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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, 10 July

By   /  10/07/2020  /  Comments Off on UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, 10 July

• COVID-19: 207 new cases, 8 deaths in last 24 hours (media)
• Prishtina Mayor: Number of coronavirus cases is much higher (Klan)
• Zeka: 45% of businesses in Kosovo have stopped operating (media)
• EU: Dialogue will continue regardless of protests in Serbia (media)
• Kosovo PM Hoti goes to dialogue without internal consensus (Koha)
• Assembly adopts resolution “in defense of people’s values” (media)
• EU Office chief disappointed with failure to ratify agreements (media)
• Haradinaj: Not logical for Europeans to undermine US summit (T7)
• Kosovo ministers visit Presevo Valley (media)
• William Walker disappointed with SPO’s actions (RTK)
• War veterans protest charges against President Thaci (Balkan Insight)
• Lushtaku: Better for PDK to join the government (Telegrafi)
• Stalled talks set to resume in Brussels but what’s at stake? (Euronews)

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  • COVID-19: 207 new cases, 8 deaths in last 24 hours (media)
  • Prishtina Mayor: Number of coronavirus cases is much higher (Klan)
  • Zeka: 45% of businesses in Kosovo have stopped operating (media)
  • EU: Dialogue will continue regardless of protests in Serbia (media)
  • Kosovo PM Hoti goes to dialogue without internal consensus (Koha)
  • Assembly adopts resolution “in defense of people’s values” (media)
  • EU Office chief disappointed with failure to ratify agreements (media)
  • Haradinaj: Not logical for Europeans to undermine US summit (T7)
  • Kosovo ministers visit Presevo Valley (media)
  • William Walker disappointed with SPO’s actions (RTK)
  • War veterans protest charges against President Thaci (Balkan Insight)
  • Lushtaku: Better for PDK to join the government (Telegrafi)
  • Stalled talks set to resume in Brussels but what’s at stake? (Euronews)

Kosovo Media Highlights

COVID-19: 207 new cases, 8 deaths in last 24 hours (media)

207 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Kosovo in the last 24 hours and eight patients have died from the virus. 32 people meanwhile have recovered.

77 new cases are from the municipality of Prishtina.

According to the National Institute for Public Health, there are currently 2,118 active coronavirus cases in Kosovo.

Prishtina Mayor: Number of coronavirus cases is much higher (Klan)

Prishtina Mayor Shpend Ahmeti said in an interview with Klan Kosova on Thursday evening that the registered number of cases of coronavirus in Kosovo is not accurate and that the real numbers are much higher. “I don’t think the numbers are accurate. I think that the number of infected persons in Kosovo is much higher,” he said. 

“I think today we can expect an even higher number because the virus spreads fast if the measures are not respected. There are many people who have tested positive for the virus and do not tell they are infected … Unlike other countries, we lack the information that would enable the policymakers to draft policies to address the situation,” Ahmeti said.

Ahmeti said that nearly 70,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic. “We might not see it today, but in September and October we will have an extreme economic and social crisis,” he said.

Ahmeti also criticised political parties for failing to ratify international financial aid agreements in the Assembly. “If you don’t come together you will bear the responsibility. In September and October, we won’t need political parties, and the mayors of municipalities will again have to manage the situations because the requests from citizens for basic products are four times higher,” he added.

Zeka: 45% of businesses in Kosovo have stopped operating (media)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo Director Arian Zeka said on Thursday that 45 percent of businesses in Kosovo have stopped operating or have been directly impacted by the anti-COVID restrictive measures of the government.

He said he got this information from a study conducted by five business organisations.

Zeka also said that businesses lose up to €10 million a day as a result of the pandemic.

EU: Dialogue will continue regardless of protests in Serbia (media)

European Commission spokeswoman Ana Pisonero said on Thursday that regardless of the situation in Serbia with the latest anti-curfew protests, the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia scheduled for Sunday will continue.

Pisonero told reporters in Brussels that “the lives and health of the people must be a priority” and that “the government must determine the necessary measures to address the threats from COVID-19”.

Kosovo PM Hoti goes to dialogue without internal consensus (Koha)

The news website reported on Thursday that on the eve of the Paris Summit and the meeting in Brussels, which will mark the continuation of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti is heading to the process without internal consensus.

Kosovo Assembly President Vjosa Osmani said on Thursday that the Assembly has received no platform for the dialogue with Serbia from the government.

Two days before the Paris Summit between Kosovo and Serbia by video, Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said his roadmap in the dialogue will be the platform which he presented only orally at the Kosovo Academy of Arts and Sciences and in the Assembly. In an address to the MPs, Hoti said Kosovo has its red lines which are non-negotiable in the dialogue with Serbia.

Assembly adopts resolution “in defense of people’s values” (media)

Kosovo Assembly members adopted on Thursday a ten-point resolution on “political and civic unity in the defense of the values of the people of Kosovo”. One of the points of the resolution notes that the Kosovo Assembly respects the Specialist Chambers in The Hague and that their work must be based in the respect for Kosovo’s laws and international regulations. The point notes that the Specialist Chambers must be fair and unbiased in treating all cases.

“The Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo expresses its concern over possible procedural violations with the publication of names, namely the proposed and unconfirmed indictment against members of the Kosovo Liberation Army,” the resolution notes in reference to the proposed indictment against President Hashim Thaci and PDK leader Kadri Veseli.

“The Republic of Kosovo has always been ready to prove the fair and defensive fight of the Kosovo Liberation Army and it is ready to prove the same with the Specialist Chambers,” the resolution notes.

EU Office chief disappointed with failure to ratify agreements (media)

European Union Head of Mission in Kosovo Nataliya Apostolova said in a Twitter post on Thursday that she was disappointed with the Kosovo Assembly’s failure to ratify international agreements.

“Deeply disappointed with MPs failing to ratify yet another time international agreements today. Political bickering of KS people representatives is depriving the citizens to benefit from international and EU funds and support,” she tweeted.

Haradinaj: Not logical for Europeans to undermine U.S. summit (T7)

Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) leader Ramush Haradinaj said in an interview with T7 on Thursday that it was very surprising that the Specialist Prosecutors Office announced the proposed indictment against Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and PDK leader Kadri Veseli shortly before the Kosovo – Serbia summit in Washington.

According to Haradinaj, it is not logical for the Europeans to undermine a summit organised by the Americans. “I don’t believe the Europeans can meddle with the Americans in these affairs,” he said.

Haradinaj also said “now is not the time to stop the Special Court”. “We need to have a strategy to put an end to the accusations claiming that the KLA has committed crimes against humanity. I had Egyptians and Bosniaks in my KLA unit and we fought together. The KLA did not have a strategy to harm non-Albanians,” he said.

Kosovo ministers visit Presevo Valley (media)

Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla and Justice Minister Selim Selimi visited Presevo yesterday.

Haradinaj-Stublla hailed the move as the first official visit of the Government of Kosovo to Presevo Valley and said that in the meeting with Presevo Mayor, Shqiperim Arifi, they discussed concerns and challenges of the Albanian community.

“Discriminating, selective and intentional unregistering of Albanians from the Valley’s civil records and the lack of humane healthcare on the part of Belgrade authorities towards Albanians in this area need to stop,” she said.

William Walker disappointed with SPO’s actions (RTK)

William Walker, former U.S. Ambassador and head of the OSCE Verification Mission in Kosovo, said in an interview with RTK on Thursday that he was disappointed with the publication of the proposed indictment against Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) leader Kadri Veseli.

“I was utterly disappointed when the Prosecutor issued that statement. Now I question the timing of the statement too because President Thaci was travelling to Washington to attend the summit organised by the White House as part of efforts to find a final settlement. The timing of the statement, and the content of the accusations, I think this raises questions about the real motive behind it,” he said.

Walker argued that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has responsibility for the crimes committed in Kosovo because he was a minister in the Serbian Government. “He is partly responsible because he was a minister in a government that was ordering Serbian forces to do what they did in Kosovo in 1998 – 99 and [the massacre in] Recak was a result of that,” he said.

Walker called on Kosovo’s leaders to find unity “in these bad times for Kosovo”.

War veterans protest charges against President Thaci (Balkan Insight)

Around 100 Kosovo Liberation Army veterans staged a socially-distanced rally in Pristina’s main square on Thursday to express anger about the war crimes charges against President Hashim Thaci and others that were recently announced by the Kosovo Specialist Prosecution in The Hague, Balkan Insight reported.

The head of the KLA War Veterans’ Organisation, Hysni Gucati, told the protesters that the Hague-based prosecutors were doing a “favour” to Serbia by indicting Thaci and other former leaders of the wartime guerrilla force. “This court is making an unforgivable mistake when accusing KLA leaders,” Gucati said.

“Measures should be immediately taken to review these processes which are very unjust,” he added.

Similar protests were held at least in two Kosovo other towns on Thursday, Shtime/Stimlje and Kline/Klina.

Read more: https://bit.ly/3egxCU

Lushtaku: Better for PDK to join the government (Telegrafi)

Sami Lushtaku, senior member of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and a former KLA commander, said in an interview with RTV Dukagjini on Thursday that with the recent developments with the Specialist Chambers, it is better for the PDK to join the Hoti-led government. He said things have changed following the summons from The Hague and that for this reason the PDK should join the government.

Lushtaku also said he and some other members of the PDK asked party leader Kadri Veseli that their party should vote in favor of the LDK government so that the latter would not be dependent on the votes of the Serbian List.

Lushtaku also said that PDK MPs must vote in favor of international agreements that are in the interest of Kosovo’s citizens.

Stalled talks set to resume in Brussels but what’s at stake? (Euronews)

Kosovo’s prime minister, Avdullah Hoti and the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic are set to travel to Brussels for a “high-level meeting of the EU-facilitated dialogue” on Sunday, Euronews reports.

It adds that the goal of the dialogue it to reach an agreement between the former Yugoslav territories which are still at odds over 20 years after they were at the centre of one of Europe’s most violent conflicts, which killed more than 13,000 people.

According to Naim Rashiti, Founder & Executive Director of the Balkans Policy Research Group, said not major breakthroughs are expected and that he considers president Hashim Thaci’s indictment on war crimes charges as Kosovo’s main stumbling block in talks, which he says has left the country handicapped as it is not politically ready for dialogue.

For Serbia, the talks will be a real acid test of Vucic intensions, according to Rashiti. “Will he (Vucic) make a deal to move rapidly towards the EU, or will he use it to further consolidate power and undermine the rule of law with governance?” he said.

The EU’s ability to “provide both sides with a promise” could also swing the balance during discussions, according to Rashiti.

Read more: https://bit.ly/3fgZDwu

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