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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 8, 2021

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Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: Five new cases, one death (media)
• Kosovo confirms first case of South Africa coronavirus variant (media)
• PM Kurti to report to Assembly on dialogue with Serbia (Koha)
• Maas: Kosovo-Serbia agreement paves way to Europe for the two countries (media)
• Osmani: Serbia not showing readiness to clarify fate of missing persons (media)
• Von Cramon: There are many other urgent issues in dialogue apart from Association (EO)

Serbian Language Media:

• Covid-19 in Serbian communities: Four new cases (Kontakt plus radio)
• Mass: The comprehensive agreement between Belgrade and Pristina opens the EU door (Tanjug, Kosovo Online)
• Selakovic: Serbia will always be an advocate of a policy of peace and connecting (Kosovo Online)
• Petkovic and Botsan-Kharchenko on the continuation of the dialogue between BG and PR (KiM radio)
• Petkovic: Crucial for Belgrade to resolve the issue of missing persons in Kosovo (RTS)
• Dacic says solution for Kosovo not near (Beta, N1)
• Kurti met with the Working Group formed to establish the Institute for Crimes Committed during the war, a document being prepared (KoSSev)
• The EU Council extends the EULEX mission mandate until 2023 (Kosovo Online)
• Rakic with Davenport on the security situation in returnee communities (Kosovo Online)

Opinion:

• Why is Serbia not going to join EU sanctions on Belarus? (euobserver.com)

International:

• ”NATO committed to building a strong partnership with Serbia” (EWB)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: Five new cases, one death (media)
  • Kosovo confirms first case of South Africa coronavirus variant (media)
  • PM Kurti to report to Assembly on dialogue with Serbia (Koha)
  • Maas: Kosovo-Serbia agreement paves way to Europe for the two countries (media)
  • Osmani: Serbia not showing readiness to clarify fate of missing persons (media)
  • Von Cramon: There are many other urgent issues in dialogue apart from Association (EO)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Covid-19 in Serbian communities: Four new cases (Kontakt plus radio)
  • Mass: The comprehensive agreement between Belgrade and Pristina opens the EU door (Tanjug, Kosovo Online) 
  • Selakovic: Serbia will always be an advocate of a policy of peace and connecting (Kosovo Online)
  • Petkovic and Botsan-Kharchenko on the continuation of the dialogue between BG and PR (KiM radio)
  • Petkovic: Crucial for Belgrade to resolve the issue of missing persons in Kosovo (RTS)
  • Dacic says solution for Kosovo not near (Beta, N1)
  • Kurti met with the Working Group formed to establish the Institute for Crimes Committed during the war, a document being prepared (KoSSev)
  • The EU Council extends the EULEX mission mandate until 2023 (Kosovo Online)
  • Rakic with Davenport on the security situation in returnee communities (Kosovo Online)

Opinion:

  • Why is Serbia not going to join EU sanctions on Belarus? (euobserver.com)

International:

  • ”NATO committed to building a strong partnership with Serbia” (EWB)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

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

Kosovo has recorded five new cases of coronavirus infections and one death. Meanwhile, 155 persons have recovered from the virus during the last 24 hours. 

There are currently 923 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Kosovo confirms first case of South Africa coronavirus variant (media)

Kosovo’s National Institute for Public Health announced that of the samples tested daily for COVID-19, one has been diagnosed as SARS CoV-2: South Africa (S.A) Lineage B.11351 (N501Y) (WHO label: Beta).

The patient infected with the coronavirus variant is hospitalised and treated at the Infectious Clinic, the Institute said. It added that it is working in tracing contacts of the patient in question to identify other possible cases. 

According to the BBC, the South African variant carries a mutation, called N501Y, that appears to make it more contagious or easy to spread. At the same time, there is no evidence that the South Africa variant causes more serious illness for the vast majority of people who become infected.

PM Kurti to report to Assembly on dialogue with Serbia (Koha)

Acting head of the Vetevendosje Movement parliamentary group Mimoza Kusari-Lila said that the next session of the Kosovo Assembly will take place on 11 June with Prime Minister Albin Kurti expected to report about the dialogue with Serbia.

Kusari-Lila said the MPs will also “unavoidably” discuss the agreements reached so far in the course of the process and whether they have been successful or not.

Maas: Kosovo-Serbia agreement paves way to Europe for the two countries (media)

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia would pave the way for their European Union integration and would also contribute to stability in the region.

At an online news conference along with Western Balkans foreign ministers, part of the Berlin Process, Maas said the EU needs to liberalise visas for Kosovo citizens as soon as possible.

“I visited Belgrade and Pristina to discuss the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, facilitated by the European Union. Our message is clear: a comprehensive agreement between Kosovo and Serbia would not only increase regional stability but would open EU accession perspective for the two countries,” he said.

Osmani: Serbia not showing readiness to clarify fate of missing persons (media)

President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani said today that the new institutions of Kosovo are committed in efforts to determine the fate of 1,639 missing persons. 

“Clarifying their whereabouts is not only a political priority, but also a human obligation, therefore we do not want to treat this process only as a political, but, above all, as a humanitarian one,” Osmani said in a meeting with the regional director of the International Committee of the Red Cross for Europe and Central Asia, Martin Schuepp.

Osmani added that it is the duty of the institutions to listen to the voices of the families of the missing: “We are making sure that we do everything we can so that the families are treated with dignity and receive information on the fate of their loved ones as soon as possible.”

She also accused Serbia of not showing readiness to clarify the fate of these people and urged the international community to step up pressure on Belgrade “to provide information on every missing person.”

Von Cramon: There are many other urgent issues in dialogue apart from Association (EO)

European Parliament rapporteur for Kosovo, Viola von Cramon, said on the recent visit of the U.S. and EU envoys, Matthew Palmer and Miroslav Lajcak, to Kosovo and Serbia that it is very important “to have the U.S. on our side in the dialogue”.

Von Cramon said that U.S. Special Representative Palmer began work under the previous administration of Donald Trump but that there is hope he will be able to continue the work in a way so as to truly contribute to multicultural cooperation.

She also said that apart from the issue of establishing the Association of Serb-majority municipalities, there are many other pressing matters that need to be addressed in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.

“European actors certainly appreciate the engagement of President Biden and yes, the region really needs the U.S. support. The Association of Serb-majority municipalities is definitely one of the issues but there are so many other urgent things in dialogue. I hope June will be a new beginning in the process,” von Cramon said.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Covid-19 in Serbian communities: Four new cases (Kontakt plus radio)

According to the latest data, four new cases of coronavirus infection have been registered in Serbian communities in Kosovo and Metohija, the Crisis Staff of the Municipality of Kosovska Mitrovica announced today.

Based on 33 processed samples, positive cases were recorded in the municipalities: Leposavic (2), Zvecan (1) and Gracanica (1).

Total number of patients by municipalities: Kosovska Mitrovica (1,909), Zvecan (1,010), Leposavic (876) and Zubin Potok (622).

So far, 1,617 cases of infection have been registered in Serbian areas south of the Ibar.

Currently, 22 cases are active.

In Serbian communities in Kosovo, 148 people have died as a result of Covid-19 so far.

Mass: The comprehensive agreement between Belgrade and Pristina opens the EU door (Tanjug, Kosovo Online) 

A comprehensive agreement between Belgrade and Pristina would not only increase regional stability, but would also open the prospects of the two countries for EU membership, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mas conveyed the message of official Berlin today, opening a conference of foreign ministers participating in the “Berlin Process”,  held in the form of a video meeting within the German presidency, reported agency Tanjug.

Mass said that Berlin unconditionally supported the efforts of the High Representative of the EU Josep Borrell and the EU Special Envoy for Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak in the realization of that task.

“All nations in Europe have a historical burden, but history must not be an obstacle in creating a common future,” he stressed.

He stressed that the enlargement process must be restarted.

“The future of all six Western Balkan countries is in the EU. Germany is still fully committed to that goal,” Mass pointed out, adding that when the countries in the region show results, the EU must do its part.

“When they give theirs, we have to give ours, that must be our approach to EU enlargement in the future,” Maas emphasized.

He pointed out that the countries of the region should strengthen the rule of law, fight corruption and organized crime, work to protect the freedom of the media and create a space in which democracy can develop.

“Such reforms will contribute to attracting larger foreign investments, create prospects for young people and stop the outflow of skilled labor from the region,” he explained. Maas said that, on the other hand, the EU must stand behind its promises.

In that regard, he mentioned Northern Macedonia and Albania, stating that those countries have made sustainable progress in judicial reform and the fight against corruption and organized crime, and that Skopje has reached a historic Prespa Agreement with Athens.

“Therefore, accession negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania would begin now,” he said.

The EU to fulfill its part on the issue of visa liberalization with Kosovo

Mass said that it was known that domestic policy could limit the space for foreign policy, as well as that there were tricky issues of the past and identity, but, he added, such bilateral issues should not hinder the entire accession process.

He also said that the EU should finally fulfill its part on the issue of visa liberalization with Kosovo.

Speaking about Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said that more than 25 years after Dayton, there was a worrying stalemate and aggressive rhetoric, and he referred to today’s sentencing of Ratko Mladic.

“This trial reminds us of the horrific wars of the 1990s, with genocide, mass killings and ethnic cleansing. Those horrific memories should lead us to the conclusion that the future of the Western Balkans is in peace and democracy,” he stressed.

Mass pointed out that the European roadmap for BiH was clear – 14 key priorities of the European Commission.

According to him, the high representative of the international community remains of key importance.

“That is why I am very grateful to Christian Schmidt and the supporters of his appointment. He will help BiH to return to the international agenda,” Maas was convinced.

He also pointed to the important role of civil society in fostering reconciliation and dialogue. He appealed to the participants to advocate that the Summit of the Berlin Process in July be successful for the benefit of the citizens of the region.

In that regard, he said that a special agreement on freedom of travel with ID cards would encourage trade and passenger traffic, as well as that a common “visa space” and the recognition of academic and professional diplomas would make life easier for citizens.

“The pandemic has shown that most of the challenges we face do not stand on the border of a country. A prosperous and peaceful Western Balkans requires countries in the region that offer each other a hand of cooperation, with pragmatism and courage, with a realistic view and ambitions,” Mass said, adding that the choice of the path was on the region, and that Germany would provide support.

Selakovic: Serbia will always be an advocate of a policy of peace and connecting (Kosovo Online)

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Nikola Selakovic participated in the online meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the “Berlin Process” and pointed out that Serbia attached great importance to the initiative, which proved to be a good forum for strengthening regional cooperation, development, and overcoming inherited problems from the past, reported portal Kosovo Online, quoting a statement submitted to the media. 

“It is the only way to create stability, which is a precondition for economic growth and progress. Unfortunately, some have not yet understood the true meaning and essence of the Berlin Process, and that they should first start respecting international commitments such as the Regional Representation Agreement,” Selakovic said, reacting to the fact that the Pristina representative had the flag of “self-proclaimed Kosovo”, read the statement, Kosovo Online quoted. 

He added that the “Berlin Process” provided support to the EU integration of the Western Balkans through concrete projects and measures, especially pointing out that the backbone of regional cooperation was focused on economic integration, as well as that it coincided with the foreign policy orientation of the Serbian government.

“With a responsible and well-designed economic policy, Serbia has achieved the highest growth in the region, and according to the GDP growth rate in the first quarter of 2021 of + 1.7%, our country is in first place in Europe,” said Selakovic. 

The Serbian FM pointed out the establishment of the Common Regional Market in the Western Balkans as the most current example of cooperation of this initiative.

“Serbia welcomes the Action Plan for the Common Regional Market. This document is largely based on concrete proposals stemming from an initiative launched by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in co-operation with the prime ministers of Albania and Northern Macedonia,” Selakovic said, adding that its implementation would expand opportunities for improving economic co-operation in the region.

He also referred to the decision to establish “Green Corridors”, which enabled medical equipment and food to be transported unhindered through the region in the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, without delays at border and administrative crossings.

“Serbia has demonstrated its commitment to improving regional cooperation by showing solidarity with its neighbors in the region, sending vaccine shipments and enabling vaccination in Serbia, including for the secretariats of regional initiatives in which Serbia participates,” the Serbian foreign minister stressed.

Selakovic also pointed to other concrete results of regional cooperation within this initiative, such as: Regional Office for Youth Cooperation, Transport Community in Southeast Europe, based in Belgrade, Western Balkans Chamber Investment Forum and Agreement on Reducing Roaming Prices in the Western Balkans.

On this occasion, he reiterated that full membership in the EU was a key foreign policy and strategic goal of Serbia. He also pointed out that the enlargement policy was one of the most successful EU policies, that the course should be maintained, and concluded that Serbia and the entire region have a place in the EU.

In his speech, Selakovic thanked Germany and Minister Maas for the strong support they provide to the entire Western Balkans, saying that it was this commitment that contributed to connecting and deepening cooperation in the region.

“The vision and support of Germany, and Chancellor Merkel personally, expressed almost seven years ago, when the Berlin Process was launched, significantly contributed to creating the necessary conditions for closer connections in our region,” Selakovic said, adding that the support and active approach of Germans partners was of inestimable importance.

The head of Serbian diplomacy said that it was very important that other members of the European Union recognized the importance of the “Berlin Process”, reported the portal.

Petkovic and Botsan-Kharchenko on the continuation of the dialogue between BG and PR (KiM radio)

The political situation in Kosovo, as well as the upcoming continuation of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, were the main topics of today’s meeting between the director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic and the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Serbia, Aleksandar Botsan-Kharchenko.

The director of the Office for KiM, Petkovic informed the Russian ambassador Kharchenko that Belgrade was ready to continue the dialogue with Pristina, but also that it was necessary to implement the agreements reached so far.

“Dialogue is essential for stabilizing the political situation in the region and economic development, but Pristina’s failure to fulfill its obligations, above all to enable the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities and its insistence only on so-called mutual recognition, is a kind of obstruction and an indication that Pristina politicians are not interested in responsibly and seriously resolving open issues and finding a lasting, compromise solution,” Petkovic said during the meeting.

”Petkovic thanked Ambassador Botsan-Kharchenko for Russia’s consistent assistance in protecting Serbia’s state and national interests in international organizations, emphasizing that Russia’s support for the diplomatic and political struggle for Kosovo was just one of many indicators of sincere friendship and fraternal relations between our countries and peoples,”  stated the announcement of the Office for KiM, reported KiM radio.

Petkovic: Crucial for Belgrade to resolve the issue of missing persons in Kosovo (RTS)

The director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic pointed out that it is of key importance for Belgrade to resolve the issue of the missing and to insist on it during every conversation in Brussels. He pointed out that the Pristina side rejects any possibility of cooperation and treats the issue of the missing exclusively through a showdown with official Belgrade, reported Radio Television of Serbia (RTS).

“Instead, ahead of the resumption of dialogue in Brussels, the Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions in Pristina, Albin Kurti to show a minimum of readiness to resolve open issues of common interest, he continues with incendiary statements and accusations against official Belgrade,” said Petar Petkovic.

He emphasized that it was of key importance for Belgrade to resolve the issue of the missing and that this issue will not be treated through a daily political prism.

“We are not running away from that issue, and we insist on that issue during every conversation in Brussels,” Petkovic pointed out

He said that Belgrade has repeatedly stated unequivocally that it was ready to open all archives and search all locations for which Pristina suspected to have the remains of missing Albanians. He added that at the same time, Pristina’s concrete cooperation on that issue was expected.

“Unfortunately, Pristina consistently refuses any mention of opening KLA archives or allowing our expert teams to search locations in Kosovo and Metohija, for which we have very clear indications that they are hiding the bodies of Serbs missing during the conflict,” Petkovic said.

He especially pointed out that Belgrade so far has taken several significant steps when it comes to searching for potential locations, and that one of such was the recent excavations at the Kizevak site. He warned that on the other hand, there was a persistent lack of minimal civilizational readiness to do the same.

“I am sorry that the Pristina side rejects any possibility of cooperation on this issue and treats the issue of the missing exclusively through a showdown with official Belgrade. We will not treat any victim in that way, regardless of ethnicity,” Petkovic said.

He also warned that the issue of the missing was not, nor should it be, a topic for daily political confrontations or upheavals.

“The search for the missing is our obligation towards the past, but also towards the future, our children, peace, compromise and progress,” concluded the director of the Office for KiM.

Dacic says solution for Kosovo not near (Beta, N1)

Serbian Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic said on Tuesday that Belgrade and Pristina are nowhere near a solution because “the other side does not want to compromise”.

He told Moscow daily Izvestiya that the only thing that Pristina wants is recognition of Kosovo as an independent state. “The only thing they want is for the international community to pressure Serbia and make Belgrade recognize Kosovo. That is unacceptable for us,” he said.

Dacic said that Serbia welcomes everyone who can affect the process of normalizing Belgrade-Pristina relations positively and if they can contribute to a compromise solution. “In order to reach a peace agreement, Russia, China and the other permanent UN Security Council members have to be involved in the process. In the end the UN Security Council will have to vote on a final decision,” he said.

See at:https://bit.ly/2T6wFJu

Kurti met with the Working Group formed to establish the Institute for Crimes Committed during the war, a document being prepared (KoSSev)

The first meeting of the Working Group formed to establish the second Institute for Crimes Committed during the War in Kosovo was held in Pristina yesterday. The first Institute was shut down by the Ramush Haradinaj-led government. The meeting was also attended by the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, who announced that a concept document on crimes committed during the war would be prepared, wrote portal KoSSev.

A little over a year ago, the first government led by Albin Kurti launched an initiative to establish a new Institute for War Crimes in Kosovo.

After this the government was toppled, but then came to power again, the work that had begun at that time continued.

A working group was recently formalized to draft a concept document for the establishment of the institute. The first meeting of this group was held yesterday.

”Last year, two weeks before this day, we met to form teams, and today we continue with the second phase, which will prepare a concept document on crimes committed during the war, it will be difficult to address all crimes committed. The families of the victims have lost their faith, and this is a danger that we are facing, and that is why we need greater commitment in that regard,” Kurti said.

See more at:https://bit.ly/3uWL3kM

The EU Council extends the EULEX mission mandate until 2023 (Kosovo Online)

On June 3, 2021, the Council of the European Union decided to extend the EULEX mission until June 14, 2023, it was published in the Official Gazette of the EU.

The decision to extend the mandate was expected, in line with the mission’s strategic review, previously approved by the Political and Security Committee, reported Kosovo Online.

The Council specified in the decision that the tasks of the mission, which refer to providing operational support to the dialogue on the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, will be in the competence of the EU Office in Kosovo in the future.

It is planned that this part of the task will be gradually transferred to the EU Office by December 2022.

Rakic with Davenport on the security situation in returnee communities (Kosovo Online)

The continuation of the “Skopje process”, the security situation in returnee areas, as well as the return process were the topics of today’s meeting between the Minister for Communities and Returns Goran Rakic and the Ambassador of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Kosovo Michael Davenport, reported Kosovo Online.

The two officials pointed out that the “Skopje Process” (Regional Initiative launched in Skopje in 2014) should be continued, because it will contribute to resolving the accumulated problems in the return process, the ministry said in a statement.

It was estimated that after the Covid-19 calmed down, the first steps should be taken to continue this initiative and organize a meeting of delegations at a high political level.

During today’s meeting, Rakic emphasized the security in returnee areas and pointed out, as one of the main preconditions for a more successful return, a stable security situation.

“Living without the fear, of those who have returned, that someone will rob their property, attack them or in any other way endanger their safety is what we must all stand for, in order to have results in improving the security situation,” said Minister Rakic.

The Ministry of Communities and Returns and the OSCE will continue to improve cooperation in the future, concluded the statement.

 

 

 

Opinion

 

Why is Serbia not going to join EU sanctions on Belarus? (euobserver.com)

On May 23, Belarus fighter jets diverted a Ryanair civilian flight from Athens, Greece to Vilnius, Lithuania under a pretence of the bomb threat, to arrest a dissident journalist Roman Protasevich, a critic of Belarus strongman president Alexander Lukashenko.

The EU has responded in the form of political condemnation and economic sanctions, as Belarus planes are banned from the EU air space and the EU planes are not to fly over the Belarus airspace. The EU has even promised new economic sanctions.

The EU measures put Serbia, an EU membership candidate, in a tough spot.

As a membership candidate, Serbia is expected to join foreign policy declarations and restrictive measures of the EU. However, Serbia is unlikely to join the EU measures against Belarus for both international and domestic reasons.

As Belgrade prides itself on good relations with Minsk, the EU’s row with the Lukashenko regime was inevitably going to reach Serbia.

Vladimír Bilčík, European Parliament rapporteur on Serbia, expressed the expectation that EU membership candidates will back EU measures against Belarus.

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

 

 

International

 

”NATO committed to building a strong partnership with Serbia” (EWB)

BELGRADE – Serbia is of key importance for the stability of the Western Balkans, the region and of exceptional importance for NATO, said NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Public Diplomacy Baiba Braže, during the conference hosted by the Council for Strategic Policy in Belgrade, reports Danas.

On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Partnership for Peace between Serbia and NATO, she said that partnership with NATO can have real benefits for Serbia and its citizens, but also for the region as a whole.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3fYCzp4

 

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