- Thaci: Paris Summit to pave way to agreement with Serbia (L’Express)
- Haradinaj: We will suspend the tariff, if there is agreement on recognition (Koha)
- Hoxhaj: There will be no early general elections this year (RTK)
- Wilson: Serbia cannot be a normal state without resolving Kosovo issue (media)
- O’Connell: Reporters in Kosovo are threatened, this is unacceptable (Kosovapress)
- Kosovo Police arrest war crimes suspect (media)
- Five possible successors to Federica Mogherini (media)
Thaci: Paris Summit to pave way to agreement with Serbia (L’Express)
Several media cover Kosovo President Hashim Thaci’s interview to French weekly L’Express highlighting his statement that the upcoming summit in Paris should pave way to an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. “If we cannot create good relations with Belgrade, we will never become members of the European Union and NATO. This is a golden opportunity. If we miss this opportunity, our children will suffer the consequences. They would find themselves in a ‘frozen conflict’ situation that could escalate at any point. I have faith in the pragmatism and vision of [French President] Emmanuel Macron. He is aware of the situation and he knows that it is important for Europe,” Thaci said. Asked what compromise he is willing to make with Serbia, Thaci said: “my goal is to reach a favourable agreement, but it will be difficult. I will convince the citizens of my country to normalize relations with a country that was killing us only twenty years ago: 800,000 people were displaced, 400 massacres were committed, 20,000 persons were raped, 1,300 children were killed … Why were their victims of genocide? Only because they were Kosovars”. Thaci said territorial exchange between Kosovo and Serbia was never discussed, “but when it comes to a comprehensive agreement, everyone knows that one of the main topics of discussion will be the border demarcation between Kosovo and Serbia. This issue won’t be easily solved, because it is a very sensitive issue in the Balkans. My intention is not to change borders, but to open them as everywhere else in Europe”. Thaci also said that no one can replace Europe in the peace process between Kosovo and Serbia but that relations between the two sides are so fragile that an agreement cannot be reached without strong support from the United States of America. “The Balkans Summit which was held in Berlin in late April, did not bring anything concrete. There was no coordination with the U.S. I hope that at the Paris Summit in early July, things will be different and there will be full coordination between Paris and Washington,” he added.
Haradinaj: We will suspend the tariff, if there is agreement on recognition (Koha)
Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj told KTV today that Kosovo is willing to suspend the import tariff on Serbian goods if a framework agreement for recognition from Serbia is reached at the upcoming Paris Summit. Haradinaj also said that at the Paris Summit, he and President Hashim Thaci should be accompanied by Assembly President Kadri Veseli and the co-heads of Kosovo’s state delegation for talks with Serbia, Fatmir Limaj and Shpend Ahmeti.
Hoxhaj: There will be no early general elections this year (RTK)
Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) deputy leader, Enver Hoxhaj, said today there will be no early parliamentary elections because the opposition is not serious in its attempt to bring down the government. He added that all political parties need to have a united position on major issues, including the dialogue with Serbia. “I don’t think the statements of our colleagues in the opposition are serious and I don’t think that Kosovo needs to go to early general elections this year,” he said.
Wilson: Serbia cannot be a normal state without resolving Kosovo issue (media)
Several news websites carry an interview that Damon Wilson, an American foreign policy advisor and current executive vice president at the Atlantic Council, a foreign and public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C, gave to the Voice of America, calling for a final settlement between Kosovo and Serbia. He argued that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has a good negotiating position in terms of resolving the Kosovo issue. Asked if Pristina has brought “game changes” by introducing the import tariff on Serbian goods, Wilson said: “this doesn’t help Pristina and I hope this will be overcome. Serbia cannot be a normal state with a European perspective and have the trust of foreign investors, if it doesn’t resolve this issue”. “We can wait for decades, but we don’t want to, we don’t operate like that, we want to build something good with Serbia. We don’t want only to see a historical reconciliation between Belgrade and Pristina, but I also want to see a historical reconciliation between Belgrade and Washington. I want to see the Serbian President visiting the White House. I want to see the U.S. President visiting Serbia, I want to see American investments in Serbia and aid for this country and its path toward the EU”.
O’Connell: Reporters in Kosovo are threatened, this is unacceptable (Kosovapress)
The British Ambassador to Kosovo, Ruairi O’Connell, said in an interview to the news agency that it is very important for everyone in Kosovo to react in defence of the freedom of press. He said the freedom of the media is “the blood of democracy” and that there cannot be genuine democracy if the people are not properly informed. “This year we have seen threats against Serb reporters in Kosovo, they were labelled as traitors; we have seen physical attacks against Albanian reporters, we have seen political parties pressuring companies not to advertise in certain media. This is all unacceptable pressure on reporters, and it constitutes a threat to the freedom of the media,” he said. “It is very important to hear criticism from reporters because they know well the circumstances in which they operate. If we look at the press freedom index, we can see that Kosovo is ranked 70-80. This means that the situation is not very pleasant”.
Kosovo Police arrest war crimes suspect (media)
Most online media report that Kosovo Police have arrested a war crime suspect. The Kosovo Special Prosecution issued a press release saying that the suspect is a Kosovo Albanian and that he is suspected of committing war crimes against civilians in 1999 in Ferizaj.
Five possible successors to Federica Mogherini (media)
Online media report that EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, who is also chief negotiator in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia is nearing the end of her mandate. Citing diplomatic sources, Belgrade-based Blic reported that there are five top candidates that could be appointed to the position. Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister of Croatia, French politician Michel Barnier, Dutch politician Frans Timermans, German diplomat Helga Schmidt, and Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak.