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Russia asks Kosovo Serbs to block border agreement with Montenegro

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A high-ranking official of Russia’s ruling United Russia, Sergei Zheleznyak, said that Kosovo Serb politicians should block the ratification of the Agreement on border demarcation with Montenegro, local media report referring to Russian newspaper Pravda.Sergei Zheleznyak in an article published on the United Russia website wrote that Kosovo Serb MPs should thwart the adoption of an agreement on the border demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro. Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said recently the solution of the border demarcation should be sent to the International Court of Arbitration “because there are no votes that support current version of the agreement in the Assembly”. Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanovic insist that current version on border delineation signed between the two countries in 2015 is a done deal for Montenegro.

Vucic would have an important phone conversation with Vladimir Putin

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Serbia will soon have ten operational MiG-29 jets and will not stop there, “as we want the citizens to feel secure”, Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday. Vucic added he would have “an important phone conversation” with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. “We don’t want any kind of conflict, but we want to be sure that we are able to protect, preserve and defend our country”, Vucic said, after the opening ceremony of a new noodles factory in Ruma, a town in western Serbia. The situation in the military, according to the president, is now “incomparably better than it was before”. He recalled that when he became defense minister, “there was not a single MiG-29”. Soldiers will be more satisfied, Vucic pointed out, as they will receive “a significant, very significant increase in wages”.

 

Enver Hoxhaj: “Kosovo cannot be compared to Catalonia”

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Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, said at a press conference on Tuesday that Kosovo cannot be compared to Catalonia, because Serbia committed ethnic cleansing. He said that Kosovo was part of the Yugoslav Federation before the nineties, “but the regime which had also the support of the current President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, who was the second person of the Serbian Radical Party, led by Seselj, followed the policy of ethnic cleansing”.

 

Bulgaria, Greece, Romania Back Serbia’s EU Membership

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The prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania have expressed support for Serbia’s bid to join them in the European Union, saying the move would help guarantee regional peace and security. “All of us know that the natural place of Serbia is in the European Union”, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov told reporters after a summit on October 3 in the Black Sea city of Varna. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic also attended the talks, which focused on joint infrastructure projects, economic and energy cooperation, and security issues. Serbia, along with Montenegro, is the Western Balkan country closest to joining the EU, having initiated accession talks with Brussels in 2014. Serbian leader Vucic, a former nationalist, has remade himself as a pro-European Union reformer while at the same time seeking to maintain good relations with traditional ally Russia. Despite the hopes of EU membership, Vucic on October 3 accused the bloc of having a double standard by refusing to accept this week’s Catalan independence referendum while having previously agreed to an independent Kosovo. “We support Spain. It is our friendly country”, Vucic said. “But the European Commission responded in a different way [regarding Kosovo] and it was against my people and my state”.

US to get involved in talks; Kosovo to have army this year

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Kosovo President Hashim Thaci says US Vice President Mike Pence “promised that the US would get directly involved” in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. “The time has come for direct involvement of the United States in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. Vice President Pence confirmed the commitment and engagement of the White House in this significant process,” Thachi told RTK. According to his, this engagement of the United States will give “new significance, dynamism and credibility to a successful conclusion of the talks.” He “explained that he discussed three issues with Pence, the main issue being the formation of the Kosovo army, which will take place this year”. The first issue was, as Thaci said, “a continuation of the dialogue on the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia as the final phase of this process, with a historic agreement on normalization and reconciliation, with the leading role of the EU”. He added that the US administration was “asking from Kosovo to resolve the issue of demarcation with Montenegro as soon as possible”.

Vucic on “double standards, hypocrisy”; calls urgent meeting

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After the Catalan referendum and European Commission’s position that it was illegal, “it must be clear how difficult it is to safeguard Serbia’s independence”. President Aleksandar Vucic said this on Monday in Belgrade, responding to reporters’ questions during a news conference. “The question every citizen of Serbia has for the European Union today is: how come that in the case of Catalonia the referendum on independence is not valid, while in the case of Kosovo secession is allowed even without a referendum”, Vucic continued. “How did you proclaim the secession of Kosovo to be legal, even without a referendum, and how did 22 European Union countries legalize this secession, while destroying European law and the foundations of European law, on which the European policy and EU policy are based” Vucic asked. Tanjug is reporting that Vucic went on to “publicly ask” how he was supposed to explain European integration of Serbia to Serbian citizens now – “although, without a doubt, Serbia sees its future in the EU, because of the type of society we striving towards, as well as for the sake of a better economy, and for other reasons”. “So, how come Catalonia cannot, and Kosovo can – there will never be an answer on this given to the Serbs”, Vucic noted. “This is the best example of the double standards and hypocrisy of the world politics”, said Vucic.

Stefanovic: Russia and China helped us block Pristina’s Interpol bid

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The fact that Pristina did not receive support for Interpol membership and withdrew their candidacy is the result of Serbia’s diplomatic activity. Deputy PM and Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said this on Friday, adding that this diplomatic activity had lasted several months. Kosovo’s possible membership in Interpol would lead to the issuing of Interpol notices against a large number of Serbian police officers and soldiers who took part in the operations in 1998 and 1999, whom Serbia would then be asked to extradite, he said. He stressed that another important success was achieved at the recent Interpol General Assembly in Beijing -namely, a resolution adopted by the Interpol Executive Committee that clearly defines criteria for membership in the organization. As for the next step of Pristina – which is to try to join UNESCO – Stefanovic said it was still unknown whether they would apply. “But I know how much effort the (Serbian) president and the foreign minister have invested in explaining to Serbian partners how wrong a move that would be”, he said.

NATO “concerned” over Thaci’s rehashed “Kosovo army” plan

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NATO is concerned about a proposal to turn Kosovo Security Force (KSF) into an armed force without constitutional changes, writes the daily Vecrnje Novosti. “The secretary general also conveyed this message directly to the Kosovo authorities. He also urged the Kosovo authorities to stay in close contact with Belgrade. NATO’s position on this issue has not changed,” reads the reply that the Belgrade newspaper received from NATO officials in Brussels. “We welcome the willingness to involve all communities in a debate about the future of the KSF. NATO has been supporting the development of the KFS as a professional and growing multiethnic force for years. The structure, mandate and mission of the KSF are issues for local Kosovo institutions in accordance with their constitutional law”, a NATO official told the daily. That the formation of an army is the primary goal of the newly formed government in Pristina is evidenced in Minister of Security Forces Rustem Berisha saying in Tirana on Wednesday – where he met with the Albanian defense minister – that “the strengthening of security institutions is a priority, which involves the transformation of the KSF into an armed force”.

“Serb-Albanian relations must be resolved once and for all”

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Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said that “a difficult compromise” when it comes to Kosovo does not mean that only one side is satisfied. He said that when it comes to Kosovo a compromise was important, “in order to live in peace”. He added that he was “sure that not everyone can be satisfied, but Serbia insists that the agreement cannot be such where one side is satisfied, and the other not”. Vucic stressed that it was “important to resolve the Serb-Albanian relationship once and for all.” When asked if he can guarantee that there will be no armed conflicts in Kosovo, Vucic said: “No one can ever fully guarantee this, but it is a great achievements of the talks that in the last four years no Serb has been killed in ethnic conflicts. The biggest problem is with the expelled, they are not allowed to return. We now must look ourselves in the eyes and we say what is real and what is objective – not to give away something that is ours, what we control”. Asked how much longer the Kosovo dialogue could last, Vucic said that it was a question of months. He also said that Serbia will be “stronger than ever in a few days”, and mentioned Russian MIGs, Russian and Serbian tanks.

Kosovo can’t join UN, unless we strike some deal – Vucic

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Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that Kosovo’s possible bid to join the UN would “come to nothing”. “I am almost certain that their attempt to join the UN would come to nothing, unless we reach some agreement – and that cannot be done if somebody thinks Serbia should lose everything, while Albanians gain everything”, Vucic told reporters in Krepoljin, near Zagubica, eastern Serbia. According to him, representatives of Pristina had obtained temporary passes in order to be able to enter the UN building in New York City during the recent UN General Assembly. “Five hundred times so far they have made Kosovo a member of the UN”, he said ironically, and added: “And yet they continue to loiter in corridors and pace around. We will continue to do our job, and I would still not bet on them”. According to Beta’s report, Vucic repeated several times that Kosovo’s membership in the UN would not materialize.

 

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