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Headlines 16 August

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• U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Kosovo today (media)
• O’Connell: You do whatever you want with demarcation (Koha)
• A group of citizens protest in front of PDK headquarters (media)
• Thaçi: No one can kill the future, play and joy of Kosovo’s children (media)
• “Serbs want posts of AKI Deputy Director and KSF Deputy Commander in exchange for supporting formation of Kosovo Army” (Koha)
• KSF marks increase of trust by Serbs (Epoka e Re)
• Interior Minister Hyseni to visit Mitrovica today (media)

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Headlines – 16.08.2016

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Kosovo today (media)

Most media report that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will arrive for a two-day visit to Kosovo this afternoon. The U.S. Embassy in Pristina told Koha Ditore daily newspaper that Biden’s visit to Kosovo is aimed at confirming the support of the United States of America for democratic developments in Kosovo and to strengthen the powerful relations between the two countries. Biden is scheduled to meet Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi and Prime Minister Isa Mustafa on Wednesday. Mustafa said on Monday that Kosovo expects further support from the U.S. in many areas, such as the democratic development of the country, Euro-Atlantic integration and Kosovo’s recognition by other countries. Assembly President Kadri Veseli said Biden’s visit is historic and that “it will serve as an impetus for further transparency and economic development of Kosovo”. Veseli also said Biden will deliver strong messages about the responsibilities that Kosovars must take upon themselves. Zëri daily newspaper reports on its front page that representatives of opposition parties have welcomed Biden’s visit, although the U.S. Vice President is not scheduled to meet any of the opposition leaders. Vetëvendosje spokesman Frashër Krasniqi told the paper that fostering good relations with the U.S. should be a long-term priority for Albanians. Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), said on Monday that Biden’s visit is an honour for the people of Kosovo.

O’Connell: You do whatever you want with demarcation (Koha)

In a front-page interview, British Ambassador to Kosovo, Ruairi O’Connell, said the border demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro is a bilateral issue between the two countries and that London does not have any request from the Kosovo Government on the matter. “The European Union has placed this [demarcation] as a condition for visa liberalisation, but we are not part of this process. I however have an advice for the people of Kosovo: the whole process should be developed based on facts and not rumours or the nationalistic rhetoric that is being used nowadays,” O’Connell was quoted as saying. The British Ambassador also commented on the leaked wiretap conversations of senior officials of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), saying that even before the publication of the wiretaps it was known that people in Kosovo’s public system are employed not based on their professional skills, but rather on party and family links. “If I were a citizen of Kosovo, I would expect a reaction from the party that is involved in the affair. I have yet to hear something from them,” he said.

A group of citizens protest in front of PDK headquarters (media)

Several media report that a group of citizens protested on Monday in front of Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) headquarters in downtown in Pristina, following the leaked wiretap conversations between senior PDK officials. The organisers of the action suggested that PDK should change its name to the Pronto Department of Corruption. One of the organisers also said that civic protests would not stop until those involved in the scandal submit their resignations and answer before the law. Another protest, organised by the same group, will be held in downtown Pristina today.

Thaçi: No one can kill the future, play and joy of Kosovo’s children (media)

Most media report that Kosovo President, Hashim Thaçi, on Monday laid a wreath at a memorial in the village of Gorazhdec, in Peja/Pec, in commemoration of the teenagers killed in an attack that has not been brought to light yet, on August 13, 2003, and urged that the perpetrators be brought to justice. “Today, I laid a wreath at this memorial to recall the criminal attack against teenagers of the village of Gorazhdec, 14 years ago, in which two youngsters were killed and another four wounded”, President Thaçi told gathered journalists and added that “the right to life is a fundamental right for all”. “The same right should also apply for about 400 Albanian children under the age of 15 who were killed by the Serbian state during the war”, President Thaçi said, stressing that “on the other hand, these children here were killed by criminal’s hand, not by the state”. However, President Thaçi said, “I pledge that there will be no force or criminal hand that kills the future, the game and the joy of Kosovo’s children. Never again!” President Thaçi pledged that “we will work to ensure that any crime will be brought to light and punished”. “Also, I insist once again that the fate of all missing persons, whether Albanian, Serb, Roma or members of any other community … Also, once again I insist that the fate of all missing persons, whether Albanian, Serb, Roma or any other community must be brought to light,” President Thaçi said. “Today, when we are working to build peace, reconciliation and cooperation between the peoples of the region, it is important to emphasize that genuine reconciliation requires justice. Reconciliation between Albanians and Serbs is possible and it will happen. This step means peace for the region”.

“Serbs want posts of AKI Deputy Director and KSF Deputy Commander in exchange for supporting formation of Kosovo Army” (Koha)

Duda Balje, a member of the Kosovo Assembly from the 6+ group and deputy chair of the parliamentary committee that oversees the Kosovo Intelligence Agency (AKI), said on Monday that the Serbian List wants the posts of deputy director of AKI and deputy commander of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) in exchange for supporting the formation of Kosovo Armed Forces. During a roundtable in Pristina on Kosovo’s security system, Balje argued that the Kosovo Government should not accept the conditions of the Serbian List “because they are damaging for Kosovo”. She further suggested that the government should hold negotiations with “the moderate wing” of the Serbian List and try to convince them to support the transformation of the KSF into the Armed Forces.

KSF marks increase of trust by Serbs (Epoka e Re)

According to the Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development, trust on the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) has increased among the Serb minority in Kosovo. The Institute’s fourth volume of the Kosovo Security Observer, stresses that KSF is also one of the most trusted institutions in Kosovo in general.

Interior Minister Hyseni to visit Mitrovica today (media)

Several media report that Kosovo’s Interior Minister, Skender Hyseni, will visit Mitrovica today as part of a series of meetings in all Kosovo regions. Hyseni is scheduled to meet members of local security forums in the Mitrovica region to discuss policies aimed at preventing human trafficking, the use of drugs and preventing radicalisation and extremism that lead to terrorism.

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