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Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
Gracanica, November 22, 2000
Today the SNC was greatly shocked to receive news of this morning's terrorist attack which occurred in the University settlement in Pristina where a small number of Serbs are still living. Bishop Artemije was personally informed of this incident by a representative of the British KFOR who on behalf of Brigadier General Robert Fry expressed his great regret that this event occurred.
According to information received from KFOR, in the early morning hours, at approximately 4:45 a.m. Central European Time, a British KFOR patrol noticed several unknown persons behaving in a suspicious manner behind the residence of Ambassador Vukicevic, the representative of the FRY government in Pristina and the head of the FRY Committee for Cooperation with UNMIK. As the patrol gradually drew near the building, the unknown attackers began to run and immediately after a strong explosion occurred. Of the seven people located in the residence, three were injured in the explosion, one of them sustaining very serious injuries. Ambassador Vukicevic IS NOT among the injured. KFOR troops and UNMIK police immediately appeared at the place of the explosion and began a hunt for the attackers which included the use of bloodhounds. However, at the time of the report there was still no trace of the attackers. The injured Serbs were transferred to the British military hospital. KFOR and UNMIK police are continuing an investigation which is being headed by Brigadier General Fry personally.
From unofficial sources the SNC received information that the residence of Ambassador Vukicevic was seriously damaged and that several nearby houses were also damaged in which a number of Serb families are living.
On behalf of the SNC and the Diocese of Raska and Prizren, the injured were visited at the military hospital by Dr. Rada Trajkovic and Archpriest Zoran Grujic.
The SNC most strongly condemns this terrorist attack against the Serb community and against an official institution of the FRY government. This attack, as well as the recent attack against the YU Program building in Pristina, demonstrate that Albanian terrorism represents not only a danger but also the primary obstacle to the continuation of the political process in Kosovo and Metohija. Bishop Artemije, in his commentary upon receiving word of this terrorist attack, expressed great disappointment that KFOR forces and the UNMIK police are not capable of better securing the few remaining houses and apartments where Serbs live in Pristina.
At the same time, the SNC believes that this attack should serve to convince all those who are already easily heralding the victory of democracy and peace in Kosovo and Metohija that in our southern province there exists a powerful terrorist movement directed toward the complete ethnic cleansing of the Serbs and other non-Albanian communities and the establishment of an ethnically pure, Albanian Kosovo.
The office of the Ombudsman, the protector of human rights and transparency of all political institutions in the Province, was formally opened yesterday in the OSCE building in Pristina. The new Ombudsman, Polish diplomat Marek Nowitcky, officially assumed his post yesterday with the goal of furthering the political process and implementing Resolution 1244.
The Serb community was represented at this ceremony by Dr. Rada Trajkovic and Protosyncellus Sava Janjic. After a few appropriate words by Bernard Kouchner, Daan Everts, Mr. Nowitcky and Mrs. Nekibe Kelmendi, a representative of the Albanian community, Father Sava spoke briefly, emphasizing that the primary task of the Ombudsman should be the protection of human rights of the endangered communities. After a period of repression by the Milosevic regime and suffering during the war in Kosovo and Metohija, the violation of basic human rights of Serbs and non-Albanian communities continues to this day. The terror carried out by Albanian extremists is not sporadic but systematic by nature and directed toward the creation of an ethnically clean Kosovo. It is impossible to continue advances in the building of joint institutions, stressed Father Sava, until advances are made in the respect for basic freedoms of all citizens of the Province. The Serb community is prepared to cooperated with the UN mission and the Albanians but only to the degree that the Serb community is provided with the respect for basic human rights and freedoms guaranteed by Resolution 1244 as well as by every international charter, concluded Father Sava at the end of his speech.
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