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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 13, 2022

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• Kosovo leaders’ messages on membership bid at Council of Europe (media)
• Konjufca: Serbia won’t leave stone unturned to prevent CoE membership (media)
• Interior Minister Svecla visiting France (media)
• Kurti willing to visit former KLA leaders in the Hague (Nacionale)
• Surroi: Through oil industry, Serbia bought Russian veto against Kosovo (KTV)
• Indictment against ex European Integration minister for abuse of office (Kallxo)
• German Special Rep for Western Balkans visits Decani Monastery (media)
• Montenegrin President to visit Kosovo on May 18 (Express)
• Sunny Hill Festival given site for 99 years by Prishtina Council (BIRN)
• COVID-19: 22 new cases (media)
• North Macedonia hosts big NATO exercise (BIRN)

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  • Kosovo leaders’ messages on membership bid at Council of Europe (media)
  • Konjufca: Serbia won’t leave stone unturned to prevent CoE membership (media)
  • Interior Minister Svecla visiting France (media)
  • Kurti willing to visit former KLA leaders in the Hague (Nacionale)
  • Surroi: Through oil industry, Serbia bought Russian veto against Kosovo (KTV)
  • Indictment against ex European Integration minister for abuse of office (Kallxo)
  • German Special Rep for Western Balkans visits Decani Monastery (media)
  • Montenegrin President to visit Kosovo on May 18 (Express)
  • Sunny Hill Festival given site for 99 years by Prishtina Council (BIRN)
  • COVID-19: 22 new cases (media)
  • North Macedonia hosts big NATO exercise (BIRN)

Kosovo leaders’ messages on membership bid at Council of Europe (media)

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani said on Thursday that Kosovo embodies the founding values of the Council of Europe. “Democracy, human rights and the rule of law. These are the three values on which the Council of Europe is based upon. Kosovo is an embodiment of these values. Therefore, every country that truly believes and works for these values will support Kosovo’s membership in this organization,” Osmani wrote on Facebook.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said in a Twitter post that Kosovo’s “full membership in the Council of Europe would not only be a strong signal to all democratic forces in the region but also a major step for Europe as a whole, with whom we share our commitment to the protection of human rights.”

In a Facebook post, Kurti wrote: “Kosovo is the most democratic country in the Western Balkans, where human rights and freedoms are guaranteed by the Constitution and law. Freedom of expression and the media are improving. The fight against corruption is uncompromising. The rule of law reform is a priority. Membership in the Council of Europe would be an added value for the Council and an opportunity for Kosovo to make even more progress in human rights, democracy and the rule of law.”

Leaders of the main opposition parties welcomed the application at the Council of Europe. Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) leader Lumir Abdixhiku said the application is “the right step for our state and our integration in the Euro-Atlantic family”. He also said he wrote a letter to Donald Tusk, the President of the European People’s Party (EPP), asking them to support Kosovo’s membership bid. Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) leader Memli Krasniqi said the opposition will support the whole application process “so that the state and social objective is implemented as soon as possible”. Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), welcomed the application and said that it is crucial for the European Union to open its doors to Kosovo initially through visa liberalization and later by giving it the candidate status. “Kosovo is naturally part of the European family,” he said.

Konjufca: Serbia won’t leave stone unturned to prevent CoE membership (media)

Kosovo Assembly President Glauk Konjufca said on Thursday that Serbia would not leave a stone unturned to prevent Kosovo from becoming a member of the Council of Europe. In an interview for RTK, Konjufca said efforts for a membership bid were made even earlier, but that the latest developments created a more favorable situation for the application. “Previous governments too made efforts for a membership bid at the Council of Europe, but now there is a different atmosphere both because of changes in Kosovo and on the international arena. A momentum has been created for Kosovo now,” he said.

Interior Minister Svecla visiting France (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Interior Affairs, Xhelal Svecla, said on Thursday that during his stay in France he met with law enforcement institutions to discuss Kosovo’s progress in the fight against organized crime and corruption. “During my visit in Paris I met with representatives of the Ministry of Interior, National Gendarmerie to discuss our progress in fighting organized crime and corruption. I reiterated the importance of France’s support for visa liberalization for Kosovo. Looking forward to future cooperation,” Svecla wrote on a Twitter post.

Kurti willing to visit former KLA leaders in Hague (Nacionale)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said during his visit to the United States that, if necessary, he is willing to visit the former KLA leaders awaiting trial in Hague. The news website secured a video in which Kurti says “the Ministry of Justice is now responsible for the visits, but if we consider it together, we can absolutely visit them, there is no problem in this respect … This [the trial] is my concern, not only as a long-time political activist and a citizen of the Republic, but first and foremost as the Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo”.

Surroi: Through oil industry, Serbia bought Russian veto against Kosovo (KTV)

Publicist Veton Surroi said in an interview with KTV on Thursday that by selling the oil industry to Russia, Serbia bought the Russian veto against Kosovo’s independence at the United Nations Security Council.

According to Surroi, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has another week from the West to address the ownership of the oil industry which is currently in the hands of Russians.

“After the declaration of Kosovo’s independence, Serbia sold its oil industry for little money to Russia, in exchange for Russia’s veto at the Security Council against Kosovo’s independence. It bought the veto at the Security Council, and it holds that veto with Serbia’s oil industry. Let me remind you that the oil industry of Serbia had inherited from the former Yugoslavia the right of oil exploration in two countries – Angola and Africa – and these two wells are sufficient to supply not only Serbia but the whole region with oil, and Serbia sold it to Russia for little money,” Surroi said.

Surroi said that if the current EU-led negotiating system between Kosovo and Serbia does not change, “the process of dialogue could last another decade and the product will more or less be the same”. The issue, he argued, is how to build a more advanced negotiating process and to emerge from the vicious cycle of discussing license plates and similar topics and to focus on crucial topics.

Indictment against ex European Integration minister for abuse of office (Kallxo)

The news website learns that the Special Prosecution of Kosovo has filed an indictment against four persons, including former European Integration Minister Dhurata Hoxha, for abuse of office. The news website recalls that an indictment was filed against Hoxha in 2021 after Kallxo published a research into a lobbying contract which the minister signed in 2019 with a company from Paris which argued that territorial exchange could be a solution to the Kosovo – Serbia dispute.

German Special Rep for Western Balkans visits Decani Monastery (media)

German Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Manuel Sarrazin, and German Ambassador in Prishtina, Jorn Rohde, visited the Decani Monastery on Thursday. The monastery wrote on a Twitter post: “Today Manuel Sarrazin the German Special Representative for Western Balkans visited Decani Monastery. Fr. Sava shared with Mr. Sarrazin and Ambassador Rohde his concerns on protection of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and discussed improvement of life for all communities”.

Montenegrin President to visit Kosovo on May 18 (Express)

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic will visit Kosovo on May 18-19, the news website learns from unnamed sources. Djukanovic is scheduled to meet President Osmani, Prime Minister Kurti and Assembly President Konjufca. “I have not been to Kosovo in an official visit. I look forward to the visit and I want us to contribute to our inter-state understanding,” Djukanovic said in an interview with KTV in March this year.

Sunny Hill Festival given site for 99 years by Prishtina Council (BIRN)

The Municipal Assembly of Prishtina has given the Sunny Hill Festival use of a 17-hectare site for 99 years in the Bernica village of Prishtina. The festival is the largest music festival in Kosovo, founded in 2018 by the world-famous singer of Albanian origin, Dua Lipa, and her father, Dukagjin Lipa. In 2018 and 2019, the festival was held in Germia Park, in the capital, but due to the park’s limited capacity, it will have to change its location. The decision to donate the site to the festival has drawn criticism from opposition members of the city assembly, from Vetevendosje, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo and the Alliance Kosova e Re.

According to them, the 99-year donation is too long to give to one festival, especially when the site cannot be used by other festivals in the capital. Following approval by the Municipal Assembly, the decision will have to be approved by the Ministry of Local Government Administration, MLGA.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3sx5TJc

COVID-19: 22 new cases (media)

22 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. There are 352 active cases with COVID-19 in Kosovo.

North Macedonia hosts big NATO exercise (BIRN)

Held in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO’s newest member on Thursday hosted a big NATO military drill, called Swift Response, with the presence of armed forces from several allied countries.

Some 4,600 soldiers from eight NATO allies, plus North Macedonia, participated at today’s military drill in North Macedonia dubbed Swift Response 22.

The drill was held at the country’s biggest military training range, Krivolak, with the participation of soldiers from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Montenegro, Albania, Greece as well as the host, North Macedonia.

Some 10,000 soldiers from 19 countries have been taking part in NATO’s “Swift Response” exercises in North Macedonia, held as Russia’s war in Ukraine continues.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3Mq2ZOt

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