Albanian Language Media:
- COVID-19: 130 new cases, one death (media)
- Hoti: Unified character of Kosovo will not touched (media)
- Thaci announces date for mayoral elections in Podujeve, Mitrovica North (media)
- PM Hoti gives consent to opening diplomatic mission in Israel (media)
- Surroi: No conditioning the issue of missing persons (Koha)
- Former U.S. ambassador welcomes Biden program on Kosovo, Albania (media)
- Vetevendosje leader in Albania arrested by police (media)
- GLPS: Dissolving anti-corruption task force, attempt to interfere in judiciary (media)
Serbian Language Media:
- Guterres called on Belgrade and Pristina for flexibility and creativity in overcoming differences (Danas, NMagazin, Beta, N1)
- Stano: Kosovo must fulfill obligations, if it has ambition to eventually join EU (Kosovo-online)
- Serbia’s Vucic among 11 politicians awarded by Israel (N1)
- Belgrade marks 76th anniversary of liberation in WWII (BETA, N1)
- Journalists’ Association of Serbia and its branch in Kosovo condemned the attack on journalist Shkumbin Kajtazi (Kosovo Online)
- Rakic met with US delegation to discuss Washington agreement (Radio kontakt plus)
- Raska-Prizren Eparchy informs public on new protective measures ahead of festivities season (Radio Mitrovica sever)
- Serbian PM-designate met potential coalition partners, no statements (N1)
- Will Belgrade give in to Western demands & shift toward ‘mutual recognition’? (rt.com)
- EWB panel: “Anti-Western Narratives in the Western Balkans” on the Belgrade Security Forum (EWB)
- Can Serbs determine the course of the American election? (Wall Street International Magazine)
- Joe Biden Woos America’s Bosnian, Albanian Voters Before Polls (Balkan Insight)
- Relations between Russia and Serbia are the best in history, says minister (TASS)
- How the EU candidate countries in the Western Balkans stand with fight against corruption? (EWB)
Albanian Language Media
COVID-19: 130 new cases, one death (media)
Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said today that 130 new cases of COVID-19 and one death were recorded in the last 24 hours.
71 persons have meanwhile recovered from the virus during this time. The highest number of new cases is from the municipality of Prishtina (52).
Hoti: Unified character of Kosovo will not touched (media)
Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti said today, in what the media outlet are describing as a response to the EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak’s statement on the Association of Serb-majority municipalities, that Kosovo has laid out its principles regarding dialogue with Serbia and that one of them is that its unified character and territorial integrity will not be touched.
Hoti said the final agreement with Serbia needs to be comprehensive and legally binding and address all outstanding issues between the two sides, with the first point being mutual recognition.
“We are in the process of dialogue and I am pleased with the progress made this far; the principles we are maintaining which are being respected by our international partners and the dialogue facilitator,” Hoti is quoted by Kosovapress.
In a visit to the municipality of Klina, Hoti also spoke about the Washington Agreement’s point relating to the use of Ujman/Gazivode Lake and said that a team of U.S. experts is in Kosovo currently to look into the feasibility study.
Thaci announces date for mayoral elections in Podujeve, Mitrovica North (media)
President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci announced that extraordinary mayoral elections in Podujeve and Mitrovica North will take place on 29 November.
“President Thaci has instructed the Central Elections Commission to undertake all necessary steps to organise elections in the Municipality of Podujeve and that of Mitrovica North in line with applicable decisions and legislation,” a statement issued by Kosovo president’s office states.
PM Hoti gives consent to opening diplomatic mission in Israel (media)
Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti met today the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla and gave consent to submit to President Hashim Thaci request for opening of a diplomatic mission in Israel.
“Israel is Kosovo’s strategic partner and establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries is a result of the White House September 4 agreement,” Hoti is quoted as saying.
Surroi: No conditioning the issue of missing persons (Koha)
Publicist Veton Surroi said that in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, the missing persons should not be connected to other issues, namely to the achievement of a final agreement. He said the missing persons issue should be considered as a humanitarian obligation and tackled as such.
“If Kosovo, Serbia, and the EU have agreed to mechanisms that lead towards determining the fate of the missing persons, it is their obligation to begin implementation right away,” Surroi wrote on social media.
He said failure to do so will make all sides responsible for the lack of progress in the last twenty years “where the missing persons became part of political trade within Kosovo and Serbia as well as in relations between them.”
Former U.S. ambassador welcomes Biden program on Kosovo, Albania (media)
Several news websites report that former United States Ambassador to Kosovo, Greg Delawie, has welcomed the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s vision for U.S. relations with Albania and Kosovo. Delawie tweeted: “This policy paper makes sense. Glad to see Joe Biden will return to a balanced Kosovo policy based on US national security interests in the Balkans”.
Vetevendosje leader in Albania arrested by police (media)
Several news websites report that Albanian Police arrested today the activist and head of the Vetevendosje Movement center in Albania, Boiken Abazi. The Vetevendosje Movement issued a press release saying the arrest was “ordered”. “The activist and the head of the Center of the Vetevendosje Movement in Albania, Boiken Abazi, was arrested by police as he was going to attend a peaceful protest in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is a typical ordered arrest. The arrest was carried out before the protest began and even before Boiken Abazi arrived at the site,” the press release notes.
GLPS: Dissolving anti-corruption task force, attempt to interfere in judiciary (media)
The Kosovo-based think tank Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) reacted to the Government’s decision to dissolve the Kosovo Police anti–corruption task force responsible for investigating high-profile corruption cases saying the move constitutes a tendency to interfere in independent institutions.
“Yesterday’s decision of the Government of Kosovo to dissolve the Anti-Corruption Task Force part of the Kosovo Police is deeply concerning and a direct attempt on the part of the government to extend influence and interfere in investigating processes against senior political and institutional leaders,” GLPS said in a statement.
It added that the government’s decision has been taken without any justification at a time when Kosovo should demonstrate positive steps in fighting high-level corruption. “This action comes as part of other consecutive decisions of this government which seriously undermine Kosovo’s efforts to fight organised crime and corruption.”
Serbian Language Media
Guterres called on Belgrade and Pristina for flexibility and creativity in overcoming differences (Danas, NMagazin, Beta)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the resumption of EU-mediated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, after a long break, and called on the two sides to show flexibility and creativity in their efforts to overcome differences, reported Belgrade based daily Danas.
In a new six-month report on the work of the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), which is on the agenda of the UN Security Council tomorrow, Guterres welcomed the Kosovo leadership’s commitment to fighting the pandemic, improving dialogue with Belgrade and European integration, and called on Kosovo’s new government to continue strengthening rule of law, to support accountability processes for serious human rights violations and to take decisive steps in the fight against corruption and impunity.
Guterres called on Kosovo institutions and international actors to provide full support and cooperation to the efforts of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for KLA Crimes, because that is “crucial for the peaceful future of Kosovo.”
“The renewed commitment to the normalization of relations (Belgrade and Pristina) is obvious and I hope that it will remain so until a comprehensive solution is found. I am encouraged by the constructive participation of both sides in the initial phase of the negotiations, made possible by the EU Special Representative and the continued personal engagement of the EU High Representative,” said the report for the period from 16 March to 15 September 2020.
The parties should build on the progress made in the discussions so far, including the agreements signed under the auspices of the United States regarding “economic normalization”, Guterres added, and expressed hope that the continuation of the discussion would help clarify the fate of the remaining missing persons and progress will be made in the return of displaced persons, economic co-operation and the implementation of other outstanding agreements.
Guterres called on the leaders in Belgrade and Pristina to “show flexibility and creativity to overcome differences.”
“I urge political leaders to ensure an inclusive approach through greater participation of key actors, especially women and youth, in counseling and decision-making processes as well as the inclusion of gender and youth perspectives in the implementation of agreements that affect the lives of the population,” he added.
Guterres pointed out that during the period covered by the report, the citizens and institutions of Kosovo faced several challenges, including the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has serious economic, social and political consequences, the fall of Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s government and the announcement of prosecution indictments at the KLA tribunal in The Hague against Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and Democratic Party of Kosovo leader Kadri Veseli.
The report, published on the UN website, cites relevant parts of the Special Prosecutor’s Office’s statement and recalls the events that followed and the reactions of Kosovo officials.
In the report, Guterres assessed that the Special Prosecutor’s Office “made progress in further investigations” during the reporting period and called on “all relevant parties, Kosovo institutions and international actors to provide full support and cooperation to these efforts, which are crucial for Kosovo’s peaceful future.
“The report also expresses “concern over the renewed tension caused by construction activities in the special protected zone around the monastery of Visoki Decani as part of the UNESCO world heritage.” Although the works have been suspended, the Kosovo authorities’ clear commitment to the law, including a ruling by the Constitutional Court upholding the property rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church, will be important in maintaining trust among communities, it is said.
In the report, the UN Secretary General reiterated his commitment to supporting the communities of Ashkali, Egyptians and Roma affected by lead poisoning in Kosovo, and again called on member states, international organizations and other actors to help find an effective response and meet the needs of these vulnerable communities.
Guterres expressed concern over the ongoing political polarization in Pristina, which also affected the management of the pandemic, and called on all political actors in Kosovo to unite on public health priorities and support public institutions in ensuring a coherent and effective response to pandemics and related public health and socioeconomic challenges.
He also called on Kosovo institutions to step up efforts to implement legal and other protection and address women’s inequalities, noting the alarming increase in reported cases of domestic violence since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stano: Kosovo must fulfill obligations, if it has ambition to eventually join EU (Kosovo-online)
Reacting to the Kosovo Minister of Foreign Affairs Meliza Haradinaj-Stubla’s remarks that by establishing the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities “Dodik’s republic” could be created in Kosovo, the EU’s Spokesperson Peter Stano told Klan Kosova, as Kosovo-online portal reported that such allegations and claims were utterly speculative, adding the EU does not impose a state system in Kosovo.
“The EU does not order, allow or stop partners in the region. The EU helps them achieve the stated goal of EU integration. In this context, the EU and its member states remind all their partners in the Western Balkans they must fulfill their international obligations and act in line with their ambitions to eventually join the European Union”, Stano said, Kosovo-online portal reported.
Serbia’s Vucic among 11 politicians awarded by Israel (N1)
The Friends of Zion Museum (FOZ) in Jerusalem awarded 11 people, including Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, with the ‘Friends of Zion,’ its highest honour, presented to world leaders who have gone “above and beyond” for the Jewish state, the Museum said on Tuesday, N1 reports.
The FOZ founder Mike Evans named the winners at the fourth Summit of Christian Media organised by the Israeli administration in West Jerusalem, witnessed by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
Vucic’s award came after he agreed in Washington in early September to move Serbian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by July next year.
This year’s winners were Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, King Hamed bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain and Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The list also included Romanian President Klaus Johannes and Omani Sultan Haysem bin Tarik bin Taimur Al Said. Earlier, the FOZ honoured the US President Donald Trump and State Department Chief Mike Pompeo.
See at: https://bit.ly/3jfXmCM
Belgrade marks 76th anniversary of liberation in WWII (BETA, N1)
Serbian capital Belgrade marks the 76th anniversary of the September 21-October 22, 1944 battle for liberation from the German occupation in World War II, N1 reports.
In the series of events, President Aleksandar Vucic, city officials and the representatives of the Jewish community will lay wreaths on the monuments dedicated to the war heroes and commemorate the victims of fascism.
The Centre for Cultural Decontamination organizes the ‘Freedom is Everything’ debate.
The battle for the liberation of Belgrade in 1944 ended the 1,287-day-long German occupation.
The units of the People’s Liberation Army of Yugoslavia (NOVJ) and the Third Corp of the Red Army’s Ukraine front won the decisive battle on October 20, 1944, inflicting a heavy defeat to the German ‘Serbia’ Army group.
The battle claimed the lives of 2,953 NOVJ and 976 Red Army’s soldiers.
Liberated Belgrade was in ruins following two heavy bombings: by Germans on April 6, 1941, which started the unannounced war in the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and by the Allies in April, May, June, July and September 1944 which aimed to destroy the German infrastructure.
The airstrikes killed many civilians and destroyed many civil objects in the city.
During the occupation of Belgrade, German fascists formed two camps: at the city’s suburb of Banjica where some 250,000 people were held and over 30,000 killed, and at the Sava River left bank where about 200,000 Jews and anti-fascists were imprisoned and more than 40,000 of them killed.
Also on Tuesday, the traditional anti-war manifestation’ Great School Class’ dedicated to a few thousands of citizens of Serbia’s central city of Kragujevac, men, women and children shot by Germans in revenge for their soldiers the Yugoslav anti-fascist killed before October 21, 1941, will be held on Tuesday with a limited audience due to the coronavirus epidemic.
See at: https://bit.ly/37mnU39
Journalists’ Association of Serbia and its branch in Kosovo condemned the attack on journalist Shkumbin Kajtazi (Kosovo Online)
On Monday, Journalists’ Association of Serbia (UNS) and UNS in Kosovo strongly condemned the destruction of a vehicle belonging to the journalist of Kosovo portal Raporteri Shkumbin Kajtazi.
UNS and UNS in Kosovo demand from the competent authorities to uncover as soon as possible who fired the shots at Kajtazi’s vehicle and to prosecute those who are responsible.
UNS and UNS in Kosovo opined that the attack on Kajtazi was another indicator that journalism in Kosovo was a high-risk profession and that journalists and media workers were not safe.
Rakic met with US delegation to discuss Washington agreement (Radio Kontakt plus)
Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Local Government Administration and President of Serbian List Goran Rakic met on Monday with the US delegation for energy, led by Matthew Zais, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the US Office of International Affairs at the Department of Energy (DOE), Radio kontakt plus reports.
The topics of the meeting included the recently signed agreement in Washington, its implementation and investments, a press statement issued by Rakić’s cabinet said.
“The implementation of the Washington Agreement should start as soon as possible, because that will contribute to the normalization of relations, improvement of living conditions of citizens and economic development”, Rakic told his interlocutors.
After the meeting they had with Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti, DOE posted on Twitter on Monday the following: “Today PDAS @MatthewZais met with #Kosovo Prime Minister @Avdullah Hoti, Deputy Prime Minister @DitronSelmanaj & other Kosovar government officials to discuss resource management of Lake Ujmani/Gazivode & broader energy diversification”.
Raska-Prizren Eparchy informs public on new protective measures ahead of festivities season (Radio Mitrovica sever)
In a press release issued on Tuesday, Eparchy of Raska-Prizren reminded the public, clergy, monks and the believers, considering the latest health situation related to the coronavirus pandemic, to adhere to all protective measures, respecting the decisions of competent health institutions and thus showing responsibility for their health and the health of their loved ones, Radio Mitrovica sever reports.
The Eparchy listed the new rules that “must be respected, until further notice, in all parishes and monasteries of the Eparchy of Raska and Prizren” which are the following:
-Monastic and parish celebrations should be celebrated exclusively in the circle of monastic fraternity – sisterhood or local parish. We inform the believers from our Eparchy and beyond, who intend to visit our shrines, especially for the upcoming holidays, to postpone their travels until further notice.
-Individual visits to those monasteries, which are not completely closed for visits, are possible only with the announcement and blessing of the monastery administration, with the obligatory wearing of protective masks, without staying in the monastery premises and overnight stays.
-Family celebrations of believers should be celebrated only in the circle of the family and the closest relatives, without inviting guests. The “Slava” cake should be brought to the parish church for the Liturgy so that the priest can bless it…
-Blessing of the water will not be performed in the homes of the believers until further notice. There will always be holy water in the churches, so that the faithful can, if necessary, receive it from the priests and take it home, without any charge.
-Weddings, baptisms and funerals should be performed only in the immediate circle of the family, in compliance with all the rules of the competent institutions on behavior at public gatherings, during the epidemic.
-Believers from the area of our Eparchy can regularly gather for liturgical gatherings in their parish churches according to the usual practice that is applied during the coronavirus pandemic. In monasteries, holy liturgies will be served exclusively in the presence of a monastic fraternity or sisterhood.
“We need to be aware that caring for one’s own health and protection is not an expression of lack of faith, as some think and claim, but is above all an expression of love and responsibility towards one’s neighbors, especially those who may have more severe consequences than possible infection”, the press release said.
As it was stated, those measures are temporary and will last as long as it is necessary, adding that the Eparchy will inform the public in a timely manner on possible changes.
Serbian PM-designate met potential coalition partners, no statements (N1)
Serbian Prime Minister-designate Ana Brnabic had talks on Tuesday about the composition of a new government with the leaders of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SNS) – United Serbia coalition and the Patriotic Alliance ‘Spas,’ the only two political organisations that crossed the three percent reduced threshold in the country’s general elections held on June 21, besides the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) led by the head of state Aleksandar Vucic, N1 reports.
SNS has an absolute majority in the 250-seat Parliament and does not need any other party to form the government. Following the Tuesday’s meetings, neither Brnabic nor others addressed the media.
The ‘Spas’ leader Aleksandar Sapic only reiterated he was ready to take part in the new government, but refused to give any details after the meeting.
Brnabic earlier said she would name new ministers later in the day, after the meeting of the SNS Presidency scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
The general elections in Serbia were held on June 21, new Parliament was sworn in on August 3, and Vucic nominated the current Premier Brnabic as Prime Minister-designate on October 5.The Constitutional deadline for forming a new cabinet expires on November 3.
See at: https://bit.ly/2Hpb5KA
Will Belgrade give in to Western demands & shift toward ‘mutual recognition’? (rt.com)
By Boris Malagurski, a Serbian Canadian documentary film director, known for “The Weight of Chains”, enlisted in the catalog of the Library of Congress, and whose work has been showcased on international festivals, including Raindance in London.
For the West, the only final solution to the Kosovo issue would be Serbia recognizing it as an independent state – other ‘normalization’ aspects talked about are merely stepping stones.
When Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic met with Donald Trump last month to sign a deal aimed at normalizing relations between Serbia and its breakaway province of Kosovo, many analysts saw this as a shift in Serbia’s foreign policy, which is traditionally close with Russia.
Indeed, Trump’s special envoy for talks between Serbia and Kosovo, Richard Grenell, stated that the deal was “distancing Serbia from Russia” by the “diversification of energy sources” that is defined in the deal.
Earlier this month, Vucic met with the EU’s special envoy for Kosovo, Miroslav Lajcak, and presented the plan for the implementation of the “agreement on the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.” Does it mean that Vucic believes that Washington has more to offer to Serbia than Moscow, at least in regards to solving the status of Kosovo?
See at: https://bit.ly/3kf9Goj
EWB panel: “Anti-Western Narratives in the Western Balkans” on the Belgrade Security Forum (EWB)
On Tuesday, 20 October, in partnership with European Western Balkans, Belgrade Security Forum will organize the session “Anti-Western Narratives in the Western Balkans: Threat to Euro-Atlantic Integration?”.
The session will address the key sources of anti-Western narratives in the Western Balkans and their purpose, how much can they damage the Euro-Atlantic integration of the region, how does the state of media freedom impact the prevalence of anti-Western narratives, and what should the Western actors do to address this problem.
See at: https://bit.ly/3m1t4pi
Can Serbs determine the course of the American election? (Wall Street International Magazine)
When President Donald J. Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany, undertook a stimulating visit to Serbia’s capital of Belgrade last spring, her journey marked the beginning of a rewarming of relations between the United States and Serbia. With an estimated 750,000 Serbian-Americans in the United States, residing in a number of key battleground states, including Arizona, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania, many are now wondering, who will they vote for in the upcoming 2020 presidential election?
On one hand, with unrest flaring throughout the nation, some Serbs are considering the Democratic candidate Joe Biden. “This pandemic has severely hit all immigrant communities, and the economic impact is heavily weighing on our community, too. Many people are looking to support the candidate who puts these issues and potential solutions at the forefront of their platform,” said Ivan Grujic of Michigan.
What likely gives many Serbs pause, however, is Mr. Biden’s unfortunate conduct toward Serbia during a 1999 conflict. For 78 days, NATO aircraft mercilessly bombed targets throughout Serbia in support of the Albanian insurgents, in breach of UN Charter and without the acquiescence of the United Nations Security Council. Serbs have not forgotten Mr. Biden’s enthusiastic support for the bombing campaign, which was unleashed on largely civilian targets, causing mass casualties and heavily-damaged infrastructure. NATO’s use of depleted uranium in cluster munitions and shells in the Kosovo War is suspected by many to be a reason for high rates of leukemia in the region today. Even worse, in 2008 Serbia had the highest mortality rate from breast cancer.
See at: https://bit.ly/2HgLjrI
Joe Biden Woos America’s Bosnian, Albanian Voters Before Polls (Balkan Insight)
US presidential candidate Joe Biden published letters of support for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Albania as he seeks diaspora voters’ support in his bid to defeat Donald Trump at the polls next month.
See at: https://bit.ly/2IKzIln
Relations between Russia and Serbia are the best in history, says minister (TASS)
Serbian Minister of Innovation and Technological Development Nenad Popovic was certain that cooperation between the two countries would only strengthen in the future
Bilateral relations between Russia and Serbia are the best in history, and the common Victory in World War II is a guarantee of such relations, Serbian Minister of Innovation and Technological Development Nenad Popovic said on Monday.
See at: https://bit.ly/3jeAOCG
How the EU candidate countries in the Western Balkans stand with fight against corruption? (EWB)
The overall pace of fighting corruption has slowed down and the track record in most countries is far from meeting the requirements for membership – this is one of the conclusions made by European Commission (EC) in the recently published enlargement package for Western Balkans.
The area of fight against corruption shows mixed results among the four EU candidate countries in the Western Balkans – Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania. While the countries in the earlier stages of the EU accession process seem to be speeding up or continuing to conduct reforms in the area of rule of law (Albania and North Macedonia), the frontrunners (Montenegro and Serbia) are slowing down. Although the reform processes in these four countries are on different stages, what is common for them is that all need to step-up the efforts and produce results in the fight against corruption (track record), especially high-level corruption.
See at: https://bit.ly/37p7qXO