The Statement of Bishop Artemije

New York, June 9, 2000

Kosovo has always been a mosaic of different ethnic communities, and
never a monolithic whole. I would like to stress once again that we have always advocated for a democratic Kosovo -- a multiethnic community with clearly recognized ethnic, cultural, and linguistic individualities. We asked for multiethncity, but not for a system of ethnic repression. We consistently asked for that over the past few years, and condemned every form of ethnically motivated violence -- whatever side it came from. We spoke in favor of those values over the years before as well as after the recent war, and we are asking for that today as well, at a time when Kosovo and Metohija has been an international protectorate for one year already. We have a moral right to demand an end to the politics of blatant ethnic discrimination which leads to legalization of ethnic cleansing, lawlesness, and to new conflicts in the Balkans. The international community has taken upon
itself the obligation to protect all the citizens of Kosovo. Therefore, the responsibility for the ethnic cleansing of Serbs and other non-Albanian ethnic communities from Kosovo lies squarely on the international community.

In light of that, we feel that additional guarantees of the Security Council are necessary in order to establish our most elementary human rights. That includes, first and foremost, our right to personal, property, and legal security, as well as the right to use our own language in every-day communication. It also includes our right to have self-governing organs in the territories and zones where we form the majority of the population. Those demands -- which we also raised in the past -- were regularly ignored by the international community. Moreover, the international community did not offer anything that would even make an attempt at giving us elementary physical protection, security, and the possibility to survive on the lands where we live. We are against gettoization, but we also reject the concept of ethnic
discrimination which gives all the rights to only one ethnic community in Kosovo -- the Albanian community -- at the expense of all the others, simply because they form the largest ethnic group.

Our situation is very specific, even though there are many potential analogies with other similar phenomena. In the name of the Serbian and
other non-Albanian communities, we request the consistent implementation
of Resolution 1244. We also request a special annex to Resolution 1244,
or an appropriate measure which would have the form of an annex, that
would provide additional guarantees of our rights and our possibilities
to have protection and equality in Kosovo and Metohija. We demand that
all questions regarding the status and future of Kosovo must be resolved
with the active participation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and
the Serbian ethnic community in Kosovo. In the name of protection of
the Serbian community, we demand the following:

1. A resolution of the Kosovo question and the autonomy of Kosovo within
the borders of Serbia and FRY, with the strictest adherence to, and
implementation of, every point in Resolution 1244.

2. Self-government for zones and enclaves with a Serbian majority, with
an administrative system that uses the Serbian language.

3. The protection of the Serbian Orthodox Holy Sites and the establishment of religious and cultural equality.

4. A judicial form of autonomy in self-governing areas, with judges and juries that are chosen from local communities, or appointed to those positions with the consent of the local communities.

5. The inclusion of a greater number of Serbs in the security system of Kosovo, with the right of the local Serbs who reside in self-governing
zones to maintain law and order as policemen along with KFOR in those
self-governing zones.

6. The formation of special anti-terrorist units which would consist of a proportional representation based on the ethnic make-up of each cultural zone and enclave. Their duty would be to stop the wave of terror that is currently persecuting all segments of the Serbian population, as well as other non-Albanian people, and even a portion of the Albanian population. Those units would, in cooperation with KFOR, have the mandate to confront terrorism as one of the greatest evils of our time.

7. Establishing strict deadlines, as well as creating a special commission made up of Serbian experts and UNMIK, about the modalities of self-government.


Kosovo Serb Delegation in the Security Council

UN Security Council Meeting, NYC June 9: From left to right: Dr. Rada Trajkovic (SNC), Obrad Kesic (ICN), Milan Pavlovic (Bishop's political advisor), Fr. Vasiliy Delic, Bishop Artemije, Fr. Dejan Krstic, UN Secretary General Kofi Anan, Randjel Nojkic (SNC), Fr. Iriney Dobryevich (Serbian Orthodox Church Reperesentative in Washington DC)