Tanin: Kosovo lost significant economic opportunities (media)
Most of the media report on the UN Security Council quarterly session on Kosovo, held on Wednesday in New York. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Kosovo and Head of UNMIK, Zahir Tanin, highlighted to Security Council members that the past quarter had been dominated by the holding of an early general election in Kosovo and ensuing negotiations to form a new government.
In his regular update on Kosovo, SRSG Tanin expressed that a functional institutional vacuum had made it challenging to progress on governance priorities adding that “important economic and social opportunities were missed during such a period.” He also highlighted, however, that the election was “generally free, fair and competitive, despite the very short preparation time and campaign.” The voice of many new and younger voters for whom prominent concerns were economic opportunities, reducing corruption and strengthening the rule of law were notable.
Noting the proposed initiative of President Vucic of Serbia for an internal dialogue on Kosovo, SRSG Tanin underlined that “pursuing fair, difficult, often painful, compromises demands strong leadership from all sides.” He stressed that political reconciliation must also be accompanied by societal reconciliation.
SRSG Tanin noted the UN Mission in Kosovo’s efforts to support the advancement of inter-community relations on the ground. In that regard, he highlighted the round-table meeting in Geneva co-hosted with the High Commissioner for Human Rights to bring attention back to the many unresolved cases of missing persons in Kosovo. Other UN-led initiatives to strengthen societal relations included the first UN Kosovo Youth Assembly was attended by over 140 young leaders – 60 percent of them women – representing all Kosovo’s ethnic communities.
After three months of election campaign and post-election uncertainty, SRSG Tanin underlined the importance for Kosovo to move forward seriously and responsibly, and for the international community to work together to continue to provide essential support.
The U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Michele Sison, said during her speech at the UN Security Council that the United States has requested creation of the new government and ratification of the agreement on demarcation of the border with Montenegro, as soon as possible. She also said that Kosovo should make steps towards building a multi-ethnic society. Media report that Sison requested gradual reduction of the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, until the final closure of the mandate of this mission. She also requested that quarterly reporting at the Security Council be held every six months.
The UK Ambassador to the United Nations , Matthew Rycroft, supported the request of the U.S. and Kosovo Ambassador, for gradual closure of the UN mission in Kosovo, saying that UNMIK’s increased budget does not coincide with the situation in the field. This position was also supported by the French and Japanese representatives at the UN Security Council.
However, the Chinese representative, WU Haitao, opposed the initiative of the reduction of the UN mission in Kosovo.
The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, criticized Pristina for not fulfilling agreements reached in Brussels. He requested guarantees for the security of Serbs in Kosovo and objected to the request for UNMIK’s closure, saying that there is not a single reason to do so.
Referring to the statement of the Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, on the expelled Serbs from Kosovo, the Ambassador of Kosovo to the United States, Vlora Çitaku, said that it is true that some Serbs left Kosovo after the war, just as they left Croatia. However, she added that it is not fair to use figures when the Serbian government has appealed to the Serb population in Kosovo not to participate in the population census. She also rebutted Dacic’ statement that Kosovo’s Liberation Army (KLA) was terrorist, saying she was proud they had fought Milosevic and Seselj. She accused Belgrade for obstruction of agreements reached in Brussels, and mentioned that Belgrade did not allow former President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, to hold a speech on the victims of violence in Kosovo.
Media report that Dacic said during his speech that Vlora Çitaku is not a Kosovar but an Albanian, and that her state is Albania. Dacic also wondered why the matter of the missing, killed and expelled Serbs from Kosovo was not being discussed at the UN Security Council session. He said that Serbia is a permanent solution. “And this can be reached only by respecting legitimate interests of Serbs and Albanians. Someone should not come (to your state) and say “this is a new state”, without asking the state where it is. If this appears as an international right, it can ruin each of our states,” Dacic said.
Haradinaj requests a broad based government (Kosova Sot)
The leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo and nominee for the Prime Minister by the PAN coalition, Ramush Haradinaj, said during a press conference on Wednesday that political clarity on the created situation in Kosovo will be reached very soon. According to him, the reason why creation of the government took so long is that his coalition is aiming at a broad based government and not a government with 61 votes at the Assembly.
Head of Kosovo Correctional Service attacked in Pristina (media)
Acting Director of Kosovo Correctional Service Sokol Zogaj was attacked on Wednesday morning in Pristina as he was leaving his apartment. Media report that he was beaten by a group of unknown masked persons who used metal bars, and has suffered head injuries.
President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, EULEX, UK Ambassador to Kosovo, Ruairi O’Connell and the Ministry of Justice, strongly condemned the incident. A spokesperson for the Clinical-Hospital Center in Pristina said that Zogaj did not sustain life-threatening injuries and was in a stable condition.
PDK expects Veseli’s election (Kosova Sot)
Deputy leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj, said during a press conference on Wednesday that Kadri Veseli will be elected Assembly President on 24 August and the government will be created very soon. He added that after the constitution of the Assembly, matters such as demarcation of the border with Montengro, liberalisation of visas, creation of Kosovo’s army and Law on religious freedoms, should be addressed immediately.
Director of Insajderi physically assaulted (Insajderi)
The director of the investigative news site Insajderi, Parim Olluri, has been physically assaulted on Wednesday evening by unknown persons. He suffered slight injuries and was treated at the Pristina hospital. He told media that the motive of his attack is unknown, but he said that it might have been motivated by his articles written as a journalist. Kosovo President Hashim Thaci condemned the attack and called on relevant institutions to bring the perpetrators to justice.