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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, 14 July

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• COVID-19: 187 new cases, six dead (media)
• Hoti: New measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 (media)
• Osmani: It is our constitutional duty to pass anti-Covid law (media)
• Zemaj: Health Institute has capacity to do 500-600 tests in 24 hours (media)
• Gjilan Mayor: New government measures are very unpopular (media)
• Government has no plans to carry out massive testing (Koha)
• PDK MP requests names of persons with COVID-19 be published (Kallxo)
• President Thaci interviewed by Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (media)
• Haradinaj: If indictments confirmed, Kosovo risks serious damage (media)
• Cakaj: When KLA is concerned, we should react as a nation, not as two states (media)
• Assembly approves in principle budget review (media)
• Lajcak discusses dialogue with Russian Ambassador at EU (Sputnik/RTK)
• Hague war crime prosecutors quiz Kosovo President Thaci (Balkan Insight)

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  • COVID-19: 187 new cases, six dead (media)
  • Hoti: New measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 (media)
  • Osmani: It is our constitutional duty to pass anti-Covid law (media)
  • Zemaj: Health Institute has capacity to do 500-600 tests in 24 hours (media)
  • Gjilan Mayor: New government measures are very unpopular (media)
  • Government has no plans to carry out massive testing (Koha)
  • PDK MP requests names of persons with COVID-19 be published (Kallxo)
  • President Thaci interviewed by Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (media)
  • Haradinaj: If indictments confirmed, Kosovo risks serious damage (media)
  • Cakaj: When KLA is concerned, we should react as a nation, not as two states (media)
  • Assembly approves in principle budget review (media)
  • Lajcak discusses dialogue with Russian Ambassador at EU (Sputnik/RTK)
  • Hague war crime prosecutors quiz Kosovo President Thaci (Balkan Insight)

Kosovo Media Highlights

COVID-19: 187 new cases, six dead (media)

187 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the last 24 hours, Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said in a statement on Monday evening. Six patients have died from the virus in the last 24 hours.

The majority of new cases are from the municipality of Prishtina (92).

304 patients are currently being treated at Prishtina Hospital and other health facilities across Kosovo. Seven patients at the Sports Medical Center in Prishtina are said to be in critical condition.

According to the National Institute for Public Health, there are currently 2,640 active cases of coronavirus in Kosovo.

Hoti: New measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti spoke at the Assembly about the new measures the government has announced in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and underlined that their goal is to slow down the spread of the virus.

“Reopening of the society and the economy has caught our country unprepared to cohabit with the virus,” he said to the MPs. “We are now paying a high price for this.”

Osmani: It is our constitutional duty to pass anti-Covid law (media)

Kosovo Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani said yesterday that the Constitutional Court has ruled that a law against the coronavirus pandemic is the only legitimate way to take measures to contain its spread.

“This is not a matter of whether we like it or not. Constitutional Court’s decisions carry the weight of the Constitution. It is our duty to approve this law,” Osmani said yesterday at the Assembly’s session.

Osmani said the draft law is ready and has been prepared with Kosovo’s leading experts in the field.

Zemaj: Health Institute has capacity to do 500-600 tests in 24 hours (media)

Kosovo’s Minister for Health, Armend Zemaj, said on Monday that they are carrying out as much coronavirus tests as possible. He said the National Institute for Public Health is operating at full capacity.

“We have continuously carried out tests. The National Institute for Public Health is at full capacity. They don’t have the capacities to do more than 500 – 600 tests in 24 hours,” Zemaj said.

Gjilan Mayor: New government measures are very unpopular (media)

Gjilan Mayor and senior member of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), Lutfi Haziri, said in a debate on RTV Dukagjini on Monday that the government’s new measures against the coronavirus are very unpopular.

According to Haziri working places were the biggest sources of new infections. He also said that the government’s decision not to allow weddings is an unpopular decision. “I think the decision not to allow wedding is a wrong policy,” he said.

Haziri said Kosovo has a law on civil emergencies but that only the Ministry of Interior Affairs was implementing it.

Haziri also said that citizens must not underestimate the pandemic and said he was concerned that some citizens don’t believe in the existence of the virus.

Government has no plans to carry out massive testing (Koha)

The Government of Kosovo is not planning to carry out massive testing for coronavirus regardless of the number of people infected, Koha reports adding that by the end of the year, the government plans to do no more than 100,000 tests.

This, says Koha, is stipulated in the government’s action plan for COVID-19 testing whose main objective is to increase the level of testing through the RT-PCR method but that it will not encompass more than 5 percent of the Kosovo population.

PDK MP requests names of persons with COVID-19 be published (Kallxo)

Bekim Haxhiu, MP from the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), presented several recommendations which he said the government of Kosovo should approve as part of the fight against coronavirus.

One of the recommendations includes authorising the Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health to publish the names of all persons who have been tested and confirmed to have COVID-19.

“Transparency in this respect is of public interest and a possibility for criminal prosecution of those who are positive for COVID-19 and violate isolation criteria,” he argued.

President Thaci interviewed by Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (media)

All media reported on Monday that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci was interviewed in The Hague by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office. After the six-hour interview, Thaci told reporters that the interview would continue Tuesday. “Today I have listened to the exchange of different technicalities between the attorney and the prosecutors, technical explanatory issues, and at the same time I listened to the initial inquiries of the prosecutors about the Kosovo Liberation Army. We will continue tomorrow,” Thaci said.

Prior to the interview, Thaci said: “Today I am here in respect of my dream and for what I have fought for, a free and independent Kosovo, based on equal rights and the rule of law. I am ready to face new challenges and win, for my son, for my family and for my country. No one can rewrite history, this is the price of freedom, I believe in peace, truth and justice. I believe in dialogue and good relations with neighboring countries, Kosovo is a success story and I am very proud. Kosovo’s destination is integration into the European Union, NATO and good relations with the United States.”

Haradinaj: If indictments confirmed, Kosovo risks serious damage (media)

Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) leader and former Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, said in an interview with Syri TV, that if the indictments against President Hashim Thaci and PDK leader Kadri Veseli are confirmed, Kosovo risks being seriously damaged.

“This is a very difficult situation for Kosovo because the accusations against the Kosovo Liberation Army have their primary sources in Belgrade and Serbia. If these are confirmed, Kosovo risks being seriously damaged. Kosovo must be careful, all Albanians must be careful, so that Kosovo can remain clean at the end of the process … The accusations are against concrete individuals, but the actions are blamed on Kosovo and Albanians,” Haradinaj said.

Haradinaj was asked whether he would consider the proposal of becoming new Kosovo president if Thaci is to step down in case the indictment against him is confirmed, to which he replied that though this is not the right time to be considering the prospect, “if I am asked to take on such a responsibility, I could perhaps review it.”

The reporter commented that there are talks about two PDK candidacies for president: Vlora Citaku, Kosovo’s Ambassador to the U.S., and Enver Hoxhaj, PDK deputy leader.

Cakaj: When KLA is concerned, we should react as a nation, not as two states (media)

 Albania’s Acting Foreign Minister Gent Cakaj told T7 broadcaster that when national values are in danger, the reaction should be as a nation, not as two separate states.  Therefore, he added, ‘immediately after the publication of accusations, we came to Kosovo.’

“When KLA values are concerned we should react not as two states but as a nation. This, in order to safeguard KLA values. The second, to clean the name. We see now that the entire burden of responsibility is being completely shifted to Kosovo. After twenty years, Serbia is not being seen as an aggressor any more. And, the third, due to the political consequences, because, the Special Court does not only want to remove some political representatives, but it also wants to leave a vacuum,” Cakaj said.

He added further that the accusations are politically motivated. “We have a solid ground to (claim) that this was politically motivated, for two reasons. First, the momentum, two days prior to the meeting at the White House. And second, the published statement of the Prosecutor itself. The statement which says that allegedly Veseli and Thaci are putting themselves before the state and are trying to seize the Court. This can be an internal political language. But a court, which is the third party, has no right to interfere politically with such statements,” Cakaj said. 

Assembly approves in principle budget review (media)

Kosovo Assembly approved yesterday in principle the draft law for budget review with 67 votes in favour and one abstention.

The draft law will now be forwarded to respective commissions and submitted to the Assembly for final approval.

Lajcak discusses dialogue with Russian Ambassador at EU (Sputnik/RTK)

Russia’s permanent representative at the EU Vladimir Chizov, discussed with the EU’s Special Representative for the Prishtina-Belgrade dialogue Miroslav Lajcak the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.

According to the Russian news agency Sputnik, the meeting took place right after the video-conference on Kosovo, which was held this week. The parties will hold a new round of the talks on Thursday.

According to a statement issued by Chizov’s cabinet, ‘The interlocutors discussed the situation in the Western Balkans, with an emphasis on the state of affairs and the prospect of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina mediated by the European Union.’ 

Hague war crime prosecutors quiz Kosovo President Thaci (Balkan Insight)

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci was interviewed in The Hague on Monday by the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, which is probing wartime and post-war crimes.

“Nobody can rewrite history. This is the price you pay for freedom,” Thaci said as he arrived for the interview with the prosecutors.

If the indictment is confirmed by a judge, Thaci faces trial at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague. He has denied any wrongdoing and has said he will step down as president if he is put on trial.

A small group of Albanians protested against the indictment in front of the Specialist Chambers building on Monday, holding placards that read “This is racism”, singing songs and shouting “UCK”, the Albanian acronym for the KLA.

Veseli, who is the leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, wrote on Facebook on Monday that Thaci is his “brother from the war” and declared that “this battle for Kosovo will be triumphant”.

Ramush Haradinaj, a former Kosovo prime minister who resigned in 2018 after being summoned for interview as a witness by the Hague prosecutors, praised Thaci’s readiness to be interviewed.

“In every circumstance throughout history, we have shown maturity, courage, helpfulness and cooperation, and this is proven by our willingness, even from the position of the victim, to respond to calls for justice, no matter how unjust they may be,” Haradinaj wrote on Facebook on Monday.

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