- Mustafa: Tariff to be lifted as requested by the U.S. (media)
- Grenell supports Mustafa’s call for lifting of the tariff (media)
- Osmani: LDK-LVV will meet again about lifting of the tariff (media)
- Vucic: No resumption of dialogue without complete lifting of the tariff (RTK)
- Tanjug: Vucic and Thaci might meet on Monday (media)
- Rama and Haradinaj clash over tariff decision (Koha Ditore)
- Thaci: We cannot undermine partnership with U.S. (RTV21/Telegrafi)
- Kosovo government drafts four-year programme (Zeri)
- Thaci says Lajcak has no credibility to be Kosovo-Serbia envoy (Telegrafi)
- Butel: Parties to look at all options leading to final agreement (Koha Ditore)
Kosovo Media Highlights
Mustafa: Tariff to be lifted as requested by the U.S. (media)
Isa Mustafa, leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), said MPs and members of the government from his political party will unreservedly support immediate lifting of the tariff not only because it is being requested by the strategic partner, the U.S., but because they are convinced that it is in interest of Kosovo.
Mustafa took to Facebook to write that if Serbia does not stop its campaign against Kosovo and if it does not remove other trade and economic obstacles, LDK remains committed to apply reciprocity measures, after an agreed period of the government with the U.S. and the EU.
“Following the last year’s European Commission’ elections and especially after a very active engagement of the U.S. with the Special Envoy of President Trump, Ambassador Grenell, the tariff objectively remains only a relic, which is serving Serbia to be presented as a victim in the international arena, while to some in Kosovo, as the only means of an unsustainable political cause,” Mustafa wrote.
“No one is convinced that Kosovo will make Serbia recognize it through the tariff. However, vast majority is convinced that the U.S. in the first place and the EU can convince Serbia, through the process of dialogue, to recognize the Kosovo state,” he added.
“I want to believe that tomorrow’s meeting of the Assembly will give support to the government and Prime Minister Kurti to lift the tariff,” Mustafa wrote.
Grenell supports Mustafa’s call for lifting of the tariff (media)
The U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, Richard Grenell, supported LDK leader Isa Mustafa on his statement that the 100 percent tariff on Serbian products should be completely lifted on Monday.
“Very good thread. @IsaMustafaKS is a courageous leader. Dropping the tariffs tomorrow would be a great beginning to much more progress – and it would move quickly. But economic development can’t move forward till the tariffs are dropped,” Grenell wrote on his Twitter account.
Osmani: LDK-LVV will meet again about lifting of the tariff (media)
Kosovo’s Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani said they will continue to meet with their coalition partner to reach agreement on the matter of lifting the tariff.
She did not give details about their several hour meeting on Friday on this issue. “We met on Friday, we will meet again in the following days… we can talk in more detail about this issue from Monday,” she said.
Vucic: No resumption of dialogue without complete lifting of the tariff (RTK)
Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic insists that Kurti’s government should lift the tariff on Serbian goods entirely.
He claims the dialogue with Kosovo can resume only after complete lifting of the 100 percent tariff, imposed by Haradinaj’s government in November 2018.
After his meeting in Washington with Matthew Palmer, Vucic said that U.S. Special Envoy for Western Balkans supports lifting of the tariff.
“Palmer agrees with Ambassador Richard Grenell that the tariffs should be entirely lifted. There are no essential discussions with Pristina and they will not happen until the tariffs are lifted. We cannot talk about anything, we can meet, but there will be no essential discussions for significant issues,” Vucic said.
Tanjug: Vucic and Thaci might meet on Monday (media)
Serbian news agency Tanjug reported on Sunday that the Presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci, might meet on Monday.
According to this news agency, the meeting will take place in Washington, and it is expected to be headed by the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy Richard Grenell. Tanjug however reports that the meeting has not been confirmed yet.
Rama and Haradinaj clash over tariff decision (Koha Ditore)
Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama expressed support for Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti for partially removing the import tariff on Serbia and also criticised former prime minister Ramush Haradinaj for slamming Kurti’s decision.
“Unashamedly, Ramush has begun to drag Albin Kurti through the mud! Albin can be many things but never a servant of Serbia,” Rama wrote on Twitter. “There is nothing more insane than claiming that the tax will bring recognition of Kosovo from Serbia and nothing has harmed Kosovo more than that tax,” he added.
Earlier, Haradinaj said that it was obvious Kurti had an agreement with Serbian President Vucic for lifting the tax in exchange for the Serbian List’s vote for his government. Haradinaj also responded to Rama’s post. “Edi Rama’s frustration towards me is understandable. I know he doesn’t forgive me for ruining the great Serbia plan.”
Thaci: We cannot undermine partnership with U.S. (RTV21/Telegrafi)
President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said Kosovo should not do anything to jeopardise its partnership with the U.S.
“Stubbornness and a populist action could seriously undermine cooperation and support of the U.S. for Kosovo,” Thaci told RTV21.
“Kosovo needs to heed the advice of the United States or else face consequences in the political and diplomatic aspect of recognitions and membership in international organisations,” he said adding: “What is worse economic investments could stop which would then have irreparable effects in the country’s economic development and future steps.”
Kosovo government drafts four-year programme (Zeri)
The Government of Kosovo prepared a draft of a four-year programme during a whole day meeting in Prevalla on Saturday.
Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that the final version of the programme will be made public soon and will be put to vote in the Assembly. He said the programme will transform the lives of the people of Kosovo and bring about investment in education, economy, and justice.
He said that the main priorities in the 41-page plan includes “good governance and rule of law, economic development, education and science, health, social policies, infrastructure, environment, energy and mines, culture, youth and sports, defence and security, as well as foreign policy, integration and diaspora.”
Thaci says Lajcak has no credibility to be Kosovo-Serbia envoy (Telegrafi)
President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci commented on the possibility of Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak being appointed EU’s special envoy for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.
Thaci wrote on Facebook: “European Union should give political weight to its involvement in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. Lowering the level and responsibility into an envoy with no credibility, doesn’t help this goal. EU should support all efforts leading to the achievement of a historic agreement and work with partners that give results.”
RFE reported quoting diplomatic sources that Lajcak has been officially proposed for EU special representative for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.
Earlier, Thaci’s advisor Bekim Collaku also opposed Lajcak’s appointment calling it ‘a recipe for failure’.
Butel: Parties to look at all options leading to final agreement (Koha Ditore)
France’s Ambassador to Kosovo, Christine Butel, said in an interview with Koha Ditore that Kosovo and Serbia should look at all options that could lead to a final and comprehensive agreement and should refrain from steps that could put into question the resumption of dialogue.
“Introducing reciprocity measures before the resumption of dialogue means to set a new condition which does not seem to us to be an adequate approach. The two sides could discuss reciprocity measures in the framework of dialogue, once it picks up,” she said.
Butel said French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed readiness to organise a summit between Kosovo and Serbia leaders alongside the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the EU High Representative Josep Borrell that would facilitated the continuation of dialogue.
“Once the dialogue resumes, it will take place under the European Union facilitation,” she said adding that the EU is expected to appoint a special envoy for the Western Balkans in the coming weeks. “This appointment should be seen as a strong signal of EU’s engagement in the Balkans and particularly in the process of dialogue.”
On the issue of visa liberalisation, Butel said France and some other EU member countries think that Kosovo has not yet fully implemented the requirements regarding fighting organised crime and corruption. “Continuous implementation of reforms by Kosovo authorities is necessary in order for the adopted laws on strengthening the rule of law and justice in particular can be implemented in an effective and sustainable way.”