SERB NATIONAL COUNCIL OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
 
 
October 4, 2003
G r a c a n i c a
 
At its fourteenth session held on October 4, 2003 in the residence hall of Gracanica Monastery, the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija discussed the security of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija as well as their position at this moment, prospects for their continued stay (survival) in this region, and the possible return of those who were expelled from the Province. The Council also discussed the current political situation, focusing on the upcoming talks on Kosovo and Metohija, as well as coexistence, decentralization, the implementation of the Republic of Serbia's Declaration on Kosovo and Metohija, and the Memorandum on Kosovo and Metohija of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The meeting was chaired by the president of the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Artemije (Radosavljevic) of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija.
After thorough debate the Council adopted the following

C O N C L U S I O N S

 1. After thorough debate the Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija concluded that the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija in the past several months has grown drastically worse, and that attacks against Serbs have become increasingly frequent. Crimes and terrorist attacks are intensifying and becoming more and more brutal with each passing day. The most frequent targets of the terrorists are the feeble elderly and children, as well as influential individuals from the ranks of the Serbian community. All this is being done in order to frighten the Serbian population and expel it from the region of Kosovo and Metohija. Instances of these monstrous attacks, such as the murder of the entire Stolic family, the perfidious massacre of children in Gorazdevac, the murder of a teacher from Cernica near Gnjilane, as well as almost regular stoning of innocent travelers, unfortunately continue to be a part of our everyday life. For all the cited reasons, the Council requests that the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State Union of Serbia-Montenegro in accordance with the Declaration on Kosovo and Metohija and the Declaration on Kosovo and Metohija of the Serbian Orthodox Church undertake increased diplomatic efforts for the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and of the Military-Technical Agreement signed in Kumanovo with respect to the return of the Serbia-Montenegro Army and Serbian police, especially to border crossings and locations of cultural-historical monuments. The return of domestic security forces for cooperation with international ones is essential because their joint efforts against terrorism and crime would greatly contribute to the stabilization of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as throughout the entire region. The Council requests that organs of the Governments of the Republic of Serbia and the State Union of Serbia-Montenegro prepare a special strategy and plan for the protection of the Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohija, with participation from local communities and international security forces, in order to stop systematic ethnic cleansing and forceful retaliation against the population.
 
2. The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija supports the resolution of all problems in Kosovo and Metohija through dialogue, and consequently, the Council asks where in the upcoming negotiations is the place of the Kosovo and Metohija Serbs? For us that is the key question. Even prior to October 5, 2000 and especially after, the Council's publicly stated position and testimonial was that we Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija cannot and do not want to resolve our problems by ourselves, without our State of Serbia, without our Government, without our Belgrade. At the same time we stressed that we cannot allow Belgrade to resolve our problems in Kosovo and Metohija without us (like in Rambouillet). Presently preparations for a dialogue are underway, and the question remains: on which side of the table will Kosovo Serb representatives be seated? In which delegation? Who and how many is not important but WHERE? We Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija have our State: that state is Serbia. We have our Capital: that capital is Belgrade. We have our Government, which we created and elected: that is the Government of the Republic of Serbia. We do not want, we cannot, we will not sit on the other side of the table in negotiations with representatives of our State. We are not in confrontation with you; we can and want to resolve our problems jointly with you. We cannot be a part of the Pristina delegation for the simple reason that this delegation is represented by discontented citizens of this State, the Kosovo Albanians. Their goals are not our goals. Their interests and our interests are diametrically opposed. In that delegation we would be treated as representatives of a national minority; we are not a national minority and cannot be considered as such in our own State.
 
3. The Council requests that in future dialogue the starting point for talks is the status and situation of the Serbian community in Kosovo and Metohija before the conflict instead of accepting the present situation that is being imposed and which the result of the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija. All decisions that may be reached during the dialogue which are contrary to the state sovereignty of Serbia over Kosovo and Metohija and the interests of Serbs will not be considered binding by the Serbian people. The Council expects the upcoming talks to result in the implementation of long-promised decentralization, as well as the initiation of the process of federalization of Kosovo and Metohija as the only way for Serbs to survive in this region because despite five years of international presence in Kosovo and Metohija, access to public institutions has not been ensured for all communities.
 
4. The Council once again appeals to representatives of the international community and representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia to urgently begin implementing the civil registration of displaced persons from Kosovo and Metohija because this is the only way to prove that these are citizens of Serbia from this Province and that they are entitled to all rights ensuing from their very registration. As well, the Council asks representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia for the urgent repeal of the law resulting in the decision to relocate local registrar's offices from the territory of their respective municipalities in the Province to municipalities in central Serbia. We ask for a stop to the process of transfer of powers from Kosovo and Metohija municipalities to municipalities in the Republic of Serbia because this act disables the capacity of municipalities in Kosovo and Metohija to conduct state business in the Province.
 
5. The Council asks for the urgent preparation of a strategy for the return of Serbs and state institutions to Kosovo and Metohija, thus confirming state sovereignty and territorial integrity as guaranteed by UNSC Res. 1244, in accordance with the Declaration on Kosovo of Metohija of the Republic of Serbia and the Memorandum on Kosovo and Metohija of the Serbian Orthodox Church primarily with respect to the following: education, health social-pension insurance, culture, religion, etc. In accordance with these documents, the Council also asks for the preparation of a strategy and program with respect to the protection of state, church, social and private property, which are being intensively usurped, creating an illegitimate and false situation of new ownership detrimental in many respects to both the realization of the rights of the individual, as well as the realization of national and state interests. Therefore, the Council asks for the initiation of a revision and annulment of all sales and purchase contracts between Serbs and Albanians after the passing of UNSC Res. 1244. This strategy must include the protection of the rights of workers in the Serbian community, as well as the rights of the State of Serbia to companies in Kosovo and Metohija because in recent months the international community and ethnic Albanians have been privatizing companies outside all international laws regulating this area, thus fragrantly violating the rights of the State of Serbia and the basic rights of workers in this region. As well, we request the repeal of all legal acts passed by UNMIK that are contrary to UNSC Res. 1244.
 
6. The Council once again asks that the Assemblies and Governments of the Republic of Serbia and the State Union of Serbia-Montenegro honor the agreement between the SNC and other political parties with the highest leadership of these institutions with respect to the formation of a State Council responsible for implementing and following the realization of the State strategy on Kosovo and Metohija, based on the Republic of Serbia's Declaration on Kosovo and Metohija, and the Memorandum on Kosovo and Metohija of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
 
7. Based on our common conviction that the Serbian Orthodox Church is the fundamental and cohesive strength of the Serbian people, the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija unanimously upholds the nomination of Bishop Artemije of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija as a member of the delegation of the Republic of Serbia in upcoming talks. Representatives of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija should participate in the work of the task groups in the upcoming talks and the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija will therefore prepare a draft list of candidates for task groups.
 
8. The issue of Kosovo and Metohija is an issue regarding which an all-Serbian consensus must be achieved. Therefore, it is unanimously agreed that the SNC of Kosovo and Metohija realizes close cooperation with the Serbian Diaspora, and realized a meeting with its representatives in Kosovo and Metohija as soon as possible in order to unify all-Serbian positions.
 
9. The SNC of Kosovo and Metohija adopted the proposal that its next session be held outside Kosovo and Metohija will all displaced persons who, as a result of persecution by Shiptar [Albanian] separatists and the inertness of the international community were forced to flee from their centuries-old homes.
 
 
President of the Serb Council of Kosovo and Metohija
Bishop of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija