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Imaginary “Non Paper” Story

“The last time I met the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, was last year. It would be quite difficult for me to physically hand over anything to him in February or March of this year, as the obscure web portal you cite writes. Slovenia is very serious in trying to find solutions for the development of the region and the EU perspective of the countries of the western Balkans, and articles like this one are trying to thwart this goal,” Prime Minister Janez Janša said on Monday after the Delo correspondent Peter Žerjavič posted on Twitter that rumours about the existence of the so-called “non paper” on the Balkans have been making rounds in Brussels for a while now. The “non paper” was supposedly prepared by Prime Minister Janša and was said to be based on an ethnic understanding of the borders. “Whether its content fits this article is unclear,” he added. It is interesting that the article that Žerjavič published was written by Sead Numanović, who was otherwise also completely “accidentally” writing nicely about none other than the SD party President, Tanja Fajon, in the Dnevni Avaz newspaper! After all, the “peaceful departures of Serbs from Bosnia and Herzegovina” was proposed by the last President of the League of Communists of Slovenia, Milan Kučan, when Borut Pahor, who was the Prime Minister at the time, appointed him to the position of the special envoy, after which Kučan prepared the scandalous report, which was then left behind in one of the EU buildings in the middle of Brussels.

Until September 2020, the author of the article, Sead Numanović, was the executive director of KM Sarajevo, a company involved in the big Bosnia and Herzegovina “respirators” affair. Numanović, a long-time journalist and editor of the Dnevni Avaz newspaper, was also the director of the company Avaz-roto press for a long time before moving on to MK Sarajevo. And according to Planet TV journalist and editor Mirko Mayer, Numanović is known in Bosnia as a publicist and close confidant of the former Minister of Security, now a media mogul, Fahrudin Radončić. This theory was also supported by the statements of the Slobodna Bosna web portal. Namely, the web portal states that he was a long-term and close associate of the owner of Avaz, Radončić, and for a short period of time, he was also a member of the editorial board of Al Jazeera Balkans. At the time, it was even rumoured that he was going to go to Al Jazeera to check how the competition is doing, after which he returned to Avaz.

Before the European Elections, he praised Fajon
Right before the elections to the European Parliament in 2014, Numanović wrote a hymn to Fajon for Dnevni Avaz. Namely, he wrote how her election as an MEP would be good for Slovenia, as well as for Bosnia and Herzegovina. In support of this claim, he cited one of her statements, where she assured that she herself, as well as her socialist political group, were intensively engaged in the promotion of the countries of the Western Balkans and their future. At the time, Numanović tried to frighten everybody by claiming that if too many nationalists and “radicals” will be elected to the European Parliament, that would be bad for the future enlargement of the European Union.

In Numanović’s recent article on the web portal, whose editor-in-chief he became in September last year, it was written that the Prime Minister of Slovenia had informed the European Council that one of the priorities of Slovenia’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which we will take over on the 1st of July this year, will also be the transformation of borders in the area of the former Yugoslavia. This was supposedly confirmed for the aforementioned web portal by several sources in Ljubljana and Brussels. For starters, we would supposedly return to the Vučić-Thaci plan to reshape the border between Serbia and Kosovo. The possibility of parts of Montenegro and Northern Macedonia with the Albanian minority becoming part of Albania was also mentioned, as well as the possibility of the secession of the Republika Srpska from Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the annexation of western Herzegovina to Croatia.

As is usually the case with stories that have been exported abroad, Fajon also responded “with concern” this time. “In recent days, I, too, have been overwhelmed with calls and numerous worried messages from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which warn that Prime Minister Janša is trying to complete the Milošević-Tudžman plan to form a greater Serbia and Croatia with the proposal for the peaceful disintegration of BiH. Such irresponsible behaviour can lead to a new war in the Balkans!” she wrote.
However, it should be noted that the last time that the “peaceful departure of Serbs from Bosnia and Herzegovina” was proposed, it was by the last President of the League of Communists of Slovenia, Milan Kučan, when Borut Pahor, who was the Prime Minister at the time (2010), appointed him to the position of the special envoy, after which Kučan prepared the scandalous report, which was then left behind in one of the EU buildings in the middle of Brussels, Bojan Požar pointed out.

According to the web portal Siol, Kučan met with the Serbian President Milorad Dodik in 2010. The meeting was held behind closed doors, where Dodik explained the views of Bosnian Serbs on key issues in BiH to Kučan. At the time, it was clear from the press release that Dodik’s views, which he explained to Kučan, would be presented to the Slovenian government during the forthcoming EU Summit. Kučan then pointed out that his intention was to determine whether it was possible to implement constitutional changes after the parliamentary elections in BiH. However, after Kučan was appointed envoy, Dodik stated that he had a hard time believing that Kučan would contribute to a solution that would benefit BiH.

 According to Žerjavič, Brussels was confused on that day?!
The correspondent of the Delo newspaper from Brussels, Žerjavič, who launched the story to the Slovenian public, wrote shortly afterwards that the PR team of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, confirmed that they had received a non paper from the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša on the Western Balkans. However, shortly after that, he wrote: “Brussels is obviously confused again. Now the European Council is saying that they cannot confirm whether or not they have received the non paper…” Prime Minister Janša also responded to Žerjav’s absurd claims, writing: “You are obviously one of the essential components in this confusion. All of this just to harm Slovenia – in the EU. The lowest of the low.”

As we can see, it is clear as day that Žerjavič arranged the launch of a truly bizarre story, which he did not even check in advance. To then claim that Brussels caused the confusion is, of course, sad – sometimes, one really needs to take a long and hard look in the mirror and apologise for his or her sins! It is unfortunate, however, that for the purposes of settling the political score with the government that is not to the liking of the left, people are willing to go as far as to slander their own country! Žerjavič will now likely apologise. That is the least that should be expected from him! After all, he did not only slander Janša but also our country!

Ever since the efforts of the opposition’s Constitutional Arch Coalition quartet, led by Karl Erjavec had failed, we have been witnessing – completely accidentally, of course – many different stories unfold, the common nominator of which is to slander the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša in every way possible. The whole thing is becoming quite bizarre, really, as anyone who does not buy the nice words of the opposition has long ago found that the writers of such articles have no idea what is really going on in Slovenia and that they only write what the Slovenian left tells them to write and only listen to specific sources, which are subordinate to the left. In their writing, they never include both views, as it is in the left’s interest to slander the Prime Minister at all costs, who, unlike them, enjoys a good reputation in the European Parliament. Apparently, they are simply unable to understand that a good reputation is not something you gain by smiling and posting pictures on social media, but rather by pulling state moves that involve being skilled in diplomacy.

Sara Kovač

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