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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, October 18, 2019

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Albanian Language Media:

• Nagavci: We don’t accept conditions from LDK, Kurti will be PM (Koha)
• Vetevendosje working group arrives at LDK premises, the meeting begins (Express)
• Nuredin Ibishi – Leka summoned by Specialist Chambers (Gazeta Express)
• Haradinaj: I stopped the Kosovo division project and a theft of €10 billion (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Stojanovic: I would never compare sufferings and tariffs (Danas)
• Research: 75 percent of Serbian citizens would consider recognition of Kosovo as treason (KoSSev)
• Vucic wrote to EU regarding alleged poisoning case (B92)
• Brussels: EU leaders deadlock over membership talks for North Macedonia and Albania (Tanjug, B92)
• Fajon: Wake up Macron, EU must show political maturity and responsibility (N1 Belgrade, N1 Sarajevo)
• Dodik: Bosnian Serbs can’t wait for a demarcation between Serbia and Kosovo (N1, TV Klan)
• Dacic to TV Prva: ”Poisoned envelopes” one in a series of “classic lies” of Pristina (Blic, Vecernje Novosti, N1)
• Suspended talks in Brussels on Albania and Northern Macedonia; the consequences of delay are brutal (Serbian media)
• IPU conference ends in Belgrade with Declaration and Resolution (Beta, RTS)
• Botsan-Kharchenko: Situation in Kosovo serious (RTS)
• President Vucic on Kosovo, dialogue, Albin Kurti (Politika, TV Pink)
• Bundestag delegation chief says Serbian president is legitimate partner (N1, DW)

International:

• First Flag: Kosovo’s Would-Be PM Takes Serbian Heat For Favoring Albanian Banner (RFE)
• Russia submits proposal on moving UNGA First Committee’s sessions from New York (TASS)
• Russia calls for condemning radicals in Kosovo for raising tensions in Balkans (TASS)

Humanitarian and Development:

• Gracanica Mayor: Seriously consider the problem of pollution of the river bed in Laplje Selo (KIM radio, Gracanicaonline.info, RTK2)
• Regional cooperation necessary for fighting human trafficking (Kosovapress)
• Countess of Wessex meets religious leaders of Kosovo (RTK)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Nagavci: We don’t accept conditions from LDK, Kurti will be PM (Koha)
  • Vetevendosje working group arrives at LDK premises, the meeting begins (Express)
  • Nuredin Ibishi – Leka summoned by Specialist Chambers (Gazeta Express)
  • Haradinaj: I stopped the Kosovo division project and a theft of €10 billion (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Stojanovic: I would never compare sufferings and tariffs (Danas)                           
  • Research: 75 percent of Serbian citizens would consider recognition of Kosovo as treason (KoSSev)
  • Vucic wrote to EU regarding alleged poisoning case (B92)                                       
  • Brussels: EU leaders deadlock over membership talks for North Macedonia and Albania (Tanjug, B92)                                                                                                                        
  • Fajon: Wake up Macron, EU must show political maturity and responsibility (N1 Belgrade, N1 Sarajevo)
  • Dodik: Bosnian Serbs can’t wait for a demarcation between Serbia and Kosovo (N1, TV Klan)                                                                                                                                   
  • Dacic to TV Prva: ”Poisoned envelopes” one in a series of “classic lies” of Pristina (Blic, Vecernje Novosti, N1)
  • Suspended talks in Brussels on Albania and Northern Macedonia; the consequences of delay are brutal (Serbian media)                                                                                       
  • IPU conference ends in Belgrade with Declaration and Resolution (Beta, RTS)
  • Botsan-Kharchenko: Situation in Kosovo serious (RTS)                                                   
  • President Vucic on Kosovo, dialogue, Albin Kurti (Politika, TV Pink)
  • Bundestag delegation chief says Serbian president is legitimate partner (N1, DW)

International:

  • First Flag: Kosovo’s Would-Be PM Takes Serbian Heat For Favoring Albanian Banner (RFE)
  • Russia submits proposal on moving UNGA First Committee’s sessions from New York (TASS)
  • Russia calls for condemning radicals in Kosovo for raising tensions in Balkans (TASS)

Humanitarian and Development:

  • Gracanica Mayor: Seriously consider the problem of pollution of the river bed in Laplje Selo (KIM radio, Gracanicaonline.info, RTK2)
  • Regional cooperation necessary for fighting human trafficking (Kosovapress)
  • Countess of Wessex meets religious leaders of Kosovo (RTK)

Albanian Language Media

 

Nagavci: We don’t accept conditions from LDK, Kurti will be PM (Koha)

Vetevendosje member Arberie Nagavci, who is expected to have a seat in the new Assembly, in an interview to KTV on Thursday commented on talks between LVV and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) for approximating a government program. “We have set a meeting between the two working groups for tomorrow [today]. In the previous meeting between Kurti and Bislimi and Mustafa and Osmani, an agreement was reached to continue talks at the level of working groups. We voted at the General Council for Bislimi and Konjufca [to attend the talks] and from the other side there are Abdullah Hoti, Kujtim Shala and Lumir Abdixhiku … Their task is to harmonise a government program”. “We have agreed that the Prime Minister should have only two deputies, for the government to have 12 ministries and 2 to 3 deputy ministers in the bigger ministries because of the fusion”. Asked to comment on recent statements by LDK officials, in particular by Lutfi Haziri, Nagavci said no conditions were made in meetings between party leaders. “There were no conditions or talks about the division of posts. There was only agreement on the number of ministries. There were no conditions, and we believe that there should be no conditions that would obstruct our continued cooperation,” she added. Nagavci also said, “the Vetevendosje Movement is the biggest party and Mr. Kurti will be the new Prime MInister. He received this legitimacy from the people”.

Vetevendosje working group arrives at LDK premises, the meeting begins (Express)

Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) working group has arrived at the headquarters of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) to hold their first meeting in the efforts to accord their programs for co-governance as announced after 6 October elections.

Part of the LVV team are Glauk Konjufca, Albulena Haxhiu and Besmik Bislimi. While the LDK team is comprised of Avdullah Hoti, Kujtim Shala and Lumir Abdixhiku.

This is the first meeting of the working groups, which precedes the one held between the leaders of the two political parties.

Nuredin Ibishi – Leka summoned by Specialist Chambers (Gazeta Express)

The news website reports that Nuredin Ibishi – Leka, a former senior officer in the Kosovo Liberation Army’s Operational Zone in the Llap region, has been summoned by the Specialist Chambers. The KLA War Veterans confirmed the invitation. Ibishi was also a former MP from the Democratic League of Kosovo.

Haradinaj: I stopped the Kosovo division project and a theft of €10 billion (media)

Several news websites report that Kosovo’s outgoing Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said in an interview to Ora that he “stopped the theft of €10 billion from the project for Kosovo’s division”. “This was the secret economic objective behind the plan for a land swap between Kosovo and Serbia. Thaci, Vucic and Rama were collaborating in implementing this scheme. But I stopped this theft and the Trepca mining complex, for two months, belongs only to Kosovo,” he argued. Haradinaj claimed that Albania’s Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj was actively promoting the partition project in international circles. Haradinaj said that Kosovo has benefited €600 million from introducing the 100 percent import tariff on Serbian products. He added that Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti, if he assumes the post of Prime Minister, “would make a terrible mistake if decides to lift the tariff”. Haradinaj also said that he was forced by international and local factors to resign the Prime Minister post. 

Serbian Language Media

 

Stojanovic: I would never compare sufferings and fees (Danas)

Historian Dubravka Stojanovic comments on the statement of the winner of the Kosovo elections, Albin Kurti – that he does not want the Republika Srpska to be an obstacle in good relations between Albanians and Bosniaks, between Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

– I would never measure sufferings. And then, according to the suffering, determine the percentage of the tariffs. Tariffs have been set because of current relations, in order for Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to recognize Kosovo, which is a political issue. Misusing history and suffering is a humiliation for the victims – concludes Dubravka Stojanovic.

Research: 75 percent of Serbian citizens would consider recognition of Kosovo as treason (KoSSev)

Citizens of Serbia see recognition of Kosovo as a very harmful scenario, while the very word “recognition” is filled with emotions and is mainly related to the “treason of national interests” and causes feelings “of treason and disappointment.”  These are the conclusions of the research conducted by the Centre for Social Dialogue and Regional Initiatives, KoSSev portal reports.

The findings of the research were presented at the ongoing Belgrade Security Forum while the KoSSev journalist spoke with the authors of the survey.

Although Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic often talks about Kosovo, almost 60 percent of respondents said they are not aware of what the policy of the President Vucic regarding Kosovo is. When asked what in their opinion could be Vucic’s plan for Kosovo, 23 percent of respondents said it is a recognition of Kosovo for getting the EU membership. 21 percent said they believe the plan is that Serbia recognizes Kosovo if the northern part of Kosovo belongs to Serbia, one of the authors, Nikola Jovic, Assistant at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade said while presenting the results.

When it comes to Serbia’s EU membership, 65 percent of respondents said they believe recognition of Kosovo is a condition for the membership, while 71 percent of citizens would not support the eventual decision of the Serbian Government to recognize Kosovo to get the EU membership.

Talking about a possible referendum on the agreement with Pristina, none of the seven offered scenarios received majority support, however, the option that received the highest support (33 percent) was an agreement by which Serbia would recognize Kosovo and get the four northern municipalities, Community of the Serb Municipalities in the south and extraterritorial status for the Serbian Orthodox Church. 32 percent of respondents voted for the second scenario by which Serbia would not recognize Kosovo, but would accept its membership in the UN and get the Community of the Serb Municipalities. 15 percent of the respondents would accept exchange of territories, e.g. four northern municipalities in Kosovo for the parts of the municipalities of Presevo and Bujanovac.

45 percent of respondents believe that Aleksandar Vucic could recognize Kosovo at certain point. In the case of recognition, 23 percent would feel sadness, 17 percent would feel betrayed, 13 percent would feel angry, 12 percent disappointed, while less than 10 percent would be indifferent.

The vast majority, respectively 75 percent of the respondents from central Serbia would consider recognition of Kosovo as treason, and almost half of the respondents 48 percent would blame Serbian President and the current government for it, the rest would blame USA 9 percent, Serbs as people 8 percent, and the same percentage would blame foreign factor in general.

The research was carried out in 120 places in central Serbia and included more than 1.100 respondents, KoSSev portal reported. 

Vucic wrote to EU regarding alleged poisoning case (B92)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic sent a letter to the EU High Representative Spokesperson Maja Kocijancic, requesting that the EU tells the public if the Serbs poisoned Albanians, B92 reports.

“I am absolutely sure that after several days of careful monitoring of “poisoning” affair in Pristina you must now have a conclusion as to what exactly occurred. Therefore, I ask you to publicly explain to the entire European audience if there is any evidence whatsoever that any Serbians poisoned the vote counters with anthrax, novichok or some more severe poison,” President Vucic, among other, wrote on his Twitter profile.

“If by any chance all accusations happen to be false, please confirm who started that lie,” Vucic added.

Brussels: EU leaders deadlock over membership talks for North Macedonia and Albania (Tanjug, B92)

EU leaders at Brussels summit were searching for hours a common solution when it comes to opening accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia, Serbian media report today. 

Diplomatic sources said that EU leaders struggled past midnight in a tense debate to reach common conclusions in a bland statement offering encouragement to the candidate countries, and yet postponing a formal decision for the accession talks.

Although the majority of EU countries believe that accession negotiations should begin with both Albania and North Macedonia, a group of countries including the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain are in favor of opening negotiations with Skopje only, the sources at the meeting said.

At the same time, France, Italy and Germany reject the idea of separating the accession bids within Tirana and Skopje talks. France has cited procedural reasons for blocking the two countries, arguing that the EU’s entire accession system is in need of an overhaul.

European Council sources said that first of all, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark are trying to harmonize a text that would postpone Albania and North Macedonia’s accession negotiations for 2020, but also try to “encourage” the two countries.

The discussion on enlargement of the EU came at the end of the first day of a European Council leaders’ summit, as the first topic on the agenda, immediately after adopting the Brexit deal.

After EU ministers tried and failed to reach a deal on the enlargement issue for Skopje and Tirana at a meeting of the General Affairs Council earlier this week, Tusk put the matter on the agenda for the leaders’ summit.

The Netherlands, currently presiding EU, supported a potential compromise that would have allowed talks to begin with North Macedonia while putting Albania on hold, but in the end, leaders also could not agree on separating the bids by the two countries.

France remained firm in its decision that North Macedonia and Albania are not ready to begin the EU membership process, arguing that both have not fulfilled criteria set by the EU, adding that the accession process needs to be reformed.

https://www.b92.net/eng/news/region.php?yyyy=2019&mm=10&dd=18&nav_id=107398

Fajon: Wake up Macron, EU must show political maturity and responsibility (N1 Belgrade, N1 Sarajevo)

It is a “shame” that France vetoed opening EU accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, head of the EP Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilization and Association Parliamentary Committee, Tanja Fajon, wrote on Facebook on Thursday, N1 reports. She urged the French President Emmanuel Macron to “wake up” and the EU to “fulfil its part” and open the talks.

EU Foreign Ministers failed to agree on setting a date for opening the accession talks for the two Balkan countries at a session on Tuesday in Luxembourg. France, the Netherlands and Denmark blocked the decision, stating concerns about the progress of necessary reforms in the two countries.

Paris also asked for a comprehensive reform of the EU accession process as a condition for its approval for future talks with countries which want to join the Union.

“It’s such a shame. Emmanuel Macron wake up! It’s time for the EU to show political maturity and responsibility! These leaders have done their part of the work! Now it’s the Council of the European Union turn to fulfil its part and finally agree to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania,” Tanja Fajon posted alongside photos of her together with North Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev and Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Dimitrov.

Also on Thursday, Frederic Mondoloni, former French ambassador to Serbia and now Director of the Direction for Continental Europe in the French Foreign Ministry, told Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic that his country’s stand was that the Western Balkans could count of the European Union membership after the bloc finished its internal reforms.

Dodik: Bosnian Serbs can’t wait for a demarcation between Serbia and Kosovo (N1, TV Klan)

Serbs in Republika Srpska are looking forward to resolving the Kosovo issue, BiH Presidency Member Milorad Dodik said in an interview with Albanian Klan TV. 

Commenting on the fact that BiH does not recognize Kosovo documents, which virtually prevents travel, Dodik says he does not know where the problem is.

“People should be allowed to travel, this is undoubted, but I do not know why these documents and why this is a problem,” said a BiH Presidency member.

There is no doubt that the problem should be resolved between Belgrade and Pristina says a member of the Presidency, adding that he would follow whatever Serbia decide. 

“As I see it, Kosovo and Albania are integrating and sharing the same political values. I would even say that this is normal. But why would it then not be normal for us Serbs from Republika Srpska to follow Serbia?” he asked.

Dodik said that the Serb-dominatd entity of Republika Srpska would use the opportunity if it would come to a territorial swap and demarcation between Kosovo and Serbia.

“It is not Dodik who is waiting, but Serbs,” he said, asking “why someone would have the right to do something like that and we wouldn’t?”

He added that Republika Srpska has a right to self-determination based on the UN Charter.

“Hopefully I don’t need to prove that the (Bosnian) Serb people have the characteristics of a nation, that is at least not disputable,” he said, adding that he hopes Bosnian Serbs will have a chance to decide on it.

Dacic to TV Prva: ”Poisoned envelopes” one in a series of “classic lies” of Pristina (Blic, Vecernje Novosti, N1)

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic tells Belgrade based TV Prva that that the story of poisoned envelopes is one of a series of Pristina’s “classic lies”, while the truth is only one – an Albanian flag held by Albin Kurti in his cabinet, Serbian media quoted.

On a TV Prva comment that there was no international reaction in the case of allegedly poisoned envelopes, Dacic said that “crow does not poke an eye to the other crow”, and recalled other ”lies”. 

– A million lies, this whole creation is based on lies, and the truth is only one, it stands behind Kurti – the Albanian flag. It is a great Albanian policy – Dacic told TV Prva, on the occasion of a photo of British Ambassador Nicholas Abbott and Albin Kurti, in the premises of “Self-determination”, followed by the flag of Albania.

Dacic said that sitting in front of the Albanian flag, along with Kurti, who is claiming to be Kosovo’s prime minister, was “a classic act of supporting Greater Albania”.

– I think, next time when the ambassador of Great Britain comes, to put the flag of Republika Srpska – Dacic said. He said that more significant to him was that the US ambassador did not want to be photographed in front of the Albanian flag in Kurti’s cabinet.

– This is much more significant than the ones who set down (at the table). The ones who set down, are not up to date on what is happening in the world. They look favourably on everything Pristina does. No problem, Serbia is strong enough to resist everything – Dacic said.

Referring to Kurti’s statement that the Community of Serbian Municipalities (ZSO) is a “dead letter on paper”, Dacic said that the golden age for Pristina is over and that “Kosovo’s so-called independence is a dead letter on paper”.

Asked if Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s arrival in Serbia is a response to ”US imposition in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue”, Dacic told TV Prva that it is not, and that the visit had been arranged long ago.

Dacic recalled that ahead is a meeting between the two countries’ presidents, Alexander Vucic and Vladimir Putin, as well as his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, with whom he said he spoken the phone two days before the Interpol General Assembly began.

– While Serbia is strong, while fighting for its interests and having this approach, Kosovo’s unilateral acts can no longer pass. This causes anger with them. That’s why they’re angry, extreme. They get used to it, that all theirs is passing. But, the golden age for Pristina is over – Dacic said, reminding that more than half of the UN countries do not recognize Kosovo’s independence and that Pristina cannot collect not even 70 votes in various international forums.

– Kurti has been in opposition so far, when you are in opposition it is easy to talk about everything. When you come to power, you need to have one sustainable approach to all problems. If so, as he says, if there is no ZSO, then there is no Brussels Agreement, and then Serbia should consider what that means for us – Dacic said.

Suspended talks in Brussels on Albania and Northern Macedonia; the consequences of delay are brutal (Serbian media)

European leaders suspended talks this morning in Brussels without reaching an agreement on a possible start of accession talks with Albania and Northern Macedonia, Serbian media reports.

The decision was missing despite dramatic talks throughout the night but also warnings that the refusal would damage the EU’s reputation and endanger the Western Balkans region.

The European Commission, which conducts these negotiations, claims that both countries have fulfilled all the conditions for obtaining a date for the start of negotiations.

European leaders have promised to decide on northern Macedonia and Albania by the end of October, but talks have been unsuccessful until this morning. French President Emanuel Macron refuses to accept new members until EU enlargement procedures are improved, while the Netherlands opposes Albania’s bid and disputes EC estimate, reports portal B92.

Panel members from Northern Macedonia, Serbia, Albania and Croatia agree that the consequences of delaying European integration are great. 

The EU has no alternative for the Western Balkan countries or is difficult to find one in the processes of democratization of the society, establishment of the rule of law and improvement of the economy, it was said at the panel “Consequences of delaying the European integration of the Balkan countries”.

According to the panel members the consequences of delaying Eurointegration are great, as this is the biggest reason why people leave these countries in search of better conditions.

Professor at the Faculty of Security in Skopje, Zhidas Daskalovski, said on Thursday that the EU is an instrument for democratizing society, for establishing a better market economy, as well as for the rule of law. “The sooner we enter the EU, the better it is for us, but that does not mean that we should not now work ourselves to have democratic societies,” Daskalovski said. He added that, now, it is difficult for the Balkan countries to establish democratization of society themselves.

“We see that our elites are abusing the very process of European integration, so experience says that we have not been able to achieve much by ourselves so far. Instead of moving forward in all these processes of democratization and the rule of law, we are failing. It would be good for the EU to help those processes and for our sake and because of them,” Daskalovski stated.

He also noted that the consequences of delay were “brutal”.

“Citizens are leaving and this is a terrible problem for all of us because our economy is shrinking, but because there is no critical mass that needs to support the process of democratization and the rule of law and improve the economy,” Daskalovski said.

He added that even if people are not leaving the Balkan countries, then they are excluded from all processes, they become apathetic, they are not interested in any policy, public policy-making processes or the rule of law processes.

Serbian journalist Milica Kravic said that the EU has no alternative for Serbia, and that delaying European integration is a waste of time, in terms of establishing the rule of law, enabling media freedom, economic prosperity. She said that regardless of the delay, Serbia has EU assistance in solving certain problems, and it also benefits from pre-accession funds, but that would all be higher if Serbia were an EU member.

“I believe in the EU, solidarity and that we need to fight. I don’t see an alternative. We must work together, EU members, candidates and others. I know it sounds like a fairy tale, but I believe in it,” Kravic said. 

Albanian journalist Edlira Gjoni stated that the Balkan countries are not like France, Germany and stressed that if they are kept outside the EU, they cannot even be like them.

She said that there were problems in Albania that Eurointegration would surely help, to solve the problem of corruption and not with citizens, but with politicians and organized crime. “We have not met all the criteria and it is our fault, too, but it is not easy to be rejected,” Gjoni said, adding that Albania has a percentage of people who believe in the EU more than in God. She stressed that Albania does not have a plan B when it comes to the EU alternative, adding that the US is not an alternative, as many people think, because it is miles away.

Borna Sor, CEO in Croatia, said that she did not see a real alternative to the European Union, even though, as she said, since joining the Union, instead of advancing in the democratization of society, it has been declining. “We did good things until we joined the EU, but now we share the last places with Romania and Bulgaria on many issues,” Sor said. She also said that the process of European integration was not fully explained to the citizens of Croatia, and that for this reason they often felt that the Union was not helping them.

IPU conference ends in Belgrade with Declaration and Resolution (Beta, RTS)

The 141st session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) ended in Belgrade on Thursday with the adoption of the Belgrade Declaration “Parliament’s Role and Mechanisms in Empowering of International Law and Contribution to Regional Cooperation” and the Resolution on Implementation of Universal Health Protection, the Beta news agency reported.

http://www.diplomacyandcommerce.rs/ipu-conference-ends-in-belgrade-with-declaration-and-resolution/

Botsan-Kharchenko: Situation in Kosovo serious (RTS)

Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Serbia, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko assessed the situation in Kosovo, following snap parliamentary elections there as serious, concerning and unacceptable, RTS reports.

“We shall demand, and we are demanding appropriate reactions of the European Union and KFOR, because it is obvious that Pristina continues with the pressure on Serbian people living there,” Botsan-Kharchenko said.

“The entire situation following elections in Kosovo indicates that there is a worrisome trend and all the words of the Western partners, who said many times the situation would become better after the elections, were only empty talking. Without true pressure exerted upon Pristina, these are really empty words without any grounds,” Russian Ambassador underlined.

He recalled the stance of Russia remains the same, adding that Russia and Serbia have good foreign policy cooperation as well as cooperation in the international institutions, and the latest events in Interpol prove that.

President Vucic on Kosovo, dialogue, Albin Kurti (Politika, TV Pink)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told TV Pink last night that the statement made by Kosovo candidate for the Prime Minister Albin Kurti, who said that if he abolished the tariffs, he would introduce the reciprocal measures to Serbia is a nonsense.

Vucic also said that “Kosovo Albanians needs to straighten up, to be mindful and to understand that they cannot harass Serbia”, because, as he said, “we do not depend on you, but you depend on us”. He added that “Albanians should stop lying about poisoning, stop harassing the Serbian people in Kosovo and when they say they want to talk, there will be talks”.

Serbian President stressed that to him Kosovo is part of Serbia, but noted that he would not lie to the people and say everything is ours. He added, “not all of it is ours, but neither is theirs”, and that the compromise is “not that Serbia loses everything and Albanians win everything”.

Commenting on the statement of Janko Veselinovic, leader of the Serbian opposition Movement for Reversal, that Vucic dares not to say to Kurti that under the Serbian Constitution, Kosovo is not a state, Vucic responded that yes, he can say it, and he can also say that the state of Serbia is independent and makes decisions in the interests of the people independently of the great powers.

Vucic said he will not give up insisting on a comprehensive investigation into the alleged poisoning of members of the Central Election Commission of Kosovo by envelopes with votes from central Serbia. “We will not forget that story, we want to see who was poisoned (…)”. He said the poisoning was fabricated because Kosovo politicians “do not know what to do with themselves”.

“The current government would like to buy some time for a force majeure to happen so that they remain in power, while the others are in a rush to rule” Vucic added. He said that Pristina is nervous about the results of the Serbian List.

Bundestag delegation chief says Serbian president is legitimate partner (N1, DW)

The head of a Bundestag delegation touring the Western Balkans told Deutsche Welle on Friday that the European Union has to do more to support democratic forces in Serbia but added that President Aleksandar Vucic is the legitimate person to talk to.

“Whether we want it or not, Vucic, the President of Serbia, is the legitimate collocutor” in the Kosovo talks, Greens MP Ottmar von Holtz said, adding that Germany and the European Union could have done more as mediators and with Vucic as their partner in the normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations.  

He said that Germany and the EU have to engage themselves more in solving the Kosovo problem to stop other global players from jumping in. “The EU should not allow a mediation vacuum to appear. Russia is very interested in establishing itself in Serbia. (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan is very interested in Kosovo. We have to engage ourselves more before those powers gain even more influence in the region,” Von Holtz said.

http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a535782/Bundestag-delegation-chief-says-Serbian-president-is-legitimate-partner.html

International

 

Russia calls for condemning radicals in Kosovo for raising tensions in Balkans (TASS)

The Kosovo administration’s attempts to intrude into the Serb-populated areas undermine stability in the Balkan region, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

https://tass.com/politics/1083910

First Flag: Kosovo’s Would-Be PM Takes Serbian Heat For Favoring Albanian Banner (RFE)

When Albin Kurti and his Self-Determination (Vetevendosje) party declared victory in Kosovo’s snap elections earlier this month, it was unclear how the dramatic rise in Pristina of a 44-year-old Albanian nationalist might affect Kosovo’s biggest international challenges.

Primary among them are stalled negotiations on normalizing relations with neighboring Serbia, whose resolution could boost Kosovo’s decade-long pursuit of full recognition in the United Nations and eventual membership of major European institutions.

https://bit.ly/2OYFoJu

Russia submits proposal on moving UNGA First Committee’s sessions from New York (TASS)

The United States did not issue visas on time to one-third of the Russian delegation to the UN General Assembly’s First Committee session

Russia has officially submitted to the United Nations the draft proposal on moving sessions of the UN General Assembly’s First Committee from New York to Vienna or Geneva, a diplomatic source told TASS on Thursday.

https://tass.com/world/1083870

 

Humanitarian and Development

 

Gracanica Mayor: Seriously consider the problem of pollution of the river bed in Laplje Selo (KIM radio, Gracanicaonline.info, RTK2)

Serbian media in Kosovo reported on the statement of the Gracanica Mayor Srdjan Popovic, who called on higher Kosovo instances as well as representatives of the international community to take seriously the problem of river bed pollution in Laplje Selo.

According to the statement, Popovic in an official address asked Pristina Mayor Shpend Ahmeti, OSCE Kosovo Mission Chief Jan Braathu, US Ambassador Philip Kosnett, German Ambassador  Christian Heldt, as well as to the Ambassadors of Hungary, France and Slovenia to influence responsible environmental entities to take concrete, legally binding measures to prevent negative consequences for human health as well as the environment.

The statement added that in the letter addressed, the Mayor of Gracanica explained in detail the problem as well as the results performed by the municipal inspection department on the ground. The activities of other environmental authorities, which, according to Popovic, are not relevant and did not lead to problem solving, are also listed.

An unpleasant odour of such intensity continues to spread along the Gracanka River that  causes disturbance in chronic patients and the entire population, concluded the statement.

Regional cooperation necessary for fighting human trafficking (Kosovapress)

Officials from the Kosovo’s Ministry of Interior said the Government has made progress in fighting human trafficking and underlined the importance of regional cooperation in this aspect. 

On the European Union Anti-Trafficking Day, the Ministry of Interior launched a one-month campaign titled “Don’t Stay Silent!” encouraging active citizenship in reporting the cases of human trafficking.

John Bush from the U.S. Embassy in Pristina acknowledged the progress made by the government of Kosovo in preventing human trafficking and gave recommendations for establishing a sustainable fund for sheltering the victims and for setting up a database containing trafficking statistics. 

Countess of Wessex meets religious leaders of Kosovo (RTK)

Countess of Wessex met today with Kosovo’s religious leaders, to discuss their joint efforts to support the survivors of sexual abuse during the conflict and to combat the stigma.

Countess of Wessex assessed as encouraging the fact that religious leaders of Kosovo signed in July a joint statement in support of the sexual abuse survivors and that they are accompanying this statement with actions in order to fight the stigma related to sexual violence.

As a result of this work, Kosovo will be in a better position to become signer of the Global Humanism Declaration, which will be launched by international leaders of religion and faith at the next international conference on the initiative to prevent sexual violence, which will be hosted by Great Britain, entitled “Time for Justice: Putting Survivors First.”

 

 

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, November 20, 2019

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