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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 17, 2021

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• COVID-19: 47 new cases, 3 deaths (media)
• Kurti to travel to Brussels this week (media)
• Osmani to participate in Brdo-Brijuni process (media)
• Dialogue and regional cooperation, criteria for approximation with EU (Koha)
• Haziri: Dialogue, only way to resolve problem with Serbia (media)
• “Serbia demanding broad autonomy for Serb-majority areas in Kosovo” (RFE)
• Serwer: Serbia can still be sued for genocide in Kosovo (Telegrafi)
• LDK slams Kosovo Government’s foreign policy strategy (media)
• Kosovo Government says Israel has a right to defend itself (Express)
• Palokaj: We dream about the day when NATO would leave Kosovo (Koha)
• Robelli: Russian and Serbian special war through “Zuerst” (Koha)
• Protest today for safety of girls in schools (media)

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  • COVID-19: 47 new cases, 3 deaths (media)
  • Kurti to travel to Brussels this week (media)
  • Osmani to participate in Brdo-Brijuni process (media)
  • Dialogue and regional cooperation, criteria for approximation with EU (Koha)
  • Haziri: Dialogue, only way to resolve problem with Serbia (media)
  • “Serbia demanding broad autonomy for Serb-majority areas in Kosovo” (RFE)
  • Serwer: Serbia can still be sued for genocide in Kosovo (Telegrafi)
  • LDK slams Kosovo Government’s foreign policy strategy (media)
  • Kosovo Government says Israel has a right to defend itself (Express)
  • Palokaj: We dream about the day when NATO would leave Kosovo (Koha)
  • Robelli: Russian and Serbian special war through “Zuerst” (Koha)
  • Protest today for safety of girls in schools (media)

COVID-19: 47 new cases, 3 deaths (media)

Kosovo has recorded 47 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. There are 5,543 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo. 405 persons have recovered from the virus during this period. Koha Ditore reports this morning that so far over 40,000 persons in Kosovo have been vaccinated against the virus.

Kurti to travel to Brussels this week (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti is expected to undertake another visit to Brussels starting this week to attend an informal meeting of the Western Balkans leaders, hosted by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.

Kosovo Government spokesperson Perparim Kryeziu said the meeting will not precede the start of Kosovo-Serbia dialogue but will be in the service of discussions of regional leaders and the EU on common goals. “It is a very good forum to have open discussions on the objectives of countries in relations with the EU and other forms of cooperation,” he told KosovaPress.

Osmani to participate in Brdo-Brijuni process (media)

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani will participate in the 10th meeting of the Brdo-Brijuni process with the participation of the Presidents of the countries of the region, including the Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, who are hosting the meeting.

Topics to be discussed at the meeting in Brdo near Kranj are: the importance of the Brdo-Brijuni process on its 10th anniversary, addressing the consequences of COVID-19, the economic recovery and the EU investment plan, EU enlargement as a geostrategic priority, as well as the conclusion of the project of a united Europe with the involvement of the countries of the Western Balkans.

In this Summit, President Osmani will present the positions of Kosovo regarding the topics that will be addressed in this process.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Osmani will hold bilateral meetings with the Presidents of Croatia, Albania, Montenegro and Northern Macedonia.

Osmani met on May 13 in Pristina with the President of Slovenia, Borut Pahor in order to prepare for the meeting of Brdo.

Dialogue and regional cooperation, criteria for approximation with EU (Koha)

The daily reports in its leading front-page story that Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani will take part in the Brdo-Brijuni Process which will discuss the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, economic recovery and the EU enlargement process. The paper notes that in the last ten years, Kosovo was absent from regional initiatives, mainly because of problems with Serbia. International representatives had criticised Kosovo’s failure to take part in the Mini-Schengen initiative. While in the Washington agreement last year, Kosovo had pledged to participate in the Mini-Schengen, the program of the current government does not make any reference to the initiative. Commentators of integration process in Prishtina meanwhile argue that regional cooperation alongside the dialogue with Serbia are the main criteria for moving toward integration in the European Union.

Government to present its program in the Assembly today (media)

All media report that the Kosovo Assembly will hold an extraordinary session today at 10:00 where the Kurti-led government will present its program for 2021-2025.

Haziri: Dialogue, only way to resolve problem with Serbia (media)

Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) deputy leader Lutfi Haziri said on Sunday that dialogue is the only way to find a solution between Kosovo and Serbia. “We hope the heads of the state institutions will carry out their constitutional duties. The LDK will remain a guardian of the Republic. February 17, 2008 and the rebirth of the Republic obliges us to close all open issues and the only open issue in the region is that with Serbia and Kosovo’s integration in international institutions,” he said.

“Serbia demanding broad autonomy for Serb-majority areas in Kosovo” (RFE)

Naim Rashiti, director of the Balkans Group think tank, said that Serbia’s ‘public’ demand in the dialogue with Kosovo is the establishment of the Association of Serb-majority municipalities but the ‘real’ one includes ‘power sharing’ arrangements for areas with Serb majority in Kosovo, especially for the north.

“Serbia’s demand or Serbia’s agreement to normalise relations does not reach recognition and Serbia has never given any signs it will recognise Kosovo. At the same time, we have Kosovo explicitly demanding recognition. We have Kosovo’s demands for a balance of human rights between Serbs in Kosovo and Albanians in the Valley, which has never been defined,” he said.

Serwer: Serbia can still be sued for genocide in Kosovo (Telegrafi)

Daniel Serwer, Balkans analyst from the Johns Hopkins University, said that the fact that a genocide lawsuit against Serbia was not presented before the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia regarding crimes committed in Kosovo does not mean such a motion cannot be lodged with the International Court of Justice.

Serwer said that he was not sure however at what capacity Kosovo could address the International Court of Justice being that it is not a member of the United Nations or the ICJ’s statute. “It remains to be seen whether the International Court of Justice will at all review the proposal,” he said.

LDK slams Kosovo Government’s foreign policy strategy (media)

The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) criticised the foreign policy strategy presented by the Government of Kosovo saying it resembles a ‘wishing well’ and gives no concrete information on how objectives will be implemented. Furthermore, LDK said, the foreign policy plan makes no mention of Kosovo’s bid to join international organisations.

Speaking at a press conference, LDK’s deputy leader Shqipe Mjekiqi said the Government has not presented clear principles relating to dialogue with Serbia which she warned leaves room for arrangements that could impair independence of Kosovo.

Kosovo Government says Israel has a right to defend itself (Express)

The Kosovo Government said on Sunday that Israel has a right to defend itself against rockets fired at civilians by Hamas.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has escalated over the last few days, when dozens of people have been killed. The United States, Albania and other countries have condemned the Hamas attacks on Israel with Kosovo joined them on Sunday.

“As every state Israel has the right and the obligation to defend its people against 2000+ rockets fired at civilians only by Hamas, who is holding Palestinian civilian hostage in its war. We mourn all victims. We urge for refrain, stop of violence & seeking peaceful solutions,” Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Palokaj: We dream about the day when NATO would leave Kosovo (Koha)

Brussels-based correspondent Augustin Palokaj writes in an opinion piece that people in Kosovo and beyond are still talking about statements by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic about “warnings” that a great power will call for the withdrawal of KFOR and UNMIK from Kosovo. “One should note that he [Vucic] first mentioned UNMIK. Few people know that this mission still exists in Kosovo, and even less people know what it does. So, if UNMIK stays or withdraws from Kosovo, few people will notice,” he writes.

Palokaj further writes that NATO’s withdrawal would be the best news for Kosovo since its liberation and declaration of independence, “because it would imply that Kosovo has concluded its state-forming process, that reconciliation with Serbia has reached a level of security and the inability for a military conflict”. “That everyone in Kosovo feels free and safe, protected and live without fear, that there is no longer a need for an international military presence to protect them. It would also mean that Kosovo has borders guaranteed by its neighbors, who are members or partners of NATO, and that no neighboring country has territorial tendencies toward Kosovo. But this day does not seem near, therefore, warnings about the possible withdrawal of NATO from Kosovo are very premature. Because for many more years to come, with fewer or more soldiers, with protective, preventive or training tasks, NATO will remain in Kosovo,” Palokaj adds.

Robelli: Russian and Serbian special war through “Zuerst” (Koha)

Publicist Enver Robelli argues in an opinion piece that “a German obscurantist magazine [Zuerst], managed by pro-Russian and pro-Serbian racists and propagandists, claims to possess a new non-paper about the resolution of the conflict between Kosovo and Serbia. The distribution of this ‘news’ by the German leaflet without any evidence is probably part of a new operation by Kremlin and Belgrade to cause tensions and confusion in the region”. Robelli also writes that the 16-point document foresees the return of Kosovo under Serbia for 99 years. According to him, Zuerst is practically an inexistent ‘magazine’ in the German media market and that it offers “Russian and German extremists a platform to present their ideas”.

Protest today for safety of girls in schools (media)

Most news websites report that a protest organised by the Feminist Thinking and Action Collective will be held today in front of the premises of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, calling for greater safety for girls in schools. The protest will take place after reports of a case of sexual harassment at an elementary school in Prishtina. Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani reacted to the case, saying that she has discussed the matter with the ministers of interior affairs and education and that they are treating the case with priority and professionalism. Osmani also wrote on Facebook that “it is high time to fight the mentality where girls are constantly harassed and grow up with the idea that they should be protected, cared for, and deprived”.

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