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Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
Gracanica, August 21, 2000 [ADDENDUM]
Protosyncellus Sava especially insisted that problems in Kosovo are being resolved in an inadequate manner because the international community failed to establish a correct diagnosis of the situation. The entire strategy of the international mission is based on the hypothesis that the chief problem and the only problem is Milosevic’s regime, while on the other hand covering up the existence of organized Albanian terrorism which is directed not only against non-Albanian national communities but also against political dissidents among the Albanians themselves. Terrorism cannot be defeated by hiding its existence, financing allegedly “transformed” extremists and the creation of the impression that all existing problems in the Province are caused by the phantom and omnipresent secret service of Milosevic.
The main problem in Kosovo appears to be the unpreparedness of Western governments to show the same decisiveness against Albanian extremism which they demonstrated against Milosevic’s regime. It is completely illogically to have punished the Serbs by the bombing of Yugoslavia and the death of thousands of innocent civilians because of Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing of Albanians in a time of war while doing nothing less than rewarding the ethnic Albanians for the expelling and murders of Serbs, Romanies, Bosniacs and others in a time of peace and under an international protectorate, added Episcope Artemije. In that light, it is even more absurd that some circles in the West see the solution in even greater rewards for the Albanians by possibly giving them an independent Kosovo which would create an important precedent and cause an entire series of similar reactions and demands throughout the Balkans and perhaps throughout all of Europe, emphasized the president of the SNC. The po! st-war continuation of ethnic cleansing and maximal discrimination against everything which is not Albanians is the clearest indication that the solution of the Kosovo problem is not in an ethnically clean and independent Albanian Kosovo, just as it is not in a centralized and nondemocratic Yugoslavia run by Milosevic. It is necessary to create a democratic society without the redrawing of international borders and the creation of banana republics in the Balkans, concluded Father Sava at the end of the discussion.
The members of the Council emphasized the need for UNHCR to support the request of the Council that temporarily displaced Serbs in the region of Kosovo and Metohija be provided with longer-term accommodations in locations where they are currently located until conditions are right for them to return to their original homes. Namely, almost 20,000 internally displaced Serbs in Kosovo do not wish to leave the Province but cannot return to their original homes at this time, especially in the cities and in the region of Metohija (the western part of the Province). The international community is investing money in the renovation of destroyed homes but unfortunately Serbs in many locations cannot begin to renovate their homes because the most basic security conditions for their return and the renovation of their communities simply do not exist.
Both sides expressed satisfaction with the formation of the Joint Committee on Returns but the need was emphasized for the Committee to intensify its work prior to the winter. Bishop Artemije firmly stressed that the return of expelled Serbs represents the fundamental condition for the normal participation of the Serb national community in political processes in the region of Kosovo and Metohija.
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