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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, September 16, 2000

  • Bishop Artemije speaks with Bernard Kouchner
  • SNC strongly condemns attempted kidnapping of Radio Free Europe reporter Bojan Bozovic
  • BISHOP ARTEMIJE SPEAKS WITH BERNARD KOUCHNER

    Today in Gracanica Monastery Episcope Artemije spoke with the chief of the UN mission in Kosovo, Dr. Bernard Kouchner, and his associates. The main topic of the talks was the current situation in Kosovo and Metohija in the light of the upcoming Yugoslav federal and Kosovo local elections. The position of the Serb National Council remains that conditions have not been created enabling the free participation and expression of the political will of the Kosovo Serbs in either elections. Unfortunately, the elections in Kosovo are increasingly becoming a cause for intensified violence, especially between Albanian political groups, said Episcope Artemije. The SNC accepts the position adopted by UNMIK with respect to the federal elections. Because Kosovo remains an integral part of FRY in accordance with Resolution 1244, no one can stop the citizens of that country from participating in elections; however, because the Belgrade regime will attempt yet another electoral theft in Kosovo,! these elections cannot be an indicator of the true political will of the citizens.

    In the continuation of the talks, separate consideration was given to the topics of improving security for the Serb people especially in the endangered enclaves of Lipljan and Obilic. Episcope Artemije once again emphasized that the signed Joint Understanding represents a formal obligation on the part of the international community and that the process of refugee returns and the engagement of a larger number of Serbs within the framework of the Kosovo police needs to be speeded up. It is especially significant that the process of forming local community offices for Serbs be intensified since security conditions do not exist for Serb representatives to freely participate in municipal structures which are dominated by Albanians.

    SNC STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING OF RADIO FREE EUROPE REPORTER BOJAN BOZOVIC

    Only a day after the publishing of the commentary on the verbal duel of Dr. Rada Trajkovic and Hashim Thaci at the meeting of the Interim Administrative Council of Kosovo, unknown attackers attempted to kidnap Bojan Bozovic, a reporter of the international Radio Free Europe. On Thursday, September 14, Bozovic headed out in his personal automobile without an escort along the main road from Pristina toward Mitrovica in order to report on the visit of Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) candidate Dr. Vojislav Kostunica. Not far from Vucitrn, a white Volkswagen vehicle began to overtake Bozovicís automobile and push him to the side of the road. When Bozovic stopped his vehicle, two Albanians got out of the other vehicle and began to drag Bozovic from his vehicle by force. Fortunately, at that very moment, Dr. Rada Trajkovic, a member of the Interim Administrative Council of Kosovo and a representative of the Serb National Council, who was also travelling in the same direction ha! ppened to pass by. UNMIK security responded immediately by stopping all traffic and seriously beating up the two Albanians who were mistreating Bozovic on the spot. Since it became unsafe to remain in the road, the vehicles of Trajkovic and Bozovic, accompanied by UN special police, immediately continued on their way to Mitrovica while the attackers fled the scene.

    The SNC most strongly condemns this attack which was a classic attempt to kidnap an independent journalist for the sole reason that he openly reported on the terror being carried out by extremist Albanians. The day before this incident, Bozovic received information from a confidential source in Pristina that he was being followed by Thaciís men and that he should exercise caution. Only a few days ago, reporter Marjan Melanesi (from a mixed Serb-Albanian marriage) was kidnapped in Pristina and the international police still has not learned anything about his fate. Attacks on reporters, politicians, respected Serb citizens and democratically oriented Albanians are an increasingly frequent occurrence before the elections in which extremist Albanian forces may face a loss of political power which they gained through violence and terror after the war.

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