International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Dodik: RS entity doesn’t accept Christian Schmidt as High Rep in Bosnia

May 30, 2021

Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity “does not accept” the appointment of German diplomat Christian Schmidt to the post of High Representative in BiH, tripartite Presidency Chairman, Milorad Dodik, said on Sunday.

The Peace Implementation Council (PIC), which oversees Bosnia’s peace process, formally appointed German politician Christian Schmidt to serve as the next High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the international official monitoring the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement.

Dodik said that the PIC was “bluffing” when it “supposedly appointed” the official, arguing that the process was not according to the procedure.

“The person they supposedly appointed as their High Representative will not be acceptable and Republika Srpska will not accept him or any of his competencies,” Dodik said, urging the public to reject Schmidt’s appointment as well.
He argued that the PIC did not have the power to appoint the official and that it was done in a “suspicious” way.

“That only serves as proof that Bosnia and Herzegovina should not exist as a country,” he said, adding that “this is the best proof that the international community does not believe in BiH.”

He noted that the RS National Assembly has adopted conclusions that say that it does not accept Schmidt’s appointment.

“Of course we can talk about a new High Representative, provided that the procedures for his election and appointment are followed. If that does not happen, of course, we will not accept any other suspicious appointment, not even the one they tried to make,” said Dodik.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/dodik-rs-entity-doesnt-accept-christian-schmidt-as-high-rep-in-bosnia/

Serbia’s Amb to US: Biden administration fully accepts Washington Agreement

May 29, 2021

Serbia’s Ambassador to the United States, Marko Djuric, said that the administration of US President Joseph Biden accepts all obligations from the Washington Agreement, which was reached during the time of former President Donald Trump.

Djuric told ‘Politika’ that he spoke with representatives of the US State Department, the National Security Council and people from the new administration in recent weeks and that he heard encouraging messages regarding the attitude towards the Washington Agreement.

As for the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Djuric said that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti „in recent weeks has shown a tendency towards spite and not an overly constructive approach, even in relation to the suggestions of top representatives of the American administration.“

„From the talks we had in previous weeks, it follows that the United States will support the efforts of the European Union as the main responsible facilitator of the dialogue based on the mandate it got from the United Nations Security Council in 2011,” he stressed.

He said that “bearing in mind that since the beginning of the year, instead of suppressing violence, we have witnessed dozens of attacks on Serbian Orthodox Church property and messages about the abolition of endangered church property and Serbian shrines, it is a confirmation of immaturity and unwillingness to take responsibility for the security and protection of shrines.”

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-amb-to-us-biden-administration-fully-accepts-washington-agreement/

Serbia’s Def Min quits SNS party post in Belgrade over wiretapping scandal

May 29, 2021

Serbia’s Defense Minister, Nebojsa Stefanovic, resigned on Saturday as head of the ruling party's branch in Belgrade over the recent scandal involving the illegal wiretapping of President Aleksandar Vucic.

Stefanovic lost the vote of confidence of local councils of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) because of the wiretapping affair that occurred during his time serving as interior minister.

„There will be no beheadings in our party,” Vucic said, confirming that he has received Stefanovic’s resignation from the post of the head of the party’s Belgrade council.

He said that the party will handle the matter internally and that it will be guided by principles.

The President announced fundamental changes during the forthcoming party convention.

A member of the party leadership and lawmaker Vladimir Djukanovic said on Saturday that the main reason for the no-confidence vote and his request for Stefanovic’s resignation was the “wiretapping of the president” by a body Stefanovic was in charge of.

Djukanovic said that he was one of the 50 founders of the Serbian Progressive Party and that he sees it as “his family,” but that at some point a “parallel system was developing” where certain members were “preparing the assassination of President Vucic.”

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-def-min-quits-sns-party-post-in-belgrade-over-wiretapping-scandal/

Vucic: I won’t sign Kosovo independence, dialogue with Pristina resumes in June

May 29, 2021

Serbia’s President and leader of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), Aleksandar Vucic, said that he would not sign the recognition of Kosovo's independence, regardless of the pressure he expects in June when the dialogue on Kosovo should be resumed.

„The essence of running the country is independence, that nobody can make decisions on behalf of Serbia. They will not be made by any foreigner or ambassador, „said Vucic at the opening of the session of the SNS Main Board.

Vucic said that Pristina is not fulfilling its obligations from the reached agreements, but that “the West does not care about that.”

He said that a strategy had been devised against him, which included pressure on countries that did not recognize Kosovo’s independence as well as the „further criminalization” of his family.

„They did that with the support of some of our members who thought that they would probably get a medal from abroad and rise to power,“ said Vucic.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/vucic-i-wont-sign-kosovo-independence-dialogue-with-pristina-resumes-in-june/

Parliamentary party SPAS joins ruling SNS in Serbia

May 29, 2021

The Serbian Patriotic Alliance (SPAS), led by former water polo player Aleksandar Sapic, has officially joined the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of President Aleksandar Vucic and was elected vice president of the SNS Main Board on Saturday.

SPAS won 3.83 percent of votes and 11 seats in the Assembly of Serbia in the 2020 elections, but one MP withdrew from his parliamentary group, so it still has 10 representatives.

The move reduces the number of opposition MPs to only a few, as part of the opposition boycotted the elections in 2020, while even many of those few who did enter the race for parliament failed to pass the 3 percent threshold.

Sapic has been the mayor of Belgrade’s largest municipality, New Belgrade, since 2012 and is currently in his third term. Media speculate he could be a future candidate for mayor of the capital representing the ruling party in the elections in 2022.

He was also previously a member of the Democratic Party while it was in power and he served as assistant to the mayor of Belgrade between 2009 and 2012.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/parliamentary-party-spas-joins-ruling-sns-in-serbia/

EU, US envoys to visit Kosovo

May 28, 2021

The European Union and US envoys for Kosovo, Miroslav Lajcak and Matthew Palmer will be in Pristina on May 31 and June 1, the Beta news agency reported quoting a statement from the EU Office in Pristina.

It said that Lajcak and Palmer will meet with President Vjosa Osmani, Prime Minister Albin Kurti and other top officials in Pristina and added that Lajcak will also meet with international community representatives and the heads of EU missions. Lajcak and Palmer will hold a joint news conference on June 1.

Lajcak met with Palmer in Brussels earlier this week to discuss the situation in the Western Balkans and the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/eu-us-envoys-to-visit-kosovo/

Serbian government Working Group reports attacks on journalists

May 28, 2021

The Serbian government’s Working Group for the Safety of Journalists said on Friday that it had received some 30 reports of threats and attacks on journalists in May.

A government press release said that the Working Group met on Friday and said that three of the reported cases were passed on to contact points in the Internal Affairs Ministry and prosecution. It said that the Working Group initiated proceedings for 38 cases up to April 30 this year.

Deputy State Public Prosecutor Branko Stamenkovic informed the meeting of proceedings underway for attacks on journalists and Ombudsman Zoran Pasalic told the meeting that the data base of attacks on journalists has been set up and that data is being gathered from media and journalists’ associations.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-government-working-group-reports-attacks-on-journalists/

Anti-Semitic posters in central Belgrade

May 28, 2021

he Belgrade Jewish Community said that posters with anti-Semitic messages appeared in central Belgrade.

A press release said that the posters in the central 27 Marta street were reported to the police. “The anti-Semitic messages on those posters caused anxiety in the Jewish community in Serbia,” a report to the police said. It was signed by Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia President Robert Sabados.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/anti-semitic-posters-in-central-belgrade/

Serbian Doctors’ Union chief says working group to provide alibi for authorities

May 28, 2021

The head of the Serbian Doctors’ and Pharmacists’ Union told N1 on Friday that the authorities were setting up a working group to examine all COVID-related deaths to make an alibi for themselves prior to next year’s elections.

“This working group was formed to be an alibi in the election campaign. When you ask the (ruling Serbian Progressive Party) SNS why they hid the number of new cases and number of deaths they will come out with the findings of the working group,” Dr Rade Panic said on the N1 morning show.

Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar announced the forming of the working group earlier this week, saying that it would examine death certificates and medical documents and claiming that the World Health Organization banned autopsies.

Panic said that the authorities would form new working groups if any member of this one speaks the truth. He said the working group should consist of people of integrity who would not deceive the public and would not bow to the SNS.

He said that the pandemic is easing but is certainly not over. “We hope that we won’t have any more peaks like we did in November or December. The number of people who recovered from the disease and the number of people vaccinated should provide adequate collective immunity to prevent the hospitals from overflowing,” he said.

Panic said that 80 percent of the population has to be immune to stop the spread of the disease.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-doctors-union-chief-says-working-group-to-provide-alibi-for-authorities/

Montenegrin PM fails to sign agreement with Serbian Orthodox Church

May 28, 2021

The Serbian Orthodox Church and Montenegrin government did not sign an agreement to regulate their relations after Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic disclosed new reasons to postpone the signing.

The so-called Fundamental Contract between the Montenegrin government and the church is similar to agreements signed with other churches and religious communities. The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) and the previous Montenegrin government entered into a serious dispute after the adopting of a law on religious communities which the church claimed would allow the authorities to take control of church properties, monasteries and temples.

“The only reason for Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic’s trip to Belgrade was the signing of the Fundamental Agreement between the SPC and Montenegro but he disclosed new reasons because of which he believes the signing should be postoned,” the SPC said in a statement on its web site. It said that Patriarch Porfirije received Krivokapic and that the meeting was attended by Budimlje-Niksic Bishop Joanikije.

Krivokapic said in a Twitter post on Thursday evening that he was in Belgrade to tell the SPC elders that the people of Montenegro want Joanikije to take over as Montenegro-Littoral Metropolitan and that the agreement should be signed on October 30, the anniversary of the death of the previous Metropolitan Bishop Amfilohije.

The SPC said that the text of the contract was agreed with the Montenegrin government on Thursday morning and that Krivokapic’s arrival in Belgrade was confirmed but that the prime minister delayed his departure citing a number of reasons and arriving for the meeting with the Patriarch at 9 pm. “The Patriarch patiently listened to the new reasons and was surprised and did not see any reason or justification for Prime Minister Krivokapic’s intention not to sign the contract,” the statement said adding that the Patriarch and the bishops expressed concern for the position of the SPC and its faithful as the only church that did has not signed an agreement to guarantee its legal position. “The SPC and its faithful will not give up on the defense of its rights and holy sites,” it added.

Krivokapic said in a press release on Friday that the commitment to sign the agreement with the SPC was confirmed at his meeting with the Patriarch. “We remain in agreement with His Holiness to set a date to sign the agreement,” the press release said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/montenegrin-pm-fails-to-sign-agreement-with-serbian-orthodox-church/

Croatia registers 375 new coronavirus cases, 10 COVID-related deaths

May 27, 2021

Croatia has registered 375 new cases of coronavirus infection and ten more infected people have died in the past 24 hours, the national COVID response team said on Thursday.

There are currently 2,968 active cases in the country and 968 hospitalised patients with 95 of them on ventilators.

To date, a total of 1,994,545 people have been tested for the contagion, with 6,319 tests conducted in the past 24 hours and the share of the positive tests being 6%.

As of Thursday, 1,645,332 doses of vaccines have been administered. To date, 1,221,109 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine while 424,223 have received both shots.

Since 25 February when the first coronavirus case was detected in Croatia, to date, there have been 355,296 registered cases and 7,981 people have died as a consequence.

A total of 344,347 people have recovered of whom 509 in the past 24 hours.

There are currently 12,259 people in self-isolation.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/croatia-registers-375-new-coronavirus-cases-10-covid-related-deaths/

Bosnia reports 104 new coronavirus cases and 10 fatalities

May 27, 2021

Bosnian health officials reported 104 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, along with 10 virus-related fatalities.

The country's Federation (FBiH) entity reported 42 new cases after testing 1,640 samples for the new coronavirus. The entity's Public Health Institute said they recorded five deaths caused by the virus.

The Republika Srpska (RS) region said they registered 58 new cases of the disease after testing 503 suspected samples. This entity also reported having five fatalities over the last 24 hours.

Brcko District health officials said they recorded cour new coronavirus cases.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bosnia-reports-104-new-coronavirus-cases-and-10-fatalities/

Coronavirus UPDATE: 12 deaths, 326 new cases

May 27, 2021

The Serbian Health Ministry said in its daily 3:00 pm bulletin on Thursday that 12 people died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 6,823.

It said that 9,986 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours, including 326 who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The total number of people tested to date stands at 4,117,928 with 711,442 confirmed cases.

The bulletin said that there are 878 hospitalized cases, including 61 patients on ventilators.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-update-12-deaths-326-new-cases/

Serbia receives final shipment of Chinese coronavirus vaccine

May 27, 2021

Serbia received a final shipment of Chinese Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine on Thursday.

The 8th and final shipment brings the total number of doses supplied to Serbia by the Chinese pharmaceuticals company to 4.2 million.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told the media at Belgrade airport that the contract was for four million doses with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army donating another 200,000 doses. According to Brnabic Serbia now has enough doses of various coronavirus vaccine to inoculate 3,115,000 people. She said that 45.3 percent of the adult population of Serbia had been vaccinated to date, adding that this is not enough to achieve herd immunity.

China’s Ambassador in Belgrade Chen Bo said that her country would continue the “common fight” with Serbia in fighting the pandemic. “The Sinopharm company has fully met its contractual obligations which shows that China and Serbia are steel friends and reliable parters in critical times,” she said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbia-receives-final-shipment-of-chinese-coronavirus-vaccine/

War criminal Radovan Karadzic transferred to England to serve life sentence

May 27, 2021

Radovan Karadzic, a convicted war criminal and former top Bosnian Serb official has been transferred to a prison in England, defence team member Goran Petronijevic confirmed for the RTRS Thursday evening.

The defence has no information about where Karadzic currently is. He only contacted us upon landing to London, Petronijevic said.

Radovan Karadzic was sentenced by a UN tribunal to life in prison for genocide and other crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) confirmed earlier this month the decision on where he would serve his sentence was passed considering the agreement between the UN and the UK government on the enforcement of sentences of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) from March 2004.

The former President of wartime Republika Srpska (RS), now a Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity within Bosnia, was initially sentenced on March 24, 2016, to 40 years in prison by the now-closed ICTY. He was convicted of various crimes against humanity, including the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Croats, the siege of Sarajevo, the Srebrenica genocide and taking the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) hostages during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Both Karadzic and the prosecution appealed the 2016 judgement but in March 2019 the IMRTC, the ICTY's legal successor, increased the sentence to life imprisonment.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/war-criminal-radovan-karadzic-transfered-to-england-to-serve-life-sentence/

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