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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



Head of Serbian gas industry group warns of imminent price hikes for Russian gas

May 13, 2022
The head of a Serbian gas industry expert organization said on Friday that the natural gas supplies being negotiated with Russia’s Gazprom might lead to higher prices.
“The price of gas which Serbia is negotiating with Gazprom will be higher because the formula used to date was always linked to oil prices. And this time around the new formula will probably be changed to include the market price (of gas), which in turn depends on the deal made between Serbia’s Srbijagas and Gazprom,” Gas Association of Serbia senior official, Vojislav Vuletic, told state television RTS.
He said that the formula used until now meant that when oil had a price of $55 per barrel the price of gas would total $270. However, he warned, oil prices are currently very high, at more than $100 per barrel.
“So the price will be almost double from what it is now,” Vuletic said. He added that politics were involved in the energy industry, with “gas prices needlessly rising.”
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/head-of-serbian-gas-industry-group-warns-of-imminent-price-hikes-for-russian-gas/

Prosecution indicts two Bosnian Serbs for war crimes against Bosniaks

May 13, 2022
The Prosecutor of the BiH Special Department for War Crimes has filed an indictment against Milenko Samardzija aka Travko and Žabac, and Kosta Stanic aka Kole, the Prosecution said Friday.
The accused are charged that as members of the Republika Srpska – Sokolac Police Department, together with several other persons, acted contrary to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions for the Protection of Civilian Persons and directly, knowingly and willingly participated in the killings of Bosniak civilians, including women, children and elderly people, who in no way participated in hostilities or military operations.
The indictment alleges that in September 1992, the accused participated in the forcible removal of civilians from their homes, transport by a military truck and shooting 22 victims on the banks of the Drina River, who were members of the Sarajlic, Sejmenovic and Malagic families and dumping their bodies in the Drina River.
The indictment was submitted to the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina for confirmation.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/prosecution-indicts-two-bosnian-serbs-for-war-crimes-against-bosniaks/

Slovenia will block Croatia's Schengen entry, daily says

May 13, 2022
Slovenia's new Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon is advocating that Croatia enters the Schengen Area as soon as possible, but on the condition that the border arbitration award is implemented, Vecernji List daily said on Friday.
The paper quotes Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman as saying that Croatia's Schengen entry has nothing to do with the border arbitration.
According to the Slovenian STA news agency, Fajon said Schengen should be renewed as soon as possible by setting clear and transparent rules for accession.
Fajon said she was advocating that Croatia join as soon as possible and that those rules included implementation of the arbitration award which defines the Croatian-Slovenian border.
The Croatian parliament adopted a decision to irrevocably walk out of the arbitration process because it was compromised and contaminated by Slovenia's arbitrator and agent, who used illegal means to influence the process.
Slovenia, however, insisted on the arbitration, which continued and an award was delivered which Croatia does not recognise. This was why all Slovenian governments before the last one led by Janez Janša made normalisation of relations between the two countries conditional on Croatia's recognition and application of the arbitration award, which has been unacceptable to all Croatian governments.
After a two-year arbitration break during the Janša cabinet, the problem has now returned with the new government led by Robert Golob, as indicated by Fajon's statement as well as Golob, who said recently that the award remains “an anchor in Slovenia's policy on Croatia,” Vecernji List said, adding that this could lead to new tensions between the two countries.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/slovenia-will-block-croatias-schengen-entry-daily-says/

Germany’s Spec Rep for WB-Kosovo belongs in the Council of Europe

May 14, 2022
Germany’s Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Manuel Sarrazin, stated that "Kosovo is at the heart of Europe" and that it belongs in the Council of Europe, adding that Germany's position on that issue is clear.
“The position of Germany is clear: Kosovo is at the heart of Europe and belongs in the Council of Europe,” he tweeted, adding that he assured Kosovo Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla-Schwarz that Germany supports its membership bid.
Kosovo applied for membership in the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Thursday.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/germanys-spec-rep-for-wb-kosovo-belongs-in-the-council-of-europe/

Head of Serbia’s KiM Office expects more states to withdraw Kosovo recognition

May 14, 2022
The director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic, told RTS that he expects more withdrawals of the recognition of Kosovo.
„We managed to secure 18 withdrawals of recognition from those countries that previously recognized so-called Kosovo, that number has now increased to 18 plus four, and it will certainly increase even more,“ Petkovic pointed out.
Petkovic said that the negotiations that took place between Belgrade and Pristina on Friday did not fail.
„Don’t fall into Pristina’s trap, they are the ones who want the dialogue to fail. That’s how they worked all these months, that’s how they worked yesterday. The fact that (Besnik) Bislimi does not want to talk directly with our side shows that they do not want to agree on anything with us,” he said, adding that Kosovo negotiators refused to talk about the establishment of an Association of Serb Municipalities.
"All the time, they keep talking about missing persons, but when we need to agree on something concrete, they withdraw," he said, adding that yesterday's talks were burdened by the fact that so-called Kosovo submitted a request for membership in the Council of Europe.
"I took the opportunity and reacted sharply against that unilateral and illegal move by Pristina because that is not the way to talk if the Brussels and Washington agreements are violated because you cannot achieve any goal without taking into account Belgrade if there is no agreement on it," he said.
"The mentors of so-called Kosovo are pushing the narrative of membership in the Council of Europe. But we will fight even though we are a small country and we will never leave our people behind in Kosovo and Metohija," Petkovic said.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/head-of-serbias-kim-office-expects-more-states-to-withdraw-kosovo-recognition/

MEP-Putin is losing the war, Serbia should pick the right side

May 14, 2022
In an interview with the daily Nova, former Lithuanian Prime Minister and European Parliament rapporteur for dialogue with Moscow, Andrius Kubilius, said that the Serbian political elite must understand that Russian President Vladimir Putin is losing the war and that it is time to pick the right side.
He added that Serbia must clearly define its political position because many will form their position on Serbia in the future based on how the country behaved regarding this matter.
„I think it is better to be on the side of those who will win, and not with those who will lose the war. Democracy will win in the end, I do not doubt that“ Kubilius said.
„First of all, we have to talk about how we see the end of the war. The European Union, US representatives, President Biden, Mr Blinken, as well as representatives of Great Britain, like Prime Minister Johnson, believe that the war must end with the complete victory of Ukraine and the West and that Russian military forces must be completely defeated. This is necessary because we must not allow the current regime from the Kremlin to recover and try to attack another country in its immediate vicinity in two or three years. This is our strategic plan, and if that happens, if the Russian army and their economy are defeated, after the sanctions, then great changes can be expected – first in Russia itself,” he said.
This would provide a possibility for Russia to function without Putin and become a different state that would be more democratic, he said.
“In that case, we can talk about lasting peace throughout Europe. At the moment, peace and stability are threatened by the authoritarian government in Russia and therefore Europe must have a very clear strategy; there must be democracy in Russia and in order to achieve democracy, the invasion of Ukraine must be stopped, so I believe more in long-term peace and stability in Europe than in a new Cold War. In that case, it would not be just the Cold War, but the possibility of a real war, which would be initiated by the aggressive regime in the Kremlin,” Kubilius said.
Asked about how he sees the position of Serbia which wants to join the EU although it refuses to impose sanctions on Russia, Kubilius said that countries that are not EU members and have not yet imposed sanctions on Russia are probably afraid of how Russia will react.
“I do not know much about the status of Serbia's candidacy for EU membership, but my advice to the Serbian political elite and leaders there is that Putin will lose this war and that Russia has the opportunity to change. It is much better for Serbia and its people to be an ally to that different Russia, not to be united with Putin,” he said.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/mep-putin-is-losing-the-war-serbia-should-pick-the-right-side/

Serbian Oil Industry posts profits of 15 billion Dinars

May 13, 2022
The Serbian Oil Industry (NIS) posted profits of 15.6 billion Dinars and paid 53.2 billion Dinars in taxes, the company said on Friday.
The statement said that NIS profits in the first quarter of 2021 stood at 1.5 billion Dinars (1 Euro – 118 Dinars) compared to the same period of 2020 when the company posted losses of 1.1 billion.
A press release said that the company’s priority in the first quarter of the year was to maintain the stability of the Serbian oil market and continue the development of the company which is majority owned by the Russian Gazprom.
It said that 904,900,000 tons of crude oil were processed at the Pancevo refinery, an increase of 20 percent. “Although faced with complext circumstances, we managed to maintain regular operations and regular supplies to the market,” NIS CEO Kyril Tyurdenyev is quoted as saying and adding that NIS will remain focused for the rest of the year.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-oil-industry-posts-15-billion-dinars-in-profits/

Belgrade won’t impose sanctions on Russia

May 13, 2022
The Nova.rs news portal said on Friday that the Serbian Council for National Security did not decide to impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
“Nova.rs has learned that the Council for National Security agreed to continue efforts to revoke recognition of Kosovo and that there will be no change in Serbia’s stand on the issue of sanctions against Russia,” the portal said quoting an unnamed source.
It recalled that the initial decision on the sanctions was taken at a session of the Council in February when President Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia would not impose sanctions on Russia even though the European Union is demanding just that. The source said that official Belgrade decided not to back down on its stand.
President Vucic made no statement after chairing the Council session, leaving outgoing Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic to speak to the media.
Selakovic said that Serbia is in a very difficult situation. “Our state is exposed to tremendous pressure to accept a violation of the territorial integrity of our state, accept the destruction of international law. We have information that two big states are offering support to Pristina,” he said.
The Council session was called over Pristina's application for membership in the Council of Europe. It was attended by several cabinet ministers and Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic, leader of the pro-Russia Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS).
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/nova-rs-belgrade-wont-impose-sanctions-on-russia/

US official to VOA-Kosovo, Serbia can choose own priorities

May 13, 2022
A State Department spokesperson told the Voice of America that Kosovo and Serbia have the right to define their own foreign policy priorities as sovereign countries.
The unnamed spokesperson said that the one-year moratorium on Kosovo’s applications for membership in international organizations was included in the 2020 Washington agreement to make more room for talks and a compromise between Kosovo and Serbia which Washington believes is in the strategic interest of both countries.
Under the Washington agreement, Serbia agreed to stop its diplomatic efforts to convince third countries to revoke their recognition of Kosovo.
We believe that the dialogue to normalize relations, under European Union auspices, is crucial for both countries to unlock their European future, the VOA quoted the
unnamed spokesperson’s written reply which called Belgrade and Pristina to take part in the dialogue process in an urgent, flexible and serious manner.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/us-official-to-voa-kosovo-serbia-can-choose-own-priorities/

Serbian FM says Pristina violating CoE principles

May 13, 2022
Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic accused the authorities in Pristina of violating the rights of Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo which runs counter to the principles of the Council of Europe (CoE).
The authorities in Pristina applied for membership in CoE earlier this week, drawing opposition from officials in Belgrade who claimed that this is a violation of the Washington Agreement which called for a moratorium on requests to join international organizations.
Selakovic said after a meeting of the Council for National Security that he gave President Aleksandar Vucic diplomatic notes from four countries that revoked their recognition of Kosovo.
Selakovic said that Pristina’s application proves its irresponsible and unilateral approach. He said Serbia will react in a responsible manner with diplomatic and political means. “We will stand in defense of not only our own interests but also the basic principles of international law,” he said.
Kosovo Foreign Minister Donika Gervala Schwartz’ statement that Belgrade will support Kosovo accession to CoE is “cynical and absurd”.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/serbian-fm-says-pristina-violating-coe-principles/

Kosovo FM insists on mutual recognition

May 13, 2022
Kosovo Foreign Minister Donika Gervala Schwartz said that progress can be achieved in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue only if Kosovo and Serbia recognize each other.
“Kosovo should recognize Serbia and Serbia should recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Only then can we resolve all other issues bilaterally,” she told Al-Jazeera Balkans.
According to the foreign minister, progress is possible only if the two sides approach the dialogue seriously. “Everyone, even Serbia, knows that mutual recognition is at its center,” she added.
Gervala Schwartz said that Pristina will sue Serbia for genocide and added that “the aggressor should approach the victim and apologize for crimes committed”.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/kosovo-fm-insists-on-mutual-recognition/

Coronavirus UPDATE: 2 deaths, 426 new cases

May 12, 2022
The Serbian Health Ministry said in its daily bulletin on Thursday that 2 people died of coronavirus-related ailments over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 16,042.
It said that 8,330 people had been tested over the previous 24 hours, including 426 who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The total number of people tested to date stands at 9,579,268 with 2,011,825 confirmed cases.
The bulletin said that there are 303 hospitalized cases, including 14 patients on ventilators.
Source: N1

Albanian parliament fails to discuss resolution on Srebrenica genocide

May 12, 2022
Albanian parliament rejected a resolution on “recognising the genocide in Srebrenica," media reported on Thursday but Prime Minister Edi Rama dismissed the allegations, saying that the parliament did not overturn any resolutions on Srebrenica but has “simply refused to include the document into procedure."
Rama tweeted that owing to votes of his Socialist Party, the parliament actually rejected a request of some opposition political parties to hold a session that would discuss a resolution on recognisisng and condemning the genocide in Srebrenica.
He said there was no resolution and called it a “wicked game” of former Albanian prime minister Sali Berisha and his followers.
“Those who complain the most about alleged failure of a resolution on Srebrenica in the Albanian parliament, should first ask themselves why this resolution exactly today, for what reason? Then they should be informed about the text in question and finally they should learn it. that it was not a resolution but a wicked game,” said the prime minister.
Referring to former PM Berisha, he said it was a “wicked game of the one whom the US declared corrupt person and the one who undernmines democracy, known in the world as the one who broke embargo on Slobodan Milosevic (former president of Serbia).”
Kosovo-online earlier reported that the Albanian parliament rejected the resolution and carried that Berisha addressed the Assembly of Albania, accusing the MPs who represent the majority that they “voted at order of (Serbian President) Aleksandar Vucic.”
“There has never been so anti-albanian Albania like it does in the era of (Albanian Prime Minister) Edi Rama,” he stressed.
MP Tritan Shehu noted that this was a “bitter and bad day” for the Albanian parliament, as this is the only parliament without a formal document that condemns the genocide.
“This is the day that leaves a heavy trace on democratic world. Just a few days ago these gentlemen voted against a resolution that condemns the Russian genocide in Ukraine. Today they refused a resolution on condemning the Serb genocide in Bosnia, tomorrow they won't accept to condemn the Serb genocide in Kosovo. Why? Those are the relations, obligations, Vucic is above. Those are the goals, that's why we were marked today in the Albanian parliament,” said Shehu, according to the Kosovo online media outlet.
The article has been updated after Rama provided further information on the matter.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/albanian-parliament-fails-to-discuss-resolution-on-srebrenica-genocide/

Parolin-Vatican strongly supports equality of Bosnia’s constituent peoples

May 12, 2022
The Holy See's Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, said in Zagreb on Thursday that the Vatican attaches great importance to respect for the equality of the three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Speaking at a press conference after meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Parolin said that it is the Vatican’s “mission and commitment” to always advocate the recognition of the equality of the three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“We want this to become a reality. It is our wish and our obligation,” he said, adding that the Vatican must continue to emphasise to the international community the danger of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and consequences it may have for stability in that country and the region.
Parolin arrived in Zagreb on Wednesday on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Vatican’s recognition of Croatia and establishment of diplomatic relations, and the 25th anniversary of three agreements between Croatia and the Holy See. This is his third official visit to Croatia.
“The Vatican played a significant role in the international recognition of Croatia because it was among the first states to do so, which then encouraged other countries” to follow suit, he said.
The Holy See recognised Croatia as an independent state on 13 January 1992.
Parolin said that relations between Croatia and the Vatican were excellent, praising regular semi-annual meetings between the Bishops Conference and the government as a “good formula” for direct talks.
Before meeting with the prime minister, Parolin met with Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic and addressed MPs. Later on, he is scheduled to meet with President Zoran Milanovic.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/parolin-vatican-strongly-supports-equality-of-bosnias-constituent-peoples/

BiH Court confirms the indictment in the Dobrovoljacka case

May 12, 2022
N1 learned Thursday that the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has confirmed the indictment in the Dobrovoljacka case.
Boris Grubesic, the spokesperson for the Prosecutor's Office of BiH, said that they received the information from the Court of BiH.
“The indictment has been fully confirmed,” Grubesic told N1.
The accused are Ejup Ganic, Zaim Backovic, Hamid Bahto, Hasan Efendic, Fikret Muslimovic, Jusuf Pusina, Bakir Alispahic, Enes Bezdrob, Ismet Dahic and Mahir Zisko.
At a recent press conference, the generals and the Lasta detachment that was involved in the incident said that the Dobrovoljacka case is a political mock case supported by the official Belgrade and Serbia.
Recently, the thirtieth anniversary of the events in Dobrovoljacka was marked, in which fighters of the Army of RBiH and the Territorial Defence as well as the delegation from the Republika Srpska took part separately.
Source:  https://ba.n1info.com/english/news/bih-court-confirms-the-indictment-in-the-dobrovoljacka-case/

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