- UN Security Council to discuss Kosovo today (media)
- KFOR: Kosovo Police can go to north without KFOR permission (RTK)
- No seriousness in dialogue without a leading role by the U.S. (Koha)
- Veseli: PDK to initiate parliamentary inquiry into KLA veterans’ lists (media)
- Thaci: If election system doesn’t change, I will leave politics forever (media)
- Sauer: UN presence in Kosovo, not required anymore (media)
- Albanians in the north appeal to institutions to stop “colonisation” (Zeri)
- Palmer to visit Serbia today, Kosovo among topics of discussion (Indeksonline)
- LDK’s Ahmeti: We will try to oust the government in September (Epoka)
- The north of tensions (Koha)
- Parolin: Pope is spiritually close to the people of Kosovo (Zeri)
UN Security Council to discuss Kosovo today (media)
Most news websites report that the United Nations Security Council will discuss today the quarterly report of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about the work of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Express recalls that Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has said he will ask for the Kosovo issue to be continuously addressed at the Security Council and for UNMIK to remain committed in implementing its objectives without changing its mandate.
The session is expected to focus on the Kosovo Police operation against crime and corruption in the north, including the arrest of an UNMIK staff member who used his vehicle to obstruct the police operation.
The United States of America and United Kingdom have asked on several occasions for fewer sessions on Kosovo given the new reality after the declaration of Kosovo’s independence and have also called for downsizing the staff and budget of UNMIK.
KFOR: Kosovo Police can go to north without KFOR permission (RTK)
KFOR spokesperson Vincenzo Grasso said in an interview with Slobodno Srpski show that KFOR was not informed about the 28 May police operation and that in no place does the police inform the public about its imminent operations.
He said that the Kosovo Police operation was “legitimate” and was targeting crime. “Ordinary people can sleep peacefully. They have nothing to be afraid of. Criminals should be concerned about such operations,” he said.
Grasso also said there is no agreement whereby KFOR has to give consent for Kosovo Police going to the north. “Kosovo Police is an insrtitution that can move and carry out actions relating to the rule of law anywhere in Kosovo, without asking for permission,” he said.
No seriousness in dialogue without a leading role by the U.S. (Koha)
Edward P. Joseph, a U.S. foreign policy specialist with extensive experience in the Balkans, told the paper in an interview that “Pristina has called for the United States of America to be involved in the talks and Belgrade has also acknowledged that the U.S. have an essential role to play in the process”. “The price for Washington’s engagement is an immediate stop to the cycle of provocations in both countries and this means an agreement to lift the tariffs,” Joseph is quoted as saying.
“The best way to make sure that Brussels and Washington will remain committed to the process is for the two sides – Pristina and Belgrade – to show that they are serious about this. Both Vucic and Thaci send positive and negative signals at the same time … Pristina and Belgrade must understand that the principle position toward in Washington toward the Balkans is: ‘let the Europeans deal with this’. Certainly, it is almost always the case that the Europeans cannot handle this, especially Kosovo. If Thaci and Vucic want the support of the U.S., they must earn it”.
Veseli: PDK to initiate parliamentary inquiry into KLA veterans’ lists (media)
Leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Kadri Veseli said the party’s parliamentary group will initiate the establishment of a commission that will investigate suspicions regarding the list of Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) veterans.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Veseli said the initiative was part of PDK’s efforts to address public concerns regarding “the status of war veterans where there are suspicions, they have been granted without merit.”
“My anger, coming from the involvement of fraudsters in the veterans’ lists done by certain abusive commanders, is the reason that makes me speak out and act. We have to acknowledge the fact that not few people at senior levels, including the KLA, have abused for many years and continue to do so by using their power,” Veseli said.
Thaci: If election system doesn’t change, I will leave politics forever (media)
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci told Dukagjini in an interview on Sunday that if the election system does not change, he will leave politics forever. “I will not return to my party, the Democratic Party of Kosovo, or to any other party. I will not return to the Assembly as an MP. I also don’t plan to run for the post of Prime Minister,” Thaci said. “If there are constitutional amendments and the next mandate of the President is decided by the people’s vote, I will run again, and I am confident that I will win. If the election system remains the same, I will not allow myself to be part of any political calculations”.
Sauer: UN presence in Kosovo, not required anymore (media)
Kai Sauer, Finnish Ambassador to the UN and former senior official of the UN mission in Kosovo, said in an interview with New York-based East-West Institute that the UN needs to focus on other regions in the world and no longer in the Western Balkans.
“I think the UN is, because of the political dynamics, forced to maintain a presence in Kosovo. It wouldn’t be required at all. It’s not a conflict zone, it’s a little country in Europe which requires economic development and the UN is not the organisation which should guide Kosovo on that path,” Sauer said.
Kosovo, said Sauer, is “like a microcosmos of international politics” but which now has evolved. “It wasn’t a walk in the park in the beginning either. There were already tensions between Russia and the western powers but it all deteriorated and of course those who were directly affected, the Kosovars and the Serbs, took political advantage of the situation,” he said.
Sauer said Kosovo was a special operation, “a pioneer operation” for the fact it combined several international organisations. “It was the UN at its core but then you had the European Union looking after the so-called economic pillar, then you had the OSCE – the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe looking at the democratisation pillar and then you had NATO/KFOR being in charge of the security”. However, the coordination between these institutions, was “a mess” and although the Special Representative of the Secretary-General was “nominally” in charge of all these pillars, “in practice they were quite independent and there was a lot of bureaucratic infight.”
Sauer said at the same time that the UN mission in Kosovo also had positive aspects. “I think the will was genuinely there to do good and a lot was achieved. The situation was stable and we helped Kosovo to get back on its feet, at least halfway.”
Albanians in the north appeal to institutions to stop “colonisation” (Zeri)
Albanian residents in the north of Kosovo have appealed to central institutions to stop what they say is colonisation of the north.
A group of residents met Mitrovica Mayor Agim Bahtiri and expressed concern over Serbs constructing houses in the “Kroi i Vitakut” neighbourhood while Albanians are not permitted to do so. They said they plan to launch a petition asking the institutions at the central level to halt the construction of houses for the Serbs
Meanwhile, Bahtiri called on “the government of Kosovo, Assembly of Kosovo and other relevant institutions not to shut their eyes before this situation which is of no benefit to the cohabitation of Mitrovica citizens”.
Palmer to visit Serbia today, Kosovo among topics of discussion (Indeksonline)
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Matthew Palmer, will visit Belgrade today and meet Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, the news website reports. During a visit to Serbia in October last year, Palmer said the U.S. supports the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia for the normalization of relations and that the two sides must use the historical opportunity to reach an agreement. Serbian media report that Kosovo will be among the key topics of discussion in today’s meeting. The news website notes that the meeting is held two weeks before the Paris Summit and that a member of the U.S. National Security Council recently said Washington is willing to take part in the summit but that a decision has not been made yet.
LDK’s Ahmeti: We will try to oust the government in September (Epoka)
Imri Ahmeti, member of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) presidency, said in a front-page interview to the paper that, the initiative of the LDK and the Vetevendosje Movement to oust the Haradinaj-led government is very serious and that they will try to see it through in September. Ahmeti said the opposition does not count on the votes of the Serbian List, and that it believes that even some MPs from the ruling coalition will vote in favour of the no-confidence motion.
The north of tensions (Koha)
The paper carries as one of its front-page stories a feature on the northern part of Kosovo done by the BIRN and the Association of Journalists of Kosovo, highlighting that political instability, interethnic incidents and crime are the biggest threats to the security situation in the north. The report notes that “the several years long spiral of violence around the [main] bridge [in Mitrovica] has stopped, but the political battle for its opening is not over. The sensitive point that relates to freedom of movement was not resolved even by the Brussels dialogue or the five agreements that address freedom of movement and the opening of the bridge”.
Card. Parolin: Pope is spiritually close to the people of Kosovo (Zeri)
At a mass in the St Mother Teresa Cathedral in Pristina, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin conveyed Pope Francis’ blessings who he said is spiritually close to the people of Kosovo, particularly the Catholic community.