International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

"There is no Bosniac language linguistically different from Serbian - Hate outburst"

Attitude of the Committee for Standardization of Serbian Language that there is no Bosniac language different from Serbian linguistically is outburst of hatred

July 24, 2019  

Bosniac National Council considers that the attitude of the Committee for the standardization of Serbian language that there is no Bosniak language, linguistically different from Serbian, presents yet "another chauvinist outburst of hatred and hostility of the part of the academic community in Serbia towards Bosniaks, and Bosnian as their mother tongue".

BNV issued a media statement in which it deemed the letter that the Committee sent to the National Council for high education last week as "discriminative and political" that has "no foundation in linguistics" and in which it was underlined that by "accepting study program of the Bosniac language, University will cause irreparable damage to the Serbian language and Serbian culture".

"We remind the public that the Bosnian language is part of the positive regulations of Serbia, and that its study and use is regulated by international documents ratified by Serbia and introduced into its legal system. Bosnian is the mother tongue of Bosniaks who declared their language in the 2011 census, while Bosnian language classes are attended by almost 20,000 students in Serbia for nearly five years now", Bosniac National Council concludes.

The Council assessed that the opening of the Bosnian language department "is an important step in the full implementation of the Bosnian language in the education system of Serbia" and warned the academic community in Serbia that "building one's own cultural identity by negating the other and believing in the existence of superior culture, language or nation, present the biggest misconceptions a society can nurture".

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/region.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=24&nav_id=107054         

Haradinaj chose not to answer prosecution's questions: "I'm ready for the elections"

At the Specialist Chambers for War Crimes in the Hague, interrogation of an outgoing Kosovo's Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj ended without him saying a word

July 24, 2019

Radio Free Europe reports that Haradinaj remained silent during the interrogation.

Haradinaj told reporters after coming out of the Specialist Chambers that he was there as a suspect but had been advised by the prosecution not to answer to any questions.

"“I came here as a suspect to meet my legal obligation under a summons from the prosecution. I was advised not to answer any questions. I met my obligation to the court. I have no other obligations,” he said after leaving the Special Chambers.

"I chose not to answer to any questions. The law forbids me to discuss the issues I was asked. I return ready for the elections", Haradinaj concluded, pointing out that he was not informed what was his case about.

According to Pristina's media, when asked whether he will be charged with the indictment, Haradinaj said that he does not expect that to happen, but that he should not speculate on this. He stayed with the prosecution for an hour.

The journalists were not allowed to be present during interrogation, as the investigation is closed for the public.

The crimes he is accused of are not revealed, as the Prosecution refuses to disclose information, stressing that the investigation is not public.

Former Kosovo Parliament Speaker and war-time KLA spokesman and general staff member Jakup Krasniqi was at the Specialist Chambers as well, some 20 minutes prior to Haradinaj, and his interrogation is also over for today, given that the interrogations last for three days as a rule.

Specialist Chambers, led by the US Prosecutor Jack Smith since September 2018, is responsible for investigating war crimes committed on Kosovo and Metohija for the period from 1998 to 2000.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=24&nav_id=107051

Haradinaj's ties with "yellow house": Americans obstructed the investigation

Former KLA Commander and Kosovo's Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj is in the Hague for the second time, while the crime he is suspected of remains unrevealed

July 24, 2019

International sources speculate that his responsibility for organ trafficking in the case of ''yellow house'' is now at stake, Blic reports.

The first serious approach to this crime was led by UNMIK which made a report in 2003, the evidence of which were, allegedly, destroyed in the Tribunal for War Crimes for the former Yugoslavia.

UNMIK investigators entered Albania in disguise, gathering evidence and testimonies of the former KLA fighters. According to those testimonies, almost all the people kidnapped by Haradinaj's commanders were sent to the camps in Albania.

Except Haradinaj, the spokesperson of KLA, Jakup Krasniqi, who was the head of Kosovo Assembly briefly, has been mentioned in those testimonies. He was also summoned to the Hague, for questioning.

According to the evidence, main points of contact for transferring the victims from Kosovo to Albania were: Daut Haradinaj, Sami Lushtaku and Jakup Krasniqi, "Blic" writes. UNMIK speaks about the involvement of Naim Maloku, who was summoned to the Hague on June 10, being one of Haradinaj's advisors.

U.S. investigators had largely contributed to this investigation of human organs trafficking, particularly an American with the initials D.L., whom "Blic" contacted.

However, this American was "processed" by Albanian secret service that issued instructions to the local prosecutors not to cooperate in full capacity with him and to obstruct investigation in any way possible.

"Americans revealed four locations with a possible mass graves in Albania. With this past data, and the testimonies of the Albanians, there is also the investigation done on the part of Dick Marty", the source of "Blic" from "EULEX" claims.

Visho Ajazi Lika, former head of Albanian Secret Service, added that he was pressured not to cooperate with the international services in relation with the case of "yellow house" and mass graves in Albania, so he resigned from that position.

""The organ trafficking and the previous kidnapping and transportation of Serbs and Albanians to Albania was not possible without Haradinaj and his superiors. The brother of the former prime minister is also involved. A group of soldiers and officers of the Albanian army were also acquainted with transportation, detaining, torture and burial, because as a military formation they participated in the fighting at the border line in 1998 and 1999, says the source of "Blic".

It is assumed that the organs were sold for the price amounting from DM 25.000 to 100.000.

Haradinaj differed from the other commanders in terms of the number, that is, the territorial extent of the zone he used to hold. When looking at the area that Haradinaj managed, the fact is that he was the one holding the territory towards Albania.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=24&nav_id=107048

"Brussels waits, France doubts US obstruction, and US deems Germany favors Haradinaj"

Chief of Serbian Foreign Affairs, Ivica Dacic, stated that Kosovo's Prime Minister in resignation Ramush Haradinaj is not withdrawing, given his recent move

July 23, 2019

"He made this move in order to eliminate (President of Kosovo Hashim) Thaci and the others on the political scene, and to return as a victim of the Court for the so-called KLA", Dacic says for Prva.

"This is a tactical move, we will see whether he will be indicted or convicted", Dacic added.

As for the resumption of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs claims that it is necessary that international community exerts pressure on Pristina, but states that the West has different perspective on the Kosovo issue.

"Brussels awaits for the new Chief of Foreign Affairs, France is certain that US is obstructing further dialogue, by supporting Haradinaj, while US deems that Germany favors Haradinaj. There are mutual accusations, while the dialogue is on hold as the tariffs had not been lifted", Dacic said.

"This is about constant introduction of unilateral acts, instead of dealing with the crucial issues, such as establishing the Community of Serbian Municipalities", he concluded.

Dacic also pointed out that there is an obvious change in the US Administration stance - "they now try to find solution, while so far they regarded Kosovo issue as resolved and closed".

"I am confident that new negotiation cycle will commence in September, but how successful those talks would be, we shall see", Dacic concluded.

Source:  https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=23&nav_id=107042

Haradinaj: There is no indictment, tariffs will not be lifted

Kosovo's Prime Minister who resigned three days ago, says for RSE that the Hague hadn't prepared indictment for him and that he had to resign

July 22, 2019

Ramush Haradinaj resigned, as Radio Free Europe explains, as it was unacceptable for him to show in front of Special court for war crimes' prosecutors in the Hague, which summoned him as suspect, in his Prime Minister capacity.

He added that he will not change his political opinions and standpoints, as well as that 100% tariffs on Serbian goods will remain in effect until the recognition of Kosovo's independence.

According to him, it is also important that Kosovo, as soon as possible, hold elections, in about two months. "I do not believe that there are reasons for delay. It is important, not only because of the vacuum in the rule, but it is important that the people get the chance to decide as soon as possible," Haradinaj concluded.

He also said that the official letters to be addressed to the President of Kosovo and the President of the Assembly are currently in the final stage. "According to the protocol, these are official letters that can be sent today or tomorrow. We are considering the constitutional basis of the resignation, because it is a resignation not based on the mistrust of the government. We are considering how to explain it," Haradinaj said.

He said in an interview that he is giving the mandate back to the people, as he got it from them, and that this is exactly the reason why he is not willing to change his former standpoints. "I had kept a principal stance of the people, not the authorities, in this case, and I hope as we were together when it comes to Trepca and Armed Forces, that we would again show full unity against Kosovo partition and against Dodik Republic in Kosovo, including denying free trade without recognition of independence", said Kosovo's Prime Minister in resignation.

Asked if there were charges against him in the Special Prosecutor's Office in The Hague, which deals with crimes committed against Serbs and other non-Albanians, Haradinaj says there is no indictment against him.

"Kosovo is a young state and we are creating, let's say, our state doctrine. I did not want Kosovo to be attached to this matter at the moment, and then, it's also about my personal honor, the honor of an Albanian fighter. I have proven my innocence twice and that is why I made this decision, "Haradinaj said.

Once again, he reiterated that he is aware of the implications of the decision to introduce tariffs on goods from Serbia. "From the first day, I was fully aware what were dimensions of these implications, but I have no other solution other than that. It is an alternative way of recognizing Kosovo's independence, as partitions and establishment of 'Dodik Republic' in Kosovo is unacceptable", he concluded.

Source:  https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=22&nav_id=107040

Haradinaj resigned on Friday, only to resume his PM's duty on Sunday

Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj had resigned on Friday, only to come to his Government Office on Sunday, Koha ditore reports

July 22, 2019

As he explained, he offered his resignation as he was summoned by the Court in the Hague, as war crime suspect. He said that he wants to go there as citizen and former KLA member, not as Prime Minister. But, on Sunday, Haradinaj resumed his PM duties in Orahovac, on the occasion of revealing the monument of Sheik Muhedin Shehu, Koha Ditore writes.

In the report from Kosovo PM's Office regarding this event, Haradinaj's resignation given on Friday is not mentioned at all, while Haradinaj addressed gathered journalists in his PM capacity, Pristina daily reports.

Although, legally speaking, Haradinaj hadn't breached the law, there are some people in Pristina who consider the overall situation with Haradinaj and his resignation political manipulation.

Analyst Beluj Beqaj stated for Koha that Kosovo Prime Minister had used the means of propaganda and manipulation in order to strengthen his position. Still, he mentioned that Haradinaj can continue performing his role of Prime Minister as long as the Parliament acknowledges his resignation.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=22&nav_id=107039

Blic: Haradinaj got out of control

It is expected that Ramush Haradinaj's resignation will unblock Belgrade-Pristina negotiations, and that the tariffs will be suspended temporarily, "Blic" deems

July 22, 2019

According to the information provided by this daily, all powerful centers had suggested to Haradinaj to suspend imposed tariffs, and the problem was in the fact that he was an explicit opponent of any border corrections or reaching any compromise between Belgrade and Pristina.

Haradinaj went out of control, even when it comes to the Americans. He absolutely did not want to listen to any suggestions. Such an aggressive attitude and moves that followed, led both Belgrade and Pristina into a state of frozen conflict, accompanied by sporadic incidents on the ground," says daily "Blic" source from diplomatic circles in Pristina.

He adds that Haradinaj refused even to talk with Hashim Thaci and Kadri Veseli.

Pristina speculates who gave Haradinaj a green light, along with the guarantees that taxes and insistence on an "undivided, independent Kosovo" should be pushed for months, and as it turned out, to the moment of his indictment, which, judging by Haradinaj's attitude while announcing his resignation, came as an unpleasant surprise and a shock to him, daily concludes.

"According to available data from various departments, Haradinaj relied on the British, but this does not mean that they, despite all the aspirations of Europe and USA, aggressively insisted on the views Haradinaj propagated," the diplomat from Pristina told Blic.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=22&nav_id=107035        

Vucic: No reason to rejoice, Haradinaj's resignation politically motivated

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic delivered news conference to comment on Ramush Haradinaj's resignation and its potential implications

July 20, 2019

"I understand rejoice, in a way a kind of satisfaction due to the fact that Ramush Haradinaj was summoned by the court. However, there is no reason to get excited about it. We will assess all the facts and consequences of this act, in particular with regards to the relations between Serbs and Albanians, and the attitude of the international community towards Serbia and its people on Kosovo and Metohija."

Serbia will react with maturity and composure, Serbia's President concluded, despite open hatred shown on the part of the Albanians towards Serbia which they regard as the main culprit, while the resumption of dialogue is crucial.

"Ramush Haradinaj's resignation presents political trick in order to boost his popularity. He leads internal battle within Kosovo and Metohija, fighting his local political opponents", Vucic said.

"We envisage that they will release him in 48 hours. I have no doubt about it, he will return as a great Albanian hero, reaching the peak of his popularity", Vucic pointed out.

He also said that the imposed tariffs on Serbian goods will not be abolished and that western countries will pressure Serbia stronger under the pretense that they summoned Kosovo leaders to the Hague. He deems that Serbia will be pressured to recognize Kosovo’s independence and that “people in Serbia should be fully aware of that.”

"Serbia will continue to insist on dialogue resumption, and as tariffs will not be lifted, we'll discuss Balkan economic unity with the leaders in the region", Serbian President announced.

“At the same time, there is silence about the crimes against the Serb and non-Albanians, they keep quiet about that, speaking only about its political implications,” he emphasized.

According to Vucic, continuation of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue on stabilization of the relations is crucial for the peace and stability. “But, we are afraid that political developments in Kosovo will be further delayed and dialogue postponed. Haradinaj will go to The Hague next week, only to be released in 48 hours, so that he could return as a great hero of the Albanian people”, Vucic concluded.

In the meantime, Serbian President reiterated, creating a majority without the Serb List will become a priority, prior to the next Kosovo elections.

Vucic met with Serbian member of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik and his associates on Friday night, immediately after the news on Haradinaj's resignation.

The meeting was attended by Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin, Minister of Internal Affairs Nebojsa Stefanovic, Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Djuric and General Secretary of the President of Serbia, Nikola Selakovic.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=20&nav_id=107034

Kosovo's PM resigns, goes to the Hague

Kosovo's Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj resigned at the Government Session, RTS reports

July 19, 2019

Ramush Haradinaj had resigned on the Kosovo's Government session.

Haradinaj resigned after being summoned as a suspect by The Hague-based Special Court for war crimes, RTS correspondent stated.

"I am resigning from the position of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo. I want to thank you for your trust and support. The reason has to do with the invitation I have received from the Specialist Chambers in The Hague, as a suspect," Haradinaj said in an emotional tone, after a government meeting in Pristina, Radio Free Europe reports.

He said he was not indicted by The Hague court, but was called to give a statement as a suspect.

„After the resignation, I returned my mandate to the people, and you are the first to know,“ Haradinaj told reporters on a press conference in Pristina held after the Government session.

He said that the responsibility now was with the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci to start talks with the parliamentary parties and set the date for the new elections.

„My party and I will run at the next elections, but I couldn‘t lead the country in such situation because that would make Kosovo‘s position difficult,“ Haradinaj stated.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=19&nav_id=107032        

Haradinaj: If we do that, I assure you that we will get recognition of independence

Kosovo's Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj stated that the positions of Kosovo within dialogue with Serbia weakened by the Kosovo leadership and its party leaders

July 19, 2019  

In an interview for KTV, he said that "statements of the leaders of political parties, their positions, even different from those in public and in closed meetings," make Kosovo "seem inferior to Serbia."

According to him, Serbia is doing everything to enfeeble Kosovo, while local Kosovo leaders do the same on their part.

Haradinaj said that they need a joint statement by the Kosovo leaders, sending clear message that the tariffs will not be canceled before recognition of Kosovo's independence. "If we do that, I assure you that we will get recognition. There will be no long term frozen conflicts or any potential war," he said.

Kosovo Prime Minister says that the decision to impose taxes had prevented Kosovo's division, but that he is not willing to resume dialogue without reaching political consensus. Responding to allegations that he breaches constitutional obligation to lead a dialogue, Haradinaj says that dialogue shouldn't be guided solely by him, but that this process should involve the representatives of parliamentary parties.

"I refused to participate in a dialogue on the division, Mogherini's dialogue, and I was determined about that," he said, adding that it is the duty of parliamentary political parties to reach a consensus. Kosovo Prime Minister confirmed that a meeting would be held in Paris in September, as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron agreed in Berlin.

"It is expected to be held in September, President Macron's adviser informed me", Haradinaj concluded.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=19&nav_id=107029

"Kosovo to prepare for the final stage – no final solution without USA"

Chairman of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez stated that it is significant for Kosovo to be ready to enter into the final phase of dialogue.

July 19, 2019

Menendez considers that it is important for Kosovo to be prepared for that phase, in order to be able to reach final agreement.

"I am very proud of the fact that USA was among the first states to recognize the independance of the Republic of Kosovo back in 2008. US support to Kosovo will continue in future“, Menendez claimed during a meeting with the Chair of Kosovo Assembly Kadri Veseli.

As Pristina press reports, in the course of the meeting with Menendez, Veseli had introduced US Senator with the political circumstances on Kosovo and within the region, thanking him on the role and contribution of the Senate when it comes to Kosovo issue.

Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia was a topic for discussion, as well as the significance that USA directly participates in this process.

"There is no final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia without the US participation. Direct US involvement in this process is of crucial importance for the realization of such agreement, that will provide the recognition of independence of the independent and sovereign state of Kosovo, as well as securing its chair in the United Nations", Veseli concluded.

During his US visit on the invitation of US Congress, Veseli had conducted meetings with numerous Congressmen and Senators.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=19&nav_id=107027

Haradinaj seeks NATO support

Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj asked from the NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe support for development and improvement of Kosovo Security Force

July 18, 2019

As stated from PM's Office, Haradinaj discussed the overall development and security situation in Kosovo, the region and beyond, on the meeting held with the NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Tod Wolters.

Haradinaj informed Wolters about the achievements of Kosovo's institutions in all areas, especially in the security sector, highlighting Kosovo's pro-Western and Euro-Atlantic orientation.

He thanked General Wolters and NATO for supporting Kosovo in all processes and for their mission in establishing and strengthening peace and security.

"Kosovo is completely in line with the armies advocating freedom and peace. A multiethnic and professional KSF advances towards NATO standards as a factor providing safety both in the country and the region," Haradinaj said.

He pointed out that Kosovo is seeking membership in NATO and is ready to contribute to peacekeeping missions whenever the US or NATO deem necessary.

NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Tod Wolters also met on Thursday with Kosovo Defense Minister Rustem Berisha and the Commander of the KSF, General Rrahman Rama.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=18&nav_id=107026       

Newly adopted resolution in the US Congress, the goal - exerting pressure on Serbia

US Congress’ House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a resolution on Wednesday urging Belgrade to prosecute the killers of the three Bytyqi brothers

July 18, 2019  

Ylli, Agron, and Mehmet Bytyqi are US citizens of Albanian origin, murdered in Serbia in 1999.

As reported by Pristina daily Bota sot, the resolution was readopted with the aim of exerting pressure on Serbia to bring the killers of Bytyqi brothers to justice.

The resolution says that Serbia must “make it a priority to investigate and prosecute as soon as possible those current or former officials believed to be responsible for [the brothers’] deaths, directly or indirectly”.

It is also said that further progress in resolving this case "should remain a significant factor determining the further development of relations between the United States and the Republic of Serbia”.

The same resolution was adopted last year under the same Committee, but it had to be confirmed due to procedural reasons.

Brothers Ylli, Mehmet and Agron Bytyqi were American citizens that came to Serbia in 1999 and joined KLA, fighting Serbian security forces.

After the war ended, on June 26, 1999, they in plain clothes tried to help two Roma families from Prizren to reach Central Serbia. They were apprehended on that occasion and accused of "illegal state entry" (Yugoslavia) and they were sentenced on the next day to 15 days in prison by the court based in Prokuplje.

They were granted to get out of jail three days earlier, but instead of being released, they were taken to a remote special antiterrorist police training facility in Petrovo Selo. There, the Bytyqis were tortured, executed and dumped into a mass grave with other Kosovo Albanians.

Their bodies were exhumed on July 2001, in the mass grave in Petrovo selo. Their corpses were found with tied arms and with the wounds from the bullets shot in the back of their heads.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/world.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=18&nav_id=107025          

Macron, in fact, has a plan?

French President plans to appoint a Special Envoy for the Western Balkans, who will play an active role in resolving the Kosovo issue, Blic writes

July 18, 2019  

According to unofficial information of the newspaper Blic, during the two-day visit to Belgrade, Emmanuel Macron informed Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic about this.

The French President intends to engage more actively in this region, says Blic's source and explains:

"France wants to take over a key role in resolving the problems between Belgrade and Pristina. Since due to numerous obligations and tight schedule, Macron is not in a position to deal with the Kosovo issue on a daily basis, he intends in the forthcoming period to find a trusted man who will be in charge of that part of Europe. It will be the French Envoy for the Western Balkans. Thanks to this newly appointed person, Macron will practically strengthen French influence in the region".

On the other hand, on a number of occasions, the United States said that official Washington would have to engage more directly in the crackdown on the Kosovo issue. The last was the opinion stated by Lieutenant-General Frederick Ben Hodges, Former Commander US Army Europe. However, US officials say that EU leads the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and that they respect it.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=18&nav_id=107023

European Parliament confirmed Von der Leyen as the new European Commission President

383 members of European Parliament supported her, while 327 opposed her election

July 17, 2019

German Ursula Von der Leyen was elected President of European Commission in Brussels.

On 1 November, Von der Leyen will be the first woman to take on the Commission presidency.

383 MEPs supported her, while 327 opposed her election. In order to be elected to the post, she needed 374 votes out of the present 747 Members of European Parliament.

German Defense Minister will replace Jean Claude Juncker on this post from November 1, 2019.

European Commission's responsibilities include proposing new EU laws, enforcing the bloc's rules and the power to impose penalties to member states.

"It is a big responsibility and my work starts now. My message to all of you is let us work together constructively, because the endeavor is a united and strong Europe,", she said in an inauguration speech.

Who is Ursula Von der Leyen?

Born in Brussels, Von der Leyen and her family moved to Germany when she was 13. She studied economics at London's LSE and medicine in Hanover before going into politics.

She has been a member of Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) since 2005.

Now 60, Von der Leyen is the mother of seven children.

Her appointment as German Defense Minister in 2013 was unexpected and followed three months of coalition talks between the CDU and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).

As defense minister in the EU's most industrialized and populous country, she has argued for Germany to boost its military involvement in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

However, her tenure in the defense post has not been without incident.

In recent years, a litany of stories have exposed inadequacies in Germany's armed forces, from inoperable submarines and aircraft to shortages of personnel.

Source: https://www.b92.net/eng/news/world.php?yyyy=2019&mm=07&dd=17&nav_id=107015

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