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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, September 22, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, September 22, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• COVID – 19: 66 new cases, no deaths (media)
• Hoti: We’re all working to reduce cases, doctors are on the front line (media)
• “No preparations in education system for second wave of virus” (Telegrafi)
• Grenell calls on Kosovars to back Washington agreements (Prishtina Insight)
• Kosovo, US pledge for ‘investment incentive agreement’ (Prishtina Insight)
• Kosovo, Serbia commerce chambers to set up working group (RFE)
• Who is Richard Grenell (Kosovotwopointzero.com)
• KLA War Veterans say they have received more SPO files (Koha)
• Proposed indictment against Thaci and names of other accused (arbresh.info)

Serbian Language Media:

• Vucic and Brnabic sign a joint statement with DFC and Grenell (B92)
• Grenell: Realization of agreements means massive employment opportunities (RTS)
• Rukiqi: After a long time, we can talk about business (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)
• Vucic: Serbia’s in favor of a compromise solution for Kosovo (B92)
• Mihajlovic: Infrastructural projects with DFC worth $ 3.7 billion (N1)
• “Efficiency synonym for American diplomacy” (Radio KIM)
• Everyone talks about it, yet no one has seen it: Israel’s recognition of Kosovo (B92, Vecernje Novosti, KiM radio)

Opinion:

• Western Balkans: The West meets East with its values and interests (EWB)
• Serbia’s 5G deal with Washington: The art of muddling through (ECFR)

Humanitarian/Development:

• UN Urged to Finally Compensate Lead-Poisoned Kosovo Refugees (Balkan Insight)
• Kosovo Lead Poisoning Victims Still Awaiting Justice (HRW)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID – 19: 66 new cases, no deaths (media)
  • Hoti: We’re all working to reduce cases, doctors are on the front line (media)
  • “No preparations in education system for second wave of virus” (Telegrafi)
  • Grenell calls on Kosovars to back Washington agreements (Prishtina Insight)
  • Kosovo, US pledge for ‘investment incentive agreement’ (Prishtina Insight)
  • Kosovo, Serbia commerce chambers to set up working group (RFE)
  • Who is Richard Grenell (Kosovotwopointzero.com)
  • KLA War Veterans say they have received more SPO files (Koha)
  • Proposed indictment against Thaci and names of other accused (arbresh.info)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Vucic and Brnabic sign a joint statement with DFC and Grenell (B92)
  • Grenell: Realization of agreements means massive employment opportunities (RTS)
  • Rukiqi: After a long time, we can talk about business (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)
  • Vucic: Serbia’s in favor of a compromise solution for Kosovo (B92)
  • Mihajlovic: Infrastructural projects with DFC worth $ 3.7 billion (N1)
  • “Efficiency synonym for American diplomacy” (Radio KIM)
  • Everyone talks about it, yet no one has seen it: Israel’s recognition of Kosovo (B92, Vecernje Novosti, KiM radio)

Opinion:

  • Western Balkans: The West meets East with its values and interests (EWB)
  • Serbia’s 5G deal with Washington: The art of muddling through (ECFR)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • UN Urged to Finally Compensate Lead-Poisoned Kosovo Refugees (Balkan Insight)
  • Kosovo Lead Poisoning Victims Still Awaiting Justice (HRW)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

COVID – 19: 66 new cases, no deaths (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said in a statement today that 66 new cases of COVID – 19 have been recorded in the last 24 hours. 141 patients have recovered from the virus during this time. The highest number of new cases is from the municipality of Prishtina (22). Minister of Health Armend Zemaj took to Facebook today to say that there have been no deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours.

Hoti: We’re all working to reduce cases, doctors are on the front line (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said during a visit to the Kosovo University Clinical Center today that all institutions are working hard to reduce the number of coronavirus cases but that healthcare staff members are on the front lines. “I thank you for the job you are doing. I know that the Minister [of Health] is under tremendous pressure from different groups of interest but it is very important to have balance in the current situation. People’s lives are most important to me,” he said.

Hoti also said that many European countries are already being hit by the second wave of the virus and that Kosovo must be more prepared. “We are on the right track to manage the pandemic, and we are also preparing for the new phase,” he said.

“No preparations in education system for second wave of virus” (Telegrafi)

Kosovo Education Center Director, Dukagjin Pupovci, said in an interview to the news website today that the Ministry of Education has not made the necessary preparations to implement the C scenario which foresees online classes in the event the coronavirus situation deteriorates.

“I don’t think the necessary preparations have been made, because now we are dealing with a predictable situation. If in March the situation was unpredictable, now we have a predictable situation and we cannot be at the level of performance as in March and April,” Pupovci said.

Grenell calls on Kosovars to back Washington agreements (Prishtina Insight)

The US Special Envoy told BIRN on Monday that he was ‘grateful for all of President Trump’s words’ when questioned about the US President’s claim that his administration was ‘stopping mass killings between Kosovo and Serbia.’

In a whistle stop visit to Prishtina, US Special Envoy Richard Grenell called on Kosovars to support the economic normalisation agreements signed in Washington DC, describing them as an opportunity to “get past political fights.”

Grenell was part of a US delegation that signed a joint statement with Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti on Monday night, which pledged to establish an investment incentive agreement between Kosovo and the United States.

“We don’t want empty words, we want to show the people of Kosovo that we stand with you and that we can move forward with economic development for the betterment of western civilisation,” Grenell told a press conference.

Grenell reiterated that he was instructed by US President Donald Trump to find an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia that was jobs based, rather than “the same old political discussions.” 

“While symbolism is important, it can’t pay your rent, it can’t feed your family, it doesn’t give you a lot of hope,” Grenell said.

Asked by BIRN what President Trump had meant when he referred to his administration “stopping mass killings between Kosovo and Serbia,” Grenell stated that he was grateful for all of Trump’s words.  

“What I think President Trump is saying is that he is committed to moving into economic normalisation for the two countries,” the envoy said. “We would not be here if it wasn’t for President Trump saying ‘Let’s do something different for the region.’”

“After this agreement was signed, again, the president told us: ‘Now go implement it!’,” Grenell continued. “These are not just words, he’s a very action-oriented president. So I’m grateful for all of his words and all of his commitments because they always push through, and bring with them economic action.”

The envoy stated that “loud political voices” had hijacked the debate on Kosovo and caused “economic strife.”

“There is a perceived conflict, and the perceived conflict means that American businesses, American governments, European businesses, European governments get very frustrated that we can’t move beyond the typical political fights.”

He added that he hoped citizens of Kosovo that aren’t political “speak up to say that this is a real opportunity to get past political fights and move towards job creation.”

Earlier in the evening, President Hashim Thaci awarded Grenell with a Presidential Medal of Merits “for his extraordinary contribution to reaching the economic normalisation agreements between Kosovo and Serbia at the White House.”

“What others couldn’t do, Mr. Grenell did quickly, well and accurately,” Thaci said.

Kosovo, US pledge for ‘investment incentive agreement’ (Prishtina Insight)

Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and the head of the US International Development Finance Corporation have signed a joint statement expressing their desire to establish an investment incentive agreement between Kosovo and the United States.

On Monday evening, Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Adem Boehler, the President of the US International Development Finance Corporation, IDFC, signed a joint statement expressing the desire to establish an ‘Investment Incentive Agreement’ between the United States and Kosovo “at the earliest possible date.” 

“The new Kosovo-United States Investment Incentive Agreement is anticipated to provide access to the full range of investment support offered by the US International Development Finance Corporation,” the statement reads. 

The statement also indicates that the investment incentive agreement entering into force will help advance negotiations on principles agreed in Washington on September 4.

Boehler, who was hired as the IDFC’s first CEO in October 2019 by US President Donald Trump, stated this would include over a billion dollars worth of projects, including the road and rail projects identified in the Washington agreements.

“We even discussed the possibility of investing in a ski resort to give you a sense of the breadth of projects we’re talking about,” Boehler told a press conference following the signing on Monday.

Boehler added that he was in Prishtina to show how serious he was about investing in Kosovo, describing the visiting delegation as ‘unprecedented.’ The delegation is reported to include officials from the US Departments of Energy and Commerce, and the Chairman of the Export-Import Bank among others. 

Hoti stated that the agreement would be implemented in the coming weeks and create thousands of new jobs. “It’s my honour to say that we will move rapidly to implement this deal,” the prime minister said. “It has created a new momentum.”

US special Envoy for Kosovo-Serbia Richard Grenell dialogue thanked Hoti for his commitment to implement the agreements reached in Washington, adding that “each ministry will set up teams to work with the Americans.”

Kosovo, Serbia commerce chambers to set up working group (RFE)

The news website reports that Kosovo and Serbia chambers of commerce have agreed today to set up a working group that will assist the respective governments to implement projects of the Washington 4 agreement, and provide support to implement projects in the infrastructure, energy and job opportunities.

The chambers of commerce held a meeting with Adam Boelher, chief executive officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to Belgrade, Anthony Godfrey. Also present in the meeting was U.S. Special Envoy for the Kosovo – Serbia Dialogue, Richard Grenell.

Boehler said after the meeting that the agreement on economic normalisation between Kosovo and Serbia serves the good of the people. “I want to thank Prishtina and Belgrade for deciding for the good of the people … because ultimately economic normalisation means investments. This is not a situation where one country wins and the other loses,” he said.

Who is Richard Grenell (Kosovotwopointzero.com)

Almost everyone in Kosovo has heard of Richard Grenell. 

Former U.S. ambassador to Germany, former acting director of national intelligence, special presidential envoy to the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, and the man who was accused of bringing down Albin Kurti’s popular government 52 days into its mandate in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown — Grenell vehemently denies any role in it.

Over the past year, Grenell has become the focal point of U.S. policy in Kosovo. He staunchly opposed the 100% trade tariff on Serbian goods and threatened Kosovo with a withdrawal of U.S. support — including military. His antipathy to the EU-led dialogue process between Kosovo and Serbia has driven a wedge between the U.S. and its traditional ally and created chaos in the transatlantic alliance.

In what may yet prove to be one of his final acts in the region, Grenell was the architect of the recent White House meeting between Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić. The meeting itself has served as a culmination of an eventful year, ahead of the fast approaching U.S. presidential elections in November.

For someone who has had such an impact on Kosovo politics, few people in Kosovo know much about him and where he came from before suddenly becoming a prominent voice in the region early last year. We decided to find out. 

For this profile, we have interviewed journalists and politicians. Grenell himself refused to be interviewed by K2.0.

Many others we spoke to did not want to speak on the record about him. So we have constructed this profile through Grenell’s own words, congressional testimony and interviews with some of those who have worked with him in the past. 

Read full article at: https://bit.ly/33NbBcJ

KLA War Veterans say they have received more SPO files (media)

The Kosovo Liberation Army War Veterans representatives told a press conference in Prishtina today that they have received for the third time files of the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office. War Veterans leader Hysni Gucati said the files they received mention different people “but we are not authorised to mention them”. He also said the new files mention the filing of indictments.

War Veterans deputy leader Nasim Haradinaj told reporters that the files include a draft indictment against some former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army. He said the files mention many locations in Kosovo. According to Haradinaj, the person that delivered the files also left a message that he will deliver CDs in the future too.

Citing sources in the war veterans organisation, Indeksonline reports that they were meeting members of the German KFOR when the new round of files was delivered to their offices. “German KFOR was in the meeting when the files of the specialist court arrived. KFOR took pictures of the files,” the source said.

Proposed indictment against Thaci and names of other accused (arbresh.info)

The news website reports that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) leader Kadri Veseli and other former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Azem Syla, Jakup Krasniqi and Rexhep Selimi could be held accountable by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office for crimes that occurred at the core identified detention sites in 1998/1999.

The news website claims to have secured a copy of the executive summary of the proposed indictment, which claims that there is relevant evidence to establish responsibility at a senior level. 

“This narrative sets out evidence relevant to establishing responsibility at a senior level for crimes that occurred at the core identified detention sites in 1998/1999,” the document notes. 

The document mentions the villages of Jabllanica, Likoc, Llapushik, Drenoc, Malisheva, Baice, Llapashtice, Klecke and Zllash.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Vucic and Brnabic sign a joint statement with DFC and Grenell (B92)

President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic signed a joint statement with DFC representatives and US Special Envoy Richard Grenell, B92 reports following the meeting that took place in the Palace of Serbia in Belgrade. Serbian ministers Ivica Dacic, Zorana Mihajlovic, Branislav Nedimovic, Rasim Ljajic and President of the Chamber of Commerce Marko Cadez also participated in the meeting. 

“The trade relations with the US in a contractual manner were resolved in 1881 and since then we had not had such an important agreement”, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said after signing the declaration with Richard Grenell and DFC representatives.

“This is an important day for us”, Vucic added while addressing the media. 

Meetings of representatives of Serbian and Kosovo chambers of commerce with the special adviser to the President of the USA Richard Grenell and the delegation of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, DFC officially were held earlier today at the US Embassy in Belgrade.

A U.S. government delegation led by U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler came to Belgrade to advance economic cooperation and development.

Boehler will be joined by Special Advisor to the US President, Ambassador Richard Grenell; Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Bonnie Glick; President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) Kimberly Reed; and other senior government officials from the U.S. Departments of Energy and Commerce. The delegation will hold meetings with senior government officials and private sector leaders.

DFC will lay the groundwork for opening an office in Belgrade to facilitate implementation of projects that will support economic growth in the region. DFC and EXIM recently signed Letters of Interest (LOIs) with Serbia and Kosovo to help finance the important projects identified in the September 4 agreements.

Grenell: Realization of agreements means massive employment opportunities (RTS)

The Washington agreement and the agreements made in Belgrade are not only words on paper, but represent new employment opportunities for the people living in this region, new employment possibilities and development of the private sector, US Presidential Special Envoy for Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Richard Grenell said, RTS reports.

He added none of this would have happened if it were not for the US President Donald Trump, who as he said, believed that something different could happen.

“He believed the economy can come into focus and emphasis be placed on employment opportunities. Promises were made to the people of Serbia and we want you to hold us accountable. These are not only words on paper, but employment opportunities for the people living here”, Grenell said, adding that this is the message to the Serbian citizens.

As he said, President Trump and the US believe in the strength of the private sector, that the way of thinking from “outside” can contribute that the government understands in what manner the private sector may “flourish”.

“Symbolism in political talks would never be able to pay peoples’ rent, this is what the private sector is doing”, Grenell said.

Boehler: Belgrade and Pristina opted for people

Adem Boehler, the Executive Director of the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) following the meeting at the US Embassy in Belgrade with representatives of the Chambers of Commerce from Belgrade and Pristina, congratulated participants for the courage of Belgrade and Pristina “to opt for people and not for the politics”.

He noted he came to Serbia with five other US agencies. “A complete economic power of the US Government is in our delegation here”.

He assessed that economic normalization means investments and opening of new employment opportunities, possibility to think how the future could look like, instead of being blocked in the past.

Cadez: Grenell changed approach in resolving complex issues

President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Marko Cadez said that the US Special Envoy Richard Grenell successfully changed the approach in resolving complex and difficult issues and unblocked the process of cooperation.

“Thanks to that today we talk about business and common interests, and now about what divides us”, Cadez said following the meeting. Cadez thanked Grenell for his engagement and also Adam Boehler for visiting Belgrade that quickly.

He also thanked President of Kosovo Chamber of Commerce Berat Rukiqi for good cooperation over the last five years and for establishing a joint team for project support, that provides expertise to the governments. 

Rukiqi: After a long time, we can talk about business (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)

After a long time, we can talk about business in Belgrade and Pristina, stated today the President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce Berat Rukiqi, after the meeting of the representatives of the Chambers of Commerce of Serbia and Kosovo with the US President Special Advisor Richard Grenell and the delegation of the US Development Finance Corporation in the US Embassy in Belgrade, reported Belgrade based news agency Tanjug. 

“It is very important to be here. We were surprised that something could be done in two weeks, because we are used to waiting year after year. The practical result is very important for us, because after a long time we can talk about business in Belgrade and Pristina. Numerous political topics flooded us and did not give any perspective, did not create jobs, did not bring investments to the region,” Rukiqi said.

He added that support for the Washington agreement is being provided today, which, he says, is important for the region and the economy.

“I see a lot of enthusiasm in Pristina, as well as here in Belgrade. There is an impetus for both sides to work together, create new jobs and projects, for a better perspective of the region,” said Rukiqi. 

We will work to catch the momentum given by the Washington agreement, he said and added that the focus will be on the private sector, job creation, projects in the field of infrastructure, energy, tourism, but also future-oriented projects – lithium batteries and digitalization.

“I am glad that we are here, to see what we can do in the near future, so that we can surprise people here as well,” said Rukiqi.

Vucic: Serbia’s in favor of a compromise solution for Kosovo (B92)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke yesterday at the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly, on the occasion of marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, B92 reports.

As he said, by defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Serbia is defending both international law and the fundamental principles on which the United Nations is based.

“I have the great honor to address you on behalf of the Republic of Serbia today, when we are marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations,” Aleksandar Vucic started his speech.

“This important anniversary is an opportunity to reaffirm our collective commitment to multilateralism and the principles we all accepted when we signed the UN Charter 75 years ago. We are proud of the fact that Yugoslavia – whose successor is the Republic of Serbia – was among the first fifty signatories and one of the members of the founder of this international organization, which has been operating for more than seven decades, serving as a universal platform for dialogue on an equal basis and playing a key role in maintaining peace and stability, protecting human rights and creating conditions for economic development around the world”, he said.

As he says, it is not surprising that the Serbian people and their diplomatic representatives actively participated in all international efforts that led to the creation of the United Nations, having in mind their aspiration for peace among nations.

He adds that we are marking this anniversary of the UN at a time when the whole world is struggling with COVID-19 pandemic, a challenge that has hit the entire planet and which tests our readiness to act together, but at the same time reaffirms that the United Nations is needed today the same as when they were founded, and that its significance cannot be questioned.

According to him, the Charter of the United Nations should represent the constitution of the modern international community and a set of basic principles and principles that regulate international relations and processes in the international community.

“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 and Metohija, 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.

Read the full Vucic’s address at: https://bit.ly/3mKUroD 

Mihajlovic: Infrastructural projects with DFC worth $ 3.7 billion (N1)

The US International Development Corporation (DFC) and Serbia will realize infrastructural projects worth 3.7 billion Dollars, Serbian Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic said on Tuesday, N1 reports.

The projects come as a result of the documents Belgrade and Pristina signed at the White House on September 4 within the ‘Economic Normalization,’ program initiated by the US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina Richard Grenell and witnessed by President Trump.

Mihajlovic said the arrival of different capital and investors like the DFC, was of enormous significance for Serbia.

“We are situated in the centre of the region, and it is strategically vital to connect (with other countries). That is the policy of President (Aleksandar)Vucic and our government,” Mihajlovic said after Grenell and the DFC delegation arrived in Belgrade.

She said the opening of the DFC office in Belgrade was also politically important, and that Vucic’s visit to the US is crucial for 130-year-long bilateral relations between Serbia and America.  

“Efficiency synonym for American diplomacy” (Radio KIM)

Visit of US delegation and Presidential Special Envoy Richard Grenell in Pristina and Belgrade, as well as signing of economic agreements is a major victory of economy over politics, director of the Institute for Affirmation of Interethnic Relations Fatmir Sheholli told Radio KIM.

President of European Serb Movement Rada Trajkovic and political analyst Stefan Surlic agreed that “efficiency is a synonym for American diplomacy”.

“All what they have accepted as obligation, both Belgrade and Pristina, it is normal that they immediately start with implementation of it. It is not a soft diplomacy of Brussels, but rather the one to have on the other side interlocutors who can strongly stand behind promises they made in the White House to Mr. Trump”, Trajkovic said.

Surlic opined that the visit of Richard Grenell “is part of a wider agenda that encompasses implementation of what has been signed in Washington”, in order to make sure that what was signed in presence of US President Donald Trump “does not remain dead letter on paper in the context of his pre-election campaign”.

“I think that Grenell wants to send a clear message here that the US would focus on economic issues, and that what is largely spoken about would happen, in case of normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina significant economic and infrastructural aid of US would follow”, Surlic said. 

Everyone talks about it, yet no one has seen it: Israel’s recognition of Kosovo (B92, Vecernje Novosti, KiM radio) 

Belgrade based portal B92 reports, quoting daily Vecernje Novosti, that conflicting information come from all sides about the Israeli recognition of Kosovo, following Belgrade-Pristina signing the agreement in Washington, 

Some claim that the matter has been resolved, others that it will still be considered, and even on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Pristina institutions, there is no confirmation.

The new Israeli Ambassador to Serbia, Jahel Vilan, claimed in his last statement that there was no question regarding whether or not Israel would recognize Kosovo, because, as he said, “Israel recognized Kosovo on September 4.”

The authorities in Pristina did not issue any statement, wrote Novosti, and added that usually announcement comes immediately.

Novosti added that only five days ago, the Israeli ambassador in Belgrade fueled additional confusion about Israeli recognition, because he told news agency Tanjug at the time that Israel had not yet technically recognized Kosovo, but that it was part of a recently reached agreement in Washington.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, although he recently addressed Pristina in a written message, did not say a word about the recognition, the daily claimed. 

The article added that even the US officials did not pay much attention to the last point of the agreement from Washington, because, as they pointed out for days, the focus of the signed document was economic normalization.

 

 

Opinion

 

Western Balkans: The West meets East with its values and interests (EWB)

By Hannes Swoboda

When the Western World and its multilateral organizations like the European Union and NATO define their foreign policy, there is always the question what dominates, values or interests? Values/principles have been the basis of both, NATO and the EU. The Atlantic Charter and the North Atlantic Treaty refer expressively to founding principles. The EU has a more elaborate catalogue of values, embedded in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, like the rule of law, individual freedom including freedom of expression and of religion, minority rights, sexual rights, etc.

Let’s not forget: background of the foundation of EU and NATO was the horrible World War 2, which was the result of extreme violations of basic human rights and of extreme nationalism. The Western organizations should overcome these disastrous tendencies of the past and build a new Europe.

But nation states and organizations, set up by them, are not neglecting political and/or economic interests. The loser these organizations are constructed, the more national interests will survive under the surface and will influence its decision making. This concerns specially the foreign and security policy of the EU.

See at: https://bit.ly/363xibn

Serbia’s 5G deal with Washington: The art of muddling through (ECFR)

There is no obvious reason why Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic would turn his back on a relationship with China from which he draws a great deal of political capital, write Majda Ruge and Stefan Vladisavljev for the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“The long list of commitments signed by the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo at the White House on 4 September includes several pledges that are related not to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina but to the wider geopolitical interests of the Trump administration. One is a commitment by both parties to prohibit the use of 5G equipment from “untrusted vendors”, or to remove such equipment if it is already in place. While there is no direct reference to China or Huawei in this clause, they were clearly Washington’s target, as it used the Serbia-Kosovo negotiations to continue its long-running campaign against the company in Europe.”

“The 5G clause immediately created speculation about the impact of the agreement on Serbia’s relationship with China. (This is not an issue with Kosovo, as China’s non-recognition of the country means that they barely have a relationship.) While it would be premature to talk about a Serbian pivot away from Huawei (let alone China), the 5G story allows for an interesting thought exercise in mapping out what would happen if Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was serious about keeping his promises to Washington.”

Read more: https://bit.ly/30fYNe7

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

UN Urged to Finally Compensate Lead-Poisoned Kosovo Refugees (Balkan Insight)

The United Nations’ special rapporteur for hazardous substances and wastes, Baskut Tuncak, said in a report on Monday that the UN must offer “individual compensation and a public apology” to Roma, Ashkali and Balkan Egyptian refugees who were poisoned while living in UN-operated camps in Kosovo that were situated on land contaminated by lead from a nearby mine.

“The lack of any tangible action by the United Nations comes despite clear findings of the HRAP [UN Human Rights Advisory Panel] of violations of the human rights of community members to life, freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment,” Tuncak said.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/35Wp5FG

Kosovo Lead Poisoning Victims Still Awaiting Justice (HRW)

Today, the United Nations human rights expert on hazardous waste called out the UN for consistently failing the victims of widespread lead poisoning in refugee camps it ran in Kosovo. The UN leadership should listen and take long-overdue action in response.

For more than a decade following the end of the war in Kosovo in 1999, about 600 Roma, Ashkali, and Balkan Egyptian minorities lived in refugee camps operated by the UN. The camps sat on land contaminated by lead from a nearby industrial mine. Now, seven years after the last camp was closed, victims experience ongoing health impacts and are still awaiting compensation and health and educational support for themselves and their families.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/344K6f1

 

 

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