RTCG - Radio Televizija Crne Gore - Nacionalni javni servis :: Balkans http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/rss.html me http://www.rtcg.me/img/logo.png RTCG - Radio Televizija Crne Gore - Nacionalni javni servis :: Balkans http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/rss.html Serbia's road to the EU leads through Zagreb http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/215138/serbias-road-to-the-eu-leads-through-zagreb.html Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic said today that Serbia's path towards the European Union leads through Zagreb and solving open issues. ]]> "Serbia's road to the EU leads through Zagreb and solving the accumulated issues," the prime minister said in Parliament, answering the question of the independent deputy Hrvoje Zekanovic on resolving open issues with Serbia, including war damages.

Plenkovic added that his government, as well as the previous ones, are working on solving open issues.

He reminded that they discussed them when Serbian President Aleksandar Vucicvisited Zagreb, but also when Croatian officials visited Serbia.

As for the rights of Croatian minorities in Serbia, Plenkovic said he hoped he would have a status similar to that of a Serbian national minority in Croatia.

Zekanovic was not pleased with the prime minister's response, saying his impression was that "nothing has been done" regarding Serbia.

"Croatia needs a Croatian Orban, and unfortunately I do not even see O of Orban," said Zekanovic, a member of the ultra-conservative party ‘’Hrast’’.

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Zaev repeated: No evidence of Russian influence http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/215020/zaev-repeated-no-evidence-of-russian-influence-.html Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev reiterated today that there is no evidence that Russia has an impact on the upcoming referendum, although that country is not happy with the expansion of NATO to Macedonia. ]]> "The facts say that we have no evidence and arguments that Russia has some influence on the referendum. It is true that Russia is not happy with NATO's enlargement to Macedonia, and publicly comment on it, but has nothing against the EU expansion to the entire Western Balkans," Zaev said at a joint press conference with EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

Citizens of Macedonia should declare in a referendum on September 30 whether they support the agreement with Greece, which was achieved by the government of Zoran Zaev, on the change of state name to Northern Macedonia, which is a basic condition for membership in the EU and NATO.

Zaev reiterated that for the citizens of Macedonia there is no alternative other than NATO and the EU, adding that Macedonia wants to build friendship with all countries, including the Russian Federation.
He expressed the hope that all the friends of Macedonia will allow the citizens to vote freely and exercise their democratic right without allowing any outside influence.

"This is a historic decision that we ourselves have to make. Our friends are there to encourage us, motivate us, to safeguard our future and cooperation, but that's our decision," Zaev said.

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"We have no evidence on Russian involvement " http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/214894/we-have-no-evidence-on-russian-involvement-.html Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said at the opening of a media meeting in Skopje that there was no evidence that Russia and some other countries use false news to run an anti-referendum campaign in Macedonia. ]]> “I have no evidence of Russian influence in Macedonia. The Russian Federation is a friend of the Republic of Macedonia and it does not stand in the way of Macedonia’s accession to the EU. However, it is openly opposed to its accession to NATO. If there is any evidence of interference by use of fake news, I will publicly share them”, said Zaev at the “EU-Western Balkans Media Days” conference.

He stressed that he is aware of the networks of profiles that are spreading fake news on social media, including traditional media, and stated that he hopes that we “can get to know the details,” but that there are no indication of countries spreading fake news.

Macedonian Prime Minister warned that “the misuse in the form of spreading disinformation can easily reflect on stability and it doesn’t represent freedom of speech”.

Earlier today, US Defence Secretry James Mattis arrived in Skopje. He used the occasion to condemn Russia for trying to undermine the referendum, which takes place on 30 September.

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Balkans http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/214894/we-have-no-evidence-on-russian-involvement-.html
Thaci returned Kosovo to the time before independence http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/214639/thaci-returned-kosovo-to-the-time-before-independence.html With the proposal on the border correction, Hashim Thaci returned Kosovo in 2007, before it declared independence, assessed the leader of "Self-Determination" Albin Kurti. ]]> "This caused some damage," he stressed in a statement to the Vienna daily "Standard".

Kurti explains that Thaci seems to be involved in negotiating an agreement with Serbia on the "statehood of Kosovo".

According to him, Thaci also sent a signal to states that have already recognized Kosovo that something may be wrong with Kosovo's borders.

Kurti believes that Thaci's proposal has to do with ‘’him being scaring of going to prison".

Kosovo is waiting for the indictments of the Special War Crimes Court, reminds the "Standard".

Kurti seeks new elections and announces demonstrations.

"I am not against dialogue with Serbia, but against dialogue without principles," he stressed.

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EP approved visa liberalization for Kosovo citizens http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/214509/ep-approved-visa-liberalization-for-kosovo-citizens-.html Today, the European Parliament voted in favour of the liberalization of visas for the citizens of Kosovo. 420 MEPs voted in favour of this decision, 186 voted against, while 22 abstained. ]]> Kosovo's rapporteur at the European Parliament, Tanja Fajon said before the voting that Kosovo has delivered all the conditions for the liberalization of the visa regime.

Next step in the process will require a qualified majority of EU Ministers for Internal Affairs to approve the action in the Council of European Union.

The EU will be represented in the negotiations with its member stated by MEP Tanja Fajon, rapporteur for liberalization.

The vote came after the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs gave green light for the move in late August. It was supposed to be held in October, but it was moved earlier on the insisting of some parliamentary groups, the agency reports.

Next step in the process will require a qualified majority of EU Ministers for Internal Affairs to approve the action in the Council of European Union.
On 18 July this year, the European Commission announced that Kosovo fulfilled all 95 conditions and proposed to the European Union to liberalize the visa regime for Kosovo citizens, who cannot yet travel without visas to the Schengen zone countries.

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Solution for Kosovo in the hands of Serbia and Kosovo http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/214268/solution-for-kosovo-in-the-hands-of-serbia-and-kosovo-.html US Senator and the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Republican Ron Johnson, assessed that the solution for Kosovo issue was in the hands of Serbia and Kosovo, while the US is only there to support and encourage. ]]> Johnson told Radio Free Europe that Washington has not drawn any “red line” regarding changing borders, like Germany did. 

“A solution must come from the leaderships and people of Serbia and Kosovo. The US is only there to support and encourage a solution to the dispute. We want to give the leadership on both sides room to be flexible and creative, to find a solution for this extremely difficult problem. I am here to offer that kind of support,” Johnson said.

 According to him, both Serbian and Kosovo officials are serious about finding solutions, adding that it is understandable that the population is concerned about the "danger of a domino effect".

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Balkans http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/214268/solution-for-kosovo-in-the-hands-of-serbia-and-kosovo-.html
One of the attackers on Vladimir Kovacevic arrested http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/214178/one-of-the-attackers-on-vladimir-kovacevic-arrested.html Republika Srpska police have arrested one person suspected of having participated in the attack on BN television journalist Vladimir Kovacevic on August 26 in Banja Luka, Banja Luka media reported. ]]> The RS Ministry of Interior announced a press conference this afternoon to present more details.

Kovacevic was brutally beaten on the night of August 26 in front of the building where he was living, and the Prosecution described the attack as an attempted murder.

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Vucic does not want to meet Thaci today http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/213919/vucic-does-not-want-to-meet-thaci-today-.html Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will not talk to Kosovo president Hashim Thaci in Brussels today, and it is not yet sure if and when would the negotiation with Pristina continue. ]]> Media learned it from the director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Marko Djuric after Vucic's meeting with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, who acts as the mediator in the Belgrade-Pristina talks.
Vucic decided to do this, Djuric said, because of the all Kosovo Albanians' deceits, threats and lies.
Djuric said that Belgrade wants to preserve peace, but that it can not accept attempts to threaten and ban the visit of the Serbian president to Kosovo and Metohija, Tanjug reports.

Also, he pointed out, the attempts to render the talks meaningless are unacceptable, as is the attempt (of Hashim Thaci) to present Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac as part of the territory of Kosovo. 

"The only territory to be discussed is the territory of Kosovo and Metohija," Djuric added. 
Asked whether Vucic feared getting arrested in Kosovo, Djuric replied negatively, and added that if he decided to go to Kosovo, he would certainly not be arrested.

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Police arrest 2 after armed group video surfaces http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/213798/police-arrest-2-after-armed-group-video-surfaces.html Slovenian police on Thursday arrested two people for paramilitary activity after video footage and photos surfaced on social media of a group of armed, masked men led by a right-wing former presidential candidate. ]]> Police said that around 40 criminal investigators were searching five houses in the northeastern area around the town of Maribor in the Stajerska region where the group was filmed.

The video showing several dozen masked men training in a field in military-like outfits and holding axes and rifles has drawn widespread condemnation in the small European Union nation.

Nationalist politician Andrej Sisko has said the armed men weren't paramilitary militia, but "free men" and guards of the Stajerska region. Sisko is known for his anti-immigrant stance.

Local media say Sisko was arrested in Thursday's raid, but police haven't confirmed this. Photos from the scene showed police escorting a smiling Sisko, wearing a red baseball cap but no handcuffs.

The suspects face charges of "inciting violent change of constitutional order" and illicit arms and drug trafficking.

Sisko won around 2 percent of the votes at last year's presidential election. His United Slovenia Movement didn't make it into parliament in June balloting.

Police said in their statement that some of the participants of the Sept. 1 gathering were "misled by the organizers." They urged all who took part to come forward.

Sisko also attended an anti-immigrant rally of about 200 people in southeastern Slovenia who protested against plans to open a migrant center in their area bordering Croatia from where migrants cross into Slovenia.

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Without the opposition there is no ratification of the agreement http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/213694/without-the-opposition-there-is-no-ratification-of-the-agreement.html President of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), Isa Mustafa, says that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci can pose for photos in Brussels, but there will be no ratification of a possible agreement between Belgrade and Pristina without the opposition. ]]> In Facebook announcement Mustafa says that he is for dialogue with Serbia and that it would be in best interest of Kosovo to organize new extraordinary parliamentary elections that would form a strong government and opposition without the Serbian List.

"We had a difficult day for the Parliament and Kosovo. What we have seen is that the government is cheating on itself and trying to deceive Brussels and Washington that they represent the majority, because they are not really. As individuals and as teams they can go and stand in front of the camera in Brussels , but neither the president nor the government can make an agreement, because without the opposition, they can’t ratify it in the Assembly, "said Mustafa.

The LDK leader points out that it is clear that for an essential, strong and serious dialogue in the interests of the country of Kosovo, they need strong leaders and opposition outside the margin of the Serb List.

"New elections are needed for a serious and responsible dialogue and not manipulations in order to keep the power," Mustafa wrote.

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Pacolli: Dodik’s threats are the reason I pulled off http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/213588/pacolli-dodiks-threats-are-the-reason-i-pulled-off-.html Kosovo Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli has pulled out of a ministerial meeting of the South-East Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) in Bosnia after Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said he was not welcome in the country’s autonomous Serb region. ]]> BiH is currently chairing the initiative, so Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak invited his counterparts from the region to an informative meeting in Banja Luka on September 5 to discuss further co-operation.

“Because of the threats and obstacles created by RS President, Milorad Dodik, towards me and my delegation, despite the invitation by Bosnia's Foreign Minister, Igor Crnadak, I've cancelled my participation at the SEECP foreign ministers informal meeting in Banja Luka,” Pacolli announced on his official Twitter profile.
Dodik said on Monday his region had never recognised Kosovo and that “the minister of that fake country cannot be welcome in Republika Srpska”, according to the Bosnian Serb news agency Srna.

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Police seize 10 kilos of heroin http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/213491/police-seize-10-kilos-of-heroin.html The police in southern Serbia arrested two men with a million Euros worth of heroin, the Internal Affairs Ministry (MUP) said in a press release on Monday. ]]> The police in the town of Prokuplje arrested two men and charged them with drug trafficking after seizing 10 kilograms of high-purity heroin. Both men are from western Serbia. 

A.V. (30) is from Novi Pazar and M.Z. (26) is from Cacak, according to a statement from the Police.

Police and customs officers found the heroin in a hidden compartment in the car the two men were in.

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It's early to talk about a compromise http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/213245/its-early-to-talk-about-a-compromise.html Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic said in Vienna today It's too early to say whether there will be a compromise between Belgrade and Pristina. ]]> "However, it's very early to say when it will be and whether we will reach a compromise solution at all because I'm not sure that's what the otehr side wants, "Dacic said

He added that the compromise is in the best interests of both Serbian and Albanian people.

"We think that this would contribute to the stability of the whole region. Of course, that would mean an  open way in terms of European integration and membership in the EU, "Dacic said.

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Border change with Serbia ‘would mean war’ http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/213139/border-change-with-serbia-would-mean-war.html Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj has warned that any land swap with Serbia “would mean war” and called on world leaders to swiftly quash an idea that he believes only boosts Russian efforts to destabilize the Balkans. ]]> Mr Haradinaj acknowledged that his stance puts him on a collision course with Kosovo president Hashim Thaci, who with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic is open to border changes as part of a deal to normalize their countries’ relations.

In recent days senior EU and US officials have said they would not oppose such an agreement as long as it did not cause problems elsewhere in the Balkans, where many people fear that altering frontiers – especially along ethnic lines – would trigger a domino effect of dangerous territorial claims in a region still recovering from the wars of the 1990s.

Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj has warned that any land swap with Serbia “would mean war” and called on world leaders to swiftly quash an idea that he believes only boosts Russian efforts to destabilise the Balkans.

Mr Haradinaj acknowledged that his stance puts him on a collision course with Kosovo president Hashim Thaci, who with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic is open to border changes as part of a deal to normalise their countries’ relations.

In recent days senior EU and US officials have said they would not oppose such an agreement as long as it did not cause problems elsewhere in the Balkans, where many people fear that altering frontiers – especially along ethnic lines – would trigger a domino effect of dangerous territorial claims in a region still recovering from the wars of the 1990s.

It would mean war,” Mr Haradinaj told The Irish Times in Pristina.

“If we re-open what has already been agreed, it means re-opening the past, and in our region re-opening the past means re-opening wars. All these borders are the result of tragic wars.”

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EU Ministers in Vienna on Western Balkans http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/213041/eu-ministers-in-vienna-on-western-balkans.html On 30 and 31 August, the EU foreign affairs ministers will, upon joint invitation by Federal Minister Karin Kneissl and the High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, come to Vienna for an informal meeting, also known as Gymnich. ]]>  Likely topics of discussion are current developments in the Middle East, transatlantic relations, South-East Europe and the strengthening of effective multilateralism.

European Commissioner Johannes Hahn will also participate in the meeting. 

The informal meeting will be opened with a discussion on current developments in the Middle East. It is to be expected that the situation in Yemen, Libya and Syria as well as Iran and the Middle East conflict will be placed on the agenda. During the working session on transatlantic relations, ministers will discuss the general state of relations and will probably address concrete topics such as the preservation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and possibilities of cooperation regarding the denuclearisation of North Korea. Discussions about South-East Europe will be aligned to developments in the coming months, with a focus on enlargement.

The working session on effective multilateralism will take place together with the EU candidate countries Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. Strengthening effective multilateralism and a rule‑based global order is one of the key priorities of the EU Global Strategy – the EU’s fundamental strategy document for its Common Foreign and Security Policy. At the same time it is one of the priorities of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

David McAllister, Member of the European Parliament and President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament, will also participate in parts of the meeting.

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Balkans http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/213041/eu-ministers-in-vienna-on-western-balkans.html
Correction of borders unconstitutional http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/212944/correction-of-borders-unconstitutional.html Ten years ago, after Kosovo declared independence, Fatmir Sejdiu received dozens of letters from various different countries saying that they recognised this new state with its current borders. ]]> A decade later, the former president said he never imagined that these borders would ever be brought to the table for discussion.

In an interview with BIRN, Sejdiu - now 67 and a law professor at Pristina University - said that the recent idea of a ‘correction of borders’ advocated by his successor, Hashim Thaci, as part of a final deal with Serbia, has surprised many people.

“We have this development which has actually opened up many dilemmas and concerns among citizens. Concerns are evident even among international institutions and the international community, especially those that have helped Kosovo in the process of freedom and independence as well as during the state-building period,” said Sejdiu.

As well as being controversial, any potential redrawing of Kosovo’s borders in a territorial exchange with Serbia would be unconstitutional, Sejdiu argued.

“The idea which was introduced by President Thaci contradicts the principle of territorial integrity of Kosovo that was confirmed by the declaration of independence and embedded in our constitution,” he insisted.

“Kosovo’s constitution does not allow such possibilities to be discussed without a prior mandate given by parliament,” Sejdiu argued.

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Koha: "Serbia seems to have achieved its goal" http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/212860/koha-serbia-seems-to-have-achieved-its-goal.html Serbia seems to have achieved the goal of creating the impression that is Kosovo independence without the consent of Belgrade was wrong and unstable and not represents the final solution. ]]> This was assessed by the Brussels correspondent of the Pristina newspaper Koha , Avgustin Paljokaj.

According to him, Serbia has found support in one part of the administration of US President Donald Trump, for whom Paljokaj says is "obsessed with showing all previous moves of US administrations were wrong and must be improved. "

"Even messages from the opponents of Kosovo's independence, (John) Bolton,that the agreement on 'border correction' should not be disturbed, goes to this direction ", says the author of the text.

He believes that this are , as he says, "the terrible consequences of the dialogue in Brussels, which created divisions in Kosovo.

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Balkans http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/212860/koha-serbia-seems-to-have-achieved-its-goal.html
Tirana Vows to Tell Serbia to Respect Albanian Rights http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/212608/tirana-vows-to-tell-serbia-to-respect-albanian-rights.html Albania's Foreign Minister told Albanians from southern Serbia that Tirana will continue to demand that Belgrade fully respects the human rights of its Albanian minority. ]]> Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati said in a meeting in Tirana with representatives of the Albanian community in Serbia that his country will demand that Serbia respects their rights.

“It is a direct obligation of the Serbian authorities to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of the rights of the Albanian population in Serbia in compliance with their commitments stemming from the negotiation process with the European Union ...

"What we demand from Serbia is to provide you with the same rights that Serbs enjoy in Kosovo,” Bushati said, according to the government website.

During his meeting with representatives from the Presevo Valley, a southern Serbian region with a majority ethnic Albanian population, Bushati underlined that Albania will continue to push for their involvement in the integration processes of Serbia.

“Minister Bushati [noted that their] main concern was their socio-economic, cultural and educational progress and the lack of primary services and standards that are leading to the loss of prospects for young people and their movement from the Valley,” the press release said.

It added that Bushati highlighted the importance of continuing the EU-led Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

“The process of dialogue must be concluded by a mutual recognition agreement between the two countries, which would bring not only the full normalisation of relations between them, but would also be a strong guarantee for democratic stability of the whole region,” Bushati said.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, which Belgrade has refused to recognise. EU-mediated talks on normalisation of relations were launched in Brussels in 2011. Since June, both sides have stated that the talks are entering the final stage.

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2 killed, 1 injured in train collision http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/212515/2-killed-1-injured-in-train-collision-.html Two freight trains collided head-on in southern Bosnia early Thursday, killing two people and seriously injuring one more. ]]> Police said the crash occurred at the train station in the town of Jablanica.

 

Bosnian media said a fourth person, an engine driver, was unhurt after jumping from one of the trains moments before the collision.

 

The trains, one packed with cargo and one empty, were traveling to and from the Adriatic Sea port of Ploce.

 

Photos from the scene show both engines came off the tracks during the crash.

 

The cause of the crash is being investigated. Bosnian media said that one train went through a red light.

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Serbia’s top security agency called in http://www.rtcg.me/english/balkans/212438/serbias-top-security-agency-called-in.html Serbia‘s Construction and Infrastructure Minister Zorana Mihajlovic says the country’s top civilian intelligence and security agency has been brought in to investigate the collapse of a supporting wall along the Corridor 10 highway in southern Serbia. ]]> Mihajlovic told the Serbian state TV (RTS) that the Security Information Agency (BIA) was asked to help investigate the collapse of the support wall following a landslide. She said the agency had been called in because “things that are not clear have happened and we need accountability and answers to why the project was re-drafted so many times”. 

 

The support wall collapsed over the weekend following a landslide on a hill over the highway. The collapse was blamed on failure to build water drainage. This was the third incident of its kind in five months. 

 

The minister said a construction company had been engaged to clear up the collapsed wall, adding that the costs would be covered by the company which built the support wall to prevent landslides. She said the Grdelica Gorge, where the wall collapsed, is the most difficult construction site in Europe.

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