- COVID-19: 181 new cases, eight deaths (media)
- Hyseni: No separate agreements without a comprehensive agreement (media)
- President Thaci to meet Prime Minister Hoti today (media)
- Apostolova: EU is not behind Thaci’s indictment (KTV)
- Reeker: U.S. continues talks with EU on the Kosovo – Serbia dialogue (RFE)
- Beyer: North is a challenging topic in talks, borders won’t be touched (Express)
- Hoxhaj: Hoti government can damage Kosovo with its inability (Klan)
- Von Cramon: I do not and cannot impact work of Specialist Chambers (media)
- KSF denies Russian media reports of armament purchase (Zeri)
- Bosnian Serbs ask Vucic to tie their region’s independence to Kosovo talks (Reuters)
Kosovo Media Highlights
COVID-19: 181 new cases, eight deaths (media)
The National Institute of Public Health announced on Thursday that from 420 samples taken in the last 24 hours, 181 samples resulted positive. The Institute also informed that eight patients have died from the virus.
Positive cases are from: Prishtina municipality 77 cases, Gjilan municipality 17 cases, Peja 13 cases, Mitrovica 10 cases, Vushtrri 10 cases, Viti 8 cases, Drenas 6 cases, Fushe Kosove 6 cases, Lipjan 6 cases, Podujeve 6 cases, Dragash 4 cases, Decan 3 cases. Municipalities of Ferizaj, Malisheve, Obiliq, Prizren, Skenderaj, Suhareka have two cases each. Istog, Kacanik and Kamenice have one case each.
Several news outlets quote Health Director at Prishtina municipality, Bujar Gashi, as saying that there are currently 1,305 active coronavirus cases in Prishtina.
All media reported on Thursday that Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) leader and former Assembly President, Kadri Veseli, confirmed in a Facebook post that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
There are currently 3,352 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.
Hyseni: No separate agreements without a comprehensive agreement (media)
Kosovo’s state coordinator for the dialogue with Serbia, Skender Hyseni, said on Thursday after meeting the Serbian delegation in Brussels that “it seems there is a dose of constructiveness and awareness that we need to move forward”. Hyseni did not reveal details on topics that were discussed on Thursday but said “there is agreement on certain elements and the meeting was constructive”.
Hyseni also said that “there will be no agreements on separate chapters without a comprehensive agreement”. “This is a new momentum. We are talking about conclusion; therefore, this is a highly political process,” he added. “There is nothing technical anymore, it is very political. And one day when the elements of a comprehensive agreement are fully agreed upon, it will be clear that these are elements of an agreement to which everything else subordinates. This is why we cannot delay the process by addressing separate topics, which can or cannot be implemented and which depends on the good and free will of every party. Now we are talking about an international legally-binding agreement which will oblige both parties to implement in on the ground.”
President Thaci to meet Prime Minister Hoti today (media)
All media report that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci will meet Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti today at 09:00. Gazeta Express notes in its coverage that “after tensions, Thaci and Hoti to reestablish their relations”.
Apostolova: EU is not behind Thaci’s indictment (KTV)
European Union Special Representative in Kosovo, Nataliya Apostolova said in an interview to the TV station on Thursday that she doesn’t believe the European Union is behind the indictment of the Specialist Chambers against President Hashim Thaci. She said the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office is an independent body and that it should remain as such.
Apostolova said that even after the indictments, the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia is continuing and that the Constitution provides who represents Kosovo in the process. “Of course, Prime Minister Hoti can be accompanied by whoever he decides. So it is not good to combine or link these two issues, but when we talk about the Specialist Chambers and the reflection in Kosovo, I want to make some comments, because unfortunately we have seen an effort to repeal the law,” she said.
Apostolova said the initiative to abolish the Specialist Chambers in 2018 was a major mistake and that all those lobbying in favor of the initiative should have known what message Kosovo was sending to the world. “I don’t think our reaction, the reaction of all international partners, was surprising, because this was a terrible mistake and there was also a wrong perception in Kosovo that this court was targeting the KLA. The court however is not seeking collective responsibility but rather the individual responsibility of some people,” she added.
Apostolova also said the perception that the EU is targeting certain people or the KLA is dangerous. “No, we are not doing this. Individuals will have to answer for their actions in that period of time,” she said.
Apostolova said the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia was always high on the agenda of the European Union and that the EU and the United States will always remain strategic partners, including on the resolution of the Kosovo issue.
Reeker: U.S. continues talks with EU on the Kosovo – Serbia dialogue (RFE)
The U.S. Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Reeker, said on Thursday that the U.S. will continue talks with the European Union and other interested parties for the Kosovo – Serbia dialogue. The senior U.S. official made these remarks during a video conference with reporters on the day when delegations from Kosovo and Serbia met in Brussels.
Asked by Radio Free Europe about the current role of the U.S. in the dialogue and if there is cooperation between the U.S. and the EU, Reeker said “he is glad that the dialogue has continued” and that the U.S. will support the process. “I think that Kosovo and Serbia must work in finding a solution and we welcome this opportunity,” he said.
Reeker said he will meet EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak in Brussels on Friday.
Reeker also talked about the initiative of the U.S. Presidential Envoy Richard Grenell. “Grenell worked on the economic aspect to help the two countries to find ways to improve their economies and the lives of their people. This is inevitable for Serbia and Kosovo as neighboring countries and this will help them find a way to improve relations and to move forward with their long-term objectives,” he said.
Reeker said “excellent steps were made” in the process led by Ambassador Grenell and that the United States would continue to support both sides in implementing the agreements that were signed during Grenell’s mediation.
“Our embassies in Belgrade and in Prishtina remain active and are in close contact with governments in both countries, with the aim of supporting them to find a way to move forward in the process. We will continue our talks with the European Union and with other interested parties,” Reeker said.
Beyer: North is a challenging topic in talks, borders won’t be touched (Express)
German MP and Council of Europe’s Rapporteur for Kosovo, Peter Beyer, said in an interview with the news website on Thursday that the problem of the northern part of Kosovo remains one of the most challenging issues in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and that it cannot be ignored.
Beyer said politicians in Kosovo and Serbia have been elected also to make important decisions and painful compromises. He also said that Germany does not support any kind of border changes between Kosovo and Serbia.
Beyer, who is a close associate of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said the technical details of the talks between Kosovo and Serbia are very important but also added that a final agreement can be reached even if technicalities are not fully implemented.
“Germany and the European Union are your best friends. We want you in the EU. We have reached out to help you. Try to seize the opportunity and do your homework.”
Hoxhaj: Hoti government can damage Kosovo with its inability (Klan)
Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) senior member Enver Hoxhaj said in an interview with the TV station on Thursday that the Hoti-led government lacks a strategy and coordination with partners on the dialogue with Serbia.
“The program of the Hoti government has 40 lines on what can happen in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. It doesn’t have a strategy. You must have a document that is clear on the topics that can and cannot be discussed in the dialogue. This government also has no platform for the dialogue. The issue of missing persons which was closed in 2005 has been restored in the dialogue,” Hoxhaj said.
Hoxhaj, who used to serve as Foreign Minister, argued that the current government can damage Kosovo with its inability. “If the coalition partners do not coordinate in the appointment of the state coordinator for dialogue, this means there is no cooperation. This government can damage Kosovo with its inability,” he added.
Von Cramon: I do not and cannot impact work of Specialist Chambers (media)
The European Parliament’s Rapporteur for Kosovo, Viola Von Cramon, told the news website on Thursday that she cannot and does not want to impact the work of the Specialist Chambers and that some politicians in Kosovo are misusing her visit at The Hague for their own purposes.
“The purpose of my visit at The Hague is to learn about the functioning of these institutions. It is my duty to collect as much information as possible. I had planned my visit there long ago, but for obvious reasons I was not able to travel to The Hague in the last couple of months. I don’t plan my visits based on the timetable of interviews there, and I certainly did not know that Thaci would be interviewed there that week. Being that the Prosecutor is very professional and is doing an excellent job, he did not share any information with me about the interviews,” she said.
Asked to comment on the demand of war veterans in Kosovo for her dismissal, Von Cramon said her visit was misunderstood. She said Kosovo’s citizens must have faith in the Specialist Chambers and that she does not and cannot have any impact on the work of the court.
“If they think that I want or can impact the Specialist Chambers they are misunderstanding the situation. Or they are intentionally saying that even though they know that that is not the truth. They need to have faith in the court’s ability to hold accountable individuals for crimes committed during the war and this requires full independence. It is my duty to better understand the work of the judiciary in Kosovo”.
Von Cramon also said that maybe politicians in Kosovo are using the work of the Specialist Chambers for “their daily political fights”.
KSF denies Russian media reports of armament purchase (Zeri)
The Kosovo Security Force (KSF) has rejected reports published by the Russian media outlet Sputnik saying that it purchased military equipment from Germany and that it was negotiating obtaining automatic weapons and tanks.
“The news from the Russian agency Sputnik is fake and part of misinformation from unfriendly circles of the KSF and the country aimed at damaging its image and development perspective,” KSF press office said.
The KSF said that the recent donation of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) is part of KSF’s operational capacity building plan.
Bosnian Serbs ask Vucic to tie their region’s independence to Kosovo talks (Reuters)
As Western diplomats try to revive stalled talks on normalising ties between Serbia and Kosovo, Bosnian Serb leaders on Thursday put pressure on Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to include the status of their own region in any future negotiations.
“We are very interested for the talks related to the status of Kosovo,” Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, said at a news conference with Vucic in Banja Luka, the de facto capital of the Serb region in Bosnia.
“It must become a part of public discourse that it is impossible to talk about a special status of Kosovo without talking about a special status of Republika Srpska,” said Dodik, a pro-Russian nationalist who has repeatedly called for the secession of the Serb region from Bosnia.
Read more: https://reut.rs/32QFsSQ