Information Service

October 17, 2002 - Evening edition


His Holiness Patriarch Pavle

PATRIARCHATE IN BELGRADE ISSUES A COMMUNIQUE ON THE STATEMENT OF MICHAEL STEINER

Information Service of the
Serbian Orthodox Church - Belgrade
October 17, 2002

PUBLIC STATEMENT WITH REGARD TO MR. STEINER’S COMMENTS

With regard to the comments of Mr. Steiner, the special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Kosovo and Metohija, made following his meeting with His Holiness the Serbian Patriarch Kyr Pavle and members of the Holy Synod of Bishops, we wish to advise that Mr. Steiner was received at his own request, not, as he subsequently advised media, upon the invitation of His Holiness the Patriarch.

After listening to the presentation of Mr. Steiner regarding the necessity of participation in local elections and his plan for decentralization of North Mitrovica, His Holiness and the members of the Synod elaborated on the full complexity of the Kosovo-Metohija question, supported by examples, as well as expressing their serious concern as a result of the still undiminished endangerment not only of the human rights of Serbs and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija, but of their fundamental right to life, security and property. The Synod emphasized the immediate need for implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the return of refugees and expelled persons, the finding of kidnapped persons, and protection of property.

The Holy Synod expressed its reservation with respect to participation in elections not because they are undeserving of support but because of the danger that participation in local elections will serve, under the present state of affairs, as decoration for the domestic and international public, as the participation of the Serbs in the Kosovo Parliament has largely turned out to be. With respect to the decentralization of North Mitrovica, the Synod made it known that this plan is only acceptable if it serves as a model for decentralization throughout the Province.

It is up to the people themselves to responsibly decide regarding their participation or non-participation in the elections while the Church continues to express, as in the past, its readiness to assist both responsible representatives of the international community as well as our state and transitional provincial officials in finding the best solutions for a common life in dignity of all residents of Kosovo and Metohija.

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KIM RADIO
GRIEVOUS ASSAULT ON A 75 YEAR OLD SERB IN GNJILANE

Gnjilane, October 17, 2002

Today, around 12.00 CET, 75-year old Zivorad Djokic from Silovo was attacked and severly beaten in the center of Gnjilane, 80 km east from Pristina. Djokic was on his way to regulate his pension fund when he was attacked by two Kosovo Albanian young males. The old man sustained several injuries on his head and body. The attackers threw his traditional Serb hat on the ground and trampled upon it. Djokic was transfered to the hospital and was released after the treatement. This is the second assault on Zivorad Djokic after the arrival of the peacekeeping mission to Kosovo and Metohija.

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Info service ERP KIM
AMERICAN SOLDIERS BEAT SERBS AND TIED TWO WOMEN WITH HAND-CUFFS
Klokot Serbs complained to the Serbian Orthodox church on of brutal behavior of US KFOR soldiers

Klokot, October 17, 2002

Immediately after the incident in which Svetlana Stankovic died two days ago stepping on a land mine, which the Serb villagers believe was planted the previous day by Albanians, US soldiers blocked the village of Klokot, 10 km. west from Gnjilane. The farmers who were in their fields in the time of incident tried to return to their homes but were not allowed to enter Klokot for several hours. After hearing the news about the tragedy of her sister Radmila Dimic, her husband Novak Dimic and one other Serb woman, Dobrila Marinkovic, requested from KFOR soldiers to let them go home so that they can be with the family in the time of sorrow. According to the statements of several Klokot villagers the women were tied by hand-cuffs after they tried to proceede to the village disregarding the KFOR. American soldiers also arrested Novak Dimic, the brother-in-law of the victim, who was taken to camp Bondsteel. He was released only one day after, around 20.00 hrs. According to the Klokot villagers US soldiers brutally prevented Serb villagers from going back to their homes. After the Serb protest KFOR used tear gas, and villagers were beaten by sticks.

Svetlana Stankovic who died in the incident is the twelveth Serb victim from the village of Klokot after the war in 1999 and the arrival of the KFOR peacekeepers. In the entire area of Vitina 47 Serbs were killed by Albanians and 9 were kidnapped after the war. In the same period Albanian extreemists wounded or injured 40 Serbs in this area.

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Tanjug - 10/17/2002 16:49 CET
Rada Trajkovic: Serbs Will Not Participate At Kosmet Elections

Pristina - ‘Despite of wish of Kosmet Serbs to be a part of creation of democratic society in Kosovo and Metohija, to participate in elections, UNMIK head Michael Steiner showed lack of understanding by refusing the only Serbian demand: to decentralize authorities in the province.’ That was a statement of ‘Povratak’ Coalition caucus head Rada Trajkovic.

Trajkovic underlined that without decentralization, Serbian community in Kosovo cannot be preserved. ‘After Serbian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Pavle refused to call on Kosmet Serbs to take part in local elections on 26 October, I do not think any leader in Serbia or Yugoslavia would have the courage to call on them to vote’, she said. (Tanjug)

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Radio Television Serbia - 10/17/2002 15:43 CET

Kostunica Speaks To Steiner

Belgrade - FRY President Vojislav Kostunica spoke today in Federation Palace to Special Representative of UN Secretary General and UNMIK head, Michael Steiner, about situation of Serbian national community in Kosovo and Metohija and coming local elections in the province, reported RTS.

President Kostunica stressed the need of giving solid and unambiguous guarantees for decentralization of the province and for final improvement of very difficult position of Kosmet Serbs. He pointed no improvement has been reached so far in regard to creation of elementary conditions for respect for human rights, safety and return of the displaced. He estimated no resoluteness was shown there and underlined the necessity of strong obligations and respect for proposals of the Serbian side. These are all necessary preconditions for participation of Serbs at local elections and a frame for solving the above-mentioned problems. Kostunica also reminded resolving those issues was an obligation originating from UN Security Council resolution 1244.

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PRESS REVIEW:
Albanians Kill, World Turns Blind Eye, Borba

Under the heading Albanians Kill, World Turns Blind Eye, the Borba daily newspaper writes that the Serbian National Council believes conditions have not been created for the turnout of the Serbs for the local elections in Kosovo-Metohija on October 26. The murder of Svetlana Stankovic, a 51-year-old Serb woman, in the village of Klokot, represents an instance of organized crime against the Serbs aimed at creating an independent state, the president of the Council of northern Kosovo, Milan Ivanovic, said. He added the family of nations turned a blind eye to those instances. Ivanovic said that as long as UNMIK and KFOR did nothing to prevent similar crimes, violence against the Serbs would not cease, whereby UNMIK and KFOR became accomplices to ethnic Albanians in Kosovo-Metohija. Ivanovic said that ethnic Albanians were taking advantage of interim Kosovo institutions to create an independent state. However, Ivanovic added the Serbs were likely to turn out for the local elections in those municipalities in Kosovo where they are a majority.

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Council of Europe report on Kosovo slams treatment of Serbs | 19:53 | Beta

Report is available at: http://www.commissioner.coe.int/docs/CommDH(2002)11_E.pdf

STRASBOURG -- Thursday – In a report released today Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles calls for an urgent investigation of crimes of revenge committed against Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo.
These crimes, say the report, have continued since the deployment of NATO troops and the arrival of the UN mission in the province.
In his analysis for the Council of Ministers, Gil-Robles said that statements had been taken from victims and relatives, but rarely had anything been done.
This, he said, strongly damaged the confidence of ethnic minorities in KFOR and UNMIK and their impartial attitude.
One of the greatest problems, said the Commissioner, was that of missing persons, with the fate of some three thousand seven hundred people of various ethnic communities remaining unknown.
He warned that the lack of solutions for this problem was an obstacle to reconciliation and to public confidence in the international administration.
In the sixty-page report, Gil-Robles notes that almost all the 850,000 refugee Kosovo Albanians had returned to Kosovo after NATO’s bombing attacks and the deployment of KFOR troops.
However, of 230,000 Serb refugees, only a few thousand had returned he said, adding that UNMIK was approaching the process of resolving this situation “very slowly”.
“Resolution 1244 stipulates that the international administration in Kosovo has the obligation to ensure a safe return for all refugees and those displaced from their homes but, so far, this has been so only for 850,000 Kosovo Albanians,” noted Gil-Robles.

Tough words from Kostunica for Kosovo governor | 16:48 -> 18:11 | Beta

BELGRADE -- Thursday – Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica has asked UNMIK chief Michael Steiner for firm and unambiguous guarantees for the decentralisation of the province and improved conditions for Kosovo Serbs.
At a Belgrade meeting today, Kostunica told the Kosovo governor that virtually no progress had been made in honouring human rights, establishing security or preparing for refugee repatriation.
Nor, he said, had any firm intention been expressed in these areas.
The Yugoslav president went on to call for the establishment of a framework to solve these problems, noting that resolving the situation was on obligation stipulated by UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

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Steiner and Covic encouraged by talks | 15:21 | Beta

BELGRADE -- Thursday - UNMIK chief Michael Steiner and Coordination Centre for Kosovo head Nebojsa Covic said they were encouraged by today's talks in Belgrade.
Our talks were very good, and we agreed that the future of Serbs lies in Kosovo and should be in Kosovo, Steiner told the press after the meeting with Covic.
He said he was encouraged by today's separate talks with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica and Covic.
Covic told the press that the talks were "interesting, tough and firm". He also said that the talks were "good."
"We'll see what results await us in the period before us, but it is obvious that the Serb national community would decide for themselves about participation in local elections in Kosovo," said Covic.

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Steiner lying, says Church lawyer | 10:57 -> 12:08 | Beta


BELGRADE -- Thursday – Kosovo Governor Michael Steiner’s claim of support from senior Serbian Orthodox Church clerics for his plan for Kosovska Mitrovica is not true, a Church lawyer said today.
Vladimir Bozovic, who represents the Montenegro and Coastal diocese, said that at their meeting with Steiner, the Church officials protested against the current threat to Serbs and the Church in Kosovo.
Bozovic quoted Archbishop Amfilohije as saying that Steiner had asked Church leaders to call on Serbs to take part in the elections and support his Mitrovica plan.
The head of the Church, Patriarch Pavle, and the bishops had reservations about Steiner’s plan for Mitrovica and particular reservations about the local elections, said Bozovic.
Steiner claimed yesterday that he had received support from the Church for his plan for Kosovska Mitrovica and that Patriarch Pavle had encouraged Serbs to vote in the province’s local government elections.

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BORBA - NEWS ON KOSOVO
UNMIK chief urges Kosovo Serbs to take part in elections

UNMIK chief Michael Steiner Wednesday urged Serbs to take part in the local elections in Kosovo-Metohija on October 26, as the planned decentralization would be impossible otherwise, which would also prevent any mass return of displaced Serbs and other non-Albanians to the province.

Participation in local political life is possible only through taking part in elections. People must understand that the next elections will be held only in four years' time. Failure to take part in the coming elections would mean that precisely those who had demanded elections would remain without their local representatives, Steiner told a press conference in Belgrade.

Readiness for further talks about participation of Serbs in polls

The need was reiterated for giving firm guarantees for decentralizaiton, on the basis of agreements and taking into consideration the proposals of the Serbian side, and a readineed was emphasized for further talks, so as to create elementary conditions for Serbs to vote in the elections, it was said after a meeting Wednesday evening of Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica and a delegation of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija in Belgrade.

A statement from the cabinet of the Yugoslav president said that Kostunica met in Federation Palace with a delegation of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija, and that in the talks, in which also took part Coordination Center president Nebojsa Covic, was reviewed the extremely difficult position of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and the issue of participation of Serbs in the upcoming local elections.

Serbian premier confers with UNMIK chief

Serbian Premier Zoran Djindjic told UNMIK chief Michael Steiner Wednesday in Belgrade that he would ask Kosovo-Metohija Serb representatives to reconsider the prospects for taking part in the local elections on October 26, the government press service said.

Djindjic said it is always better to take part in institutions, especially if they are internationally verified.

Serbian church condemns violence in Kosovo

The Raska-Prizren Eparchy of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) most strongly condemns the incident in the Kosovo-Metohija village of Klokot in which a Serb woman was killed Tuesday, the SPC press service said Wednesday.

After last week's attack on Serb pensioners in Pec and the stoning of a train with Serb passengers on the Lesak - Kosovo Polje railway, ethnic Albanian extremists continue resorting to violence unhindered, while international representatives continue claiming that the situation in Kosovo is improving, the statement says


Moscow calls for respect of ethnic diversity in Kosovo

Russia wants that at the Kosovo local elections, on October 26, be respected the ethnic diversity of the Province, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Moscow also hopes that the elections will be held in peace, with the participation of voters of all the ethnic communities living in the province, what would enable the formation of multiethnic bodies of local power, the Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

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