December 09, 2003

ERP KiM Newsletter 09-12-03

Serbian Government: Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan Unacceptable

COVIC: We do not want minority standards in exchange of sovereignty

Covic repeated that "the most important thing is that the standards must be in complete accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and Article 10 and Annex 2(5) of the Resolution clearly state that "the status of Kosovo and Metohija is substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia", that is, of Serbia and Montenegro". "We can talk about anything within this context. We do not want minority standards in exchange for sovereignty, thank you very much.
 


Dr. Nebojsa Covic: If someone wants to wheel and deal with our sovereignty,
let him get up and say so. I won't," emphasized Covic.

Serbian Orthodox Church expresses regret for the Mitrovica incident

Gracanica, December 8, 2003

Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija expresses its profound regret for the incident in Mitrovica in which one member of the World bank delegation was slightly injured. This was an irresponsible reaction of a group of individuals and it is not supported by the majority of Kosovo Serb population in North Mitrovica.

It is, of course, the right of Kosovo's PM to visit any part of the Province, but it would be much better if that right were enjoyed by all inhabitants of the Province despite of their ethnicity. For years Serbs from North Mitrovica cannot normally go to the southern part of the city where many of them once lived. At the same time the Serbs all over the Province remain under severe ethnic discrimination in access to public institutions (hospitals, schools), let alone restaurants.

Such unannounced appearances of the ethnic Albanian PM with his security, many of which used to be the members of the KLA, in the Northern part of the city, regrettably add more oil to the fire of interethnic tensions. Reconciliation is built on equal standards all over Kosovo Province. We can only imagine what would happen if the PM of Serbia, to which Kosovo officially belongs, decided to have a lunch in Pec or Pristina, unannounced. Instead of provoking problems for political purposes politicians should rather avoid any act that might further destabilize fragile "peace" between ethnic communities in Kosovo and Metohija.

CONTENTS:

Serbian Government: Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan Unacceptable

"The draft document is essentially at a level lower than UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Keeping this in mind, this document, without changes and additions proposed by the Republic of Serbia Government, is not acceptable as a framework for further resolution of the crisis in the autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija and the implementation of Resolution 1244," it was advised after the meeting of the Government in Belgrade today.

COVIC: We do not want minority standards in exchange of sovreignity - Kosovo is generator of organized crime in the region

Covic repeated that "the most important thing is that the standards must be in complete accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and Article 10 and Annex 2(5) of the Resolution clearly state that "the status of Kosovo and Metohija is substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia", that is, of Serbia and Montenegro". "We can talk about anything within this context. We do not want standards in exchange for sovereignty, thank you very much.

What does the plan for implementation of standards in Kosovo entail?
Criticisms of the latest document, which obviously blazes a path toward an independent Kosovo, are numerous. What is certain is that the document, that is, the plan for the implementation of standards in Kosovo and Metohija, threatens to completely invalidate UN Security Council Resolution 1244 from June 1999. Because it is immediately obvious that in this document Belgrade and Serbia are mentioned only in the context of negotiations begun in Vienna but without any institutional ties with the southern Serbian province, which is presently under a UN protectorate.


Solana: Resolution 1244 remains the basis
"We will approach the resolution of final status in an appropriate manner, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and this process will include both the Belgrade government and the elected leaders of Kosovo institutions, as well as political representatives in Pristina," said Javier Solana.

EXCLUSIVE REPORT:
Kosovo and the Aid Paradox
The international response in terms of rebuilding destroyed and damaged homes and infrastructure was timely and right but there is another side to this `coin’. The conflict was waged in the name of ‘stopping Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing’ and of ‘restoring the rights of the people’ in Kosovo. It is a bitter irony then, that the new Kosovo established under KFOR and the UN has become a no-go area for Serbs and other ‘minorities’.


Copley: Monarchy solves political crisis
“This is very important, for it could provide continuity of the state, like in many countries in the world, such as Australia, Malaysia, Canada etc, since the constitutional parliamentary monarchy would protect the state structure and the constitution through its mediating and symbolic role, while the parties would go on with their normal political activities” – believes Mr. Copley.

Reuters: Maceodnia's headcount clarifies ethnic picture
The State Statistical Office published results showing Macedonians account for 64.18 percent and Albanians form the second largest ethnic group with 25.17 percent, out of total population of 2,022,547 in Macedonia.

News from Kosovo and Metohija, INET, Dec 06-07, 2003


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Serbian Government: Kosovo Standards Implementation Plan Unacceptable

"The draft document is essentially at a level lower than UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Keeping this in mind, this document, without changes and additions proposed by the Republic of Serbia Government, is not acceptable as a framework for further resolution of the crisis in the autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija and the implementation of Resolution 1244," it was advised after the meeting of the Government in Belgrade today.

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
December 8, 2003


Belgrade - The Serbian Government has rejected the plan for operationalization of standards Kosovo is expected to implement prior to resolution of its final status as "unacceptable". UNMIK is scheduled to present the plan on December 10 in Brussels.

The Serbian Government, which received the plan on how Kosovo is to achieve the requested standards yesterday, held an emergency session today and expressed its dissatisfaction that the text "failed to take into significant consideration every single key objection and suggestion" proposed by the Serbian Government.

"The draft document is essentially at a level lower than UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Keeping this in mind, this document, without changes and additions proposed by the Republic of Serbia Government, is not acceptable as a framework for further resolution of the crisis in the autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija and the implementation of Resolution 1244," it was advised after the meeting.

On November 27 the Government addressed its objections to the plan for implementation of standards, the final version of which will be presented on Wednesday at a meeting of EU and western Balkans states ministers. After that meeting, UNMIK will present the plan in Pristina.

The key suggestions of the Serbian Government were related to "the unconditional and progressive implementation of a program of returns for refugees and displaced persons", "the freeing up of usurped housing and other real properties", full respect for the rights of owners and users of socially-owned companies during the privatization process, including the rights of the Republic of Serbia, and the regulation of status of public and commercial debts relating to Kosovo.

The Government asked that the plan for implementation of standards also include the recognition of the right of restitution, that is, the return of illegally usurped property to its previous owner, the regulation of protection for Serbian patrimonial sites in the province, and the disbanding of the Kosovo Protection Corps or its "fundamental reorganization toward a decriminalized and civil service".

"The Republic of Serbia Government remains dedicated to efforts invested by the international community in the process of building a multiethnic society in Kosovo and Metohija, including the policy of standards before status", it is said in the statement. An invitation is extended for further talks on standards to be conducted through the Coordinating Center with full respect for Resolution 1244.

Draft Kosovo-Metohija standards unacceptable for Serbian Government

Serbian Government
Belgrade, Dec 8, 03


Belgrade, Dec 8, 2003 - The Serbian government said it cannot accept the final version of draft standards for Kosovo-Metohija which UNMIK is due to present at a meeting of foreign ministers from the European Union and Western Balkan states in Brussels on Dec 10. The government said that the final version of the document does not reflect on key objections and suggestions it made on Nov 27, based on the UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

Following a session on Monday, the government issued a statement, listing the objections and suggestions, which UNMIK failed to accept:

- Unconditional and progressive implementation of the programme for the return of refugees and displaced persons to Kosovo-Metohija

- Moving out families from illegally seized apartments and other real estate in the province

- Implementation of the process of privatisation in the province with full observance of owners / users rights, as well as the rights of the Republic of Serbia

- Defining the status of Kosovo-Metohija's public and commercial debts

- The right to the restitution of illegally seized property

- The protection of Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo-Metohija, with full respects of the rights and interests of the Serbian state and its people

- The dissolution of the Kosovo Protection Corps, or its reorganisation into a decriminalised civil service

Unless changed and amended, the document is not acceptable as a framework for solving the Kosovo crisis and implementing Resolution 1244, the statement said.

The government supports the international community's efforts to help create a multiethnic society in Kosovo-Metohija, as well as its "standards before status" policy, the statement said, adding that the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija is ready to resume talks aimed at defining and implementing standards with full respect of Resolution 1244.


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Covic: We do not want minority standards in exchange for sovereignty

Covic repeated that "the most important thing is that the standards must be in complete accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and Article 10 and Annex 2(5) of the Resolution clearly state that "the status of Kosovo and Metohija is substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia", that is, of Serbia and Montenegro". "We can talk about anything within this context. We do not want minority standards in exchange for sovereignty, thank you very much.

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
December 7, 2003

Belgrade - Serbian deputy premier responsible for Kosovo Nebojsa Covic stated that "not all objections" of Belgrade have been taken into account in the latest version of standards for the southern province, and that he will call an emergency session of the government to address this issue. Covic told Beta that Belgrade received a final version of the plan for standards in Kosovo on Sunday and that he will ask the Government during the session to take a position on the proposed standards for Kosovo and Metohija.

"What I can is that at first glance I am not quite sure that all objections have been given due consideration with a partnership approach," said Covic. He added that "certain organizations are attempting to rush the Serbian Government and we really cannot be too hasty in this undertaking".

Covic repeated that "the most important thing is that the standards must be in complete accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and Article 10 and Annex 2(5) of the Resolution clearly state that "the status of Kosovo and Metohija is substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia", that is, of Serbia and Montenegro".
"We can talk about anything within this context. We do not want minority standards in exchange for sovereignty, thank you very much. If someone wants to wheel and deal with our sovereignty, let him get up and say so. I won't," emphasized Covic.

Kosovo is generator of organized crime in the region

Belgrade, Dec 8, 2003 - Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic said at an international conference on regional cooperation in the fight against organized crime that Kosovo has become a generator of organized crime and added that the powerful Albanian drug mafia uses funds from the drug sale to buy weapons, finance paramilitary groups and pay influential organizations and individuals to push for independent Kosovo.

Speaking at the meeting organized by the Balkan Political Club, Covic said that during the campaign of collection of illegal arms in Kosovo-Metohija, carried out by the international community, only 155 pieces of light armament were handed over, despite the estimation that there are some half a million more of Kalashnikov automatic rifles in the province.

Covic said that some international bureaucrats, diplomats, military and police officers appear to be a part of a chain which supports and encourages corruption and organized crime.

Covic said that one unstable spot in the region causes overall regional instability, as crime spills over state borders easily, and concluded that a way out is in an efficient cooperation of state services, agreement-making and continuous fight against the mutual enemy.

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What does the Plan for implementation of standars in Kosovo Entail

The secret of the final version
Latest version threatens to invalidate UNSC Resolution 1244

Criticisms of the latest document, which obviously blazes a path toward an independent Kosovo, are numerous. What is certain is that the document, that is, the plan for the implementation of standards in Kosovo and Metohija, threatens to completely invalidate UN Security Council Resolution 1244 from June 1999. Because it is immediately obvious that in this document Belgrade and Serbia are mentioned only in the context of negotiations begun in Vienna but without any institutional ties with the southern Serbian province, which is presently under a UN protectorate.

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Politika, Belgrade daily
Kosovska Mitrovica, December 7


If we are to judge from the papers that the U.S. represented by State Undersecretary Mark Grossman served us in November that are now again on the table in somewhat diluted form, the Serbs in the southern Serbian province and Belgrade officials are justified in expecting that the foundations of an independent Kosovo may be set by the end of the year!

The latest version of the plan for the implementation of standards in Kosovo and Metohija, created by David Ross, adviser to the UNMIK chief in Pristina, is expected to be presented at a conference in Brussels on December 9 to be attended by EU foreign ministers and leaders of the western Balkan states, as well as representatives of provisional Kosovo institutions among whom there are likely to be no representatives of the Serbian community. What is certain is that there will be no Serbian representative from the Kosovo Parliament.

Wandering document

Only a small number of people have actually seen this phantom document, which has had an enigmatic route from November to today, and it only thanks to the resourcefulness sometimes exhibited by the Serbs that Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija head Nebojsa Covic managed to get his hands on a draft copy in mid-November.

According to unofficial information, the sparks flew and the Serbian deputy prime minister [Covic] demanded an immediate meeting with the ambassadors of the Contact Group. It turned out that, with the exception of the U.S. ambassador, no one else knew the document existed. A second series of talks ensued between Pristina and Belgrade at the end of last month, and David Ross subsequently brought a slightly modified version of the plan to the Serbian capital.

The U.S. representative apparently was convinced that this document was to be adopted on December 9 in Brussels. However, since "strong resistance" appeared on the Serbian side, the paper containing eight standards and "a series of positive elements" once again traveled from Belgrade to Pristina, finally ending up in the hands of the few Serb representatives there. However, according to unofficial sources, only four had the opportunity to receive the document and analyze it, even though all the Albanian representatives and leaders have received copies.

Serbs "a minority"*

Criticisms of the latest document, which obviously blazes a path toward an independent Kosovo, are numerous. What is certain is that the document, that is, the plan for the implementation of standards in Kosovo and Metohija, threatens to completely invalidate UN Security Council Resolution 1244 from June 1999. Because it is immediately obvious that in this document Belgrade and Serbia are mentioned only in the context of negotiations begun in Vienna but without any institutional ties with the southern Serbian province, which is presently under a UN protectorate.

Even though Resolution 1244 emphasizes in two places that the task of the UN mission in Kosovo and Metohija is "the establishment of substantial autonomy of Kosovo and Metohija within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia", that is, Serbia and Montenegro, the proposed draft document leans more toward the secession of the province than it is based on the essential provisions of the Resolution. Moreover, the plan of Grossman or David Ross also fails to mention clear principles for the decentralization of Kosovo and Metohija, which was one of the preconditions for the participation of Serbs in parliamentary elections held on the territory of the southern Serbian province in November 2001.

This is an extremely important element considering that the Serbs accepted to take part in the elections only after they were promised that an appropriate decentralization program would be implemented.

Another of the questionable provisions of the document is the one treating the Kosovo Protection Corps, a military formation, as "a component of peace and security in Kosovo and the region". It is true that a reduction in the numbers of this formation is also mentioned but certain rules of conduct are also defined.

However, there is no mention made in the document of the presence of "Yugoslav and Serbian personnel" as specified by UNSC Resolution 1244 and clearly defined in Annex 2 of the same document, which it must be admitted remains the valid document defining the activities of UNMIK and KFOR.

Therefore, the document has many deficiencies. Another is that the "Serbian community" has been redefined as a "minority". There is another formulation that talks about the basis of the "Kosovo state budget".

According to Kosovo parliament presidency member Oliver Ivanovic, it is obvious that the latest document threatens to completely invalidate UNSC Resolution 1244. Ivanovic has said he will not be traveling to Brussels tomorrow because it would be "inappropriate". He says that objections of the Serbian side to the draft plan for implementation of standards relate to the lack of sufficiently strong guarantees ensuring the protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia and Montenegro in Kosovo and Metohija.

Dragisa Krstovic, Return Coalition (Povratak) whip in the Kosovo parliament, also says that the Serbs will not accept being presented with a finished act in the form of this document on the part of the international community.

As far as the representatives of the Albanian national community are concerned, they are not thrilled with this document, either. Allegedly, Albanian leaders are seeking first status and then standards, explaining that without full authority and control in Kosovo and Metohija as an independent state they will be unable to fulfill the proposed standards.

by Biljana Radomirovic

====================

Explanation by ERP KiM Info-Service

(in the Serbian language and the political tradition inherited from the former Socialist Yugoslavia "a minority" denotes population which lives on the territory of one state but has another state as the mother state of its people. Referring to Serbs as minority KSIP directly prejudices Kosovo's final status proclaiming it an independent state)


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Resolution 1244 remains the basis

Implementation of standards an important step toward resolving final status of province

"We will approach the resolution of final status in an appropriate manner, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and this process will include both the Belgrade government and the elected leaders of Kosovo institutions, as well as political representatives in Pristina," said Javier Solana.

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Pristina, December 6 (Beta)

European Union high representative for foreign and security policy Javier Solana assessed today that implementation of standards is an important step toward the resolution of the final status of Kosovo. "We will approach the resolution of final status in an appropriate manner, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and this process will include both the Belgrade government and the elected leaders of Kosovo institutions, as well as political representatives in Pristina," said Javier Solana.

Solana said that regardless of the final status of Kosovo an improvement in standards is the only possible path for Kosovo. He emphasized that it is necessary for Kosovo to be stable and accept European standards and values. He said that he expects a positive response from Kosovo and UNMIK leadership, as well as from the Contact Group, for implementation of the strategy of 'standards before status'. "The European Union welcomes this strategy, which is a roadmap for Kosovo, and it is prepared to assist UNMIK and the provisional institutions of self-government in Kosovo in implementing this strategy," said Solana. "As I have said many times before, the basis of the final status of Kosovo remains Resolution 1244. Unilateral declarations of any kind with respect to the status of Kosovo will have no effect," said Solana.


Old names of settlements

UNMIK has requested today that Kosovo institutions resume using names of cities and villages in Kosovo used prior to 1999.

Pristina, December 6 (Beta)

UNMIK has requested today that Kosovo institutions resume using names of cities and villages in Kosovo used prior to 1999.

UNMIK administrative issues department chief Francesco Bataglio forwarded a written request to the ministry of public services and municipal assemblies asking them to use official names of settlements in accordance with the guidelines effected in 2000 by UNMIK chief Bernard Kouchner. "We've had some problems due to the fact that official documents are being issued with names that are not being written according the guidelines defining the official names of 30 municipalities," said UNMIK spokeswoman Isabella Karlowicz.

She warned that official documents not respecting the use of official names will be invalid.

After 1999 most villages and the Kosovo municipalities of Suva Reka (now Theranda), Istok (Burimi), Kamenici (Dardana), Podujevo (Besiana), Novo Brdo (Artana), Leposavic (Albanik), Srbica (Skenderaj) and Glogovac (Drenas) were given names that do not correspond with UNMIK guidelines.

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 the international aid community has, with very few exceptions, failed to address
 the problems of the non-Albanians still extant in Kosovo (photo: one of Serb returnees to Kosovo)

Kosovo and the Aid Paradox

The international response in terms of rebuilding destroyed and damaged homes and infrastructure was timely and right but there is another side to this `coin’. The conflict was waged in the name of ‘stopping Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing’ and of ‘restoring the rights of the people’ in Kosovo. It is a bitter irony then, that the new Kosovo established under KFOR and the UN has become a no-go area for Serbs and other ‘minorities’.

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ERP KiM Info-Service
Gracanica, December 08, 2003
By special reporter of ERP KiM Breasal O'Hinneirghe

Since June 1999 much aid has been channeled to Kosovo in the form of multilateral and bilateral aid from such diverse sources as the EU, the UN, the US, the International Red Cross and from many countries around the world. This in itself is not surprising given the international media coverage of the crisis and the perceived need to help the poor, suffering inhabitants of Kosovo, particularly the ethnic Albanian community whose flight from Kosovo dominated TV screens in spring 1999. The international response in terms of rebuilding destroyed and damaged homes and infrastructure was timely and right but there is another side to this `coin’. The conflict was waged in the name of ‘stopping Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing’ and of ‘restoring the rights of the people’ in Kosovo. It is a bitter irony then, that the new Kosovo established under KFOR and the UN has become a no-go area for Serbs and other ‘minorities’.

 It is not my intention in this text to catalogue the systematic campaign of violence and intimidation that has been mounted to drive out the non-Albanian elements in the province. Suffice to say that since June 1999, more than two thirds of the Serb population of Kosovo and most of the Roma, have been driven from their homes. Those Serbs and Roma who do live in Kosovo mostly live in enclaves with limited freedom of movement or access to ordinary everyday amenities. Even in larger enclaves such as Gracanica or Strpce, freedom is a relative term.    

This desperate situation has been compounded by a curiously one-sided approach to providing humanitarian and development aid to the citizens of Kosovo. With the bulk of the population overwhelmingly Albanian it is no surprise that much assistance has targeted that ethnicity. However, what is surprising is that the international aid community has, with very few exceptions, failed to address the problems of the non-Albanians still extant in Kosovo. This flies in the face of claims oft-repeated by the international community that it is committed to preserving a multi-ethnic, democratic Kosovo.  Of course that is not to say that no assistance has been given to Serbs and other non-Albanians but it is the experience of many involved in aid efforts in Kosovo that projects that are aimed at the ‘minorities’ invariably face special conditions which only apply to them. Far from facilitating the implementation of assistance to communities already under siege, conditions introduced for minority projects tend to make them more difficult if not impossible.

For instance, the building/restoration of  schools in Crkolez and Kosovo Polje, to name but two examples, were on the face of it worthwhile efforts to help the local population. However, the municipality suddenly introduced the condition that such projects be multi-ethnic. To expect the non-Albanian population of areas where social exclusion is the norm, where they have been attacked repeatedly and where they live completely segregated existences from the ethnic Albanian population, to send their children to a ‘multi-ethnic’ school is farcical. It is worse than that because it can only be interpreted as a cynical exercise, by the municipal authorities, in extending social exclusion to the children of non-Albanians. Let’s be clear about this. Multi-ethnicity is not demanded as a pre-condition for other schools- only for those that happen to cater to the ’minority’ population. In the case of Crkolez, not only was the project put on hold but Spanish KFOR who had already delivered the building materials for the school were then ordered by the municipality to take them away again.

Another example is the case of the Serbs who returned to Osjane village. This return very nearly proved a disaster in that international assistance was provided at a very late stage to help re-build their homes and establish a few businesses. However, even this aid was somewhat begrudging in that a fund of some 3-400,000 euro, earmarked for community projects to facilitate the re-integration of the returnees in Osjane valley was spent on exclusively Albanian villages nearby. No one begrudges the spending of development funds on causes judged worthy by the relevant authorities but, quite simply, municipal structures in Kosovo, established under the mandate of UNMIK, are perceived by many in the international community, not to mention the Serb and Roma populations, as being far from impartial and transparent. Regarding this last case, residents in Osjane have recently learned that a programme to provide funds to stimulate local small businesses in the village has been criticized by the municipality on the grounds that it is mono-ethnic and that it should in fact be a multi-ethnic programme. In conclusion, all I can say is that to those who know Kosovo no explanation is necessary and to those who do not, no explanation is possible.  

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Monarchy solves political crisis

“This is very important, for it could provide continuity of the state, like in many countries in the world, such as Australia, Malaysia, Canada etc, since the constitutional parliamentary monarchy would protect the state structure and the constitution through its mediating and symbolic role, while the parties would go on with their normal political activities” – believes Mr. Copley.

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Voice of America, 5 December 203
Mr. Gregory Copley – Editor of
“Defense and Foreign Affairs – Strategic Policy” magazine

TV Voice of America, 5 December 2003 - The guest of the TV Voice of America on Friday, 5 December was Mr. Gregory Copley, the editor of “Defense and Foreign Affairs – Strategic Policy” magazine. The interview was conducted by Mr. Branko Mikasinovic, the editor of the VOA in Serbian. Mr. Copley commented the current political crisis and the failed presidential elections in Serbia, pointing out that the reestablishment of constitutional parliamentary monarchy in Serbia is a solution to the political crisis.

“The elections are a reflection the unsettled political situation on the country, with split up interests and parties. As one of the solutions to the political crisis, Serbian Orthodox Church and Crown Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic have initiated the issue of reestablishment of the constitutional parliamentary monarchy in Serbia” – said Copley.

“This is very important, for it could provide continuity of the state, like in many countries in the world, such as Australia, Malaysia, Canada etc, since the constitutional parliamentary monarchy would protect the state structure and the constitution through its mediating and symbolic role, while the parties would go on with their normal political activities” – believes Mr. Copley.

“The reestablishment of monarchy in Serbia would not influence the present State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Each of them would have their own political structure, and on the level of the State Union, there would be a president, or another form of a joint ruling body, independent from the monarchy. Both members of the State Union would be able to function according to their traditional structures and within the accepted federal form, although one of them would be a monarchy and the other a republic” – concluded Mr. Copley.


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Reuters: Macedonia's headcount clarifies ethnic picture

The State Statistical Office published results showing Macedonians account for 64.18 percent and Albanians form the second largest ethnic group with 25.17 percent, out of total population of 2,022,547 in Macedonia.

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Reuters, December 02, 2003


SKOPJE, Macedonia on Monday announced the results of a landmark census giving a clear picture of the country's ethnic makeup -- the root of an armed conflict two years ago over rights for minority Albanians.

The State Statistical Office published results showing Macedonians account for 64.18 percent and Albanians form the second largest ethnic group with 25.17 percent, out of total population of 2,022,547 in Macedonia.

The results were expected to finally settle a decade of conflicting claims.

Independent international monitors endorsed the census, which was carried out in November 2002 and sponsored partially by the European Union and the United States, as a genuine count in the multi-ethnic Balkan republic.

''It was a successful and professional census, done in accordance with international standards,'' said Hallgrimur Snorasson, a census monitor from the International Census Observation Mission (ICOM) in Macedonia.

In the 10 years since Macedonia won independence from former Yugoslavia, Albanians claimed to account for at least 30 percent of the population and demanded an appropriate share of power, while Macedonians argued that they were barely 20 percent.

The last attempt to settle the issue was made in a 1994 census -- unsuccessful because ethnic Albanians boycotted it. The 1994 count put ethnic Albanians at 22.9 percent of total population.

The issue finally erupted in 2001 when ethnic Albanian insurgents took up arms to battle Macedonian government forces, demanding greater civil rights and pushing the country close to an all out civil war.

The six-month conflict was ended by a Western-sponsored peace deal.
International organizations monitoring the country praised the census saying the results presented a ''fair and accurate statistical image of Macedonia.''

But some diplomats say despite the accurate statistical count, radicals on both sides might still use the census to destabilize the country.

''Speculation on the size of the ethnic population will continue, with nationalists on both sides claiming the results were fabricated only to maintain peace,'' one Western diplomat predicted.


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Kosovo and Metohija News, 6-7 Dec, 03

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www.inet.co.yu

I*Net News, Belgrade


Sunday 07 December 2003

21:00 In the future the issue of Kosovo will not and cannot be resolved without the Republic of Serbia, said Serbian deputy prime minister and Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija head Nebojsa Covic today during the ceremonial signing of the Democratic Alternative convention in Vranje. "Three years ago in Kosovo and Metohija we found a Serbian national tragedy and the defeat of the Serbian state. Now we can claim with full confidence that in the future the so-called Kosovo issue will not and cannot be resolved without us, without the Republic of Serbia,"
emphasized Covic. He assessed that it is now necessary to continue and wisely multiply the good results of these efforts, and that to a great extent this will depend on the citizens of Serbia in the forthcoming elections.

20:00 Serbian deputy prime minister Nebojsa Covic stated that Belgrade received the final version of the plan on standards for Kosovo today and that he will call an urgent session of the Serbian Government so that the Government can take a position on the proposed standards for Kosovo and Metohija.

19:00 Serbian deputy prime minister and Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija head Nebojsa Covic assessed in Belgrade today that Kosovo and Metohija is the best example of the interweaving of criminal activity and politics, of the financing of so-called national projects with dirty money.

Saturday 06 December 2003

23:40 Serbian premier Zoran Zivkovic stated today that Belgrade is the safest city in the Balkans, while the highest level of crime and terrorism is in Kosovo and Metohija, which is under the protectorate of the international community.

21:00 Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija head Nebojsa Covic called on representatives of the international community, the European Union and NATO to do everything possible to guarantee safety, the key standard for resolving problems in Kosovo and Metohija, for all residents of the Province.

20:40 The aggressive behavior and threats against Serbs by Kosovo premier Bajram Rexhepi's security team during his visit to northern Kosovska Mitrovica today resulted in incidents and the gathering of Serbs in this part of the city.

19:40 Serbian premier Zoran Zivkovic called on Albanian political leaders in southern Serbia and their compatriots to participate in parliamentary elections, assessing that this would "contribute to the stabilization of the situation in southern Serbia".

17:20 At the opening of the regional conference on cooperation against organized crime in Belgrade today, Serbian premier Zoran Zivkovic said that "there is no such thing as classification into justified and unjustified terrorism", adding that terrorists are still being protected in part of central Serbia and in Kosovo and Metohija.

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