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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, December 17, 2019

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Albanian Language Media:

• Kurti: We will not form a coalition with the Serbian List (media)
• Muhaxheri: Chances of no coalition with LVV are zero (media)
• Bosch mentions candidates for future Kosovo President (Koha)
• Turkey deports two Kosovar nationals (media)
• Kurti and Konjufca at prosecution tomorrow for criminal charges against Thaci and Veseli (RTK)
• German Ambassador: Election process took too much time (RTK)
• LDK continues to insist on the post of the President (media)
• Haradinaj: The winner should create institutions (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Tombstones at Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan demolished again, Djuric condemns the incident (RTS)
• Hodzic in strongest terms condemned desecration of Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan (Radio KIM)
• Fabrizi: Region needs normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations (Beta, N1)

International:

• How Brexit sent Kosovo to back of the EU queue (The Times)
• Kosovo ‘enslaved from within’ by corruption, says incoming PM (FT)
• War Criminals Given Respect in Balkan Societies, Activists Warn (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• The warnings of the Gracanka River and tailings (KoSSev, Gracanicaonline.info)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Kurti: We will not form a coalition with the Serbian List (media)
  • Muhaxheri: Chances of no coalition with LVV are zero (media)
  • Bosch mentions candidates for future Kosovo President (Koha)
  • Turkey deports two Kosovar nationals (media)
  • Kurti and Konjufca at prosecution tomorrow for criminal charges against Thaci and Veseli (RTK)
  • German Ambassador: Election process took too much time (RTK)
  • LDK continues to insist on the post of the President (media)
  • Haradinaj: The winner should create institutions (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Tombstones at Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan demolished again, Djuric condemns   the incident (RTS)
  • Hodzic in strongest terms condemned desecration of Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan (Radio KIM)
  • Fabrizi: Region needs normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations (Beta, N1)

International:

  • How Brexit sent Kosovo to back of the EU queue (The Times)
  • Kosovo ‘enslaved from within’ by corruption, says incoming PM (FT)
  • War Criminals Given Respect in Balkan Societies, Activists Warn (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • The warnings of the Gracanka River and tailings (KoSSev, Gracanicaonline.info)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Kurti: We will not form a coalition with the Serbian List (media)

Most news outlets cover an interview that Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) leader and candidate for Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, gave Euronews Albania on Monday, highlighting his remarks that he will not form a coalition with the Serbian List.

Kurti said a minister in his government will be from the Serb community but preferably not from the Serbian List. “Being a Serb is a matter of nationality and not a party card. I have tried to highlight the fact that the Constitution does not say that the minister must by all means be a member of the Serbian List. I have said that we will not violate the Constitution, but we will also not form a coalition with the Serbian List. We respect our obligation to have a Serb minister, but preferably not from the Serbian List,” he said.

Kurti also said he was ready to meet the Serbian List to discuss the matter but not form a coalition with them. “I don’t want to excommunicate the Serbian List. I want to meet with them and discuss this matter and I will respect the Constitution on this matter, but will not confuse a political coalition with a constitutional obligation. We don’t need to form a coalition with the Serbian List,” he added.

The Vetevendosje leader also said that the Serb community in Kosovo should not identify itself with a party “formed by Belgrade”.

Muhaxheri: Chances of no coalition with LVV are zero (media)

Gazmend Muhaxheri, Mayor of Peja and member of the presidency of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), said in an interview with RTV Dukagjini on Monday that a coalition between the LDK and the Kurti-led Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) before December 26 is a done deal. According to Muhaxheri, the chances of no coalition between the two parties are zero.

Muhaxheri said the LDK does not know the name of its candidate for the post of Kosovo President and that therefore it cannot give a name to the Vetevendosje Movement. “The LDK is not insisting on names for the post of President, it is insisting on the post of President,” he added.

Bosch mentions candidates for future Kosovo President (Koha)

As talks between the Vetevendosje Movement and the Democratic League of Kosovo for a ruling coalition are not producing any results, the post of Kosovo President is blocking an eventual agreement between the two sides. Former Dutch Ambassador to Kosovo, Robert Bosch, said on Monday that the situation should not last long and he mentioned three candidates for the post of Kosovo President. “Fatmir Sejdiu should be a good compromise for the post of President … He has experience, is independent and is not engaged in any political party. Another two persons, who are completely independent and came to my mind as excellent candidates are: Veton Surroi and Vjosa Dobruna. Both have experience in Kosovo and internationally, and they would improve the country’s image,” Bosch said. 

Turkey deports two Kosovar nationals (media)

Most news outlets report that Turkey has deported two foreign terrorist fighters of Kosovar nationality back to Kosovo. The Turkish Ministry of Interior Affairs did not mention the terrorist organisations the two people were reportedly linked to. The Ministry said in a Twitter post that it would continue extraditing foreign terrorists.

Kurti and Konjufca at prosecution tomorrow for criminal charges against Thaci and Veseli (RTK)

On 25 April of this year, the leader of the Vetevendosje Movement Albin Kurti and Glauk Konjufca, at that time LVV’s caucus, pressed charges at the Department for Serious Crimes of the Basic Prosecution in Pristina against the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci and leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Kadri Veseli, for false statements.

Kurti and Konjufca claim that Thaci and Veseli said under oath during the trial process of the so called “Syri i Popullit” (The Eye of People) organization, that two LVV members were part of this organization.

LVV announced today that the prosecution has started to treat this case after seven months, and that Kurti and Konjufca are invited to appear at the Basic Prosecution in Pristina tomorrow.

Konjufca had said at the time of pressing charges that this was “an attempt to eliminate politically the LVV, as the President of the State and Assembly Speaker slandered unjustly that we are related to an organization which is claimed to be terrorist, called “Syri i Popullit.”

German Ambassador: Election process took too much time (RTK)

Democracy in Action NGO held today a roundtable to discuss “The 2019 election process: Lessons learned and the way forward,” where they published the final report of monitoring the 6 October elections, and media monitoring during the election campaign.

Participants discussed the main findings and recommendations deriving from these reports. They also stressed the necessity of conclusion of the election reform process as a precondition to overcome evidenced challenges in these elections.

German Ambassador to Kosovo Christian Heldt, said the election process was well organized, but that according to him, there is room for improvements. Heldt said that the election process lasted too long while many duties await Kosovo.

He expressed appreciation to the volunteers and all non-governmental organisations that monitored during the election day. 

LDK continues to insist on the post of the President (media)

The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) continues to insist on the post of the president of Kosovo as part of the governing agreement with the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV).

Member of the leadership of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Avdullah Hoti said in case of reach of this agreement, the ruling balance will be achieved.  

Hoti said it belongs to the LVV to call the next meeting between the two leaders. He added that he hopes the agreement will be reached by 26 December, the date when the constitution session of the Assembly of Kosovo is called by the President of Kosovo.

Hoti did not want to comment on the statement of the LDK deputy leader Lutfi Haziri that they are trying to find a consensual candidate for the President of Kosovo.

LDK will gather tomorrow its General Council to discuss the flow of the discussions with LVV and reach of the agreement on ruling coalition. 

Haradinaj: The winner should create institutions (media)

Kosovo’s Acting Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said it would be good to establish institutions of Kosovo as soon as possible.

“It is good to set up the country’s institutions as soon as possible, the burden is on the winner of the election. The delay in creating institutions from the winners is immediately a minus for them. Those who have promised to stop the extortion of the state could have been in government today,” Haradinaj said.

He said he does not have an opinion on what should LDK and LVV do, but that it is their responsibility to build institutions.

Haradinaj said he would meet with Albin Kurti, but not to become part of his government. He added that the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) is in opposition and that he does not see himself as part of Kurti’s government. 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Tombstones at Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan demolished again, Djuric condemns the incident (RTS)

Several tombstones at the Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan have been demolished, an Orthodox priest in this town confirmed to RTS last night.

He said the exact number of demolished tombstones is being determined, adding the police has performed an investigation after reports of remaining Serbs in Lipljan, who noticed the latest desecration during the funeral of their older co-citizen.

The Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan has been a target of vandals several times already. In August this year, 20 tombstones have been demolished.

In mid-December last year, the remaining Serbs in Lipljan noticed demolished tombstones, and graffiti “UQK” were inscribed on the cemetery chapel.

The perpetrators of the attacks against the Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan have not been found yet.

Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director, Marko Djuric condemned the incident. He said the process of Serbian-Albanian reconciliation in Kosovo yielded small results, adding behind the curtains of allegedly normal life in Kosovo, powers that do not see the peace as their interest are constantly growing.

In a statement delivered to the media, Djuric said “if the hatred spreads to the very symbols of someone’s existence, if it targets churches, cemeteries and ashes of the forefathers, then the hatred becomes of a programmatic character and witnesses chronic disease of one society, and as such is much more difficult to be healed.”

Hodzic in strongest terms condemned desecration of Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan (Radio KIM)

Kosovo Minister of Local Government Administration, Adrijana Hodzic in the strongest terms condemned the desecration of the Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan, that happened the second time this year, Radio KIM reports.

“Desecration of the cemetery in Lipljan deserves the strongest condemnation. I see this as an act because of which we all as a society should feel ashamed, regardless of our ethnic or religious background,” Hodzic said in a press statement.

She also urged the local authorities in Lipljan municipality, in cooperation with law enforcement bodies to initiate all necessary mechanisms in order to find the perpetrators and adequately punish them.

Fabrizi: Region needs normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations (Beta, N1)

European Parliament Delegation chief Sem Fabrizi said on Monday that the normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations is one of the key elements needed for the recovery of the region and to continue Serbia’s path to the European Union.

Speaking at a presentation of the 10th Europa Diary for students, Fabrizi said that huge progress has been achieved in negotiations over the past 10 years but that this is not the case at present. He said the EU would continue investing efforts to achieve progress and expressed the hope that Belgrade and Pristina would achieve full normalization.

Fabrizi said that the European Commission had noted progress in the economy, that reforms are underway in the field of rule of law. “The important thing is to agree on the next steps … and for Serbia to join the EU,” he said.

https://bit.ly/2M28lls

International 

 

How Brexit sent Kosovo to back of the EU queue (The Times)

The tiny Balkan country’s hopes of taking its place alongside Europe big players are foundering because of Britain’s looming departure. 

The promise of European Union membership has long been dangled before Balkan states as a tonic that could help to heal the scars of the Yugoslav wars.

Croatia joined in 2013 and Serbia and Montenegro are currently in the negotiation process, while Albania and North Macedonia have candidate status. Today, however, hopes that Kosovo may ascend to the EU are being dealt a blow not by regional rivalries but by a problem formed more than 1,500 miles away, in London.

The spectre of Brexit hangs over Kosovo where, in the capital, Pristina, evidence of the country’s enduring association with the UK can be found at every turn. Taxi firms emblazon their vehicle wing mirrors with English flags and Union Jacks while in cosy bars serving … 

Read full article at: https://bit.ly/2PReJND

Kosovo ‘enslaved from within’ by corruption, says incoming PM (FT)

Albin Kurti tells FT he is willing to put aside demand to unify with Albania to boost economy.

Albin Kurti has set off tear gas in parliament, spent years in prison and derided the flag and national anthem of his young country, Kosovo. Now, after more than 22 years fighting the system, he is preparing to take charge of it. Mr Kurti is expected soon to become Kosovo’s prime minister after a narrow victory in elections last month for his Vetevendosje party, ending a period of political domination by former leaders of the guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), many of whom have been dogged by allegations of war crimes and corruption.

In an interview, Mr Kurti said his win was “an electoral revolution” for Kosovo, which — 11 years after declaring independence from Serbia — remains one of Europe’s poorest countries. His anti-establishment party plans to use its first spell in national government to prioritise economic development and the fight against corruption.

See at: https://on.ft.com/2RWzf25

War Criminals Given Respect in Balkan Societies, Activists Warn (Balkan Insight)

Youth activists from Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia who monitored the public prominence of war criminals in their countries over the past two years warned that convicted offenders are given respect and take an active part in political life.

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights, YIHR, a regional organisation of young activists and experts on transitional justice, presented a piece of analysis on Monday that shows how convicted war criminals continue to play prominent roles in the public arena in the Balkans.

“We have observed that in all the countries where YIHR has an office, there is a similar type of problem: war criminals in the public arena are valued, some of them as heroes and [some of them are] in some type of alliances with political power,” Branka Vierda from the Croatian branch of YIHR said at the 12th annual Forum for Transitional Justice in Post-Yugoslav Countries, which was held in Zagreb.

See at: https://bit.ly/2S1WTdI

 

Development/Humanitarian

 

The warnings of the Gracanka River and tailings (KoSSev, Gracanicaonline.info)

Once a pure mountain river, the Gracanka river, which flows through several villages of the Gracanica municipality, is now a source of an unbearably unpleasant smell.  It seems, however, that the strange colour of the river, the disappearance of flora and fauna, the tailings from the Kisnica mine present a danger not only for the people living in the area, but throughout Kosovo and beyond. In a reportage produced by Gracanicaonline.info with the support of KoSSev, the IOM and the British Embassy, the locals expressed their anger and concern over the river pollution, but also the groundwater issues. 

The institutions are the ones responsible for this situation – they claim. 

More at: https://bit.ly/2M1TPKI

Portal Gracanicaonline reportage: https://bit.ly/34vnphU

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