April 10, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 10-04-03

SERBS PROTEST IN GRACANICA:
FOR SERBIA - NO TO INDEPENDENT KOSOVO

Kosovo Serbs in Gracanica strongly opposed Steiner's proalbanian policy and protested against policy of ethnic discrimination pursued by Albanian dominated institutions. Milan Ivanovic speaks to the gathered Serbs, APR 9


SERBS PROTEST IN GRACANICA: FOR SERBIA - NO TO INDEPENDENT KOSOVO
Serbs of central Kosovo peacefully protest against transfer of UNMIK's powers

MESSAGES FROM PROTEST IN GRACANICA

The Serbs will not accept the status of a national minority in their own country - No Serb will live in an independent state of Kosovo - Continue directives of premier Djindjic - Insist on full implementation of Resolution 1244

BISHOP ARTEMIJE SUPPORTS AND WELCOMES PROTEST GATHERING IN GRACANICA
I wholeheartedly support protest gatherings in K. Mitrovica and Gracanica as well as protests soon to be held in other parts of Kosovo and Metohija. I appeal to Serbs throughout the Province to express their demands peacefully and with dignity, persisting in their just battle for their rights and for freedom


SERBS OF CENTRAL KOSOVO DECISIVELY AGAINST STEINER'S POLICY
An appeal was sent from the gathering to all Serbs to leave UNMIK's municipal governments and to Return (Povratak) Coalition deputies to leave the Kosovo Parliament. It was also emphasized that official state organs of Serbia and Montenegro need to act more decisively before the international community in demanding the resolution of the problem of the south Serbian province, because every delay serves to benefit the Albanians who desire an independent Kosovo

MASKED PERSONS FIRE AT POLICE IN VICINITY OF PEC
A military group called the Albanian National Army (AKSH) have claimed, on its website as well as in some handouts they delivered in different Kosova areas, that its members are active in Kosovo too.

FIRST CHARGES AGAINST ANA MEMBERS
It is also the first time that the international officials affirm the existence and activity of ANA (Albanian National Army) in Kosovo, naturally through a court, although so far UNMIK police and KFOR representatives denied to have proof on ANA existence in Kosovo

TWO ALBANIANS ATTACK SERB IN GORAZDEVAC WITH KNIFE AND INFLICT FACIAL INJURIES
After a brief conversation one of the two Albanians suddenly jabbed at Svetislav Simonovic with a knife, wounding him in the face. The Albanians immediately fled the scene in their vehicle

NEW HOPE FOR DISPLACED PERSONS FROM KOSOVO AND METOHIJA - RETURNS IN SPRING
RETURNS IN SPRING - Well thought out and organized return to village of Novake near Prizren should serve as a model for all of Kosovo and Metohija

BALKAN LEADERS IN BELGRADE PLEDGE TO WORK TOGETHER ON THEIR COMMON PATH TOWARDS EU

The leaders
 underlined that the regional stability and cooperation have been consolidated and advanced, and stress the need of respecting the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful solution of all the disputes. The Declaration points to the importance of respect of Dayton-Paris agreement and the Resolutions 1244 and 1345 of the United Nations Security Council that have been estimated as documents of vital relevance for the stability in the region.

SERBIA - MONTENEGRO: ADMISSION TO THE PARTNERSHIP OF PEACE PROGRAM IS STATE PRIORITY
Serbia and Montenegro Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic and the personal envoy of the NATO Secretary General, Gunther Altenburg, emphasized in talks in Belgrade that one of the priorities of the state union’s foreign policy was admission to the Partnership for Peace programme.

RADIO YUGOSLAVIA: PRESS REVIEW, APR 9

Marek Novitzki, the ombudsman for Kosovo-Metohija stated that the situation in the province in the field of human rights was below every minimum, quote local press. Novitzki stated that Serbs were not safe, had no freedom of move, neither other conditions for a normal life, and human rights of other minority communities in Kosmet were imperilled, too.

More News Available on our:
KOSOVO DAILY NEWS LIST (KDN)
KDN Archive

This newsletter is available on our ERP KIM Web-site:
/erpkim10apr03.html


SERBS PROTEST IN GRACANICA: FOR SERBIA - NO TO INDEPENDENT KOSOVO
SERBS OF CENTRAL KOSOVO PEACEFULLY PROTEST AGAINST TRANSFER OF UNMIK POWERS

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BETA News Agency
April 9, 2003

(PHOTO BETA, NO - INDEPENDENT KOSOVO!!! - Gracanica Apr 9, 2003)

GRACANICA -- Wednesday – Over a thousand Kosovo Serbs took to the streets of Granica today in protest over Michael Steiner’s decision to transfer UNMIK powers to Kosovo’s temporary institutions.

UNMIK governor Steiner began the process of transferring authority yesterday, insisting that key departments would remain under his command and that the handover of powers would have no bearing on Kosovo’s final status.

The protestors, calling for "Serbia, not independent Kosovo", brought traffic to a standstill on the city’s main street before dispersing without incident.

Milan Ivanovic, leader of the Serb National Council of northern Kosovo, requested that Steiner maintain consistent implementation of UN Resolution 1244, rather than transferring these powers.

Insisting that the transfer would see Serbs "left at the mercy of Albanian extremists" Ivanovic said:

"The Serb people live in a concentration camp, while Steiner sends false reports on the security situation in this region to the Security Council.

"Instead of transferring powers, we request the return of our army and police."

Calling to Belgrade for support, Ivanovic continued: "I'm asking the state of Serbia-Montenegro to courageously support the guidelines defined by late Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, because Kosovo is state issue number one".

Rada Trajkovic, Kosovo Serb Return Coalition MP, explained that the protests were: "no one’s political promotion, rather they are aimed at preventing this territory from becoming independent.

"We have gathered here to say 'N0' to Steiner, who’s not counting on any Serb reactions."


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MESSAGES FROM PROTEST IN GRACANICA

The Serbs will not accept the status of a national minority in their own country - No Serb will live in an independent state of Kosovo

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ERP KIM Info-Service
GRACANICA, April 9, 2003

(PHOTO BETA, Milan Ivanovic speaks at today's gathering in Gracanica)

From this gathering here in Gracanica, we wish to send the following message to the domestic and global public:

No Serb will live in an independent state of Kosovo.
In Kosovo and Metohija the human rights of Serbs and other non-Albanian communities are being grossly violated. Sadly, this is being done in the presence of those whom we expect to offer us their protection.

That is why here today we demand the following:

- That displaced and expelled persons from Kosovo and Metohija be enabled to return.

- That the fate of persons kidnapped and missing since the arrival of KFOR and the UN Mission to Kosovo and Metohija be revealed.

- That the decisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the Kumanovo Agreement be honored and that, pursuant to this, Serbian police forces and the Serbia-Montenegro Army be enabled to return.

- We demand respect for our human rights as defined by internationally recognized charters and conventions, including:

the right to life;

the right to freedom of movement;

the right to own and make use of private property;

the right to education;

the right to health protection;

the right to work and employment.

- We reject the transfer of authorities to ethnically pure, Albanian institutions where we cannot realize our rights and we will consider any such decision unbinding for the Serb people.

- That it is time for Return Coalition deputies and municipal assembly representatives to leave the institutions where their role is purely to serve as a decoration for the interests of the Albanian community and the justification of the UN Mission.

- That the formation of Serb municipalities be enabled.

- That the agreement on decentralization be realized.

- That the employed leave the institutions which as of today are Albanian because we cannot physically go to them, let alone realize any of our rights in them.

The Serbs will not accept the status of a national minority in their own country.

Citizens' Assembly, Gracanica

MESSAGE TO STATE OFFICIALS OF SERBIA AND SERBIA-MONTENEGRO
Continue directives of premier Djindjic - Insist on full implementation of Resolution 1244

ERP KIM Info-Service
Gracanica, April 9, 2003

From state officials of Serbia and the Union of Serbia and Montenegro we demand:

That the Serbian Government continue directives for Kosovo and Metohija established by the deceased premier, Dr. Zoran Djindjic.

That they insist more vigorously on the realization and full implementation of Resolution 1244, as well as all other valid documents on Kosovo and Metohija.

That the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro take energetic steps before the Security Council to prevent the violation of Resolution 1244 and the transfer of authorities of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to provisional institutions of Kosovo and Metohija, and that it initiate proceedings before the Security Council for the replacement of Mr. Steiner.

We warn that if this call of the conscience remains "a lone voice crying in the wilderness", the Serb community retains the right to consider the act of transfer of authorities to provisional institutions of Kosovo and Metohija nonbinding. We will express our dissent using all democratic means, including the holding of public protest gatherings in all locations in Kosovo and Metohija.

Citizens' Assembly, Gracanica


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BISHOP ARTEMIJE SUPPORTS AND WELCOMES PROTEST GATHERING IN GRACANICA

I wholeheartedly support protest gatherings in K. Mitrovica and Gracanica as well as protests soon to be held in other parts of Kosovo and Metohija. I appeal to Serbs throughout the Province to express their demands peacefully and with dignity, persisting in their just battle for their rights and for freedom

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ERP KIM Info-Service
DECANI, April 9, 2003

(PHOTO: Bishop Artemije: Serbian Orthodox Church supports its people)

Bishop Artemije, the chairman of the Serb National Council (SNC) of Kosovo and Metohija, who was not available to attend today's protest gathering in Gracanica due to religious duties, sent a message of support for the determination of the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija to protest against the pro-Albanian policies of UNMIK chief Michael Steiner. Bishop Artemije made a statement for the Raska-Prizren Info Service in Visoki Decani Monastery with the following message:

"This protest gathering in Gracanica today shows the firm determination of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija to use democratic means to fight for a free and dignified life, and a society in which the human rights of all citizens will be honored regardless of their ethnicity. Serbs are in favor of cooperation with everyone who is working on fulfilling Resolution 1244; however, they can support policies which lead to the disappearance of the Serbs and the creation of an ethnically pure, Albanian Kosovo," said Bishop Artemije.

"The support of the people for the position of the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija and the SNC of Northern Kosovo, clearly demonstrated at protests in Kosovska Mitrovica and today in Gracanica, clearly show the prevalent disposition among Serbs in all parts of the Province. This is also the clearest message to representatives of the Povratak (Return) Coalition and the Belgrade authorities that under these conditions it is no longer possible to participate in the work of institutions which are not working on implementing Resolution 1244 and the creation of a multiethnic society but instead on the creation of an independent Kosovo in which there is no future for Serbs and other non-Albanians.

"At the same time, by their intention to continue protests throughout Kosovo and Metohija, the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija and the SNC of Northern Kosovo are determined to insist on the implementation of the same policies throughout Kosovo and Metohija. The Serbs' democratic fight for rights does not mean a division of the Province because it should remain as a whole within Serbia. Demands for proclamation of an independent Kosovo and Metohija are calls for changes to the international borders of Serbia and Montenegro and represent a dangerous threat to peace and stability in the Balkans and in Europe. That is why I wholeheartedly support protest gatherings in Kosovska Mitrovica and Gracanica as well as protests soon to be held in other parts of Kosovo and Metohija. I appeal to Serbs throughout the Province to express their demands peacefully and with dignity, persisting in their just battle for their rights and for freedom," said Bishop Artemije in a statement for the ERP Info Service at Visoki Decani Monastery.


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SERBS OF CENTRAL KOSOVO DECISIVELY AGAINST STEINER'S POLICY
PEACEFUL PROTEST OF SERBS AGAINST TRANSFER OF UNMIK AUTHORITIES

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KIM Radio
GRACANICA, April 9, 2003

(photo BETA, from the Gracanica protest, APR 9, 2003)

More than a thousand Serbs from central Kosovo gathered today in the center of Gracanica to express their protest against the policies of UNMIK chief Michael Steiner and his decision to transfer authorities to Kosovo institutions.

First to address those present was the head of the Serb National Council of Northern Kosovo, Milan Ivanovic. Ivanovic repeated that after four years of international presence in Kosovo, the Serb people is still in exodus. At a time when not one condition for the normal life of Serbs - the right to work, the right to return by displaced persons, security and freedom of movement, and revealing the fate of the kidnapped and missing - has been met, UNMIK chief Michael Steiner is transferring authorities to Kosovo institutions and aiding the creation of an independent Kosovo, said Ivanovic. "He turned over the legislative, executive and judicial government to the Albanians; the only thing left is to create an Albanian army under the guise of multiethnicity and recognize an independent Kosovo."

From international representatives we demand full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1244, especially the part relating to the return of our army and police in Serb settlements in the Province. Ivanovic emphasized that the Kosovo Police Service and the Kosovo Protection Corps can never protect and defend Serbs. Before local elections were held Steiner promised the Serbs decentralization which has yet to be implemented. Therefore the Serbs, not only of northern Kosovo but throughout Kosovo and Metohija, will organize their own elections where they will elect their own government representatives, said Milan Ivanovic.

An appeal was sent from the gathering to all Serbs to leave UNMIK's municipal governments and to Return (Povratak) Coalition deputies to leave the Kosovo Parliament. It was also emphasized that official state organs of Serbia and Montenegro need to act more decisively before the international community in demanding the resolution of the problem of the south Serbian province, because every delay serves to benefit the Albanians who desire an independent Kosovo.

The vice-chairwoman of the Serb National Council for Central Kosovo, Rada Trajkovic, emphasized at today's meeting that this is no time for political marketing. Serbs will hold their own elections throughout Kosovo where people will elect their leaders and people whom they trust. Today we are here to say that in Europe and in the Balkans Serbs are being killed simply for being Serbs, emphasized Trajkovic. Telegrams of support were read at the gathering from the Association of Students from Kosovo and Metohija and the Home Threshold (Kucni Prag) Association of Displaced Serbs in Nis. Alluding to the alleged relationship between Michael Steiner and his possible marriage with an Albanian woman, one telegram stated that the UNMIK chief cannot give his Albanian in-laws land which is not his to give. The protest gathering took place without incident. New meetings have been scheduled for tomorrow in Leposavic and in one week in Kosovsko Pomoravlje.

The protest gathering in Gracanica was attended by almost all representatives of international offices in Pristina, as well as representatives of KFOR, international and domestic media. The protest gathering concluded with the lighting of candles in the church of Gracanica Monastery which for the last four years has been a symbol of Serb resistance against ethnic cleansing and home in a free and dignified life (ERP KIM Info Service).


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MASKED PERSONS FIRE AT POLICE IN VICINITY OF PEC
A military group called the Albanian National Army (AKSH) have claimed, on its website as well as in some handouts they delivered in different Kosova areas, that its members are active in Kosovo too.

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KOSOVALIVE (K/Albanian News Agency)

PRISTINA, APRIL 08


PRISTINA, April 08, 2003 (KosovaLive) – A group of seven or eight masked and armed persons responded with fire to police yesterday about midnight in the vicinity of Pec. The incident occurred when the police went to investigate the establishment of an illegal checkpoint that citizens had reported.

Police spokesperson, Derek Chappell, specified that the event occurred yesterday at about 11:30pm in a village near Pec. "Police received a report of 6 or 7 armed and masked men on a road in a rural area of the Peja Region. Officers were able to arrive on the scene very quickly," said Chappell.

According to him, the suspects fled when they saw the police vehicles. "Despite numerous shots fired by the suspects, officers pursued them across fields for approximately one kilometer. Unfortunately, the gunmen were able to escape in the darkness," he said.

Police said they are still looking for these suspects and that they will arrest them when they locate them.

"We do not know exactly what these men were planning to do late at night on an empty road. Perhaps they were bandits. Perhaps they planned to conduct an illegal checkpoint. Perhaps this handful of people thinks of themselves as a "secret army". Whatever they were planning to do was illegal and was stopped by the police before it started", said Chappell.

The KPS and UNMIK police that went to the scene are not sure whether the bandits were wearing military uniforms or not. According to Chappell, the police noticed that they were wearing dark clothes, but they did not notice any identifying insignias.

A military group called the Albanian National Army (AKSH) have claimed, on its website as well as in some handouts they delivered in different Kosova areas, that its members are active in Kosovo too.

UNMIK spokesperson, Simon Haselock, said, however, that it is not difficult for some men to establish a checkpoint and to stop and check 4 or 5 vehicles in order to "incite rumors among the population and to make an impression that there is something more significant happening than there really is".

Also KFOR officials said that their investigative services have no information of militarily organized groups acting here, as the AKSH claims.

"The fact that some armed men put on masks and stopped vehicles does not necessarily show the existence of armed factions," said Haselock.

During the past weeks, KFOR has arrested at least four people who "threaten the peace and security in Kosovo". They gave no details, however, regarding on what legal grounds the people, that are being detained at the Bondsteel military base, have been arrested. (f.osmani)

===============
MEDIA MONITORING REPORT FROM K/ALBANIAN PRESS, 9 APR:

MASKED PEOPLE EXCHANGE FIRE WITH POLICE IN RZNIC, DECANI

Armed people have exchanged fire on Monday evening with the international police and KPS. They responded to calls of some people who informed them of operations of people with masks in their village. The incident happened in Pec region, but international police gave no other details about the place. While the international police in Pristina talked according to the formula ‘no name, no place’, police in Pec made known that the village where police had to intervene was Rznic, 8 km from Decani. It was said that the KPS were 40 meters away from the masked people but police still does not know their identity. KFOR, Spanish police special unit, security team and other forces went to the scene on Monday evening.

One day after this event, the international police or KFOR could not identify these people or find their possible connections with any illegal organisation. "Police officers were able to react quickly at the scene and the suspected escaped as soon as they saw the police coming," UNMIK police spokesperson Derek Chappell, said. According to him, despite many shootings coming from the suspects, police officers have followed them for almost one km in the field. "Unfortunately, they managed to escape in the dark. We are still looking for these suspects and we will arrest them," he added. No casualties were reported. "We don’t know precisely what these people intended to do late at night in an empty street. Perhaps they were gangsters, perhaps they intended to set up an illegal checkpoint; perhaps this fist of people think that this is "a secret army." Whatever they had planned to do, they were prevented to do it by the police," he added. KFOR officials, who continuously say that they take security very seriously, say that they consider these as "criminal acts" but know nothing about the motives that lead people to take such ways. "We do not know anything about the motives because we have not caught them,"

KFOR spokesperson Garry Bannister-Green said yesterday. For the moment, KFOR is detaining four people in the American camp ‘Bondsteel’ with the justification that "they are threat to the safe and secure environment." "Because of security and their families, we will not give any specific detail about what they are accused of, or any personal detail about them, he said. (All K-wide broadcasters, newspapers, primary source Zeri & TV 21)


FROM OFFICIAL POLICE REPORTS:

ARMED & MASKED MEN

Last night at about 23:00h, police received a report of 6 or 7 armed and masked men on a road in a rural area of Pec/Peja Region. Officers were able to respond to the scene very quickly and the suspects fled when they saw the police vehicles. Despite numerous shots fired by the suspects, officers pursued them across the fields for approximately one kilometre. Unfortunately, they were able to escape in the darkness. We are still looking for these suspects and we will arrest them when we locate them.

We do not know exactly what these men were planning to do late at night on an empty road. Perhaps they were bandits. Perhaps they planned to conduct an illegal checkpoint. Perhaps this handful of people thinks it is a "secret army". Whatever they were planning to do was illegal and was stopped by the police before it started.

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Rznic village, Decani - 07/04 - 2230 hrs. A male informed Police that he saw about ten unidentified masked men wearing military uniform and armed with AK 47 rifles blocking the road. Police responded to the scene and suspects on sighting the Police team fired several shots in the air and escaped. No injury reported.

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KOHA DITORE ON APPEARANCE OF ARMED AND MASKED ALBANIAN EXTREMISTS IN DECANI MUNICIPALITY

KOHA DITORE, Pristina daily in Albanian (Front Page)
April 03, 2003


The sickness of his four-year nephew made Nezir from the village of Llukë, Decan, to travel to a neighbouring village at 3 a clock in the morning. He never experienced what his co-villagers spoke about the way he had to travel. "They were masked and uniformed. They were five and were armed," said Nezir. Masked people stopped the car with which they were travelling. "They just asked me who I am and where we are going. I told that that we were going to see a doctor and then they left us." […] 

Even though there are not many cases reported at the police station in Decan, residents of the villages of Lluke, Pozhare, Lumbardh…speak with low voices about meeting with uniformed and masked people, especially during the last two-three weeks. Local government and political parties in Decan say that there is no need for masked people, but they do not exclude the possibility that they came from political groups. A source close to the Albanian National Army said that there is no need for them to appear in this region. "It has been said in Decan that masked and uniformed people have started to appear. Also, I have information that these people did not make evil things. I have never met them," said Ibrahim Selmanaj, the president of Decan municipality. "However, the fact itself that they are masked is not ok. I see no need for their existence," said Selmanaj.

The police are very limited in giving any information because of investigations. "We are aware that masked people terrorise people," said Bobby Baeker, the chief of investigation unit at the police station in Decan. "The thing is that we posses more unofficial information than direct ones as it was the case of last week when these people stopped and identified a person. People do not report much cases," said Bob Richardson, the chief of Peja regional police.


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FIRST CHARGES AGAINST ANA MEMBERS
It is also the first time that the international officials affirm the existence and activity of ANA (Albanian National Army) in Kosovo, naturally through a court, although so far UNMIK police and KFOR representatives denied to have proof on ANA existence in Kosovo

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KOHA DITORE, Pristina daily in Albanian (Front Page)
April 09, 2003


The international prosecutor accuses Naser Azemin, Gazmend Zeqirin and Feriz Deliun from municipality of Vitia, of terrorist activity within Albanian National Army known as ANA.

The three accused are charged with being members or leaders of ANA, which is qualified as armed extremist group. Such nature of ANA is confirmed by ANA general regulation, which was found at one of accused and the list with 38 names.

It is the first time that in the courts in Kosovo a charge is raised against ANA suspicious members. It is also the first time that the international officials affirm the existence and activity of ANA in Kosovo, naturally through a court, although so far UNMIK police and KFOR representatives denied to have proof on ANA existence in Kosovo.

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TWO ALBANIANS ATTACK SERB IN GORAZDEVAC WITH KNIFE AND INFLICT FACIAL INJURIES
After a brief conversation one of the two Albanians suddenly jabbed at Svetislav Simonovic with a knife, wounding him in the face. The Albanians immediately fled the scene in their vehicle

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ERP KIM Info Service
Pec, April 8, 2003

Last night, April 7, at 21:45 Svetislav Simonovic (40), a Serb man from the village of Gorazdevac in Pec municipality was attacked by two Albanians with a knife, wounding him in the face. After receiving first aid in the primary medical care facility in Gorazdevac, Simonovic is recovering and not in life-threatening danger. The attack was also confirmed by the UNMIK police in today's report which gives, however, no information regarding the ethnicity of the victim and the attackers, nor other details regarding the incident.

According to local Serb sources in Gorazdevac Simonovic was returning home via the main road at approximately 21:30 when a car stopped beside him. Inside were two Albanian men who said they were Elektrokosovo workers and began to ask questions regarding purported problems with the nearby electrical distribution station. After a brief conversation one of the two Albanians suddenly jabbed at Simonovic with a knife, wounding him in the face. The Albanians immediately fled the scene in their vehicle. The Simonovic family reported the incident to UNMIK police and KFOR.

The ERP KIM Info Service has learned that today a meeting was held in Gorazdevac where local Serbs from the village expressed great concern as a result of this most recent attack. Albanians have unchecked freedom of movement along the main road which passes through the village even though Serbs have not been able to leave the immediate area of the village in safety for the past four years.

According to unconfirmed reports the two attackers were taken to the police station in Pec and released after brief questioning. An UNMIK representative informed local Serbs they can file a court complaint.

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From the UNMIK police report of April 8:

AGGRAVATED ASSAULT

Gorazdevac village, Pec - 07/04 - 2145 hrs. A male informed Police that he was assaulted and stabbed in the face by two known males. Victim conveyed to the hospital and treated. No arrest made.

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NEW HOPE FOR DISPLACED PERSONS FROM KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
RETURNS IN SPRING -
Well thought out and organized return to village of Novake near Prizren should serve as a model for all of Kosovo and Metohija says Nenad Radosavljevic

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Politika Daily, Belgrade
April 6, 2003

by Stana Ristic

"The return of 62 Serb families to the village of Novake near Prizren should serve as a model for all of Kosovo and Metohija. There was good preparation and good organization of returns in Novake. The first returnees, a total of 40, came in early spring. They have been housed in the rebuilt school building. An electrical distribution station has been built and they have electricity. The first fields have been plowed and sown. The houses under construction should be finished in June. That's when the first families are expected to move in. In fall the children would start school. This would be the first year of sustainable returns in Novake," says Nenad Radosavljevic, advisor to UN special representative Michael Steiner for returns.

What's new about Novake returns

Funds for returns to Novake in the amount of one million and three hundred thousand euros came from the German government. The location was carefully selected. The village has 450 hectares [1,125 acres] of very fertile land which can be irrigated. There are vineyards which are neglected but can be restored. Albanian Catholics, who are not extremely disposed toward the Serbs, live in the surrounding villages.

It is interesting, according to Radosavljevic, that the neighboring Albanians, former good neighbors of the farmers of Novake, lent the tractors to plow the first fields in Novake region. A German unit of KFOR ensured that the farmers' safety was at the necessary level. A German construction company was hired to build 62 houses in two months. The first returnees will be among those employed in the construction work. According to Radosavljevic, these are chiefly young and healthy people. They have the will and energy. They know what they want and they want to work. They will receive wages from the German company for their work on building houses. This is very important. From the very first days of their return, these people begin to live from their own work. This kind of return makes sense.

The returnees also have a van to go to Strpce for shopping. Even in Prizren the atmosphere is more normal than in other urban centers in Kosovo and Metohija. Muslims, Goranis and Turks are all living here... It is not unusual for Serbian to be spoken.... German KFOR units announced the return of Serbs to Novake to their neighbors as early as last year. The Germans made it clear, as they know how to do, what would happen - and it did. There were no unpleasant surprises.

In Radosavljevic's opinion, the Novake return project has a real chance of success.

The sooner, the better

Not far from Prizren, in the Zupa Valley, return projects are planned for Gornje Selo, Musnikovo, Sredska and the surrounding settlements. Recently Michael Steiner and associates visited the town of Prizren and the surrounding area. For the first time Steiner stated publicly that Serbs have every right to return where they lived prior to 1999. There are many factors on which Serb returns to Kosovo and Metohija depend but the most important is the attitude of KFOR and UNMIK. Steiner's statement in Prizren and KFOR's engagement in the village of Novake, says Radosavljevic, should serve as confirmation of the intent to make the return process better organized than before, to increase the numbers of people returning and to make it sustainable.

By its nature the return process is complex and involves the participation of UNMIK, KFOR, donors and NGO's as the organizers and in some places the executors of the project, as well as municipal commissions, regional and main task groups which approve the realization of the project. At the last meeting of the main task group 12 projects were proposed but only three were accepted. These were two projects for Roma returns and one for Serb returns, to Novo Selo near Vucitrn.

Based on this, says Radosavljevic, it would be easy to conclude that the work of the main task group for returns is not very effective. However, he reminds us, the process is being worked out and the meetings of the main task group are held, in principle, once every two weeks. At the next meeting, more than 20 new projects throughout Kosovo and Metohija will be presented to the members of the task group. It's important, says Radosavljevic, that viable projects are approved at the meetings of the main task group, that existing problems are pointed out and that "those responsible are empowered to resolve them" instead of the programs being delayed due to bizarre and easily resolved problems.

Radosavljevic cites the example of the program for returns to the villages of Siga, Brestovik and Ljevos funded by the Italian government. Now there is supposedly a dilemma whether the money should be "directed" to UNMIK so it can choose the construction companies which are to build houses and infrastructure in these villages, or whether it will go through NGO's, or whether the Italians themselves will engage the contractors.

Of course, funds are necessary to realize the return process. It was said that after the November donors' meeting in Brussels that at least 32 million euros will be spend this year on returns.

It should be added that this year will be the first in a new cycle of return programs to be realized with funds approved by the U.S. Congress. It is expected to approve, in addition to the existing five million dollars, an additional eight. However, the U.S. is advocating so-called "spontaneous individual returns". This approach, in Radosavljevic's opinion, needs to be adjusted to concrete conditions in Kosovo and Metohija, and the money invested in programs which can realistically be realized in a reasonable period. This will be discussed and agreed upon with NGO's and other organizations implementing programs using funds from the U.S. Congress.

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BALKAN LEADERS IN BELGRADE PLEDGE TO WORK TOGETHER ON THEIR COMMON PATH TOWARDS EU
The leaders
underlined that the regional stability and cooperation have been consolidated and advanced, and stress the need of respecting the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful solution of all the disputes. The Declaration points to the importance of respect of Dayton-Paris agreement and the Resolutions 1244 and 1345 of the United Nations Security Council that have been estimated as documents of vital relevance for the stability in the region.

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Radio Yugoslavia
BELGRADE, April 9, 2003

(photo: Balkan leaders trace new road towards Euro-Atlantic integrations)

The Sixth Summit of the Process of Cooperation of South-Eastern Europe, at which the leaders of Balkan countries are to have talks on the promotion of cooperation in the region, has begun in Belgrade. The summir is attended by heads of states or governments of eight Process member-states and by representatives of the EU, OSCE, NATO and the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe. Serbia and Montenegro President Svetozar Marovic said in his opening address that the summit was the best confirmation of the progress achieved in the region, but that there was much else to do on the course of South-Eastern Europe towards Euro-Atlantic integrations. The Belgrade meeting rounds off the one-year chairmanship of Serbia and Montenegro over the Cooperation Process and the Balkan leaders are to enact the Belgrade declaration, the text of which has been harmonized these days.

The chiefs of states or governments of the countries of the Process of Cooperation in the South-Eastern Europe, adopted at the end of their summit in Belgrade, a Declaration in which they point out to the necessity of fight against the organized crime for preservation of peace and stability in the region. The participants of the summit welcomed the efforts of the government of Serbia to continue the reform process. They underline that the regional stability and cooperation have been consolidated and advanced, and stress the need of respecting the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful solution of all the disputes. The Declaration points to the importance of respect of Dayton-Paris agreement and the Resolutions 1244 and 1345 of the United Nations Security Council that have been estimated as documents of vital relevance for the stability in the region. The document insists also on the necessity of full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, including arranging that all the indictees for war crimes are obliged to face the justice.

The historical process of unification of Europe cannot be finalized until all countries of the Balkans are not admitted into the European Union without any conditionalities - declared the President of Serbia and Montenegro, Svetozar Marovic, after the closing of the Belgrade summit of chiefs of states or governments of the countreis of the region. Marovic pointed out that this gathering represented a strong incentive for the continuation of cooperation in joint efforts for an early association with the European integrations. The Chair of the European Union, Greek Prime Minister Costas Tsimitis stressed the importance of fight against the organized crime adding that the Balkan countries had to make an additional effort in order to achieve the standards necessary for the membership in the Union.

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SERBIA - MONTENEGRO: STATE PRIORITY ADMISSION TO THE PARNERSHIP FOR PEACE PROGRAM
ERP KIM info service subarticle

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Radio Yugoslavia
April 9, 2003

Serbia and Montenegro Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic and the personal envoy of the NATO Secretary General, Gunther Altenburg, emphasized in talks in Belgrade that one of the priorities of the state union’s foreign policy was admission to the Partnership for Peace programme. As announced, Svilanovic and Altenburg concluded that admission of Serbia and Montenegro to the Partnership for Peace programme would help the stabilization of the situation in the region.

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RADIO YUGOSLAVIA: PRESS REPORT (KOSOVO AND METOHIJA)

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Radio Yugoslavia
April 9, 2003

All local media report today about the forming in Kosovo-Metohija of the Council for the Transfer of Competences from UNMIK onto Kosmet Institutions, in spite of the opposition by minority Serbs. More in the Press Review.

DANAS: TRANSFER OF AUTHORITIES COMMENCED

The DANAS daily writes that the Council for the transfer of some competences from UNMIK onto provisional Kosovo institutions, met yesterday in Pristina, which marked the official beginning of the process of granting wider competences to the Kosovo government. New competences transferred onto Kosovo institutions encompass economy and economic activities, while special rights in the field of foreign affairs and security remain in the competence of UNMIK Head Michael Steiner.

POLITIKA: NO SERB MINISTERS IN THE COUNCIL FOR TRANSFER OF AUTHORITIES

On this occasion the POLITIKA daily quotes that the Council for the Transfer of Competences consists of 7 representatives from both UNMIK and the Government of Kosovo. There are no Serbian ministers in the Council, as they stated they did not wish to contribute to the sliding of Kosovo towards independence by taking part in that body, and added that in present circumstances, competences were de facto being transferred onto Albanians.

GLAS: BELGRADE ANNOUNCES APPEAL TO THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL

Under the title BELGRADE ANNOUNCES APPEAL TO THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL, today’s GLAS daily writes that the Government of Serbia will address a request to the world organization to make an early analysis of the events in Kosovo- Metohija and return the current processes within the scope of the UN Resolution 1244. The daily quotes that in this moment there are no conditions for the transfer of competences onto Kosmet institutions, because the process of the return of Serbs and non-Albanians, expelled after the arrival of the international peace mission in June 1999, has not been realized yet. Also, neither safety nor freedom of move have been secured for minority national communities, and provisional institutions which are to take over additional competences, are neither competent nor multi-ethnic, emphasize Kosmet Serbs.

NOVICKI: HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION BELOW EVERY MINIMUM

In favour of this is also the statement of Marek Novitzki, the ombudsman for Kosovo-Metohija, who stated that the situation in the province in the field of human rights was below every minimum, quote local press. Novitzki stated that Serbs were not safe, had no freedom of move, neither other conditions for a normal life, and human rights of other minority communities in Kosmet were imperilled, too. The Ombudsman emphasized that the responsibility for such situation was on the UN Mission in Kosmet and the provisional provincial institutions. The admission of Serbia and Montenegro into the Council of Europe, made Kosovo a territorial part of this international association, said Novitzki, assessing that until the final solution of the status of Kosovo-Metohija, the filed of human rights remains, primarily, the obligation of UNMIK.

ALBANIANS ATTACK SERB IN GORAZDEVAC:

The press also writes about the new act of violence in Kosovo-Metohija, where, in the Serb village of Gorazdevac, in the vicinity of Pec, a group of Albanians attacked Svetislav Simonovic and stubbed him with a knife. He was given medical assistance by doctors of the Italian KFOR whose troops secure the village, and they detected he had been stubbed 5 times. After that, the villagers gathered in the center of that Serb enclave in the Municipality of Pec, in order to protest against the attack on their fellow villager.

At the same time, dailies write that on the occasion of the decision of UNMIK Head on the transfer of competences onto provisional Kosovo institutions, Kosovo Serbs announced a massive protest to be held today in Gracanica.

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ERP KIM Info-Service is the official Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren and works with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Artemije.
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