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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, November 19

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• Vote recount suspends LVV – LDK negotiations for coalition government (Koha)
• LVV invites LDK to a meeting, they do not respond (Express)
• Ballot recount to complete by Monday (Express)
• Apostolova says new government should be formed soon (Telegrafi)
• One projected MP from Egyptian community joins Vetevendosje (media)
• Appathurai: Kosovo-Serbia relations, among main challenges for region (RFE)
• In Tirana, Thaci attends conference, meets Rama (media)
• Engel: Change of borders would not stop only in Kosovo (Epoka)
• “Russia doesn’t want resolution of Kosovo issue” (Lajmi/Zeri)
• Ramiz Lladrovci to appear before specialist chambers today (media)
• RIDEA: Kosovo must insist on apology from Serbia during dialogue (Koha)

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  • Vote recount suspends LVV – LDK negotiations for coalition government (Koha)
  • LVV invites LDK to a meeting, they do not respond (Express)
  • Ballot recount to complete by Monday (Express)
  • Apostolova says new government should be formed soon (Telegrafi)
  • One projected MP from Egyptian community joins Vetevendosje (media)
  • Appathurai: Kosovo-Serbia relations, among main challenges for region (RFE)
  • In Tirana, Thaci attends conference, meets Rama (media)
  • Engel: Change of borders would not stop only in Kosovo (Epoka)
  • “Russia doesn’t want resolution of Kosovo issue” (Lajmi/Zeri)
  • Ramiz Lladrovci to appear before specialist chambers today (media)
  • RIDEA: Kosovo must insist on apology from Serbia during dialogue (Koha)

Vote recount suspends LVV – LDK negotiations for coalition government (Koha)

The paper reports on its front page that at a time when the vote recount has suspended negotiations between the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), foreign diplomats in Pristina have not stopped their activities and are meeting leaders of the two parties that want to form the new coalition government.

LDK leader Isa Mustafa met on Monday with U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, Philip Kosnett. The LDK issued a press release after the meeting saying that Mustafa, together with deputy leaders Osmani, Veliu and Haziri, briefed Kosnett about the course of talks with LVV on programmatic issues, especially in the areas of rule of law, the economy, social issues, education and healthcare.

“Mustafa expressed the interest of the LDK for Kosovo to have as soon as possible functioning institutions that derive from the people’s demand for change which was expressed clearly in the October 6 elections. He also thanked the United States Embassy for its continuous support for all processes in Kosovo,” the press release noted.

Zeri reports on the front page that while the international community is adamant that there should be no delays in the formation of the new government, the Vetevendosje Movement and the Democratic League of Kosovo have yet to agree on a possible coalition. Representatives of both parties said after the certification of the election results, they will conclude the process of forming the new government.

LVV invites LDK to a meeting, they do not respond (Express)

A month has passed since the parliamentary elections and the two winning political parties are stagnating in reaching an agreement for a coalition government, the news website reports. Representatives of the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) believe that it would be good for leaders of the two parties, Albin Kurti and LDK’s Isa Mustafa, to meet. LVV senior official Albulena Haxhiu said they have sent an invitation to the LDK for a meeting, adding that certification of the election results should not be an obstacle to reaching a deal on the new government. No one from the LDK however wanted to talk about the issue. Haxhiu also said that even if the NISMA-AKR-PD coalition makes it to the Assembly, there will be no room for them in a new government.

Ballot recount to complete by Monday (Express)

Recount of ballots of 1407 polling stations is ongoing. Spokesperson of the Central Election Commission Valmir Elezi said the Counting and Results Centre managed to recount votes of 132 polling stations yesterday. “Based on the data that we have so far, 706 polling stations from the total 1407, have been recounted. This figure represents fifty percent of the polling stations. The other 701stations remain to be recounted,” Elezi said. He said they cannot know the exact date the recounting will be completed, however based dynamics of the last 5 or six days, they believe that the recounting will be completed by next Monday.

Apostolova says new government should be formed soon (Telegrafi)

Head of the EU Office in Kosovo and Special Representative Nataliya Apostolova said in an interview with Telegrafi that the new government of Kosovo needs to be formed without delay.

“The government and the assembly should be formed in line with internal procedures but this process should not be unnecessarily delayed. We hope the government is formed soon as Kosovo needs to focus on structural reforms to improve the lives of its people,” she said.

Asked on whether the Serbian List should be part of the new government, Apostolova said: “The legal framework of Kosovo’s Constitution on the forming of the new government is clear, including election of Serb ministers. This practice has been in place until now and I expect the new government to respect this.”

She said the EU expects the new government to tackle economic development by opening new jobs and also to focus on the public administration reforms and the rule of law. “Kosovo should also demonstrate more engagement on environment and have a better education quality in order to be competitive in the EU market. Resumption of dialogue with Belgrade is also very important,” Apostolova said.

One projected MP from Egyptian community joins Vetevendosje (media)

Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti met yesterday a delegation from the Egyptian Party IRDK headed by Elbert Krasniqi and discussed current political situation in Kosovo, focusing on recent parliamentary elections. Vetevendosje announced that Krasniqi, who is projected to have won a seat in the new Assembly, decided to join the Vetevendosje parliamentary group.

Appathurai: Kosovo-Serbia relations, among main challenges for the region (RFE)

James Appathurai, NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, said in an interview with Radio Free Europe that the relations between Kosovo and Serbia present one of the main challenges for the Western Balkans region and that NATO will do everything in its power to help in resolving this issue.

He said KFOR will remain in Kosovo and will continue to provide a safe environment.

“When it comes to what kind of reform assistance NATO will provide to the Kosovo Security Force or potentially the future army of Kosovo, we are now internally reviewing what that encompasses. This is a practical debate but also political on the impact on Kosovo and its relations with neighbours. At the same time, it is no secret that we in the Alliance have the problem of countries that recognise and those that do not recognise Kosovo. For them this is a complex issue. We need to discuss this further and I am almost certain there will be some repercussions but we have not gotten there yet.”

In Tirana, Thaci attends conference, meets Rama (media)

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci was in Tirana yesterday on the invitation of President Ilir Meta to be a panelist in a conference of the role of religion as instrument of peace, organised jointly by President of Albania and the U.S. State Department.

Thaci said in his remarks that Kosovo faced the challenge of extremism elements but as a society and country reacted promptly and with determination. He listed what he said were Kosovo’s achievements in dealing with religion and peace.

“The first is that we have not allowed the religion to be implicated in Kosovo’s war for liberation and independence,” Thaci said. The second achievement, according to him, is that Kosovo involved religious leaders in its efforts to build a lasting peace and understanding between people and the third is that religious leaders in Kosovo have built bridges of communication and cooperation between them.

After the conference, Thaci met Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama with whom he discussed “advancing cooperation and coordination of steps in new international developments, to as best as possible protect and promote interests of our countries and citizens.”

Engel: Change of borders would not stop only in Kosovo (Epoka)

The U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel warned against the idea of change of the borders between Kosovo and Serbia. Engel, who is also Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee said he is skeptical about this idea as it would not end with Kosovo. “This would cause a chain reaction that I do not consider to be positive. We know the parameters for Kosovo. I think that change of borders would be wrong idea. I consider that it would not be a wise thing,” Engel said.

Engel said he hopes for a broad-based government in Kosovo in order to face challenges that lie ahead. “Serbia is making strong efforts to delegitimize Kosovo. It is trying to convince countries that have recognized independence of Kosovo to withdraw theur recognitions. We are fighting against these efforts. Therefore, the more united the country is, the better,” Engel said.

“Russia doesn’t want resolution of Kosovo issue” (Lajmi/Zeri)

Russia doesn’t want to see a resolution to the issue of Kosovo, or of any other frozen conflict in the Western Balkans, deputy director of the Moscow-based Carnegie centre, Maxim Samorukov, told Radio Free Europe.

“Russia, as in other conflicts in the Western Balkans, doesn’t want the conflict between Kosovo and Serbia be resolved. Russia’s support for Serbia is crucial at this moment, mainly because of the situation in Kosovo. Serbia needs Russia internationally and its power in the United Nations to prevent full recognition of Kosovo’s independence. As soon as the conflict is resolved, Russia will no longer be very appealing to Serbia,” Samorukov said.

As a result of this position, according to Samorukov, statements of Russian officials are unclear as on one hand they state that Russia would support any solution that is acceptable for Serbia and on the other they emphasise that the agreement would have to be based on the UN SC resolution 1244 which hinders independence of Kosovo.

“But I certainly would not say Russia is the main obstacle to resolving this conflict. There are many obstacles at the local level and a long road ahead towards reaching a final agreement so Russia can be calm as the final agreement doesn’t seem to be near,” Samorukov added.

Ramiz Lladrovci to appear before specialist chambers today (media)

Most news outlets report that Drenas Mayor Ramiz Lladrovci will appear today before the specialist chambers in the Hague. Lladrovci said several days ago that he has been summoned as a witness. “Never in my life did I have any dilemmas about the justice of our liberation war and the path we followed to liberation. Forever proud with the Kosovo Liberation Army,” Lladrovci had said.

RIDEA: Kosovo must insist on apology from Serbia during dialogue (Koha)

The Pristina-based Research Institute of Development and European Affairs (RIDEA) presented a study on Monday on issues that need to be addressed during the final phase of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. The study focuses on the issue of reparations for war crimes committed in Kosovo and on the issue of the Trepca mining complex, which continues to be one of the most problematic matters between the two sides. The study suggests that Kosovo must insist on an apology from Serbia during the final phase of dialogue and guarantees that war crimes will never be repeated.

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