WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CITAKU OUT AS AMB. TO THE U.S.: Kosovo President Hashim Thaci signed a decree recalling longtime Kosovo Ambassador to the U.S. Vlora Citaku.
  • The proceedings to recall the ambassador who has spent five years in Washington was initiated by former FM Glauk Konjufca of Vetvendosje.
  • She will stay in Washington until a successor is appointed.
  • Amb. Citaku tweeted, “After over five years in Washington DC, the time has come for me to go back home. Representing #Kosovo in the #UnitedStates has been the honor of my life. I want to thank the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo for the trust placed in me during this time.”
DJUKANOVIC IN BERLIN: Montenegro’s President Milo Djukanovic is on an official visit to Germany.
  • On Tuesday, he met with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schauble.
  • Djukanovic congratulated the Germans on the 30 year anniversary of unification, spoke about Montenegro’s EU accession, and briefed the leaders on Montenegrin Parliamentary elections.
  • Read the full statement in Montenegrin on the meeting with FM Maas HERE and Bundestag President Schauble HERE.
MONTENEGRO’S ARMED FORCES DAY: Montenegro on Wednesday celebrated its Armed Forces Day. It is one of NATO’s newest members, joining the alliance in 2017.
  • Outgoing PM Dusko Markovic noted, “Our army is part of modern defense systems, through which it contributes to collective peace and security. That result, the international reputation of VCG and its recognizable place in NATO is the merit of every officer, soldier and employee.”
  • U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro Judy Rising Reinke tweeted, “Srećan Dan Vojske #CrnaGora! The #UnitedStates 🇺🇸joins our #NATO ally #Montenegro 🇲🇪in celebrating its Armed Forces Day. As #FriendsPartnersAllies, Americans will always stand steadfast with the citizens of Montenegro. #MiSmoNATO #WeAreNATO”
PRINCE ALBERT IN BELGRADE: Prince Albert II of Monaco is on an official visit to Serbia on the innovation of President Aleksandar Vucic.
  • Vucic noted, “Our two countries differ at first glance but they are two old European countries with rich histories and a freedom-loving spirit. This visit is historic in the relations between the two countries because it is Prince Albert’s first visit.”
  • And added, “I told him that Serbia is working diligently to achieve its foreign policy goals, primarily to preserve peace and stability. Prince Albert said that the Principality of Monaco has become a member of the Alliance for Multilateralism at the UN, an initiative launched by the Germans and the French.We have not joined that Alliance yet, but Prince Albert’s advice was to join it.”
  • Prince Albert encouraged Serbia to join the Alliance for Multilateralism at the UN. He said, “The talks give me hope that Serbia will be able to join the Alliance for Multilateralism.”
  • Vucic presented Prince Albert the Order of the Republic of Serbia.
  • Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) President and Monaco Economic Board CEO Guillaume Rose signed an agreement to enhance economic cooperation.
  • Read the full press statement from Serbia’s Office of the Presidency HERE.

BiH’S DODIK ON CONST. CHANGES: After receiving the 2020 European Commission report on reforms to join the EU, Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik questioned the urgency of making constitutional changes. He said, “It will be hard to reach the Constitution changes, which is expected at this stage. This is unusual for the EU accession process. Corrections to the Constitution are usually demanded towards the end of the process, prior to the membership, and we are asked to do that at the beginning.”

GET WELL SOON!: The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, Metropolitan Amfilohije, has been hospitalized with Covid-19. He is 82 years old.

SERBIA EYEING TURKISH UAVs: “Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told media on Monday evening that his country is interested in buying Turkish armed drones.”‘We are considering buying Turkish Bayraktar and we will see if we can reach an agreement with the Turkish manufacturer,’ Vucic said, described the Bayraktar armed drones as some of the most advanced.

“The Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicles are manufactured by Turkey’s Baykar Defence Company, owned by Selcuk Bayraktar, the son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The company’s main customers are the Turkish Armed Forces and Gendarmerie. Its armed drones have been used in anti-terrorist operations inside the country, but also in Turkey’s military operations in Syria.” (Balkan Insight)

ZAEV, OSMANI TO VISIT BULGARIA: PM and FM of N. Macedonia, Zoran Zaev and Bujar Osmani, will make an official visit to Bulgaria to meet with their counterparts, PM Boyko Borrissov and FM Ekaterina Zakharieva to discuss Bulgaria’s support, or lack thereof, for opening N. Macedonia’s EU accession talks. meanwhile, EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi called on the two countries to resolve the dispute.

VISA LIB. NO ON AGENDA: Visa liberalization for Kosovo has not been included on the EU Council agenda for meetings on October 15-16, according to a German government spokesperson. The spokesperson said, “It is EU Council President Charles Michel who sets the agenda in consultation with the EU leaders. The visa issue for Kosovo is not on the agenda of the October meeting.”

CROATIA MARKS 1991 ATTACK: “Prime Minister Andrej Plenković marked the 29th anniversary of the rocket attack on the government by placing a wreath on the building’s memorial plaque earlier today.

“He described the attack by Yugoslav People’s Army jets on October 7th, 1991, as a watershed moment that led to Croatian independence.”‘That was a watershed moment because that night the Croatian parliament voted for independence and severed all constitutional, legal, and formal ties with the former state following the prior decision on June 25, 1991. That is why it’s important that we remember both this day and the Croatian parliament’s memorial day tomorrow,’ said Plenković.” (Voice of Croatia

SERBIAN MFA SUMMONS ALBANIAN AMB.: Serbia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Albanian Ambassador Ilir Bocka. The Ministry handed Amb. Bocka a note of protest over the Oct. 2 meeting between Kosovo and Serbia in Tirana. The note said, “Statements like that which invoke a union of Albania and Serbia’s province of Kosovo and Metohija and the creation of Greater Albania are justified cause for concern for both Serbia and the other states of the region which are determined to preserve stability and intensify cooperation in the region.” Read the full statement (in Serbian) HERE.

LEO DiCAPRIO CALLS ON FBiH TO PROTECT RIVERS: Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio called on the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to protect local rivers in an Instagram post. He wrote:

“As a result of the global campaign launched last week calling on the government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to permanently protect the country’s last wild rivers from small hydropower projects and the local protests that followed, the Federation Prime Minister Mr. Fadil Novalic issued a public statement in support of the protests: “I personally support environmental NGOs. As a great lover of nature, I will always support conservation projects. I think clean rivers are more important to us than electricity. We are probably the only country in the region that is energy independent, we get enough energy from other sources. We must keep our rivers clean and pass them on to future generations.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina rivers are facing imminent destruction due to 463 small hydropower projects currently under construction or being planned. The federation needs to take swift action now—like we’ve done in the United States with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act—to permanently protect the most biodiverse rivers remaining in Europe, a lifeline for local communities and many endangered species that the world otherwise risks losing. #BiHRunsFree #jaBiHdatecem #SaveTheBlueHeartofEurope” (

SLOVENIA’S COVID STRATEGY: “Prime Minister Janez Janša has presented guidelines adopted by the government to determine what anti-coronavirus measures to take, based on three parameters, the main one being the number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients. He has already announced several new measures as of Thursday as Slovenia persists in the orange phase.
“The parameters are the number of newly confirmed infections per 100,000 residents in the last 14 days, the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients and the number of patients who require ventilation.

“The guidelines, titled the Plan of measures for containing the second coronavirus wave, are featured in a table which sets the parameters for so-called orange and red phases, with respective measures being envisaged for each phase.” (Slovenia Times)

SISTER CITIES: Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, and Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, will become sister cities. The mayors of the cities met on Monday to discuss the topic. In addition, Serbia’s Novi Sad will help nominate Banja Luka to be a European Capital of Culture. Novi Sad will hold the title in 2021.

IN OTHER NEWS

OP-ED: “Albania, Greece Must Reflect on Past Mistakes to Settle Maritime Borders Issue” by Akri Cipa in Balkan Insight

ANALYSIS: “Hague Court Document Leak Scares Kosovo War Crimes Witnesses” by Serbeze Haxhiaj in BIRN

ANALYSIS: “Fact Check: Is EU Bringing Back Visas for Albanians” in Schengen Visa Info

HUMAN INTEREST: “Nothing stopping the Young Croatians in Melbourne” in Croatia Week

CULTURE: “Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Two Sides of a Bill” by Tyler Rossi in Coin Week

CULTURE: “Visegrad in Bosnia and Herzegovina was mentioned for the first time in 1433” in Sarajevo Times

TRAVEL: “There’s a new way to explore Slovenia sustainably” by Alex Crevar in Lonely Planet Travel