June 10, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 10-06-03

BISHOP ARTEMIJE WITH HIS PEOPLE IN QUEST FOR JUSTICE


Bishiop Artemije in quest for justice
photo: Premier of Serbia, Zoran Zivkovic, with Bishop Artemije, June 9, 2003

CONTENTS:

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 KOSOVO INSTITUTIONS


RADA TRAJKOVIC LOBBIES FOR NON-PARTICIPATION OF SERBS IN KOSOVO INSTITUTIONS

SERB MONTENEGRIN DEFENCE MINISTER CALLS FOR DELAY IN BELGRADE-PRISTINA DIALOGUE

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LETTER OF BISHOP ARTEMIJE TO SERBIAN PREMIER ZIVKOVIC ON DIFFICULT SITUATION IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

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June 7, 2003
GRACANICA MONASTERY

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 lives.

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 hell."

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

Artemije
Bishop of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija

*Kosovsko Pomoravlje - Eastern part of the UN administered Province of Kosovo (Gnjilane, Vitina, Kamenica area)

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PETITION OF THE SERB PEOPLE IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

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TO THE SERB-MONTENEGRIN
 GOVERNMENT IN BELGRADE

Petition of 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

Distribution:
- President of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro Svetozar Marovic
- Speaker of the Parliament of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro Dragoljub Micunovic
- 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 COMMUNITY


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 human rights;

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 delays.

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 against humanity;

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 own interests;

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

Distribution:
- Michael Steiner, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General
- Pascal Fieschi, OSCE Head of Mission in Kosovo and Metohija
- General Fabio Mini, KFOR Commander in Chief


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Kosovo Serb delegation with the
President of the Serbian Parliament Mrs. Natasa Micic, Belgrade June 9, 2003

HUNDREDS OF KOSOVO SERBS PLAN TO LEAVE FOR SERBIA FOLLOWING RECENT ATTACK ON SERBS

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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 crime.

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 Serbia.

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Kosovo Serb delegation with the
President
the deputy Premier of Serbia, Nebojsa Covic, Belgrade, June 9, 03

COVIC: GOAL OF ALBANIAN EXTREMISTS IS DEPARTURE OF SERBS FROM OBILIC

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Radio B92
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.

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SERB FAMILIES TO STAY IN OBILIC

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SERBIAN GOVERNMENT
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 Tuesday.

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.

Obilic 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.


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MURDER OF STOLIC FAMILY CONSEQUENCE OF POWER TRANSFER TO KOSOVO INSTITUTIONS

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SERBIAN GOVERNMENT
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 Serbian Parliament.

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.


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RADA TRAJKOVIC LOBBIES FOR NON-PARTICIPATION OF SERBS IN KOSOVO INSTITUTIONS

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RTS -NS
Belgrade, June 7, 2003

Rada 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."

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SERB-MONTENEGRIN DEFENCE MINISTER CALLS FOR DELAY IN BELGRADE-PRISTINA DIALOGUE

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B92 RADIO
Belgrade, 9 June, 2003

Federal Defense Minister Boris Tadic said today that it is not feasible to discuss the status of Kosovo before fundamental human rights are established in the province.

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 South-Eastern Europe.

"Discussions on status cannot be launched until some elementary standards are established, which includes the protection of human rights in Kosovo," he added.

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 Albania.

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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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