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Headlines 9 March

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• Despite reproaches, Thaci doesn’t backtrack on KSF initiative (dailies)
• Selimi: Vetevendosje supports change of KSF mission (Klan Kosova)
• Lekaj: There is no state without an army, let us move forward (Lajmi)
• Simic: We will use all political means to oppose Kosovo army (Koha)
• Tahiri: We will not discuss Kosovo’s airspace with Serbia (RTK)
• Border demarcation could be sent to Assembly in two weeks’ time (Koha)
• AAK: Report on Kosovo’s territory, collection of fairytales (Klan Kosova)

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Headlines – 09.03.2017

  • Despite reproaches, Thaci doesn’t backtrack on KSF initiative (dailies)
  • Selimi: Vetevendosje supports change of KSF mission (Klan Kosova)
  • Lekaj: There is no state without an army, let us move forward (Lajmi)
  • Simic: We will use all political means to oppose Kosovo army (Koha)
  • Tahiri: We will not discuss Kosovo’s airspace with Serbia (RTK)
  • Border demarcation could be sent to Assembly in two weeks’ time (Koha)
  • AAK: Report on Kosovo’s territory, collection of fairytales (Klan Kosova)

Kosovo Media Highlights

Despite reproaches, Thaci doesn’t backtrack on KSF initiative (dailies)

The papers report that despite being reproached by NATO and the US, President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci reiterated his commitment to transform the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) into an army. In a meeting with ambassadors of Quint countries, Thaci said there is no going back and that the KSF transformation bill will be put to vote at the Assembly. He said the asked Quint representatives for guarantees that they will convince the Serbian List MPs to vote for constitutional changes regarding KSF transformation. As none of the international officials was able to make such a promise, Thaci said the only way to proceed is to transform the KSF through changing the current law which would not require a double majority. In a press conference after meeting Quint representatives, Thaci dispelled the concern expressed to him earlier by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that the change of the KSF law would constitute a unilateral action. Thaci said Kosovo institutions have tried for three years to build consensus on the matter but that representatives of the Serb community made it clear they would never vote for creation of a Kosovo army. “The fate of Kosovo and of our army should not and cannot be hostage to Serbia’s will,” Thaci said. He also said that the US is not against the creation of an armed force per se but it insists on it being established through constitutional changes. “I am fully aware of questions that could arise or even occasional political concern. But, I reemphasise: KSF will be transformed and this transformation will be successfully concluded with the US and NATO countries,” Thaci said. “Kosovo is moving in a process just as the other countries of the region. The truth is this: The independent state of Kosovo is simply commencing a legal and constitutional act which is the grounds to the functioning of any democratic country in the world. We as democratic institutions of the independent and sovereign state have decided to give the KSF the mission and duties of a professional, modern, multiethnic army, whose duty is defending the state. No one can contest this, including friendly countries, NATO and its members. This was opposed by only one country, and that is Serbia. Currently the only threat for peace in the region is increase of Russian influence in the region and the number of its airplanes and military bases in Serbia. We have to add to this threat those coming from terrorist elements,” Thaci said.

Selimi: Vetevendosje supports change of KSF mission (Klan Kosova)

Vetevendosje MP, Rexhep Selimi, said on Wednesday that his party has a firm position when it comes to the transformation of the Kosovo Security Force into an army. “Vetevendosje has remained unwavering since 2014, when it supported and supports constitutional changes for transformation of the KSF,” Selimi said. “We will support any constitutional change that guarantees advancing of Kosovo’s military capacities,” Selimi said. Asked about voting of the draft law for the army at the Assembly, Selimi said that they will initially review the material. Speaking about the concern of the internationals, Selimi said: “We should know what are the internationals concerned about. Vetevendosje movement is united on the increase of the KSF capacities. We should learn if internationals’ concerns are related to the substance, which according to them attacks the Constitution of Kosovo.” 

Lekaj: There is no state without an army, let us move forward (Lajmi)

Head of the parliamentary group of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), Pal Lekaj, said that AAK always supported creation of Kosovo’s Armed Force. He added that the law for creation of the army should be supported being that Serbia would never give its “yes” when Kosovo’s army is concerned.  Asked about how he sees the statements of the U.S. Embassy and the NATO Secretary General, Lekaj said that interests of the country should come first. “We should see to the interests of the country, without breaching the friendship with the United States and the European Union. The interest of Kosovo citizens and state should come first,” Lekaj said.

Simic: We will use all political means to oppose Kosovo army (Koha)

The leader of the Serbian List, Slavko Simic, said Kosovo Serb representatives will use all legal and political mechanisms to oppose the idea for transformation of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) into a Kosovo army.

Tahiri: We will not discuss Kosovo’s airspace with Serbia (RTK)

Following reports in Serbian media that the Pristina and Belgrade will discuss Kosovo’s airspace in the coming rounds of the Brussels dialogue, Kosovo’s Minister for Dialogue, Edita Tahiri, said there were ideas to discuss air and railway transport but that no agreement was reached. “We can discuss the air transport but we do not accept discussing Kosovo’s airspace,” Tahiri said.

Border demarcation could be sent to Assembly in two weeks’ time (Koha Ditore)

Kosovo government spokesperson and Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Arban Abrashi, said at a debate organised by the NGO “Fol” that the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro could be submitted to the Assembly in two weeks’ time. He said the agreement should be submitted as soon as possible or else Kosovo risks losing momentum in the EU. Abrashi added that the report of the commission for measuring Kosovo’s territory has been published on the government’s website and also sent to all MPs.

AAK: Report on Kosovo’s territory, collection of fairytales (Klan Kosova)

The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) said in a statement that the report of the commission for measuring the territory of Kosovo is a “collection of fairytales aimed at deceiving the public opinion.” The party said the report is “insulting” to the political class, experts of the field and public opinion. “The government of Kosovo is responsible for allowing the fabrication of a false document full of untruths and unserious graphic and factual content,” AAK said, calling on the government to urgently invalidate the report.

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