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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

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

    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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 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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