May 17, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 17-05-03

CONTENTS:

KOSOVO LOCAL OFFICIALS BANNED FROM INT'L MEETINGS AFTER PRO-KLA VOTE

SNC STRONGLY SUPPORTS STEINER'S DECISION NOT TO ALLOW K/ALBANIAN REPRESENTATIVES TO PARTICIPATE IN INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS

HEADS OF THE US AND WEST-EUROPEAN OFFICES IN PRISTINA SUPPORT STEINER'S DECISION

NO RESPECT FOR RIGHTS OF KOSOVO SERBS, COVIC SAYS

SERBIAN DEPUTY PREMIER EXPECTS MORE TERRORIST ACTS IN KOSOVO

SERBIAN ASSEMBLY MEMBERS WARN OF DIFFICULT SECURITY SITUATION IN KOSOVO

SERBIAN PREMIER DEMANDS KOSOVO RESOLUTION

KOSOVO ALBANIAN ACCUSED OF DOUBLE MURDER

POLITIKA DAILY - COMMENT ON STATEMENT OF MARTIN DIXON
 

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KOSOVO LOCAL OFFICIALS BANNED FROM INT'L MEETINGS AFTER PRO-KLA VOTE
"I have to announce that the hosts of the international meetings... under these circumstances no longer consider it appropriate that the (Kosovan) Provisional Institutions are represented in the UNMIK delegations," Steiner said in a statement sent to AFP.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 15 May 2003

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, May 15 (AFP) - The top UN official in Kosovo said Thursday that the province's government, presidency and its lawmakers would be banned from a slate of upcoming international meetings following a ethnically divisive vote.

The move came after Kosovo's assembly passed a resolution recognizing the "war values" of the now disbanded ethnic Albanian rebel Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) that fought a separatist war against Yugoslavia in 1998-1999.

Michael Steiner, the head of the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), announced that in response the province's "president, assembly and the government respectively" would not be represented in three upcoming meetings of NATO and the European Union, after conferring with the two Western bodies.

"I have to announce that the hosts of the international meetings... under these circumstances no longer consider it appropriate that the (Kosovan) Provisional Institutions are represented in the UNMIK delegations," Steiner said in a statement sent to AFP.

The assembly resolution defines the KLA struggle as a "righteous war against Serb military, police and paramilitary forces for the liberation of Kosovo."

The body's 22 ethnic Serb lawmakers walked out of Thursday's session to protest the resolution being put on the agenda and passed by their majority ethnic Albanian colleagues.

"The resolution is divisive and is against reconciliatory spirit. Already, it has a divisive effect within the Assembly," Steiner said.

UNMIK has struggled to build a multi-ethnic society in the southern Serbian province, following the 1999 war. Although some progress has been made, suspicion and hostility still reign between the Serb minority and Albanian majority, largely separate communities.

Albanians who seek full independence from Belgrade view the KLA as liberators, while most ethnic Serbs who want the province to remain part of Serbia consider them terrorists.

Some 200,000 Serb fled the province after it came under UN and NATO control in 1999 fearing revenge attacks by ethnic Albanians. Those who have remained live in enclaves guarded by NATO-led peacekeepers.

Kosovo has an assembly and a government that deal with daily issues while decision-making on contentious issues such as security and the province's final status remain with the UN.

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SERBIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL SUPPORTS DECISION TO BAN PARTICIPATION OF K/ALBANIAN OFFICIALS AT INT'L MEETINGS
While political leaders in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia make strong efforts to distance themselves from the violent past and war crimes, in Kosovo and Metohija we see the complete reverse, SNC officials say. Ethnic Albanian leaders are not behaving like responsible politicians, but like chieftains sitting somewhere in the dark forests of Drenica. "This is inexcusable and deserves utmost condemnation by all democratic governments in the world," it was concluded at the SNC meeting.

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ERP KIM Info-Service
May 16, 2003

The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija strongly supported today the decision of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Kosovo Mr. Michael Steiner not to allow participation of Kosovo Albanian officials at important international meetings this month.

According to the SNC officials it would be incomprehensible to allow those who openly supported terrorism of the KLA and its criminal agenda to represent Kosovo-Metohija citizens at the upcoming meetings. After all, international representation of Kosovo Province is reserved for UNMIK and, according to UNSC Res. 1244, representatives of Kosovo institutions are not entitled to deal with international relations because the Province officially belongs to Serbia-Montenegro, despite its temporarily suspended sovereignty over the part of its territory. The latest resolution of the Kosovo Parliament is one reason more why such precedents should not be allowed.

While the entire democratic world is openly opposing terrorism and violence, leading Kosovo officials have supported an organization known for its terrorist and criminal agenda. As such, they have neither the political nor the moral credibility to represent Kosovo citizens who strongly disagree with their political positions. It would be scandalous for such leaders to use international forums to disseminate their retrograde and obsolete ideas.

While policial leaders in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia make strong efforts to distance themselves from the violent past and war crimes, in Kosovo and Metohija we see the complete reverse, SNC officials say. Ethnic Albanian leaders are not behaving like responsible politicians, but like chieftains sitting somewhere in the dark forests of Drenica. "This is inecusable and deserves utmost condemnation by all democratic governments in the world," it was concluded at the SNC meeting.

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HEADS OF US AND WEST-EUROPEAN OFFICES IN PRISTINA SUPPORT DECISION OF MICHAEL STEINER
Heads of offices of the US, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy in Pristina supported the decision of Head of UNMIK Michael Steiner not to allow the Kosovo institutions officials to participate at the upcoming international gatherings on the region on grounds of the yesterday’s Kosovo Parliament’s Declaration on recognition of struggle of the Albanian people for freedom and independence.

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RADI0 YUGOSLAVIA
May 16, 2003

Pristina - Heads of offices of the US, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy in Pristina supported the decision of Head of UNMIK Michael Steiner not to allow the Kosovo institutions officials to participate at the upcoming international gatherings on the region on grounds of the yesterday’s Kosovo Parliament’s Declaration on recognition of struggle of the Albanian people for freedom and independence.

The Assembly of Kosovo belongs to both Albanians and Serbs, and that institution is obliged to observe the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the Kosovo Constitutional Framework - foreign diplomats emphasize. They assess that the Parliament is not authorized to develop a declaration as adopted yesterday.


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NO RESPECT FOR RIGHTS OF KOSOVO SERBS, COVIC SAYS
Attending a session of the OSCE Permanent Council on Thursday, Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija head Nebojsa Covic expressed concern over UNMIK's transfer of powers to non-democratic, mono-ethnic institutions in Kosovo, adding that there is no safety or respect for the rights of Serbs and other non-Albanians in the province.

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SERBIAN GOVERNMENT
May 15, 2003

Vienna, May 15, 2003 - Attending a session of the OSCE Permanent Council on Thursday, Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija head Nebojsa Covic expressed concern over UNMIK's transfer of powers to non-democratic, mono-ethnic institutions in Kosovo, adding that there is no safety or respect for the rights of Serbs and other non-Albanians in the province.

"Young Serbian democracy needs to establish partnership with the international community, which it enjoys on all issues but one - Kosovo," said Covic.

He called for a constructive dialogue on the moral issues that burden the relations of the two main ethnic communities in Kosovo, rather than talks on the final status of the province.

Covic also called on OSCE member states to support and aid Serbia, saying that every step to be taken in Kosovo must be careful and agreed by all parties.

According to him, the key issues for building confidence and creating a multiethnic society include the return of refugees, the freedom of movement, and resolving the problem of missing persons.

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SERBIAN DEPUTY PREMIER EXPECTS MORE TERRORIST ACTS IN KOSOVO
Covic emphasised that the terrorist Albanian National Army was given all the logistics by the Kosovo Protection Corps and proposed that a joint letter be addressed to international institutions and officials in which it is to be demanded that further transformation of the Kosovo Protection Corps into the so-called Kosovo defence forces not be allowed and that the unit be reduced to an organization which is to be engaged in problems caused by natural disasters.

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TANJUG, Radio YU
May 16, 2003

Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Coordination Centre for Kosmet Nebojsa Covic said that even more violent terrorist actions by the Albanian National Army were to be expected in Kosovo-Metohija.

The terrorist act of blowing up the bridge in Zvecan was committed by Hamza Behrami, member of an engineering unit of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), who was killed in that action, Covic told a joint session of the Serbian parliament committees for Kosovo-Metohija and security.

He emphasized that the terrorist Albanian National Army was given all the logistics by the Kosovo Protection Corps and proposed that a joint letter be addressed to international institutions and officials in which it is to be demanded that further transformation of the Kosovo Protection Corps into the so-called Kosovo defence forces not be allowed and that the unit be reduced to an organization which is to be engaged in problems caused by natural disasters.

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SERBIAN ASSEMBLY MEMBERS IN KOSOVO WARN THAT SECURITY SITUATION IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA IS AT THE LOWEST LEVEL POSSIBLE
At a joint session, the committees decided to demand of all the relevant international officials that the number of KFOR and UNMIK members should not be reduced until full security for all the citizens of the Province has been established.

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Radio YU
May 16, 2003

The Serbian Assembly respective committees for defence and security and for Kosovo-Metohija assessed that the security situation in Kosmet is at the lowest level possible and accused UNMIK and KFOR of being responsible for the situation.

At a joint session, the committees decided to demand of all the relevant international officials that the number of KFOR and UNMIK members should not be reduced until full security for all the citizens of the Province has been established.

On the occasion of UNMIK Head Michael Steiner’s regulation on privatization in Kosovo and the Resolution on the Recognition of the Liberation War of the Kosovo people adopted by the Kosovo parliament on Thursday, the president of the Coordination Centre for Kosovo-Metohija, Nebojsa Covic, stressed that all the international factors should be addressed in order that that perilous procedure be condemned and prevented.

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SERBIAN PREMIER DEMANDS KOSOVO RESOLUTION
It's difficult to carry out reforms if you don't have control over a part of your territory where organised crime has been legalised, where human rights are constantly violated and where the international community has done little to improve the situation," Zivkovic said in an interview.

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Reuters, May 16, 2003


BELGRADE -- Friday - Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic has accused the international community of doing little to tackle organised crime and human rights abuses in Kosovo.

Zivkovic, who succeeded close ally Zoran Djindjic after his assassination in March, also told Reuters late on Thursday that Serbia would continue cooperating with the UN war crimes tribunal and hand over all fugitives found on its territory.

But, he said, the unresolved issue of Kosovo's final status meant his government could not fully implement democratic changes begun after the ousting of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

"It's difficult to carry out reforms if you don't have control over a part of your territory where organised crime has been legalised, where human rights are constantly violated and where the international community has done little to improve the situation," Zivkovic said in an interview.

Djindjic had wanted a start to talks on Kosovo's status this June, four years after the UN took control. He argued Kosovo was drifting towards the independence demanded by its majority Albanian population.

But Western officials say it is too early to address such a sensitive issue.

"We are in an absurd situation here, where the international community expects us to help in solving the Kosovo problem by not mentioning it," Zivkovic said.

After NATO and the United Nations moved into Kosovo, some 180,000 Serbs fled from a wave of attacks by ethnic Albanians and few have returned. Although the attacks have declined, UN officials acknowledge that Serbs have little freedom of movement.

Organised crime such as cigarette smuggling and trafficking of women for prostitution has also flourished in post-war Kosovo. UN officials say they are cracking down and the problem is prevalent across the Balkans, not just in Kosovo

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KOSOVO ALBANIAN ACCUSED OF DOUBLE MURDER

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Beta News Agency
May 16, 2003


PRISTINA -- Friday – Kosovo national judo team selector Driton Kukaj, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of a double murder, not war crimes as reported earlier, a UNMIK spokesman said today.

Kukaj is suspected of being involved in the murder of two members of the Zeqiraj family and the attempted murder of a third family member.

UNMIK spokesman Andrea Angeli told media that the murders were committed in December 2001, after the end of the war.


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POLITIKA DAILY COMMENTS STATEMENT OF MARTIN DIXON WHO SUPPORTED SERBIAN STANCE ON PRIVATIZATION IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

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Radio Yugoslavia
May 16, 2003

Under the title SERBIA IS RIGHT, the Belgrade daily POLITIKA, quotes the statement of Martin Dixon, a British Cambridge University professor of international law, on the occasion of the dispute between Belgrade and the Head of the UN Administration in Kosovo, Michael Steiner, regarding the administration of state property. British professor Dixon considers that Serbia has valid arguments to initiate this question at the Security Council.

The disputed is the Decree according to which Steiner considers to be able to rent real estate and movable goods belonging to the state, to private persons on a 99-years term lease, which, in fact, represents a transfer. Steiner also considers that this will create conditions for privatization and the official Belgrade - that in this way, Serbia’s state property is, in fact, being extorted. According to professor Dixon, a key word here is in the Item 6 of the 1999 Decree, reading that the UN Special representative has the right to administer the property of Yugoslavia and Serbia in Kosovo.

The essential question is, therefore, whether giving of that property as a 99-year lease is considered as administration of that property or it’s transferring. If I were to decide on that issue as a legal one, I would probably try to prove that a transfer of property is at issue, and not administration, emphasized British professor of international law at Cambridge University. Professor Dixon also emphasizes that if he were in the place of the Serbian Government, he would claim that the UN special representative had no authorisation to issue a Decree transferring the state property in Kosovo.

I would open this question at the UN Security Council and I would be proving there that the leasing of property for such a long term is not administration but transferring of property. I would be requesting the Security Council to order the special representative to withdraw the Decree. I think that this is the only legal remedy because the Security Council is the one to define competences of the UN special representative in Kosovo and has the right to control him, assesses Martin Dixon, the international law professor at Cambridge University.


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