- President Thaci hails police operation in the north (media)
- Thaci: If EU keeps doors closed, actions for unification will begin (media)
- Haradinaj: I expect next summit to clarify if there’ll be an agreement this year
- Another two police officers arrested in the north (Koha)
- Brnabic’s statement on Kosovo Albanians triggers reactions (media)
- Mustafa, Ahmeti agree Kosovo needs to head to early elections (media)
- Assembly agreed on setting up commission to work on tribunal initiative (media)
- German ambassador: We are doing everything for dialogue to resume (Klan)
- Bushati: Land swap, a cynical alternative instead of EU integration (Koha)
- Condemnations to attack on Roma woman in Lipjan (media)
President Thaci hails police operation in the north (media)
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, said in an interview to RTV Dukagjini on Thursday, that international officials informed Serbian authorities about the Kosovo Police operation against organized crime in the north. Thaci said the operation was exceptional and that it was easy to understand who notified Belgrade. “Kosovo’s institutions cooperate with international mechanisms. Not to anger the Serbian authorities, international security mechanisms inform them about these operations. This is the truth,” he said. Thaci added that Kosovo Police had support from all institutions for the operation. “They had my support, the support of Assembly President Veseli, support from Prime Minister and all institutions. People from the investigations units also did an amazing job, so did the prosecution, but the whole operation would not have been possible without political readiness … This operation was not aimed against Serbs. It was an operation against corruption, crime and in the service of the rule of law. Among those arrested were Serbs, Albanians and Bosniaks. The operation was not carried out only in the north but in Skenderaj too and the whole Mitrovica region.”
Thaci: If EU keeps doors closed, actions for unification will begin (media)
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said on Thursday that if the European Union continues with isolation of Kosovo, the possibility of institutional actions or referendum for unification of Kosovo and Albania, will be considered. He told RTV Dukagjini that the idea for correction of the historic injustice by uniting Preseva, Bujanoc and Medvedja with Kosovo, was never sensitized more than now. “Berlin meeting did not even close any idea, and neither was any new idea presented. I will continue to present something like this,” he said. According to Thaci, EU delays towards Kosovo show that the time has come to consider seriously undertaking of institutional steps for national unification. “We can do this be it through resolutions at the assemblies of our countries, or through referendums in Kosovo and Albania, always including Preseva, Medvegja and Bujanoc. He said if EU does not want to embrace two Albanian states with two flags, then let them accept only one flag. Thaci said Kosovo does not have Turkey, Russia or China for an alternative, “but it has unification with Albania as an alternative.”
Haradinaj: I expect next summit to clarify if there’ll be an agreement this year
Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said on Thursday he expects the upcoming summit in Paris to clarify the situation of dialogue with Serbia and if there is going to be an agreement this. “We will go together there. I will not go without Ahmeti and Limaj, but the President and the Assembly President should come too,” he said adding that they are in continuous consultation. Commenting on the recent police operation in the north, Haradinaj said “we were ready for any situation. Kosovo Police respected the community there, citizens, operating initially with ordinary units. Special units were deploted after they were faced with armed resistance,” Haradinaj said. He repeated that the police operation was not directed against Kosovo Serbs. “Citizens from the north reported crime. Kosovo did not have any other choice but to act,” he said.
Another two police officers arrested in the north (Koha)
Citing a police press release, the paper reports on page four that another two police officers, one at the Jarinje border crossing and another one in Mitrovica South, were arrested as part of the ongoing police operation against organized crime. The paper also notes that Mikhail Krasnoshchekov, a Russian national working for UNMIK, was transferred on Thursday from Mitrovica to the Medical Center in Belgrade. Some media reported that he was transferred to Belgrade with an UNMIK medical vehicle and accompanied by a medical team and staff members of the UN in Kosovo. UNMIK confirmed his transfer to Belgrade in a press release. The paper recalls that Krasnoshchekov was injured during the police operation on Monday as he had used an UNMIK vehicle to block a road.
Brnabic’s statement on Kosovo Albanians triggers reactions (media)
Kosovo leaders have expressed condemnation for the words Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic used in reference to Kosovo Albanians during the presentation of the European Commission report on Serbia.
President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci told Radio Free Europe that the words Brnabic’s statement “is yet another proof of pathologic hatred of the current Serbian regime against the citizens of Kosovo.” “This action does not represent any news or rarity to us, because we know very well the genocidal character of yesterday’s and today’s Serbia,” Thaci said.
“However only the bitter fact that the EU does not condemn this racist and anti-European behavior of Serbia is extraordinary and disappointing. In the contrary, EU continues to keep its gates open for a country which committed genocide and does not believe on European values even today,” Thaci said.
EU has at the same time emphasized that any rhetoric that is insulting and divisive is also against the spirit of cooperation and reconciliation which the region needs to move forward.
“Recent days event showed clearly that dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade needs to result in a sustainable and lasting agreement for normalisation of relations and that the status quo is not an option,” said foreign policy spokesperson Maja Kocijancic told RFE in a written response.
Kosovo Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli also condemned Brnabic’s choice of vocabulary calling it “disgusting” and “utterly unacceptable”. He said “the institutionalized racism” in Serbia comes from the “sick ultranationalist ideology” which the current government in Belgrade is promoting. He vowed not to allow Brnabic into Kosovo for as long as she maintains “a racist and sick ideology against the people of Kosovo.”
Chairperson of Kosovo Assembly’s foreign affairs committee, Vjosa Osmani, called Brnabic’s statement “fascist” and called on the EU to condemn such use of language. “It is a statement that proves that the Serbian leadership is still led by the mindset of the time of Milosevic. The European Union must react to such statements because they have incited wars in the past”.
Osmani also argued that Serbia is not interested in the normalization of relations with Kosovo. “This goes to show that the current leadership in Serbia is not interested to have peace in the region, it only wants instability and their pro-European sentiments are false,” she added.
In response to Brnabic’s statement, both former Kosovo president Atifete Jahjaga and Kosovo’s Ambassador to U.S. Vlora Citaku posted on their social media pictures of them in mountainous landscape captioning them: “I am proud of our woods” and “Literally, just came from the woods”. Alternativa MP Mimoza Kusari joined in: “Never would Ana Brnabic understand why we are ‘people who just emerged from the woods’. Reason we are “People from the Woods’ is because we have the most beautiful mountains in the World.” “When Brnabic opens up her closed mind and accepts atrocities committed by her state on the “People from the Woods” maybe she can come, apologise and visit. Until such time, she can only observe photos of the most beautiful “woods”. Proudly standing, Highland Girl!” Kusari wrote.
On social media, many people are posting pictures of themselves in the mountains using the hashtag: LiterallyJustEmergedFromTheWoods.
The reactions from Kosovo leaders comes after Brnabic said in presence of the Ambassador of the European Union in Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, that Albanians are “people who came down from the woods.”
Mustafa, Ahmeti agree Kosovo needs to head to early elections (media)
Leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Isa Mustafa met yesterday leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Shpend Ahmeti in an effort to garner support for a motion of no confidence against the government of Kosovo.
In a press release issued after the meeting, LDK said there was agreement that Kosovo needs early elections and that “work will be underway to secure necessary support of both the opposition and ruling MPs.” LDK also said the parliamentary groups will coordinate actions to successfully push the no-confidence vote.
Ahmeti on his part said PSD is ready to enter an opposition partnership to implement joint initiatives.
At the same time, PSD MP Dardan Molliqaj said in an interview with Zeri that his party has a strategy of how to bring about a motion of no confidence but that this will be first presented to potential partners and then to the public. “I can say will full confidence that with the PSD strategy the country can head to elections in no more than six months’ time,” Molliqaj said.
Assembly agreed on setting up commission to work on tribunal initiative (media)
Kosovo Assembly endorsed yesterday the proposal of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) for creation of a commission that would harmonise positions of all parliamentary groups and draft the text of the law on creation of the tribunal for trying war crimes Serbia committed in Kosovo.
Koha Ditore reports on the front page that the proposal for setting up a commission was only adopted after the initiative of Assembly Speaker Kadri Veseli for creating a state commission to establish an international tribunal against genocide did not get sufficient votes. PSD’s proposal, notes the paper, stipulates that all political parties would take part in the commission. At the same time, Zeri reports that the initiative for the tribunal has managed to bring together the ruling and opposition parties and quotes Veseli as saying that he did not wish to take credit for the tribunal initiative and that this would be a result of all parties.
“For two decades we have suffered, talked, but no one took any step regarding the genocide issue. Now when this initiative is launched, why is it necessary for all this hurtful campaign, all these intrigues? This initiative is not about me or you,” he said.
Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti said during yesterday’s session that the initiative of Speaker Kadri Veseli for setting up an international tribunal to try war crimes committed by Serbian forces in Kosovo would take years and called the idea “naïve” and “childish”.
“It will take many years from the outset of the tribunal’s idea to it becoming operational and how can we even call it an international tribunal when there will be no other country in it except for Kosovo. Speaking about an international tribunal does not mean to rush but rather to move slowly,” Kurti said. He added that the idea of setting up a tribunal would give Serbia more time. “This idea assures Serbia that it will be safe for another decade,” Kurti said adding that Kosovo has no time to lose and should adopt law for trial in absentia and sue Serbia for genocide at the International Court of Justice.
German ambassador: We are doing everything for dialogue to resume (Klan)
German Ambassador to Serbia, Thomas Schieb, said that they are doing outmost to ensure the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina resumes and added that it is important for tensions not to flare-up and for all parties to be constructive.
“European Union, diplomacy chief and the German government call on the tax revocation and we hope there will be progress very soon. We are optimistic that it is posible to renew dialogue,” Schieb told Belgrade paper Vecernje Novosti.
He said there were no timeframes on which the agreement is expected. “We wold like for the two parties to reach a comprehensive, legally binding agreement. There is no sense to speed up things only to achieve any type of agreement. It is important for the agreement to be sustainable and comprehensive, to contribute to stability and not cause new problems,” Schieb said.
He said Germany was concerned with the threat of the situation in the north escalating but what is important right now is that the situation is under control and the two parties show restraint.
On the recent police operation in the north, Schieb said it seems it was prepared well in advance and, based on information from Pristina, targeted organised crime activity.
Bushati: Land swap, a cynical alternative instead of EU integration (Koha)
Former Albanian Foreign Minister, Ditmir Bushati, criticized on Thursday the idea of a possible land swap between Kosovo and Serbia saying that it is an idea from the 19th century and that it was offered as a cynical alternative instead of EU integration. In an interview to Der Standard, Bushati said it was dangerous that the discussion for an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia was shifted from citizens to territories, and that the process of normalization of relations should not result in a new reality on the ground. “The fact that the land swap is being discussed now in the 21st century and in the heart of Europe is a step backwards,” he added.
Condemnations to attack on Roma woman in Lipjan (media)
Civil society organisations and leaders in Kosovo have condemned the attack on a Roma woman in Lipjan after online media showed pictures of her saying there were concerns she was dangerous, an allegation which the Kosovo Police dismissed after interviewing her.
Kosovo Police said the woman in question, whose picture was widely distributed by online and social media, was repatriated from Belgium and was not a suspect for any criminal act. Later in the day, the woman was assaulted by a group of yet unidentified persons and the footage of the attack was also published via web.
A protest in Pristina was organised yesterday by civil society organisations in light of the attack.
Kosovo MP from the Roma community, Albert Kinolli, said the woman is now under institutional protection and taken to a safe place. “The courts and prosecution are working in identifying authors of the attack and bring them to justice,” Kinolli wrote on Facebook.
President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said in connection to the attack: “There is no room for violence in Kosovo, there is no room for attacks against anyone, there is no room for prejudice.”
Pristina Mayor Shpend Ahmeti also condemned the attack calling it “shameful”. “Shame for the fact we share such reports. Shame for the lack of basic decency. Shame for the lack of critical thought. Shame for lack of courage to prevent such things. Shame for prejudices and stereotypes we have. Shame for lack of protection for marginalised groups of society,” Ahmeti wrote on social media.
Justice Minister Abelard Tahiri said equality is a fundamental principle and discrimination on any grounds is unacceptable. “We need to fight discrimination and this is exactly what we need to do in the case involving our citizen from the Roma community who was yesterday a victim of irresponsible persons,” Tahiri wrote on Facebook. “Such acts cannot be tolerated neither today nor in the future. We have come a long way and no one and nothing can set us back from materializing a multiethnic, tolerant, and equal society. Our social diversity is our asset and we will protect it at all cost.”