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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 3, 2022

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• EU confirms Lajcak meeting with Kurti and Vucic (Radio Free Europe)
• Transatlantic cooperation for an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia (Koha)
• Chollet: Progress in dialogue, key to Kosovo’s European future (media)
• Kosovo to replace blocked ‘smuggling roads’ in Serb-majority north (BIRN)
• Kosovo makes progress in media freedom, report says (Radio Free Europe)
• In land with no sea, Kosovar builds ocean-going boats (BIRN)
• Russian Ambassador to Serbia denies change in Putin’s Kosovo policy (BIRN)
• COVID-19: 11 new cases (media)

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  • EU confirms Lajcak meeting with Kurti and Vucic (Radio Free Europe)
  • Transatlantic cooperation for an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia (Koha)
  • Chollet: Progress in dialogue, key to Kosovo’s European future (media)
  • Kosovo to replace blocked ‘smuggling roads’ in Serb-majority north (BIRN)
  • Kosovo makes progress in media freedom, report says (Radio Free Europe)
  • In land with no sea, Kosovar builds ocean-going boats (BIRN)
  • Russian Ambassador to Serbia denies change in Putin’s Kosovo policy (BIRN)
  • COVID-19: 11 new cases (media)

EU confirms Lajcak meeting with Kurti and Vucic (Radio Free Europe)

EU spokesperson Peter Stano confirmed on Monday that the EU Special Representative for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, Miroslav Lajcak, will be in Berlin on May 4, and meet Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, the news website reports. It is reported that Lajcak might have a joint meeting with the two leaders. If the meeting takes place, it will be the first meeting between Kurti and Vucic since July last year.

“German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has invited President Vucic and Prime Minister Kurti for special bilateral visits to Berlin on May 4. Chancellor Scholz also invited the special representative, Miroslav Lajcak, to visit Berlin on May, and to meet first with the Chancellor, and then to have an informal meeting with President Vucic and Prime Minister Kurti,” the EU spokesperson said.

Transatlantic cooperation for an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia (Koha)

The daily reported on its front page on Monday that the transatlantic cooperation for a new strategic repositioning in the Balkans following the Russian aggression in Ukraine is seen as an opportunity for Kosovo and Serbia to move toward a final and comprehensive settlement. Following the United States of America which called on the two sides to undertake urgent steps and return to the table of talks, Germany too has become more active, with Chancellor Scholz inviting Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti and Serbian President Vucic to meetings in Berlin.

Chollet: Progress in dialogue, key to Kosovo’s European future (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti during his stay in Washington met with Derek Chollet, Counselor of the U.S. Department of State. “Good to see Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti yesterday to discuss shared priorities, including progress on the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue, the key to Kosovo’s European future. Thanked him for hosting Afghans and reiterated the U.S.’ firm commitment to Kosovo’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chollet tweeted after the meeting. Kurti said he was honored by the invitation to their first in-person meeting. “Look forward to continuing bilateral cooperation with the United States on shared values and priorities,” Kurti tweeted.

Kosovo to replace blocked ‘smuggling roads’ in Serb-majority north (BIRN)

Kosovo Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla told MPs on Friday that alternative routes will be constructed in the Serb-majority north to enable citizens to move freely, without needing to pass through Serbian territory, while illegal roads used for smuggling remain closed.

“In collaboration with KFOR [the NATO peacekeeping mission] and the Ministry of Local Government … we are planning to construct new roads which do not make it necessary to cross into Serbian territory,” Svecla told the Parliamentary Commission on Security.

Svecla was replying to Slavko Simic, MP from the Belgrade-backed Sprska Lista party, who said the closure of roads in the Serb-majority north by Kosovo police had made local citizens’ lives difficult.

“Due to the police action of [closing] the roads, on February 24 in Leposavic and Zubin Potok, the lives [of residents] have become difficult. There are old people who have difficulty going to the hospital and children going to schools,” Simic said on Friday. He called the closure of the roads an “inhumane gesture against the population” and called for them to be reopened.

Read full article here: https://bit.ly/3OLGvc2

Kosovo makes progress in media freedom, report says (Radio Free Europe)

Kosovo has made progress in terms of media freedom, according to the World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders. This year Kosovo is ranked 61st compared to the 78th position it held in 2021. The upward trend comes after the decline it marked last year – by eight positions – compared to the 2020 ranking. The report however notes that despite the progress Kosovo remains among countries with “a problematic situation”.

In land with no sea, Kosovar builds ocean-going boats (BIRN)

Although no part of Kosovo touches a coastline, geographical reality has not stopped a young Kosovar from building professional, ocean-crossing fishing boats – that sell as far away as the US.

Kosovo’s lack of access to salt water has not shattered Shkamb Koshi’s maritime ambitions. This young man from Gjakova has turned his passion for fishing into a profession – building ocean-going boats.

On the outskirts of Prizren, in Petrovë village, he has set up his own company where he builds carbon fiber boats, named “Interstellar”, as well as aesthetic parts for car giants Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lamborghini and Ferrari.

Koshi, 34, is now finalizing his second boat, which has already been sold to clients in Miami, Florida.

Read full article here: https://bit.ly/3MKQCfl

Russian Ambassador to Serbia denies change in Putin’s Kosovo policy (BIRN)

After Serbian tabloids accused Russia of betraying Serbia over the Kosovo issue, in order to justify its claims to eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Ambassador to Serbia has insisted that Moscow’s Kosovo policy remains the same.

Russia has denied changing its attitude towards Kosovo and will not recognize it as an independent state, Russia’s ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Botsan Kharchenko, confirmed on Thursday evening.

Botsan Kharchenko said Russia’s stance over the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008 was “durable, long lasting and confirmed several times”. “Of course, there are no changes at all, Russia is consistent, does not recognize Kosovo, seeks the implementation of [UN] Resolution 1244, which remains, in our opinion and according to international law, the basis for regulating the issue of Kosovo,“ he told Insajder Television.

COVID-19: 11 new cases (media)

11 new cases with COVID-19 were confirmed in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 14 persons recovered from the virus during this time. There are 428 active cases with COVID-19 in Kosovo.

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