News.... Reports....Testimonies

Searching for their dear ones - Serb women trying to identify the clothes
of their missing relatives


Kosovo Serb women look at personal belongings of Serbs killed during the war in the province, April 16, 2002. Serbian authorities exhibited 360 sets of personal belongings found in mass graves in Kosovo and invited families of missing Kosovo Serbs for identification at the village of Rudare, some 15km from the administrative border between Serbia and Kosovo. REUTERS/Stevan Lazarevic

Easter in Kosovo and Metohija, A.D. 2002


Dr. Nebojsa Covic and Mr. Michael Steiner in Pristina

TWO VIEWS OF THE KOSOVO REALITY
IN THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING, APR 24, 2002

While there has been progress on socio-economic issues, transfer of police functions, elections and the establishment of the provisional coalition Government, such improvement virtually affects ONLY the Kosovo Albanians - Sergei Lavrov, the Chairman of the UN Security Council

 

 

 

Report by the UN News Service, reactions and the Presidental Statement

A Short Comment - Two Realities of Kosovo
*the full version of the commentary is being translated and will be uploaded soon

We are presenting to you two reports which were read at the Meeting of the UN Security Council on April 24, 2002: the first by Mr. Michael Steiner, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Kosovo and the other by Dr. Nebojsa Covic, the vice-president of the Serbian Government and the chief of the Cooridination Center for Kosovo and Metohia.

Speech by Micheael Steiner
Kosovo SRSG


The Mexican Ambassador in the Security Council, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, gave a very characteristic impression after the both reports were read:

"It seems there are two Kosovos. One is moving towards civility, democracy, tolerance, respect for human rights and the restoration of the rule of law. Yet, there is another Kosovo characterized by inter-ethnic discord, the rejection of tolerance and the promotion of violence."

In the continuation of the discussion Russian Ambassador and the present Chairman of the UN SC Sergei Lavrov very correctly explained the existing paradox about the two different realities on the ground saying: "While there has been progress on socio-economic issues, transfer of police functions, elections and the establishment of the provisional coalition Government, such improvement virtually affects ONLY the Kosovo Albanians".

While Mr. Steiner focused more on positive accomplishments on the ground, primarily in the field of building of institutions and ecconomic development and offered a series of benchmarks which would have to lead to the final discussion on the status issue, Mr. Covic explained that the life of Kosovo Serbs has not been essentially improved, despite of certain positive results on the Kosovo wide level. The general atmosphere of intolerance towards the Serbs and the essential lack of basic human rights and freedom of movement do not give much opportunities to ordinary Serbs in Kosovo to feel the benefits of the political and economic results, which on the other hand, cannot be properly evaluated out of the wider security and minority rights context. Dr. Covic offered a constructive cooperation of the new democratic Belgrade Government suggesting that the Kosovo problem should be approached rather from the regional level and not the opposite.

In any case, the idea suggested by the ICG and Goldstone's commission that the final resolution of the Kosovo status in a form of "conditional independence" would lead to the stabilization in the entire region has not won support in the Security Council. This proposal is seen by many as an attempt to build a roof of a house without erecting the walls on which it would safely stand. The general impression remains that the longer the situation in Kosovo is so unstable and unfavorable for the non-Albanian communities, the more time will have to pass until the final status is fully determined. It is also becoming evident that the new regional role of the Belgrade Government cannot any longer be ignored like in the Milosevic period because the new prospects for the full implementation of the UNSCR 1244 have been opened.

With the establishment of the new Kosovo Government the conditions have finally been met to open a meaningfull political dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade on the implementation of the Resolution 1244, primarily on the establishment of the Kosovo's substantial autonomy within FRY, as envisaged by the UNSCR 1244. With the improvement on the ground and the confidence building, this dialogue will eventually evolve into a discussion on the final status of the Province. In this process of dialogue the international support should be reserved for that side or policy which would offer better prospects of political stabilization, ecconomic development and the future European integration of the entire region. Any other criterion or partiality from the international side would be of negative effect for the region. If this dialog goes in the positive direction, the true winners in this match should be those citizens of the Province (regardless of their ethnicity) who wish to live and work in peace and democracy.

Comment by Fr. Sava


GENEVE - WAKE UP!
A protest of Serb school children in Lipljan - out of 7 schools in the municipality Serb children are not able to attend their classes in any of them

SRSG Micheale Steiner Visited Decani Monastery
and talked to Bishop Artemije, Apr. 16, 2002


Michael Steiner with Bishop Artemije and Abbot Teodosije
during his visit to Decani Monastery, Apr. 16, 2002 (More)

During the course of the hour-long discussion held in the monastery library, Bishop Artemije stressed that two fundamental priorities exist for the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija: an improvement in living conditions for the remaining Serb people in the Province and the return of temporarily displaced Serbs to their homes. Without the realization of the former, it is impossible to achieve success in the return of our expelled population, emphasized Bishop Artemije, appealing to Mr. Steiner to do everything within his power to create conditions for a democratic and multiethnic society in Kosovo and Metohija. (From the Press Statement)

JAVIER SOLANA CALLS FOR THE RETURN OF REFUGEES TO
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA, Apr. 17, 2002

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, April 17 (AFP) - EU foreign policy chief
Javier Solana called on Kosovo leaders Wednesday to allow Serb and
other minorities to return to the province to rebuild a multi-ethnic
Kosovo.
"Kosovo's institutions need to work in favour of the people in
order to be credible," Solana told journalists after meeting Michael
Steiner, the UN administrator of the province.
"The aim is to continue working for a multi-ethnic Kosovo -
which means the return of refugees," said Solana, who also met
Kosovo's president, Ibrahim Rugova and Prime Minister Bajram
Rexhepi.
A number of Serbs have been killed and tens of thousands fled
the province in fear of revenge attack by the ethnic Albanian
majority, angry for years of opression under former strongman
Slobodan Milosevic's regime.
Kosovo came under UN control in 1999 after NATO's air war that
forced out of the province Yugoslav army and police forces in a bid
to prevent a bloody crackdown on the province's ethnic Albanians.
Steiner announced that the ethnic Serb community will
participate in the province's government, ending months of boycott.
"It is safe to say that everybody on the Serb side agreed on how
to assure participation," Steiner told journalists after meeting
Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister in charge with Kosovo, Nebojsa
Covic.
"We have found an acceptable formula," Steiner said.
According to the agreement, the ethnic Serb coalition Povratak
(Return), which has 22 deputies in the 120-seat assembly will name
the minister of agriculture and an advisor to Steiner's office on
the issue of refugee return.

ARE ALL THE MISSING SERBS IN KOSOVO DEAD BY NOW?

Serbs look for evidence about relatives believed killed in Kosovo

Sun Apr 14,12:49 PM ET
By DRAGAN ILIC, Associated Press Writer

RUDARE, Yugoslavia - Hundreds of relatives of Serbs missing since the
end of Kosovo's war examined clothes, wedding rings and cigarette cases
Sunday, hoping to determine the fate of loved ones believed slain in the
province.

Families streamed into a pair of tents erected near a motel in southern
Serbia to view items U.N. forensics investigators uncovered after the
fighting ended in 1999. The relatives donned surgical masks to guard
against infection while looking at items found with 360 corpses
unearthed at sites throughout the southern Yugoslav province.

Some 1,300 Serbs have been reported missing since former Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic (news - web sites)'s 1998-1999 crackdown on
ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Most of those people are presumed to be
dead.

U.N. officials in recent months have promised to do more to determine
the fate of the missing, both Serbs and ethnic Albanians. An estimated
3,000 ethnic Albanians are also still unaccounted for nearly three years
after NATO (news - web sites) bombing halted Milosevic's crackdown and
drove out Yugoslav government forces.

Wiping away tears, Sasa Ristanovic recognized a blue shirt his father,
Momcilo, wore June 17, 1999_ the day he disappeared in the Kosovo city
of Prizren.

"Now I know what I felt for years," he said. "My father was killed and
dumped in a grave."

Ristanovic and tens of thousands of other Serbs fled the province soon
after NATO forces took control, fearing attacks leveled in revenge for
Milosevic's crackdown.

The exhibit located 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of the capital,
Belgrade, was held outside of the province in part to help those afraid
to return.

Forensic experts say the families of 15 people were able to recognize
personal items at the exhibit.

Many of the relatives also gave blood samples, providing DNA evidence
that could help U.N. investigators determine the identities of some of
the remains.


In search for their dear ones - Serb families try to identify the clothes
from bodies exhumated in Kosovo

THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH IS DEEPLY CONCERNED
FOR ITS HOLY SITES IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA


Patriarch Pavle expressed to Michael Steiner his concern for the Serbian Orthodox Church and her holy shrines in Kosovo, Belgrade Apr 3, 2002

Information Service of
the Serbian Orthodox Church
April 3, 2002

PATRIARCH PAVLE RECEIVED MICHAEL STEINER, HEAD OF UNMIK

His Holiness Pavle, Serbian Patriarch, received Mr Michael Steiner, special envoy of the UN Secretary General for Kosovo and Metochia in the Patriarchate Palace in Belgrade today. The talks dwelled on the current situation in Kosovo and Metochia, participation of the Serbian people in the governing institutions in Kosovo and Metochia, as well as on the possibilities for establishing multiethnic society in Kosovo and Metochia, for setting democratic rights and providing a normal life and work for the refugees willing to return.

Talking with the primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Head of the UN Civil Mission in Kosovo repeated that the return of the exiled Serbs to Kosovo and Metochia represented the process that the international community is in charge of. "Our goal is multiethnic Kosovo. We need help from all authorities, first of all from the Serbian Orthodox Church" Steiner said.

Patriarch Pavle said that he himself had met with representatives of various other religions and Churches in Kosovo and Metochia in the period when he had performed the duty of Bishop of Raska-Prizren, adding that he was still ready to talk with them any time.

His Grace Pahomije, Bishop of Vranje, member of the Holy Synod of Bishops, attended the meeting of Patriarch Pavle and Michael Steiner (who was heading the delegation).

This is not Patriarch's first meeting with Michael Steiner. They had already met during the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Kosovo Ombudsman Mr Marek Antoni Nowitzki, Apr. 4, 2002
Ombudsman Nowitzki accuses Albanians of putting pressure on Serbs!

Epoka e Re (Kosovo daily in Albanian) writes that Kosovo Ombudsperson Marek Nowitzki reportedly said that the Albanian community in Kosovo is pressuring the Serbs, leaving the impression of a strategy to expel all Serbs from Kosovo. Nowitzki told Belgrade newspaper Blic that part of the pressure is the sale of Serb properties. "We have the situation where a traditional Serb neighborhood turns into an Albanian one and UNMIK doesn't do anything about it," he said.

"There's no freedom of movement. Human rights are not respected. Generally speaking, with every day the situation is increasingly worse. Serbs are increasingly isolated in their enclaves. There is no freedom of living. Their property has been usurped. Serbs are in dilemma to stay or to leave. We are far away from minimal living conditions," said Nowitzki.

He criticized the NGO, HPD Habitat, which has oversight of property issues. "Habitat is big mistake. People in Bosnia and Croatia know this well. As long as this situation exists, there is little hope that things will get better. We have to ask ourselves how long the people in Shtërpce, Prishtina and Graçanica will stand being isolated," he said.

Nowitzki judged that if Habitat continued to work at the current tempo, it would need 500 years to resolve property issues, which would be intolerable for the Serb community. "The Serb community in Kosovo has been beheaded. They need urgent help. There are no qualified people that can be compared to Albanian political leaders," he said.

Report by UNMIK Media Monitoring Division


Tears of a Kosovo Serb woman at St. Nicholas church in Pristina

Serb Houses Attacked In Obilic, 10 km North-West From Pristina

SRNA: Obilic 12.42, April 4th

Obilic: In the night between the 3rd and 4th of April two Serb houses were attacked. Unknown attackers threw a hand grenade on the house of Svetislav Stolic but no one from his family who were at the house in the time of attack were injure. That was confirmed by the member of the Municipal Council Mirce Jakovljevic. The house of Zoran Milic was attacked twice by rocket propelled grenades by unknown attackers too. No casualties were reported.

Statement of Dr. Nebojsa Covic in the UN Security Council
full text of the report in MS Word format

Dr. Nebojsa Covic, the chief of the Coordination Committee for Kosovo and Metohija and the Serbian Deputy Prime Ministery met the US State Secretary Powell during his visit to the America. Dr. Covic expressed his gravest concern for the future of Kosovo Serbs amidst highly intolerant and repressive Albanian population in Kosovo as well as the inability of UN Mission and KFOR to grant all citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, freedom and security. Covic: No Future Guaranteed for Kosovo Serbs

Statement of the year:

Gen. Valenten, COMKFOR: "Spirit of tolerance dominates in Kosovo" (from Koha Ditore, March 26, 2002) - read the reaction of Dr. Rada Trajkovic

REQUIEM FOR KOSOVO


Desecrated Serb cemetery near Pec, October 2001

The War Against the Dead...
Kosovo Albanian Extremists continue with systematic desecration of
Serb Orthodox Cemeteries throughout Kosovo Province
See the PHOTO GALLERY

Interview of Bishop Artemije to the Herald of Kosovo and Metohija
March 7, 2002 - Life in isolation continues

INTERVIEWS

with Abbot Teodosije with Fr. Sava
Abbot Teodosije and Fr. Sava speak of the present situation in Kosovo and Metohija

Belo Polje Near Pec - A Dead Village Disappearing under tons of garbage
photo-gallery

Kosovo Albanian extremists continue making all possible kinds of obstacles to prevent the return of the Serb refugees to their destroyed villages. Although UNSCR 1244 is stipulating the return of all displaced persons to their homes and the international Peace Mission is responsible to provide safe and free life of all citizens almost no Serbs have returned to their homes in the last three post war years. This fact is one among many which shows that UNMIK and KFOR are not capable of implementing the UN resolution under which mandate they stay in Kosovo Province.

Rada Trajkovic: General Valentin does not, in fact, live in Kosovo
(Koha Ditore, March 26, 2002)


Dr. Rada Trajkovic - the leader of the Serb Coalition Povratak (Return)

Pristina, 26 March 2002

Head of the Serb Povratak parliamentary group Rada Trajkovic responded to a statement by COMKFOR Gen. Marcel Valentin on the third anniversary of NATO air strikes to the effect that " a spirit of tolerance dominates in Kosovo".

"He, in fact, does not live in Kosovo," said Trajkovic, and added that "human rights may be respected at KFOR Headquarters in Prishtina, but Serbs are still discriminated against and exposed to violence, kidnapping, murder and abuses," Koha Ditore reports. Trajkovic told the Serb TV station Palma Plus that the international community had not achieved any of the aims it set three years ago. She said that Kosovo has not formed democratic institutions; there are no multiethnic relations; the expelled have not returned to their homes; and peace has not been achieved in the region.

"The international community came into Kosovo to protect the Albanian community and cannot pull out because it now has to protect the Serb community. Three years ago Serb extremism was punished by air strikes. Today, that idea is being compromised by Albanian terrorists and extremists, because none of the political aims set by the international community have been achieved in Kosovo," said Trajkovic. She added that Kosovo couldn't be free until everyone that lives in Kosovo is free, "which is not the case with Kosovo Serbs".

Trajkovic also accused the international community of "economic discrimination" because it has offered full economic and financial support to Albanians while "Serbs are left without anything". Concerning local elections set for 21 September, Trajkovic said that Serbs should participate, only if Kosovo is decentralized.
"Where the Serbs are a minority, they should have local leadership. It would be good if Serbs who were expelled from Kosovo went out and voted in the towns that they used to live in, and thus show the international community how many Serbs there were in Kosovo, and bring before the international community the challenge of fulfilling their obligation of returning Serbs to their homes," she said.

Asked to comment on charges that Serbs will not participate in the government, Trajkovic said, "The truth is that Mr. Steiner said in a public meeting that Covic had agreed that Kosovo Serbs should participate in the Kosovo Government with only one minister. I had several meetings with Steiner, however I never promised that we would enter Kosovo Government if we didn't receive the Ministry for Returns. I believe that in the second round of talks with Mr. Steiner, we will be more successful with our request that we receive a second ministry," said Trajkovic.

 

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