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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, September 28, 2021

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• Bislimi and Petkovic to meet in Brussels, agreement on license plates expected (Koha)
• EU: Chief negotiators to come to Brussels soon (Klan)
• President Osmani meets heads of security institutions (media)
• KFOR’s proposal for resolving situation in the north accepted by Kurti but not by Vucic (Koha)
• KFOR meets Kosovo institution representatives and mayors of northern municipalities (media)
• NATO-led mission increases patrols on Kosovo-Serbia border (AP)
• Osmani’s office denies claims U.S. criticised Kosovo over actions in the north (Kallxo)
• Closing border point not to allow Albanians from Presevo movement deemed discriminatory (media)
• Milanovic: Kosovo responded to Serbia with same standards (media)
• Women candidates fight for gender equality in municipalities (BIRN)
• Court rejects university’s lawsuit against municipality regarding Orthodox Church building (media)
• COVID-19: Three deaths, 23 new cases (media)

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  • Bislimi and Petkovic to meet in Brussels, agreement on license plates expected (Koha)
  • EU: Chief negotiators to come to Brussels soon (Klan)
  • President Osmani meets heads of security institutions (media)
  • KFOR’s proposal for resolving situation in the north accepted by Kurti but not by Vucic (Koha)
  • KFOR meets Kosovo institution representatives and mayors of northern municipalities (media)
  • NATO-led mission increases patrols on Kosovo-Serbia border (AP)
  • Osmani’s office denies claims U.S. criticised Kosovo over actions in the north (Kallxo)
  • Closing border point not to allow Albanians from Presevo movement deemed discriminatory (media)
  • Milanovic: Kosovo responded to Serbia with same standards (media)
  • Women candidates fight for gender equality in municipalities (BIRN)
  • Court rejects university’s lawsuit against municipality regarding Orthodox Church building (media)
  • COVID-19: Three deaths, 23 new cases (media)

 

Bislimi and Petkovic to meet in Brussels, agreement on license plates expected (Koha)

Chief negotiators for Kosovo and Serbia, Besnik Bislimi and Petar Petkovic respectively, will meet in Brussels on Wednesday and according to sources, the meeting is expected to lead to lowering of tensions as the parties have clear mandates to reach agreement on license plates.

EU sources said that the meeting comes as a result of diplomatic efforts in the EU to reduce tensions in the north of Kosovo. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, and the EU Special Representative for the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, have been involved in these efforts.

EU:  Chief negotiators to come to Brussels soon (Klan)

Peter Stano, spokesperson for the EU foreign policy, said that the first positive step between Kosovo and Serbia in resolving the situation is for chief negotiators to meet in Brussels.

“We are there extending our best service and best will to help Kosovo and Serbia. We are ready to continue to do so, hence the EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, yesterday in his statement proposed the meeting of the two chief negotiators to come to Brussels in the coming days as a positive first step to find solutions to the discrete dispute that escalated the situation,” Stano said during a press conference.

He added that the EU remains committed in facilitating solutions to all open issues between Kosovo and Serbia and that the dialogue, through compromise, should lead to a comprehensive and legally binding agreement for normalisation of relations.

President Osmani meets heads of security institutions (media)

President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani yesterday met the Minister of Interior Xhelal Svecla, the Director of the Kosovo Police Samedin Mehmeti, the Director of the Kosovo Intelligence Agency Petrit Ajeti, the Minister of Defence Armend Mehaj, the Head of the EULEX Lars-Gunnar Wigemark and KFOR Commander Major General Franco Federici to discuss the recent security situation in Kosovo.

Osmani noted that Kosovo is not provoking the security situation and is merely enforcing the law while the Kosovo Police is demonstrating professionalism in maintaining public order and security. Osmani further said that Serbia is the source of destabilisation in the region and called on the international community to oppose such an attempt and also to stand against the inciting discourse, which she said originates not only in Serbia but in Russia as well.

Head of EULEX Wigemark meanwhile tweeted: “A very useful meeting today with Kosovo President @VjosaOsmaniPRKS concerning the stalemate at the 2 Common Crossing Points between Kosovo and Serbia. @EULEXKosovo deployed reconnaissance teams at both CCPs a week ago and is ready to assist together with @NATO_KFOR.”

KFOR’s proposal for resolving situation in the north accepted by Kurti but not by Vucic (Koha)

Koha reports that in an effort to resolve the situation in the north of Kosovo, KFOR has proposed four points following meetings is Commander, Major General Franco Federici had with Kosovo institutions and mayors of municipalities in the north.

Koha quotes sources saying that Federici proposed the removal of roadblocks, unblocking of the road, and the replacement of Kosovo Police special units with those of KFOR in the north. The final item was for the border police to continue performing its duties by being protected by NATO troops. Sources also said that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti accepted in principle the proposal but that the mayors of northern municipalities rejected it following consultations with President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic.

KFOR meets Kosovo institution representatives and mayors of northern municipalities (media)

KFOR officials met yesterday with representatives of Kosovo institutions and mayors of municipalities in the north of Kosovo.

“The approved measures, discussed previously by KFOR Commander with all Kosovo institutions in Kosovo and Mayors of Northern Municipalities are aimed at swift de-escalation of tensions created last week and the return to a safe environment and free movement for all communities in Kosovo,” KFOR said.

NATO-led mission increases patrols on Kosovo-Serbia border (AP)

The NATO-led KFOR mission in Kosovo increased its patrols Monday on the border with Serbia in a bid to deescalate tensions between the two Balkan foes over a dispute about license plates.

KFOR, with around 4,000 troops from 28 countries, is led by NATO but is supported by the United Nations, the European Union and others. Its aim is to stave off lingering ethnic tensions between majority Kosovo Albanians and minority Kosovo Serbs after Kosovo broke away and became independent from Serbia in 2008.

“KFOR has increased the number and time length of the routine patrolling all around Kosovo, including northern Kosovo,” the force said in a statement.

The move comes a day after Serbia President Aleksandar Vucic warned NATO that Serbia will intervene in Kosovo if Kosovo Serbs come under serious threat.

The license plate issue between the two neighbors is not so much about license plates but about respecting each nation’s sovereignty, so it has great symbolic power. Serbia, along with allies Russia and China, refuses to recognize Kosovo’s independence as the United States and many other Western nations have done. It sees the Kosovo-Serbia border as temporary.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/2XUlR3o

Osmani’s office denies claims U.S. criticised Kosovo over actions in the north (media)

Officials from the Kosovo presidency rejected Klan Kosova reports that President Vjosa Osmani was criticized  by State Department officials over the way Kosovo institutions carried out operation in the north allegedly claiming that the move endangered the national security.

Donjeta Miftari, advisor to President Osmani, said that it is true that the President did discuss the situation in the north with State Department officials but that it has been inaccurately reported that she was criticised for the way Kosovo institutions acted. “I was present during this telephone conversation and I can confirm this is not accurate,” Miftari said on Facebook.

Closing border point not to allow Albanians from Presevo movement deemed discriminatory (media)

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic is reported to have said that a proposal was made of closing the Koncul border crossing point with Kosovo which is mainly used by Albanians living in the Presevo Valley to travel to Kosovo as a counter measure to Kosovo introducing temporary license plates requirement for vehicles from Serbia. Vucic said the idea was to not allow Albanians entering Kosovo from Serbia but added that he has no plans of going through with the idea.

Shaip Kamberi, Albanian MP at the Serbia’s Assembly, reacted to the statement calling it ‘pure fascism’. “If the idea of closing the border in Koncul really exists, then I can imagine who the author is. But it is a fact that ‘through its prevention’ A. Vucic is presenting himself as a peacekeeper of the Balkans,” Kamberi wrote on social media.

Head of the Albanian National Council in Serbia, Ragmi Mustafi, called on the international community to react to such ideas. “The direct threat of President Aleksandar Vucic against Presevo Valley Albanians is unacceptable. This racist warmongering position as ‘revenge for events in the north of Kosovo’ against innocent Albanians in the Presevo Valley is a medieval and inhumane mindset,” Mustafi said.

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia also rejected the idea. “Such statements affect the anxiety of the people and the creation of the psychosis of war in southern Serbia, especially with the Albanian community in Medvedja, Bujanovac and Presevo. Such a form of discrimination always starts through such speeches,” it said.

Milanovic: Kosovo responded to Serbia with same standards (media)

President of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic, commented on the security situation in the Western Balkans in light of recent developments in the north of Kosovo.

“The situation is definitely complicated in the region. We have Belgrade, a regime that speaks foolishness about the Serbian world,” Milanovic said, adding: “Kosovo has responded with reciprocity measures to something Serbia has been doing for 20 years. If you cannot go to Serbia with Kosovo license plates then Kosovo decides that the same applies to vehicles from Serbia. Who is escalating here?”

Women candidates fight for gender equality in municipalities (BIRN)

Kosovo municipality assembly member candidates have pledged that if they win a seat at their municipal councils, they will focus on social issues, with special emphasis on raising the voice on behalf of local women.

The list of priorities for Kosovo municipalities might be too long and pandemic may have added salt to the wounds of local governments all over the country because of big expectations from the elected ones on the one hand and lack of budget to meet all the expectations on the other.

For women things get more difficult as local institutions are not yet implementing a gender-friendly share of the budget, let alone the representation in municipal offices.

Through the series of pre-election debates Debat Pernime aired in TV Dukagjini, BIRN Kosovo has provided a special opportunity to women candidates for municipal assemblies to elaborate their plans in a time when men candidates dominate the political show in other TV channels.

Kosovo voters will go to ballot boxes on October 17 to elect their mayors and municipal assemblies for the next four years.

Candidates have now been picked by political parties and, as expected, only few women have been given the chance to run, over 95% of the candidates are men. But running for municipal assembly members, many women are trying to fill the void.

During Kosovo’s post-war history, only one woman ruled in the municipality, while only a few of them have been given the chance to run. Only Mimoza Kusari Lila, then a candidate from the New Kosovo Alliance, AKR, had been mayor of Municipality of Gjakova in the 2013-2017. This year, Kusari-Lila is aiming to return to the office through Vetevendosje.

In the cycle of municipal election debates Debat Pernime with Jeta Xharra, positioned on the right side of the candidates for mayors, the candidates for assembly members for the first time have been given space to unveil their governing programs, if they manage to win a seat in the assembly.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/39IGD8S

Court rejects university’s lawsuit against municipality regarding Orthodox Church building (media)

The Basic Court in Pristina rejected the lawsuit of the University of Prishtina against the Municipality regarding the land parcel where an unfinished Orthodox Church is located.

The court concluded that the Municipality of Pristina cannot be a party to the case as it cannot claim ownership over the parcel in question. The University maintains it has the right to use of the said land since 1975.

COVID-19: Three deaths, 23 new cases (media)

Three deaths from COVID-19 and 23 new cases with the virus have been confirmed in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 591 persons recovered from the virus during this time.

There are 3,605 active cases with COVID-19 in Kosovo.

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