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UNMIK Headlines 18 August

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• Cliff: New elections would not be in Kosovo’s best interest (dailies)
• Pristina and Belgrade, centers of dialogue (Tribuna)
• Haliti: Coalition between PDK and LDK would be ideal (Gazeta Blic)
• Ahmeti: The majority forms the government (Bota Sot)
• Northern municipalities to request €100 million from Belgrade (Zeri)
• Slobodan Petrovic re-elected leader of SLS (Koha)
• Two Serbs suspected of war crimes arrested and released (Tribuna)
• Ukraine withdraws troops from Kosovo (dailies)
• Kosovo ranked 64th on list of most peaceful countries (Kosova Sot)

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Headlines – 18.08.2014

Cliff: New elections would not be in Kosovo’s best interest (dailies)

Several dailies report that the British Ambassador in Pristina, Ian Cliff, said in an interview for the Serbian news agency Tanjug that new elections would not be in the best interest of the people of Kosovo. “First we need to see what will be the ruling of the Constitutional Court about the election of the Assembly Speaker. Afterwards, the President should summon and discuss with Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and later maybe with someone else too. So we will have to wait and see how the situation develops,” he said. Cliff also said that Great Britain wants dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade to resume as soon as possible.

Pristina and Belgrade, centers of dialogue (Tribuna)

Serbian media are reporting about the possibility for Serbia and Kosovo to continue talks in a different format, whereby negotiating teams would hold their meetings in Belgrade and Pristina. Brussels, according to these reports, would continue to be the guarantor of agreements. Serbian Government officials, who preferred to remain anonymous, said direct dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina would not imply the recognition of status, but would demonstrate the progress of talks and normalization of relations.

Haliti: Coalition between PDK and LDK would be ideal (Gazeta Blic)

In an interview for Klan Kosova, Xhavit Haliti, deputy leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), said a coalition between the PDK and the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) would result in a stable government. “We would make decisions in parliament, without someone having the power to block such decisions,” he said. “After the ruling of the Constitutional Court, the President of Kosovo will play her role and I believe there can be additional intervention by our Western friends to help with the forming of the government”. Asked to comment on media reports about direct talks between Pristina and Belgrade without EU mediation, Haliti said such talks would be possible only if Serbia recognizes Kosovo’s independence.

Ahmeti: The majority forms the government (Bota Sot)

In an interview for TV Dukagjini, Vetevendosje deputy leader and Pristina Mayor Shpend Ahmeti criticized Kosovo President Jahjaga and the Constitutional Court, saying that the Court’s ruling has failed to provide a solution and only complicated the process even more. “I have studied political systems throughout the world and Kosovo is a parliamentary republic. We must accept that the Democratic Party of Kosovo [PDK] came first in the national elections. But it should also be clear that those with the majority in parliament are the ones that must form the institutions,” Ahmeti was quoted as saying.

Northern municipalities to request €100 million from Belgrade (Zeri)

The four northern municipalities led by the Serbian List are preparing a draft budget for 2015 which they will send to Belgrade. According to unofficial information, the draft budget is around €100 million. Marko Djuric, head of the Serbian Government’s office for Kosovo, said the Government in Belgrade feels obliged to come to the aid of Serbs in Kosovo. “Therefore, as in previous years, we have asked mayors of the northern municipalities to prepare the budget for 2015,” Djuric said.

Slobodan Petrovic re-elected leader of SLS (Koha)

The Serb Liberal Party (SLS) held its convention on Sunday, and Slobodan Petrovic was reelected as party leader. Vasilija Arsic, Boban Stankovic and Branko Bojovic were elected as deputy leaders. Petrovic told reporters after the convention that he had heard from the media about direct dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade without any mediation from Brussels. He said dialogue is a good opportunity to resolve outstanding problems. “It is very important to continue the process of implementing agreements,” he said. Petrovic also said that the SLS would have at least one ministry in the new government of Kosovo.

Two Serbs suspected of war crimes arrested and released (Tribuna)

Two Kosovo Serbs suspected of war crimes were arrested by Kosovo Police on Saturday in the village of Prilluzhe, Vushtrri/Vucitrn municipality. Following the prosecutor’s decision, the suspects were released pending trial.

Ukraine withdraws troops from Kosovo (dailies)

Dailies report that around 100 Ukrainian troops serving with KFOR will be withdrawn from Kosovo and redeployed to eastern Ukraine to face pro-Russian separatist forces. The information was confirmed by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

Kosovo ranked 64th on list of most peaceful countries (Kosova Sot)

According to a study by the New York-based Institute for Economy and Peace, Kosovo is ranked 64th on a list of the world’s most peaceful countries.

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