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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, July 10, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, July 10, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• Hoti-Vucic Sunday meeting in Brussels postponed (media)
• Hoti: Agreement with Serbia cannot be successful without mutual recognition (media)
• Osmani calls blocking of anti-Covid draft law ‘disgraceful’ (media)
• Nagavci: Management of pandemic, presently top priority for Kosovo (media)
• Germany donates 6,000 COVID-19 testing kits to Kosovo (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Vucic: Meeting in Brussels postponed for Thursday, US- EU relations are not our matter (RTS)
• 36 new cases of Covid-19 infection in Serb areas in Kosovo (Radio KIM)
• Djuric: Walker is last person who should talk about crimes (RTS)
• Vucic: Discussing three crucial issues with Macron (B92)
• Simic: Vjosa Osmani deceived public, read inexistent Rakic’s statement (TV Most)

Opinion:

• EU mediation is a relief but not a panacea (Prishtina Insight)

International:

• France, Germany lead effort to fire up Serbia-Kosovo talks (AP)
• Europe’s Latest Peace-Making Efforts in Balkans Hit New Hurdle (Bloomberg)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Media Literacy Project: Photojournalist and journalist form integral whole (KoSSev)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Hoti-Vucic Sunday meeting in Brussels postponed (media)
  • Hoti: Agreement with Serbia cannot be successful without mutual recognition (media)
  • Osmani calls blocking of anti-Covid draft law ‘disgraceful’ (media)
  • Nagavci: Management of pandemic, presently top priority for Kosovo (media)
  • Germany donates 6,000 COVID-19 testing kits to Kosovo (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Vucic: Meeting in Brussels postponed for Thursday, US- EU relations are not our matter (RTS)
  • 36 new cases of Covid-19 infection in Serb areas in Kosovo (Radio KIM)
  • Djuric: Walker is last person who should talk about crimes (RTS)
  • Vucic: Discussing three crucial issues with Macron (B92)
  • Simic: Vjosa Osmani deceived public, read inexistent Rakic’s statement (TV Most)

Opinion:

  • EU mediation is a relief but not a panacea (Prishtina Insight)

International:

  • France, Germany lead effort to fire up Serbia-Kosovo talks (AP)
  • Europe’s Latest Peace-Making Efforts in Balkans Hit New Hurdle (Bloomberg)

Humanitarian/Development: 

  • Media Literacy Project: Photojournalist and journalist form integral whole (KoSSev)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

Hoti-Vucic Sunday meeting in Brussels postponed (media)

Koha reports that the meeting between Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbia’s President scheduled for this Sunday has been postponed to 16 July.

Diplomatic sources said that Hoti was not ready to travel to Brussels on the 12th to meet Vucic in what is being considered as the official resumption of the dialogue for normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

However, officials of the Kosovo government told Telegrafi that there will be a video conference on Sunday between Hoti and Vucic and that this will be followed by a meeting of the two in Brussels on the 16th.

The Sunday’s virtual meeting will also be attended by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell and EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak. 

Hoti: Agreement with Serbia cannot be successful without mutual recognition (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti took part in the Paris virtual summit jointly hosted by the French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In his remarks Hoti said that relations with Serbia continue to remain a matter of ‘grave concern’ for Kosovo and accused Serbia of leading a campaign against Kosovo’s independence and its membership in international organisations. “These harmful practices damaged the process of normalization of our relations as two independent countries.”

Nevertheless, Hoti noted, Kosovo remains committed to normalising relations with Serbia which he said can only be achieved if they respect each other’s statehood.  

Hoti said that the dialogue process needs to have a clear timeline and framework and should be guided by the following principles: that territorial integrity of Kosovo is non-negotiable and that the constitutional order of Kosovo cannot be affected by the agreement with Serbia which would also have to be fully in line with the Constitution of Kosovo.  

He said that the agreement with Serbia should result in mutual recognition. “Without such a conclusion of this process the Agreement cannot succeed. Mutual recognition between the two countries is the only way to normalize relations and pave the way for both countries for EU integration,” he underlined.

Hoti said further that the outcome of the agreement would also have to include “the EU obligation to encompass the recognition of Kosovo by five remaining EU countries.”

“Kosovo’s membership in the UN should also be part of the outcome of the comprehensive peace agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. This naturally implies the substitution of the UN Security Resolution 1244. Pursuing membership in other international organizations and emerging clear opening of the European perspective for Kosovo is our objective and our appeal alongside this process. And last but not least, missing persons and victims of all forms of violence, war damages, casualties, are issues of our utmost concern in this process. No normalization can take place prior to putting justice in place.”

He also called on the EU to grant visa liberalisation to Kosovo saying that its institutions are committed in advancing the rule of law.  

PM Hoti also spoke about the Covid-19 pandemic and thanked the EU for its assistance to Kosovo in coping with this global health crisis. “We are doing all we can to contain the spread of the virus, as well as to support the economy through a comprehensive list of economic recovery measures.”

See Hoti’s full remarks at: https://bit.ly/38IdWYt

Osmani calls blocking of anti-Covid draft law ‘disgraceful’ (media)

Kosovo Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani has slammed the government’s opposition to the adoption of a law on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic as ‘disgraceful’.

Osmani tweeted: “8 people died only yesterday because of #covid19. Yet, the KS Government & most coalition parties are blocking the anti-covid law from passing, which would enable proper & lawful enforcement of anti-covid measures. Disgraceful!”

Nagavci: Management of pandemic, presently top priority for Kosovo (media)

Kosovo Assembly Deputy Speaker and Vetevendosje official, Arberie Nagavci, said today that with over 2,000 active coronavirus cases in Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti-led government failed to endorse legal initiative for measures against Covid-19. 

“The disregard for interests of the citizens, the recommendations of the Constitutional Court and public health is being done for personal grudges and false justifications. Although this illegitimate government presented management of pandemic as a top priority, their only priority and task is focusing on normalisation of relations with Serbia after first bringing Kosovo to its knees,” Nagavci wrote on Facebook.

She noted that as the Paris summit gets underway today, PM Hoti has failed to present any platform  or plan for dialogue with Serbia and that both externally and internally, things are not good for Kosovo. “This needs to change; citizens’ health, well-being, support of the economy are at present primary duty.”

Germany donates 6,000 COVID-19 testing kits to Kosovo (media)

Germany’s Ambassador to Kosovo, Christian Heldt, delivered today to the Kosovo Institute for Public Health a donation of 6,000 COVID-19 testing kits from the German Ministry of Health.

At a press point together with Health Minister Armend Zemaj, Ambassador Heldt called on all citizens to respect the necessary safety measures and on the responsible institutions to implement the required policies in order to prevent a further spread of the virus in Kosovo.

He called on the political spectrum in Kosovo to come together in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. “Politicians need to work together, we saw yesterday how important it is to speak in one voice,” he said.

Heldt also said that the failure of the Kosovo Assembly to adopt international financial agreements ‘damages Kosovo’. “I don’t understand why the Assembly and all parties cannot come together,” he said noting that this needs to be achieved for the good of the people of Kosovo.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Vucic: Meeting in Brussels postponed for Thursday, US- EU relations are not our matter (RTS)

The dialogue with Pristina planned to take place on Sunday in Brussels has been postponed for Thursday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said following the video-summit in Paris today, RTS reports.

Vucic added the video-summit was difficult, because Serbia had a different stance than all other participants, while Pristina came out with maximalist demands.

“Everything has changed now – on Sunday we will have a video-conference and continuation of the dialogue was planned for Thursday in Brussels with participation of the both delegations”, Vucic said. He added that instead of planned dinner with EU officials tomorrow, the Serbian delegation would return to the country to take part at Sunday’s video conference and then travel to Brussels for the continuation of the dialogue.

“This summer it seems to me, we would have plenty of video-conferences,” Vucic said.

“I was pleased with our arguments. It won’t be easy in the future. We would be exposed to major, not to call it pressure, but expectations of our European partners. At the same time we are met with an unrealistic approach of Kosovo and Metohija Albanians who want everything, and to leave Serbia with nothing,” Vucic said.

He added Albanian side put forward a list of demands, which he termed as “a nice wish-list” since Serbia will not accept any ultimatums and orders, and explained what Pristina requested.

“These were preservation of the Kosovo territorial integrity, preservation of the Constitution and the constitutional organization of Kosovo, lasting mutual recognition and not a model of “two Germany”, UN membership and that other European countries recognize Kosovo. And only after that they would deal with missing persons’ issues and war compensations.” Vucic said.

His response to this was that any talks would be utterly meaningless if these demands were the essence of everything.

“We are ready to talk about all the steps that would improve relations between the people, flow of people, goods and capital, but we do not accept ultimatums. It is not possible and realistic,” Vucic said.

Touching upon US-EU relations, Vucic said it is not Serbia’s matter adding that we take part in a dialogue under Brussels and Miroslav Lajcak’s auspices. Asked if Angela Merkel would take part in a video-conference on Sunday or there would be EU officials and Belgrade and Pristina representatives only, Vucic responded he does not think Merkel would be there, but he can’t “keep hold of who appears where”.

“Now we are going to the dialogue with Brussels under Lajcak’s auspices. We do not know who appears where and what they will do. Albanians did not want to come on Sunday, because Thaci got something to do with The Hague on Monday, so it does not suit them to come on Sunday, and we should keep silent and endure all that. We always can, because we are serious and responsible people who never run away from the negotiation table, if you have arguments and advocate for the truth”, Vucic noted.   

At the end he thanked Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron for organizing the summit and their efforts to bring the two sides at the table and demonstrate commitment to resolve the problems.

36 new cases of Covid-19 infection in Serb areas in Kosovo (Radio KIM)

36 new cases of Covid-19 infection were registered in the Serb-populated areas in Kosovo, bringing the total number of infected persons since the beginning of the pandemic at 294; epidemiologist Aleksandar Antonijevic said today, Radio KIM reports.

Out of 36 new cases, ten were registered in Mitrovica North, four each in Zvecan and Zubin Potok, while eight cases were registered in Leposavic.

In central Kosovo there are ten new cases, three cases each in Priluzje, Strpce and Gnjilane and one case in Pec municipality.

Thus far, 50 patients are being treated at the Clinical-Hospital Center in Mitrovica North, two patients were sent to Nis and two to Kragujevac, while 121 persons are staying in self-isolation.

According to Antonijevic since June 18, there were 175 infection cases registered in the Serb areas in Kosovo.

Results of 35 samples sent to Belgrade for testing are still being awaited for, while tests of 15 samples arrived today.  

Djuric: Walker is last person who should talk about crimes (RTS)

Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Marko Djuric reacted to the statement of former head of the OSCE Verification Mission William Walker who said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is also “partly responsible for the crimes in Kosovo.”

Djuric said that William Walker is responsible for provoking the war in Kosovo and Metohija as well as aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, adding that “he should also be held responsible for the crimes along with the leaders of terrorist KLA”.

“Walker was an integral part of the so-called KLA and one of the conceptual inspirers and creators of a war in Kosovo and Metohija. Therefore, he is the last person to dare talk about the crimes, and among the first ones to be held responsible for the crimes,” Djuric said in a statement. 

Vucic: Discussing three crucial issues with Macron (B92)

Three key topics with Macron – today’s summit would be bilateral relations between Serbia and France, future of Europe as well as Serbia in the European Union, President Aleksandar Vucic said, B92 reports.

After the conversation with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron yesterday afternoon, Vucic stated that he talked with Macron in private for an hour and a half.

“I must say that he took me to rooms that are not an official office, so I could see special rooms for French presidents. He recalled the emotions he experienced in Belgrade. He showed exceptional hospitality,” Vucic said.

“I have to say that we understand each other well, Macron always speaks clear language,” he added. It is of key importance that I learned from Macron how he sees Europe and the world in the future, with a key review of Serbia’s European path, Vucic said. “We understand each other well, Macron always speaks clear and simple language. I don’t always understand formal bureaucratic vocabulary, but I always understand Macron well…”, Vucic noted.

When it comes to today’s summit on Kosovo and Metohija, organized by Germany and France, Vucic said that he was not sure that a joint statement could be adopted.

“I spoke strategically about what I think was happening and what could happen in the future,” Vucic said.

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

Simic: Vjosa Osmani deceived public, read nonexistent Rakic’s statement (TV Most)

Serbian List MP in Kosovo Assembly Igor Simic said yesterday it was impermissible and inappropriate for the Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osani to propose dismissal of Goran Rakic from the post of Deputy Prime Minister, TV Most reports.

Simic said he had an urge to publicly express his opinion, given that Osmani is passionately attacking members of the Serbian List and recalled that thanks to the votes of the Serbian List Osmani was voted Assembly Speaker.

Simic added that Osmani read the nonexistent statement of Goran Rakic, noting that resolutions in the assembly cannot be proposed based on something which was untrue.

“The statement you read was not made by Goran Rakic, president of Serbian List. You have deceived MPs, you have deceived the public watching this session. It is inappropriate and impermissible. I call on you, find that statement, video, audio or text message with his signature and then I would understand you”, Simic said.

Meanwhile, the Assembly rejected a proposal to include on the agenda the topic of dismissal of Goran Rakic from the post of Deputy Prime Minister, which was proposed by the Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani.

 

 

Opinion

 

EU mediation is a relief but not a panacea (Prishtina Insight)

The EU appears to be back in the role of chief mediator between Kosovo and Serbia, but while it may provide relief in comparison to the bizarre attempts of the Trump administration, there are also questions to be asked of this so-called ally of Kosovo, writes Aidan Hehir who teaches international relations at the University of Westminster.

Hehir argues that when thinking about Kosovo’s future relationship with the EU, it is important to reflect honestly on the EU’s engagement with Kosovo to date, and – to avoid seeing the EU as a panacea – ask a number of key questions including whether the EU wants Kosovo to join, has the EU done enough to deal with corruption in Kosovo and support genuinely democratic movements, has the EU worked to ensure justice for the victims of Serbia’s violence in Kosovo.

He notes that even if Kosovo were to join the EU, that would not necessarily translate into peace, prosperity and the consolidation of democracy.

“Finally, when returning to the dialogue table in Brussels on July 12, Kosovo must robustly resist the increasingly prevalent narrative which seeks to ‘move on’ and focus on the future. This only emboldens Vucic and is a betrayal of the people’s demands for justice. 

“It is, however, difficult to imagine Prime Minister Hoti – who’s legitimacy to represent Kosovo is itself questionable – behaving in anything but a fawning, deferential fashion when the EU fanfare begins.”

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

 

 

International

 

France, Germany lead effort to fire up Serbia-Kosovo talks (AP)

The leaders of Germany and France on Friday led a fresh effort to breathe life into long-stalled talks between Serbia and Kosovo aimed at normalizing ties more than 20 years after Belgrade sent troops into its former territory to crush an uprising by ethnic Albanian separatists.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held virtual preparatory talks with Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, paving the way for a first face-to-face meeting since November 2018 under the European Union-backed dialogue process.

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

Europe’s Latest Peace-Making Efforts in Balkans Hit New Hurdle (Bloomberg)

European diplomats moved to seize back the initiative on one of their continent’s most intractable fronts after U.S. efforts in the Balkans stumbled. But it remains a path fraught with diplomatic peril.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron joined the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo in a video conference Friday to prepare the ground for a Sunday summit in Brussels to resuscitate the stalled efforts.

Instead, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic emerged shortly after to say the summit would be postponed to July 16, an ominous sign that the scene-setting chat with the two most important figures in the EU did not go well.

Friday’s call was “difficult because Serbia has a different stance from other participants,” Vucic said, complaining that Kosovo had presented “maximalist demands.”

See at: https://bloom.bg/38HzLas

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Media Literacy Project: Photojournalist and journalist form integral whole (KoSSev)

“A photojournalist is a person who complements a media report. He can attach a photo or video. Although he is behind the camera and out of range of the public, his role is very important, because without him, media reports would be incomplete and insufficient. So, the photojournalist and the journalist form an integral whole,“ reporter Stefan Milivojevic explained the role of those who work behind the camera, KoSSev portal reports.

In the latest episode of the media literacy campaign “OpisMEDIJavanje,” Milivojevic spoke about the different types of photojournalists, their role, and the limits of ethical behavior.

“The perception most familiar to the people is the one based on the sense of sight. That’s why a photograph speaks louder than words. Every detail in a photo or video can contain a deeper essence, for which many words would be needed. Just as tangible and material evidence that tells the reality is valued the most in history, so too a video or image can really show us what the event looked like”.

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

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