WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • Kosovo unveiled on Tuesday a monument for victims of the the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States. US Ambassador to Kosovo Richard Kosnett’s noted in his remarks, “And Americans will always remember the support the United States received from around the world.  The response from our friends in Kosovo was immediate and sincere.
  • After the attack, across Kosovo, people gathered to march in support of the United States, to light candles, and to donate blood.  Some Kosovo citizens even volunteered to join the U.S. military to fight in the Global War on Terrorism.
  • This spontaneous, heartfelt outpouring of support is a confirmation of the deep connection the people of America and the people of Kosovo share. This enduring partnership transcends any political party or leader.”
  • US Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott participated in the International Round-Table, “Serbian-American Relations.” Scott noted, “What has defined our relationship are shared values, and shared struggles.  Americans hailed Serbia’s struggle for freedom in World War I, and our solidarity was epitomized by President Wilson’s decision to fly the Serbian flag over the White House.  We fought a common foe in World War II as well, and in four days I will travel to Pranjani in the heart of Sumadia to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Operation Halyard, the daring rescue inside Serbian territory of hundreds of downed pilots who were sheltered and protected by Serbian peasants and our Serbian allies.
  • And on this fateful day, September 11, we remember the victims of the most deadly terrorist attack in my nation’s history, one in which almost 3,000 citizens from over 90 countries died.  That day marked the beginning of a new era of struggle against a common foe, and Serbs and Americans are again finding ways to cooperate to thwart terrorist attacks and keep our peoples safe.  We are again together in the search for ways to work together toward a more peaceful, stable, and prosperous world.
  • In America, we still grieve for the victims of September 11.  We seek to honor their memory — not with bitterness, resentment, or even hatred — but with decency, compassion, and hope.  I see glimpses of this spirit here in Serbia as well, although all too often it struggles against other instincts as well.  In some ways, this conference is a good occasion to reflect on the complicated process of how a nation and a people react to adversity and tragedy.  Instead of allowing dark times to define us, we must grow together toward healing and hope.” Read his full remarks here.
  • Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic received a delegation from the Ohio National Guard led by Major General John Harris. Serbia partners with Ohio in the State Partnership Program. She said Serbia and the US should highlight positive examples of US-Serbia alliance.
  • President of Czechia Milos Zeman said he would try to get his country to withdraw recognition of Kosovo while on a visit to Serbia. He added, “”The Hague tribunal recently issued news where it expressed suspicion about the war crimes of Kosovo representatives, and I think the Prime Minister resigned because of this. Let me say a personal opinion that a war crimes-led state should not be located in the community of democratic countries.”
  • Kosovo swiftly responded by saying it would cancel its participation in a September 12 summit with Western Balkan prime ministers and those of the Visegrad Four (Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia).
  • The President and Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic and Dusko Markovic, met and discussed on Wednesday the most important topics relating to Monenegro including EU integration further economic development. 
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic arrived in Rome on Wednesday and is scheduled to meet Pope Francis today. 
  • Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic condemned offensive graffiti in the enterance to Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) leader Milorad Pupovac’s village. The graffiti read, “Kill Serbs.”
  • Chairman of the Bosnian Presidency Zeljko Komsic finished day two of his working visit to the UK by attending a dinner organized by Remebering Srebrenica UK. Guests included Bosnia’s Grand Mufti Husein Kavazovic, UK Ambassador to Bosnia Matthew Field, and Bosnian Ambassador to the UK Vanja Filipovic
  • Outgoing Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj on the US, Serbia, and the potential border change: “There are two worlds – Serbia with its allies working against us and our world which restrains Serbia. We have avoided a division of Kosovo and any weakening of Kosovo…“The Kosovo border separates the influence of America and Russia and we are on the front line. I am convinced that America is always with Kosovo.”
  • Prime Minister of N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev and opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski traded words today just a day after meeting for three hours and failing to come to concrete solutions.
  • Zaev said he was disappointed with yesterday’s results, but would not cave in to Mickoski’s “Gruevism” and warned that his party could be the reason that N. Macedonia doesn’t receive an EU accession date. 
  • Meanwhile, Mickoski focused on the Special Prosecutor’s Office and Zaev is trying to protect his people from prosecution.
  • He also claimed he had all of the statements from whistleblowers from his party regarding the Racket caset.
  • Republika Srpska, the Serb dominated entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, will begin detailed negotiations with Russian gas supplier Gazprom for the TurkStream pipeline project by the end of the month. The project is expected to cost $331 million.
  • “The energy company Petrol signed cooperation contracts with Russia’s T Plus Grupa and Schneider Electric at a Slovenian-Russian business meeting held in Moscow on Tuesday as part of Prime Minister Marjan Šarec’s visit to the country.
  • Petrol will cooperate with the two Russian companies in energy efficiency. According to Petrol CEO Tomaž Berločnik, the projects will focus on optimisation of district heating.
  • The project with T Plus Grupa will be carried out in Izhevsk, and the other in Yekaterinburg, where Petrol will set up specialised software and provide IT support.” (Slovenia Times)
  • “Slovenia and Montenegro explored ways to boost bilateral trade and investment at business forum held in Ljubljana on Wednesday as part of a visit by Montenegrin Economy Minister Dragica Sekulic. The biggest potential was identified in energy and tourism.” (Slovenia Times)
  • A convoy of Serbian state run TV broadcaster, RTS, was held up at the Kosovo-Serbia border for 25 hours. Kosovo Customs and Police both denied responsibility and said they needed an entry permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Croatia and Bosnia will begin work on a bridge across the Sava River near Gradiska in October.
  • Migrants: Oslobodjenje writes that 19,500 migrants have been registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the beginning of the year, a 20% rise from the same period last year.
  • Crime: The Hague denies Bosnian Serb Army Commander Radislav Krstic’s request for early release.He is sentenced to 35 years for genocide in Srebrenica. Bosnian police found two drugs labs in Sarajevo on Tuesday and arrested two people.
  • The son of former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, Max Key, was hospitalized in Croatia for a “gnarly stomach bug.” 

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Op-ed: “Joe Biden — Stand With the One that Stands with Us” by Elvir Klempic in Medium: “On December 13, 1995, then Senator Joe Biden spoke in front of the U.S. Senate during a debate on whether to send U.S. troops to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In his 20-minute speech, Sen. Biden exemplified what a true leader should be. He criticized any current or proposed policy that would endanger people’s lives and called on the U.S. government to understand its role as the world’s largest democracy, a model for other nations, and a nation that fights injustice anywhere and everywhere around the world. Then, as now, Joe Biden fought for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and identified the horrors that were being allowed to take place in Bosnia by its proper term, genocide.”
  • Op-ed
  • Sport: Serbia tips off against the United States in a consolation game today in the FIBA World Cup at 7:00 a.m. EST/1:00 p.m. CET.