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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, July 20, 2020

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Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 142 new cases over the last 24 hours, four deaths (media)
• Zemaj sets up advisory board in the fight against COVID-19 (media)
• Ministry of Health reacts to COVID-19 ‘cure’ being shared on social media (media)
• Task force recommends doctors diagnose COVID-19 without testing (Koha)
• Hoti: Dialogue coordinator to travel to Brussels for final agreement (media)
• Thaci: Dialogue not to in mutual recognition not technical aspect (media)
• EU expects parties to confirm delegations for experts’ meeting (RFE)
• Hoti: There is no technical dialogue with Serbia (media)
• The U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee calls for visa liberalisation for Kosovo (RFE/Kallxo)

Serbian Language Media:

• 31 new cases of Covid-19 infection in Serb areas in Kosovo (Radio kontakt plus)
• 7 new cases of Covid-19 in the municipality of Gracanica (KIM radio)
• Gnjilane: 21 more people infected (RTV Puls, KIM radio)
• Persons positive on Covid-19 obliged to be in isolation (RTV Puls)
• “Aleksandar Vucic and Edi Rama lead the dialogue” (Danas, FoNet, KIM radio)
• Anniversary of Serb and Roma killings in Orahovac in 1998 marked (Radio KIM)
• Vucic continues consultations on new Serbian government with Dacic (N1)
• Djuric (YIHR): Resolving missing persons issue means revealing hitherto unknown crimes (KoSSev)
• Savkovic: Little maneuvering room for Serbia to avoid agreement; Recognition unrealistic (KoSSev)
• Ilazi: Brussels meeting was symbolic, more important for the EU than for Kosovo or Serbia (KoSSev)

Opinion:

• Kosovo needs an election (Transconflict/Koha)
• Why “Kosovo i Metohija” offends (KoSSev)

International:

• COVID-19 Fuels Prejudice towards People of Asian Descent in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Muddy Waters: The Pollution Killing Kosovo’s Lakes and Rivers (Balkan Insight)
• France bans travelers from Serbia (N1, FoNet)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 142 new cases over the last 24 hours, four deaths (media)
  • Zemaj sets up advisory board in the fight against COVID-19 (media)
  • Ministry of Health reacts to COVID-19 ‘cure’ being shared on social media (media)
  • Task force recommends doctors diagnose COVID-19 without testing (Koha)
  • Hoti: Dialogue coordinator to travel to Brussels for final agreement (media)
  • Thaci: Dialogue to end in mutual recognition not technical aspect (media)
  • EU expects parties to confirm delegations for experts’ meeting (RFE)
  • Hoti: There is no technical dialogue with Serbia (media)
  • The U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee calls for visa liberalisation for Kosovo (RFE/Kallxo)

Serbian Language Media:

  • 31 new cases of Covid-19 infection in Serb areas in Kosovo (Radio kontakt plus)
  • 7 new cases of Covid-19 in the municipality of Gracanica (KIM radio)
  • Gnjilane: 21 more people infected (RTV Puls, KIM radio)
  • Persons positive on Covid-19 obliged to be in isolation (RTV Puls)
  • “Aleksandar Vucic and Edi Rama lead the dialogue” (Danas, FoNet, KIM radio)
  • Anniversary of Serb and Roma killings in Orahovac in 1998 marked (Radio KIM)
  • Vucic continues consultations on new Serbian government with Dacic (N1)
  • Djuric (YIHR): Resolving missing persons issue means revealing hitherto unknown crimes (KoSSev)
  • Savkovic: Little maneuvering room for Serbia to avoid agreement; Recognition unrealistic (KoSSev)
  • Ilazi: Brussels meeting was symbolic, more important for the EU than for Kosovo or Serbia (KoSSev)

Opinion:

  • Kosovo needs an election (Transconflict/Koha)
  • Why “Kosovo i Metohija” offends (KoSSev)

International:

  • COVID-19 Fuels Prejudice towards People of Asian Descent in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Muddy Waters: The Pollution Killing Kosovo’s Lakes and Rivers (Balkan Insight)
  • France bans travelers from Serbia (N1, FoNet)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

COVID-19: 142 new cases over the last 24 hours, four deaths (media)

Director of Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health, Naser Ramadani, announced that 142 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Kosovo over the last 24 hours. There have been 101 recoveries reported over the same time period and four deaths.

The highest number of new cases are in the municipality of Pristina (47). 

Ramadani said that the coronavirus situation is being normalised and that there are currently 2,669 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Zemaj sets up advisory board in the fight against COVID-19 (media)

Kosovo’s Health Minister Armend Zemaj announced he has established an advisory board in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that will be chaired by Lul Raka.

Zemaj said the eleven-member board will consist of professionals in relevant fields. Zemaj said the board will provide the Ministry of Health with professional advice, scientific updates and recommendations on how best to contain the pandemic.

“All proposals from this board will be assessed and recommended through the National Institute for Public Health in line with applicable legislation,” Zemaj wrote on Facebook.

Ministry of Health reacts to COVID-19 ‘cure’ being shared on social media (media)

Kosovo’s Ministry of Health has issued a statement slamming social media posts that speak of ‘home remedies’ for fighting the COVID-19 disease. 

The Ministry called on citizens ‘not to fall prey’ to such publications and to contact the nearest health facility for any concern regarding COVID-19. It further urged the citizens to observe only official recommendations published by the Ministry of Health, the National Institute for Public Health and relevant health institutions.

Task force recommends doctors diagnose COVID-19 without testing (Koha)

The Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health task force has recommended the Health Ministry to instruct doctors in family healthcare clinics in diagnosing patients with COVID-19 without having them undergo testing. 

The task force said patients showing symptoms consistent with those of COVID-19 would be recommended to self isolate for a period of 14 days and that the procedure is in line with practices being implemented in many countries across the world, including the U.S. 

Hoti: Dialogue coordinator to travel to Brussels for final agreement (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti said today that the dialogue coordinator, whom he has yet to appoint, will be travelling on Thursday to Brussels to draft the final agreement on mutual recognition with Serbia. 

Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Albanian opposition leader Lulzim Basha, Hoti reiterated that Kosovo’s end goal in the dialogue process is “mutual recognition and normalisation of relations.”

Hoti said that the dialogue with Serbia has resumed following a 20-month break and that “in the first days we have clarified our platform and communicated it to all.”

Thaci: Dialogue to end in mutual recognition not technical aspect (media)

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci met today in Pristina the leader of Albania’s Democratic Party Lulzim Basha. 

“We discussed recent political developments in Kosovo and Albania and the possibilities for better fraternal cooperation. We also discussed Kosovo-Serbia dialogue [and] for us it is of vital importance to have as broad and inclusive consensus. Albania’s contribution for us has always been welcomed,” Thaci said. 

He added that dialogue with Serbia should be coordinated between the U.S. and the EU. “It needs to end not in the technical aspect but in mutual recognition,” he said.

Basha on his part said he has extended his support for the dialogue process. “I expressed my support on the consequent stance of the head of state in support of dialogue, in support of cohesion of political forces in Kosovo. I expressed my belief that full coordination between the U.S. and the EU was and remains a prerequisite for success,” he said. 

EU expects parties to confirm delegations for experts’ meeting (RFE)

Spokesperson for EU’s Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Nabila Massrali, told Radio Free Europe that they have sent invitations to Kosovo and Serbia for a meeting of experts and that they are waiting for confirmation.

Massrali said that the upcoming meeting will focus on issues already discussed at the high-level meeting between Kosovo’s Avdullah Hoti and Serbia’s Aleksandar Vucic.

“We have sent out the invitations, we expect to hear from the parties. The meeting at the level of experts will focus on issues that have been discussed,” she said. 

Hoti: There is no technical dialogue with Serbia (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti said today there is no technical dialogue with Serbia.

“There is only dialogue for final agreement on mutual recognition and normalisation of relations between the two countries,” he wrote on Facebook today.

Earlier, Bekim Collaku, chief of staff to Kosovo President President Hashim Thaci, said that the resumption of the EU-led technical dialogue is not in Kosovo’s interest and that it was “designed to justify opening more accession chapters for Serbia while leaving Kosovo isolated under the current status quo.” 

The U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee calls for visa liberalisation for Kosovo (RFE/Kallxo)

The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee called on the EU Council to grant Kosovo visa liberalisation.

“It’s now been more than 2 years since the European Commission confirmed that #Kosovo met all of the conditions for visa liberalization.

The @EUCouncil must live up to its promise to Kosovo and grant visa liberalization at once. @EUKosovo,” it wrote on Twitter.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

31 new cases of Covid-19 infection in Serb areas in Kosovo (Radio kontakt plus)

31 new cases of Covid-19 infection were registered in the Serb-populated areas in Kosovo epidemiologist Aleksandar Antonijevic said today, Radio kontakt plus reports.

Out of 60 samples sent for testing on Saturday, 31 were positive.

Out of 31 newly registered cases, four cases each were registered in Mitrovica North and Leposavic, nine in Zvecan and two in Zubin Potok. 12 cases were registered in the Serb-populated areas south of the Ibar River. Five cases were registered in Gracanica, three in Gnjilane and two cases each in Priluzje and Lipljan.

Total of 112 persons have been hospitalized.

“Over the last 24 hours there were no cured cases, while over the last 48 hours two persons have passed away. Both persons were from Zvecan and had underlying conditions. One person passed away yesterday and the other one on Saturday”, Antonijevic said during the press conference.  

At the moment 102 patients have been hospitalized at the Clinical Hospital Center in Mitrovica North, three in Belgrade, two in Kragujevac, four in Nis and one patient is staying at the Clinical Center of Serbia.

355 persons are staying at the self-isolation.

Since March 12, a total of 2.882 persons have been tested and 631 persons tested positive.

Since the beginning of the pandemic 15 persons have passed away due to Covid-19. 

Since June 18 up to date 499 new cases of Covid-19 infected were registered in the Serb-populated areas Kosovo wide.

7 new cases of Covid-19 in the municipality of Gracanica (KIM radio)

KIM radio reports that on the territory of the municipality of Gracanica, 7 more cases with covid-19 infection were registered. The total number of patients is 50.

At the department of the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the Clinical Center of Pristina in Laplje Selo, 15 patients were hospitalized, the Crisis Staff of the Municipality of Gracanica announced.

All contacts were given a measure of self-isolation. “They are under surveillance because the disease is unpredictable and the disease can progress very quickly,” the statement said.

The Crisis Staff of the Municipality of Gracanica says that all citizens must respect the prescribed measures in order to suppress the virus, “because the epidemiological situation has been disturbed,” quoted KIM radio.

Gnjilane: 21 more people infected (RTV Puls, KIM radio)

In the municipality of Gnjilane, 21 more people were infected with the coronavirus, it was announced this morning from the Provisional Authority of the Municipality of Gnjilane. 

The statement reads that a total of 62 people were tested and that eight people from Gornje Kusce, three people each from Pones and Partes, two people each from Pasjane and Koretiste and one person each from Silovo, Gnjilane and Stanisor were tested positive.

A total of 223 patients were examined at the Covid clinic in Pasjane.

The statement of the Crisis Staff says that it is an alarming increase in the number of infected people in Kosovsko Pomoravlje because most of the infected and members of their families do not adhere to the isolation measures.

They warn that anyone who does not adhere to the isolation measure will be reported to the police and may be held criminally liable for endangering the lives of other people, quotes KIM radio.

Persons positive on Covid-19 obliged to be in isolation (RTV Puls)

All persons positive on Covid-19 are obliged to be in isolation and respect measures as recommended by responsible authorities. Violations of the recommended measures would be severely sanctioned, spokesperson of the Kosovo police North region, Branislav Radovic said, RTV Puls reports. 

He explained that in line with the current Covid-19 plan of the Kosovo police, they control and oversee all cases of coronavirus infection in self-isolation, in order to make sure the measures introduced to curb pandemic were respected. 

“All measures made by responsible institutions such as wearing protective masks, keeping physical distance and ban on movement from 9.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m. must be respected”, he added. Radovic once again appealed to the citizens to be cautious and responsible. 

“Aleksandar Vucic and Edi Rama lead the dialogue” (Danas, FoNet, KIM radio)

The formation of a single-ethnic local government in Bujanovac, with direct interference from Tirana, clearly shows that the dialogue is actually led by Aleksandar Vucic and Edi Rama, the president of the European Movement of Serbs, Rada Trajkovic, told Belgrade based agency FoNet, quoted KIM radio.  

Trajkovic pointed out that the coalition of Albanian parties, that have councilors in the Municipal Assembly of Bujanovac, was signed in Tirana. She said that Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Albania Gent Cakaj previously, with the consent of Belgrade, visited Bujanovac, Presevo and Medvedja. She quoted Cakaj as saying that it was “good” that only Albanians had power in Bujanovac.

“What is currently happening around Bujanovac, where a mono-ethnic assembly was elected, is a continuation of the Thaci-Vucic project in silence,” said Rada Trajkovic, adding that they deal with citizens in a non-transparent way, and that obviously a plan was  “migration engineering and expulsion of people”. 

According to her, the fact that Serbs in Bujanovac will not be institutionally represented is ”a message for all of us”.

Rada Trajkovic expressed her fear that “for Serbs in the future, that means migration”.

”And in that way, the project is being implemented, which Thaci and Vucic have been negotiating on a personal level for two years and informed the Trump administration which in the end has revealed it through something that is actually Thaci’s summons to The Hague,” Trajkovic pointed out. 

She said that the idea would live as long as Vucic was at the head of Serbian institutions, especially the way he currently rules, where “he holds the Government, the Assembly, the judiciary, institutions in his purse, and the opposition is on the street.”

Anniversary of Serb and Roma killings in Orahovac in 1998 marked (Radio KIM)

An anniversary of a massive kidnapping and killings of Serb and Roma committed by KLA members that took place 22 years ago in Orahovac was marked on Saturday, Radio KIM reports. 

During July 1998, 47 persons lost their lives in Orahovac, while more than 100 Serbs and Roma, mostly civilians were kidnapped and taken to KLA prisons and camps. 

Kidnapping in Orahovac municipality was the first massive case of a group kidnapping of Serbs and Roma during the conflict in Kosovo and Metohija in 1998 and 1999. Entire Serb population from the villages of Retimlje, Opertusa and Zociste had been expelled. Names of many are still on the list of missing persons. 14 male members of the Kostic family were kidnapped in a single day in the village of Retimlje. Entire family of Dragica Mavric was kidnapped as well – 17 members of her family. 

Radio KIM recalled that during the month of July in 1998, 47 persons have been killed, while more that 100 Serbs and Roma, mostly civilians were kidnapped and taken to KLA camps and prisons. Red Cross activists managed to release a group of 35 civilians. Whereabouts of others remained unknown. 

In 2005, in Malisevo and Volujak remains of 36 persons kidnapped in July 1998 were found. 

No one was held accountable for the crimes committed against the Serbs in the villages of Orahovac municipality. Families of missing persons hope that those responsible could be identified and prosecuted once the Specialist Chambers starts prosecuting war crimes committed by KLA members. 

Massive kidnappings of Serbs after this one took place at Obilic mines, then in Istok municipality and other settlements. 

More than five thousand Serbs used to live in Orahovac and surrounding villages prior to the conflict. Today less than one thousand still live there. 

Vucic continues consultations on new Serbian government with Dacic (N1)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic continued consultations to form a new government, meeting with the leaders of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) and United Serbia (JS), Ivica Dacic and Dragan Markovic Palma, N1 reports.

Vucic met earlier with Aleksandar Sapic whose SPAS party won seats in parliament. Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), SPAS and the SPS-JS coalition won seats at the June 21 parliamentary elections. Some national minority parties will also hold the seats reserved for them under Serbian election law.  

There has been speculation that Vucic might not include Dacic in the new government since his SNS has enough seats to form a government on its own. Vucic is scheduled to meet with SNS officials on Tuesday.

See at: https://bit.ly/2WCr3W6

Djuric (YIHR): Resolving missing persons issue means revealing hitherto unknown crimes (KoSSev)

The fact that the dialogue has been renewed with the topic of the missing persons is encouraging, however, the implementation of a possible agreement would require courageous moves and political will, the program director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Ivan Djuric told KoSSev.

Belgrade and Pristina resumed the dialogue on normalization of relations on Thursday. This process began in 2011 but stalled in November 2018. Although it seems that the details of the part of the agreement related to the topics discussed on Thursday will be determined in the coming period by expert teams, the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic presented certain hints on what the agreement could include – such as Serbia showing political will to resolve the issue of missing persons, reflected in the excavation of places suspected of being mass grave sites and the involvement of the International Red Cross in resolving the issue of missing persons.

The issue of missing persons is a key topic for reconciliation and it is encouraging that the dialogue resumed with it, Djuric said.

“It can be an indicator of a sincere and thorough commitment to dialogue and the improvement of relations, provided that the fate of missing persons is discovered efficiently and without reservations“, he said.

See at: https://bit.ly/32HXtlU

Savkovic: Little maneuvering room for Serbia to avoid agreement; Recognition unrealistic (KoSSev)

The process led by the EU Special Envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak – as a continuation of negotiations between the two sides which was suspended in November 2018 – represents a change for the better. At least the topics are known and dynamics have been established, the program director of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, Marko Savkovic said in a statement for KoSSev.

According to Savkovic, Thursday’s meeting is a sign that the process has formally and principally returned under the auspices of the European Union.

“I would say that it has changed for the better, because at least we learned what the topics are, that is, what is being discussed. The dynamics has also been determined; the technical-expert teams will work for two weeks until the next Vucic-Hoti meeting. In some way, it is all positive“, Savkovic opined.

For weeks, the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has been warning that Serbia will face an increased pressure this fall. Furthermore, after a meeting with the Pristina delegation on Sunday, he also announced that European partners have “great expectations“ from Serbia. The majority of the public interpreted such statements as pressure on Serbia to recognize Kosovo. Savkovic argued that fall and everything that comes with it – the economic effects of the pandemic and further political instability – will bring the EU closer to “the moment when it will be able to exert final pressure“.

See at: https://bit.ly/39eKBoP

Ilazi: Brussels meeting was symbolic, more important for the EU than for Kosovo or Serbia (KoSSev)

The Kosovo and Serbian delegations resumed negotiations on the normalization of relations on Thursday following a 20-month-long stall in the dialogue. The agenda included topics such as the issue of missing and expelled persons, and economic cooperation. According to a research fellow at the Kosovo Center for Security Studies, Dan Ilazi, although both topics are ”essential in Kosovo-Serbia relations, they were only negotiated symbolically ”.

”The meeting between President Vucic and Prime Minister Hoti in Brussels in principle is a positive step and it is important that it was held, however my impression is that it was rather a symbolic meeting that was more important for the EU rather than for Kosovo or Serbia, to show that the European Commission is back at the helm of the process,” Ilazi told KoSSev.

He added that the entire process was followed by the cloud of ”the latest blow to the US efforts” in the same process.

Before the series of meetings on the topic of dialogue was held in Paris, and later in Brussels, a meeting was supposed to take place in Washington on June 27th, under the auspices of President Trump’s Special Envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Richard Grenell. The meeting was canceled after the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office announced that it had filed a war crimes indictment against Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, a longtime Kosovo negotiator and PDK leader, Kadri Veseli.

After the meetings organized by the EU were announced, Grenell welcomed this initiative of ”European partners ”. He also expressed hope that the priority of the negotiations in Brussels would be the implementation of the agreements or letters of intent. The letters of intent – on the establishment of railway and airlines, as well as the construction of highways – were signed by both sides, and with Grenell’s help, earlier this year.

According to the statements of the participants of Thursday’s meeting, however, that did not happen. Talks were held on the topic of missing and expelled persons, as well as economic cooperation, although there was talk of building the Nis-Pristina highway, the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic confirmed.

It is without a doubt the issues of missing persons and economic cooperation are essential in Kosovo-Serbia relations, but the impression from the statements that both leaders made, shows that the EU does not have an ambitious agenda and these are signs of a continuation of the approach of kicking the can (cf. the recognition issue) down the road – Ilazi underlined.

”Without dealing meaningfully with the issue at the heart of the dispute between Kosovo and Serbia, it is difficult to achieve progress in any other areas. All the ‘low hanging fruits’ have been utilized for almost a decade now since the dialogue started, it is time to deal with the difficult issue, ” he said.

Ilazi also expressed the belief that there are preconditions for this.

”Already some EU member States have expressed their position, which is that Serbia needs to accept Kosovo to move forward with the integration process in the Union. The sooner the EU devises a strategy on how to frame this condition vis-à-vis Vucic the better. The latest elections in Serbia, albeit apart from the allegations of abuse, are to some degree a validation for Vucic and his approaches, so this places him in a unique position to make decisive actions vis-à-vis the Kosovo issue. The EU should use this opportunity,” Ilazi told KoSSev.

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

 

 

 Opinion

 

Kosovo needs an election (Transconflict/Koha)

Hashim Thaci’s indictment blows apart the politically-motivated diplomacy of the last few months, writes in an opinion piece David B. Kanin, adjunct professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University and a former senior intelligence analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

“The fix was in.  Thaci and Isa Mustafa had made their deal to hijack Kosovo’s politics, eject Albin Kurti from the job he won in the last election, and strike a deal with Belgrade that would be awful for Kosovo but great for their overlapping political ambitions.  Thaci and Avdullah Hoti, the pliant Prime Minister chosen by the political bosses, would permit an aggressive American envoy to orchestrate a result having much more to do with US politics than with the interests of those Kosovars willing to play the role of Washington’s clients.  The result would join the Dayton Agreement and UN Security Council Resolution 1244 as signal triumphs for Serbian diplomacy.

“Then the international court created to investigate war crimes allegedly committed by former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army decided to haul Thaci into the dock before he could have another controversial conversation with his pal, Aleksandar Vucic.  This action made a sort of logical sense.  All parties to the meeting supposed to be held in Washington on June 27 were acting in their parochial interests.  Why should the Court give up an opportunity to answer criticism that it – like the plodding international tribunal on war crimes in the former Yugoslavia – was largely engaged in time-consuming choreography sure to result in a poor performance?  

“The muted response from Pristina, Belgrade, and Washington suggested the Court played this well.  No one was going to attack the sanctity of what passes for a legal process.  Even an American administration that has been more than a little skeptical of any political, diplomatic, commercial, and legal activities not made in America saw no reason to overreact to an event of miniscule importance to American domestic politics.  Vucic did not really need the meeting in the first place.  He could bask in the spotlight provided by PR opportunities in Moscow and Brussels.”

See at: https://bit.ly/3jp2dmr

Why “Kosovo i Metohija” offends (KoSSev)

By Agon Maliqi

As human beings, we may find ourselves sometimes surprised when someone reacts negatively to the use of words which come to us naturally and which we view as harmless. This is a moment when we should stop and check whether we may be blind to power relations and historical grievances that others might have against us, or blind to what our words and actions signify to others. MeToo or Black Lives Matter are precisely the kind of examples of global movements contesting behaviors and public forms of expression that were long considered normal, yet whose continued use is believed to entrench historical inequalities and injustices.

The way in which many Serbs get surprised by how Albanians react to terms such as “Kosovo i Metohija” is a sign of a broader blindness towards Albanian perspectives on pretty much anything, if not of a denial that that perspective has any right to exist. The colonial reflex remains very much alive and is largely unaware of its existence. While I am happy that media such as KoSSev invited me to explain why the term sparks such reactions, I doubt that many Serbs in Serbia or Kosovo will care to change their views and behaviors after reading this, much like I don’t expect Albanians to change their perceptions of Serbia as an inherently racist and fascist society when I write about the progressive parts of its history.

To answer your question: to Albanians, the term “Kosovo i Metohija” represents a loaded and politically charged term because of when and how it was used in history to signify Serbian domination and repression. Therefore, it is not perceived only as a term that Serbs use to describe the territory, but also a symbol of continued claims over Kosovo and a desire to dominate and violate it. Thus, the mere uttering of the term is generally perceived as an act of aggression, regardless of the intentions of its user, for the reasons outlined below.

See at: https://bit.ly/30oEwCa

 

 

International

 

COVID-19 Fuels Prejudice towards People of Asian Descent in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

Living in Kosovo, people of Asian descent say they have always endured a certain level of prejudice. But COVID-19 has made things worse.

Born to Protestant missionaries from South Korea, Haes-Shal Kim spent time as a young boy in the Albanian port city of Durres and has lived for the past three years in Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians are the overwhelming majority.

So he could understand very well what was being said about him in his local bakery in the capital, Pristina, one day in early April. It was the reaction of the shopkeeper, however, that hurt the most.

“One of the customers started complaining to the shopkeeper about my presence in the shop,” 28-year-old Kim, a teacher, told BIRN. “I’ve known the shopkeeper for years, but I was shocked that she wouldn’t take the courage to say that I am just a neighbour. Instead, she just shrugged her shoulders.”

See at: https://bit.ly/2CTpxb7

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Muddy Waters: The Pollution Killing Kosovo’s Lakes and Rivers (Balkan Insight)

Widespread pollution is choking Kosovo’s rivers and contaminating drinking water. Successive governments have done little to stop it.

Nerimane Ferizi was 20 years old when she set out to become a water warden in her hometown of Mitrovica, the year Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. 

Twelve years on, Ferizi is fighting the same fight, as the Mitrovica reporter for the environmental organisation ‘Let’s Do It Kosova,’ an arm of the ‘Let’s Do It! World’ network that works to promote a zero-waste world.

Mitrovica in northern Kosovo is a divided town, between ethnic Serbs north of the Ibar river and ethnic Albanians predominantly to the south.

One thing politicians on both sides do share, however, is a distinct lack of interest in the city’s pressing environmental issues. 

See at: https://bit.ly/3heZ8DG

France bans travelers from Serbia (N1, FoNet)

The French Embassy in Belgrade said that travelers from Serbia will not be allowed entry into France in line with European Union recommendations, FoNet news agency reported.

The Council of the EU recommended closing the borders of member states to travelers from Serbia, among other countries, because of the deteriorating epidemiological situation in the country.  

A statement on the Embassy website said that French citizens and their families as well as EU citizens are exempt from the ban as are nationals of Great Britain, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland, San Marino and the Vatican who are French residents or and in transit to their home countries. The ban does not extend to third country nationals living in or in transit through France who have EU residence permits, including diplomatic personnel, members of international organizations based in France and their families, medical staff, air crews and sailors.

See at: https://bit.ly/2CtGJEu  

 

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