WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Special Envoy to the Western Balkans and DAS Matthew Palmer met with Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and other officials while on a trip to Pristina. He noted, ““The United States will always stand behind Kosovo’s sovereignty and independence,. But we cannot see a path forward with full integration into the international system that does not include reconciliation with Serbia.” Palmer is set to meet Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic this week.
  • Palmer’s trip comes on the heels of the UN Security Council meeting during which Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic produced a document claiming it is the birth certificate of Kosovo Ambassador to the US Vlora Citaku and that she was still a Serbian citizen.
  • Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker slammed the European Union over its failure to open EU accession talks with Albania and N. Macedonia. 
  • After meeting on the sidelines of the NATO Ministerial in Brussels with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Montenegrin Defense Minister Predrag Boskovic welcomed US officers from Cyber Command. The group is in Montenegro according to the US Embassy to “to counter malicious cyber actors on critical networks and platforms.” Boskovic commented, “Montenegro is among the first in Europe to face unconventional attacks on its democracy and freedom of choice.”
  • Steve Bannon told the FBI that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were vacationing in Dubrovnik, Croatia with a Russian billionaire in August 2016 when Kushner was summonsed back to the US to fire Paul Manafort.
  • Meanwhile, the US State Department approved a $115 million sale of helicopters to Croatia. 
  • Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic does not think that Slovenia will block its accession to the Schengen Zone.
  • Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic is on an official visit to China for the China International Import Export Fair in Shanghai. She is also set tom meet with the leader of the Chinese Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping
  • Also in China, Croatian Palriament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic visited Huawei as a part of his official visit from Novembrer 2-6. 
  • Prime Minister of N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev says the April 12th early elections could be postponed because of the process of joining NATO.
  • But first, new President of the European Parliament David Sassoli is in Skopje today for meetings. It is his first trip in his new post outside of the EU. 
  • Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik visited Baku, Azerbaijan and President Ilham Aliyev. “I have to express my admiration with what I saw in your beautiful city and the wonderful people I have met so far. Thank you for the tremendous efforts to improve bilateral relations between our countries. I know that you are very interested in establishing good relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and you are committed to this cause. I want to express my gratitude to you for the support that you offered us earlier – both for humanitarian assistance and for business opportunities. I want to express my sincere gratitude and desire to continue our successful cooperation. 
  • Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic attended a ceremony with Jewish leaders from across Europe. At the event, he announced that Los Angeles born Rabbi Ari Edelkopf will serve as the first Chief Rabbi of Montenegro.
  • Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic will outline her plan for her second term of presidency on November 11.
  • Montenegrin Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism Pavle Radulovic announced he would resign on the heels of a video showing a bribe of ministry officials.
  • Bosnian Assistant to Minister of Defense for the International Cooperation Zoran Sajinovic joined US military officers and diplomats at a signing ceremony. The two sides agreed to 129 joint activities in the year ahead. The Bilateral Military Cooperation Plan will focus tactical field operations, natural disaster responses and more.
  • UNC Charlotte Professor Mirsad Hadzikadic is planning a second run at the BiH Presidency in three years, but will focus on putting forward candidates in local elections next year with his new political party, Platform for Progress.
  • ENERGY: Slovenia currently has only two wind turbines generating a nominal amount of power. The Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning has just announced plans for eight wind farms across the country with a capacity of at least 10MW.
  • CRIME: A popular LGBT was attacked over the weekend in Ljubljana, Slovenia and is being treated as a hate crime by local police. A court in BiH sentenced a man to twenty years in prison for a war crime committed in Visegrad, eastern Bosnia. Kosovo is expected to give its first indictments in the case of assassinated Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic. 

IN OTHER NEWS…

  • SPORT: Bundesliga side Bayern Miunich sacked Croatian manager Niko Kovac after losing 5-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt.