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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



Florian Bieber: Kosovo’s genocide charges against Serbia cannot be successful

May 5, 2021

Kosovo's announced genocide charges against Serbia serve to pressure Belgrade in the dialogue with Pristina on the normalization of relations and has no chance of success, Florian Bieber of Graz University has told N1 on Wednesday.

„I don’t see how that could be successful,“ he said, adding the purpose of the charges was to draw attention to war crimes Serbia’s forces committed in Kosovo during the 1998-1999 war there.

It is, he says, focused on the past and the reasons why Kosovo is independent today.

According to Bieber, Pristina’s problem is that Serbia can „live with the status quo,“ while Kosovo cannot.

He says that 13 years after Kosovo’s declaration of independence, it „inclines more to defending its position and rights than to rely only on the European Union and the US positions.“

„To what extent is (Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin) Kurti ready for a compromise and agreement remains to be seen since he lacks experience in conducting diplomatic negotiations,“ Bieber said.

However,  Biber sees Belgrade as a major problem in the dialogue, and the lack of its readiness to accept a compromise, leading to „some kind of the recognition of Kosovo.“

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic’s messages are not encouraging in that sense, while the EU doesn’t have anything attractive enough to offer Belgrade to accept Kosovo as an independent state, Bieber says.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/florian-bibber-kosovo-gencide-charges-against-serbia-has-no-chance-of-success/

Montenegro vaccinates 1.5 pct of its entire population in a single day

May 5, 2021

About 10,000 people were vaccinated against Covid-19 on the first day of mass inoculation in Montenegro on Tuesday, which is 1.5 percent of the population, the country's Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

The Montenegrin health authorities say that Montenegro thus set a European record in terms of the number of doses administered in a single day in relation to the population size. According to available information, until now the record was held by Germany, which inoculated 1 million people in a single day, or 1.2 percent of its population.

“This is a success for the whole country,” Health Minister, Jelena Borovinic-Bojovic, said.

The mass vaccination campaign began on Tuesday after 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived from China over the weekend.

The first 2,000 doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, donated by the European Union, arrived on Tuesday and are intended for priority groups, including medical workers and serious chronic patients. The EU is due to donate a total of 42,000 doses of this vaccine to Montenegro by the end of August.

So far, Montenegro has used Russian and Chinese vaccines as well as 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, purchased through the Covax program.

The number of active coronavirus cases in the country has plunged after the authorities imposed tight restrictions in mid-March, closing schools, hospitality establishments, gyms, and shopping centers. As a result, in less than five weeks the number of active cases was reduced from about 10,000 to slightly over 2,000.

Montenegro eased the epidemiological measures in mid-April, keeping in place the obligation to wear face masks outdoors, the ban on public gatherings and the curfew between midnight and 5 am.

In the last two days, the daily number of new cases fell below 100 for the first time this year.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/montenegro-vaccinates-1-5-pct-of-its-entire-population-in-a-single-day/

Dodik reiterates idea of ‘peaceful dissolution’ in Bosnia and Herzegovina

May 5, 2021

Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, spoke again about the idea of 'peaceful dissolution' in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a day after the international envoy Valentin Inzko warned in his report for the UN Security Council that such ideas pose a threat to the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity thus to peace and stability.

“We object such Bosnia and Herzegovina and we should meet in a civilized manner and talk about how to carry out a peaceful dissolution,” Dodik told Serbian media.

Speaking in K1’s ‘Uranak’ show, the Presidency member said it is only Bosnia’s three constituent peoples – the Serbs, Bosniaks, and Croats, as well as its two semi-autonomous entities – Serb-majority Republika Srpska and Bosniak-Croat shared Federation – who can discuss Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He slammed High Representative Valentin Inzko over the report on the situation in BiH he presented on Tuesday to the UN Security Council, noting that “what he said only confirmed he is no longer needed.”

The High Representative, who oversees the peace implementation in the country following the 1992-95 war, is according to Dodik presenting things in a bad way only he can stay a bit longer in BiH and get a high salary.

Inzko warned in his latest report on the situation in BiH that Republika Srpska’s calls for peaceful dissolution and for the withdrawal of the international military presence in BiH pose a threat to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as to peace and stability.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/dodik-reiterates-idea-of-peaceful-dissolution-in-bosnia-and-herzegovina/

Opposition demand: Free national frequency for professional TV channel in Serbia

May 5, 2021

Dragan Djilas, Serbia’s opposition Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP) leader, told N1 that one of his demands during Wednesday’s online talks with the European Parliament (EP) members about the election conditions was that an available national frequency was given to a professional TV channel.

The representatives of the European Parliament (EP) and several opposition parties in Serbia, which accepted the European mediation in talks about election conditions, started an online discussion on Wednesday to prepare the inter-party dialogue that should officially start in June.

Djilas said the dialogue was constructive and that the opposition group around SSP presented the platform for further discussion, saying he hoped the dialogue would resume in June when MEPs were expected to be allowed to travel since now banned due to the coronavirus pandemic. Another possibility is for the opposition to go to Brussels for the dialogue.

SSP leader added Wednesday’s agenda included media freedom and pressure on voters the opposition said happened in the last election cycle in 2020.

“We presented a lot of concrete examples of what had happened to people across Serbia who thought differently (from the regime), accompanied with photos, data about the access to the media,” Djilas said.

He added those reasons led the opposition to insist on changes that would make them participate in the 2022 presidential, Belgrade and possibly early general vote.

Djilas said the opposition was aware that the election conditions could not be ideal but that some changes could improve them enough for the opposition to participate.

Ahead of the meeting, Zoran Lutovac, the leader of the Democratic Party, told the Beta news agency the key issues would be the content, format, timetable, and the nature of the talks and implementation of the outcome of the agreed under the EP auspices.

On Monday, Djilas told N1 that the opposition that boycotted the 2020 vote claiming unfair conditions, unequal access to the media, and some foul play during the election process, would try to explain to MEPs what had to be changed.

The main opposition parties boycotted the 2020 parliamentary ballot despite the MEP’s mediation, saying it did not produce results and that even the agreed was not implemented.

Djilas could not give more details about Wednesday’s talks, saying the deal was not to do that.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/opposition-demand-free-national-frequency-for-professional-tv-channel-in-serbia/

President: Serbia to award vaccinated; No sick leave full pay for unimmunized?

May 5, 2021

Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia’s President, said on Wednesday, the state would award the citizens who had been vaccinated with 25.5 Euro in addition to the second financial aid to help people cope with the economic consequences of the coronavirus epidemic.

The move followed an unsatisfactory response to the call for immunization despite Serbia provided enough quantity of four different types of shots and was declared the most successful country in the Western Balkans in the vaccination process.

Speaking to the pro-regime Pink TV, Vucic said the award was for people who “proved responsible” and as a motive to those who had been either reluctant or anti-vaxers.

He also said the Government would discuss a decision that employees in public companies and state administration who were not vaccinated and got infected with the coronavirus would not be fully paid during sick leave.

At the same time, the Government would as suggested by Vucic, decide on awarding people over 16 years of age who had got at least the first dose of any available vaccine with 25.5 Euro. The deadline for application will be June 15.

Despite experts’ warnings that Serbia was delivering the so-called helicopter money indiscriminately by most probably taking loans that current and next generations will be paying back, Vucic has already announced 30 Euro times two for all citizens and more for pensioners in 2021.

Vucic postponed his vaccination for a long time and when he set the date, he said that at least 500,000 people would follow suit. Some had, indeed, but not that many as he hoped.

At the same time, he said fully vaccinated Serbia’s citizens could go to Hungary, Greece and Turkey, adding the negotiations with Russia and China, and some other countries were underway to accept Belgrade’s certificates on vaccination bilaterally.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/president-serbia-to-award-vaccinated-no-sick-leave-full-pay-for-unimmunised/

Opposition: If Serbia doesn’t protect sex scandal witnesses, we’ll find way

May 5, 2021

Marinika Tepic, a deputy leader of Serbia’s opposition Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP), said on Wednesday that if the state prosecutors did not protect witnesses in a high-profile sex scandal, “we’ll find another way to do that on our own.”

She said giving up was not an option.

“There are mechanisms in the Law on Criminal Procedure that explicitly list the ways of protecting witnesses,” Tepic told the Belgrade independent Danas daily.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/opposition-if-serbia-doesnt-protect-sex-scandal-witnesses-well-find-way/

Serbian president says his party will lose Belgrade city elections

May 5, 2021

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told a news conference on Wednesday that his ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) will loose the Belgrade city elections early next year.

The SNS “has certainly already lost” those city-wide elections, he said after a meeting of his party Presidency.

Asked by N1 if he would step down as party leader as he said earlier, Vucic said that he wants to stay in tat position for some a while longer to help fight “the tycoons and criminals who destroyed Serbia”. “I want to help fight criminals and tycoons at least up to the party assembly in October. That is the strong motivation that is keeping me in the post – resisting the people who destroyed and robbed Serbia and who are obsessed with me,” he said.

“Our party is the biggest by far and I am convinced that we can achieve even better results,” Vucic said.

The SNS presidency also decided to bring one of the smaller ruling coalition parties into its fold. Vucic said that the party’s top body decided to “unite” with Aleksandar Sapic’s Serbian Patriotic Alliance (SPAS). He added that the SNS Presidency decision to accept his recommendations was unanimous. SPAS has 10 seats in the 250 seats Serbian parliament.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-presidents-party-unites-with-smaller-coalition-partner/

Serbian Torlak institute gets more Pfizer vaccine

May 5, 2021

Serbia’s Torlak virology Institute received another shipment of more than 100,000 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, local media reported on Wednesday.

According to some sources, shipments of the Pfizer vaccine have been coming to Serbia regularly for the past few months. The latest shipment was 104,000 doses of the vaccine.

A total of 3,661,516 doses of various coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Serbia to date, with 1,604,760 people getting two shots.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-torlak-institute-gets-more-pfizer-vaccine/

Commissioner Varhelyi: Pfizer vaccine for Kosovo in June

May 5, 2021

European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said in Pristina on Wednesday that Kosovo will get a shipment of 100,000 doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine next month.

“Securing vaccines is hard but we have them,” he said during a visit to an inoculation center with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti. “Kosovo will get 100,000 doses from the Pfizer company and the entire Kosovo health care system could be inoculated with the first supplies,” he said.

According to the commissioner, the European Union is investing effort to secure coronavirus vaccine for all the citizens of Kosovo. “This is the most important contribution to help end the pandemic because it will end only after we are all vaccinated,” Varhelyi said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/commissioner-varhelyi-pfizer-vaccine-for-kosovo-in-june/

Dveri leader sees Family March as start of opposition national front

May 05, 2021

The leader of the conservative Dveri movement said on Wednesday that the Family March gathering on May 15 should mark the launch of a national front as a separate opposition group advocating what he called the most important values of Serbian patriots.

“Family is one of the topics bringing us all together and we can set up a much wider form of cooperation and common struggle on the political and social scene – from keeping Kosovo as part of Serbia to economic patriotism and protecting the local economy and agriculture to putting family first,” he told a news conference.

Obradovic said that the Family march in front of the Serbian parliament has the support of several other organizations, adding that he expects more to lend their support. He said that the gathering is intended to be a show of support for young couples, families with children, single parents, and elderly households.

He said that the organizations supporting the gathering are opposed to the laws on same-sex families, gender equality, and banning discrimination. “We believe all three laws are unconstitutional, un-Christian, and anti-family,” Obradovic said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/dveri-leader-sees-family-march-as-start-of-opposition-national-front/

Coronavirus on May 4: Slovenia

May 4, 2021

Slovenia on Tuesday reported six death cases from COVID-19-related complications and 894 new coronavirus infections over the last 24 hours.

The death toll stood at 4,273.

There are currently 9,675 active cases of the infection and 584 in hospitals.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-pandemic-daily-regional-update-on-may-4-2021/

Coronavirus: Croatia reports 1,396 new cases, 46 deaths

May 4, 2021

In the past 24 hours, 1,396 new cases of coronavirus have been detected in Croatia while 46 people have died as a consequence, the national Covid response team reported on Tuesday.

There are a total of 11,033 active cases in the country, including 2,169 hospitalized patients, 259 of whom are on ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was confirmed in Croatia, there have been 336,918 registered cases of the novel coronavirus, 7,264 people have died as a consequence and 318,621 have recovered, including 1,695 in the past 24 hours.

There are currently 27,733 people in self-isolation. A total of 1,836,108 people have been tested for the virus to date, with 9,040 tests conducted in the past 24 hours.

As of 3 May, a total of 921,527 doses of vaccines have been administered and 716,861 people have been inoculated. Of that number 509,580 have received one dose and 204,666 have received both. For 2,615 people there is no data as to how many shots they have received.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-croatia-reports-1396-new-cases-46-deaths/

Coronavirus UPDATE: 24 deaths, 1,304 newly infected in Serbia

May 4, 2021

Over the last 24 hours, 24 patients died from COVID-19-related complications, and out of 9,074 tested people, 1,304 were infected with the coronavirus, Serbia's Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

To date, COVID-19 claimed a total of 6,465 lives with a mortality rate of 0.93 percent.

Currently, a total of 4,429 patients were in hospitals, of whom 138 on ventilators.

Since the epidemic outbreak in March 2020, 3,869,214 people have been tested, and 694,473 have been positive for the virus.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-update-24-deaths-1304-newly-infected-in-serbia/

Bosnia logs 280 new coronavirus cases, 61 deaths

May 4, 2021

Bosnia and Herzegovina has confirmed another 280 coronavirus cases and 61 fatalities among COVID patients, the healthcare authorities said on Tuesday.

The new results came from 2,187 lab tests performed on the samples of those who reported infection symptoms.

Bosnia's Federation entity has so far confirmed 131,030 coronavirus cases out of 633,915 those who tested for the virus presence. A total of 113,923 COVID patients has recovered. The region's death toll stands at 4,982.

As for the Republika Srpska entity, its healthcare authorities confirmed a total of 62,061 patients out of 259,205 persons tested for the virus infection. A total of 42,976 patients have recovered and 3,431 died.

Brcko District reported a total of 6,372 cases since the epidemic outbreak and 300 fatalities. A total of 4,470 patients has recovered.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bosnia-logs-280-new-coronavirus-cases-61-deaths/

Coronavirus on May 4: Montenegro

May 4, 2021

Over the last 24 hours, six patients died from COVID-19-related complications, while out of 1,018 tested people, 95 were infected with the coronavirus in Montenegro, according to the Public Health Institute data on Tuesday.

The death toll stood at 1,516, while 97,813 people tested positive for the virus since the epidemic outbreak.

 Currently, there are 2,085 active cases of infection.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-pandemic-daily-regional-update-on-may-4-2021/

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