Information Service

October 8, 2002

Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija

SERB NATIONAL COUNCILS CALL FOR THE SECOND ROUND OF PRESIDENTAL ELECTIONS IN SERBIA

Elections will confirm that our state is Serbia and Yugoslavia, say Bishop Artemije and Dr. Ivanovic

Belgrade, October 7, 2002


PUBLIC STATEMENT

The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija and the Serb National Council of northern Kosovo and Metohija call on all citizens of Serbia to participate in the second round of presidential elections on Sunday, October 13, 2002.

Because of the significance of presidential elections for our people and state, especially for the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija, we appeal to all Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and all Serbs expelled from Kosovo and Metohija, as well as all citizens of Serbia to participate in the presidential elections and to vote in accordance with their own conscience.

Do we, the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija, even have the right to participate in elections which confirm that our state is Serbia and Yugoslavia, and that Kosovo and Metohija is a part of Serbia and Yugoslavia? Our voting confirms us ourselves; it confirms there are Serbs in the region of Kosovo and Metohija, and instills hope that we will remain here. We do not have the right to abstain from elections when the survival of the state and of Kosovo and Metohija within it is in question.

It is important that Serbia have a president; it is in both national and state interests that a crisis, which especially for us in Kosovo and Metohija could be fatal, goes no further.

Instability in Serbia and failure to elect a president would most serve the interests of Albanian extremists in Kosovo and Metohija and southern Serbia in their aspiration to create an independent Albanian state. That is the reason why (ethnic) Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija and southern Serbia are not participating in these elections.

Elections are also not in the interests of those who do not wish to see the rule of law. A boycott of the elections is being advocated out of personal interests and party calculations which do not take into account the interests of the people and state. By casting a vote for president, we are voting for Kosovo and Metohija; we are voting for Serbia.

President of the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija
Bishop Artemije (Radosavljevic)

President of the SNC of northern Kosovo and Metohija
Dr. Milan Ivanovic

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Serbs will vote only if Steiner grants them decentralization
and self-government

Beta News Agency, Belgrade, Yugoslavia

October 7, 2002 14:41

COVIC RECOMMENDS AMENDMENTS TO STEINER’S PLAN

(Belgrade) - The chairman of the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija Nebojsa Covic proposed on Monday to UNMIK chief Michael Steiner that his plan for Kosovska Mitrovica be amended with eight "practical principles". In a letter to Steiner a copy of which was provided to Beta, Covic in eight points presented proposals which would supplement Steiner’s plan for resolving Kosovska Mitrovica and decentralization and called on the UNMIK chief to adopt an agreement as soon as possible.

The concept of decentralization, the letter states, would relate to the strengthening of local, national and regional self-government throughout Kosovo and Metohija. "Units of local self-government are the municipality which is organized according to need into local administrative offices (or municipal subunits); the city, which can be organized into multiple municipalities; and the region," the letter states. Covic believes that "national communities (should) organize their self-government in the form of councils of national communities and alliances of national communities".

The other principles he cites are as follows: "Decentralization implies original and transferred authority for the units of local self-government." "Units of local self-government would manage their own and transferred revenues." "In nationally mixed units of local self-government a principle of non-outvoting would be in effect which would not harm the efficacy of decision-making." "The functioning of units of local self-government should not undermine the rights of national communities and citizens." "Institutions and officials of Kosovo and Metohija would conduct harmonization in the process of organizing and functioning of local self-government. During the transition period this function would be carried out by the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN."

In the letter to Steiner, Covic mentions that last year the Serbs participated in parliamentary elections in Kosovo "only as a result of the agreement" signed immediately prior to the elections by former UNMIK chief Hans Haekkerup. Covic assessed that the current situation is even more difficult because, he says, this agreement failed to give anticipated results with respect to the most important issue, i.e., the return of refugees and expelled persons to Kosovo and Metohija. The chairman of the Coordinating Center expressed confidence that the Serbs would participate in local elections in significant number only if an agreement on decentralization and local self-government is signed before the elections. "As someone well acquainted with the situation in the Serb national community in Kosovo and Metohija, I am afraid that their confidence in your ad hoc verbal guarantees in almost nonexistent," Covic informed the UNMIK chief. Covic also called on Michael Steiner to schedule a meeting as soon as possible where an agreement on Kosovska Mitrovica and decentralization would be adopted.

Information Service of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren
Kosovo and Metohija