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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, June 27, 2024

Albanian Language Media


Borell: Kurti was not ready for tripartite meeting, he presented conditions (media)

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said in a press conference after the meetings in Brussels on Wednesday that Kosovo was not ready for a tripartite meeting. He said that during the bilateral meetings, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti presented three conditions for further engagement in the process of normalizing relations with Serbia, but which Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic did not accept. "First, the formalization of the Basic Agreement through signature by the respective heads of state. The second, the withdrawal of the official letter submitted to the EU by the former Serbian prime minister, Ana Brnabic, on December 13, 2023. And the third, the handover of Milan Radoicic and his paramilitary terrorist group to the judicial authorities of Kosovo," Borrell said.

Kurti sets conditions: Sign Basic Agreement and hand over Radoicic (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on Wednesday that he had three conditions for a bilateral meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels. “We consider that the Basic Agreement and the Implementation Annex are a distinguished achievement in Kosovo’s foreign policy and an achievement of the European Union, which has facilitated a series rounds of this dialogue. The last time we had a trilateral meeting was on September 14 last year. Many things happened since then, including the incident in Banjska, and the letter [of then-Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic) withdrawing from the Basic Agreement,” he argued.

Kurti said that Milan Radoicic, who claimed responsibility for the attack in Banjska, should be handed over to Kosovar authorities and that “otherwise normalization and peace will not happen”.

Kurti also said that he asked for the implementation of agreements with Serbia and that the “reserve letters should be withdrawn”. “The letters are peripheral. They constitute a direct attack against the Basic Agreement. An attempt will be made in early July to discuss the sequencing. Today we defended the Basic Agreement. The attack comes from the non-signing of the Agreement, from Ana Brnabic’s letter, and from the fact that Radoicic is not handed over and he continues being trained in Serbia for new attacks,” he added.

Kurti on appointment of Rutte as NATO SG: Kosovo celebrates this news (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti congratulated Mark Rutte on his appointment as next Secretary General of NATO. "We in Kosovo celebrate this news and are eager to continue the strong relations we enjoy with you in this new capacity", Kurti wrote as he congratulated the new head of NATO, Rutte.

Kosovo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Donika Gervalla, said that Rutte’s experience and knowledge will strengthen the Euro-Atlantic family. "We look forward to working together for the advancement of Kosovo's membership and the achievement of lasting peace," she wrote in a post on X.

EU concerned that comments on three draft laws were not considered (Klan)

The EU Office in Kosovo said in a statement on Wednesday that it notes with regret that three Draft Laws which are scheduled for a second reading on Thursday by the Kosovo Assembly, have not taken into account the EU's comments aimed at improving them and ensuring compliance with European standards and best practices.

“Regarding the Draft Law on amending and supplementing the Law on Public Officials, it is concerning that the Assembly Committee on Public Administration, Local Governance, Media and Rural Development did not take on board the extensive and consistent advice the EU has offered throughout the drafting process in order to fully align with merit principles, including a separate EU Commission opinion delivered on the Law on Public Officials in force. The Assembly Committee has not addressed key concerns regarding this draft law, raised through various EU opinions, especially with regard to the changes the legislation brings to managerial positions and to civil service recruitment, promotion and performance procedures. Such changes, if implemented, risk to undermine the professionalization and impartiality of the civil service. Particularly, the fact that the draft law also maintains the controversial 'year zero' provision which stipulates that, with the entry into force of the Law, the incumbent civil service and public officials in the low and middle-level management positions shall start their first term of service is also concerning as it goes against the Constitutional Court judgment of 2023. This also risks undermining the professionalization and stability in civil service,” reads the EU announcement.

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Haxhiu reacts to court declaring law on state bureau invalid (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, reacted on Wednesday to a decision by the Constitutional Court declaring the law on the state bureau for the verification and confiscation of unjustified assets as invalid. In a Facebook post, she accused judges of the Constitutional Court of “serving the old nomenclature” and that it took 16 months for the court to assess the law’s compatibility with the constitution. “Five out of nine judges decided to declare invalid the most important law of the package of anticorruption and against abuse of office. For us, the situation is obvious: this constitutes an attempt to reject the will for justice by some people who still serve and owe the old nomenclature. Our battle for reform and the rule of law however will not stop,” Haxhiu argued. 

Maqedonci visits Croatia: Our friendship is eternal (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Defense, Ejup Maqedonci, said on Wednesday that he visited Croatia at the invitation of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of Croatia, Ivan Anusic. He said in a Facebook post that the friendship between Kosovo and Croatia is eternal because it has its foundations in history, values, and a common future. "Partnership and in particular cooperation in the field of defense and security between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Croatia is at the highest level,” he said.

"With Minister Anusic, we examined the possibilities of deepening cooperation in the field of defense, we discussed the security situation in the region as well as at the global level. I thanked Minister Anusic for the continuous and multi-dimensional support from Croatia for Kosovo, as well as confirmed the determination of Kosovo's institutions for membership in the Euro-Atlantic structures,” Maqedonci said.

Maqedonci also signed the agreement for the education of KSF cadets at the "Franjo Tudjman" Military Academy.


Serbian Language Media 

Borrell: Kurti presented three conditions for engagement in the normalisation process (media)

The European head of diplomacy, Josep Borrell, confirmed that there was no joint meeting between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo PM Albin Kurti on Wednesday in Brussels because the Kosovo side was not ready. Borrell stated that the Kosovo PM presented three conditions in the process of normalising relations with Serbia.

"First, the formalisation of the Basic Agreement by the respective heads of state and government signing; the withdrawal of the letter with a reservation that former PM Brnabic officially deposited in the EEAS, dated December 13, 2023, and the extradition of Milan Radoicic and his paramilitary-terrorist group to the Kosovo judicial authorities," Borrell said.

Serbia, according to Borrell, was not ready to fully fulfill the conditions of Kosovo, referring to constitutional restrictions, while the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, indicated that he was ready to explore the options related to the former prime minister's letter and the formalisation of the Agreement in accordance with the previous practice of dialogue in order to unblock the implementation of the agreement.

Borel added that the European side presented a new proposal for an implementation plan that would guide the implementation phase.

"Unfortunately, the conditionality of the implementation did not allow the discussions to focus on concrete implementation measures from the parties today," Borrell pointed out.

He added that the views of the parties are still far apart on how the implementation of the Agreement could be started - and accordingly, how the normalisation process should be continued.

"As I said earlier, the EU cannot want the normalisation of relations on its own if the parties themselves cannot agree on how to proceed. The EU's role is to help and support the parties in their dialogue efforts - and that is what we are committed to," Borrell said.

He also confirmed that the process will continue, and EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak will host the two main negotiators in Brussels next week to continue discussions on the implementation plan of the Agreement, as well as other dialogue issues.

"Courage, vision and political will of leaders are needed for the future of Kosovo and Serbia and their citizens. As the EU, we are ready to help every step of the way," said the European head of diplomacy.

Vucic: No trilateral meeting in Brussels; Kurti did not want or dare to meet with me (Kosovo Online) 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that there was no trilateral meeting in Brussels today with the head of EU diplomacy Josep Borrell and special envoy Miroslav Lajcak and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, and that European mediators told him that Kurti was not ready for a meeting with him, reported Kosovo Online. 

"There was a proper meeting with Borrell and Lajcak, but there was no other, trilateral meeting with Kurti. He didn't want or did not dare to meet with me, ask him," Vucic told reporters.

Vucic added that he returned three times to meet with intermediaries, who relayed Kurti's messages to him. When asked what Kurti was looking for, he replied:

"Nothing, the man won't see me. Why did he come? How do I know".

He added that he was serious when he said that and that Borrell and Lajcak really told him that Kurti was not ready for a meeting with him and that the main negotiators should continue the dialogue. Vucic said that he discussed the situation in Kosovo with the high representative of the EU. He announced that the talks of the main negotiators will continue next week, on Tuesday or Wednesday.

"I expect the continuation of the talks. We have a lot of work to do. It is a difficult job for Petar Petkovic and all the people who are working hard. It is a difficult situation for our people in Kosovo and Metohija. In any case, we will continue to fight, to protect the interest of Serbia and try in every way to help our people," said Vucic. 

He pointed out that no one can guarantee that there will be new unilateral measures by Pristina.

"When numerous representatives of the international community come to talk to us about CEFTA, trade in goods, we accept everything for the hundredth time. We say that we are for full freedom of movement of goods, services, capital, and people, and in the end, Kurti always finds a reason it is not. The second you say - raise the barriers so that we can trade normally between Vranje, Kraljevo, Strpce, Gracanica - you don't get an answer from the other side. And they won't even criticize the Albanian side," underlined Vucic. 

Vucic underlined that Kurti is asking for Serbia to recognize Kosovo.

"They are asking us to recognize Kosovo. Now they have come up with new demands, but everything boils down to recognition. It is going around in circles, and basically it is asking for 'de jure' recognition," Vucic pointed out.

He expressed his belief that the EU mediators will have to say in their statements today that there was no will of one side to talk to the other. He added that it is important for Serbia that it had good meetings with EU representatives this morning.

Djuric thanked MFA of Jamaica and Commonwealth of Dominica on the support to Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty  (Kosovo Online)

Serbia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marko Djuric, spoke in Paraguay with Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith, expressing gratitude for this country's support for Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced. 

"We are deeply grateful for Jamaica's support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Serbia, and we are ready to jointly contribute to the preservation of the basic norms and principles of international law," said Djuric. 

Djuric and Smith spoke on the sidelines of the 54th regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States.

He expressed readiness for further development of overall relations with Jamaica, as well as for cooperation in areas of mutual interest, adding that Serbia wants to intensify political dialogue at all levels.

Djuric met the Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica: Serbia appreciates the support regarding territorial integrity

Djuric also spoke to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade and Energy of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Vince Henderson. On that occasion, the interlocutors agreed on the need to develop bilateral relations in all areas, strengthen economic cooperation and political dialogue, the Serbian MFA announced.

Djuric said that Serbia greatly appreciates that the Commonwealth of Dominica in international forums provides support for the respect of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia, as well as the principles of international law and issues of state and national interest for Serbia.

Szijjarto: During the EU presidency, Hungary will open new chapters in negotiations with Serbia (RTS)

During its presidency of the European Union, which begins on July 1, Hungary will open new chapters in accession negotiations with Serbia and conduct intergovernmental talks with all five candidates for membership of the Western Balkans as part of its efforts to speed up EU enlargement in the region, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, Peter Szijjarto said.

Szijjarto said that Hungary also plans to close at least seven chapters with Montenegro, open the first one with Albania and adopt a negotiation framework with Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, he said, is the first step to opening the first chapter of negotiations.

A Serb detained at Jarinje? (KoSSev)

KoSSev reported last night that a Serb was detained at Jarinje, who was at the time of the time being held in the southern part of Mitrovica for questioning.

The information was confirmed for KoSSev by the deputy regional commander of the North region, Veton Elshani, stressing that he does not know if he was arrested, but that he was only "stopped and taken for questioning", and that the North region was not part of the operation.

When asked if units from Pristina were involved, Elshani did not give a concrete answer. KoSSev added that Elshani could not even confirm the identity of the detained person, despite the unofficial knowledge of the portal.

International Media

Serbia’s Vucic, Kosovo’s Kurti Fail to Meet After ‘Preconditions’ Disagreement (Balkan Insight)

Top-level negotiations in Brussels failed to take place after Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti refused to join the meeting because Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic did not agree with his preconditions, an EU official said.

EU High Representative Josep Borrell announced on Wednesday evening that “there was no trilateral meeting” between him, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels – another failed attempt to move forward with the EU-facilitated Pristina-Belgrade dialogue and the implementation of previous agreements.

“We have done a lot, many problems have been solved, but the normalisation process can only move forward as fast as parties want. They have to normalise among them and not with us,” Borrell told the media.

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Few Serbs have returned to southern Kosovo since the war (DW)

Twenty-five years after the end of the Kosovo War, very few Serbs have returned to southern Kosovo. Of the 13,000 Serbs who lived in the city of Prizren before the war, only 80 remain, most of whom live in nearby villages. Although they no longer fear violence, returnees face serious economic difficulties.

Prizren is the second largest city in Kosovo with a population of over 170,000. It is a popular tourist destination and a location for numerous festivals during the summer season. It is also home to many religious denominations, cultures and ethnicities. In addition to the ethnic Albanian majority, Prizren is home to Turks, Bosniaks, Gorani, Serbs, Roma and people of other nationalities.

Before the Kosovo War (1998–99), about 13,000 Serbs lived in Prizren, which is in southern Kosovo. Today, there are only 80, most of whom live in the villages of the municipality. The mass emigration of Serbs from Kosovo took place after the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia — a federation made up of the Republics of Serbia and Montenegro — and the end of the war in 1999, when the Kosovar Albanians, who had been expelled during the war, returned.

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