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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, October 3, 2022

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Albanian Language Media:

• Spokesperson: Government won’t pay September salaries for teachers (Klan Kosova)
• Delays in payments; Kusari: Law is clear – no compensation for strikers (Telegrafi)
• Education Union leader reacts to delay in payment of salaries for teachers (Nacionale)
• Kosovo Assembly to discuss situation in healthcare sector on Friday (EO)
• Qalaj: No Europol or Interpol membership without progress in Brussels dialogue (EO)
• Political discussion in Indonesia on recognition of Kosovo independence (Koha)

Serbian Language Media:

• Serbian List: Pristina implements planned and institutional violence (RTS)
• Vucic to German envoy: There will be no independent Kosovo as Berlin plans (N1)
• Vucic meets Mitsotakis, expresses gratitude for Greece’s understanding of Serbia’s position (RTS)
• Theophylactou: Cyprus maintains position not to recognize Kosovo (Kosovo Online)
• Hill: Putin absolutely does not care about Kosovo (Nova S, KoSSev)
• State Secretary Starovic: EU cannot change rules of game during match (Beta, N1)
• Orban, Nehammer and Vucic met in Budapest (N1)
• Vucic: Serbia to align visa policy with EU by end of year (Tanjug)

International:

• Prosecutors remove one allegation from indictment of Kosovo’s Thaci (BIRN)
• Bosnia Elects New Leaders as OHR Imposes New Election Rules (Balkan Insight)
• Dodik Eyes Victory in Bosnian Serb Entity’s Presidential Race (BIRN)

Humanitarian/Development:

• New academic year starts today, around 1.000 freshmen at University in Mitrovica North (KoSSev)
• People gather in Belgrade to show support for Iranian women (N1)

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Albanian Language Media:

  • Spokesperson: Government won’t pay September salaries for teachers (Klan Kosova)
  • Delays in payments; Kusari: Law is clear – no compensation for strikers (Telegrafi)
  • Education Union leader reacts to delay in payment of salaries for teachers (Nacionale)
  • Kosovo Assembly to discuss situation in healthcare sector on Friday (EO)
  • Qalaj: No Europol or Interpol membership without progress in Brussels dialogue (EO)
  • Political discussion in Indonesia on recognition of Kosovo independence (Koha)

Serbian Language Media:

  • Serbian List: Pristina implements planned and institutional violence (RTS)
  • Vucic to German envoy: There will be no independent Kosovo as Berlin plans (N1)
  • Vucic meets Mitsotakis, expresses gratitude for Greece’s understanding of Serbia’s position (RTS)
  • Theophylactou: Cyprus maintains position not to recognize Kosovo (Kosovo Online)
  • Hill: Putin absolutely does not care about Kosovo (Nova S, KoSSev)
  • State Secretary Starovic: EU cannot change rules of game during match (Beta, N1)
  • Orban, Nehammer and Vucic met in Budapest (N1)
  • Vucic: Serbia to align visa policy with EU by end of year (Tanjug)

International:

  • Prosecutors remove one allegation from indictment of Kosovo’s Thaci (BIRN)
  • Bosnia Elects New Leaders as OHR Imposes New Election Rules (Balkan Insight)
  • Dodik Eyes Victory in Bosnian Serb Entity’s Presidential Race (BIRN)

Humanitarian/Development:

  • New academic year starts today, around 1.000 freshmen at University in Mitrovica North (KoSSev)
  • People gather in Belgrade to show support for Iranian women (N1)

 

Albanian Language Media  

 

Spokesperson: Government won’t pay September salaries for teachers (Klan Kosova)

A spokesperson for the Kosovo Government told Klan Kosova today that the government will not allocate the September salaries for teachers who were on strike. “For the month of September, payments in the public sector have been allocated for those employees who went to work and performed their duties and responsibilities. The monthly salary is compensation for work. In the case of strikes, this issue is determined by the law on strikes,” the spokesperson said.

Delays in payments; Kusari: Law is clear – no compensation for strikers (Telegrafi)

Head of the Vetevendosje parliamentary group, Mimoza Kusari-Lila, said today that the law on strike is clear about the compensation of strikers. Following a meeting of the Assembly Presidency, she said: “the law on strikes is clear whether those on strike are compensated; they are not compensated for the days they were on strike. It is a responsibility of the budget agencies. These questions should be addressed to the line institutions and to the Ministry of Finance”.

The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) has warned it will file charges against Finance Minister Hekuran Murati if the salaries of teachers are not paid by Thursday. The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) meanwhile is arguing that the non-payment of salaries is a political payback against the teachers.

Education Union leader reacts to delay in payment of salaries for teachers (Nacionale)

Leader of the Union of Education, Science and Technology (SBASHK), Rrahman Jasharaj, told the news website today that they will undertake other actions if the government does not compensate the teachers for the time they were on strike. “Classes have started, but the worst thing for the time being is that the government has not allocated the salaries for the teaching staff for September. Meanwhile, it has allocated the salaries for the civil servants with whom we were on strike together. We will wait until October 5, the legal deadline for allocating the salaries. If this does not happen, then it will become clear that this is another attempt by the government to create unpleasant situations. If this happens, we will consider it as an attack against us … I hope the President, the President of the Assembly and the People’s Attorney will react to this injustice,” Jasharaj said. 

Kosovo Assembly to discuss situation in healthcare sector on Friday (EO)

Head of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Abelard Tahiri, said today that in addition to the interpellation of Finance Minister Hekuran Murati, the Assembly will also discuss the situation in the healthcare sector on Friday. He argued that it was not necessary to form the Healthcare Committee which is chaired by Prime Minister Albin Kurti. “We will have a parliamentary debate about the situation in the healthcare sector and the problems we are facing … As you know there is a great demand to leave the country and we are faced with a situation that doctors are leaving their jobs at the Kosovo University and Clinical Centre and going abroad,” Tahiri said after the meeting of the Assembly Presidency.

Qalaj: No Europol or Interpol membership without progress in Brussels dialogue (EO)

Former Director of Kosovo Police and now MP from the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Rashit Qalaj, said in an interview with the news website that Kosovo will not be able to join Europol or Interpol without progress in the EU-facilitated dialogue with Serbia in Brussels.

“The issue of membership in Interpol and Europol is more of a political issue. You have seen that there are no discussions on this issue for years now. Without advancement in the Brussels dialogue, I don’t think we’ll have a chance for Kosovo to join Interpol and Europol soon. This is a political issue, and it should be a security issue,” he said.

Qalaj also argued that the Ministry of Interior Affairs has full political influence over the police. “I think the security institutions need to be even more efficient so that there can be less corruption and organised crime in the country. If we talk about political influence in the case of arrests, I don’t believe there is any. But the Ministry [of Interior] has total influence over the police,” he said.

Political discussion in Indonesia on recognition of Kosovo independence (Koha)

Deputy Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly of Indonesia, Muhammad Hidayat Nur Wahid, said during last week’s visit to Albania, that a political discussion was underway in Indonesia about the possible recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Speaker of the Parliament of Albania, Lindita Nikolla, asked Hidayat Nur Wahid for Indonesia to recognise Kosovo. Hidayat Nur Wahid expressed the readiness of the Parliament, President, Government and institutions of Indonesia to further the cooperation with Albania and said that Indonesian institutions have engaged in a political discussion about the recognition of Kosovo.

 

Serbian Language Media 

 

Serbian List: Pristina implements planned and institutional violence (RTS)

”Pristina’s refusal to implement the agreement on the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities (ZSO) is not accidental, but planned and institutional violence carried out with the aim of permanent discrimination of the Serbian people by Kosovo institutions, all in the hope that the Serbs will give up and leave their homes,” read the Serbian List announcement, reported RTS. 

“They know very well in Pristina that representatives of the Serbian List, both in the parliament and in the government, but also at the local level, at all meetings with Albanian representatives, as well as representatives of embassies, international organisations and institutions, insisted on the formation of the ZSO, as the umbrella institution of the Serbian people, on the formation of which Pristina committed to more than nine years ago,” stated in the Serbian List.

They stated that at those meetings they ”demand an end to the institutional violence that Pristina conducts by raising false charges and by threatening armed formations, as well as the need to respect the rights of the Serbian people and the rule of law in general”.

It was emphasised that there were official minutes, their statements, as well as the statements of the interlocutors about all the above.

“On the other hand, it is a lie that Albin Kurti and Mimoza Kusari Lila care about the needs of our people, the same ones who send armed special forces against barehanded people, the same ones who say that they care about the needs of the Serbian people, so logically the question arises why not withdraw the decision on re-registration when they see that the Serbs will not agree to that ultimatum,” the Serbian List said in the statement. 

They also asked why they did not return the land to the Visoki Decani monastery, or why they did not stop harassment of priests when they wanted to serve the liturgy in the church in Pristina. 

The Serbian list considered hypocritical that Mimoza Kusari Lila spoke about the rights of Serbs, thinking that “we have forgotten that when she was the mayor of Djakovica, she ordered the demolition of Serbian houses and forbade Serbs to visit their churches, their houses, and even the cemeteries where Serbian monuments were destroyed and the Serbian graves excavated”.

“As long as Mimoza Kusari Lila and Albin Kurti attack us, the Serbian people will know that we are on the right path, that we are not ready to give up our national interests. As before, we will be with our people and in front of them, fighting for their rights that the rulers from Pristina are denying, regardless of the pressures we are exposed to,” announced the Serbian List.

Vucic to German envoy: There will be no independent Kosovo as Berlin plans (N1)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told German envoy for the Western Balkans Manuel Sarrazin that “there will be no independent Kosovo” as Berlin plans, N1 reports.

Previously, the German diplomat stated that, in the context of the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo, the creation of a “new Republika Srpska” will not be allowed – referring to the Serb-majority semi-autonomous entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“I did not know that the Germans were deciding on that, it is good that Mr. Sarrazin said that publicly. I can tell him, and I highly appreciate him, there will not even be an independent Kosovo as you are planning”, Vucic said.

Asked about the front page of the Croatian weekly Express, which compared him to Adolf Hitler, Vucic said that it was freedom of the media and that “everyone can publish what they want”.

“Nonetheless, one thing stung my ears. Imagine that those who welcomed Hitler with flowers were saying that to those who fought against him from the first day. That says more about those who did it”, the Serbian President said.

Vucic assessed that the geopolitical events surrounding Ukraine and Russia’s decision to annex four Ukrainian regions will certainly have serious consequences on Serbia.

Regarding sanctions against Russia, he said that Serbia is fighting for its policy as long as it can, and that its policy is defined by the conclusion of the National Security Council.

Vucic meets Mitsotakis, expresses gratitude for Greece’s understanding of Serbia’s position (RTS)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met in Sofia with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and discussed with him projects and plans to overcome the energy crisis, Serbia’s European path and current situation in the region, RTS reports.

Vucic thanked Mitsotakis for the support Greece offered to Serbia in the gas supply, part of the package with other EU states, which brought additional stability to Serbia in the upcoming period, but also for understanding of Serbia’s position.

Speaking about Serbia’s European path, Vucic stressed it remains one of the crucial foreign policy priorities of Serbia, adding that under the current geopolitical situation, Serbia remains equally committed to preserving territorial integrity and upholding international law.

Vucic once again expressed gratitude to the Greek Prime Minister, for the support of Greece to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, adding that such consistent stance remains of highest importance to Serbia. 

Theophylactou: Cyprus maintains position not to recognize Kosovo (Kosovo Online)

Ambassador of Cyprus to Serbia, Demetrios Theophylactou said today his country will maintain its position of not recognizing Kosovo, adding it was important to continue Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and work on normalisation of relations, Kosovo Online portal reports.

The Cyprot Ambassador made those remarks in a meeting with Foreign Affairs Committee of the Serbian Assembly Chair Borko Stefanovic, discussing the current political situation and Syria-Cyprus relations.

Stefanovic thanked Cyprus for principled position not to recognize Kosovo, adding it was important to continue negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina on all open issues, excluding recognition, noting that frozen conflict was not a good solution.  

Hill: Putin absolutely does not care about Kosovo (Nova S, KoSSev)

The American ambassador in Belgrade, Christopher Hill, told Nova S that what happened in Kosovo in 1999 cannot be compared to what is happening now in Ukraine, reported portal KoSSev. 

In an interview with Nova S, Hill said that the US “does not see an analogy between the two situations”.

“We do not consider that the situation in Kosovo, which arose 23 years ago, is in any way similar to the armed aggression and land invasion of Russia, with targeted attacks on residential buildings where civilians live,” Hill said in response to the question of how Serbia can be asked to give up Kosovo, but not Ukraine to give up its territories, reported the portal.

Hill also referred to Putin’s position on Kosovo.

“I don’t think he cares about Kosovo at all, he’s just trying to somehow legitimise what he did to his neighbours,” said Hill.

KoSSev recalled that Russian officials, including the president of this country, on several occasions after the outbreak of war in the east spoke of Kosovo as a precedent.

“When Kosovo declared independence, the International Court of Justice, under pressure from Western countries, ruled that according to the UN Charter, when a state declared independence, there was no need to ask permission from the central government. This means that the republics of Donbass did not have to ask Kyiv for permission,” Putin said back in June, justifying his country’s decision to recognize the republics in Donbass.

Putin also accused the West of starting “large-scale wars” in the past, of “breaking up Yugoslavia”, and then of “separating Kosovo from Serbia”.

Hill spoke to Nova S just one day after the President of Russia signed agreements on the unification of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Lugansk People’s Republic, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson region with Russia, and after a referendum on leaving Ukraine and joining Russia was previously held. This referendum, as well as the signing of the agreement, were criticised by the West, reported KoSSev.

State Secretary Starovic: EU cannot change rules of game during match (Beta, N1)

Requests for Serbia to fully align with the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy and impose sanctions on Russia means “changing the rules of the game during a match”, said Serbia’s Secretary of State at the Foreign Ministry Nemanja Starovic, the Beta agency reported.

“This is nowhere defined as our obligation. Even if it were to happen, there is no adequate valorization,” Starovic told the pro-regime Pink TV.

The Secretary of State cited the examples of Montenegro, North Macedonia and Albania which, as he said, fully aligned with the EU’s foreign and security policy, and wondered how this was valued and “if they have made progress on their European path”.

“I am afraid not. Accession to the EU is, without any doubt, our foreign policy priority, it is, no doubt, also in the interest of our state and citizens, but to talk about European prospects today, without providing a clear framework or a date for our entry into full membership, is extremely frivolous,” said Starovic.

The Secretary of State said Serbia’s only obligation related to the negotiating framework is to gradually align its foreign policy until its full membership in the EU and that the new requests it is getting “are much like ultimatums”, which, he said Serbia “has never in history reacted to well”.

See at: https://bit.ly/3SLbqq0

Orban, Nehammer and Vucic met in Budapest (N1)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic are attending a trilateral summit in Budapest on the occasion of which Orban posted on Instagram the message “Together against illegal migration”, N1 reports.

Prior to the beginning of the summit President Vucic posted on his Instagram profile a joint photo with Orban and Nehammer.

“This meeting with friends, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, has also proved that partnership, cooperation and joint work can solve many challenges”, wrote the Serbian President.

Migration, the fight against organised crime, energy and strengthening of economic cooperation have been announced as summit topics.

Vucic: Serbia to align visa policy with EU by end of year (Tanjug)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced in Budapest on Monday a Hungary-Serbia-Austria trilateral summit had resulted in an agreement under which Serbia would align its visa policy with the EU to a significant degree by the end of the year, Tanjug news agency reports.

At a joint press conference with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Vucic said they had discussed all major and difficult issues the three countries were facing, including energy and the financial situation. Vucic also said he was grateful joint action was being taken in a field where Serbia was a specific case.

“We again have an increase in the number of refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan and other countries. At the same time, we also have people coming from Russia. As of today, we have a total of 17,000 people from Russia and Ukraine registered as residents in Serbia. All that is not a small burden for a relatively small country such as Serbia”, Vucic said.

Vucic noted that the alignment of Serbia’s visa policy with the EU would make it impossible “to use Serbia as a country of entry for illegal migration towards the West, rather than for real needs”.

He also thanked Orban and Nehammer for supporting Serbia on its European path.

 

 

 

International 

 

Prosecutors remove one allegation from indictment of Kosovo’s Thaci (BIRN)

The prosecution at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague is withdrawing one accusation about alleged war crimes in Ferizaj/Urosevac in Kosovo from the indictment of ex-President Hashim Thaci and his co-accused.

A judge at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague has authorised a request from the prosecution to withdraw claims of alleged crimes in the municipality of Ferizaj/Urosevac during the Kosovo war in 1999 from the indictment of Hashim Thaci and three other ex-guerrillas.

Pre-trial judge Nicolas Guillou said in his decision, which was dated September 29 but published on Friday, that the prosecution should “reflect the withdrawal of the Ferizaj/Urosevac allegations” in an amended indictment.

The prosecution had asked to amend the indictment by removing “allegations of crimes committed against at least one victim… at a house in or around Ferizaj/Urosevac”.

It explained that it “decided not to rely on the evidence” of one witness and that as a result “there is now insufficient evidence to prove the Ferizaj/Urosevac allegations”.

Former Kosovo president Thaci and his three co-accused, former parliament speakers Kadri Veseli and Jakup Krasniqi and MP Rexhep Selimi, still face various serious charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including illegal detentions, torture, murder, enforced disappearances and persecution.

The crimes were allegedly committed from at least March 1998 to September 1999 during the time they were commanding the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA.

All four men have pleaded not guilty. They have been in detention since they were arrested in November 2020.

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

Bosnia Elects New Leaders as OHR Imposes New Election Rules (Balkan Insight)

In elections in Bosnia on Sunday, Bosnian Serb strongman Milorad Dodik’s close ally, Zeljka Cvijanovic, looked set to take the Serbian seat on the state presidency, alongside current Croat incumbent Zeljko Komsic and Denis Becirovic for the Bosniaks.

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

Dodik Eyes Victory in Bosnian Serb Entity’s Presidential Race (BIRN)

After counting almost 82 per cent of the votes cast for the race to become president of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, Bosnia’s Central Electoral Commission, CEC, said the Bosnian Serb political leader and president of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, Milorad Dodik, was heading towards a third mandate in the post. 

According to CEC data, Dodik was in the lead with 48 per cent of the votes. His main opponent, Jelena Trivic, of the Party of Democratic Progress, PDP, won some 42 per cent. 

Both claimed victory on Sunday night.

After the CEC published the preliminary results for the Republika Srpska presidential race, the PDP called a press conference on Monday, claiming that Dodik only “won by election fraud.” “We won’t give up. Everything we said last night … is correct. The difference was over 10,000 votes,” Branislav Borenovic, president of PDP, told the media.

“We will examine everything in detail and based on that, there is a serious reason to cancel the elections for the president of the Republika Sprska in a large number of polling stations and cities,” he added.

Trivic, a 39-year-old former professor, and widely seen as just as hardline as Dodik, on Sunday thanked those who voted for her. 

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

 

 

 

Humanitarian/Development

 

New academic year starts today, around 1.000 freshmen at University in Mitrovica North (KoSSev)

A new academic year for the students of ten faculties at Pristina University temporarily settled in Mitrovica North starts today, KoSSev portal reports. According to information, Radio Mitrovica Sever received earlier from Rectorate, almost the same number of freshmen enrolled at the faculties this year as compared to the year before and counts around 1.000 new students.

A ceremonial reception for the new students was organised at ten faculties of University in Mitrovica North today, KoSSev portal adds.

People gather in Belgrade to show support for Iranian women (N1)

Some 200 people gathered Sunday outside the Iranian Embassy in Belgrade to show support for Iranian women protesting against the Iranian authorities, N1 reports.

Some women had the colours of the Iranian flag painted on their faces, while others carried signs reading: Woman, life, freedom.

The rally was also attended by the activists of the Female Solidarity feminist movement and representatives of the opposition Democratic Party and Party of Freedom and Justice. An Iranian woman who attended said she was happy that a large number of people came and that Iranian women received great support.

“This means a lot to me, it really does. You don’t know what kind of courage it took to come here. I came for all the women who are tortured and killed in Iran”, she said. She added that violence is perpetrated against women in her country as well as that there has been no internet in Iran for 16 days because of which she has no contact with her family.

 

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