UNMIK Administration in the north shuts down in two weeks

UNMIK Administration in the north shuts down in two weeks
• UNMIK Administration in the north shuts down in two weeks (Koha Ditore)
• Serbs against the Administrative Office for north Mitrovica (Koha Ditore)
• Dell: Administration in Mitrovica will be successful (dailies)
• Fitou: North of Kosovo does not need special status (dailies)
• Brussels conditions talks (Zëri)
• We are still in spring (Express)
• Krasniqi reiterates: Assembly motion not obligatory for the Government (dailies)
• Waiting for Nikolic (Express)
• State Department: Human rights in Kosovo are violated! (Zëri/Epoka e Re)
• Kosovo with a military agreement with US (Koha Ditore)

Kosovo Media Highlights

UNMIK Administration in the north shuts down in two weeks (Koha Ditore)
Koha Ditore reports the Kosovo Government has informed the Head of UNMIK, Farid Zarif that the Administration Office of north Mitrovica will be functionalized within two weeks. The Quint and Kosovo Government expects that UNMIK will transfer all documents, data and other materials to the newly created office of the Government. All Serbs who worked at the UAM can be employed at the Office, except for those that also work for parallel structures.

The Ministry of Administration and the Public Government published a vacancy announcement to hire 55 workers to constitute the administration of the Government of Kosovo that will function as a new municipality for the north of Mitrovica, but with the name Administrative Office.

According to sources of the newspaper, this action was undertaken by the Government of Kosovo and the ICO, in coordination with the Embassy of the United States of America in Kosovo and the other Embassies.

Sources of Koha Ditore said that KFOR and EULEX also participated in this process, and among other issues are expected to secure and transfer the material from UAM to AORM.

Asked if UNMIK will close down the UAM and transfer the documents to the Office created by Kosovo Government, UNMIK spokesperson Olivier Salgado said, “It is too early to respond to these questions. UNMIK expects further discussions with Kosovo authorities and other stakeholders.”

Employees of the illegal municipality will be dismissed

All local officials that work at the UNMIK administration of Mitrovica (UAM) will have the right to compete for the relevant positions, except for those that the Government of Kosovo has information that they work for the parallel municipality of Serbia in the north of Kosovo.

Weeks ago, Koha Ditore reported that at least eight UNMIK officials that operate in the north of Mitrovica work for the parallel municipality of Serbia. Dragan Spasojevic, director of urbanism at UNMIK Administration in the north of Mitrovica (UAM,) has the same position in the illegal municipality of Serbia. Borivoje Djuric also receives two salaries and carries two similar positions at both mechanisms. He is director of finances and economy at both. It is the same situation for director Momcilo Barovic. The other five directors of UAM, Katas Skecic, Zoran Bratic, Bilana Petrovic and Zoran Smikic also have functions in Serbia’s parallel municipality in northern Mitrovica. The Kosovo Government and the ICO are aware that these officials are paid by the Kosovo budget through UAM and by Serbia’s budget through the parallel municipality. The ICO, the Quint and the Kosovo Government raised this issue with UNMIK officials on several occasions but the head of the UN mission and other officials failed to act.

The office established by the Government will initially be led by the chief executive officer of the Administrative Office of northern Mitrovica, and will consist of 7 directories and 55 employees. The senior official and all employees will be selected through a vacancy that has already been announced by the Ministry for Administration and Local Government.

The vacancy announcement for the executive officer will be closed in 10 days. The officer has the same competencies as a municipal mayor and the respective directories have the same competencies as those of municipalities.

Employees in companies for municipal services, such as firefighters, will be the same people who performed these functions at UAM. The new contracts will note that now they are working for the Office established by the Kosovo Government and not for UAM.

The UNMIK administration in northern Mitrovica is financed by the Kosovo budget. The Kosovo Government annually allocates €4 million for this administration which has been subject to criticism over the involvement of its officials in Serbia’s illegal structures in the north and for lack of efficiency. Around 80 percent of its staff are believed to be members of parallel structures too.

The Office was created with delays

Earlier, in a strategic document described as a non-paper that Koha Ditore secured last month, stated that the Government had planned to shut down UNMIK’s office in north Mitrovica by 31 March 2012 and replace it with a provisional administrative office for the northern part of the divided city. The document titled “Government of Kosovo carries over funding of municipal services in the north from UAM to AONM”, foresaw the opening of the temporary Administrative Office in Bosniak Mahalla, located in the northern part of Mitrovica.

The same document specified that by 10 February, office space and equipment would be secured while by 17 February, there would have to be a meeting with Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Farid Zarif to inform him that the Government of Kosovo will quit funding UAM. International sources said the date of this meeting was later set for 7 March.

The Government of Kosovo set up the Office on 23 May, three months late. The paper has not managed to get the official stance of the Government regarding this delay but officials close to the process told the paper that the funding of the office issue required additional consultations.

According to the same official, the Government is in a dilemma of whether to ask the UAM to transfer the remaining budget of 2012 to the new office. The Government of Kosovo allocates 4 million euro a year to UAM and it already did so for 2012.

Serbs against the Administrative Office for north Mitrovica (Koha Ditore)
Koha Ditore reports that illegal Serb representatives in the north of Kosovo, on Thursday, announced they are against the establishment of an Administrative Office for north Mitrovica by the Government of Kosovo. The Kosovo Government decision, made on Wednesday, was evaluated as a provocation by Serbs. Milan Ivanovic, the Head of the Serb National Council of the north of Kosovo, said that the announcement represents the pressure on local Serbs. “This is an attempt to form Kosovo institutions in the north… It is a provocation against Serbs, which could destabilize the situation in the north of Kosovo and provoke violence”, said Ivanovic. “In February Kosovo Serbs held a referendum, during which they came out against the creation of Kosovo institutions in the north and still now they will not accept the Office of the Kosovo Government”.

Oliver Ivanovic, State Secretary for the Government of Serbia, said that the establishment of the Office constitutes an attempt to change of the situation on the ground before the start of the next round of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. However, this dialogue, according to Kosovo institutions, will not happen. “There will be no special reaction of the Government of Serbia, particularly in this situation, except for condemning the stated act as a flagrant provocation which does not aim at calming the situation, it creates a situation in which possible incidents could occur”, said Ivanovic.

Dell: Administration in Mitrovica will be successful (dailies)
The US Ambassador in Pristina, Christopher Dell, said on Thursday that the Municipal Administrative Office in north Mitrovica will be successful. According to him, since the opening of the Office for Municipal Services in July 2010, more than 10,000 citizens have used the services. “People have requested different documents. 8,000 requests were made by Serbs. This demonstrates that there is a need for different services. This Administrative Office will offer those services to the citizens”, said Ambassador Dell.

Fitou: North of Kosovo does not need special status (dailies)
“We don’t need any special status in the north of Kosovo because Kosovo is a state and it has its own borders”, said French Ambassador in Kosovo, Jean Francois Fitou, in a lecture held before the students of Vellezerit Frasheri highschool in Deçan. According to Ambassador Fitou, what needs to be done in that part of the country is a dialogue between the citizens and the Government of Kosovo.

Brussels conditions talks (Zëri)
The paper writes that for the first time, the EU supports the idea holding resumption of talks between Pristina and Belgrade until the latter implements the agreements reached in Brussels.

A senior EU official told the paper that the EU supported the idea of not reaching future agreements between the Government of Kosovo and that of Serbia unless Belgrade implements the agreements reached already. The main focus of the EU, according to the official, will be on making Serbia implement agreements as soon as the new government is formed.

We are still in spring (Express)
Express reports that the Special Representative of European Union in Kosovo, Samuel Zbogar, stated on Thursday in Gjilan that officials in the European Union are discussing the issue of visa liberalization and that the accompanying document is at the finalization stage. Authorities in Pristina and the general public in Pristina expressed concern about the delay in handing over the document, but Zbogar recalled that everything is in line with the timeframe set by the EU and that the guide will come in spring. Zbogar said that the spring is not over yet and according to him, the guide is being finalized before it will be handed over to the Government.

Krasniqi reiterates: Assembly motion not obligatory for the Government (dailies)
Assembly Speaker Jakup Krasniqi did not convince members of the opposition yesterday that the recommendations of the Assembly passes are not obligatory for the Government. Referring to an EU dictionary, Krasniqi said recommendations are nothing more than instructions. “EU recommendations, like EU opinions, are not legally binding acts but are more like general instructions on how to implement certain EU policies,” read Krasniqi from an EU glossary.

However, opposition representatives argued that the Assembly is the highest state authority and the Government is obliged to implement its decisions. The reactions came following the motion passed by the Assembly conditioning further talks with Serbia with the resolution of the missing persons’ issue.

Waiting for Nikolic (Express)
The US analyst Daniel Server said that the new President of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, is a nationalist that does not want to give up Kosovo, but at the same time, he knows that it is lost. Server told Express that the first movements of Nikolic should be watched in order to assess his approach. “This will very much depend on what Nikolic and the new Government do, not what was said during the campaign. If they move quickly to implement the Belgrade-Pristina agreements, this will improve the atmosphere and advance the European ambitions of Serbia,” said Server.

State Department: Human rights in Kosovo are violated! (Zëri/Epoka e Re)
Zëri and Epoka e Re report that the US State Department in its report on human rights practices in 2011 noted there are serious concerns over human rights in Kosovo. Serious concerns were raised about the situation in the north, corruption and the rights of the LGBT community. The report, which was published on Thursday, notes that Serb extremists in northern Kosovo have used violence and intimidation against local opponents and international security forces which sometimes even resulted in deaths. The report also highlighted discrimination against other minorities, domestic violence and the discrimination of people with limited abilities.

Kosovo with a military agreement with US (Koha Ditore)
The Assembly of Kosovo, on Thursday, ratified an Agreement on the status of military forces of the United States of America known as SOFA. With this agreement the parties agreed to give up any complaint against each other for damages, loss, destruction of property, as well as injuring or death of personnel by the armed forces or civilian personnel that could be committed during the exercise of duties. Complaints for the third parties regarding the damages or loss caused by US personnel are foreseen to be resolved by the US Government and regulations of this state. The US personnel involve members of the US Army Forces and civilian officials of the US Department of Defense. American forces will be released from taxes, customs payments and any other kind of taxes foreseen with the jurisdiction of the state. Local authorities created the possibility for US troops to land with their airplanes in Kosovo without paying navigation, flight and parking.

Kosovo Press Headlines

Koha Ditore

Front page
• UNMIK administration in the north to be closed in two weeks
• MFA with two comical strategies for recognitions and economic diplomacy
• 10 Israelis arrested in Medicus case
• Fitou: Northern Kosovo does not need a special status
• Kosovo adopts military agreement with US
• Kadare: Serbia should free itself from Kosovo

Other headlines
• Dell: Administration in Mitrovica will be successful (2)
• Serbs against Administrative Office for northern Mitrovica (3)
• Assembly’s recommendations, between obligation and government’s will (4)
• Protesters accuse KEK management of intimidation (6)
• LDK: No one will privatize a politicized PTK (7)


Front page
• Brussels conditions talks
• Dell supports opening of the office in the north
• KFOR reserve troops leave
• British Airways leaves Kosovo
• Contradiction surrounding the motion

Other headlines
• Nikolic doesn’t know where to go (2)
• Fitou: Liberalization cannot be won with illusions (2)
• US State Department: Human rights in Kosovo are violated! (4)
• Opposition: Force is needed in the north, not an office (5)
• LDK: Don’t sell public assets (6)

Kosova Sot

Front page
• Millionaires of municipalities
• Editorial: An alarming report
• Serbs turn down the office
• US criticizes government for intimidating media, corruption and election fraud

Other headlines
• Opposition wants the motion to be implemented (2)
• Assembly ratifies SOFA with US (2)
• AKSH refutes CEC 93)
• Kadare: Kosovo is Albanian (4)
• Jahjaga calls for adoption of anti-corruption plan (4)
• Vetëvendosje accuses MFA for damaging Kosovo’s image (4)

Epoka e Re

Front page
• Dell supports it, Belgrade calls it provocation
• Krasniqi insists
• Vetëvendosje criticizes MFA
• United over a clean Kosovo

Other headlines
• Human rights situation in Kosovo are concerning (2)
• Haxhinasto: Kosovo a member of the CoE as soon as possible (2)
• Finland continues to support Kosovo (2)
• Assembly adopts SOFA agreement (3)


Front page
• This is the plan
• Discriminating privatization
• The anti-trash coalition
• Waiting for Nikolic
• Harel in handcuffs
• Selimi: With whom do you want to do diplomacy?

Other headlines
• Assembly ratifies SOFA (5)
• It’s still spring (5)
• Clash over the strategy (6)
• Buja and Vollebaek talk about minority education (8)

Bota Sot

Front page
• Krasniqi, the person who supported the historic leader Rugova
• Jahjaga calls for transparency from procurement system
• Opposition: Assembly’s decisions are binding for the government
• Ambassador Fitou on visa liberalization and EU integration
• Dell: Government committed to implementation of Ahtisaari Plan

Other headlines
• Editorial: An Administrative Office or a “ministry” for the north (2)
• Zbogar confirms EU’s commitment to Kosovo (3)
• Thaçi meets former US Ambassador Menzies (3)

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