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UNMIK Headlines 10 June

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• Thaçi: Relations with Serbia are much better than presented in public (Koha)
• Mustafa: No Association without dissolving parallel structures (RTK)
• Ilazi: Visa liberalisation by year’s end (Koha Ditore)
• Jahjaga: Serbia to apologize for the crimes in Kosovo (Epoka e Re)
• Kosovo government powerless in face of Serbia’s colonisation (dailies)
• Agani: We will prevent illegal construction in the north (Epoka e Re)

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Headlines – 10.06.2016

Thaçi: Relations with Serbia are much better than presented in public (Koha)

The President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, said in at an event organised by the Brussels-based European Council on Foreign Relations that Kosovo will ratify the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro and set up a working group for the establishment of the Association/Community of Serb-majority Municipalities in line with the Brussels agreement and the Kosovo Constitutional Court’s ruling. In addition, Thaçi pledged that the mandate of EULEX will be extended. Speaking about relations with Serbia, Thaçi said they are much better than presented in public and that this is all due to the dialogue for normalisation of relations.  Asked whether Serbia should have a special role in Kosovo, Thaçi replied that such a thing is out of the question. Nevertheless, he added, “Serbia has a legitimate right to be interested in the situation of Serbs in Kosovo”. 

Mustafa: No Association without dissolving parallel structures (RTK)

In an interview for the public broadcaster RTK, Prime Minister of Kosovo Isa Mustafa said that it makes no sense to establish the Association/Community of Serb-majority Municipalities for as long as Serb parallel structures continue to function. “The Association can be established by respecting the agreement on energy, telephone code and dissolving of parallel structures”, stressed Mustafa. 

Ilazi: Visa liberalisation by year’s end (Koha Ditore)

Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Europeans Integration, Ramadan Ilazi, told Radio Free Europe that visa liberalisation for Kosovo is very likely to be concluded by the end of the year. Ilazi said developments within the EU in the coming weeks could slow down the decision for granting visa-free travel to the people of Kosovo.

Jahjaga: Serbia to apologize for the crimes in Kosovo (Epoka e Re)

Former President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, said that Serbia should apologize to Kosovo for the committed crimes during the war, especially for the sexual abuses by Serbian regime. Jahjaga made this statement at the Women’s Global Summit 2016 held in Warsaw, Poland. “I expect that through the initiated dialogue between our country and Serbia, inhuman atrocities and sexual violence committed towards the innocent people for political profiting, will be recognized,” Jahjaga said. She added that she expects sentencing of the criminals and apology for the war crimes.

Kosovo government powerless in face of Serbia’s “colonization” (dailies)

Papers report today that the Serbian Government has launched yesterday in Zveçan/Zvečan “the biggest colonisation project” in Kosovo by planning to construct a neighbourhood of 300 houses. Koha Ditore writes that Kosovo authorities have been powerless in preventing the construction of this “colony” and only stated that it is illegal and has no permit.  Prime Minister of Kosovo Isa Mustafa said the construction of the houses has no permit and should stop. The Kosovo Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning issued a press release saying that it was never informed or consulted about the project. It further added that the construction in Zveçan/Zvečan is unlawful. Newspaper Zëri under the headline Serbia starts the colonisation of Kosovo, reiterates that the “Sunny Valley” is the biggest investment that the Serbian government made in Kosovo after the conflict in 1999. It also reports that the director of the Office for Kosovo in Serbian government, Marko Đurić said this was a historical step for the return of Serbs in Kosovo. “This project is not against anyone but is a project for softening the consequences of ethnic cleansing and expulsion,” Đurić said. On the other hand, the Bishop of Raška, Prizren, Teodosije, who was also present in Zvečan/Zveçan at the laying of the groundwork yesterday, said that this project is solely intended for the return of Serb IDPs. 

Agani: We will prevent illegal construction in the north (Epoka e Re)

Kosovo’s Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, Ferid Agani, in an interview with the paper said that the construction of the “Sunny Valley” neighborhood in Zvečan/Zveçan is illegal. He expressed optimism that the ministry would prevent the constructions without permission in order to avoid demolishing it in the future.  Agani said that measures will be taken as prescribed by the law, since according to him, the northern municipalities do not have the proper documents based on which the building permits are issued. Agani also said that his ministry is determined that the bridge over the Ibër/Ibar River will be opened for circulation within the time specified in the Brussels agreement, on 15 June.

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