International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

UN SC postpones discussion on Bosnia as intl envoy warns about possible conflict

November 2, 2021

The session of the UN Security Council on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina initially set for November 2 has been postponed to still unconfirmed date, according to unofficial sources.

The information was shared by foreign correspondent in New York Erol Avdovic, who learned that the session – originally scheduled for Tuesday – is likely to be postponed for Wednesday or even later but not later than Friday, November 5.

The Security Council has not yet announced if the session would be postponed or not.

Among the top topics of the session is the extension of the mandate of the EUFOR mission, which is the European Union military deployment in BiH, overseeing the military part of the peace implementation after the end of the 1992-95 armed conflict.

Also, international community's envoy who oversees the civilian part of the 1995 peace agreement implementation Christian Schmidt is set to present his regular report to the UN.

The foreign media reported on Tuesday morning that Schmidt's report, which was sent to the UN HQ last Friday, is warning about a “very real” prospect of return to conflict and calling for reassessment of international military presence, if necessary.

According to Avdovic, there is a “fierce battle” within the UN Security Council on “saving private (Milorad) Dodik,” – Bosnian Serb leader and member of the State tripartite Presidency, who recently threatened with withdrawal of Serb-majority semi-autonomous region from the state institutions, primarily the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Dodik also said a while ago that Republika Srpska entity would ask for help of its “friends” if the NATO tried to intervene.

“The Russians threatened with a veto against the resolution on the extension of the EUFOR mandate at the UN Security Council, if Christian Schmidt addresses the Security Council. But, just like in good Western films, the American diplomatic cavalry has come to the stage (more behind the closed door). Now the Americans are setting their own conditions. I would say that the Americans now set their own red line. To be continued,” wrote Avdovic.

Christian Schmidt officially took office in August this year. Although his appointment was confirmed by the Peace Implementation Council, the international body implementing the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, just like Russia, Dodik never acknowledged the new high representative arguing that his appointment was illegal and illegitimate.

In July this year, the UN Security Council turned down a resolution proposed by Russia and China, which asked for the Office of the High Representative to be closed and his powers ended.

Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/un-sc-postpones-discussion-on-bosnia-as-intl-envoy-warns-about-possible-conflict/

Montenegro’s PM humiliated on arrival in Belgrade, Podgorica’s opposition says

November 3, 2021

How Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic was welcomed in Belgrade on Tuesday confirmed Belgrade's arrogant position, Vesko Garcevic, a professor of international relations at the University of Boston and former Montenegrin diplomat

He tweeted that „the way Krivokapic was greeted in Belgrade says a lot. but I would like to single out two things: that confirms Serbia’s arrogant, hegemonic position in the region and confirms that Montenegro should talk to Serbia only as an equal partner whose independent policy Belgrade must accept.“

Krivokapic arrived on his first official visit to Serbia and was greeted at the Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade by Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Branislav Nedimovic, in jeans and without a tie.

He started the visit as Montenegrin premierby laying a wreath in Serbia’s Government yard, where the first democratic Prime Minister Zorn Djindjic was assassinated in 2003.

The Montenegrin opposition saw the welcome as humiliation, not for Krivokapic personally, but for the state he represented, Montenegrin Television (RTCG) reported.

Predrag Boškovic, an MP of the Montenegrin Democratic Party, tweeted that „by this act, they showed how they perceive Montenegro and its Prime Minister. “

„The Prime Minister of a NATO member and the first next European Union member state was welcomed in jeans. Let’s remember the statement of Serbia’s officials after Krivokapic took office: „Lukewarmness cannot hold power“.

The dignity of the individual is his thing. The pride of the Prime Minister is a matter of the state,“ Boris Mugosa, an MP of the Social Democrats of Montenegro, wrote on his Twitter profile.

He added that he did not know the protocol but believed „this was a classic humiliation. Not for him (Krivokapic) but for the state he represents.“

Other opposition politicians agreed and even suggested Krivokapic cancel all meetings and return to Montenegro after such a welcome.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/montenegros-pm-humiliated-on-arrival-in-belgrade-podgoricas-opposition-says/

Serbian, Hungarian top generals meet in Belgrade

November 2, 2021

Hungarian Defense Forces commander Lieutenant General Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi met with his Serbian counterpart General Milan Mojsilovic in Belgrade on Tuesday at the start of a visit to the Serbian armed forces.

A press release said that the two generals discussed the current political and security situation in the region as well as opportunities to improve bilateral cooperation the two militaries.

It quoted the generals as saying that cooperation between the two armed forces was intensive and meaningful and constantly improving with exercises and training improving interoperability and combat readiness.

Hungary has a contingent under the command of Major General Ferenc Kajári in KFOR.

The press release said that General Ruszin-Szendi will visit the Ministry of Defense and the 72nd Special Operations Brigade.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-hungarian-top-generals-meet-in-belgrade/ 

Minister says Serbia wants to be carbon-free by 2050

November 2, 2021

Mining and Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic said on Tuesday that the government wants Serbia to be carbon free by the year 2050.

“Our vision is to get at least 40 percent of our power from renewable sources by the year 2040 and to be a carbon-free country by 2050,” she said in a press release on the 1st anniversary of the government’s term in office.

The minister said that a national energy and climate plan to the year 2030 is being drawn up as well as a new energy development strategy to the year 2040. She said that an investment plan has been drawn up for energy industry and mining projects worth 17 billion Euro.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/minister-says-serbia-wants-to-be-carbon-free-by-2050/

Montenegro PM Krivokapic starts first visit to Serbia

November 2, 2021

Montenegro’s Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic started his first official visit to Serbia laying a wreath at the memorial to the late Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic in front of the Serbian government building on Tuesday.

Krivokapic is on a two-day visit to Serbia during which he will meet with his Serbian counterpart Ana Brnabic and President Aleksandar Vucic as well as non-residential Ambassadors to Montenegro based in Belgrade.

Relations between the two countries have been strained over the past two years, with official Belgrade citing protection of the Serb national minority in Montenegro and official Podgorica saying that the Serbian authorities were interfering in Montenegro’s internal affairs. Tensions were high over the rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, with the enthronement ceremony of the new Montenegro-Littoral Bishop in Cetinje the latest of a number of heated points of dispute.

The Montenegrin Prime Minister was met at Belgrade airport by Agriculture Minister Branislav Nedimovic who is also a deputy Prime Minister.

According to the released agenda of the visit, Krivokapic will discuss bilateral cooperation, the situation in the region and European integration with Serbian officials. He will not sign an agreement with the Serbian Orthodox Church which has been pending for several months.

President Vucic commented the visit saying that Belgrade wants good relations with Podgorica but adding that he has no great expectations.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/montenegro-pm-krivokapic-starts-first-visit-to-serbia/

Pristina: No CSM, no another Bosnia in Kosovo

November 2, 2021

Kosovo's Foreign Minister Dinika Gervala reiterated on Tuesday that Pristina would not form the Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM) because it did not want another 'Bosnia' (the Serb-dominated semiautonomous entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska) on its territory.

She added Kosovo was working on its recognition with five European Union member states that had not accepted it as an independent country.

Both Belgrade and Pristina resumed their campaign to withdraw Kosovo’s recognition and seek new ones, respectively, after the deadline for the Washington Agreement the two sides signed at the White House a year ago expired.

The Agreement signed under the auspices of then US President Donald Trump obliged the two sides to restrain those campaigns.

Gervala described the Agreement on CSM signed in Brussels in 2013 and the ‘Open Balkan’ initiative as damaging.

„In the past, the decisions were easily made. CSM and ‘Open Balkan’ are two issues that we have analysed and found them damaging. CSM creates another Bosnia; we don’t want to be paralysed as Bosnia. We don’t have the luxury to implement damaging agreements,“ she told Kosovo’s MPs.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/pristina-no-csm-no-another-bosnia-in-kosovo/

TS: Serbia’s ruling & part of opposition deal on elections rules deficient

November 2, 2021

Transparency Serbia (TS) said on Tuesday the political agreement on election conditions between the two ruling and seven opposition parties, which rejected the European Parliament (EP) mediation, envisaged some measures that could increase the integrity of the election process and equality of the participants, but warned that many problems were not tackled or even remotely solved.

The TS added that „part of the agreement on calling early parliamentary elections and establishing a ‘control body’ is a violation of the Constitution and the law.“

It also said that „when it comes to financing the election campaign and preventing the misuse of public resources, the improvements are minimal.“

TS added that „not only are not all problems solved“, but that „there is no indication that measures will be taken to act on all recommendations that Serbia received from the ODIHR after the parliamentary elections in 2020 and 2016 and the presidential elections in 2017“.

It recalled that the proposed increase in budget funds, which would equally be divided by the participants in the elections (30 percent instead of 20 percent of the total amount), adding that „no additional rules are provided for classifying campaign expenses between several elections that will be held simultaneously.“

TS also said the publication of price lists for media advertising in the campaign was a useful novelty but added: „the rules about discounts, deferred payment and payment of advertisements through marketing agencies should be specified as well.“

„The new rules on the ban on media broadcasting of public officials’ activities (ceremonial opening of infrastructure facilities) are completely inadequate – instead of banning the media, the promotional activities of public officials in the campaign should be limited,“ TS said.

It added that such restrictions should apply to other officials as well, not just those on the electoral list, and that „they should certainly apply throughout the campaign, not just ten days before the election.“

„Regarding the rule of law, the main problem is that the inter-party agreement envisages obligations for state bodies, including the Government and the President of the Republic (allowing the President to dissolve the Parliament and call elections within a certain period),“ TS said.

It warned that such an agreement was a violation of the constitutional provision, according to which „political parties cannot directly exercise power, nor subordinate it to themselves.“

„Similarly, there is no legal basis for the inter-party agreement to envisage the formation of ‘a control body’ that should have powers concerning state bodies and holders of public authorities,“ the TS said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/ts-serbias-ruling-and-part-of-opposition-partiess-deal-on-election-rules-deficient/

Serbia’s MPs: Business as usual – attacks on opposition, glorification of Vucic

November 2, 2021

A day after a website named a potential opposition challenger to Serbia’s head of state Aleksandar Vucic in the next year’s presidential race, his party MPs on Tuesday again turned the parliamentary debate into an attack on political opponents and glorification of the President.

The Belgrade Nova daily cited its source on Monday, saying the retired general Zdravko Ponos, an official of the opposition People’s Party, stood chances to be the opposition presidential candidate.

On Tuesday, MPs accused him of destroying the Army of Serbia (VS), adding the Army was the weakest ever while he was the chief-of-staff.

Besides, an MP for the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) led by President Aleksandar Vucic, added „Vuk Jeremic, the head of the People’s Party and Dragan Djilas, the leader of the Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP) were the worst minister and Belgrade Mayor” respectively.

Ugljesa Mrdic said Ponos was the most outspoken critic of Vucic, “while the President and the Government record new results.”

At that time, Mrdic added, “the opposition seeks foreign help to oust Vucic.”

The MP listed alleged affairs he said the Interior Ministry (MUP) was investigating and added that “Djilas and his allies would never come to power because people don’t want them.

Other MPs from the SNS’s coalition and minorities’ parties dealt with different issues.

There are no opposition MPs in Serbia’s Parliament since the SNS main opponents boycotted the 2020 general elections.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-mps-business-as-usual-attacking-opposition-glorifying-president/

Serbia’s Vucic asks COP26 how will climate change plans be financed

November 2, 2021

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic told the COP26 Climate Change conference in Glasgow that everyone knew the goals about climate change but would ask how the plans to prevent further changes would be financed.

„They wrote a great speech for me, but I have a few questions the great powers have not yet answered. How will we finance all these activities,“ Vucic said and asked: „We have heard stories about trillions of dollars that will be available, but what will be the interest rate? How will we access those funds?“

He also asked, „how are we going to access nuclear power plants – increase or reduce them? How are we going to build renewable energy sources if populist movements against wind farms are strengthening? How will we treat the prices of natural gas, which is in the hands of the great powers.“

As for Serbia’s activities, Vucic said that „our green plan is largely related to the country’s economic stability, and we will issue green bonds that will serve the circular economy.“

Addressing the participants, he said that it was a privilege for Serbia to be at such an important summit, which discussed the most important topic of the day, trying to help future generations not to repeat the same mistakes on the planet.

„We are honoured that Serbia is co-chairing this session and that its activities contribute to the implementation of Article 6 of the UN Global Compact Strategy from Paris on reducing greenhouse gases,“ Vucic said.

Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbias-vucic-asks-cop26-how-will-climate-change-be-financed/

Coronavirus: Slovenia reports positive test rate close to 50 pct

November 1, 2021
Over the past 24 hours 2,632 tests were performed in Slovenia, and 47 percent, or almost every second test, returned positive, confirming 1,257 new coronavirus infections and breaking yesterday's record test positivity rate of 42.1 percent, the National Institute of Public Health said on Monday.
The increasing percentage of positive tests speaks of the seriousness of the situation and the high prevalence of the virus in the population, epidemiologists say.
The number of active cases in Slovenia has reached 28,575 and the 14-day incidence rate is at 1,356.
There are 603 Covid patients in hospitals, and ten patients have died over the past 24 hours, according to the latest data from the health ministry.
Last week, government representatives warned several times that due to the strain on the hospital system, new restrictive measures, including a partial lockdown, would be necessary when the number of Covid patients in intensive care units exceeds 180.
There are currently 146 patients in intensive care, so hospitals could surpass that limit at the end of this or the beginning of next week.
Also, as of today, slightly stricter measures are in place in Slovenia, so all employees in health and social welfare institutions will have to be tested for coronavirus regularly.
Also, students at primary and secondary schools will be tested twice a week, rules for wearing face masks have been tightened, and customers in cafes will have to have a Covid certificate.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-slovenia-reports-positive-test-rate-close-to-50-pct/

Coronavirus: Croatia reports 1,126 new cases, 31 deaths

November 1, 2021
Over the past 24 hours, Croatia has registered 1,126 new cases of the coronavirus infection, and 31 related deaths, the national Covid-19 crisis management team said on Monday.
The number of active cases today stands at 22,884, including 1,496 Covid patients in hospitals, 183 of whom are on ventilators. There are currently 29,240 people in self-isolation.
Since 25 February 2020, when Croatia registered its first case of the infection, a total of 471,474 people have been registered as having contracted the novel coronavirus, 9,251 of them have died, while 439,339 have recovered, including 3,349 who have recovered in the past 24 hours. To date, a total of 3,110,312 people have been tested, 3,567 of whom over the past 24 hours.
As at 31 October, a total of 3,616,491 vaccine doses have been administered, and 47.11% of the total population, that is 56.42% of the adult population, has been vaccinated. A total of 1,911,657 people have received at least one shot, while 1,798,069 people have been fully vaccinated, which is 53.18% of the adult population.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-croatia-reports-1126-new-cases-31-deaths/

Coronavirus UPDATE: 63 deaths, 5,896 new cases

November 1, 2021
The Serbian Health Ministry said in its daily 3:00 pm bulletin on Monday that 63 people died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 10,018.
It said that 19,952 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours, including 5,896 who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The total number of people tested to date stands at 6,332,571 with 1,148,645 confirmed cases.
The bulletin said that there are 6,760 hospitalized cases, including 904 patients on ventilators.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/coronavirus-update-63-deaths-5896-new-cases/

Kosovo’s Govt gives € 1,500 in aid to families of vaccinated COVID-19 victims

November 1, 2021
Kosovo’s Government allocated 1,500 euros per family that lost a vaccinated spouse, child or parent to the COVID-19 epidemic.
The families can apply for one-time Government assistance by the end of November, Kosovo’s Finance Ministry said.
It added that after October 1, 2021, those who lost a family member due to the coronavirus infection could receive help only if the deceased had been vaccinated with both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The electronic application requires a certificate of civil registration, which confirms the family connection of the applicant with the deceased and a copy of the last page of the identity card of the person applying.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/kosovos-govt-gives-e-1500-in-aid-to-families-of-vaccinated-covid-19-victims/

UN Security Council to discuss situation in Bosnia on Tuesday

November 1, 2021
The UN Security Council will discuss the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday, N1 found out.
A discussion on the extension of the mandate of the EUFOR Mission in BiH is expected, as well as a discussion on the situation in the country based on the report by High Representative Christian Schmidt, the international official overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement.
N1 found out that talks on whether to allow Schmidt to speak via video-link will be allowed as well.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/un-security-council-to-discuss-situation-in-bosnia-on-tuesday/

No heating in public kindergartens in Bosnia's Federation entity as of Tuesday

November 1, 2021
Public kindergartens across Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity will have no heating as of Tuesday due to a gas pipeline breaking down in Bulgaria and it remains unknown when the problem will be fixed.
Parents of children that go to public daycare centres said that they were informed of this on Monday.
The ‘Energoinvest’ company reported the failure on Monday morning and urged citizens to reduce and rationalise the consumption or to switch to alternative sources of energy.
The gas supplier for the Sarajevo Canton ‘Sarajevogas’ said they would cut the supply for all those with alternative sources of energy until the problem is fixed.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/no-heating-in-public-kindergartens-in-bosnias-federation-entity-as-of-tuesday/

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