WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY
CORONAVIRUS by the numbers:
- BiH: 18,326 confirmed cases, 12,081 recovered, 560 deaths.
- CROATIA: 8,530 confirmed cases, 6,124 recovered, 175 deaths.
- KOSOVO: 12,683 confirmed cases, 8,788 recovered, 488 deaths.
- N. MACEDONIA: 13,799 confirmed cases, 573 deaths.
- MONTENEGRO: 4,444 confirmed cases, 87 deaths.
- SERBIA: 30,820 confirmed cases, 29,132 recovered, 705 deaths.
- SLOVENIA: 2,686 confirmed cases, 133 deaths.
HYSENI MEETS MERKEL’S ADVISOR: Kosovo’s technical director for the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue Skender Hyseni met with Matthias Luttenberg, advisor of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after a meeting in Paris. Hyseni’s press statement said called for coordination between Washington, Berlin, and Paris. It said, “Appreciating the EU commitment and the work of its special envoy, Miroslav Lajcak in the rounds of talks taking place in Brussels, I stressed that the dialogue should take on a new dynamic in order not to waste precious time, but coordinate discussions of the main issue, the comprehensive agreement for mutual recognition and normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. This can only be achieved with the direct and coordinated involvement and support of the triangle Berlin-Paris-Washington.”
SPEAKING OF THE DIALOGUE: A week before the highly anticipated meeting at the White House between Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti, the technical teams will meet in Brussels. Kosovo’s representative Skender Hyseni will meet with Serbia’s Marko Djuric on August 27.
THACI + SPC: Kosovo President Hashim Thaci wrote in a letter to the National Assembly to continue the mandate of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC). He wrote, “The mandate of the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office shall continue until notification of competition is made by the Council of the European Union, in consultation with the Government of the Republic of Kosovo.”
SLOVAKIA + MONTENEGRO: Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad’ yesterday met with Speaker of Parliament Ivan Brajovic. Nad’ reaffirmed Slovakia’s continued support for Montenegro’s Euro-Atlantic integration
SERBIA + GERMANY: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met virtually with German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier to discuss business partnerships between the two countries. A press release wrote, “This partnership includes reinforcing supply chains and additional links between Serbia and the internal European Union market as well as sustainable investments in stronger development of strategic industrial policy in Serbia in line with European green agreement.”
CROATIA COMMEMORATES SERB VICTIMS OF OPERATION STORM: Croatian Deputy PMs gathered to commemorate the killings of Serbs during and after Operation Storm. Deputy PM Boris Milosevic encouraged Serbs to return to Croatia. He said, “Courage is needed to return and start over. I am aware of the problems and the bureaucracy that stand in the way, but I encourage you to return.” And Deputy PM and Veterans Minister Tomo Medved noted, “Croatia, as the victor of the Homeland War, regrets all the lives that were lost in the war, especially civilians. It is our duty to pay our respects to innocent victim.” President Zoran Milanovic spoke about the similarity of Serbs and Croats. He said, Enough of what marked the relations between the two peoples, two nations so alike that it is difficult to find in Europe two that are more similar to each other. These are not the Czech and Slovak peoples, nor Swedes and Norwegians. It is us, Croats and Serbs, our neighbors.”
EUFOR + BiH: “A Training and Co-Operation Plan between EUFOR and the Armed Forces Bosnia and Herzegovina was signed on 25th August 2020 in Sarajevo.The training plan was signed by EUFOR Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Ernő Baráth, and Major General Ivica Jerkić, Deputy Chief Joint Staff Operations for Armed Forces Bosnia and Herzegovina.” (Sarajevo Times)
KOSOVO + EU FUNDS: Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti signed an agreement for 138 euros with the EU for projects from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance funds.
BiH DEFENSE + RUSSIA: “A delegation of the Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina with Deputy Defense Minister for Resource Management Mirko Okolic and BiH Defense Minister’s Adviser Muris Palo, at the invitation of the Russian Ministry of Defense, is participating in the International Military-Technical Forum “Army 2020”, taking place in Moscow from 23 to 25 August.” (Sarajevo Times)
N. MACEDONIA + SLOVENIA: Slovenian MEP Irena Joveva came under attack by online trolls because of her Macedonian heritage. Her party in Slovenia, the Marjan Sarec List (LMS), wrote in a statement, “Joveva was born in Slovenia, ran for MEP in Slovenia and was elected in Slovenia. Her descent, of which she is particularly proud, is a personal matter and something that does not belong in the political discourse of Slovenia in the 21st century.”
SUMMONED: The latest Kosovo MP to be summoned to The Hague for questioning by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers is Haxhi Shala (AAK). He is a former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
MLADIC APPEAL: Lawyers for Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic have told a UN court he is at risk of a ‘miscarriage of justice’ because he is mentally unfit to take part in an appeal hearing against his genocide conviction. Dubbed the ‘Butcher of Bosnia’, the 78-year-old Mladic has challenged his 2017 conviction and life sentence for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. But Mladic’s lawyers said they were taking part under protest as the two-day hearing got under way in The Hague, after judges earlier this week rejected a bid to postpone it pending a fresh medical assessment.A frail-looking Mladic appeared in court wearing a mask because of coronavirus regulations, which he later removed.” (al-Jazeera)
REMOVE RAPE CAMP: A petition has been started to remove the Vilina Vlas Spa from Google search. An alleged 200 Bosniak women have been raped at the camp.
TRAVEL: “Would you jump off Montenegro’s second-tallest bridge?” by Jessica Vincent in Euronews