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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, June 12, 2024

Albanian Language Media: 

•    Media: Kosovo Assembly meets on 25th anniversary of liberation 
•    Clinton: Today I give thanks for 25 years of peace in Kosovo (media)
•    Solana: Kosovo must be transformed into a strong state (RTK)
•    Robertson: Inaction would allow continuation of ethnic cleansing of Albanians by Milosevic (Klan)
•    Robertson: Kurti, Vucic to find agreement, or we could face a situation like 90s (media)
•    Hovenier: What Kosovo has achieved is remarkable (media)
•    British Ambassador: We remember and mourn all human suffering that happened in Kosovo (Klan)
•    Kurti: Kosovo army has never been bigger and better armed (media)
•    Haradinaj: In one week, Serbia humiliated intl community and QUINT twice (media)
•    EU: Borrell’s report on Kosovo measures hasn’t been submitted yet (media)
•    Ex-NATO Commander comments on Kushner real estate project in Serbia (media)

Serbian Language Media: 

•    25 years after the end of conflict Serbs have no reasons to celebrate (Radio KIM)
•    Was the Declaration of the All-Serbian Assembly necessary? (KoSSev, Danas) 
•    The State Department calls for stability and reconciliation in a comment on the Declaration of the All-Serbian Assembly (RFE, N1, media)
•    Vucevic: If Kosovo issue is closed, why is there pressure on Serbia? (RTS)nb
•    Serbian Justice Minister: Serbia not denying crimes or glorifying criminals (N1, FoNet)
•    Vucic: I congratulated Orban on another victory, we continue friendly cooperation (Tanjug)


•    Mjeku: Kosovo has many reasons to celebrate its Liberation Day (Arab News)


•    War stories: Exhibition recalls coverage of Kosovo conflict, 25 years later (BIRN)
•    From war to peace: Before and after photos of Kosovo’s transformation (RFE)
•    British brigadier recalls ‘World War Three’ moment in Kosovo (BIRN)
•    Kosovo special prosecution indicts eight for abuse of office after investigation (Prishtina Insight)

Albanian Language Media

Media: Kosovo Assembly meets on 25th anniversary of liberation

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani said today that Kosovo deserves to become a member of NATO, 25 years after liberation with the help of NATO. In her address at the solemn session of the Kosovo Assembly, Osmani said that “the liberation of Kosovo in 1999 was not simply a military victory of NATO and a capitulation of Serbia, but a triumph of the human spirit over tyranny and a triumph of good over evil”. She said that when NATO troops entered Kosovo, they were not simply soldiers but saviours. “They brought with them the promise of freedom, the assurance that the world did not forget about the people of Kosovo and the determination to end the atrocities committed against our people. The deployment of NATO in June 1999 was the power of international solidarity and the universal faith of a people to be free. Freedom is more than a word. It is the core of our being. The air that we breathe, the dream that we dare to dream. The future we aspired, the one we fought for and for which our liberators gave their lives,” she said. Osmani also said that “freedom is not a gift” and that “the highest price that a people can pay, was paid”. “Freedom today is both a responsibility and a legacy that we need to protect, and the promise that we need to keep for the future generations. NATO supported us and today we aspire and deserve membership in this international organisation with our army which with its professionalism is ready to become a contributor for peace anywhere in the world,” she added.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said in his address to the Assembly is celebrating the 25th anniversary by standing alongside its allies “same as it did on June 12 in the first days of liberation”. “Beyond the military technicalities and international law, the ‘de facto’ result of that mission was the liberation of Kosovo from Serbian troops. Further details and the registered facts of the events of those days belong to history and historians, but it is precisely from this history that we need to draw lessons as we have done since then and until now. And this is best understood by the geopolitical and geostrategic aligning of our countries. As then and now, Serbia stands aligned with Russia, the same way that Russia stands behind many of Serbia’s actions. Meanwhile, our country, Kosovo and its people, together with Albania, have continued to strengthen ties and the alliance with the United States of America, Great Britain, Germany, Turkey, France, Italy, and other western countries,” he said. Kurti also said that “the European Union is our political family, and NATO is our military destination”.

The Speaker of the Assembly, Glauk Konjufca, has said that the past must be remembered, and the truth must not be forgotten, so that injustices and invasions are never repeated. In the speech at the solemn session of the Assembly for the 25th anniversary of the Liberation Day, the Speaker of the Assembly said that the Serbian regime aimed to exterminate the people of Kosovo. “June 12 is the day of return of hope. After almost a century under rule, Kosovo was liberated. The Serbian regime had only one goal: the extermination of an entire people. These crimes of Serbia reached genocidal proportions. For us, Serbia has remained the same. The politics of repression and undermining has been a constant feature of the regimes there. Let us reflect on the history that means a lot to our people. Let us remember the past, let us not forget the truth, it does not mean we do not want peace. We want injustice and occupation to never happen again”. Konjufca has honoured all the "heroes and martyrs who fell for freedom, led by commander Adem Jashari and the KLA".

The Deputy Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo, Saranda Bogujevci, who is also a survivor of the March 1999 massacre in Podujeve, was emotional during her speech in the Assembly. Bojujevci burst into tears when she spoke about June 12, 1999. "25 years ago, I was a fragile, half-alive, broken-hearted girl who didn't have most of her family...sorry," said Bogujevci, tearfully. She was applauded by everyone in the Assembly, where she said that she feels privileged and very proud to serve the country. "Every June 12, I celebrate with you the victory of humanity in the face of cruelty", she said.

“Unfortunately, even today, Serbia does not feel sorry for the crimes it has committed, it creates constant obstacles and battles for us, not letting us heal our wounds. But today and forever we will keep it in mind, that we will always celebrate this day with all the memories", she said.

Albanian President Bajram Begaj said Albania will lobby for more recognitions for Kosovo and warned that “Serbia and its allies have mobilised in efforts to stain the righteous fight of Albanians”. He also said that “Albanians are known in history as peace-loving, and today we have the responsibility to strengthen peace”.
Albania’s Speaker of the Assembly Lindita Nikolla said that the war for liberation of Kosovo was won with the help of the allies and partners of the Albanian nation. She said that the developed, democratic and peaceful Kosovo will continue to be built with the help of friends and allies. Nikolla said that Albania strongly supports development, democratisation and the addition of new recognitions for Kosovo.

The leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Memli Krasniqi has said that without the sacrifice of the people of the country, Kosovo would not enjoy the freedom it has. "It is too little to say what is known that without their sacrifice none of us would be here, nor would Kosovo be free. Dear veterans and invalids of the KLA, thank you for not thinking twice and putting your lives at risk for a Kosovo without captivity and a sky without clouds, returning the borders of our children's dreams", said Krasniqi, as he continued to thank various personalities who contributed to the country's freedom. Krasniqi did not leave without mentioning the KLA figures, who are being held on trial in The Hague, congratulating them on the 25th anniversary of their liberation. He described them as heroes of war and peace. "Their fight never stopped. Today we are in 2024, now they are grey men, while their battle for our freedom is still going on. They are a living testament to the sacrifices and unstoppable efforts that freedom and the state require," he said.

The head of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) parliamentary group, Arben Gashi, said that NATO's determination to stop the genocide was vital. "NATO's intervention, which came with the determination to stop the genocide and protect our people, was vital for achieving our sacred goal, freedom, democracy and independence," said Gashi.
The head of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) parliamentary group, Besnik Tahiri, said that today the protagonists of the war and peace are missing. "On this day, we can't help but say that we are missing war leaders who are alive, and who were protagonists of the war and of peace, of Kosovo's independence. President Hashim Thaçi, Speaker of the Assembly Jakup Krasniqi, Speaker of the Assembly Kadri Veseli, General Rexhep Selimi and others who have made a great contribution to the fight for freedom. I hope that justice will prevail for them too", said Tahiri.

Clinton: Today I give thanks for 25 years of peace in Kosovo (media)

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said in a post on X today that he is “giving thanks for 25 years of peace in Kosovo”. He also shared a post on X by the Clinton Presidential Center which notes that “twenty-five years ago, the United States led NATO Allies in an air campaign that successfully expelled Serbian forces, ending a decade of repression and a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing, bringing the war in Kosovo to an end. The military action helped restore self-governance for the province and led to independence for Kosovo in 2008”. Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani shared Clinton’s post and added that “and the Republic of Kosovo is giving thanks to you, Mr.President, for making that peace possible”.

Solana: Kosovo must be transformed into a strong state (RTK)

Former Secretary General of NATO, Javier Solana, on the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kosovo, addressed the people of Kosovo through a message. Among other things, Solana said that Kosovo should be transformed into a strong state, while emphasising that he holds its people in his heart.

"You must be able to preserve democracy, be able to preserve freedom and be ready to prepare for the big change, which will be European integration", he said in his message to the people of Kosovo.

Robertson: Inaction would allow continuation of ethnic cleansing of Albanians by Milosevic (Klan)

Today, in honour of the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kosovo, units of the Kosovo Security Force and the police paraded in the squares of Pristina. The former secretary of NATO, Lord George Roberson, said that the inaction of international forces would allow the continuation of the cleansing of Albanians by Milosevic.
"After 78 days of bombing, we saw our objective fulfilled. Milosevic's army left, NATO entered, and the refugees returned home. I am proud of what we did then, and proud to be here today, in multi-ethnic and peaceful Kosovo in the heart of Europe", he said.

Robertson: Kurti, Vucic to find agreement, or we could face a situation like 90s (media)

Former NATO Secretary General, Lord George Robertson, said in an interview with RTV21 on Tuesday that Kosovo and Serbia must reach an agreement. Referring to Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Robertson argued that they must find an agreement “otherwise we can find ourselves again in the horrible nature of relations during the 1990s. So no one wants this to happen to people”.

Hovenier: What Kosovo has achieved is remarkable (media)

The U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, Jeffrey Hovenier, described as exceptional what Kosovo has achieved 25 years after liberation, while he expressed his pride for the US-Kosovo partnership.

"25 years ago, NATO forces arrived in Kosovo. U.S. leadership played a vital role in making this possible, as we, together with our allies, ended once and for all the horrific campaign of ethnic cleansing that the Milosevic regime waged here in Kosovo. As President Clinton said at the time, I quote: 'Over the past four months, we have seen some of the most inhumane acts of our lifetime. But we have also seen the bravery of our troops, the determination of our democracy, the kindness of our people and the courage and resilience of the people of Kosovo. Thanks to all these features, we now have a moment of hope and we must finish the job and build peace,'' Hovenier said in a video message for the 25th anniversary of Liberation Day.

He has guaranteed that U.S. support for Kosovo will continue for years to come. "Now, 25 years later, we are proud of everything you have achieved. You have built your sovereign, democratic and multi-ethnic state from the ground up. What you have achieved is remarkable. The U.S. is proud to be your partner as you mark this important milestone. I would like to emphasise that the commitment of the USA to the people of Kosovo is as strong and stable as ever. We stand with the people of Kosovo against authoritarianism, against any attempt to brutally suppress and divide society along ethnic or religious lines, against the violent destruction of people's lives and livelihoods and against their will. And we stand proudly and fully with the people of Kosovo. We have been with you since the beginning. We are with you now. And we look forward to standing by your side in the years to come. Congratulations", Hovenier said.

British Ambassador: We remember and mourn all human suffering that happened in Kosovo (Klan)

The British Ambassador to Kosovo, Jonathan Hargreaves, started the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kosovo with the commemoration of 14 members of the British Armed Forces who lost their lives while serving in KFOR.

“We began today at the UK Memorial in Pristina where we commemorated the 14 members of the British Armed Forces who have lost their lives during service with KFOR. We remembered and reflected on those who made the ultimate sacrifice towards maintaining peace in Kosovo and the region.
We remember and mourn all the human suffering that occurred in Kosovo and across the region, and all those who continue to endure the consequences of this and other conflicts,” Hargreaves wrote.

Kurti: Kosovo army has never been bigger and better armed (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, has said at the ceremony of the parade of the KSF soldiers and the Kosovo police in honour of the 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kosovo, the Army of Kosovo has never been bigger and more armed than today.

"The army of Kosovo has never been bigger than today and better armed and equipped. It has never been more trained, trained and educated in the most prestigious military academies of friendly Western armies. But it has never been more powerful and ready to protect our territory and sovereignty and our lives, because this is its mission, to protect Kosovo and to develop and advance alongside our allies", said Kurti.

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani said at the ceremony that the KLA's fight was not only for the land, but for the very soul of Kosovo. "KLA was the most powerful pillar of resistance and hope, brave women and men took up arms to defend our right to exist. The war was not only for the land but for the very soul of Kosovo. Every life they risked brought us one step closer to freedom. The courage of the KLA is a story of heroism that will be told from generation to generation. We owe them a gratitude that can never be repaid and must be remembered and honored forever," Osmani said.

Haradinaj: In one week, Serbia humiliated intl community and QUINT twice (media)

Leader of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), Ramush Haradinaj, argues in a Facebook post today “in one week, Serbia humiliated twice the international community and the QUINT with the so-called ‘All-Serbian Assembly’, where mediaeval declarations were made, and also with Vulin’s mediaeval declarations from Moscow that fall in contravention with international calls for stability in the Western Balkans. The international community and Kosovo would give the best response to Vulin and all those with that mindset, by opening the Iber Bridge”.

EU: Borrell’s report on Kosovo measures hasn’t been submitted yet (media)

Spokesperson for the European Union, Peter Stano, said in an interview with RTV21 on Tuesday that the report of EU High Representative Josep Borrell on the measures imposed on Kosovo has not yet been submitted to members of the EU Council. He said the report is being finalised and will be submitted soon. The EU imposed penalty measures on Kosovo in June last year after the escalation in the north and also set a number of requirements for the measures to be lifted.

Ex-NATO Commander comments on Kushner real estate project in Serbia (media)

Most news websites covered an interview that former NATO Supreme Allied Commander during the Kosovo war, Wesley Clark, gave to the CNN, highlighting his remarks about the involvement of Jared Kushner’s company in the construction of a complex at the site of the Army General Staff in Belgrade, which would include a memorial to the victims of the NATO bombing. Clark said that investments in Serbia are great but expressed opposition over the potential construction of a memorial center at the said site. “First, that building was, as far as we know, empty when we hit it. Second, it was not a NATO aggression, it was the culmination of long-standing diplomatic efforts to persuade the Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic not to kill his own citizens in a part of Serbia known as Kosovo,” he said.

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Serbian Language Media

25 years after the end of conflict Serbs have no reasons to celebrate (Radio KIM)

Two days after the signing of the Kumanovo Agreement, the end of the conflict and the adoption of UNSC Resolution 1244, withdrawal of Yugoslav security forces in 1999 started, while NATO troops and international civilian administration started moving into Kosovo. And while Albanians celebrate “Liberation Day”, Serbs in Kosovo have been warning about constant departure of their compatriots and poor living conditions, Radio KIM reports.

Departures, loss of cities, pressure and sufferings

25 years later, unlike Albanian majority population, Serbs have no reasons to celebrate, interlocutors told Radio KIM.

“It is always good to celebrate life. The very fact that there are still Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, which is the most important, is not that black or embittering. However, from perspective of everything what Serbs have gone through following arrival of civilian and military international troops and return of 700.000 Albanians is something that Serbs describe as exodus and we should never forget that they practically, de facto, cleansed all cities in Kosovo, that there is not a single city, apart from a single northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica (where Serbs remained living) and we are talking about fifth of the city area where Serbian population remained. Also, the other half of the city of Kosovska Mitrovica (in the south) has been cleansed of the Serbs, not to mention Djakovica, Pec, Prizren, Pristina, Urosevac, Gnjilane”, KoSSev Editor-in-Chief Tanja Lazarevic said.

She also recalled the crimes that took place against the Serbian and non-Albanian civilian population at the times of peace, following the arrival of international forces.

“These crimes are not only horrible because of their brutality, but also because they took place exactly in the presence and after arrival of the largest civilian and military international troops which guaranteed the peace and security”, she added.
President of Serbian Peoples’ Movement in Gracanica, Branimir Stojanovic said Albanians have reasons to rejoice, unlike the Serbs. “For the last 25 years, Serbs have been suffering, enduring, and have little reason to be satisfied. Obviously those celebrating were not interested in creating some conditions for the Serbs so they could live normally (…)”, Stojanovic said.

“The war ended, but not the conflict”

According to Miodrag Marinkovic from CASA non-governmental organisation in Mitrovica North, “the war ended 25 years ago, but not the conflict”.

“Serbian community in Kosovo is still in a segregated society, still living under constant pressure from Albanian majority, still living in uncertain areas in which its interests, I have to say, are completely neglected by Pristina or are misused by Belgrade, which when it comes to resolution of Kosovo places issues of its political elite on the first place. Therefore, in such conditions, interests of the Serbian community are not sufficiently validated, not sufficiently nominated, nor are they discussed at all”, he added.

Unsuccessful return of Serbs

Following the arrival of international forces, KFOR, return of more than 700.000 expelled Albanians started, and at the same time expulsion of the Serbian population, but also killings, kidnappings, destruction of their properties in Kosovo commenced.

According to assessments of UNHCR, Red Cross and international authorities, between 200.000 and 250.000 Sers and non-Albanians have left Kosovo at that time.
“It is horrible that 25 years later, all sides, and here I mainly talk about the Serbian side, have given up on the return issue. Return of the Serbs who are expelled, who have left Kosovo is an issue that was never placed on agenda, it is as if completed process (…)”, Lazarevic said, adding that neither the international community, nor Albanians or Serbia opened up the issue of return.

Stojanovic said “it is senseless to talk about return under conditions when even those who remained live under such senseless conditions”, adding that those who fled the attacks and violence, certainly do not want to bring back their families to live under the same conditions. He said responsibility for this is on the international community and Albanians.

“In the long term it is creating preconditions for some new conflicts in the future. I think that now, lured by everything that is happening they do not see it, but trampling on the rights of one nation creates preconditions for conflict with the very same people in the future”, he added.

What is the Ministry for Communities and Return doing?

As part of the Kosovo Government, there is the Ministry for Communities and Returns, and it has been headed for years by the Serbs. Currently it is run by Nenad Rasic. In the period of him taking over the post on December 3, 2022, return of displaced persons had not been recorded, although he announced return to urban areas as well.
Lazarevic, as a very rare example of sustainable return mentioned the case of Osojane village in Istok municipality. Marinkovic noted that at the moment one of the most important issues for survival of the Serbian population in Kosovo is being run. In this sense he mentioned the establishment of the Community of Serbian Municipalities (CSM), stressing the importance of CSM not that much as a framework of self-governance, but rather as the framework under which the Serbian community can preserve the most important basic institutions – education, health and culture – which are preconditions for their survival in Kosovo.

Was the Declaration of the All-Serbian Assembly necessary? (KoSSev, Danas)

"Was the Declaration of the All-Serbian Assembly of the Serbian People of the Republic of Serbia and the RS with 49 points on unity and integrity from national reconciliation to folklore, which will be offered for adoption to the assemblies in Belgrade and Banja Luka, necessary because of the four provisions on Kosovo and Metohija?", reported portal KoSSev, citing Danas.

It is about points 11 to 14, the most significant of which is the last one, in which the All-Serbian Assembly, after "stating that Kosovo and Metohija is an inalienable part of the Republic of Serbia" and "insisting on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 in all its aspects", says that "the implementation of the Brussels Agreement, the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities (CSM) and constant dialogue is the only sustainable way to solve the problem", wrote Danas.
To whom and why should the "paper" with CSM pass through the Serbian Parliament as the only solution, even though it was defined in Brussels within the territorial integrity of the self-proclaimed Kosovo's state? In high diplomatic circles in Belgrade, there is almost no doubt that the Declaration will "pass" in the Serbian Parliament, not only because of the SNS-SPS parliamentary majority, but also because, as is speculated, of the US Embassy's pressure on a part of the parliamentary opposition that does not agree with the content of this "paper".

"It is good that for the first time after a long time, in an act that should be adopted by the National Assembly of Serbia, Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council and the territorial integrity of Serbia are mentioned. But, on the other hand, it is confusing that in the same document, which is going to be adopted by the Serbian parliament, the implementation of the First Brussels Agreement and the establishment of the CSM is mentioned, because it is known that it is only one instrument in the legal order of independent Kosovo. Independent Kosovo as recognized by the First Brussels Agreement and the territorial integrity of Serbia according to Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council could not be found together in a legal and political act such as the Declaration that will be before the Parliament of Serbia," points out Professor Zoran Cvorovic from the Law Faculty of the University of Kragujevac.

Political analyst Dusan Janjic believes that the parliamentary adoption of the Declaration would be "a double washing of the conscience of the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, and involving the Serbian Parliament in the legitimization of the French-German proposal."

"The CSM was already before the Serbian Parliament when the document proposed by the then Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic was adopted, whose idea was to get the RS in Kosovo through the CSM. This was already unachievable at the time, but due to Belgrade's strategic negotiation mistakes, the situation is now that, according to the Statute created by the EU administration, the CSM has no executive power or coordination, but an advisory role. Vucic "inflated" the importance of the CSM so much that he neglected all other important issues, and created the illusion among Albanians and the international community that he would recognize Kosovo de facto and de jure as soon as he received the CSM. Now the responsibility is transferred to the All-Serb Assembly and the Assembly of Serbia, which is below any political level," Janjic pointed out.
According to his words, Vucic and Petar Petkovic, "instead of hiding behind the All-Serbian Assembly, should submit a report to the Assembly of Serbia on everything they negotiated, and not for the parliament to assume the political and historical responsibility of the SNS and give Aleksandar Vucic and Milorad Dodik justification for all future moves".

Marko Jaksic, a member of the Presidency of the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija and the Fatherland Movement, has no doubt that this is "another Vucic's prank on the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija''.

"Vucic handed over to Pristina the police, the judiciary, energy, telecommunications, all the symbols of Serbia's statehood - the dinar, vehicle plates, personal documents... Only education, health, social welfare, and culture remained in Serbia's jurisdiction, which he now needs to put under the cap of his coalition partner Albin Kurti, because the Serbian List is still present in the Assembly of Kosovo and gives legitimacy to everything that is done to the detriment of Serbia and the Serbian people. CSM is a final break with the institutions of the state of Serbia, because with it, Vucic is handing over everything to Kurti, and the SOC is not immune to such a solution, which behaves like a branch of the SNS," Jaksic is categorical. He also points out that the gathering in Belgrade on June 8 was "a truncated Assembly based on morally and politically eligible Serbs."

"The Assembly cannot be all-Serbian without an opposition in it. The Serbian people and the state are not only the representatives of the government, but also the opposition. The Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija expected that even a truncated Assembly would raise the issue of the Franco-German proposal, which Vucic accepted. It turned out that the whole story is based on 'dropping a bucket into an empty well' and covering up Vucic's betrayal of KiM,'' according to Marko Jaksic.

Serbian List at the All-Serbian Assembly

The Serbian List representatives attended the joint session of the Government of Serbia and the RS, at which the Declaration was adopted on Saturday.

They had no right "to speak". "For a simple reason - they have their representatives in the President of Serbia and the Prime Minister of Serbia, because they are part of the Republic of Serbia," explained Aleksandar Vucic at the joint session of the two governments.

The State Department calls for stability and reconciliation in a comment on the Declaration of the All-Serbian Assembly (RFE, N1, media)

On the declaration adopted at the All-Serbian Assembly, the US State Department called on political leaders from the Western Balkans to make better use of their meetings in order to promote regional stability and reconciliation, reported media, citing RFE.

On the occasion of the Declaration on the Protection of National and Political Rights and the Common Future of the Serbian People, the State Department stated in its response to Radio Free Europe that the USA "firmly supports the sovereignty, territorial integrity and multi-ethnic character of Bosnia and Herzegovina, of which the Republika Srpska is a part".

"The rhetoric and actions of (President) Milorad Dodik regarding the secession of the Republika Srpska endanger the peaceful, democratic and prosperous future in the Euro-Atlantic institutions that the citizens of BiH, including the residents of the Republika Srpska, want and deserve," stated the State Department.

The US Department of Foreign Affairs stated that the US "believes that the future of all Western Balkan countries is in the European Union, in which regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations lead to greater peace, security and prosperity for all".

The adoption of the declaration at the All-Serbian Assembly, on June 8 in Belgrade, was also commented on by the US Ambassador in Belgrade, Christopher Hill, who told RFE yesterday, that the focus of everyone, who cared about Serbia and its future, should remain on creating a peaceful and prosperous future for the whole Western Balkans and on increasing regional cooperation with EU integration as the ultimate goal.

Vucevic: If Kosovo issue is closed, why is there pressure on Serbia? (RTS)

Serbian Prime Minister Milos Vucevic in a guest appearance on RTS show Takovska 10 said the Dayton Peace Agreement has maintained 29 years of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, adding all the points of the Declaration were adopted by the All-Serbian Assembly in the spirit of that agreement. He pointed out Serbia’s strategic interest is membership in the European Union. He emphasised that the economy is the basis for strengthening Serbia. He also stated that all projects should be discussed, including the exploitation of lithium, and that there is no gambling with ecology.

Speaking about the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Vucevic emphasised that Serbia is concerned about the Kosovo issue. “We are most worried about the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. It is a difficult issue for Serbia and the Albanians, which is open. And we had different historical frameworks, solutions, moments when one or the other side was in a better position or dominant, or had some better geopolitical circumstances, and nothing has provided a long-term solution”, he said. He noted that the voice of Serbia cannot reach, or pass, everywhere in the world where it should.

“But geopolitics is a constant process, it is constantly changing. For some major players in the international arena, the case of KiM is settled, and for others, of course, it is not. But also, for those for whom the issue of Kosovo and Metohija has been resolved, if so, why is there pressure on Serbia”, he asked.
He explained that some see Kosovo as independent, but for him, it will not be independent. “It cannot be (independent) until the Serbian side says that it is an independent state”, he said.

“Kurti is using this moment to terrorise the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija”

He also said geopolitics affects the issue of Kosovo, mentioning the war in Ukraine as an example.

“Both sides see the case of Kosovo as good or bad for their own interests. A new moment is emerging in relation to the geopolitical circumstances in the world and we need the wisdom of Milos (Obrenovic) to save the country”, he said.

He emphasises that what Pristina, and above all PM Albin Kurti, are doing on the ground is a real problem. “He is using this moment and has support to carry out terror against the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, primarily in the north. Our task and goal is to support the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija in accordance with Resolution 1244”, Vucevic said.

Serbian Justice Minister: Serbia not denying crimes or glorifying criminals (N1, FoNet)

Serbian Justice Minister Maja Popovic said Serbia cannot be attributed a policy of denying crimes or glorifying criminals because it has ended a large number of proceedings and imposed severe sentences on its citizens and compatriots for crimes committed in the territory of former Yugoslavia.
A Serbian Government press release quoted Popovic as saying that, with their passive attitude and denial of Serbian victims, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the Mechanism led to the denial of crimes against the Serbian civilian population and encouraged the policy of historical revisionism and the glorification of war criminals in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo and Metohija.

The acquittals of the Tribunal and the Mechanism for Ante Gotovina, Naser Oric and Ramush Haradinaj ignored the crimes for which there is forensic and other evidence in the possession of the prosecution, Popovic said.

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Vucic: I congratulated Orban on another victory, we continue friendly cooperation (Tanjug)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Wednesday morning that, in a long and substantial telephone conversation with Viktor Orban, he had congratulated the Hungarian PM on "another victory" in Hungary, and added that friendly cooperation guaranteed peace, stability and prosperity to the two countries and the region.
"A long and substantial telephone conversation with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban. I congratulated him on another victory he has won in Hungary. We continue our friendly cooperation, which guarantees peace, stability and prosperity to our two countries and the region", Vucic wrote in a post on his official Instagram profile.


Mjeku: Kosovo has many reasons to celebrate its Liberation Day (Arab News)
Opinion piece by Lulzim Mjeku, Kosovo’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
There is light at the end of the night. Salvation frees people from fear.
Twenty-five years ago, my country, Kosovo, shook off the dark clouds.
On June 12, the Republic of Kosovo celebrates the 25th anniversary of its liberation, a historical event that changed the fate of our people and enabled the era of peace and stability in the region to begin.

This year also marks the 16th anniversary of our independence and sovereignty, as celebrated on Feb. 17, Kosovo’s Independence Day. Our embassy in Riyadh joyously marked this occasion, which coincided with the 15th anniversary of the forging of diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia.
It is with great honor that today I share glimpses of Kosovo’s progress since its liberation and the recent accomplishments in our harmonious nation.
Kosovo is committed to European and global integration. Presently, Kosovo is recognized by 117 states worldwide and holds membership in more than 50 international organizations. Our aspirations further extend to joining esteemed regional bodies such as the Council of Europe, the EU and NATO.

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War stories: Exhibition recalls coverage of Kosovo conflict, 25 years later (BIRN)
At the entrance to Pristina’s landmark ‘Germia’ department store stands an old Land Rover, recently transported from London. It’s a homecoming, of sorts.
Inside, the voice of Vaughan Smith, founder of London’s Frontline Club, tells the car’s story to interested visitors.
“This vehicle went everywhere, not just with me,” he says on a recording, recounting how it was hit at least 11 times during fighting between Serbian security forces and Kosovo Albanian guerrillas in 1998-99. The windscreen still bears the mark of a sniper’s bullet. Vaughan Smith (R) talking to Kosovo President, Vjosa Osmani (R), next to the old armored Land Rover car he used to report on the Kosovo war, he recently brought back for BIRN’s ‘Reporting House’ exhibition. Photo: BIRN/Naser Fejza
Smith’s Land Rover, which helped him get exclusive shots of the Serbian police besieging the home of Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, commander Adem Jashari in March 1998, is part of a three-month exhibition dedicated to media coverage of the war in Kosovo 25 years since it ended, as well as how artists have interpreted its legacy.
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From war to peace: Before and after photos of Kosovo’s transformation (RFE)

June 12 marks the 25th anniversary of NATO-led KFOR forces entering Kosovo, a pivotal moment that ended a devastating war with over 13,000 casualties, mostly local ethnic Albanians. RFE/RL visits several places to see how much has changed since 1999.

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British brigadier recalls ‘World War Three’ moment in Kosovo (BIRN)

Up until June 11, 1999, the plan was for the paratroopers of Brigadier Adrian Freer’s 5th Airborne Brigade to land at the airfield outside Pristina, but NATO commanders had a change of heart and sent them to secure the southern entrance into Kosovo instead, at the narrow Kacanik Pass.
Who knows what might have happened had they not been redirected; 250 Russians troops were already en route to the airfield over land from Bosnia and Herzegovina, stealing a march on 50,000 NATO-led soldiers rolling in from North Macedonia and Albania.

It was an ominous start to the NATO deployment on the back of 11 weeks of air strikes to drive out forces under then Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
As NATO deployed, Yugoslav and Serbian forces were supposed to withdraw simultaneously, but nothing was guaranteed.
“NATO troops decided that if the Yugoslav Army wished to be awkward, the Kacanik defile could block it,” Freer recalled, 25 years later, in an interview from his home in Scotland.

But they hadn’t counted on the Russians.

“It all happened very quickly. There was very little hold-up getting through the Kacanik defile, and then I was asked to get to Pristina airfield very swiftly,” Freer recalled. “The situation was extremely tense.”
The story of Russia’s lightning dash to Pristina and what subsequently ensued has become the stuff of legend ever since it emerged months later that the British general in charge of NATO forces deploying to Kosovo, Michael Jackson, refused an order from NATO’s American supreme commander, Wesley Clark, to evict the Russians.
“I’m not going to start World War Three for you,” Newsweek reported Jackson as telling Clark, raising serious concerns at the time over the chain of command in the Western military alliance.

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Kosovo special prosecution indicts eight for abuse of office after investigation (Prishtina Insight)

The Kosovo Special Prosecution announced on Monday that it had filed an indictment against eight individuals for abuse of official position related to the construction of a residential complex in Prishtina’s “Lakrishte” neighbourhood, which was revealed by a investigation three years ago.

The Kosovo Special Prosecution filed an indictment against eight individuals for abuse of official position related to the conversion of public property and plans for construction of a residential complex worth 120 million euros in the capital, which BIRN and Internews Kosova’s Albanian language publication investigated in 2021.
The prosecution file from the indictment states that “during that period, intentionally and with the purpose of gaining unlawful material benefits for third parties, he (chief executive of NPB, Hajdar Hoxha) signed the contract with the bidding group, a contract which he knew was harmful”. reported in April 2021 that the same officials now facing charges had exceeded their authority by  facilitating the conversion of public property into private property, resulting in significant financial damage to the Prishtina Public Housing Enterprise, NPB, and the municipality of Prishtina, the only shareholder of NPB.

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