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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, October 22, 2019

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• Vote counting expected to end by week’s end (media)
• Kurti gives interview to Syri TV, talks about agreement with Serbia
• LVV and LDK working groups to meet tomorrow (Zeri)
• Kurti: We will reduce power to strengthen the country (Koha)
• Haradinaj: Albin Kurti is a good deceiver (Telegrafi/Klan)
• More former KLA officials summoned by Specialist Chambers (media)
• Haradinaj convinced that visas will be removed before the New Year (Epoka)
• Foreign service appointments continue during transitional period (Koha)
• Nick Giacobbe nominated U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Kosovo (media)

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  • Vote counting expected to end by week’s end (media)
  • Kurti gives interview to Syri TV, talks about agreement with Serbia
  • LVV and LDK working groups to meet tomorrow (Zeri)
  • Kurti: We will reduce power to strengthen the country (Koha)
  • Haradinaj: Albin Kurti is a good deceiver (Telegrafi/Klan)
  • More former KLA officials summoned by Specialist Chambers (media)
  • Haradinaj convinced that visas will be removed before the New Year (Epoka)
  • Foreign service appointments continue during transitional period (Koha)
  • Nick Giacobbe nominated U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Kosovo (media)

 Kosovo Media Highlights

Vote counting expected to end by week’s end (media)

All ballots are expected to be counted by the end of the week, said officials at the Counting and Results Centre. The process of recounting ballots from 530 polling stations is set to be concluded by Thursday and this will then be followed by the counting of conditional votes and of persons with special needs.

Kurti gives interview to Syri TV, talks about agreement with Serbia

In an interview with Syri TV, Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti said that he does not intend to begin talks with Serbia before parliamentary elections take place there.

“I met two weeks ago the [U.S.] special envoy and we discussed this. I do not deny the fact that a peace with Serbia is necessary for the peace in the region. But I cannot promise an agreement before elections in Serbia. Election campaign in Serbia gets underway in January. Who will I speak to? They have an ultranationalist campaign. I want to have the U.S. be permanent ally but when you want something to be long-term, you cannot rush,” Kurti said.

Asked what he would be willing to concede in exchange for an agreement with Serbia, Kurti said there are two things he will agree to listen.

“The only demands I am prepared to listen are if Serbia needs something from Kosovo to enter the EU. And to improve the lives of Serb citizens. I want to emphasise, not the Serbian weeping over the loss of Kosovo, but the suffering of Albanians. They as perpetrators have not been punished. Serbia’s demand is about Serb municipalities. That I am not ready to listen to. I can allow Serb citizens getting medical treatment in Serbia but not an association.”

On the question of what he would do if the international community invite President Hashim Thaci to talks with Serbia, Kurti said that would be a constitutional violation.

“It is the Constitutional Court that has decided that the prime minister is to lead negotiations with Serbia. Hashim Thaci will lead the country but he will not be able to lead the foreign policy.”

Kurti said that as the head of the new government of Kosovo he would gather the political spectrum and compile a list of demands for Serbia. Asked on whether this list could potentially block talks, Kurti said: “Even if martyrs were to rise from their graves, they would not forgive Serbia its debts, let alone we, the living. I am very curious to know what response will Serbia give. I will do this both as an Albanian and as prime minister. Serbia has killed 160,000 non-Serbs in its wars. If one Serb has killed 1,000 Croats, Bosniaks, or Albanians, there are only 160 criminals that served time in Serbia prisons.”

LVV and LDK working groups to meet tomorrow (Zeri)

The second coordinating meeting between officials from the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) is set to take place tomorrow, the paper reports. The parties are said to have agreed to intensify meetings and streamline discussions for forming the new government.

Kurti: We will reduce power to strengthen the country (Koha)

Vetevendosje leader and projected winner of parliamentary elections, Albin Kurti, said in a meeting with Italian Ambassador Piero Cristoforo Sardi that “the priority of the new government will be reducing power to strengthen the state, institutional and legal justice and economic development and employment.”

To this end, said Kurti, there are ongoing talks with the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) to form the new government of Kosovo.

Kurti also spoke about irregularities and violations during the election process in the municipalities with Serb majority where he said “there is lack of rule of law, political pluralism and democracy.”

Yesterday, Kurti also met Emilija Redzepi, Duda Balje, Artan Berisha, Veton Berisha and Hetem Arifi, candidates for MPs from the Bosniak, Egyptian and Ashkali communities and discussed possibilities of cooperation.

Haradinaj: Albin Kurti is a good deceiver (Telegrafi/Klan)

The outgoing Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj said he does not trust Albin Kurti’s statements on Specialist Chambers. He told RTV Dukagjini that Kurti is a good deceiver. “After I saw him with Kosovo flag at Pristina stadium, I have dilemma do trust his statement that he will not recognize the Specialist Chambers. I worked for some time with him, he is a good deceiver. The example of the flag tells something. So it is a deceit,” Haradinaj said.

He added that he hopes Kurti would not lift the 100 percent tax on Serbian goods, as according to him, this would have been a major, irreparable mistake. “I just hope that Ambin Kurti that used to turn over Serbia’s trucks, will not allow the trucks to come in,” Haradinaj added.

Haradinaj said his political party will remain in opposition and that they are not interested to be part of the new government.

More former KLA officials summoned by Specialist Chambers (media)

Former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) General Staff and former MP from the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Azem Syla, has been summoned by the Specialist Chambers in the Hague, media report.

The news was confirmed by Syla’s attorney, Besnik Berisha, who said that it is not yet known at what capacity his client has been invited.

Media are also reporting that former Malisheva Mayor and acting Deputy Minister of Diaspora, Isni Kilaj, has also been called by the Specialist Chambers as has the former KLA senior officer and former agent for the Kosovo Intelligence Service (SHIK), Naim Miftari.

Haradinaj convinced that visas will be removed before the New Year (Epoka)

Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj said visa liberalization for Kosovo will happen before the New Year. He added that as Germany is leading this process, it will be much easier.

 “Liberalisation of visas will happen before the end of the year. The future government will be established when this happens. Germany’s Foreign Minister will come to Kosovo. We are commencing final works for liberalization, in order not to have any stagnation when this happens,” he said.

Foreign service appointments continue during transitional period (Koha)

The paper reports on the front page that foreign service appointments have not stopped although Kosovo is under a caretaker government and held general elections this month. The most recent appointments include persons that have been close to political parties in power until recently, the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and the New Kosovo Alliance (AKR).

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci issued a decree appointing Uliks Emra and Heroina Telaku to ambassadorial posts, whom the paper says served to PDK ministers and also appointed former AKR MP Suzan Novobrdalija to a post of general consul.

Nick Giacobbe nominated U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Kosovo (media)

The U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett, announced that Nick Giacobbe was nominated Deputy Ambassador to Kosovo.

“Delighted to introduce my new deputy U.S. Embassy Pristina Nick Giacobbe.  Nick is a wise and experienced diplomat who, with his wife Cory, is already getting to know the country and contributing to strengthening U.S.-Kosovo ties,” Kosnett wrote on his Twitter account.

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