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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, September 4

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• COVID-19: 78 new cases, nine deaths (media)
• Hoti, Vucic to sign agreement with Trump in attendance (media)
• Hoti confirms there is consent for an agreement on Friday (RTK)
• O’Brien pleased with progress of discussions in Washington (media)
• Grenell denies Serbian minister’s recognition claims (Prishtina Insight)
• Vucic: Recognition of Kosovo is not on the agenda (media)
• Thaci: Kosovo to make courageous steps (media)
• Kurti: Delegation from Kosovo in a sightseeing tour of Washington (media)
• AP: Leaders of Kosovo, Serbia at White House for economic talks
• The Guardian: Donald Trump hopes for election boost from Kosovo-Serbia talks
• DW: In DC, US seeks to force new deal between Serbia and Kosovo
• LDK leader Mustafa against border change idea promoted by his deputy Haziri (Koha)
• Haradinaj reacts to Specialist Prosecutor’s summoning of former PM Ceku (media)

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  • COVID-19: 78 new cases, nine deaths (media)
  • Hoti, Vucic to sign agreement with Trump in attendance (media)
  • Hoti confirms there is consent for an agreement on Friday (RTK)
  • O’Brien pleased with progress of discussions in Washington (media)
  • Grenell denies Serbian minister’s recognition claims (Prishtina Insight)
  • Vucic: Recognition of Kosovo is not on the agenda (media)
  • Thaci: Kosovo to make courageous steps (media)
  • Kurti: Delegation from Kosovo in a sightseeing tour of Washington (media)
  • AP: Leaders of Kosovo, Serbia at White House for economic talks
  • The Guardian: Donald Trump hopes for election boost from Kosovo-Serbia talks
  • DW: In DC, US seeks to force new deal between Serbia and Kosovo
  • LDK leader Mustafa against border change idea promoted by his deputy Haziri (Koha)
  • Haradinaj reacts to Specialist Prosecutor’s summoning of former PM Ceku (media)

Kosovo Media Highlights

COVID-19: 78 new cases, nine deaths (media)

78 new cases of coronavirus and nine deaths have been recorded in Kosovo over the last 24 hours, the National Institute for Public Health announced in its daily briefing yesterday.

Meanwhile, 190 recoveries were confirmed over the same time period.

There are currently 3,385 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Hoti, Vucic to sign agreement with Trump in attendance (media)

RTK and Koha cite an announcement from the White House stating that President Donald Trump will be observing today a signing ceremony between the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti and also participating in a trilateral meeting with the two leaders.

Meanwhile, Klan Kosova‘s director, Adriatik Kelmendi, who travelled to Washington along with the Kosovo delegation, reported that the Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti and President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic are expected to sign an economic agreement today with U.S. President Donald Trump attending the event.

Kelmendi said the agreement will not include mutual recognition. “As in any negotiation, there are several drafts circulating [and] the final draft agreed upon deals only with issues of economic development as the parties had previously announced – namely the achievement of a economic agreement to pave way for a comprehensive one with mutual recognition,” he said.

Hoti confirms there is consent for an agreement on Friday (RTK)

Delegations of Kosovo and Serbia, concluded their meetings on Thursday, to continue on Friday, where an agreement for economic cooperation is expected to be signed.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said after the meeting that progress was made and that he expects that an agreement for economic cooperation will be signed on Friday.

“Everything can be made clear tomorrow. Tomorrow, the agreement can be seen. We are a step closer to the conclusion of the agreement and we made a big step towards conclusion of the final agreement,” he said.

“I can assure you one thing, that harmful and unacceptable agreements have never and will never come from the White House,” Hoti said. “Some progress has been achieved on economic issues and we have made an important step forward,” he stressed.

Hoti also said that Kosovo and Serbia have not discussed swap of territories during the meeting Thursday. “The land swap issue was not addressed and will not be addressed at the negotiation table,” Hoti stated. When asked to comment the contents of the potential deal, Hoti said that all the details will be published Friday.

Media representatives in Washington, claim that the two delegations were offered a draft of the final agreement.

Two meetings are on Friday’s agenda: one at the White House and another one with the U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, RTK reports.

O’Brien pleased with progress of discussions in Washington (media)

The U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said leaders of Kosovo and Serbia made “real progress” yesterday during discussions at the White House.

“#EconomicNormalization means jobs for young people. Talks continue tomorrow!” O’Brien tweeted. 

Grenell denies Serbian minister’s recognition claims (Prishtina Insight)

US Special Envoy Richard Grenell has denied claims from Serbia’s finance minister that the US is pressurising the Serbian delegation to recognise Kosovo in ongoing talks in Washington DC, Prishtina Insight reported.

Sinisa Mali, the Serbian finance minister, briefly left the meeting to speak to Serbian media. The minister claimed that the US had put a list of 16 demands on the table, with B92 reporting that Mali alleged that point 10 of the list was a call for mutual recognition.

“It was our platform, and then you get point 10, which says – mutual recognition. It’s neither the economy, nor anything else,” Mali is reported to have said.

Mali also characterised the discussions as very hostile. “You have 15-20 people who are against you and are putting pressure,” B92 report Mali as saying. “They react aggressively to every sentence.”

However, after Mali’s claims had been widely circulated in Serbian and Kosovo media, Grenell tweeted, stating that Mali’s assertions were “not true.”

Vucic: Recognition of Kosovo is not on the agenda (media)

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic confirmed that discussions between Kosovo and Serbia in Washington will continue on 4 September.

“The first document that we had, was entitled ‘Economic Normalisation.’ Representatives of the United States distributed the document. That paper was not an easy one for us at all, and it contained a point of mutual recognition, which was not news to us. I said we cannot accept this and Trump’s administration acted fairly, they understood that we could not accept it,” Vucic said.

He added that “there is no doubt that today and tonight recognition of Kosovo will not be on the agenda, because I made it clear that we cannot accept it.”

He expressed appreciation that the U.S. hosts “were ready to listen to Serbia’s remarks.”

Vucic also told that at some point of the discussions, Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser of President Donald Trump, joined the meeting.

“No one can say if there is going to be a meeting of a higher level. This depends on what happens tonight,” Vucic said.

Thaci: Kosovo to make courageous steps (media)

Ahead of talks in Washington, President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci encouraged the Kosovo delegation to “make courageous steps twds peace, reconciliation & economic prosperity.”

On Twitter, Thaci also said he applauds the leadership of the White House, President Donald Trump and special envoy Richard Grenell for, as he said, bringing Kosovo and Serbia together in pursuit of a peace deal.

Kurti: Delegation from Kosovo in a sightseeing tour of Washington (media)

Vetevendosje Movement leader Albin Kurti said in a press conference ahead of the meeting between Kosovo and Serbia in Washington that the Kosovo delegation has no legitimacy or authority to lead negotiations and that it travelled to the U.S. for ‘sightseeing’.

“The delegation from Kosovo has no platform discussed and adopted at the Assembly of the Republic,” Kurti said adding that there can be no economic agreement between Kosovo and Serbia without a political one. He also said an agreement with Serbia is impossible without the involvement of Kosovo’s largest political party in the process.

AP: Leaders of Kosovo, Serbia at White House for economic talks

Trump administration officials worked Thursday to persuade the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo to set their difficult political disputes aside to make room for economic relations to develop.

Administration officials met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti to discuss furthering relations on the economic front — something that would provide the president with a diplomatic win ahead of the November presidential election.

Read more: https://bit.ly/3bs3Psa

The Guardian: Donald Trump hopes for election boost from Kosovo-Serbia talks

Ahead of the meeting between the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia at the White House on Thursday and Friday, the Guardian reports that the encounter is seen by some as a push for a diplomatic win for Donald Trump to brandish during his re-election campaign.

“The goal of the talks is “to create economic development that will then somehow change the dynamic amongst the political class”, said a senior adviser to Trump in a call with reporters earlier in the week. The adviser said it was not yet clear whether Trump would take part in the meetings – suggesting he would only meet the two leaders if there is a deal to be signed.”

Read more: https://bit.ly/32VeWWK

DW: In DC, US seeks to force new deal between Serbia and Kosovo

Twenty-one years have passed since NATO bombs drove Serbian forces out of Kosovo, where Slobodan Milosevic, the president of what remained of Yugoslavia, was carrying out a campaign of cleansing against the largely ethnic Albanian population. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence. About 100 countries currently recognize its sovereignty.

But the government of Serbia wants the former province back, claiming that the region’s medieval monasteries and battlefields were the heart of Yugoslavia before the 1990s civil war. Kosovo’s government wants full international recognition as an independent nation and memberish in global organizations such as the United Nations. The EU has mediated the conflict since the 1990s but the sides have made little progress.

Now, the United States is turning up the heat, inviting the leaders of Kosovo  and Serbia to travel to Washington, DC, in an effort to force a breakthrough. The calculus is clear: With Donald Trump skating from one diplomatic defeat to another, he is hoping that a deal before the US presidential election in November will give him the chance to present “a historic foreign policy success.”

Read more: https://bit.ly/3i0DMe1

LDK leader Mustafa against border change idea promoted by his deputy Haziri (Koha)

Leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Isa Mustafa said that the position of his party is against any border changes as part of the agreement with Serbia.

“Any other statement, like the one of Mr. Haziri, represents personal opinions and not positions of the LDK bodies. All those that take part in the dialogue will represent the position of the LDK for no change of borders, no territorial exchanges and preservationsof the unified character of the state arrangement,” Mustafa said in a statement to Koha.

LDK deputy leader Lutfi Haziri has most recently come out it yet again in support of the land swap idea with Serbia saying that Presevo Valley should join Kosovo and in return, Kosovo would give Serbia Leposavic and 17 villages.

Haradinaj reacts to Specialist Prosecutor’s summoning of former PM Ceku (media)

Ramush Haradinaj reacted to the summoning of former Prime Minister of Kosovo and former KLA commander Agim Ceku by the Specialist Prosecutor.

“General Agim Ceku is one of the greatest contributors of war and building of peace. He will overcome this challenge as well,” Haradinaj wrote.

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