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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, August 31

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• COVID-19: 119 new cases, eight deaths (media)
• Kurti: Illegal government needed one month to reverse our progress (media)
• Hoti: The only topic in every meeting is mutual recognition (Kosovapress)
• Vucic to discuss Kosovo with Merkel today (media)
• Hoti: Missing persons, open wound of our society (media)
• Thaci: Serbia to be pressured into shedding light to missing persons’ fate (media)
• Osmani: Missing persons, biggest and most painful wound of Kosovo (media)
• Kurti: Fate of missing persons never a priority for any government (media)
• Veseli: Establishment of International Tribunal for Serbia’s crimes, inevitable (media)
• Serbs, Kosovo Albanians Make Joint Appeal for Missing Persons (Balkan Insight)
• Experts seek blood samples to identify Kosovo war missing (AP)
• Justice demanded for survivors of sexual violence during conflict (media)
• Haradinaj: Albanian’s vote, determinant for Montenegrin policy (media)

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  • COVID-19: 119 new cases, eight deaths (media)
  • Kurti: Illegal government needed one month to reverse our progress (media)
  • Hoti: The only topic in every meeting is mutual recognition (Kosovapress)
  • Vucic to discuss Kosovo with Merkel today (media)
  • Hoti: Missing persons, open wound of our society (media)
  • Thaci: Serbia to be pressured into shedding light to missing persons’ fate (media)
  • Osmani: Missing persons, biggest and most painful wound of Kosovo (media)
  • Kurti: Fate of missing persons never a priority for any government (media)
  • Veseli: Establishment of International Tribunal for Serbia’s crimes, inevitable (media)
  • Serbs, Kosovo Albanians Make Joint Appeal for Missing Persons (Balkan Insight)
  • Experts seek blood samples to identify Kosovo war missing (AP)
  • Justice demanded for survivors of sexual violence during conflict (media)
  • Haradinaj: Albanian’s vote, determinant for Montenegrin policy (media)

Kosovo Media Highlights

COVID-19: 119 new cases, eight deaths (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health announced that 119 new coronavirus infections and eight deaths have been recorded over the last 24-hour period. Meanwhile, 118 recoveries were confirmed over the same time period.

The number of active cases in Kosovo currently stands at 3,617.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti reacted to reports that a privately-owned lab in Pristina is charging €200 for a rapid-result COVID-19 test. Hoti said the pandemic should not be used for profiting beyond what he said were market norms.

Kurti: Illegal government needed one month to reverse our progress (media)

Albin Kurti, leader of the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV), criticized managing of the COVID-19 pandemic by Avdullah Hoti’s government.

“A month after taking office we were faced with an unprecedented pandemic. I was a first time PM & it was @LVetevendosje first time in gov, yet in 2 months we brought the  #COVID19 infection rates to 0 & made Kosova a success story, despite lack of financial and health resources,” Kurti wrote on his Twitter account.

He added: “It took less than a month for the illegitimate government to reverse all our progress.

A reminder that the choice is not only btw good & bad governance, but also between life and death.

Bad leadership kills.”

Hoti: The only topic in every meeting is mutual recognition (Kosovapress)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti said that the only topic in every meeting with the Serbian side is mutual recognition.

Commenting on Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s statement saying that the recognition of Kosovo will not be discussed in the upcoming meeting in Washington, Hoti said mutual recognition is a prerequisite for normalisation of relations.

Hoti also said the position of the government coalition in Kosovo on dialogue with Serbia: “As a coalition we are completely unified.”

Vucic to discuss Kosovo with Merkel today (media)

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic informed that he will have a telephone conversation with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, 31 August. They are expected to discuss about Kosovo and the future meetings in Washington and Brussels.

“I have a telephone conversation with Angela Merkel scheduled for noon tomorrow. Kosovo will be the main topic, as well as visits to Washington and Brussels”, Vucic said.

According to Serbian media, they will be also discussing other topics such as empowerment of women, coronavirus vaccine, and bilateral cooperation.

Vucic also said that he will have today a meeting with the EU Envoy for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue Miroslav Lajcak, to discuss the meeting in Washington.

Hoti: Missing persons, open wound of our society (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti met representatives of the coordinating council of missing persons associations headed by Ahmet Grajcevci on the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

Hoti said the commitment of the Kosovo Government to shed light to the fate of the missing persons remains a permanent priority. “We are aware that this is a very sensitive issue, a painful chapter for all of us, therefore we are making utmost efforts to have the issue of missing persons be part of the agreement with Serbia,” he said.

“The issue of missing persons remains an open wound of our society and I assure you that our focus and attention will not cease until this issue is closed.”

Thaci: Serbia to be pressured into shedding light to missing persons’ fate (media)

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said that the international community should use all means available to put pressure on Serbia into revealing the fate of the missing persons in Kosovo and all other committed crime.

“On the International Day of the Disappeared we remember 1647 of our missing citizens. The issue of missing persons is the shame of the international community and it is regrettable that Serbia is politicising the resolving of their fate,” Thaci wrote on Facebook.

Osmani: Missing persons, biggest and most painful wound of Kosovo (media)

Kosovo Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani said on the International Day of the Disappeared that twenty years on, the missing persons remain “the biggest and most painful wound of our state.” “Today, the weight of their fate lies on every politician of Kosovo. The responsibility of resolving their fate is on all of us while the weight of the guilt lies on the state of Serbia,” Osmani said.

“Today when Kosovo engages in negotiations with this state that carried out genocidal acts, to achieve what is being termed Final Agreement, the image of each missing persons appears before us. Today we have no final answer for their families just as we don’t have the key argument: how can there be a final agreement with Serbia when we don’t know where our people are.”

Kurti: Fate of missing persons never a priority for any government (media)

On the International Day of the Disappeared, Vetevendosje Movement leader Albin Kurti visited the association of missing persons in Gjakova and said that so far efforts of Kosovo institutions to shed light to the fate of the missing persons have either been wrong or flawed and as a result, unsuccessful.

Kurti said the focus now should be on the families of the missing persons and Kosovo should do the impossible to determine the fate of yet 1,641 persons unaccounted for. “Kosovo should take care of families that carry the pain of these crimes every day. These families need care, support and above all, recognition of the continuous damage caused over the years.”

Veseli: Establishment of International Tribunal for Serbia’s crimes, inevitable (media)

Kadri Veseli, leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), said on the International Day of the Disappeared, that Serbia has direct responsibility for still keeping many families in Kosovo in distress by hiding a lot of information about the kidnapped people who were murdered and then massacred.

He took to Facebook to write that 21 years after the end of the war, the list of the missing persons in Kosovo still includes 1,647 names.

“The Serbian state holds a direct responsibility and it still keeps many families from Kosovo in distress, keeping secret a lot of information they have about the people who were kidnapped and then murdered and massacred. The pain and suffering of the families and relatives of the victims is enormous. The international community must put pressure so that the crimes committed by Serbia do not continue to be covered up, evading the minimal human responsibilities of admitting guilt and respecting the victims. Establishment of an International Tribunal for the genocide and crimes that Serbia has committed in Kosovo is inevitable,” he wrote.

Serbs, Kosovo Albanians Make Joint Appeal for Missing Persons (Balkan Insight)

Associations of Serb and Kosovo Albanian missing persons’ families told a press conference in Belgrade on Thursday that both countries must open up wartime archives and reveal information about people who are still listed as missing from the 1998-99 Kosovo war.

“There is no progress in any society as long as there are secret graves and unexcavated bones,” said Natasa Scepanovic, president of the Association of Kosmet Victims.

Bajram Qerkinaj from the Missing Persons Resource Centre in Pristina said that “we should not be fooled” that Serbia and Kosovo’s representatives at talks in Brussels to normalise relations will reveal anything about the missing persons.

Read more: https://bit.ly/3hPhgVC

Experts seek blood samples to identify Kosovo war missing (AP)

The European Union’s mission in Kosovo on Sunday called on ethnic Albanians in the country to give blood samples to help identify the remains of people missing for more than two decades since they were taken away by Serb police and paramilitary forces.

The EU Rule of Law Mission, or EULEX, established in Kosovo after the 2008 independence declaration, made the call on the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

Kosovar authorities say 1,643 ethnic Albanians are still unaccounted-for since the 1998-1999 armed uprising by ethnic Albanian separatists that led to a bloody Serb crackdown and an international humanitarian crisis. It ended after a NATO bombing campaign.

Read more: https://bit.ly/2QC6XYH

Justice demanded for survivors of sexual violence during conflict (media)

Director of the Kosovo Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, Feride Rushiti, has urged Kosovo institutions to insist on demanding justice for survivors of sexual violence during conflict.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, representatives of the centre said the state of Serbia is responsible for committing systematic and organised crimes against Albanian civilians and that to date no perpetrator of sexual violence has been tried.

Hoti on his part expressed the government of Kosovo’s support for associations working for the rights of survivors of sexual violence during conflict.

Haradinaj: Albanian’s vote, determinant for Montenegrin policy (media)

Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) appealed on Sunday to Albanians to come out and vote for the Albanian List in the general elections in Montenegro.

“These are the last hour before closing of the polling stations in Montenegro. It is important for our national interests that the Albanian vote be cast in the ballot boxes. Today, you decide not only for your fate, but for the determination of the Montenegrin policy in the next four years,” Haradinaj wrote in a Facebook post.

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