- No coordination between Thaci and Haradinaj for Berlin meeting (Koha)
- PM Haradinaj speaks about upcoming meeting in Berlin (media)
- Der Standard: Land swap idea to be ‘laid to rest’ in Berlin (Zeri)
- “The Economist” predictions on Berlin Summit (media)
- McAllister: Berlin meeting will contribute on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue (RTK)
- Veseli: We will never forgive Serbia’s atrocities in Kosovo (media)
- O’Connell: Those who deny massacres in Kosovo, lie (Bota Sot)
- Vucic: They have buried every possibility of an agreement (media)
- Kurti: Kosovo needs new elections and a new government (media)
- So far, only PDK has applied for elections in the north (Zeri)
- Municipal assemblies in the north hold session after five-month recess (Zeri)
- Haradinaj defends decision to pledge funds for Notre-Dame cathedral (Telegrafi)
- Vucic to meet Putin on 26 April in China (Sputnik/B92)
- Russian Foreign Minister: Moscow wants Resolution 1244 to be respected (media)
- EBRD Director to visit Kosovo today (RTK)
No coordination between Thaci and Haradinaj for Berlin meeting (Koha)
The paper reports on the front page that it has been five months since the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj last met face-to-face as would be customary for country leaders.
An unnamed government source told the paper that such a meeting is also not expected to take place before the 29 April meeting in Berlin called by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. “So far, there is no coordination and I don’t expect there will be any before travelling to Berlin,” the source said adding: “I am not even sure they will travel together.”
President Thaci yesterday said that there will be no Kosovo-Serbia agreement proposed in the upcoming meeting in Berlin. “Furthermore, there is no hidden agenda after this meeting. We expect that the end of this meeting will result with a general, rhetoric, (previously agreed among the participants,) declaration, which among other things will reconfirm at least European agenda of our region, deepening of reforms, especially on the rule of law, and it will also stress the necessity of normalization of the relations between Kosovo and Serbia,” Thaci wrote on Facebook. “It would be very disappointing for Kosovo if France and Germany failed to harmonise their positions on visa liberalisation for our citizens at this meeting. Kosovo remains the only isolated country in Europe. Therefore, to speak about the European perspective of Kosovo, be it only in rhetorical manner, is an extreme hypocrisy,” he added.
PM Haradinaj speaks about upcoming meeting in Berlin (media)
Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj spoke yesterday about the 29 April meeting of Western Balkans leaders in Berlin saying he was not aware if it would unblock the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia or not.
Asked about eventual agreement between Kosovo and Serbia at Berlin Summit, Haradinaj said he is not informed about it. “We do not have such information. There is some information in the media but we do not possess such information and we do not know if there is going to be. Nevertheless, I am not mandated to negotiate agreements with Serbia, because the Parliament has mandated the state delegation, the platform. Therefore, I do not see my role as a negotiator at the table. We are representing Kosovo at an important Summit in Berlin,” Haradinaj said.
As for the ultimatum of the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to lift the customs tariff by 6 May, Haradinaj said that instead of ultimatums, Serbian decision makers should better offer an agreement for mutual recognition between the two countries. “I am not prejudging what is going to happen on 6 and after 6 of May, but what I am appealing at all Serbian decisionmakers is that instead of ultimatums, they should return at the table and reach an agreement for mutual recognition. It was already seen that ultimatums and threats do not bring proper results in Balkans and the table, agreement can move us forward. Serbian leaders should sit in order to reach agreement for mutual recognition, with Kosovo in the existing borders,” he said.
Der Standard: Land swap idea to be ‘laid to rest’ in Berlin (Zeri)
The Austrian paper Der Standard reported that the idea of territorial exchange between Kosovo and Serbia along ethnic lines will be ‘laid to rest’ during the meeting of the Western Balkans leaders in Berlin hosted by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. Unnamed officials told the Austrian paper that the aim of the Berlin meeting is to put an end to the plan for exchange of territories. Furthermore, according to Der Standard, the German Chancellor Merkel is expected to suggest the north of Kosovo gaining some type of special status through the Association of the Serb-majority municipalities.
“The Economist” predictions on Berlin Summit (media)
The Economist magazine writes that the Berlin Summit is taking place at a time when EU’s policies towards Western Balkans are unclear at many levels. First of all, there are many international and regional disagreements on accepting the idea of border corrections throughout ethnic lines as part of the normalization of the relations between Kosovo and Serbia. Croatia, Germany, Northern Macedonia and Kosovo’s Assembly are against this idea, while Austria, Serbia, Slovenia, Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci, the U.S. and the European Commission appear to be openly pro this idea,” the Economist writes. France’s President Emanuel Macron, reports the magazine, has not come up with a clear position yet, however the Presidents of Serbia and Kosovo claimed the he supported the idea of correction of the borders.
The Economist predicts that the 29 April meeting in Berlin will be a chance for Germany to support European perspective for Western Balkans and also to reach Germany’s and France’s joint policy on Serbia-Kosovo negotiations. It further notes that a concrete progress on EU’s enlargement towards the Western Balkans is not expected before June.
McAllister: Berlin meeting will contribute on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue (RTK)
The EU Rapporteur for Serbia, David McAllister expects the Berlin Summit to contribute to the resumption of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.
“Belgrade-Pristina dialogue will be part of the Berlin Summit, but this matter will not replace activities foreseen for the Summit. Our joint intention is to resume with the dialogue,” McAllister told Tanjug. He also said the EU High Representative Frederica Mogherini will continue to mediate the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.
McAllister said the customs tariff imposed by Kosovo for Serbian products is the main obstacle for resumption of the dialogue.
Veseli: We will never forgive Serbia’s atrocities in Kosovo (media)
Kosovo Assembly Speaker Kadri Veseli paid yesterday tribute to the victims of Poklek village, on the twentieth anniversary of their killing and wrote on Facebook: “54 innocent people were killed and burnt in the cruelest way and the files of international justice to this day don’t include the name of Poklek, symbol of Serb genocide in Kosovo. Many things in life can be forgotten and forgiven but we will never forget Serbia’s massacres in Kosovo. We will never forgive.”
O’Connell: Those who deny massacres in Kosovo, lie (Bota Sot)
Kosovo’s Minister of Culture Youth and Sports, Kujtim Gashi and the UK Ambassador to Kosovo Ruairi O’Connell participated at the Presentation of the project for revitalization and socio-economic integration of the local community. O’Connell said Kosovo should not forget the past, but it has to decide how its future will look. “We have to remember the past, we cannot change what happened, but we can decide what the future will look like. We should not forget Recak, Krusha e Madhe, Likoshan, Qirez, Lybenic, Meje, and many grave massacres that happened in Kosovo. Those who deny them, lie,” O’Connell said.
Vucic: They have buried every possibility of an agreement (media)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Wednesday that “everyone in the region, people in Serbia, Europe and the whole world have buried every possibility for an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina”. In an interview to Belgrade-based Blic, Vucic said Serbia had expressed readiness to reach an agreement, “it showed it was ready to reach a compromise, but we cannot agree to not receiving anything”. Commenting on the upcoming Berlin Summit, Vucic said: “I don’t expect anything good from it. I expect there will be requests for a new format, where their objective would be for us to recognize Kosovo’s independence and for Serbia not to get anything in return … I will in no way agree to resume talks if the tariff is not lifted, regardless of the pressure I could be faced with”.
Kurti: Kosovo needs new elections and a new government (media)
Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti told a rally in Peja on Wednesday that the people of Kosovo need new elections and a new government. “We need new elections, because we need a new government that will stop corruption, close the chapter of the seizing of the state. A government will focus the economy on production, that will manage to bridge education and economy and that will establish the Sovereign Fund and the Development Bank,” Kurti said.
So far, only PDK has applied for elections in the north (Zeri)
While the deadline for certification of parties and candidates for extraordinary elections in four northern municipalities of Kosovo is set to expire today, so far only the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) has applied to be certified. Head of the Central Elections Commission (CEC), Valdete Daka, said the deadline will expire tonight at midnight.
Municipal assemblies in the north hold session after five-month recess (Zeri)
The municipal assemblies of four northern municipalities held sessions yesterday after five months of recess following the resignation of their mayors. According to the applicable legislation, a municipal assembly is dismissed if it fails to hold a meeting for a period of six months. The meeting in Mitrovica North municipality was attended by its resigned mayor Goran Rakic and the newly-appointed Minister of Local Government and Administration, Adriana Hodzic.
Haradinaj defends decision to pledge funds for Notre-Dame cathedral (Telegrafi)
Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj has defended the decision of the government to pledge funds for reconstruction of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. He said Kosovo’s financial support to the French government will be ‘symbolic’ and also pointed out that France shelters and provides medical treatment for many Kosovo citizens and Kosovo’s support in this case is more as a sign of appreciation towards France.
The government’s decision to set aside funds for Paris cathedral was criticized by certain politicians, including leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Shpend Ahmeti, who said such funds could be put to a better use in helping socially-challenged categories in Kosovo.
Vucic to meet Putin on 26 April in China (Sputnik/B92)
Serbia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ivica Dacic confirmed on Wednesday after meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that the presidents of the two countries, Aleksandar Vucic and Vladimir Putin, will meet this month in Beijing.
“Political relations between Serbia and Russia are very good, they are at the strategic level. President Putin’s visit (to Serbia) was of exceptional significance. The date of the meeting between presidents Vucic and Putin at the summit in China has already been agreed. It will be on April 26, on the 29th will be the meeting in Berlin, scheduled by Angela Merkel with the presence of French President Macron,” Dacic said.
Russian Foreign Minister: Moscow wants Resolution 1244 to be respected (media)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow insists on respecting United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 that foresees direct dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and respect of the Serbian integrity, Belgrade-based Beta news agency reported. “Within this framework we would contribute to finding a solution. Let me recall the statement of President Vladimir Putin and at the level of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, we stressed on several occasions that we would accept any solution that is suitable to Serbia,” Lavrov told a joint press conference following the talks with his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic in Moscow.
EBRD Director to visit Kosovo today (RTK)
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Director, Suma Chakrabarti, will visit Kosovo today as part of his tour in the Western Balkans and preparations for the annual EBRD summit for 2019 which will be held in Sarajevo in May. During his stay in Pristina, Chakrabarti will meet Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, Finance Minister Bedri Hamza and Economic Development Minister, Valdrin Lluka.