- 28 new cases of coronavirus in last 24 hours (media)
- Quint countries call on leaders to debate without insults, threats (media)
- Risi: Constructive dialogue crucial for regional stability (Koha)
- President Thaci in favor of Preshevo and Bujanovac joining Kosovo (media)
- Hoti: I will not allow anyone to interfere with my competencies (media)
- Tahiri: Dialogue only for mutual recognition (KTV)
- Vucic to Reuters: Recognition of Kosovo not on agenda (media)
- Osmani: Government cannot tell Assembly what to do (Koha)
- PDK doesn’t comment on Hoti’s proposal for forum of leaders (media)
- Konjufca: Thaci, Mustafa formed this government (TV Dukagjini)
- Nagavci: Tomorrow we’ll celebrate, but protests are inevitable (media)
- Thaci: I will leave political life in a few months (media)
- LVV to send Thaci’s to Constitutional Court over ‘intervention’ in MPs vote (media)
- Assembly fails to ratify five international agreements (media)
- President Thaci postpones mayoral elections in Mitrovica North (media)
Kosovo Media Highlights
28 new cases of coronavirus in last 24 hours (media)
All media outlets report that 28 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the last 24 hours.
The Kosovo National Institute for Public Health said in a statement that the new cases are from the municipalities of Prishtina, Vushtrri, FusheKosove, Rahovec, Podujeva, Lipjan, Gjilan, Peja, Mamusha and Gjakova.
The statement also notes that in the last week there have been confirmed cases among staff members of the Kosovo Post and Telecom, the Kosovo Power Corporation, the Arts Gallery, banking institutions and health institutions. Some media report that there are 60 active cases in Prishtina in 11 neighborhoods.
Quint countries call on Kosovo leaders to debate without insults, threats (media)
The Ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States issued a joint statement on Thursday calling on Kosovo’s leaders to debate on challenges and opportunities without insults and threats. The statement notes:
“We call on Kosovo’s political leaders to debate the many challenges and opportunities facing Kosovo without recourse to insults and threats. Kosovo’s democratic future depends on the ability of its leaders to set a positive example of civil discourse and respect for freedom of expression. Any form of inflammatory language, particularly personal attacks intended to promote political objectives, can contribute to an atmosphere that encourages acts of violence. The people of Kosovo deserve better.”
Risi: Constructive dialogue crucial for regional stability (Koha)
KFOR Commander, Major General Michele Risi, in what Koha says is his first interview for a Kosovo media outlet since assuming his current post, noted that NATO supports the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina facilitated by the European Union and considers it the only way to achieve a lasting solution.
“We support all efforts in this direction and welcome any final agreement which would contribute to the region in achieving peace, stability and sustainability,” Risi said.
He said KFOR expects all stakeholders in the region to demonstrate restraint: “Constructive dialogue is crucial for regional stability.”
Risi also spoke about the agreement which does not permit the Kosovo Security Force from deploying to the northern part of Kosovo without prior consent from the KFOR commander noting that he expects local authorities to stick to the deal. He also said that NATO is still reviewing the level of commitment with KSF following decision to transform into an armed force.
President Thaci in favor of Preshevo and Bujanovac joining Kosovo (media)
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said in an interview to News 24 that he wants Bujanovac and Preshevo to join Kosovo and that he is against a land swap with Serbia.
“Kosovo’s integrity is inviolable. I have spent time in Preshevo and Bujanovac. I am in favor of those territories joining Kosovo. I have raised this issue in different international forums. No one can prevent me from voicing their right to join with Kosovo, but not as a land swap. This will not threaten the northern part of Mitrovica. As far as decentralisation is concerned, the issue was closed with the Ahtisaari Package. There will also be no autonomy similar to Republika Srpska. I believe we have common interests that can be achieved through the negotiators. There will be no talks about Mitrovica. I am well aware of Serbia’s tendency to divide Kosovo. Serbia was removed from the territory of the Republic of Kosovo and it will never return. Serbia has committed genocide in Kosovo. It killed over 13,000 Albanians. Over 1,300 children were killed. Thousands of women were raped. No one will ever forget this. There will be no amnesty from Kosovo. The international silence toward Serbia’s crimes has amnestied the crimes. This is concerning,” Thaci said.
Hoti: I will not allow anyone to interfere with my competencies (media)
Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said in an interview to News 24 on Thursday evening that he will be leading the dialogue with Serbia, and not President Hashim Thaci.
Hoti argued that the Constitution of Kosovo provides him with these competencies. He said there will be no clashes between heads of institutions, because the Constitution is clear especially on the process of the dialogue.
“The President has his competencies too,” he added. “I will not allow anyone to interfere with my constitutional competencies. I don’t have the right and I don’t want to delegate my constitutional competencies to anyone else.”
Tahiri: Dialogue only for mutual recognition (KTV)
Kosovo’s Principal Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Tahiri said in an interview to KTV on Thursday that dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia should be done only for mutual recognition.
“We must be careful not to enter into unimportant topics, discussions for the normalisation of relations are meaningless. Relations between countries of the Western Balkans have been normalised through different forums. There are businessmen [in Kosovo] that have economic relations with businessmen in Serbia. Mutual recognition would serve to clarify our path toward the European Union because we have no other path. Second is membership in the United Nations,” he said.
Tahiri said the Kosovo government wants to establish the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities but without executive competencies. He argued that Kosovo is protected from two dangerous topics: the partition of its territory and the Association/Community with executive competencies. According to Tahiri, former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj stopped the idea of partition and that the Constitutional Court ruled against executive competencies for the Association/Community.
Tahiri said the government has prepared the platform for dialogue and that they will present it to the EU Special Representative for the Kosovo – Serbia Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak. “The platform contains the three basic principles: first is territorial integrity, second is the Association must be in line with the Constitution and the third is mutual recognition,” he said. “Without mutual recognition we would be resorting to meetings with smiling photographs and signed agreements that produced no results in practice”.
Vucic to Reuters: Recognition of Kosovo not on agenda (media)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic gave an interview to Reuters highlighting that Serbia was ready to talk to Pristina “without a timeline” and “in good faith”, but that mutual recognition was not on the agenda.
“We are ready for talks but … no white flag,” he told Reuters in an interview. “The dialogue is welcome if it is a dialogue … in which it can be seen what is possible, what is a compromise.
“We believe it is in the best interest of (Kosovo) Albanians and the international community … to talk about a free flow of capital, people and services,” he said.
Read the interview: https://reut.rs/2MSt2k8
Osmani: Government cannot tell Assembly what to do (Koha)
Kosovo Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani has reacted to Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti’s presentation of the dialogue with Serbia platform where he said that he would propose the creation of a parliamentary committee on the issue which would be chaired by the opposition.
Osmani said the Government cannot tell the legislative branch how it should act. “New committees can be formed upon an initiative from the MPs and their votes. The Government cannot tell the Assembly what to do. We oversee the Government,” she underlined.
PDK doesn’t comment on Hoti’s proposal for forum of leaders (media)
The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) said in a statement on Thursday that it will not comment on Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti’s proposal for a forum of party leaders on the dialogue with Serbia.
“We cannot comment on an invitation which in reality does not exist yet. Invitations from studios and public statements of different officials are not serious and regrettably speak of the wicked approach of this government on the dialogue and the seriousness about this very important process. It seems that for the Prime Minister of the status quo government, more important is the unity of academics and their support than the support of political parties,” the PDK media office said in a statement.
Konjufca: This government was formed by Thaci and Mustafa (TV Dukagjini)
Kosovo’s former Foreign Minister and senior Vetevendosje member, Glauk Konjufca, said in an interview to TV Dukagjini on Thursday that the current government has been formed by President Hashim Thaci and Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) leader Isa Mustafa.
According to Konjufca, Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti has the least important role in the government and that the government could not have been formed without Thaci’s support.
Konjufca also said that the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) initiated the no-confidence motion against the former government led by Albin Kurti “only to replace the Prime Minister”.
Nagavci: Tomorrow we’ll celebrate, but protests are inevitable (media)
Vetevendosje senior member and Kosovo Assembly Vice President, Arberie Nagavci, said in a Facebook post on Thursday that Vetevendosje’s rally in downtown Prishtina on Friday will be a celebration but that future protests are inevitable.
“With this illegitimate government, the government of the president, it seems that protests will become inevitable very soon,” she wrote.
Thaci: I will leave political life in a few months (media)
The President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said he will not run again for the president and that he will leave the political life.
He added that he would not return to the path he had gone through, the moment his mandate ends. “In a few months, I will finally leave the institutional life. I will neither run for the president nor will I return to the path I already passed,” Thaci said.
He further promised that he will not return to any institutional position. “So, I will not return to any institutional position, parliament or government. I will be Hashim Thaci, without the institutional attire,” Thaci said.
“I leave when the country is in the right direction,” he told Syri TV.
LVV to send Thaci’s to Constitutional Court over ‘intervention’ in MPs vote (media)
Head of the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) parliamentary group Rexhep Selimi has announced the party will be sending to the Constitutional Court the case involving President Hashim Thaci and his alleged interference over the vote of the MP Haxhi Shala on the formation of the new government.
Selimi said Thaci committed a constitutional violation when he paid a visit to Shala a night before the voting session and convinced him to change his vote. “MP Shala explained the case pretty well. This is a constitutional violation on the part of Thaci and we will therefore be sending it to the Constitutional Court.”
Assembly fails to ratify five international agreements (media)
Kosovo Assembly failed to ratify five international financial agreements after MPs from the Vetevendosje Movement and the Democratic Party of Kosovo did not vote, media report.
The Head of the EU Office in Kosovo, Nataliya Apostolova, commented on Twitter: “Disappointed with today’s Assembly failure to ratify several international agreements including Kosovo’s participation in EU programmes #Fiscalis 2020 & #Customs 2020, depriving Kosovo tax & customs from modernizing their work & sharing knowhow with colleagues in the EU & beyond.”
President Thaci postpones mayoral elections in Mitrovica North (media)
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci decided on Thursday that the mayoral elections in Mitrovica North must be postponed due to the threat from the COVID – 19 pandemic, most news websites reported.
“With the aim of preventing the spread of the COVID – 19 coronavirus and preventing an increased number of cases in the Republic of Kosovo and protecting public health, the extraordinary mayoral elections in Mitrovica North, following the mayor’s resignation, are indefinitely postponed,” Thaci said in his decision.