- Macron: Kosovo and Serbia are two European countries (Zeri/Epoka)
- Haradinaj doesn’t obey request from Berlin and Paris to lift tariff (Koha Ditore)
- “Land swap idea remains at the table of talks” (Koha Ditore)
- In the U.S., Veseli meets congressman Connolly (Epoka e Re)
- Pacolli: Those that hurt interethnic relations will never enter Kosovo (media)
- Pacolli: Kosovo committed to peace in region, we have three key priorities (media)
- UNMIK, Lipjan municipality condemn desecration of Orthodox cemetery (Kallxo)
- Turkey warns Kosovo of threat from Gulen’s movement (Radio Free Europe)
Macron: Kosovo and Serbia are two European countries (Zeri/Epoka)
French President Emmanuel Macron told Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic during a visit to Belgrade that Kosovo and Serbia are two European countries thus, according to Zeri, reconfirming that Kosovo is an independent country. Macron is also reported to have said he plans to organise together with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel a meeting with representatives of Kosovo and Serbia.
“France will be engaged in an agreement for Kosovo being reached. Kosovo and Serbia ate two European countries. It is our responsibility to provide them the necessary support to come to an agreement. This implies not having unconstructive movements on both sides. Recent decisions are causing concern with us,” Macron said.
Haradinaj doesn’t obey request from Berlin and Paris to lift tariff (Koha)
Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj confirmed on Monday that there is still a request from Berlin and Paris to lift the import tariff on Serbian goods, but said that he would not change his position, the paper reports on its front page. “I think it is a request to discipline us, so that we would accept a solution with many compromises in a final settlement with Serbia … The tariff is not only a tariff and it is not only trade. It is also an issue that determines whether or not we are a state. If we give in on the tariff before recognition [from Serbia], it will be more difficult for us to reach an agreement in equal positions,” Haradinaj said during a visit to Vushtrri on Monday. Zeri quotes Haradinaj as saying that the decision on visa liberalisation for Kosovo is not far. “The day when we will receive the decision on visa liberalisation is not far. This issue is not related to the tariff. If they would decide on visa liberalisation, we would have a completely different atmosphere in the Balkans,” Haradinaj said.
“Land swap idea remains at the table of talks” (Koha Ditore)
Panelists at a conference organised by the Kosovo Democratic Institute (KDI) at the Media Centre in Cagllavica said that the land swap idea as part of the final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia is still at the table despite considering such a scenario as unacceptable.
Kosovo’s Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Berisha said the Government believes the border change idea to be dangerous while MP from the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Dukagjin Gorani said the idea is still at the table of talks. He said that for as long as presidents of Kosovo and Serbia, Thaci and Vucic respectively, continue to lead the dialogue, the border change idea will be present.
Gorani also spoke about the Kosovo Serbs being excluded from the process of dialogue for normalisation of relations. “Instead of talking about communities there is talk about territories. And even when territories are discussed, they only concern the northern part of the country. Kosovo Serbs are absent from the entire process, especially those called ‘southern Serbs’,” he said.
Former Kosovo MP from the Serb community, Rada Trajkovic, said the idea of Kosovo’s partition is unacceptable. “I am part of the people who believe that partition represents the most undesirable solution because its only goal is to prolong the political lifespan of presidents Thaci and Vucic,” she said.
Former Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Nenad Rasic, meanwhile stated that territorial exchange would only be a temporary solution and an imposed one. “Presidents have catastrophic ideas to benefit themselves, to be considered as peacemakers,” Rasic said.
In the U.S., Veseli meets congressman Connolly (Epoka e Re)
In his visit to the U.S., Kosovo Assembly Speaker Kadri Veseli met congressman Gerald Connolly who chairs the U.S. Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. In the meeting, Veseli spoke about recent political developments in Kosovo and the cooperation with the U.S.
“Following the transition of the KSF (Kosovo Security Force) into an army, Kosovo’s main objective in the field of security is full membership in the North Atlantic Alliance, NATO,” Veseli said at the meeting.
Pacolli: Those that hurt interethnic relations will never enter Kosovo (media)
Kosovo’s Principal Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Behgjet Pacolli, said on Monday in Pristina that “anyone that tries to ruin interethnic relations and harmony in Kosovo will never be allowed to enter the country”. Asked to comment on a ban on certain Serbian officials, Pacolli said: “Kosovo is a free and democratic country that guarantees the free movement of people. Kosovo will never close its borders. Kosovo will always welcome friends and those that want to visit and build good relations. But Kosovo will be forever closed to anyone that tries to ruin interethnic relations because this is a sacred symbol to us, and it is guaranteed by all laws and the Constitution of Kosovo. No one has the right to come to Kosovo and incite hatred among peoples,” Pacolli said. “We have and will ban visits by senior Serbian officials whenever we strong evidence that they come here with evil tendencies.”
Pacolli: Kosovo committed to peace in region, we have three key priorities (media)
Kosovo’s Foreign Minister and Principal Deputy Prime Minister, Behgjet Pacolli, opened Kosovo’s presidency of the South East-European Cooperation Process (SEECP) on Monday. Pacolli said this is an important task for Kosovo as it happens in the same year when Kosovo has taken over the presidency of the Western Balkans Fund (WBF) and the Migration, Asylum and Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI). “Kosovo is being acknowledged as a trusted partner in the region. Kosovo joined the SEECP at the Bucharest Summit in 2014, and we are pleased that we will be chairing this regional structure in the coming period. This is the sole political structure that derives from the own initiative of countries in the region with the aim of enabling its members to approximate with European and Euro-Atlantic structures, strengthening and transforming the region into a zone of peace,” he said. Pacolli said Kosovo will cooperate closely with all member states during its SEECP presidency. “We have outlined three key priorities that we will strive to achieve during our presidency. These priorities are: focusing on interconnectedness, better utilizing what we already have, better roads, better links between the economy and people. We are pleased with the results achieved this spring, such as the agreement on roaming tariffs between the six countries, and we will make efforts in other areas too. Focusing on youth: as a region in general, we have started identifying youth as one of the key assets of our society. Preventing brain-drain and greater youth mobility in the region and EU is another key priority. We have taken measures how to address this issue at the national level. Key to success is to include both the central government and civil society in the process. Focusing on culture and tourism: Kosovo and the region have a great need to rebrand, redevelop and reignite their true and cultural potential. We have many beautiful things in Kosovo and the region. Promoting culture, young artists and tourism is another key priority through which we will try to bring Kosovo closer to the region and the world,” he said. Pacolli said that at the last activity of the SEECP chaired by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo’s position was not respected, and it was not treated equally with other member states. “This could have been avoided through good political will and better coordination between the member states. Kosovo however remains committed to be a credible partner in the region and in full harmony with the main mission of the SEECP. The EU policy on good neighbourly relations will be presented in the best way possible during our presidency”.
UNMIK, Lipjan municipality condemn desecration of Orthodox cemetery (Kallxo)
The news website reports that the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) issued a press release today condemning the desecration of gravestones at the Orthodox cemetery in Lipjan.
“UNMIK condemns the desecration of gravestones at the Orthodox cemetery in Lipjan/Lipljan. Such reckless acts on sacred sites unearth painful memories for family members and communities alike. UNMIK encourages Kosovo Police to ensure a swift investigation in order to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” the statement reads.
At the same time, the Municipality of Lipjan has also condemned the act calling on the Kosovo Police to undertake swift investigations.
“The Municipality of Lipjan strongly condemns this case and calls on relevant authorities to determine how the cemeteries were damaged and bring to justice authors of these vandalism actions,” said municipality’s spokesperson Diamant Bytyqi.
Turkey warns Kosovo of threat from Gulen’s movement (Radio Free Europe)
The news website reports that on the third anniversary of the failed coup in Turkey, Turkish authorities have warned Kosovo about the threat coming from the movement of Turkish Islamic scholar and preacher, Fethullah Gulen. Ankara accuses his movement – Hizmet – of the failed coup in 2016. The Turkish Ambassador to Pristina said on Monday that Kosovo must not allow this organisation, “which is no less dangerous than the Islamic State, to turn Kosovo’s children into enemies of this country”. (Correction: An earlier version of this news item carried a mistake.)