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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, November 20

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• Kurti, Mustafa to discuss dialogue and President’s role in next meeting (RFE)
• Haziri: Coalition talks with LVV have not stalled (Klan Kosova)
• Abdixhiku: Assembly Speaker and President posts belong to LDK (T7)
• Haxhiu: PM post does not go through LDK’s offices (RTK)
• Adm Foggo: No delays in forming the new government (Koha)
• Haradinaj: Mini-Schengen, expansion of Russian influence in the Balkans (media)
• Montenegro: Demarcation with Kosovo is a concluded issue (Zeri)
• LVV initiates change of statute to enable Kurti to remain party leader (G. Express)
• Suspicions raised in the Maldives claiming Kosovo paid for its recognition (media)
• Italy Defense Minister informed on Kosovo achievements in security (Epoka)

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  • Kurti, Mustafa to discuss dialogue and President’s role in next meeting (RFE)
  • Haziri: Coalition talks with LVV have not stalled (Klan Kosova)
  • Abdixhiku: Assembly Speaker and President posts belong to LDK (T7)
  • Haxhiu: PM post does not go through LDK’s offices (RTK)
  • Adm Foggo: No delays in forming the new government (Koha)
  • Haradinaj: Mini-Schengen, expansion of Russian influence in the Balkans (media)
  • Montenegro: Demarcation with Kosovo is a concluded issue (Zeri)
  • LVV initiates change of statute to enable Kurti to remain party leader ( Express)
  • Suspicions raised in the Maldives claiming Kosovo paid for its recognition (media)
  • Italy Defense Minister informed on Kosovo achievements in security (Epoka)

Kurti, Mustafa to discuss dialogue and President’s role in next meeting (RFE)

Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) leader Albin Kurti and Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) leader Isa Mustafa are expected to discuss the political dialogue with Serbia in a meeting which is expected to take place next week, the news website reports. Both parties, which were in the opposition in the previous mandate and which won the highest number of votes in the October early parliamentary elections, are holding talks for forming a new coalition government.

Vetevendosje and LDK have yet to take a position on President Hashim Thaci’s role in the dialogue with Serbia. While there were in the opposition, both parties were against Thaci leading Kosovo’s delegation in the negotiations.

Kurti said that in terms of dialogue with Serbia, first all agreements reached between the parties in Brussels since 2011 until 2017, need to be evaluated first. He also said that when he assumes the Office of Prime Minister, he would lead the dialogue and that he would not allow President Thaci to take on competencies “that don’t belong to him”.

Vetevendosje senior member Albulena Haxhiu echoes the sentiments saying that the Constitution of Kosovo provides that the President has an advisory role in the process. “The previous government unfortunately left the dialogue in the hands of the President. This will not happen again. There will be a new approach, a new mindset and we will not allow any concessions that damage Kosovo,” Haxhiu said. “He [Thaci] knows his competencies, but the previous government left the dialogue in his hands and he used this for his own interests”.

The Office of President Thaci did not comment on the issue, but the news website recalls that in a recent interview Thaci said that Kosovo must stand united in the face of Serbia. “By being united we will make it, so as President of the country I call on all factors to be wise and to join energies for a process that will not be easy. This is why I will have a constitutional and legal role deriving from the legitimacy of the people,” Thaci said.

The news website also notes that LDK deputy leader Vjosa Osmani said in an earlier statement that the new Prime Minister, and not the President, should lead the dialogue with Serbia. “Kosovo needs to be represented by the government in the dialogue. This means that the new Prime Minister cannot dodge his obligations to represent Kosovo in this process,” Osmani said.

Haziri: Coalition talks with LVV have not stalled (Klan Kosova)

Deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Lutfi Haziri said that talks with Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) on forming the new government have not stalled and that there is already agreement on several sectors.

“There is no stalemate and no hesitation regarding the future of building an LDK-LVV coalition,” Haziri said.

He noted that the negotiations are not being focused on division of government cabinet posts and that this will be the final step in the process. “Our meetings are taking place according to the calendar,” he said adding that the delays are due to complaints raised regarding the final election results.

Haziri also ruled out the possibility of LDK cooperating with other parties. “LDK’s option is to build a coalition with Vetevendosje. It does not accept cooperation with other parties.”

Abdixhiku: Assembly Speaker and President posts belong to LDK (T7)

Lumir Abdixhiku, member of LDK leadership and future MP of this political entity, said the post of the Assembly Speaker and that of the President of Kosovo belong to the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

LDK and Self-determination Movement (LVV) working groups had several rounds of discussions in order to harmonise the governing program, however they continuously said that they did not discuss distribution of posts yet.

“The Assembly Speaker and the President belong to us. If 28 LDK MPs vote the Prime Minister of Kosovo from LVV, then 29 LVV MPs should vote Assembly Speaker and President to LDK,” Abdixhiku said.

Asked if Isa Mustafa is LDK’s candidate for the President, Abdixhiku said Mustafa meets every criterion to become the President of Kosovo. “But we have not mentioned any candidate yet,” he said.

Haxhiu: PM post does not go through LDK’s offices (RTK)

Albulena Haxhiu, senior member of the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) said on Tuesday that the Prime Minister’s post belongs to them not because the other entities want this, but because the people decided this in the October parliamentary elections. “The name of the Prime Minister does not go through the offices of the LDK or any other party. This was decided by the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, through elections,” she said. “There is no discussion about his name. It is well known who the Prime Minister will be. We have had transparent and constructive meetings with LDK.”

Speaking about ballot counting, Haxhiu argued there are plans to take the majority away from the LVV. “Yes, there is a plan to bring a political party in the Assembly and take away the majority from LVV. A decision for recount of 60 percent of the votes was made not because they think that there are irregularities but in order to prolong the process,” Haxhiu said.

Adm Foggo: No delays in forming the new government (Koha)

Commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Admiral James Foggo, said that parties that have won 6 October elections should form the new government without delays.

“You now have the opportunity to form a new government. Elections were free and we heard many good things. So, I am telling the people of Kosovo and new elected officials to push forward this country towards stability and prosperity,” Adm Foggo said adding that there are no plans to downsize the number of NATO troops in Kosovo.

The U.S. army official made the comments at the COMKFOR change of command in Pristina which saw Major General Lorenzo D’Addario be succeeded by Major General Michele Risi.

Haradinaj: Mini-Schengen, expansion of Russian influence in the Balkans (media)

Kosovo’s Acting Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said yesterday that it is not in the interest of Kosovo to be involved in the Mini-Schengen initiative considering it an effort to increase the influence of Russia and China to the Western Balkans region.

“Russia and China are installed in all aspects in Belgrade, they are present in the economy, security and politics. When we make same rules this influence installed in Belgrade automatically passes on to us,” Haradinaj said at a press conference after meeting Italian Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini.

Montenegro: Demarcation with Kosovo is a concluded issue (Zeri)

Montenegrin authorities told the paper that they consider demarcation with Kosovo to be a concluded issue and that joint working teams will be set up to do the actual demarcation. Officials in Podgorica however noted that during the process possible corrections are possible.

“Demarcation between Montenegro and the Republic of Kosovo has ended with the signing of the agreement whereby Montenegro and Kosovo have taken over the obligation to carry out the demarcation in line with the agreement,” said Milan Paunovic from the Montenegro’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.

At the same time, Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) has said that one of the first things it will do when it comes to power is to review the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro. “The next step will be establishing contacts with authorities in Podgorica to fix this issue,” LVV told the paper.

LVV initiates change of statute to enable Kurti to remain party leader (G. Express)

Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) has begun procedures for changing its statute which currently stipulates that if the party leader becomes prime minister, the top party post needs to be vacated. The changes are now aimed to prevent this from happening and enabling Albin Kurti to keep both posts, that of prime minister and LVV leader.

Suspicions raised in the Maldives claiming Kosovo paid for its recognition (media)

The paper reports that a motion has been presented to the parliament in the Maldives urging it to launch an inquiry into claims that the country’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence was a result of a corruption affair.

Former Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed is being accused of receiving USD 2 millions to recognise Kosovo although the police had previously concluded that there was no evidence of corruption and that the diplomatic process of recognition was in line with international standards.

Meanwhile, Jetlir Zyberaj from the Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Gazeta Blic that the motion in the Maldives parliament is a result of internal political developments which Kosovo does not comment on. “Republic of Kosovo has excellent relations with the Maldives Island and we have strong support in every multilateral forum,” he said.

Italy Defense Minister informed on Kosovo achievements in security (Epoka)

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci met on Tuesday with the Minister of Defense of Italy, Lorenzo Guerini, whom he thanked for the role of Italy in KFOR and the strengthening of peace in Kosovo and in the region in general.

Speaking about KFOR and the Italian Commanders of the peacekeeping force, President Thaci said that “I have had excellent cooperation with Major General D’Addario and welcome the opportunity to continue this cooperation with Major General Risi”.

Minister Guerini said he was happy that Italy had contributed to the strengthening of peace in Kosovo and the entire Balkan region.

Thaci also expressed his satisfaction that the KSF, in cooperation with NATO, has become a professional, multiethnic force that has opened the perspective of Kosovo’s NATO membership in the near future.

Guerini met on Tuesday also with the Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj and LDK’s candidate for Prime Minister Vjosa Osmani.

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