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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, April 7, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, April 7, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• Kurti: We don’t have any time for political ping pong (media)
• Kurti on Russia’s reaction: Reciprocity derives from concept of equality (Koha)
• Kosovo’s foreign ministry reacts to Russia’s statement on reciprocity measures (Koha)
• PDK’s Veseli calls for extraordinary session of Assembly on Friday (media)
• Ramadani: Difficult days to come, respect recommendations (RTK)
• Pristina with three additional measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 (RTK)
• Haradinaj doesn’t trust Lajcak, says he supports U.S. envoys (Gazeta Express)
• Five new coronavirus cases confirmed in Kosovo, one death (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• World Health Day: ‘Support nurses, midwives’ fighting COVID-19; UN SC to meet (N1)
• Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs comments on Pristina’s tariffs (media)
• Kosovo Customs: Serbian goods worth EUR 1.6 million entered Kosovo since April 1 (RFE, RTK)
• Rakic handed over KFOR’s donation to health facilities and police in Mitrovica North (Radio kontakt plus)
• No new Covid-19 infected cases in Serb-majority areas in Kosovo (Radio kontakt puls)

Opinion:

• ‘The impossible has already happened’: what coronavirus can teach us about hope (The Guardian)
• Lajcak’s clock is already ticking (Prishtina Insight)
• How Democracies Can Beat The Pandemic (Balkan Insight)

International:

• Germany Urges Kosovo Politicians to Focus on COVID-19, Not Divisions (Balkan Insight)
• How Multi-ethnic is Kosovo? (Balkan insight)
• How the coronavirus pandemic is making strongmen stronger, from Hungary to Serbia to the Philippines (theglobeandmail.com)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Kurti: We don’t have any time for political ping pong (media)
  • Kurti on Russia’s reaction: Reciprocity derives from concept of equality (Koha)
  • Kosovo’s foreign ministry reacts to Russia’s statement on reciprocity measures (Koha)
  • PDK’s Veseli calls for extraordinary session of Assembly on Friday (media) 
  • Ramadani: Difficult days to come, respect recommendations (RTK)
  • Pristina with three additional measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 (RTK)
  • Haradinaj doesn’t trust Lajcak, says he supports U.S. envoys (Gazeta Express) 
  • Five new coronavirus cases confirmed in Kosovo, one death (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • World Health Day: ‘Support nurses, midwives’ fighting COVID-19; UN SC to meet (N1)
  • Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs comments on Pristina’s tariffs (media)
  • Kosovo Customs: Serbian goods worth EUR 1.6 million entered Kosovo since April 1 (RFE, RTK)
  • Rakic handed over KFOR’s donation to health facilities and police in Mitrovica North (Radio kontakt plus)
  • No new Covid-19 infected cases in Serb-majority areas in Kosovo (Radio kontakt puls)

Opinion:

  • ‘The impossible has already happened’: what coronavirus can teach us about hope (The Guardian) 
  • Lajcak’s clock is already ticking (Prishtina Insight)
  • How Democracies Can Beat The Pandemic (Balkan Insight) 

International:

  • Germany Urges Kosovo Politicians to Focus on COVID-19, Not Divisions (Balkan Insight)
  • How Multi-ethnic is Kosovo? (Balkan insight)
  • How the coronavirus pandemic is making strongmen stronger, from Hungary to Serbia to the Philippines (theglobeandmail.com)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Kurti: We don’t have any time for political ping pong (media)

Kosovo’s acting Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, said during a visit to Gjilan municipality today, that his government is totally focused on the fight against the coronavirus and that they don’t have time for what he called political ping pong. Kurti made these remarks when asked by reporters when he will send to Kosovo President Hashim Thaci the name of a new candidate for Prime Minister. 

“As acting Prime Minister, I really don’t want us to be distracted by other topics. The meeting today in Gjilan and the other meeting in Dardana municipality tomorrow will focus exclusively on the pandemic and how to prevent it from spreading further. We don’t have any time to lose with political ping pong,” Kurti said. “We are maximally engaged in fighting and preventing the spread of the pandemic. If we would shift our attention away from this issue, we would only weaken this crucial front for our people.”

Kurti also said: “we are working hard to flatten the curve of the COVID – 19. We need to prevent the pandemic which has now claimed the lives of three people. Our central and local organization is exemplary, and others are telling us this too. We need to continue the same approach and engagement in April. The month of April is crucial in terms of emerging from this health crisis as quickly as possible and with as few damages as we can”.

Gjilan Mayor Lutfi Haziri told reporters that he informed the Prime Minister about the measures of his municipality in the fight against the coronavirus and also the difficulties they are faced with.

“The Prime Minister listened to our concerns carefully. In addition to the pandemic, Gjilan has another problem. For nine or ten months now, we are faced with water shortages because of the drought. At a time when hygiene is extremely important, the lack of water is a very serious problem,” Haziri said.

Kurti also said his government will try “to find more room for businesses to operate, because in addition to public health we also need to be thinking about economic health”.

Kurti on Russia’s reaction: Reciprocity derives from concept of equality (Koha)

Kosovo’s acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti told reporters today that he has neither heard nor read the reaction of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Kosovo’s decision to introduce full reciprocity toward Serbia. The Russian ministry issued a statement on Monday evening opposing the decision of Kosovo authorities and also criticising the stance of the European Union on the matter.

Kurti said: “I haven’t heard about the reaction. But reciprocity derives from the concept of equality and it is no surprise that they don’t approve of it.”

Kosovo’s foreign ministry reacts to Russia’s statement on reciprocity measures (Koha)

Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora said Kosovo is an independent country and is committed in having good relations with all its neighbours. 

“In this context, relations with Serbia will also be built on the principle of reciprocity as the only legitimate way of building equal inter-state relations. Kosovo’s reciprocity measures are only a reflection of the many obstacles and barriers Serbia has imposed on the state of Kosovo,” the Ministry said in a statement. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Kosovo has not yet introduced the measures that Serbia applies towards Kosovo so as to provide Serbia a chance to reflect and lift its barriers.

“Relations between our countries cannot be normalised in a unilateral manner, but should reflect a mutual will of both sides. Kosovo has demonstrated its readiness for improving relations with Serbia and it is now up to Serbia to remove the barriers and stop diplomatic aggression towards Kosovo.”

Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora issued the statement as a response to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement slamming the decision of the Kosovo Government to replace the import tariff on Serbia with reciprocity measures.

PDK’s Veseli calls for extraordinary session of Assembly on Friday (media) 

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) leader, Kadri Veseli, said today he has initiated a request for an extraordinary session of the Kosovo Assembly on Friday, most news websites report. During a visit to Ferizaj municipality, Veseli said the Assembly would discuss a proposed package of €320 million in aid to workers of the private sector, entrepreneurs, healthcare staff and the municipalities to deal with the emergencies . “We believe Friday will see unity among the political landscape,” he said.

Asked about the outgoing government, Veseli said: “this is a matter for those that raised the no-confidence motion and the ones currently in government to make decisions. Our position is clear. What is most important at this point is the fact that our people are faced with a pandemic.”

Asked by reporters whether his visit is a campaign, Veseli said his visit is aimed at showing that “we never stopped during the war and that we will not stop”. “I am not thinking about an election campaign at this point. Let us emerge from this crisis first,” he said.

Haradinaj doesn’t trust Lajcak, says he supports U.S. envoys (Gazeta Express) 

The news website reports that Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and former Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj is against the appointment of Miroslav Lajcak as special representative of the European Union for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. 

Haradinaj took to Facebook today to say that he and his party side with the United States. “We are on the side of U.S. envoys for the Balkans and Kosovo. We trust our lives to U.S. national security institutions,” he wrote.

The news website recalls that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci too has opposed Lajcak’s appointment. 

Ramadani: Difficult days to come, respect recommendations (RTK)

Naser Ramadani, Director of the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) appealed to the citizens of Kosovo to respect their recommendations otherwise the situation in the coming days will become very serious.

“We are not in a dream but in reality… If we do not implement recommendations, we are over,” he said.

He added that the situation is such that there should be no gatherings of people. According to him, NIPH cannot keep two million people under control, and that protection is individual.

He said the shops and the market in Malisheve were open until Monday, and added that this is intolerable.

According to Ramadani, the situation in Malisheve, Pristina, Topanice of Kamenica, Smrekonice (Vushtrri) and in Mitrovica North, is not safe and it is out of control. 

Pristina with three additional measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 (RTK)

The Deputy Mayor of Pristina Muhedin Nushi informed that all citizens who visit the municipality facilities will be obliged to wear masks and gloves in order to protect the health of workers and citizens.

He said another measure is to disinfect all carts from grocery stores and set a distance of 1.5-2 meters. According to him, one worker will be required to disinfect the carts and another will take care of the distance between customers.

Nushi announced that safety tapes have been placed in the main squares of the city in order to reduce movement in the city.

He announced that after Monday’s victim in the capital from coronavirus, 12 workers of the emergency medical center have been self-isolated.

Haradinaj doesn’t trust Lajcak, says he supports U.S. envoys (Gazeta Express) 

The news website reports that Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and former Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj is against the appointment of Miroslav Lajcak as special representative of the European Union for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. 

Haradinaj took to Facebook today to say that he and his party side with the United States. “We are on the side of U.S. envoys for the Balkans and Kosovo. We trust our lives to U.S. national security institutions,” he wrote.

The news website recalls that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci too has opposed Lajcak’s appointment.

Five new coronavirus cases confirmed in Kosovo, one death (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health announced today that five new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. Of these new cases, one death has been reported.

Of 13 samples taken from hospitalised patients at the Infectious Disease Clinic in Pristina, five resulted positive for coronavirus, the Institute said in a statement. These five new cases were admitted to the hospital yesterday.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

World Health Day: ‘Support nurses, midwives’ fighting COVID-19; UN SC to meet (N1)

This year’s World Health Day is dedicated to honouring the tireless work of nurses and midwives across the globe, media reported on Tuesday.

It’s celebrated every April 7 to spread the awareness around maintaining good health and a balanced lifestyle, and this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) called on people to extend their gratitude and support of nurses and midwives across the world.

During the coronavirus pandemic, millions of nurses help those infected or suspected of being infected with the coronavirus, WHO said.

The global health organisation added that, along with its partners, would make a series of recommendations to strengthen the nursing and midwifery workforce worldwide.

United Nations secretary-general António Guterres tweeted that this year’s celebration came at a “very difficult time.”

The UN Security Council says it will hold its first meeting on the coronavirus pandemic by videoconference on Thursday after weeks of divisions among its five permanent members, diplomats say. Guterres will preside over the virtual meeting behind closed doors.

See at: https://bit.ly/3e4FObm

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs comments on Pristina’s tariffs (media)

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that Pristina authorities continue to manipulate the topic of lifting 100 percent customs tariffs on goods from central Serbia imposed in November 2018 and resulted in the Kosovo settlement process coming to a halt, media reported.

The Ministry added that Albin Kurti, in “another gesture of demagoguery, announced the lifting of the tariffs as of April 1, but temporarily and with restrictions that contain many preconditions. First, Kosovo is insisting on a “reciprocity principle” forcing Belgrade to mark the goods under Pristina’s standards, which means to agree to insert the self-proclaimed “Republic of Kosovo” into documents which would imply the indirect recognition of this quasi-state.”

According to the Ministry this indicates that Pristina hasn’t softened its stance as demanded by their Western supporters but rather tightened their preconditions instead. The Ministry was also critical of the EU’s reaction, adding that the EU as one of the mediators in Belgrade-Pristina dialogue should respond “with a sober assessment of the situation without favouring either party.”

Kosovo Customs: Serbian goods worth EUR 1.6 million entered Kosovo since April 1 (RFE, RTK)

“The value of goods imported in Kosovo from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) since the abolition of tariffs on April 1 is more than EUR 1.7 million,” Kosovo Customs spokesperson Adriatik Stavileci told Radio Free Europe.

He pointed out that the value of goods imported from Serbia was EUR 1.6 million, while imports from Bosnia were about EUR 113,000. According to him, the largest imports are food products, chemical industry products and construction material.

Kosovo is also said to have exported goods to the two countries in the amount of EUR 240,000 during this period.

Rakic handed over KFOR’s donation to health facilities and police in Mitrovica North (Radio kontakt plus)

KFOR’s donation containing protective garments, masks, gloves and disinfection material was handed over to the Institute for Public Health, hospital and police station in Mitrovica North, Radio kontakt plus reports.

Mitrovica North mayor Goran Rakic handed over the donation. Rakic said the coronavirus pandemic would be won over by joint work and responsible behavior of all citizens, the press statement issued by his office said.

Rakic also wished all infected citizens speedy recovery and reunion with their families. 

No new Covid-19 infected cases in Serb-majority areas in Kosovo (Radio kontakt puls)

In Serb-majority areas in Kosovo there are no new registered cases of Covid-19 infections today, Radio kontakt plus reports.

Epidemiologist Aleksandar Antonijevic said that so far 210 samples were sent for testing, and all 25 samples sent yesterday came out negative.

“Today we tested 30 persons. The current number of infected persons is 33, and this is the same number as we had yesterday,” Antonijevic said. He once again appealed to citizens to stay at home.

In Serbia according to the information published today at 15.00 there are 2,447 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection, while 61 persons have passed away, N1 reports.  

 

 

Opinion

 

‘The impossible has already happened’: what coronavirus can teach us about hope (The Guardian) 

In the midst of fear and isolation, we are learning that profound, positive change is possible.

By Rebecca Solnit

Disasters begin suddenly and never really end. The future will not, in crucial ways, be anything like the past, even the very recent past of a month or two ago. Our economy, our priorities, our perceptions will not be what they were at the outset of this year. The particulars are startling: companies such as GE and Ford retooling to make ventilators, the scramble for protective gear, once-bustling city streets becoming quiet and empty, the economy in freefall. Things that were supposed to be unstoppable stopped, and things that were supposed to be impossible – extending workers’ rights and benefits, freeing prisoners, moving a few trillion dollars around in the US – have already happened.

The word “crisis” means, in medical terms, the crossroads a patient reaches, the point at which she will either take the road to recovery or to death. The word “emergency” comes from “emergence” or “emerge”, as if you were ejected from the familiar and urgently need to reorient. The word “catastrophe” comes from a root meaning a sudden overturning.

We have reached a crossroads, we have emerged from what we assumed was normality, things have suddenly overturned. One of our main tasks now – especially those of us who are not sick, are not frontline workers, and are not dealing with other economic or housing difficulties – is to understand this moment, what it might require of us, and what it might make possible.

See more at: https://bit.ly/2V8vtmn

Lajcak’s clock is already ticking (Prishtina Insight)

The new special envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue has been given little time to restore faith in the EU’s ability to normalise relations between the two states, especially when facing a global pandemic, political crises and pressure from the other side of the Atlantic.

On April 3, the EU officially appointed Miroslav Lajcak as Special Envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue and other Western Balkan issues. Lajcak, who previously served as the Foreign Minister of Slovakia, was proposed by the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borell, who upon starting his mandate noted that Kosovo-Serbia relations will be one of his top priorities.

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

How Democracies Can Beat The Pandemic (Balkan Insight)

Contrary to popular belief, the coronavirus crisis has not strengthened the case for authoritarianism. Rather, it has shown the need for national unity governments.

Europe is experiencing one of its worst crises since World War II. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, its countries should turn to a classic democratic tool for dealing with existential challenges: national unity governments supported by broad parliamentary coalitions.

As it stands, many European countries — notably France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom, Poland and the Czech Republic — are run by governments with weak support, owing to deeper sociopolitical fractures. The new threat from COVID-19 follows a decade of unprecedented political polarisation and populist revolts across the continent.

See at: https://bit.ly/2wZSpw8

 

 

International

 

Germany Urges Kosovo Politicians to Focus on COVID-19, Not Divisions (Balkan Insight)

German ambassador Christian Heldt told BIRN that Kosovo’s political leaders “bear a political responsibility” for the fall of the government last month in a vote of no-confidence, pushing the country into a deep political crisis at a time when they should have been addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

Attempts to portray the government’s collapse as the result of a disagreement between the US and EU countries over policy on Kosovo are misguided, he told BIRN in a written interview.

Read the interview: https://bit.ly/2JRBG0t

How Multi-ethnic is Kosovo? (Balkan insight)

Ever since it broke away from Serbia, Kosovo has come under pressure to preserve its multi-ethnic character. But minority communities still struggle to exercise their rights.

The Covid-19 pandemic has refocused concern on the plight of Kosovo’s ethnic communities.

Veton Berisha, an MP from the Egyptian community, raised concerns last month that the Egyptian and Ashkali communities in Europe’s youngest state are at particular risk from the novel coronavirus given the conditions many of them live in.

See more at: https://bit.ly/2UPhaE5

How the coronavirus pandemic is making strongmen stronger, from Hungary to Serbia to the Philippines (theglobeandmail.com)

‘Coronavirus coups’ that allow military force and rule by decree have raised alarms about how human rights are being balanced against the risks posed by COVID-19

With governments around the world adopting extraordinary measures amid the pandemic, ostensibly to protect their citizens – but often in directions that have little or nothing to do with public health – one of the most potent legacies of this era may prove to be a global erosion of democratic freedoms.

The power grabs have been dubbed “coronavirus coups” in some countries, and three months into the crisis, with no end in sight, there are concerns that leaders such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban are capitalizing on COVID-19 to seize powers they may never relinquish.

See more at: https://tgam.ca/2UQxAw5

 

 

 

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