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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, June 7, 2021

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• COVID-19: 11 new cases, one death (media)
• Blackmail with recognition before the resumption of the dialogue (RFE)
• Kosovo Assembly President Konjufca to visit Albania today (media)
• Albanian Prime Minister Rama meets Kosovo opposition leaders (media)
• Constitutional Court judge suspected of working for Serbian List’s interests (Koha)
• War veterans threaten with mass protest (media)
• Kurti, Brnabic to meet in Ohrid on July 1 (Telegrafi)
• In Western Balkans, ethnic nationalism threatens the path to Europe (Euronews)
• World Environment Day marked in Kosovo (Indeksonline)
• An agronomist’s ambition to create most beautiful village in Kosovo (Exit News)
• War victims hope for double genocide conviction for Ratko Mladic (BIRN)

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  • COVID-19: 11 new cases, one death (media)
  • Blackmail with recognition before the resumption of the dialogue (RFE)
  • Kosovo Assembly President Konjufca to visit Albania today (media)
  • Albanian Prime Minister Rama meets Kosovo opposition leaders (media)
  • Constitutional Court judge suspected of working for Serbian List’s interests (Koha)
  • War veterans threaten with mass protest (media)
  • Kurti, Brnabic to meet in Ohrid on July 1 (Telegrafi)
  • In Western Balkans, ethnic nationalism threatens the path to Europe (Euronews)
  • World Environment Day marked in Kosovo (Indeksonline)
  • An agronomist’s ambition to create most beautiful village in Kosovo (Exit News)
  • War victims hope for double genocide conviction for Ratko Mladic (BIRN)

COVID-19: 11 new cases, one death (media)

Kosovo recorded 11 new cases of COVID-19 and one death from the virus in the last 24 hours. 146 persons recovered from the virus during this time. Over 80,000 persons have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Kosovo. Health authorities have recently said that they plan to vaccinate 60 percent of the population by the end of the year.

Blackmail with recognition before the resumption of the dialogue (RFE)

There are no signs that Serbia has stopped its de-recognition campaign against Kosovo, members of Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs say. Their remarks come after a recent statement by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic who said that several states are ready to revoke their recognitions of Kosovo’s independence.

The news website notes that according to the pledges signed at the White House in Washington, on September 4, 2020, Kosovo has agreed not to apply for membership in international organizations within a year, while during the same time Serbia has pledged to stop the de-recognition campaign against Kosovo.

The news website asked Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs if it has any information that several countries could revoke their recognitions of Kosovo’s independence. The Ministry said in its response: “unfortunately, Serbia is constantly proving that it does not adhere to the agreements and continues its destructive policies in relation to Kosovo. We have no sign that would make us believe that Serbia has stopped the de-recognition campaign against Kosovo, neither before nor now. This is unfortunate and of course affects the progress of the dialogue that is expected to take place. Kosovo’s approach remains constructive, however. The Government of the Republic of Kosovo is very committed and is working seriously on a daily basis to strengthen the international subjectivity of the Republic.”

Kosovo Assembly President Konjufca to visit Albania today (media)

Kosovo Assembly President Glauk Konjufca will begin a two-day visit to Albania today. During his stay in Tirana, Konjufca is scheduled to meet Albanian President Ilir Meta, Albanian Parliament President Gramoz Ruci and Democratic Party (PD) leader Lulzim Basha.

Albanian Prime Minister Rama meets Kosovo opposition leaders (media)

Several news websites report that Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama met with leaders of Kosovo opposition parties on Sunday afternoon.

Constitutional Court judge suspected of working for Serbian List’s interests (Koha)

Citing unnamed sources, the daily reports on its front page that Radomir Laban, a judge with the Constitutional Court of Kosovo, is being investigated for applying pressure on voters in Serb-majority municipalities for the interests of the Serbian List in the February 14 parliamentary elections. A special prosecutor told the paper that he could neither confirm nor deny if Laban is under investigation. The paper tried to contact Laban, but he was not available for comment.

Koha also reports that Laban used to work in Serbian Customs Service and that in 2012 he was sentenced to six years in jail for corruption as part of a group of seven customs officers and dozens of businessmen involved in the affair.

War veterans threaten with mass protest (media)

Faton Klinaku, acting head of the KLA War Veterans Organisation, said they will organise a mass protest after what he called scandalous statements by ministers of the Kurti-led government and the arrest of KLA war veteran and former leader of the war veterans, Faik Fazliu. Klinaku said the leadership of the war veterans will meet on Monday and that if they decide to organise a protest “thousands of people will attend”.

Kurti, Brnabic to meet in Ohrid on July 1 (Telegrafi)

The news website reports that a conference with leaders of the Western Balkans will be held in Ohrid, North Macedonia, on July 1. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic have confirmed they will attend the conference.

In Western Balkans, ethnic nationalism threatens the path to Europe (Euronews)

The last time Europe thought it was close to brokering a deal between Serbia and Kosovo, it didn’t end well.

In August 2018, Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci and Serbia’s Aleksander Vucic surprised everyone firstly by sitting next to each other on a panel in Austria, and then by confirming that bilateral talks to end two decades of estrangement were producing results.

An additional bombshell was that part of the talks “might include border correction”, which could see Serb majority areas of northern Kosovo handed to Serbia in return for ethnic-Albanian parts of Serbia. Kosovo is home to around 120,000 Serbs out of its population of 1.8 million.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters that “whatever outcome is mutually agreed will get our support,” which was widely interpreted to mean she supported land-swaps. She also announced talks between the two men in Brussels the following month.

Thaci did not waste any time rolling back his comments, telling a press conference days after the Austria event that the claims he supported land-swaps was “fake news”.

The international response was swift. German Chancellor Angela Merkel described any talk of redrawing borders as “dangerous”, while three former high representatives for Bosnia and Herzegovina came out against the idea in an open letter to Mogherini.

Days before Vucic and Thaci were due to meet in Brussels, the talks were abruptly cancelled.

Read full article at: https://bit.ly/2RrOlPc

World Environment Day marked in Kosovo (Indeksonline)

The news website reports that as part of activities for World Environment Day, Lipjan Mayor Imri Ahmeti together with UN Kosovo, EULEX representatives and other international organizations took part in a clean-up activity in a part of the town of Janjeva. “Today, in the multi-ethnic and multicultural Janjeva, together with representatives of UN Kosovo, EULEX and other international organizations, through a symbolic activity, we cleaned up a part of the town to mark the World Environment Day and to encourage increase of actions to protect our environment globally and locally,” Ahmeti said in a Facebook post.

An agronomist’s ambition to create most beautiful village in Kosovo (Exit News)

A 34-year-old agronomist in Kosovo has launched an initiative to create the most beautiful village in his country.

Armend Krasniqi was born and lives in the village of Studençan, in the south-central town of Suhareka.

As an avid cultivator of a myriad of cultures and flowers, he made the decision to plant some seeds in public spaces around the village. But soon, his little project snowballed into something much bigger than what he had originally planned.

“We planted flowers in a very small area. I took a picture of that and posted it on Facebook and nominated three friends to do the same, each of them had to nominate two others,” Krasniqi told Exit News.

Within a period of four to five days, with the help of other residents, he managed to secure funds to cover expenses for preparing other surrounding areas and planting them with more flowers.

“Until now we have planted around 4,000 flowers and the initiative has been welcomed heartily from the residents of our village and beyond,” Krasniqi says.

He wants to emphasize that those who pushed forward his initiative were former residents of the village who have long migrated abroad.

Read full story here: https://bit.ly/3z7H0pe

War victims hope for double genocide conviction for Ratko Mladic (BIRN)

Bosnian war survivors want former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic to be found guilty next week of genocide in five Bosnian municipalities in 1992 as well as genocide in Srebrenica in 1995, but experts believe this is unlikely to happen.

On June 8, survivors of the Bosnian war will be in The Hague to see the UN court deliver its final verdict in the trial of Ratko Mladic.

They are hoping that the Bosnian Serb Army commander will be found guilty of committing genocide in five Bosnian municipalities in 1992 as well as in Srebrenica in 1995.

But doubts are running high about whether the Hague court will convict him of the 1992 genocide charge, because he was initially acquitted of it when the first-instance verdict in his trial was handed down in 2017.

The outlook for a conviction appears unpromising. Some experts have pointed out that former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic has already been acquitted of committing genocide in 1992, while others believe that the Hague prosecution did not gather enough evidence to prove the charge because it focused its efforts and resources on Srebrenica.

The genocide accusation stems from the year the Bosnian war started, 1992, when there were a series of offensives all over the country by Bosnian Serb forces under Mladic’s command – a wide-ranging campaign of ethnic cleansing intended to seize control over large swathes of territory.

Read full article here: https://bit.ly/3ilBOb4

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