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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



Three low-cost carriers win Sarajevo Tourist Board public call for new routes from Sarajevo

November 27, 2023

Three out of five carriers that responded to a public call for the launch of new routes from Sarajevo Airport in return for subsidies have met the specified conditions, the Committee for the Expert Evaluation of Applications has disclosed.

Low-cost carriers Ryanair, Wizz Air and SunExpress are all eligible for financial support, with additional details regarding routes and launch dates to be announced in due course.

LOT Polish Airlines and TUI Airways, which also applied, did not meet the requirements. On the other hand, Norwegian Air Shuttle submitted its bid after the set deadline and, as a result, its application was not taken into consideration, according to the Ex-Yu Aviation web portal.

The Sarajevo International Airport confirmed last week that the public call issued by the Sarajevo Canton Tourist Board was closed, and that it was aimed at the tourism development, establishing of new routes and increasing the number of passengers.

 

The public call targeted airlines to either launch operations or establish a base in Sarajevo, offering funds to carriers introducing flights from unserved destinations in the past twelve months, starting services to strategically important destinations, stationing an aircraft in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital, or commencing flights longer than six hours.

The value of the subsidies has not been made public. Routes deemed to be of strategic importance from Sarajevo are Berlin, Memmingen, Malmo, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Paris, Basel, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, London, Brussels, Rome, Milan, Budapest, Prague, Barcelona, Girona, Madrid, Geneva, Bari, Stockholm, Oslo, Dusseldorf, Athens, Tirana, Skopje, Izmir, Antalya, Podgorica, Abu Dhabi, Warsaw, any point in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Indonesia, Jordan, Japan, Lebanon, India, Israel, and Malaysia, as well as any destination in North America.

Ryanair and SunExpress, which have applied for the subsidies, do not operate flights to Sarajevo Airport, whereas Wizz Air recently launched subsidised services from London Luton. It’s Emirati subsidiary maintains seasonal operations from Abu Dhabi to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital.

Some airlines have already announced new services to Sarajevo for next year, including Pegasus Airlines from Antalya and Air Arabia from Sharjah, with the latter being restored after almost two years. Based on indirect traffic flows, Sarajevo Airport’s busiest unserved route in Europe (including Turkey) is Ankara. It is followed by Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Adana, Prague, Milan, Trabzon, and Barcelona, the Ex-Yu Aviation reported.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/three-low-cost-carriers-win-sarajevo-tourist-board-public-call-for-new-routes-from-sarajevo/

Over 150,000 people sign ProGlas initiative

November 27, 2023

Over 150,000 people have signed ProGlas, an initiative launched on November 7 by a group of concerned intellectuals and public figures calling people to vote in the December 17 elections.

The non-party-oriented figures gathered around the ProGlas initiative include former president of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts Vladimir Kostic, former rector of the University of Belgrade Ivanka Popovic, actress Svetlana Bojkovic, actor Dragan Bjelogrlic, judge Miodrag Majic, director Srdan Golubovic and others.

ProGlas initiators said they will hold a public debate in the Serbian city of Valjevo on Monday, followed by one in the city of Kragujevac on Wednesday.

Source:  https://n1info.rs/english/news/over-150000-people-sign-proglas-initiative/

SPS leader-It is in Serbia’s best interest that Vucic be President, I be PM

November 27, 2023

Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) leader Ivica Dacic said it was in Serbia’s best interest that Aleksandar Vucic be the Serbian president and that he be the Prime Minister.

Dacic was speaking at the SPS – United Serbia – Greens of Serbia coalition convention held in Belgrade in the presence of 20,000 people.

“This is the best solution for Serbia’s political stability – not for me personally, but for state and national interests,” said Dacic.

He said the goal of the Socialist Party of Serbia is to ensure the stability and security of the people, which is why he expects victory in the upcoming elections, together with the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS).

“The times ahead require experience, stability and unity. I hope that, through my years of service, I have gained experience that I will use to ensure the stability and security of our homeland, with the smart leadership of our President Aleksandar Vucic. If the people want me to be the Prime Minister, we can do a great deal together,” Dacic told the main election campaign rally.

Source:  https://n1info.rs/english/news/sps-leader-it-is-in-serbia-s-best-interest-that-vucic-be-president-i-be-pm/

Vucic oversteps constitutional powers with yet another election campaign promise

November 27, 2023

Overstepping his constitutional powers, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday evening that high school students in Serbia will get 10,000 dinars each from the state.

“In the next ten days we will transfer the money to local self-governments, which will then make the payments,” Vucic told Pink TV, adding that he had discussed this with Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Finance Minister Sinisa Mali.

The President said he “believes that this is a particularly important measure ahead of the holidays.”

In addition, he announced that students in Serbia will get 1,000 dinars each through their student cards.

“Already 66,000 students have applied for student cards, and the Posal Savings Bank will pay 1,000 dinars each, and we will reimburse the Postal Saving Bank,” said Vucic.

The President has also promised 20,000 dinars to all pensioners by November 30, student card discounts, and 10,000 dinars to all welfare recipients.

Serbian parliamentary and local elections in over 60 cities and municipalities are to be held on December 17.

Source:  https://n1info.rs/english/news/vucic-oversteps-constitutional-powers-with-yet-another-election-campaign-promise/

PM Brnabic says high level of agreement reached with farmers

November 27, 2023

Following a new meeting with the representatives of farmers held Sunday in the village of Kisac, Vojvodina, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the negotiations were difficult, that many things were discussed and that much needs to be worked out.

“I think we reached a high level of agreement, we managed to agree on many issues, there are still some that we will discuss at the next meeting” on Wednesday, said the Prime Minister.

We should see how private households could take part in the commodity market independently, so they would no longer have to depend on cartels and monopolists, because that will define their position and the sustainability of their business and production in the coming years, said Brnabic.

She said this was a difficult task, that it is important to finish it in the next few months, adding that a new government that is to be formed after the December elections will be responsible for it.

“Regarding excises, we additionally clarified this, but there are still a few more things that need to be done this week, such as to amend the Ministry of Trade decree that limits the purchase of fuel to two times 60 liters, we will increase this to one purchase of 400 liters by the end of the year”, said Brnabic.

She added that she “believes that many things that we now have as problems will not be problems in 2024.”

“In addition, the most important thing for the farmers are the subsidies of 18,000 dinars (1 euro 117 dinars) per hectare,” said the Prime Minister.

“It is important that we continue to talk and to also have such meetings in future,” said Brnabic, adding that she now has a much better understanding of the situation the farmers are in.

Mileta Slankamenac of the Initiative for the Survival of Serbian Farmers said another meeting with the farmers and the workgroup would be held on Wednesday and that the implementation of everything agreed will start to the extent that it is possible, as well as that work will begin on new a legal framework when the new parliament is elected.

Asked if the farmers are satisfied with what has been agreed, he said they are much more satisfied than before, but that they “will never be satisfied.” He added that there would be no more road blockades.

Asked by reporters whether an agreement has been reached, both Brnabic and Slankamenac gave vague answers and repeated that the negotiations would continue on Wednesday.

Source:  https://n1info.rs/english/news/pm-brnabic-says-high-level-of-agreement-reached-with-farmers/

Croatian FM hopes European Council will open entry talks with Bosnia in December

November 27, 2023

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman has expressed hope that during its meeting on 14-15 December, the European Council will give a greenlight to opening the accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina after this candidate fulfills the additional conditions.

In the early November the European Commission said the EU should begin membership talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina “once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria is achieved”.

Grlic-Radman said in an interview with the Radio-television HercegBosnia in Mostar, which was broadcast on Sunday, that he hoped that the political decision in December by the European Council “will be the reward for all the results which Bosnia and Herzegovina has achieved, although it is not easy in any country that has a multinational character and such history.”

“It is necessary to have political will and all the leaders are supposed to demonstrate the will for Bosnia and Herzegovina's European journey.”

The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina would have to ensure the adoption of at least four laws by March 2024 if they want their country to receive approval for the opening of talks on membership of the European Union, the head of the EU Delegation in Sarajevo, Johann Sattler, said in mid-November.

The amendment to the Law on Courts, the Law on the Prevention of Conflicts of Interest, to the Election Law in the part concerning the integrity of the electoral process, and to the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering were cited by Sattler as the requirement for the opening of the entry.

Grlic-Radman said that it was especially important to amend the election legislation to ensure that all the three constituent peoples are on an equal footing and that no citizen is discriminated against.

“BiH must function in line with the Dayton Agreement, as a single state with the two entities and the three constituent peoples.”

He also praised the Council of Minister led by PM Borjana Kristo for its efforts to make sure that Bosnia and Herzegovina makes a headway on its EU journey.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/croatian-fm-hopes-european-council-will-open-entry-talks-with-bosnia-in-december/

BIRN-Telekom Srbija covertly selling off strategic assets

November 27, 2023

For several months now the state-owned Telekom Srbija company has been secretly preparing to sell off its strategic assets, the BIRN investigative website reported.

These assets include the most important telecom towers and passive infrastructure business, such as power stations, solar panels and land. A total of 1,827 such towers, of which 995 are in Serbia, 725 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and 107 in Montenegro, are being acquired by British company Actis GP LLP, reported BIRN.

This investment company should get funding from, among other, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s credit institution. The IFC board is to pass a decision on the investment of 75 million US dollars for the purchase of Telekom Srbija’s assets a day after the elections in Serbia, on December 18.

The sale has been prepared since end of last year and kept away from the public eye.

“Actis participated in a wide auction process launched by the Seller in Q4 2022, and following multiple rounds, was selected as preferred bidder by June 2023, after which Actis entered into an exclusivity agreement and bilateral negotiations with Telekom Srbija,” says the information posted on the International Finance Corporation website on this project, called the Western Balkan Towers. The project was made public on November 16.

In addition to the process of selling Telekom’s strategic assets in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina taking place in secret, the information on the price is also kept confidential.

“The acquisition will be funded by a combination of equity and bank debt. The acquisition price is commercially sensitive and will not be disclosed at this stage,” said the IFC on its website.

Telekom Srbija CEO Vladimir Lucic told BIRN that the sales process was not secret but that the sale of the telecom towers was decided on in an international tender. Lucic also claims that these are not strategically important assets, but says that all the antenna towers that the company has in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina will be sold.

“This was not concealed. With our consent the IFC and EBRD made public the details of the project and we will publicize the rest in agreement with foreign business partners. The price is still secret, but it is very significant, it is a large amount of money,” said Lucic.

The IFC, which is part of the World Bank Group, said that the transaction is subject to clearance by all applicable regulatory and competition authorities.

Following the sale, Telekom Srbija will lease the towers under long-term master service agreements and pay Actis for it, and has also committed to lease additional Actis towers under a build-to-suit program.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is also considering a minority investment, on which a decision is to be made by the EBRD Board of Directors on November 28, 2023.

EBRD told BIRN that the project will be discussed by the Board of Directors before the end of the year, and that it has still not been signed. We will inform you about the additional details as soon as the agreement is signed, said the EBRD is its reply.

BIRN asked Actis, IFC and the Serbian Government about the negotiations on the sale of Telekom’s assets, but they did not respond by the time of publication.

Source:  https://n1info.rs/english/news/birn-telekom-srbija-covertly-selling-off-strategic-assets/

Serbia’s Security Intelligence Agency doesn’t protect the country, but the regime

November 26, 2023

Nova TV news director Slobodan Georgiev said that “it doesn’t matter who is in charge in the BIA (Serbia’s Security Intelligence Agency) is", as this institution is not being used to help the country, but rather the regime.

„Whether it’s Gasic, Vulin, Loncar, you know what they do, how they behave, they don’t use that service to help Serbia, but the regime,” he said.

He stressed that the BIA is “still the most powerful institution in Serbia today.”

“They can do anything. If you follow the judiciary in our country, this fight against corruption, small cases in Serbia where people are arrested for 200, 300 RSD in bribes, and in every case you see that the BIA participated, what is the BIA doing – listening in,“ Georgiev said.

Source:  https://n1info.rs/english/news/nova-tv-neews-director-serbia-s-security-intelligence-agency-doesnt-protect-the-country-but-the-regime/

Bosnian Serb politicians call for dismissal of BiH Defence Minister over his claims regarding “Russian military camps” in the country

November 26, 2023

BiH Presidency member Zeljka Cvijanovic argued that the Defence Minister, Zukan Helez, should be dismissed over his recent statements about the existence of paramilitary formations and camps in the territory of the country’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity.

Cvijanovic made this statement ahead of a BiH Presidency session for which she requested the agenda to include a discussion regarding Helez’s statements.

“I initiated that point for the session of the Presidency and we will ask the intelligence agency for information, I will insist that he reveals where he got that information”, Cvijanovic said.

“He should be dismissed, it is not the first time he has come out with such stories absolutely with the intention of destabilizing relations. It is unbelievable that he is performing such an important function”, she said.

Meanwhile, Sanja Vulic, MP in the House of Representatives representing the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), the ruling party in the RS, said that the party will submit an initiative for the dismissal of Helez.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/bosnian-serb-politicians-call-for-dismissal-of-bih-defence-minister-over-his-claims-regarding-russian-military-camps-in-the-country/

Bishop Grigorije-Those who are ready for dialogue are the only people who can „defend“ Kosovo

November 26, 2023

"Today, territory is the least what divides Serbs and Albanians like many other peoples. There is plenty of territory. There is enough space for everyone, for everyone to live happily and contently, and to be rich at the same time. People are first and foremost divided by ideology, and right behind ideology, which is most often a product of someone’s imagination, as its inseparable part, lies human stupidity, human limitations, over which a person wants to exclude another person from his life,“ Bishop Grigorije said.

Exactly two months after the Banjska events, together with his monastic brethren, the bishop of the Düsseldorf and All of Germany celebrated St.Patron’s Day of King Stefan Dečanski in Visoki Decani monastery.

Commenting on the violence in Banjska, the Bishop says it’s a bad dream. „The one who organized, instigated it, has no brains, no good intentions, and no idea about life, I’ll be brutally honest.“

He experienced as particularly devastating the fact that another monastery, “a glorious and unsullied monastery,” the endowment of St. King Milutin, was dragged into the violence.

The Bishop points out that the Diocese of Raska-Prizren reacted very well. „Which comforted me a bit,“ Bishop Grigorije said in an interview for KoSSev following his visit to Kosovo.

What do you notice when it comes to changes in Kosovo since your last visit?

I have to say that I did not notice any changes with the „naked eye“. Simply, the situation in Kosovo is the same, as seen from the outside, but from the inside one can feel some kind of terrible tension, especially among the Serbs. There is tension and a kind of downheartedness. I think people are kind of at a loss. On the other hand, the people I met in Decani are people who have decided to continue living in Kosovo at any cost, despite everything, therefore, these are determined people. By this, I also include monks who have a dose of joy, of course, they are in some sense also eschatological people, people of Heaven, but they certainly have a little better security compared to other Serbs in Kosovo, compared to the so-called ordinary people. I see concern among top church officials, but also a determination to carry on.

„All of this could be compared to blood work test that shows that the body is facing serious problems, but that life is still going on, that life is not being given up. However, the biggest problem, from the perspective of someone who visits Kosovo from time to time, is that no improvement has been seen for a long time.“

What kind of image from Kosovo do you get? How does information travel from Kosovo to Dusseldorf?

I think it’s an issue of how interested the people there are, who and what we have in Kosovo, how important we feel that area is, and how important we experience the whole Kosovo matter. There is a lot, a lot of information, and a lot of concern among our people who live in Dusseldorf, Berlin, Germany, Europe, America, and all over the world, and everyone has a feeling similar to the one I observed in Kosovo: a worry, pain, but also a dose of hope and faith that nothing can defeat, which is certainly a note-worthy phenomenon.

„What I can also say when it comes to both the people who live in Kosovo and everyone who is interested in that issue is that no one has any hope in state structures anymore. Somehow, one gets the impression that these people have given up on Kosovo.“

As we can see, the so-called International Community is occupied with other topics and other issues compared to which Kosovo is now a small and inferior problem. On the other hand, I am deeply convinced that there are people here, among Albanians and Serbs, among the Balkans, among Europeans, who would know how and be able to come to an agreement on this issue and find a solution. The people who are now in a position to look for a solution, obviously do not care about it, and I honestly wonder, even if they did care, are they even capable of such a thing? My impression is that they don’t care about the solution and that they are not capable of finding it, but I might be wrong.

Speaking of such an impression, how did you experience Banjska? What happened there, in your opinion?

I experienced that event, which I wish was a bad dream, like a game: when we were children, we played a stupid game, like a war game, called „Ta-Ta“. For me, Banjska resembled that game, but here it was much scarier because the game involved real human lives, and real weapons, not wooden children’s guns. It is especially devastating to me that such a glorious and unsullied monastery as Banjska was mixed up in the whole story. I think that the Diocese of Raska-Prizren reacted very well, which consoled me at least a little, but whoever organized it, whoever instigated it, he certainly has no brains, no good intentions, and no idea about life, I’ll be brutally honest.

What does Kosovo represent for Serbia today? What do Kosovo Serbs mean to Serbs today? What do to Albanians?

Today, for all those we mentioned, for those who should deal with the issues that burden the everyday life of Kosovo Serbs, it seems to me, that Kosovo Serbs are a kind of ballast, and there is no doubt that it is very sad and ugly. For those Serbs who have compassion for their brothers and sisters in Kosovo, they are real martyrs, heroes and so on.

„For me personally, they are definitely a pledge, they are a pledge for the future, they are seeds for survival. I don’t know if people reading this interview know what it means to preserve a seed for something. When seed is preserved, the best part of the wheat we have, or whatever else, is left as a seed, so that it can continue to be sown and produce new wheat. This is how I see the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and, of course, I do not separate them from the priests and monks in Kosovo, and that is the seed for the future which will be uncertain, but I believe there is hope as long as one candle burns in Kosovo.“

What causes more divide between Serbs and Albanians? Territory, a shared bitter history, or something else in the middle?

Today, territory is what divides Serbs and Albanians like many other peoples, the least. There is plenty of territory. There is enough space for everyone, for everyone to live happily and contentedly and to be rich at the same time. People are first and foremost divided by ideology, and right behind ideology, which is most often a product of someone’s imagination, as its inseparable part, lies human stupidity, and human limitations, over which a person wants to exclude another person from his life.

„Despite that, it seems to me that there are still many normal people today, people who want a peaceful life for their children, for their families, regardless of what their name may be, what their last name may be and how they show their belief in one and the same God. Ideologies have done an awful lot of harm to humanity. I believe that the land is fertile, extensive, there is room for everyone and it is a blessing to those who will build peace in Kosovo, who will build peace in Serbia, who will build peace in the Balkans and peace among people, and for all that, I keep repeating it even though I don’t have the impression that anyone is hearing me, good will is needed, as the Gospel tells us.“

Can Vučić and Kurti bring peace? Who can bring peace? How can the current situation be defused? How can reconciliation be reached?

I think that what we are discussing cannot and must not be the matter concerning only one or two people who hold the most responsible positions, although a lot depends on their initiative. My impression is that we should all together be one different society, one society in which it will never occur again that important issues, such as the one we are discussing, depend on two people, even if I were one of them. What if I were crazy or going crazy, what if I were drunk, what if I were drugged, what if I am ideologically infected to the point that I can’t see anything apart from my own ideology?!

„Therefore, as a society, we must change, we must cease being a society in which the fate of the entire nation depends on an individual. That is why I am happy that in Serbia, which until recently was ruled by the feeling that it was impossible to change the government, there are people like those who gathered around ProGlas. Let me say right away, that I didn’t sign it, but not because I don’t agree with it – on the contrary, I agree with every word, but because it was kind of inappropriate for me to sign it because I’m first and foremost a church official“.

„But if I were an ordinary citizen, of course I would sign it because, as I said, I agree with every word of it. I find the enthusiasm of the folks who launched ProGlas fascinating. These people spent their precious time, these are people who by all parameters can be said to be successful, accomplished, to have done something with their lives, but they are going around the towns and talking to people face to face, they don’t even use media or social networks. It is a phenomenon that I have longed for, and I think that no one will be able to resist it and that such a spirit will simply win in the end. People will start to talk face to face again, exposing all those lies that have accumulated so much that they look like some kind of mountain that cannot be crossed or bypassed. We simply need to take off our masks and look into each other’s eyes, and I think that ProGlas means exactly that.“

Why was Kosovo not included in ProGlas? You talked about us as a pledge for the future, a seed for survival? What should Kosovo Serbs expect, who are still citizens of the Republic of Serbia, and even citizens of Kosovo, if they do not hear a single word about themselves from those who pretend to be new forces? I know that there are people from Kosovo who signed ProGlas, and there are many more who are full of criticism of the current government. However, they are confused with this content, to put it mildly.

Yes, I am sorry that it is not part of it because I know that most of the signatories carry it in their hearts; many also in their actions. I am also sorry for our people in Kosovo. I know that ProGlas is supported by many people from there. That’s why I understand their confusion and sadness, especially now when they need encouragement to preserve Kosovo first of all as their home and as our common pledge, as I said a moment ago; that is, as a place where they will find a common language with their neighbors so that our children will never go to war again, but instead will respect each other as brothers and neighbors.

„There is no one among the noble, young, educated if you will – patriotic forces of Serbia, who, I believe, do not carry the suffering of our people and all other peoples in their hearts. More than once, apart from heroism, that is, willingness to defend one’s own, I have also spoken about courage, how much one loves one’s own when one also takes care of what belongs to other people.“

Kosovo can only be defended by those who are ready for dialogue

I supported ProGlas because it is not political and does not support any politician. It is paradoxical that people thought and believed that radicals, right-wingers, and in general – those seemingly uncompromising – would preserve or defend Kosovo and the people who are in the minority. However, I believe that only those who are ready for dialogue can do so. I hope that such people will appear, that is, they must appear – on all sides – as those who want to and know how to talk. In ProGlas, I see the human need for dialogue, and that is why, among other things, I support it. I also believe in our people who support ProGlas.

In addition to ProGlas, I must say that I am also pleased with the initiatives that our young man from Kosovo and Metohija, Savo Manojlović, has been starting for some time with his organization. He is already entering political maturity and maturing into a serious democratic politician. Those are the things that give me hope. I am simply convinced that everything else that rules our political scene today has been outgrown and literally wasted. That’s why a new initiative must be created in which citizens have the opportunity and power to react to any stupidity of the government, the mayor, the president, or the prime minister, and their reaction simply results in them being left without power.

„For example, I now live in this very rich and successful country in many respects, certainly not in everything, there are problems here as well. For example, a few years ago it turned out that one paragraph in the doctorate of a minister was not completely plagiarism-free and he had to resign following the public’s reaction. Even though he was the most promising politician in Germany. Therefore, society is needed, not only politicians are needed by society, but a society is needed that will correct politicians, and of course, what I have been constantly advocating from the beginning, a system is needed, i.e. institutions that protect all people, not just those who manage that system. I practically grew up in a monastery, I lived a monastic life, and I know that a monastery, like the Decani monastery, where there are people determined to devote themselves to God, cannot function without a system and without respect for that system. And if that applies to a monastery, where people live who think very similarly about life, what can we say about a human community the size of a country?“

Source:  https://n1info.rs/english/news/bishop-grigorije-those-who-are-ready-for-dialogue-are-the-only-people-who-can-defend-kosovo/

Vucic says Serbia will not let Kosovo into the UN-„I said 1,000 times that I will not sign off on it“

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, said that Serbia will “not let Kosovo” into the United Nations and that Serbia is facing difficult times.

“Before the elections in the United States of America and before the European elections, they will try to solve many things in Kosovo. It won’t be easy. It is our duty to fight and protect our country as much as we can, always and in every place,” Vucic told reporters on Sunday.

Responding to questions, Vucic said that he thinks that the Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Army, General Milan Mojsilovic, will talk with the commander of KFOR on Monday only about security in Kosovo, because there is nothing else to talk about.

“When you speak in a political sense, you witness all the time, not double standards, but almost recklessly hypocritical behavior, in which KFOR and NATO rightly refer to Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council. They derive their mandate from Resolution 1244. When you ask them about other norms from that Resolution, then the answer is „forget it, don’t look to the past, look to the future”,“ said Vucic.

“This is something that we, who are not a world power, have to get used to and we have to fight for our people and country within the limits of what is possible,” stated Vucic, adding that “their main goal is to put us in some legal framework in which we will, in one way or another, recognize the independence of Kosovo.”

“It is not a question of whether you want to solve the problem with some elections in the north of Kosovo by holding elections for Serbia. These are all problems, but none of them are the point. The point is whether we want to let them into the UN or not,” said Vucic.

Vucic said that he directly told French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giordija Meloni, President of the European Council Charles Michel, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy and Security Josep Borrell and Special EU Envoy for Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina Miroslav Lajcak that he will not sign off on that.

„I’ve already said 1,000 times that I won’t do it,” he said.

Source:  https://n1info.rs/english/news/vucic-says-serbia-will-not-let-kosovo-into-the-un-i-said-1000-times-that-i-will-not-sign-off-on-it/ 

BiH Intelligence-Security Agency has no information about alleged existence of Russian military camps in the country

November 25, 2023

The Intelligence-Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (OSA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina told the Srna news agency that it has no information about the existence of military camps and paramilitary formations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that it forwarded this statement to the Chair of the BiH Council of Ministers, Borjana Kristo.

On Friday, the BiH Prosecutor's Office opened a case based on the claims of the Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zukan Helez, that there are Russian military training camps in the territory of BiH’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity. Helez made this statement in an interview for N1.

“They have been located, we are monitoring them and we can easily eliminate them,” Helez alleged, adding that the process of establishing the camps is being led by “some people from Russia”.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/bih-intelligence-security-agency-has-no-information-about-alleged-existence-of-russian-military-camps-in-the-country/

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulates Bosnia and Herzegovina Statehood Day

November 25, 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina their country's Statehood Day and stated that the US will continue to assist BiH in its Euro-Atlantic integration and "hold accountable those individuals and institutions that threaten Bosnia and Herzegovina’s stability and security".

“On behalf of the United States of America, I congratulate the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina on marking Statehood Day. The United States has been your enduring partner for over three decades and remains firmly committed to protecting Bosnia and Herzegovina’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and multiethnic character. We will continue to work with institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina to advance the reforms necessary to help secure your country’s rightful place in the Euro-Atlantic community of nations, and we will continue to hold accountable those individuals and institutions that threaten Bosnia and Herzegovina’s stability and security”, said his statement, published by the US State Department.

“The United States remains a friend and partner to all the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina – Bosniak, Croat, Serb, and all citizens – and stands steadfast in our commitment to helping the citizens of the country build a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous future for themselves, their children, and future generations”, Blinken stated.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/us-secretary-of-state-antony-blinken-congratulates-bosnia-and-herzegovina-statehood-day/

Veterans in Bosnia's RS entity protest over event in Banjaluka-“BiH Statehood Day means nothing to us”

November 25, 2023

After the Interior Ministry of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity banned the celebration of BiH Statehood Day in Banja Luka, members of the veterans' organization of the RS held a rally today in response to the announcement that an event is being organised to mark the holiday at the Marriott Hotel. The RS veterans said that "they will not allow this humiliation” and that the holiday “means nothing” to them.

The veterans first gathered in front of the m:tel building in Banja Luka and then walked to the hotel where the Statehood Day event is taking place. They stayed there for a short time and headed towards Borik neighbourhood, where the headquarters of the SDP in Banja Luka is located.

They carried RS flags, and sang nationalist songs, chanting “This is Serbia”. The rally orgnaised by the RS veterans was not approved by the RS Interior Ministry.

The president of the Republika Srpska Veterans Organization, Radan Ostojic, said that in this way they want to show their dissatisfaction with the initiative to celebrate BiH Statehood Day in Banja Luka.

“When we found out that it would be marked, we sent a letter to the Interior Ministry of the RS. Although it was banned, they have announced that they will still gather and we want to say in a democratic way that we are against it. This is an insult to us fighters who fought for the RS”, he said.

He argued that the RS and Bosnia and Herzegovina as it is described in the Dayton Agreement have “nothing to do” with the declaration of the ZAVNOBiH antifascist liberation movement from 80 years ago.

“They come with the intention of provoking us and that will not bring anything good to anyone. For the Serb people, peace is imperative and the RS has no alternative, and we will fight for that idea. We will send a clear message and we will certainly not create an incident that would destabilize the situation. We have a special tolerance, but we perceive what has been happening lately as a humiliation,” he said.

The BiH Statehood Day is officially only observed in the country’s Federation (FBiH) entity. The BiH Foreign Affairs Minister, as well as the Minister of Development, Entrepreneurship and Crafts in Bosnia's FBiH entity, have meanwhile arrived at the hotel in Banjaluka to attend the event. Members of the RS Interior Ministry set up a corridor in order to prevent the protesters from accessing the building.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/rs-veterans-protest-over-event-in-banjaluka-bih-statehood-day-means-nothing-to-us/

Bosnia and Herzegovina marks Statehood Day

November 25, 2023

The flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina was raised on the hill Hum above Sarajevo, as numerous officials and citizens gathered downtown and laid flowers in front of the Eternal Flame on Saturday to mark BiH Statehood Day and pay their respects to the anti-fascists who defended and liberated the country from fascism.

On this day 80 years ago, the ZAVNOBiH antifascist liberation movement gathered in its first session in the western town of Mrkonjic Grad and passed a decision restoring the country's statehood within its historic borders, which is marked today as the Statehood Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The ZAVNOBIH council, counting a total of 247 councillors from all parts of the country, issued a proclamation to the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina which said that “Bosnia and Herzegovina is an integral and indivisible state, neither Serbian nor Croatian or Muslim, but also Serbian and Muslim and Croatian, a twinned community in which full equality will be ensured for Muslims, Serbs and Croats, but also for all other peoples who live there.”

The significance of the session in Mrkonjic Grad lies in the fact that with these decisions, for the first time since 1463 when the country fell under Ottoman rule, Bosnia and Herzegovina restored its statehood. Owing to this, Bosnia and Herzegovina entered the future Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) as one of the six republics, equal to the others.

The ZAVNOBiH movement passed another important decision on July 1, 1944, adopting the Declaration on the Rights of Citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which guaranteed freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and agreement, association and press, personal and property security of citizens, and freedom of private initiative in economic life, as well as equality between women and men.

While numerous gatherings are organized in Sarajevo and across the country’s Federation (FBiH) entity, it is not observed institutionally in the other semi-autonomous entity in the country, the Serb-majority Republika Srpska (RS). This year, the Banja Luka Police Department banned the public gathering announced by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to mark the holiday, as well as the gathering organized by the Anti-Fascist Alliance of BiH (SUBNOR) in Mrkonjic Grad.

Among those to attend the gatherings in Sarajevo were the Chairman and Croat member of the BiH Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, and the Bosniak member, Denis Becirovic.

Komsic congratulated the citizens of BiH, noting that this is one of the two most important days of the year for the country. He went on to comment on the ban on the celebration of Statehood Day in the Mrkonjic Grad.

“Like every year, from the end of the war until today, it's always the same story when it comes to November 25 and March 1. Nothing is unexpected, no matter how much we look at it as a kind of political madness”, he said.

Komsic said that this is an example of “denial of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

Becirovic also addressed the crowd.

“Sooner or later, new generations of politicians must take over in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina and steer this country firmly toward the future, respecting all the great events of our past. I want to point out that it is not true that BiH has no continuity, even the Dayton Agreement could not destroy the foundations of ZAVNOBiH because ZAVNOBiH recognized the historical borders of BiH, the Dayton Agreement confirmed them. ZAVNOBiH proclaimed the equality of all citizens and ethnicities, and this is also proclaimed in this Constitution. BiH has centuries of continuity and all of us from BiH, regardless of religious, ethnic or other affiliation, can be proud of our homeland BiH”, he said.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/bosnia-and-herzegovina-marks-statehood-day-photo/

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