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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, January 23

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• Grenell with no preferences for coalition, wants dialogue to resume (media)
• Thaci: We will reach agreement with Serbia with President Trump (RTK)
• Grenell will first meet Kurti, then Mustafa (Indeksonline)
• LDK, LVV rule out other partners for coalition government (media)
• Osmani: Grenell’s visit, high interest of White House for Kosovo (Klan)
• Haxhiu: We will work hard to reach agreement in coming days (Bota Sot)
• LDK’s Bajrami calls for Konjufca’s resignation (RTK)
• Osmani: We want to resume talks, LVV to look into our proposal (Klan)
• Apostolova calls for quick formation of new government (media)
• Haradinaj continues to “cripple” Kosovo budget (Zeri)
• Hoxhaj: Mini-Schengen is Serbia’s idea; we cannot share sovereignty with it (Zeri)
• PDK appoints new leadership (media)

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  • Grenell with no preferences for coalition, wants dialogue to resume (media)
  • Thaci: We will reach agreement with Serbia with President Trump (RTK)
  • Grenell will first meet Kurti, then Mustafa (Indeksonline)
  • LDK, LVV rule out other partners for coalition government (media)
  • Osmani: Grenell’s visit, high interest of White House for Kosovo (Klan)
  • Haxhiu: We will work hard to reach agreement in coming days (Bota Sot)
  • LDK’s Bajrami calls for Konjufca’s resignation (RTK)
  • Osmani: We want to resume talks, LVV to look into our proposal (Klan)
  • Apostolova calls for quick formation of new government (media)
  • Haradinaj continues to “cripple” Kosovo budget (Zeri)
  • Hoxhaj: Mini-Schengen is Serbia’s idea; we cannot share sovereignty with it (Zeri)
  • PDK appoints new leadership (media)

Grenell with no preferences for coalition, wants dialogue to resume (media)

Koha Ditore reports on page three that the U.S. Presidential Envoy for Dialogue, Richard Grenell, is visiting Kosovo with messages to resume dialogue with Serbia and to reach a final settlement between Kosovo Serbia. The paper notes that at the start of his visit, Grenell, who is also the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, made it clear that he has no preferences for a ruling coalition in Kosovo.

“We want to economically develop this region. Young people need jobs, this is the policy of President Trump. The economy in the U.S. is blooming because we have said that people need to assume power. You need to open jobs and you need to provide economic development for the people that deserve it. People in Kosovo deserve a bright future. We will encourage the governments and leaders in Kosovo and Serbia, and we will tell them: ‘start opening new jobs’. The business community in the U.S. and Europe wants to come here … We have many projects that will create energy, economy but especially more jobs – well-paid jobs. President Trump was focused on this when he said: ‘when you have a vibrant economy, when you have people that take part in the economy in new ways, with new businesses, political issues are then overshadowed, because people start focusing on their daily lives. This is why I am here, and I don’t want to engage in political debate, because this is setting us back. I want to see the problems we have had and take Kosovo and Serbia forward,” Grenell was quoted as saying.

Thaci: We will reach agreement with Serbia with President Trump (RTK)

The President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said on Wednesday after meeting with the U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell that they discussed the political and economic situation in Kosovo and the region, as well as about the resumption of the unconditioned dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.

Thaci wrote on his Facebook page that he strongly believes that the agreement between Kosovo and Serbia will be reached with the leadership of the U.S. President Donald Trump.

“The role of the U.S. is very important and irreplaceable in the dialogue with Serbia. I am convinced that with the Ambassador of the President Trump we will reach the agreement with Serbia. With the leadership of the President Trump, we will achieve it,” Thaci said. “I once again want to express appreciation to Ambassador Grenell for his visit to Kosovo, I want to thank him for the agreement that we reached on the airline,” Thaci said.

Grenell will first meet Kurti, then Mustafa (Indeksonline)

The news website reports that Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) leader Albin Kurti will host a meeting today at 10:30 with the U.S. Presidential Envoy, Richard Grenell. Grenell will then meet LDK leader Isa Mustafa at 11:30.

LDK, LVV rule out other partners for coalition government (media)

Koha Ditore reports on its front page that although they are barricaded behind their positions, the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) have ruled out joining forces with other political parties, if their attempts to reach a coalition government agreement fail. Meanwhile, representatives of the Haradinaj-led Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and Limaj’s Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) have expressed their readiness to negotiate if the winning political party fails to secure a majority in parliament for the new government. Both parties however have said that so far, they have not held talks with the parties that are trying to form the new government.

Bota Sot reports on its front page that “international intervention is the last chance for a coalition between the Vetevendosje Movement and the Democratic League of Kosovo” and that this week is crucial for the eventual formation of the new government. In a different front-page related to the same issue, the paper quotes LDK deputy leader Vjosa Osmani as saying that she is optimistic that a coalition agreement will be reached and that the visit to Kosovo by U.S. Presidential Envoy Richard Grenell should not be seen as pressure in the process.

Epoka e Re runs as its lead story an interview with LDK MP Fatmir Rexhepi highlighting his remarks that “both parties need to make compromise” in their attempts to reach a coalition government agreement. Rexhepi called on LVV and LDK leaders, Kurti and Mustafa, to return to the table of talks and finalise an agreement this week. He also argued that sending Kosovo to new elections would be a terrible mistake by both parties.

Zeri reports on its front page that it has been two weeks that LVV and LDK have not met.

Osmani: Grenell’s visit, high interest of White House for Kosovo (Klan)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) deputy leader Vjosa Osmani told the news website on Wednesday that frequent visits by international officials to the LDK should not be seen as pressure for a coalition government agreement.

“This is not pressure. These are ordinary meetings where we inform the embassies about our positions, the latest developments and the ideas we have raised to emerge from the current situation,” she said. “We get suggestions and aid but countries that have helped liberate and build the state of Kosovo should never be seen as putting pressure on us, because everything they have done is provide aid and support democracy”.

Asked to comment on the visit to Kosovo by U.S. Presidential Envoy, Richard Grenell, Osmani said: “it is too early to comment on the topics or suggestions that will be made in our meeting. This visit is very welcomed because it is proof of a high interest, especially by the White House, for Kosovo and the region in general”.

“Ever since his appointment, Ambassador Grenell showed great interest and did an outstanding job – always focusing on ideas how to conclude the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and to bring economic development to our region. He never insisted on any dangerous ideas such as border changes or partition; these are ideas that belong to the past and also thanks to his contribution too”.

Haxhiu: We will work hard to reach agreement in coming days (Bota Sot)

Albulena Haxhiu, MP from the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV), said they make efforts to reach a coalition agreement with the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) in the coming days.

“We have entered the countdown period for creation of the government and we will try to reach agreement with LDK. We have made our final offer. We will work hard in the coming days because time is of essence,” Haxhiu said.

Asked about whether LVV is looking into the possibility of forming a government only with non-majority parties, Haxhiu said their primary focus at the moment is agreement with LDK.

LDK’s Bajrami calls for Konjufca’s resignation (RTK)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) MP Hykmete Bajrami said on Wednesday that she expects newly-elected Kosovo Assembly Speaker Glauk Konjufca to resign “as the fate of the coalition between LDK and Vetevendosje Movement depends on his post”.

“As far as Konjufca is concerned, it is not a joke, knowing Konjufca personally I even think that he will reflect and resign himself. Because the fate of the coalition depends on this post these days,” Bajrami said.

Bajrami even believes that Konjufca was not aware that he would be elected Assembly Speaker at the constitutive session of 26 December. “On 26 December session Konjufca was not prepared for that post,” Bajrami said.

Osmani: We want to resume talks, LVV to look into our proposal (Klan)

Deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Vjosa Osmani said they are interested to contribute on the reach of an agreement for co-government with Vetevendosje Movement (LVV).

“It was specified clearly and unanimously at the leadership of the LDK yesterday that LDK negotiates only with LVV for a future government, as we did so far and no one proposed or supported other options,” she said.

“In no option do we have a Plan B. We have come up in front of the citizens with an option and this is the only one that we are working on. So, there was no objection yesterday at the meeting of the leadership and at the same time I do not believe that something like that would have been good for the country, not only due to the mistakes of the former governments, starting from PAN political parties but because we also promised to the citizens and it is important to keep the promise,” Osmani added.

Apostolova calls for quick formation of new government (media)

Head of the EU Office in Kosovo, Nataliya Apostolova, met officials from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) yesterday and said that the EU wants a new government of Kosovo soon in place.

“I am visiting political parties. We of course would like to see a new government formed as soon as possible and see it working on the European agenda,” Apostolova said after the meeting.

Haradinaj continues to “cripple” Kosovo budget (Zeri)

The paper writes on the front page that despite resigning his post in July, acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj continues to make decisions which the paper deems damaging for Kosovo.

In yesterday’s meeting of his cabinet, Haradinaj approved the decision to allocate nearly €60,000 for the staff working in the residence of the late president Ibrahim Rugova and a regulation paving way for payment of allowances for the Ministry of Defence and the Kosovo Security Force. Haradinaj also made two new appointments with Lulezim Rafuna being named the new Minister of Finance and Magbule Shkodra Minister of Regional Development.

Arton Demhasaj from the anti-corruption NGO Cohu said the latest decisions constitute an abuse of Kosovo taxpayers’ money.

Hoxhaj: Mini-Schengen is Serbia’s idea; we cannot share sovereignty with it (Zeri)

Acting Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Enver Hoxhaj spoke about the Mini-Schengen initiative saying it was first mentioned in 2016 as a concept for a regional customs union and later on for a common regional market.

He said such arrangements, including that for a Western Balkans Mini-Schengen would not be in Kosovo’s interest. “We cannot agree to share sovereignty with two countries in the region that have not recognised us, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Hoxhaj told North Macedonian media outlet TV Klan.

PDK appoints new leadership (media)

The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) held a meeting of the presidency yesterday and elected the new leadership structure of the party. Uran Ismaili was appointed PDK general secretary while Agim Aliu and Shaqir Totaj deputy leaders of the party.

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