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Headlines 27 February

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UN Security Council to discuss Kosovo today (RFE)
Mustafa: Government has made great progress (Zeri)
“Demarcation failure could be used as overture for early elections” (Koha)
“Kosovo to head to elections, if border demarcation fails” (Zeri)
Gecaj: Demarcation is not related to general elections (Kosova Sot)
AAK: Delay on Haradinaj’s release could produce consequences (Epoka)
Opposition does not accept Mustafa’s invitation to join dialogue (Lajmi)

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Headlines – 27.02.2017

  • UN Security Council to discuss Kosovo today (RFE)
  • Mustafa: Government has made great progress (Zeri)
  • “Demarcation failure could be used as overture for early elections” (Koha)
  • “Kosovo to head to elections, if border demarcation fails” (Zeri)
  • Gecaj: Demarcation is not related to general elections (Kosova Sot)
  • AAK: Delay on Haradinaj’s release could produce consequences (Epoka)
  • Opposition does not accept Mustafa’s invitation to join dialogue (Lajmi)

 Kosovo Media Highlights

UN Security Council to discuss Kosovo today (RFE)

The UN Security Council is expected to discuss today the quarterly report of the UN Secretary-General about the situation in Kosovo. The report covers the period between 16 October 2016 and 15 January 2017 and stresses that the efforts of Pristina and Belgrade to advance the EU-facilitated dialogue have been weak and that the loss of momentum increases the danger for blocking of the process for normalization of relations. The report also makes mention of the detention of the AAK leader, Ramush Haradinaj, on an arrest warrant issued by Serbia. It says this action of French authorities has led to strong reactions of Kosovo political leaders and the public. 

Mustafa: Government has made great progress (Zeri)

Prime Minister of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa, wrote on his Facebook account that Kosovo has made a great deal of progress in very unusual circumstances. He said the government “defeated violence” and strengthened relations with the EU. “We also fulfilled visa liberalisation criteria, much more than other countries.” “We proved we can protect our country in all its entirety, regardless of provocations. We strengthened the rule of law, we fought corruption, extremism and terrorism,” Mustafa said. However, he did admit there are still challenges that need to be overcome, namely transformation of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), ratification of border demarcation agreement and establishment of the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities. “Two of these conditions are linked to the integration of Serbs in institutions while the border demarcation is a responsibility of the majority,” he added.

“Demarcation failure could be used as overture for early elections” (Koha)

The paper quotes political analyst, Artan Muhaxhiri, as saying that if the border demarcation agreement fails to be ratified by the Kosovo Assembly, it could be used as an “overture” for early elections. He considers that the ruling parties are unlikely to gather sufficient votes to pass the bill not only because of the opposition but also because of a certain number of their own MPs that have openly declared they would not support the agreement. “Failure of demarcation would be identified with Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and the LDK because it was precisely the LDK MP, Shpejtim Bulliqi, who stood at the forefront of opposing demarcation,” Muhaxhiri said.

“Kosovo to head to elections, if border demarcation fails” (Zeri)

Similarly to Koha Ditore, Zeri also warns that if border demarcation agreement is not ratified by the Assembly, Kosovo is very likely to head to extraordinary elections. Analyst Ramush Tahiri however thinks that border demarcation would not be the only reason for early elections. “Elections could also take place if the international community wants to or if the PDK-LDK coalition breaks.” International relations professor, Dashnim Ismajli, said ratification of the border demarcation agreement is highly difficult because the opponents have not shown signs of changing their position. At the same time, director of the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation in Kosovo, Haki Abazi, warned that an attempt to put the demarcation deal to vote without securing a broad consensus is “dangerous.” 

Gecaj: Demarcation is not related to general elections (Kosova Sot)

Kosovo’s Deputy Minister for Administration of Local Government, Bajram Gecaj, took to Facebook to write that marking of the border line, to which it is wrongly referred as “demarcation,” is not related in any way with the early parliamentary elections, except if one of the coalition partners wants to intentionally relate them. “The country is governed by the simple majority, (61 votes) of the will of the MPs, and not with two thirds (80 votes), as pretended by those who for one reason or another want to lead the country towards early elections,” Gecaj wrote.  Gecaj also spoke to Indeksonline saying that the votes of the Serbian List are required in order to ratify the Agreement with Montenegro. “We need the votes of the Serbian List to pass the demarcation, being that we have a stubborn opposition which persists on not voting for the demarcation,” Gecaj said adding that for now, there are no sufficient votes to pass the demarcation at the Assembly.  

AAK: Delay on Haradinaj’s release could produce consequences (Epoka)

Ardian Gjini, deputy leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), stated on Sunday after an extraordinary meeting of steering committee of this party that Ramush Haradinaj’s further keeping in France is a clear kidnapping. He requested during the press conference from the French authorities to release Haradinaj as soon as possible, and warned that delays on his release could produce consequences for peace and stability. Gjini also spoke about the demarcation of the border with Montenegro saying that the current version of demarcation is in contradiction with the national interests of Kosovo. He proposed for the matter to renegotiate or go for an international arbitrage. 

Opposition does not accept Mustafa’s invitation to join dialogue (Lajmi)

Two opposition parties, Vetevendosje and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), are strongly rejecting the invitation of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa, to join the Brussels dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. According to them, Serbia should initially recognize Kosovo, and then start the dialogue. “This dialogue without platform and principles cannot be supported, because it has caused major damages to the country,” said Vetevendosje MP, Donika Kadaj Bujupi. Pal Lekaj, from the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, said that his party is against dialogue in the current format, and that they would not take over the burden of so many harmful agreements for Kosovo.

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