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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 24, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 24, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• Osmani: EU has not delivered on visa liberalisation promise (KP/Koha)
• PDK submits request for creation of committee on privatisation (Klan)
• Zemaj: We are trying to pursue mass testing for Covid-19 (Klan)
• 85 coronavirus patients receiving treatment at Infectious Clinic in Pristina (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Serbia’s army among participants, Vucic among guests at Moscow parade (Beta, FoNet, N1)
• Vucic: I spoke with Macron, I expect swift continuation of Brussels dialogue (Tanjug)
• NGO: Concern over increase in incidents in Serb communities in Kosovo (Kontakt plus radio, KIM radio)
• Gracanica: First case of coronavirus infection recorded- unofficial (RTK2)
• Godfrey: America offers Serbia and Kosovo a chance (Danas)
• Grenell denies NYT report Trump will meet Vucic on June 27 (FoNet, N1)
• Vucic after meeting Putin: “We discussed issues I cannot talk about in public” (B92)
• Priluzje residents: Four people dead after ‘consuming suspicious brandy’; KP and Prosecution: Waiting for autopsy results (KoSSev)
• Lajcak: Belgrade-Pristina talks in July, EU insists on implementation of deals (N1, FoNet)
• Detention of Marko Rosic extended for two more months (Kosovo-online)

International:

• Serbia, Kosovo Leaders Expected in Brussels before Washington Meeting (Balkan Insight)
• Kosovo talks to focus on economy, less likely to affect US military role (Stars and Stripes)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Western Balkans coal power plants are still breaching pollution limits (emerging-europe.com)
• Vucic: Claims on reduced number of dead and infected in Serbia hypocritical (BETA, N1)
• Serbian anti-Covid-19 Crisis Team: Face masks mandatory in public transport (N1)
• OpisMEDIJavanje: Public service broadcasters should reflect pluralism of society (KoSSev)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Osmani: EU has not delivered on visa liberalisation promise (KP/Koha)
  • PDK submits request for creation of committee on privatisation (Klan)
  • Zemaj: We are trying to pursue mass testing for Covid-19 (Klan)
  • 85 coronavirus patients receiving treatment at Infectious Clinic in Pristina (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Serbia’s army among participants, Vucic among guests at Moscow parade (Beta, FoNet, N1)
  • Vucic: I spoke with Macron, I expect swift continuation of Brussels dialogue (Tanjug)
  • NGO: Concern over increase in incidents in Serb communities in Kosovo (Kontakt plus radio, KIM radio)
  • Gracanica: First case of coronavirus infection recorded- unofficial (RTK2)
  • Godfrey: America offers Serbia and Kosovo a chance (Danas)
  • Grenell denies NYT report Trump will meet Vucic on June 27 (FoNet, N1)
  • Vucic after meeting Putin: “We discussed issues I cannot talk about in public” (B92)
  • Priluzje residents: Four people dead after ‘consuming suspicious brandy’; KP and Prosecution: Waiting for autopsy results (KoSSev)
  • Lajcak: Belgrade-Pristina talks in July, EU insists on implementation of deals (N1, FoNet)
  • Detention of Marko Rosic extended for two more months (Kosovo-online)

International:

  • Serbia, Kosovo Leaders Expected in Brussels before Washington Meeting (Balkan Insight)
  • Kosovo talks to focus on economy, less likely to affect US military role (Stars and Stripes)

Humanitarian/Development: 

  • Western Balkans coal power plants are still breaching pollution limits (emerging-europe.com)
  • Vucic: Claims on reduced number of dead and infected in Serbia hypocritical (BETA, N1)
  • Serbian anti-Covid-19 Crisis Team: Face masks mandatory in public transport (N1)
  • OpisMEDIJavanje: Public service broadcasters should reflect pluralism of society (KoSSev)  

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Osmani: EU has not delivered on visa liberalisation promise (KP/Koha)

Kosovo Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani said that the European Union has failed to deliver on its promises of granting visa-free travel to the people of Kosovo.

“Up to date, despite all our efforts and recognised progress, two million Kosovars, one of the most pro-European people, have remained far from the rest of Europe. Allow me to conclude by reiterating our call, not only of our institutions but of all the people of Kosovo, to European Union to keep its promise on visa liberalisation,” Osmani said in her remarks during the online session of the The South East European Cooperation Process  (SEECP) Parliamentary Assembly, which is being chaired by Kosovo.

Osmani said that the SEECP role is very important for the region’s stability and prosperity.

PDK submits request for creation of committee on privatisation (Klan)

The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) has formally submitted a request for establishment of a parliamentary committee to investigate the privatisation process in Kosovo.

The request states that the privatisation process, launched almost two decades ago, is one of the most significant economic developments and has often been criticised for irregularities.  “A parliamentary inquiry would shed light to the truths unknown to the citizens of Kosovo,” PDK said.

Earlier, PDK leader Kadri Veseli announced that the party plans to organise a number of parliamentary initiatives. 

Zemaj: We are trying to pursue mass testing for Covid-19 (Klan)

Kosovo’s Health Minister Armend Zemaj said that since assuming the new post, 6,000 tests for coronavirus were carried out in Kosovo and that they are making efforts to ensure mass testing takes place in order to put the pandemic situation under control.

Zemaj said that while there is an increase of new Covid-19 cases in the recent period, there is also an increase of recoveries. “Fortunately, we are moving towards improvement of the situation and of control. All that is needed is to manage the situation,” he said.

Zemaj said there is confusion among the citizens of Kosovo about coronavirus facts. “It is true there is a perception among the citizens that Covid-19 doesn’t exist but we will have an active media campaign to provide accurate information.”

85 coronavirus patients receiving treatment at Infectious Clinic in Pristina (media)

The Infectious Clinic in Pristina announced that of 100 patients currently receiving treatment in the ward, 85 are infected with coronavirus.

Of this figure, six are said to be in critical condition.

Meanwhile, the media reported that one more coronavirus-related death was reported in Kosovo. The most recent victim was an employee of the Kosovo Post.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Serbia’s army among participants, Vucic among guests at Moscow parade (Beta, FoNet, N1)

It should always be remembered that the Soviet people won over Nazism and liberated the European nations from the conqueror, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin told the military parade in Moscow marking the end of the WWII, the news agencies reported on Wednesday.

The traditional parade held on May 9 had to be moved due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic was among foreign guests, while the Army of Serbia (VS) Guard took part in the parade.

“The Soviet people ended the horrible Holocaust, saved the world from fascism. It is beyond comprehension what would have happened to the world if there were no the Red Army,” Putin added.

He added Russia was ready for a dialogue and cooperation in the most critical international issues, like the creation of the collective security system necessary for the contemporary world which changed so quickly.

“Only together can we protect ourselves from dangerous threats,” Putin said.

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

Vucic: I spoke with Macron, I expect swift continuation of Brussels dialogue (Tanjug)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic neither confirmed nor denied information that the meeting on Kosovo could take place in Paris on July 17, adding he expects swift continuation of political dialogue in Brussels, Tanjug news agency reports.

Asked to comment on Pristina media reports that French President Emmanuel Macron will organize the Belgrade-Pristina summit in Paris on July 17 and whether he has received an invitation to attend, Vucic confirmed that he has spoken with the French President Macron.

“I have spoken with Macron, but I do not like filling the newspapers’ articles with the things I haven’t agreed with the people I have talked to,” Vucic said.

He also noted there would be more important meetings, and he expects swift continuation of political dialogue in Brussels. 

“Really soon, it is not a matter of months, but rather about days or weeks”, he added.

Asked does it mean that a breakthrough would occur during the summer, Vucic responded “there would certainly be the talks, and whether the progress would happen or not, we shall see it”.

NGO: Concern over increase in incidents in Serb communities in Kosovo (Kontakt plus radio, KIM radio)

The non-governmental organization “Aktiv” and the Community of Serbs in Kosovo express concern when it comes to the reactions of the police to more than 20 incidents, in which the Kosovo Serbs were targeted, and that were registered in the period from March 15 to June 3, 2020.

“We believe that more can be done at the level of local and central institutions, and that means taking additional preventive security measures to protect vulnerable citizens and ensure that crimes are fully investigated,” the statement said, quotes Kontakt plus radio. 

Unusual circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic have indicated the problems that non-majority communities face in Kosovo, the statement added.

“Despite these challenges, the constitutional and legal frameworks that guarantee personal security, as well as the security of property, should be respected, which will serve to strengthen decades of efforts and investments in building a secure and multiethnic environment,” the statement said.

The NGO “Aktiv” calls on the relevant institutions to provide additional support and resources in cases related to the collective security and safety of members of non-majority communities, the statement added.

Gracanica: First case of coronavirus infection recorded – unofficial (RTK2)

As RTK2 unofficially finds out, the first case of coronavirus infection was recorded on the territory of the municipality of Gracanica.

The National Institute of Public Health in Pristina announced last night that 52 new cases of Kovid-19 infection were registered in Kosovo, which increased the total number of infected to 2.268 people.

Godfrey: America offers Serbia and Kosovo a chance (Danas)

The meeting of the representatives of Belgrade and Pristina on June 27 in Washington represents a chance for the two sides to open the door to new economic development and investments – US Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey told Belgrade based daily Danas, emphasizing that he is “certainly optimistic” about the meeting.

The Pristina delegation in Washington will be led by the President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, and the Serbian delegation will be led by President Aleksandar Vucic. 

Thaci stated earlier that it was possible to reach an agreement between the two sides in Washington, and that a different outcome would be failure, while Vucic said that he did not expect a “spectacular” result, but a rational conversation.

– The United States hopes that the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia will use this chance (meeting in Washington) to return to dialogue and to start a new era of stability and prosperity. The people in this region do not deserve anything less than that – says Ambassador Godfrey.

The special envoy of the President of the USA for the negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia Richard Grenell stated earlier this month that the meeting of the delegations of Belgrade and Pristina in the White House on June 27 provides an opportunity and opens the door to economic development and investments.

Danas daily recalled that Grenell also said that he had received assurances from the governments of Kosovo and Serbia that they would temporarily stop the campaign of withdrawing the recognition of Kosovo’s independence, i.e. Kosovo’s request for membership in international organizations, which would enable a meeting of their representatives in the White House.

Grenell denies NYT report Trump will meet Vucic on June 27 (FoNet, N1)

Majority of Serbian media yesterday quoted the New York Times story and its part on the US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Serbia’s President Aleksandra Vucic in White House on June 27.

Although Vucic, when asked about the NYT report, also said he didn’t think that would happen.

The New York Times issued a correction on the story, the FoNet news agency reported.  

The correction came after Trump’s special envoy for the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations, said that would not happen.

Grenell said the NYT was also wrong in describing his job as the US envoy for the Balkans.

He accused one of the most prestigious world newspapers, which won 130 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other paper, of not even contacting him about it’s claim.

Grenell will host Vucic and Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci at the White House on June 27 in a US effort to revive the dialogue that has been on hold since November 2018 and accelerate the search for a final and comprehensive solution to the Kosovo problem.

Vucic after meeting Putin: “We discussed issues I cannot talk about in public” (B92)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday, and after the meeting Vucic announced Putin’s visit to Serbia, adding that the Russian President was too wise to warn him directly about the upcoming meetings that await Vucic, B92 reports.

“Putin is too wise and great to do it so directly, but can he point to some things smartly? There is no doubt about that. He confirmed that he is coming to Serbia in October. It will be a magnificent event on the occasion of opening the Temple of Saint Sava”, Vucic said.

He thanked the Russian President for the warm welcome.

“We really had a good conversation and some things you can’t talk about publicly. I am grateful to President Putin for the warm reception, he congratulated me in front of the Russian media on a convincing victory in the elections,” he said, announcing “good news for Serbia.”

He also spoke about the upcoming meetings before leaving for Washington.

“On Thursday evening, I will be with Ursula von der Leyen and Varhelyi. On Friday, I will be with Charles Michel and, I hope, with Tusk. Of course, Lajcak as well. Then, I’m heading to the airport and to Washington,” Vucic emphasized.

“Serbia is proudly upright, but a small country. It must take care of avoiding making enemies, that is my opinion,” Vucic said.

He denied that the US President would attend the meeting.

“I don’t believe that will happen. Trump might appear if some kind of solution is reached,” he said.

“If we do not show up, we have isolated and destroyed our country. When we show up, we must protect the national interest,” Vucic said, referring once again to allegations of recognizing Kosovo independence ahead of Vidovdan, which are now hushed.

He answered questions about the recent elections and the turnout.

“I think that’s a bad message. You have to show respect to the people. You say that the turnout of 50 percent is low at the time of the coronavirus… Those who are always looking for a mistake in the people, and not in themselves, are terribly wrong,” he concluded.

He denied allegations that the new convocation of the National Assembly will be without opposition.

“I read those headlines ‘Serbian parliament without opposition’ which are stupid. How do you know that, how can anyone know that?” Vucic asked.

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

Priluzje residents: Four people dead after ‘consuming suspicious brandy’; KP and Prosecution: Waiting for autopsy results (KoSSev)

Two brothers from the village of Priluzje passed away last week after consuming alcohol of questionable origin. Locals claim that it was methyl alcohol and that two more people died after consuming the same brandy, KoSSev portal reports. Kosovo police and the prosecutor’s office, however, continue to claim that they are waiting for the autopsy results for the two deceased brothers. They did not confirm that there have been other such cases.

Three people from the village of Priluzje in the municipality of Vucitrn – brothers D.Dj.(1958) and B.Dj. (1961) and their neighbor, M.B. (1954) passed away last week.

A Priluzje resident, Dejan Milic confirmed for KoSSev yesterday that another person, B.M. (1959), passed away two days ago.

Citing the allegations of family members of the deceased, Milic claimed that the results of the autopsy for all four deceased have arrived and that all of them consumed brandy that allegedly contained methyl alcohol.

The victims were allegedly poisoned after consuming suspicious brandy, which was sold in Priluzje for many years by a seller from Orahovac at a very cheap price of 2.5 euros for a 2-liter bottle.

On the other hand, the competent institutions said that only two cases of suspicious deaths in Priluzje have been confirmed so far, but that the autopsy results still have not arrived.

The main police headquarters in Pristina have been reiterating to KoSSev ever since June 17-18th that the bodies of two brothers were sent for autopsy.

The Kosovo police spokesmen, Baki Kelani and Daut Hoxha emphasized that they have no other findings or details, including the results of the autopsy. They also noted that these are not questions for the police in Pristina, but the municipality and the prosecutor’s office.

The KoSSev portal received a similar response from the Basic Prosecutor’s Office in Mitrovica.

“We can confirm that the two bodies were sent for an autopsy at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Pristina, and we are waiting for the results of the autopsy,“ a spokesman for the prosecution, Valon Preteni told KoSSev yesterday.

See at: https://bit.ly/37TE9mz

Lajcak: Belgrade-Pristina talks in July, EU insists on implementation of deals (N1, FoNet)

The European Union’s special envoy for Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations Miroslav Lajcak said in Belgrade on Tuesday he expected the talks to resume in July and added the bloc would insist on the implementation of all deals agreed upon, the FoNet news agency reported.

In a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, during the second-day visit to the country, the Slovakian diplomat said the focus of the negotiations would be on reaching a final and comprehensive agreement between Belgrade and Pristina.

Lajcak posted on Twitter that they also discussed modalities for the next phase of the talks and the need for progress in reforms in Serbia.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/2Z6Apd8

Detention of Marko Rosic extended for two more months (Kosovo-online)

Special Court in Pristina decided to extend detention of Marko Rosic, suspected of involvement in the murder of leader of Civic Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice (SDP) Oliver Ivanovic for two more months, his defense lawyer Mahmut Halimi told Kosovo-online portal. Halimi added he would file a complaint against the decision once it was delivered to him.

“I think this no longer makes sense to extend detention every two months with the same text and elaboration of the decision. At every question I ask they respond that it was about a complicated case and a serious criminal act, although there is no evidence at all,” Halimi said. 

 

 

International

 

Serbia, Kosovo Leaders Expected in Brussels before Washington Meeting (Balkan Insight)

With the US forging its own path to a deal between Serbia and Kosovo, the EU has invited the two sides to Brussels before they head to Washington.

The European Union is to bring the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo to Brussels this week as the bloc tries to keep the upper hand in negotiations between the two ahead of a much-anticipated meeting between Aleksandar Vucic and Avdullah Hoti under the auspices of the Trump administration on Saturday.

Keen for a foreign policy success to tout, observers say the United States is increasingly sidelining the EU in a unilateral effort to broker a deal between Serbia and its former southern province 12 years after Kosovo declared independence with the backing of the major Western powers.

Trump’s special envoy, Richard Grenell, will bring Serbian President Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Hoti to Washington on June 27, having said that “economic normalisation” must come before any EU-mediated political normalisation.

But Hoti has announced he will first travel to Brussels, and Vucic said on Monday that he too hopes to spend a day there after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

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

Kosovo talks to focus on economy, less likely to affect US military role (Stars and Stripes)

The battalion of U.S. peacekeepers in Kosovo is unlikely to withdraw from the western Balkans anytime soon, analysts have said ahead of U.S.-led talks aimed at ending a decadeslong standoff between Pristina and Belgrade.

U.S. organizers are downplaying expectations for the talks between Serbia and Kosovo due to be held in Washington on Saturday, with the White House’s point man saying they’ll concentrate on trade.

See at: https://bit.ly/37YCegv

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Western Balkans coal power plants are still breaching pollution limits (emerging-europe.com)

Two and a half years since pollution control legislation under the Energy Community Treaty obliged Western Balkan governments to apply EU norms, new analysis from Bankwatch, one of the largest networks of environmental NGOs in Central and Eastern Europe, finds air pollution – primarily sulphur dioxide (SO2) and dust emissions – from coal-fired power plants remains stubbornly high, choking communities across the region and beyond.

The 2020 edition of the Comply or Close report shows that, instead of getting closer to compliance, SO2 emissions at coal power plants covered by National Emission Reduction Plans in the Western Balkans have overall increased.

See at: https://bit.ly/2CEK0Rf

Vucic: Claims on reduced number of dead and infected in Serbia hypocritical (BETA, N1)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday that the report of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) on a much higher number of people who were infected with the coronavirus or died from COVID-19 in his country was “hypocritical”, BETA news agency reported.

After meeting his host Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Vucic addressed reporters there, saying he believed the anti-COVID-19 Crisis Team’s information.

BIRN reported earlier it had access to the so-called information system which had substantially different data on the number of fatalities and deaths in the epidemic.

Some doctors explained the differences might be in the way of registering the fatalities.

“In the beginning, they attacked me for increasing the number of people who died from corona, because those patients died from a heart attack and other illnesses. Now, they changed the story,” Vucic said.

He compared the criticism about the published figures to banging on pots in civil protest during the state of emergency.

“You banged on pots to get the measures lifted, and then you would bang on my head because I abolished them”, Vucic said, adding that “there is no end to hypocrisy, but that is not important”.

Serbian anti-Covid-19 Crisis Team: Face masks mandatory in public transport (N1)

As of Tuesday, the use of face masks is compulsory in public transport, while their wearing indoors is only recommended, Serbian Government said after the anti-Covid-19 Crisis Team meeting, following the increase of newly infected people, N1 reported.

The passengers without face masks won’t be able to use the city and inter-city transport. “

“People don’t have to wear surgical masks, they can use reusable cotton masks,” government’s statement said.

The Team recommended wearing face masks indoors as well, particularly in post offices, banks, public institutions, shops and shopping malls.

The government also said it would continue to monitor the situation carefully and inform the public timely. 

See at: https://bit.ly/3hUh6fP

OpisMEDIJavanje: Public service broadcasters should reflect pluralism of society (KoSSev)

“The basic task of public services broadcasters is to inform, educate, and entertain the audience by providing them with content of wider social significance. The purpose of the public service broadcaster is to serve the needs and interests of the public“, the RTK community program editor, Rabisha Muhaxhiri said.

In the latest episode of the media literacy campaign “OpisMEDIJavanje,” Muhaxhiri spoke about the public broadcasters, their importance, as well as why non-majority communities must have a program in their language.

According to Muhaxhiri, minority communities need to have a program in their languages as part of the public service broadcasters because “we live in societies based on the knowledge that is global – in one way or another, but diverse as well.“

Such societies require a strong and pluralistic social vision, inclusion, solidarity, and participation. Societies are essentially linked to the principles of freedom of expression, universal access to information, knowledge, and the promotion of cultural, ethnic and religious diversity

See at: https://bit.ly/2Z2pbGF

 

 

 

 

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