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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, February 28

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• Kurti announces partial lifting of tariffs on Serbia and Bosnia (media)
• Grenell: We don’t support Kurti’s half measure (media)
• EU welcomes Kurti’s decision: calls for renewal of dialogue (Telegrafi)
• Kurti did not consult LDK about the tariff (Koha)
• Hoti: They are waiting for us at the White House if we lift the tariff (T7)
• Haziri supports Kurti for conditional lifting of tax (RTK/Klan Kosova)
• Haradinaj reacts to partial lifting of tax, calls Kurti ‘deceiver’ (media)
• Veseli: Nothing new from Albin (media)
• Hoxhaj: Tariff should be lifted, no reciprocity (media)
• Kurti: EU officials should respect independence of Kosovo (Euronews)
• Kosovo President Thaci meets National Security Advisor O’Brien (media)
• PM Kurti meets COMKFOR Risi (media)
• Konjufca meets Lajcak, urges all EU countries to recognise Kosovo (media)

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  • Kurti announces partial lifting of tariffs on Serbia and Bosnia (media)
  • Grenell: We don’t support Kurti’s half measure (media)
  • EU welcomes Kurti’s decision: calls for renewal of dialogue (Telegrafi)
  • Kurti did not consult LDK about the tariff (Koha)
  • Hoti: They are waiting for us at the White House if we lift the tariff (T7)
  • Haziri supports Kurti for conditional lifting of tax (RTK/Klan Kosova)
  • Haradinaj reacts to partial lifting of tax, calls Kurti ‘deceiver’ (media)
  • Veseli: Nothing new from Albin (media)
  • Hoxhaj: Tariff should be lifted, no reciprocity (media)
  • Kurti: EU officials should respect independence of Kosovo (Euronews)
  • Kosovo President Thaci meets National Security Advisor O’Brien (media)
  • PM Kurti meets COMKFOR Risi (media)
  • Konjufca meets Lajcak, urges all EU countries to recognise Kosovo (media)

Kosovo Media Highlights

Kurti announces partial lifting of tariffs on Serbia and Bosnia (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti announced yesterday at the press conference the lifting of the import tariff on raw material from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The new measure would take effect on 15 March.

Kurti said the measure was a sign of good will and readiness on the part of the government of Kosovo towards normalisation of relations with Serbia.

“We call on Serbia to commit, as a response to the Kosovo side’s decision, to stop campaign for derecognition of Kosovo and to also begin eliminating nontariff trade barriers. If the Serbian side demonstrates meaningful commitment in stopping unfriendly campaign and pledges to swiftly remove nontariff barriers with Kosovo, then starting from 1 April 202 the Government of Kosovo will fully lift the tariff on imports from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina for a period of 90 days,” Kurti said.

Kurti said that is Serbia disregards Kosovo’s good will, the government of Kosovo will begin as of 1 April with gradual implementation of the principle of reciprocity which would initially focus on the trade aspect and then on the economic and political fields.

He also urged the EU to recognise the decision of the Kosovo side by taking a positive decision on visa liberalisation for Kosovo before the Zagreb Summit in May.

“European Union and the United States should come out with detailed instruments and timelines listing the benefits from the sincere engagement of parties in overcoming trade, economic, and political barriers; mechanisms for precisely identifying and addressing possible non-implementation of obligations by the parties; and, in addition, listing the consequences for the non-cooperative party in the process,” Kurti said.

Grenell: We don’t support Kurti’s half measure (media)

Richard Grenell, the US Presidential Envoy for the Kosovo – Serbia dialogue, said on Thursday that Washington does not support Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s proposal for the import tariff on Serbian products.

Grenell tweeted: “We do not support Prime Minister Kurti’s half measure. Our position is quite clear: the tariffs must be completely dropped. Mr Kurti is making a serious mistake – and that was made clear to President Thaci at the White House today.”

EU welcomes Kurti’s decision: calls for renewal of dialogue (Telegrafi)

The office of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell has reacted to the announcement of Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti about lifting the import tariff on raw material from Serbia as a sign of good will towards normalisation of relations.

“We welcome this announcement as the first step and look forward to seeing more details,” Borrell’s office said adding: “This step could have a positive effect on reestablishment of regional trade and offering an opening for renewal of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina facilitated by the European Union.”

Borrell’s office further said that a lot of time has been lost and called on Serbia and Kosovo to create a favourable environment for resuming talks.

Kurti did not consult LDK about the tariff (Koha)

The news website reports that Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s press conference yesterday has caught the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), a partner in the ruling coalition, by surprise.

Sources close to the LDK told KTV that this party learned about Kurti’s plan at the time of the press conference. LDK officials said they are holding consultations to reply to the Prime Minister’s proposal.

Hoti: They are waiting for us at the White House if we lift the tariff (T7)

Kosovo’s Principal Deputy Prime Minister, Avdullah Hoti, said in a debate on T7 that if the import tariff is lifted without conditions and without reciprocity, the heads of state go to the White House on Tuesday for the dialogue.

“If the tariff is lifted tomorrow, the heads of state will go to the White House on Tuesday to resume the dialogue,” Hoti said.

Hoti said “next week is an important momentum to move forward with the dialogue”.

Commenting on Prime Minister Kurti’s proposal today for the partial and conditional lifting of the import tariff on Serbian products, Hoti said that is not enough to meet the requests of the international community.

“There is a short time limit for this government to start leading processes. If we dont this, we wont be forgiven … I believe there is no more time for a solution. There is no middle road for the partnership with the US,” Hoti said.

“We cannot be creative in listing different points or in eloquently paraphrasing issues. That time is gone now,” he added. “We need to follow the same road with them in order to strengthen our sovereignty. Otherwise we will remain an isolated government and without the support of our international partners”.

Hoti also said that the LDK would not remain in the coalition government if the import tariff is not lifted without conditions.

Haziri supports Kurti for conditional lifting of tax (RTK/Klan Kosova)

Deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Lutfi Haziri said that Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti made anticipated political decisions regarding the tax on Serbia.

He said that the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) and LDK had the same position on the import tariff since the election campaign period. “I expected Kurti’s decision this week. It is a political environment where Kurti as Prime Minister has made anticipated political acts, he was neither late nor early with announcing the decision,” Haziri said.

“I support the move and the spirit for this to go gradually as a reciprocity policy,” Haziri said.

Haradinaj reacts to partial lifting of tax, calls Kurti ‘deceiver’ (media)

Former prime minister of Kosovo and leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj criticised the decision of prime minister Albin Kurti to lift the import tariff for raw material from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Haradinaj, who introduced the measure in November 2018, wrote on Facebook: “Tonight Albin the deceiver surrendered to Serbia. This is the beginning of Serbia’s and Russia’s return to Kosovo. Albin the deceiver from today you are responsible for Kosovo’s economic reinvasion by Serbia.”

Veseli: Nothing new from Albin (media)

Leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Kadri Veseli commented on the decision of Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti to partially drop the tax on Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Nothing new from Albin! He could at least have respected the author’s rights because his decision on tax and reciprocity has been borrowed from my proposal in January in 2019 which, as everything else, he had refused,” Veseli wrote adding that Kurti’s decisions can seriously threaten Kosovo.

Hoxhaj: Tariff should be lifted, no reciprocity (media)

Enver Hoxhaj, former Kosovo Foreign Minister and senior member of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), said on Thursday that Kosovo must lift the import tariff on Serbian products and not introduce any reciprocity measures.

“Our goal is Kosovo’s membership in the United Nations and international recognition! The tariff was our blow to Serbia’s campaign against recognitions of our sovereignty! I have always trusted the US and we must in no way threaten our special relations with our most strategic partner and the holiest alliance! Lift the tariff and don’t introduce reciprocity. Our demands and objectives are met with the support of our American and European partners. We need wisdom and determination to raise Kosovo’s flag at the UN, NATO and EU,” Hoxhaj said.

Kurti: EU officials should respect independence of Kosovo (Euronews)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti gave an interview for Euronews where he said that European Union officials should respect the independence of Kosovo.

He said the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, although from a country that has not recognised Kosovo, should in his post represent the EU and not Spain.

“Perhaps he [Borrell] should give new thinking to the entire problem of the Western Balkans for the sake of a European solution. Whoever denies this reality or tries to bring any kind of solution without accepting this State and the will of the people here is going to do more harm to herself or himself,” he said.

Kurti also commented on the idea of exchanging parts of territory. “Kosovo cannot engage in any kind of so-called land swap or territorial exchange project. All those projects in the past failed and they will fail in the future as well…Territorial solutions are a recipe for new conflicts, not for the peace we need.”

https://bit.ly/2I0jQrm

Kosovo President Thaci meets National Security Advisor O’Brien (media)

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci met at the White House Robert O’Brien, National Security Advisor.

“Excellent meeting with @robertcobrien at The White House. Kosovo’s freedom, independence, development & prosperity are directly linked w/ our partnership & coordination with the US. We are blessed w/ a special bond b/w #Kosovo and #USA, and are committed to strengthen it further,” Thaci tweeted after the meeting. 

PM Kurti meets COMKFOR Risi (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti met yesterday KFOR Commander, Major General Michele Risi.

A press release issued by Kurti’s office says the meeting took place in a friendly atmosphere and Kurti expressed the appreciation of the citizens of Kosovo for the continued role KFOR plays in maintaining security and that the interlocutors expressed readiness for continuous communication and cooperation.

Kurti is reported to have emphasized the goal of integrating Kosovo into NATO as an aspiration that will “necessarily be realized in the future.”

KFOR Commander on his part underlined that under the UN mandate, KFOR will continue its efforts to provide a peaceful and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people of Kosovo. He also reiterated the importance of continuing the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, as well as the commitment to institutional coordination in the interest of security in Kosovo.

Konjufca meets Lajcak, urges all EU countries to recognise Kosovo (media)

Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Glauk Konjufca met Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak in Prague ahead of the Visegrad Western Balkans conference.

“I thanked Minister Lajcak for the support Slovakia has given to the process of Kosovo’s European Union integration, and the supporting position to the visa liberalisation process for the citizens of Kosovo,” Konjufca wrote on Facebook.

“I also underscored the importance of five European Union countries, including Slovakia, moving towards recognition of Kosovo,” he said.

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