Albanian Language Media:
- Daka: Election process coming to a close (RFE)
- Makolli: Increasingly difficult to return citizens from Syria (media)
Serbian Language Media:
- KP released photos of “new suspects in Ivanovic’s murder”; Vucic: Students who had nothing to do with murder (KoSSev)
- Nauru revoked recognition of Kosovo (RTS, Blic)
- KoSSev: A year of 100% taxes
- Djuric: Reciprocity is self-isolation (Danas)
- Detention of Nenad Arsic extended (Tanjug, B92)
- Potera: Ballots from Serbia were poisoned in Pristina (Kosovo Online, FB)
- Djuric comments a meeting between Kurti and Ugljanin (Blic, B92)
- Serbia and Russia defend ties as spy scandal erupts before leaders meet (The Irish Times)
- Minister: Kosovo to gain access to global environment funds (Koha)
- Lion discovered caged in Gjilan restaurant (Prishtina Insight)
Albanian Language Media
Daka: Election process coming to a close (RFE)
Head of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Valdete Daka told Radio Free Europe that the election process is coming to a close and that the CEC is ready to certify results as soon as the recount is concluded.
Daka did not wish to give a time when the recount can be expected to be finished but said this could happen next week. “I would not want to give specific certification date because we have to first wait for the recount to end and then we can speak about possible dates,” she said.
Makolli: Increasingly difficult to return citizens from Syria (media)
Fatos Makolli, Kosovo’s national anti-extremism coordinator, spoke to Tirana-based CNN affiliate channel A2 where he said that it is becoming increasingly difficult to return citizens from Syria because the circumstanced on the ground have changed.
“Circumstances have greatly changed since Kosovo decided to return its nationals. Fierce fighting has begun between Syrian and Turkish forces while the U.S. troops are withdrawing so it is becoming increasingly difficult to organise such operations,” Makolli said.
“Syrian democratic forces have made a call to countries to take back their citizens a year ago although there was a type of resistance from EU countries on this point. Kosovo was among the first countries that returned such a number but I am emphasising that then was a more favourable timing,” he added.
Serbian Language Media
KP released photos of “new suspects in Ivanovic’s murder”; Vucic: Students who had nothing to do with murder (KoSSev)
According to Kosovo chief prosecutor in the case of Oliver Ivanovic’s murder the first indictments in this case were supposed to be filed by the end of this week, KoSSev portal reports.
However, instead of issuing indictments, the Kosovo prosecutors’ office released a photo of two men it said were suspects in the assassination. Almost two years after the murder, Kosovo police directorate for investigating serious crimes and the special prosecutors’ office called on people to help to identify the two who, they said, lived in the same street as Ivanovic.
On the other hand, the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic said that the two young men are students who were already questioned by the police. “They had nothing to do with the murder,” Vucic added.
They are students of the Faculty of Technology in Mitrovica North, born in Kursumlija town (south Serbia), who have already been questioned by Serbian investigative authorities and they have nothing to do with the murder – Vucic said. He also displayed another photograph, saying that it was taken from the BIA archives, and revealed the names of the two people on the photo: Ivan Dimitrijevic and Milos Radosavljevic, KoSSev portal reports.
The Serbian President also said that Serbian investigative authorities had already questioned the young men, and that it turned out that they “had a test that morning and had nothing to do with the murder“. Their parents brought them in to be questioned by the police, “willing to fully cooperate and take a polygraph test,“ he added.
Vucic, however, did not say when the Serbian investigative bodies came into possession of the photographs. He also did not provide details on whether the same persons were investigated by the Serbian investigative bodies or any details about the cooperation of the Serbian and Kosovo investigative bodies in this case, KoSSev portal noted.
The Serbian president stressed that the sharing of these photographs indicates “how serious is the approach of the Kosovo investigative bodies towards solving the murder of Oliver Ivanovic.“ He also added that although the investigation of the murder of the Kosovo Serb politician is “paramount“ to Serbia, the Kosovo authorities “did not in any way allow Serbia to access their material.“
He also emphasized that “Serbs falsely reported Serbs to the Kosovo authorities because they thought they were very clever when looking at surveillance cameras“.
See at: https://bit.ly/2KKsvQF
Nauru revoked recognition of Kosovo (RTS, Blic)
Republic of Nauru in Pacific became the 17th country to revoke recognition of Kosovo and Metohija, RTS reports referring to Blic daily. Nauru is an island country in Micronesia.
Earlier this month, Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Ivica Dacic said that Ghana has decided to revoke recognition of Kosovo, adding this was the largest country to do it, so far. He also announced this will influence other countries (to make similar decisions), RTS reports.
KoSSev: A year of 100% taxes
Exactly one year has passed since the Kosovo government revised its initial decision to impose a 10% tax increase on imports of goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and raised it to 100%, thus effectively suspending legal trade with Serbia and Bosnia. The consequences of that decision were not felt in the municipalities in the north of Kosovo, but its effect is noticeable in the Serb-majority communities in the south. Despite considerable involvement of foreign diplomats and numerous calls to the Kosovo government to withdraw or suspend this decision, the taxes still remain in force, as it appears, due to the persistence of Kosovo’s outgoing Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj.
The tax increase was proposed by the Minister of Trade, Endrit Shala, following Kosovo’s failed attempt at joining INTERPOL. The Kosovo public was thrilled over the adoption of the tax increase. Perhaps the most striking example of the approval of this decision was the cover of the daily newspaper Zeri of a STOP sign with the inscription ”From the takozvano (so-called) Kosovo with love”.
The most controversial form of showing support for this decision was the burning of Serbian products. Several such events took place in cities across Kosovo, including Kacanik and Decani, while several persons were arrested in the center of Pristina for burning Serbian products.
The burning of Serbian products in Pristina was directly broadcast by T7 television.
At that point, numerous political representatives, including Haradinaj, Veseli, Enver Hoxhaj and Limaj, argued that their influence was crucial to the decision to impose the tariffs. However, in the coming months, many of them changed their statements and started claiming the opposite.
The decision to impose the tax on products from Serbia was personified in the famous biscuit from Serbia – Plazma, followed by a debate about which biscuit is better – the Kosovan Sempre or Plazma from Serbia. In many of Pristina’s pastry shops, even in Plazma cakes whose main ingredient is the Plazma biscuit, it was replaced by the Sempre. The pastry chefs claimed it tasted better, while outgoing Kosovo Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj also joined the debate. ” ‘Sempre’ – it may be better than ‘Plazma’, because it is ours,” Haradinaj said at the time.
However, despite the taxes, products from Serbia found a way of reaching shops across Kosovo. A deputy in the Kosovo Assembly even expressed his dissatisfaction that the juice made near Belgrade found its way to this Kosovo legislative body.
It was suspected that the products from Serbia were being shipped to North Macedonia, processed, and then repackaged with a sign indicating that goods were made in North Macedonia.
More at: https://bit.ly/2ri7qWA
Djuric: Reciprocity is self-isolation (Danas)
”The very idea of reciprocity, which Albin Kurti repeats as a parrot, is in complete opposition to the desire of responsible and far-sighted leaders in the region to create the conditions for more dynamic development and free movement of people, goods and capital in these areas”, Belgrade based daily Danas reported quoting the Office for Kosovo and Metohija statement.
Djuric stated that the anniversary of the introduction of anti-civilization taxes of one hundred percent on products from central Serbia is also the anniversary of the failure of a part of the international community to ensure respect for the values on which the modern Europe rests in the Western Balkans.
The statement reads that Pristina needs to understand that all outstanding issues are to be resolved, not through blackmail but through dialogue, after abolishing the anti-civilization taxes on goods from central Serbia, in order for Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo to begin living a dignified life.
Djuric stated that ”one arrogant and arbitrary group of Albanian political leaders in Pristina has been allowed to violate the CEFTA Agreement and many other treaties under which the European Union has its authority”.
He added that ”It is very difficult to hold a productive dialogue with someone who constantly proves his perfidies and desire to impose his will by one-sided manifestations of force, and is even proud of his inability and unwillingness to carry out his obligations and obey a given word”.
Detention of Nenad Arsic extended (Tanjug, B92)
The Basic Court in Pristina has extended the detention of Nenad Arsic from Caglavica for two more months. The prosecution suspects Arsic of committing war crimes against the civilian population, B92 reports.
Lawyer Dejan Vasic told Kosovo online that Arsic was interrogated on Wednesday. “Arsic gave statements in relation to the events from May 1999, stressing that he was never on that spot, neither in that part of Pristina or Esmir settlement,“ Vasic said.
He voiced expectations that the special prosecutor would carry out remaining investigative acts under urgent procedure, the same way she acted so far.
Arsic is accused of mistreating two Albanian civilians together with the members of the Serbian army and the police, allegedly beating them up, forcing them to drink alcohol and sing Serbian songs, B92 reported.
He is for a month in high security prison in Podujevo, Serbian media recalled.
Potera: Ballots from Serbia were poisoned in Pristina (Kosovo Online, FB)
Portal Kosovo online reports on a FB post of Samir Potera, Civil society member, who wrote that “poisoned envelopes were not poisoned in Belgrade but in Pristina”.
Potera estimates that the case of “poisoned envelopes” happened to make NISMA part of the Assembly, adding that it was strange “that the Serbian List did not react at all”.
It was clarified that the ballots were not poisoned by Belgrade, but here in Pristina, opines Potera, adding that the Supreme Court had made an unusual decision, contrary to practice.
“The purpose was to disrupt the electoral process by eliminating incoming votes by mail from Serbia for NISMA to enter the Assembly, and to disturb the mathematics of the election winner. When they failed, they reached the target through the Supreme Court, which made a strange decision, contrary to previous practices,” wrote Potera.
Djuric comments a meeting between Kurti and Ugljanin (Blic, B92)
Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric said he was sure that Bosniaks were ashamed that Ugljanin succumbs to Kurti and do not want to be dragged into any combinatoric within the project of creating a so-called Greater Albania.
“Bosniaks in the Raska region are loyal citizens of Serbia, and they see it as their homeland, so Sulejman Ugjanin did not speak to Albin Kurti on their behalf today,” Djuric reacted in a statement.
He estimated that “the departure of Ugljanin as bowing to Kurti is an act of the deepest human and moral stumbling of the man who received everything from Serbia, including his ministerial function, so he is the last one who has the right to speak about the alleged disfranchise of Bosniaks in our country.”
“It is true that Ugljanin was discriminated by Serbia, but positively, because he unduly deserved the ministerial department and jobs related to regional development, and in that post he showed nothing but incompetence and ineffectiveness,” Djuric concluded.
President of the Party of Democratic Action of Sandzak, Sulejman Ugljanin informed the leader of the Self-Determination Movement and Kosovo Prime Minister candidate Albin Kurti about a request for a special status for Sandzak.
Serbia and Russia defend ties as spy scandal erupts before leaders meet (The Irish Times)
Russian former deputy military attache filmed giving cash to ex-Serbian officer in Belgrade
Belgrade and Moscow have said their close relationship will not be ruined by a spy scandal that erupted after an alleged Russian intelligence officer was filmed covertly giving cash to a retired Serbian army officer.
President Aleksandar Vucic convened Serbia’s national security council on Thursday evening to discuss surveillance footage published online that he said showed Georgy Kleban, Russia’s former deputy military attache to Belgrade, meeting an ex-lieutenant colonel in the Serbian army who he identified only as ZK.
See at: https://bit.ly/2OAZ2cY
Minister: Kosovo to gain access to global environment funds (Koha)
Kosovo’s acting Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Fatmir Matoshi spoke at a regional conference in Skopje, North Macedonia, about steps Kosovo is undertaking to reduce air pollution.
Matoshi said Kosovo has to this end reduced the use of goal for heating, and has launched the testing phase for controlling gas emissions from cars. He also said the EU-funded project for changing power plant filters is being currently implemented as is the expansion of the cogeneration heating system.
“We are also focused on informing the public on air quality and thanks to the support from European Union we have installed a software featuring real-time data from stations across Kosovo and we have also put up screens in the capital where citizens can get information about air pollution and its consequences to health,” Matoshi said.
He also said Kosovo should have access to global environment protection funds saying the issue knows no borders and that united efforts are needed to achieve a clean environment.
Lion discovered caged in Gjilan restaurant (Prishtina Insight)
Animal rights groups and the Kosovo Food and Veterinary Agency have confirmed “unacceptable” reports that a restaurant in Gjilan is keeping a lion in a cage outside its premises on Wednesday.
Reports that a lion is being kept in a cage outside a restaurant in Zheger, a village in the Municipality of Gjilan on Wednesday, have been met with outrage from animal rights organizations in Kosovo.
“This poor wild animal is being held in a very small cage just to please people with no compassion for animals,” said NGO United for Animals in a statement on Facebook. “Not only is this inhumane, it is also illegal.”
See at: https://bit.ly/35mpIVB