December 16, 2003

ERP KiM Newsletter 16-12-03

Serb National Council requests urgent reaction from Belgrade - Kosovo is not for sale

Despite a series of clearly positive elements with respect to universal human and civil rights, from the legal perspective "Standards for Kosovo" is yet another political decoy supposed to enable the unobstructed continuation of the formation of an Albanian parastate on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Serbia and the state union of Serbia and Montenegro.


Serb National Council: "Kosovo Serbs do not need abstractly defined "minority rights" which
can easily be abrogated once Kosovo becomes independent Albanian state. Only firm institutional link with Serbia is what is acceptable for the Serbian people and protection of their legitimate national, cultural and religious rights", said Dr. Rada Trajkovic, SNC vice-president (an archive photo from one of the previous meetings of SNC of Kosovo and Metohija presided by Bishop Artemije and SNC North Mitrovica led by Dr. Milan Ivanovic)
*(SNC of Kosovo and Metohija is non-political association which consists of Serb patriots belonging to different political parties and which tries to articulate national, cultural and religious interests of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija)

CONTENTS:

Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija requests urgent reaction from Belgrade
Despite a series of clearly positive elements with respect to universal human and civil rights, from the legal perspective "Standards for Kosovo" is yet another political decoy supposed to enable the unobstructed continuation of the formation of an Albanian parastate on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Serbia and the state union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Serbia-Montenegro dissatisfied with drafting of "Standards for Kosovo"
Serbian Prime Minister Zivkovic reiterated that the document "Standards for Kosovo-Metohija" was unacceptable for the Serbian government as it clearly indicates the way the standards would be applied and by its structure seems more like a text defining the future Kosovo status rather than standards. Serbia-Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affairs Goran Svilanovic and Head of the Serbian Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic also expressed discontent with the way in which the document "Standards for Kosovo" was drafted as well as with the Presidential Statement by which the UN Security Council endorsed the document on December 12.


Covic urges Holkeri to stop privatization in Kosovo and Metohija
The Head of the Coordinating Centre warned the UNMIK chief that these decisions do not have legal basis as per UNMIK's legislation and that the KTA Managing Board is not authorised to transform public companies, but to restructure them, and that it is also not authorised to transfer property to interim institutions and local self-governments.


Serbia-Montenegro: Changing face of the Serbian armed forces
This improved situation has to do with two things: one, Serbia's offer to send troops anywhere the US likes, and two, increased Western distaste for Albanian intimidation of UNMIK forces in Kosovo. While they aren't planning to send Serbian troops back into a province which at least nominally belongs to the country, they have become more sympathetic to Serbian concerns over the lawlessness, violence and believed terrorist links of the Kosovo "Protection" Corps.


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Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija requests urgent reaction of Belgrade

Despite a series of clearly positive elements with respect to universal human and civil rights, from the legal perspective "Standards for Kosovo" is yet another political decoy supposed to enable the unobstructed continuation of the formation of an Albanian parastate on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Serbia and the state union of Serbia and Montenegro.

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Communiqué of the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija

 

Gracanica, December 15, 2003

The Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija wishes to express its deepest concern as a result of the surprisingly indifference stance of the Belgrade government regarding the Presidential Statement of the UN Security Council (Dec. 12) giving support to Holkeri's "Standards for Kosovo" plan.

This plan, defining the preconditions for the beginning of negotiations on the final status of the Province, does not say a word about the sovereignty of Serbia and Montenegro nor the return of "Serbian personnel" to state border crossings and patrimonial sites. The document is overly abstract and does not include clear mechanisms for validation whether standards are being implemented, especially with regard to refugee returns and the human rights of the Serbian people, who are reduced to "a national minority" in their own country. Despite a series of clearly positive elements with respect to universal human and civil rights, from the legal perspective this plan is yet another political decoy supposed to enable the unobstructed continuation of the formation of an Albanian parastate on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Serbia and the state union of Serbia and Montenegro.

                        1. The SNC KIM appeals to the Serbian Government, the Serbia-Montenegro Council of Ministers and, especially, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send an urgent request to the UN Security Council to re-examine preconditions for the beginning of negotiations on final status and adopt the clear position that there can be and will be no negotiations as status until all preconditions already contained in UNSC Resolution 1244, especially the two following provisions of key importance:

a. Establishment of substantial autonomy of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia and Montenegro

Paragraphs 10, 11a, Annex 2(5):

[The United Nations] "Authorizes the Secretary-General, with the assistance of relevant international organizations, to establish an international civil presence in Kosovo in order to provide an interim administration for Kosovo under which the people of Kosovo can enjoy substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and which will provide transitional administration while establishing and overseeing the development of provisional democratic self-governing institutions to ensure conditions for a peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants of Kosovo. [Emphasis added]

b. Return of "Serbia and Montenegro, and Serbian personnel" to Kosovo and Metohija

Annex 2(6) of Resolution 1244 states: "After withdrawal, an agreed number of Yugoslav and Serbian personnel will be permitted to return to perform the following functions: liaison with the international civil mission and the international security presence; marking/clearing minefields; maintaining a presence at Serb patrimonial sites; [] maintaining a presence at key border crossings." [Emphasis added]

It is a sad fact that the first to address the Security Council are representatives of the Serb Return Coalition (Povratak), while state officials regarding whose territory decisions are being made silently and impotently observe the denigration of their own sovereignty and territorial integrity.

                    2. The SNC KIM also appeals to the Serbian Government to publish a clear defined concept for the institutional reintegration of Kosovo and Metohija as a substantial autonomy of the Republic of Serbia within the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense send an official request for deployment of the first group of liaison officers of the Serbia and Montenegro Army and the Serbian Interior Ministry in accordance with Resolution 1244 and in agreement with appropriate representatives of UNMIK and KFOR. Patriotic rhetoric without concretely defined and substantiated moves on the part of the state leadership is more political marketing than a serious state leadership policy. It is simply incomprehensible and unforgivable that in more than four years neither the old nor the new government has presented a clear vision for the reintegration of the southern Serbian province, which is under the temporary administration of the UN.

                    3. The SNC KIM welcomes the letter of the Return Coalition to Kofi Annan, and reminds Serb representatives in Kosovo institutions that further participation in provisional Kosovo institutions is possible and acceptable only if they are acting within the institutional framework of substantial autonomy of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia and the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, and if an acceptable plan for the decentralization of the Province is prepared as soon as possible, which was the fundamental (but unfulfilled) condition for the participation of Kosovo Serbs in provincial elections. Otherwise, further participation by the Return Coalition in the Kosovo and Metohija parliament, as well as in local municipal assemblies would lead directly to a legitimization of secession and the negation of the state sovereignty of Serbia and Montenegro on the territory of the Serbian province. The Coalition should precisely formulate its position with regard to this question and hand it to the UNMIK chief as soon as possible.

                    4. The Serbian Government should certainly condition the further continuation of negotiations on so-called "technical issues between Belgrade and Pristina" expected to continue in spring of 2004  on the return of the UN Mission in Kosovo and Metohija within the scope foreseen by Resolution 1244 (in accordance with the above cited principles). Otherwise, the continuation of negotiations (even on technical issues) outside the framework of Resolution 1244 and the concrete affirmation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia and the state union of Serbia and Montenegro on this territory will inescapably lead to only one possible solution: the independence of Kosovo and Metohija, and the further territorial disintegration of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as of the Republic of Serbia herself.

This is the last opportunity for a clearly defined and serious state leadership policy and a well thought out diplomatic campaign through which the state union of Serbia and Montenegro needs to show both the international community and her own citizens that her legitimate rights, regulated by international law and a series of international conventions, must be literally respected. The degree to which we ourselves respect our state and her sovereignty is the same degree to which we will be respected by the entire democratic world as a serious state based on law.

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Serbia-Montenegro dissatisfied with drafting of "Standards for Kosovo"

Serbian Prime Minister Zivkovic reiterated that the document "Standards for Kosovo-Metohija" was unacceptable for the Serbian government as it clearly indicates the way the standards would be applied and by its structure seems more like a text defining the future Kosovo status rather than standards. Serbia-Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affairs Goran Svilanovic and Head of the Serbian Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic also expressed discontent with the way in which the document "Standards for Kosovo" was drafted as well as with the Presidential Statement by which the UN Security Council endorsed the document on December 12.

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http://www.serbia.sr.gov.yu/news/2003-12/15/332450.html

Serbian Government

Zivkovic, Solana discuss Kosovo standards

Belgrade, Dec 15, 2003 - Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic met today with EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and reiterated that the document "Standards for Kosovo-Metohija" was unacceptable for the Serbian government as it clearly indicates the way the standards would be applied and by its structure seems more like a text defining the future Kosovo status rather than standards.

Zivkovic, however, pointed out that the Serbian government is not giving up the political and diplomatic struggle for Kosovo-Metohija, and expressed the hope that this topic will be properly addressed after the Dec 28 parliamentary elections in Serbia.

The document "Standards for Kosovo-Metohija" was proposed by UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri and approved by the United Nations Security Council on Dec 12.

http://www.serbia.sr.gov.yu/news/2003-12/15/332446.html

Serbian Government

Foreign Minister Svilanovic and Deputy Premier Covic expressed discontent with drafting of "Kosovo Standards"

Belgrade, Dec 15, 2003 - Serbia-Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affairs Goran Svilanovic and Head of the Serbian Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic expressed discontent with the way in which the document "Standards for Kosovo" was drafted as well as with the Presidential Statement by which the UN Security Council endorsed the document on December 12.

Serbia-Montenegro demands the definition of an adequate mechanism for the country's active participation in the drafting of the document on the implementation of the standards and insists on the transparency of that process. It is also expected that UN Administrator in Kosovo-Metohija Harri Holkeri and the Contact Group will formalize their regular consultations with Belgrade, reads a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Serbia-Montenegro reiterates its readiness for constructive cooperation with the international community and for a dialogue on technical issues with Pristina. Unfortunately, the obstruction of the dialogue by factors from Kosovo-Metohija has not produced an adequate reaction by the international community, which is surprising given that the dialogue is one of the standards for Kosovo-Metohija, reads the statement.


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Covic urges Holkeri to stop privatization in Kosovo and Metohija

The Head of the Coordinating Centre warned the UNMIK chief that these decisions do not have legal basis as per UNMIK's legislation and that the KTA Managing Board is not authorised to transform public companies, but to restructure them, and that it is also not authorised to transfer property to interim institutions and local self-governments.

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http://www.serbia.sr.gov.yu/news/2003-12/15/332442.html

Serbian Government


Belgrade, Dec 15, 2003 - Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic urged UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri to stop the privatisation of socially-owned companies in the province, warning that if he fails to do so, Serbia will appeal to the International Court.

In a protest letter to Holkeri, Covic said that the intention of Kosovo Trust Agency (KTA) Managing Board Director Nicolas Lambsdorf to ratify contracts on the sale of kosovo.netpanies from the first and second round of privatisation, without previous scrupulous examination of earlier decisions, is unacceptable. That way, the practice of sale of companies without the respect for international standards will be continued, the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister said.

Covic claims that Lambsdorf granted himself the discretionary right to pass decisions that do not conform with UNMIK's regulations, according to which previous transformation of every single company must be thoroughly examined before the decision on the sale of a company is made.

Covic stressed that KTA completely ignores Belgrade's warnings that the state of Serbia, companies from other parts of Serbia and workers shareholders have stakes in many Kosovo-Metohija's companies. The state of Serbia is the largest creditor of these companies and guarantor of their foreign debt, therefore companies cannot be sold without the consent of their largest creditors.

The Serbian Deputy Prime Minister said that the KTA Managing Board plans to make the decisions on its Dec 16 session on the transformation of socially owned enterprises into corporations, and on the adoption of a policy on the transfer of property of the socially-owned companies onto organs such as ministries and municipalities.

The Head of the Coordinating Centre warned the UNMIK chief that these decisions do not have legal basis as per UNMIK's legislation and that the KTA Managing Board is not authorised to transform public companies, but to restructure them, and that it is also not authorised to transfer property to interim institutions and local self-governments.

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Serbia-Montenegro: The changing face of the Serbian Armed Forces

This improved situation has to do with two things: one, Serbia's offer to send troops anywhere the US likes, and two, increased Western distaste for Albanian intimidation of UNMIK forces in Kosovo. While they aren't planning to send Serbian troops back into a province which at least nominally belongs to the country, they have become more sympathetic to Serbian concerns over the lawlessness, violence and believed terrorist links of the Kosovo "Protection" Corps.

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http://www.balkanalysis.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=210

BALKANALYSIS

Posted on Tuesday, December 16 @ 02:00:00 EST by CDeliso

After suffering years of ignominy and Western castigation due to its real and alleged involvement with the Bosnian, Croatian and Kosovar conflicts, the Army of Serbia & Montenegro is trying to change its image. And, while it may not seem so overtly, the Serbian armed forces have been receiving steadily increasing support from the West, and especially the United States.

This improved situation has to do with two things: one, Serbia's offer to send troops anywhere the US likes, and two, increased Western distaste for Albanian intimidation of UNMIK forces in Kosovo. While they aren't planning to send Serbian troops back into a province which at least nominally belongs to the country, they have become more sympathetic to Serbian concerns over the lawlessness, violence and believed terrorist links of the Kosovo "Protection" Corps.

Yet the restoration of the VSCG (Army of Serbia & Montenegro) has not been completed, remaining hampered by political power plays- chiefly, those of the Hague Tribunal, which keeps demanding the heads of more Serbian senior officers. If this situation continues much longer, one wonders if there will be anyone left in the Serbian armed forces.

Nevertheless, the Ministry of Defense continues to forge ahead, notably becoming more PR-conscious in recent months. It is often said that Bosnia and Croatia's use of expensive, slick American PR (renting big firms like Ruder-Finn) helped give them a decisive edge in the media war that so often supplanted the battlefield results. Serbia's spite for public relations under President Milosevic contributed to the common Western stereotype of Serbs as crazed and bloodthirsty savages determined to exterminate their heroic and freedom-loving adversaries.

Now, the VSCG takes an active interest in documenting its coverage in the media. A Belgrade marketing firm registers which media refer to it and how often. The army also boasts a well-designed and maintained website, which transmits non-inflammatory news and statements regarding the army's progress in all sorts of fields.

A NATO Future?

The main goal of the Defense Ministry is to make the armed forces compatible with NATO and the "security needs of the 21st century"- a codeword for America's war on terror.

A key date to watch will be next June, when NATO meets for an alliance summit in Istanbul. At a December 4th session in Brussels, NATO delegates stated that agreed that Serbia & Montenegro (and Bosnia-Herzegovina as well) have made ".considerable progress in the efforts invested towards their admission into the Partnership for Peace." The remaining outstanding issue was, predictably, compliance with the Hague.

Serbia and Macedonia are also considering closer defense cooperation. According to the Serbian defense ministry, President of the State Union of Serbia-Montenegro Svetozar Marovic and Macedonian president Boris Trajkovski met on November 30th in Budva, Montenegro, and spoke of a "common objective" towards Euro-Atlantic integration.

President Marovic downplayed concerns that VSCG reform and budget cuts mean the destruction of the armed forces:

".we have not started reforming the Army so that we could abolish it, but we are going adjust it to meet the demands of the Euro-Atlantic integration processes in which we intend to find our place, so that all of those who are in the Army would have professionally higher level of dignity in this line of work, to be better financially provided and finally, to have common prospects, and so that the young people will have the opportunity to serve civilian military service, just like in all democratic countries."

Behind these promising words is the well-known sentiment, expressed by US defense heavyweights like Donald Rumsfeld, that European armies generally have too much staff for their budgets. In comparison to NATO's needs and likely types of military threats to be encountered, European armies are bulky and ineffiencient. More money should be freed up (though they don't say it in as many words) for purchasing American military hardware.

During Yugoslav times, Serbia was a center for arms production itself. However, authorities now admit that the country lacks the capability at present to produce "third and fourth generation weapons.
and therefore it has to invest in this area and find strategic partners." Stated Defense Minister Boris Tadic, ".we have no intention of halting the production of arms and military equipment, as well as keeping our industry in this field at the existing level." However, in all its "Euro-Atlantic" negotiations, it's highly unlikely that the US will second any calls for a revitalized Serbian defense industry. Which is no doubt why, when discussing the nature of military reforms, Deputy Defense Minister Vukasin Maras stated that personnel numbers in the new army would partially reflect Serbia's "economic potential." In other words, the amount of capital that can be freed up for purchasing American gear relative to the maximum number of soldiers that can eliminated.

However, Tadic at least hopes that through new legislation Serbia can regulate the list of firms registered to legally distribute arms, and thus to crack down on the illicit arms trade expedited by powerful Balkan criminal gangs.

In the process of Serbia's gradual normalization of relations with the West, the army has been remarkably cooperative, all things considered. The real test will be if Kosovo and/or Montenegro become independent, and the internationals flee from the former. The Serbian army would have to adopt a more defensive footing, and as for Montenegro, the tiny province would probably learn the hard way about losing the muscle provided by its big brother to the east. If Albanian paramilitaries attack in the south, as they have threatened, Montenegro would be in trouble if left to fight on its own. Independence involves a gamble.

However, that is in the worst case scenario. More likely is that, as European neighbors are already finding, the best soldiers Serbia & Montenegro has for its defense will likely spend a good part of their careers abroad, in one imperial peacekeeping mission or another.

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