June 14-15, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 14-06-03

CONTENTS:

STATEMENT BY THE SERB-MONTENEGRIN AMBASSADOR AT THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING ON KOSOVO AND METOHIJA, June 10

BELGRADE - PRISTINA TALKS AFTER THESSALONICA

BELGRADE-PRISTINA DIALOGUE TO BE PREPARED IN COOPERATION WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

SERBIAN PATRIARCH APPEALS TO UN SECURITY COUNCIL AND EU TO ENSURE HUMAN RIGHTS FOR SERBS AND NON-ALBANIANS IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

SERB AVOIDS DEATH AFTER ATTACK FROM ALBANIANS

COVIC OFFERS VIRTUAL SELF-RULE TO KOSOVO SERBS

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

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



UN Security Council meeting on Kosovo and Metohija
New York, June 10, 2003 (photo FoNet)

STATEMENT BY THE SERB-MONTENEGRIN AMBASSADOR AT THE UN SECURITY  COUNCIL MEETING ON KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

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Security Council
10 June 2003
As delivered



STATEMENT
by
H. E. Mr. Dejan Sahovic
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative of Serbia and Montenegro
to the United Nations



Mr. President,

Exactly four years ago, the Security Council passed Resolution 1244 to chart the way towards durable peace in Kosovo and Metohija. At the time, a future without the fear of persecution was envisaged through the establishment of a multiethnic, democratic and lawful society in which civil, political and human rights of all would be ensured.

While confirming the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the FRY, now with the changed name Serbia and Montenegro, the Resolution aimed to prevent new conflicts, create a secure environment for refugee and IDP returns, demilitarize the KLA and establish substantial autonomy and self-government.

What has been achieved, Mr. President?

There is peace in Kosovo and Metohija - if peace can be defined solely as the absence of war. However, security exists selectively, for the majority but not for the minorities. Again, freedom of movement is the privilege only for the majority. The fate of more than a thousand missing Serbs has not yet been resolved. There is little stability to speak of. Almost a quarter million IDPs from minority communities cannot return, primarily the Serbs that fled the Province at the time of UNMIK and KFOR arrival.

Although a senior official from the provisional institutions of Kosovo and Metohija recently attempted to explain this failure by quoting high unemployment rates, facts point in a different direction. A gruesome example of the real cause for absence of returns was the bludgeoning to death of two eighty-year-olds and their son in the town of Obilic on June 4. They were natives of Obilic, who had placed their trust in the international administrators of the Province to ensure their safety.

My Government acknowledges the many expressions of condemnation and outrage this atrocity has generated. We especially appreciate a quick reaction of the Security Council to this gruesome crime. We also note, in stark difference to previous murders of minority members, the formation of a special police squad to investigate the killing and the offer of a cash reward for information leading to the perpetrators. It has been stated within the Council and outside it that acts such as the Stolic murder, are directed against returns, against ethnic reconciliation and against the creation of a multiethnic society. This is true. However, given the fact that all forms of violence against minorities – including terrorist attacks – have thus far garnered only verbal condemnation it is unclear what arguments could be offered to 18 Serb families in Obilic to reconsider their decision to leave the town forever? And whose ultimate victory will that be?

Security, of course, cannot be achieved by words. The fact is that the perpetrators of this atrocity have not been identified, much less brought to justice. The fact is also that the investigation of the murder of a mathematics professor, Zoran Markovic, in Vitina on May 17 has not made any progress that we are aware of. The same is true of the cases of 90-year old Slavko Stamenkovic who was brutally beaten in his home in Vitina on May 21, and the stoning of a bus driving Serb children near Mitrovica on May 6.

If now the perpetrators are not speedily brought to justice, as they have not been in previous cases of interethnic murder since 1999, this killing will serve to strengthen the culture of impunity surrounding the violence against minorities. It will offer further evidence that minorities, particularly the Serbs, do not enjoy the basic human right to life, let alone any other rights.

We therefore call on the Security Council to see to it that UNMIK, in accordance with its responsibilities defined four years ago ensure that violence is not, yet again, confirmed as a legitimate political means in Kosovo and Metohija. In the absence of this outcome, the latest atrocity will be a further setback in creating sufficient confidence for initiating a dialogue on practical issues – a dialogue whose establishment my Government has consistently supported and called for. So far Priština rejected all initiatives in this connection.

Mr. President,

UNMIK, we are all aware, has its own list of achievements in implementing SCR 1244. The wave of 1999 Kosovo Albanian refugees was reversed very quickly, elections were held and the PISG established, leading to the increasing transfer of responsibilities to local authorities.

However, these institutions have proven to be more efficient in insisting on their right to decide on foreign policy and defense matters, on ignoring minority rights – as witnessed by the Law on higher education - on pressuring for independence, on creating ethnic divisiveness – as in the most recent Assembly Resolution which called for regulating the "status of the fighters for the freedom and independence of Kosovo".

As part of this trend, the KPC, officially designated a civilian emergency organization, has retained and enhanced military capacities. It is engaged in tireless efforts to preserve itself as a future army of an independent Kosovo. The activities of ANA terrorists within the KPC were confirmed without a shred of doubt in the April 12 railway attack in northern Kosovo and Metohija. UNMIK and KFOR demands for data on ANA presence within the KPC were met by the highly characteristic response of the Corps' commander - within his limited powers, he said, he could offer no more information.

We fully expect prompt and visible results of the international Special Investigative Civil Board formed on June 2 to investigate the current and future members of the KPC who may be involved with proscribed organizations or activities.

Mr. President,

In such overall conditions, UNMIK developed a strategy based on the principle of standards before status, defining eight basic criteria for assessing progress in achieving the standards. In each of these eight areas (e.g. the rule of law), substantive achievements are almost negligible. Yet UNMIK is speedily and systematically continuing to transfer responsibilities to the PISGs.

We consider it absolutely necessary to make these benchmarks operational, in line with repeated requests of SC members. If the aim is truly to establish institutions functioning according to basic principles of democracy, the transfer process should be firmly conditioned on the PISGs' capacities to responsibly exercise the authority entrusted to them for the benefit of all communities in the Province.

With regard to the benchmarks, in some cases UNMIK itself is actually not contributing to their implementation. A stated UNMIK benchmark dealing with property rights requires that "all property, including… land, enterprises and other socially owned assets, will have a clear and rightful owner". UNMIK Regulation 2003/13 is clearly not a step towards fulfilling this benchmark. Rather, it creates additional confusion.

By promulgating Regulation 2003/13 on land use UNMIK has in fact taken steps that exceed the authority conferred on it by the Security Council. The regulation creates consequences of a structural and permanent character. A 99-year land lease is brushed away as a "temporary measure" that does not merit consultation with the land owners. That disregards the basic fact that the measure will by far exceed the term of the UN administration itself. We are speaking here of a permanent transfer of socially-owned property and to a large extent the property of the Republic of Serbia. The Regulation will also jeopardize the return of property nationalized after the Second World War to their rightful owners.

On May 16, we requested an explanation of the legal basis for this Regulation from the UN+ Legal Counsel. To date, we have received no response. My Government is looking forward to the Counsel's response in order to decide on the further course of action on this issue. In any event, our firm view is that the term of land lease could not exceed the term of UNMIK.

Mr. President,

It is the position of my Government, as stated in Foreign Minister Svilanovic's May 20 letter to the President of the SC, that the necessity for privatization in Kosovo and Metohija is undisputable. The method of establishing a privatization model without the participation of the Republic of Serbia as the largest creditor is, however, highly disputable. According to the KTA model, the burden of privatization, primarily the sovereign debt of close to 1.5 billion dollars, falls squarely upon the budget of Serbia, on Serbian companies which are creditors or owners of soon-to-be privatized enterprises in Kosovo and Mehohija, then on Serbian banks-guarantors and finally on workers who are currently displaced.

Among other obvious consequences, this model is certain to adversely affect the return of IDPs.

However, nothing but the loss of life is irreversible. We expect that these legitimate concerns will be addressed prior to the full implementation of the process of privatization. We stand ready to further discuss these issues with UNMIK.

Mr. President,

My country has fully complied with the SCR 1244. In the last two and a half years, we have consistently demonstrated the political will to constructively participate in its implementation, as evidenced by our support of the electoral process in 2001 and 2002 and our active participation in formulating the Common document on cooperation with UNMIK of November 2001.

Efforts to cooperate with UNMIK have, to a great extent, been a one-way process. We expect channels of cooperation to be reestablished in the near future. A constructive policy of transparency by UNMIK – including in the privatization process - will be a necessary new element in future communication between our Government and the UN interim administration.

There seems, Mr. President, to be common agreement that the work in Kosovo and Metohija is far from done. Stability and prosperity is our shared aim. However, as the Secretary-General stated on the occasion of the adoption of Resolution 1244, what counts is not just the commitment to peace, but the will to implement it. The will of my country to participate constructively in this process is something I can assure the Council of.

Thank you Mr. President.

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BELGRADE - PRISTINA TALKS AFTER THESSALONICA

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Radio B92
June 13, 2003

Belgrade - Following his meeting with UNMIK chief Michael Steiner, Serbian PM Zoran Zivkovic has announced that talks between the Belgrade government and the Pristina administration are to be launched after this month's EU summit in Thessalonica.

The PM said: "The Serbian Government's stance is that these talks should begin any time, other than in Thessalonica, and I don't think there are any differences of opinion concerning this matter.

"We agreed on this timing with Mr. Solana as well, and I expect these talks to start after the Thessalonica meeting. We proposed that talks be held in Belgrade, but we accept a different opinion that it doesn't have to be Belgrade, and we leave it up to the European Commission to decide on the location."

He continued: "We will once again inform the EU that we want this process to start, but the Thessalonica meeting is no place for a soap opera or for Hollywood, which would boil down to some handshakes. We want to talk about serious things, not to get acquainted".

In addition to Belgrade-Pristina talks, Zivkovic and Steiner also addressed the security situation in the province following the recent Obilic triple murder.

Afterwards the PM insisted that an agreement had not been reached regarding the security of minorities in the southern Serbian province, saying:

"UNMIK still doesn't have concrete information on the killers of the Stolic family from Obilic and I agreed with Steiner on closer cooperation between the Serbian Interior Ministry and UNMIK and a daily exchange of information".

Insisting that their top priority was to identify the perpetrators of the crime, Steiner explained that a special investigative unit had been formed following the Obilic murders.
He admitted that UNMIK still do not know who the killers are and are not in a position to guess the outcome of the police investigation.

Agreeing with Zivkovic on the need to protect minorities, particularly Serbs, Steiner promised that police protection would be increased wherever necessary.

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BELGRADE-PRISTINA DIALOGUE TO BE PREPARED IN COOPERATION WITH INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

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SERBIAN GOVERNMENT
June 13, 2003

Belgrade, June 13, 2003 - Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic and Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic sent a letter to the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, saying that the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina on issues such as return, safety and decentralisation must be carefully prepared and launched after the Thessaloniki summit.

The two officials said in the letter that the Serbian government is determined to support the building of a democratic and multiethnic society in Kosovo-Metohija, and that the international community should engage itself in the preparation of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

The Serbian government stated in the letter that the dialogue should be launched after the Thessaloniki summit, and that the main issues should be the return of refugees and displaced persons, safety and decentralisation.

Talks between representatives of the Serbian government and Kosovo's interim institutions at the Thessaloniki summit will not lead to progress in resolving the Kosovo crisis because it will be short and formal.

The role and support of the European Union is very important for the preparation of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. For that reason, the Serbian government has invited Mr Solana to visit Belgrade after the summit, in light of his contribution to the establishment of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, and its integration into Europe.

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SERBIAN PATRIARCH APPEALS TO UN SECURITY COUNCIL AND EU TO ENSURE HUMAN RIGHTS FOR SERBS AND NON-ALBANIANS IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

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Radio Yugoslavia
Belgrade, June 13, 2003

Serbian Patriarch Pavle appealed to the UN Security Council and EU High Representative Javier Solana to ensure basic human rights to Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo-metohija and to provide humanitarian aid to those expelled from the Province.

Emphasizing that the state of Serbia has no possibility whatever to control this part of its territory, as provisions of Resolution 1244, which entitle it to do so, are nothing but a dead letter, Patriarch Pavle says he cannot accept the fact that Serbs from Kosovo-Metohija have been exluded from the law, which has been witnessed by the entire planet.

The refugees remained without basic life conditions, whereas those who have stayed in Kosovo-Metohija are in constant fear for their lives, Patriarch Pavle warns.


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SERB AVOIDS DEATH AFTER ATTACK FROM ALBANIANS

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RADIO KIM
June 13, Gnjilane,  2003

Two Albanian attacked a Serb from Pasjane. Dusan Ristic who was the victim of this incident was attacked in the vicinity of the village while he was tending his cows.

As Ristic told KIM Radio the assailants were wearing masks and had knifes in their hands. Ristic managed to somehow escape the assailants. The incident has been reported to the Kosovo Police (KPS).

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COVIC OFFERS VIRTUAL SELF-RULE TO KOSOVO SERBS

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Beta News Agency
Belgrade, June 13, 2003


BELGRADE -- Friday – Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic today outlined plans ensuring Kosovo-Serbs would be institutionally connected to the governments of the state union through regional, municipal and local coordinators.

Following his Belgrade meeting with representatives of the Kosovo, Pec and Prizren districts, the head of the Coordination Centre for Kosovo and southern Serbia explained that he had relayed the details of how the network of the Serb national community in Kosovo and displaced Kosovo-Serbs would operate.

According to Covic, the regional municipal and local coordinators would form genuine institutions within the Serb community's self-organising system, which they are entitled to do in accordance with UN Resolution 1244 and the Constitutional Framework for Kosovo.

Covic said that the new system would be directly connected to the state union governments and the Coordination Centre.

He added that future appointments of coordinators would be made by the Kosovo Serb Return Coalition and other Serb political structures in the province.

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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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