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UNMIK Headlines 9 October

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• President Thaci to meet today Trump’s special envoy for Kosovo – Serbia talks (RTK)
• Vetevendosje leader Kurti meets U.S. Ambassador Kosnett (media)
• Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti interview to KTV
• ECAP rejects parties’ demands for vote recount (media)
• Haradinaj doesn’t dispute election results, will not demand vote recount (media)
• Vetevendosje’s Haxhiu reacts to vote recount request (media)
• U.S. expects new government of Kosovo to continue dialogue with Serbia (Koha)
• Heldt: Responsibility belongs to politics for the benefit of country’s future (Klan)
• Abbott: Kosovo election, peaceful and well-organised (media)
• Mogherini and Hahn issue joint statement on Kosovo elections (media)
• EU observers: Elections were democratic but not in Serb-majority areas (media)
• Von Cramon-Taubadel appointed EP rapporteur for Kosovo (Zeri)
• Mustafa meets Ambassador Kosnett (Epoka)
• Chile invites Kosovo to take part in Interpol general assembly (Koha)

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  • President Thaci to meet today Trump’s special envoy for Kosovo – Serbia talks (RTK)
  • Vetevendosje leader Kurti meets U.S. Ambassador Kosnett (media)
  • Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti interview to KTV
  • ECAP rejects parties’ demands for vote recount (media)
  • Haradinaj doesn’t dispute election results, will not demand vote recount (media)
  • Vetevendosje’s Haxhiu reacts to vote recount request (media)
  • U.S. expects new government of Kosovo to continue dialogue with Serbia (Koha)
  • Heldt: Responsibility belongs to politics for the benefit of country’s future (Klan)
  • Abbott: Kosovo election, peaceful and well-organised (media)
  • Mogherini and Hahn issue joint statement on Kosovo elections (media)
  • EU observers: Elections were democratic but not in Serb-majority areas (media)
  • Von Cramon-Taubadel appointed EP rapporteur for Kosovo (Zeri)
  • Mustafa meets Ambassador Kosnett (Epoka)
  • Chile invites Kosovo to take part in Interpol general assembly (Koha)

President Thaci to meet today Trump’s special envoy for Kosovo – Serbia talks (RTK)

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci will meet today in Pristina with the U.S. President Donald Trump’s Special Envoy for the Kosovo – Serbia talks Richard Grenell. The meeting will take place at 13:00 hours. Grenell, who is also Ambassador to Germany is visiting Kosovo for the first time after being nominated at this position.

Vetevendosje leader Kurti meets U.S. Ambassador Kosnett (media)

Media reported that Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti met yesterday with U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett, two days after Vetevendosje won in the early parliamentary elections.

Vetevendosje issued a press release after the meeting saying that Kosnett was pleased with the smooth course of the election process and the high voter turnout. “In a friendly meeting, Ambassador Kosnett said he was pleased with the smooth course of the election process, the high voter turnout and congratulated Kurti for a campaign that addressed the voters’ concerns. He showed particular interest in the progress against corruption, the economy, progress in the dialogue with Serbia, toward reaching a comprehensive agreement that would bring stability and sustainable peace to the region,” the press release notes.

“Kurti assured Kosnett that he will be a Prime Minister of all citizens of Kosovo. He notified the ambassador that Kosovo’s internal consolidation with democratic state-building, the rule of law, economic development and social progress are among the priorities he will implement, as these were voiced by the citizens and their will expressed in the elections.

Kurti said starting from the first week, he would initiate dialogue with the Kosovo Serbs, from the bottom up, for their development and integration. In the first month, he said a meeting is needed with Mr. Borrell, the new EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, as well as with Brussels on the dialogue with Serbia, because the dialogue with Serbia needs to be well-prepared and with clear principles. Beforehand, the chapter of the 33 agreements signed needs to be closed, namely their implementation and impact needs to be evaluated. We should not run late but there is also no need to be hasty and make mistakes that can cost us in the future”.

Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti interview to KTV

Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti said in an interview to KTV on Wednesday evening that he doesn’t expect the election result to change and that once the mailed ballots are counted, Vetevendosje’s lead will deepen. He said he contacted both LDK leader Isa Mustafa and LDK’s candidate for prime minister Vjosa Osmani on Monday and said he expects to meet both on Thursday. “I have asked them to meet today or in the coming days and they said in the coming days so most likely we will meet on Thursday so we don’t lose time in starting coalition talks,” he said.

Asked on the possible involvement of the Serbian List in his government, Kurti said he cannot approach Serbian List MPs, who don’t recognise Kosovo, before reaching out first to Kosovo Serbs, like Nenad Rasic, who recognise the Republic of Kosovo. “Best would be for the PDK and the Serbian List to be in the opposition. These two are not parties, they are states. In order to have democratic state-building, we need the Serbian List and the PDK in the opposition. It would be immoral of me to contact and lobby with the Serbian List when I have already received messages from Rasic and Nikolic congratulating me on the election victory. We have Serbs who say the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo. I will start talks with them. It is good to challenge the Serbian List to vote for a Serb outside the Serbian List. I have yet to talk to the Serbs. I will start with the LDK first and then with the others. All non-Serb parties have congratulated me, but leaders of Albanian parties haven’t done so. Why should we take Rikalo and co, when we have Nenad Rasic. I am not interested in oppressing them [the Serbian List] but freeing them from Belgrade.”

Kurti said a quarter of Kosovo population lives in poverty but what is striking is that by the last week of the month this figure increases and includes almost half of the population. “I did not publicly rejoice but was glad that elections took place on 6 October than if they had taken place on 29 September because this would have been the last week of the month and vote buying would have been much likelier,” he said.

On the issue of tax against Serbia, Kurti said that it would be replaced with full reciprocity and that he was not asked about the tariff in his recent meeting with Kosnett. “I said earlier that tariff is not a Vetevendosje policy but full reciprocity. If Serbia wished to do something directly for Kosovo Serbs, we should have the right to do the same for Albanians in the Valley.” “The tariff is a criteria of the powerful. With reciprocity we become powerful without becoming overbearing.”

Kurti said when he takes office, he will review all agreements reached so far in the dialogue with Serbia. He said that in order to know how to proceed with the process of dialogue, one first needs to know what happened in the past and where these agreements stand now. Kurti said an agreement reached between now-Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic was detrimental. He implied that some agreements could be sent to the Venice Commission, and added that he doesn’t expect LDK MPs to reject this, because some of the most famous LDK MPs, including Vjosa Osmani, were against these agreements.

He said he would not allow Serbia’s interference in the Kosovo politics. “We need to be united, position and opposition, towards Serbia. Former prime minister was weak for two reasons: it made prior deals to vote demarcation and leave Thaci dialogue. This was the first reason. Second, it had 12 MPs and over 20 parties in the government. These made him a weak prime minister.”

Kurti said the specialist chambers – which will address allegations of war crimes committed by members of the KLA – cannot be undone but that he would make them unnecessary by strengthening the local courts. “The PDK continuously supported it, with some exceptions. And now the Special Court is a constitutional category. It is regrettable that there is now a Special Court. It cannot be undone because it takes over 80 MPs, including the Serbs. There were summons for interviews, now there is silence, perhaps because of the elections. This court would not pass at the Strasbourg Court, I am confident that whoever complains in Strasbourg, would win the case … I cannot undo the Special Court, but I will make it unnecessary, because when local courts will reach a satisfactory level of performance, there will be no need for the Special Court. UNMIK and EULEX don’t care about justice for the citizens, and the Special Court found a weird rationale, but we will strengthen the local courts to render the Special Court unnecessary. I don’t believe the KLA committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, but there could have been some committed by individuals. If someone killed an elderly Serb woman in Pristina over a flat, that is a crime and it needs to be punished. And that was not the KLA, because the KLA was in a position to commit crimes during the NATO air raids, and it did not do so. So because of some individuals and their material gains, to have the glorious history of the KLA and our state as a Republic suffer, this is unacceptable,” he said.

Kurti also said “we will not take revenge on current civil servants”. “We don’t have time to deal with such issues, removing people from work. I will have a different approach. Many of them that have jobs, don’t have enough work. As Prime Minister I will give them more work,” he said.

Kurti said previous legislatives were not dynamic enough. “There was this arrogance of votes by different governments. I promise we will not do this. I won’t be a Prime Minister that goes rarely to Parliament and who hides behind his ministers,” he added.

Kurti was also asked to comment on a Facebook post one of Vetevendosje officials, Sali Zyba, wrote against former party colleague now leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Shpend Ahmeti comparing him to former Kacanik mayor Xhabir Zharku who fled Kosovo after being convicted of criminal activity. “I did not read the post but I would not make such comparisons. I think we have much smarter things to do than deal with who did what.”

Kurti said he sticks to his offer made to LDK that the next government should have only twelve ministries. “Whichever ministry belongs to Vetevendosje, the deputy will be from LDK, I think that it is set right,” Kurti said adding that no ministry should have more than two deputy ministers. He considers that this manner would avoid creation of entity feuds.

“The prosecution will breath for the first time freely, released from the executive. It will change from passive to active approach. Vetting is very important. In our discussions with Mustafa and Osmani, I am convinced that we will agree on this matter. I cannot say this for all the MPs but I do not have any doubt these two,” Kurti said.

Kurti said that a post-election coalition without LDK is not possible. According to him, if the agreement is not reached with LDK, new elections should be held, although PAN coalition would make different maneuvers trying to reach something with LDK. However, according to him, this would have been ‘the biggest violation of people’s will.”

“No there is no other option. We cannot replace LDK with PAN now. I will start discussions with LDK, based on election result and to reach a final agreement. Because if we do not agree, we will go to elections again. Taking our mandate would have been the greatest violation of people’s will. The Pan camp have violent fantasies to reach something LDK,” Kurti said.

ECAP rejects parties’ demands for vote recount (media)

The Election Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) has rejected the complaints presented separately by the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) demanding a Kosovo-wide vote recount. ECAP dismissed the complaints as groundless.

Gazeta Blic yesterday reported that the complaints filed by these political parties focus on an alleged printing error in the ballot. They argue that there are only 24 columns in the ballot although there were 25 political parties running in the election.

Haradinaj doesn’t dispute election results, will not demand vote recount (media)

Leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj said in a press conference yesterday that he accepts the results of Sunday’s early parliamentary elections. “AAK accepts the results. We do not dispute it,” he said adding that they will not seek a vote recount.

“The citizens have not given us the right to form government, they have chosen the others. We congratulate the winners, all parties,” Haradinaj said.

He noted however that AAK-PSD coalition currently has over 90,000 votes and that by the end of the voting process, they stand to near 100,000. “It is a large number and we thank the citizens. As a percentage, it is a significant increase from 2014 elections, around 35 percent increase,” Haradinaj said.

He however said that the people of Kosovo may be in for a disappointment with regards to what they expect from Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti. “There is a realistic chance the winner deceits and disappoints the citizens. I hope I am wrong.”

Vetevendosje’s Haxhiu reacts to vote recount request (media)

Albulena Haxhiu from Vetevendosje commented on Facebook about the request from the Democratic League of Kosovo (PDK), the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) for a vote recount.

“Since this morning I have received many messages and phone calls from citizens, friends and family. They are concerned about possible tendencies for vote manipulation following the recount request. Remain calm, do not worry. We have relevant persons that safeguard the will of the citizens. No doubt, the entities that have not received support from the citizens try to find salvation through recount. The people have spoken on 6 October. Their will shall be materialized,” Haxhiu wrote.

U.S. expects new government of Kosovo to continue dialogue with Serbia (Koha)

U.S. State Department has congratulated Kosovo for successful early parliamentary elections and reiterated that it expects the leadership to be ready to immediately engage in dialogue with Serbia.

“We look forward to the opportunity to work with the new, pro-dialogue government when that is formed and which is committed in strengthening democracy and ensure peace, justice, prosperity for all citizens of Kosovo. We have been clear in our expectations for the new leadership of Kosovo to be ready to immediately get engaged in working with Serbia towards an agreement that normalises relations,” a spokesperson for the State Department said.

Heldt: Responsibility belongs to politics for the benefit of country’s future (Klan)

German Ambassador to Kosovo, Christian Heldt, said that he expects the formation of the new government as soon as all votes are counted.

“As soon as counting is complete, we look forward to the swift formation of a new government and close cooperation to move on. Citizens have given the mandate, now the responsibility lays on politics for the benefit of the country’s future,” Heldt wrote on Twitter. He also congratulated the people of Kosovo for ‘smooth’ elections.

Abbott: Kosovo election, peaceful and well-organised (media)

British Ambassador to Kosovo, Nicholas Abbott, said that Kosovo held calm and well-organised elections and that this is an indicator that Kosovo’s democracy is growing.

“I applaud the Central Elections Commission’s dedication and professionalism, which our British Embassy observers saw first-hand across the country. It was great to see preliminary results posted so quickly on the CEC website, which made the process even more transparent. I welcome the EU Election Observation Mission’s statement today, and share the view that the elections were well-administered. But I am concerned by the levels of intimidation in some Kosovo Serb areas during the campaign. The results are clear. Kosovo has voted for change, and now expects the quick formation of a new, stable Government which will tackle the important issues facing the country. I look forward to working with the new Government,” Abbott said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Mogherini and Hahn issue joint statement on Kosovo elections (media)

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn issued a statement on early parliamentary elections that took place in Kosovo on 6 October calling them “peaceful” and “orderly”.

“The European Union looks forward to the formation of a new government as soon as the relevant procedures are completed. This is important so that Kosovo can swiftly resume work on reforms in support of economic and social development as well as rule of law, on the implementation of the EU-Kosovo Stabilisation and Association Agreement and on the EU-facilitated Dialogue with Belgrade. We expect all political actors to remain committed to these processes, which are key for Kosovo’s future, for progress on its European path, and most importantly for the benefit of the people of Kosovo and of the whole region,” the statement reads.

Mogherini and Hahn underlined that according to the EU Election Observation Mission preliminary statement Kosovo elections were “well administered and transparent”. “The campaign environment was vibrant and competitive in most of Kosovo, but marred by intimidation in the Kosovo Serb areas. All the irregularities identified should be addressed by the authorities.” The EU EOM is expected to deliver a final report with recommendations for future electoral processes in the coming months.

See the full statement: https://bit.ly/2IuCpEz

EU observers: Elections were democratic but not in Serb-majority areas (media)

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EOM) in Kosovo said in a press conference in Pristina yesterday that the October 6 parliamentary elections were well-administered, transparent and democratic, but that in Serb-inhabited regions they did not meet international standards as voters were intimidated to vote in favor of the Serbian List.

EU Chief Observer Viola von Cramon-Taubadel said at the press conference: “the parliamentary elections were well-administered and transparent. The observation mission positively evaluated the voting process. However, in Serb-inhabited areas, voters that did not support the Serbian List were subject to intimidation. The process for the Kosovo Serbs did not comply with the international standards. The election day was quiet, the overall assessment is positive. The CEC secured transparency in the process and this was their key characteristic”. The EU Chief Observer also addressed remarks about the lack of election reform.

Von Cramon-Taubadel appointed EP rapporteur for Kosovo (Zeri)

German MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel has been appointed by the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee as the new rapporteur for Kosovo.

Most recently von Cramon-Taubadel was engaged as chief observer with the EU Election Observation Mission to Kosovo and is replacing Igor Soltes.

Mustafa meets Ambassador Kosnett (Epoka)

Isa Mustafa, leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) met on Tuesday with the U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett. They discussed the Sunday’s election process. Mustafa expressed on this occasion his gratitude and special appreciation for the continuous support of the U.S. According to a press release issued by LDK, Ambassador Kosnett was pleased with the flow of the election process, turnout and the focus on the matters that concerned the voters. He said he expects a renewable focus on the progress on combating corruption, economy and dialogue with Serbia, towards the reach of a comprehensive agreement that would bring sustainable stability and peace in the region. Deputy leaders of this political party, Agim Veliu, Vjosa Osmani, Lutfi Haziri and well as member of LDK’s chairmanship, Vlora Dumoshi, were also present at this meeting.

Chile invites Kosovo to take part in Interpol general assembly (Koha)

Kosovo has been invited by Chile to take part in the annual general assembly of Interpol expected to get underway on 15 October, sources from the Kosovo Foreign Ministry told Koha. What is known so far is that a five-member delegation from Kosovo will be travelling to Santiago and will be headed by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rejhan Vuniqi.

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