- EU High Representative Josep Borrell speaks to Thaci, Kurti and Vucic (media)
- Mustafa: Kosovo to coordinate with the U.S. on reciprocity with Serbia (Express)
- Godfrey: Grenell will continue as Kosovo-Serbia dialogue envoy (Express)
- Opposition: It is a mistake not to apply for INTERPOL membership (media)
- Ismet Beqiri appointed deputy leader of the LDK (media)
- AAK deputy chair warns with protests (media)
- Hoti pelted with eggs (Express)
EU High Representative Josep Borrell speaks to Thaci, Kurti and Vucic (media)
The EU High Representative Josep Borrell spoke on Friday in separate phone calls with President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi and Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti to follow up on the talks he held with them during his first visit to Belgrade and Pristina in January.
He discussed with them the decision to appoint a Special Representative for the Dialogue and the Western Balkans. The High Representative underlined that this appointment reflects the importance the EU and him personally attach to the region and its stabilisation and progress on the EU path. Josep Borrell recalled that he remains personally engaged and strongly committed to support the European perspective of the Western Balkans and to playing his role as facilitator of the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue.
Mustafa: Kosovo to coordinate with the U.S. on reciprocity with Serbia (Express)
Chairman of the Democratic league of Kosovo (LDK) Isa Mustafa, told Gazeta Express that it is essential for Kosovo to coordinate its policies with the United States on Government’s plan to introduce reciprocity with Serbia.
The LDK and Vetevendosje had included replacement of tariffs on Serbian products with reciprocity measures as part of their agreement on governance. But the United States only partially supports this point of the agreement: they demand the tax be abolished but not be replaced with reciprocity. US officials, starting from US Secretary of State to the US Ambassador to Kosovo, have been calling on Kosovo institutions to revoke the tariff. Among them is also Trump’s envoy, Richard Grenell, who has proven that he resolves quickly and decisively issues between Kosovo and Serbia. He wants the tariff to be lifted and sanction idea to end.
Asked if he supports the idea of introducing reciprocity even after US pressure, the LDK chairman Isa Mustafa said coordination with the US is essential. “It is essential that our policies are coordinated with the United States, as our strategic partners. The other things are a matter of modalities,” Mustafa told Gazeta Express.
Meanwhile, Vetevendosje’s press office said that they stand behind what has been agreed with the LDK. Two days ago, Albin Kurti, Prime Minister of Kosovo and Vetevendosje chairman, said that the tax will be replaced with full reciprocity. “We will replace the 100% tariff and implement full trade reciprocity with Serbia as with any state,” said Kurti. “The tariff has been a decision of the previous government. We are not for tariffs as a punitive measure against the consumer but for reciprocity that protects the producers.” In his earlier statements as prime minister, Kurti said he did not want to leave a gap between tariff and reciprocity, namely that he would first impose reciprocity measures on Serbia and then lift the tariff.
Godfrey: Grenell will continue as Kosovo-Serbia dialogue envoy (Express)
The U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey said on Friday that Ambassador Richard Grenell will continue in his role as the American president’s special envoy for the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue after being appointed Acting Director of National Intelligence.
“I spoke to Ambassador Grenell yesterday and he was very excited to be able to continue in his role, especially now that as a cabinet member he can have even more influence and can devote himself to the job with even greater energy,” Godfrey is quoted as telling reporters in the city of Kragujevac. Godfrey added that Grenell will continue to focus on economic development and concrete issues, leaving political issues aside. Earlier, Ambassador Grenell confirmed in a Twitter post that he would not be in his new post permanently.
Opposition: It is a mistake not to apply for INTERPOL membership (media)
A few days ago, Kosovo’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Glauk Konjufca requested withdrawal of this year’s application for Kosovo’s INTERPOL membership. According to him, chances for membership are slim as the General Assembly will be held in Uruguay, a country which has not recognized independence of Kosovo. The government of Kosovo is expected to decide on the matter in the following days.
However, opposition parties consider that it is a mistake to withdraw the application at the time when pressure to resume with Kosovo-Serbia dialogue has increased.
“It is an extremely big mistake of this government to withdraw the application at the time when there is pressure to lift the tariff and resume the dialogue with Serbia. This political momentum should be used in order for us to benefit something as well from lifting of the tariff,” said Haxhi Shala from the Social-Democratic Initiative (NISMA). “Security institutions are ready to be a part of these organizations for a long time, like many other developed country institutions. Kosovo is ready to be part of international organizations. Serbia will never stop lobbying against Kosovo. With a great deal of work and dedication from the institutions, I believe we will be able to gain support of our friends and have enough votes to be part of the organizations. Failure to do our work and aggressiveness can lead to non-membership, ” Shala told Ekonomia Online.
Ismet Beqiri appointed deputy leader of the LDK (media)
Media report that Kosovo Assembly MP from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Ismet Beqiri, took to Facebook to inform that he was nominated deputy chair of this political party. He also informed that he was appointed Deputy Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports.
“Members and supporters of the Democratic League of Kosovo, I want to inform you that after 10 years as LDK General Secretary at the big house of President Ibrahim Rugova, I was elected deputy leader of LDK,” Beqiri wrote.
AAK deputy chair warns with protests (media)
Deputy leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Albena Reshitaj said reciprocity measures instead of the imposed 100 percent tariff on Serbian goods would have a been Kosovo’s mistake as there is no mutual recognition between the countries.
Reshitaj claimed the tariff has breached many of Serbia’s strategies, therefore Kosovo should be very careful on this issue. She added that the last thing she would want to see is street protests, ‘however I am afraid that our last possibility will be to use the protests.” She added that she fairs the tariff will be dividing the society into groups.
Hoti pelted with eggs (Express)
Deputy Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti was pelted with eggs in the vicinity of the government building. The reason appears to be lifting of the 100 percent tariff on Serbian goods, which is expected to happen these days. This news portal shows the video where the attacker is heard saying repeatedly “tariff should not be lifted.”