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UNMIK Headlines 27 April

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• Thaci: Early elections, in the hands of political parties (Epoka)
• Failure in Brussels paves way to early elections (Zeri)
• Trendafilova: 10 provisions need further consideration (media)
• McCain: U.S. must reconfirm commitment to the Balkans (Koha)
• Ahtisaari: Kosovo has made progress, dialogue must continue (media)
• Haradinaj confident Thursday’s court session will be final (media)
• Kosovo Police seizes 300 kg of marijuana, arrests nine persons (media)
• League of Historians postpones road blockade near Decani Monastery (KTV)

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Headlines – 27.04.2017

  • Thaci: Early elections, in the hands of political parties (Epoka)
  • Failure in Brussels paves way to early elections (Zeri)
  • Trendafilova: 10 provisions need further consideration (media)
  • McCain: U.S. must reconfirm commitment to the Balkans (Koha)
  • Ahtisaari: Kosovo has made progress, dialogue must continue (media)
  • Haradinaj confident Thursday’s court session will be final (media)
  • Kosovo Police seizes 300 kg of marijuana, arrests nine persons (media)
  • League of Historians postpones road blockade near Decani Monastery (KTV)

Thaci: Early elections, in the hands of political parties (Epoka)

Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci, said on Wednesday that early parliamentary elections are in the hands of the political parties. He said he respects the Constitution of Kosovo and the will of political parties on the matter. “As far as the possibility of organizing general elections is concerned, I respect the Constitution of Kosovo. It is up to the willingness of political parties if they want early elections. I will respect an agreement among political parties and I will certainly fulfil my constitutional obligations,” Thaci said.

Failure in Brussels paves way to early elections (Zeri)

The paper reports on its front page that Kosovo Prime Minister, Isa Mustafa, has “wasted his final card to save Kosovo from early parliamentary elections”. “Mustafa’s failure to convince the European Union to remove border demarcation with Montenegro as a requirement for visa liberalization, has led to increased calls for early elections in Kosovo … Political analysts argue that elections have become an option after the government’s failure to address major issues such as the border demarcation with Montenegro, the Association/Community of Serb-majority municipalities and the Kosovo Armed Forces. Even some Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) MPs are arguing that after the EU’s instructions to send the demarcation deal to the Assembly, the Government either needs to sit down and discuss the issue with political parties or there should be early parliamentary elections,” the paper notes.

Trendafilova: 10 provisions need further consideration (media)

All media report that following the Judgement of the Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court, President Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova issued on Wednesday the following statement: “The review by the Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court of the adopted Rules of Procedure and Evidence is an indispensable corollary to ensure that, as required by the Constitution of Kosovo, the highest human rights standards are applied by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. Compared to other institutions dealing with similar crimes, this represents an innovative step forward. Today’s decision by the Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court concludes that out of a total of 208 rules, ten discrete provisions of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence need further consideration by the Plenary of Judges. This process reinforces the framework of the Specialist Chambers and guarantees full respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals. I will convene a Plenary as soon as possible in order to ensure that this discrete set of rules will be revised in line with the decision of the Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court. The entire Rules will therefore enter into force once the Constitutional Court has finally determined that all Rules are in compliance with Chapter II of the Constitution. I would like to express my gratitude for the tremendous work and commitment of the Judges of the Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court, thereby ensuring the highest human rights standards for the proceedings before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers”. Koha Ditore notes on its leading front-page story that the “first decision by the Special Court has resulted to be in opposition with the Constitution of Kosovo”.

McCain: U.S. must reconfirm commitment to the Balkans (Koha)

Republican senator, John McCain, called on Wednesday for a reconfirmed American and European commitment to the Balkans, arguing that despite progress since the conflicts of the 1990s, the region is still faced with considerable difficulties and uncertainties. Returning from a recent tour in the region, McCain gave an interview to Voice of America commenting on the crisis in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia’s state after the presidential elections and the role of radical Islam in the region. “My concern is that as our attention has shifted towards Russia, Ukraine, Middle East and China, we and even the Europeans have not given the appropriate attention to the Balkans,” McCain said. He added that it is clear that Russians are trying to wield their influence in the region. “The coup attempt in Montenegro is an apparent example of this. It was an attempt to bring down a government elected by the people”. “We played a role in the resolution of conflicts there [the Balkans] … but it seems that we have backed down in the last couple of years and this is another example of the absolute need for a leading role of the United States of America,” he said. McCain expressed support for the resumption of talks between Pristina and Belgrade and called for reconciliation for the good of the citizens of both countries.

Ahtisaari: Kosovo has made progress, dialogue must continue (media)

All media report that former Finnish President and former UN Special Envoy during the Vienna dialogue, Marti Ahtisaari, said on Wednesday that it was very important for Kosovo and Serbia to continue dialogue. On a video transmission during a seminar organized by the Embassy of Finland to Kosovo, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Finish state, Ahtisaari said that dialogue is the only sustainable solution. “Do not waste your time and continue the dialogue with Serbia – this is the only way to create stability in the country. Dialogue should not be disregarded,” Ahtisaari said. He also said that Kosovo should maintain good relations with the other neighboring countries and that it should focus on the rule of law.

Haradinaj confident Thursday’s court session will be final (media)

Most media report that today a court in Colmar, France, will take a final decision with regards to Serbia’s request to extradite Ramush Haradinaj, leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, on charges of war crimes. Haradinaj told Radio Free Europe on Wednesday that he expects the court session on Thursday to be the final one. “The court itself has announced that this will be a decision-making session,” said Haradinaj, adding that his detention is politically-motivated.

Kosovo Police seizes 300 kg of marijuana, arrests nine persons (media)

All media report that Kosovo Police this week have seized over 300 kilograms of marijuana and has arrested nine persons suspected of drug smuggling. Police carried out three operations, in the regions of Ferizaj and Krusha e Madhe, which resulted in the seizure. The origin of the drugs seized is believed to be from Albania and there were plans to send them to European countries.

League of Historians postpones road blockade near Decani Monastery (KTV)

KTV reported on Wednesday evening that the Decan branch of the League of Historians of Kosovo issued a press release saying that they have postponed their decision to block a road near Decani Monastery scheduled for Friday. The organization says their latest decision comes after the resignation of Selim Lokaj, head of the League, “who resigned because of serious pressure from international officials and local authorities in Pristina”.

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