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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 11

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• 14 new cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo (media)
• Health Institute calls for greater caution (media)
• Kurti: We are close to winning battle with Covid-19, remain cautious (media)
• Kosovo Assembly President argues against border changes (media)
• Albright criticises Trump administration on Kosovo approach (Exit.al)
• Abazi hails Albright remarks against division (media)
• Russia doesn’t rule out land swap or division (media)
• Kurti complains about Thaci’s actions (media)
• LVV and PDK want new elections (media)
• Hoxhaj says Kurti-led government has failed in foreign policy field (Telegrafi)

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  • 14 new cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo (media)
  • Health Institute calls for greater caution (media)
  • Kurti: We are close to winning battle with Covid-19, remain cautious (media)
  • Kosovo Assembly President argues against border changes (media)
  • Albright criticises Trump administration on Kosovo approach (al)
  • Abazi hails Albright remarks against division (media)
  • Russia doesn’t rule out land swap or division (media)
  • Kurti complains about Thaci’s actions (media)
  • LVV and PDK want new elections (media)
  • Hoxhaj says Kurti-led government has failed in foreign policy field (Telegrafi)

Kosovo Media Highlights

14 new cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said on Sunday that 14 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. The new cases are from the municipalities of Gjilan, Prizren, Peja, Vushtrri and Prishtina.

According to the media, Kosovo has currently 201 active cases of coronavirus.

Health Institute calls for greater caution (media)

Following an increasing number of cases infected with COVID-19, Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health called on the citizens on Sunday to continue to fully respect the measures undertaken by health institutions.

The Health Institute said in a Facebook post that “the virus is still among us and citizens must continue to maintain physical distance and wear masks and the relaxation of measures does not mean that the recommendations of the Institute and the Ministry of Health must not be respected”. “The relaxation of measures was made to make us more responsible. Please have added caution until COVID-19 goes away completely,” the post notes.

Kurti: We are close to winning battle with Covid-19, remain cautious (media)

Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti has appealed to the citizens to continue to heed the restrictions introduced by the Health Ministry and the recommendations of the National Public Health in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In a Facebook post, Kurti said that Kosovo has so far managed to successfully fight the spread of infections but added that “now is not the time to overturn the entire progress.”

“Let us not lose the match in the last ten minutes. We have come a long and hard way to reach this point. We are so close to victory that the return of the virus among us would be even more disappointing than its first arrival.”

Kosovo Assembly President argues against border changes (media)

Kosovo Assembly President Vjosa Osmani argued against any possible scenario for border changes in the Balkans. Osmani said Kosovo’s clear strategic orientation is membership of the European Union.

“Any scenario for changing the borders of countries that aspire EU integration is in opposition to the values of the EU. We hope that today, 70 years later and forever more enlightened minds in the EU will prevail, like that of Robert Schuman, and that work is done on peace, stability and solidarity and that we come together against those that promote hatred, division and discrimination,” Osmani wrote in a Facebook post.

Albright criticises Trump administration on Kosovo approach (Exit.al)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has criticized the Trump administration for departing from the U.S. bipartisan approach toward Kosovo, and for “not helping to resolve” the issue with their current approach. Albright reminded the Trump administration that Kosovo’s journey to the current state which “Vucic and Serbia are trying to undo” came as a result of “a terrible genocidal cleansing”.

Speaking during a video-conference of the U.S. Senate Committee of Foreign Affairs, titled “Briefing on Authoritarianism, Disinformation and Good Governance during COVID-19”, Albright stated:

“I do think that Kosovo was something that we all worked on in a bipartisan way for many years and supported the fact that they could and should be an independent country.

[…]I have never been to a country that has been so visibly grateful to the United States, with hundreds of American flags and people cheering and really wanting to be an independent country and to be able to be a part of the international system.

What has happened, unfortunately, I think that there are questions about boundaries between… and Kosovo was a part of Serbia. But I think that in many ways, I have to say this sadly, that at the moment the United States is not really helping in terms of trying to resolve this issue with Vucic and with the Serbs are trying to undo that [which] came as a result of what had been a terrible genocidal cleansing that the international community condemned […]”

Abazi hails Albright remarks against division (media)

Kosovo’s acting Deputy Prime Minister, Haki Abazi, welcomed a statement against Kosovo’s division by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Abazi wrote in a Facebook post: “the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, has made a clear statement against Kosovo’s partition and for the problem and tendency of Vucic to try to deny the existence of the state of Kosovo and to fail to accept Serbia’s genocidal actions in Kosovo”.

Russia doesn’t rule out land swap or division (media)

Russia’s Ambassador to Belgrade, Aleksandar Botsan Kharcenko, said in an interview to Serbian newspaper Politika that in Moscow’s opinion, only Belgrade and Prishtina can consider Kosovo’s division or any other idea.

“A sustainable solution for the Kosovo issue is implementable only as a result of taking into account balanced and mutual interests, without imposing foreign schemes or timelines. For us the main criteria is that the solution must be acceptable to Serbia,” he said.

“The final solution of the Kosovo issue must be confirmed at the United Nations Security Council through the adoption of a new resolution that would replace Resolution 1244.

Kurti complains about Thaci’s actions (media)

The Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo has written many letters to different countries, EU MPs, and independent mechanisms to interpret the constitutional matters after his government was ousted through the no-confidence motion at the Assembly.

They are informative and denouncing letters to President Hashim Thaci, following his decision to overcome the winning party by giving the mandate to the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

Kurti has recently addressed the European Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Affairs, writing that President Thaci, supported by some political parties are trying to implement an anti-constitutional scenario.

“By undertaking his initiative to form the government, by misinterpreting the demands of the winner of the elections for clarification for his actions based on the Constitution and by inventing a deadline which is not foreseen anywhere in the Constitution, the President has clearly violated the Constitution of Kosovo, Kurti wrote.

However, officials at Prime Minister’s Office consider that this represents a regular exchange of letters with partner countries.

“In some of them, we expressed our positions with regards to the matters of national interest, such as dialogue with Serbia. Informing partner countries about the official positions of the government of the Republic of Kosovo is a completely common practice, which is even an obligation.  Except for maintaining communication with them, the intention of these letters is correct informing of our partners about the work of the government of the Republic of Kosovo, its official positions on the matters of special interest, but also informing about political and institutional developments in the country. It is of crucial importance to us, but it is also required to inform our partners about the work of the government on the matters related to its scope, directly from us,” stressed in a written response the Spokesperson of the government Perparim Kryeziu.

Kurti has also written to the U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence. The letter was not made public and after being reported in the media, Kurti denied that he complained to Pence about the role of the U.S. Presidential Envoy for the discussions between Kosovo and Serbia, Richard Grenell.

According to him, the letter dates a month ago, and it is clarification of the position of the government towards the dialogue.

LVV and PDK want new elections (media)

Despite the calls of the Minister of Health and other healthcare institutions, the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) considers that extraordinary elections are necessary. Furthermore, they consider that 14 June would have been a suitable date for them.

The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) also considers that new elections should take place. According to the deputy leader of this political party, Memli Krasniqi, this should happen after overcoming the pandemic and endorsement of a package for election reforms.

In the meantime, the political parties which are trying to form the new government, claim that holding elections would not make any sense, especially during the current situation.

The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) considers that elections were held in Kosovo, and they brought a result. AAK’s deputy leader Muharrem Nitaj said elections cannot be held any time they do not suit to someone.

Political experts consider that new elections would have been dangerous for the health of the voters. They also consider that voters would hesitate to vote under current circumstances.

Central Election Commission (CEC) did not want to comment on whether it is suitable to hold elections now, they only said this institution will fulfill its legal and constitutional obligations.

Hoxhaj says Kurti-led government has failed in foreign policy field (Telegrafi)

Deputy leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and former foreign minister, Enver Hoxhaj, said that the government led by Albin Kurti has failed in the field of foreign policy.

He said the Kurti-led government was focused on slamming the U.S. in international media while he accused the acting foreign minister, Glauk Konjufca, of having no foreign policy agenda.

“During the pandemic, regional cooperation in the Balkans has failed. There are somewhere around 49 organisations that Kosovo is a member of and none did anything,” Hoxhaj said adding that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could have used the South-East Europe Cooperation Process initiative to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

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