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UNMIK Headlines 3 February

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• Thaci warns of consequences if EU integration is delayed (Koha Ditore)
• Thaci: The US and Brussels know who is the candidate for president (Koha)
• The US do not support any individual candidate for president (Koha)
• Rasic: Thaci has the authority for president (Epoka e Re)
• UNMIK doesn’t plan substantial changes to its mandate in Kosovo (Telegrafi)
• Konjufca: Government continues with compromises (Epoka e Re)
• Deda: EU ready to mediate in the Kosovo crisis (Zeri)
• Weapons and ISIS flag found in home of the suspect arrested in Decan (Zeri)

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Headlines – 03.02.2016

Thaci warns of consequences if EU integration is delayed (Koha Ditore)

On the first day of the international Germia Hill annual conference in Pristina, around 200 participants from different countries discussed the threats to the Balkans from religious extremism and Russia’s influence. The host of the conference, Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci, said that the later the EU is in integrating the Balkans region, the bigger the risk of Russia and Middle East influence. He also warned that EU integration delays could lead to the resurfacing of interethnic and inter-state crises “at a time when the entire region has pledged to Euro Atlantic integrations,” said Thaci. Prime Minister of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa, expressed concerns that the people of Kosovo are the only ones that cannot travel freely to Europe. “We have worked hard in meeting the necessary requirements and we believe the European Union will soon decide on recommending visa liberalization for our country,” he said. Mustafa also spoke about measures the Kosovo government has put in place to fight terrorism. He said they estimate there are less than 70 persons from Kosovo currently fighting alongside ISIS compared to 300 from last year.

Thaci: The US and Brussels know who is the candidate for president (Koha)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hashim Thaci, said on Tuesday that Kosovo will have the new President during February. According to him, this process has the support of Washington and Brussels. However, he added, they do not support particular names. “The United States of America confirm close cooperation and full support for the regular election of the President of the Republic of Kosovo, of course after his election as well. What I can also confirm is that the United States and Brussels, are very well aware of who the candidate for the President is,” Thaci said. He added that all partners of the coalition are having close consultations and that they are in the final phase of fulfilling this point of the agreement for co-governance. However Nenad Rasic, MP from the Serbian List, said on Tuesday that he and his colleagues are not aware of how this process will flow and voiced criticism over how the matters are being left at the last minute.

The US do not support any individual candidate for president (Koha)

The United States of America do not support election of any individual candidate for the president of Kosovo. This was the response of the Spokesperson of the US Embassy in Pristina, Philip Drewry, who was asked by the paper to comment on the statement of the Deputy Prime Minister Hashim Thaci that “the US are aware who the candidate for the president is.” “The United States support democratic institutions of Kosovo, including the process of the election of the president. The US do not support any individual candidate for president or any other position elected,” Drewry said. 

Rasic: Thaci has the authority for president (Epoka e Re)

Kosovo Assembly MP from the Serbian List, Nenad Rasic, said that the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), Hashim Thaci, is the right candidate for the position of Kosovo president. He added that he does not see any other person that would have Thaci’s political authority to take on the post. “I know that in a way (the position) is symbolic, but a good leader or president could do a lot for the image of the country,” Rasic said. 

UNMIK doesn’t plan substantial changes to its mandate in Kosovo (Telegrafi)

The UN Mission in Kosovo has no plans to carry out substantial changes to its mandate, UNMIK said. “Regarding questions on UNMIK’s future role, we re-emphasize that no decisions on any substantial changes to UNMIK or to its mandate have occurred or are foreseen,” says a reply issued by the UN mission in Kosovo currently led by the SRSG Zahir Tanin. 

Konjufca: Government continues with compromises (Epoka e Re)

Deputy President of the Assembly of Kosovo, Aida Derguti, and head of the Vetevendosje parliamentary group, Glauk Konjufca, presented on Tuesday the problems with the most recent resolution endorsed by the Council of Europe. According to the officials of this party, Serbia continues with its obstructive campaign as it did a few months ago at UNESCO. “Serbia is using all its diplomatic capacities to impede Kosovo’s membership at international institutions. At the Council of Europe, Serbia managed to include its amendments in the periodic report for Kosovo, which were then integrated in the text of the resolution of 7 December and voted at the Parliamentary Assembly on 28 January. Two of these amendments are notably problematic. One amendment requires establishment of the association of the Serb-majority municipalities while the other requires increase of UNMIK’s role in the fields of justice and security,” Konjufca said. He added that after despite all Serbia’s actions against Kosovo, the Prime Minister of Kosovo Isa Mustafa continues with his compromises to Serbia in Brussels. 

Deda: EU ready to mediate in the Kosovo crisis (Zeri)

Vetevendosje MP Ilir Deda said in the meeting of the Assembly’s integration commission that there is an initiative from the EU to mediate in resolving the current political crisis in Kosovo. Deda said to have been conveyed the message during a recent visit to Brussels. He said the people of Kosovo deserve to know that if the institutions fail to implement the visa liberalization criteria by the end of this month, there will not be visa liberalization this year. 

Weapons and ISIS flag found in home of the suspect arrested in Decan (Zeri)

A flag of the Islamic State group (ISIS) as well as weapons were found at the home of one of the persons arrested few days ago in the vicinity of the Orthodox Monastery of Decan/Decani. The prosecutor in the case said however that the four suspects are still being investigated for illegal possession of weapons but that the investigations could expand depending on other evidence. According to the paper, the weapons seized at the suspect’s home are being examined to determine whether they were used in previous attacks in the Decan/Decani area, particularly in a shooting incident in the nearby village of Gorazhdec/Gorazdevac.

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