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UNMIK Headlines 19 April

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• Haradinaj reiterates: Agreement with Serbia in current borders (media)
• Thaci: I will request from Merkel and Macron visa liberalisation (Klan)
• “Dual sovereignty” idea rejected in Kosovo and Serbia (Koha Ditore)
• Scott: Comprehensive agreement should contain mutual recognition (RTK)
• O’Connell: Berlin meeting, important initiative (media)
• Djuric: No bilateral meeting with Pristina representatives in Berlin (Telegrafi)
• Veseli writes to internationals about Serbia’s ‘genocide’ (Kosova Sot)
• Haradinaj not afraid of possible early elections (media)
• Serbia’s ultimatum will not lift the tax (Zeri)
• “Specialist chambers to indict Thaci and Veseli” (Express)
• Elections in the north: Serbian List applies last minute (Zeri)
• Government allocates funds for extraordinary elections in the north (media)
• Kosovo pledges €20,000 for Notre-Dame renovation (media)
• EBRD confirms support for Kosovo (media)

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  • Haradinaj reiterates: Agreement with Serbia in current borders (media)
  • Thaci: I will request from Merkel and Macron visa liberalisation (Klan)
  • “Dual sovereignty” idea rejected in Kosovo and Serbia (Koha Ditore)
  • Scott: Comprehensive agreement should contain mutual recognition (RTK)
  • O’Connell: Berlin meeting, important initiative (media)
  • Djuric: No bilateral meeting with Pristina representatives in Berlin (Telegrafi)
  • Veseli writes to internationals about Serbia’s ‘genocide’ (Kosova Sot)
  • Haradinaj not afraid of possible early elections (media)
  • Serbia’s ultimatum will not lift the tax (Zeri)
  • “Specialist chambers to indict Thaci and Veseli” (Express)
  • Elections in the north: Serbian List applies last minute (Zeri)
  • Government allocates funds for extraordinary elections in the north (media)
  • Kosovo pledges €20,000 for Notre-Dame renovation (media)
  • EBRD confirms support for Kosovo (media)

Kosovo Media Highlights

Haradinaj reiterates: Agreement with Serbia in current borders (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj reiterated his position that an agreement with Serbia should be reached in the current borders, most news websites report. Haradinaj told a press conference in Pristina yesterday: “We notice that there is movement in positions and statements. This is not final, and I think it is a new energy on the eve of the Berlin Summit. I think an agreement with Serbia should be reached in the current borders. This would be reconciliation, but it would not mean that we would forget what happened in the past”.

In a Facebook post Haradinaj said he was looking forward to the informal meeting in Brussels hosted by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Emmanuel Macron: “This meeting will provide a great opportunity for exchange of views on challenges burdening our region and for an open and sincere discussion on the ways to promote efforts towards normalisation and final reconciliation between Kosovo and Serbia,” he wrote.

Thaci: I will request from Merkel and Macron visa liberalisation (Klan)

The President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said he will request in Berlin liberalization of visas for Kosovo and convincing of Serbia to recognize Kosovo. “I do not mean to liberalise visas for us as a gift, but as a respect to the contract. If this does not happen, this meeting will be pale and without substance. On the other hand, I will ask them how they are going to convince the five EU countries that did not recognize Kosovo, to do so,” Thaci said in an interview with Klan Kosova.

Thaci also said “there will be no dialogue, negotiations and confrontation with Serbian representatives,” at Berlin Summit.  “I will request at the meeting with the two Presidents to seek recognition of Kosovo by Serbia and to convince Serbia or to tell us how they are going to convince them. Also, condemnation of Serbia’s genocide committed in Kosovo” Thaci said noting that if these requests are not fulfilled, the meeting would be a total fiasco.  “There is no final agreement without the main actors, America and the United Kingdom,” Thaci said. “When the five Quint countries, the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Italy are united on (their position) for Western Balkans countries, then there could be a solution to this,” he said.

“Dual sovereignty” idea rejected in Kosovo and Serbia (Koha Ditore)

The paper reports on the front page that authorities in both Pristina and Belgrade have rejected the idea of the so-called dual sovereignty proposal which is being speculated to be an option that will be proposed at the upcoming meeting of Western Balkans leaders in Berlin.

Certain media have reported recently that the hosts of the summit, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Emmanuel Macron, plan to propose the final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia recognising some type of sovereignty of Serbia over the Serb community in Kosovo, particularly over the Orthodox religious sites.

Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj rejected the idea of such a proposal being made in Berlin while Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the agreement needs to be based on compromise and that compromise is not the formula being proclaimed ahead of the meeting in Berlin. “Joint sovereignty is a complicated legal category and I don’t know that it actually entails. Nevertheless, no one has offered us that,” Vucic said.

Scott: Comprehensive agreement should contain mutual recognition (RTK)

The U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott told the Serbian broadcaster TV Prva that the comprehensive solution on the Kosovo issue should include mutual recognition. He said that this was also stressed in the letter of the U.S. President Donald Trump sent to Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic. “After that, everything depends on you,” Scott said.

O’Connell: Berlin meeting, important initiative (media)

The British Ambassador to Kosovo, Ruairi O’Connell, said in a visit to Mitrovica yesterday that the upcoming meeting in Berlin is a very important initiative and that he did not expect an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia to be imminent but that this could very well happen this year. “We are now at a stage when an agreement is expected from every meeting. I think time is needed for a meaningful process and for the parties to reach a lasting agreement,” he said adding that what is important is not for the agreement to be reached quickly but for it to be good, to strengthen stability, be in the interest of the parties and enjoy the support of the citizens.

Djuric: No bilateral meeting with Pristina representatives in Berlin (Telegrafi)

Marko Djuric, Director of the Office for Kosovo at Serbian government said on Thursday that there will be no bilateral meeting between the delegations of Belgrade and Pristina at the Summit of Western Balkans leaders in Berlin. He added that in the political aspect, ‘there is no room for discussions with Pristina representatives, until they do not give up the platform for dialogue.

Speaking about the insistence of the international community for Serbia to recognize Kosovo, Djuric said that to Belgrade, the solution of compromise is optimal safeguarding of interests in Kosovo, and response on what is optimal can mainly come through discussions.

Veseli writes to internationals about Serbia’s ‘genocide’ (Kosova Sot)

Kosovo’s Assembly Speaker Kadri Veseli, has decided to address a letter to all Kosovo allies in order to request their approval for a resolution that would recognize the role of the Serbian state as cause of the crimes against humanity.

“Such resolution from friendly countries would recall the painful events of our population, would honor numerous civilian victims and it would categorically condemn any effort to deny or change that dark and painful part of the European modern history. Such recalling resolution do not only raise awareness of the society for the inhuman crimes as those during the war in Kosovo not to happen again, but also contribute to the interethnic reconciliation which is impossible if the truth is not said,” Veseli wrote on his Facebook account.

Haradinaj not afraid of possible early elections (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj said that he was not afraid of the prospect of early elections in Kosovo but that he did not know when these would take place. Speaking to reporters after the government’s meeting, Haradinaj said when asked to comment on the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) favouring its leader Kadri Veseli for the post of prime minister: “I will be the last one to break away from the contract, I do not betray anyone.”

Serbia’s ultimatum will not lift the tax (Zeri)

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic’s ultimatum to the Kosovo government to life the import tax by 6 May or face retaliatory measures has not led to any indications that the tax will be lifted, the paper reports on the front page.

MPs from Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj’s Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) said no conditions will be accepted by Serbia and added that the tax will remain in force. “The government of Kosovo will continue to keep the tax. We have no new developments until an agreement is reached which will lead to mutual recognition between the two countries,” MP Rasim Selmanaj said.

“Specialist chambers to indict Thaci and Veseli” (Express)

Gazeta Express quotes what it says is a senior official from the Specialist Chambers saying that the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci and Assembly Speaker Kadri Veseli are expected to be indicted by the court and that the first indictments to be raised will involve post-conflict killings of Albanians. “From what the prosecution currently possesses, there will be indictments against Thaci and Veseli, Rexhep Selimi, Daut Haradinaj, Sami Lushtaku, Azem Syla, and many other figures from the war,” the source is quoted as saying.

Elections in the north: Serbian List applies last minute (Zeri)

The paper reports that Serbian List has applied to run in extraordinary elections in four northern municipality shortly before the deadline for certification was to expire. Apart from the Serbian List, the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and Vetevendosje have also applied for certification.

Government allocates funds for extraordinary elections in the north (media)

Several news websites report that the Kosovo Government decided in yesterday’s meeting to allocate €471,000 for the extraordinary elections in the four northern municipalities of Mitrovica North, Zubin Potok, Leposavic and Zvecan. Kosovo President Hashim Thaci announced the snap elections for May 19.

Kosovo pledges €20,000 for Notre-Dame renovation (media)

The Kosovo Government has pledged €20,000 for the renovation of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. The funds will be allocated from the category of expenditures. Koha notes that Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj’s decision to allocate funds for the renovation has triggered many negative reactions in Kosovo.

The French Embassy in Pristina has thanked Kosovo political representatives, religious leaders and members of the civil society for their messages of support following the fire that destroyed parts of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. “France also thanks the Government of Kosovo for its contribution to the fund for restoration of the Notre-Dame,” the Embassy wrote on a Facebook post.

Haradinaj said on Wednesday that the financial 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 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.

EBRD confirms support for Kosovo (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj met yesterday a delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development headed by its President Sir Suma Chakrabarti. In a Facebook post after the meeting, Haradinaj said EBRD has confirmed continuing support for Kosovo in a number of fields including infrastructure, energy, railways and Kosovo’s connection to the TAP-JAP gas pipeline.

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