- “Kosovo-Serbia agreement, strategic priority for the U.S.” (Koha Ditore)
- LVV-LDK working groups set to meet today (Zeri)
- Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti’s interview to News 24
- LDK leader Isa Mustafa’s interview to Klan Kosova
- Vetevendosje movement files a complaint at ECAP (media)
- Sherifi: NISMA currently stands at above 5 percent (Klan Kosova)
- Publicist Veton Surroi’s interview to T7
- Krasniqi says no PDK member supports land swap idea (T7/Express)
- Former KSF commander, Kastrati, summoned by Specialist Chambers (media)
- Cakaj: Mini-Schengen to remove Kosovo-Serbia border barriers (Koha)
- Countess of Wessex meets President Thaci (media)
- Dehari family urges authorities to release expertise report (media)
“Kosovo-Serbia agreement, strategic priority for the U.S.” (Koha Ditore)
David Kostelancik, director of the Office of South-Central Europe at State Department said in Belgrade that a peace agreement between Kosovo and Serbia and also spoke about what Kosovo leadership needs to do now that elections are over.
“Kosovo just emerged from elections and the U.S. has expressed to the leadership of all parties the hope and expectation that they will form a government pro dialogue, ready to suspend the tax which has blocked the process,” Kostelancik said at the Belgrade Security Forum.
Underlining the need for mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia, Kostelancik said the U.S. will always stand in support of Kosovo’s sovereignty. He also noted that Serbia’s campaign to annul recognitions of Kosovo and prevent it from joining international organisations is hampering efforts for dialogue.
“It [Serbia] needs to therefore stop these actions. Both have the full attention and commitment of the U.S. to reach an agreement. Opportunity for mutual recognition and legally binding agreement that enables sustainable peace should not be missed.”
Asked whether the U.S. support border changes as border changes between Kosovo and Serbia as part of the final agreement, Kostelancik said there is no position on this: “These issues that Serbia and Kosovo need to resolve with each other.”
LVV-LDK working groups set to meet today (Zeri)
The paper reports that working groups from the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) are expected to meet today, eight days after the VV and LDK leaders met and agreed to continue talks on forming a coalition government.
Vetevendosje will be represented in the working group by Besnik Bislimi and Glauk Konjufca while Kujtim Shala and Lumir Abdixhiku will represent the LDK. Their meeting is set to start at 11.00hrs at the LDK offices in Pristina.
Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti’s interview to News 24
Albin Kurti, leader of the Vetevendosje Movement, which won the highest number of votes in the recent parliamentary elections, said in an interview to Tirana-based News 24 on Thursday that President Hashim Thaci would not give him the mandate to create the government willingly, but that it is his obligation to do so.
“President Thaci has a chance to do a good job, to give me the mandate to create the government. He does not give me the mandate willingly, but it is his constitutional obligation. I hope that he has reflected after 6 October elections,” he said.
He said that he would not like to have an opposition as he was. “There will be no arrogance from my side, in order to have radicalization from theirs,” he said.
Kurti said that the problem with the north is that Serbia is still present there. He said his future government would eliminate Serbia’s presence by cooperating with local Serbs who, he said, also suffer from Serbia’s ‘hegemony’.
“We need to go to the north of Kosovo, to go there in the form of service. Bajram Rexhepi was the only leader that went there as far as I know. We have to be in the government to serve every resident of Kosovo, be it Serb or Albanian. The north’s Trepca and that of the south need to be united, I think that with Trepca’s unification Mitrovica will be united. Investment is needed in Trepca. Pristina, that is our government, has not invested in Trepca but Serbia has. This should no longer be the case,” Kurti said.
Kurti said he would not rush into an agreement with Serbia and that he favors a dialogue with principles. He said he would initially ask Serbia to pay back the debt it owes to Kosovo. “My offer to Serbia is to pay us back the debt. We will line up everything. I will demand the debt to be paid,” he said. “Dialogue can begin, but I would not rush into an agreement”.
Asked to comment on the border demarcation with Montenegro, Kurti said “land was taken away from us, but the EU did not deliver on its promise (visa liberalisation) … We will do everything to correct the agreement with Montenegro. The mistake was made by our commission, not by Montenegro”.
LDK leader Isa Mustafa’s interview to Klan Kosova
Isa Mustafa, leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), said in an interview to Klan Kosova on Thursday evening that a coalition with the Kurti-led Vetevendosje is not an ordinary coalition and difficult to be reached. “A future coalition with Vetevendosje is not an ordinary coalition. It is a coalition that is complicated and difficult to be reached and managed … We will focus on all possible common points. First to have investments in the private sector, to support the private sector, mainly small and medium businesses, to increase the employment rate and reduce unemployment, growth of the GDP that enables other economic indicators to be positive and creates greater security for foreign investors to come to Kosovo and make direct investments … We can fight the best war against crime and corruption compared to any other party, if we decide to form a ruling coalition,” he said.
Mustafa said they will accept the final result even if Vetevendosje is the winner of the 6 October parliamentary elections. “I said that I would feel much more at ease if Vjosa Osmani was the Prime Minister not Albin Kurti, but it will remain as the sovereign decided,” he said adding that if the people decided for Vetevendosje, that decision will be acceptable for LDK.
Speaking about the impact of diaspora votes on the final result, Mustafa said that it would have been rightful for the people who live in Kosovo to determine the winner. He further said that he would not like to minimize the role of the Kosovo people who live abroad and their extraordinary contribution during the 1990s.
Mustafa admitted that he would want to become President of Kosovo. He however added that currently, this is not the main topic of the negotiations between LDK and Vetevendosje Movement.
“It is a special honor for someone to end his political carrier with a responsibility towards the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, however I am not the one that can make myself a President, and I will not impose myself as a president of the country,” Mustafa said.
He added that the agreement between the LVV and LDK cannot be reached is there are conditions from LVV’s side.
“We will be sitting with a blank page in front of us without any condition. No one can say “come and sit at the table, but I have reserved three ministries for myself, while seven others from the ten are open for negotiations,” Mustafa said.
“The only reason we came out to be the second, is that we did not have the diaspora votes,” Mustafa added.
Vetevendosje movement files a complaint at ECAP (media)
Vetevendosje Movement has filed a complaint with the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) with regard to the failure to count the four thousand and 639 postal deliveries with ballots received from Diaspora.
“Today the Vetevendosje Movement filed a complaint with the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel with regards to the failure of the Results Counting Center to count 4639 postal deliveries with ballots arriving from diaspora.
Last night, 13491 ballots of the voters from diaspora were counted. We expect that ECAP will come up with the decision within the legal deadlines and order CEC, service for voting from outside of the country, to proceed without delay counting of all ballots arriving from our diaspora.
Procedural justifications which artificially override the free will of the electorate from Diaspora, undermine democracy. Therefore, those ballots have to be counted,” Vetevendosje Movement wrote.
Sherifi: NISMA currently stands at above 5 percent (Klan Kosova)
Bilall Sherifi from the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) said that following the recount of 314 ballot boxes, their coalition with the New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) and the Justice Party (PD) stands at 5.05 percent.
“Preliminary results from 314 ballot boxes displayed in the K-Votes system and the information from the recount of these 314 ballot boxes is as follows: In these 314 boxes, NISMA has 5.01 percent and after they were recounted the result stands at 5.05 percent,” Sherifi said.
Publicist Veton Surroi’s interview to T7
Publicist Veton Surroi, in an interview to RTV Dukagjini on Thursday, commented on the results of the snap parliamentary elections, saying that the victory of opposition parties brings hope for Kosovo. He said the most important developments in the elections is Vetevendosje’s first election after a split in the party, Vjosa Osmani’s candidacy by the Democratic League of Kosovo and PDK leader Kadri Veseli’s anti-corruption platform. Surroi said “PDK and Veseli could have created problems in the election process but they chose otherwise”. “PDK still has a mechanism for an industrial theft of vote, but it was Veseli’s decision not to go that way but act differently and follow a transformative and evolutive way,” Surroi added.
Krasniqi says no PDK member supports land swap idea (T7/Express)
Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) senior member Memli Krasniqi said in an interview to T7 on Thursday that no member of the PDK ever supported the land swap idea as a solution between Kosovo and Serbia. “No one in the PDK talks about the land swap. We are in fact against it … President Thaci is not a member of the PDK, he is President of the country … We wanted the government to lead the process of dialogue. Dialogue is a very important topic and the PDK always played a constructive role in terms of state interests and will keep doing so … I hope the new government will not use the process of dialogue as an excuse to leave other state matters behind,” Krasniqi said.
Former KSF commander, Kastrati, summoned by Specialist Chambers (media)
Former commander of the Kosovo Security Force, Kadri Kastrati, has been summoned by the Specialist Chambers and is expected to be interviewed in the first week of November.
“The Kosovo Liberation Army war was just and sacred and will remain as such,” Kastrati said in a Facebook post where he announced he had received a call from specialist prosecutors.
Cakaj: Mini-Schengen to remove Kosovo-Serbia border barriers (Koha)
Albania’s acting Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj said that the ultimate goal of the Mini-Schengen idea for the Western Balkans is the removal of border barriers between Kosovo and Serbia but added that this is not something that can be done overnight.
Cakaj said the Mini-Schengen is not aimed at creating a former Yugoslavia or replace the EU integration process. Instead, he added, it will eliminate obstacles standing in the way of Western Balkan countries. “The idea was the deepening of cooperation between Western Balkan countries towards EU integration,” Cakaj said.
Countess of Wessex meets President Thaci (media)
All media cover the meeting that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci had on Thursday in Pristina with Countess Sophie of Wessex. Citing a release issued by the British Embassy in Pristina, several news websites reported that “HRH The Countess of Wessex met the President of the Republic of Kosovo, HE Hashim Thaci, at the start of her visit to Kosovo. HRH The Countess of Wessex and the President discussed the need to work together to challenge the stigma that still harms survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV), and for adequate financial compensation and specialised support”. Thaci’s office too issued a press release after the meeting saying that they discussed about the achievements and challenges in dealing with the past, especially when it comes to victims of sexual violence. Thaci thanked the Countess of Wessex for the visit and the engagement, and also for the engagement of the UK in general. “We are grateful for the overall support of the United Kingdom, especially for the work and commitment to dealing with wounds like those of victims of sexual violence in war”, said President Thaci. “Your participation, your messages, are encouragement for the victims and for the entire society”, said President Thaci. Her Royal Highness, the Countess of Wessex, stated that it is important that the victims receive appropriate care, attention and support. Thaci and the Countess of Wessex agreed that it is the responsibility of all segments of society to do their utmost to accommodate all war victims, in particular the victims of sexual violence.
Dehari family urges authorities to release expertise report (media)
The family of Astrit Dehari, Vetevendosje activist that died in a detention centre in Prizren in 2016, have called on judicial authorities to release the expertise report into the death of their son carried out by a Swiss institute in Lausanne. Yesterday, Prizren chief prosecutor Admir Shala held a press conference and announced that they have received the report but that they did not yet open it. Shala said the document will be sent to the prosecutor working on the case and will also be sent for translation.