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Daily press briefing of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
Gracanica, August 9, 2000
Vuko Antonijevic, president of Mitrovica SNC, visits Gracanica Monastery
SNC delegation visits Lipljan, Dobrotin and Staro Gracko
Kosovo Transitional Council holds meeting and SNC holds press conference
Randjel Nojkic talks with Hague tribunal representative
Episcope Artemije receives Estonian defense minister
Episcope Artemije talks with new UN administrator in Pristina region
VUKO ANTONIJEVIC, PRESIDENT OF MITROVICA SNC, VISITS GRACANICA MONASTERY
Yesterday the monastery of Gracanica was visited by Mr. Vuko Antonijevic,
the president of the SNC of Kosovska Mitrovica. Mr. was travelling to the
regular meeting of the Joint Committee on Returns and took advantage of
the opportunity to speak directly with Episcope Artemije and Dr. Rada Trajkovic
and exchange views regarding a number of other issues related to the life
and survival of the Serb community in Kosovo and Metohija. Both Episcope
Artemije and Mr. Antonijevic agreed that the process of refugee returns
was progressing much more slowly than anticipated and that, unfortunately,
there is no firm decisiveness on the part of the international community
throughout the Province to bring back the expelled Serbs. Episcope Artemije
and Dr. Trajkovic placed special emphasis on the first positive step in
the region of the village of Slivovo where refugees have begun to return.
However, there has been no progress whatsoever in the process of returns
to locations in the area of Istok and Klina municipality which is of especial
concern to the SNC of Mitrovica. This visit by a senior official of the
SNC of Mitrovica to Gracanica represents a very positive step toward the
establishment of better and more immediate relations between the SNC of
Kosovo and Metohija and the SNC and Mitrovica which, in general, is an
encouraging step forward on the path to the building of all-Serb unity
in Kosovo and Metohija.
SNC DELEGATION VISITS LIPLJAN, DOBROTIN AND STARO GRACKO
Today Dusan Ristic, the president of the executive board of the SNC of
Kosovo and Metohija, and Dragan Velic, the president of the executive board
of the SNC of Central Kosovo, visited the region of Lipljan, Dobrotin and
Staro Gracko. During these visits, the SNC officials held meetings with
the members of the SNC's in these areas and acquainted themselves with
the problems and difficulties specific to the people of this region. The
visit to the villages of central Kosovo is part of preparations of a new
meeting of the SNC of Central Kosovo which has the task of intensifying
the work of the Council in the area after the withdrawal of and obstruction
by Slavisa Kostic and his group of supporters.
KOSOVO TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL HOLDS MEETING AND SNC HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE
Today in the UNMIK building in Pristina the regular meeting of the Kosovo
Transitional Council (KTC) was held. Participants included the following
representatives of the SNC: Dr. Rada Trajkovic, Father Sava Janjic, Dragan
Velic and Randjel Nojkic. After considering the security situation which,
it was assessed, remained a cause for concern, the work of the departments
in the interim UNMIK administration was discussed. Following the KTC meeting,
the spokesperson of the SNC, Father Sava Janjic, held a half-hour press
conference in the UNMIK Press Center where numerous foreign and domestic
reporters were acquainted with the views of the SNC regarding the Airlie
Declaration and the recent SNC meeting held in Gracanica. Father Sava emphasized
that all 103 delegates of the SNC expressed support for the Airlie Declaration
which showed that the representatives of the Council were not representing
their personal opinions in the U.S. but the views of a significant part
of the Serb community.
RANDJEL NOJKIC TALKS WITH HAGUE TRIBUNAL REPRESENTATIVE
Today in Pristina Randjel Nojkic met with Mr. Alistair Graham, the representative
of the Hague Tribunal in Kosovo and Metohija, and acquainted him with the
firm position of the SNC which supports the work of the Hague Tribunal.
The SNC continues to believe that all those responsible for crimes during
the war and in the post-war period must answer before the face of justice
and that the Hague Tribunal has a key role in the investigation process.
Mr. Graham informed Nojkic that to date approximately 2,000 bodies have
been exhumed in Kosovo, of which 70% have been identified. The remaining
600 bodies (30%) remain unidentified and Mr. Nojkic expressed the opinion
that among them there are Serbs killed both during the war and in the post-war
period. It is extremely important that families have the opportunity to
identify the bodies of their loved ones.
EPISCOPE ARTEMIJE RECEIVES ESTONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER
Today in the residence hall of Gracanica Monastery Episcope Artemije received
the Estonian defense minister Yuri Luik, who came to visit the members
of the Estonian contingent deployed in a region of the east part of the
Province. Episcope Artemije acquainted the guest from Estonia with the
difficult position and life of the Kosovo Serbs who for more than a year
after the war continue to live in complete isolation, deprived of the most
basic of freedoms and rights. Episcope Artemije emphasized that not a single
day goes by that some Serb is not murdered or attacked. At the same time,
Serb property is being mercilessly destroyed which is making the return
of refugees far more difficult.
EPISCOPE ARTEMIJE TALKS WITH NEW UN ADMINISTRATOR IN PRISTINA REGION
Episcope Artemije also received Jean Guinard, the new UN administrator
for the Pristina region, who wished to gain first-hand knowledge regarding
the position of the Serb community in this region. Episcope Artemije emphasized
the difficult position of the Serbs in Pristina, where only approximately
300 Serbs out of a pre-war population of 40,000 remain. Kosovo can never
be free or democratic until it is possible for the Serbs of Pristina to
return to their homes.
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