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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, February 14

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• Grenell meets Thaci and Vucic in Munich (media)
• Haxhiu: Munich Conference is very important (RTK)
• Borrell could propose Lajcak for EU envoy on Monday (Koha Ditore)
• Lajcak confirms he is considering a post in the Balkans (Gazeta Express/RTK)
• Hoti: Reciprocity only in coordination with U.S. and EU (Zeri/Express)
• Haziri: Reciprocity will be applied (T7/RTK)
• Meta: Border change is never a solution (Epoka e Re)

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  • Grenell meets Thaci and Vucic in Munich (media)
  • Haxhiu: Munich Conference is very important (RTK)
  • Borrell could propose Lajcak for EU envoy on Monday (Koha Ditore)
  • Lajcak confirms he is considering a post in the Balkans (Gazeta Express/RTK)
  • Hoti: Reciprocity only in coordination with U.S. and EU (Zeri/Express)
  • Haziri: Reciprocity will be applied (T7/RTK)
  • Meta: Border change is never a solution (Epoka e Re)

 Kosovo Media Highlights

Grenell meets Thaci and Vucic in Munich (media)

The U.S. Special Envoy for Kosovo-Serbia negotiations, Richard Grenell, met separately last night the Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, both of whom are in Munich for the annual security conference.

Following the meeting, Thaci is reported to have said that new agreements between Kosovo and Serbia are expected. “We will move to new agreements following that on Pristina-Belgrade flights. We will have other engagements for the railway line. We will work as institutions to reach a final agreement as two independent states. It is a fact that we have a U.S.-backed dynamic, things that were not imagined two decades ago are happening,” Thaci said.

Thaci at the same time addressed criticism of the EU for not granting Kosovo visa liberalisation. “Kosovo feels disappointed and betrayed by the EU because Kosovo has fulfilled all its obligations and there is no visa liberalisation. The EU has no political decision because of the lack of unity among EU states,” he said.

Speaking to Klan Kosova from Munich, Thaci said the meeting with Grenell was productive and also spoke about the Munich Security Conference and Kosovo’s representation there. “Kosovo leaders that are taking part in this conference for the first time will have a chance to see which way things in the world are going and which way should we turn our direction to. Participation in this conference is not a matter of fun but of responsibility,” he said.

On social media Thaci wrote: “Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia has taken on a new dynamic thanks to the engagement of the United States of America and appointment of Ambassador Richard Grenell as President Trump’s Special Envoy for the process.

“In today’s meeting in Munich with Ambassador Grenell, we discussed agreements reached so far and future steps towards a final agreement for recognition and Kosovo’s membership in the UN.

“Kosovo is lucky to have this attention of the U.S., therefore it is vital to undertake all necessary steps to reach a final agreement and conclude the dialogue.”

Vucic meanwhile thanked the U.S. for insisting on Kosovo dropping the import tariff. “We had an open and honest conversation. It is of great importance that the Americans insist on the removal of tariff. I am grateful to Richard Grenell, Mike Pompeo, and President Trump for insisting on the tariffs being urgently dropped so that our negotiations with Pristina can continue,” he said.

Vucic also said that the framework agreement on the railway line between Pristina and Belgrade will be signed today in Munich.

Haxhiu: Munich Conference is very important (RTK)

Kosovo’s Minister of Justice Albulena Haxhiu said on Thursday that despite disagreements among the political parties in Kosovo, they should have a united position towards Serbia. According to her, when national interest is in question, the Assembly and the government should have a wide consensus.

“We have said that the new government will have a different approach on governing but also in our coordination with the institutions when it comes to national interest. In this sense, that conference is extremely important, and according to the Constitutional Court verdict, the dialogue or more concretely foreign policy is led by the Prime Minister of Kosovo in consultation with the President, and we are respecting the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and the Constitutional Court verdict,” she said.

Borrell could propose Lajcak for EU envoy on Monday (Koha Ditore)

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, could put forward the name for the future envoy for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue at the upcoming meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, Koha Ditore reports.

An unnamed official in Brussels told the paper that the meeting on Monday is not expected to focus a great deal on the Western Balkans but HR Borrell will be reporting on his recent visit to the region. The source said that the foreign affairs council will also discuss the idea to have an EU representative but noted that it is not yet clear whether this post will cover the whole of the Western Balkans or will only focus on the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue issue.

“So far the idea has been to have a special representative that would deal with the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. However, relations between Kosovo and Serbia have an impact on a wider regional context,” the source said.

And although the EU has not confirmed the name of the candidate to take the post, Koha reports that this is expected to be offered to the current Foreign Minister of Slovakia, Miroslav Lajcak.

Lajcak confirms he is considering a post in the Balkans (Gazeta Express/RTK)

Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak, said that he will decide on his future political engagemement in the coming couple of weeks, after general elections in Slovakia take place.

Asked by the media in Slovakia on the possibility of him being appointed UN Special Representative for Western Sahara, Lajcak said he was considering different offers but that he is more likely to remain committed to the Balkans.

“It seems I will remain engaged in the Balkans all my life. At this time, I am considering different offers but one of them is from the region,” Lajcak said.

Hoti: Reciprocity only in coordination with U.S. and EU (Zeri/Express)

At the time when the United States of America have intensified their engagement on Kosovo-Serbia negotiations, Kosovo’s Principal Deputy Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said that Kurti’s government sees dialogue with Serbia as the only option for normalization of the relations between the two countries. He told Zeri that the government is for replacement of the imposed tariff on Serbian goods with reciprocity measures, however he added that this will be done in complete coordination with the international community, the U.S. and the EU, adding that Kosovo’s sovereignty can be guarded only in alliance with them.  He criticized the former government bringing the decision on the tariff on their own without consulting the international community.

“So, let us create a narration where our partners are convinced about the pressure that has to be made to Serbia in order for it to make progress in relation with Kosovo. Initially, by respecting existing agreements, because we have signed dozens of agreements and majority of them are not being respected by Serbia,” Hoti said.

Haziri: Reciprocity will be applied (T7/RTK)

Lutfi Haziri, deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) said reciprocity measures with Serbia will be applied. Speaking about lifting the 100 percent tariff on Serbian goods, Haziri said that even during the election campaign, LDK stated that the tariff should be lifted.

He added that in agreement with the Vetevendosje Movement, they pledged to lift the tariff and apply reciprocity measures. He added that the government of Kosovo will explain the manner of establishment of reciprocity measures. “We have to agree that the moment the government decides, tell what kind of measure that is,” Haziri said.

Meta: Border change is never a solution (Epoka e Re)

Ilir Meta, President of Albania, said at the celebration of the 12th anniversary of Kosovo’s independence in Tirana, organized by the Embassy of Kosovo, that each nation in Balkans is a majority in one country and minority in the other, however, he added, change of the borders has never been a solution.

According to him, the key is on equal respect of European standards for each minority. “There are no bad or good nations, but there are wise, visionary policies and the murdering destroying ones. This is valid for all countries and all nations, Meta said. “It remains to us to make our region stronger, more reliable and above all, more attractive, in Albania, Kosovo Serbia, Montenegro. It is time to resolve the problem between Kosovo and Serbia, just as the one between North Macedonia and Greece was resolved,” he said adding that mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia should be the essence of the reached agreement.

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