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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, November 7

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• Kosovo intelligence chief, Shpend Maxhuni, resigns (media)
• Palmer: Mutual recognition is central to Kosovo-Serbia agreement (RFE/Bota Sot)
• Daka: Final results can be announced today (RTK)
• Kurti: Serbian list will be in opposition (RTK)
• Nagavci: Serbian List will not be part of LVV – LDK coalition government (Telegrafi)
• Limaj: We crossed the threshold by 200 votes, without packages from Serbia (T7)
• NISMA-AKR-PD coalition remains outside Assembly (Zeri)
• Delays in certification of results, a “black stain” for the elections (Koha)
• LVV and LDK working groups to meet today (RTK)
• Petritsch: A European solution for Kosovo, Kurti must not threaten dialogue (Koha)
• Markovic responds to Kurti: The border is a done deal (Klan)
• Petricek: Czech Republic will not review decision on Kosovo recognition (RFE)

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  • Kosovo intelligence chief, Shpend Maxhuni, resigns (media)
  • Palmer: Mutual recognition is central to Kosovo-Serbia agreement (RFE/Bota Sot)
  • Daka: Final results can be announced today (RTK)
  • Kurti: Serbian list will be in opposition (RTK)
  • Nagavci: Serbian List will not be part of LVV – LDK coalition government (Telegrafi)
  • Limaj: We crossed the threshold by 200 votes, without packages from Serbia (T7)
  • NISMA-AKR-PD coalition remains outside Assembly (Zeri)
  • Delays in certification of results, a “black stain” for the elections (Koha)
  • LVV and LDK working groups to meet today (RTK)
  • Petritsch: A European solution for Kosovo, Kurti must not threaten dialogue (Koha)
  • Markovic responds to Kurti: The border is a done deal (Klan)
  • Petricek: Czech Republic will not review decision on Kosovo recognition (RFE)

Kosovo intelligence chief, Shpend Maxhuni, resigns (media)

Head of the Kosovo Intelligence Agency (AKI) Shpend Maxhuni has resigned his post, announced outgoing Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj on Facebook.

“I have accepted the resignation of KIA director, Mr. Shpend Maxhuni, from his function at the head of Kosovo intelligence. I thanked Mr. Maxhuni for professional cooperation in defence of the security of the country and our people,” Haradinaj said adding that he presented Maxhuni with award for his contribution.

Maxhuni had been appointed to the post in April of last year and succeeded Driton Gashi who resigned following the deportation of six Turkish nationals from Kosovo. Prior to this, Maxhuni was director of the Kosovo Police.

Analyst Armend Muja told Bota Sot that Maxhuni’s resignation was expected and added that other senior officials that have been politically appointed to their posts will follow suit while Avni Zogiani said that while they have no reliable information as to the reasons behind Maxhuni’s resignation, Vetevendosje has consistently criticised Maxhuni for his performance.

Under a front-page headline Shpend Maxhinu’s path of many scandals, Koha Ditore reports that Maxhuni’s service in the Kosovo Police and the Kosovo Intelligence Agency (AKI) was marred by numerous scandals, chief among which were the theft at the evidence room of Kosovo Police, the expulsion of six Turkish nationals and a murder case within AKI premises.

Palmer: Mutual recognition is central to Kosovo-Serbia agreement (RFE/Bota Sot)

Bota Sot carries an interview the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Representative for Western Balkans Matthew Palmer gave to Radio Free Europe where he said that economic opportunities and foreign investment in Kosovo and Serbia can make the final agreement easier and underlined the U.S. position that mutual recognition is the core of the agreement.

“I cannot say where the parties will arrive in these negotiations, but I can tell you for certain that our goal, what we want to see as a result of this dialogue process, is an agreement that has in its core mutual recognition. This is what would pave European way for Kosovo and Serbia.”

Asked at how flexible the Kosovo side needs to be for an agreement to be reached, Palmer said it will be up to Kosovo to set its parametres of engagement “but I will ask for creativity, political will and commitment to make comprise. And Kosovo is not being asked to only give in this process, it will also gain from it, it will advance and protect its interests. This is the nature of negotiations, of dialogue.”

Palmer also spoke about the expectations from the new government of Kosovo if Albin Kurti becomes prime minister. “We expect him to be a good and strong partner of United States with regards to addressing internal challenges here in Kosovo, promoting good governance and accountability, promoting economic growth, but also with regards to the work in support of an agreement with Belgrade for full normalisation of relations.”

Asked to comment on Vetevendosje’s statements that it will not include Serbian List in the new government, Palmer said: “I think the Serbian List is a party created by the Serb community to represent its interests in the Kosovo politics. It would be crucial for the government to include them and work with them, to accept their constitutional role in the Kosovo politics.”

Daka: Final results can be announced today (RTK)

Head of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Valdete Daka said that the final results of 6 October elections can be announced today.

She explained that after the announcement of results, there is a period when political parties and candidates can complain to ECAP and then to the Supreme Court, and if this happens to be the case, this phase might last from seven to eight days.

“ECAP and Supreme Court might decide on recount, however I think that there is no room for complaints anymore. This depends on political parties or candidates that can think that some kind of injustice was done to them,” Daka said. She once again stressed the need for election reforms in order to avoid these kinds of problems.

Kurti: Serbian List will be in opposition (RTK)

Vetevendosje leader and candidate for Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, said in an interview with N1 that the Serbian List will not be part of the new government of Kosovo.  He added that one of the ministers in the future government will be from the Serb community, but this he said, does not mean that this candidate will be part of the governing coalition. “Serb nationality does not mean political party membership but ethnic belonging,” he said.

“I will respect the Constitution, but I distinguish something that is a constitutional obligation and a political coalition on the other hand. We are trying to create a coalition that would not require Serbian List votes,” Kurti said.

“I feel that the elections in Serb majority municipalities were not free and fair,” he said. According to him, there were cases of one Serb voting 18 times and cases of more votes being cast for the Serb List than there were voters in some areas. He said the blame for that lies with Kosovo institution. “It’s a bad thing that we had election fraud in communities with majority Serb populations as international observers reported. There were many incidents like thos because of pressure from Belgrade to win 100 percent,” Kurti said. “I’m not blaming the Serb List, they are passing on the pressure they feel, that is Belgrade’s pressure on the Serb List is passed on to the Serb population in Kosovo,” he said.

Asked why he is eliminating the Serb List, Kurti replied that Belgrade is paying for obedience and added that Kosovo’s institutions and the international community have to prevent Belgrade from pressuring the Kosovo Serbs. “I have nothing against the Serbs, on the contrary I have many Serb friends in Kosovo. The problem with the Serb list is that they are Belgrade’s tool… and that is a huge problem,” Kurti said.

He said that the government which he expects to form in the next few weeks will start a dialogue with the Kosovo Serbs about economic development, not reconciliation. “Ask the Serbs and Albanians what they need, and they will say jobs and justice and that should be a priority,” he said. Kurti said he would also start talks with the new European Union High representative Josep Borell. “We need a dialogue in Brussels along with the dialogue with Serbia,” Kurti said.

Kurti said that his government would replace the 100 percent tariffs on Serbian goods through reciprocity which he said is “the principle for healthy constructive relations”. “We will draw up a list of everything needed for reciprocity with Belgrade,” he said. According to him, Serbia has to do something in other fields before the tariffs are revoked and only then should a dialogue be prepared. “We do not have the luxury of allowing another dialogue to fail,” he said. Asked if he would come to Belgrade for talks, Kurti said the two sides should meet in Brussels. He said his team would have two segments – a political segment which would include the opposition and a team of experts for the various aspects of a future agreement. “The most important things are three principles – no agreement without a dialogue, no dialogue with maps and no presidents around the maps only demarcation experts. That will help us move from ambition and appetites for each others’ territories to civil rights and community needs,” he said and added that he does not think an agreement can be reached by next spring.

Kurti said that he views demarcation as an unacceptable racist concept. “There will always be Albanians and Serbs on both sides of the border. Demarcation yes, but not an exchange of territory because that is not a dialogue for peace but a dialogue leading to future conflicts,” he said. “There can be no reconciliation without trust. We need trust and we don’t have it because we are talking about agreeing on values and we disagree on the facts of the war in which we were all involved. We need to agree on values, but reconciliation requires agreement on the facts,” he said. Kurti said he would insist on all crimes being investigated. “The past does not pass easily, and it is always in the present. We have to face the past to move forward. There were crimes committed against Serbs and I want us to have normal courts which will sentence Albanians who killed Serbs,” he said.

Speaking about the murder of Kosovo Serb political representative Oliver Ivanovic, Kurti said he wants Kosovo institutions and the international community to take a stand on the murder. “The murder of Oliver Ivanovic was the first time in Kosovo’s history that Serbs did not blame Albanians for the killing of a Serb in Kosovo,” he said and voiced disappointment with Kosovo institutions and EULEX.

Asked why he has a flag of Albania on his office wall, Kurti said he would have a flag of Kosovo in his cabinet as prime minister. “The Albanian flag is very old and there is a lot of history in it. The Kosovo flag will be in the prime minister’s office. When the flag of Kosovo was adopted, there was no democracy or history in the flag, just geography and the Albanian flag became the flag of resistance,” he said.

Gazeta Express has published some of the comments from the viewers of the interview Albin Kurti gave to N1 highlighting the following:

“What a difference in culture compared to us. With a government like this, it will soon be better for them living there. We will be worse.”

“An extremely clever and civilised man, with this man Kosovo will undoubtedly move forward.”

“I have to admit Kurti is a gentleman, polite, listens to the question and answers. When I think about our saint (Vucic) and his behaviour and questions and answers, I wonder if we as people are normal to have elected Vucic.”

“How dare you sit with someone having a flag of a country he does not represent.”

“More eloquent than Dacic and in Serbian.”

Nagavci: Serbian List will not be part of LVV – LDK coalition government (Telegrafi)

Vetevendosje senior member, Arberie Nagavci, said in an interview with Telegrafi news website on Wednesday that the Serbian List will not be part of a coalition government between the Vetevendosje Movement and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). “The Serbian List has continuously sabotaged it [the work of the previous government]. There were cases when we had to wait for six hours for Serbian List MPs to come to the Assembly. After the import tariff was introduced by a government in which they were part of, they left the coalition. We believe that respecting the Constitution without any ethnic differences is the best way for good governance, but without any blackmails,” she added.

Limaj: We crossed the threshold by 200 votes, without packages from Serbia (T7)

NISMA leader Fatmir Limaj said in an interview with T7 on Wednesday that his party currently has 5.12 percent of votes and that “without packages from Serbia, NISMA has crossed the election threshold by 200 votes”. Limaj also said that if the Central Election Commission announces the final results by including what he called “smuggled packages or ballots” then it would be doing an illegal step. “If the CEC announces the results with the smuggled packages and ballots, it will falsify the results and it will be acting against the law,” he added.

NISMA-AKR-PD coalition remains outside Assembly (Zeri)

The paper reports that although the Central Election Commission (CEC) has not yet come out with final results of 6 October elections, as it stands at present the coalition between the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA), New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) and Justice Party (PD) has not managed to win enough votes to enter the Kosovo Assembly.

Analysts say that the coalition is short of 134 votes to reach the 5 percent election threshold and while the NISMA officials insist they did make it to the Assembly, AKR’s General Secretary Vesel Makolli said the only way the coalition could enter the Assembly is if the ballots that arrived from Serbia are declared invalid. “We have complained and will do so to the last instance against the counting of votes from Serbia which we consider have been smuggled,” Makolli said.

RTK quoted a senior member of NISMA as saying that this party is waiting for the announcement of the final election results before it will submit an appeal with the Elections Complaints and Appeals Panel.

Delays in certification of results, a “black stain” for the elections (Koha)

The paper reports in its leading front-page story that even the announcement of final elections results, the election process will not be concluded as political parties and individual candidates have another deadline to file eventual complaints. Commentators of election processes in Pristina meanwhile have argued that delays in announcing the final results “are a black stain” for a process that was positively assessed by both local and international monitors.

LVV and LDK working groups to meet today (RTK)

Working groups of the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) will meet today to discuss social policies and infrastructural projects. The meeting will be held at 15:00 hours. RTK reports that working groups are almost in the finalizing phase of their discussions and then, it remains for the leaders of these two political parties, Albin Kurti and Isa Mustafa to agree on the proposals of these groups, and share responsibilities. After the last meeting of the working groups held on Monday, LVV deputy leader said the negotiations for creation of the new government will end in ten days.

Petritsch: A European solution for Kosovo, Kurti must not threaten dialogue (Koha)

Former European Union Envoy for Kosovo, Wolfgang Petritsch, said in an interview with Belgrade-based Tanjug on Wednesday that it is important for Washington to show interest in the Kosovo problem but that a solution must be negotiated with the European Union.

“The region needs a European solution. I am concerned that the American initiative comes at a time of vacuum when the European Commission is still in power and the new Commission has yet to take over its responsibilities,” he said. “At the same time, Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti should be careful not to ‘destroy’ the dialogue with Belgrade with his statements”.

Petritsch also said it is important for the Albanian majority to reach out to the Serbian List. “I think this would be the best solution,” he added.

Markovic responds to Kurti: The border is a done deal (Klan)

Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic commented on the announcement of the candidate for the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti that he would reconsider the agreement on the border with Montenegro, once he takes over the duty. Kurti even said that no stone will remain unturned to return to Kosovo 8200 hectares lost with 2015 agreement. Markovic said this is difficult to be achieved as situation of the border, is very clear to them. “The demarcation agreement was ratified at Kosovo Parliement and the Montenegrin one, and there is no discussion about this. The full stop was set to this matter.”

Petricek: Czech Republic will not review decision on Kosovo recognition (RFE)

Tomas Petricek, Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, said in an interview with Radio Free Europe that his country is not reviewing the decision on recognising Kosovo’s independence although Czech President Milos Zeman implied this could happen.

Petricek said the Czech government has not changed its position on Kosovo. “We recognised Kosovo in 2008 as an independent country and we try foster fair and positive relations with Kosovo. We support all countries in the region to become EU members, because it is in the interest of European stability and security, but also a way to resolve many local problems and regional tensions. At the same time, we support the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina to overcome the past and look toward a common life in a united Europe,” he said.

Asked to comment on Russia’s involvement in the Western Balkans, Petricek said: “for us it is important that the European Union remains a trusted partner of countries of the Western Balkans. We are partners that have ambitions not only to ensure stability in the region but also economic and social well-being for people living in the region. During my visit to North Macedonia, we discussed concerns about the possible influence of actors that don’t support democracy, freedoms and the rule of the law, in the region”.

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