- Specialist Chambers summoned five persons this week, one of them rejected it (KTV)
- Abbott: New Government should be capable of pushing dialogue forward (KTV)
- Dacic says Serbia is committed to a compromise solution with Kosovo (KTV)
- Serbian signboard inside Kosovo (Klan Kosova)
- RSF: Kosovo government’s economic measures serving as a censorship tool (Kossev)
- Members of LGBTI community have no hopes on political parties (KTV)
- Kurti: Tariff will be lifted under one condition
(Summary of TV Dukagjini Debate Plus show)
Specialist Chambers summoned five persons this week, one of them rejected it
Only within a week, the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office has summoned five persons to be interviewed.
One of them, former KLA member Bashkim Gashi, has refused to show up for the interview, and he has informed the KLA Veterans Organisation about it.
President of the KLA Veterans Organisation Hysni Gucati said that lawyers of an English company that have offered to represent parties in this process, have already submitted their complaints with some violations they claim to have been committed by the specialist prosecutors.
Tahir Rrecaj, a lawyer who until now has represented seven persons at the Specialist Chambers, says that the biggest violations in these cases are being committed through the summons.
This Tuesday, AAK’s candidate for MP Lulëzim Kabashi will travel to The Hague, too.
In The Hague, Kabashi will be interviewed as a witness.
Petrit Bojaxhiu, another former KLA member, will also travel to The Hague on 25th September.
Moreover, according to Gucati, even an ordinary citizen has been summoned for interview.
KTV asked the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague about the intensification of investigations, who briefly said that they could not respond with regard to the cases they are working in.
Only last week, the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office interviewed former mayor of Klinë/Klina Sokol Bashota, Time Kadrijaj of AAK, and Safete Hadërgjonaj of PDK.
Meanwhile, former KLA officer Naim Maloku was interviewed in Slovenia.
Abbott: New Government should be capable of pushing dialogue forward
New Government should be stable and capable of pushing forward the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, the United Kingdom Ambassador to Kosovo Nicholas Abbott said in an interview with Koha Ditore.
Asked about blockades in dialogue, he added that both sides should create conditions for the talks to have progress and take actions that make a final solution possible.
The new UK Ambassador expressed the stance and belief of his country that normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia requires recognition of independent and sovereign states with their current borders.
“We believe that changes of these borders would destabilise the country and other parts of the region and it could jeopardise security, stability and prosperity of the region,” Abbott said.
Dacic says Serbia is committed to a compromise solution with Kosovo
Serbia is committed to having dialogue with Kosovo and to finding a compromise solution.
This is what the Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic says, expressing his hope that the new EU representative will continue contributing to this process, in order to reach an acceptable solution for all parties, while at the same time insisting on fulfilment of obligations taken over.
He said that Serbia and the entire region belong to the European Union.
The Serbian MFA said that his country is committed to peace and stability in the region and that regional stability is one of Serbia’s foreign policy priorities.
Serbian signboard inside Kosovo
People entering from Serbia to Kosovo through Bërnjak border crossing can easily be confused. After going through the police checks and entering the Kosovo territory, at the entrance of Zubin Potok municipality a huge signboard is seen.
It is unclear who put it up and when, but it wishes welcomes in Serbian and English to the Serb-majority municipality, completely denying the Republic of Kosovo. The signboard also reads that this is Republic of Serbia and Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.
The moment that he heard Klan Kosova’s question, Mayor of Zubin Potok Srdjan Vulovic switched off his phone on Monday.
Klan Kosova TV also turned out to be an informer for the Ministry of Infrastructure, the officials of which, after understanding about the signboard, will remove it.
Other line ministries, the one of Interior and Local Government, were not aware of the idea of welcoming to Zubin Potok as part of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, as part of Serbia.
Officials of the Kosovo Local Government Institute say that municipalities do not have the right to decide on their own regarding signalling, in particular like this one in the north. They say that Ministry of Infrastructure is in charge of this.
Security expert Besa Kabashi-Ramaj thinks that the case in Bërnjak is an illustration that the issue of territorial integrity is not a done deal.
RSF: Kosovo government’s economic measures serving as a censorship tool
According to the latest report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), entitled “Newspapers that never arrive,” the effects of Kosovo government’s decision to increase import duty on goods from Serbia on daily newspapers supply is a bad example of „economic measures serving as the censorship tool”. In addition to the Kosovo government’s measure, the same part of the report also referred to the Russian government’s decision to scrap a state postage subsidy.
“The Russian subscription press is slowly dying because of the lack of a postal subsidy, but Kosovo eliminated its Serbian press in one fell swoop in November 2018 by suddenly increasing the import duty on all Serbian products, including newspapers, by 100%. The measure was a reprisal for neighbouring Serbia’s determined and ultimately successful efforts to prevent Kosovo from joining Interpol” – the Reporters Without Borders report reads.
This report also underlines that the decision had an “immediate” impact.
“No Serbian-language newspapers and magazines are printed in Kosovo and within a week no imported publications were available at Kosovar newsstands.”
Furthermore, this means that northern Kosovo’s Serb community have been “deprived of news and information in their own language since November 2018, a situation that violates international law.”
No Serbian-language newspapers and magazines were available in Kosovo for five months, that is, until the KIM Beokolp company reached an agreement with the publishers and reduced the prices so that the distributor could afford to pay the 100% import duty.
Members of LGBTI community have no hopes on political parties
On the verge of the election campaign, political entities have plenty of promises, even about topics on which they have never raised their voice, including issues related to the LGBTI community.
Although so far they have not proposed anything concrete, some of the candidates for prime minister have stated that they will work towards equal treatment of the LGBTI community.
The NGO activists say that institutions should address the problems faced by the LGBTI community, although they say they are sceptical that there will be any change after the elections.
Lend Mustafa of the Centre for Equality and Freedom says that they will start trusting the promises of political entities only when they see their implementation in practice.
Although he says they got used to promises, Liridon Veliu of the Centre for Development of Social Groups, hopes that this time the parties will be more vigilant in their implementation.
Arton Demhasaj of Çohu organisation considers raising of issues related to the LGBTI community as a positive step.
Kurti: Tariff will be lifted under one condition
(Summary of TV Dukagjini Debate Plus show)
Vetëvendosje’s nominee for Prime Minister Albin Kurti presented his strengths for winning the upcoming parliamentary elections.
On Debate Plus show with Ermal Panduri on RTV Dukagjini, Kurti said that Vetëvendosje is strong, because its members are not corrupt and they cannot be blackmailed.
He said that Vetëvendosje has got the will, knowhow, and courage, whilst none of the other parties have got all of those.
Albin Kurti stressed that Vetëvendosje activists had been imprisoned for their minor offences in the past.
Kurti said that concepts and principles of Vetëvendosje have not changed; what has changed, according to him, is that now they have a more advanced strategy.
Asked if he still considers Kosovo’s state flag a patchwork, he answered joking: “Flag of Kosovo is a patchwork. It was not me that chose its colours.”
He added that they were scandalised that the flag of Kosovo was imposed undemocratically at the Assembly session when Kosovo was declared independent, where, for instance, one of the criteria was that red and black colours were not allowed.
Kurti stated that Vetëvendosje is in favour of a vetting process in the justice system, explaining that they will use the model of Albania, and that the process will be carried out by a committee which will be composed also of international members.
Vetëvendosje intends to change Law on Prosecution, and to increase the number of special prosecutors. He said that although there are only three special prosecutors, citizens don’t know their names, because they have been passive.
Kurti believes that the absurd thing has been that different convictions have been imposed for similar criminal offences. He said that Vetëvendosje aims to build a digital system, which will provide transparency.
According to Kurti, the escape of prosecutor Elez Blakaj to the US and lethargy of the Chief State Prosecutor Aleksandër Lumezi have been traumatic experiences as part of the failure of the Kosovo justice.
Kurti said that PDK is threatening civil servants that they will be fired if they don’t vote for PDK.
Asked if he still considers PDK as the devil and LDK as the angel, Kurti answered that he doesn’t believe that once Vetëvendosje releases the state from the PDK’s capture, it will remain captured by LDK. According to Kurti, PDK considers others either as enemies or servants.
“With our government we will have not more power, but more state,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of border change, Kurti said that Kosovo borders should never be changed through bargaining with Serbia. What should change is the border with Albania. Presevo Valley should be resolved through reciprocity. Political reality cannot be viewed without national history. Serbia as a hegemonic state owes a lot to Albanians. We will send a letter to Serbia with a list of our demands, he continued.
With regard to the tariff imposed on Serbian goods, Kurti said that differently from Haradinaj who made the decision on tariff quickly, Vetëvendosje will consult businesses prior to making a decision.
He said that the tariff on goods from Serbia will not make sense if full reciprocity will be established, adding that the tariff is not on his political agenda.
“The moment that we will become the new government, we will establish complete political, economic and trade reciprocity towards Serbia. Only after reciprocity is established, the tariff will no longer make sense. We lift the 100% tariff, but not without establishing full reciprocity,” he said.
Vetëvendosje leader clarified his concept of reciprocity towards Serbia.
“If we fail to move our trucks with Republic of Kosovo license plates on the territory of Serbia and if Serbia does not accept the Republic of Kosovo’s goods certificate, no Serbian goods will enter Kosovo even if they pay 100% tariff.”
Kurti said he will make political decisions on economic matters as well, but no decision will be taken without consulting the business community.
Talking about the Border Demarcation with Montenegro, Kurti said that Vetëvendosje will do its best to correct it. He said that Haradinaj formed Coordination Body for Demarcation only a few hours before he resigned.
Kurti stated that Vetëvendosje aims to get the following ministries: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Ministry of Finance.
Victory of VV doesn’t threaten US interests; on the contrary. I can’t do anything which is against the interests of Kosovo people, integrity and sovereignty, in the extreme case, I will resign, he underlined.
VV candidate for Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that rival parties have instilled fear in the people that Vetëvendosje is anti-American.
Kurti told the RTV Dukagjini show that he did not meet with former Ambassador Greg Delaware until the first half of 2017.
“We didn’t meet because neither he nor I asked for a meeting. When we doubled in  elections then we met two or three times [with Greg Delawie]. I met with the new Ambassador three times in total,” he said.
“We need to acquire their way of protecting the state, always and everywhere. They defend their national interest even across the globe from where they are geographically located. We don’t even defend even in our state.”
Kurti says citizens are being frightened with the thesis that “if Vetëvendosje comes to power, America will abandon us”. According to him, this fear is real and this has been done by political entities.
Vetëvendosje leader said he has great respect and appreciation for Americans, because they are a patriotic people.
Kurti said that the Vetëvendosje government will have dialogue for dialogue, adding that it will be dialogue, not negotiations.