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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, October 26, 2020

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• COVID-19 report: Two deaths, 166 new cases (media)
• PDK refutes report it is joining Hoti-led government (media)
• Grenell: The agreement is being implemented (media)
• Rama gathers Balkans leaders, invites Kosovo to Schengen initiative (media)
• Task force was investigating three tenders signed by Interior Minister (Koha)
• Hoti, Haradinaj clash over decision on anti-corruption task force (RFE)
• Miftaraj: If Kosovo had state of law, Hoti would be in detention (media)
• Thaci: Time for Kosovo to become full member of United Nations (media)
• UN Day marked with planting 100 trees near Sitnica river (media)
• UN Day, Kosovo in unfavorable position, without hope for membership (Lajmi)
• Osmani: We need to be closer to victims of sexual violence in conflict (media)

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  • COVID-19 report: Two deaths, 166 new cases (media)
  • PDK refutes report it is joining Hoti-led government (media)
  • Grenell: The agreement is being implemented (media)
  • Rama gathers Balkans leaders, invites Kosovo to Schengen initiative (media)
  • Task force was investigating three tenders signed by Interior Minister (Koha)
  • Hoti, Haradinaj clash over decision on anti-corruption task force (RFE)
  • Miftaraj: If Kosovo had state of law, Hoti would be in detention (media)
  • Thaci: Time for Kosovo to become full member of United Nations (media)
  • UN Day marked with planting 100 trees near Sitnica river (media)
  • UN Day, Kosovo in unfavorable position, without hope for membership (Lajmi)
  • Osmani: We need to be closer to victims of sexual violence in conflict (media)

COVID-19 report: Two deaths, 186 new cases (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said in a statement on Sunday that two deaths and 186 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the last 24 hours. 55 patients have recovered from the virus during this time. The highest number of new cases is from the municipality of Prishtina (86).

Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said in a recent statement that there is a real possibility that state institutions will be forced to undertake “more extreme measures” if the number of positive cases continues to rise.

There are currently 2,465 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

PDK refutes report it is joining Hoti-led government (media)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) spokesman Avni Bytyci reacted on Sunday to reports that this party is becoming part of the Hoti-led government. Bytyci said in a Facebook post that the PDK has never even discussed the possibility so far. “Lately some media and analysts are deceiving the public about an alleged agreement for the PDK to join the government. Names and political configurations have also been mentioned. But none of this is true,” he said. 

Grenell: The agreement is being implemented (media)

The U.S. Presidential Envoy for the Kosovo – Serbia Dialogue, Richard Grenell, shared a post by the United States Embassy in Prishtina about a visit by a delegation of the United States Department of Energy. Grenell tweeted: “the agreement is being implemented. The Trump Administration takes swift action”.

Rama gathers Balkans leaders, invites Kosovo to Schengen initiative (media)

Tirana-based TV station, Top Channel reported on Sunday that leaders of the Western Balkans will hold a summit via video conference this week in another attempt to push forward the regional initiative for a Balkans Schengen.

It is uncertain if Kosovo will take part in the meeting. One of the points of the agreement Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti signed in Washington provides for participating at the table of talks for the Balkans Schengen. During Hoti’s recent visit to Skopje, North Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev repeated the invitation to the Kosovo Prime Minister saying that Kosovo needs to come closer to the regional initiative regardless of open political issues. 

Task force was investigating three tenders signed by Interior Minister (Koha)

The TV station reported on Saturday that investigators of the now-disbanded anti-corruption task force had initiated preliminary investigations for three tenders of the Ministry of Interior Affairs signed by Minister Agim Veliu. The actions were undertaken in coordination with a prosecutor of the Special Prosecution.

KTV has learned that all three tenders were for license plates, one of them worth €1.4 million and two others worth €300,000 each. 10 people were interviewed in the case. The TV station contacted Minister Veliu to comment on the matter and he denied any links between the tenders and the decision on the task force.

KTV also reported that the government’s decision to disband the task force triggered clashes between partners of the ruling coalition. The decision was also heavily criticised by EU ambassadors in Kosovo and civil society.

Hoti, Haradinaj clash over decision on anti-corruption task force (RFE)

The news website reported on Saturday that Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), the main partner in the ruling coalition, opposed the government’s decision to dissolve the anti-corruption task force. Haradinaj said in a Facebook post that the government’s decision causes legal uncertainties because the task force was investigating high-profile cases. “Their work showed that no one is untouchable. There was of course room for improvement and the task force was supposed to be empowered, be it through a functional review or as a result of recommendations by strategic partners such as the United States and the European Union,” Haradinaj said.

Prime Minister AvdullahHoti reacted following Haradinaj’s post saying that his government is committed to strengthening the rule of law and that legal safety is guaranteed only by respecting the Constitution, laws and state institutions. “Politics must not interfere in the work of the judiciary. We have done this with the decisions we have made in these months in government. The judiciary must do its work according to the law and not according to the decisions of the government. We must all engage in restoring legality and constitutionality in the country,” Hoti said.

“The officials that were part of the Task Force in Kosovo Police are continuing their work without any changes on cases of crime and corruption, in line with the instructions of the Special Prosecution. All these officials continue to perform their legal duties according to the internal arrangements in Kosovo Police and free from any intrusion. Whoever doubts this, they can use all legal means to seek oversight and explanations for everyone’s work,” Hoti said.

Miftaraj: If Kosovo had state of law, Hoti would spend night in detention (media)

Most news websites reported on Saturday that Ehat Miftaraj from the Kosovo Law Institute said on Saturday that “if Kosovo had a state of law and a Prosecution that works based on the Constitution and the law, Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti would certainly spend this evening at the Prishtina detention center awaiting a trial”. According to Miftaraj, “anti-values and state capture have become a key policy of the Hoti-led government”.

Thaci: Time for Kosovo to become full member of United Nations (media)

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said on the occasion of the UN Day that Kosovo, more than any other country in the world, knows the role and importance of the United Nations in creating peace and stability to the region.

Thaci wrote in a Facebook post that the role of the UN mission was very important in Kosovo both in terms of democratisation and institution building, which later declared independence.

“We are grateful to the United Nations for its great work in promoting peace, security and stability in Kosovo and all over the world. The time has now come for Kosovo to become a full-fledged member of this organisation,” Thaci said.

In another post on Twitter, Thaci wrote: “the role of the United Nations in building peace and stability in the world remains important. Today, when humanity faces novel challenges it is crucial that we remain united in preserving a secure future of our countries. It is time, now, for Kosovo to become a member of the UN.” 

UN Day marked with planting 100 trees near Sitnica river (media)

Several news websites reported today that on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the municipality of Lipjan together with diplomatic representatives planted 100 trees on the banks of the Sitnica River. Lipjan Mayor Imri Ahmeti expressed his appreciation for the contribution and cooperation of the United Nations in Kosovo, adding that the planting of trees is both symbolic and necessary for a healthier environment.

UN Day, Kosovo in an unfavorable position, without hope for membership (Lajmi)

The International Day of the United Nations is celebrated today, and Kosovo aspires to join the organisation. But what is Kosovo’s position in relation with the United Nations?

12 years after the declaration of independence, Kosovo’s citizens still cannot move freely in the Schengen area, while aspirations for joining the European Union, NATO and the United Nations seem far-fetched.

European integration expert and professor Avni Mazreku said in an interview with the news website that Kosovo’s current relations with the United Nations is unfavorable because of UNSC Resolution 1244.

Mazreku said the failure to adopt a new resolution proposed by Ahtisaari which would replace Resolution 1244 has left Kosovo in this position. “Kosovo’s relations with the UN continues to be quite unfavorable as long as Resolution 1244 which recognises Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo is in force. Unfortunately, even though there were special envoys form the United Nations to resolve Kosovo’s status since 2007, namely Ahtisaari, he suggested a new resolution of the Security Council which would replace Resolution 1244. But this was never achieved because of lack of consensus among the permanent member states of the Security Council,” he said.

“From the UN standpoint, Kosovo is still treated according to Resolution 1244 and this puts Kosovo in an unfavorable position and because of this Kosovo must report every three months to the Security Council. Kosovo does not have a favorable legal position as long as Resolution 1244 remains in force”.

Mazreku also said Kosovo has minimal chances of becoming a member of the United Nations.

Osmani: We need to be closer to victims of sexual violence in conflict (media)

Kosovo Assembly President Vjosa Osmani said during a visit in Gjakova on Sunday that the survivors of sexual violence in conflict are double victims and that state institutions and society need to be closer to the female victims of sexual violence in conflict.

“These women are not alone! They have the support of organisations like Medica Gjakova we visited these days, and other sister organisations that do not stop before any pressure, and they also have us who bow to their resistance before the pain and suffering they go through. But we, the supporters, are still few in numbers. This does not include only support, but it also entails understanding the true suffering of the multidimensional devastating consequences of wars. Being there for the survivors means being there to fully confront the past, to lead our society toward a healthy rehabilitation and by having full understanding for the sufferings of every victim. Being there for them, above all, means seeking adamantly justice every day!” Osmani wrote in a Facebook post.

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