Hovenier: Kurti should move the ASM Statute to the Constitutional Court as soon as possible

Ambasador SAD Džef Hovenijer Intervju

Kurti should move the draft statute for the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities to the Constitutional Court quickly, without regard to what Serbia does, the US ambassador to Pristina, Jeffrey Hovenier said yesterday. He underscored that forming this body is one of Pristina’s obligations, noting that the concerns raised by the West related to the enforcement of the Central Bank regulation would have gone away if there had been a functioning ASM.

Hovenier addressed several media outlets, including KoSSev, in Pristina yesterday.

He said that the US want to see Kosovo move towards NATO, the EU, and become a Council of Europe.

“Advancing on this trajectory would be made easier by being responsive to the commitments it’s entered into, such as establishing the ASM, or at least taking this draft statute that we provided, that we believe completely respects the red lines, does not share any executive authorities, no changes to Kosovo’s constitution, no Republic of Srpska, and moving it into the Constitutional Court now.”

What is preventing the Kosovo PM from moving the ASM into the Constitutional Court – one of the journalists asked Hovenier.

The situation the Kosovo Serb community found itself in is an important issue

“I can only lay out our hope and expectation that it will do so and my advice is that he would do so quickly, sooner rather than later, without regard to what Serbia does, because in so doing, it will benefit Kosovo substantially. That will resolve this question of whether this thing is constitutional or not, resolve the question of how much executive authority it has or doesn’t have. We believe none but the court can made that determination,” he said.

On the other hand, he added that Serbia has its own obligation it needs to fulfill which would “benefit Kosovo.”

He underscored that it would create a different dynamic and will reflect Kosovo’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations under the Basic Agreement.

“I acknowledge it is a sensitive issue. But the status and situation of the ethnic Serb community in Kosovo, which is an important issue, it’s not the only one, but it’s an important one. So I can only say that we hope that that happens soon. And that has been our consistent advice.”

Emphasizing that the Constitutional Court can make the decision as to whether the ASM complies with the Constitution or not, Hovenier revealed that he has “been amazed by the number of people who have opinions on this who are not constitutional scholars or experts.”

“But let’s let the actual entity responsible for this question do its job and in so doing benefit significantly this country and the people of Kosovo, which is I hope you hear remains a high priority for me personally, and for my government.”

A functional ASM would solve the concerns with the enforcement of Central Bank regulation

The US ambassador underlined that the formation of the ASM is Pristina’s obligation, and in that context he addressed Pristina’s move regarding the way of enforcement of the CBK regulation, which is facing criticism from the West.

“Some of the concerns we have raised related to the enforcement of the Central Bank regulation would have gone away if we had a functioning ASM. Because all along the assumption has been this will become the means consistent with Kosovo law, under Kosovo law, transparent to the government of Kosovo under which Serbia provides the support for the education and health care services.”

Hovenier also said that the US wants to discuss the enforcement of the CBK regulation as part of the dialogue because of its effect on the Serbian community. He requested that the Kosovo government send its representative to the next meetings in Brussels in order to find a solution to the new situation.

In the search for a solution, Hovenier calls for Serbia to be consulted, that is, „to have its own voice“ on how to provide support, which is guaranteed by Ahtisaari’s plan.

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