- EU: We are the sole facilitators in Pristina – Belgrade dialogue (Koha/media)
- Beyer: Unconditional removal of tariff, dialogue to resume ASAP (Telegrafi)
- Meeting called by Haradinaj does not result in political unity (Koha)
- Kosovo bans visit by senior Serbian official (media)
- Govt suspends air and landlines from Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy (media)
- Government forms special commission against coronavirus (media)
EU: We are the sole facilitators in Pristina – Belgrade dialogue (Koha/media)
Koha Ditore quotes on its front page EU officials in Pristina as saying that they remain the sole international facilitators of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. They added that Brussels will remain the center of the dialogue between the two sides and that the process will be mediated by Miroslav Lajcak, who will be appointed EU special representative for the dialogue and for Western Balkans. EU officials in Pristina also said they welcome any engagement by other international partners.
The paper further notes that at a time when Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has stepped up the criticism against Brussels and is not acknowledging their role as facilitators, the EU High Representative Josep Borrell has welcomed Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s steps on the import tariff on Serbia and has supported him as head of the dialogue with Serbia.
Borell sent a letter to Kurti on Thursday saying he is pleased that Kosovo’s Prime Minister has put the relationship with the European Union at the centre of his work. “This corresponds well with the EU’s priority approach to the whole region, Kosovo included. Similarly, I welcome your intention to continue pursuing the necessary reforms to further the rule of law, the economic development and the good governance in Kosovo; these are crucial elements for your future.”
“Your personal engagement to achieve a full normalisation of relations with Serbia is part of your important commitment on your European path. Your resolve is wholeheartedly welcomed by the European Union and our Member States. I trust that as Prime Minister you will lead the Dialogue’s negotiations in an inclusive manner. The normalisation of relations with Serbia should be a unifying project, above internal politics, as it would benefit from broad political support from all the political leadership,” Borell wrote.
Borell also welcomed Kurti’s “announcement last week on the tariffs which represents a good first step in the right direction. We need to have a full removal of the tariffs. In this context, I fully agree with you that past agreements and outstanding obligations need to be implemented in full. Serbia, as Kosovo, needs to uphold its past commitments in delivering on those agreements”.
Several media, in their coverage of Borrell’s letter to Kurti, note that the EU supports Kurti as head of the dialogue with Serbia.
Beyer: Unconditional removal of tariff, dialogue to resume ASAP (Telegrafi)
Peter Beyer, the Council of Europe Rapporteur for Kosovo, said in an interview for the news website that Kosovo’s import tariff on Serbia should be removed without conditions and that dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia needs to resume as soon as possible.
Asked to comment on earlier discussions for a possible land swap between Kosovo and Serbia, Beyer said “Germany and I are against the proposed idea for territorial exchange and we will not support any plan in this respect”.
Meeting called by Haradinaj does not result in political unity (Koha)
Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) leader Ramush Haradinaj said on Thursday that the meeting he called between representatives of political parties did not result in political unity in terms of the import tariff on Serbia and the process of dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, the paper reports on page two. Haradinaj said there are no changes in the positions of parties on these issues, but that the initiative is good. He said he expects such meetings to be held in the coming days.
Kosovo bans visit by senior Serbian official (media)
Several news websites reported on Thursday that Kosovo authorities did not grant permission to a senior Serbian official to visit Kosovo. Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Glauk Konjufca said they have not approved the request of Nikola Selakovic, General Secretary of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, to visit Kosovo. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that they would not allow any Serbian official to visit Kosovo until Serbian authorities release Nezir Mehmetaj who was arrested in January this year. “We have rejected the [visit] request due to the unjust arrest of our citizen Nezir Mehmetaj … although all evidence shows that he should be released as soon as possible,” the statement notes.
Govt suspends air and landlines from Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy (media)
All news websites report that Kosovo’s Minister of Infrastructure and Environment, Lumir Abdixhiku, said on Thursday that all arrivals of airlines and landlines from Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy will be suspended as of Friday as preventive measures against the coronavirus.
Abdixhiku said after the government meeting on Wednesday, he received from the Minister of Health a recommendation from the Health Institute about arrivals from medium and high-risk areas. “I have decided to temporarily suspend all arrivals or airlines and landlines from Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy, starting from March 13,” he said.
Government forms special commission against coronavirus (media)
Several news websites report that the Kosovo Government on Thursday set up a special commission against the coronavirus. Prime Minister Albin Kurti said the commission is obliged to distribute necessary material to medical centers in all municipalities, to the police, customs and all other emergency services. “Facilities need to be set up to accommodate infected persons. Medical staff need to control entries and exits from Kosovo. Businesses need to do their work with honor and responsibility and not increase their prices,” Kurti said.