- Thaci seeks unity from international representatives in Kosovo (media)
- Thaci criticizes ‘efforts’ to condition visa liberalisation with lifting of tax (media)
- Haradinaj: Based on polls, AAK has 20 percent of overall electorate (media)
- Haradinaj meets Heldt, discuss Berlin and Paris meetings (media)
- Limaj: No agreement with Serbia without full coordination with U.S. (media)
- Zeri: Serbian List’s threats ahead of elections in the north
- Government silent over criticism by U.S. Embassy (Koha)
- Committee on deportation of Turkish nationals completes report (Epoka)
- Webber: Berlin Summit was held to take dialogue away from Mogherini (Bota)
Thaci seeks unity from international representatives in Kosovo (media)
President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci met yesterday ambassadors and heads of international missions in Kosovo to share with them impressions from the Western Balkans summit in Berlin and the upcoming meeting in Paris.
Thaci told international representatives that he appreciates the good will on the part of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Emmanuel Macron to push forward processes in the Western Balkans but noted that “the meeting in Berlin neither opened nor closed ideas or concepts regarding the possibility of a final Kosovo-Serbia agreement being achieved.”
He said the dialogue will have to end in mutual recognition and Kosovo’s membership in the UN. “An agreement that would preserve the substance and multiethnic character of the country and the society, and that paves way for integration in NATO and the EU,” he said.
Thaci underlined the importance of the EU member states, and the western countries in general to be more unified on Kosovo and said he was disappointed to learn that the there was no coordination with the U.S. regarding the Berlin summit.
“I hope the meeting in Paris will be well prepared, that EU member states will be more unified, will present creative ideas on how to move forwards and that the meeting will have substance.”
With regards to the resumption of dialogue for normalisation of relations with Serbia, Thaci said “we will not allow the dialogue being conditioned by Serbia” and added that the import tax on Serbia will remain in force.
Thaci criticizes ‘efforts’ to condition visa liberalisation with lifting of tax (media)
President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci has criticized in a Facebook post certain diplomats in Kosovo for, as he said, lobbying for lifting of the tax on Serbia in exchange for visa liberalisation.
“Touristic wandering of some low-level diplomats secretly from one corner of Pristina to the other, from one local institution office to the other, lobbying for removal of the tax on Serbian goods in exchange for visa liberalisation is the latest insult to Kosovo institutions and its citizens. This deceiving and discriminating offer and plans for association with executive powers or the ‘creative’ project for dual sovereignty are nothing more than options aimed at ultimate partition of Kosovo. These projects are shameful and as such completely unacceptable, now and forever. Kosovo is one and inseparable,” Thaci wrote.
Haradinaj: Based on polls, AAK has 20 percent of overall electorate (media)
Kosovo Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, said in an interview to TV Dukagjini on Wednesday that based on public polls, his party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), has 20 percent of the overall electorate in Kosovo. “We have the people’s vote and an agreement with Serbia cannot be reached without the AAK,” he said. Haradinaj said Kosovo would never agree to have a “Republika Srpska” or a “South Tyrol” in its territory.
Haradinaj said the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) too was careful in relation to the idea for a potential land swap with Serbia. “Mr. Veseli [PDK leader and Assembly President] too was afraid from the idea for territorial exchange and he said this on several occasions,” he added. Haradinaj also said he was very happy that “on some topics of national interest, some people failed, because they tried to convince me that this issue [border correction idea – land swap] was a done deal and that I should not waste my time”. “I am very happy because they have been left empty-handed. Unfortunately, some of them did not even realize what they were trying to get into,” he said.
Haradinaj refuted media reports according to which he quarreled with French President Macron at the Berlin Summit. “They asked for the tariff to be suspended, they insisted and negotiated, but everything was discussed in a very civilized manner,” he added.
Haradinaj meets Heldt, discuss Berlin and Paris meetings (media)
Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj announced in a Facebook post that he met yesterday the German Ambassador to Kosovo Christian Heldt and discussed the recent summit in Berlin and the upcoming one in Paris as well as Germany’s “constructive and consistent role towards Kosovo, towards preserving the country’s territorial integrity and stability in the region.”
Haradinaj also said he thanked Ambassador Heldt for Germany’s continuous political and financial support for important processes in Kosovo.
Limaj: No agreement with Serbia without full coordination with U.S. (Klan/Epoka)
Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister and co-head of the Kosovo negotiating team for dialogue with Serbia, Fatmir Limaj, said that the Berlin summit was a good opportunity for Kosovo to express its position on dialogue that would have to lead to a comprehensive agreement with Serbia and mutual recognition. “If [President of Serbia] Vucic says he will never recognise Kosovo, there is nothing to negotiate about. Negotiations continue only if there is recognition,” Limaj said in an interview with Klan Kosova.
Limaj said that the agenda of the upcoming meeting in Paris is not yet clear but added that there can be no agreement with Serbia without a coordination with the U.S. “We do not rule out the EU but we want close coordination amongst our allies,” he said.
He said Serbia used the dialogue to its benefit by ‘rehabilitating’ itself internationally and “even moving into a diplomatic offensive” against Kosovo. “We have come at a stage when the convicts are glorified, they lead parades, state structures,” he said.
At the same time, meeting associations of missing persons in Pristina yesterday, Limaj said that there can be no agreement with Serbia without the fate of missing persons being resolved first.
Zeri: Serbian List’s threats ahead of elections in the north
As preparations for Sunday extraordinary elections in Mitrovica North, Zubin Potok, Leposavic and Zvecan are underway, representatives of the Serbian List have made it clear that if they win, they will act in line with Belgrade’s instructions which, according to the paper, means against interests of Kosovo.
Analysts consider that the Serbian List will continue to blackmail and sabotage Kosovo institutions. Haki Abazi told the paper that the Serbian List and the north are “Achilles heel” for the current government of Kosovo claiming that the president’s office and the government of Kosovo have established “extra-institutional” relations with the north. This, according to him, can only be solved when Serbia is excluded from exercising direct influence in Kosovo.
At the same time, head of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) parliamentary group, Ahmet Isufi, said the government will undertake all necessary steps to make sure candidates that win Sunday elections respect Kosovo’s constitutional and legal order.
Government silent over criticism by U.S. Embassy (Koha)
The Kosovo Government has chosen to remain silent over criticism by the United States Embassy for the appointment of “unqualified individuals and those whom the judiciary has punished or is actively pursuing for serious crimes, as well as those who have demonstrated willingness to act with impunity and abuse their authority” to senior public positions, the paper reports on its front page. The Office of Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj did not reply to the paper’s questions on the matter, but an unmade government official said he understands the criticism coming from internationals. Another source told the paper that the government did not react because the U.S. Embassy in its statement did not mention specific names.
Assembly committee on deportation of Turkish nationals completes report (Epoka)
Kosovo Assembly’s committee looking into the deportation of six Turkish nationals on allegations they had links with outlawed Gulen movement in Turkey has completed its report and is expected to be put to vote at the Assembly.
Chair of the committee, Xhelal Svecla, said they found numerous violations on the part of Kosovo institutions during the deportation operation and called on the prosecution to investigate the case. He also said it was clear that the deportation order came from President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci and that this was evident during his report to the committee when he “arrogantly sabotaged it.”
Webber: Berlin Summit was held to take dialogue away from Mogherini (Bota)
The paper quotes Western Balkans analyst, Bodo Weber, as saying that the Berlin Summit was organized in order to reach an agreement between Germany and France and to rule out the border correction idea presented by Kosovo and Serbia Presidents, Hashim Thaci and Aleksandar Vucic. Weber said that the blockade in the process of dialogue came as a result of politically irresponsible actions by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and her team on the idea for land swap and the decision on the import tariff on Serbian goods. He also added that German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron undertook the initiative to take away the process of dialogue from Mogherini.