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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, June 8, 2021

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• COVID-19: 10 new cases, no deaths (media)
• Kosovo Assembly to debate on Brussels agreements on Friday (Koha)
• Konjufca: The Association must not happen (media)
• Berlin: Agreement with Kosovo, criteria for Serbia’s EU accession (Klan Kosova)
• Western Balkans Foreign Ministers to meet today (Deutsche Welle)
• Women’s Network calls for women representation in dialogue with Serbia (media)
• KLA War Veterans to hold protest on June 10 (media)
• Lajcak, Palmer criticised for discussing dialogue with Serbian Patriarch (Exit News)
• Robelli: A solution without a solution: Mr. Palmer’s difficult statements (Koha)
• Hoxhaj: Russian paramilitaries were part of Serbian Army in Kosovo (RTK)
• Daut Haradinaj: We support genocide lawsuit against Serbia (media)
• Greek Foreign Minister Dendias briefs Lajcak on his visit to Kosovo (media)

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  • COVID-19: 10 new cases, no deaths (media)
  • Kosovo Assembly to debate on Brussels agreements on Friday (Koha)
  • Konjufca: The Association must not happen (media)
  • Berlin: Agreement with Kosovo, criteria for Serbia’s EU accession (Klan Kosova)
  • Western Balkans Foreign Ministers to meet today (Deutsche Welle)
  • Women’s Network calls for women representation in dialogue with Serbia (media)
  • KLA War Veterans to hold protest on June 10 (media)
  • Lajcak, Palmer criticised for discussing dialogue with Serbian Patriarch (Exit News)
  • Robelli: A solution without a solution: Mr. Palmer’s difficult statements (Koha)
  • Hoxhaj: Russian paramilitaries were part of Serbian Army in Kosovo (RTK)
  • Daut Haradinaj: We support genocide lawsuit against Serbia (media)
  • Greek Foreign Minister Dendias briefs Lajcak on his visit to Kosovo (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.

Kosovo’s Ministry of Health said in a statement that Prime Minister Albin Kurti received on Monday the second dose of the vaccine against the coronavirus.

Several news outlets reported on Monday afternoon that North Macedonia has recorded the first case of the Indian variant of COVID-19.

Kosovo Assembly to debate on Brussels agreements on Friday (Koha)

Citing sources in the Kosovo government, the daily reports on page two that following a request by the government, the Kosovo Assembly will debate on Friday on the agreements reached so far in the Brussels dialogue.

“The aim is to discuss at the session the agreements reached so far in the dialogue – the level of implementation of these agreements and the impact they have had on people’s lives,” the source said.

The parliamentary debate will be held on the eve of the meeting between Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels. Civil society representatives meanwhile argue that it is important to have transparency in the process.

Konjufca: The Association must not happen (media)

Kosovo Assembly President Glauk Konjufca said during his visit to Albania that the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities must not happen, and that deeper coordination is needed between Kosovo and Albania for the final settlement with Serbia.

“We will be faced with a difficult dialogue with Serbia, as international stakeholders have defined it as the final phase and that the dialogue must be concluded with a final settlement. We need deeper and closer coordination with Albania so that Kosovo is not damaged by such an agreement. For Kosovo it would be detrimental to have in its territory a Serb territorial entity controlled by Belgrade, and this must not happen and this is our joint fight,” Konjufca said.

Berlin: Agreement with Kosovo, criteria for Serbia’s EU accession (Klan Kosova)

The Press and Information of the German Federal Government told the news website in a statement on Monday that Germany continues to support visa liberalisation for Kosovo’s citizens. “The decision needs to be made by the EU Council. Germany included this topic on the agenda of EU mechanisms during its presidency of the EU Council. So far, the required majority among the EU member states has not been secured,” it said.

The press and information office also said that Germany strongly supports the negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia under the auspices of EU High Representative Josep Borrell and EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak. “The objective is a comprehensive and legally-binding agreement for the full normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. As outlined in the EU negotiating framework, such an agreement is also one of the criteria for Serbia’s accession in the EU,” it said.

Western Balkans Foreign Ministers to meet today (Deutsche Welle)

A virtual conference of Foreign Ministers of Western Balkan countries within the Berlin Process will be held today under the leadership of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The conference is aimed at preparing for the upcoming summit of heads of governments which will be chaired by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in early July.

Women’s Network calls for women representation in dialogue with Serbia (media)

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani met on Monday with a delegation of the Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN). A press release issued by Osmani’s office after the meeting said KWN representatives appreciate the President’s role in empowering the position of women in all processes and that they have asked Osmani to support amendments to the Law on Elections. “They asked for the Law on General Elections to be in compliance with the Law on Gender Equality. They have received the President’s support for this,” the press release notes. KWN representatives also called for women’s representation in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. Osmani said that gender equality is among her priorities alongside the rights of children with special needs and the green agenda.

KLA War Veterans to hold protest on June 10 (media)

The KLA War Veterans Organisation argued in a statement on Monday that “Kosovo’s institutions are openly against national values” and it also criticised recent statements by Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Foreign Minister Donika Gervalla and Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla. The War Veterans said political parties should address the recent arrest and violence against former War Veterans leader Faik Fazliu. The War Veterans also said they will organise a protest on June 12.

Lajcak, Palmer criticised for discussing dialogue with Serbian Patriarch (Exit News)

The EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Prishtina Dialogue, Miroslav Lajčák and the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Matthew A. Palmer received criticism for meeting with Patriarch Porfirije of the Serbian Church during their visit to Kosovo and Serbia last week.

After the meeting, Lajcak wrote in a Twitter post on Friday that they “exchanged views about the [Kosovo-Serbia EU facilitated] Dialogue and the region.”

“This was really a terrible decision by all involved,” said Jasmin Mujanovic, a political scientist and the co-host of the Southeast European affairs podcast ‘Sarajevo Calling.’

In a Twitter post, Mujanovic wrote that the decision to meet with Patriarch Porfirije showed “extraordinarily bad judgment” by both Lajcak and Palmer.

“Neither the EU not the U.S. should be in the business of promoting religious institutions as political actors,” he stated.

A senior policy analyst at the Pristina-based NGO ‘Democracy Plus,’ Albana Rexha called the meeting “ridiculous.”

“State and religion should not be mixed,” she wrote in a Twitter post reacting to the event.

Porfirije was elected as Patriarch of the Serbian Church in February, following the death of his predecessor, Irinej in November 2020. Irinej died at age 90, after complications related to COVID-19.

Irinej had insisted that the Serbian Orthodox Church would oppose any deal reached between the Belgrade government and authorities in Kosovo if it confirmed Kosovo remaining outside Serbian territory.

In 2014, Irinej stated that Kosovo is to Serbia what Jerusalem is to the Jewish people, and without Kosovo, Serbia is like a body without a head or a heart.

Balkan Insight reported that the newly elected Patriarch Porfirije is considered close to President Aleksandar Vucic and his regime.

Last week, Lajcak and Palmer held meetings with officials in Kosovo and Serbia, ahead of the mid-June meeting planned between the Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti and Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vucic.

Robelli: A solution without a solution: Mr. Palmer’s difficult statements (Koha)

Publicist Enver Robelli comments in an opinion piece on recent remarks by US Assistant Deputy Secretary of State Matthew Palmer’s who said that if the parties [Kosovo and Serbia] agree on a solution that does not include mutual recognition then he would have nothing against such an agreement. “This is a very problematic statement and indicates a very difficult period for Kosovo. What could be the quality of an agreement between two countries if the status quo remains? Mr. Palmer owes this answer to the Kosovo public. Because no agreement that doesn’t include mutual recognition makes sense. The point of an agreement is not to continue the agony in Kosovo and to allow Serbia to further sabotage Kosovo’s statehood,” Robelli opines.

Hoxhaj: Russian paramilitaries were part of Serbian Army in Kosovo (RTK)

The deployment of the Russian Army at Prishtina Airport one day after Slobodan Milosevic capitulated could have easily turned into a new world war. Adding to the confusion of the operation at that time was a statement by then Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov who said that he requested battalions of the Russian Army to withdraw, the news website reports.

“You remember that even when the Russian Army was very weak, they sent two battalions to Kosovo and one of them took control over the Prishtina Airport. This shows that historically they have trusted their army over everything else and of course the service incorporated within the armed forces,” said Ilir Kulla, security advisor to Albanian President Ilir Meta, in the documentary entitled “Virussia”.

Kosovo’s former Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, said there was continued cooperation between Russian paramilitary formations and the Serbian Army. “There is a long history of cooperation between Russian paramilitary formations. There were Russians that were part of the Serbian Army in Kosovo, but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Hoxhaj said.

Zarko Korac, former Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, said it is not true that Russia always helped Serbia. “It is very naïve and historically inaccurate to argue that Russia has always helped. This is not true. It only helped its own interests …,” Korac said.

Arben Ahmeti, executive director of the Prishtina-based Kanal 10, said Russia’s presence in Serbia is more of a geostrategic policy than aid for Serbia. “It is more of a geostrategic policy in relations with the West, rather than a sensitivity of Russia towards Serbia,” Ahmeti argued.

Daut Haradinaj: We support genocide lawsuit against Serbia (media)

Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) senior member, Daut Haradinaj, said on Monday that this party would support a genocide lawsuit against Serbia, but that Kosovo must use the opportunity wisely.

“We must insist on demanding justice. I absolutely support this. But we shouldn’t rush and lose the opportunity because there is no second opportunity. A negative decision by international justice could hurt us badly,” Haradinaj said in an interview with Kanal 10. “We are absolutely in favor [of the lawsuit] but we need guarantees that we will win this battle.”

Greek Foreign Minister Dendias briefs Lajcak on his visit to Kosovo (media)

Nikos Dendias, the Foreign Minister of Greece, said on Monday that he discussed his recent visit to Prishtina with EU Special Representative for the Prishtina-Belgrade Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak. “During a telephone conversation I briefed EU’s Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak on the contacts during my recent visit to Pristina,” Dendias wrote in a Twitter post.

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