January 06, 2004

ERP KiM Newsletter 06-01-04

Bishop Artemije: I would not like to see a repeat of 2003

We believe that what is impossible for men is not impossible for God. If both sides are wise, a solution will be found so we can all continue living in Kosovo and Metohija together and side by side, as we have done for centuries. However, an attempt and desire by either side to force the other out of Kosovo will end in failure, said Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija in an interview for Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty.


Uncertainty at the beginning of the year 2004
Pristina - a city in the middle of the Field of Blackbirds (Kosovo field)
 

CONTENTS:

RFE Interview: Bishop Artemije - I would not like to see a repeat of 2003
We believe that what is impossible for men is not impossible for God. If both sides are wise, a solution will be found so we can all continue living in Kosovo and Metohija together and side by side, as we have done for centuries. However, an attempt and desire by either side to force the other out of Kosovo will end in failure, said Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija in an interview for our program

Bishop Artemije Addressed chiefs of diplomatic missions and KFOR authorities in Kosovo
The attempt of the present Municipal authorities (supported by the University and the Ministry of Education) to abrogate the decisions of the previous (Serbian) authorities and the existing laws is not only illegal, but also leads to unnecessary interethnic confrontation. The rabid campaign against Church blurs the image of the University and the Ministry of education because such patterns of behavior existed during the former communist regime or can be found today only in the countries ruled by Sharia law.

Vijesti Interview: Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral
In an interview for the Podgorica daily "Vijesti", His Eminence the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Kyr Amfilohije answered the questions of "Vijesti's" reporter concerning the results of the census, relations with Montenegrin prime minister Milo Djukanovic, the so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church and its self-proclaimed Episcope Mihailo, the Montenegrin nation, his understanding of conciliarity...

Blic Interview: Kostunica - Decisive influence in Government and Assembly
If there is a need for a coalition government, it is necessary to first hold consultations and only then to make the decision regarding its possible formation. And that decision is not made by one man but by the appropriate party bodies, Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) president Vojislav Kostunica said in an interview for "Blic" when asked whether his party will accept the invitation of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) to [jointly] form the future Serbian government.


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INTERVIEW

Bishop Artemije: I would not like to see a repeat of 2003

We believe that what is impossible for men is not impossible for God. If both sides are wise, a solution will be found so we can all continue living in Kosovo and Metohija together and side by side, as we have done for centuries. However, an attempt and desire by either side to force the other out of Kosovo will end in failure, said Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija in an interview for our program

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Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty
December 29, 2003


Moderator: Gëzim BAXHAKU

RFE: How would you evaluate the year 2003?

ARTEMIJE: As far as the Serbs are concerned, the year was an extremely tragic one for the Serbian people of Kosovo and Metohija. In 2003 the number of casualties doubled in comparison with the previous year, as did the number of attacks on members of the Serb community and on our churches. With respect to refugee returns, despite the fact that 2003 was proclaimed to be "the year of returns", there were hardly any. Despite the fact that it was supposed to be the year of decentralization, as Mr. Steiner announced in October of 2002, no decentralization took place. I think 2003 has been the year of the locusts for the Serb people of Kosovo and Metohija. It was truly very, very tragic considering the deaths in Obilic, the children in Gorazdevac, Crnica and other places. I would not like to see a repeat of such a year.

RFE: Representatives of the international community have assessed that there has been progress, nevertheless, with respect to the security situation in Kosovo. Do you agree with them or not?

ARTEMIJE: No, I do not. They have been saying the same thing since they arrived here for the simple reason that if they acknowledged that there has been no progress or improvement, it would be equivalent to admitting they have failed in their mission, which is something they cannot and will not do. Consequently, they keep talking about improvement while our situation grows progressively worse.

RFE: How would you evaluate the results of the Kosovo Serbs' participation in Kosovo institutions?

ARTEMIJE: Their participation in Kosovo provisional institutions has had no results. Not one proposal, program, idea or initiative that Kosovo Serb representatives introduced or attempted to introduce has been adopted by these institutions. Therefore, Kosovo Serb representatives' participation in provisional Kosovo institutions in the last year or two has proven to be a huge mistake. The Serb community's agreement to participate in them has only served to provide legitimacy to these institutions while, on the other hand, Serb representatives have not been able to do anything to improve the lot of their community and their people.

RFE: To what extent has the Belgrade government, the people now in power in Belgrade, done anything to ensure that the problems of Kosovo are taken far more seriously and resolved differently?

ARTEMIJE: They really could not do that much considering that the Belgrade government has been excluded from Kosovo. What they have attempted to do is initiate dialogue; however, the talks that took place in Vienna yielded no results because they were politically manipulated and included only representatives of the Albanian side from Kosovo and Belgrade. The Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija were not participants nor were they represented by either of the two parties involved, which we consider to be unacceptable. Only the Coordinating Center, whose purpose and function enable it to act within Kosovo and Metohija, has managed to accomplish something and resolve certain practical issues on the ground.

RFE: Some political analysts in Kosovo share the opinion that Kosovo Serbs are being marginalized by Belgrade in resolving the problem of Kosovo and that this is being done purposely so that Belgrade can be the one making the decisions of behalf of the Kosovo Serbs. Do you think there is such a tendency?

ARTEMIJE: I do not believe so. I do not think there is because those of us from Kosovo are in relatively frequent contact with people in Belgrade. We have met and talked with them on several occasions, and we are striving to work together. As I have always said, those of us living in Kosovo and Metohija cannot, will not and do not want to resolve the problem of our Kosovo and Metohija by ourselves, without our state, without our government but at the same time, we will not allow Belgrade to address the problem of Kosovo without us, the representatives of the Kosovo Serbs, either. Only through joint efforts can we find and should we seek realistic and adequate solutions for a peaceful and safe life for all residents of Kosovo and Metohija, and all of Serbia.

RFE: Currently there is a lot of talk about standards. There are different opinions. Representatives of the international administration and the UN Security Council have expressed support for Holkeri's proposal. On the other hand, representatives of the Serbian government and the Kosovo Serbs neither accept nor support it. How can we find a compromise that will make the achievement of those standards possible to benefit all the residents of Kosovo, not just one political party or community?

ARTEMIJE: To solve the problem of standards, it is necessary to have goodwill on all sides and then a real solution can be found. We have yet to see the presence of goodwill for a real solution resulting in a normal life for all communities in Kosovo among either the representatives of the Kosovo Albanians or the international community. The standards proposed by Mr. Holkeri will not result in any benefit or positive solutions. They are too vague and undefined, and they have no timeline. Furthermore, they lack benchmarks for establishing whether they have been achieved and processes to measure to what extent they have been achieved. The amendment made to the preamble that supposedly "corrects" the standards is debatable because the standards still appear to describe not some goal to be achieved but the present reality in Kosovo, which we know is absolutely not the case. I think the standards should be defined by consensus among and input from all the parties with an interest in their adoption. Unfortunately, no one bothered to consult or ask us in Kosovo. The Belgrade government submitted 63 proposed amendments to the original draft of the standards, only three of which were adopted. We can hardly be satisfied with the proposed standards in this form.

RFE: There is a light at the end of every tunnel. Do you see one?

ARTEMIJE: Yes, I do. The light is our faith in God. We are drawing closer to Christmas, the nativity of Christ on Earth, and that is our guiding star and our light. We believe that what is impossible for men is not impossible for God. If both sides are wise, a solution will be found so we can all continue living in Kosovo and Metohija together and side by side, as we have done for centuries. However, an attempt and desire by either side to force the other out of Kosovo will end in failure.

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Bishop Artemije addressed chiefs of international missions and KFOR authorities in Kosovo

The attempt of the present Municipal authorities (supported by the University and the Ministry of Education) to abrogate the decisions of the previous (Serbian) authorities and the existing laws is not only illegal, but also leads to unnecessary interethnic confrontation. The rabid campaign against Church blurs the image of the University and the Ministry of education because such patterns of behavior existed during the former communist regime or can be found today only in the countries ruled by Sharia law.

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ERPKIM Info-Service
Gracanica, December 5, 2003

Today Bishop Artemije addressed the heads of diplomatic missions in Kosovo and Metohija: Mrs. Marcie Ries (U.S), Mr. Mark Dickinson (U.K), Mr. Gerard Salier (France), Mr. Peter Rondorf (Germany) and Mr. Pasquale Salzano (Italy) with intention to brief them about the latest attempt of the Pristina Municipality, University of Pristina and the Ministry of education of Kosovo to usurp the Serbian Orthodox property with the Church of Christ the Savior in downtown Pristina.

We are enclosing the full text of the letter which was also sent to the KFOR Commander Lt. General Holger Kammerhoff and Brig General Anders Brännström, commander of the MNB Center
 

+ARTEMIJE
Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Raska-Prizren
and Kosovo-Metohija



Gracanica Monastery, January 5, 2004


Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to inform you personally about the latest activities which I have taken in the name of the Serbian Orthodox Church regarding the unprecedented decision of the Pristina Municipal Council to usurp our land parcel in the center of the town, on which the still uncompleted church of Christ the Savior was built. In the attachment I am enclosing my letters to Mr. Ismet Beciri (Pristina Mayor), Mr. Harri Holkeri (SRSG) and my open letter to the Serbian and international public for your further reference.

The decision of the Pristina Municipality is exceptionally provocative for us because it was brought in the period of the Christmas holidays and was initiated by the Pristina University and the Ministry of education of Kosovo. These are the same institutions which requested removal of the Church of Christ the Savior on January 20, 2003, when we also had to make a strong public reaction.

Our Church is aware that the time when the land parcel and the permission for the building of our church were obtained from the Municipal authorities (at the beginning of 90ies) was a very challenging period for Kosovo Albanian community. However, it is important to have in mind the following:

• After the Second World War the Communist authorities confiscated the property belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church, in Pristina downtown, and the Church had to request a new land parcel for the construction of a cathedral. Since the Serb population of Pristina, prior to 1999 was around 40.000, it was quite logical that beside the small St. Nicholas church (which can only receive congregation of 200) a larger church was needed.

• The land parcel and the license for building of the church were obtained in the only legal way that existed at the time, from authorities that were the only official and legal authorities of Pristina municipality, and which were recognized by the world. The land parcel, according to our knowledge and the existing documentation, had never belonged to the University and therefore could not have been taken away forcefully from it.

• The intention of the Orthodox Church was not to provoke the Albanian community or the University, which at that time even strongly supported construction of the church and the Spiritual center of St. Sava. If the entire project which was supported by the Republic of Serbia, had been completed, the area around the church would have been one of the most attractive parts of the town today. However, we were forced to stop the construction works in 1999 during the period of the KLA insurrection and the subsequent NATO bombing, for security reasons. After June 1999, continuation of the building was not possible any more.

• The attempt of the present Municipal authorities (supported by the University and the Ministry of Education) to abrogate the decisions of the previous (Serbian) authorities and the existing laws is not only illegal, but also leads to unnecessary interethnic confrontation. The rabid campaign against Church blurs the image of the University and the Ministry of education because such patterns of behavior existed during the former communist regime or can be found today only in the countries ruled by Sharia law.

• The last but not the least, the decision of the Municipal Assembly was immediately suspended by UNMIK municipal administrator and will hopefully be fully abrogated by the SRSG Mr. Holkeri. However, the action of the Municipality is seen, nevertheless, as one more among other serious abuses of institutional competencies by Kosovo Albanian authorities, particularly now after the “Kosovo Standards” plan has been publicly promoted and internationally supported.

We try to believe that Kosovo Albanian religious communities (Islamic and Roman Catholic) do not stand behind this campaign and that it is exclusively the action of ultra-nationalist Kosovo Albanian circles, regrettably concentrated in the University and the Ministry of Education. However, such a rage against one Christian church inevitably demonstrates a shocking lack of religious tolerance towards Christianity in general, particularly on the part of those who are supposed to educate the Kosovo youth and teach them to respect cultural, historic and other values of a democratic and multiethnic society.

We sincerely believe that your diplomatic office will make positive influence on the above mentioned Albanian dominated institutions and warn them to stop their unfair campaign against the Serbian Orthodox Church. We would also appreciate if you could help them understand that a selective position towards the laws of Republic of Serbia from the beginning of 90ties (i.e. accepting only those which are to the benefit of ethnic Albanian community and branding others as repressive) is not a proper way towards building of a society based on law and order.

I feel obliged to inform you that it is a general understanding among the Kosovo Serb community that if such blind and one sided policy of Albanian dominated Kosovo Institutions continues to the detriment of our community, the Serb representatives will come under serious public pressure to reconsider their further participation in such institutions.

We rely on your understanding in these delicate issues and count on your assistance.

Sincerely Yours,

Bishop of Raska-Prizren and
Kosovo -Metohija
+ ARTEMIJE



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INTERVIEW

Interview of Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro to Podgorica daily "Vijesti"  

In an interview for the Podgorica daily "Vijesti", His Eminence the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Kyr Amfilohije answered the questions of "Vijesti's" reporter concerning the results of the census, relations with Montenegrin prime minister Milo Djukanovic, the so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church and its self-proclaimed Episcope Mihailo, the Montenegrin nation, his understanding of conciliarity...

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Report by the Information Service of the
Serbian Orthodox Church, Belgrade

Interview of His Eminence the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Kyr Amfilohije in the Podgorica daily "Vijesti"

In an interview for the Podgorica daily "Vijesti", His Eminence the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Kyr Amfilohije answered the questions of "Vijesti's" reporter concerning the results of the census, relations with Montenegrin prime minister Milo Djukanovic, the so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church and its self-proclaimed Episcope Mihailo, the Montenegrin nation, his understanding of conciliarity...


On the eve of the census you organized a conference at Podmaine Monastery which issued a statement calling on the population to declare themselves as Serbs. Publicly you are being accused of propaganda by your priests on the eve and during the census. What do you say to these accusations? How do you interpret the results of the census and are you satisfied with them?

Podmaine Monastery was only the host to a group of intellectuals and historians concerned about true respect for human rights and for the freedom of expression of national and other sentiments on the eve of the scheduled census in Montenegro. Concerned especially for those in Montenegro who feel they are Serbs. The aggression that has been carried out since 1945 in all domains of human life, including the declaration of nationality, has borne in Montenegro an unprecedented phenomenon on the European continent: the almost complete extermination of an entire nation which has been more present for centuries in Montenegro than any other. That something abnormal and unhealthy has been occurring here is shown by the census results of the last sixty years, starting with those immediately after the Second World War to these in 2003. The results of the most recent census only show that it was freer than any of its predecessors. Accusations against the clergy of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral for propaganda are doubly untrue: first, the clergy has always been and remains concerned with its evangelical mission; second, even if it wanted to spread propaganda, in fact, it has the least possible access to the overwhelming majority of public media; and what is more, these media are most frequently in the hands of those who think they are performing a service to their own god if they spread propaganda against everything that the clergy and the Church are doing.

Do you now recognize the Montenegrin nation, considering that in the census more than 40 percent of Montenegrin citizens declared themselves as such?

The results of the most recent census only confirm that Montenegrins are one and the same people. Everyone who divides them brings in a bloody knife among brothers, frequently born to the same mother. How else to explain the fact that those who until recently declared themselves as Montenegrins are now declaring themselves as Serbs, and vice-versa? As far as the Church is concerned, in the words of Paul, the Apostle of the people, "there is no Greek or Jew, no slave or freeman, there is only Christ in all". Everyone who identifies the Church with any one nation is returning to the age of idolatry, to what the Church is called upon to free individuals and peoples from, making them into one Being and one people - of God.

In the past you accompanied current premier Milo Djukanovic to see the Patriarch, and whistled with the students against Milosevic. Today you are exchanging heavy words with Djukanovic and visiting Milosevic in The Hague. How do you explain this change? Has Djukanovic failed to live up to your expectations?

Mr. Djukanovic visited the Patriarch on his own and received him with honor. My visit to Milosevic in The Hague does not mean acceptance of anything he did against which I whistled with the students: I was only carrying out my evangelical duty, according to which "I was in a dungeon and they visited me." Recently I also visited the prisoners in Spuz, as I visit them every year for the holidays. As far as relations with Djukanovic are concerned: The Patriarch and the Metropolitan have remained in the same position where they were. It is Mr. Djukanovic whom you should ask whether his position toward the Church depends on immediate party and political interests, and whether he respects the it only to the extent that he believes it can be subordinated to those interests!

You are frequently accused of direct meddling in daily politics and open support of one side. Do you consider such engagement on your part to be counterproductive and does it avert people from the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral?

Everyone who objectively and accurately follows my work over the last 13 years since I have been the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral, without delving further into the past, knows and understands on which side I am: The one who lays down his head once and for all for the faith of Christ is neither on the side of the independent or the unilaterally dependent. All those who slander and despise me and portray me as some kind of monster and "occupier" from Moraca of the throne of St. Peter should know that in my heart toward them I feel only sorrow - and love.

Would you accept, and under what conditions, an independent Montenegro and within it a Montenegrin Orthodox Church?

The question of the independence of Montenegro is a question for its citizens and their decision, which everyone is bound to respect, but only if it is freely made and not manipulated by anyone. As far as the Church is concerned, Montenegro has its church, the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, which has existed without interruption for the past eight hundred years, as well as other Orthodox episcopates on the territory of Montenegro, regardless of the political and other conditions under which the state of Zeta, that is, Montenegro at that time, was living. One thing should be clear once and for all: its status and organization has never depended on the street or political parties or ruling ideologies, even state ones. The organization of the Church depends on the two thousand year-old Church itself and it is regulated essentially and ultimately from within, not from without. It is to be hoped that this will finally also be understood by those who until recently prosecuted the Church and condemned it to death and who today are attempting to manipulate it and create it in own their ideological image.

Can you, in keeping with the principle of conciliarity, imagine yourself at the same table with the head of the so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church, Mihailo? What would need to occur beforehand?

I even have a photograph with Mr. Miras Dedeic, taken somewhere on Mt. Durmitor, from a time when he was still in his right mind and before he went mad, which is what happened to him in the last five-six years. I can sit with Miras Dedeic like with any other person but I cannot sit with him as an ordained member of the clergy or a metropolitan because even he himself knows that he is neither, at least, not in the eyes of God and the Orthodox Church. The principle of conciliarity applies to those who belong to the same Church; he has been, as he himself is aware, expelled from the church and placed under anathema by the Ecumenical Patriarchate [of Constantinople] itself.

How do you see the resolution of property ownership issues confronting the Serbian Orthodox Church, since the so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church is also laying claim to the Orthodox churches in Montenegro and since it has already taken over some of them?

During the police registration of the ethnophiletistic party-religious community represented by Mr. Dedeic, on January 17, 2000, what is literally recorded is that "the religious community of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church is founded". Everyone has a right to found a political party or a religious community. However, that a religious community founded three years ago can have pretensions to the property, churches and rights of a Church that has existed without interruption for eight hundred years can only occur in a lawless state where "the law lies in the mace". We still live in the faith and hope that Montenegro does not fall among such states.

Is the Montenegrin Government still providing assistance for the construction of the Orthodox Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica? When do you expect work to be completed?

The Montenegrin Government has provided assistance in the past for the construction of the Orthodox Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica and we are extremely grateful to it for having done so. Presently it is no longer providing assistance. The church has been and continues to be built from donations. When will it be finished? That depends on the Christ-God and the enthusiasm of our donors and benefactors. We cherish the hope in our heart that by the feast day of the Resurrection of Christ in the year 2007, and to the pride and glory of Montenegro, it will be consecrated by the Ecumenical, Moscow, Serbian and other Orthodox patriarchs who laid its foundations and honored it by their visits.

You have said that it has taken you a long time to comprehend that Draza Mihailovic was also one of the pillars of Serbdom. What were the realizations that led you to this conclusion?

When did I understand the extent of the sacrifice of Draza Mihailovic? When those who condemned and killed him, thereby defeating him, were themselves defeated, by the collapse of revolution and Communism, and when they adopted the same ideals of pluralistic society and Western democracy because of which they killed not only him but hundreds of thousands like him (with respect to the Soviet Union, the cradle of Bolshevism and Titoism, the victims of the crime in the name of the "classless society" and the proletariat climb into the millions)!

Why are you preparing the celebration of the 200 year anniversary of the First Serbian Uprising in Montenegro, too, when even in Serbia, where they are directly affected by it, the anniversary has not gotten much publicity?

Why the celebration of the 200 year anniversary of the First Serbian Uprising? By celebrating it, we wish to perpetuate the "Dedication to the Ashes of the Father of Serbia" of Njegos to the Serbian leader Karadjorde: "I will be the tyrant who raises the people, christens the land and barbarian chains destroys..."

Is it true that you are hiding Radovan Karadzic in the monasteries of Montenegro, as Carla del Ponte claims?

I sent an invitation to Carla del Ponte to come to Montenegro so we can visit all the monasteries and all the monastic cells together, so she can see for herself where we are hiding Radovan Karadzic. It would not hurt her to approach the sarcophagus of St. Basil barefoot so the Holy Father can illuminate her mind with a little more divine and human justice...

Do you personally know where Karadzic is?

Karadzic is hiding in my prayers, just like any other human creature for whom I wish redemption and eternal salvation. That much I know about him.

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INTERVIEW

Vojislav Kostunica - Decisive influence in the Government and Assembly

If there is a need for a coalition government, it is necessary to first hold consultations and only then to make the decision regarding its possible formation. And that decision is not made by one man but by the appropriate party bodies, Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) president Vojislav Kostunica said in an interview for "Blic" when asked whether his party will accept the invitation of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) to [jointly] form the future Serbian government.

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Blic daily, Belgrade
Dec. 31, 2003 - Jan. 3, 2004 edition


If there is a need for a coalition government, it is necessary to first hold consultations and only then to make the decision regarding its possible formation. And that decision is not made by one man but by the appropriate party bodies, Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) president Vojislav Kostunica said in an interview for "Blic" when asked whether his party will accept the invitation of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) to [jointly] form the future Serbian government.

Will you have hold consultations with the Radicals?

- Talks will be conducted on the constitution of the Assembly first and they will be held with everyone. Before a government is formed, it is necessary to form the Assembly. That's the order of moves. Everyone must participate in the task of forming the Assembly. It's also desirable to arrive at an assembly operational procedure by consensus in order to ensure it will be accepted by all the parliamentary parties and contribute to the normalization of relations in the Assembly, making the assembly itself more effective.

How realistic is a DSS coalition with the Radicals?

- As I said it is necessary to first constitute the Assembly and then the formation of the government will be next on the agenda. As far as the future government is concerned, we have time. The views of the DSS are known but the final word on participation in a coalition government will come from our main board. When the Assembly is constituted, after all consultations have taken place, on the basis of presently existing circumstances because it is toward circumstances that a man must orient himself. However, the decision is not made by one man but by the political party.

What kind of decision, then, do you expect the party to make?

- You'll know what the decision will be once the DSS has made it.

But what will it be?

- It will be the decision that is made. Your curiosity is inappropriate to the seriousness of the topic we are discussing here and the seriousness of the political situation.

Are you closer to a coalition with the SRS or with the democratic bloc?

- I've stated our position both before the elections and immediately after election results were published on why we can't work in a government with those who are responsible for the situation prior to 2000, as well as to the end of 2003. I see absolutely no need to say more on this subject at this time. In the meanwhile, consultations will take place among the parties and within the DSS itself. The situation is too serious for us to behave in an unserious manner, that is, irresponsibly. This applies to both politicians and media. There are other pages in the newspapers, including your own, devoted to entertainment and pastimes.

But the public wants to know with whom you will form a government.

- The public may want to know but it can't know before the decision has been made.

I have to ask you once again whether you would rather form a government with the Radicals or the democratic bloc?

- I regret that during the course of our conversation you seem to forget that you have already asked me certain questions and that I've answered them.

Have any negotiations or contacts with others already taken place?


- So far there have been no negotiations.

Will you initiate those negotiations?

- First we need to complete talks within the party, talk among ourselves and then we will talk with others. Within the DSS all this will first be discussed among the party presidency and then among the main board. It is normal for an individual to first discuss serious matters with himself, that is, to think before he makes a decision. The same is true of political parties: the decisions are first made inside the party, and then talks and negotiations with others are necessary.

When will the main board meeting take place?

- It hasn't been scheduled yet but it will be soon.

When will consultations begin?

- There may be prior talks but I expect real consultations after the Assembly is constituted.

What are your terms for creating a coalition with the Radicals?

- There are program views and criteria, conditions for cooperation of the DSS with all political parties in general, not just the one to which you keep going back.

Did you make a mistake when you promised during the election campaign that you would not form a coalition with either the Radicals or the Democratic Party (DS)? You will have to work with one if you want to be in the government.

- Don't worry. We didn't make a mistake. Just as there are several ways of forming a government.

When do you expect the formation of the Assembly?

- Deputy mandates must be confirmed within a period of 30 days following elections, which means that this can also be done earlier.

Who will get the position of speaker of the Assembly?

- We'll see when the Assembly is constituted. Of course, it will depend on the balance of power among political parties in the assembly.

Does that mean that the Radicals should get the position?

- It means that it can go to the political party that gathers a parliamentary majority around itself. Although it can also be resolved differently by agreement.

Do you expect the DSS to get the position of the speaker of the Assembly?

- I expect the DSS to have decisive influence on the work of the Assembly and the government.

When do you expect the formation of the government?

- As soon as possible under the circumstances. They are by no means simple.

Do you expect to get the position of prime minister?

- The candidate for premier is the representative of the majority. If that majority is comprised of several parties, then it is logical for him to be a member of the most represented parliamentary party.

Are you going to be the prime minister-elect?

- Not even the Assembly has been constituted yet.

Many have already assessed that in any case the government will be unstable and that new elections may follow in the near future.

- As if the previous government was stable. It stayed in power by force despite the fact that it has not enjoyed the support of a parliamentary majority for a long time. Let's wait until we first have a new government.

Does that mean that some sort of technical government is possible?

- Various governments are possible. A minority government is possible, a government in which all parties comprising a parliamentary majority is also possible. Some sort of concentrated, provisional, time delimited government is also possible which would only perform certain tasks, beginning with the preparation of a new constitution.

Would you accept the support of the DS for a minority government?

- I remind you that no talks have yet taken place nor any decisions made regarding what the future government will look like.

How long will the new government last, regardless of who forms it?

- You know what, the government hasn't been formed yet. Let's wait until it's formed first.

Will a new constitution be ratified now?

- It will be ratified. It took the Democratic Opposition of Serbia three years not to ratify the constitution.

The Radicals say there will be no new constitution without them.

- I agree. Without cooperation among all parties, not just the SRS, there will be no new constitution.

You're not disappointed by the election results of the DSS?

- No, on the contrary. Under the circumstances I have reason to be satisfied with the election results. The DSS is the leading party in the democratic bloc.

by Nenad Calukovic

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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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