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Belgrade Media Monitoring

Compilation from Belgrade daily newspapers, prepared by editorial staff of the Voice of Kosovo and Metohia

March 30, 2000

  • Bomb in southern Serbia
  • Obilic Two Nights Ago: Attack on Milorad Stankovic's House
  • Only 30 Serbs Remained in Milosevo
  • Ethnic Albanians commit new crimes against Serbs
  • New ethnic Albanian terrorist attacks
  • Another attack on a Serb in Gnjilane
  • Father Sava Janjic on Intruding of His Speech in London: Only Few Serbs Provoked
  • Statement by Rada Trajkovic, member of Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohia: Serbs will be observers in PAVK
  • Kouchner: Elections even Without Serbs
  • No partition of Mitrovica, KFOR Commander
  • Russian police to remain in Kosovo and Metohia
  • James Folly: Careful Warning to Ethnic Albanian Terrorists
  • US "disappointed" with Albanian guerrillas
  • UN monitoring delegation for Kosovo
  • Contact group begins meeting in Paris
  • Latest fabrications
  • Col. Mechain detained, to face charges
  • Yugoslav army denies it is opening border checkpoint with Montenegrin Police
  • Jiri Dientbier: KFOR has only one option - To oppose Kosovo Albanian extremists
  • "Washington Post": OV(LA)PBM Disrespecting Agreement with USA: They Do not Cease Provoking Serbs
  • Ogata concerned that Serbs, Romanies still leaving Kosovo
  • Putin, Sergeyev discuss situation in Kosovo
  • Vladimir Tchizhov: Russia will never accept the situation in Kosovo-Metohia
  • Constitutional amendments enabled Kosovo to remain part of Serbia, Yugoslavia

    (B2 - 92, 30. 3. 2000)

    Kraljevo, Wednesday A security officer was injured when a bomb exploded on the premises of the state-owned company Progres in the southern Serbian town of Raska last night. The guard, Dragan Lukovic, suffered minor injuries in the explosion and was admitted to hospital in Kraljevo. The incident was the second bomb attack in the town in the past week. On March 22 a bomb was thrown at the local office of the Democratic Party.


    (Politika daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    Obilic, March 29th (Tanjug) - Albanian gangs carried out an armed attack on Milorad Stankovic's house in Milos Obilic St. in Obilic, stated the Committee for Human Rights Protection

    They used machineguns in their attack. Stankovic and members of his family escaped to his neighbour's and have been left unharmed. After the fire bursts, the house was set on fire.

    KFOR and UNMIK representatives have been informed about the case, but have not appeared so far. (*)


    (Politika daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    Milosevo, March, 29th (Tanjug) - Milosevo, a village close to Pristina, once populated by 450 Serbs has been reduced to only 30. They live in a constant fear of what Albanian gangs might do next.

    Until enraged Albanian chords came, the village has been the most beautiful in the region. Today, it looks spooky: more than 40 Serbian houses had been burnt down, the Albanian flag fly on the remains.

    Encouraged by a passive attitude of the international forces, the Albanian extremists incessantly increase pressure on the remaining Serbs, intimidating them in order to make them leave and suppress centuries' long existence and history of the Serbian nation in Kosovo and Metohia. (*)


    (Borba daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    Ethnic Albanian criminals set fire to a Serb farm in the village of Cernica, municipality of Gnjilane in eastern Kosovo and Metohia, early Monday, while the owners were asleep, local amateur radio operators said on Tuesday.

    The terrorists first doused the farm compound with gasoline and then set fire to it, the sources said.

    In the same village in this southern Serbian province, ethnic Albanians burgled the house of a Serb who lives abroad.

    In another incident, ethnic Albanian extremists threw stones at a convoy of Serb vehicles in the place of Dobrcane on Monday afternoon. Troops of the international force KFOR did not react to this attack, the radio operators said.

    Also, KFOR troops arrested three ethnic Albanians for concealing weaponry during a vehicle search near the village Pones, municipality of Gnjilane, the sources said.


    (Serbia info, 30. 3. 2000)

    March 29, 2000 - Gnjilane, March 28th - The Committee for Protection and Human Rights of Gnjilane said on Tuesday that Serb Vlastimir Jankovic, 60, was beaten up near his home in central Gnjilane on Sunday. UNMIK police found Jankovic in serious condition and took him to a friend of his, who subsequently drove him to a hospital in Vranje, southern Serbia proper.

    On Saturday, ethnic Albanian extremists broke into the home of retired Serb lawyer Prvoslav Pavic. They physically assaulted him and his family, and told them on leaving that they must sell their house and move out of the province as soon as possible.


    (Borba daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    While international force KFOR troops canvass Serbs in Gnjilane to see if they are having difficulties with ethnic Albanian criminals, these very same criminals go on an unobserved rampage in another part of the street.

    The Committee for Protection and Human Rights of Gnjilane said on Tuesday that Serb Vlastimir Jankovic, 60, was beaten up near his home in central Gnjilane on Sunday. UN civil mission UNMIK police found Jankovic in serious condition and took him to a friend of his, who subsequently drove him to a hospital in Vranje, southern Serbia proper.

    On Saturday, ethnic Albanian extremists broke into the home of retired Serb lawyer Prvoslav Pavic. They physically assaulted him and his family, and told them on leaving that they must sell their house and move out of the province as soon as possible.

    KFOR troops this morning severely damaged the house of Serb Zivko Djordjevic in the village of Kmetovac, near Gnjilane in Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia province. In their search of the house and attic, they tore down the chimney and damaged all ceilings and furniture.

    Djordjevic's son Trajan Djordjevic had been found in possession of a pistol when his automobile was searched on the road Gnjilane-Bujanovac the day before. Trajan Djordjevic has a permit for his gun and he carries it in his automobile for protection, to discourage possible attackers on the open road and fire shots to attract KFOR to come to his assistance.

    KFOR troops this morning searched the yards and houses of Serbs Zivko Avramovic and Slavko Djordjevic in the same village of Kmetovac. No weapons were found.


    (Glas javnosti, 30. 3. 2000)

    Belgrade - London -

    "What it was all about was the rough manipulation, caused by a twisted and malicious way of accounting my meeting with Serbs at the Serbian Orthodox Church in London", said Hieromonk Sava, monk of Decani monastery, while answering to the accusations published in some local Yugoslav papers.

    "First of all, majority of the people present in the Church has approved of my stances, and they confirmed it by series of applause after my answers. Only few people tried to undermine the meeting. According to the local Parson's words the minority in question, presented the people who do not go to the church and who obviously came with an intention to mine my lecture about the difficult situation in Kosovo.

    Hence, the articles written by some media relied upon the series of inaccurate, incomplete and fragmentary cites which were torn out of the context, with an intention to create a inflammable story which had nothing to do with my real expounding. It is valid especially concerning my effort to explain the actual gravity of the situation in a quite objective and impartial manner", explains Fr Sava adding that he did not ask the British government for the money in order to form independent Serbian Radio in Kosovo.

    He particularly emphasised the equal responsibility for the Kosovo issue lying on three factors - the Belgrade regime, the Kosovo Albanians and the international community.

    According to his words, unlike the individual criticisers of the regime, who see the guilt lying solely on the regime, or unlike those who see the guilt lying exclusively on the international community or the Albanians, he tried to see the problem from a wider perspective: as a big failure of the regime, which tried to maintain the sovereignty by forcible means, but has lost it instead.

    "On the other hand, Albanian extremists, i.e. Albanians as a whole, instead of continuing the fight by political means in order to establish a democratic and civilian society, unfortunately, boycotted every dialogue and brought the situation to the point where a group of extremists began provoking the regime and police, thus leading the situation to the red heat ", explained Fr Sava.

    "As it came to be, their strategy, unfortunately, proved right, since - instead of gaining the world's support by democratic methods, through integration and coming closer to Europe and the world - our government isolated itself even more, and tried to deal with Albanian extremists on their own".

    At the same time, says Fr Sava, the international community has, instead of using the constructive attitude and trying to solve the issue by a dialogue, chosen the worst possible solution: that is "the NATO bombardment, which brought suffering of the civilians and strengthening of the Belgrade regime".

    Hence, concludes Fr Sava, all the three factors carry the responsibility, but "the biggest part of guilt falls on the Belgrade regime which missed an opportunity to solve the problem in favour of the Serbian nation and avoid the war". (*)


    (Blic daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    Gracanica - Member of the highest leadership of Serb National Council for Kosovo and Metohia Ms Rada Trajkovic said yesterday that political representatives of Kosovo Serbs were on the way to make decision about their joining Transient Administrative Council of Kosovo /PAVK/ as observers.

    The final decision is expected to be made at the session in Gracanica on April 2, Trajkovic said.

    "In case Serb National Council decides about joining PAVK, Serb requests will be clear, precise and time limited", Trajkovic concluded


    (Glas javnosti, 30. 3. 2000)

    Paris - UNMIK Chief Bernard Koucher stated that local elections in Kosovo, announced for autumn, would be carried out "even if the Serbian refugees were not able to vote".

    For the time being, Belgrade is disapproving of our request to register the displaced persons, said Kouchner. (*)


    (B2 - 92, 30. 3. 2000)

    Kosovska Mitrovica, Wednesday KFOR Commander Pierre de Saquie de Sans said today there would be no division of Kosovska Mitrovica into Serbian and Albanian zones, adding that all citizens of the town should show greater tolerance. In a statement to local radio in Mitrovica, the KFOR commander said that KFOR was widening the security zone in the town and that extremists on both sides would be barred from carrying walkie-talkies and weapons. He emphasised that French KFOR forces were neither pro-Serb nor pro-Albanian but were in Mitrovica to establish and preserve peace.

    Kosovska Mitrovica Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic said today that the Serb National Council would soon open an office in Belgrade. The move came at the initiative of Serbian opposition parties said Ivanovic.


    (Borba daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    Russian policemen who are taking part in the peace mission in Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia province are successfully carrying out the set tasks and they will not be withdrawn, Russian Interior Ministry International Co-operation Administration chief Alexander Malinovsky said on Wednesday.

    There are now 100 Russian policemen in the province. They have all passed excellent training and no one has made any objections about their work, he said.

    Malinovsky denied reports released by several media that the Russian Interior Ministry is allegedly preparing to withdraw its members from Kosovo and Metohia.


    (Serbia info, 30. 3. 2000)

    March 29, 2000 - New York, March 28th - State Department spokesman, James Folly, sent a careful warning to the ethnic Albanian terrorists to end violence, reminding them that, as once before, the US troops could carry out another raid in their strongholds in the US KFOR sector. "We are still making it clear for the Albanian leaders in Kosovo that violence and extremism will not be tolerated. KFOR has supported these warnings with concrete actions and it could be done in the future as well", said Folly.


    (B2 - 92, 30. 3. 2000)

    Washington, Wednesday The US Administration today expressed dissatisfaction with the behaviour of Albanian guerrillas in southern Serbia. State Department spokesman James Foley told media that the US was disappointed that the Albanians had not honoured an agreement made last week to cease military action against Serbian authorities in the region. Foley added that the US was calling on all parties to behave responsibly and refrain from anything, which could lead to violence and instability in the region.


    (B2 - 92, 30. 3. 2000)

    New York, Wednesday The UN Security Council has resolved to appoint a delegation to monitor the work of the UN civilian administration in Kosovo, Council Chairman Anwarul Chowdhury said today. The delegation is to observe the implementation of Security Resolution 1244 in the province, assess the difficulties facing the UN's civilian mission and deliver a stern message to all parties to cease hostilities and commit themselves to establishing a civilian society in Kosovo.


    (Borba daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    Representatives of six member-states of the Contact Group met in Paris on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia province.

    U.S., Russian, French, German, British, and Italian political directors of foreign ministries are meeting behind closed doors.

    The senior diplomats will also consider possibilities for a Contact Group meeting at ministerial level.

    A representative of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), an envoy of the EU High Representative for joint foreign policy and security, and a representative of Portugal which chairs the European Union (EU) in the first six months of this year, are also taking part in today's meeting.

    Representatives of the Contact Group last met a year ago.


    (Serbia info, 30. 3. 2000)

    March 29, 2000 - London, March 28th - The US Central Intelligence Agency is trying to alleviate the failure of NATO leaders' visit to Kosovo-Metohia and, as it was reported by London media, it launched a story about the alleged attempt of assassination of NATO Gen. Wesley Clark and Secretary General George Robertson. Both of them cancelled their last week's visit to Kosovska Mitrovica because CIA allegedly found out, according to the London Times, about Belgrade plan to down their helicopter.

    The latest fuss, as a resumption of public manipulations and a campaign against the Serbs, was obviously an easy way to draw attention away from the NATO leaders unsuccessful mission in Kosmet.


    (Borba daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    French gendarmerie Colonel Jean-Michel Mechain, suspected of passing on secret KFOR documents to the press, was detained in Paris late Monday, pending a court investigation, judiciary sources said on Tuesday.

    Proceedings have been opened against Col. Mechain for disclosing to the public documents, which are classified as confidential-defence, the sources said.

    Col. Mechain spent the past eight months on the international force KFOR in Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia province. He has denied disclosing the secret documents.

    In February, the French weeklies Le Point and Le Canard Enchaine published documents, which unequivocally showed that French senior officers of the KFOR are indignant with Kosovo UN civil mission head Bernard Kouchner, and that they believe he favours Kosovo Albanians and detests Serbs. The authenticity of the documents was never officially denied.

    A week ago, Col. Mechain sustained light injuries when members of the French military intelligence attacked him in Paris. It became public knowledge only at this time that an investigation against him was under way. The circumstances of the attack are not completely clear, but it is known that Col. Mechain has filed charges for premeditated assault, and that one of the attackers has filed charges against the colonel.

    In reaction to this scandal, French Defence Minister Alain Richard said in a TV broadcast that justice would have its say on the attack. He also said that Col. Mechain was recalled from Kosovo and Metohia since his presence there was allegedly no longer required.

    Col. Mechain's lawyer William Bourdon made a statement in public that his client's detention was a "monstrosity" and that he was a hostage of a "political-military controversy," or "settling of accounts."

    The launching of court proceedings and the detention have diverted attention from the key issue - the KFOR French senior officers' disapproval of Kouchner's stands and actions.


    (Borba daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    The Yugoslav 2nd Army's PR Office on Tuesday denied certain media reports that the Yugoslav Army and Montenegrin police would open a joint checkpoint on the road from Tuzi, east of the Montenegrin capital Podgorica, to Bozaj, and at the border crossing Bozaj with Albania.

    This matter was never considered, the statement said, underscoring that the issue of border crossings is within the jurisdiction of the federal government.

    The Yugoslav 2nd Army set out that the directives recently signed by representatives of the Yugoslav Army and the Montenegrin Interior Ministry determined road routes toward Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia province where joint control checkpoints would soon be set up, and this does not include the Bozaj border crossing.

    Joint control checkpoints toward Kosovo and Metohia will be organised on the road from Murino, northern Montenegro, to Pec, Kosovo and Metohia, and from Plav, Montenegro, to Decani, Kosovo and Metohia, the statement said.


    (Borba daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    United Nations Special Reporter on Human Rights in Former Yugoslavia Jiri Dienstbier has urged the lifting of all sanctions against Yugoslavia, underscoring that sanctions in themselves imply violations of human rights.

    Dienstbier on Wednesday reported about the state of human rights in Yugoslavia at an annual session of the Human Rights Committee which was held at the Geneva UN headquarters.

    In a meeting with reporters after presenting his report, Dienstbier said the international force KFOR and UN Civilian Mission in Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia province UNMIK should not make any compromise with ethnic Albanian extremists, and appealed to the security and civilian missions duly to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

    Speaking about the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999, Dienstbier said the alliance had made a mistake in bombarding Yugoslavia and that this had not solved a single problem.

    On the contrary, existing problems have multiplied and new ones have been created, he said.

    Listing the key problems, Dienstbier said that Yugoslavia's economy was destroyed as a result of the bombing, and that hundreds of thousands of people have been left jobless.

    Speaking about the situation in Kosovo and Metohia, Dienstbier said KFOR troops have only one option- to get ready to wage a battle against ethnic Albanian extremists in order to restore the ethnic balance in the province.

    He underscored that the ethnic Albanian terrorist organisation, the Kosovo Liberation Army was officially disbanded and outlawed, but said things were different in practice. Members of this banned terrorist organisation have the majority of Kosovo and Metohia under their control, said Dienstbier.


    (Glas javnosti, 30. 3. 2000)

    Washington (Beta) - Armed group of Albanians from the south of Serbia - Liberation Army of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja (LAPBM) - has not taken any step towards ceasing the attacks in the south of Serbia, although they obliged themselves to, at the last week meeting with the USA diplomats, writes American daily "Washington post" on Wednesday.

    The paper cites the words of an unknown American official that as it appears to be "the elements within the organisation", mainly former KLA, "are decisive to continue provoking of the Serbian security forces, despite the agreement ".

    The LAPBM members continued to trespass into the "vacuum zone" along the administrative line, from the American Sector.

    That group has succeeded in working undisturbed, since neither KFOR nor Yugoslav security forces are allowed to act within the "vacuum zone". (*)


    (Borba daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata said in Skopje on Tuesday that conditions still have not been secured for the return of non-Albanians to Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia province, but failed to name those responsible for this situation.

    Efforts are being invested to return non-Albanians to Kosovo and Metohia, she told a press conference at the end of her two-day visit to Macedonia. This is a big problem which is difficult to resolve, she said.

    At the insistence of reporters to elaborate why there are so many obstacles to the return of Serbs to Kosovo and Metohia, Ogata simply said that the situation in the province was not stable yet.

    Speaking about the situation in southern Serbia, Ogata said it was now stable and that no waves of refugees should be expected.

    Before the press conference, Ogata addressed MPs in Macedonian parliament. She said her Balkans tour had been aimed at creating conditions for the return of refugees to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and also to Kosovo and Metohia.

    Ogata admitted that the situation was the worst in Kosovo and Metohia, specifying that Serbs and Romanies were still leaving the province in search of a safer haven.

    She said, however, that she did not believe this should be discouraging.


    (Borba daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin received Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev at the Kremlin on Tuesday.

    Sergeyev said after the meeting that he had reported to the new head of state about the situation on the fronts in Chechnya and the situation in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohia.

    Sergeyev said his further mandate as defence minister had not been discussed at the meeting.

    Putin's Press Secretary Alexei Gromov, however, has announced that Putin several days ago ordered that the necessary documents be drawn up to extend the deadline for Sergeyev to remain in this post.

    Sergeyev will turn 62 on April 26.

    Under the law, Russian senior officers can remain in active military service until the age of 60 at the longest. Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin had extended Sergeyev's mandate for a year on two occasions.


    (Serbia info, 30. 3. 2000)

    March 29, 2000 - Moscow, March 28th (Tanjug) - Russia has no intention to accept the current situation in Kosovo-Metohia, said the Russian Foreign Minister's special envoy for the Balkans, Vladimir Tchizhov, heading the Russian delegation at the Contact Group Foreign Ministries political directors' session in Paris.

    According to Mr. Tchizhov, today's session proved that NATO countries "never realised their guilt for the aggression on Yugoslavia", but "at the same time, they are aware that the situation in Kosovo-Metohia is not developing according to their prognosis".

    Talking to Russian reporters, the ambassador Tchizhov stressed that Moscow's opinion that solving crises by air attacks could never solve anything is largely coming true.


    (Borba daily, 30. 3. 2000)

    Yugoslav Committee for Co-operation with the UN Kosovo Mission President Stanimir Vukicevic said on Tuesday that, viewed from the present-day developments in Kosovo and Metohia, the amendments to Serbia's Constitution 11 years ago had been one of the key elements for enabling the southern Serbian province to remain an integral part of the territories of Serbia and Yugoslavia.

    "But for these amendments, we would now certainly have Kosovo and Metohia outside our borders," Vukicevic said in a Radio Belgrade broadcast.

    Speaking about the results so far of the mission of the international force KFOR and UN civil mission UNMIK in the southern Serbian province, Vukicevic said "their results so far do not do them proud."

    "They have not shown that they are fulfilling the mandate entrusted to them" because they are stepping out of the frameworks of the relevant UN Security Council resolution, interpreting it arbitrarily, and jeopardising non-Albanian ethnic structures, he said.

    "Their role in future must be strictly in keeping with Security Council Resolution 1244...(and) only the equal treatment of all ethnic groups and communities in Kosovo and Metohia can guarantee the success of this mission," Vukicevic said.

    In order for the mission to be successful, "there must be compulsory productive and constructive co-operation on an equal basis with Yugoslav official organs" which he said has been lacking so far. This is "one of the factors why the mission in Kosovo and Metohia has not achieved good results," he said.

    Speaking about elections in the province, announced by the UNMIK, Vukicevic said "it is necessary for the holding of these elections that they are conducted with our knowledge and participation, according to Serbian regulations, since Kosovo and Metohia is under the resolution and really and de facto a part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia."

    "There is not enough security in Kosovo and Metohia for the elections to take place," he said.

    The holding of elections in conditions when no one is guaranteed the safety of their person or property is "something that borders with the absurd," said Vukicevic.

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