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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, April 27, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, April 27, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• Kurti: Govt overthrown ‘because we were ending state capture’ (Prishtina Insight)
• Veseli: Serbia must answer for its crimes before an international tribunal (media)
• Osmani: Serbia is not ready for peace (media)
• Haxhiu: Thaci must publish letter for PM candidate to LDK (media)
• “War crimes are not pardoned; they need to be tried and condemned” (media)
• Health Institute: Stop pressure on us, we cannot test everyone at once (media)
• “All data show increase of cases of domestic violence” (Radio Free Europe)

Serbian Language Media:

• North Kosovo: Five new cases diagnosed with Covid-19 (Kontakt plus radio)
• Incidents affecting Serb community in Kosovo (Kosovo-online)
• Trifunovic: 23 years we live in darkness, looking for truth about missing persons (Kosovo-online)
• Blakaj: Attacks on Gashi are wrong, we must acknowledge all victims regardless of nationality (Kosovo Online)
• YIHR and HLC Kosovo condemn criticism and protests over Gashi’s statement (KoSSev)
• Elections in Serbia in July? (media)
• UN SG Gutteres calls Belgrade, Pristina to continue dialogue (BETA, N1)
• Dacic tells UN Security Council Pristina not ready to continue dialogue (BETA, N1)
• Opposition leader calls Serbian Government to revoke holiday curfew decision (BETA, N1)

Opinion:

• Why we should be worried about the fall of Kosovo’s government? (EWB)

International:

• Kosovo PM Sacks Adviser for Criticising Wartime Guerrillas (Balkan Insight)
• Kurti Will Not Oppose Protests Against New Govt in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Domestic violence cases on increase compared to last year (KoSSev)
• Vucic discusses pandemic fallout with EBRD President (FoNet, N1)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Kurti: Govt overthrown ‘because we were ending state capture’ (Prishtina Insight)
  • Veseli: Serbia must answer for its crimes before an international tribunal (media)
  • Osmani: Serbia is not ready for peace (media)
  • Haxhiu: Thaci must publish letter for PM candidate to LDK (media)
  • “War crimes are not pardoned; they need to be tried and condemned” (media)
  • Health Institute: Stop pressure on us, we cannot test everyone at once (media)
  • “All data show increase of cases of domestic violence” (Radio Free Europe)

Serbian Language Media:

  • North Kosovo: Five new cases diagnosed with Covid-19 (Kontakt plus radio) 
  • Incidents affecting Serb community in Kosovo (Kosovo-online)
  • Trifunovic: 23 years we live in darkness, looking for truth about missing persons (Kosovo-online)
  • Blakaj: Attacks on Gashi are wrong, we must acknowledge all victims regardless of nationality (Kosovo Online)
  • YIHR and HLC Kosovo condemn criticism and protests over Gashi’s statement (KoSSev)
  • Elections in Serbia in July? (media) 
  • UN SG Gutteres calls Belgrade, Pristina to continue dialogue (BETA, N1)
  • Dacic tells UN Security Council Pristina not ready to continue dialogue (BETA, N1)
  • Opposition leader calls Serbian Government to revoke holiday curfew decision (BETA, N1)

Opinion:

  • Why we should be worried about the fall of Kosovo’s government? (EWB)

International: 

  • Kosovo PM Sacks Adviser for Criticising Wartime Guerrillas (Balkan Insight)
  • Kurti Will Not Oppose Protests Against New Govt in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Domestic violence cases on increase compared to last year (KoSSev)
  • Vucic discusses pandemic fallout with EBRD President (FoNet, N1)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Kurti: Govt was overthrown ‘because we were ending state capture’ (Prishtina Insight)

Acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti addressed the latest political developments in Kosovo, as well as the reasons for the downfall of his government and the United States’ role in its demise in a televised interview on BIRN’s Jeta ne Kosove programme on Thursday.

According to Kurti, the decision taken by President Thaci on Wednesday to form a new government, rather than holding fresh elections, was due to the current popularity of his party, Vetevendosje.

“I believe that [elections] are not being held because we would win a majority at the next election,” Kurti argued, saying that Vetevendosje was more popular than ever according to recent polling, currently enjoying nearly double the support it received at the last election.

“If we were able to win against them as individual parties, next time we will be victorious against all of them,” he said. “It seems that October 6 was insufficient, and what is needed is for us to win a majority.”

The acting prime minister stated that the collapse of the Vetevendosje-led government has damaged the Kosovo state more than it has damaged his party. He argued that while his government was independent of the Belgrade-backed Lista Srpska and members of the previous PAN coalition government, the new government will be dependent on both to function.

Asked about the party’s “red lines” on forming coalitions in the future, Kurti seemed to rule out coalitions with all of Kosovo’s established parties prior to the next election. “We don’t want a coalition with PAN because we don’t want state capture and abuse of power, but I cannot say that we want a coalition with LDK either,” he said. “We have to wait and see what these parties offer at the next elections.”

Questioned on whether he still thought it was possible to free Kosovo from what he described as “state capture,” Kurti said that his government’s time in power proved that ending institutional corruption is within reach. “I believe that the main reason behind the motion of no-confidence was precisely because liberating the captured state [from corruption] is possible,” Kurti said. “If freeing the state from capture was impossible, they would leave us in power.”

Kurti stated his government had shown that it was capable of changing the state without changing their principles, but was pressed on the controversial appointment of four members of Vetevendosje to the boards of public enterprises by host of the show and BIRN Kosovo director Jeta Xharra. 

Kurti dismissed the idea that any comparisons can be made between his decision and the party-affiliated appointments made by the former PAN government, arguing that out of 38 members appointed to temporary boards, only four had links with Vetevendosje.

Kurti emphasized that his government was not concerned about party affiliation when appointing its officials. “Out of 13 deputy ministers selected by Vetevendosje, six are not Vetevendosje members. Of six ministers chosen by Vetevendosje, two are not members of the party,” he added.

The Vetevendosje leader said that his government’s top priorities had been justice and the economy, the two campaign promises he believes were the reason his party came out on top at the October 6 election.

“Politics is about priorities, and I did not win the elections by talking day and night about Serbia and the dialogue,” he said.“I did not put the dialogue aside, but I told Mr Grenell, [the dialogue] cannot be my main priority.”

Kurti told BIRN that when he met Richard Grenell, President Trump’s Special Envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue, he explained that he was ready for discussions with Serbia and outlined his principles for the Dialogue. According to Kurti, Grenell replied: “I am not for dialogue. I am for action.”

Kurti said that this attitude proved to him that Richard Grenell was not preparing to facilitate a dialogue between the two countries, but that a predetermined agreement is already on the table.

Grenell’s decision to condition the resumption of the dialogue with the removal of Kosovo’s tariffs against Serbia, and his failure to uphold demands on Serbia to halt its derecognition campaign against Kosovo, have marked a new era in US-Kosovo relations, Kurti told BIRN.

“The Ambassador has the same position as Belgrade when it comes to removing the tariff and abandoning reciprocity,” he said. “For these issues, we have an American envoy who is not between us and Belgrade but is on Belgrade’s side – and I don’t know why that is.”

Kurti later reiterated his stance against any exchange of territory being part of a final resolution between Kosovo and Serbia. 

“I am convinced that any solution involving territory, an idea that originates in Serbia, will lead to new conflicts in the Balkans, and to a huge number of refugees to the EU and the US. I am a social democrat and progressive and I cannot accept the racist notion that we should have borders on ethnic lines.”

For Kurti, the Kosovo people should have their say through new elections and not be represented by a new government that would accept pre-prepared agreements in the dialogue. “Elections could be held in June if the pandemic is over,” he said.

See at: https://bit.ly/2W0bQxg

Veseli: Serbia must answer for its crimes before an international tribunal (media)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) leader Kadri Veseli said today on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared that there will be no amnesty for Serbia for the crimes it committed in Kosovo. “Serbia must answer [for its crimes] before an international tribunal. I have called for this and this issue should not be politicised,” he said.

Osmani: Serbia is not ready for peace (media)

Kosovo Assembly President Vjosa Osmani said today on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, that Serbia is not ready for peace with Kosovo, news websites report. She said the top priority of Kosovo’s institutions is to ask Serbia to provide information about the whereabouts of the people it abducted from Kosovo.

“During the process of dialogue, it was said that there is plenty of information about the missing persons in the archives of then-Yugoslav Army. Despite the fact that these data exist they were never shared with Kosovo,” she said.

“Serbia is not yet ready for Kosovo and Kosovo should say it out loud and every day that without the return of missing persons and justice for all there can be no peace between Kosovo and Serbia,” Osmani said.

Haxhiu: Thaci must publish letter for PM candidate to LDK (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Justice and senior Vetevendosje member Albulena Haxhiu said today that the letter that President Hashim Thaci sent to the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) to propose a Prime Minister candidate must be made public.

“We all know, especially the reporters, that the letters and notes on this topic sent to the LVV [Vetevendosje] and to Prime Minister Kurti, first appeared in the media before they reached our offices. What is happening now? Why are they not publishing the note? What is the reason behind this information darkness? What is the reason behind the complete lack of transparency?” Haxhiu asked.

Haxhiu also argued that President Thaci is aware of the arbitrary moves and the violation of the Constitution. “If the President is so confident in his actions, he can publish it. The same goes for the LDK leader. There is no doubt that they are aware of their arbitrary moves and that this is a premeditated violation of the Constitution,” she said.

Health Institute: Stop pressure on us, we cannot test everyone at once (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health (IKSHPK) issued a media statement today calling on “citizens, individuals and different organisations” to stop their pressure on this institution and not to obstruct its work, most news websites report. The Institute said it understands the concerns of all citizens about their health condition but that they cannot test everyone at once.

CDHRF: War crimes are not pardoned; they need to be tried and condemned (media)

The Prishtina-based Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) issued a press release today that it “strongly opposes any attempt to pardon war crimes” without going through the necessary legal procedures, news websites report.

“The position of the CDHRF is very clear: there can be no amnesty of war crimes without going through the legal procedures … The CDHRF has always called for justice for the victims and their families, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, and for all perpetrators of crimes to be brought to justice,” the statement noted.

“It is not in the competency of the local legislation or any political authority of any level to pardon war crimes; therefore, this cannot even be discussed in Kosovo because war crimes fall under international law, they are not outdated and so far there is no indication that international law will pardon war crimes … The CDHRF is adamant that all perpetrators of war crimes in Kosovo must be prosecuted, tried and condemned and that justice must be served for all victims … Any attempt to use political gains to act against the rights of victims and their families to justice is condemnable and unacceptable and in full opposition with international law.”

“All data show increase of cases of domestic violence” (Radio Free Europe)

UN Women Kosova Director Vlora Tuzi – Nushi said in an interview to Radio Free Europe that all data from Kosovo’s institutions show that in the last couple of months there has been an increase in the number of cases of domestic violence. She said that in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, the Kosovo Police and other line institutions, including the family of UN agencies, they are providing support to victims of violence. 

Tuzi – Nushi said that global trends show that in the first quarter of this year there has been a 30 percent increase in domestic violence. “It seems that this trend is similar in Kosovo too. Police data show that in the first quarter of this year, compared to the previous year, there is an increase of 98 cases. “What we are most concerned about is if women and girls who are locked behind the walls with their abusers, think that institutions have different priorities, such as health and the pandemics, and if they think that they will not get the emergency reaction in the event they are victims of domestic violence,” she said.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

North Kosovo: Five new cases diagnosed with Covid-19 (Kontakt plus radio) 

In the north of Kosovo, five more cases positive to coronavirus have been registered in the last 24 hours, said Dr Aleksandar Antonijevic, an epidemiology specialist at the Public Health Institute in Mitrovica North, reports Kontakt plus radio. 

“Two newly diagnosed persons are from Leposavic, while one person lives in Kosovska Mitrovica, one in Zubin Potok and one in Leposavic,” said Dr. Antonijevic.

Four patients, three from Zubin Potok and one from Leposavic, were discharged and are currently in home isolation, Dr Antonijevic added.

So far, 886 people have been tested.

Today, 40 samplings are planned, while 22 samples have been sent for analysis this morning, the results of which are expected tonight.

There are 37 infected with Covid-19 in North Mitrovica, 23 in Zvecan, 20 in Zubin Potok and 14 in Leposavic.

In North Mitrovica, there are currently 30 patients in the Student Center, while 10 patients are hospitalized in Clinic Hospital Center. 

In the Kragujevac Clinic Center are hospitalized three patients, and two are in the Clinic Hospital Center “Dr Dragisa Misovic” in Belgrade. 

In total, in the north of Kosovo, 94 are infected, of which two are children.

43 people were cured while 6 patients died.

Incidents affecting Serb community in Kosovo (Kosovo-online)

Last night yet another attack against Serb returnees in Kosovo took place, this time in the village of Crkolez, Istok municipality in which a tractor and bull belonging to Malisa Tijanic were stolen, Ministry for Communities and Returns said in a statement, Kosovo-online portal reports.

Malisa Tijanic returned with his family to the village 11 years ago, while the residents of the village said they feel strong uncertainty because of the incidents such this one.

“Problems of the Serb returnees continue and while the entire world fights to preserve health and overcome the current crises with least consequences possible, the Serb returnees are struggling to preserve their belongings, survive and remain on their properties. The third in a series of incidents affecting the Serb community in less than 72 hours is a clear indicator of challenges that Serb returnees face those days. The silence of authorities is also concerning,” the Minister for Communities and Returns Dalibor Jevtic said.

There are 83 Serbs, including 14 children living in the village of Crkolez now. Prior to the 1999 conflict there were 220 Serbs living there.

In a separate incident on Saturday, April 25, a house belonging to the late Momir Stanojevic in the village of Novake, Prizren municipality was set on fire by unknown perpetrators, the portal reported.

There are 15 Serb returnees living in this village. Small number of late Stanojevic’s neighbors, thanks to swift reaction managed to distinguish fire, while firefighters and police units came to the spot and opened an investigation.

“Unknown persons often come to the village, mostly young Albanians, and they provoke us in different ways, robb us and do not hold accountable to anyone.  We are completely helpless and unprotected,” the returnees said.

In a night between Friday and Saturday, during a curfew agricultural machine belonging to Slavko Petrovic from the village of Babin Most, Obilic municipality was stolen, the portal recalled.

The Petrovic family was often the target of thieves. Couple of years ago, unknown perpetrators stole agricultural machinery with a trailer, while a month ago, their hunting dog that won praises in different completions was also stolen. None of these cases was resolved.

There are around 150 Serb families living in the village of Babin Most.

Trifunovic: 23 years we live in darkness, looking for truth about missing persons (Kosovo-online)

Association of Missing and Kidnapped Persons in Kosovo Coordinator, Milorad Trifunovic said that for 23 years already they live in the darkness, suffer and await response about 1.644 persons whose destiny has not been resolved yet, Kosovo-online portal reports.

“If our families that suffered so much were deprived of the right to live, we hope that we will be able to find out what happened to our beloved ones and where their remains are,” Trifunovic told RTK 2.

Speaking about action of the Missing Persons Resource Centre which along with many other non-governmental organizations launched an initiative that tonight at 20.00 hrs people in Kosovo turn off the lights for two minutes at their homes, as a sign of support to the families of 1644 missing persons, Trifunovic said it is a good gesture. He added, it sends a message, foremost to the politicians in Kosovo and Serbia.

“This is a good gesture, because of the current situation we were unable to lay the wreath, visit places or whatever persons may do depending on their customs or religion. For 1644 persons in Kosovo we do not know where they are and what happened to them. That is why we send a message to the governments’ commissions in Belgrade and Pristina to do their job and help us find the truth about members of our families. We are sending the message to politicians as well to help them (commissions) to work and do not impede their way,” Trifunovic said.

Blakaj: Attacks on Gashi are wrong, we must acknowledge all victims regardless of nationality (Kosovo Online)

Kosovo Humanitarian Law Center Director Bekim Blakaj regrets the numerous criticisms of former Kosovo Prime Minister Advisor Skelzen Gashi’s statement that KLA members have committed atrocities against Serb civilians, adding that such negative reactions do not contribute to reconciliation that requires dealing with the past.

Blakaj for the portal Kosovo Online points out that victims’ families have been waiting for the truth about their loved ones for years and urges all parties to focus on clarifying the fate of the missing and punishment of criminals, regardless of the ethnicity of the victims or the perpetrators.

He stresses that reconciliation and normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia are not possible without facing the past.

“Without the implementation of mechanisms for achieving transitional justice, it is impossible to achieve true and sustainable reconciliation. We see reconciliation as one process that will take a very long time, will be painful, but must include truth, justice for the victims and even reparation. The first step towards reconciliation is to acknowledge all the victims, no matter what side they are on,” Blakaj points for the portal. 

The director of the Humanitarian Law Center of Kosovo stresses that political will at the highest level is necessary to clarify the fate of the missing and believes that the governments of Kosovo and Serbia have not done much to identify the missing persons.

“There is no information on mass or individual graves. Since the situation is such, families are dissatisfied. We have often recommended that institutions find ways to talk about missing persons through the dialogue. Only this way, the issue of the missing can be resolved. Although it is a political dialogue, the issue of the missing should be treated as a humanitarian issue,” Blakaj said.

He recalls that Kosovo is marking the Day of the Disappeared today and notes that 1,644 people are still being searched for.

YIHR and HLC Kosovo condemn criticism and protests over Gashi’s statement (KoSSev)

The Kosovo public has been greatly upset for the past two days over the statement of now former advisor of acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Shkelzen Gashi that everyone who committed crimes during the war should be punished. In one of his public appearances, Gashi said that some “members of the KLA had committed crimes against non-Albanian civilians,“ KoSSev reports.

His statements, however, were soon met with wide criticism by politicians, the public and the media, which was even followed by protest. Kurti dismissed Gashi meanwhile.

The Kosovo public broadcaster RTK claimed that thousands of Pristina citizens protested from their balconies against Gashi’s statements at 9pm last night. An incident took place in Glogovac following the protest – organized by the PDK youth branch in that town, when several protesters (allegedly) clashed with police, Pristina-based Koha reported this morning, the portal added.

HLC Kosovo: Concern at the views of the public on impunity and denial of non-Albanian victims

“After the programme and as a result of the voiced standpoint, Mr. Gashi was the target of harsh criticism coming from individuals, but also from representatives of various organizations and associations, as well as from representatives of political parties,” Kosovo Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) said in a statement.

This way by promoting the culture of impunity as a society, the process of transitional justice in Kosovo is hindered and victims and their families are denied the right to justice. And the victims have the right to justice, HLC underscored.

“Therefore, we remind the public, once again, that the rule of law and justice for all civilian victims in Kosovo must be and remain a priority for Kosovo society,” the statement reads.

YIHR: Justice must not be blinded by the ethnicity or religion and it should be accessible to everyone

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Kosovo (YIHR) also reacted, expressing concern over the situation after Gashi’s statements regarding the crimes committed during the last war in Kosovo.

“We, as an organization dedicated to promoting and empowering the process of transitional justice, call for this discussion to focus on the justice that must be done to the victims and survivors without distinction before, during and after the war in Kosovo. Justice must not be blinded by the ethnicity or religion of the victims and perpetrators of these crimes. Justice should be accessible to everyone,” the YIHR wrote in a statement.

The YIHR added “it is vital that the entire Kosovo society recognizes and remembers all the victims of the recent war in Kosovo.”

See at: https://bit.ly/2W2EMV7

Elections in Serbia in July? (media) 

Referring to unnamed sources, Belgrade based daily Blic reports that the Serbian Parliamentary elections are likely to take place between July 5 and 19, quotes B92 portal.  

The elections, which were scheduled for April 26 and were subsequently postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to information obtained by Blic today, will be in July.

The state of emergency is expected to be lifted prior to that.

Blic wrote earlier, referring to the findings in the state top, that there were no conditions for organizing elections in the summer, and that they would be likely in the fall.

Previously, some media outlets speculated with St.Vitus (Vidovdan) as the election date.

The Speaker of the Serbian Parliament today said that elections could not be endlessly delayed.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said today that parliamentary elections will be held when the country deals with the coronavirus battle. 

“When it happens, at some point, we will go out to talk to anyone who wanted to participate in the elections,” Vucic said earlier today.

UN SG Gutteres calls Belgrade, Pristina to continue dialogue (BETA, N1)

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres said on Friday that the international community expects to see a normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations and called for their dialogue to continue soon, BETA news agency reports.

Gutteres said in his six-month report on Kosovo to the UN Security Council that security, stability and respect for human rights remain the priorities for UNMIK, adding that the Mission will continue, what he called, its constructive cooperation with Pristina and Belgrade, all communities in Kosovo and regional players.

The report was drafted before the Kosovo government lost a confidence vote in parliament.  He said that he was encouraged by the personal commitment of European Union High Representative Josep Borell in taking the lead in efforts to renew the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and the tangible steps taken by Belgrade and Pristina with US support to promote links and regional cooperation by committing to establish direct air, rail and road links. 

Gutteres said that he is also encouraged by the activities of the joint missing persons group whose efforts have the support of UNMIK and other agencies. 

He also welcomed UNMIK’s efforts to strengthen trust in cooperation with the government, civil society and international organizations and others. UN efforts are focused on strengthening the position of women, young people, civil society and professional media as well as support for positive changes across Kosovo. 

A section of the report covered the coronavirus pandemic, listing the measures taken by the Kosovo government to prevent its spread. 

Special Representative of the Secretary General and UNMIK chief Zahir Tanin expressed concern at the session over political instability in Kosovo and called political leaders to leave their differences aside. He warned that political divisions are drawing attention away from the coronavirus pandemic.

A report by the European Union High Representative about EULEX operations was added to the report as an annex.

See at: https://bit.ly/3cX5h5v

Dacic tells UN Security Council Pristina not ready to continue dialogue (BETA, N1)

Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Ivica Dacic told Friday’s remote UN Security Council session on Kosovo that Pristina authorities are not ready to continue the dialogue with Belgrade, BETA news agency reports.

“We are just one step by Pristina away from that – the lifting of the tariffs and so-called reciprocal measures which annul everything that we have achieved since 2012,” he said and recalled that the Community of Serb Municipalities which was agreed under the 2012 Brussels Agreement has not been established yet.

“Serbia has shown its strong commitment to finding a compromise solution for Kosovo to secure lasting peace and stability,” Dacic noted and added that official Belgrade reacted with moderation to “all unilateral acts by Pristina”.

According to Dacic, the authorities in Belgrade hoped that last October’s elections in Kosovo and the new government would be an opportunity for Pristina to change its attitude towards the dialogue and show readiness to talk. “We met with even more extreme views and a complete lack of readiness for the dialogue, best seen in the program and decisions of Albin Kurti’s government,” he said.

Dacic also said that the political atmosphere in Kosovo has created a situation in which aid from Serbia to fight the coronavirus pandemic is being used for political goals and inappropriate accusations.

He said that Serbia has taken steps to help Serbs in Kosovo during the pandemic and has expressed readiness to cooperate with the Albanians. “We sent medical equipment, doctors and nurses and we said from the start that we are prepared to fully cooperate with the Albanians and institutions in Pristina to fight the pandemic,” he said and added that the coronavirus patients being treated in Serbia include both Serbs and Albanians from Kosovo. “I want to stress that we will continue providing the necessary aid at this difficult time,” Dacic underlined.

See at: https://bit.ly/2W0LUl9

Opposition leader calls Serbian Government to revoke holiday curfew decision (BETA, N1)

Serbian opposition leader Dragan Djilas on Monday called on the government to withdraw its decision to impose four-day quarantine for the May 1 weekend, BETA news agency reports.

“I am calling you to withdraw the measure to lock up six million people for four days. I am calling you to give up the idea of literally turning Serbia into the biggest prison in Europe,” the leader of the Freedom and Justice Party (SSP) said in a press release, reacting to the government decision to impose a curfew from 6:00 pm on Thursday April 30 to 5:00 am on Monday May 4. 

He added that the government should introduce rules for everyone to abide by during the May 1 holiday and afterwards in order to keep them healthy and preserve their dignity. 

See at: https://bit.ly/2x9tRk6

 

 

Opinion

 

Why we should be worried about the fall of Kosovo’s government? (EWB)

By Isidora Stakic

The government of Kosovo, led by Albin Kurti, was toppled on 25 March 2020, less than two months after it was formed. The vote of no confidence was initiated by the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), a junior partner in Kurti’s Self-Determination-led government after the prime minister sacked the interior minister, Agim Veliu, an LDK member. The COVID-19 pandemic served as a smokescreen to obscure proper analysis of the government’s collapse. The coalition partners came to loggerheads when Veliu contradicted the government by supporting the declaration of a national state of emergency, which was suggested as a response to the pandemic by the country’s president, Hashim Thaçi. While the pandemic was used as a pretext, the real reason the government was toppled lies in the conflict between Kurti and Thaçi.

Kurti’s announcement of a war on corruption and organised crime and his insistence on a new approach to the dialogue with Serbia threatened the position of Kosovo’s president, who was described by Slovenian think-tank IFIMES as “a symbol of the political-criminal octopus”. With no significant support of the electorate, Thaçi was forced to seek allies beyond Kosovo’s borders. He found them in the US administration, in the form of president Trump’s special envoy for the Serbia and Kosovo negotiations, Richard Grenell, and also in the form of Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić. Even though the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia has been officially suspended for some time, these three politicians have been meeting in secret and negotiating a new, final agreement, with a view to it being signed as soon as possible. Kurti was little more than an obstacle to this plan, which is why Grenell decided to help topple the recently formed government of Kosovo. So why should the collapse of Kurti’s government be cause for concern?

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

 

 

International

 

Kosovo PM Sacks Adviser for Criticising Wartime Guerrillas (Balkan Insight)

Outgoing Prime Minister Albin Kurti fired his adviser Shkelzen Gashi for saying that individual Kosovo Liberation Army fighters committed crimes during the 1998-99 war, which sparked a furious backlash.

Albin Kurti said on Saturday that he has dismissed Shkelzen Gashi, a history and politics expert, as his prime ministerial adviser amid an ongoing backlash about Gashi’s comments about crimes committed by Kosovo Liberation Army fighters.

“Today I met then fired my political adviser Shkelzen Gashi. Some of his statements have had a kind of distracting effect from the good work of the government,” Kurti wrote on Facebook.

Gashi’s comments during an interview with Kosovo television station K7 on Friday sparked angry reactions and threats against him on social media.

Gashi said in the interview that individuals within the Kosovo Liberation Army committed crimes against civilians, including ethnic Albanians.

“I have said several times that individuals, including those in the senior hierarchy of the KLA, committed war crimes,” Gashi said.

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

Kurti Will Not Oppose Protests Against New Govt in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

Amid calls for public rallies against the formation of a new government without new elections, outgoing PM Albin Kurti has told BIRN’s TV show that he would not stop people from protesting – despite the ongoing health crisis and curbs on outdoor movement.

Outgoing Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Thursday said he would not stop citizens of Kosovo from protesting in public on May 4 against the formation of a new government under a different leader without fresh legislative elections.

“Citizens have never been angrier; I can’t stop them from protesting, but I can’t say that this protest was organised by us,” Kurti told BIRN Kosovo’s TV show Life in Kosovo.

See at: https://bit.ly/2xSMZn5

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Domestic violence cases on increase compared to last year (KoSSev)

A total of 17 cases of domestic violence were registered in the north of Kosovo between January  1 and March 31 – 9 more cases compared to the same period of last year. Undoubtedly, the coronavirus pandemic is one of the reasons there has been an increase in the number of abuse cases, Kosovo police spokesman for the region north, Branislav Radovic said in an interview with KoSSev.

World experts have been warning that the coronavirus pandemic – a time during which citizens are urged to stay at home as much as possible – may increase the number of domestic abuse cases. The statistics for the first three months of 2020 show that the domestic violence cases in the north of Kosovo have increased – compared to the same period last year.

See at: https://bit.ly/35aJep9

Vucic discusses pandemic fallout with EBRD President (FoNet, N1)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke over the phone with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) President Sumantra Suma Chakrabarti about the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, statement from the president’s cabinet said.

The statement added the two officials discussed Serbia’s cooperation with the EBRD during the pandemic and its effects on economic growth in Serbia and the Western Balkans as well as on global economic trends. 

Vucic told the EBRD President that the pandemic is greatly affecting the Serbian economy but that healthy and stable public finances helped keep it resilient. He said that EBRD investments in the private sector, especially SMEs are more than welcome. 

Chakrabarti is quoted as congratulating Vucic on the way Serbia responded to challenges, adding that he was impressed by the measures which were introduced, especially fiscal. 

See at: https://bit.ly/35byQxb

 

 

 

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