WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

BIDEN ON HIS WAY TO KOSOVO: U.S. President Joe Biden is finding a new permanent home in Ferizaj/Uroševac, Kosovo. The town announced work has begun on a €600,000 statue dedicated to the U.S. President who becomes the latest Western official to be commemorated in Kosovo.

KOSOVO-SERBIA DIALOGUE CHIEF NEGOTIATORS TALKS: EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčák met with Kosovo and Serbia’s chief negotiators, Besnik Bislimi and Petar Petković, for talks on “the full range of Dialogue elements – past agreements, current issues, and next steps in the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.” Lajčák also held separate meetings with the two chief negotiators over the past two days.

SPEAKING OF AGREEMENTS BY BOTH SIDES… Kosovo PM Albin Kurti claims former PM Avdullah Hoti made an unconstitutional act by signing the Washington Agreement at the White House in September 2020 by he pledged to a one-year moratorium on Kosovo joining international organizations.

  • Kurti also accused Hoti of enabling Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić to be welcomed at the White House.
  • “It was impossible for Serbia and its head, who participated wars in ex-Yugoslavia, minister of Information of Slobodan Milosevic, to be hosted [at the White House] without someone from the victim countries unravelling the red carpet for him, and this was done by the then prime minister of Kosovo,” said Kurti.

STATE DEPT.’S PALMER MEETS WITH MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer on Wednesday met with Montenegrin President Milo Djukanović The interlocutors discussed U.S.-Montenegro relations, and the joint U.S. and EU interest for Montenegro to become a member of the EU.

KRIVOKAPIĆ MEETS UK’S BORIS JOHNSON: Montenegrin PM Zdravko Krivokapić yesterday met with British counterpart Boris Johnson in London as a part of a two-day official visit to the UK. PM Johnson highlighted this is the first time the UK has hosted a Montenegrin PM. Johnson said he supports the reform process in Montenegro and efforts to curb organized crime and corruption. Read more about Krivokapić’s visit HERE.

UPCOMING SREBRENICA ANNIVERSARY: On July 11 the commemoration to the victims of the Srebrenica Genocide will take place at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center with leaders from throughout the region speaking at the event.

  • Bosnia’s FM Bisera Turković on Wednesday asked Chairman of the Council of Ministers Zoran Tegeltija to declare July 11 as a national day of mourning. She proposed it be discussed in a regular or emergency phone session prior to Sunday.
  • But Tegeltija said the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly “did not have the opportunity to consider the decision to declare July 11 a day of mourning,” writes the Sarajevo Times.
  • Turković instructed diplomatic missions to lower their flags to half-mast on July 11. Meanwhile, Chairman and Bosnian Serb Member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik said Turković abused her position. He asked ambassadors from Republika Srpska to not lower the Bosnian flag on July 11.
  • British MP Ian Blackford invited to meet and work with PM Boris Johnson to “discuss how we can help the Srebrenica charity here in the UK” at a government session.
  • Leading up to the ceremony, the Čair Municipality in Skopje pledged to construct a monument to the victims of the genocide. Representatives from the municipality presented Bosniak Member of the Presidency Šefik Džaferović the plans on Monday.
  • Kosovo Parliament yesterday adopted a resolution condemning the denial of the Srebrenica Genocide, three weeks after Montenegro’s Parliament adopted a similar resolution.
  • Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić commented on Kosovo’s resolution, “I told you that after that (Montenegro’s resolution) there will be a flood of the same resolutions against Serbia.”
  • “So they all make clear statements and expressions that Serbs committed the genocide, to show their ostensible commitment to good neighborly relations, but in fact to strike a blow at Serbia,” added Vučić.

ORBÁN ON VISIT TO SERBIA: Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán is on an official visit to Belgrade today for tête-à-tête talks with Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić and a plenary meeting of delegations between the two countries. Vučić noted yesterday that the two countries have “excellent relations” and they “work together, (they) fight together.” Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Péter Szijjártó will receive the Order of the Serbian Flag during the visit by the Hungarian delegation.

FORMER KOSOVO MINISTER INDICTED FOR DEAL ON BORDER-SWAP WITH FRENCH FIRM: “Kosovo’s Special Prosecution has filed an indictment against former Minister for European Integration Dhurata Hoxha and four current and former officials of the ministry over a contract that saw budget money spent on a Paris-based PR company that promoted Kosovo’s “territorial modification” as a way to solve the Kosovo- Serbia dispute two years ago.” (Balkan Insight)

CROATIAN PARLIAMENT SACKS HEAD OF NATIONAL BROADCASTER: Croatia’s Parliament unanimously voted to sack Kazimir Bačić, the head of Croatian Radio Television (HRT). He is accused of taking €50,000 in bribes from the former Mayor of Zagreb and have been given a a €133,300 apartment in Zagreb.

SHEKERINSKA ON VISIT TO LATVIA: Defense Minister of N. Macedonia Radmila Shekerinska and counterparts from Slovenia, Matej Tonin, and Montenegro, Olivera Injac paid a one-day working visit to Latvia where they were welcomed by Deputy PM and Minister of Defense Artiks Pabriks. Shekerinska aimed to have N. Macedonia included in the Enhanced Spillover Presence exercises.

INTER-PARTY DIALOGUE MEPs TO VISIT SERBIA THIS WEEKEND: “Serbia’s inter-party dialogue continues with a delegation of the European Parliament (EP)is coming to Belgrade for the first round of meetings on Friday and Saturday.

‘We hope the goodwill expressed by the representatives of Serbia’s Parliament and the opposition during the bilateral meetings will be translated into a constructive meeting,’ Vladimír Bilčík, the EP Rapporteur for Serbia, said.” (N1)

IN OTHER NEWS

ANALYSISInvesting in the Balkans, China Sidesteps Kosovo by Adnita Pacolli in Balkan Insight

ANALYSISGrisly Discovery in Serbia Brings Trauma Back to Kosovo Village by Serbeze Haxhiaj in Balkan Insight

ANALYSISSerbia ignores West’s concerns, praises China’s Marxism in Euraktiv