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Headlines 31 January

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Mustafa-Apostolova-Rakic reach agreement on Mitrovica wall (Koha Ditore)
Tahiri: Epilogue of the dialogue is the authority of the government (Zëri)
Lunacek: Dialogue to conclude with recognition (Epoka e Re)
Serwer: It is time for the army of Kosovo now (Epoka e Re)
Jahjaga, Hysa and Rexhepi, candidate for head of intelligence chief (Zeri)
Plans to give additional authorities to KSF under way (Zeri)
Freedom House: Kosovo, partly free (Koha)

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Headlines – 31.01.2017

  • Mustafa-Apostolova-Rakic reach agreement on Mitrovica wall (Koha Ditore)
  • Tahiri: Epilogue of the dialogue is the authority of the government (Zëri)
  • Lunacek: Dialogue to conclude with recognition (Epoka e Re)
  • Serwer: It is time for the army of Kosovo now (Epoka e Re)
  • Jahjaga, Hysa and Rexhepi, candidate for head of intelligence chief (Zeri)
  • Plans to give additional authorities to KSF under way (Zeri)
  • Freedom House: Kosovo, partly free (Koha) 

Kosovo Media Highlights 

Mustafa-Apostolova-Rakic reach agreement on Mitrovica wall (Koha Ditore)

The paper reports that an agreement has been reached over the weekend between the Prime Minister of Kosovo Isa Mustafa, head of EU Office Nataliya Apostolova and Mitrovica North Mayor Goran Rakic on the Mitrovica wall. Sources said to the paper that the agreement foresees the removal of the wall by local Serb authorities under the reasoning that it presents a threat to the public safety of the citizens in case it collapses. Officials in the meeting have agreed not to discuss about the agreement for fear of reactions, the paper adds. 

Tahiri: Epilogue of the dialogue is in the authority of the government (Zëri)

According to the Kosovo representatives, one of the issues of the meeting of Kosovo and Serbian delegation on 1 February in Brussels will be conclusion of the six-year dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, as well as recognition of Kosovo by Serbia. Opposition considers that in practice, this is impossible, writes Zëri.  Kosovo’s Minister for dialogue, Edita Tahiri, said to the paper that the government of Kosovo is the authority who can conclude the dialogue, while the adviser to the Prime Minister, Bajram Gecaj, told the paper that the Ministry of the Dialogue is responsible for the conclusion of the dialogue. Political expert and former political adviser of President Jahjaga, said that conclusion of the dialogue is in the hands of the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi, who represents Kosovo. 

Lunacek: Dialogue to conclude with recognition (Epoka e Re)

Deputy President of the European Parliament, and Rapporteur of this institution for Kosovo, Ulrike Lunacek, stated that majority in Serbia are aware that Kosovo’s independence is irreversible. “Serbia’s and Kosovo’s perspective is clear to me: reconciliation in the region and integration in the EU,” Lunacek said to Radio Free Europe. “Normalization means implementation of everything that was agreed upon, without any exclusion. Both parties should do this and they should not wait for each other. Majority in Serbia are aware that Kosovo will never again be part of Serbia. The Government of Serbia knows this as well, even though its members try to ignore the fact that after Cyprus, the European Union would not accept any other country which does not have clearly defined borders,” Lunacek said. She added that she is optimistic that the dialogue will enable Serbia’s normalization of relations with Kosovo and finally, this would mean recognition. 

Serwer: It is time for the army of Kosovo now (Epoka e Re)

The prominent expert for Balkans, Daniel Serwer, told RTK that being pro-dialogue means support of the sovereignty and independence of Kosovo. According to him, Kosovo-Serbian dialogue should produce balanced results for both parties, which happened in the past. He said that there are strong feelings in both sides therefore it is not realistic to expect immediate results. “I think that currently in Kosovo we are facing many more difficult issues such as the Agreement for Association of Serb-majority Municipalities, which is especially difficult when Pristina is concerned. There are other things that are difficult for Belgrade. The result should be balanced in a reasonable manner,” he said. He said that majority of the people in Kosovo support Kosovo’s statehood, independence and sovereignty. However some people are not interested in Kosovo’s statehood, instead they are interested for unification with Albania or something else. “According to my point of view, if you are a Kosovar patriot, then you support the dialogue and if you want to merge Kosovo with a state such as Albania, then you could be against dialogue. Thankfully majority supports Kosovo’s statehood, independence and sovereignty as I do,” Serwer said. He also added that the time has come to create the Army of Kosovo. 

Jahjaga, Hysa and Rexhepi, candidate for head of intelligence chief (Zeri)

The paper reports on the front page on the possible candidates for the newly-vacated post of Kosovo Intelligence Agency chief which it says include the former Kosovo president Atifete Jahjaga, Kosovo’s ambassador to FYROM Ylber Hysa, and former advisor to interior minister Fisnik Rexhepi. Sources told the paper that one of the above candidates is expected to be selected for the post, following the resignation of Agron Selimaj last week.

Plans to give additional authorities to KSF under way (Zeri)

While establishment of Kosovo Armed Forces is highly difficult due to the requirement for changing the Constitution with the approval of the Serbian List, Kosovo institutions are planning to empower the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) by giving additional authorities to it through amending the law on KSF. The change of this law, according to analysts, requires not more than simple majority of votes at the Assembly and would be considered as a provisional solution pending the formation of an armed force.

Freedom House: Kosovo, partly free (Koha)

In the latest report, the US-based liberty and democracy watchdog Freedom House warns that the populist and nationalist forces have made major gains in democratic countries in 2016. Freedom House has ranked Kosovo among the “partly free countries” in 2016 alongside with other countries in the region such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYROM, and Montenegro.

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