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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, March 25, 2020

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Albanian Language Media:

• Kurti: Govt is being brought down to make way for land swap agreement (media)
• Roth: Corona doesn’t care about disputes between politicians (media)
• Kosnett meets Osmani shortly before Assembly session (media)
• Mustafa: Motion is a democratic instrument (RTK)
• Kurti informs on his response to the Constitutional Court, right before the motion (RTK)
• Thaci: We’ll overcome this, stay at home (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Simic: All 10 Serbian List MPs to vote in favour of no-confidence motion (Kosovo Online, Vecernje novosti)
• Tanin urge political leaders in Kosovo to show unity in fight against COVID-19 (Kontakt plus radio, KIM radio, RTK2, Kosovo Online)
• Hasani: Both Kurti’s measure to ban movement and Thaci’s call to oppose a government decision are unconstitutional (KoSSev)
• Germany and France support Kurti, the US welcomes the vote of no-confidence motion against the government (KoSSev)
• US Embassy in Pristina: Burglaries of returnees’ houses must not be tolerated (N1, BETA)
• 54 new cases of coronavirus registered in Serbia, more than 300 people infected (B92)

International:

• Macron and Merkel to organise Serbia-Kosovo Summit when conditions are established (EWB)

Humanitarian/Development:

• The ‘father figures’ of Kosovo politics (Prishtina Insight)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Kurti: Govt is being brought down to make way for land swap agreement (media)
  • Roth: Corona doesn’t care about disputes between politicians (media)
  • Kosnett meets Osmani shortly before Assembly session  (media)
  • Mustafa: Motion is a democratic instrument (RTK)
  • Kurti informs on his response to the Constitutional Court, right before the motion (RTK)
  • Thaci: We’ll overcome this, stay at home (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Simic: All 10 Serbian List MPs to vote in favour of no-confidence motion (Kosovo Online, Vecernje novosti)
  • Tanin urge political leaders in Kosovo to show unity in fight against COVID-19 (Kontakt plus radio, KIM radio, RTK2, Kosovo Online)
  • Hasani: Both Kurti’s measure to ban movement and Thaci’s call to oppose a government decision are unconstitutional (KoSSev)
  • Germany and France support Kurti, the US welcomes the vote of no-confidence motion against the government (KoSSev)
  • US Embassy in Pristina: Burglaries of returnees’ houses must not be tolerated (N1, BETA)
  • 54 new cases of coronavirus registered in Serbia, more than 300 people infected (B92)

International:

  • Macron and Merkel to organise Serbia-Kosovo Summit when conditions are established (EWB)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • The ‘father figures’ of Kosovo politics (Prishtina Insight)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Kurti: Govt is being brought down to make way for land swap agreement (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said in his address to the Assembly today that he is convinced that the no-confidence motion against his government is aimed at making way to what he called an existing agreement for territorial exchange between Kosovo and Serbia.

“I am more certain than ever before that there is an existing agreement. This is actually what the President confirmed to me in our meeting. I met him for two hours and he told me ‘Prime Minister remove the tariff and let us go to the White House and get rid of Serbia. The others are appointed prime ministers, and you and I are elected by the people’. So the idea is not to oust the government over the tariff, but to bring down the government in order to make way to the agreement. I will not be an associate in this,” Kurti said.

Kurti said the government cannot be brought down over a minister “unless that minister is the very plan itself”.

Kurti said “the presidential deal” involves bringing down the government.

He also said “the state of emergency cannot be declared until there is a state of emergency”.

“The engine behind this situation is how to remove the government and myself so that the deals can begin,” Kurti said.

Roth: Corona doesn’t care about disputes between politicians (media)

The German Minister for Europe, Michael Roth, in an interview for Deutsche Welle, called on Kosovo’s political leaders to focus on the fight against the coronavirus.

“I am following with concern the domestic political situation in Kosovo. The number of infected persons is increased and there is one fatality. Meanwhile, some irresponsible politicians in Pristina seem to want to shamelessly take advantage of the dramatic situation. They are trying to bring down the government. They go so far that they even make public statements that the government restrictions on people’s movements should not be respected. I can only call on the citizens of Kosovo: protect yourself and your loved ones, stay home. And to those responsible for politics: Corona doesn’t care about disagreements in internal politics! Now is the time to take on responsibilities, to stay together and to protect the people. You are risking too much! Only by working together we can overcome this unprecedented health crisis,” Roth said.

Kosnett meets Osmani shortly before Assembly session  (media)

The Ambassador of the United States to Kosovo Philip Kosnett met with Parliament Speaker Vjosa Osmani.

Koha Ditore has learned that the meeting took place in Osmani’s office . Kosnetti was seen leaving the premises of the Kosovo Assembly, however there is no information on the subject of their discussion. 

Mustafa: Motion is a democratic instrument (RTK)

Isa Mustafa, leader of the President of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), said that they are aware of the current situation of Coronavirus as well, but it was Kurti and not in any case or with any action by LDK, who initiated it.

Full post on ‘Facebook:

Cooperation with Germany and France, as well as with other European Union countries, is of crucial importance for the LDK and for Kosovo.

Kosovo has always enjoyed strong support from these countries. That is why we understand their concern about the current situation in Kosovo.

LDK has made every effort to persuade our coalition partner to cooperate with understanding but we have not succeeded. Instead it has consistently made unilateral actions harmful to the LDK.

We are aware of this Coronavirus situation as well, but this was chosen and caused by Mr. Kurti and not LDK in any case and with any action.

Our ministers will do their best to make room for Mr. Kurti to cope with this virus.

Motion is a democratic instrument. According to the Constitution, it is now entitled to the MPs who have signed it, not just those of the LDK.

LDK ensures that it remains committed to deepening cooperation with EU countries, as a member of the EPP family, on European and Euro-Atlantic integration processes, dialogue as well as on combating crime and corruption and strengthening the rule of law,” Mustafa wrote. 

Kurti informs on his response to the Constitutional Court, right before the motion (RTK)

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti addressed the citizens a few minutes before the start of the Assembly session where a no-confidence motion is expected to be voted. He informed that he has sent a reaction with regard to the request of the President addressed to the Constitutional Court.

According to Kurti, the President as a party to the proceedings did not meet any of the three conditions required to be met in order for the Court to approve the application for interim measures, while saying that they had asked the Constitutional Court to reject the request for a ruling of interim measures.

“As Prime Minister of Kosovo, I do not have a higher and more important responsibility than protection of the health of all citizens of the country. Therefore, I along with my entire government, pledged that we will act in full compliance with recommendations of the NIPH experts and especially its director, prof. Phd. Naser Ramadani. The president’s war against these recommendations has come at the most inopportune time possible. According to NIPH experts, we are entering the two most critical weeks, when the risk of accelerated spread of the virus is at its highest. I have said and will repeat it again: There is no room for panic. But in the coming weeks, more than ever, each of us, the institutions and the citizens, must act with extra care, in the protection of all,” he wrote.

PM Kurti did not mention the no-confidence motion initiated by LDK, while he called to combat COVID-19.

Thaci: We’ll overcome this, stay at home (media)

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci visited the premises of the University Clinical Centre of Kosovo this morning and praised the medical staff for their outstanding work. “In these days, you are Kosovo’s heroes and the best model for the region,” he said.

Thaci called on Kosovo citizens to be very careful due to the pandemic and to closely follow the recommendations of health institutions.

“I am confident that together we will overcome this difficult situation. Follow and respect the recommendations of the National Institute for Public Health. The best way to defeat COVID – 19 is to stay at home. Do not go out if you don’t have, stay at home,” he said.

Serbian Language Media

 

Simic: All 10 Serbian List MPs to vote in favour of no-confidence motion (Kosovo Online, Vecernje novosti)

Chairman of the Serbian List Parliamentary Group Igor Simic stressed that the party would support a motion of no confidence for Kurti’s government, reported Serbian media. 

“First of all, I would like to remind you that the deputies of the Serbian List did not support the formation of this government, and if we talk about its work, there are too many objections. However, two are the most important. Non abolishment of tariffs that threaten the normal supply of citizens regardless of nationality, especially during a pandemic. And another equally important thing is that this Government has not shown a minimum of respect for the Serb people, that is, representatives of the Serbian List as representatives in institutions. With this in mind, all ten Serbian List members will support a vote of no confidence,” said Simic.

Tanin urge political leaders in Kosovo to show unity in fight against COVID-19 (Kontakt plus radio, KIM radio, RTK2, Kosovo Online)

Serbian media based in Kosovo quoted UNMIK chief Zahir Tanin urging all political leaders in Kosovo to stop with disagreements and join forces to fight the common enemy, the COVID-19 virus.

SRSG Tannin said in a statement that the coronavirus knows no boundaries and affects everyone.

“I call urgently on leaders to do everything in their power to cooperate together to combat the spread of this virus, which has killed many in the region,” the UNMIK press service said.

Tannin called on leaders to do their utmost to ensure the smooth operation of public institutions, so that the full force of their efforts can be used to combat this invisible threat.

Hasani: Both Kurti’s measure to ban movement and Thaci’s call to oppose a government decision are unconstitutional (KoSSev)

Albin Kurti did not restrict people’s rights to movement, he deviated from the constitutionally guaranteed rights, an esteemed constitutional law professor, Enver Hasani said in an interview with KoSSev, speaking about last night’s decision by Kosovo’s prime minister to introduce a ban on movement.

The government cannot limit the rights of people to movement via an administrative decision without the assembly’s decision and it could only do so in a state of emergency, Hasani underlined.

On the other hand, he noted that Kurti is restricting movement now, although he previously opposed the introduction of the state of emergency requested by Thaci.

The professor, however, also criticized Thaci’s behavior, referring to his statements on Monday as “unconstitutional.”

“He presented his call to oppose the introduction of these government measures in an inappropriate way. It’s a disaster and it’s wrong,“ he said.

“The situation is difficult because the main institutions are in conflict. While the government insists that there is no need to declare a state of emergency, the head of state believes it is inevitable and the only way to overcome the current situation. This means that there is deep disagreement over who is in charge of what,” Hasani shared his take on the current political situation in Kosovo.

“The government has announced some measures it thinks will help in this situation and they come at a cost to people, constitutionally guaranteed rights, such as the right to movement,” he added.

When asked whether, despite the pandemic, the government does not have the right and constitutional authority to prohibit movement, Hasani replied:

“Yes, because Article 55 of the Constitution says so. It is a matter of limiting fundamental rights. The government could restrict movement if there was a state of emergency law, in certain situations, and no such law was introduced.”

This decision can only be reached by the assembly. The prime minister himself could not do this, unless he has authority – he added.

“The government cannot make an assessment by itself, because if it is a dramatic state of affairs then a state of emergency should be introduced. On the other hand, although the government says it is not, it restricted general movement,” Hasani underlined.

He noted that Kurti is restricting movement now, although he previously opposed the introduction of a state of emergency as requested by Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci.

On the other hand, Hasani also criticized Thaci’s behavior: „Thaci’s statement from last night is absolutely unconstitutional. He presented his call to oppose the introduction of these government measures in an inappropriate way. It’s a disaster and it’s wrong.“

“The Head of State, if he thinks this is unconstitutional, should send a request to the Constitutional Court, and the Constitutional Court should decide whether it is or is not – not him. It is arbitration and autocracy that is unbecoming for an institution that should be a symbol of unity,” he added.

The esteemed professor advised the Kosovo government to respect the Constitution.

In an interview with KoSSev, Hasani also spoke about the no-confidence motion against the government, explaining the steps to be taken if the motion follows through:

If the no-confidence motion against the government is successful, the head of state would write a letter to Albin Kurti as prime minister, asking him to nominate a prime minister-designate.

The ruling party has an unlimited period of time to submit a proposal for a prime minister-designate; however, from the moment it presents its proposal, the party has 15 days to form a new government.

If the deadline is exceeded, the president can extend the deadline by another 15 days. However, if the ruling party does not submit a proposal, the president may seek a broader consensus which would include other parties.

“I see that everyone wants to resolve this issue and that Kurti is alone. But the subject of the other government – we had Haradinaj and his outgoing government for half a year. Haradinaj also did not have any legitimacy, while the legitimacy of the LVV is five times greater from the legitimacy of AAK and others, and this time is only benefiting them,” Hasani concluded.

https://bit.ly/2WDsR2d

Germany and France support Kurti, the US welcomes the vote of no-confidence motion against the government (KoSSev)

The differences in the Western diplomats’ views on the fate of the Kosovo government, which was formed less than two months ago, have come to the fore. While Germany and France oppose today’s session of the Kosovo Assembly to recall the Albin Kurti-led government, emphasizing that the Belgrade-Pristina dispute is a European issue, the US welcomed the initiative to vote on a no-confidence motion against the government.

Ambassadors from Germany and France sent a joint demarche from Pristina yesterday, urging the LDK to waive the no-confidence motion against the government of Albin Kurti. They also conveyed the concern of Berlin and Paris over the current situation in Kosovo.

Later in the day, the foreign ministries of these two leading EU countries reacted to the current situation in Kosovo with a joint statement:

“France and Germany are concerned about the political situation in Kosovo at a time when political unity is necessary to face the COVID-19 crisis. Kosovo needs a stable and fully functioning government to deal with this crisis. Therefore, we urge that the vote of no-confidence in the Government be reconsidered or postponed.”

They recalled the support they gave to the Kosovo government in the fight against corruption and fostering socio-economic development, noting that they are also ready to increase their concrete support to Kosovo in these areas.

The joint statement also addressed the issue of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, noting that it is necessary to wait for the conditions to be created and that this is a European issue, while Europe will continue to coordinate with the US.

See more at: https://bit.ly/2WEb5vH

US Embassy in Pristina: Burglaries of returnees’ houses must not be tolerated (N1, BETA)

The US Embassy in Pristina said that acts such as burglaries of the returnees’ houses in the village of Novake must not be tolerated at any time, N1 reports.

The Kosovo Ministry for Communities and Return said that 10 out of 67 houses in this village, near Prizren, have been burglarized.

“Unfortunate to learn of incidents targeting returnees in Novak/e. Acts such as this at any time should not be tolerated. Kosovo is a home for all. Good institutions are taking steps to protect them and ensure they work for all,” US Embassy wrote on Twitter.

The Office for Kosovo and Metohija requested earlier the police in Kosovo to “responsibly and professionally carry out their work” and shed the light on “the case of a massive looting” of Serb houses in Novake village. 

54 new cases of coronavirus registered in Serbia, more than 300 people infected (B92)

54 new cases of coronavirus have been registered in Serbia, Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar announced at a media conference yesterday. 

The total number of infected people thus increased to 303.

From the last report until 3 pm on March 24, 2020, samples of 94 people were tested, 54 of which were positive and 40 were negative for the new coronavirus.

Of the 54 confirmed cases since the last report, 27 were hospitalized, while 27 stayed at home.

By 3 pm on March 24, 2020, a total of 916 individuals who met the definition criteria were tested in the national reference laboratory of the Torlak Institute.

https://bit.ly/3ajkahs

 

International

 

Macron and Merkel to organise Serbia-Kosovo Summit when conditions are established (EWB)

When conditions are met for the resumption of the Dialogue, and the COVID-19 crisis is overcome, President Macron and Chancellor Merkel plan to host a Summit between Serbia and Kosovo in Paris, with the participation of both parties’ leaders and High Representative Borrell.

This was announced yesterday in a joint statement by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of France and Germany, which also stressed that Kosovo needs a stable and fully functioning government to deal with this crisis.

Therefore, they urged the vote of no-confidence in the Government be reconsidered or postponed. However, the session, triggered by the junior coalition partner Democratic League of Kosovo, is already underway.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3ajDrPS

Humanitarian/Development

 

The ‘father figures’ of Kosovo politics (Prishtina Insight)

The unquestioned authority of patriarchal leaders extends far deeper into Kosovo’s political culture than one of the prime minister’s nicknames.

Former MP from the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, Gani Geci, who was sentenced to four years imprisonment for murder in 2016, recently spoke to the media about Kosovo’s ongoing political crisis.

Geci no longer holds any kind of official position within LDK, but spoke on behalf of his daughter, Marigona Geci, an MP at the Kosovo Assembly. “Marigona Geci and our family will never vote in favour of a coalition with PDK, and we stand by that,” he told journalists in front of the Assembly.

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

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