U.S. Embassy and OSCE facilitate integration of non-majority communities
The U.S Embassy in Kosovo and the OSCE continue to facilitate integration of non-majority communities in different fields. On Thursday, the U.S Embassy to Kosovo, the OSCE, representative of institutions, and non-majority communities discussed ways to overcome issues in the education sector and other topics in the municipality of Dragash/Dragas.
Since the end of conflict, pupils of “9 May” elementary school in village Rapqë of Dragash/Dragas municipality learn with two curricula. Half of them learn with Kosovo’s curriculum and the rest continue to use the curriculum of Serbia, RTK1 reported.
Kosovo Deputy Minister of Education, Usmin Baldzi, says that progress has been marked during these years, but he stressed that lot more remains to be done.
“Gorani community is continuing to implement Serbia’s curriculum and integration and involvement of this community into Kosovo’s education system is the aim of the Ministry,” said Deputy Minister Baldzi.
In order to help these non-majority communities and support their integration into Kosovo’s system, the U.S. Embassy Deputy Head of Mission, Colleen Hyland, visited Dragash/Dragas municipality.
“I am here with the OSCE to meet Gorani and Bosniak communities and discuss best ways for cooperation in the education sector. This will help them continue education in universities and look forward to a prosperous future here in Kosovo,” underlined Hyland.
Participants of this meeting also discussed ways to counter violent extremism and empowerment of women in Kosovo.
Tomic and Braathu: Youth as a factor for building safer future
Director of Office for Communities, Ivan Tomic, met on Thursday with the Head of the OSCE Mission, Jan Braathu. On this occasion, they discussed the work of this Office. Braathu considered that the Office has equally helped all communities.
As a press statement issued reads, while presenting the annual report Tomic stressed that most of the funds were invested in areas that were neglected during the previous period.
“Taking the political situation into consideration, from the day that I took over the Office to the moment of calling of elections, as well as working conditions and lack of understanding for the ideas that I had as a Director, I managed to do a good job and continued the tradition of the Office, but I also improved many processes and maintained many contacts with people. As a Director, I did not push projects to Gracanica/Graçanicë, but we invested most of the funds in the areas which were neglected over the past 17 years. The projects in Velika Hoca/Hoçë e Madhe, Priluzhe, Plemetin and Gornje Kusce/Kusce e Epërme are the most significant ones,” Tomic emphasised.
During the discussion with Braathu, Tomic particularly emphasized that in the future the society should focus on the potential of young people, which, as he said, exists, the press statement continued.
“Looking at the topics of security, dangerous rhetoric, disrespect of the Law on Communities, non-implementation of the Brussels agreements, as well as the general animosity between communities it can be concluded that we need a new, young force that will go beyond the stereotypes and work for the benefit of the whole society. We must take advantage of the potential that exists,” said Tomic.
As the press statement notes, Braathu expressed his great satisfaction with the results achieved by the Office for Communities and said that Tomic is an example of a young and educated man who, because of his ideals, returned to Kosovo to assist not only his community, but also all other communities.
“I believe that Tomic will continue to be present in politics and that together with other young people they will build a prosperous, democratic and lawful society that they deserve. We need more people like Tomic in order for this society to progress,” Braathu said.
Director of the Office for Communities thanked the OSCE Ambassador for the cooperation that existed both when Braathu was the Norwegian Ambassador to Kosovo and now as the Head of the OSCE Mission, the press statement concluded.
Yee: Kosovo needs strong leadership
The U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Hoyt Brian Yee, considers that Kosovo needs a strong leadership that can reach national consensus on the pending important issues.
In an interview with Life in Kosovo show in RTK, Yee spoke about the concept of strong leadership in Kosovo.
“In a place like Kosovo, where there are different opinions between different parties, among the leaders on what is the right approach, this needs time, it is difficult. We and the international community know how difficult this is. Nevertheless, it is important for people in Kosovo to come together, to work together for joint goals,” Yee said.
He spoke in particular about the Border Demarcation Agreement between Kosovo and Montenegro, which was one of the reasons behind dissolution of the fifth legislation in Kosovo.
The U.S. diplomat, Yee, called for ratification of this Agreement as one of the key conditions for achieving visa liberalisation.
U.S. Embassy urges parties to support persons not tainted by corruptive affairs
Ahead of 11 June elections, the United States Embassy in Kosovo urged political parties to support in their lists of candidates for Members of the Assembly the persons who are not tainted by corruptive affairs.
According to the U.S. Embassy, candidates of political parties should be an example for all citizens of country, including women and youth. The U.S. Embassy called on all candidates to follow the call of former U.S. President, John Kennedy, to work for the country and its citizens.
German Embassy hopes to see a sooner establishment of Government
Ahead of the 11 June early elections in Kosovo, the German Embassy in Kosovo expressed its hope that a new Government will be established soon after elections in order for the work on relevant topics for Kosovo to be able to go on immediately.
German Embassy explained for Zëri.info that it is the citizens of Kosovo the ones who should judge the issue of parties and coalitions that run in elections.
Final Voters’ List to be certified on 01 June
Every time that there are elections, clearing of voters’ list presents a serious problem. There are constantly names of dead people in election lists. At the Central Elections Commission (CEC) say they are intensively working on removal of dead people from election lists. According to them, there are about 1.8 million people on the Voters’ List.
The election expert Mazllum Baraliu says that capacities of Kosovo institutions still have not reached the adequate level as far as cleaning of voters’ list is concerned.
CEC informed that the Final Voters’ List (FVL) will be certified on 01 June.
Considering it as a discrepancy, the former CEC chairperson, Mazllum Baraliu, highlighted the higher number of voters than the number of Kosovo people.
Until Thursday, CEC received about 2.000 applications from Diaspora to vote on early elections scheduled for 11 June.
Kurti: Kosovo does not need Association of Serb majority municipalities
(KTV Special show – Summary of Albin Kurti’s interview)
Vetëvendosje’s nominee for Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, said that meetings he held with LDK did not result with cooperation because, as he said, LDK was not ready to merge in Vetëvendosje’s list, irrespective of the fact that Vetëvendosje offered majority of numbers in the list of candidates.
In an exclusive interview with KTV, Kurti said that LDK’s persistence to reach an agreement with Vetëvendosje came due to LDK’s fear from the PDK-AAK-Nisma coalition, which Kurti considers as ‘a coalition of the night’.
Kurti said that he was not surprised at all by the coalition of PDK-AAK-Nisma. According to him, this coalition was known since last year, when Ramush Haradinaj left the VAN Bloc. Kurti considers that PDK-AAK-Nisma coalition has weakened these three political entities.
He spoke about his candidacy for Prime Minister, and expressed his confidence on victory.
Kurti stressed that people are looking for a change, and this change cannot come by coalitions that have governed Kosovo so far.
“Vetëvendosje and I as a Prime Minister are ready to serve the people. We had an extraordinary growth during the last two years. This can be noted on the ground and in public opinion polls. People want the change. We do not want to allow this coalition, divided in two lists, to continue the extortion. People are afraid because they cannot get jobs. People are afraid that their children are not getting educated. People are afraid that soon they might turn poor. It is the last moment to bring the change,” said Kurti.
Among other things, Kurti said that he would not continue talks with Serbia in the format they were done by the previous Governments of Kosovo. He said that Kosovo would condition talks with Serbia. Kurti said that initially he would launch direct talks with Kosovo Serbs, because he considers that Kosovo does not need the Association of Serb majority municipalities.
“It is a mistake to integrate Serbs by only looking at them as Serbs. We are doing injustice against other communities. We should of course pay attention to them, but not in this way. Association is not in compliance with the Constitution of Kosovo in 23 articles. Consequently, Kosovo does not need such an Association. Instead of implementing this, as a Prime Minister, I would start direct talks with Kosovo Serbs. We would not terminate the dialogue with Serbia, but our Government would set conditions to resume it. Serbia must accept reciprocity principle with Kosovo. I believe we would find many friends that would endorse our stance against Serbia. Previous Governments were inferior to Serbia. We were so happy when Rama (the Albanian Prime Minister) went to Belgrade and said something very normal. This was a contrast to Thaçi’s and Isa’s servility. But this was nothing extraordinary,” Kurti said.
He said that if Vetëvendosje wins the elections and he becomes a Prime Minister, he will continue partnership with the European Union, in particular with Germany and the United States.
“We would never put the interests of our strategic and economic allies at risk,” stressed Kurti.
He also commented the Agreement on Border Demarcation with Montenegro, saying that this process should be examined. Kurti also said there can be direct talks on this issue with Podgorica.
“We should investigate what was done or not, and how it ended up with the signature. When the current Government is gone; people will be able to talk. Murat Meha assessed it wrongly. All the people I talked in the Assembly admitted that Meha negotiated badly, but Thaçi signed the Agreement nevertheless. Of course, one day this Agreement should reach the Assembly, but those who have signed it should be held accountable. We should officially inform Podgorica about it. Montenegro is a country that has tense relations with Serbia. Direct talks with Podgorica should be considered,” Kurti added.
Vetëvendosje’s nominee for Prime Minister, Kurti, said that if he wins 11 June elections, hope will prevail in Kosovo and fear will be eliminated.
Kurti considers that the Special Court brings more fear than justice in Kosovo. He considers this Court political and non-transparent.
“I consider the Special Court political. Special Court cannot do what UNMIK, EULEX and The Hague Court failed to do… I think that those who are establishing this Court are facing great challenges themselves. I do not believe that such a Court is just. There is huge lack of transparency. In fact, this brings more fear than justice. With me as Prime Minister, we will replace fear with hope,” Kurti concluded.
Xharra: Lynching in social media reason behind attack against me
(Summary of ‘Komiteti’ show – TV Dukagjini)
Former editor-in-chief of daily Zëri, Arbana Xharra, who recently joined the Democratic party of Kosovo (PDK), was hosted by the “Komiteti” show aired on Thursday night in Dukagjini TV.
Xharra initially explained her career as a journalist, underlining that corruption and radicalism were the two topics which provoked most reactions during her work. Xharra also mentioned the prizes she received during her work as a journalist.
Asked why she left journalism for politics, Xharra said that she did so because she could not make changes from the media, specifically referring to the radicalism issue. She believes that she will have more effect on this issue from the decision-making sphere.
Xharra underlined that she stands behind her texts written earlier and that they are all online. She stressed that the reason why she joined PDK was the team composed of new people with optimism that Kadri Veseli gathered to change the party.
She used the case of LDK MP Vjosa Osmani, complemented her for her courage and clear background, but she said that her party did not provide room to her. Xharra said that she will not be in the list for Members of the Assembly.
She condemned people who criticized her, while she said that Lumir Abdixhiku, who formally joined LDK on Thursday, lynched her. She also mentioned Enver Robelli among those who criticized her, considering them as opportunists. She said she is willing to declare her property in case Abdixhiku declares his.
“In this case, I would like to mention Lumir due to his very denigrating approach against me,” she said.
Speaking about her threat with the cross painted close to her apartment, she said that no feedback was given from the Police about it.
She said that Vetëvendosje and Besa Movement from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia lynched her prior to the attack of last Friday, and that she alarmed the international community about this. She explained that she offered protection by Kosovo Police Director Shpend Maxhuni, but she refused it believing that she owes nothing to anybody.
Xharra explained that she had an interview in Tirana on the night of the attack against her, where she spoke about radicalism, Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan, politics, Vetëvendosje… She explained she was escorted to her apartment by two people from PDK on the night of attack, but she returned to take something from the vehicle owned by Zëri daily, when she was attacked by two people. She ruled out sexual violence in the attack against her.
She believes that attack against her was well-organized. She accused civil society members and stressed that people ‘marked her with X’ in social networks, saying she is convinced that this was the reason for the attack.
Xharra said that she did not receive any threats after the attack against her.
She does not regret joining PDK and said that this attack has motivated her further, adding that she will join PDK in its campaign from tomorrow on. At the end, Xharra said that she is constantly being visited by Police, and she is looking at the close protection as an option.