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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 6, 2022

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• Kurti received Germany’s Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht (media)
• Kurti: We have no parallel projects (Deutsche Welle)
• Chancellor Scholz will visit Balkans in autumn, Defense Minister says (Koha)
• Mehaj, Lambrecht talk about security in Kosovo and the region (media)
• “Difficult” meeting in Berlin raises hopes for agreements in Brussels (Koha)
• Kosovo Assembly forms two energy inquiry committees (BIRN)
• UK Ambassador to OSCE calls for commitment to dialogue (Kallxo)
• Osmani meets with President of Panama Cortizo (media)
• “Kurti could be the person that gives a final solution to dialogue” (Klan Kosova)
• Kurti received delegation of Social Democratic Party from Switzerland (media)
• Valon Totaj elected President of the Court of Appeals (media)
• Kosovo citizens still see violent extremism as threat to national security (media)
• Whistleblower claims there are scandals and nepotism at Central Bank (Kallxo)
• COVID-19: 16 new cases (media)

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  • Kurti received Germany’s Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht (media)
  • Kurti: We have no parallel projects (Deutsche Welle)
  • Chancellor Scholz will visit Balkans in autumn, Defense Minister says (Koha)
  • Mehaj, Lambrecht talk about security in Kosovo and the region (media)
  • “Difficult” meeting in Berlin raises hopes for agreements in Brussels (Koha)
  • Kosovo Assembly forms two energy inquiry committees (BIRN)
  • UK Ambassador to OSCE calls for commitment to dialogue (Kallxo)
  • Osmani meets with President of Panama Cortizo (media)
  • “Kurti could be the person that gives a final solution to dialogue” (Klan Kosova)
  • Kurti received delegation of Social Democratic Party from Switzerland (media)
  • Valon Totaj elected President of the Court of Appeals (media)
  • Kosovo citizens still see violent extremism as threat to national security (media)
  • Whistleblower claims there are scandals and nepotism at Central Bank (Kallxo)
  • COVID-19: 16 new cases (media)

Kurti received Germany’s Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti received on Thursday the Minister of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany, Christine Lambrecht. Kurti praised the fruitful and very friendly meetings he had recently in Germany, while emphasizing the importance of the German Chancellor’s initiative for the revival of the Berlin Process.

Emphasizing that Kosovo’s future is in NATO and the European Union, Kurti said that Germany’s role is central to accelerating Kosovo’s integration. He in particular requested support for Kosovo’s accession to NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program and the Council of Europe.

Evaluating the excellent relations, Kurti said Kosovo is a stable partner for Germany and the European Union, while highlighting the sanctions against Russia, the readiness to accept 20 Ukrainian journalists and the readiness to accommodate up to 5,000 refugees from Ukraine.

On the dialogue with Serbia, Kurti reiterated that mutual recognition should be at the center of the process and not at the end. He said that Serbia should be democratized and face the past, as well as distance itself from Milosevic and Putin.

Minister Lambrecht stressed that freedom and territorial integrity are very important, and that Germany strongly supports Kosovo’s European perspective. She also said that he supports the dialogue for the normalization of relations with Serbia by concretely resolving the issues of bilateral relations.

Kurti: We have no parallel projects (Deutsche Welle)

For Kosovo there is no alternative to rapprochement with the EU and NATO, Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti said in an interview with Deutsche Welle. Kurti visited Berlin on Wednesday, where he met Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Scholz also received the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, on the same day. The EU negotiator for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, Miroslav Lajcak, was also in Berlin to meet with Kurti and Vucic. DW was able to conduct an exclusive interview with Kurti.

DW: Prime Minister, you came to Berlin at the invitation of Chancellor Olaf Scholz because, given the current dynamics of the Ukraine war, Germany has decided to give the process of integrating the Western Balkans into the European Union a boost. The so-called Berlin Process, which was initiated by Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2014 to bring the Western Balkans closer to the EU, has not produced many concrete results. Nevertheless, Chancellor Olaf Scholz would like to continue this process. Do you think this can work?

Kurti: The fact that Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to revive the Berlin Process is good news for every Western Balkan country and especially for the Republic of Kosovo. Our agreements are expanding, as is our economic and trade cooperation, and I believe that good days lie ahead for us as the Republic of Kosovo, both in the European Union and in the Berlin Process.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3yf9crZ

Chancellor Scholz will visit Balkans in autumn, Defense Minister says (Koha)

German Minister of Defense, Christine Lambrecht, said during her stay in Prishtina on Thursday that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will visit the Balkans in autumn, but did not announce a specific date.

Mehaj, Lambrecht talk about security in Kosovo and the region (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Defense Armend Mehaj received on Thursday Germany’s Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht. Kosovo’s Defense Ministry said in a press release that the meeting focused on the security situation in Kosovo and current security developments in the region and beyond, in light of Russia’s military aggression on Ukraine. Mehaj said Kosovo and Germany share common values ​​in democratic governance and asked for Germany’s support for Kosovo’s membership in NATO as soon as possible. He also asked Minister Lambrecht for the possibility of Kosovo Security Force (KSF) troops taking part in international missions, where German troops are engaged.

Lambrecht said Germany will continue to provide support to Kosovo and that Kosovo and Germany are reliable and honest partners with each other. The possibility of renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries as well as the signing of the SOFA Agreement was also discussed.

“Difficult” meeting in Berlin raises hopes for agreements in Brussels (Koha)

In its leading story, the daily quotes political commentators Enver Robelli and Agon Maliqi as saying that the informal dinner between Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was an attempt to intensify the talks between the two sides.

Robelli said that the war in Ukraine led to a greater mobilisation by Germany and the European Union in the process of dialogue. “But I do not expect any major development from these meetings. I think it is an attempt to revive the dialogue and we will have to see how much progress there will be in the meetings that are expected to be held in Brussels in the coming days,” he said. “The key question is the recognition of the Republic of Kosovo by the Republic of Serbia and I think in this respect the ball is in the hands of the EU and especially Germany, as an important power in the EU, to make it clear to Serbia that there cannot be delays or simulations of talks to avoid the key question which is Serbia’s recognition of the independence of Kosovo”.

Maliqi said he did not see any readiness from the meetings in Berlin to accelerate the process toward a final settlement. He also argued that Kurti and Vucic “went there more to please the mediators and the German Government rather than from a great desire to resume the dialogue”.

German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said during her visit to Kosovo on Thursday that she hopes there will be a new dynamic and good decisions from the meetings of chief negotiators of Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels on May 13. “The first steps could include decisions for the mutual recognition of documents, and this would be a good sign,” she said.

Kosovo Assembly forms two energy inquiry committees (BIRN)

Two energy inquiry committees, one proposed by the opposition and the other by the government, were voted on at Thursday’s plenary session of the Kosovo Assembly. One committee, formed at the request of the opposition, is to investigate the energy crisis’s management in recent months, while the other, formed at the request of the government, will investigate the wider issue of energy since 2006. The Committee of Inquiry proposed by the opposition was voted with 93 votes in favour, after heated discussions in the Assembly. The chairperson will be Driton Selmanaj of Democratic league of Kosovo LDK. The Committee seeks to investigate all measures taken by the government during the period of the energy emergency, due to the global energy price crisis.

Meanwhile, the Inquiry Committee of the government, which aims to investigate the misuse of electricity since 2006, includes the investigation of capital investments in the Kosovo Energy Corporation KEC after the privatization of the distribution wing of this company. This Committee was passed with 95 votes. Its chairperson will be Hajdar Beqa of the Democratic Party of Kosovo PDK.

For several weeks, the government and opposition parties have clashed over the formation of an energy inquiry committee. The debate over electricity in Kosovo started from the end of last year, when Kosovo started facing power cuts due to the global energy crisis. The situation then deteriorated, as Kosovo could not cover its needs with the production capacity of the KEC.

Read full article at: https://bit.ly/3yihwXX

UK Ambassador to OSCE calls for commitment to dialogue (Kallxo)

The Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Neil Bush praised the work of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo in strengthening institutions, local government, human rights and communities. In his address to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, Bush said that the United Kingdom remains steadfast in its support for Kosovo, reaffirming his country’s support for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

“We continue to strongly support the EU-mediated dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, working towards a comprehensive and lasting normalization agreement that will benefit the people of both countries,” Bush said. “It is vital that both sides refrain from any rhetoric or activity that could reduce the chances of constructive progress in dialogue and an eventual permanent agreement.”

Bush also said that “it is the duty of Kosovo and Serbia to seize the opportunity for a renewed commitment, with confidence in the dialogue, respecting the achievements of the dialogue they have made so far, and holding regular talks at all levels in the spirit of compromise.”

Osmani meets with President of Panama Cortizo (media)

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani met with the President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, on Thursday, during her visit to Panama. “As our two nations seek to open new chapters of cooperation, I am delighted to meet with Panama’s President Cortizo. Our partnership, rooted in shared democratic values, serves as a great motivation to strengthen our excellent bilateral and multilateral cooperation,” Osmani tweeted after the meeting.

“Kurti could be the person that gives a final solution to dialogue” (Klan Kosova)

Political commentator Armand Shkullaku said in a debate on Klan Kosova on Thursday evening that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti could enter history as the man that gave a final solution to the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia. According to Shkullaku, the dialogue will no longer be under the key supervision of Brussels and that Germany and France may take over bigger roles in leading the process. “I see great readiness to sidestep Brussels. Germany may take a bigger role, and so could France after the elections there,” he argued.

Shkullaku said that based on Prime Minister Kurti’s remarks, Germany has agreed with him on the position toward the Open Balkan initiative. “Kurti’s statement against the Open Balkan, after the meeting with Chancellor Scholz, I think he got a green light from Germany to say no to the plan,” he said.

Shkullaku also predicts that the United States and Germany will have key roles in the dialogue. “Ever since the end of the Cold War … every U.S. administration, especially on issues about the Balkans and other parts of Eastern Europe, had a serious partner in Germany. No issue in the Balkans or in East Europe was not solved without coordination between the U.S. and Germany,” he said.

Kurti received delegation of Social Democratic Party from Switzerland (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti received on Thursday a delegation of the Social Democratic Party (SP) from Switzerland, consisting of national MPs, Mustafa Atici and Fabian Molina, municipal MP Reis Luzhnica, member of the SP Presidency Arber Bullakaj, trade unionists Osman Osmani and Florim Kadriu, the secretary of the SP migrant group, Lara Can, as well as Urim Deva, the delegate of the Migrant Group. They talked with the Prime Minister about the cooperation and further advancement of relations between the Social Democratic Party and our Government, especially in the fields of economy, education and culture. They pledged to cooperate as closely as possible for common interests and issues, such as socio-economic development, social democratic values, as well as bilateral exchange in various fields.

During their stay in Kosovo, the delegation will also meet various actors from civil society, ICT entrepreneurship, as well as other institutions of the Republic of Kosovo.

Valon Totaj elected President of the Court of Appeals (media)

The Kosovo Judicial Council has elected Judge Valon Totaj as President of the Court of Appeals. He was nominated on this position after receiving the votes of six members of the Council. Totaj’s mandate starts on May 5 and lasts 5 years. The newly elected President of the Court of Appeals, Valon Totaj, has been a judge in the General Department, Civil Division of the Court of Appeals since February 20, 2018.

Kosovo citizens still see violent extremism as threat to national security (media)

The Prishtina-based Kosovo Center for Security Studies published a report on Thursday titled “Kosovo citizens perceptions of violent extremism and reintegration and rehabilitation of returnees”. The report highlights that the people of Kosovo still view violent extremism as a threat to national security. Read the full report at: https://bit.ly/3yj7Uw9

Whistleblower claims there are scandals and nepotism at Central Bank (Kallxo)

The news website reports that a whistleblower has sent a letter to the Kosovo Anti-Corruption Agency claiming misuses and nepotism at the Central Bank of Kosovo. “I am writing this letter to urge you to focus on ongoing misuses and legal violations at the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo,” the letter notes. The news website claims to have seen the letter in which the whistleblower claims that over the last five years, over 70 people were employed at the bank through nepotism.

COVID-19: 16 new cases (media)

16 new cases with COVID-19 were confirmed in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. 8 persons recovered from the virus during this time. There are 402 active cases with COVID-19 in Kosovo.

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