February 02, 2004

ERP KiM Newsletter 02-02-04

Bishop Artemije: No participation to the detriment of Serbia's sovereignty

"The Serb community in Kosovo and Metohija wants a free and dignified love but it cannot accept the offer of some sort of abstract "minority rights" in exchange for Serbian sovereignty in a society being tailored by Kosovo Albanians exclusively for their own needs and interests. The Standards for Kosovo document, which practically negates the essential elements of sovereignty of Serbia-Montenegro and Resolution 1244, fundamentally prejudices the secession of the southern Serbian province; consequently, this plan must be revised before it can be accepted by the Serb side," said Bishop Artemije for the ERP KIM Info Service from Washington D.C.
In the following days the Bishop will have several meetings with U.S. Congressmen and will visit the UN HQ  in New York.

CONTENTS:

Bishop Artemije meets US State Department Officials
"Our further participation in institutions now depends exclusively on the attitude of the international community which needs to offer something concrete, visible and measurable for our people. Otherwise, our participation in the institutions will only serve to push more Serbs out of Kosovo and Metohija. We are willing to participate only if this ensures the survival of the Serb people, not to legitimize the provisional institutions. We truly cannot continue in that direction," said Bishop Artemije during a meeting with State Department officials


Annan criticizes Kosovo Parliament on Minorities
The Assembly "is once again refusing to take into account legitimate minority concerns in the legislative process, [and is] overstepping its competencies," Annan said in a report to the UN Security Council.

UN News: UN report paints mixed picture on Kosovo's provisional institutions
The record of achievements by Kosovo's Provisional Institutions is mixed, with progress apparently stalled in some areas, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new document made public today. In a report to the Security Council on the activities of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Mr. Annan calls for Kosovo's leaders and institutions to uphold the values of multi-ethnicity, tolerance and equal rights for all communities.

Al Qaida Active in Kosovo - Claim Serbs
"We have information that al Qaida has strongholds in Kosovo, northern Albania ... and that they are active in western Macedonia," Stojanovic, the head of the Military Security Agency of Serbia-Montenegro's army, said. All areas are heavily populated by ethnic Albanians, who are mostly Muslims.

Massive heroin haul on Albanian border
Florian Seriani said 30 kilograms was confiscated on Friday morning in Morina, five kilometres from the border. The stash was hidden in a car boot with a false bottom. The car had Albanian licence plates and was coming from the direction of Kosovo, said Seriani.

News from Kosovo and Metohija, January 31

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


Bishop Artemije meets with U.S. State Department officials

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"Our further participation in institutions now depends exclusively on the attitude of the international community which needs to offer something concrete, visible and measurable for our people. Otherwise, our participation in the institutions will only serve to push more Serbs out of Kosovo and Metohija. We are willing to participate only if this ensures the survival of the Serb people, not to legitimize the provisional institutions. We truly cannot continue in that direction," said Bishop Artemije during a meeting with State Department officials

ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, February 1, 2004



Bishop Artemije, who is presently on an extended visit to the U.S., took part in a 45 minute meeting with the deputy assistant state secretary
Kathleen Stephens, deputy director for Kosovo Michael Bosshart, and Serbia and Montenegro country officer Theresa Grencik at the State Department in Washington D.C. on January 30.

In his opening statement, Bishop Artemije indicated that he was visiting the U.S. to renew his earlier contacts with U.S. officials and remind of the difficult situation in which Kosovo Serbs are living.

"Many changes have occurred in Kosovo and Metohija, but not for all citizens. UN Security Council Resolution 1244 guarantees a safe life for all, but in the past five years it has been implemented only for the benefit of the Kosovo Albanians. For the Serbs, however, there have been no meaningful changes. Two-thirds of the Serb population is still banished from Kosovo, while almost 2,000 people have been killed and kidnapped. The one-third of Serbs who still remain survive in enclaves that resemble ghettoes. Outside these enclaves, they are deprived of the right to life and freedom of movement, lacking access to health care and educational institutions. Many have been fired from institutions and other jobs, while those who own land often cannot work in their fields or even their gardens for lack of safety," explained Bishop Artemije.

He noted that as Bishop, he is particularly hurt by "the destruction or damage of 112 churches and monasteries that previously survived 500 years of Ottoman rule but could not service even one year under international administration".

"We expect nothing," Bishop Artemije told the State Department officials, "except objectivity and impartiality on the part of the international community, and the same standards for all inhabitants. This applies above all to the return of 250,000 persons banished form Kosovo, only a few hundred of whom have returned. In the meanwhile, many others are leaving out of fear of attacks and intimidation, for the killings and robberies continue. Under these conditions it is extremely difficult to remain in our homes."

Deputy assistant state secretary Kathleen Stephens thanked the Bishop for his tolerance and commitment to multiethnicity, and said that the U.S. and its allies remain involved in Kosovo because there is still work that needs to be done. Acknowledging that the destruction of holy sites is a crime against civilization, Mrs. Stephens emphasized that it is necessary to focus on standards and the building of a multiethnic Kosovo with the participation of all communities. She confirmed that the return of displaced persons is especially important and that special funding will be available this year for substantial returns. Mrs. Stephens said that she would welcome Bishop's advise on how to ensure participation of Serbs in the implementation of Standards despite the fact that the living conditions of the Serb community remain difficult.

Addressing the issue of participation by Serb representatives in the implementation of Standards for Kosovo and Metohija, Bishop Artemije emphasized that even prior to this most recent document many promises were made to the Serbs, and that they showed their willingness to participate in institutions. "We listened to your promises and relayed them to our people; unfortunately, the promises remained unfulfilled and concrete results were not achieved," stated Bishop Artemije, adding: "On the contrary, instead of a better life, the situation has worsened, and our people have lost confidence."

"Our further participation in institutions now depends exclusively on the attitude of the international community which needs to offer something concrete, visible and measurable for our people. Otherwise, our participation in the institutions will only serve to push more Serbs out of Kosovo and Metohija," Bishop Artemije explained to his collocutors. "We are willing to participate only if this ensures the survival of the Serb people, not to legitimize the provisional institutions. We truly cannot continue in that direction."

At the end of the meeting, Bishop Artemije insisted that the U.S. administration persuade Kosovo Albanians to enable Serbs to live a normal and dignified life. "We cannot participate in the building of joint institutions to our own detriment. Not one Serb proposal in the Parliament has been adopted, while at the same time we are giving that Parliament legitimacy to our detriment." The Bishop also complained of the lack of sincerity on the part of Albanian political leaders: "They promised us government funding for the restoration of at least one destroyed monastery two years ago but nothing has come of it. Not one of our churches has been restored."

The meeting concluded with mutual willingness for further contacts in order to find the most optimal solutions.

After the meeting with the deputy assistant state secretary, Bishop Artemije and his associates took part in a roundtable including deputy director for Kosovo Michael Bosshart and other State Department officials for Kosovo. They discussed security issues, participation in institutions, implementation of standards, as well as cooperation among religious communities in Kosovo and Metohija in finding common solutions.

Following the two meetings in the State Department, Bishop Artemije made the following exclusive statement for ERP KIM Info Service regarding the issue of the so-called standards for Kosovo, which dominated talks with the U.S. officials.

"Imposing UNMIK standards for Kosovo without acknowledging Serb objections opens the door to the complete Albanization and secession of the southern Serbian province, which will unavoidably lead to long-term instability and conflicts throughout the Balkans and Europe.

"Instead of some abstract plan, the Serb community in Kosovo and Metohija expects clearly measurably and concretely verifiable standards, as well as a fixed timetable for their implementation. This relates, first of all, to the effective realization of returns for expelled Serbs and other non-Albanians, respect for individual and collective rights, protection of Serb private property and the state property of the Republic of Serbia, more effective protection of Serbian religious and cultural heritage, as well as the end of the illegal process of privatization. Unfortunately, UNMIK not only refused to address these requests by the Serb side, but is even accusing the Serbs of obstructive behavior."

We do not want "minority rights" in exchange for Serbian sovereignty

"The Serb community in Kosovo and Metohija wants a free and dignified love but it cannot accept the offer of some sort of abstract "minority rights" in exchange for Serbian sovereignty in a society being tailored by Kosovo Albanians exclusively for their own needs and interests. The Standards for Kosovo document, which practically negates the essential elements of sovereignty of Serbia-Montenegro and Resolution 1244, fundamentally prejudices the secession of the southern Serbian province; consequently, this plan must be revised before it can be accepted by the Serb side," said Bishop Artemije for the ERP KIM Info Service.


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Annan criticizes Kosovo Parliament on minorities

The Assembly "is once again refusing to take into account legitimate minority concerns in the legislative process, [and is] overstepping its competencies," Annan said in a report to the UN Security Council.

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B92, Belgrade
January 31, 2004


NEW YORK -- Saturday - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned that the parliament in Kosovo is failing to address the concerns of the province's minorities.

The Assembly "is once again refusing to take into account legitimate minority concerns in the legislative process, [and is] overstepping its competencies," Annan said in a report to the UN Security Council.

The report described the record of achievement by Kosovo's Provisional Institutions as mixed, with progress apparently stalled in some areas.

Annan noted that not all ethnic communities meaningfully participate in the institutions.

The secretary-general welcomed some progress, including the preparation and adoption of laws at the central and local levels of self-government.

The UN's governor in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, is due to submit a report on the situation in the province to the Security Council on Friday.

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UN: News UN report paints mixed picture on Kosovo's provisional institutions

The record of achievements by Kosovo's Provisional Institutions is mixed, with progress apparently stalled in some areas, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new document made public today. In a report to the Security Council on the activities of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Mr. Annan calls for Kosovo's leaders and institutions to uphold the values of multi-ethnicity, tolerance and equal rights for all communities.

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United Nations News Center
January 30, 2004

30 January 2004 - The record of achievements by Kosovo's Provisional Institutions is mixed, with progress apparently stalled in some areas, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new document made public today.

In a report to the Security Council on the activities of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Mr. Annan calls for Kosovo's leaders and institutions to uphold the values of multi-ethnicity, tolerance and equal rights for all communities.

The Secretary-General notes that not all ethnic communities meaningfully participate in the Provisional Institutions - the presidency, the government and the Kosovo Assembly. He voices concern that the Assembly "is once again refusing to take into account legitimate minority concerns in the legislative process, [and is] over-stepping its competencies."

But Mr. Annan says he was encouraged by some progress, including the preparation and adoption of laws at the central and local levels of self-government.

Established in June 1999 following war in the province, UNMIK is an interim civilian administration led by the UN under which Kosovans can progressively enjoy greater autonomy.

UNMIK retains certain reserved powers in Kosovo, including control over security, foreign relations, minority rights protection and energy, until the province's final status is determined.

Mr. Annan observed that in November a mechanism was set up to review and measure the progress made by the Provisional Institutions towards the benchmarks required before any final decision on Kosovo's status can be made.

In another development, UNMIK customs officers today detected a large quantity of what is suspected to be heroin in the boot of a car leaving Kosovo for Albania.

The seized goods - the latest in a series of discoveries by UNMIK customs officers - have been transferred to the border police, with laboratory analysts set to determine the precise nature of the substance.
 

A Highlight from Annan's report

There has been little significant change in the access of minority community members either to information in their own language or the ability to freely use their language before courts, agencies and public bodies. The personnel and resources allocated for translation of official documents and interpretation by the Provisional Institutions during meetings remained unsatisfactory, particularly in the municipalities. Official documents, if available at all, are still often available only in one language. The institutional arrangements in terms of personnel and resources allocated for translation of official documents and interpretation during meetings are also unsatisfactory, particularly within the municipalities. It has also been noted that Kosovo Ministries are sending documents to the municipalities in Albanian only. Very few municipalities respect legal provisions for bilingual public signs. Clear divisions remain between the public and social services used by Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanian communities, even in ethnically mixed areas. Such problems are likely to worsen in the future owing to a lack of progress in the key area of education among all communities. Only one new mixed-ethnicity school opened during the reporting period. Neither Kosovo Serb nor Kosovo Roma schools provide Albanian-language classes and Kosovo Albanian schools fail to offer courses in minority languages. If that trend continues, the next generation will be further divided by their inability to understand each other's languages. The University of Pristina began offering classes in the Turkish and Bosniak languages in the faculty in Prizren. In order to address concerns regarding the content of textbooks, a Council on Curriculum and Textbooks was established in order to ensure that textbooks prescribed in Kosovo schools are non-discriminatory, free from prejudices and do not offend any ethnic community.

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Scotsman: Al Qaida "Active in Kosovo" Claim Serbs

"We have information that al Qaida has strongholds in Kosovo, northern Albania ... and that they are active in western Macedonia," Stojanovic, the head of the Military Security Agency of Serbia-Montenegro's army, said. All areas are heavily populated by ethnic Albanians, who are mostly Muslims," said Col. Momir Stojanovic the head of the Serbia-Montenegro's military intelligence

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The Scotsman

Sun 1 Feb 2004 3:48pm (UK)



The head of Serbia-Montenegro's military intelligence claimed today that Osama bin Laden's al Qaida and other terrorist groups are present in the Balkans and planning to increase their activity there.

In an interview with the official Tanjug news agency, Colonel Momir Stojanovic also claimed that the ultimate aim of al Qaida and other extremist Islamic groups is to carve out an independent Muslim state in the Balkans.

"We have information that al Qaida has strongholds in Kosovo, northern Albania ... and that they are active in western Macedonia," Stojanovic, the head of the Military Security Agency of Serbia-Montenegro's army, said. All areas are heavily populated by ethnic Albanians, who are mostly Muslims.

"The strategic aim of the Muslim extremists in the area is to create an Islamic state in the Balkans," which would include Muslim-dominated areas in the region, Stojanovic added.

There was no immediate comment to Stojanovic's claims from UN-run Kosovo or Albania, but the Macedonian Defence Ministry said it had no evidence of any al Qaida on its territory.

Claims that Islamic terrorists are present in the Balkans have surfaced before.

Serbian officials have repeatedly said that ethnic Albanian nationalists have established close ties with radical Islamic groups and that extremist fighters fought Serb troops during the Kosovo war in 1998-99.

In neighbouring Bosnia, rumours have also surfaced of al Qaida activity, but the international peacekeepers stationed there since the end of the country's 1992-1995 war have never found any such evidence.

During the Bosnian war, Serb leaders claimed they were fighting to keep Muslims from establishing an Islamic regime in the former Yugoslavia.
Bosnian Muslim leaders dismissed those claims as absurd, arguing that their people are secular and European.

Stojanovic also predicted that terrorist activity in the Balkans, including Serbia-Montenegro, would increase in the "upcoming period."

The United States and its allies have warned in the past that international soldiers deployed in the Balkans could be attacked by al Qaida or other terrorist organisations targeting Western targets throughout the world.

However, there have been no major attacks or any other indication of terrorist activity so far in the Balkans, which is still recovering from wars in the 1990s.

Thousands of international troops, including US soldiers, have been deployed in Kosovo, Bosnia and Macedonia as part of international peacekeeping efforts.

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Massive heroin haul on Albanian border

Florian Seriani said 30 kilograms was confiscated on Friday morning in Morina, five kilometres from the border. The stash was hidden in a car boot with a false bottom. The car had Albanian licence plates and was coming from the direction of Kosovo, said Seriani.

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
January 31, 2004

PRISTINA -- Saturday - Albanian police and members of the UN police force in Kosovo have confiscated more than 55 kilograms of heroin in two operations on the border between Albania and  Kosovo, Serbia-Montenegro, an Albanian police spokesperson said today.

Florian Seriani said 30 kilograms was confiscated on Friday morning in Morina, five kilometres from the border. The stash was hidden in a car boot with a false bottom. The car had Albanian licence plates and was coming from the direction of Kosovo, said Seriani.

Another 25 kilos, divided into small packets, was found during a raid on a tourist agency on Kukes, 15 kilometres from the border.

Albanian police have arrested at least six individuals during the investigation into drug smuggling between Albania and Kosovo.

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News from Kosovo and Metohija, Jan 31

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INET News

Saturday 31 January 2004

20:40 Albanian Police and UN police in Kosovo have seized more than 55 kilos of heroin in two separate actions on the border between Albania and Serbia-Montenegro in Kosovo, stated Albanian police spokesman Florian Seriani.

20:20 Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren stated that the emphasis during meetings with representatives of the U.S. State Department has been on including Serb representatives in the process of implementing standards in Kosovo and Metohija.

20:00 UN secretary general Kofi Annan has assessed that provisional institutions in Kosovo have had mixed success, that progress in some areas is at a standstill and that the Kosovo parliament is refusing to take into account legitimate requests by minorities.

19:40 During a meeting with representatives of the Serb Return Coalition
(Povratak) in the Kosovo parliament, UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri stated that dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade is to resume in the mid-February, reported Bulgarian national radio.

19:20 Montenegrin foreign minister Dragisa Burzan stated that he does not expect Washington to support demands that the status of Albanians in Montenegro be resolved according to the principle of ethnic regionalization.

19:00 The Serbian Radical Party will initiate a discussion on Kosovo in the Serbian parliament and work on overthrowing a possible government by the democratic block. At the same time, it will initiate the question of leadership in the state union in the Serbia-Montenegro parliament, announced Serbian Radical Party vice president Tomislav Nikolic.


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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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