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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, November 13

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• Macron gets Thaci and Vucic together in Paris (media)
• President Thaci’s interview for Radio Free Europe
• Vetevendosje appeals ECAP decision before the Supreme Court (media)
• Simic: Constitutionally, Serbian List needs to be part of government (Telegrafi)
• Kosovo’s foreign ministry rejects Ghana’s derecognition (media)
• Montenegro rejects Mini-Schengen idea (Koha Ditore)
• Pacolli: We will not accept a Russian rapporteur for Kosovo (Kallxo/Telegrafi)

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  • Macron gets Thaci and Vucic together in Paris (media)
  • President Thaci’s interview for Radio Free Europe
  • Vetevendosje appeals ECAP decision before the Supreme Court (media)
  • Simic: Constitutionally, Serbian List needs to be part of government (Telegrafi)
  • Kosovo’s foreign ministry rejects Ghana’s derecognition (media)
  • Montenegro rejects Mini-Schengen idea (Koha Ditore)
  • Pacolli: We will not accept a Russian rapporteur for Kosovo (Kallxo/Telegrafi)

 Kosovo Media Highlights

Macron gets Thaci and Vucic together in Paris (media)

President of France Emmanuel Macron hosted a meeting yesterday between President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci and President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic. Media report that they discussed dialogue for normalisation of relations.

“The meeting took place in a correct, understanding atmosphere for continuing the dialogue between the two countries, the need to achieve an international agreement whereby Kosovo would become part of the UN and mutual recognition would happen,” Thaci told RTV Dukagjini after the meeting.

He said that President Macron has taken on a new role in the process of talks. “As of today, we can speak concretely about an important role of President Macron because he did what world leaders were supposed to do, take initiatives for getting together leaders and countries that face problems of the past to work for the future.”

Thaci also said that he discussed with Macron visa liberalisation for Kosovo. “What is very important is that we need to be grateful to President Macron for at least speaking the truth, unlike some others that to our face say something and behind our backs take damaging decisions and completely unjustly cause delays for Kosovo in visa liberalisation. Kosovo for five years now has implemented all liberalisation criteria and the delays are unjustified. I hope President Macron will push forward decision-making towards a positive course.”

Vucic meanwhile said that they agreed with Macron to have a long telephone conversation once the new government in Kosovo is formed and discuss future course of action. “The EU is waiting for the formation of the government in Pristina. I am not sure that it will be easy to find a compromise but from what he talked, Macron believes that a compromise solution is possible,” he said.

Vucic also said that the continuation of dialogue will only be possible once the Kosovo side lifts the tax. “Thaci knows this too. It is not an issue that is being debated, everyone knows about it and is an understatement. We are waiting for them to remove the tariffs and talk, of course if they want to talks about reaching a compromise,” Vucic said.

President Thaci’s interview for Radio Free Europe

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci spoke to Radio Free Europe from France where he is attending the Paris Peace Forum and also met the French President Emmanuel Macron and Serbia’s Aleksandar Vucic.

Thaci said the goal of Macron’s initiative to host a meeting between Vucic and him was to reaffirm the need for the renewal of Kosovo-Serbia dialogue and the possibility of a final agreement being reached by the parties. “I believe that President Macron, together with other global actors, the United States and other European actors, including NATO, can facilitate such processes in the future,” Thaci said.

He noted that it was important for dialogue to continue and that this is something that all parties agreed to. “At the same time, the dialogue will continue unconditioned by any side.”

“Peace and stability should be achieved unconditionally, not by complaining and speaking about the past but by looking to the future unconditioned,” Thaci underlined.

He said that the French president is determined to push forward the process of dialogue and added: “Kosovo needs to be unified, united, as it always was in face of Serbia. By being united and unified we will succeed and as president of the country I call on all to be exercise wisdom, maturity and unite all energies in face of a process which will not be easy and for this reason my role will be constitutional, legal and of citizen legitimacy.”

Asked if he thought the new government would lift the tax on Serbia, Thaci said: I believe all institutions will be focused in the service of citizens for a better life. Our life is not relation with Serbia, our life is building Kosovo, its development, progress, opening of jobs, opening of general perspective, democratic reforms and European future. We should not focus all our energies into the dialogue with Serbia.”

Finally, on the question of when an agreement can be expected, Thaci replied: “The sooner the better, but it can happen in the coming months.”

Vetevendosje appeals ECAP decision before the Supreme Court (media)

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.

Meanwhile, Epoka e Re reports that five complaints have been submitted to the Supreme Court regarding the ECAP decision.

Simic: Constitutionally, Serbian List needs to be part of government (Telegrafi)

Igor Simic, deputy leader of the Serbian List said in an interview with RTV Dukagjini that the Constitution of Kosovo stipulates that the Serbian List needs to be part of the government.

“If someone wishes to violate the Constitution that is something that will be interpreted by other institutions. Vetevendosje is not the one putting us into the government but the vote of the Serb citizens is,” Simic said.

Kosovo’s foreign ministry rejects Ghana’s derecognition (media)

Despite media reports that Ghana has revoked recognition of Kosovo’s independence, Kosovo institutions continue to insist this is not the case and is all part of Serbia’s propaganda.

Radio Free Europe has quoted Ghana’s Deputy Foreign Minister Charles Owiredu telling AFP that the decision was communicated to Serbia while a November 11 statement from the Ghanaian Foreign Ministry said the 2012 decision to recognize Kosovo was “premature”.

Meanwhile, Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Kosovo has been recognised by 116 member states of the UN, including Ghana. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in regular contact with Ghana’s embassies in different world capitals and none of them have any information regarding the claims of the Serbian minister. It is surprising how some media outlets, including in Kosovo, broadcast untruths served by Serbia’s institutions and through fake news damage the Republic of Kosovo and its citizens,” Epoka e Re quotes the statement.

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci at the same time told RTK that he has not received any official information about Ghana reversing its decision to recognise independence of Kosovo but he did underline that Serbia is not stopping its “propaganda” and “destructive actions” against Kosovo.

Montenegro rejects Mini-Schengen idea (Koha Ditore)

Montenegro’s Minister of Economy, Dragic Sekulic, has rejected the initiative for a Western Balkans Mini-Schengen area saying it would be “a waste of energy”.

Sekulic said Montenegro has already opened up its borders for the neighbours and has removed all trade barriers. “I understand the initiators. These are countries that because of different trade barriers they have placed against one another may need a new initiative to repledge to do what we have already done,” she said.

Pacolli: We will not accept a Russian rapporteur for Kosovo (Kallxo/Telegrafi)

Acting Foreign Minister of Kosovo Behgjet Pacolli has reacted to reports that Aleksey Kondratyev, Russian national, could be appointed Council of Europe rapporteur for Kosovo. He said Kondratyev’s appointment could be dangerous for Kosovo.

“I have expressed my deep concern to @coe & #PACE for the candidature of Alexei Kondratiev as Rapporteur for #Kosovo. He is a national sec threat to #Kosovo & we won’t accept his potential appointment & neither cooperate w/ him. @coe should think twice before taking such a step,” Pacolli wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Perparim Kryeziu from the Kosovo-based Group for Legal and Political Studies think tank said that Kondratyev comes from a country that has not recognised Kosovo and that in itself is a problem. Furthermore, “his political beliefs are problematic for us that remember he was someone who opposed NATO air strikes in 1999 and openly says ‘Kosovo is the heart of Serbia’. Such a person undoubtedly compromises the role of the Council of Europe’s rapporteur for Kosovo,” Kryeziu said.

Media have reported that Kondratyev was part of Russian KFOR troops and in 2001 was involved in an incident where he was wounded after allegedly trying to abduct a night club employee.

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