- Pahor: Demarcation and agreements with Serbia lead to EU and NATO (media)
- Markovic to visit Kosovo today, meet leaders (dailies)
- EU: Ratification of border agreement paves way for visa-free travel (Indeksonline)
- Limaj: There are positive signs from Montenegro to resolve demarcation (media)
- Thaci: Special Court a historic injustice (RTK)
- U.S. President congratulates Kosovo on independence anniversary (dailies)
- “Sovereignty completion is reached with Kosovo’s membership at UN” (Epoka)
- Haradinaj surprised by ideas for exchange of territories (RTK)
- Analysts warn of danger from territory exchange ideas (Zeri)
- Trajkovic: Thaci is behind idea for Kosovo’s partition (Koha)
- Another Kosovo man killed in Syria (Koha/RFE)
- Arms shipment to Bosnian Serbs stokes EU fears (The Guardian/Koha)
Pahor: Demarcation and agreements with Serbia lead to EU and NATO (media)
Slovenian President Borut Pahor said in an address to the Kosovo Assembly that Slovenians and Kosovars have supported each other in all processes. “Slovenia is on its way of overcoming problems with neighbors and in this respect I support efforts by Kosovo and Serbia to resolve their disputes. As a friend, I call on you to continue reaching agreements between the two countries. I have come to Kosovo as a friend of Albanians and all nationalities living here. I encourage you to continue talks and to respect the agreements. This is important not only to resolve disputes but also to have stability throughout the region. You all know that peace must be achieved for all Western Balkans, including Kosovo. I support the resolution of border disputes. Countries need to reach border agreements before becoming part of the European Union,” Pahor said. He also told MPs that political courage is needed to resolve issues on the path toward EU and NATO membership. “Slovenia will support you in the process. Slovenia has good relations with all countries of the Western Balkans”.
Markovic to visit Kosovo today, meet leaders (dailies)
Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dusko Markovic, is expected to begin his two-day visit to Kosovo today and meet Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, President Hashim Thaci and Assembly President Kadri Veseli. Kosovo government officials said that the main topics of discussion will include deepening of cooperation but also the border demarcation.
EU: Ratification of border agreement paves way for visa-free travel (Indeksonline)
The EU foreign policy spokesperson, Maja Kocijancic, said that the EU expects Kosovo to ratify the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro to give the green light for visa liberalisation. She also said that the EU welcomes the implementation of conditions relating to fight against corruption and a proven track record in conviction of high-level corruption and organised crime cases.
Limaj: There are positive signs from Montenegro to resolve demarcation (media)
Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister Fatmir Limaj told TV Dukagjini on Tuesday that there are positive signs from Montenegrin representatives to work on his proposal for resolving the border demarcation between the two countries. “We are open to discuss all topics with Montenegro. We have very concrete relations with our friends. We need to be open and honest about topics that interest us. We also had a meeting with the Slovenian President and we had open and frank discussions,” Limaj added.
Thaci: Special Court a historic injustice (RTK)
The President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, continues to call the obligation given to Kosovo to create the Specialist Chambers, a historic injustice. “This was an historic injustice but for the sake of keeping the strategic partnership with the US, EU and NATO we created that (the court),” Thaci said. “Kosovo has nothing to hide,” Thaci told Reuters. Asked what he would do if called to testify as a witness or defendant by the court, he said: “The president or any other citizen of this country has no reason to be afraid”. ”We never violated Kosovo law or international laws. We have fought against a dictator, against a man who committed genocide,” he said, referring to former Yugoslav and Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, who died in 2006 while on trial for war crimes. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kosovo-president-interview/kosovo-president-expects-to-reach-historic-deal-with-serbia-this-year-idUSKCN1FX2NM
U.S. President Trump congratulates Kosovo on independence anniversary (dailies)
The U.S. President Donald Trump has congratulated Kosovo on the tenth anniversary of independence saying that during this time Kosovo has made great progress in strengthening its sovereignty and multiethnic democracy. “As your country enters its second decade of statehood, the United States is committed to helping Kosovo build on a strong foundation of shared democratic principles, regional cooperation, and the rule of law. In doing so, Kosovo will take further strides toward integration into the Western Community of Nations,” the congratulatory letter addressed to President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci reads.
“Sovereignty completion is reached with Kosovo’s membership at UN” (Epoka)
Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj, participated at panel organized by the U.S. Institute “Independent Diplomat” and the Kosovo Council in New York, in honor of the tenth anniversary of the declaration of independence of Kosovo. He said that ten last years proved that Kosovo is a success story of building a state from scratch. “The second dimension of statehood is integration of Kosovo in international institutions,” Hoxhaj said. “Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the independence and drawing a balance on what remains to be done, Kosovo needs strategic clarity for its future. Kosovo has to address two challenges: the first one is completion of its sovereignty through UN membership, a difficult but unstoppable process. And the second, the country has to move toward conclusion of state building,” Hoxhaj said.
Haradinaj surprised by ideas for exchange of territories (RTK)
Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj commented on ideas for the exchange of territories between Kosovo and Serbia at the government meeting yesterday. “These ideas are funny. They are not serious. I am sometimes surprised as to who and why they are initiating these debates in Kosovo. Our media should be a little more careful. These are not discussions for us to absorb. We will be careful. I am against changes to Kosovo’s current borders. Kosovo is Kosovo, the one that we declared. It remains so,” Haradinaj said.
Analysts warn of danger from territory exchange ideas (Zeri)
The paper quotes on the front page analysts strongly rejecting any idea on Kosovo’s partition or territorial exchange with Serbia saying such a prospect would be dangerous. Analyst Mazllum Baraliu, said the debate on the issue of territory exchange has been initiated by those who do not wish well to Kosovo and described it as “playing with fire”. Analyst Ramush Tahiri however explained that exchange of territories can only happen between countries that are internationally recognised and that have also recognised one another. He said such an idea could have serious repercussions to the stability in the Balkans. Meanwhile, opposition representatives have also come out against the idea of Kosovo and Serbia swapping territories as did Kosovo leaders, President Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.
Trajkovic: Thaci is behind idea for Kosovo’s partition (Koha)
Kosovo Serb politician, Rada Trajkovic, told FoNet news agency that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci is the key person behind the idea for Kosovo’s partition and that Belgrade is “one of the main supporters” of Thaci and Veseli. Trajkovic also said that the Serbian List had a key role in the election of Thaci as President, Veseli’s election as Assembly President and Ramush Haradinaj’s election as Prime Minister. “Thaci’s project and these ideas are gaining public importance by the day, because of two very relevant reasons. One is his ideological position and the other reason is the effort to postpone the Special Court and through the destabilization of Kosovo to show himself as a person that can manage the crisis and resolve major issues such as Kosovo’s partition,” Trajkovic was quoted as saying.
Another Kosovo man killed in Syria (Koha/RFE)
Betim Ibrahimaj from the municipality of Istog is reported to have been killed in Syria. Kosovo Police said they have received information on Ibrahimaj’s death from several sources but that they possess no official confirmation. Ibrahimaj was accused on terror charges in the so-called “Badovc Lake” case and was on house arrest before escaping two years ago. The media point out that Ibrahimaj is the second person from Kosovo to get killed fighting in Syria in the recent weeks.
Arms shipment to Bosnian Serbs stokes EU fears (The Guardian/Koha)
The purchase of thousands of new guns by the Bosnian Serb police has raised concerns over the intentions of the separatist-led regional government and deepening Russian influence in a divided and economically depressed nation. A shipment of 2,500 automatic rifles from Serbia is due to arrive in the Serb-run half of Bosnia in March, weeks before the scheduled opening of a new training centre where Russian advisers have been expected to play a role under an agreement signed more than two years ago. The Bosnian Serb authorities have defended the arms purchase as necessary for self-defence against potential terrorist attacks. In a statement they stressed that their police trained extensively with US forces, and not with Russian police, and denied plans to bring Russian trainers to Bosnia. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/13/bosnian-serb-police-arms-purchase-stokes-eu-fears.