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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

July 4, 2000

  • Statement on talks on Kosovo at the meeting of the opposition in Leskovac
  • Statement on Thaci's announced withdrawal from the PAVK
  • Minister Issinger in Gracanica
  • Team of experts working on proposals for draft law on municipalities
  • Randjel Nojkic at today's session of the PAVK
  • SNV condemns mortar attack on Velika Hoca

    Representatives of the SNV KM unfortunately did not attend today's meeting with representatives of the united opposition and representatives of the SNV of Kosovska Mitrovica. In fact, not one member of the SNV KM was invited to this meeting which was prepared and coordinated by Mr. Momcilo Trajkovic from the Serbian Renewal Movement. The members of the SNV KM leadership heard of this meeting through the media but written information, invitations and an agenda were not delivered to Bishop Artemije, the president of the SNV KM nor to any other representative of council even though Mr. Trajkovic composed the invitation on June 20 in Caglavica, 2 kilometers from Gracanica, as we were later informed. Consequently the SNV KM believes that in the future such meetings should be prepared more efficiently and responsibly.

    The SNV KM is always open to dialogue and our coordination with opposition parties has never been discontinued. What is more all of our activities are in close collaboration with the group of experts which today is sending legal expert Vojin Vukcevic who will assess the proposals on the temporary law on municipalities on behalf of the SNV KM. Mr. Predrag Simic and Dr. Dusan T. Batakovic have already been advised on this text in a timely manner. Professor Batakovic was a direct participant in the preparation of the platform for the joint agreement on understanding with UNMIK as well as in preparation of our delegation to the US. Representatives of the opposition have visited Gracanica several times where the SNV KM received support for its work.

    With regard to Mr. Trajkovic's proposal of a platform for the consolidation of the Serbs in Kosovo, it is with regret that we state that this document was not provided to the SNV KM by Mr. Trajkovic. From the media and his press releases we learned that it talks about the need for a round table on Kosovo which we support in principle, although we strongly oppose the idea that representatives of the regime be included in these talks. It is true that representatives of the state need to participate in resolving the issue of Kosovo and Metohija but only once we have a democratic government which will constructively work on the stabilization of the country and the reintegration of Kosovo. We have attempted several times to speak with Mr. Milutinovic about Kosovo, even before the war, but each time our request was ignored.

    The second part of the proposed program relates to issues of security and the formation of unarmed "village watches". This idea is in fact already present in the platform of the SNV as the plan for the formation of unarmed village watches and a observation system along the lines of the "neighborhood watch" system has already been accepted in writing in the agreement between the SNV KM and UNMIK.


    Today's announcement of the decision of Hasim Thaci to withdraw from the PAVK as a result of the signing of the agreement between the SNV KM and UNMIK represents yet another manifestation of the political pressure on the UN international mission. It has been publicly stated numerous times that the joint agreement on understanding represents an attempt to secure basic conditions for security and a peaceful life for Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. This agreement is not a step toward the division of Kosovo but in fact affirms the existence of one single temporary administration. Despite this, as a result of the failure to respect basic human rights and freedoms of the Serb population it is essential that the administration be reduced to the level of enclaves and Serb villages so that local Serbs working with representatives of UNMIK may freely participate in the forming their lives in the enclaves. The Albanian leaders appear to be forgetting that the enclaves are not a result of Serb self-isolation but a necessity in which they found themselves as a result of the inability to behave differently than the Milosevic regime. In a democratic and pluralistic society in which there is no discrimination based on language and ethnic origin there is no need for either enclaves or local offices. In order to achieve such a society it is essential that that the Serb community survive, physically and politically, this difficult time of intolerance and collective hunting of everything Serbian and everything non-Albanian.

    The agreement of the SNV KM and UNMIK prior to its signature was accepted by the US administration and several other Western governments and consequently it is supported by the most powerful countries of the international community. With this in mind, the behavior of Mr. Thaci and other select leaders only demonstrates that the Albanian leaders are not prepared for the building of a free society but that they continue to ignore the real problems in the field which were created especially during the past year of anarchy and violence in the presence of international forces.

    The statement of Albanian leader Redzep Cosja that the agreement is leading into apartheid represents true cynicism. It is clear to every visitor to Serb enclaves and ghettoes that in Kosovo true apartheid already exists with Serb and Romany "bantustan" watch towers and barbed wire. This agreement therefore represents a test for Albanian leaders who must show in the near future whether they are prepared to take on reality and the problems in Kosovo and Metohija or whether they will continue to offer the Serbs empty rhetoric on democracy and rights, and the international representatives whatever they want to hear.


    Today Protosingel Sava Janjic received the German secretary of state in the ministry of foreign affairs Wolfgang Issinger and his associates. They discussed the current situation of the Serb national community as well as issues of registration and elections. Father Sava explained to Minister Issinger that currently there is no real possibility for the Serbs to participate in local elections in most of the territory of Kosovo because the Serbs do not have basic rights and freedoms, especially freedom of movement. The enclaves in which the Serbs live are not a result of Serb self-isolation but of the unpreparedness of the majority of the Albanian population to accept [the presence of] the Serbs as reality. Father Sava asked the German minister to ensure that the governments of Europe, especially Germany, exert greater effort toward economic consolidation of Serbian regions. It was proposed that the Serbs be exempted from these elections and that representation of the Serbs in the administration be realized through local offices for national communities and through representation in the administrative bodies of Kosovo in accordance with principles of affirmative action, as is the case in the Temporary Administrative Council of Kosovo (PAVK). Only when the Serb community has managed to existentially and politically consolidate itself, and basic rights for all people are established in Kosovo will conditions exist for the participation of Serbs in elections.


    A team of experts headed by Vojin Vukcevic, a legal expert from Belgrade, is already working on analyzing the draft of UNMIK's law on municipalities. SNV KM will make every effort to submit during the course of the week a written proposal to UNMIK with regard to this law. The position of the SNV KM is that the Agenda for Coexistence is not sufficiently incorporated into the law on municipalities and that this law is not adjusted to reflect the realities currently existing in Kosovo, especially with regard to the freedom of the Serb community.


    Today's regular session of the Temporary Administrative Council of Kosovo (PAVK) was attended by Randjel Nojkic. The main topic of discussion was the new draft of the temporary law on municipalities in Kosovo. Today's session was not attended by Mr. Hasim Thaci nor did he send an representative in his stead.


    The SNV KM most strongly condemns last night's most recent mortar attack on the village of Velika Hoca. The only remaining Serb village in the region of Orahovac which is inhabited by almost 1,000 Serbs was targeted last night by 6 mortar projectiles. Fortunately no one was injured in this terrorist attack. It is obvious that this is a continuation of efforts by Albanian terrorists to force the remaining Serbs of the region to abandon their ancient homes. The SNV KM and its local board in Velika Hoca has demanded from the representative of the German KFOR that an investigation of the newest attack be conducted.

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