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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 2, 2020

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Albanian Language Media:

• Kosovo Assembly to vote on Hoti government tomorrow (media)
• Hamza: PDK will not vote in favor of Hoti government (Telegrafi)
• CDHRF: No one can pressure MPs on how to vote (media)
• Kurti’s advisor: Any government without winner of elections, illegitimate! (media)
• Vetevendosje starts petition calling for elections (media)
• Two casualties in Novobrdo mine landslide (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Lajcak received the support of 27 member states to continue the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina (Kosovo Online)
• Belgrade & Washington disappointed with Kosovo’s new ban on goods from Serbia (Fonet, N1)
• Grenell resigned from State Department, remains special envoy for dialogue (B92)
• Djuric and Botsan-Kharchenko: Pristina’s behavior requires a sharp and decisive reaction from the international community (media)
• Serbian Ministry of Culture: Nefarious falsification of facts (TV Most, RTV Puls)
• Jevtic: Repanovic families from Osojane village robbed (Kosovo Online)
• Mijacic: Kosovo is not a topic for the parliamentary elections in Serbia (RTK2)
• Kosovo police spokesperson: Entry in Kosovo possible for everyone, with medical procedures (Radio KIM)
• No new cases of Covid-19 infection in Serb-populated areas in Kosovo (Kosovo-online)
• Confusion at Jarinje crossing point, hundred trucks waiting (RTS)

Opinion:

• Liberals in the EU should turn enlargement into a success of the European project (EWB)

International:

• Kosovo Govt Defends New Reciprocity Measures Against Critics (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Unclean Energy: The Kosovar Who Would Own the Sun (Balkan Insight)
• ‘If we gave up, what would happen to my children?’ (Prishtina Insight)
• Italian Ambassador to Serbia: Thank you for generous donation, it will be remembered (N1, FoNet)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Kosovo Assembly to vote on Hoti government tomorrow (media)
  • Hamza: PDK will not vote in favor of Hoti government (Telegrafi)
  • CDHRF: No one can pressure MPs on how to vote (media)
  • Kurti’s advisor: Any government without winner of elections, illegitimate! (media)
  • Vetevendosje starts petition calling for elections (media)
  • Two casualties in Novobrdo mine landslide (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Lajcak received the support of 27 member states to continue the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina (Kosovo Online)
  • Belgrade & Washington disappointed with Kosovo’s new ban on goods from Serbia (Fonet, N1)
  • Grenell resigned from State Department, remains special envoy for dialogue (B92)
  • Djuric and Botsan-Kharchenko: Pristina’s behavior requires a sharp and decisive reaction from the international community (media) 
  • Serbian Ministry of Culture: Nefarious falsification of facts (TV Most, RTV Puls)
  • Jevtic: Repanovic families from Osojane village robbed (Kosovo Online)
  • Mijacic: Kosovo is not a topic for the parliamentary elections in Serbia (RTK2) 
  • Kosovo police spokesperson: Entry in Kosovo possible for everyone, with medical procedures (Radio KIM)
  • No new cases of Covid-19 infection in Serb-populated areas in Kosovo (Kosovo-online)
  • Confusion at Jarinje crossing point, hundred trucks waiting (RTS)

Opinion:

  • Liberals in the EU should turn enlargement into a success of the European project (EWB)

International:

  • Kosovo Govt Defends New Reciprocity Measures Against Critics (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development: 

  • Unclean Energy: The Kosovar Who Would Own the Sun (Balkan Insight)
  • ‘If we gave up, what would happen to my children?’ (Prishtina Insight)
  • Italian Ambassador to Serbia: Thank you for generous donation, it will be remembered (N1, FoNet)

 

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Kosovo Assembly to vote on Hoti government tomorrow (media)

Kosovo Assembly presidency has decided to hold a session tomorrow to vote for the new government led by Avdullah Hoti from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK)

“After receiving the ruling, on behalf of the Democratic League I submitted a request for a session on Wednesday at 11 o’clock with only one item in the agenda: voting of the new government,” head of the LDK parliamentary group Arben Gashi told reporters today.

Gashi said they have all the necessary votes to form the new government.

Hamza: PDK will not vote in favor of Hoti government (Telegrafi)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) parliamentary group chief, Bedri Hamza, told the news website today that this party will not vote in favor of the Hoti-led government.

“The Democratic Party of Kosovo has been clear and consistent in its statements. We have said from the beginning that we will be in the opposition and that we will not vote in favor of the new government,” Hamza said.

CDHRF: No one can pressure MPs on how to vote (media)

The Prishtina-based Council for the Defense of Human Right and Freedoms (CDHRF) issued a statement today saying that tomorrow’s assembly session where MPs will vote on the new government “must be held in the premises of a parliamentary democracy with respect for every vote as a free expression of the will of the MPs, regardless if they vote in favor or against”.

The CDHRF also said: “No one can pressure MPs on how to vote. The session that will vote on the new government can in no way escalate into non-parliamentary actions, otherwise those that engage in such actions will be held politically accountable and could face consequences in the new elections which according to CDHRF are not far away”.

Kurti’s advisor: Any government without winner of elections is illegitimate! (media)

Erzen Vraniqi, advisor to Kosovo’s acting Prime Minister Albin Kurti, said in a Facebook post today that any new government without the winner of the elections is illegitimate. “Any government without the winner of the elections and imposed on the will of the people is illegitimate!” Vraniqi argues.

Vetevendosje starts petition calling for elections (media)

After launching an online petition calling for elections on 30 May, the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) has opened the petition for citizens at Pristina’s “Mother Teresa” square.

Klan Kosova reports that the petition will also be available for signature in all Kosovo municipalities while Koha reports that so far over 46,000 citizens have signed the petition. 

Two casualties in Novobrdo mine landslide (media)

All news outlets report that two persons died as a result of a landslide inside a mine in Novobrdo today. Kosovo Security Force (KSF) specialised teams are already at the site trying to recover the bodies of an engineer and a miner that lost their lives.

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Lajcak received the support of 27 member states to continue the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina (Kosovo Online)

The dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and the future of the Western Balkans were the topics of a panel held today in Brussels, and EU Special Envoy Miroslav Lajcak wrote on Twitter that he had received the support of 27 member states to continue the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

“Thank you for the strong support I received today from the 27 EU member states! A very encouraging discussion about my mandate and the path ahead of us,” Lajcak wrote.

Austrian Ambassador to the EU Christina Kokkinakis confirmed that on her official Twitter account.

“Excellent discussion in Brussels with EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak on the continuation of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and on the future of the Western Balkans in the EU,” she wrote.

Belgrade & Washington disappointed with Kosovo’s new ban on goods from Serbia (Fonet, N1)

The latest decision by Pristina’s authorities to condition import of goods from Serbia with ‘Kosovo’ as its destination is damaging and make the resumption of the dialogue with Belgrade on the normalisation of relations more difficult, Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in his Monday’s meeting with the US ambassador to the country Antony Godfrey, the FoNet news agency reported.

Both Dacic and Godfrey said they were disappointed with the move.

The Foreign Ministry’s statement quoted the ambassador as saying he hoped that all restrictions to the dialogue would soon be lifted.

Godfrey reiterated that it would be essential for all political parties in Serbia take part in the forthcoming general elections make the Parliament the place where all the voices would be heard, the statement added.

See at: https://bit.ly/3gMj5SQ

Grenell resigned from State Department, remains special envoy for dialogue (B92)

Richard Grenell resigned from his position in the US State Department last night, but he remains a special envoy for the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, B92 reports.

“Today I officially resigned from the State Department. And President Trump presented me with a going away gift,” Grenell announced on social networks.

Grenell did not resign as an envoy in the dialogue on Kosovo.

“Grenell continues to serve as a special envoy for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia,” this was confirmed by his spokesperson, Dick Custin for Pristina-based Gazeta Express, as reported by Kosovo-online portal.

Djuric and Botsan-Kharchenko: Pristina’s behavior requires a sharp and decisive reaction from the international community (media) 

Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric met the Ambassador of the Russian Federation Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko, to whom he once again confirmed that Serbia was committed to a path of dialogue on a lasting and sustainable solution to the Kosovo issue and recalled the position that a solution can be sought only within the framework of Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council and the Constitution of Serbia, reported media.

The interlocutors discussed the situation after the introduction of the blockade of Pristina on lorries traffic and goods from central Serbia, agreeing that the behavior of Pristina required a sharp and decisive reaction of the international community, the Office for Kosovo and Metohija announced.

Informing his interlocutor about the problems and position of Serbs in Kosovo, Djuric once again thanked Ambassador Botsan-Kharchenko for the fraternal support that Russia provided to Serbia in its efforts to fight for its state and national interests and the protection of its people in Kosovo. 

According to Djuric, the friendship between Serbia and Russia is permanent and unbreakable, and in the next period, he was convinced, it would be strengthened additionally by the cooperation between the two countries and the friendship of Presidents Aleksandar Vucic and Vladimir Putin.

On that occasion, Djuric personally congratulated Ambassador Botsan-Kharchenko on the 75th anniversary of the victory over fascism and expressed satisfaction that Serbia was invited to be represented at the highest level at the military parade in Moscow on June 24.

Serbian Ministry of Culture: Nefarious falsification of facts (TV Most, RTV Puls)

Serbian Ministry of Culture in a press statement said it with concern wants to draw attention of the domestic and international public that on May 30, in a prime time of the Albanian TV Top Channel that can be viewed in Kosovo and North Macedonia a documentary titled “Great Serbian Historic Deception – How Serbs Have Stolen Albanian History,” was aired, TV Most reports.

The movie in an abundant and nefarious manner falsifies historic facts, and Serbian churches, monasteries, monuments and spiritual tradition in Kosovo and Metohija depicts as Albanian, with a clear aim of promoting a great-Albanian pogrom policy to the detriment of Serbia and Serbian population, the statement further reads.

The Ministry further assessed that this expensive production in which numerous teams have participated, this shameful and grotesque historical fraud would be a pitiful provocation only if it does not contain dangerous intentions taking place in a politically challenging and tense epoch.

The Ministry also said it once again must point out to the domestic and international public at the obviously orchestrated activities by chauvinist cycles from neighboring countries in the region directed at annulment, removal from the history and hijacking of the Serbian cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. Such attempts, the Ministry warned, contain features of a cultural genocide.

The Ministry urged all those involved, including individuals, groups and institutions to exercise restraint, and Serbian public, including educational institutions, diplomatic personnel, media and social subjects to work and further promote and protect the Serbian culture, tradition, language, alphabet both within the country and abroad.

Jevtic: Repanovic families from Osojane village robbed (Kosovo Online)

The Minister for Communities and Returns, Dalibor Jevtic announced on his Twitter account that the returnee families Repanovic from Osojane in the municipality of Istok were robbed, reported portal Kosovo Online. 

“This time, the target of the robbers was the Repanovic family from Osojane. One family’s house was robbed, and the other had agricultural machinery stolen,” Jevtic wrote on Twitter.

He stated that the “pandemic” attacks Serbian returnees and is spreading every day.

“We don’t need a vaccine to stop this ‘virus.’ We need a better institutional reaction,” Jevtic wrote.

Mijacic: Kosovo is not a topic for the parliamentary elections in Serbia (RTK2) 

Coordinator of the Working Group of the National Convention on the EU for Chapter 35 in an interview for RTK2 said that Kosovo and the dialogue were not the topic of the political campaign in Serbia for the June 21 elections, but that this would be the topic in the period after the elections. Mijacic opined that the exchange of territories was not an option, but that it was possible for the territorial delimitation or compensation to take place.

He stated that Kosovo was not the main or secondary topic, which should not be surprising because Kosovo has not been part of the campaign for a long time.

”The last time Kosovo was part of the campaign was for the 2012 parliamentary elections. After that, there was less and less talk in each election cycle, so that will not be the dominant topic”.

”It is not a surprise because even during the elections in Kosovo, negotiations and normalization with Serbia were also not part of the campaign but were left aside,” Mijacic opined.

According to him, the negotiation process was the exclusive right of political elites, while the opposition was rarely involved in such processes and debates.

”It is certainly not good because we have a situation where many things are agreed and negotiated in a non-transparent way. There was very little political debate in parliament and outside parliament between political parties about the negotiations in Brussels,” Mijacic said.

He did not expect an agreement to be reached during the summer or early fall and added that there would be no agreement until the middle of next year.

”If something is achieved, we see that the Americans have some initiative, I think it will be more an intention to reach an agreement than it will really be an agreement,” he said.

Speaking about the option of the territorial exchange, Mijacic opined that this was not a topic and reminded of the letter of ambassadors Kosnett, Grenell and Palmer, in which, as he said, it was said that such a solution was not on the table. But he added that Americans were open to listening to different modalities and solutions. 

“In that sense, it is possible that some more creative solutions would be found than the it was the case in 2008, and maybe some kind of territorial demarcation or territorial compensations, but I simply do not believe that it will be a big topic, the main topic in the negotiations,” Mijacic said.

He stated that at this moment, there was no agreement in Kosovo or Belgrade for such a solution.

Mijacic pointed out that both the USA and EU were actively engaged in starting the negotiations and underlined that the EU had a UN mandate to organize negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, while the USA was trying to influence the parties and put them at the negotiating table.

”I do not expect the Americans to reach an agreement, I think it will be the EU,” Mijacic said, explaining that it was not clear in which mandate or time period.

Kosovo police spokesperson: Entry in Kosovo possible for everyone, with medical procedures (Radio KIM)

Kosovo police refuted a news report published yesterday by some media in northern Kosovo that citizens residing in Serbia were not allowed to enter Kosovo, but only persons who have Kosovo documents or Serbian documents issued by police administrations for the cities in Kosovo, RTV KIM reports.

Police spokesman Baki Kelani told RTV KIM that, according to the official decision of the government “all persons entering the territory of Kosovo are obliged to undergo examinations by medical teams”.

“All persons who enter the territory of Kosovo and have a negative test result on COVID-19, not older than 4 days, do not undergo self-isolation procedures. Those who do not have a test will be forced to isolate themselves for 7 days”, Kelani said in a written reply to RTV KIM.

RTV Kim pointed out that “this way, yesterday’s article published by a portal from the north was refuted, which said that entry in Kosovo through the Jarinje crossing is possible without going to quarantine or self-isolation”.

Deputy director of Kosovo police, Dejan Jankovic, confirmed the same for RTV Kim.

“Everyone who enters Kosovo has the obligation of self-isolation for seven days”, Jankovic said. 

Asked whether it is true that citizens who have documents issued in the Republic of Serbia were not allowed to enter Kosovo yesterday in Jarinje, Jankovic said he was not aware of that, stressing that “if they do not have a test on Covid-19, citizens with documents issued in the cities of the Republic of Serbia, they must give the exact address where they will stay during the seven days of isolation.” 

No new cases of Covid-19 infection in Serb-populated areas in Kosovo (Kosovo-online)

There was no new Covid-19 infection case registered in the Serb-populated areas in Kosovo over the last 24 hours, the Crisis Committee of Mitrovica North announced, Kosovo-online portal reports.

As it was noted since the outbreak of the pandemic a total of 118 persons have been infected. Out of this number 106 persons have been cured, and ten persons have passed away.

The two remaining active cases are at Clinical Hospital Centre in Mitrovica North, the portal added. 

Confusion at Jarinje crossing point, hundred trucks waiting (RTS)

Around one hundred trucks from the direction of Raska, central Serbia are waiting at the administrative crossing point of Jarinje to enter Kosovo, because Pristina authorities for a third day in a row do not allow their entry as the goods they transport do not have labels indicating Kosovo statehood and special permits.

According to RTS trucks using Kosovo and Metohija as a transit route were permitted to pass last night. Other trucks transporting the goods to the customers in the cities in Kosovo were unable to do so.

The RTS describes the situation at Jarinje crossing point is rather confusing, adding that the truck drivers are waiting for new instructions from the companies whose goods they transport or new permits to enter Kosovo as requested by Pristina authorities.

Jarinje crossing point is one of the several crossings open to traffic in line with new measures of the Kosovo government.

 

 

Opinion

 

Liberals in the EU should turn enlargement into a success of the European project (EWB)

In March, the EU member states eventually decided, following their failure to do so in 2018 and 2019, to give a green light to opening accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. This decision was all the more symbolic since it was kept on the agenda despite the actors’ time and attention being monopolized by the coronavirus crisis. Five weeks later, the EU came out with an unprecedented 3,3 billion euros support package to the Western Balkans in order to cope with the pandemic.

Following harsh criticism over its lack of solidarity towards its members and candidate countries, the EU appeared to raise the challenge with the region through urgent and long-term financial support unmatched by any other EU partner worldwide. Thus, as the communiqué of the Zagreb Summit of 6 May emphasizes, such commitment is evidence of strategic importance of the Western Balkans to the EU.

However, despite the EU reaffirming the “unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans”, the words “enlargement” or “integration” were nowhere to be seen, which triggered a debate over whether “enlargement” had become taboo, and “European perspective” a vague and empty formula.

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

 

 

 International

 

Kosovo Govt Defends New Reciprocity Measures Against Critics (Balkan Insight)

Kosovo’s incumbent government has defended its decision to introduce new reciprocity measures against Serbia after the EU, the Kosovo President and other key politicians in the country condemned them as divisive and unnecessary.

The decision by the Kosovo government at the weekend to introduce new reciprocity measures against Serbia has sharply divided opinion at home and abroad, with the EU slating the move and some domestic leaders, including the President, also condemning it.

See at: https://bit.ly/2U1iAuu

 

Humanitarian / Development

 

Unclean Energy: The Kosovar Who Would Own the Sun (Balkan Insight)

Sunlight glinted off row upon row of solar panels stretching into the hills around the village of Madanaj in western Kosovo.

It was October 2018 and the country, a little over a decade old, was unveiling its first solar park a few kilometres from the site where Serb security forces executed 376 ethnic Albanian civilians in April 1999 in the worst mass killing of the Kosovo war.

If the massacre at Meja marked the darkest moment in Kosovo’s quest for independence, the new solar park was surely a shining example of how far it had come since independence from Serbia in 2008, of its technological advancement and ambition to be free of the coal-fired power plants that have clogged the lungs of generations of Kosovars.

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

‘If we gave up, what would happen to my children?’ (Prishtina Insight)

Families caring for children with disabilities have long felt let down by the Kosovo state, which has failed to provide either adequate specialist education or financial support.

Residents living near Aziz Nishori’s apartment block in Lipjan have witnessed an extraordinary project taking shape over the last few weeks. Outside the communal building, an elevator is being constructed which reaches up to the fifth floor, where the Nishori family live.

“I am constructing the elevator for my son Pajtim, who has been in a wheelchair since he was 14 after an accident,” Nishori explains to Prishtina Insight. 

Nishori is an engineer, and is emotional now that his project is coming together. “As you can see, I will open a door on the balcony where Pajtim will enter in the elevator, and in a matter of seconds he will be on the ground,” he says. “Up until now we have carried him up and down the stairs.”

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

Italian Ambassador to Serbia: Thank you for generous donation, it will be remembered (N1, FoNet)

Carlo Lo Cascio, the Italian Ambassador to Serbia, thanked Belgrade and President Aleksandar Vucic for the generous medical equipment donation to Rome, adding it would be remembered, FoNet news agency reported on Tuesday.

On the occasion of the Republic of Italy Day, Lo Cascio said that “it was an authentic friendship gesture that would remain in the history of our diplomatic relations.”

“Serbia has shown solidarity with us, and I use this opportunity to thank all of those who showed their affection for Italy,” the Ambassador said.

He added Italy believed in the Western Balkans integration into the European Union and would actively support Serbia’s European path.

“We’ll continue to work together and support many Italian companies already working in Serbia. I invite you to go forward with new energy, creating new chances for the cooperation between Italy and Serbia,” Lo Cascio told his compatriots in Serbia.

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

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