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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, October 21, 2021

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, October 21, 2021

Albanian Language Media:

• Mehaj: US reconfirmed support to build KSF at military level (media)
• Lajcak: I trust concrete findings will be presented in six months (media)
• “Government to focus on final agreement, no return to technical dialogue” (Lajmi)
• Haradinaj: Reforms in judiciary in partnership with US and EU (media)
• GLPS on EC report: Kosovo has not achieved desired results (Koha)
• Ex-intelligence employee arrested, suspected of leaking information (media)
• COVID-19: 18 new cases, no deaths (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• 56 new Covid-19 cases in Serbian areas in Kosovo (Radio Mitrovica sever)
• Petkovic: Von Cramon relativizes the violence against the Serbian people in the north of Kosovo (NMagazin, N1)
• “Impermissible to try Serbs in Kosovo without solid evidence” (Radio KIM,Kosovo-online, RTS)
• Von Cramon tells N1 Kosovo police operation “was necessary” (N1)
• Odalovic: Pristina has maximalist demands (Radio KIM, RTS)
• Bislimi: There will be no CSM (ZSO); Serbian List is manipulating (Kosovo Online, RTK2)
• Petkovic: Bislimi’s statement that Community of Serbian Municipalities will not be formed, culmination of irresponsibility (RTS)
• Dacic: Greece is reassuring us they will not recognize Kosovo (Kosovo-online)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Mehaj: US reconfirmed support to build KSF at military level (media)
  • Lajcak: I trust concrete findings will be presented in six months (media)
  • “Government to focus on final agreement, no return to technical dialogue” (Lajmi)
  • Haradinaj: Reforms in judiciary in partnership with US and EU (media)
  • GLPS on EC report: Kosovo has not achieved desired results (Koha)
  • Ex-intelligence employee arrested, suspected of leaking information (media)
  • COVID-19: 18 new cases, no deaths (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • 56 new Covid-19 cases in Serbian areas in Kosovo (Radio Mitrovica sever)
  • Petkovic: Von Cramon relativizes the violence against the Serbian people in the north of Kosovo (NMagazin, N1)
  • “Impermissible to try Serbs in Kosovo without solid evidence” (Radio KIM,Kosovo-online, RTS)
  • Von Cramon tells N1 Kosovo police operation “was necessary” (N1)
  • Odalovic: Pristina has maximalist demands (Radio KIM, RTS)
  • Bislimi: There will be no CSM (ZSO); Serbian List is manipulating (Kosovo Online, RTK2)
  • Petkovic: Bislimi’s statement that Community of Serbian Municipalities will not be formed, culmination of irresponsibility (RTS)
  • Dacic: Greece is reassuring us they will not recognize Kosovo (Kosovo-online)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

Mehaj: US reconfirmed support to build KSF at military level (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Defense, Armend Mehaj, told a press conference today upon his return from a visit to the United States, that he received strong support for Kosovo from the US Department of Defense. “The US Department of Defense confirmed their strong support for Kosovo as a partner and exporter of peace at the global level. I also received full confirmation for Euro-Atlantic integration and for building the Kosovo Security Force at the military level,” he said. 

Mehaj said that in all his meetings in the US he expressed Kosovo’s readiness to further cooperation in all areas. “We will be alongside the US wherever the US needs us,” he said.

Mehaj also announced the start of a recruitment process for 840 new soldiers of the Kosovo Security Force. He called on young people from all communities in Kosovo to apply and said that the Ministry of Defense will guarantee a fair and transparent process.

Lajcak: I trust concrete findings will be presented in six months (media)

The European Union Special Representative for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, Miroslav Lajcak, took to Twitter to comment on today’s meeting between the expert delegations on the license plates. “This morning in Brussels, I welcomed the expert delegations for the first meeting of the Working Group on license plates, as agreed on 30 September. The Group chaired by my advisers will be meeting on a regular basis. I trust they will present concrete findings in 6 months,” Lajcak tweeted.

“Government to focus on final agreement, no return to technical dialogue” (Lajmi)

Kosovo’s former Prime Minister, Avdullah Hoti, took to Facebook to react to today’s meeting between the working groups of Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels that will discuss an agreement on the license plates. Hoti argued that the Kosovo Government needs to focus on a final agreement on mutual recognition and not return to a technical dialogue. He said the previous government which he led engaged in a dialogue for mutual recognition based on a platform of principles, objectives and red lines in the process. “The platform was presented to our international partners before the dialogue started. Only after agreeing with our partners on Kosovo’s position and expectations from the process, we started the dialogue with the sole objective of reaching a final agreement on mutual recognition and normalisation of relations,” Hoti said.

Haradinaj: Reforms in judiciary in partnership with US and EU (media)

Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) leader Ramush Haradinaj said in a Facebook post today that the judiciary in Kosovo needs to be strengthened through reforms and not through political appointments. “Reforms in the judiciary need to be continuous and institutional, in partnership with the United States and the European Union. The judiciary is a universal value and any attempt to use it for internal party goals will not be tolerated,” Haradinaj argued.

GLPS on EC report: Kosovo has not achieved desired results (Koha)

The Prishtina-based Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS), an independent public policy organisation, held a press conference today about the findings of the latest report on Kosovo by the European Commission. They said the report does not note any deep structural reforms in Kosovo. “The GLPS recommends to the Kosovo Government to make increased efforts and engage in better inter-institutional coordination in order to achieve concrete results in some key reforms such as the rule of law, the fight against corruption and organised crime, reforms in public administration and education, and above all increased and serious institutional engagement is needed to meet the obligations stemming from the SAA and the European Reforms Agenda,” the GLPS representatives said.

They also argued that “deep reforms in the justice system are needed through a vetting process, but this must be done in coordination and with the full inclusion of the international factor in all phases of the process”.

Ex-intelligence employee, suspected of leaking information (media)

The Basic Prosecution in Prishtina said in a statement today that a former employee of the Kosovo Intelligence Agency was arrested for abuse of duty. The suspect is charged with “abuse of duty or official authority”, “abuse of official information”, “breaking in computer systems”, “leaking classified information and not protecting classified information” and “taking unauthorized images and other recordings”. The arrest was made following cooperation between the Intelligence Agency, the Basic Prosecution and the police. 

COVID-19: 18 new cases, no deaths (media)

18 new cases with COVID-19 were confirmed in Kosovo in the last 24 hours. 23 persons recovered from the virus during this time. There are 510 active cases with COVID-19 in Kosovo.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

56 new Covid-19 cases in Serbian areas in Kosovo (Radio Mitrovica sever) 

According to the latest data from the Institute of Public Health in Kosovska Mitrovica, 56 cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded out of a total of 110 samples tested.

10 cases were registered in North Mitrovica, 17 in Zvecan, 21 in Leposavic and one in Zubin Potok.

There are seven newly infected people in central Kosovo, three from Gracanica, two from Strpce and one case each was recorded in Prizren and Gnjilane. 

There are 252 active cases of infection in Serbian communities in Kosovo.

Petkovic: Von Cramon relativizes the violence against the Serbian people in the north of Kosovo (NMagazin, N1)

The director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic assessed today that the Rapporteur of the European Parliament (EP) for Kosovo, Viola von Cramon, tried to “relativize the violence” against the Serbian people in the north of Kosovo.

“In her dangerous campaign to relativize the violence of Pristina and (Kosovo Prime Minister) Albin Kurti against the bare-handed Serb people in the north of the province, this time she stepped over the line, accusing Serbs of being guilty of firing more than 100 bullets and countless tear gas canisters, shock bombs, “Petkovic said in a statement.

Petkovic asked whether Srecko Sofronijevic, who was shot during the Kosovo police operation, was “guilty of trying to protect his wife and two children”, as well as whether these were “European values that von Cramon stands for”.

“If Ms. von Cramon was truly committed to European values, she would listen carefully to the messages of European Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who openly condemned Pristina’s unilateral violent actions and stated that they were not coordinated,” Petkovic said

He assessed that “it is more than obvious that her boss is not in Brussels, but in Pristina”.

European Parliament (EP) Rapporteur for Kosovo Viola von Cramon told N1 television that “perhaps … excessive use was the case. It can be criticized” but, on the other hand, she doubts that it can be said that it was “disproportionate use of force, because it was also directed against Albanian citizens.”

“But, in any case, in order to curb this problem, intervention is needed, these actions did not happen only in the north, but also in other parts of Kosovo, and no one had any objections, nor did they ask for these actions to be curbed or postponed. There is a problem with organized crime, corruption and smuggling, it is up to the Kosovo authorities to decide when and where to use the police force,” von Cramon said.

Djuric responds to von Cramon over her remarks about police action (Vecernje Novosti)

Vice President of Serbian Progressive Party Main Board Marko Djuric reacted to the statement of European Parliament (EP) Rapporteur for Kosovo Viola von Cramon, who termed the actions of Kosovo police as “welcome and necessary”, saying “that her cynicism was blood chilling”, Vecernje Novosti reports.    

“By claiming that terror of Pristina’s special forces was a “welcome and necessary action”, Von Cramon will enter the annals of unscrupulousness. Instead of alerting the European and world public as the European Parliament’s Rapporteur for Kosovo about the police brutality, which as a direct consequence had suffocation of 71-year-old Verica Djelic from Zvecan due to the use of chemicals, while 35-year-old Srecko Sofronijevic was shot in the back in his own backyard, Von Cramon is reproducing the transparent lies made by those who committed the crime”, Djuric said.

“Completely contrary to the UN report – communicated clearly and publicly by Zahir Tanin at the UN Security Council session, which clearly states this was a unilateral action that was not coordinated with international missions and which caused a dangerous escalation with consequences for the civilian population, von Cramon consciously ignores the blood of innocent civilians that has been shed. Instead of loudly opposing, as an EU parliamentarian, the action carried out in violation of key provisions of the Brussels Agreement, which refer to the functions and ethnic structure of the KPS North police region, in a unilateral way, she criticizes EU HR Borell, who pointed out the danger of unilateral actions. Even the official Pristina statistics are in vain, according to which the police region of KPS North achieves the best results in the fight against organized crime in Kosovo, both the word and the spirit of the Brussels Agreement are in vain, Von Cramon decided that the few Serbs left in Kosovo must be the eternal “bad guys” while her guy Kurti, must be good even when he kills”, Djuric added.

“Political passions and lobbying support are a very toxic combination. In the case of the unfortunate Viola von Cramon, cynicism and bias are no longer an exception but the iron rule. However, isn’t it time for the European Parliament to ask itself whether there are limits to the bias of their Rapporteur”, Djuric concluded.  

Von Cramon tells N1 Kosovo police operation “was necessary” (N1)

European Parliament Rapporteur for Kosovo Viola von Cramon told N1 on Wednesday that the recent Kosovo police operation was necessary, adding it’s good that the Kosovo government tackled the problem of smuggling and organized crime.

The police operation met with fierce resistance from the Serbs in the north of Kosovo with a number of people injured and one person suffering gunshot wounds. The operation met with condemnation from Belgrade and a call for an immediate end to unwelcome unilateral action from European Union High Representative Josep Borrell.

According to von Cramon, the EU frequently called the Kosovo authorities to deal with the problem. Enforcing the law happens everywhere not just in the north of Kosovo and mainly Albanians were arrested, she said and added that this type of crime does not know nationality.

She said that the excessive use of force was directed at Albanians as well as Serbs. The intervention was needed to deal with the problem, the operation did not take place only in the north but all over Kosovo and no one had any objection, she said and added that there is a problem with organized crime, corruption and smuggling and that it’s up to the Kosovo authorities to decide when to use the police.

Von Cramon also said that she can’t criticize what she called a sovereign decision by the Kosovo authorities until she sees the wider picture.

“Impermissible to try Serbs in Kosovo without solid evidence” (Radio KIM,Kosovo-online, RTS)

“Decision of the so-called Supreme Court of Kosovo to uphold convicting verdict to Nenad Arsic, a Serb from Caglavica, is new in a series of proofs of the biases by the court instances in Pristina,” Office for Kosovo and Metohija said in a statement, Radio KIM reports.

The Office for KiM added it was impermissible that the Serbs in Kosovo were denied the right to fair trial.

“It is impermissible and disgraceful that Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija were denied the right to fair trial, and they are being persecuted and accused based on secrete indictments, sentenced to lengthy prison sentences, without evidence based on solid grounds, and numerous violations of their rights”, the statement further said.

“Neither so-called Court of Appeals nor so-called Supreme Court considered at all the stance of Arsic’s defence about completely contradictory testimonies of the affected party in this case, despite the fact that the two plaintiffs gave two completly opposing versions of the very same event”, the Office added.

It also said Arsic’s lawyer will file an appeal.

“Arsic’s lawyer is already preparing an appeal to the so-called Constitutional Court of the so-called Kosovo in which it would present arguments, but also other procedural violations in the case of Nenad Arsic”, the statement said.

Nenad Arsic was accused of committing a war crime against the civilian population in the Esmir settlement in Pristina. According to the verdict “he forced the victims J.Sh, and S.Sh, who are still suffering, to drink alcohol and sing Serbian songs”, Kosovo-online portal recalled.

Nenad Arsic was arrested in October 2019. He lived in Caglavica until 2014 and after that was visiting his house regularly. On the day of the arrest he was on his way to collect an ID card in Pristina. In a statement to RTS, his family said back then that their family property borders the family property of Shala brothers, now plaintiffs in his case.  

Odalovic: Pristina has maximalist demands (Radio KIM, RTS)

Serbian National Assembly Secretary General Veljko Odalovic told RTS morning program that the European Commission report on Serbia was good news, given that the previous one was different, much more negative.

“This is a qualitative step ahead, and it obviously recognized what happened in Serbia, that efforts were made to make certain recommendations and obligations implemented and were treated in the report as such”, he said.

Odalovic also said Serbia “was fulfilling obligations, including those that were conditions and support to its path to European integration (…)”.

According to him the most difficult challenge will be the issue of Kosovo and Metohija.

“If European institutions have enough strength, that Pristina sits at the table in Brussels and resolve all open issues through the dialogue, that may produce qualitative results through resolving it between Belgrade-Pristina , it would be much easier to talk about that afterwards”, he said.

“However if Pristina acts as it is acting now, ignores an entire process, obstructs it and runs away from the dialogue and international obligations it undertook, then we will all have the problem”, he added.

Talking about the first meeting of technical groups of Belgrade and Pristina representatives in Brussels, planned for today, to discuss a lasting solution to the registration plates, Odalovic said it was good not to postpone the process.

“It won’t be easy because Pristina, as per rule, has maximalist demands and attempts to get support for something like that. This is something that one should rationally think of, to enable mechanism so the Serbs and Albanians but also all others crossing administrative line on both sides and areas where they move can do so easily and without difficulties”, Odalovic said.  

Bislimi: There will be no CSM (ZSO), Serbian List is manipulating (Kosovo Online)

Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo and the chief negotiator of Kosovo team in the Brussels dialogue with Serbia, Besnik Bislimi, says that the Community of Serbian Municipalities will not be formed, reported portal Kosovo Online, citing Koha Ditore. 

Bislimi said that Serbs were manipulated this time again if they had voted for the Serbian List because of it.   

“It is up to the political subjects to look after the promises they gave and their fulfilment. Serbian List can make those promises, it made them in 2017, but it did not fulfil them. If this time they promised something about the formation of the CSM, I can remind the citizens what they said in 2017 and tell them that it is the same Serbian List. There will be no Community of Serbian Municipalities, and if that was the reason why they voted for the Serbian List, then the citizens were manipulated,” Bislimi said. 

Bislimi said that if the CSM (ZSO) was a good method, then it should be applied to Albanians in Serbia as well. 

“There cannot be any mono-ethnic association. If we conclude that this is the best modality, then Serbia should apply it to Albanians in Serbia as well. Show us that Serbia’s concern for its citizens is not part of their mathematics to make Kosovo functional, but the product of their belief in the need to promote minority rights, which means that they should set the same example as well,” Bislimi said. 

In assessing the local elections held on Sunday, the Vice President of LVV said that the turnout of Serbian citizens in the elections in the municipalities in the north was not real. 

“Turnout in Serbian municipalities is artificial. While in the southern municipalities the turnout by 11 am is 6 percent, there it was 30 percent. We have not proven how this happens; the problem is that the CEC has failed to ensure the credibility of the electoral system in all municipalities. We do not have a guarantee that the same people do not vote in every municipality, because we cannot electronically monitor every movement of citizens,” Bislimi concluded. 

Calculations with Belgrade – Haziri bought votes from the Serbian List or received them for free

RTK2 reported that Bislimi also spoke about the election process in Gnjilane.

He says that there are two reasons why this municipality is going to the second round of elections – that is, why the candidate of Self-Determination, Alban Hyseni did not win in the first round with the support of more than 50 percent of voters.

He says that, first, surveys were ordered that projected the LDK candidate, Lutfi Haziri, as the winner without a second round, and second – the votes of Serbs in this municipality, which, as Bislimi says, Haziri bought from Serbian List, reported RTK2. 

“You know these votes that he bought from the Serbian List, and it is even worse if he did not buy them and if they were given to him for free. It turns out that they are part of Belgrade’s calculations,” Bislimi said.

In the show “Desk” on KTV, he also denied the allegations – that the actions in the North were deliberately planned to be carried out just before the elections.

Petkovic: Bislimi’s statement that Community of Serbian Municipalities will not be formed, culmination of irresponsibility (RTS)

The latest statements of Pristina’s chief negotiator Besnik Bislimi that the Community of Serbian Municipalities (ZSO) will not be formed are the culmination of irresponsibility and cynicism and directly ruin the continuation of the dialogue with Belgrade, says the director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic.

Therefore, as Petkovic says, we ask the European Union, as a mediator in the dialogue and a guarantor of the implementation of the agreement, to react to such dangerous messages from Pristina about the violation of the agreement and the Community of Serbian Municipalities, reported RTS.

“It is a matter of flagrant collapse of any future dialogue and agreement, and blackmailing and unilateral statements, whose signatory is Bislimi, do not help either normalization of relations or search for a compromise solution,” Petkovic added.

Belgrade, for its part, has fully shown a constructive approach to dialogue and commitment to respect the agreements reached, but on the other side of the negotiating table, there is a complete absence of any readiness for talks, according to the director of the Office for KiM. 

“And there will be the talks on the Community of Serbian Municipalities, already in the next round of dialogue, as the European Union has clearly pointed out. That is why it would be much more expedient for Pristina and Bislimi to prepare well for talks on forming the CSM (ZSO), instead sending threats. It’s not Belgrade to blame for Albin Kurti’s failure to win a majority in any municipality in Kosovo and Metohija, and he cannot hide his catastrophic results by attacking the Serbian people, official Belgrade and the Serbian List,” Petkovic concluded.

Dacic: Greece is reassuring us they will not recognize Kosovo (Kosovo-online)

Serbian Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic used his visit to Athens to have bilateral meetings with his Greek counterpart Konstantinos Tasoulas, Archbishop of Athens, Ieronymos II and former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipars, now leader of the opposition, who reassured him that Greece will not recognize Kosovo, Kosovo-online portal reports.

“Representatives of the government, Assembly Speaker, head of opposition, Archbishop, they all said the same and it is that Greece will not recognize unilaterally declared Kosovo independence. It is on us to keep this topic active all the time, to ask this kind of questions because it is of great importance for us”, Dacic said. 

 

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