Albanian Language Media:
- Bislimi: CoE bid was submitted in coordination with Kosovo’s partners (media)
- Gervalla to attend EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels (media)
- Defence Minister Mehaj travels on official visit to Turkey (media)
- Albanian Ambassador: We support any initiative between Kosovo and Serbia (EO)
- Kosovo introduces additional sanctions on Russia (media)
- Ukshin Hoti’s son: Serbia not willing to help resolve his fate (Klan Kosova)
- Kusari-Lila: Members of election reform team will be appointed soon (media)
- The government of Kosovo sanctions two terrorist groups ISIL and Al-Qaeda (ekonomia)
- Kosovo’s application to CoE, Abraham calls on Italy to put it on the agenda of May 20 (media)
- PDK and AAK invite LVV to vote on the Draft Law on the Pension Fund (media)
- COVID-19: 7 new cases (media)
Serbian Language Media:
- Serbian FM to EU Commissioner: Region needs encouragement (N1)
- Vucic: We will refrain from imposing sanctions on Russia as long as possible (N1)
- Petkovic on Belgrade-Pristina talks in Brussels on Friday (RTS, Kosovo-online)
- G7: Belgrade and Pristina to engage in dialogue, implement reached agreements without delay (Kosovo-online)
- Serbian officials on G7 statement, find reference to territorial integrity ‘hypocritical’ (media)
- Medvedev: Do not forget Kosovo precedent (Kosovo-online)
- Dacic: Number of derecognitions of Kosovo to grow (Tanjug)
- Bomb threats force evacuation of dozens of schools, public building and airport in Serbia (N1)
- rs: Belgrade won’t impose sanctions on Russia
- French Ambassador to Belgrade on Pristina’s CoE membership bid (KoSSev)
- Vucic arrives in UAE to pay tribute to late president (Tanjug)
- Scoop: U.S. to deny entry to some Afghans in Kosovo (AXIOS)
- Turkey ‘not Positive’ About Finland, Sweden Joining NATO – Erdogan (Balkan Insight)
- Switzerland to Invest 86 Million Euros in Kosovo Over Next Four Years (BIRN)
- Kosovo Music Festival’s Long Land Lease Draws Complaints (Balkan Insight)
Albanian Language Media
Bislimi: CoE bid was submitted in coordination with Kosovo’s partners (media)
Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Besnik Bislimi said at the meeting of the Government, which he presided over in the absence of Prime Minister Albin Kurti, that the application for membership to the Council of Europe was a step that Kosovo authorities coordinated with allies and partners.
“We strongly believe that all Council of Europe member states that have already recognised Kosovo as an independent and sovereign country will rejoice in our progress on the path to integration values, standards and mechanisms and will support this integration,” Bislimi said.
He noted that the Government hopes that even the countries that have not recognised Kosovo but have supported its signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU will “prove they have no interest in hindering our country’s journey.”
Gervalla to attend EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels (media)
Kosovo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Donika Gervalla, is in Brussels for the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council with Western Balkans foreign affairs ministers.
“In the meeting, the topic of discussion will include recent developments in Ukraine and their impact on EU security policies and on those of our region,” a statement issued by the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
At the same time, the European Council announced that foreign affairs ministers will also review the latest developments in the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and hold an informal exchange on the subject with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada Mélanie Joly.
Defence Minister Mehaj travels on official visit to Turkey (media)
Kosovo’s Minister of Defence, Armend Mehaj, has travelled on a four-day official visit to Turkey following an invitation by his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar. During his visit, Mehaj is also scheduled to visit and hold meetings at the Presidency of the Defence Industries, military academies, as well as the leading companies of defence industries.
Albanian Ambassador: We support any initiative between Kosovo and Serbia (EO)
Albania’s Ambassador to Kosovo, Qemail Minxhozi, said in an interview with the news website that Albania will support any initiative by the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to reach an agreement. He said all stakeholders must be encouraged to start dialogue as soon as possible and that the process will benefit not only Kosovo and Serbia, but the region too. “Some steps have certainly been made, but much more is needed. We must keep in mind that the issue of dialogue does not pertain only the government, but it is a matter for all political parties. Civil society too must apply pressure and express its own opinions on how dialogue should develop,” Minxhozi said.
Kosovo introduces additional sanctions on Russia (media)
The Government of Kosovo in its meeting today approved additional sanctions on Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine. Sanctions have also been extended on Belarus.
Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Bislimi said that the newest sanctions are in line with the package introduced by the European Union and the United States.
They include the freezing of assets of sanctioned individuals or entities, banning their access to Kosovo’s financial market, travel, and funds. Kosovo has also decided to impose restrictive measures on the Wagner group, a Russian mercenary organization, RFE reported.
Ukshin Hoti’s son: Serbia not willing to help resolve his fate (Klan Kosova)
23 years after the disappearance of Kosovo renowned intellectual Ukshin Hoti, his son, Andin Hoti, said Serbia is not willing to help resolve the fate of his missing father. “23 years have passed since my father went missing. Unfortunately, to this day, we have no information about him. He was in prison and was taken from there … Although we have mentioned the names of people who are familiar with the matter, Serbia is not willing to help resolve the case. Serbia keeps playing political games, both in the case of my father, and also with other cases of missing persons,” he said.
Hoti, who leads the Kosovo Government Committee on Missing Persons, said they repeatedly call on Serbia to cooperate in resolving the fates of missing persons. “Serbia however is not willing to help,” he said.
Kusari-Lila: Members of election reform team will be appointed soon (media)
Mimoza Kusari-Lila, head of the Vetevendosje parliamentary group, said that the Kosovo Assembly Presidency discussed among other topics today the establishment and the start of work of the election reform team. “We agreed that at the next meeting of the Assembly Presidency, we will have the names of members of the election reform team,” she said.
The government of Kosovo sanctions two terrorist groups ISIL and Al-Qaeda (ekonomia)
The government of Kosovo has approved at today’s meeting imposing of sanctions on two terrorist groups declared by the European Union, ISIL and Al-Qaeda.
According top the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sanctions against the two declared terrorist groups which operate in Afghanistan and the region, include travel bans and freezing of assets of both organisations and their individuals in Kosovo.
“The EU Council decided on 21 February to increase EU sanctions on the two groups operating in Afghanistan. Individuals and sanctioned persons are involved in terrorist planning in Afghanistan and the region,” Deputy Foreign Minister Kreshnik Ahmeti said.
Kosovo’s application to CoE, Abraham calls on Italy to put it on the agenda of May 20 (media)
German MP Knut Abraham has called on Italy, which is chairing the presidency of the Council of Europe, to put Kosovo on the agenda of the May 20 meeting where the Committee of Ministers of the member states of the Council of Europe will meet in Turin, Europe.
“Time to act: I call on the Italian government to put Kosovo’s proposal on the agenda now, in order to be discussed in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Turin on Friday. The right moment must be used now,” the CDU / CSU MP wrote on Twitter.
PDK and AAK invite LVV to vote on the Draft Law on the Pension Fund (media)
The leader of the PDK Parliamentary Group Abelard Tahiri has asked the Committee on Budget and Finance of the Assembly of Kosovo to proceed to the presidency of the Assembly the Draft Law on Pension Funds.
“Today we expected that the draft law on the Trust would be reviewed. It appears that the issue is with the Committee on Budget and Transfers. We ask the committee to bring the draft law with comments, in order to proceed with it in the next session. We hope that next Monday we will have the opportunity to process the draft law on the Trust,” he said.
The head of the AAK Parliamentary Group Besnik Tahiri also has called on the MPs of the government to bring to the Assembly the draft law that concerns the withdrawal of funds from the Trust, as an economic relief for the citizens of the country.
COVID-19: 7 new cases (media)
Seven new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the last 24 hours in Kosovo. There are 328 active cases with COVID-19 in Kosovo.
Serbian Language Media
Serbian FM to EU Commissioner: Region needs encouragement (N1)
Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic told European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi in Brussels on Monday that the Western Balkans need encouragement on the European path, N1 reports.
A Foreign Ministry press release quoted Selakovic as telling Varhelyi that accession to the European Union is Serbia’s foreign policy priority and strategic determination. It said that they also discussed the situation in Ukraine and the region and the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. but did not mention possible sanctions against Russia.
“The minister said that Belgrade is fully committed to the dialogue with Pristina but that the commitment of the other side is doubtful, especially bearing in mind Pristina’s application for membership in the Council of Europe which does not contribute to the normalisation of relations”, the press release said.
Selakovic said that maintaining the stability of the region and intensifying cooperation is one of Serbia’s crucial interests.
“Honest discussion with 🇷🇸 MFA Nikola Selaković on the consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine on the whole WB and Serbia’ s EU path. Dialogue with Kosovo needs to continue. #Serbia pic.twitter.com/1C96WIi6H9”, Varhelyi wrote on Twitter.
Vucic: We will refrain from imposing sanctions on Russia as long as possible (N1)
Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia suffers a lot because it refuses to impose sanctions on Russia and that life in the country would be significantly better if the country decided to do so. However, he added Serbia will not do so, because it runs an independent policy, N1 reports.
Vucic argued that many politicians are trying to abuse the issue.
“Everyone would say that Vucic is announcing the introduction of sanctions. No, we will fight as long as we can to maintain our policy and we are pursuing that policy not because we gain something by not imposing sanctions. This is because I will listen to experts who are pointing out the costs of natural gas, which would be a loss of a billion, while now we are losing billions because of this, not to mention the reduced direct investments and that seven American producers and actors refused to come to make films because we did not impose sanctions on Russia“, Vucic said.
Read more at: https://bit.ly/3MhUyob
Petkovic on Belgrade-Pristina talks in Brussels on Friday (RTS, Kosovo-online)
Office for Kosovo and Metohija Director, Petar Petkovic and Belgrade chief negotiators in the Brussels talks with Pristina said the talks on Friday were burdened “by unlawful decision of Pristina to apply for membership in Council of Europe”, RTS reports.
“I used this opportunity to voice the protest in the strongest terms regarding this unlawful and unilateral decision of Pristina”, Petkovic told journalists after the meeting.
He added there was no direct meeting with Pristina delegation chief, Besnik Bislimi, as he refused to talk about the Community of Serb-majority municipalities and missing persons issue.
Responding to Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti remarks that Besnik Bislimi was “constructive and creative”, Petkovic wrote on Twitter that “how “creative and constructive” @BislimiBesnik was is best seen in the fact that he again refused to meet me directly and talk about missing persons, and had no suggestions for licence plates. A diaspora tour is going better for you than the dialogue!”.
G7: Belgrade and Pristina to engage in dialogue, implement reached agreements without delay (Kosovo-online)
Foreign affairs ministers of G7 countries, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Japan and US and EU High Representative Josep Borell called upon Belgrade and Pristina to constructively engage in the dialogue under EU’s mediation, Kosovo-online portal reports..
In a press statement issued following the meeting in Germany they called on both sides to fully implement all previous agreements without further delay and normalise relations through comprehensive and legally binding agreements that would enable realisation of their European perspectives, contribute to regional stability and to the benefit of all people in the region.
G7 representatives praised Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia for aligning their foreign policy with that of the EU, including the sanctions on Russia. They called upon Serbia to do the same.
“We welcome alignment of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the EU restrictive measures on Russia and unilateral alignment of Kosovo with those measures. We must continue helping the Western Balkans to reduce its dependence on Russian energy”, the statement said.
They also voiced concern over the deepening political crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina and condemned “any attempt to undermine unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country”.
Serbian officials on G7 statement, find reference to territorial integrity ‘hypocritical’ (media)
Commenting on G7 statement in which it reaffirmed support to the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ukraine, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he will stick to the G7 principle on Ukraine and it is that he will not give Serbian territorial integrity, in line with UN order, Kosovo-online portal reports.
“The G7 opened my eyes. I will not give the territorial integrity of Serbia in accordance with the UN order, which you so wholeheartedly support in the case of Ukraine. I decided to stick to their principle, is there anything more important? And, the principle is that I cannot accept the violation of the territorial integrity of Serbia at any cost”, Vucic said.
He also said the policy of G7 “was policy without principles and of brutal pressure”. He added some Western representatives are “ruthless and ill-mannered” as they say they will not accept even slightest changes of the borders of Ukraine, but on the other side they will take part in violating territorial integrity of Serbia.
“We have hypocrisy from the West on one side, absence of any principles, and now we have realised that Russians have no principles either. Principles exist only in the case of Serbia, but we are so small that we can’t refer to the principle without principle, we need to refer to the international law and we have no other choice”, he said.
Vucic also urged G7 to align their policy with their latest statement and thus respect the territorial integrity of the countries in line with UN Resolution, given that they, as he said, care so much about UN resolutions condemning the attack of Russia against Ukraine.
“I am kindly asking that you equally respect UN SC Resolution 1244 (…)”, he said.
Serbian Internal Affairs Minister Aleksandar Vulin said he looks forward to the G7 statement that territorial integrity of all states is sacred, adding the painstaking fight of Serbia to preserve its territorial integrity is finally over.
“Kosovo and Metohija are part of Serbia. I thanked them for that, I rejoice in the change of attitude of those mighty and great (…)”, Vulin is quoted as saying.
Serbian List Vice President Igor Simic in his reaction said the G7 must make itself clear when it comes to respecting territorial integrity of the states.
“Is this a universal principle or a principle applicable only when it suits you, dear gentlemen”, Simic wrote in a post on Facebook.
Medvedev: Do not forget Kosovo precedent (Kosovo-online)
Vice President of the Russian Security Council, Dimitry Medvedev said Russia is not interested in whether G7 member states will recognize changes to the Ukrainian borders, adding that Moscow only cares about the opinion of people living in those areas, Kosovo-online portal reports.
“Do not forget Kosovo precedent, our Western friends”, Medvedev wrote on Telegram.
Earlier, German Foreign Affairs Minister Annalena Bearbock following the meeting of the group told journalists G7 members will never recognize the change of borders in Ukraine.
Dacic: Number of derecognitions of Kosovo to grow (Tanjug)
Outgoing Serbian Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic said Friday the number of countries to revoke their recognitions of Kosovo would grow constantly as a result of Belgrade’s fresh campaign aimed at further derecognitions of Pristina’s unilateral declaration of independence, Tanjug news agency reports.
“A continuation of the campaign for derecognition of Kosovo is a logical response to the fact that Pristina does not respect the Washington Agreement. That is the response that is hurting them the most. I am certain all Western countries will condemn our derecognition campaign, while no one said a word against Pristina’s request for admission to the Council of Europe”, Dacic said.
He added Belgrade’s campaign “destroys their concept that it is all over and that Serbia just needs to recognise Kosovo”.
“Nothing is over, and Serbia will not recognize Kosovo. The situation has changed drastically in recent years – 22 countries have derecognised Kosovo. Now, the numbers are in our favour – 100 out of 193 UN member states do not recognise it”, Dacic said.
“Once our derecognition campaign continues, the number will grow constantly because the significance of the principle of territorial integrity is now valued more than ever in the international community. I guess the principle also applies to Serbia and its territorial integrity”, he said.
Bomb threats force evacuation of dozens of schools, public building and airport in Serbia (N1)
Schools, a public building and an airport were evacuated in two Serbian cities on Monday morning following bomb threats, N1 reports.
The Education Ministry confirmed that dozens of schools in Belgrade were evacuated across the Serbian capital. A press release added that the police searched 97 schools and found no explosive devices. “Students returned to classes in some schools or were sent home in schools where searches are ongoing”, it said, adding that the false bomb threats were sent as early as 6:15 am.
The Beogradjanka building in downtown Belgrade was also evacuated while police and firefighters searched it. That 23-floor high-rise is home to shops and offices. Security guards told N1 that the bomb threat was sent to a private school in the building, forcing evacuation.
Police and firefighters also search the Konstantin Veliki airport in the southern city of Nis which also received a bomb threat.
Schools, shopping malls and other public buildings have received bomb threats on several occasions over the past two months with some sources claiming that the threats have come from Ukraine because of the Serbian authorities’ failure to impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion of that country, N1 said. Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier denied the country was behind false bomb threats.
See at: https://bit.ly/3yVyRGP
Nova.rs: Belgrade won’t impose sanctions on Russia
The Nova.rs news portal wrote on Friday that the Serbian National Security Council did not decide to impose sanctions on Russia over the attack on Ukraine.
“Nova.rs has learned that the Council for National Security agreed to continue efforts to revoke recognition of Kosovo and that there will be no change in Serbia’s stand on the issue of sanctions against Russia”, the portal said quoting an unnamed source.
It recalled that the initial decision on the sanctions was taken at a session of the Council in February when President Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia would not impose sanctions on Russia even though the European Union is demanding it. The source said official Belgrade decided not to back down on its original stand.
President Vucic made no statement after chairing the Council session, leaving outgoing Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic to speak to the media.
French Ambassador to Belgrade on Pristina’s CoE membership bid (KoSSev)
“We don’t support unilateral decisions. We see the Brussels dialogue as a priority“, French Ambassador to Serbia, Pierre Cochard, told “Probudi se“ talk show on Nova S on Friday, KoSSev portal reports.
According to Cochard, the dialogue in Brussels should get a new dynamic as soon as possible.
France supports the efforts of the EU and Germany, whose chancellor recently welcomed the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, ambassador added.
“It is an urgent matter because there is space that needs to be used for the dialogue to facilitate the gradual normalisation of relations“, he said.
Addressing Pristina’s Council of Europe application, Cochard says that it is a unilateral decision, but one that his country does not support.
“We do not support unilateral decisions. In that context, we believe that the priority is the dialogue on topics – the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities in Kosovo, energy issues, issues of missing persons – that is the priority“.
The ambassador revealed that France is not the only country with the stance that unilateral moves should be avoided in the current situation.
Read more at: https://bit.ly/3sCdF4x
Vucic arrives in UAE to pay tribute to late president (Tanjug)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday to pay a tribute to the country’s late president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Tanjug news agency reports.
Vucic will express his condolences in person to the new UAE leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Belgrade media have reported.
While in the UAE, Vucic will also speak with Sheikh Mohammed about expanding the bilateral cooperation between Serbia and the UAE.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who died on May 13 aged 74, was the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the president of the UAE. Following the death of his half-brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected new president of the UAE.
Scoop: U.S. to deny entry to some Afghans in Kosovo (AXIOS)
The Biden administration is preparing Monday to notify several Afghans currently waiting at a U.S. Army base in Kosovo that they’ll be denied entry to the United States, two administration officials told Axios.
Why it matters: Such formal determinations may ultimately impact as many as 16 refugees currently at Camp Bondsteel in eastern Kosovo. They also mark the first time the Biden administration has rejected Afghans who’ve been housed there for additional vetting before being granted entry to the U.S.
The determinations stem from security concerns, or the identification of potential ties to the Taliban or terrorist organizations.
Read more at: https://bit.ly/3Mi2C8w
Turkey ‘not Positive’ About Finland, Sweden Joining NATO – Erdogan (Balkan Insight)
Accusing Scandinavian countries of harbouring Kurdish ‘terrorists’, Turkey’s leader hints at vetoing Finnish and Swedish plans to join NATO.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey does not have a “positive position” about Finland and Sweden joining the NATO alliance.
Both countries have signalled their intention to join after Russia invaded Ukraine, and most NATO countries welcome the idea.
But not Turkey. “We are currently following developments. We currently do not have a positive position on the issue of Sweden and Finland [joining NATO],” the Turkish leader said after Friday prayers in Istanbul.
Read more at: https://bit.ly/3wxxoTY
Switzerland to Invest 86 Million Euros in Kosovo Over Next Four Years (BIRN)
At the launch of the Swiss Cooperation Program for Kosovo for the period 2022-2025, on Friday, it was announced that the allocation of 86 million euros is intended to support projects in three main areas in Kosovo: democratic governance, sustainable economic development and water capacity related to climate change.
Swiss Ambassador Thomas Kolly said that Switzerland will continue to support the partnership with Kosovo. “Kosovo has become a partner of Switzerland and we are thinking to continue this friendship that we have not only in terms of football, but also in other areas,” Kolly said.
The Deputy Director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Ruth Huber, also pledged that Switzerland would continue its contributions to Kosovo.
“We will work together with Kosovo to strengthen civil society and civic engagement, municipal governance, community rights and peace between neighbours, the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia and the goal of having a comprehensive and transparent dialogue,” Huber said.
Read more at: https://bit.ly/3lco16X
Kosovo Music Festival’s Long Land Lease Draws Complaints (Balkan Insight)
Opposition members of the Pristina city assembly and NGOs say the decision to lease 17 hectares of land to the Sunny Hill music festival for 99 years lacked transparency and equity.
The decision of the Pristina municipality to lease 17 hectares of land for 99 years to the international music festival Sunny Hill in the village of Bernice e Poshtme/Donja Brnjica, has drawn criticism from the opposition and civil society.
Read more at: https://bit.ly/3leQvx1