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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, July 19, 2000

  • Yesterday’s meeting with Lord Robertson and the North Atlantic Council
  • Bishop Artemije receives Paddy Ashdown
  • Serb delegation departs for USA
  • YESTERDAY’S MEETING WITH LORD ROBERTSON AND THE NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL

    Yesterday a meeting was held of the most important political representatives of Kosovo with the members of the North Atlantic Council. The meeting was chaired by Lord George Robertson, and the Serb side was represented by Bishop Artemije, Dr. Rada Trajkovic and Protosingel Sava Janjic. After the speech of Mr. Rugova, who described the situation in Kosovo as being idyllic, Bishop Artemije spoke about the suffering of the Serb people deprived of all basic rights and freedoms. Dr. Rada Trajkovic spoke separately on the inability to participate in elections under these conditions and said that the international community was responsible for securing equal conditions for all communities. Protosingel Sava asked that NATO disarm the remnants of the KLA who continue to act and are hiding large quantities of weapons. It is impossible to establish order and peace in Kosovo when, parallel with KFOR and the UN police, armed Albanian groups are continuing to act and sow fear and ! terror among the non-Albanian population.

    Lord Robertson especially stressed that a democratic society in Kosovo cannot be built through violence and especially appealed to Albanian leaders to go beyond mere rhetoric condemning violence and to concretely name the perpetrators of crimes. “We will protect the Serbs, whether you like it or not,” emphasized Lord Robertson to the Albanian leaders. “Stop the violence if you want to stop cantonization... We are opposed to division, cantonization and enclavization but the facts lead to enclavization because that is the only way of protecting the minorities from extremists who want to continue the violence against them,” said Robertson.

    The NATO secretary general warned the Serb representatives that failure to participate in the elections would have certain consequences with which the Serb people would have to live and he also emphasized that the Serbs must understand all that the Albanians have been through during the war and do everything possible to participate in the construction of a joint administration.

    BISHOP ARTEMIJE RECEIVES PADDY ASHDOWN

    Today, on July 19, Bishop Artemije received Paddy Ashdown, the former British leader of the Liberal Democrats. During talks special attention was given to the position of the Serb people in conditions of continued ethnic violence. Mr. Ashdown also expressed concern because of the situation in Mitrovica and the position of the few Albanians living in the Serb part of the city.

    SERB DELEGATION DEPARTS FOR USA

    Today the sixteen member Serb delegation will depart to attend the conference at Airly House near Washington, DC. The delegation will hold its first working meeting this evening with the representatives of the Peace Institute and the Albanian delegation in Skopje from where they will fly to Washington tomorrow.

    The representatives of the SNC are prepared to talk with the Albanian side openly regarding all issues but the position of the SNC will depend exclusively upon the adopted Council platform as well as the basic provisions of Resolution 1244 which is the only legal document which regulates the situation in Kosovo and Metohija. The intent of the SNC remains to demonstrate its willingness for dialogue and good faith but also a firm and clear position with regard to issues which are outside the jurisdiction of the Council itself. It is most unfortunate that representatives from Mitrovica have declined to participate in the conference. As on numerous previous occasions, the inability to make the voice of Mitrovica heard is leading to increasing international isolation of the Serb community of this city. The SNC expresses its great satisfaction that the north of the province will be represented by leaders of the local SN Councils of Leposavic and Zubin Potok.

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