- Kurti: There can be no exchange of territories without war (media)
- LVV, LDK don’t want NISMA and AKR in the government (Zeri)
- Hooper: Kosovo-Serbia agreement exists, it only needs implementation (Epoka)
- Paris wants harsher criteria for Balkans integration in EU (Koha Ditore)
- New government asked to address issue of missing persons with priority (Koha)
- Beslin: No Mini-Schengen without accepting reality of independent Kosovo (Koha)
- Albanians and Serbs paint murals on Iber bridge (Kosovapress/Telegrafi)
- Kosovo journalists to enjoy free legal counsel (Kallxo)
Kurti: There can be no exchange of territories without war (media)
Leader of Vetevendosje Albin Kurti rejected the idea of border changes between Kosovo and Serbia and accused the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic of being behind the idea of Kosovo’s partition.
Speaking to the Podgorica-based paper Pobjeda, Kurti said there can be no territorial exchanges without bloodshed and noted that there will always be Albanians and Serbs on the two sides of the border. “Furthermore, if Vucic’s idea on correcting ethnic border is realised, you will get an open and serious problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Why? Because the border correction is a racist notion which will unavoidably lead us to new ethnic conflicts,” he said.
Kurti warned that a new conflict between Kosovo and Serbia would be impossible to be contained. “After Russia’s two failed coups in Montenegro and North Macedonia, it stands to enter through big gates through a new armed conflict between Kosovo and Serbia. It is clear this new conflict would not be able to be contained especially when against Serbia, Albanians act as a nation not as a fragile state of Kosovo.”
On the issue of dialogue with Serbia, Kurti said there is no need to speed up the process and that he will be representing Kosovo in negotiations with Belgrade and that his team will include members of the government, opposition, and independent experts.
He said Serbia owes Kosovo a great deal. “Let us begin with our demands and see what Serbia has to offer.”
LVV, LDK don’t want NISMA and AKR in the government (Zeri)
The paper writes on the front page that Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) have opposed the idea of the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) and the New Kosovo Alliance (AKR) joining a possible coalition government.
LVV officials has stated that they will not extend invitation for cooperation to any party that was in the previous government regardless of the final results of elections. “We as a party have underlined that it is very important to have a government with clean hands, that will govern differently, fight organised crime and institutional corruption and bring a programme that would enable the country economic development, a much better healthcare and a more qualitative education,” said LVV deputy leader Fatmire Kollcaku. “It is now clear that the citizen vote has punished those that misgoverned and based on this it would be expectable for these parties to remain in the opposition,” she added.
LDK candidate for MP, Besa Gaxherri said it is up to the winning party to decide if it wants to invite the NISMA-AKR coalition for talks on forming the new government and noted that the election process is not yet over and “we cannot speculate as to what will happen.”
At the same time, analyst Ramush Tahiri told the paper that involvement of NISMA-AKR will be necessary for the functioning of the government. “Vetevendosje and LDK alone do not have 61 votes. They will need 6 votes from NISMA. It is now challenging for the new government to be formed and could happen that the country heads to new elections,” he warned.
Hooper: Kosovo-Serbia agreement exists, it only needs implementation (Epoka)
Former U.S. State Department official James Hooper said agreement between Kosovo and Serbia already exists, it only needs implementation. He added that comprehensive agreement cannot be reached without territorial exchange between Kosovo and Serbia. He added that President Thaci had agreed to resume dialogue without any conditions.
“And I think that it was a very reasonable action to move forward, to have a comprehensive agreement,” Hooper said adding that if this does not happen, the window of this opportunity might shut and delay for uncertain time.
He added that the greatest difficulty will be Albin Kurti, who is considered as someone who has taken a hard-line position. “He will discover that an agreement already exists and that he will not be able to change these conditions,” Hooper said.
Paris wants harsher criteria for Balkans integration in EU (Koha Ditore)
The paper reports on its front page that France has proposed a new approach by the European Union based on political wisdom and harsher criteria for the Western Balkans, including Kosovo. The paper claims to have secured a copy of a non-paper that includes four criteria for reopening the European perspective of the Western Balkans. The review of relationships is justified with the fact that reforms undertaken by the Balkans countries have been very slow so far.
The five-page document foresees punitive measures and even the full suspension of negotiations in cases when a candidate country fully or partly fails to meet its obligations. The document does not give any timeline when the Western Balkans could join the European family.
Based on the guidelines in the document, Paris has called on the relevant institutions to identify the new path of relationships between the EU and the Western Balkans by January 2020.
The paper’s Brussels-based correspondent Augustin Palokaj comments on the non-paper in an opinion piece on page ten saying that France’s objective is to slow down the enlargement process. “With this proposal, France has thrown the ball to the new European Commission … Although there are no major novelties in the proposal, France’s idea is to further slow down an already very slow process of enlargement,” he argues.
New government asked to address issue of missing persons with priority (Koha)
Families and representatives of the associations of missing persons are calling on the new government to address the issue of missing persons with priority, the paper reports on page five. They want this issue to be included in the EU-facilitated talks in Brussels and say that it is regretful that there is no information about the fate of 1,647 missing persons even twenty years after the end of the conflict.
A member of the chairmanship of the Council of Families of Missing Persons told the paper on Sunday that for two decades now, no government seriously addressed the issue of missing persons. “All governments have promised us that the missing persons would be included in their priorities, but this never happened. We are left to hope that the Vetevendosje Movement, which is the only party that has not been in power, will address this painful issue as a priority. The families are losing their patience,” he said.
Beslin: No Mini-Schengen without accepting reality of independent Kosovo (Koha)
Serbian historian, Milivoj Beslin, said in an interview to Montenegrin newspaper Vikend Novine that there cannot be a Mini-Schengen without the prospects of peace and good neighborly relations and that the first step in this direction is accepting the reality of Kosovo’s independence.
“The idea for the free movement of people is a basic European principle and the initiative for a Mini-Schengen is a good step in this respect. However, we should not avoid the context of the initiative and what it suggests. It is contradictory how Aleksandar Vucic promotes the idea of the free movement of people and good neighborly relations with Edi Rama, but at the same time in the controlled media in Belgrade there is an unprecedented racist campaign against the Albanian people and everything that comes from Kosovo,” Beslin said.
Albanians and Serbs paint murals on Iber bridge (Kosovapress/Telegrafi)
Tens of artists from the Albanian and Serb community painted murals together on the Iber bridge in Mitrovica as part of the festival “Nomad” organised by two NGOs, “Paint it” from the northern part and “Link” from the north.
Head of “Paint it” Bardhyl Dobroshi said the aim of the activity was to jointly improve the look of the city while Milan Dobric from “Link” said the goal was to involve as many youths and get them to forget politics-related problems.
The activity was funded by the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society and the Mitrovica Municipality.
Kosovo journalists to enjoy free legal counsel (Kallxo)
The Association of Kosovo Journalists (AGK) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kosovo Chamber of Lawyers enabling all members of AGK free legal aid. The free legal counsel will be available to journalists that are subject to judicial proceedings related of their work.