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UNMIK Headlines 7 June

By   /  07/06/2019  /  Comments Off on UNMIK Headlines 7 June

• Haradinaj: Final topic in dialogue with Serbia is mutual recognition (media)
• Haradinaj in Berlin indicates “major decision” on Kosovo (Express)
• Haradinaj thanks Merkel for protecting Kosovo’s territory (Koha)
• Thaci: Tariff won’t be lifted, visa discrimination must end (media)
• UN concerned with situation in Kosovo, calls for renewal of dialogue (Lajmi/RTK)
• Fabrizi: Dialogue needs to continue (Zeri)
• Balkans Union as an alternative for EU membership (Koha)
• Kosovo Deputy Foreign Minister rejects Balkans Union idea (media)
• Wisner: Border correction between Kosovo and Serbia, unrealistic idea (media)
• Veseli: Serbia will recognize Kosovo, it will answer for genocide (Lajmi)
• Kosovo delegation visits NATO HQ (media)
• Serbian gendarmerie accused of entering Kosovo territory (RTK)
• Serbia to fail in trying to criminalise Kosovo Police at UN Security Council (Bota)

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  • Haradinaj: Final topic in dialogue with Serbia is mutual recognition (media)
  • Haradinaj in Berlin indicates “major decision” on Kosovo (Express)
  • Haradinaj thanks Merkel for protecting Kosovo’s territory (Koha)
  • Thaci: Tariff won’t be lifted, visa discrimination must end (media)
  • UN concerned with situation in Kosovo, calls for renewal of dialogue (Lajmi/RTK)
  • Fabrizi: Dialogue needs to continue (Zeri)
  • Balkans Union as an alternative for EU membership (Koha)
  • Kosovo Deputy Foreign Minister rejects Balkans Union idea (media)
  • Wisner: Border correction between Kosovo and Serbia, unrealistic idea (media)
  • Veseli: Serbia will recognize Kosovo, it will answer for genocide (Lajmi)
  • Kosovo delegation visits NATO HQ (media)
  • Serbian gendarmerie accused of entering Kosovo territory (RTK)
  • Serbia to fail in trying to criminalise Kosovo Police at UN Security Council (Bota)

Haradinaj: Final topic in dialogue with Serbia is mutual recognition (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj told reporters after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday that, the final topic in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia will be mutual recognition in the current borders.

Haradinaj said he discussed several issues with Merkel. “Kosovo is a serious party and we are interested in dialogue,” he said. Haradinaj said the import tariff on Serbian goods will not be lifted. “We discussed the tariff but there was no request to lift it,” he added. Haradinaj also said that Kosovo citizens deserve visa liberalization.

Lajmi reports that “even Merkel didn’t manage to convince Haradinaj to lift the tariff”. Express too quotes Haradinaj as saying that Merkel did not ask for the import tariff to be lifted. “We are going to Paris to seek recognition from Serbia,” Haradinaj said. In the coverage of the Haradinaj-Merkel meeting, Bota Sot writes that Germany has put Kosovo under its ‘umbrella’ and quotes Haradinaj as saying that Kosovo is in a good position and that he thanked Chancellor Merkel for supporting Kosovo’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Haradinaj in Berlin indicates “major decision” on Kosovo (Express)

The news website reported on Thursday that after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj talked about the possibility of an agreement with Serbia, referring to it as “the great decision” that will include the U.S., Germany and France.

“There are two possibilities. One is the possibility of a great decision. We should still hope for, after the involvement of [U.S.] President Trump, and especially now with the direct involvement of German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron, the possibility of reaching a major agreement,” Haradinaj said.

“If this major agreement is not reached, there will be a process that will last for months and years. But we need to use the momentum for a first principled agreement that will be negotiated by a high representative, such as Mogherini, and I believe Berlin too will have a special envoy in the process”.

Haradinaj thanks Merkel for protecting Kosovo’s territory (Koha)

Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj met in Berlin on Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Haradinaj wrote in a Facebook post after the meeting: “Honored by the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Berlin to discuss the latest developments in our region and the high-level bilateral relations between Kosovo and Germany. As per dialogue with Serbia, I said we are in favor of a comprehensive and legally-binding agreement that includes mutual recognition and in the current borders. I used the opportunity to thank Chancellor Merkel for Germany’s consistent position in defense of Kosovo’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and Germany’s decision to say Yes to visa liberalization for Kosovo’s citizens … Chancellor Merkel also confirmed that Germany will continue to support Kosovo in its Euro-Atlantic path and in strengthening its international subjectivity”.

Thaci: Tariff won’t be lifted, visa discrimination must end (media)

Most news websites cover Kosovo President Hashim Thaci’s press conference yesterday before his departure to Bratislava, Slovakia, where he will attend the GlobSec Forum 2019.

RTK quotes President Thaci as saying that a final settlement between Kosovo and Serbia will bring peace to the region. Lajmi quotes Thaci as saying that the import tariff on Serbian goods will not be lifted and that the discrimination of Kosovo’s citizens in terms of free travel must end. Thaci highlighted the importance of a final peace settlement between Kosovo and Serbia while Gazeta Metro quotes Thaci as saying that he will have “an uneasy debate” with his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic, in Bratislava.

“The final settlement would include mutual recognition, recognition from the five non-recognizing EU member states, and Kosovo’s membership of the United Nations. At the summit, I will reiterate that Kosovo needs visa liberalization because we have met all the requirements and standards. The isolation and discrimination of our citizens must end,” he said.

Thaci said that a meeting at the forum has not been scheduled with his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic. “There are no plans for a special meeting between the Presidents of Kosovo and Serbia. I will always welcome any readiness to resume dialogue without conditions. The tariff is a legitimate and fair decision and it must remain in force. No one should see it as an additional requirement for visa liberalization,” he added.

UN concerned with situation in Kosovo, calls for renewal of dialogue (Lajmi/RTK)

In its recent report on Kosovo, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed concern with the increasing of tensions between Kosovo and Serbia and called on the parties to refrain from inciting statements that could provoke trouble. He also called on the two sides to, without delay, remove obstacles and renew dialogue.

“Tensions between Pristina and Belgrade are serious and continue to present barriers to continuing productive dialogue and incite concern among local and international officials due to the possible threat to stability,” Serbian media reported.

SG Guterres further expressed concern over the import tariff still remaining in force and highlighted that since his last report, no meeting under the EU facilitation has taken place between Belgrade and Pristina although the parties did meet at the Berlin summit hosted by Germany and France.

Guterres said that since his last report, “43 persons have returned to Kosovo, of which 34 are Serbs.” The report also underlines that several incidents have been recorded in multiethnic settlements.

Fabrizi: Dialogue needs to continue (Zeri)

Head of the EU Office in Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, said that a comprehensive agreement between Belgrade and Pristina is needed which would benefit the region. He said no time should be wasted and reiterated EU’s position in support of dialogue by quoting the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini that “status quo is unattainable”, Zeri quotes Belgrade news agency Tanjug.

Balkans Union as an alternative for EU membership (Koha)

The paper carries as its leading front-page story an article published by Vienna-based daily newspaper Die Presse which notes that a Balkans Union could be formed for countries of the Western Balkans and that depending on their progress they could then join the European Union as a single bloc. According to this proposal, relations between the EU and the Western Balkans would have to be redefined. Koha Ditore notes in the sub-header of the article that if the European Union does not open its doors to the Western Balkans, then the region risks falling under the influence of Russia, China and Turkey.

Kosovo Deputy Foreign Minister rejects Balkans Union idea (media)

Kosovo’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, reacted to an article in Vienna-based Die Presse which suggested the formation of a Balkans Union between countries of the Western Balkans. Hoxhaj argued in his reaction that “the idea is old and unsustainable and goes against decades-long investments in the Western Balkans countries” and their aspirations to become part of the European family. “The EU enlargement with countries from the Western Balkans is the only alternative. No to the Western Balkans Union,” he wrote.

Wisner: Border correction between Kosovo and Serbia, unrealistic idea (media)

Several media quote former U.S. diplomat, Frank Wisner, as saying that the border correction idea between Kosovo and Serbia is not realistic. In an interview to the Voice of America, Wisner said the idea lacks public and political support in Kosovo and Serbia. He further argued that a new approach is needed and that instead of high-level political negotiations on the status, the parties should focus on basic issues of progress and economic development.

Veseli: Serbia will recognize Kosovo, it will answer for genocide (Lajmi)

Kosovo Assembly President and Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) leader, Kadri Veseli, said on Thursday in Mitrovica that Serbia will recognize the independence of Kosovo and that it will answer for the genocide against Albanians during the war in Kosovo.

“We will never threaten anyone and we will never allow anyone to threaten our freedom, land and borders. Mitrovica today is the best place to make this pledge. We are our own masters now. The fate of our nation is in our hands,” Veseli said. “Freedom requires daily work and commitment. Freedom requires first and foremost an institutional and civic mobilization, to develop the country’s economy, to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, to create a society that is fair and equal to all its citizens.”

Kosovo delegation visits NATO HQ (media)

Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Burim Ramadani, along with Kosovo’s Ambassador to Belgium, Bernard Nikaj, and Defence Attaché, Ahmet Ajeti, visited NATO HQ in Brussels and discussed with different countries’ representatives about Kosovo Security Force’s transition through a transparent and gradual process.

“Kosovo is grateful to NATO’s continuous support. Kosovo is a reliable partner and a responsible country for its contributing role in regional security and beyond. Our NATO orientation is just, sustainable and enjoys unanimous popular support,” Ramadani wrote on Facebook.

Serbian gendarmerie accused of entering Kosovo territory (RTK)

RTK reported quoting sources that the Serbian Gendarmerie has entered the territory of Kosovo on 31 May through the mountainous areas of Kamenica municipality and have moved through 8 km inside Kosovo.

The Serbian Gendarmerie entered close to the village of Svirce but no incident was reported. However, local residents expressed concern over the movement of Serbian forces considering it a provocation.

Serbia to fail in trying to criminalise Kosovo Police at UN Security Council (Bota)

The paper writes that the upcoming meeting of the UN Security Council on Kosovo on 10 June will discuss the recent Kosovo Police as per Russia’s request. During its operation that ended in the arrest of a number of Kosovo Police officers on corruption and smuggling charges, the police also arrested two UNMIK staff members accused of participating in setting up roadblocks to prevent the operation. UNMIK stated that the Kosovo Police allegations are not corroborated by the mission’s information regarding the arrest of its staff.

At the same time, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said after meeting Head of UNMIK Zahir Tanin that the Security Council session will also discuss the Kosovo Police operation.

Muharrem Nitaj, MP from the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), told the paper that the debate on the police’s operation has not come as a request from the international community but from Russia and Serbia.  “This was expected. But I am convinced that the truth will come out there that the operation was directed at crime not at Serbs. Those that do not support such efforts will do nothing more than get legitimized as supporters of crime and contraband,” he said.

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