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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, October 20, 2020

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• COVID – 19: 118 new cases, three deaths (media)
• Kosovo, Serbia ‘Reach Draft Agreement to Find Missing Persons’ (Balkan Insight)
• Hyseni: No Association without final agreement on mutual recognition (RTK)
• Lajcak: Italy is a key partner in the Western Balkans (media)
• Italy will support the Kosovo – Serbia dialogue (media)
• Haxhiu: Vetevendosje was never asked to implement Association (media)
• Government adopts implementation plan for Washington Agreement (Koha)
• U.S. delegation visits Kosovo for Ujman Lake (Klan Kosova)
• Palokaj: Kosovo should at least respect Lajcak’s honesty (Koha)
• Hehir: Constitutional changes don’t guarantee anything in exchange (Telegrafi)
• Hamiti: Association does not require constitutional changes (RTK)
• Djuric: Association must have executive powers (Klan Kosova)
• EULEX publishes monitoring report on Kosovo justice system (media)
• Government decides to dissolve anti–corruption task force (media)

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  • COVID – 19: 118 new cases, three deaths (media)
  • Kosovo, Serbia ‘Reach Draft Agreement to Find Missing Persons’ (Balkan Insight)
  • Hyseni: No Association without final agreement on mutual recognition (RTK)
  • Lajcak: Italy is a key partner in the Western Balkans (media)
  • Italy will support the Kosovo – Serbia dialogue (media)
  • Haxhiu: Vetevendosje was never asked to implement Association (media)
  • Government adopts implementation plan for Washington Agreement (Koha)
  • U.S. delegation visits Kosovo for Ujman Lake (Klan Kosova)
  • Palokaj: Kosovo should at least respect Lajcak’s honesty (Koha)
  • Hehir: Constitutional changes don’t guarantee anything in exchange (Telegrafi)
  • Hamiti: Association does not require constitutional changes (RTK)
  • Djuric: Association must have executive powers (Klan Kosova)
  • EULEX publishes monitoring report on Kosovo justice system (media)
  • Government decides to dissolve anti–corruption task force (media)

 

COVID-19: 118 new cases, three deaths (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said on Monday that 118 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours.

50 persons have recovered from the virus during this time. The highest number of new cases is from the municipality of Prishtina (34).

There are currently 1,886 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Kosovo, Serbia ‘Reach Draft Agreement to Find Missing Persons’ (Balkan Insight)

Ibrahim Makolli, the representative for missing persons on Pristina’s negotiating team at the ongoing EU-mediated Kosovo-Serbia talks in Brussels, said on Monday that a draft agreement on missing persons has been secured that will form part of a final deal to normalise relations.

Makolli told a meeting of the Kosovo government’s committee on missing persons that three main points have been agreed to ensure that the remaining people who disappeared as a result of the 1998-99 war are found.

He said that the points are “the establishment of a joint commission, a mechanism responsible for dealing with the issue of missing persons, and unlimited access to the archives that deal with the issue of missing persons”.

“All this has a time limit and the whole process must finish within 18 months if a final agreement [to normalise relations] is reached,” Makolli added.

The joint commission will be overseen by the EU, he said.

See more at: https://bit.ly/34dEaBp

Hyseni: No Association without final agreement on mutual recognition (RTK)

Kosovo’s State Coordinator for dialogue with Serbia, Skender Hyseni, said on Monday that the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities would not be formed, and no other agreement will be reached until there is a final agreement including mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia.

“What I can say is that neither the Association nor any other element of a general agreement will be implemented without the signing of the agreement on mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia. This is certain … The responsibility falls primarily on the political leaders to decide, whether there will be an agreement to implement the Association as it was signed and with the remarks of the Constitutional Court, or not. If yes, then will there be a statute for the Association, whether we will make it part of the general agreement on mutual recognition or if there will be a framework of principles on the implementation process,” Hyseni said in an interview for the TV station.

Lajcak: Italy is a key partner in the Western Balkans (media)

The European Union Special Representative for the Prishtina – Belgrade Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, said on Monday that Italy is an important voice in the European Union and for the success of the dialogue. “Italy is a key partner in the Western Balkans and an important voice in the European Union and for success in the Dialogue. This is what I stressed in all my meetings in #Rome today,” Lajcak tweeted.

Italy will support the Kosovo – Serbia dialogue (media)

Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, in a meeting with EU Special Representative for the Prishtina – Belgrade Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak today, confirmed Italy’s support for the EU-facilitated process of talks between Kosovo and Serbia. Di Maio also said that concrete signs on the prospects of Kosovo and Serbia’s European integration are needed for peace and stability in the region.

Haxhiu: Vetevendosje was never asked to implement Association (media)

Vetevendosje Movement (VV) senior member and former Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, said in a debate on TV Dukagjini on Monday that Vetevendosje did not consider as surprising EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak’s remarks for changing the constitution.

“Since 2013 when the first agreement was presented to the Assembly, the Vetevendosje Movement warned about its consequences. At the time we said that it violates the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo. Forming a third tier of government is in opposition with the Constitution of Kosovo,” she said.

Haxhiu said that in its interpretation of the 2015 agreement in Brussels, the Constitutional Court of Kosovo ruled that it violates the constitution and that it attempts to create a third tier of government.

“Vetevendosje was the only party which was not asked to implement the Association. We were consistent in our position about this project. The Association and the territorial exchange project were projects that we repeatedly opposed,” Haxhiu added.

Government adopts implementation plan for Washington Agreement (Koha)

The Government of Kosovo has adopted a plan laying out a series of actions aimed at implementation of the Washington Agreement for normalising economic relations with Serbia.

Koha claims to have obtained a copy of the plan which it says contains 16 points and addresses issues ranging from the Ujman/Gazivode Lake to diplomatic relations with Israel. The document further specifies actions required for construction of highways and railways linking Kosovo and Serbia and expects most to be implemented through loans. It also expresses Kosovo’s commitment to take part in Mini-Schengen activities, including the upcoming meeting.

On the Ujman/Gazivode Lake, the document states: “The Office of Prime Minister and the Ministry of Economy and Environment secure necessary cooperation for the U.S. Energy Department and other departments of the U.S. Government by setting up a working group for the feasibility study.”

U.S. delegation visits Kosovo for Ujman Lake (Klan Kosova)

The news website reported on Monday that a U.S. delegation met with Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti to discuss ways of implementing projects from the economic normalisation agreement between Kosovo and Serbia at the White House on September 4. The diplomatic delegation is led by members of the U.S. Department of Energy and they reportedly also discussed the feasibility study that will be conducted for the Ujman [Gazivoda] Lake.

Palokaj: Kosovo should at least respect Lajcak’s honesty (Koha)

Brussels-based correspondent Augustin Palokaj writes in an opinion piece that it is not the fault of European Union Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak that Kosovo does not have a clear and united position on the dialogue with Serbia, the topics and agreements or about his role.

“For Kosovo’s politicians, Lajcak is sometimes acceptable and at times not. He should be respected for his honesty when he said that Kosovo’s Constitution can be changed. For Lajcak, the Constitution of Kosovo and the Ahtisaari Package from which the Constitution derives, were never acceptable. At least we never heard Lajcak supporting them. Kosovo, however, must not allow its constitution to be compared to the constitution of Serbia,” Palokaj writes. “The Constitution of Serbia was drafted unilaterally by Serbia, it was passed with a suspicious referendum, and it contains territorial tendencies toward Kosovo by mentioning it as part of Serbia. The Constitution of Kosovo never mentions Serbia as part of Kosovo. It voices no territorial aspirations and in fact it bans unification with another state or parts of territories of other states. What is most important, the Constitution of Kosovo was drafted by representatives of the international community with a great role by the European Union”.

Hehir: Constitutional changes don’t guarantee anything in exchange (Telegrafi)

British political commentator Aidan Hehir said in a statement to TV Dukagjini on Monday that even if Kosovo would change its constitution to form the Association/Community for Serb-majority municipalities, this would not guarantee anything in exchange for Kosovo.

“It is of course that the Constitution can be changed, but this action requires for the government to get something concrete in exchange. There is no indicator that Kosovo will in fact benefit from the requests of the European Union and Serbia. Kosovo cannot turn around whenever foreign powers ask for this without deeply compromising its claims to be a sovereign country,” Hehir said.

Hamiti: Association does not require constitutional changes (RTK)

Political commentator Muhamet Hamiti said in an interview with the TV station on Monday that forming a third tier of government would seriously threaten Kosovo’s state integrity. Hamiti called as very concerning the remarks by EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak who said in his visit to Belgrade that Kosovo’s constitution is not the Bible and that it can be changed. “Serbia must change its constitution, the preamble of which mentions Kosovo. The Association of Serb-majority municipalities does not require constitutional changes unless Kosovo makes new concessions in the talks,” he added.

Djuric: Association must have executive powers (Klan Kosova)

Serbia’s Ambassador to the United States, Marko Djuric, said on Monday that the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo must have executive competencies. He said “Prishtina must change its regulations in order to enable the formation of the Association”. Asked to comment on EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak’s remarks that Kosovo and Serbia should change their constitutions, Djuric said the position is based on the implementation of the 2013 agreement signed in Brussels.

EULEX publishes monitoring report on Kosovo justice system (media)

The EU rule of law mission, EULEX, presented the Systemic and Thematic Justice Monitoring Report covering the period from September 2019 until mid-March 2020 and includes findings of 107 monitored cases and 312 hearings, as well as specific recommendations for the Kosovo authorities to improve the justice system.

Klan Kosova reports that the report ‘sharply’ criticizes the judicial sector in Kosovo and that one of the shortcomings identified in the report is the failure of Kosovo justice system to conclude high-profile cases. Telegrafi meanwhile quotes the report referencing the anti-corruption task force of the Kosovo Police that the government of Kosovo plans to dissolve saying it plays an essential role in the initial stages of anti-corruption investigations.

See the report: https://bit.ly/2T7f9ld

Government decides to dissolve anti–corruption task force (media)

Several news websites reported on Monday on the Kosovo government’s decision to dissolve the anti–corruption task force that was operating within the Kosovo Police and was investigating high-profile corruption cases.

Koha and Lajmi, in separate articles, quote unnamed sources as saying that the task force was investigating politicians from the ruling coalition. According to T7, the United States Embassy was also opposed to the government’s decision.

Civil society representatives argued that the task force was investigating the sons of Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) leader Isa Mustafa and other members of this party.

On the same day that the government decided to dissolve it, the work of the task force was praised by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX).

The Prishtina-based Kosovo Law Institute reacted against the government’s decision calling it political vengeance and added that the LDK was completely seizing the Kosovo Police.

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