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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, December 5, 2019

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, December 05, 2019

Albanian Language Media:

• Meta meets Kurti, Mustafa, calls for quick creation of government (Klan/KP)
• Kusari-Lila: I don’t think any party in Kosovo wants fresh elections (Telegrafi)
• Former minister sentenced to prison for remarks on Recak massacre (media)
• Poll: 59% of respondents prefer import tax on Serbia remaining in force (RTK/Telegrafi)

Serbian Language Media:

• Dacic: Pristina to revoke tariffs and return to dialogue (Tanjug, TV Most)
• “If it was up to Putin back in 1999, we would never have been bombed” (Tanjug, B92)
• Vlajic: Former Kosovo Minister of Local Self-Government and Administration Ivan Todosijevic sentenced to two years in prison (KoSSev)
• Vucic: I am saying too “Racak” was fabricated, will they convict us all? (Tanjug, B92)
• Rakic: If verdict is confirmed, Serbian List will urge Serbs to leave Kosovo institutions (TV Most)
• Fake news about death of Silvana Arsovic (Radio KIM)
• Milena Ivanovic on indictment in Oliver Ivanovic’s murder case (RTV Puls, Blic)

International:

Serbia to Stop Buying Weapons, President Says (Balkan Insight)
Kosovo Tries Serb Ex-Fighter for Deadly Wartime Attack (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

Justice demanded for missing and murdered journalists in Kosovo (media)
Organizations of persons with disabilities lack support of local authorities (Radio kontakt plus)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Meta meets Kurti, Mustafa, calls for quick creation of government (Klan/KP)
  • Kusari-Lila: I don’t think any party in Kosovo wants fresh elections (Telegrafi)
  • Former minister sentenced to prison for remarks on Recak massacre (media)
  • Poll: 59% of respondents prefer import tax on Serbia remaining in force (RTK/Telegrafi)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Dacic: Pristina to revoke tariffs and return to dialogue (Tanjug, TV Most)
  • “If it was up to Putin back in 1999, we would never have been bombed” (Tanjug, B92)
  • Vlajic: Former Kosovo Minister of Local Self-Government and Administration Ivan Todosijevic sentenced to two years in prison (KoSSev)
  • Vucic: I am saying too “Racak” was fabricated, will they convict us all? (Tanjug, B92)
  • Rakic: If verdict is confirmed, Serbian List will urge Serbs to leave Kosovo institutions (TV Most)
  • Fake news about death of Silvana Arsovic (Radio KIM)
  • Milena Ivanovic on indictment in Oliver Ivanovic’s murder case (RTV Puls, Blic)

International:

  • Serbia to Stop Buying Weapons, President Says (Balkan Insight)
  • Kosovo Tries Serb Ex-Fighter for Deadly Wartime Attack (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Justice demanded for missing and murdered journalists in Kosovo (media)
  • Organizations of persons with disabilities lack support of local authorities (Radio kontakt plus)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Meta meets Kurti, Mustafa, calls for quick creation of government (Klan/KP)

President of Albania, Ilir Meta, met separately the leader of Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) Albin Kurti and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) leader Isa Mustafa during his visit to Kosovo. 

Meta thanked the two leaders for the solidarity and concrete aid to earthquake relief efforts. He also called for the quick creation of new Kosovo institutions. 

“I wished them as winners of parliamentary elections success in their partnership in creating new governing institutions. Kosovo has all the possibilities to become an example of good governance in our region,” Meta wrote on social media. 

Kusari-Lila: I don’t think any party in Kosovo wants fresh elections (Telegrafi)

Leader of Alternativa who won an MP seat under the Vetevendosje ticket, Mimoza Kusari-Lila, said in an interview with RTV Dukagjini that after a ‘tiring’ process, she doesn’t believe there is a single party in Kosovo that would want fresh elections. 

“This would not only be difficult for the people but also the political parties. What would be tell the people? Can we ask them to give us their votes saying we will do better than what we did three months ago?” 

Speaking about the coalition negotiations between the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), Kusari-Lila said that she was disappointed by LDK’s position: “It is now clear who won the election. In no other case in Kosovo was is possible for the second party to get both the speaker and the president.”

Former minister sentenced to prison for remarks on Recak massacre (media)

Kosovo’s former Minister of Local Government and Administration Ivan Todosijevic has been sentenced by the Basic Court in Pristina to two years in prison for his remarks about the Recak massacre where 45 Albanian civilians were killed by Serbian-led security forces in January of 1999.

Todosijevic was charged with inciting ethnic hatred after he stated in April 2019 that the Recak massacre was a fabrication. He was shortly after dismissed from the post of minister and charged in June.

Poll: 59% of respondents prefer import tax on Serbia remaining in force (RTK/Telegrafi)

Kosovo Democratic Institute published today results of an opinion poll on possible topics of the final Kosovo-Serbia agreement including the import tax on Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, border correction idea, and other issues that could be part of the dialogue.

59 percent of the respondents said the government of Kosovo should not suspend the tax to pave way for dialogue with Serbia to resume.

With regards to the idea for border correction, 45 percent of people interviewed said they understood what the idea implies, 31 percent said they somewhat understood the concept while 20 percent said they did not know precisely what this idea consists of.

The people that were interviewed also gave answers as to what issues they think need to be included in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and 71% said the process should include missing persons, 60% war crime prosecution, 59% war reparations, 56% apology from Serbia, 41% said the return of Kosovo funds needs to be addressed and 38% said mutual recognition. 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Dacic: Pristina to revoke tariffs and return to dialogue (Tanjug, TV Most)

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Ivica Dacic said today in Bratislava that official Belgrade expects from the international community to impact new Pristina authorities to revoke 100 percent tariffs on goods from central Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, TV Most reports.

Speaking at the 26th OSCE Ministerial Council Slovakia, Dacic pointed out that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, as the only way to resolve the issues in Kosovo, “has been blocked for longer than a year.”

Dacic added that Pristina’s politicians with their irresponsible, unilateral moves such as the introduction of 100 percent tariffs not only jeopardized survival and the rights of the Serbian community in Kosovo and violated the CEFTA agreement, but also disabled reaching of a compromise and sustainable solution with which both sides would feel neither as a winner nor defeated.

“With an aim to find such solution, we expect that the international community also impacts new Pristina authorities to revoke this unilateral measure and return to the dialogue in good faith, as the only way to resolve the problems in Kosovo,” Dacic said.  

Speaking about the situation in the region, Dacic noted that the Western Balkans at this moment is deeply disappointed not only with slowing down, but also with the stopping of an EU enlargement process. He assessed that such a situation sends a bad message to the states in the region and is suitable to strengthen radicalism as well as unilateralism in resolving the common problems.  

“If it was up to Putin back in 1999, we would never have been bombed” (Tanjug, B92)

President Aleksandar Vucic said he was grateful to Russia for its support for international law on Kosovo and the preservation of Serbia’s territorial integrity.

He said at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin that he conveyed to the Russian head of state his “low expectations about the future negotiations with the Albanian side”.

“First and foremost, given their statements, announcements and attempts to push further recognition of Kosovo’s independence with exerting additional pressure, without Serbia getting anything,” Vucic said.

This, he said, is neither possible nor realistic and will not happen.

Vucic reiterated his gratitude to Putin for providing Serbia with continued and firm support. Putin said Russia’s position on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija was unchanged and that UN Security Council Resolution 1244 should be respected.

Russia, Putin said, is ready to support a possible compromise solution to the Kosovo problem if it is reached between Belgrade and Pristina, and that Russia “will be on Serbia’s side”.

He stressed that Russia advocates a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis, respect for Serbia’s sovereignty and integrity, and for adequate respect of the rights of all ethnic groups. Russia has not changed its position – the basis for resolving this issue should be Resolution 1244, President Putin said.

See at: https://bit.ly/38cUH8W

Vlajic: Former Kosovo Minister of Local Government and Administration Ivan Todosijevic sentenced to two years in prison (KoSSev)

Former Kosovo Minister of Local Government and Administration, Ivan Todosijevic was sentenced today at Pristina Basic Court to two years in prison due to “inciting national, racial, religious hatred, unrests and intolerance,” his lawyer, Nebojsa Vlajic confirmed to KoSSev portal.

The trial of Todosijevic has started this week, and the verdict was made today at 09.30. Todosijevic was convicted over the statement related to the Racak case he made at the 20th commemoration of NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SRJ) in Zvecan, KoSSev portal reported.

Vlajic also said defense would file a complaint regarding the verdict.

“This verdict indicates that human rights in Kosovo do not exist and are massively violated by those who should protect them. Todosijevic has been punished draconically for something that is not a criminal act and we will file a complaint against this verdict which is unlawful. The Court of Appeals must revoke it,” Vlajic told KoSSev.  

Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric reacting to the verdict said that “Pristina’s judiciary caused irreparable damage to the process of reconciliation in Kosovo and Metohija, by placing itself in the service of a chauvinist campaign against entire Serbian people in the province,” KoSSev portal reported. 

Vucic: I am saying too “Racak” was fabricated, will they convict us all? (Tanjug, B92)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic termed as “horrifying” the verdict of Ivan Todosijevic to two years in prison because he said that the crime in Racak village was fabricated, Tanjug news agency reports.

Vucic added he also says that it was a fabricated crime, asking if all of us will be convicted because of that.

“All members of Srpska Lista will repeat the same, and I am repeating it now – fabricated crime in Racak, and everything there was fabricated by a fraudster, thief and charlatan Walker,” Vucic said.

He also commented on the fake news that Silvana Arsovic, secretary of late Oliver Ivanovic, has died as reported by some Albanian-language media last night.  

“Who know what sort of manipulations there are and what they have tried to do regarding the murder of Oliver Ivanovic. To declare her dead and say our doctors have killed her. These are horrifying things,” Vucic said, B92 reports.

Rakic: If verdict is confirmed, Serbian List will urge Serbs to leave Kosovo institutions (TV Most)

Serbian List in strongest terms condemned the verdict against Ivan Todosijevic, former Kosovo Local Government and Administration Minister, TV Most reports. If the verdict does not change, Serbian Lista will urge all representatives of the Serbs and citizens to leave their working places in Pristina institutions, TV Most added.

Serbian List President Goran Rakic told journalists today that this day will be remembered “as a black stain on the judiciary in Kosovo.”

“I am convinced that this is a unique case, that member of Serbian List Presidency, Ivan Todosijevic is convicted for an offense that is called a verbal delict. By this verdict, Serbs are deprived of the right to speak, freedom of expression, right to defend the Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohija, e.g. right that Serbs tell the truth,” Rakic said.

Serbian List Deputy President Igor Simic said this is the first time that somebody is convicted for such an offence in Kosovo and Metohija, and that the reaction of the international representatives is still waited for.

Fake news about death of Silvana Arsovic (Radio KIM)

The news published on the Albanian-language portal Indeksonline that secretary of late Oliver Ivanovic, Silvana Arsovic has passed away is fake, Ksenija Bozovic from Civic Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice (SDP) confirmed to Radio KIM.

Director of the Clinical Centre in Mitrovica North Milan Ivanovic, representatives of the police and SDP members also confirmed the news that Silvana Arsovic is alive.

Ksenija Bozovic also said that those who have spread the fake news about Arsovic’s death must be held accountable for that before respective institutions.  

“The moment I heard the news I went personally to the hospital to see how Svetlana is. Her condition is bad, but she is alive. I think this is yet another sort of pressure exerted upon her and that is why those who have published this fake news would have to say where such information came from. If not to us, then to the responsible institutions. We in the Civic Initiative SDP understood this as a warning as well. God forbids something bad happens to Silvana, they would be held responsible for it, and the moment she recovers Silvana will file a lawsuit against them.” Bozovic said.

She also underlined that psychological pressure is being exerted upon Silvana for years, both by the Kosovo prosecution and the Kosovo police through the statements they make.

Milena Ivanovic on indictment in Oliver Ivanovic’s murder case (RTV Puls, Blic)

The wife of late Oliver Ivanovic, Milena said that the indictment raised in her husband’s murder case, offer nothing new, everything was heard already, and this is what was discouraging, Blic daily reports.

Milena Ivanovic added she has expected new information and evidence in the indictment, voicing disappointment that it did not happen.

“There are many illogical things, many things that do not match, and we all want and expect that speculations, manipulations are over (…),” Milena Ivanovic said.

She also said it was a madness to include Silvana Arsovic in the indictment.

“What I know for sure, and I spent many years with Oliver, is that she was one of a very few true friends of Oliver, and I do not understand what this entire process against her means. I can guarantee that she has nothing to do with the things she is accused of,” Milena Ivanovic said, RTV Puls reported.  

 

 

International

 

Serbia to Stop Buying Weapons, President Says (Balkan Insight)

After Western criticism of Serbia’s recent arms deals with Russia, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday that Belgrade will stop buying weapons.

“We have decided today, I have spoken with [Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar] Vulin and [Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces Milan] Mojsilovic, and we will carry on with additional military reforms and make our army faster [in terms of response time],” Vucic told a press conference.

See at: https://bit.ly/2rVGuML

Kosovo Tries Serb Ex-Fighter for Deadly Wartime Attack (Balkan Insight) 

Zoran Djukic appeared at Pristina Basic Court on Wednesday, accused of involvement in a deadly attack by Serbian forces in the western Kosovo town of Peja/Pec during the war on March 29, 1999.

Kosovo’s Special Prosecution accuses Djukic of being part of criminal groups who were wearing police, military and paramilitary uniforms and entered ethnic Albanians’ homes in the Kristal neighbourhood of Peja/Pec, physically and psychologically abusing the occupants, forcing them out of their houses, and robbing and killing them.

See at: https://bit.ly/33SqAAa

 

 

Development/Humanitarian

 

Justice demanded for missing and murdered journalists in Kosovo (media)

A conference on missing and murdered journalists in Kosovo was organised jointly in Pristina by the Association of Kosovo Journalists and the OSCE. 

Participants in the conference made calls for justice to be delivered for missing and murdered journalists from 1998 to 2005. 

Head of OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Jan Braathu, said the families of the killed and missing journalists deserve to know what happened to their loved ones. He said that despite challenges, Kosovo has made progress in the freedom of expression field and stands best in the region. 

Head of the Association of Kosovo Journalists Gentiana Begolli-Pustina said they will not cease demanding justice for their colleagues. She called on the OSCE and other international organisations to help in setting up a fund for killed journalists. Budimir Nicic from the Association of Serbian Journalists also joined calls for justice. 

Organizations of persons with disabilities lack support of local authorities (Radio kontakt plus)

The Association of parents of children with disabilities “Podrzi me” (Support Me) and Centre for basic rehabilitation in Mitrovica North currently function without the financial support of the local authorities, Radio KIM reports.  

The Centre currently relies on itself, and apart from institutional this year it was left without donors support as well. On the other hand, the Association “Podrzi me” functions foremost thanks to the Committee for Support to the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, from the Republic of Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina), however, they do not receive continuous financial support from the local authorities either.  

The Centre for basic rehabilitation is a place where the most vulnerable members of society find support and safety. It exists for 11 years. The main donor over the previous period was an international organization “Save the Children.” They worked in full capacity, with educators, physiotherapists, logopaedics, psychologists and social workers. However, since the last year any sort of financial support was missing. The newly created situation led to the centre operating with reduced capacities, including four people only, the manager of the centre, educator, physiotherapist and a driver, and their work is based on a voluntary basis.

An educator from the Centre, Biljana Milovic, speaking in a debate organized by Aktiv NGO on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities said that this year almost no project targeted persons with disabilities.

“We have written a dozen of projects during this year. The responses we got were mainly ‘it will be’, ‘wait a bit’, ‘be patient.’ However, nothing has happened to date. We hope things will start moving next year,” Milovic said.  

She noted the support they got from the Interim Council of Mitrovica North included registration and maintenance of a van, as well as replacing glass on the center’s door that was recently broken. Zvecan Municipality covers the fuel expenses.  

Milovic was also critical of the interest of volunteers to work in the centre, which according to her, compared to the previous period is much smaller. Earlier they used to be committed and willing to help, she said.

“This year they are somehow indifferent. They came several times, then left and are gone now. During this year we do not have words of appreciation for the volunteers,” Milovic stated. She added any sort of help is welcome and the door of the centre is open to anyone wishing to volunteer.

The Association “Podrzi me” unlike the Centre has psychologists, logopaedics and defectologist. It has a high number of volunteers as well, and in addition to Mitrovica North, there are offices in Zubin Potok and Leposavic that mayors of these municipalities gave them for use. However, given that there are no funds to higher experts to work in these offices, the team from Mitrovica covers them as well.

Ivana Rakic, the President of the Association said that although the number of volunteers is high in Mitrovica North, it was not the case in Zubin Potok and Leposavic, Radio kontakt plus reports.

The office in Mitrovica is open from 9.00 to 21.00 hrs and functions in a limited space. This will change next year, since the works on reconstructing the daily centre are ongoing. The Committee for Support to the Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija from Republic of Srpska is their main donor, while individuals and several companies from the north also helped with donations, Radio kontakt plus reported.

 

 

 

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