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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, July 30

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• COVID-19 report: Four deaths, 194 new cases (media)
• Hyseni: Negotiations will tackle specific elements (Klan)
• Tahiri: Hoti fell on mines at the Brussels summit (media)
• Kosnett: Proposed law, wrong way to show respect for KLA (media)
• Balkans leaders agree to actions to help region recover from pandemic (media)
• Kosovo ambassador to North Macedonia contacted by SPO (media)

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  • COVID-19 report: Four deaths, 194 new cases (media)
  • Hyseni: Negotiations will tackle specific elements (Klan)
  • Tahiri: Hoti fell on mines at the Brussels summit (media)
  • Kosnett: Proposed law, wrong way to show respect for KLA (media)
  • Balkans leaders agree to actions to help region recover from pandemic (media)
  • Kosovo ambassador to North Macedonia contacted by SPO (media)

Kosovo Media Highlights

COVID-19 report: Four deaths, 194 new cases (media)

Kosovo National Institute for Public Health Director, Naser Ramadani, said that 194 new coronavirus cases and four deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

The highest number of cases is from the municipality of Prishtina (81). 138 patients have recovered from the virus during this period.

Ramadani said the fewer number of infected persons in the last 24 hours is good news and called on citizens to strictly abide by the government’s protective measures.

There are currently 3,900 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Hyseni: Negotiations will tackle specific elements (Klan)

Kosovo’s State Coordinator for the dialogue with Serbia, Skender Hyseni, said in an interview to Klan Kosova on Wednesday that negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia will tack specific elements but that the whole process will result with mutual recognition.

“Specific elements of a comprehensive – legally-binding international agreement will be tackled,” Hyseni said. “These are purely political negotiations for a comprehensive agreement which will definitely result with mutual recognition”.

Hyseni also said that it is essential to build maximal consensus “so that we can push these matters to the right direction”.

Tahiri: Hoti fell on mines at the Brussels summit (media)

Kosovo’s Principal Deputy Prime Minister, Besnik Tahiri, said in an interview to RTK on Tuesday that Kosovo’s partition was a project of Serbian and its president, Aleksandar Vucic. He said the initiative for partition was terminally closed because of the opposition coming from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Partition was a project of Aleksandar Vucic and the Serbian Academy of Sciences. The EU’s political discourse toward Serbia on Kosovo’s partition was more or less grounded. Except for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, no one else was against it,” he argued.

Commenting on the meeting between Prime Minister Hoti and Serbian President Vucic, Tahiri said Hoti “fell on mines” because EU officials left him to wait in the hallway.

Kosnett: Proposed law, wrong way to show respect for KLA (media)

The United States Ambassador to Kosovo, Philip Kosnett, took to Twitter on Wednesday to oppose the proposed law on Kosovo Liberation Army values. He tweeted: “The proposed KLA Values Law is the wrong way to show respect for KLA. It criminalizes free speech, intimidates citizens, and is costly. It distracts from practical efforts to understand and teach Kosovo’s history. When will parties refocus energies on the economy and COVID-19?”

Balkans leaders agree to actions to help region recover from pandemic (media)

On Wednesday, leaders from the Western Balkan Six – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia – joined together at the Western Balkans Partnership Summit to adopt practical measures to deepen regional economic cooperation and recovery measures to counter the COVID-19 economic crisis. The leaders’ decisions will serve to stimulate economic recovery, boost the region’s long-term competitiveness, and strengthen its attractiveness for investors. US, European, and key institution representatives joined the support the leaders’ decisions.

The summit’s achievements include a renewed regional commitment to implementing free movement for goods, services, capital and people; removing barriers that hinder economic growth; and identifying shovel-ready infrastructure investment projects so recovery funds and future investment can be deployed swiftly and effectively. These projects would focus on infrastructure to support green energy efforts, the digital economy, and job creation. The commitments today will help produce a successful summit this fall as part of the Berlin Process.

Specifically, the leaders agreed to make permanent the so-called green lanes established during the lockdown to ensure the unobstructed flow of all goods and priority passage for essential goods; and to expand the green lane concept to more goods and to EU neighbors of the Western Balkan Six when they meet again in Sophia this fall. They agreed to tackle these issues together and work regionally, making relevant bilateral or multilateral agreements open to all. They also pushed to make this effort visible to citizens by removing barriers to live, study, work, and visit through the region. The leaders also welcomed a commitment from the US Development Finance Corporation to prioritize investment in the region.

Today’s summit, which was convened virtually by the Atlantic Council, resulted in a chair’s statement endorsed by all leaders. The full text of the statement can be found here.

The primary objective of the summit was overcoming the economic challenges resulting from the fragmentation of the region. Barriers to the free movement of goods, services, and people have held back the regional economy and trade with EU member states, with goods spending as much as 80 percent of shipping time idling at border crossings.

While the pandemic is depressing economic activity, economic integration could boost regional economies by as much as 10 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and bring the region and its companies closer to the EU Internal Market.

In addition, the leaders committed to a plan designed to attract new investment in the region and accelerate the deployment of committed COVID-19 recovery funds.

Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti of Kosovo said:

“I welcome the initiative of the Atlantic Council to provide a platform for the countries of the Western Balkans to discuss and agree on concrete measures that will foster economic growth and foreign investment across the region. Regional cooperation is not a substitute for European integration, but rather an important preparatory step that helps our countries prepare for accession to the European Union. As an equal member of the Western Balkans Six, Kosovo is committed to contributing to regional economic cooperation.”

President Stevo Pendarovski of North Macedonia said:

“We fully support regional cooperation, and the economic agenda should lead before the political or security issues which occupied us for such a long time. Economic initiatives are very important because they are remedies for the biggest problem of our societies: people leaving the Balkans, primarily looking for a better economic future for their families. We have to find a solution for this challenge and one of the ways to improve the economic parameters of our countries is through regional cooperation.

“We must not allow the EU perspective to remain unclear or distant in the future. The integration limbo has been historically proven to be the worst case scenario for the Balkans. It has always created a space for the unproductive geopolitical competition of the local players and world powers.”

Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania said:

“I proposed that leaders meet virtually on a monthly basis to take stock at the highest level on the implementation of the commitments taken today. In addition, I highlighted the importance of digital connectivity and broadband infrastructure for the unleashing of our economic potential and bringing the region closer to the Euro-Atlantic community, economically as well as politically.”

Minister of Economy Dragica Sekulić of Montenegro said:

“Our message is very simple: when we cooperate regionally, let’s do it in a way that will speed up the EU Accession process for each of us, based on individual merits.”

Chairman of the Council of Ministers Zoran Tegeltija of Bosnia and Herzegovina said:

“The coronavirus pandemic-caused crisis pointed at the need for closer regional, as well as international, cooperation with the European Union. As the people most responsible for our economies, which are small and interdependent, yet also dependent on partners in the European Union, were are expected to take a swift and decisive action in order to start an investment cycle and have our citizens assured of our determination for fast progress and an expeditious response to the crisis.

“Encouraged by the latest developments in Brussels, I welcome an agreement made by the EU leaders and expect considerable support within the agreed-to EU financial package for projects to be defined jointly. This way, the European Union can demonstrate once again that the Western Balkans is a part of Europe and that Europe is interested in the Western Balkans countries’ integration to the European Union. Our task and obligation are to work in an accelerated fashion on defining and implementation of joint measures and finally show the results thereof to our citizens.”

President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia said:

“For the first time, there are no big politics. Everything comes to the economy. We do understand the political differences between us, but if we want to resolve political problems, we have to resolve economic ones first. We have to bring our citizens closer, we have to raise the level of economic responsibility, and thereby the living standards of our citizens will go up. That’s why Serbia is committed to working on concrete steps towards faster developing of common economic market.”

We have to bring our citizens closer, we have to raise the level of economic responsibility, and thereby the living standards of our citizens will go up.

Damon Wilson, Atlantic Council Executive Vice President, said:

“Through the Atlantic Council’s Balkans Forward Initiative, we are committed to fostering a more prosperous Western Balkans that is part of the transatlantic community. Today’s summit marks a major step in that direction as the region confronts a critical moment in the wake of COVID-19. I was inspired to see a shared vision for economic growth through cooperation from the region’s leaders, and the Atlantic Council will continue to provide its full support to help the Western Balkans meet its economic potential.”

The Western Balkan Six leaders were joined by representatives from the US Department of State, the US Development Finance Corporation, the US National Security Council, the European Commission, the Regional Cooperation Council, the European External Action Service, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank, and the Western Balkan 6 Chambers of Commerce Investment Forum.

Kosovo ambassador to North Macedonia contacted by SPO (media)

Kosovo’s Ambassador to North Macedonia, Gjergj Dedaj, said on Wednesday that he was contacted by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office. In an interview to RTK, Dedaj said he was contacted by the Specialist Chambers even earlier. He said the prosecutors asked him if he has any concerns or if he has received threats from anyone.

“They wanted to know if I am ready to answer to an eventual invitation or an interview. I told them I am always ready because both Kosovo and the KLA are clean, the KLA was an ally of NATO. We are the victims. The Russian-Serbian tendencies and the tendencies of a political court to equalise Serbian crimes and Kosovo’s victims is completely inhuman. They asked if I have concerns or threats. I could be called as a witness too and I am ready. It is an honor for me to testify about the pure fight of the KLA,” Dedaj said.

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