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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, November 12, 2019

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, November 12, 2019

Albanian Language Media:

• Tripartite meeting between Macron, Thaci and Vucic (Lajmi)
• Thaci: Balkans integration in NATO and EU, the only perspective for peace (media)
• Vjosa Osmani reacts to Vucic’s claims (media)
• Why Kosovo fears the Balkans “Mini-Schengen”? (Radio Free Europe)
• Kurti: Ohrid summit should not have taken place (RTK)
• Vetevendosje appeals ECAP decision before the Supreme Court (Koha)
• Egyptian Liberal Party has a condition for Kurti (Indeksonline)
• EU: Dialogue must resume and import tariff lifted (Telegrafi)
• Rama furthers ties with Vucic, while Dacic convinces Ghana to retract Kosovo recognition (Express)
• Kurti: Government will be more active in supporting Presevo Valley Albanians (RTK)

Serbian Language Media:

• Vucic on meeting Macron and Thaci today: I was realistic and open (RTS)
• Vucic after meeting Macron last night: With Armagnac from 1914, we ended very good one-hour conversation” (Tanjug, B92)
• Vucic: Thaci didn’t tell Macron what he really meant (Tanjug, B92)
• Novosti: Kosovo has lost majority in the UN (Vecernje Novosti, Tanjug, B92)
• Djuric: Kurti clearly opted for past (RTS)
• “Free flow of goods, services and people more important than withdrawing recognition” (Tanjug, B92)

International:

• Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ): Macron’s gift to the Russian authorities (NZZ, Sputnik, B92)
• Belgrade Condemns Kosovo’s Invalidation of Votes from Serbia (Balkan Insight)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Tripartite meeting between Macron, Thaci and Vucic (Lajmi)
  • Thaci: Balkans integration in NATO and EU, the only perspective for peace (media)
  • Vjosa Osmani reacts to Vucic’s claims (media)
  • Why Kosovo fears the Balkans “Mini-Schengen”? (Radio Free Europe)
  • Kurti: Ohrid summit should not have taken place (RTK)
  • Vetevendosje appeals ECAP decision before the Supreme Court (Koha)
  • Egyptian Liberal Party has a condition for Kurti (Indeksonline)
  • EU: Dialogue must resume and import tariff lifted (Telegrafi)
  • Rama furthers ties with Vucic, while Dacic convinces Ghana to retract Kosovo recognition (Express)
  • Kurti: Government will be more active in supporting Presevo Valley Albanians (RTK)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Vucic on meeting Macron and Thaci today: I was realistic and open (RTS)
  • Vucic after meeting Macron last night: With Armagnac from 1914, we ended very good one-hour conversation” (Tanjug, B92)
  • Vucic: Thaci didn’t tell Macron what he really meant (Tanjug, B92)
  • Novosti: Kosovo has lost majority in the UN (Vecernje Novosti, Tanjug, B92)
  • Djuric: Kurti clearly opted for past (RTS)
  • “Free flow of goods, services and people more important than withdrawing recognition” (Tanjug, B92)

International:

  • Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ): Macron’s gift to the Russian authorities (NZZ, Sputnik, B92)
  • Belgrade Condemns Kosovo’s Invalidation of Votes from Serbia (Balkan Insight)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Tripartite meeting between Macron, Thaci and Vucic (Lajmi)

The Office of Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci, confirmed today that French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with Thaci and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in Paris today. “Yes, on the margins of the Peace Forum in Paris, following an invitation by President Macron, now at 12:45 there will be a tripartite meeting between President Macron, President Thaci and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic,” the Office of the Kosovo President told the news website. Lajmi notes that the French President has on several occasions stated that France wants to be directly involved in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.

Thaci: Balkans integration in NATO and EU, the only perspective for peace (media)

The President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said Kosovo knows the best importance of living in peace. 

He also said at the Peace Forum in Paris that integration of all Balkans countries in NATO and EU is the only perspective for peace. 

“The plenary session of the Paris Peace Forum, which brought together leaders from around the world, stressed the importance of maintaining and strengthening peace throughout the world. The Republic of Kosovo remains a factor of peace and stability in the Western Balkans, always committed to contributing to regional and global security. We know best how important it is to live in a quiet and peaceful environment, as we know, that the only prospect for lasting peace in our region is the integration of all Balkan states into NATO and the European Union,” Thaci said. 

Vjosa Osmani reacts to Vucic’s claims (media)

Several news outlets report that Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) candidate for Prime Minister, Vjosa Osmani, has reacted to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s claims that the LDK is allegedly trying to include NISMA in the new Assembly in order to damage Vetevendosje (VV) leader Albin Kurti. 

Osmani wrote in her reaction: “Aleksandar Vucic was minister of propaganda during Milosevic’s reign. Propaganda is what he does best. Unfortunately, this is how he managed to deceive diplomats all over the world who believe his crocodile tears and his dramatic acting whenever Kosovo is talked about. But no one in Kosovo should fall for Vucic’s conspiracies. The Democratic League of Kosovo has established and insisted on the principle that whoever wins the elections nominates the Prime Minister. The LDK does not work behind anyone’s back and it certainly does not engage in games that are products of conspiring minds like Vucic. Everyone in the LDK is committed for the new government between LDK and VV to be formed as a partnership between equals and through an agreement where trust is the alpha and omega of our cooperation. Vucic and some others who are trying to invest in ruining this partnership will end up empty-handed.”

Why Kosovo fears the Balkans “Mini-Schengen”? (Radio Free Europe)

The news website reports that economic commentators in Pristina are split on whether Kosovo should take part or boycott regional initiatives, such as the case of the recent “Mini-Schengen” agreement. While some argue that this initiative is a political improvisation and that Kosovo is not treated equally because it is not recognised by Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, others say that Kosovo should be part of initiatives aimed at promoting regional cooperation. 

The news website notes that on November 10, leaders of the Western Balkans, North Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, without Kosovo’s participation, signed a declaration with a list of measures aimed at improving regional cooperation. 

Muhamet Mustafa, economy professor at Pristina-based Riinvest College, told the news website that the initiative has no substantial content and that it is more of a political improvisation. The initiative, he argues, is nothing new and that Kosovo has already signed several regional agreements, but which are not implemented in practice. 

“The areas we have, the Stabilisation/Association Agreement (SAA) with Europe and the Free Trade Agreement with Central European countries (CEFTA) are not being used. While these areas are not used because of political reasons, and mainly because of Serbia’s actions against Kosovo, I think this whole initiative is just an improvisation … As long as there are no fair political relations and respect for partnership, the Mini-Schengen does not have any substantial content,” Mustafa said.

Mustafa also said regional initiatives must include all countries in the region. “And not have only three countries first and then followed by the others,” he added.

Safet Gerxhaliu, economy expert, on the other hand believes the Republic of Kosovo should not reject initiatives for regional cooperation which are aimed at furthering partnership in the Western Balkans. He argues that Kosovo must be part of these forums in order to address political and economic problems especially with Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

“A policy of rejection suits only those that don’t want Kosovo to be part of these processes. Kosovo must take part in these initiatives. In needs to present there in order to protect its own interests,” Gerxhaliu said. “It is wiser to debate and discuss in key circles rather than isolate ourselves and make comments on Facebook. This is why I believe that we need an internal dialogue first followed by a regional dialogue,” he said.

Kurti: Ohrid summit should not have taken place (RTK)

Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti said that the secound round of the initiative for creating a so-called Western Balkans Mini-Schengen area should not have taken place at all. 

“The first meeting was held in Novi Sad and it was said that in Ohrid everyone will be there but this was not the case. Kosovo was absent as was Montenegro while Bosnia and Herzegovina had a symbolic representation and I believe that at a time when even the Paris Summit is rescheduled, I don’t see why there is no different date set for the Ohrid one,” he said.

“In my view, it was wrong and incomprehensible the hastiness to hold this meeting in Ohrid at this time knowing Kosovo would not attend. Second, such regional initiatives should rely on a crucial thing and that is full political, economic and trade reciprocity between Kosovo and Serbia. Any initiative in the region should make room for principles of reciprocity which the new government of the Republic of Kosovo and me as prime minister will introduce and implement,” Kurti told Tirana-based Report TV.  

Vetevendosje appeals ECAP decision before the Supreme Court (Koha)

Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) representative to the Central Election Commission, Adnan Rrustemi, announced that three party candidates have appealed the recent decision of the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) before the Supreme Court.

He noted that the three Vetevendosje candidates – Enver Haliti, Arta Bajralia and Alban Hyseni – announced by final election results as winning seats in the new Assembly, “have filed a complaint to the Supreme Court against the ECAP decision and in protection of their rights as elected MPs and of the citizens’ vote for the Vetevendosje Movement.”

Rrustemi said the ECAP recent ruling has nothing to do with addressing irregularities in the election process but to damage Vetevendosje which stands to lose three MPs by the decision. “When ECAP failed in all its attempts to prevent the regular votes of our fellow-countrymen from the Diaspora, it chose the absurd way in contradiction to own decision of this year and 2014 to diminish the effect of Diaspora votes by invalidating as many ballots as necessary to achieve this goal,” Rrustemi said. 

“Yesterday’s decisions of ECAP have nothing to do with the elections process, regularities or irregularities, the right to vote or the legality of the voting. They have one worry and one purpose. Their worry is Vetevendosje’s victory and their purpose is reducing the number of our MPs. We cannot take the worry off them but their purpose shall not be realised,” he wrote on social media. 

Egyptian Liberal Party has a condition for Kurti (Indeksonline)

The news website reports that the decision by the Election Complaints and Appeals Panel (ECAP) to annul ballots from Serbia have triggered reactions from minority MPs, namely from the Egyptian Liberal Party of Kosovo (PLE). 

PLE leader Veton Berisha said in an interview with the news website today that his party will demand a ministry in the new government, otherwise they will say no to Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti’s efforts to form the new government. 

“We will demand something that all governments have denied us so far. The Egyptian community never had the chance to lead a ministry. We are now agreeing with MPs from other communities for the Egyptian community to lead a government ministry,” he was quoted as saying. “Otherwise, we have no reason to be part of the new government”.

EU: Dialogue must resume and import tariff lifted (Telegrafi)

The European Union expects the new government of Kosovo to be more advanced in the areas of reforms, economic development and the judiciary and it expects Kosovo and Serbia to resume the process of dialogue, the news website reports.

EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in an interview with Telegrafi: “Kosovo and its new government will have to focus on reforms, support for economic and social development and also for the judiciary. Work is also needed to resume the dialogue with Serbia”. She said dialogue between the two parties needs to resume because it benefits the people of Kosovo and the region as a whole.

Kocijancic said the representation of the Kosovo Serbs in the institutions is regulated with the legal framework. “Kosovo’s legal framework for the formation of the government is clear, including the appointment of Serb ministers. There is also a clear role for the Serbian List given their results in the elections,” she added. 

Kocijancic said Kosovo and Serbia need to resolve their problems through a legally binding agreement for the full normalisation of relations. “Both Kosovo and Serbia, and the rest of the region together with EU member states, know that Kosovo and Serbia must resolve their disputes through a legally binding agreement for the full normalisation of relations, by addressing once and for all their problems in sustainable fashion and in line with international and EU laws,” she said. “The status quo is a barrier for development, investment and employment opportunities”.

The EU spokeswoman also said that Kosovo needs to lift the import tariff on products from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. “As we have repeated several times: Kosovo needs to lift all barriers. The EU encourages both Kosovo and Serbia to create an environment for resuming the talks and to stop acts and positions that may be seen as provocations. This especially involves lifting tariffs that are in opposition with CEFA and the law. Serbia is also responsible for maintaining an environment suitable for talks,” she added.

Rama furthers ties with Vucic, while Dacic convinces Ghana to retract Kosovo recognition (Express)

The news website reports that “Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama is furthering his friendship with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, despite Belgrade’s continuous destructive approach toward the state and independence of the Republic of Kosovo”. 

According to the news website, Rama has become the key advocate of Vucic’s idea to create a Mini-Schengen in the Balkans at a time when Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic claims to have convinced Ghana to retract its recognition of Kosovo’s independence.

The news website recalls that in September 2015, Kosovo Serb politician Aleksandar Jablanovic was dismissed from his post as minister in the Kosovo Government after he had insulted mothers from Gjakova that were demanding the fate of their missing family members to be resolved. “Other Serbian officials continue to deny the Serbian genocide in Kosovo, and apologies are out of the question. In April this year, another Serb minister, Ivan Teodosijevic, was dismissed as a minister from the Kosovo Government, after he said that the Recak massacre was ‘fabricated by the Albanians’ and referred to Kosovo Albanians that fought for liberty as ‘terrorists’,” the news website adds. 

“Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is no better. During a speech in September last year, he praised the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, whose regime was responsible for the killing and massacre of thousands of innocent Albanians”. 

Gazeta Express further notes that “Serbia’s approach vis-à-vis Kosovo does not seem to trouble Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama who is furthering his friendship with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and that Rama also doesn’t seem troubled by Ivica Dacic years-long wild campaign against Kosovo’s independence”. 

According to the news website, “Rama currently does not have good relations with any of the politicians in Kosovo, whereas he has planned another meeting with Vucic, in Durres on December 21, to implement the Mini-Schengen”.

Kurti: Government will be more active in supporting Presevo Valley Albanians (RTK)

Albin Kurti, leader of Vetevendosje Movement together with the member of this political party’s leadership Albulena Haxhiu, MP candidate Teuta Fazliu and secretary for foreign policies Kreshnik Ahmeti met yesterday a delegation from the Democratic Party of Bujanoc, Presheve and Medvegje, lead by its leader Nagip Arifi, head of the women’s forum Adelina Brucaj Hasani head of the youth forum Sali Salihi and Shaban Xheladini.

Bujanoc representatives congratulated Kurti for the victory in 6 October elections and expressed will for the creation of the new government as soon as possible in order to also implement the changes the people voted for.

They informed Kurti about the grave situation in Bujanoc, due to the stagnation of economy and education. The youth do not see any more perspective there and they are migrating just as youth in Medvegje used to in the past, they said.

Arifi said there was lack of concrete actions of the governments of Kosovo so far.

Kurti on the other hand expressed appreciation for the congratulations and visit, and said he is aware of the grave situation the Valley is going through.

He informed Arifi with the priorities of the new government, where wellbeing of Albanians beyond the border, their rights and freedoms as well as healthcare and education aspects, take a significant place.

Kurti said Kosovo government will be more active in supporting Albanians in the Valley, and that they will do this together with Albania, be it through implementation of the up to date agreements or through new agreements on policies that would enable development of life there.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Vucic on meeting Macron and Thaci today: I was realistic and open (RTS, B92)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told journalists in Paris following the meeting with President of France, Emmanuel Macron and Kosovo President Hashim Thaci that position of Serbia remains unequivocal and unchanged.

Vucic added that Macron and Europe want to have the most significant role regarding the Kosovo issue. “The French President said this referring to himself and German Chancellor as well as the European institutions,” Vucic noted.  

Asked whether Macron insisted on lifting the tariffs that Pristina imposed, Vucic said the head of the French state said it many times.

“Thaci knows that. It is not a topic to discuss about, everybody is aware of it and this is a known thing. We are waiting for the tariffs to be lifted and then to talk, of course if they want to talk about reaching a compromise,” Vucic said.

According to him, Macron wanted to hear what the situation is like. “The dialogue would continue once they lift the tariffs. Only then we can sit at the table,” Vucic said.

He also said he was very realistic, slightly pessimistic and utterly open during the meeting.

“It was not an ‘in-depth’ meeting, nor was it possible to resolve this way,” Vucic said, adding that Thaci said Pristina will form the government in the beginning of December, something that Vucic disagreed about.

Vucic after meeting Macron last night: With Armagnac from 1914, we ended very good one-hour conversation” (Tanjug, B92)

Presidents of Serbia and France met at the Élysée Palace last night, following a gala dinner organized in Paris, B92 reports.

President Aleksandar Vucic posted photos on his Instagram profile after a tête-à-tête meeting with the French President Emmanuel Macron and wrote “with the Armagnac from 1914, we ended a very good one-hour long conversation”.

He also thanked the President Macron on a warm welcome. Vucic is paying a three-day visit to Paris and will hold bilateral talks with Macron on Tuesday.

He will also participate in the discussion on the 75 years of the United Nations, and in the panel “Youth Opinions on Multilateralism”, during the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference.

Participants in the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference will be addressed by President Vucic on the last day of the visit, when he will also meet with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azule, B92 reported.

See at: https://bit.ly/2Q9cMOr

Vucic: Thaci didn’t tell Macron what he really meant (Tanjug, B92)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said last night that Hashim Thaci had not told French President Emmanuel Macron what he really meant, B92 reports.  

Vucic was asked to comment on Thaci’s statement that he told Macron Pristina was ready for a peace agreement with Belgrade, saying that he had heard the same from him two or three years ago.

“He is ready for a peace agreement in which Serbia will recognize an independent Kosovo. It is as if I would come out and say that I am ready for making a fantastic agreement with the EU, and that they should transfer 15 billion euros to Serbia, and that, in return, we will admit that the EU has done nothing wrong for the past 18 years. He says it as if we should be happy to be recognized (by Kosovo). Who are you going to recognize, what are you talking about? We are a recognized country at the UN, so we don’t need your recognition”, Vucic said.

Vucic added he had no problem talking to someone who was realistic and rational, concluding that Thaci told Macron only what he liked to hear.

“He didn’t say what he really meant. When we see each other, we say to each other ‘good day, how are you, good night,’ ‘why have you done this or that?” We used to be seeing each other once a week, or on a monthly basis, but that is not so for more than a year now. We meet at international conferences instead, where I tell him “don’t make up nonsense about poisoning”, and he responds by making similar comments, and that’s it”, Vucic said, adding that there is no progress, not even behind closed doors.

Vucic also said Macron had told him that he would like Europe to engage as mediator in resolving the Kosovo issue.

See at: https://bit.ly/32zTbtr

Novosti: Kosovo lost majority in the UN (Vecernje Novosti, Tanjug, B92)

Following Ghana’s decision to revoke recognition of Kosovo, thus becoming the 16th state to do so, Kosovo has lost majority in the UN Belgrade-based daily Vecernje Novosti reports today.

According to the Novosti daily 96 UN member states still recognize Kosovo, while 97 UN member states respect territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia.

Milovan Bozinovic, former Serbian Ambassador to the OSCE told the daily one can expect that the process of revoking recognitions of Kosovo would continue.

“Although this diplomatic action of our government at the beginning caused certain doubts among part of the observers that it would succeed, it turned out some states that weren’t generally interested in events in the Balkans, simple followed the louder part of the international community regarding Kosovo without getting into the essence of the issue. However, when it was clarified to them how the Kosovo issue was created and once they realized something similar might happen to them, particularly in the states on the African continent, a change in the course occurred,” Bozinovic said.

He added it would be too much to say that suspension of recognitions would make a cardinal influence in resolving the Kosovo issue, however it changes the environment for the talks, because least to say the other side was heard too. Bozinovic also assessed it “as a new political potential of Serbia”.

Djuric: Kurti clearly opted for past (RTS)

Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric reacted to the statement of Albin Kurti that reciprocity is a better model for relations in the region than initiative dubbed ‘mini Schengen’, RTS reports.

“Reciprocity is another name for a path to the past and conflicts, and the continuation of a policy of tariffs and blockades that mean closing the doors of the future to the young generations of all nationalities in Kosovo and Metohija,” Djuric said.   

“Free flow of goods, services and people more important than withdrawing recognition” (Tanjug, B92)

After the meeting with French President Macron, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic also commented on the recent meeting of regional leaders in Ohrid, North Macedonia, B92 reports.

Vucic noted that the initiative to remove barriers to the free movement of goods, services, capital and people between Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania is more significant than withdrawing Kosovo recognitions.

Asked if he had received support for “mini Schengen” from Macron and if he expected to face with pressure regarding this initiative, Vucic replied that he would not call the initiative by that name, although it has already come into daily use, since it annoys some people, and because of its geographical determinant.

“No one can say that the initiative may bother anyone because there is no rational reason for it. The initiative was supported by the US and Macron will publicly support it. But some countries will be told to say they are against it, they will find a reason for it, because they had realized that we were taking our destiny into our own hands by solving our own problems”, he explained.

“I see that I cannot explain even to the members of my family the importance of the initiative. The older son thinks that it is more significant to withdraw recognition of Kosovo independence, and that is nowhere near that”, he said.

Vucic also thanked Ghana for the decision to withdraw recognition, noting that the country is a great partner of Serbia.

“However, withdrawing recognition helps us achieve our tactical position, which will not drastically change the overall situation, but this changes the future of all of us. It is crucial for all of us”, he stressed, hoping that everyone would have the political strength to protect their independent decision-making.

See at: https://bit.ly/2Kdzhho

 

 

International

   

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ): Macron’s gift to the Russian authorities (NZZ, Sputnik, B92)

Speaking about NATO’s “brain death”, French President Emmanuel Macron gave a gift to Russian officials, Sputnik quoted the Swiss newspaper NZZ as saying.  

The French Presidential Declaration addressed to Moscow could be a signal of strategic dialogue and a call to Berlin to act, the daily continued.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung points out that Russian officials understand that the North Atlantic Alliance will not disappear and that reforms are not foreseen. So, the Macron Declaration only made Moscow “happy”, and no one else.

The newspaper acknowledged that Russia was “surprisingly quickly” capable of restoring its military and political performance on the international scene, including in the Near and Middle East, and bring about a deterioration in Turkish-NATO relations. Moreover, “there is no decision in Syria without Moscow”, the paper concluded.

On earlier occasion, French President stated, in an interview with “The Economist” that NATO is “brain-dead”. He added that there is no coordination in adopting strategic decisions, while according to his opinion, US is turning its back on its allies, leading an independent politics towards Syria.

See at: https://bit.ly/34UfDyY

Belgrade Condemns Kosovo’s Invalidation of Votes from Serbia (Balkan Insight)

Kosovo said more than 3,700 ballots from Serbia were delivered by hand by Serbian officials, rather than as required by post. Serbia called their disqualification a “farce”.

Serbia has condemned as a “chauvinistic farce” a decision by electoral authorities in Kosovo to declare invalid more than 3,700 votes sent from Serbia during an October parliamentary election in the former Serbian province.

Kosovo’s Election Complaints and Appeals Panel, ECAP, on Monday ordered a recount of votes from more than half of polling stations and declared 3,782 ballots sent from Serbia invalid.

The votes from Kosovo Serbs living in Serbia were delivered by Serbian officials, unlike previous years when the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, was in charge of their handover.

See at: https://bit.ly/2q4mFCp