WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

DAYTON PEACE ACCORDS IN CONGRESS: U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced a resolution in Senate to recognize the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords that brought war to an end in Bosnia and Herzegovina. U.S. Representative Mike Turner (R-OH,10) is preparing to introduce similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

VARHELYI ON BALKANS TRIP: Montenegrin news outlet Vijesti reports that European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi will visit the region from October 7-9 with stops in Albania and N. Macedonia on  the 7th, Kosovo and Serbia on the 8th, and Montenegro on the 9th. Commissioner Varhelyi is expected to discuss the latest progress reports on the region and present the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.

UK APPOINTS TRADE ENVOY.: British MP Martin Vickers has been named Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Trade Envoy to the Western Balkans.

SERBIAN GOV’T FORMATION: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic gave Ana Brnabic the mandate to form a new government. He said, “I have signed the decision to give Ana Brnabic the mandate to form a new government.”

LAJCAK + THACI: Kosovo President Hashim Thaci met with the EU’s Special Representative to the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak in Brussels. President Thaci wrote on Twitter, “The dialogue has no alternative. #Kosovo and #Serbia need to achieve the final agreement. We need the #EU and EU needs us! We have to act. Lajcak has my support in this process.”

KOSOVO OFFICIALS SLAM SERBIA, INT’L COMMUNITY: Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti and President Hashim Thaci slammed the international community for a lack of response to senior Serbian government officials using a derogatory term for Kosovar Albanians and alluding to consequences for Kosovo Serbs who reveal where mass graves allegedly exist.

  • PM Hoti tweeted, “The Govt of #Kosovo expresses its deep disappointment with statements of senior Serbian officials, who openly continue to show lack of respect for the victims of the recent war in Kosovo and their families, who desperately look for their relatives abducted by Serbian forces.”
  • “These scandalous statements in addition to offending the victims of Serbian crimes, prove to the world that all these years Belgrade has deliberately and knowingly covered the traces of crime, by hiding the location of mass graves where thousands innocent civilians ended up.”
  • “The Govt. of the Rep. of #Kosovo strongly opposes this political mentality and expects the int. community, especially the #EU and the United States of America, to do the same, as irreplaceable factors in building peace and Euro-Atlantic perspective of the Western Balkans.”
  • “Kosovo is determined & commitment for a peaceful future of the region & will strongly cooperate w/ Western allies for faster integration into the large family of civilized and democratic Euro-Atlantic countries, in which there is no room for hatred against other ethnicities.”
  • President Thaci added, “Offensive statements of (Serbian FM Ivica) Dacic & (Defense Minister Aleksandar) Vulin twds. civilian victims of the war, murdered by Millosevic’s regime, are proof that Serbia still hasn’t changed its fascist policies twds. #Kosovo. Such actions harm the dialogue & undermine our joint efforts for reconciliation.”
  • Albanian PM Edi Rama thought the press release from Defense Minister Vulin was a joke. He tweeted to President Vucic, “is this real or it is a meme making fun of drained brains and dirty mouths that kept all our region in darkness for centuries? I very much wish it is a meme, otherwise this would be a despeakable show of miserable thinking that you should condemn without any doubt.”
  • EU Spokesperson Peter Stano noted, “It should be clear to all representatives of countries aspiring to join the EU that they should fulfil their obligations to strengthen good neighbourly relations and regional co-operation,” And added, “These are values that the EU protects and promotes. Political leaders should really set an example by choosing to work together, to promote cooperation and a climate of mutual trust, respect and understanding, not to make statements that go the opposite way.”
PRES. MILANOVIC MEETS WITH CROATS IN SERBIA: Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic yesterday met with president of the Croatian National Council Jasna Vojnic, VP for Subotica Ladislav Suknovic, and the president of the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodine Tomislav Zigmanov. President Milanovic remains open to meeting with Croats in Serbia.
PM ZAEV ON EU ACCESSION TALKS: PM of N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev believes that Bulgaria will stand down on demands to have N. Macedonia give up historical claims to Goce Delchev and the Macedonian language and identity. PM Zaev said, “I do not expect to have obstacles in that area because from the beginning until today, Bulgaria has been one of the biggest, if not the biggest supporter of the Republic of North Macedonia in EU integration.”PRES. DZAFEROVIC IN TIRANA: Bosnian Presidency Chairman Sefik Dzaferovic yesterday met with Albanian President Ilir Meta in Tirana. The interlocutors agreed there were no open issues between the countries and they enjoy a strong relationship.

BiH + CROATIA + DEFENSE: “A military delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has paid an official visit to Croatia’s Defence Ministry to discuss the promotion of bilateral relations, training of Bosnian cadets at Franjo Tudjman Military Academy, and joint participation in regional initiatives, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.””State Secretary Zdravko Jakop, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, General Sinisa Jurkovic, and their aids held talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Deputy Defence Minister Mijo Kresic and the Deputy Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Brigadier General Ivica Jerkic.”

“Jakop said that the defence cooperation between the two countries had always been wide and varied, and that one of the most important areas of cooperation was the training of Bosnian military personnel in Croatia where the Croatian Defence Ministry provides continued support to the Bosnian Defence Ministry.” (N1)

CROATIA’S PM ON SLAVONIA PROJECT: “Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said in Nasice on Monday that so far project contracts worth 16.53 billion kuna had been signed for the “Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem” project, which is 88% of the total allocation, and that HRK 6.6 billion had been paid.””This is an increase of HRK 5.2 billion in project value and an increase of HRK 2.1 billion in the amount of funds paid compared to the last session of the Council, held in Vukovar, Plenkovic said while opening the 11th session of the government’s Council for Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem.

He noted that 2020 had been one of the most challenging years for Croatia in the past 25 years due to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the national economy as well as other aspects of life.” (N1)

AND PM PLENKOVIC SUPPORTS UKRAINE: PM Plenkovic on Monday met with Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov in Zagreb. PM Plenkovic reiterated Croatia’s support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and is willing to share its experience with reintegrating territories after the war from 1991-1995.

IN OTHER NEWS

OP-ED: “Milosevic’s Spies still Guard the Fallen Serbian Regime’s Secrets” by Srdjan Cvijic in BIRN

ANALYSIS: “If F-16’s Remove Visas for USA, Do French Rafale’s Put Croatia in Schengen?” by Lauren Simmonds in Total Croatia News

ANALYSIS: “Asian firms see Turkey as opportunity for nearby markets” by Hulya Guler in Daily Sabah

CULTURE: “The art of wine-making in the north of Kosovo” in KosSev

SPORT: “Kitesurfing and Windsurfing in Tivat with Boka Surfing Team” by Antonela Stjepcevic in Total Montenegro News

ENTERTAINMENT: “PRODUCTION: Dalibor Matanić Films TV Series The Last Socialist Artefact” by Milena Zajovic in Film New Europe

TRAVEL: “Natural Thermal Springs, the stunning Pine covered Hills, and lovely Villages worth Visiting in Srebrenica” in The Sarajevo Times