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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, November 12

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• ECAP declares ballots from Serbia invalid (media)
• Haxhiu: ECAP, an influenced and not serious institution (Epoka)
• Bajrami: Looks like we won’t have a new government till 2020! (media)
• Thaci meets Macron: Kosovo is ready for a peace agreement (media)
• Kosovo Foreign Ministry reacts to Dacic’s claims: Filthy propaganda (media)
• Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti’s interview with Report TV
• “Difficult for countries that have not achieved peace to create other areas” (Koha)
• Visa liberalisation for Kosovo in the hands of EU countries (Lajmi/Bota Sot)
• Two years of defensive diplomacy (Koha Ditore)
• Gucati: Specialist Chambers could summon Thaci too (Epoka)
• Mukwege: 20 years on, no convictions for conflict-related sexual violence in Kosovo (media)
• Osmani: Unacceptable for UN to completely ignore Kosovo civilian victims (Telegrafi)

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  • ECAP declares ballots from Serbia invalid (media)
  • Haxhiu: ECAP, an influenced and not serious institution (Epoka)
  • Bajrami: Looks like we won’t have a new government till 2020! (media)
  • Thaci meets Macron: Kosovo is ready for a peace agreement (media)
  • Kosovo Foreign Ministry reacts to Dacic’s claims: Filthy propaganda (media)
  • Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti’s interview with Report TV
  • “Difficult for countries that have not achieved peace to create other areas” (Koha)
  • Fajon: Visa liberalisation for Kosovo in the hands of EU countries (Lajmi/Bota Sot)
  • Two years of defensive diplomacy (Koha Ditore)
  • Gucati: Specialist Chambers could summon Thaci too (Epoka)
  • Mukwege: 20 years on, no convictions for conflict-related sexual violence in Kosovo (media)
  • Osmani: Unacceptable for UN to completely ignore Kosovo civilian victims (Telegrafi)

ECAP declares ballots from Serbia invalid (media)

The Elections Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) has ruled in favour of the request made by the NISMA-AKR-PD coalition and declared ballots that arrived from Serbia to be invalid. In addition, ECAP has also ruled for recount of ballots in 1,472 polling stations.

Under the caption, ECAP gives NISMA another chance, Zeri writes on the front page that NISMA-AKR-PD’s relentless efforts have paid off and the decision to annul ballots from Serbia gives the above parties six seats in the new Assembly of Kosovo.

Koha Ditore reports that if ECAP decision is not appealed before the Supreme Court, more than half of ballot boxes will go to recount. It also confirms that the decision to cancel ballots from Serbia will enable NISMA-led coalition to become part of the Assembly and further notes that the Serbian List has not made it clear whether it will appeal the ECAP ruling.

Leader of the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) Fatmir Limaj held a press conference following ECAP ruling saying it restored the democratic integrity of the election process. “As of today, NISMA and partners are parliamentary parties and we will continue eagerly our parliamentary engagement. It was proved yet again what we said all along that with regular votes we would be in the Assembly by removing votes smuggled from Serbia,” Limaj said.

Meanwhile, Vetevendosje’s representative to the Central Election Commission (CEC) Adnan Rrustemi accused ECAP of being political bias. “Today’s decisions are not lawful,” he said adding that the rulings are a setback for the entire electoral process. “Tendency to damage and undermine the electoral process is the most unconstitutional act,” Rrustemi said. He noted that Vetevendosje has continuously opposed the way the voting from Serbia was organised, even when other parties did not. Vetevendosje however said it did not yet decide whether it will appeal the ruling.

Head of the Serbian Government’s Office for Kosovo Marko Djuric called ECAP decision “shameful”. He said the displaced Serbs are being denied the right to express their political will. The Serbian List also reacted to ECAP decision calling it a “chauvinist farce” and politically motivated.

Haxhiu: ECAP, an influenced and not serious institution (Epoka)

Vetevendosje Movement senior official Albulena Haxhiu said after the decision of the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) to recount ballots of 1472 polling stations, that ECAP appears to be influenced and not a serious institution. “ECAP is ridiculing the best elections ever organised, by sending around 1500 boxes to recount. This body is not serious and as it appears it is influenced, unfortunately. They efforts are in vain, they cannot stop (Vetevendosje) Movement’s victory, the will of the people cannot be overthrown despite the efforts of delaying its implementation,” Haxhiu wrote on her Facebook account.

Bajrami: Looks like we won’t have a new government till 2020! (media)

Koha Ditore editor-in-chief Agron Bajrami tweeted on Monday evening that “Kosovo Election Comission Complains Panel ordered recount of 58% of the votes (1472 polling stations out of 2547) & some 3100 votes that came in by post from Serbia shall be invalidated due to transportation irregularities! Looks like we won’t have a new Government till 2020!” The German Ambassador to Kosovo, Christian Heldt, then retweeted Bajrami’s post with the comment “Just curious who will benefit from this”.

Thaci meets Macron: Kosovo is ready for a peace agreement (media)

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci met President of France Emmanuel Macron and discussed dialogue with Serbia and Kosovo’s Euro-Atlantic integration.

According to a statement issued by Kosovo’s Presidency, Thaci said Kosovo is ready to reach agreement with Serbia. “We are ready to continue the dialogue with Serbia and to reach a final peace agreement, which will bring mutual recognitions and membership into the United Nations,” Thaci said adding that this would finalise Kosovo’s international consolidation and pave way for foreign investment.

Kosovo Foreign Ministry reacts to Dacic’s claims: Filthy propaganda (media)

Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reacted to claims made by Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic that Ghana has revoked its recognition of Kosovo’s independence, several news websites report.

Jetlir Zyberaj, advisor to Kosovo’s outgoing Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli, said “this is continuous and filthy propaganda by Ivica Dacic”. “This is the latest lie. Every UN member state supports the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. The majority of UN member states have voted in favor of the UN General Assembly’s resolution for the start of dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. This is continuous and filthy propaganda by Ivica Dacic and dealing with him is just a waste of time. Ghana has an accredited ambassador in Kosovo. Ghana also has an honorary consul in Kosovo that represents them. Minister Pacolli has recently met with Ghana’s Foreign Minister at the United Nations in New York,” Zyberaj added.

Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti’s interview with Report TV

Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti said in an interview with Report TV on Monday that when he assumes office, he will replace the 100 percent import tariff on Serbian products with economic, political and trade reciprocity with Serbia.

“The 100 percent import tariff will be replaced with reciprocity. I don’t know when, but our government will consist of the Vetevendosje Movement and the Democratic League of Kosovo, we will decide on when we will lift the tariff, we will try to do this as soon as possible,” he said.

Kurti argued that Belgrade is using Kosovo Serbs against Pristina and that he does not need a coalition with the Serbian List but that he will try to find a way to include them in government as a constitutional obligation. “We don’t need a political coalition with the Serbian List. Our government will not depend on the Serbian List, but we will find a way to meet the constitutional obligation,” he added.

“The Kosovo Serbs are not liked in Serbia. Belgrade uses them to prevent Kosovo from moving forward. When I was in prison [in Serbia], Kosovo Serbs worked as guardians and they were called ‘siptari’, which is a derogatory term. Belgrade does not like the Kosovo Serbs and it is in panic … I believe the Serbian List is blackmailed by Vucic. They killed Oliver Ivanovic,” Kurti was quoted as saying.

“Difficult for countries that have not achieved peace to create other areas” (Koha)

Publicist Veton Surroi said that Kosovo has not excluded itself from the initiative for a Western Balkans Mini-Schengen and that such undertakings should have Kosovo’s approval and participation.

“Kosovo should be an active participant and not invited as a guest but as an equal participant in this regional project. The preparation should also be accordingly. Blame game does not help this initiative or any other,” Surroi said in an interview with Tirana-based OraNews.

“The Mini-Shengen name in itself is wrong because it has nothing to do with Schengen in this region. What it actually tries to achieve is to create an area of free trade but with union costums institutions in two years. This means creation of joint Western Balkans institutions which resembles science fiction. We are dealing with countries that not only are they not close but also do not recognise one another as is the case with Serbia and Kosovo,” Surroi said.

“It is difficult for countries that have not achieved peace and signed mutual respect to create other areas,” he said.

Surroi was also asked to comment on reports that he could become part of the Albin Kurti cabinet and assume the post of Kosovo’s foreign minister. “It was a media speculation,” he said.

Fajon: Visa liberalisation for Kosovo in the hands of EU countries (Lajmi/Bota Sot)

European Parliament rapporteur for Kosovo, Tanja Fajon, reaffirmed Kosovo meeting all necessary criteria for visa liberalisation and that she hoped the issue would be put on the table during Finland’s presidency of the EU.

“I expect the EC and Finland’s Presidency to be more committed to this issue. I have called on them to bring the visa liberalisation issue for Kosovo to the agenda. I remain in the same position: Kosovo has met all criteria it was expected to fulfill. It is necessary for the EU to keep its promise,” Fajon said.

Two years of defensive diplomacy (Koha Ditore)

Under a front-page headline Two years of defensive diplomacy, the paper reports that Kosovo has not secured any new recognitions this year. The paper notes that lobbying for new recognitions was not a priority for Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the last two years, as it focused all its energies in protecting the existing recognitions and in convincing international partners to support membership in international organisations, especially in UNESCO and INTERPOL. “It failed in both bids however,” the paper notes. Foreign policy commentators in Pristina told Koha Ditore on Monday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should have mobilised and draft a proactive strategy to prevent the retraction of recognitions.

Gucati: Specialist Chambers could summon Thaci too (Epoka)

Hysni Gucati, head of the KLA War Veterans Association, said on Monday that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci too could be summoned by the Specialist Chambers. He also said that they expect the first indictments to happen this month. Gucati said that all this number of summons is unacceptable and stressed that Kosovo Liberation Army’s war was pure. He said that based on unofficial information, the Specialist Chambers has so far summoned around 250 people, some of them as witnesses and others as suspects.

Mukwege: 20 years on, no convictions for conflict-related sexual violence in Kosovo (media)

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege visited Kosovo on the invitation of the Kosovo Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT), a non-governmental organisation celebrating 20th anniversary of establishment.

At a conference organised to mark the anniversary, Dr. Mukwege said he looked forward to come to Kosovo. “20 years after the war in Kosovo no one has been convicted and this is a negative message for survivors of sexual violence,” he said.

“Justice’s role is not only to punish but to make sure things are not repeated and intervene in recovery of the victims,” Dr. Mukwege said and went on to encourage survivors to come forward and approach the Kosovo Government’s commission.

Osmani: Unacceptable for UN to completely ignore Kosovo civilian victims (Telegrafi)

Deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Vjosa Osmani met yeterday Nobel Peace Prize lauerate Dr. Denis Mukwege and wrote on Facebook that they discussed about survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in Kosovo and that their plight for justice should be the missing of every institution. “Even 20 years after the war, around 20,000 victims of sexual violence during the war in Kosovo have not yet found justice as none of the perpetrators was tried and convicted,” Osmani wrote. She added: “We agreed that it is unacceptable for United Nations to completely ignore civilian victims of the war in Kosovo in the reports published about survivors of wartime rapes.”

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