October 31, 2003

ERP KiM Newsletter 31-10-03b

Progress in Kosovo Not Encouraging - General Conclusion of the UN Sec. Council

CONTENTS:

Changing of Constitutional Framework May Lead to Additional Problems in Kosovo
Change of Constitutional Framework Without implemented Standards
Encouragement to Extremism and Further Ethnic Cleansing of Serbs and other non-Albanians (ERP KiM Commentary)

UN Envoy Warns Security Council That Kosovo Still Faces Serious Problems
During a briefing to the Council in New York, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, urged Kosovo's leaders to do more to discourage inter-ethnic violence and to improve dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and Montenegro.

Progress in Kosovo not Encouraging, UN Official Says
"This is not a rosy bed at all," said Harri Holkeri, a former Finnish prime minister who now heads the U.N. mission in Kosovo and is the special envoy of Secretary-General Kofi Annan there.

Meeting of the UN Security Council on UNMIK, (extracts)

Ivanovic Does Not Accept More Than Kosovo of 1974
Ivanovic said that separation of Kosovo would influence the separation of Macedonia and Presevo Valley. "Serbia doesn_t accept division of Kosovo, but I don_t deny the possibility of Kosovo getting the special status that could be same as it was in 1974," said Ivanovic.

INET, Kosovo and Metohija News, Oct 30, 2003


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Change of Constitutional Framework May Lead to Additional Problems in Kosovo and Metohija

Change of Constitutional Framework Without implemented Standards
Encouragement to Extremism and Further Ethnic Cleansing of Serbs and other non-Albanians

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ERPKIM Info-Service
Gracanica, October 31, 2003

Yesterday's decision of the Kosovo and Metohija Parliament, despite opposition of the Serb deputies, to initiate a process of changing of the Constitutional Framework has created additional tensions in the Province. The present Framework is far from an optimal solution but it was finally accepted as a compromise between excessive Albanian ambitions to constitute de facto an independent state and the legitimate right of the UN to preserve its reserved-competences and ensure implementation of the UN SC Resolution 1244. In short, the latest proposal by the ethnic Albanian deputies requests additional ministries of Interior, Foreign Relations and Defense which would give Kosovo everything but a formal recognition of an independent state.

Having in mind that almost no progress has been made in the policy "standards before status" it appears that Kosovo Albanian deputies are more interested in achieving their final goal of secession than improving quality of the society for all its residents regardless of their ethnicity and religion. - Deputies of the coalition "Return" at a session on Thursday in the Kosovo and Metohija Parliament objected to the initiative of Albanian deputies for changing the Constitutional Framework, assessing that would not be possible as long as the standards determined by former UNMIK chief Michael Steiner were not in place.

Handing over Security issues into the hands of those who were directly involved in crimes committed by the UCK/KLA during and after the armed conflict between the Yugoslav security and the Kosovan rebels would not only deteriorate the level of security for non-Albanians but would additionally encourage extremist attacks on Serbs, many Serbs think. "Constantly we can see attempts of Kosovo Albanians to ignore the standards and immediately resolve the issue of status which proves the lack of true vision and political responsibility", said Dr. Rada Trajkovic, a Kosovo Serb MP to ErP KIM.

On the other side Kosovo Albanians complain that without "vital" ministries they cannot fully implement the standards. In fact, such a rationalization is only an attempt to avoid responsibility which has already been granted to them on the local (municipal) levels where institutions have become one of the most important tools of legalizing ethnic discrimination. High level of corruption, lack of political experience and responsibility would make additional transfer of competences a grave mistake which would take Kosovo several steps back, into disorder and chaos, Serb deputies believe.

Therefore, UN Mission has to persevere in keeping its reserved competences and make the Kosovo political leaders follow their words with concrete actions. One of the best examples of empty rhetoric is the letter signed (under pressure of some Western diplomats) by Kosovo Albanian leaders in which they invited displaced Serbs to return to Kosovo. In a few last months after the letter was published these leaders and their institutions have done absolutely nothing to make Serb return possible and if there had not been efforts of UNMIK and KFOR even those a few hundreds of Serb returnees would have never come back to their homes.


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UN Envoy Warns Security Council That Kosovo Still Faces Serious Problems

During a briefing to the Council in New York, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, urged Kosovo's leaders to do more to discourage inter-ethnic violence and to improve dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and Montenegro.

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United Nations News Center

30 October - The top United Nations envoy for Kosovo warned the Security Council today that the province was still plagued by problems as it recovers from the war in 1999.

During a briefing to the Council in New York, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, urged Kosovo's leaders to do more to discourage inter-ethnic violence and to improve dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and Montenegro.

Noting that Serbia and Montenegro continued to operate parallel courts and coordinating structures in Kosovo, he said: "Belgrade must work with Kosovo structures and replace this unacceptable policy with a commitment to truly multi-ethnic organs of government in Kosovo."

But Mr. Holkeri also said that Kosovo Albanian leaders in Pristina must stop making their participation in any talks conditional on changes to government structures and the setting up of new ministries.

"Such bargaining is not acceptable. Dialogue is one of the standards approved by the Security Council," he stressed.

Many refugees, especially from minority communities, remain afraid to return to their homes because of ethnic violence, he said.

According to the envoy, the unemployment rate in Kosovo is about 57 per cent, and the public is becoming frustrated with the government's inability to reduce the rate.

But he said Kosovo's economy is showing signs of progress, and welcomed the government's agreement to resolve problems with the electricity supply.

Mr. Holkeri said firm commitment is needed from all parties, including the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), to ensure that the situation improves.

"The short-to-medium term outlook for Kosovo is uncertain, but the strong desire of Kosovo's people to live in a peaceful, stable, lawful society is crystal clear."

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Progress in Kosovo Not Encouraging, UN Official Says
"This is not a rosy bed at all," said Harri Holkeri, a former Finnish prime minister who now heads the U.N. mission in Kosovo and is the special envoy of Secretary-General Kofi Annan there.

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DPA (Deutsche Presse Agentur)
October 30, 2003

New York (dpa) - The transformation of Kosovo into a democratic society under the rule of law has been slow, the United Nations special envoy in that territory said Wednesday.

"This is not a rosy bed at all," said Harri Holkeri, a former Finnish prime minister who now heads the U.N. mission in Kosovo and is the special envoy of Secretary-General Kofi Annan there.

Holkeri said in an interview before he was to appear before the U.N. Security Council on Thursday to report on his work that the local economy is making progress, but unemployment rates are high and a privatization programme instituted by the U.N. has met difficulties.

Asked what the 15-nation council should do, Holkeri said, "I will ask for support of the international community, for without that support, one can hardly see any progress on any issues."

Holkeri said the security situation and rule of law are "vulnerable" to multi-ethnic tensions in Kosovo, which is dominated by Albanians who form 90 per cent of the total population. The remainder is made up of Serbs, Roma gypsies and other minorities.

Despite ethnic tensions, security has improved and crime and murder rates have decreased, he said.

Holkeri said what unifies the Kosovars is the desire for independence from Serbia. But the government in Belgrade is opposed to Kosovo becoming an independent state and the Serbian Parliament in September voted unanimously to declare Kosovo an "indivisible" part of Serbia.

But Holkeri dismissed any moves by Belgrade against Kosovo independence as "irrelevant," saying that only the U.N. Security Council has the final say in the future status of that territory.

"The decision will be made by the council, no one else," he said. He described U.N. efforts to democratize Kosovo as an "uphill battle, but not a mission impossible."

"You see progress here and there, but Kosovo is not any kind of heaven on earth overnight," he said.

He said the future status of Kosovo would be determined by progress made in implementing benchmarks to transform it into a democratic society under rule of law and with good governance.

Holkeri said his mission is being downsized as progress is scored in establishing a police force in Kosovo. There are now fewer than 4,000 international police and close to 6,000 Kosovo police officers. NATO, which is responsible for security, is also downsizing, he said.

In order to ease tensions between Belgrade and Pristina, the Kosovo capital, dialogue began this month in Vienna between representatives of both sides, Holkeri said. But he pointed out that the talks have been downgraded to working groups focusing on the return of refugees, missing persons, energy, transportation and communication.


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Meeting of the UN Security Council on UNMIK (extract)

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RELIEF Web

Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur
Date: 29 Oct 2003
UN Security Council

30/10/2003

Press Release
SC/7909

Meeting of the UN Security Council on UNMIK (extract)

Background

When the Security Council met this morning, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document S/2003/996) covering the period since 1 July. According to the report, the new Special Representative and Head of UNMIK, Harri Holkeri of Finland, who took over from Michael Steiner of Germany on 13 August, reaffirmed the Mission's key
priorities: improving the rule of law and the security situation; furthering returns and minority rights; and strengthening economic development in order to promote substantial autonomy and self-government in Kosovo in accordance with resolution 1244 (1999).

The report states that non-reserved responsibilities listed in Chapter 5 of the Constitutional Framework will be transferred to the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government by the end of 2003. Mechanisms are being developed to gradually increase the responsibilities of the Provisional Institutions. As part of increasing efforts to enhance cooperation between UNMIK and the Provisional Institutions, a benchmarks implementation plan is being developed to set clear timelines and success criteria in line with the "standards before status" formula.

Political gridlocks affecting, and in some cases completely stalling, the operations of some municipal assemblies have been resolved. However, according to the report, in most municipalities, the civil service shows a general lack of professionalism in implementing transparent, non-politicized and ethnically balanced procedures. Belgrade-sponsored parallel administrative structures are common in most mixed and ethnically Serb municipalities. In addition, Kosovo Serbs employed by the Provisional Institutions often receive a second salary from Belgrade. Minority employment in the civil service remains unsatisfactory. On the other hand, representation of women at the professional level in the public sector has improved.

Regarding rule of law and security, the report notes that the period has been characterized by a number of violent attacks in which the victims were members of the Kosovo Serb community, as well as UNMIK law enforcement authorities. Progress continued in the prosecution of serious criminal acts such as war crimes, terrorism and organized crime. Three war crime trials have been completed. With 14 international judges and 12 international prosecutors, the judicial system maintained its capacity to address serious crimes and sensitive inter-ethnic judicial matters. The UNMIK Department of Judicial Administration continued to strive towards establishing a multi-ethnic judiciary and an efficient court infrastructure.

Freedom of movement still remains an issue of great concern to minority residents, according to the report. The increased feeling of insecurity following violent incidents has taken a toll on the confidence of the minorities. Freedom of movement for minorities was further hindered by the decision of the Serbian Government not to sign an agreement allowing the use of Kosovo licence plates in Serbia proper and its public call for Kosovo Serbs not to register their cars with UNMIK.

Despite recent violent incidents involving Kosovo Serb victims, the overall rate of returns continued to accelerate. This year, 2,200 displaced persons have returned to areas where they are a minority, states the report. However, the figure represents a small fraction of the number of Kosovo Serbs internally displaced in Serbia and Montenegro. The level of returns in the Roma/Ashkali/Egyptian communities has remained relatively stable. In July, Kosovo Albanian leaders and leaders of the non-Serb minorities had signed an open letter encouraging displaced persons to return to Kosovo.

The UNMIK continued to support the implementation of community-based projects aimed at fostering inter-ethnic dialogue and cooperation between receiving communities and returnees. A draft anti-discrimination law was approved by the Government on 17 September. The ability of minority communities to use their own language freely has somewhat improved. The reluctance to use minority languages in municipal administrations, however, is a matter of significant concern, according to the report.

Regarding the economy, the report states that the privatization process of socially owned enterprises has moved forward in the past quarter. Tax revenue collection in Kosovo has continued to exceed revenue targets. The Housing and Property Directorate has made a final accounting of disputed property cases. It had received 28,587 claims of which by 1 September it had resolved 31 per cent. The vast majority is expected to be resolved by the end of 2004.

The start of direct talks on practical matters of mutual interest between Pristina and Belgrade was launched on 14 October in Vienna, Austria, following extensive rounds of consultations with the Kosovo Albanians, Kosovo Serbs, and the political leaders of Serbia and Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia. Direct, working level cooperation between Pristina and Belgrade continues in a number of areas through the mediation of UNMIK officials. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare now holds regular monthly meetings with counterparts in Belgrade, the report states.

Briefing By Special Representative

HARRY HOLKERI, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK, said that far too many people in Kosovo silently tolerated ethically based violence there. That must be opposed. A future without violence was needed.

Attacks by extremists, he said, from one side or the other, could resume at any time to discredit the peace-building activities of UNMIK and the Kosovo multinational security force (KFOR). The overall security situation had vastly improved across most of Kosovo, but the dramatic advances enjoyed by the majority community had not been felt by all. The rule of law was being openly flouted in many places.

Combating that phenomenon, he said, would require intensive cooperation between UNMIK's police and justice pillar, with the full engagement of the Kosovo Police Services and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led peacekeeping force. The KFOR, the Kosovo Police and the judiciary were becoming more effective and locally operational. But much remained to be done to improve the security situation, upon which progress in many other key issues depended.

Recent incidents of violence had had serious effects in minority communities, he said, and fear would keep displaced persons from returning to their homes, despite encouragement such as an open letter from the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government and their allocation of ?7 million to fund return projects.

He said that overall, however, freedom of movement had continued to improve in most of Kosovo, with UNMIK providing transport services for minorities. The challenge remained to ensure that all municipalities demonstrated a clear commitment to a tolerant, multi-ethnic society. Returns also required planning and sufficient financing; donor funds should be released in a timely fashion.

Another fundamental objective was direct dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. His aim in that area was to translate the political commitment of Thessaloniki's European Union/Western Balkans Summit into a concrete framework for communication between the parties. In that regard, challenges included conditions, on the part of Prime Minister Rexhepi, on a consensus of political parties or the Assembly. In addition, some Kosovo-Albanian leaders had made their participation conditional on changes in governmental responsibilities and structures. Such linkages were unacceptable.

Representatives of the international community emphasized that dialogue was one of the benchmarks that should be fulfilled before talks on final status could begin. He said the failure of the Government and the coalition parties to accept responsibility for contributing to the achievement of that benchmark had resulted in the launching of the talks in Vienna on 14 October with the participation of only two out of three institutional leaders. The Belgrade and Pristina delegations did not interact, but listened carefully to what the other side had to say.

Now momentum had to be maintained, he continued. The four working groups with multi-ethnic representation on the Kosovo side must be promptly established and begin technical talks in Belgrade and Pristina. He appealed to the Council and the international community to provide continued support to the dialogue process. With those efforts ongoing, he continued, the Provisional Institutions for Self-Government and UNMIK were now intensely focused on a joint plan for implementing the eight benchmarks.

Kosovo's economy was showing progress, as tax revenues and customs duties exceeded expectations, he said. However, unemployment remained at about 57 per cent overall, and was even higher for women and young people. Privatization was essential, but the Kosovo Trust Agency was expressing concern related to immunity of its personnel and the legal platform provided by current legislation. Further discussion was necessary.

The UNMIK was nearing completion of the agreed transfer of competencies in non-reserved areas to the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government based on the Constitutional Framework. It must be ensured that the Provisional Institutions were in a position to absorb the new responsibility. Kosovo leaders were increasingly demanding that UNMIK also transfer competencies in reserved areas. Mr. Holkeri said he had told them that the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government advance into reserved areas was beyond his mandate and would require Council action. He had indicated, however, his readiness to give favourable consideration to establishment of new structures that might be needed for that purpose.

The fact that the Belgrade authorities continued to strengthen parallel structures was of very serious concern, he said. Belgrade must work with Kosovo structures and replace the unacceptable policy with a commitment to truly multi-ethnic organs of government in Kosovo. Parallel courts continued to function in the northern municipalities and even outside of Kosovo, a situation which was really unacceptable.

The short to medium term outlook for Kosovo was uncertain, but the strong desire of Kosovo's people to live in a peaceful, stable, lawful society was crystal clear, he said. The public was growing frustrated with the Government's apparent inability to tackle matters that affected their well-being.

Belgrade's continued support of parallel structures, the possibility of a renewal of ethnically motivated violent attacks, and the resulting fears that kept many displaced persons from returning were all challenges that required firm commitment to the principles and objectives embodied in resolution 1244 (1999). The UNMIK, KFOR and the international community still had much to do together in Kosovo to ensure the fulfilment of standards. That would enable the Council to determine Kosovo's future status, he concluded.


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Ivanovic Does not Accept More Than Kosovo of 1974
Ivanovic said that separation of Kosovo would influence the separation of Macedonia and Presevo Valley. "Serbia doesn_t accept division of Kosovo, but I don_t deny the possibility of Kosovo getting the special status that could be same as it was in 1974," said Ivanovic.

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Kosova Sot (Pristina Daily in Albanian language)|
Pristina, October 30, 2003



On Wednesday, Deputy of Kosovo Assembly, Oliver Ivanovic said that Kosovo couldn_t ever be separated from Serbia. He tried to describe Kosovo as a dangerous place to live. He also said that the entire parliamentary group of the Serbian coalition in Kosovo Assembly goes to work with in an armored truck. Ivanovic expressed his comments in an opened round table organized by the Macedonian Magazine "Forum" in Skopje with the issue "Kosovo from the Serbian perspective." Ivanovic discussed many issues that have to do with Kosovo seen from the Serbian point of view. Ivanovic said that separation of Kosovo would influence the separation of Macedonia and Presevo Valley. "Serbia doesn_t accept division of Kosovo, but I don_t deny the possibility of Kosovo getting the special status that could be same as it was in 1974," said Ivanovic.

Nevertheless, Ivanovic said that now is not the time when Kosovo's final status should be discussed. "In my opinion, it would be better if Kosovo's final status could be postponed for about ten years," said Ivanovic. Asked from Albanian journalists how it could be logical for him to request Kosovo's status to be postponed for ten years while Serbian deputies travel in armored trucks, Ivanovic said that there are improvements. As concrete events he mentioned his cooperation with Kosovo authorities, such as, Prime Minister, Bajram Rexhepi and Kosovo Assembly President, Nexhat Daci. Ivanovic believes that everybody is convinced that Kosovo's final status matter cannot be discussed without fulfillment of the proper standards. As an argument for this he mentioned international organizations NATO, EU, OSCE and UN that indicated this fact.

On the other hand, Ivanovic mentioned the incapability of Europe to determine what does it really wants to do with Kosovo. Based on all these facts, Ivanovic said that after year 2005 Kosovo status could be discussed.


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News from Kosovo and Metohija, INET, Oct. 30

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www.inet.co.yu

I*Net News, Belgrade

Thursday 30 October 2003

21:40 Hague tribunal deputy prosecutor Graham Blewitt, who testified today in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic before that tribunal, stated that the prosecutor's office had warned Milosevic as early as 1998 that crimes were being committed in Kosovo that fall under the jurisdiction of the tribunal. Blewitt was called upon to identify letters sent by Louise Arbour, the tribunal's chief prosecutor at that time, to Milosevic and the Yugoslav authorities regarding events in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999.

20:00 A regional conference on "Dialogue and Cooperation between Citizens and Local Authorities" will be held in Presevo tomorrow, the Novi Sad Center for Regionalism advised. The Center is organizing the conference in collaboration with the ministry for human and minority rights.

12:20 Three houses inhabited by Serbs were attacked in Obilic on the night of October 25. Despite the fact that more than four months have passed since the murder of the Stolic family in Obilic, the perpetrators still have not been captured and attacks in Obilic are still occurring. Kosovo ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicki reiterated the need for appropriate officials to react immediately and adequately to protect the Serbian community by ensuring security and human lining conditions in Kosovo, the information service of the Kosovo ombudsman's office advised.

09:30 The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to debate the situation in Kosovo today, with reference to the regular quarterly report of UN secretary general Kofi Annan.


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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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