Serbian and Kosovo FMs Criticized by UN Security Council

The foreign ministers of Serbia and Kosovo traded accusations at a UN Security Council session which debated the latest report on the UN Mission in Kosovo.

Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic told the session that the authorities in Pristina were “manifesting malignant nationalism towards the Serbs in Kosovo”. With the goal of initiating an exodus of the Serbs. He said that the situation in Kosovo was far from normal and stable.

The UN Security Council heard a regular semi-annual report on UNMIK from Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Selakovic said that the Kosovo authorities were ignoring Serb political representatives in institutions and taking decisions without them.

“Politically staged investigations and court proceedings are creating an atmosphere of insecurity”, he added. He warned against laying equal blame on the two sides in crisis situations. According to Selakovic, the causes of the problem have to be identified and a message sent to the people in power about the need to establish inter-ethnic trust by having Kosovo institutions abide by and implement agreements.

“The statements from Pristina are a message to the Serb people that they should not count on their collective rights”, he said and recalled that Serbian nationals living in Kosovo were not allowed to vote at elections for the first time since 1999 confirming what he said is the discriminatory character of the authorities in Pristina. UNMIK chief Caroline Ziadeh told the UN Security Council that the leaderships in Belgrade and Pristina should engage more constructively in the European Union-mediated dialogue which has led to “significant results on various practical issues” but added that a comprehensive normalization of relations is still out of reach.

Kosovo Foreign Minister Donika Gervala accused Serbia of being the biggest threat to the stability of the region. “Serbia is the greatest threat to the normalization of relations and the stability of the region”, she said adding that “Serbia remains Russia’s satellite” which is the main cause of instability in the Western Balkans. Gervala told the UN Security Council that Serbia is continuing to arm itself, that “all the countries of the region are facing danger from Serbia … which has military prepared to attack”.

She claimed that the recently reported assaults on Kosovo police officers near border crossings with Serbia were “terrorism” and blamed the Serbian authorities for them. “Those attacks came from the territory of Serbia and would be impossible if (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vucic did not tolerate them”, Gervala said. She said that Serbia has to accept the reality that Kosovo is an independent state.

Serbia-RS Ties are Stronger Than Ever

President Aleksandar Vucic said that the links between Serbia and the Republika Srpska (RS) entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina have never been stronger.

“The ties between Serbia and the RS have never been stronger and no one will ever be able to disrupt them”, Vucic said in an Instagram post after his meeting with Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency Serb member Milorad Dodik in Belgrade. The meeting took place a day after Vucic met with the international community’s High Representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina Christian Schmidt and expressed disagreement with his latest decision which, Vucic said, does not contribute to stability in the region.

Vucic said they discussed “all important issues, understood the difficulty of the position the Serb people, and agreed to support the RS in both economic and all other areas”.

“Peace and stability in the region are the fundamental interest of Serbia and the RS as is the common stand on political issues important to the Western Balkans and Europe”, the post said.

Dodik is quoted as telling Vucic that he personally and the RS are under great pressure in Bosnia-Herzegovina with Vucic responding that he can’t accept sanctions for the RS leadership and would help the Serbs with respect for the integrity of the RS within Bosnia-Herzegovina. Vucic and Dodik agreed to hold a meeting of the new Serbian and RS governments in Banjaluka.

The UK Sanctions Dodik for “Undermining Legitimacy, the Functionality of BiH”

The UK Government has announced the first UK sanctions under the Bosnia and Herzegovina sanctions regime against tripartite BiH Presidency member Milorad Dodik, as well as the President of the country’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity, Zeljka Cvijanovic, for “undermining of the legitimacy and functionality of Bosnia and Herzegovina”. UK sanctions mean that Dodik and Cvijanovic will be unable to travel to the UK or use or access any assets they may have in the UK.

“These two politicians are deliberately undermining the hard-won peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Encouraged by Putin, their reckless behavior threatens stability and security across the Western Balkans. With these tough sanctions we are showing that the enemies of peace will be held to account”, said the UK Foreign Secretary.

“These are not sanctions against Republika Srpska and its citizens. These are sanctions against two individuals who have acted irresponsibly with the power entrusted to them”, a press release by the British Embassy in BiH said.

According to the press release, the sanctions regime allows the UK to designate individuals who:

– undermine or threaten the sovereignty, territorial integrity, international personality, or constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

– its peace, stability or security,

– obstruct the implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (GFAP),

– or any other action, policy, or activity that undermines the GFAP.

Komsic Challenges High Representative to Either Act Now or Resign

Bosnia’s Croat Presidency member Zeljko Komsic called on International Community’s High Representative in BiH Christian Schmidt on Thursday (07.04), to repeal the unconstitutional Law on Immovable Property adopted by the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska entity (NARS).

“This is the third time that anti-constitutional laws have been passed contrary to the decisions of the BiH Constitutional Court and the opinion of the Office of the High Representative (OHR). If the High Representative does not have the courage to put anti-constitutional laws out of force, he should step down”, Komsic stressed.

The unconstitutional Law on Immovable Property of the RS was previously adopted by the National Assembly, and today it was signed by the President of that Bosnian entity Zeljka Cvijanovic.

Earlier on Thursday Schmidt said the unconstitutional Law does not affect the legality of the ban on disposal of state property and thus does not change the existing legal situation, adding that it must be repealed immediately.

SNS Will Have 121 Parliamentary Seats, the Main Opposition 37

After unusually canceling news conferences before the polls closed on Sunday (03.04) night, Serbia’s Election Commission (RIK) continued publishing results on its website, showing 58.54 turnouts based on 90.6 votes counted and the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) winning 43.2 percent securing 121 seats in the 250-strong country’s Parliament, and Aleksandar Vucic winning his second consecutive term in the first round.

According to RIK’s results, the opposition ‘United for Belgrade’s Victory’ won 13.3 percent of the votes, or 37 mandates, the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) coalition 11.6 votes or 32 mandates, and the right-wing opposition coalition ‘Hope’ (Nada) 5.3 percent of the votes, or 14 parliamentary seats.

Three more coalitions and parties crossed the three percent threshold: the green-left ‘We Must’ opposition coalition with 4.4. percent of the votes or 12 mandates, right-wing ‘Patriotic Bloc’ with 3.8 percent or ten mandates, and “Oath Keepers’ with 3.7 percent or ten seats.

Hungarian, Bosniak, and Albanian minority parties will have 14 deputies in a new Parliament. RIK said on its website that other parties failed to cross the three percent threshold.

Based on 91.8 percent of votes counted, RIK said that Aleksandar Vucic won 59 percent of the votes at the presidential elections, cementing his second term in a row. His main opponent, Zdravko Ponos of the ‘United for Serbia’s Victory’ coalition, won the support of 18 percent of the people who cast their ballot. Right-wing coalition ‘NADA’ candidate Milos Jovanovic was in third place with 5.9 percent of the vote, followed by ‘Patriotic Bloc’ candidate Bosko Obradovic with 4.4 percent and ‘Oath Keepers’ party candidate Milica Djurdjevic Stamenkovski with 4.3 percent of votes, RIK added on its website. According to the REC data, the turnout was 58.6 percent.