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Headlines 8 March

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KSF transformation without international go-ahead (Koha Ditore)
Mustafa: Minister Demolli is not against KSF transformation (Epoka e Re)
Veseli: KSF without competition in the region (RTK)
“Mattis gave a strong message, Kosovo should have its army” (Epoka)
Vucic and Thaci discuss Mogherini’s visit over the phone (Zeri)
Tahiri: Blocking energy transmission lines could destabilize the region (Koha)
“AAK would approve demarcation after reading report” (Lajmi)
Albanian President Nishani visits Presheve/Presevo Valley (dailies)

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Headlines – 08.03.2017

  • KSF transformation without international go-ahead (Koha Ditore)
  • Mustafa: Minister Demolli is not against KSF transformation (Epoka e Re)
  • Veseli: KSF without competition in the region (RTK)
  • “Mattis gave a strong message, Kosovo should have its army” (Epoka)
  • Vucic and Thaci discuss Mogherini’s visit over the phone (Zeri)
  • Tahiri: Blocking energy transmission lines could destabilize the region (Koha)
  • “AAK would approve demarcation after reading report” (Lajmi)
  • Albanian President Nishani visits Presheve/Presevo Valley (dailies) 

Kosovo Media Highlights

KSF transformation without international go-ahead (Koha Ditore)

The paper reports on the front page that the transformation of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) initiated yesterday by President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci does not enjoy the international backing and that the US officials have phoned the KSF Ministry to express their disagreements with Thaci’s initiative. This was later confirmed in a letter the KSF Minister, Haki Demolli, sent to Kosovo leadership. Demolli said he received a phone call from the office of the US Deputy Assistant Secretary, Michael Carpenter, and was told that the US is concerned with plans to transform the KSF through amending a current legislation act. Furthermore, said Demolli, the US Embassy’s defence attaché also expressed immediate concerns over Thaci’s move. The EU Office in Pristina told the paper that “such an important issue should only be tackled within the constitutional framework.”

Mustafa: Minister Demolli is not against KSF transformation (Epoka e Re)

In a Facebook post, Prime Minister of Kosovo Isa Mustafa said the future army of Kosovo would not be politically influenced and that the Kosovo Security Force Minister, Haki Demolli, who is from Mustafa’s Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), is not against the transformation process but in his letter to Kosovo leaders he simply expressed the views conveyed to him by “our strategic partners.” “I consider attacks on Minister Demolli and the leaking of official papers to the opinion for political effects to be unacceptable, irresponsible, and tendentious,” Mustafa said.

Veseli: KSF without competition in the region (RTK)

The president of the Assembly of Kosovo, Kadri Veseli, said during an interview to RTK that Kosovo Security Force (KSF) is the most professional and the most prepared force in the region and its transition to an army is a matter of days. “KSF is one of the most prepared in the region, be it on the professional side, discipline, knowledge of English, a major part speak German as well. KSF is without competition in the region,” Veseli said. He added that KSF is Kosovo’s army, which has for a mission defense of the territorial integrity of Kosovo; He also spoke about the support of its partners, especially the United States of America. He said that KSF only needs new equipment and increase of the number of soldiers. 

“Mattis gave a strong message, Kosovo should have its army” (Epoka)

Kosovo’s Consul General in New York, Teuta Sahatqija, told the paper that the U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, has conveyed the first strong messages by saying that Kosovo should have its own army. She added that the second message was that the U.S. supports the dialogue with Serbia which should conclude with recognition of Kosovo. She said that no matter internal changes in the U.S., the foreign policy towards Kosovo has not changed. 

Vucic and Thaci discuss Mogherini’s visit over the phone (Zeri)

Serbian Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic, is reported to have spoken on the phone yesterday to Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci, on the importance of the visit of the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini to the region. The two officials agreed that dialogue between the two parties is crucial for maintaining peace and stability and both expressed commitment to implement agreements reached in Brussels under the EU facilitation. 

Tahiri: Blocking energy transmission lines could destabilize the region (Koha)

Kosovo’s Minister for Dialogue, Edita Tahiri, argued against imposing reciprocity measures to Serbia in the field of energy saying that blocking Serbia’s energy transmission lines in Kosovo to force it to pay compensations could affect the energy stability in the region. She however mentioned other ways that, according to her, would make Serbia act more constructively and stop obstructing Kosovo’s membership bid to the European Network of Transmission System Operators. One of such ways, according to Tahiri, is not implementing the agreement on the creation of the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities. “We have not started its implementation as a counteraction,” Tahiri said. However, Muhamet Mustafa from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) reacted to this by saying that as far as he was aware, the agreement on Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities is not being blocked by the Kosovo side but by the boycott of the Serbian List to Kosovo institutions.

“AAK would approve demarcation after reading report” (Lajmi)

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa, reacted to the statements of the representatives of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) that the report on measurement of the territory of Kosovo has not been published. He said that he has signed the decision yesterday, and that the report was published on the official website of the Government. “I expect that after reading this Report, AAK will be convinced (even though they know) that Kosovo does not lose a single square meter of its territory, therefore they will vote the Law for Ratification of the Agreement for Demarcation of the Border Line with Montenegro. I think that the Vetevendosje movement and NISMA would do the same. The vote will be for the international borders of our state,” Mustafa wrote. 

Albanian President Nishani visits Presheve/Presevo Valley (dailies)

In a visit to the municipalities of Bujanovc/Bujanovac and Presheve/Presevo, President of Albania Bujar Nishani met representatives of Albanian community and said his country would continue building good relations with neighbouring countries. “But, we will also help Albanians in the Preshevo Valley to accomplish their fundamental rights which they are currently denied in the field of education, books, recognition of diplomas, use of national symbols and economic development,” Nishani said during the visit which Koha Ditore claims is the first visit of an Albanian head of state to Serbia in 69 years. Nishani is quoted as saying that Albania would continue supporting dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. He spoke of the importance of agreements reached in Brussels being implemented and everyone should accept the new reality in the Balkans. “We should all work on the stability and consolidation of this reality in the Balkans,” Nishani said.

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