December 03, 2003

ERP KiM Newsletter 03-12-03

As long as Kosovo remains in the claws of extremists and their mafia there will never be sustainable return of displaced civilians

CONTENTS:

Answer to the Letter of Mr. Hashim Thaci in Christian Science Monitor
Mr. Thaci, the president of the Kosovo Democratic Party and the former leader of KLA sent a letter to the Christian Science Monitor which was published on November 17. ERP KiM Info-Service editor Fr. Sava has sent an answer to Mr. Thaci's letter


UN Chief demands suspension of KPC members
The UN’s chief diplomat in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, has requested the immediate suspension of 12 members of the province's "Protection Corps" until an investigation into alleged misconduct is completed, Beta news agency reports.

Belgrade to enter NATO Programme May 2004
Serbia-Montenegro should be admitted to NATO’s Partnership for Peace in May next year, Alliance defence ministers agreed today.

News from Kosovo and Metohija, December 01, 2003


More News Available on our:

Kosovo Daily News list (KDN)
KDN Archive

This newsletter is available on our ERP KIM Web-site:
http://www.kosovo.net/erpkiminfo.html


Answer to letter of Mr. Hashim Thaci in Christian Science Monitor

Mr. Thaci, the president of the Kosovo Democratic Party and the former leader of KLA sent a letter to the Christian Science Monitor which was published on November 17. ERP KiM Info-Service editor Fr. Sava has sent an answer to Mr. Thaci's letter

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Is Kosovo ready for its refugees?

by Fr. Sava Janjic

The letter of November 17, 2003 by Mr. Hashim Thaci would probably be of great encouragement for the more than 200,000 Kosovo Serbs who still cannot return to their home, if his words were sincere and followed by concrete actions. However both of the two are missing.

This year alone there have been several Albanian extremist attacks on Serb returnees in which a dozen innocent lives have been lost. Among the victims are two killed and five wounded Serb children in the Serb enclave in Western Kosovo. The Kosovo Parliament and the Government even refused the initiative of the Serbian Church to keep a minute of silence on their meetings in memory of these fallen victims.

Although the Kosovo Government signed a letter inviting Serbs to come back, no Kosovo Albanian leaders -- including Thaci -- ever undertook any concrete actions to facilitate the returns and create even minimum security conditions for the returnees. To call someone to return without granting them and their family minimum safety and a dignified life is more than an ironic act. Thaci and other Kosovo Albanian leaders also failed to exercise influence over their local representatives to support returns and allow the remaining Serbs free access to hospitals, schools and other institutions. The latest news - a group of Serb returnees near Prizren in south of Kosovo were stoned last week by a Kosovo Albanian crowd, which said that they would never allow their return.

Bishop Artemije is trying to reconstruct at least one of 112 Orthodox churches destroyed by Moslem Albanian extremists after the war has not been able to raise a single one of these desecrated holy sites from their ashes although, in 2001 Mr. Thaci and some representatives of Kosovo Government promised in front of the U.S. chief of Mission Mr. Menzies to facilitate the reconstruction of churches even from the Government's budget. This detail also shows one of many unrealized promises.

The situation in the Kosovo Province remains very difficult because the majority Albanian community, led by its leaders who herald from the former extremist KLA, do everything on the ground to prevent Serbs and other ethnicities from returning and even force the remaining Serbs out of the Province. Their goal is rather to create a second Albanian state in the Balkans (besides Albania). In the context of almost everyday attacks, recorded by the international press, the destruction of Serb churches and cemeteries, ethnic discrimination and lack of freedom of expression for the Christian faith, the words of the former KLA leader sound only like bitter irony. One of the first of Thaci's deputies, Mr. Fatmir Limaj, is already in the Hague Criminal Court and is suspected of organizing crimes and torture against Serbs and moderate Albanians. Mr. Thaci himself is under Interpol arrest warrants and due to his past, he can hardly win the confidence of Serbs and Albanians who want to see Kosovo as a modern multiethnic, multireligious and democratic society.

Although we, Kosovo Serbs, constantly hear about the millions of Euros allocated for our returns and improvement of life, only 500 returnees have returned this year to their tiny enclaves where small homes for them have been built. This shows that the results on the ground are in serious contradiction to Mr. Thaci's words, which are, as most of the Kosovo officials' statements, intended to win international support without concrete results, or more accurately "status before standards".



Fr. Sava Janjic
Serbian Orthodox Church
Kosovo and Metohija


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November 17, 2003, Monday

SECTION: OPINION; Pg. 08

Letters

Kosovo readies for its refugees

Regarding the Nov. 5 article "For refugees from Kosovo, a long way back home ": The tragic wars in the region of the former Yugoslavia have left a bitter legacy of devastation and refugees. I deeply sympathize with all the refugees who left Kosovo before, during, and after the war in 1999, and I do want them to return to their homes. Kosovars, together with the United Nations mission here and the rest of the international community, are working hard to create a safe environment for their sustainable return.

At my initiative, Kosovo Albanian political leaders, representatives of Provisional Institutions, and the non-Serb communities addressed in June an open letter to refugees: "We welcome your return to Kosovo. We do not 'invite' you to come back to your home because Kosovo is your home and you have the right to live here in peace. Kosovo is your home, just as it is our home; we want and work for you to come back and live in peace with us as neighbors in a spirit of mutual respect."

We are most grateful to the US government for allocating $ 14 million to support the return of refugees. This year, the Kosovo government, led by the Democratic Party of Kosovo, which I chair, has set aside 10 million euros from its budget to assist the returns, rebuild houses, and support community-based projects for the returnees. Other governments should follow this example. We can build a democratic future for our children only by making Kosovo a safe and prosperous home for all its inhabitants.

Hashim Thaci
Pristina, Kosovo President, Democratic Party of Kosovo


Deus videt et judicet.....

SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF HASHIM THACI

Hashim Thaci was born 24.04.69 in Srbica Kosovo. He studied history at the Pristina University and lived certain time in Switzerland and Germany. He was often seen in Albanian nationalist emigrant circles. Thaci became a prominent student activist of the Independent Student Union in 1991 and an ardent supporter of Kosovo's secession and pan-Albanian unification. He was politically close to emigrant Marxist-Leninist organization of the "National Movement for Kosovo". In the period between 1992 and 1993 he passed through the military training course in Albania with members of the Jashari clan preparing for the armed actions in Kosovo. In December 1993 he participated in forming the first HQ of KLA (UCK) together with Azem Syla, Sokol Bashota, Xheladin Gashi, Ali Ahmeti, Xhavid Haliti, Kadri Veseli, Lach Ibrahimi and others. In 1993 Thaci became a commander of the so called KLA Operative zone for Malisevo and an active member of the Drenica KLA group led by Adem Jashari.  He is suspected of taking part in a terrorist action together with Rafet Rama, Jakup Nurim, Sami Lushtaku and Idris Kadri in which 2 Serb policemen were killed and 5 heavily wounded on May 25, 1993 near Glogovac. Thaci's participation in this action was later confirmed by Rafet Rama during his trial at the Pristina court on July 11, 1997. Another terrorist action which is ascribed to Thaci's group occurred on the road Mitrovica-Pec, near Sipolje when one Serb policeman was killed and another wounded in an ambush. In March 1999 Hashim Thaci was promoted into a political leader of the KLA and as such participated at Rambouillet negotiations as the leader of the Kosovo Albanian team. During the NATO bombing campaign March-June 99 he spent most of his time in Albania coordinating KLA actions against Serb police and army. He is suspected of having been involved in assassination of Ahmet Krasnici, "the Defense Minister of the Repulic of Kosovo", a member of the rival FARK paramilitary organiation close to Ibrahim Rugova and Bujar Bukosi as well as some other political and military rivals (see more New York Times: Chris Hedges NYT, Kosovo's Rebels Accused of Executions in the Ranks, June 25, 1999) After the war Hashim Thaci emerged as a political leader of the second largest Kosovo Albanian party - Democratic party of Kosovo. Hashim Thaci's popular Nome de guerre was the Snake. Hashim Thaci is officially under Interpol arrest warrants.

Belgrade Ministry of Justice, led by a renowned anti-Milosevic dissident Vladan Batic submitted to the Hague Tribunal a large file with proofs and testimonies about the crimes which were committed or organized under Thaci's command or knowledge. For the time being only his closest aide Fatmir Limaj, who was running a camp for torturing Serb, Roma and other civilians has been indicted and is at Scheweningen prison in the Hague at the moment.

Source: Ministry of Justice, Belgrade, various independent media sources.

More about KLA and its activities: /kla2.html


Hashim Taci, a former KLA warlord as a new "democratic leader"
Nationalist myths of ethnically pure land of Albanians and fanning
hatred against Serbs and other non-majority groups remain
 the strongest tool of the former KLA leaders to stay in power and protect
their illegal transactions behind the smoke-screen of "democratic institutions"


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UN Chief Demands Suspension of KPC members

The UN’s chief diplomat in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, has requested the immediate suspension of 12 members of the province's "Protection Corps" until an investigation into alleged misconduct is completed, Beta news agency reports.

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BETA News Agency, Belgrade
Pristina, December 02, 2003


PRISTINA -- Tuesday – The UN’s chief diplomat in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, has requested the immediate suspension of 12 members of the province's "Protection Corps" until an investigation into alleged misconduct is completed, Beta news agency reports.

Corps commander Agim Ceku is reported to have met with Holkeri twice in the last 24 hours to discuss the move. The United Nations mission, UNMIK, has refused to name the 12 officers or say why there are under investigation.

The Kosovo Protection Corps was set up by UNMIK in 1999 from the disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army. Several of its members have already been suspended over links with ethnic Albanian guerrillas opposed to the current situation in the province.

Ceku has objected to the proposed suspensions, and announced further talks with Holkeri tomorrow. The UNMIK chief has already discussed the move with Kosovo Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi.

The investigation was launched during Michael Steiner’s tenure as UNMIK chief.

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Belgrade to Enter NATO Programme in May 2004

Serbia-Montenegro should be admitted to NATO’s Partnership for Peace in May next year, Alliance defence ministers agreed today.

BETA News Agency, Belgrade
Brussels, December 02, 2003

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BRUSSELS -- Tuesday – Serbia-Montenegro should be admitted to NATO’s Partnership for Peace in May next year, Alliance defence ministers agreed today.

Beta news agency reports that both Serbia-Montenegro and Bosnia-Hercegovina could be granted membership of the programme – which is seen as a stepping-stone to full membership of NATO – at the Alliance summit in Istanbul in May 2004.

The foreign ministers of both countries have been invited to a meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Alliance defence ministers agreed that both countries “should be given a bit more time” before being admitted, particularly in light of the fragile political situation in Serbia, Beta reports.


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News from Kosovo and Metohija, 01 Nov

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www.inet.co.yu

I*Net News, Belgrade


Monday 01 December 2003

21:20 NATO defense ministers decided today in Brussels to decrease the number of SFOR soldiers in Bosnia from 12,000 to 7,000 "due to positive development of conditions in Bosnia", while KFOR troops in Kosovo-Metohija will remain at the present level of 17,000 soldiers.

21:00 Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova ruled out the possibility of the terrorist organization al-Qa'ida or other Islamist terrorist groups operating in the province, assessing that these rumors were being spread in order to destabilize Kosovo.

20:40 Unidentified individuals planted a bomb in the northern, Serbian part of Kosovska Mitrovica in the vicinity of a power sub-station, only some fifty meters from a student dormitory in the town in the north of Kosovo and Metohija.

20:20 UNMIK and KFOR members built a concrete wall along the former Yugoslav People's Army building in Pristina housing the offices of UN administrator Harri Holkeri and the headquarters of the international administration in Kosovo and Metohija due to the danger of terrorist attacks.

20:00 UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri announced today in Kosovo as well there should be a public apology and acceptance of responsibility for what transpired.

19:40 Kosovo premier Bajram Rexhepi expressed optimism today regarding the meeting of set standards by mid-2005 when talks regarding the final status of Kosovo are expected to begin.


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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.
Our Information Service is distributing news on Kosovo related issues. The main focus of the Info-Service is the life of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian community in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. ERP KIM Info Service works in cooperation with www.serbian-translation.com as well as the Kosovo Daily News (KDN) News List

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