Albanian Language Media:
- Kurti responds to Thaci’s statements, calls them “lies” (media)
- Prosecution gathering information into Thaci’s allegations (Kallxo)
- Kurti: Old regime’s time is over (media)
- Kurti, Ahmeti discuss Covid-19 management efforts (media)
- “Contour Global” seeks over €20 mil in compensation from Kosovo govt (Koha)
Serbian Language Media:
- Kosovo North: No new cases, cured and deceased in the last 24 hours (Kontakt plus radio)
- Dacic: ”Protection of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is an important and long-term goal of Serbia” (media)
- Russian ambassador calls for respect of UN SC resolution 1244 on Kosovo (Srna, N1)
- Palmer: US doesn’t support stability at expense of democracy in Serbia (VOA, N1)
- Bilcik supports Lajcak, Vogel thinks he is the wrong man for the dialogue (Beta, Euractiv, KoSSev)
- Serbian cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo a sovereignty issue for both Belgrade and Pristina (KoSSev)
- Covic: In political sense, coronavirus helped some put on or take off their masks (RTS)
- Jevtic met Risi, discussed frequent attacks against Serbs in Kosovo (TV Most)
- Two decades since murder of 4-year old boy and two more Serbs in Cernica village (Radio kontakt plus)
- Court Ruling May Deepen Divisions in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)
- The heroine mother (UNICEF)
- Kon: Serbia on way out of epidemic (B92)
- WHO office chief says pandemic under control in Serbia (N1, Nedeljnik)
Albanian Language Media
Kurti responds to Thaci’s statements, calls them “lies” (media)
Acting Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti commented today on the statements made last night by President Hashim Thaci in an interview where he accused Kurti along with acting Minister of Interior Xhelal Svecla and Deputy Prime Minister Haki Abazi of spending three days in the Kosovo post’s surveillance room.
“Those are lies and slanders. The problem with liars is that they cannot lie only once. All those slanders should not be questions put only to me but also to the state prosecutor and the president. They are ascribing their wishes as if they were facts since they would have liked to enter the surveillance room and usurp the prime minister’s seat,” Kurti told reporters today at a joint press conference with Pristina Mayor Shpend Ahmeti.
On today’s protest organised by the Vetevendosje Movement, Kurti said: “Vetevendosje has activists and they act, get organised, work. We as the prime ministry do not take part in organizing such gatherings. We observe them.”
Kurti added that he has no time to be an LVV activist at this time when Kosovo is in a health and economic crisis.
Gazeta Express writes that at the press conference Kurti was asked to comment on Serbian elections and hinted at the possibility of not allowing them to take place in Kosovo.
Stating that they have not received any request for Serbia’s elections to take place in Kosovo, Kurti is quoted as saying that in the past they were not in line with Kosovo’s constitution. “We will be implementing and upholding the Constitution and applicable laws,” he said.
Prosecution gathering information into Thaci’s allegations (Kallxo)
Kosovo’s State Prosecution has began gathering information into allegations made by President Hashim Thaci saying that acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla and Deputy Prime Minister Haki Abazi, went into the Kosovo Post and Telecom surveillance room for three days, Kallxo reports.
In a reply to the news website, the state prosecution confirmed it is collecting information “to determine whether there are sufficient elements to open a criminal case.”
Kurti: Old regime’s time is over (media)
Albin Kurti, acting Prime Minister of Kosovo, said in a Facebook post that “the time of the old regime in Kosovo is over.”
“They are trying to come back through pressure on Constitutional Court judges,” Kurti wrote adding that the allegations of anti-Americanism surface “any time we strike a blow to corruption.”
Kurti wrote: “The people did not submit to one man. And they made the change on 6 October. The acting government will also not submit to this filthy President. The coming days will determine the third decade of the XXI century. Which side are you on?”
Kurti, Ahmeti discuss Covid-19 management efforts (media)
Acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti met today Pristina Mayor Shpend Ahmeti.
In a joint press conference after the meeting, Ahmeti said that they discussed recent developments in Kosovo, especially management of Covid-19 pandemic as well as what lies ahead in the coming days and weeks regarding the relaxation of measures.
Kurti meanwhile said: “As a Government we cooperate with all municipalities and especially with Pristina being the capital. During June when the measures will be relaxed, we will coordinate in order for this relaxation to be as effective as possible.”
“Contour Global” seeks over €20 million in compensation from Kosovo govt (Koha)
Koha reports that the “Contour Global” has demanded from the Government of Kosovo a compensation of over €20 million euros in a letter announcing the termination of contract to build the Kosova e Re power plant.
“We are surprised and disappointed that Contour Global has chosen to unilaterally notify its intent to terminate the agreements with the Government and to make the unfounded and unjust demand for 20,053,125.63 euros of alleged development costs,” the Ministry said in a statement.
It added that Minister Rozeta Hajdari invited Contour Global leaders to a teleconference to discuss matters of the Kosova e Re power plant project but that “instead of responding to our invitation, Contour Global sent the letter to notify its intent to terminate of the contracts and to demand the payment.”
The ministry said that the government of Kosovo will act in accordance with the law and the public interest, working for the economic development and wellbeing of the citizens of Kosovo.
Serbian Language Media
Kosovo North: No new cases, cured and deceased in the last 24 hours (Kontakt plus radio)
In the last 24 hours in the north of Kosovo, no cases of Covid-19 have been reported. Also, there were no cured ones or deceased, announced today the Emergency Situations Headquarters in Mitrovica North.
So far, a total of 117 people were infected with Covid-19 in northern Kosovo.
106 people were cured, and 10 died from the consequences caused by the coronavirus.
By municipalities, in northern Mitrovica there are 44 patients with Covid-19 (40 cured, three died), in Zvecan 25 (24 cured, one deceased), in Zubin Potok 24 (22 cured, two deceased) and in Leposavic 24 (20 cured, four died).
There is one patient with a moderate clinical picture in the Mitrovica Hospital.
Dacic: ”Protection of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is an important and long-term goal of Serbia” (media)
Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic stated that the survival and protection of Serbs in Kosovo is an important and long-term goal, but also one of the basic motives for the commitment to the dialogue with Pristina, reports Belgrade based news agency Tanjug.
Dacic addressed future defense envoys in the United States, the Russian Federation, France, Germany and Bulgaria at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as a part of their preparation for the upcoming duties in Serbian diplomatic missions, and said that he sees reaching a compromise solution to Kosovo as the only right outcome of the normalization of relations, which can be sustainable in the long run.
He stated that the priority is also the successful completion of the process of joining the European Union, which is also a strategic foreign policy direction of Serbia.
Russian ambassador calls for respect of UN SC resolution 1244 on Kosovo (Srna, N1)
Russia’s Ambassador in Belgrade Alexander Botsan Harchenko told the Sputnik portal that Moscow is not calling for a new resolution on Kosovo but wants everyone involved in resolving the issue to stick to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, adding that a lasting solution can only be found through the dialogue in line with the resolution in the interest of both Serbia and the region.
“When and if a solution is found only by the two sides, Belgrade and Pristina with no outside interference can the UN Security Council confirm that decision in a resolution which is the customary procedure,” the ambassador said, adding that once Belgrade and Pristina reach a stable solution, some parts of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 can be changed but that it’s too soon to discuss details.
He said that Moscow’s views are almost identical to Belgrade’s and that there is agreement on key issues about Kosovo.
According to Botsan Harchenko, Russia does not believe that KFOR and EULEX or other international missions should remain in Kosovo permanently.
“Before any decision is taken about Russia’s role in the dialogue we have to know its essence, agenda, that all earlier agreements are being implemented since some key points have not been. Also, the court in the Hague should get to work and not just collect information, creating a semblance of operating,” the Russian ambassador said.
Palmer: US doesn’t support stability at expense of democracy in Serbia (VOA, N1)
Matthew Palmer, the US special envoy to the Western Balkan, told Voice of America (VOA) that Washington did not support stability in Serbia at the expense of the democracy in the country and that it had never done it.
Asked to comment on claims that Washington supported Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic as a credible partner in solving the issue of Kosovo, Palmer said he had been listening to such allegations in the Western Balkans for the last 25 years, but that they were not true.
“We support democracy, the rule of law, efficient governance, media freedom and transparent rule,” in the whole of the Western Balkans for two decades.
Speaking about the forthcoming elections in Serbia, Palmer agreed the conditions “are not ideal, especially regarding the media,” but added the boycott of the vote was not a solution.
He said he understood some of the opposition’s arguments about election conditions being unfair but warned its voice would be even weaker if it didn’t take part in the race.
“It’s important that all political parties have access to the state media, especially to RTS TV,” Palmer, who serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibility for the Western Balkans and the Aegean, told VOA.
“But,” he added, “as we said, the answer is that all political parties, including the ruling ones, enter the arena, to compete, to pass on their messages and secure voters’ support.”
Bilcik supports Lajcak, Vogel thinks he is the wrong man for the dialogue (Beta, Euractiv, KoSSev)
The European Parliament’s Rapporteur for Serbia Vladimir Bilcik believes that the criticism from Pristina against Miroslav Lajcak, does not undermine him as a person, but the EU as an actor, while Toby Vogel from the Council for Democratization Policy still thinks that Lajcak is the wrong man, news agency Beta reports.
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has stated that he has no will to participate in the negotiation process led by Lajcak and that he has full confidence in the American leadership of the dialogue.
Bilcik believes that criticism of the Slovak diplomat should be viewed in the context of Kosovo’s domestic policy.
“If there is no clear and sustainable government in Kosovo, the dialogue with Serbia will not begin,” said Bilcik, a Slovak MEP from the European People’s Party group, Beta writes, quoting Euractiv Slovakia.
He believes that “attempts by Kosovo’s domestic policy to take revenge by referring to European officials are very unfortunate.”
“It is not about undermining Miroslav Lajcak as a person. It is about undermining the EU as an actor,” Bilcik said.
“If someone today offers clear guidelines, a person, political support which has a clear mandate and time frame, it is obviously the EU. The Union must work on the continuation of the dialogue. We have a second chance and we don’t have to have a third,” he said.
According to Bilcik, the idea of exchanging territory opens a “Pandora’s box not only in the Balkans, but also in the wider international context, and cannot be a good start or end to any sustainable agreement.”
Bilcik therefore does not think that the exchange of territory between Kosovo and Serbia could contribute to a sustainable solution.
“We need an agreement acceptable to both sides, but also in the wider region, and at the same time sustainable from the point of view of international law and the European perspective for the Western Balkans,” said the MEP.
When it comes to the Slovak position towards Kosovo, Bilcik suggests that the development of the situation be closely monitored.
“When Belgrade and Pristina agree on a new arrangement of relations, Slovak foreign policy and the new Slovak government should clearly reflect that,” Bilcik said.
He reminded that, even though it does not recognize the independence of Kosovo, Slovakia has “not only active diplomacy represented by Lajcak, but also an active liaison office in Pristina and a deep understanding of practical matters.”
“Since the Slovak map of non-recognition (of Kosovo) is still in play, these are not good signals for Slovakia,” Bilcik warned.
In his opinion, it would be important for Slovakia to e.g. support visa liberalization for Kosovo.
At the same time, Toby Vogel from the Council for the Policy of Democratization, co-author of one of the most critical texts ever written about Lajcak, believes that the Slovak diplomat is the wrong man to lead the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina.
“We in the Council for the Policy of Democratization believe that the EU was wrong when it appointed Lajcak as the special envoy for the negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo,” Vogel told Euractiv Slovakia.
Vogel says that Lajcak is the wrong man for the job because he comes, like his boss Josep Borell, from one of a few EU members that have not recognized Kosovo.
As he added, Lajcak’s appointment from the beginning creates unnecessary complications in the dialogue process, which is already complicated enough.
However, as he said, Lajcak, when he was appointed, showed that he is a professional, rejecting the dangerous idea that the exchange of territory, i.e. the ethnic division of Kosovo, can solve the problem and bring stability.
Lajcak said that publicly, and contrary to his boss Borell, after he supported the idea of exchanging territory.
“I assume that Lajcak did it with the support of powerful members who also oppose the exchange of territory, but such an attitude certainly deserves our respect,” Vogel pointed out.
“The sooner this idea is removed from the table, the better it will be because it will enable the two sides to focus on real issues, and these are not territorial issues,” he added.
Thaci, meanwhile, says Vogel, is “playing the last game” encouraged by the special envoy of the President of the USA, Richard Grenell, who is also “playing his last game”.
According to him, ”Thaci attacked Lajcak not in the interest of his country, but for personal reasons – in order to stay out of the reach of the specialized prosecutor’s office for crimes committed in Kosovo from 1998 to 2000”.
After the government is properly formed in Kosovo, the Prime Minister and not the President will conduct negotiations with Serbia again, and some possibilities could be “closed” for Thaci, Vogel said.
“That is the real motive of Thaci wanting an agreement with Serbian President (Aleksandar) Vucic as soon as possible – that this process brings a rare foreign policy victory to President (Donald) Trump just in time for the US presidential elections,” Vogel concluded.
Serbian cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo a sovereignty issue for both Belgrade and Pristina (KoSSev)
The status of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo, as well as Serbian religious and cultural heritage, is a matter of status and sovereignty, both for Belgrade and Pristina – the majority of experts who attended the webinar on “Serbian Cultural and Religious Heritage in Kosovo, from Ahtisaari’s Special Zones to the Final Status” underlined. On the other hand, this fact politically burdens the key topic for the Serbian church and people in Kosovo, which is why the Eparchy of Raska-Prizren requested that the status of Serbian holy sites in Kosovo be discussed separately from any negotiations on the political status of Kosovo, the Abbot of the Visoki Decani monastery, Sava Janjic said.
A webinar on Serbian religious heritage, at which the key findings of the analysis “Serbian Cultural and Religious Heritage in Kosovo, from Ahtisaari’s Special Zones to the Final Status” were presented, was held last week. The two authors of the analysis Dr. Igor Novakovic (ISAC Fund) and Stefan Surlic (Faculty of Political Science) presented the findings. Other panel members were doc. Dr. Jelena Loncar from the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade and Dr. Milan Igrutinovic, a researcher at the Institute for European Studies, Dr. Jose Maria Arraiza, a researcher from Madrid and the Abbot of the Visoki Decani monastery, Sava Janjic.
See more at: https://bit.ly/2TMBhSz
Covic: In political sense, coronavirus helped some put on or take off their masks (RTS)
Former head of the Serbian Government Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija, Nebojsa Covic told RTS this morning that the US administration entered solving the problems in Kosovo and Metohija unburdened.
Speaking for RTS morning news program Covic said it was difficult to assess whether the Kosovo President or acting Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci and Albin Kurti would go down in history.
“Kurti has scheduled for the afternoon protests, which will be an additional pressure on some final decision of the Constitutional Court that ought to be made tomorrow. The Constitutional Court, we’ll see what it will decide, having in mind that they have a hole in their so-called constitution, which has not defined the time you need to form the new government. We’ll see tomorrow whether the constitutional court will confirm that, or it will confirm it and say that the government should be elected as soon as possible. Kurti said that he will respect the court’s decision if it is in accordance with the Constitution, which is an interesting formulation”, Čović pointed out.
According to Covic, Thaci is supported by Americans.
“His stakes are significantly higher given that he is a man who should be, and I hope that one day he will be prosecuted for war crimes, organ trafficking and crime, both for that time and this time”, Covic said.
He added that “coronavirus has helped some take off their masks, and some to put masks on in the political sense, and Berlin and Germany stand behind Kurti”.
Covic pointed out that Kurti would not give up the fight and perhaps on the new elections. “In these elections we would again have a high degree of uncertainty. We currently do not have a credible interlocutor from either Pristina or the EU. The EU is trying to switch arguments and push some of its problems to the forefront, as if the most important issue in the universe is the issue of solving the problems of Kosovo and Metohija”, Covic said.
Commenting on the US involvement, Covic noted that Trump’s administration entered the issue related to Kosovo and Metohija unburdened.
“It does not belong to the Clinton dynasty, which created such a “miraculous” and disgusting creation. Grenell brought new energy, as did Palmer. They have no burden in terms of cheering passions. They have this attempt to solve the problem of Kosovo and Metohija very clearly and pragmatically”, he further said.
He opined it was a big misconception in Serbian public that the elections were taking place in the US now and that Trump was now in a hurry to solve the problem of Kosovo and Metohija.
“You know the extent to which Trump’s voters are interested in what is happening in Kosovo and Metohija. Trump has a real problem, to repair the impact of the coronavirus, a large number of unemployed people. I believe that Grenell will contribute to a solution, but we should keep in mind that if there is a change – Hoti’s government will come. Hoti’s government is with Mustafa, and Haradinaj is inside. He will not be directly exposed, he will be the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He will now insist on tariffs, stall further, and that is the German model”, Covic opined.
He also said Kosovo Albanians wanted Trump to lose the elections because they gave a lot of money to Engel, Biden.
“These are all dirty money for lobbying. Madeleine Albright also appeared, the Albanians activated that heavy artillery, but it was very rusty. It is important not only for the issue of KiM, but also for global politics that Trump does not lose the elections”, he pointed out.
He opined that Albanians “interpret the Constitutional Court only when they need it”.
“Community of Serbian Municipalities derives from the Brussels Agreement. The guarantors for that agreement are international factors from the EU. There are also personal responsibilities. The Community of Serbian Municipalities was overthrown by that Constitutional Court in Pristina, although it was ratified in the Pristina parliament. About 40 or something agreements were signed. It is necessary to go through what has been implemented, and what has not. It is also in this ultimatum of the Germans and the French, to quote: “the talks need to be held immediately. This “immediately” can only be once all agreements are implemented, not only from the Brussels Agreement, but also further”, Covic underlined.
He pointed out that Kosovo has formed an army without having the right to do so.
“They broke into the power system. The thing which Albanians get homogenized about is the hatred towards Serbs. And now there is usually some surprise like it was on March 17, 2004. I hope it won’t happen again, but let’s just mention it and let us be careful”, Covic concluded.
Jevtic met Risi, discussed frequent attacks against Serbs in Kosovo (TV Most)
Kosovo Minister for Communities and Returns Dalibor Jevtic met today COM KFOR Major General Michele Risi, and discussed with him the latest attacks against Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, TV Most reports.
Jevtic wrote on Twitter that they would inform the public about details of the meeting later on together.
“I have just met and spoke with COM KFOR General Risi regarding the latest attacks against the Serb returnees in Klina and Istok. We would inform the public jointly about details and conclusions from the meeting,” Jevtic said.
Two decades since murder of 4-year old boy and two more Serbs in Cernica village (Radio kontakt plus)
Two decades ago, on this day, an attack in the village of Cernica, near Gnjilane took place in which 4-year old Milos Petrovic and two more older Serb residents were killed, while the attackers and murderers have never been found, Radio kontakt plus reports.
The three persons were shot at, while sitting in front of a village shop. Vojin Vasic (57), Tihomir Simijonovic (43) and Milos Petrovic (4) were killed, while Petko Jankovic (35) sustained serious bodily injuries.
Radio kontakt plus recalled that in the period of 1999 to 2003 seven Serbs were killed in Cernica village and dozen wounded.
Court Ruling May Deepen Divisions in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)
By Armend Bekaj
The country is destined for more political turbulence – whatever line the Constitutional Court takes on the President’s attempt to form a new government.
Like the rest of the world, over the last couple of months Kosovo has been grappling with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike the rest of the world, however, the country has also been caught up in the whirlwind of another crisis.
Unlike the pandemic, whose causes originated elsewhere, this second crisis was triggered by internal political wrangling, and involved the sudden implosion of a newly constituted government.
The result of the last parliamentary election in Kosovo of 6 October 2019 sent tremors through the political spectrum. For the first time in the country’s post-war history, none of the established parties won.
See at: https://bit.ly/3grEGQq
The heroine mother (UNICEF)
A story of love in times of turmoil. A story of courage in times of fear. A story of hope in times when light seems unattainable. A story about the heroines of our daily lives – mothers.
Iron Man, Super Man, Wonder Woman, Power Puff Girls, etc., are a few of the names and images of childhood superheroes. Boys and girls with long capes, supernatural powers, abilities to fly and fight evil, have always been images with whom children grow up and they have continuously grown by mainstream media, and film industry in particular. But recently, as we face the COVID-19 pandemic, the media have turned their attention to heroes that do not wear capes but who fight against the evil threatening mankind every day: doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, etc.
And, certainly, if we think about it, we have always had or have a hero in our lives, without supernatural powers but with powers big enough to change our life so much so that we come to love it and do not surrender even in front of greater challenges.
Meriton Binakaj, from Gjakova, has had such a hero for 24 years now. Meriton has been living with disabilities since 2011, as a result of an accident he had while jumping into the Erenik river of Gjakova. It was the summer holidays when he and his cousins from his mother’s family decided to get some refreshment in the river, which later would turn into the place of his disaster. Meriton hit his head against a stone in the river during his dive, and this left him immobile from that day on.
But there was a person who always stood beside him, every single day.
See at: https://uni.cf/36AKoea
Kon: Serbia on way out of epidemic (B92)
Serbian chief epidemiologist Predrag Kon said today that Serbia is on the way out of the epidemic and that it is entering a period of sporadic outbreaks of coronavirus, B92 reports.
He states that the so-called “wads” can also appear during the month of June.
“We are definitely coming out of the epidemic period. During yesterday, we were at 0.8 percent positive from the number of tested. When it falls below 0.5, it is a sporadic occurrence,” Kon told RTS.
Kon said that for now, there is no talk of opening nursing homes.
“While the virus is in circulation, it can enter a collective where they are sensitive, such as nursing homes. Opening homes for now is not an option, as soon as there is no virus in the circulation, then it will be adequately monitored”, he said.
See at: https://bit.ly/2XGGkoE
WHO office chief says pandemic under control in Serbia (N1, Nedeljnik)
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Serbia Dr Marijan Ivanusa told this week’s issue of Nedeljnik weekly that the situation was under control in Serbia from the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said that there were no sudden rises in the number of people infected, the health care system was not excessively burdened and the response to the pandemic was good. “This is not yet the time to relax completely but it is the time to assess the implemented activities so that we can prepare for a possible second wave,” he said, adding that those measures could not last long because of the economy and the public.
“A return to the new normal has to be cautious so that the epidemiological situation doesn’t deteriorate and spin out of control which is why it’s important for people to stick to prevention measures such as physical distance, masks and hand hygiene,” Ivanusa said.
See at: https://bit.ly/2ZJGNZX