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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, August 16, 2022

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• Albania helps Kosovo, the energy crisis is avoided (media)
• Kosovo walks back power cutoffs to consumers amid energy ‘emergency’ (RFE)
• President Osmani accuses EU of favoring Serbia (Koha)
• Begaj supports decision on reciprocity on license plates and IDs (Koha)
• Osmani on headscarves in schools: Constitution, primary orientation (media)
• Counter-petition launched against request to lift ban on religious dress in Kosovo schools (BIRN)
• Serbia does not allow Bislimi and Svecla to visit Presevo Valley (RTK)
• Kosovo to host largest field exercise in region, “Defender Europe 23” (media)
• Kurti meets OSCE Head of Mission Davenport (media)
• Haradinaj to Kurti: I am addressing you to reconsider your position (media)

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  • Albania helps Kosovo, the energy crisis is avoided (media)
  • Kosovo walks back power cutoffs to consumers amid energy ‘emergency’ (RFE)
  • President Osmani accuses EU of favoring Serbia (Koha)
  • Begaj supports decision on reciprocity on license plates and IDs (Koha)
  • Osmani on headscarves in schools: Constitution, primary orientation (media)
  • Counter-petition launched against request to lift ban on religious dress in Kosovo schools (BIRN)
  • Serbia does not allow Bislimi and Svecla to visit Presevo Valley (RTK)
  • Kosovo to host largest field exercise in region, “Defender Europe 23” (media)
  • Kurti meets OSCE Head of Mission Davenport (media)
  • Haradinaj to Kurti: I am addressing you to reconsider your position (media)

Albania helps Kosovo, the energy crisis is avoided (media)

Kosovo’s Ministry of Economy said in a press release on Monday that due to the global situation with the energy crisis has affected the region too and that all line institutions are working intensively and in coordination to secure the energy supply. The statement noted that thanks to this work and the cooperation between Kosovo and Albania, namely the Kosovo Energy Corporation (KEK) and the Albanian Electricity Corporation (KESH), power cuts in Kosovo have been avoided. Regular energy supply was restored on MOnday at 14:00. The Ministry also called on citizens and businesses to undertake saving measures and be as careful as possible in the use of electricity.

Kosovo walks back power cutoffs to consumers amid energy ‘emergency’ (RFE)

Kosovar authorities say electricity supplies have resumed as normal after its main power distributor announced periodic brownouts starting on August 15 that it blamed on high import costs and production woes.

Nonetheless, officials in the Balkan state signaled that there would be challenges ahead as a result of the current “energy crisis and state of emergency.”

“Regular electricity supply is back,” the Kosovar Economy Ministry said on Facebook.

It credited cooperation between the local KEK energy company and its counterpart in neighboring Albania for resolving the immediate problem.

“Institutions will continue to do their best to maintain regular electricity supply in the coming days,” the ministry said.

“However, given the situation, they ask all citizens and businesses to take frugal measures and be as careful as possible in using electricity.”

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

President Osmani accuses EU of favoring Serbia (Koha)

The daily reports on its front page this morning that Serbian officials have stepped up their discourse on Kosovo and the European Union days before the meeting between Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels. The accusations came after the Office of the EU High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, issued a statement warning both sides that they would be held responsible for any escalation of the situation. But Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani said the approach of the EU is wrong and that Serbia is the one inciting tensions in the region. “Serbia is the one that threatens, Serbia is the one that destabilises, and Serbia is the one that is continuing the pan-Serbian rhetoric and still views states in the region as temporary, whereas Kosovo throughout its history has contributed to peace and stability in the region. Therefore, we call on the European Union that the treatment that they call neutral to not be a biased treatment that favors a country that has territorial and destabilising tendencies towards not only Kosovo but other countries in the region too,” Osmani said on Monday after meeting her Albanian counterpart, Bajram Begaj.

Begaj supports decision on reciprocity on license plates and IDs (Koha)

Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti met on Monday with the President of Albania Bajram Begaj. A press release, issued by the Office of the Prime Minister informed that Begaj has expressed support for the Kosovo government’s decisions regarding reciprocity for license plates and identification documents with Serbia. “President Begaj said that Kosovo’s independence is irreversible and emphasized the support for Kosovo’s positions in the dialogue with Serbia, which, as he said, should be concluded with a final agreement centered on mutual recognition,” the announcement continues.

Kurti highlighted the importance of Albania’s support in Kosovo’s membership processes in the NATO Partnership for Peace Program, the Adriatic Charter, the Council of Europe and the application for membership in the European Union.

Osmani on headscarves in schools: Constitution, primary orientation (media)

President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, said on Monday that the Constitution of Kosovo must be the primary orientation of institutions on any issue related the basic human rights and freedoms. After meeting her Albanian counterpart Bajram Begaj in Prishtina, Osmani also talked about the issue of headscarves in public schools. “The Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo must be and continues to be the primary orientation of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo on any issue related to basic human rights and freedoms. This Constitution has determined a basic principle which is a fundamental principle upon which our legal and constitutional system is built, and that is the principle of secularity. Therefore, it is very important for this principle to be respected in Kosovo’s institutions. The second issue that is clearly defined by the constitution is the obligation of all public institutions to respect the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, as standards through which all issues related to human rights and freedoms are resolved,” Osmani said.

Counter-petition launched against request to lift ban on religious dress in Kosovo schools (BIRN)

An online petition against the wearing of headscarves by Muslim girls in schools has been initiated in Kosovo, following an earlier petition calling for girls who wear a headscarf to be allowed to attend public schools was closed by organizers on Saturday over claims that their campaign had caught the attention of decision-makers.

The petition, “Stop the wearing of headscarves in schools in Kosovo”, has received around 1,500 signatures in two days.

On Saturday, the organizer of the campaign “Ndryshojeni Udhezimin Administrativ per shamine” (Change the Administrative Instruction on the Headscarf), the legal expert Durim Berisha, announced he was ending his campaign after the online petition “for 48 hours received over 20,000 signatures, of which 45 percent were from women”.

The campaign of Berisha, originally from Kosovo but currently based in Dusseldorf, Germany, targets an article in the code of conduct and disciplinary measures for Kosovo high schools. “Students are not allowed… to wear religious dress,” the article reads.

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

Serbia does not allow Bislimi and Svecla to visit Presevo Valley (RTK)

Serbia has rejected a request by Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Bislimi and Interior Affairs Minister Affairs Xhelal Svecla to visit Presevo Valley. Both senior members of the government had planned to visit the region just few days prior to a meeting between Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels. Representatives of the Albanian National Council in Presevo Valley confirmed to RTK that Serbian authorities have rejected the request. They also said that the visit has been been postponed for another indefinite period.

Kosovo to host largest field exercise in region, “Defender Europe 23” (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Defence, Armend Mehaj, said on Monday that Kosovo will host the largest field exercise in the Balkan region, “Defender Europe 23”. “Preparations are ongoing, preparatory drills of our army are underway, equipment is being bought and the infrastructure is being completed … The ‘Defender Europe 23’ will prove once again the high level of preparedness and professionalism of our army,” Mehaj said.

Kurti meets OSCE Head of Mission Davenport (media)

Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, met on Monday with the OSCE Head of Mission in Kosovo, Michael Davenport. A press release issued by Kurti’s office notes that at the center of the meeting was the increasing cooperation between the Kosovo Government and the OSCE. “Prime Minister Kurti and Ambassador Davenport spoke about cooperation aimed at increasing communication with citizens from all communities, as well as about fighting misinformation and fake news. The meeting also discussed the latest developments in the country in the field of rule of law,” the press release notes.

Haradinaj to Kurti: I am addressing you to reconsider your position (media)

Leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj wrote in a post on social networks that the parameters of Prime Minister Kurti’s governance are not only harmful, but also dangerous for Kosovo.

He further listed government’s political approach to the dialogue with Serbia; the religious one, promoting topics that endanger religious tolerance; the economic one, not supporting businesses; the municipal government, etc.

“Therefore, I am asking you to reconsider your position. It is noble to know when to withdraw. With your government, you are seriously endangering this country! There is something more valuable than the chair of the prime minister,” Haradinaj wrote.

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