June 30, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 30-06-03

HERE WE GO AGAIN.... SERB CEMETERY IN VITINA DESECRATED - WAR AGAINST THE DEAD CONTINUES


a common scene in Serb Orthodox cemeteries around Kosovo-Metohija
(Zociste monastery)

CONTENTS:

15 MORE TOMBS DESECRATED AT THE ORTHODOX CEMETERY IN VITINA

TWO ANALYSES OF THE KOSOVO STATUS ISSUE:

POLITIKA - INDEPENDENT KOSOVO AND METOHIJA IS NOT SOLUTION, Fr. Sava
ANALYSIS: GAMES SURROUNDING KOSOVO, By Srdja Trifkovic

OTHER NEWS FROM KOSOVO AND METOHIJA:

ROBERTSON IN PRISTINA - TIME FOR SECURITY PROGRESS
SPEECH BY NATO SEC-GEN LORD ROBERTSON AT ARRIVAL OF NAC TO KOSOVO
BELOS: ATTACKS ON SERBS ORGANIZED IN A SINGLE HEADQUARTERS
REMAINS OF THREE MURDERED SERBS TURNED OVER TO FAMILIES
AFP: HALF A MILLION BULLETS SEIZED AT GREEK-ALBANIAN BORDER
MICHAEL STEINER'S MANDATE FINISHING TODAY - STEINER TO STEP DOWN BEFORE BELGRADE DIALOGUE

 

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15 MORE TOMBS DESECRATED AT THE ORTHODOX CEMETERY IN VITINA

According to Fr. Dragan Kojic the situation of the Serb community in Vitina has not improved and is in fact much worse than before. Presently only 150 Serbs live in the town and a few families have already announced that they would have to leave their homes due to pressures and threats from local Albanians.

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ERP KIM INFO SERVICE
JUNE 29, 2003

VITINA - Father Dragan Kojic from Kosovska Vitina informed Diocese of Raska and Prizren today that unknown attackers desecrated again the Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Vitina. On June 27, 2003, after a visit to a family tom Nenad Zivkovic from Vitina noticed that 15 more tombstones at the cemetery were damaged by unknown attackers. The tombstones were overturned and some of them were smashed into peaces. Also the fence of the cemetery was damaged.

Fr. Dragan and the UNMIK local community officer visited the cemetery the same day and confirmed the damage which was made. Fr. Kojic urgently requested from UNMKIK to help him repair the fence. UNMIK representatives agreed to assist Serbs in repairing the fence but no additional security measures were undertaken. The cemetery in Vitina was attacked several times before. In these attacks dozens of tombstones were damaged.

According to Fr. Dragan Kojic the situation of the Serb community in Vitina has not improved and is in fact much worse than before. Presently only 150 Serbs live in the town and a few families have already announced that they would have to leave their homes due to pressures and threats from local Albanians. This fact as well as other information which the Diocese of Raska and Prizren receive from their local parish priests in Kosovo Pomoravlje and elsewhere in Kosovo are in dramatic opposition to the official statements of some UNMIK and KFOR representatives who claim that the security situation for Kosovo Serbs has been steadily improving.

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ANALYSES:

POLITIKA: INDEPENDENT KOSOVO IS NOT SOLUTION
CREATION OF BALKAN MINI BANANA REPUBLICS IS NOT INEVITABLE

It is very difficult to believe that a happy society of Albanians and Serbs will be established with the formation of an independent state. It is far more realistic that the proclamation of the independence of Kosovo and Metohija would only speed up the exodus and agony of the Serb people. Following the same logic, shouldn't we expect Spain to renounce the Basque Provinces, France to renounce Corsica and Italy to renounce the south Tyrol? Serious European countries don't solve problems of this sort by territorial amputation.

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Politika daily, Belgrade
June 26, 2003

By Fr. Sava Janjic
Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren
Kosovo and Metohija

(the text is written as an answer to an article written in the 23 of June issue of Politika by Aleksandar Lojpur, human-rights lawyer, who supported idea of independent Kosovo as invevitable solution)

It is very difficult to believe that a happy society of Albanians and Serbs will be established with the formation of an independent state. It is far more realistic that the proclamation of the independence of Kosovo and Metohija would only speed up the exodus and agony of the Serb people. Following the same logic, shouldn't we expect Spain to renounce the Basque Provinces, France to renounce Corsica and Italy to renounce the south Tyrol? Serious European countries don't solve problems of this sort by territorial amputation.

The views of Aleksandar Lojpur, an attorney and member of the Commission for Truth and Reconciliations, in the article "Accepting the inevitable" (Politika, June 23) stem from a fundamental ignorance of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija and encourage the idea of a ethnically based partition, which represents a dangerous anachronism for the future united Europe.

Lopjur's conviction that the Kosovo problem will "inevitably" finish with the establishment of "an independent Albanian-Serbian state of Kosovo, where equality for all citizens will be ensured..." is an illusion based on unrealistic wishes, not hard facts.

A superficial review of events in the Province in the last four years clearly show that there is no multi-ethnic society for all citizens (regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliations) being built here but an ethnically cleansed state tailored to the needs of the majority Albanian Muslim population. Since UNMIK administration and the presence of 40,000 KFOR soldiers failed to create minimal living conditions for citizens of Serb nationality or the return of over 230,000 displaced persons, it is very difficult to believe that a happy society of Albanians and Serbs will be established with the formation of an independent state. It is far more realistic that the proclamation of the independence of Kosovo and Metohija would only speed up the exodus and agony of the Serb people and finish the process of systematic destruction of Orthodox culture existing for centuries in this region.

Post-war continuation of ethnic violence, discrimination in every shape and form and the complete lack of vision of a democratic society among Albanian politicians, even the "moderates," leaves no room for doubt that not one citizen of Serb nationality will be able to survive in the state they intend to create.

What is more, an independent Kosovo would not be the end of problems in the Balkans. The secession of Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia and Montenegro represents only one in an entire series of revisions of Balkan borders for the purpose of creating a new ethnic Albanian state based not in Tirana, as many may expect, but in Kosovo and Metohija, with strong support in the area of northern Macedonia. This course of events, portending a series of Albanian extremist campaigns in southern Serbia, Macedonia and in Kosovo and Metohija clearly suggests that the independence of the Province will not only fail to stabilize the Balkans and bring peace to the remaining non-Albanian population but will actually become a permanent crisis area for all of Europe, and an enormous obstacle to the Euroatlantic integration of regional Balkan states.

It is hardly necessary to dwell on the probable ramifications of the exportation of "the Kosovo idea" to eastern parts of Montenegro or its negative impact on developments in the Novi Pazar region.

Especially troublesome is Lojpur's view that an independent Kosovo and "good Serbian-Albanian relations" are detrimental to, among others, "the Serbian mafia camouflaged by alleged concern for national rights and shrines." This view represents a crude simplification and a total misrepresentation of the issue, suggesting that only "the mafia" is concerned about the Serb people and their shrines, and that this concern is basically unwarranted.

It is obvious that Kosovo and Metohija has no special value for Lojpur personally; hence, he cannot understand that the majority of Serbs (not only "the mafia") strongly feel that the southern Serbian province is the home of the greatest monuments of our history, culture and spirituality, potentially an important contribution to the European cultural milieu and a living record of centuries of European Christian culture.

Why would the most important cultural and historical relics of the Serbs, preserved over the course of five centuries of Ottoman rule, be turned over to the same people who, in just the last four years, razed 120 Orthodox churches and monasteries, and desecrated dozens of Orthodox cemeteries?

Finally, what kind of moral legitimacy and historical judgment would fall on a government that renounces a part of its own territory in order to achieve its transient goals and fans more potential disintegration processes following the principle "grab as much as you can"?

Such a suicidal decision would lead to enormous internal instability that would imperil democratic social reforms and the future of the state. After all, following the same logic, shouldn't we expect Spain to renounce the Basque Provinces, France to renounce Corsica and Italy to renounce the south Tyrol? Of course, serious European countries don't solve problems of this sort by territorial amputation but by developing democracy, dialogue and economic prosperity for all citizens.

It is this very solution, and not the creation of the independent Palestinian state advocated by Lojpur, that represents the only path to prosperity for Israel, which represents an important barrier against terrorism.

For all the reasons cited , Serbia's strategy for Kosovo and Metohija should be just the opposite of what Lojpur advises. Instead of creating an ethnically cleansed Albanian state, we should insist on the inviolability of Serbia and Montenegro state borders and the resolution of the problems of the Albanian community within the democratic context in Serbia and Montenegro, which, despite years of war, remains the most multi-ethnic state in the Balkans and with each passing day is affirming itself as a powerful factor of peace and stability in southeastern Europe.

If the desire to resolve the ethnic problems of certain communities were necessarily resolved by the creation of new mini banana republics, Europe would find it difficult to become integrated and create a unified market and it would return to the outdated anachronisms of the 19th century. What is more, advocating the idea of the secession of the ethnic Albanian community in Kosovo and Metohija, as opposed to its integration in Serbia and Montenegro, would have very negative consequences for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia and create a precedent encouraging secessionist movements throughout the world.

In the 21st century borders should be transcended by the elimination of mental barriers, not by the creation of new nation-states, the expansion of existing ones and the crumbling of the already torn asunder Balkans. This is the only strategy that has long-term prospects for contributing to the stability of Europe and, therefore, the one that should be accepted as inevitable.

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GAMES SURROUNDING KOSOVO

In Washington the consensus among political analysts, including those who oppose any change in Kosovo's status, is that these pro-Albanian lobbyists intend to package Kosovo's independence in "realpolitical" terms in their pitch to the Bush administration.

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June 14, 2003

by Srdja Trifkovic, political analyst

If a rifle figures above a mantlepiece in Act I it is likely to fire in Act III. Likewise, if a dozen well-known KLA apologists and pro-Albanian lobbies parading as think-tanks start simultaneously clamoring for Kosovo's independence—making identical or similar statements in a ten-day period—it is almost certain that their efforts will be presented as a pressing policy issue before the summer is out.

The pursuit of Kosovo's independence from Serbia provides "the only prospect for long-term stability in the Balkans" and must not be postponed, claim Paul Williams and Janusz Bugajski in a report ("Achieving a Final Status Settlement for Kosovo") published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Bugajski, until recently a lavishly paid "consultant" for Milo Djukanovic's kleptocratic little fiefdom, seems to have lost some of his enthusiasm for the cause of Montenegrin independence now that the retainer has ended; but the "analysis" vis-à-vis Kosovo is the same: "the only way" to achieve peace and stability is to cut another slice from the depleted Serbian salami. Until and unless this is done, the ethnic tensions in the region and political and economic stagnation in the Balkans will continue. The authors argue that a "freely elected" government in Kosovo would reduce the potential for social unrest and promote the rule of law and pluralism.

Only days earlier, on May 21, the House of Representatives Committee on International Relations held an open hearing ("The Future of Kosovo") and heard Daniel Serwer of the United States Institute of Peace declare that the "specific problems" of today's Kosovo "include failure of the Serbs to participate consistently in the Kosovo Assembly and continuing Serb control in the north." Among those invited to testify were spokesmen for the Albanian-American registered lobby groups and their congressional supporters; not one invited speaker represented the interests of Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo, or the position and concerns of Serbia.

James Dobbins, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corporation and a key advocate of the war against Serbia in the Clinton administration, joined the chorus by saying that the unresolved nature of Kosovo's status as potential independent state continues to be an obstacle to reconciliation between the ethnic groups in the region: "I always believed that the only result that would satisfy a majority of the people is some form of independence."

Charles A. Kupchan, director of European studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, bewails that "the Balkans as a whole have slipped off the radar screen" and sees the formal separation of Kosovo from Serbia as a welcome opportunity to put the region back on the map. Kupchan added that the situation in Kosovo holds important lessons for the United States' effort at nation building in Iraq.

The billionaire "philantropist," currency speculator George Soros, even went to Belgrade on May 27 to tell the Serbs that it was in their interest to support the independence of Kosovo. At a conference in Belgrade's Hyatt Regency, Soros said that Serbia could be put into the "fast-lane to European integration" in exchange for Kosovo's independence. Only days before his trip Soros wrote an article in London's Financial Times (May 22) saying that Kosovo's independence would be the logical end of Yugoslavia's disintegration and that Macedonia in particular should be given some assurance that Kosovo's independence does not herald any further fracturing of Balkan states.

In Washington the consensus among political analysts, including those who oppose any change in Kosovo's status, is that these pro-Albanian lobbyists intend to package Kosovo's independence in "realpolitical" terms in their pitch to the Bush administration. They will claim that doing a big favor to a Muslim community—the Albanians—could be subsequently presented as a counterweight to the coming adjustment of the "Road Map" to reflect Mr. Sharon's many objections, both already stated and yet pending.

The precedent already exists in Mr. Rumsfeld's pointed invocation, during the war in Afghanistan, of America's intereventions in Bosnia and Kosovo as the conclusive proof that the United States is not a priori anti-Muslim. The KLA's Washingtonian friends will claim that strip-mining Serbia costs nothing—the heirs of Zoran Djindjic in Belgrade will do exactly as told, whatever is demanded of them—and yields rich rewards in giving America leverage in appeasing enraged Muslim opinion around the world.

It is to be hoped that this time the bad guys will not succeed. If the Administration goes along with these proposals it will make a mistake for seven main reasons:

1. It will reward mass ethnic cleansing and murder, carried out on a massive scale by the Albanians ever since the beginning of the NATO occupation four years ago;

2. It will condone the principle that an ethnic minority's plurality in a given locale or region provides grounds for that region's secession—a precedent that may yet come to haunt America in the increasingly mono-ethnic and mono-lingual Southwest;

3. It will terminally alienate the Serbs, whose cooperation is crucial to making the Balkans finally stable and peaceful, at a time when American energy, money and manpower is more pressingly needed further east;

4. It will create an inherently unstable polity that will be an even safer haven for assorted criminals and Islamic extremists than it is today;

5. It will reignite the war in neighboring Macedonia, where the current semblance of peace is absolutely predicated upon the continuing status quo in Kosovo;

6. It will contribute to further deterioration of relations with the Europeans and Russians with no tangible benefit to the United States;

7. It will commit itself to continuing the Clinton-Gore "nation-building project" in Kosovo that culminated with the bombing of Serbia in 1999—an illogical, immoral, and utterly untenable rearrangement of the Balkan architecture which it would be in America's interest to reverse, not ratify and make semi-permanent.

This time the "realists" have ample arguments against Cilnton's model of the new Balkan order that seeks to satisfy the aspirations of all ethnic groups in former Yugoslavia—except the Serbs. Whatever is imposed on them in this moment of weakness, the Serbs shall have no stake in the ensuing order of things. Sooner or later they will fight to recover Kosovo, whatever its "status." The Carthaginian peace imposed on them today will cause chronic regional imbalance and strife for decades to come. That is not in America's interest, and therefore should not be condoned.

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Copyright 2003, www.ChroniclesMagazine.org


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ROBERTSON IN PRISTINA: TIME FOR SECURITY PROGRESS
There are local elected leaders and politicians from the different ethnic groups (here) and it is their responsibility to make sure that the obligations they took on, are satisfied and that peace and stability is guaranteed for everybody who calls Kosovo their home

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FoNet News Agency, Belgrade
June 26, 2003

PRISTINA - NATO secretary general George Robertson said on Thursday in Pristina that NATO will not be content until it sees multi-ethnic society develop in Kosovo, where all people can walk the streets in safety, as they can in every other part of Europe.

"The world is watching and the world is waiting and the time is now to make the changes that are required. When I came here, the first time that we were talking, we knew that we could not turn Kosovo into Switzerland in a couple of years. But now, there are democratic institutions here in Kosovo, elected by the people. There are local elected leaders and politicians from the different ethnic groups and it is their responsibility to make sure that the obligations they took on, are satisfied and that peace and stability is guaranteed for everybody who calls Kosovo their home," said Robertson at a joint press conference with UNMIK chief Michael Steiner and KFOR general Fabio Mini.

He paid tribute to Steiner for his work in this period and said that NATO supports the acitivites of UNMIK. Robertson said that the Kosovo Protection Corps has a very valuable role to play in Kosovo but as a civic emergency organization and added that NATO does not see it as being some embryonic army. "Kosovo needs the KPC as a civil organization free of corruption and crime and that will be the strong message to General Ceku when we meet him this afternoon," said Robertson.

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SPEECH BY NATO SEC-GEN AT THE ARRIVAL OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL AT KOSOVO

The situation is improving, but we're still not happy. The situation is much better than it was, but more needs to be done and a multi-ethnic, a genuinely multi-ethnic democratic Kosovo is our objective, nothing less

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NATO
http://www.nato.int/docu/speech/2003/s030626a.htm

Kosovo
Pristina Airport
26 June 2003

LORD ROBERTSON (NATO Secretary General): ...all of the NATO Council coming to Kosovo today with the new seven countries who will join the Alliance next year were here to underline NATO's commitment to Kosovo and our determination to finish the job here and to provide security and safety for the people of Kosovo.

We're here to commend General Mini and the soldiers of KFOR, many of thousands of whom have come through here since 1999. We have very strong messages that the job that needs finishing is a multi-ethnic, democratic, unified Kosovo, that the democratic institutions in place must be seen to work for all of the people of Kosovo and there must be no tolerance of extreme language or organized crime and criminality.

So we're here today to give a strong message of continuing support, but only for a tolerant, multi-ethnic Kosovo and the whole NATO Council will be strongly delivering that message today.

Q: (inaudible)...

ROBERTSON: We will only reduce the forces if we can do so and still maintain a robust military presence here, backing up UNMIK and the job that it is doing. We constantly look at the NATO combat forces in the light of the trained Kosovo Police Service and what they can do and should do inside Kosovo. It may be that there will be reductions in forces, but we will not reduce the standards of robust help that we give at the present moment.

Many thousands of young people have served here in uniform and out of uniform as part of KFOR. We are very proud of them. We've come here to be a tribute to them and this place would not be a free country, many people would not be alive was it not for these Kosovo forces to have come through here since 1999.

The situation is improving, but we're still not happy. The situation is much better than it was, but more needs to be done and a multi-ethnic, a genuinely multi-ethnic democratic Kosovo is our objective, nothing less.

Thank you very much.

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BELOS: ATTACKS ON SERBS ORGANIZED IN A SINGLE HEADQUARTERS

It is obvious that displaced persons will want to visit their homes and see what condition it is in; however, usually after the visit new destruction occurs and houses that were half-destroyed end up being blown up

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
June 26, 2003


NOVI SAD - Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija sector for returns head Ljiljana Belos stated that every attack on Serbs in Kosovo has been "thoroughly planned and organized in a single headquarters" in order to prevent the return of displaced persons.

"Attacks are occurring in those very places we have targeted for returns. This is being done by extremists with a single goal: to prevent the return of Serbs to Kosovo," said Belos.

She assessed that there has been almost no progress whatsoever in the area of human rights in Kosovo and, with respect to the issue of returns, accused UNMIK of not doing anything to create necessary conditions for the return of displaced persons to Kosovo.

"At the time UN Resolution 1244 was passed we were unsatisfied because it was very deficient and deprived the Serbs of their rights. The problem today is that the resolution is not being honored or implemented by those responsible, first and foremost, by Michael Steiner," said Belos.

She accused UNMIK of spending "tons of money" on information campaigns, flyers and Go-and-See visits.

"It is obvious that displaced persons will want to visit their homes and see what condition it is in; however, usually after the visit new destruction occurs and houses that were half-destroyed end up being blown up," said Belos.

She assessed that a large number of people want to return in Kosovo because they are in a very difficult situation in central Serbia.

According to Belos, the state at this time cannot ensure freedom and security for Serbs in Kosovo "because it does not have a mandate."

"But everything else that is necessary for people to survive, the state will do everything possible," said Belos.

She said that according to OSCE statistics approximately 230,000 people have been displaced from Kosovo since 1999 and that "not one percent" have returned to date.

"According to UNMIK 800 Serbs have returned; according to UNHCR, it is about 3,000," said Belos.


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REMAINS OF THREE MURDERED SERBS TURNED OVER TO FAMILIES

The profiles of the Kosovo crimes are different. They are profiles of perfidious murders of people killed in the most horrible ways," said Dobricanin, adding that they had been bound with chains, ropes and handcuffs and tortured to death

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
June 27, 2003


MERDARE - Representatives of the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija and UNMIK turned over the remains of three Serbs murdered in Kosovo in 1999 to families today.

The families of persons missing in Kosovo and Metohija claimed the remains of Dejan Jezdic, who was kidnapped in 1999 while serving as an officer of the Yugoslav Army in Urosevac; Dusan Cvetovic, the former chief justice of the Djakovica district court, who was killed in his apartment; and Milorad Jovanovic, who was killed during the same year in Djakovica.

According to pathologist Slavisa Dobricanin the three Serbs whose bodies were turned over were killed by gunfire and exhumed in different locations in Kosovo.

A total of 200 bodies have been exhumed in Kosovo so far.

Autopsies have been performed on 139 bodies, 67 have been identified and the families of missing Serbs have claimed the remains of 49 persons, said Dobricanin.

Commenting on exhumations on the territory of Kosovo, Dobricanin said that teams of Serbian pathologists have established that the majority of victims were killed in the most brutal fashion, making these crimes among the most serious committed in the area of the former Yugoslavia.

"The profiles of the Kosovo crimes are different. They are profiles of perfidious murders of people killed in the most horrible ways," said Dobricanin, adding that they had been bound with chains, ropes and handcuffs and tortured to death.

"They were killed in various ways. They were shot in the nape, the mouth, the eye and the ears. They were struck with blunt objects in the head, which in some cases led to the complete destruction of the skull," said Dobricanin.

"They were drowned in bathtubs. There were cases where some victims were tied with ropes and dragged through the city while still alive. Some had their mouth and nose sealed with adhesive tape and were then strangled with wires. We found attempts to burn the bodies in order to cover up the traces," said Dobricanin.

Dobricanin stated that most of the people killed in this way were elderly people who were unable to leave Kosovo after the arrival of KFOR peacekeeping forces.

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AFP: HALF A MILLION BULLETS SEIZED AT GREEK-ALBANIAN BORDER

A consignment of more than half a million Kalashnikov and G3 automatic ammunition rounds has been seized by Greek guards on the frontier with Albania, police said Saturday. The ammunition was hidden in a heavy truck registered in Greece which was officially carrying in a load of coal from Albania bound for the island of Crete.

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AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
28-Jun-2003 8:00AM

IOANNINA, Greece, June 28 (AFP) - A consignment of more than half a million Kalashnikov and G3 automatic ammunition rounds has been seized by Greek guards on the frontier with Albania, police said Saturday.

The ammunition was hidden in a heavy truck registered in Greece which was officially carrying in a load of coal from Albania bound for the island of Crete.

The 45 year-old Greek driver was taken into custody and was scheduled to appear later before the local state attorney in the town of Ioannina, near Kakavia, the frontier post where the discovery was made.

Last weekend Greek security agents boarded and seized a ship in Greek waters carrying a cargo 680 tonnes of high explosive.

The crew of seven of the Comoros-flagged Baltic Sky -- caught on its way to Sudan with the consignment of Tunisian-made explosives -- was remanded in custody and face felony charges of possessing and transporting explosives to third parties for outlawed activities.


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Micheal Steiner's mandate is finishing today - June 30, 2003
(cartoon by Corax, Danas daily, Belgrade, June 29, 2003)

STEINER TO STEP DOWN BEFORE BELGRADE DIALOGUE

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Politika daily, Belgrade
June 26, 2003


PRISTINA -- Thursday - Kosovo governor Michael Steiner will not take part in the planned Belgrade-Pristina dialogue scheduled for July.

He told media that his term of office will finish on June 30.

"It would be stupid for me to begin a dialogue and then have someone else take over from me. This should be the mission of my successor," said Steiner.

Summing up his term a head of the United Nations mission in Serbia's southern province, Steiner said that the outlook for Kosovo was betterthan ever following his governorship.

However, he added, politicians in both Belgrade and Pristina were unable to see that Kosovo had begun living a normal life as a multi-ethnic environment.

The departing governor said he was proud of the development of the multiethnic climate during his mission.

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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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