November 20, 2003

ERP KiM Newsletter 20-11-03

They Only Took Their Memories
Two life stories of displaced Serbs who live in constant search of their missing relatives and hope that one day they would be allowed to return to their ancestral homes


A photo in front of a burning Serb home in Novake village, near Prizren
(photo ERP KiM archive, June 1999)

CONTENTS:

Indescribable drama
Milanka Petrovic of Prizren knows who kidnapped her father and killed her brother but will not name them because of an ongoing investigation

They only took their memories
Three members of Stojkovic family saved by Serbian Orthodox Church from isolation and despair near Prizren. During their two years of solitude in Vrbicani near Prizren, the Stojkovices began to loose their identity. Little Zivko attended school in Bosniac language and learned to pray to Allah

UN Police in Kosovo makes arrests in crackdown on organized crime
United Nations police in Kosovo said Tuesday they had arrested three people in a massive operation to tackle a suspected organised crime network. Spokesman Derek Chappell said a Briton, an Italian and an Albanian had been arrested after police searched the premises of an Italian-based business, ItalBetton Company, which was suspected of criminal activities.

Yes a Tale of Two Protectorates - Fr Irinei vs. Morton Abramowitz
In Kosovo, under the vigilance of the international community, ethnically motivated repression and intimidation continue at an alarming rate with the destruction of over 120 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries since the NATO brokered peace, as well as the relegation of all non-Albanian populations to polarized enclaves where they lack freedom of movement, proper medical attention and overall access to the outside world. Approximately 1800 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been murdered as a result of ethno-religiously motivated Albanian terror, 1300 injured, the fate of another 800 remains unknown, and upwards of 320,000 have been forced to flee as refugees, without the possibility of a safe return.


Serbian Royal Family Hosted Dinner for Serbian Orthodox Archbishops
"Today, as well as for the last half of a century, our Church has suffered great misfortunes. Our most important shrines in Kosovo, recognized by UNESCO as world’s cultural heritage, have been burnt down and destroyed. However, our Church still carries its burden of responsibility and duty, with courage and patience, preaching God’s law and love among people. The Crown has always supported such message, advocating democracy, respecting everybody regardless of their ethnic and religious origin or political orientation, following the words of His Holiness who said "it takes so little for humans to be humane", said Crown Prince Alexander II

The King Reigns and Government Rules
Why Crown Prince Alexander believes it is the right time for reestablishment of parliamentary monarchy in Serbia. Reestablishment of monarchy in Serbia, according to Crown Prince Alexander would not endanger the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, but even improve the relationships between the two states.

More News Available on our:

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http://www.kosovo.net/erpkiminfo.html


Indescribable drama

Milanka Petrovic of Prizren knows who kidnapped her father and killed her brother but will not name them because of an ongoing investigation

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Vecernje Novosti daily, Belgrade
November 11, 2003

Jovica (42) and Dragomir (70) Djukanovic kidnapped by Albanians on June 14, 1999 in front of their house in the center of Prizren. Rada, mother of the former and spouse of the latter, remembers the kidnappers and now it has been confirmed that they are the murderers of her nearest relatives

PRIZREN, the year 1999, the fourteenth day of June, 9,15 in the morning.
Time stopped for the Djukanovic and the Petrovic families. Albanians led Dragomir and his son Jovica from the house at Karadjordjeva Street 100 in the center of the city. They took them away and since then no trace of them has been found. The neighbors saw the kidnappers and Jovica's mother and Dragomir's wife, Rada, remembers their faces well. Jovica's sister and Dragomir's daughter Milanka Petrovic, who is one of the founders of the Association of Missing and Kidnapped Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, gives an eyewitness account of their four year-long tragedy and drama.

"The army and police withdrew and the people went with them. KFOR arrived and my parents Dragomir and Rada stayed in their house in Prizren. Where to go except stay at home. Jovica and his wife Radica thought about leaving for a long time. They begged his parents to leave with them. Finally, they made the decision and left. They went as far as Brezovica.

"Daddy with a broken hip. Jovica had a difficult time adjusting to the departure. He missed his parents. He came back just to see them, to spend a few days together. The joy of their meeting was short-lived. The whole night before the kidnapping Jovica tried to convince his parents to leave the city. The discussion lasted long into the night. In the morning, mother Rada went to the pharmacy where she had worked for years. She had decided to ask for her worker's identification card and leave with Jovica.

"When she returned from the pharmacy, three Albanians wearing black were in the street in front of the house. One had some sort of shiny wire around his waist. They were looking for weapons in our parents' home.

They found nothing. Then they told my parents: 'We have to take Jovica for half an hour for an informational talk. We will bring him back.'

Father refused to give his son. He insisted on going with him. The neighbors are watching everything from the window, memorizing the number of the license plate on the car that drove away my father and brother, a white Mercedes with Prizren license plates, registration PR 163-10.

"Mother attempted to inform KFOR of the abduction. The Albanians tell her: 'Better for you and for them (pointing to my father and brother) that you don't do it.' They took them and since then no trace of them has been found.

"After that, for seven months my mother waited in Prizren for her son and husband. She waited for them to bring them back. She waited for someone to ask the kidnappers, since their identities were known, where her closest family members were. For KFOR and UNMIK to ask them but there was no response. Then we searched and searched.

Begged them to bring them back if they are still alive, to tell us where the bodies are if they weren't.

"From the Albanians we learned that they are no longer alive. It is difficult to live with this truth, our drama is difficult to explain. We learned the given and family names of the kidnappers and the murderers.

But I cannot name them in the newspaper. I do not want to impede the investigation in any way. I still hope for justice. In my mind's eye, I still see the wire flashing around the waist of one of the kidnappers."

M. MARKOVIC

WE KNOW EVERYTHING

The Association, which is searching for 1,300 missing and kidnapped persons, has information regarding more than 300 kidnappers and murderers, says Milanka.

"We know many names of witnesses," says Dragica. "All this is known by those who are supposed to bring the criminals to justice. I don't know whether the spool will begin to unravel after the photos of henchmen proudly carrying the severed head of a Serb young man published by 'Novosti' ."



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They only took their memories

Three members of Stojkovic family saved by Serbian Orthodox Church from isolation and despair near Prizren. During their two years of solitude in Vrbicani near Prizren, the Stojkovices began to loose their identity. Little Zivko attended school in Bosniac language and learned to pray to Allah

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Vecernje Novosti daily, Belgrade

November 11, 2003

(photo ERP KiM archive: an abandoned Serb home after massive fleeing of Serb population in front of KLA extremists in June 1999)

Gracanica – They have replaced their i solation and despair with a new environment but Zoran (50), Darinka (54) and Zivko (11) Stojkovic of Vrbicani near Prizren cannot forget their two years of solitude, which they survived in an unusual way. They earned money to survive from Darinka's handicrafts and Muslim prayers, which little Zivko recited to neighbors from neighboring Novoselo.

The village of Vrbicani is located about seven kilometers from Prizren. The road follows the Bistrica River and the high crags of Holy Archangels Monastery. A small house on the top of a hill. Surrounded by silence and solitude.

In June 1999 the Serbs left their homes. Of the thirty-odd Serb families in the village, only the Stojkovices stayed. In the neighboring village of Novoselo, about one kilometer distant, live some 70 Muslim families. Despite everything, traces of war have not made their mark here. Isolation and distance from Prizren may have contributed. The residents of Novoselo, like good neighbors, accepted the Stojkovices. Little Zivko began school. His classes are in Bosniac. Even though his school comrades accept him, he is lonely. After returning from school, his own companion is his father.

"I've done everything I could think of to keep him busy. Nevertheless, he misses the companionship of his peers, whom he visit frequently after school. With the children of Novoselo he learned to pray to Allah and recite "dove". We did not forbid him from learning Muslim prayers but I would frequently take him to the belltower of our old village church and teach him our prayers, too. We have never been afraid of our neighbors from Novoselo. We were afraid from the wave of Albanians who destroyed all traces of Serbdom. It is very fortunate that our village is a little bit more difficult to get to," Zoran recalls how they managed to avoid the worst.

He and his wife had left the city two years earlier. Both worked in Printeks textile factory and with their small salaries they could not afford the high cost of living. They returned to Vrbicani, where they eventually find themselves alone. The other Serbs collectively depart.

"Even though they knew we were alone, our neighbors from Novoselo never misused this knowledge. They would even get us necessary staples. When we had money, that is. After both my husband and I were left without an income, we survived thanks to my handicrafts, which I sold to neighbors from Novoselo and from the money Zivko earned by reciting 'dove'," Darinka continues shyly.

KFOR troops visited them occasionally. Their insecurity and solitude grew more and more difficult. Fortunately, the Diocese of Raska and Prizren learned of their fate and found them temporary shelter in Gracanica. Do they want to go back?

"If only one of the Serb families that fled returned to the village, we would be the first to join them. However, what was most difficult for us was because of little Zivko," added his father, Zoran, who now works as a janitor in the elementary school in Gracanica. He explained that they are content with their housing solution because they live in a house whose owner has left. However, like all displaced persons, they hope to return to their own home from which they took only their photographs and memories.

D. ZECEVIC

GOATS

The Stojkovices have nothing but words of their praise for their Novoselo neighbors. They claim that they did not force Zivko to pray "in their way" but that it was amusing to them to listen to him, the only Serb child there. They say that those "closest" to them once visited them in Gracanica and brought two of their goats, which upon their departure, stayed in their barn.


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UN police in Kosovo make arrests in mass crackdown on organized crimne

United Nations police in Kosovo said Tuesday they had arrested three people in a massive operation to tackle a suspected organised crime network. Spokesman Derek Chappell said a Briton, an Italian and an Albanian had been arrested after police searched the premises of an Italian-based business, ItalBetton Company, which was suspected of criminal activities.

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Agence France Presse
November 18, 2003

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro, Nov 18 (AFP) - United Nations police in Kosovo said Tuesday they had arrested three people in a massive operation to tackle a suspected organised crime network.

Spokesman Derek Chappell said a Briton, an Italian and an Albanian had been arrested after police searched the premises of an Italian-based business, ItalBetton Company, which was suspected of criminal activities.

"All are being held on charges involving commercial auto theft and false documentation," he said.

Police said this was the largest operation against organised crime since the province came under UN control in June 1999, following a war between ethnic Albanian guerrillas and Serbian forces.

Chappell said the company and its owners were under indictment in Italy for serious criminal offences.

It is believed that similar organised crime activities are being carried out here under subsidiary company ItalBetton Balkans, Chappell said.

The owner of this company was recently extradited by Turkish authorities to Italy.

The company was involved in the organised theft of heavy construction equipment from around Europe.

"This machinery is then given falsified documents and ownership and used on its own building projects," Chappell said.

One hundred vehicles were seized in the police search Monday in the capital Pristina and the western towns of Pec and Djakovica.

The vehicles are being checked to determine whether they were stolen elsewhere in Europe.

Chappell said seven have so far been identified as stolen.

Also seized was one kilogram of a controlled substance believed to be illegal drugs.

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Yes, a Tale of Two Protectorates

In Kosovo, under the vigilance of the international community, ethnically motivated repression and intimidation continue at an alarming rate with the destruction of over 120 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries since the NATO brokered peace, as well as the relegation of all non-Albanian populations to polarized enclaves where they lack freedom of movement, proper medical attention and overall access to the outside world. Approximately 1800 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been murdered as a result of ethno-religiously motivated Albanian terror, 1300 injured, the fate of another 800 remains unknown, and upwards of 320,000 have been forced to flee as refugees, without the possibility of a safe return.

By Fr. Irinej Dobrijevic

Morton Abramowitz is indeed correct in stating that the contrast between Iraq and Kosovo is striking, however not for any of the reasons that he notes, but rather more importantly chooses to ignore. And, he is even more apt in titling his editorial remarks “a tale”, which is precisely what they are.

The author would have his intended audience believe that Kosovo, compared to Iraq is foundational to a democratic society and even alleges that allied forces are not being attacked. Nothing could be further from the truth. A rash of terrorist acts have recently been targeted against Serbian families and school children and even allied forces, resulting in many deaths, warranting a special session of the Security Council at the United Nations.

In Kosovo, under the vigilance of the international community, ethnically motivated repression and intimidation continue at an alarming rate with the destruction of over 120 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries since the NATO brokered peace, as well as the relegation of all non-Albanian populations to polarized enclaves where they lack freedom of movement, proper medical attention and overall access to the outside world. Approximately 1800 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been murdered as a result of ethno-religiously motivated Albanian terror, 1300 injured, the fate of another 800 remains unknown, and upwards of 320,000 have been forced to flee as refugees, without the possibility of a safe return.

Are these inescapable facts preconditions for independence or masked over in an attempt to diminish the all-too-real call for “standards before status”?

Milosevic’s control over Serbia no longer exists and cannot be invoked as a sustained cause for Serbia’s loss of moral right over Kosovo. If NATO intervention was then necessary to stop ethnic cleansing, who should bomb whom today to prevent continued ethnic cleansing, the likes of which has given rise to one of the most ethnically cleansed areas of all of Europe? Odd, isn’t it that Serbia today remains one of the most ethnically diverse republics in the Balkans?

Yes, the International Community has been hesitant in responding to the Kosovar Albanian call for final status, i.e., independence, and not without good reason. If, according to Abramowitz, haste is to be questioned in Iraq, then indeed prudence in time should be accepted in Kosovo. Odd, how he notes dysfunctional neighboring Bosnia with its “deep structural divisions” whereas Kosovo is more than a mirrored image of the same with even deeper societal divisions. At the end of the day, according to his line of reasoning, why shouldn’t Republika Srpska be granted independence from Bosnia? Or Krajina, why should it not succeed from Croatia?

Fr. Irinej Dobrijevic, Former Executive Director of the Washington-based Office of External Affairs of the Serbian Orthodox Church, is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Serbian Unity Congress.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Wall Street Journal Europe 13 November 2003
Page A9

A Tale of Two Protectorates
State of the Union

By Morton Abramowitz

The contrast is striking.

In Iraq, the Americans have hand-picked an interim governing council, there have been no elections, the judiciary is barely functioning, and American troops and even more Iraqis are being killed almost every day. Yet the U.N. and many of its member states, including the U.S., France and Germany, are in a hurry to hand power over to the Iraqi people, some even more quickly than others.

In Kosovo, elections have been held to create representative governments at municipal and national levels, allied forces are not being attacked but urged to stay, and the U.N. has been peacefully running the show for already four years. However, the U.N. and key member states insist that the critical powers for running a government cannot be handed over to the representatives of Kosovo's people.

To be sure, Kosovo and Iraq are different species. Kosovo has never been an independent state, it is of little geopolitical importance, it has none of the wealth and little of the trained personnel of Iraq, and there is no sense of international urgency, as there is on Iraq, to quickly change the current situation. Violence is always a prod.

NATO's intervention in 1999 freed Kosovo from the bondage, ethnic cleansing, and the violence of Slobodan Milosevic's Serbia. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 mandated a U.N. interim administration to run Kosovo and carry out a process to establish self-government but left undecided when and how the future international status of Kosovo would be settled. The U.N. mission in Kosovo has been indispensable in helping the people of Kosovo get on their feet.
It has presided over three successful elections and established a provisional government and representative assembly.

But the international community has been exceedingly slow in encouraging and better providing the wherewithal for the people of Kosovo to run their own show. It has done nothing to advance the process of determining Kosovo's final status.

The U.N. mission still maintains the critical powers for running Kosovo, overseeing the rule of law, property issues, foreign affairs and security. It has the final say over the budget, the power to dissolve the assembly and call new elections, and the right to change the constitutional framework. The Kosovo government is mostly given power over health, education and customs. Its staff is starved for resources. Kosovo officials are discouraged from traveling abroad and unable to present their views unencumbered.

In a Catch-22, the U.N. mission, supported by the U.S. and the EU, also insists on using the slogan "standards before status," that the final status of Kosovo vis-a-vis Serbia can only be considered after the Kosovo government, with its limited powers, has somehow achieved a level of excellence that most other Balkan states lack. This formula was devised to put off Kosovo demands for settling the political status of Kosovo in the hopes that the desire for independence in Kosovo would somehow diminish and pressures on a vulnerable new Serbian government over a highly neuralgic political issue would be reduced.

The international community now insists that the Kosovo and Serbia begin negotiations on important matters to both parties but not final status. There are indeed issues of real importance that need resolution. But Serbia, despite its difficult political and economic situation, has a government with real powers and Kosovo does not. What kind of negotiations does this constitute for Kosovo when the final power is with the U.N. mission and its director is described as a facilitator to negotiations?

The Kosovars bear some responsibility for the current situation. They have been slow in stopping violence against Serbs and showing serious interest in getting Serbs who fled Kosovo to consider returning. Organized crime is a problem and the rule of law needs to be more firmly established.

Kosovo, however, is not the dysfunctional state of neighboring Bosnia with its deep structural divisions. Certainly it will need financial help, the ability to procure foreign technical assistance, and some international monitoring for the next few years. If Kosovo is to prosper, if it is to negotiate seriously with Serbia as one day it must, it should have its own strong governmental institutions. The U.N. should not be encouraging dependence. There is no reason why in the next year Kosovars should not be able to assume most or all the powers held by the U.N. mission, which could then monitor and advise.

The international community retains many ways of influencing Kosovo to ensure that its government does not go off the rails. Kosovo will remain dependent on the international community for a long time to come, for its security, its economy, ultimately its final status and its need to be incorporated into Europe.

The internal situations in Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia are all declining in part because of the uncertainty of Kosovo's final status. U.S. Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman's recent statement that talks on final status might open in mid-2005 appears to mark a departure from the West's ostrich posture on Kosovo. That date would more likely be met if the U.N. turned over its remaining powers to the people of Kosovo.

Mr. Abramowitz is a member of the executive committee of the International Crisis Group and a senior fellow at The Century Foundation.

(Copyright (c) 2003, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)

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Crown Prince Alexander II, Princess Catherine, Patriarch Pavle with
the Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church at the White Palace

Serbian Royal Family hosted a dinner for Serbian Orthodox Church Archbishops

"Today, as well as for the last half of a century, our Church has suffered great misfortunes. Our most important shrines in Kosovo, recognized by UNESCO as world’s cultural heritage, have been burnt down and destroyed. However, our Church still carries its burden of responsibility and duty, with courage and patience, preaching God’s law and love among people. The Crown has always supported such message, advocating democracy, respecting everybody regardless of their ethnic and religious origin or political orientation, following the words of His Holiness who said "it takes so little for humans to be humane", said Crown Prince Alexander II

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Zorica Salijevic, Public Relations

The Royal Palace, Belgrade
http://www.royalfamily.org


AT THE WHITE PALACE

Belgrade, 18 November 2003 - HRH Crown Prince Alexander II hosted a dinner on the occasion of the regular annual session of the Holy Assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Church, at The White Palace last night.

The reception was attended by His Holiness Pavle the Patriarch of Serbia, Their Most Eminent Graces Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and Metropolitan Jovan of Veles, their Graces Bishop Irinej of Nis, Bishop Vasilije of Zvornik and Tuzla, Bishop Mitrofan of Eastern America, Bishop Hrizostom of Zica, Bishop Irinej of Backa, Bishop Dositej of Britain and Scandinavia, Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren, Bishop Lukijan of Osijek and Polje, Bishop Konstantin of Central Europe, Bishop Jovan of Sumadija, Bishop Milutin of Australia and New Zealand Bishop Atanasije of Hvost, the Minister of Religion Prof. Dr. Vojislav Milovanovic, member of the Advisory bodies of the Crown Arch. Dragomir Acović and academician Matija Beckovic, Editor in Chief of Serbian Orthodox Church Press Service and the secretary of the Holy Synod Mr. Dusan Stokanovic and dean Nebojsa Topolic.

The most distinguihed guests were welcomed by HRH Crown Prince Alexander II:

"Today, as well as for the last half of a century, our Church has suffered great misfortunes. Our most important shrines in Kosovo, recognized by UNESCO as world’s cultural heritage, have been burnt down and destroyed. However, our Church still carries its burden of responsibility and duty, with courage and patience, preaching God’s law and love among people.

The Crown has always supported such message, advocating democracy, respecting everybody regardless of their ethnic and religious origin or political orientation, following the words of His Holiness who said "it takes so little for humans to be humane".

We should arm ourselves with patience, for changes come slowly, but yet they come. In the times gone by, the present times and in the future, we should preserve our roots and our forefather’s faith."

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The King Reigns, the Government Rules

Why Crown Prince Alexander believes it is the right time for reestablishment of parliamentary monarchy in Serbia. Reestablishment of monarchy in Serbia, according to Crown Prince Alexander would not endanger the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, but even improve the relationships between the two states.

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Danas, Belgrade daily
Belgrade , 19 November 2003

Belgrade – The fact that the presidential elections in Serbia have failed for the third time, even having in mind that it might be the consequence of the existing election law, is a tragedy for the entire nation. We desperately need stability and functioning of the political system. To move forward, I recommend to establish constitutional parliamentary monarchy , which means respect of all politicians, because in a constitutional parliamentary monarchy the head of state is not a member of any political party, and takes no sides – explains for the "Danas" Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic, why the right way out from the deep state crisis in Serbia would be establishment of constitutional parliamentary monarchy, which is what was proposed by all advisory bodies of the Royal House of Karadjordjevic in a statement published the day before yesterday.

Serbia-Montenegro - a union of monarchy and republic

Reestablishment of monarchy in Serbia, according to Crown Prince Alexander would not endanger the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, but even improve the relationships between the two states. "If the citizens decide to have within a union ma republic, that would for instance, be Montenegro, and monarchy, like Serbia would be, it might function quite well. There are republics and monarchies within the EU, too. Besides, if you look at the expenses of the failed and the future elections, Serbia would have saved a lot of money if it had as the head of state a monarch who has both Serbian and Montenegrin blood in him. Of course, the citizens must elect the government in parliamentary elections, because the King reigns, and the government rules", explains Crown Prince Alexander.

In addition, Crown Prince Alexander emphasizes how important it is that "the forthcoming parliamentary elections on 28 December be a success, and all citizens come out and vote for whoever they want. The desire is that the new parliament look carefully into all options that are open in Serbia. The aim is, of course, stability of the country, unity, continuity and protection of the democratic process. That means lobbying and contacts with all members of the parliament, as well as with the elected government, and organization and cooperation with the media, in order to explain all the advantages of constitutional parliamentary monarchy. What our citizens and our politicians must know is that constitutional parliamentary monarchy is not an instant solution, but the only system that provides respect of everybody regardless of their religious or ethnic origin – points out Crown Prince Alexander. He believes that bringing up the issue of reestablishing monarchy at this moment would not create new divisions in already politically divided Serbia, but "open new possibilities for its future. Many EU members are constitutional parliamentary monarchies, not to mention other examples in the world. The debate on the issue is a healthy one, including the debate on Spanish constitution, which is the most modern in Europe today. Spain is a country that went from dictatorship to democracy and membership in the EU", reminds Crown Prince Alexander.

Jelena Tasic

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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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