January 08, 2004

ERP KiM Newsletter 08-01-04

Kosovo: No peace for Orthodox Christmas

The Orthodox Christmas season this month has been marred in Kosovo by a series of violent incidents, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. A church was broken into and several items and some money were stolen, and a bus was attacked by local Albanians at the Decani monastery after the Christmas service. The attack on the church follows an earlier attack in November 2003. Officials of the United Nations administration (UNMIK) have condemned the attacks, the latest in a series since 1999 for which no arrests have ever been made. Speaking to Forum 18 about the attack on the bus, Fr Sava Janjic of the Decani monastery described it as a "demonstration of utmost religious intolerance" on Christmas "a holiday of peace and forgiveness". "What a paradox, that the attack was made at a moment when the head of UNMIK, only a hundred metres away, was speaking with the local Decani assembly president and appealed to him to show tolerance and understanding towards Decani monastery."


Chief of UNMIK Harri Holkeri at Patriarchate of Pec Monastery, Jan 7, 2004

CONTENTS:

Forum 18: Kosovo - No peace for Orthodox Christmas
The Orthodox Christmas season this month has been marred in Kosovo by a series of violent incidents, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. A church was broken into and several items and some money were stolen, and a bus was attacked by local Albanians at the Decani monastery after the Christmas service. The attack on the church follows an earlier attack in November 2003. Officials of the United Nations administration (UNMIK) have condemned the attacks, the latest in a series since 1999 for which no arrests have ever been made. Speaking to Forum 18 about the attack on the bus, Fr Sava Janjic of the Decani monastery described it as a "demonstration of utmost religious intolerance" on Christmas "a holiday of peace and forgiveness". "What a paradox, that the attack was made at a moment when the head of UNMIK, only a hundred metres away, was speaking with the local Decani assembly president and appealed to him to show tolerance and understanding towards Decani monastery."

Danish KFOR brutally searches Kosovo Serb village on Christmas Eve
Strongly
denouncing this, as they said, barbarian act, the local inhabitants said that God knows for how many times now, a brutal search of Kosovo Serb villages and houses was being carried out on the eve of major Orthodox holidays.

Oliver Ivanovic: We don't want to be a decoration
One of the Kosovo Serbs’ representatives, Oliver Ivanovic said that Serbs don't want to be only a decoration within the working groups, but they want to have an influence at least in some issues that are with interest for the Serbian community.

Albanians stone Russian delegation in Decani
As President of the Society and extinguished artist Ivana Zigon told the Tanjug agency, some 300 or 400 Albanians participated in this incident. Prior to that, the delegation of the Russian-Serbian Friendship Society had visited, on the occasion of Christmas, the biggest Christian holiday, certain Serbian Orthodox Church Monasteries in Metohija. The incident was strongly condemned by political representatives of Kosmet Serbs.


Holkeri says lots of time is needed to settle situation
A lot of time is still needed in order to finally settle the situation in Kosovo, UNMIK head Harri Holkeri, who attended the Christmas liturgy at the Visoki Decani Monastery, said on Wednesday.

Some Macedonian municipalities will have referendum against the new territory division

Today, some municipalities, mostly rural of the western Macedonia, have organized a referendum at the end of the week against the government proposition for the new territory division. Inhabitants of those municipalities are asking to be a municipalities on their own because with the new territory division, as it is proposed by the government, the local government will be transferred to the Albanians which are majority.

Chart of Bosnian Terrorist links known to SFOR, NATO

Mr Trifunovic said that the Center for Security and Investigation of Terrorism had for some time been conducting a detailed investigation into al-Qaida’s presence in the Balkans, ie: areas which include the so-called "green transversal", the formation of which former Muslim wartime leader Alija Izetbegovic had also sought. According to him, a terrorist organization called LIVO had been formed in Central Asia which includes the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the Chinese (PRC) part of Xinjiang province1. Trifunovic noted: "This terrorist organization [LIVO] has been trying to form a green transversal in Central Asia modeled on one whose formation has already been attempted in the Balkans."

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Forum 18 (Oslo, Norway): Kosovo - No peace for Orthodox Christmas

The Orthodox Christmas season this month has been marred in Kosovo by a series of violent incidents, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. A church was broken into and several items and some money were stolen, and a bus was attacked by local Albanians at the Decani monastery after the Christmas service. The attack on the church follows an earlier attack in November 2003. Officials of the United Nations administration (UNMIK) have condemned the attacks, the latest in a series since 1999 for which no arrests have ever been made. Speaking to Forum 18 about the attack on the bus, Fr Sava Janjic of the Decani monastery described it as a "demonstration of utmost religious intolerance" on Christmas "a holiday of peace and forgiveness". "What a paradox, that the attack was made at a moment when the head of UNMIK, only a hundred metres away, was speaking with the local Decani assembly president and appealed to him to show tolerance and understanding towards Decani monastery."

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Thursday 8 January 2004
By Branko Bjelajac, Forum 18 News Service

During the night of 3/4 January, unknown perpetrators broke into the Church of St Peter and Paul in Gornja Brnjica (Bernica e Eperme in Albanian), near the provincial capital Pristina. Several items and some money were stolen, while sacral vessels and vestments were thrown around. On 7 January, Orthodox Christmas, a bus with Russian humanitarian workers and journalists travelling from Decani monastery after the Christmas service was stoned by local Albanians. Officials of the United Nations interim administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) condemned these incidents.

"When we approached the church we noticed that someone tried to break in through the entrance metal door, but only damaged the lock," Fr Miroslav Popadic, parish priest in Pristina, told Forum 18. "Someone cut the metal bars on a window, broke in, stole the money and some church items, and made a huge mess. Every single item that was movable was thrown away. It was a sad scene."

The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren "most vehemently" condemned this latest desecration. "It appears that this case of attack on the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church is as unlikely to be resolved as any of the others."

The Church of Sts Peter and Paul in Gornja Brnjica was built in 1975 on the ruins of the medieval Church of St Nicholas, destroyed during the Ottoman occupation. The church is separated from the Serbian-populated village by a small wood, and is closer to an Albanian village. There are still 47 Serbian houses in Gornja Brnjica with 187 people. This church was attacked in late November (see F18News 1 December 2003 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=200 ).

The 7 January stoning of a bus carrying 30 Russian humanitarian aid workers and journalists took place in the town of Decani in western Kosovo. The delegation of the Russian St Andrew Fund and the Russian-Serbian Friendship Society, which had arrived in Kosovo on 4 January, had just visited Decani monastery for the Orthodox Christmas service and were returning to Pristina. Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported that "more than 300 Kosovar Albanians" threw stones at the bus. No injuries were reported. UNMIK police said three people threw stones, breaking one of the windows of the bus.

The Christmas liturgy at Decani monastery was also attended by the head of UNMIK, Harri Holkeri, who was accompanied by KFOR peacekeeping troops and UN police units. Earlier, Holkeri had sent a Christmas message to the Orthodox believers living in Kosovo, praising them for their "courage and perseverance", adding that UNMIK is "aware that the conditions under which many Kosovars live are still unacceptable". Later, Holkeri expressed "deep disappointment" over the stoning of the Russian pilgrims, a 7 January UNMIK press release reported.

Fr Sava Janjic, deputy abbot of the monastery, described the attack on the Russian pilgrims as a "demonstration of utmost religious intolerance". "On one of the most significant Christian holidays, a holiday of peace and forgiveness - Christmas - Albanians in Decani attacked the guests of Decani monastery, who only half an hour before thanked Mr Holkeri for his assistance in organising their escort through Kosovo and Metohija," he told Forum 18 from Decani monastery on 8 January. "What a paradox, that the attack was made at a moment when the head of UNMIK, only a hundred metres away, was speaking with the local Decani assembly president and appealed to him to show tolerance and understanding towards Decani monastery."

During the Christmas holiday, Kosovo was visited by Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle, who served liturgies in several churches and monasteries, including the monastery in Pec (Peja).

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Danish KFOR brutally searches Kosovo Serb village of Matica on the Christmas Eve

Strongly
denouncing this, as they said, barbarian act, the local inhabitants said that God knows for how many times now, a brutal search of Kosovo Serb villages and houses was being carried out on the eve of major Orthodox holidays.

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Tanjug News Agency, Belgrade
January 6, 2004


The way in which members of the Danish KFOR have searched the Kosovo Serb village of Matica near Zvecan, demolishing houses and leaving chaos wherever they went, has embittered the villagers, the regional Most TV in Zvecan said on Tuesday.

Strongly denouncing this, as they said, the barbarian act, the local inhabitants said that God knows for how many times now, a brutal search of Kosovo Serb villages and houses was being carried out on the eve of major Orthodox holidays.

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Oliver Ivanovic: We don't want to be a decoration

One of the Kosovo Serbs’ representatives, Oliver Ivanovic said that Serbs don't want to be only a decoration within the working groups, but they want to have an influence at least in some issues that are with interest for the Serbian community.

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Kosova Sot, Pristina daily in Albanian
January 7, 2004


Still Serbian community in Kosovo is not ready to be included in working groups for implementation of the standards that Kosovo should fulfill until 2005, in that way the debate about its final status to be opened.

One of the Kosovo Serbs' representatives, Oliver Ivanovic said that Serbs don't want to be only a decoration within the working groups, but they want to have an influence at least in some issues that are with interest for the Serbian community.

The representatives of Kosovo Serbs still have objection for the document "Standards for Kosovo," despite some changes that were conducted in the introduction. According to them, without Serbs' participation, there will be no implementation of standards.

UN mission officials in Kosova call Kosovo Serbs to change their stance about the standards, since, according to them, this is in their interest. UNMIK officials say that the document reflects the interests of all communities and it is fundamental for everybody to accept it. On the other side, the Serbian community harshly opposed the transfer of authorities from UNMIK to Kosovo Government that happened one day before New Year.

According to Kosovo Serbs' leaders local institutions are not leading correct politics towards Serbian community. They forewarned that they would present their stances to UNMIK Chief, Harri Holkeri at the end of this week.

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Albanians Stone Russian Delegation in Decani

As President of the Society and extinguished artist Ivana Zigon told the Tanjug agency, some 300 or 400 Albanians participated in this incident. Prior to that, the delegation of the Russian-Serbian Friendship Society had visited, on the occasion of Christmas, the biggest Christian holiday, certain Serbian Orthodox Church Monasteries in Metohija. The incident was strongly condemned by political representatives of Kosmet Serbs.
 

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Radio Serbia-Montenegro
Belgrade, January 07, 2004

Decani, 07 Jan (Radio S-M) - A group of Albanians has stoned a delegation of Russian-Serbian Friendship Society that was visiting Kosmet, near Decani, close to Pec. Luckily, None of the guests, among them was a member of Russian Federation Council, senator Serguey Shebljigin, were hurt.

As President of the Society and extinguished artist Ivana Zigon told the Tanjug agency, some 300 or 400 Albanians participated in this incident. Prior to that, the delegation of the Russian-Serbian Friendship Society had visited, on the occasion of Christmas, the biggest Christian holiday, certain Serbian Orthodox Church Monasteries in Metohija. The incident was strongly condemned by political representatives of Kosmet Serbs.


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Holkery says lots of time is needed to settle situation

A lot of time is still needed in order to finally settle the situation in Kosovo, UNMIK head Harri Holkeri, who attended the Christmas liturgy at the Visoki Decani Monastery, said on Wednesday.

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Tanjug News Agency, Belgrade
January 7, 2004


Visoki Decani, 07 Jan (Tanjug) - A lot of time is still needed in order to finally settle the situation in Kosovo, UNMIK head Harri Holkeri, who attended the Christmas liturgy at the Visoki Decani Monastery, said on Wednesday.

It is necessary to change the aggressive attitude of the local population, but this will require a lot of time, Holkeri said in a meeting with a delegation of the Russian Apostle Andrei Foundation and representatives of leading Russian media.


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Some Macedonian Municipalities will have referendum against the new territory division

Today, some municipalities, mostly rural of the western Macedonia, have organized a referendum at the end of the week against the government proposition for the new territory division. Inhabitants of those municipalities are asking to be a municipalities on their own because with the new territory division, as it is proposed by the government, the local government will be transferred to the Albanians which are majority.

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Zeri, Pristina daily in Albanian
January 6, 2004


In 2001 Macedonia went through a conflict between the UCK Albanian insurgents and Macedonian security forces. The Ohrid Agreement, between the main Albanian and Macedonian politicians, ended this conflict were it was foreseen to end the Albanian discrimination and to decentralize the government.

Today, some municipalities, mostly rural of the western Macedonia, have organized a referendum at the end of the week against the government proposition for the new territory division.

Inhabitants of those municipalities are asking to be a municipalities on their own because with the new territory division, as it is proposed by the government, the local government will be transferred to the Albanians which are majority.


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Chart of Bosnian terrorist links known to SFOR, NATO

Mr Trifunovic said that the Center for Security and Investigation of Terrorism had for some time been conducting a detailed investigation into al-Qaida’s presence in the Balkans, ie: areas which include the so-called "green transversal", the formation of which former Muslim wartime leader Alija Izetbegovic had also sought. According to him, a terrorist organization called LIVO had been formed in Central Asia which includes the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the Chinese (PRC) part of Xinjiang province1. Trifunovic noted: "This terrorist organization [LIVO] has been trying to form a green transversal in Central Asia modeled on one whose formation has already been attempted in the Balkans."

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Defense Foreign Affairs Daily
Volume XXII, No. 3
Wednesday, January 7, 2004


Darko Trifunovic, deputy director of the Center for Security and Investigation of Terrorism at the Belgrade Institute for Political Studies (IPS), said on January 5, 2004, that SFOR [NATO-led Stabilization Force] and international organizations in Bosnia-Herzegovina had been acquainted with a chart drawn up by the [Bosnian] Republica Srpska Government which clearly showed a link between Islamic extremists and terrorists in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Raska [in southern Serbia/northern Montenegro, also known as the Sandzak region] and the Kosovo area of Serbia.

Mr Trifunovic said that this was one reason why High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Paddy Ashdown, had recently invited a renowned terrorism expert, Rohan Gunaratne, to establish whether al-Qaida had been active in Bosnia-Herzegovina. According to him, Bosnia-Herzegovina Bosniaks had subsequently threatened to kill the expert since his answer to Ashdown was that al-Qaida "has been, and still is, present in Bosnia-Herzegovina ever since the beginning of the [1992-95] war". Mr Trifunovic added: "The map clearly demonstrates the degree to which so-called humanitarian organizations have been linked with Islamic secret intelligence services such as AID [Bosnia-Herzegovina Muslim intelligence service]."

Besides that, Trifunovic said, the chart contained the names and surnames of the leaders of the Islamic Wahabbi movement which was formed on the territory of Brcko District. He said that the map was a result of an investigation into war crimes against Serbs and Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina committed by mujahedin and other units which had been formed as part of the al-Qaida terrorist network.

Mr Trifunovic said that terrorism experts from the Serb Republic, the US and other countries took part in drafting the map, which is the property of the Republica Srpska Secretariat for Cooperation with the Hague tribunal. He said that this was why US Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham had sent a letter of support to the Serb Republic Secretariat for Cooperation with the Hague tribunal.

Mr Trifunovic said that the Center for Security and Investigation of Terrorism had for some time been conducting a detailed investigation into al-Qaida’s presence in the Balkans, ie: areas which include the so-called "green transversal", the formation of which former Muslim wartime leader Alija Izetbegovic had also sought. According to him, a terrorist organization called LIVO had been formed in Central Asia which includes the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the Chinese (PRC) part of Xinjiang province1. Trifunovic noted: "This terrorist organization [LIVO] has been trying to form a green transversal in Central Asia modeled on one whose formation has already been attempted in the Balkans."

He said that the chart was a clear indication that no-one in Bosnia-Herzegovina had so far made a serious attempt to identify the members of al-Qaida and establish why six of them took part in terrorist attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, noting: "The main function of this chart is to make the public aware of who committed war crimes against Serbs and Croats in the name of Allah and what the real reasons behind the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina were, a subject which international officials do not wish to speak about publicly."

Trifunovic had earlier been a diplomat in the Bosnia-Herzegovina Foreign Service, serving as first secretary in the Bosnia-Herzegovina UN Mission in New York.

Footnote:
1. Kyrgyzstan National Intelligence Service in February 2003 identified the existence of a trans-national Central Asian Islamist extremist group, LIVO, which had been founded in May 2001, largely under the sponsorship of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida group. The primary source was Sheraly Akbotoyev, a Kyrgyz senior official of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan [IMU] captured in Afghanistan in mid- 2002 and extradited to Bishkek where he was sentenced to imprisonment for 25 years in early February 2003. Akbotoyev’s identification, apprehension and interrogation are part of a major initiative launched by President Askar Akaev under which Kyrgyzstani Intelligence concentrates on collecting intelligence on overall Islamist issues, and al-Qaida in particular, in support of the US-led "War on Terrorism".


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