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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 7, 2021

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• COVID-19: 166 new cases, four deaths (media)
• G-7 urges Kosovo and Serbia for reconstructive dialogue (Klan)
• Kosnett: Biden Administration fully accepts Washington agreement (RTV21)
• Kosovo Foreign Minister Under Fire over War Court Comments (BIRN)
• German Ambassador supports Kosovo FM Gervalla (Express)
• Posters against Gervalla appear in Pristina (media)
• Pahor: Border changes in Southeast Europe are not made without sacrifice (Koha)
• McAllister: EU to keep visa liberalization promise for Kosovo (RTK)
• Rama: No solution for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue without involvement of Germany and France (Koha)
• Assembly votes recommendation to pay for Kosovo Serbs’ electricity (media)

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  • COVID-19: 166 new cases, four deaths (media)
  • G-7 urge Kosovo and Serbia for reconstructive dialogue (media)
  • Kosnett: Biden Administration fully accepts Washington agreement (RTV21)
  • Kosovo Foreign Minister Under Fire over War Court Comments (BIRN)
  • German Ambassador supports Kosovo FM Gervalla (media)
  • Posters against Gervalla appear in Pristina (media)
  • Pahor: Border changes in Southeast Europe are not made without sacrifice (Koha)
  • McAllister: EU to keep visa liberalization promise for Kosovo (RTK)
  • Rama: No solution for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue without involvement of Germany and France (Koha)
  • Assembly votes recommendation to pay for Kosovo Serbs’ electricity (media)

 

COVID-19: 166 new cases, four deaths (media)

Kosovo recorded 166 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. 415 persons recovered from the virus during this time. There are 7,595 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

G-7 urge Kosovo and Serbia for reconstructive dialogue (media)

The G-7 Foreign Ministers urged during their meeting on Thursday Kosovo and Serbia to engage constructively in dialogue.

“We urge on Kosovo and Serbia to engage constructively in negotiations in the framework of the EU-facilitated dialogue to normalize fully their relations through a comprehensive and legally binding agreement that would contribute to regional stability,” their common statement said.

The communiqué states that countries in the region are called upon to expand their domestic political space and improve the environment for civil society and independent media.

“Unjustified speculation about border changes along ethnic lines is not a solution to the challenges facing the region. Such changes will pose a threat to regional security”, it is further stated.

Kosnett: Biden Administration fully accepts Washington agreement (RTV21)

The Ambassador of the United States of America in Kosovo, Philip Kosnett, said that they are committed to supporting the EU-led dialogue process.

Kosnett said that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has carefully reviewed the work done by the previous U.S. administration, and has concluded that there are many valuable items in it.

Asked whether the Washington agreement is the basis for the continuation of Kosovo-Serbia talks, Kosnett stressed that the Biden administration has embraced the agreement.

“The Biden administration has fully embraced the Washington agreement. But this does not mean that it is the only blueprint to talk when the government of Kosovo and that of Serbia meet under the auspices of the EU, to move forward, … You have political elements that were not discussed in that agreement,” he said.

Kosnett, also commented the latest documents that are circulating in the media about the change of borders in the Western Balkans.

“I do not know who is writing these unofficial documents, but whoever is writing them is probably enjoying the overreaction,” Kosnett said.

He stressed that neither the U.S. nor European partners have any interest in encouraging or pushing any exchange of territory in Kosovo to the parties.

Kosovo Foreign Minister Under Fire over War Court Comments (BIRN)

The opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo called for the dismissal of Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla over comments she made five years ago, when she said she would provide evidence to the Hague-based court that is prosecuting Kosovo Liberation Army fighters.

Abelard Tahiri, the head of Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK’s parliamentary group, called on Thursday for the dismissal of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Donika Gervalla because she said in 2016 that she was willing to provide evidence material to the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague.

Amid fiery exchanges in the Kosovo Assembly, Tahiri told Gervalla that she had brought “shame” on Kosovo’s diplomacy and urged Prime Minister Albin Kurti to fire her.

Tahiri claimed that the Specialist Chambers were established due to “false facts from Belgrade” and that Gervalla was aligning herself with the Serbian position on the court.

“We as the PDK cannot allow the minister to speak using a narrative built in Belgrade. We ask Prime Minister Kurti to dismiss this irresponsible minister as soon as possible,” he told a press conference afterwards.

Gervalla denied that she has ever been a witness at the Specialist Chambers and accused the PDK of being responsible for the establishment of the Hague-based ‘special court’ that is prosecuting former Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA fighters for war crimes.

Not only did you not fight and not do anything to prosecute post-war crimes, but you were able to avoid prosecution for crimes in Kosovo. In this way, you are the ones who made the Special Court possible,” Gervalla said.

In the past, Gervalla has also accused former PDK leader Kadri Veseli of being “the head of an organisation that committed crimes”.

German Ambassador supports Kosovo FM Gervalla, condemns developments in Assembly (media)

German Ambassador to Kosovo, Jorn Rohde, has reacted following Thursday’s clashes in the Assembly of Kosovo between ruling and opposition MPs.

Ambassador Rohde in a statement posted on Twitter has supported Kosovo Foreign Minister, Donika Gervalla, saying the personal attack against her is unacceptable.

“Today’s scenes in the Assembly were unbecoming for a Parliament. I also find the personal attacks against FM Gervalla unacceptable,” Ambassador Rohde wrote.

He said that Germany, like all EU member states, fully supports the Kosovo Parliament’s decision, passed by a two third majority, to establish the Kosovo Specialist Chambers.

“Fighting impunity and investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity is part of the Kosovar commitment to the rule of law. Germany is convinced that fighting impunity through national and international criminal courts is part of a responsible legal and foreign policy,” Rohde said. “There can be no lasting peace in a society without justice. We owe it also to the families of the victims. It is important to support the important work of the KSC which is enshrined in Kosovar law,” Rohde wrote.

Posters against Gervalla appear in Pristina (media)

Posters against the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Donika Gervalla, have been placed on the streets of Pristina on Thursday. “Minister of Kurti, witness of Vukçi!” read the posters, alluding on Gervalla’s earlier statements that some of the former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) have committed crimes against political opponents. It is not known who placed these posters.

Gervalla denied the allegations that she was or is a witness at the Specialist Chambers against former KLA leaders.

Pahor: Border changes in Southeast Europe are not made without sacrifice (Koha)

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, delivered some strong messages on Thursday from Tirana, after a meeting with the Albanian counterpart, Ilir Meta. His message touched on a heated issue of recent days, which has induced discussions and debates, after the publication of “non-paper ” documents, which speak about changing borders in Southeast Europe.

“We know from experience that border changes in this part of Europe do not take place without sacrifice. I believe that we, the leaders of this part of Europe, but also the whole EU, have this moral and political obligation that currently is not simple not only because of COVID-19, but also because of the internal problems of the EU, of the Balkans. Today in this complicated time to give a new idea of ​​faster development, this is not an easy task,” said Pahor.

The President of Slovenia, whose country will take over the Presidency of the European Union on 1 July this year, stressed the importance of further advancing the Balkan countries, further advancement of the EU integration process, saying that this would reduce the importance of the debate that has already been raised about borders. “I think that EU enlargement in the Balkans is not only geopolitical, but also irreplaceable for the stability of the region and of Europe as a whole,” Pahor said.

McAllister: EU to keep visa liberalization promise for Kosovo (RTK)

Member of the European Parliament David McAllister, during the Annual Conference “State of the Union”, organized by the Institute of the European University, criticized the European Union, saying that it must keep its promises for visa liberalization for Kosovo or the integration of Albania.

In his speech he said that the delays made in relation to these issues reduce the credibility of the union.

“I want to talk about the responsibility of the EU. We must function effectively as a community, without double standards inside and outside the EU. The rule of law, solidarity, etc., are the foundations on which the power of the EU is based. Delays made by EU countries themselves reduce credibility.”

Rama: No solution for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue without involvement of Germany and France (Koha)

The Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, called the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue prolonged, while emphasizing that without the daily involvement of Germany and France, he does not expect this issue to end.

In the annual conference “State of the Union”, organized by the Institute of the European University, Rama said that the dialogue was not given due importance.

“In my view, we must do our best regionally to achieve this Schengen area, where Europe’s four freedoms apply: goods, people, capital and services circulate to all countries. This will also help to make the atmosphere even more welcoming when it comes to dealing with hot topics. On the other hand, I believe that it is essential, what Germany and France will want to do when it comes to the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, as it has been prolonged for a long time, and sometimes in my opinion it has been seen incorrectly, but that was the feeling in both countries as something that is left at a lower level than put on top. So, bringing it to a higher level and involving France and Germany fully in it, with everyone else involved in daily work, will be very important because otherwise I do not see how both parties will do it anymore in their own, which would be the best, but I do not see that it is possible,” Rama said when asked about the non-paper published in Koha.

Assembly votes recommendation to pay for Kosovo Serbs’ electricity (media)

Members of the Parliament of Kosovo, with 61 votes in favour of the ruling party of Vetevendosje, have approved a recommendation of the Committee on Economy for paying of electricity bills spent by Serb-majority municipalities in the northern Kosovo.

Based on the decision which was proposed by the Transmission, System and Market Operator (KOSTT), Kosovo Government has allocated 11 million euro to KOSTT who will pay Kosovo Serbs’ electricity.

Last week the Committee has approved the KOSTT proposal for allocation of these funds. Since the end of the war in Kosovo in 1999, Serbs living in northern part of the country have not paid for their energy consumption.

The opposition parties in the Assembly have opposed the decision. The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) said that Albin Kurti’s Government violating his electoral promises has approved the decision, adding that at the same time Kurti’s Cabinet has cancelled a 30-euro allowance for pensioners.

Also, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) has criticised the Government saying that Prime Minister Kurti is making decisions which they have strongly opposed while in opposition. LDK MP Besian Mustafa has criticized the government for allocating about 11 million euros for energy in the north, saying that not a single euro has been spent to vaccinate citizens.

The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) said that 11 million euro will be paid by most of citizens of Kosovo, for a minority who in cooperation with Serbia, continue challenging Kosovo’s institutions.

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