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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, June 17, 2021

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• COVID-19: 15 new cases, no deaths (media)
• Kosnett: It is Kosovo’s duty to establish Association of Serb-majority municipalities (media)
• UK supports establishment of Association of Serb-majority Municipalities (Kallxo)
• Croatian FM calls on five EU states to recognise Kosovo (media)
• A joint formula for minorities in Western Balkans sought out (Koha)
• Hoxhaj: Osmani serves Kurti, Daka’s dismissal part of authoritarian mentality (Telegrafi)
• Limaj: Opposition should consider election boycott (Klan)
• Jevtic: Kurti started local elections campaign in Brussels (Tanjug, Klan)
• Pyper poll: 49% of citizens think dialogue concludes during Kurti’s term (Telegrafi)
• Serbian President Confirms 11 Bodies Found in Mass Grave (BIRN)
• SPO argues in favour of extending detention for Krasniqi, Selimi (media)
• Assembly scheduled to vote on privacy commissioner today (media)

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  • COVID-19: 15 new cases, no deaths (media)
  • Kosnett: It is Kosovo’s duty to establish Association of Serb-majority municipalities (media)
  • UK supports establishment of Association of Serb-majority Municipalities (Kallxo)
  • Croatian FM calls on five EU states to recognise Kosovo (media)
  • A joint formula for minorities in Western Balkans sought out (Koha)
  • Hoxhaj: Osmani serves Kurti, Daka’s dismissal part of authoritarian mentality (Telegrafi)
  • Limaj: Opposition should consider election boycott (Klan)
  • Jevtic: Kurti started local elections campaign in Brussels (Tanjug, Klan)
  • Pyper poll: 49% of citizens think dialogue concludes during Kurti’s term (Telegrafi)
  • Serbian President Confirms 11 Bodies Found in Mass Grave (BIRN)
  • SPO argues in favour of extending detention for Krasniqi, Selimi (media)
  • Assembly scheduled to vote on privacy commissioner today (media)

COVID-19: 15 new cases, no deaths (media)

Kosovo has recorded 15 new cases of COVID-19 and no deaths in the last 24-hour period. 67 recoveries were confirmed during this time.

There are currently 200 active cases of coronavirus in Kosovo.

The Ministry of Health announced yesterday that 7,492 vaccine shots were administered in the last 24 hours in Kosovo while the media report that the vaccination of the members of the Kosovo Police, the Kosovo Security Force and teachers is also underway.

Kosnett: It is Kosovo’s duty to establish Association of Serb-majority municipalities (media)

The U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, Philip Kosnett, said that Kosovo’s duty is to establish the Association of Serb-majority municipalities.

In an interview with Radio Kontakt Plus, Kosnett said: “The history did not start on the day the government of Albin Kurti was formed and we believe that countries have an obligation to respect previously consented agreements and obligations.”

Kosnett said there will not be much room for progress in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia if both sides are not ready to make compromises and that the process needs to be pursued with a sense of urgency. “I think it is in the interest of the people in both countries to move forward as quickly as possible. Of course it is necessary to lead serious talks. Prime Minister Kurti has spoken a great deal about wanting to be prepared appropriately. We think it is important for people to be prepared for serious talks but to also move forward on that issue with a certain sense of urgency.”

Kosnett also said it was important that Kurti attended the Western Balkans meeting in Tirana where he presented a new proposal on regional economic cooperation. “He spoke not only of what he did not like in other approaches but also presented new ideas,” Kosnett said, adding: “When we speak of the importance of regional economic integration, people would say, you know, we don’t like the idea on mini Schengen, we don’t like the Berlin process, we don’t like CEFTA. All right then, let’s hear some other ideas and I think Kosovo can take a seat at the table and talk to Serbia and all other countries in the region about the best way forward.”

UK supports establishment of Association of Serb-majority Municipalities (Kallxo)

The Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Kosovo, Nicholas Abbott, stated that they support the establishment of the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities considering it is part of the negotiations and agreements that have been signed so far.

Abbott in the show “Kallxo Përnime” said that it is clear that this is an issue at the table of dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.

“While it is part of the negotiations and agreements that have been signed so far, yes, we support it. I think it is clear that this is an issue on the table, it is clearly an issue with which the government of Kosovo has agreed… Then we have to look at what endangers the sovereignty of Kosovo, because it is not just the name, right? These are the competencies that would be given to such an Association, so it should be clarified what these powers are, and it should be clarified what are the competencies that could endanger the Constitution and work on these points,” Abbott said.

Asked about the lawsuit announced by Prime Minister Albin Kurti against Serbia for genocide in Kosovo, he replied: “The UK’s position is that genocide is a matter for the courts, it is a matter of law, not politics. Therefore, I would be very careful in suggesting that it should be part of political negotiation. If Kosovo thinks it should follow the path of a lawsuit, then it should, but this is a legal process. I do not think that the issue of missing persons should be politicized, I think it should be part of the dialogue, because I think that both Kosovo and Serbia have a common interest in resolving what is essentially a humanitarian issue, this is an issue that I have strong emotions about, and which we support as an Embassy,” he said.

The Ambassador further explained why they decided to monitor the Procurement Review Body. According to him, the goal is for the PRB to work in a more transparent way, because according to him, when it comes to corruption, many things can be addressed through transparency.

Croatian FM calls on five EU states to recognise Kosovo (media)

Foreign Minister of Croatia, Gordan Grlic-Radman, encouraged five EU member states – Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Slovakia, Romania – that have not recognised independence of Kosovo to do so. He said the move would contribute to the stability of the region and Kosovo itself.

Speaking at a “GLOBSEC” Forum underway in Bratislava, Grlic-Radman said: “The territorial integrity of the Western Balkans needs to be preserved and respected, without redrawing borders, as we have heard in some famous papers being circulated in that direction,” the Croatian chief diplomat is quoted in Koha.

A joint formula for minorities in Western Balkans sought out (Koha)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti did not impose economic reciprocity on Serbia as he promised and he now is seeking another type of reciprocity: that for tackling the issue of minorities, Koha reports.

However, Kurti’s idea for establishing a national council for Serbs in Kosovo similar to the one Albanians in the Presevo Valley have was not accepted in his first meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

Chairman of the council, Ragmi Mustafa, said this mechanism cannot advance rights of Albanians in Serbia. “If President Vucic considered that the position of minorities, respectively of the Albanians in the Valley can be advanced through national councils, he would have no reason to refuse such a body for Serbs in Kosovo,” Mustafa said. He noted that the only way to define the legal and political status of Albanians in Serbia would be to include their demands at the table of talks in Brussels.

Professor of political sciences in Prishtina, Afrim Hajrullahu, meanwhile considers that the countries in the region would have to discuss the position of minorities in a joint manner and apply a common formula.

Hoxhaj: Osmani serves Kurti, Daka’s dismissal part of authoritarian mentality (Telegrafi)

The acting chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Enver Hoxhaj, commenting on the dismissal of Valdete Daka from the position of chairwoman of the Central Election Commission (CEC), said that the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, is serving the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti. He also said that Daka’s dismissal is a violation of the Constitution of Kosovo.

“Only the way of dismissing Valdete Daka is a manifestation of an authoritarian mentality and approach. They are making efforts to control the way of managing the electoral process, they are trying to control the independent media, the free market economy,” Hoxhaj said.

He added that “President Osmani is nominated by Mr. Kurti and serves Kurti. There is no doubt there and I think that all the citizens of Kosovo know this.”

Limaj: Opposition should consider election boycott (Klan)

The chairman of the Social Democratic Initiative (NISMA) Fatmir Limaj told Klan Kosova that the date of the local elections remained in the shadows after the dismissal of the chairwoman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Valdete Daka, by President Vjosa Osmani.

“We may have objections to the exercise of their duties but this should not lead to the dismissal of such persons as we are a democratic country and there are legal procedures which are clear,” he said, adding that Osmani exceeded her competencies with the dismissal of Daka as this is a constitutional case.

Limaj also said that the opposition should consider the boycott of the local elections that will be held on October 17 this year after the dismissal of Daka. “In order to preserve the integrity of the CEC, the elections should be boycotted, as it should serve as a lesson that the integrity of independent institutions should not be endangered.”

Jevtic: Kurti started local elections campaign in Brussels (Tanjug, Klan)

Serbian List deputy leader Dalibor Jevtic assessed that it was unfortunate that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti used the meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels to start the campaign for the local elections, and added that Kurti’s statements were in function of the needs of the party he leads.

“To allow such an event to take place in Brussels and use such an important event for the needs of the party led by Kurti is really devastating,” Jevtic said, adding that he also believes that the EU does not have mechanisms to start the dialogue process in a concrete way.

Pyper poll: 49% of citizens think dialogue concludes during Kurti’s term (Telegrafi)

Pyper, as a specialized platform for measuring public opinion, in cooperation with the show “Debat Plus”, which is broadcasted on RTV Dukagjini, has organized a survey, in which citizens were asked about the work of the Kurti government.

59% of respondents think that the government is meeting their expectations. About 29% said that the Kurti Government is not meeting their expectations. 12% have no answer for this topic.

About 49% of respondents think that the dialogue will be concluded during the term of this government. About 31% of citizens think that the dialogue does not end in this period of time. 20 percent had no response.

About 62% of citizens consider the dismissal of Valdete Daka from the CEC a proper decision. 23% consider it an inappropriate decision while about 15% did not have an answer to this question.

Serbian President Confirms 11 Bodies Found in Mass Grave (BIRN)

President Aleksandar Vucic told a press conference on Wednesday that a total of 21 suspected mass grave locations have been examined so far in Serbia and that “we found the bodies of, it’s assumed, killed Albanians at four of the 21 locations – we did not hide anything”.

“The last location is Kizevak, and the remains of 11 bodies were found there, two bodies were checked, DNA analysis revealed that they were [Kosovo] Albanians, and we informed both the [Kosovo] Albanians and the international community so that the families could be informed,” Vucic said.

Vucic named nine locations at which Belgrade has asked the Pristina authorities to search for the bodies of killed Kosovo Serbs, but claimed that no action has been taken so far.

He held his press conference a day after he met Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti at the beginning of a new round of Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. Missing persons were one of the topics of the meeting, which ended without any agreement.

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

SPO argues in favour of extending detention for Krasniqi, Selimi (media)

The Specialist Prosecutor Office at The Hague considers it is necessary to extend the detention period for Jakup Krasniqi and Rexhep Selimi, former senior KLA leaders accused of war crimes.

The prosecutor’s office recalled that a pre-trial judge in the case had previously concluded there that there is grounded suspicion that the defendants committed criminal acts against the administration of justice and that they also present a flight risk.

Assembly scheduled to vote on privacy commissioner today (media)

Kosovo Assembly is scheduled to hold a plenary session today with the agenda including election of a commissioner for the Information and Privacy Agency.

Meanwhile, a group of civil society organisations have opposed the election of the candidate for the post claiming he has manipulated his CV. “We hope the Vetevendosje Movement will reflect and not undermine such an important institution,” they said.

The opposition has also objected to the voting of the candidate for the post at today’s session.

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