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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, September 22

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• COVID-19: 79 new cases, two deaths (media)
• Team of German epidemiology expert to visit Kosovo (media)
• US delegation visits Kosovo to invest in infrastructure (AP)
• U.S. Ambassador To Kosovo Says Balkan Economic Rise A ‘High Policy Priority’ For Trump (RFE)
• After visit to Kosovo, Grenell arrives in Belgrade (media)
• Thaci awards Presidential Medal of Merit to Ambassador Grenell (media)
• Assembly fails to pass economic recovery law (media)
• Lajcak on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue with C5 Ministers (RTK)
• Vucic complains to UN about Kosovo (media)
• Surroi: Kosovo responsible for Serbia’s doors to U.S. opening up (Telegrafi)
• Bildt: Serbia will have to recognise Kosovo eventually (Koha)

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  • COVID-19: 79 new cases, two deaths (media)
  • Team of German epidemiology expert to visit Kosovo (media)
  • US delegation visits Kosovo to invest in infrastructure (AP)
  • U.S. Ambassador To Kosovo Says Balkan Economic Rise A ‘High Policy Priority’ For Trump (RFE)
  • After visit to Kosovo, Grenell arrives in Belgrade (media)
  • Thaci awards Presidential Medal of Merit to Ambassador Grenell (media)
  • Assembly fails to pass economic recovery law (media)
  • Lajcak on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue with C5 Ministers (RTK)
  • Vucic complains to UN about Kosovo (media)
  • Surroi: Kosovo responsible for Serbia’s doors to U.S. opening up (Telegrafi)
  • Bildt: Serbia will have to recognise Kosovo eventually (Koha)

Kosovo Media Highlights

COVID-19: 79 new cases, two deaths (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said in a statement that 79 new cases and two deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

104 patients have recovered from the virus during this time.

The highest number of new cases is from the municipality of Prishtina (23).

Team of German epidemiology expert to visit Kosovo (media)

A team German experts from the Robert Koch Institute will be visiting Kosovo and during their two-week stay will offer assistance to health institutions in battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the Robert Koch Institute said the mission’s objective is to provide support and advice to the Ministry of Health of Kosovo and local health care workers with the clinical management of COVID19 patients, as well as to implement infection prevention and control (IPC) measures. To achieve this, the medical experts will provide shadowing support of clinical personnel and on-the-job COVID-19 training.

Kosovo, U.S. sign investment agreement (media)

A delegation from the U.S. signed with Kosovo an agreement pledging to “provide access to the full range of investment support offered by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, as well as establish undertakings regarding the Corporation’s support for projects in Kosovo, and Kosovo’s treatment of them.”

The agreement was signed in Pristina between the head of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Adam Boehler and Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti. The signing ceremony was also attended by the U.S. envoy Richard Grenell and President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci.

At a joint press conference Grenell said their visit to Kosovo shows the commitment of the U.S. administration to ensure the implementation of the agreement signed in Washington for normalisation of economic relations between Kosovo and Serbia. “We would not be here if it weren’t for President Trump.” He said the agreement will pave way for the opening of thousands of new jobs. “We do not want empty words,” he added.

Meanwhile, DFC’s Adam Boehler said: “This administration has realised that Kosovo can only benefit if Serbia benefits too. This is important to be emphasised.” He said the agreement accelerates investments in Kosovo.

Kosovo PM Hoti spoke about the importance of seizing the opportunity to use the U.S. administration’s focus and increase investments in the region. He reiterated that the Washington agreement is a step towards the final agreement with Serbia.

US delegation visits Kosovo to invest in infrastructure (AP)

A high-level delegation from the United States visited Kosovo on Monday to discuss how to move ahead with projects signed at a White House meeting between Kosovo and Serbia normalizing economic ties.

Officials from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), USAID, EXIM Bank, Departments of Energy and Commerce met with Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti to sign an agreement how to accelerate investment in Kosovo.

Read more: https://bit.ly/2ZY1GjA

U.S. Ambassador To Kosovo Says Balkan Economic Rise A ‘High Policy Priority’ For Trump (RFE)

The U.S. ambassador to Kosovo has stressed Washington’s commitment to the goal of “full, normal relations” between Serbia and its former region of Kosovo while encouraging compromise on both sides to turn “pledges into the reality.”

In an interview with RFE/RL, Ambassador Philip Kosnett also said regional economic development in the Balkans was “a high policy priority of the Trump administration.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti signed an economic normalization deal at the White House this month that also calls for Belgrade to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and for mutual recognition by Israel and Kosovo.

The agreement includes commitments to create road and rail connections but fell far short of the internationally stated aim of recognition from Serbia of its former province at the heart of more than a decade of on-again, off-again talks mediated by the European Union.

“I think that it is difficult to set a timeline or a deadline for any of this,” Kosnett said. “The goal of the U.S. is to encourage the process that will end in full, normal relations between the two countries.”

The deal marked the first tangible sign of cooperation between the two neighbors since the EU-sponsored talks broke down two years ago and a tariff war began over Belgrade’s ongoing policy of trying to convince governments to withdraw their recognition of Kosovo.

See at: https://bit.ly/3kG6ba2

After visit to Kosovo, Grenell arrives in Belgrade (media)

The U.S. Presidential Envoy for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue Richard Grenell, together with a delegation arrived on Monday evening at Belgrade airport. He was received by the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabic and the U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Anthony Godfrey.

Grenell, together with the DFC Chief Executive Adam Bohler, will meet on Tuesday with the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and PM Brnabic.

Same as with Kosovo, signing of a Joint Statement is expected to occur in Belgrade.

Thaci awards Presidential Medal of Merit to Ambassador Grenell (media)

The President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, has decorated Ambassador Richard Grenell with the Presidential Medal of Merit, for his contribution to the reaching of the agreement on economic normalization between Kosovo and Serbia, informs a press relase issued by the Office of the President.

“Ambassador Grenell succeeded because he always believed in our commitment and our need to reach this agreement. What no one achieved, Ambassador Grenell achieved quickly and well. I am proud that for two years I have been part of the joint effort to finalize this agreement. I know the difficulties and obstacles in the process, but I congratulate you for your energy, creativity and determination”, Thaci said.

He also expressed gratitude to President Trump and his leadership for peace, stability and economic development in Kosovo and throughout the Western Balkans, adding that he looks forward to his visit to Kosovo.

Assembly fails to pass economic recovery law (media)

Kosovo Assembly failed yesterday to pass the draft law on economic recovery due to lack of quorum.

Opposition parties, the Vetevendosje Movement and the Democratic Party of Kosovo refused to vote on the law saying the ruling coalition ought to be able to pass laws without needing the help of the opposition, Koha reports.

Lajcak on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue with C5 Ministers (RTK)

The EU Special Envoy Miroslav Lajcak discussed the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue developments with the five Ministers of Central Europe.

“Thanks to Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia for their interest in the EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and strong support to my work,” Lajcak Tweeted on Monday.

“What a busy Monday! I took advantage of EU Foreign Ministers being in Brussels today to discuss Western Balkan regional issues and the state of play of the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue with my former colleagues from Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia,” he later added.

Vucic complains to UN about Kosovo (media)

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic spoke on Monday at the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly, on the occasion of marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

“Unfortunately, at the end of the 20th century, we in Serbia experienced unilateral measures and actions, which undermined and called into question the effectiveness of multilateralism and mechanisms of international cooperation, as well as international law itself. Interim institutions in Pristina declared independence through a unilateral act and violated UN Resolution 1244, thus seriously undermining the security of Serbia and the region as a whole”, Vucic said.

He said that Serbia is fully committed to finding a compromise solution to the issue of Kosovo, as well as to pursue a responsible policy and make efforts to preserve the interests of its citizens and regional peace and stability.

“By defending sovereignty and territorial integrity, respecting Resolution 1244, Serbia is defending international law, the UN Charter, but also finally the authority of the Security Council,” he said.

Surroi: Kosovo responsible for Serbia’s doors to U.S. opening up (Telegrafi)

Publicist Veton Surroi spoke about the Washington agreement for normalisation of economic ties between Kosovo and Serbia saying that despite some positive things, it failed to result in a recognition agreement.

“In the last 20 years, the American address in the region was Kosovo. Now the U.S. is opening an office in Serbia. This is a shift of the American interest in the region,” Surroi told for RTV Dukagjini adding that the responsibility for these new developments rests with Kosovo.

“The responsibility is entirely ours because we agreed, after the ICJ legitimised independence of Kosovo, to enter an unclear negotiations process under Serbia’s pressure. So we paved the way for Serbia to empower itself politically and militarily,” he said.

Bildt: Serbia will have to recognise Kosovo eventually (Koha)

Former Swedish prime minister and former high representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Carl Bildt, said that Serbia will eventually have to recognise Kosovo.

“President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, at one moment gathered the strength for such a decision but let it slip. However, he is aware that this is the key to Serbia’s path to European Union,” Bildt told a Sarajevo-based media outlet.

Bildt said the idea of land swap as part of the Kosovo-Serbia agreement was “a dangerous derailing which took away years of progress in negotiations.”

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