ERP KIM Newsletter
BISHOP ARTEMIJE WITH
HIS PEOPLE IN QUEST FOR JUSTICE
Bishiop Artemije in quest
photo: Premier of Serbia, Zoran Zivkovic, with Bishop Artemije, June 9,
LETTER OF BISHOP ARTEMIJE
TO SERBIAN PREMIER ZIVKOVIC ON DIFFICULT SITUATION IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
PETITION OF THE SERBIAN
PEOPLE IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
AP: HUNDREDS OF KOSOVO SERBS PLAN TO LEAVE FOR SERBIA
FOLLOWING RECENT ATTACK ON SERBS
B92: COVIC: GOAL OF ALBANIAN EXTREMISTS IS DEPARTURE OF
SERBS FROM OBILIC
SERB FAMILIES TO STAY IN OBILIC
MURDER OF STOLIC FAMILY CONSEQUENCE OF POWER TRANSFER TO
RADA TRAJKOVIC LOBBIES FOR NON-PARTICIPATION OF SERBS IN
SERB MONTENEGRIN DEFENCE MINISTER CALLS FOR DELAY IN
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LETTER OF BISHOP ARTEMIJE TO SERBIAN PREMIER ZIVKOVIC
ON DIFFICULT SITUATION IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
June 7, 2003
To Serbia and Montenegro President Zoran Zivkovic
Dear Prime Minister,
Yesterday on the feast of the Spasovdan, on June 5, 2003, I visited
Kosovsko Pomoravlje*. After serving Holy Liturgy in Vitina, we spoke with
the people, with representatives of individual villages and schools... The
topic of discussion was the conditions under which these people have
survived for the last four years.
It is not my intent nor, indeed, is it possible to relay to you everything
that was discussed there. However, I feel it is my holy duty to partially
acquaint you, in the briefest of outlines, with the basic problems
encountered by these people (and not only by them) in their day to day
Four years ago the elementary school in Vitina had 1,000 pupils. Now it
has 44. They attend classes in a private house. A statistic painful enough
to bring tears to your eyes! The people complain of the general lack of
communication with their homeland, Serbia. They say they feel as if they
had been forgotten or abandoned. They also say there is a risk involved in
working the land as there have been repeated attacks in the Mogila area
and they are target of everyday provocations.
The people we spoke with are critical of both the Return Coalition
(Povratak) and the Coordinating Center of Kosovo and Metohija. They
believe both organizations are dealing with the consequences, not causes,
of their problems. Everyone is pained by the lack of unity in the Return
Coalition. Meanwhile, these people have lived in ghetto-like conditions
for four years.
Formerly there were 11,000 Serbs in Vitina municipality. Today there are
almost 2,300. Some 170 souls live in the town itself. In these four years
Vitina has had no fewer than 45 victims. And do we really know that this
is the final number?
The key problem for survival is the lack of employment. The social
situation in Vitina is catastrophic. A social welfare program from the
Coordinating Center and the State is of paramount necessity. Whether these
people will be able to remain or forced to go depends on it.
Salaries and money are the main problem. According to the Coordinating
Center large sums of money are being set aside for Pomoravlje but none of
it appears to be reaching the people. It is essential to verify and
control the flow of money, and to establish through whom it is coming and
to whom it is going.
Pomoravlje today, as someone summed it up is "Heaven transformed into
These are just elements of a horrible picture. He who does not see it for
himself can hardly understand it. And who in the Government has seen it? I
am writing you this letter so that those responsible can undertake the
necessary measures to correct these crying injustices and help these
heroic people to sustain themselves in their centuries-old homes.
In the hope of urgent and adequate action, I remain yours truly
Bishop of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija
*Kosovsko Pomoravlje - Eastern part
of the UN administered Province of Kosovo (Gnjilane, Vitina, Kamenica
OF THE SERB PEOPLE IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
GOVERNMENT IN BELGRADE
the Serb People of Kosovo and Metohija
The problems of the Serb people of Kosovo and Metohija, who during in the
last four years have experienced an exodus, disappeared and vanished from
the region from whose bosom sprang Obilic, the brothers Jugovic, Kosancic;
the region whose land owners are the medieval monasteries and churches
that Albanian terrorists are torching and destroying, in the hope of
torching and destroying the legacy we have guarded and protected for
centuries in Bogorodica Ljeviska, imperial Prizren, the Pec Patriarchate,
Decani, here in Gracanica; from where today we petition for protection
from those who have the full, sole and true right and responsibility to do
so: our homeland, our state.
1. We ask that the diplomats of Serbia and Montenegro work more
energetically in pointing out the errors and truths regarding Kosovo and
Metohija, because the situation on the ground does not correspond to the
reports of the representative of the United Nations mission.
2. We ask for consistent respect for the Kumanovo Agreement and the return
of military and police forces to a part of territory of a state that is a
signatory to the Dayton Agreement on the inviolability of borders.
3. We ask that the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Serbia
urgently schedule extraordinary sessions to discuss the solution of the
problems of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija.
4. We ask for the urgent establishment of institutions of government,
because the existing ones established by UNMIK are not able to offer
protection to all citizens.
5. We ask that the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija be
relocated from Belgrade to Kosovo and Metohija because problems should be
addressed where they originate. The seriousness of the situation requires
the objective consideration of this petition emanating from the
dissatisfaction of the people with the work of this body.
Serbs assembled at Gracanica,
On the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ-Spasovdan, June 5, 2003
- President of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro Svetozar Marovic
- Speaker of the Parliament of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro
- Speaker of the Serbian Parliament and Acting President of the Republic
of Serbia Natasa Micic
- Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Zoran Zivkovic
TO THE INTERNATIONAL
Petition of the Serb People of Kosovo and Metohija
From this mournful assembly on the feast of the Ascension of Our Lord
Jesus Christ or Spasovdan, we send this cry for the salvation of the Serb
people to the domestic and international public. While honorably
protecting and guarding their centuries-old homes and thresholds, the
Serbs are experiencing extermination by Albanian terrorists before the
eyes of the entire world. Our requests, articulated so many times before
at so many gatherings such as this, can be summarized in a few words:
GIVE US BACK OUR HUMAN RIGHTS,
GIVE US BACK OUR RIGHT TO LIFE!
1. We ask to live safely and move freely as foreseen by all conventions of
2. We ask, in accordance with the provisions of United Nations Security
Council Resolution 1244, that survival and the return of displaced persons
be made possible, the latter based on the principle of reciprocity, like
the Albanian community returned en masse, not individually and with
3. We ask for clearing up of the fates of kidnapped and missing persons,
and the bringing to justice of those guilty of any crime and crimes
4. We ask for an immediate stop to the process of transfer of authorities
to the provisional institutions of Kosovo and Metohija, to be replaced by
the establishment of an absolute protectorate in the Province;
5. We ask for immediate initiation of decentralization as promised and the
establishment of new municipalities in locations where Serbs are living in
order to provide us with access to institutions and the protection of our
6. We ask that the Serbian army and police be permitted to return in
accordance with UNSC Res. 1244 and the Kumanovo Agreement because it is
evident that KFOR, the UNMIK police and the Kosovo police are powerless to
protect us before the tide of terror, ethnic cleansing and genocide;
7. From Serbs who represent us and those employed in Kosovo, more
accurately, ethnic Albanian institutions we ask that they immediately
leave them so they can stop serving as window dressing for the false
standards they need to achieve their goal, which is the open aspiration to
create a second independent Albanian state in the Balkans, torn and
snatched from Serbia.
Serbs assembled at Gracanica,
On the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ-Spasovdan, June 5, 2003
- Michael Steiner, the Special Representative of the United Nations
- Pascal Fieschi, OSCE Head of Mission in Kosovo and Metohija
- General Fabio Mini, KFOR Commander in Chief
Kosovo Serb delegation with
President of the Serbian Parliament Mrs. Natasa Micic, Belgrade June 9,
HUNDREDS OF KOSOVO SERBS PLAN TO LEAVE FOR SERBIA FOLLOWING RECENT ATTACK
AP, June 9th 2003
BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - Hundreds of Serbs living in Kosovo said
Sunday they plan to leave the province in fear of more ethnically
motivated attacks, an official said.
The announcement followed an attack last Wednesday in which three Serbs
were hacked to death and their house set on fire. U.N., Serb and ethnic
Albanian officials condemned the attack in the town of Obilic as a hate
A group of about 400 Serbs living in Obilic told Belgrade authorities they
plan to leave Kosovo, said Momcilo Trajkovic, a Serbian government
official in charge of relations with the U.N.-controlled province.
The group demanded that the Serbian government establish a tent city for
them in central Serbia.
Relations between ethnic Albanians, which form the majority in Kosovo, and
Serbs remain tense following the 1999 NATO bombings that forced an end to
Serb troops' crackdown on ethnic Albanians. After the war, nearly 200,000
Serbs fled the province, fearing revenge attacks.
Serbs who remain in Kosovo largely live in isolated enclaves protected by
NATO-led peacekeepers, but Obilic, located 9 miles northwest of Pristina,
is one of Kosovo's few ethnically mixed towns. The group reiterated Sunday
that they want better security, saying NATO rejected a previous request.
But Finnish Maj. Asko Tanhuanpaa, a spokesman for the peacekeepers, said
the force had increased security in Obilic after the Wednesday attack by
increasing patrolling and setting up temporary checkpoints.
Trajkovic said he understood the Obilic Serbs.
"They deserve better protection, and U.N. and NATO are responsible for
that," Trajkovic told The Associated Press.
The Obilic Serbs also announced they would send their house keys to
Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic and Svetozar Marovic, the prime
minister of Serbia and Montenegro, a loose union that recently replaced
Yugoslavia. The Serbs said they expected the two officials to now guard
their homes, BETA news agency reported.
Wednesday's slaying was the worst attack since one in February 2001, when
a remote controlled explosive device destroyed a bus, killing 11 and
injuring more than 40 people as it carried Serb families into Kosovo from
Kosovo Serb delegation with
President the deputy
Premier of Serbia, Nebojsa Covic, Belgrade, June 9, 03
GOAL OF ALBANIAN EXTREMISTS IS DEPARTURE OF SERBS FROM OBILIC
June 8, 2003
BELGRADE - "The goal of Albanian extremists is the
departure of Serbs from Obilic, and I hope that we will not give in to
them," Coordinating Center head Nebojsa Covic told Radio B92 today. He
said that Serbia's jurisdiction in Kosovo is suspended and that the state
has no formal authority but that all political subjects from Serbia and
Montenegro must therefore put strong pressure on the international
community, which is responsible for the situation in the Province.
Covic said that he is in constant contact with
representatives of Serbs from Obilic and that he will also meet with them
tomorrow in Belgrade. "I am in constant contact with their representatives
and we will probably see each other on Friday in Belgrade. The meeting was
rescheduled because of the funeral in Obilic. I will receive their
delegation in the Serbian Government building on Monday, and I expect to
reach a concrete agreement with them at that time regarding what we, as
the Serbian Government, can do to help them. But believe me, I have no
intention of giving them false hopes. The approach will be strictly
realistic and I am certain that people will understand that, and that we
will reach an agreement so we can help them, to the best of our ability,"
said Covic for B92.
FAMILIES TO STAY IN OBILIC
June 09, 2003
Belgrade, June 9, 2003 - Following a meeting with Coordinating Centre for
Kosovo-Metohija head Nebojsa Covic at the Serbian government on Monday,
representatives of Kosovo Serbs from the town of Obilic said that they
will not leave their homes following the murder of the Stolic family and
that they agreed with Covic that Centre representatives visit Obilic on
The Coordinating Centre and representatives of the local Serb community in
Obilic will ask UNMIK and KFOR to establish safety and the freedom of
movement for Serbs throughout the municipality of Obilic, particularly in
central Obilic and Cerska Street, where the Stolic family lived.
Serbs leaving the province is exactly what ethnic Albanian extremist and
terrorist organisations want, said Covic, noting that 36 Serbs have been
killed and some 500 Serbian houses set ablaze in Obilic since June 1999.
According to Dragomir Stevic, a representative of Serbs from Obilic,
Cerska Street residents have no intention of leaving the province despite
poor safety conditions, but instead demand additional measures to improve
safety in the town.
Serbs: We Won't Leave Kosovo
BK TV, BELGRADE
Belgrade, June 9, 2003
Representatives of the Serbs from Obilic was talking today with Nebojsa
Covic, the Coordination Center Chief, and stated that they don't intend to
emigrate, because this is all that the Albanian extremists want.
Dragan Stevic, one of the Obilic Serbs representatives said that they
don't plan to emigrate from Kosovo, but to talk about the security
situation, while Mirce Jakovlevic said that if somebody wants to emigrate,
he won't ask for anyone's permission, simply, he will emigrate.
"We said very clear that the emigration of the Serbs from Kosmet is goal
of those who want this, and they are Albanian extremists and terrorists.
If we want Serbs to stay in Kosmet, there is a need to make some actions
and moves that will take effect on the field, not only to narrate stories.
Beside that, Serbian Authorities will demand from UNMIK and KFOR to
increase the security level and freedom of movement for all Serbs of
Obilic municipality. As an addition, Serbs should be organized, not
politicized," stated the Chief of the Coordination Center, Nebojsa Covic.
Michael Steiner, the UNMIK Chief welcomed the Kosmet Serbs decision not to
emigrate from Obilic, and promised that Serbs will be safer than before.
The UNSC tomorrow will hold an open session that marks fourth annual since
UN Forces took control over Kosovo and Metohija.
MURDER OF STOLIC FAMILY CONSEQUENCE OF POWER TRANSFER TO KOSOVO
June 09, 2003
Belgrade, June 9, 2003 - Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic said after
meeting with Serb representatives from Obilic that the transfer of UNMIK
authorities to Kosovo's interim institutions was a bad move which led to
the murder of the Stolic family, adding that the Belgrade authorities
think that this process should be stopped.
Prime Minister Zivkovic said that the safety of the Serb population in
Kosovo-Metohija is very poor, and voiced hope that the responsibilities of
UNMIK and KFOR, who under UN Security Council Resolution 1244 are tasked
with the protection of all Kosovo citizens, will be discussed at Tuesday's
Security Council session.
Zivkovic said that the Serbian government has fulfilled all its
obligations to the international community and UNMIK, but that it cannot
do more in the physical protection of Kosovo Serbs as Kosovo-Metohija is
administered by the international community.
The Prime Minister said that the government will examine the work of all
bodies and services in Serbia that work on the Kosovo-Metohija issue, and
added that the situation in the province should be discussed in the
Bishop of Raska and Prizren Artemije said that the Serb community in
Kosovo-Metohija is in great danger, especially in the area of Kosovsko
Pomoravlje. He underlined that four years after the arrival to the
province of international peacekeeping forces, there is still no peace and
safety for Kosovo Serbs.
TRAJKOVIC LOBBIES FOR NON-PARTICIPATION OF SERBS IN KOSOVO INSTITUTIONS
Belgrade, June 7, 2003
Trajkovic, a "Povratak" representative in the Kosovo parliament expressed
her regrets because the Serb institutions are postponing the opening of a
discussion regarding the problems in Kosovo and Metohija, at the same time
warning that the security situation of the Serbs that have remained in the
province is getting worse with every passing day. Trajkovic believe that
people should not waist their energy on subjects such as who will show
initiative in opening discussion on Kosovo.
In an interview for RTS TV station Trajkovic states: "To be honest with
you with in "Povratak" I belong to a group of people which strongly
lobbies for the fact that unfortunately our place is not in the Kosovo
parliament. This comes after the adoption of the declaration for the
"Freedom fight on Kosovo" which was adopted by the largely Albanian
majority institutions without them having any critics on the crime, the
murders, an the terror inflicted upon the Serbs. Especially after
yesterday's funeral (Stoic family) and these murders which in the past
dozen days are happening daily, we see that all of this serves the purpose
of forcing us not to be a part of these institutions. I can include many
other things such as the refusal of the Kosovo parliament to express its
condolences for the killed Serbs with a minute of silence, which will
contribute to my lobbying.
The Serb people are no longer looking for protection from the institutions
because they have never been enabled to institutionally secure themselves
a better position.
Believe me we are not just an ordinary opposition in the parliament. We
are an opposition of the independence, which is definitely being agitated
by the Albanian.
It would be very good if the International community does what they should
have done, and that is to disband the Kosovo parliament."
SERB-MONTENEGRIN DEFENCE MINISTER CALLS FOR DELAY IN BELGRADE-PRISTINA
Belgrade, 9 June, 2003
Defense Minister Boris Tadic said today that it is not feasible to discuss
the status of Kosovo before fundamental human rights are established in
Describing Kosovo as a hotbed of terrorism, Tadic warned that Belgrade had
received reports that terrorists were preparing attacks along the border
of "Greater Albania".
Tadic told media after a meeting with Romanian Defense Minister Ioan
Mircea Paşcu that terrorism was the greatest threat to peace in
"Discussions on status cannot be launched until some elementary standards
are established, which includes the protection of human rights in Kosovo,"
Tadic also warned that it was not realistic to expect that Serbian troops
would return to Kosovo in the near future.
UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which set up the international
administration in the province, provides for the return of no more than a
thousand Serbian troops to the province.
These, according to the resolution, would be deployed in guarding cultural
and historic sites, clearing minefields and securing border crossings with
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