Albanian Language Media:
- COVID-19: 20 new cases, one death (media)
- PM Kurti travels to France, will meet President Macron (media)
- Kurti discusses dialogue with former EU envoy, Petritsch (media)
- In Austria, Osmani calls on EU to deliver on visa liberalisation promise (media)
- Kusari-Lila: Kosovo to consider if it wants a dialogue finale with Vucic in power (Telegrafi)
- Tahiri: Kurti-led government not open on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue (Koha)
- Shaip Kamberi: Serbia is in a total state of denial (Prishtina Insight)
Serbian Language Media:
- Raska-Prizren Eparchy: Restoration of shrines in Pomoravlje agreed with UNDP only (Radio KIM, media)
- Jovanovic: ”A consensus reached between the government and the opposition, the secession of KiM not accepted” (Kosovo Online, B92, Tanjug)
- Jeremic: Serbia must never recognize Kosovo, foreign powers change stances (N1)
- Petkovic: Thanks to strong Serbia we are able to help our people in Kosovo (Radio KIM)
- Bogdanovic: Vucić’s report on dialogue showed there is no solution for Kosovo (N1)
- 22 anniversary of crime in Gnjilane marked, 1639 persons still listed as missing (N1)
- EU: No date for Skopje and Tirana (Beta, N1)
- Stano: Kosovo undertook international obligation to implement agreement on CSM (Kosovo-online)
- Montenegro: Democratic Front condemns vaccine donation to KSF (Kosovo-online)
- Vulin blasts Croatian PM over WWII remarks (N1)
- Hague Tribunal Leaves Uncertain Legacy as Last Trial Nears End (Balkan Insight)
- ”Only by facing reality, the WB countries will be able to move forward towards EU” (EWB)
- Slovenian FM: EU inaction in Western Balkans ‘strategically dangerous’ (euractive.com)
- UNHCR Head: Return should mean that you are welcome (Kosovo-online)
Albanian Language Media
COVID-19: 20 new cases, one death (media)
Kosovo has recorded 20 new cases of COVID-19 and one death from the virus in the last 24 hours. 19 persons have recovered from the virus during this time.
There are 15 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.
PM Kurti travels to France, will meet President Macron (media)
Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, accompanied by his two deputies, Besnik Bislimi and Emilija Redzepi, travelled to France where he is scheduled to meet President Emmanuel Macron this evening.
Kurti and Macron are expected to discuss Kosovo-Serbia dialogue as well as Kosovo’s European perspective. Kurti will also seek France’s support in the visa liberalisation process.
Kurti discusses dialogue with former EU envoy, Petritsch (media)
Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti met Wolfgang Petritsch, chairman of the Marshallplan Foundation at Austria and former EU envoy for Kosovo.
Kurti and Petritsch, who is in Kosovo for the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, discussed political developments and processes in the region and in Kosovo, a press release issued by the Government of Kosovo said.
They also exchanged views on the 15 June meeting in Brussels and the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, including Kurti’s proposals. “The importance of cooperation and coordination between the European Union and the United States of America on a process that guarantees mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia was also discussed.”
In Austria, Osmani calls on EU to deliver on visa liberalisation promise (media)
During her official visit to Austria, President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani called on the EU to fulfil the promise to Kosovo by granting it visa liberalisation.
In a meeting with Kosovo-Austria friendship association headed by MEP Lukas Mandl, Osmani thanked Austria for the support to Kosovo throughout different stages and underlined that Kosovo has already met all criteria for visa-free travel and that it is now up to the EU to deliver on the promise.
At the same time, while meeting a group of successful Austrian women, Osmani spoke about the role of women in bringing about an important political change and the importance of empowering women to be equal in the labour market.
Kusari-Lila: Kosovo to consider if it wants a dialogue finale with Vucic in power (Telegrafi)
Acting head of the Vetevendosje Movement (LVV) parliamentary group, Mimoza Kusari-Lila, said that Kosovo needs to consider whether it wants to head to a finale of the dialogue with Serbia when its president, Aleksandar Vucic, insists there will be no recognition of Kosovo.
“The dialogue involves two sides: Kosovo and Serbia, and only yesterday we heard two statements from President Vucic which are in conflict of every norm. We may make all the efforts in Kosovo but dialogue may not produce results as on the other side, as part of establishment from the Milosevic time, is a leader like Vucic.”
Speaking at a debate organised by the Kosovo Democratic Institute, Kusari-Lila said there is coordination of positions on the dialogue issue between the government and presidency of Kosovo which she described as a change. “Not rarely have we seen that the dialogue became an apple of discord between coalitions, and also between the presidency and the government.”
Kusari-Lila also said that the four proposals put forth by Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti in the 15 June meeting are a step forward in the process and that there can be no insistence on implementation of Brussels agreements if they are in violation to the Constitution of Kosovo.
Tahiri: Kurti-led government not open on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue (Koha)
Head of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) parliamentary group Abelard Tahiri spoke about the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue at a debate organised by the Kosovo Democratic Institute and noted that while the process has faced destructive actions by Belgrade, it has nevertheless produced positive results, namely in eliminating parallel structures.
Tahiri at the same time accused the current Government of Kosovo led by Albin Kurti of not being open on the issue of dialogue. “Just before the Brussels meeting, Kurti read out a report and there was nothing new there about what would be the positions and the agendas in these talks. We have a type of fogginess, as we do in many other fields,” he said.
Tahiri argued that mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia would not conclude the process of Kosovo’s international subjectivity, adding that Russia and China would continue to oppose Kosovo at the UN Security Council. He said the main goal of the final agreement would have to be Kosovo’s membership in the UN.
Shaip Kamberi: Serbia is in a total state of denial (Prishtina Insight)
In an interview for BIRN, ethnic Albanian MP at the Serbian Parliament Shaip Kamberi accused Serbian officials of ‘forgetting’ the war crimes committed during the ‘90s and called for unified standards on minority rights across the region.
Shaip Kamberi, the leader of Serbian political party Democratic Action, decried the current state of political discourse in Serbia in an interview for BIRN broadcast on Tuesday night.
The 56-year-old MP said that even following the recent confirmation of Ratko Mladic’s sentence by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, rhetoric in Belgrade has continued to be inflammatory and glorify war criminals.
“Currently we are in a total state of denial,” Kamberi told BIRN. “By giving space to convicted war criminals such as Vojislav Seselj and glorifying figures such as Ratko Mladic, Serbia is not giving the signal of wanting peace.”
For Kamberi, this state of affairs prevents Serbia from creating stable relations with its neighbours, including Kosovo.
“This government, this political establishment in Serbia is not ready to face its violent past,” he said. “They are in dialogue with Kosovo and are making an effort through mini-regional initiatives to create good relations but at the same time refuse to deal with the past and forget the war crimes that were committed by the state.”
Kamberi believes that the current discourse is largely down to the uncontested power of President Vucic, and the silencing of dissenting voices within Serbian society.
“I can say that even during the Milosevic era there used to be an opposition, but today the institutions and civil society are fragile and weak,” he said. “Serbia has transformed into a one party system – a party that has 243 deputies out of 250 in the Serbian Parliament.”
Asked about Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s proposal to form a National Council for Kosovo Serbs following the model of the National Council for ethnic Albanians and Bosniaks in Serbia, Kamberi voiced his support.
“If this model for Albanians and Bosniaks is considered advanced and is hailed by Serbia, why can such a model not function in Kosovo?” he asked. “Stability in the Balkans and inter-state relations can only be built by building unified standards for the respect of rights of minorities.”
However, Kamberi said that Kosovo should rule out any possibility of forming an Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities with executive powers, which according to him would undermine the functioning of Kosovo as a state.
“If an Association with executive powers is accepted, it will be a repeat of Bosnia [and Herzegovina],” he said. “A non-functional state must not be accepted.”
The establishment of an Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities was agreed in Brussels in 2013, with a second agreement reached in 2015 outlining principles for its formation.
However, the 2015 agreement was never passed at the Kosovo parliament due to blockades by the opposition. The matter was referred to the Constitutional Court, which found that many elements of the agreement were contrary to the spirit of the Kosovo Constitution.
Serbian Language Media
Raska-Prizren Eparchy: Restoration of shrines in Pomoravlje agreed with UNDP only (Radio KIM, media)
Regarding the recent statement of Kosovo Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Hajrulla Ceku that “restoration program of cultural heritage includes three Orthodox churches”, Raska-Prizren Eparchy underlined there was no meeting or agreement with the Pristina institutions regarding restoration of Draganac Monastery, Church of Holy Mother in Kamenica and Tamnica Monastery, Radio KIM reports.
“Representatives of the Eparchy spoke about restoration of the three shrines only with the representatives of UNDP, who expressed readiness as an international organization to finance the restoration process, in cooperation with the Eparchy’s Office of Spiritual and Cultural Heritage”, the Eparchy said in a statement.
It also said in a meeting there were no talks whatsoever about participation of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports from Pristina.
Ceku earlier announced on Twitter that the program of restoration was launched by Kosovo Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport together with UNDP and EU Office in Kosovo.
Jovanovic: ”A consensus reached between the government and the opposition, the secession of KiM not accepted” (Kosovo Online, B92, Tanjug)
The president of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) and one of the leaders of the NADA coalition (DSS-POKS), Milos Jovanovic, said today that he was “pleased that a consensus was reached at a meeting between the government and the opposition two days ago – that no one should consider recognizing or accepting Kosovo and Metohija secession”, reported Kosovo Online.
“The United Nations was also mentioned and that should not be allowed for Pristina (UN membership). It is good that the meeting took place, because it is important that this most important identity issue for our people was discussed by the government and the opposition, and to reach the broadest possible consensus,” Jovanovic told B92.
As it was announced from the DSS, he also assessed that today the historical position of Serbia is more favorable, because “Belgrade no longer has to deal with Yugoslavhood and what Zagreb, Ljubljana, Podgorica think,” said one of the NADA leaders.
“Now we can build our own identity, to take root in what we are, and that will facilitate the consensus on the national issue,” he said.
The president of the DSS also stated that there is a greater balance in the world as a favorable circumstance for Serbia.
“The United States is no longer everything in the world. Whatever pressures come; it can no longer reach the levels of 20 years ago. At the same time, Russia and especially China are strengthening, and its growth is unstoppable,” Jovanovic concluded.
Jeremic: Serbia must never recognize Kosovo, foreign powers change stances (N1)
Leader of Peoples’ Party (NS) Vuk Jeremic told N1 on Monday Serbia must not accept as granted the current stance of the Western powers that they will “never” give up on independence of Kosovo, since “never” in international relations “often has no literal meaning”.
“Serbia is the only one that must never consent to change of position, respectively to the independence of Kosovo and Metohija, as Kosovo for more than half a millennium is the foundation of our national identity”, Jeremic told N1.
“When foreign powers say ‘never’ it should be taken with reservation. If someone would ask Sultan Bayezid or Sultan Suleiman the Great when the Ottoman Empire would retreat from Kosovo, they would probably say ‘never’ and it turned out it lasted shorter than that”, Jeremic added.
Commenting on yesterday’s report of President Aleksandar Vucic in the Serbian Assembly, Jeremic said Vucic’s statement “that major powers will never give up on independence of Kosovo” was in fact a cover up for future concessions, adding that “seat of Pristina in the UN is the only major concession left on the table, and it can’t be made without Serbia’s consent”.
According to Jeremic, Vucic was making general remarks and there was no new information in his speech. Neither him nor MPs speaking after his presentation touched upon previous eight years of the dialogue in Brussels and the fact that Serbia during this time handed over one after another attributions of the statehood, foremost in north of Kosovo and Metohija, starting from police, judiciary, prefix code and recently energy system, and got in return not even weakly defined Community of Serb-majority Municipalities.
He also said that on June 11, Serbia voted that Albania becomes non-permanent member of the Security Council for the period of two years, thus contributing that Albania gains “significant diplomatic capacity” it would probably use to the detriment of Serbia.
“Nobody asked Vucic about that, neither in the Assembly nor during his talks with the so-called opposition. Albania could “trade” its vote in the UN Security Council over the issues important to some states for their support to membership of self-declared Kosovo in UNESCO (…)”, Jeremic said.
Petkovic: Thanks to strong Serbia we are able to help our people in Kosovo (Radio KIM)
Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director, Petar Petkovic said today that President Aleksandar Vucic gave “a historic speech based on rational, responsible, but foremost state-building thinking and attitude towards Kosovo and Metohija issue, but also towards Serbian national issue in general”, Radio KIM reports.
He added that thanks to strong Serbia we are able to help our people in Kosovo and Metohija, but also elsewhere in the country and abroad. He mentioned capital investments and projects in Kosovo as an indicator of strong economic support of Serbian state to the people there.
Speaking about frozen conflict he said “it is nothing else but smoldering conflict that may explode (…)”.
He also assessed that Vucic’s historic speech was “met with great attention among the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, and they were the ones who understood and supported messages of the President Vucic as only strongly, united and together we can be a defense against all those who wish no good to us, or place personal above national interests”.
Bogdanovic: Vucić’s report on dialogue showed there is no solution for Kosovo (N1)
Former Minister for Kosovo and Metohija Goran Bogdanovic said that the report of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on negotiations with Pristina yesterday showed that he does not know what a compromise solution is and that there is no solution for Kosovo, N1 reports.
Bogdanovic added the report contained all sorts of things but contained the least about the negotiations. “We weren’t able to hear what the Serbian demands were, what our red lines were, how far we had come in the negotiations … We heard that everyone else was to be blamed except him, we couldn’t hear anything new, and it was all in some phrases”, Bogdanovic said.
The editor of KoSSev portal, Tatjana Lazarevic argued Vucic’s speech was “a multi-layered school example of an ideal speech for a selective listener, such as the average news consumer in Serbia and the region, which, unfortunately, includes intellectuals”.
Commenting on Vucić’s statement that “the only solution in the negotiations with Pristina is a compromise, but that he does not know what a compromise is”, Bogdanovic said if “the chief negotiator, who has been negotiating for the past nine years, and no one knows what he achieved in negotiations, admits not knowing what a compromise is, then a common citizen wonders what’s the point of negotiations”.
He recalled that the Brussels Agreement gave Kosovo an area code, energy issues were regulated, and the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities was not formed, which was the obligation of the Pristina side.
“When you sign a document to accept all that, and on the other hand you get nothing – it is very difficult at this moment to put it as red lines”, Bogdanovic said.
Commenting on Vucic’s statement that he is afraid of the frozen conflict Lazarevic said the word “frozen conflict” has become a “stereotype in the previous 20 years”.
“No conflict, and not even the frozen one is in the interest of any Serb, and they do not perceive their lives as any kind of frozen conflict in the last 20 years. Life here is very dynamic, with difficulties which existed during the war and before the war and centuries ago. Part of that Kosovo myth is for one to exist in a terrible place, not necessarily always in war, but to accept difficult living conditions. I have not seen Serbs who trivialize, simplify their lives in Kosovo through the story of a frozen conflict”, Lazarevic pointed out.
22 anniversary of crime in Gnjilane marked, 1639 persons still listed as missing (N1)
Chairman of the Serbian Government Commission for Missing Persons, Veljko Odalovic said that based on the records of the International Red Cross Committee, 6.604 persons were listed as missing in the Kosovo conflict, N1 reports. He added 75 percent of cases have been resolved, while 1.639 persons are still missing.
Odalovic made these remarks in an event “Livoc Lake – Gravesite of Hundred Murdered Gnjilane people”.
Odalovic said that in Gnjilane in 1998 and 1999 no crimes (against Albanians) were committed that could serve as a reason to anyone to treat the Serbs who stayed living there “bestially and commit such monstrous crimes”.
He also said mortal remains of 33 persons have been handed over to their families, while 39 persons are still listed missing.
Odalovic said Livoc lake was small and there should be no problem to conduct detailed search there, that the official Belgrade said the lake was not searched properly and it was mainly done without the presence of the Serbian side. He also said Serbia is ready to send its teams to jointly search the lake with the team from Pristina.
Scepanovic: More than 300 Serbs killed in Gnjilane
Chairwoman of the Association of Kosmet Victims, Natasa Scepanovic said more than 300 Serbs were killed in Gnjilane and that following withdrawal of the Serbian Army student boarding school has been turned into a camp for Serbs, where more than 100 people were taken, tortured, some of them killed and women raped.
She also said members of the so-called Gnjilane group were convicted in Serbia to 116 years in prison for the crimes committed against at least 47 Serbs, adding that the decision of the Court of Appeals to overturn the verdict came as a shock. She also said KLA had 141 prison camps for the Serbs in Kosovo, while the number of people murdered in those camps was never concluded precisely.
EU: No date for Skopje and Tirana (Beta, N1)
The entry of the new members to the European Union is of strategic importance, and geopolitical reality, an investment in peace, democracy and stability, the bloc’s foreign ministers have said following their meeting in Luxembourg.
However, they failed to open the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.
Portuguese Minister Ana Paula Zacarias said that despite the ministers not opening new clusters with Serbia and Montenegro, the bloc had sent ”a favorable signal about the Union’s connection with the Western Balkans and especially about the new enlargement methodology”.
See more at: https://bit.ly/2UlNf8K
Stano: Kosovo undertook international obligation to implement agreement on CSM (Kosovo-online)
By signing an agreement on Community of Serb-majority Municipalities (CSM) Kosovo undertook international obligation European Union said, adding that the EU stance on this issue remains unchanged, Kosovo-online portal reports citing Pristina-based Reporteri.
“The stance of the EU on the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities is well known and remains unchanged. Kosovo in 2013 signed an agreement on establishing the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities. This agreement in good faith was reached by all involved parties. It was never cancelled. In fact, the Assembly ratified the Agreement in 2013 by two-third majority. Thus Kosovo undertook international obligation to implement this agreement. Kosovo must propose a way ahead for implementation of this agreement”, EU Spokesperson Peter Stano said, the portal reported.
Montenegro: Democratic Front condemns vaccine donation to KSF (Kosovo-online)
Democratic Front, member of the ruling coalition in Montenegro in strongest terms condemned “vaccine donation to the ‘Kosovo Security Forces’” terming it “as a new slap to the face of Serbian people and Serbia”, Kosovo-online portal reports.
As Democratic Front said in a statement “this donation was no coincidence” and comes in a moment when top state leadership (Milo) Djukanovic (President of Montenegro), (Zdravko) Krivokapitc (Prime Minister) and (Aleksa) Becic (Assembly Speaker) day after day “conduct the most filthiest campaign against Serbia and Serbian people”.
It added that those who defeated Djukanovic’s Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) on August 30 elections last year, “could not even dream Krivokapic and Becic would so closely coopeare with Kosovo representatives”.
Vulin blasts Croatian PM over WWII remarks (N1)
Serbian Internal Affairs Minister Aleksandar Vulin said Wednesday that the Croatian authorities were lowering the number of people killed in the Jasenovac death camp to hide the role of the Croats in World War II, N1 reports.
A ministry statement quoted Vulin as saying that Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic claimed in meetings with his European Union counterparts that most Croats joined the anti-Nazi Partisans adding that “he should not repeat something as stupid as that in front of Serbs”.
“In order to hide the truth about the role of the Croatian people in WWII the number of people killed in Jasenovac is being deliberately reduced and the countless pits and slaughtered Serb children are not being mentioned”, he said in reaction to Plenkovic’s statement that “the largest number of partisans were Croats”.
See more at: https://bit.ly/3vRPmy6
Hague Tribunal Leaves Uncertain Legacy as Last Trial Nears End (Balkan Insight)
Ahead of the initial verdict in the last trial at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, BIRN looks back on the landmark judgments, controversies, successes and failures in the UN court’s mission to seek justice for the atrocities of the 1990s.
In May 1996, Bosnian Serb Army soldier Drazen Erdemovic became the first person to confess to the judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY in The Hague that he had participated in the murders of captured Bosniak men and boys from Srebrenica.
Erdemovic told the UN war crimes tribunal that he only agreed to shoot the Bosniaks because he had been threatened: “When I refused to do that, they told me: ‘If you feel sorry, stand there next to them, so we can kill you too.’”
See more at: https://bit.ly/3qlIl7y
”Only by facing reality, the WB countries will be able to move forward towards EU” (EWB)
BELGRADE – Agreeing on reality is the only way for all stakeholders to move forward on the European integration process, concluded the participants of the third conference organised on Monday within the project “Strengthening the Rule of Law in the Western Balkans: Old Tools for New Rules”.
The project is implemented by the Politikon Network in cooperation with the Centre for Contemporary Politics and with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Serbia and Montenegro.
See more at: https://bit.ly/3d3re58
Slovenian FM: EU inaction in Western Balkans ‘strategically dangerous’ (euractive.com)
The EU needs to move “as soon as possible” from a wait-and-see approach to a problem-solving strategy in dealing with enlargement and the Western Balkans, Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar told EURACTIV in an interview about the priorities for his country’s upcoming EU Council presidency.
“In recent years, the strategy of the EU towards the Western Balkan was a wait-and-see-approach, with the bloc not being too active in the region vis a vis reform stalemate,” Logar said, acknowledging that in the past decade, enlargement “has fallen off the EU’s agenda”.
See more at: https://bit.ly/2SVeEhq
UNHCR Head: Return should mean that you are welcome (Kosovo-online)
The return of displaced persons in Kosovo so far focused on certain infrastructural aspects, such as support to housing reconstruction, ensuring property and receiving financial aid, UNHCR Head in Kosovo, Erol Arduc told RTK 2 morning edition.
Arduc added that however “the return means more, it should mean reintegration in the local community, that you are welcome and may start a new life fast”.
“To us it is much more important to offer social services to the people, not only financial ones. The reconciliation, when we can talk together and find the possibility to meet in order to create a peaceful and healthy society. This is what we are trying to promote and advance together with our EU partners, with authorities of course, but also international organizations”, he said.