ERP KIM Newsletter
FEW SERBS, IF ANY, WILL SHED TEARS WHEN STEINER LEAVES KOSOVO
U.S. STATE SECRETARY
COVIC: SERBIA CANNOT RENOUNCE KOSOVO AND
BORBA: TRAJKOVIC PROPOSES SERB REFERENDUM AGAINST
SERBS MIGHT WITHDRAW FROM KOSOVO INSTITUTIONS
ARMS CACHE FOUND NEAR KOSOVO, SAYS SERBIA, AFP
KPS TAKING AWAY SERBIAN DRIVING LICENSES AND REGISTRATION
LIPLJAN: FOUR HOURS OF FREE MOVEMENT FOR SERBS
BLIC: THE STATE HAS FORGOTTEN US
NEW KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY ARREST
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IF ANY WILL SHED TEARS WHEN STEINER LEAVES KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
Gracanica, February 8, 2003
days we could witness growing number of Serbian protests against Steiner's
decision to transfer some vital administrative authorities to Kosovo and
Metohija temporary institutions, dominated by K/Albanians. Serbs think
that by this action Steiner is de facto giving attributes of statehood to
Kosovo which will seriously prejudice the final status settlement. At the
end there will be nothing to discuss with Belgrade, Serbs think. Belgrade
Government is aware of this and has already made steps to prevent this
process through the UN Security Council. The joint Serbian position is
that UN SC Resolution 1244 gives mandate to UNMIK to build substantial
autonomy of Kosovo Province within FRY i.e. Serbia-Montenegro, nothing
more and nothing less. Serb political leaders on the other hand think that
Steiner is pushing forward the concept of so called conditional
independence of Kosovo, which is contrary to his mandate. Among Kosovo
Serbs there is a full consensus that independence of Kosovo and Metohija
would not only make their life here impossible but that it would seriously
destabilize the entire region. Four years after the war there is not a
single Kosovo Serb (and an objective international) who can believe that
independent Kosovo can be anything else but an ethnically clean Albanian
state in which hardly any other ethnic group would be able to survive and
preserve its identity.
Chief of the
Serbian Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija and the vice-president
of the Serbian Government, Dr. Nebojsa Covic strongly attacked Steiner's
plans and made it clear in his latest statements in press and TV that
Serbian Government after the death of Premier Djindjic will not change its
position towards independence of Kosovo and building of new statelets in
the Balkans. A few days ago Dr. Covic said that any unilateral step
leading to Kosovo's independence would sparkle new conflicts and
reiterated the position of the late Premier Djindjic that changing of
internationally granted borders of Serbia-Montenegro would open many other
issues, including Bosnia and Macedonia, which might plunge the Balkans
back in the past.
LEADERS UNITED AGAINST STEINER'S PLAN REQUEST HIS RESIGNATION
members of the Serb POVRATAK Coalition showed more readiness in the
beginning to contest the transfer of authorities and other problems
through institutions, in which they still participate, there is a
prevailing attitude that further participation in the institutions, in
case Steiner insists to realize his plans, will not be possible. Some
members of the Coalition, such as Dr. Rada Trajkovic, have already frozen
their participation in the Parliament with explanation that Serb deputies
do not have mandate from their constituency to work on creation of an
ethnically clean Albanian state. Rada Trajkovic and Dr. Milan Ivanovic,
the leader of the Serb National Council of North Kosovo, announced public
protests in Serbian areas and strongly supported urgent organization of
Serb municipalities and municipal units in the north and east of the
Province as an integral part of Kosovo's decentralization. They claim that
this does not mean division of Kosovo simply because entire Kosovo and
Metohija has to remain an autonomous part of Serbia. Serb areas deserve
more self rule and local autonomy because Albanian dominated institutions
have demonstrated that they continue with discrimination of Serbs in all
spheres of life. These initiatives enjoy full support of the Serbian
Orthodox Church and the vast majority of Kosovo Serbs. At the moment
Steiner has no Serbs who are ready to cooperate with him in his plan to
"integrate" Serb community in independent Kosovo.
widely accused by Serbs as overtly pro-Albanian. That is why the leading
Kosovo Serbs requested from him to step down. In the Serbian press, but
informally within UNMIK circles too, there is a rumor that Steiner has
become openly ethnically biased because of his alleged affair with Bukuria
Balaj, a Kosovo Albanian, member of the Kosovo Television managing board.
No one in UNMIK is ready to comment this rumor at the moment, but if
proved correct this might seriously impair Steiner's moral predispositions
for the position of UNMIK's chief. Steiner's rating in the Serb community
has never been lower and it is very possible that few people, if any, will
shed tears when he leaves Kosovo and Metohija.
KPC AS ALBANIAN EQUIVALENT OF MILOSEVIC'S "FRANKIE BOYS"
is fought over the Kosovo Protection Corps, which originates from the
disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army. While Premier Rexhepi and the Corps
leader Agim Ceku dream of making the Corps a new Kosovo Army based on the
traditions of KLA and ethnic Albanian guerilla fighting, Serbs are
strongly opposed because the Corps is almost completely monoethnic
Albanian organization and its members are considered as directly
responsible for many post-war crimes.
Many Serbs see
the Corps as an equivalent of the infamous Serbian Red-Barrets (Frankie
boys), former Milosevic's paramilitaries, which have been disbanded this
week by the Belgrade Government after it was proved that its leaders took
direct part in assassination of Premier Djindjic and committed many other
crimes. Whether Kosovo will be strong enough to purify the ranks of the
Corps remains to be seen. At the moment, several leading officers of the
Corps are under investigation and are suspected of committing serious war
crimes both against Serb and Albanian civilians.
Now after the
intensive crack down of the Belgrade Government against its own "axis of
evil" which consists of former paramilitary groups, organized crime gangs,
narco-dealers and former politicians close to Milosevic and Seselj it is
not difficult to understand that Kosovo cannot trace its way towards
better future without doing the same. In fact, many international and
local observers have noticed that the former KLA structures and their
leaders are deeply involved in criminal activity and organized crime. They
exert a strong pressure on moderate Albanians hiding themselves behind
nationalistic agenda and Albanian patriotism. As long as these individuals
and groups remain in power and continue controlling Kosovo's institutions,
Protection Corps and Kosovo Police any improvement of the security
situation and political stabilization of the Province will be impossible.
A YEAR OF
RETURNS OR A NEW UNMIK'S SMOKE SCREEN
At the same
time efforts to bring 230.000 Serb refugees back to their homes in Kosovo
continue. Despite loud promises that this year (again!!) will be the year
of Serb returns remaining Serbs and returnees are very skeptical
that in existing security conditions any serious return process might be
possible at all. It has been proved so far that Serb returnees can only
live relatively normally in Serb dominated areas or under heavy KFOR
protection. The recent inflammatory article "Beware of Serb Plans to
Colonize Kosova", published by the Western sponsored Kosovo Albanian daily
KOHA DITORE, urges Kosovo Albanians to attack returnees and disrupt return
process by all possible means. While Kosovo Albanian leaders officially
support returns they are not taking any concrete steps to decrease
hostility of their compatriots and promote more tolerance probably hoping
that Serbs would eventually give up returns. The worst situation is in
Albanian dominated cities in which only insignificant Serbian minority
remains, mostly living in ghettos. Although one may expect some returns in
KFOR protected rural areas, the return of Kosovo Serb urban population
will remain a farfetched dream.
FOREIGN SECRETARY COLIN POWELL IN BELGRADE
U.S. State Secretary visited
Belgrade to pay respect to the late Premier Zoran Djindjic and express
support the reform forces in Serbia-Montenegro
all Serbian media
April 02, 2003
US State Secretary Colin Powel arrived this afternoon for a short working
visit to Belgrade. The Secretary had talks with the president of Serbia
and Montenegro Svetozar Marovic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Goran
Svilanovic. Powel also met Premiers of Serbia and Montenegro, Zoran
Zivkovic and Milo Djukanovic and expressed his support for the reform
course of the Serb Montenegrin authorities.
The U.S. State
Secretary underscored strong commitments of the U.S. Administration to
Serbia and Montenegro's fight against the nexus of organized crime, war
criminals and political extremism; its efforts to overcome obstacles to
integration with Euro-Atlantic institutions; and the region's long-term
stability and economic growth.
This is a first visit of a U.S. State Secretary to Belgrade after 1999
NATO bombing campaign and toppling of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic.
Serb-Montenegrin authorities believe that Powel's visit will strengthen
democratic reforms in the country and encourage further political and
economic cooperation with the United States.
SERBIA CANNOT RENOUNCE KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
one from the international community will support independence of Kosovo
because that would mean the change of borders in the region
April 02, 2003
cannot renounce Kosovo-Metohija and Belgrade will not be a destabilizing
factor, but a stabilizing one, and no one from the international community
will support independence of Kosovo because that would mean the change of
borders in the region, said Nebojsa Covic, head of the Coordination Centre
for Kosmet. Appearing in the TV Politika’s "Pressing" programme, Covic
said that Serbia would protect its interests and Belgrade would continue
to be a factor of stability in the region.
MOMCILO TRAJKOVIC PROPOSES REFERENDUM AGAINST IDEPENDENCE OF KOSOVO
must to organize referendum for all Serb and non Serb residents in Kosovo,
to tell the world that insists on Kosovo becoming independent will only
lead to complicated situations
Trajkovic, the president of Kosovo and Metohija Committee in Serbian
Parliament, proposed referendum for all Serb and non-Serb residents in
Kosovo, against the independence of this southern Serbian province.
“We must to organize referendum for all Serb and non Serb residents in
Kosovo, to tell the world that insists on Kosovo becoming independent will
only lead to complicated situations,” said Trajkovic for Gracanica
newspaper “Glas Juga.”
He also said that “the Serbian leaders in Kosovo are imposters,” and he
cannot back the forming of Serbian unions by people who were his recently
“The concept of forming Serbian unions is my old idea. The idea is not a
solution, but it’s a good answer on demands for independent Kosovo, and
beside everything else, I support this concept, and I want to add that
this is good, but it’s not enough,” said Trajkovic.
He had answered the question, whether or not is Kosovo closer to the
independence after Djindjic’s murder, and said that the country can become
stronger only if there is a political “sobriety.”
“Without the sobriety, everything else becomes like a benefit for Kosovo
independence,” ended Trajkovic.
MIGHT WITHDRAW FROM KOSOVO INSTITUTIONS
UNMIK chief Michael Steiner does not give up the idea of transferring
powers to interim Kosovo-Metohija institutions, Serbs might withdraw from
Mitrovica - If UNMIK chief Michael Steiner does not give up the idea of
transferring powers to interim Kosovo-Metohija institutions, Serbs might
withdraw from these institutions, member of the Kosovo parliament
presidency Oliver Ivanovic said Tuesday.
Noting that this would constitute a defeat for the UN mission, Ivanovic
told a press conference in Kosovska Mitrovica that a withdrawal of Serbs
from Kosovo institutions would demonstrate that UNMIK has done nothing to
create multi-ethnic institutions.
UNMIK SPOKESMAN SAYS THAT STEINER WILL CONTINUE WITH TRANSFER OF
AUTHORITIES WHILE SERB ANNOUNCE FURTHER PROTESTS
spokesman Gjorgji Kakuk said that UNMIK head Michael Steiner would
continue with the transference of authorities onto provisional Kosmet
institutions despite the announcement of Serb protests. Kakuk remarked
that the UN Security Council had established new competences of the Kosovo
government. Political representatives of Serbs in Kosmet announced the
first protest rally in northern Kosovska Mitrovica for Thursday. Rada
Trajkovic, deputy of the Serb Coalition POVRATAK in the Kosovo Assembly,
said that the protests were aimed at creating two entities within the
Province and not at dividing Kosmet. An advisor in Steiner’s cabinet,
Nenad Radosavljevic, assessed that the protests represented a democratic
right of Serbs to voice their discontent with UNMIK policy.
FOUND NEAR KOSOVO, SAYS SERBIA
had been buried by former members of the self-styled ethnic Albanian
Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (UCPMB), named after
three villages in the region, police said.
France Presse (AFP)
April 1 (AFP) - Serbian police discovered on Tuesday a large arms cache
near the southern boundary with Kosovo, the Serbian interior ministry
said, adding that the arms belonged to former ethnic Albanian rebels from
Police reportedly discovered two recoilless guns, eight rocket launchers,
30 automatic weapons and ammunition in a metal container buried near the
ethnic Albanian village of Mali Trnovac, close to the boundary of Kosovo,
a province of Serbia which has been under UN administration since 1999.
Police said the arms had been buried by former members of the self-styled
ethnic Albanian Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac
(UCPMB), named after three villages in the region, police said.
The UCPMB fought for self-rule in the region until they were disbanded in
May 2001 due to action by the Serbian police and pressure from the
However certain former combattants are thought to have joined a new
guerrilla organisation, the Albanian Liberation Army (ANA).
The last two months have seen a number of attacks on Serbian and joint
Serbian-Albanian patrols in the area, including an attack on a Serbian
police car in February which killed one and injured two. The ANA claimed
responsibility for the attack.
Both Belgrade and the European Union have expressed concern at the
increase in violence.
Serbia and Montenegro Minister for Minorities Rasim Ljajic has promised
decisive action to smash organised crime in the area which he says "is
generating a political crisis in the region".
"I don't think that Serbs and Albanians are going to live in great mutual
love, and I don't exlude certain incidents, but I don't think there will
be serious conflict," Ljajic told the Tanjug agency.
The minister also said that he had asked NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo
to arrest certain former UCPMB leaders based in the province.
TAKING AWAY SERB DRIVING LICENCES AND REGISTRATION PLATES
Kosovo police officers confiscate Serb-Montenegrin
registration plates additionally restricting Serb movement in Kosovo and
April 02, 2003
- Members of the Kosovo Police Service began taking away driving
licences and registration plates issued by the Serbian authorities since
10. June 1999. As KIM Radio reporters learned, Kosovo Police Service
is controlling the traffic in the area of Kosovsko Pomoravlje (Gnjilane
region) and are confiscating traffic documents issued by the
Serb-Montenegrin uthorities in the post-war period.
liceces are taken away if drivers do not have written confirmation that
they have already applied for the UNMIK driving licences. Owners of
vehicles with old Gnjilane, Urosevac and Pristina registration plates will
be sued to the court. KPS policemen have also punished some drivers of
such vehicles on the spot and they had to pay a fine up to 80 EUR. This
latest decision of the KPS authorities has created panic and fear in the
Serb areas because in that way their contacts with central Serbia will be
FOUR HOURS OF FREE MOVEMENT FOR SERBS
Serb residents of Lipljan (Central Kosovo) will be granted
four hours of free movement in their city (!!?)
from Lipljan and the neighboring villages could walk the main city street
under the protection of Finish KFOR. They could freely move from the
Orthodox church to the railway station and even shop at Albanian owned
shops, reported KIM Radio reporter from lipljan Stanimir Smilic. "Although
the Finish KFOR provided security in the main streets only few Serbs dared
leave their homes and walk to the city center between 10-14hrs during
which special security was provided. The reason for this was a large
number of Kosovo Albanian teenagers in the streets who usually provoke
number of Serbs did not leave their homes because they feared incidents.
Members of the international authorities will make a public report soon
and give exact figures how many Lipljan Serbs appeared in the streets.
They will aslo make a general assessment of this action that will show
whether this new arrangement of free movement four hours a day is
justifiable or not", said Smilic.
STATE HAS FARGOTTEN US
"Blic's" reporter visits returnees to Kosovo and Metohija who are trying
to re-organize their lives
April 01, 2003
by Nikola M. Jovanovic
Kosovo things are so uncertain that every house and hamlet is a separate
story." This is the first thing we were told by one of the Serb returnees
to Kosovo and Metohija with whom we had an opportunity to speak during a
visit to a return destination organized by the U.S. Office in Pristina.
The international community assists the returnees in rebuilding their
houses; it gives them greenhouses for raising vegetables; it enables them
to become qualified to work as plumbers, carpenters... There is some
security, the returnees tell us, but it is "miserable." "At least there
are no murders" is the general consensus. There is not enough work,
either. Children of Serbs and Albanians go to separate schools, despite
isolated efforts to overcome this. Stojan Jovanovic returned to the
village of Izvor in Novo Brdo municipality one month ago.
"ARC helped me to rebuild my house and they promised to replace some
machines I had which were stolen," says Jovanovic. A sufficient reason to
"return to his property," he says, was the fact that the Serbs won in the
elections in Novo Brdo.
"I left because it was terrible... the last activities of the KLA took
place here. Despite everything, now it is much quieter," says Stojan.
He does not go to the closest larger town, Gnjilane, because a friend has
urged him not to.
"In the village of Vrbovac in Vitina municipality where the entire
population is Serb, we live," says Stanoje Moskic, "like in a ghetto."
"There are constant provocations. Two weeks ago shots were fired in Mogila
at people in a Serb-owned shop and one man was seriously wounded," says
Stanoje. "At the same time, municipal mayor Musa Misini says that our
security situation is satisfactory."
Traveling through the municipality we could see members of KFOR protecting
Serb churches. There were bunkers in front of two of them, which Misini
personally considers unnecessary but "KFOR insists on it."
Svetozar Aleksic returned from Jagodina to Gornji Makres where he owns a
shop. Albanians from Donji Makres also shop there. He obtains his
merchandise, both Serbian and foreign-produced, in Gnjilane and says that
in this village there are no problems between Serbs and Albanians. Blagoje
Stevic returned to Stara Kolonija, a village in Novo Brdo municipality,
from Leskovac with his wife and three children. He received two pigs; he
slaughtered one and is fattening up the other.
"I once worked in the mine in Novi Brdo as a certified mine igniter. I've
submitted my papers for retirement," he says.
Ranko Petkovic from the same village says that he is an optimist with
respect to resumed life with the Albanians. When asked if he discusses the
independence of Kosovo with his Albanian neighbors, he says he keeps out
"There is plenty of work but no money from the ministries in Serbia. This
company director is Return (Povratak) Coalition deputy Sokol Djordjevic
who has not visited us even once," he says. Slavjan Stojkovic has secured
a small source of income by opening a baby shop. He says the locals are
primarily farmers while "some people smuggle clothing."
Desimir Vuckovic returned to Gornje Selo where he worked in a shop for 25
"I can't really praise our country; not one of our officials has come to
see how we are doing. I buy my medicines myself; we have to get our food
from Serbia. If the situation does not improve, I will have to return to
Serbia. This year will be the decisive one for me," concludes Desimir.
KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY ARREST
Another former member
of the outlawed Kosovo Liberation Army arrested
-- Wednesday – Another former member of the outlawed Kosovo Liberation
Army has been arrested by KFOR troops and UNMIK police in Djakovica.
Maliq Ndrecu was arrested yesterday in an operation which blocked movement
in the town for almost two hours.
The Association of Kosovo Liberation Army war invalids, of which Ndrecu is
a member, has been unable to obtain any information on the arrest or the
reason for it.
The Association claimed today that the arrest was politically motivated.
Ndrecu is being held in Pristina prison.
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