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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, July 29, 2022

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• Kurti: Normalization of relations with Serbia, with mutual recognition (VoA, media)
• Prime Minister Kurti meets the Assistant Secretary for Energy, Andrew Light
• Escobar: Kosovo is an extremely good partner in the region (VoA, media)
• Vucic: There is no dialogue in Brussels as long as Kurti is there (Koha)
• EU: IPA agreement enables Kosovo to receive technical and financial assistance (media)
• Over €6 million euros of undeclared cash circulating in Kosovo (euronews.al)
• Justice of Serbia amnesties murderers who committed crimes in Kosovo (RTK)

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  • Kurti: Normalization of relations with Serbia, with mutual recognition (VoA, media)
  • Prime Minister Kurti meets Assistant Secretary for Energy, Andrew Light
  • Escobar: Kosovo is an extremely good partner in the region (VoA, media)
  • Vucic: There is no dialogue in Brussels as long as Kurti is there (Koha)
  • EU: IPA agreement enables Kosovo to receive technical and financial assistance (media)
  • Over €6 million euros of undeclared cash circulating in Kosovo (euronews.al)
  • Justice of Serbia amnesties murderers who committed crimes in Kosovo (RTK)

Kurti: Normalization of relations with Serbia, with mutual recognition (VoA, media)

The Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti told VoA that the meeting with Secretary Blinken was excellent, fruitful and very cordial. “It is a celebration of our relations which are entering a new phase because the challenges in the world are increasing but at the same time the American investment in Kosovo will also be increasing,” he said.

Asked if his position on the priority of the dialogue with Serbia has changed, Kurti said that he has never denied the importance of talks.

“But we have said that they should be principled talks in which Kosovo is a party and not a topic as it has been in the past. For the USA, as well as for the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, Kosovo is an independent, sovereign, democratic state with clear territorial integrity. But at the same time we also accept that our relations with Serbia are not normal. We want good neighborly relations and consequently we want normalization of these relations. And the normalization of relations is done through dialogue, which should have the goal of a legally binding agreement focused on mutual recognition, and here we have full agreement with Secretary Blinken, who is an ally, partner and great friend of Kosovo,” Kurti said.

Asked if the imposition of new measures on license plates and reciprocity on documents could fuel new tensions between the two sides, Kurti said ‘this is a measure that we take 11 years after Serbia already took it. Meanwhile, regarding those license plates from the time of Milosevic, Serbia itself has accepted in Brussels that they should end, but it seems that implementation is hindering them. We are not against Serbian citizens, on the contrary, we wish to cooperate with them for the common good and in the implementation of the law and respect for the constitutionality. So these are measures for law and equality, and against no one.’

He further blamed the Serbian side for the failure of the meeting with Vucic that was planned for 19 July.

“They don’t want to impose sanctions on Moscow and that’s why they don’t constitute the Assembly, they don’t form the government, and they demand that the planned meetings in Brussels with me be postponed,” he said adding further that Kosovo is constructive, and that they promised Secretary Blinken to be constructive in the future.

Speaking about the Association of Serb municipalities, he said that except for the violation of the Constitution, its establishment is more the interest of Belgrade than the need of the Serbs.

“Meanwhile, regarding the issue of Decan Monastery, we are for the preservation of cultural heritage regardless of religion. But cultural heritage and ownership are not the same thing, and I have expressed my willingness to start talks with the Orthodox religious authorities in Kosovo of Serbian nationality in order to find a good solution. But it should be noted that just as we ask Serbia to distance itself from Putin, we also ask it to distance itself from the past, namely from Milosevic because it is about 24 hectares that were a gift of Milosevic to the monastery of Decan. And it was public property, and we should not abstract this fact. But I want a solution acceptable to everyone and for the public good without offending or discriminating anyone,” Kurti said.

Prime Minister Kurti  meets Assistant Secretary for Energy, Andrew Light

The Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti accompanied by the Minister of Economy Artane Rizvanolli, as well as the Ambassador of Kosovo to the United States of America, Ilir Dugolli, were received in a meeting by the Assistant Secretary of Energy, Andrew Light in the Department of Energy of USA.

As announced by the Media Office of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Kurti spoke about the systematic work that the government of Kosovo is doing in the fight against crime and corruption, which contributes to the creation of a suitable environment for economic development and attracting foreign investments.

Further, Prime Minister Kurti is quoted as having stated that Kosovo and the United States of America have common goals and priorities for a clean and efficient energy sector.

Escobar: Kosovo is an extremely good partner in the region (VoA, media)

The U.S. special envoy for the Balkans Gabriel Escobar said after signing the energy agreement between the Millennium Challenge Corporation and Kosovo, that the agreement is a sign of deepening cooperation between Kosovo and the United States.

“Kosovo is an extremely good partner in the region, it is a competent country in our relationship in the region. Everything we can do to deepen cooperation, we are happy to do,” he said.

Regarding the risk of the impact of the situation created in Ukraine and Moscow’s goals in the Western Balkans, Escobar expressed optimism about the repulsion of these goals in the region.

“We have never seen such unity as we have now within NATO and the unity we have with our European partners to ensure that European security is our highest priority. In this context, we also consider the Western Balkans, and I believe that the Western Balkans will be fine,” he said, for the Voice of America.

He added that despite the various challenges, all countries in the region have the support and attention of the United States.

Vucic: There is no dialogue in Brussels as long as Kurti is there (Koha)

The President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic has said In an interview for “Pink” television, on Thursday night that the dialogue process is a failure and blamed the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti for this. He requested from ‘the powers that protect him to help us, stop him and teach Albin Kurti a lesson.’

“There is no dialogue in Brussels until Kurti is there, the man has decided not to dialogue”.

Vucic said that he is “ready to go every time for talks, but that according to him, he does not know what to talk about.

He also spoke about the West’s request that Serbia impose sanctions on Russia and repeated that he will not do it.

EU: IPA agreement enables Kosovo to receive technical and financial assistance (media)

The Assembly of Kosovo ratified on Thursday the Financial Framework Partnership Agreement with the European Union related to the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) III.

The ratification of the IPA III Financial Framework Partnership Agreement (FFPA) enables Kosovo to receive further technical and financial assistance from the European Union. It covers the seven-year period, starting from 2021, and the first annual IPA III programme worth EUR 63.9 million, informs the European Union Office in Kosovo.

“We were pleased to see that the ratification of the IPA III Financial Framework Partnership Agreement has received overwhelming cross-party support in the Assembly,” said the EU Ambassador in Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog.

“The IPA III funding will be used to finance activities in the areas of rule of law and human rights, good governance, economic development, infrastructures, and energy and environment. These activities will further support Kosovo in its European integration and will help improve the quality and standard of living of all people in Kosovo.”

Kosovo began benefiting from EU assistance under IPA in 2007. Since then, and up to the end of 2022, a total of EUR 1.21 billion have been allocated to Kosovo through IPA I and IPA II.

Over €6 million euros of undeclared cash circulating in Kosovo (euronews.al)

Tax investigators in Kosovo estimate that around 6 million euros of undeclared money is currently circulating in Kosovo.

“Kosovo’s tax administration is continuing to monitor legal entities, businesses, and individuals who are benefiting from social media, cryptocurrency as well as expropriation. During this period alone, the Investigative Tax and Intelligence Department has identified 6.1 million euros circulating in the aforementioned sectors, which according to the fiscal legislation currently in place, are obliged to declare them and pay the applicable taxes,” – stated the Tax Administration of Kosovo (TAK) in the public statement.

In an announcement, TAK states that they have at their disposal, advanced technology through which they can collect data from different sources, including legal entities and physical individuals.

Justice of Serbia amnesties murderers who committed crimes in Kosovo (RTK)

According to RTK, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic talks a lot about politics, but he almost never speaks about Serbia’s crimes against the people of Kosovo. In fact, not even the Serbian Prosecutor’s Office mentions the dragging of war crimes cases, which have been waiting in the drawers of the courts in Serbia for years. One of them is the case of Qyshku, for which the indictment was filed in 2010 and the procedure is still ongoing. It is estimated that this is happening as a result of the lack of political will.

In Serbia, it is estimated that the number of trials for war crimes committed against Albanians in Kosovo is insufficient. The main problems are non-investigation, lack of new indictments, absence of victims and the lack of securing witnesses.

“In Serbia, we have a relatively small number of procedures for crimes committed against Albanians in Kosovo. On the other hand, new indictments have not been filed,” the legal representative of the victims in the case of Qyshku, Marina Klaiq told RTK.

According to Klaiq, trials take a long time and the most drastic example is the case of Qyshku, in which the indictment was filed in 2010 and the procedure is still ongoing.

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