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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, September 28, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, September 28, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 48 new cases, three deaths (media)
• Assembly fails to pass economic recovery law, yet again (media)
• North Macedonian health authorities recommend easing border restrictions (Koha)
• Hoti: If dialogue stalls, it means Serbia is not ready for final agreement (media)
• Kosovo Assembly elects new Ombudsperson (media)
• Kosovo to open support office for Presevo Valley residents (media)
• Agim Ceku concludes interview with specialist prosecutor (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Djuric: Hoti can lie the public, but he will not escape the creation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities (Kosovo Online)
• Milivojevic: Dialogue under question mark again, EU on test (Kosovo-online)
• Kandic: The goal of the campaign against the court met – there are no witnesses (KoSSev)
• Mihajlovic: Analysts think Ceku is first one Thaci “let go off” (N1)
• Vucic on Kosovo: We are ready for difficult solutions, as there are no easy ones (media)
• SDP: Someone wants to prolong and cover-up Ivanovic’s murder case (Radio kontakt plus)
• Vucic on the ”Trump Lake” banner: Kosovo Serbs love Trump, they made and hung the banner themselves (KoSSev)
• Trump on Serb & Kosovo leaders: They hugged in the Oval Office, it was a beautiful thing to see (KoSSev)
• Serbs and Albanians from Decani are jointly erecting a monument to Bosko Ciric (direktno.rs, KoSSev)

Opinion:

• Trump’s Kosovo-Serbia normalisation deal is all about Israel (Aljazeera)

International:

• Access Denied: Most Balkan War Crimes Case Files Not Public (Balkan Insight)
• Middle East’s troubles spill over to the Balkans (arabnews.com)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Kosovo’s adoption of Istanbul Convention hailed by international community (social media)
• Balkan Insight’s Week in Pictures (Balkan Insight)
• N. Macedonia Minister: Balkan states considering simultaneous opening of borders (N1, Beta)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 48 new cases, three deaths (media)
  • Assembly fails to pass economic recovery law, yet again (media)
  • North Macedonian health authorities recommend easing border restrictions (Koha)
  • Hoti: If dialogue stalls, it means Serbia is not ready for final agreement (media)
  • Kosovo Assembly elects new Ombudsperson (media)
  • Kosovo to open support office for Presevo Valley residents (media)
  • Agim Ceku concludes interview with specialist prosecutor (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Djuric: Hoti can lie the public, but he will not escape the creation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities (Kosovo Online)
  • Milivojevic: Dialogue under question mark again, EU on test (Kosovo-online)
  • Kandic: The goal of the campaign against the court met – there are no witnesses (KoSSev)
  • Mihajlovic: Analysts think Ceku is first one Thaci “let go off” (N1)
  • Vucic on Kosovo: We are ready for difficult solutions, as there are no easy ones (media)
  • SDP: Someone wants to prolong and cover-up Ivanovic’s murder case (Radio kontakt plus)
  • Vucic on the ”Trump Lake” banner: Kosovo Serbs love Trump, they made and hung the banner themselves (KoSSev)
  • Trump on Serb & Kosovo leaders: They hugged in the Oval Office, it was a beautiful thing to see (KoSSev)
  • Serbs and Albanians from Decani are jointly erecting a monument to Bosko Ciric (direktno.rs, KoSSev)

Opinion:

  • Trump’s Kosovo-Serbia normalisation deal is all about Israel (Aljazeera)

International:

  • Access Denied: Most Balkan War Crimes Case Files Not Public (Balkan Insight)
  • Middle East’s troubles spill over to the Balkans (arabnews.com)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Kosovo’s adoption of Istanbul Convention hailed by international community (social media)
  • Balkan Insight’s Week in Pictures (Balkan Insight)
  • Macedonia Minister: Balkan states considering simultaneous opening of borders (N1, Beta)

 

 

Albanian Language Media

 

COVID-19: 48 new cases, three deaths (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health announced that of 645 tests carried out in the last 24-hour period, 48 new COVID-19 infections were recorded. 

Meanwhile, three deaths and 142 recoveries were also recorded over the same time period. 

Assembly fails to pass economic recovery law, yet again (media)

For the fifth time, Kosovo Assembly failed to endorse the government’s proposed draft law on economic recovery due to lack of quorum.

“Only 48 MPs took part in the voting, and as a result there is no quorum,” said Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani.

North Macedonian health authorities recommend easing border restrictions (Koha)

The North Macedonian Commission for Infectious Diseases has come out with recommendations for easing border restrictions for the countries in the region, including Kosovo.

The members of the commission recommended that citizens of the countries in the region should not anymore be asked to present a negative coronavirus test upon entering North Macedonia. 

Hoti: If dialogue stalls, it means Serbia is not ready for final agreement (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti said at a press conference after a meeting of the government that the issue of the Association of Serb-majority municipalities has been concluded in 2013 and will not be reopened in the course of dialogue with Serbia.

“You are aware that at the start of the mandate we took quite some difficult decisions in entering the process of dialogue and I believe we have demonstrated the necessary constructivity to push the process forward,” Hoti said adding: “I will make efforts to have the process of dialogue move forwards. If it doesn’t, it will be because of the Government of Serbia not being ready to move towards final agreement.”

Hoti also spoke about the prospect of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) joining the ruling coalition and underlined that he sees no reason why there would be changes to the current composition of the government. “The governing coalition is functioning, you saw today’s important decisions we took. The government is stable and for as long as this is the case, I see no reason for different combinations,” he added.

Commenting on the idea of renaming the Ujman Lake into Lake Trump, Hoti said this was a proposal put forth by the special envoy Richard Grenell as a sign of respect for the direct involvement of the U.S. President Donald Trump. “

Kosovo Assembly elects new Ombudsperson (media)

Kosovo MPs endorsed the appointment of Naim Qelaj to the post of Ombudsperson with 69 votes in favour, five against and three abstentions. 

Qelaj previously occupied the post of Deputy Minister of Justice from the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and also served in the capacity of national coordinator for protection from domestic violence. 

Koha writes that the selection of ombudsperson has been criticised by civil society organisations who cited lack of transparency in the process. Several NGOs had to this end written to Kosovo MPs asking them to annul the process.

Kosovo to open support office for Presevo Valley residents (media)

The Government of Kosovo has decided to open a support office for residents of the Presevo Valley, media report.

“The office will be run by a director that directly reports to the office of the Kosovo Prime Minister. The Government of Kosovo is engaged in taking steps to support the lives of the citizens there,” said Deputy Prime Minister Driton Selmanaj. He added that the office will provide assistance to education institutions, the media, and local NGOs.

Agim Ceku concludes interview with specialist prosecutor (media)

Former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army and former Prime Minister of Kosovo, Agim Ceku, concluded his interview with specialist prosecutors in The Hague.

Ceku’s attorney, Artan Qerkini, confirmed the news. “This is all we can say for the time being,” he told reporters.

Ceku was summoned by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office to be interviewed in the capacity of a suspect. 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Djuric: Hoti can lie the public, but he will not escape the creation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities (Kosovo Online)

Kosovo Online portal reports that Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric said that Avdulah Hoti could lie to the public as much as he wanted, but he would not escape the creation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities.  

“He sings a different song at the meetings in Brussels, and not only that he promises to enable the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities, but also guarantees additional powers for it. Hoti, instead of playing a hero in front of his media and with the arguments of a preschooler defends Pristina’s unwillingness to implement its obligations, should urgently take steps in order for the Community of Serbian Municipalities to be formed after a seven-year delay,” said Djuric. 

According to Djuric, Hoti is obliged to explain to the Albanian public in Kosovo that he is participating in the process of normalization of relations, and not in a “dialogue on mutual recognition”, and that in order for relations to be normalized, the parties must show more credibility and less treachery.

“The issue of the Community of Serbian Municipalities will be closed when it is formed in accordance with the agreements reached in Brussels, not even then, because the Community is designed and agreed as an institution that can evolve and expand its membership and competencies. The essence of the process of normalization of relations is the gradual strengthening of mutual trust, and Serbs cannot trust Albanian political structures if they are systematically denied their acquired rights and create an atmosphere of anti-Serb hysteria,” said Djuric. 

He pointed out that Serbs and Albanians were facing a period of strengthening cooperation, if they wanted to live in lasting peace.

“It has nothing to do with Hoti’s dreams of ‘mutual recognition’, but certainly it has something to do with how Pristina respects agreements and how it treats Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija,” Djuric pointed out.

Milivojevic: Dialogue under question mark again, EU on test (Kosovo-online)

Retired diplomat Zoran Milivojevic assessed today Belgrade-Pristina dialogue is under the question mark again following decision to postpone the meeting over coronavirus pandemic, adding that the EU is on the test and should prove its credibility on the issue of a final establishment of the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities (ZSO), Kosovo-online portal reports.

“The EU is on the test definitely, it would have to confirm its credibility or nothing would come out of dialogue, if what has its signature on is not respected”, Milivojevic said.

Special Envoy for Belgrade-Pristina talks Miroslav Lajcak said earlier ZSO would not be on the agenda of the experts’ talks that were supposed to be held in Brussels today since “Pristina was not ready yet to talk about it”. Milivojevic opined that this is not Lajcak’s stance but rather the stance of a hard core group which advocates recognition of Kosovo within its current borders.

“Germany is pulling up the strings here, no chance Lajcak decides on his own and creates an environment for the dialogue”, Milivojevic added.

Talking about the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities Milivojevic noted that Brussels has ways to act, stop being partial and end the agony that lasts six years already.

“ZSO is a ‘cornerstone’ for continuation and success of the dialogue and a top class political issue that places the EU on the test”, Milivojevic said.

He added the position of Serbia is clear and will not change as well as Serbia will not accept to talk about something which is, as he said, not in its interest and about different variants of compromise solution prior to this issue being resolved. 

Kandic: The goal of the campaign against the court met – there are no witnesses (KoSSev)

The campaign against the Specialist Chambers was halted by the arrest of the president and deputy president of the KLA association. The next step will involve the President of Kosovo, the executive director of the Humanitarian Law Center, Natasa Kandic said. Kandic also emphasized that the affair with the leaked documents is a vital part of the campaign to dismantle the Specialist Chambers and the Kosovo judiciary itself.

For three weeks now, the media has been extensively reporting about the affair related to the alleged leak of thousands of documents from the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague. These files were delivered to the headquarters of the ”KLA War Veterans Association”  on three occasions. Moreover, the well-known Albanian TV station “Top Channel” recently started publishing documents for which it claimed were confidential.

As a result, on Friday, members of the EULEX police raided the association’s headquarters in Pristina, arresting the president Hysni Gucati and vice-president Nasim Haradinaj. Gucati and Haradinaj were transferred to The Hague and charged with witness intimidation, retaliation, and violating the secrecy of the proceedings.

In several Twitter posts, the president of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), Natasa Kandic shared her conviction that the affair with the leaked documents is a vital part of the campaign to dismantle the Specialist Chambers and the Kosovo judiciary itself.

”In July 2020, the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office announced that the indictment against Thaci was being confirmed and that it was presenting it to the public due to the campaign led against the court. Documents in the KLA veterans’ association are a central part of the campaign – to dismantle the Specialist Chambers and the Kosovo judiciary,” Kandic wrote.

According to her, this is exactly how the ”patriotism” of the Drenica group is being manifested.

She added that the documents delivered to the ”KLA Veterans Association” represent letters and requests from the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office to summon Serb victims for questioning by the team of the prosecutor Clint Williamson.

”Their testimonies are known to the public. The testimonies are not confidential,” Kandic explained, while also inquiring as to whether they have the mark of the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office?

The cooperation with Serb institutions is not proof that the court is against Albanians, but it is done to secure witnesses, she also pointed out.

”The documents of the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, even if they are blank papers, fulfilled the goal of the author of the action – no one will testify against members of the KLA before the court in Kosovo,” Kandic warned.

She also stated that regardless of whether the documents delivered to the KLA Veterans Association bear the mark of the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague or were obtained through ”various channels that performed technical work for the Prosecutor’s Office”, they resulted in the ”KLA War Veterans Association” becoming a reference point for the prosecution of crime.

”In whose interest is that?” Kandic twitted.

The Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office announced on June 24th that it filed a draft indictment on April 24th with the Kosovo Specialist Chambers against Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci and the President of the PDK and one of the most influential politicians in Kosovo – Kadri Veseli, and other persons, whose names have not been announced.

According to the indictment, they are charged with “a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture“. They were also accused of obstructing the work of this court. The deadline for the confirmation of the indictment expires on October 24th.

See at: https://bit.ly/3n1FrmK

Mihajlovic: Analysts think Ceku is first one Thaci “let go off” (N1)

Journalist Milivoje Mihajlovic told N1 broadcast “Studio Live” that “Agim Ceku was an officer of a Yugoslav Peoples’ Army and then joined the KLA”. “He was arrested four or five times, even once in Columbia as per Interpol arrest warrant, but always got released, as he was in a certain manner the favorite one of a part of the international community”, he added.  

Mihajlovic also said that Ceku, as some Pristina-based analysts think, is the first one whom Thaci “let go off”.

Talking about the work of the Specialist Court Mihajlovic said the work of the court was brought into question several times.

“There were several attempts to destabilize the work of the court somehow; the latest one took place when some packages arrived to the KLA war veterans’ association. The effect of this sabotage was that the reputation of the court in the Kosovo public rapidly and swiftly came down”, Mihajlovic said, adding the next damage made was that witnesses were intimidated.

However, according to him, the damage is repairable.

“It was a dangerous process to intimidate the witnesses, but a more dangerous process took place when Ramush Haradinaj was at The Hague Tribunal, when 30 witnesses pulled out, some were found murdered in a park. It looks to me this was an action of KLA top leadership, respectively the action of the very top of the Kosovo authorities, it looks to me that this attempt to intimidate the witnesses and discredit the court has been seen already”, Mihajlovic said. 

Vucic on Kosovo: We are ready for difficult solutions, as there are no easy ones (media)

The 76th anniversary of the World War II Operation Halyard, during which more than 500 Allied airmen and crew members were rescued, was marked on Friday in Pranjani village, central Serbia, B92 reports.

The ceremony was opened by John Capello, retired US Air Force officer and Halyard Mission Foundation President, who paid respects to the two Serbian pilots who died in the jet fighter crash a day before.

“We will always respect the past and build the future together,” he underlined.

David Tabor, Commanding General at Special Operations Command, Europe, said it was necessary to work together to overcome all challenges. “This is an important day and we must remember the ordinary Serbs, who did the impossible in 1944. Your predecessors risked their families to save the Americans…although they were threatened by horrible retaliation,” he added.

President Aleksandar Vucic also addressed the event, saying that the people of central Serbia showed courage and that the Serbs then became the brothers in arms with Americans, Englishmen and Canadians.

“We had the largest number of wars in the 20th century. The Serbian people proportionally lost the most people. Today, there are far fewer of us than there would be. But we have always proudly guarded our homeland and claimed to preserve the honor of the Serbian nation”, Vucic said in Pranjani.

Speaking about Kosovo issue Vucic said that Serbia is ready for talks with Pristina, for difficult solutions, but he also added that “two are needed for tango”.

“Unlike them, I can’t play blaming games. Something has to change in the society in Pristina, to understand that only a compromise solution is a solution and that it won’t happen that someone takes a hammer and hits me in the head or Serbia, so Serbia will be forced to recognize independence,” he said.

He told Pristina to sit down and think about what could be an essential, compromise solution.

“We are ready for talks and difficult solutions, because there are no easy ones,” he concluded.

When asked who came up with the idea to name Lake Gazivode after the American president, he said that “our people in Kosovo love Trump. How can anyone not understand that, they experienced the worst hardships during the previous administrations. As far as I have seen, people made it themselves. What do you think – that we should kneel before those who bombed our country? We won’t do that, and I’m not ashamed to say it.”

See at: https://bit.ly/2S5TY2w

SDP: Someone wants to prolong and cover-up Ivanovic’s murder case (Radio kontakt plus)

Reacting to decision of Court of Appeals in Pristina to return the case in the case of Oliver Ivanovic’s murder for retrial, the Civic Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice (GI SDP) said that “someone wants this case to be prolonged and covered up”, Radio kontakt plus reports.

The SDP stressed soon it would be 3 years since the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, and the perpetrators of this serious act remain unknown.

“We expected that Kosovo institutions would have found and prosecute the perpetrators, released Silvana Arsovic from any responsibility and revoked the decision on the temporary measure, and after almost three years, we are returning to the beginning. Obviously, someone wants this case to be prolonged, diluted and finally covered up”, SDP said in a statement.

It added they believed that the first indictment unjustifiably and without any evidence blamed Ivanovic’s secretary Silvana Arsovic, and that in the case of the second indictment, in addition to the lack of evidence, they said it remained unclear whether it was a new indictment or an extension of the first, from which it differed in only a few new sentences, commas, or capital letters.

SDP noted that they pointed out all the omissions in the work of the institutions in their press releases, while the legal team reacted to them in writing.

“After a long period, we receive a decision of the Court of Appeals, where the decision of the Basic Court is revoked and the case is returned for retrial,” SDP said, adding they pointed out that they would not allow Ivanovic’s murder to remain unsolved and unresolved.

Vucic on the ”Trump Lake” banner: Kosovo Serbs love Trump, they made and hung the banner themselves (KoSSev)

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic revealed on Saturday that he was not sure where the idea to rename Lake Gazivode to ”Trump Lake” came from. Vucic, however, said that Kosovo Serbs love the US president, which was why, according to him, hanging the banners with the inscriptions: ”Trump Lake” and ”Trump Bridge” and ”President Trump, Kosovo Serbs thank you for bringing peace” over Gazivode is a ”human response”.

During the press conference, when asked who the initiator of the idea to rename Lake Gazivode to ”Trump Lake” was, the President of Serbia replied:

”I think people heard it from the representatives – I don’t know whether from the Americans or one of ours, I have no idea.” 

According to the president, displaying such banners over Lake Gazivode is “a human response” because ”Kosovo Serbs love the President of the United States, Donald Trump”.

Vucic further underlined that the banners were made and hung by the citizens themselves.

”How can someone not understand that? They (cf. Kosovo Serbs) endured the greatest hardships during the time of some previous US administrations. These people are hoping and waiting for a positive sign. Someone told them ‘we will do a feasibility study to see how to share energy wealth’. So far, we have had 0 kilowatts from Gazivode, ” said the president, noting that he did not want to talk about it in front of the ambassadors, including the US ambassador to Belgrade, Anthony Godfrey, who was also present during today’s press conference.

Regardless of the results of the November US presidential elections, Vucic added, ”no one will disavow their words”.

”Do you think we should like, swear to and kneel before those who bombed our country? That will not happen,” Vucic added, emphasizing that Trump ”blew new wind into the development of relations between Serbia and America”.

The meeting in Brussels was postponed due to a coronavirus patient

Despite the previous announcements, the meetings at the expert or high level between the Belgrade and Pristina delegations, scheduled to be held in Brussels next week, have been postponed.

The EU announced that the meeting at an expert level will not take place “out of abundance of caution related to COVID-19”. The President of Serbia, however, revealed that the meeting was postponed because one of the associates in the negotiating team in Brussels has been infected with the coronavirus.

”One of the associates close to the heads of the negotiating team in Brussels has contracted coronavirus. And everyone will probably be quarantined. I think that is the reason, so there will probably be no meetings,” Vucic said.

He also added that, however, “one never knows,” emphasizing that the Serbian delegation was always ready to continue the dialogue, while Pristina must understand that a compromise solution is the only solution.

”Something has to change in Pristina. They must understand that only a compromise solution is a solution and that no one could grab a hammer and hit me or Serbia in the head so that Serbia recognizes independence,” he said.

Vucic concluded that Serbia is also ready for ”difficult solutions, because there are no easy solutions,” adding that ”it takes two to tango”.

See at: https://bit.ly/30eq5l3

Trump on Serb & Kosovo leaders: They hugged in the Oval Office, it was a beautiful thing to see (KoSSev)

“I told the story the other day. And then I’ve got one for Kosovo and Serbia. They have been killing each other for many years. Just killing each other. They don’t get along. They are sort of like the Palestinians and Israel. I said to them, why are you fighting and killing each other? They have a lot of differences, including a religious difference. I said, what are you doing”, the US President, Donald Trump said in Pennsylvania, KoSSev portal reports.

“We trade with both, so we have a certain power. So I said, listen, let’s get a deal, let’s make economic peace, and ultimately peace. They came to my office, to the Oval Office, to sign. They were hugging, it was a beautiful thing to see. We saved a lot of lives”, Trump added.

See at: https://bit.ly/336pSlw

Serbs and Albanians from Decani are jointly erecting a monument to Bosko Ciric (direktno.rs, KoSSev)

Several Albanians from Decani joined the action of the Decani-born Zoran Petrovic and Radovan Milosevic in erecting a monument to the recently deceased last living Serb in Decani, Bosko Ciric, at the Orthodox cemetery in that town, the portal Direktno.rs writes.

Bosko Ciric was found dead in his apartment in Decani on June 2nd of this year. He was buried in the Orthodox cemetery in Decani, and the requiem mass was served by the monks of Visoki Decani, led by Abbot Sava Janjic.

Zoran Petrovic, a friend and neighbor of the late Ciric, said that Serbs from Decani, who now live outside of Kosovo, joined efforts to erect a monument to Bosko Ciric.

”When our friends and former neighbors – Albanians from Decani heard about our action, about a dozen of them insisted on financially contributing to the erection of the monument,” Petrovic said.

The Albanian neighbors are also removing the overgrown shrubbery from the cemetery these days, and a monument made of Decani marble is being carved in the stone-carving shop ”Prekadini” in Pec/Peja. Milosevic added that the concrete frame on Ciric’s grave had already been made and that the monument would be erected in the next 15 days.

”This has nothing to do with politics. Our Ciro was beloved by both Serbs and Albanians. It is a matter of respecting friendships and family relationships that date back several decades. We also help our Albanian neighbors whenever they need something in Belgrade. This is proof that humanity and honesty are above politics,” Milosevic assessed.

In mid-June 1999, about 1,500 Serbs and Montenegrins left Decani. In the meantime, the majority of the monuments in the Orthodox cemetery have been desecrated.

See at: https://bit.ly/349zNX3

 

 

Opinion

 

Trump’s Kosovo-Serbia normalisation deal is all about Israel (Aljazeera)

By: Denijal Jegic

 The deal is not a ‘historic breakthrough’, but another stab in the back of the Palestinian people.

On September 4, after years of unsuccessful negotiations, Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic signed an “economic normalisation” deal at a ceremony hosted by President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC.

Using the signing ceremony as an opportunity to consolidate his image as a “deal maker” in the run-up to the presidential election, Trump called the agreement a “major breakthrough” in the tumultuous relationship between the two ex-Yugoslav states.

A few weeks later, at a campaign rally in North Carolina, Trump once again praised the deal as “historic”, adding that he is “sure” that the development will lead to him being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. “We are stopping mass killings between Kosovo and Serbia,” he said. “They have been killing each other for so many years. They are going to stop killing.”

In reality, the war in Kosovo ended 20 years ago. There are no “mass killings” taking place in either country today. And while tensions are still high between Belgrade and Pristina, Trump’s deal is not offering a pathway to political normalisation. So, given that he did not “stop the killing”, what did the American president really achieve as a result of his “peacemaking” efforts in the Balkans?

See at: https://bit.ly/3cARv9s

 

 

International

 

Access Denied: Most Balkan War Crimes Case Files Not Public (Balkan Insight)

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia, most of the case files and evidence from war crime trials are not immediately accessible to journalists, researchers and the general public, obscuring a crucial part of recent Balkan history.

Arduana Pribinja, a journalist from Al Jazeera Balkans in Bosnia and Herzegovina who reports on judicial issues including war crimes prosecutions, says that she shares the same problem as many of her colleagues – getting important information out of official sources.

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

Middle East’s troubles spill over to the Balkans (arabnews.com)

The Balkan region has become an area of interest for a wide array of foreign players, from China to the US and from Europe to Russia. Since the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, it is also a region of priority for Turkey, which has emerged as a significant player in the last two decades with its increasing economic and political influence.

From Ankara’s perspective, the Balkan countries are not only significant due to the political, economic and geographical aspects, but also due to historical, cultural and humanitarian ties. However, despite its importance, the political developments in the Balkan Peninsula do not occupy the first few pages of Turkish newspapers, which are dominated by issues related to the EU, the Middle East and the US. However, the latest developments have proven that the Balkan region is not immune to the spillover effects of the Middle East’s conflicts.

See at:https://bit.ly/3i7GCgz

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Kosovo’s adoption of Istanbul Convention hailed by international community (social media)

Representatives of the international community hailed Kosovo Assembly’s adoption of incorporating the Istanbul Convention into the Constitution of Kosovo.

The head of the EU Office in Kosovo Tomas Szunyog welcomed the move as did the U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, Philip Kosnett, who tweeted: “The Kosovo Assembly’s unanimous adoption of the #IstanbulConvention advances women’s rights, counters violence against women, and demonstrates once again #Kosovo’s alignment with Euro-Atlantic values.”

At the same time, Head of UNMIK Zahir Tanin called the adoption an important step in advancement of women’s rights. “Full enjoyment by women & girls of their rights & freedoms had benefits for all. Violence against women is violence against all,” he said.

The OSCE Mission in Kosovo commended the Assembly of Kosovo and its MPs for passing the amendment. “This is the right step towards eliminating all forms of violence against women including domestic violence, and upholding the rights of women who are half of the population the MPs represent,” the mission said in a statement.

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is a human rights treaty of the Council of Europe against violence against women and domestic violence which was opened for signature on 11 May 2011, in Istanbul, Turkey.

Balkan Insight’s Week in Pictures (Balkan Insight)

A round-up of Balkan Insight’s favourite photographs of the week.

See the photos at: https://bit.ly/3i7CGwj

North Macedonia Minister: Balkan states considering simultaneous opening of borders (N1, Beta)

Western Balkan countries are discussing the possibility of simultaneously opening their borders with an aligned policy on PCR tests, the Health Minister of North Macedonia, Venko Filipce, said on Sunday.

The idea is to open the borders of the countries of the region for people without the requirement to present negative coronavirus tests.

“I sincerely hope that we will definitely exchange all the information and that we will take a stand based on the exact epidemiological situation in each of the countries of the Western Balkans, plus Bulgaria and Greece,” Filipce said.

He pointed out that EU member states have only received a recommendation regarding the issue and that they are free to decide for themselves what the border regime will be.

“It is true that I announced on several occasions in the previous weeks that we would have a decision, but unfortunately we were waiting for the answers of the neighbouring countries. They finally answered last week,” Filipce said, as reported by the state media agency MIA.

See at: https://bit.ly/3375u3G

 

 

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