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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 11, 2021

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 11, 2021

Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: 10 new cases, no deaths (media)
• Kurti: Previous governments inflicted damage through the dialogue (RFE)
• Tahiri: Liturgy in Milosevic’s church, a provocation on eve of dialogue (media)
• PSD: Church on university campus, “a symbol of chauvinism” (media)
• Prishtina University students say liturgy was a provocation (media)
• Gazeta Express claims to have copy of document on Association/Community
• Philips: Only US has power to push forward agreement (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Raska-Prizren Eparchy: Temple in Pristina is SOC property, graffiti open threat (Radio KIM)
• Jesus Hates Serbs painted on church in Pristina (N1, KoSSev)
• Petkovic, Visoki Decani Monastery react to graffiti (Kosovo-online, social media)
• Protests of students started in Pristina, new graffiti on Christ the Savior Temple (Radio KIM)
• Minister of Justice: ”Kosovo and Metohija remains in the Serbian Constitution preamble” (Blic, TV Prva, Tanjug)
• Petkovic: Darija Kisic-Tepavcevic banned from entering Kosovo (Radio KIM)
• Humanitarian organization from Novi Sad banned from entering Kosovo (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
• Serbian parliament official says Pristina wants fully operational military (RTS, N1)
• Botsan-Kharchenko: When it comes to dialogue, Russia will support Serbia and justice (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
• Tirana Summit without joint declaration (Tanjug, Blic)
• In case of problems, Borrell, Biden to discuss dialogue – sources (Tanjug)
• MEST: North Mitrovica has the right to invest in the university building without our consent (KoSSev)

International:

• Property issues in Kosovo: Intact problem solvable only with the greater role of international actors (EWB)
• Liturgy at Contested Serbian Church Prompts Protests in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: 10 new cases, no deaths (media)
  • Kurti: Previous governments inflicted damage through the dialogue (RFE)
  • Tahiri: Liturgy in Milosevic’s church, a provocation on eve of dialogue (media)
  • PSD: Church on university campus, “a symbol of chauvinism” (media)
  • Prishtina University students say liturgy was a provocation (media)
  • Gazeta Express claims to have copy of document on Association/Community
  • Philips: Only US has power to push forward agreement (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Raska-Prizren Eparchy: Temple in Pristina is SOC property, graffiti open threat (Radio KIM)
  • Jesus Hates Serbs painted on church in Pristina (N1, KoSSev)
  • Petkovic, Visoki Decani Monastery react to graffiti (Kosovo-online, social media)
  • Protests of students started in Pristina, new graffiti on Christ the Savior Temple (Radio KIM)
  • Minister of Justice: ”Kosovo and Metohija remains in the Serbian Constitution preamble” (Blic, TV Prva, Tanjug)
  • Petkovic: Darija Kisic-Tepavcevic banned from entering Kosovo (Radio KIM)
  • Humanitarian organization from Novi Sad banned from entering Kosovo (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
  • Serbian parliament official says Pristina wants fully operational military (RTS, N1)
  • Botsan-Kharchenko: When it comes to dialogue, Russia will support Serbia and justice (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)
  • Tirana Summit without joint declaration (Tanjug, Blic)
  • In case of problems, Borrell, Biden to discuss dialogue – sources (Tanjug)
  • MEST: North Mitrovica has the right to invest in the university building without our consent (KoSSev)

International:

  • Property issues in Kosovo: Intact problem solvable only with the greater role of international actors (EWB)
  • Liturgy at Contested Serbian Church Prompts Protests in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

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

Kosovo has recorded 10 new cases of COVID-19 and no deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours. 116 persons recovered from the virus during this time. There are 650 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Kurti: Previous governments inflicted damage through the dialogue (RFE)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti reported to the Kosovo Assembly today about the course of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia so far and the agreements reached in Brussels. He said that the agreements were expected to improve the lives of the peoples of Kosovo and Serbia but that this never happened. 

Kurti said the agreement on Kosovo’s regional representation has many flaws. “Although the reason for including the footnote was the fact that five EU member states and Serbia did not recognise Kosovo’s independence or Kosovo as a Republic, the footnote was not added to the term Republic, but to the name Kosovo. The footnote was added to the name Kosovo. The damage inflicted by previous governments is that 22 EU member states that recognise our Republic, today they have to submit to the will of the five non-recognising member states,” he said.

Kurti did not agree to talk much about the upcoming meeting in Brussels with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on June 15. He said he cannot present a platform on the dialogue because the agenda of the new dialogue is not known yet. “They said that we should present a platform here about the meeting on Tuesday. That would be wrong. Do you know why? Because next week there won’t be a new meeting of the old dialogue. It will not be a new meeting of the same dialogue that brought us to this point. It will be a meeting about the future dialogue. This is a big conceptual difference,” he said.

Kurti further argued that previous governments that led the dialogue made numerous mistakes that have put Kosovo in a weak position. “Any platform about the new dialogue would be a mistake before the meeting on the dialogue. The platform is not the first step. When you draft the platform, you have accepted the dialogue, a dialogue the agenda of which is not known yet. This is why you have made these mistakes and brought us to this point,” he added.

Enver Hoxhaj, acting leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), criticised Kurti’s address, adding that he expected Kurti to present the principles, objectives, topics and timelines of the dialogue. “The way you talked about the dialogue today, this is charlatanism, irresponsibility, an unserious and undignified approach,” he said. According to Hoxhaj, Kurti is not politically or diplomatically prepared for the dialogue with Serbia.

Lumir Abdixhiku, leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), accused Kurti of going unprepared to the new round of talks and for violating every principle and promise he made while he was in the opposition. He further criticised Kurti of changing so much after coming to power that he forgot that he had opposed an unconditional dialogue before. “You should have at least presented a document to the Assembly with the principles and red lines in this important process. You had three months to prepare for this. You used this time for populism saying that the dialogue is not a priority,” he said.

Abdixhiku also said that any agreement that could be signed by the Kurti-led government will have to go through the filters of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo.

Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), said the Kosovo government and Prime Minister must ask US President Joe Biden to appoint an envoy for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. 

Tahiri: Liturgy in Milosevic’s church, a provocation on eve of dialogue (media)

Edita Tahiri, Kosovo’s former chief negotiator in the dialogue with Serbia, said Thursday’s liturgy on the university campus in Prishtina was a provocation by Serbia on the eve of the dialogue with Kosovo. “An illegal liturgy in Milosevic’s occupying church yesterday in downtown Prishtina. There was no strong reaction by the state that would stop such a provocative act. Serbia made this provocation on the eve of the resumption of dialogue with the aim of strengthening its negotiating position,” Tahiri said.

PSD: Church on university campus, “a symbol of chauvinism” (media)

The Social Democratic Party of Kosovo (PSD) held an action today in front of the Serb church on the campus of Prishtina University. PSD members painted on the walls of the church that it is “a symbol of chauvinism” and that it was blessed by Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti. PSD senior member Zgjim Hyseni said it was unimaginable that the authorities were not aware of the liturgy held in the church on Thursday. “We are here with a message: a symbol of chauvinism cannot be the house of God,” Hyseni said.

Prishtina University students say liturgy was a provocation (media)

Most news websites report that members of the Student Parliament of Prishtina University displayed today in front of the church on the university campus, pictures of Serbian crimes committed in Kosovo. They said that the liturgy held there on Thursday was a provocation on the eve of the day of the liberation of Kosovo in 1999. “This building is not a church. It is a heritage of criminals like Milosevic and Arkan. This building is a symbol of fascism and the genocide that took place in Kosovo,” one of the members of the Student Parliament told reporters. Some students proposed that the building should either be removed or serve as a museum of the genocide against the people of Kosovo.

Gazeta Express claims to have copy of document on Association/Community

Gazeta Express reports that the agreement on the establishment of the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities is expected to cause a stalemate in negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia. Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti during his time in the opposition was firmly against the agreement, and now as Prime Minister he maintains that there can be no monoethnic association. Serbia meanwhile insists on the establishment of the Association/Community, while the EU wants the agreements reached in Brussels to be respected and implemented. 

The news website claims to have secured a document allegedly prepared by the office of the EU Special Representative for the Prishtina – Belgrade dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, listing the possible options relating to the establishment of the Association/Community. The document reportedly has also been sent to the Kurti-led government.

“(i) The competencies of the Association can be further detailed to include all issues in the Law on Local Self-Government. In particular, the statute for the Association must repeat the conditions for “extended competencies” for Serb majority municipalities which are included in the law.

“(ii) The competencies of the Association must include a clear authority to establish five kids of cooperation agreements related to paragraph 9 and 14 of the Law on Inter-Municipal Cooperation. A further review is needed for a common public institution, because a form of this model can serve as the main form of cooperation within the Association.

“(iii) … The Association can undertake a full review of the competencies of member municipalities for economic development, education, healthcare and rural and urban planning …”

The vice president of the Association must be from the non-majority population within the Association

The document also gives options about the organisational structure of the Association and the Administration. 

“The law and statute for the establishment of the Association will be able to explicitly provide administrative working power that would reflect the diversity of the population of the Association and which would explicitly include the basic constitutional principles of equality, non-discrimination and pluralism … Thus, it can be determined that the Vice President for the Association be elected from the non-majority population of the Association and to give the same responsibilities that are currently exercised in every municipality by the “Vice President of the Municipal Assembly of Communities”.

The document also notes that if the police commander in a municipality within the Association is from the Serb community, the deputy commander must be from a non-Serb minority community.

The document also mentions that the Brussels Agreement in 2013 calls for the mayors of the four northern municipalities to present a list of (Serb) candidates for the regional police command in order to reflect the representation of minorities, and further notes that the General Principles do not address the concerns of the non-majority population within the Association.

The Association to be allowed to comment on Laws at Kosovo Assembly

The document also notes that the Association must be allowed to comment on important legislation in proceedings at the Kosovo Assembly.

“Legislative assemblies usually allow such proceedings by parties of interest and Serb MPs are particularly expected to encourage such proceedings by the Association”.

The document gives another conclusion that “the Brussels Agreement, the Agreement on General Principles, the court’s decision and Kosovo laws on local self-government and inter-municipal cooperation offer considerable room to develop the statute of the Association. A solution would require creativity and good will from the parties”.

The Association can be established even without a statute, within the existing legal framework.

It also notes that a problematic issue will be the tendency of every municipality to have “final legal competencies”. “An Association established in this way can undertake joint cooperating activities with many parallels with the arrangements set out in the Kosovo law for inter-municipal cooperation. A Statute can secure the recognition of diversity and minority representation within the Association. Even without a statute, the Association can be created within the existing legal framework,” the conclusion notes.

Philips: Only US has power to push forward agreement (media)

David Philips, Director of the Program on Peacebuilding and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, said today that the agreements reached between Kosovo and Serbia were not fully implemented. “There have been many discussions in Brussels. Over 30 agreements were reached but they were not fully implemented. Serbia entered this dialogue not to find a solution. The long game is coming to an end, but there are a lot of emotional issues in Kosovo that need to be addressed, such as the issue of missing persons,” he said.

During a roundtable organised by the Democratic League of Kosovo, Philips also said: “I have a few questions about the credibility of the EU. If the EU wants to help Kosovo, what has happened with visa liberalisation for Kosovo? Only the United States have the power to push forward an agreement and to send a clear message to Belgrade that enough is enough.” 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Raska-Prizren Eparchy: Temple in Pristina is SOC property, graffiti open threat (Radio KIM)

“Regarding provocative statements of Kosovo Albanian political representatives and open threats in the press in relation to yesterday’s Holy Liturgy at the Christ the Savior Temple in Pristina, which openly incite ethnic and religious intolerance, Raska-Prizren Eparchy is obliged to once again underline that celebrating religions holidays in the objects that are property of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) is a matter of fundamental religious rights regulated by the law and must be respected without any conditioning”, Raska-Prizren Eparchy said today in a statement, Radio KIM reports.

As the Eparchy further said yesterday’s celebration of the Holy Ascension of the Lord in the Christ the Savior Temple in the center of Pristina, which is owned by Serbian Orthodox Church therefore cannot and must not be treated as political issue, just as rituals of other religious community performed at their religious objects.

“The Christ the Savior Tempe is registered in cadastre, it is located on a parcel that based on cadastral records is registered on SOC, and not University of Pristina, which for years, persistently and without any legal grounds attempts to remove this temple which perhaps reminds those in charge of University of 40.000 Serbs in Pristina expelled after the end of armed conflict in 1999, and whose property in numerous cases is still illegally usurped”, the Eparchy said.

“There is no legally valid act that negates the property right of the SOC regarding this church, nor considers this object illegal, therefore the Church is not obliged by the law to seek any permission to perform religious services at its own property”, the Eparchy underlined.

It also said that performing religious services in yet unfinished temples was a common practice of our Church, given that the temple on consecrated foundations represents a holy place.

“Therefore imposing an obligation to the Church to seek any permission to perform religious service within its own temples represents not only violation of the civilization norms and order established after World War II, but also violation of legal acts enacted by the very same Pristina authorities, that are still applicable.

“Therefore, those referring to the legal acts in an attempt to disguise an open hatred and discrimination against one religious community, should read those legal acts first (…)”.

The Eparchy once again underlined that Pristina authorities for five years are not implementing the Constitutional Court decision on Visoki Decani Monastery land.

“The frequented and intensified attempts to deny religious and property rights, identity and by Constitution guaranteed name of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija by Kosovo institutions is regretful indicator of a serious deterioration of the general situation of religious freedoms in this area, that do not contribute at all to the reconciliation and joint existence, but rather additionally incite religious and ethnic hatred that endangers security of the Orthodox population and our spiritual and cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija (…)”, the Eparchy said.

It recalled that by serving the liturgy “Bishop Teodosije didn’t not hold a political gathering, but a holy liturgy at which he called for peace and tolerance in our yet unfinished temple that is for years targeted by Albanian extremists who without any punishment burned it, desecrated, attacked it, turned it into public toilet and waste dump, which goes to the disgrace of Pristina city and University”.

Commenting on the messages written on the Temple, the Eparchy said it considers them as an open threat.

“We expect from Kosovo police to immediately identify and hand over to the prosecutor’s office perpetrators of these open threats against us, as one of the religious communities. We also request from the Kosovo Police to qualify this act what it really is – inciting religious and national hatred and open threat – instead of terming such open threats as vandalism or destruction of property in order to disguise the proportions of hatred and discrimination against the Serbian Orthodox Church present in this society (…)”, the Eparchy said.       

At the end, the Eparchy concluded that “inappropriate language and attacks in the Kosovo Albanian press against serving the liturgy in the Serbian Orthodox Temple is a very strong indicator of lawlessness, and open intolerance spread not only by individuals but also by certain non-governmental organizations and also official representatives of the Kosovo authorities”.

Full Raska-Prizren Eparchy statement available at: https://bit.ly/3vfGSR6

Jesus Hates Serbs painted on church in Pristina (N1, KoSSev)

An anti-Serb graffiti was painted on the entrance to a Serbian Orthodox Church in Pristina following a service to mark a patron saint day.

The words Jesus Hates Serbs were painted in red on the church gates soon after Raska-Prizren Bishop Teodosije served in the Church of Christ the Savior for the first time since 1998. The land on which the church stands was under dispute with the authorities in Pristina claiming that the plot belongs to the University of Pristina and that the temple was built on it illegally. The case has been taken to court by the University which lost its lawsuit.

The police turned out to investigate the event. The service met with condemnation from Kosovo Culture Minister Hajrulah Ceku who said it was in violation of the law on public gatherings and added that the authorities would not tolerate any promotion of conflict which endangers cohabitation. His reaction was followed by a Pristina University student organization which called for a protest on Friday.

The construction of the church started in 1990 and was interrupted in 1998, coming under attack several times and even being used as a public toilet, its walls scaled by mountain climbers and for the recording of a music video.

See at: https://bit.ly/3pIKQk3

Petkovic, Visoki Decani Monastery react to graffiti (Kosovo-online, social media)

Office for Kosovo and Meothija Director Petar Petkovic condemned inscriptions of graffiti on the Christ the Savior Temple in Pristina. Petkovic wrote on Twitter that Pristina with graffiti of hatred responded to the messages of peace from Belgrade.

“To the messages of peace response was graffiti of hatred. To build coexistence responses were barriers and bans. To mark Saint Patron Day and prayer responses were police, protests and threats of demolishment. Is there a true reconciliation and future with such anti-civilization acts from Pristina?”,Petkovic wrote on Twitter.

Reacting to yesterday’s police investigation, following the liturgy, Petkovic said that intrusion of Kosovo police on the church property of the Christ the Savior in Pristina was “a brutal demonstration of force and religious intolerance coming from Pristina”.

“After several believers gathered in the temple to celebrate the ‘slava’ with messages of peace and tolerance from Bishop Teodosije, Pristina’s shameful reaction followed, as an unequivocal message to Serbs, believers of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The presence of police in front of the church is an obvious threat to believers-what will happen to them if they come again to this shrine in the city, where 40,000 Serbs were expelled from their homes after 1999”, Petkovic said in a statement.

Serbian Orthodox Church Visoki Decani Monastery also reacted to graffiti written on Christ the Savior Temple door yesterday.

“Blasphemous graffiti on the unfinished #Serbian #Orthodox #Church in Pristina call for ethnic & religious hatred & intolerance. One more indicator of the deeply disturbed inter-religious & inter-ethnic relations between the majority Muslim K/Albanians & Christian Serbs in #Kosovo”, Monastery wrote on Twitter.

Protests of students started in Pristina, new graffiti on Christ the Savior Temple (Radio KIM)

A new graffiti saying “Symbol of chauvinism becomes a shrine with the blessing of Albin Kurti” was written on the door of the Christ the Savior Temple in Pristina, Radio KIM reports.

Albanian students staged the protest in front of the Orthodox Church carrying different slogans, and also the photographs of a former President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SRJ) Slobodan Milosevic.

This is the second graffiti written on the door of the Christ the Savior Temple where a liturgy on the occasion of the temple’s patron day was held yesterday, for the first time after 23 years.  

KIM Radio at the time of reporting, said there were around 40 protesting students carrying slogans such as “Never again”, “Church as a symbol of those who committed genocide”, and photographs of Slobodan Milosevic and Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan, for whom students claim were the symbols of this temple construction.

KIM Radio said police were also present on the spot.

Meanwhile, Kosovo-online portal reported, citing Pristina-based Reporteri that Social-Democratic Party representative Zgjim Hyseni said they have cleaned graffiti “Jesus hates Serbs” written earlier on the door of the temple, and activists wrote another one “Symbol of chauvinism becomes a shrine with the blessing of Albin Kurti”. Same grafiti is written on the wall of the temple.

According to him, this Church was, as he said “a symbol of chauvinism”, and that their actions “have nothing to do with religious and inter-ethnic hatred”. 

Minister of Justice: ”Kosovo and Metohija remains in the Serbian Constitution preamble” (Blic, TV Prva, Tanjug)

Minister of Justice Maja Popovic said today that Kosovo and Metohija remain in the preamble of the Serbian Constitution, Belgrade based daily Blic reported. 

Speaking on TV Prva, Popovic stated that the amendments to the Constitution are one of the most important activities in the Action Plan for Chapter 23.

The change of the Constitution in the field of justice is the most important in the field of the rule of law, said Popovic and added that the rule of law leads to a legal system where there is legal security.

When you have a country where there is legal security, foreign investors also come, which means a significant opening of new jobs for citizens, and thus an increase in their standard – said Popovic.

She stated, inter alia, that the proposed changes to the Constitution envisage that judges and prosecutors are no longer elected by the parliament and added that they would be elected by the High Judicial Council and the High Prosecutorial Council.

As she explained, it was planned that there would be five judges and five prominent lawyers in the High Judicial Council, and in the High Council of Prosecutors, four prominent lawyers, four public prosecutors, i.e. deputy public prosecutors, the republic prosecutor and the Minister of Justice.

Petkovic: Darija Kisic-Tepavcevic banned from entering Kosovo (Radio KIM)

Pristina authorities have banned the Minister for Labor, Employment and Social Affairs Darija Kisic-Tepavcevic to visit Kosovo, although announcement for the visit was sent timely and in line with all procedures, Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director, Petar Petkovic said, Radio KIM reports.

Petkovic noted that as part of her regular activities, Kisic-Tepavcevic was supposed to visit Mitrovica North today and tomorrow, and as professor at the Medical Faculty of University of Pristina in Mitrovica North holds exams for the students at the Department of Epidemiology.

Petkovic said she announced her visit as professor; however Pristina authorities without any explanation refused her request.

He added that without explanation a request of 39 pilgrims from central Serbia, who wanted to visit shrines in Kosovo over the weekend was also turned down.

Petkovic assessed it was about “brutal violation of the reached agreements on freedom of movement and visits”. He added he expects the reaction of European Union as a guarantor of the reached agreements and mediator in the dialogue.

Humanitarian organization from Novi Sad banned from entering Kosovo (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)

Members of the humanitarian organization “King Stefan’s Pillar” from Novi Sad were not allowed to visit Kosovo on Thursday, stated Nina Stojanovic from this organization and added that they learned this from the liaison officer, reported portal Kosovo Online, citing agency Tanjug. 

Stojanovic said that 39 passengers were supposed to go to Kosovo in order to deliver humanitarian aid and visit the shrines.

“We are surprised. They told us through the liaison officer that they would not let us go. We have never been banned from entering so far. We have not received an explanation, we have only been told that it is a violation of regulations,” Stojanovic said, reported Tanjug.

Serbian parliament official says Pristina wants fully operational military (RTS, N1)

The head of the Serbian Parliament Kosovo Committee said on Friday that the authorities in Pristina want a fully operational military by the year 2029.

Speaking after a closed-door session of the Committee, Chairman Milovan Drecun MP said that it discussed a report from the Serbian security services about the transformation of civil protection structures into a military in Kosovo. “Pristina’s plan is to equip an army by 2027 and make it fully operational by 2029. That transformation is being helped mainly by the US, Germany and Turkey,” he told the Serbian state TV (RTS).

He said that the number of KFOR troops has been reduced from 12,000 in 2010 to the current 3,000 with plans to reduce the number to 2,500. “The Kosovo Security Forces now have 3,517 active personnel, 10 percent of whom are minorities, unfortunately, with some Serbs. What is worrying is that a headquarters staff and four commands were formed in 2019 which is the structure of a real military,” he said and added that helicopter pilots were trained in Turkey and a number of officers were trained abroad.

According to Drecun, the Kosovo authorities want to introduce conscription which would include Serbs. “No military formation other than KFOR is allowed to be deployed in Kosovo and they are reinforcing special forces, setting up a new base in Djakovica and pressuring Serbs to join the security forces,” Drecun said.

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

Botsan-Kharchenko: When it comes to dialogue, Russia will support Serbia and justice (Kosovo Online, Tanjug)

Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko said today that Serbia was a great friend and brotherly country for Russia, the most reliable ally in Europe, and the two countries help each other and build absolutely full trust and friendship based on cooperation between the two presidents Vladimir Putin and Aleksandar Vucic, reported portal Kosovo Online, citing Tanjug. 

Botsan-Kharchenko said, at the ceremony marking the Day of Russia, that this great day marked the beginning of a new phase in the development of Russia as a state with the rule of law, which develops the tradition of statehood, freedom and independence.

“It was quite a long and complex and complicated journey, but under the leadership of President Putin, it was successful,” the ambassador said.

Botsan-Kharchenko also referred to the attitude of the Hague Tribunal towards Serbia, stating that he was convinced that the day will come when history and life will be put in their place and when the Hague Tribunal will be an example of the greatest injustice that exists.

The ambassador also emphasized that “Russia, as far as Kosovo and Metohija is concerned, will support Serbia and justice.”

“When we gather, it is a progress, and when we are together, it is a success, and that is why we are glad that you are with us and at this level,” said the ambassador at the ceremony at the Russian Embassy, attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and SOC Patriarch Porfirije, ministers and other dignitaries. 

He recalled the achievements in bilateral relations that began this year on January 1 with the opening of the gas pipeline, and of numerous projects in the field of infrastructure, energy …

Tirana Summit without joint declaration (Tanjug, Blic)

The joint declaration was not adopted after the summit of the leaders of the Western Balkans in Tirana,  because the Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions in Pristina, Albin Kurti, requested at the last minute that the document states “Republic of Kosovo”, Tanjug learned, daily Blic quoted. 

According to the source of Tanjug, that declaration has been harmonized for days, but its adoption was abandoned yesterday. 

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said that the summit of the Western Balkans was more difficult than she expected, that instead discussing economic topics, it was shifted to the field of politics. According to her, it was an introduction to the following meetings, including the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina on June 15 in Brussels.

In case of problems, Borrell, Biden to discuss dialogue – sources (Tanjug)

The Belgrade-Pristina dialogue will be resumed in Brussels on Tuesday morning and, if necessary, EU foreign policy and security chief Josep Borrell will speak with US President Joe Biden at an EU-US summit on the same day about the outcome of Vucic-Kurti discussions, Tanjug learns.

The Belgrade-Pristina dialogue will resume on June 15 at 8:30 am at the highest political level, with a meeting between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the PM of the so-called Kosovo, Albin Kurti.

The meeting will be facilitated by Borrell, who will meet with Biden later in the day.

“Depending on the outcome of the discussions between Vucic and Kurti, if it is something important or problematic, Borrell will notify Biden of it with the aim of finding a common EU-US approach,” Tanjug’s diplomatic sources in Brussels said.

Unofficially, Brussels has pointed several times to the unpredictability of Kurti’s approach to the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

The diplomatic sources said that, for the same reason, the result of Tuesday’s meeting or potential next steps in the dialogue were impossible to predict.

They said the US administration had already been informed by special envoy Matthew Palmer of the latest developments in the process of normalisation of Belgrade-Pristina relations.

“While it is not planned, it cannot either be ruled out that, in case the dialogue partners or one of the partners in Tuesday’s dialogue disagrees with a resumption of the process, Borrell may put the issue before Biden,” the Brussels sources said.

A draft declaration to be adopted at Tuesday’s summit, which has been seen by Tanjug, notes the joint commitment of Brussels and Washington to strengthen their engagement in the Western Balkans, including in the process of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and support for implementation of EU integration reforms in the region.

See at: https://bit.ly/3pKA0KI

MEST: North Mitrovica has the right to invest in the university building without our consent (KoSSev)

KoSSev reported yesterday, citing Koha Ditore, that the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) of Kosovo announced the start of works on the construction of a parallel university building in North Mitrovica municipality with funds from Serbia. In response to Koha, MEST stated that the special status which the municipality enjoys in the legislation enables it to invest in university infrastructure. 

MEST requested that a solution to the, as Koha furhter said, illegitimate functioning of the university is to be found in dialogue with Kosovo Serbs. Education experts see the solution in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. 

Koha reported on Thursday that the second working day for the realization of the next project of Serbia in the north of Kosovo continued unhindered. 

The machines advanced on the demolition of the old school building “Branko Radicevic” in the northern municipality of Mitrovica, in order to make room for a new university building called “University of Pristina”. 

When asked about this, MEST replied to Koha that the laws in Kosovo give a special status to this university. 

Therefore, according to the ministry, the municipality has the right to invest in university infrastructure without the need for special consent of MEST. 

However, the ministry considers the functioning of the university illegitimate and demands the issue to be resolved through talks with the Kosovo Serb community. 

“Laws in Kosovo provide a special status to the University of North Mitrovica. This university is managed by North Mitrovica municipality, which has the right to invest in its infrastructure and does not require the special consent of the MEST. In the meantime, the functioning of this university is not legitimate, because it did not draft a Statute in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Kosovo, nor was it accredited by the Kosovo Accreditation Agency. For this reason, this university is not funded from the budget of the Republic of Kosovo. The Ministry believes that the issue of the University of North Mitrovica should be resolved through dialogue with the Serb community in Kosovo, within the framework of finding a solution for the status of education in the Serbian language and in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Kosovo”. 

Article 14 of the Law on Municipal Education gives competence to the municipality of North Mitrovica for higher education. Point ‘f’ of this article allows the municipality to provide the university with facilities and funds for its activities from the Kosovo budget. 

However, the law also allows funding for the university from the Serbian budget, while requiring it to be published in accordance with Kosovo law. 

According to the announcement of Office for Kosovo in the Government of Serbia, the five-story building of the University will be built near the Bosniak neighbourhood on an area of 10,500 square meters. 

In this facility, which is financed by Serbia, it is planned to accommodate the branches of the Faculty of Mathematics, Economics, Law, Natural Sciences and what the Serbian state calls the Rectorate. 

The EdGuard Institute for Education Studies, emphasizes the Kosovo negligence in resolving the parallel functioning of educational institutions in Serb-majority municipalities. 

As a solution, the director of this institute, Rinor Qehaja, sees the discussion on this issue in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. 

“In the end, what can be considered is to determine any other status of these institutions through a revision of the Law on Higher Education, a status that also guarantees their inclusion in the accreditation process, but also as an administrative part of higher education institutions in the country,” Qehaja said. 

The university in the north, which is estimated to have over 7,000 students, is not the only one operating outside Kosovo education system. The entire Serbian language education network does not cooperate with Kosovo institutions 

Koha pointed out that in addition to the construction of a building for the University, the “Sunny Valley” neighbourhood in Zvecan and housing facilities in North Mitrovica, are some of “the illegal projects of Serbia in the territory of Kosovo”.

 

 

International

 

Property issues in Kosovo: Intact problem solvable only with the greater role of international actors (EWB)

BELGRADE – Despite the agreements between Belgrade and Pristina in the field of property issues, due to inadequate action of Kosovo institutions, the realization of the property rights of the Serbian community in Kosovo is possible only with a greater role of international actors, it is concluded at the seminar “Property rights in Kosovo within the comprehensive normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

The aim of the analysis, conducted by the Working Group of the National Convention on the European Union for Chapter 35, was to point out the systematic discrimination of the Serbian community in exercising property rights in Kosovo.

By observing the actions of the competent authorities, as well as through conversations with experts dealing with property issues, the authors of the analysis concluded that, due to the blockade of Kosovo institutions, this problem remains intact and that the property issue must be part of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

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

Liturgy at Contested Serbian Church Prompts Protests in Kosovo (Balkan Insight)

Students in Pristina have staged protests after the Serbian Orthodox Church on Thursday held a liturgy in an unfinished church on the university campus whose ownership is hotly disputed and the subject of court proceedings.

A group of Pristina University students protested on Friday in front of an unfinished church at their campus, one day after the Serbian Orthodox Church held a liturgy in a site, which has been a source of controversy since its construction began in the 1990s.

Erblin Hoxha, from the Students’ Parliament. called on Kosovo institutions to respond to what he called “provocations inside the University campus”.

“We call on institutions to remove this premise from the campus or turn it to a museum which would display the violence and genocide against the Kosovo population,” Hoxha said.

On Thursday, the Serbian Orthodox Church posted some pictures on Twitter of priests holding a liturgy in the church.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3xk8I0h

  

 

 

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, December 2, 2021

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