- Kosovo marks 20th anniversary of deployment of NATO troops (media)
- Albright: Kosovo is independent, deserves to be recognised by all (Koha)
- Haradinaj: Kosovo has the courage to reach agreement with Serbia (media)
- Clark: Putin can provoke crisis in Balkans whenever he needs this (RTK)
- Kosovo opposition leaders visibly absent at main ceremony in Pristina (Express)
- Paris summit question marks (Zeri)
- Serbian media: Kosovo – Serbia agreement by year’s end? (media)
- Kurti: Border correction and national unification don’t go hand in hand (Zeri)
- Police launch operation for fighting contraband in the north (Zeri)
Kosovo marks 20th anniversary of deployment of NATO troops (media)
The leading story in all daily newspapers today is the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the deployment of NATO troops to Kosovo. Koha Ditore reports on its front page that “with its living heroes [referring to former U.S. President Clinton, Madeleine Albright and Wesley Clark, Kosovo celebrated the 20th anniversary of its liberation from Serbia. President Clinton said Kosovo was the proudest part of his career and that Kosovars must now make Kosovo. Albright recollected the promise she gave that the people of Kosovo would return to their homes after Milosevic’s troops were expelled. General Clark, who was at the helm of NATO twenty years ago, said he wants Kosovo to become a member state of NATO in the future”. Under the front-page headline Kosovo grateful to the friends of freedom, Epoka e Re reports that Clinton and Albright were welcomed as heroes in Pristina, with thousands of citizens gathering in downtown to express their appreciation to the two U.S. leaders. Bota Sot on the front page quotes President Clinton as saying, “I am in love with Kosovo, it is the proudest part of my life”. Zeri too quotes Clinton as saying that it will always be an honour for him to have stood beside the people of Kosovo against ethnic cleansing. Several news websites quote Clark as saying that Kosovo has a bright future because of the wisdom and courage of its people. “It is wonderful to see efforts for democracy, a parliament, a president, an economy and leadership. I know the future is bright because the people of Kosovo have the courage and wisdom to make the right decisions and take their country toward the West. The West in turn will embrace this country and will help it in the future … I hope I will come back here again when Kosovo becomes a member of NATO,” Clark said.
Albright: Kosovo is independent, deserves to be recognised by all (Koha)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said yesterday in Pristina that Kosovo is an independent country and deserves to be recognised as such.
“I am proud for everything you and us have done to achieve this. I will never forget the war years, people chanting ‘Thank you USA’. I think the U.S. has done the right thing. I am honoured to be here with you. Kosovo is an independent country and therefore deserves to be recognised,” Albright said.
Albright, visiting Kosovo on the 20th anniversary of NATO troops deployment, made the comments after meeting Kosovo leaders and being awarded the Order of Freedom by President Hashim Thaci and a postage stamp with her image by Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj.
Haradinaj: Kosovo has the courage to reach agreement with Serbia (media)
Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said on Wednesday in Pristina that Kosovo is ready and has the courage to reach an agreement with Serbia. During a ceremony on the 20th anniversary of the deployment of NATO troops to Kosovo, he called on Serbia and its president, Aleksandar Vucic, to recognize Kosovo in its current borders. “Peace is made by those who have courage, and we have the courage to reach an agreement with Serbia. We call on the people of Kosovo, and Vucic, to recognize Kosovo in its current borders,” Haradinaj said.
Clark: Putin can provoke crisis in Balkans whenever he needs this (RTK)
Wesley Clark, a retired U.S. General who led the NATO air campaign in 1999, told RTK on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin can provoke a crisis in the Balkans region. “I think that the continuous commitment of NATO in the Balkans is very important. The Russians however have built a base in Nis, Serbia. They claim that it serves humanitarian purposes, but that base has the command and necessary control to do whatever it wants. President Putin recently visited Serbia and he was welcomed as a hero there! Serbia buys Russian military technology! We hope Serbia will become part of modern-day Europe, the European Union and hopefully one day a member of NATO, together with Kosovo. So now the question is: what is all this? It is all related to Mr. Putin, who has an opportunity. It is like a pending crisis. Whenever he needs a new crisis, he does that. Maybe here, maybe in the Ukraine or in the Baltic countries,” Clark argued.
Kosovo opposition leaders visibly absent at main ceremony in Pristina (Express)
Gazeta Express reports that main opposition leaders, Isa Mustafa from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and Albin Kurti from Vetevendosje were visibly absent at the main ceremony in Pristina yesterday organised to mark the 20th anniversary of NATO troops entering Kosovo.
LDK spokesperson Besian Mustafa said they received no invitation to attend the ceremony where the former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright were some of the speakers. “We did not receive an invite for today’s ceremony. Mr. Mustafa was not invited either as party leader or as former prime minister. We did not want to make a big deal out of it because there were international officials present,” Mustafa said yesterday.
As for Vetevendosje, Express writes that its leader Albin Kurti was holding a press conference marking the movement’s 14th anniversary of establishment as the festivities in Pristina were underway but officials there did say that two of their MPs were at the main ceremony, namely Valon Ramadani and Ali Lajci.
Paris summit question marks (Zeri)
The paper says that the Kosovo-Serbia summit in Paris, set to take place in July under the auspices of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, could fail.
It writes that the Serbian side is refusing to sit at the table of talks for as long as the 100 percent import tariff remains in place while Kosovo government officials underlined that the Paris meeting is not related to the tariff. “These are two separate issues. We recall that the Berlin meeting of the same format went ahead while the tax was in force,” government spokesperson Donjeta Gashi told the paper.
Serbian media: Kosovo – Serbia agreement by year’s end? (media)
According to Serbian media, at the upcoming summit in Paris on July 1, German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron could present to Kosovo and Serbia a framework agreement and the final proposal would then be adopted by the end of the year. If this scenario would go through, a referendum in Serbia on Kosovo could be held in spring next year, along with parliamentary elections. Different diplomatic circles have confirmed the option. “If the summit in Paris is held on July 1, which from today’s standpoint seems not very likely, then we can expect a framework agreement or a platform to be drafted there, which would then serve as a starting point for a final solution to the problem,” a diplomatic source told Belgrade-based Blic daily newspaper.
Kurti: Border correction and national unification don’t go hand in hand (Zeri)
In a press conference yesterday, Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti looked back on the 14th years of his movement’s activities which he said began by slogans against negotiations with Serbia and in favour of self-determination.
Speaking about unification of Kosovo and Albania, Kurti said: “Unlike some that have only recently embraced this idea, we don’t see national unification through the weakening and destroying of our countries but through their strengthening. To achieve this, Kosovo needs to be successful and strengthen itself. National unification is a continuous historic aspiration and Vetevendosje is not the first to seek this. We consider that it is painful to talk about border correction and national unification at the same time. This is anti-historic and undemocratic,” Kurti said.
Police launch operation for fighting contraband in the north (Zeri)
The paper reports that the Kosovo Police has launched an operation to arrest smugglers in the north of Kosovo after an incident in Leposavic when a local Serb from Zubin Potok fired shots in the direction of police and tried to run over a police patrol which stopped him under the suspicion of transporting contraband goods.
In a statement, Kosovo Police said the border patrol also fired back and damaged the tires of the car and no one was injured. It says that the suspect drove away in the direction of Novi Pazar and that the police has undertaken an operation called “Steel Ring” and has circled certain areas in search for the suspects.