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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 21

By   /  21/05/2020  /  Comments Off on UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 21

• Health Institute confirms 14 new cases of coronavirus (media)
• EU adopts €3 billion assistance package for neighbouring partners (media)
• Kurti: The Presidential fourth attempt to bring down the Republic of Kosovo
• Lajcak: Everyone ready for resumption of dialogue (Koha)
• Thaci pressures Quint into declaring on Court’s ruling, they refuse (Koha)
• Kurti denies putting pressure on Constitutional Court (media)
• Osmani for reciprocity with Serbia and against border changes (Kallxo)
• LDK’s Gashi adamant: LDK is against territorial exchange (Koha)
• PDK MP: Elections within one year, Vetevendosje will mark a decline (media)
• Government allocates €3.5 million for Trepca mine (Kosovapress)
• Haxhiu: War crimes institute to be set up through special law (media)

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  • Health Institute confirms 14 new cases of coronavirus (media)
  • EU adopts €3 billion assistance package for neighbouring partners (media)
  • Kurti: The Presidential fourth attempt to bring down the Republic of Kosovo
  • Lajcak: Everyone ready for resumption of dialogue (Koha)
  • Thaci pressures Quint into declaring on Court’s ruling, they refuse (Koha)
  • Kurti denies putting pressure on Constitutional Court (media)
  • Osmani for reciprocity with Serbia and against border changes (Kallxo)
  • LDK’s Gashi adamant: LDK is against territorial exchange (Koha)
  • PDK MP: Elections within one year, Vetevendosje will mark a decline (media)
  • Government allocates €3.5 million for Trepca mine (Kosovapress)
  • Haxhiu: War crimes institute to be set up through special law (media)

Kosovo Media Highlights

Health Institute confirms 14 new cases of coronavirus (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said in a statement on Wednesday evening that 14 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.

The new cases are from the municipalities of Prizren and Rahovec.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Kosovo currently stands at 1,004; of which 163 active cases.

EU adopts €3 billion assistance package for neighbouring partners (media)

The Council of the European Union adopted yesterday decision to provide up to 3 billion euros of macro-financial assistance to ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners to help them cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of this amount, Kosovo will get €100 million.

The assistance, provided in the form of loans with highly favourable terms, will help these jurisdictions cover their immediate financing needs which have increased as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, EU Council said in a statement.

Kurti: The Presidential fourth attempt to bring down the Republic of Kosovo

Kosovo’s acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti took to Facebook on Wednesday to describe what he calls the President’s attempts to bring down the Republic of Kosovo. Kurti writes: 

  1. He returned empty-handed from the visit to Washington D.C. He stayed there over a week, from February 23 to March 2, 2020, met with Serbia’s Vucic, and wandered around hallways without managing to get into the same film frame with President Trump or Vice President Pence. I did not join him in the short connection he has Vucic to reach an agreement with knives over the Kosovo map. He was left out without a “historic” agreement because both the American mediators and the Serbian President knew that he lacks legitimacy: the October 6 changes in Kosovo were crowned with a new government formed on February 3.
  1. The day after the health emergency state was declared, he called me on the phone. The President told me that he wanted to consult me on declaring a state of emergency in Kosovo. I explained to him that there are no conditions to declare a state of emergency in our country. The situation is under control. On March 17, we held the meeting of the Kosovo Security Council at a time when we had no fatalities from the COVID – 19 and only 19 infected cases. There too he failed a discussion on the need to declare a state of emergency. The government and the state mechanisms were functioning in synchronicity. Except for one minister.
  1. On March 25 came together those that were in fact not separated. They voted in favor of the no-confidence motion against the government but at the same time they did not want new elections! After losing among the people, they wanted a victory on the table. They wanted to sidestep the winner of the elections and the most voted LDK official. After March 25, the President acted as if February 3 never happened. However, that PLAN failed on the morning of February 3, when the President asked MPs from non-Serb minorities to not vote for the government, promising them that he would give the mandate to the LDK and that they would get more ministries. PLAN [PDK, LDK, AAK and NISMA] perhaps hoped that we in the Vetevendosje Movement want power so much that we would become depressed when they bring down our government. However, we cannot want power the way they do. For us, power is means for the state and the people and not a new house for government officials. We are in duty. 
  1. The Constitutional Court seems to be under unprecedented pressure from the President’s actions. His decree sidestepped the winning party and gave the mandate to a person that was not even among the top 10 most voted candidates in the October 6 elections! Discussions should focus on what could be the most convenient date for elections. Because the current situation is neither formally or materially different from the cases in 2010 and 2017: the governments would fall and [Kosovo] would go to elections, namely the procedure was respected as foreseen by the Constitution. The President declared that there is a 20-day deadline for the winning party to send a candidate, from the first letter on April 2 up until the consultative roundtable on April 22. The President in the Republic of Kosovo is politically inactive. He does not select candidates or set deadlines; he only accepts proposals. The President with a symbolic role suffers from this fact and therefore he wants to turn the Republic into something symbolic. With his illegal actions, he wants to reduce the state into a parallel institution and the Constitution into his administrative directive.

He will fail in his fourth attempt too. Time cannot be turned back. October 6, 2019 has happened. Since then, time has moved forward. Dear citizens, the problem is simple: we cannot save both the Republic and this President. And I have made up my mind. A long time ago.

Lajcak: Everyone ready for resumption of dialogue (Koha)

EU Special Representative for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, said that all parties are ready for the resumption of the process and that this will happen as soon as the epidemiological conditions allow for physical meeting.

Speaking to a Montenegro-based TV channel, Lajcak said: “This time we need to see the dialogue through by reaching an agreement that would once and for all solve all open issues and normalise the atmosphere, not only between Belgrade and Pristina but the whole region.”

Lajcak said he is in daily contact with partners in Serbia and Kosovo and that he expects the dialogue to pick up soon. However, “we need to also take into account the political calendar in Serbia and the political situation in Kosovo regarding the government, but the key factor is the epidemiological situation.”

Thaci pressures Quint into declaring on Court’s ruling, they refuse (Koha)

The news website reported on Wednesday that with nine days left for the Constitutional Court to rule on the decision for a Prime Minister candidate, President Thaci has again summoned the ambassadors of the Quint countries and the EU Head of Office in Prishtina, Nataliya Apostolova.

President Thaci tweeted that the meeting also discussed the importance of respecting the upcoming decisions of the Constitutional Court about his decree to nominate a new Prime Minister candidate.

An unnamed source from the Quint told Koha that the meeting discussed the upcoming decision of the Constitutional Court and according to the source Thaci had a request for the ambassadors of the U.S., Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and the EU Head of Mission. 

“He told us between the lines that it would be good if we engaged in public awareness-raising and call on everyone to respect the independence and impartiality of the Constitutional Court in their decision-making. But we can hardly do this because we do not comment on anything related to specific decisions of the Constitutional Court. Especially now, because according to the developments, the Court is expected to make a decision soon, and our position could be manipulated,” the source said, preferring to remain anonymous. 

Koha asked the Quint embassies about the meeting. The EU Office said in a reply that the Constitutional Court, as the highest body that interprets the Constitution, must in no way yield to pressure from individuals or institutions. The UK Embassy told Koha to refer to an earlier statement by Ambassador Nicholas Abbott who said that all must respect the decisions of the Constitutional Court and that the Court needs to make independent decisions free from fear or favors.

Kurti denies putting pressure on Constitutional Court (media)

Kosovo’s acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti denied on Wednesday that he is putting pressure on the Constitutional Court, most news outlets report.

“We don’t intimidate or put pressure on anyone. On the contrary, you know that the Vetevendosje Movement has been continuously intimidated and persecuted. As acting Prime Minister, I can say that I stand in defense of the Constitutional Court. The attacks are coming from someone else, because we addressed the issue; someone else is in panic,” Kurti told reporters. 

Osmani for reciprocity with Serbia and against border changes (Kallxo)

Kosovo Assembly President Vjosa Osmani said on Wednesday that many things have to be changed in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and that she stands firmly against eventual border changes and that she favors reciprocity between the two countries. 

“Dialogue was organised in a way that everyone was trying to calm Serbia, to secure a saving of face, and they were considering Kosovo a ‘basket of goods’ where Serbia can pick up apples and oranges and that it would not matter how crippled Kosovo would remain, despite the declaration of independence and the ruling of the International Court of Justice which said that independence is not in contravention with international law,” Osmani said in a teleconference organised by the Peacebuilding and Human Rights Program of Columbia University. 

Osmani said eventual border changes between Kosovo and Serbia “cannot lead to stability”. “We know that it would open the Pandora Box and now there are voices saying ‘we will not touch the whole territory above the Ibar Bridge but only some parts in Leposavic and Zubin Potok’. But it is all the same because we would be opening the box, and once you open it you cannot know where it will end up. It is a major problem if this approach continues and this goes against every value of the European Union,” she said. 

LDK’s Gashi adamant: LDK is against territorial exchange (Koha)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) parliamentary group chief, Arben Gashi, said in an interview to KTV on Tuesday that for his party the territory of Kosovo is inviolable.

Asked to comment on LDK senior official Lutfi Haziri’s statement about the 17 villages in Presevo Valley, Gashi said “this was an earlier statement by Haziri”. “Haziri made this statement in 2010. He reiterated on several occasions that this was his personal decision. The LDK’s decision is that Kosovo’s territory is inviolable and that it cannot be discussed,” he added. 

Asked if the LDK, with an eventual 61 MPs in favor of its government, would be ready “for the burden of a capital agreement”, Gashi said cooperation is needed with the opposition for international agreements. “International agreements must be ratified in the Assembly with 2/3 of votes, so the government must convince the opposition too that a certain agreement would be in the interest of the people,” he said.

Gashi argued that the U.S. and the European Union are equally important for Kosovo. “One of the biggest mistakes of Kurti [acting Prime Minister] was that he created the impression that there is a conflict between the U.S. and the EU on Kosovo,” he added.

PDK MP: Elections within one year, Vetevendosje will mark a decline (media)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) MP Abelard Tahiri said in a debate on TV Dukagjini on Wednesday that new parliamentary elections will be held within one year and that Kurti’s Vetevendosje Movement will mark a decline.

Tahiri said that if acting Prime Minister and Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti would be in a very favorable position he would not have feared a new government formed by the Democratic League of Kosovo. “I can sense panic from Kurti. The Vetevendosje Movement will mark a decline in the new elections,” he argued.

Government allocates €3.5 million for Trepca mine (Kosovapress)

Acting Government of Kosovo has allocated 3.5 million euros for Trepca mine as part of subventions aiming to enable the company to settle wages and outstanding debts.

In a visit to Trepca yesterday, acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that they are also making preparations for the customs terminal that used to be in Trepca’s ownership from 2002 to 2013 be returned to it so that it can generate revenues for the enterprise.

“Trepca, as national pride, will have its economic and development excellence reinstated so that it does not depend on the government but the whole Kosovo to depend on Trepca,” Kurti said.

Haxhiu: War crimes institute to be set up through special law (media)

The first meeting of the working group tasked with laying out groundwork for establishment of a war crimes institute took place yesterday.

Acting Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, said that the institute would be founded through a special law and not a decision. “Despite twenty years since the war having passed, we consider it is final time when we have to seriously address war crimes. In addition, there should be a special line of budget, human and professional capacities. This institute that would be approved by a law at the Assembly of Kosovo, should have broad political consensus,” Haxhiu said.

The working group has to submit its conclusions by the end of September.

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