December 23, 2003

ERP KiM Newsletter 23-12-03

UNMIK gives green light to Serbian Parliamentary elections in Kosovo despite Kosovo Albanian counter-declaration

"Denial of democratic rights will not be tolerated", it is said in UNMIK's press release issued as a reaction to the declaration of the Kosovo Albanian parliamentarians on Monday. Leading Albanian parties tried to prevent elections on the entire territory of Serbia, including its southern Province of Kosovo and Metohija.


Toys for  Christmas
A Kosovo Serb child receives a teddy bear from an Italian Carabiniere in the village of Gornja Brnjica in northern Kosovo on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2003. Italian Carabinieri delivered gifts to this Serb community that was donated by the Charivaris Diocese in Genova, Italy. (Fonet)

Kurir daily, Belgrade, December 23, 2003

Serb pupils and students in worst situation in Europe

Kosovska Mitrovica: Serb pupils in Kosovo and Metohija have the most restricted resources in studing space and equipment in Europe.

Since the arrival of UNMIK and KFOR in June 1999 (Kosovo) Albanians expelled Serb pupils and teachers from more than 300 schools. At the same time more than 10.000 Serb students were expelled from Pristina University and the high schools in Gnjilane, Urosevac, Pec and Prizren.

CONTENTS:

"Povratak" Coalition Deputies leave Kosovo Parliament Session
On Monday, representatives of the Serbian coalition "Povratak" left the Kosovo parliament session, because during this session it was decided that without any discussion this institution adopts a declaration on not recognizing the elections for Serbian parliament, on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.

Covic: There will be elections in Kosovo
Nebojsa Covic, the chief of the Coordination center for Kosovo and Metohija, stated that Serbian parliament elections would be conducted in Kosovo, "regardless of decisions reached by some temporary Kosovo parliaments".

UNMIK gives nod to voting in Kosovo
Eligible Kosovo voters have the right to take part in the Serbian parliamentary elections on December 28, the United Nations mission in Kosovo said today. "It is a customary and internationally recognised practice that voters with voting rights take part in elections regardless of whether they reside in a region administered by the authorities organising the election," said UNMIK in a statement forwarded to media in Serbia.

Meeting between Albanians and UNMIK
On Monday, the return of a group of Kosovo Serbs to Klina should be one of the subjects about which representatives of UNMIK, the municipality officials and the Albanian political party from Klina and the delegations of returnees in Pec will discuss.

Serb bodies returned to families
According to information from the Bureau for Exhumation and Identification, 271 bodies have so far been exhumed in Kosovo of which 72 have been returned to Serbian families.

Leader of insurgency in Macedonia surrenders
A former leader of an ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia has surrendered in Kosovo, a statement from the international peacekeeping force, KFOR, said last night.

Draskovic: Monarchy is key to European integration
Political analysts say Draskovic's party is a possible junior coalition partner to the conservative Democratic Party of Serbia of ex-Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, which is expected to play a key role in the next government.

INET Flash News from Kosovo and Metohija, December 21-22, 2003


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"Povratak" Coalition deputies leave Kosovo Parliament session

On Monday, representatives of the Serbian coalition "Povratak" left the Kosovo parliament session, because during this session it was decided that without any discussion this institution adopts a declaration on not recognizing the elections for Serbian parliament, on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.

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Free Serbia, December 22, 2003

On Monday, representatives of the Serbian coalition "Povratak" left the Kosovo parliament session, because during this session it was decided that without any discussion this institution adopts a declaration on not recognizing the elections for Serbian parliament, on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.

Initiative for adopting such declaration was proposed by Sabri Hamiti, the chief of the parliamentary group of the Kosovo Democratic Union (KDU). Parliament representatives from the Democratic Party of Kosovo (DPK) and the Alliance for Kosovo Future (AKF) expressed almost identical requests. Hamiti expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that certain members of Kosovo parliament and Kosovo government are participating in the Serbian parliament elections.

Hamiti asked that parliament "ban holding of elections for Serbian parliament, on Kosovo territory". Ismailj Kurteshi, the chief of the DPK and Bujar Dugolli, the chief of the AKF parliament club, expressed similar requests.

Dragisa Krstovic, the chief of the "Povratak" coalition parliament group, stated that Kosovo parliament has no authority to go into parliament elections in Serbia, and in them being conducted in Kosovo and Metohija. Krstovic pointed that those issues are under the jurisdiction of the international administration and added that this administration did not say that Serbian parliament elections couldn’t be held on Kosovo.

After this, Nexhat Daci, the president of Kosovo parliament, stated that the parliament presiding body adopted declaration on this subject and that "parliamentarians will have the chance to listen to the declaration without the right for a discussion on it". Daci also added that Kosovo parliament presiding body adopted this declaration on a request made by Hashim Thaci’s DPK.

After this move "Povratak" coalition representatives left the extraordinary session of parliament. During this session of Kosovo parliament, representatives are to adopt next years Kosovo budget.

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Covic: There will be elections in Kosovo

Nebojsa Covic, the chief of the Coordination center for Kosovo and Metohija, stated that Serbian parliament elections would be conducted in Kosovo, "regardless of decisions reached by some temporary Kosovo parliaments".

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B92, Belgrade
December 22, 2003

Nebojsa Covic, the chief of the Coordination center for Kosovo and Metohija, stated that Serbian parliament elections would be conducted in Kosovo, "regardless of decisions reached by some temporary Kosovo parliaments". "They adopt decisions, and the UNMIK chief abolishes them," stated Covic during a press conference in Belgrade.

He evaluated that by banning the holding of Serbian parliament elections in Kosovo the Kosovo parliament was intended to provoke the Serbian general public.

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UNMIK gives nod to voting in Kosovo

Eligible Kosovo voters have the right to take part in the Serbian parliamentary elections on December 28, the United Nations mission in Kosovo said today. "It is a customary and internationally recognised practice that voters with voting rights take part in elections regardless of whether they reside in a region administered by the authorities organising the election," said UNMIK in a statement forwarded to media in Serbia.

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
December 22, 2003


PRISTINA -- Monday – Eligible Kosovo voters have the right to take part in the Serbian parliamentary elections on December 28, the United Nations mission in Kosovo said today.

"It is a customary and internationally recognised practice that voters with voting rights take part in elections regardless of whether they reside in a region administered by the authorities organising the election," said UNMIK in a statement forwarded to media in Serbia.

The international administration was responding to a request from the Kosovo Assembly demanding that Serbian elections be banned in the province.

"Any action aimed at preventing voting means denying a fundamental democratic right," said UNMIK in its statement, emphasising that the denial of democratic rights would not be tolerated.

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UNMIK reacts to Kosovo Assembly Declaration

Radio Kosovo, December 22,

Pristina - On Monday through a press release the UNMIK administration reacted to the declaration of the Kosovo Assembly related to the Serbia’s elections in the territory of Kosovo.

The press release states that it is a usual and internationally respected practice that the voters participate elections there where it is possible, regardless of the fact if they live or not in the area administered by the authority organizing the elections.

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Not enough money for Serb returns

Blic daily, Belgrade
December 23, 2003

Pristina - The most important contribution for the return of Serbs to Kosovo and Metohija has been given by the German Government which financed building of 250 houses for Serb returnees in Osojane, Suvi Do, Lukavac, Bicha and other locations in the Province. The chief of the German office in Pristina Peter Randorff said that so far approximately 10 million euro have been invested, but the results are nevertheless modest because very few Serbs returned. However, the financial support will continue.

America promised that this year 14.5 million euro will be invested (for the returns) and Italy agreed to give 3.5 million euro. Kosovo Government also promised concrete assistance. Very important role in organizing of the returns has the Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija, said Randorff.

Meeting between Albanians and UNMIK

On Monday, the return of a group of Kosovo Serbs to Klina should be one of the subjects about which representatives of UNMIK, the municipality officials and the Albanian political party from Klina and the delegations of returnees in Pec will discuss.

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Danas daily, Belgrade
December 22, 2003

On Monday, the return of a group of Kosovo Serbs to Klina should be one of the subjects about which representatives of UNMIK, the municipality officials and the Albanian political party from Klina and the delegations of returnees in Pec will discuss.

According to Marko Nedeljkovic, one of the returnees that is going to attend the meeting in Pec, the group of Serbs that wants to return to Klina have received the ownership documents, but there is a problem with a part of property which according to false market agreements was transferred to Kosovo Albanians.

We posses all documentations regarding the false market agreements. We are waiting on KFOR, UNMIK and Habitat to solve the issue of our return to Klina. At the end of the last week we received UNMIK licenses. Now we are waiting the issue regarding the false ownership papers to be solved. The greatest problem is that so far there are not security conditions for returning in Klina. The authorities in charge cannot tell us by when we can return to our houses in the town – stated Marko Nedeljkovic for Danas.

Nedeljkovic said that in the past month, Ramo Manaj, the president of the municipality, has not visited the returnees, because "it is only organized return is acceptable".

Nenad Radosavljevic and Marko Todorovic, Serbian members in the interim Kosovo government, are visiting us. The members of the Coordination center were coming only in the beginning. UNHCR claims that until we return to Klina we don’t get the status of returnees, says Nedeljkovic.
 

PM Rexhepi and Minister Todorovic Discuss Return of Serbs to Kosovo


Pristina, 22 Dec (Tanjug) - Kosovo PM Bairam Rexhepi met on Monday with co-minister for return in the Kosovo Government Milorad Todorovic to discuss the return of a group of about 30 Serbs to Klina, who have been waiting for one month now for ethnic Albanians to move out of their houses in that town in the south of the Province.

"Premier Rexhepi has promised all the financial and political support to speed up the return of a group of about 30 Serbs to Klina, pointing out that money was not an issue because the government of Kosovo has in its budget funds earmarked for return," Todorovic told Tanjug.

 


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Serb bodies returned to families

According to information from the Bureau for Exhumation and Identification, 271 bodies have so far been exhumed in Kosovo of which 72 have been returned to Serbian families.

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FoNet News Agency
December 22, 2003

MERDARE -- Monday - The exhumed remains of four Serbs murdered in Kosovo were today handed over to their families at the Merdare border crossing.

Serb pathologist Slavisa Dobricanin told media that all four had been shot in the back of their heads.

According to information from the Bureau for Exhumation and Identification, 271 bodies have so far been exhumed in Kosovo of which 72 have been returned to Serbian families.

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Leader of insurgency in Macedonia surrenders

A former leader of an ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia has surrendered in Kosovo, a statement from the international peacekeeping force, KFOR, said last night.

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
Urosevac, December 23, 2003


UROSEVAC -- Tuesday – A former leader of an ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia has surrendered in Kosovo, a statement from the international peacekeeping force, KFOR, said last night.

Xhemail Hisseni, the former commander of the National Liberation Army, is being held at the US base "Bondsteel" near Urosevac.

Hisseni was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment by a court in Kumanovo, northern Macedonia, for trying to blow up a railway line.

The KFOR statement said he would be handed over to United Nations police in the province.


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Serbian Elections

Draskovic: Monarchy is key to European integration

Political analysts say Draskovic's party is a possible junior coalition partner to the conservative Democratic Party of Serbia of ex-Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, which is expected to play a key role in the next government.

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Reuters, December 22

BELGRADE -- Monday – Serbia should restore the monarchy abolished by Tito's communists six decades ago to drive home the message it wants to join "the family of European democracies", a veteran opposition politician said today.

Vuk Draskovic, whose Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) is expected to enter parliament in a December 28 general election, told Reuters he wanted the son of Yugoslavia's last king to ascend the throne to help strengthen democracy in Serbia.

"I'm afraid that parliamentary monarchy is the safest way to have democratic rule in Serbia today," said the bearded and charismatic former author, a leading opponent of ex-Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic during much of the 1990s.

Political analysts say his party is a possible junior coalition partner to the conservative Democratic Party of Serbia of ex-Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, which is expected to play a key role in the next government.

Draskovic's SPO and its New Serbia election ally have made their call for Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic to become king one day a key feature of their campaign. Most other parties either seem lukewarm to the idea or reject it outright.

Born in exile, Aleksandar is the son of late King Petar who fled to Britain on the eve of Nazi Germany's invasion in 1941. Petar was too young too rule but his father Aleksandar introduced a royal dictatorship in Yugoslavia and ruled with a heavy hand until his assassination in 1934.

Crown Prince Aleksandar and his wife only returned after the reformers who ousted Milosevic in 2000 abolished communist-era decrees that stripped the royal family of citizenship and property.

Draskovic said he expected parliament to back the idea, predicting his party would become one of its largest although surveys give it support of less than 10 percent.

The monarchy was part of Serbia's tradition but a future king would not have an active political role, Draskovic said.

He would be "a link with the world, a symbol of friendship and reconciliation with neighbours", akin to surviving monarchies in western Europe, which are all democratic and prosperous states, Draskovic said.

"Establishing such a monarchy would be a clear signal to Brussels and Washington that Serbia is firmly on the road leading to the family of European democracies," he added.

In comments likely to please the West, Draskovic ruled out a government coalition with the Radical Party, led by firebrand Vojislav Seselj from his cell at The Hague war crimes tribunal.

"We cannot go with those who see the democratic West as a traditional enemy of the Serbs but say that Saddam Hussein (is a friend)," Draskovic said. "We cannot go with those who want...the end of relations with neighbours."


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INET: Flash news from Kosovo and Metohija 21-22 December 2003

INET news

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Monday 22 December 2003

21:20 UNMIK and the Kosovo government have advised that they oppose the cantonization of the Province and its division into Serbian and Albanian entities.

21:00 Kosovo citizens with the right to vote have the right to participate in elections being organized on December 28 by the Serbian government, UNMIK advised this evening.

20:40 Kosovo premier Bajram Rexhepi has promised he will do everything possible to convince the Albanian residents of Klina to accept the return of 26 Serb heads of household in the urban part of Klina who have been waiting for more than one month in the Serb village of Bicha to return their homes, stated Kosovo repatriation minister Goran Bogdanovic.

20:20 Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija head Nebojsa Covic stated that Serbian parliamentary elections will be held in Kosovo "regardless of any decisions on the part of Kosovo's provisional parliament".

20:00 Serb Return Coalition (Povratak) whip in the Kosovo parliament Dragisa Krstovic said that the Kosovo parliament does not have jurisdiction or authority to concern itself with elections in Serbia held on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, and that this is a job for OSCE and other international subjects.

19:40 At an extraordinary session held in the absence of Serb MPs the provisional Kosovo parliament adopted a declaration assessing that holding Serbian parliamentary elections on the territory of Kosovo is unacceptable and unconstitutional.

12:40 In Kosovo there is no confirmation yet that one of the three leaders of the disbanded [sic] Kosovo Liberation Army will be traveling to The Hague before the end of the year as stated by Serbian justice minister Vladan Batic, stated UNMIK spokesperson Mechild Heneka (sp?)

12:20 Serbian interior minister and president of the Serbian Liberals Dusan Mihajlovic stated last night in Novi Sad that his political party has no intention of changing its policy of refusing to extradite policemen and soldiers to the Hague tribunal "solely because they were in Kosovo and Metohija during the war".

12:00 The return of a group of Kosovo Serbs who have been waiting more than a month in the Serb village of Bicha to return their homes in Klina is expected to be one of the topics of discussion at a meeting in Pec today between UNMIK representatives, local officials, Albanian political parties and a delegation of returnees.

11:40 If it comes to power, the Serbian Radical Party will prevent the secession of Kosovo from Serbia in 2005, stated Serbian Radical Party secretary general Aleksandar Vucic.

Sunday 21 December 2003

21:00 The secretary general of the Serbian Radical Party Aleksandar Vucic said today at a pre-election rally in Kosovska Mitrovica that if the Radicals win in the elections, Serbia will invest ten times more in Serbian settlements in Kosovo.

20:40 Pope John Paul II received Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova for a private audience. The Vatican has not communicated the content of their discussion, advised Associated Press.


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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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