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UNMIK Headlines 8 October

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• Thaci: Let us show same political maturity in forming new government (media)
• Richard Grenell to visit Kosovo this Thursday (Express)
• EU: Important tasks await the new government of Kosovo (RFE)
• Kurti for N1: Serbs will be in Kosovo government but not Serbian List (media)
• Haxhiu: We will replace import tariff on Serbia with reciprocity (Koha)
• Changes, a product of the punitive vote (Koha)
• LDK does not enter negotiations with VV before all votes are counted (Koha)
• Maliqi: The high turnout of young voters resulted in Kurti’s victory (Epoka)
• Kosovo, first stop for Borrell as EU foreign policy chief (media)
• Haradinaj reacts to Borrell’s statements on Kosovo’s recognition (media)
• Fajon congratulates Vetevendosje on election win (media)
• Bosnia expects new government of Kosovo to lift import tariff (RFE)
• U.S. pledges $5 million for conventional weapons destruction in Kosovo (media)

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  • Thaci: Let us show same political maturity in forming new government (media)
  • Richard Grenell to visit Kosovo this Thursday (Express)
  • EU: Important tasks await the new government of Kosovo (RFE)
  • Kurti for N1: Serbs will be in Kosovo government but not Serbian List (media)
  • Haxhiu: We will replace import tariff on Serbia with reciprocity (Koha)
  • Changes, a product of the punitive vote (Koha)
  • LDK does not enter negotiations with VV before all votes are counted (Koha)
  • Maliqi: The high turnout of young voters resulted in Kurti’s victory (Epoka)
  • Kosovo, first stop for Borrell as EU foreign policy chief (media)
  • Haradinaj reacts to Borrell’s statements on Kosovo’s recognition (media)
  • Fajon congratulates Vetevendosje on election win (media)
  • Bosnia expects new government of Kosovo to lift import tariff (RFE)
  • U.S. pledges $5 million for conventional weapons destruction in Kosovo (media)

Thaci: Let us show same political maturity in forming new government (media)

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci congratulated the people of Kosovo and political parties on Monday on “excellent elections” saying that Kosovo has once again shown a high level of political and democratic maturity. “I congratulate the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo and political parties on excellent elections, and dignified, free and democratic voting. Kosovo once again showed a high level of political and democratic maturity. We need to show the same political maturity in forming the new government, as soon as possible, and to address the immediate challenges that await Kosovo,” President Thaci wrote in a Facebook post.

Richard Grenell to visit Kosovo this Thursday (Express)

Citing a reliable source, the news website reports that U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoy for the Kosovo – Serbia talks, Richard Grenell, will visit Pristina this Thursday. The source said Grenell will arrive with a military plane.

EU: Important tasks await the new government of Kosovo (RFE)

European Union foreign policy spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said that 6 October was a good day for democracy in Kosovo and that the higher turnout of voters this time is a very positive development.

Kocijancic said that important tasks await the new government of Kosovo, singling out the economic and social development, rule of law and efforts for renewing dialogue with Serbia.

“This will be for the benefit of the citizens of Kosovo and the whole region. The EU will continue work and cooperation with Kosovo and will promote reconciliation, regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations in the Western Balkans,” Kocijancic said.

Kurti for N1: Serbs will be in Kosovo government but not Serbian List (media)

Online media carry an interview that Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti gave to the Belgrade-based news channel N1 where he noted that he would start talks with Kosovo Serb politicians as soon as he takes over as prime minister but added that he would not be talking to the Belgrade-backed Serb List.

Kurti said that the coalition would include Serb political parties except the Serb List which he said is not a political party but a state. “Our constitution says that at least one cabinet minister has to be from the Serb community, but it does not say that it must be from the Serb List. We will focus our priorities towards minorities as communities not as parties,” he said.

He said he would start talks with the new European Union High Representative as soon as he takes office. “We need a dialogue about the (Belgrade-Pristina) dialogue. We have to prepare the dialogue well because we can’t have another failure in the dialogue which will cost us a lot. We will also review the 33 agreements that we had between 2011 and 2017, what has been implemented and what has not and their effects on the lives of people in Kosovo and we will start the dialogue with Serbia which has to have solid principles,” Kurti said.

He said that the 100 percent tariffs on goods from Serbia are not his party’s policies, adding that he advocates reciprocity in all areas as a principle of good neighbor relations.

Haxhiu: We will replace import tariff on Serbia with reciprocity (Koha)

Albulena Haxhiu from Vetevendosje said that the new government of Kosovo led by Albin Kurti will replace the import tariff on Serbia with full reciprocity. “We have spoken about the tariff before the elections. We will replace it with political, economic and trade reciprocity,” she said.

Haxhiu said Vetevendosje aims to secure 34-35 seats at the Assembly of Kosovo by the end of the ballot counting process and noted that the new government will not involve the Serbian List.

“Serbian List will remain in the opposition. There was huge pressure on Serb citizens. We know that. It is in the interest of everyone for Serb citizens to integrate,” Haxhiu said adding that they will cooperate with Kosovo Serb leaders that do recognise Kosovo as an independent country.

Speaking about the division of posts with potential coalition partners, Haxhiu said Vetevendosje is entitled to not only keep the post of prime minister but also that of Assembly speaker. “According to the Constitutional Court, the post of Assembly speaker belongs to Vetevendosje. We have not decided on it yet, but it is an internal matter.”

Haxhiu said that based on the votes counted so far, a coalition with the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) seems inevitable. However, she suggested LDK put no condition to the deal. “We have not discussed this concretely but the mood in Vetevendosje is to meet and talks in detail as soon as possible, regardless of certification. Whatever condition the LDK puts forth in this case seeing the preference of the citizens would be a blow for them not for Vetevendosje.”

Changes, a product of the punitive vote (Koha)

The paper reports on its front page that since 2007, the tiredness of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) in power and the continuous political strengthening of the Vetevendosje Movement have happened simultaneously and according to sociologists “the first fed the second time after time”. Political commentators meanwhile have noticed that the change following the October 6 parliamentary elections is also a product of the vote of disappointment. This vote derives from the reaction to bad governance, but also a reaction to the high level of crime and corruption which has been evident in the last decade.

LDK does not enter negotiations with VV before all votes are counted (Koha)

The paper reports on page three that finding a partner for a coalition government and the Serbian List are the first challenges of Albin Kurti, leader of the Vetevendosje Movement, which won the October 6 parliamentary elections. The paper notes that Kurti has implied that in addition to the current ruling coalition he also plans to send the Serbian List in the opposition. The List has won the biggest number of votes among the Kosovo Serb community. According to legal experts, the Constitution does not allow “taking out of the game the winner of the election race among the Serbs, when it comes to forming the new government”. Meanwhile, consultations for creating a new government did not begin on Tuesday, as the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) – Kurti’s preferential partner – said it would not enter talks before all votes are counted.

Maliqi: The high turnout of young voters resulted in Kurti’s victory (Epoka)

Political commentator Shkelzen Maliqi said in a front-page interview to the paper that the high turnout of young voters, which according to Maliqi usually abstain in the elections, has resulted in the victory of Vetevendosje and its leader Albin Kurti in the October 6 parliamentary elections. Maliqi said he expects Vetevendosje and the Democratic League of Kosovo to form the new institutions and he suggested that “they should listen to the preferences of internationals”.

Kosovo, first stop for Borrell as EU foreign policy chief (media)

The European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee interviewed Josep Borrell, candidate for the post of High Representative/Vice-President for foreign affairs and security policy.

In his introductory speech, Borrell stressed his intention to engage in reforms in the Western Balkans and that the renewal of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue will be one of his priorities if confirmed to the post of EU High Representative.

Borrell was asked about how he sees his role as facilitator of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue considering that he comes from Spain which has not recognised Kosovo as an independent country.  “My first visit will be to Pristina,” Borrell said before the members of the committee adding that recognition of Kosovo is a competence of member states. “EU is diverse in recognition but united in engagement,” Borrell said in responding to the question. He also said that Kosovo cannot be a country until it is recognised by Russia and China.

Borrell also said that Kosovo should rescind the import tariffs while Serbia should engage more sincerely in the dialogue for normalisation of relations.

Haradinaj reacts to Borrell’s statements on Kosovo’s recognition (media)

Leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo and acting Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj reacted to statements of Josep Borrell, candidate for the post of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, before the members of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee.

“When he hear today Mr. Borrell, nominated to succeed Mrs. Mogherini, saying at the hearing before the Foreign Affairs Committee that Kosovo will never be a country for as long as it is not recognised by China, Russia, India, I feel sorry for the shallowness of his knowledge about our region while he aims to lead the EU foreign policy. We remind Mr. Borrell about the fundamental principle – that recognition based on the international law neither makes nor unmakes the being of a state. Recognition is a political act and does not determine the legal and political functioning of a state,” Haradinaj wrote on Facebook.

Fajon congratulates Vetevendosje on election win (media)

European Parliament rapporteur for visa liberalisation for Kosovo, Tanja Fajon, commended election process in Kosovo saying the voting took place in a peaceful, fair and democratic atmosphere. She also congratulated Vetevendosje for the victory. “People have spoken in favour of change, now it is time to put words into actions,” Fajon wrote on Facebook.

Bosnia expects new government of Kosovo to lift import tariff (RFE)

Bosnia and Herzegovina Minister of Trade Mirko Sarovic told Radio Free Europe that they expect the two main forces that won Sunday elections in Kosovo – Vetevendosje and the Democratic League of Kosovo – to stabilise regional relations and lift the tariff on Bosnian products.

“I expect the removal of the tariffs right after the government is formed. If this fails to happen, there will be a complication of relations within CEFTA and generally in the region,” Sarovic said.

U.S. pledges $5 million for conventional weapons destruction in Kosovo (media)

The United States has committed additional $5 million for clearing cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war in Kosovo, a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo announced.

Set to be implemented over four years (2020-2023), this assistance is expected to return at least 4,298,442 square meters (1,060 acres) of hazardous land back to the people of Kosovo and is the largest single contribution of conventional weapons destruction funding from the United States in Kosovo since the U.S. began its Kosovo program in 1996.  “This contribution will address high-impact sites contaminated with cluster munitions and ERW, eventually turning over residual landmine contamination for national authorities to address with their own national capacity,” the statement reads.

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