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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, November 2, 2020

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, November 2, 2020

Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19 report: Nine deaths, 486 new cases (media)
• Minister Zemaj warns anti-coronavirus measures may be toughened (media)
• Thaci: If no recognition proposal, dialogue destined to fail (media)
• Hoti urges Bosnia to lift visa regime and open liaison office (media)
• Kosovo FM Haradinaj-Stublla sets on official visit to Germany (media)
• Osmani: Government to reveal what it agreed in Brussels about missing persons (Koha)
• Selmanaj: Full integration happens when communities act within legitimate institutions (Klan)
• “Government’s attempt to dissolve anti-corruption task force failed” (Telegrafi)

Serbian Language Media:

• 41 new cases of Covid-19 registered in Serb areas in Kosovo on Saturday (Radio KIM)
• Borrell: Thaci’s proposal to change mandate of SC and SPO beyond Kosovo legal obligations towards EU (KoSSev)
• Vucic spoke at panel of young leaders forum, Zaev and Rama participate as well (RTS)
• Metropolitan Amfilohije buried on Sunday, numerous reactions to his death (KoSSev)
• Godfrey: Whoever wins elections, Serbia will remain important to Washington (N1)
• Four candidates for Mitrovica North mayoral elections (Kontakt plus radio)
• CEC still has no instructions of Kosovo Public Health Institute regarding elections in two municipalities (Radio Mitrovica sever)
• Serbian List reacts to Jablanovic’s statements (Kosovo-online)
• United opposition: EU must help us force government to ensure freedom of media (BETA, N1)

Opinion:

• Albanian Americans and Trump: An empty friendship (Prishtina Insight)

International:

• US Election Splits Central Europe (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Government tighten COVID-19 measures (Prishtina Insight)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19 report: Nine deaths, 486 new cases (media)
  • Minister Zemaj warns anti-coronavirus measures may be toughened (media)
  • Thaci: If no recognition proposal, dialogue destined to fail (media)
  • Hoti urges Bosnia to lift visa regime and open liaison office (media)
  • Kosovo FM Haradinaj-Stublla sets on official visit to Germany (media)
  • Osmani: Government to reveal what it agreed in Brussels about missing persons (Koha)
  • Selmanaj: Full integration happens when communities act within legitimate institutions (Klan)
  • “Government’s attempt to dissolve anti-corruption task force failed” (Telegrafi)

Serbian Language Media:

  • 41 new cases of Covid-19 registered in Serb areas in Kosovo on Saturday (Radio KIM)
  • Borrell: Thaci’s proposal to change mandate of SC and SPO beyond Kosovo legal obligations towards EU (KoSSev)
  • Vucic spoke at panel of young leaders forum, Zaev and Rama participate as well (RTS)
  • Metropolitan Amfilohije buried on Sunday, numerous reactions to his death (KoSSev)
  • Godfrey: Whoever wins elections, Serbia will remain important to Washington (N1)
  • Four candidates for Mitrovica North mayoral elections (Kontakt plus radio)
  • CEC still has no instructions of Kosovo Public Health Institute regarding elections in two municipalities (Radio Mitrovica sever)
  • Serbian List reacts to Jablanovic’s statements (Kosovo-online)
  • United opposition: EU must help us force government to ensure freedom of media (BETA, N1)

Opinion:

  • Albanian Americans and Trump: An empty friendship (Prishtina Insight)

International:

  • US Election Splits Central Europe (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Government tighten COVID-19 measures (Prishtina Insight)

 

 

Albanian Language Media 

 

COVID-19 report: Nine deaths, 486 new cases (media) 

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health said in a statement today that nine deaths and 486 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the last 24 hours.

30 patients have recovered from the virus during this time. The highest number of new infections remains in the municipality of Prishtina (165).

Health Minister Armend Zemaj and the Director of Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health Naser Ramadani, said in a joint statement that the epidemiological situation in Kosovo is serious and has a tendency to deteriorate. They said further measures could be introduced to protect public health of Kosovo citizens.

Minister Zemaj warns anti-coronavirus measures may be toughened (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Health Armend Zemaj said that the recently introduced measures against COVID-19 could be toughened if the situation worsens in the coming period.

In a meeting with ambassadors and representatives of international organisations in Kosovo, Zemaj said the current measures will be reassessed in two weeks’ time.

“We agreed that the measures that are in force as of today should be rigorously adhered to, there needs to be increased caution from all our citizens as well as foreign nationals living and working in our country,” Zemaj said in a Facebook post. 

Thaci: If no recognition proposal, dialogue destined to fail (media)

President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said today that dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia will not have meaning if it doesn’t contain provision for mutual recognition.

“I have reiterated that the way this dialogue is taking place makes no sense. If the proposal for recognition is not put at the table, the process is failed and the way it’s going is in Serbia’s favour,” Thaci told reporters.

Hoti urges Bosnia to lift visa regime and open liaison office (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti has urged authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to lift the visa regime for citizens of Kosovo and move towards opening respective liaison offices. In a telephone conversation with the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic, Hoti expressed the readiness of the Kosovo Government to deepen cooperation in the field of education and culture. 

“Prime Minister Hoti thanked Mr. Dzaferovic for his initiative to recognise Republic of Kosovo by Bosnia and Herzegovina and requested him to continue efforts for removal of visa regime for the citizens of Kosovo as soon as possible to enable free movement of persons, goods and capital between the two countries,” a press release issued by the Government of Kosovo states. 

Kosovo FM Haradinaj-Stublla sets on official visit to Germany (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla has travelled for an official visit to Germany, on invitation from the country’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. 

“Today Minister Haradinaj-Stublla will meet senior officials from the Chancellor’s Office, the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Communication/Transport and Digitalisation, while tomorrow she will be received by her counterpart, Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Heiko Maas,” a statement issued by the Kosovo’s ministry said.

During the visit, Haradinaj-Stublla is expected to discuss Kosovo’s relations with Germany, Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, and political developments in the region.

Osmani: Government to reveal what it agreed in Brussels about missing persons (Koha)

Kosovo Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani has addressed three points to the Government of Kosovo relating to problems of Albanians in the northern municipalities of Kosovo and the obstacles they face in reconstruction of their homes.

Osmani said that the EU  officials have confirmed that Kosovo and Serbia have agreed to a draft version of an agreement on missing persons and the displaced persons. “We have our objections on putting the issue of missing persons and the displaced into one text,” she said calling on the Government of Kosovo to submit to the Assembly the text agreed upon in Brussels as soon as possible.

Osmani further noted that she believed the adoption of the budget should be conditioned with allocation of funds for economic and reconstruction projects for Albanians in the north.

“Thirdly, if we want to do more, we need to condition the voting of each law that comes here from the government with a government’s decision to prevent further construction in the north of Kosovo which she said is part of Serbia’s ‘colonisation’ efforts. 

Selmanaj: Full integration happens when communities act within legitimate institutions (Klan)

Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister Driton Selmanaj said at the Assembly session called to discuss problems of Albanians living in the north of Kosovo that the Government is committed in making progress in the reconstruction of houses in that area and has even allocated funds for this purpose.

He did admit however that no real progress has been made to date but that there are plans to move forward with the construction of houses in the Kroi i Vitakut and Kodra e Minatoreve neighbourhoods. 

Selmanaj said full integration can happen only when communities live together freely and act in an organised way within legitimate institutions. “Implementation of principles of the European Charter for Local [Self] Government will be the main pillar of work on which the vision of local government in Kosovo rests.”

“Government’s attempt to dissolve anti-corruption task force failed” (Telegrafi)

Ehat Miftaraj from the Kosovo’s Institute for Justice said that the Government’s attempt to dissolve the anti-corruption task force that investigated high-profile cases of corruption has failed and that this is “extremely good news.” 

“The pressure from the civil society and ally countries forced Prime Minister Hoti and Minister Veliu to back down from the unlawful initiative,” Miftaraj said in a Facebook post. 

“Most probably in the coming weeks and months the reprisal towards certain Task Force officials will be intensified and the initiation of criminal prosecution and disciplinary actions to this end are not ruled out,” he warned concluding that the lesson learnt in this time is that many experts delegated the fight against corruption and organised crime to only one mechanism – the Task Force. 

“Many of them did not ‘understand’ at all that according to the Constitution and the law it is the State Prosecutor the authority that should be commended when there are results and be held accountable for the lack of them in the field of organised crime and corruption.”

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

41 new cases of Covid-19 registered in Serb areas in Kosovo on Saturday (Radio KIM)

41 new cases of Covid-19 infection were registered in the Serb-populated areas in Kosovo, Crisis Committee of Mitrovica North announced on Saturday, Radio KIM reports.

Out of 124 tested samples, 41 were positive. 30 new cases have been registered in the four northern municipalities, while the remaining 11 were registered in the Serb areas south of the Ibar River.

The breakdown of new cases is as follows: 12 in Mitrovica North, 10 in Zvecan, six in Gracanica, five in Zubin Potok, three in Leposavic, two in Kamenica, two in Gnjilane and one in Lipljan.

Also, according to the latest information ten people have recovered, including three in Kamenica, two each in Mitrovica North, Zvecan and Gnjilane and one in Strpce.

11 people are hospitalized at the Clinical Health Center in Mitrovica North, while 113 persons are staying in house isolation, which makes the total number of active cases at 124.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic a total of 5.193 people have been tested, and 1.154 people were positive on Covid-19.

A total of 38 persons passed away in the Serb-populated areas due to Covid-19 complications.  

Borrell: Thaci’s proposal to change mandate of SC and SPO beyond Kosovo legal obligations towards EU (KoSSev)

Proposal of President Hashim Thaci to amend part of the Kosovo Constitution relating to the mandate of the Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutors Office was submitted to the Kosovo Assembly beyond legal procedures Kosovo undertook by exchange of letters between the European Union and Kosovo President, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in his submission to the panel of the Constitutional Court at the Specialist Chambers in the Hague, KoSSev portal reports.  

Thaci requested earlier amendments of the article 162, paragraphs 13 and 14 relating to the mandate of the Specialists Chambers. He proposed paragraph 14 to be removed from the Constitution and paragraph 13 be amended.  

Paragraph 14 reads 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.

Paragraph 13 according to Thaci’s proposal 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 Kosovo”, Borrell said in his submission.

Borrell further said proposed mandate, if adopted in its proposed form, would affect the court proceedings resulting from the work of the Special Investigation Task Force because it would remove the reference to the Law No. 04/L-274 on ratification of exchanged letters on establishing the EULEX Mission and later on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutors Office.

This Law has been ratified at the Kosovo Assembly, thus represents an international obligation of Kosovo, Borrell further said.

“However, there were no consultations with the Head of EULEX Mission in Kosovo and President of Kosovo, prior to sending the proposed amendments to the Assembly Chairperson, on August 24, 2020 which runs contrary to the above mentioned legal obligations that should have been respected in line with Article 19 (2) of the Constitution, which stipulates that “ratified international agreements and legally binding norms of the international law have supremacy over the Kosovo laws”, was said in submission.

That is why, the court should not even consider the constitutionality of the proposed amendments of the Kosovo Constitution, conclusion reads.

Vucic spoke at panel of young leaders forum, Zaev and Rama participate as well (RTS)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the region could become a significant factor only through cooperation, because only together we could overcome all the challenges, including current Covid-19 pandemic, RTS reports.

Vucic made these remarks speaking at an online panel of the Young Leaders Forum. North Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama also took part, while Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic cancelled his participation.

Rama expressed belief that Vucic, Zaev and other leaders in the region would be ready to consider forming joint funds for the young people. Zaev stressed that young people should actively take part in this, as he termed it, “the restart of regional cooperation”.

Vucic further noted that the three countries were too tiny and only through cooperation and connection they may achieve more significant results in the economy and building the future. He added it is important to cooperate not only in the area of economy, but also in other areas such as health.

He also spoke about the “Mini-Schengen” initiative saying it would boost entrepreneurship in the region, help start-up businesses and it is good for young people.

“We need to cooperate in the area of education, and there is already cooperation in the development of infrastructure and trade”, he added.  

“This is all good for young people who can plan a better future and be part of this large initiative”. 

Metropolitan Amfilohije buried on Sunday, numerous reactions to his death (KoSSev)

The Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, Amfilohije passed away on Friday at the Clinical Hospital Center of Montenegro, where he has been receiving treatment since the beginning of October, when he tested positive for coronavirus, KoSSev portal reports.

Although he tested negative to the virus more than ten days ago, Amfilohije suffered from long-term pneumonia. The Metropolitan’s remains were initially transferred to the Cetinje Monastery on Saturday, where a liturgy was held in the morning, after which his remains were transferred to the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica.

A large number of people arrived in Cetinje on Friday and Saturday. In Podgorica, the doctors and medical staff of the Clinical Center escorted the Metropolitan’s remains. People are lighting candles in his memory throughout Montenegro and the region.

The Metropolitan’s remains were transferred to the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica, where the funeral service was served on Sunday by Patriarch Irinej.

Reactions to Amfilohije’s death both from the region and the world were numerous.

Kiril: Amfilohije is still a torch, burning and glowing

Russian Patriarch Kiril expressed his condolences, noting that Amfilohije would remain “a torch, burning and glowing, as a gifted theologian and an inspired preacher, a fearless defender of the Holy Church of Christ before the tyrants of his age“.

The Russian Patriarch also reminded of the life of Metropolitan Amfilohije, “as well as the role he played in the fight for the preservation of holy sites in Montenegro“.

Irinej: A great figure is gone

“This is one of the saddest days for our Church. It is a great loss and great sorrow. A good man and a great theologian is gone. We did not expect that, we hoped that everything would end well. May God give him eternal bliss. We have been deprived of a great figure“, Patriarch Irinej said in a statement for Nova.rs.

When hooligans set fire to our mosque Amfilohije stood in front of the unbridled mass

Muslim leader in Serbia Mustafa Jusufspahic expressed his condolences as well, while reminding Amifolohije’s role in preventing revenge attacks against mosques in Serbia, following March riots in Kosovo in 2004.

“When the hooligans set fire to our mosque and when there was a lack of smart and wise heads, then the respected and brave Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, Amfilohije Radovic, stood in front of the unbridled mass, defending the good from evil in all of us. We belong to God and shall return to Him. Heartfelt condolences”, Jusufspahic wrote on Twitter.

Abbot of Visoki Decani Father Sava wrote on Twitter that “Met. Amfilohije was always a man of action. He joined students’ protest against Milošević regime; he gathered people to defend the Belgrade mosque in the aftermath of #Kosovo Albanian pogrom against Serbs in 2004; he had a leading role in toppling Djukanovic regime in #Montenegro”.

See more at: https://bit.ly/35WjnBX

Godfrey: Whoever wins elections, Serbia will remain important to Washington (N1)

Antony Godfrey, the US Ambassador to Serbia said Friday he was sure Serbia and the entire region would be still essential to Washington regardless of who would be the next president of the United States, N1 reports.

He told B92 website the US presidential elections on November 3 were exciting but added his country had “almost 250 years of experience as a nation”.

“We continue to strive to our ideals, but I’m convinced in the power of our republic”, Godfrey said, adding the embassy in Belgrade would continue to work on the development of the US-Serbia relations, regardless of the US elections outcome.

Earlier on Friday, Godfrey met Serbian new Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selakovic, who said the relations between the two countries reached “a positive dynamic”.

Asked to describe the current relations between the two countries, the ambassador said they were “excellent, but not good enough”, adding they were going back to “the level of closeness” as they were before the time of Serbian strongman, late Slobodan Milosevic.

Speaking about the problems in the relationship, Godfrey said he did not see them, but saw a lot of energy “focused on solving the challenges”.

“That includes the unsolved relations between Serbia and Kosovo. It’s a difficult issue, but I hope we all can agree that everyone needs progress, prosperity and long-lasting stability”, Godfrey said.

Four candidates for Mitrovica North mayoral elections (Kontakt plus radio)

The Office for Political Party Registration and Certification confirmed it has received four applications for certification of political subjects and candidates for Mitrovica North mayoral elections, Nenad Rikalo from Central Election Commission told Kontakt plus radio.

The candidates include Milan Radojevic from Serbian List, Dusan Milunovic independent candidate, Florent Azemi from PDK and Erden Atiq from Self-determination Movement.

Rikalo also said the municipal election commission was established and commenced its work on October 27. Commission consists of nine members, including representatives of the political parties and members who have experience from previous elections.

The extraordinary mayoral elections in Mitrovica North are set to take place on November 29. Election campaign would start on November 12 and end on November 27

CEC still has no instructions of Kosovo Public Health Institute regarding elections in two municipalities (Radio Mitrovica sever)

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has not yet received instructions from health institutions regarding the measures they should take for the election process in North Mitrovica and Podujevo, Radio Mitrovica sever reports citing Pristina-based.

According to CEC spokesperson Valmir Elezi, this institution was waiting for a response from the Ministry of Health and Kosovo Institute of Public Health.

He added that CEC was instructed to organize and hold elections as per decree of Kosovo President Hashim Thaci “in coordination with relevant institutions and the Law on combating Covid-19 pandemic. In this regard, CEC has asked the Ministry of Health and National Institute of Public Health of Kosovo for instructions and advice on measures to be taken in the organization of these elections, and we are waiting for their answers”, Elezi said.

In the last two meetings, CEC also talked about enabling the voting for all citizens with the right to vote, who may be infected and, accordingly, would not be able to go to their polling station, because they must be isolated, Elezi added.

Serbian List reacts to Jablanovic’s statements (Kosovo-online)

Serbian List (SL) reacted to the statements Aleksandar Javlanovic gave for Radio Free Europe relating to the mayoral elections in Mitrovica North, by saying they were happy that four candidates will run for mayor of Mitrovica North, since “it refutes the best Jablanovic’s lies about the lack of democracy and political pluralism”, Kosovo-online portal reported. SL also said that 100 signatures were needed for candidacy, “more than his family party won in previous elections”.

As the statement further said “Serbian List, as the largest and only true political organization of the Serbian people, once again put forth quality, responsible and capable candidate in the elections for mayor of North Mitrovica, who will subjugate his work to the interests of citizens”.

“If we know that only a year ago, in the early parliamentary elections, Serbian List won 53,861 votes in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, and the family party Jablanovic won 816 votes, and in the municipality of Mitrovica North the Serbian List had 7,444 votes, and Jablanovic only 63 votes, it is easy to conclude that the Jablanovics, by deciding not to participate in the elections in the municipality of Mitrovica North, in fact saved themselves from another political debacle”, SL said. 

United opposition: EU must help us force government to ensure freedom of media (BETA, N1)

Serbian united opposition said it expects that the representatives of the European Union will join its efforts, as well as the pressure coming from citizens, to force the Serbian Government to respect the Constitution and the laws and enable the freedom of the media, BETA news agency reports.

The last time when the citizens entered the building of their public service, we got informed about it on N1 television, leader of the Democratic Party (DS), Zoran Lutovac said, stressing that Serbia is a “captured state in which all media are also captured”.

Those who run public broadcaster, RTS, are “the guards of captured professional journalism”, he said.

Playwright and vice president of the Peoples’ Party, Sinisa Kovacevic, said that RTS has two tasks – if it is an informative program to tell the truth, and if it is not informative to make a good program. He pointed out that RTS and other televisions with a national frequency must be open to presenting different opinions.

Psychologist Zarko Trebjesanin said that he used to be a member of the RTS Management Board and there are journalists who want to do their job professionally, but that they are “captured just like the truth is captured in Serbia”.

See at: https://bit.ly/35Q23i8

 

 

Opinion

 

Albanian Americans and Trump: An empty friendship (Prishtina Insight)

By: Hana Marku

To support Trump as an Albanian is to turn your back on our own struggle for equality – a struggle we should remember as a people who have experienced segregated schools and workplaces, discriminatory laws, police crackdowns and ethnic cleansing.

Few Kosovars can forget the image of their Prime Minister, Avdullah Hoti, seated like a schoolboy in front of US President Donald Trump in the White House in September, as Trump yelled on speakerphone with a disembodied Bibi Netanyahu on the line.

Hoti may wish to forget that he agreed to abandon Kosovo’s pursuit for membership in international organizations in return for promised recognition from Israel, but Trump has not forgotten.

In a series of campaign appearances over the last week, Trump has claimed that his administration had brought an end to the Kosovo war, despite its resolution more than 20 years ago.

See at: https://bit.ly/380iqeI

 

 

International

 

US Election Splits Central Europe (Balkan Insight)

Hungary’s Orban and Poland’s Kaczynski have openly hitched their wagons to Trump’s extreme brand of populism, but the Czechs and Slovaks would welcome more predictable policy out of Washington.

Donald Trump has spent the past four years sowing division across the globe. The man hoping to replace him as US president could bring more of the same to Central Europe.

A virus-ravaged world can’t tear its eyes away as the US heads into perhaps its most viciously-fought election. What would it mean for the populists of the Visegrad Four (V4) region if Trump is deposed by Joe Biden on November 3?

The Democrat frontrunner has made no secret of where he stands on the region, which although dominated by populist governments, is split down the middle.

On one side, despite some concerns, Czechia and Slovakia remain liberal democracies and their governments would welcome more predictable policy in Washington. However, a Biden presidency would be bad news for the regimes of Viktor Orban in Hungary and Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Poland, which have openly hitched their wagons to his rival’s extreme brand of populism.

See at: https://bit.ly/3ehrP2B

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Government tighten COVID-19 measures (Prishtina Insight)

Freedom of movement restrictions have been placed on over 65s, while bars, restaurants and coffee shops have had their working hours limited further in a bid to manage the spread of COVID-19.

A government decision taken at an electronic meeting on Sunday has introduced a number of new measures designed to protect Kosovo from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Freedom of movement restrictions have been applied to over 65s, who are now permitted to leave the house only between 06:00-10:00 and 16:00-19.00. Outside of this schedule, the right to go outside is only extended to those with health needs.

Businesses providing gastronomic services, including bars, restaurants and coffee shops, have had their working hours reduced. These businesses are now prohibited from operating between 21:00 and 05:00, except for takeaway services, while shopping malls are also prohibited from operating during these hours.

All higher education institutions, both private and public are now obliged to conduct all teaching online. However, the student dormitories and cafeteria will remain open and exams and laboratory work will continue in line with Ministry of Health guidelines.

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

 

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