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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, February 26, 2021

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, February 26, 2021

Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: Five dead, 445 new cases (media)
• Stricter implementation of measures to prevent increase in COVID cases (media)
• Lajcak to visit Kosovo on March 1 (media)
• Rugova: There are tendencies to impose a new LDK leader (media)
• Ineffective justice for attacks on journalists (Radio Free Europe)
• “Government to prepare strategy against Russia’s malign operations” (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Vucic: Serbia will continue to aid Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija (Kosovo-online)
• EU spokesman denies Lajcak bringing ultimatum to Belgrade (N1)
• Lajcak to visit Pristina and Belgrade next week (Radio KIM)
• Drecun: Lajcak pushed ZSO aside; story on non-paper appears who knows how many times (RTS)
• Selakovic says lack of EU’s reaction on “Great Albania” statements doesn’t help building trust (N1)
• One more protest held in Gracanica (RTV KIM)
• Zakharova: Agreement between Belgrade and Pristina shouldn’t be forced, rhetoric of Kosovo Albanians concerning (Kosovo-online)
• Petkovic replies to Osmani over map issue (Kosovo-online, social media)

Opinion:

• Kosovan abyss (KoSSev)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Serbia tightens anti-epidemic measures (N1)
• Half million doses of Chinese vaccines to be delivered to Serbia (B92)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: Five dead, 445 new cases (media)
  • Stricter implementation of measures to prevent increase in COVID cases (media)
  • Lajcak to visit Kosovo on March 1 (media)
  • Rugova: There are tendencies to impose a new LDK leader (media)
  • Ineffective justice for attacks on journalists (Radio Free Europe)
  • “Government to prepare strategy against Russia’s malign operations” (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Vucic: Serbia will continue to aid Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija (Kosovo-online)
  • EU spokesman denies Lajcak bringing ultimatum to Belgrade (N1)
  • Lajcak to visit Pristina and Belgrade next week (Radio KIM)
  • Drecun: Lajcak pushed ZSO aside; story on non-paper appears who knows how many times (RTS)
  • Selakovic says lack of EU’s reaction on “Great Albania” statements doesn’t help building trust (N1)
  • One more protest held in Gracanica (RTV KIM)
  • Zakharova: Agreement between Belgrade and Pristina shouldn’t be forced, rhetoric of Kosovo Albanians concerning (Kosovo-online)
  • Petkovic replies to Osmani over map issue (Kosovo-online, social media)

Opinion:

  • Kosovan abyss (KoSSev)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Serbia tightens anti-epidemic measures (N1)
  • Half million doses of Chinese vaccines to be delivered to Serbia (B92)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

COVID-19: Five dead, 445 new cases (media)

445 new cases of COVID-19 and five deaths from the virus were recorded in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 264 patients have recovered from the virus during this time.

Stricter implementation of measures to prevent increase in COVID cases (media)

Kosovo’s caretaker Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti met today with Health Minister Armend Zemaj and representatives of Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health and Kosovo’s University Hospital Service. With the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, several recommendations were made for a stricter implementation of measures aimed at preventing the further spread of the virus. The Ministry of Health is meanwhile waiting for the first contingent of anti COVID vaccines and implementing the vaccination strategy throughout the territory of the republic. Some news websites highlight that the National Institute for Public Health has recommended new stricter measures to be introduced.

Gerxhaliu: Support private sector; Kosovo risks social pandemic (EO)

Safet Gerxhaliu, former chairman of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview with the news website that economic recovery in Kosovo requires political stability and unity.

Arguing against another possible lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Gerxhaliu said: “I believe it will be very difficult to convince the people and businesses for another lockdown. A lockdown is not a solution. Kosovo has suffered from the pandemic especially in the economic aspect. While other countries in the region were in a race on how to support businesses and protect people and help them financially and socially, in Kosovo there was a domination of political agendas rather than plans on how to minimise the negative impact. There could be new measures in place but it would be fatal for Kosovo’s economy to introduce another lockdown. After the economic pandemic, Kosovo will face a social pandemic too.”

Lajcak to visit Kosovo on March 1 (media)

European Union Special Representative for the Kosovo – Serbia dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, will visit Kosovo on March 1, most news websites report. Lajcak will begin his visit to the Western Balkans in Kosovo where he will stay on March 1 – 3, and then visit Serbia on March 3 – 4. He is also scheduled to visit Montenegro too. Lajcak is to meet political leaders in all three countries of the Western Balkans and representatives of the European Union.

Rugova: There are tendencies to impose a new LDK leader (media)

Naser Rugova, member of the General Council of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), called on the resigned chairmanship today to stay away from the election of the new party leader and new structures. According to Rugova, the previous chairmanship has tendencies to impose a new party leader “by improvising or recycling people that brought the LDK its worst defeat in the elections”. He further argued that this would only further damage the LDK, especially in the new municipal elections.

Ineffective justice for attacks on journalists (Radio Free Europe)

The news website reports that in June last year, in Mitrovica, Shkumbin Kajtazi, a journalist of Reporteri, while sitting in a cafe, was invited by Kosovo Police officers, who told him that there was a suspected attempt to set his car on fire. Kajtazi told Radio Free Europe that the police and a prosecutor had gone to the site and they saw that gasoline had been thrown on his car, but that the suspects had not managed to set it on fire. Kajtazi said investigations into the case continued and that the prosecution has already filed an indictment against one person. But this was only the first attack on the journalist. In October last year, his car came under attack by firearms. 

Besim Kelmendi, a prosecutor with the Office of State Prosecutor, told the news website that the attacks against Kajtazi are among over 35 cases filed during 2020 in the prosecutor’s office as attacks and threats against journalists. “From this total number, indictments were filed for five cases. In 14 cases, criminal proceedings did not start at all, because the journalists did not report the cases to the police or the prosecutor’s office or, simply, the prosecutor did not find elements of a criminal offense. Whereas, for 17 other cases, there are procedures to verify information. For some, the investigation has begun and is expected to be completed and, then we will know if indictments will be filed or if the investigations will be terminated,” Kelmendi said. 

Valon Syla, a journalist and director of Metro news website, was attacked in the middle of the street in Prishtina in December last year. The Basic Court of Prishtina said in January that it had fined the attacker with €4,500.

Gentiana Begolli, president of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AGK), told the news website that there is an increase in threats and attacks, whether verbal or physical, against journalists. She said this is argued by the number of cases submitted to association in the last three years.

Ehat Miftaraj, from the Prishtina-based Kosovo Institute of Justice, said in an interview with the news website that while in the past there were only threats against journalists through social networks or various forms, now the people are seeing that journalists are attacked in the streets and beaten. He further argued that attacks on journalists have gone from isolated cases to a phenomenon.

RFE reports that the latest case of physical attack on a journalist in Kosovo was recorded on the night between 24 and 25 February year, in Fushë Kosovë. Visar Duriqi, journalist of the online portal Insajderi, was physically attacked by three unknown persons and as a result his teeth and nose were broken.

“Government to prepare strategy against Russia’s malign operations” (media)

During a roundtable on “Russia’s information war against Kosovo: Political background and manifestation” in Prishtina today it was said that Moscow’s diplomatic war against Kosovo is causing its damages in international politics. Panelists discussed Russian intervention in Kosovo and called on local institutions to prepare a strategy to respond to disinformation coming from Russia.

KIPRED Executive Director Lulzim Peci, referring to Kai Eide’s report adopted by the United Nations Security Council in 2005 which paved way to addressing Kosovo’s final status, said that if Kosovo would have remained part of Serbia, “this would have been marked as Russia’s diplomatic victory”. “On the other hand, if the West would have opposed this and opted for Kosovo’s independence, Russia would have used this as a precedent with universal implications and would use it to pursue its territorial interests in neighboring countries,” he said.

Peci said that Russia was continuing to play the role of trying to get its “merits” in the Western Balkans through Serbia. “The results of the alliance between Russia and Serbia in relation to Kosovo became apparent in October 2017 when Surinami announced it had revoked the recognition of Kosovo’s independence,” he said. 

Peci also mentioned the role of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov against Kosovo in 2018 when he called for a stop to the violence and vandalism against Serbs and religious sites when in fact none of them was happening in reality. “With these actions, Lavrov was tiyrng to present Kosovo as a country where there is violence against Serbs even in the institutions,” he added.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Vucic: Serbia will continue to aid Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija (Kosovo-online)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in a meeting today informed Serb representatives from Kosovo and Metohija about the situation ahead of the EU Special Envoy Miroslav Lajcak’s visit to Belgrade, adding Serbia would provide significant financial aid to the Serbian people in Kosovo and continue investment in important projects, Kosovo-online portal reports.

“We spoke about how it goes, what problems we face, security issues in Kosovo and Metohija, but also about concrete projects”, Vucic said after the meeting in Kursumlija.

He confirmed the projects include reconstruction of Clinical Hospital Center in Gracanica, paving of Mitrovica North-Jarinje high-way, reconstruction of University building in Mitrovica North worth EUR 7 million.

He also announced those unemployed would receive EUR 200 financial aid each, while every child and every person would get additional EUR 100.

“It means that a five-member family would get as a gift, if there are two employed adults – 500 euros, while if there are two unemployed persons with three children then they would get 700 euros from the state of Serbia as a gift”, Vucic said.

He once again thanked Serbian people in Kosovo for demonstrating, as he said, unity in elections in Kosovo, as they understood this was the only way to fight for their interests there.

“If 43.800 votes went to Serbian List, and those position as second, who attempted to bring division among the Serbian people, scored 1.300 votes, it is clear what the difference was like and how big support to the Serbian List is as well as support to the unity and togetherness with Serbia”, Vucic said.

He also said “despite some investing lots of money in attempts to divide the Serbian people, since Albanian political leaders wanted that, they didn’t succeed”.

EU spokesman denies Lajcak bringing ultimatum to Belgrade (N1)

European Union spokesman Peter Stano denied reports presented in Belgrade-based daily yesterday that EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak was bringing an ultimatum or non-paper to Belgrade to force the Serbian authorities recognize Kosovo, N1 reports.

“Usually we do not comment on baseless speculation in the media. Let me assure you that this reporting is total nonsense”, Stano said on Thursday, commenting the report in a daily.

Diplomatic sources in Brussels also expressed surprise at the daily’s report, saying that it is rumor and fabrication of the kind that some media are known for.

Lajcak to visit Pristina and Belgrade next week (Radio KIM)

EU special envoy for Belgrade-Pristina talks Miroslav Lajcak will visit Pristina from March 1 to 3, and afterwards Belgrade on March 3, and 4, Radio KIM reports, citing the statement of the EU Office in Pristina.

Following the visits in Pristina and Belgrade, Lajcak would visit Montenegro on March 4 and 5.

As it was said, Lajcak plans to meet with political leaders of all Western Balkans partners and EU representatives on the ground. 

Drecun: Lajcak pushed ZSO aside; story on non-paper appears who knows how many times (RTS)

Chairman of the Serbian Assembly Committee for Kosovo and Metohija Milovan Drecun told RTS optimism of EU Special Envoy for Belgrade-Pristina talks Miroslav Lajcak regarding the progress in the dialogue “was based on wrong facts and wrong understanding of the matters”.

Talking about today’s meeting of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic with Serb political representatives from Kosovo and Metohija in Kursumlija town, Drecun said the talks would most probably include the newly created situation in Kosovo, following elections there and alignment of Serbian List with official Belgrade as it is important how the government in Pristina would be established, given the statements leader of Self-determination Movement Kurti makes in that regard.

Drecun also opined that a strategy for the upcoming period would also be agreed upon in a meeting. He also noted that the new Washington administration of President Joseph Biden would restore the old course of Democratic Party in the US, which implies strong political pressure on Belgrade to recognize self-declared Kosovo.

“If someone thinks we can be forced or somehow made to turn a blind eye in the talks in Brussels and give consent to something that could be interpreted as recognition, that one really has wrong expectations and acts irrationally”, Drecun said.

He added recognition of Kosovo would run contrary to Serbia’s national and state interests, its progress and development of economy. He also said it would tear apart Serbian state, destroy the future of the entire Serbian people and Serbia would most strongly oppose it.

Speaking about Belgrade-Pristina talks, Drecun said “the public is not much aware of the situation relating to the talks. Lajcak would visit Pristina these days and then Belgrade, and the room for speculations is opened, the stories on non-paper appear who knows how many times again, (…)”, Drecun noted.

He recalled Lajcak had a thesis – nothing was agreed, until everything is agreed. “Belgrade rejected such a stance, but Lajcak pushed the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities aside, which demonstrates intention of powerful Western countries to finally make it happen only what Albanians talk about – mutual recognition”.  

Talking about the missing persons issue, Drecun explained when Pristina requests excavations on locations in Serbia where bodies of killed Albanians could be, Serbia meets those requests.

“However, when we have requests for excavations on five locations (inside Kosovo), all of a sudden a fire appears on these locations, or a material with radioactive features is located nearby, I am talking about locations in Djakovica, where we think could be the bodies of murdered Serbs”, Drecun said. 

Selakovic says lack of EU’s reaction on “Great Albania” statements doesn’t help building trust (N1)

Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selakovic said on Thursday that the European Union’s lack of reaction to the Kosovo politician statements about “Great Albania” are not helping build trust, N1 reports.

The Foreign Minister was commenting on a statement of the Kosovo politician, winner of the elections, about a possible referendum to unite Kosovo with Albania.

Selakovic told European External Action Service (EEAS) Secretary General Stefano Sannino  Serbia is committed to the dialogue that strives for sustainable and compromise solution, stressing that Belgrade has fulfilled all its obligations deriving from the Brussels agreement, while on the other side, almost eight years since the agreement was made, the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities has not been established yet.

Selakovic also said official Belgrade supports EU special representative Miroslav Lajcak and is ready to work with all actors from the international community who can help resolve open issues with Pristina, stressing that when it comes to Belgrade, Brussels remains a central place for the dialogue. 

One more protest held in Gracanica (RTV KIM)

Around 50 students gathered today again in front of the police station in Gracanica in order to extend support to the young men arrested over the fight in Laplje Selo and given one-month detention, Radio KIM reports.

Police said the gathering was not allowed, as it requires an announcement on it made 48 hours in advance.

Protesting students wore panels “You are not alone” and “Justice for our brothers”.

After half an hour, students started to disperse.

The gathering also took place last night.

Kosovo Serb politician Nenad Rasic, whose son Nikola sustained severe bodily injuries in a fight said he hopes the Appellate Court would dismiss a decision on one-month detention assigned to seven arrested young men. 

Zakharova: Agreement between Belgrade and Pristina shouldn’t be forced, rhetoric of Kosovo Albanians concerning (Kosovo-online)

Russia thinks reaching an agreement on normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina should not be forced, Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, Kosovo-online portal reports.

“We deem attempts to force the so-called final normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina or accelerate it by some artificial deadlines as – destructive. It is most important to find stable, sustainable options that would, among others, be accepted in the public”.

According to her, the process of resolving the Kosovo issue without implementation of the already made agreement is destined to stalemate.

She also said Russia is concerned over radicalization of Kosovo Albanians rhetoric following snap parliamentary elections there. 

Petkovic replies to Osmani over map issue (Kosovo-online, social media)

Office for Kosovo and Metohija director Petar Petkovic wrote several posts on Twitter relating to the Kosovo acting president Vjosa Osmani reaction to the map seen in Miroslav Lajcak’s office during an interview, which as it was claimed included Kosovo as part of Serbia, Kosovo-online reports.

Osani wrote that Kosovo “is and always will be an independent, indivisible & sovereign country. Our borders were marked with the loss of thousands of children, women & men, whose innocent lives were taken by Serbia’s genocidal regime. There cannot be neutrality towards this truth”.

“Why are you so upset for a simple map, if the self-declared “Kosovo” is independent as you claim”? Petkovic wrote in his first post referring to Osmani’s reaction.

“Where you see borders, as well as where we see them in accordance with the Constitution of Serbia, shows how far away we are from each other and that we need dialogue and compromise. And there is no compromise without agreement with Belgrade”, Petkovic added.

He also said it “was funny thing that you attack Belgrade for crimes, while your leaders are in The Hague, accused of the most monstrous crimes against Serbian civilians. You are not doing quite well these days with red herrings and spins. The truth is stronger than anything”.

 

 

Opinion

 

Kosovan abyss (KoSSev)

By Petar Ristanovic

The death of Djordje Balasevic saddened many in the area that is now euphemistically referred to as “region“. While Djole’s songs were shared on social networks and memories of carefree high school and student days were evoked, during which everyone identified with Balasevic’s verses at least once, a well-known group also known under the euphemistic name – regional pastors – appeared as per the already well-established practice.

It all started with a Twitter comment made by Petrit Selimi, a former Kosovo foreign minister and a member of Thaci’s PDK. Selimi criticized the collective grief in the “region“, claiming that one of Balasevic’s most famous songs, “Don’t break my Locust tree“ was part of “vicious anti-Albanian nationalist propaganda launched by Belgrade“ with the aim of “annulling Kosovo’s autonomy“.

Twitter users from Serbia responded in accordance with the folklore of social networks: some with ridicule, some with profanity, some with threats, which was an expected and desired reaction. This was followed, of course, by support for Selimi, coming from the expected places – from Reuf Bajrovic, Ljubomir Filipovic, Jasmin Mujanovic, Marko Attila Hoare…

See more at: https://kossev.info/kosovan-abyss/

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Serbia tightens anti-epidemic measures (N1)

Serbia’s Crisis Team for curbing coronavirus spread decided on Friday to shorten the shopping malls’ and cafes’ and restaurants’ working hours from 8 pm to 2 pm during the next weekend, N1 had unofficially learned.

The Team will officially specify its new measures at a news conference at 3 pm.

It held a session earlier on Friday following the worsening of Serbia’s epidemic situation, particularly after the winter holiday when ski centres were packed with people who mostly did not respect the current measures.

The new working hours’ exemptions include food shops, health and veterinarian practices, laboratories, hairdressers, and food delivery services.

The petrol station will be opened only for refueling after 2 pm. The Crisis Team will meet next Monday again to assess the stricter measures’ effects over the weekend.

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

Half million doses of Chinese vaccines to be delivered to Serbia (B92)

Leader of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, agreed on delivery of 500.000 doses of vaccines produced by “Sinopharm” company to Serbia, B92 said it has been confirmed.

President Xi Jinping agreed on this delivery with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic.

The vaccines should be delivered on March 5. 

 

 

 

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