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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, May 5, 2021

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, May 5, 2021

Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 153 new cases, 4 deaths (media)
• Varhelyi on Pfizer vaccines: The most important contribution we could make (Klan)
• President’s Office: Kosovo can’t guarantee interim release of Thaci et al (Express)
• Government: Laws forbid us guarantee conditional release of the accused by the Special Court (Koha)
• Haxhiu: Government program to be voted on Friday (RTK)
• Varhelyi: News about ‘non-paper’ is not true (RTK)
• Croatian President Milanovic: I cannot offer guarantees for Thaci (Koha)
• Minister Haxhiu speaks about property confiscation and vetting (Klan)
• Excavations Resume in Serbia’s Mass Graves (Exit.al)
• Coalition of NGOs call for inclusion of Serb victims in Podujevo memorial (Prishtina Insight)

Serbian Language Media:

• Arancha Gonzalez: Spain maintains its principled position not to recognize Kosovo (KoSSev)
• Vucic on ‘genocide’ lawsuit (B92, N1)
• “Kosovo genocide lawsuit Kurti’s populist act” (Danas)
• Trajkovic: Announced lawsuit a way to suppress support to Specialist Court (Radio KIM)
• HLC: Memorial plaque of victims killed in Luzane in 1999 unveiled; names of Serbs not included (KoSSev)
• Excavations near Raska continue (Radio KIM)
• Office for KiM: House of Jacovic family in Vitina stoned (Kontakt plus radio, KoSSev)
• Additional financial assistance announced for those vaccinated (media)
• Office for KiM continues to provide housing for Serbs in Kosovo (TV Most)

Opinion:

• Easter “greetings” of Albin Kurti, humiliation and obliteration of Serbs and SOC (Politika)

International:

• EU Inaction Blamed for Proposal to Redraw Balkan Borders (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

• EC: EU to ease restrictions on non-essential travels; Serbia maybe on list soon (N1)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 153 new cases, 4 deaths (media)
  • Varhelyi on Pfizer vaccines: The most important contribution we could make (Klan)
  • President’s Office: Kosovo can’t guarantee interim release of Thaci et al (Express)
  • Government: Laws forbid us guarantee conditional release of the accused by the Special Court (Koha)
  • Haxhiu: Government program to be voted on Friday (RTK)
  • Varhelyi: News about ‘non-paper’ is not true (RTK)
  • Croatian President Milanovic: I cannot offer guarantees for Thaci (Koha)
  • Minister Haxhiu speaks about property confiscation and vetting (Klan)
  • Excavations Resume in Serbia’s Mass Graves (Exit.al)
  • Coalition of NGOs call for inclusion of Serb victims in Podujevo memorial (Prishtina Insight)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Arancha Gonzalez: Spain maintains its principled position not to recognize Kosovo (KoSSev)
  • Vucic on ‘genocide’ lawsuit (B92, N1) 
  • “Kosovo genocide lawsuit Kurti’s populist act” (Danas) 
  • Trajkovic: Announced lawsuit a way to suppress support to Specialist Court (Radio KIM)
  • HLC: Memorial plaque of victims killed in Luzane in 1999 unveiled; names of Serbs not included (KoSSev)
  • Excavations near Raska continue (Radio KIM)
  • Office for KiM: House of Jacovic family in Vitina stoned (Kontakt plus radio, KoSSev)
  • Additional financial assistance announced for those vaccinated (media)
  • Office for KiM continues to provide housing for Serbs in Kosovo (TV Most)

Opinion:

  • Easter “greetings” of Albin Kurti, humiliation and obliteration of Serbs and SOC (Politika)

International:

  • EU Inaction Blamed for Proposal to Redraw Balkan Borders (Balkan Insight)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • EC: EU to ease restrictions on non-essential travels; Serbia maybe on list soon (N1)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

COVID-19: 153 new cases, 4 deaths (media)

Kosovo recorded 153 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. 310 persons recovered from the virus during this time. There are 7,347 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Varhelyi on Pfizer vaccines: The most important contribution we could make (Klan)

The European Union Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, has closely followed the vaccination process in the “October 1” Hall with the Pfizer vaccines that arrived yesterday in Kosovo as part of the EU donation.

“This is a wonderful day for the Western Balkans and Kosovo. I hope you feel the same way. Providing vaccines has been a difficult task, but here they are. We are bringing over 600,000 vaccines to the Western Balkans. Kosovo will receive almost 100 thousand vaccines from Pfizer-BionTech which is our most reliable partner in the fight against the pandemic. With this contribution, the entire health system of Kosovo can be vaccinated.”

The European Commissioner has promised to work with Prime Minister Albin Kurti to provide even more vaccines.

“With the first deliveries and deliveries that will come in June, you will have all vaccinated health workers. I think this is the most important contribution we could make to help start the end of the pandemic, because the pandemic will only end when we are all vaccinated. This is only the first shipment. We will continue to work with the Prime Minister to provide more vaccines so that everyone can be vaccinated. I want to remind you that we were with Kosovo during the pandemic. We started in March last year by providing medical equipment, masks, fans, ambulances, equipment for the Intensive Care Unit and renovation of hospitals, and we have helped the economy by providing micro-financial assistance to the Kosovo budget in order to be able to fight the pandemic. Now we have come to the vaccines which I hope are the last step in the fight against the pandemic, so I am happy to see today all these people being vaccinated. This shows us that we care about the Western Balkans and Kosovo,” Varhelyi said.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti added that by being together we can fight the COVID-19 pandemic

“Today we are resuming the vaccination process in order not to stop until we reach the vaccination of 60% of the population. The government is constantly working to provide vaccines. Let us triumph in this battle together and as soon as possible”, Kurt said.

President’s Office: Kosovo can’t guarantee for interim release of Thaci et al (Express)

Bekim Kupina, advisor to Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani, said today that the Republic of Kosovo cannot offer guarantees for the interim release of Hashim Thaci and other former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army who are awaiting trial at the Specialist Chambers in the Hague.

Kupina said in a written reply to T7 that the judge of the Specialist Chambers mentioned a third state and that Kosovo cannot be considered a third state in any interpretation.

“The issue of guarantees was mentioned in the opinion shared by one of the judges (Kai Ambos) but was not accepted as an option by the Appeals Panel of the Specialist Chambers. Moreover, in the opinion he shared, judge Kai Ambos clearly referred to a third state. The Republic of Kosovo cannot be considered as a third state in any interpretation, because the court functions under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Kosovo. The court was established by the Kosovo Assembly and it operates in line with the laws and Constitution of Kosovo,” Kupina said.

Government: Laws forbid us guarantee conditional release of the accused by the Special Court (Koha)

The Government of Kosovo has called as unfounded the recent requests of some of the Kosovar parties and politicians, who have insisted that government should provide guarantees for the conditional release of the accused by the Special Court.

Government spokesman, Perparim Kryeziu, in a response to the news portal, said that this cannot be done by either the government or the Prime Minister, as the Special Court is legally in Kosovo, but based in The Hague.

Parallels have been drawn earlier on the conditional release of former KLA leaders indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, based in The Hague and established by the United Nations. They were released after being offered guarantees by Kosovo, namely the international missions in Kosovo, but in the case of the Special Court, according to Kryeziu, Kosovo is the founder of this court.

“Judge Kai Ambos, in his opinion divided by the decision to reject the request for parole, explores the possibility that in the future ‘third countries’ could serve as possible guarantors for someone accused. But Kosovo is not a ‘third state’, because the Court legally belongs to Kosovo. Based on the legal provisions, the guarantee is not requested neither by the home state (Kosovo) nor by the Prime Minister of the home country, from which the accused come, and to which state the Special Court belongs by jurisdiction. So, Kosovo cannot serve as a guarantor, as it is being reported. Comparisons of the Special Court with international courts, such as the Hague Tribunal, do not stand, both in relation to the courts themselves – one local and the other international – as well as in relation to persons / institutions that have had the possibility to provide guarantees,” Kryeziu said.

In the Special Court, established by the Assembly of Kosovo, KLA leaders are being tried on charges of committing war crimes.

Haxhiu: Government program to be voted on Friday (RTK)

Kosovo’s Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, has confirmed that the program of the Kurti Government will be voted on Friday.

Haxhiu said during the discussion organized by the FOL Movement, that after the approval of the program in the government, the same will be discussed in the Assembly.

She also spoke about the provision of a guarantee by the state for the former members of the KLA who are being tried in The Hague for war crimes, saying that the issue is not legally regulated.

Asked if the Government will provide guarantees for former President Hashim Thaci and the others, Haxhiu said that they have not yet discussed and have not yet received any proposal from the defense of the accused in the Special Court.

Varhelyi: News about ‘non-paper’ is not true (RTK)

The EU High Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood, Oliver Varhelyi was asked in Albania during the joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama, about the “non-paper” for a review of borders between Kosovo and Serbia, which has caused concerns in Brussels.

Varhelyi said that this news is not true, because everyone knows where the redefinition of borders would lead, while adding that no serious person would raise this topic at the table for discussion.

“It is like a season where we are seeing such documents flourish. It is interesting when we hear these news, even though we are convinced that they are not true. If they were true, we would be worried, because we all know where redefining boundaries leads us to. Whoever is serious would not put such a thing for discussion and even more so not when this region where we are is concerned. We do not agree with any part of it, and I do not think they are true and realistic ideas. It serves some other purposes more and I feel good that they have been notified by those persons to whom this document has been attributed. This season is about how to make this a Western Balkans season and how to work on the application of the new methodology regarding Serbia and Montenegro, how we will continue with the dialogue and how we will achieve success between Belgrade and Pristina,” Varhelyi said.

Croatian President Milanovic: I cannot offer guarantees for Thaci (Koha)

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic has denied reports in the Serbian media that he offered guarantees to The Hague to enable former Kosovo President Hashim Thaci to defend himself in freedom.

Thaçi is being charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Specialized Chambers and the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office.

“This is impossible, I cannot give such a guarantee because this is not within my competencies,” he said, answering questions from reporters during a visit to the Croatian city of Sisak.

He reminded that during the indictment against Thaci, he had stated that he thinks “everything is bad” about that indictment. He assessed that the indictment against Thaci is a way to fail the region.

“Now someone in the Belgrade bazaar will probably mind this, but I am not an enemy of the Serbs, nor have I been, nor will I ever be. I simply think it is harmful. Thaci should have been accused or left alone, because some people from Belgrade pass easily (untouched),” said Milanovic.

He is convinced that Thaçi is likely to reach old age in front of the court, due to the “unproven” accusations in the report of the Council of Europe, regarding the allegation of organ trafficking.

“In this sense, I consider it harmful, but I have not offered any guarantees – no, and I cannot do that. This is simply impossible. Even if I had said so, it is impossible for me to do this,” Milanovic said.

He added that Croatia would not do what Hungary has done, as an EU member – to grant asylum to former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who had fled to Hungary, in order to avoid two years in prison for corruption.

Minister Haxhiu speaks about property confiscation and vetting (Klan)

Minister of Justice Albulena Haxhiu said that there is an initial idea to create a special mechanism which evaluates the property and if it is confirmed that the property was not created legally then it is processed to the court.

“We are still in the beginning of discussions. What is known for certain is that the burden of proof will be placed on the suspect and the initial idea is to establish a special mechanism which will have the task of assessing the property and in cases of proving that the property has not been created from the legal income, it proceeds the case in court”, she said for KlanKosova.

Haxhiu also said that the working group for drafting the law on confiscation of property will be formed today.

She also spoke about the Vetting process, which according to her, aims to start this process with high hierarchical levels of judges and prosecutors.

“Our goals are to start with the highest hierarchical levels and continue to the lower levels of prosecutors and judges. The working group will determine whether the support staff of prosecutors and judges should be verified” she said.

Excavations Resume in Serbia’s Mass Graves (Exit.al)

Five mass graves have been found as the excavation continues in Serbia’s southwestern town, Kizevak where human remains believed to be of victims of the war in Kosovo were found.

The director of Kosovo’s Forensic Institute, Arsim Gerxhaliu confirmed for Exit News that teams are still working, but did not give details on how many bodies are found so far.

“Five mass graves have been found so far. We are finding mortal remains and we will continue working as long as the weather conditions allow us,” Gerxhaliu said.

Kosovo’s Government Commission for Missing Persons, visited the location on Friday.

Excavation in Kizevak, near the bordering town with Kosovo, Raska started in 2015 by both Kosovo and Serbia teams, but they were intensified in the last weeks after mortal remains were confirmed on November 16.

The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) explained that the identification of the exact location where the human remains were found in Serbia, was possible through aerial images from 1999.

The International Committee of the Red Cross made the aerial images from 1999 available to the Kosovo Government Commission on Missing Persons and the Serbian Government Commission on Missing Persons at the end of 2019.

Over 1600 people are still listed as missing since the end of the war in Kosovo in 1999.

Coalition of NGOs call for inclusion of Serb victims in Podujevo memorial (Prishtina Insight)

Humanitarian Law Centre Kosovo has said that a memorial to bus passengers killed in a 1999 NATO air strike unveiled by the Municipality of Podujevo on Saturday excludes the names of 13 Serbian victims.

Humanitarian Law Centre Kosovo, HLC, has issued a press release requesting that the Municipality of Podujevo correct a memorial dedicated to the tragedy at Lluzhan bridge on May 1, 1999, when a NATO air strike hit a bus, killing many onboard. 

HLC’s statement, which is supported by an informal coalition of NGOs and experts focusing on dealing with the past, says that a plaque commemorating the tragedy excludes the names of 13 Serbian victims.

The memorial was unveiled by the Mayor of Podujevo, Vetevendosje’s Shpejtim Bulliqi, on Saturday, the 22nd anniversary of the tragedy. 

“In cooperation with the families of the victims, we have initiated the construction of this memorial plaque with the names of the victims who suffered, so that in each anniversary we have a place to honour them,” Bulliqi said. 

In a statement, the Municipality of Podujevo stated that the plaque contained the names of “the 31 citizens who fell.” However, HLC stated on Wednesday that, according to its data, 44 people lost their lives in the tragedy – 31 Albanian civilians and 13 Serbs, of whom seven were civilians.

The transitional justice NGO called on all commemorative initiatives honouring victims to include all victims, regardless of their gender, race or ethnicity, adding that “the denial of victims on ethnic grounds is an insult to victims and their families and only deepens the divisions between communities in Kosovo.”

The organisation further expressed its “deep concern with the way the victims are commemorated, particularly when local and state institutions contribute to the reinforcement of one-sided narratives, that put forward selective versions of history.”

Speaking to Prishtina Insight, Mayor Shpejtim Bulliqi defended the memorial, pointing to a 32nd entry on the plaque. “At the end of the plaque there are three dots, which means there are others,” he said.

Bulliqi told Prishtina Insight that the Municipality was relying on information from a municipal commission, which did not have confirmed information about other victims of the tragedy. The mayor did not confirm whether the memorial would be updated if names were provided.

Responding to Bulliqi’s statement, Bekim Blakaj, the Executive Director of HLC, told Prishtina Insight that the inclusion of three dots on the plaque was “not dignifying to the victims.”

“Putting three dots means that the Municipality knew there were other victims and more research should have been conducted,” Blakaj said. “It is unacceptable. Among the victims were Serb children, as there were Albanian children.” 

“You can imagine how the family of the victims feel,” he added.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Arancha Gonzalez: Spain maintains its principled position not to recognize Kosovo (KoSSev)

The approach by which Serbia is asked to give everything while receiving nothing is not our cup of tea. Instead, the only good and sustainable solution is for both sides to get enough, while neither of them gets everything, Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Selakovic said in Madrid, KoSSev portal reports.

His Spanish counterpart, Aracha Gonzalez Laya, underlined that Spain maintains its principled position not to recognize Kosovo. Gonzalez Laya also stressed that Spain will continue to defend this stance in the future as well. 

“At this moment, all our energy is focused on launching this dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. That is what is being discussed now. We welcome the resumption of this dialogue and call on both Pristina and Belgrade to continue talks, as this is the best way to build the future“, Spanish Foreign Minister, Arancha Gonzalez Laya said in a joint conference with Selakovic in Madrid.

Gonzalez Laya said that Serbia can count on Spain’s support when it comes to its territorial integrity.

“As you know, we maintain a principled position not to recognize Kosovo. We defended it in the past, we are doing it today, and we will do so in the future. The issue of Kosovo must be resolved through dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. We should give more decisive support to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina“, Laya emphasized.

See more at: https://bit.ly/2Sr6ZqK

Vucic on ‘genocide’ lawsuit (B92, N1)   

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that the announced lawsuit of Pristina authorities for alleged genocide committed by Serbia which “was the only existing (then) and exists legally and formally in Kosovo today” can be filed “only through another state – Albania” and it would “de-facto mean unification with Albania”, N1 reports.

“Are you threatening Serbia with lawsuits for genocide? You can only do that through another state, that is, through Albania – that means unification with Albania. I am kindly asking Albanians from Kosovo not to do that”, Vucic said.

“When you listen to the reactions of people from abroad and as soon as they tell you that they are against changing the borders, you know that they are lying to you openly – they are in favor of changing the borders of Serbia”, he added.

“And then they say it is because of a humanitarian catastrophe. Isn’t it a humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq? Still, you didn’t separate Basra from Iraq, or Homs from Damascus. You do that only to Serbia. For Europe, Serbia is successful only without Kosovo. And the great powers have always done the same, namely, they want unification against the Serbs”, Vucic said.

“Kosovo genocide lawsuit Kurti’s populist act” (Danas)

Announcements of Kosovo authorities on filing a genocide lawsuit against Serbia represent a populist act of the new Kosovo Governemnt, aimed primarily for internal political consumption, while the real chances for the verdict to be made in favor of Kosovo were questionable, interlocutors told Belgrade-based daily Danas.

Igor Novakovic, ISAC Fund Research Director said it is possible that Kosovo prepares the lawsuit, however, the issue of groundedness of such accusation remains open.

“The entire logic of the war crimes trials so far has been intended to individualize the crime, not to condemn the entire nations as instigators of the war, therefore such intention is ungrounded and the issue remains whether Kosovo at all can file a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice”, Novakovic said.

According to him, political intentions behind such announcements were rather clear.

“This idea is something that Kurti is playing with, he invests lots of energy now to prove he is fulfilling his pre-election promises. In my personal opinion those are populist acts aiming at generating a stronger support of the public, but his acts sooner or later would not be something that the international community would be pleased with (…)”, Novakovic said.

Nikola Burazer, Program Director of the Contemporary Policy Center also opined this was about scoring political points on the internal scene.

“One should not be surprised over insistence of the Kosovo authorities on that lawsuit, however, I do not believe this could produce some serious effect in the sense of a genocide verdict. I think this was not their aim either, but rather to demonstrate to the internal audience that the new government is ready to defend their vision of a fight in a war. Therefore, this is completely for internal consumption”, he underlined.

The daily recalled an idea to file a genocide lawsuit against Serbia in Kosovo was not a novelty or product of Albin Kurti’s govrement. For many years Hahsim Thaci, former Kosovo President, was announcing a similar lawsuit against Serbia. Now he is at the Hague pending trial for the war crimes. 

International law experts pointed out it was not fully realistic that Kosovo may file a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice as only UN member states may do so, and Kosovo is not a UN member.

Also, one of the important elements to launch proceeding is existence of earlier court verdicts on committed genocide in indivudal cases, and this is not the case with Kosovo. Some members of the Serbian forces have been convicted for the war crimes, but not for the genocide, the daily recalled.

Acting on the genocide lawsuit of the Bosnia and Herzegovina against Serbia, the Court made a verdict that a genocide was committed in Srebrenica, that Serbia didn’t prevent, but the court found there were no sufficient evidence to consider Serbia responsible for this crime.

Also in mutual lawsuits of Serbia and Croatia for genocide during the war in former Yugoslaiva, the court found that neither of the two countries committed genocide.     

Trajkovic: Announced lawsuit a way to suppress support to Specialist Court (Radio KIM)

Announced lawsuit of the Kosovo Government for genocide committed by Serbia with the International Court of Justice represents a diversion of attention from what should be a priority for Kosovo and that is reconciliation among the people, leader of the European Serb Movement from Kosovo Rada Trajkovic said, Radio KIM reports.

She also said that all those who committed crimes should be held responsible.

Commenting on the statement of the Kosovo Government Spokesperson that the lawsuit would be filed by the end of next year, Trajkovic said an attempt was made to create “a parallel or a way how to suppress the support to the Specialist Court in the Hague”, adding both “the court and the prosecutor’s office complained that Kosovo Government is not cooperative”.

“Drawing attention to the genocide committed by Serbia is a cover up in front of public audience and an attempt to cover up what should be the result of the Hague Tribunal, which is normally Kosovo one”, she said.

“I think it is very important before anyone starts talking about different genocides to establish responsibility for the crimes of both Serbs and Albanians, regardless of who has committed those crimes”, she added.

Trajkovic also said priority for the Kosovo Government should be to support the processes in The Hague, where currently leading personalities of the Kosovo institutions are pending trials.

She also said that after perpetrators of the crimes are identified all the topics should be addressed.

“After that we should approach what one or the other side considers under genocide. As a Serb I would say, if in one place there are, and you brag about that, 95 percent of Albanians and five percent of the remaining Serbs, I do not really see a possibility how that area can be marked as genocide against Albanians. Of course with the feeling, obligation and responsibility that everyone who committed the crimes in Kosovo, and currently resides in central Serbia must be held responsible for that, and also Albanians who committed the crimes”, she concluded.

HLC: Memorial plaque of victims killed in Luzane in 1999 unveiled; names of Serbs not included (KoSSev)

On the occasion of the 22 anniversary of a tragic event that took place on a bridge in the village of Luzane, on May 1, a memorial plaque dedicated to the victims was unveiled by the Podujevo municipality. Memorial plaque includes the names of 31 Albanian victims, while the names of 13 Serb victims who lost their lives in the same event have not been included; Kosovo Humanitarian Law Center said today, KoSSev portal reports.

“We have unveiled a memorial plaque with the names of all the victims who died in this tragedy”, Podujevo Mayor Shpejtic Bulliqi wrote on Facebook recently.

The Kosovo Humanitarian Law Center condemned this statement and requested the names of all the victims be included onto a memorial plaque in Luzane village.

“Kosovo HLC expresses its deep concern over the manner in which the victims were commemorated, in particular when local and state institutions contribute to reinforcement of one-sided narratives, that put forward selective versions of history. Denial of the victims on an ethnic basis is an insult to the victims and their families and deepens the gap between communities in Kosovo”, HLC said in a statement.

At the same time, they sent a request to the Podujevo municipality that the memorial plaque, as they said, truthfully presents an event that occurred on May 1, 1999, thus paying tribute to all those who have lost their lives then.

According to the HLC findings, on May 1, 1999 at around 13.30 NATO hit the Nis Express bus that was passing over the bridge in Luzane, near Podujevo at that moment. 44 persons lost their lives, 31 Albanian civilians, and 13 Serbs, seven of whom were civilians.

Excavations near Raska continue (Radio KIM)

Excavations near the mine in the village of Kizevak, Raska municipality continued today, Radio KIM reports. The Kosovo side claims that bodies of murdered Albanians were buried in this location.

The Serbian Government Missing Persons Commission told RTS that representatives of the working groups from Belgrade and Pristina, EULEX, International Red Cross Committee and International Commission for Missing Persons are present on the spot.

The excavations in Kizevak were interrupted in November last year due to bad weather conditions. First human remains were found at that location on November 16. Remains of two persons have been found, and it is believed they were Albanians, Veljko Odalovic said.

1.640 persons are still listed as missing in Kosovo

Office for KiM: House of Jacovic family in Vitina stoned (Kontakt plus radio, KoSSev)

A house of Aleksandar Jacovic in Vitina was stoned on Monday evening, while at the same period a window on a vehicle of a priest from Orahovac was smashed, Office for Kosovo and Metohija said in a statement, Kontakt plus radio reports.

The Office said the wife of Aleksandar Jacovic, Dragana was in a yard when the stones were pelted and the swearing in Albanian uttered. No additional details were provided regarding the priest’s vehicle.

The Office assessed that “such attacks aimed at forcing remaining Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija to flee, and discourage those thinking of returning”.

The Office also recalled the perpetrators of the previous attacks against the Serbs in Kosovo have neither been found nor prosecuted.  

Meanwhile, KoSSev portal reported that Kosovo police confirmed to the portal the news regarding the priest’s vehicle in Orahovac, but provided no information on the stoning incident in Vitina, although being asked to. 

The portal also said neither of the two incidents were included into yesterday’s and today’s police 24-hour incidents reports. 

Additional financial assistance announced for those vaccinated (media)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told Pink TV last night that a decision was made to provide additional financial assistance for those who were vaccinated.

He added the help would amount to 3.000 RSD (approximately EUR 25).

According to Vucic everyone above the age of 16, who will be vaccinated with one or two doses by May 31, will receive an additional 3.000 RSD.

He also said he consulted with the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Finance about that decision until late last night, and it remains to be seen whether that decision will have to be adopted by the government.

“Since we cannot bring negative discriminatory measures for those who will not receive the vaccine, we have been thinking about how to reward those who have been vaccinated”, Vucic told TV Pink. The goal, as he said, is to reward those who have shown responsibility, as well as to invite others to be vaccinated. We want to reach collective immunity in order to dedicate ourselves to work, he said.

See more at: https://bit.ly/2RmgneG

Office for KiM continues to provide housing for Serbs in Kosovo (TV Most)

“The Office for Kosovo and Metohija continues to provide housing for the Serbian population in the southern province, so this year another 17 new residential buildings with 12 apartments of about 65 square meters each will be built in Mitrovica, Leposavic, Zvecan and Zubin Potok”, Jelena Stojkovic, Assistant Director of the Office for Infrastructure Projects told TV Most on Wednesday.

She also spoke about the new University of Pristina building, number of infrastructure and capital projects planned and the new building of TV Most that would be located in the returnees settlement Sunny Valley in northern Kosovo.

 

 

Opinion

 

Easter “greetings” of Albin Kurti, humiliation and obliteration of Serbs and SOC (Politika)

By: Zivojin Rakocevic

Journalist from Kosovo Zivojin Rakocevic in an op-ed for Belgrade-based daily Politika commented on the manner in which Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti congratulated Easter to members of the Orthodox Church.

As Rakocevic wrote the common polite and courtesy wishes and greetings for religious holidays of Serbs, Croats, Albanians, residents of Janjevo, such as Christmas, Easter, Bajram, that normally include the wishes for peace, prosperity and even love, were replaced by the “most popular politician in Kosovo and Prime Minister Albin Kurti, who decided to change all of that and introduce a new way of congratulating, addressing and communication”.

“With love for one another, for our homeland and our language”, Kurti wrote and wished happy Easter to Orthodox believers. For those who are less informed, everything is within the boundaries of propriety, while essentially this is an open and the rudest provocation that an Albanian politician has used in the past few decades. Albin Kurti actually quoted Theofan Fan Noli, the founder of the Albanian Orthodox Church and one of the founders of modern Pan-Albanian nationalism”, Rakocevic stressed.

“’Our homeland’ and ‘our language’ for Kurti are exclusively Albanian. He thus rudely and provocatively used the biggest Christian holiday to once again insult the citizens of Serbian nationality in Kosovo and Metohija, pointing out that there is room here for only one homeland (Greater) Albania and one language that is Albanian. For him, the fact that both Albanian and Serbian languages are equal in Kosovo and Metohija according to the Constitution is irrelevant”.

“Instead of addressing the citizens of Serbian nationality, he’s actually congratulating the Orthodox Christians, primarily in Albania, which remains consistent with his idea of ‘​Greater Albania’ and he’s behaving not as the Prime Minister of Kosovo but as a politician in the Republic of Albania”, he added.

A new set of Albanian politicians in Kosovo, Albin Kurti and Vjosa Osmani, managed to show in a short time how they are fighting for either an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo or a ‘Greater Albania’, which Ramush Haradinaj is invoking with threats – on the Easter Eve. By the way, it was exactly Kurti who left him without a presidential seat”, Rakocevic wrote.

He also opined that the Albanian leaders were united in their animosity towards everything that is perceived as Serbian heritage, history, culture.

“Kurti’s “congratulations” are nothing but a message to Serbia, Serbian people and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) that there is no place for them in his country and that despite the fact that his Western mentors still claim that Kosovo is conceived as a multiethnic ‘state’, Kurti perceives Kosovo as an Albanian country or, more precisely, part of the united Albanian countries, which he has been working on for years”.

“How can Serbia and the Serbian Orthodox Church respond to this aggressive continuation of historical processes of long duration? One of the answers is a clear testimony and stance that the great and important dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade can continue only by implementing, expanding and respecting the agreements that have been reached thus far”, Rakocevic said, adding that Kurti’s message on Easter did not leave Serbs with a possibility of having their own name and language.

 

 

International

 

EU Inaction Blamed for Proposal to Redraw Balkan Borders (Balkan Insight)

Veteran European diplomats Miroslav Lajcak and Carl Bildt said that EU delays on membership for Western Balkan countries were a reason for the emergence of “highly dangerous” suggestions for redrawing borders in the region.

Miroslav Lajcak, the EU’s Special Representative for Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and Carl Bildt, former UN Special Envoy to the Balkans said on Tuesday that the decline in the EU’s influence is the main reason for risky plans being floated to redraw borders in the region.

At a panel discussion entitled ‘Geopolitical Gambles in the Balkans’, Lajcak and Bildt expressed concern about two so-called ‘non-papers’ – discussion documents – one of which was allegedly circulated by the Slovenian Prime Minister and the other allegedly by France and Germany, although this has been denied.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3h1nCTY

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

EC: EU to ease restrictions on non-essential travels; Serbia maybe on list soon (N1)

The European Commission (EC) proposed on Monday that the European Union member states relax the current restrictions on non-essential travel into the bloc, taking into account the progress of vaccination campaigns and developments in the epidemic situation worldwide.

“The Commission proposes that member states lift restrictions on non-essential travel for vaccinated persons travelling to the EU. This reflects the latest scientific advice showing that vaccination considerably helps to break the transmission chain“, EC said in a statement.

Serbia could soon be among the safe countries whose citizens would be allowed into the European Union, since the epidemic situation was getting better, an EC official told Radio Free Europe (RFE) later on Monday.

“Looking at the positive epidemic situation, I could soon see Serbia as an acceptable country”, an unnamed EC official said.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3tf1rfC

 

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 11, 2021

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