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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 1, 2021

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Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 19 new cases, no deaths (media)
• Vitia: we will provide two million vaccines until the end of the year (media)
• Kurti: Dialogue to be held in middle of June (RTK)
• Lajcak and Palmer meet with international community in Kosovo (media)
• EU is optimistic about the Balkans, U.S. wants Serbia to recognize Kosovo (Koha)
• Lajcak informs heads of EU missions on the future meeting (RTK)
• Palmer and Kosnett meet Haradinaj (media)
• Mehaj: Defender Europe 21 fortifies Kosovo’s path to NATO (euronews.al)
• Four northern municipalities do not pay for consumed water, debt reached 15 million (RTK)
• GAP: Over 190 thousand job seekers registered during March-September (RTK)

Serbian Language Media:

• No new Covid-19 cases in Serbian communities in Kosovo (KoSSev)
• Lajcak and Palmer in Pristina, ”normalization of relations with Serbia is a key factor in attracting US investments” (KoSSev)
• Vucic: EU, US increasing pressure to recognize Kosovo (N1)
• Moscow will support solution for Kosovo that suits Belgrade (N1)
• Serbia’s Min: Kosovo lacks knowledge, willingness to guard Serb heritage (N1)
• Kostic: Letter from Kosovo leaders to UNESCO – provocation (KiM radio, N1)
• Serbian Orthodox Church Holly Assembly of Bishops concluded in Belgrade (SOC, media)
• Dacic: Russia and China would have to get involved in resolving Kosovo issue (Kosovo-online)
• Petkovic and Davidoiu on situation in Kosovo, dialogue (Radio KIM)
• Greece: We do not recognize Kosovo; our position remains unchanged (media)

International:

• Top U.S., EU Envoys Tell Kosovo That Better Ties With Serbia Will Open Door To Europe (RFE)
• EU, US Push for ‘New Dynamics’ in Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue (Balkan Insight)
• Civil Society Forum kicks off by taking stock of the eight years of Berlin Process (EWB)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Children’s book “Nature colours with Uta and Miljana” published (Kallxo)
• Civil society organisations issue report on human rights in Kosovo (Koha)
• The trails in the Western Balkans worth the trek (euronews.com)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 19 new cases, no deaths (media)
  • Vitia: we will provide two million vaccines until the end of the year (media)
  • Kurti: Dialogue to be held in middle of June (RTK)
  • Lajcak and Palmer meet with international community in Kosovo (media)
  • EU is optimistic about the Balkans, U.S. wants Serbia to recognize Kosovo (Koha)
  • Lajcak informs heads of EU missions on the future meeting (RTK)
  • Palmer and Kosnett meet Haradinaj (media)
  • Mehaj: Defender Europe 21 fortifies Kosovo’s path to NATO (euronews.al)
  • Four northern municipalities do not pay for consumed water, debt reached 15 million (RTK)
  • GAP: Over 190 thousand job seekers registered during March-September (RTK)

Serbian Language Media:

  • No new Covid-19 cases in Serbian communities in Kosovo (KoSSev)
  • Lajcak and Palmer in Pristina, ”normalization of relations with Serbia is a key factor in attracting US investments” (KoSSev)
  • Vucic: EU, US increasing pressure to recognize Kosovo (N1)
  • Moscow will support solution for Kosovo that suits Belgrade (N1)
  • Serbia’s Min: Kosovo lacks knowledge, willingness to guard Serb heritage (N1)
  • Kostic: Letter from Kosovo leaders to UNESCO – provocation (KiM radio, N1)
  • Serbian Orthodox Church Holly Assembly of Bishops concluded in Belgrade (SOC, media)
  • Dacic: Russia and China would have to get involved in resolving Kosovo issue (Kosovo-online)
  • Petkovic and Davidoiu on situation in Kosovo, dialogue (Radio KIM)
  • Greece: We do not recognize Kosovo; our position remains unchanged (media)

International:

  • Top U.S., EU Envoys Tell Kosovo That Better Ties With Serbia Will Open Door To Europe (RFE)
  • EU, US Push for ‘New Dynamics’ in Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue (Balkan Insight)
  • Civil Society Forum kicks off by taking stock of the eight years of Berlin Process (EWB)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Children’s book “Nature colours with Uta and Miljana” published (Kallxo)
  • Civil society organisations issue report on human rights in Kosovo (Koha)
  • The trails in the Western Balkans worth the trek (euronews.com)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

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

Kosovo recorded five new cases of COVID-19 and no deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. 177 persons recovered from the virus during this time. There are 2,043 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Vitia: we will provide two million vaccines until the end of the year (media)

Kosovo’s Health Minister Arben Vitia said that the epidemiological situation has improved in recent weeks and that by the end of the year they will be provided with two million antiCOVID-19 vaccines.

He made this statement during his report to the Committee on Health and added that the National Institute for Public Health (NIPHK) announced that the number of deaths and infections has decreased.

“Vaccination against COVID-19 was the key word in our commitment to providing vaccines. The national vaccination plan has already started, and in the first few weeks we have implemented the existing national plan. At the time of coming to office we did not have contact with the manufacturers of vaccines, but we did them during our work. We will have two million doses by the end of the year, for the vaccination of 60 percent of the population. The vaccination process is ongoing in accordance with all our teams. From 89 teams, it will increase with 190 additional teams,” Vitia said.

Kurti: Dialogue to be held in middle of June (RTK)

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, stated today during his visit to Prizren that there is no pressure from the EU or the U.S. to resume dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, while confirming that such a meeting will be held in mid-June.

“There will be a meeting in mid-June, today is June 1, not mid-June … There is no pressure, there are ongoing discussions, the dialogue will be principled, it will be fair, where Kosovo is not an object on the table but a party in the talks and with our knowledge, our program and with the conscience and responsibility that we have always shown, we will represent the Republic of Kosovo for the interests of the Republic of Kosovo”, he said

Asked about the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities, Kurti said that there can be no one-ethnic association in Kosovo.

“It seems to me that I already answered that what will happen to the association was said by the citizens’ petition and the then opposition actions, and I believe the verdict of the Constitutional Court. We cannot have an ethnic association in Kosovo, so it is necessary to integrate all citizens regardless of ethnicity, not to create walls that divide and sperate them,” he said.

Kurti did not answer the question whether he was a member of the KLA.

As for the LVV candidate for Prizren, he said that these issues will be resolved after the summer holidays.

Lajcak and Palmer meet with international community in Kosovo (media)

The EU Special Representative on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, announced Tuesday morning that he started his second day of visit to Pristina by meeting representatives of the international community in Kosovo. Lajcak said that the meeting was also attended by the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer.

“Started day 2 with a useful working breakfast with the international community in Kosovo together with my good friend DAS Matt Palmer, who is joining me for this visit. As always, a very good overview about their activities on the ground,” Lajcak wrote on Twitter.

EU is optimistic about the Balkans, the U.S. wants Serbia to recognize Kosovo (media)

While the European Union Special Envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, said that 2021 has the potential to be a good year for relations between the EU and the Western Balkans, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer has directly stated that the dialogue between the two states should end with mutual recognition.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the two said they had visited Kosovo to demonstrate transatlantic cooperation, ahead of a June meeting between Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

“The primary purpose of this visit is to prepare the first high-level meeting between Prime Minister Kurti and President Vucic, which will be held in a few days. Therefore, I am here and the program focuses on four key meetings. President Osmani, Prime Minister Kurti and negotiator Mr. Bislimi and Mrs. Gërvalla. We had our first meetings together and they were helpful as they helped us prepare for the meeting. We want this meeting to be successful,” Lajcak said.

“There will be an EU summit in November and these platforms are opportunities to move forward for the Balkans, including Kosovo,” he added.

Asked about his statements about the establishment of the Association of Serb-majority municipalities, Lajcak said that he did not say that the Constitution of Kosovo should be changed to adapt to it, but it is practical that the commitments arising from international agreements be included in the legislation. of the respective country.

On the other hand, Palmer said that the main goal of the dialogue is mutual recognition and steps on the path of the two countries to EU membership. He reiterated that the United States is a partner in the process and that “the vision for the region is to advance the dialogue towards reaching a final agreement.”

Speaking about possible compromises that would lead to reaching an agreement, Palmer said that it is up to the parties to discuss and decide on these compromises.

“It is not up to the U.S. to identify what the necessary compromises, the parameters of the negotiations should be. This is not the job of my friend Lajcak either. This is up to the parties. The dialogue is not led by the U.S., EU, but by the parties. Dialogue is facilitated by the EU and supported by the U.S., therefore, it is up to the parties to shape and agree on the parameters of the dialogue and help move the process forward.  We are here to support, encourage and advocate as the process moves forward, “Palmer said. 

Regarding the establishment of the Association of Serb-majority municipalities, Palmer said that this association should be formed as agreed by the parties.

Lajcak informs heads of EU missions on the future meeting (RTK)

Before concluding his two-day visit to Kosovo, the European Union Special Representative for the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, met with the Heads of EU Missions in Kosovo to brief them on the next meeting expected to take place between Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels.

Through a post on Twitter, Lajcak expressed his gratitude for their strong support.

“As a standard practice, before leaving Kosovo, I informed the heads of EU missions about the next meeting for dialogue and discussions I had in the last two days. Grateful for their strong support,” Lajcak wrote.

Palmer and Kosnett meet Haradinaj (media)

The leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj took to Facebook to inform about his meeting with the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer and the U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo Philip Kosnett.

“Today, at the headquarters of the Alliance, I had a meeting with representatives of the United States of America, Mr. Matthew A. Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, responsible for the Western Balkans and the Aegean, and Mr. Philip S. Kosnett, Ambassador to Kosovo, with whom we discussed political developments in the country and the region. Kosovo has shown prudence in the functioning and consolidation of democracy, to the highest standards and is steadfast in the bilateral and strategic relationship, as well as the permanent friendship with the United States of America. At the meeting, I reiterated that the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo is determined in its position that the American role in the dialogue is necessary and inevitable for reaching a comprehensive agreement with Serbia that results in mutual recognition. I also reiterated the need for Kosovo’s Euro-Atlantic perspective and its membership in NATO. Kosovo is lucky to stand by America, a country that supported the liberation and building of our statehood, which is still our strategic ally and most reliable partner,” Haradinaj wrote.

Defender Europe 21 fortifies Kosovo’s path to NATO, says defense minister (euronews.al)

Kosovo Security Forces composed of 330 soldiers is participating in Defender Europe 21 exercises taking place in Gjakova.

Kosovo is among the 16 states hosting the joint multinational military drills led by the US Army, with over 27 states and 28.000 soldiers taking part in Defender Europe 21.

The main objective of these military exercises is “building development and interoperability with partners”, “reviewing and evaluating infantry skills”, “training future teams” and “operational intelligence compatibility with allies”.

building development and interoperability with partners, training future assessment teams, and intelligence interoperability in partner countries.

Kosovo’s defense minister Armend Mehaj said that the participation of the Kosovo Security Forces testifies the “strong Kosovo-US partnership”.

“The exercises are focused on building operational readiness, the interaction of American forces with its allies in a broader operational area”, explained Mehaj.

He added that the presence of Defender Europe 21 has an imperative influence on the Western Balkans and regional security.

Furthermore, minister Mehaj added that the multinational operation fortifies the path towards NATO membership.

Four northern municipalities do not pay for consumed water, debt reached 15 million (RTK)

Apart from the electricity not paid by the residents of the four Serb-majority municipalities in the north of Kosovo, these residents do not pay for the water consumed.

Since 1999, the Kosovar authorities have not had access to that part and the debts of drinking water to the regional water company in Mitrovica have reached 15 million euros.

Xhelal Selmani Deputy Director of the Regulatory Authority for Water Services said during the reporting to the Committee on Economy that in terms of the northern part, the biggest problem is non-payment of drinking water even though it is billed.

“Water is billed, water is not paid and we do not have access there. 15 million euros are debts for 21 years. This is a political issue that can be resolved,” he said. 

GAP: Over 190 thousand job seekers registered during March-February (RTK)

Today, GAP Institute published its report Unemployed in the Pandemic – A brief analysis of jobseeker figures and profile for the period March 2020 – February 2021. The report shows that economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly affected the economy and especially the labor market in Kosovo. According to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics (KAS), the employment rate fell from 29.1% in the first quarter to 24.1% in the second quarter of 2020, while unemployment rose by 2.2 percentage points from the first quarter (25%) to the second quarter of 2020 (27.2%). According to the Tax Administration of Kosovo (TAK), the industries that suffered on average the largest drop in employee numbers between 2019-2020 were transportation and storage (-2,668 employees), public administration (-1,509 employees), trade and repair of motor vehicles (-1,406 employees).

Reed the full report here: https://bit.ly/3yVjI5w

 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

No new Covid-19 cases in Serbian communities in Kosovo (KoSSev)

Out of a total of 27 tested samples in Serbian areas in Kosovo, according to the latest data, there were no positive coronavirus cases, the Crisis Staff of the Municipality of Kosovska Mitrovica announced, reported KoSSev.

The number of active cases is currently 17, and 48 people came out of the fourteen-day isolation.

In the last 24 hours, there were no deaths. The total number of those who have lost the battle with the virus since the beginning of the epidemic was 148.

Lajcak and Palmer in Pristina, ”normalization of relations with Serbia is a key factor in attracting US investments” (KoSSev)

On the first day of the two-day visit of two officials from the EU and the US – Miroslav Lajcak and Matthew Palmer to Pristina, the information shared on what is being discussed is minimal – on all sides. The European-American duo will address the public in a joint conference tomorrow morning. One of the key messages from yesterday, however, arrived from the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo: ”Normalization of relations with Serbia is a key factor in attracting US investments”.

Deputy Assistant Secretary at U.S. Department of State – Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Matthew Palmer, who arrived in Pristina half a day before Lajcak, first met with US Ambassador Philip Kosnett. Immediately afterward, in separate meetings, both also met with the Kosovo opposition and the Serbian list. 

Apart from the Serbian List, which highlighted issues troubling the Serb community – security and the SOC – in its press release issued after the meeting, the opposition parties – PDK and LDK also shared only minimal information on their meeting. Apart from confirming that the leaders of these opposition parties (Avdullah Hoti, Lumir Abdixhiku, Lutfi Haziri from LDK and Enver Hoxhaj, Uran Ismaili and Blerta Deliu Kodra from PDK) met with high-ranking officials, the parties failed to share any specific details about the meetings.

A meeting with the AAK is scheduled to take place today. 

Hoti emphasized that Kosovo was ”blessed” due to its lasting friendship with the US, while the PDK stated that they discussed dialogue with Serbia and expectations for ”mutual recognition”  at the meeting.

Palmer and Kosnett also visited the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo. This organization then shared the following messages in a press release:

– The network of U.S. chambers across the region provides a positive, productive, and influential framework for addressing the current challenges the region is facing.

– Reducing obstacles to economic integration and the movement of people and capital, as a framework for Kosovo’s integration into the European system, ideally as a member of the European Union, which is also the US’ goal when it comes to Kosovo’s future.

– A comprehensive agreement on the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia is key to garnering additional US and other foreign investment, as well as creating much-needed jobs for the people of Kosovo and the entire region.

Prior to Palmer’s visit to the American Chamber of Commerce, Kosovan media reported that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) had confirmed that the request the MCC received from the US President Joe Biden – for the annual budget for 2022 – also included the point that $200 million were deemed to be necessary for the realization of US projects in Kosovo.

This US government agency suspended its economic development programs in Kosovo on March 13th of last year as a result of the then and the current Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s refusal to remove the 100% taxes on goods from Serbia and BiH. The programs were suspended following multiple urgings of US officials to the then government to remove this measure. The funds were unblocked after Hoti’s government lifted the reciprocity measure to Belgrade in June last year.

After Lajcak arrived in Pristina, the duo also met with Kosovo’s top officials – the prime minister, president, and foreign minister.

At the joint meeting with Palmer and Lajcak, as the Office of the Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani announced, Osmani reiterated the usual messages from Pristina: The dialogue process with Belgrade should ”end with mutual recognition of the two countries”. The Kosovan President underlined that for Kosovo, it remains essential that ”territorial integrity, internal constitutional and state regulations and the country’s functionality are respected” in this process. She also stressed that resolving the fate of the missing remains a priority.

”We expect that the process will end with mutual recognition, respecting these principles and that the agreement will be fully enforceable,” Osmani said.

In a press release issued after the meeting with the American-European duo, the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of Kosovo highlighted that the dialogue should be ”fair, principled and in the service of the people, overall peace and security”.

Kurti described the meeting as important particularly bearing in mind that it arrives ahead of the meeting in Brussels, scheduled to take place in mid-June, as well as after he met with opposition leaders, and before the parliamentary debate on the dialogue – i.e. ”agreements reached in Brussels so far and the level of their implementation”.

Kurti also underlined the joint coordination of the EU and the USA in the renewal of the political dialogue, alleging that such ”cooperation and coordination was welcome and necessary” .

Amid Lajcak’s and Palmer’s visit, Kosovo civil society also sent a message. The Kosovo Democratic Institute called on the Kosovo Assembly and MPs to take responsibility for arrangements concerning the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, but also the future of this process. They also urged Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti to inform the Assembly of all dialogue events regularly, including the preparation phase, thus enabling the assembly to carry out active monitoring.

See at: https://bit.ly/3uF4SNx

Vucic: EU, US increasing pressure to recognize Kosovo (N1)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that the pressure from the European Union and America to find a solution for Kosovo is increasing, N1 reports.

He told TV Happy that the EU and US want Serbia to recognize Kosovo, adding that there is no reason to panic despite the increased pressure. “They want to push us against the wall to stop our economic development”, he said, adding he was told by a Chinese official that Kosovo is just part of the plan to destroy Serbia.

According to Vucic, the pressure is also being increased on Spain, one of the EU member states which does not recognize Kosovo. He expressed the hope that Greece will not follow in Israel’s steps on Kosovo.

Vucic said that he had offered Pristina a compromise “a thousand times” but that the “’Greater Albania’ hawks enjoy huge sympathy in the West, Germany more than the US”. “The only change now is that they want not only independent Kosovo but a ‘Greater Albania’ along with the Presevo valley (in southern Serbia)”, he said.

See at: https://bit.ly/3wH1AdQ

Moscow will support solution for Kosovo that suits Belgrade (N1)

Serbian National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic said Tuesday the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov assured him Moscow would continue to support Belgrade in the dialogue with Pristina on the normalization of relations, N1 reports.

Serbian Foreign Affairs Ministry said Dacic and Lavrov discussed the further strategic relationship between the two countries and regional and global issues during their meeting in Moscow.

“Lavrov reiterated that Russia will continue backing Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and will hail a solution for Kosovo that will be acceptable to Serbia“, Dacic said.

Serbia’s Min: Kosovo lacks knowledge, willingness to guard Serb heritage (N1)

Maja Gojkovic, Serbia’s Cultural and Information Minister, said on Tuesday that Kosovo’s authorities had neither professional knowledge nor willingness to take care of the Serb cultural heritage on its territory.

Addressing the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts (SANU) scientific debate ‘Protection, Preservation and Affirmation of Serb Cultural Heritage in Kosovo and Metohija’, Gojkovic said that from 1999, a part of the Serb medieval spiritual and cultural heritage in Kosovo was ”irretrievably destroyed”.

”What a single theft of history and identity cannot erase is a deeply rooted conscience about our people’s genesis, ” she said.

The Minister added that ”all those with claims to the Serb cultural heritage count on the final destruction of the nation’s remembrance and identity by deleting the memorial traces of its existence ”.

Gojkovic referred to Kosovo officials’ claims that some Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) monasteries and shrines belonged to Kosovo and more recent protests over some of them being listed among the endangered monuments.

”The time has shown that Kosovo’s temporary institutions lack knowledge and willingness to take care of the Serb cultural heritage, ” Gojkovic said, adding that it was important for Serbia’s experts to make their view clear and contribute to the defence of truth against ”forgeries, trickeries and abuses”.

Kostic: Letter from Kosovo leaders to UNESCO – provocation (KiM radio, N1)

The president of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU), Vladimir Kostic, told broadcaster N1 that the letter of the Kosovo leaders to UNESCO to remove three monasteries and one church from the list of endangered cultural monuments in Kosovo was a provocation, reported Kim radio.

“I can’t experience it any other way than as a provocation. It reminds me of a character from the comedy, of our academician Dusan Kovacevic, in which he is asked to go and apologize to the man who beat him for beating him,” Kostic said. 

The argument of the Kosovo Government was that there were no attempts at violence.

“We need to be explained that everything there is ‘honey and milk’. I’m not sure how much of that stuff can be talked about that way. At this point, it is perceived as a provocation. I do not know these people, but actions, speeches, appropriations, that our pearls represent their pearls, even though they are the pearls of humanity. This is a problem that cannot be solved politically. We must be interested in that story. There is an identity, and our identity is not just the past,” said Kostic. 

He believes that a framework should be created where cultural heritage would also be discussed.

“I can’t understand a conversation where this would not be one of the two main topics. In an interview, I said that we must fight for the rights of our fellow citizens in Kosovo with our teeth and nails. To what extent would we be ‘crippled’, if we were deprived of visiting, seeing, experiencing it,” said the president of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Yesterday Patriarch Porfirije sent a letter to the Serbian Minister of Culture Maja Gojkovic asking for a postponement of the adoption of the Law on Cultural Heritage, because the Serbian Orthodox Church was not involved in the process of drafting that law, and Kostic said that the Academy did not express its opinion

“I can say my opinion, I am secular, but it is not possible to talk about cultural heritage without the participation of the church, not only because it is the owner, but because at some points it was the only institution around which it was gathered. It is strange to me that its opinion on this type of story is ignored, the Church needs to be asked,” concluded Vladimir Kostic.

The media recalled that Minister Gojkovic during the same day informed Patriarch Porfirije that the suggestions of the Serbian Orthodox Church regarding the Law on Cultural Heritage were accepted.

Serbian Orthodox Church Holly Assembly of Bishops concluded in Belgrade (SOC, media)

The regular session of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Church was held in Belgrade from May 24 to May 29. Following the end of the session a communiqué was issued saying the Assembly “considered with due care and attention phenomena that endanger and in some cases violate the unity of the Orthodox Church”.  

“At the same time the problems of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Serbia and in the countries of the region, as well as in the diaspora around the world were considered”, the statement further reads, adding “in that context, special attention is paid to the conditions of our Church and the position of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, where injustices, pressures and violence against the Serbian people and endangering the identity, freedom, rights and property of the Serbian Orthodox Church continue, unfortunately in a heavier form”.

Read the full communiqué at: https://bit.ly/3i7FgWX

Dacic: Russia and China would have to get involved in resolving Kosovo issue (Kosovo-online)

Serbian Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic said that Russia and China as UN SC permanent member states would have to get involved at the end in resolving the Kosovo issue, Kosovo-online portal reports.

This way Dacic commented on speculations that Americans want to have their own mediator in Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.   

“You have seen that there is a general inflation of different ideas when it comes to Kosovo and Metohija, different “non-papers” and everything else. One constant will certainly remain, and it is that pressure will continue to be put on Serbia to accept the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo through this formulation of the so-called mutual recognition, which is absolutely unacceptable for us “, Dacic said, while on visit to Russia.

He added in this regard, there would probably be different ideas linked with various negotiators.

“However, the dialogue will continue, and these days the US Assistant Deputy of State Secretary, Mathew Palmer and EU Special Envoy for Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajcak will visit Belgrade and Pristina, and it is expected, as President Vucic said, that the dialogue continues mid this month”, Dacic said.

He added that for now “the dialogue continues in Brussels, but of course the final verification of all this, if there is any progress at all, will have to be given by the UN Security Council, so in the end all those countries mentioned will have to be included in the final verification of that agreement.”

Petkovic and Davidoiu on situation in Kosovo, dialogue (Radio KIM)

Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Petar Petkovic met Romanian Ambassador to Serbia Silvia Davidioiu and discussed political and security situation in Kosovo as well as perspectives for continuation of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Office for KiM said in a statement, Radio KIM reports.

During the meeting Petkovic praised sincere friendship between the two states, but also of Romanian and Serbian people. He also expressed gratitude over Romania’s support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia, and its decisiveness not to recognize unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.

Speaking about the dialogue Petkovic said that Belgrade will continue insisting on the talks, despite of, as he said, readiness of Pristina to any sort of obstruction, but it will also continue demanding implementation of all up to date reached agreements, in particular the one on the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities.

Greece: We do not recognize Kosovo; our position remains unchanged (media)

Athens’ position on the issue of Kosovo’s independence remains unchanged – Greece does not recognize Kosovo’s independence, Pristina based Gazeta Express reported, Serbian media quoted.

The deepening of cooperation in the field of economy and trade between Kosovo and Greece and the upcoming visit of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to Pristina caused concern in official Belgrade and with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, because they saw these moves as a possible step towards recognizing Kosovo’s independence. 

Despite the development of cooperation between Pristina and Athens, Greece’s position on Kosovo’s independence remains unchanged, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a response to Gazeta Express.

“As you know, Greece does not recognize Kosovo and its position remains unchanged,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said.

The response states that Greece’s attitude towards Kosovo is constructive, referring to the current cooperation in the field of economic development and support to Kosovo in various areas.

“Greece is following the constructive approach of Pristina, which has been the host country of the “Kosovo Office for Trade and Economic Affairs in Athens” since 2019 and is cooperating with Kosovo to increase cooperation in various fields. In that spirit, in order to further improve our bilateral cooperation and facilitate the work of the Offices, without including status aspects, this office has been renamed the “Office of Kosovo’s Interests in Athens”.

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs points out that the upcoming visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Nikos Dendias, to Pristina relates to the establishment of new Pristina institutions.

“As you know, Minister Dendias will visit Kosovo in early June after the formation of the new government,” the response said.

Athens also says it supports visa liberalization for Kosovo.

“Greece supports Kosovo on its European path and in that context also supports visa liberalization. Greece also provides a significant number of troops to KFOR,” the Greek Foreign Ministry said.

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed support for the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade with the mediation of the European Union.

“As a longtime member of the EU and NATO, Greece seeks to consolidate peace, democracy and stability, security and economic development and the rule of law in the Western Balkans region, building good neighborly relations and respecting basic principles of international law. Greece strongly supported the European perspective for all Western partners. The Balkans, including Pristina, as well as support for the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, with the help of the EU,” the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

 

 

 

International

 

Top U.S., EU Envoys Tell Kosovo That Better Ties With Serbia Will Open Door To Europe (RFE)

Top officials from the United States and the European Union are visiting Kosovo to press its leadership to resume talks on the normalization of ties with former foe Serbia.

Kosovo’s new government, led by Prime Minister Albin Kurti, who took office in March, has said it is busy fighting the pandemic and that talks with Serbia are not high on its list of immediate goals.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer and the EU envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, said a positive outcome of bilateral talks depend on both Pristina and Belgrade.

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

EU, US Push for ‘New Dynamics’ in Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue (Balkan Insight)

Brussels and Washington have reignited efforts to revive the stalled Kosovo-Serbia dialogue for the normalisation of relations, and analysts believe that these new dynamics could push the old foes towards striking a deal.

The European Union and United States envoys for the EU-mediated dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak and Matthew Palmer, met leaders in Pristina on Monday and Tuesday in an attempt to display a concerted effort to resolve the dispute between the two countries.

Their visit comes ahead of a planned meeting between Kosovo and Serbia’s leaders in mid-June.

Symbolically, Palmer and Lajcak sheltered under the same umbrella in rainy weather in Pristina as they walked to the entrance door of the Kosovo parliament building where the office of President Vjosa Osmani is located.

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

Civil Society Forum kicks off by tacking stock of the eight years of Berlin Process (EWB)

BERLIN – Civil Society & Think Tank Forum of the 2021 Berlin Process started today with a discussion on the achievements and the outlook of the Berlin Process, which is this year organized by the initiator of the process, the German Government.

The Forum was opened by a video message of the Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth, who said that the “Civil Society Forum is the essence of the Berlin Process”.

“By working together, we can strengthen democratic societies and enhance the EU perspective”, said Roth, adding that violence against journalists in the Western Balkans was a concern, as was the democratic backsliding and polarisation.

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Humanitarian/Development

 

Children’s book “Nature colours with Uta and Miljana” published (Kallxo)

Under the auspice of the “Utalaya” Foundation and with the support of UNMIK, the bilingual book for children “Nature colours with Uta and Miljana” was published, a press release issued by the “Utalaya” Foundation says, adding that the book aims to promote bilingualism, ethnic tolerance, nature and its protection as well as sports and arts as a mental and physical therapy.

“The book characters are two women that inspire with their work, they are: Uta Ibrahimi – mountain climber from the Albanian community and Miljana Bulatovic – artist from the Serb community, and the story revolves around events and adventures that take place between Uta and Miljana who meet by coincidence in Mitrovica, and a special friendship begins. This spontaneous friendship serves as an example of breaking down the prejudices and shows how many beautiful things can happen in a society that supports the good and one another regardless of racial, ethnic, or religious differences,” the statement reads.

The book, the statement continues, aims to build trust between communities and to convey educational, peaceful and well-meaning messages for Kosovo and communities living in it. The book will be distributed free of charge to centres and organisations working with children from marginalised groups and also schools and educational centres in Mitrovica.

Civil society organisations issue report on human rights in Kosovo (Koha)

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) published a report on human rights in Kosovo in 2020, covering the main problems and challenges to realizing human rights as well as human rights violations and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human rights.

The report concludes that fighting corruption remains a problem in Kosovo and that justice institutions are not showing readiness to change the situation.

It highlights the findings of the 2020 Corruption Perception Index according to which Kosovo continues to be a highly corrupt country with one of the reasons being the institutional framework which is “insufficient and weak due to overlapping mandates and insufficient coordination.”

The report also refers to the case against four former ministers of the Kosovo Government: Besim Beqaj, Mimoza Kusari-Lila, Dardan Gashi, and Nenad Rasic, and fifteen officials accused of abusing their position in relation to the privatisation of the Kosovo Energy Corporation (KEK). “Another problem related to the fight against corruption is the selective approach of judges in corruption cases involving high-profile officials, which is contrary to the right to a fair trial and equal treatment under the law for other persons accused and prosecuted for lower-level corruption offences. In general terms, the largest number of persons accused of corruption end up with convictions, but this does not happen even in cases where high-profile officials have been charged with corruption charges,” the report reads.

Civil society organisations also note that the excessive use and length of pre-trial detention has persisted in Kosovo throughout 2020 and that around 70 per cent of detainees in Kosovo, including pre-trial detainees, do not have a final court decision.

The report recommends the Government of Kosovo demonstrate genuine leadership, the ability to practice advance planning, and a willingness to allocate adequate resources to fight corruption.

The trails in the Western Balkans worth the trek (euronews.com)

What do wine and archaeology have in common?

The answer to that lies in the twists and turns of the Illyricum Trail that connects ancient sites across modern Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia.

The trail gets its name from the geographical term used by the Romans to designate the new Balkan territory that they conquered and annexed to the Roman Empire in the late 1st century BC. The trail itself is an extension of the Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route.

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