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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, April 20, 2021

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• COVID-19: 277 new cases, 14 deaths (media)
• Poll respondents: Government to be more transparent about vaccines (media)
• “Dialogue has so far been treated with priority but not seriousness” (Telegrafi)
• Kurti, Wigemark stress need to fight crime and corruption (media)
• Macron to Osmani: France will support you in essential reforms (media)
• 8 years later, first Kosovo-Serbia agreement partly implemented (Koha)
• Kosovo Foreign Minister to visit Greece (media)
• Tahiri: Vjosa Osmani is a marionette of Albin Kurti (media)
• Kosovo Ex-Guerrilla Pleads Not Guilty to War Crimes (Balkan Insight)
• Kosovo spent €4 million in first year of pandemic for salaries of MPs (Koha)
• Kosovo falls eight places lower in Reporters Without Borders’ report (RFE)
• Weller: Cultural Heritage in Kosovo: Why do international organisations fail to adhere to their own policies? (Prishtina Insight)

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  • COVID-19: 277 new cases, 14 deaths (media)
  • Poll respondents: Government to be more transparent about vaccines (media)
  • “Dialogue has so far been treated with priority but not seriousness” (Telegrafi)
  • Kurti, Wigemark stress need to fight crime and corruption (media)
  • Macron to Osmani: France will support you in essential reforms (media)
  • 8 years later, first Kosovo-Serbia agreement partly implemented (Koha)
  • Kosovo Foreign Minister to visit Greece (media)
  • Tahiri: Vjosa Osmani is a marionette of Albin Kurti (media)
  • Kosovo Ex-Guerrilla Pleads Not Guilty to War Crimes (Balkan Insight)
  • Kosovo spent €4 million in first year of pandemic for salaries of MPs (Koha)
  • Kosovo falls eight places lower in Reporters Without Borders’ report (RFE)
  • Weller: Cultural Heritage in Kosovo: Why do international organisations fail to adhere to their own policies? (Prishtina Insight)

COVID-19: 277 new cases, 14 deaths (media)

277 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 deaths have been confirmed in Kosovo over the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, 411 recoveries from the virus were also recorded during this period.

There are currently 13,024 active cases of coronavirus in Kosovo.

Poll respondents: Government to be more transparent about vaccines (media)

69 percent of respondents in a poll conducted by Pyper, a specialised platform for measuring public opinion, and aired on RTV Dukagjini on Monday evening, said that the Kosovo Government must be more transparent about the process of securing vaccines against the coronavirus. Over 52 percent of respondents said they don’t believe that Health Minister Arben Vitia turned down a contract with Pfizer. 26 percent said they believe reports that Vitia refused to sign the contract, while 21 percent said they don’t have an opinion on the matter.

“Dialogue has so far been treated with priority but not seriousness” (Telegrafi)

Perparim Kryeziu, spokesperson for the Government of Kosovo, said that nothing has changed in government’s priorities.

“Our main priority continues to be securing vaccines and fighting the pandemic. We are not against dialogue. We are for a dialogue that is well prepared and with principles, in a framework set out beforehand so that the goals of the process are known,” Kryeziu told RTV Dukagjini.

He said that it is expected for the international community representatives to urge continuation of dialogue but that in all the congratulatory letters the government has received, the main priorities listed included the pandemic, justice reforms, European integration and that the dialogue was further down in the list. “It matters on which paragraphs the dialogue is put.” “The government is dedicating necessary seriousness to dialogue. So far the dialogue has been treated with priority but not seriousness,” Kryeziu continued.

Kurti, Wigemark stress need to fight crime and corruption (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti met yesterday head of the EU rule of law mission, EULEX, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark.

“Prime Minister Kurti and Mr. Wigemark discussed the current situation in Kosovo and continuing of cooperation in the field of rule of law. Mr. Wigemark said EULEX is committed in continuing support for institutions and for strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo. The two interlocutors agreed on stepping up Kosovo prosecution’s activity in fighting crime and corruption,” a statement issued by the Government of Kosovo after the meeting reads.

Macron to Osmani: France will support you in essential reforms (media)

All news websites cover a press release issued by the Office of Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani about a congratulatory letter received from French President Emmanuel Macron, expressing the readiness of his country to further support Kosovo.

The French President in his congratulatory letter stressed that he welcomes the commitment of President Osmani to strengthening of the rule of law and of the economic development of Kosovo. “France stands by your country to help it meet its challenges, starting with the fight against the pandemic. France will soon deliver 15,000 antigenic tests to Kosovo in response to its urgent needs,” Macron said in the letter.

Furthermore, the French President stressed that bilateral relations would continue to strengthen. President Macron also mentioned Kosovo’s dialogue with Serbia, encouraging its continuation towards a comprehensive, final and legally binding agreement.

8 years later, first Kosovo-Serbia agreement partly implemented (Koha)

The daily reports in one of its front-page stories that eight years have passed since Kosovo and Serbia signed their first agreement in Brussels. The agreement signed by then Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and Serbia’s Ivica Dacic has yet to be fully implemented. The first six points of the agreement, from a total of 15 points, talk about the implementation of the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities. This continues to be the main request of Belgrade and the issue is expected to be addressed in the next phase of the dialogue. In his latest visit to Prishtina and Belgrade, EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak made it clear that there can be no normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia if the agreement on the Association/Community is not implemented.

Kosovo Foreign Minister to visit Greece (media)

Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora confirmed on Monday that Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla has received an invitation from Athens to visit Greece but that a date has yet to be announced. Several news websites note that Greece is among the five EU member states that have not recognised Kosovo’s independence.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement to Radio Free Europe that Kosovo is committed to strengthening cooperation, which would result in recognition by Greece, as an important country for us in the EU and in the region. “Moreover, we are working to further bilateral relations in the field of economy, culture, but also in other areas that are important for both countries,” it added.

Tahiri: Vjosa Osmani is a marionette of Albin Kurti (media)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) parliamentary group chief Abelard Tahiri said on Monday in an interview with Kanal 10 that Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani “is a marionette of Albin Kurti”.

“In the post of President, Vjosa Osmani is proving to us every day that we made the right decision not to take part in the voting process for the President in the Assembly. Her failure to react to [Health] Minister Vitia calling for investigations against the media is scandalous. I expected that President Osmani would react in support of the media, because the President guarantees the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo. But she is proving to us every day that she is only an instrument in the hands of Albin Kurti, a marionette of Albin Kurti,” Tahiri argued.

Kosovo Ex-Guerrilla Pleads Not Guilty to War Crimes (Balkan Insight)

Pjeter Shala, who was a Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA fighter during the 1998-99 conflict with Serbian forces, pleaded not guilty to war crimes at a pre-trial initial appearance at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague on Monday.

“I understood [the charges] and I find the accusations ridiculous,” Shala told the judge.

“I do not feel that I have committed any crime, except that I have defended my country; I am completely innocent,” he said.

Shala, who was known as Komandant Ujku (Commander Wolf) during the war, when he operated in the KLA’s Dukagjin Zone in western Kosovo, was arrested in his country of residence Belgium last month.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3n6APfh

Kosovo spent €4 million in first year of pandemic for salaries of MPs (Koha)

The daily reports in its leading front-page story that Kosovo spent €4 million in the first year of the pandemic for the salaries and per diems of MPs. “Although MPs got up to €38,000 in annual salary, they implemented only 11 percent of the legislative agenda last year,” the paper adds.

Kosovo falls eight places lower in Reporters Without Borders’ report (RFE)

The news website reports that Kosovo has fallen eight places lower this year than last year, according to a Reporters Without Borders report on media freedom in the world. Kosovo is in the group of countries with a problematic situation of press freedom.

Weller: Cultural Heritage in Kosovo: Why do international organisations fail to adhere to their own policies? (Prishtina Insight)

Opinion piece by Nora Weller, lawyer and researcher on atrocities heritage and cultural heritage protection. She is based at the University of Cambridge, UK.

On World Heritage Day, UNESCO championed the embracing of diverse and multifaceted histories in the protection of cultural heritage, but this is not an approach that international organisations have ever deployed in Kosovo.

This Sunday (April 18) was World Heritage Day, an annual tradition launched by UNESCO in 1982 that is dedicated to recognising sites of historical importance and stressing the need to restore and preserve cultural heritage.

The theme for 2021 was “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures”, with UNESCO stating that the “history of a place can involve many points of view,” adding that “the conservation of cultural heritage requires careful examination of the past.”

UNESCO also stated that “addressing difficult and often contested histories involves complex conversations with different stakeholders, avoiding biased views and interpretations of the past.”

On this day therefore, the global public was invited by UNESCO to reflect on the need for embracing diversity by accepting and listening to all stakeholders and their experience of, and relationship to, the past. This approach is to be applauded, as a monolithic view of cultural heritage protection will neither succeed nor contribute to the effective management of heritage sites.

However, in Kosovo, where the necessity of involving all stakeholders in discussions on the protection of cultural heritage is particularly important, international organisations specialised in cultural heritage preservation and management have often failed to adopt this approach.

In the post-war period, international agencies, including UNESCO, the International Council of Monuments and Sites, ICOMOS, and EuropaNostra have regularly neglected the fact that Kosovo has been bound up in different cultural traditions and religious diversity throughout its history.

This has led to a one-sided approach to the preservation of cultural heritage in Kosovo, and numerous instances of political point scoring by Serbia.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3v5eXUp

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