ERP KIM Newsletter
UN SC MEMBERS ENDORSE
MEASURES PROPOSED BY BELGRADE AUTHORITIES
Belgrade, August 20, 2003
Belgrade, Aug 20, 2003 - Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and President of
the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic said on his
return from New York that the United Nations Security Council condemned
criminal activity in Kosovo-Metohija during the past weeks, and added that
Security Council member states endorsed measures which the Serbian
government had proposed in order to bring stability to the province.
Covic told a press conference at Belgrade Airport that SC member states
changed their terminology after the latest events in Kosovo-Metohija,
making a distinction between extremism and terrorism. In line with that,
the UN SC will order UNMIK and KFOR to implement measures proposed by the
Serbian government, together with UNMIK's Decree 2001/12 which deals with
The president of the Coordinating Centre said that notwithstanding the
crimes committed in Kosovo-Metohija, Serbia should not expect that
Resolution 1244 will be implemented in the near future. Covic reiterated
that Belgrade is still willing to establish a dialogue with Pristina, and
to implement the Joint Document of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and
UNMIK, signed on November 5, 2001 in Belgrade.
Stressing how important it is for Serbs not to react to provocations of
Albanian terrorists and extremists, Covic said that violence in
Kosovo-Metohija would not stop overnight, and that the process of ending
the violence in the province would be difficult, and would take several
He warned that it was not the Albanian National Army, but the so-called
Kosovo Protection Corps which was dangerous, as it provides full
logistical support to all terrorist activities. He stressed that a
solution to the Kosovo problem will not be found until all those who
committed crimes are brought to justice.
Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Covic also met with the British ambassador
to the UN Security Council Emyr Jones Parry, and with his US counterpart
John D. Negroponte. They expressed expectations that the relationship
between Belgrade and Pristina would become one of equal partners.
OF DR. COVIC SPEECH AT THE SESSION OF THE UN SEC COUNCIL MEETING, New
York, August 18, 2003
Ladies and Gentlemen,
would like to thank you for responding positively to our initiative and
convening today’s Security Council meeting on Kosovo and Metohia. We are
gathered here today because of the hideous murder and wounding of innocent
children swimming in the river near their homes in Kosovo and Metohia.
Killed only because they were Serbs. Killed in order to send a message to
all the Serbs now living in Kosovo and Metohia that they must leave, that
there is no chance for reconciliation and the sort of multi-ethnic society
that UNSC Resolution 1244 and all of us foresee.
The massacre is by no means unique. Since peacekeepers arrived in Kosovo
and Metohia following a bombing campaign in 1999, there have been 6,013
attacks at Serbs, their cultural heritage, and their property. One
thousand twenty-one Serbs have been killed in these attacks. Fifty-two
Christian sacral relics have been demolished in these attacks, including
ten monasteries and churches from the fourteenth century. Fifty-five other
orthodox places of worship have been damaged and desecrated.
In Serbia, we are determined to cooperate with the International Community
not only in Kosovo and Metohia, but also in the region as a whole. In
Southern Serbia, for example, we have jointly built a model of
pacification and reconciliation. Ever since I was tasked with the job of
the President of the Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohia, we have
tried hard to cooperate with the International Community and its
institutions in the Province in the spirit of partnership and mutual
confidence. We have tried hard to help UNMIK and KFOR hoping that UNMIK
and KFOR will help us.
By the most recent escalation of terrorism, wounding and murder of the
children, in addition to daily intimidation and persecution of the
remaining Serbs in the Province, Albanian extremists and terrorists are
sending a message to the new Special Representative of the Secretary
General: every single decision he is going to make that does not meet
their expectations will result in new violence and destabilization of the
situation in Kosovo and Metohia.
Nevertheless, this brutal murder has to make us all wonder whether this
massive effort by the International Community will work, can work. Are the
forces of evil, of nationalism just too strong to be overcome? I
appreciate the actions of the SRSG to appoint a special prosecutor to
bring the perpetrators to justice and we will do all we can to help him.
At the same time, we all need to accept that crimes like this are not
really unique. They belong to a pattern of activity by a determined
minority of the Albanian population, which seeks to drive all Serbs out
from Kosovo and Metohia, and, of course, discourage any refugees and
internally displaced persons from returning. To bring the ethnic cleansing
of the Province to completion.
Is this an overstatement? I do not think so. Albanian people who had fled
Kosovo and Metohia before Milosevic’s regime returned back to their homes
in Kosovo and Metohia in a flash, rescued and assisted by the
international community. The whole process was completed in just a few
days. The Serbs who fled Kosovo and Metohia have been advised not to
return in groups but individually due to security, or, to be more accurate
- insecurity reasons. With the current pace of the returns, it will take
over a hundred years for the Serbs and other non-Albanians to return to
Albanians, who suffered terribly under Milosevic’s regime, who could be
our key interlocutors, watch brutal retaliations carried out by their
extreme compatriots in silence.
I strongly believe that the brutality and savageness are not something
that all Albanians approve. I base this belief on the tragic fate of the
Albanian leaders who have paid their disapproval of crimes with their own
lives. It is, therefore, clear to me why the majority of Albanians has
remained silent. And why only few Albanians, mainly politicians, have
faintheartedly condemned the crimes recalling, at the same time, the
Serbian crimes of the past.
In these distorted circumstances, UNMIK and KFOR have done less that they
could have. I am trying to understand the inertia of the representatives
of the international community. I can understand it, but I cannot acquit
An UNMIK police officer has been assassinated lately and numerous brutal
attacks have been carried out targeting the international peacekeepers. If
you carefully read between the lines, the following message is being sent
to the officers of the international mission: “Think well before you do
anything, we are watching you, any of you can be killed.” Thus, the staff
of the United Nations Civil Mission and all officers and personnel of the
international troops in Kosovo and Metohia have become hostages of
Albanian extremism and terrorism.
This disturbing outcome might have been avoided if the international
community, immediately upon termination of the armed conflict in Kosovo
and Metohia and bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, had applied same
standards in condemning both Serbian and Albanian crimes. So far, with a
single exception, only Serb perpetrators have been brought before the
judges of the Hague Tribunal. Albanian assassins have thus been silently
amnestied and transformed into the cast of untouchables, transformed into
I believe it is high time the international community looked back and
evaluated the results. We all must recognize, without any prejudice and
fear, that actions of Albanian extremist and terrorist groups represent
the main threat to the stabilization of Kosovo and Metohia and the region
as a whole.
Is the international community committed to justice and fairness, at any
cost? Is the international community determined to succeed in Kosovo and
Metohia or not?
The United Nations Mission, headed by Mr. Harri Holkeri, must now either
accomplish the results his predecessors have failed to achieve or
acknowledge its defeat. In this difficult endeavor, Mr. Holkeri can count
on our full support and assistance.
If we want to succeed, we must undertake vigorous and decisive measures
that would lead to fulfillment of the standards that have been agreed
upon, full and consistent implementation of the UNSC Resolution 1244,
major progress in return of internally displaced persons, and security and
freedom of movement of all ethnic communities.
Despite the commitment Belgrade and the Government of the Republic of
Serbia have shown thus far in regard to the establishment of a functional
multiethnic society in Kosovo and Metohia, we are legitimately concerned
that Albanian extremists and terrorists will use all means available to
prevent the accomplishment of this objective. Serbia has carried out all
measures it has committed itself to in order to bring the process of
stabilization in Kosovo and Metohia to completion.
The following urgent steps need to be taken in order to normalize the
situation in Kosovo and Metohia:
1. The international mission must send a clear message on its key
objectives by implementing fully UNSC Resolution 1244 and by building a
multi-ethnic and tolerant community with a solid economic foundation and
functioning provisional democratic institutions.
2. The international mission has to ensure that the implementation of UN
SC Resolution 1244 be equitable to all parties and all ethnic groups; and
that it does not favor one party or an ethnic group to the detriment of
another ethnic group.
3. The international security forces, if not enlarged, must at least be
kept on the current level. Their presence has to be more visible and well
targeted for preventive purposes. They have to be re-organized in order to
be able to address the problem of Albanian terrorist groups supported by
organized crime in a more efficient way.
4. It is necessary that KFOR and UNMIK ensure full protection of the
administrative line between central Serbia and Kosovo and Metohia from the
side of the Province, in full cooperation with the Army and police of
Serbia and Montenegro.
5. The international law enforcement officials must take a lead and be
more efficient in investigating ethnically motivated crimes and bringing
the perpetrators to justice.
6. UNMIK and KFOR should provide for full protection of witnesses so that
they may testify before court against persons indicted for criminal acts
and organized crime. It is necessary to encourage citizens to testify
against criminals without fear and ethnic bias.
7. A thorough and energetic disarmament of all citizens must be carried
8. It is necessary to ensure that all countries apply the same treatment
to the ANA which the SRSG proclaimed a terrorist organization. The fact
that ANA is differently defined either as a liberation or terrorist
organization is not good and becomes highly dangerous. It is necessary to
place it on the list of terrorist organizations and fully apply
international standards in the fight against terrorism.
9. In light of the crimes committed by individual members of the Kosovo
Protection Corps, a thorough investigation must be carried out leading to
its abolishment. Its key members, time and again, are implicated in crimes
such as bombing of the railroad bridge near Zvecan and assisting armed
insurrection in Macedonia. Their very existence shows certain hypocrisy:
sorrow about the death of innocent Serbs, but unwillingness to tackle some
of the root causes. As long as this organization exists, true
reconciliation will not be possible.
10. Perpetrators of war crimes must be indicted by ICTY and extradited to
The Hague, regardless of their present positions.
11. In tackling security challenges in the Province, such as organized
crime, terrorism, etc, the security forces in Kosovo and Metohia must
cooperate more closely with the security forces in the region, and with
the security forces of Serbia and Montenegro in particular.
12. Albanian political leaders must be prompted to implement their formal
support to returns, the democratization of the society, the rule of law,
and interethnic reconciliation by providing all necessary assistance to
all citizens in Kosovo and Metohia, regardless of their ethnicity.
13. Adequate measures must be taken against all officials of the
provisional institutions of self-government, regardless of their
ethnicity, who do not provide full and public support to the
14. Officials of the international presence in Kosovo and Metohia who
refrain from carrying out the aforementioned measures in the fight on
inter-ethnic violence, terrorism, and organized crime, must be held liable
for their actions and adequately reprimanded.
For all the proposed measures and standards, it is necessary to develop a
clear plan of set and measurable tasks and responsibilities specifying
those in charge of their implementation. Much the same, it is necessary to
set precise time frameworks, follow their realization, and objectively
assess the accomplished results.
If the international community fails in eradicating the factor of
instability in a powerful and surgical manner, if the measures it is going
to undertake are weak and insignificant, it will be responsible before
history for a resurrection of fascism in one part of Europe and creation
of a monstrous mono-ethnic Albanian para-state on the territory that is
legally recognized as a part of Serbia, i.e. Serbia and Montenegro, by the
United Nations documents. This would be an act of violence validated by an
act of violence.
Let me bring this address to closure by admitting that hope in me has not
died. Otherwise, I would have certainly taken the floor today as the
former President of the Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohia. I
profoundly regret that my hope cannot bring the children assassinated in
Gorazdevac to life, nor can it comfort the crippled ones. However, there
is one thing it can certainly do. It can keep the door of the dialogue
open for a bit longer.
I thank you for your attention.
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