Albanian Language Media:
- CEC: Election results to be announced tomorrow, if no complaints filed (Telegrafi)
- EP Rapporteur for Kosovo: No reason to delay visa liberalisation (Express)
- Haradinaj: Kurti to be careful in relations with Serbia (EO)
- Maliqi: Border correction idea could be brought back to the table (Zeri)
- Kurti: I cannot treat Bosnia the same as Serbia (N1, RTK)
- Albin Kurti to resign from the post of the leader of Vetevendosje Movement (Lajmi.net)
Serbian Language Media:
- Vucic: If I promised something to the West on Kosovo, why didn’t I fulfil it so far? (RTS, B92)
- Molina: Spain will not change its stance on Kosovo (RTS)
- “We are disappointed with EU, let them make it up with Serbia and Montenegro” (Tanjug, B92)
- Dacic: Palmer didn’t mention sanctions over Russian military equipment (N1, Danas)
- Vecernje Novosti daily on Zarzecki’s visit to Serbia (Vecernje Novosti, B92)
- Trajkovic on Palmer’s visit to Belgrade and Pristina: (Non)achieving the lasting solution (Radio KIM)
- Can Kosovo Get Payback for Wartime Devastation? (Balkan Insight)
- Lluka: Kosovo to become energy regulatory area as of next year (Kallxo)
Albanian Language Media
CEC: Election results to be announced tomorrow, if no complaints filed (Telegrafi)
The Central Election Commission said it would announce final results of 6 October parliamentary elections tomorrow if parties or candidates do not make any complaints with the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel.
“The law on general elections enables complaints be made within 24 hours at the ECAP regarding the administration of counting process at the Count and Results Centre. Considering that the counting of ballots process as per the ruling of the Supreme Court was concluded on Tuesday around midnight, the CEC is obliged to respect this legal timeframe,” CEC said.
“If no appeals are made within this timeframe, the Central Election Commission will announce final results on Thursday, 7 November,” it added.
Nagavci: Final agreement with LDK in two weeks (Telegrafi)
Arberie Nagavci, member of the leadership of the Vetevendosje Movement (VV), said in an interview with the news website that they expect the Central Election Commission to announce the final election results on Thursday. “The final preliminary results will be announced tomorrow, because after the announcement of votes for every candidate and party, there is a 24-hour deadline for complaints. I think it was a very good election process monitored by local and international observers. The process however also showed that there is more work to be done especially in terms of the Law on Elections … The Vetevendosje Movement will have 32 MPs in the new Assembly,” she said.
Commenting on the meetings of the working groups, Nagavci said “discussions within the groups are most important for us. There may have been statements by individuals outside the working groups, but these were not important, they were individual positions, and they did not affect the course of the talks. Talks were held in the areas of justice, education, healthcare and the economy. On Thursday we will discuss social issues, and then move on to issues in which there was no approximation. We have agreed on principle issues and ways how to avoid party influences in the institutions, agencies and boards. There was agreement on priorities for specific issues such as education, support for the teachers, the depoliticisation of boards and agencies. We also agreed that the new government should have 12 ministries”.
Nagavci said the two working groups “had some disagreements in the area of the economy … we expect to reach an agreement on issues such as privatisation and publicly-owned enterprises. Following the certification of election results, we expect that a final agreement with the LDK will be reached in two weeks.”
EP Rapporteur for Kosovo: No reason to delay visa liberalisation (Express)
The European Parliament’s Rapporteur for Kosovo, Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, in an interview with the news website, commented on delays in the visa liberalisation process for Kosovo, the position of France, the resumption of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, and “the dangerous idea of border correction and land swap”.
“Visa liberalisation is in the hands of the Council. The Commission has confirmed over a year ago that Kosovo has met the requirements. The European Parliament has called for visa liberalisation on several occasions and the issue is still being ‘considered’ by the Council. They clearly have no reason for further delays, and they want to keep postponing the decision. This sends a very bad message … The requirements were set precisely to know when Kosovo can get visa liberalisation. There is no reason to delay it any further. The Western Balkans countries should not be denied visa liberalisation or the enlargement process in general. The requirements for the visa liberalisation process were set earlier and it is not fair to change the objectives later,” Cramon-Taubadel said.
Asked about the position of German MPs in the European Parliament on visa liberalisation for Kosovo, Cramon-Taubadel said the majority of German parties, except for AfD, support visa liberalisation. “The ruling coalition group of CDU/CSU is however divided on the issue and some of them voted against it last year in the European Parliament,” she added.
Cramon-Taubadel criticised France’s position on visa liberalisation for Kosovars saying that the position of Paris is very detrimental for all Western Balkans countries. She said France is right to talk about the need for internal reforms in the EU but that promises made for the enlargement process must be kept. “Kosovo has problems and has a lot of work to do in terms of the rule of law and fighting organised crime, but we cannot change the requirements halfway during the process. In this case, we need to convince France that their tactic is highly detrimental for Western Balkans countries. France is right about internal reforms in EU institutions and probably for the whole enlargement process, but we cannot abandon our promises along the way,” she said.
Cramon-Taubadel said whoever forms the new government in Kosovo, they need to engage in dialogue with Serbia and that the process does not depend only on one political leader.
She said the import tariff on Serbian goods must be lifted, “because no one is benefiting from the decision”.
Cramon-Taubadel said the U.S. involvement in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia is very necessary but that the administration in Washington does not believe that many parties should be involved in the process. “The U.S. has not been very active in dialogue recently and we will need to have them on the table too, but the current administration does not believe in multilateralism, even though this is the only way for stabilising the region,” she said.
Asked to comment on the idea for border correction and land swap between Kosovo and Serbia, Cramon-Taubadel said she is strongly against it as she believes this would have grave consequences for the Balkans and the EU. “I hope it will not be on the table of dialogue. If we start drawing borders along ethnic lines this would have terrible consequences for all of Europe,” she concluded.
Haradinaj: Kurti to be careful in relations with Serbia (EO)
Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo and leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj in an interview with Ekonomia Online news website hailed the idea for reducing the number of ministries but spoke against the exclusion of the Serbian List in the formation of the new government. “A minister, whoever that may be, does not make the government any less of Kosovo or any more pro-Serb,” he said. “Mr. Kurti can take on the Serbian List and if they decide to withdraw, the government continues because the government does not fall because of a junior partner.”
Haradinaj said his party would support any “good” decision taken by an Albin Kurti-led government and advised him to be careful in relations with Serbia. “It is difficult to take on a new course towards Serbia when it still is unchanged. We did not take decisions against partition of Kosovo or exchange of territories out of arrogance,” Haradinaj said adding that the import tax should not be suspended as this, he warned, would harm Kosovo’s strategic position.
He further expressed his view that the U.S. would be supportive of any unified position of Kosovo leaders. “The only time when Americans would be worried is when we have opposing stances. If we are all united in face of Serbia, they do know who Serbia is and are concerned about it. A Serbia that is continuously being armed by Russia, a Serbia that is flirting with other non Euro-Atlantic powers, a Serbia that is using any opportunity for provocation,” Haradinaj said.
Haradinaj insisted that the border demarcation will be corrected and that Cakorr and Kulla will remain in the territory of Kosovo while visa liberalisation decision will be taken in December.
Maliqi: Border correction idea could be brought back to the table (Zeri)
Publicist and political commentator, Shkelzen Maliqi, said in an interview with the paper that statements in some diplomatic circles that there are no red lines in Kosovo – Serbia dialogue and that any deal agreed upon by the two sides is acceptable, are clear signs that the border correction idea could be discussed as part of a final settlement. “This could bring back to the table the idea of border correction as a pragmatic option … Deals are possible between the superpowers; Trump and Putin could agree on Kosovo and Crimea. Mechanisms of direct agreements between the superpowers, as in the case of Syria, are becoming active again,” he said. Asked about the 100 percent import tariff on Serbian and Bosnian goods, Maliqi said suspending the tariff could unblock the process of dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, “but I am not certain that dialogue will be successful without knowing beforehand what kind of compromise is being proposed”.
Kurti: I cannot treat Bosnia the same as Serbia (N1, RTK)
Albin Kurti, leader of the Vetevendosje Movement and candidate for the Prime Minister of Kosovo, said although Bosnia and Herzegovina does not recognize the independence of Kosovo, he will not be able to treat this country in the same manner as he will treat Serbia.
Kurti admonished negotiations for removal of visas for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina adding that they affect citizens and not politicians.
“All in politics find a way to resolve their problems, while citizens, after whom these politicians should be looking after, suffer the most. Pristina and Sarajevo will build a new bridge, which did not exist so far, because I think that Bosniaks in Kosovo as well as Albanians in Bosnia, are all part of this region,” Kurti said.
Albin Kurti to resign from the post of the leader of Vetevendosje Movement (Lajmi.net)
Central Election Commission (CEC) is expected to certify the 6 October elections results, where Albin Kurti’s political party Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) will be proclaimed winner of these elections and owns the mandate to create the government. However, for this to happen, Kurti needs another political party, and all chances are that the coalition partner will be the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).
According to the preliminary results, Albin Kurti is the most voted person in Kosovo and he is expected to become the Prime Minister.
However, according to the statute of LVV, published on the web page of this political party, Kurti will have to resign from the post of the leader of the party.
According to article 73.3 of LVV statute, if the leader of this political party is elected Prime Minister, he must resign from the post of the leader of the party.
Therefore, after Kurti’s nomination as Prime Minister and his resignation from the post of the leader of the party, his principal deputy, Besnik Bislimi will take over the post.
According to article 74.3.ç: In cases when the leader of the Vetevendosje Movement resigns, is dismissed, or cannot commence his duty, the principal deputy enjoys all competencies of the leader of LVV, until the next early elections.
Even though this is regulated by statute, Glauk Konjufca’s name remains the most preferred to lead this political party, as he represents Kurti’s right hand and managed to be more voted in his political party and entire Kosovo gaining more than 72 thousand votes.
Serbian Language Media
Vucic: If I promised something to the West on Kosovo, why didn’t I fulfil it so far? (RTS, B92)
If I have promised something to the West on the issue of Kosovo, as some claim, how come I have not fulfilled anything so far, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told RTS last night.
Vucic was a guest speaker on RTS “Upitnik” talk show, where he said that he would continue to fight for Kosovo and the Serb people with all his heart and energy. Asked to comment on Vuk Jeremic’s statement that “Vucic and Tony Blair are discussing modalities for recognizing Kosovo independence at the UN” and whether he promised something to the West, Vucic replied:
“How come I haven’t accomplished anything so far and how come they haven’t solved what they thought they did back in 2008 so far?” “We have withstood heavy pressures and there will be even harder pressures”, Vucic stressed.
“Serbs do not need to run from compromise. I know what Serbs think and I do not ignore public opinion polls. We will continue the fight. A compromise is not a defeat for Serbia. I am aware that it will be very difficult to reach a compromise because Serbs do not want to hear it”.
Responding to the host’s comment that he did not announce what a compromise means, Vucic said: “I have never communicated what a compromise means, (…) because someone has to deal with the future in a responsible way. Someone has to understand what’s best, but this would be much easier to deliver than some other things”.
He said that he had withstood the toughest pressures around Kosovo and that Vulin (Minister of Defense) and Djuric (Head of Office for KiM) can testify on that, as it were, during talks on the Brussels agreement.
Vucic added that the previous government helped Pristina in 2009 when Kosovo (talks) were pulled out of the UN and transferred under the EU auspices, then in 2010 when a pointless question was raised to the International Court of Justice and in 2011, when borders between Serbs were set on Jarinje and Brnjak.
“When we managed to restore everything that should not have been at stake at all, then they started saying that we would hand over something that they had long ago ceded to someone else”, he said.
He added that he may be guilty of telling people the truth, but still 96 percent of Serbs supported the Serbian List, which was unprecedented so far.
See at: https://bit.ly/34zrUZh
Molina: Spain will not change its stance on Kosovo (RTS)
Spain offers full support to the continuation of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Spanish Ambassador to Serbia Raul Bartolome Molina said. He added that Spain at a given moment will support decision and the choice that Serbia makes, RTS reported.
He also underlined that the stance of Spain on Kosovo remains unchanged.
“We are disappointed with EU, let them make it up with Serbia and Montenegro” (Tanjug, B92)
The Visegrad Group (V4) member states said they are disappointed with the EU over the negative signal it sent to the Western Balkans, Tanjug news agency reports.
They added, the EU can make it up by accelerating the negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro. We are all disappointed by the EU’s rejection to open negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said.
“Since we did not start negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, it is important to accelerate the negations with states that are already within that process. We can make it up by maximal acceleration of the negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro, so there would be no problem with further enlargement,” Orban said, MIA agency reports.
Prime Ministers of Czech Republic and Slovakia agreed with Orban, voicing their disappointment too.
“The three EU countries, one of which is its founder, that objected the enlargement to the Western Balkans exposed the citizens of the region to the risk,” Slovakian Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said.
“Maybe they could see the eventual perspective in cooperating with Russia, Turkey, China or Arab states. This was a huge mistake, because I believe that enlargement is an investment to the EU. A good investment. Not only economically, but also security one,” Pellegrini noted.
He also warned the EU might face a new migrants’ crisis because of its approach to the Western Balkans.
“All V4 states, including Slovakia, will always be on the side of the Western Balkans in order to support and motivate them to do their utmost to join the European structures,” Pellegrini added.
Dacic: Palmer didn’t mention sanctions over Russian military equipment (N1, Danas)
Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Ivica Dacic said on Wednesday that he and Matthew Palmer, the US State Department Special Envoy to the Western Balkans “had a fair conversation,” but that their stands were opposite, FoNet news agency reported.
Speaking to Belgrade-based Danas daily Dacic denied that Palmer mentioned possible sanctions against Serbia for its purchase of the Russian military equipment.
Last Friday, speaking to the North Macedonia Alsat TV, Palmer said there was some concern about the deployment of Russian weapons in Serbia, but also about the possibility that the country demanded Russian specific systems which could lead to sanctions against Belgrade.
“We hope that our partners in Serbia are aware of that and that they will be cautious with such transactions.”
Vecernje Novosti daily on Zarzecki’s visit to Serbia (Vecernje Novosti, B92)
Thomas Zarzecki, who heads the US State Department’s Task Force 231 should visit Serbia on Friday, according to Belgrade-based daily Vecernje Novosti.
Citing its sources, the daily says this task force is in charge of applying sanctions to the Russian security sector and those who cooperate with it. Zarzecki’s visit, the newspaper added was scheduled after it was announced that Serbia purchased the Russian air defense system “Pantsir”.
The regulation, which he is responsible to enforce, is formally called The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), and provides for the possible penalizing mechanism of any individual, firm, or state, who is found to have deliberately engaged in “significant exchanges” with the military and intelligence sectors of the Russian Federation, Vecernje Novosti went on saying.
This document also lists companies in the Russian defense industry that are banned to cooperate with under US regulations. Among the “forbidden” companies are several companies with which Serbia has cooperated with or procured military equipment from them, the newspaper writes.
Among others, there is a KBP bureau which designed “Pantsir” and aircraft manufacturer “MiG”, as well as a public company ROE, through which all sales of Russian arms and military equipment are carried out.
The “blacklist” also includes the Company “Russian Helicopter”, which operates a well-known institute in Kazan that produces the Mi-17 helicopters, Serbia purchased and the Mi-35 (tank killer) that Serbia also ordered, the daily concluded referring to its source.
Trajkovic on Palmer’s visit to Belgrade and Pristina: (Non)achieving the lasting solution (Radio KIM)
European Serb Movement from Kosovo President Rada Trajkovic said yesterday that the visit of US State Department Special Envoy to the Western Balkans Mathew Palmer to Belgrade and Pristina was not aimed at achieving a final solution to the Kosovo issue, Radio KIM reports.
On the other hand, Constitutional Law Professor from Pristina Mazlum Baraliu opined that “the interest of the US about the Western Balkans is focused on the relations and final phase of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue”.
Trajkovic further opined “that the aim of the US administration is to keep the area of former Yugoslavia under NATO influence.”
“In that sense, if Belgrade is prone to its adventures, as Mr. Vucic is keen on coquetting with Russian factor and now talks about S-400, which in fact does not imply strengthening of Serbia’s defense power, but rather a strategic reinforcement of Russian factor in Serbia, or more directly compromising and reducing the NATO’s power in these areas, that represents a major issue for the US and their administration, so that is why the meeting between Palmer and ambassadors from the region took place in Skopje,” Trajkovic noted.
Commenting on Mathew Palmer’s statement in Belgrade that Serbian List has the right to be represented in the Kosovo government, Rada Trajkovic said she respects Palmer’s statement, adding “that as long as the Serbian List does not distance itself from Milan Radoicic, as such would not be acceptable to Albin Kurti’s government”, Radio KIM reported.
Can Kosovo Get Payback for Wartime Devastation? (Balkan Insight)
Kosovo has not yet tried to get Serbia to pay reparations for the damage it caused during the 1998-99 war, while individual Kosovo Albanians who have sought compensation have found themselves blocked by courts in Kosovo itself.
It has been 20 years since Serbian forces withdrew from Kosovo and 11 years since Kosovo declared independence, but so far no steps have been taken to properly assess the cost of the damage caused by Belgrade’s military campaign during the 1998-99 war or to try to force the Serbian state to pay reparations.
The overall cost has been estimated by economic experts from Kosovo to amount to 22 billion euros – but the details have not yet been properly established by the Kosovo authorities, who have also not yet taken any significant steps towards seeking reparations.
Meanwhile, in a law office in Skenderaj/Srbica in Kosovo, two lawyers have been trying for more than a decade to help individuals who suffered during the war to secure compensation.
See at: http://bit.ly/2JVs5Gs
Twenty years after the end of the war, the Kosovo Museum is leading the fight for independence (Independent)
This year marks two decades since the end of the last war in the Balkans. During the break-up of Yugoslavia, efforts by the Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic to limit the autonomy of Kosovo’s Albanians led to war and an attempt at independence. The war ended with Nato intervention in June 1999, which secured Serbia’s departure from Kosovo and allowed the international community to help rebuild it after the conflict, pending an agreement on its final status.
See at: it.ly/2oQYjLL
Lluka: Kosovo to become energy regulatory area as of next year (Kallxo)
Acting Minister of Economic Development, Valdrin Lluka, announced that as of next year Kosovo will be recognised as an energy regulatory zone.
Hailing it a huge success, Lluka said: “Until now Kosovo has had significant challenges, especially in non-implementation of energy agreement with Serbia which prevented Kosovo from joining not only the ICI but also becoming a regulatory zone.” This will now change on 14 April when Kosovo will achieve independent control of energy borders, he said. “This is one of the biggest successes in recent years and I thank Kosovo Transmission.”