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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, August 16, 2000

  • Nothing new in Zvecan (commentary on meeting of SNC of Mitrovica and Serbian Resistance Movement
  • Federal elections in Kosovo may be pretext for regime’s manipulations
  • One cannot blame entire Serb people (detailed report on television dialog of Adem Demaci and Father Sava Janjic)
  • SNC condemns newest acts by Albanian extremists

    Commentary on the meeting of the SNC of Mitrovica and Serbian Resistance Movement in Zvecan

    Today, August 16, a round table was held in Zvecan which was attended by representatives of the SNC of Mitrovica and the Serbian Resistance Movement (SPOT). The meeting was not attended by representatives of the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija. Although the basic purpose of this meeting was to construct a common platform for all Kosovo Serbs, nothing was concretely decided at this meeting, nor at the previous meeting held in Gracanica, which would enable an improvement in the position of the Kosovo-Metohija Serbs. As expected, the Mitrovica leaders and Mr. Trajkovic again condemned the cooperation of the “cooperative Serbs” with Bernard Kouchner and compared them with Milosevic’s “loyal Albanians”. In today’s statement for Radio Free Europe (RFERL), Oliver Ivanovic and Slavisa Kostic again accused “the group around Bishop Artemije which trying to win the support of the people with the help of Bernard Kouchner” and called on them to withdraw from the interim administration. They als! o condemned the Airlie Declaration in which the representatives of the SNC agreed to accept the results of the elections in Kosovo if they are accepted by the entire international community. The upcoming local elections in Kosovo are called “illegitimate”, while support was expressed for the idea of organizing federal elections in the territory of the Province with the firm position to support the president of the united opposition of Serbia and the president of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), Vojislav Kostunica.

    As on numerous occasions in the past, Oliver Ivanovic and Momcilo Trajkovic are continuing to build a common platform for the Kosovo Serbs based exclusively on criticism and accusation of the SNC without any concrete constructive position and idea on how to improve the difficult position of the Kosovo Serbs. The SNC of Kosovo and Metohija, in its assessment of the difficult situation in the Province and the series of failures of the part of the international community has always been in agreement with the regional council of Mitrovica but it is incomprehensible that for several months already they have remained only in the position of accusing the international missions and blaming people while at the same time doing nothing to help their people in this difficult position, especially those who are living south of Mitrovica.

    Accusing Dr. Kouchner, Bishop Artemije and the international community without a clear position on the Milosevic regime and the committed crimes which the Serb people are still paying in blood certain WILL NOT improve the position of the Serbs in Kosovo nor enable the establishment of a dialog with democratic Albanian forces. The negation of the international mission, regardless of its failures, is following the policy of sticking one’s head in the sand and leads to even greater self-isolation. Viewed as a while, the position of the Mitrovica leaders of the SNC and the Serbian Resistance Movement with respect to the resolution of Kosovo problems is no different that that of the regime and is buoyed by the waves of radicalism and arrogant rhetoric. The Kosovo Serbs, humiliated and decimated, deceived and scattered on all sides, are not difficult to gather today with such rhetoric and based on such a platform. It is far more difficult and perhaps impossible to consolidate these ! suffering people and to direct them to work and to carry out what is most essential to their survival under the existing circumstances with the building of the clear realization that what we need LEAST at this moment is further confrontation with the international community and the Albanians.

    The SNC remains prepared for joint efforts ONLY based on the platform which the Council adopted in fall of last year in the presence of delegates from Mitrovica. In the meanwhile, that platform has undergone a dynamic development following the Agenda on Coexistence and the Joint Undertaking, as well as the Airlie Declaration, which are unavoidable facts and steps forward in the battle for Serb interests in Kosovo and Metohija.


    The position of the SNC with regard to the federal elections is not very different from the position of the SNC of Mitrovica and the Serbian Resistance Movement because Kosovo and Metohija is an integral part of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and in principle federal elections can be held here. However, there is a clear distinction in that the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija still firmly believes that under conditions of everyday victimization and the lack of the basic freedoms of life, media and information, conditions DO NOT EXIST for the holding of local, Kosovo-wide nor federal elections. This is especially true of conditions in which federal elections are being held with the obvious nonparticipation of one of two existing federal units and at a time of intense manipulation of the Kosovo electorate by the regime. The SNC of Kosovo and Metohija, unlike the SNC of Mitrovica and the Serbian Resistance Movement, consists of representatives of a wide array of oppositi! on parties. Since to our great sadness and disappointment, a consensus does not exist with regard to a single presidential candidates and a common appearance in the elections between the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) and the other opposition parties, the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija in principle supports the opposition candidates but concretely in this instances will neither openly call on people to vote nor discourage them from doing so.

    The Council is of the same opinion with regard to the local Kosovo elections. Even though the best solution would be to put off the elections until appropriate conditions are created, the SNC is cognizant that an improvement of the situation will be difficult to achieve if there are no elected and responsible representatives in municipal structures in the field, especially as far as the Albanians are concerned. In keeping with this, despite the nonexistence of basic conditions for free elections, due to the lack of freedom of living, movement and work for Serbs, the SNC will be prepared to cooperate with the newly elected local municipal representatives in Kosovo and Metohija if local elections are proclaimed legal by the international community. Of course, the SNC will ask for compensation for the absence of the Serbs in the elections through a process of nominating politically moderate and constructive Serb representatives to municipal structures and greater affirmation of t! he system of local community offices in regions inhabited by Serbs. In the opinion of the SNC, this is the optimal solution available under these circumstances, when we cannot participate freely in local elections in Kosovo, to nevertheless have the possibility for Serbs to participate and for the voice of Serbs to be heard in the newly elected bodies. If the Serb community were to completely ignore these elections, declare them illegitimate in advance and isolate itself further, the situation for the Kosovo Serbs would grow even worse and this would lead to the departure of the remaining Serbs from this region.


    Father Sava (Janjic) and Adem Demaci on Radio Television Kosovo program

    (A closer look at the positions of Demaci and Father Sava based on numerous Serbian, Albanian and foreign sources)

    On Monday, August 14, Protosyncellus Sava (Janjic), the spokesman of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija, and Adem Demaci, one of the leaders of the Kosovo Albanians, were guests on a Radio Television Kosovo live program called “Face to Face” which was hosted by the director of this media company, Midgjen Kelmendi. During a one hour-long conversation, the two colocutors gave their views on the situation in Kosovo and Metohija and emphasized the need “to condemn and bring an end to all violence in the province”.

    The former political representative of the officially disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), Adem Demaci, said that one cannot blame the entire Serb people in Kosovo for the crimes which were committed during last year’s war in the Province. Speaking live on the RTV Kosovo program “Face to Face” with Father Sava Janjic, the spokesman of the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija, the most well-known Albanian dissident wanted, as he himself stressed, “to show by personal example how the stronger are supposed to behave toward the weaker”.

    Demaci emphasized that the Serb people cannot be the bearers of collective guilt for that which occurred. It is necessary to make a distinction between the policies of the regime and the responsibility of the people. Demaci stressed that the regime had many instruments at its disposal with which to manipulate its own people. In his opinion, a great number of Serbs were manipulated. He also condemned the opposition forces in Serbia for not “loudly and clearly” condemning the massacres committed by the Serbian regime, saying that the opposition was struggling for power and that no one in it “asked himself whether the war had been necessary and what Albanians in Kosovo are asking for and what they want”. He stated that Belgrade will never again assume power in Kosovo and that the Serbs who are living in the province need to accept it as “a new reality, as their homeland and their country”.

    Father Sava said that both Serbs and Albanians must condemn “every form of violence no matter what side it is coming from”. He also added that although “crimes cannot be forgotten, they MUST NOT be the pretext for new crimes and acts of violence”. The spokesman of the SNC specifically addressed the post-war victimization of the Serb, Romany and Bosniac populations as the result of individual but also of organized Albanian extremism. Expressing the position of the SNC, Father Sava said that this organization supports the idea of the development of a democratic society in Kosovo and Metohija which, together with this entire region, needs to become a part of a united Europe and the world.

    He said that Kosovo must move forward and leave the past behind it. The SNC is prepared to openly state the truth about what previously happened and what is happening in Kosovo, as well as to assist the international community in bringing war criminals before the court, emphasized Protosyncellus Sava, calling on Kosovo Albanians to understand that ordinary Serbs in Kosovo, too, are victims of the Belgrade regime. Father Sava also called on Albanian leaders to not only openly condemn violence by their compatriots against Serbs and other non-Albanians but to cooperate more fully with the international police and KFOR on finding the perpetrators of crimes. He added that the most important task of the SNC was to help organize the Kosovo Serbs under the newly created conditions and to prepare them for the future.

    Father Sava expressed the conviction that after democratic changes occur in Serbia, the new government will undertake a realistic and constructive position with regard to everything which the current regime has done in Kosovo, which will necessarily move things forward in a way similar to what the government of the Republic of Croatia has done with regard to crimes committed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or the government of Montenegro with regard to operations in the region of Dubrovnik.

    The discussion, which took place in the Serbian language between Demaci and Father Sava, and in their answers to questions posed by the audience, was a first in the programming of Radio Television Kosovo. This was the first directly broadcast television program involving two political representatives of two conflicting communities in Kosovo and Metohija. Father Sava was previously a guest on a live radio program on Radio Kosovo. This program lasted two and one-half hours and on that occasion the representative of the SNC answered many questions posed by Albanian listeners, of whom some asked their questions in the Serbian language.


    The SNC most strongly condemns the newest acts of pressure and violence against the Serb population by Albanian extremists. In this press briefing we bring you an overview of the newest instances from the daily press which confirm that the campaign of ethnic violence still continues. (Source: Blic, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, August 17 edition)

    Cernica, Gnjilane:
    Two nights ago Albanian extremists in the village of Cernica, municipality of Gnjilane, threw a bomb into the yard of Tihomir Spasic. The bomb, which was made in China and which Spasic found in front of his front door, did not explode.

    Kosovo Polje:
    Two nights ago in Kosovo Polje an Albanian was arrested who is accused of making false reports to the UN police over the past several days in the Serbian language. He told them that an explosive device weighing approximately ten kilograms had been planted in a part of the city inhabited by Serbs and also that one UN policeman was being targeted by a sniper located in one of the Serb houses. During questioning he admitted that the reports were false.

    Kosovo Polje:
    The same source confirmed that two nights ago at approximately 6:30 p.m. an attack was carried out on an UNMIK train traveling from Zvecan to Kosovo Polje in the village of Svinjare near Kosovska Mitrovica. No one was injured and a group of Albanian attackers fled from the scene.

    Kosovska Mitrovica:
    Two nights ago, shortly after midnight, four Kosovo Albanians crossed the bridge over the Ibar River and entered the northern part of Mitrovica. They began to provoke the Serbs on that side, who gathered quickly and surrounded the four attackers. KFOR soldiers were quickly advised and enabled the Albanians to escape. The Albanians were later arrested by the civil police for questioning, stated KFOR.

    Perici, Gnjilane:
    Radio amateurs reported that around midnight on August 12 of this year an attack was carried out on the hamlet of Perici in the village of Paralovo, Gnjilane municipality. The attack was repeated in the morning two days ago but there were no victims or injuries reported. The extremists carried out the attack from the villages of Labljane, Zegovca and Vrbice. The attacks occurred at the same time that 71 Serbs announced their intent to return to the village of Slivovo.

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