International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Kosovo’s Kurti: President Thaci to resign or face ouster

November 22, 2019

The leader of the Self-Determination (Vetëvendosje ) party and most likely new Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on Friday that President Hashim Thaci should resign or, as he said, would be relieved of duty, the news agencies reported, citing Pristina media.

The Self-Determination and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), who would attempt to form a coalition government based on the results of the October 6 general elections, also discussed Thaci’s position, local media said.

“President Thaci must resign or will be ousted,” Kurti said.

In an interview with Top Channel, Kurti added that the decreasing wish for national unification was caused by  the territory swap idea, “since people were not ready to give up on Mitrovica for the sake of the national unification.”

He said that many politicians in Kosovo speak about the territory swap, giving up on the north,” adding that there was not a single official in Serbia who talked about the handout of the territory.”

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a546066/Most-likely-next-Kosovo-PM-calls-President-to-resign.html

Vucic on spy affair: I only asked Russian envoy "Why?"

November 21, 2019

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic told reporters he only asked the Russian ambassador Alexander Bocan- Harchenko "Why?" during their meeting earlier on Thursday amid a spy affair involving both Russian and Serbia's intelligence officers, N1 reported.

Speaking to reporters after the National Security Council session, he said that the video showing Georgy Kleban, former Russian member of Moscow's embassy in Belgrade handing a plastic bag to Serbia's retired army officer who Vucic identified only as lieutenant colonel Z.K. was not filmed by Serbia's military secret service, but that it knew about the meeting and that the two had met several times.

"I'm confident, at least I think so, that (the Russian President Vladimir) Putin wasn't informed about this… I only asked Bocan-Harchenko – why, nothing else. I haven't seen any logic in that. Serbia has done nothing to imperil the friendship with Russia," Vucic said, adding Belgrade had no intention whatsoever to change its policy toward Moscow.

"As a country, we face an offensive of different secret services for a long time. And we can divide them into two groups – one from the most developed countries and one from the regional states which have strong interests on Serbia's soil against our country," Vucic said.

That's why Serbia, he added, significantly strengthened its counter-intelligence protection.

"Our VBA (military counter-intelligence agency) and BIA (civilian Security-Information agency) take more sophisticated measures protecting (the country) from foreign services' offensive," Vucic said.

The spy affair was the only issue on the meeting agenda, and Vucic said the video was made on December 24, 2018, and that VBA didn't make it, but was familiar with Kleban's activities.

The President said that Serbia's counter-intelligence services "documented Kleban's contacts with the Army of Serbia (VRS) in photo, video and audio recordings on several occasions."

Vucic added that there were recordings of the meetings between other Russian intelligence officers with Serbia's army representatives, but that he wouldn't say that publically.

Kleban, according to Vucic, should have been the go-between in the exchange of documents related to events in Croatia during the war there in the 1990s, adding the Russian spy was not in Serbia any more.

"We won't change our policy toward Russia," Vucic said, adding the relations between Belgrade and Moscow were brotherly and friendly, and that Serbia would not turn to NATO or any other military alliance.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545967/Vucic-says-Serbia-targeted-by-many-foreign-intelligence-services.html

Arms Watch: Serbia's mortars in Ukraine used against Donbass, Vucic denies

November 21, 2019

Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, an investigative reporter with the Arms Watch, said the documents which were leaked to her media, showed that in 2016 three foreign governments ordered and purchased 60 mm M73HE mortar shells from Serbia's ammunition factory Krusik: the US Government, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Before, she published that Serbia-made ammunition ended in the hands of Islamic extremists in Yemen.

 "Saudi Arabia does not officially export weapons to Ukraine, according to publicly available data. The US Government officially allowed exports of lethal weapons to Ukraine a year later, in December 2017. The UAE, however, did export weapons to Ukraine, according to Ukrainian officials," Gaytandzhieva said.

Vucic denied Arms Watch report, saying his country had never sold any mines to Ukraine, but to Poland, and that the arms export was done legally. He talked to reporters after the meeting of National Security Council called following the spy affair involving Russian and Serbia's intelligence officers. He said that information and photo of the mines came from "intelligence sewage," from those who want to undermine Serbia and especially its arms industry. "We'll continue to make and sell arms legally," he said, answering only two reporters' questions posted by the state RTS TV and state Tanjug news agency.

 She added that "documents reveal that in 2016 the UAE purchased a total of 120,000 pieces of mortar shells manufactured by Krusik. Among them such 60 mm M73 HE mortar shells as those found in Donbass."

Gaytandzhieva said that the exporter was Serbia's private GIM company, "which according to a leaked GIM's letter to Krusik, was represented by Serbia's Interior Minister's father Branko Stefanovic."

Both his son and Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic, who first said Branko Stefanovic was just an employee at Krusik, later denied he had any links to the factory, despite the document obtained by BIRN showing his name on the list of Krusik's visitors from GIM.

"Documents published by Arms Watch reveal that weapons manufactured by Krusik and exported by the GIM company to Saudi Arabia had ended up with Islamic State terrorists in Yemen. The company, according to the leaked documents, was represented by the Minister's father. Three days after Arms Watch broke the story, on 18 September, Serbia's Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic arrested the Krusik whistleblower Aleksandar Obradovic," Gaytandzhieva wrote.

She added that instead of "investigating the arms trafficking to terrorists in Yemen, Serbia's prosecutors launched an investigation into the leak from Krusik and charged the whistleblower with revealing trade secrets. His arrest caused a wave of protests in Serbia, and he was released from prison and put under house arrest."

"Aleksandar Obradovic is still under house arrest while those who traffic arms go free," the reporters said.

In the meantime, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), founded in 2015 as a watchdog of the European Charter on Freedom of the Press, tweeted an alert about Obradovic being under house arrest.

Whistleblower Aleksandar Obradović under House Arrest in#Serbia| Alert submitted by ECPMF for@CoEMediaFreedomplatformhttps://t.co/twcXZG2Vgd@BalkanInsight@ArmsWatch_@N1infoBG — ECPMF (@ECPMF)November 21, 2019

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545863/Arms-Watch-says-Serbia-s-ammunition-ended-in-Donbass.html 

Kosovo police publish photo of "suspects in Ivanovic's murder," Vucic: students

November 21, 2019

Kosovo prosecutors' office released a photo of two men it said were suspects in the assassination of local Serb opposition politician Oliver Ivanovic, and asked public help in identifying them, the KoSSev website reported on Thursday.

Almost two years after the murder in the northern part of the divided Mitrovica town mostly populated by local Serbs, Kosovo Police Directorate for investigating serious crimes and the Special Prosecutors' office called on people to help to identify the two who, they said, lived in the same street as Ivanovic.

Addressing reporters after Nationa Security Council meeting late on Thursday, Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic said the two men from the photo were students from Serbia's Prokuplje town, who studied at Mitrovica University.

He added Serbia's police knew about them, questioned them, who, Vucic said their parents brought after seeing the picture, and established they had nothing to do with the assassination. 

"Just for you to know, they were filmed in the morning when they had colloquium," Vucic said. 

In the meantime, Kosovo police said that, following the 22-month-long investigation, they widened the probe to "the two young suspects," and Sul Hoxha, the chief prosecutor, said in October they were involved in organised crime.

It remained unclear when the police got hold of the photo – immediately after the assassination, as officially reported, or the image was new evidence in the investigation.

Ivanovic was gunned down in January 2018, outside his political organisation office.

Some two months before the assassination, pro-government Pink TV slammed Ivanovic as a traitor during the campaign for local elections in Kosovo.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545893/Kosovo-police-release-photo-of-two-men-suspected-of-involvement-in-Ivanovic-s-murder.html

Moscow: Nothing can harm Russia-Serbia brotherly relations; video is provocation

November 21, 2019

Dimitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, said on Thursday he was convinced nothing could imperil the “partner and brotherly relations” between his country and Serbia, the Reuters news agency reported.

His words followed the spy affair involving a Russian intelligence officer that broke out on Wednesday.

They coincided with Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, who ordered the countries' civilian and military intelligence agencies to investigate the affair, meeting with the Russian ambassador to Serbia on Thursday.

Vucic ordered the countries civilian and military intelligence agencies to investigate the case in which a Russian spy was seen in a video as handing out money to allegedly Serbia’s spy, and called a meeting of the National Security Council also on Thursday.

In Moscow, where Serbia’s Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic is on a two-day visit, Peskov said “the relations with Serbia are of a partner and brotherly character. Nothing can have any effect on that.

Later on Thursday, Maria Zaharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said the video showing a Russian spy allegedly handing a plastic bag to Serbia's agent was a provocation ahead of important top officials meetings, the Beta news agency reported.

Asked to comment on Serbia's secret service's confirmation that a man in the video was Georgy Kleban, former assistant to the Russian military attaché in Belgrade, and that Serbia's Government described the situation as serious, Zaharova laughed and asked whether the second man identity was known.

"That's the use of technology with certain goals. We are ahead of important meetings at the high level and often before such contacts some material appears like bombshells," Zaharova told a news conference.

She added she did not understand Serbia's Government statement about the grave situation.

"What is that about? Can you explain to me what the serious situation means?," Zaharova asked, avoiding the question if that affected Russia's relations Serbia.

"You want political statements? I have no information, and that's not my task. My job is to comment on the facts… This is a provocation and those in charge should deal with that video, "Zaharova added.


Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545779/Moscow-says-nothing-can-damage-relations-with-Belgrade.html

Serbia’s Fin Min faces annulling of his PhD title, opposition seeks resignation

November 21, 2019

The Belgrade University (BU) Ethnics Committee unanimously overruled the Faculty of Organisational Sciences decision to punish Serbia's Finance Minister Sinisa Mali with "public condemnation" for his doctorate, saying he violated the Professional Ethics Code by copy-pasting other authors' work in a part of his thesis without an attribution, a BU statement said on Thursday.

The Commission said it would pass on its final decision “to the University Senate which should act in line with the Book of Rules on the procedure of annulling the diploma."

The years-long saga involving Serbia’s Finance Minister Sinisa Mali thesis, challenged by many scientists and professors, should be over after the Senat's decision.

The outcome is eagerly expected by students who had blocked the Rectorate building for 12 days demanding the doctorate was declared plagiarism.

After the meeting, the BU Rector Ivanka Popović confirmed to reporters that Mali violated the University's Ethics Code because he cited other authors without the attributions and showed an unacademic behaviour.

 “We don’t want to pressure the Commission, but we’ll follow what’s going on and react accordingly, Mila Jovanovic, a member of the 1 in 5 million students’ organisation, told the FoNet news agency earlier on Thursday.

After the ruling, they said it was proved Mali's doctorate was plagiarism and that the BU was first Serbia's institution they had liberated from fake diplomas and other wrongdoings.

The doctorate’s saga started back to mid-2014 with an article by Rasa Karapandza, a professor of finance at EBS Business School in Wiesbaden, an academic director of Master in Finance program, and a visiting research scholar at NYU and at UC Berkeley, published by the Pescanik website.

Soon after the BU Ethics Commission decision, Mali told the state RTS TV, he would talk about that in the next few days. "I know what I know, I know I didn't do that. I cannot comment on the fact that someone is bothered with that for political reasons," he said, adding that right now he was only interested in the draft of the 2020 budget.

 “I have never seen such a quantity of copy-pasting as in Sinisa Mali’s doctorate,” Karapandza wrote about the 2013 doctorate.

In January 2015, the “Organisation and Management” article based on which Mali secured the right to defend the doctorate, was withdrawn as plagiarism, the website said.

In May this year, in an interview with the Vreme independent weekly, Karapandza said: “Sinisa Mali translated the whole pages, copied illustrations, even used the same font as original authors. Speaking about percentage, Sinisa Mali copied or literally translated more than a third text in his thesis and used all original illustrations.”

Slobodan Prvanovic, a former member of the Commission, told N1 the decision meant the doctorate was plagiarism though the word was not explicitly used.

The following events included the Faculty of Organisational Sciences (FON) verdict the doctorate was not plagiarism. Two years later, the FON Ethics Commission also said the thesis wasn’t plagiarised and that it had some incorrectly cited parts but at a negligible level.

FON accepted the opinion, but the University Council did not and asked the Faculty to form a commission to investigate the doctorate.

At the same time, some 300 people holding PhD in Serbia signed a petition demanding from the BU Professional Ethics Commission a disciplinary proceeding against Mali’s mentor and other members of the commission before which Mali defended his thesis, to deprive him of the title.

Finally, after some more peripetia, and the 12-day students’ blockade of the Rectorate, the FON Professional Ethics Commission decided to punish Mali with “public condemnation,” but failed to vote on whether it was plagiarism though some members demanded that.

The students have earlier said they might block the Rectorate again if the BU Professional Ethnic Commission decided that Mali’s doctorate was not plagiarised.    

The news prompted many reactions from analysts and opposition.

 Boban Stojanovic, a political analyst, said Mali should resign as Finance Minister "if he has a bit of moral."

His colleague Cvijetin Milivojevic said that Mali's fate depended on President Aleksandar Vucic.

"If he (Vucic) sees that the atmosphere in the society is not friendly, Mali will be suspended for a year or so..."
But, he said, if Vucic thought the move would show some weakness, he wouldn't do that despite the Commission decision.

The opposition Alliance for Serbia said the whole Government should resign following the BU ruling.

The President of the Movement of Free Citizens (PSG) Sergej Trifunovic said that "this is one of the most important days since we have fallen into an abyss dag by these neo-radicals. The students won; they did not fall for a lie, did not accept humiliation and persevered in their struggle."

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545771/Serbia-Fin-Min-may-lose-his-PhD-title.html

Russian envoy and Serbia's President meet amid spy affair

November 21, 2019

Alexander Bocan- Harchenko, the Russian ambassador to Serbia, meets President Aleksandar Vucic early on Thursday, amid a case involving a Moscow's spy and allegedly a local agent, N1 reported.

Bocan - Harchenko's media service told N1 that the meeting was planned a few weeks ago and that his tight scheduled disable him to give a statement after the talks.

The meeting comes a day after Serbia's civilian secret service (BIA) verified that a man seen in a video with another man whom he handed a plastic bag with an envelope containing money was a Russian intelligence officer.

BIA did not comment on the assumption that the other man was Serbia's secret agent or a state official.

Vucic called a meeting of the National Security Council for Thursday.

In the meantime, Serbia's Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic is on a two-day visit to Moscow where he signed two agreements regarding security issues with Russian officials.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545751/Vucic-meets-with-Russian-envoy-after-spy-affair-breaks-out.html

UG to Serbia's PM: Pressure on judiciary comes from state officials

November 20, 2019

The courts which, beyond any legal logic and justice principle, jeopardise legitimate interests of legal entities with their rulings, must be open to legal criticism, the United Group (UG) says in its answer to Serbia's Prime Minister Ana Brnabic who commented on a Group's earlier public address, N1 reported on Wednesday.

The UG says its statement followed weird acting by a court which gave access to our competitors GSS and EURO World Network to classified SBB and City Media business information.

"After we expressed suspicion that the Commercial Court ruling legalised business espionage, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic tweeted: "Is this the only media group that uses its media influence to comment on court rulings, directly exercising pressure on Serbia's judiciary," the UG statement quoted Brnabic.

The company reminds all state officials in Serbia that according to the relevant international organisations and the European Commission (EC), the danger and pressure on the independence of the judiciary primarily comes from the top state leadership and not from private companies. Particularly not from one, if not the only, independent media.

The statement adds that the recently published EC report on Serbia explicitly says that the state should take the most serious steps to reduce "a high level of pressure on the judiciary."

It also warns state officials to restrain from public comments on ongoing investigations, court proceedings and individual judges and prosecutors.

It adds they should implement the rules which they brought to avoid "crossing the line" in commenting on courts' rulings. All that is needed to meet the obligations coming from the European integration process, especially from Chapter 23 on Judiciary and Fundamental Rights.

"The representatives of the executive power in Serbia constantly avoid comprehending the role of the media in a democratic society. That's why the EC report hasn't noticed "any progress" in the freedom of expression either. By addressing the public, the UG, as a private company, has exercised the right to free speech which includes public criticism of unjust courts' rulings and pointing at them. Not to influence the outcome of the proceedings but to make "the democratic control of the courts' work" possible," the Group statement said.

It adds that the UG will use all available means, both domestic and international, to defend its rights and legitimate interests.

N1 TV is a part of the United Group.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545657/UG-says-will-use-all-means-to-defend-its-rights.html

Serbia’s Minister signs two security deals in Moscow

November 20, 2019

Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said in Moscow on Wednesday he signed two agreements on security issues with the Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, the Beta news agency reported.

 Interior Ministry in Belgrade said in a statement that one agreement dealt with the cooperation in fighting organised crime, while the other regulated counter-terrorism collaboration.

Stefanovic, also Serbia’s Interior Minister, said his country carefully watched “the flow of the migrants from the Middle East due to a danger of terrorists’ infiltration among them,” trying to reach Western Europe.

The Minister said Belgrade “has good results” in fighting drug trafficking.

Stefanovic will also meet the Russian Federation Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika.

Earlier, Serbia's secret service confirmed a Russian spy was filmed giving money to a man suspected to be a local agent.    

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545609/Serbia-s-Interior-Minister-signs-two-Belgarde-Moscow-deals-on-security-issues.html

EU and Serbia agree on border cooperation

November 20, 2019

The European Union and Serbia signed the agreement on cooperation in border management, the European Commission (EC) said on Wednesday, the Beta news agency reported.

The agreement deals with the cooperation between the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and will be in force after approved by the European Parliament.

"Our cooperation with partners in the Western Balkans is crucial in securing the successful managing of our borders. Thanks to this agreement, Frontex will coordinate the operational cooperation between the EU member states and Serbia and secure support and expertise useful to everyone," Maria Ohisalo, the Finish Interior Minister said.

Dimitris Avramopulos, Commissioner for Migrations, said the agreement “is in the interest of both Serbia and the EU… we are strengthening the relationship with our partners in the Western Balkans and bring the neighbourhood closer to the EU."

The agreement aims at solving the illegal migration and cross-border crime and includes the possible technical and operational help on borders.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545571/Serbia-signs-cooperation-deal-with-Frontex.html

Kosovo's outgoing PM: Lifting taxes on Serbia's goods will be tragic mistake

November 20, 2019

Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's outgoing Prime Minister, said on Wednesday he was summoned by the Special Court in The Hague for political reasons and that he was under pressure because his Government had introduced the 100 percent import tariffs on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and refused to lift them despite the international community demands, the Beta news agency reported.

The Special Prosecution and Court were established to investigate alleged war crimes during the 1998-1999 armed conflict with Belgarde army and police, and some crimes two years after the end of the war.

Haradinaj added that annulling the taxes "would be tragic." "I hope that the next Government won't abolish the tariffs because that would bring Serbia's goods back to Kosovo."

 "That's what (Serbia's President Aleksandar) Vucic, who is blocking and threatening Kosovo, has demanded," Haradinaj told the Kosovo KTV.

He added it would be surprising if the next Government lifted the taxes."It's now easier for them since the international community has stopped asking for that."

"The taxes should not be abolished since Serbia hasn't changed" its attitude," Haradinaj said.

He sent a message to leading candidates for new prime minister that they should not make that mistake.

"If they do that, I think it will be a tragic act."  

Bahri Berisha, Kosovo’s Customs Director, told Radio Free Europe later on Wednesday, that in the first year of the implementation of the tariffs, Pristina imported 99 percent fewer goods from Serbia and Bosnia. Total value was six million Euros, while before the taxes, Belgrade and Sarajevo exported products to Kosovo worth some 500 million Euros.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545491/Outgoing-PM-tells-Kosovo-future-PM-not-to-lift-import-tariffs-on-good-from-Serbia.html

Vucic: My health has nothing to do with N1, disease is chronic

November 19, 2019

On his first working day after a short break due to cardiovascular problems, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic told reporters that “no one from N1” was guilty of his current health condition, the Beta news agency reported.

He added he had never avoided journalists’ questions because they allowed him “to unmask my political opponents’ lies” and “to show how senseless their attacks are.”

“I’m also sick today, and I have therapy… My health problems have no links to N1 nor will that be fair from me to insinuate that in any way. It took years and decades for my heart to be in this condition, not a day,” Vucic said.

He added” What can I do? My health is not the best, but as long as I have the energy I’ll fight, and I’ll leave Serbia more than anyone.”   

Bosnian Serb opposition: Dodik betrayed Republika Srpska, pushed it into NATO

November 19, 2019

Milorad Dodik has pushed Republika Srpska (RS), the Serb-majority half of the country, into NATO and sold out Serb interests, Bosnian Serb opposition leaders said after the three members of the country’s Presidency agreed on Tuesday on forming a government and sending a ‘document’ to NATO - which could finally end the political crisis.

After about a year without a new government formed, the Bosniak and Croat Presidency members finally expressed support for Zoran Tegeltija, the candidate coming from the party of their Serb colleague, to take over the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers - effectively the Prime Minister position.

They refused to do so until now because Dodik’s party, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), did not agree to sending the Annual National Programme (ANP) to NATO - which would activate the country’s Membership Action Plan (MAP) and would represent the next step toward Bosnia becoming a member of the alliance.

After a special Presidency session, held with the ambassadors of the United States, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia, the Croat and Bosniak Presidency members said they will approve Tegeltija for the post and that, a day later, Bosnia will send a “document” containing a set of reforms to NATO.

However, they never said the “document” is the ANP - which Bosnian Serb opposition leaders say is the case.

Dodik has “activated the Membership Action Plan (MAP) and sold out Republika Srpska,” said the leader of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) and one of Dodik’s strongest rivals in the RS, Mirko Sarovic.

NATO remains unpopular with Serbs in both Serbia and in Bosnia's Serb-majority semi-autonomous entity of Republika Srpska (RS) since the alliance launched airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs during the 1992-95 Bosnian war and against the Serbian military in 1999 during the conflict between Belgrade and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Although it agreed to Bosnia joining NATO about a decade ago, Dodik’s SNSD changed its mind in recent years and refused to let the country make any step toward membership.

In line with neighbouring Serbia, Republika Srpska adopted a Resolution on Military Neutrality in 2017 which means it opposes membership in any military alliances.

Sarovic said that Dodik has paid for his party member becoming Council of Ministers Chairman with “Republika Srpska entering NATO.”

“Whatever he calls this document now, and he will surely justify it by saying that this it not it (the ANP), it is clear that Dodik has breached the Resolution of Republika Srpska on Military Neutrality. With that he has put himself on a shameful place among people who have brought one of the key decisions which are detrimental to the interests and goals of Republika Srpska,” he said.

In an interview with N1 last week, Sarovic said that his SDS cannot support sending the ANP because it would “open the doors for Milorad Dodik.”

“It would not be wise politically to make such a move. This would happen: we adopt the ANP and Dodik then says ‘look at these traitors, those are the biggest traitors ever born in this country, but what can we do? They signed off on the ANP,” Sarovic said in N1's 'Pressing' programme last Wednesday.

The leader of the Bosnian Serb opposition Party of Democratic Progress (PDP), Borislav Borenovic, commented on the new development on Tuesday as well, saying that Dodik betrayed Bosnian Serbs.

“With this he trampled on the Republika Srpska National Assembly (the entity’s parliament) not once, but ten times, especially when he would mention and boast about the Resolution on protecting the (RS) constitutional setup and declaring military neutrality. That Resolution is only a blank piece of paper from today onward,” Borenovic said.

Dodik made a decision according to which Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina are “going toward NATO with strong, large steps,” he said, arguing that the Bosnian Serb Presidency member caved in before the demands of his Bosniak colleague.

Dodik said that he informed the President of neighbouring Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, about the details of the Tuesday session.

“I congratulate President Dodik on the compromise which was reached with the partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We had an excellent meeting in Belgrade,” the Serbian President posted on Instagram later the same day.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545361/Bosnia-s-Serb-opposition-accuses-Dodik-of-betrayal.html

Regional media watchdog: Serbia's officials behind pressures on N1

November 19, 2019

The Western Balkans Regional Platform for Media Freedom and Protection of Journalist condemned pressures and intimidation of N1 TV, its director and reporter Jugoslav Cosic and Miodrag Sovil, and accused Serbia's officials and pro-regime media to be behind that campaign, the Beta news agency reported on Tuesday.

The Platform said the pressures included public intimidation and labelling, smear campaigns, but also the distribution of leaflets implicating N1 was a foreign media and Cosic "a paid Albanian lobbyist."

"President Aleksandar Vucic, his close associates and pro-regime media constantly attack N1 TV spreading disinformation about it, boosting a hostile environment for journalists. Since the beginning of 2019, the Independent Association of Serbia's Journalists (NUNS) recorded 27 incidents including N1 and its reporters and two physical attacks and three verbal threats," the Platform said in its statement.

It added that in the latest incident, N1's Miodrag Sovilj was blamed for Vucic's health problems.

"The situation is out of control – now a journalist who dares to ask questions of public interest is blamed for Presidents' worsening health," Zeljko Bodrozic, the NUNS President, said.

Vucic on Tuesday denied any link between N1 and his health, explaining he suffered from a chronic disease.

The Regional Platform supported NUNS in efforts to protect journalists and media freedom. It called on the top officials to stop further spreading of disinformation about N1, their journalists and all other media which reported in the public interest.

"The respective institutions should investigate all forms of intimidation, punish the perpetrators adequately and discourage those ready for new attacks and pressure on journalists and media. Every attack on a journalist is an attack on public interest, democracy and fundamental human rights," the Platform statement added.

The Platform's members are Associations of BiH Journalists, Montenegro's Media Union, Croatian Journalists' Society, Kosovo Association of Journalists, North Macedonia Journalists' Association and NUNS.    

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545291/Western-balkans-Media-watchdog-condemns-attacks-on-N1.html 

Vojvodina’s party demands ban on extreme rights' rallies in Serbia

November 19, 2019

The League of Vojvodina’s Social-democrats (LSV) called on the respective institutions to ban the gatherings of the far-rightist Serbian Rights party headed by Misa Vacic, the FoNet news agency reported.

 LSV added the reason for that was that Vacic had been convicted of discrimination and that in the last few weeks he organised a series of rallies during which he threatened his political opponents.

The League asked on what basis the local authorities in the town of Pancevo allowed Vacic to hold the rally in the Town Hall and in a building in Nis which also housed a local police station, and was it possible that Interior Ministry tolerated the activities of the right extremists?

“What’s next? Joint police patrols with some militia units Vacic mentioned in his speeches? LSV considers such attitude of state and local institutions as shameful.

"We request that that practice stops. The right extremism doesn’t belong to public institutions but to the respective prosecutors,” LSV said  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a545265/Local-party-demands-ban-on-Serbia-far-right-organisation-s-rallies.html

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