October 14, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 14-10-03


ETHNIC ALBANIAN DELEGATION IN VIENNA DOES NOT REPRESENT THE INTERESTS OF ALL CITIZENS OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija disassociates itself from the start from positions advocated by the ethnic Albanian delegation in Vienna

 

SERB NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release
Gracanica, October 14, 2003

The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija disassociates itself from the start from all positions or decisions presented by the members of the Kosovo delegation at the negotiations in Vienna. Since it is a monoethnic delegation comprised solely of Kosovo Albanians, it cannot represent the other national communities of Kosovo and Metohija, especially the Kosovo-Metohija Serbs, not even all political parties of the Kosovo Albanians. The positions of Ibrahim Rugova and Nexhat Daci can only reflect their personal positions or the positions of their political party, the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo.

The SNC KIM expresses its serious dissatisfaction with the recent statement of UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri that Ibrahim Rugova, as the president of Kosovo and Metohija, represents the "multiethnicity" of this Province. This highly irresponsible statement is at complete odds with reality for Mr. Rugova and Mr. Daci did not receive authorization from the Kosovo and Metohija parliament for participation in negotiations; on the contrary, the parliament rejected to offer its support for the negotiations in Vienna by a majority vote. Furthermore, no consultations whatsoever took place with representatives of the Serbian and minority national communities in Kosovo and Metohija in preparation to the talks in Vienna. Since the president of Kosovo is elected by the Provincial Parliament and that all Serb representatives in the Parliament voted against Ibrahim Rugova during the presidential elections, the members of the ethnic Albanian delegation in Vienna have a mandate to represent the interests of only a part of the ethnic Albanian community that for years has been openly promoting positions of separatism in Albanian ethnic particularism.

For all these reasons the present talks in Vienna can only be considered as a dialogue between the legitimate representatives of the Republic of Serbia, with the strong support of the Serbian and Serbia-Montenegro Parliaments, and the representatives of some of its citizens of Albanian nationality, certainly not with the authentic and legitimate representatives of all citizens in Kosovo and Metohija.

The decision of Kosovo and Metohija prime minister Bajram Rexhepi not to participate in the negotiations, as well as the refusal of the Kosovo and Metohija parliament to extend its support to dialogue with Belgrade, unfortunately reflects the fact that a significant number of Kosovo Albanians do not support dialogue as a method of resolving problems in Kosovo and Metohija, thus directly opposing the will of the international community and UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which foresees the resolution of all contestable issues through negotiations and without violence. This uncooperative position on the part of ethnic Albanian leaders is the result of their unwillingness to responsibly face the catastrophic situation of human rights and security with respect to the non-Albanian population, and accept the responsibility of enabling the return of all expelled Serbs, Roma and other displaced citizens. As well, the unwillingness to participate in dialogue, and the attempt to impose the proclamation of the independence of Kosovo as a pre-condition for dialogue, represents encouragement for Albanian extremist forces who are seeking to achieve the independence of the Province through attacks and persecution against the Serbian and other non-Albanian population.

The statement of Ibrahim Rugova that he will represent all citizens of the Province in Vienna represents a grotesque irony since Rugova is a politician who has never visited a single Serb enclave or ever publicly and clearly condemned the ethnic cleansing that has been intensively carried out against the Serb people for more than four years, or the vandalism to which the Serbian cultural and historical heritage has been exposed. Since his election as president of Kosovo and Metohija, Ibrahim Rugova has consistently acted as the president of only the ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija, while consistently ignoring the interests of other, non-Albanian citizens. Parliamentary speaker Nexhat Daci is well-known for his ethnic discrimination toward the Serb MPs in the Kosovo and Metohija Parliament, which was one of the reasons for their temporary withdrawal from the Parliament at the end of 2002. Consequently, for the Serbian community these two Albanian politicians lack both political and moral credibility to represent anyone in Vienna other than themselves and like-minded persons.

The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija also notes with regret that at the present talks in Vienna there is no representative of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija even though the difficult situation of the Serb community, which has been exposed to ruthless discrimination and ethnic violence for more than four years, is to be one of the key topics of the talks. The absence of Serb representatives from Kosovo and Metohija will reduce to a great extent the significance and scope of the talks, and make the finding of constructive solutions more difficult.

Regardless of all shortcomings of the negotiations in Vienna, the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija in essence supports the idea that all problems in the Province must be resolved through peaceful means and negotiations. Any imposition of solutions through blackmail and threats would endanger the citizens of Kosovo and Metohija, and the forcible changing of the state borders of Serbia through the eventual secession of its southern province would unavoidably lead to further destabilization of the entire region, new armed conflicts and the creation of ethnically cleansed territories, ultimately making the integration of this part of the Balkans into European and other international institutions even more difficult.

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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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