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UNMIK Media Observer, Afternoon Edition, May 28, 2024

Albanian Language Media:

  • Kurti meets Sarrazin, discuss Berlin Process agreements (media)
  • Osmani meets Sarrazin, “grateful for Germany’s support” (media)
  • Kurti says U.S. and EU are too soft on Serbia (media)
  • EU report on eventual lifting of measures not finalized yet (media)
  • Torres: I will continue to push for their full inclusion into NATO (media)
  • Citaku: We want Kurti to resign, but Assembly dissolution only possibility (EO)
  • LDK General Council to meet this evening, will discuss early elections (media)
  • Osmani hosts heads of Judicial Council and Prosecutorial Council (media)
  • Gervalla: Serbia poses a threat to stability in Western Balkans (media)
  • AJK: Assembly to improve draft law on Independent Media Commission (media)
  • Osmani congratulates Kosovo cadets on graduating from West Point (media)

Serbian Language Media: 

  • A series of bans in Kosovo that mostly apply to Serbs living there (Euronews Serbia)
  • Djuric: Admission of Kosovo to NATO PA sends bad signal, Kurti's regime rewarded for violating rights of Serbs (Kosovo Online)
  • SNV, SNF and Otadzbina disappointed by the lack of a response from the SOC to their invitation to talk (KiM radio, KoSSev, N1)
  • Introductory remarks in trial of Dragisa Milenkovic by prosecution and defense (KoSSev, Radio KIM)
  • Awards for building peace and trust in Kosovo (KiM radio)


  • US and EU ‘too soft’ on Serbia, Kosovo PM says (Financial Times)
  • Kosovo Granted NATO Parliamentary Assembly Status Upgrade (Prishtina Insight)
  • ‘Out of Control’: Kosovo Struggles to Curb Online Sexual Harassment (BIRN)


Albanian Language Media  


Kurti meets Sarrazin, discuss Berlin Process agreements (media)

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti met this morning in Pristina with the German Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Manuel Sarrazin, and discussed progress on the implementation of mobility agreements from the Berlin Process, regional cooperation, and expectations from the next summit on the 10th anniversary which will be held in Berlin. Kurti highlighted the importance that before the next summit, the agreement between Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the free travel of citizens with ID cards must start being implemented.

Kurti also said that on May 16 in Kotor, Montenegro, Kosovo asked for the Western Balkans to join the European Union’s Anti-Money Laundering Authority in order to increase financial integrity and strengthen cooperation in the fight against financial crime, a request which was included in the joint declaration issued in Kotor.

Kurti also thanked Sarrazin for his contribution and role in strengthening relations between Kosovo and Germany and furthering regional cooperation. 

Osmani meets Sarrazin, “grateful for Germany’s support” (media)

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani met today in Pristina with the German Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Manuel Sarrazin, and discussed the latest political and security developments in Kosovo and the region. Osmani reiterated Kosovo’s commitment to the process of European integration and expressed gratitude for Germany’s support. “She in particular expressed full support for the Berlin Process and the agreements that derived from the process. At the same time, President Osmani highlighted the need for Germany’s continuous support to strengthen Kosovo’s international position and to achieve aspirations for membership in the Council of Europe, NATO, the European Union, and other international organizations,” a press release issued by Osmani’s office notes.

Kurti says U.S. and EU are too soft on Serbia (media)

Most news websites cover an interview that Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti gave to Financial Times, highlighting his remarks that the United States and the European Union are too soft on Serbia, and that they should set a deadline for it to adopt sanctions on Russia.

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EU report on eventual lifting of measures not finalized yet (media)

The EU High Representative Josep Borrell’s report on the eventual lifting of measures against Kosovo has not been finalized yet, EU spokesperson Peter Stano told a press conference today, several news websites report. Asked if the latest events in the north of Kosovo - the confiscation of dinars and the closure of Serbia’s Postal Bank - affected this process, Stano said: “yes of course. The measures were introduced as a response to the uncoordinated unilateral steps that lead to more escalation and do not help with the de-escalation. They were introduced with the aim to motivate the Kosovo authorities to work on de-escalation. So of course everything that is happening on the ground that has a negative impact on efforts leading to de-escalation is being taken on board and included in the report”. 

Torres: I will continue to push for their full inclusion into NATO (media)

Member of the U.S. Congress, Ritchie Torres, said in a post on X on Monday that he is pleased to see Kosovo upgraded to an associate member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. “It’s long passed due for Kosovo to not only join the parliamentary assembly, but more importantly, to eventually be a full member of NATO. More must be done — mark my words that I will continue to push for their full inclusion into NATO,” Torres said.

Citaku: We want Kurti to resign, but Assembly dissolution only possibility (EO)

General Secretary of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Vlora Citaku, in an interview with the news website said that this party too wants Prime Minister Albin Kurti to resign his post but that the dissolution of the Kosovo Assembly is the only possibility for early parliamentary elections.

“I want to make it clear that the PDK has no spears for our colleagues in the opposition. We certainly would prefer for Prime Minister Kurti to resign, but his resignation is not an act that we as the opposition can impose because we don’t have the sufficient votes to dismiss Kurti’s government. In politics, you cannot operate based on wishes but based on what is possible, and at this point we can go to new elections through the dissolution of the Assembly. All of us in the opposition – PDK, LDK and AAK – agree that the country needs elections and that the government is not doing its job and that it is weak, that Kosovo’s relations with the allies have been aggravated, the economy has stalled, and migration is marking painful parameters,” she argued.

LDK General Council to meet this evening, will discuss early elections (media)

The General Council of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) will meet this evening and discuss current political developments and decisions on possible early general elections, Telegrafi reports. The news website notes that LDK parliamentary group chief, Arben Gashi, said on Monday that the resignation of Prime Minister Albin Kurti is the only solution. “If the Prime Minister wants a solution and elections, he needs to offer the solution, and the solution is his resignation so that the country can go to elections,” Gashi told reporters. MP and member of the LDK’s presidency, Kujtim Shala, told Front Online today that this party would vote in favor of the dissolution of the Kosovo Assembly only after Kurti’s resignation.

Osmani hosts heads of Judicial Council and Prosecutorial Council (media)

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani hosted in separate meetings on Monday the heads of the Kosovo Judicial Council and the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council and discussed with them the justice reform process, stressing the need for the reforms to improve efficiency, transparency, and accountability. A press release issued by Osmani’s office after the meetings notes that “the disturbing phenomenon of the increase in the number of cases of domestic violence and gender-based violence were discussed at the meeting, where President Osmani reiterated the need to continue inter-institutional cooperation against this phenomenon that has reached alarming proportions, providing answers to fast and effective legal measures to protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable. At the meeting with the Kosovo Prosecutorial Council, the importance of handling of cases of crimes committed during the war, bearing in mind that some of the witnesses and survivors are aging and passing away, and hence it is urgent to collect all the evidence for the crimes committed by the Milosevic genocidal regime”.

Gervalla: Serbia poses a threat to stability in Western Balkans (media)

Kosovo’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Donika Gervalla, during her stay in Canada met with her Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly and briefed her on the political and security situation in Kosovo “highlighting the destabilizing actions of Serbia which today poses a threat to the stability of the Western Balkans and South-East Europe”. A press release issued by Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes that Gervalla and Joly discussed strengthening partnership in furthering Kosovo’s defense capacities, sustainable development, strategic investments, and cooperation in the public-private sector.

AJK: Assembly to improve draft law on Independent Media Commission (media)

The Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK) said in a statement on Monday that the Council of Europe prepared a legal opinion on the draft law for the Independent Media Commission in Kosovo “and confirmed that several aspects of the draft law are not in line with the best European standards. The legal opinion dated May 24, 2024, and prepared for the needs of the Kosovo Assembly’s Committee for Media, confirms entirely our concerns which were publicly expressed at a press conference on February 1, 2024”.

The AJK notes that the key aspects criticized by the Council of Europe are: the amendment of the IMC draft law without a concept document in opposition with the government’s regulation, the definition and regulation of online media, essential changes in the composition, appointment, mandate, and dismissal of IMC members, removing the legal limitation which in the past prevented political parties and religious communities from opening TV and radio stations, and the lack of transparency during the legislative initiative”. 

The AJK also said that they express regret over the criticism against Kosovo by the Council of Europe. “The criticism is a result of the tendency of the government and the majority in parliament to control the media and the media regulator through this draft law and the intentional refusal of the Office of the Prime Minister to include the media industry and civil society in the early phases of the legislative initiative,” the statement notes.

Osmani congratulates Kosovo cadets on graduating from West Point (media)

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani said in a post on X that “cadets Andrin Vuthaj and Vesa Ibrahimi have graduated from West Point US Military Academy, one of the world’s most prestigious military academies. Their dedication and hard work have paid off, and we couldn’t be prouder of them! At their graduation, President Joe Biden was there to congratulate these outstanding young leaders. They will bring their new skills and experiences back to the Kosovo Security Force, ready to serve and protect their country. This is what excellence looks like!”


Serbian Language Media 


A series of bans in Kosovo that mostly apply to Serbs living there (Euronews Serbia)

Euronews in Serbian in an article published today writes that a number of bans have been in force in Kosovo for a long period of time, which mostly apply to the Serbs living there.

It started with vaccines against the coronavirus, which could not be transported from central Serbia to the territory of Kosovo, and today many other products cannot be transported to Kosovo either. Serbs were unable to participate in the Serbian referendum on constitutional amendments in January 2022, and also in the presidential and parliamentary elections in April of the same year, nor in the Serbian elections in December 2023. In order for them to be held in Kosovo as well, there were conditions, including an official request from Serbia to be submitted to Pristina.

Euronews recalled that in the south of Kosovo, more than ten years ago, Serbs were prohibited from possessing license plates and driver’s licenses, which are issued by the Ministry of Interior of Serbia with the markings of cities in Kosovo. For those in the north, license plates were banned at the end of last year, and drivers’ licenses must be replaced by August 9.

From June 2023 goods produced in Serbia cannot enter Kosovo, except those that are necessary for further production, such as wheat, artificial fertilizers and other raw materials. The entry of mail from central Serbia as well as the Serbian press is prohibited.

Abolishment of the use of dinar in Kosovo and fining of all those who receive the dinar as a means of payment is the latest ban.

“Serbs absolutely, I can freely say, have sanctions imposed by the government in Pristina. Along with the two decisions that caused all of this, the ban on the import of goods from Serbia and the ban on payments, i.e. dinars, by the decision of the Central Bank of Kosovo”, Aleksandar Arsenijevic from Serbian Democracy party told Euronews.

In the past year, on two occasions, Kosovo police also turned back the Serbian Patriarch Porfirije from the crossing point. The Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Petar Petkovic, has not been able to visit Kosovo for 12 months, and certain journalists, actors, and athletes are denied entry without explanation.

“The moment has come that our people are in such a position that they can only choose to emigrate from this area and the pressures are daily and depend on the mood of Mr. Albin Kurti”, Arsenijevic noted.

In Kosovo, contrary to Resolution 1244, a large number of names of populated places and areas were changed. Some names have even been declared hate speech and banned, such as, for example, Metohija. The registration of political parties that contain this word in their name is also prohibited, the article added. 

Nikolic: Without serious pressure from US, CSM will not happen

As Ivan Nikolic from NGO Communication for Social Development based in Gracanica told Euronews Serbia, members of the Serbian community very often wonder why there are so many bans for Serbs from Kosovo. He also said that the message is very clear that integration can and must happen “one way or the other”.

“In any case, this second method, which unfortunately has been applied lately, is anything but democratic. On the other hand, we are left to wonder if we are actually alone in this process because some politicians, and actually fellow journalists, like to say, what is heard (about all of this) is the loud silence of the international community”, he said.

Nikolic also opined that without strong pressure from the international community, US primarily Pristina will not establish a Community of Serbian Municipalities. 

Djuric: Admission of Kosovo to NATO PA sends bad signal, Kurti's regime rewarded for violating rights of Serbs (Kosovo Online)

Serbian Foreign Minister Marko Djuric said Kosovo Constitutional Court had failed to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority for membership in the European Association of Constitutional Courts, pointing out that the Constitutional Court of Serbia, together with Serbian Government had managed to thwart that intention. Commenting on the status of Kosovo as an associate member of the NATO PA, he said it sends a bad signal that Kurti's regime had been awarded for violation of all rights of Serbs in Kosovo, Kosovo Online portal reported

Djuric told TV Pink that at the end of last week, a session of the European Association of Constitutional Courts had been held, during which the Constitutional Court of Kosovo had attempted to join the membership.

"That initiative was rejected, Serbia managed to prevent Kosovo's membership. This is not insignificant. They tried to push it through quietly, but our teams spoke with constitutional courts across Europe. Kosovo failed to secure the required two-thirds majority", Djuric said.

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SNV, SNF and Otadzbina disappointed by the lack of a response from the SOC to their invitation to talk (KiM radio, KoSSev, N1)

The Serbian National Council, the Serbian National Forum, and the Fatherland (Otadzbina) movement remind that the Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church has recently ended, and that the invitation they sent to the church dignitaries remained "without a word", reported KiM radio.

These three political organizations state that they were expecting an invitation to point out to the spiritual fathers the "evident tragedy" that is present, but also, as they say, the catastrophic situation in which the Serbian people found themselves in Kosovo, reported KiM radio. 

"We expected the archbishops to hear the voice, the cry of the people who come from that unfortunate nation. Unfortunately, our expectations were let down. Ignored like this, we try to find an answer as to why it had to be like this. Until recently, we thought it was the whim and will of His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije and Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren! However, we have come to the sad realization that this is actually, at most, the policy of our dignitaries, our "holy" archbishops", they stated in a joint statement.

SNV, SNF and Otadzbina believe that this is exactly the answer to their invitation to meet. "An honest and clear answer, Patriarch Porfirije and the archbishops force spite to their spiritual children!? ".

They recall that five times in the last 12 months they sent invitations to Patriarch and Bishop Teodosije. 

They believe that their "key sin" is that, as they point out, they do not agree with "Vucic's treacherous policy".

"Not referring to the disastrous policy of the Serbian government, which is largely responsible for the situation in which the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija found themselves, is not in accordance with reality. Not to mention all that this policy, without any need, handed over to the so-called Republic of Kosovo!? Also, we cannot understand the silence of the church regarding the German-French agreement and the Ohrid agreement, and especially we cannot understand the support for the Brussels agreement, which is the basis of the betrayal of Kosovo and Metohija".

They believe that the call of the SOC Assembly is "that the problems in Kosovo and Metohija must be solved exclusively through dialogue, based on respect for Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council and international charters that guarantee the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia in this area..." and to support the Brussels Agreement, to keep silent over the French - German agreement, the Ohrid agreement, which are against the Resolution, incomprehensible and dangerous.

"Also, the Assembly's advocate for "the establishment of a functional Community of Serbian Municipalities", the last stone in the foundation of the so-called independent Republic of Kosovo (according to the Brussels Agreement, it is within the "Constitution of the so-called Kosovo"), it is disastrous", these three organizations added.

Therefore, they believe that with such recommendations, the Church entered politics, and "most directly gave a blessing to the continuity of treason".

SNV, SNF and "Otadzbina" criticize Patriarch for the blessing he gave to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic before his trip to New York, thereby forgetting his condemnations of Seselj's policies in the 1990s.

Introductory remarks in trial of Dragisa Milenkovic by prosecution and defense (KoSSev, Radio KIM)

The prosecution and defense presented their introductory remarks in a trial of Dragisa Milenkovic from Kisnica village, near Gracanica at the Basic Court in Pristina, KoSSev portal reported, citing Radio KIM.

Milenkovic, accused of allegedly committing war crimes against the civilian population, pleaded not guilty for the acts he is accused of.

The prosecutor Ade Demaj listed parts of the indictment, saying that Milenkovic as a prison guard in Pristina, (unit in Lipljan) during the conflict in Kosovo in the period from 1998-1999 in accomplice with other persons, including former director of the prison and two more prison guards, “systematically mistreated Albanian prisoners, torturing them with various tools such as: rubber rods, metal bars, electric cables, water pipes, blows with legs and hands, to the beatings, and causing bodily injuries”.

Defense: What did they wait for 24 years?

Milenkovic’s defense lawyer, Zivojin Jokanovic in his introductory part said he does not think that legal qualification of the acts his client is accused of is adequate.

“In order for the criminal act we discuss to exist, we should start from the fact that he (Milenkovic) during the times of war events had a status of a civil servant within the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice and courts carried out monitoring of both institutions (…) and for the discussion it is the most important to verify with sufficient arguments the most banal matters and whether Milenkovic underwent any disciplinary proceedings”, Jokanovic said.

“Can we determine with certainty when and where, in which prison unit he carried out his duties? Certainly not, we only know that some (guards) from the prison in Pristina were transferred to Lipljan, but when, in which period, because of what….There appears to be larger number of transferred persons serving their sentences from Dubrava prison, and then the need arose to ensure larger number of prison guards in Lipljan, but even if misuse of official authority occurred, and if we prove it which I doubt, a question arises how it got the attribute of war crime?”, Jokanovic asked.

“Any guard can be in the role of accused Dragisa. When I say so, it is not mistrust towards affected parties, but a dilemma that I have, what did they wait for 24 years? Then another valid question is if someone is physically recognizable, if he sees the person now and has not seen him for 23 years"?, Jokanovic said.

Milenkovic: I was not in prison in Lipljan

Dragisa Milenkovic said he fully agrees with the statements of his lawyer. He also said never mistreated those people and that he was not in a prison unit in Lipljan, but in Pristina prison. 

Awards for building peace and trust in Kosovo (KiM radio)

As part of the project on trust building in Kosovo, UNMIK awarded deserving individuals and organizations for the third year in a row for promoting peace and trust between communities. This year, journalist Butrint Avdyli, activist Agon Rexhepi and the IPKO foundation were awarded.

The trust-building initiative in Kosovo was formed six years ago after a large gathering of representatives of various communities at a conference held in Ljubljana. It aims to promote trust and peace among the peoples of Kosovo, through various projects.

"In times like this now, when we have a lot of divisions, we need to redouble our efforts to promote dialogue, communication, cooperation between communities, we need to make an effort to institutionalize these principles of communication and trust in the very fabric of society, so that it becomes the norm and not an exception. And that is not only our right and privilege, but also our duty," said the head of UNMIK in Kosovo, Caroline Ziadeh.

The non-governmental organization New Social Initiative from North Mitrovica has been working on this project for years.

"Society is more tolerant, open and inclusive, and this is especially important, it seems to me, in this period and in the last few years when we are witnessing the increasing polarization of society, when we are also victims of very toxic and polarizing narratives coming from political elites and when everything very often seems very dark and pessimistic. Initiatives just like these, people like these that we celebrate today are that little ray of light that bring and restore hope to all of us that all is not lost and that we should continue to fight and try to empower and recognize all those who work to build trust in Kosovo," said director of NSI Jovana Radosavljevic.

One of the winners of the award, Agon Rexhepi, thanked everyone for the award, especially the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, which, he says, sent him to Serbia where he found his first partner, and as he says they reconciled through love. "Imagine coming to Kosovo and saying - "I am gay, and my boyfriend is Serbian". So, I opened the horizons for human rights in general," Rexhepi said.

The ceremony held in the Barabar Center in Pristina was attended by representatives of civil society, various initiatives, and the media.



US and EU ‘too soft’ on Serbia, Kosovo PM says (Financial Times)

The EU and US have been “too soft” on Serbia and should set a deadline for it to adopt sanctions on Russia, the Kosovan prime minister has said. 

Albin Kurti said Belgrade needed to side with the west against Moscow in order to give Kosovo reassurance that it was committed to normalising relations. 

Brussels and Washington “need to change their approach and give a timeline to Serbia . . . to put sanctions on the Russian Federation and to quit trying to sit on three or four stools”, Kurti told the Financial Times in an interview. 


Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has maintained close ties with the Kremlin and Beijing while pursuing membership in the EU and a constructive relationship with Washington. Vucic has refused to implement sanctions against Russia but has allowed Serbian-made ammunition to be delivered to Ukraine. 


“Once Serbia puts sanctions on the Russian Federation, then that would be a moment when they would show that they want to get integrated into EU, and Serbia without Russia cannot threaten the security of the continent. So then, I could trust that they basically want peace. And US and EU would not try to appease them anymore,” Kurti said.


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Kosovo Granted NATO Parliamentary Assembly Status Upgrade (Prishtina Insight)


The NATO Parliamentary Assembly voted to advance Kosovo’s status from observer to associate member, with most states in favor. This status allows Kosovo to expand its delegation from its previous observer role.


The NATO Parliamentary Assembly adopted  a recommendation on Monday which granted Kosovo’s delegation an upgraded status from observer to an associate member.


Most of the states voted in favor, one vote was against and 14 other states abstained at the Assembly meeting held in Sofia, Bulgaria.


Kosovo’s President Vjosa Osmani thanked the member countries that have adopted the recommendation, noting that  the future of the country she leads is in NATO.


“NATO is Kosovo’s destiny, and this move will ensure that the voice of the most pro-NATO people on Earth is heard. We will continue our efforts together with our allies to also advance our path towards NATO membership”-Osmani wrote on ‘X’.


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‘Out of Control’: Kosovo Struggles to Curb Online Sexual Harassment (BIRN)


More than 1,700 gender-based cybercrimes have been reported in Kosovo in the last few years – but the country lacks the will, the legislation or the resources to tackle the problem.


Qendresa sits in front of me with her hands firmly grasped together on the table. Occasionally, her gaze drifts around the cafe near the old Stone Bridge in Vushtrri/Vucitrn, a town in northern Kosovo.


This is the first time she has spoken to a journalist about what happened to her in December 2019. Her name has been changed to protect her identity.


“I was at a conference on gender equality at the government building,” she started to recall, speaking slowly as she described the day she realized she had become the victim of a cybercrime. 


“My phone started vibrating. The calls and messages exceeded 200, and I saw that something was wrong,” she said. “After the conference, I opened the phone and saw hundreds of messages from people calling me for sexual assignations.”


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