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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, September 2, 2000

  • Jock Covey and Brigadier Fry again in Gracanica
  • Bishop Artemije talks with Bernd Wulffen, head of German office in Pristina
  • Bishop Artemije receives Greek ambassador Jorgos Vasilopoulos

    Today in Gracanica Monastery last week's meeting of SNC representatives with the deputy chief of UNMIK, Jock Covey, the commander of Brigade Center, Brigadier General Robert Fry, and police commissioner Stephen Feller continued. the main topic of discussion remained the issue of security especially in the light of the newest Albanian terrorist attacks. The SNC is actively insisting on the undertaking of more effective security measures in the Serb enclaves in order to prevent the activities of Albanian terrorists. Three days ago, Bishop Artemije sent a letter to Bernard Kouchner and General Ortuno with concrete proposals by the SNC for the improvement of the security situation.

    Bishop Artemije talked about the needs of the Serb population, emphasizing that it is up to KFOR and the UN police to find the best ways of meeting those needs. Special consideration was given to the possibility of temporarily limiting the access of Albanian travellers to local and regional roadways which pass through Serb enclaves. SNC representatives insisted that Albanian vehicles be allowed to pass through Serb areas only during the day and only with a military escort in order to prevent possible terrorist attacks and that all traffic be closed off during the night. The SNC continues to insist that Albanian traffic via local, rural roadways be redirected to alternative routes wherever possible especially in regions where there have been frequent attacks in the past. A high degree of mutual understanding was achieved during the course of the talks and representatives of KFOR and the UN mission offered firm assurances to Bishop Artemije that they would intensify patrols, increase the number of check-points and use the technical means at their disposal for surveillance of the field, especially during this pre-election period.

    At the conclusion of the meeting it was agreed to organize joint visits to the Serb villages around Pristina during the next several days where SNC representatives, together with the local population, could point out the most sensitive locations in which it is necessary to increase KFOR presence. Similar visits will soon be organized to other parts of the Province.


    In the afternoon hours Bishop Artemije received Bernd Wulffen, the head of the German office in Pristina and the special representative of the Germany ministry of foreign affairs in Kosovo. Bishop Artemije spoke of the need for an improvement in the situation in which Serbs are living in the sector under German control, especially in Orahovac, Velika Hoca and the region of Musnikovo. The Serbs there living there require better protection as well as the possibility of economic development and recovery of production capacities in order to keep the remaining Serb population in Kosovo, emphasized the president of the SNC.

    Mr. Wulffen stated that the German government is advocating dialog between the ethnic groups and a multiethnic society. He emphasized that the German government strongly opposes violence in Kosovo. Perpetrators of the newest attacks, especially attacks against the Serb children, must be arrested and brought to justice. Wulffen repeated the invitation of Minister Fischer to Bishop Artemije to visit Berlin and advised Dr. Rada Trajkovic that the German government approved additional funds for the purchase of new equipment for Simonida Hospital in Gracanica.


    Bishop Artemije also received the Greek ambassador to Belgrade, Jorgos Vasilopoulos, whom he acquainted with the situation in which the Serb community is living in Kosovo and Metohija. During the course of cordial and friendly conversation, Bishop Artemije expressed his deepest thanks to the Greek ambassador who in recent years has shown himself to be a great friend of the Serb people and the Serbian Orthodox Church and he wished him much success in his new function.

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