January 30, 2004

ERP KIM Newsletter 30-01-04c

Bishop Artemije gives lecture at Western Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

While it is true that many hospitals have been restored, Serbs cannot seek treatment in them; numerous roads have been paved but Serbs lack the freedom to travel on them; tens of thousands of houses have been renovated but only about one hundred of them are owned by Serbs. After the war, all mosques were repaired and many new ones built while over one hundred Serbian churches still lie in ruins and not one has been reconstructed; there are many new supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants but what use are they to Serbs when only Albanians and foreigners can safely enter them? In short, based on his first-hand experience, the average Serb feels that UNMIK has come to help only one community while Serbs appear fated to live as second-class citizens on the margins of society, said Bishop Artemije during his lecture on Thursday in Washington, D.C.


Bishop Artemije at the Western Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
January 29, 2004 http://www.westernpolicy.org/

CONTENTS:

Bishop Artemije gives lecture at Western Policy Center in Washington, D.C
Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, who is presently on a working visit to the U.S. with his associates, gave a lecture on Thursday, January 29 at the Western Policy Center in Washington, D.C. on the topic of Multiethnic Kosovo - Diplomatic Dream or Balkan Reality. The lecture was jointly organized by the Western Policy Center and the Serbian Unity Congress in the U.S. in order to inform the U.S. public regarding the present situation in Kosovo and Metohija and possible solutions for the crisis in the future.

West gives Rugova "political transfusion" through new recognitions

Thus, giving these respected European awards to Ibrahim Rugova, who has done nothing to deserve them, can only be interpreted as a "political transfusion" given by the West to a man and a political party who are losing their support among Kosovo Albanians for their inertness and corruption, while the influence of political parties stemming from the terrorist KLA grows. Since this is an election year in Kosovo, Western leaders are apparently seeking to revamp the image of Ibrahim Rugova in order to discourage Kosovo Albanians from voting for the political parties of Ramush Haradinaj and Hashim Thaci.

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Bishop Artemije gives lecture at Western Policy Center, Washington D.C.

The UN and KFOR peace mission has not done enough to prevent suffering of innocent civilians after the armed conflict in 1999. Since the arrival of KFOR Kosovo Serbs live in ghetto like surrounding. Only one third of the pre-war Serb population has remained in the Province and they live a life below every dignity. The main obstacle for the return of expelled Serbs is the systematic rule of ethnic discrimination and violence which is continuing from one year to another. As a Bishop I find it particularly disheartening that since the arrival of the peace mission 112 Serbian Orthodox churches have been destroyed or desecrated. The perpetrators of these crimes and many murders and kidnappings have not been found by the police nor brought to justice yet, said Bishop Artemije

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ERP KIM Info Service
Washington, D.C., January 30, 2004


Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, who is presently on a working visit to the U.S. with his associates, gave a lecture on Thursday, January 29 at the Western Policy Center in Washington, D.C. on the topic of Multiethnic Kosovo - Diplomatic Dream or Balkan Reality. The lecture was jointly organized by the Western Policy Center and the Serbian Unity Congress in the U.S. in order to inform the U.S. public regarding the present situation in Kosovo and Metohija and possible solutions for the crisis in the future.

At the very beginning of the lecture, John Sitilides, the executive director of the Western Policy Center, introduced Bishop Artemije to the audience as "the first in the Serbian Orthodox Church to denounce the tactics of the Milosevic regime" and that His Grace has provided hope to the Serbian and other remaining ethnic populations of Kosovo. He added that during the course of his stay in the U.S., the Bishop would meet with senior representatives of the State Department, congressmen and directors of renowned institutes.

In his presentation, Bishop Artemije pointed out the catastrophic state of human rights for the Serb and other non-Albanian people in Kosovo and Metohija, emphasizing that to the present day, the situation for the Serbs has not essentially improved:

"It would be unfair to say that there have been no improvements at all in Kosovo since the war. But it is also disturbing that these improvements, including primarily the return of war-time refugees, reconstruction of war-damaged facilities and the building of institutions, have almost exclusively impacted the Kosovo Albanian community. Kosovo Serbs have almost no concrete benefit from these "improvement" nor they are of any use for them to resolve their burning issues of normal and free life.

While it is true that many hospitals have been restored, Serbs cannot seek treatment in them; numerous roads have been paved but Serbs lack the freedom to travel on them; tens of thousands of houses have been renovated but only about one hundred of them are owned by Serbs. After the war, all mosques were repaired and many new ones built while over one hundred Serbian churches still lie in ruins and not one has been reconstructed; there are many new supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants but what use are they to Serbs when only Albanians and foreigners can safely enter them? In short, based on his first-hand experience, the average Serb feels that UNMIK has come to help only one community while Serbs appear fated to live as second-class citizens on the margins of society"
, explained Bishop Artemije.

Responding concretely to a question regarding the accomplishments of the peacekeeping mission and the human rights situation, Bishop Artemije emphasized that
"the UN and KFOR peace mission has not done enough to prevent suffering of innocent civilians after the armed conflict in 1999. Since the arrival of KFOR Kosovo Serbs live in ghetto like surrounding. Only one third of the pre-war Serb population has remained in the Province and they live a life below every dignity. The main obstacle for the return of expelled Serbs is the systematic rule of ethnic discrimination and violence which is continuing from one year to another. As a Bishop I find it particularly disheartening that since the arrival of the peace mission 112 Serbian Orthodox churches have been destroyed or desecrated. The perpetrators of these crimes and many murders and kidnappings have not been found by the police nor brought to justice yet"

Commenting on the new "Standards for Kosovo", Bishop Artemije emphasized that the Serb community is dissatisfied with this plan because the Serbs were not consulted in defining the standards and the methods for realizing them. "The way they were developed negates the UN SC Res. 1244 because with these new standards, Kosovo severs ties with Serbia and Montenegro. The methods of evaluation and implementation of the standards have not been defined which allows manipulations", noted Bishop Artemije.


The optimal solution for Kosovo and Metohija is substantial autonomy
within the Republic of Serbia and the state union of Serbia-Montenegro,
said Bishop Artemije at the Western Policy Center on January 29

Kosovo independence would destabilize entire region

"Although many Kosovo Serbs are aware that direct administrative rule by Belgrade is not an appropriate model at present or in the future, they nevertheless strongly oppose the independence of Kosovo. They know from their experience that in such an Albanian-dominated state there would be no place for non-Albanian communities.

An independent Kosovo would set a dangerous precedent which would destabilize not only the Balkans and its fragile peace but also other countries with similar problems. Instead, Kosovo Albanian leaders should understand that an ethnic group does not have to be independent in its own nation-state, to have control over its own fate."

In his presentation Bishop Artemije discussed three possible future scenarios: 1) Kosovo independence, 2) return to the pre-1999 situation, and 3) realizing the substantial autonomy of Kosovo and Metohija within the Republic of Serbia and the state union of Serbia-Montenegro.

While the first two scenarios would "almost surely lead to war and continuation of suffering for the civilian population of all ethnic groups", the Bishop expressed support for the third alternative, ending his lecture with an analysis of the principle of asymmetric autonomy in Kosovo and Metohija providing different levels of ties between institutions of self-government
and Belgrade for Serbian (Bosnian/Croat) and Albanian linguistic regions.

"These self-governing institutions in Serb speaking areas should have special relations with the Belgrade government agencies, especially in the domains of education, health, and protection of cultural and historical monuments. At the same time, the Albanian speaking community would enjoy a greater degree of self-rule and could have only those ties with Serbia and S-M Union which would be mutually agreed upon through free dialogue. Local Kosovo institutions on the Kosovo wide level would be multiethnic and would coordinate activities between two autonomous entities. They would primarily work on resolving the local problems concerning the common interest of all Kosovo’s inhabitants and would not act as para-state structures, as they do now. Of course, as an autonomous province Kosovo would be able to have representation in both Serbian and State union institutions. The increased presence of minority representatives in the Parliament of Serbia would only further facilitate strengthening of multiethnicity in the country which despite the recent wars still remains the most multiethnic state on the territory of former Yugoslavia and the region", explained Bishop Artemije. He concluded

"Such a settlement of Kosovo’s status would not set a negative precedent for other ethnic communities throughout Europe which might try to exercise their right of self-determination to the detriment of sovereignty of their states. The firm position would be promoted that the only way out from the Balkan quagmire is not in further atomization of the Balkans and creation of unstable, ethnically and religiously pure banana republics but in economically and politically stable multiethnic countries which will be able to follow the process of EU integration."

The lecture at the Western Policy Center was attended by representatives of eminent government institutes and agencies, the State Department, the Department of Defense, several diplomatic representatives in Washington, as well as journalists.

On Friday, January 30, Bishop Artemije is scheduled to meet with Kathy Stevens, the assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell for southeast European issues. Bishop Artemije will then present his views of Kosovo problems and propose corresponding solutions at a roundtable including a group of State Department experts for issues relating to the Balkans, Serbia and Kosovo.

At the beginning of next week, several important meetings in the U.S. Congress are planned, as well as a visit to the Security Council in New York, and Serbian communities in Cleveland and Chicago.

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A false peacemaker rewarded
Peacemaking does not mean passivity and silence but active engagement
 for the rights of those in danger and for basic democratic principles of freedom
for all citizens. Mr. Rugova has always been more a symbol of passivity than an example
of political responsibilty and political leadership.

West gives Rugova "political transfusion" through new recognitions

Thus, giving these respected European awards to Ibrahim Rugova, who has done nothing to deserve them, can only be interpreted as a "political transfusion" given by the West to a man and a political party who are losing their support among Kosovo Albanians for their inertness and corruption, while the influence of political parties stemming from the terrorist KLA grows. Since this is an election year in Kosovo, Western leaders are apparently seeking to revamp the image of Ibrahim Rugova in order to discourage Kosovo Albanians from voting for the political parties of Ramush Haradinaj and Hashim Thaci.

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ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, January 30, 2004

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren expresses its shock upon receiving news from the Kosovo Information Center that the Council of Europe is to proclaim so-called Kosovo president Ibrahim Rugova an honorary European senator. Even greater surprise resulted from the decision to award Mr. Rugova the Andrei Sakharov award for "freedom of thought".

By giving these respected European recognitions to a a man who in the past more than four years since the end of the armed conflict has done absolutely nothing to protect the rights of jeopardized citizens in Kosovo and Metohija is a true irony considering the reality in the Province. Ibrahim Rugova's unearned title of "peacemaker" in the world appears to stem primarily from his passivity, not from his active engagement for the rights of the endangered and dispossessed. Despite his recognition of "freedom of thought", he has not uttered a single word of condemnation against countless post-war crimes perpetrated by Albanians against Serbs, Roma, Bosniacs and other non-Albanian communities. What is more, thanks to his open political support, local officials of his political party, the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo (DSK), not infrequently demonstrate even greater nationalism and extremism than members of other political parties, for example, often blocking the return of expelled Serbs (recently in Klina and Pec).

Thus, giving these respected European awards to Ibrahim Rugova, who has done nothing to deserve them, can only be interpreted as a "political transfusion" given by the West to a man and a political party who are losing their support among Kosovo Albanians for their inertness and corruption, while the influence of political parties stemming from the terrorist KLA grows. Since this is an election year in Kosovo, Western leaders are apparently seeking to revamp the image of Ibrahim Rugova in order to discourage Kosovo Albanians from voting for the political parties of Ramush Haradinaj and Hashim Thaci.

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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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