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Archive for Kosovo

Newsline: Serbia, Kosovo agree on EU-backed diplomatic deal

Kosovo and Serbia have reached an agreement on implementing a European Union-backed deal to normalise ties, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said late on Saturday, though the two leaders said disagreements remain. (https://neuters.de/world/europe/kosovo-serbia-leaders-arrive-eu-backed-talks-deal-normalise-ties-2023-03-18/) Kosovo and Serbia have been in EU-backed talks for nearly 10 years since Kosovo declared independence in 2008, almost a decade after war ended Serbian rule. But Serbia still regards Kosovo as a breakaway province and flare-ups between the Balkan neighbours have stoked fears of a return to conflict. The agreement on Saturday came after 12-hour talks between Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and EU officials on implementing the deal, which both sides had agreed to in Brussels last month. The two leaders held separate meetings with Borrell before a three-way session in North Macedonia.

Newsline: Serbia, Kosovo back EU diplomacy plan

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo have given tacit approval to a European Union-sponsored plan to end months of political crises and help improve their ties longer-term, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after chairing talks between them. Speaking alone at a news conference after a series of meetings in Brussels, Borrell told reporters that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti “have agreed that no further discussions are needed for the European Union proposal.” (https://www.foxnews.com/world/serbia-kosovo-back-eu-diplomacy-plan) Both countries want to join the EU, which has told them that they first need to sort out their differences.

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.