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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, March 8, 2021

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• COVID-19: 566 new cases, nine deaths (media)
• Kurti: Formation of new institutions ASAP (media)
• Osmani: Diplomatic actions to be coordinated with U.S. (RTV21/Telegrafi)
• Serwer, Philips comment on Kosovo-Israel diplomatic relations (Telegrafi)
• Prosecution called on to investigate ‘vote buying’ allegations (Klan)
• In a land dominated by ex-rebels, Kosovo women find power at the ballot box (NYT)
• SRSG Tanin reaffirms the need to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and recognise their contributions (UNMIK)
• Vetevendosje to support “We march, we don’t celebrate” march (media)
• Vucic: Serbia facing western pressure to recognise Kosovo (media)
• Krivokapic: I would never have agreed to recognise Kosovo (Koha)
• Kosovo planning to draft ‘black list’ modeled on the U.S. (Koha)
• New Court Faces Old Problems in Protecting Kosovo Witnesses (BIRN)
• A life dedicated to education (BIRN)

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  • COVID-19: 566 new cases, nine deaths (media)
  • Kurti: Formation of new institutions ASAP (media)
  • Osmani: Diplomatic actions to be coordinated with U.S. (RTV21/Telegrafi)
  • Serwer, Philips comment on Kosovo-Israel diplomatic relations (Telegrafi)
  • Prosecution called on to investigate ‘vote buying’ allegations (Klan)
  • In a land dominated by ex-rebels, Kosovo women find power at the ballot box (NYT)
  • SRSG Tanin reaffirms the need to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and recognise their contributions (UNMIK)
  • Vetevendosje to support “We march, we don’t celebrate” march (media)
  • Vucic: Serbia facing western pressure to recognise Kosovo (media)
  • Krivokapic: I would never have agreed to recognise Kosovo (Koha)
  • Kosovo planning to draft ‘black list’ modeled on the U.S. (Koha)
  • New Court Faces Old Problems in Protecting Kosovo Witnesses (BIRN)
  • A life dedicated to education (BIRN)

 

COVID-19: 566 new cases, nine deaths (media)

566 new cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths from the virus were recorded in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 301 persons have recovered from the virus during this time.

There are 10,239 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Kurti: Formation of new institutions ASAP (media)

Vetevendosje Movement (VV) leader Albin Kurti said after meeting Kosovo’s Acting President Vjosa Osmani on Sunday that the new institutions will be formed as soon as possible.

“From our side, everything will be done as quickly as possible,” said Kurti, whose party together with Osmani’s political initiative won the February parliamentary elections. “The only limitations are those related to procedural aspects,” Kurti also said.

Osmani: Diplomatic actions to be coordinated with U.S. (RTV21/Telegrafi)

Acting President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani said that the new government of Kosovo will act in coordination with the United States.

Commenting on the location of Kosovo’s embassy in Israel, Osmani said: “All our diplomatic actions will be in coordination with the U.S. and the Biden administration. That is where our Jerusalem is.”

Serwer, Philips comment on Kosovo-Israel diplomatic relations (Telegrafi)

The U.S. Balkans analyst Daniel Serwer spoke to RTV Dukagjini about the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kosovo and Israel saying that he would personally prefer for Kosovo not to open its embassy in Jerusalem. “The main thing is Israel’s recognition, that is worth something,” Serwer said.

Serwer also spoke about the role of the former U.S. envoy Richard Grenell in the overthrowing of the Kosovo government led by Albin Kurti last year. “Grenell doesn’t like Kurti because he insists on reciprocity in relations with Serbia, although he also showed a level o f flexibility on the tariffs. Grenell is a fool. He worked hard to remove Kurti from the prime ministerial post last time. This helped Kurti in achieving a huge victory.”

At the same time, David Philips, said Kosovo is an independent country and should not receive instructions from either Brussels or Washington as to where its embassy in Israel should be. “Criticism from any foreign government are not important for the decision that Kosovo should take. It is very positive that Israel and Kosovo are establishing diplomatic relations. As to the embassy, this is up to Kosovo to decide where it wants to open it and Kosovo should not rush into a decision,” he said.

Philips also stressed that Kosovo is under no obligation to implement commitments stemming from the Washington agreement of last year.

Prosecution called on to investigate ‘vote buying’ allegations (Klan)

An audio recording has surfaced on social media from the vote counting centre allegedly of commissioners being offered money in exchange for increasing the number of votes for the outgoing Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla from the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo. The person offering the money is said to have been the minister’s husband Dardan Stublla. A similar conversation is also reported to have been made in relation to the votes for Albana Bytyqi, also from AAK.

Dardan Stublla strongly rejected allegations and said the audio file has been fabricated by “para political criminal gangs” and that he has alerted the police while Albana Bytyqi called on the prosecution to investigate the case at hand.

The network of NGOs “Democracy in Action” also called on the prosecution to investigate the claims that arise from the audio recording.

In a land dominated by ex-rebels, Kosovo women find power at the ballot box (NYT)

Women are winning greater political representation in Kosovo, raising hopes of more equality in a country still living with the scars of the war against Serbian rule in the 1990s.

Saranda Bogujevci gazed without flinching at a cluster of bullet holes left in the garden wall by a massacre two decades ago that wiped out most of her family and put 16 rounds into her own body.

She said her mind had erased visual memories of the slaughter by the Scorpions, a Serb paramilitary unit. But, she said, “I can still smell the earth mixed with the smell of blood.”

Ms. Bogujevci’s against-the-odds survival — she was left for dead in a heap of bodies in her neighbor’s garden — and her subsequent determination to testify against the men who murdered her mother, grandmother, two brothers and four other relatives have made her a symbol of uncommon fortitude in Kosovo, a land still scarred by the traumas of war in the 1990s.

But Ms. Bogujevci, 35, is far more than a symbol. She is part of an unlikely wave of women being elected to Parliament in Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, but remains one of the poorest countries in Europe. When final results of a Feb. 14 election were finally announced on Thursday in Pristina, the capital, they showed that women had won more seats in Parliament than ever before — nearly 40 percent of the total.

Read full article at: https://nyti.ms/3qnhoPh

SRSG Tanin reaffirms the need to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and recognise their contributions (UNMIK)

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of UNMIK, Zahir Tanin, recognises the invaluable contributions of women in building better, more just and inclusive societies and calls for the advancement of efforts to tackle the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on women and girls.

“The ongoing global health crisis has shed light on women’s immense contributions to society, both in the public and private spheres. It is time for their contributions to be recognised widely and reflected through their meaningful participation and leadership in decision-making, policy design and implementation at all levels,” Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK, Zahir Tanin said.

“A recovery from COVID-19 must be a recovery based on the principles of inclusiveness and equality, putting women and girls at the centre.”

Vetevendosje to support “We march, we don’t celebrate” march (media)

The Vetevendosje Movement (VV), which won the recent parliamentary elections, said in a statement on Sunday that it will support Monday’s march in downtown Prishtina titled “We march, we don’t celebrate” calling for respect for the rights of women and girls. The march is held every March 8.

“The patriarchal mindset continues to keep alive femicide and this deprives many women from their lives. Therefore, the march with the call ‘against the patriarchate that kills’, should unite us all for justice and gender and social equality,” VV said in a statement. The party called on all citizens to march for equality while respecting the anti COVID-19 measures in force.

Vucic: Serbia facing western pressure to recognise Kosovo (media)

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic said he expects the dialogue for normalisation of relations with Kosovo to pick up soon and that Serbia is facing a huge pressure from the West to into recognising independence of Kosovo.

“I expect the dialogue to continue in May. We will be ready for it. The West expects Serbia to recognise independence of Kosovo and this is the essence of the process,” Vucic is quoted by Tanjug.

“We will insists stronger and clearer on the full implementation of the Brussels agreement as soon as possible, namely in creation of the Community of Serb Municipalities as set out by that document,” he added. 

Krivokapic: I would never have agreed to recognise Kosovo (Koha)

Prime Minister of Montenegro Zdravko Krivokapic said had it been his decision, Montenegro would not have agreed to recognise Kosovo as an independent country.

“If I had been prime minister of Montenegro in a situation where Montenegro had not yet recognised Kosovo, I would have never agreed to it. However everything was done before I came to government and before this government,” B92 quoted Krivokapic.

He said any attempt to withdraw recognition of Kosovo would be followed with the collapse of the Montenegrin government.

Kosovo planning to draft ‘black list’ modeled on the U.S. (Koha)

The government of Kosovo is preparing to draft a ‘black list’ modeled on the one the United States have in place for people considered to be dangerous and therefore not permitted entry to the country.

The list is expected to include foreign nationals accused of involvement in serious human rights violations as well as in corruption activity that result in human rights violations.

Lulzim Beqiri from the Department of European Integrations said many countries have already in place such a list and that considering Kosovo is undergoing a transition, “we have a large presence of foreign nationals who live and work in our country and have economic activity and this has led us seek a way to treat this issue.”

He said a preliminary analysis will identify foreign nationals that could be considered human rights abusers and propose ways to sanction them and/or ban them from entering Kosovo.

New Court Faces Old Problems in Protecting Kosovo Witnesses (BIRN)

Under fire from politicians in an increasing hostile atmosphere in Kosovo, the Hague-based Kosovo Specialist Chambers needs to strike deals with EU countries to relocate witnesses and their families to ensure they can testify without fear of intimidation.

In a confidential briefing to European diplomats in The Hague last month, the president of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, Ekaterina Trendafilova, warned that the court has been facing increased efforts from within Kosovo to hinder ongoing legal proceedings.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers was established, under heavy pressure from Kosovo’s Western supporters, to try former Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas for wartime and post-war crimes from 1998 to 2000.

The so-called ‘Special Court’ is highly unpopular in Kosovo, where it is seen as an attempt to tarnish the KLA’s just war for freedom from Serbian repression. It became even more controversial when former President Hashim Thaci and ex-speaker of parliament Kadri Veseli, both senior KLA figures during the war, were sent to The Hague last year to face charges.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3sY5YDl

A life dedicated to education (BIRN)

Having learned to read in 1943 aged 14, Daut Islami later entered into a more than 40-year long career as a teacher that spanned the second half of the 20th century.

Daut Islami vividly remembers the summer of 1943. One day, towards the end of July, he was out with his relatives shepherding his flock in the Sharri mountains in southern Kosovo, when a group of Partisan soldiers approached them.

 With World War II ongoing, Yugoslav Partisans were involved in sporadic skirmishes with Axis troops in the region and Daut, aged 14, was a potential recruit.

Islami tells BIRN that the soldiers were sent personally by Fadil Hoxha, one of the founders of the Partisan movement in Kosovo who went on to become a prominent political leader following World War II.

As well as teaching Daut and the other older shepherds how to fire guns, the Partisans also brought with them something that would shape Islami’s life – elementary school textbooks in the Albanian language.

Now aged 91, Islami recalls nostalgically the events that took place nearly eight decades previously. It was the first time in his life he had touched a book.

Read full article at: https://bit.ly/3v3iKm8

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