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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, March 10, 2020

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Albanian Language Media:

• Thaci: Disappointing that envoys made no mention of visa liberalisation (media)
• Senator warns of U.S. reconsidering its presence in Kosovo (media)
• Kurti does not deny U.S. sanctions, says he hasn’t verified the news (Express)
• Osmani: Only the government has legitimacy to lead dialogue with Serbia (media)
• Kosovo government approves draft budget for 2020 (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• “Albanians oppose compromise, Serbs promote frozen conflict. There’s no solution” (Tanjug, B92)
• Covic on blockade of US funds to Pristina – a storm in a teacup (RTS)
• Bajrami: The greater challenge for Kurti’s government is its lack of unity, not Thaci’s plans (KoSSev)
• Stanojkovic: Kurti will yield, but slowly, and this will cost Kosovo a lot (KoSSev)
• Abbot Janjic and COMKFOR Risi on situation and protection of SOC shrines (KoSSev)
• Urgent measures of the Government of Serbia adopted due to the coronavirus (B92, Tanjug)
• Jevtic: Continuation of dialogue, dropping tariffs have no alternative (Radio KIM)
• Brnabic: Clear policy of US, I wish if EU would be clearer (RTS)

Opinion:

• Crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean: hybrid warfare, the Balkans and the Near East (opendemocracy.net)
• A call to tear down the walls of bureaucracy (Prishtina Insight)

International:

• Policy Rift Widens Between Kosovo President and PM (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Six new suspected coronavirus cases in Kosovo (Telegrafi)
• Kosovo steps up measures to prevent coronavirus spread (Prishtina Insight)
• Four cases of coronavirus in Serbia, opposition demands state of emergency (N1)
• Vucic: Temporary ban can be imposed on those entering the country from affected areas (Tanjug, B92)
• Kosovo War Rape Survivor Condemns Stigmatisation of Victims (Balkan Insight)
• Balkan Countries Fear EU Green Deal Could Leave Them Further Behind (Balkan Insight)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Thaci: Disappointing that envoys made no mention of visa liberalisation (media)
  • Senator warns of U.S. reconsidering its presence in Kosovo (media)
  • Kurti does not deny U.S. sanctions, says he hasn’t verified the news (Express)
  • Osmani: Only the government has legitimacy to lead dialogue with Serbia (media)
  • Kosovo government approves draft budget for 2020 (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • “Albanians oppose compromise, Serbs promote frozen conflict. There’s no solution” (Tanjug, B92)
  • Covic on blockade of US funds to Pristina – a storm in a teacup (RTS)
  • Bajrami: The greater challenge for Kurti’s government is its lack of unity, not Thaci’s plans (KoSSev)
  • Stanojkovic: Kurti will yield, but slowly, and this will cost Kosovo a lot (KoSSev)
  • Abbot Janjic and COMKFOR Risi on situation and protection of SOC shrines (KoSSev)
  • Urgent measures of the Government of Serbia adopted due to the coronavirus (B92, Tanjug)
  • Jevtic: Continuation of dialogue, dropping tariffs have no alternative (Radio KIM)
  • Brnabic: Clear policy of US, I wish if EU would be clearer (RTS)

Opinion: 

  • Crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean: hybrid warfare, the Balkans and the Near East (opendemocracy.net)
  • A call to tear down the walls of bureaucracy (Prishtina Insight)

International: 

  • Policy Rift Widens Between Kosovo President and PM (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Six new suspected coronavirus cases in Kosovo (Telegrafi)
  • Kosovo steps up measures to prevent coronavirus spread (Prishtina Insight)
  • Four cases of coronavirus in Serbia, opposition demands state of emergency (N1)
  • Vucic: Temporary ban can be imposed on those entering the country from affected areas (Tanjug, B92)
  • Kosovo War Rape Survivor Condemns Stigmatisation of Victims (Balkan Insight)
  • Balkan Countries Fear EU Green Deal Could Leave Them Further Behind (Balkan Insight)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Thaci: Disappointing that envoys made no mention of visa liberalisation (media)

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci spoke to reporters following his meeting with Jan Hecker and Emmanuel Bonne, advisors to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Emmanuel Macron, respectively.

Thaci said that he made it clear to Franco-German envoys that without visa liberalisation for Kosovo, the dialogue with Serbia in Brussels cannot continue. He underlined that his interlocutors made no mention of the visa liberalisation issue which, according to Thaci, is disappointing.

“If I didn’t raise the topic, it would not have been discussed at all and this is extremely disappointing for the citizens of the country.”

He said that the EU’s ‘rigid’ and even ‘sanctioning’ position on Kosovo is ‘unfair’: “They conditioned us with a completely unnecessary issue which was demarcation with Montenegro, but we fulfilled that condition too by approving it at the Assembly of Kosovo. Again this hesitation, now even refusal, on the part of the European Union to include visa liberalisation for Kosovo on the agenda.”  

Thaci is reported to have also said that he raised concerns whether the EU should continue facilitating the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. “My position was very clear. On behalf of the institutions and the people of Kosovo, the EU will first need to take a decision on visa liberalisation and only then think about whether it has the capacity, space, vision, and leadership to push forward the dialogue for normalisation of Kosovo-Serbia relations.”

Meanwhile, Thaci wrote on Twitter about the meeting: “Disappointed. Nothing new from the meeting with envoys. Nothing on visa liberalisation, no new ideas for dialogue, no encouragement for #EU perspective. Empty promises.”

Senator warns of U.S. reconsidering its presence in Kosovo (media)

The U.S. Senator from Georgia, David Perdue, has called on Kosovo to lift the import tariff on Serbia warning that the U.S. could as a response reconsider its presence. 

“For over two decades, US forces have helped keep the peace between Kosovo & Serbia. Now, with historic progress in sight, Kosovo must do its part & abolish all duties imposed on Serbia. 

If Kosovo is not fully committed to peace, then the US should reconsider its presence there,” Perdue wrote on Twitter.

Perdue’s post was retweeted by the U.S. special envoy Richard Grenell while Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said that Kosovo’s relations with the U.S. need to be nurtured. 

“I think and I am fully confident that relations with the U.S. will not depend on the whims or aspirations of a rigid and electoral politics but will focus on quick and clear decision-making of nurturing and strengthening of strategic relations with the United States of America,” Thaci told reporters today. 

Kurti does not deny U.S. sanctions, says he hasn’t verified the news (Express)

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti told reporters today that he does not believe that the United States of America would introduce sanctions against Kosovo. “I don’t believe in sanctions because Kosovo and the United States have a special relationship and I don’t know about the Millenium Challenge Corporation, I haven’t verified the news,” Kurti was quoted as saying.

The news website reported on Tuesday that the U.S. have dealt the first blow to Prime Minister Kurti by blocking the funds that were planned to be invested in Kosovo through the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC). 

Unnamed sources told the news website that MCC Director Sean Cairncross, appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, had a telephone conversation with Kurti and told him that they will block the €50 million planned by the MCC and that they will also block a gas project, which would include around €150 million.

Hoti: Our key principle is furthering partnership with U.S. media)

The United States of America have stepped up their pressure on Kosovo’s authorities to lift the import tariff on products from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and they are not pleased with Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s plan for the gradual removal of the tariff, Kosovapress reports.

Kosovo’s Principal Deputy Prime Minister, Avdullah Hoti, a member of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) a partner in the ruling coalition, told the news agency today that maintaining and furthering partnership with the United States of America is one of the key principles of the ruling coalition. Hoti said that the reciprocity measure needs to be introduced in coordination with the U.S.

Hoti said that they will come to an agreement with the Vetevendosje Movement, their coalition partner, for the full removal of the tariff.

“We have a coalition agreement and it includes the principles of our joint governance. All parts of our program are subject to principles of cooperation between our two parties. One of the key principles is maintaining and furthering the partnership with our international friends, our strategic partners such as the U.S. and key EU member states. I am confident we will find a common ground so that our actions as a government are in line with these principles of cooperation … the tariff must be removed and reciprocity measures must be introduced only in close cooperation with our strategic partners,” Hoti said.

Osmani: Only the government has legitimacy to lead dialogue with Serbia (media)

Kosovo Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani met today a delegation headed by the advisor to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Jan Hecker, and the advisor to the French President Emmanuel Macron, Emmanuel Bonne.

According to a statement issued by the Assembly, Osmani is said to have underlined in the meeting Kosovo’s commitment to implement policies of good neighbourly relations. She said that implementation of Kosovo-Serbia agreements and nearing a final solution that would result in mutual recognition are an interest of the citizens of Kosovo.

Osmani also said that the process of dialogue should be led by the government of Kosovo as stipulated by the Constitutional Court ruling. At the same time, she added, this has been determined by the results of the October elections.

Osmani further expressed readiness for continuing cooperation with international partners and called for support towards visa liberalisation decision for Kosovo.

Kosovo government approves draft budget for 2020 (media)

The government of Kosovo approved in a meeting today the draft proposal for the 2020 budget, online media report.

Minister of Finances and Transfers, Besnik Bislimi, said some of the challenges this year will include covering the debts from the previous government but also warned that the budget could be affected by coronavirus implications.

“If the coronavirus paralyses the economic life in Europe, this could affect us too,” he said. 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

“Albanians oppose compromise, Serbs promote frozen conflict. There’s no solution” (Tanjug, B92)

Albanians do not want compromise, Serbs are in favor of the frozen conflict in Kosovo, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said, pointing out that he does not see a solution to the Kosovo problem, Tanjug news agency reports.

“At the moment, Albanians do not want a compromise at all. In Serbia, the people who are in favor of the agreement with them are in such a minority that it is impossible to propose anything,” President of Serbia said on a guest appearance last night on TV Kopernikus.

Vucic said 90 percent of Serbs are happy about the frozen conflict, although the frozen conflict can always be “melted down” and it is only a matter of time before it can happen.

President mentioned in an interview with TV Kopernikus, though in another context, that he had long and serious discussions with representatives of the EU, Germany and France on Monday, without disclosing the topic of the conversation.

“We maintained stability and peace, and everyone worldwide knew that we would guard it at all costs. It is important for us to be steadfast, and they know what the strength of Serbia is, so they will not attack Serbia,” he said, commenting on the constant threats towards Serbia, coming from the region.

We need to understand that justice does not exist, we were part of the process we were defeated in, and we paid a high price for that, Vucic said, commenting on double standards of the West implemented regarding Serbia.

“We participated in a conflict we got defeated in,” Vucic concluded.

 See at: https://bit.ly/3cLswjt

Covic on blockade of US funds to Pristina – a storm in a teacup (RTS)

The blockade of Washington’s multimillion-dollar funds to Pristina is a warning of the US, an initial attempt to discipline and explain what the US can do, the former head of the Coordinating Body for Kosovo and Metohija told Radio Television of Serbia (RTS). 

Nebojsa Covic, a guest on the RTS Morning News, stated that the blockade of Washington’s multimillion-dollar funds to Pristina is only a warning to the United States.

“I don’t think this is the right move Americans can take as they did toward us or as they do now to Dodik. This measure is a reprimand, an initial starting attempt to discipline and explain what the US can do. A storm in a teacup,” said Covic.

According to Covic, Albin Kurti tried to deceive not only Belgrade but also Washington, which Grenell recognized.

“Kurti tried with reciprocity, with the abolition of taxes on raw materials. I think Grenell very clearly came out and said – the taxes must be completely abolished. However, Kurti is a radical anarchist with an ideology he does not hide and that is – ‘Greater Albania’. Kurti has the support of certain European countries, first of all Germany, and now we can have a very clear picture behind the idea of tariffs and other things,” Covic explained. 

He says there is an internal political conflict between Kurti, Thaci and Mustafa.

“I don’t think the political situation in the KiM is stable. I think there is a big collision arriving – Kurti, Thaci, Mustafa. You have Thaci on one side. Kurti will try to get Thaci from the presidency. However, if Thaci leaves, the Americans are secured on both sides, they have Vjosa Osmani, who is the president of the Kosovo Assembly, if the mandate of the Kosovo president falls, she will perform the function. If Thaci, through the assembly, wants to overthrow Kurti, they go over Isa Mustafa or that is again Vjosa Osmani,” explained Covic. 

He estimated that Ramush Haradinaj, Fatmir Limaj and Kadri Veseli have a paranoid fear of the Special Court.

“It is a bloodbathing group that is present in war crimes. We had the opportunity yesterday to hear Kurti say – ‘we are going to sue Serbia for genocide’. Come on, let them do it once and see what the Court will solve,” Covic states.

He states that one should wait for what will happen after today’s visit of a German-French-advisor to Pristina.

“And there is a match for primacy in the EU between Germany and France – Merkel and Macron,” Covic concluded.

Bajrami: The greater challenge for Kurti’s government is its lack of unity, not Thaci’s plans (KoSSev)

The greater challenge for the current Kosovo government’s survival is the lack of unity between coalition partners – LDK and LVV – when it comes to the matter of tariffs, rather than Thaci’s plans – Koha Ditore editor-in-chief, Agron Bajrami told portal KoSSev following Thaci’s latest initiative to meet with the leaders of all parties in the Kosovo Assembly.

The Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci invited the leaders of all parliamentary parties, including Srpska Lista leaders, to a meeting in his cabinet today. The Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, however, refused Thaci’s invitation.

The topics of the meeting included the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, the political situation in Kosovo, internal and external consolidation, the EU and NATO future – all aimed at ”national interest”  and ”consolidation”.

Thaci decided to inform parliamentary leaders about his last week’s meeting with the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic at the White House an entire week after his Washington visit.

When asked whether Kurti’s government is in danger of collapsing and what does the Kosovo party parade in Thaci’s cabinet mean, Koha Ditore editor-in-chief, Agron Bajrami replied that the fact Thaci invited parliamentary parties to meet with him a few days later only after he had first organized a press conference upon his arrival, is unusual.

”Particularly bearing in mind that, at his press conference held a few days ago, President Thaci said that nothing substantial had been discussed in Washington,” Bajrami added.

”It certainly looks like a battle between the president and the government over who is the main player in the dialogue. It also appears as an attempt to influence public perception on who is to blame for Kosovo’s lack of a coordinated and unified stance on dialogue with Serbia,” he said, speaking about yesterday’s meeting between Thaci and parliamentary leaders.

According to Bajrami, the importance of these meetings lies not in ”talking about what happened in Washington, but the authorities’ internal struggle for leadership in dialogue”.

When asked if these meetings or the ”consensus”  Thaci talked about today, could be understood as Hashim Thaci’s intention to seek the support of parliamentary political leaders for the collapse of the government, and how realistic such a scenario is, Koha Ditore editor said he could not give a specific answer. Bajrami, however, pointed out that the lack of unity of the coalition partners is a greater challenge for government security than Thaci’s plans.

”It’s hard to say. Thaci’s meetings may have a polarizing effect, but it is not necessarily so. On the other hand, this government needs to find an internal common ground on the tariffs. The lack of unity between the LVV and the LDK is a greater threat to the survival of the government than President Thaci’s plan,” Bajrami said in an interview with KoSSev.

The Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti is currently facing pressure to unconditionally and completely abolish tariffs on goods from Serbia and BiH. The tariffs were introduced by the former Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj at the end of 2018 and they were seen as a major obstacle to the continuation of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

https://bit.ly/2W1hd0O

Stanojkovic: Kurti will yield, but slowly, and this will cost Kosovo a lot (KoSSev)

Thaci’s invitation and yesterday’s meetings were not meaningful and significant enough because the strongest and most dominant figure in Kosovo – Albin Kurti, did not respond to it – a political analyst from Silovo, Ljubomir Stanojkovic told KoSSev, commenting on the meeting between Hashim Thaci and Kosovo parliamentary leaders.

Stanojkovic believes Thaci made this move with the support of the US and that Kurti is also aware of this. According to him, Kurti will have to act in accordance with the Washington agenda. “Because if he won’t – there is someone who will,“ Stanojkovic added.

See at: https://bit.ly/3aJ2Dix

Abbot Janjic and COMKFOR Risi on situation and protection of SOC shrines (KoSSev)

Abbot of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) Visoki Decani Monastery Sava Janjic met yesterday with COMKFOR General Michele Risi and discussed the security situation in Kosovo as well as protection of SOC churches and monasteries, KoSSev portal reports.

“I had a distinct honor to welcome COMKFOR Gen. Michele Risi & his colleagues at Dečani Monastery. We spent valuable time discussing all aspects of the situation in Kosovo. We tackled the issues of security, particularly of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Deeply grateful,” Abbot Janjic wrote on Twitter.

Visoki Decani Monastery was placed on UNESCO World Heritage in Danger List in 2005 and is guarded by KFOR since 1999. The monastery was the target of four armed attacks – two involving mortar shells in 2000 and 2004, attack by a rocket launcher in 2007 and attempted terrorist attack, KoSSev portal recalled. 

Urgent measures of the Government of Serbia adopted due to the coronavirus (B92, Tanjug)

Due to new cases of coronavirus, the Government of Serbia held an emergency meeting this morning, a series of measures were adopted to protect the population.

According to a press statement, foreign nationals coming from areas with intense coronavirus outbreak, namely from Italy, certain provinces of China, from South Korea, Iran and parts of Switzerland, will be temporarily banned from entering our country.

The recommendation for strict adherence to the ban on the travel of employees in the health and social care system in the Republic of Serbia to countries with intensive COVID-19 transmission as well as hotspots of the epidemic has been introduced, Serbian Government said.

This is part of additional measures to prevent the spread and control of the infectious disease COVID-19, which have been introduced according to the recommendations of our epidemiologists and in accordance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization.

This situation was readily met by our healthcare, taking all necessary measures to minimize the number of infected.

Thanks to the timely and responsible response of our healthcare system, the number of people suffering from coronavirus in Serbia is four, according to a government statement.

It further states that there is no reason for panic and concern as Serbia has reacted responsibly from the outset and tightened controls at border crossings, especially at airports.

The instructions of the World Health Organization and the recommendations of our epidemiologists who have been educated for such epidemiological situations for decades are respected, and some of them have had personal experience in dealing with similar situations.

Serbian government urges citizens to exclusively follow the advice of the professional staff.

Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia with the Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut”, network of public health institutes and competent health institutions monitor the epidemiological situation caused by the new coronavirus in the Republic of Serbia and worldwide, and in accordance with the latest findings and recommendations of the World Health Organization, notifications for public and instructions for the treatment within health care institutions and other competent authorities and institutions will be issued.

Brnabic: The state is acting responsibly

Serbian government has adopted additional measures to combat coronavirus, which is a recommendation of the profession because the state behaves responsibly, listens to epidemiologists, and adopts and implements what they propose, in consultation with the World Health Organization, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said today.

Brnabic said the government has adopted a proposal to declare coronavirus a contagious disease and temporarily ban foreign nationals from most affected areas from entering Serbia.

“For everything else, we will continue to listen and consult on an hourly basis with expert services, and in relation to the recommendations of WHO and all professional services, we will implement measures and citizens will be informed of all measures,” Brnabic said.

When asked whether the postponement of some mass events would be seriously considered, Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said that the profession should be respected and that politicians should not make decisions based on what they think about something related to human health, but they should listen to epidemiologists and people in the healthcare department.

“As the health care people say, we will respect it, as we have done so far. It is not necessary for politicians to compete in saying what’s best, neither from the ruling nor the opposition parties, the profession has to say what’s best,” Stefanovic said.

Jevtic: Continuation of dialogue, dropping tariffs have no alternative (Radio KIM)

Kosovo Minister for Communities and Returns Dalibor Jevtic said yesterday after the meeting with US Ambassador in Pristina Philip Kosnett that continuation of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, unconditional and immediate dropping of the tariffs as well as fight against corruption have no alternative, Radio KIM reports.

In a statement issued to the media it was noted that the two officials also discussed future plans of the ministry regarding returns, issues of non-majority communities and fight against corruption.

Jevtic thanked the US Ambassador Kosnett for support and help US continuously extends to the non-majority communities in terms of protection of their rights and their economic empowerment in Kosovo.

Brnabic: Clear policy of US, I wish if EU would be clearer (RTS)

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the decision of Washington to suspend EUR 200 million investments in Kosovo is a clear policy of the US, adding that she is thankful to the President Donald Trump’s administration, RTS reports. 

Brnabic also said she would love if the EU would finally in a clearer manner tell what its policy towards Pristina tariffs is. 

Ana Brnabic thanked the US and President Trump’s administration because, as she said, they consistently implement what they say. “It is completely transparent and predictable policy and I thank them for that,” Brnbic told journalists. She noted it is important to send such a clear signal, not only for Serbia, but also for all the citizens in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.

Opinion

 

Crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean: hybrid warfare, the Balkans and the Near East (opendemocracy.net)

Has Turkey weaponized the refugees in a hybrid warfare against a hypocritical Europe and NATO, while Russia is the real winner in Syria? A conversation. 

Biljana Vankovska(BV): Do the Balkan states possess potential for a joint response to the migrant crisis, having in mind their mutual differences over a range of issues?

Vassilis K. Fouskas: Yes, they do and it is high time now to leave aside their differences. The refugee issue is vastly more important. The stakes involved are much higher in terms of human life and regional peace.

See more at: https://bit.ly/2TTyYMH

A call to tear down the walls of bureaucracy (Prishtina Insight)

By: Jeta Xharra

A how-to from BIRN’s Jeta Xharra on obtaining public documents in Kosovo: “First, you need running shoes. Second, oil yourself up like a wrestler, so you can slip out of the grasp of anyone who tries to grab you as you escape.”

For too long, citizens and journalists in Kosovo have tolerated the bureaucrat’s bogus and time-dishonoured answer whenever we have asked for access to information: “You can come and look at the documents. But you can’t take them with you.” From now on, I ask you to put your foot down: say no to this practice, even physically if necessary, because the law is on our side.

It is true that many rights in Kosovo guaranteed by law are not so easy to exercise in practice. However, we can change that by testing this system, which to date has been fashioned to protect Kosovo’s political bosses.

See at: https://bit.ly/337ZbLW

 

International 

 

Policy Rift Widens Between Kosovo President and PM (Balkan Insight)

The tussle for primacy in Kosovo over control of foreign policy worsened on Monday, after Prime Minister Kurti refused to attend a meeting called by President Thaci on “steps we will take in future”. 

The struggle between the President and Prime Minister of Kosovo over control of foreign and domestic policy widened on Monday after Prime Minister Albin Kurti at the last minute refused to attend a meeting summoned by President Hashim Thaci to discuss key policies. Thaci had invited in separate meetings all the Kosovo political leaders.

Kurti and Thaci have long been at variance, especially over the stalled EU-led dialogue with Serbia, with Thaci insisting strongly on the importance of sticking closely to US positions, and Kurti not wanting the presidents involved in the negotiations.

At a press conference, Thaci said he had wished to discuss the “current political momentum” in Kosovo, as well as the “steps we will take in the near future” following his recent meeting with Serbian President Alexander Vucic in the US in Washington.

Thaci said it was vital “to have a common stance on the vital issues of internal and external consolidation” for the sake of “transparency”.

See at: https://bit.ly/2vLD2Xw

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Six new suspected coronavirus cases in Kosovo (Telegrafi)

The news website quotes the head of the Infective Clinic at Pristina Hospital, Lindita Ajazaj-Berisha, as saying that they have hospitalised six patients suspected of being infected with the coronavirus. “We have hospitalised six patients at the clinic. For the time being, there is no room for concern. The overall condition of the patients is good. We are expecting sporadic cases every day, and this is normal,” she told reporters.

Kosovo steps up measures to prevent coronavirus spread (Prishtina Insight)

Kosovo institutions have proposed measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including preparing hospitals and banning travel to and from high risk areas following a rise in cases in neighbouring countries, while the number of cases in Kosovo remains 0.

On Monday night, Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health announced that five patients have tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Kosovo still has no confirmed cases of the virus, nor COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

However, public officials have taken steps to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus, which has killed over 4,000 people worldwide.

See at: https://bit.ly/2W6F7bj

Four cases of coronavirus in Serbia, opposition demands state of emergency (N1)

The latest data from the Health Ministry confirmed that two new cases of covid19 or coronavirus infection were registered on Monday afternoon, bringing a total number of people positive to the virus to four in Serbia, with the first one registered in Belgrade where the opposition demands the state of emergency, N1 reported.

Until March 10, in the National Torlak Institute, a total of 108 people suspected of being infected have been tested.

Since Monday, five people were tested, three proved negative while two were positive with covid19.

The first case of Serbia’s citizen being infected was registered on March 6 in northern Serbia, while the second was a Chinese national who lives and works in Belgrade.

See at: https://bit.ly/3cN2GM8

Vucic: Temporary ban can be imposed on those entering the country from affected areas (Tanjug, B92)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has announced that the coronavirus epidemic will temporarily call for banning people from affected areas from entering Serbia

“We will take measures and ban the entry of people from certain countries or affected areas for a short period: from northern Italy, parts of Switzerland, South Korea and certain provinces of China, as well as from Iran …”, Vucic said.

Vucic said on Television Kopernikus that the state would take other necessary measures.

We can expect the number of sick people to rise, Vucic added, because it cannot be stopped, but the state will do everything possible to keep that number as low as possible and protect the citizens.

He said that Italy had done everything it needed to do, but still 360 people succumbed to the virus, and in Serbia, only two are currently infected, nevertheless, there are those who accuse the authorities of not organizing the health system in this situation.

See at: https://bit.ly/2vWwXr0

Kosovo War Rape Survivor Condemns Stigmatisation of Victims (Balkan Insight)

Vasfije Krasniqi Goodman told a special session of the Kosovo Assembly dedicated to raising public awareness about survivors of wartime sexual violence on Monday that victims needed protection and support but instead have been stigmatised by society for more than two decades.

“Our country, our society stigmatises us,” Krasniqi Goodman said.

“Where were you 21 years ago? Were you hiding in the attic while the woman was raped? Where did you find the courage to abandon her?” she demanded.

“Where are the sons who kicked their mother out of the home after she was raped? They kept their wife, because they didn’t know that their wife was raped as well. Where were you when Jeta, a seven-year-old, was raped? And now what are you doing to make it easier for us? All of Kosovo society should be ashamed, you who victimise us every day,” she continued.

https://bit.ly/3aHe7Tz

Balkan Countries Fear EU Green Deal Could Leave Them Further Behind (Balkan Insight)

The EU’s European Green Deal is aimed at making it the “first climate-neutral continent in the world” by 2050 but Balkan states worry they will not be able to be part of it.

The European Commission has promoted the European Green Deal as an initiative that will not only keep Europe in the forefront of the fight against climate change but one that should also drive innovation in low- carbon technologies and economic growth.

The Green Deal was enthusiastically backed by the European Parliament in January, though there are still some differences between member states, primarily over how to finance the transition to a carbon-neutral future.

However, in the Balkans, where power generation, industry and transport are very dependent on polluting carbon-based technology, the reception to the Commission proposal has been much more guarded.

See at: https://bit.ly/39KvKlC

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