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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, November 27, 2019

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Albanian Language Media:

• Supreme Court rejects Vetevendosje’s request on diaspora votes (media)
• Election results to be certified at 16:00 hours (Express)
• President Thaci travels to Durres, in solidarity with families of earthquake victims (media)
• Excavation for a suspected mass grave in Pristina continue (RFE, RTK)

Serbian Language Media:

• New European Commission selected: We will share the same fate with the Balkans, along with culture and history (B92, Tanjug)
• EU to get new government today? (B92, Tanjug)
• Trendafilova: Individuals will be accountable for the crimes committed, not peoples (Danas )
• Presevo: Reciprocity is the minimum requirement, joining Kosovo is the maximum (KoSSev)
• Serbian List offers its condolences to the families of those who perished in the earthquake in Albania (Kosovo Online)

International:

• Trump, the EU and the Kosovo conundrum (Aljazeera)
• Balkan States Show Solidarity after Albanian Earthquake (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Albanian Earthquake: Rescue Efforts Continue as death Toll Rises (Balkan Insight)
• The Latest: UN sends disaster assessment experts to Albania (AP)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Supreme Court rejects Vetevendosje’s request on diaspora votes (media)
  • Election results to be certified at 16:00 hours (Express)
  • President Thaci travels to Durres, in solidarity with families of earthquake victims (media)
  • Excavation for a suspected mass grave in Pristina continue (RFE, RTK)

Serbian Language Media:

  • New European Commission selected: We will share the same fate with the Balkans, along with culture and history (B92, Tanjug)
  • EU to get new government today? (B92, Tanjug)
  • Trendafilova: Individuals will be accountable for the crimes committed, not peoples (Danas )
  • Presevo: Reciprocity is the minimum requirement, joining Kosovo is the maximum (KoSSev)
  • Serbian List offers its condolences to the families of those who perished in the earthquake in Albania (Kosovo Online)

International:

  • Trump, the EU and the Kosovo conundrum (Aljazeera)
  • Balkan States Show Solidarity after Albanian Earthquake (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Albanian Earthquake: Rescue Efforts Continue as death Toll Rises (Balkan Insight)
  • The Latest: UN sends disaster assessment experts to Albania (AP)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Supreme Court rejects Vetevendosje’s request on diaspora votes (media)

The Supreme Court has rejected the request of the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) to count some ballot boxes with votes coming from abroad after the deadline.

In a response to Gazeta Express, the Supreme Court confirmed that this institution has decided within deadline on this appeal, and the same was rejected.

“Referring to your questions, we inform you that the Supreme Court considered and decided on the complaint received from the Vetevendosje Movement political entity within the deadline. After the assessment the appeal of the Vetevendosje Movement was rejected by the panel of judges,” is written in the response of the Supreme Court.

Election results to be certified at 16:00 hours (Express)

6 October election results will be certified at 16:00 hours, almost a month after Kosovo people cast their ballots.

The Supreme Court rejected today as ungrounded the request of Vetevendosje Movement to recount some ballot boxes that arrived in Kosovo after the deadline.

Central Election Commission (CEC) told Gazeta Express that the final election results will be certified today at 16:00 hours.

“Today, on 27 November at 16:00 hours, the Central Election Commission will certify the final results of the early elections for the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo held on 6 October 2019,” announced Valmir Elezi, spokesperson of the CEC.

With these results, Vetevendosje will lead as most voted political party proceeded by the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

NISMA-AKR-PD coalition has assured sufficient votes for six seats at the Assembly of Kosovo.

President Thaci travels to Durres, in solidarity with families of earthquake victims (media)

The President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, in solidarity with the families of the earthquake victims in Albania, departed today for Durres.

He is also expected to visit the troops of the Kosovo Security Force, who are participating in the humanitarian operation in support of the authorities of the Republic of Albania to remedy the consequences of the earthquake.

Thaci calls on all people of good will to solidarize with each other in these difficult moments to overcome the adversity and pain together.

Excavation for a suspected mass grave in Pristina continue (RFE, RTK)

Responsible authorities are continuing excavations for the second day in a row of a suspected mass grave with the remains of missing persons during the recent conflict in Kosovo.

Excavations at the Hasan Prishtina University Complex in Pristina began on Tuesday by the Kosovo Police – the war crimes unit – along with the Prosecutor’s Office and the Forensic Institute.

They took the initiative after receiving information from some citizens that there might be a mass grave in that location from the 1999 conflict in Kosovo.

Kushtrim Gara, from the government commission on missing persons, said the excavations had begun on time on the second day.

“It’s also a part of the location … Excavations have begun at the planned and scheduled time,” Gara said.

About 1,600 people are still missing from the last conflict in Kosovo.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

New European Commission selected: We will share the same fate with the Balkans, along with culture and history (B92, Tanjug)

Appointed European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said EU doors to the Western Balkans remain open

President-elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, presenting the program of the new European Commission in front of the European Parliament, said the EU’s door to the Western Balkans should remain open.

“We need to show our friends in the Western Balkans that we share the same continent, the same history, the same culture and share the same fate. Our doors remain open,” von der Leyen said.

Ursula von der Leyen stated that she is pleased to have experienced diplomats such as Josep Borrell and Olivér Várhelyi on her team, who will promote and protect EU interests and support EU partners.

“We will strengthen our partners through cooperation, because strong partners make a strong EU,” says von der Leyen.

In addition to the Western Balkans, which was the first point in presenting the program of the new European Commission, von der Leyen focused on climate protection, the EU’s role in foreign affairs, EU trade and economy, digitalization and innovation, arguing that Europe can shape the global order, putting climate change and migration at the heart of her strategy for the next five years.

Europe “can be the shaper of a better global order,” she said. “This is Europe’s vocation, and it is what European citizens want”. “The countries of the East, West, South and North need a real partner in the EU,” von der Leyen concluded.

Von der Leyen said that the EU was not only about politics, laws and the market, but that people and their aspirations for freedom, values and a better future were at the forefront.

“Over the next five years, we will work hard in order to transform every part of our society and economy,” the future EU President said.

Ursula von der Leyen told MEPs that the EC had put together a great EU team and to ask Parliament for support for a “new start to Europe”.

“We are ready, more importantly Europe is ready. Let’s start working,” concluded von der Layen.

Following her speech, at around 12 pm CET, the Parliament will vote on the new commissioners.

If it receives the expected “green light” of the European Parliament, the European Commission will take office on December 1, 2019.

https://bit.ly/2KZ3LnC

EU to get new government today? (B92, Tanjug)

Today at noon, European Parliament is expected to approve a new executive European Commission under German conservative Ursula von der Leyen

If it is approved by the Parliament, the government of European Union will commence its five-year term on December 1.

MEPs will vote in plenary session to approve the mandate of the entire European Commission, including President Ursula von der Leyen, EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell and 25 Commissioners-designate.

Prior to the voting procedure, President-designate Ursula von der Leyen will present to the European Parliament her team of commissioners, as well as Commission’s agenda for the next five years.

The nominated members of the new European Commission have already undergone a procedure of the examination of their personal and professional skills necessary to take on leadership roles in various fields, as well as potential conflicts of interest check.

The Ursula von der Leyen team includes representatives from 27 member states. The executive comprises one commissioner from each EU member state, though Britain, which is due to exit the bloc, has declined to name a representative.

As Britain currently remains an EU member after several delays to its departure, it is legally required to have a commissioner in Brussels. Its refusal to name one could expose the new Commission’s decisions to legal risks.

However, EU legal authorities emphasize that this does not constitute an obstacle to the start of the term of office of the new European Commission.

https://bit.ly/2Oo7HjQ

Trendafilova: Individuals will be accountable for the crimes committed, not peoples (Danas )

The Specialized Chambers will lead independent, impartial, fair and effective proceedings against the accused and will show that those who commit crimes against humanity, war crimes or other crimes under Kosovo law will not go unpunished, said Kosovo’s Specialized Chambers President Ekaterina Trendafilova for today’s edition of Belgrade based daily Danas. 

“A strong message will be sent that even after 20 years, individuals suspected of committing crimes may face justice,” Trendafilova told Danas. 

According to her, the Specialized Chambers, with headquarters in The Hague, were set up to hold individuals accountable for the crimes committed, not the groups of people or the people, race, organization or religion to which those individuals belong.

“Although it is up to the specialized prosecutor to decide who to indict, the law of the Specialized Chambers and the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office makes it clear that our institution’s responsibilities are crimes committed by citizens of Kosovo or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, or crimes against those citizens regardless of their nationality,” said Trendafilova.

She did not specify when the first indictments will be filed and trials begin because, as she stated, the specialized prosecutor is “the one who investigates and decides whether, when, against whom and for what specific crimes they should be charged.”

Presevo: Reciprocity is the minimum requirement, joining Kosovo is the maximum (KoSSev)

Reciprocity towards Serbia – the idea proposed by the Self-Determination leader, Albin Kurti, is the ”minimum requirement” of the Vranje Basin, and ”the maximum requirement is for it to be merged with Kosovo”  – the Mayor of Presevo, Shqiprim Arifi told T7. Arifi also spoke about Albania’s plan to open a consulate in the municipality, which the Serbian Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic is ”delaying”, Pristina-based Gazeta Express reported.

After winning the elections held on October 6th, 2019, the leader of the Self-Determination movement, Albin Kurti met with representatives of the Vranje Basin, including the Mayor of Presevo, Shqiprim Arifi, on several occasions.

Arifi told T7 that he had discussed reciprocity with Kurti.

”We discussed details about reciprocity. About the politics it practices and what it means. This is our minimum requirement,” he said.

On the other hand, according to Arifi, the ”maximum requirement” of the Vranje Basin is for it to be merged with Kosovo.

”Our maximum demand is to be joined to Kosovo and respect the 1992 referendum that demonstrates the Basin’s willingness to join Kosovo. We fully support reciprocity,” said Arifi.

The Mayor of Presevo also told T7 that Albania plans to open a consulate in this municipality. However, the Serbian Foreign Minister is delaying it – he added.

”Albania is expected to open a consulate in Presevo, but Dacic is delaying it.”

The leader of the Self-Determination Movement has repeatedly met with representatives of the Vranje Basin after winning the October 6th elections. He reiterated that Albania and Kosovo ”should work together on improving the position of Albanians, especially those living in the Presevo Valley”.

Kurti said that the victory of the Self-Determination party in the elections would ”lead to the fulfilment of the Albanian historical efforts to achieve a dignified equality policy”. On the other hand, on October 15th, Arifi defined the victory of Self-Determination as ”an increase in citizens’ confidence in the policy of change”.

https://bit.ly/2QUMQXi

Serbian List offers its condolences to the families of those who perished in the earthquake in Albania (Kosovo Online) 

On Tuesday, Serbian List issued a press statement by which offered condolences to the families of victims of the earthquake in Albania. 

“We wish a speedy recovery of those who are injured, and we wish for the Albanian people the strength and patience to recover from this tragedy,” the Serbian list said. 

Serbian List added that the tragedy of the Albanian citizens has deeply moved the Serbian people in Kosovo, who sympathizes with the families of the victims of the terrible earthquake.

International

 

Trump, the EU and the Kosovo conundrum (Aljazeera)

The US and EU’s contradictory policies on Kosovo could undermine the stability of the Western Balkans.

Ever since Kosovo declared independence in 2008 from Serbia, it has focused its foreign policy on achieving international recognition. Today, its foreign ministry claims that 116 countries have recognised its sovereignty.

Serbia, which rejected its secession after the 1999 war and NATO bombing campaign, has fought back. It has led a parallel campaign, claiming that it convinced some 17 countries over the past two years to renounce their recognition of Kosovo.

By refusing to accept Kosovo’s independence and pressuring others to do so as well, Belgrade is not only blocking its membership in the United Nations but also its accession path to NATO and the European Union.

http://bit.ly/37ArYKG

Balkan States Show Solidarity after Albanian Earthquake (Balkan Insight)

Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo are sending teams to Albania to assist with rescue efforts after the country was hit by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday morning, while other countries in the Balkan region have also offered help.

All the countries closest to Albania, including Italy and Greece, have offered help with the recovery operation, while other European leaders have also offered their assistance.

“It is a dramatic moment where we should preserve calm, stay alongside each other to cope with this shock,” said Prime Minister Edi Rama, according to the Associated Press.

http://bit.ly/2rqiaSZ

 

Development/Humanitarian

 

Albanian Earthquake: Rescue Efforts Continue as death Toll Rises (Balkan Insight)

Rescuers searched through the night for survivors in the rubble of devastated buildings after the strongest earthquake to hit Albania in decades left more than 20 dead and hundreds injured.

Military units, police and emergency workers, supported by rescue teams from other Balkan countries, continued the search operation into Wednesday looking for survivors in the area near the coastal city of Durres after Albania’s northwest Adriatic coast was hit by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake the previous morning.

https://bit.ly/2pZyhqk

The Latest: UN sends disaster assessment experts to Albania (AP)

The United Nations says it is sending two technical experts from the U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination office to Albania following the earthquake that struck the country.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that in addition to dispatching the technical experts to Albania, the U.N. is also ready if required to provide assistance to Bosnia, where minor damage was recorded from a separate, magnitude-5.4 quake Tuesday.

He said the U.N. is in contact with local authorities for more information on the situation.

The U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination office is designed to help the United Nations and governments of disaster-affected countries during the first phase of an earthquake, hurricane, severe flooding or other sudden emergency.

https://bit.ly/33qKnq5

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