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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, July 29, 2021

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• Families bury victims of tragic bus crash (media)
• Germany’s state secretary Berger meets PM Kurti, President Osmani (media)
• Hasani: EU and U.S. could ask for a break in dialogue (Klan)
• PDK warns it will not vote international agreements (media)
• Haxhiu: Four prosecutors to join Special Prosecution of Kosovo (media)
• Rama, Vucic, Zaev meet today at Skopje’s Economic Forum (media)
• Renowned Serb returnee to Gjakova suffers break-in (Prishtina Insight)
• COVID-19: 58 new cases, no deaths (media)

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  • Families bury victims of tragic bus crash (media)
  • Germany’s state secretary Berger meets PM Kurti, President Osmani (media)
  • Hasani: EU and U.S. could ask for a break in dialogue (Klan)
  • PDK warns it will not vote international agreements (media)
  • Haxhiu: Four prosecutors to join Special Prosecution of Kosovo (media)
  • Rama, Vucic, Zaev meet at Skopje’s Economic Forum  (media)
  • Renowned Serb returnee to Gjakova suffers break-in (Prishtina Insight)
  • COVID-19: 58 new cases, no deaths (media)

Families bury victims of tragic bus crash (media)

The bodies of the ten victims of the bus accident in Croatia arrived in Kosovo and were buried by their families.

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti said that the Government will stand by the families of the people that lost their lives in Croatia. “I once again express my appreciation to all state institutions of Croatia, and in particular to Prime Minister Plenkovic for their unreserved assistance in this difficult situation. The Government of Kosovo will stand by its compatriots to alleviate their pain from the consequences of the accident through all means available,” Kurti said.

Assembly Speaker Glauk Konjufca said Kosovo is mourning the death of those that lost their lives in the accident. “In these terrifying moments for you that lost the loved ones and for the whole of Kosovo, we are together and by each other’s side to express brotherly solidarity, share the grief and overcome easier the sadness over the loss of lives in this tragedy,” he said.

Germany’s state secretary Berger meets PM Kurti, President Osmani (media)

Miguel Berger, State Secretary of the German Federal Foreign Office, had meetings in Pristina yesterday with Prime Minister Albin Kurti and President Vjosa Osmani.

Berger expressed to Kurti condolences about the tragic bus accident in Croatia while Kurti also expressed his sympathies for the loss of lives as a result of recent floods in Germany, a press release issued by the Government of Kosovo states. It adds that Secretary Berger commended PM Kurti on positive economic indicators which he said were impressive. He also said Germany will support the Berlin Process and regional market as a way to strengthen regional cooperation. “There was also discussion about the recent meetings in Brussels and the future course and the importance of dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.”

Osmani meanwhile expressed appreciation for Germany’s continuous support to Kosovo and its people, adding that the country remains one of the most reliable partners for Kosovo. Osmani also spoke about visa liberalisation, noting that all the criteria have been met and that there is no reason to delay the decision any longer.

“With regards to dialogue, President Osmani stressed that priority for the Republic of Kosovo should be shedding light to the fate of forcibly disappeared persons and the conclusion of the process with mutual recognition,” a statement issued by the Kosovo presidency notes.

On Twitter, Berger commented on his meetings in Kosovo and thanked President Vjosa Osmani and PM Albin Kurti for constructive discussion. “Fully agree on Kosovo’s European path & importance of rule of law. Need progress on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue & regional cooperation!”

Hasani: EU and U.S. could ask for a break in dialogue (Klan)

Enver Hasani, former president of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo, said that the European Union and the United States could ask for a break in the process of dialogue due to the approach of the governments of Kosovo and Serbia.

In an interview with Klan Kosova, Hasani said that the way things are currently going, ‘the doors will be closed’ and the dialogue facilitators could say: “Take a break for few years or months.” He said the halt of dialogue would only benefit Serbia. “This would harm us a great deal because Serbia is a consolidated country and for us it is difficult to join international organisations.”

Meanwhile, speaking about the four proposals that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti presented in Brussels, Hasani said they are ‘primitive’ as it employs references that are no longer in use in the international law.

PDK warns it will not vote international agreements (media)

Representatives of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) warned that they would not be taking part in the Assembly session which is set to vote on international agreements as a sign of protest towards the budget review law adopted yesterday by MPs.

Speaking at a press conference, PDK MP Blerta Deliu-Kodra said that the budget does not meet the needs of the people of Kosovo and accused the government of not possessing an economic recovery plan. “We have seen a tendency to discriminate municipalities not run by the Vetevendosje Movement,” she also alleged.

Haxhiu: Four prosecutors to join Special Prosecution of Kosovo (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, announced new additions to the Special Prosecution of Kosovo.

She said that the approval of the budget review law for 2021 ensures building of capacities. “Four new prosecutors, 6 professional associates and 2 interpreters will be joining the Special Prosecution, department for war crimes,” Haxhiu wrote on Facebook, recalling that prosecution of war crimes is a priority for the Government of Kosovo.

Rama, Vucic, Zaev meet today at Skopje’s Economy Forum  (media)

The Office of the Kosovo government has confirmed for Euronews Albania that PM Albin Kurti won’t be present at the Economy Forum of Skopje on Thursday, July 28th.

“Our stances on the idea coming from Novi Sad or the so-called ‘Mini-Schengen’ are now common knowledge. This initiative doesn’t get our approval,” replied the prime minister’s office.

Prime ministers Edi Rama, Zoran Zaev and president Aleksandar Vucic are getting together this Thursday, in Skopje’s Economic Forum, in order to discuss the regional cooperation in the framework of the Balkan Schengen.

Euronews Albania also learned that agenda of meetings, will begin at 10:00 a.m. with the opening speech of Macedonian PM, Zoran Zaev, which will last 30 minutes.

After, the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic will have his word for another 30 minutes, followed by the Albanian PM, Edi Rama.

The agenda will continue with the word of the economic panel, which is made up of the Presidents of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the three Balkan countries, where Albania will be represented by Ines Mucostepa, President of Albania’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

At the end of discussions, the leaders are expected to sign a regional cooperation deal.

The entire event is going to last around 2 hours and at 12:30 p.m., there will be a joint press conference amongst PM Rama, PM Zaev and President Vucic.

The British newspaper ‘Financial Times’ wrote that the free movement and leniencies in doing businesses that will come from the Balkan Schengen will be officially revealed this Thursday. They will include a gradual alleviation of travel restrictions, faster green lanes on the board crossings and an easier movement of goods and more lenient work permits.

Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic has published a photo from his meeting with Albanian PM, Edi Rama and the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev.

“This is a great step for the future. The political and human cooperation brings stability and many important things for the future of the region,” said Vucic.

The Serbian president also stated that this agreement will include a “green agenda” allowing countries of the Western Balkans to attract more investments and be able to create a joint market.

Kosovo media report that Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Wednesday that the name of this regional initiative “Mini-Schengen” will be changed.

Renowned Serb returnee to Gjakova suffers break-in (Prishtina Insight)

Dragica Gasic, a post-war returnee who has become well-known in both Kosovo and Serbia, has claimed her home in Kosovo was broken into this week and her food and medicine stolen.

Kosovo police have confirmed that the apartment of the first displaced ethnic Serb to return to Gjakova since the war was broken into on Tuesday.

Nusret Xhurkaj, spokesperson for the Gjakova police, told BIRN on Wednesday that around noon a day earlier, Gasic had reported to the police that someone had broken into her apartment.

“Gasic returned from visiting her sister in Klina and around 12 p.m. she reported to the police that an unidentified person broke into her house,” Xhurkaj told BIRN.

Gasic told the police that some personal items had gone missing, such as “food, one security camera and internet connection devices.” Xhurkaj said there are no suspects yet and investigations are ongoing.

Gasic told Kosovo Serbian media outlet Kosovo online: “They also took medicine, and I am a heart patient and a diabetic.”

BIRN was not able to contact Gasic.

Radio Free Europe reported that the Serbian government’s office for Kosovo would be informing EU authorities and international missions in Kosovo about the incident.

Dragica Gasic became known to the Kosovo public in June 2021 when she decided to return to her apartment that she left in June 1999, when thousands of Kosovo Serbs left their homes in fear of retaliation by Kosovo Albanians who were returning after the withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo following 78 days of NATO air strikes.

Gjakova was one of the most heavily damaged towns during Kosovo’s 1998-99 war.

Gasic returned after Kosovo’s Property Comparison and Verification Agency allowed her to use her apartment again, after it had been occupied by others since the war.

In late June, Gasic made headlines in Kosovo and Serbia when it was reported that her plan to put a reinforced door on her apartment was refused by the municipality. Police denied involvement in the issue.

In July, the municipality of Gjakova asked the Gjakova Basic Court to annul the rent contract for the apartment Gasic was living in until June 1999.

Donika Grezda, a Gjakova municipal spokesperson, told BIRN that the municipality had taken the case to court to review it. The court has not provided a timeline.

Gasic has claimed that she has constantly been threatened. In late June, she said people were banging on her door, throwing stones and pasting pictures “that they will slaughter me and kill me.” However, she said she was not worried. “I am not afraid, if I was afraid I would not even have come back,” Gasic told BIRN in July.

The head of Serbia’s office for Kosovo, Petar Petkovic, said there have been some 70 attacks on Serbs or their property in Kosovo this year, which is almost as many as during the whole of 2020. According to Petkovic, there were 80 attacks last year.

COVID-19: 58 new cases, no deaths (media)

58 new cases of COVID-19 and no fatalities from the virus were recorded in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. Three persons have recovered from the virus during this time.

There are 250 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

To date, 388,073 vaccine doses have been administered in Kosovo.

The Ministry of Health yesterday issued a call to the people of Kosovo to get the COVID-19 vaccine, warning that the Delta variant of the virus is approaching and is more easily spread than other coronavirus variants.

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