WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Prime Minister of N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev faces backlash for using a homophobic slur while talking to reporters yesterday.
  • Congresswoman Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-MI,11) joins the Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian-American Issues.
  • After no meeting between the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina for eight days after an agreement was signed to create a government, two sessions are set for August 20. The first meeting will include the Annual National Program (ANP) for NATO, and the second meeting to discuss a proposal for the mandate of the Council of Ministers.
  • Amidst the confusion of the ANP for NATO between presidency members, Defense Minister Marina Pendes says “Not fulfilling the obligations on the path toward NATO will influence the perception of our political seriousness regarding the EU integration process as well….Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot have three futures”
  • Meanwhile, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic visited Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday to attend mass on the eve of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (celebrated today) in the village of Komunisa which is an hour southwest of Doboj.
  • The QUINT States statement urging the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue takes another blow. After Kosovar politicians said they refuse to abolish the 100% taxes, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic says that Serbia will continue to lobby for states to withdraw recognition of Kosovo. 
  • Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko would support and participate in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, but only in accordance to UNSCR 1244: “If Belgrade or other factors want Russia’s participation, we are ready for that, but we want to make sure that the dialogue is developed strictly within the framework of international law, namely UN Security Council Resolution 1244.”
  • Meanwhile, Kosovo Foreign Miniser Behgjet Pacolli says “the sign on the consulate of Kosovo in Copenhagen was damaged by Serbian bandits and hooligans in Denmark.” Serbian soccer team Red Star Belgrade played in Copenhagen yesterday.
  • “Japan’s foreign minister has discussed economic relations and cooperation with Slovenia as he met officials in the small European Union country as part of a tour that also includes visits to Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia…The Slovenian Foreign Ministry says the visit was the first by a Japanese foreign minister since Slovenia gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.” (AP News)
  • Kosovo’s two biggest opposition parties, the LDK and Vetvendosje, could reach a pre-election coalition deal, according to Vetevendosje MP Liburn Aliu.
  • War of Words: Outgoing Deputy PM of Kosovo Enver Hoxhaj and the Serbian Ministry of Culture accuse each other of “stealing history” when it comes to the history of religious sites in Kosovo.
  • Outgoing British Ambassador to Kosovo Ruairi O’Connell refutes a Kosovo Ministry of EU Integration statement. He wrote on Facebook: “The one thing I will not miss in Kosovo is the unprofessional and unfriendly practice of Kosovo politicians putting words into my mouth.
  • I met the Minister of European Integration today, who is an old friend. After the meeting, her Ministry issued a press statement attributing positions to me. This was not agreed with my Embassy. It was published in the media who did not check with my Embassy…
  • This has happened a number of times from different institutions and political parties. From now on, my Embassy will correct any statement issued without our consent.
  • To be absolutely clear: the UK does not support or oppose any political party in Kosovo. Kosovo citizens have the right and the duty to take responsibility for their vote and its consequences.”
  • Former KLA member Tomor Morina, who was in custody on a Serbian extradition warrant, was released today from custody in N. Macedonia after a ruling by the Supreme Court.
  • Corruption: Four employees of the Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence are charged by the Basic Public Prosecutors Office for Prosecution of Organized Crime and Corruption for embezzling a total of $918,000.
  • Chinese police conclude patrolling in Croatia’s “Safe Tourist Season 2019 Project.”
  • Tragic: A Italian man has died and his two children, 8 and 14, are in critical condition after being exposed to carbon monoxide from the generator on a chartered boat.

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Sport: Women’s soccer team KFF Mitrovica (Kosovo) qualified for the UEFA Champions League as one of the top 32 teams in Europe.
  • Sport: The US Embassy in Serbia issued a security warning ahead of the FK Partizan – Rad Beograd match this weekend. It is a high risk match because of “animosity between hooligans.”
  • Sport: US Basketball star Kemba Walker “could care less” about the amount of trash talk coming from the Serbian national team coach.
  • Entertainment: Croatian actor Goran Visnjic is set to leave the US after 20 years to cross over the pond to the UK.