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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, February 4

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• Kosovo MPs approve new government led by Albin Kurti (media)
• Kurti to assume post of prime minister today (media)
• Kurti presents governing programme (media)
• LDK’s Vjosa Osmani elected Assembly Speaker (media)
• Kurti presents composition of new government of Kosovo (media)
• Thaci: New government to make up for lost time (Koha)
• Veseli to Kurti: You neither recognise Kosovo nor think of living in it (Koha)
• Kurz: Looking forward to working with Kurti (Koha)
• EU Head of Office welcomes formation of new government (media)
• U.S. Ambassador hails formation of new government (media)
• British Ambassador: There is a hard road ahead (media)
• German Ambassador: Germany will support shared goals (media)
• Citaku: Election of five amazing women as ministers is historic moment (media)
• Christoph Heusgen, new EU special representative in Kosovo? (Klan Kosova)

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  • Kosovo MPs approve new government led by Albin Kurti (media)
  • Kurti to assume post of prime minister today (media)
  • Kurti presents governing programme (media)
  • LDK’s Vjosa Osmani elected Assembly Speaker (media)
  • Kurti presents composition of new government of Kosovo (media)
  • Thaci: New government to make up for lost time (Koha)
  • Veseli to Kurti: You neither recognise Kosovo nor think of living in it (Koha)
  • Kurz: Looking forward to working with Kurti (Koha)
  • EU Head of Office welcomes formation of new government (media)
  • U.S. Ambassador hails formation of new government (media)
  • British Ambassador: There is a hard road ahead (media)
  • German Ambassador: Germany will support shared goals (media)
  • Citaku: Election of five amazing women as ministers is historic moment (media)
  • Christoph Heusgen, new EU special representative in Kosovo? (Klan Kosova)

Kosovo MPs approve new government led by Albin Kurti (media)

The new government of Kosovo led by the leader of the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) Albin Kurti was voted by MPs yesterday after a six-hour long session.

Upon election, Kurti pledged to work for all citizens of Kosovo.

“Today, we are opening a new chapter in Kosovo. What looked impossible was only seemingly so because a people that refuses to be beaten makes anything possible. We did this on 6 October, we are doing it today that by forming this Government we are fulfilling the enthusiasm and hope created on 6 October,” Kurti said.

“I pledge to give the maximum of my abilities and capacity for the good of all citizens.”

The new government of Kosovo was voted with 66 votes in favour, none against and 10 abstentions. The abstention votes came from the Serbian List while the members of the now opposition parties – the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) – walked out of the session when the new government was put to vote.

Under the leading headline Great expectations from the new chapter, Koha Ditore reports that Albin Kurti has been elected Prime Minister of Kosovo with 66 votes in favor, 10 abstentions and no vote against. In his first address as Prime Minister, Kurti said a new chapter is beginning for Kosovo, both in terms of domestic governance and in Kosovo’s representation abroad. The paper also notes that Vjosa Osmani will be the first woman elected as Assembly Speaker, with 65 votes from the MPs. Opposition MPs left the session when the government vote was ongoing. In a marathonic debate before the government vote, opposition MPs referred to Kurti as “a cheater” and “a liar” and accused him of “abandoning his principles even before assuming power”. Epoka e Re notes in its leading front-page headline Kurti’s day has arrived. Bota Sot reports on its front page that the Assembly has voted on “the government of hope”. In another related article on the front page, the paper notes that there will be a vetting system in the judiciary after the formation of the new government.

Kurti to assume post of prime minister today (media)

The new Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti will formally take over the new post at a ceremony today at 11.00 hrs, media report.

The post will be handed over to Kurti by the now former Deputy Prime Minister Behgjet Pacolli as Ramush Haradinaj is currently out of Kosovo on an official visit to the U.S.

Kurti is expected to convene a meeting of the new cabinet shortly after.

Kurti presents governing programme (media)

In his remarks before the government was voted, Kurti presented the programme of the government which he said would focus on saving public money and reforms in many fields. He said the governing cabinet will have 15 ministries, instead of the current 21.

Kurti said independent agencies and enterprises will be ‘depoliticised’, announced that the Privatisation Agency of Kosovo will cease to function and that a development fund will be set up.

“We will take measures to help employment of the youth and women in particular, we will establish a development fund, we will fulfil the fourth grant for municipalities for capital investments, more access to funds, more soft loans, more protection and access to markets,” he said.

Kurti further noted that the government he plans to lead will also introduce a three-month compulsory military service and address war crimes.

He said the new government will also focus on EU integration. “Our foreign policy will be guided by principles embodied in the Constitution and international standards in the field of diplomacy.”

On dialogue with Serbia, Kurti said that it will focus on bilateral relation and good neighbourly relations and will also tackle “missing persons, war reparations and occupation and the occupation and the succession of former Yugoslavia as well as mutual recognition.”

“We will bring full trade, economic and political reciprocity with Serbia. I am ready to lead talks,” Kurti said adding that the negotiating team would be inclusive in the political, ethnic, social, and professional aspects.

“I am who I am because I am with others. Recently I marked 23 years of political activity and today I am before you with full 23 years as part of the opposition… Those who loved me as an opposition member I believe should also love me as a government member. Those who did not like me as an opposition member have the chance to end my career.”

LDK’s Vjosa Osmani elected Assembly Speaker (media)

Soon after the session for the formation of the new government was concluded, Assembly convened another meeting to elect the new speaker as the post remained vacant following Glauk Konjufca’s appointment as new Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) proceeded to put forward a candidate from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), as per the power-sharing agreement.

Vjosa Osmani got elected new speaker with 65 votes in favour as the first woman to be appointed to the post.

Osmani said that it is a duty for LVV and LDK to deliver on the will of the people expressed on 6 October elections. “We will restore the dignity of the Assembly,” she vowed.

Kurti presents composition of new government of Kosovo (media)

The leader of the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and new Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, presented before MPs the composition of the government which received the seal of approval.

First Deputy Prime Minister – Avdullah Hoti (LDK)

Second Deputy Prime Minister – Haki Abazi (LVV)

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora – Glauk Konjufca (LVV)

Minister of European Integration – Blerim Reka (LVV)

Minister of Justice – Albulena Haxhiu (LVV)

Minister of Education, Science and Technology – Hykmete Bajrami (LDK)

Minister of Finance and Transfers – Besnik Bislimi (LVV)

Minister of Internal Affairs and Public Administration – Agim Veliu (LDK)

Minister of Economy, Employment, Trade, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Investments – Rozeta Hajdari (LVV)

Minister of Defence – Anton Quni (LDK)

Minister of Infrastructure and Environment – Lumir Abdixhiku (LDK)

Minister of Health – Arben Vitia (LVV)

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development – Besian Mustafa (LDK)

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports – Vlora Dumoshi (LDK)

Minister of Local Government Administration – Emilia Rexhepi (NDS)

Minister of Returns and Communities – Dalibor Jevtic (Serbian List)

Minister of Regional Development – Ivan Milojevic (Serbian List)

Thaci: New government to make up for lost time (Koha)

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci welcomed the Assembly vote on the new government and called on the latter to start work as soon as possible and deliver on its promises to the people.

“While congratulating the new government cabinet, I call on them to start working as soon as possible to deliver on the promises they made to the people, to make up for the lost days and continue the institutional engagement to improve the lives of our people,” Thaci said.

Thaci also said that the Republic of Kosovo is faced with many challenges that can be overcome only through hard work, dedication, responsibility and state accountability.

Veseli to Kurti: You neither recognise Kosovo nor think of living in it (Koha)

Leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Kadri Veseli said on Monday that the Vetevendosje leader who aspires to become the future prime minister neither recognises Kosovo as his home country nor does he think of living in it.

“The first truth is how we are leaving Kosovo today which you, Albin Kurti, neither recognise nor think of living in it. The second truth, unfortunately, shows that you are here today on the ruins of a dark story about the state and statehood of Kosovo. You have protested against everything good that happened to Kosovo. You attacked the best police officers and institutions of Kosovo,” Veseli said.

“The Democratic Party of Kosovo will demand accountability on the most sensitive issues in Kosovo, since the post war. We will open and discuss here all agreements reached in dialogue to determine whether there is treason there or not. If you go to dialogue without Serbia apologising, without the remains of every Albanian being returned, as you have promised, will this make you a traitor or not? We will talk about the tax on Serbia. Will you lift it or not? We will talk about all enrichments in Kosovo, privatisation and tenders. We will talk about crimes of Yugoslav communists against Albanians in Kosovo. We will also talk about the killing of Astrit Dehari, whose name you used to abuse and accuse every political opponent, including those with whom you are in coalition. We will also talk about KLA, and SHIK. We will talk about terrorist crimes of ‘Eye of the People’, about individuals, families and institutions. We will talk about all that needs to be talked about, above all about political killings, the tragedy of which were often times abused with in times of campaigns,” Veseli said.

He said that the coalition between the LVV and LDK will not take any decision that will benefit Kosovo.

Kurz: Looking forward to working with Kurti (Koha)

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz took to Twitter on Monday to hail the formation of the new government in Kosovo. “Congratulations to @albinkurti for the formation of a new government in Kosovo. I am looking forward to working with you and to supporting Kosovo’s EU integration,” Kurz tweeted.

EU Head of Office welcomes formation of new government (media)

Nataliya Apostolova, head of the European Union Office in Kosovo, welcomed the formation of the new government. “Important day for #Kosovo! Congrats to the new Government! Look forward to working with Prime Minister @albinkurti & all members of the Government on our joint European agenda for the people of Kosovo,” Apostolova tweeted. In a different post on Twitter, Apostolova congratulated the election of LDK’s Vjosa Osmani as Assembly Speaker. “Well done @VjosaOsmaniMP, the first woman elected speaker of Kosovo Assembly! Inspiration for youngsters who look up to models in politics today,” she tweeted.

U.S. Ambassador hails formation of new government (media)

The United States Ambassador to the Republic of Kosovo, Philip Kosnett, congratulated the formation of the new government on Monday. Kosnett tweeted: “Congratulations on the formation of the new government.  I look forward to working with all of Kosovo’s institutions, other parties, and civil society stakeholders to strengthen justice & prosperity and help #Kosovo build peaceful relations with its neighbors.”

British Ambassador: There is a hard road ahead (media)

The British Ambassador to Kosovo, Nicholas Abbott, took to Twitter on Monday to congratulate Kosovo on the formation of the new government. “On 6 October, Kosovans voted for change. The new government needs to show courage and creativity in implementing the wishes of the electorate and the hopes of all Kosovans … Congratulations to the new government and to Prime Minister Albin Kurti. There is a hard road ahead for the incoming administration, and urgent issues need to be addressed, including the 2020 state budget, blocked administrative decisions and the rule of law.”

German Ambassador: Germany will support shared goals (media)

German Ambassador to Kosovo, Christian Heldt, posted on Twitter after the formation of the new government: “We all waited a lot for this moment, #Kosovo’s new government is there. Congratulations to country and people after it took so long.🇩🇪 will be there to support for shared goals. To new prime minister @albinkurti and his team: Lot’s of strength & courage”. In another Twitter post, Heldt congratulated Vjosa Osmani’s election to the post of Assembly Speaker. “Congratulations now to the new first ever female speaker of the Assembly of #Kosovo, @VjosaOsmaniMP. You take on a huge responsibility, as in every parliamentary democracy the Assembly is the highest political institution expressing the will of the people. Good luck!”

Citaku: Election of five amazing women as ministers is historic moment (media)

Kosovo’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Vlora Citaku, congratulated Vjosa Osmani on her election as Speaker of the Kosovo Assembly, news outlets report. Citaku also welcomed the election of “five amazing women” as ministers calling it a historical moment.

Christoph Heusgen, new EU special representative in Kosovo? (Klan Kosova)

Citing what it calls reliable sources, the news website reports that German diplomat Christoph Heusgen will soon be appointed new European Union Special Representative to Kosovo. Heusgen, according to Klan Kosova, can be considered the counterpart of the U.S. Presidential Envoy for the Kosovo – Serbia talks, Richard Grenell. The news website further notes that Heusgen served as German Ambassador to the United Nations since July 2017. He was Assistant Secretary for Foreign Policy and Security in the German Government from 2005 to 2017. Heusgen is believed to be the most influential foreign policy advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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