the general elections in B&H held on Sunday, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic stated that the fact that Croats are co-signatories of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA) must not be forgotten and that their will should be respected. “A fraud is currently on stage as long as it is possible that someone choses the Croat member of B&H Presidency instead of Croats, with all due respect for other constituent peoples and Others. I have realized after 20 years of mistakes, analyses and good personal relations and friendship with B&H politicians such as Zeljko Komsic, that these people cannot be trusted and that they take advantage of the fact that the number of Croats is small”, Milanovic stressed. He added that unless the rights of Croats are protected institutionally, there is no solution for them. Commenting on the general elections in B&H held on Sunday, Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Davor Bozinovic stated that the best contribution to democracy is its protection, i.e. that citizens vote in the elections and chose their representatives in institutions based on their clearly expressed will. He stressed that unified B&H that joins the European family is a goal for Croatia, and that this is the same goal for most of B&H citizens – according to opinion polls. “It is also important for us that Croats as the constituent people get their legitimate representatives after these elections”, Bozinovic concluded.

 

Croatia’s foreign ministry condemns Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian regions (Hina)

 

Croatia “most strongly condemns the illegal and fake referendums” held by Russian separatists in four Ukrainian regions. as well as Russia’s announcement that those regions would become part of the Russia, state agency Hina carried an unsigned statement sent to the local media by the Foreign Ministry on Friday. “Croatia condemns Russia’s decision on the integration of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in its system, considering it a gross violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence and of the international law and the UN Charter,” Hina cited the press release. The statement from the ministry called the decision “illegitimate, illegal, and as such void” and that Croatia would not “recognize its political and legal effects.” “Together with other EU countries and allies, Croatia will continue providing all the necessary support to Ukraine in the reintegration of the currently occupied regions and in the reestablishment of the constitutional and legal order in its internationally recognized borders,” the ministry said. Russian occupying authorities in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson last week held referendums to join Russia. There were reports of people being forced to vote, sometimes at gunpoint. The official result was reportedly 99 percent in favor of joining Russia. Ukraine and the West have condemned the five-day vote that ended on Tuesday, adding that the secessionist referendum will never be internationally recognized.

 

Shortest session ever! Djukanovic did not get a word (Kurir)

 

The President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic came on Friday to the Assembly of Montenegro, where his proposal to shorten the mandate of the current alliance was supposed to be discussed. Djukanovic, however, did not manage to say a word because the Parliament of Montenegro did not adopt the agenda, so the assembly of deputies ended, and Djukanovic’s proposal was rejected. 39 deputies voted for the adoption of the agenda, 41 were against, and there were no abstentions. With that, the gathering of deputies was automatically completed. According to media, the session lasted one minute. Previously, the debate on Djukanovic ‘s proposal to shorten the mandate of the current convocation of the Assembly was not held before members of the parliamentary Legislative Committee, because the head of state did not come to the session.  On 23 September, Djukanovic proposed shortening the mandate of the current parliamentary convocation, after he did not give a mandate for the composition of the government to Miodrag Lekic (Demos), who was proposed by the old parliamentary majority.

 

Djukanovic: I won’t dissolve the parliament, re-examination on proposed PM-designate is unconstitutional (VoA/CdM)

 

President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic announced on Sunday that the request for cutting short the current mandate of parliament might be re-sent, noting that he would not do it, but that “there’s a possibility for the parliamentary group counting 25 MPs to do it”. In an exclusive interview for Voice of America (VoA), Djukanovic says that he’s going to continue with “various initiatives, strictly adhering to the Constitution”, assessing that there’s only one likely scenario in the end – a snap parliamentary election. He considers that Montenegro has been facing the crisis since 2015, when, as he claims, due to the pro-Western course of Montenegro and its intention to join NATO, followed by the 2016 coup attempt, the work of parliament has been continuously hindered. Russia’s hybrid pressure carried out with the help of proxies from the Balkans continued during the next four years. Russia, as part of its strategy to destabilize Europe, playing with retrograde policies in every part of Europe, decided to reactivate greater-state nationalism in the Western Balkans, so that during those four years it could strengthen greater-state nationalism in our region. Meanwhile, another player gets into the game – the Serbian Orthodox Church – so there’s double destruction when it comes to pressures on Montenegro, the greater-state, the Greater Serbian idea, which has never given up on the right to integrate Montenegro into Greater Serbia or the Serbian World, or into the ‘lobby’ of the Serbian World called the ‘Open Balkans’ project. “Considering such hybrid pressure on Montenegro, the year 2020 led to a change of government and since then until now we’ve had two governments, which proved to be governments that faithfully served Greater Serbian nationalism, clero-nationalism and Russian interests in Montenegro. In the end, these two governments actually contributed to the institutional crisis we’re facing in Montenegro now,” Djukanovic points out. He also announces that he’ll continue to run the action “striving to bring us to the only possible solution – snap parliamentary elections so that Montenegro gets an unquestionable, competent, nationally responsible government which will continue to lead the country on the path to the EU integration”.

 

Djurovic: Parliament shows it works, Djukanovic shouldn’t creatively interpret Constitution, I won’t resign (CdM)

 

“Parliament has shown that it works. I know that we are at a moment when the question of the functionality of the institutions is being raised,” parliament speaker Danijela Djurovic has stated at the press conference. She has said that there is a possibility that the President of Montenegro will dissolve the Parliament by decree, but she has called on Milo Djukanovic not to interpret the Constitution creatively. Djurovic has announced that she will not resign, but that there will be no obstacles if a political agreement is reached. Djurovic has announced that the Parliament will vote on the judges of the Constitutional Court on 21 October.

 

Djurovic responded to former ruling majority concerning their initiative for Djukanovic’s dismissal (CdM)

 

The speaker of the parliament of Montenegro Danijela Djurovic refused the proposal of the former ruling majority for launching an initiative which was supposed to determine whether the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic had violated the Constitution, and she also refused their request for President Djukanovic’s dismissal. The CdM portal learns that Djurovic returned their proposal, adding that she didn’t want to violate either the Rules of Procedure or the Constitution. She underlined that these two procedures couldn’t go hand in hand, urging those who sent the proposal to align it with norms from the Rules of Procedure and the Constitution.

 

Radunovic: We have majority for new govt, Djukanovic should invite Lekic for consultations (CdM)

 

One of the DF leaders Slaven Radunovic claims that there is a majority in the parliament of Montenegro for the formation of the government and he has called on the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic to invite Miodrag Lekic for consultations on the Prime Minister-designate. He has called on Djukanovic to call Lekic for consultations on which occasion Lekic would assure him that there is a majority for the composition of the new government.

 

Djukanovic: I defeated many more serious opponents than Dritan Abazovic (CdM)

 

During the past 30 years, I defeated many more serious opponents than Dritan Abazovic, they all had the same desire as he has. Today they’re gone, and I’m here. I don’t think he’ll be part of the Montenegrin political life for long, assessed the President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic. The President, among other things, commented on the statements of the outgoing Prime Minister, Dritan Abazovic, related to him and criticism over slowing down Montenegro’s European path… “I believe they are entirely ungrounded, he has no proof for those accusations. The only proof is his desire that Milo Djukanovic should disappear from the political life.”

 

Djukanovic: Goal is to return Montenegro to Greater Serbia, Abazovic a contractor (MINA)

 

“The goal is to return Montenegro to the composition of Greater Serbia, and thus the wishes of Greater Russia and Greater Serbia would be fulfilled. It is clear that today they have contractors in Montenegro on that plan, and the contractor is the current Prime Minister”, President of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic has stated. He said this after the agenda to discuss his proposal for shortening the Parliament mandate was not adopted. “Those who do not want good for Montenegro want institutional paralysis. None of the 18 candidates for judges of the Constitutional Court is good enough because the intention is that the Constitutional Court is unfunctional”, he has told reporters.

 

Djukanovic: Montenegro strongly condemns any attempt to appropriate parts of Ukrainian territory (CdM)

 

“Montenegro strongly condemns any attempt to appropriate parts of the territory of the Ukrainian state”, said Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, after it was announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognizing the independence of the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. “The organization of the so-called referendum on part of the territory of a sovereign state, under pressure and during a military conflict, is unacceptable, as well as the so-called results of such illegal actions”, he tweeted. President Djukanovic points out that Russia, as a permanent member of the Security Council, continues to violate international law.

 

Bulgarian President Radev reminds of the bilateral obligations (MIA/Telma)

 

Unlike previous election cycles, issues involving North Macedonia were not central to the prelection campaign in Bulgaria. But Bulgaria did not deviate from its demands for the inclusion of Bulgarians in the Constitution, as a condition for opening the chapters in the accession process to the Union. This was confirmed by the Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, immediately after exercising his right to vote. Asked about the current state of bilateral relations, Radev said talks between the countries were being held in a spirit of mutual respect and friendship. He added, however, that North Macedonia’s  “true negotiations with the EU have not yet started.” “They will begin only after North Macedonia adds the Bulgarians to its Constitution,” he said. The Bulgarian head of state also said the countries needed to resolve all outstanding issues that  had been postponed for many years. “The discussion of our common history with the Republic of North Macedonia is inevitable. “I expect the statesmen of this friendly country of ours to show political wisdom and build the  Republic of North Macedonia’s European future free of historical ideologies,” Radev said. However, Telma TV comments that the ideologies of the past are resurfacing. On its FB page, the CSO, which bears the name of the “Unifying King Boris the Third”, announces the opening of a  Bulgarian cultural club in Ohrid. It would be the second such club in North Macedonia, after “Vancho Mihajlov” in Bitola. Due to the proximity of Tsar Boris to Hitler‘s fascist government, the public reacted to this new provocation, and the Jewish community announced a criminal complaint. The North Macedonia’s authorities still have no reaction. The new Law on Associations and Foundations has not yet been prepared, and the Advisory Body under the Ministry of Justice, which was supposed to be involved in checking the use of historical names, has not started functioning.

 

Sofia’s rhetoric toward Skopje calmer now, Pendarovski says after meeting Radev (MIA)

 

Over the past few months, the rhetoric coming from Sofia towards Skopje has calmed down. Bulgarians are going to the polls tomorrow and I am glad the “topic of Macedonia” is no longer one of their priorities, President Stevo Pendarovski said in Sofia on Saturday. Unfortunately, Pendarovski said, this had not been the case in the previous two years, when “whether or not there were elections, some political parties and politicians used it to score political points.” The President said he was visiting Bulgaria for the first time in the four years of his term. He said he accepted the invitation of Bulgarian President Rumen Radev to discuss the energy crisis together with European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen. He would not have accepted the invitation if the topic of the meeting had been related to historical issues, he said. “I can notice that in the past few months, the rhetoric coming from Sofia towards Skopje has been quite calm in this sense,” Pendarovski said. “My several conversations with President Radev, although not directly on political topics, have given me the same impression. Which is what I actually said to President Radev in the first minutes of our conversation. “I told him: ‘President, if you had called me to come to Sofia to talk about Tsar Samuil, I would never have come. I came because you invited me to discuss a 21st century topic, and not 10th, 15th or 19th century ones,” Pendarovski said.

 

EC Head: I welcome positive momentum between Bulgaria, North Macedonia (MIA)

 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed “the positive momentum between Bulgaria and North Macedonia” after her meeting with President Stevo Pendarovski and Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in Sofia.“It led to the start of the accession negotiations process for North Macedonia,” the EC president wrote on Twitter.“Now it can also lead to good cooperation across the board for the benefit of the Bulgarian and Macedonian people, for example on energy,” she wrote, posting a video of her meeting with the two presidents.

 

Pendarovski and NATO’s CEE presidents reject Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian

Land (MIA)

 

The Presidents of Central and Eastern European NATO member states, including President Stevo Pendarovski, have released a joint statement rejecting the Russian attempts to illegally annex Ukrainian territories. “We Presidents of Central and Eastern Europe, countries whose leaders have visited Kyiv during the war and witnessed with their own eyes the effects of Russian aggression, cannot stay silent in the face of the blatant violation of international law by the Russian Federation, and therefore are issuing the following statement: “We reiterate our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We do not recognize and will never recognize Russian attempts to annex any Ukrainian territory,” the statement says. “We firmly stand behind the 2008 Bucharest NATO Summit decision concerning Ukraine’s future membership. “We support Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s invasion, demand Russia to immediately withdraw from all the occupied territories and encourage all Allies to substantially increase their military aid to Ukraine. “All those who commit crimes of aggression must be held accountable and brought to justice,” the statement adds. The statement is signed by Milos Zeman, President of the Czech Republic; Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia; Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia; Gitanas Nauseda, President of the Republic of Lithuania; Stevo Pendarovski, President of the Republic of North Macedonia; Milo Djukanovic, President of the Republic of Montenegro; Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland; Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania; and Zuzana Caputova, President of the Slovak Republic.

 

President Begaj reacted to the annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia (Radio Tirana)

 

News from the Presidential Office inform that Albanian President, Bajram Begaj reacted to the alleged annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia. “I strongly condemn Russia’s repeated violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Russia’s open and flagrant defiance of laws and the international community is bad news for world peace and order,” reads Begaj’s message. Earlier, the head of the Kremlin signed the decree on the recognition of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as independent states after the hastily organized referenda taking place over five days in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, and in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south.

 

UN, Albania-US resolution against referendums in Ukraine, Russia vetoes (Radio Tirana)

 

Ten countries voted in favor of the draft resolution submitted by Albania and the US to the UN Security Council against the Russian annexation of the regions of Ukraine. The UN calls on Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine. As expected, Russia vetoed the UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territories as a violation of international law. Four countries, China, India, Brazil and Gabon, of a total of 15 members countries of UN Security Council, abstained. Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, criticized the vote on the draft resolution as a provocation and an openly hostile act. It is expected that the draft resolution or a similar one will be presented to the UN General Assembly for a vote in the coming days. “The US military in Europe is ready for any eventuality,” US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan said at a press conference. “We do not see any imminent threat of the use of nuclear weapons by Moscow at the moment, but we continue to monitor the situation very seriously,” he declared. “For NATO, the United States of America has an open-door policy, but at the moment we support Kiev in the defense of its territory,” Sullivan said.

 

Senator Jeanne Shaheen meets President Begaj, Rama and govt & opposition representatives (Radio Tirana)

 

American Senator Jeanne Shaheen visited Tirana this Saturday, where she met with the President of the Republic, Bajram Begaj, Prime Minister Edi Rama and representatives of the opposition. The news was announced by the American embassy through an announcement on social networks. “US Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire visited Albania to engage with Albanian officials and meet with Afghan evacuees. Senator Shaheen met with President Bajram Begaj and Prime Minister Edi Rama, and a range of representatives from the government and opposition. She also met with some of the many Afghan evacuees that Albania has generously welcomed. Elected to the Senate in 2009, Senator Shaheen is a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where she serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, the Senate Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as on the Senate Committees on Armed Services, Appropriations, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Select Committee on Ethics,” reads the announcement of the US Embassy in Tirana.

 

American senator: We greatly appreciate Albania’s support regarding the war in Ukraine and the help to resettle Afghan refugees (Radio Tirana/VoA)

 

American Senator Jeanne Shaheen gave an interview for the Voice of America (VoA). During her visit to Tirana, Senator Shaheen appreciates the partnership with Albania and says that the United States should help it to have a secure cyber structure so that it is no longer a target of attacks from Iran or any other country. Ms. Shaheen, an expert on the Western Balkans, says that the latest agreement between Belgrade and Moscow goes against the long-term interests of the Serbian people. Asked about the purpose of her visit to the Balkans, she said that it was her first visit to Albania and she would have to come again to see this beautiful country. “I’m really here to make sure that the people in Albania and here in the Western Balkans know that in the United States Senate we are paying attention to what happens here. We are grateful for Albania’s partnership and the work that the United States and Albania have done over the years. This is the 100th anniversary of our relationship. And we very much appreciate Albania’s support for the war in Ukraine. And the help that it’s given the United States to resettle Afghan refugees. So, I’m really here just to help remind everybody how important this partnership is and see how we can be helpful in the United States,” Senator Jeanne Shaheen said, adding that she came to Albania to point out the partnership and the alliances that Albania and the United States have had in the areas where we work together; the 100th anniversary of our relationship, the importance of Albania’s support in joining us on the war in Ukraine to support the Ukrainian people; the importance of Albania’s taking in Afghan refugees at a time when the United States withdrew.

“We were trying to support those people who needed help, and Albania stepped up and said we’re going to do what’s right and try and help people who need help. So, that has been very important. And obviously we’re going to continue to work on economic issues together, the fact that Albania has just signed two deals to help diversify its energy economy is very important. The hydro deal and then the LNG deal with two American companies. We very much appreciate that and hopefully that’s going to be good for both the United States and Albania,” she added.

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