Vucic and Thaci again in Brussels in two weeks (Blic)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is likely to meet again in Brussels in two weeks with Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, writes daily Blic. The newspaper states that this information was confirmed by the office of President Vucic. The continuation of the dialogue in such a short period could mean a practical intensification of the process.
“There are still a lot of work to be done for Serbia, many open issues are on the table. Representatives of Europe will come more intensively to Belgrade, but the Serbian delegation will also travel to Brussels more than it did so far. What is certain after the meeting on Sunday is surely that things will be resolved with a mutual agreement, with the approval of all parties whose consent is needed” says the source of Blic.
Mogherini: Vucic-Thaci dialogue difficult yet encouraging (Beta)
EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said on June 25 that the round of talks between the Serbian and Kosovo presidents, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci, was “difficult yet encouraging.”
“On June 24 we had a very good top-level meeting between Belgrade and Pristina, which developed in an encouraging way – very difficult, but encouraging,” Mogherini said upon arrival at a session of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg. The EU high representative said that she expected the EU foreign ministers, discussing “general affairs” in Luxembourg, to accept the European Commission’s recommendation to give the green light for Macedonia and Albania to start membership talks with the Union.
Official sources at The Hague and in Paris say that Holland and France, together with a few more EU members, might oppose the move, insisting that the authorities in Skopje and Tirana should provide additional evidence that they had taken tangible steps to strengthen the rule of law, and curb corruption and organized crime.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Brussels, on June 24, that several important things had been arranged in Brussels to help the Serbs in Kosovo, one of them being that all the problems had to be addressed peacefully, with mutual respect and guarantees for the safety and security of the citizens. President Vucic said he wasn’t “overly optimistic,” but that he wished to try to use the talks to find a reasonable solution for major open issues – a reference to the institutional protection of the Serbs in Kosovo through the Community of Serb Municipalities.
PM: Serbia’s readiness for compromise isn’t weakness (Tanjug)
Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said that Serbia’s advocating a compromise solution to the Kosovo issue should not be interpreted as weakness, but that it stood as an indicator of the country’s seriousness and strength.
“It seems to me that at this moment it is only Belgrade which is ready for open talks and a compromise and I would not like our openness to compromise to be interpreted as our weakness” Brnabic said. She said that in the morning on June 25, she had had a brief conversation with President Aleksandar Vucic about the June 24 dialogue round in Brussels, noting that both of them had assessed the meeting as difficult. “The government will stand by the President and will
provide full support to him in the future dialogue rounds,” she said.
Vucic, Liberian President discuss coop, situation in Kosovo (Beta)
President Aleksandar Vucic has discussed with his Liberian counterpart George Weah ways to improve bilateral cooperation and he thanked Liberia for its position on the Kosovo issue, according to a statement from the Presidential Office.
In a telephone conversation, the two presidents discussed bilateral cooperation, expressing their readiness to strengthen political, economic, education and other forms of cooperation. Vucic thanked Weah on Liberia’s position regarding Kosovo and “a balanced approach to the resolution
of problems in the Western Balkan region,” the statement said.
Weah said he hoped that the talks and negotiations with Pristina would produce a solution and that we would know how and would manage to preserve peace, it said in the statement.
“EU’s shuttle diplomat is not inclined toward Belgrade” (Vecernje novosti)
According to the daily Vecernje Novosti, the task of Angelina Eichhorst will be to accelerate and intensify the talks between representatives of Serbian authorities and provisional institutions in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as the implementation of the agreements that have already been reached. The plan is for Eichhorst to be in constant contact with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo President Hashim Thaci in the coming months, i.e., for her to engage in “shuttle diplomacy” by traveling between Brussels, Belgrade, and Pristina, and trying to reconcile the positions of the two sides, the newspaper said.
These meetings, the article added, will sometimes be public, and will other times be taking place far from the eyes of the public.
The newspaper also said that Eichhorst will, “when it’s needed and when there’s room for some breakthrough in the negotiations,” signal to organize meetings at the highest political level in Brussels, which should become more frequent in the coming months.
Eichhorst – who, according to Vecernje Novosti, is not inclined toward Belgrade’s views – is already involved in the negotiations.
Last weekend, she mediated the technical level talks between Belgrade and Pristina and Marko Djuric and Avni Arifi, while the newspaper emphasizes that by taking on a new role, she will effectively “introduce the dialogue into a new phase, which has been announced for a long time.”
Dacic: Person for shuttle diplomacy already exists and that’s not a secret (Prva TV)
Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic says that a person for “shuttle diplomacy” within the framework of the dialogue in Brussels already exists and that this is not a secret.
It is the director of the Department for Western Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey at the EU Foreign Affairs Service, Angelina Eichhorst, for which “Vecernje novosti” stated is a person for “shuttle diplomacy”, that is, that she should speed up the pace of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
According to Dacic, Angelina Eichhorst’s participation is no novelty because she is already there, that is, she is already part of the negotiation process. “She is already in that department of the Federation of Mogherini and the European Commission and is already taking part in these discussions. She is here since Mogerini” said Dacic.
He recalled that the dialogue began with Katherine Ashton, who had her own team, and that after the EU elections, the negotiations were taken over by Federica Mogherini, who replaced Catherine Ashton, and that almost entire administration of the European Commissions was replaced then, and therefore the team that participated in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina too.
Dacic explains that Mogherini in her statement “stressed that we are all in agreement that there is some capacity to resolve the issue of relations between Serbia and Kosovo with a compromise, and that both should invest the efforts to reach that solution and intensify the talks.”
He points out that during the talks, there were several dangerous situations that threatened the continuation of the negotiations and one of those cases was the incident in which the director of the Office for KiM Marko Djuric was detained in Kosovska Mitrovica. “The biggest was during the pointless incident with Marko Djuric. He sat at the same desk with them in Brussels, and remember how they treated him. I do not know how I would react in his place” said Dacic, adding: “They showed who is the boss there, and that they are not planning the peaceful resolution of this issue and that they are threatening to occupy some territories, therefore Mogherini issued such a statement.”
Dacic points out that Pristina has so far been constantly searching for excuses. “There is also a question of Thachi’s capacity, can he carry that issue on behalf of everyone in Kosovo, because he can always have an alibi how he wants something but the others don’t” Dacic said.
He could not confirm that the next meeting of the President of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci would take place in two weeks, as some media reported. “In July, the meeting will definitely take place, and beyond that, technical talks will take place” said Dacic.
“It is important here to say that if we want a lasting solution, it cannot be based on Prishtina’s wish for Serbia to recognize their unilateral decision. If they think that this is a compromise, there is no need to continue the talks. Search for a solution must continue” Dacic said.
He also said that the issue of holding a referendum on Kosovo is far away, and that what we can see now is that there is no willingness to compromise on the Pristina side.
“That’s why I said that the biggest obstacle to a lasting solution is the refusal of Pristina to realize the new reality, that is, the circumstances have changed, the perception of Kosovo has changed, the redistribution of power has changed, and the situation is not the same as it was 10 years ago” said the Serbian Head of Diplomacy.
Dacic also said that the official Pristina asked him to stop lobbying in some countries for the withdraw of the recognition of Kosovo’s independence. “Pacolli (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo) told me “Stop messing with my work” Dacic said. “The circumstances have changed. Not even America is the same, US administration wouldn’t support Kosovo now, at all costs. Everything is different than 10 years ago and Pristina should realize that, everything will be harder for them.”
Montgomery: Without the ZSO I would not make any further concessions (Tanjug)
The key world powers do not intend to treat Serbia fairly or to be neutral in resolving the Kosovo issue, said former US ambassador William Montgomery, and stressed that it’s a pity because, Serbia is ready to compromise.
Asked whether his position meant that the great powers had already made a decision on Kosovo and what kind of decision, Montgomery said: “Absolutely. The United States and key EU countries have for decades formed their stance on Kosovo and Bosnia and have no interest or desire to change it”. He points out that even the Kosovo Albanians do not intend to make any significant concessions, and that key international players are encouraging them.
“Both Bosnia and Kosovo have the fate to be frozen conflicts in the near future, which is pity because Serbia shows a desire and is ready to make difficult decisions without looking for anything else than reciprocate” Montgomery said.
Asked if his statement on a frozen conflict means that he expects Serbia not to accept a pre-prepared solution, Montgomery says he cannot speak for the Serbian authorities, but he thinks that they have been brought in a very difficult position by force.
“If it was me, I would not make any further concessions until the original promise of forming a ZSO was formally and completely implemented” Montgomery said.
“This is a litmus test of the sincerity and reliability of the international community and Kosovo Albanians,” Montgomery concluded.
Rule of law hampers Serbia more than Kosovo in the accession talks, experts say (RTV)
The dynamics of Serbia’s accession negotiations with the European Union depends to a large extent on the fulfillment of the criteria related to the rule of law, not so much as on the resolving the Kosovo issue, according to the participants of the forum on why Serbia does not open more negotiating chapters that took place on Monday.
Vice President of the European Movement in Serbia Vladimir Medjak said that Serbia should do more in chapters 23 and 24 in order to impose itself to the EU as a credible partner, as the country said it would work on it. “The momentum of the imposition is most important, and this will happen by Serbia doing what it has said it would do,” Medjak said.
Based on the European Commission’s report on Serbia’s progress, it is concluded that Serbia has not made any progress in eight out of the 35 negotiating chapters, he said.
The coordinator of the National Convent on EU Natasa Dragojlovic said that Serbia had prepared five chapters, but only opened two on Monday for “political reasons, primarily related to the rule of law.” Dragojlovic also said that it was assessed for five chapters that compliance with EU legislation was very high and that the non-opening of three of these five chapters was a way of exerting political pressure on Serbia in relation to the relations with Pristina.
“This is not fair, and I think that all the chapters for which Serbia is ready should be opened, because it is just the beginning of the talks. I think that from 35 chapters, only eight to ten are not
technically ready, all the rest can be sent tomorrow,” Dragojlovic said.
Dacic and Moore: Good and stable relations between Serbia and Great Britain (RTS)
First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic spoke with Richard Moore, political director at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom on relations between the two countries.
Ivica Dacic and Richard Moore assessed that bilateral relations between Serbia and the United Kingdom as good and stable and that it is in the common interest to intensify political dialogue and cooperation in all areas of common interest, the Foreign Ministry announced.
Dacic stressed that it is very good that the United Kingdom, regardless of Bregzit, supports the process of Serbia’s Euro-integration, assessing it very useful for the Western Balkans Summit to be held in London in July.
Opinions regarding the situation in the region and the significance of Serbia’s contribution to the maintenance of peace and stability were exchanged.
In that context, Minister Dacic stressed Serbia’s readiness to continue efforts to find a lasting, compromise and balanced solution in a dialogue with Pristina, which will contribute to the stability of the entire region, and therefore of Europe as well.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
UK’s Moore holds separate meetings with CoM Chairman Zvizdic and Federation of B&H PM Novalic (FTV)
Director General for Political Affairs at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Richard Moore visited Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) on Monday and held separate meetings with Chairman of the Council of Minister of B&H (CoM) Denis Zvizdic and Federation of B&H Prime Minister Fadil Novalic.
Zvizdic informed Moore about the B&H CoM forming a coordination team which is conducting all necessary preparations for B&H’s participation in upcoming Western Balkans Summit in London, which will take place on July 9 and 10. The Office of the B&H CoM Chairman briefly commented the meeting, saying that the topic of the Summit will be, besides economy and security, closing of heavy issues from the past, like missing persons’ cases and war crimes. Zvizdic pointed out that the CoM remains committed to regional cooperation and that B&H will be an active participant, as well as a positive factor in all regional initiatives leading to peace, stability and economic prosperity. Moore also held a meeting at the UK Embassy to B&H
Dodik: ‘British spies’ are wiretapping me and Vucic; Reactions (N1)
Director for Political Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Richard Moore, visited Sarajevo on Monday. His visit was overshadowed by the statements made by Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik about ‘British spies’ that plan forming a special operation center in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) in July. Dodik said that the 40 soldiers from the UK sent to B&H are ‘specialists’, that work on social networks and in media, and use wiretapping methods to achieve a goal of removing the current government in the RS and destabilizing this entity. Dodik also said that ‘British spies’ are wiretapping his phone, as well as phone of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
SDS members commented Dodik’s claims, asking in what kind of situation Dodik leaves the RS, when he claims that 40 soldiers can present a threat to it. SDS members said that Dodik wiretaps the phones of members of the opposition parties in the RS, the same way some agencies follow his moves. “The fact that someone wiretaps someone is known to many. What do you think that the most powerful forces of the world do not follow those interesting to them? Now, whether they find Milorad Dodik and Aleksandar Vucic interesting, I do not know, but it is probable. I know that we are being monitored by Dodik and we are not afraid of that, because we know we are not doing anything wrong”, said SDS representative in the B&H House of Representatives (HoR), Aleksandra Pandurevic.
B&H CoM discusses issue of increased influx of migrants (Hayat)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Council of Ministers (CoM) held a session in Sarajevo on Monday and discussed the issue of increased influx of migrants. In cooperation with the relevant institutions, B&H Ministry of Security prepared Information with the Action Plan of measures that should be urgently undertaken when it comes to dealing with illegal migrants and protection of eastern borders of B&H in particular. According to data presented a total of 7,128 illegal migrants have been registered in the area of B&H, while only 30% of them are still in this country and 613 migrants requested asylum.
B&H Minister of Security Dragan Mektic stated that control of borders of B&H needs to be increased in order to reduce influx of migrants. Mektic confirmed that not a single asylum request of these migrants has been granted. Mektic specified that facts indicate that these migrants do not really want asylum in B&H, but rather that they formally file a request for asylum in order to justify their stay here. Mektic said that all countries will have to come up with more effective prevention, explaining that police forces from Southeast Europe will be working together. Mektic spoke about the capacities of the B&H Border Police and said that additional 125 police officers from other police agencies were referred to the B&H Border Police to help protect the borders and control the influx of migrants.
Head of the Foreigners Affairs’ Service of B&H Slobodan Ujic told that the number of refugees will significantly increase by the end of this year and added that he expects more than 10,000 migrants to enter B&H “unless we undertake measures in order to strengthen borders”. Ujic noted that B&H must not fail to react in case Croatia decides to close its borders but he also said that B&H is facing a problem because no funds have been planned for assigning 150-200 police officers from other agencies for the purpose of border protection.
“In case Croatia closes its borders, the state of B&H will have to find a solution, it will have to secure both material and human potentials to put it at disposal of B&H Border Police so that we too can close the border towards Serbia and Montenegro. However, with the current capacity, we could not close the border even if we wanted to do that”, Ujic explained. Asked to comment on claims that border police officers of Serbia are showing migrants how to reach B&H, Ujic said that it is obvious that migrants easily travel through territories of both Serbia and Montenegro and he added: “We can only assume that official bodies of both Serbia and Montenegro are shutting their eyes before this”.
RS President Dodik: No reception center for migrants will be set up in RS (ATV)
Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik reiterated on Monday that no reception center for migrants will be set up in the RS. “As far as I could see, Bavaria in Germany is also preparing its own, separate migrant protection program. We will do a similar thing on the basis of their experience and model,” Dodik was quoted as saying.
IOM regional coordinator Auweraert: Danger that migrants will remain stuck in B&H (Glas Srpske)
International Organization for Migrations (IOM) regional coordinator Peter van der Auweraert said that a total of 6,400 refugees are already at the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) and Croatia, and they cannot get closer to their final destination, the European Union. “B&H is in danger of becoming a country in which migrants will remain stuck. That would be fatal for this poor country and country devastated during the war”, Van der Auweraert told. He added that new Balkan route, via Albania, Montenegro and B&H, has been activated.
Plenkovic: There will be no reception centers for migrants in area of Croatian southeast neighborhood (Dnevni list)
At the end of Sunday’s EU mini summit on the issue of migrants, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic stated that the reception center for migrants will not be located in the area of the Western Balkans. Plenkovic said there is an idea to prevent greater migrant waves in the future, following the example of agreements with Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.
The European Commission (EC) officially rejected possibility of establishment of migrant centers anywhere from North Africa to the Balkans. Spokesperson for the EC Natasha Berto said that: “Establishment of collective centers in third countries, to which migrants who already entered the EU would be sent, was definitely rejected at the informal meeting of EU member countries that took place on Sunday in Brussels. This is because such solution is not in line with the European laws or international laws regulating asylum matters”.
President Ivanov fails to sign law ratifying name agreement (MIA)
President Gjorge Ivanov has decided not to sign the decree promulgating the law ratifying the Final agreement for the settlement of the differences as described in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 817 (1193) and 845 (1993), the termination of the Interim Accord of 1995, and the establishment of a strategic partnership between the parties.
The decision communicated to the media by the President’s Office lists the reasons for Ivanov’s failure to sign the decree.
“I have no mandate to sign the bill promulgating the law. One of the pillars of my election programme back in 2014 was to not accept a change of the Constitution towards changing the country’s constitutional name. I do not accept ideas or proposals that would endanger the Macedonian national identity, the individuality of the Macedonian nation, Macedonian language and the Macedonian model of coexistence. I was elected President based on this programme,” reads the decision.
According to Ivanov, the agreement goes beyond the scope of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 817 (1193) and 845 (1993), because they refer to “difference over the country’s name”, not “differences” as stated in the agreement.
“The agreement has no constitutional ground and is not ratified in compliance with the Constitution. Article 118 of the Constitution reads that international agreements ratified in line with the Constitution are part of the internal legal order,” he adds. He further elaborates that the agreement does not comply with Articles 51, 118 and 119 of the Macedonian Constitution.
“The agreement brings Macedonia into a subordinate position to another country, namely the Republic of Greece. Article 308 of the Criminal Code reads that a citizen bringing the Republic of Macedonia into such a position shall be punished by a prison sentence of at least five years,” underlines Ivanov.
The Parliament ratified the name agreement on June 20. In case of a presidential veto, the law goes back to the Parliament for a second vote, requiring an approval of least 61 out of 120 MPs. If endorsed, the law is again forwarded to the President, who is obliged by the Constitution to sign it.
Government: Ivanov’s decision expected, but does not affect implementation of name agreement (MIA)
The decision of President Gjorge Ivanov and the refusal to sign decree ratifying the law on name agreement is expected, but does not affect the implementation of the agreement.
“Ivanov’s decision was expected, but it does not affect the steps i.e. the implementation phases of the agreement. Greek Government has already sent letters to EU and NATO,” Government Spokesman Mile Bosnjakovski told MIA. Government reiterates that the will of the citizens expressed in a referendum will be binding for all political parties regardless of the form of the referendum.
The decision of the President Gjorge Ivanov not to sign the decree on the law on ratification of the Final Agreement for the settlement of the differences as described in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 817 (1993) and 845 (1993), the termination of the Interim Accord of 1995 and the establishment of a strategic partnership, has been submitted Tuesday to the Macedonia’s Parliament.
Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi will schedule session for a re-vote on the law on ratification of the agreement at late by next week.
Macedonia has no Plan B, says PM Zaev (MIA)
Macedonia has no Plan B. Nearly 80% of the citizens said they want Macedonia to be part of the EU and NATO. I’m confident the citizens will reach the decision in a referendum, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Monday in an interview with 1TV. It is important that the member states of the EU and NATO conveyed an encouraging message regarding Macedonia, according to him.
“Macedonia not only delivered success and friendship, it also delivered a model on how to settle 30-year disputes. Macedonia is a model that can be implemented. I have no doubts, I know that they will send an encouraging message. They have to,” PM Zaev stressed.
Referring to France’s position about EU enlargement, Zaev said that France was a friend of Macedonia and that in fact the country had no problem with Macedonia.
“I’m happy that today many countries have been encouraging France to make a positive decision. Probably, France’s position comes as a result of some differences within the country. France is a great friend of Macedonia,” he said.
As regards the name agreement, the PM said it was a fair deal based on facts and Greece was ‘our supporter.’
“PM Alexis Tsipras had talks with the President of France at a migration meeting. Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has been holding phone calls every day as if he was lobbying for his own country. The citizens should be aware of this. I want us to build sincere friendship and mutual respect,” Premier Zaev said.
On a name referendum, Zaev said Macedonia should hold a referendum to allow the people ‘to have the final say.’
Asked whether he would step down had the referendum failed, PM Zaev said he would resign adding that he was very confident that it would succeed.
FM: Political decision this week on start of EU negotiations is crucial for Macedonia (MIA)
I hope that the EU members could find a compromise that for us would imply a clear political decision for the opening of membership negotiations, Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said Monday.
“We need the leaders not to refer to the issue sometime in the future, we need them now, on Thursday and Friday, to accept the recommendation of the European Commission and to green light the opening of accession talks with Macedonia. How it is going to happen, when it is going to happen, all of this can be a matter of compromise. For us it is crucial this political decision to be made this week, and it is important not to find ourselves in a similar situation to be waiting for decisions at some other meeting of the European Council,” Dimitrov told TV Sitel.
Asked if it could affect the name deal if Macedonia failed to get a green light from the EU, Minister Dimitrov noted: “It’s up to us to act and to think that this might work.”
Macedonia expects heightened US support: deputy minister (MIA)
Deputy Foreign Minister Andrej Zernovski and US Ambassador Jess Baily in a meeting on Monday praised the continual and constructive bilateral political dialogue between the Republic of Macedonia and the United States, based on traditional friendship and strategic partnership.
Deputy Minister Zernovski said the government remained permanently committed to stability, peace and prosperity of the region having a clear perspective for its European and Euro-Atlantic integration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
“Deputy FM Zernovski underlined reforms implemented and activities in connection to the integration processes of our country with an emphasis on the expectations for a heightened support from the US ahead of the NATO Summit in July and for an invitation extended by NATO to Macedonia to join the Alliance,” stated the press release.
Also, the interlocutors discussed current political developments in Macedonia and the region and ongoing global challenges.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES
Islamic migratory onslaught in the Balkans (Chronicles magazine)
On June 20 Serbia’s foreign minister Ivica Dacic made an interesting remark in connection with the ongoing political and territorial dispute over the status of Kosovo. We are witnessing a new reflection of the desire to create the “green transverse” in the Balkans, which is a “dangerous fantasy” motivated by ambitious Islamic extremism. “This is nothing new,” Dacic went on, “this is an aspiration which has been present for centuries.
The Green Transverse (aka “Green Corridor,” Zelena transverzala, Grüne Transversale, Dorsale verde) is a key geopolitical concept which denotes the long-term goal of Islamist activists, both in the Balkans and in the wider Muslim world, to create a geographically contiguous chain of majority-Muslim or Muslim-dominated polities that will extend from Turkey in the southeast to the northwestern-most point of Bosnia (a mere hundred miles as the crow flies from Austria’s southeastern border). Over the past quarter-century it has resulted in the strengthening of traditionally Muslim communities in the Balkans, expanding the geographic area of their demographic dominance and enhancing their Islamic character.
Political, cultural, religious and demographic trends among Muslim communities in the Balkans demonstrate that the Green Corridor is taking shape, either deliberately or spontaneously. Nevertheless, many Western academic experts and media commentators have been dismissive of any suggestion that a long-term Islamic geopolitical design exists in the Balkans, let alone that it is being deliberately and systematically pursued. Yet far from being a paranoid concept with “Islamophobic” overtones, its most authoritative analysts have been institutions and experts with no ethnic or confessional axe to grind in the Balkan scene.
During the Bosnian war in the 1990’s the late Sir Alfred Sherman, former advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and co-founder of The Lord Byron Foundation, warned that the Muslims’ objective was “to create a ‘Green Corridor’ from Bosnia through the Sanjak to Kosovo.” Western powers are “in effect fostering this Islamistan,” Sherman warned, while “Washington is actively helping the Muslim forces.”
A decade later, the same theme was echoed by Col. Shaul Shay of BESA Center at Bar-Ilan University. Writing in 2008, he noted that “the Balkans serve as a forefront on European soil for Islamic terror organizations, which exploit this area to promote their activities in Western Europe, and other focal points worldwide.” His verdict regarding the Green Corridor is disquieting: “The establishment of an independent Islamic territory including Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania . . . is one of the most prominent achievements of Islam since the siege of Vienna in 1683. Islamic penetration into Europe through the Balkans is one of the main achievements of Islam in the twentieth century.”
John Schindler, former professor of strategy at the U.S. Naval War College and National Security Agency analyst, concurs. Writing in 2008, he pointed out that the Balkans provide the missing piece in the puzzle of al-Qa’ida’s transformation from an isolated fighting force into a lethal global threat. Radical Islam played a key role in the Yugoslav conflict, Schindler says: like Afghanistan in the 1980s, Bosnia in the 1990s became a training ground for the mujahidin, leading to blowback of epic proportions. “Jihadist Networks in the Balkans” was also the theme of the October 2008 issue of the prominent Italian geopolitical review Limes, and the subject was revisited in February of this year. Overall, the Green Corridor reflects precisely Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations; he treated the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a paradigmatic case of the “fault-line wars” between Islam and the rest.
The trouble with the Serbian foreign minister’s statement is that the Green Transverse is not and cannot be described as “fantasy.” Quite the contrary, its long-term objectives are currently fueled by a new wave of overwhelmingly Muslim migrants from the Greater Middle East and by the manifest desire of the European Union—especially Germany—to resettle them along the Union’s southeastern borders, which effectively means in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. According to the Viennese daily Die Presse (June 14), Serbia will also be the destination of those asylum seekers whose applications are rejected in the EU and who are subsequently deported. That Serbia would become the “end station” for migrants has been a constant theme of the German-language media for over a year.
The problem is that 11 years ago the government of Serbia signed a readmission treaty with the European Union, which states that migrants whose asylum applications are rejected in the Union will be sent to “the last safe country” on their journey in which they were registered—which is Serbia. This was a grossly irresponsible act of treason by the pro-EU quasi-elite in Belgrade. It is now clear that various Eurocrats in Brussels intend to turn the country into a giant depository for unwanted migrants, instead of sending them back to their countries of origin. The European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Berto thus declared back in September 2015 that since the EU has a readmission agreement with Serbia, persons arriving in the EU without the right to remain there would be sent back to the last pre-EU country of transit. In 2016, the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks reiterated the intention of EU member states to send unsuccessful asylum seekers to Serbia.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation is further complicated by the desire of the Muslim leaders in this tri-national quasistate to facilitate the influx and permanent settlement of their coreligionists from the Middle East and North Africa. They hope to change the ethnic and confessional balance in their favor and to the detriment of Serbs and Croats, who between them still have a simple majority in the chronically unstable former Yugoslav republic. For the Sarajevo government’s minister for human rights Semiha Borovac, a Muslim, the only issue is not how to protect borders, but how to help migrants “in accordance with the EU Action Plan.” Her attitude is perfectly in line with the position of the Bosnian Muslims’ wartime leader Alija Izetbegovic that “Islam contains the principle of ummet, the tendency to unite all Muslims into a single community—a spiritual, cultural and political community . . . It is a natural function of the Islamic order to gather all Muslims and Muslim communities throughout the world into one.”
At the same time, the Christian communities all over the Balkans are in a steep, long-term demographic decline. Fertility rate is below replacement level in every majority-Christian country in the region. The Muslims, by contrast, have the highest birth rates in Europe, with the Albanians topping the chart. On current form it is likely that Muslims will reach a simple majority, both in Bosnia and in the Balkans as a whole, within a decade at most.
Quite apart from the devastating effect on the declining Christian communities in the Balkans, this process also has major security implications for the Western world. Already two decades ago a classified State Department report warned that the Muslim-controlled parts of Bosnia had become a safe haven for Islamic terrorism. The core of Bin Laden’s Balkan network consisted of the veterans of El Moujahed brigade of the Bosnian-Muslim army from the 1990’s, distinguished by their spectacular cruelty. They went on to perpetrate murder and mayhem all over the world. They planned the Millennium Plot, the bombing of the Al Khobar building in Riyadh, and attacks on U.S. military installations in Germany. Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, who planned the 9/11 attacks, was a veteran of the Bosnian jihad, as were two of the hijackers. As Jane’s Intelligence Review concluded in 2006, “The current threat of terrorism in Bosnia and Herzegovina comes from a younger, post-war generation of militant Islamists, radicalized by US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
There is a growing gap between the reality of Islam in the Balkans and Western mainstream narrative about the allegedly moderate and tolerant “Balkan Islam.” The problem of the Green Corridor will not be resolved without critical reexamination of Western policies as well as Western illusions. That problem has morphed over the past quarter-century into a demographic, social and political reality. As Professor Raphael Israeli warned over a decade ago, “[W]hile the Muslims have established a continuity which drives a wedge within Christian Central Europe, the West is looking with indifference at that evolving situation which they hope will create a docile, Turkish-like Islam . . . It is doubtful whether these hopes will be fulfilled.”
Western policies in Southeast Europe have had the effect, either by design or by default, to favor the aspirations of various supposedly pro-Western Muslim communities in the Balkans along the geographic line extending from Turkey north-westwards towards Central Europe. In Washington, that policy was based to a large extent on the expectation that satisfying Islamists’ ambitions in a secondary theater would improve the U.S. standing in the Muslim world as a whole.
The policy had never yielded any dividends, but repeated failure has only prompted its advocates to redouble their efforts. Former U.S. Under-Secretary of State Nicholas Burns thus declared on February 18, 2008, a day after Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence: “Kosovo is going to be a vastly majority Muslim state, given the fact that 92 to 94 percent of their population is Muslim, and we think it is a very positive step that this Muslim state, Muslim majority state, has been created today.” If it is intrinsically “a very positive step” for the U.S. that a “vastly Muslim state” is created on European soil that had been cleansed of non-Muslims with American assistance, then it should be expected that Washington will be equally supportive of any new Islamistan in the Green Corridor-affected area.
Far from providing a model of pro-Western “moderate Islam,” majority-Muslim areas of the Balkans have become the breeding ground for thousands of young, fanatical Islamists. Their dedication is honed in thousands of foreign-financed mosques and Islamic centers. If Western policy in the Balkans was not meant to facilitate the Green Corridor, it needs to be explained why its effects have coincided with the objectives of those same Islamists who threaten Western interests, and—in Europe—the very survival of traditionally Christian nations. They will have to foot the immediate bill for such folly and malice, and it has been paid already by Kosovo’s disappearing Serbs; but long-term costs of the expansion of the Green Corridor will haunt both America and Europe for decades to come.
EU SUPERSTATE: Germany to back EU accession talks for Albania and Macedonia (express.co.uk)
The accession of Albania and Macedonia has so far divided Brussels with issues of immigration at the core. In February the Commission’s president Jean-Claude Juncker said Macedonia had “made great progress” in confronting the issues that prevented the nation joining the EU, such as its 27-year-old dispute with member state Greece, but it was not there yet.
However, today the Commission will propose starting accession talks for both Macedonia and Albania as the bloc seeks to widen its influence.
Germany is expected to back a Commission proposal to start accession talks with Albania and Macedonia, an insider has revealed as both have made remarkable progress in the recent years.
A German government source told politic website Politico: “Both countries have made remarkable efforts in recent years to move closer to the EU.”
However, the source added there is “still a way to go for both Albania and Macedonia”.
Hungary’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto has revealed Budapest is also likely to back Albania and Macedonia’s accession as the official urged the bloc to expand its members.
Speaking on Monday, Mr. Szijjarto said Brussels should speed up enlargement to include countries from the Western Balkans. Mr. Szijjarto said at London’s Chatham House think tank, “We must enlarge the EU as quickly and as soon as possible,” arguing that it should not require another seven years to go through the process. He added: “We want to see EU 28, 29, 30. The Western Balkans is a place where tensions can emerge.”
Albania is already part of NATO which in the past has been see as a gateway for joining the EU.
And NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the US-led alliance was likely to approve membership talks with Macedonia at a summit in July. He added the agreement with Greece to change the name from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Republic of North Macedonia was “a historic agreement which provides a historic opportunity” for Skopje to join NATO. Mr Stoltenberg said: “I expect and I hope that the heads of state and government can agree to start accession talks.”
However, France and the Netherlands are unlikely to back the proposal today over concerns the decision could further stoke anti-immigration sentiment in the bloc, EU diplomats have said.
French President Emmanuel Macron told the European Parliament in April he could not support EU enlargement without more internal reform of the bloc first, and diplomats say the French position has not changed.