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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, July 19, 2021

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Albanian Language Media:

• COVID-19: Three new cases, no deaths (media)
• Kurti meets Lajcak ahead of meeting with Vucic (Kallxo)
• Kurti: Today we commemorate Rahovec massacre (media)
• Hoti: Serbia to open war archives (media)
• Serwer: Kosovo to walk away from a bad deal with Serbia, improve relations with China (Klan)
• Repatriation of 11 Kosovo citizens from Syria carried out with U.S. support (EO)

Serbian Language Media:

• New round of talks – Vucic vs. Kurti; Borrell will present his expectations first (B92, Tanjug)
• Serbian FM hopes Greece will not change its stance on Kosovo (Beta, N1, TV Prva)
• Selakovic believe that Serbia will not have to give up Kosovo for the sake of joining the EU (APA, media)
• Dacic: International community should pressure Kosovo Albanians (FoNet, N1, TV Prva)
• Mini Schengen and the politics of the “Serbian world” do not go together (N1)
• The trial of Risto Jovanovic from Podgorica, arrested in Gazimestan, begun (Novi Magazin, Beta, RTS)
• Memorial service in Velika Hoca: ”23 years spent in pain, fear, waiting and uncertainty” (KoSSev, RTK2, Beta)

Opinion:

• ”Courageous Kosovo ”, ”criminal Serbia ” and history left unsaid (KoSSev)

International:

• Western Balkans region gets endorsement from Merkel on path to EU integration (eureporter.co)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • COVID-19: Three new cases, no deaths (media)
  • Kurti meets Lajcak ahead of meeting with Vucic (Kallxo)
  • Kurti: Today we commemorate Rahovec massacre (media) 
  • Hoti: Serbia to open war archives (media)
  • Serwer: Kosovo to walk away from a bad deal with Serbia, improve relations with China (Klan)
  • Repatriation of 11 Kosovo citizens from Syria carried out with U.S. support (EO) 

Serbian Language Media:

  • New round of talks – Vucic vs. Kurti; Borrell will present his expectations first (B92, Tanjug)
  • Serbian FM hopes Greece will not change its stance on Kosovo (Beta, N1, TV Prva)
  • Selakovic believe that Serbia will not have to give up Kosovo for the sake of joining the EU (APA, media) 
  • Dacic: International community should pressure Kosovo Albanians (FoNet, N1, TV Prva)
  • Mini Schengen and the politics of the “Serbian world” do not go together (N1)
  • The trial of Risto Jovanovic from Podgorica, arrested in Gazimestan, begun (Novi Magazin, Beta, RTS)
  • Memorial service in Velika Hoca: ”23 years spent in pain, fear, waiting and uncertainty” (KoSSev, RTK2, Beta)

Opinion:

  • ”Courageous Kosovo ”, ”criminal Serbia ” and history left unsaid (KoSSev)

International:

  • Western Balkans region gets endorsement from Merkel on path to EU integration (eureporter.co)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

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

Three new cases with COVID-19 and zero deaths from the virus were recorded in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. Two persons recovered from the virus during this time.

There are 104 active cases with COVID-19 in Kosovo.

Kurti meets Lajcak ahead of meeting with Vucic (Kallxo)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti had a meeting with the EU Special Representative for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue Miroslav Lajcak, ahead of his meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic expected to take place later today.

“This morning, I held separate meetings with Prime Minister of Kosovo @albinkurti and President of Serbia @predsednikrs @avucic to prepare for the high-level meeting of the Dialogue this afternoon,” Lajcak tweeted. 

Kurti: Today we commemorate Rahovec massacre (media) 

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti posted on Facebook a status commemorating the victims and the missing persons from the Serbian forces’ offensive in Rahovec where 150 people were killed and 10 still remain missing.

“The Serb military, police and paramilitary continued on by massacring children, women and elderly sheltered in the masjid of Sheh Myhedin. They killed professors, took civilians hostage. At the end they opened two large pits and buried a part of the Albanians killed during this offensive,” Kurti wrote. 

“We therefore remember today those who fell and those who survived this massacre. Those left behind, those who lived to tell the horror they experienced and who still carry the longing for their loved ones who are no longer, as well as those whose whereabouts remain unknown,” he said.

Hoti: Serbia to open war archives (media)

Andin Hoti, recently appointed head of the Kosovo Government’s commission for missing persons, said he will do utmost to “heal the wounds of each family in Kosovo regarding the absence of their loved ones for 22 years now.” 

Thanking the international community for the continuous support in efforts to shed light to the fate of missing persons, Hoti called on it to step up pressure on Serbia to open war archives. “The only address for every missing person in Kosovo is the Government of Serbia, therefore the only address for resolving this issue is the same,” he wrote on Facebook.

Hoti said that refusal to shed light to persons forcibly disappeared during the Kosovo war, implies yet another crime, 22 years later. 

Serwer: Kosovo to walk away from a bad deal with Serbia, improve relations with China (Klan)

Daniel Serwer. U.S. analyst on the Balkans from the Johns Hopkins University, said in an interview with Klan Kosova that Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti needs to emphasise his different approach to the dialogue with Serbia since the previous years have not been productive.

Serwer also said that he thinks Brussels talks will not be yielding the aimed result for quite some time and that Kosovo should use this time gap to strengthen international support and be more ambitious in breaking down barriers with powerful countries that do not recognise its independence. “President [of Serbia] Vucic sees little prospect of EU membership in the near future and as a result has turned more to Moscow and Beijing than to Brussels. He has made it extremely clear that he is not prepared for a major move ahead of next year’s Serbian presidential election. In these circumstances, Kosovo must do what it can to use the time to strengthen its position in the negotiations. Recent moves by non-recognizing countries such as Greece and Spain to improve their relations with Kosovo are exactly what Kosovo needs. I would like Pristina to improve relations with Beijing, which is more interested in trade in the Balkans than in politics,” he said.

In improving international standing, Kosovo should also be ready to walk out of a bad agreement with Serbia and instead sign a better one, Serwer argued. “Kosovo should insist on equality and reciprocity. If something is decided for Serbs in Kosovo, an equivalent solution should also be available for Albanians in Serbia. Specialist Chambers have violated this principle. I would like to have their jurisdiction extend to Serbia too where Albanian-American Bytyqi brothers were killed after the war.”

Serwer also commented on Kurti’s four proposals he presented in the last meeting with Vucic in Brussels saying that he agrees with them. “I also like the idea of a non-aggression agreement but on which Serbia hesitates because it implies Kosovo’s sovregnity and Belgrade would like for NATO to sign too.” 

On the role of the United States in the final agreement, Serwer said: “I think Brussels and Washington should form an entity like the International Civilian Office to monitor implementation of agreements reached in dialogue and also reprimand those who dod not manage to implement them.”

Repatriation of 11 Kosovo citizens from Syria carried out with U.S. support (EO) 

Kosovo’s Ministry of Internal Affairs held a press conference following the weekend’s repatriation of 11 Kosovo citizens from conflict zones in Syria.

Minister Xhelal Svecla said the operation was carried out with the support of the United States. “Thanks to the high level of professionalism of country’s institutions, this process was conducted in line with parametres,” he said.

Kosovo Police director Samedin Mehmeti said that of the 11 persons repatriated, six are men, one woman and four children. He said that so far Kosovo has repatriated 253 of its citizens and there are more in conflict zones abroad. 

 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

New round of talks – Vucic vs. Kurti; Borrell will present his expectations first (B92, Tanjug)

President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, and Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, will meet today in Brussels, at a new round of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

A new round of talks in Brussels is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. with bilateral meetings between the two sides with EU mediators. Prior to the meeting, the main mediator of the EU in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, will address the media with a video message in which he will state his expectations from the talks.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) announced that the EU Special Representative, Miroslav Lajcak, as the second host of the meeting in Brussels, will summarize the results of the talks with a video message at around 6 p.m.

In Brussels, they say that Aleksandar Vučić and Albin Kurti “focus on the progress made so far” and agree on the next steps in the dialogue, and emphasize that the EU, as the main mediator in the dialogue, is satisfied with the continuation of the process and the dynamics of meetings of the two sides, assessing that the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina and the achievement of a comprehensive legally binding agreement is a “long-term process”.

“It is important that the process continues and that there is no setback,” the EU said ahead of the meeting, with diplomatic sources in Brussels saying that both Belgrade and Pristina, despite opposing views and rhetoric, “know they have to compromise and reach a solution”.

However, when it comes to expectations from this meeting, analysts in Belgrade and Pristina do not expect any significant progress in the negotiations, and believe that it is most important for Brussels to maintain the dynamics of dialogue, and for both sides to stand firm on their demands.

After the first meeting between Vučić and Kurti held on June 15 in Brussels, the President of Serbia assessed that he agreed with “Kurti ”on absolutely nothing”, primarily on Kurti’s request for recognition of Kosovo’s independence.

Before the new meeting in Brussels, where Serbia demands the implementation of the agreement on the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities, he said that he would continue to insist on preserving the state interests of Serbia, assessing that progress in dialogue is necessary, but adding that he did not know if it was possible.

“As far as Brussels is concerned, we are going in the best faith, to talk and solve specific problems, from the issue of missing persons to everything else,” Vucic said. Before today’s meeting in Brussels, Albin Kurti’s cabinet says that Kurti will continue to insist on the proposals he presented at the first meeting, including the issues of missing persons, the signing of a peace agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, the establishment of the National Council of Serbs on Kosovo and the removal of Veljko Odalovic from the Serbian delegation for the missing persons.

The answer to whether a more serious shift is possible in the talks today in Brussels and with what will for dialogue and constructive discussion Pristina delegation is going to that meeting, may be read in the messages coming from that address every day, and the latest is yesterday’s ban of Veljko Odalovic to enter Kosovo and Metohija, where he was supposed to attend the celebration of the 23rd anniversary of the mass abduction and murder of Serbs in Orahovac, planned to be marked in Velika Hoča.

This morning, Vucic posted on his Instagram profile “buducnostsrbijeav”, saying: 

“It is never particularly pleasant to travel or stay in Brussels when you have talks with Albanian representatives,” he wrote.

“However, it is important for Serbia because we are helping our people in Kosovo and Metohija, preserving peace and stability, which are crucial for the economic progress of the whole of Serbia. On the plane, I always update the material and prepare for difficult meetings, just like in my student days. Surrender is not an option!” said Vucic.

Serbian FM hopes Greece will not change its stance on Kosovo (Beta, N1, TV Prva)

Nikola Selakovic, Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister, said he could not forecast the outcome of the meeting between President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti taking place in Brussels on Monday, adding that he will pray to God that Greece does not change its stance on Kosovo.

Selakovic also said that Belgrade is devoted to the dialogue with Pristina.

Speaking to TV Prva, the minister said that Kosovo representatives showed no constructivism at all during the previous meeting and assessed the behaviour of European officials as “fair”.

Selakovic also said that this dialogue is a top priority for Serbia, which remains loyal to its expectations that the European Union will be a guarantor of the Brussels agreement and its implementation.

He reminded that it has been 3,011 days since the Brussels agreement, which stipulated the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities but that authorities in Pristina failed to do that. He reiterated that Kosovo authorities did nothing of what the two sides agreed on, while Belgrade fulfilled all of it.

Asked about a possible change of the stance of Greece regarding Kosovo’s independence, Selakovic replied that he “wishes to believe” that Greece won’t recognise it.

According to him, Greek officials convince him that this will not happen but that some of the decisions Athens has made unveil different intentions.

Selakovic said that Greece welcomed Kosovo PM Albin Kurti and is “increasing the degree of (Pristina) office in Athens,” while its officials claim that the situation with Cyprus and Kosovo is not the same.

“I wish to believe that this will not happen, and I will pray to God that this doesn’t happen,” he stressed.

Greek and Serbian people are traditionally friendly nations, while Serbia and Greece are both Christian Orthodox countries, he added.

See at: https://bit.ly/3rwjT4l

Selakovic believe that Serbia will not have to give up Kosovo for the sake of joining the EU (APA, media) 

Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic pointed out in an interview with the Austrian agency “APA” that  the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina was the most important topic on Serbia’s path to the EU, expressing confidence that Belgrade would not have to give up Kosovo for EU membership, Serbian media reported.

He expressed confidence that Belgrade would not have to give up Kosovo for membership in the Union, and that no candidate country was asked to do anything similar.

“Do you know of a case of a candidate country that had to do something similar to become an EU member?” Selakovic asked.

The Minister also asked how this could be a precondition for EU accession, in a situation when not all members have the same position regarding Kosovo.

“Kosovo is not only a southern province according to the Constitution of Serbia, but also on the basis of UNSCR 1244. Serbia joined the UN with its borders, which include Kosovo and Metohija, and we are a member of the UN,” he underlined.

At the same time, he points out that Belgrade is still ready for a compromise solution with Pristina, which must be sustainable, applicable and acceptable to both sides.

“That doesn’t mean one side gets everything and the other nothing,” he pointed out. According to the APA, Selakovic did not want to talk about what a compromise might look like, and when it came to changing the borders, he said that no one was talking about it.

“There is no solution of that kind on the table,” he stressed. Asked if Belgrade could come to terms with the fact that Kosovo Albanians do not want to live in Serbia, he answered with the question: “Is it reasonable to force a million Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina to live in Bosnia-Herzegovina?”

Precisely because these are principles, according to him, Serbia fully supports the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“We know that our attitude towards BiH preserves our position regarding Kosovo. I have not met anyone who could explain to me why the principle of self-determination should apply only to Albanians in Kosovo, but not to Serbs in Republika Srpska,” he pointed out.

Selakovic added that on the issue of Kosovo, the international community thought that changing the border was a good solution.

“I think that is not a good solution. If the border changes once, then it will always happen. It is not good for the region, nor for us,” the head of Serbian diplomacy said.

Selakovic criticized Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, pointing out that Pristina does not want to implement the Brussels Agreement, that is, the obligation to form the Community of Serbian Municipalities (ZSO).

“If there is an agreement, then it must be fulfilled, regardless of whether someone likes it or not,” he said. Belgrade, he says, has fulfilled all its obligations and is now waiting for the EU and Kosovo Albanians to do so.

Selakovic expressed concern over Kurti’s sympathies regarding the unification of Kosovo and Albania, adding that he was not worried about his statements, but about “silence in European capitals”. He advises the future high representative of the international community in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, to be impartial.

“If a solution is wanted for BiH, we must not interfere and stand on one side,” he said.

Bosnian Serbs, he says, have good reasons for being skeptical of the international community’s high representatives.

He said that the former High Representative used his powers to limit the competencies of RS.

“The Dayton Peace Agreement is one of the most successful peace projects not only in Europe, but in the world, and it should be preserved,” Selakovic stressed, adding that changes to the agreement are possible only with the consent of all three peoples and two BiH’s entities.

On the issue of Serbia’s European path to the EU, he criticized the accession process to the Union and the hypocrisy of certain countries in their treatment of Serbia.

“How can it be that EU member states are ready to accept EU citizens, but not Serbia as a member?”, he asked.

Selakovic pointed out that the goals in the EU accession process are constantly changing.

Although Serbia, as the first candidate from the region, accepted the new methodology, it did not receive an accession date, which, he says, is a huge difference compared to the previous round of EU enlargement, in which the conditions and dates were clear from the beginning.

He emphasized that pointing to economic data, Serbia is well prepared for EU membership.

Selakovic pointed out that this year, Serbia’s economic growth will be higher than six percent, that the country meets the Maastricht criteria regarding public debt, and that the unemployment rate has dropped from 26.9 percent to nine percent in the past few years.

According to him, many young Serbs are now returning to their homeland to work in international companies.

He also pointed out that Serbia attracts most of the region’s foreign direct investments.

Selakovic emphasizes that Serbia’s membership in the EU should not be important only for our country.

“We see that the EU could feel sorry if Serbia does not become an EU member,” he underlined, adding that, after all, the EU does not want a “vacuum” in the region.

Selakovic also believes that it is important for the EU to get “fresh blood”. Regarding the issue of the fight against illegal migration, he said that it was paradoxical that Serbia was facing waves of migrants from the territory of the EU.

He pointed out that many countries are interested in partnership with Serbia when it comes to migration.

“Somehow it has become normal to want Serbia as a partner when it comes to problematic issues, but we do not want Serbia as a partner or member regarding good issues,” he said.

Speaking about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Selakovic thanked for the support. “It doesn’t matter if we all share his position, he is a great leader and a brave man, and the only problem I see with him is that he is someone who always says what he thinks. Unfortunately, that is no longer common in today’s world,” Selakovic said.

He recalled that Europe is based on freedom of expression and that it will survive as long as it accepts differences on the issue of different attitudes.

He says that he would personally prefer if Europe supported its identity and culture more strongly, instead of constantly talking only about the market, trade and money.

Dacic: International community should pressure Kosovo Albanians (FoNet, N1, TV Prva)

Serbian Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic said on Monday that the problem in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue is that the international community won’t pressure the Kosovo Albanians to implement the Brussels Agreement.

Dacic told TV Prva that the Kosovo Albanian leaders’ tactics are for some of them to sign something and others to reject it. According to him, they replace each other in power and don’t accept the responsibility to implement agreements.

He said that the important thing is for the talks to go ahead and warned that incidents like the recent beating of a Kosovo Serb boy, the accusing of two Serbs for the alleged poisoning of the water supply in Decani and the assaults on a Serb woman who returned to her home in Djakovica could turn into a pogrom.

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

Mini Schengen and the politics of the “Serbian world” do not go together (N1)

The director of the Center for Regionalism, Aleksandar Popov and the leader of the “Liberation” (Oslobodjenje) movement, Mladjan Djordjevic in the N1 ‘Novi Dan’ Show have agreed that mini Schengen and the politics of the ”Serbian world”, do not go together, with different arguments. 

Popov says that “mini Schengen is actually one thing in the shop window that is shown to Europe and the world, like ”see we can cooperate with our neighbors and we want to”, while Djordjevic says that “mini Schengen, after the Washington agreement, is the way to the creation of Greater Albania and there is no Serbian interest in it”.

According to Popov, the tone and content of Vulin’s statement “cause great anxiety among the citizens of this country, but also the citizens of the region”.

“The problem is that Vulin and other people who are at the head of this country were in power in the 1990s, when a similar idea tried to come true, the idea of a Greater Serbia. Every smart person knows that this cannot be achieved in a peaceful way,” says Popov.

Speaking about Vulin’s statement, he says that “someone here will say that it is for internal use, which is partly the case”.

“All this shows that we in the region live in an atmosphere of unfinished war,” says Popov.

Djordjevic says that “as far as the Serbian world is concerned, it is normal for Serbia to have the right to take care of its compatriots”.

“Vulin is a megaphone for Aleksandar Vucic, you often have those ‘media hooks’ thrown; it’s a play of yesterday, we saw a play in which former deputy of Mira Markovic and former Seselj’s secretary had one play,” says Djordjevic. 

Djordjevic asked what kind of “Serbian world is being talked about by a man who said that we don’t have a meter in Kosovo, a man who allows Rio Tinto to come to Serbia”.

“What kind of care can he show,” says Djordjevic.

Popov says that he agrees with Djordjevic that “Serbia’s concern for members of its nation in the region is a legitimate matter”.

“But it has its borders, exactly to the extent that Serbia would not allow another state to interfere, protecting its compatriots,” Popov said.

He added that “there are Serb leaders in certain countries, who do more harm to the position of Serbs in those countries than good”.

Asked whether the policies of the “Serbian world” and the “mini Schengen” go together, Popov said “of course not”.

“Mini Schengen is actually one thing in the shop window that is shown to Europe and the world, like, ‘see we can cooperate with our neighbors and we want to’, but the second anniversary of Mini Schengen is approaching, and it is giving poor results. If there is a major conflict within Europe or at the global level, only then will the redrawing of borders come into play, which can lead to the edge of world war, which we should not look forward to. Even if that happens, Serbia will not realize Vulin’s dream of a Serbian world but will become the prey of some great power,” says Popov.

Djordjevic says that “little Schengen after the Washington agreement is the way to the creation of a Greater Albania”.

“It is not of any Serbian interest. Yesterday was a picture of what awaits us in the coming events, this government cannot be replaced by elections. Or an uprising or a disappearance. While Serbia is captured, there is no creation of the Serbian world,” says Djordjevic.

Helsinki Committee concerned over Vulin statement

The Serbian Helsinki Committee reacted on Monday to the latest statement of the MIA Minister Aleksandar Vulin saying that the statement was isolating Serbia and moving it away from membership in the EU, reported Serbian media.. 

Vulin told an anniversary of his Movement of Socialists party that the creation of a Serb World in which Serbs would live united was something that the current generation of politicians should do.

The Helsinki Committee statement said that Vulin’s party held the gathering “obviously as one of the first pre-election gatherings leading up to next year’s presidential elections”. “What is worrying are the messages sent from the gathering which was attended by President Aleksandar Vucic who did not distance himself from them,” it said.

“The message from the gathering is not only the uniting of all Serbs in one state but that a Serbia like that can be preserved only by Vucic’s policies. That open advocating of a policy of war is directed towards all neighbors and is a test to see how far they can go given the current international circumstances, that is how long the international community will tolerate that behavior,” the statement said, and called the international community to draw “red lines” in terms of the borders in the Balkans.

The trial of Risto Jovanovic from Podgorica, arrested in Gazimestan, begun (Novi Magazin, Beta, RTS)

The trial of Risto Jovanovic from Podgorica, arrested on June 28 during the celebration of Vidovdan in Gazimestan, began today in the Basic Court in Pristina, on the indictment that he committed the crime of “causing discord and intolerance”.

As RTS reported, the prosecutor accuses Jovanovic of “inciting and spreading public hatred, discord and intolerance between ethnic and religious groups living in Kosovo” in Gazimestan.

The prosecutor stated, reading parts of the indictment, that “in this way, Jovanovic publicly and in the presence of a significant number of citizens shouted ‘kill Shiptar’, ‘we will wash Kosovo with blood’, ‘Kosovo is Serbia’, while he told the media that ‘it will be tight for Shiptars’, by which he seriously endangered public order and peace”, quoted media. 

After announcing the indictment, Jovanovic, when asked by the judge, said that he “does not feel guilty” for the acts for which he is charged, and that he did not “say or sing something that was attributed to him”.

Jovanovic was remanded in custody for 30 days, serving in the northern part of Mitrovica, and his lawyer, Jovana Filipovic, has meanwhile filed a motion to dismiss the indictment and object to the evidence.

The request for the rejection of the indictment was rejected in the Court of Appeals, and at today’s hearing, Jovanovic waived his right to a new appeal, reported media.

Memorial service in Velika Hoca: ”23 years spent in pain, fear, waiting and uncertainty” (KoSSev, RTK2, Beta)

In Velika Hoca, yesterday was marked the 23rd anniversary of the kidnapping and murder of Serbs throughout the municipality of Orahovac, reported media.  

Family members, relatives and friends attended the commemorative gathering. In the period from 1998 to 2000, 84 Serbs died on the territory of the municipality of Orahovac. 

Carrying wreaths, flowers and photos of killed and kidnapped Serbs from Zociste, Orahovac, Velika Hoca, Retimlje, Opterusa and Bratotin, the gathered walked along the main street of Velika Hoca to the memorial to the injured Serbs, where a memorial service was held, RTK2 reported.

“For some, 23 years passed like a moment, and for others they were as long as a whole life and painful because they passed in pain, anxiety, waiting, fear, uncertainty, unanswered questions, or with answers that stab like a sword into the heart that all over again bleeds and hurts. Even if we want, we can’t forget,” Olivera Radic from Velika Hoca yesterday. 

“What we see here today is our picture, it is our proof that something happened in the municipality of Orahovac on this day that no one expected from us,” said Negovan Mavric.

Veljko Odalovic, the president of the government’s Commission for Missing Persons, was also supposed to attend a memorial service in Velika Hoca. However, as he confirmed to the media in Belgrade, members of the Kosovo Police, without any explanation, forbade him and the entire delegation from Belgrade to enter Kosovo.

He told the Beta agency that the arrival was announced in advance.

The Coalition for RECOM also recalled the anniversary

“In July 1998, during the KLA’s attempt to take control of Rahovec / Orahovac and the surrounding villages, as well as during the VJ and MUP of Serbia operation that followed, 135 civilians were killed. Among them are members of the Bocanić, Bandzic, Burzic and Dina families,” they state in the announcement on Twitter.

Yesterday was marked the 23rd anniversary of the “KLA” attack on Orahovac, which began in the village of Retimlje, and the next day they spread to the village of Opterusa, which is why July 18 is a day marked as a day of remembrance for killed Serb civilians in the municipality of Orahovac, wrote KoSSev. 

In the armed attacks of the “KLA” on Rahovec / Orahovac and the surrounding villages of Retimlje and Opterusa on July 17 and 18, five civilians were killed: Aleksandar Majmarevic, Borivoje Simic, Jagos Fildjokic, Vekoslav Kazic and Andjelko Kostic. Dozens of civilians, mostly Serbs but also Roma, were taken and detained in the building of the former police station in Malisevo, as well as in an Albanian house in the village of Semetiste in the municipality of Suva Reka. Some of the prisoners were released, and 36 Serbs, three Roma and one Montenegrin disappeared, according to the Youth Initiative for Human Rights.

The action of the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Pristina released a group of 35 civilians who were captured in the monastery of Saint Cosmas and Damian in Zociste. In that group were women and two sick men from the villages of Retimlje and Opterusa, monks from the monastery and elderly people from Zociste. 

The remains of 36 missing persons were found seven years later in the mass graves of Volujak near Klina and in Malisevo near Orahovac, while the body of one of the missing in that period, Mladen Kostic, has not yet been found.

The remains of most of the victims were buried in the cemetery in Orlovaca in Belgrade.

 

 

 

Opinion

 

”Courageous Kosovo ”, ”criminal Serbia ” and history left unsaid (KoSSev)

By Petar Ristanovic 

At the beginning of June, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, called for the ”state archives of Serbia to be opened”, claiming that the documents would show that the crimes against Albanians in Kosovo were not committed by individuals but an organized action of the state of Serbia. The call is a continuation of a propaganda campaign launched by Pristina with the aim of ”proving” that the state of Serbia committed genocide against Albanians in Kosovo.

Such claims have long since become commonplace in the public discourse of Albanians and are persistently being repeated in historical and journalistic pieces in Albanian. In previous years, the possibility of Kosovo filing a lawsuit against Serbia for genocide was mentioned from time to time. Until the coalition between Albin Kurti’s Self-Determination Movement and Vjosa Osmani’s Dare! was formed, allegations of genocide were primarily applied for internal use. The new regime shows an intention to change that.

In recent weeks, announcements have intensified that Kosovo, through another UN member state (most likely Albania), could file a lawsuit against Serbia for genocide and demand war damage compensation. I will leave a detailed analysis of this possibility and the possible outcome of the lawsuit to the lawyers. Instead, I will address one important segment of the campaign launched from Pristina: the dogged insistence on a narrative in which Albanians are decades-long victims and the state of Serbia is the criminal. Instead of listing the numbers the two sides have been ”fighting” over for a long time, or citing examples of ethnically motivated attacks on Serbs that have been prevalent these days, I will do it in a different way, through, I believe, an illustrative example.

See more at:https://bit.ly/3io5PWi

 

 

International

 

Western Balkans region gets endorsement from Merkel on path to EU integration (eureporter.co)

The German chancellor Angela Merkel (pictured) has mentioned that the six Western Balkan countries should become EU member states in the future. She considers this move to hold strategic importance hinting at the influence China and Russia have in the region, writes Cristian Gherasim, Bucharest correspondent.

“It is in the European Union’s very own interests to drive the process forward here,” Merkel said during a virtual conference on the future of Western Balkans.

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

 

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