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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, October 22, 2021

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, October 22, 2021

Albanian Language Media:

• Osmani and Kurti: New KSF recruits will make Kosovo safer (Koha)
• Government does not close the door to UNMIK (RFE)
• Nikolla: Council of Europe will remain incomplete until it accepts Kosovo (media)
• Health ministry opens vaccination point in Pristina square (media)
• COVID-19: 16 new cases, no deaths (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Petkovic: Serbia will demand concrete actions to establish CSM at next meeting in Brussels (Kosovo-online)
• Mijacic: Community of Serbian Municipalities will nonetheless be formed (Danas)
• Members of Civic Initiative Peoples’ Unity in Klokot joined Serbian List (Radio KIM)
• Perpetrators who stoned house of Rumena Ljubic apprehended (Radio KIM)

Opinion:

• The advances civilizations of Kosovo and Serbia, explained (Kosovo 2.0)
• Price panic risks derailing Western Balkans’ energy transition (Prishtina Insight)

International:

• Kosovo Police Quiz Minors for Stoning Elderly Serb’s House (Balkan Insight)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Osmani and Kurti: New KSF recruits will make Kosovo safer (Koha)
  • Government does not close the door to UNMIK (RFE)
  • Nikolla: Council of Europe will remain incomplete until it accepts Kosovo (media)
  • Health ministry opens vaccination point in Pristina square (media)
  • COVID-19: 16 new cases, no deaths (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Petkovic: Serbia will demand concrete actions to establish CSM at next meeting in Brussels (Kosovo-online)
  • Mijacic: Community of Serbian Municipalities will nonetheless be formed (Danas)
  • Members of Civic Initiative Peoples’ Unity in Klokot joined Serbian List (Radio KIM)
  • Perpetrators who stoned house of Rumena Ljubic apprehended (Radio KIM)

Opinion:

  • The advances civilizations of Kosovo and Serbia, explained (Kosovo 2.0)
  • Price panic risks derailing Western Balkans’ energy transition (Prishtina Insight)

International:

  • Kosovo Police Quiz Minors for Stoning Elderly Serb’s House (Balkan Insight)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

Osmani and Kurti: New KSF recruits will make Kosovo safer (Koha)

President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister Albin Kurti took part at the swearing-in ceremony of the new recruits of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF). 

Osmani said that as of today, Kosovo is stronger. “These 180 recruits are part of the Army. As a supreme commander of the KSF I am extremely proud to see KSF’s progress every day. I am proud that among the recruits I see 12 women. The opening of the KSF to girls and women is not only a need but a necessity,” Osmani is quoted to have said at the ceremony.

She added that Kosovo’s force will be in the function of defending the territorial sovereignty. 

Kurti meanwhile noted that the KSF recruits will be serving their homeland and defence of the territory. “By being part of the KSF, you have the honour to serve the country alongside allies, NATO soldiers.” He added that the Government’s decision to increase the budget for the Ministry of Defence shows the commitment to strengthening of peace. 

Government does not close the door to UNMIK (RFE)

The role of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, diminished after the declaration of Kosovo’s independence and the deployment of the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) in 2008.

However, since that time, UNMIK continued to operate throughout the territory of Kosovo.

UNMIK leaders met and re-met prime ministers, as well as other leading Kosovo politicians.

Once a great opponent of UNMIK, Prime Minister Albin Kurti on 11 October 2021 received in his office the current head of this mission, Zahir Tanin.

In a statement after the meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office said that the Kurti-Tanin meeting took place ahead of the UN Security Council session, where the UNMIK head was set to present the regular report on developments in Kosovo.

But such high-level meetings between a prime minister and the UNMIK head should not be happening in reality, former Minister Edita Tahiri told Radio Free Europe.

Tahiri considers that the UNMIK mission in Kosovo has been a fossil structure for years, which should not be given the opportunity to justify its existence.

“It is not good for the government and the prime minister to hold meetings with UNMIK, because holding high-level meetings sends the signal that (the government) still supports the existence of UNMIK in Kosovo,” Tahiri said.

Tahiri says that this mission should not be completely ignored but, according to her, communication and cooperation should be established only at the technical level.

“There can be contacts because they are in Kosovo, but those levels should be technical, between administrative officials and not meetings of political levels, such as the meeting of the prime minister and the head of UNMIK.”

The meeting between Prime Minister Kurti and UNMIK chief Tanin sparked criticism in Kosovo as it was said that it was strengthening the role of this mission, which legally has no executive powers since 2008.

“For as long as they’re here, we will receive them when they ask for a meeting”

The office of the Prime Minister of Kosovo says that the UNMIK mission is unnecessary ever since the declaration of independence. But, according to the government, since this mission is still in Kosovo, they will receive its officials whenever they request a meeting.

“UNMIK is here because the UN refuses to suspend its mandate, even though it is a UN body which since the declaration of Kosovo’s independence is unnecessary and has no executive powers. While they are here, we receive them when they request a meeting,” a written reply from the Government of Kosovo states.

The government says that PM Kurti has always been clear in his position towards UNMIK which, according to the executive, should have ceased out long ago.

“The Prime Minister has a long time ago made clear his position towards UNMIK and like no other leader in a post-war Kosovo. The presence and activity of UNMIK is unnecessary. After the declaration of independence and the confirmation of its legality by the International Court of Justice, which is a United Nations body, the mandate of the UNMIK mission has now been three times exceeded”, the office of PM Kurti added.

Despite the absence of executive powers, UNMIK regularly reports on the situation in Kosovo at UN Security Council sessions.

Since 1999, based on Resolution 1244, UNMIK has reported on the situation in Kosovo on a regular quarterly period.

Recently, following the request of Kosovar diplomats in the United States and the support of this country, as well as the United Kingdom, reporting now takes place twice a year.

The latest meeting of the UN Security Council took place on 15 October, where UNMIK chief Zahir Tanin was criticized for accusing Kosovo institutions of causing tensions in the Serb-majority municipalities in the north of Kosovo.

Tanin said In his remarks that Kosovo imposed the reciprocity measure on its own, an action that, according to him, caused an almost two-week crisis in the municipalities in the north, inhabited by a Serb majority. On 30 September in Brussels, the parties from Kosovo and Serbia reached an agreement on license plates, according to which state symbols would be covered with stickers.

UNMIK: We will be here until Security Council decides otherwise

Radio Free Europe has asked UNMIK mission if it considers that its presence in Kosovo is still necessary.

The mission’s reply states that they will be here until the UN Security Council takes another decision.

“United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) defines the mandate of the international civilian and security presence in Kosovo. Any adjustments to this mandate require a decision by the Security Council,” UNMIK said in a statement.

UNMIK explained that it currently cooperates with Kosovo institutions in different fields, as well as with the civil society. UNMIK says that based on its mandate, in the last five years it has channeled, among other things, about nine million euros for strengthening the rule of law, human rights and cooperation between communities.

The UNMIK mission says that the head of this mission “holds regular consultations with the leadership of Pristina and Belgrade”, adding that such meetings are also held with other international missions in Kosovo, including KFOR, OSCE and EULEX.

Miftaraj: Fair reporting to be asked from UNMIK

Director of the Kosovo Law Institute, Ehat Miftaraj, says for Radio Free Europe that any meeting that Kosovo officials may have with UNMIK representatives should be used to request fair reporting to the UN Security Council.

Miftaraj says this should be insisted upon until the UN invalidates Resolution 1244.

“Such meetings should contribute in Kosovo asking UNMIK to tell the truth in the reports made to the Security Council which in the most recent case unfortunately did not happen as we can say that after a significant amount of time, the report of Mr. Zahir Tanin, which is his last as the representative of the Secretary-General, was not used to emphasise the reality, but was biased,” Miftaraj said.

Miftaraj considers that in his last report at the UN Security Council session, UNMIK Head Zahir Tanin went beyond the framework and practices that, according to him, this mission has applied in reporting since the declaration of Kosovo’s independence in 2008.

Regardless of the way UNMIK reports on the situation in Kosovo, former Minister for Dialogue Edita Tahiri thinks that Kosovo should be more engaged in the diplomatic front regarding the demand for the invalidation of the 1244 resolution.

Kosovo can do this, she says, by using the assistance of the United States.

“What I wish to say is that the U.S.’s power and diplomatic influence could lead to the abrogation of Security Council Resolution 1244 because that is the legal basis for the functioning of the current UNMIK. Of course, Kosovo can also act diplomatically in this direction”, Tahiri said.

What was and remains of UNMIK?

The United Nations Mission, UNMIK, was established in Kosovo for the first time in June 1999.

The goal of the mission was to serve as an international civilian and military presence following the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

The UN had deployed the mission to help rebuild Kosovo’s institutions, as during the war the judicial system in Kosovo was “destroyed” and there was an “urgent need to build a true rule of law, including through immediate reconstruction of an independent, impartial and multi-ethnic judiciary.”

UNMIK underwent a significant restructuring in 2008 when Kosovo declared independence and another international mission arrived in Kosovo, the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX), to which UNMIK’s competencies were transferred.

At present, UNMIK has a very limited presence in Kosovo.

At the last meeting of the UN Security Council, the U.S. reiterated calls for the closure of this mission.

Nikolla: Council of Europe will remain incomplete until it accepts Kosovo (media)

Albania’s Assembly Speaker Lindita Nikolla spoke about Kosovo’s membership in the Council of Europe during her remarks at the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament in Athens.

“The Council of Europe will remain incomplete until it accepts Kosovo, the youngest state in Europe, a new state, created by Atlantic Europe, with the other strategic allies, the United States of America,” Nikolla said. 

She said that the region of the Western Balkans should be viewed as an added value of Europe not as a burden. “As Speaker of Parliament, but also as a citizen of one of these countries, I would like to raise the concern that the term ‘Western Balkans’, from a geographical term has received a clear political connotation, sometimes even negative. And this is because enlargement policies have not been able to overcome the obstacles and prejudices towards our countries,” Nikolla added.

Health ministry opens vaccination point in Pristina square (media)

The Health Ministry announced that a vaccination tent has been set up in the centre of Pristina, at the “Zahir Pajaziti” square, and that it was open to all those wishing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Coordination of the vaccination centre, Naim Bardhi, said that the aim of a vaccination point opening up at the centre is to be closer to the people who have not yet received the first dose. He also announced that as of next week, mobile vaccination teams will be available across Kosovo.

“As you know, over 600,000 persons have received both doses of the vaccine, we are nearing 700,000. At present, around 200,000 have received the first dose…this means we are leading in the region with vaccinations,” Bardhi is quoted in Telegrafi.

Koha meanwhile reports that in the last week, Kosovo followed the Vatican with the lowest number of COVID-19 infections in Europe.

COVID-19: 16 new cases, no deaths (media)

16 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 45 persons recovered from the virus during this time.

There are 481 active cases with COVID-19 in Kosovo.

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Petkovic: Serbia will demand concrete actions to establish CSM at next meeting in Brussels (Kosovo-online)

Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director Petar Petkovic spoke today with special commissioner for the Western Balkans of the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, Johannes Ajgner about situation in Kosovo, with particular focus on the situation of the Serbian people there, and problems they face, Kosovo-online portal reports.

Petkovic pointed out that over the last weeks the number of organized and synchronized actions of the heavily armed Kosovo special police units has increased, which, as he said, illegally and without approval intruded the north of Kosovo twice over the last twenty days.

He recalled ROSU deployment to Brnjak and Jarinje administrative crossing points on September 20, and then on October 13 for the ninth time these units illegally entered northern municipalities, as shot at barehanded people, Petkovic said.

“A Serb from Zvecan, Srecko Sofronijevic was wounded on this occasion, and these provocations aimed at provoking a dangerous destabilization of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, and directly endangered peace and stability on the ground”, Petkovic warned.

He underlined the importance of the full implementation of the Brussels agreement and all agreements made thus far.

He also said that “Pristina constantly generates an environment of mistrust by constant refusal to start the process of establishing Community of Serb-majority Municipalities (CSM)”, adding that “Belgrade wil request at the first next meeting in Brussels concrete actions to establish Community of Serbian Municipalities, something that the EU also clearly said it should be done”.  

Mijacic: Community of Serbian Municipalities will nonetheless be formed (Danas)

National Convention of the Working Group for European Union Chapter 35 Coordinator Dragisa Mijacic told BETA news agency that the statement of Kosovo chief negotiator Besnik Bislimi “that Community/Association of Serbian Municipalities will not be formed” should be viewed in the context of the poor result of the Self-determination Movement (LVV).

He also said LVV gained popularity in Kosovo by organizing protests against the establishment of the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities “so any affirmative statement on this topic would undermine the credibility they enjoy among their electorate”.

According to Mijacic the Serbian List with its request to establish Community of Serb-majority Municipalities by the end of the year, additionally fuelled the already boiling passions on the political scene of Kosovo, “so Bislimi reacted exactly as their voters expect from him”.

“This certainly does not mean that the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities will not be formed, because by signing the Brussels Agreement, Kosovo Government has taken on that obligation, and we also see increasing international pressure to finally form the Community”, Mijacic opined.

Members of Civic Initiative Peoples’ Unity in Klokot joined Serbian List (Radio KIM)

None of the three candidates running for Klokot mayor managed to win a sufficient number of votes in the first round of local elections in Kosovo, which took place on October 17, Radio KIM reports.

Candidate of the Civic Initiative Peoples’ Unity Sasa Markovic, along with the members of his initiative, joined the Serbian List and urged his supporters to vote for the Serbian List in the upcoming round of local elections in this municipality.

In the first round of mayoral elections, Serbian List candidate Vladan Bogdanovic won 41 percent or 788 votes while Strahinja Spasic from Serbian Peoples’ Unity won 36 percent or 687 votes. None of them had a sufficient number of votes to become a mayor, thus the second round became mandatory. Sasa Markovic, won 22 percent or 426 votes respectively. 

Perpetrators who stoned house of Rumena Ljubic apprehended (Radio KIM)

Kosovo police have apprehended those who stoned the house of Rumena Ljubic, 93-year old professor of Serbian language and the only Serb woman living in the center of Pec, Radio KIM reports, citing a Twitter post of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo.

The OSCE commended police for apprehending those who stoned the house of Rumena Ljubic, breaking her windows. “It is important to tackle delinquency and respect the vulnerable in our community”, the OSCE added in a post.

The House of Rumena Ljubic was stoned on two occasions, media reported earlier. She, along with the family of the Serbian Orthodox Church priest, is the only Serb woman living in the center of Pec. 

 

 

Opinion

 

The advances civilizations of Kosovo and Serbia, explained (Kosovo 2.0)

In the grand scheme of things, the squabble over the north does not seem so big, writes Stefan Veljkovic. 

When we look at the stars, we are not looking at them in their current state. In fact, we are observing them based on the light that is only now reaching our retina’s photoreceptors. Icarus, the farthest star known to us, is more than nine billion light-years away. 

Mind-bogglingly, that star could have transformed into a supernova millions of years ago, and we still would not know it because the light from that supernova will only reach us many million years from now.

Or rather it will not ― because we will not be around to witness it. Bummer.

Back to planet Earth and our petty scuffles and mundane transgressions. The governments of Kosovo and Serbia are feuding over control of the notorious north. Actually, scratch that. Serbia only portrays things this way in their media, desperate to demonstrate it holds the upper hand. Mounting evidence and common sense tell us this is not even remotely the case, but who cares about that stuff anyway?!

Truth be told, the Serbian government has been steadily withdrawing its institutions from Kosovo, most notably from its northern corner. Since I have lived here my entire life ― and intend to do so for the foreseeable future ― it strikes me as vitally important to convey my opinions on how Serbs in Kosovo, particularly in its north, live their days.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3Geqo2k

Price panic risks derailing Western Balkans’ energy transition (Prishtina Insight)

By Viktor Berishaj

Regional policymakers are making a mistake if they use soaring energy prices in the EU to justify a continued commitment to fossil fuel, and divert from energy transition commitments.

The energy crisis in Europe is sending a clear worldwide message: fossil fuel dependency must end.

The steady increase in fossil gas prices since January 2021, driven by growing demand and a limited supply, have caused electricity prices to soar.

In preparation for winter, big suppliers like Russia are prioritizing their domestic markets. In turn, this has left European countries like Italy and Spain, which rely greatly on gas to meet their domestic needs for electricity production, in a precarious position.

While fossil-generated gas accounts for only 20 percent of Europe’s electricity, gas-fired power plants are increasing the price of electricity, thanks to higher demand, low renewable energy supplies and the global increase in coal prices.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3jsuM43

 

 

International 

 

Kosovo Police Quiz Minors for Stoning Elderly Serb’s House (Balkan Insight)

Kosovo Police said they have questioned a group of juveniles who admitted throwing stones at the house of a retired teacher, the only Serb woman living in the town of Peja/Pec.

Police confirmed on Thursday evening that a group of minors from the western town of Peja/Pec has been identified and interviewed for stoning a Serb woman’s house in the town centre.

“The case happened last week and two days afterwards, police identified some four or five persons under 14. They have been interviewed in the presence of their parents and lawyers,” Fadil Gashi, a Kosovo Police spokesperson for the Peja/Pec region, told BIRN.

“They have admitted the act. They have declared they were not pushed to do it [by anyone] or by any purpose,” he added.

On October 14, local station Radio Gorazdevac reported that the house of Rumena Ljubic, the only Serb woman living in the town, had been stoned for the second time within 24 hours. The station said that some of Ljubic’s windows were smashed during the attack.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3ppdIzV

 

 

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