Albanian Language Media:
- Thaci: Kosovo has met visa liberalisation criteria (RTK)
- Daut Haradinaj asks LVV: Do you want to go to elections? (Express)
- Nagavci: Vjosa Osmani wanted to co-govern with Vetevnedosje (KTV)
- Osmani: LDK does not initiate Konjufca’s dismissal, I believe in agreement (RTK)
Serbian Language Media:
- Court for KLA crimes without comment on murder of alleged protected witness (Tanjug)
- “Next months crucial, EU faces risk if it doesn’t send a clear signal to region” (TASS, B92)
- Six years since murder of Dimitrije Janicijevic in Mitrovica North (Radio KIM)
- Djuric: Belgrade committed to dialogue, problem is in Pristina (Danas)
- “Major changes” in Serbian government, Vucic says (Prva TV, N1)
- Kosovo PM Dismisses Rama’s Libel Charge as ‘Decoy’ (Balkan Insight)
- Why is Kosovo Taking Home Islamic State Members? (VoA)
Albanian Language Media
Thaci: Kosovo has met visa liberalisation criteria (RTK)
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said today that Kosovo has met all the requirements for visa liberalisation including the fight against crime and corruption but that there is no decision-making in the process due to lack of unity among EU member states, the news website reports.
Thaci also criticised what he called amnesty for Serbia for the crimes it committed in Kosovo.
“I cannot help but share the concerns that people have, and their dissatisfaction with the justice process. The victims want justice. No one can deny the fact that there have been flaws in this process. There were errors in terms of efficiency and there was also ethnic selection in the justice process. It is well known that the state of Serbia killed around 13,000 civilians during the war, over 20,000 women were raped by Serbia, around 1,000 children were killed, and over 400 massacres have been documented. These circumstances are making difficult the process of reconciliation. No one has been tried for these crimes. Albanians were tried more than those that carried out ethnic cleansing … As a result of international silence on this matter, now they are proudly denying the crimes committed in Kosovo. I am grateful to the Quint countries for their reaction about the Recak massacre,” Thaci said.
Daut Haradinaj asks LVV: Do you want to go to elections? (Express)
Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) parliamentary group chief Daut Haradinaj blames the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) for failing to reach a coalition government with the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), the news website reports.
“Delays in forming the new institutions are most detrimental to the citizens of Kosovo and least for the winning parties or to be more precise for the leader of the process, the Vetevendosje Movement, which came out as the winning party in the 6 October 2019 elections,” Haradinaj said. “The division of responsibilities doesn’t seem to be a problem for them. It looks more like lack of readiness from their side to lead the institutions in these important times for our country”.
“Do you want to go to elections? Or will you carry out the duties that the people voted you for? The whole responsibility falls on the Vetevendosje Movement, because it won the elections,” Haradinaj added.
Nagavci: Vjosa Osmani wanted to co-govern with Vetevnedosje (KTV)
Deputy Assembly Speaker from Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) Arberie Nagavci said there is no reason or arguments to dismiss Glauk Konjufca from the post of the Assembly Speaker and appealed to remember Vjosa Osmani’s statements.
“We have a new situation. LDK would have had the possibility to have the post of the Prime Minister if it won , and that of the Assembly Speaker if it accepted our proposal, but it didn’t. Citizens are rightfully tired. Everyone is aware of Osmani’s statements, who openly had said that she wanted to co-govern with LVV and that the post of the President would not be discussed,” Nagavci said.
She says she is aware that increase of ministries would be billed to Vetevendosje.
“Increase of ministries is a cost that will be billed to us. We did this for LDK in order not to play games by removing important posts. Balance of power means separate responsibilities at the government, in the situation that we have. We have a President that was elected by the votes of the LDK,” Nagavci said.
“LDK did not accept the post of the Assembly Speaker. There is no reason and no arguments to dismiss Konjufca. If they changed their mind, it would be honorable to say we made a mistake. It is not very important to say that we have this individual only because he is ours, as we are going to govern together. Kurti requested from LDK on 23 December to have the name of the Assembly Speaker, in order to reach the agreement on 24 December. And on 25 we informed the citizens for the sake of transparency, and this after the inability to reach agreement,” she said.
“I am keen to believe that there are rational voices in LDK who are interested to vote for the government. I believe that they will take seriously the given message of the citizens on 6 October. We can have a government without winner of elections, but we cannot have governing without a winner of elections. I hope that LDK will have the courage to listen to the rational voices. The VLAN example should serve as a lesson on how not to act. Now we have the winners of the elections, we have 58 mandates, and it is much easier to reach agreement,”
According to Nagavci, LVV was very generous with its offer to LDK. “LVV has continuously made steps forward. We agreed to offer six ministries and election of President with LDK’s proposal. So, we made a range of compromises so far. We are ready to consider if they offer something else, but we cannot turn back. This is not the intention, and this is not what we promised to the citizens. Kurti made the request to sit again around the table to discuss until a solution is found. When there is will, more than one solution can be found. But there is no approximation when you ask to make steps back,” Nagavci said.
“We cannot be part of the government only for the sake of being. Kurti had the possibility to be a Prime Minister just for the sake of being. We have always said that we are interested to set new standards. If we wanted to be part of the government, we would have been so far. But this was not and it is not our aim,’ Nagavci said.
Osmani: LDK does not initiate Konjufca’s dismissal, I believe in agreement (RTK)
Deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Vjosa Osmani said her political party would not initiate Glauk Konjufca’s dismissal from the post of the Assembly Speaker.
She also told the journalists that she is optimistic about the reach of the agreement for coalition with Vetevendosje Movement (LVV).
On Thursday, LVV rejected through a letter LDK’s proposal to return to them the post of the Assembly Speaker until the election of the President of Kosovo and division of ministries five by five.
Serbian Language Media
Court for KLA crimes without comment on murder of alleged protected witness (Tanjug)
The Specialist Chambers, known as the Court for KLA crimes said the protection of witnesses is their highest priority, but that they can not comment if there were murders of potential witnesses in the court proceedings that are expected (to take place) following the indictments, Tanjug news agency reports.
This was response Tanjug news agency received on its question whether Nazmi Rustemi who was murdered in Kosovo month ago was protected witness, as his wife claims.
The Court’s spokeswoman, Angela Grip said these issues fall under the authority of the Kosovo Specialist Prosecution, adding protection of the witnesses is of highest priority to the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecution. She also said the measures of protection of their safety are in line with the highest international standards.
Meanwhile, EULEX referred to the confidentiality of information related to potential summons. Rustemi’s wife claims her husband was interviewed in EULEX, three months prior to his murder.
EULEX also confirmed to Tanjug they are authorized for the witness security within the legal framework.
“However, in line with the best international practices regarding such activities, they should not be revealed to the public,” EULEX said, Tanjug news agency reported.
The protection of witnesses is a crucial problem for the new court, established following Dick Marty’s report on crimes committed by KLA members. Representatives of the Court said several times a reliable system of witness protection has been established, in order not to repeat mistakes made by the Hague Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
The Hague Tribunal chief prosecutors Carla Del Ponte and Serge Brammertz on several occasions complained to the United Nations Security Council over incapability of international missions to properly protect witnesses of the crimes committed by KLA commanders, foremost Ramush Haradinaj, who was tried twice at the Hague Tribunal.
“Next months crucial, EU faces risk if it doesn’t send a clear signal to region” (TASS, B92)
The coming months will be crucial for EU-Western Balkan relations, Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak stated. He also warned of the risks that the Union could face if it did not send a clear signal to the region.
“It is necessary to find a new consensus on opening accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, to improve enlargement policy and to prepare the EU-Western Balkans Summit in May”, Lajcak said.
He spoke at the 2020 EU Strategic Choices Conference in the Western Balkans in Berlin. Lajcak stressed that it is important to understand that enlargement is a positive agenda, noting that recently he was under the impression that enlargement is being treated as a problem.
Lajcak said the EU must demonstrate its influence in the Western Balkans region, TASS reports.
“We often rely on communication strategies, but we seem to forget that people in the Western Balkans are reading the nuances of the signals we send,” he concluded.
See at: https://bit.ly/2FXQIjx
Six years since murder of Dimitrije Janicijevic in Mitrovica North (Radio KIM)
Six years ago, on the same date when his godfather Oliver Ivanovic was killed, Dimitrije Janicijevic Independent Liberal Party (SLS) municipal councillor in Mitrovica North and a mayoral candidate was murdered in Mitrovica, Radio KIM recalls. Although, six years have passed since the murder, his killer is not found yet.
Janicijevic was shot in front of the house where he lived with his family and was transferred to the hospital without signs of life.
He was SLS mayoral candidate at 2013 municipal elections. Oliver Ivanovic was mayoral candidate at that elections as well.
Janjicijevic had wife, mother and four children.
Djuric: Belgrade committed to dialogue, problem is in Pristina (Danas)
Belgrade remains committed to the continuation of dialogue with Pristina and all regional initiatives that would advance cooperation and trust between societies and peoples in the Western Balkans, however, at this moment there are no political structures in Pristina sharing these values, Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric said, Danas daily reports.
Djuric made these remarks in a meeting with a newly appointed Greek Ambassador to Serbia Georgios Diakofotakis. He also informed the ambassador about political and security situation in Kosovo as well as about problems Serbs living there are facing.
Djuric further underlined that “free flow of people, goods, services and capital are the basis on which the peace in contemporary Europe is built and strengthened upon, and that is why this model should be followed by the states in the region in order to achieve lasting stability and advancement of the relations.
Djuric also thanked the Greek Ambassador for “consistent support of Greece to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia,” the press statement said.
“Major changes” in Serbian government, Vucic says (Prva TV, N1)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and head of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), reiterated on Friday that 60 percent of local administration’s leaders in the country from his party would be replaced, adding that the government as well would undergo “major changes,” if SNS wins at the next general election, news agencies reported.
Last October, Vucic underlined “there is no doubt that the government will be reshuffled in the coming period but it would depend on the situation in the region.”
A few days later, he announced massive changes in the SNS. “The list of candidates should include as many young and uncompromised people as possible, no one with luxury cars,” he said.
“These are major changes,” Vucic told the Belgrade Prva TV on Friday.
He added that as the party leader, he had the right to change the ministers because he was “fair to all of them,” and that he “defended them whenever they came under attack.”
Addressing the judicial system in Serbia, Vucic criticised the prosecutors and judges for not being efficient enough despite having evidence from the police. However, he noted he could not change anything there to avoid being accused of interfering in the independence of the judiciary.
See at: https://bit.ly/2tsOXbh
Kosovo PM Dismisses Rama’s Libel Charge as ‘Decoy’ (Balkan Insight)
The outgoing Prime Minister of Kosovo has dismissed a lawsuit that claims he defamed his Albanian counterpart, calling it a disinformation device used by Rama to avoid his responsibilities.
The outgoing Prime Minister of Kosovo has shrugged off a libel suit filed by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama as a diversion. Ramush Haradinaj wrote on Facebook on Wednesday night that Rama had a practice of filing lawsuits for defamation as a decoy technique.
“The suit of the Prime Minister Rama is totally baseless and a political diversion conducted by him to hide himself after new media soap operas, and so avoid responsibilities,” Haradinaj wrote.
See at: https://bit.ly/30uTO8f
Why is Kosovo Taking Home Islamic State Members? (VoA)
While most European countries have been reluctant to take back their citizens who joined the Islamic State (IS) terror group in Syria and Iraq, the government of Kosovo has taken a different path by repatriating dozens of its people with plans to reintegrate them into society.
Some experts say Kosovo’s proactive approach, supported by a national action plan that addresses key components from detention to counseling to rehabilitation, is a unique example with considerable success in facing the dilemma of IS foreign fighters.
“Kosovo is a small country with a very well-established social structure,” said David L. Phillips, director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. “So, there is a system in place for managing their returns. That’s why the government of Kosovo is better suited to accept returns than larger countries in Europe where returnees could simply become absorbed into the local population and commit crimes either in their home countries or go to other battlefields.”
See at: https://bit.ly/2Nwa7fy