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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, May 18, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, May 18, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• Kurti says signed documents in Berlin don’t constitute agreement (Koha)
• U.S. Embassy calls on parties to refrain from politicised rhetoric (media)
• Kosovo Assembly to hold plenary session on 4 June (Indeksonline)
• EU negotiating mandate extension for its rule of law mission in Kosovo (RFE)
• Haradinaj: Kosovo not to delay reopening of economy (Klan Kosova)

Serbian Language Media:

• No new cases of Covid-19 infection in north, four persons cured (Kosovo-online)
• The official start of classes in primary schools is expected on June 1 (Kontakt plus radio)
• Radovic: Taxi associations in north will start working as of June 1 (Radio Mitrovica sever)
• War crimes’ trials in Kosovo still at beginning (KoSSev)
• UNS: Serbian List to apologize to journalist Budimir Nicic (KoSSev)
• Vucic: If situation with coronavirus epidemic worsens, elections won’t be priority (N1, RTS)

International:

• Serbian President: Skopje betrayed Serbia on Kosovo to impress Germany (greekcitytimes.com)

Humanitarian/Development:

• WHO Assembly is scheduled for today, the main topic will be the COVID-19 pandemic (B92)
• UNICEF calls for greater inclusion of children with disabilities (media)
• Kosovo enters second phase of lockdown restrictions (Prishtina Insight)
• Media Literacy Project: Young journalists rarely have the opportunity to work in professional newsrooms (KoSSev)
• Belgrade airport opens, passengers to come three hours ahead of departure (N1)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Kurti says signed documents in Berlin don’t constitute agreement (Koha)
  • S. Embassy calls on parties to refrain from politicised rhetoric (media)
  • Kosovo Assembly to hold plenary session on 4 June (Indeksonline)
  • EU negotiating mandate extension for its rule of law mission in Kosovo (RFE)
  • Haradinaj: Kosovo not to delay reopening of economy (Klan Kosova)

Serbian Language Media:

  • No new cases of Covid-19 infection in north, four persons cured (Kosovo-online)
  • The official start of classes in primary schools is expected on June 1 (Kontakt plus radio)
  • Radovic: Taxi associations in north will start working as of June 1 (Radio Mitrovica sever)
  • War crimes’ trials in Kosovo still at beginning (KoSSev)
  • UNS: Serbian List to apologize to journalist Budimir Nicic (KoSSev)
  • Vucic: If situation with coronavirus epidemic worsens, elections won’t be priority (N1, RTS)

International:

  • Serbian President: Skopje betrayed Serbia on Kosovo to impress Germany (greekcitytimes.com)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • WHO Assembly is scheduled for today, the main topic will be the COVID-19 pandemic (B92)
  • UNICEF calls for greater inclusion of children with disabilities (media)
  • Kosovo enters second phase of lockdown restrictions (Prishtina Insight)
  • Media Literacy Project: Young journalists rarely have the opportunity to work in professional newsrooms (KoSSev)
  • Belgrade airport opens, passengers to come three hours ahead of departure (N1)  

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Kurti says signed documents in Berlin don’t constitute agreement (Koha)

Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti said that the documents signed by the representatives of Kosovo and Serbia in Berlin about establishing Pristina-Belgrade flights do not constitute an agreement.

He said that in order for the documents to become agreements they need to undergo a number of further steps which he said at the moment are impossible due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“That is not an agreement but a letter of intent and it needs to go through many other steps to become an agreement,” Kurti said today during a visit to the Civil Aviation Authority along with acting Minister of Infrastructure Lumir Abdixhiku.

Kurti added: “I can say we are for regional cooperation as much as possible but this cooperation needs to have in consideration two things: first, the constitutionality and legality and second, economic rentability. All our cooperation which includes economy needs to be profitable and sustainable.”

U.S. Embassy calls on parties to refrain from politicised rhetoric (media)

The U.S. Embassy in Kosovo issued a statement encouraging regional cooperation for the purpose of supporting the wellbeing of citizens, including with regards to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We call on all parties to avoid politicized rhetoric and to unite around practical solutions to facilitate the freedom of movement of medical supplies and personnel to monitor affected communities.  Let’s put lives first,” the Embassy said.

Kosovo Assembly to hold plenary session on 4 June (Indeksonline)

Kosovo Assembly chairmanship held a meeting today with Speaker Vjosa Osmani announcing after its conclusion that there will be a plenary session on 4 June.

Osmani told reporters that the chairmanship discussed the establishment of a committee to look into the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

EU negotiating mandate extension for its rule of law mission in Kosovo (RFE)

European Union is discussing extending the mandate of the rule of law mission in Kosovo (EULEX) for an additional two years as the current mandate is set to end on 14 June 2020, Radio Free Europe reported. 

“There are ongoing discussions among EU member states for a possible new mandate. Once a decision is taken, it will be officially announced,” EULEX said in a written reply.

According to the previous practice, EULEX’s extension of mandate is only possible through a letter exchange between the EU and the Kosovo President without an endorsement from the Kosovo Assembly, RFE recalls. 

Representatives of the civil society organisations consider that Kosovo still needs EULEX but underline that the EU mission should not have executive powers. 

Haradinaj: Kosovo not to delay reopening of economy (Klan Kosova)

Leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj said that Kosovo’s economy needs to be reopened without delay.

“We are a country with a small economy, we are a region with a high economic dependability. We need to rush with economic measures in order to restart it,” Haradinaj said in a visit to the party’s branch in Ferizaj.

He added that the acting government cannot take all necessary decisions to recover the economy. “A government with a full mandate is needed to pave way for economic recovery.”

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

No new cases of Covid-19 infection in north, four persons cured (Kosovo-online)

There were no new cases of Covid-19 infection registered in the Serb-majority areas in Kosovo over the last 24 hours, while four patients have been cured, Kosovo-online portal reports. The cured cases are from Leposavic and Zubin Potok respectively.

Thus far, a total of 116 cases of Covid-19 infection have been registered in northern Kosovo, nine persons have passed away, while 103 patients have been cured.

There is one patient at Clinical Hospital Centre in Mitrovica North, two at Students’ Centre in the same town, while one patient at Clinical Centre in Kragujevac. 

The official start of classes in primary schools is expected on June 1 (Kontakt plus radio)

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, from June 1 this year, classes in schools will be held according to a special curriculum, and in accordance with the amended rulebook of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, delivered to all educational institutions in Kosovo, reports Kontakt plus radio.  

The official start of classes at the elementary schools is expected on June 1, when classes for eighth graders should start, and the preparatory classes for taking the final exam should start on the same day, reports the radio. 

According to the director of primary school ”Sveti Sava”, Miodrag Jovanovic, an official statement from the Ministry of Education is expected on whether the measures taken in order to suppress the coronary virus pandemic in Kosovo and Serbia will be harmonized, so that the schools can open. 

“As far as schools are concerned, they are ready to work. It is also planned that students from the fifth to the seventh grade will be allowed to come to school in order to improve their grades,” Jovanovic pointed out.

“The school was disinfected; another disinfection is planned just before the children enter the school. We will create a dynamic of teachers coming to schools so that teachers can start enrolling in schools. The online classes went great and the teachers and children fit in well so there were no problems, “Jovanovic said.

Preparatory classes for the final exam will take place in small groups, with a maximum of ten eighth grade students in the class, states Jovanovic and adds that the passing of the final exam for primary school is scheduled for June 17, 18 and 19.

Radovic: Taxi associations in north will start working as of June 1 (Radio Mitrovica sever)

“Beginning of work of the taxi associations in Mitrovica North will have to be postponed until June 1, although the taxi drivers started working this morning at 6 o’clock. They had to suspend their work, until the phase 3 of easing the measures introduced due to COVID-19 pandemic comes into force” Kosovo police spokesperson for the North region, Branislav Radovic confirmed to Radio Mitrovica sever.

According to him, in line with the plan of the Kosovo Ministry of Health and government, the taxi associations can continue their work only in the third phase, which will take effect on June 1.

War crimes’ trials in Kosovo still at beginning (KoSSev)

The Kosovo judiciary is only at an initial stage of a huge task of providing justice for the victims and their families. EULEX’s assessment that the Kosovo judiciary was capable of taking over prosecution of war crimes and that international assistance in this field was no longer required – which the past year has shown – was premature, the Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo assessed in its latest report on the state of the Kosovo judiciary, KoSSev portal reports.

The main trials of war crimes indictments that took place during the reporting period lasted for an unacceptably long time, even in cases where the defendants were in detention. The Kosovo Judicial Council and the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council must urgently address the issue of translation of court and prosecutorial decisions into minority languages, while establishing cooperation between Kosovo and Serbian judicial authorities is of vital importance.

The report covers the analyses of the criminal proceedings conducted before the courts of first instance, mainly before the Special Department of the Basic Court of Pristina, as well as the analyses of the main trials that began in the previous years before the Serious Crimes Departments of the Basic Courts of Prizren and Peja/Pec.

During the reporting period, certain war crimes trials were monitored related to the events that took place during the Kosovo armed conflict, but also those that had a political character, such as the court proceedings against Nedeljko Spasojevic in the case of the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, as well as the case against Ivan Todosijevic in connection with his statement on “Racak and Albanian terrorists”.

The court proceedings against Milos Petkovic, Shemsija Garaj, Zlatan Krstic, Goran Stanisic, Destan Shabanaj, Darko Tasic, Zoran Djokic, Nenad Arsic, Zoran Vukotic, Milorad Zajic, Nedeljko Spasojevic (and others), Ivan Todosijevic, Emrush Thaci (and others), Remzi Shala, Skender Bislimi and Ramiz Dzogovic were monitored.

Most of these cases involve war crimes trials against civilians, with the exception of one case involving crimes committed by members of the KLA, all others are attributed to Serb forces during the 1999 Kosovo war.

See more at: https://bit.ly/36gB4fy

UNS: Serbian List to apologize to journalist Budimir Nicic (KoSSev)

The Association of Journalists of Serbia (UNS) condemned the attack on the Voice of America correspondent, Budimir Nicic, whom Serbian List described as being part of a “broader hellish plan, to shake people’s trust in Serbia, but also in Serbian List“, KoSSev portal reports.

Serbian List’s reaction came after Nicic published a reportage about a single mother from the village of Gojbulja in Kosovo, who was at risk of becoming homeless, the UNS said in a statement.

The UNS expressed concern over Serbian List announcement, in which Nicic’s report on Milica Apostolovic and her five-year-old child was described as “part of a propaganda war whose only goal is to remove Serbia’s influence out of this area.“

This journalist association pointed out that Nicic reported on the problem of the Apostolovic family, that he conveyed and checked the facts.

UNS recalled that the job of journalists and media is to alert the public in order for the authorities to solve the citizens’ problems. Consequently, after the report was broadcast on Voice of America, the Apostolovic family was provided with accommodation in Mitrovica North.

See at: https://bit.ly/368FhSl 

Vucic: If situation with coronavirus epidemic worsens, elections won’t be priority (N1, RTS)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that the forthcoming “June 21 elections wouldn’t be the main issue,” if the country faced problems with the coronavirus and the rise in the number of infected, N1 reported. He added that he does not expect such a scenario would happen. 

“The elections won’t be postponed if the situation is under control. But if there are problems with more infected people which we cannot control, the people’s health will be the priority. The state will react with readiness and responsibility in protecting the people’s lives,” Vucic told reporters while touring the construction site of a new building of Serbia’s Clinical Centre.

Though mentioning the possibility of the vote postponement for the first time, Vucic said he wouldn’t listen to such demands by “those who during the pandemic and the curfew organized protests outside the Presidency building and in the Vracar municipality.”

“They think the corona might spoil the elections because they will achieve some miracle in September. But when they were gathering outside the Presidency and in Vracar during the curfew, they didn’t say it was dangerous,” Vucic said.

He adds the Serbian Constitution and laws are clear and they determine when the ballot should be held.

“The elections are already two-three months late. We have gone beyond all allowed deadlines. I don’t understand how someone thinks to delay the vote further? Croatia even opts for an early vote and will hold it almost at the same time as we,” Vucic said.

 

 

International

 

Serbian President: Skopje betrayed Serbia on Kosovo to impress Germany (greekcitytimes.com)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said that “North Macedonia” has done everything to flatter Germany as the most powerful force in the European Union and indirectly supported Albanian claims on Kosovo.

Vučić told TV Prva that at the inauguration of Stevo Pendarovski, the president of Greece’s northern neighbour, he asked Pendarovski to not vote in favour of an independent Kosovo.

“I just begged him, for God, you have already done something that many countries would interpret differently. Make sure that you do not talk about these topics, it is not your job, and when you do that, think that there are those who think differently,” said Vučić, who also underlined that, “of course, it was done contrary to what he considered an agreement.”

“They certainly, contrary to my request, did it to stand out to flatter the Germans,” the Serbian President said.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3cI3jGb

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

WHO Assembly is scheduled for today, the main topic will be the COVID-19 pandemic (B92)

The 73rd General Assembly of the World Health Organization will be held in Geneva today, and the main topic will be the COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Assembly will be held in video format and with a shortened agenda.

A resolution is expected to be adopted at the session, which would emphasize the need for an impartial, independent and comprehensive assessment of the international response to the WHO-coordinated coronavirus pandemic.

The new WHO report states, among other things, that from 2000 to 2016, the life span of quality, healthy life was globally extended by 8 percent, from 59 to 63 years, but it is noted that the new coronavirus pandemic will slow down this good trend.

The report states that the expected lifetime duration of high-quality, healthy life in Serbia is 67 years.

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

UNICEF calls for greater inclusion of children with disabilities (media)

UNICEF, in collaboration with HENDIKOS, displayed 120 wheelchairs and school bags at the Skenderbeu square in Pristina to call for greater inclusion of children with disabilities. 

“While we are gradually getting back to normality following the situation caused by Covid-19, the UNICEF office in Kosovo calls for greater attention to protection of children with disabilities so that they are not left behind in the quarantine for the rest of their lives,” a statement issued by the UNICEF office reads.

Murat Sahin, head of office, said that all children should enjoy equal rights. “It is up to us to help them achieve their full potential,” he said.

The installation will run from 17 to 25 May.

Kosovo enters second phase of lockdown restrictions (Prishtina Insight)

Kosovo will begin the second of three phases relaxing restrictions in place to contain the spread of coronavirus on Monday, with the head of the Infectious Disease Clinic assuring residents that Kosovo is “on the right track.”

The Ministry of Health has announced that Kosovo will enter the second phase of eased lockdown restrictions as planned on Monday, reopening many services and businesses as well as relaxing restrictions on the freedom of movement of Kosovo residents.

From Monday morning, citizens will be permitted to move around freely for a total of four hours a day, split into two separate 120-minute time slots, which are allocated on the basis of the penultimate digit of the personal number on identity documents.

See at: https://bit.ly/3g0CGyo

Media Literacy Project: Young journalists rarely have the opportunity to work in professional newsrooms (KoSSev)

Limited opportunities to work in professional newsrooms, violations of workers’ rights, and sexism are the main challenges young Kosovo journalists face, BIRN journalist, Doruntina Baliu said. In addition to these challenges, which are not infrequent in the journalism industry in general, there are also challenges specific to Kosovo – language barriers between communities and the issue of the safety of journalists of certain ethnicities in some parts of Kosovo.

The main challenge for young journalists in Kosovo is competition, Doruntina Baliu said.

According to Baliu, although the goal of every journalism student is to work in professional media, this is not always possible due to the limited number of such media outlets.

See at: https://bit.ly/2zKmJM4

Belgrade airport opens, passengers to come three hours ahead of departure (N1)

Senka Jelenkovic, the Executive Director of the ‘Nikola Tesla’ airport, told N1 that the passengers’ air traffic from Belgrade resumed on Monday, with the first destinations from Serbia’s capital to include Zurich, and Frankfurt, while from the next week, the flights to Vienna and London would also resume.

She added the passengers should wear masks at the airport and take care of personal hygiene, i.e., washing hands thoroughly.

Also, they are advised to come at least two, but preferably three hours before the departure to allow enough time for all necessary procedures.

“We expect the restart of the regional flights to Sarajevo, Podgorica, Tivat, Skopje and Ljubljana at the beginning of June. The first flight to Ljubljana is scheduled for May 29,” Jelenkovic said.

Foreigners coming to Serbia must have a negative PCR test done within the last 72 hours and a permit issued by Serbia’s Government commission. Serbia’s citizens do not have to have a test but then must spend 14 days in self-isolation.

The flight timetable will depend on the country of destination, and the rules there, Jelenkovic says, adding it’s too early to calculate the losses the air traffic has suffered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The low-cost Wizz Air company will fly to London on Monday, and the passengers say they feel safe and are happy to fly again.  

See at: https://bit.ly/2XblvS0

 

 

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