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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 27, 2021

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• COVID-19: 44 new cases, no deaths (media)
• Ministry of Health speaks about plan to relax COVID-19 rules (media)
• PM Kurti writes to Father Sava, asks to visit Decan Monastery (media)
• Lajcak meets Palmer, discuss Kosovo-Serbia dialogue (media)
• Kosovo PM Faces Pressure to Involve US in Serbia Dialogue (BIRN)
• Haziri: LDK will not attend any more meetings called by Kurti (Klan)
• VV MP says reciprocity measures towards Serbia will be applied (Klan)
• Greek FM Dendias to visit Kosovo in June (Albanian Post/RTK)
• Vucic: We have been assured Greece will not recognise Kosovo (media)
• Gerxhaliu: Exhumations in Serbia accompanied by many challenges (Klan)
• Slovenia to host EU-Western Balkans summit in October (RTK)
• CEC resumes work, minus two members (media)
• Belgrade court refuses to amend detention measure against Mehmetaj (media)

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  • COVID-19: 44 new cases, no deaths (media)
  • Ministry of Health speaks about plan to relax COVID-19 rules (media)
  • PM Kurti writes to Father Sava, asks to visit Decan Monastery (media)
  • Lajcak meets Palmer, discuss Kosovo-Serbia dialogue (media)
  • Kosovo PM Faces Pressure to Involve US in Serbia Dialogue (BIRN)
  • Haziri: LDK will not attend any more meetings called by Kurti (Klan)
  • VV MP says reciprocity measures towards Serbia will be applied (Klan)
  • Greek FM Dendias to visit Kosovo in June (Albanian Post/RTK)
  • Vucic: We have been assured Greece will not recognise Kosovo (media)
  • Gerxhaliu: Exhumations in Serbia accompanied by many challenges (Klan)
  • Slovenia to host EU-Western Balkans summit in October (RTK)
  • CEC resumes work, minus two members (media)
  • Belgrade court refuses to amend detention measure against Mehmetaj (media)

COVID-19: 44 new cases, no deaths (media)

Kosovo has recorded 44 new cases of COVID-19 and no deaths in the last 24 hours. 152 recoveries have been confirmed over the same time period.

There are 3,255 active cases of coronavirus in Kosovo.

Ministry of Health speaks about plan to relax COVID-19 rules (media)

Kosovo’s Ministry of Health issued a statement following the meeting Minister Arben Vitia and Minister of Local Government Administration Elbert Krasniqi had with mayors of municipalities and discussed the pandemic situation, the vaccination process, and possibility of relaxing COVID-19 measures.

Vitia is said to have underlined the importance of vaccinating the more vulnerable population by summer and also about plans for a new plan of action. He also noted that in line with recommendations of the Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health and health experts, “we are planning to relax preventive measures in conformity to the reality on the ground, by trying to balance public health with the economy.”

The Association of Kosovo Municipalities meanwhile said that they were informed by Minister Vitia that, pending the epidemiological situation, wedding venues across Kosovo will be allowed to operate as of mid June.

PM Kurti writes to Father Sava, asks to visit Decan Monastery (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, has written to Sava Janjic, Abbot at the Decan Monastery, expressing the commitment of the Government of Kosovo to protect the cultural heritage of all communities in Kosovo and his desire to visit the Monastery in the near future and “discuss issues of common interest”.

“The cultural diversity of our country is the strongest guarantee for lasting peace. As Prime Minister of Kosova, I will protect all our monuments, and particularly the Orthodox churches and monasteries. All assets of Kosova’s rich cultural heritage without exception are a source of pride, identity and education for our state and people. Institutions of Kosova have taken countless actions to protect cultural rights of non-majority communities. We want to continue with good work so that all our citizens can enjoy unhindered our common cultural assets with universal values,” Kurti wrote in the letter which was published in Albanian, Serbian and English by Minister of Culture Hajrulla Ceku via Facebook.

Kurti said he believed that only direct communication can remove prejudices and misunderstandings and help in addressing common challenges.

Lajcak meets Palmer, discuss Kosovo-Serbia dialogue (media)

EU Special Representative for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, met the U.S. Deputy Assistant, Matthew Palmer.

“Happy to welcome my good friend Matt Palmer in Brussels today. It comes as no surprise that we spoke about the Western Balkans and the Dialogue,” Lajcak wrote on Twitter.

Kosovo PM Faces Pressure to Involve US in Serbia Dialogue (BIRN)

Ahead of the expected resumption of the stalled dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, from which Kosovo declared independence in 2008, Kosovo leader Albin Kurti is coming under domestic pressure to get the United States involved in the European Union-facilitated process.

“Without its participation there should be no dialogue,” one opposition party leader, Lumir Abdixhiku, said on Wednesday about US involvement in the talks.

In a series of consultations with party leaders, Prime Minister Kurti met the leader of the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, on Wednesday.

A day earlier he did the same with Ramush Haradinaj, of the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, who also voiced concerns about the lack of US involvement.

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

Haziri: LDK will not attend any more meetings called by Kurti (Klan)

Deputy leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Lutfi Haziri said that the party would not attend possible new meetings called by Prime Minister Albin Kurti saying there are no political reasons to do so.

“No more except today. We discussed the president’s issue with the president. Today we had the second consultative meeting, more informative. And we said that if there is a need to meet in the political leaders’ format, it would be good for all to be in one room. It is not good for meetings to continue one-on-one as was the case with the first meeting but to have all leaders meet at once, the prime minister and opposition leaders,” he said in interview with Klan Kosova.

Haziri also stressed that he did not believe Kurti has changed its political beliefs. “I have seen moderation. Prime Minister Kurti has changed the method but not the goal.” He added that the LDK would not support the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia if, as he said, it derails outside of the framework that the party has on the matter.

VV MP says reciprocity measures towards Serbia will be applied (Klan)

Fitim Uka, MP from the Vetevendosje Movement (VV), said that the Government of Kosovo has not given up on the idea of introducing reciprocity measures towards Serbia but that necessary preparations are being made to ensure the success of the measures.

“Reciprocity is a policy of the Vetevendosje Movement. We have proven this in the Kurti 1 government, but there are some valuable lessons learnt then. The new head of Customs has been appointed recently and we need to make careful preparations,: he said. “It is precisely the Vetevendosje Movement that introduced reciprocity, the next government declared it illegal and lifted it and the same ones are now demanding it be reinstated.”

Greek FM Dendias to visit Kosovo in June (Albanian Post/RTK)

Foreign Minister of Greece Nikos Dendias is expected to visit Kosovo in June and meet institutional leaders.

“Minister Dendias will visit Kosovo early June, following latest developments and the formation of the new government,” Greek Foreign Ministry said in a reply to Albanian Post. It added that Greece’s position on not recognising independence of Kosovo remains unchanged “but at the same time, it is well known that Athens has maintained constructive approach towards Pristina.”

Vucic: We have been assured Greece will not recognise Kosovo (media)

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic said that Belgrade has recieved assurances that Greece will not be recognising independence of Kosovo, noting however that progress in the relations between Athens and Prishtina is no good news.

Vucic also commented on claims that France could come up with a proposal for a provisional agreement between Kosovo and Serbia whereby the north of Kosovo would be granted autonomy in exchange for Kosovo receiving visa liberalisation and recognition from Greece. “I would not comment without knowing something,” he told Serbian media.

Gerxhaliu: Exhumations in Serbia accompanied by many challenges (Klan)

Arsim Gerxhaliu, head of Kosovo’s Forensic Institute, spoke about the exhumation process in Kizevak of Serbia where remains of nine people killed by Serb forces in Kosovo were recovered.

He said that he was not aware whether there was any agreement between the Kosovo and Serb side noting that he is only interested in the professional side of the job, to identify as many missing persons as possible although their work is not free of challenges. “We worked in two teams. Such a process takes tile and in this location, Kizevak, we began coming since 2015 and millions cubic metres of rocks, and waste from the mines have been removed that were piled on top of level zero. Level zero for us is that of 1999.”

“This location is related to the two emptied mass graves in Batajnica. We simply assumed they [the victims] would be from Rezalla and it turned out to be the case,” Gerxhaliu continued.

Slovenia to host EU-Western Balkans summit in October (RTK)

Prime Minister of Slovenia Janez Jansa has announced that during the country’s presidency of the European Union, the focus would turn to the bloc’s enlargement process towards Western Balkans. He said Slovenia would be hosting a special summit between the EU and the Western Balkans in October.

Speaking at a press conference with European Parliament President David Sassoli, Jansa said EU enlargement is the best strategic response to challenges facing the EU. He was also asked to comment on the idea of border changes in the Balkans saying that EU perspective is the best solution and makes the border issue less important.

CEC resumes work, minus two members (media)

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has resumed meetings with a new composition of its members, minus two that are yet to be appointed by President Vjosa Osmani pending the opinion of the Constitutional Court.

The CEC formed permanent councils in the meeting yesterday despite the insistence of the Vetevendosje Movement to establish the councils after the appointment of the two members. Head of CEC Valdete Daka argued that the composition of the councils could change upon appointment of new members and that the CEC cannot afford to lose time in waiting for the court’s ruling. “We need to have the councils up and running. It just a matter of time when local elections are announced,” she said.

Belgrade court refuses to amend detention measure against Mehmetaj (media)

High Court in Belgrade has refused to change the detention measure against Nezir Mehmetaj from Kosovo who is facing war crimes charges in Serbia.

The judge refused the request of the defence to replace detention with electronically monitoring house arrest. Mehmetaj was arrested by authorities in Serbia as we was travelling through the country in January of 2020.

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