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Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija

July 3, 2000

  • Meeting with US KFOR delegation in Gracanica: Talks on resumption of convoy to Strpce continue
  • Preparations for Symposium at Early House near Washington
  • Activities of the Committee for returns continue
  • Rada Trajkovic in Strasbourg
  • Randjel Nojkic in Kamenica
  • SNV KM condemns most recent Albanian crimes
  • Serbs in the Kosovo police force

    A continuation of yesterday's talks was held today in the monastery of Gracanica between delegations of the SNV KM and [US brigadier] general Tieszen. Father Sava spoke today in Gracanica with the political advisor to the American general, Shawn Sullivan. The main topic of the conversation was resolution of the situation in Brezovica.

    The position of US KFOR is that they are prepared to resume convoys for Strpce but that prior to doing so it is necessary to achieve a better level of cooperation between the local population with KFOR and the UN mission. Toward this end the SNV KM will work with American representatives of KFOR during this week to establish forms of agreement which will provide for the resumption of the humanitarian convoy. The SNV is also actively engaged in talks with KFOR and the UN mission for Strpce so that significant humanitarian and financial aid for the Serb population of this region can be distributed via the local SNV for Brezovica.

    A similar example of failure to cooperate, this time by Albanian leaders in the region of Kosovska Kamenica, has resulted in the decision of US KFOR to temporarily direct financial aid allocated for the Albanian part of the population to the Serb population which in Kamenica continues to receive assistance from KFOR. Namely, the Albanian leaders have decided to place a monument bearing the inscription "KLA" in the city center close to the Orthodox church against the wishes of KFOR and the UN mission. The monument cost 300,000 [German] marks and according to the statement of an American representatives represents a true "monument to stupidity" since this money could have been used to assist the needy. American and Russian KFOR have resolved not to allow the Albanian population to receive financial assistance until the contested monument has been removed. (This information was received directly from Shawn Sullivan, the political advisor to American [brigadier] general Tiezsen.)


    During continued talks with representatives of the US KFOR, Father Sava received representatives of the US office in Pristina headed by Katherine Helgerson (sp?) The topic of the discussion was the upcoming symposium at the Early House retreat near Washington where eminent representatives of the Serbian and Albanian national communities from Kosovo and Metohija are expected to meet in the middle of July. the symposium will be organized by the American Institute for Peace which previously organized separate symposiums (for the Albanians in Landsdowne and for the Serbs in Sofia last year).


    Mr. Dragan Velic today participated in the session of the committee for returns. The list of locations which KFOR prepared with the names of places in which the organized return of Serbs may take place was discussed. Based on the degree of security, multinational brigades considered the possibility of returns and a list was generated of potential locations on which the committee will concentrate in its future work. Mr. Velic also attended the regular session of the secretariat of the Transitional Council of Kosovo (PSK) which determines the agenda for the next meeting of the PSK.


    Dr. Rada Trajkovic traveled today to Strasbourg where she will meet in the next few days with several persons from the European Parliament with the goal of establishing a Faculty for Management in Gracanica.


    Randjel Nojkic, during the course of everyday field activities and visits to local boards of the SNV KM throughout the province today visited the Kamenica region where he met with local representatives of the board. In order to establish more direct contact with the Serb people, the SNV in past weeks has intensified its work in the field and organized everyday visits to various areas of Kosovo and Metohija with the goal of familiarizing itself with problems and acting as intermediary in existing conflicts.


    The Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija most sharply condemn the destruction of the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Paraskeva (Sv. Petka) in the village of Podgorce. This most recent attack by Albanian terrorists is yet another example of the fact that the goal of extremist Albanians and their political leaders remains the destruction of the Serbian spiritual and cultural heritage and the expulsion of the Serbian people from this region. The delegation of the SNV KM which visited Bondsteel yesterday sharply protested because of this barbarian attack to the American general. The SNV KM has already requested from the Council of Europe and the European parliament that Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries be placed under the special protection of the European Union as a part of the European cultural heritage of special value. Also in preparation is a special regulation on the part of Mr. Kouchner which will provide additional measures for the protection of Orthodox sites and artifacts in the southern Serbian province.

    The SNV KM also sharply condemned the murder of Sava Stojkovic from the village of Gornji Livoc near Gnjilane. This perfidious murder carried out by four masked Albanians is an example of the fact that the terrorists show no mercy even to the old and weak who are working in their fields. Noteworthy today is that not a single Albanian leader has condemned the destruction of the Church of St. Paraskeva (Sv. Petka) or the murder of Sava Stojkovic. The continuation of ethnically motivated terrorism and organized violence shows that the Serbs in Kosovo do not have basic freedoms and rights which would enable them to participate together with the Albanians in municipal administration. Consequently the formation of local offices and the enhancement of the security system are the priority tasks as foreseen by the agreement on understanding.


    The SNV KM received notification today that the Serb policemen in the Kosovo police in Strpce who announced their resignations two days ago have again resumed their duties within the framework of the UNMIK police. In accordance with the agreement on understanding, the SNV will soon provide the police academy with a new list of Serb candidates who, immediately upon graduation from the Vucitrn academy, would be incorporated into the security system in the region of the Serb enclaves where they will be assigned.

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