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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, 20 July

By   /  20/07/2020  /  Comments Off on UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, 20 July

• COVID-19: 118 new cases in last 24 hours, five dead (media)
• Health minister: New measures resulting successful (media)
• CDHRF: Health authorities preferentially testing people for COVID-19 (media)
• UN chief: We are at the breaking point (media)
• President Thaci calls for civic and political unity (Kallxo)
• Thaci defends war record, calls for unity after return from Hague court (RFE)
• State Department backs EU-brokered talks between Kosovo and Serbia (media)
• Collaku: Resumption of technical dialogue, not in Kosovo’s interest (media)
• Tahiri criticises EU for lack of visa liberalisation (media)
• Ischinger calls for visa liberalisation: EU credibility at stake (media)
• Haziri says Hoti’s meeting in Brussels “catastrophic” (media)
• Dacic: Serbia has suspended derecognition campaign (Koha)

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  • COVID-19: 118 new cases in last 24 hours, five dead (media)
  • Health minister: New measures resulting successful (media)
  • CDHRF: Health authorities preferentially testing people for COVID-19 (media)
  • UN chief: We are at the breaking point (media)
  • President Thaci calls for civic and political unity (Kallxo)
  • Thaci defends war record, calls for unity after return from Hague court (RFE)
  • State Department backs EU-brokered talks between Kosovo and Serbia (media)
  • Collaku: Resumption of technical dialogue, not in Kosovo’s interest (media)
  • Tahiri criticises EU for lack of visa liberalisation (media)
  • Ischinger calls for visa liberalisation: EU credibility at stake (media)
  • Haziri says Hoti’s meeting in Brussels “catastrophic” (media)
  • Dacic: Serbia has suspended derecognition campaign (Koha)

Kosovo Media Highlights

COVID-19: 118 new cases in last 24 hours, five dead (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said in a statement on Sunday that 118 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the last 24 hours and that another five patients have died from the virus. The majority of new cases are from the municipality of Prishtina (48). 157 people have recovered from the virus.

Citing mental health experts, Gazeta Express reports that the coronavirus pandemic is causing anxiety and depression among Kosovo’s citizens. It also quotes experts as saying that the media should be careful with what they called “bombastic headlines” as the situation can soon become “unmanageable”.

There are currently 3,106 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Health minister: New measures resulting successful (media)

Kosovo’s Health Minister Armend Zemaj said the recent measures taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic are showing success.

“We expect the results to improve further,” he said adding that the citizens have demonstrated more caution in recent period. He called for ‘rigorous’ enforcement of health professionals’ recommendations.

CDHRF: Health authorities preferentially testing people for COVID-19 (media)

The Kosovo-based Council for Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms has issued a statement condemning what it said is preferential treatment of citizens regarding testing for COVID-19.

It said that “discriminatory selection and not on the basis of necessary need for testing, has and is causing increase of number of infected cases and of fatalities and therefore requires transparency and monitoring of this process.”

“Quality healthcare for all citizens is a human right and as such needs to be respected by health authorities,” CDHRF said.

UN chief: We are at the breaking point (media)

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a sweeping call Saturday to end the global inequalities that sparked this year’s massive anti-racism protests and have been further exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are at the breaking point,” the UN chief said. “COVID-19 has been likened to an X-ray, revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built,” Guterres said as he delivered the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.

President Thaci calls for civic and political unity (Kallxo)

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said in a video message on Saturday that civic and political unity is needed in Kosovo especially for the dialogue with Serbia. “We need to speak to the world with one voice and we need to conduct the dialogue with Serbia with an exemplary unity, the same way we did in Rambouillet, Vienna and in Brussels,” Thaci said in a video message.

“Kosovo like never before needs a civilised dialogue between the political forces, institutional stability, good governance and civil and political unity, especially in the dialogue for final recognition from Serbia and the whole world.”

Thaci defends war record, calls for unity after return from Hague court (RFE)

Kosovar President Hashim Thaci has again defended his actions during Kosovo’s war with Serbia following his return from an international war crimes court in The Hague, and called for unity among the country’s political forces as it attempts to normalize ties with its bitter rival.

Thaci’s televised address and Facebook comments on July 18 were his first public remarks since returning from The Hague following four days of questioning by prosecutors regarding his actions during Kosovo’s guerrilla war for independence from Serbia in the late 1990s.

Thaci has defended his war record and has denied any wrongdoing.

In his July 18 remarks, he said he had “full respect” for the process of determining the truth of what happened during the war years of 1998-99 and said he was confident that his role in “the liberation struggle for freedom and independence” would be legally justified.

“The glorious resistance, survival, and triumph over an invader, which sought to exterminate the Albanian people of Kosovo from the face of the Earth with the broom of ethnic fascism, will become once and for all untouchable by anyone,” Thaci said in his on July 18 broadcast.

Thaci said he underwent some 30 hours of questioning by prosecutors during his four days in The Hague, ending on July 16.

Read more: https://bit.ly/2OFbIzN

 State Department backs EU-brokered talks between Kosovo and Serbia (media)

The U.S. State Department said in a statement on Sunday that it supports the EU-brokered talks between Kosovo and Serbia. A spokesperson for the State Department told Voice of America: “We are pleased that the European Union has organised meetings between Serbia and Kosovo and we offer our full support”.

Asked about the resumption of the dialogue after a 20-month break, the spokesperson said: “Normalisation is essential in securing stability, progress and security in the Western Balkans”. 

Collaku: Resumption of technical dialogue, not in Kosovo’s interest (media)

Bekim Collaku, Chief of Staff to Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, said in a Twitter post on Saturday that the resumption of the EU-led technical dialogue is not in Kosovo’s interest.

“Resumption of EU led technical dialogue is not in Kosovo’s interest. It is designed to justify opening more accession chapters for Serbia while leaving Kosovo isolated under the current status quo. The aim should be a final political deal with mutual recognition,” Collaku tweeted.

Tahiri criticises EU for lack of visa liberalisation (media)

Kosovo’s Principal Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Tahiri criticised the European Union on Sunday for failing to give visa liberalisation to Kosovo’s citizens.

Tahiri said in a Facebook post that it has been two years since the European Commission confirmed that Kosovo had met all visa liberalisation requirements. “Before this date, there were many promises and pledges by the European Union, but to this day we still don’t have visa liberalisation,” he added.

Ischinger calls for visa liberalisation: EU credibility at stake (media)

German diplomat and chairman of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger took to Twitter on Sunday to call for visa liberalisation for Kosovo’s citizens. “Ok, so let’s do it now! Visa liberalization for all citizens of Kosovo is an unfulfilled EU promise. Long overdue – EU credibility is at stake!” Ischinger tweeted.

European Parliament rapporteur for Kosovo Viola von Cramon reacted to Ischinger’s tweet saying: “Very good. Don’t forget to address this message to @EmmanuelMacron and @MinPres. Those are mainly the ones who have their foot on the break regarding #VisaLiberalisation for #Kosovo.”

Peter Beyer, German MP and Kosovo’s Rapporteur to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, retweeted Ischinger. He wrote: “So true! The people of Kosova deserve to be treated in a fair and credible manner. @ischinger is absolutely right. No more foul excuses. Visa liberalization now!”

Haziri says Hoti’s meeting in Brussels “catastrophic” (media)

Most media reported over the weekend that Lutfi Haziri, one of the leaders of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), criticised Prime Minister AvdullahHoti’s participation at the EU-brokered meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels. “Catastrophic,” Haziri replied when asked to comment on Hoti’s meeting.

Dacic: Serbia has suspended derecognition campaign (Koha)

Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in an interview with Belgrade-based paper Blic that Serbia has suspended campaign for derecognition of Kosovo and that authorities in Pristina have also pledged not to pursue lobbying for recognition of independence and membership in international organisations.

Dacic said that the agreement between Kosovo and Serbia is still far and argued that “the only realistic solution” for resolving as he said the Kosovo problem is border correction. “The fact that Germany is against this solution does not mean we have to back down,” he said.

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