- Thaci: Unite in the interest of our state (media)
- Veseli: Our state was created with allies, we’ll form army with them (RTK)
- Mustafa: Association will not be created if Serbs don’t show interest (Lajmi)
- Delawie: Dialogue must continue (Koha)
- Avramopoulos: Demarcation will bring visa liberalisation (Tribuna Channel)
- Demarcation could soon be returned to the Assembly (Gazeta Metro)
- Haradinaj: No one in the Balkans can play games with Albanians (RTK)
- “New Customs director and the British company are illegal” (RTK)
- Shots fired at police officer’s home in Mitrovica (media)
Thaci: Unite in the interests of our state (media)
In his address to the Kosovo Assembly on the ninth anniversary of Kosovo’s independence, President Hashim Thaci said February 17 marks the day when the sacrifice and dream for Kosovo citizens to live free and equal to others in their state was crowned. “The first thing crossing my mind is for those who gave everything they had so we can enjoy this day. Today we are closer than other days with our heroes, martyrs, families of martyrs and families of missing persons,” Thaci said. He added that Kosovo is now recognized by 82 percent of the EU, 86 percent of NATO, 56 percent of the UN, 100 percent of the Pacific Islands Forum, 61 percent of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, 57 percent of KARIKOM and 49 percent of the African Union. Thaci said this period marks the building of democratic institutions and most professional police in the region, and that members of the Kosovo Security Force compete in the most difficult training throughout the world and win golden medals. “We have integrated all communities and we work every day to prevent any citizen from feeling excluded, regardless of his/her ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation,” Thaci said. He also stated that stories in the media throughout the world do not present anymore war and suffering in Kosovo; they present successes in building the state and promoting peace and dialogue. Thaci expressed his commitment to continue working for Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the EU. He requested everyone to unite in implementing the priorities. “This will require the same commitment and zeal from us, as has happened so far. More than everything else, this issue requires us to be united when it comes to Kosovo”, Thaci said. He also highlighted that differences in political beliefs, views for the world or our society should not prevent us from being unique in our commitment to protect the state of Kosovo. “Only by strengthening our state, our Kosovo, will we be able to realize our ambitions,” Thaci said. “We live in a fast-changing world and in the time of changes we cannot predict, but based on our past, we know very well that if we remain united, firm and fair, our project of the Kosovo state will succeed”.
Veseli: Our state was created with allies, we’ll form army with them (RTK)
Kosovo Assembly President, Kadri Veseli, said during his address to the Assembly that the state of Kosovo was created together with the allies and that the Kosovo Armed Forces will be created in the same manner. “We have a lot to do. It is time for a new approach among us. We should have more closeness and trust among each other. Let us work with a joint agenda,” Veseli said.
Mustafa: Association will not be created if Serbs don’t show interest (Lajmi)
The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa said on Thursday that the Association/Community of Serb-majority Municipalities cannot be created if Serbs do not show willingness to join the process. “We already have an Association, therefore we do not have any reason to create an association if those who requested it do not express the will or desire to sit and work on it,” Mustafa said on Thursday. He also said he sees no reason why the issue of the Association should be readdressed in the Brussels dialogue.
Delawie: Dialogue must continue (Koha)
The United States Ambassador in Kosovo, Greg Delawie, told KTV on Thursday that dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade must continue and that the agreements reached so far are concrete evidence of progress in the process. “I think it is very important for dialogue to continue. There have been real achievements through dialogue: the integration of the police in the north, the collection of customs at the Kosovo-Serbia border, the telephone code, and I hope to see the Mitrovica bridge open in a month or so,” he said. “I think this is concrete evidence of progress through dialogue and I would like to make an analogy. If you live in a house in a neighborhood and you don’t get along with your neighbor, you can certainly move to a different house. But states cannot do this. It is very important for Kosovo and Serbia to continue improving their relations. This will help the ambitions of both states to integrate in European institutions and to improve the lives of their citizens”. Delawie also said that the U.S. would continue to support the Balkans, and Kosovo in particular, regardless of whether a Republican or a Democrat is in the White House. “As far as the Balkans in general, and Kosovo in particular, the U.S. administration has been very consistent over the last couple of decades, regardless of whether a Democrat or a Republican sits in the White House. I have seen no indication that this will change. There are only several people appointed so far in the new administration. Certainly we will have to see who is appointed at the second level of officials of the administration. But so far I think we are more or less following the same policy as in the past and that is that the U.S. will continue to support the independence and growth of Kosovo and its integration in European structures,” he added. The U.S. Ambassador also encouraged members of the Kosovo Assembly to ratify the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro.
Avramopoulos: Demarcation will bring visa liberalisation (Tribuna Channel)
The TV station reports that the European Home Affairs and Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos is impressed with Kosovo’s results in the fight against organised crime and corruption, but that the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro needs to be ratified before Kosovo can win visa liberalisation. Avramopoulos’s office said in a statement to the TV channel that visa liberalisation was among the topics of discussion during European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s recent meeting with Kosovo President Hashim Thaci. “President Juncker has been impressed with the progress achieved in Kosovo, especially in targeting high profile corruption and organised crime cases,” the statement noted.
Demarcation could soon be returned to the Assembly (Gazeta Metro)
The Kosovo government is waiting for results from the commission of experts for the measurement of Kosovo territory before the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro can proceed for ratification to the Assembly, the news website reports. Faton Abdullahu, a spokesman for the Kosovo government, told Radio Free Europe on Thursday that after the commission concludes its work, the government will take the matter to the Assembly. “We hope the Assembly will adopt the agreement as foreseen by the government,” he added.
Haradinaj: No one in the Balkans must play games with Albanians (RTK)
Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), told RTK on Thursday evening that now is not the time for anyone in the Balkans to play games with Albanians. Haradinaj, who was earlier detained in France based on an arrest warrant issued by Serbia, said he does not recognise Serbia’s jurisdiction. “Those that make accusations against me are perpetrators themselves. The Serbian Foreign Minister used to be an associate of Milosevic,” Haradinaj added.
“New Customs director and the British company are illegal” (RTK)
RTK reports it is in possession of a letter that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has sent to the President of the Assembly Kadri Veseli where he notes that the nomination of a British company to select individuals for senior positions is illegal, and is in contradiction with the current law of Kosovo. He also added the nomination of the Customs Director is not valid because it is based on an illegal document. RTK also reports that actions of the British company contradict Kosovo’s law on Civil Service.
Shots fired at police officer’s home in Mitrovica (media)
The news website reports that unknown persons fired shots at the house of a Kosovo Police officer on Thursday evening in Zabar, Mitrovica. No casualties were reported. A police spokesman for the Mitrovica region confirmed the incident and said police were conducting investigations. Citing an unnamed source, Lajmi news website said that the house of police lieutenant Nuhi Fejza was the target of the attack.