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Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
Gracanica, August 17, 2000
The representative of the SNC concluded by saying that the absolute prerequisite for the development of a truly democratic and constructive option among the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija is the urgent need for improvement on the Albanian political scene, as well as a change of the Belgrade regime. Until these two basic prerequisites are met, the majority of the residents of the Province will remain under the influence of radical and extremists tendencies on both sides which are unprepared for dialog and a common life which, viewed from a long-term perspective, may lead to the complete departure of the Serbs from this region.
"In front of a mass of people gathered in Zvecan, Dr. Ivanovic verbally attacked Father Sava and me in the most vulgar manner, showing that the SNC of Mitrovica continues to base its platform on the destruction of the platform of the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija and the unity of the Serb people and the Church. He said that I almost personally approved the takeover of Trepca even though I have always advocated within the Interim Administrative Council that the issue of Trepca, which is of strategic importance to the state, be resolved with relevant state organs of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. I must admit that now I am sorry that I asked for this because I see that Milosevic has literally sold Trepca to UNMIK and that this is doubly in his interest. On the one hand, he got money, while providing Kouchner with new, freshly printed dinars which the UNMIK chief promptly distributed to workers; on the other hand, he organized through his people in Mitrovica a whole propaganda show in which the UN mission is condemned for the takeover of the Trepca complex. The sad thing is that in this game the role of the fist of the regime against the UN mission and the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija (which is blameless in the entire matter) is played by the Mitrovica leaders and the Serbian Resistance Movement."
"In addition to this, I must refute Dr. Ivanovic as a physician and a colleague from the professional perspective. Milan Ivanovic, as a physician of the hospital in Mitrovica, openly stated that to date no one has fallen ill as a result of the pollution in Zvecan and, together with Marko Jaksic, accused the UN mission of making up the pollution problem as an excuse for the shutdown of the lead smelter in Zvecan. As a specialized physician and professor of the Faculty of Medicine in Pristina, I participated in research regarding environmental pollution in the region of Zvecan and Mitrovica, and can state authoritatively that the statement of Dr. Ivanovic is a blatant lie. The pollution problem existed even prior to the war; the regime which exploited Trepca did not move a finger to invest money in the technological enhancement of the filtration system to prevent environmental pollution and the poisoning of the population. This is not a justification of everything which recently occurred and is occurring in the vicinity of Trepca but I can readily say that this is yet another of Milosevic 'deal' in which some of the people in Mitrovica are playing a role."
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