Albanian Language Media:
- COVID – 19 report: Three deaths, 43 new cases (media)
- EU: Kosovo must propose way to implement Association (media)
- War Veterans hand over files to Specialist Chambers officials (Indeksonline)
- Gashi: Indictment shouldn’t be confirmed; it would damage Kosovo! (media)
- Limaj: EU must keep its word on visa liberalisation for Kosovo (media)
Serbian Language Media:
- Komsic and Dzaferovic voted for BiH to recognize Kosovo, Dodik was, as expected, against (Tanjug, B92, Klix.ba)
- Stano: Kosovo has international obligation to implement CSM (Tanjug)
- EP Rapporteur Viola von Cramon: Serbia should show more commitment to EU (N1)
- Bilcik: Serbia didn’t open any chapter with EU in 2020 – that speaks for itself (N1)
- Sava: It is deplorable that media are still spreading rabid nationalism and ethnic and religious hatred (KoSSev)
- Polish Ambassador: Serbia and region should quickly enter European family (N1)
- Trial of Krstic and Shabani continues (Radio KIM)
- Trajkovic: Djuric to lobby for Vucic in Washington (Danas)
- Schools in Serb areas in Kosovo to commence work on Monday (KoSSev)
- Where are the women? (EWB)
- How Trump’s Balkan Deal Might Harm Israel (algemeiner.com)
- Will Kosovo and Serbia establish embassies in Jerusalem? Not if the EU has its way (jns.org)
- What did Serbia and Kosovo sign in Washington? (EWB)
- Kosovo President Savages Govt’s ‘Grave Mistakes’ in Serbia Talks (Balkan Insight)
- Kosovo’s Human Capital Index Lower Than Regional Average, but Higher Than Average for Its Income Group (miragenews.com)
- Ditching Dinars: Will the Balkans Take to Cryptocurrency? (Balkan Insight)
Albanian Language Media
COVID – 19 report: Three deaths, 43 new cases (media)
Three fatalities and 43 new cases of COVID – 19 have been recorded in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 239 persons have recovered from the virus during this period. The highest number of new cases is from the municipality of Prishtina (13)
EU: Kosovo must propose way to implement Association (media)
European Union spokesman Peter Stano said today that Kosovo has assumed an international obligation by signing the agreement on the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities in 2013, which was then ratified with 2/3 of votes in the Kosovo Assembly. He said Kosovo must find a way how to implement the Association.
Stano said today’s meeting in Brussels between the Kosovo and Serbian delegation at the level of experts is focused on financial and property-related issues and that arrangements on non-majority communities will be discussed at the next meeting.
War Veterans hand over files to Specialist Chambers officials (Indeksonline)
The news website reports that the meeting between officials of the Specialist Chambers and leaders of the KLA War Veterans Association, Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj, has ended. The Specialist Chambers officials went to the premises of KLA War Veterans to take files that they received yesterday. Although Gucati and Haradinaj told the media this morning that they will not hand over the files, they have done so.
Gucati told reporters that Specialist Chambers representatives admitted that the files were from this court and that they do not know how they are leaking. “We handed over the files today; the media have received over 70 percent yesterday. We will make public every file that we receive, because the Special Court is cooperating with Serbian courts,” he added.
Gashi: Indictment shouldn’t be confirmed; it would damage Kosovo! (media)
Prishtina-based attorney Tome Gashi said today that if the indictment against Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and PDK leader Kadri Veseli is confirmed it would damage Kosovo.
“I think the indictments against Thaci and Veseli must not be confirmed, because they will not bring any good to Kosovo. A confirmed indictment against the President would hit the state as a whole. We were unlucky when the court was formed first and to have the first indictment against the President,” Gashi added.
Limaj: EU must keep its word on visa liberalisation for Kosovo (media)
NISMA leader Fatmir Limaj said in a meeting with EU Head of Office in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog, that the EU must deliver on its promise for visa liberalisation for Kosovo’s citizens. Limaj said the process should not be delayed any further and that Kosovo’s citizens need to travel freely in European cities. On the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, Limaj said a clear agenda is required to reach a final agreement on mutual recognition between the two countries. Szunyog said he is ready to cooperate closely with Kosovo institutions in the European integration agenda, strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo and to overcome the economic challenges caused by the COVID – 19 pandemic.
Serbian Language Media
Komsic and Dzaferovic voted for BiH to recognize Kosovo, Dodik was, as expected, against (Tanjug, B92, Klix.ba)
BiH Presidency Chairman Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic voted for Bosnia-Herzegovina to recognize Kosovo, while Milorad Dodik was against it.
This was confirmed by Komsic, who addressed the media after today’s regular session of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
“Mr Dodik did not accept the recognition of Kosovo as an independent state, we voted 2-1 for that decision. Dodik was against it and it will be a topic in the coming weeks. It is to be expected that Dodik will request a NSRS session and present those topics where Kosovo is connected. It’s a risky story that could escalate into a secession story, and I guess you all know where that would lead,” Komsic said.
Dodik is now expected to withdraw the issue of vital entity interest and refer the point of recognizing Kosovo to the NSRS, where it is already certain that he will receive support.
When it came to the second extraordinary session at which it was voted on the transfer of the BiH embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Dodik, as expected, supported it as the initiator, while Komsic and Dzaferovic voted against it.
“We did not support it, of course, because it would be, among other things, against the UN resolution, and Bosnia-Herzegovina supported that resolution. It means that moving the BiH Embassy would violate that same resolution. Then imagine how it is viewed in Arab countries,” Komsic said.
Komsic said that Dodik referred to the agreement in Washington and interfered with what Aleksandar Vucic and Avdullah Hoti agreed on, and that he should be consistent with regard to Kosovo.
“Kosovo is a reality, Kosovo is an independent state and we all know that. Running away from what Dodik will say is a bit of the policy of an ostrich pushing its head into the sand in the face of danger,” Komsic said, adding that anyone who fears a decision like recognizing Kosovo shouldn’t sit in the Presidency of BiH.
When it comes to the “Mini Schengen” initiative, the Presidency supported the decision, but it first needs to examine well how that cooperation was conceived.
It was ordered that the Council of Ministers analyze and inform the Presidency what joining this initiative would mean for Bosnia-Herzegovina, how it corresponds to other initiatives in the region and the like.
Stano: Kosovo has international obligation to implement CSM (Tanjug)
The EU spokesperson Peter Stano said Pristina has an obligation to implement the agreement on Community of Serb-majority Municipalities (CSM) to which it got obliged “in a good faith” in 2013, by signing the Brussels agreement, Tanjug news agency reports.
“The Brussels agreement was signed by all parties in the process and it is valid. Moreover, it was ratified in the Kosovo Parliament. Kosovo, by doing it, undertook an international obligation to implement this agreement. It is up to them to say how they will implement it”, Stano said.
Asked how he assesses the implementation on the agenda of today’s experts’ talks in Brussels, Stano recalled it was agreed in a meeting of President Vucic and Prime Minister Hoti to continue the talks on mutual financial claims and status of non-majority communities.
“These are rather complex topics and both sides agreed over previous days to dedicate today’s meeting to the issue of financial clams. As continuation to this meeting the talks on non-majority communities would follow over the next days”, Stano concluded.
EP Rapporteur Viola von Cramon: Serbia should show more commitment to EU (N1)
Viola von Cramon MEP told regional broadcaster N1 that the Serbian authorities have to show more commitment for Europe adding that the majority of statements coming from Belgrade in recent months were pro-Russian, authoritarian, anti-democratic and anti-European Union.
The European Parliament rapporteur for Kosovo said that she expects the Serbian authorities to be in the service of their citizens, not just their party, adding that elected officials should lead the reforms. Von Cramon is also shadow rapporteur for Serbia.
According to her, the state of democracy in Serbia has deteriorated. “The opposition, independent candidates and parties do not have equal conditions and it’s hard to compete with (President) Aleksandar Vucic’s party. There are no free and fair election campaign conditions not even on election day,” she said adding that a large number of irregularities were reported at the repeated elections in Sabac. She said that she would like to hear clearer stands on those irregularities from the Europeans. She said that there is a wide variety of political players in Serbia but that Vucic’s party is almost exclusively represented at national and local level. “That is not good for your country,” she said.
Von Cramon said that Serbia’s European integration process depends on both Serbia and the Europeans who have both stick and carrot and, according to her, should use them. The Serbian side should show more interest, more commitment in regard to Europe, she said and warned of authoritarian, anti-EU and anti-democratic statements from Belgrade in the recent past. “That is not good for future cooperation,” she said.
She said that Serbia has a future in the EU. Belgrade is a European city and you are Europeans and belong to Europe there is no doubt of that, she said but added that membership in the EU will depend on whether Serbia really does want to take part in integration and on the political players on the ground. That is up to Vucic and his people and perhaps up to others in the future, she said. The countries of the Western Balkans are all important, you are part of Europe and no one in the European Parliament doubts that, Von Cramen added.
Asked if Serbia can join the EU with or without Kosovo, Von Cramen said ”only with Kosovo”. Kosovo belongs to the EU just like Serbia, she said and expressed the hope that the EU mediated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue will succeed in reaching an agreement satisfactory to both sides.
See at: https://bit.ly/2ZMcdOC
Bilcik: Serbia didn’t open any chapter with EU in 2020 – that speaks for itself (N1)
The fact that Serbia did not open a single chapter in the accession negotiation with the European Union in 2020 spoke for itself,” Vladimir Bilcik, the European Parliament Rapporteur for Serbia, told N1 on Wednesday.
If there is no progress in the rule of law, fight against corruption and other reforms, there is no opening of new chapters, he adds.
“That’s a crystal-clear message to you (Belgrade)! Not a single chapter has been opened, the end of the story. I think it’s pretty clear,” Bilcik reiterated.
He also said he expected “an urgent constitution of a new government in Serbia and all parliamentary bodies.
“The elections were in June, now it is September. There are only a few months until the end of the year. If Serbia wants to open one chapter at least, we must see the work on that and the results from it,” Bilcik warned.
See at: https://bit.ly/3hFILzK
Fr. Sava: It is deplorable that media are still spreading rabid nationalism and ethnic and religious hatred (KoSSev)
“Both sides condemn the crimes of Milosevic’s regime in Kosovo… We support the role of the International War Crimes Tribunal, peace can only be built on the foundations of justice,” Sava Janjic, the abbot of the Visoki Decani monastery, recalled the statement he gave to the media in Pristina back in July 1999.
Father Sava Janjic read a joint statement by the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Serb leaders from central Kosovo after meeting with an Albanian delegation led by Hashim Thaci at UNMIK headquarters in Pristina, in the presence of the first head of the newly established mission, Sérgio de Vieira de Mello. De Mello was a Brazilian diplomat who was later killed in a bomb attack in Iraq in 2003, along with 20 other members of the UN mission.
“The Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo was the first Serbian institution to engage in UN sponsored dialogue with Kosovo Albanian leaders since the 1999 war. With my former Bishop I took part in meetings supporting reconciliation and denouncing violence from all sides,” he wrote on Wednesday, adding that, despite these efforts, the SOC with the remaining Serbs in Kosovo faced years of systematic destruction and a vicious media campaign which led even more Serbs into exile.
“Without KFOR/UN/EU/OSCE presence no Serbs would have survived up to the present day.”
The Abbot also expressed regret that the return of refugees has stopped 21 years after the war. He added that incidents continue, and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo remains targeted by “irresponsible institutions violating their own laws and media spreading rabid nationalism and ethnic/religious hatred”.
Father Sava, who is often criticized, along with the Serbian Orthodox Church, by the Kosovo media and the public, reminded of one of the controversial headlines in the Kosovo online media titled – “Sava Janjic, don’t lie, you are a criminal”. He also shared photographs of the March violence.
Tensions in the Kosovo public over the Serbian Orthodox Church increased once again after local authorities tried to construct a highway through a special protective zone around the Decani monastery. The decision was met with the strong opposition of the clergy, who stressed that it violates the Special Protective Zones Act.
After tensions over the road construction subsided, Pristina-based Koha published an article in its cultural section entitled “Serb Appropriation of Medieval Arberian Monuments in Kosovo”. The text alleged that Serbian rulers “usurped Catholic churches” which are supposedly the heritage of the “autochthonous Catholic Arbers” – i.e. Catholic Albanians.
The Diocese of Raska and Prizren immediately reacted to the article, stating that such a text “openly spreads ethnic and religious hatred” towards Serbs in Kosovo and their cultural and spiritual heritage. The Diocese also accused the author, history professor Bedri Muhadri, of using “open propaganda” and avoiding to apply international historical sources.
The Serbian Orthodox Church and its leaders in Kosovo, including Father Sava, have been criticized by the Kosovo public due to their alleged support for Milosevic’s regime. They however denied such accusations, particularly the clergy of the Decani monastery, who often remind that the monastery of Visoki Decani protected 200 Albanian refugees, numerous exiled Serb families, Roma, and one Gorani family in 1999.
During the 1990s, the Western media often described the Diocese of Raska and Prizren and Father Sava Janjic as critics of the Milosevic regime.
See at: https://bit.ly/3c6FuIy
Polish Ambassador: Serbia and region should quickly enter European family (N1)
Solidarity in the European Union exists in several dimensions – in the difficult times during the coronavirus pandemic, among EU institutions, and the EU assistance, Rafal Perl, the Polish Ambassador to Serbia said on Wednesday, N1 reports.
“I am glad that the EU and individual member countries intend to assist Serbia in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Poland also helped Serbia,” he added.
“Solidarity in the EU also exists between more prosperous countries and those that were historically a bit less lucky.
“Europe also shows solidarity through its structural funds. And the third dimension of solidarity should be the policy of enlargement – Poland believes the EU should pursue an open door policy and that Serbia, like others in the region, should quickly enter the European family,” the Ambassador noted.
See at: https://bit.ly/3c6KGwc
Trial of Krstic and Shabani continues (Radio KIM)
By hearing testimonies of the witnesses, members of the victims’ families, the trial of Zlatan Krstic and Destan Shabani accused of committing a war crime against civilian population continues, Radio KIM reports.
Zlatan Krstic is accused of expulsion, kidnapping and then the murder of four members of Nuha family from Nerodimlje village, near Urosevac. He has been kept in detention since April 2019.
Krstic’s defense lawyer Dejan A. Vasic earlier stated that “Zlatan Krstic was neither a member of the army nor police, and since the seventies of the last century he lived in Kragujevac and didn’t visit Kosovo during the war. He visited his place of origin, Nerodimlje several times after the war and also met with the key witness of the prosecution, without any problems”.
Destan Shabani, who was a police inspector at the times of war events in Urosevac is accused of ordering burial of the killed persons without ceremony, in the village of Babus.
Although the trial is open to the public, the judge Musa Konxhelija forbade journalists to record statements of the witnesses and publish their names, allowing the use of their initials, Radio KIM reported.
Trajkovic: Djuric to lobby for Vucic in Washington (Danas)
President of the European Movement of Serbs from Kosovo Rada Trajkovic commented for Belgrade based daily Danas on the possibility of Marko Djuric being the new Serbian Ambassador to Washington. She assessed that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was afraid that the US administration would not be ready to support an autocrat with so many scandals in power, therefore sends Djuric as a confidential man who would have the task to deal with the Vucic’s political future i.e. to lobby for him, and not to deal with state problems.
Trajkovic saw the possible appointment of the current director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija to such a responsible position as a move that was copied from Kosovo. She explained that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci sent a trusted person to the United States, Vlora Citaku, because he needed her for his personal lobbying.
Trajkovic said that Citaku was more into lobbying about Thaci’s position and the Hague tribunal’s response to his testimony and indictment, than with the problems of Kosovo in general.
– Vucic accepted the signature on the Washington agreement in order to prolong his political life. He is now most directly sending Djuric to lobby, and to inform, in his own way, Washington about the events in Serbia – Trajkovic emphasized.
When asked whether, despite all the above, Djuric was the best choice for ambassador to Washington, having in mind his gaffes in public, she answered that these outbursts were known, but that he was very problematic for her because he worked most closely with Milan Radoicic, who was the suspect of being participant in the organization of the murder of Oliver Ivanovic.
– It is a shame that Marko Djuric represents the state with that very heavy baggage, especially since the Serbian state, Vucic and he together, do nothing so that people who are suspects go through that court process, and to prove their innocence. They are the main people who obstruct the process and it is completely unacceptable for us that one such person, with such a burden, to be the representative of the state in the most important country in the world – says Trajkovic.
Danas recalled that the media reported on Tuesday that allegedly the current director of the Office for KiM, Marko Djuric will be the new ambassador of Serbia to the United States.
Schools in Serb areas in Kosovo to commence work on Monday (KoSSev)
Primary, secondary schools and kindergarten facilities at the territory of Kosovo, functioning within the Serbian education system would commence the work as of next week, chief of Education Administration for Kosovo and Metohija, at the Serbian Education Ministry, Jasmina Dedic told representatives of the education institutions, KoSSev portal reports.
“We are kindly asking you to inform students, teachers and parents that starting from September 21, 2020 primary, secondary schools and kindergarten facilities at the territory of Kosovo and Metohija would commence their work (…)”, Dedic said in a note, KoSSev said it had insight into.
Where are the women? (EWB)
When the dust has settled, it is time to ask the most obvious question: Where are the women in this photo?
It is unclear why Serbia, led by a woman Prime Minister, or Kosovo with a woman for Foreign Affairs Minister, had no gender representation in their delegations in the White House. Is it because women are in those positions to fill the quota or to satisfy some form, but they are excluded when it comes to important decisions. It is fair to assume that no one even considered how this agreement would impact half of the two countries’ populations because of the lack of representation. Someone may wonder why this is relevant. So, here is why:
According to the International Peace Institute, an agreement related to peace or territory is 35 percent more likely to last for fifteen years if women participate in its creation. The same report states that the peace agreement is 64 percent less likely to fail with women’s participation. Some recent studies on post-conflict agreements show that the ones that are negotiated without women break down faster than those that do include women, and that “all – male groups take riskier, more aggressive and less empathetic decisions than gender mixed groups.” The World Bank reports that higher gender equality levels make more peaceful states, with a lower-level conflict between and within the country.
See at: https://bit.ly/2RDVd8w
How Trump’s Balkan Deal Might Harm Israel (algemeiner.com)
Kosovo and Serbia have a bloody and troubled history. As they attempt to reduce tensions and to create new economic agreements between them, Israel has been bizarrely dragged into this delicate Balkan mix.
Since its unilateral declaration of independence in 2008, Kosovo, which has an Albanian ethnic majority, has been recognized by the US and most EU states, but not by the United Nations. Russia and China would veto any such recognition by the UN Security Council. Thus, Kosovo has yet to be admitted to the UN as a full-fledged member, despite the fact that over 100 states already recognize its independence.
Even in the EU, some have refrained from recognizing Kosovo for the simple reason that they themselves have separatist movements that could be encouraged to unilaterally declare their own independence, following the Kosovo precedent.
See at: https://bit.ly/2RwupY5
Will Kosovo and Serbia establish embassies in Jerusalem? Not if the EU has its way (jns.org)
The European Union looks like “an anti-peace body that is way behind the UAE, Bahrain and others who recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It really makes the E.U. look foolish,” says Dan Diker, director of the Political Warfare Project at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
It’s easy to miss all of the announcements coming out right now by countries normalizing relations with Israel. But even more intriguing was the announcement last week that Serbia and Kosovo planned to establish their embassies in Israel’s capital—much to the consternation of the European Union.
Kosovo would be the first Muslim-majority nation to do so, but that’s not the part that intrigues Israelis. Since announcing its independence from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo has shown an interest in establishing ties with the Jewish state, but Israel has always politely declined the relationship out of fear the Palestinians would copy Kosovo and unilaterally declare independence. The line of thought was always that if Israel recognized unilaterally independent Kosovo, it would need to recognize a unilaterally independent Palestine.
See at: https://bit.ly/32Bab5K
What did Serbia and Kosovo sign in Washington? (EWB)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti pledged to normalize economic relations on 4 September, signing an agreement in the presence of US President Donald Trump in Washington. However, issues such as what exactly was signed, what are the consequences of this agreement for Belgrade and Pristina, as well as what is the future of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue that is being conducted in Brussels, have remained unresolved.
Instead of economic cooperation, the provision concerning the relocation of the Serbian embassy to Jerusalem, which opposes the EU’s foreign policy, and the mutual recognition between Israel and Kosovo attracted the most attention.
Assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade Milan Krstić explained that Belgrade and Pristina have not signed a legally binding agreement in Washington, or any bilateral agreement, either with the United States, as claimed by Serbian government officials, or with each other, as Richard Grenell suggested.
Kosovo President Savages Govt’s ‘Grave Mistakes’ in Serbia Talks (Balkan Insight)
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has attacked his government’s handling of talks with Serbia, urging parliament to pass a resolution banning it from discussing such ‘closed topics’ as a semi-autonomous association of Serb-majority municipalities – calling such discussions a ‘grave a dangerous mistake’.
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has warned his own government not to discuss creating an autonomous association of Serbian municipalities as part of the EU-aided dialogue with Serbia on normalizing relations.
In a sharp press release issued on Wednesday, Thaci urged parliament to pass a resolution prohibiting Kosovo leaders from negotiating with Serbia on such internal issues, calling them “closed topics of the past”.
“The Assembly of Kosovo must urgently address this dangerous step of the government of Kosovo in the Brussels dialogue. It also urgently needs to vote on a resolution banning the Prime Minister from negotiating on Kosovo’s internal affairs and on topics that endanger the internal state order,” the statement reads.
“Opening up topics on the rights of [minority] communities and the Association of Serbian Municipalities in the Brussels dialogue is a grave and a very dangerous mistake made by the government,” Thaci said.
See at: https://bit.ly/33vqXlO
Kosovo’s Human Capital Index Lower Than Regional Average, but Higher Than Average for Its Income Group (miragenews.com)
Young people in the Europe and Central Asia region are being provided with the opportunities needed to grow into productive adults, thanks to continued investments in health and education during their childhood and teenage years, says the latest update of the World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI), which measures pre-pandemic human capital outcomes around the world.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic is threatening the gains made so far, as governments struggle to maintain health and education services in the face of restrictions to protect public health, including school closings.
The report shows that a child born in Kosovo today will be 57 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health. This is lower than the average for Kosovo’s region, but slightly higher than the average for Kosovo’s income group.
See at: https://bit.ly/32CJ9e1
Ditching Dinars: Will the Balkans Take to Cryptocurrency? (Balkan Insight)
The daring few involved in cryptocurrency and blockchain in the Balkans say the benefits could be big, if the regulatory framework is put in place.
Cash may still be king in the Balkans, but growth in online payments – particularly in the era of COVID-19 – is fuelling optimism among those in the region pressing the case for cryptocurrency.
In the countries of the former Yugoslavia, many remember the hyperinflation of the 1990s and trust in traditional financial institutions is still in short supply, giving cryptocurrency a potential edge.
“The ability of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to be censorship resistant is seen as a great advantage,” said Arvin Kamberi, vice president of the Bitcoin Association of Serbia.
“While cash is still king in this area, we are also witnessing that the number of online payments is growing – especially pushed by the current COVID-19 developments.”
See at: https://bit.ly/3kuEocT