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Belgrade Media Report 10 October 2018

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Wednesday 10 October 2018
LOCAL PRESS

• Vucic thanks Kazakhstan for support to Serbia’s sovereignty (RTS/FoNet/Beta)
• Dacic: Stability of region important for stability of Europe (Beta/RTS/Tanjug)
• Dacic: Pristina on big defensive, Serbia on offensive (B92/Tv Prva/Tanjug)
• Gojkovic thanks Russian Federation for support not recognizing Kosovo (Politika)
• Gojkovic thanks Iran for principled stance on Kosovo (Beta)
• McAllister: Serbia, region doing well on EU road (Beta)
• Protection for forty-four sanctities and monuments (Novosti)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina
• B&H CEC publishes updated preliminary results of elections (N1)
• Dodik accuses Ambassador Cormack of exerting pressure on B&H CEC members (RTRS)
• US State Department concerned with shortcomings in election process in B&H (N1)
• OHR and EUD to B&H remind of crucial importance of rapid formation of authorities at all levels in B&H once election results are confirmed (TV1)
• Mogherini and Hahn expect all political leaders in B&H to engage in formation of authorities at all levels (FTV)
• Komsic: HDZ will make noise and eventually hurry into authorities! (BHT)
• Protest walk against election of Komsic; Komsic to turn office of Croat member of B&H Presidency in Mostar into library (RTRS)
• Dodik: I intend to launch initiative on recognizing Crimea as part of Russia (ATV/Oslobodjenje)
• Cvijanovic: It is logical my first official visit as new RS President will be to Serbia (ATV)
Croatia
• Croatian officials still upset with Bosnian election results (Hina/HRT)
fYROM
• Parliament committee to discuss motion for constitutional revision (MIA)
• Prespa Agreement – historic opportunity for Macedonia, Merkel tells PM Zaev (MIA)
• EP Committee on Foreign Affairs adopts report on Macedonia (MIA)
• Gov’t: Macedonia launches NATO accession talks (MIA)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

• ForMin Melescanu: ‘Romania’s EU Council Presidency can become historic regarding negotiation with Western Balkan countries’ (Stiripesurse.ro)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Vucic thanks Kazakhstan for support to Serbia’s sovereignty (RTS/FoNet/Beta)

 

During an official visit to Kazakhstan, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic thanked his Kazakhstani counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev for support to the territorial sovereignty of Serbia, suggesting that the two countries should strengthen their economic ties. Vucic also thanked Nazarbayev for his firm position on Serbia’s vital interests related to Kosovo and

Metohija. “I am grateful for your support to the territorial sovereignty of Serbia, but economic relations matter, too. I hope we’ll strengthen economic ties, together with trade, where there is untapped potential,” Vucic said to reporters after the meeting with Kazkhstan’s President.

Speaking to reporters in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana, Vucic that the elections in his country would be held in 2020 and that he hoped no one thought of taking power by force, FoNet reported. He referred to some statements by public figures who said they expected that Belgrade regime would change soon. Commenting on a survey showing that 44 percent of people in Serbia were against the separation from Kosovo, Vucic said that it always should bear in mind what impact the changes in the world had on the ground. “It will be recorded that people did not want that, and we will see what will happen in 20-30 years and who was right. My job is to respect the will of the people,” he told reporters in Astana. He has said he usually does not comment on opinion polls, but asked what the 44 percent against the separation means? Does that say that 44 percent are in favor of independent Kosovo as a whole? There are eight to 12 percent of those who want that. “We have great relations with Russia and China, but what would we do when they (the Albanians) attack our people in the north (of Kosovo),” Vucic asked. Commenting the possibility of Kosovo solution that may include the delineation mentioned in the  European Parliament (EP) resolution on Western Balkans, Vucic said that they (EP) could speak about everything they want, while Serbia had to protect its interests. “I don’t know what they have to do with that, but all right. It has to do with everyone in the world, the least with the Serbs and the Albanians. No one has to ask them,” Vucic said, adding that has nothing to do with the reality.

Speaking about the general elections in B&H, Vucic said he was only familiar with the election results for the B&H Presidency’s members. “Serbia will work with Bosnia and Herzegovina, with all Presidency’s members in good faith. Those people were elected in line with that country’s laws, and our job is to respect both those laws and the will of Bosnia’s people,” Vucic said. He added he would continue to cooperate with the new Bosnian Serb member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik whom with “we have a good, rational and successful collaboration,” but also with Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic, the Bosniak and Croat members of the Presidency respectfully, adding he believed that that cooperation would be fruitful. “That is in the interest of the Republika Srpska. I’m sure that will not always be easy, but Serbia must put in additional effort, energy and good faith in trying to improve the relations,” Vucic said.

 

Dacic: Stability of region important for stability of Europe (Beta/RTS/Tanjug)

 

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic opened on 9 October in Timisoara, together with Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Melescanu, the conference themed “Security Challenges in the Balkans”. Dacic warned that when it comes to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and when it is insisted to make solutions that will not affect others, it is forgotten that solutions were made that destroyed the territorial integrity of Serbia. The EU says that there must not be border change. What about Serbia’s borders, he asked. They first destroyed them, and after that they say there should be no more border changes. We do not accept that, even if it comes from Brussels, Washington or Moscow, Dacic stated. There are problems in the Balkans, but they do not have to be basis for wars, he stressed, adding that more understanding is needed from the international community, and that in this respect Serbia is trying to keep a balanced foreign policy that respects all our strategic goals. Our strategic goal is to enter the EU, but we cannot enter until a legally binding agreement with Kosovo is reached.

Romania and the four EU countries that have not recognized Kosovo will say that that is not necessary, but many other countries will say that it is. On the other hand, this opens a dilemma in our society – the EU or Kosovo. These are very big and difficult issues and those who speak about them must have a deep understanding of those matters, Dacic underlined. He said that Serbia wants peace because of the great sacrifices it has born and expressed the hope that more chapters in the negotiations with the EU will be opened during the Romanian EU presidency.

 

Dacic: Pristina on big defensive, Serbia on offensive (B92/Tv Prva/Tanjug)

 

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic says that Pristina is currently on the defensive. I.e. – its officials are visiting countries that have recognized Kosovo to ensure they would not withdraw that recognition. The Minister added that, on the other hand, Serbia continues to lobby some countries to withdraw their recognition of Kosovo. And Dacic is certain that by the end of the year, there will be more such withdrawals, which is why he expects the number of countries recognizing Kosovo to quickly fall below 100. “It’s important because of the negotiating position, because in Pristina they say, why do we have to negotiate with you when 116 states recognize us. They nailed that list, hung it on the door – and it’s a big lie, as some countries have withdrawn their recognition,” said Dacic. According to him, Pristina is now on a big defensive, not understanding realistically the situation they’re in, and spending most of the time with those countries that have recognized Kosovo, so they don’t withdraw it. “They do not realize that the majority of important international actors are very interested in reaching a certain agreement based on a compromise. They (Pristina) are only making their position more difficult because there are disagreements about it within the Pristina elite,” the Minister explained. The fact that Pristina has not yet formed the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) is proof it does not intend to implement what has been agreed in the Brussels agreement, Dacic said. Commenting on an IPSOS poll that showed 44 percent of citizens are not in favor of delineation as a solution to the Kosovo issue, he said that it was difficult to define what the Serbian citizens would most gladly choose. “Most citizens still think that Kosovo and Metohija is a part of Serbia. Many are in favor of a frozen conflict, but everyone needs to agree on that, and there should be no consequences for the future, that is, that there is no pressure from the outside to solve this issue, which is almost impossible because there is the desire of Serbia to join the EU,” Dacic concluded.

 

Gojkovic thanks Russian Federation for support not recognizing Kosovo (Politika)

 

Serbian parliament speaker Maja Gojkovic, who is taking part in the 3rd meeting of Speakers of Eurasian Countries’ Parliaments in Turkey, met with the Chairman of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin. The officials highlighted the two countries’ excellent relations firmly grounded in the closeness, traditional friendship, cultural and historical ties between their peoples. Gojkovic and Volodin agreed that Serbia and Russia’s intensive and continuous political dialogue is greatly helped by the relationship between presidents Vladimir Putin and Aleksandar Vucic, as confirmed by President Vucic’s recent visit to Moscow. Gojkovic said that the two countries’ relations are following an upward trend both at the presidential and governmental level, adding that it is the parliamentarians’ responsibility to keep developing cooperation because the citizens expect it. Gojkovic thanked the Russian Federation for its support at the international level and understanding for Serbia’s stances, respecting international law and not recognizing the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo-Metohija. Gojkovic also thanked Russia for its support at the multilateral level and so-called “Kosovo’s” attempts to join international organizations, hoping that Russia will continue to support Serbia. Volodin opined that the relations between the two countries are developing nicely, as evidenced by the recent meeting of presidents Vladimir Putin and Aleksandar Vucic, adding that it is now up to the parliaments to contribute to the development of contacts and cooperation at the legislative level as well. Volodin said that the Russian Federation and the Republic of Serbia are true friends and the coming third meeting of the Russia-Serbia parliamentary commission on 23 October would be an excellent opportunity to discuss important issues of mutual interest, adding that he expected the Serbian parliament speaker to address the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. Gojkovic thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the State Duma on her next visit to the Russian Federation – the celebration of the 180 years of diplomatic relation during which the two countries built their firm friendship. Gojkovic added she expected that the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin would soon visit Serbia.

 

Gojkovic thanks Iran for principled stance on Kosovo (Beta)

 

Serbian parliament speaker Maja Gojkovic, who is attending the third meeting of parliamentary speakers of Eurasian countries in Turkey, thanked Iranian Speaker Ali Larijani in a talk for Iran’s principled stance on the question of recognizing Kosovo and Metohija’s unilateral declaration of independence, and pointed out that Serbia was devoted to dialogue. Larijani recalled Iran’s support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia, and added that Iran supported dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

 

McAllister: Serbia, region doing well on EU road (Beta)

 

Serbia and the region are making good progress toward the EU and it is especially important that they conduct reforms of the rule of law and practice neighborly relations, rapporteur for Serbia in the European Parliament David McAllister said in Brussels on Oct. 9. He said this after the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Policy adopted draft resolutions on the progress of partners from the West Balkans in European reforms, which the entire EP has yet to adopt at a plenary session. Two amendments were added to a draft resolution on Serbia stating that “any agreement on changing borders between Serbia and Kosovo can be accepted only if both sides agree and if the agreement takes into account the general stability of the region and is in accordance with international law.” The report also states that the dialog launched through EU mediation “is a fundamental framework for an agreement” between Belgrade and Pristina and supports “only an agreement that enables the normalization of relations” between the two sides, so that it does not raise tensions due to border problems and does not threaten the stability of the region. McAllister underlined that the countries of the West Balkans were geographically, historically and economically close partners to the EU, that they all had an European outlook and that “the European house will not be complete without them.”

 

Protection for forty-four sanctities and monuments (Novosti)

 

In a plan it has sent to EU mediators of the dialogue with Pristina, Belgrade is seeking guarantees the Serbian Orthodox Church will have full control over its movable and immovable property in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as a regime whereby it would protect 44 sites in special zones of Serbian cultural and religious heritage there for an indefinite period of time, Novosti learns. According to the daily, Belgrade also wants the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church to be recognized in Kosovo and Metohija.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

B&H CEC publishes updated preliminary results of elections (N1)

 

The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) published updated preliminary results of elections in B&H. According to results of elections for a Bosniak member of B&H Presidency grounded on 92.7 percent of counted ballots Sefik Dzaferovic (SDA) is leading in the race for the Bosniak member of B&H Presidency with 36.81 percent of votes. The second ranked is SDP’s Denis Becirovic with 33.71 percent of votes, and he is followed by SBB B&H’s Fahrudin Radoncic (12.89 percent), Mirsad Hadzikadic (9.74 percent), Senad Sepic (5.16 percent) and Amer Jerlagic (1.7 percent). When it comes to elections for a Croat member of B&H Presidency, DF’s Zeljko Komsic is leading in this race with 52.99 percent of all votes; the second ranked is leader of HDZ B&H Dragan Covic with 35.68 percent and he is followed by HDZ 1990’s Dijana Zelenika (6.12 percent), Our Party’s Borisa Falatar (3.70 percent) and Jerko Ivankovic-Lijanovic (1.51 percent). Also, leader of SNSD and outgoing Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik leads in the race for a Serb member of B&H Presidency with 53.73 percent of all votes, the second ranked is candidate of the Alliance for Victory (SzP) Mladen Ivanic with 43.06 percent. SNS’ Mirjana Popovic won 1.68 percent of votes and First SDS’ Gojko Klickovic won 1.53 percent. Also, on the ground of 92.77 percent of counted ballots concerning elections for the RS President, SNSD’s Zeljka Cvijanovic leads in this race with 47.43 percent of all votes and her rival SzP’s Vukota Govedarica won 42.89 percent of votes.

When it comes to elections for the Parliament of B&H (House of Representatives) SDA won most votes in the Federation of B&H (25.81 percent) and is followed by HDZ B&H (14.53 percent), SDP (14.37 percent) DF-GS, SBB B&H, Our Party, NB, PDA and A-SDA.

As for the RS, SNSD won most votes (39.21 percent) and they are followed by SDS (25.06 percent), PDP, DNS, SP, SDA (3.63) and First SDS (1.17).

According to preliminary and incomplete results of elections, SNSD is the RS’ party that won most votes in the elections and this party should get five seats in B&H HoR. It is possible SNSD’s two candidates from compensatory list of candidates will be MPs in B&H HoR.

SDS won four seats in the abovementioned institution and it is possible this party will lose one seat. PDP will get two seats in the Parliament of B&H, SP RS and DNS will get one seat each.

It is possible SDA and DNS will get one compensatory mandate each.

After processing 80.6 percent of the polling stations, B&H CEC confirmed that SDA leads in the race for the Federation of B&H Parliament. According to preliminary results, SDA will receive 29 mandates, followed by HDZ B&H with 16, SDP B&H with 16, DF – ‘Gradjanski savez – GS’ coalition with 9, SBB B&H with 7, ‘Nasa stranka’ with 5, ‘Pokret Demokratske Akcije’ (Democratic Action Movement – PDA) with 4, ‘Nezavisni blok’ (Independent Bloc) with 4, A-SDA with 3, HDZ 1990-HSP coalition with 2, ‘Narod i pravda’ with 2 and ‘Stranka za B&H – SzB&H’ with one.

The election results show that SNSD won most votes for the RS National Assembly (RSNA). SNSD won 28 mandates in the RSNA, SDS won 16, DNS 13, PDP 9, SP B&H 7, NDP 4, while ‘Zajedno za B&H’ and ‘Ujedinjena Srpska’ won three mandates each. In comparison with 2014, SNSD will have one less representative in the RSNA, while SDS will have eight less representatives. The biggest success was recorded by DNS, as they won five more mandates in the RSNA, in comparison to 2014. The biggest surprise was the election success of SP B&H, as they won seven mandates. When it comes to compensation mandates, SNSD will probably get four, as will PDP, while SDS and NDP will get three each, followed by DNS and ‘Ujedinjena Srpska’ with two each, and SP B&H with only one mandate.

 

Dodik accuses Ambassador Cormack of exerting pressure on B&H CEC members (RTRS)

 

Republika Srpska (RS) President and future Serb member of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said on Tuesday that US Ambassador to B&H Maureen Cormack visited the Central Election Commission of B&H (CEC) and attempted to influence the work of CEC members. He assessed that by talking about irregularities related to the election process in B&H, Ambassador Cormack has been conveying messages opposite to messages of her President Donald Trump. Dodik said that he is in possession of information that Cormack visited the CEC “and requested these stories about irregularities that have not been proved.” Dodik underlined that the only irregularity is one preventing Ambassador Cormack to count ballots. He stressed in a rather sarcastic manner that as a member of B&H Presidency he will request changes of the Election Law of B&H that will allow Cormack to count ballots “for as long as she lives, so that this woman can have some pleasure here in B&H.” Dodik underlined that e arrogance of the US Ambassador Cormack is incredible. He explained that the OSCE, the CoE’s Parliamentary Assembly and B&H CEC stated that general elections 2018 in B&H were regular. “She is doing this just because her favorites did not win,” stressed Dodik.

 

US State Department concerned with shortcomings in election process in B&H (N1)

 

The US State Department expressed concern regarding shortcomings of the election process in B&H thus joining the OSCE, international observers and local NGO sector in B&H. This concern refers to the accuracy of voters’ lists, impartiality of election observers, equitable access to media and misuses of public resources. “Such concerns are at odds with B&H authorities’ stated commitment to a fully fair and transparent elections, and we encourage B&H institutions to address shortcomings raised by the OSCE observers,” reads the statement of the State Department. It also reads that the US remain committed to partnership with citizens and authorities of B&H who will work on necessary reforms.

 

OHR and EUD to B&H remind of crucial importance of rapid formation of authorities at all levels in B&H once election results are confirmed (TV1)

 

The Office of the High Representative (OHR) and the EU Delegation (EUD) to B&H reminded that, once the results of Sunday’s general elections in B&H are confirmed, rapid formation of authorities at all levels is of crucial importance in order for the future authorities to focus on real challenges that B&H citizens face. According to the OHR and the EUD, B&H citizens used their votes to elect who they consider to be the best candidates and now it is up to the elected authorities to do their work in the next four years. The EUD stated that it is aware of the concern that the international election observers expressed in their preliminary observations when it comes to election irregularities. Presenter noted that the EUD underlined that B&H will particularly have to take into account the final recommendations of “the Office of the High Representatives”.

 

Mogherini and Hahn expect all political leaders in B&H to engage in formation of authorities at all levels (FTV)

 

EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn issued a joint statement in regard to the general elections in B&H. Mogherini and Hahn expressed expectation from all political leaders in B&H to engage in formation of authorities at all levels. Mogherini and Hahn also called for a rapid formation of the Federation of B&H House of Peoples (HoP), in line with the B&H Constitutional Court (CC)’s rulings. “The conduct and the effective implementation of the general elections will be taken into account in the Opinion on the merits of B&H’s application for EU membership the European Commission (EC) is preparing”.

 

Komsic: HDZ will make noise and eventually hurry into authorities! (BHT)

 

Newly elected Croat member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic told that as far as he knows, HDZ B&H will make noise and eventually hurry into the authorities like they did in 2012 and 2014. Komsic further noted that HDZ B&H has been using privileges that come along being in power for years, arguing that HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic will not accept to pay his people from his own pocket to block processes in the country. He stressed that unification of left-win parties will be high on the list of his priorities. “I am prepared to withdraw if I’m the obstacle. If we do not unite, it would be a disaster for this country,” said Komsic. Talking about his future work with Milorad Dodik in the Presidency of B&H, Komsic said it remains to be seen if Dodik will continue to “poke the West’s eye”. “But I can say that the decision-making process in the Presidency is such that it does not pay off to obstruct his work because then you pay the price. If he starts with obstructions, it will happen that Republika Srpska (RS) will not get a single loan to patch up budget holes. If that is his choice, he should ask himself if he is working to benefit of his own damage”, said Komsic. In addition, Komsic noted he plans to keep his promise that he would close down the office of the Croat member of the Presidency of B&H in Mostar which Covic opened earlier.

 

Protest walk against election of Komsic; Komsic to turn office of Croat member of B&H Presidency in Mostar into library (RTRS)

 

Protest walk of Croats against election of Zeljko Komsic for a Croat member of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency was announced at social networks. This protest should be held on Thursday in front of premises of a Croat member of B&H Presidency in Mostar. Organizer of this protest walk is ‘Hrvatska mladost’ (Croat Youth) group. Komsic stated on Tuesday that he will close the office of Croat member of B&H Presidency in Mostar and turn it probably into a library that will be used by students from two Universities in Mostar. Leader of HDZ B&H Dragan Covic said that the fact Bosniaks elected two members of B&H Presidency is catastrophic thing for B&H. Covic – who won most of votes in race for Croat member of B&H Presidency in the areas where Croats are majority of population – stated that Croats will not allow Bosniaks’ project of a unitary and one-nation state of B&H. Reporter commented that although Covic did not say what his response to election of Komsic will be, it is clear he expects support of the official Zagreb. In a statement for FTV, Komsic said on October 8 that Covic’s attempt to increase tensions is pointless policy. Journalist from Mostar Milan Sutalo deems that the election of Komsic will undermine relations between Bosniaks and Croats and cause constitutional and political crisis in B&H. Sutalo underlined that he believes thousands of Croats in B&H will launch series of actions in the upcoming period with a goal to boycott and isolate Komsic. Reporter noted that ‘Komsic case’ is just one of numerous problems in the Federation of B&H. Namely, the method of appointment of delegates in the Federation of B&H House of Peoples (HoP) is still not clear. The Central Election Commission of B&H (CEC) can pass a decision on appointment of delegates. The High Representative can do it also on the ground of Bonn Powers. In case neither the CEC nor High Representative do it, it will be impossible to form the Federation of B&H HoP, the Federation of B&H Government and to appoint the Federation of B&H President. Sutalo stressed that HDZ B&H will use this opportunity to force Bosniak partners to accept changes of electoral legislation.

 

Dodik: I intend to launch initiative on recognizing Crimea as part of Russia (ATV/Oslobodjenje)

 

Newly-elected Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik said that he intends to launch an initiative on recognizing the Crimea as part of Russia. “The merging of the peninsula with Russia is the result of a legitimate referendum which was in keeping with the UN Constitution. This was a democratic process in which the residents of the peninsula expressed their will. In addition to this, the Crimea historically belongs to Russia and it is a part of it” Dodik told. The Ukrainian Embassy to B&H reacted to the claims of Dodik, and stated on Tuesday that Dodik’s statements are openly hostile towards Ukraine, and they are completely opposite from the international stance on the unilateral declaration of independence of Crimea.

“Ukraine and the international community are of a stance that the ‘referendum’ and all its consequences are not legitimate because they have been conducted within a military aggression of Russia against Ukraine in violation of the Ukrainian Constitution the Crimean Constitution, the UN Charter and the overall international law, protected by sovereignty and territorial integrity of the existing countries,” stated the Embassy.

 

Cvijanovic: It is logical my first official visit as new RS President will be to Serbia (ATV)

 

Republika Srpska (RS) Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic said that it is logical her first official visit as the new RS President will be to Serbia. She added that she plans to meet Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic as soon as she takes the office and relations between the RS and Serbia will continue to grow stronger. She emphasized that Serbia invested more than EUR 21 million for various projects in the RS, over the past few years. Cvijanovic said that that connection between Serbia and the RS is strong and that the RS citizens are “craving for Serbia”. “This is not about money, but about relations, which is the relation of love, respect and responsibility. Serbia is not here to solve our problems and say in which way something needs to be decided and Serbia has done nothing to harm anyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it has always advocated respecting of Dayton Agreement,” said Cvijanovic.

 

Croatian officials still upset with Bosnian election results (Hina/HRT)

 

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Tuesday that Zeljko Komsic, who was on Sunday elected Croat member of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Presidency mostly owing to Bosniak votes, had used strong rhetoric during his election campaign, criticizing not so much him but Croatia’s president, while his (Plenkovic’s) messages regarding B&H were very fair, the key message being about the equality of the country’s constituent peoples. “Unlike (Komsic’s) messages, the messages I made as Croatia’s prime minister regarding B&H and our sister parties there were very fair, affirmative, cooperative and clear. The key message… was about the equality of the constituent peoples,” Plenkovic told reporters ahead of a meeting of his HDZ party’s parliamentary group. “Mr Komsic was elected in line with B&H’s current election rules but it is obvious that Croats in B&H elected Dragan Covic with more than 80% of the vote, and that is why I said that that situation isn’t good,” said Plenkovic in reference to his statement of Monday, following the publication of B&H election results, when he said that the outcome of the vote was not good for the Croat people in B&H or the country itself because “we again have a situation, thanks to the country’s current election law, in which one constituent people in the Federation entity elects the other people’s representative in the state Presidency.” “I think that that is not good and that everyone in B&H should work to make all three constituent peoples feel good and committed to B&H as their homeland” Plenkovic added. He expressed regret that HDZ B&H party leader Dragan Covic was not elected to the post, saying that in the past four years Covic “made crucial progress, with Croatia’s support, regarding B&H’s journey to the EU” and that “that fact could have been acknowledged.” Komsic then responded that Plenkovic was interfering in B&H’s internal affairs by commenting on the outcome of its elections, and confirmed that he would insist on suing Croatia if it continued with the project to build the Peljesac bridge, a project which is to connect Croatia’s southernmost peninsula of Peljesac with the rest of the country and is to be built off B&H’s only coastal town of Neum. Croatian parliament speaker Gordan Jandrokovic said on Tuesday it was perfectly clear that Komsic was elected as the Croat member of the B&H Presidency with the votes of Bosniaks and not Croats, adding that this was neither good nor fair and that it would not be conducive to stabilizing the situation in B&H. Jandroković said the Democratic Front president received the most votes in Sunday’s general elections “in places where there are no Croats or where there are very few Croats”, and that in areas populated by Croats “Komsic’s results were at the level of one to two percent.” “It’s obvious that representatives of the more numerous Bosniak people elected the Croat representative,” he added. “That’s neither good nor fair and won’t contribute to the stabilization of the situation in B&H. We’ll follow the developments, we’ll be in close contact with the legitimate representatives of the Croat people in B&H, and we’ll see which moves to make,” said Jandrokovic. SDP Croatia leader Davor Bernardic assessed that Komsic was elected legally but his election does not represent the will of Croats in B&H. In addition, the EU called for rapid formation of the Federation of B&H House of Peoples (HoP) and respect of the rulings of the Constitutional Court (CC) of B&H. Croatian member of the European Parliament (MEP) Tonino Picula expressed an opinion that it seems that the system, which both its protagonists and the international community (IC) are dissatisfied with, is the real winner of the elections in B&H. According to Picula, the IC currently lacks strength and vision to stimulate serious changes to the system in B&H stemming from the Dayton agreement. Croatian MEP Dubravka Suica emphasized the need to examine what is the best path for Croats in B&H, assessing that Croats in B&H are endangered. Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that the Dayton agreements is the foundation of B&H and that one should stick to it, arguing that deviations from the Dayton agreement created disbalance among the three constituent peoples. According to the Croatian President, despite some inappropriate statements ‘we’ have herd, she strongly believes in good, neighborly relations and will personally advocate wellbeing of Croatia’s neighbor, rights of all peoples and citizens of B&H and B&H’s fast road to the EU.

“I have been warning for years about difference between Law on Elections of B&H and decisions of the Constitutional Court of B&H”. She also expressed a wish that functional governments are formed at the level of the entities and the state, which would secure full implementation of rights of all three constituent peoples, in line with the Constitution of B&H.

 

Parliament committee to discuss motion for constitutional revision (MIA)

 

The Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Issues is set to hold Wednesday a session over the motion for revision of the Constitution. The committee debate is scheduled to last for ten days at most. The procedure for constitutional amendments would develop in three stages. In the first, the parliament is set to adopt, by a two-thirds majority, a decision over the procedure for constitutional changes. The draft-amendments are to be defined during the second, while the third and final stage involves their adoption by at least 80 MPs. The plenary session over the motion for constitutional revision is scheduled for Monday.

 

Prespa Agreement – historic opportunity for Macedonia, Merkel tells PM Zaev (MIA)

 

The Prespa Agreement offers a historic opportunity for Macedonia and for strengthening the good-neighborly relations, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says in a letter to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. “On 30 September a vast majority – over 90 percent – of those who took part in the referendum voted ‘FOR’ the agreement with Greece. The agreement offers an opportunity for a historic deal and for strengthening the relations between the two countries. It also eliminates the key obstacle for the country’s accession to the European Union and NATO. Now it is crucial for the country to take very significant steps for implementing the name agreement by an adoption of the necessary constitutional amendments. I’ll continue to cooperate with you for realization of this goal” Merkel says in her letter, published on web-site of the German government.

 

EP Committee on Foreign Affairs adopts report on Macedonia (MIA)

 

The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) by 47 votes ‘for’, nine ‘against’ and one ‘restrained’ adopted Tuesday the report of rapporteur Ivo Vajgl on Macedonia, which supports a launch of the country’s EU accession talks in June of 2019. The EP report on the 2018 European Commission Report on Macedonia should now be adopted at the EP plenary session in November. Vajgl presented a vocal amendment to the report, which refers to the referendum outcome and notifies the need of additional support for the country’s Euro-Atlantic future and the ratification of the Prespa Agreement. MEPs, it reads, encourage the government to take all necessary measures for complying with the provisions of the agreement. Several amendments, presented by Greek MEPs, including ones of Sofia Sakorafa, who stands against the Prespa Agreement, have been rejected, MIA reports from Brussels. At a debate, Sakorafa, who has been an independent MEP for Greece since abandoning Syriza party two years ago, asked for the adjective ‘Macedonian’ to be erased in the entire report. It was also the case with the sentence, which recalls that Macedonia was a frontrunner in the accession process in the 2000s. Eduard Kukan, member of the European People’s Party Group, warned of possible snap elections in Macedonia, saying that the process would create a mess in the country for a long period.

 

Gov’t: Macedonia launches NATO accession talks (MIA)

 

At its regular session Tuesday the government reviewed and adopted a report on the components of the accession talks for NATO membership the Republic of Macedonia should join on October 18-19 in the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels. The government also reviewed and adopted a report for establishing a Working Committee on Macedonia’s integration with NATO. At today’s session a report was also adopted on the need of drafting a national strategy for the one society concept and interculturalism, the government said in a press release. The strategy, which is part of the government’s program and top priorities for 2019, aims to promote dialogue and interaction between different cultures, communities and to implement the recommendations of the last European Commission’s report.

 

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

 

ForMin Melescanu: ‘Romania’s EU Council Presidency can become historic regarding negotiation with Western Balkan countries’ (Stiripesurse.ro, by Mihai Cistelican, 9 October 2018)

 

Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Meleșcanu stated on Tuesday in Timisoara that the European Union is currently at a key-moment in respect to the community space enlargement toward the countries of the Western Balkans and Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union can become historic and if the acceleration of Serbia’s negotiations with the EU can be achieved, as well as a formal initiative toward Macedonia in order to start the accession negotiations. “If we are to succeed in boosting Serbia’s negotiations with the EU during our Presidency, we are to consider it a successful one, when talking about the Western Balkans. We will consider it a historic presidency, if, during our presidency, we are to have a formal invitation toward Macedonia for the beginning of the accession negotiations. It’s one of our main tasks, but I assure you all that we will put in all the efforts to achieve these two objectives during our presidency. This thing will show that we honored our commitments toward the region,” Teodor Melescanu stated. Within the International Conference called “Security challenges in the Balkans” organised in Timisoara by the Timisoara West University and New Strategy Center, the head of the Romanian diplomacy stated that no country managed by itself to face the challenges of security, hard-soft, migration, destructive influence, external actors, adding that a path towards progress must be drawn together. “I believe that we can find in our society the instruments to fight the security challenges and, from this point of view, education plays a key-role in developing the culture of dialogue, and stimulating citizens to get involved in the civic live. (…) NATO’s door is opened and I believe that there is no external pressure that can impede a nation to achieve its goals (…),” Melescanu stated. He also commended, among others, the developments and positive results registered by Serbia in the accession process to the EU, underscoring that the door towards a brighter future should be opened and “the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is very encouraging.” “It’s being noted that the leaders of both parties expressed the determination to get involved, after years in which both sides awaited for a miracle solution from the other side. (…) We are confident that the regional stability will be consolidated and hope that there won’t be created more problems than the number of issues solved. It remains to be seen if these lead to a final agreement,” Melescanu stated. The Foreign Affairs Minister also pointed out the efforts of the current Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU, which are “cornerstones towards an enlargement process in the region,” assuring that Romania’s presidency will continue this trend and put in all the efforts to record positive results. “We hope that this time the EU’s enlargement attempts will be successful. The enlargement of the EU is part of the future of the EU and Europe. It is up to us, because the EU has learned its lesson and the Western Balkans should act with determination towards an European destiny. I am confident when thinking about the moment when Romania will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, because we can write history together,” the head of the Romanian diplomacy stated. He also mentioned that at the informal summit of EU leaders of May 2019 among the goals that Romania will try to shape up there is also an enhanced commitment related to the Western Balkans, leading to “an important step forward” in this regard.

 

 

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