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UNMIK Headlines 11 July

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• Haradinaj insists on broad-based consensus on dialogue with Serbia (RFE)
• Haradinaj: We will protect Kosovo’s sovereignty at all costs (media)
• Limaj and Haradinaj have cut off communication (Koha Ditore)
• Daut Haradinaj: No clash between AAK and NISMA (Indeksonline)
• Selimi: Thaci, Vucic have secret plans for Kosovo’s partition (Koha/Zeri)
• Serbian Defence Minister Vulin not allowed to enter Kosovo (media)
• Position of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Bulgaria on visa liberalisation (Zeri)
• Rugova: We need three more votes to bring down the government (Telegrafi)
• Naim Maloku called by Specialist Chambers for interview (media)
• McAllister: Kosovo and Serbia working hard to reach an agreement (RTK)
• CDHRF: Serbs in the north still don’t pay electricity bills (Zeri)
• Mexico warns with vote against Kosovo’s membership at INTERPOL (Klan)

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  • Haradinaj insists on broad-based consensus on dialogue with Serbia (RFE)
  • Haradinaj: We will protect Kosovo’s sovereignty at all costs (media)
  • Limaj and Haradinaj have cut off communication (Koha Ditore)
  • Daut Haradinaj: No clash between AAK and NISMA (Indeksonline)
  • Selimi: Thaci, Vucic have secret plans for Kosovo’s partition (Koha/Zeri)
  • Serbian Defence Minister Vulin not allowed to enter Kosovo (media)
  • Position of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Bulgaria on visa liberalisation (Zeri)
  • Rugova: We need three more votes to bring down the government (Telegrafi)
  • Naim Maloku called by Specialist Chambers for interview (media)
  • McAllister: Kosovo and Serbia working hard to reach an agreement (RTK)
  • CDHRF: Serbs in the north still don’t pay electricity bills (Zeri)
  • Mexico warns with vote against Kosovo’s membership at INTERPOL (Klan)

Haradinaj insists on broad-based consensus on dialogue with Serbia (RFE)

Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj is being criticised by the opposition and political commentators in Pristina for hesitating to assume a leading role in the next phase of dialogue with Serbia. Opposition representatives argue that a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court, which declared as anti-constitutional the law on Kosovo’s delegation for talks with Serbia, has made it clear that the Prime Minister, in consultation with the President, has the competency and legal responsibility to lead the process of dialogue. Haradinaj’s office meanwhile said on Wednesday that he is not hesitating to assume such a role but that he wants broad-based consensus for the process. Donjeta Gashi, media advisor to Haradinaj and spokeswoman for the Kosovo Government, told the news agency that Haradinaj has never avoided his responsibility on dialogue with Serbia. She said Haradinaj believes that Kosovo has no time to waste but that the process must produce concrete results. “The Prime Minister is not hesitant, but he insists on inclusiveness and a comprehensive dialogue on major issues that involve relations with Serbia, a clear dialogue that would result in mutual recognition and a final and legally-binding agreement in the current borders,” Gashi said. “This has been the Prime Minister’s position all along and he has called on all parties in Kosovo to meet and find a united position on dialogue with Serbia”.

Haradinaj: We will protect Kosovo’s sovereignty at all costs (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said on Wednesday that Kosovo’s sovereignty and integrity will be protected at all costs. Haradinaj wrote in a Facebook post: “Honourable citizens of the Republic of Kosovo. We are together and we stand strong! No one will break us apart. We shall protect Kosovo’s sovereignty, integrity and inviolability at all costs”.

Limaj and Haradinaj have cut off communication (Koha Ditore)

The paper reports that coalition partners, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, and the leader of the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) and Deputy Prime Minister, Fatmir Limaj, are not on speaking terms for two months now. According to an unnamed source, the fallout between the two is in connection to disagreements about the dialogue with Serbia.

“After the Berlin summit, Limaj was in favour of the tariff being suspended because he saw this as an opportunity to continue dialogue with Serbia and he believed he, as co-head of the state delegation, would be able to control the process. In discussions on this topic, Limaj took offence to some labelling by Haradinaj,” the source said. It added that Limaj and Haradinaj have also had disagreements over a number of capital projects, the recent being regarding Haradinaj’s plans to expropriate a multistory building in Pristina for government use.

Head of the AAK parliamentary group, Ahmet Isufi said relations between coalition partners, including Haradinaj and Limaj, are good while political analyst Imer Mushkolaj considers that attempts to present AAK-NISMA relations are good are in vain. “The cooling off of relations between Limaj and Haradinaj is not about principles, or the governing programme, but about personal and party gains,” Mushkolaj said.

Daut Haradinaj: No clash between AAK and NISMA (Indeksonline)

Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) MP Daut Haradinaj said on Wednesday that there is no clash between the AAK and NISMA, a partner in the ruling coalition. “NISMA remains a very successful partner of ours. Our partnership started when we were in the opposition, even when we were together with the LDK, until the moment when this party abandoned the coalition and joined the PDK. Our partnership with NISMA continued in the last two elections. We need to focus on topics of state interest, and we need political unity,” Haradinaj told the news website.

Selimi: Thaci, Vucic have secret plans for Kosovo’s partition (Koha/Zeri)

Vetevendosje MP Rexhep Selimi told a press conference in Pristina yesterday that Kosovo and Serbia Presidents, Hashim Thaci and Aleksandar Vucic, have secret plans to divide Kosovo and that evidence of this are leaked conversations of the North Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Selimi said that in a telephone conversation last year with whom he thought was Ukrainian president Petro Porosenko, Zaev expressed his concerns over plans for Kosovo’s partition. “We have said that all talks, plans and possible agreements with Serbia are continuing to take place in secrecy and against the interests of [Presevo] Valley Albanians,” Selimi said adding that Thaci is pushing forward a Moscow-sponsored agreement for Kosovo.

He further argued that Thaci is being blackmailed by Serbia and that he is acting in Belgrade’s favour. Selimi also called on all political parties to support the idea of early general elections in order to remove Thaci from power and prevent plans for Kosovo’s partition.

Serbian Defence Minister Vulin not allowed to enter Kosovo (media)

Kosovo authorities have not granted permission to the Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin to visit Kosovo, media report.

“Serbian Defence Minister Vulin has no business in Kosovo until Serbia recognises Kosovo as an independent and sovereign country,” Jetlir Zyberaj, advisor to the Kosovo Minister of Foreign Affairs Behgjet Pacolli, said. He added that Vulin’s request to visit Kosovo was a provocation as “the Government of Serbia knows that any type of visit to Kosovo is not allowed for Minister of Defence.”

At the same time, Vulin is quoted by Klan Kosova as saying that the ban to enter Kosovo goes to show that Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj is a “liar” who violates all agreements. “Ramush Haradinaj and his government have proved yet again that they are liars who do not want Serbs in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija,” Vulin is quoted to have said

Yesterday, Serbian media reported that a Serbian military delegation headed by Minister Aleksandar Vulin was not allowed to enter Kosovo’s territory and that this constitutes a violation of the Brussels agreement for the free movement of people. They also noted that this was planned to be a humanitarian visit and that representatives of Serbia’s Ministry of Defense and the Military Medical Academy were scheduled to discuss with managers of the Clinical Center in Mitrovica North on ways to improve cooperation and to further aid medical centers in Kosovo.

At the same time, Petrit Selimi, former Foreign Minister of Kosovo, took to Twitter to comment on the decision by Kosovo authorities not to allow Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin to enter Kosovo’s territory. Selimi wrote that he had personally signed a document banning visits to Kosovo for certain Serbian officials. “Serbian defence minister Vulin, known for using derogatory, racist language when addressing Albanians, is complaining he’s not allowed to enter Kosovo. All Serbian defence and interior ministers ex officio are banned from entering Kosovo. I know this because I signed the ban,” Selimi tweeted.

Position of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Bulgaria on visa liberalisation (Zeri)

The paper on the front page reports it has sent questions to all EU member states to explain their positions on visa liberalisation for Kosovo. Today, it carries the response from the Netherlands, Slovakia and Bulgaria and says it will continue with other countries in the coming days.

Officials from the Dutch foreign affairs government said the country has asked for additional clarifications from the European Commission regarding implementation of the visa liberalisation criteria by Kosovo authorities. “The Netherlands is engaged for the visa liberalisation process. At the same time, it is important for the Netherlands that all set conditions are met in a sustainable manner,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

At the same time, spokesperson for the Slovakian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Boris Gandel, said that despite the country not recognising independence of Kosovo, it does support its European perspective “as part of the Western Balkans region.” Gundel said there are concerns over certain EU member states that a positive decision on visa liberalisation would be misused in the context of illegal migration. “We suggest Kosovo continues to build a sustainable track record on targeted cases in order to convince skeptical member states,” Gundel said.

As far as Bulgaria is concerned, the paper writes that the country has confirmed it will support visa liberalisation decision for Kosovo. “We support the recommendation of the European Commission to the EU Council of May 2019 to take an urgent decision on this matter,” the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Zeri.

Rugova: We need three more votes to bring down the government (Telegrafi)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) MP, Naser Rugova, said on Wednesday that the opposition needs three more votes to bring down the Haradinaj-led government. In an interview to RTV Dukagjini, Rugova said that opposition parties are also negotiating with MPs from the ruling coalition. “We have 58 signatures; we need three more. We are talking with partners in the ruling coalition too, with NISMA and the others, but absolutely not with the PDK. If we had 61 signatures, we would submit the no-confidence motion against the government today,” Rugova said.

Naim Maloku called by Specialist Chambers for interview (media)

Former Kosovo Liberation Army officer, Naim Maloku, has been summoned by the Specialist Chambers in The Hague to be interviewed. In a Facebook post, Maloku said his interview will take place in the coming days but added that he will be unable to travel to The Hague because of his health condition.

McAllister: Kosovo and Serbia working hard to reach an agreement (RTK)

David McAllister, current rapporteur for Serbia who was re-elected head of the Committee for Foreign Policies of the European Parliament, said that despite major changes at EP, leading parties will focus on EU enlargement. He also spoke about the role of the mediators in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia saying that they are interested to reach a legally binding agreement and added that the parties are working hard in this respect. He also informed that nominations of the new European Parliament rapporteurs for Western Balkans will be finalised in September.

CDHRF: Serbs in the north still don’t pay electricity bills (Zeri)

The Kosovo-based Council for Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) said that Serb residents in the north of Kosovo continue not to pay their electricity bills and that this causes an annual loss of €12 million to the Kosovo budget. In a statement, CDHRF said that despite many reactions to the unpaid bills in the north being charged to the rest of Kosovo residents and the promise of the Government of Kosovo to issue compensations, no such thing has happened.

Mexico warns with vote against Kosovo’s membership at INTERPOL (Klan)

Marko Antonio Garcia Blanko, Ambassador of Mexico to Serbia, said during a meeting with Serbia’s state secretary at the Ministry for Internal Affairs, Biljana Popovic, that his country has not recognized Kosovo and that it will vote again against Kosovo’s bid for membership in INTERPOL. He said the international law should be respected and added that Mexico’s position in this respect remains unchanged. Popovic on the other hand expressed appreciation for Mexico’s support for Serbia and the international justice.

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