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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, May 23, 2022

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• Kurti at World Affairs Forum: Kosovo to become part of NATO’s PfP (media)
• Biden to Vucic: Normalise relations with Kosovo (Koha/Telegrafi)
• U.S. Ambassador to Belgrade: Kosovo and Serbia are neighboring countries (media)
• President of Albania, Ilir Meta, to visit Kosovo (Klan)
• Two more Ukrainian journalists arrive in Kosovo (media)
• Mehaj: 600 new soldiers to be admitted this year; purchase of weapons, priority (media)
• Concerns raised over possible human rights violations at KSC (Koha)
• Chief State Prosecutor not decreed yet (RTK)
• Afghans lacking complete security checks won’t be able to travel to U.S. (BIRN)
• COVID-19: Nine new cases (media)

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  • Kurti at World Affairs Forum: Kosovo to become part of NATO’s PfP (media)
  • Biden to Vucic: Normalise relations with Kosovo (Koha/Telegrafi)
  • U.S. Ambassador to Belgrade: Kosovo and Serbia are neighboring countries (media)
  • President of Albania, Ilir Meta, to visit Kosovo (Klan)
  • Two more Ukrainian journalists arrive in Kosovo (media)
  • Mehaj: 600 new soldiers to be admitted this year; purchase of weapons, priority (media)
  • Concerns raised over possible human rights violations at KSC (Koha)
  • Chief State Prosecutor not decreed yet (RTK)
  • Afghans lacking complete security checks won’t be able to travel to U.S. (BIRN)
  • COVID-19: Nine new cases (media)

 

 

Kurti at World Affairs Forum: Kosovo to become part of NATO’s PfP (media)

During his visit to the United States of America, Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti, was invited as a speaker at the World Affairs Forum. Institutional stability and democratic governance in Kosovo were emphasized by the Prime Minister in his speech.

The announcement issued by the government states that Kurti singled out the ranking of Kosovo in the first place in terms of rule of law in the Balkans according to the World Justice Project, the increase for 17 countries in terms of fighting corruption according to Transparency International and the increase for 17 countries above in terms of media freedom according to Reporters Without Borders.

“As an inevitable ally and friend, we need the help of the United States to be part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program until we become a full member of NATO,” Kurti said. He invited American as well as Albanian-American businesses to invest in Kosovo.

Biden to Vucic: Normalise relations with Kosovo (Koha/Telegrafi)

The U.S. President Joe Biden has written to Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic congratulating him on re-election and urged him to undertake proactive steps on reaching an agreement with Kosovo. Biden also stressed the need for compromise.

“I encourage Serbia to take steps forward in promotion of peace and stability in the entire region and undertake proactive actions, including compromise when necessary – in order to swiftly normalise relations with Kosovo through the EU-sponsored dialogue,” Biden is reported to have said in the letter.

U.S. Ambassador to Belgrade: Kosovo and Serbia are neighboring countries (media)

The U.S. Ambassador to Belgrade, Christopher Hill, has stated that this is the moment when Serbia has only one path, and that is the West and the European Union (EU). He also said Ukraine and Kosovo are two completely different situations.

“Unlike in the past, when in Serbia it was thought that there is a third way, that the country is neither East nor West, that it is somewhat special, that it goes its own way, now most Serbs think that there is a way right and wrong, and they want to choose the right path,” Hill told Belgrade-based Politika.

He said that Serbia must decide whether it wants to have “a self-sufficient army and buy weapons from different countries or join the collective defense”.  “Serbs have to decide on this and I think they have decided that their future should be in the West and not in an undefined East. I say all this based on what I hear from people every day.”

“When it comes to Kosovo and Serbia, they are neighbors. Serbs live in Kosovo and there are many things in Kosovo that are important to Serbia. Neighbors need to resolve this. The right way is dialogue and EU-mediated negotiations in Brussels,” Hill said.

President of Albania, Ilir Meta, to visit Kosovo (Klan)

President of Albania, Ilir Meta, is expected to visit Kosovo today. Meta will be received by President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani.

According to a statement from the Kosovo presidency, Meta and Osmani will attend an event in Junik municipality.

Two more Ukrainian journalists arrive in Kosovo (media)

Journalist Association of Kosovo announced that two more journalists from Ukraine arrived in Kosovo as part of the project “Journalists in Residence – Kosovo”, funded by the Government of Kosovo. They will continue their work from Kosovo.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti welcomed the Ukraininan journalists. “Kosova became home today to two more Ukrainian journalists through our government sponsored Journalists-in-Residence Kosovo program. Welcome Liudmyla and Serhii. Nations are defined in times of strife and hardship, and so is humanity. We stand in solidarity with Ukraine,” he wrote on Twitter.

Mehaj: 600 new soldiers to be admitted this year; purchase of weapons, priority (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Defense Armend Mehaj has announced that Kosovo Security Force will advertise within this year a competition for the admission of 600 new soldiers. Mehaj further announced that 1,240 soldiers have been recruited within 11 months.

“In addition, the purchase of weapons continues to be our top priority,” he wrote on Facebook. Minister Mehaj further stressed that the KSF is the security of the country and a guarantee for lasting peace and stability.

Concerns raised over possible human rights violations at KSC (Koha)

Koha reports on the front page that tens of complaints have been submitted with the Ombudsperson office of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers alleging human rights violations in the treatment of the detainees at The Hague facilities.

According to Artan Qerkini, Pristina-based attorney, some of the specific violations that he has identified include detention period, the right to be informed in a language the accused understand, as well as frequent redactions of the trial proceedings which he says hinder the public in making an informed conviction on whether the allegations against the accused have been proven. Qerkini also said that the accused have been held in a prolonged detention which is in violation to the Human Rights Court in Strasbourg.

Chief State Prosecutor not decreed yet (RTK)

The President of Kosovo has not yet decreed the new Chief State Prosecutor, RTK reports. It quotes the President’s Office saying that it is not delaying the process but handling this issue carefully.

On April 8, the Office of the President received from the Prosecutorial Council the proposal for the appointment of Blerim Isufaj as the Chief State Prosecutor and started the analysis of the facts and circumstances related to this process.

Bekim Kupina, media adviser of the President, told RTK that the president and her team of legal advisers and experts met with representatives of NGOs to be informed about the process of selecting the new chief prosecutor. According to Kupina, one of the candidates has complained to the Constitutional Court, and the Office of the President is following the developments. “There is no legal deadline set by the legislation in force regarding the decree of the Chief Prosecutor, therefore it is not a matter of delaying but of careful handling of this issue.”

Meanwhile, NGOs that have monitored the process say that the Prosecutorial Council has failed to ensure an independent, impartial and merit-based process. Also, ambassadors of the U.S., Great Britain, and Germany as well as the head of the European Union Office said that they were disappointed with the process.

Afghans lacking complete security checks won’t be able to travel to U.S. (BIRN)

Afghans taking refuge in Kosovo who do not pass the required security checks will not be allowed to travel to the US, an embassy spokesperson told BIRN on Friday.

Axios media on May 16 reported that some of the Afghans currently sheltering in Kosovo will not be allowed to enter the United States.

According to the report, this may affect up to 16 refugees staying at the Bondsteel camp in Kosovo.

A spokesperson of the US embassy told BIRN that they are aware of the report, but cannot comment on specific cases for security reasons.

The spokesperson said a coordinated US government team is working to check the Afghans still in Camp Bondsteel.

“For Afghans still temporarily hosted at Camp Liya on Bondsteel, a coordinated interagency US government team is working intensively to vet and screen these Afghans, in order to determine their eligibility for travel to the United States,” the spokesperson said.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3Pz4xrh

COVID-19: Nine new cases (media)

Nine new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Kosovo in the last 24 hours. There are 188 active cases of COVID-19 in Kosovo.

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