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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 10, 2021

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Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 12 new cases, one death (media)
• Kosovo receives donation of 10,000 vaccines from Croatia (Koha)
• In Estonia, Osmani reaffirms position against border changes (media)
• Implementation of agreements, hostage to renegotiations (RFE)
• Kosovo will purchase military equipment over €5 million (media)
• Liturgy at unfinished orthodox church in Prishtina for first time after war (media)
• Daut Haradinaj: Liturgy in campus of Prishtina University, an insult (media)
• Vucic: Kurti shouldn’t travel to Brussels if he wants to talk recognition (Koha)
• Mini-Schengen returns; Rama: It is a strategic project with Brussels (Telegrafi)

Serbian Language Media:

• Covid-19 in Serbian areas: One new case out of 37 tested samples (KoSSev)
• Kurti: ”Do you want to occupy us?; Brnabic: How we to occupy our own territory?” (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
• The Western Balkans one of the topics of US President – EU leaders meeting (RTS)
• Vucic expects difficult dialogue in Brussels (Danas)
• Daut Haradinaj: Liturgy at Temple in Pristina insult to Kosovo citizens (Kosovo-online)
• Jevtic: Inappropriate response of the authorities to the call of Bishop Teodosije for peace and coexistence (Kosovo Online)
• Demolition of the old school and the construction of a new university building (KoSSev)
• Hoxhaj: Kurti to cancel talks with Vucic if Serbia doesn’t apologize (KoSSev, N1)
• YIHR: Belgrade official reactions to Mladic’s verdict ‘disgraceful’ (BETA, N1)

International:

• Reactions from the EU and US to Mladic verdict: Regional leaders should respect the decision (EWB)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Promotion of bilingualism in Kosovo through “Uta and Miljana’s colors of nature” (Kontakt plus radio)
• Official: Western Balkan countries are ‘milking coal power plants until the bitter end’ (euractive.com)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 12 new cases, one death (media)
  • Kosovo receives donation of 10,000 vaccines from Croatia (Koha)
  • In Estonia, Osmani reaffirms position against border changes (media)
  • Implementation of agreements, hostage to renegotiations (RFE)
  • Kosovo will purchase military equipment over €5 million (media)
  • Liturgy at unfinished orthodox church in Prishtina for first time after war (media)
  • Daut Haradinaj: Liturgy in campus of Prishtina University, an insult (media)
  • Vucic: Kurti shouldn’t travel to Brussels if he wants to talk recognition (Koha)
  • Mini-Schengen returns; Rama: It is a strategic project with Brussels (Telegrafi)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Covid-19 in Serbian areas: One new case out of 37 tested samples (KoSSev)
  • Kurti: ”Do you want to occupy us?; Brnabic: How we to occupy our own territory?” (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
  • The Western Balkans one of the topics of US President – EU leaders meeting (RTS)
  • Vucic expects difficult dialogue in Brussels (Danas)
  • Daut Haradinaj: Liturgy at Temple in Pristina insult to Kosovo citizens (Kosovo-online)
  • Jevtic: Inappropriate response of the authorities to the call of Bishop Teodosije for peace and coexistence (Kosovo Online)
  • Demolition of the old school and the construction of a new university building (KoSSev)
  • Hoxhaj: Kurti to cancel talks with Vucic if Serbia doesn’t apologize (KoSSev, N1)
  • YIHR: Belgrade official reactions to Mladic’s verdict ‘disgraceful’ (BETA, N1)

International:

  • Reactions from the EU and US to Mladic verdict: Regional leaders should respect the decision (EWB)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Promotion of bilingualism in Kosovo through “Uta and Miljana’s colors of nature” (Kontakt plus radio)
  • Official: Western Balkan countries are ‘milking coal power plants until the bitter end’ (euractive.com)

 

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

COVID-19: 12 new cases, one death (media)

Kosovo has recorded 12 new cases of COVID-19 and one death from the virus in the last 24 hours. 109 persons have recovered from the virus during this time. There are 756 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo. 

Kosovo receives donation of 10,000 vaccines from Croatia (Koha)

The news website learns that Croatia has donated 10,000 vaccines against COVID-19 to Kosovo. A spokesman for Kosovo’s Ministry of Health confirmed that the vaccines arrived on Wednesday evening. The agreement on the vaccines was signed on May 24 between Kosovo Health Minister Arben Vitia and Croatia’s Ambassador to Kosovo, Danijela Barisic.

In Estonia, Osmani reaffirms position against border changes (media)

President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani is in Estonia for an official two-day visit on the invitation of state authorities there.

In a meeting with the country’s president Kersti Kaljulaid, Osmani thanked Estonia for supporting Kosovo. “Our goal is to foester close relations with the Baltic countries, especially Estonia, from which we expect support in the visa liberalisation process, membership in international organisations and in general Kosovo’s European integration path,” she said. Osmani also spoke about the threat of Russia’s influence in the Western Balkans region. 

At a joint press conference with Kaljulaid, Osmani said Kosovo has clear goals in the dialogue with Serbia and will not accept any border changes. “This new chapter of dialogue is a new chapter for Kosovo but we have red lines as to what cannot be discussed. We will in no way discuss our final status. Kosovo is an independent country. In addition, we will not accept under any circumstances border movement. We will not accept models like that of Srpska Republika in Bosnia because we want to protect Kosovo. We made these concessions with the Ahtisaari plan.”

Estonian President Kaljulaid meanwhile pledged her countrys’ support for Kosovo joining international organisations like Interpol and UNESCO and also for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, Kosovapress reported.

Implementation of agreements, hostage to renegotiations (RFE)

Jeta Krasniqi, analyst with the Kosovo Democratic Institute, told the news website that the Kosovo government and Prime Minister Albin Kurti must build a clear position vis-à-vis the European Union about the agreements reached so far in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.

EU spokesman Peter Stano said on Wednesday that the dialogue for the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia will resume on June 15 in Brussels, with a first meeting between Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. He also said that the EU and its member states expect continued engagement from both parties involved in the dialogue and for the implementation of all previous agreements. “This means that everything that has been agreed upon needs to be implemented,” Stano said.

Kurti earlier said that his government would review all agreements reached so far, in terms of their implementation and the impact they have had on people’s lives. Opposition parties – the Democratic Party of Kosovo and the Democratic League of Kosovo – meanwhile have different views about the resumption of the dialogue and also about the agreements reached so far.

Jeta Krasniqi from the Kosovo Democratic Institute said Kurti has yet to say if the review of agreements implies that Kosovo is willing or that it could ask to renegotiate the agreements or not fully implement them. Among the agreements reached between the two sides is the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities, which the government in Prishtina views as problematic.

According to Krasniqi the EU expects new negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia and a new agreement on this issue. “Kosovo however does not support this position. So we will have to see if Kosovo clarifies its position … Let’s see what happens and what will be the future course of action about the agreements, whether they will be reevaluated or renegotiated, because if the agreement on the Association is renegotiated then this will make way for the renegotiation of all agreements,” she said.

Kosovo will purchase military equipment over €5 million (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Defense, Armend Mehaj, said today that after a budget review, they will spend €5.2 million to purchase military equipment. “After a detailed analysis and assessment of the procurement plan for 2021, in the review process of the current budget, we have managed to allocate €5.2 million for projects of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales with the aim of increasing the military capabilities and capacities of the Kosovo Security Force,” Mehaj said. “Our military purchases will be made in close cooperation and coordination with our American partners and other allies”.

Liturgy at unfinished orthodox church in Prishtina for first time after war (media)

Several news websites report that the Serb Orthodox Church held a religious liturgy today in the unfinished church in the campus of Prishtina University. This is the first time that a liturgy is held in this church after the war. According to RadioKim, the last liturgy in the church was held in 1998.

Daut Haradinaj: Liturgy in campus of Prishtina University, an insult (media)

Daut Haradinaj, candidate for Prishtina Mayor from the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), took to Facebook to react to the liturgy in the Serb orthodox church in Prishtina today. “With all the respect for religious freedoms, the Serb orthodox liturgy held today in the contested church in the campus of Prishtina University, a church that was built based on Milosevic’s fascist ideas, is a violation of the dignity of our Republic and above all an insult to our citizens,” Haradinaj wrote.

Vucic: Kurti shouldn’t travel to Brussels if he wants to talk recognition (Koha)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said today that Serbia is in for a difficult dialogue with Kosovo. On the eve of his meeting with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Brussels on June 15, Vucic advised the Kosovo side not to travel to Brussels if it plans to impose topics, referring to the mutual recognition between the two countries.

Mini-Schengen returns; Rama: It is a strategic project with Brussels (Telegrafi)

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said today in a joint press conference with EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, that the regional Schengen remains a strategic project together with the European Union. 

“The project of what I call a regional Schengen, some call it Mini-Schengen, is a strategic project with exceptional economic, social and political benefits for our region. I am glad that there is full synergy with the European Union about this vision. The Berlin Process is the origin and we are now managing the process and I hope the Berlin process will move fully in the hands of the European Commission, under the leadership of the President of the Commission with the wish and ambition that the meeting on July 15 will be the last in this format and for next year’s meeting to be in the format where the Commission leads together with the Western Balkan countries and the European Union. This is our ambition and a wish that we share with the Commissioner,” Rama said.

 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Covid-19 in Serbian areas: One new case out of 37 tested samples (KoSSev)

Out of a total of 37 tested samples in Serbian communities in Kosovo, according to the latest data, one person is positive for coronavirus, the Crisis Staff of the Municipality of Kosovska Mitrovica announced.

There are 23 active cases.

In the last 24 hours, there were no deaths from the consequences of Covid-19. The total number of those who have lost the battle with this virus since the beginning of the epidemic is 148.

Kurti: ”Do you want to occupy us?; Brnabic: How we to occupy our own territory?” (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, at the Summit of the Western Balkans in Tirana, also attended by the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabic, requested today that the CEFTA agreement be redefined, in which Kosovo would be treated as a state, Tanjug learned, portal Kosovo Online quoted.

Kurti also called on Serbia to recognize Kosovo.

The Prime Minister Brnabic answered, as she said, that the current format works well and that there was no legal argument to change anything, because Kosovo is part of Serbia, reported the portal.

Brnabic reminded Kurti that five EU members do not recognize Kosovo, that it is not a member of the UN and that in that sense it certainly cannot have a different status from the existing one.

Kosovo Online reported that Kurti replied to that with the question: “What are you going to do, do you want to occupy us?”, to which Brnabic answered: “How do you think we occupy our own territory?”.

A difficult meeting, an introduction to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said that the meeting within the Western Balkans Summit in Tirana was more difficult than she expected, stating that it was more an introduction to the upcoming events, including the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, than regional issues.

Brnabic told reporters that she tried to focus on good results and cooperation in the region, and that “someone else” transferred the conversation to the field of politics.

“But if you want to talk about politics, then we are here to say the facts, but also that cooperation is important,” Brnabic said.

In addition to the Prime Minister, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, Northern Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, BiH Council of Ministers Chairman Zoran Tegeltija, and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti took part in the Summit.

Asked if she had the opportunity to talk to him, given that a dialogue will be held in Brussels in a few days, Brnabic said that she did not have such an opportunity, but she had, as she said, an “exchange of opinions” during the summit.

“I think that there were provocations, and his ideas about what regional cooperation should look like, but I think that he received an adequate answer and the factual situation,” said Brnabic.

When asked what the ideas were and what the answer was, the Prime Minister said that she was not sure how much she could talk about it, because everything was happening behind closed doors, but, she said, it was in his manner, that everything started with him and the new administration.

He spoke about how “it is no longer possible to cooperate like this” than in a different format in which “Kosovo and Serbia are equal partners”.

PM Brnabic, as she said, answered him that this was not possible and that there were big differences, that Serbia is a sovereign state, and Kosovo is not, and that it is best to leave such things for dialogue, reported the portal.

The Western Balkans one of the topics of US President- EU leaders meeting (RTS)

The Western Balkans will be one of the topics of the meeting of US President Joe Biden with EU leaders next week in Brussels, RTS has learned from European diplomatic sources.

“The United States and the EU will step up their joint engagement in the Western Balkans, including dialogue on the normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations and support for key reforms within European integration,” the draft joint declaration said, which could be amended until the meeting between Biden and the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Layen, on 15 June in Brussels, reported RTS.

Among the numerous issues on the agenda of President Biden’s first visit to the EU, the Western Balkans will be one of the topics in which Brussels and Washington will emphasize the need for better cooperation and coordination, RTS learned.

“The United States expects the EU to take the lead in the Balkans, when it comes to the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, but also the overall enlargement policy, with the active support of Washington,” diplomatic sources in Brussels said and add that the US will urge EU to finally open negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, believing that a credible EU enlargement policy is also in the US strategic interest.

Unlike the EU, whose five member states did not recognize Kosovo’s independence, the US representatives point out that a comprehensive solution in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina should lead to mutual recognition.

“Although there are some differences in the attitudes of Brussels and Washington towards the region, the administration of President Biden shares the increased interest of the EU in the issues of the rule of law and freedom of the press in the Western Balkans,” state in Brussels.

Following problems in US-EU relations under former President Donald Trump, the main goal of President Biden’s first visit to Europe since the beginning of his term will be “renewing the transatlantic partnership” and creating a common agenda for the post-pandemic period.

The draft joint declaration talks about cooperation in the areas of the fight against Covid-19, economic recovery and the fight against climate change, relations with Russia and China, and a common stance against disrupting democracy in the world, reported RTS.

Vucic expects difficult dialogue in Brussels (Danas)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said today, ahead of the dialogue continuation in Brussels, that he is not interested much in Pristina’s announcements they are coming (to Brussels) only to get independence, adding if that was the case they should not even come there, Danas daily reports.

“I am not interested in what they are talking about. I could be serious and tell without joke ‘if you think to come there only for the things you talk about, then you do not even have to take that trip”, Vucic said at the opening of a factory in Jagodina town.

He also said upcoming days wouldn’t be easy for Serbia, however, continuation of the dialogue is important, not only because of European Union but also because it reduces tensions and advances security of the Serbian people in Kosovo.

“And if that will be easy in Brussels – it won’t, for anyone. They come there to make a show, and we go there to be serious and committed to the dialogue. And the result is displayed on the scoreboard, but at the end of the game”, he said.  

Daut Haradinaj: Liturgy at Temple in Pristina insult to Kosovo citizens (Kosovo-online)

AAK candidate for Pristina mayor, Daut Haradinaj said today that the liturgy, held at the Christ the Savior Temple in Pristina, represents violation of Kosovo identity and an insult to the Kosovo citizens, Kosovo-online portal reports, citing Pristina-based Gazeta Express.

As the portal said Haradinaj wrote on Facebook that the government and Pristina municipality should react because of this.

“With all due respect to religious freedoms, Serbian Orthodox liturgy held today in a contested church at the Pristina University campus, church built on Milosevic’s fascistic ideas, represents violation of the dignity of our Republic and above all an insult to our citizens. The Government and municipality should react immediately”, Haradinaj wrote on Facebook, the portal said.   

Serbian media earlier reported that Raska-Prizren Bishop Teodosije with priests, for the first time since 1998 held a liturgy at the Christ the Savior Temple in Pristina on the occasion of the Holy Ascension of the Lord holiday.

Jevtic: Inappropriate response of the authorities to the call of Bishop Teodosije for peace and coexistence (Kosovo Online)

The Vice President of the Serbian List, Dalibor Jevtic said that sending members of the Kosovo Police for an inspection at the gate of the Church of the Holy Savior in Pristina, after the liturgy on the occasion of the temple celebration, was an inappropriate response of the authorities to the call of Bishop Teodosije of Raska and Prizren for peace and coexistence, reported Kosovo Online.

“Liturgy, prayer, call for peace and coexistence this morning in Pristina by Bishop Teodosije. No political statements by anyone. After the Easter” congratulations “, 0 vaccines for Serbs in Kosovo and violation of the rights of Serbs, the response of the authorities – sending the police and an investigation around the temple of Christ the Savior,” Jevtic wrote on Twitter, the portal quoted.

Demolition of the old school and the construction of a new university building (KoSSev)

The first phase of construction of a new university building – namely, clearing of the terrain and demolition of existing facilities – was launched in North Mitrovica yesterday. The project is financed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, through the Kosovo Office, this office announced.

This is the first phase of the project, which includes terrain preparation for the execution of construction works. According to the Kosovo Office, conditions will then be created to proceed with the second phase, which entails the construction of the facility itself.

”The budget rebalance has allocated funds for the first phase, which includes demolition and preparation of the terrain, and then we will start construction. This is just another indicator that the state cares about its people in the territory of Kosovo and that we are investing in the future of our children,” the head of the Kosovo Office, Petar Petkovic, emphasized.

Once completed, the modern University Center will house the Faculty of Natural Sciences, the Faculty of Economics, the Faculty of Law, and the Rectorate Building. The total building area of the Center, spread over four floors, including a basement and a gallery, will be 10,500 square meters.

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

Hoxhaj: Kurti to cancel talks with Vucic if Serbia doesn’t apologize (KoSSev, N1)

Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) leader Enver Hoxhaj said Wednesday that Prime Minister Albin Kurti should cancel the June 15 Brussels meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic if Belgrade did not apologize for “genocide” in the 1998-1999 war, N1 reports.

“If Serbia does not apologize before June 15, Kurti should cancel the meeting with Vucic”, Hoxhaj said according to Ekonomija online as carried by KoSSev.

He reminded Kurti about the failure of the government’s programme.

Hoxhaj recalled the conditions he put to Kurti before the dialogue on the normalization of relations with Belgrade started: Serbia’s apology and finding out what had happened to the missing persons.

Earlier on Wednesday, a European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said the new round of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue was scheduled in Brussels on June 15.

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

YIHR: Belgrade official reactions to Mladic’s verdict ‘disgraceful’ (BETA, N1)

Regional Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) described Serbian officials’ reactions to Ratko Mladic, life imprisonment sentence by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) as a “disgraceful attempt to avoid responsibility”, N1 reports.

As for Prime Minister Ana Brnabic’s statement about Serbia’s commitment to investigating war crimes, YIHR said it was “absolutely untrue“.

“The reactions by Serbia’s authorities and their media machinery to the verdict and the IRMCT’s report to the UN Security Council are a shameful try to avoid responsibility, galvanize nationalist hysteria and spark mistrust between Serbia’s people and the rest of the world“, YIHR statement said.

See more at: https://bit.ly/3g7JgoM

 

 

 

International

 

Reactions from the EU and US to Mladic verdict: Regional leaders should respect the decision (EWB)

BRUSSELS / WASHINGTON – The final judgement in the case of Ratko Mladić by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) brings to an end a key trial in Europe’s recent history for war crimes, including genocide, which took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, stated High Representative of the Union Josep Borrell and European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi in a joint statement.

United Nations war crimes judges on Tuesday upheld a genocide conviction and life sentence against Mladić for his role in the killing of about 8,000 Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.

The appeals chamber also dismissed the appeal brought by the prosecution, which had sought a second conviction against Mladic over crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats in some other areas during the war.

See more at:https://bit.ly/355sEYv

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Promotion of bilingualism in Kosovo through “Uta and Miljana’s colors of nature” (Kontakt plus radio)

A picture book for children called “Uta and Miljana’s colors of nature” was presented today at the Private Cultural Center “Aquarius” in North Mitrovica, reported Kontakt plus radio. 

The picture book followed an imaginary meeting between alpinist Uta Ibrahimi and artist Miljana Dundjerin, as well as their joint trip around Kosovo

The first woman from Kosovo to “conquer” the Himalayas, Uta Ibrahimi, told Radio Kontakt plus that the goal of creating the picture book was to promote bilingualism in Kosovo.

“I came up with the idea to work more with children, and how to achieve it easier if not through books… This book is about me and Miljana, who are heroines in our communities, and we wanted to share our stories, inspire young people, especially children, to work on achieving their goals and achieving their dreams. The book was written in Serbian and Albanian, because we want children in Kosovo, regardless of where they live, to start learning both languages from childhood, since Kosovo belongs to all of us,” said Uta Ibrahimi

The artist, Miljana Dundjerin, said that the picture book carried the message of love for nature and art.

“We agree that children in Kosovo should have bilingual books, in order to make them interesting topics such as nature, environmental protection and art,” Dundjerin added.

Many children received a picture book as a gift.

The author of the picture book is Mustafa Flutur, and the illustrator is Katerina Nikolovska. The publisher of this publication is the Utalaja Foundation from Pristina. The project was sponsored by UNMIK.

Official: Western Balkan countries are ‘milking coal power plants until the bitter end’ (euractive.com)

Disparities between the EU and Western Balkan countries on energy are only getting bigger, with many of them still addicted to highly-polluting coal power stations that provide cheap electricity as well as revenues to governments and the local population. “They’re milking them until the bitter end,” said Janez Kopač.

Janez Kopač is the director of the Energy Community Secretariat, an international organisation established between the European Union and neighbouring countries in the Western Balkan and the Black Sea region.

Kopač spoke to EURACTIV’s Frédéric Simon ahead of an online event on 17 June dedicated to the energy transition in the Western Balkans. The event is hosted by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung EU and South-East Europe offices.

See more at:https://bit.ly/3vb8abB

 

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