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Parliament to hold session on Gruevski’s mandate on Thursday

The Parliament will hold Thursday a session over the motion for termination of the MP mandate of former prime minister Nikola Gruevski for the purpose of serving a two-year prison sentence over Special Prosecutor’s Office case 'Tank'. The Parliament’s Committee on Rules of Procedures and Mandatory-Immunity Issues endorsed Wednesday the motion by majority of votes. VMRO-DPMNE MPs abandoned the session, claiming it is a political process not a legal one.

The motion refers to Article 59 of the Parliament’s Rules of Procedures, which states that the court delivering the judgment should inform the Parliament Speaker over an MP convicted of a crime or other punishable act that makes him/her unworthy of performing the MP office.

Termination of the mandate requires a two-thirds majority, with the outcome uncertain as the VMRO-DPMNE MPs will not vote in favor of the motion. In addition, most of the MPs within the independent group in Parliament have also said they would not support the motion. Former VMRO-DPMNE leader Gruevski is scheduled to report to prison by today. Gruevski has been sentenced to two years in prison regarding the procurement procedure of a new vehicle ‘Mercedes’ worth more than EUR 600,000., while former head of MoI’s public procurement department Gjoko Popovski to six and a half years in the same case. The Appellate Court rejected Gruevski’s appeal and confirmed his prison term, while Popovski’s sentence has been reduced to four and a half years. Former minister of interior Gordana Jankuloska, who was tried separately due to advanced pregnancy, was also sentenced to six years in prison for abuse of office.

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Gruevski’s asylum and extradition

Today or tomorrow, authorities in Skopje are expected to send to Hungarian authorities a request for the extradition of former PM Nikola Gruevski, who fled the country in order to evade a two year prison sentence that was handed to him for official misconduct during the time he was in office.

The ministry of Justice said that authorities in Budapest will be sent the file that exists against Gruevski. Yesterday, Hungary’s ambassador to Skopje, Laslo Duks was summoned at the Foreign ministry in Skopje to hand him a note of protest concerning the asylum demand. Foreign ministry’s secretary, Victor Dimovski said that he’s optimistic that Hungary will act in the spirit of good bilateral relations and without any delays in rejecting Gruevski’s demand for asylum.

Today, Hungarian media said that authorities in Budapest have granted asylum to former PM Nikola Gruevski. 24.hu portal reports that the Hungarian office for emigration and asylum has decided to accept the demand submitted by the former Macedonian PM for asylum.

But, so far, Hungarian authorities have not issued any statements on this. The case of the former Macedonian PM was also discussed by Hungarian MPs on Monday. Hungarian Foreign minister, Peter Siartio has explained that Hungarian authorities have not played any role in the decision of the former PM to seek asylum in Hungary. /ibna/

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US embassy reacts following Kosovo’s failing bid to become a member of Interpol

The Kosovo Police is a fully integrated and capable institution, with a demonstrated record of helping dismantle international terrorist, cybercriminal, narcotics, arms, and human smuggling networks. A majority of countries saw this and supported Kosovo’s application to join INTERPOL, in the face of a campaign, led by Serbia, to pressure countries to oppose Kosovo’s bid. Support for Kosovo’s INTERPOL membership was never about recognition of Kosovo’s independence, but about strengthening global law enforcement cooperation and closing a critical security gap in the Balkans. With this outcome, we all lose.

We continue to strongly support the EU-facilitated Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. Now more than ever, both parties should accelerate their efforts to reach agreement on full normalization, which is the only way for both countries to advance on their EU accession paths. Both Serbia and Kosovo need to realize that their paths toward their European future lie through normalization. To that end, we urge them to avoid provocations and work together on a deal./Ibna/

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Kosovo fails to become a member of Interpol

Kosovo has failed to secure the necessary votes which would make it a member of Interpol. 68 states voted in favour of Kosovo’s accession during the General Assembly of this organization, 51 states voted against while 16 abstained. Meanwhile, Kosovo needed two thirds of the votes.

The government of Kosovo has expressed its deep disappointment for not being able to become part of this international police organization which fights trans-national crime.

“The campaign that was led by Serbia showed that it’s against the idea for the normalization of relations with Kosovo”, declared the government in Pristina.

This failure also marked another defeat for Kosovo’s diplomatic battle against Serbia in the process of accession in international organizations.

Meanwhile, Kosovo applied for accession in the Interpol in 2010 and it repeated this application five years later. In 2017, Kosovo had given up on its objective to become part of this organization due to the insufficient support that it had. /ibna/

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International interest in Krk gas terminal in Croatia

Progress appears to have been made in the case of the construction of the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) for LNG on the island of Krk, Croatia.

A final decision on the investment is not expected before mid-2019, however, the first step has been made in selecting the company to upgrade and transform the existing facility into a natural gas storage and processing plant.

Based on existing plans, Norwegian company Golar Power can deliver the project, the gas storage and processing unit, in September or October 2020, in order for it to be put into operation on 1 January 2021.

Meanwhile, the visit of Qatar emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Croatia is interesting, since the country is seeking to supply this unit with natural gas.

Qatar seems to have already expressed interest in both the construction of the plant and exporting LNG to Croatia through the terminal on the island of Krk.

So far, despite the fact that the two sides maintain excellent relations, the good intentions of both countries for cooperation have not led to the signing of a formal agreement.

"The delay is due to us. We took the decision to go ahead with the construction of the gas storage and processing unit at the same time as Poland. Their station started operating in 2017, when we still had not started building our own," said Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

Qatar has the world's third largest natural gas reserves. In 2017 it began further exploitation of the South Pars deposit in cooperation with Iran./IBNA

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Bosnia and Herzegovina has a new Presidency

The members of the BiH Presidency in the next term, as of Tuesday November 20, are officially Milorad Dodik, who will represent the Serb people, Željko Komšić, representative of the Croats, and Šefik Džaferović from the Bosniak people.

The constituent session of the newly elected BiH Presidency, was opened by Bakir Izetbegović, the chairman of the previous convocation. Another old member, Mladen Ivanić, attended the ceremony but third member, Dragan Čović, did not come to Sarajevo. Izetbegović thanked his colleagues Ivanić and Čović for the fruitful cooperation they had in the past four years.

He emphasized that during the four years in the Presidency, they made a lot of important decisions.

"Among other things, thanks to above all our engagement, after years of stagnation, the Euro-Atlantic path of BiH was unblocked. Today, we are close to gain the status of a candidate for EU membership and activation of the NATO Membership Action Plan…Together, with the consensus, we adopted more than 2,000 decisions. It is true that we did not make some of the decisions that we were supposed to make, and in some cases, we had different views on some important issues. Unfortunately, these are the few cases that are talked about more than anything that we jointly did successfully for the benefit of the citizens of this country", Izetbegović said.

After Izetbegović's address, the President of the BiH Central Election Commission, Branko Petrić, handed over the certificates on the takeover of the mandate to the newly elected members, which then read and signed a solemn declaration.

First Chairman of the BiH Presidency will be Milorad Dodik. Members of the Presidency of BiH, as Chairman of the Presidency, change every eight months according to the principle of rotation.

In his address to ceremony participants, Dodik said that his base is Republika Srpska but that he has no intentions to harm other two constituent nations in BiH.

“I want to cooperate with my colleagues and to prove that this cooperation can be effective. A long time ago, we created distance, from the time in which we had conflicts, this is a serious opportunity to make a step forward and make a democratic society. My policy will be based on respecting the Constitution, according to the Dayton Peace Agreement", Dodik said.

He repeated that his intention is to shut down the Office of the High Representative in BiH and that he will, with other Presidency members, on the first official session ask the European Union to give the candidate status to BiH.

Komšić said that there is no responsibility to the state if there is tolerance of crime, corruption and insecurity of the citizens.

“We have to look into the future. BiH's future is membership in NATO and the EU. These are the guarantors of the security of our citizens. BiH should not be an object, but a subject of international relations, and therefore cooperation with Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Slovenia should be strengthened. Priority is also the strengthening of our economic position and the fight against foreign influence in the electoral process", Komšić said.

Džaferović urged his colleagues in the BiH Presidency to take care of the words spoken in public, since all problems begin with them.

"This creates a spiral of a bad atmosphere in which it is difficult to work. If we treat each other with respect, even if we have different views, if we are to lead a civilized dialogue, if we strive for an agreement on key issues, and we will strive for the truth and justice, then we will be able to work genuinely on the reintegration of the country. That implies equal rights for every citizen and the realization of the interests of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We can stop the people from leaving the state if we make BiH the country just like EU countries. BiH stands before gaining a status of EU membership, this must be a priority", Džaferović said.

In the October general elections, the highest number of votes for the BiH Presidency member from the Bosniak people was won by Šefik Džaferović – 212,581 votes or 36.61 per cent, by the Croatian people Željko Komšić – 225,500 votes or 52.64 per cent, while Milorad Dodik won the most votes for a member of the state Presidency from the Serbian people – 368,210 votes or 53.88 percent./ΙΒΝΑ

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