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Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
Articles from the daily newspapers "Danas" and "Glas Javnosti" on press conference of SNC in Belgrade
Belgrade, August 1, 2000
Belgrade - The joint Serb-Albanian Declaration signed last week in the U.S. represents a large step forward in the comprehension and resolution of problems in Kosovo and Metohija. The joint assessment of the members of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija at yesterday's press conference in the offices of the Democratic Christian Party of Serbia (DHSS) is that its signatories, as well as the international community, first and foremost, the United States of America, are expected to see to it that the adopted conclusions are implemented in the field. Commenting on the gathering at Airlie House were the episcope of Raska and Prizren, Artemije (Radosavljevic), Rada Trajkovic, Randjel Nojkic and Petar Jeknic.
"The gathering represents a turning point in the life of Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo and a unique case in the history of the province where such a large number, approximately 40 representatives of both communities, gathered to discuss problems and consider methods for their resolution," emphasized Bishop Artemije, the president of the SNC. He stated that he expects that this document will not remain a dead letter, as was the case with earlier declarations and statements, and that he had "the impression that this time the international community, especially the American administration, wants to see the Declaration implemented in Kosovo and Metohija, which is an encouraging step forward".
"We expect that the other side is sincere and that the Americans will take special note of who is violating the agreement. The talks were attended by representatives of the American administration. This was the first time that they and a large team of Serbs established normal contact which, we believe, will be the seed which will germinate throughout the whole of Serbia, and that she, too, will open up toward the international community," said Rada Trajkovic, the Serb observer in the Interim Administrative Council (IAC) of Kosovo and the vice-president of the DHSS.
Commenting on claims by Kosovo Albanians that this time the Americans have taken the Serb side, Randjel Nojkic, the member of the SNC and the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), emphasized that the American side objectively considered the situation in the field. With regard to the controversy on the legitimacy of the Serb delegation in the talks at Airlie House, at yesterday's press conference it was again repeated that the Serb representatives "represented the interests of all Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija without regard for their political affiliation". In addition to the members of the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija, it was stated yesterday, participants in the Serb-Albanian talks also included Slavisa Ristic, the legal representative of the SNC of Kosovska Mitrovica, Nenad Radosavljevic of Leposavic and Slavisa Kolasinac of Orahovac.
Montenegro - hostage of Kosovo
"The Serb opposition is following the path of Milosevic and is constantly placing Montenegro in the position of the hostage of Kosovo because it is always being said that if Montenegro goes, Kosovo will go, too. All responsibility for the status and future developments in Kosovo and Metohija are borne exclusively by Milosevic and his regime," emphasized Rada Trajkovic.
With regard to elections in Kosovo and Metohija, it was said that conditions for the participation of the Serbs do not exist, whether they be those elections which are being prepared by UNMIK or those being prepared by the regime of Slobodan Milosevic.
A turning point for Kosmet?
Belgrade - Representatives of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija assessed that at the recent meeting of the Serbs and the Albanians in Airlie House near Washington perhaps the first serious agreement in the past 100 years was achieved.
The president of the SNC, the bishop of Raska and Prizren, Dr. Artemije Radosavljevic, stated for the press in the offices of the DHSS that the Washington conference had acquired a historic dimension and expressed the hope that this would be a turning point in the lives of the Serbs and the Albanians.
"The Declaration among other things addresses issues of security, the media and, what is most important for us, a program for the return of our people," said Bishop Artemije. Also assessing that this document represents a big step forward in recognition and resolution of problems, Bishop Artemije expressed the conviction that this time the international community and the US are determined to implement the Declaration in Kosovo.
The member of the executive board of the SNC and observer in the Interim Administrative Council (IAC) of Kosovo, Dr. Rada Trajkovic, emphasized that participants in the Washington talks included representatives of Serbs from the region of Kosovska Mitrovica and that the SNC delegation, therefore, had full legitimacy.
She said that for the first time the Serbs and representatives of the American administration had established normal contact and expressed the hope that central Serbia, too, would soon open herself up for dialog.
The member of the executive board of the Kosovo Transitional Council (KTC), Randjel Nojkic, emphasized that the Declaration addressed all problems in the province.
The host of yesterday's press conference, DHSS president Vladan Batic, warned "the regime to stop sword-rattling toward Montenegro" and added that "the regime is pushing Montenegro out of Yugoslavia". He announced a meeting of the Serbian opposition and the ruling Montenegrin coalition to be held tomorrow (Wednesday).
Responding to the question how the upcoming elections in FRY would be held in Kosmet, Bishop Artemije emphasized that conditions do not exist for the participation of the Serbs in either the elections organized by UNMIK nor in the elections organized by Milosevic. He said that the opposition was "inconsistent" because if it has rejected the amendment of the Constitution, then it cannot accept elections being organized according to it.
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