- Haradinaj: We don’t need freedom when we’re isolated (Zeri)
- Thaci: Paris Summit to pave way to agreement with Serbia (L’Express)
- Civil society refuses to be part of Kosovo negotiating team (RFE)
- Johnson: Trump supports reaching of Kosovo – Serbia agreement (VoA, RTK)
- Serwer: Without U.S. and EU consent, there can be no agreement (Koha)
- Joseph: Idea of unification with Albania incites separatism of Serbs (Koha)
- EU responds to Thaci’s claim that Association is dead (Express)
- Kadri Veseli reelected PDK leader (dailies)
- Kosnett calls recent appointment at Kosovo ministry, insult to citizens (Kallxo)
- Kosovo Police arrest war crimes suspect (media)
Haradinaj: We don’t need freedom when we’re isolated (Zeri)
Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj spoke at the unveiling of a monument for the fallen martyrs in Peja saying that the people who gave their lives for Kosovo did so for being free not isolated.
“We don’t want a freedom that isolates Kosovo. We have fought for freedom so that everyone can enjoy it. Let the whole Europe know, and America, that we don’t need freedom when we’re isolated,” he said.
Haradinaj said Kosovo wants to have good neighbourly relations with Serbia but not at the price of undermining its status. “The status has been closed in 1999. We only need to resolve the recognition issue. No one that wants peace and stability in the Balkans should expect to see this at the back of Kosovo’s freedom,” Haradinaj underlined.
Thaci: Paris Summit to pave way to agreement with Serbia (L’Express)
Most local media covered over the weekend 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.
Civil society refuses to be part of Kosovo negotiating team (RFE)
Radio Free Europe reported that representatives of the civil society are refusing to join the Kosovo negotiating team for dialogue with Serbia saying their status will not be equal to other members of the team. The Law on Dialogue, adopted by the Kosovo Assembly, reserves a seat for the civil society at the negotiating team but this has not yet been filled.
According to Jeta Krasniqi from the Kosovo Democratic Institute (KDI) said the law at hand does not clearly specify the selection procedure for the civil society representative. “In fact, the law states that it will be nominated by the two heads of the delegation or, if there is no agreement amongst them, voted by the rest of the delegation. Regardless of how the member of the civil society will be appointed, it does not mean to say it represents the entire Kosovo civil society,” Krasniqi said.
Perparim Kryeziu from the Group for Legal and Political Studies said the way the civil society representative is set to be appointed by the law makes it an unequal member of the team. “While the members of the state delegation have been voted at the Assembly and received legitimacy from the Assembly and can also be dismissed by it, the civil society representative is selected by the state delegation and can be dismissed by the same,” Kryeziu said.
Johnson: Trump supports reaching of Kosovo – Serbia agreement (VoA, RTK)
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson told VoA in Serbian said he believes the Presidents Hashim Thaci and Aleksandar Vucic are willing to resolve issues between Belgrade and Pristina. “I hope that their readiness however is sufficient to advance,” Johnson said adding that the agreement they will reach will not be popular, “but that it is worth the political pain.”
He added that he has just discusses with the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to convey the invitation of the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for the U.S. President Donald Trumps to visit Serbia.
He added that Trump will not be visiting Serbia, but he will help on the agreement with Kosovo. “He is very busy however he expressed his support for the reach of the agreement that would leave the problem behind,” Johnson said.
Serwer: Without U.S. and EU consent, there can be no agreement (Koha)
The paper carries as its leading front-page article an interview with U.S. Balkans analyst Daniel Serwer highlighting his remarks that “if the United States of America and the European Union do not agree, there can be no agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. Therefore, I think that each side should do their best and give up on ideas that involve border changes”.
Serwer also argued that Kosovo and Serbia must work on a mini-agreement that would resolve the current problems, and this would include visa liberalization for Kosovo, the end of Serbia’s campaign against Kosovo’s membership in international organizations and for both sides to give up on territorial exchange.
Serwer said he was not really convinced by “the notion of a major and comprehensive agreement”. “I am not confident that Vucic wants a good agreement with Kosovo. I am also not certain that Thaci can give a good agreement to Vucic. They have both filled their own minds with ideas for division or border correction, whatever you want to call it,” he added.
Joseph: Idea of unification with Albania incites separatism of Serbs (Koha)
Edward Joseph, Balkans expert and senior fellow at the Centre for Transatlantic Relations, said in an interview to the paper that the idea of Kosovo’s unification with Albania is an irresponsible approach that only incites the separatism of Kosovo Serbs. Joseph also made a proposal for an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia modelled according to the agreement between Skopje and Athens. “With the aim of accomplishing the historical Albanian objective for the complete independence of Kosovo, Albanians, paradoxically, have to acknowledge the link with Serbs in Kosovo. It is up to Pristina to accept and respect that despite the oppression Belgrade has legitimate claims and links to Kosovo. This is not easy but Greece and North Macedonia have proved that it can be done,” Joseph said.
EU responds to Thaci’s claim that Association is dead (Express)
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said late last month that he would not allow the establishment of any kind of Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities under any circumstances. According to him, Kosovo was promised recognition by Serbia in order to accept implementation of such agreement. And as this did not happen, the Association issue “is dead.”
The portal contacted the EU Office in Kosovo, which appealed on implementation of all the reached agreements between Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels.
“Annual reports for the states, published on 29 May, offer a clear assessment for the obligations of Belgrade and Pristina, which derive from the agreements reached during the dialogue mediated by the EU,” this Office responded. They further appealed to Kosovo and Serbia to reach an agreement for normalization of relations.
Kadri Veseli reelected PDK leader (dailies)
All dailies report that Kadri Veseli was reelected on Sunday to lead for another mandate with the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK). Delegates of the ninth election convention of the political party voted unanimously for Veseli.
The latter pledged he would not allow anyone to impede Kosovo’s progress, and requested from the delegates to continuously seek his responsibility and clarification.
Hajredin Kuqi, who presented Veseli’s candidature for the leader of the party, said PDK’s leader will be the future Prime Minister of Kosovo.
Kosnett calls recent appointment at Kosovo ministry, insult to citizens (Kallxo)
The U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, Philip Kosnett, has reacted to the appointment of Lulzim Kadriu, convicted of corruption, to the post of director of Legal Department with the Ministry of Innovation and Entrepreneurship saying it represents “insult to the citizens of Kosovo.”
“In the category of ‘more unqualified appointments,’ the Ministry of Innovation recently appointed as legal director an individual convicted of corruption charges that were upheld on appeal. An insult to the citizens of Kosovo,” Kosnett wrote on Twitter.
Kosovo Police arrest war crimes suspect (media)
Most news websites reported over the weekend 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.