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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, November 7, 2019

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, November 7, 2019

Albanian Language Media:

• Kosovo’s Election Commission announces final election results (media)
• Pacolli: Inclusion of votes from Serbia is scandalous and a grave mistake (media)
• Shala: CEC has fabricated the votes – we will appeal today (media)
• Reporters want ballots from Serbia to be annulled (Indeksonline)
• Kadri Veseli summoned for interview by specialist chambers (media)
• Kurti: The dialogue without principles with Serbia must be replaced (RTK)
• Serwer supports Albin Kurti’s reciprocity towards Serbia (media)
• Haradinaj speaks about the reasons of Maxhuni’s resignation (RTK)
• Two Turkish nationals arrested in Kosovo sentenced to seven years imprisonment (Prishtina Insight)
• Kurti is visiting France (Klan Kosova)

Serbian Language Media:

• Djuric: Kosovo Serb representatives will not go to government that does not accept “will of Serbian people” (KoSSev, N1)
• Jevtic: Serbian List has right to be part of institutions (RTS)
• Serbian List responds to Albin Kurti (Tanjug, B92)
• Djuric: Kurti’s talk about reciprocity euphemism for rejecting dialogue (BETA, TV N1, Kosovo-online)
• CI SDP: Kurti’s statement that Oliver Ivanovic was a war criminal inhumane (Radio KIM)
• Kurti: Belgrade does not recognize diplomas from Kosovo, Kozarev denies claims (TV N1, RTK)
• Dacic says Zarzecki will visit Serbia (Politika, TV N1)
• Balkan is an arms race (DW, B92)
• Special Court in the Hague will continue work also after end of five-year mandate (Radio KIM)
• N1: New incident during Kurti interview to N1
• Johannes Hahn sharply criticizes Macron’s move, fears of consequences for Balkan (Serbian media)

International:

• Kosovo’s Demographic Destiny Looks Eerily Familiar (Balkan Insight)
• Emmanuel Macron warns Europe: NATO is brain-dead (The Economist)
• Left-Wing Party Wins in Kosovo, Creates Ruling Coalition (The New York Times)
• Kosovo set for two-party government coalition – final election results (Reuters, National Post)
• Kosovo Final Election Result Confirms Vetevendosje Victory (Balkan Insight)

Development/Humanitarian:

• Prishtina ‘18th most polluted capital’ (Prishtina Insight)
• Primary School “Vuk Karadzic” in Priluzje marked 154th anniversary (RTK 2, KoSSev)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Kosovo’s Election Commission announces final election results (media)
  • Pacolli: Inclusion of votes from Serbia is scandalous and a grave mistake (media)
  • Shala: CEC has fabricated the votes – we will appeal today (media)
  • Reporters want ballots from Serbia to be annulled (Indeksonline)
  • Kadri Veseli summoned for interview by specialist chambers (media)
  • Kurti: The dialogue without principles with Serbia must be replaced (RTK)
  • Serwer supports Albin Kurti’s reciprocity towards Serbia (media)
  • Haradinaj speaks about the reasons of Maxhuni’s resignation (RTK)
  • Two Turkish nationals arrested in Kosovo sentenced to seven years imprisonment (Prishtina Insight)
  • Kurti is visiting France (Klan Kosova) 

Serbian Language Media:

  • Djuric: Kosovo Serb representatives will not go to government that does not accept “will of Serbian people” (KoSSev, N1)
  • Jevtic: Serbian List has right to be part of institutions (RTS)
  • Serbian List responds to Albin Kurti (Tanjug, B92)
  • Djuric: Kurti’s talk about reciprocity euphemism for rejecting dialogue (BETA, TV N1, Kosovo-online)
  • CI SDP: Kurti’s statement that Oliver Ivanovic was a war criminal inhumane (Radio KIM)
  • Kurti: Belgrade does not recognize diplomas from Kosovo, Kozarev denies claims (TV N1, RTK)
  • Dacic says Zarzecki will visit Serbia (Politika, TV N1)
  • Balkan is an arms race (DW, B92)
  • Special Court in the Hague will continue work also after end of five-year mandate (Radio KIM)
  • N1: New incident during Kurti interview to N1
  • Johannes Hahn sharply criticizes Macron’s move, fears of consequences for Balkan (Serbian media)

International:

  • Kosovo’s Demographic Destiny Looks Eerily Familiar (Balkan Insight)
  • Emmanuel Macron warns Europe: NATO is brain-dead (The Economist)
  • Left-Wing Party Wins in Kosovo, Creates Ruling Coalition (The New York Times) 
  • Kosovo set for two-party government coalition – final election results (Reuters, National Post)
  • Kosovo Final Election Result Confirms Vetevendosje Victory (Balkan Insight)

Development/Humanitarian:

  • Prishtina ‘18th most polluted capital’ (Prishtina Insight)
  • Primary School “Vuk Karadzic” in Priluzje marked 154th anniversary (RTK 2, KoSSev)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Kosovo’s Election Commission announces final election results (media)

Kosovo’s Central Election Commission (CEC) President Valdete Daka announced the final results of the October 6 parliamentary elections at a press conference today. “This announcement comes after the conclusion of all procedures,” Daka told reporters. She also said that political parties and individual candidates have a 24-hour deadline to appeal the results. 

The Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) wins the elections with 26.15 percent of votes (220,811 votes) and it will have 32 MPs in the new Assembly. The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) has won 24.458 percent (206,458 votes) and will have 29 MPs. The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) has won 21.163 percent (178,645 votes) and will have 25 MPs. The AAK-PSD coalition has won 11.477 percent (96,883 votes) and will have 14 MPs. The Serbian List has won 6.754 percent of votes (57,015 votes) and will have 10 MPs in the new Assembly of Kosovo. Most news outlets highlight in their coverage that NISMA has failed to pass the election threshold as it won 4.984 percent of votes (43,072 votes). Vetevendosje’s Albin Kurti has won 183,868 votes, followed by LDK’s Vjosa Osmani with 176,188. PDK leader Kadri Veseli has won 146,763 votes and AAK leader Ramush Haradinaj 75,917 votes.

Pacolli: Inclusion of votes from Serbia is scandalous and a grave mistake (media)

New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) leader, Behgjet Pacolli, took to Facebook to comment on the announcement of the final results of the October 6 parliamentary elections. Pacolli, whose party was in a coalition with NISMA and PD and failed to cross the election threshold, claims that the results are manipulated and that they don’t represent the will of the people. “The inclusion of votes from Serbia, which were delivered in opposition to the law and filled by a person that represents Vucic and Dacic in Kosovo, is a scandal and a grave mistake. We will use all legal means to prevent this error for democracy and the rule of law in Kosovo,” Pacolli writes. 

Shala: CEC has fabricated the votes – we will appeal today (media)

NISMA senior official Endrit Shala has opposed the final election results announced by Kosovo’s Central Election Commission (CEC) today. He told Klan Kosova that the CEC has not announced the results but “fabricated them, because they are trying to turn some ballots that came illegally from Serbia into votes”. “For the Social Democratic Initiative [NISMA], the CEC has fabricated the results today. Based on the results of valid and legitimate votes, the Social Democratic Initiative has crossed the threshold. We will follow all legal procedures to oppose this fabrication. We will file an appeal with the ECAP today and then we will address the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court if necessary,” Shala said.

Reporters want ballots from Serbia to be annulled (Indeksonline)

The news website reports that influential reporters in Kosovo are calling for the annulment of ballots from Serbia in the recent parliamentary elections, arguing that if these ballots are accepted no one should be surprised if the Serbian List is declared the winner of future elections in Kosovo. 

Adriatik Kelmendi, author of the Rubikon show on KTV, wrote in a Facebook post: “If the illegal votes from Serbia are not annulled, with such a precedent – God forbid – in future elections we could very easily see the following scenario come to life: Danilo would only need the personal numbers of around 150,000 persons, to sit at a smoke-filled bar in Prokuplje, and fill the ballots by himself, deliver them in Pristina, join them with around 50,000 votes of Serbs living in Kosovo and declare the Serbian List as the winner of the elections in Kosovo!” Kelmendi argues that this should not be allowed to happen, “not because of a specific political party or an ethnic community, but because this implies deforming the will of the voters in the Kosovo elections”. “Such a practice should be stopped once and for all,” he writes.

Berat Buzhala, founder of Gazeta Express news website and T7 TV station, said today that “not to like NISMA and Fatmir Limaj is one thing, but to try to illegally keep them under the threshold is something totally different.” “What Limaj said in Pressing about the votes that came from Serbia is terrible. These are simply not votes. These are messages from Belgrade, that failed to respect our laws … Has this happened in the past? Certainly, but now there are concrete victims. You cannot try to establish justice through an illegitimate process. Would the Assembly and politics be better without NISMA. Yes it could be. But 42,000 of our citizens do not think so,” Buzhala opined.

Arben Ahmeti, political commentator, argued that the request for the annulment of 5,000 ballots from Serbia is not related with Limaj, the Vetevendosje Movement or the Democratic League of Kosovo, “but has to do with the dignity of the state”. “These were the only elections so far in which some brave politicians from the Kosovo Serb community ran and competed with the [Serbian] List. We failed to protect them and provide them with a fair race. We left them under the pressure and allowed them to be victimised by ballots that were contaminated and organised according to Djuric’s wishes,” Ahmeti said.

Kadri Veseli summoned for interview by specialist chambers (media)

Most news outlets report that Kadri Veseli, leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), said today that he has received an invitation for an interview from the Specialist Chambers for December 4. Below is Veseli’s full address to the reporters:

“As one of the leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, I have received an invitation from the Specialist Chambers for an interview at the Hague on December 4. As I have pledged, I made public the invitation the moment I received it. My generation, as many other generations, went through a serious oppression against our nation. We did not agree with that situation and I am proud to have answered my country’s call for the freedom of the nation. All my life I was engaged for the good of Kosovo and I have done this on a voluntary basis and with the highest commitment. I started as a child, as a pupil at an elementary school in Mitrovica, with the 1981 protests, as a participant, and then as an organiser and leader in the majority of protests. In the mid-1980s, I joined patriotic and anti-Yugoslav organisations to oppose slavery and to work for our freedom. The time of the Kosovo Liberation Army is the proudest part of my life. I was blessed to have been one of the originators and founders, a freedom fighter until the liberation of the country. From April 1999 until June 2008, I led the Kosovo Intelligence Service. I have carried out these engagements with honour and full responsibility and with exceptional pride. Honourable citizens, the efforts of our nation for freedom – were our life. We achieved freedom together and the Kosovo Liberation Army is its symbol. However, we need to acknowledge one fact: the righteous fight of our people for freedom was under continuous attack. Since the end of the war, this is the fifth judicial process. Starting with UNMIK, then The Hague tribunal, EULEX, local judiciary, and now the Special Court. I don’t believe there has been another similar case in the history of movements for liberation. This process too must have an epilogue, based on the truth, facts and justice, and one that does not damage the state of Kosovo indefinitely. I am confident that this Court will confirm the righteous fight of the Kosovo Liberation Army and that it will put an end to attacks against the truth of our people and the Kosovo Liberation Army. I will respond to this invitation, on December 4.”

Kurti: The dialogue without principles with Serbia must be replaced (RTK)

The news website covers a meeting that Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti and two senior party members had with the Japanese Ambassador Kiyoshi Koinuma, highlighting Kurti’s remarks that “dialogue without principles with Serbia must be replaced”. Kurti said the agreements reached in the past must be assessed first and then followed by a dialogue with Brussels about the framework of a dialogue with Serbia. “The dialogue without principles with Serbia must be replaced by a dialogue that is based on three fundamental principles: no agreement with dialogue, no dialogue with maps and no Presidents with maps on the table. Only a well-prepared and principled dialogue can bring a sustainable agreement between the two countries,” he said.  

Kurti also said that negotiations with the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) to form the government are nearing a successful conclusion. He said the new governance will stop corruption within the government and fight corruption outside the government. “Our priorities will focus on economic development, increasing the quality of education through a dual education system and dialogue from the bottom up with the minorities for economic and social development,” Kurti added.

Serwer supports Albin Kurti’s reciprocity towards Serbia (media)

Former U.S. diplomat and expert on Western Balkans matters Daniel Serwer said chances to reach an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia prior to the end of the mandate of U.S. President Donald Trump, are slim. He also added that there should be no rush on the reach of this agreement.

Serwer said Kosovo should know how to avoid a bad agreement and reach a good one.

“Any agreement which affects Kosovo’s territorial sovereignty and integrity, is of course a bad one. A good agreement is the one that allows major decentralization and self-governance at country’s level for Serb and Albanian communities,” he said.

“Serbia can learn a few things in this direction, because it is very difficult when Serbs request things from Kosovo that they do not want to accept in Serbia. For instance, guaranteed representation of minorities in Kosovo has no equivalence in Serbia, but reciprocity is one of the basic rules of diplomacy,” Serwer said.

He assessed that elections in Kosovo brought essential change. “6 October elections in Kosovo brought a radical change of the political configuration. The nearest challenge is creation of the new government, which is thought to be a coalition between Vetvendosje and Democratic League of Kosovo,” he said. 

Haradinaj speaks about the reasons of Maxhuni’s resignation (RTK)

Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj held a press conference today, where he revealed statistics of his government during 2017-2019 period.

Haradinaj also spoke about the resignation of Director  of the Kosovo Intelligence Agency (KIA) Shpend Maxhuni. He said Maxhuni has the highest grade on his performance and added that he resigned for health reasons.

“Maxhuni has been on the post of the KIA director since April 2018, so more than a year and a half.  What I can say with competency is that his work was wonderful. I assure you that his work on serving the country is valuable. Shpend Maxhuni stands high on evaluation grade. His motivation is personal, or a health reason. KIA has a deputy director,” he said.

Haradinaj further spoke about some statistics from the time he governed with Kosovo.

“140 draft laws, 70 bylaws, 256 bylaws issued by ministers, 29 draft laws with direct impact on the economy, 42 decisions have financial impact, 22 international agreements have been approved, 42 are government decisions, the budget for this year was adopted. The number of employees has increased by 30,348,” he said.

Two Turkish nationals arrested in Kosovo sentenced to seven years imprisonment (Prishtina Insight)

On Wednesday, an Istanbul Heavy Penal Court sentenced Osman Karakaya and Cihan Ozkan to seven years and six months imprisonment for “participating in an armed terrorist organization,” but acquitted the two men on charges of “international espionage.” 

Both Ozkan and Karakaya denied the charges against them during the trial. In the final words of his defence, Ozkan stated: “I am not a terrorist, and I reject all the charges attributed to me,” Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet reported.

Karakaya and Okzan are two of the six Turkish nationals arrested in Kosovo in March 2018 in a controversial operation conducted by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization in cooperation with the Kosovo Intelligence Agency. 

The indictment prepared by the Istanbul Prosecutor for the Republic’s Office charged all six with “running an armed terrorist organization” and “international espionage,” suggesting sentences of 16 years and six months and 28 years respectively. Karakaya and Ozkan’s case was dealt with separately from the others’ by the court. 

The six men were detained over links to the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement, which Turkey refers to as the Fethullah Terror Organisation, or FETO, and blames for a failed coup in 2016. Five of those arrested, including Ozkan, worked at Gulistan educational institutions in Kosovo, specifically Mehmet Akif high school and elementary schools in Prizren and Gjakova.

The arrest and subsequent deportation proved controversial in Kosovo; with then-Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj claiming the actions occurred without his knowledge. Head of the Intelligence Agency, Driton Gashi, and the Minister of the Interior Flamur Sefaj were both fired over the incident, while a parliamentary commission to probe the case was set up in April 2018. 

In February this year, the commission announced that it had found 31 violations of law and procedure by Kosovo’s institutions, including the Kosovo Intelligence Agency and Kosovo Police, and that their findings had been submitted to the Kosovo state prosecution. In August, the Kosovo Police Inspectorate also filed a report to the prosecution regarding the deportations, in which the 22 members of the Kosovo Police are alleged to have been named.

Kurti is visiting France (Klan Kosova) 

On the day of the announcement of the final results of 6 October elections, the candidate for the Prime Minister of Kosovo from Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) Albin Kurti happens to be out of Kosovo. 

Klan Kosova has learned that Kurti is visiting France, however the agenda or the motive of the visit is not known yet. The news was confirmed by the LVV Spokesperson Arlind Manxhuka, who added that after the visit, this political party will issue a press release to inform about the details of the visit. 

The election results announced today show that Vetevendosje Movement is the most voted political party. 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Djuric: Kosovo Serb representatives will not be a part of the government that does not accept “will of Serbian people” (KoSSev, N1)

Kosovo Serb political representatives decided, at a meeting with the director of the Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Marko Djuric, that they would not participate in any Pristina government or coalition that did not accept the legitimate will of the Serb people, who opted 96 percent for the Serbian List.

Djuric said today that Kosovo Serbs do not accept that Albin Kurti or anyone else to decide on the appointment of their representatives in the future government unless he proves and demonstrates that he is ready to turn 180 degrees from what has happened in the previous period.

“Serbs in Kosovo do not accept the status of second-class citizens. In case of new pressures on Serbian institutions, Serbian representatives will be ready to leave all temporary institutions and will apply in solidarity all measures of non-violent resistance, ” Djuric conveyed conclusions of the meeting with the Kosovo Serbs political representatives.

According to Djuric, the announcement on the establishment of alleged reciprocity, which Kurti speaks of, is particularly dangerous because it hides a ban worse than tariffs on goods from Serbia, which would apply to documents and traffic, as well as other restrictions.

“We demand the immediate abolition of tariffs, which are anti-civilized and illegal. They are harmful to all citizens of Kosovo, regardless of nationality, “Djuric conveyed one of the conclusions of the meeting.

The conclusion is that the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities is an obligation for the Kosovo authorities and for Kurti and others who think to form a government, and so the Serbian List will be basing its participation in Pristina’s institutions with respect of international agreements.”

Jevtic: Serbian List has right to be part of institutions (RTS)

Serbian List (SL) representatives do not run to enter Kosovo government, however, the laws are clear, it is not possible without the Serbian List, Dalibor Jevtic told RTS.

Jevtic added the primary goal is stability in Kosovo and Metohija and that he would discuss further course of action with the Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric today.

“The laws are very clear, the Serbian List won elections within the Serbian community and as such has an exclusive right to be part of institutions,” Jevtic told the RTS morning news programme.

Jevtic assessed that messages Albin Kurti sends are not encouraging and represent a return to the nineties.

“It would be interesting to see how he as a future prime minister would act. It is one thing to be the leader of the party with such radical stances as Self-determination Movement has, however, it is another thing when you are the prime minister and have in your government those who think differently than you,” Jevtic noted.

Commenting on reciprocity that Kurti announced, Jevtic said nobody knows what it means and to what extent it would impact relations.

“The tariffs must be revoked, but if you are introducing some new measures that Mr. Kurti is announcing it means that we may enter the situation that could perhaps be more difficult than the one related to the decision on the tariffs,” Jevtic said.

He also noted what Kurti tells about continuation of the dialogue in Brussel is not encouraging either.

“What he says and the way he says it indicates that he does not want the dialogue, does not want the problems to be resolved, but rather to impose some new topics and some new problems that would only further burden relations between the two peoples,” Jevtic said.

Serbian List responds to Albin Kurti (Tanjug, B92)

“An attempt to hide Albin Kurti’s unbridled chauvinism and hatred of everything Serbian by telling lies has failed,” Serbian List (SL) said in reaction to the statements  Albin Kurti, candidate for the Kosovo Prime Minister made in an interview to Belgrade-based TV N1, Tanjug news agency reports.

“Although he announced that he would have to respect the result of the Serb List due to the pressure of the international community, Kurti tried to belittle Serbian people’s victory by telling lies and uttering insults, demeaning the unity shown by the Serbian people on the October 6 elections”, SL further noted.

The SL said that Kurti forgot to mention that there were observers from Albanian political parties, members of the OSCE and the European Monitoring Mission, as well as observers from Albanian non-governmental organizations, in all polling stations in northern Kosovo and Metohija.

“And none of them mentioned in the election minutes any objection to the voting process. Kurti is just caught in his own lies (…) “, SL said. They added that Kurti continued to insult Serbian people, under the pretense of being a democrat, undermining Serbian rights, presenting the obligation of Pristina institutions to the Serbian people through establishing relations with Nenad Rasic, who won 70 times fewer votes than the Serb List.

“At the same time, as a proven promoter of the so-called Greater Albania, under the national flag of another country, he shamelessly talks about some kind of peace and economic development”, SL said.

They also state that everything that was in the interest of the Serbian people, from the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities to the amendments to the law, was always blocked by Kurti and his deputies while they were in opposition.

“That is why this attempt to media-wash his extremist movement is not and will never prove successful with the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija,” the Serbian List concluded.

Djuric: Kurti’s talk about reciprocity euphemism for rejecting dialogue (BETA, TV N1, Kosovo-online)

Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric said that the leader of the Self-determination Movement and a candidate for Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s idea on the reciprocity with Belgrade was just a euphemism for rejecting the further talks on the normalization of relations, BETA news agency reports Thursday.

Kurti told TV N1 political hard talk ‘Pressing’ last night that his government would replace the tariffs through reciprocity, what, he said, was “the principle for healthy constructive relations”.

In a statement distributed to the media, Djuric noted that Kurti “played the lovable lamb and the great democrat, but it is clear to everyone that he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and that, despite all the aggression he has shown in political practice to date, there is an unexpressed flame of latent hatred and violence in him, from which the entire region will undoubtedly suffer damage”, Kosovo online portal reports. 

Djuric added that “Kurti’s performance was a tirade of political backwardness, and by refusing to understand the contemporary circumstances and relations of forces in the region and the world, he seeks to bring the entire Western Balkans back to the dark and conflicted past”.

“Belgrade will continue to give the dialogue a chance, but it is difficult to have any productive talks with a man whose ideology is made of hatred and political anachronism,” Djuric concluded, TV N1 reported.

CI SDP: Kurti’s statement that Oliver Ivanovic was a war criminal inhumane (Radio KIM)

Civic Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice (GI SDP) in the strongest terms condemns the statement Albin Kurti, candidate for Kosovo Prime Minister made yesterday saying that deceased SDP leader Oliver Ivanovic was a war criminal, Radio KIM reports today.

In a press statement SDP underlined that “investigative and judicial bodies of EULEX and Kosovo which had conducted proceeding against Oliver Ivanovic had almost no evidence at all, but rather self-created accusations on the basis of statements of some non-credible Albanians”.  

“Mr. Kurti is more than aware of that proceeding and his yesterday’s statement is utterly inhumane. We remind him that 21 months have passed since the murder of the Serb politician, and the murderer and masterminds have not been found yet”.

The SPD also stressed it expects from Kurti that the murderer of Oliver Ivanovic is found, Radio KIM reported.

Kurti: Belgrade does not recognize diplomas from Kosovo, Kozarev denies claims (TV N1, RTK)

Leader of Self-determination Movement and a candidate for Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on Wednesday that his insisting on reciprocity in Belgrade-Pristina relations includes university diplomas, Pristina public broadcaster RTK reported.

Kurti cited an example of a young woman from southern Serbia who is attending university in Pristina saying that she won’t be able to get a job in her hometown of Bujanovac because Serbia does not recognize diplomas issued by universities in Kosovo. He said that the problem must be resolved through reciprocity with both sides recognizing each other’s diplomas.  

Kurti’s claims were denied by the Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija Deputy Director Dusan Kozarev who said that Albin Kurti “was spreading misinformation.”

In a written statement, Kozarev noted that Belgrade and Pristina had an agreement on mutual recognition of diplomas and added that 75 percent of requests to recognize diplomas from Kosovo universities after 2016 had a positive outcome.

“In that same period, Pristina has not recognized a single diploma issued by the Serbian education system,” Kozarev underlined.

“Pristina refused to accept a list of our universities and recognize the University of Pristina temporarily based in Kosovska Mitrovica which led to our side discontinuing the recognizing of diplomas,” Kozarev said.

Dacic says Zarzecki will visit Serbia (Politika, TV N1)

Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Ivica Dacic told Politika daily that US State Department official in charge of sanctions against Russia and states that violate these sanctions will visit Belgrade, TV N1 reports.

“Thomas Zarzecki will have the talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and ministries of defence and finance. He wants to get acquainted with the situation”, Dacic told Belgrade-based Politika daily.

Dacic added that Zarzecki have visited “60 states already” over the same matter.

He also underlined Serbia did not breach the sanctions that the US imposed on arms purchase from Russia, and that there is no reason to introduce sanctions to Serbia.

According to Politika daily, the US became interested in Serbia following the military exercise of the Serbian and Russian armies “Slavic Shield” that took place at the end of October, where air-defence systems “S-400” and “Pantsir S” were displayed.

Meanwhile, Director of the Russian agency for export and import of defense systems “Rosoboronexport” Alexander Mikheyev told Russian news agency TASS the system “Pantsir S” that Serbia purchased from Russia “in line with the signed agreement would arrive in a few months.”

“The system is being put together, while Serbian special forces members are on training. Everything goes in line with the plan and there will be no postponement,” Mikheyev said, according to TV N1. 

Balkan is an arms race (DW, B92)

Since joining NATO, Montenegro has signed two major contracts for the purchase of helicopters and armoured vehicles totalling € 66 million, Deutsche Welle reports.

Like its neighbors, it increases its military budget and increasingly sends troops on missions around the world.

During a recent visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Montenegro, they struck a deal on buying 67 armored vehicles from the US, costing $ 36 million, B92 reports.

It is the first acquisition of such vehicles for the Montenegrin army in 40 years. These are the successors of the popular hammers made by the US company “Oshkosh”. The first contingent arrives next year and Montenegro will be the first in Europe to have them in its military forces, and will buy them from a loan.

This is the second major military acquisition since Montenegro’s accession to NATO. Last year, three helicopters arrived that were purchased from Canada for $ 30 million.

See at: https://bit.ly/34BovJA  

Special Court in the Hague will continue work also after end of five-year mandate (Radio KIM)

The Special Court for the crimes of former KLA members in the Hague, established in mid-2015 will continue carrying out its duties also after the end of five-year mandate, Belgrade-based daily Politika reports.

“As the Law stipulates and approved in the Assembly of Kosovo the mandate of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Special Prosecution would continue also after five years, as long as the Council of the European Union doesn’t inform Kosovo that investigations and proceedings before the Specialist Chambers are completed,” the Special Court Spokesperson Angela Griep told Politika.  

N1: New incident during Kurti interview to N1 

Unidentified men threw leaflets into the grounds of N1 TV on Wednesday evening while the Pressing interview with Vetevendosje leader and most likely future Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti was being aired, reported regional broadcaster N1.

Pictures of Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama and N1 Program Director Jugoslav Cosic were printed on the leaflets above the caption – some secret connection. The police were called to investigate the incident.  

Similar incidents have taken place in the recent past when leaflets reading Republic of Serbia Goodbye – N1 Welcome to Luxembourg were thrown over the fence around the N1 station grounds and when imitation passports inscribed Republic of N1 were handed out at a protest gathering. N1’s parent company is registered in Luxembourg.  

See at: https://bit.ly/36JWRfa

Johannes Han sharply criticizes Macron’s move, fears of consequences for Balkan (Serbian media)

EU Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn says that delaying the start of EU negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania would be a huge damage to the credibility of the European Union, reports Serbian media. 

Hahn for the last time have spoken before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament as the Commissioner for Enlargement and EU Neighborhood Policy.

He believes that the EU cannot afford to deal with internal reforms first and only then with the processes in the Western Balkans region, as he said, in that case, there is too much risk of a backlash in those countries.

“Credibility has suffered enormous damage. The EU in the world is talking about the successes of multilateralism and we are a leading force in this, but we have not been able to reach a decision here. Our credibility has been damaged,” Hahn said.

He recalled that the credibility of the EU is one of its greatest strengths, and that it was these Member States that gave guarantees that negotiations would begin once the criteria were met.

“We have not delivered on our promises and I hope the decision will be revised. The vast majority of countries have been working to open negotiations for years,” Han said.

Hahn also said that the conditions imposed on Tirana and Skopje in June 2018 were the result of a consensus between EU member states and not the European Commission, and that nothing was “by force imposed” on EU member states.

Giving the ”green light”, Hahn said, is first and foremost a recognition of the work done by the two countries, warning that the EU must consider the consequences of the blockade on other countries in the region.

He reminded that the European perspective is the biggest impetus in the process between Belgrade and Pristina.

 

 

International

   

Kosovo’s Demographic Destiny Looks Eerily Familiar (Balkan Insight)

Europe’s youngest state is not immune to the ageing and depopulation hollowing out societies across the Balkans.

Kosovo may be Europe’s newest state but whoever has been in charge has been collecting data for as long as anyone has had the power to collect taxes.

See at: https://bit.ly/2qyyQaE

Emmanuel Macron warns Europe: NATO is brain-dead (The Economist)

America is turning its back on the European project. Time to wake up, the French president tells The Economist.

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has warned European countries that they can no longer rely on America to defend NATO allies. “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” Mr Macron declares in a blunt interview with The Economist. Europe stands on “the edge of a precipice”, he says, and needs to start thinking of itself strategically as a geopolitical power; otherwise we will “no longer be in control of our destiny.”

See at: https://econ.st/34AB5ZF

Left-Wing Party Wins in Kosovo, Creates Ruling Coalition (The New York Times) 

Authorities say final results from Kosovo’s Oct. 6 early general election have confirmed a left-wing party’s victory. 

The Central Election Commission said Thursday that the Self-Determination Movement led by Albin Kurti, who is poised to become Kosovo’s next prime minister, has won 32 seats in the 120-seat Parliament. 

Kurti has put together a ruling majority in Parliament after forming a coalition with the ex-opposition Democratic League of Kosovo that won 29 seats. He also needs to include a representative of the ethnic Serb minority in the governing team, according to the Constitution.

See at: https://nyti.ms/2WQlLFD

Kosovo set for two-party government coalition – final election results (Reuters, National Post)

Kosovo’s new government will comprise a core coalition of two parties previously in opposition, after final results published on Thursday from an election held last month showed they won a narrow parliamentary majority between them.

The leftist Vetevendosje (Self-determination) party got 32 seats in the 120-seat legislature and the center-right Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) got 29, the Election Commission said.

Both parties confirmed on Thursday they will also seek to bring some or all of six groups representing Serbs, Turks, Bosniaks and other ethnic minorities into government. The groups have a combined allocation of 20 parliamentary seats.

See at: http://bit.ly/2JWbUJ0

Kosovo Final Election Result Confirms Vetevendosje Victory (Balkan Insight)

The final results of the October elections confirmed a drastic transformation of the political landscape in Kosovo – with Albin Kurti’s Vetevendosje party set to lead the new government.

Kosovo’s Central Election Commission, CEC, on Thursday announced the final results of the October 6 snap legislative elections, after a month of turmoil connected to problems with the count.

Snags included ballots sent from Serbia being poisoned, resulting in CEC officials being sent to hospital, to multiple arrests made in various municipalities for falsifying the vote count.

Valdete Daka, the chair of the CEC, clarified that now the results had been announced, the parties have 24 hours to submit appeals to the Supreme Court and the Complaints and Appeals Panel, ECAP.

See at: http://bit.ly/33qD3vl

 

 

Development/Humanitarian

 

Prishtina ‘18th most polluted capital’ (Prishtina Insight)

A report from air quality monitoring NGO AirVisual published on Wednesday ranked Prishtina as the 18th most polluted capital city recorded in 2018.

In a report published on Wednesday, Swiss NGO AirVisual, which publishes the largest online global air quality database, ranked Kosovo as suffering from the third highest levels of air pollution on a list of 32 European states in 2018. Out of the 73 countries worldwide for which data was available last year, Kosovo had the 19th highest levels of air pollution.

A number of places in the Balkans were ranked high on AirVisual’s lists. Capital cities Sarajevo and Skopje both suffered from higher average annual air pollution than Prishtina, recorded as the 14th and 16th most polluted capital cities in 2018. Bosnia and Herzegovina was listed at 14th and North Macedonia as 16th on the country rankings, with Bulgaria (24th), Serbia (28th) and Croatia (30th) also making their way onto the list. 

The report outlines some of the main causes of the problematic levels of air pollution in the Balkans. “Transportation, agricultural emissions which travel distances to impact cities and industrial emissions are all common contributors across different areas,” the report reads. “Residential heating is an important factor in Eastern European countries.”

The world rankings focus on the levels of particulate matter in the air at 2.5 microns in size, known as PM2.5, which is widely regarded as the pollutant with the most damaging impact on human health of all commonly measured air pollutants. The microscopic size of PM2.5 particles makes it easy for them to penetrate and damage the lungs, the report explains.

While Prishtina appears high on the list of most polluted capital cities, it is much lower in the list of all the cities in the world that were recorded, at 371. This low ranking is largely a result of the high numbers of affected cities across China and India – 89 per cent of cities on China’s mainland exceeded the rates indicated by the WHO’s guidelines for healthy air pollution levels. 

AirVisual noted throughout the report that much of their data is reliant on private and non-governmental monitoring of air quality, with some of the most polluted locations in the world providing no monitoring whatsoever. Entire areas such as Africa and parts of Southeast Asia are missing crucial data and monitoring of air quality, which is concerning given the escalating levels of urbanization these regions are affected by, according to the report.

The outgoing Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, Fatmir Matoshi, has taken measures to raise awareness of the levels of air pollution in Prishtina, introducing screens across the city center that inform the public in real time about the levels of air quality in the city at the end of October. 

The AirVisual report stresses the importance of continuous and reliable monitoring of pollution levels. 

“Real-time, public air quality information is essential not only to empower populations to respond to current conditions and protect human health, but also is a cornerstone in generating public awareness and driving action to combat air pollution in the long-term,” the report reads. “More monitoring is needed in large parts of the world without access to this information.”

Kosovo’s annual average PM2.5 emission level sits at 30.4 micrograms per square meter, or ‘moderate’ on AirVisual’s Air Quality Index, or AQI. The index indicates the danger of the levels of PM2.5 emissions on a scale of 0-500, ranging from ‘healthy’ to ‘hazardous.’ 

The country suffers from concentrated exposure to high levels of PM2.5 during autumn and winter months, and has already reached levels higher than 182 micrograms per square meter (‘hazardous’) at the end of October. However, Kosovo’s air remains fairly clear during the rest of the year. 

Other than staying indoors, reducing outdoor exercise and keeping windows closed for protection, the report suggested a number of personal choices that can have a significant impact on reducing pollution emissions.

“Choosing clean modes of transport (cycling, walking, public transport where available), lowering household energy usage and personal waste output, and supporting local air quality initiatives can all positively impact the air quality in our communities and on our planet,” the report concludes.

Primary School “Vuk Karadzic” in Priluzje marked 154th anniversary (RTK 2, KoSSev)

Primary School “Vuk Karadzic” in Priluzje village marked the 154th anniversary of its existence yesterday and presented the history of this educational institution as well as cultural and artistic programme, RTK 2 reports.  

The Primary School “Vuk Karadzic” has 15 classrooms, attended by 240 pupils.

 

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