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kosovo.net : News : Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija

The Information Service of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija

Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija

Gracanica, July 11, 2000

  • SNC delegation attends united opposition of Serbia leaders' meeting in Belgrade
  • Protosingel Sava attends IAC session in Pristina
  • Regime is preventing the return of expelled Serbs to Kosovo

    Today an SNC delegation headed by Bishop Artemije and Dr. Rada Trajkovic participated in the first half of the meeting of the leaders of the united opposition of Serbia held in the offices of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) in Belgrade. At this meeting which was presided over by the coordinator of the united opposition and the president of the Serbian Resistance Movement, Momcilo Trajkovic, discussion took place regarding the possibility of achieving a common opposition platform on the position and strategy of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. In addition to the delegation of the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija, also present were representatives of the SNC of Kosovska Mitrovica headed by Oliver Ivanovic and Dr. Marko Jaksic.

    As no concrete agreement was reached at the previous meeting in Leskovac due to the fact that the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija was not invited nor was the necessary quorum present, at this meeting representatives of Gracanica and Mitrovica had the opportunity of presenting their positions and views on the Kosovo problem before the leaders of the united opposition.

    The delegation of the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija presented three key questions to which the participants of today's gathering need to provide clear and unequivocal answers in order to be able to create a single Serb platform with respect to Kosovo and Metohija.

    1. The leaders of the united opposition need to clearly state their position with respect to the Agreement on Understanding achieved between the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija and UNMIK. As this agreement has been rejected by the Kosovo Albanians almost across the board, and also by the leaders from Mitrovica and the representatives of the regime in their statements, the opinion of the opposition leaders remains to be seen. Dr. Vojin Vukcevic, a member of the group of experts on Kosovo and a member of the Serbian Renewal Movement who recently visited Gracanica and Pristina, assessed that this agreement represented a great step forward since the Serbs appear formally and legally in the agreement as an equal party to the agreement and because this is the first document in which the international community explicitly takes responsibility for improving the security of the Serb people in the Province. Considered from the legal aspect, this is also the first document which was officially signed between the international community and the Serbs in Kosovo following the Kumanovo capitulation in June of last year. By this agreement the international community practically recognizes that the position of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is unacceptable and that the necessary security and freedom do not exist.

    2. Eleven years following the destruction of the former Yugoslavia the united opposition of Serbia must finally build its platform on Kosovo and Metohija and unequivocally state whether it supports Serbian sovereignty on the territory of our southern Province. If this position is confirmed by consensus, the opposition needs to act in accordance with it before the international community. The position of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija is that Kosovo and Metohija need to remain an integral part of the constitutional and legal order of a democratic FRY and Serbia in which the rights of all citizens will be guaranteed according to international standards.

    3. The opposition is also expected to clearly state whether it accepts cooperation with the international community as a method of working on and achieving the basic rights of the Serb people in Kosovo, or whether it will accept the regime's platform of confrontation with the international community. The SNC of Kosovo and Metohija begins from the firm position that to achieve the resolution of the position of the Serbs in Kosovo and the implementation of Resolution 1244 in general, cooperation with international organizations at all levels and the acceptance of basic international principles is essential. Consequently, it is the opinion of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija that the only way to preserve the survival of the Serb people and our sovereignty in Kosovo is reasonable cooperation with the international mission as well as participation in the temporary administration of Kosovo as foreseen by Resolution 1244. The path of confrontation and lack of cooperation with the UNMIK administration leads directly to even greater isolation of the Serb people and the final disappearance of Serbs from this region.

    In his presentation Mr. Oliver Ivanovic, the president of the executive board of the SNC of Kosovska Mitrovica laid special emphasis on the need to cooperate with the state. In her rebuttal Dr. Rada Trajkovic clearly stated that the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija accepts cooperation with democratically elected state organs but not with the current regime. For the same reason, the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija rejected the proposal of Mr. Momcilo Trajkovic to attempt to achieve a consensus and cooperation with ambassador Vukicevic, the representative of the regime in Pristina. The regime, through its incompetent and incongruous policies, has lost the credibility and the right to represent state interests and until such a time as the reconstruction of a democratic Serbia and Yugoslavia occurs, the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija, like the international community, does not find it essential to cooperate with the regime of Slobodan Milosevic.

    Bishop Artemije in his address said that "this meeting is Vidovdan for the united opposition and today it needs to show who is true to his word and who is not." "Either the opposition will show that it is united with respect to Kosovo or it will not exist in Serbia," stated Bishop Artemije to the Information Service of the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija.

    Due to other scheduled travel plans, the delegation of the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija, Bishop Artemije and Dr. Rada Trajkovic were forced to leave for Kosovo after their presentations with the hope that an official position would be reached in the spirit of constructive dialogue and published in the form of a statement. The meeting is expected to conclude in the afternoon and will also include discussion of the issue of a single ballot for local elections in Serbia.


    Today the regular session of the Interim Administrative Council was held in UNMIK headquarters. The session was presided over by Dr. Bernard Kouchner. The session once again was not attended by a representative of the party of Hasim Thaci who in the meanwhile has frozen his participation in the temporary administration. The main topic of discussion was additions to the draft temporary law on municipalities in Kosovo. The head of UNMIK legal services, Thomas Kenning, presented the newest additions to the members of the IAC, especially those which relate to the establishment of local offices for national communities. According to the most recent version of the text of the law, in every municipality where there is a need, a main local office for endangered national communities may be formed as well as several branch offices in individual villages or enclaves. The task of these offices would be to offer administrative services to the population which is unable to utilize services in the municipal centers as well as direct cooperation between the local population and the UN mission on resolving current issues in the enclaves. The offices are conceived as a part of municipal structures and will become mechanisms by means of which the population which is in the minority in a certain municipality will be able to realize its rights without any discrimination by the majority population in that territory.

    In the continuation of the session there was discussion on the election law for municipalities. The position of the SNC remains that the Council cannot support elections under conditions which do not offer minimal freedoms and human rights. After the session Protosingel Sava addressed a group of Albanian reporters and presented the positions of the SNC with regard to local offices and the law on elections. When asked why the Serbs had formed enclaves and whether this was in accordance with democratic principles of society, Protosyncellus Sava replied that the Serbs did not form enclaves but were forced into them by the intolerant attitude of the majority of the Albanian population in Kosovo. Enclaves will exist until the majority of the population of Kosovo and Metohija realizes that democracy cannot be built on ethnic hate and discrimination.


    The Serb National Council has learned from sources close to UNHCR that a planned visit by expelled Serbs to their homes in Kosovo had to be cancelled because representatives of the regime did not allow the organization of Serb returns in cooperation with the SNC. The SNC has been attempting for months together with UNMIK and KFOR to create conditions for Serb returns but unfortunately it is becoming clear that the regime of Slobodan Milosevic has monopolized this program, as well. According to the testimony of the UNHCR representative who did not wish to be named, the Information Service of the SNC has learned that to date the representatives of the regime have neither insisted on the return of the expelled Serbs nor undertaken any form of concrete activity toward that goal.

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