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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, October 30, 2000


The convincing victory of the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo (DSK) of Mr. Ibrahim Rugova in the local municipal elections in Kosovo and Metohija surely represents an encouraging development which the SNC welcomes with relative caution and restrained optimism.

It is a fact that the DSK is considered to be the moderate political option among Kosovo Albanians; however, it is also well-known that this party has made no significant efforts to stop post-war violence against the Serbs and minority communities in the Province nor has it shown any significant degree of readiness for dialog. Mr. Rugova was well-known before the war as the symbol of nonviolent resistance; after the war, he strengthened his political rating through silence and the use of Thaci's many mistakes. Now the possibility is finally emerging for the DSK to prove itself and show itself in its true light. This is particularly true of Mr. Rugova who to date has not demonstrated his precise vision of the future of society in Kosovo and Metohija aside from the usual rhetoric on democracy and independence; especially with regard to relations toward endangered communities. Insistence on maximal goals without a significant degree of readiness for flexible political dialog to a great extent does not automatically make Mr. Rugova the man who will enable the calming of interethnic tensions in the Province.

The SNC expects of Mr. Rugova and his party concrete, practical steps in preventing violence and opening of dialog with the Serbs, Roma, Bosniacs and other communities, as well as an open position with regard to numerous post-war crimes committed by members of the Albanian community. It is these very concrete moves, instead of words behind which there is no concrete political responsibility, which will be the measure of future relations of the international community and the Serb people toward the DSK.

The first post-war local elections in Kosovo and Metohija still remain under the heavy shadow of an unregulated security situation, the rule of anarchy and organized crime. The nonparticipation of the Serbs and a significant number of Roma in the elections makes these elections not completely legitimate and creates an obligation on the part of the international community to secure full respect for freedom and security for all communities prior to any future elections.

After the elections in Kosovo what is now awaited is to see how the transfer of power will take place from the current self-appointed, KLA-run municipal structures which during the past several months have seriously compromised themselves through violence against non-Albanian communities, smuggling, prostitution and a whole series of other illegal activities.

Participation of Serbs in municipal structures

As far as the participation of the Serbs in new municipal structures is concerned, it is expected that on the basis of recommendations by Serb organizations Mr. Kouchner will appoint temporary Serb representatives to the municipal assemblies.

The position of the SNC is that Serb representatives must be included in as many municipal structures throughout the Province as possible because the existing law on municipalities makes it possible for even a small number of Serb representatives to prevent the enactment of laws discriminatory to the Serbs. The law foresees a double safety vent without the official name of a veto which allows direct appeal to the Ombudsman and Special Representative. If Serb representatives were to be named only in majority Serb municipalities, and not in areas where Serbs are in the minority, a completely legal path would be opened for the making of decisions which would be detrimental to the Serbs. Therefore, it is the firm position of the SNC, unlike that of the Serbian Resistance Movement (SPOT), that Serb representatives should be appointed in areas where Serbs are in the minority as well. In areas where Serbs form the majority there are far easier conditions for the work of appointed structures until voter registration is organized and election of representatives of the Serb people take place.

The Information Service of the SNC
Protosyncellus Sava Janjic

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