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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, May 27, 2021

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, May 27, 2021

Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 23 new cases, one death (media)
• Kurti: Reciprocity will happen, but gradually (Klan)
• U.S. Army supports KSF’s transition to a defense army (RTK)
• Kamberi: We expect inclusion of Presevo Valley Albanians in dialogue with Serbia (media)
• Albin Kurti: I don’t believe KLA members are war criminals (Express)
• Health Minister: We will start with massive vaccination from 15 June (Telegrafi)
• Life imprisonment for man accused of Donjeta Pajazitaj’s murder (Prishtina Insight)

Serbian Language Media:

• Covid-19 in Serb communities: Four new cases (KiM radio)
• Vucic with Falconi: Serbia for compromise with national interests (Tanjug, Blic)
• Important consultations, then dialogue continuation; Greece assures us that it will not recognize Kosovo, Vucic said (KoSSev, TV Pink)
• US Commerce Secretary’s tweet about Serbia draws varied reactions (N1)
• Pentagon: Serbian-Russian exercises sovereign right of two states (RTS)
• Iranian Ambassador: We fully support territorial integrity of Serbia (RTS)
• Kosovo Police launched operational “Kulti” plan to protect the SOC property (Kosovo Online)
• Serbia receives final shipment of Chinese coronavirus vaccine (N1)
• Frequented thefts affect remaining Serbs in Ceranovici village (Radio KIM)

Opinion:

• “If it can’t be demolished, then it is appropriated” (KiM radio)

International:

• Slovenia’s Janša describes plans to Balkanize the EU (politico.eu)
• Money laundering pushes up property prices in Western Balkan cities (intellinewes.com)

Humanitarian/Development:

• The closure of Kizevak (Kosovo 2.0)
• The end of the epidemic is in sight (DW, B92)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 23 new cases, one death (media)
  • Kurti: Reciprocity will happen, but gradually (Klan)
  • S. Army supports KSF’s transition to a defense army (RTK)
  • Kamberi: We expect inclusion of Presevo Valley Albanians in dialogue with Serbia (media)
  • Albin Kurti: I don’t believe KLA members are war criminals (Express)
  • Health Minister: We will start with massive vaccination from 15 June (Telegrafi)
  • Life imprisonment for man accused of Donjeta Pajazitaj’s murder (Prishtina Insight)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Covid-19 in Serb communities: Four new cases (KiM radio)
  • Vucic with Falconi: Serbia for compromise with national interests (Tanjug, Blic)
  • Important consultations, then dialogue continuation; Greece assures us that it will not recognize Kosovo, Vucic said (KoSSev, TV Pink)
  • US Commerce Secretary’s tweet about Serbia draws varied reactions (N1)
  • Pentagon: Serbian-Russian exercises sovereign right of two states (RTS)
  • Iranian Ambassador: We fully support territorial integrity of Serbia (RTS)
  • Kosovo Police launched operational “Kulti” plan to protect the SOC property (Kosovo Online)
  • Serbia receives final shipment of Chinese coronavirus vaccine (N1)
  • Frequented thefts affect remaining Serbs in Ceranovici village (Radio KIM)

Opinion:

  • “If it can’t be demolished, then it is appropriated” (KiM radio)

International:

  • Slovenia’s Janša describes plans to Balkanize the EU (politico.eu)
  • Money laundering pushes up property prices in Western Balkan cities (intellinewes.com)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • The closure of Kizevak (Kosovo 2.0)
  • The end of the epidemic is in sight (DW, B92)      

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

COVID-19: 23 new cases, one death (media)

Kosovo has recorded 23 new cases of COVID-19 and one death in the last 24 hours. 230 recoveries have been confirmed over the same time period.

There are 2,987 active cases of coronavirus in Kosovo.

Kurti: Reciprocity will happen, but gradually (Klan)

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, said today in the session of the Assembly of Kosovo that the measure of reciprocity with Serbia will be implemented but not immediately.

“We will implement the measure of reciprocity, but we will implement it slowly. We will not rush, we will work for it to be realized slowly. Because we are the first government to deal with reciprocity and customs officials have not been trained to accept reciprocity. In our last government, we did not start reciprocity in the first month, we started it as gradual reciprocity, we do not deal with it as revenge on anyone.”

He said that they will discuss with the communities in Kosovo for their development and not for reconciliation.

“We do not dialogue for the reconciliation of communities, we discuss for the development of communities, for justice and their employment,” Kurti said.

U.S. Army supports KSF’s transition to a defense army (RTK)

The U.S. Army Europe and Africa Commander General Christopher Cavoli visited Kosovo on Wednesday, in support of Defender Europe 21 and demonstrating the strength and importance of U.S. relationship with Kosovo’s Ministry of Defense and Kosovo Security Force (KSF).

“General Cavoli met with Minister Mehaj, General Rama, and Kosovo Force – KFOR Commander Federici. U.S. Army Europe and Africa supports KSF’s transition to a multi-ethnic interoperable defense force capable of contributing to global stability and security,” informs the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo. 

Kamberi: We expect inclusion of Presevo Valley Albanians in the dialogue with Serbia (media)

The Albanian MP in the Serbian Parliament, Shaip Kamberi, said that it is necessary to include the Albanians of the Presevo Valley in the dialogue with Serbia. He assessed that this is the only remaining opportunity to take concrete actions to affirm the position of Albanians in this part. Kamberi said that the political representatives of the Valley are ready to cooperate with the government of Kosovo in this regard.

“This is the only opportunity left to take concrete actions to affirm the position of Albanians in the Presevo Valley. I believe that the new government in Pristina will have in mind this request and the needs of the Albanians of this region. Until now, it is the chairman of the National Council who has had meetings with government officials to whom he addressed this request,” Kamberi said.

He has indicated that he expects the Prime Minister to keep his commitment to involve the Valley in this process. “We see this as the last chance to do something more concrete for the Presevo Valley. Therefore, we expect the commitments given earlier to be an impetus for the current government to take a more concrete step towards the inclusion in the dialogue of the Presevo Valley issue,” he said.

Albin Kurti: I don’t believe Kosovo Liberation Army members are war criminals (Express)

Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, has elaborated his earlier statement that war criminals should be eliminated from politics, given after a working dinner in Brussels with other Western Balkan leaders hosted by the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, Gazeta Express reports.

Kurti addressing the Parliament on Thursday said that both Serbia and Brussels know who he was talking about. “I do not believe that KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) members are war criminals. But I believe there are war criminals not only in Serbia, but also in northern Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Kurti said. 

Health Minister: We will start with massive vaccination from 15 June (Telegrafi)

Kosovo’s Minister of Health Arben Vitia, was criticized today at the Assembly session regarding the vaccination process with the anti-COVID-19 vaccine.

Bekim Haxhiu from the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) said that the government of Kosovo has not yet signed a contract for the purchase of anti-COVID-19 vaccines.

“Kosovo is the only country in Europe that does not have a contract with any vaccine manufacturer. Honorable Minister, can you tell us why you have not signed yet a contract for the purchase of vaccines?” Haxhiu asked.

Vitia in his response emphasized that they are in constant discussions with the producers, and that they are in the final phase of the contract that will enable the process of mass vaccination.

“The negotiation process in our country started at the end of last year and for every vaccine that has a short expiration date and which is made based on requests from the respective states, companies produce as much as the states negotiate and unfortunately it is a conclusion that our state was late to start negotiations properly,” Vitia said.

Vitia added that at no point will there be delays in the arrival of vaccines.

“We will achieve our goal of vaccinating 60% of citizens by the end of the year,” said Vitia.

He added that a new plan for mass vaccination is being drafted.

“The plan is nearing completion and from June 15 will enter into force,” Vitia said.

He stressed that 62,400 doses from the COVAX alliance and about 15,000 doses from EU mechanisms have been received so far.

Life imprisonment for man accused of Donjeta Pajazitaj’s murder (Prishtina Insight)

Naser Pajazitaj has been handed a life sentence for the aggravated murder of his cousin Donjeta, the third verdict in this case by a Kosovo basic court.

The Basic Court of Ferizaj has sentenced Naser Pajazitaj to life imprisonment for the aggravated murder of his cousin Donjeta Pajazitaj, who was 24 when she died in 2015.

According to the indictment filed by the prosecution, on November 11, 2015, Donjeta Pajazitaj was on her way to work when Naser Pajazitaj picked her up in a car, before driving to a place known as Kroni i Lajthise in the mountains west of the village of Strellc near Decan, and shooting her twice in the head. 

The indictment also accuses Naser Pajazitaj of concealing evidence of his crime by covering the body. Donjeta was found dead by passersby on December 27, 2015, six weeks after her family reported her missing. The prosecution sought the maximum sentence in the case.

In the final session of the trial, prosecutor Valbona Dishaj-Haxhosaj stated that the accused committed the criminal offense of aggravated murder in a cruel or deceitful way, adding that she remained close to the indictment on all counts.

Following the announcement of the verdict on Thursday, Ahmet Tahiri, a defense lawyer for Pajazitaj, described the decision as scandalous. “We will file a complaint and use every extraordinary legal route in order to clarify the truth in this case,” he said outside the courtroom.

Thursday’s decision by the Basic Court of Ferizaj is the third verdict on the case by a basic court in Kosovo. In March 2018, Naser Pajazitaj was sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment for an unlicensed gun charge, but acquitted for murder at the Basic Court of Peja, with the presiding judge citing insufficient evidence presented by the prosecution.

A year later, in March 2019, following a successful appeal for a retrial by the prosecution, the Peja court sentenced Pajazitaj to life imprisonment for the murder. The decision was then upheld by the Court of Appeals in July 2019.

However, in September 2019, the Supreme Court overturned both decisions by the Basic Court of Peja and remanded the case for retrial. At the decision of the Court of Appeals, the second retrial was held at the Basic Court of Ferizaj, in order to remove any suspicion against the justice system.

Tahiri claimed that Thursday’s decision did not address any of the issues raised by the supreme court.

Over the years, the case has been the subject of a number of public protests. In December 2015, residents of Decan participated in a peaceful march to express their anger over two murders, including that of Pajazitaj, while in September 2018 Kosovo Women’s Network organised a protest outside the first appeal trial.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Covid-19 in Serb communities: Four new cases (KiM radio)

In the last 48 hours, four new cases of coronavirus infection have been registered in Serbian communities in Kosovo, the Crisis Staff of the Municipality of Kosovska Mitrovica announced today.

Based on 52 processed samples, positive cases were recorded in the municipalities: Leposavic (2), North Mitrovica (1) and Zvecan (1).

There are currently 64 active cases.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, a total of 20,116 people have been tested, and the presence of coronavirus has been confirmed in 6,028.

In Serb areas in Kosovo, 148 people have died as a result of Covid-19 so far.

Vucic with Falconi: Serbia for compromise with national interests (Tanjug, Blic)

President of Serbia Aleksandra Vucic, in a conversation with French Ambassador Jean-Louis Falconi on the future of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, pointed out that there is always a readiness to find a compromise solution and that he will respond to the invitation from Brussels but also that a lot of strength and energy is needed to reach a compromise, and that the delegation will take into account the state and national interests of Serbia. 

Vucic emphasized the importance of cooperation with France for Serbia, both on the political and economic level, and that he was pleased with the attention that President Macron pays to the relations between the two countries, the president’s press service announced today.

Important consultations, then dialogue continuation; Greece assures us that it will not recognize Kosovo, Vucic said (KoSSev, TV Pink)

”We have received assurances from Greece that it will not recognize Kosovo,” the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic said yesterday. He also declared that ”big and important consultations” on Kosovo await him, as well as the continuation of the dialogue in Brussels.

Serbia must protect its national interests, the President of Serbia told TV Pink yesterday.

The continuation of the dialogue and the first meeting between Aleksandar Vucic and Albin Kurti as negotiators are scheduled to take place in June. The president also revealed that consultations will be held in Belgrade in the coming days, followed by talks in Brussels.

The TV Pink journalist spoke to the president – discussing ”what is being talked about”, such as:

The rumors that France could ”take the baton” in the dialogue, and that it could also propose an ”interim agreement” within which Serbia would have autonomy in northern Kosovo, and the SOC would gain a special status.

”All of this could happen because of Greece which should give visa liberalization to Kosovo,” the TV Pink journalist told Vucic.

The President underlined that visa liberalization should be approved by the European Union, adding that this is all about something else. What exactly is this ”something else” – the president refused to reveal, only saying that he would talk about it in the coming days.

He stressed he does not want to talk about it until he sees for himself what is the truth.

”I expect to see, since there have been some changes in relations, whether it is just a trade office or there is a point of interest between Pristina and Greece. We will see how it goes, and then we will inform the public,” the president added.

When a TV Pink journalist mentioned the ”rumors” that Greece could recognize Kosovo, the President of Serbia said that he received assurances from this country that this will not happen.

”They assure us that they will not admit it, but the things that we have seen are certainly not so good news for us. We will see, we will fully inform the public,” the president said without specifying what this ”not so good news” for Serbia exactly entails.

Agreement is ready – Greek recognition offered to Kosovo. Initial signal sent? 

Yesterday portal B92 reported that political adviser to former Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said that, to his knowledge, France had proposed an interim agreement between Belgrade and Pristina.

As Artan Behrami explained, the alleged agreement was not based on a principle of mutual recognition, Kosovo online portal reported, quoting Pristina’s TV Klan. 

“According to my information, Germany is not in the game, because of this year’s elections, whereas the United States handed over the authorization to Brussels for dialogue. There is an idea forced by France, supported by Brussels, to reach an interim agreement, related to the Washington agreement, but it is harmful for Kosovo, because it speaks of the autonomy of the north, greater church rights in exchange for recognition by Greece and visa liberalization”, Behrami said in an interview with Kosovo’s Klan TV, portal B92 quoted the media. 

He pointed out that the advisers of the French President Emmanuel Macron sent a signal that there would be no visa liberalization for the citizens of Kosovo.

“It is a negotiating tactic, but it is being negotiated internally and I believe that these topics will be discussed at the next meeting to be held in Paris. It is not good to enter this game because interim agreements do not bring long-term stability, do not solve the problem between Kosovo and Serbia. They are just creating illusions that something has been done,” Behrami said. He stressed that the role of the US was secondary and “not primary as before”.

“We have lost momentum in the dialogue and now there are initiatives to reach an agreement not for mutual recognition as before, but for interim agreements,” Behrami said, among other things.

US Commerce Secretary’s tweet about Serbia draws varied reactions (N1)

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a Twitter post that Serbia is the economic engine of the region, drawing strong reactions from people from several parts of the former Yugoslavia.

“Serbia is the economic engine of the Western Balkans. We look forward to continuing and expanding our bilateral cooperation, particularly in ICT, infrastructure, healthcare, and clean energy,” Secretary Raimondo tweeted on the 140th anniversary of Serbia-US relations.

Reactions to her tweet varied from expressions of gratitude from some Serbians including Serbia’s Ambassador in Washington Marko Djuric to criticism of US policies over Kosovo, comparisons with the economies of other Western Balkan countries, claims that Serbia’s economy is not doing as well as Raimondo said and reminders of events in the wars of the 1990s as well as calls for US help to bring democracy.

See at: https://bit.ly/3p2lhdG

Pentagon: Serbian-Russian exercises sovereign right of two states (RTS)

Regarding Serbian-Russian military exercises that took place last week, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the US values Serbia as a member of NATO Partnership for Peace program, adding that exercises were the sovereign right of the two states, RTS reports.

Speaking on online-conference, Kirby also said he doesn’t have sufficient information about Serbian-Russian exercise.

“If NATO wants to say something about that exercise, I think that’s a better question to put my colleagues in Brussels”, Kirby said, the US Ministry of Defense announced.

“I would let these two sovereign states speak to their exercises and bilateral relations, that is really for them to speak to”, he added. 

Iranian Ambassador: We fully support territorial integrity of Serbia (RTS)

Relations between Serbia and Iran are good, with no negative points, Ambassador of the Iranian Islamic Republic to Belgrade Rashid Hassan Pour Baei told Radio Beograd 1. He added, the latest visit of the Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic to Iran proves that.

He also assessed political cooperation between the countries being at the highest level.

“We have great understanding when it comes to regional and international issues, as both sides strive to have principled stances based on international law and norms. This is exactly why we have not recognized unilaterally declared Kosovo independence and we fully support territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia. Our principled stances will remain unchanged”, he said. The Ambassador said that on the other hand Serbia constantly tries not to join resolutions against Iran and votes against them.

He also opined that a high level of political cooperation should be used to advance economic cooperation, noting that the cooperation in the agricultural sector is developing. Ambassador also spoke about cooperation in education, sports, and tourism, adding there is a major perspective in it while re-introducing direct flights between the two countries would contribute to further improvement.  

Kosovo police launched operational “Kulti” plan to protect the SOC property (Kosovo Online)

Kosovo Police registered an increase in the number of attacks on the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo, due to which the patrols on the ground were increased, the police told portal Kosovo Online.

Since the beginning of this year alone, a total of 13 damages to church property and attempted theft have been recorded.

“As of today, a total of 13 cases have been reported at the SOC facilities in various regions of Kosovo. Out of the total number of reported cases, 9 are classified as cases of aggravated theft, and 4 as damage to property,” it was stated in the written response of the Kosovo Police for Kosovo Online.

The police state that, in accordance with their competencies, they recorded and partially prosecuted the perpetrators of criminal acts.

“After the cases were reported, the competent police units went to the scene, conducted investigations and collected material evidence, which was presented to the competent prosecutor’s office and further investigative actions were coordinated. In certain cases, the perpetrators have been identified and charges have been filed against them, and other cases are still being investigated,” the police added in a statement.

In order to prevent attacks on the facilities of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Kosovo Police is implementing a special operational action plan.

“After the increased number of reported cases in March 2021, the Kosovo Police launched an additional operational plan ‘Kulti’ which is implemented throughout Kosovo, involving a number of police units with the aim of preventive action and detection of perpetrators,” concludes the response of the Kosovo Police, reported the portal.

Serbia receives final shipment of Chinese coronavirus vaccine (N1)

Serbia received a final shipment of Chinese Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, N1 reports.

The 8th and final shipment brings the total number of doses supplied to Serbia by the Chinese pharmaceuticals company to 4.2 million.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told the media at Belgrade airport that the contract was for four million doses with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army donating another 200,000 doses. According to Brnabic Serbia now has enough doses of various coronavirus vaccines to inoculate 3,115,000 people. She said that 45.3 percent of the adult population of Serbia had been vaccinated to date, adding that this is not enough to achieve herd immunity.

China’s Ambassador to Belgrade Chen Bo said her country would continue the “joint fight” with Serbia in fighting the pandemic. “The Sinopharm Company has fully met its contractual obligations demonstrating that China and Serbia are steel friends and reliable partners at critical times,” she said.

Frequented thefts affect remaining Serbs in Ceranovici village (Radio KIM)

Breaking into Serb houses and stealing whatever comes at reach, from the household appliances, tools to electronic devices became a frequent occurrence in returnees’ settlement Cerenovici, in Novo Brdo municipality, Radio KIM reports.

Last month the thieves entered the house of Bozidar Zdravkovic and stole a new electric stove. Bozidar was not at home at the time of the burglary, however he didn’t report the case to the police either, due to fear, as he said. His neighbor Sreten Stojiljkovic confirmed the theft, and said his house too was broken into and burglarized several times.

“I went to report that Bozidar’s house was broken into, as at the same time I went to report that someone threw the waste in front of my entry door, and broke into the garage”, Sreten said.

He also said police from Novo Brdo and the regional police station in Gnjilane came to the spot, opened an investigation and are aware in details about the latest cases of thefts, and that they are not taking place for the first time.

As confirmed to Radio KIM, two more Serb houses have been burglarized in mid-December, and only those purchased or usurped by Albanians remain unaffected, the Radio said. 

Village representative Milorad Simonovic appealed to KFOR and police to visit the village more frequently and have partols there. 

32 Serbs returned to the village in July 2009 and only six of them live in the village today. Prior to the conflict the village had 50 Serb houses, the Radio recalled. 

 

 

Opinion

 

“If it can’t be demolished, then it is appropriated” (KiM radio)

After demand to remove Visoki Decani from the list of endangered monuments of the Europa Nostra organization, and the recent request to UNESCO to remove four Serbian monasteries from its list, Albin Kurti sent a letter to Abbot Sava Janjic in which he said that “the Kosovo government is committed to protecting cultural heritage of all communities in Kosovo “. He also expressed a desire to visit the monastery, wrote KiM radio and asked Serbian analysts and journalists about what their opinion is about the latest move by the Kosovo Prime Minister.

According to journalist and writer Zivojin Rakocevic, Albin Kurti’s latest move that present the SOC facilities as a cultural treasure of Kosovo, and his desire to visit Visoki Decani, is a continuation of the aggressive rhetoric of the Kosovo prime minister and “insistence on creating a pan-Albanian and Kosovo-integral concept in which there are no Serbs”.

“He invited himself to Decani, but he invited himself as a designer of the Pan-Albanian idea and a designer of the Kosovo cultural model and Kosovo cultural pattern. That doesn’t make any sense. This is exclusively about Serbian cultural heritage. That Albin Kurti or anyone else who comes to Visoki Decani, he comes to something that is the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian people. However, he falsifies and humiliates the place of his visit,” Rakocevic told RTV Kim.

On the other hand, the director of RTV Mir, Nenad Radosavljevic, evaluates Kurti’s letter as a “good attempt” to discuss concrete and practical matters of protection of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

“I do not think that talks should be avoided, although in the letter Albin Kurti emphasizes `our country` and how he sees the status of Kosovo and Metohija. However, one should not turn a deaf ear to such a call, because it is, above all, in the interest of protecting what the Serbian Orthodox Church has had for centuries in Kosovo and on the other hand to enable people to communicate more normally, move and visit our monuments.Regardless of the details that may be disputable in the letter itself, it is still a good will to talk in principle and I think we should talk,” says Radosavljevic.

Belgrade-based political analyst Djordje Vukadinovic believes that Albin Kurti is a “cunning and skilled” politician, and that the letter addressed to the abbot of the Visoki Decani monastery sounds “European, well-intentioned and tolerant’’.

“If we didn’t know him (Albin Kurti), we could get caught up in that sweet talk. Unfortunately, we know how things stand and the letter was addressed less to Mr. Sava Janjic, and more to European institutions, Brussels and Washington, although it was formally addressed to the abbot of the monastery Visoki Decani. It is clear that Pristina is suffering some pressure, due to the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church. I think that this letter from Kurti is, among other things, an attempt of Pristina’s counter-offensive since the most relevant institution for the protection of cultural heritage, UNESCO, stated that the Serbian church heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is endangered, a letter in action of control and mitigation of Pristina’s damage,” Vukadinovic points out.

In a letter to Father Sava, Kurti states that “Kosovo’s cultural heritage is a source of pride, identity and education for our country and people”.

“Why did you demolish and burn churches and monasteries, and how come that now, from the terrible violence and 156 desecrated, demolished and devastated churches, it is yours? What is the confusion in political and ideological terms; and what have you learned since March 17, 2004 up until now? That’s a key issue. And you have learned that if you cannot demolish it, then let us administratively delete it, appropriate it and change the ownership, which is not possible,” says Zivojin Rakocevic.

“The government in Kosovo, as everywhere in the world, is trying to create a good image of itself, in that sense it bothers that our important cultural and historical monuments and monasteries have been declared to be in danger. That bothers the authorities in Kosovo, and they are trying in every way to remove that label from themselves. I think that this is just an attempt by Pristina to brighten its face about itself in the world,” Radosavljevic believes.

“I think that Pristina will not give up on the key thing, and that is the transformation of the indirect and long-term Serbian church heritage into Kosovo’s cultural heritage. Unfortunately, despite the sweetness in that letter, I see it as part of efforts to, sometimes with pressure and threats and sometimes  with gestures of goodwill, actually work on separating that inseparable part of the Serbian religious and cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija,” Vukadinovic concludes.

Kurti’s letter stating that he is interested in visiting Visoke Decane comes a few days after he and Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani sent a letter to UNESCO demanding the removal of the SOC monastery in Kosovo from the list of endangered, recalled KiM radio.

It is still unknown whether Albin Kurti will meet with the abbot of Decani, since neither Father Sava nor the Diocese of Raska and Prizren have responded to the letter from the Prime Minister of Kosovo, reported KiM radio.

 

 

International

 

Slovenia’s Janša describes plans to Balkanize the EU (politico.eu)

Ahead of Council presidency, Slovenian prime minister says EU membership for Western Balkans could solve many problems.

Prepare for the Balkanization of the EU — literally.

In a preview of the priorities of Slovenia’s upcoming presidency of the Council of the EU, Prime Minister Janez Janša on Wednesday advocated for a return to the aggressive enlargement of the European Union that ushered his own country into the club in 2004, with a focus on admitting all countries of the Western Balkans.

See more at:https://politi.co/3i0SAfw

Money laundering pushes up property prices in Western Balkan cities (intellinewes.com)

The real estate and construction sectors are being used to launder illicit money from the drugs trade and migrant trafficking in the Western Balkans, leading to a hike in property prices, according to a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime. 

Laundering money through construction and real estate businesses “is popular because it remains relatively easy and can absorb large amounts of capital”, says the report, “Spot Prices: Analyzing flows of people, drugs and money in the Western Balkans”. 

Property “can be a place to store a significant amount of capital, potentially appreciate in value and enhance the quality of the criminal’s lifestyle” says the report. It notes earlier research showing that investments in construction and real estate “have a long history of absorbing illegal revenue in the Western Balkans, given that the sector is both meaningful in terms of economic share and poorly regulated”.

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

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

The closure of Kizevak (Kosovo 2.0)

With nine remains confirmed at Kizevak, the mass grave investigation ends. 

Six years of excavation in an open-cast mine in Kiževak, near Raška, the Serbian town bordering northern Kosovo, were officially brought to an end on May 26. Today, the remains of nine people still missing from the Kosovo war were confirmed. The investigation had attracted intense public interest in Kosovo over the last few months, as investigators came closer to identifying human remains. To mark the end of the long, difficult work for the forensic archaeologists, the lone excavator left a dozen red roses on the site. 

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

The end of the epidemic is in sight (DW, B92)

COVID-19 wave has been put under control in much of the EU. Vaccination is advancing, so COVID passports and facilitated travel are now being hastily discussed.

However, it could happen that the member states pull each other to the other side.

The number of new infections is decreasing, so the heads of states and governments of the European Union member states are saying that the “light at the end of the tunnel” they have been talking about for months is approaching. For weeks, there have been fewer and fewer new infections across Europe, so it is clear that the coronavirus wave is coming to an end.

Shopping, restaurant, cinema, overnight in a hotel – in most EU countries, restrictive measures are being withdrawn, and life is slowly returning to normal. All this with very different rules as to where negative tests are needed, what we are allowed to do in a specific time schedule, or where a mask must be worn.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, in most parts of the EU, the incidence of new cases of coronavirus is between 60 and 120. That number indicates the number of newly registered infections in the last seven days per 100.000 inhabitants.

See at: https://bit.ly/2SuHViG

 

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