WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

CORONAVIRUS by the numbers:

  • BiH: 22,834 confirmed cases, 15,672 recovered, 686 deaths.
  • CROATIA: 13,533 confirmed cases, 10,899 recovered, 224 deaths.
  • KOSOVO: 14,566 confirmed cases, 11,272 recovered, 589 deaths.
  • MONTENEGRO: 6,712 confirmed cases, 120 deaths.
  • N. MACEDONIA: 15,791 confirmed cases, 648 deaths.
  • SERBIA: 32,408 confirmed cases, 390 hospitalized, 733 deaths.
  • SLOVENIA: 3,702 confirmed cases, 135 deaths.

KOSOVO-SERBIA DIALOGUE:

  • The governments of the U.S., Kosovo, and Serbia have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Swedish MP Magnus Jacobsson (Christian Democrats) for his role in Serbia and Kosovo signing documents. Jacobsson wrote in a tweet, “I have nominated the US Gov. and the governments of Kosovo and Serbia for the Nobel Peace Prize for their joint work for peace and economic development, through the cooperation agreement signed in the White House. Trade and communications are important building blocks for peace.”
  • The U.S. State Department praised Serbia for announcing the designation of Hizbollah as a terrorist organization.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted, “The dominoes are falling on Hizballah’s European operations. Serbia’s announcement that it will designate Hizballah in its entirety helps to further restrict the terrorist organization’s ability to fundraise and operate in the region. Great move by President @avucic!”
  • Vucic responded, “Rest assured, dear friend @SecPompeo, that we remain firm in our pursuit of peace and stability, thus contributing to overall global security.”
  • Serbia’s Vucic spoke had “an excellent conversation” with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • Former Serbian FM Vuk Jeremic dismissed the the events at the White House as a “photo opportunity.”

OFF TO KOSOVO: Ninety-five Iowa National Guard soldiers from the 1st Squadron of the 113th Cavalry Regiment have begun a year long deployment to join NATO’s KFOR mission. The deployment is expected to last around a year.

PLENKOVIC IN MOSTAR: “The Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic will visit Mostar on Sunday and Monday on the occasion of the grand opening of the newly built Diocesan Cultural Center in Mostar and the presentation of Bishop Ratko Peric’s book ‘Go and Preach’ and the handover of the outgoing Bishop Ratko Peric to the newly appointed Bishop Petar Palic.” (Sarajevo Times)

PACOLLI ON MONTENEGRO: Leader of New Kosovo Alliance Behgjet Pacolli wrote an open message on Facebook for Montenegro’s leader of the Black and White Coalition and URA, Dritan Abazovic, asking him to not join the new government for fears that the new Montenegrin government could derecognize Kosovo. Last week, the three coalition leaders in Montenegro signed a document that would continue Montenegro’s current foreign policy.

ELECTIONS IN MONTENEGRO: The State Electoral Commission (SEC) will publish the final results of the August 30 parliamentary elections. The session of the SEC will being at 7:30PM CET

CROATIAN TROOPS LEAVE AFGHANISTAN: Croatian troops lowered their flag at Camp Marmal in Mazar-i-Sharif and became the final contingent to leave NATO’s mission Resolute Support.

BUSTED: Nearly a ton of cocaine was found on a Croatian sailboat off the coast of the Canary Islands. The sailboat left the port of Sibenik in early 2020.

Speaking of getting busted… “A ship’s electrician from Montenegro became the third member of an international cargo vessel’s crew to admit playing a role in the smuggling of a record-breaking 20-ton cocaine haul seized by federal authorities at the Port of Philadelphia last year. Aleksandar Kavaja, 27, pleaded guilty to narcotics conspiracy charges Thursday and told a federal judge he and three other crew mates aboard the MSC Gayane were recruited by drug smugglers in their native country before the ship set out on its journey.” (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

IN OTHER NEWS

OP-ED: “Kosovo Serbia Agreement Could Sway US Election” by Fron Nahzi in BIRN

OP-ED: “Trump not a peacemaker in the Balkans, Middle East or anywhere else” by Bradley Blankenship in CGTN

OP-ED: “Will Montenegro’s New Government Bring a New China Strategy?” by Mladen Grgic in The Diplomat

ANALYSIS: “Non-agreement or why it takes (at least) two to reach an agreement” by MIlos Hrnjaz in KosSev

ANALYSIS: “Quo Vadis Serbia?” by Jovan Kovacic in New Europe

ANALYSIS: “Serbia and Kosovo awkwardly embrace Israel” in The Economist

ANALYSIS: “Regret and frustration as Slovenia loses appeal over Teran wine” in The Slovenia Times

HUMAN INTEREST: “Melania Trump Wants to Be Best” in Voice of America Learning English

SPORT: “Pogacar beats Roglic as defending champion Bernal cracks” by Julien Pretot in Reuters

SPORT: “Kosovo and Albania form united basketball league” by Perparim Isufi in Prishtina Insight

TRAVEL: “Hotel Bozica on Sipan: An Elaphite Delight in Sudjuradj” by Paul Bradbury in Total Croatia News

TRAVEL: “Slovenia Has a New 167-mile Walking Trail — Here’s Where to Eat, Stay, and Explore Along the Way” by Owen Clarke in Travel & Leisure