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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 7, 2021

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Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 10 new cases, no deaths (media)
• Konjufca after meeting Ruci: We are in difficult situation with Serbia (media)
• Berlin Process: Maas to chair foreign ministers’ conference (RTK)
• Kosovo initiates establishment of the War Crimes Research Institute ( Express)
• Szunyog in the North, says electricity should be paid by everyone (Klan)
• Kurti-Schuepp meeting: Enlightenment of the fate of the missing, priority (RTK)
• The Presevo Valley demands seats in the talks in Brussels (RFE, media)
• Telekom Director resigns (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Will new “internal dialogues” follow? (KiM radio, Danas, RTS)
• Dacic: Vucic to submit report on dialogue to Assembly on June 22 or 23 (Radio KIM)
• Brnabic: We investigate all mass graves, remains of nine Albanians found recently (N1)
• Pendarovski: We are grateful to Serbia for its help, Skopje should not lobby for Kosovo (FoNet, Politika, N1)
• Trial for Oliver Ivanovic’s murder scheduled on July 6 and 7 (RTS)
• Minister says Serbian security services ready to defend country (N1)
• Viola von Cramon: Besides ZSO, a lot of other urgent things in the dialogue (Kosovo Online)
• Selakovic thanked Turkmenistan for its position on Kosovo (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)

Opinion:

• Centuries of discrimination still run deep for Roma in Europe (euronews)

International:

• EU Parliament President Backs Letting Western Balkan States Into Bloc (RFE)

Humanitarian/Development:

• The collective memories of the village shop (Prishtina Insight)
• Opera diva Natasa Tasic Knezevic performs in Gracanica (KiM radio)
• WHO official warns fight against COVID not over in Europe (N1)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 10 new cases, no deaths (media)
  • Konjufca after meeting Ruci: We are in difficult situation with Serbia (media)
  • Berlin Process: Maas to chair foreign ministers’ conference (RTK)
  • Kosovo initiates establishment of the War Crimes Research Institute ( Express)
  • Szunyog in the North, says electricity should be paid by everyone (Klan)
  • Kurti-Schuepp meeting: Enlightenment of the fate of the missing, priority (RTK)
  • The Presevo Valley demands seats in the talks in Brussels  (RFE, media)
  • Telekom Director resigns (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Will new “internal dialogues” follow? (KiM radio, Danas, RTS)
  • Dacic: Vucic to submit report on dialogue to Assembly on June 22 or 23 (Radio KIM)
  • Brnabic: We investigate all mass graves, remains of nine Albanians found recently (N1)
  • Pendarovski: We are grateful to Serbia for its help, Skopje should not lobby for Kosovo (FoNet, Politika, N1)
  • Trial for Oliver Ivanovic’s murder scheduled on July 6 and 7 (RTS)
  • Minister says Serbian security services ready to defend country (N1)
  • Viola von Cramon: Besides ZSO, a lot of other urgent things in the dialogue (Kosovo Online)
  • Selakovic thanked Turkmenistan for its position on Kosovo (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)

Opinion:

  • Centuries of discrimination still run deep for Roma in Europe (euronews)

International:

  • EU Parliament President Backs Letting Western Balkan States Into Bloc (RFE)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • The collective memories of the village shop (Prishtina Insight)
  • Opera diva Natasa Tasic Knezevic performs in Gracanica (KiM radio)
  • WHO official warns fight against COVID not over in Europe (N1)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

COVID-19: 10 new cases, no deaths (media)

Kosovo recorded 10 new cases of COVID-19 and no deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. 134 persons recovered from the virus during this time. There are 1,074 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Konjufca after meeting Ruci: We are in difficult situation with Serbia (media)

Albania’s Speaker of the Assembly Gramoz Ruci received today his Kosovo counterpart, Glauk Konjifca. In a joint statement to the media, Ruci expressed the importance of reaching an agreement with Serbia, while emphasizing that Albania will always be on Kosovo’s side.

“Joining the need for consultations to have a more unified stance on dialogue. It is Serbia that committed genocide, war crimes, hid criminals and did not cooperate with the Hague tribunal and today tries to glorify its criminals. Kosovo is on the right side and we will not stop working and fighting for it,” Ruci said. He added that the final result of the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue should be mutual recognition.

Konjufca spoke about the strengthening of relations between Kosovo and Albania on the idea of ​​a single nation. The head of the Kosovo Assembly said that the focus of his conversation with Ruci was also the dialogue with Serbia. He said that they are facing a difficult situation and asked for deeper coordination with Albania in order for Kosovo not to be harmed in this process.

“We had a fruitful meeting. No words can summarize in the most complete way the contribution that the Republic of Albania has given to our country. There is a tradition in our country that the first visit of the Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo is made to the Albanian Parliament. We have common and the same interests because we are one nation. Such should be our policy and the articulation of our common interests. We also have common challenges. I want to make a special thanks to Albania for making an extraordinary contribution to tackling the pandemic by offering vaccinations to our medical staff. With President Ruci we opened some important topics starting with a need to deepen cooperation in several areas,” he said.

Konjufca said that coordination with the Albanian government is needed so that Kosovo is not harmed by a final agreement and that the creation of any Serb ethnicity within Kosovo that would be led by Belgrade, would be harmful.

So far, we have cooperation at the level of good neighbors, but it should be raised to another level of two countries of one nation. We also addressed the challenges. Two are very important. We will face a difficult dialogue with Serbia, as the internationals have defined it as the final stage, and that should take the form of a final agreement. We need a deep and close coordination with Albania so that Kosovo is not harmed by such an agreement. We are facing a difficult trial in the special court. Some of the most important leaders of the KLA are being tried in The Hague. Even in this dimension we coordinate our actions with Albania. Our sacred and pure war has been for the whole Albanian nation. The challenges are many, the space for cooperation is large,” Konjufca said.

The Kosovo Assembly Speaker met also with the President of Albania, Ilir Meta. The latter stated after the meeting that Albania supports the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, for the normalization of relations between them, and stressed the need for the agreements reached so far not to remain only on paper.

“It is important that all political forces in Kosovo are united around a comprehensive platform in this process,” said President Meta.

He also encouraged close cooperation with strategic partners, who have played a crucial role in Kosovo’s independence and its international affirmation.

During his one-day visit to Albania, Konjufca also met with Democratic Party (DP) leader Lulzim Basha.  After the meeting, Konjufca said that the DP’s positions are important and will help Kosovo in future political processes.

“The fate of our states is common since we are a nation. I was pleased to hear the views of the DP on the challenges that await Kosovo in the future, especially in the dialogue with Serbia, in which Kosovo is facing the goals of Serbia, which in the end want to destabilize Kosovo and create a Serb territorial ethnicity within Kosovo, controlled by Belgrade, opening up the Ahtisaari plan. I am very happy with the fact that the positions of the Democratic Party are very important for the Republic of Kosovo, which I also explained to leader Basha. These help us in positioning Kosovo in future processes, and in the dialogue with Serbia, but also in the challenges of European integration. Only by having a unique, common position can our two states succeed. With divided voices, fragmented with contradictory attitudes, which have sometimes happened to us, we have only experienced damage”, said Konjufca. 

Meanwhile, the leader of the Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha said that they will stand side by side with Kosovo in the face of the challenges that await.

“Standing side by side with Kosovo institutions to face other challenges, which for the DP and me personally remain priority for the continuation of international recognition, Kosovo’s membership in international institutions and the successful completion of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia with mutual recognition of these two countries, as a necessary investment to cement the stability and Euro-Atlantic orientation of our region,” Basha said.

Berlin Process: Maas to chair foreign ministers’ conference (RTK)

The foreign ministers of the Western Balkans and several EU countries will be meeting virtually on Tuesday to discuss further progress in the Berlin process.

Deputy spokesperson of the German Foreign Ministry Andrea Sasse informed today that the conference will be chaired by the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The conference aims to prepare for the next summit of heads of government, which will be chaired by Chancellor Angela Merkel in early July.

According to Sasse, in addition to the foreign ministers of the Western Balkan countries, the foreign ministers of several EU member states, as well as the Commissioner for Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, and the Secretary General of the European External Action Service Stefano Sannino, will attend the conference.

Kosovo initiates establishment of the War Crimes Research Institute (Gazeta Express)

Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, attended Monday the first meeting of the Working Group tasked to establish the War Crimes Research Institute.

PM Kurti has stated that it will be difficult to address all crimes committed in Kosovo and asked for support of all institutions involved to make this happen.

“Last year we met to discuss composition of a preparatory team, and today we are continuing the second phase where this team is tasked to draft a document on establishment of the War Crimes Research Institute,” Kurti said.

Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, said that previous governments lacked political willingness in addressing war crimes, adding that the government’s support for the institute will never be spared. “The preparatory team will work on addressing earlier shortcomings and we will try not to make the same mistakes and focus to move forward. The Assembly of Kosovo has approved amendments aimed at removing all legal obstacles on the work of the Institute. Also, an additional budget will be allocated to Kosovo’s Special Prosecution enabling them to increase the number of prosecutors dealing with war crime cases,” Haxhiu said.

Szunyog in the North, says electricity should be paid by everyone (Klan)

EU Special Representative in Kosovo, Ambassador Thomas Szunyog, is visiting  northern Kosovo.

According to the announcement of the EU office, he will take part in the handover ceremony of eight trucks for waste collection at the premises of PE “Standard” North Mitrovica, and he will also participate in the voluntary cleaning activity in the municipalities of North Mitrovica and Zvecan, starting from the Dudin Krs Bridge, Cesmin Llug, North Mitrovica, to continue in Zvecan.

Szunyog, stated in North Mitrovica that electricity must be paid and that they are working with the parties to reach this solution.

“As for electricity, I think it is good to find a sustainable solution as soon as possible, which on the one hand would ensure a stable supply of electricity and on the other hand to pay for it because it is something quite normal for people to meet their tax obligations”.

“We are working with all parties to reach this solution and I believe we are on the right track,” he said.

Kurti-Schuepp meeting: Enlightenment of the fate of the missing, priority (RTK)

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, received today Mr. Martin Schüepp, Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

A press release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister informs that the central topic of the meeting was the issue of missing persons from the recent war in Kosovo, which is the main reason for the visit of Mr. Schuepp in Kosovo and the region.

“Mr Schuepp said it is very important for people who have experienced war events to share them with others because more can be understood about what happened.

Prime Minister Kurti said that the issue of the missing is an open and still unhealed wound. As he said, it is very important to open the state archives of Serbia, because the crimes were not committed by individuals, but by the Serbian state.

The Prime Minister reiterated the commitment of the Government to address the requests and concerns of the families of the missing persons, for the necessity of advancing the institutional policies, through which there will be meritorious treatment for the missing persons and their families.

The Government of the Republic of Kosovo remains committed and gives priority to shedding light on the fate and whereabouts of the missing, better legal and institutional treatment of their families and the establishment of justice,” reads the press release.

The Presevo Valley demands seats in the talks in Brussels  (RFE, media)

The Albanians of the Presevo Valley are asking to be physically part of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, to present their demands.

Representatives of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja, municipalities in southern Serbia, otherwise known as the Presevo Valley, say it is pointless to talk to Serbia about normalizing relations without the inclusion of the Presevo Valley.

The mayor of Presevo, Ardita Sinani, tells Radio Free Europe that their presence at the negotiating table in Brussels is necessary.

“The issue of the Presevo Valley should be part of the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, both as a topic and through the physical presence of the elected people of the Valley. “It is dangerous the idea to decide the fate of the Valley without the involvement and without the will of the citizens of the Valley”, says Sinani.

Sinani made the comments, citing earlier reports that Kosovo and Serbia could agree on a solution involving the exchange of territories, in which case Kosovo would give Serbia a part of the Serb-majority north. , and would take the Presevo Valley which is inhabited by an Albanian majority.

Sinani says that their permanent request remains unification with Kosovo .

“If we are talking about change, correction of borders, then the Presevo Valley should be attached as a whole to the Republic of Kosovo. This has been a request of the Albanians of the Presevo Valley since the referendum in 1992 “, says Sinani.

She says that in order to avoid unilateral solutions that deepen the crisis and the conflict, the Presevo Valley should be included in the dialogue in Brussels.

The chairman of the Albanian National Council in Serbia, Ragmi Mustafi, says that peace between Kosovo and Serbia is achieved through the Presevo Valley.

Mustafi says for Radio Free Europe that they have made a request to the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, that the issue of the Presevo Valley be addressed within the dialogue.

“This is due to the fact that there can be no one-sided dialogue, where topics can be opened on the issues of internal regulation of the Republic of Kosovo and not topics of internal regulation of Serbia. This means that the issue of the legal-political status of the Albanians of the Presevo Valley should be opened “, says Mustafi.

The Government of Kosovo did not say whether representatives of the Presevo Valley will be part of the Kosovo delegation in talks with Serbia.

“As the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, has emphasized, the meeting in Brussels is a dialogue for dialogue, it is in the service of the new chapter of dialogue and agreement on its agenda”, it is said in the government’s response.But, regarding the dialogue as a new chapter, the European Union has a different opinion from Prime Minister Kurti, as he insists that this is a continuation of the dialogue for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

Ahead of the meeting of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti with the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vuiqi në in Brussels, which is expected to be held in June, EU officials said that “this dialogue started in 2011 and will continue with the new meeting, at the high level that will take place soon ”.

Salihu: The EU and Serbia may be against the presence of the Valley in dialogue

The physical involvement of representatives of the Presevo Valley would be welcome, says analyst Fitim Salihu.

Even if this is not possible in this current format of dialogue, according to him, they can be present in this process through their ideas or their requests that they can submit to the Government of Kosovo.

But Salihu says this could not be well received by Brussels or then Serbia could seek the involvement of local Serbs in the dialogue.

“I am skeptical if the EU and Serbia would agree to be representatives of the Presevo Valley as part of the Kosovo delegation. Even if it were a fact that they did not physically participate, but their request was delegated through the Government of Kosovo, it would still be okay even if they are not present even though the best possible would be that they themselves to be on the table “, says Salihu.

Representatives of the Presevo Valley have repeatedly raised concerns about the passivity of the addresses of Albanian residents of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac.

According to the data of the Albanian National Council in Serbia, there are over 3,000 addresses that have been deactivated in Medvedja and over 2,000 in Presevo and Bujanovac.

With the mediation of the European Union, the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia began in 2011. Through this process, the aim is to reach a comprehensive agreement for the normalization of relations between the two countries.

Telekom Director resigns (media)

The acting director of Telekom of Kosovo, Zeqir Kiqina, has resigned from this position.

Telecom officials have confirmed the news, but have not disclosed the reasons for the resignation, reports Ekonomia Online.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Will new “internal dialogues” follow? (KiM radio, Danas, RTS)

Aleksandar Vucic was again trying to lead an “internal dialogue” on Kosovo because he wanted to gain the widest possible support in the event of reaching an agreement with the Kosovo Albanians in the next few months, KiM radio reported, quoting daily Danas. 

A source from diplomatic circles commented for daily Danas the latest messages from the President of Serbia. 

It should be recalled that during his address to the public on Friday, Vucic stated that he was ready to respond to the invitation of the Speaker of the National Assembly Ivica Dacic to submit a report to the parliament on the Brussels talks between Belgrade and Pristina, and specified that it would probably happen after a new round of talks, as well as that he was ready to discuss the same topic with representatives of the non-parliamentary opposition.

In the meantime, Dacic told agency Tanjug that the session dedicated to the mentioned report will most likely be held on June 22 or 23. As Vucic was expected to meet with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Brussels in the middle of this month, he would address lawmakers upon his return from EU headquarters.

As he specified, the talks on Kosovo and Metohija should “result in the formation of a list of common principles for dialogue in the future”.

Regarding such announcements, in the diplomatic circles it was stated that it was good that the negotiation process “is becoming transparent”, but the question was why Vucic’s regime “waited so long” to submit a report.

At the same time, the fact that in the eyes of the “majority” of EU officials, especially those dealing with Serbia, the current convocation of the National Assembly which “almost devoid of opposition, and looks like the parliament of, say, Belarus”, perceived as an aggravating circumstance.

“It is naive to believe that Vucic’s political opponents will also have any prominent role in formulating the list of principles for the continuation of negotiations, because his tendency to have the main say in everything is known. If the part of the opposition that has already expressed its readiness to join the talks and be asked about something, it will be just some details, without essential importance,” claims an unnamed Western diplomat, wrote Danas.

It should be reminded that the National Democratic Alternative (NADA) coalition, which consists of DSS, POKS and 19 citizens’ associations, already welcomed the “opening of opportunities for organizing a dialogue of state-building parties on resolving the Kosovo issue” and indicated that it would accept Vucic’s eventual invitation to participate in those talks.

A Danas source also points out that the President of Serbia was trying to counter Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti with these plans. Kurti, who has a reputation in the West as an “unpleasant” negotiator, compared to former Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, has already met with two of the three leaders of opposition parties in Pristina.

As RTS reported on its portal, Kurti said that in the context of the dialogue, he would have a discussion in the Assembly “regarding the current situation in the dialogue process so far, to see where it was reached in terms of previous agreements, their implementation and impact”. On the occasion of the upcoming meeting with Vucic in Brussels, Kurti stated that they would discuss “the upcoming, and not the continuation of the previous dialogue”.

Another “internal” dialogue has been announced on several occasions by the current Prime Minister of Kosovo. According to the latest unofficial information obtained by RTV Kim, Albin Kurti will talk to Kosovo Serbs during the summer. Still is unknown who will be at the table across from the Prime Minister on that occasion. It is unlikely that those would be local political, positional or opposition representatives, and it is hard to believe that the “ordinary people” would, for many reasons, be a willing interlocutor with Kurti

On the other hand, last week, on the eve of the arrival of Lajcak and US envoy Matthew Palmer in Belgrade, Aleksandar Vucic reiterated that he expected pressure to “increase” on Serbia in the context of the Kosovo problem, including the statement that “no one offers him apples and cookies”

However, the “tone” calmed down a lot after their visit, stating that he had “correct conversations”.

As Danas recently reported, it was often said in diplomatic circles that the “model of two Germanys” was in circulation again, which would mean that Belgrade does not officially recognize Kosovo but enables Pristina to gain membership in the United Nations.

The President of Serbia, on the other hand, did not want to publicly disclose any details about the solutions offered to the negotiating parties, and underlined that this would harm “our position”, reported KiM radio.

Half-forgotten conversations

The internal dialogue on Kosovo, which Vucic announced in the author’s text for daily Blic in July 2017, began a few months later, when the Working Group for Supporting the Internal Dialogue was established. These talks were conducted mainly by organizing round tables. The EWB portal once reported that about thirty meetings were held, with various representatives of the academic community, sports and student associations, organizations gathered in the National Convention on the EU, representatives of Serbs from Kosovo … The opposition did not participate in such a process. Shortly afterwards, the public began to talk louder and louder that there was an idea of dividing Kosovo, that was, demarcation, which the President of Serbia never denied, reported KiM radio.

Dacic: Vucic to submit report on dialogue to Assembly on June 22 or 23 (Radio KIM)

Serbian Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic said he has not discussed yet with the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic details and format of a parliament session at which Vucic will present the report on Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, adding he expects that to take place most likely on June 22 or 23, following the meeting in Brussels, Radio KIM reports.

“We discussed several months ago the possibility of holding such a session at the parliament, however this issue became a topic now because of coordinating the pressure exerted on both Vucic and our country to undertake steps unacceptable to us, such as recognition of Kosovo”, Dacic said.

He noted it was important that Serbia has political stability and unity, meaning it has institutions mutually supporting one another.

Dacic said if that would be necessary he would propose conclusions from that session, because it is the way the Assembly works and in a sense of support to the negotiation team lead by President Vucic in the dialogue so far and in the future continuation of it.

Dacic also touched upon his meeting with US Special Envoy for the Western Balkans Mathew Palmer, who recalled US stance on mutual recognition between Serbia and Kosovo, saying he suggested Palmer to pay attention to such formulations, they often emphasize, as it creates impression it was the only topic the US is interested in, and that his every visit is linked to pressure on Serbia to recognize Kosovo.

“And our cooperation should be much more meaningful. That is our strategic goal and I think we have achieved a lot. President Vucic is making maximum efforts for better cooperation with the United States and it should not be reduced to just that sentence which is unacceptable for us”,  Dacic said. 

Brnabic: We investigate all mass graves, remains of nine Albanians found recently (N1)

The Republic of Serbia, at the territory of central Serbia, investigated all mass grave sites, except two, that we had information about received from Pristina delegation, International Red Cross Committee or anyone else, with the great help and support of foreign states, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said today, N1 reports.

Brnabic made these remarks during a session to deliberate proposals for amending the Constitution of Serbia, adding for two mass grave sites the Pristina delegation informed about, additional information and data are being gathered at the moment.

“We will investigate that. We do that swiftly and efficiently. Whenever a trace or information appears we immediately work on that”, Brnabic said answering to the head of MPs caucus “United Valley – SDA Sandzak”, Shaip Kemberi who said that Brnabic should also talk about Panda case (murder of six Serb youngsters in Pec in 1998), Petrovo selo and Batajnica cases (mass grave sites of Kosovo Albanians) and about other cases.

Brnabic also said the latest activity was completed two weeks ago and concerns the Kizevak mine near Raska. She said mortal remains of nine Kosovo Albanians were found there.

“Pristina did absolutely nothing. The last activities they carried out were in 2018. In 2018 remains of two families who were civilians were found. They had nothing to do with any armed activities. Among them three were underage children, executed by a bullet in the head. No one was held responsible. Since then Pristina did nothing more regardless of all information we had been handing over to it, for excavation of potential mass graves”, Brnabic said.

Brnabic also said at this moment there are remains of 350 persons at the Pristina morgue, it doesn’t want to identify.

“We cannot receive for many years, in some cases longer than a decade, not even information about the bodies at Pristina’s morgue”, she said.

Brnabic also said she can talk about Batajnica, Petrovo selo and some other places, adding she “is infinitely sorry that these things happened”.

“I feel sorry for all murdered persons, for their families, I feel sorry for all those who went missing”, Brnabic said.  

Pendarovski: We are grateful to Serbia for its help, Skopje should not lobby for Kosovo (FoNet, Politika, N1)

We are grateful to friendly Serbia for timely help in preventing the consequences of the pandemic, especially in the vaccination process, the President of Northern Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski told daily Politika and emphasized that Northern Macedonia should not lobby for Kosovo’s independence, imposed by some Albanian politicians from the executive branch, reported N1. 

As he pointed out, “Serbia has done everything in its power to help us, and we know how to appreciate that friendly gesture and we will not forget it”.

“We recognized Kosovo as an independent state in 2008, when most of our strategic partners did so, and since then we have been committed to building good relations with Kosovo, because in that way we are fulfilling our national interests,” Pendarovski said.

He assessed that Northern Macedonia also contributes to the strengthening of regional cooperation, which is the highest foreign policy priority of friendly Serbia.

Penadarovski reminded that Northern Macedonia made difficult compromises in order to become a full member of NATO and a future member of the European Union.

“EU membership is key for the overall development of all countries in the region, and we have no real alternative for European integration,” Pendarovski concluded.

Trial for Oliver Ivanovic’s murder scheduled on July 6 and 7 (RTS)

Trial for the murder of Civic Initiative Freedom, Democracy, Justice (SDP) leader Oliver Ivanovic will take place on July 6 and 7 at the Basic Court in Pristina, RTS reports.

Ivanovic was assassinated on January 16, 2018 in front of his party premises in Mitrovica North, under still unresolved circumstances.

The assassins have not been found yet.

Marko Rosic, Nedeljko Spasojevic, Silvana Arsovic and Rade Basara are accused of involvement in the murder.

Zarko Jovanovic is accused of misusing official authority, while Dragisa Markovic is accused of revealing the official secret.  

Minister says Serbian security services ready to defend country (N1)

Serbian Internal Affairs Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Monday that the security system is prepared to defend the country and its people in the difficult years to come.

Speaking during a visit to the Gendarmerie base in the southern city of Nis, Vulin said that the coming days, months and years will not be easy and peaceful but that the Serbian security system is prepared to safeguard the country “when evil comes and when our people are in danger”.

“The Gendarmerie is prepared and trained to respond to all security challenges and fulfill every order from President Aleksandar Vucic who said clearly that no one can be protected when the state and its integrity and economic stability are being guarded and in the fight against all forms of crime”, Vulin is quoted as saying in a press release.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3gl8PSq

Viola von Cramon: Besides ZSO, a lot of other urgent things in the dialogue (Kosovo Online)

The rapporteur for Kosovo in the European Parliament, Viola von Cramon stated for portal Kosovo Online on the occasion of the recent visit of US Special Envoy Matthew Palmer and EU Special Representative for Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak to Belgrade and Pristina, that it was very important “to have the US on our side in dialogue and we need them for stability in the long run”.

As she pointed out “special representative Palmer started working under the administration of President Trump but hopes that he will now be able to continue his work in a way that really helps multicultural cooperation”.

“European actors certainly appreciate President Biden’s commitment and yes, the region really needs US support. The Community of Serbian municipalities is certainly one of the issues, but there is so much that the Serbian community could do in the process. I believe there are other urgent things in the dialogue, but I hope that June will be a fresh start in the process,” said Viola von Cramon, portal Kosovo Online reported.

Selakovic thanked Turkmenistan for its position on Kosovo (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selakovic talked via a video link with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, Rashid Meredow and on that occasion thanked for the country’s position on Kosovo issue, reported Tanjug.

Selakovic stated that the relations between Serbia and Turkmenistan are traditionally fraternal and friendly, and said that Serbia was firmly committed to further development, improvement and deepening of overall cooperation.

“We are especially interested in intensifying the political dialogue at the highest level,” Selakovic pointed out, adding that Minister Meredow’s visit to Serbia this year, which marks 25 years of establishing diplomatic relations, would be of special importance.

The head of Serbian diplomacy said that Serbia was interested in strengthening economic cooperation with Turkmenistan and, in that regard, pointed out that the formation of the Intergovernmental Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation would be a key precondition for its further improvement

The Minister emphasized that regional stability and the improvement of good neighborliness was one of Serbia’s foreign policy priorities and added that the focus of such a commitment was on the development of economic cooperation, because in that way political relations can be relaxed.

In today’s conversation, Selakovic said that Serbia was interested in adequate political and economic positioning in the Central Asian region, and that in the past period, contacts with the countries of this region, which Serbia considers friendly, have intensified, despite the great geographical distance, portal Kosovo Online quoted the agency.

 

 

 

Opinion

 

Centuries of discrimination still run deep for Roma in Europe (euronews)

In the Roma settlement of Obiliq, on the outskirts of Pristina in Kosovo, people have little access to basic amenities like electricity and running water. Since the pandemic hit, schools have closed their doors and shifted to online learning. With little access to WiFi and no laptops, Roma children have now missed almost a year of learning, writes Manos Antoninis, director of UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report.

The same story is repeated in other settlements across the region.

The most marginalised children in Europe, have once again been excluded and fallen completely behind.

The Global Education Monitoring Report published by UNESCO has launched a new study, in partnership with the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education and the Network of Education Policy Centers, that examines 30 education systems in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Looking back over the past twenty years, undoubtedly ethnic minorities have more protection now than they did then.

There are also more opportunities for the most disadvantaged children and young people to attend school.

But for some groups, many changes are only happening on paper. Deep-held beliefs and actual practices remain unchanged.

This is certainly true for the Roma communities, where centuries of discrimination still run deep. Roma people continue to be the most impoverished and excluded people in the region. This situation does not look set to change soon.

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

 

 

 

 

International

 

EU Parliament President Backs Letting Western Balkan States Into Bloc (RFE)

European Parliament President David Sassoli has called for allowing Western Balkan states into the European Union, saying expanding the EU would be positive for peace and prosperity.

“Enlargement can bring immense benefits both to the region and to Europe as a whole, helping to secure a stable, prosperous and peaceful continent,” Sassoli said, Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe reported on June 6.

But how quickly they can join depends on the Western Balkan countries’ fulfillment of the accession criteria.

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Humanitarian/Development

 

The collective memories of the village shop (Prishtina Insight)

For decades, Kosovo’s village shops have served not only as a place to buy essentials but as a focal point for the local community, a spot for socialising and sharing stories.

A big bottle of water and a few bags of detergent outside the door signalled that the shop was still open in Banja, a small village near Malisheva. However, inside, owner Daut Suka was having a quick nap. Clearly no customers had been in for a while.

In 1984, Suka’s 20-metre-square store became the first shop to open in the village, but for its 57-year-old proprietor, these days it is more a place of memory and nostalgia than a means of providing income.

“When I opened the shop I couldn’t wait for the midday break to get a bit of rest as I had way too much work,” Suka reminisces.

As well as bringing goods to the village, the shop also served as a meeting point for residents of Banja and other neighbouring villages, something Suka recalls fondly.

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Opera diva Natasa Tasic Knezevic performs in Gracanica (KiM radio)

Opera diva from Belgrade, Natasa Tasic Knezevic will hold a concert at the House of Culture in Gracanica on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The concert is held within the project Promotion of Roma Culture, reported KiM radio.

Natasa performed throughout Europe both at concerts and in the performances of Atelje 212 “Fear and His Servant”, directed by Kokan Mladenovic, and she also had a role in the play “A Ship Sails to Belgrade”. 

For the past two years, Natasa Knezevic has made her debut on the movie screen, and currently the film in which she played the role of Almira has entered the official program of the Berlin Biennale. 

In addition to her artistic work, she was a dedicated pedagogue, with more than 15 years of experience. She stands for the same rights of all people, regardless of nationality, religious or gender diversity, and therefore she was extremely respected not only in Serbia but also outside Serbia. She was a special guest in the Council of Europe several times, and at the last conference she spoke about the influence of Roma culture on the cultural heritage of Europe and the World.

The organizer of the concert is the Municipality of Gracanica in cooperation with the OSCE and the Ministry of Communities and Returns.

Before the concert, the opera diva will be received by the President of the Municipality of Gracanica, Srdjan Popovic, who will address the audience before her performance. Addresses by OSCE Ambassador to Kosovo Michael Davenport, Minister for Communities and Returns Goran Rakic and his Deputy Gazmen Salijevic, as well as Natasa Knezevic Tasic herself, were also planned

A contribution from the ticket sales will be given to two Roma families.

The opera singer is also scheduled to visit the Sveti Sava Elementary School as well as the Music School in Plemetina near Obilic, but also the Roma Education Center in Gracanica. At the end of the visit, Natasa will visit the Gracanica monastery.

WHO official warns fight against COVID not over in Europe (N1)

A senior World Health Organization official told Monday’s online conference on the pandemic in the Western Balkans that countries of Europe have to show solidarity and work together to inoculate their populations because the fight against the coronavirus is not over, N1 reports.

WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said that all the countries on the continent have to invest efforts to speed up the vaccination of their populations.

The Serbian Health Ministry said that Minister Zlatibor Loncar took part in the video conference along with his counterparts from southeastern Europe.

European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi told the conference that nothing will be the same in health care and other areas after the pandemic. He said that the EU will secure billions of Euros in pre-accession aid including funding for the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans which he said is a key tool to underpin the region’s post COVID19 economic recovery. 

“The EU remains fully committed to further support partners in this fight, from vaccines to economic recovery”, he said.

See at: https://bit.ly/2S7BceL

 

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