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Headlines 10 March

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Procedures bypassed in KSF transformation bill (Koha Ditore)
Veseli: Army will be created within a few days (RTK)
NATO to “block” KSF (Zëri)
“NATO Secretary’s statement on Kosovo army, slip of the tongue” (Telegrafi)
EU: Suspending dialogue against spirit of normalization of relations (Koha)
Serbia “surprised” by Kosovo Assembly’s resolution (Koha)
Prosecution charges municipal official for ethnic intolerance (Koha)
“Serbs want unification with Serbia” (Zëri)

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Headlines – 10.03.2017 

  • Procedures bypassed in KSF transformation bill (Koha Ditore)
  • Veseli: Army will be created within a few days (RTK)
  • NATO to “block” KSF (Zëri)
  • “NATO Secretary’s statement on Kosovo army, slip of the tongue” (Telegrafi)
  • EU: Suspending dialogue against spirit of normalization of relations (Koha)
  • Serbia “surprised” by Kosovo Assembly’s resolution (Koha)
  • Prosecution charges municipal official for ethnic intolerance (Koha)
  • “Serbs want unification with Serbia” (Zëri)

 Kosovo Media Highlights

Procedures bypassed in KSF transformation bill (Koha Ditore)

Lack of coordination with international community is not the only problem that is accompanying President Hashim Thaci’s initiative to transform the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) into a Kosovo army, the paper reports on the front page. Another problem that has arisen in the process deals with procedural steps required in order for a draft law to be submitted to Assembly. When Thaci presented the bill to Assembly President Kadri Veseli he only attached a letter to it but Assembly regulations stipulate that such a move requires an explanatory note on objectives of the law, harmonization with the applicable law and justification of law’s provisions. Furthermore, the bill would have to contain budgetary implications as well as whether the act is in line with European Union legislation. The paper writes that none of these documents were part of the bill Thaci presented to Veseli. No one at the President’s Office, Assembly or Government was available for commenting on why these procedures were sidestepped or who would work on drafting them before the bill goes to MPs.

Veseli: Army will be created within a few days (RTK)

The Kosovo Assembly President and leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Kadri Veseli assured Kosovo people that Kosovo’s Armed Force will be created within a few days, with a unanimous decision of the Assembly. He said that Kosovo’s strategic partners, led by the United States of America, will continue to help Kosovo and its army which, according to Veseli, will be NATO’s strongest partner in the region. “Of course our partners wanted consensus and it would have been the best to reach it. If we cannot reach it, we will change the Constitution. KSF transformation will happen based on the law,” Veseli said. He added that KSF will become a military force “we deserve as an independent and sovereign country and I am very certain that it will be the most professional partner in the region to NATO countries”. He gave assurances that relations with Kosovo’s strategic partners would not be scaled down and “the law from the government will reach the Assembly very soon and we will unanimously vote KSF’s transformation,” Veseli said in a meeting with students from the Kosovo Academy for Public Safety. 

NATO to “block” KSF (Zëri)

A senior NATO official reportedly told the paper that if the mandate of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) evolves in the manner proposed by the President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, then the North Atlantic Alliance would have to reconsider its level of determination towards this force, especially with regards to building capacities. The paper also notes that security experts claim that persistence to transform KSF into an army only with amendments of the law, and not change of the Constitution, would harm relations with the United States of America. Former UN Deputy Envoy at the Vienna discussions for status of Kosovo, Albert Rohan, said that in reality, KSF is an army. According to him, any changes on this direction should be done through the Constitution.

“NATO Secretary’s statement on Kosovo army, slip of the tongue” (Telegrafi)

President of Kosovo’s chief of staff, Bekim Collaku, said in an interview that the reactions from NATO and the US on plans to transform the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) into an army were “fully expected”. He said Kosovo institutions were told that the KSF transformation should go through constitutional changes but that “we made it clear we would not wait for long for that.” Speaking about the statement of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who opposed Thaci’s initiative, Collaku said that “willingly or unwillingly NATO Secretary had a slip of the tongue when he said Kosovo should coordinate such an action with Belgrade.” He said no one in Kosovo thinks the issue of the army should be discussed or coordinated with Belgrade. 

EU: Suspending dialogue against spirit of normalization of relations (Koha)

In a statement following the Kosovo Assembly’s approval of a resolution calling for suspension of talks with Serbia pending AAK leader Ramush Haradinaj’s release, the EU stated that the move doesn’t contribute to normalization of relations and is not in line with commitments made by Kosovo. “We call on all of the political leaders in Kosovo to continue to engage constructively in dialogue, to implement agreements reached in the Dialogue so far and thus advance both the normalisation of relations and its EU perspective,” the EU statement reads.

Serbia “surprised” by Kosovo Assembly’s resolution (Koha)

Serbian Government’s director for Kosovo Office, Marko Djuric, said Serbia was “surprised” with the resolution passed yesterday by Kosovo Assembly calling for suspension of dialogue until AAK leader Ramush Haradinaj is released. Djuric said Belgrade remains committed to the process of dialogue as a platform for resolving disputes.

Prosecution charges municipal official for ethnic intolerance (Koha)

Basic Prosecution in Peja/Pec has filed an indictment against an official from the Decan municipality for inciting hatred and national, racial, religious, and ethnic intolerance. The municipal official is accused of having committed the offense after storming into a meeting of the Municipal Assembly with displaced persons of the Serb and Montenegrin ethnicities.

“Serbs want unification with Serbia” (Zëri)

Nenad Radosavljevic, member of Leposavic Assembly and Director of TV Mir broadcaster, said on Thursday at the Municipalities’ Cooperation conference which is being held in Mitrovica, that Serbs in the north want unification with Serbia. “We are not safe during each situation created in Kosovo. Serbs have been left unemployed. Despite the fact that OSCE claims that it has done a good job in Kosovo, the fact is that it did not. Mayors of the municipalities with Albanian majority and ambassadors are also participating at the conference.

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