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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, November 2

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• Mustafa: If we don’t reach agreement with VV, we’ll go into opposition (media)
• U.S. Special Rep for Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer’s speech in Pristina (media)
• Special Rep for Western Balkans Matthew Palmer’s interview to Radio Free Europe
• Gashi wants agreement with VV to be based on equality (Koha)
• Former Croatian President against eventual border changes (media)

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  • Mustafa: If we don’t reach agreement with VV, we’ll go into opposition (media)
  • U.S. Special Rep for Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer’s speech in Pristina (media)
  • Special Rep for Western Balkans Matthew Palmer’s interview to Radio Free Europe
  • Gashi wants agreement with VV to be based on equality (Koha)
  • Former Croatian President against eventual border changes (media)

Mustafa: If we don’t reach agreement with VV, we’ll go into opposition (media)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) leader Isa Mustafa, in an interview to RTV21 on Friday, commented on the ongoing negotiations with the Vetevendosje Movement for forming a coalition government. Mustafa said they have not discussed the division of government ministries yet. “I have seen different reports and articles about the division of ministries, but these are only wishes. We need to meet and talk about proportional responsibility and I do not prefer for the two parties to cover individual areas because in that event we would have two governments in one government,” he said.

Mustafa also said that because of the importance of the Prime Minister’s post, the LDK should get more ministries in a coalition government. “The Prime Minister’s post is more important than the ministries, but we will discuss the division because there is the post of Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, as we have fewer ministries, we need fewer deputy ministers. We will not enter a coalition with the PDK [Democratic Party of Kosovo]. Our General Council has decided on negotiations with Vetevendosje, because there is this overall will,” he said.

Mustafa said the LDK would go into opposition, if an agreement with Vetevendosje is not reached. “If [an agreement] is not reached, the LDK will go into opposition. Under no circumstances will we go with other parties. We will not use other avenues or seek another coalition. The fact that negotiations are underway means that this is not over yet … There cannot be a single winner here, either both parties will be winners, or we won’t have an agreement,” Mustafa said.

U.S. Special Rep for Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer’s speech in Pristina (media)

The United States Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, said during a visit to Pristina on Friday that “the bedrock of U.S. policy toward this vital region for many years that the solution for long-term stability in the Western Balkans must include Kosovo. Our goal for this region was and remains its full integration into a Europe, whole and free. My appointment as the Secretary of State’s Special Representative for the Western Balkans and President Trump’s appointment of Ambassador Grenell as Special Presidential Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Dialogue underscores – if there was any doubt – the United States is present, focused, and ready to help. That is why I am here again today. Kosovo cannot be left out of a durable solution for the region. Equally: Kosovo cannot achieve a better future for itself in isolation. Kosovo must acknowledge that cooperation and compromise between neighbors are the currency of progress in an intertwined, interdependent Balkans, on a globe where the distances have shrunk. Resolving once and for all the relationship between Kosovo and Serbia through full normalization remains a U.S. strategic priority, one that will have an enormous impact on the people and the broader region. It will free both Serbia and Kosovo from the legacy of hostility that drains their focus and energies, and it will open up economic opportunities. It will enable the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia to devote their full attention to improving the lives of their people, paving the way to a peaceful and prosperous future”. You can read the full speech at https://xk.usembassy.gov/special-representative-for-the-western-balkans-matthew-palmer/.

Special Rep for Western Balkans Matthew Palmer’s interview to Radio Free Europe

The U.S. Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, said in an interview to Radio Free Europe on Friday that, new economic opportunities and foreign investments in Kosovo and Serbia can make it easier for the parties to reach a final settlement. Palmer also said the position of the U.S. is to have mutual recognition at the core of an eventual agreement and that the process of dialogue is destined for compromise.

Asked to comment on the results of the recent parliamentary elections, Palmer said “in terms of the results, the message for me, the message for us, was that the people in Kosovo wanted to see change. And they voted for change. I believe the government that is being planned, the leaders of the parties that have scored highest on October 6 have understood this message”.

Palmer also said “I know the priorities of leaders of these two parties is the internal agenda, the fight against corruption and organised crime, promoting transparency and good governance. The United States strongly and actively support this agenda. At the same time, we hope the new government will move quickly in identifying a way back to the dialogue with Serbia, to return to the negotiations and work simultaneously on a full agreement for the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. We believe these two agendas, the domestic and international, are complementary”.

Palmer said the U.S. expect Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti to be “a good and strong partner of the U.S. in terms of addressing the internal challenges in Kosovo, in promoting good governance and accountability, economic growth, but also work in support of an agreement with Belgrade for the full normalisation of relations. We hope and expect that this will be a priority for the new government”.

Asked about Kurti’s remarks that he does not see the Serbian List as a partner in forming the new government, Palmer said: “I think the Serbian List is a party created by the Serb community to represent its interests in Kosovo politics. It would be crucial for the government to include and work with them and accept their constitutional role in Kosovo politics”.

Palmer said the U.S. want the parties to reach an agreement which has mutual recognition at its core. “This would open the European path for Kosovo and Serbia,” he added.

Palmer said it is up to Kosovo to “set its parameters of engagement”. “I will seek creativity, political readiness and commitment for compromise. Kosovo is not only being asked to give in this process, it will also benefit from this process, it will advance and protect its interests. This is the nature of negotiations, dialogue. Compromise is at the core of the process”.

Asked if “the U.S. will agree to strengthening a Serb entity within Kosovo”, Palmer said: “it is not clear to me what you mean by ‘strengthening’ a Serb entity. I think in this respect there is room for creative thinking. There has already been a creative work on the idea of the Association of Serb municipalities. I think more can be done in that respect. But there are many opportunities for the parties to find a way forward that respects and reflects the interests of both Kosovo and Serbia. No one should lose in this process. Both parties can win more than they can lose”.

On the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities, Palmer also said “there is a lot work to be done. But I will not negotiate an agreement based on one side or the other. I will support the process, work with the parties to help them come to an agreement which they can adopt and embrace as their own”.

Gashi wants agreement with VV to be based on equality (Koha)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) candidate for MP, Arben Gashi, said today that a future government agreement between the LDK and Vetevendosje Movement, will be based on an equal share of responsibilities. “The LDK’s agreement with Vetevendosje will be based on elements of equality, because both political parties have almost the same elections results. Everything will be balanced during the division of responsibilities. This is the will of the people of Kosovo,” he said.

Asked about his eventual appointment as a minister in the new government, Gashi said he would discuss the issue with party leader, Isa Mustafa. “Our party structures have yet to discuss this. I will talk about it with party leader, Mr. Mustafa. We will see where I can give my contribution and what will be required of me,” he said.

Former Croatian President against eventual border changes (media)

Stipe Mesic, the former President of Croatia, said in an interview to Pristina-based Kosovapress that he is against “voices about land swap between Kosovo and Serbia”. “I have always been against border changes. We need to open our borders and cooperate and not swap territories,” he said. Mesic also said Kosovo and Serbia need to resume the dialogue. “Because they are neighbouring countries. But of because of internal issues, it will be difficult for Serbia to make a quick decision on recognising Kosovo. What needs to be done very soon is to open the borders for Kosovo’s citizens, so that they can travel, exchange ideas and their capital,” Mesic added.

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