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UNMIK Headlines 19 January

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• Kosovo’s membership bid for arbitration court fails (Koha Ditore)
• First Assembly session this year on 28 or 29 January (Koha)
• European Parliament consent on SAA, this week (Epoka e Re)
• Vetevendosje against Serbia’s mobile operator in Kosovo (dailies)
• AAK: Crisis has never been deeper in Kosovo (dailies)
• Slovakian FM Lajcak to visit Kosovo today (Koha)
• Opposition to block special court (Zeri)
• O’Connell: Election of the President belongs to the Assembly (Epoka e Re)
• Marty: Why was I not sued for slander? (Kosova Sot, Bota Sot)
• Former NATO secretary, George Robertson is visiting Kosovo (RTKLive)

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Headlines – 19.01.2016

Kosovo’s membership bid for arbitration court fails (Koha Ditore)

On the front page, the paper writes that Kosovo suffered its first diplomatic defeat this year by being refused membership in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) headquartered in The Hague. In its membership bid, Kosovo is reported to have lacked the support of the US as well as other Quint countries. An unnamed international source told the paper that Kosovo acted on its own by applying to the PCA and, as a result, did not enjoy the support of the leading western countries. One of the reasons behind the lack of support was connected to Palestine which is not recognised by the US but which was also aiming to secure PCA membership.

First Assembly session this year on 28 or 29 January (Koha)

Quoting sources inside the Assembly, Koha reports that the ruling parties, Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), have agreed to set the first plenary session for this year on the last Thursday or Friday of the month. The source said that there is no possibility to hold the session any sooner as many MPs, including President of the Assembly Kadri Veseli, are not in Kosovo at the moment.

European Parliament consent on SAA, this week (Epoka e Re)

The European Parliament will vote on Wednesday and Thursday during its plenary session on the Stabilization Association Agreement (SAA) between the European Union and Kosovo. This agreement was reached at the end of the last year; however, it was not signed by the EU member states and its ratification is not required, therefore the consent of the European Parliament will be sufficient for the Agreement to come into effect. Problems are not expected since this institution was always in favor of the agreement with Kosovo, reported Rel in Brussels.  

Vetevendosje against Serbia’s mobile operator in Kosovo (dailies)

The leader of the Vetevendosje Movement, Visar Ymeri, told a press conference yesterday the company which will be given permission to operate in Kosovo after Kosovo receives its telephone code, is state-owned by Serbia. “This of course is a state issue and cannot be decided in this way. It cannot be allowed that a state company provides telecommunications services in another country, taking into account not only the aspect of sovereignty, but also security. The security issue is who and how will control telephone conversations between citizens,” Ymeri said. The Serbian mobile operator “MTS” is expected to become operational after Kosovo gets its telephone code 383. According to the government, the operation of this operator complies with the technical negotiations held in Brussels. 

AAK: Crisis has never been deeper in Kosovo (dailies)

The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), though a press release sent on Monday, stated that the political crisis in Kosovo has never been deeper. AAK estimates that many politicians, intellectuals, opinion leaders, journalists and ordinary citizens, as well as international partners, are trying to be part of the solution, either with ideas or concrete actions.  “Part of the solution should be those who have caused the crisis. All those who are responsible and accountable, should undertake actions that contribute to solving the political crisis, not otherwise. The AAK is committed to giving everything to overcome this crisis,” reads the press release. 

Slovakian FM Lajcak to visit Kosovo today (Koha)

The Foreign Minister of Slovakia, Miroslav Lajcak, is expected to undertake a brief visit to Kosovo today, and will meet President Atifete Jahjaga, Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and chair of the Assembly foreign affairs committee Enver Hoxhaj. Slovakia is one of the five EU member states that have not recognised the independence of Kosovo but Lajcak is known for his positive stance towards Kosovo, adds Koha. 

Opposition to block special court (Zeri)

The opposition parties announced they will block the Assembly session when it is expected to ratify the agreement on special court for war crimes. According to the opposition, every initiative coming from the government will be rejected and will be blocked. They said they will continue to block the sessions despite international pressure and the importance of the sessions. The agreement reached with the Netherlands has to be ratified by majority in the parliaments of Kosovo and the Netherlands.  Adonis Tahiri from Vetevendosje Movement told the paper all agreements reached by the Kosovo government will be opposed as “they violate Kosovo’s sovereignty.” According to him, the government is also obliged to publish every detail of the agreement reached with the Netherlands.

O’Connell: Election of the President belongs to the Assembly (Epoka e Re)

The Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Kosovo, Ruairi O’Connell, wrote while replying to Kosovo people on his Facebook page that his country will help Kosovo on EU integration. He added that his country is also working to bring some companies to invest in Kosovo. Asked about the agreement between the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) to elect Hashim Thaci as President of Kosovo, O’Connell said that election of the President is an Assembly issue, but he added that it has to be in accordance with the Constitution and laws. Replying on the questions related to 9 January protests, O’Connell wrote that the protest was meaningful. “Protest is and essential right of democracy. We have seen the power of the protest in Rector’s case. But on the other hand, violence harms the message of the protest, and violence also endangers democracy,” O’Connell said. 

Marty: Why was I not sued for slander? (Kosova Sot, Bota Sot)

Former Swiss senator and author of the Council of Europe’s (CoE) report claiming Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commanders were involved in war crimes, Dick Marty, is quoted as saying in an interview for Presheva Jone that Kosovo cannot become prosperous if it continues to be led by corrupt people affiliated with crime and mafia. Marty hailed the Kosovo Assembly’s vote for the establishment of the special court that will look into allegations he raised. He said the court will not be against Kosovo and its people and asked why if the allegations in his report were false he not sued for slander. The former CoE rapporteur further said that it is true that his report contained no names of the people he claimed to have been involved in organ trade but that “these names are those that have been mentioned for years in documents prepared by police forces and secret services of certain countries, including international papers.”

Former NATO secretary, George Robertson is visiting Kosovo (RTKLive)

Former Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) George Robertson arrived in Kosovo on Monday and he will be meeting with senior leaders today, RTK reports.  Robertson will be honored by President Atifete Jahjaga, with an award in recognition of his contribution for Kosovo.

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