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UNMIK Headlines 15 February

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• Kosovo Assembly requests to form Army of Kosovo (dailies)
• “U.S. supports transformation of KSF into Armed Forces” (Epoka)
• Gecaj: Sanctions in case of failure to establish Association (Telegrafi)
• U.S. congratulates Kosovo on independence anniversary (RTK)
• Rohan: Serbia cannot join EU without recognising Kosovo (Koha)
• Ahmetaj: Demarcation should be concluded ASAP (Epoka)
• Missing persons’ families against truth and reconciliation commission (KTV)
• Norway supports Kosovo’s European perspective (dailies)
• AAK’s Lekaj indicted on abuse of power charges (Kosova Sot)
• Calls to suspend Serb “military NGO” (Koha)

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Headlines – 15.02.2017

  • Kosovo Assembly requests to form Army of Kosovo (dailies)
  • “U.S. supports transformation of KSF into Armed Forces” (Epoka)
  • Gecaj: Sanctions in case of failure to establish Association (Telegrafi)
  • U.S. congratulates Kosovo on independence anniversary (RTK)
  • Rohan: Serbia cannot join EU without recognising Kosovo (Koha)
  • Ahmetaj: Demarcation should be concluded ASAP (Epoka)
  • Missing persons’ families against truth and reconciliation commission (KTV)
  • Norway supports Kosovo’s European perspective (dailies)
  • AAK’s Lekaj indicted on abuse of power charges (Kosova Sot)
  • Calls to suspend Serb “military NGO” (Koha)

Kosovo Assembly requests to form Army of Kosovo (dailies)

Kosovo Assembly MPs from all parliamentary groups, except for the Serbian List, said on Tuesday that the formation of the Army of Kosovo is an absolute necessity. Following a lengthy debate, MPs adopted a two point resolution calling on the government to submit to the Assembly as soon as possible the strategy for the transformation of Kosovo Security Force (KSF) into the Kosovo Armed Forces. “NATO and our strategic partners remain determined that the KSF can be transformed into the Armed Forces through constitutional changes and with the support of the MPs of the Assembly of Kosovo. This was clearly said to us at all meetings with international officials,” Prime Minister Isa Mustafa said.

“U.S. supports transformation of KSF into Armed Forces” (Epoka)

Kosovo’s Minister for Security Force, Haki Demolli, met on Tuesday with a delegation from the U.S. State Department, led by the Director for Central and Eastern European Issues, Matthew Palmer. Demolli informed the delegation about the security situation, development of the capacities of Kosovo’s Security Force and developments on its transformation, plans of the government, and readiness for transparency during this process. He also spoke about the necessity for coordination with NATO and strategic partners. Palmer expressed full support for Kosovo’s Euro-Atlantic path. He said that the U.S. supports transformation of the KSF into Armed Forces and engages for this process to be supported by all parties in the Assembly of Kosovo.

Gecaj: Diplomatic sanctions in case of failure to establish Association (Telegrafi)

Bajram Gecaj, advisor to Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, said on Tuesday that there could be international consequences and the path to the integration of the EU would be more difficult for Kosovo and Serbia in case they fail to establish the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities. Gecaj said the Kosovo government will submit the decree when the statute of the Association is drafted and added that the Association would not be established until the Serbian List returns to Kosovo’s institutions.

U.S. congratulates Kosovo on independence anniversary (RTK)

The United States has congratulated Kosovo and its people on the ninth anniversary of independence. “The United States values its strong friendship with Kosovo based on mutual aspirations for stability, peace, and prosperity for all of our citizens. We applaud the progress the people of Kosovo have made in developing democratic, multiethnic institutions over their nine years of independence,” reads a statement issued by Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

Rohan: Serbia cannot join EU without recognising Kosovo (Koha)

The paper runs a front-page interview with Albert Rohan, former deputy of the UN Special Envoy for the Vienna negotiations on Kosovo’s status, highlighting his remarks that the Ahtisaari Plan has settled Kosovo’s status once and for all and that Serbia cannot join the European Union without recognising Kosovo. Rohan said that Kosovo’s most important objective is to catch up pace with Serbia in the approximation process with the European Union, “so that both countries can join the EU at the same time”. Commenting on the Special Court, Rohan said it will be helpful because it will eliminate every notion of collective responsibility from Kosovo and the Kosovo Liberation Army. Rohan also said that Kosovo’s authorities need to address problems such as corruption and the freedom of the media. He said dialogue with Serbia should be used to normalise relations between the two countries but also added that the Brussels talks should have produced more substantial results. Rohan said the international community is against Kosovo’s partition or the exchange of territories between Kosovo and Serbia, but added that it is up to Kosovo and Serbia, as two sovereign countries, to decide whether or not they want to move toward such agreements.

Ahmetaj: Demarcation should be concluded ASAP (Epoka)

Kosovo’s Minister for European Integration, Mimoza Ahmetaj, told the paper that visa liberalisation will be the top priority of her mandate. She said the ratification of the border agreement with Montenegro – one of the remaining criteria for visa liberalisation – needs to be concluded as soon as possible. Ahmetaj also said special focus will be paid to the implementation of the Stabilisation/Association Agreement, the European reforms agenda and Kosovo’s membership in EU programmes.

Families of missing persons against truth and reconciliation commission (KTV)

The initiative of President Hashim Thaci for setting up a truth and reconciliation commission has been met with opposition in Gjakova/Djakovica where the families of missing persons said there can be no reconciliation until the fate of the last missing person is determined. Nysrete Kumnova from the “Mother’s Call” association warned that if President Thaci doesn’t backtrack on his initiative, they will call protests to oppose the idea.

Norway supports Kosovo’s European perspective (dailies)

In a visit to Kosovo, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende said his country will continue support for Kosovo and its European and NATO integration processes. “Norway’s friendship and partnership with Kosovo is very strong and we will continue it,” said Brende after meeting President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci. Brende also met Prime Minister Isa Mustafa with whom he discussed cooperation and recent developments in Kosovo and the region.

AAK’s Lekaj indicted on abuse of power charges (Kosova Sot)

Kosovo Special Prosecution has filed an indictment against three former officials of Gjakova/Djakovica municipality on abuse of power charges. One of the persons accused is former mayor and current MP from the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), Pal Lekaj. In a Facebook post, Lekaj denied all charges and said they were politically motivated.

Calls to suspend Serb “military NGO” (Koha)

In one of its front-page stories, the paper reports that the non-governmental organisation “Aerosoft Club ‘Vukovi’” organised in August last year in northern Kosovo a sports activity that resembled military drills. Participants were wearing military uniforms and Serbian flags on their arms. They also had weapons which Kosovo’s authorities said were fake. Footage from the activity has recently been published and it shows a Serb with a criminal record running the exercise. This has caused major reactions from the public. Citing unnamed sources, the paper notes that the Ministry for Local Government has expressed readiness to suspend the NGO, but it reportedly came under pressure even from international officials.

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