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UNMIK Headlines 5 June

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• President Thaci signs EULEX’s departure from Kosovo (Zeri)
• Giving lead role to President on dialogue, against Assembly resolutions (Koha)
• Opposition will not vote in favor of platform for dialogue with Serbia (Epoka)
• EC calls for dialogue to resume as soon as possible (Lajmi/RTK)
• Vucic denies media reports about Serbian troops near Kosovo border (media)
• Visa liberalisation lobbying campaign to get underway Thursday (Zeri)
• Kosovo civil society sends open letter to EU on visa liberalisation (media)
• LDK: Ruling coalition is sending negative signals to Brussels (RTK)
• Kosovo suffers huge losses from non-implementation of energy agreement (Zeri)
• President Thaci could be sent to Court over CEC blockade (Koha)
• Minister: UNMIK regulation on per-diems needs to change (Koha)
• Serbs accused of cutting off water supply from Ujman/Gazivoda Lake (Koha)

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  • President Thaci signs EULEX’s departure from Kosovo (Zeri)
  • Giving lead role to President on dialogue, against Assembly resolutions (Koha)
  • Opposition will not vote in favor of platform for dialogue with Serbia (Epoka)
  • EC calls for dialogue to resume as soon as possible (Lajmi/RTK)
  • Vucic denies media reports about Serbian troops near Kosovo border (media)
  • Visa liberalisation lobbying campaign to get underway Thursday (Zeri)
  • Kosovo civil society sends open letter to EU on visa liberalisation (media)
  • LDK: Ruling coalition is sending negative signals to Brussels (RTK)
  • Kosovo suffers huge losses from non-implementation of energy agreement (Zeri)
  • President Thaci could be sent to Court over CEC blockade (Koha)
  • Minister: UNMIK regulation on per-diems needs to change (Koha)
  • Serbs accused of cutting off water supply from Ujman/Gazivoda Lake (Koha)

President Thaci signs EULEX’s departure from Kosovo (Zeri)

President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, has submitted to EU authorities the exchange of letters with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, expressing the conclusion of EULEX’s current mandate. The letter, negotiated by Kosovo and EU, sets out the conclusion of the mission’s executive mandate and its reduction into a monitoring and advisory role. “Kosovo institutions have benefited a great deal from cooperation with EULEX,” said Thaci upon presenting the letter exchange to the EU Civilian Operations Commander, Kenneth Deane, and head of EULEX, Alexandra Papadopoulou.

Giving lead role to President on dialogue, against Assembly resolutions (Koha)

The paper reports on page three that Kosovo Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, has given up the responsibility to lead dialogue with Serbia and has done so in opposition to two resolutions adopted by the Kosovo Assembly in 2011 and 2012. Haradinaj’s office did not say why he decided to leave this role to President Hashim Thaci. “The President’s right derives from the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo. The government leads the technical dialogue,” Haradinaj’s office said in a written reply. The paper also quotes NISMA leader Fatmir Limaj as saying that the opposition too should be involved in dialogue. “The Assembly of Kosovo should authorize a team representing the majority in the Assembly, both from ruling parties and the opposition. This team would also need to include representatives of civil society,” Limaj suggested.

Opposition will not vote in favor of platform for dialogue with Serbia (Epoka)

Two major opposition political parties, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and Vetevendosje Movement, announced that they would not vote in favor of the platform for dialogue with Serbia. According to them, the platform for dialogue, presented by the government at the Assembly of Kosovo, is poor and not serious. Representatives of these two political parties called the drafting of this platform was a misstep.

EC calls for dialogue to resume as soon as possible (Lajmi/RTK)

The European Commission said on Monday that dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade must resume as soon as possible. Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela, spokesperson for the European Commission, said they are in contact with both parties. “We are in contact with the leaders of the negotiating teams of both countries, and dialogue in Brussels will proceed as soon as it is possible,” he said. He did not want to comment on information that Kosovo will suspend their participation at the technical dialogue. RTK meanwhile reported on Monday evening that Avni Arifi, head of the Kosovo delegation in the technical talks, sent a letter to the office of EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, informing them that he rejects the continuation of technical dialogue before Serbia fully implements the agreements reached so far.

Vucic denies media reports about Serbian troops near Kosovo border (media)

Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vucic, denied on Monday media reports according to which Serbian troops were deployed near the Jarinje border crossing point between Serbia and Kosovo. “I don’t care what Albanian media report,” Vucic was quoted as saying. “We will deploy our units in accordance with the Constitution. Serbian politics is not led by the media in Belgrade and Pristina”.

Visa liberalisation lobbying campaign to get underway Thursday (Zeri)

A group of Kosovo Assembly MPs, headed by Speaker Kadri Veseli, will undertake visits to EU countries to lobby for visa liberalisation with the first stops being Austria and France. Assembly Deputy Speaker, Xhavit Haliti, said he expects the campaign to bear positive results while Fatmire Kollcaku, Vetevendosje MP, said they are not informed of the upcoming tour.

Kosovo civil society sends open letter to EU on visa liberalisation (media)

Several news websites report that Kosovo’s civil society has sent an open letter to EU Commissioners, MEPs and Ministers of Member States calling for visa liberalization for Kosovo’s citizens. The letter notes the four key reasons why Kosovo should get visa liberalization: 1. The citizens of Kosovo are the only ones of the entire region to whom the Schengen visa regime applies, despite our social will for the European integration process. 2. As a society we are losing great chances of transformation based on European models because we are deprived of the opportunity to exchange the experience with citizens of EU member states. 3. We have found that the isolation of youth has been a driving factor for their inclusion in radical and extremist organisations, especially those based in the Middle East. 4. And, most importantly, we think that Kosovo has met the measurable criteria derived from the visa liberalisation process.

LDK: Ruling coalition is sending negative signals to Brussels (RTK)

Deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Lutfi Haziri, is participating at the regular assembly of the European Peoples Parties which is being held in Warsaw, Poland. LDK issued a press release saying that the rule of law, visa liberalisation and dialogue with neighbors, remain the main focus of European countries when Kosovo is concerned. This political party claims that it is engaging for Kosovo to benefit from these mechanisms and receive the date for liberalisation of visas, “despite the fact that governing coalition is sending very negative signals to Brussels with regard to the fulfillment of obligations.”

Kosovo suffers huge losses from non-implementation of energy agreement (Zeri)

The paper reports that as Serbia continues to block implementation of energy agreement signed in Brussels under the EU facilitation, Kosovo suffers huge losses amounting up to €30 million a year. Kosovo’s chief negotiator for the technical side of the dialogue with Serbia, Avni Arifi, said he was aware of the damage to Kosovo and blames Serbian side for not implementing its side of the agreement signed in 2013. He also holds EU authorities responsible for being “totally unfocused and weak in imposing a solution”.

President Thaci could be sent to Court over CEC blockade (Koha)

The paper reports on its front page that a complaint could be sent to the Constitutional Court of Kosovo against President Hashim Thaci due to his failure to appoint new members of the Central Election Commission (CEC) and thus blocking this institution.

Minister: UNMIK regulation on per-diems needs to change (Koha)

Kosovo’s Minister of Finance, Bedri Hamza, said in an interview to KTV that the rules guiding official travel outside of Kosovo, established during UNMIK administration, need to change. “UNMIK regulation should be changes. The daily allowance should not be the same as when travelling in the region and travelling to the US,” Hamza said. Yesterday in an op-ed for Koha Ditore, Augustin Palokaj raised the concern regarding UNMIK’s per diem regulation still implemented by Kosovo institutions which sets the same amount of allowance for travel to Albania with that to Brussels.

Serbs accused of cutting off water supply from Ujman/Gazivoda Lake (Koha)

KTV reported that for five days, Serb management of the Ujman/Gazivoda Lake has cut off considerable water supply to the south of Kosovo causing a chain reaction and ultimately leaving the farmers unable to water their crops. While farmers believe the water shortage is not a result of a technical error but politically motivated, the Office of Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj said the issue of the Ujman/Gazivoda Lake is not part of the dialogue with Serbia.

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