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UNMIK Media Observer, Morning Edition, June 28, 2024

Albanian Language Media


Kosovo Police find surveillance cameras in the north (media)

Kosovo Police said on Thursday that in cooperation with the Kosovo Intelligence Agency they identified two locations in the north of Kosovo where surveillance cameras were installed. Kosovo Police Deputy Director for the north, Veton Elshani, said in an interview with Radio Free Europe that the cameras were camouflaged and were used to monitor the movements of citizens, Kosovo’s institutions, and the international presence in the north of Kosovo. “The cameras are believed to have been continuously used by Serbia’s security institutions,” he argued. He also said that police have identified two individuals “whom we want to interview”.

Kosovo’s Minister of Interior Affairs, Xhelal Svecla, said that Kosovo’s institutions would continue to fight “Serbia’s mechanisms of control and espionage”. He also claimed that the cameras and other devices were used by “Serbia’s institutions to monitor the movements of citizens, officials of our security institutions, and international institutions”.

Rohde says Kurti's conditions “a burden"; “Serbia violating Article 4” (media)

German Ambassador to Kosovo, Jorn Rohde, said on Thursday that Wednesday’s meeting of Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti with EU High Representative Josep Borrell, EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak, and the lack of a high-level meeting that was foreseen to happen with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic did not end very well. He argued that progress is currently blocked, but added that the next meeting at the level of chief negotiators has the potential to find common ground. “And, therefore, there is potential to find common ground. Because both sides know that a constructive approach to dialogue is also a prerequisite to participate in the Growth Plan,” he said. 

Speaking about the three conditions of Prime Minister Kurti in order to have a high-level meeting, Rohde said Kurti's conditions are a "burden" to the already difficult negotiations. “Look, I don't think it's useful to burden an already difficult negotiation process with new conditions all the time. Because you want to achieve something, and, if you allow me to go back to our German-German history, we had difficult relations with East Germany. It was a dictatorship with a democracy, where every year people were killed at the border because it was mined, but still we found ways to engage with each other. I think it's also unfortunate that they didn't have the opportunity to meet face-to-face, that there was no tripartite meeting and as Borrell said, we are only mediators; we cannot do your heavy work for you; there must be at least minimal willingness on the part of the parties to engage. And there should be more of that, not less,” Rohde said.

Rasic doesn’t expect Radoicic to be handed over; “dialogue must continue” (media)

A day after the failure of the meeting in Brussels between Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandër Vucic, Kosovo’s Minister for Communities and Returns, Nenad Rasic, said that dialogue should continue, and that the EU was surprised by Kurti’s proposals and that they needed a lot of time to analyze Kurti’s conditions. “I've always said, we have an old saying, ‘it's better to negotiate for 1,000 days than to fight for 1 hour’. So I accept a negotiation model and I was very happy for that continuation to happen at the beginning of July,” Rasic said.

Asked about the possible hand over of Milan Radoicic to Kosovo’s judicial bodies, Rasic said ‘”s far as I know their connections, in Serbia, in particular in the regime which is in power in Serbia, I don't see it as possible in the coming months”.

Rasic also spoke about the denial of his participation in the dialogue. "Prime Minister Kurti had an idea from the moment we were appointed, this happened on December 1, 2022, where according to his plan, I would be part of the working group, and in that respect a request was sent as a proposal to the facilitators, to Mr. Borrell and Lajcak, to expand the negotiating technical group, but the other side did not accept that,” he said adding that this will only bring problems in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue and the integration of the Serbs.

Assembly podium used for smearing of the media (Koha)

The Association of Journalists of Kosovo and opposition parties in the Assembly called on the government on Thursday not to vote and remove from the agenda the draft law on the Independent Media Commission. The draft law was not removed from the agenda and was not addressed in the session because the latter was interrupted due to the lack of quorum.

Vetevendosje MP Dimal Basha used denigrating speech against the media saying that the current government is the only one that has stopped giving fodder to the media. He also criticized media lawyer, Flutura Kusari, and questioned her professional integrity. The AJK reacted to Basha’s remarks saying that they constitute an attack against the media and Kusari. “Mr. Basha’s accusations from the floor of the Assembly endanger the security of Kusari and are aimed at silencing the critical voices from civil society,” the reaction notes. It also says that “Mr. Basha’s discourse is regrettably a reflection of the position and policies of the Vetevendosje Movement and the Government of Kosovo against the freedom of the media, the freedom of speech and media pluralism in Kosovo,” the AJK said. 

Kurti meets Serwer: Grateful for his analysis and advice (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, met on Thursday with Professor Daniel Serwer, whom he called a great friend of Kosovo. Kurti said he is grateful to Serwer for his analysis and advice on important issues for Kosovo and the region as a whole. "This was only the latest of many meetings we have had over more than two decades, but it was the first time I had the privilege of welcoming him to the Prime Minister's Office. As always, I am grateful for his incisive analysis and advice, his wise words on the most important issues facing our Republic and its citizens, and the region as a whole," Kurti said.

Kurti welcomes Law on the Modernization of Citizenship in Germany (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, has announced that the Law on the Modernization of Citizenship of the Federal Republic of Germany which has entered into force from Thursday, is very good news for the Kosovar diaspora in Germany. According to him, the citizens of Kosovo no longer need to give up their Kosovo passport to get German citizenship. "Also, those who for the same reason have already given up their Kosovar citizenship, will be able to apply to get it back. So both a citizen of Kosovo and a citizen of Germany. Both for Kosovo and for Germany", Kurti said.

Serbian delegation leaves after Kosovo MP’s speech on Banjska attack (Kosovapress)

The Serbian MPs, led by the deputy speaker Snezana Paunovic, left on Thursday the regional conference on the Berlin Process, after the speeches of the delegation from Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Kosovo MP Blerta Deliu-Kodra said in a post on X that during this conference they reiterated Serbia's destabilizing role in the region and its responsibility for the terrorist attack in Banjska.

"We will insist on addressing the actions of President Aleksandar Vucic in every occasion. Kosovo is unwavering on the path to EU and NATO membership, despite Serbia's unresolved issues, such as the Srebrenica genocide," wrote Deliu-Kodra, who is taking part in the conference together with MP Time Kadrijaj.


Serbian Language Media 

Vucic: Kurti wanted recognition not dialogue (N1)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday that the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue failed in Brussels because Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti demanded “de jure recognition”. Vucic and Kurti were due to meet in Brussels on Wednesday with European Union officials but the meeting did not take place after Kurti set conditions.

“The dialogue did not happen because they didn't want a dialogue. They wanted de jure, not de facto recognition. We wanted to talk about compromises to solve problems but I know ahead of time that they are not ready for that”, Vucic told TV Pink. “You always have to find someone to talk to. We are prepared to talk but I don’t see a serious dialogue continuing soon”, Vucic added.

Vucic also said his talks with European Union officials in Brussels about obligations Belgrade has to meet on its European integration path are more important than the money Serbia will get under the EU Growth Plan.

Office for KiM: Arrest of Lazovic in Leposavic, continuation of Pristina’s terror (Kosovo Online, media)

Arrest of Srdjan Lazovic (48) from Leposavic is continuation of Pristina’s terror, becoming intensified again in the days after the dialogue in Brussels has been trampled upon by Kosovo PM Albin Kurti, Office for Kosovo and Metohija said in a statement, reacting to the latest arrest of Serbs in the north, Kosovo Online portal reported. Lazovic was arrested on Thursday for alleged war crimes in Djakovica, although at the time of conflict he was a young person. He lives in Leposavic with his family and three children, the Office for KiM said. 

“Lazovic’s arrest only a day after Kurti rejected dialogue, and two and a half decades after the conflict, clearly shows the real and the sole political motives behind his arrest and it is that Pristina wants to generate a new crisis and escalation as well as continue expulsion of Serbs from the north of Kosovo and Metohija. Pristina is not interested in any normalisation, but only in the exposed terror and repression against Serbs”, the Office for KiM said in a statement.

It also said it will address all international missions and organisations regarding this latest case of politically motivated arrest. 

Wife of arrested Lazovic: My husband is not on photos published by Albanian media, he has never been to Djakovica (Kosovo Online)

Wife of Srdjan Lazovic, arrested on Thursday in Leposavic under accusations of allegedly committing war crimes in Djakovica, Marija Lazovic told Kosovo Online portal that on photos published by some Kosovo Albanian media is not her husband at all, and that he has never been to Djakovica. She also said this is not the first time that her husband would be stopped by Kosovo police but that they would always realise it was a mistake and let him go, adding the name of his mother matches the name of the person Kosovo police is looking for. She also said Srdjan served the army in Prizren in 1995 and 1995, and after that was in the village of Vuca, near Leposavic and had nothing to do with Djakovica. “We also have a military booklet proving that he has nothing to do with Djakovica”, she said.

She added Srdjan does in the police the same job as in 2003/04 for which they have papers and evidence and before this period he did not work. “He knew he was not guilty and travelled every day, sometimes they kept him shorter, sometimes longer, but they would always let him go (…). We are all here, I work here, our children go to school here…”, she said.

Following the arrest of her husband and upon arriving home, she said she found Kosovo police there, searching their home. Their two daughters were there. “They were searching everything, taking things out of the wardrobes….Of course they found nothing, because there was nothing to find…two daughters were sleeping in the house, they were terrified”, Marija said. 

Serbian List: Kurti’s regime continues with intimidation and expulsion of Serbs from Kosovo (Kosovo Online, media)

Following arrests of two Serbs in the north, Aleksandar Vlajic from Mitrovica North and Srdjan Lazovic from Leposavic, Serbian List said that Kosovo authorities headed by Albin Kurti wish to continue inducing tensions, intimidation and expulsion of Serbs, in order to “ethnically cleanse Kosovo completely”, Kosovo Online portal reported.

Serbian List argued that Vlajic and Lazovic were arrested without any grounds, adding it demonstrates that Pristina’s regime wants to cause a crisis, intimidate and expel Serbs from Kosovo, warning their number is dropping day by day because of Pristina’s regime misdeeds.

“Two arrests in the less than 24 hours, of family men, without any evidence, day after the failed meeting in Brussels confirms that it is about politically motivated persecution and oppression of Lazovic and Vlajic, and sends a clear message that Serbs have no place in Kosovo and Metohija while Albin Kurti's regime is in power. The cases of accusations of war crimes are characteristic because the emotions of families are manipulated, and in practice it is clear to everyone that evidence is not required for accusations against Serbs, but for the arrest and mistreatment of Serbs, it is enough for Kurti to order it", Serbian List said in a statement.

It also called international representatives to stand up and advocate for the rights of arrested Serbs so they can defend in freedom, warning that long detention periods for arrested Serbs have become unofficial, illegal and draconic punishment. 

Djuric: Belgrade appreciates Brazil's position on Serbia's territorial integrity (Tanjug)

Serbian Foreign Minister Marko Djuric met with Brazilian Foreign Ministry official Maria Laura da Rocha on Thursday, noting that Kosovo issue was the top national and state priority for Serbia and that Belgrade highly appreciated Brazil's principled position on respect of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia, Tanjug news agency reported.

During the meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the Organisation of American States (OAS) General Assembly session in Asuncion, Paraguay, Djuric noted that Brazil was one of Serbia's most important political and economic partners in Latin America and that, without a doubt, there was interest in continued deepening of all forms of cooperation, the Serbian MFA said in a statement.

Previously, Djuric also met with Surinamese FM Albert Ramchand Ramdin, whom he told that Serbia highly appreciated Suriname's support in the international arena, especially with regards to preservation of Serbia's territorial integrity. He noted that Suriname had been the first country to de-recognise the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo in 2017.

Austrian Freedom Party requests Parliament declare against recognition of Kosovo (Euronews Serbian)

Head of the Austrian Freedom Party caucus Maximilian Krauss and MP Anton Mahdalik in a request filed to the Austrian Parliament to declare against recognition of Kosovo, said “that Kosovo is no independent state”, Euronews in Serbian reported.

“Kosovo was part of Serbia and contrary to the international law, NATO by bombing (Serbia) in 1999 broke it away from Serbia, and until today it had not been recognized as an independent by the majority of the states. Recognition of Kosovo by US and European states, not only violated and trampled upon sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, but also UNSC Resolution 1244, which guarantees sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia”, AFP said.

It added that because of this the Austrian Government must have not recognized Kosovo. They also noted the deficit in building a legal state and fighting against corruption, noting that Kosovo dropped on the Transparency International Corruption Index from a 95 to 176 place. As it was said because of this the AFP filed a Resolution against recognition of Kosovo and against its accession to the EU. 

Pristina portal says 45 indicted over Banjska armed incident (N1)

N1 reported citing Pristina-based Gazeta Express that the portal was told by Kosovo police criminal charges were filed against 45 people suspected of involvement in the Banjska armed incident when a Kosovo police officer and three Serbs were killed.

The portal said it was handed data by the police showing that 48 people suspected of involvement in the armed incident had been identified. The police issued 41 arrest warrants in Kosovo and 39 international warrants following a nine-month investigation. The Banjska armed incident took place in this village, Zvecan municipality on September 24, 2023.

Charges were filed for “murder, assault on constitutional order, terrorism, conspiring to commit acts of terrorism and financing terrorism”, it was also said. 

“Miredita, Dobar Dan” festival shut down (media)

The Serbian police ordered a Belgrade festival of Serbian and Kosovo artists to shut down citing security risks. “The Miredita, Dobar Dan” (good day in Albanian and Serbian) opened on Thursday with a group of people protesting against it in front of the venue in central Belgrade, Serbian media reported.

Internal Affairs Minister Ivica Dacic said that the Ministry issued orders to end “the Miredita, Dobar Dan” festival which he called a public gathering. According to Dacic, the Ministry of Interior issued the order because of danger to the security of people and property and the danger of violations of public order to a greater extent.

Dacic said no other public gatherings would be allowed in the Dorcol Platz venue. “The organisers of the gathering have been informed of the order”, Dacic said.

International Media

Police Ban Serbia-Kosovo Cultural Reconciliation Festival in Belgrade (Balkan Insight)

Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic ordered the 'Miredita, Dobar Dan!' festival to be banned on security grounds, while journalists and some organisers trying to reach the festival from Kosovo were halted on the road by police.

Serbia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs on Thursday ordered the ‘Miredita, Dobar Dan!’ cultural exchange festival to be banned on security grounds, just hours before its planned opening in the evening.

“The Ministry of Internal Affairs issued an order to stop the public gathering ‘Miredita, Dobar Dan!’, due to the danger of people’s safety and property being put at risk, as well as the danger of the disruption of public order and peace on a larger scale”, Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said in a statement, public broadcaster RTS reported.

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