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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, April 15, 2021

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• COVID-19: 715 new cases, 14 deaths (media)
• Kosovo new president says Serbia must answer for ‘genocide’ (The Irish Times)
• Kosovo implies reciprocity with every state (Radio Free Europe)
• Haxhiu: Misused funds must be confiscated, they belong to the people (media)
• EU: Dialogue, Kosovo’s most important foreign policy priority (media)
• Kurti replies to Court on request of Serb MPs (media)
• Kurti government reviewing decisions of Hoti government (Koha Ditore)
• Bogujevci: We’ll push forward draft law on domestic violence (media)
• Collaku: Internationals will strongly impose dialogue on Kurti (media)
• “Either we accept Association, or we have to talk about land swap” (media)

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  • COVID-19: 715 new cases, 14 deaths (media)
  • Kosovo new president says Serbia must answer for ‘genocide’ (The Irish Times)
  • Kosovo implies reciprocity with every state (Radio Free Europe)
  • Haxhiu: Misused funds must be confiscated, they belong to the people (media)
  • EU: Dialogue, Kosovo’s most important foreign policy priority (media)
  • Kurti replies to Court on request of Serb MPs (media)
  • Kurti government reviewing decisions of Hoti government (Koha Ditore)
  • Bogujevci: We’ll push forward draft law on domestic violence (media)
  • Collaku: Internationals will strongly impose dialogue on Kurti (media)
  • “Either we accept Association, or we have to talk about land swap” (media)

COVID-19: 715 new cases, 14 deaths (media)

715 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 deaths from the virus were recorded in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 737 persons have recovered from the virus during this time. There are 14,078 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Kosovo’s new president says Serbia must answer for ‘genocide’ (The Irish Times)

Kosovo intends to sue Serbia for genocide and wants its leaders to atone for crimes committed during a 1998-9 war and for the systematic oppression of Kosovar Albanians that preceded it, the country’s new president has said.

Vjosa Osmani says justice for the 13,000 people killed in the conflict, the one million displaced or expelled and the 1,600 who are still missing, must be the foundation for a long-sought deal to normalise relations with Serbia, which is a condition for both Balkan states to eventually join the European Union.

The US-educated lawyer also accuses her counterpart in Belgrade, Aleksandar Vucic, of sharing the expansionist mindset of Slobodan Milosevic, the nationalist Serbian leader whose belligerence was a catalyst for the wars that destroyed Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and whom he served as information minister.

Osmani’s stance will raise hackles in Serbia, but she says Kosovo is ready to wait years if necessary for a “quality” deal that secures Belgrade’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence without any changes to its current borders.

“Our main job is to speak on behalf of the victims and their families. So the missing persons are our number one priority,” says Osmani, who as a teenager trekked hundreds of kilometres with fellow Kosovars to seek safety from a brutal Serbian crackdown on separatist rebels fighting to end Belgrade’s rule over Kosovo.

“Also war reparations for all the destruction that Serbia caused in Kosovo, and not just during the war but since 1989, when Milosevic came to power and led an apartheid-like system in our country,” she says. “And finally justice, which is a precondition for peace.”

Kosovo’s parliament elected Osmani (38) as president last week, with the backing of prime minister Albin Kurti and his Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party.

Their alliance in February’s national election and focus on “jobs and justice” for Kosovo’s 1.8 million people secured a landslide victory, and Osmani’s own tally of 300,000 votes has confirmed her status as the nation’s most popular politician.

She says Kosovo’s leaders are now analysing the history of its EU-brokered talks with Serbia, so as to gear future negotiations towards improving the lives of Kosovo’s people and securing “the key component” – mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia and their current borders.

“There is no price and no pressure that would make us give up or give in with respect to those principles … We are going to sit at that table [with Serbia] precisely so we can look in their eyes, so that they can ask for forgiveness for crimes that were committed,” she says.

Read full article here: https://bit.ly/3mPawdF

Kosovo implies reciprocity with every state (Radio Free Europe)

The Kosovo government has implied it will introduce reciprocity measures with every state, including Serbia, and that such measures will apply in every area where there are unilateral actions which according to them violate the principles of equality and the signed agreements.

A spokesperson for the government told Radio Free Europe that this is an obligation for the government and for Prime Minister Albin Kurti in the defense of the citizens and the interests of the state of Kosovo. He did not say when the decision on reciprocity will be made but said that it would be made at the right time.

Haxhiu: Misused funds must be confiscated, they belong to the people (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Justice Albulena Haxhiu took to Facebook on Wednesday to say that misused state funds and wealth accumulated this way must be confiscated because it belongs to the citizens and not to individuals who believed they would never be tried for corruption affairs. “It belongs to the people and not to individuals who believed they would never be prosecuted for corruption affairs,” she said.

Commenting on criticism from some civil society representatives against the draft law for the confiscation of illegal wealth, Haxhiu called on critics to take part in the working groups within the Ministry of Justice. “We will cooperate with everyone that has good intentions,” she added.

EU: Dialogue, Kosovo’s most important foreign policy priority (media)

Peter Stano, spokesperson for the EU Commission, told Klan Kosova on Wednesday that the dialogue with Serbia is the top priority in Kosovo’s foreign policy. “With regards to the government priorities, there is no competition between the individual priorities. The internal priorities of the Kurti government are very important. But dialogue is the top priority in Kosovo’s foreign policy, and it should not be seen separately from the other priorities presented by the Prime Minister,” Stano said.

Kurti replies to Court on request of Serb MPs (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti sent a reply letter to the President of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo on the request submitted by 11 Serb MPs on the constitutionality of the decision of the Kosovo Assembly to elect the Government of Kosovo. The press release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister notes that the Government believes that one must refer to the constitutional provisions that determine the procedure for the election of government and provisions that guarantee minority rights for representation in government, to see if the contested decision was made in line with the procedure and if its content is in line with the Constitution.

The Government also notes that representatives of the Serb minority in the Kosovo Assembly were consulted and that their proposal was taken into consideration during the appointment of the minister that represents the Serb community in the Government of Kosovo.

Kurti government reviewing decisions of Hoti government (Koha Ditore)

The paper reports in its leading front-page story that several days before becoming Prime Minister, Albin Kurti had warned that all appointments of officials in public institutions after the ousting of the previous government would be declared null and void.

However, three weeks since Kurti took up office, the Kosovo government has annulled only one decision and that related to the proposed candidates for the Board of the Energy Regulatory Office.

A spokesperson for the government said on Wednesday that they are reviewing all decisions made by the previous government. “We are analysing all the decisions of the previous Government, especially those taken after the decision of the Constitutional Court. One of these decisions has already been cancelled at the last meeting of the government and it includes the candidates for the president of the ERO Board. We will continue to review other decisions,” he said.

Bogujevci: We’ll push forward draft law on domestic violence (media)

Vetevendosje Movement (VV) MP Saranda Bogujevci said on Wednesday that during this term of this legislative they will push forward the draft law on domestic violence and on petitions. “The draft law on domestic violence is a very important document and it must be pushed forward especially now that we have the Istanbul Convention within the Constitution of Kosovo,” she said.

Bogujevci said the number of reported cases of domestic violence is very concerning. “We have major problems in our country. It is concerning that there are reports of domestic violence on a daily basis and I think this is why it is very important to proceed with this draft law as soon as possible,” she added.

Collaku: Internationals will strongly impose dialogue on Kurti (media)

Kosovo’s former Minister of European Integration, Bekim Collaku, said in a debate on Klan Kosova on Wednesday that the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia is a political process imposed by the international community. “Dialogue was not a process invented at the time by the Government of Kosovo or invented or imposed by Serbia. This was requested by the international community, namely by the United Nations General Assembly immediately after the decision of the International Court of Justice,” he said.

Collaku said he was confident that the international community will impose the dialogue with Serbia on Prime Minister Albin Kurti despite the fact that the latter has said that dialogue is the fourth priority of his government.

“Either we accept Association, or we have to talk about land swap” (media)

Political commentator and former MP, Dukagjin Gorani, commented on the course of the Kosovo – Serbia dialogue on Wednesday during a debate on Klan Kosova, criticising the previous governments of having a wrong approach toward the process.

“Dialogue was imposed by the international community. And you don’t have many choices when faced with this. You will either accept or refuse it and face isolation. Kosovo is not a country that can go against the international community, especially not with the part of this community that wants to see us doing well,” he said.

Gorani argued that the negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia will have to conclude with a compromise and that Kosovo will either have to accept the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities or there will be discussions on territorial exchange. “None of the parties involved in this negotiating process have offered any creative solutions,” he added.

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