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Belgrade Media Report 11 October 2018

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United Nations Office in Belgrade

Daily Media Highlights

Thursday 11 October 2018
LOCAL PRESS

• Vucic on the solution for Kosovo: I cannot go against the will of the people (Tanjug/B92/RTS)
• Dacic: Komsic is already provoking (Tanjug)
• Dacic, Scott exchange views on 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (Beta/RTS)
• Stefanovic: We are most disappointed with EULEX (Beta)
• German opposition group demands a referendum before further EU enlargement (FoNet/DPA)

REGIONAL PRESS

Bosnia & Herzegovina
• B&H CEC updates election results (N1)
• B&H CEC: Number of around 500,000 invalid ballots is not surprise, but trend (N1)
• Komsic: For me, Kosovo is an independent state (Nezavisne/DW)
• Komsic: I’m loyal to B&H, not Croatia (N1)
• Covic has problem with Bosniaks, not with me (Oslobodjenje)
• Ljubic: Komsic’s election is neither legitimate nor constitutional (TV1)
• US Embassy: Election of Zeljko Komsic is in line with Constitution and Law on Elections (Dnevni list)
• Dodik says he will not work with people who are part of SNSD-DNS-SP coalition, who worked against interests of coalition (RTRS)
• Parties that signed agreement have significant election results (Dnevni avaz)
• Radoncic: SBB B&H does not want to cooperate with SDA, but we are willing to support coalition of other parties as opposition (Dnevni avaz)
• Leaders of PDA, A-SDA, ‘Justice and People’ and Independent Bloc sign agreement on joint participation and talks on forming authorities at all levels of government in B&H (TV1)
• Dodik starts preparing his office in building of Administrative Center of RS Government in Istocno Sarajevo (TV1)
• US Embassy to B&H: US has not interfered with election process in B&H (BNTV)
Croatia
• Peljesac bridge will be built despite Komsic’s lawsuit threat (Hina)
Montenegro
• Croatia will not block Montenegro on the EU path (RTCG)
fYROM
• Veljanoski: You don’t have a two-thirds majority to change the Constitution (MIA)
• MEP Valjgl: EU supports Macedonia’s government to proceed with implementation of Prespa Agreement (TV Klan Macedonia)

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

• Name deal puts further strain on coalition (ekathimerini.com)

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LOCAL PRESS

 

Vucic on the solution for Kosovo: I cannot go against the will of the people (Tanjug/B92/RTS)

 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic emphasized that he is always ready to discuss all compromise solutions and offer it to our people. He also pointed out that this is not in sign in terms the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. Responding to a journalist’s question about what happened since his last visit to Kraljevo, when he announced that he would present to citizens a solution for Kosovo, and then, recently, said that his policy had been defeated, Vucic said that what he thought might have been the solution met with a general public opposition in Serbia.

“As from those who are in favor of a whole independent Kosovo, so from those heroes who have led to an independent Kosovo, who once suddenly became great brave heroes, although they do not go to Kosovska Mitrovica, Zubin Potok, who prefer to have their pictures taken in New York and London, to send their children there … I’m not talking about those who went heir in dire financial situtation, but about those who do it, so that they can enjoy and live there much better than everyone else, not only our citizens, but also people who live in these countries,” Vucic said. He says he is used to it and learned it, but he is sorry for that, too. “I think my idea of ​​a compromise solution was much better for the future of Serbia. You will evaluate it in 15 or 20 years,” he stressed.  He said that, whatever happens in the meantime, at any time, he would go out again to the people and say it. “At this moment I have nothing to say. I think that is a fair and responsible approach,” he said.  Vucic noted that the people practically say that all of Kosovo should remain this way, that we need borders on Jarinje and Brnjak. “If the people say so, what can I do. I cannot go against the will of the people, you have to agree and respect the will of the people. But I want the people to keep saying that I was in favor of a different solution, so someone in the public will remember in 20 years that we could have done more and better. Most will not, because people do not acknowledge their mistakes, and others’ are put up there, measures with incredible ease,” he concluded.

 

Dacic: Komsic is already provoking (Tanjug)

 

B&H has not recognized Kosovo and if members of the B&H Presidency do not respect Serbia’s territorial integrity, they should know that they will cause a reciprocal reaction, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on the occasion of the Zeljko Komsic’s statement that Kosovo is an independent state for him. Dacic notices that the newly elected Croat member of the B&H Presidency Zeljko Komsic has not even assumed duty yet he has already made effort to provoke Serbia with the statement that Kosovo is an independent state. “I personally consider that Republika Srpska can be an independent state when Kosovo can, but Serbia has an official foreign policy according to which it recognizes the B&H territorial integrity,” Dacic told Tanjug. He says that Komsic would need to know that he is now at the helm of B&H, in a collective institution and that this state’s foreign policy is only what the decision of the Presidency is. “B&H has not recognized Kosovo, and if members of the Presidency do not respect Serbia’s territorial integrity, they should know they are violating friendly relations as well as that they will also cause our reciprocal reaction. Instead of that, it is better that we turn towards cooperation and joint future,” concluded Dacic.

 

Dacic, Scott exchange views on 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (Beta/RTS)

 

Serbian Foreign Minister Affairs Ivica Dacic and US Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott exchanged views on the recently held 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. The interlocutors expressed satisfaction with the successful meetings of the officials of the Republic of Serbia and the US on that occasion. Scott pointed to the importance of investing continued efforts to improve relations between countries in the region and promoting regional cooperation, especially in the context of the continuation of Serbia’s European integration process. Dacic said that the celebration in July this year of the centenary since the Serbian flag was hoisted at the White House, as well as the celebration of the anniversary of Operation Halyard provide further incentive to the strengthening of cooperation of the two countries and improve the positive dynamic of the development of bilateral relations between Serbia and the US.

 

Stefanovic: We are most disappointed with EULEX (Beta)

 

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said on Wednesday that Belgrade remained dedicated to resolving the killing of a Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic, gunned down outside his party’s headquarters on 16 January, but complained about the lack of cooperation from Pristina, Beta reported. He said that there were “many spins and speculations” regarding the assassination, but that Serbia worked on finding the executors and organizers since it was necessary for the safety of Kosovo residents and Serbia’s general security. Presenting a report on his Ministry work from October 2017 to June this year, Stefanovic added the situation in Kosovo following Ivanovic’s murder was difficult and accused EULEX, KFOR and Kosovo security forces for not exchanging information with Serbia’s Prosecutor for organized crime. “In spite of numerous demands, contacts and pleas, Serbia’s institutions have not received a single significant and relevant piece of information to help us conducting the investigation,” Stefanovic said. He added that Serbia could not run a probe in Kosovo and that he was most disappointed with the EULEX, which is in charge of communication concerning security in Kosovo. “We have offered to participate in the investigative teams, we’ve offered our forensic experts, but have been turned down every time,” Stefanovic said, adding Belgrade would continue working on the case.

 

German opposition group demands a referendum before further EU enlargement (FoNet/DPA)

 

The biggest opposition group in German parliament, Alternative for Germany (AfD), demands a referendum in this country for the membership of the Western Balkan countries in the EU.

MP Siegbert Droese stated that accession of the Western Balkans to the EU will lead to changes “in the direction of the Balkanisation of the EU, which we absolutely do not want to go through without asking our people whether they are in favor”. Therefore, AfD will soon organize a public referendum on that issue, said Droesse, DPA reports. According to him, Alternative for Germany thinks that Juncker’s date for accepting new members, 2025, is completely illusory in counterproductive. Almost all Western Balkan countries have structural problems with corruption and organized crime, said Droesse, reminding that he and his country support accession of the Western Balkans on principle, provided that many conditions, such as independent judiciary, are met. AfD’s MP Harald Weyel thinks that some sort of Western Balkan Union, which would be excluded from any EU solution, is some sort of an option.

He regards it as a “plan B or C, or perhaps, even more likely, plan A”.

 

REGIONAL PRESS

 

B&H CEC updates election results (N1)

 

The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) presented on Wednesday by 6 p.m., the newly updated election results. In the race for a Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency, SDA candidate Sefik Dzaferovic leads with 36.48 percent of votes, followed by SDP B&H candidate Denis Becirovic with 33.66 percent, SBB B&H leader Fahrudin Radoncic with 13.04 percent, independent candidate Mirsad Hadzikadic with 9.97 percent, ‘Nezavisni blok’ (Independent Bloc) candidate Senad Sepic with 5.19 percent of the votes and ‘Stranka za B&H’ (Party for B&H – SzB&H) Amer Jerlagic with 1.66 percent.

When it comes to election of a Croat member of B&H Presidency, DF leader Zeljko Komsic significantly leads in comparison to other candidates, with 53.98 percent of the votes. He is followed by HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic with 34.75 percent of votes, HDZ 1990 candidate Diana Zelenika with 5.98 percent, ‘Nasa stranka’ candidate Borisa Falatar with 3.82 percent and ‘Narodna stranka Radom za boljitak’ candidate Jerko Ivankovic-Lijanovic with 1.47 percent of votes. Out of four candidates for the Serb member of the B&H Presidency, SNSD leader Milorad Dodik leads with 53.82 percent of votes, followed by ‘Alliance for Victory’ (Savez za pobjedu – SzP) candidate Mladen Ivanic with 43.01 percent, ‘Srpska Napredna Stranka – SRS’ candidate Mirjana Popovic with 1.65 percent and ‘Prva SDS’ candidate Gojko Klickovic with 1.51 percent. In the race for the Repubika Srpska (RS) President, SNSD candidate Zeljka Cvijanovic leads with 47.42 percent against SzP candidate Vukota Govedarica with 42.95 percent. Results for the B&H House of Representatives, when it comes to parties from the Federation of B&H, show that SDA leads with 25.68 percent of votes. HDZ B&H and SDP B&H currently lead a tight race for the second place. HDZ B&H has 14.45 percent of votes, while SDP B&H has 14.44 percent. DF – ‘Gradjanski savez – GS’ coalition received 9.54 percent of votes, SBB B&H received 6.76 percent, ‘Nasa stranka’ got 4.66 percent, ‘Nezavisni blok’ (Independent Bloc) got 4.33 percent, ‘Pokret Demokratske Akcije’ (Democratic Action Movement – PDA) received 4.07 percent, ‘A-SDA’ got 3.19 percent and those belonging to ‘Others’ received 12.88 percent. Results for the B&H Parliament, when it comes to parties from the RS, show SNSD leads with 39.12 percent, followed by SDS with 24.96 percent, PDP with 13.07, DNS with 10.4 percent, SP B&H with 4.75 percent, SDA with 3.66 percent, ‘Prva SDS’ with 1.17 percent and those belonging to ‘Others’ received 2.87 percent. Results for the Federation of B&H House of Representatives show SDA leads with 25.57 percent. It is followed by SDP B&H with 14.73 percent, HDZ B&H with 14.1 percent, DF – ‘Gradjanski savez – GS’ coalition with 9.16 percent, SBB B&H with 6.91 percent, ‘Nasa stranka’ with 4.8 percent, ‘Pokret Demokratske Akcije’ (Democratic Action Movement – PDA) with 3.98 percent, ‘Nezavisni blok’ (Independent Bloc) with 3.66 percent, ‘A-SDA’ with 2.86 and those belonging to ‘Others’ received 14.23 percent. When it comes to votes for the RS National Assembly, SNSD received most votes, 32.11 percent, followed by SDS with 18.59 percent, DNS with 14.83 percent, PDP with 10.41 percent, SP B&H with 8.15 percent, NDP with 4.18 percent, ‘Zajedno za B&H – ZZAB&H’ with 3.55 percent, ‘Ujedinjena Srpska’ with 3.1 percent and those belonging to ‘Others’ received 5.08 percent.

 

B&H CEC: Number of around 500,000 invalid ballots is not surprise, but trend (N1)

 

According to the Central Election Commission (CEC) of B&H, the number of invalid ballots at 2018 General Elections might be over 500,000. Currently, over 100,000 invalid ballots were recorded for the B&H Presidency alone. B&H CEC members explain that this number came as no surprise as it is considered an established trend. B&H CEC spokeswoman Maksida Piric reminded of the data from 2014 General Elections when the number of invalid ballots amounted to 7.65 percent. SDP B&H members believe that most of the invalid ballots for the B&H Presidency would go in favor of their candidate for the position of Bosniak member Denis Becirovic. SDP B&H member Sasa Magazinovic said that his party will insist on recounting of votes for the B&H Presidency. Newly-elected Bosniak member of the B&H Presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, told N1 that he has no problem with recounting, but believes that it will not change anything regarding the results. RS President, leader of SNSD and future Serb member of B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik reminded that in 2014, RS Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic (SNSD) lost the race for a Serb member of B&H Presidency from SzP’s Mladen Ivanic by around 7,000 votes and back then, SNSD did not demand recount of votes. Dodik stressed that the number of invalid ballots at the elections in 2014 and at the elections in 2018 was pretty much the same. Dodik said that “no one cheated anyone here” and added that he even accepts that all of the around 20,000 invalid ballots go to Ivanic, who lost the race for the post of a Serb member of B&H Presidency from Dodik who won around 65,000 more votes. Dodik concluded: “Even in this case, he will not win because he is not the people’s choice. SDS is the best example on how to ruin a party in order to support ambitions of others”.

 

Komsic: For me, Kosovo is an independent state (Nezavisne/DW)

 

The elected member of the B&H Presidency from the ranks of the Croat people, Zeljko Komsic, told DW that for him Kosovo is an independent, but that it is unlikely that B&H will change its decision on Kosovo, with Milorad Dodik in the Presidency. “I have no dilemma that Kosovo is an independent state. You should know instantly that this is my opinion … I said that Kosovo is an independent state and that it would be wise for the B&H to do it (recognize the Kosovo independence), but with Milorad Dodik in the Presidency, I really doubt that we will come to that decision, but I do not hide my position,” Komsic said. He adds that he wants the relations of Serbia and Kosovo to be resolved in a way that they become two neighboring and friendly countries.

 

Komsic: I’m loyal to B&H, not Croatia (N1)

 

Zeljko Komsic, the newly elected Presidency member in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) from among the Croat people, said he expected the attacks against his election and contests of his legitimacy but that he was surprised by their intensity. He stressed, however, that he will be loyal to B&H, not Croatia. “I’m not glad about what’s happening right now, but I’m surprised about the intensity of it all. I expected something similar, but not this intensity and hysteria” Komsic told N1. Speaking about his ethnicity, as reflected in the fact that he won the most votes for B&H’s Presidency member from among the Croat people, Komsic said he did not have to declare as Croat, he did it because he is a Croat. “It is my choice and that’s how I was raised and I’m proud of that but I am mostly a citizen of this country. Being a Bosnian is equally mine as being a Croat,” said the newly elected Presidency member. Komsic’s legitimacy is contested by all the major Croat parties in the country saying that his election was not legitimate because he was not elected by Croats, but by Bosniaks. He then touched upon the term “legitimate representative” which is being used against him in contesting his election. Komsic said that the turnout in predominantly Croat areas was only 40 percent and that his main opponent Dragan Covic only got some 27 percent in those areas. “What should we do with the votes he got from predominantly Serb areas? I don’t have a problem with that, let people vote for whomever they want,” Komsic stressed and added that the people contesting his election should read the B&H Constitution once more. He clarified his views on how a civic B&H should look like. “I stand for a civic Bosnia and Herzegovina and that means: central figures of the law should be us as individuals. The state must ensure the protection of me as an individual and my dignity but it must also ensure that I’m fulfilling my obligations towards the country. When the state protects me as an individual, then it has protected everything that’s mine; me being a Croat, a Bosniak, a Roma, a faithful, an atheist, everything” Komsic clarified. Then he stressed that he is only loyal to B&H. “I’m loyal to this country, not the Republic of Croatia. I love Croatia and I wish them all the best, but please excuse me – I love Bosnia the most. I can’t have two homelands, I can only be born in one country,” the newly elected Presidency member added. Speaking about the Presidency member from the Serb people, Milorad Dodik, he said he expects him to be rational and to make decisions through consensus. Being irrational and blocking decisions in the Presidency would go only so far. Komsic also told that his goal was to stop Covic’s policy of further dividing B&H and deviating its Constitution with the aim of creating a third entity in Bosnia. In doing so, Komsic said Covic directly helped him win the election. The Democratic Front’s leader also stressed that Croatia would make a grave mistake if it started meddling into B&H’s issues because the EU would not look kindly on that. “No one behaves like that in the EU. The Balkan standards don’t apply there. I highly doubt that Croatian authorities would impose the Balkan mentality onto the Brussels,” Komsic concluded.

 

Covic has problem with Bosniaks, not with me (Oslobodjenje)

 

Komsic said on Wednesday that his victory was possible partially thanks to HDZ B&H leader Dragan Covic. “He actually does not have a problem with me, but with Bosniaks, and he is not hiding that. His presentations irritated significant number of Croats and they did not vote. Everything he keeps announcing in a sense of further deterioration of relations can only lead to him being a political victim of the process he launched” said Komsic. Komsic pointed out that ethnic principle must be removed from the Constitution of B&H. Komsic said that it is pretty clear who should be a part of the ruling majority at the level of entities and the state, adding – however – that one should wait to see what is going to happen with negotiations, as there were many irregularities during the implementation of the election process and counting of ballots. He explained that if nothing changes, SDA, HDZ B&H and SNSD have won the biggest support of voters, and “it would be logical for them to establish authority, coalition at the level of B&H”. “However, result of the Alliance for Victory is very close to authorities, when it comes to the level of state, so they have satisfied condition to be qualified for this story as well”, Komsic said. He added that SDA is in a difficult position, as they will be expected to decide whom to take as a partner from Republika Srpska. Komsic also said that his own political party, DF, has not won enough support of citizens to be legitimate partner in authorities.

 

Ljubic: Komsic’s election is neither legitimate nor constitutional (TV1)

 

HDZ B&H representative in the Croatian parliament Bozo Ljubic is not satisfied with the fact that DF’s Zeljko Komsic was elected the Croat member of the B&H Presidency. Ljubic told the Croatian parliament on Wednesday that Komsic’s election is neither legitimate nor constitutional and that it can be characterized only as an act of hostility toward Croats and political violence. “Given that the Constitutional Court confirmed that the principle of constituent status – the overarching principle of the Constitution – stipulates the right of every people to elect its legitimate representatives at all administrative and political levels; this election is neither legitimate nor constitutional,” Ljubic told the Croatian parliament.

 

US Embassy: Election of Zeljko Komsic is in line with Constitution and Law on Elections (Dnevni list)

 

The US Embassy in B&H sent a statement, which reads that the Embassy finds that the election of Zeljko Komsic for member of the Presidency of B&H is in line with the Constitution of B&H and the Law on Elections of B&H. The Embassy further noted it is necessary that partners in B&H work on finding solutions in line with European and democratic norms, which will guarantee political equality of all three constituent peoples and equality of all citizens, including citizens that do not declare themselves as members of any constituent people.

 

Dodik says he will not work with people who are part of SNSD-DNS-SP coalition, who worked against interests of coalition (RTRS)

 

Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik confirmed on Wednesday that SNSD and its coalition partners are working on the formation of parliamentary majority and pointed out the coalition will not accept the participation of those who worked against its interests during the elections and are its members. He said that everything that was not in accordance with the law will be prosecuted. Dodik confirmed, at a Wednesday’s press conference in Banja Luka, that the ruling coalition in the RS already has a parliamentary majority, adding the government will be formed soon. He emphasized that those that are part of SNSD-DNS-SP coalition and worked against interests of the coalition, will be sanctioned and will not be a part of the government. “We will discuss this in the upcoming days. Some worked directly, like here in Banja Luka, against our candidate, and they are members of the parties that form a coalition with us. We will investigate this in the upcoming days and, in accordance with the law, we will not hesitate to do something about it”, said Dodik, adding he asked the competent authorities to sanction anyone that conducted illegal activities during the elections, regardless of the coalition those people belong to. Dodik explained that some individuals used the funds of SNSD-DNS-SP coalition and, at the same time, worked against the coalition. He continued by saying SNSD has confirmation that Director of Lumber Camp in Kotor Varos Daliborka Kerezovic, who is a DNS member, worked directly against SNSD candidate in the elections. Dodik added that DNS leader Marko Pavic is his longtime friend for 20 years, his coalition partner and has his outmost respect and gratitude, but, Dodik explained, Pavic surrounded himself with ‘shady people’ that work against him. “If Marko Pavic agrees to give up on those members, he will continue to be our coalition partner”, said Dodik.

 

Parties that signed agreement have significant election results (Dnevni avaz)

 

SDP leader Nermin Niksic commented an agreement on cooperation in forming authority at all levels signed by PDA, A-SDA, NiP and NB on Wednesday in Zenica, and he told the daily that SDP expects relative election winners to come out in public with a plan on how to form new authority. “They have that right, as well as the obligation. SDP does not change its opinion and stances because of participation in the authority. We are willing to work on formation of a second bloc that would gather around a specific program and discuss possible formation of authority in accordance with clearly defined program principles. The parties that signed today’s (Wednesday’s) agreement certainly achieved significant election results and as such they have a place in the talks I was mentioning,” said Niksic. He added that, however, any talks should wait publishing of final election results, underlining it is now more important to investigate all potential electoral fraud. “I believe that should be a priority of all political forces honestly dedicated to preserving democratic order in B&H, because it has been seriously violated,” concluded Niksic.

 

Radoncic: SBB B&H does not want to cooperate with SDA, but we are willing to support coalition of other parties as opposition (Dnevni avaz)

 

In a statement for the daily, SBB Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) leader Fahrudin Radoncic commented an agreement on cooperation signed by PDA, A-SDA, NiP and NB in Zenica on Wednesday, and he said: “The fact that nearly two thirds of voters voted against SDA, as they gave their vote to other parties, clearly tells us that not even the electoral theft can hide the will of the citizens who want removal of the party in power for nearly three decades. The public needs to know that, even during the campaign and before that, I spoke publicly that SBB no longer wants to cooperate with SDA. That story has ended.” Radoncic also pointed out that SBB B&H wants to be an opposition, but that does not mean they are not willing to support a coalition of other parties who want to form a new, democratic authority.

 

Leaders of PDA, A-SDA, ‘Justice and People’ and Independent Bloc sign agreement on joint participation and talks on forming authorities at all levels of government in B&H (TV1)

 

Leaders of PDA, A-SDA, ‘Justice and People’ and the Independent Bloc signed in Zenica on Wednesday an agreement on joint participation and talks on forming the authorities at all levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). Spokesperson for PDA Elzina Piric told TV1 that the abovementioned agreement stipulates forming the authorities at the cantonal level first, after which talks on forming the authorities at the Federation of B&H and B&H level should start. The abovementioned agreement also excludes the possibility of forming a coalition with SDA.

 

Dodik starts preparing his office in building of Administrative Center of RS Government in Istocno Sarajevo (TV1)

 

TV1 carries that although final results of the 2018 general elections in B&H have not been published yet, newly elected Serb member of the B&H Presidency Milorad Dodik already has requests and conditions under which he will perform the duties of the Serb member of the B&H Presidency. According to TV1, Dodik’s new office will most likely be located in Istocno Sarajevo, i.e. more precisely in the VIP section of the Administrative Center of the Republika Srpska (RS) Government in Istocno Sarajevo. However, protection of the building of the Administrative Center of the RS Government in Istocno Sarajevo is insufficient which is why the RS Government on October 3 announced a tender for construction of a protective wall which will surround the building. SNSD representatives earlier said that the goal of the protective wall is to increase safety of the newly elected Serb member of the B&H Presidency Dodik, but also safety of all Dodik’s guests. Dodik’s requests also include a change to the Rules of Procedure of the B&H Presidency. He also wants to take his oath before the RS National Assembly (RSNA).

 

US Embassy to B&H: US has not interfered with election process in B&H (BNTV)

 

US Ambassador to B&H Maureen Cormack said that the US has not interfered with the election process in B&H and rejected accusations that the US attempted to exert pressure on the Central Election Commission (CEC) of B&H. In its reply to BN TV’s question whether Cormack secretly met with the CEC on Monday as it was claimed by RS President Milorad Dodik, the US Embassy to B&H stated that Ambassador Cormack met with members of the CEC on Sunday at 15:30 hours, adding that this was not a secret meeting because Cormack addressed media afterwards. The reply also reads that the US expressed concern regarding a large number of irregularities reported during the pre-election campaign and on the day of elections in B&H, including the accuracy of voters’ lists, lack of equitable access to media and misuses of public resources. The reply further reads that this type of irregularities undermines governmental institutions and reduces trust of citizens in their elected representatives.

 

Peljesac bridge will be built despite Komsic’s lawsuit threat (Hina)

 

The European Union institutions which have approved and are co-financing the construction of Peljesac Bridge say the project will be realized as planned, regardless of Bosnian official Zeljko Komsic’s threats of a lawsuit against Croatia. That’s a border issue over which we have no authority, but we have received all the information about it. The project has been approved and it is going ahead undisturbed, a person in the European Commission said on Wednesday on condition of anonymity. Komsic, the newly elected Croat member of the B&H Presidency, said on Monday B&H might sue Croatia at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg because Croatia breached the Convention on the Law of the Sea by drawing the sea border. “Why is that being linked to Peljesac Bridge? Because you are using it as leverage. You won’t define the border at sea, you won’t even honor the TudjmanIzetbegovic agreement on the sea border. Because if you honored that agreement, you know which sea that Peljesac Bridge would cross? B&H’s sea,” Komsic said. The bridge between the Peljesac peninsula and the mainland would connect the south of Croatia and road traffic would bypass B&H’s short coastal stretch. The EU is financing the construction with 357 million euro via its cohesion policy. A part of the money for this, the EU’s biggest project in Croatia, has already been paid and construction began on July 30. At the end of August, Brussels received B&H’s complaints. Croatia had informed Brussels about the non-ratified Tudjman-Izetbegovic agreement and all the relevant maps. In January, in a letter to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed the realization of the project. That position remains in force, nothing is changing. Besides, I don’t think B&H will file a lawsuit. Not even Slovenia, in its dispute with Croatia, has gone to the tribunal in Hamburg, the Commission source said.

Aside from Komsic, the lawsuit would have to be approved by the B&H Presidency’s two other members. The construction of the bridge is supposed to be completed in 2023.

 

Croatia will not block Montenegro on the EU path (RTCG)

 

The Republic of Croatia will not block any country on its way to the European Union (EU), but will consistently insist on meeting all the criteria. This was told to the RTCG by the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, when asked whether the official Zagreb would block our country because of a dispute over the school ship Jadran. Commenting on the dispute over the school ship Jadran, the Croatian ministry said that this was part of the “still unresolved issue related to the succession of military property of the Republic of Croatia and Montenegro”.

“The Republic of Croatia made certain proposals and initiated a comprehensive resolution of this issue, which includes the ownership of the school ship ‘The Adriatic,’ “they told us from that department. When asked if the dispute over the Adriatic could affect the good neighborly relations of the two countries, and whether Croatia could block Montenegro on the road to the EU, they answered: “The Republic of Croatia supports Montenegro and its path towards EU, as it did in terms of Montenegro’s membership in NATO. ” Speaking about whether the activities on the issue of Prevlaka will soon be launched, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that there is “only a matter of establishing the former interstate border on the land and the issue of demarcation at sea between the Republic of Croatia and Montenegro.”

 

Veljanoski: You don’t have a two-thirds majority to change the Constitution (MIA)

 

The Assembly is an institution, and MPs are the people’s representatives who will make the decisions and implement the will of the people and I urge them not succumb to any pressure, because we are resolving a decade-long conflict in order to pull the country out of isolation, said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev when he addressed the Constitutional Affairs Committee and explained the proposal for constitutional changes. “It is time for us to take Macedonia forward together. MPs have a historic duty to secure the way towards stability, security, economic development, that is, to the EU and NATO. I call for unification for important state priorities” said Zaev. Former parliament speaker Trajko Veljanoski said that not one parliamentary group or opposition party were invited to contribute to the negotiations to resolve the name dispute.

“As a lawmaker, I want to announce that I do not intend to vote against the will of the majority of citizens who have decided to oppose this Agreement by boycotting the referendum. You do not have a two-thirds majority to change the Constitution. A small circle of politicians have decided they have a mandate, a vision and the knowledge to solve this national question and therefore are tricking the people. It creates the feeling that the solution is foreign and imposed and that it is not in the Macedonian interest, and Parliament and MPs are ushered into a done deal,” said Veljanoski.

 

MEP Valjgl: EU supports Macedonia’s government to proceed with implementation of Prespa Agreement (TV Klan Macedonia)

 

A failure of political elites to respect the Prespa Agreement would make the country’s Euro-Atlantic perspective unpredictable, EP rapporteur for Macedonia Ivo Vajgl says in an interview with TV Klan Macedonia. Yesterday, the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) by 47 votes ‘for’, nine ‘against’ and one ‘restrained’ adopted Vajgl’s report on Macedonia, which supports a launch of the country’s EU accession talks in June of 2019.

‘The main message is that the European Union, including the European Commission, Parliament, Council, supports the Macedonian government to keep implementing the Prespa Agreement,’ Vajgl says, notifying that his report also covers the country’s progress in harmonizing the national with EU legislation in the spheres of judiciary, media freedom, human rights.

We would also like to see a greater unity for political matters closely related to the country’s future, Vajgl says. It is difficult, he says, to understand why large parties, such as VMRO-DPMNE, fail to support the Prespa Agreement – an excellent opportunity for the country to move forward. ‘I don’t believe that there would be another such opportunity for the country. Any possibility of disrespecting the agreement would make the country’s Euro-Atlantic perspective unpredictable,’ Vajgl says. It’s vital for Macedonia to seize this unique opportunity, Vajgl says, pointing out VMRO-DPMNE as main culprit for the post-referendum developments in the country. ‘VMRO-DPMNE is not only a political party but part of Macedonia’s history, which means that the responsibility of its leadership should be viewed in relation with the country’s history and the future. Everybody must understand the importance for Macedonia to seize this opportunity,’ Valjgl says.

 

INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SOURCES

 

Name deal puts further strain on coalition (ekathimerini.com, by Stavros Papantoniou, Vassilis Nedos, 11 October 2018)

 

The strained relationship between Greece’s two coalition partners appeared to reach a new low on Wednesday following Defense Minister Panos Kammenos’s proposal of a potential alternative plan to the Prespes name deal between Athens and Skopje while on an official visit to Washington. During a meeting at the US State Department on Tuesday with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell, Kammenos floated the idea of a defense agreement between Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and other countries in the Balkans aimed at consolidating stability and curbing Russian influence in the region. Kammenos made his proposal on the basis of a prediction that FYROM will fail to push a name deal with Greece through its Parliament. The vote in FYROM’s Parliament is set for next week and the Balkan country’s Premier Zoran Zaev is trying to draw the additional votes from the political opposition he needs to change the country’s constitution. It soon became clear on Wednesday that Kammenos did not have the support of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for his alternative plan. “The Greek government remains committed to the Prespes agreement,” one government source remarked, expressing “respect” for Zaev’s efforts to fulfill the conditions for the deal’s ratification. According to sources, the leaked comment from Tsipras’s office was aimed at Zaev as well as Kammenos, with the authorities keen to be clear that there will be no “plan B” in the event that the Prespes deal fails to secure approval. Meanwhile Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos told 24/7 radio station that the idea of an “alternative plan” to the Prespes deal had never been broached at any cabinet meetings. Katrougalos also played down the role of the nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL) party, which Kammenos leads, claiming that the government has a majority of support in Parliament not only for the name deal but for a potential vote of confidence. The rift in the government over the agreement prompted a scathing reaction by Greece’s opposition New Democracy party with a spokesman calling on Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias to clarify the government’s position on the matter. Shadow foreign minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos asked Kotzias whether there is indeed a “plan B” and criticized Kammenos’s stance in his talks with US officials. “Does he know of an alternative plan which… substitutes the Prespes agreement? If so, who drafted it, whose approval did it receive and where was this plan submitted?” he asked. “And, ultimately, who determines the country’s foreign policy? The minister of defense or the minister of foreign affairs?” Katrougalos also queried whether Kammenos’s statements about curbing Russian influence in the Balkans would undermine Tsipras’s planned visit to Russia later this year and harm Greek-Russian relations.

During his visit to Washington, Kammenos also urged the US to increase bilateral security cooperation with Greece, proposing the expansion of its military presence to Volos and Alexandroupoli as well as Larissa.

 

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