International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

COVAX postpones vaccine delivery to BiH once more

March 23, 2021

The COVAX facility informed Bosnia's Civil Affairs Ministry that they would have to postpone the delivery of the vaccines that the country had paid for, by one more day, the Ministry said Tuesday.

“We have been informed that the delivery of the vaccines has been extended by one day compared to the previously announced dates. According to the latest information, the arrival of 24,000 doses of the solvent (diluent / 0.9% sodium chloride solution) is announced for 24.3. 2021 while 23,400 doses of BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine will arrive on March 25, 2021,” the Ministry said.

They added that they will inform the public about further details and the manner of media coverage of the vaccine delivery immediately upon receipt of the data.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/covax-postpons-vaccine-delivery-to-bih-once-more/

Dozens of migrants in Bosnia's northwest positive for coronavirus

March 23, 2021

Dozens of migrants in the shelters in Bosnia's northwest tested positive for the novel coronavirus and have been put in quarantine, the healthcare authorities in the Una-Sana Canton (USC) confirmed on Monday, adding that they quarantined one whole camp as a result of the virus spread.

Speaking at a session of the cantonal Covid-19 response team, USC Health Minister Nermina Cemalovic said 45 of 50 infected migrants were isolated in the ‘Borici’ camp, which has been completely locked down.

Other five infected migrants were in the ‘Miral’ camp – two are recently registered migrants and three have been relocated from the ‘Lipa’ camp.

According to the minister, any other migrant who might test positive for the coronavirus in the upcoming period will be relocated to ‘Miral’, where authorities set up conditions for quarantine and adequate treatment.

“We are forced to act this way at the moment since we don't have adequate conditions at the ‘Lipa’ camp,” she explained.

According to official data, four migrant camps in the Una-Sana Canton currently host some 2,500 migrants, while the same number of them have found shelters in abandoned houses and other facilities in this part of the country.

Only in March, 750 migrants entered the canton, the USK Interior Ministry recently confirmed.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/dozens-of-migrants-in-bosnias-northwest-positive-for-coronavirus/

Bosnia Presidency member met with criticism over his comments on vaccination

March 23, 2021

Bosnian Presidency member Sefik Dzaferovic is trying to disclaim his own and the responsibility of his political party for the consequences of the pandemic, the social-liberal Our Party said on Tuesday in response to Dzaferovic who said Bosnia and Herzegovina is not lagging behind other countries in the region in vaccination, with the exception of Serbia.

Speaking to public broadcaster RTV FBiH on Monday, the Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency and member of the main Bosniak SDA party said the process of immunisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina already started, referring to the small amount of vaccines the country received as donations from Serbia and some other countries.

He said he hoped the Government of the Federation (FBiH) entity will soon start purchasing vaccines, adding that the Government of Republika Srpska (RS) entity already made a purchase and that mass immunisation in the whole country will start in the near future.

But, this statement sparked strong reactions including those of the Our Party and leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Nermin Niksic.

“It is disappointing that the member of the BiH Presidency is lying that we are not lagging behind other countries in the region in vaccination. But, it is unforgivable he is underestimating the citizens because such a lie can be uttered only by someone who thinks that he is addressing totally uninformed, ignorant and unacquainted people. The information does reach the people. We are not North Korea and will never be no matter what Dzaferovic and his party do to make us the largest world's quarantine, the Our Party said.

They added that a significant number of Bosnian nationals got the vaccine in other countries rather than being vaccinated in their own country.

“That's a disgrace that Dzaferovic as the Presidency member and the member of the party that has been in power for 30 years is trying to escape.”

SDP leader Niksic joined the criticism, noting that Dzaferovic seemed like a “rarely rational politician from the ruling coalition,” but that he now proved is not any different from his “party boss (Bakir) Izetbegovic or (FBiH entity) prime minister (Fadil) Novalic.”

Niksic said Bosnia is not only lagging behind the region but Africa as well.

Bosnia and Herzegovina was among the first countries to apply for the Covid-19 vaccines through the Covax system, but the first doses have not been delivered yet. While Republika Srpska, one of two Bosnia's semi-autonomous regions, has already started the direct purchase of vaccines and has so far received two deliveries of Sputnik V doses, the authorities in the Federation are still dealing with the procedures of selecting and approving the companies who would make the purchase for this part of the country.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bosnia-presidency-member-met-with-criticism-over-his-comments-on-vaccination/

Vucic: Serbia bought more than 2,000 ventilators

March 23, 2021

President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday that the Serbian authorities bought more than 2,000 hospital ventilators and ordered more than 14 million doses of coronavirus vaccine.

Speaking after handing 35 ventilators and 10,000 faces masks to Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency President Milorad Dodik for the Republika Srpska (RS), Vucic said that the donation was to help deal with the serious situation together.

“We bought 2,200 ventilators, give or take 50. We bought them at the worst time,” the Serbian President said, adding that the price for each was between 18,000 and 35,000 Euro with some costing as much as 50,000. “We ordered more than 14 million vaccines. We haven’t got them, we got 2,850,00 so far,” he said.

Dodik said that he asked Vucic for help because of the increasing number of people infected in the RS who need hospitalization. He added that more than 15,000 people from the RS had been vaccinated in Serbia.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/vucic-serbia-bought-more-than-2000-ventilators/

EU hands more than 660,000 Euro in equipment to Serbian tourism industry

March 23, 2021

The European Union’s Ambassador in Belgrade presented the Serbian tourism industry with a gift of disinfectants and equipment worth 662,000 Euro on Tuesday.

EU Delegation chief Sem Fabrizi told the handover ceremony that tourist facilities will get a Clean and Safe certificate through the EuforYou – EU For Cultural Heritage and Tourism project. The certificates will guarantee safety in terms of hygiene during the coronavirus pandemic. He recalled that the EU provided assistance to the Serbian tourism industry to ehlp it promote the country’s cultural heritage before the pandemic.

German Ambassador Thomas Schieb said that the goal is to make Serbia’s heritage accessible to the public while Serbian European Integration Minister Jadranka Joksimovic said that a decision had been taken with the European Commission to provide an additional seven million Euro in grants to implement the program.

The latest aid provided by the EU for 600 tourism industry entrepreneurs includes disinfection barriers and disinfectants, UV lamps, sprays, masks and gloves. The first contingent was sent to the towns of Kladovo, Donji Milanovac and Majdanpek and the rest of the equipment and disinfectants will be delivered to the Clear and Safe program participants in the next two weeks.

The EuforYou – EU For Cultural Heritage and Tourism project is worth 16.6 million Euro in grants to help renew the tourism industry in the lower Danube region.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/eu-hands-more-than-660000-euro-in-equipment-to-serbian-tourism-industry/

Epidemic emergency across Vojvodina

March 23, 2021

The Vojvodina Public Health Institute said on Tuesday that virtually all of Serbia’s northern province faces a serious epidemiological situation with main people aged 30 to 50 infected with the coronavirus.

It said that 44 of the 45 municipalities and cities in Vojvodina had declared an emergency situation. A press release on the Institute website said that there were 1,149 new cases diagnosed over the previous 24 hours, 328 of who were diagnosed in the city of Novi Sad.

“The Institute considers this situation highly unfavorable and expects the epidemic wave to continue,” a press release said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/epidemic-emergency-across-vojvodina/

North Macedonia journalists vaccinated in southern Serbia

March 23, 2021

A group of more than a 100 journalists from North Macedonia are being vaccinated against the coronavirus in the southern Serbian town of Vranje, the Serbian Journalists’ Association (UNS) said on Tuesday.

The 105 journalists are being inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine which was secured at the request of the North Macedonia journalists’ association in cooperation with UNS and support from the Serbian President’s cabinet. The journalists were brought to Vranje by bus.

North Macedonia is inoculating health care system staff. It has procured 11,000 doses of vaccine and is having trouble procuring more to launch a mass vaccination of its population.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/north-macedonia-journalists-vaccinated-in-southern-serbia/

Serbia’s Vucic: I don’t understand those leading anti-vaccination campaign

March 23, 2021

Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia's President, said that some 100,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V were arriving in the country on Tuesday and that some million Chinese Sinofarm shots would come in late April.

„A majority of people want vaccines, but we haven’t reach villages… And I don’t understand people who speak against immunization. We don’t want to violate their human rights. Still, I don’t understand that kind of irresponsibility,“ Vucic told reporters in the western town of Lajkovac, where he visited a construction site.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-vucic-i-dont-understand-those-leading-anti-vaccination-campaign/

RFZO: Serbia has 5,800 doses of US new anti-coronavirus drug

March 23, 2021

Sanja Skodric, the Director of the Republic Fund of Health Insurance (RFZO) said on Tuesday that there were 6,800 doses of the US-made new anti-coronavirus drug.

She added Serbia was the fourth European country that had the US Eli Lilly Company’s drug.

„The drug prevents the virus from spreading within an organism; its efficiency is 95 percent,“ Skodric said.

The drug is administrated through an infusion. Patients don’t have to be hospitalized. It’s meant for those with moderate to more serious symptoms and at risk of developing a severe clinical picture.

„It’s administrated to patients positive for the coronavirus, but only during the ten days from the first symptoms. After that period, the drug doesn’t have effects, „Skodric said.

She added the new quantities of the drug would arrive in Serbia in the next two months and that currently, there was enough of it.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/rfzo-serbia-has-5800-doses-of-us-new-anti-coronavirus-drugserbia/

WHO: Epidemic situation in Serbia serious, measures to remain until results seen

March 23, 2021

Marjan Invanusa, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Serbia, said on Tuesday that the country was the fifth in Europe in the number of infected with the coronavirus per 100,000 people, adding that the epidemic situation in the country was difficult.

He added the reason for that was the British strain of the virus which was spreading fast and warned that the anti-epidemic measures should be in place until their result was seen.

Speaking to the state RTS TV Ivanusa said that the effects of the measures would be better if they were implemented, and if they were not, the situation would not only be the same, but it would worsen.

He also added the immunization was one of the measures that could help curb the epidemic.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/who-epidemic-situation-in-serbia-serious-measures-to-remain-until-results-seen/

Bosnia's FBiH Supreme Court overturns acquittal in the ‘Dzenan Memic’ case

March 23, 2021

The Supreme Court of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity has partially upheld the appeal of the Sarajevo Cantonal Prosecutor's Office, filed after an acquittal in the "Dzenan Memic" case. According to the Sarajevo CantonProsecutor's Office spokesperson, Azra Bavcic, the verdict against Ljubo and Bekrija Seferovic was revoked and a hearing before the FBiH Supreme Court was ordered.

This is the second time that the FBiH Supreme Court has overturned the Sarajevo Cantonal Court's ruling in this case. In both cases, the chai of the trial chamber, Igor Todorovic, acquitted them, stating that the Sarajevo Canton Prosecutor's Office failed to prove without unreasonable doubt that Dzenan Memic was killed in a traffic accident suspected by the Seferovics.

Dzenan Memic's body was discovered in February 2016 in Sarajevo.

The court initially ruled that the 21-year-old died after being struck by a car, but in a recent trial, those accused of causing the accident were cleared of responsibility.

Muriz Memic, the father, was satisfied with the ruling because he never believed that his son's death was accidental. He is convinced that local authorities are trying to protect his son's murderer(s).

State prosecutors are now looking into allegations of obstructions in the investigation of Memic’s death.

Sarajevo Canton police official Hasan Dupovac, as well as the father of Dzenan Memic’s girlfriend who was with him on the evening of his death, Zijo Mutap, were arrested in early February in relation to those allegations.

Reacting to the news, Muriz Memic told N1 they expected this would happen and that they warned of this three months ago. According to him, the verdict shows all the misery of the FBiH Supreme Court and proves that the mafia is allegedly controlling the justice system. He concluded by saying he was not disappointed because the State Prosecution is now investigating the case but that this verdict now only implicates the FBiH Supreme Court into the whole story.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bosnias-fbih-supreme-court-overturns-acquittal-in-the-dzenan-memic-case/

Komsic meets US Ambassador over further reforms and BiH's NATO accession path

March 23, 2021

Bosnian Croat Presidency member, Zeljko Komsic, held a Zoom meeting with the US Ambassador to BiH, Eric Nelson, during which they discussed Bosnia's reform processes, as well as the NATO accession, the Presidency said Tuesday.

The topics of discussion were the possible constitutional reforms, in order to implement the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, as well as the reform of electoral legislation, to protect the integrity of the electoral process, but also to enable all BiH citizens to consume their active and passive suffrage, as determined by the Opinion of the European Commission, the Presidency said.

In this regard, Komsic pointed out that he expected the support of the United States, that full democracy is introduced in BiH so that every citizen of this country would achieve their equality in all segments, including the election process.

In addition, the two touched upon the continuation of Bosnia's path to NATO and the fact that Bosnia is expected to submit its second Reform Program, while on the other hand, NATO partners are expected to actively work with BIH institutions to meet the necessary standards leading to membership in this supranational military alliance.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/komsic-meets-us-ambassador-over-further-reforms-and-bihs-nato-accession-path/

State police arrest four persons suspected of migrant smuggling

March 23, 2021

Acting at the order of Bosnian Prosecutor's Office and its department for organized crime and corruption, the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) officers arrested four persons suspected of smuggling the migrants from Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The arrests were conducted on the territory of Bosnia's eastern town Zvornik, which borders Serbia.

The investigation into this case was carried out in cooperation with the Republic of Serbia, and it was aimed to discover and break the smuggling groups suspected of taking illegal migrants from Serbia through the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, gaining illegal benefit, while jeopardizing the security in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The suspects are charged with acting as international group members who smuggled more than 100 migrants from Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina over the recent period of time.

Serbian authorities also conducted an operation on its territory, putting under arrest five members of this group including the suspected organizer of these activities.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/state-police-arrest-four-persons-suspected-of-migrant-smuggling/

Serbian Parliament committee rejects complaints of offensive language

March 23, 2021

The Serbian Parliament Administrative Committee rejected all complaints filed by democracy watchdog NGOs against ruling party MPs who made offensive comments about them in open session.

The Administrative Committee rejected as groundless all the complaints filed against senior Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) MPs filed by the CRTA NGO and by Transparency Serbia against the Committee on Constitutional Issues and Legislature. The MPs all denied the charges of violating the parliamentary code of conduct, claiming that the complaints were filed to discredit them.

The Committee ruled that a derogatory term for Albanians (Shiptar) was no offensive, that the phrase “stick in a bag and beat” was used as a metaphor, and that the sentence “This is solved in Russia by making you disappear” was not a veiled threat. All three were voiced by SNS MPs in open sessions.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-parliament-committee-rejects-complaints-of-offensive-language/

Russian embassy explains its recent statement on Bosnia's relations with NATO

March 23, 2021

The Embassy of Russia in Sarajevo said on Tuesday it sent “corresponding explanations” of its recent comment regarding NATO and Bosnia's potential steps towards joining the alliance, which sparked reactions including those of the main Bosniak SDA party and Bosnia Presidency member Zeljko Komsic, to whom the explanations have been addressed.

“Our corresponding explanations were sent to a member of BiH Presidency Zeljko Komsic, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH and Foreign Affairs Minister Bisera Turkovic, and the press service of the Democratic Action Party (SDA),” the embassy briefly stated without providing further details on the notes it sent.

The embassy “thanked” for all the assessment of their NATO-related comment, adding that “for a deeper understating of its essence, one should read the text of the statement rather than draw conclusions based on arbitrary presentation.”

Last week, the Embassy issued a statement titled “Comments on NATO”, saying among other things that Russia “will have to react” in case of “practical bonding between BiH and NATO,” calling it an “enemy step.”

This triggered reactions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including those of Bosniak and Croat members of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, the SDA party, as well as the NATO and US Embassy in Sarajevo.

“Every country has the sovereign right to choose its own security arrangements. Whether countries decide to cooperate with NATO – either through partnerships or as full members of the Alliance – is up to each individual applicant and the 30 Allies. No third party has the right to intervene or veto such a process. Any threats in this respect are unacceptable. The time of spheres of influence is over,” a NATO spokesperson told N1.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/russian-embassy-explains-its-recent-statement-on-bosnias-relations-with-nato/

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