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Archive for Kosovo

Newsline: EU warns Kosovo and Serbia over Jerusalem embassy plans

The European Union voiced “serious concern and regret” over Serbia’s pledge to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Muslim-majority Kosovo also agreed to normalize its ties with Israel, including establishing diplomatic relations. Kosovo’s president, Hashim Thaci said that his country “will keep a promise to place its diplomatic mission in Jerusalem.” Serbia and Kosovo — which want to accede to the European Union — would be the first nations in Europe to follow Guatemala and the United States in relocating their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem. The potential move goes against the stance held by the EU. The bloc’s official policy states that the holy city’s status should be worked out between Israel and the Palestinians as part of peace negotiations. “There is no EU member state with an embassy in Jerusalem,” European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said. (https://www.dw.com/en/eu-warns-serbia-and-kosovo-over-jerusalem-embassy-plans/a-54845226) “Any diplomatic steps that could call into question the EU’s common position on Jerusalem are a matter of serious concern and regret.” Stano’s comments follow a weekend of talks between the Balkan neighbors and a high-profile summit at the White House where Serbian President Aleksander Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti signed statements committing to measures improving economic ties. Both Balkan leaders said on Monday that they attached “the highest priority to EU integration and to continuing the work on the EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue” on comprehensive normalization of relations.

Newsline: Turkey urges Kosovo to refrain from relocating its embassy to Jerusalem

Turkey called on Kosovo to refrain the opening of an embassy in Jerusalem, as that would undermine U.N. resolutions and hurt the Palestinian cause. Elaborating on a plan that Kosova will carry its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, such steps would undermine the historical and legal status of Jerusalem and may also prevent Kosovo from being recognized by other states in the future, said the Foreign Ministry in a statement on Sept. 6. “It is disappointing that such a step, which would constitute a clear violation of international law, is considered by the Kosovo authorities,” read the statement. (https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-concerned-over-serbias-moving-embassy-to-jerusalem-158003) The statement also cited various U.N. resolutions noting that the Palestinian issue could only solve with an independent, sovereign, and geographically sustainable Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem based on the pre-1967 borders. Turkey, one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo in 2008, has given wholehearted support for Kosovo’s international recognition, the statement added.

Newsline: Japan to open embassy in Kosovo

Japan State Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshiko Abe announced opening of the Embassy in Pristina. Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has hosted Thursday in his office Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshiko Abe (https://www.gazetaexpress.com/en/news/japan-to-open-its-embassy-in-kosovo-174924/). Japanese Foreign Minister Toshiko Abe said that her country soon will open its Embassy in Pristina, which will strengthen cooperation between the two countries and nations. Until now Japan’s diplomatic mission in Vienna has covered Kosovo with a non-resident ambassador.

Newsline: Kosovo Embassy Driver Charged With Weapons Dealing in New York

A chauffeur to the Kosovo consulate in New York faces charges of dealing in weapons, drugs and money laundering. Albert Veliu’s day job was as an employee of Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry, driving Kosovo Consul Teuta Sahatqija around the traffic-choked streets of New York. However, according to charges levelled against him in a Brooklyn courthouse, he also ran a lucrative operation as a weapons runner, drug dealer and money launderer, while maintaining ties to the Cosa Nostra and to Albanian organized crime figures in New York and the Czech Republic. As part of a Drug Enforcement Agency DEA sting, Veliu is alleged to have sold an undercover agent 15 AK-47s and a Yugoslav-era Zolja anti-tank rocket launcher. He had sourced the weapons during a trip to Kosovo earlier this month before returning to New York on June 21, from where he directed operations. On June 27, four of his associates were arrested in Klina, west Kosovo, with the weapons, while Veliu and five others were detained in New York. Veliu was told that Mexican drug cartels needed the weapons for fighting a drugs war near the US border. The 34-year-old is also alleged to have laundered $800,000 of supposed drug money through a series of companies with the help of associates, including his brother, Alban Veliu. The accused have yet to enter pleas.


Satire: Kosovo officials claim ‘diplomatic immunity’ for shooter

Kosovo officials submitted a revised list of its embassy staff to Germany, which included Kosovar agent named Arif Uka. The day before, German police arrested Uka after he shot 2 US military personnel, even though Mr. Uka claimed he was acting in self defense because the two “robbers” accosted him. In its filing with the German government, Kosovo officials reminded the court of the Vienna protocol on protection of diplomatic personnel. Even though witnesses heard Mr. Uka yelled, “Allah-hu-Akbar!” after shooting the two men, the Kosovo consulate in Frankfurt maintained that–despite the fact that Uka served with the Kosovo Liberation Army’s Special Forces previously and that he was found with more than 75 rounds of ammunition along with 2 fully-loaded automatic weapons at the time of his arrest–Mr. Uka is still entitled to “full diplomatic immunity” under international law. The German distric court in Karlsruhe set next week’s session to decide on Mr. Uka’s claim of diplomatic status. Meanwhile, hundreds of agitated citizens held a noisy protest outside the courtroom, with many holding banners that decried Kosovo’s imperialist policies toward Germany. One espcially prominent placard even demanded that German authorities give Mr. Uka “enhanced interrogation techniques” in order to obtain his confession on terrorist activities.



Newsline: Sweden to close six embassies, open 10 new ones

The Swedish government said it would close six Swedish embassies, including five in Europe, this year and open 10 new embassies. Embassies facing closure were based in European Union members Bulgaria, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, and Slovenia. “Within the framework of the close cooperation that exists between the EU member states, there is scope for developing new forms for maintaining bilateral contacts in future,” Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said. Meanwhile, Sweden is to upgrade its missions in Albania, Kosovo, Georgia and Moldova to embassies. The sixth embassy to be closed was in Dakar, Senegal, while section offices were to be upgraded in Senegal’s West African neighbours Burkina Faso, Liberia and Mali as well as Rwanda, Bolivia and Cambodia.