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UNMIK Headlines 25 February

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• Association of Serb Municipalities back on agenda (Koha Ditore)
• Kuçi: Pace of dialogue will slow (Epoka e Re)
• Armed Forces in coordination with NATO (Epoka e Re)
• Krasniqi not aware of Tribunal (Tribuna)
• Cyprus does not plan to recognise Kosovo (Epoka e Re)
• Agreements on vehicle insurance, matter of days (Tribuna)
• Municipality reconciles with Monastery (Tribuna)
• Petrovic insists on local implementation of Bosniak, Turkish (Koha Ditore)

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Headlines – 25.02.2014

Association of Serb Municipalities back on agenda (Koha Ditore)

The Kosovo Government left the decision regarding when to establish the association of Serb municipalities in the hands of the mayors of the four Serb majority municipalities in the north. Although they have yet to publish the draft statute of the association, government officials said that the statute is ready and that it will be tabled for discussion with the four mayors in the north.

Bekim Collaku, senior advisor to Kosovo Prime Minister Thaçi, said that new Mitrovica North mayor, Goran Rakic, needs to complete his official inauguration before proceeding with the matter. “Once this requirement is met, it is up to the mayors of these municipalities to decide when they will establish the association. The association of Serb majority municipalities is established through the initiatives of the mayors of the four northern municipalities,” Collaku added.

The establishment of the association was postponed due to extraordinary elections in Mitrovica North.

Kuçi: Pace of dialogue will slow (Epoka e Re)

In a front-page interview, Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuçi said the pace of the dialogue in Brussels will slow down due to upcoming parliamentary elections in Kosovo and Serbia. “I believe the dialogue process will not stop, but will slow; there will be fewer meetings and agreements,” he added.

Kuçi, who is the deputy leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), said he believes the PDK will win in the next general elections and does not rule out coalitions with any political party.

Armed Forces in coordination with NATO (Epoka e Re)

Kosovo Security Force (KSF) Minister Agim Ceku said on Monday that the announcement for the establishment of the Armed Forces of Kosovo was done in full coordination with NATO and other strategic partners. Ceku said Kosovo institutions have close relations with NATO and that the entire security sector review was done under the supervision of the NATO advisory team.

Ceku also said he was confident that the establishment of the Armed Forces of Kosovo would be in the interest of Kosovo and NATO, because KFOR peacekeeping troops will not have to stay in Kosovo forever.

“Kosovo needs to have its own defense capacities and will one day have to assume responsibility for its own security. This is a gradual process that leads to the establishment of Kosovo’s defense capacities and at the same time creates conditions for NATO’s downsizing and eventual departure from Kosovo. This is a well-studied process coordinated with our strategic partners. This is in the interest of Kosovo, NATO and the international community,” Ceku added.

Krasniqi not aware of Tribunal (Tribuna)

Kosovo Assembly Speaker Jakup Krasniqi said he did not see any official papers regarding the establishment of an international war crimes tribunal for Kosovo. “No one discussed this issue with me,” said Krasniqi, adding that he will not comment on something that he did not receive any information about.

Cyprus does not plan to recognise Kosovo (Epoka e Re)

Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Monday that his country does not plan to recognise the independence of Kosovo. “Our position on the status of Kosovo remains the same and it will not change in the foreseeable future,” he said. Kasoulides also said he believes Serbia will join the EU in 2020.

Agreements on vehicle insurance, matter of days (Tribuna)

The head of the Kosovo technical team on insurance, Rrahim Pacolli, said last week’s meeting in Brussels with Serbian representatives was successful and that two agreements are expected to be reached in a matter of days. “We are […] close to finding a solution to this problem,” said Pacolli, noting that the agreements are of national interest and Kosovo citisens will be the beneficiaries, although this may not suit some people in the insurance industry.

“Technical details have already been worked out, such as tariffs, insurance policies, accidents, and legislation. For your information, tariffs will be minimal and very favourable for citisens of both countries,” stressed Pacolli. He also expressed his belief that Kosovo will soon become a member of the National Green Card Bureau.

Municipality reconciles with Monastery (Tribuna)

An agreement was reached whereby the Deçan/Dečani Monastery would transfer land to its municipality for the joint use of a recreational park resort.

Petrovic insists on local implementation of Bosniak, Turkish (Koha Ditore)

Kosovo’s Local Government Minister Slobodan Petrovic has written a letter to Prizren mayor Ramadan Muja and to mayors of seven other municipalities requesting information on measures they have taken to respect the official use of the Turkish and Bosniak languages at the local level. Petrovic noted in his letter that he received information from state authorities that these eight municipalities [Prizren, Pejë/Peć, Mitrovica, Pristina, Vushtrri/Vučitrn, Gjilan/Gnjilane, Istog/Istok, and Dragash/ Dragaš] are not properly implementing the law on the use of official languages.

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