WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

BIDEN INAUGURATION: As leaders from across the region congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration, one ambassador – Serbia’s Ambassador Marko Djuric – was able to attend the small gathering on Capitol Hill in person.

  • On cooperation with the new administration, he told B92, “Having in mind the long-term acquaintance and mutual respect between President Vučić and President Biden, this very fact is a great resource for our country. I personally attended their earlier meetings and talks, which always took place in a great atmosphere, an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation. This is a much more intensive and long-lasting cooperation than was the case with any previous president of the United States, which has established another solid foundation for further improvement of our relations at all levels.”
  • Djuric has been keeping busy since arriving in the United States. “My days are filled with meetings, talks and contacts, not only with officials of the State Department, Congress and the National Security Council, but also with people from the wider political and economic spectrum, public life, civil society, academia and culture, as well as with the Serbian community and associations of our diaspora,” said Djuric.

ADMIRAL BURKE VISITS REGION: Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples Admiral Robert P. Burke visited the Western Balkans on his first trip to the region. He visited U.S. Ambassador Philip Kosnett in Kosovo, President Aleksandar Vucic in Serbia, and U.S. Ambassador to  Bosnia and Herzegovina Eric Nelson.

EC HITS OUT AT HARADINAJ: The European Commission weighed in on Kosovo politician Ramush Haradinaj’s threats to potentially create a union between Albania and Kosovo if there was not significant improvements to Kosovo’s Euro-Atlantic integration project. “Political leaders in the region should give an example in promoting mutual trust, nourishing good neighborly relations and cooperation, the European Union’s principles and values,” wrote the EC.

CANCELLED: Bosnia’s Central Election Commission annulled the results of local elections in Srebrenica and Doboj after irregularities from the Nov. 15 elections.

DODIK PUSHES BACK: “The Thursday decision by Bosnia’s election authority to annul the November 2020 election results in the towns of Doboj and Srebrenica was illegal and planned by Bosniaks, said the country’s tripartite Presidency Chairman and its Serb member, Milorad Dodik, as he announced that his party will start working on preventing the 2022 local election in BiH’s Serb-majority Republika Srpska (RS) entity.

“The Central Election Commission (CEC) decided to annul the election results for 26 out of 28 polling stations in Srebrenica as well as 89 out of a total of 108 polling stations in the town of Doboj due to irregularities.” (N1)

OSMANI TO VISIT MNE: FM o N. Macedonia Bujar Osmani is on an official visit to Montenegro tdoay. He is expected to meet with counterpart Djordje Radulovic, PM Zdravko Krivokapic, Speaker of Parliament Aleksa Becic, and Deputy PM Dritan Abazovic.

SPEAKING OF FMs: Slovenian FM Anze Logar will be in Croatia today to speak with counterpart Gordan Grlic Radman about the trilateral exclusive economic zone which includes Croatia, Italy, and Slovenia. Croatia’s Grlic Radman has urged Croatian MPs to vote in favor of accepting the exclusive economic zone.

MACEDONIAN CENSUS: “The governing coalition led by SDSM and DUI have succeeded in securing votes from two ethnic Albanian parties from the opposition and pass the Law on population census, which it to be conducted between April 1 and 21.

“The census is highly controversial due to ethnic politics and fears of manipulation.”

“MPs of Alliance of the Albanians and Alternativa helped secure 62 votes for a quorum, a number needed for a parliamentary majority.” (Macedonia Times)

TIRANA TO BELGRADE DIRECT: Citizens of Albania are now allowed to enter Serbia with just an ID. Previously, a passport was for Albanian citizens to cross into Serbia.

MIGRANTS: “Bosnian Premier Zoran Tegeltija has said that Bosnia-Herzegovina can’t handle the migrant crisis on its own. The country needs support from the European Union, not just financially, he said in an interview published on January 15.

“Bosnia-Herzegovina can’t solve the problem of migrants on its own, the country’s premier told a local newspaper on January 15.

“The country needs help from the EU, not only financially but also, for example, by identifying people ‘of interest’ for security, Bosnian Premier Zoran Tegeltija was quoted as saying by the newspaper of Banja Luka, EuroBlic.” (Info Migrants)

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ANALYSIS
: “Kosovo institutions search the Health Center in Strpce looking for Covid-19 vaccines” in KosSev