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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, February 5

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• Kurti: We will be a government of servants not rulers (media)
• Kurti after meeting Kosnett: We will keep our friends very close (media)
• Kurti: We are not here to appease appetites but to heal wounds (RTK)
• Osmani responds to criticism over removing Thaci’s picture (media)
• Haradinaj: New government should not lift the tax (VOA)
• Stano: EU special envoy for dialogue is an idea (media)
• Braathu: Resumption of Dialogue, necessary for peace in the region (Koha)
• EU and Western Balkans to be more sincere in enlargement process (Koha)
• Bahtiri seeks fund for construction of houses in the north (Kosovapress/Klan)

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  • Kurti: We will be a government of servants not rulers (media)
  • Kurti after meeting Kosnett: We will keep our friends very close (media)
  • Kurti: We are not here to appease appetites but to heal wounds (RTK)
  • Osmani responds to criticism over removing Thaci’s picture (media)
  • Haradinaj: New government should not lift the tax (VOA)
  • Stano: EU special envoy for dialogue is an idea (media)
  • Braathu: Resumption of Dialogue, necessary for peace in the region (Koha)
  • EU and Western Balkans to be more sincere in enlargement process (Koha)
  • Bahtiri seeks fund for construction of houses in the north (Kosovapress/Klan)

Kosovo Media Highlights

Kurti: We will be a government of servants not rulers (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on Tuesday that his government will be a government of servants and not rulers.

“Our government will not be an order giving government but rather a serving government and in order to help the people we need to be close to them. We want to be a government of servants not a government of rulers … We have our program and very soon we will have a working plan and it will derive from the next meeting and this is what unites us. Eventual differences will be seen in the Kosovo Assembly but not in the government meetings,” Kurti said.

“I have no doubt we have the ability, courage and skills to provide results expected from us. The eyes of the people are on this governing cabinet, namely on each of you. We will work together for the common good,” he added.

Kurti after meeting Kosnett: We will keep our friends very close (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Justice Minister Albulena Haxhiu met on Tuesday with the U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, Philip Kosnett.

Kurti said it was an honor to meet Kosnett and that they agreed to continue their meetings and translate them into concrete tasks for Kosovo.

“We will keep our friends very close. They are allies which we will honor with our honest and serious cooperation,” Kurti said after the meeting.

Yesterday, Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti also met Albania’s Ambassador Qemal Minxhozi and announced that his first official visit in the new capacity will be to Albania.

Kurti: We are not here to appease appetites but to heal wounds (RTK)

Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, said that there can be no agreement with Serbia if its approach is “we also have to win something”.

“This cannot be a starting point for resolving the problem. We are not here to appease appetites, but to heal wounds. With such an approach I don’t see how we can find a solution but together with western countries we can create a context where a solution is possible,” Kurti said.

Osmani responds to criticism over removing Thaci’s picture (media)

Kosovo Assembly Speaker, Vjosa Osmani, has responded to criticism from the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) for removing the picture of Kosovo President Hashim Thaci from her office wall and replacing it with that of the late Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova.

Osmani said the move does not constitute a legal violation and that she did not remove Thaci’s picture altogether but simply put it in a different location.

“The law on symbols does not specify where the picture should stand but only states it should be within the institution,” Osmani said adding: “President Rugova was the political figure that inspires me. Furthermore, Rugova was the architect of the country.”

Haradinaj: New government should not lift the tax (VOA)

Former Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj, who is currently on an official visit to the U.S., said that the new government led by Albin Kurti should not lift the tax on Serbian imports.

He said the lifting of the tax should not be linked to reciprocity measures but to recognition of Kosovo by Serbia. “The offer of Mr. Kurti and Ms. Osmani to lift the tax is wrong because Serbia is greedy. It will not be satisfied with this. When we remove the tax, Serbia will not counter this with a good gesture. It will continue to ask for more,” Haradinaj said.

At the same time, Haradinaj said that the initiative for opening air and railway routes between Pristina and Belgrade is positive. “We have a lot of movement through Serbia because Kosovo citizens travelling to Europe don’t have many alternative roads.” However, he said that he didn’t think such developments will have an impact on the political aspect of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

“I would urge Ambassador Grenell to add the political aspect to the economic topics. It is not impossible to prepare a contract agreement for Kosovo-Serbia recognition,” he said.

Stano: EU special envoy for dialogue is an idea (media)

The appointment of an EU special envoy for the Kosovo – Serbia dialogue is not final, but it is an idea that EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell has discussed with officials in Pristina and Belgrade, a spokesman for the EU High Representative told reporters in Brussels.

“In his meetings with interlocutors, Borrell mentioned the idea of a European official being tasked with the European agenda for the Western Balkans. This was one of many ideas discussed with the partners,” Peter Stano told the media.

He also said he does not want to comment on reports in local media about an EU envoy, adding that “it is too early to talk about the status, rank or name of the person”.

Braathu: Resumption of Dialogue, necessary for peace in the region (Koha)

Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Jan Braathu, said that the resumption of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade is necessary for achieving peace and stability in the region.

Speaking at the opening of the two-day forum of civil society organisations on the topic of dialogue as a direct tool for regional stability, Braathu said: “Dialogue on normalisation in Brussels has stagnated for years and we should say this frankly… at present we can say that the resumption of dialogue remains unclear.”

He added however that even if the dialogue does not pick up as quickly as hoped, “it is crucial to have a civil society, a civil dialogue along ethnic lines between people living in Kosovo, Serbs and Albanians.”

EU and Western Balkans to be more sincere in enlargement process (Koha)

European Commission is expected to approve today its new enlargement methodology, requested by France as a precondition to agree to the continuation of the enlargement process, the paper reports on the front page.

According to the paper, the document states that the EU perspective for the Western Balkans countries is in the interest of the EU and is the main motive that guides the transformation in the region and promotion of democracy.

It also underlines however that the enlargement process needs to be improved further and that Balkans countries need to implement fundamental reforms in the field of rule of law, fight against corruption and proper functioning of democratic institutions. “Furthermore, Western Balkans leaders should demonstrate more effort in strengthening regional cooperation and good neighbourhood, to generate stability and prosperity for their citizens and create trust in the EU,” the document says. At the same time, the EU is also urged to provide results in its unwavering commitment to a merit-based process.

Bahtiri seeks fund for construction of houses in the north (Kosovapress/Klan)

At the ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the killing of 10 Albanian in the north Mitrovica, Mayor Agim Bahtiri said he was convinced the Albanians will return to that part of the city.

He also called on Prime Minister Albin Kurti, who was also at the ceremony, to allocate a special fund for construction of houses in the north.

“I know we are now heading towards normalisation of the situation and Albanians will return to the northern part in even bigger numbers than before. I have a special request for the prime minister to set aside a fund for construction of houses in the northern part so that Albanians can return to where they lived in centuries. This would be the fulfilment of the wishes of those that died,” he said.

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