|kosovo.net : News : Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija|
Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
July 5, 2000
Words of Protosingel Sava before President Klestil:
I am happy that we have the opportunity to see you again today because more than a year ago you were the host of our interreligious conference in Vienna when together with our Albanian colleagues we attempted one of the last attempts to avoid the worst. Unfortunately I am not able to welcome you to a free Kosovo like Mr. Dedaj (the previous speaker) because Kosovo since the end of the war has not been free for all people. The Serbs and many non-Albanians live deprived of their basic human rights - to life, work and freedom of movement. Many have been kidnapped, persecuted and killed, and more than 80 churches have been destroyed in the post-war period including ancient churches from the Middle Ages. Serbs living in Pristina cannot freely walk down the street, attend school, use the hospitals...
We live herded into enclaves which are not the result of our self-isolation but of the unpreparedness of Albanian leaders and their supporters to behave in a different way than that of Mr. Milosevic’s regime before and during the war.
I appreciate your recommendation that it is necessary for us to participate in the temporary administration. Truly for us this is an opportunity to ensure that our word is heard and accepted. However our further participation will depend to what degree the security situation will improve and to what extend Albanian leaders and the population are prepared for the building of a democratic society. The freer we are in our lives, the more prepared we will be to participate in registration and elections which are normal democratic processes. But under conditions in which there is no free life unfortunately there can also be no free elections. If all of us living in the Balkans wish to live in Europe we must behave like Europeans. Consequently, we will greatly appreciate your contribution to the building of democratic institutions in Kosovo in accordance with Resolution 1244 as well as your advocacy of equal rights and freedoms for all residents of the Province. Thank you...
* * * * *
During the continuation of the session Dr. Kouchner defended several times the agreement reached between the SNV and UNMIK, explaining that it did not involve the formation of parallel institutions but that it was essential to enable accessibility to the administration and the services it offers to that part of the population which is endangered and deprived of freedom of movement. While the majority of Albanian speakers sharply attacked this agreement as leading to cantonization, the legalization of the division of Kosovo, a trick from Belgrade, a return to the old status quo, etc. Dr. Kouchner literally said: “The issue of security falls directly within the jurisdiction of UNMIK and this issue is not open to debate”. “I personally have always been on the side of those who are suffering. Earlier this was the Albanians but now it is the Serbs and members of other communities. That it is why I am now on their side.”
The majority of Albanian leaders displayed a great lack of understanding of the reality in which the Serbs are living. The lack of understanding has gone so far as to be transformed into a paranoid fear that everything that the Serbs are doing represents a danger to the Albanians. Almost all international representatives who spoke at the session of the PSK confirmed directly or indirectly that this behavior is directly detrimental primarily to Kosovo Albanians and to their reputation in the world.
With regard to elections and registration the SNV team of experts explained that the SNV does not intend to boycott the elections nor does it oppose elections as a democratic process but under conditions where basic freedoms do not exist it is clear that basic conditions do not exist for free elections to be held in the majority of municipalities in Kosovo for Serbs. Consequently it was proposed that in the event of [the Serbs’] nonparticipation in the elections and with the goal of securing Serb representation in municipal administrations, the central government, that is, UNMIK, chose as it has previously done, Serb representatives who would therefore be appointed and not elected. In the event that no possibility exists of Serb participation in the work of the municipal assembly, in that case the Serbs would realize their rights exclusively through local offices in Serb enclaves and villages. These local offices would be interactively connected with municipal, regional and Ko! sovo-level structures, especially through departments for local administration each of which would have a special department for coordinating the work of the offices. Since the Serb community is still unconsolidated and in shock without clear political differentiation and that it lives under direct pressure and blackmail by the regime and its advocates, the SNV team of experts is of the opinion that the Serb community simply is not in a position to normally participate in the election process for municipalities. UNMIK is also in continuing to work on this draft law preparing a whole series of anti-discriminatory measures and extended powers for the head of UNMIK who can through his appointments and decisions compensate for the results of justified nonparticipation in elections, that is, in cases where elections are not possible because of the stated problems.
For the SNV KM it is extremely important that it is understood that the possible nonparticipation of the Serbs in the elections is not a boycott or activity directed toward the subordination of authority of the international authorities but first and foremost of the catastrophically difficult situation of the Serbs and other endangered non-Albanian communities for which a legal solution must be found which would address the real problems and situation in the field. Only through greater flexibility on the part of the international community can confidence be restored among the decimated Serb population.
The SNV KM during the course of this week will continue with direct consultations regarding the draft law on municipalities and will insist that the essential provisions of the agenda on coexistence and the joint agreement on understanding are included in the text of the draft law. The discussion is scheduled to continue on Friday for the session of the PAVK.
Copyright ©2000 kosovo.net and SNV KM. All rights reserved.