Albanian Language Media:
- EU’s High Representative Borrell speaks to Presidents Thaci and Vucic (media)
- Thaci speaks to Borrell, requests visa liberalization (media)
- LDK’s Veliu: Vetevendosje wants absolute power (media)
- Haxhiu: Additional minority ministry will not belong to the Serbian List (media)
- LDK with the old response to LVV: Requests Assembly Speaker’s post (RTK)
- Kosovo leaders remember Recak victims (media)
- OSCE: 45 innocent Albanians massacred in 1999 in Recak (RTK)
Serbian Language Media:
- Vucic and Borrell spoke about Belgrade-Pristina dialogue (Tanjug, RTS)
- Kosovo police raided house of “Bora Stankovic” school director (RTS, B92)
- Thousands left Kosovo, statistics office says (BETA, N1)
- Archbishop Teodosije: To do all in our power that a neighbour and a brother never turn against one’s own neighbour and brother (KoSSev)
- Serb family in Caglavica robbed (Radio KIM)
- Kabasic: Russian citizens fined 250 euros each (Kosovo-online)
- Kosovo, Serbia Play Blame Game over Ivanovic Assassination (Balkan Insight)
- Kosovo Prosecutor Seeks Fine For Russians Charged With Illegal Border Crossing (RFE)
- Initiative for the protection of Lake Gracanica launched (Kontakt plus radio, RTK2)
- Human Rights Progress Faltering in South and Central Europe: HRW (Balkan Insight)
Albanian Language Media
EU’s High Representative Borrell speaks to Presidents Thaci and Vucic (media)
The European Union issued today a press release which informs that “High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell spoke today on the phone with President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić and President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi about the latest developments in Kosovo and Serbia and the importance of working towards a resumption of the Belgrade-Pristina talks. The High Representative confirmed his resolve and personal engagement as facilitator with the support of EU Member States.
Joseph Borrell inquired in particular with his Kosovo interlocutor about the prospects for the formation of a new government in Pristina. In this context the High Representative invited Kosovo party leaders to rapidly proceed, in the interest of Kosovo and its people.
In his bilateral discussions, he also discussed with his interlocutors the progress and future perspectives on their respective paths towards the EU and the importance of advancing ahead of the EU – Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb in May 2020.
Finally, he reiterated his intention to travel to both Pristina and Belgrade in the coming weeks.
Thaci speaks to Borrell, requests visa liberalization (media)
The President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci held today a telephone conversation with the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Josep Borerell with whom he discussed European perspective and developments in Kosovo and the region.
President Thaci and EU High Representative agreed on the need of formation of Kosovo’s new governing institutions as soon as possible.
“We are aware that important tasks await us and it is necessary to have a new government as soon as possible, which would face challenges and fulfil international obligations that Kosovo took over,” Thaci also said that Kosovo is committed to reforms which are decisive on Kosovo’s membership into the EU.
Thaci also requested from the EU to fulfill its obligation of lifting the visa regime for Kosovo people, as “Kosovo has fulfilled all the required criteria.”
According to the press release issued by the Office of the President, Thaci and Borrell agreed on the need of resumption of unconditioned dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, as well as necessity to reach a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, which would mean mutual recognition between the two countries.
Thaci also said that he would welcome a visit of the EU High Representative Joseph Borrell in Kosovo.
LDK’s Veliu: Vetevendosje wants absolute power (media)
Most media report that Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) senior official Agim Veliu said on Tuesday that the Vetevendosje Movement was not making serious efforts to form the new institutions.
Veliu even argued that LVV wants absolute power and that it wants to submit the LDK.
According to Veliu, LVV wants to derail the LDK from its European and Euro-Atlantic path and that no one in the LDK should support Vetevendosje’s objectives.
Haxhiu: Additional minority ministry will not belong to the Serbian List (media)
Vetevendosje Movement’s MP Albulena Haxhiu said the Serbian List will not benefit from the increase of the number of ministries.
According to her, allegations that increase of ministries would strengthen the Serbian List are not correct.
“The Constitution of Kosovo makes it clear in the respective article that follows:
At least one Minister from Serb community and one from other non-majority communities will be in the government. If there are more than 12 ministers, the government will have a third minister, who represents one of the non-majority communities in Kosovo.”
“So, it is at the discretion of the Prime Minister which representative of the communities he proposes for Minister. False propaganda and announcements against the Movement, never harmed us however it is not correct to the citizens to make untrue statements,” Haxhiu said.
LDK with the old response to LVV: Requests Assembly Speaker’s post (RTK)
Besian Mustafa, Spokesman of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) said his political entity has sent the old proposal of 8 January to the Vetevendosje Movement.
“Today the leader of LDK Isa Mustafa, with the request of the leader of LVV, Mr. Kurti, sent in written LDK’s proposal revealed verbally on 8 January 2020.”
LDK proposed on 8 January division of ministries five by five, Assembly Speaker and the President.
Kosovo leaders remember Recak victims (media)
All news portals carry articles about the numerous visits of Kosovo leaders, political parties, former OSCE chief William Walker and Albania’s President Ilir Meta, to Recak on the 21 anniversary of the Recak massacre, where 45 innocent Albanians were killed during Slobodan Milosevic’s regime.
“The international justice has not yet shed light in the cases of massacres in Kosovo, it also remained silent on 20 thousand cases of rape of the women, however, our path is Euro-Atlantic, we have to consolidate the state,” Said President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci. He further added that Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic behaved based on Slobodan Milosevic’s mentality when denying crimes committed in Recak.
Vetevendosje Movement’s leader Albin Kurti, said while paying homage to the victims that it is an obligation of local institutions and international partners to bring justice and pressure Serbia in order for all war criminals who executed and ordered the massacre of Recak to be brought and sentenced in front of judicial processes.
Isa Mustafa, leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo said Recak represents one of the horrifying crimes of the Serbian regime over Albanian population. “Recak massacre woke up the international sleeping conscience towards Serbia’s centuries long injustices over Kosovo population.
Kadri Veseli, leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo said the EU not only stayed cross handed to Serbia’s continuous rejection to punish war criminals, but it is remaining indifferent today also towards Serbian efforts to deny responsibility for the crimes committed towards Kosovo citizens.
Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj said ‘the enemy did not save old people, women or children. Our sisters and brothers were killed only for being Albanian. They had no other fault. They were living in their lands, their homes. Let these crimes always be in the memories of Albanians and in the conscience of those who planned and committed them and in those who divided our lands a century ago.”
OSCE: 45 innocent Albanians massacred in 1999 in Recak (RTK)
The OSCE Mission in Kosovo, took to Facebook to issue a statement today which reads “on 15 January 1999, 45 Kosovo Albanians were massacred in Recak.
We join in honoring the memory of innocent lives that were taken in Recak and throughout Kosovo during this period.
We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and remain committed to the principles of rule of law, public safety and a peaceful future for all.”
Serbian Language Media
Vucic and Borrell spoke about Belgrade-Pristina dialogue (Tanjug, RTS)
EU High Representative Josep Borrell spoke with the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic about Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Tanjug news agency said it has learnt in Brussels.
According to Tanjug, Borrell also spoke with the Kosovo President Hashim Thaci.
By assuming the duty of the EU High Representative, Borrell also took over the role of a chief mediator in Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. He underlined several times that one of his priorities would be the resolution of the Kosovo issue.
Meanwhile, RTS referring to the statement of the President Vucic press service reported that the EU High Representative Josep Borrell announced his soon visit to Belgrade and Pristina, in order to personally observe the possibilities to renew the dialogue between the two, after the government in Pristina is formed.
Vucic said that Serbia in line with its regional policy of peace and stability is ready to continue the dialogue, if Pristina revokes unjust and irresponsible unilateral measure to introduce tariffs on the goods from central Serbia, which in addition to the Serbian economy, also hamper the everyday life of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija.
Vucic also underlined that the tariffs run contrary to all European rules on free flow of goods and obligations that Pristina undertook within the regional cooperation. He also emphasised it is important that European institutions and EU member states keep the stance it is necessary that Pristina revokes the tariffs on goods from Serbia, in order to continue the dialogue.
Borrell welcomed determination of Serbia to maintain regional stability, RTS added. The two officials also discussed Serbia’s next steps on its EU path.
Kosovo police raided house of “Bora Stankovic” school principal (RTS, B92)
Kosovo police raided early this morning house of Petar Aksic in the village of Straza near Gnjilane and carried out a search, RTS reports.
Aksic told RTS that a larger group of police officers raided his house around 6 a.m. and searched it, looking for an automatic rifle. The police had court order.
“The search lasted more than an hour. They are gone and left the house in a mess. Someone reported that I have weapon. They did not even apologize, because they obviously came following a false tip, because I do not have any weapon,” Aksic said.
Aksic is “Bora Stankovic” school principal in Koretiste and Straza, villages near Gnjilane.
There are 500 Serbs living in the village of Straza. Before the conflict number of Serbs in the village was twice as high.
Thousands left Kosovo, statistics office says (BETA, N1)
More than 28,000 people left Kosovo in 2018, three times more than a year earlier, Kosovo Statistics Office said on Tuesday, BETA news agency reports.
According to the data released by the Statistics Office, a total of 28,164 people emigrated from Kosovo using legal or illegal routes that year. The main reason why Kosovo residents decided to live abroad is to connect to family members, find jobs or study. Some 7,000 people came to live in Kosovo in 2018.
“Also, in 2018, a number of migrants requested asylum in European Union member states, including the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members,” the Statistics Office said, adding that some of the people who left Kosovo went to the US and Canada and Turkey. The Statistics Office said that some 9,000 people changed their place of residence within Kosovo in 2018.
See at: https://bit.ly/2tjoahI
Archbishop Teodosije: To do all in our power that a neighbour and a brother never turn against one’s own neighbour and brother (KoSSev)
”We cannot glorify God if we don’t work on peace on earth and good will among peoples. That is the goal of all humankind, particularly here in Kosovo and Metohija where, 20 years after the armed conflict in which many innocent people suffered, which we remember and honour regardless of their ethnicity or religion, we must make efforts that a neighbour never turns against one’s own neighbour, and a brother against his brother,” said Archbishop Teodosije yesterday in Prizren.
During his welcome note at the traditional Orthodox New Year’s reception in the Diocese’s seat, he emphasised the importance of respecting one another, various traditions in order that everyone lives in peace and understanding.
”We cannot have outward peace unless we first have it in our hearts. This is the reason why there are so many misfortunes and wars and suffering in the world because instead of finding peace in our hearts, human beings see enemies in their neighbours,” said Teodosije.
”Because wherever there is peace and love towards the neighbour, we will make space for God to dwell among us,” he added.
The reception was attended by representatives of the Muslim, Jewish and Protestant communities – Chief Prizren Imam Orhan Bislimaj, President of the Jewish Community Votem Demiri; representatives of the international diplomatic community, the Kosovo Police, KFOR, as well as Serbian political representatives from Gracanica, along with Kosovo Mayor Srdjan Popovic, and Agriculture Minister Diana Zivic were also present.
See at: https://bit.ly/2TmJcGR
Serb family in Caglavica robbed (Radio KIM)
Burglaries in the Serb-populated areas in Kosovo do not stop. The family of Ljubisa Dekic in Caglavica village was target of thieves late on Monday evening. Despite family being in the house during the burglary, it did not stop thieves to carry out their intention, Radio KIM reports.
“We were in one part of the house during the burglary, and thieves entered the bedroom through the balcony. When I went there, I saw the lights were off, and usually are on, and I thought it could be an electric failure. However, when I checked I realized what happened,” Ljubisa Dekic said.
The damage made is estimated at EUR 5000. “They took away golden jewellery and money,” Dekic said.
This is not the first burglary affecting this family. Two years ago, tools belonging to them were stolen.
Although the case was reported to the police, perpetrators were not found.
Kabasic: Russian citizens fined 250 euros each (Kosovo-online)
The Basic Court in Mitrovica, unit in Leposavic, has decided to issue a fine in the amount of EUR 250 each to the two Russian citizens who attempted to enter Kosovo yesterday, Kosovo-online portal reported. The Russian citizens will also be escorted from Kosovo.
“They are obliged to pay proceeding costs as well,” chief of the Basic Court in Mitrovica Nikola Kabasic told the portal.
According to Kabasic this is not an isolated crossing case in the municipalities of Leposavic and Zubin Potok, while perpetrators under expedited procedure are punished with mandatory fine, and in case they do not have money to pay for it, the fine is replaced with staying in prison.
Kosovo police arrested the Russian citizens in the village of Sarpelj in Leposavic municipality yesterday. Later, in the same place two citizens of Albania were arrested over the same offence. Decision in their case will be made during the day, the portal said.
Kosovo, Serbia Play Blame Game over Ivanovic Assassination (Balkan Insight)
The murder of Kosovo Serb political party leader Oliver Ivanovic in January 2018 has been followed by two years of mutual recriminations between Pristina and Belgrade, but the background to the killing remains cloaked in mystery.
Two years after Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic was gunned down outside his party’s office in the ethnically-divided Kosovo town of Mitrovica on January 16, 2018, six people are to be tried for their alleged involvement in his killing.
But many unknowns remain in the case – including the name of the shooter – and the fractious relations between Belgrade and Pristina have further complicated the process of seeking the truth about who was behind the murder and what motivated them to kill Ivanovic.
See at: https://bit.ly/2QVpGjd
Kosovo Prosecutor Seeks Fine For Russians Charged With Illegal Border Crossing (RFE)
A prosecutor in Kosovo has demanded that two Russian nationals detained in the north of the country on suspicion of illegally crossing the border from Serbia be fined for their actions.
Nikola Kabasic, chief of the Basic Court in the city of Mitrovica, on January 14 told RFE/RL that the court has received prosecutor Slobodan Bakic’s request that the two Russians — a man and a woman — be fined and that a decision is likely on January 15.
People familiar with the matter told RFE/RL that the Russian nationals asserted to Kosovar authorities they intended to reach Lukovska Banja in southern Serbia — but that their navigation system had mistakenly sent them across the border with Kosovo.
See at: https://bit.ly/2NscTT4
Initiative for the protection of Lake Gracanica launched (Kontakt plus radio, RTK2)
Gracanica or Badovac Lake was created by artificial accumulation in 1966, in order to supply Pristina with water. In addition to Pristina, the population of Gracanica and the surrounding area are supplied with water from Lake Badovac.
The construction of residential and hotel accommodation on the shores of Gracanica Lake, whose project appeared on the Facebook page of one of the architects of the construction company “Kawa Group” in Pristina, would not only jeopardize the quality of the water, but also the flora and fauna.
The residents of Gracanica also believe that the lake of Badovac should not be endangered.
“Gracanica Lake was, not only for Gracanica but also for the wider surroundings once a source of life. In the years that it was made, Gracanica started to develop rapidly, and I think it was one of the first with water supply and sewerage, which was a huge improvement for conditions of those times. This lake is the source of life for all of us, both Serbs and Albanians in this area. That is why I think that we should take care a little more, protect it a little more and defend it from everything,” said Srecko Todorovic from Gracanica.
The Gracanica Lake Protection Initiative came to life on Facebook. The group now has over 20,000 members, and a petition has been launched with 6,000 signatures so far.
”It all started when we saw on the social networks that villas were being built in Badovac. We were concerned about the lack of transparency of the whole process. Instead of hearing from the institutions what is being done and making the public aware of what is being built in such an important place, from which almost the entire city supplies drinking water, we have organized a group representing the voice of the people so that they can express their opinions on it what is being built there. Only after writing within our group did the institutions respond. We oppose it and we will certainly not allow it. The representatives of the ministry and the municipality were selected by the people whose interests should be defended, not the interests of companies and businessmen,” said Facebook group initiator Ardian Nrecaj.
On the occasion of the construction of residential-hotel accommodation on the shores of Gracanica Lake, a written statement was issued by the Kosovo Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning.
”We guarantee that the said company and its owner do not have the permission of the Ministry of Spatial Planning for such a project. According to the decision of the Republic of Kosovo, no. 16/127, dated 4/24/2013, in charge of the protected zones, in this particular case and the protected zone in the vicinity of Badovac Lake. Therefore, any construction in that part must
comply with the laws, criteria and procedures provided by law, after which it can be decided whether such a project can be implemented. We also sent a written request to the Municipality of Pristina. An inspectorate of the Ministry of Spatial Planning will not allow endangering the protected zone near Badovac Lake,” reads the statement of the competent ministry.
Although the Kawa Group had scheduled a media conference to show the details of the project to the public, the conference was postponed on the grounds that experts from the design company 4M, a London-based company, were unable to attend the scheduled conference.
Human Rights Progress Faltering in South and Central Europe: HRW (Balkan Insight)
Campaign group Human Rights Watch said in its world report that the region made negligible progress to improve their citizens’ human rights last year.
The latest report from Human Rights Watch, published on Tuesday evening, says that discrimination and violence against minorities, domestic violence, pressure on media and problems with dealing with the wartime past continued to be major issues for Balkan states and Central Europe last year.
See at: https://bit.ly/2TpeIUB