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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, August 30, 2000

  • SNC press conference in Pristina
  • SPS representatives in Gracanica
  • SNC response to request to withdraw from interim administration
  • Javier Solana in Gracanica tomorrow

    Today Father Sava Janjic, the spokesman of the SNC, held a regular press conference in Pristina in the UNMIK press center. At the very beginning of the press conference, Father Sava emphasized that the key issue for the Serb community has been and remains the security issue, especially following the newest escalation of violence against Serb children. He repeated the strongest possible condemnation of these terrorist attacks and emphasized that the international community must clearly identify the perpetrators of terrorism in the Province. Terrorism defined as the use of violence toward political ends is directed against Serb and other non-Albanian communities with the goal of creating an ethnically pure Kosovo, as well as against moderate Albanian political representatives. The SNC is horrified both by attacks on Serb children and elderly persons, as well as by the murder of Saban Manaj, the representative of the LDK, who was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists. The internat! ional community has previously sought the root of all problems in the Milosevic regime but it is now apparent that Albanian extremism has also played an active role for some length of time, and that it is due to the reactions of Belgrade to this separatism that international circles quickly labeled it a war of liberation.

    When asked by an Albanian reporter to name the moderate forces among Albanians in Kosovo, Father Sava responded that they certainly were not the political parties which emerged from the former KLA which is responsible for the death of many innocent civilians according to overwhelming evidence and eyewitness testimony. The LDK, it is true, has never undertaken any concrete measures against violence against Serbs but nevertheless there is reason to believe that its members did not carry out nor support this violence. In any case, the SNC hopes that in the local elections in Kosovo, leadership positions in municipalities in which Albanians will win will be assumed by moderate and rational people who will support the idea of a common life and tolerance. We are not very optimistic, continued Father Sava, that the new heads of the municipalities will be able to immediately change the situation in which Serbs are now living because at their side they will continue to have a radical A! lbanian bloc prepared to take action both against Serbs and against them; nevertheless, there is hope that things will improve. The Serbs are prepared to cooperate with those who will respect their rights and freedoms. That is why the international community must encourage moderate forces among Albanians and Serbs alike by providing political and economic support to those municipalities headed by people who are building democracy and a tolerant society. Every form of cooperation with extremists is not only harmful but is leading to the complete loss of what little credibility the international community still has in Kosovo.

    Continuing the press conference, Father Sava talked about the need to reveal the secrets of the victims buried in Dragodan as soon as possible and especially to provide Serbs with access to all information regarding the murdered Serbs buried there after the end of the war. It is absolutely irresponsible that unidentified Serbs who were found were buried without any notification of Serb representatives or the Yugoslav Red Cross.

    After the press conference Father Sava visited Blue Sky Radio in Pristina where he was interviewed for the program in Serbian. Blue Sky Radio, which recently began broadcasting as the Second Program of Radio Television Kosovo, is known for its support of the idea of tolerance and a common life.


    Gracanica Monastery was visited today without invitation or any announcement to the church authorities by a delegation of the Socialist Party of Serbia headed by Gorica Gajevic and Zoran Andjelkovic. Since they were not scheduled to meet with any representative of the Church or the SNC, the delegation of the ruling party toured the church and was filmed by the cameras of Radio Television Serbia. This visit by SPS officials to Gracanica appears to be a part of the pre-election campaign of the SPS as Ms. Gajevic has not previously shown great interest in churches and monasteries.


    Following repeated requests by the SNC of Mitrovica and the Serbian Resistance Movement that the SNC withdraw from the interim administration of Kosovo, the position of the Council remains unchanged. The newest terrorist attacks will not modify the position of the SNC but will only serve to reinforce its determination to fight for the interests of its people in all arenas and to ensure that the voice and the distress of the Serbs is heard throughout the world. The isolation of the Serb community and the deterioration of relationship with the international mission would be the biggest favor to the terrorists themselves who are actively seeking to provoke Serb radicalism and thus justify a continuation of violence against the Serbs. The politics of boycotting the international mission which is in Kosovo under the auspices of the UN Security Council has not only done nothing to improve the position of the Serbs in those places where leaders are actively working against cooperatio! n but has led to a worsening of the position of the Serbs. The newest developments in Mitrovica are the best indicators of this. On the other hand, the results of the participation of the SNC in the administration are quite modest in comparison with expectations but they are the best that can be realistically expected at this moment and represent the beginning of a process which will continue in the future.


    A meeting is expected tomorrow in Gracanica Monastery with the representative of the European Union, Mr. Javier Solana. A press statement will be provided after the meeting. It is expected that the meeting will be dominated by two issues: the urgent need to stop violence against Serbs along with clear identification of the perpetrators of terrorism and the need for greater economic investment by the EU in the development of Serb locations in Kosovo and Metohija.

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