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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, April 23, 2021

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• COVID-19: 408 new cases, five deaths (media)
• Maas: Ideas for border changes, unrealistic and dangerous (media)
• Government to announce topics of Kurti-Vucic meeting, when date is set (KTV)
• Hoxhaj won’t accept Kurti’s invitation to dialogue with Serbia (media)
• Kurti’s backing down on reciprocity with Serbia (Koha)
• Environment Ministry implies reviewing permits for hydropower plants (Koha)
• North Macedonia Foreign Minister to visit Kosovo today (media)
• Selakovic: Osmani’s statements show Prishtina doesn’t want dialogue (media)

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  • COVID-19: 408 new cases, five deaths (media)
  • Maas: Ideas for border changes, unrealistic and dangerous (media)
  • Government to announce topics of Kurti-Vucic meeting, when date is set (KTV)
  • Hoxhaj won’t accept Kurti’s invitation to dialogue with Serbia (media)
  • Kurti’s backing down on reciprocity with Serbia (Koha)
  • Environment Ministry implies reviewing permits for hydropower plants (Koha)
  • North Macedonia Foreign Minister to visit Kosovo today (media)
  • Selakovic: Osmani’s statements show Prishtina doesn’t want dialogue (media)

COVID-19: 408 new cases, five deaths (media)

Kosovo has recorded 408 new COVID-19 infections and five deaths in the 24-hour period. 628 persons have meanwhile recovered during this period. There are currently 12,044 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Coordinator of the vaccination centre in Pristina, Niman Bardhi, said that so far Kosovo has vaccinated around 21,000 citizens.

Maas: Ideas for border changes, unrealistic and dangerous (media)

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said during a visit to Prishtina on Thursday that recent ideas about border changes in the Western Balkans are both unrealistic and dangerous. “We believe that even discussions on this matter are dangerous,” Maas said after meeting Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani.

Asked to comment on reports that Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansha submitted a non-paper to Brussels on the final disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, Maas said: “I don’t know if there are such projects … As far as ideas for border changes are concerned, the German government strongly rejects them because they don’t lead to the solution of problems”.

Kosovo President Osmani said that she contacted Slovenian authorities after the media reports and that they told her that the news is not true. “We must reiterate that such ideas are dangerous for the region and beyond,” she said.

On the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, Maas said Germany has continuously offered its unconditional support to the EU-facilitated dialogue and that the recognition of Kosovo’s statehood will be one of the elements of a final settlement.

“In dialogues for the normalisation of relations, it is normal from both sides to have compromises and I don’t want to draw any red lines, but at the same time I know that it is difficult because of historic lines. I want us to find a solution at the end of the process and for both parties to show readiness to find a way to compromises,” Maas said.

Osmani said the dialogue with Serbia needs to be reset. “The Republic of Kosovo has offered the hands of cooperation even though Serbia has unfortunately not apologised for the crimes committed in Kosovo,” she said. “We expect the dialogue to conclude with mutual recognition”.

Asked by German reporters, Osmani said that Russia’s influence in the region is present through Serbia. “The influence is in four key fronts: economic, political, military and the fourth through the vaccines. The Republic of Kosovo has stayed true to its pro-Western approach, it has remained loyal to the European Union and the United States by not accepting vaccines from Russia,” Osmani said.

Government to announce topics of Kurti-Vucic meeting, when date is set (KTV)

The Kosovo Government said in a response to the TV station on Thursday that it would announce the topics of a future meeting between Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic when the date of the meeting is set. “Right now, there is no plan for a meeting with Vucic. We can talk about the first meeting when the date is set. Prime Minister Kurti will have an official visit in Brussels next week where he will meet with senior EU representatives,” a government spokesman said.

Hoxhaj won’t accept Kurti’s invitation to dialogue with Serbia (media)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Acting Leader Enver Hoxhaj said in an interview with Klan Kosova on Thursday that he would not accept an eventual invitation from Prime Minister Albin Kurti to take part in the dialogue with Serbia. “Absolutely not. I have no reason to go to Brussels,” Hoxhaj said. “I don’t see that they are engaged to have unity in the process. Without knowing the principles, objectives and without seeing genuine international engagement, I cannot comment on hypothetical situations. We did not and we will not support any technical dialogue.”

Hoxhaj however said that he would not refuse a meeting with Kurti on the final process of the talks between Kosovo and Serbia.

Kurti’s backing down on reciprocity with Serbia (Koha)

The paper reports on page two that before the February 14 parliamentary elections, Vetevendosje Movement leader and now Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, had said that reintroducing reciprocity measures with Serbia would not take months. “However, a month after his government was voted in the Assembly, the measure of reciprocity has not been set. Some representatives of civil society argue that the failure to keep this promise is in fact deceiving the electorate, while Kurti’s office has chosen not to comment on the reasons for backing down before Kosovo’s northern neighbor,” the paper notes.

Environment Ministry implies reviewing permits for hydropower plants (Koha)

The paper reports on page two Kosovo’s Minister for Environment and Spatial Planning, Liburn Aliu said on Thursday that the state of rivers where hydropower plants are operating is very concerning. During a visit to Brezovica, Aliu implied that all permits issued for the hydropower plants several years ago will be reviewed. “If we see that there is degradation, we will have to monitor first before deciding on the future course of action,” he told reporters.

North Macedonia Foreign Minister to visit Kosovo today (media)

All news websites report that North Macedonia Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani will visit Kosovo today. Osmani is scheduled to meet Kosovo Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla and President Vjosa Osmani.

Selakovic: Osmani’s statements show Prishtina doesn’t want dialogue (media)

Serbia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said on Thursday that Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani’s statements that Prishtina will review the Brussels are signs that Prishtina does not want dialogue. “This requires an urgent and sharp reaction from all those that want stability and peace in the Western Balkans,” Selakovic said. He also said that Osmani’s statements on Thursday were euphemism to block the dialogue, “because results from the dialogue between Belgrade and Prishtina are not a ‘Swedish table’, from which you can choose what will be implemented and what won’t.”

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