February 20, 2004

ERP KIM Newsletter 20-02-04b

German KFOR officially refuses to provide escort for monks, referring them to UNMIK police

ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, February 20, 2004

After 12 days of waiting for a response to a request for a military escort to distribute humanitarian aid to Serbs in Prizren, German KFOR finally sent a written notification referring the monks of Holy Archangels Monastery to the UNMIK police. The German Army has thus made it clear that it is not willing to provide protection for the monks in carrying out their basic spiritual and humanitarian work to meet the needs of the remaining Serbs in Prizren. There has also been no change in the demeanor of German KFOR, which is still refusing to provide the monastery with electrical power from its generator and withholding food from the Orthodox priest in Prizren, who is now being fed by the remaining Serbs despite the fact that they themselves live on the very edge of existence.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren is surprised and disappointed with the results of yesterday's meeting between outgoing Serbia-Montenegro defense minister Boris Tadic and German defense minister Peter Struck, where the issue of the inhumane treatment of German KFOR toward Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija was not even brought up. Instead of informing his German counterpart of the problem experienced by some citizens of the state he is supposed to represent, Mr. Tadic went so far as to praise the German Army for its "great accomplishments", ignoring the behavior of German KFOR toward Serbs in Serbia's southernmost province.

The German defense minister's statement that the Germans will continue to provide protection for the Serbs in Kosovo can only be understood ironically, taking into account the recent removal of a security checkpoint in Velika Hoca, indifference to the obstruction of Serb returns to the Orahovac area, and rejection of plans for the renewal of the monastery in Zociste. Serbs in Velika Hoca have also been left without the KFOR escort which until recently accompanied their bus on a regular route to Mitrovica.

Serbs have been told that they will be provided with escorts by the UNMIK police even though the whole task appears have been left up to ethnic Albanians from the Kosovo Police Service. Understandably, Serbs have no confidence in the KPS which is under the direct influence of the same group of people who abducted over 50 Orahovac Serbs in 1998. Unlike in other KFOR sectors where there are several projects for returns, in the German sector one has the distinct impression that KFOR does not want Serbs to return because this would represent an additional responsibility for the German contingent, which is scheduled to be reduced to half its present size by the end of the year.

Yesterday's double murder of a Serb man and woman in Lipljan is just a warning to the international forces that premature removal of security checkpoints and turning over the protection of the endangered Serb community to the professionally ill-prepared and thoroughly corrupt UNMIK and KPS organizations by KFOR will lead to the departure of the remaining Serb population and directly encourages Albanian extremists to continue their campaign of ethnic cleansing.


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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