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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, January 16, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, January 16, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• “Bringing PAN back to power, Vetevendosje’s worst gift to the people” (Koha)
• LDK’s Abrashi: We don’t have a name yet for post of Kosovo President (T7)
• Haradinaj receives an invitation to attend National Prayer Breakfast (Telegrafi)

Serbian Language Media:

• “If the killed was protected witness, then this is a rerun of the ‘Haradinaj case’” (Politika, Sputnik, B92)
• Two years ago, Ivanovic was killed; “Serbia will not stop until a killer is found” (Beta, Tanjug, B92)
• Milena Ivanovic: I’m trying to find out the truth on my own, disregarding Pristina (Kosovo-online, B92)
• Milan Ivanovic: Two years is too long, confusing that Belgrade protects Radoicic (N1)
• Memorial gathering to Oliver Ivanovic held in Mitrovica, Srpska Lista attended it (Radio kontakt plus, KoSSev)
• Pantovic: Court proceeding against Darko Tasic unduly prolonged (Radio KIM, Kosovo-online)
• Racak 21 years later: An important event for Pristina, while Belgrade remains silent (KoSSev)
• Two tons of wheat stolen in Novake village (KiM radio, RTS)

Opinion:

• Kelmendi: The (dis)agreement race (Koha Ditore)
• 100 days of nonsense (Prishtina Insight)
• Last Chance Saloon: Can the EU and Balkans be Reconciled in 2020? (Balkan Insight)

International:

• Truth Commission Activists Plan Yugoslav ‘Book of the Dead’ (Balkan Insight)
• Shifting Focus of Kosovo Government Talks Hampers Deal (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Health institute warns: Air pollution is threatening people’s health (media)
• Caglavica: It was agreed to increase police patrols (Radio KIM)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • “Bringing PAN back to power, Vetevendosje’s worst gift to the people” (Koha)
  • LDK’s Abrashi: We don’t have a name yet for post of Kosovo President (T7)
  • Haradinaj receives an invitation to attend National Prayer Breakfast (Telegrafi)

Serbian Language Media:

  • “If the killed was protected witness, then this is a rerun of the ‘Haradinaj case’” (Politika, Sputnik, B92)
  • Two years ago, Ivanovic was killed; “Serbia will not stop until a killer is found” (Beta, Tanjug, B92)
  • Milena Ivanovic: I’m trying to find out the truth on my own, disregarding Pristina (Kosovo-online, B92)
  • Milan Ivanovic: Two years is too long, confusing that Belgrade protects Radoicic (N1)
  • Memorial gathering to Oliver Ivanovic held in Mitrovica, Srpska Lista attended it (Radio kontakt plus, KoSSev)
  • Pantovic: Court proceeding against Darko Tasic unduly prolonged (Radio KIM, Kosovo-online)
  • Racak 21 years later: An important event for Pristina, while Belgrade remains silent (KoSSev)
  • Two tons of wheat stolen in Novake village (KiM radio, RTS)

Opinion:

  • Kelmendi: The (dis)agreement race (Koha Ditore)
  • 100 days of nonsense (Prishtina Insight)
  • Last Chance Saloon: Can the EU and Balkans be Reconciled in 2020? (Balkan Insight)

International:

  • Truth Commission Activists Plan Yugoslav ‘Book of the Dead’ (Balkan Insight)
  • Shifting Focus of Kosovo Government Talks Hampers Deal (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Health institute warns: Air pollution is threatening people’s health (media)
  • Caglavica: It was agreed to increase police patrols (Radio KIM)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

“Bringing PAN back to power, Vetevendosje’s worst gift to the people” (Koha)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) MP Driton Selmanaj told KTV that if it fails to form the new government, the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) could indirectly bring back the PDK-AAK-NISMA (PAN) coalition back to power and that this would be the worst gift to the people of Kosovo.

“Theoretically speaking, PAN together with the minorities could take back the government. This would be the most terrible news for Kosovo. This is why Vetevendosje needs to be more aware about. We have told the people that we will remove PAN from power, and the LDK General Council has said that a coalition with the PDK is not even an option. But if PAN would come back to power, this would be a gift from Vetevendosje, and a terrible gift for the people of Kosovo. If we were to share the blame for this, then it would be 90 to 10 percent for the LVV,” he said.

Selmanaj predicted that if Kosovo were to go to early elections, Vetevendosje would not win.

LDK’s Abrashi: We don’t have a name yet for post of Kosovo President (T7)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Organisational Secretary Arban Abrashi said in an interview for T7 on Wednesday evening that the LDK does not yet have a name for the post of Kosovo President.

Abrashi argued that Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) request to know the name of LDK’s candidate for the post at this point is unreasonable. “We don’t have a name yet for the post of President. When the time is right, we will announce it,” he said.

Abrashi further said “LDK has higher standards than the Vetevendosje Movement. We have a tradition in proposing candidates for the posts. I don’t think it is reasonable to announce our candidate now”.

Haradinaj receives an invitation to attend National Prayer Breakfast (Telegrafi)

The news website reports that Kosovo’s outgoing Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, has received an invitation to attend the National Prayer Breakfast which will be held on February 9 in the U.S. The invitation was sent by Tom Suozzi and John Moolenaar, members of the U.S. Congress. 

The news website recalls that Haradinaj did not attend last year’s National Prayer Breakfast although he received an invitation. It also notes that Haradinaj could not get the visa to the U.S. in time, because of his firm position against calls to lift the import tariff on Serbian products.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

“If the killed was protected witness, then this is a rerun of the ‘Haradinaj case’” (Politika, Sputnik, B92)

The murdered Nazim Rrustemi was supposed to testify against the suspects of killing Albanians who refused to cooperate with KLA, Belgrade-based Politika daily writes today.

If it turns out that Rrustemi, whose death is still a mystery, was protected witness before the Special Court for KLA Crimes, it could be said to be a rerun of events from the time when Ramush Haradinaj was accused before The Hague Tribunal, Sputnik portal said.

Rrustemi, a forestry inspector by profession, was found dead a month ago near Badovac lake, in the vicinity of Pristina, and was initially thought that the murder is linked with the profession he performed.

However, according to Pristina-based Express, his wife Elmaze Rrustemi claims that Nazmi Rrustemi was killed because of his protected witness status before the Special Court for crimes committed by members of the KLA between 1998 and 2000. According to Elmaze Rrustemi, her husband gave evidence to court investigators three months before the murder.

“If it turns out that Rrustemi was a protected witness, it would be the first case known that someone was killed in that capacity,” Milovan Drecun, Chairman of the Serbian Parliament Committee for Kosovo and Metohija, and Chairman of the Task Force on gathering facts and evidence in disclosing crimes against members of the Serb people and other national communities in Kosovo and Metohija said.

So far, international institutions have not acknowledged that any of the assassinated persons had protected witness status, although about 40 are suspected to have been killed in Kosovo.

If it turns out that Rrustemi was a protected witness and was therefore assassinated, according to Drecun, it is an indication of how strong the activity of those who might be found on the indictments is.

The mysterious killings of people believed to have been protected witnesses are not a novelty in Kosovo and Metohija. One of those who escaped the hand of justice thanks to this method is Ramush Haradinaj. He has been to The Hague Tribunal twice when, according to former Serbian special prosecutor for war crimes Vladimir Vukcevic, 40 protected witnesses were killed throughout Kosovo and Metohija.

With each trial, the number of witnesses killed increased. The first witness was killed in 2003 and the last in 2016. One of the witnesses’ remarks to Judge Alfonso Ori was remembered when asked why he did not want to testify: “Your protection is not worth it outside the walls of this courtroom.”

“It is an illusion to expect those who organized Kosovo society and committed crimes to protect the witnesses who will indict them,” Zivojin Rakocevic, a journalist from Gracanica said.

“This is hugely absurd, and it should not be expected. Witnesses are eliminated in several ways. The first is murder, the second is complete isolation of these people, who live as prisoners, and the third is bribery – money is invested in them and privileges are given to them. It’s a well-known thing and this is no surprise – Rrustemi and many others who will be eliminated in different ways are no surprise”, he commented.

See at: https://bit.ly/2Rl8Jxv

Two years ago, Ivanovic was killed; “Serbia will not stop until a killer is found” (Beta, Tanjug, B92)

The commemoration of the second anniversary of Oliver Ivanovic’s murder will be held in the crypt of St. Sava Temple in Belgrade in the morning.

A memorial service will be held at 8.15 am, because at that exact time two years ago, Oliver Ivanovic was killed in Kosovska Mitrovica.

“Oliver loved going to the temple with his son Bogdan. It was a ritual when we stayed in Belgrade together. So this year, I’ll do it with Bogdan,” said Milena Ivanovic, wife of the slain leader of the SDP Civic Initiative for Kosovo online, adding that it would become a tradition – to gather with friends every year in the temple.

A memorial for Ivanovic will also be held in Kosovska Mitrovica at 10 a.m. at the scene of his murder, in front of the party’s premises, GI SDP said.

Ivanovic was killed on January 16, 2017, at 8:15 p.m.

The executors and those who ordered his murder have not yet been discovered.

“Serbia will not give up until the real perpetrators of this crime are discovered”

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said this morning that, on the second anniversary of the assassination of SDP Civic Initiative leader Oliver Ivanovic, Serbia’s main message is that Serbia will not stop until the perpetrators and masterminds of the crime are discovered.

She told Radio-Television Serbia that Belgrade was conducting the investigation on its own, without any support from Pristina and international actors in Kosovo, with EULEX in the first place, while, as she said, UNMIK “has no particular authority”.

She said the Serbian authorities had “certain knowledge” that she could not communicate in order not to endanger people and the investigation, stating that the situation in Kosovo was such that even the killings of protected witnesses of the Special Court could not be prevented.

“We are conducting an investigation with our hands tied by Pristina and the international community,” Brnabic said.

She said that the defendants charged with the murder of Ivanovic cannot expect to be properly tried in Kosovo and stressed that the indictment is a “farce” and that “the evidence, if it can be called so, is contradictory.”

“Serbia and the Serbs, wherever they live, need peace, stability, security and Serbia will know how to preserve peace and security for the Serbs wherever they lived,” said Brnabic, who attended the memorial for Ivanovic, at St. Sava’s Temple on Vracar.

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

Milena Ivanovic: I’m trying to find out the truth on my own, disregarding Pristina (Kosovo-online, B92)

Speaking to Kosovo-online portal about the indictment raised in the case of Oliver Ivanovic’s murder, and the trial that recently commenced in Pristina, Milena Ivanovic says she is disappointed that even after two years, there are no names of those who either executed or ordered this killing.

 “We now have an indictment filed by Pristina’s investigative authorities, but that indictment does not mention the names of the killers or the names of the masterminds behind the murder. We have several people mentioned there who allegedly participated in assisting in the murder. I think that two years is too long period for such superficial information as we have now received in these indictments. I regret the fact that all this leads me to question the sincerity of Pristina’s authorities, but I absolutely believe that the truth will find its way and that we will get the names of Oliver’s killers. This is something that he and his family deserve”, Ivanovic emphasized.

She is under the impression that the indictment was actually filed because it all takes too much time, so Pristina had to come up with some information, at least superficial.

“What I find particularly surprising is the name of Oliver’s co-worker, a friend, Silvana Arsovic on that indictment. I think it’s scary. I’m absolutely sure the woman has nothing to do with what she’s being charged with. That’s just another piece of evidence that makes me doubt that this is someone’s game and that someone wants to accomplish something. I don’t quite understand what it is. I think it’s not fair and we should all stand together and work jointly with the aim of finding out who killed Oliver”, Ivanovic concluded.

She says she also keeps gathering data and information about Oliver’s murder and tries to be neutral, listen to all the information and reach some conclusions.

“It’s true that I have lots of information, that I’m making a picture by myself and trying to come up with the truth, myself. I’ve spent years with Oliver, I know everything that’s happened before, I know things that have been going on over the two years. When I am certain, and if I ever knew it for sure, I’ll disclose who did it”, she says.

Milena underlines she believes that information about the killer and the one who ordered Oliver’s murder will be provided by the Serbian state and Serbian investigative authorities.

See at: https://bit.ly/2tq1vQG

Milan Ivanovic: Two years is too long, confusing that Belgrade protects Radoicic (N1)

Milan Ivanovic, brother of assassinated leader of Civic Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice (CI SDP) Oliver Ivanovic, told N1 that two years is too long period, with all our possibilities and readiness not to find out who the murder of Oliver well, as well as complete political background (of the murder). He added, he expected the echo of the murder would exert pressure on political actors to complete the case as soon as possible.

“I expected the investigation to be faster. I assessed the pre-investigative proceedings would go much faster as well and would be carried out in a better manner,” Milan Ivanovic said.

Comparing acts conducted by Kosovo and Serbian prosecutions, Ivanovic noted the one in Pristina was rounded up with indictment, while in Serbia it is still in pre-investigative phase. He said he has no contacts with either prosecutions, nor he expects to be informed about the details. However, he is seeking assurances that they deal with the matter seriously.

Commenting on Pristina’s indictment on the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, Milan Ivanovic said the public knows little about it, evidences were presented in a modest manner, while the process stopped due to technical reasons since the indictment was not translated.   

The name of Milan Radoicic is not included in the indictment, N1 recalled. Milan Ivanovic said the name of Milan Radoicic is known from several sources, adding the residents in north of Kosovo know more details about the life and acts of groups that are informal centres of power in the north and beyond.

“It is about people who are not from there but are present. I believe in the seriousness of work before the group with these names is found on the indictment. The indictment represents a situation in which the material is ‘ripe’, (…)”, Ivanovic said.

He also noted the situation is unusual, given that Radoicic is in the territory of central Serbia, while the authorities in Belgrade claim he has nothing to do with the murder of Oliver Ivanovic.

Meanwhile, Ivanovic’s nephew Aleksandar Ivanovic said he was convinced the surveillance cameras could shed light on the murder, i.e., whether the perpetrators were the Serbs or the Albanians, who helped them to come and leave Mitrovica.

The first information following the assassination was the cameras on the party building did not work, but Ivanovic told the Belgrade NIN weekly that his uncle walked to his office through several narrow streets which were all covered with cameras.

Aleksandar Ivanovic also told the weekly that Oliver spoke about his life being in danger, and even warned Belgrade, Pristina and foreign representatives about it saying he wanted that if he were killed someone couldn’t say “we didn’t know.”

According to his nephew, Oliver also asked Belgrade not to divide the Serbs in Kosovo to “theirs and ours,” referring to Serbia’s authorities branding politicians who were in opposition to the Serb List, and especially Ivanovic, as “the Albanian Serbs.”

Memorial gathering to Oliver Ivanovic held in Mitrovica, Srpska Lista attended it (Radio kontakt plus, KoSSev)

Representatives of Srpska Lista (SL), headed by the mayor of Mitrovica North Goran Rakic, participated today in a memorial gathering to Oliver Ivanovic organized in front of his party premises in the town, Radio kontakt plus reports.

Members of Ivanovic’s Civic Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice (CI SDP), friends and citizens were also present.

SDP deputy leader Ksenija Bozovic said the initiative will work on shedding the light on Oliver Ivanovic’s murder and that killers and masterminds face the justice.

“Same clear message we received this morning from the Government of the Republic of Serbia, that we will work together on it and we will persevere. At the end, the real killer must face justice,” Bozovic said.

She recalled that Pristina’s indictment speaks about their institutions and their work. “We saw how the trial was ongoing on the first day. Is the guilty one secretary and closest associate of Oliver Ivanovic – Silvana Arsovic? We all know that, even citizens. Someone was obviously needed to be blamed, but Silvana Arsovic will prove her innocence while the real culprit must be held accountable,” Bozovic said.

Mayor of Mitrovica North, Goran Rakic urged responsible institutors, foremost prosecution and court to find the killer and masterminds behind Oliver Ivanovic’s murder.

Meanwhile, KoSSev reports that this is one of four commemorations that would be held today. One hour after the gathering of SL and CI SDP, part of Oliver Ivanovic’s family and friends gathered at the same venue, as well as some of the members of CI SDP who did not approve of Ksenija Bozovic’s decision to appear alongside the Serbian List. Other two memorial services are held in Belgrade today.

Pantovic: Court proceeding against Darko Tasic unduly prolonged (Radio KIM, Kosovo-online)

The Basic Court in Prizren held yesterday yet another session in the case of Darko Tasic from Mala Krusa village, suspected of committing a criminal act of “war crimes against civilian population,” Radio KIM reports.

Darko Tasic is in detention for more than two years.

Tasic’s defence lawyer Ljubomir Pantovic said the proceeding lasts inexplicably long and a single witness, British journalist who had investigated the crime in Mala Krusa village in 1999 is waited for more than eight months. The court did not manage to bring him, although, as Pantovic said, the journalist was in Kosovo two months ago.

“We are waiting for this man, the time is wasted, and Darko Tasic remains in detention. The proceeding is unduly prolonged, despite the law stipulating that when someone is in detention, the criminal proceeding and the trial should take place with particular urgency. In this case, we have a particular and exclusive slowness of the court and prosecution that insists on interviewing the witness, who has said all he had in the documentary, and he also testified in The Hague Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,” Pantovic told Kosovo-online.

He stressed interviewing of this witness is absolutely unnecessary, however, the Kosovo judiciary insists that he is interviewed.  

“Although I strongly opposed further delays and postponement of the trial, the court approved fifth or sixth proposal of the prosecution which still insists that this witness is invited to the hearing, although, obviously he is not interested to be a witness in this case,” Pantovic said

Darko Tasic was arrested on November 22, 2017 at Brnjak crossing point in Zubin Potok. Since then he has been in detention at high-security prison near Podujevo.

Racak 21 years later: An important event for Pristina, while Belgrade remains silent (KoSSev)

The 21st anniversary of the event in Racak was commemorated in Kosovo. Several events were organized on the occasion, including yesterday’s conference in Pristina titled ”Racak is not a lie ”, and gatherings in Racak and Stimlje. Numerous Pristina officials claim that a massacre took place here 21 years ago, with the killing of 45 Albanian civilians by former Yugoslav forces. i.e. Serbian police. They emphasise that a tribunal should be founded for Serb crimes against Albanians, also raising criticism against the EU for lacking reaction to Serbia’s denials of the crimes. Belgrade officials remain largely silent on the issue.

The event that took place on January 15th, 1999 in the central Kosovo village of Racak, nearby Stimlje, remains one of the most sensitive topics in both the Serbian and Albanian public even 21 years later. Kosovo Albanians accompanied by the majority of the region and the western governments, claimed it was a massacre of civilians. Serbian officials deny while describing it as an armed conflict between the Serbian police and ethnic Albanian rebels, armed and uniformed –  during a police raid. The memory of Racak remains painful to Serbs as its seen as the reason for the 1999 bombing.

Former head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission, William Walker, who is currently one of the most honoured and rewarded foreign diplomats in Kosovo, described Racak as the site of a massacre of innocent civilians executed by Yugoslav and Serb forces, which served as an immediate reason for the 78-day long NATO bombing of the former FR Yugoslavia.

William Walker is currently visiting Kosovo. He once again reiterated that a massacre had taken place there and that it is evidence of all that had happened throughout Kosovo.

”I am pleased that more and more people come here every year to see what happened in this country, because that is what was happening throughout Kosovo,” Walker said.

”The massacres that took place have led to freedom and an independent Kosovo. But every time I come here, I remember January 15th, 1999 and those are bad memories,” Walker stressed. On the other hand, he expressed satisfaction with ”the way people welcome him”.

Finnish forensic expert Helena Ranta: Because of report on Racak everyone pressured me

”I’d like people to remember everything before and after Racak. Many civilians were killed on both sides during the conflict in Kosovo. I remember that, during his trial at The Hague tribunal, Slobodan Milosevic blamed me, saying that it is more or less because of my investigations in Racak that Serbia was bombed. I have to remind you that in the autumn of 1998, NATO already started preparation for the bombing, which was long before my investigation. I want the people to remember that,” Finnish forensic expert, Helen Ranta spoke to Insajder in an exclusive interview in 2017. Ranta was part of a Finnish forensic team that conducted an investigation in Racak.

Ranta confirmed that the bodies of the 45 victims in Racak were not relocated nor were their clothes changed. She said that all of them were killed from close range. Ranta also confirmed that Walker, as well as other diplomatic circles and representatives of Serbia, tried to influence the report of the team of Finnish forensic experts.

”William Walker wanted me to confirm who committed this in Racak. I could not do that, I am a scientist, not a politician or diplomat or something else. I said that I was not going to draw any conclusions,” said Ranta.

”The victims of Racak are the seal of liberation and the creation of Kosovo,” LDK leader, Isa Mustafa said on the occasion.

According to Kosovo Assembly chairman, Kadri Veseli, Racak was ”the worst massacre committed by the Serbian state” , whose historical responsibility is ”tolerated” by the EU. He also underlined that crimes against humanity do not have a statute of limitations.

”Today we remember the massacre in Racak, one of the worst committed by the Serbian state against innocent civilians in Kosovo. On other days of the year, we will also sadly remember our national wounds in Prekaz, Studimlje, Obrije, Meja village, Vrbovac and throughout Kosovo, as a result of other mass crimes that were part of the Serbian state’s project to exterminate the Albanian people,” he emphasized.

Veseli also reiterated that in order to achieve ”lasting peace and stability” in the Balkans, it is ”unavoidable and necessary to establish an International Tribunal which would punish Serbs for the atrocities they committed against Albanians”.

Denying the crimes in Racak is ”a permanent crime against the people and the state of Kosovo”, said Self-Determination leader, Albin Kurti, who also attended the rally today.

”The news of the Racak massacre shocked and terrified Kosovo, but it also made it aware and alarmed the democratic world and international diplomacy. The massacre in Racak was crucial for NATO’s bombing of Milosevic’s Yugoslavia,” Kurti said, underlining that ”there is still no justice for victims and families” 21 years later.

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

Two tons of wheat stolen in Novake village (KiM radio, RTS)

Unknown persons stole about two tonnes of wheat from Spasa Andrejevic that were stored in a former school building, not far from his house in the village of Novake near Prizren.

Spasa Andrejevic told Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) that he noticed that about 40 sacks were missing from the building. The window of the building was broken, and he reported the theft to the police, which conducted the investigation.

He said that the police did not solve any cases of thefts so far and added that he did not expect thieves to be found and in this last case. 

He added that over the past 15 years, he and the remaining Serbs in the village of Novake have been using the building of the former school for the harvest needs. 

Andrejevic said that an infirmary was housed in one part of the former school building that was also broken into, where a bed was taken.

 

 

Opinion 

 

Kelmendi: The (dis)agreement race (Koha Ditore)

Publicist Adriatik Kelmendi asks in an opinion piece, “why the Vetevendosje Movement and the Democratic League of Kosovo, instead of forming the government and implementing the will of the people, are continuing the election campaign, but this time not against the previous coalition government, but against one another”.

Kelmendi notes that for over 100 days, these two parties have dealt more with one another than with focusing on implementing the people’s will and the promises they gave to their electorates.

Kelmendi says that while the media are increasingly reporting on abuses and scandals by the outgoing government, the Vetevendosje and LDK leaders are too busy dealing with one another. “Kurti and Mustafa obviously know that now is not the time for a sound sleep and let alone to weaken one another’s positions. If they were serious about bringing change, they need to find the strength to see the ‘bigger picture’ because right now they are too lost in the details”. According to Kelmendi, the previous ruling coalition could form the government again if LVV and LDK delay their eventual coalition government agreement.

“The narrow-mindedness we are seeing from the LVV and LDK these days is … above all an irresponsibility toward around 427 thousand voters, or nearly 52 percent of the electorate, that have voted for change, because if they fail to reach an agreement and if they stay true to their promise that they won’t form a coalition with PANA parties, we will go to elections again.”

100 days of nonsense (Prishtina Insight)

By Eraldin Fazliu

Negotiations to form a coalition government between Vetevendosje and LDK have turned into a fixation over positions of power rather than principles, eroding much of the hope built up by October’s election results.

Today marks 100 days since Kosovo held parliamentary elections on October 6, 2019.

Despite the fact that two former opposition parties, Vetevendosje and the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, won the majority of votes and immediately pledged to form a coalition government, an endless negotiation process has halted the transition of power and deepened political divisions in Kosovo.

In a normal post-electoral process, the first 100 days serve as a test for the new government to carry out reforms and enact its governing plans.

See at: https://bit.ly/387p1Ra

Last Chance Saloon: Can the EU and Balkans be Reconciled in 2020? (Balkan Insight)

By Srecko Lasal

A new enlargement strategy that the EU will craft in 2020 may be the bloc’s last chance to re-establish its presence in the Balkans and prevent a new crisis that would threaten the whole of Europe.

Annoyed by each other’s recurring deceits and preoccupied with their respective internal problems, the EU and the Balkans have been drifting apart for years.

Their dishonest and lethargic relationship was effectively put on ice in 2018; the Balkans was increasingly nervous and rowdy, while the EU was playing hard-to-get.

See at: https://bit.ly/2FY0LF2

 

 

International

 

Truth Commission Activists Plan Yugoslav ‘Book of the Dead’ (Balkan Insight)

The Coalition for RECOM, which is campaigning to establish a regional truth commission for the Yugoslav wars, is working to create the first full list of all those killed in the Balkan conflicts from 1991 to 2001.

The Coalition for RECOM, a cross-border campaign to set up a truth commission to establish the full facts about the Yugoslav wars, has failed so far to get the unanimous support of governments across the region.

Despite this, however, the coalition says that it will push on with researching a full list of all those who were killed, imprisoned, tortured or went missing during the bloody dissolution of Yugoslavia, some of its members told BIRN.

See at: https://bit.ly/3ahfh8P

Shifting Focus of Kosovo Government Talks Hampers Deal (Balkan Insight)

The two main parties’ repeated shifts of the goal posts is being blamed for the almost endless delays in forming a new government since the October 2019 snap elections.

The course of talks in Kosovo on forming a new government changed yet again on Wednesday when the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, made yet another proposal to its potential senior partner, Vetevendosje, this time about who should get the post of parliament speaker as part of the splitting of power between them.

See at:  https://bit.ly/36Zxm9C

 

 

Humanitarian/ Development

 

Health institute warns: Air pollution is threatening people’s health (media)

Most news outlets report Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health (NIPH) has issued a press release warning that air pollution, especially in the city of Pristina, is threatening people’s health. The Institute calls for strategic measures to address the situation:

Prepare as soon as possible an action plan to improve the air quality especially in Pristina

Adopt the air legislation in line with EU directives and WHO standards.

Implement joint national programs and projects on air pollution.

Specific measures:

Urgently remove from traffic old vehicles and vehicles without catalysts.

Environmental inspections to undertake rigorous control of fuel and fossil that is used by the citizens for heating purposes.

Increase the number of airbuses with ecological fuel for public transport.

Increase green spaces in urban zones.

Air pollution measurements in key points in Kosovo and daily online updates.

Individual measures (public health recommendations) 

Reduce going out in the city and in places with air pollution, especially in the mornings and evenings, especially for persons with chronical cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, children and pregnant women.

Stay indoors and do not open windows while there is high air pollution.

Persons that must go outdoors must use masks, cover their mouths and noses.

Reduce smoking outside especially ban smoking indoors, at work, schools and hospitals.

Vulnerable groups of the population such as persons with chronic pulmonary and heart diseases, patients with asthma and those prone to allergies, the elderly, small children, pregnant women, are suggested to spend more time in areas with low levels of air pollution, such as mountains.

Experts of the National Institute warn and alarm that if urgent measures are not undertaken, there will be negative effects in people’s health and an increased fatality rate especially from cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses.

Caglavica: It was agreed to increase police patrols (Radio KIM)

The local council in the village of Caglavica held a meeting last night with police officials regarding thefts that occurred in the village at the beginning of this year, Radio KIM reports. It was agreed in the meeting to increase police patrols.

The village representative Nebojsa Markovic said members of the local council expressed concern of the residents regarding the burglaries and thefts and requested police officials “to find and punish perpetrators within the shortest timeframe as well as ensure safety.”

“We have requested police patrols be increased and ensure safety to the people, which is seriously hampered by recent thefts,” Markovic said.

The police officials said the patrols in the village will increase and promise to do their utmost to find the perpetrators.

The local council also announced the meeting with village residents will take place on Friday at “Miladin Matic” school starting at 18.00 to discuss these issues.

 

 

 

 

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, January 17, 2020

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