STATEMENT ON TOLERANCE
19 April 2000
welcoming the many positive developments of recent times, including
the participation of Serb Representatives within the Joint Administration
ofKosovo, we are nevertheless deeply concerned about the acts of violence
that have occurred in recent days.
We join together to condemn this violence in the strongest terms.
We reiterate together - Leaders of the kosovo.netmunities and Representatives
of the United Nations and the European Union that violence has no place
in Kosovo, no place in democratic politics.
We call upon all people and communities of Kosovo to renounce violence
once and for all and to work together for a better future for all the
communities in Kosovo. We emphasize that the creation of a climate of
tolerance in Kosovo society and in the Kosovo media is of utmost importance
for the registration of the population of Kosovo as well as for free
and fair elections.
Hashim Thaci Kaqusha Jashari Sezair Shaipi
Dennis McNamara Daan Everts
Patten Blerim Shala
Albanians Urge Violence Halt
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, April 19, 2000; 1:18 p.m. EDT
Yugoslavia -- In an unusual act of solidarity, Kosovo's Serb
and ethnic Albanian leaders on Wednesday called for an end to the almost
daily killings that have plagued the province, urging followers to
renounce violence and work for a better future.
Among signatories of a joint statement were Hashim Thaci, the
former head of the now disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army and Ibrahim
Rugova, the best known ethnic Albanian moderate.
For Serb moderates, Bishop Artemije and Father Sava Jancic signed,
along with Rada Trajkovic, who last week ended a months-long boycott
Serbs of the U.N.-supervised interim Kosovo government.
The statement expressed deep concern with "acts of violence that
have occurred in recent days."
"We join together to condemn this violence in the strongest terms,"
it said. "We call upon all people and communities of Kosovo to
violence once and for all and to work together for a better future for
all the communities in Kosovo."
International officials signing the statement included Bernard
Kouchner, Kosovo's chief U.N. representative and Javier Solana, the
European Union's top foreign affairs official, who is visiting Kosovo.
The joint declaration was unusual, in a province rent by ethnic
violence and immense mistrust between the rival communities 10 months
after the end of a prolonged crackdown by Serb forces.
Widespread violence was halted in the wake of a 78-day NATO bombing
campaign that forced Serb forces to withdraw and allowed NATO-led
peacekeepers and U.N. administrators to enter.
But violence persists, including ethnically motivated killings.
Attacks on Serbs by ethnic Albanians seeking revenge for last year's
crackdown have prompted about half of the Serb population to flee the
province, leaving behind only about 100,000 Serbs.
Hard-line Serbs opposing any form of cooperation with Kosovo's
Albanians continue to boycott the provisional government and did not
sign Wednesday's declaration.
The joint statement called for the creation of a "climate of
tolerance" ahead of municipal elections later this year - the first
of whether conditions are ripe to go to the polls without disruption.
In a first step toward those elections on Wednesday, Kosovo's
people filtered to centers where international officials registered
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will record
voter data throughout the province.
Voters taking part in the elections, scheduled for the fall, will
choose local candidates, leaving the more difficult questions of who
will ultimately govern the province for later ballots.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press