Loading...
You are here:  Home  >  UNMIK Media Reports - Afternoon edition  >  Current Article

UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, September 9, 2020

By   /  09/09/2020  /  Comments Off on UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, September 9, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 76 new infections, six deaths (media)
• US to open office in Belgrade on implementing the White House Agreement (Express)
• Grenell Explains Significance of Kosovo-Serbia Agreement (Express)
• LVV criticizes again the Washington deal (RTK)
• New Montenegrin government: Kosovo’s independence undisputed (RTK)
• U.S. expert disappointed with Washington agreement (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Two cases of Covid-19 registered Serbian communities (Radio Mitrovica Sever)
• Lavrov says Moscow to support any agreement reached between Belgrade and Pristina voluntarily (RTS)
• Grenell: The goal of the Agreement is to set aside borders as much as possible (RTS)
• “The relocation of the Serbian embassy from Tel Aviv is not final, it all depends on one thing,” says Vucic’s media advisor (TV Prva, B92, Tanjug)
• Serbian security services warned Vucic about point 10, says President’s media advisor (media)
• Djuric on iron friendship with Russia and China (KoSSev)
• Vucic tells Sarajevo daily he was polite and responsible at White House (N1, Dnevni Avaz)
• The director of US DFC announced the opening of an office in Belgrade (media, Twitter)
• Blakaj: KLA veterans must not use the received documents of the Special Court in any way (Kosovo Online)
• EPS didn’t use Gazivode to produce electricity (Politika)

Opinion:

• Webb: Serbia and Kosovo move forward … with the help of the United States (thehill.com)

International:

• U.S. government’s development finance institution to support Serbian SMEs (seenews.com)
• Israel’s Accord with Serbia and Kosovo Rattles EU but Fails to Rouse Arab Wrath(tntribune.com)
• Serbia won’t move embassy if Israel recognizes Kosovo (The Jerusalem Post)
• Hague Prosecutors ‘Take War Crime Case Files’ from Kosovo Veterans (Balkan Insight)
• Let’s finally talk about the final deal (European Western Balkans)
• Presidency member: US envoy said Kosovo status has nothing to do with Bosnia (EWB)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Serbia, Kosovo Must Commit to Credible Missing Persons Investigations (Balkan Insight)

    Print       Email

Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 76 new infections, six deaths (media)
  • US to open office in Belgrade on implementing the White House Agreement (Express)                                              
  • Grenell Explains Significance of Kosovo-Serbia Agreement (Express)
  • LVV criticizes again the Washington deal (RTK)
  • New Montenegrin government: Kosovo’s independence undisputed (RTK)
  • U.S. expert disappointed with Washington agreement (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Two cases of Covid-19 registered Serbian communities (Radio Mitrovica Sever)
  • Lavrov says Moscow to support any agreement reached between Belgrade and Pristina voluntarily (RTS)
  • Grenell: The goal of the Agreement is to set aside borders as much as possible (RTS)
  • “The relocation of the Serbian embassy from Tel Aviv is not final, it all depends on one thing,” says Vucic’s media advisor (TV Prva, B92, Tanjug)
  • Serbian security services warned Vucic about point 10, says President’s media advisor (media)
  • Djuric on iron friendship with Russia and China (KoSSev)
  • Vucic tells Sarajevo daily he was polite and responsible at White House (N1, Dnevni Avaz)
  • The director of US DFC announced the opening of an office in Belgrade (media, Twitter)
  • Blakaj: KLA veterans must not use the received documents of the Special Court in any way (Kosovo Online)
  • EPS didn’t use Gazivode to produce electricity (Politika)

Opinion:

  • Webb: Serbia and Kosovo move forward … with the help of the United States (thehill.com)

International:

  • U.S. government’s development finance institution to support Serbian SMEs (seenews.com)
  • Israel’s Accord with Serbia and Kosovo Rattles EU but Fails to Rouse Arab Wrath(tntribune.com)
  • Serbia won’t move embassy if Israel recognizes Kosovo (The Jerusalem Post)
  • Hague Prosecutors ‘Take War Crime Case Files’ from Kosovo Veterans (Balkan Insight)
  • Let’s finally talk about the final deal (European Western Balkans)
  • Presidency member: US envoy said Kosovo status has nothing to do with Bosnia (EWB)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Serbia, Kosovo Must Commit to Credible Missing Persons Investigations (Balkan Insight)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

COVID-19: 76 new infections, six deaths (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health announced today that of 589 samples tested over the 24-hour period, 76 have tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, there have been six deaths and 144 recoveries reported over the same time period.

There are currently 2877 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo. 

US to open office in Belgrade on implementing the White House Agreement (Express)                                              

Following the agreement between Kosovo and Serbia last week, the United States will not waste time and are expected to send a delegation tasked to open an office in Belgrade to start implementing the projects on economic normalisation.  

Kosovo and Serbia signed on September 4 an agreement which paves the way for economic investments in the region, whereas Kosovo returned from the US with a recognition from Israel. Only days after reaching the Agreement the US officials have made the first move on implementing the deal which was observed by the US President Donald Trump. This was confirmed by Adam Boehler from the US International Development Finance Corporation.

“Following the historic agreement between Serbia and Kosovo last week, I am sending a high-level delegation to Belgrade the week of 9/21 to open our DFC office and start right away on projects key to economic normalization,” Boehler wrote on  Twitter.

Grenell Explains Significance of Kosovo-Serbia Agreement (Express)

U.S. president Donald Trump’s special envoy on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Richard Grenell, in an interview with the US media has explained the agreement on economic normalization between the two countries which was signed last week at the White House.

Grenell said the goal of Trump’s administration is enabling U.S. investments in the region and removing Russian influence in the Western Balkan region, specifically in Serbia, Gazeta Express reports.

The U.S. diplomat has also mentioned the point of the Agreement referring to the Ujman Lake. He said that the US Government will do a feasibility study on how to utilize the lake for energy issues.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany said that both countries have agreed to diversify their energy sources. “Both countries agreed to diversify energy sources, which means for Serbia, that’s huge, 1100 percent of their energy right now comes from  Russia and they have  agreed to diversify, which means pull away from Russia,” Grenell said. The U.S. special envoy said that moving Kosovo and Serbia embassies to Jerusalem means moving of the Western Balkan region towards the West and staying away from Russia and China’s influence.

LVV criticizes again the Washington deal (RTK)

Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) continued with criticism of the reached agreement for normalization of economic relations in Washington, considering the pledges made there as harmful. Therefore, Albin Kurti’s political entity has invited Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti to report at a series of parliamentary committees. 

LVV deputy leader Arberie Nagavci said at a press conference today that Hoti did not manage to stand behind his commitments and he should be held accountable for it. 

She called on the other political parties at the Assembly to join the motion of bringing down the government. 

Nagavci further rejected the accusation of the U.S. Presidential Envoy for Prishtina-Belgrade talks, Richard Grenell, saying that they do not stand. 

New Montenegrin government: Kosovo’s independence undisputed (RTK)

The leaders of the three Montenegrin political entities of the opposition coalition, which won the majority in the parliamentary elections, held on August 30, presented at a press conference on Wednesday the principles of the next government. They imply cooperation with the NATO alliance, non-questioning the recognition of Kosovo and exclude the possibility of changing the state symbols of Montenegro.

“The new democratic government in Montenegro will not initiate a procedure for withdrawing the recognition of the independence of Kosovo,” reads one of the principles of the new coalition. 

U.S. expert disappointed with Washington agreement (media)

The U.S. expert on the Balkans, Professor Alon Ben Meir, commented on the agreement reached on September 4 between Kosovo and Serbia in Washington.

Through a Facebook post, Ben Meir said that he is disappointed with the agreement in question, and one of the reasons is the non-discussion of mutual recognition. 

“I am disappointed that the September 4th agreement between Serbia and Kosovo did not discuss the possibility of mutual recognition between the two countries. The economic agreements, though positive in some respects, should have been made in the context of an overall process of reconciliation that must lead to recognition of Kosovo as an independent state by Serbia. Increasing economic and trade relations between the two countries is good, but it is far from changing the dynamic of the conflict, which is imbedded in the psyche of the Kosovars who have been the victims of genocide and gross human rights violations in the war with Serbia.

Stay tuned to my article on the subject this week,” Meir wrote. 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Two cases of Covid-19 registered Serbian communities (Radio Mitrovica Sever)

In the last 24 hours, two newly infected people were recorded in Serbian communities in Kosovo, while three people cured, announced today an epidemiologist from the Institute of Public Health, Dr. Desanka Novakovic. 

Out of 44 processed samples, one positive case was recorded in north Mitrovica and one in Strpce. In the north of Kosovo, two patients from Leposavic were cured and one cured patient was registered in Strpce.

Dr. Novakovic adds that the epidemiological situation on the territory of the Public Health Institute in North Mitrovica is favorable, but there is a possibility that the situation will get worse. Therefore, citizens are warned to be careful, especially after returning from vacation.

A total of 23 positive, PCR-confirmed persons were hospitalized – 19 patients are treated at the Health Center in Kosovska Mitrovica, others in hospitals in Belgrade and Nis. Currently, 48 patients are in home isolation. 

There are 71 active cases, while 872 people have been cured.

To date, 37 people have died in Serbian communities in Kosovo.

Lavrov says Moscow to support any agreement reached between Belgrade and Pristina voluntarily (RTS)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that Moscow will support any agreement that Belgrade and Pristina would reach voluntarily, reported Radio Television of Serbia (RTS). 

“We will back any agreements voluntarily reached by Belgrade and Pristina,” Lavrov said, recalling that Moscow will firmly support Serbia in the steps it deems necessary to take within the framework of the relevant UN resolution.

According to the minister, Moscow proceeds from the fact that the agreement signed in Washington is in the interests of settling the ongoing conflict between Serbia and Kosovo.

“We have no reason to doubt that the Serbian leadership continues to support the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244,” Lavrov added.

Commenting on the Brussels meeting, the minister expressed hopes that the EU would not forget that its previous accomplishment when a deal was brokered between Belgrade and Pristina in 2013 on creating the Association of Serb Municipalities 9ZSO) in Kosovo aimed at ensuring the legal rights of the Serb population of this region was completely ignored by Pristina.

Grenell: The goal of the Agreement is to set aside borders as much as possible (RTS)

White House Special Representative Richard Grenell said that the agreement that Belgrade and Pristina reached in Washington, by insisting on the economy, will have repercussions on the international level as well, reports Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) quoting the ACLJ.org program. The link of the show was posted by Grenell on Twitter. 

He stated that the agreement also included the recognition of diplomas, the opening of the Belgrade-Pristina airline and the development of railway and road traffic, which will contribute to the strengthening of trade exchange.

He also reminded of the lake (Gazivode); a feasibility study done by the USA in order to use the energy potentials. 

Grenell said that the agreement is important for both Israel and geopolitical peace.

“There are two or three aspects of the agreement – the first is Hezbollah marked as a terrorist organization, the other both sides have agreed to diversify energy supplies and deepen relations with Israel,” Grenell said.

For Serbia, where 100 percent of the energy comes from Russia, this means turning to other sources of supply; both sides have agreed to diversify the source of supply, he said. 

According to the words of the special adviser to the President of the USA, the agreement will deepen ties with Israel, Serbia will move the embassy to Jerusalem by July, Pristina and Israel will recognize each other, which will strengthen their mutual relations.

“This all moves the region towards the West and turns away from Russia and China. It is a great diplomatic victory for Donald Trump,” Grenell believes.

When asked to comment on the fact that BiH is considering moving the embassy to Jerusalem (this is a proposal of the Serbian member of the BiH presidency Milorad Dodik) and whether it is a matter of moving away from Russia and China, Grenell said that it makes the US safer.

All this makes the United States have more allies and opens the possibility for American companies to expand their business in the region, Grenell stated.

“The relocation of the Serbian embassy from Tel Aviv is not final, it all depends on one thing,” says Vucic’s media advisor (TV Prva, B92, Tanjug)

Serbian media quotes Media Advisor to the President of the Republic of Serbia, Suzana Vasiljevic as saying to TV Prva that the transfer of the Serbian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is not yet final.

Media reports that she said in the morning show that this relocation would depend on how ”Israel would behave on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija”.

Vasiljevic reminded that President Aleksandar Vucic announced in the USA at the AIPAC conference in March this year that Serbia would open an office of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and a state office in Jerusalem.

“The next steps are yet to be discussed, and that depends on the action  of Israel, so far we have not accepted anything and nothing has been signed, that point is in the paper of Pristina, but not in the paper of Serbia,” Vasiljevic told TV Prva.

When asked how the Arab countries reacted to the possible relocation of our embassy to Jerusalem, Vasiljevic said the reactions to the moving of the embassy were mostly positive and that Serbia did not receive “any serious complaints”, announcing Vucic would speak about that in the next period. 

Vasiljevic also said that “the signed agreement is in fact a ‘statement of intent’, but is a binding document. There are no negative sides in the agreement; it’s most beneficial for Serbia and the Western Balkan region.”

She added the US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations Richard Grenell might come to Serbia after September 20.

Vasiljevic confirmed that Adam Boehler, Chief Executive Officer of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) would come to Belgrade and “perhaps Grenell and the topics would be the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) and the economic obligations.”  

Serbian security services warned Vucic about point 10, says President’s media advisor (media)

The media advisor to the President of Serbia Suzana Vasiljevic, told Belgrade based TV Prva that secret services knew that Pristina would put point 10 on paper, quoted Serbian media.

Vasiljevic reminded that the Pristina delegation said before leaving for Washington that they would ask for the recognition of Kosovo. “Our security services have received a warning that this point will be on paper,” she said.

President Vucic then warned some of the EU leaders by phone and tried to explain to them that the point would be on paper. According to Vasiljevic, they claimed that it would not exist and that it would only be about the economy.

The special envoy of the President of the USA Richard Grenell hinted that a surprise could be prepared for the Serbian delegation.

“In the end, you saw that there was a point,” said President Vucic’s adviser, explaining what was happening behind the scenes during the Serbian delegation’s stay in Washington. 

“The moment he saw that point on paper, there was no more conversation for Aleksandar Vucic. I have been working with him for eight years and when there is a problem, he is almost pathologically focused on it. He did not even speak at dinner,” Vasiljevic said.

The pressures on the Serbian delegation were terrible, because the future of the country depends on one of your words, “Yes” or “No”, she said. However, the President of Serbia said that Serbia cannot continue the conversation in Washington unless that point was dropped.

She reiterated that the Minister of Finance, Sinisa Mali, who was part of the delegation in Washington, told the media that there was a point on mutual recognition on the table and that our delegation was under great pressure.

Serbia’s Chamber of Commerce President Marko Cadez, she says, praised the economic part, which, from the beginning, was good for Serbia.

She points out that Vucic rejected that point and that after that there was a break of almost two hours, and when the negotiations were settled, that point was no more present on paper.

“That point has been dropped,” Vasiljevic said.

And then, she says, problems arose for the Pristina delegation because they were left without a point because of which they came to Washington, followed by the issue of Lake Gazivoda and the name “Republic of Kosovo”.

According to her, there is not a single thing from the signed agreement that is harmful for Serbia, and the very name of the agreement has been changed because it is written on paper that the agreement was not signed by Serbia and the so-called Kosovo but between Belgrade and Pristina instead.

In addition, the American side admitted that injustice was done to Serbia, which, as Suzana Vasiljevic claims, is a precedent in itself for the United States.

Djuric on iron friendship with Russia and China (KoSSev)

The Head of the Kosovo Office, Marko Djuric held two separate meetings with the Russian Ambassador and the Chinese Ambassador to Serbia in Belgrade yesterday. The visits arrived after the negotiations in Washington and Brussels, less than a week after a document was signed in the White House, which, although supported by government officials, was strongly condemned due to the possible threat it poses to Serbia’s relations with these two countries, but also with the Arab League, as well as Serbia’s position in the EU and the UN.

Iron friendship

Djuric spoke to the Chinese Ambassador Chen Bo about the course of the Belgrade and Pristina dialogue. ”He also expressed confidence that the People’s Republic of China, in the spirit of an iron and repeatedly confirmed friendship between the two countries and peoples, will continue to provide active international support to Serbia, ” reads the statement of the Office for KiM. 

Moreover, he claimed that ”there are no pressures under which our country will give up on the support of its trusted friends”.

Djuric also expressed belief in the continuation of the friendship between Aleksandar Vucic and Xi Jinping, and that their close relations ”will continue to be an important momentum for the improvement of Serbian-Chinese relations”.

Serbia counts on Russia’s help, Serbia is a reliable friend to Russia

Djuric also met with the Russian ambassador to Serbia, Botsan-Kharchenko. Serbia remains a reliable friend of Russia as well, he said.

He also thanked Russia for its consistent support to Serbia on the issue of Kosovo.

By fighting for its state and national interests, Serbia remains a reliable friend of Russia, the Kosovo Office said in a statement.

Vucic tells Sarajevo daily he was polite and responsible at White House (N1, Dnevni Avaz)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz that his behavior at the White House last week was polite and responsible.

“I behaved responsibly, I behaved politely, and I had the honor and opportunity for an excellent conversation with (US President) Donald Trump,” he said adding that he would do the same again.  

He said that he tried to make sure that everything that was proposed was in the interest of Serbia and others in the region. “My duty is to do everything I can for my country, for Serbia,” Vucic said.  

Asked about claims that he was humiliated by having to sit on a chair in front of the president’s desk in the Oval Office, Vucic said that the thought never crossed his mind. “Imagine the president of any of our small countries in the region who gets an change to enter the Oval Office, have bilateral talks alone with the US president and then when a chair is brought for him he says: Sorry, I’m not interested in this chair and I’ll kick it and leave and I don’t care about the US because the type of chair is really important for my vanity. Of course, that thought never crossed my mind,” he said in the interview for the Wednesday issue of Dnevni Avaz.

Yesterday Belgrade based daily Politika quoted this Sarajevo daily as reporting that President Vucic came out as the absolute winner after signing the agreement on economic normalization with Pristina in the White House. “He showed himself to the White House, the entire West and the region, as a responsible, constructive and mature leader ready to compromise, and to the domestic public as an uncompromising fighter against the international recognition of Kosovo,” the Sarajevo daily wrote in the analysis after the Washington deal signing.

The director of US DFC announced the opening of an office in Belgrade (media, Twitter)

The executive director of the American International Development Finance Corporation Adam Boehler announced the arrival of a high-level delegation to Belgrade to open an office.

“Following the historic agreement between Serbia and Kosovo last week, I am sending a high-level delegation to Belgrade, starting on September 21, to open our office and start projects crucial to economic normalization,” Boehler announced on Twitter in English, Serbian and Albanian. 

The agreement on the normalization of economic relations, signed by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti on September 4 at the White House in the presence of US President Donald Trump, envisions the presence of the International Corporation for Financial Development in Belgrade.

Blakaj: KLA veterans must not use the received documents of the Special Court in any way (Kosovo Online)

In a statement for portal Kosovo Online, the director of the Humanitarian Law Center in Pristina, Bekim Blakaj, said that the information from the KLA Veterans’ Organization about the alleged delivery of files, with the names and statements of witnesses heard before the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague, was another attempt to undermine the institution’s credibility.

“It is not known how the KLA Veterans’ Organization came into possession of the files from the Special Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague, but it is clear that this will affect possible witnesses, and that is in a way intimidation of witnesses. They claimed to have a list of all witnesses stating that they had information about their addresses and other details based on which their identities could be established. Through that information about the files, an attempt was made to throw additional stain on the Specialized Chamber and the Prosecutor’s Office, as well as to damage the image of this institution in Kosovo,” says Blakaj.

According to Blakaj, the action of publishing information on files is an inadmissible act of the KLA Veterans’ Organization.

“If the authenticity of these documents is determined, they should not use it in any way, those are official documents of one prosecutor’s office, and in case someone really left them in front of the door, they should have handed over those documents to the police or prosecutor’s office. By using that documentation, they influence the prevention of the work of the administration of justice, ” points Blakaj.

“It is strange how someone could have taken it from the prosecution, because these documents are kept in electronic format, so I suspect that they collected statements from various people who were questioned and to whom the prosecution gave copies of their statements,” concludes Blakaj.

EPS didn’t use Gazivode to produce electricity (Politika)

Belgrade based daily Politika reported yesterday on Gazivode Lake and stressed that Kosovo Albanians did not have control over the lake and the power produced there. 

“The energy independence of the southern Serbian province will not be solved by discharging water from Lake Gazivode, according to the reasoning no water- no hydroelectric power plant-no electricity, because the agreement signed over the weekend in Washington should finally solve the issue of using this Serbian hydro potential.”

Namely, the agreement initialled by the first man of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, obliges the two sides to work with the US Department of Energy on the preparation of a feasibility study, which is entirely aimed at joint use of water from the accumulation. 

Why this point caused so much alarm in Pristina and whether the Pristina former PM, Ramush Haradinaj will leave the ruling coalition because of that, as he announced, if the current Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti initials an agreement in the White House, remains to be seen, but one thing is certain – Serbia built Gazivode, Politika daily wrote. 

The construction of this dam and the entire hydro system project was financed from the development funds of the World Bank in the 1970s, and the entire loan in the amount of slightly more than 900 million euros was repaid by the Republic of Serbia and one portion of it was paid by “Đerdap”. 

Whether and to what extent Serbia used Gazivode for electricity production, Zeljko Markovic, MA, energy consultant at Deloitte and former director of EPS, says that Serbia and Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) have not formally used Lake Gazivode for electricity production. 

“On the other hand, that production is in the hands of Serbs from the north of Kosovo and Metohija, and the electricity produced from the Gazivode hydroelectric power plant is used to supply four municipalities in the north of Kosovo and Metohija,” Markovic said. 

“Thus, Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija have no control over the lake and the electricity produced from this lake. So, the users are Serbs from the north of the southern Serbian province through companies that were formed in the north of Kosovo and Metohija and do not operate within the Kosovo electric power industry, ” Markovic explained. 

Asked whether the practice of dividing lakes and using electricity already exists in Serbia, as envisaged by the Washington Agreement, since a feasibility study has been made, Markovic said that Serbia has such an example. 

“It is about the hydroelectric power plant “Đerdap”, where water resources are divided between us and the Romanians,” he said. 

However, the importance of the Gazivode hydroelectric power plant is not only due to the electricity but also the water supply in Kosovo. 

“Besides, even though the hydroelectric power plant is located in Kosovo and Metohija, the lake itself is located in the territory of Serbia, hence the need to finally resolve this issue,” he said. 

Namely, about 80 percent of the surface of Lake Gazivoda is located in the municipality of Zubin Potok in northern Kosovo, with a majority Serb population, and a smaller part of the lake belongs to the municipality of Novi Pazar. 

Lake Gazivode is also important for cooling the thermal power plant in Obilic. The electricity produced from Gazivode has not reached central Serbia so far, but this agreement can change that. 

If the water in thermal power plants would be turned off, they would be left without production, which would mean the cessation of electricity supply and production. 

The company’s assets include a large lake, with a large Gazivode dam, a small lake with the Pridvorica dam, a water supply canal and two irrigation stations.”

 

 

Opinion

 

Webb: Serbia and Kosovo move forward … with the help of the United States (thehill.com)

From February 1998 to June 1999 the world watched in horror as forces from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (modern Montenegro and Serbia) and the Kosovo Albanian rebel group known as Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) clashed. Diplomacy alone failed and resulted in significant NATO bombings of Yugoslavia from March to June of 1999. Yugoslav and Serbian forces agreed to withdraw from Kosovo in accordance with the Kumanovo Treaty. But the war resulted in more than 13,000 deaths, nearly 1.4 million Kosovo Albanians being displaced and, after the war, more than 200,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians escaping Kosovo. Serbia became known as the European nation with the most internally displaced persons and refugees in Europe.

As a result of continuous, and sometimes heated, negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia, the United States brokered the latest positive step last week in moving the two nations closer together with the signing of a document which is intended to normalize economic relations between the two countries. Two days of high-level talks with leaders named President Trump, Aleksandar Vucic, Avdullah Hoti, Robert O’Brien and Richard Grenell played a major role in moving toward the ultimate goal of peace in the Balkans. But it is important to recognize the behind-the-scenes efforts by governments, non-governmental entities and individuals to build trust between individual leaders and nations that ultimately lead to successes like the one we saw last week.

Over the past five years, I have had numerous conversations with William Parker regarding the relationship between Serbia and Kosovo as well as the larger complex issues in the Balkans. From 2015-2020 Parker served as the chief operating officer, and later the CEO, of the EastWest Institute (EWI) which has focused on conflict prevention for more than 40 years.

EWI held high-level Balkans dialogues in March 2019 in Belgrade, Serbia, in December 2019 in Berlin and finally in February at the Munich Security Conference. These dialogues always included heads of state and the most respected diplomats and experts. It is these track two dialogues (between government and nongovernment entities), often lead by organizations like EWI, which build trust and eventually lead to track one dialogue (government to government) like the one we saw in the White House last week.

Parker said of the White House meeting, “This is another significant step towards peace in the region. Simply having the leaders of these two nations in the same room (whether in Berlin, Belgrade, Munich or Brussels) is important. Getting them in the Oval Office with the president of the United States is remarkable. And seeing a formal signing of economic normalization is extraordinary and speaks highly of private and public leaders in the U.S., Serbia, Kosovo and beyond. While this is another very important step, we have more work to do before normalizing relations in the Balkans and full recognition between Kosovo and Serbia.”

See at: https://bit.ly/2DO1cVi

 

 

International

 

U.S. government’s development finance institution to support Serbian SMEs (seenews.com)

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) plans to introduce a guarantee scheme for the support of Serbian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the president of Serbia’s Chamber of Commerce, Marko Cadez, said.

“Through the guarantee scheme, DFC will provide SMEs with better access to finance – cheap loans, under acceptable conditions, which is a great support to companies and a prerequisite for the growth and development of SMEs,” Cadez said in a statement on Monday. 

DSC will also finance projects in the fields of energy, food industry, logistics and high technologies and will provide funding for the construction of the Plocnik-Merdare section of a motorway that would link Serbia’s Nis to Kosovo’s Pristina, Cadez said.

Moreover, as a result of the U.S.-brokered agreement on the normalisation of economic relations between Serbia and Kosovo, representatives of DFC will arrive in Belgrade on September 21 to prepare for the opening of an office in the Serbian capital.

“We have been working for more than six months on the preparation and elaboration of projects that DFC will support technically and financially – through the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC),” Cadez added.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo prime minister Avdullah Hoti signed on September 4 a U.S.-brokered agreement on the normalisation of economic relations, committing to develop motorway and railway connectivity. The agreements, signed by the U.S. separately with Belgrade and Pristina, envisage U.S. support for the construction of a motorway and railway linking Nis to Pristina, while Kosovo will join the “mini-Schengen” zone, an economic area comprising Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia announced in October 2019.

See at: https://bit.ly/3k13kZ7

Israel’s Accord with Serbia and Kosovo Rattles EU but Fails to Rouse Arab Wrath(tntribune.com)

The announcement last week of a landmark agreement between Israel, Serbia and Kosovo to normalize economic relations drew no condemnation from Arab nations, but the European Union has criticized the deal because the two Balkan states will move their embassies to Jerusalem.

Serbia will become the first European nation to open an embassy in Israel’s capital city, a step that only the United States and Guatemala have taken. The EU has made the city’s disputed status a part of its Middle East policy, creating new tension with the Serbs as they try to join the 27-nation trade and economic bloc.

Although Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their own future sovereign nation, and oppose all efforts to legitimize Israel’s control of the entire city, the rest of the Arab world has taken a wait-and-see approach.

“This deal is not really thought about much in the Arab and Muslim world at all,” said Luke Coffey, a national security and foreign policy expert at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. “Even though Kosovo is a Muslim majority country, it is not an Islamic state like most are across much of the Middle East. Most in the region see this as a very niche European matter.”

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

Serbia won’t move embassy if Israel recognizes Kosovo (The Jerusalem Post)

Serbia’s agreement said that they would also open an embassy in Jerusalem. Earlier this year, Belgrade announced that it would open a trade office in the capital.

Israeli recognition of Kosovo as an independent country will strain relations with Serbia, despite it being in the framework of agreements the Balkan countries signed in the White House, a source close to Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

“Serbia will not move its embassy to Jerusalem if Israel recognizes Kosovo as an independent country,” according to the source, who has close knowledge of the agreements signed in Washington. “Moreover, this move by Israel would harm the otherwise intimate relationship between Israel and Serbia and it will never be the same. It’s that simple.”

See at: https://bit.ly/2Zka7Fo

Hague Prosecutors ‘Take War Crime Case Files’ from Kosovo Veterans (Balkan Insight)

Investigators from the Hague-based Kosovo Specialist Prosecution are reported to have taken away thousands of alleged war crimes case documents which had been delivered anonymously to the Kosovo Liberation Army War Veterans’ Organisation.

The Kosovo Liberation Army War Veterans’ Organisation told BIRN that two investigators from the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office took what it said were war crimes case files from the veterans’ offices in Pristina on Tuesday, a day after it said they were anonymously delivered.

The files allegedly included the names of protected witnesses in cases at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers – the so-called ‘Special Court’ in The Hague that is expected to try former KLA fighters for wartime and post-war crimes.

“We gave them a copy of the files,” said Faton Klinaku, the secretary of the War Veterans’ Organisation.

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

Let’s finally talk about the final deal (European Western Balkans)

Unsurprisingly, the very much-hyped US efforts to strike a deal between Serbia and Kosovo have only brought the sloppy bilateral letters of intent and lots of media attention that Trump needed for its flagging re-election campaign. Yet, as the dialogue is back home to Brussels which proves to be the only forum that can deliver political solutions, this article will solely focus on its challenges and prospects of reaching a final deal under the circle of 12 golden stars. 

Flawed dialogue, scarce results

A number of substantial elements are usually missing in the EU-led Serbia-Kosovo dialogue. 

As the recent BIEPAG op-ed underlines, the lack of legitimacy undermines the capacity of both Serbia and Kosovo to negotiate and, consequently, conclude a(ny) deal. The significance of sound legitimacy and a wide polity-level consensus is not only pertinent for striking a deal, but also for its implementation. 

By far, the main deficiency of the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue is the lack of inclusiveness. This concerns primarily the Kosovo Serbs, a community that is amongst the most affected by the outcome of the dialogue, and which is excluded from the negotiations by both Belgrade and Pristina. The example of the reluctant implementation of the 2013 landmark agreement is telling in that regard. 

As they were not consulted on the agreement, the Kosovo Serbs initially refused to give effect to it. Furthermore, the overall implementation of agreed deals remains limited precisely for this reason. Giving them an active role in the dialogue is hence indispensable, since the implementation of any (final) deal is heavily reliant on them.

In particular, the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue was never even close to being transparent or accountable. That is true not only for the agenda items, but also the composition of the negotiating delegations and the national positions or platforms. For instance, while Kosovo has discussed and adopted its negotiating platform in Parliament, underlying the main objectives and “red lines” of the dialogue, the Serbian President and de facto chief negotiator stated that revealing Serbia’s platform would undermine its negotiating position. Naturally, no one expects the precise details to be elaborated publicly. However, some sort of a broad definition of the goals set for the dialogue would provide for basic assurances. 

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

Presidency member: US envoy said Kosovo status has nothing to do with Bosnia (EWB)

SARAJEVO – The Bosniak member of the country’s tripartite Presidency, Šefik Džaferović, said that the US Special Representative for the Western Balkans has emphasised during his visit that the status of Kosovo is in no way linked to the status of neighbouring countries, including BiH, N1 reported.

The statement came in light of recent claims by his Bosnian Serb colleague Milorad Dodik, who said that any discussion on Kosovo’s independence would also raise the issue of the status of Republika Srpska (RS) entity.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary and Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer met with Džaferović, Dodik and Komšić to discuss a variety of issues.

See at: https://bit.ly/3m2cYwl

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Serbia, Kosovo Must Commit to Credible Missing Persons Investigations (Balkan Insight)

The Belgrade-Pristina dialogue will have maximum effect if Serbia and Kosovo’s governments commit to credibly investigating the remaining cases of missing persons from the Kosovo conflict while building on existing processes for regional cooperation.

At least 1,600 people are still missing from the Kosovo conflict. The letters signed at the White House on September 4 by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and the EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue both include a reference to the issue of missing persons, and can make a valuable contribution to the continuing effort to account for the missing.

The dialogue process, or any other effort to locate the missing from the Kosovo conflict, will have maximum effect only if it emphasises the responsibility of governments to investigate missing persons cases in line with the rule of law, and if it builds on the achievements of the Missing Persons Group, a regional mechanism established in the context of the Western Balkans Berlin Process, which is designed to help the countries of the region prepare for future EU membership.

See at: https://bit.ly/2FfM5V7

    Print       Email

You might also like...

UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, January 20, 2022

Read More →