DANAS, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Saturday-Sunday, June 3-4, 2000

INTERVIEW

Momcilo Trajkovic, president of the Serbian Resistance Movement, talks about the
reasons for resigning from the position of president of the executive board of the
Serbian National Council (SNV) of Kosovo and Metohija

We are the guinea pigs of the international community and Slobodan Milosevic

By Jelena Tasic

"I did not resign from the position of president of the executive board out of spite
or to destroy the Serbian National Council. My motive was to strengthen the position
of our political option among the Serbian people. I am a member of the SNV. The
political platform of the SNV is also the political platform of the Serbian
Resistance Movement which it, together with the Church, created. Before the SNV we
were the Church and People's Congress, which had a national-political committee, out
of which, by including other independent people, the members of some parties, even
those which were opposed to cooperation with the international community, we created
the SNV," Momcilo Trajkovic, the president of the Serbian Renewal Movement and the
former president of the executive board of the SNV, explains the reasons for
resigning from this function.

DANAS: Is your resignation some sort of "shock therapy" for political life in
Kosovo?

TRAJKOVIC: My resignation demonstrates that within the SNV of Kosovo and Metohija
there are disagreements and differences of opinion but it is not a reason for people
to become concerned because of what is going on in the SNV. We, too, have the right
to tactical, political moves which enable exiting from certain situations. The most
important thing is not to disagree regarding the fundamental principle that we must
cooperate with the international community. The disagreements exist only with
respect to the manner of that cooperation. Perhaps the statement of Father Sava
following my resignation led to confusion. He should know that I remain a member of
the SNV, which includes other members of the Serbian Resistance Movement, and that
our future work will not consist only of cooperation. What is more, the Movement and
I personally are a part of and one of the founders of the SNV.

Along with Bishop Artemije, I am one of the key people who worked on creating the
political platform which today is supported by the Serbian people, in Serbia, in
Yugoslavia, and throughout the world, and thus the dilemma whether the Movement and
I will continue to work on the unity of the Serbian people in the future is
unnecessary.

DANAS: How politically wise is it that a good tandem such as you and the Bishop is
breaking up at the moment when you have achieved international recognition and
support?

TRAJKOVIC: I don't why a difference of opinion would be qualified as breaking up. On
the contrary, I will do everything possible that our future joint political
activities reinvigorate and strengthen the position of the SNV and our political
platform. We have a need for instruments for the implementation of that platform.
The Movement should be that instrument. As we were not entirely successful in
promoting the SNV and our politics among the broad masses of Serbs in Kosovo and
Metohija, we must find another way to the realization of the goal we have defined. I
am certain that Bishop Artemije, for whom I have tremendous respect and whom I
support in all of his efforts, will also continue to work in this direction. Between
us there are some disagreements, which is quite natural as we are living in
difficult times. I have publicly stated before that there have been significant
differences of opinion between us, especially regarding entry into the Temporary
Administrative Council of Kosovo (PAVK).

DANAS: The decision regarding entry into the PAVK apparently not only intensified
the schism between Gracanica and Mitrovica, but created a split in the SNV of Kosovo
and Metohija itself?

TRAJKOVIC: I wouldn't call it a "split" but it did bring up some issues. The problem
is that we have not received any answers to our key questions because of which we
agreed to enter the PAVK. Not one of our requests was fulfilled. There are some
improvements with respect to the security situation but they are quite inadequate.
Our perspective is not in strengthening police and military forces in order to make
us safe. Despite such "security measures", from the time of our entry into the PAVK
to today, about 20 Serbs have been killed, several dozen injured. Several churches
and sacred edifices have been destroyed and dozens of Serbian houses have been
burned to the ground. Our security must be created much more essentially. First and
foremost, the international community must react to the behavior of Albanian
extremists with whom, regrettably, it is instead cooperating. If the international
community is not prepared to respond to this issue, we have nothing to gain in
working with such an international community. The issue of Serb returns is the best
example of this.

The international community, under pressure from Albanian extremists, has given up
on executing the key task which it took upon itself when our people entered the
PAVK, and that is the creation of conditions for return. How many people have
returned to date? The international community only wants to buy time so that on the
anniversary of the deployment of the international forces in Kosovo and Metohija it
will receive a positive grade with respect to the activities of its mission.

DANAS: Does this mean that you are advocating that the Serb observer withdraw from
the PAVK prior to the end of her term?

TRAJKOVIC: I will make every effort to encourage discussion as soon as possible
regarding the accomplishments of our observers, upon whom very little depends. Here
the key issue is the relation of the international community towards our requests.
Regrettably, we see confirmed what I have stated earlier: that the international
community is rotten plank which has spend in two months the authority and political
position which the Bishop and I with our associates spent five-six years in
building. Now that we have again created some kind of position, with honest
intentions and sincere wishes to help our people, it is again being spent. In
practical terms, we are the guinea pigs in the laboratory of the international
community and Slobodan Milosevic. One of the key reasons for entry into the PAVK was
the guarantee that a member of the clergy who is a representative of the State
Department and a Serb would come here to assist with regard to Serb returns. He came
to Kosovo, he stayed for a while, he left and he didn't come back. Everything is at
a standstill.

There is a contest going on now between north Kosovo and central Kosovo as to who
will be the first to bring back some Serbs. The Serbs in north Mitrovica cannot
accomplish this without the international community and the SNV of Kosovo and
Metohija has an advantage here, but the fact is that they gave us the project plan
for returns and proposed that this be a topic of discussion. The creation of the
international committee for the return of Serbs, without prior compromise among the
Serbs, will be without result and will only serve the function of gathering of
barren political points on both sides. Just as one has the impression that the SNV
of Kosovska Mitrovica is for Kosovo to the Ibar River, so we, too, have fallen into
the trap of accepting Kosovo as far at the Ibar. Kosovo and Metohija is,
nonetheless, one issue, and all of us have fallen into the trap of an institutional
division which today represents the key problem of the Serbian community, and which
Slobodan Milosevic is supporting and of which he is taking maximal advantage to
demonstrate his superiority.

Gracanica and Mitrovica must not remain "buried behind the barricades". We must step
out from behind them and find a compromise.

DANAS: How capable is the opposition of smoothing over the disagreements among the
Kosovo Serbs?

TRAJKOVIC: The opposition has not been successful in finding a compromise regarding
entry into the PAVK. A part of the opposition was indifferent and did not express an
opinion, leaving it up to us to decide. A part of the opposition was firmly opposed,
while a minority clearly upheld entry into the PAVK. There was no consensus;
consequently, no one has the right to be angry with us down here because we have
differences of opinion. I believe that the opposition needs to sit down and consider
how far we have gotten with respect to realizing the requests which the Serbs posed
upon entry into PAVK, although I would not be surprised at all if we were again left
to make the moves by ourselves.

DANAS: What is your opinion of the request that the SNV of Kosovska Mitrovica join
the united opposition and are there "technical obstacles" to this, considering the
stories that Oliver Ivanovic is a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia "on hold"
and that Gracanica has reprimanded him, among other things, for negotiations with
Nikola Sainovic lasting hours?

TRAJKOVIC: I know the stories but I have no evidence and no desire to intensify
conflicts. In order to join the opposition, a clear position with regard to the
government of Slobodan Milosevic as well as toward recent events in Serbia is
essential. I have nothing against the united opposition being joined by people who
will contribute to a better, more universal and competent, comprehension of the
Kosovo crisis. But before this is can occur, the opposition must talk to both
Mitrovica and Gracanica so that a joint decision can be made. However, it is
apparent that within the opposition itself there are differences of opinion and
interest with respect to this. With respect to the Serbian Resistance Movement, the
only political organization of the Kosovo Serbs, there is no dilemma.

But with respect to the SNV's, neither of which is a political organization, because
of the political engagement of their members the question poses itself whether
individual parties which already have representatives in the united opposition need
to have regional or local representatives, as well. If the mutual accusations of
Mitrovica and Gracanica continue and are transferred "higher", even greater damage
will result because individual parties will decide who supports whom. That is why a
compromise and agreement must be achieved.

* * * * *

KLA a creation of Milosevic

DANAS: What is your comment on the fact that the Serbian Government did not
introduce a law against terrorism during the period of the founding of the KLA,
which was claimed to be a terrorist organization, but that it is doing so now?

TRAJKOVIC: The KLA is one of the creations of Slobodan Milosevic, which he created
together with the international community. That is why he did not want to introduce
a law which would destroy what he himself had created and which was necessary for
him to continue ruling over this unfortunate people while sacrificing Kosovo. He
placated Hasim Thaci by turning over territory. Now, apparently, the barter of
territory is finished. The crisis is Kosovo does not represent a threat to him any
more but he is under pressure from internal, democratic forces in Serbia, and now he
is turning them into the enemy. That is why the law against terrorism will be
directed at the elimination of those forces which are endangering the regime. On the
other hand, if the international community, or that part of it which, regrettably,
participated in the parceling of Serbia, continues to seek territory by blackmail, I
am certain that they will give them everything, from Dedinje to Ada Ciganlija. But
they will try to find the traitors among us.

Just as Bishop Artemije and Momcilo Trajkovic have betrayed Kosovo, and Milosevic,
who has ruled for 12 years, who has signed the capitulation - has won in Kosovo. We
are talking about a regime which only cares about raw power and which is prepared to
sacrifice the entire nation to preserve it. It is high time for all of us to
understand this.

* * * * *

Activation of political parties

DANAS: You have emphasized that you opposed the moratorium on the work of political
parties in Kosovo and Metohija.

TRAJKOVIC: When creating the SNV that was the first point we agreed on. Why some of
our members approached certain parties, although they were entrusted with a very
important function on the basis of what the Movement and the Church were doing, as
well as our SNV, I do not wish to discuss. I disagree with this and it is one of the
reasons why I submitted by resignation. After the activation of certain parties in
Kosovo, I could not calmly watch how the only Serb political organization, the
Serbian Resistance Movement, which years ago, together with the Church and Bishop
Artemije, created that political platform, remained "frozen" and out of political
play. That is why, in agreement with Bishop Artemije, I submitted my resignation and
now in the field we are making an effort to reinvigorate our political work and
activate our supporters. If things go well, perhaps it is a good thing that we have
this pluralism. Perhaps this party activity, even though the Movement is not a
classic political party, will create the conditions for different opinions regarding
key issues to be heard, and for the creation of some sort of balance with respect to
a general plan for Kosovo and Metohija in some sort of compromise with the SNV of
Kosovska Mitrovica.

Translated by S. Lazovic (June 4, 2000)