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Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
Gracanica, July 6, 2000
Dr. Vladan Batic, president of the Democratic Christian Party of Serbia Belgrade, July 5, 2000
At a press conference held following the meeting of the parties of the democratic opposition in Leskovac, the coordinator of the meeting, Momcilo Trajkovic, for reasons known only to him, revealed that the SNV KM had become a member of the united opposition. As I opposed this decision at this meeting, I wish to point out the following:
First, such a decision could not be reached out of formal reasons;
a. The SNV of Kosovo and Metohija and the bishop of Raska and Prizren, Artemije, were not duly invited to this meeting.
b. Of 16 participants of the united opposition present at the meeting on January 10, yesterday's meeting in Leskovac was attended by only seven (DS, DSS, SD, ND, GSS, DHSS , PDS and Momcilo Trajkovic on behalf of the Serbian Resistance Movement of Kosovo and Metohija; therefore, A QUORUM WAS NOT PRESENT FOR THE MAKING OF A DECISION.
c. Since according to the agreement of the parties of the united opposition all decisions are made by consensus, and since I on behalf of the DHSS opposed the decision, then even had a quorum been present and had Bishop Artemije been duly invited, the decision could not have been made.
Second, more important, are the factual reasons which guided me during the voting and which I publicly explained at the meeting.
The united democratic opposition can incorporate as the very name says only members of the opposition. At yesterday's meeting the SNV of Kosovska Mitrovica was represented exclusively by members of the DSS from this region who are members of an opposition party which is represented in the united opposition and whose personal opposition status in not contested.
However, certain leaders of the SNV of Kosovska Mitrovica HAVE NEVER DECLARED THEMSELVES TO BE MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITION but continue determinedly to try to enter this bloc. This pertains primarily to OLIVER IVANOVIC.
Let him as the leader of the Mitrovica Serbs publicly state that he is A MEMBER OF THE OPPOSITION; let him state that he demands the departure of Slobodan Milosevic and let him publicly support all the demands of the united opposition from January 10 and I will be the first to vote for the inclusion of the SNV of Kosovska Mitrovica in the united opposition.
Certain members of the SNV of Kosovska Mitrovica in their public statements have discredited Bishop Artemije and other leaders of the SNV of Kosovo and Metohija using the same language as the spokesmen of the regime or Hasim Thaci. It is appropriate that they repent, apologize and ask for forgiveness. That is the Christian way and that is the Serb way.
The fact that the option which the SNV of Kosovska Mitrovica represents is in many respects similar t the policy of Slobodan Milosevic and that it reminds us of the misguided policy in Republika Srpska Krajina (RSK) which led to its final loss is a subject for political debate.
What is critical is that the Serbs in Kosovo find a common language, that they sit together and reach agreement on everything. That they agree on mutual tolerance and "fair play". When the SNV of Kosovska Mitrovica definitely and publicly manifests its opposition status and when it stops throwing mud on Bishop Artemije and his associates, it will be welcome to join the united opposition of which it is not yet a member.
Dr. Vladan Batic
The SNV supports Dr. Bernard Kouchner who has remained determined to defend the Agreement on Understanding even though it remains shocked by the need of the special representative of the UN in Kosovo to ask for forgiveness from Albanian parties because he wishes to be more decisive in protecting the Serbs who are being killed and kidnapped every day, and to stop organized crime. If only UNMIK and KFOR had taken a more decisive position from the very beginning of the mission. It is certain that numerous victims could have been avoided.
There was from the start an environment of
tolerance for intolerance
and revenge...There was no real effort or interest in trying to deter
or stop it. There was an implicit endorsement of it by everybody --
by the silence of the Albanian political leadership and by the lack of
active discouragement of it by the West.... Action was needed, in the
first days and weeks, when the old images of Albanians forced out of
Kosovo on their tractors were replaced by Serbs fleeing Kosovo on
their tractors, and as it became clear that the effort to push minorities
out of Kosovo was continuing and organized...
This violence against the minorities has been
too prolonged and too
widespread not to be systematic... We can't easily say who's behind it,
but we can say we have not seen any organized effort to stop it or any
effort to back up the rhetoric of tolerance from Albanian leaders with
any meaningful action.
(From "U.N. Official Warns of Losing the Peace in Kosovo" by Steven Erlanger, The New York Times, July 3, 2000)
These words represent the voice of true testimony regarding a situation where the international community, wishing to solve one humanitarian crisis, de facto began to tolerate another. Unfortunately, it is tragic that such testimony is not heard from persons who are in active service in the UN mission in Kosovo. It appears that one needs to go to Kosovo and Metohija in order to be able to honestly testify regarding mistakes made. The admission of Dennis McNamara, the high representative of UNHCR in Kosovo, even more strongly confirms that in this manner, along with continued Albanian terror and the lack of activity of the international community in Kosovo, a democratic society will not be established; instead, a new repression will be enforced. These words are also the best answer to Mr. Thaci and other leaders who have never condemned violence this explicitly nor gone further than empty rhetoric.
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