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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, October 27, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, October 27, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19 report: Three deaths, 197 new cases (media)
• The next Kosovo-Serbia meeting at level of experts, on Thursday (RFE, media)
• Veliu does not respond to invitation to report on Qalaj’s dismissal (RTK)
• Salih Mustafa to appear in front of the Special Court tomorrow (RTK)
• Abbot: U.S. involvement in dialogue, positive (media)
• Szunyog meets with LDK Assembly caucus, seeks results on EU reforms (media)
• Application of parties for Mitrovica North elections starts (RTK)
• Zemaj warns on new measures to prevent coronavirus spread (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Belgrade – Pristina dialogue to continue on Thursday in Brussels (Tanjug, Radio Mitrovica sever, RTS)
• Smith: With constitutional amendments Thaci attempts to end work of court (Radio KIM)
• Serbian Ambassador says Belgrade-Moscow relations stable (N1)
• RFE: China takes over job of railway reconstruction in Serbia from EU (N1)
• Serbian MPs vote for three new cabinets; SPS names two ministers (FoNet, N1)
• Botsan-Kharchenko: Bilateral relations, Kosovo in focus of Lavrov’s visit (media)
• Serb household in Plemetina village, near Obilic robbed (Radio KIM)
• Zais: Experts of US Energy department working on the Gazivode Lake feasibility study (Kosovo online, Tanjug)

International:

• Troubled Relationship: Kosovo’s Thaci and the Hague War Crimes Court (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• COVID-19 Surges as South-East Europe Heads for Winter (Balkan Insight)
• RYCO: Youth policies should be high on the reform agendas of the Western Balkan governments (EWB)
• Albanian Children to be Returned from Syrian Refugee Camps (Balkan Insight)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19 report: Three deaths, 197 new cases (media)
  • The next Kosovo-Serbia meeting at level of experts, on Thursday (RFE, media)
  • Veliu does not respond to invitation to report on Qalaj’s dismissal (RTK)
  • Salih Mustafa to appear in front of the Special Court tomorrow (RTK)
  • Abbot: U.S. involvement in dialogue, positive (media)
  • Szunyog meets with LDK Assembly caucus, seeks results on EU reforms (media)
  • Application of parties for Mitrovica North elections starts (RTK)
  • Zemaj warns on new measures to prevent coronavirus spread (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Belgrade – Pristina dialogue to continue on Thursday in Brussels (Tanjug, Radio Mitrovica sever, RTS)
  • Smith: With constitutional amendments Thaci attempts to end work of court (Radio KIM)
  • Serbian Ambassador says Belgrade-Moscow relations stable (N1)
  • RFE: China takes over job of railway reconstruction in Serbia from EU (N1)
  • Serbian MPs vote for three new cabinets; SPS names two ministers (FoNet, N1)
  • Botsan-Kharchenko: Bilateral relations, Kosovo in focus of Lavrov’s visit (media)
  • Serb household in Plemetina village, near Obilic robbed (Radio KIM)
  • Zais: Experts of US Energy department working on the Gazivode Lake feasibility study (Kosovo online, Tanjug)

International:

  • Troubled Relationship: Kosovo’s Thaci and the Hague War Crimes Court (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • COVID-19 Surges as South-East Europe Heads for Winter (Balkan Insight)
  • RYCO: Youth policies should be high on the reform agendas of the Western Balkan governments (EWB)
  • Albanian Children to be Returned from Syrian Refugee Camps (Balkan Insight) 

 

 

Albanian Language Media 

 

COVID-19 report: Three deaths, 197 new cases (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said in a statement today that three deaths and 197 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

48 patients have recovered from the virus during this time. The highest number of new cases is from the municipality of Prishtina (92).

There are currently 2.478 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

The next Kosovo-Serbia meeting at level of experts, on Thursday (RFE, media)

After more than a month, the delegations of Kosovo and Serbia are expected to meet in Brussels at the level of experts on Thursday (October 29), in the framework of the dialogue mediated by the European Union.  

This was stated by Radio Free Europe’s diplomatic sources in Brussels without giving further details about the meeting.

This meeting was scheduled to take place at the end of September, but it was postponed due to preventive measures against the coronavirus pandemic as well as due to the obstacles presented around the topics in the dialogue, which the parties did not agree on.

Kosovo at the expert level is represented by the state coordinator for dialogue, Skender Hyseni, while Serbia is represented by Marko Djuric. 

According to sources in Brussels, the parties are expected to discuss financial issues and property claims of the parties, topics that were discussed in previous meetings. 

The meeting will take place respecting the strict measures that have been imposed these days by the Belgian authorities, but also by the European Union institutions themselves, to curb the further spread of the coronavirus. 

The dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia has resumed this summer and so far several meetings have taken place, both at a high level between the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti and the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, but also between delegations at the expert level.

But for more than a month there have been no meetings between the representatives of Kosovo and Serbia and one of the reasons was Kosovo’s refusal to talk about the Association of Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo and Serbia’s insistence that talks on this topic be a priority. 

A week ago, the EU Special Envoy for Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, arrived in Kosovo and Serbia to prepare for new meetings.

Veliu does not respond to invitation to report on Qalaj’s dismissal (RTK)

Kosovo’s Minister for Internal Affairs Agim Veliu did not respond to the invitation of the Kosovo Assembly committee to report with regards to the dismissal of the former Kosovo Police director Rashit Qalaj and dissolving of the Anti-corruption Task Force.

Head of this committee Fatmire Kollcaku proposed parliamentary investigation about the dismissal of the Anti-corruption Task Force.

Rexhep Selimi member of this committee said if Veliu does not want to report to the committee then he should be called for a motion, and agreed about the investigation committee on the Anti-corruption Task Force. 

Ganimete Musliu from the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) said that Veliu’s ignoring the reporting at the committee is unacceptable.

“We have offered dates and he does not find the time. His answer that he has a busy agenda is complete camouflage and complete irresponsibility because he should have justified what was more important in his agenda than reporting to the committee and MPs. This government must stop arrogance, after all, the police belong to Kosovo and not to political parties. This institution has begun to degrade and lose respect for citizens. The government should not make optical frauds without giving explanations. We should send a request to the irresponsible minister,” Musliu said.

Salih Mustafa to appear in front of the Special Court tomorrow (RTK)

Former KLA Commander Salih Mustafa has until tomorrow to plead guilty or not before the pre-trial judge regarding the Special Prosecution charges for war crimes. The hearing on his case will be held tomorrow at 15:00.

Mustafa refused to testify in his public appearance before the court on September 28 this year and in the following appearance of October 5.

According to the rules of court procedure he has 30 days from his first appearance before the court to plead guilty or not.

The deadline expires tomorrow.

The Specialized Prosecutor announced that there would be at least 16 witnesses in the case against Mustafa as well as written evidence and photographs. 

The confirmed indictment against Salih Mustafa states that he is responsible for several crimes, such as torture and ill-treatment of at least six people between 1 April 1999 and 19 April 1999 in the village of Zllash where a detention center operated.

Mustafa known as Cali was arrested and extradited to The Hague on September 24 by court order after the indictment was confirmed.

Abbot: U.S. involvement in dialogue was positive (media)

The Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Kosovo Nicholas Abbott, said today that involvement of the United States of America in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, was positive. 

Speaking about the September 4 meeting and agreement at the White House, Abbott said that it has brought benefits to Kosovo in various fields.

The British ambassador in a virtual discussion organized by the FOL Movement said that his country has welcomed this agreement.

“It must be acknowledged that the involvement of the United States and Ambassador Richard Grenell was positive,” Abbot said.

Szunyog meets with LDK Assembly caucus, seeks results on EU reforms (media) 

The head of the EU office in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog met today in the Assembly of Kosovo with representatives of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

The news was announced by Szunyog through a post on Twitter, while he also shared photos from the meeting.

“With LDK Assembly caucus today spoke of EU-related reforms: they need to be implemented more vigorously & produce results. SAA and the European Reform Agenda offer tools for this. Important to coordinate with coalition partners and opposition on issues of national interest,” Szunyog wrote. 

Application of parties for Mitrovica North elections starts (RTK)

The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced that the application period for certification of political entities (political parties; civic initiatives; coalitions; and independent candidates) that want to participate in the extraordinary elections for Mayor in Mitrovica North has begun. This deadline for application is on October 30, at 18:00  hours.

While for the extraordinary elections for mayor of Podujeva, CEC made the decision for certification of three candidates on February 20,  and on March 2 had drawn lots for their ranking on the ballot.

  1. Naim Fetahu from the Democratic Party of Kosovo – PDK, 11. Nexhmi Rudari from the Democratic League of Kosovo – LDK and 12. Shpejtim Bulliqi from the Vetëvendosje Movement.

Zemaj warns on new measures to prevent coronavirus spread (media)

The Minister of Health, Armend Zemaj has warned that they will soon come up with decisions for new measures for Kosovo and in particular for Prishtina, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

“The last two weeks, Prishtina has been the epicenter of the infection in our country. This disturbing fact forces us to very quickly come up with decisions for new measures for Kosovo in general, but for Pristina in particular.

Over 700 new cases of infection during the last 14 days, in the capital, a situation that requires maximum mobilization of all to implement accurately and rigorously the decisions of the government.

I asked the mayor of Prishtina, Mr. Shpend Ahmeti, to join forces with the emergency headquarters and the task force, and increase attention in schools, public transport, gastronomy and wherever the danger of the COVID-19 virus appears.

I demanded that the recommendations such as keeping physical distance, using masks, disinfecting and ventilating the premises be strictly implemented, in order to prevent the eventual spread of the infection indoors.

Prishtina is the capital of all citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, but in no case can  we allow it to be a nest of infection”.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Belgrade – Pristina dialogue to continue Thursday in Brussels (Tanjug, Radio Mitrovica sever, RTS)

The dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina will continue Thursday, October 29, with a meeting at the level of experts, learns news agency Tanjug in Brussels. 

According to Tanjug, both delegations will be led by the main negotiators.

It is a round of dialogue that was originally scheduled for the end of September but was canceled due to the preventive quarantine measure of the staff of the European External Action Service, which mediates the dialogue.

The agenda remains the same, financial claims and assets will be discussed.

In Brussels state for Tanjug that the meeting will take place in compliance with all measures of protection against coronavirus prescribed by the EEAS and the authorities of Belgium, as the host country.

Smith: With constitutional amendments Thaci attempts to end work of court (Radio KIM)

The Chief Prosecutor of the Hague tribunal for KLA crimes, Jack Smith, warned that the amendments to the Constitution of Kosovo, proposed by the President Hashim Thaci, represent an attempt to “end, or otherwise devalue, the work”, of that court, Radio KIM reports.

Smith assessed the amendments were “part of a wider strategy to undermine the court” in light of the fact that it raised the proposal indictment against Thaci six months ago for the war crimes and crimes against humanity in Kosovo.

Amendments, concerning the end of the work of the Court for KLA crimes, according to Smith were “unnecessary” because Kosovo Constitution in its current form “adequately” regulates the mandate of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers as the court is officially called.  

“The proposed amendments intended to reconsider or reshape that mandate. It is clear from Thaci’s  public statements that the basic intent of the proposed amendments is to try to end, or otherwise devalue, the work of the Court and the Prosecutor’s Office, contrary to Kosovo international obligations”, Smith warned.

Since Thaci is not a “disinterested party” Smith assessed “there are good reasons to believe that proposed amendments were part of a wider strategy to undermine the court”.

Smith’s assessment was part of the submission that the prosecutor sent to the panel of the Kosovo Constitutional Court at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.

Smith further assessed Thaci’s amendments were anti-constitutional given that Kosovo in 2014 made an international agreement with the EU over the court, which is binding for the Kosovo Government and has supremacy over Kosovo laws.

This agreement stipulates that the work of the Court “shall continue until such time as Kosovo is notified by the Council of the European Union that the investigations have been concluded or any proceedings resulting in therefrom have been concluded”.

Thaci’s amendments relate to the two paragraphs (13 & 14) of Article 16 of the Kosovo Constitution adopted in 2015, that regulate the mandate of the Court.

The paragraph 13 says the mandate of the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office shall be for a period of five (5) years, unless notification of completion of the mandate in accordance with Law No. 04/L-274 occurs earlier.

Paragraph 14 further says that in the absence of notification of completion of the mandate under paragraph 12, the mandate of the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office shall continue until notification of completion is made in accordance with Law No. 04/L-274 and in consultation with the Government. 

According to the paragraphs the end of the work of the court can be announced by the Council of the EU exclusively, upon consultation with Pristina.

According to Thaci’s amendments, paragraph 14 would be deleted and paragraph 13 would read: The mandate of the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office shall continue until notification of completion is made by the Council of the European Union, in consultation with the Government of the Republic of Kosovo”. Radio KIM reports. 

Serbian Ambassador says Belgrade-Moscow relations stable (N1)

Serbian Ambassador to Russia Miroslav Lazanski said on Tuesday that the Washington Agreement did not disrupt Belgrade’s relationship with Moscow, N1 reports.

Ambassador Lazanski told Belgrade daily Politika that Belgrade-Moscow relations have stood every test and that the signing of the Washington agreement did not disrupt them which, he said, is shown by the visits to Serbia by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. “I don’t know of any other European country that Lavrov visited twice in one year”, he said. 

Lazanski added he “knows that some circles in Belgrade would like to see relations between Serbia and Russia with some tremors”. According to Lazanski, Russia respects Serbian military neutrality and does not mind the fact that it is on the way to European Union membership but that “they would be hurt” if Serbia should join NATO. 

Speaking live for the Serbian public broadcaster RTS morning news on Tuesday, the ambassador said that Belgrade-Moscow relations are stable. “We have a strategic partnership, Moscow supports Serbia in all international organizations. Moscow appreciates the fact that Serbia did not support any EU resolution on Russia”, he said.

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

RFE: China takes over job of railway reconstruction in Serbia from EU (N1)

For the most part, China, but also Russia, has taken over the works, crediting and partly the documents prepared by the European Union on some of the most important projects in Serbia, the modernisation of some 400 kilometres of railways, which have been deteriorating for decades, Radio Free Europe (RFE) reported on Monday.

RFE obtained data from the EU Delegation (DEU) in Serbia on the bloc’s participation in the financing of the modernisation of the railways, which said the EU had been involved in many projects for key and longest railway sections towards the borders with Hungary in the north and with Northern Macedonia in the south.

DEU told RFE the EU was still ready to “financially participate in an important infrastructure project for the construction of the railway between Belgrade and the southern city of Nis”.

It added the project was among the key initiatives recognised as a part of the EU Economic Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.

According to the Delegation, the plan envisages nine billion Euro in grants, with the goal “to encourage the long-term recovery of the countries in the region and their economic rapprochement with the EU”.

Besides, DEU said “the EU believes it can offer the best possible conditions for large investments like this. The Western Balkans Economic Investment Plan, recently presented in Belgrade, is an excellent framework for our future cooperation with Serbia on infrastructure development”.

“It will help connect economies through strengthened regional economic integration and integration with the EU”, it added.

However, DEU added, Serbia’s officials opted for a partnership with China, and Serbia’s Ministry confirmed the decision.

“The realisation of the project (railway between Belgrade and Nis) with the Chinese company China Road and Bridge Corporation is planned, with the use of preferential Chinese loans”, the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure told RFE, adding the estimated value of the project is around two billion Euros.

The Ministry said that, on the other hand, Serbia had concluded agreements with the EU for the railway modernisation on Corridor 10 and its branches.

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

Serbian MPs vote for three new cabinets; SPS names two ministers (FoNet, N1)

Serbian new government will have a total of 21 ministries including the three new – ministries of human and minority rights and social dialogue, family welfare and demography and villages after the deputies unanimously voted in favour.

The Ministry of human and minority rights and social dialogue will deal with the protection of those rights, draft regulations for the area and follow their adjustment with the international agreements.

The Ministry of family welfare and demography will take care of the legal system for the protection of marriages, population policy, family planning, the improvement and development of demography, birth policy, and that of quality of life and life expectancy, as well as of reproductive health.

The Ministry of villages will strategically overview the situation of the villages and their population, suggest measures for the improvement of living conditions in the villages and nourish their traditional way of life.

In the meantime, the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) named Branko Ruzic, its deputy leader and former Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, as Prime Minister’s first deputy and the minister of Education, Science and Technological Development.

SPS also decided that another party’s deputy leader Novica Toncev, would be a minister without a portfolio. Those positions were empty earlier, waiting for the SPS decision.

See at: https://bit.ly/3ov1HpF

Botsan-Kharchenko: Bilateral relations, Kosovo in focus of Lavrov’s visit (media)

Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko told Belgrade based agency Tanjug that relations between Serbia and Russia are developing in the best way, and points out that this is confirmed by the upcoming visit of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which will focus on bilateral cooperation, the situation in the region and the Kosovo issue, as well as key international topics, Serbian media quoted.   

Botsan-Kharchenko told Tanjug that Minister Lavrov will arrive in Belgrade on Wednesday, October 28, in the afternoon, when, he says, he will meet with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. 

“This visit was not planned, but there are many important events that Minister Lavrov will attend, as well as issues that require a high-level conversation, especially when it comes to our bilateral relations,” he said.

On Thursday, the head of Russian diplomacy will attend the ceremony on the completion of works on the mosaic of the Temple of Saint Sava, and then he will meet with Patriarch Irinej. 

Botsan -Kharchenko states that Lavrov will open the monument “Eternal Fire” at the cemetery of the Liberators of Belgrade as part of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory in the Second World War.

“This will emphasize that our countries are united in the view that it is necessary to preserve the historical truth and that it is inadmissible to revise the events of World War II and the role of the Soviet Union, i.e. the Red Army, in liberating Europe from Nazi invaders,” said Botsan-Kharchenko.

On the Tanjug’s comment that after the Washington Agreement, there was a lot of speculation about “disturbed” relations between Belgrade and Moscow, which he himself has repeatedly denied, and the question of whether everything is fine in the relations between the two countries and whether the local public can only be convinced by the visit of Vladimir Putin, Botsan-Kharchenko reiterates that there are no disturbances and that the political relations between the two countries are developing in the best way.

As he says, this is proved by frequent telephone conversations between Presidents Putin and Vucic, which each time give a new impetus and guidelines for further development of relations between the two countries. 

He said that “it is important how many times they talked, but it is even more important that it was a long and meaningful conversation”. He pointed out that there was no stalemate in any area of bilateral cooperation between Serbia and Russia, regardless of the difficulties and limitations caused by the corona virus pandemic, and that all key projects such as the construction of the Stara Pazova-Novi Sad high-speed railway are progressing. 

He emphasized the importance of the gas pipeline project through Serbia and expressed hope that it would be completed at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. “It will give new content to our cooperation in the field of energy,” he said adding that there are other jobs, such is a contract for the delivery of gas, increasing the capacity of Banatski Dvor. 

“I would also like to single out cooperation in the field of high technologies, primarily the use of nuclear energy for peacetime purposes, i.e. the application of nuclear technologies in medicine, agriculture, and industry,” Botsan-Kharchenko stated.

Commenting on the ingrained opinion that the development of relations between Belgrade and Washington is “not pleasant” for Moscow and vice versa, the ambassador noted that Russia has its own agenda and it does not compete, rather develops relations that are of mutual interest.

“As for the content, perspective and orientation towards the future, the relations between Serbia and Russia exceed the relations between Serbia and many countries. The most important thing is to implement what has been agreed and what contributes to the development of the economy, the living standard of the citizens, political relations,” said Botsan-Kharchenko.

Asked whether and when Putin can be expected to visit Serbia, the ambassador said that the visit was planned and confirmed several times in talks between the Serbian and Russian presidents, but that no formal date had been set yet. 

“It was wrongly stated that the visit was canceled. That is not even close to reality. The visit has been confirmed, but a suitable moment is awaited. The situation in Russia should be considered, especially when it comes to the epidemic that is flaring up, as everywhere else. There is no doubt that President Putin will come to Serbia,” Botsan -Kharchenko said.

When asked how he views the composition of the new Serbian government and whether there are solutions that are a surprise to him, such as the energy department, he stressed that Russia will cooperate with all members of the new government and is ready to develop relations and implement agreed plans.

“When it comes to concrete solutions, we cooperated with most of the candidates for ministers when they were in other positions, developing active and diverse relations, which gives us the opportunity to continue in the best way,” Botsan -Kharchenko said.

Serb household in Plemetina village, near Obilic robbed (Radio KIM)

A household of Veljko Vuksanovic in the village of Plemetina near Obilic had been robbed, and unknown perpetrators took away valuable parts of the agricultural equipment and tools, Radio KIM reports.

“The robbery took place around 3 a.m.”, Vuksanovic told RTS, adding that four masked persons took part in it. Batteries from five tractors, 1,000 liters of oil, 500 liters of motor oil, a chainsaw, a welding machine and other electric tools were stolen.

Vuksanovic also said “that surveillance cameras recorded everything and it is now up to the police to shed light on who the perpetrators were”.

The Vuksanovic family cultivates 50 hectares of land and it is the main source of their incomes.

President of the Interim Municipal Council in Obilic, Goran Dancetovic told RTS this is the fifth incident in this municipality, adding he has the impression these were synchronized attacks and Serbs have lost trust in the police.

“I would like them to refute us, and at least find perpetrators of a single criminal act”, he said.

Meanwhile, Radio KIM reported that over the night yet another burglary took place in the same village and a vehicle belonging to Miodrag Danic had been stolen. 

Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Petar Petkovic reacting to the thefts and earlier incidents that took place in Obilic municipality said “the attacks against the Serbs are part of an organized campaign to intimidate Serbian people”. 

Zais: Experts of US Energy department working on the Gazivode Lake feasibility study (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)

A feasibility study on the management of Lake Gazivode is being prepared, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy Matthew Zais told Tanjug news agency. 

The delegation headed by Zais recently visited Pristina and Belgrade.

“Our technical team and political experts have started an important dialogue with the relevant ministries, energy suppliers, water resources managers and the business community. We expect these talks to continue in the coming weeks,” Zais explained.

He reminded that the delegation visited Pristina and Belgrade only a month after the last visit of US President Donald Trump’s envoy for dialogue Richard Grenell, which was a sign that the US wanted to help the two sides to implement the Washington Agreement on Normalization of Economic Relations.

Zais said the delegation had very constructive talks in Pristina and Belgrade.

As he said, the delegation was focused on finding solutions for efficient management of water reserves and a solution to the wider energy diversification. 

“Our technical team is currently working on the analysis of the collected data in order to prepare a feasibility study for the management of lake resources, and we are focused on solutions for energy diversification for both Pristina and Belgrade,” Zais emphasized.

Asked if he saw readiness for the implementation of the Washington Agreement, he pointed out that the delegation was warmly welcomed by the hosts in Pristina and Belgrade.

Also, when asked if the delegation had proposals on specific projects, he said that their Ministry of Energy remains focused on the diversification of energy sources, routes and suppliers, as well as the necessary energy transition.

“Our focus is on helping Pristina and Belgrade manage their energy resources in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible for the benefit of citizens,” Zais said.

He stated that the delegation is currently focused on fulfilling President Trump’s commitment in making a feasibility study on the efficient use of the Lake Gazivode.

“We are also focused on providing energy solutions for the region that would benefit citizens, as well as on identifying different suppliers and routes, and interconnecting the Balkans,” Zais concluded.

 

 

International

 

Troubled Relationship: Kosovo’s Thaci and the Hague War Crimes Court (Balkan Insight)

Hashim Thaci initially argued for the establishment of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, but as he faces possible indictment for war crimes, he has now been accused of attempting to obstruct and undermine it.

President Hashim Thaci’s uneasy relationship with the Kosovo Specialist Chambers has gone through many phases over the past five years.

Accusations from the prosecution in The Hague last week that Thaci has been seeking to undermine the ‘Special Court’ are only the latest chapter in a story that has seen him go from advocate to critic.

See at: https://bit.ly/3oyDu1w

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

COVID-19 Surges as South-East Europe Heads for Winter (Balkan Insight)

Coronavirus infections have been increasing across south-east Europe as winter approaches, putting healthcare systems under pressure, but most countries have not opted for strict lockdowns so far.

With the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases continuing to grow in south-east Europe, there are growing concerns about the ability of healthcare systems in various countries to deal with the increased burden.

Some countries have been imposing tougher measures to curb the spread of the virus, but most have not yet announced complete lockdowns.

See at: https://bit.ly/31LEDJw

RYCO: Youth policies should be high on the reform agendas of the Western Balkan governments (EWB)

TIRANA – Young people are now facing different challenges compared to those they were facing before the coronavirus outbreak, it was said during the tenth meeting of the RYCO Governing Board, stated in a press release.

RYCO Governing Board discussed the organization’s plans and activities with a special focus on the current situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chair of the RYCO Governing Board for 2020, recently appointed Director of Agency for Youth and Sport of North Macedonia, Naumče Mojsovski opened the meeting and underlined that this is the first time the Governing Board is meeting in an online format due to the on-going pandemic.

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

Albanian Children to be Returned from Syrian Refugee Camps (Balkan Insight)

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said that secret negotiations have secured the return from Syria of several of the children of Islamic State fighters from Albania after years spent in refugee camps.

Edi Rama announced on Monday that negotiations mediated by the Syrian Red Crescent have secured the imminent return of four Albanian children who have been trapped in refugee camps in Syria for years, as well as one of their mothers.

See at: https://bit.ly/31OwuE9

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