January 23, 2004

ERP KiM Newsletter 23-01-04

Bishop Artemije on his new world tour presenting the truth on Kosovo and Metohija

After his visit to Moscow where he will have several meetings with state officials, representatives of respectable institutions and the Church hierarchs, Bishop Artemije will pay visit to the United States in February and have presentations in Washington D.C., Cleveland and Chicago. ERP KIM Info-service will cover these events on which Bishop Artemije will give his direct testimony of the catastrophic human-rights situation in Kosovo, destruction of Christian Orthodox heritage and the essential failure of UNMIK and KFOR to provide minimum security and living conditions for Kosovo Serbs five years after the NATO intervention in Kosovo.

"At the moment Kosovo Albanians are only free in Kosovo, but to be more precise they are free to do what they want and how they want. The freedom for others does not exist except in enclosed enclaves and ghettoes. This is not multi-ethnicity but a simulation of democracy and peace", this has been one of the most often repeated conclusions of Bishop Artemije.
 


Bishop Artemije on one of his presentations on Kosovo and Metohija
(photo archive ERP KIM Info-service)

Ibrahim Rugova - Kosovo's "Baron Munchausen"

ERP KIM Info-service
Gracanica, January 23

In his yesterday's address to the Kosovo and Metohija Parliament the President of Kosovo Ibrahim Rugova proved himself to be not only a person who is misinformed about the situation in the southern Serbia's province, but also an open fabricator of lies and an initiator of even deeper interethnic discords.

In his speech it seemed that Mr. Rugova was speaking more about some developed European state than about a Province ravaged by organized crime, ethnic discrimination and terrorism.  For Rugova, Kosovo lives in freedom, a great progress has been made in all spheres of life, economy is booming and the institutions are working in a most professional way.

Despite the fact that Kosovo is officially an autonomous part of Serbia-Montenegro and that Serbs cannot be "a minority" in a country in which 8 million Serbs live in comparison to 1.5 million Albanians he derogatively referred to Serbs again as "ethnic minority" despite the term "ethnic minority" in the legacy of Former Yugoslav constitution denotes a community which lives outside of its mother state.

The reality in Kosovo and Metohija is exactly the opposite to what Rugova said: Kosovo is free only for ethnic Albanians and those who have made true progress and prosperity in the impoverished Province are only mafiosi and former KLA warlords who work under the cover of largely corrupted Kosovo institutions. Kosovo's economy is primarily based on drug and cigarette smuggling, prostitution and white slavery. An ordinary visitor to Kosovo can hardly see industry and working factories. All around the countryside are ubiquitous car-washes, petrol pumps and kebab-shops which can hardly give prosperity to an increasing population. Pristina, as a capital of the Province, has population of more than 600.000 but still the infrastructure which can support maximum of 300.000 people. Kosovo residents lack electric power for several hours a day while the institutions are working only on the benefit of ethnic Albanians who dominate them. In short, Rugova gave a picture of Kosovo as it should be and not as it is. Once again he proved to be a person of complete political incompetence and lack of basic responsibility.

For many young Kosovo Albanians (not to mention Serbs and other non-Albanians) Kosovo is less and less attractive place to live. Rule of organized crime, prostitution, smuggling, terrorism and ethnic repression have made this tiny province even unbearable place to live for Kosovo Albanians who hoped that after the conflict in 1999 Kosovo would chose a road towards democracy and ethnic tolerance. However, for the last five years this province which is already called by press "Balkan Columbia" is going in completely different direction - away from Europe, rule of law and order.


CONTENTS:

Kosovo bishop urges Russian authorities, public to help the Serb population
Bishop Artemije said it was greatly important that the situation in those two provinces be discussed time and again at international institutions, such as the UN, the UNESCO, and the PACE. The deployment of the KFOR international peacekeeping force has not brought peace and freedom to all of Kosovo's population, as the relevant UN Security Council resolution envisaged, but only to the Kosovo Albanians, the prelate pointed out. He went on to recall the province's 115 devastated and desecrated Serb cathedrals and cloisters built between the 12th and the 20th centuries. Many of them survived the 500-year-long Ottoman yoke, but came tumbling down after just a year of UN peacekeepers' control, he said emphatically.

Experts concerned over Kosovo future
Mr. Tupurkovski says it would be disastrous if the international community permitted borders to be changed anywhere in the former Yugoslavia. He believes Macedonia, where over one quarter of the population is ethnic Albanian, is threatened by Kosovo's independence. And he worries greatly about the possibility that ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and Macedonia will seek to join with Albania to form a greater Albania.

No progress in talks on return of Serbs to Podujevo
Ivica Markovic, the Coordination Center representative for Podujevo municipality, stated that no progress was made during the last meeting. "I could not say that any progress has been made because there are a lot of preconditions that have to be fulfilled. Above all freedom of movement, and then freeing of illegally occupied Serbian apartments, and the rebuilding of the destroyed houses," stated Markovic.

Church building in Prizren broken into and robbed - attacks on church property continue
The abbot of Holy Archangels Monastery near Prizren Fr. German has informed the Diocese of Raska and Prizren that upon visiting the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos of Ljevis today with a German military escort, Monk Jovan (Milojevic) found that unknown persons had broken into one of the church buildings located in the churchyard and stolen some of its contents. The building is a utility structure where miniature icons and souvenirs were formerly sold to visitors of the church.

Rugova's parliament address deepens Serbian skepticism
"In his address, on couple of occasions Rugova violated constitutional framework calling himself upon illegal and illegitimate changes of the province status. After such speeches we cannot be optimists in the return of exiled Serbs, and stabilization of the situation in the province," evaluated Ivanovic.

SNV and Coordination Center criticize Holkeri statement
The statement made by UNMIK Head Harri Holkeri that he would exert pressure on the Serbian government to solve the fate of kidnapped and missing Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija, without mention of other nationalities, is discriminating against Serb rights, assessed the Serbian National Council of Kosovska Mitrovica.

Putin: Moscow ready to participate in fair solution of Kosovo problem
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is ready to take the most active part in the fair resolution of the Kosovo issue.

Flash News from Kosovo and Metohija, Jan 22

More News Available on our:

Kosovo Daily News list (KDN)
KDN Archive

This newsletter is available on our ERP KIM Web-site:
http://www.kosovo.net/erpkiminfo.html


Kosovo Bishop urges Russian authorities, public to help his Province's Serb population

Bishop Artemije said it was greatly important that the situation in those two provinces be discussed time and again at international institutions, such as the UN, the UNESCO, and the PACE. The deployment of the KFOR international peacekeeping force has not brought peace and freedom to all of Kosovo's population, as the relevant UN Security Council resolution envisaged, but only to the Kosovo Albanians, the prelate pointed out. He went on to recall the province's 115 devastated and desecrated Serb cathedrals and cloisters built between the 12th and the 20th centuries. Many of them survived the 500-year-long Ottoman yoke, but came tumbling down after just a year of UN peacekeepers' control, he said emphatically.
 

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RIA Novosti, Olga Lipich
Moscow, January 22, 2004

Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren, currently visiting Moscow, has urged the Russian government and public to offer a helping hand to the Serb population of Kosovo. His bishopric brings together Kosovo and Metohija, provinces within Serbia and Montenegro.

In a RIA interview Thursday, His Eminence Artemije said that he greatly appreciated the Andrew the Protokletos Foundation's initiative to arrange summer vacations in Russia for Serb children from Kosovo and Metohija, expressing hope that other public and governmental organizations will follow suit.

Bishop Artemije said it was greatly important that the situation in those two provinces be discussed time and again at international institutions, such as the UN, the UNESCO, and the PACE. The deployment of the KFOR international peacekeeping force has not brought peace and freedom to all of Kosovo's population, as the relevant UN Security Council resolution envisaged, but only to the Kosovo Albanians, the prelate pointed out. He went on to recall the province's 115 devastated and desecrated Serb cathedrals and cloisters built between the 12th and the 20th centuries. Many of them survived the 500-year-long Ottoman yoke, but came tumbling down after just a year of UN peacekeepers' control, he said emphatically.


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Experts concerned over Kosovo future

Mr. Tupurkovski says it would be disastrous if the international community permitted borders to be changed anywhere in the former Yugoslavia. He believes Macedonia, where over one quarter of the population is ethnic Albanian, is threatened by Kosovo's independence. And he worries greatly about the possibility that ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and Macedonia will seek to join with Albania to form a greater Albania.

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http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=8506BBEB-61B7-4271-9305ECBED1F30C7E

Voice of America (USA)

Barry Wood
Washington

21 Jan 2004, 23:42 UTC

Listen to Barry Wood's report (RealAudio) Wood report - Download 330k (RealAudio)

The future of Kosovo, the Albanian populated, disputed southern province of Serbia, was discussed this week at Washington's Woodrow Wilson Center. Jeffrey Simon, a scholar and expert on Kosovo, says things are not good in Kosovo, the United Nations administered territory in the heart of the Balkans. Mr. Simon says the international community has not reached consensus on the territory's future and thus an enduring settlement is not even on the agenda.

The United Nations last month published a ten page set of standards that Kosovo's provisional government must implement before future status can be considered, perhaps at the end of next year. Serbia, whose forces were driven out of Kosovo by a sustained Nato bombardment in 1999, opposes independence while the territory's one million ethnic Albanians demand it.

Mr. Simon, a researcher at Washington's National Defense University, says uncertainty is a huge obstacle complicating the development of effective local government.

"You have the growing apathy of citizens. You have the increasing impunity of the spoilers who have no interest in the development of Kosovo," he said. "And you have the relative ineffectiveness of international institutions. Their ineffectiveness especially in working with different groups in order to build a common democratic future."

Mr. Simon says the NATO-led occupying force in Kosovo enforces a kind of perverse stability in the territory.

Vasil Tupurkovski, also speaking at the Wilson Center, an opposition politician in Macedonia which borders Kosovo on the south, sees things differently. He says the international community is moving towards accepting the independence of Kosovo, a development Mr. Tupurkovski believes will unsettle the entire region.

"It will be a problem for Serbia," he said. "It will be a problem for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which means again the resurrection of many issues in the Balkans. From that respect I believe the (U.N.) standards do have a meaning. And that the international community will make a tremendous mistake if they don't stand behind the standards, regardless of the timetable."

Mr. Tupurkovski says it would be disastrous if the international community permitted borders to be changed anywhere in the former Yugoslavia. He believes Macedonia, where over one quarter of the population is ethnic Albanian, is threatened by Kosovo's independence.
And he worries greatly about the possibility that ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and Macedonia will seek to join with Albania to form a greater Albania.

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No progress in talks on return of Serbs to Podujevo

Ivica Markovic, the Coordination Center representative for Podujevo municipality, stated that no progress was made during the last meeting. "I could not say that any progress has been made because there are a lot of preconditions that have to be fulfilled. Above all freedom of movement, and then freeing of illegally occupied Serbian apartments, and the rebuilding of the destroyed houses," stated Markovic.

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B92 Belgrade
January 22, 2004

Podujevo - On Wednesday, in Podujevo, representatives of the Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija, held talks with UNMIK representatives, and representatives of the Albanian political parties from the Podujevo municipality, in order to enable a return of Serbian refuges in this Kosovo municipality.

It was stated that in one of the previous meetings UNMIK and the representatives of the Coordination Center reached an agreement for the building of 57 houses for returnees, but that this project was stopped.

Ivica Markovic, the Coordination Center representative for Podujevo municipality, stated that no progress was made during the last meeting. "I could not say that any progress has been made because there are a lot of preconditions that have to be fulfilled. Above all freedom of movement, and then freeing of illegally occupied Serbian apartments, and the rebuilding of the destroyed houses," stated Markovic.

Serbian refugees are saying that they would gladly return to their homes in Podujevo. Expressing their lack of confidence in the Albanians, they are saying that they would return if the army and the police return as well.

Podujevo municipality had 2000 Serbs. Now there are only around 30, which are constantly being guarded by KFOR. In the last four years there has been no case of return of Serbs in this municipality.

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Church building in Prizren broken into and robbed

The abbot of Holy Archangels Monastery near Prizren Fr. German has informed the Diocese of Raska and Prizren that upon visiting the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos of Ljevis today with a German military escort, Monk Jovan (Milojevic) found that unknown persons had broken into one of the church buildings located in the churchyard and stolen some of its contents. The building is a utility structure where miniature icons and souvenirs were formerly sold to visitors of the church.

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Church of the Most Holy Theotokis of Ljevis in Prizren with small church building
in front  which robbers entered from the inside of the churchyard

ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, January 23, 2004

The abbot of Holy Archangels Monastery near Prizren Fr. German has informed the Diocese of Raska and Prizren that upon visiting the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos of Ljevis today with a German military escort, Monk Jovan (Milojevic) found that unknown persons had broken into one of the church buildings located in the churchyard and stolen some of its contents. The building is a utility structure where miniature icons and souvenirs were formerly sold to visitors of the church.

Although the entire church is surrounded by barbed wire, the vandals simply jumped over the wall from the street into the churchyard and broke into the building.

This robbery of a church building in Prizren once again shows that buildings of the Serbian Orthodox Church are not sufficiently protected and that there is great danger of vandals breaking into any of the churches not under constant KFOR protection unobserved. At present the only object under constant KFOR guard in Prizren is the Orthodox Cathedral of St. George and the building of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren.

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Rugova Parliament Address Deepens Serbian Scepticism

"In his address, on couple of occasions Rugova violated constitutional framework calling himself upon illegal and illegitimate changes of the province status. After such speeches we cannot be optimists in the return of exiled Serbs, and stabilization of the situation in the province," evaluated Ivanovic.

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Borba, Belgrade daily
Pristina, January 22, 2004

Pristina, 22 Jan (Borba) – On Thursday, "Povratak" coalition representatives in the Kosovo parliament, have evaluated that today's parliament addressing made by Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova, has deepened lack of thrust that Kosovo Serbs have for the provincial institutions.

"It is a fact that Rugova addressed the "integration of minorities" only at the end of his broad expose which only points to ho much he is sincere about that issue," stated Kosovo parliament vice president Oliver Ivanovic.

Addressing Rugova's expose, Ivanovic stated that the return of the dispersed to Kosovo needs "deeds and not only words" but added that not many of those could be seen in real life.

"In his address, on couple of occasions Rugova violated constitutional framework calling himself upon illegal and illegitimate changes of the province status. After such speeches we cannot be optimists in the return of exiled Serbs, and stabilization of the situation in the province," evaluated Ivanovic.

Ivanovic is to the stances that "Rugova's description of the situation in Kosovo is closer to the picture of a country such as Switzerland or another well developed country".
"Kosovo is governed by poverty, lack of development, unemployment, and uncertainty. That is what Rugova did not mention." emphasized Ivanovic adding that this is why it cannot be expected the Serbs would return in Kosovo and Metohija.

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SNV and Coordination Center Criticize Holkeri Statement

The statement made by UNMIK Head Harri Holkeri that he would exert pressure on the Serbian government to solve the fate of kidnapped and missing Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija, without mention of other nationalities, is discriminating against Serb rights, assessed the Serbian National Council of Kosovska Mitrovica.

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Radio Televison Serbia (RTS)
Kosovska Mitrovica, January 22, 2004


The statement made by UNMIK Head Harri Holkeri that he would exert pressure on the Serbian government to solve the fate of kidnapped and missing Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija, without mention of other nationalities, is discriminating against Serb rights, assessed the Serbian National Council of Kosovska Mitrovica.

SNV Municipal Board President Nebojsa Jovic said Holkeri's statement gives encouragement to ethnic Albanian extremists. Holkeri should invest efforts toward the finding of the murderers of 1,700 Serbs killed in Kosovo and Metohija from 1999 until the present day, Jovic said.

As announced, this statement made by Holkeri only encourages Albanian extremists, whereas, as assessed, the UNMIK Head should be more engaged in order that murders of 1,700 Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija since 1999 are solved. Beta.

Meanwhile Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija excluded the possibility that UNMIK be transferred all bodies found in the mass graves in Serbian adding that this can be done only with the already identified bodies.

Gvozden Gagic, the chief of the Coordination center bureau for kidnapped and missing person explained that the remains of 246 persons have just been preliminary identified, and have not been fully processed and that there for they are not ready for handing over.
"We will give Kosovo only the identified bodies. Justice system excludes possibility of handing over all of the bodies" stated Gagic.


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Putin: Moscow ready to participate in fair solution of Kosovo problem

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is ready to take the most active part in the fair resolution of the Kosovo issue.

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MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is ready to take the most active part in the fair resolution of the Kosovo issue.

Talking to the ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro at the ceremony of giving credentials in the Kremlin, the Russian president said Moscow is interested in "the soonest establishment and consolidation of this new state community." "We're ready to assist this process in every possible way," the head of state said. "Russia intends to take the most active part in the fair solution of this region's problems in future too, including the Kosovo issue."


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News from Kosovo and Metohija, Jan 22

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www.inet.co.yu

I*Net News, Belgrade

Thursday 22 January 2004

23:20 Russian president Vladimir Putin said that Moscow is ready to take a most active part in finding a just solution to the Kosovo problem. In talks with ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro Milan Rocen at a credentials presentation ceremony in the Kremlin, the Russian president said that his country is interested in "the earliest possible establishment and strengthening of a new state union".

22:40 Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova again repeated today that "an independent and democratic Kosovo, integrated into Europe, would significantly stabilize the situation in the region". In address before MPs of the Kosovo parliament, Rugova announced the priority of the provisional government in the Province will be "the integration of national minorities".

22:20 Nenad Radosavljevic, the repatriation coordinator in the cabinet of the UNMIK chief, stated that 38 million euros have been earmarked for Serb returns to the Province in 2004. "Fourteen million euros remains in the budget from last year, while the remaining 24 million are expected to come from donors," said Radosavljevic.

20:20 Using foul language and curses, a group of about 30 young Albanians in Djakovica attacked two KFOR minibuses and a German transporter carrying monks of the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of the Holy Archangels and a crew of German state television ARD, targeting them with snow balls and chunks of ice. The ARD TV crew, accompanied by the monks and German KFOR troops, was filming the ruins of the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity in the center of Djakovica, when they were accosted by a group of enraged young ethnic Albanians who, after verbal insults showered them with chunks of ice and attempted to destroy their vehicles, reported the Information Service of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren in a statement.

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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

Disclaimer:
The views expressed by the authors of newspaper articles or other texts which are not official communiqués or news reports by the Diocese are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Additional information on our Diocese and the life of the Kosovo Serb Community may be found at: http://www.kosovo.net

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