February 25, 2004

ERP KiM Newsletter 25-02-04

Crimes under eyes of KFOR and UNMIK

The goal of the ongoing attacks of the Albanians is to expel more than 420 Serbs from Staro Gracko who have yet to recover from the tragedy that occurred on July 23, 1999, when Albanian terrorists massacred 14 people working in the fields not far from their homes. Before that the villagers were mourning five of their inhabitants who were killed during the NATO aggression. (Politika daily)


A murder scene in which a Serb was a victim, UNMIK police photo archive

Kosovo Serbs continue US embassy protest

Belgrade, 24 Feb (B92) – On Tuesday, around a hundred displaced Serbs from Kosovo, gathered in front of the US embassy in Belgrade, to protest the most recent murders of their fellow countrymen in the province, as well as all the unsolved crimes. Members of the Initiative committee for protest gatherings of Kosovo and Metohija citizens, which is made up of members of seven societies from the province, organized the protests.

"Representative of the US embassy informed us that talks with the US ambassador can officially be scheduled by phone," stated Nebojsa Petkovic, a member of the initiative committee, and added that the committee will do so during the day.

Petkovic announced the continuing of daily gatherings in front of the US embassy, adding that on Thursday he expects the arrival of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija as well as the displaced from the collective centers. "We will radicalize protest and start a hunger strike. We will organize gatherings in front of all the embassies, which have direct influence in Kosovo, and all of this with the goal of fulfilling our demands," said Petkovic.

 

CONTENTS:

BETA: Svilanovic demands UN action after Kosovo killings
"Serbia-Montenegro expects the Security Council to undertake resolute and concrete action this time to prevent further crimes and provide security for all citizens of Kosovo," said Svilanovic, in a statement issued by the foreign ministry in Belgrade.

POLITIKA: Crimes under eyes of KFOR and UNMIK
The goal of the ongoing attacks of the Albanians is to expel more than 420 Serbs from Staro Gracko who have yet to recover from the tragedy that occurred on July 23, 1999, when Albanian terrorists massacred 14 people working in the fields not far from their homes. Before that the villagers were mourning five of their inhabitants who were killed during the NATO aggression.

Serbs protest murder in Lipljan
At the beginning of the protest the gathered were addressed by Rada Trajkovic, a representative of the "Povratak" coalition in the Kosovo parliament. She stated that the recent murders are just showing how Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija feel. "Removal of checkpoints represents an indirect message of the international peacekeepers that Serbs should leave the Serbian southern province. This is just one more very big step on the road towards creating future Kosovo statehood compiled by evil minds," stated Trajkovic.

GLAS: Albanians cleaning their own
Ethem Ceku is known as a top member of the Albanian mafia, which does its criminal activities as part of the criminal organization of Ramush Haradinaj and Ekrem Luka. Luka is known as one of the main financers of Albanian terrorists in Kosovo. At the end of the nineties he gave the UCK almost 2 million euros. Today, Luka is one of the most financially powerful persons in the province. He owns a cigarette factory, brewery, TV station, bars and a basketball team among other things. He has under his control the Serb-Albanian mafia trade going on between Belgrade and Prishtina, and is also involved in drug, weapons, arms, oil, cars, and human trafficking.


TOL: Pictures worth 1000 (angry) words
Ethnic Albanian legislators found themselves alone at the 16 February reopening of the parliamentary auditorium of the Kosovo provisional government. Everyone else had stayed away to protest the depictions of Albanian history hanging on the walls of the new building.  

EU's Solana to visit Kosovo as tensions flare
The visit comes days after two Serbs were found shot dead in a car in what some fear to be another ethnically motivated crime in the troubled Serbian province.

Oliver Ivanovic and Dragisa Krstovic following talks with Solana
"Solana was amazed when we asked him: if they were giving up the past concept on Kosovo," KP caucus whip Dragisa Krstovic told Novosti. "He told us there was no change of policy but that the EU only wanted to be included in the resolution of the problems. Although he asserts this, I am not convinced. It is possible that the desire of the EU to take the place of the UN and the SC in resolving the Kosovo and Metohija problems is behind everything."

Standards do not define Kosovo's final status
After the talks with representatives of provisional provincial institutions in Pristina, the EU High Representative for Common Security and Foreign Policy Xavier Solana has stated that the international community standards do not define the final status of Kosovo-Metohija but rather represent a plan to bring Kosovo to the level appropriate for the future final status on the basis of rules outlined in the Resolution 1244.

Another side to the Balkans
Meanwhile, atrocities by the KLA against the few Serbs who have stayed behind in Kosovo since NATO's entrance in June 1999 continue under the noses of the international community, while London and Washington proclaim the Kosovo mission a success. In June 2003, for instance, an elderly couple, Slobodan (80) and Radmila Stolic (76) along with their middle-aged son, 52-year-old Ljubinko, were tortured and killed at their home in Obilic, Kosovo. In the week leading up to their deaths, they were threatened and bullied when they refused to sell their home to a group of Albanians. The killing of the family came just after agreement had been reached for 20 Serb families to return to their homes in that area; the Stolics' murder was seen by many Serbs as a clear warning not to return.


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Svilanovic demands UN action after Kosovo killings

"Serbia-Montenegro expects the Security Council to undertake resolute and concrete action this time to prevent further crimes and provide security for all citizens of Kosovo," said Svilanovic, in a statement issued by the foreign ministry in Belgrade.

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
February 23, 2004

BELGRADE -- Monday - Serbia-Montenegro expects "concrete action" from the United Nations Security Council to improve the security situation in Kosovo, Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic said today, after two Serbs were shot dead in the province last week.

"Serbia-Montenegro expects the Security Council to undertake resolute and concrete action this time to prevent further crimes and provide security for all citizens of Kosovo," said Svilanovic, in a statement issued by the foreign ministry in Belgrade.

The UN-governed province, he warned, risks becoming a mono-ethnic region on the map of Europe.

"I am certain that the Security Council, and anyone else in the international community, is not prepared to take responsibility for such a development," read the statement.

Svilanovic noted that since the arrival of the UN administration and NATO-led peacekeepers, 22 Serbs had been killed in the Lipljan municipality alone, while none of the perpetrators have been found.

"The proclaimed goals of the UN - to provide safety in Kosovo, freedom of movement and respect for human and minority rights for all of its citizens - have been seriously challenged," warned the foreign minister.

Foreign Minister sends letter of protest to UN Security Council over two Kosovo Serbs killings

Belgrade, Feb 24, 2004 - Serbia-Montenegro expects the UN Security Council to take concrete measures to prevent crimes in Kosovo-Metohija, Serbia-Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affairs Goran Svilanovic said in a letter of protest to the Security Council, following the murders of two Kosovo Serbs near Lipljan last week.

Serbia-Montenegro expects the UN Security Council to take resolute and concrete steps this time, in order to prevent further crimes and ensure security in Kosovo-Metohija, Svilanovic said in the letter.

Otherwise, Svilanovic warned, Kosovo could soon become an ethnically clean province rather than a multiethnic one. "I believe that neither the Council nor any member of the international community is ready to assume responsibility for such a development"," he added.

Svilanovic expressed his utmost indignation at the fact that since UNMIK and KFOR were first deployed in the Province, 22 Serb residents of Lipljan alone had been killed and that none of these murders had been solved.

He went on to emphasize that the professed goals of the United Nations of providing security, free movement, respect for human rights and minorities for all inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija had been seriously undermined.

In this context, he recalled that the massacre of fourteen harvesters in Staro Gracko and the killings of the Stolic family in Obilic and of two youths who swam in the river in Gorazdevac had not yet been elucidated.

He then warned that such failures on the part of KFOR and UNMIK seriously eroded both their own authority and that of the Security Council.


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Crimes under the eyes of KFOR and UNMIK

The goal of the ongoing attacks of the Albanians is to expel more than 420 Serbs from Staro Gracko who have yet to recover from the tragedy that occurred on July 23, 1999, when Albanian terrorists massacred 14 people working in the fields not far from their homes. Before that the villagers were mourning five of their inhabitants who were killed during the NATO aggression.

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Politika daily, Belgrade
February 23, 2004

By B. Radomirovic

The monstrous murder of two Serbs - Milijana Markovic, a 24 year-old young woman from Staro Gracko buried on Sunday in the village of her birth, and Zlatomir Kostic, a 38 year-old professor of information technology from Kosovo Polje buried on Monday in the village of Rudjinci near Vrnjacka Banja, is only latest episode in a series of ongoing bestial acts committed by Albanians near Lipljan.

Apparently the Albanians are seeking to "remove" from the Prizren-Pristina highway the only Serb village on that road from Tirana to Pristina, a distance of some 200 kilometers.

The goal of the ongoing attacks of the Albanians is to expel more than 420 Serbs from Staro Gracko who have yet to recover from the tragedy that occurred on July 23, 1999, when Albanian terrorists massacred 14 people working in the fields not far from their homes. Before that the villagers were mourning five of their inhabitants who were killed during the NATO aggression.

Once there were a thousand

However, the crimes continue to occur: prior to Thursday's heinous attack, two local residents of Staro Gracko were killed by a landmine planted on the road. Once the village had a population of 1,000 but many, fearing for their personal safety and lacking adequate protection from UNMIK and KFOR, moved either to other villages in central Kosovo or to central Serbia.

Provocations continue every day, especially from the neighboring village of Mali Alas;  the house of the Djekic family, attacked in 2001 and then 2002, as well as the houses of other residents are now constantly shot at.

The municipality of Lipljan formerly had a population of about 20,000 Serbs, 17,000 of them living just in the city of Lipljan; now there are barely 2,000. In the villages of Suvi Do, Skulanevo, Letina, Novo Naselje near Lipljan, and Slovinje and Magura there were once more than 6,000 Serbs. Now half of that number remain. People cannot escape from Albanian acts of terror. Since the deployment of the UN peacekeeping mission in Kosovo and Metohija, more than 40 Serbs in the municipality of Lipljan have been murdered. In the almost five years of peacekeeping presence, 680 houses in the municipality have been set on fire, 35 of them in the city of Lipljan. There have been 170 bomb attacks in Lipljan. Three hundred Serbs have been physically attacked; in terms of numbers, this means that almost every seventh Serb in Lipljan was a victim of an attack.

Serbs in the municipality of Lipljan have been killed under the eyes of KFOR. In 1999 in the notorious Klecka, six children and old people were burned in the local lime kiln. Crimes also occurred in the presence of peacekeepers in the villages of Vrsevci, Magura, Slovinje, as well as in Staro Gracko and in downtown Lipljan. On June 29, 1999 Dragan Ferencevic was killed by KFOR as he was attempting to save his brother from a mob of angry Albanians. Instead of helping, KFOR shot at him.

Presently there are only four elderly Serbs left in the village of Vrla. In 1999 a Serb married couple was killed in the yard of Trifun Lera, another Serb, following a bomb attack.

According to Borivoje Vignjevic, the deputy mayor of Lipljan, most of the attacks occurred during the period from 1999-2000. However, attacks also occurred later, when four Serbs from Lipljan were killed during a bomb attack on a bus. The three members of the Stokic family, a married couple and their two year-old child, were killed. Another Serb man also died at the time; two other victims died later of their injuries.

Also well remembered is the heinous murder by Albanians of Ljubica Kovacevic not far from her yard in February 2002. By coincidence her husband was unhurt in the attack. Neither of the criminals was ever found.

Continuous and systematic attacks on Serbs continued. The murder of Dragan Tonic in Skulanevo, a village near Lipljan, remains written in black in the chronicle of bestial acts. He was shot in the mouth by his former neighbors.

Appeals and protests

Also know is the incident that occurred a month ago in Novo Naselje, when a group of Albanians armed with pitchforks and canes attacked five Serbs, seriously injuring them and a casual passerby, also a Serb. After a one month stay in the Simonida Medical Clinic in Gracanica and the Kosovska Mitrovica Health Center, the victims are now recovering in their homes.

Borivoje Vignjevic says that he spoke on Monday, Sunday and Friday with representatives of UNMIK and KFOR, as well as with the mayor and deputy mayor of the municipality of Lipljan, Albanians who, according to him, "most strongly condemn this crime and insist that the perpetrators are found". The Serb people are afraid and they see no prospect for survival in the municipality of Lipljan. The last remaining security checkpoints of Finnish KFOR are scheduled to be taken down on April 1.

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Serbs protests murder in Lipljan

At the beginning of the protest the gathered were addressed by Rada Trajkovic, a representative of the "Povratak" coalition in the Kosovo parliament. She stated that the recent murders are just showing how Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija feel. "Removal of checkpoints represents an indirect message of the international peacekeepers that Serbs should leave the Serbian southern province. This is just one more very big step on the road towards creating future Kosovo statehood compiled by evil minds," stated Trajkovic.

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KIM Radio - RTS-NS, BK TV
February 23, 2004


Gracanica Serbs Protest Murder Of Two Serbs

Gracanica, 23 Feb (KIM Radio) – On Monday, Serbs from Gracanica and the surrounding Serbian settlements gathered to protest the murder of Milijana Markovic, and Zlatomir Kostic, who were killed on 19th of February on the Lipljan – Staro Gracko road. The protest started with a minute of silence to commemorate their death.

At the beginning of the protest the gathered were addressed by Rada Trajkovic, a representative of the "Povratak" coalition in the Kosovo parliament. She stated that the recent murders are just showing how Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija feel. "Removal of checkpoints represents an indirect message of the international peacekeepers that Serbs should leave the Serbian southern province. This is just one more very big step on the road towards creating future Kosovo statehood compiled by evil minds," stated Trajkovic. "We heard the saddest statement coming from UNMIK and KPS policemen who do not know the perpetrators of the murders. Well we are going to give them the answers", stated Trajkovic adding that Serbs know that the murderers are three Albanians from Stimlje, and that they shot Zlatomir and Milijana in an ambush, and that all of this was taking place while KPS was regulating traffic. "We have to ask ourselves if KPS accidentally or deliberately let the car with the Serbs thru", wonders Trajkovic.
Dragan Velic, the head of this Kosovo region, also addressed the citizens, by repeating the request for the return of Serbian army and police in Kosovo and Metohija.
The crowd also called for the resignation of the UNMIK police commissioner, and the KFOR commander, as well as freedom of movement and the resolving of the destiny of 1,400 missing Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija. They also requested for immediate stopping of transfer of authority on to the Kosovo interim institutions.
Among some of the requests was the reevaluation of all agreements signed by the Coordination center, especially the last one, which allows "Kosovo Airways" the use of the Kosovo and Metohija sky.

Protest in Gracanica finished with a quiet walk to the Gracanica monastery where the gathered lid candles commemorating the murdered Serbs.

Serbs Protest In Kosovska Mitrovica

Kosovska Mitrovica, 23 Feb (RTS-NS, BK-TV) – On Monday, around 10,000 Serbs gathered in the Northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica to protest last Thursdays murder of the two Serbs in the vicinity of Lipljan.

Momir Kasalovic, the president of the executive committee of the Serbian National Council for Northern Kosovo, addressed the gathered by asking that the Serbian army and police return to the province. He also demanded that the representatives of the Serbian coalition "Povratak" leave the Kosovo parliament, that Serbs do not participate in UN institutions such as the police, the customs, and the justice system, that the Serbian government forms a special ministry for Kosovo and Metohija, and the respecting of all agreements signed between the UN and the Serbian government. Kasalovic also emphasized that one of the priorities of the new Serbian government has to be the issue of Kosovo and Metohija.

Representing the Serbian pupils in the Serbian basic schools and the high schools, Igor Simic stated that the Serbian intelligence, Serbian education and the Serbian Cyrillic letter have once more been made target of the Albanian extremists.

Predrag Stojcetovic, the head of the education department for the Mitrovica region, accused the UNMIK police of making the Serbian pupils and teachers a target of the Albanian extremist.

Students of the Pristina University from Kosovska Mitrovica attended protests, which started with one minute of silence.

Gathered protesters also asked that the headquarters of the Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija be moved to Kosovo instead of Belgrade, and that the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo and Metohija be immediately stopped.

This protest finished with out any incidents. At the end the gathered lid candles as a sign of commemoration for the last Serbian victims in the province.

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Albanians cleaning their own

Ethem Ceku is known as a top member of the Albanian mafia, which does its criminal activities as part of the criminal organization of Ramush Haradinaj and Ekrem Luka. Luka is known as one of the main financers of Albanian terrorists in Kosovo. At the end of the nineties he gave the UCK almost 2 million euros. Today, Luka is one of the most financially powerful persons in the province. He owns a cigarette factory, brewery, TV station, bars and a basketball team among other things. He has under his control the Serb-Albanian mafia trade going on between Belgrade and Prishtina, and is also involved in drug, weapons, arms, oil, cars, and human trafficking.

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Glas Javnosti, Belgrade daily
February 26, 2004

The bomb attack on Ethem Ceku, a minister in the Kosovo government and a member of Ramush Haradinaj's Alliance for Kosovo future, and the ministers associates, which happened four days ago, in the ethnically clean Pec municipality, is part of the most recent wave of violence that hit Kosovo and Metohija.

This incident is not to be mixed with the attacks on the Serbs. In this case the incident is not with the purpose of ethnic cleansing, but a clash between fellow countrymen. It is also obvious that the attack was not accidental but that the minister was the target of this attempted assassination. Haradinaj's political party believes the same thing and does not hide their concerns.

Ethem Ceku is known as a top member of the Albanian mafia, which does its criminal activities as part of the criminal organization of Ramush Haradinaj and Ekrem Luka. Luka is known as one of the main financers of Albanian terrorists in Kosovo. At the end of the nineties he gave the UCK almost 2 million euros. Today, Luka is one of the most financially powerful persons in the province. He owns a cigarette factory, brewery, TV station, bars and a basketball team among other things. He has under his control the Serb-Albanian mafia trade going on between Belgrade and Prishtina, and is also involved in drug, weapons, arms, oil, cars, and human trafficking.

Attack on Ceku is also being seem as a warning to Haradinaj and Luka, and is also brought in connection with the investigation the Hague tribunal is leading against a couple of ex UCK members. As a commander of the prison camp in the Junicki Mountains, he also controlled a prison camp Dragobilj near Malisevo, and is responsible for the murder of large number of Serbs who were previously forced to do heavy physical work in the Deva mine near Djakovica. Ceku could be prosecuted for this, but he could also be a very important witness.

Clashes between the political opponents started back in the nineties. FARK (Kosovo republic armed forces) leader Ahmet Krasnici was killed in Tirana in 1997. The organizer of this killing was Xhavit Haliti, one of the founders of UCK and the key man in its logistics, as well as a current vice president of the Kosovo government. Rugova's supporters are saying Haliti is also responsible for the killing of Tahir Zemaj, another FARK commander who was killed in January of 2003. Other victims of political murders are Shefki Popova, a news reporter for "Rilindija" who was killed in 1999, Ekrem Rexha, one of the UCK commanders, as well as Xhemajli Mustafa Ahmet Isufi, Enver Maloku, Besim Bujaru, Sali Cekaj, most of whom are Rugova's allies. For testifying against members of the UCK, in front of international court in Kosovo Azem Musaj, Sadri Rexhaj, Sedj Maloku, Rexhep Kelmendi, Iliria Berisha, were also killed. Hague main prosecutor Carla Del Ponte sadly stated that she was left without four witnesses.

Pristina does not hide its concerns that such incidents can continue in the upcoming months, especially in the pre-election campaigning, when we will see the surfacing of a fight for power between local Albanian leaders, but also for gaining of power among ten nark-mafia clans. Clashes between political opponents who believe that the solution for Kosovo final status in just days away is yet to be seen.

Although majority of Albanian political leaders share the same goal, which is an independent Kosovo, there are serious differences in the political moves and the profiling of their power. Inter-Albanian conflicts bear resemblance of clan conflicts with the use of violence and forms of urban crime. Very often we see clashes between mafia groups as well. Hashim Thaci, Ramush Haradinaj, and Agim Ceku, are sovereign parts of the mafia, so collisions between them can be expected. DSK leader and Kosovo president, Ibrahim Rugova, is also target of the mafia.

Last attack on the Minster confirms, as Milorad Todorovic, a co-minister in Kosovo government put it, the level of publish safety for normal citizens in Kosovo and Metohija is low.

Recent incidents also give an answer to the question "Has the international community four years after putting the southern Serbian province under its protection, managed to disarm Kosovo Albanians. Numerous actions for voluntary surrender of weapons, and large number of impounded weapons during searches and on check points, shows that civilians still have in their possession large number of bombs, rifles, and pistols.



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Pictures worth 1,000 (Angry) Words

Ethnic Albanian legislators found themselves alone at the 16 February reopening of the parliamentary auditorium of the Kosovo provisional government. Everyone else had stayed away to protest the depictions of Albanian history hanging on the walls of the new building.

Blerim Sala (K/Albanian journalist): "I guess the best thing to do would be for the anonymous painters of these paintings to take them back and sell them at a special auction. Passionate collectors would buy them for their private galleries. No matter the quality of these paintings, they have their fame: for a while, these paintings were in the Kosovo Assembly."

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Transitions Online (Czeck Republic)
23 February 2004


PRISTINA, Kosovo--Ethnic Albanian legislators found themselves alone at the 16 February reopening of the parliamentary auditorium of the Kosovo provisional government. Everyone else had stayed away to protest the depictions of Albanian history hanging on the walls of the new building.

At the ceremony to inaugurate the new parliament, Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova said, "This is a beautiful interior with proper historical symbols of Kosovo . as well as with the NATO symbol, which has become part of the history of Kosovo." The hall, Rugova added, will also soon feature the state symbols of Kosovo.

Rugova knew why he was speaking to a sparse crowd. The head of the UN Mission to Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, had already sent a letter to Parliament Speaker Nexhat Daci expressing concern about the display of themes from Albanian history. The pictures depict the arrival of Skenderbeg (Gjergj Kastrioti) in Kruja, Albania; the assembly of princes in Lezha, Albania; and the founding of the League of Prizren.

In his letter, Holkeri pointed out that the Kosovo parliament is a multi-ethnic institution representing a multi-ethnic Kosovo. Daci replied that the institutions of Kosovo were not about to erase their national history for someone else's.

Accusations of monothnicity

The new building is considered be one of the most modern parliaments in the Balkans; the renovation took eight months and cost more than 2 million euros ($2.5 million).

UNMIK spokesperson Isabella Karlowicz told TOL that the assembly is a multi-ethnic institution and that any internal decorations should reflect the multi-ethnic character of Kosovo. The current decorations, she said, do not.

"A couple of days ago, the special representative of the secretary general of the UN [SRSG] sent a letter of concern to Mr. Daci informing him that he would not attend the opening of the assembly until the situation is changed," Karlowicz said. "The whole point is that if you decorate a multi-ethnic institution, the representatives of all communities living in Kosovo who are present at the assembly should be consulted. And this doesn't seem to have been the case. Kosovo is multi-ethnic, and multi-ethnicity is at the very core of every single standard. We sincerely hope that this issue will be solved soon."

The Albanian paintings haven't just upset the UN. The parliamentarians from the ethnic Serb Povratak Coalition have informed the parliament speaker that they plan to boycott parliament until the murals are removed.

In a letter to Daci, Dragisa Krstovic, head of Povratak's parliamentary group, wrote: "On behalf of Povratak, I ask you to act in compliance with . the Constitutional Framework [of Kosovo] to remove all mono-ethnic symbols from the building. I also ask you to exercise your authority to respect the right of equality by using the Serb language in the parliament's work, in addition to Albanian." If action is not taken, Krstovic warned, Povratak would not attend the sessions.

His letter also argued that the display of mono-ethnic murals was a serious violation of the basic principles of, and ongoing efforts to establish, multi-ethnic institutions in Kosovo.

"The Kosovo parliament is not just a parliament of Albanians. We have our own very rich history," Oliver Ivanovic, deputy speaker of the parliament and a senior member of the Kosovo Serb coalition, told the Beta news agency.

15 minutes of fame

The reaction doesn't seem to have had the desired impact. Ramush Tahiri, political adviser to Daci, said there are no plans to remove the controversial pictures.

"These paintings cannot be removed just because of UNMIK's political remarks. That would be a humiliation. There is room for more paintings or sculptures. Let Povratak and other minorities hang whatever they want," Tahiri said, adding that this position had been conveyed to UNMIK officials several times during the past few months.

Tahiri also said that Daci had offered his detractors two alternatives.
First, Povratak and other ethnic communities could add their own works of art, expressing their own history and ethnic identity, to the assembly's walls. Or, a multiparty assembly committee could be created and charged with evaluating the controversial paintings in the context of an international art competition, with the winners decorating the walls.

At least one local journalist thinks the whole episode has been blown out of proportion.

In a front-page editorial, the editor of the Pristina newspaper Zeri, Blerim Shala, wrote, "We heard all kinds of things about the paintings, which, it [now] comes out, were done in a rush just to fill the walls and to meet a low artistic standard. Most probably no one even knows who decided that these paintings should be there or how, and for the time being, at least no one knows how this problem is going to be solved."

Then he suggested an eminently practical solution: "I guess the best thing to do would be for the anonymous painters of these paintings to take them back and sell them at a special auction. Passionate collectors would buy them for their private galleries. No matter the quality of these paintings, they have their fame: for a while, these paintings were in the Kosovo Assembly."

--by Bekim Greicevci


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EU's Solana to visit Kosovo as tensions flare

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, is expected to visit Kosovo Tuesday amid renewed tensions over ethnic violence, an official said.

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Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 24 Feb 2004

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro, Feb 24 (AFP) - The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, is expected to visit Kosovo Tuesday amid renewed tensions over ethnic violence, an official said.

The visit comes days after two Serbs were found shot dead in a car in what some fear to be another ethnically motivated crime in the troubled Serbian province.

Tensions between Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority and Serb minority remain high in the wake of the 1998-99 war here, despite the presence of thousands of NATO peacekeepers and United Nations police.

"The visit is aimed at discussing the evolution of EU-Balkans relations, developments in the region and to follow up on the situation in Kosovo," EU mission spokeswoman Aida Fazliu-Lindmeier said.

Solana is to discuss the implementation of a UN-backed set of social and political benchmarks the province must meet before its final sovereign status can be decided.

The ethnic Albanian majority wants independence from Serbia but Belgrade insists that Kosovo is an integral part of Serbian territory.

Solana will meet Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership including President Ibrahim Rugova and parliament speaker Nexhat Daci, as well as UN mission chief Harri Holkeri.

Later in the day he will also meet ethnic-Serb political leaders, who are furious at what they see as the international community's failure to stop anti-Serb violence in the wake of the war.

Kosovo has an elected president and parliament although most decision-making remains in the hands of the UN, which has run the province since NATO bombers forced Serbian security forces to withdraw at the end of the war.

Dozens of ethnic Serbs were killed in revenge attacks by ethnic Albanians and some 200,000 Serbs fled into Serbia proper after NATO's intervention ended a brutal Serbian crackdown on separatist Kosovo Albanian guerrillas.

Tensions flared again when the bodies of an ethnic Serb man and woman were found late Thursday in a car outside a mainly Serb village some 15 kilometres (10 miles) south of the capital Pristina.

No one has been arrested but Serbs are in no doubt that the murders are part of a continuing pattern of violence against their community by ethnic Albanian extremists.

Serbia-Montenegro's Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic on Monday demanded that the UN "take concrete action" to halt the violence.

"The UN-proclaimed goals to secure safety, freedom of movement, respect of human and ethnic minority rights for all the inhabitants of the province have seriously been challenged," Svilanovic said.


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Oliver Ivanovic and Dragisa Krstovic following talks with Solana

"Solana was amazed when we asked him: if they were giving up the past concept on Kosovo," KP caucus whip Dragisa Krstovic told Novosti. "He told us there was no change of policy but that the EU only wanted to be included in the resolution of the problems. Although he asserts this, I am not convinced. It is possible that the desire of the EU to take the place of the UN and the SC in resolving the Kosovo and Metohija problems is behind everything."

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Vecernje Novosti, Belgrade daily
February 24, 2004

Kosovo Assembly Presidency member Oliver Ivanovic has stated that Serb representatives do not want to be a decoration in the working groups, but want to have a constructive approach. He said following talks with Javier Solana that EU's policy towards Kosovo and Metohija was not changing, and that the plan of the "European perspective on Kosovo, supported by the EU Ministerial Council, didn't threaten SaM's territorial integrity.

"Solana was amazed when we asked him: if they were giving up the past concept on Kosovo," KP caucus whip Dragisa Krstovic told Novosti. "He told us there was no change of policy but that the EU only wanted to be included in the resolution of the problems. Although he asserts this, I am not convinced. It is possible that the desire of the EU to take the place of the UN and the SC in resolving the Kosovo and Metohija problems is behind everything."

Krstovic, Ivanovic and ministers Goran Bogdanovic and Milorad Todorovic told Solana that the concept of UNSCR 1244 should not be abandoned, since it guaranteed the state unions territorial integrity and sovereignty. Krstovic stated that they pointed to Solana the latest murders in the province and asked that the chief of UNMIK police and the judiciary resign since they had been occupying these positions for far too long, but hadn't done much in shedding light on the crimes against the Serbs.

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Another side to the Balkans

Meanwhile, atrocities by the KLA against the few Serbs who have stayed behind in Kosovo since NATO's entrance in June 1999 continue under the noses of the international community, while London and Washington proclaim the Kosovo mission a success. In June 2003, for instance, an elderly couple, Slobodan (80) and Radmila Stolic (76) along with their middle-aged son, 52-year-old Ljubinko, were tortured and killed at their home in Obilic, Kosovo. In the week leading up to their deaths, they were threatened and bullied when they refused to sell their home to a group of Albanians. The killing of the family came just after agreement had been reached for 20 Serb families to return to their homes in that area; the Stolics' murder was seen by many Serbs as a clear warning not to return.

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http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA412.htm

SPIKED

25 February 2004
by Eve-Ann Prentice

The marathon trial of former president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic has reached its second anniversary in February 2004, with Serbs continuing to take the brunt of the sentences meted out by the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.

It is ironic then that ethnic Albanian members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) - trained and encouraged in the past by the West - have been free to sell Semtex explosives to undercover journalists from Britain. In late 2003, the journalists posed as Irish terrorists determined to blow up British targets with their booty.

Furthermore, one of the KLA men - offloading enough Semtex to down 40 jumbo jets - also stands accused of torturing and killing Serbs in Kosovo during the war there, which led to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. This was a war where the Serbs were seen as the guilty party and the Albanians as victims.

It is significant that the KLA man felt cocky enough to show off a photo of what he boasted was the disjoined head of one of his victims, a Serb, according to the undercover journalist, Graham Johnson, investigations editor of the Sunday Mirror newspaper, and a British Channel Five TV documentary crew.

Where is The Hague when it comes to charging Albanians with war crimes in the conflict that brought down the wrath of NATO on Yugoslavia in the spring and summer of 1999?

Whenever Albanians are arrested by international forces in Kosovo, KLA hardliners frogmarch ordinary moderate Albanians on to the streets to protest the innocence of the accused - and the charges are usually dropped at source. Some Albanians have been handed to The Hague but the number is believed to be tiny; the tribunal says it cannot say how many as it refuses to break down the accused into ethnic groups. A spokesperson admits, though, that the vast majority of those so far charged have been Serbs.

Meanwhile, atrocities by the KLA against the few Serbs who have stayed behind in Kosovo since NATO's entrance in June 1999 continue under the noses of the international community, while London and Washington proclaim the Kosovo mission a success.

In June 2003, for instance, an elderly couple, Slobodan (80) and Radmila Stolic (76) along with their middle-aged son, 52-year-old Ljubinko, were tortured and killed at their home in Obilic, Kosovo. In the week leading up to their deaths, they were threatened and bullied when they refused to sell their home to a group of Albanians. The killing of the family came just after agreement had been reached for 20 Serb families to return to their homes in that area; the Stolics' murder was seen by many Serbs as a clear warning not to return.

Although Michael Steiner, the United Nations administrator for Kosovo, condemned the killings as a 'heinous and perfidious crime.directed against multi-ethnicity in Kosovo', the UK Parliament took a different view. In a debate on Kosovo on 17 June 2003, Minister for Europe Denis MacShane said he believed the Stolics perished in a 'family feud' - a theory he reportedly had taken from an Albanian newspaper in Kosovo.

Most of the Western public is under the impression that all is now sweetness and light in the Balkans after the Western interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo. How many are aware, though, that Bosnia is now a base for some hardline Muslim militants? Bosnian Muslims have historically been a very secular, gentle people; the extremist Muslims who have taken up bases in their country are from countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and they have found a foothold in Europe largely thanks to the chaos of the Bosnian war.

Many believe that one of NATO's finest hours was in June 1999, when bombing forced Milosevic to pull his forces out of Kosovo. Is it such a success story when you realise that hundreds of thousands of Serb civilians, ordinary families, including young children, have been forced to flee Kosovo in fear of their lives? They have been hounded out by extremists from the very community the West said it was protecting - the ethnic Albanians.

The big powers do not want people to ask too many questions about any links between the Balkans and the so-called 'war on terror'
following 9/11. But the links are there.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is Public Enemy Number One in the West. Yet only a few years ago, he was actively encouraged to take up arms by the very people who now want him dead. The Saudi dissident-turned-Afghan warlord and global terrorist played a key role in training and organising Muslim forces in the former Yugoslavia during the wars in Bosnia and later in Kosovo. Why? Because the West was so determined to crush 'communistic' Serbs following the fall of the Berlin Wall that it was not as fussy as it might have been in choosing its friends.

Mention the Balkans to most people in the West (including senior journalists who should know better) and their eyes glaze over with boredom or confusion. Yet the wars there in the past 10 years are inextricably interwoven with what is happening today in America, Afghanistan, Iraq and across the world. Washington's determination to portray the civil wars in Bosnia and later in Kosovo as straightforward battles of good vs evil was based on deceit. Indeed, the lies masquerading as propaganda helped feed the school of terrorism which struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Political and military leaders in Washington should not have been surprised when the monster they helped to create turned against them.

When the World Trade Center was bombed, it was lunchtime in Britain. On the far side of Europe, it was mid-afternoon. Millions of people in Yugoslavia also looked aghast at the horror-film scenes unfolding on their TV screens. But in Belgrade, shock and revulsion was tinged with a sense of realism. Just over two years before, many had watched first-hand as high-rise buildings were turned into balls of fire and reduced to rubble, also by airborne instruments of death. Serbian civilians had felt the violence of Cruise missiles and conventional bombs hitting home in towns and cities across the country as NATO pursued its campaign against the Milosevic regime.

Many Serbs know that the hardline KLA was trained and equipped in part by Islamic Mujihadeen fighters who saw action in Afghanistan against the Russians, from the same stable of Muslim extremism which attacked New York and Washington on 9/11.

When the Bosnian war looked imminent, Britain's ambassador to Belgrade, Peter Hall, advised a hands-off approach by the West. The Muslim leader of the would-be breakaway state of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegovic, who died in 2003, initially wanted to avoid putting up barricades which he knew would provoke the first shots, but he was persuaded by US diplomats that the West would be right behind him in the coming conflict. Western leaders knew, but chose to ignore, that Izetbegovic had friends in Arab countries and had made several visits to Tehran to see Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1970s. In the 1980s, he was imprisoned by the Yugoslav authorities for writing an Islamic treatise which was seen as treason.

By 1994 there were large numbers of Mujahideen in Bosnia, including fighters from Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. 'Muderis' was the nom de guerre of one Mujihadeen in charge of a 100-strong unit which wore black scarves wound round their heads.
Militant Muslims did not stop with Bosnia - some made alliances with extremist Albanians and ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. These ethnic Albanians embarked on a campaign to dominate first Kosovo, then surrounding areas, including Macedonia.

Where it will all end now is anybody's guess - but it is unlikely to end happily.

Eve-Ann Prentice is a freelance journalist who has covered events in the Balkans for the Guardian, Sunday Correspondent and The Times (London) for 25 years. She is also the author of One Woman's War, Duckworth Publishing, 2002, which explores in depth issues raised in this article.



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Standards do not define Kosovo's final status

After the talks with representatives of provisional provincial institutions in Pristina, the EU High Representative for Common Security and Foreign Policy Xavier Solana has stated that the international community standards do not define the final status of Kosovo-Metohija but rather represent a plan to bring Kosovo to the level appropriate for the future final status on the basis of rules outlined in the Resolution 1244.

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Radio Serbia-Montenegro
February 24, 2004


24 Feb (Radio Srbija I Crna Gora) - After the talks with representatives of provisional provincial institutions in Pristina, the EU High Representative for Common Security and Foreign Policy Xavier Solana has stated that the international community standards do not define the final status of Kosovo-Metohija but rather represent a plan to bring Kosovo to the level appropriate for the future final status on the basis of rules outlined in the Resolution 1244.

Solana has called upon the Serb Coalition POVRATAK representatives to participate in the process of the plan development and standards implementation and expressed his belief that the new Serbian Government will participate with the dialogue with Pristina. He has announced that the Union will invest 100 million Euros in standards implementation, out of which 11 million is earmarked for return of the displaced.

Following the talks with Solana, the Kosovo Assembly Presidency member Oliver Ivanovic has stated that Kosmet Serb representatives expect their remarks concerning the plan for standards implementation to be adopted. Ivanovic says that Solana promised that the EU would be engaged in the resolving of security issues in Kosovo.


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