German Ambassador to Pristina, Christian Heldt shared his respect of Kosovo government ministers, Arben Vitia and Dalibor Jevtic, for finding common ground in the joint fight against coronavirus pandemic. The German ambassador said that some do not seem to like cooperation. He also criticized the media coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Impact of COVID felt everywhere, doesn’t halt at community lines. So respect to government ministers Arben Vitia and Dalibor Jevtic reaching out for common ground in the interest of all. It is about human lives and safety for everybody living here, so please carry on. #inthistogether,” Heldt tweeted.
Impact of COVID felt everywhere, doesn’t halt at community lines. So respect to gov ministers #ArbenVitia and @jevticdalibor reaching out for common ground in the interest of all. It is about human lives and safety for everybody living here, so please carry on. #inthistogether
— Ambassador Christian Heldt (@GermanAmbKOS) April 5, 2020
Kosovo Health Minister, Arben Vitia and Srpska Lista Vice President and Kosovo Government Minister, Dalibor Jevtic met in Pristina three days ago, where they called on citizens to use all available services to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The health minister said at the time that „Kosovo health institutions are open to members of all communities and will provide assistance throughout Kosovo.“
The following day, the mayors of South and North Mitrovica, Agim Bahtiri and Goran Rakic, along with the KFOR commander, sent a joint message from the main Ibar Bridge, saying that the virus does not know nationality or borders. They also reminded citizens to obey the curfew.
Just a day later, the emergency teams of municipalities of Kosovska Mitrovica and Zvecan decided to quarantine these municipalities due to the sudden rise in confirmed coronavirus cases.
Several Pristina government officials, including the Health Minister, confirmed that the decision was made with Pristina’s full coordination with local leaderships in the north.
On the other hand, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said that the situation in the north „is unacceptable and the result of negligence and irresponsibility of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo in protecting the citizens and territorial integrity of Kosovo.“
At the same time, several Pristina-based media outlets, including Kosovo’s public broadcaster RTK, reported that citizens from South Mitrovica were banned from going to the north, while some news portals even published lists of approximately 200 people from the north – containing their names and phone numbers – who are in isolation.
“But some do not seem to like cooperation. Like tendentious journalism going beyond professional ethics does not help people on the ground. And it is about human lives, across community boundaries, safety for one is safety for the other. So please act responsibly,” the German ambassador also said.
The Ombudsman’s Office in Kosovo, UNMIK Chief Zahir Tanin, as well as the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), previously criticized the reports on coronavirus of some Kosovo media outlets.
Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti reacted today via a video message, declaring that there are politicians in both Belgrade and Pristina who „want a conflict in Kosovo, especially north of the Ibar.“
He confirmed the Health Minister’s allegations that the quarantine situation in two municipalities in northern Kosovo – in North Mitrovica and Zvecan – had been declared by the Ministry of Health, but that they did not want to „shout it from the rooftops“ so as not to intensify the current health crisis „with another one“.
Kurti urged all Albanians, members of the Serb and other communities, especially in Mitrovica, to remain „cautious and cold-blooded“ and „not to fall into the traps of those who need bloodshed in order to have a champagne toast.“
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