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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 3, 2021

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Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 12 new cases, no deaths (media)
• Prime Minister Kurti received a delegation from Austria (RTK)
• The EU sees dialogue as a continuation and not as a new beginning (RFE, media)
• Greek FM Dendias discusses with Lajcak prior to visiting Kosovo (Klan)
• German MEP, Ernst: I am against KFOR, Kosovo must be disarmed (Klan)
• Assembly debates on education organising during COVID-19 pandemic (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Antonijevic: No new coronavirus cases in Serbian areas (KiM radio)
• Europa Nostra to Pristina: Nomination and decision on V. Decani in line with professional standards (KoSSev)
• Lajcak: “Kurti knows that, as well as Vucic” (Tanjug, B92, KiM radio)
• Greek minister talks with Lajcak ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Kosovo (Beta, Danas)
• West launches “idea of two Germanys” again (Danas)
• Selakovic with Palmer: Pristina avoiding its obligations, insist only on recognition (N1, FoNet, Kosovo Online)
• Brnabic with Palmer: Dialogue with Pristina in the focus of the Government, full support of the USA (RTS)
• Grubjesic: No essential dialogue if ZSO is not on table (Kosovo-online)
• Simic: Kurti is running away from dialogue, the West should direct pressure on Pristina (Kosovo Online, Tanjug, TV Pink)
• RTS: Community of Serb-majority Municipalities on hold for 3000 days (RTS)
• Dveri Movement: We’ll alert public in case of treason over Kosovo (N1)
• New non-paper about the Balkans has arrived in Brussels; Five countries joined forces (B92, Klix.ba)
• Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina can vaccinate in Serbia free of charge (Tanjug)

International:

• Serbia: New Internal And External Challenges – Analysis (eurasiareview.com)
• 17 military exercises in the Balkans and in Serbia’s neighbourhood from May to June (euractive.com)

Humanitarian/Development:

• The Kosovo government to provide better protection of religious sites and full enforcement of the Law on SPZ (KoSSev)
• BIRN Launches Database of Mass Graves from Yugoslav Wars (Balkan Insight)
• ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’: Albanian Miners Seek Special Status, Fair Pension (Balkan Insight)
• Kopač tells Kosovo* there is no future for coal power plants (balkangreenenergynews.com)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 12 new cases, no deaths (media)
  • Prime Minister Kurti received a delegation from Austria (RTK)
  • The EU sees dialogue as a continuation and not as a new beginning (RFE, media)
  • Greek FM Dendias discusses with Lajcak prior to visiting Kosovo (Klan)
  • German MEP, Ernst: I am against KFOR, Kosovo must be disarmed (Klan)
  • Assembly debates on education organising during COVID-19 pandemic (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Antonijevic: No new coronavirus cases in Serbian areas (KiM radio)
  • Europa Nostra to Pristina: Nomination and decision on V. Decani in line with professional standards (KoSSev)
  • Lajcak: “Kurti knows that, as well as Vucic” (Tanjug, B92, KiM radio)
  • Greek minister talks with Lajcak ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Kosovo (Beta, Danas)
  • West launches “idea of two Germanys” again (Danas)
  • Selakovic with Palmer: Pristina avoiding its obligations, insist only on recognition (N1, FoNet, Kosovo Online)
  • Brnabic with Palmer: Dialogue with Pristina in the focus of the Government, full support of the USA (RTS)
  • Grubjesic: No essential dialogue if ZSO is not on table (Kosovo-online)
  • Simic: Kurti is running away from dialogue, the West should direct pressure on Pristina (Kosovo Online, Tanjug, TV Pink)
  • RTS: Community of Serb-majority Municipalities on hold for 3000 days (RTS)
  • Dveri Movement: We’ll alert public in case of treason over Kosovo (N1)
  • New non-paper about the Balkans has arrived in Brussels; Five countries joined forces (B92, Klix.ba)
  • Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina can vaccinate in Serbia free of charge (Tanjug)

International:

  • Serbia: New Internal And External Challenges – Analysis (eurasiareview.com)
  • 17 military exercises in the Balkans and in Serbia’s neighbourhood from May to June (euractive.com)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • The Kosovo government to provide better protection of religious sites and full enforcement of the Law on SPZ (KoSSev)
  • BIRN Launches Database of Mass Graves from Yugoslav Wars (Balkan Insight)
  • ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’: Albanian Miners Seek Special Status, Fair Pension (Balkan Insight)
  • Kopač tells Kosovo* there is no future for coal power plants (balkangreenenergynews.com)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

COVID-19: 12 new cases, no deaths (media)

Kosovo reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 and no deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. 182 persons recovered from the virus during this time.

There are 1,652 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Prime Minister Kurti received a delegation from Austria (RTK)

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti received today a delegation from Austria, led by MPs from the Austrian People’s Party, Martin Engelberg and Carmen Jeitler-Cincelli, chairwoman of the Parliamentary Friendship Group Austria-Kosovo.

“Austrian MPs congratulated Prime Minister Kurti on his election victory and wished him success in governing. They were interested in the situation with the pandemic and its impact on the economy and expressed readiness to continue supporting Kosovo.

Prime Minister Kurti expressed gratitude for the assistance that Austria has given over the years to the people of Kosovo and for the importance of intensifying cooperation for the country, especially in the field of education.

He said employment and justice reforms have been the promise of the election campaign.

To create jobs we need investments, said the Prime Minister and expressed the hope that Austria as the fourth largest investor will continue investing in Kosovo, along with the Kosovar diaspora in Austria. In particular, the Prime Minister sought Austrian support in the development of the dual education system,” reads a press release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister.

The EU sees the dialogue as a continuation and not as a new beginning (RFE, media)

The European Union sees the forthcoming meetings between Kosovo and Serbia, as a continuation of the dialogue, and not as a new beginning. Ahead of the meeting of the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti with the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vuicic in Brussels in mid-June, EU officials said that this dialogue started in 2011 and will continue with the next high-level meeting that will take place soon.

EU spokesman for foreign affairs, Peter Stano also reiterated calls to implement the agreements reached so far in dialogue.

“The road to the EU for Kosovo and Serbia goes through dialogue facilitated by the EU. This dialogue started in 2011 and will continue with the summit soon. As part of the ongoing process, governments on both sides have changed, but commitment has remained. All the issues discussed so far and that will be discussed in the future in the framework of the dialogue, are key to the comprehensive normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia,” he said.

“The EU and its member states expect from the new authorities  in Prishtina to engage constructively, in order to continue the meetings in the framework of the dialogue facilitated by the EU and to use the opportunity to bring this process to a successful conclusion,” Stano said.

Greek FM Dendias discusses with Lajcak prior to visiting Kosovo (Klan)

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on the eve of his visit to Kosovo spoke on the phone with Miroslav Lajcak, EU Special Representative for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

“We talked about the latest developments in the Western Balkans,” Dendias wrote on Twitter.

The Greek chief diplomat who is coming to visit Kosovo tomorrow will meet with the Kosovo Foreign Minister, Donika Gërvalla – Schwarz.

Greece is one of five European Union countries that do not recognize Kosovo’s independence, however, official Athens has announced that it will help Kosovo obtain visa liberalization.

German MEP, Ernst: I am against KFOR, Kosovo must be disarmed (Klan)

German Member of EU Parliament from the Left Party, Cornelia Ernst, said she fully agrees with the controversial statement of her party colleague, German MP Zaklin Nastic, who said in a speech in the Bundestag while speaking about the KFOR mandate that Kosovo should be disarmed.

In a response to the portal Klan Kosova, Ernst said that a new beginning should start for Kosovo, but by disarming continuously.

“I also reject the KFOR mission in Kosovo. This mission so far has shown almost no results. Organized crime is widespread (in Kosovo), so said the German Foreign Ministry. Hundreds of thousands of weapons are in private ownership. Amnesty International and the Council of Europe have also criticized the issue. Kosovo must be continuously disarmed. Only then a new beginning would be possible.”

Despite the negative opinion about Kosovo, Ernst said that she had voted in favor of visa liberalization for Kosovars when in 2018 it was put to a vote in the European Parliament where the recommendation of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs for visa liberalization passed with a majority of votes for Kosovo.

In the speech being supported by the MEP, Nastic had compared the NATO air force that bombed the Serbian targets to stop the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo with those of Hitler.

Nastic’s Twitter post induced many comments criticizing such an opinion against Kosovo, as well as those from journalists seeking answers on what arguments she based her speech on. Therefore, the MP’s staff also reacted to one of them, saying that she is facing “mass insults and threats” for days now.

“You have to understand that the debates that exacerbate this threatening situation will not continue on Twitter,” the staff said.

This position of the Left Party was also commented by the German expert on the Western Balkans, Bodo Weber, who said that this is an opinion of a minority and that it will never become an official policy of Germany.

Assembly debates on education organising during COVID-19 pandemic (media)

Kosovo Assembly MPs are debating at today’s session about the organization of education at all levels in the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The acting chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Enver Hoxhaj said that the Kurti 1 government and the Hoti government have failed to organize lessons during the pandemic. However, now based on the program that has been offered, it is seen that the government does not have a political, structural and substantive opinion on what is happening and should happen in the education system.

MP from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Hykmete Bajrami said that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit education hard.

“After the decrease of cases with COVID-19, we recommend to the Ministry of Education to bring a decision that would allow full-time teaching in school facilities from Monday,” Bajrami said.

Ardian Gola, MP from the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) said that the pandemic has caused great challenges in the field of education. Gola added that this debate is important and very appropriate.

“The state of education during the pandemic reflects challenges for the entire globe, as well as the legacy of two decades of degradation. The pandemic has created effects, which will be felt even for a long time. This pandemic has created a future full of uncertainty,” Gola said.

He added that the compensation of the missed lessons should be taken very seriously.

The Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (MEST), Arberie Nagavci, has stated that there are more than two decades of brutal interventions of political parties at all levels of education, and this, according to her, has influenced for the results not to be those desired in education in Kosovo.

 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Antonijevic: No new coronavirus cases in Serbian areas (KiM radio)

The current epidemiological situation in Serb-majority areas in Kosovo is very good. During yesterday, 43 samples were tested, there were no positive ones, epidemiologist Dr. Aleksandar Antonijevic from the Institute for Public Health in Kosovska Mitrovica told RTV Kim.

Epidemiologist Antonijevic points out that in the last three weeks, the number of tested, but also positive, has been declining

“In the past period, we have recorded two to three cases of coronavirus, tests were performed every other day, there were a maximum of 50 samples during testing, so the number of tested and positive in the last three weeks is declining. During yesterday, 43 patients were tested. There were no positives. There were 13 patients in treatment yesterday,” Dr. Antonijevic told RTV Kim.

It is very important that all citizens of Kosovo are vaccinated, in order to return to normal life as soon as possible, said Dr. Antonijevic.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, a total of 20,187 people have been tested, and the presence of coronavirus has been confirmed in 6,029.

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

Europa Nostra to Pristina: Nomination and decision on V. Decani in line with professional standards (KoSSev)

The inclusion of Visoki Decani Monastery on the 7 Most Endangered List in Europe in 2021, is not the end of the process; it rather marks the beginning of due consultations with all parties concerned, KoSSev portal reports.

The monastery’s nomination is in line with the highest professional standards. The same is true for the entire selection and decision-making process which have led to the inclusion of the Decani Monastery in this year’s List of 7 Most endangered sites in Europe – reads Europa Nostra’s reply to multiple letters Pristina officials sent to this organization, opposing its decision to include Visoki Decani on the list of the 7 most endangered.

Europa Nostra’s decision to include Visoki Decani on its list of the 7 most endangered in early April triggered an avalanche of negative reactions in the Kosovo public.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/2TyfVLj

Lajcak: “Kurti knows that, as well as Vucic” (Tanjug, B92, KiM radio)

EU Special Envoy for Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, says a date was set for the meeting between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Albin Kurti.

He explained that the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, will announce it soon.

After visiting Pristina, and on the eve of his visit to Belgrade, Lajcak said that the Washington agreement “means nothing” and that only the EU has international legitimacy in the dialogue. He stressed that EU-mediated dialogue was “the only way for Serbia and Kosovo to join the European Union”, Tanjug reported. 

“There is no other European path for both Serbia and Kosovo than dialogue. It is essential. Kurti knows that, as does Vucic,” Lajcak said.

Asked about Albin Kurti’s recent actions and comments, Lajcak said that it was more important what the Kosovo leader said behind closed doors. “What is really important is what was said at the meeting, what the two sides are talking about while sitting together,” Lajcak explained. He did not want to comment on Pristina’s announcement of a lawsuit for alleged genocide against Serbia, and said that there were many statements for the media, but that “the official position that will be presented in the dialogue” was important.

“We constantly repeat to our partners that it is their responsibility to create an atmosphere suitable for a positive dialogue process and to refrain from unilateral actions or statements that tend to contribute to further hostilities,” Lajcak emphasized.

See at: https://bit.ly/34GTaHk

Greek minister talks with Lajcak ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Kosovo (Beta, Danas)

Ahead of his visit to Kosovo tomorrow, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias spoke by phone with Miroslav Lajcak, the EU special representative for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, reported daily Danas.  

“We talked about the latest events in the Western Balkans,” Dendias wrote on Twitter last night.

It was announced in Kosovo last weekend that tomorrow, Friday, Dendias will meet with the head of Kosovo’s diplomacy, Donika Gervalla Schwartz, in Pristina.

Greece is one of five European Union countries that do not recognize Kosovo’s independence; however, official Athens has announced that it will help Kosovo get visa liberalization for travel to the EU.

Kosovo and Greece have recently strengthened economic cooperation, so that the third joint economic forum on energy was held in April, organized by their foreign ministries.

It was announced in Greece this week that Athens told Belgrade that it would not recognize Kosovo’s independence, but that, as Greek Foreign Ministry sources said, “its attitude towards Kosovo is not changing, but Kosovo is upgrading its presence in Greece”.

This was announced because, as it was reported, the “Serbian side stated that Greece will upgrade its presence in Kosovo”, where Greece does not have an embassy because it did not recognise Kosovo’s status of independence. 

However, it was reported in Athens that the pro-government Albanian newspaper “Tema” claimed that there were indications that Greece could recognize Kosovo as an independent state, at the same time stating that the United States has increased pressure on Athens to do so.

Allegedly, recognition by Greece was possible as a part of the French proposal which proposed the creation of an autonomous province in the northern part of Kosovo, with a Serbian population.

It was reported in Athens that Serbian media, citing diplomatic sources, wrote that US President Joseph Biden had stepped up pressure on Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and that “Washington demands recognition of Kosovo before (re) starting a dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina” scheduled for June.

In case Greece recognizes Kosovo, Albanian newspapers claimed, its example can be followed by the other four EU countries that did not recognize it.

Such a scenario, however, was considered unlikely by Greek diplomatic circles, given that Spain insists on a policy of non-recognition of Kosovo because of its Catalonia and the Basque Country, and Greece and Cyprus because of the division of the island.

Greece has intensified diplomatic activity towards Kosovo, the Albanian newspaper wrote, and concluded that Athens fully supports the EU-mediated dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, but also supports Kosovo’s accession to international organizations and advocates liberalization of the EU visa regime for Kosovo citizens, quoted daily Danas.

West launches “idea of two Germanys” again (Danas)

The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina according to the model that would be most similar to the former “relations” between the two Germanys is again in the spotlight because the West has realized that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will not “in foreseeable time” agree to formal recognition of Kosovo, Danas daily reported today.

This is what a source from Western diplomatic circles told Danas, commenting on the current “shuttle diplomacy” of EU and US representatives in charge of dialogue on the Kosovo problem, Miroslav Lajcak and Matthew Palmer, and Vucic’s frequent messages on increase in pressure on Serbian authorities in the Kosovo context.

Yesterday, the President of Serbia was supposed to meet unofficially with Palmer, who arrived in Belgrade after his visit to Pristina, and today (Thursday) afternoon, Aleksandar Vucic is planned to meet with Lajcak. After that meeting, he will meet Matthew Palmer again, but in “official form”. As the Tanjug agency announced, after today’s individual talks, a triple meeting between Vucic and Lajcak-Palmer will be held, after which no address to the media is planned, wrote Danas. 

According to unofficial information of Danas, “what has reappeared these months as the idea of the most influential EU members, primarily France and Germany,” is that relations between Serbia and Kosovo be regulated so that Serbian authorities will not “hinder” Pristina’s membership in the United Nations in the future. As it is specified, unlike Serbia, which as an internationally recognized state and has its ambassador to the UN, the diplomatic representative of Kosovo would not be called an “ambassador”, and ”Serbia would not have to delete Kosovo from the map as part of its territory, just like that the former West Germany portrayed the former East Germany as part of a single German state”

Diplomatic circles claim that the administration of the new US President Joseph Biden agrees with this concept, but that official Washington “would be most satisfied if Serbia and Kosovo recognized each other,” what Palmer said at a joint press conference with Lajcak in Pristina. The US envoy said on Monday that “the United States strongly supports the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which should result in reaching a final agreement and mutual recognition,” noting that ”the United States is not a party to the dialogue, but a partner aimed at improving relations of the two sides”.

A Danas source explains that despite such messages of recognition, Americans “for whom pragmatism is one of the most dominant traits and when it comes to foreign policy, understand that the Serbian authorities, led by Vucic, do not agree to that, just like the stubborn Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti won’t even hear about the model of two Germanys”.

“For Kurti, any solution, which would not formally mean the recognition of Kosovo by Serbia, is devastating, especially in this initial phase of his new prime minister’s term. However, who knows what may happen in the coming months, because Kurti is also aware of the deep economic crisis in Kosovo,” interlocutor of Danas points out. 

”The economy, that is, investments, are one of the cards played by the West, especially America,” adds the interlocutor of Danas.

Selakovic with Palmer: Pristina avoiding its obligations, insist only on recognition (N1, FoNet, Kosovo Online)

Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Selakovic met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Representative for the Western Balkans State Department Matthew Palmer, who will meet today with President Aleksandar Vucic, Serbian media reported. 

Selakovic said that the improvement of all areas of cooperation with the US is one of the foreign policy priorities and pointed out that Serbia is determined to intensify cooperation with the current American administration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.

Emphasizing the jubilee – 140 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Serbia and the United States, Selakovic expressed hope that, in accordance with the conditions of the pandemic, that important anniversary would be adequately marked, and that a high-level visit would demonstrate the American side’s commitment to improving relations.

When it comes to economic cooperation, the Minister emphasized the commitment to its intensification, especially having in mind the potential for the improvement of economic activities.

The head of Serbian diplomacy said that it is of key interest for Serbia to preserve peace and stability in the region and the orientation of the region towards more intensive economic cooperation, and in that sense he pointed out that improving good neighborly and mutually beneficial relations is a fundamental and unchanging starting point of Serbia’s overall foreign policy.

In a conversation with Palmer, Minister Selakovic pointed out that the dialogue on normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, mediated by the European Union, is the only right way to reach a sustainable agreement, reported Serbian media. 

“We consider it unacceptable for Pristina to avoid fulfilling its obligations, especially the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities, insisting only on mutual recognition,” Selakovic stressed, adding that the current inflammatory rhetoric of Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti does not contribute to creating a favorable atmosphere for dialogue.

Selakovic expressed concern over the frequent physical attacks on the facilities of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the past period and pointed out that the monastery Visoki Decani was recently included by the organization “Europa Nostra” in the list of seven most endangered cultural monuments in Europe. The Minister thanked Palmer for visiting the Visoki Decani Monastery and meeting with the Bishop of Raska and Prizren, Teodosije, and the Abbot, Sava Janjic two days ago, as well as for the statement given on that occasion regarding the monastery property.

Speaking about Serbia’s European integration, Selakovic thanked Washington for its continuous support to Serbia’s path towards full membership in the EU, to which Serbia is committed as its priority strategic commitment, reported media quoting the Serbian MFA statement.

Brnabic with Palmer: Dialogue with Pristina in the focus of the Government, full support of the USA (RTS)

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Ana Brnabic met with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Envoy of the US State Department for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer to discuss the state of bilateral relations, the continuation of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, relations in the Western Balkans and economic cooperation of the two countries, reported Radio Television of Serbia (RTS). 

PM Brnabic pointed out that one of Serbia’s foreign policy priorities is the improvement of all areas of cooperation and more intensive bilateral relations with the United States.

“Our interest is to intensify political dialogue and visits at the highest level, and I hope that this year we will have the opportunity to mark 140 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations,” Brnabic emphasized.

Brnabic pointed out that the dialogue with the temporary institutions in Pristina is in the focus of the government, but that it is necessary to implement the previously agreed within the dialogue, primarily the Community of Serbian Municipalities.

“Belgrade has fulfilled all its obligations and we expect to see that from the other side, so that the dialogue makes sense. One of them is the issue of finding and identifying missing persons, and we are fully committed to a complete solution to that issue,” said the Prime Minister.

Palmer underlined that the United States strongly supports the dialogue conducted under the auspices of the EU and the role of the EU special envoy Miroslav Lajcak and praised the turn of Belgrade and President Aleksandar Vucic in the talks with Pristina.

“Belgrade will continue to advocate for achieving a sustainable compromise in the dialogue with Pristina, while protecting the interests of the Serbs there, as well as preserving the state and national interests of our country,” the PM Brnabic pointed out.

The two interlocutors also discussed the overall regional situation and agreed that peace and stability in the Western Balkans are essential for the political and economic progress of the entire region.

Assistant Deputy Secretary of State Palmer emphasized that one of the priority interests of the USA is the stability and security of the Western Balkans, and praised Serbia’s role in regional initiatives, which will significantly raise the quality of life of all citizens in the region, but also further improve regional empowerment.

It was also pointed out that the focus of US activities in Serbia will be on investments in infrastructure, and investments in renewable energy sources. Palmer pointed to the need to ensure that the media environment allows different opinions to be heard.

Grubjesic: No essential dialogue if ZSO is not on table (Kosovo-online)

Arrival of Kosovo PM Albin Kurti to Brussels for a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic would be a sign of heading towards dialogue continuation, but one could hardly expect anything more than that, Deputy Chair of the Foreign Policy Center Suzana Grubjesic said, Kosovo-online portal reports.

She added one could not speak about essential dialogue if Pristina wants to come to Brussels and discuss only about the status, e.g. its expectations that Belgrade recognizes Kosovo, but will not discuss about the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities (ZSO).

She also said “expectations that something will happen in Brussels if the dialogue continues and Vucic and Kurti meet were ungrounded”.

She underlined the issue of recognition is not an option to Serbia, nor it would be, and it is up to the mediators in the dialogue to find modalities that were achievable.

Grubjesic noted that the Brussels agreement was signed in 2013, however the most important part of it has not been implemented, respectively the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities was not established.    

According to her, it was good that Albanian representatives who took part in the conflict in Kosovo are “slowly departing” and being tried for the war crimes, however those holding the power in Pristina now were not someone trying to find compromise with Belgrade.

“Compromise was possible while previous ones, with war past, were in power, and it was a paradox because with ‘progressive’ Kurti any agreement seems impossible”, Grubjesic concluded.   

Simic: Kurti is running away from dialogue, the West should direct pressure on Pristina (Kosovo Online, Tanjug, TV Pink)

The vice president of the Serbian List, Igor Simic stated today that Albin Kurti is running away from the dialogue with Belgrade and that Pristina is not ready to reach a compromise solution that will respect the interests of both Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo, reported Kosovo Online. 

Portal Kosovo Online quoted Simic as saying that ”the behavior of Kurti, who announced that he was going to Brussels to discuss the future dialogue and not the continuation of the previous dialogue, was not a surprise for the Serbs in Kosovo, but it could only be for those who, as he says, made of him ”herald of new politics in Kosovo and Metohija”.

“Western pressure on Belgrade and President Aleksandar Vucic must be directed at Pristina as well, because we have been waiting for eight years for the implementation of what is most important in that agreement for Serbs, and the formation of the ZSO,” Simic told TV Pink.

He added that with the daily attacks on Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and the avoidance of implementing the Brussels Agreement, primarily the ZSO, but also agreements on energy, the judiciary speaks that Kurti does not want to continue the dialogue with Belgrade.

He reminded that the Brussels Agreement, which guaranteed the formation of the ZSO, was adopted in the Pristina Parliament by a two-thirds majority.

“Even those who were the guarantors of the implementation of the agreement remain silent on the messages from Pristina, even on those that the agreements will be revised,” Simic said.

He said that the Serb representatives told the American envoy for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, that they trusted the state leadership and President Vucic and that Belgrade represented them in the negotiations with Pristina, and that Kurti’s statement that he would talk to Serbs from Kosovo was a farce, reported the portal.

RTS: Community of Serb-majority Municipalities on hold for 3000 days (RTS)

Serbian national broadcaster RTS in an article published today argued that almost 3000 days have passed since Belgrade and Pristina signed the Brussels Agreement and still there is no agreement on the one point that was supposed to guarantee to Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija the competences in education, health care, economic development, urban and rural planning.

Under the auspices of the EU, eight years ago, it was agreed that the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities should include a community of 10 municipalities with a Serb majority south and north of the Ibar River. Community of Serb-majority Municipalities should also have its own president, vice president, assembly, statute, and official symbols, RTS recalled.

“The Community of Serb-majority Municipalities (CSM) is conceived as an additional mechanism for the protection of the Serbian community. However, there was a ‘straw man argument’, because the CSM was seen as a new entity from the very beginning”, NGO Aktiv Executive Director Miodrag Milicevic said.

“None of the Albanian political parties had contemplated the other side of the coin and this is something that is not being mentioned – that the CSM will never be a mono-ethnic entity, but it still has a multiethnic character for the simple reason that in all 10 municipalities there is a certain number of Albanians living there. There is also a percentage of other communities who live there, so it still has that multiethnic character”, Milicevic added.

Dusan Prorokovic from the Institute for International Politics and Economy says that today both mediators and Albanians anticipate that “the CSM can be formed only if Belgrade either recognizes Pristina or allows its membership in the UN, which is not realistic”.

“They insist this to be resolved according to Ischinger’s plan, presented at the end of 2007, or as Ahtisaari has requested two years earlier. We have not heard anything new from them for a decade and a half. The negotiation process will continue, its interruption is not suitable for anyone, everyone will participate in it for their own reasons, but the chances are very, very small for us to come to a mutually acceptable solution”, Prorokovic said.

Dveri Movement: We’ll alert public in case of treason over Kosovo (N1)

Serbian conservative Dveri Movement said on Thursday it would alert the public in case of “any sign of the national interests’ treason in the process of reaching a comprehensive agreement with the false Kosovo institutions”, N1 reports.

Dveri added they would be “the pivot for all those opposing it“.

“We are witnessing these days an open and increased engagement by the European Union and US mediators in advocating Serbia’s unilateral recognition of Kosovo. It is obvious they hope their pressure on Serbia’s top leadership will be successful“, Ivan Kostic, Dveri’s deputy leader said in a statement.

He added that amid those pressures “the current president and prime minister have not called on all political players to form a joint front to preserve our sovereignty and territorial integrity. Instead, they have been confusing the public using all kinds of spins“.

“It seems they have some secret deals with the international representatives which would certainly be against Serbia’s interests. Dveri won’t keep silent if it comes to national treason“, Kostic warned.

New non-paper about the Balkans has arrived in Brussels; Five countries joined forces (B92, Klix.ba)

Four countries of the Visegrad Group: Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, including Austria, sent a new non-paper to the EU leadership.

This informal document concerns the Western Balkans, reported portal Klix.ba based in BiH.

This document does not deal with the issue of borders in the region, but asks the European Union for very important support for the entire region.

Namely, the foreign ministers of the five EU member states are asking the countries and citizens of the Western Balkans to get involved in official talks on the future of the European Union.

As we have learned, they believe that the countries of this region should have the right and opportunity to express their views on the future of the European Union, given that they have a very clear perspective of membership in the union.

It is very precisely stated that the Western Balkans should be part of the initiative of the Conference on the Future of the EU, which was launched within this block.

The Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dr Bisera Turkovic confirmed this information, saying that she was aware of this document, which she considers an extremely important initiative that should be welcomed.

“Yes, we are officially acquainted and I am happy with this approach. Bosnia and Herzegovina, like other countries in the region, has a clear membership perspective. We have always been an essential part of Europe, now we are only in the process of achieving advanced European standards in functioning and strengthening the state. To include these five countries in the talks on the future of the EU, the countries that will become members in the foreseeable future, is an important signal that we will not be left to wait too long for progress towards membership,” pointed out Minister Turkovic.

According to her, BiH welcomes this initiative and considers it a welcome direction to strengthen ties and cooperation between the EU and the countries of the region on the basis of mutual respect and a common future.

The initiative will be submitted to the leadership of the European Union, including the European Commission and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi, quoted B92. 

See at: https://bit.ly/3yXrR9K

Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina can vaccinate in Serbia free of charge (Tanjug)

As of today, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina may receive the vaccine free of charge in Serbia, Tanjug news agency reports, adding the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced the news yesterday.

Also, those who receive the vaccines can also get the certificate of vaccination, same as citizens of Serbia.

Following his meeting with Republic of Srpska delegation yesterday, Vucic said that citizens of Republic of Srpska and of entire Bosnia and Herzegovina may receive vaccines whenever and wherever they want, including Belgrade, Nis, Kragujevac, Loznica or any other town or place near by the border. 

 

 

 

International

 

Serbia: New Internal And External Challenges – Analysis (eurasiareview.com)

Facing Covid-19 pandemic – mission of saving human lives

In its response to the Covid-19 pandemic the Republic of Serbiaintroduced state of emergency on 15 March 2020 and then terminated it on 6 May 2020. From the start of 2020 until the declaration of state of emergency around 400,000 persons entered Serbia, of which around 40,000 persons in the week before the introduction of the state of emergency. Majority of them came from high-risk countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as Italy. This required quick decisions of the authorities with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic in order to prevent a collapse of the healthcare system and a health disaster like the one in Bergamo, Italy.

See more at:https://bit.ly/2TtfiTh

17 military exercises in the Balkans and in Serbia’s neighbourhood from May to June (euractive.com)

As many as 17 military exercises took place in the Balkans and in Serbia’s neighbourhood from May to June involving 46,000 members representing the US armed forces, NATO countries and countries in the region, the most back-to-back military activities since the deployment of international forces to Kosovo in 1999.

According to a report of the Balkan Security Network portal on Tuesday, as many as 12 military activities have taken place under US exercise Defender-Europe 21, while exercise Steadfast Defender 21 has demonstrated parachute, mechanised forces and logistics drills.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3g3Si4V

 

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

The Kosovo government to provide better protection of religious sites and full enforcement of the Law on SPZ (KoSSev)

The government of Kosovo should provide better protection for religious sites, such as graveyards, monasteries, churches, and mosques. The government of Kosovo should ensure the full enforcement of the legal framework on SPZs and address the issue of illegal construction and/or demolitions in protected areas. Also, it should implement all recommendations issued by the Council of Europe, which monitors implementation of the FCPNM in Kosovo, and the UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights.

These are just some of the recommendations on the ways to improve property rights, security, and freedom of religion and culture rights listed by 34 CSOs from Kosovo in their report on the human rights situation in Kosovo in 2020.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/34IIsQO

BIRN Launches Database of Mass Graves from Yugoslav Wars (Balkan Insight)

Bitter Land’ is an interactive database of mass graves that aims to demonstrate the scale of the atrocities, ethnic cleansing and operations to cover up war crimes during the 1990s conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN on June 3 launched the first comprehensive, interactive database of mass graves from the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia, giving an unprecedented insight into the largest operations to cover up war crimes in Europe since World War II.

The Bitter Land database provides information in three languages (English, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and Albanian) on the location of mass graves from the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo, including the number of victims identified after exhumations, archive reports and images, plus details of related court cases, witness testimonies and other resources.

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

‘Coffee and Cigarettes’: Albanian Miners Seek Special Status, Fair Pension (Balkan Insight)

Albanian miners say they need a ‘special status’ that will improve their working conditions and pensions and guarantee better care for the multitude of health conditions they face in later life. But for 30 years their calls have gone unanswered.

Sixty-two year-old Fari Veliu spent 37 years working the mines of Bulqiza, a storied mining town in northeastern Albania. He retired in 2015, but a month later was back at work having realised he could not make ends meet on his miner’s pension.

“I asked to terminate my pension,” he said. Asked whether he has any health issues from such a long service underground, Veliu replied, “As many as you like”.

“The working conditions are inhuman. How many women have been widowed and children left without a father and they receive nothing from the state.”

Read more at: https://bit.ly/34HTINh

Kopač tells Kosovo* there is no future for coal power plants (balkangreenenergynews.com)

Opening the market implies an increase in electricity bills and the government must make sure it happens gradually, Energy Community Secretariat Director Janez Kopač warned members of the Assembly of Kosovo*. He stressed all efforts should be directed to renewable energy and that there is no future for coal-fired power plants.

Regulatory bodies for state aid in Kosovo* have started to investigate state support in the coal and renewable energy sectors, Energy Community Secretariat Director Janez Kopač said in his presentation of the progress in the implementation of the Energy Community Treaty. Speaking to parliamentarians via a video link, he recommended the introduction of a tax on electricity generated from lignite.

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

 

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