WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN THE BALKANS TODAY

  • US Ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett and former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj addressed a crowd at a groundbreaking ceremony for a statue honoring Senator Bob Dole. See Ambassador Kosnett’s full remarks here.
  • Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R- IL,16) blamed Bosnian Serb Presidency Member Milorad Dodik’s party (SNSD) for the lack of formation of the government: “Last October, Bosnia held legislative elections. Since they have been unable to form a government given disagreements between pro-Western political parties and the nationalist Serb parties over what the relationship Bosnia should have with NATO. Staunch anti-NATO sentiment and threatened recession from Bosnia has been the staple of the Russian backed alliance of the Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) who have, in effect, been blocking the formation over NATO accession.”
  • US Ambassador to N. Macedonia Kate Byrnes on her three priorities for her term as ambassador:“The first is to promote stability through strong institutions, to continue to support the Government’s reform efforts and its efforts to implement the rule of law. Second, I want to seek to foster prosperity through our assistance programmes as well as through private sector partnerships. And third, of course, is to enhance our mutual security through our defense relationship.”
  • Ambassador Byrnes on the recent corruption scandal: “With all allegations of corruption and abuse of office, the United States support a thorough, swift and transparent investigation. It is absolutely critical that in any case of such allegations that those individuals be held responsible and that the Government take action. We recognize and welcome the current steps that the Government has taken to end corruption and to fight impunity.”
  • US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt on N. Macedonia: “We are focused now on supporting North Macedonia’s membership in NATO. That’s going to be the focus over the course of the fall as we work with our Congress. Greece, of course, was the first country to ratify North Macedonia’s NATO accession, so you finished the issue. We are very supportive of the role that Greece is carving out for itself in North Macedonia.” 
  • Prime Minister of N. Macedonia Zoran Zaev blamed his predecessor Nikola Gruevski for appropriating others history in Facebook post. He noted, “They (Gruevski) carried out a mass cultural operation called ‘antiquization’ and conflicted the country will all neighbors. They managed to keep us in isolation for an entire decade.” for political gains.
  • New Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko delivered his credentials to Serbian President Aleksandr Vucic, officially beginning his term in office.
  • China is interested in developing a 5G network in Serbia, according to Head of the Chinese Cyberspace Administration Zhuang Rongwen.
  • France signs a letter of intent to support the construction of a Belgrade metro system. The total cost is expected to be around $4.48 billion.
  • Update: The Slovenian Army will buttress police efforts patrolling the border areas around Koper with 35 troops. Local police in Koper have apprehended 122 migrants in the last week in the heavily forested border area. Migrants are primarily from Afghanistan. 
  • The Republika Srpska entity will introduce Serbia’s high school history textbooks in its curriculum, bringing it in line with Belgrade’s history of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.
  • Going Green: Solar-powered ferries set sail in Kotor, Montenegro. One electric and one hybrid ferry has taken to the seas with seven more to be introduced by the end of 2020. The boats are a part of the Bella Boka project. 
  • Meanwhile, Bosnia fears that Croatia will start to dump radioactive and nuclear waste in Trgovska Gora near the Bosnian border. Croatia has not responded to complaints of the Bosnian government.


BEYOND THE POLITICS