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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, July 1, 2024

Albanian Language Media: 

  • Kosovo leaders mourn loss of Albanian world-known writer Ismail Kadare (media)

  • Bislimi and Petkovic tomorrow in Brussels to discuss implementation of agreements (Koha)

  • Zupancic: Issues should be resolved through dialogue so that we don't see situations like in Ukraine (media)

  • Konjufca: Hundreds of people in Serbia are training and preparing for an attack on Kosovo (Reporteri)

  • Gervalla meets Turkish minister Hakan Fidan, discuss economic cooperation (RTK)

  • Haxhiu submits request to Ministry of Justice in Serbia to transfer Kosovar citizens (Reporteri)

Serbian Language Media: 

  • Petkovic: Dialogue only way to normalise relations, Kurti not interested in dialogue (Tanjug, Vecernje Novosti)

  • Belgrade-Pristina dialogue at technical level to take place in Brussels tomorrow, Stano says implementation of agreements priority (Tanjug)

  • Aleksandar Vlajic accused of “espionage” sent to one month detention, lawyer says detention ungrounded (KoSSev, media)

  • Milicevic: It has reached a point where you can't anymore (KiM radio, Slobodno srpski)

  • "We don't need that kind of low-level propaganda": Comments from N. Mitrovica on posters with Vucic's image (N1)

  • Serbia-China free trade agreement takes effect (N1, BETA)


Albanian Language Media  


Kosovo leaders mourn the loss of Albanian world-known writer Ismail Kadare (media)


Kosovo leaders expressed their grief today for the loss of the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare, laureate of many national and international literary awards, among them the Prix Mondial Cino Del Duca, the "Man Booker International Prize", the "Princess of Asturias" Award for the Arts in 2009 and the "Jerusalem" Award in 2015. He was also a permanent member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in France. 


Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani reacted after the death of the writer Ismail Kadare, calling him an "Albanian genius". Osmani said that the Albanian people have lost the colossus and its most famous scholar and inimitable writer.


"Ismail Kadare was the Albanian genius, the man and the writer who dedicated his whole life and work to the love of the land, the blood and the country of the Albanians, creating an undeniable legacy of worship and glory to the country of his nation. With this love, which he has expressed everywhere in his works, he has presented the values of his people around the world, promoting the Albanian language, culture and literature and the Albanian people themselves, while the right of the Albanian people of Kosovo to live free and independent, he defended it all over the world, in intellectual and cultural circles, in political environments and in his correspondence with prominent world personalities", Osmani wrote on Facebook.


She added that today the entire Albanian people are in mourning. "It lost the inimitable writer, to whom as President I had the honor to hand over the citizenship of Kosovo some time ago, as well as the 'Hasan Prishtina' Order. His passing into the afterlife marks his physical separation from us, but he will remain eternally in the hearts and souls of millions of readers and fans of his work, in the hearts and souls of every Albanian, the nation he served until his last breath. Glory to the life work of the colossus Ismail Kadare", she added.


Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that Ismail Kadare enabled readers to think more deeply and learn more thanks to his activity.


"As we entered the second half of 2024, Kadare closed his eyes forever. But our eyes have seen and will see much better because of the imagination and knowledge of Ismail Kadare. When he closed his eyes in his life and thought about the mountains of Albania and the precipices of history, while embroidering thousands of pages with Albanian as beautiful as the sky, we collectively saw more clearly and looked better, thought more deeply and learned more". Kurti wrote on Facebook, after the death of the writer from Gjirokastra at the age of 88.

Kurti further said that the world lost its greatest living writer.


"Our art and culture owe an immeasurable debt to the ocean of his mind. The ship of Kadare's novels will sail endlessly, as long as the world will have readers and the Albanian language," the prime minister wrote.


Kadare's work has been translated into about 45 foreign languages, achieving a worldwide record.


The Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo, Glauk Konjufca, has said that Albanian culture has been left without its most prominent ambassador.


"Ismail Kadare's work, in addition to its world-class literary and artistic values, for which it was translated, read and honoured all over the world, will remain the most complete encyclopaedia of the Albanian spirit, ethnos and identity. Kadare was not only the creator of monumental works in our literature, but also the most passionate creator and cultivator of the Albanian language", wrote Konjufca.


He said that Kadare will remain the greatest defender of the European identity of Albanians. "As a paver of the tradition of the renaissance, Kadare was an unshakable flag bearer of Albanianism in his prose, poetry and essays", continued the head of the Assembly.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Besnik Bislimi, has expressed condolences to the entire Albanian people for the loss of the poet, Ismail Kadare.

Opposition leaders and other political figures also expressed regret for the great loss. 

Bislimi and Petkovic tomorrow in Brussels to discuss implementation of agreements (Koha)

Kosovo’s chief negotiator in the dialogue with Serbia, Besnik Bislimi, will meet in Brussels on Tuesday with the chief negotiator of Serbia, Petar Petkovic. 

This was confirmed by the spokesperson of the European Union Peter Stano. He said that Bislimi and Petkovic were invited to the meeting by the EU emissary for dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak. 

Stano added that the parties will discuss the way forward for the implementation of the agreements reached within dialogue. He said that they expect both parties to implement all the obligations they received from the agreements reached.

“As we have said many times before, we expect both sides to implement all their respective dialogue obligations without any further delay or preconditions,” Stano emphasised. 

Bislimi’s adviser, Klisman Kadiu has said that the topics of the discussion are expected to be the progress of the dialogue, the implementation of the Basic Agreement and the Ohrid Annex, as well as the evaluation of other technical agreements and the measure of their implementation. "Kosovo remains constructive and positively engaged in a process which, against our will, has been followed by blockades and frequent rejections from the other side. The agreements should be fully implemented, and the approach should be equal for both parties", Kadiu said.

Zupancic: Issues should be resolved through dialogue so that we don't see situations like in Ukraine (media)

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani received today the Speaker of the Assembly of Slovenia, Urska Klakocar Zupancic. The speaker of the Assembly of Slovenia was previously received in a meeting by the Speaker of the Assembly, Glauk Konjufca.

After this meeting they also held a press conference, where the President of the Assembly of Slovenia, Urska Klakocar Zupancic, has emphasised that her country will continue to strongly support Kosovo in all processes towards membership in the Euro-Atlantic institutions. She also said that the relationship between the two countries is excellent, and they want to see that the cooperation continues in all fields.

Asked about the insistence of the Kosovar authorities that the agreement in Brussels should focus on mutual recognition, the Slovenian parliament speaker said that this would be a very good thing and would affect the future of both countries. "Yes, it can help if both countries recognise each other. Neighbouring countries can try to influence here. We will try to influence in this direction, and I think that mutual recognition would be very welcome for the future. We know that there are open questions for both countries and it will be difficult to resolve them without the help of other countries. I believe key EU countries will help them in this aspect", added Zupancic.

"If we don't solve things through dialogue, then we see bad things like in Ukraine, because we don't pay attention to situations that lead to war. I want to see that the authorities of Serbia show change, change their points of view and be more open", she said.

Konjufca: Hundreds of people in Serbia are training and preparing for an attack on Kosovo (Reporteri)

Kosovo’s Speaker of the Parliament, Glauk Konjufca, has stated that he has accurate information that hundreds of people in Serbia are exercising and preparing for a possible attack on Kosovo. 

"There is accurate information that a group of hundreds of people are doing the same thing again in Serbia, they are practising and preparing for any eventual attack that we may experience," said Konjufca.

"But we are always prepared, and our security institutions are on the highest alert".

Konjufca, has expressed his concerns about Serbia's destabilising tendency in Kosovo. In a joint conference after the meeting with the President of the Assembly of Slovenia, Urska Klakocar Zupancic, Konjufca said that it is not possible to talk about good neighbourliness and peace without punishing the perpetrators of the crime in Banjska i Zvecan.

"Kosovo is still waiting for the answer to its application for EU membership, being the only country in the region that does not have this status. I expressed our concern about the destabilising tendencies of the Serbian state in Kosovo. We cannot talk about good neighbourliness and peace in the region without the perpetrators of this crime (Bunjaku's murder) being punished. I thanked Mrs. Zupancic that Slovenia is among the countries that are in favour of lifting the measures against Kosovo", said Konjufca.

The Speaker of the Parliament has called shocking the statement of the European Union that they are expecting a report from Kosovo on the attack in Banjska, as he added that Serbia is favoured in the dialogue process. "The indisputable favouring of Serbia in this process as well as putting Kosovo in an unfavourable position, I am saying that the smallest actions taken by Kosovo have been punished more severely by the EU than ever, even more than it is Banjska attack condemned. Even the last reaction was shocking for us, when we were told that Kosovo has not yet sent any report on the Banjska attack. It has always been an excuse for Serbia and a relativization of its responsibility for destabilising the region," he said.

Gervalla meets Turkish minister Hakan Fidan, discuss economic cooperation (RTK)


Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Donika Gervalla met on the sidelines of the Dubrovnik Forum the Foreign Minister of Turkiye, Hakan Fidan. The information office of the Ministry announced that they discussed strengthening of economic cooperation, support for membership in international organisations, joint regional initiatives, and cooperation in security and defence.


"Minister Gervalla and Minister Fidan appreciated the close cooperation between our two countries, including the unanimous support from the MPs of Turkiye in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe regarding the membership of the Republic of Kosovo in the Council of Europe. A special appreciation was expressed for Turkey's engagement within NATO and KFOR, describing it as a direct support for peace and security in the region", the announcement reads. 

Also, Minister Gervalla particularly welcomed the constructive role of the Turkish KFOR commander in Kosovo.


Haxhiu submits request to Ministry of Justice in Serbia to transfer Kosovar citizens (Reporteri)


Kosovo’s Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, has sent an official request to the Ministry of Justice in Serbia, to transfer the Kosovar citizens who are being held there in prisons. “Last week I asked the Miniser of Justice of Serbia to transfer our citizens who are being held in Serbian prisons,” Haxhiu announced on Facebook.

“Nezir Mehmetaj, Hasan Dakaj, Sadik Duraku and Tefik Musafa must be returned to Kosovo to be tried fairly and impartially by the justice institutions of the Republic of Kosovo,” Haxhiu wrote further. 

Haxhiu wrote to the Serbian minister that the basic agreement for the normalisation of relations, concluded between the contracting parties, is based on respect for territorial integrity and foresees the development of good neighbourly relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

“And these also mean good cooperation in matters of justice, from which our citizens benefit lately,” Minister Haxhiu wrote among other things. 


Serbian Language Media 


Petkovic: Dialogue only way to normalise relations, Kurti not interested in dialogue (Tanjug, Vecernje Novosti)

Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic, said that dialogue is the only way to normalise the relationship between Belgrade and Pristina, fulfil the agreements reached and solve numerous problems on the ground, but that the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, is not interested in dialogue.

In an interview with Vecernje Novosti daily, Petkovic said that Kurti obviously believes that he has the capacity to force Belgrade to act contrary to Serbian state and national interests, i.e., that he has no obligation to agree on anything with Belgrade, and that it is "nothing else but his fantasy".

"The regime in Pristina refuses the dialogue, because it obviously reckons that it has some other options at its disposal, which are mainly reduced to unilateral and violent decisions, as well as the persecution of Serbs, especially from the north of the Province. President Aleksandar Vucic, nor any of us involved in the dialogue, not at least is enthusiastic about talking to Kurti, but we are in dialogue precisely because this is our job, entrusted to us by the citizens of Serbia," said Petkovic among other things, reported Tanjug, citing the daily.

Belgrade-Pristina dialogue at technical level to take place in Brussels tomorrow, Stano says implementation of agreements priority (Tanjug)

New round of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue at the level of chief negotiators will be held in Brussels tomorrow, and as the EU spokesperson Peter Stano said priority and agenda are determined by “greatest urgency of beginning implementation of the Agreement on the path to normalisation of relations” between the two sides, Tanjug news agency reported.

"I can confirm that there will be a meeting within the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue at the level of the chief negotiators tomorrow, as announced by EU High Representative (Josep Borrell) on Wednesday last week after the high-level meeting of the President (Aleksandar Vucic) and Prime Minister (Albin Kurti). And the priority and agenda is determined by the greatest urgency of the beginning of implementation of the Agreement on the path to normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia", Stano told a press briefing in Brussels, answering Tanjug's question about what would be the main topic of the meeting.

Asked by another journalist, whether the fact that five EU member states do not recognize Kosovo is in line with the goal of the Agreement on the normalisation of relations, Stano emphasised that the goal of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is normalisation of relations and that the EU has been given the task of working as a mediator to help the two sides achieve the normalisation of relations.

Aleksandar Vlajic accused of “espionage” sent to one month detention, lawyer says detention ungrounded (KoSSev, media)

“The spiral of arrests continues. And it sees no end. And nobody knows how long this will last”, this is how lawyer Ljubomir Pantovic commented on the latest decision of Pristina court to send former Kosovo police officer Aleksandar Vlajic, arrested under accusations of “espionage” last week in the north of Kosovo, to one-month detention, KoSSev portal reported.

Elaborating on the decision the Court said if Vlajic is released pending trial he may “become inaccessible for criminal proceedings and there is a risk for him to flee given that he is a citizen of Serbia {..}”.

His lawyer Ljubomir Pantovic argued that the decision on detention was ungrounded. Pantovic recalled that his client Aleksandar Vlajic has been available to the judicial bodies all the time, as he is defending in freedom in a separate case, in which he is accused of alleged “terrorist activity” together with three other Serbs in relation to their alleged involvement in the attack on Municipal Election Commission premises in Mitrovica North in 2022.

“This is what I asked today. He (Vlajic) responded to all summons from the court, prosecution, and police timely for the first case. I also told the judge that not only has he ever missed the trial, but he has also never been late to scheduled hearings. He always came on time. And why do you think he won’t come now?”, Pantovic said, adding he did not get a response from a judge to this question.

Detention ungrounded, it was not explained that he revealed “state secret” or “confidential information”

Lawyer Pantovic further told KoSSev portal that detention to his client under “espionage” accusations was “absolutely ungrounded”.

“Let me tell you one reason. In order for someone to be involved in espionage and carry out this criminal act, it is necessary that this person delivers to a foreign state, or some foreign intelligence agency, information which are by law, or decisions of respective state body declared as state secret or confidential information which may endanger security of Kosovo”, Pantic said.

“The prosecution neither with a single word nor reference to any part of this law, explained if in this case it was about such data and information, because only such data and information constitute the criminal act of espionage. If you reveal some other information, which is not state secret or confidential information – then there is no criminal act. It is about something else”, Pantovic added.

This is what he insisted upon, in a hearing in Pristina, he said. Pantovic claimed it was not explained what information his client allegedly delivered to, as Pristina claims, Serbian Security and Informative Agency (BIA), nor was it explained whether this information presented “state secret” or “confidential information”.

The lawyer once again warned that in proceedings against Serbs in Kosovo detention has become almost obligatory.

“In the law, detention is an exception, and a mitigated measure is a rule. Here it is quite the opposite. The detention has become the rule, and mitigated measure almost never. The house arrest is rendered only in very rare, rare, rare cases”, Pantovic added. 

Milicevic: It has reached a point where you can't anymore (KiM radio, Slobodno srpski)

The executive director of the NGO Aktiv based in North Mitrovica, Miodrag Milicevic, said in the "Slobodno srpski" TV Show that the EU bears the greatest responsibility for the Brussels dialogue process, although it only mediates in the dialogue itself, reported KiM radio.

"It is clear that the EU has to be the one that periodically evaluates progress, recognizes potentially critical points, and on the other hand makes suggestions to both parties on how to improve or how to overcome certain problems. Here, in the last three years, we have had more crisis management, and less implementation of the agreement itself, exactly the way it was agreed upon," Milicevic believes.

Commenting on the fact that there was no meeting between Vucic and Kurti in Brussels a few days ago because the Kosovo delegation refused to have a direct conversation with the Serbian delegation, Milicevic says that the parties had to commit to attend directly.

He sees Miroslav Lajcak's staying as the EU mediator in the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade for a few more months as the most rational possible decision, but there are two sides to the coin in the evaluation of his performance.

"If we exclude all these turbulent events in the last two and a half, that is, three years in Kosovo, which happened during his mandate, and of course with full right, I will say that the Serbian community has absolutely no points or elements to be satisfied with in relation to the process itself. And on the other hand, if you look at its performance, if you exclude all those problems that have arisen, if you look at: the vehicle plates that have been resolved, the issue of the energy agreement has been resolved, the issue of mutual recognition of documents has been resolved, so these are all the elements and points of the agreement that date from 2011, 2013," said Milicevic. 

It's gotten to the point where you can't anymore

He referred to the violation of human rights of the Serbian community in the north of Kosovo, where the security challenges are particularly pronounced.

"In the north today, you have seven specific police bases, special police bases, some of which are located on main roads. This is not the case in the rest of Kosovo. It does not exist either in Gracanica or Strpce. Earlier, there were some KFOR points there, but we never had special police units in full military gear, with concrete walls, with bunkers. This was not the case in any part of Kosovo before, and especially not in the north of Kosovo," says Milicevic.

He expressed particular concern about the departure of young Serbian families from the north of Kosovo.

"The depopulation is incredible, the departure of mainly young people from the north of Kosovo is so alarming that I fear it is quite late now for any reaction that could prevent or in some way mitigate the consequences in the time ahead. You have reached the point where you can no longer, after twenty-five years, find one motive that will keep you going, because you have a concrete serious disorder in terms of security, a serious threat in terms of human rights. You have daily pressures," said Miodrag Milicevic, executive director of the NGO Aktiv, as a guest on the show "Slobodno srpski".

"We don't need that kind of low-level propaganda": Comments from N. Mitrovica on posters with Vucic's image (N1)

The Kosovo police of the North region initiated a case of "incitement of hatred" in connection with the posters with the image of the President of Serbia that appeared in the North of Kosovo, KoSSev reported. Interlocutors of N1 from North Mitrovica, commenting on the posters, say that "they do not need this kind of superficial, low-level propaganda".

"I am just surprised that someone still thinks that in such a simple way they can deceive the Kosovo Serbs once again and give us some illusion that Serbia has an active policy in Kosovo. I think that it has a greater use value among the public in Serbia and that this is the main purpose of this action. It is for the public in Serbia to be convinced of some kind of active policy of Serbia in Kosovo, while here in Mitrovica, and throughout Kosovo, we are living a completely different reality, and we are witnessing that kind of helplessness of Belgrade to have a real influence on the events on the ground and to somehow help us. What is important to emphasize is that we do not need that kind of superficial, low-level propaganda. We need a realistic, objective policy of Belgrade that is focused on people and aimed at finding ways to help people in these difficult times, which we are currently living here," says Miodrag Marinkovic from the NGO CASA. 

"I assume that it is an attempt to signal, primarily the international community, that and the Serbian government is also under some kind of pressure from the local community. For a very long time, none of the key problems of the people here have been solved. I guess it's a way to first show that people are supposedly still loyal to SNS. And secondly, that Vucic, that is, his party in Kosovo, is under pressure from the local community and has a desire for liberation, because this is the only way to interpret his photo in the context of the army in the background and the underlining of the title of commander-in-chief," says Milica Andric Rakic, NGO New Social Initiative.

Serbia-China free trade agreement takes effect (N1, BETA)

The Serbia-China free trade agreement takes effect on Monday giving Serbian manufacturers access to the Chinese market, N1 reported.

The free trade agreement covers 10,412 Serbian products and 8,930 Chinese products. The agreement was signed in October 2023 by the two counties' trade ministers with Presidents Aleksandar Vucic and Xi Jinping present. Under the agreement, 60 percent of the goods covered will be free of customs charges immediately and another 30 percent over the next 5-10 years with agricultural products given protection.

Serbian farmers can now export fresh produce and pharmaceutical companies, chemicals producers and the machine industry getting the same status. BETA news agency said China is one of Serbia’s most important trade partners adding that Chinese companies have invested more than 5.5 billion Euro in the country since 2014, accounting for 17.5 percent of all investments. Trade between the two countries stood at 6.09 billion Dollars in 2023 with Serbia’s exports accounting for 1.2 billion.

China has free trade agreements with Switzerland and Georgia in Europe.