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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, July 6, 2022

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Albanian Language Media:

• NATO Deputy Secretary General to visit Kosovo tomorrow (media)
• EP: Independence of Kosovo irreversible, visas to be liberalised (RTK)
• Von Cramon on Kosovo’s application at EU: It is not the right time (Reporteri)
• Arrest warrant against Radojicic “still in force” (RFE)
• Musliu: Radojicic’s threat, Vucic’s new card in Putin’s hybrid war (Kosovapress)
• Maliqi on Radojicic return: Escalatory move by Belgrade (media)
• Kurti appoints new deputy minister of culture (media)
• Europa Nostra representatives meet KFOR Commander Kajari (media)

Serbian Language Media:

• Vucic on Radoicic’s arrival in Kosovo, meeting with Kurti, EP resolution (KoSSev)
• The EP adopted a resolution on Serbia: Rule of law, Kosovo, and sanctions against Russia (N1)
• EP Report on Kosovo: ZSO to be established, visa liberalisation granted (Kosovo-online, media)
• Petkovic: Pristina wants to halt talks on missing persons (Tanjug, media)
• Visoki Decani: Role of KFOR crucial in protecting monastery (N1, SRNA)
• “Anniversary of KLA crime near Pec in 1998, no one was held accountable for” (BETA, N1)
• Selakovic: Serbia has strong leadership, preconditions for maintaining peace (Tanjug)
• Nova.rs: Serbia no longer in focus of EU attention (N1)
• Hill: Americans and Serbs have the same trait, they do not like to be told what to do (N1, Danas)
• MEPs say Serbia cannot move forward to EU without imposing sanctions on Russia (N1, Hina)
• Radoicic recorded a video message, also: “I’m back” (KiM radio)
• Rada Trajkovic on Radoicic’s video address (Danas)
• Crnac and Belo Brdo miners ended their protest (KoSSev)

International:

• Environmentalists Protest Sunny Hill’s Return to Pristina’s Germia Park (BIRN)
• Dozens of Police Hurt in North Macedonia Protests Over EU Deal (Bloomberg)
• EU Kosovo Mission ‘Unaffected’ by UK Payout to Whistleblower (Balkan Insight)
• EU enlargement: Parliament takes stock of developments in the Western Balkans (europarl.europa.eu)

Humanitarian/Development:

• Kosovo with good legislation on languages, implementation remains a challenge (KP)
• Murtezi: Over 64,000 persons employed in the last three years in Kosovo (Telegrafi)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • NATO Deputy Secretary General to visit Kosovo tomorrow (media)
  • EP: Independence of Kosovo irreversible, visas to be liberalised (RTK)
  • Von Cramon on Kosovo’s application at EU: It is not the right time (Reporteri)
  • Arrest warrant against Radojicic “still in force” (RFE)
  • Musliu: Radojicic’s threat, Vucic’s new card in Putin’s hybrid war (Kosovapress)
  • Maliqi on Radojicic return: Escalatory move by Belgrade (media)
  • Kurti appoints new deputy minister of culture (media)
  • Europa Nostra representatives meet KFOR Commander Kajari (media)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Vucic on Radoicic’s arrival in Kosovo, meeting with Kurti, EP resolution (KoSSev)
  • The EP adopted a resolution on Serbia: Rule of law, Kosovo, and sanctions against Russia (N1)
  • EP Report on Kosovo: ZSO to be established, visa liberalisation granted (Kosovo-online, media)
  • Petkovic: Pristina wants to halt talks on missing persons (Tanjug, media)
  • Visoki Decani: Role of KFOR crucial in protecting monastery (N1, SRNA)
  • “Anniversary of KLA crime near Pec in 1998, no one was held accountable for” (BETA, N1)
  • Selakovic: Serbia has strong leadership, preconditions for maintaining peace (Tanjug)
  • Nova.rs: Serbia no longer in focus of EU attention (N1)
  • Hill: Americans and Serbs have the same trait, they do not like to be told what to do (N1, Danas)
  • MEPs say Serbia cannot move forward to EU without imposing sanctions on Russia (N1, Hina)
  • Radoicic recorded a video message, also: “I’m back” (KiM radio)
  • Rada Trajkovic on Radoicic’s video address (Danas)
  • Crnac and Belo Brdo miners ended their protest (KoSSev)

International:

  • Environmentalists Protest Sunny Hill’s Return to Pristina’s Germia Park (BIRN)
  • Dozens of Police Hurt in North Macedonia Protests Over EU Deal (Bloomberg)
  • EU Kosovo Mission ‘Unaffected’ by UK Payout to Whistleblower (Balkan Insight)
  • EU enlargement: Parliament takes stock of developments in the Western Balkans (europarl.europa.eu)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • Kosovo with good legislation on languages, implementation remains a challenge (KP)
  • Murtezi: Over 64,000 persons employed in the last three years in Kosovo (Telegrafi)

 

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

NATO Deputy Secretary General to visit Kosovo tomorrow (media)

Most news websites cover a press release issued by NATO announcing that Deputy Secretary General, Mircea Geoana, will stay in Kosovo tomorrow. Below is the full press release:

On Thursday, 07 July 2022, the North Atlantic Council will visit KFOR, the NATO-led mission in Kosovo, and the NATO Advisory and Liaison Team. NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Mircea Geoana, will chair the meetings on the ground. The Ambassadors of Allies and of the KFOR troop-contributing Partners will meet with the KFOR Commander, Major General Ferenc Kajári, and the Director of the NATO Advisory and Liaison Team in Kosovo, Brigadier General Joachim Hoppe. They will also have an exchange with the Heads of Mission of the European Union, EULEX, the OSCE and UNMIK. Ambassadors will have the opportunity to engage with KFOR troops. The Deputy Secretary General will meet with Ms. Vjosa Osmani and Mr. Goran Rakić in Pristina for a bilateral discussion.

EP: Independence of Kosovo irreversible, visas to be liberalised (RTK)

The European Parliament voted in the plenary session reports on Kosovo, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, a month after they were endorsed by the Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

EP rapporteur for Kosovo Viola von Cramon reiterated calls for visa liberalisation for Kosovo after the report was adopted by 469 votes in favour, 96 against and 72 abstentions. She said the issue is being blocked at the European Council but that it is also being raised at top levels of the French and Dutch governments. “There is now a new momentum for unblocking this situation.”

The report on Kosovo states that any further delay in the visa-free regime for Kosovo would undermine the credibility of the EU as a reliable partner. It also reconfirms the clear support of the European Parliament to the EU-facilitated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and reiterates the importance of a comprehensive, legally binding agreement for normalisation of relations noting that this would be crucial for Serbia and Kosovo to advance on their respective European paths and which would also contribute to regional stability and prosperity. 

“Welcoming Kosovo’s alignment with the EU on sanctions against Russia and its strong solidarity with Ukraine, MEPs also stress that the independence of Kosovo is irreversible and call on the EU countries that have not yet recognised the country to do so immediately,” the report further said.

Von Cramon on Kosovo’s application at EU: It is not the right time (Reporteri)

The European Parliament rapporteur for Kosovo Viola Von Cramon has reiterated that now is not the right time to apply for Kosovo’s membership at the European Union, as this would be blocked by the five countries that do not recognize Kosovo’s sovereignty.

She made these statements at a press conference after the endorsement of her report on Kosovo at the European Parliament.

“We also support Kosovo’s application at the Council of Europe, but we made a clear distinction when we talked about the EU, due to the non-recognising countries. I have said this in Kosovo as well,” Von Cramon said.

She added that without the reach of an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, EU membership will be impossible.

“The dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina has not been very progressive and the agreements reached in the past are being questioned,” she said. 

Arrest warrant against Radojicic “still in force” (RFE)

Kosovo prosecutor, Rasim Maloku, told Radio Free Europe that the Kosovo Police should arrest Milan Radojicic, deputy leader of the Serbian List, if they determine he is in the territory of Kosovo, noting that there is an active arrest warrant against him.

Neither the Government of Kosovo nor the police responded to RFE’s questions on whether they possess information that Radojicic is in Kosovo after he posted a video clip saying he was back.

Ehat Miftaraj from the Kosovo Law Institute said he believed Radojicic’s video was addressed to Kosovo institutions to let them know he still has connections that enable him to enter the territory of Kosovo. “On the other hand, he is also among the individuals who are on the U.S. blacklist, linked to criminal activities and human rights violations. So, he is trying to say that the Kosovo institutions have not closed all the alternative roads in the north, this is a message for the Kosovo Police as well”, Miftaraj said.

Ognjen Gogic, political commentator from Mitrovica North, meanwhile believes that Radojicic’s message was directed at Belgrade authorities and the Serbian List, adding that “there are certain indications that they want to get rid of him, namely that he ceases being a political factor.” Gogic said he believed Radojicic returned to Serbia following the recording of the video clip in Kosovo.

RFE notes that Radojicic’s video message comes at a time when the authorities from Serbia are reacting strongly to the decision of the Kosovo Government to establish reciprocity with Serbia on personal documents and license plates.

Musliu: Radojicic’s threat, Vucic’s new card in Putin’s hybrid war (Kosovapress)

Agim Musliu, security expert, said in an interview with the news agency today that the video published by Milan Radojicic, deputy leader of the Serbian List who is wanted for the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, is a fragment of what he called “Serbian-Russian hybrid war” and a card used by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. According to Musliu, Radojicic’s video was done with Vucic’s approval and that Vucic is allowing this to raise his value and to shift the West’s attention away from his indecisiveness to impose sanctions against Russia. “In fact, this suits most the hybrid war of Vladimir Putin because any eventual conflict in the Balkans shifts the attention away from the Russian aggression in Ukraine,” he argued.

Musliu also said that “large numbers of in the northern municipalities of the Republic of Kosovo, have realised that they are used by the criminal structures in the north for their own criminal interests. Unfortunately, these structures are led by a party that is in parliament, namely the Serbian List, and Radojicic is their deputy leader”.

Maliqi on Radojicic return: Escalatory move by Belgrade (media)

Political commentator Agon Maliqi reacted on Twitter to a video posted by Milan Radojcic, deputy leader of the Serbian List who is wanted by Kosovo authorities in connection to the murder of political leader Oliver Ivanovic. Radojicic said he is back in Kosovo. Maliqi tweeted: “Top organized crime leader in Kosovo’s north – blacklisted by the United States ad wanted as a key suspect in the murder of Oliver Ivanovic – published a video in a pro-regime tabloid in Serbia saying he has entered Kosovo. An escalatory move by Belgrade inviting/daring Kosovo’s police to act”.

Kurti appoints new deputy minister of culture (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti announced the appointment of Sylejman Elshani to the post of Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.

The move comes days after Sejnur Veshall was dismissed from the post upon request from the party that originally nominated him, the Kosovo Roma Progressive Movement (LPRK). Veshall said his dismissal was done for personal reasons and was even qualified as “unfair” by Kurti while LPRK leader Erxhan Galushi said the request for Veshall’s removal from post was due to “total negligence towards cooperation with the party leadership and the leader.”

Europa Nostra representatives meet KFOR Commander Kajari (media)

Representatives of the Europa Nostra, an organisation committed to safeguarding Europe’s cultural heritage, met today the Commander of KFOR, Major General Ferenc Kajari.

“Commander of the NATO-led KFOR mission, MG Ferenc Kajári welcomed the Executive Vice President of Europa Nostra, Mr Guy Clausse in HQ KFOR in Pristina. They discussed the security situation in Kosovo, in particular related to Properties with Designated Special Status,” KFOR said on Twitter. 

Also on Twitter, Europa Nostra said: “Most grateful to NATO KFOR Commander, Major General Ferenc Kajari, for receiving our delegation for a fruitful exchange of views on the need to maintain the high protection of Decani Monastery, World Heritage Site in Danger, also inscribed on our 2021 List of 7 Most Endangered.”

Gazeta Express reports that the Europa Nostra delegation has emphasized the need for the Orthodox Monastery of Decan to have a high level of protection from KFOR despite KFOR Mission saying in April of last year that they have not registered any significant incidents in the last ten years against the Monastery. Several media outlets recall that the organisation listed the Monastery of Decan among endangered sites in 2021, a decision which was objected to by Kosovo Government officials.

 

 

 

Serbian Language Media

 

Vucic on Radoicic’s arrival in Kosovo, meeting with Kurti, EP resolution (KoSSev)

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic said today in Ivanjica, answering journalists’ questions, regarding Radoicic’s video, “where is Milan Radoicic supposed to be, who is, by the way, from Kosovo and Metohija” and at the same time criticized the opposition in Serbia, which, according to Pink’s journalist, said that Serbia’s answered to “Kurti’s provocation by trying to present Radoicic as Zelensky”, reported KoSSev.

Vucic replied that the situation in Kosovo was “too serious for frivolous people to make jokes and compare I do not know who – Radoicic with Zelensky. Nor would Zelensky be happy, let alone Radoicic, if someone compared him to Zelensky”.

“Would you like our response to be that we withdraw and order the people from the North to withdraw to central Serbia, is that the response of politicians from the opposition?” asked Vucic. 

He said that it was Radoicic’s private matter whether he was in Kosovo or some other part of Serbia. 

“It has nothing to do with the state. It neither had, nor will it,” specified Vucic. 

He also recalled the allegations of the Pristina media that “Vucic threatens Kosovo”.  He said, “with what?”, reported the portal. 

He said that Serbia needs peace and development, not conflicts and wars.

“To keep the peace and to try to push the country forward, and not to think in any way that it is possible to achieve something with war or military means.” However, this did not mean that Belgrade would allow the persecution and killing of Serbs, he added. 

When asked by a journalist about what kind of message was being sent by Radoicic’s return to Kosovo, Vucic said that he did not care. 

“I don’t understand what the message is. I do not care what the message is. What kind of message did he want, ask him, and ask them what their message is,” said Vucic. 

He once again asked “what is controversial about Radoicic returning to Kosovo, given that he lives there.”

Meeting with Kurti – “Not true, nobody even asked me”

The President of Serbia commented on the allegations from Pristina about a possible meeting with Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Brussels in the near future.

Vucic, however, said that this was not true.

“Nobody even asked me. I do not run away from any meeting, mostly he ran away from meetings,” said Vucic.

EP resolution 

N1 reported that Vucic said that he was satisfied with the European Parliament not accepting the proposal to end the accession negotiations with Serbia due to its stance on the war in Ukraine and added that official Belgrade would continue to act in accordance with the interests of the country.

“There were attempts by certain members of the EP to vote for the termination of negotiations with Serbia. We are glad that it was not voted, because it would have been wrong, and thanks to the majority in the EP who did not accept it. But I once said – everyone should do their job. If they think we should beg someone for something – we will not,” said Vucic, reported N1.

The EP adopted a resolution on Serbia: Rule of law, Kosovo, and sanctions against Russia (N1)

Members of the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution in Strasbourg stating that Serbia’s progress towards the EU will directly depend on strengthening the rule of law, normalizing relations with Kosovo and aligning with European foreign and security policy, which includes the introduction of sanctions against Russia, reported N1.

The resolution, based on the report prepared by the rapporteur of the European Parliament for Serbia, Vladimir Bilcik, was adopted at the plenary session of the EP with 523 votes in favour, 78 against, with 34 abstentions.

With the resolution adopted today, the EP for the first time calls on Serbia and Kosovo to reach an agreement on the normalization of relations “based on mutual recognition”.

The resolution expresses deep regret that Serbia did not join the sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine and calls on the newly elected authorities in Belgrade to urgently comply with the EU’s foreign policy decisions, including the introduction of sanctions against Russia.

The European Parliament calls on Serbia to review its relations with Russia in the field of defense policy and to end forms of military cooperation with Russia, according to the resolution.

The future government in Belgrade was called upon to unequivocally show commitment to European values, standards and rules, and MPs again expressed their concern about the limited progress in the fight against corruption and organized crime.

The EP adopted all the amendments submitted in writing to the resolution on Serbia, but not the verbally proposed amendment by Bilcik, which was opposed by more than the necessary 38 deputies.

With a verbal amendment, Bilcik wanted to include in the resolution that the EP “regrets the increase in tensions in the relations between Belgrade and Pristina, in connection with the issues of license plates and freedom of movement, and to once again point out the importance of dealing with all open issues through dialogue with the mediation of the EU”.

EP Report on Kosovo: ZSO to be established, visa liberalisation granted (Kosovo-online, media)

The European Parliament adopted today the report on Kosovo, submitted by Rapporteur Viola von Cramon, Serbian media report.

Referring to Belgrade-Pristina dialogue the EP underlined the importance of “constructive engagement” of the both sides, and recalled the necessity to implement all agreements made so far in the dialogue, including the one on establishing a Community of Serb-majority Municipalities.

The EP by adopted document fully supports Pristina’s Council of Europe membership bid, and took note of Pristina’s intention to submit request for the EU membership this year, adding that however there is “no accelerated procedure” and that normalisation of relations with Belgrade was necessary for Kosovo to advance in European integration.

Following adoption of the report Viola von Cramon was quoted by the Serbian media as saying it was not the right time for Kosovo to submit a request to join the EU, because such request would be blocked by five states which do not recognize Kosovo and are EU members.

The EP also expressed regret over Pristina’s decision to ban voting on the territory of Kosovo at the last Serbian elections on April 3, Serbian media reported.  

Petkovic: Pristina wants to halt talks on missing persons (Tanjug, media)

Director of the Serbian government Office for Kosovo and Metohija said yesterday at a press conference that the issue of missing persons was a highly humanitarian issue for Serbia, rather than a political one, “while politicians in Pristina talk about it all the time, but when it has to do something concrete and fulfil Belgrade’s request to examine locations suspected to be the graves of Serb victims, Pristina is completely silent”, reported Tanjug agency. 

When asked about Pristina’s plan to insert the term “forcibly disappeared” into an agreement on missing persons in order to directly accuse Serbia of crimes, Petkovic said the term was completely unacceptable and that, by using it, Pristina was aiming to halt agreements and talks on missing persons.

The initiative for an agreement with Pristina on the missing persons issue was solely coming from Belgrade, according to Petkovic. 

“We have initiated the topic and the text of an agreement, and we have examined all 23 locations from Pristina’s request, demonstrating that the issue of missing persons is a highly humanitarian issue for us, and not a political one,” he said.

He said the agreement had been hammered out prior to Pristina PM Albin Kurti’s unilateral decision to ban Serbian ID cards and vehicle licence plates.

“Once the text of the agreement was already acceptable to the EU and everyone involved in the process of finding missing persons, all of a sudden, Pristina came with a new wording, into which it wanted to insert ‘forced disappearance’ in addition to the term ‘missing persons,'” he said.

Believing that we are not familiar with conventions and humanitarian law, Pristina wanted to exert pressure and subsequently use the document for potential new trials against Serbia, Petkovic noted.

“Because the phrase ‘forced disappearance’ is a legal category clearly defined in a separate UN convention on protection from forced disappearance, under which states and state authorities are the sole parties responsible for forced disappearances,” he said.

“They thought they would trick us into agreeing to such a document and, as a result, Belgrade would be to blame for all cases of missing persons in Kosovo-Metohija, including Serbs,” he said.

“What about the ‘Kosovo Liberation Army’? What about that terrorist organisation, which is the most responsible for the disappearances and murders of many people?” Petkovic asked, noting that top ‘KLA’ leaders were now being tried for war crimes before a special court in The Hague.

Visoki Decani: Role of KFOR crucial in protecting monastery (N1, SRNA)

Brotherhood of Visoki Decani Monastery thanked European federation for preservation of cultural heritage Europa Nostra for their efforts to protect cultural and religious heritage in danger as European values, stressing that the role of KFOR was of crucial importance in the protection of Visoki Decani Monastery, N1 reports.

“Honoured to welcome the delegation of @europanostra at Decani #Monastery today. Protection of the shared #Heritage in Europe is essential for the future of our continent. By visiting different sites of all traditions EN will emphasise the need of protection of heritage in #Kosovo”, the Monastery wrote on  Twitter.

They also assessed as important the latest message of European Parliament Rapporteur for Kosovo Viola von Cramon to Kosovo leadership regarding implementation of the Constitutional Court decision on Visoki Decani Monastery land.

Commenting on rule of law report, Cramon once again urged Kosovo government to “implement the CC judgement regarding @DecaniMonastery and demonstrate that it does not have a selective approach when it come to the application of the #RoL”, N1 reported. 

“Anniversary of KLA crime near Pec in 1998, no one was held accountable for” (BETA, N1)

BETA news agency reported today that July 6 marks the 24th anniversary of a crime committed by KLA members against Serbian police officers, that no one was held responsible for. The agency recalled that four police officers died and eight were wounded, N1 cited.

It is about a KLA attack under command of M.Sh. against the police unit from Pec, headed by police captain Srdjan Perovic, which on July 6, 1998 received the task to evacuate two Serb families, Radovic and Vujosevic from Lodja village, who were given an ultimatum by KLA earlier to leave their homes.

In two separate attacks by KLA during the evacuation, according to the BETA news agency, three police officers died on the spot including Mirko Radunovic, Dejan Prelevic and Mile Rajkovic. Eight others sustained severe or slight bodily injuries. Captain Perovic was captured and after gruesome torture, details of which were confirmed in the later autopsy report of a doctor S.D. in Pristina, executed in the village, N1 cited.

BETA news agency said the torture lasted five days and Perovic along with Mile Rajkovic who was killed during the attack on the first day, were buried at the outskirts of the village.

On August 16, members of the Special Operation Unit managed to organise an action and reclaim the bodies of Perovic and Rajkovic. Perpetrators of this crime remain unpunished up to date, N1 recalled.

Selakovic: Serbia has strong leadership, preconditions for maintaining peace (N1)

In challenging times, it is important to maintain political stability and peace, and Serbia has all preconditions for that because of strong leadership, strategic vision, political stability and commitment to the policy of military neutrality, Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selakovic said, Tanjug news agency reports.

He also said Serbia was one of the few countries that had always maintained a very clear and principled position when it comes to respect of international law.

Selakovic recalled that, at an annual meeting of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in Turin in mid-May, a great many FMs of EU member states had lectured him on respect of the territorial integrity and political independence of states as key rules of international law.

“Unfortunately, these rules do not apply in Serbia’s case”, Selakovic noted. 

He added one minister said his country firmly supported the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia and later said it supported and welcomed Pristina’s Council of Europe membership bid.

“But when I ask: ‘What about the territorial integrity of Serbia?’ they ignore the question, and you are faced with the utmost hypocrisy and double standards where no one from the Western Balkans can make a millimetre of progress in European integration, while Ukraine and Moldova get membership candidate status”, Selakovic said.

Nova.rs: Serbia no longer in focus of EU attention (N1)

The Nova.rs portal said on Tuesday that Serbia was no longer in the focus of the European Union’s attention with only Poland casting doubts about its European future, reported N1.

An unnamed high-ranking EU source told the portal that Serbia was not under pressure from the Quint countries (the US, Germany, France, Italy, and the UK) or the EU on any issue.

The source said that an internal EU agreement has been reached to divide candidate countries into two groups – one for countries who have EU prospects and are negotiating their accession which includes Serbia, and the other of countries that do not have prospects at present. The idea came from French President Emmanuel Macron.

The source said that Poland did not think Serbia should be in the first group but was left alone in the view, adding that official Warsaw and the Baltic countries could slow down Serbia’s accession.

“Serbia is not of major interest for the EU because, among other things, there is not will in Belgrade to speed up integration … The Serbian authorities seem to be little interested in getting the integrating process moving forward,” a diplomatic source from one of the more important EU member states told Nova.rs, N1 cited.

The portal said it had learned that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue was stalled with no indication that it could be raised to a higher level. It said that Belgrade was frustrated by that while Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti was showing no interest in meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

Sources in Brussels said that Belgrade was under huge pressure from Russia because Moscow wants Belgrade to take steps that would confront it with both the EU and its Western Balkan neighbours. They added that Belgrade, not Brussels, has to handle that pressure and that Serbia could not expect the EU to show understanding for steps Serbia might take under pressure from Moscow. “Serbia will eventually get into the EU but not soon with its policy of neutrality and pro-European reforms, but the process could speed up with a clear EuroAtlantic policy and commitment to the European system of values,” a source said, cited N1.

Hill: Americans and Serbs have the same trait, they do not like to be told what to do (N1, Danas)

US Ambassador to Belgrade Christopher Hill and First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia Branko Ruzic opened Tuesday a two-day international conference on the history of 140 years long diplomatic relations between Serbia and the US.

Hill told the conference hosted by the Faculty of Political Sciences that relations on the European continent continue to be very important to the US.

US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill said that the US and Serbia need to find common interests and that there was a lot to be done in the next 140 years of bilateral relations.

“The USA and Serbia should find common interests and start honest conversations about their differences. When we think about the next 140 years, there is a lot to be done. The US understands the importance of this part of the world, and that is why the relationship with Belgrade is extremely important to us,” said American Ambassador Hill today at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade at the opening of the two-day conference “Serbian-American Partnership through the Ages”.

The two-day conference was organized by the Center for United States Studies of the Faculty of Political Sciences marking 140 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Serbia and the USA.

“It is not up to the US to tell the EU who should be its member and who and when should join them, but it is up to the US to say that we should continue with the project of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace,” said Hill and added that relations with Europe, including Serbia, are very important for the USA.

Ambassador Hill said it was important to the US to have good relations with countries in Europe, including Serbia and that Americans and Serbs share a common character trait – they both do not like to be told what to do.

“None of us, whether Serbian or American, likes to be told what to do. But I think we should serve each other better, understand each other. Fundamentally, we need to understand a little more what logic is in our relations,” he said and added that there are many Serbs in the USA who have influenced his country, mentioning scientist Nikola Tesla and NBA basketball player Nikola Jokic.

He also mentioned the war in Ukraine, saying that the Russian invasion of that country poses a danger to everyone.

He praised the Center for US Studies at FPN, saying that the US political system was very complicated and that was why it was important that Serbian students study it in more detail.

Ruzic said improving cooperation with America was one of Serbia’s foreign policy priorities, reported Serbian media. 

MEPs say Serbia cannot move forward to EU without imposing sanctions on Russia (N1, Hina)

Serbia cannot make progress on the path to European Union membership if it does not gradually align its policy with the EU’s regarding third countries, including Russia, the HINA news agency reported members of the European Parliament as saying.

Slovak Christian Democrat Vladimir Bilcik presented his report on Serbia for 2021 at the EP’s plenary session in Strasbourg on Tuesday. The report will be put to a vote on Wednesday.

A successful European journey of Serbia is now more important than ever, said Bilcik, a member of the European People’s Party (EPP), a political group which also includes the Serbian Progressive party (SNS) of President Aleksandar Vucic.

Serbia belongs to the EU, but a lot remains to be done, Bilcik said, stressing that the Russian aggression against Ukraine was a wake-up call to step up the process of European integration. Bilcik’s report says that Serbia’s progress towards EU membership will depend directly on the strengthening of the rule of law, normalisation of relations with Kosovo and alignment with the EU’s foreign and security policy, including sanctions against Russia. Russia is mentioned in the document about thirty times, but the report also stresses that the EU remains fully committed to Serbia’s EU journey.

Read more at: https://bit.ly/3OP1r1r

Radoicic recorded a video message, also: “I’m back” (KiM radio)

Milan Radoicic, the vice-president of the Serbian List and one of the suspects for involvement in the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, has returned to Kosovo, as he himself claimed, reported KiM radio. 

In a video message published by the “Alo” tabloid, Radoicic said: “I’m back, and you know what that means.”

What this means was still unknown, but Radoicic said that the real terror for Serbs was just beginning, wrote KiM radio.

“The real terror against our Serbian people is just beginning. I just want to say to my people in the north and to all Serbs, and to those others, I am here, I am back, and you know what that means. Because there is no going back from here. Long live Serbia!”, said Radoicic from the heights in the north of Kosovo.

The radio reported that Radoicic officially stayed in the north of Kosovo at the beginning of February, when the Kosovo police tried to arrest him at the Brnjak administrative crossing.

This information was confirmed by his party, the Serbian List, recalled the radio. 

Kosovo police officers tried to arrest him following a warrant issued after him due to alleged fraud with construction land in the ski center of Brezovica in the municipality of Strpce.

The Serbian List, however, denied this, pointing out that the vice-president of the list “does not have any business connections in the municipality of Strpce, nor any cottages or other real estate” in that place.

The Kosovo police first tried to arrest Radoicic in November 2018, but he then escaped arrest and went to central Serbia.

KiM radio recalled that in addition to being wanted by the Kosovo Police, Radoicic, together with Zvonko Veselinovic, was also on the blacklist of the United States Department of Finance due to ties with transnational organized crime, which would prevent them from entering and doing business in the USA.

The Special Prosecutor’s Office of Kosovo stated in the indictment that Milan Radoicic, together with Zvonko Veselinovic, was the leader of the criminal group that participated in organizing the murder of Oliver Ivanovic, recalled KiM radio.

However, Radoicic was not charged, because according to Kosovo laws, charges cannot be brought against him, if he has not been heard.

Kosovo authorities issued an internal arrest warrant, and then an international one. However, the court revoked that order in February last year. The Prosecutor’s Office refused to give an explanation about the reasons for making such a decision, because it was, as they said at the time, a confidential matter, recalled the radio.

Rada Trajkovic on Radoicic’s video address (Danas)

“The news on ‘return’ of Milan Radoicic (Serbian List Vice President) in Kosovo, in a synchronised manner went viral in the regime affiliated media. Such news, it seems to me, aims at covering up the current stories on Jovanjica case (high-profile marijuana plant case near Stara Pazova) and concerning allegations of lawyer Zdenko Tomanovic about life endangerment of his client, a police inspector Slobodan Milenkovic (head of Belgrade’s anti-drugs department who discovered the case). This is an attempt by the regime to divert attention from this serious issue”, President of European Serb Movement from Kosovo and politician Rada Trajkovic told Danas daily.

She added, the message Radoicic conveyed in his video address represents “a provocation to NATO but also a misfortune for the Serbs in Kosovo”.

Trajkovic added that Radoicic obviously “passes checkpoints of the Serbian police easier than she does” and her only message to the President Aleksandar Vucic was that “as he created and made them political leaders of the Serbs in Kosovo and vice presidents of the Serbian List, he should now also control them”.  

Crnac and Belo Brdo miners ended their protest (KoSSev)

Crnac and Belo Brdo miners, who protested on Monday and Tuesday, managed to reach a satisfactory agreement yesterday, at a several hours meeting with the general director of “Trepca” in Leposavic, reported KoSSev. 

As workers told KoSSev, their previously reduced salaries were regularly reinstated, annual vacations were doubled, and they also claim that they received guarantees that their other demands will be met. 

“After we gathered here today at the Flotation, the director came from Zvecan and had a meeting with us. We managed to agree on many points, and we continue our work. The second shift is already at work,” one of the workers told KoSSev.  

 

 

 

International 

 

Environmentalists Protest Sunny Hill’s Return to Pristina’s Germia Park (BIRN)

Animal rights and environmental activists are opposing the holding of the Sunny Hill music festival in Germia Park in Pristina.

After the decision taken on Saturday to return the festival to Germia Park, activists called for the festival to be completely canceled, saying it will damage the environment and wildlife.

Elza Ramadani, from the Animal Rights Foundation, said that they will request the cancellation of the festival, as the holding of Sunny Hill in past years in the park “left much to be desired”.

“Their bottles and garbage are still in the park. I have photos and evidence of this. It’s too bad that we do so little to protect the environment and wild animals in this country,” Ramadani wrote on Facebook.

Sunny Hill Festival, the Municipality of Pristina, the Kosovo Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and other ministries in the government have agreed that this year’s Sunny Hill Festival will be held in Germia, and the necessary permits have been secured.

But environmental activists say the relevant institutions and organizers of Sunny Hill under the shadow of the Ministry of Environment have violated Article 151 of the Law on Nature Protection.

This states that any decision on the use of protected nature areas must be taken in cooperation with the public.

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

Dozens of Police Hurt in North Macedonia Protests Over EU Deal (Bloomberg)

Police arrested 11 people and 47 officers were injured during protests in North Macedonia against a deal with neighboring Bulgaria that seeks to unlock European Union accession talks.

Thousands rallied late Tuesday in Skopje, the capital, against the agreement which, according to the nationalist opposition, does not guarantee the recognition of the country’s language and national identity. 

Protesters threw rocks, eggs, Molotov cocktails and traffic signs against public buildings and broke several windows, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. 

See more at: https://bloom.bg/3nHzMUj

EU Kosovo Mission ‘Unaffected’ by UK Payout to Whistleblower (Balkan Insight)

The EU’s rule-of-law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, said corruption allegations made by its former prosecutor Maria Bamieh were dismissed in 2018, so it was not connected to a financial settlement between Bamieh and the British government.

EULEX has insisted that the financial settlement agreed by its former prosecutor turned whistleblower Maria Bamieh with the UK government does not have anything to do with the European rule-of-law mission in Kosovo because Bamieh’s corruption allegations against EULEX were dismissed four years ago.

“The EU Rule of Law Mission to Kosovo (EULEX) is not a party to this settlement nor is it privy to its terms… nor is it affected by it in any way,” EULEX’s press office told BIRN.

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

EU enlargement: Parliament takes stock of developments in the Western Balkans (europarl.europa.eu)

On Wednesday, Parliament outlined its assessment of the political situation in three accession countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: ending political deadlock and advancing on reforms

MEPs reconfirm their support for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Euro-Atlantic orientation. However, they strongly denounce all hate rhetoric and disruptive action, including the withdrawal from and obstruction of state institutions, notably by the leadership of the Republika Srpska entity. They urge all political actors to return unconditionally to these state institutions and advance the work on EU-related reforms, notably the rule of law.

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

 

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

Kosovo with good legislation on languages, implementation remains a challenge (KP)

The Office of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, New Social Initiative in collaboration with the Office of the Language Commissioner and the Social Initiative Centre, presented online mechanisms for reporting violation of language rights and language learning for employees of the public administration as part of the programme “Say Something”. 

Kosovo has good legislation on languages but its implementation remains a challenge, the presentation heard.

Language Commissioner Slavisa Mladenovic called for greater cooperation by the public administration employees while head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Michael Davenport, spoke of the importance of exploring the languages. Deputy head of the Dutch Mission Peter van Bloemen called for promotion of local languages and head of the International Organisation for Migration in Kosovo Anna Rotocka said the language issue impacts basic rights. 

Murtezi: Over 64,000 persons employed in the last three years in Kosovo (Telegrafi)

The Acting Director of the Tax Administration of Kosovo, Ilir Murtezi, spoke about the process of registration of employees in the private sector. 

He said that based on official statistical data, more than 382,000 employees were registered in Kosovo until May of this year.

Murtezi added that compared to the previous year, there are about 20,000 more employees, while if compared to 2020, there are about 60,000 more registered employees. In comparison to 2019 meanwhile, there are 64,000 more employees registered with the private sector.

 

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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, August 16, 2022

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