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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, December 19

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• LDK ready to ‘sacrifice’ additional ministry for president’s post (Zeri)
• VV, LDK barricaded over post of Kosovo President (Koha)
• Haxhiu: No thanks, LDK wants half of government and everything else (RTK)
• Haziri: LVV should have faith in LDK (T7/Zeri)
• Merkel sends envoys in a final effort to secure LVV-LDK coalition (media)
• Constitutive session of new Kosovo Assembly next Thursday (media)
• Kurti meets British Ambassador Abbott (RTK)
• Thaci turns down invitation to Balkans Mini-Schengen summit (media)
• Haradinaj “exhausts” Reserve Fund (Koha)
• Trial on Oliver Ivanovic’s murder to start on 30 December (media)
• Investigation launched against minister Shala for attack on journalist (Zeri)

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  • LDK ready to ‘sacrifice’ additional ministry for president’s post (Zeri)
  • VV, LDK barricaded over post of Kosovo President (Koha)
  • Haxhiu: No thanks, LDK wants half of government and everything else (RTK)
  • Haziri: LVV should have faith in LDK (T7/Zeri)
  • Merkel sends envoys in a final effort to secure LVV-LDK coalition (media)
  • Constitutive session of new Kosovo Assembly next Thursday (media)
  • Kurti meets British Ambassador Abbott (RTK)
  • Thaci turns down invitation to Balkans Mini-Schengen summit (media)
  • Haradinaj “exhausts” Reserve Fund (Koha)
  • Trial on Oliver Ivanovic’s murder to start on 30 December (media)
  • Investigation launched against minister Shala for attack on journalist (Zeri)

LDK ready to ‘sacrifice’ additional ministry for president’s post (Zeri)

Leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Isa Mustafa said that the party is ready to give an additional ministry to the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) in order to get the post of Kosovo president.

Speaking after the meeting of LDK’s general council, Mustafa said the party is of the agreement that all posts, including that of Kosovo president, should be included in the upcoming coalition agreement. “Treatment of these posts should be in harmony with our interest in order to have a coalition that lasts four years and not one which will be challenged in certain times be if by the election of the president or other circumstances,” Mustafa said.

Mustafa also spoke about the last meeting he had with LVV leader Albin Kurti on Saturday. “I made an offer to LVV that the moment the president is elected from the LDK, we would give LVV one of our ministries and continue 4 to 6 but I got no answer.”

Mustafa however did not reveal who the party’s candidate for the post would be. “We will put forward the name once the election begins. We only need to have mutual trust and commitment.”

VV, LDK barricaded over post of Kosovo President (Koha)

Koha Ditore reports on its front page that the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) decided at its General Council on Wednesday that it will sign a coalition agreement with the Kurti-led Vetevendosje Movement (VV) only if it gets the post of Kosovo President. VV representatives meanwhile have said that they will not fill the appetite of the LDK. At the same time, the outgoing Presidency of the Kosovo Assembly decided on Wednesday to initiate procedures for the constitutive session of the new Assembly next Thursday, on December 26. The paper notes that if VV and LDK fail to reach an agreement by that time, Kosovo will see a similar stalemate to 2014 and 2017.

Haxhiu: No thanks, LDK wants half of government and everything else (RTK)

Albulena Haxhiu, senior member of the Vetevendosje Movement (VV), commented the approach of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) with regards to the coalition agreement. According to her, “LDK’s appetite was barricaded at today’s meeting of its General Council”.

“They used their General Council meeting to barricade their appetite. In addition to the post of Principal Deputy Prime Minister, five ministers and half of the program, LDK also wants the posts of Assembly Speaker and the President. So, they want half of the government, and everything else! No thank you,” Haxhiu wrote.

Haziri: LVV should have faith in LDK (T7/Zeri)

In an interview with T7, deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Lutfi Haziri said that a four-year coalition agreement cannot be viable if there is an unknown factor in it, namely that of the president’s post.

Haziri said LDK has not put forth a specific candidate for the post and that the possible coalition partner, the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV), should have faith in LDK.

“We are talking about the principle of trust. The candidate will be in the Constitution’s spirit. It will be a representative of the majority, that represents the majority’s unity. The Constitution does not allow any other president. I favour a formula which accommodates the two parties and when the time comes the parties will harmonise the name,” he said.

Merkel sends envoys in a final effort to secure LVV-LDK coalition (media)

Media are reporting that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel has members of her team, Peter Beyer and Christian Schmidt, to Kosovo in a final effort to secure a convinced the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) to reach a coalition agreement for forming new government.

The German officials are expected to have separate meetings with LVV leader Albin Kurti and LDK leader Isa Mustafa.

Constitutive session of new Kosovo Assembly next Thursday (media)

Kosovo Assembly President and leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Kadri Veseli, said on Wednesday that the constitutive session of the new Assembly will be held next Thursday, December 26, at 15:00, all media report.

“On December 26, at 15:00, we will have the constitutive session of the seventh legislative. This was a procedural meeting. We determined the framework for holding the session. I believe we will have the new legislative very soon, a new chapter of politics in Kosovo. The Democratic Party of Kosovo will be in the opposition. We hope that the other new institutions, which are very important, will be formed very soon … The PDK will be consistent in protecting the rights of the citizens,” Veseli told reporters after the meeting of the Assembly Presidency.

Asked if he believes the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) will soon reach a coalition agreement, Veseli said: “I believe in God and in my nation, the rest does not impress me much … Kosovo needs to move forward because we don’t have the luxury of being late. This is why we expect seriousness and for the institutions to be formed as soon as possible”.

Kurti meets British Ambassador Abbott (RTK)

Albin Kurti, leader of the Vetevendosje Movement (VV) held on Wednesday a meeting with the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Kosovo Nicholas Abbott. They discussed bilateral relations, possibilities of increase of cooperation with the new governance as well as the process of formation of the governing coalition and remaining challenges prior to the constitutive session of the Assembly on 6 December.

On this occasion, Kurti recalled a part of Johnson’s speech at the Assembly of Kosovo at the time he was Minister for Foreign Affairs: “It must be undisputed to say that all those guilty of war crimes, on all sides, must be imprisoned. I will say the same in Belgrade, and throughout the Balkans. (…) I would like to take this opportunity to express condolences to the family and friends of Astrit Dehari, who recently died in custody. I approve the calls made by all parties for a transparent investigation into his death.”

Thaci turns down invitation to Balkans Mini-Schengen summit (media)

All media report that the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, has turned down an invitation from Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama to attend the summit on the Balkans Mini-Schengen, which will be held this weekend in Albania, most media.

Thaci took to Facebook to say that as long as Serbia continues to deny crimes committed against the people of Kosovo and does not recognise Kosovo as a state, initiatives for regional cooperation are meaningless.

Thaci wrote: “I thank the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, my friend Edi Rama, for the invitation to the regional meeting of Western Balkans countries. As President and on behalf of all the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, I express the highest gratitude for the continuous support from the Republic of Albania.

Mutual support and cooperation between Kosovo and Albania are natural and permanent. However, unlike the Republic of Albania, the Republic of Kosovo continues to face serious obstacles in the consolidation of its statehood. Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle comes from Serbia which uses all forms and possibilities to continuously undermine our efforts to consolidate our statehood.

Serbia has committed genocide against the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo and today it not only denies the crimes it has committed but it also keeps on refusing to acknowledge the existence of our state. Under such circumstances, calls and initiatives for regional cooperation are utterly meaningless. Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina do not recognise the state of Kosovo.

This means that these two countries do not want good neighbourly relations and cooperation with Kosovo. Therefore, as long as there is no mutual recognition with these countries, there can be no progress in terms of regional cooperation. Kosovo after all aspires to join NATO and EU and not become part of experimental regional initiatives which are a result of the EU’s inability to open the doors for membership to the Western Balkans countries.

In the end, I want to reiterate that the circumstances that have rendered impossible the participation of the Republic of Kosovo at the first meeting held in Novi Sad and the second meeting held in Ohrid, have not changed. As a result, as President of the Republic of Kosovo and on behalf of our state institutions, I turn down the invitation to attend the third meeting of this regional format which will be held in Tirana”.

Haradinaj “exhausts” Reserve Fund (Koha)

The paper reports in one of its front-page stories that Kosovo’s outgoing government led by Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has spent €1.2 million more than what was planned. In only nine months, the government exhausted the Reserve Fund of €4.8 million. On Tuesday, an additional amount of funds was allocated to the Reserve Fund from the budget savings. Civil society representatives argue that the way these funds are being spent falls in opposition with the law on public finance and other sublegal acts. They also argue that the majority of activities funded by the government are not part of emergency cases but are rather a result of bad planning and mismanagement of public funds.

Trial on Oliver Ivanovic’s murder to start on 30 December (media)

Most media report that the trial of suspects for the murder of Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic will start on 30 December. This was announced by Mahmut Halimi, defense lawyer of one of the defendants. He noted that the preparatory hearing session was set for 30 December at 09:30 hours. The Special Prosecution of Kosovo has raised charges at the Basic Court in Pristina’s Special Department, against six individuals on Ivanovic’s case.

Investigation launched against minister Shala for attack on journalist (Zeri)

The Basic Prosecution in Pristina has launched an investigation into allegations that the acting Minister of Trade and Industry Endrit Shala has physically attacked a journalist.

Ensar Ramadani, from the Indeksonline news website, was reporting on a shooting incident in Pristina said to have involved a member of Minister Shala’s Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) party when he was attacked in the presence of police officers who did not react.

The Kosovo Police Inspectorate meanwhile has requested the suspension of two police officers present at the site of the incident while the Association of Journalists of Kosovo said it will continue to seek justice from relevant institutions. “The AGK will all its capacities will stand alongside the journalists by demanding institutions take all necessary steps to solve each and every single case.”

The attack on Ramadani was condemned by the OSCE and the Western Balkan’s Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Journalists’ Safety’s SEWP.

Shala denied allegations that he assaulted the journalist.

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