- Relaunch of dialogue is the reason of Borrel’s visit to Kosovo and Serbia (RTK)
- Sejdiu: Kosovo should approach dialogue with Serbia in a unified manner (RTK)
- PDK in a late meeting to harmonize stances on Borrell’s visit (KTV)
- Government supports family of murdered police officer (KTV)
- OSCE expresses condolence for the murder of police officer Sami Thaqi (Kallxo.com)
- Spain threatens boycott of Zagreb summit over Kosovo (N1)
- Kosovo adopts Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (KTV)
- Eparchy of Raska-Prizren leads a procession from Zvecan to Mitrovica in support to the Church in Montenegro (Kossev)
Relaunch of dialogue is the reason of Borrel’s visit to Kosovo and Serbia
High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, said that the Western Balkans are his priority as long as he will be in this post.
He said that relaunch of negotiations between Prishtinë/Pristina and Belgrade will be at the top of his agenda during his visit to the two capitols on Thursday.
“The Western Balkans are a priority during my mandate. I am strongly committed to relaunch the EU-facilitated dialogue and am thus looking forward to visit Kosovo and Serbia as first places in the region this week,” Borrell wrote on Twitter.
Sejdiu: Kosovo should approach dialogue with Serbia in a unified manner
Former President Fatmir Sejdiu said that Kosovo should have a unified approach to the dialogue with Serbia.
“A unified policy is needed. What we have gone through is a lesson to have a national unity for an interest which may not be missed, so that Kosovo’s strategic interest can move forward,” Sejdiu stated to RTK’s Debat show.
He added that regardless of the recent developments, the US has been consistent in relation to Kosovo.
Sejdiu called for sooner establishment of Kosovo institutions.
“It’s really a vacuum. Lack of institution building. It would be most advantageous for the country to end this process as soon as possible. We are not Italy, where there is state stability, we are still in the transition phase,” Sejdiu underlined.
PDK in a late meeting to harmonize stances on Borrell’s visit
Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) concluded its Presidency meeting late on Wednesday.
In a brief appearance before the media, PDK’s Media Office Director Bashmir Xhemaj stated that this was an ordinary meeting, even though it was held in the late hours.
“For the sake of fairness to you and the citizens I confirm that tonight’s meeting was supposed to be held at 19:00hrs. It was postponed because some PDK officials had to travel tonight as well as others who will be traveling tomorrow,” Xhemaj said.
According to him, PDK stances regarding the visit of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will be announced on Thursday at a press conference to be staged by PDK leader Kadri Veseli.
Government supports family of murdered police officer
A state funeral ceremony was organised for Sami Thaqi, a police officer who was killed on Tuesday evening while performing his tasks.
He was buried in his village of Shkarashnik, Malishevë/Malisevo municipality.
His colleagues greatly appreciated Thaqi’s performance and contribution given in the Kosovo Police.
Sami Thaqi was a Kosovo Police member from 2005.
The outgoing Government has allocated 15,000 euro for his family – his wife and three children.
In addition, the Government allocated 10,000 euro to each of the injured police officers in the Prizren action.
OSCE expresses condolence for the murder of police officer Sami Thaqi
The OSCE Mission in Kosovo expressed condolences for the murder of police officer Sami Thaqi while carrying out his duty on Tuesday night’s action in Zhur of Prizren.
“We are deeply saddened by the news that Kosovo Police Officer Sami Thaqi died and two others were injured during a police intervention last night. Officer Thaqi lost his life in the line of duty, working for a safe environment for all,” reads the OSCE Mission in Kosovo statement.
OSCE added that it honors his dedication, and his death will remind them of the risks that police officers face to provide safety for others.
“We express our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the Kosovo Police and we wish for a speedy recovery for the officers injured,” reads the statement of this Mission posted on Facebook.
Spain threatens boycott of Zagreb summit over Kosovo
Spain is threatening to boycott the May 6-7 European Union summit in Zagreb because Kosovo will attend on an equal footing with other Western Balkan countries, Radio Free Europe reported on Wednesday.
Croatia, which has taken over the EU presidency for the first time, wants to confirm the European perspective for all the countries of the Western Balkans at the summit. Spain is one of five EU member states that do not recognize Kosovo and has been disputing Kosovo’s participation at European-level gatherings.
RFE quoted what it said are reliable sources who told it that Spanish officials warned EU chair Croatia that Madrid would not be sending a delegation to Zagreb because Kosovo has been granted equal status with the other countries of the region. It added that several sources confirmed that other EU member states have been informed that Spain might not come to Zagreb.
The Spanish government has not been willing to make an official statement because it has not received an official invitation yet. “It is too early to confirm the Prime Minister’s participation because we have not yet received an invitation from the Croatian presidency,” Spain’s EU embassy said.
Kosovo adopts Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act
Kosova has joined those few countries in the world that shall impose sanctions on Russia and its individuals who get involved in violation of human rights.
Kosovo’s outgoing Government, upon the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has adopted the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which sanctions all human right violators anywhere in the world.
Kosovo is only seventh country in the world to adopt this Act, following the US, Estonia, Great Britain, Lithuania, Latvia, and Australia.
Kosovo will soon make public the list of individuals on whom it will impose sanctions.
In the Government meeting, the caretaker Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj stated that the initial agreements between Kosovo and Serbia about airline and railways are positive for the country.
Eparchy of Raska-Prizren leads a procession from Zvecan to Mitrovica in support to the Church in Montenegro
One month after the „Freedom of Religion Law“ was adopted in Montenegro, the protests by believers in this country and the countries in the region continue. The otherwise peaceful protests were recently marked by a number of incidents which took place on the Montenegrin streets. However, the religious protests organized by the Montenegrin Metropolitan and the SOC dioceses throughout the region remain populous and peaceful. The church also sent appeals that there is no place for violence here. Today, for the first time, a religious protest was also organized in northern Kosovo.
The procession will start from St. George’s Temple in Zvecan to St. Dimitrije’s Temple in North Mitrovica.
Earlier this week, Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren invited citizens from from the north of Kosovo, to join the procession and the prayer, and express support for the preservation of Serbian shrines in Montenegro.
This will be the third lithium organized by the Eparchy of Raska-Prizren, although its clerics have showed their support to the religious protests in Montenegro.
The „Freedom of Religion Law“, first proposed by the Montenegrin government and adopted by its Assembly on December 27th, caused tensions between the Serbian Orthodox Church and Montenegrin authorities.
The disputed article of the aforementioned law stipulates that all religious communities, including the SOC, must prove that they owned the church property before 1918 – otherwise their property would be seized.
Immediately after the adoption of the law in the Montenegrin parliament, the Eparchy of Raska-Prizren also reacted, expressing fears that the implementation of this law in Montenegro could soon be used as a model in Kosovo.
„We remind the authorities in Montenegro that by their reckless decisions, they can directly threaten the rights and freedoms of our Church in Kosovo and in particular the preservation of our ancient Kosovo-Metohija shrines,“ the Eparchy wrote in a statement at the time.
The SOC described the law as “anti-democratic and discriminatory”, with the assessment that it „allows the abduction and desecration of holy sites, as well as the snuffing of the wills of their clergymen and endowers who bequeathed them to the Church and God, and not to any state or government.“
On the other hand, the ruling DPS party and its leader, the President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, denied these claims and accused the SOC of “telling lies and manipulating“ and abusing the believers.
Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic has also been criticized over the new situation in Montenegro. The Serbian opposition blames him for failing to prevent the adoption of this law at a diplomatic level. They also expressed belief that Vucic and the Montenegrin president support the law. Additionally, a group of civil society activists accused Vucic for trying to destabilize Montenegro.
The Montenegrin Metropolitan, however, repeatedly underlined that protests should be separated from politics in this situation.
Three initiatives for the constitutional review of this law have been submitted to the Constitutional Court of Montenegro.
In addition to the initiative submitted by a group of Belgrade attorneys, the initiatives of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Patriarchate from Belgrade, represented by Patriarch Irinej, arrived on January 17.
In addition, three petitions have also been launched in relation to the situation in Montenegro. The so-called Appeal 88, which was initially signed by 88 intellectuals from Serbia and the region, launched by the Helsinki Committee blamed Serbia for destabilizing Montenegro. Shortly after, a second online petition containing a completely opposing message was launched online. Finally, a group of 100 Serb academics and activists launched an appeal which also sent a different message than that of the so-called Appeal 88, in which they sought the protection of SOC property in Montenegro.
Protest walks are held in Montenegro twice a week. So far, protests have been organized in almost all Montenegrin towns.