WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • The Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church Irinej met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad yesterday. 
  • Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says that if the Paris meeting happens with Kosovo it is more important than next weeks scheduled UN session on Kosovo in June. 
  • Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj dismisses convicted war criminal Sulejman Selimi who worked as an advisor to the prime minister.
  • The Speaker of the Duma of Russia Vyacheslav Volodin  travelled to Belgrade to visit the Russian national who worked United Nations Mission in Kosovo employee and was injured in the Kosovo Police raid in the north of Kosovo last week. 
  •  RFE/RL: “Kosovo Charges Ethnic Serb With War Crimes“: “According to the indictment, the suspect was part of a Serbian paramilitary group that forced civilians to flee, maltreating them “physically and psychologically,” and killed some of them.The prosecution did not say whether he was arrested.The Serbian government office for Kosovo identified the man as Zoran Djokic, and claimed that he was arrested at a border crossing between Serbia and Kosovo on February 1.”
  • AP: “Balkans faces alarming levels of air pollution“: “People in all major cities across the western Balkans face alarming levels of air pollution that are reducing their life expectancies because the underdeveloped, politically fragile region is still heavily reliant on burning coal to generate power, the U.N. said Monday in a new report.”
  •  But NATO appears ready to accept North Macedonia as its 30th member as Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg finishes his two day official visit. 
  • Croatia’s Speaker of Parliament Goradan Jandroković met with the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on Monday 

BEYOND THE POLITICS

  • Washington Post Op-ed: “Richard Holbrooke appreciated the power of the past” by Richard Cohen: “The late Richard Holbrooke was a liar. He was often disingenuous, betraying his friends as well as his lovers, flattering political gargoyles — Jesse Helms, for instance — and went everywhere protected by a posse of his own formidable ego. He could be thoroughly dislikable, but he failed in that regard with me. I liked him. He was a friend.”
  • The first nonstop flight between the United States and Croatia will take off this Friday. The American Airlines route is between Philadelphia and Dubrovnik.