29 September 2006

Draft of New Constitution Accepted by Government

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Government adopts draft constitution
Belgrade, Sept 29, 2006 - Serbian Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Zoran Loncar said that the draft of the new constitution has been adopted early this morning.
Zoran Loncar
Photo: TanjugIn a statement to the Radio Television of Serbia, Loncar said that the draft version was adopted thanks to the constructive attitude of all political parties.Board meetings are expected to take place during the day and a parliament session is to be scheduled, he said.

27 September 2006

US Diplomat Discusses United States Position On Kosovo

US diplomat wants negotiated solution for Kosovo
September 26, 2006 6:56 AM
BELGRADE, Serbia-The United States supports a final solution for Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo by the end of this year, a senior U.S. diplomat said Tuesday, rejecting Serbian demands for more time to negotiate.
U.N.-mediated talks, which began in February, have stalled with both sides unwilling to compromise on their demands. Kosovo's leadership has demanded independence, while Serbia insists the province remain within its territory.
Though the United Nations wants to settle Kosovo's status by the end of the year, Serbian officials repeatedly have said no "artificial" deadlines should be set for Kosovo's final status.
"I have yet to hear any argument which demonstrates a delay would bring anything at all," said Daniel Fried, U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs.
"Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations since 1999. We cannot go back. The status quo is inherently unstable," Fried told reporters. "We should strive for a negotiated settlement this year."
Kosovo, where independence-seeking ethnic Albanians comprise 90 percent of the 2 million people, has been an international protectorate since 1999, when NATO bombing forced Serbia to stop its crackdown on the province's ethnic Albanian separatists and handed over authority there to a U.N. mission and the alliance. Since then Albanians have expelled hundereds of thousands Serbs and forced them to live in ghettos.
Fried also rejected Serbian officials' claims that independence for Kosovo would be set dangerous international precedent and trigger other secessionist movements in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe.
"Kosovo is not a precedent for anything," Fried said. "Its situation is unique, the solution whatever it is will be unique.
"I don't know what a decision on Kosovo will be, but it will not be a return to the past," Fried said.
While formally still part of Serbia, Kosovo could become an independent state if the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Russia and Italy, which are overseeing the U.N.-led talks, agree to redraw Serbia's borders and accept the Kosovo leadership's demand for sovereignty.
Any decision by the so-called Contact Group on Kosovo's future status must be approved by the U.N. Security Council. While the Western states have appeared to be inclined to grant independence, Serbian ally Russia has hinted it may use its veto power in the council to block a decision.
Fried also urged Serbia to arrest war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic, a precondition set by the European Union for the continuation of its pre-membership talks with the bloc.
"Mladic is an indicted war criminal and a coward who has been hiding behind the Serbian flag, which has a more noble history than that," Fried said. The wartime Bosnian Serb army commander was indicted in 1995 for genocide by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

PM Kostunica on the Importance of a New Constitution

New constitution to fully guarantee human and minority rights
Belgrade, Sept 27, 2006 – Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Zoran Loncar met today with Jozef Kasa, leader of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, to discuss execution of human and minority rights as well as position of Vojvodina in Serbia’s new constitution.
The officials agreed that it is of utmost importance that the new constitution fully guarantees the execution of human and minority rights and that it should provide enlarged autonomy for the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in line with European standards.

24 September 2006

Archbishop Succors His Flock in Kosovo

KiM Info Newsletter 24-09-06
Bishop Teodosije and Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes distribute aid to Serbs in Novo Brdo
Vicar Bishop Teodosije (Sibalic) of Lipljan, accompanied by Archimandrite Nektarios (Serfes) president of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund from the U.S.A., Protopresbyter Bogomir Stevic and Presbytera Svetlana Stevic, president of the NGO Majka Devet Jugovica (Mother of the Nine Jugovices), visited the Serbs in Novo Brdo municipality on Thursday with the blessing of Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren to distribute collected financial aid to the most at risk families
Bishop Teodosije and Fr. Nektarios with the Savic family, which includes seven children (click on photo to enlarge)
KIM Info-ServiceDecani, September 22, 2006

Vicar Bishop Teodosije (Sibalic) of Lipljan, accompanied by Archimandrite Nektarios (Serfes) president of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund from the U.S.A., Protopresbyter Bogomir Stevic and Presbytera Svetlana Stevic, president of the NGO Majka Devet Jugovica (Mother of the Nine Jugovices), visited the Serbs in Novo Brdo municipality on Thursday with the blessing of Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren to distribute collected financial aid to the most at risk families.

The NGO Majka Devet Jugovica has been taking care of these Serbs for the past four years, ensuring the regular activity of the soup kitchen in the village of Prekovci which was founded by the blessing of Bishop Artemije. Visoki Decani Monastery, through the Decani Monastery Relief Fund and other donors, regularly assists the work of this kitchen, and the visit of Archimandrite Nektarios to Kosovo and Metohija represented another opportunity to visit these Serbs who are surviving under very difficult social conditions and who are almost completely dependent on the help of the Church and the people of good will who assist them.

Bishop Teodosije, Fr. Nektarios, Fr. Bogomir, Presbytera Svetlana Stevic and Edward Tawillwith Serbs from Novo Brdo who use the services of the public kitchen in Prekovci(click on photo to enlarge)

The soup kitchen in Prekovci prepares meals for 300 people a day, including 85 children. Some of the people come to the kitchen themselves while others have food delivered to them by car. A large number of the users are elderly people who have no other possibility for obtaining food. In addition to running the public kitchen in Prekovci Presbytera Svetlana Stevic and the NGO Majka Devet Jugovica help numerous other Serbs, including handicapped children throughout Kosovo and Metohija.

Bishop Teodosije and Archimandrite Nektarios took advantage of this opportunity to distribute monetary aid to the forty or so children they managed to see yesterday, which was collected by Orthodox faithful in the U.S.A. through the Decani Monastery Relief Fund. Funds were also distributed to the elderly and the poorest families. Fr. Nektarios also undertook the responsibility of providing funds for regular schooling for the poorest children, as well as a part of the money provided to heal the sick and to purchase the most basic household appliances and other necessities.

Bishop Teodosije distributes monetary contributions collected by the Orthodox in the U.S.A.(click on photo to enlarge)


Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes arrived three days ago from the FYR of Macedonia where he visited Bishops Marko and Joakim and the newly elected Bishop David of the Archdiocese of Ochrid. In a number of public statements for Macedonian media Archimandrite Nektarios issued a strong protest against the unjust imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid, who is serving a second sentence in Idrizovo Prison in Skoplje. In addition to assistance for Kosovo and Metohija, Archimandrite Serfes, a cleric of the Greek Orthodox Church in the U.S.A., heads a special fund to collect aid for the faithful and the clergy of the martyred Archdiocese of Ochrid, which continues to suffer persecution by the Skoplje authorities and the unrecognized, so-called Macedonian Orthodox Church.

Presbytera Svetlana (left) and Fr. Nektarios in front of the vehicle used to transport food daily from the public kitchen in Prekovci to needy Serbs (click on photo to enlarge)

Bishop Teodosije serves liturgy in Koncul Monastery near Raska

KIM Info-ServiceKoncul, September 21, 2006

Yesterday, on the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, Bishop Teodosije and Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes, with the blessing of Bishop Artemije who is presently visiting the U.S.A., served holy hierarchal liturgy in Koncul Monastery near Raska with the assistance of the clergy and monks of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren.

Mother Katarina (Vujasin), the abbess of the monastery, and her sisterhood have restored monastic life there in recent years and made this holy shrine, located almost on the very administrative line of Raska and northern Kosovo, one of the strongest centers of monastic life on the territory of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren.

Archimandrite Nektarios with Serbs from Novo Brdo (click on photo to enlarge)

Decani Monastery Relief Fund Board of Directors and addresses for sending donations
The Decani Monastery Relief Fund was founded in 1998 with the blessing of Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren and Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver. The Fund is supported by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and has received the special blessing of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.
Decani Monastery Relief Fund Board of Directors:
1. Very Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Metropolitanate of Denver), President2. His Grace Bishop Teodosije (Sibalic) of Lipljan, abbot of Visoki Decani Monastery, First Vice-President3. Protosyngel Sava (Janjic), monk of Visoki Decani Monastery, Second Vice-President4. Mrs. Gioia Maria Frahm, Treasurer5. Louis Fletcher, Secretary and Legal Representative (attorney)
Mailing address for sending checks - new address as of June 2006
Decani Monastery Relief Fund Inc. USAc/o Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes2618 West Bannock StreetBoise, Idaho 83702 USA
The Decani Monastery Relief Fund is a non-profit, humanitarian organization registered in Idaho, U.S.A. All donations from contributors are transferred from a local bank in Boise, Idaho to the account of Visoki Decani Monastery. The Decani brotherhood distributes monetary donations and provides documentation of distributed donations to the President and other members of the Board of Directors. All donations are tax deductible and donors on their request may receive a tax deductible report from the DMRF.
Since the summer of 1998 to June 2006 a total of 363,632.94 U.S. dollars have been distributed to the poor and to monastic brotherhoods and sisterhoods in Kosovo and Metohija through the Decani Monastery Relief Fund. Documentation regarding donated amounts and donors are regularly updated on the website of Archimandrite Nektarios, the President of the Fund, at www.serfes.org
The latest report on donations from January to June 2006 is available at
In order to provide assistance for the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija, in addition to the help it receives from the Decani Monastery Relief Fund Visoki, Decani Monastery also maintains active cooperation in implementing humanitarian projects with International Orthodox Christian Charities based in Baltimore, U.S.A., as well as the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in Belgrade. In a number of smaller projects for Serb returnees, tractors, harvesters and other agricultural machines have been purchased that are necessary for the everyday life and work of returnees to Metohija.
The Board of Directors of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund and the administration of Visoki Decani Monastery would like to take this opportunity to once again express their sincere thanks to all donors and philanthropists with the prayer that God the Philanthropist reward their kindness with kindness.
Bishop Teodosije and Fr. Nektarios distributing aid to at risk Serbs (click on photo to enlarge)

Visit to the Savic family whose house was rebuilt three years ago by the Coordinating Center (click on photo to enlarge)

Canisters with food that is delivered by car daily to the most remote families (click on photo to enlarge)


Bishop Teodosije, Monk Petar (Rojevic) and UNMIK representative Louis Perezwith Serbs in Klina who receive regular assistance from Decani Monastery

President Tadic's Address At the UN

September 24, 2006
KiM Info Newsletter 24-09-06
Statement by H.E. Mr. Boris Tadic, President of the Republic of Serbia at the General Assembly of the United Nations

The autonomy offered by Serbia to Kosovo Albanians is broader than any currently enjoyed by any region or a federal unit in Europe. In our view, that is a sustainable, stable and long-standing solution that would open a new chapter in the long and difficult history of Serb-Albanian relations. Among other things, it would enable Kosovo to have direct access to international financial institutions, necessary for its economic recovery and development which are in the interest of both Serbia and the region as a whole.
President Tadic speaking at the UN General Assembly, Sep 21, 2006
New York, 21 September 2006
Madam President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
First of all, I would like to sincerely thank His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations for all the efforts he made during his very successful mandate during the time of enormous challenges facing our civilization. I would particularly like to single out his exceptional understanding of the problems that Southeastern Europe has faced and is still facing.Allow me also to congratulate the new President of the General Assembly, Her Excellency Madam Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khaifa for her election.At the same time, I warmly welcome the accession of Montenegro to the UN membership, as a new Member State.I am addressing you today, ladies and gentlemen, as the President of the Republic of Serbia, an independent and democratic State in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans.I would like to assure you that Serbia seeks to make a significant contribution to this part of the world - in terms of fast democratization and respect for human rights, economic development, the security of the entire Balkans and the stability of Southeastern Europe. Instead of being a place where problems are created, Serbia and the Balkans must become a place where problems are resolved in a peaceful manner.Serbia is simultaneously both a new and an old State - new, because its flag is flying for the first time in the front of this building and old, because already in 1835 its Constitution guaranteed freedom to any man setting a foot on its soil; new, because it is being created against the backdrop of specific challenges of the 21st century; old, because it is created in accordance with the very principles it helped to establish and embody in the Charter of the United Nations in 1945.Today, Serbia is an active member of the United Nations. We believe that the decisions made under its auspices have to form the basis of stability and prosperity for all States and peoples in Southeastern Europe.
Madam President, Excellencies,Serbia believes in shared and prosperous future of the Balkans. It is important to stress that none of the current problems in the Balkans can be viewed or resolved in isolation without taking into account our common history and a vision of our shared future. Hence, in dealing with any problem in the Balkans it is necessary to hear and give weight to the opinions of all countries in the region.I trust that a better future for our part of the world is based upon three major principles:- democracy, as a guarantor of human freedom and basis of economic progress;- security of each State as a precondition for the security of the entire Balkans;- regional stability as a vital factor of global peace and prosperity.All the challenges we face should be tackled in accordance with the above principles. In that spirit, Serbia is sincerely committed to the territorial integrity of all Balkan States and the preservation of their existing borders. In the same vein, the' integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on the Dayton Accords that may be changed by its citizens only by consensus of all three constituent peoples, is an essential factor of stability and further democratization of the region. By the same token, the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia is in the interest of democracy and prosperity of the entire Southeastern Europe.Strengthening of regional cooperation is Serbia's priority. That is why we believe that the prosperity of all neighboring countries is in the interest of Serbia. We are aware that the Balkan countries can make progress and achieve their primary foreign policy objective - EU and Euro-Atlantic membership - only through cooperation.In this regional framework, we also wish to actively cooperate in the fight against organized crime, corruption and international terrorism. As a concrete contribution to this goal, at my initiative, a meeting of the Heads of State of Southeastern Europe will soon be held in Belgrade aimed at promoting communication and strengthening cooperation in the fight against these threats to life and prosperity of all of us.Serbia sees the Balkans as a common space in which it is possible to achieve political and social stability. The achievement of this should be an important contribution to the efforts conducive to full democratization and peace. It is based on the principle of shared responsibility of all Balkan States. That is why none of the Balkan States must feel as a loser as we move closer towards joint European future.
Kosovo and Metohija is currently under UN interim administration. The settlement of Kosovo's future status is one of the most difficult problems facing Serbia, Balkan countries and the international community, as well as Albanian and Serbian people in Kosovo. That is why we believe that this problem should be addressed in a strategic and substantive manner in order to arrive at a solution which will take into account the full complexity of the relations in the Balkans. That poses certain requirements: to face the past, to find sustainable solutions for the present and open up avenues of cooperation in the future. But of course this does not imply that the Kosovo case is a unique case, different from all others. On the contrary, the Kosovo problem has to be approached on the basis of recognized principles of international law and universal democratic values. If we fail to do so, we shall not be able to escape the vicious circle of old animosities and mutual recriminations.What it seeks for itself, Serbia seeks for the Province, too - promotion of democracy, respect of human rights, economic prosperity, security. In order to contribute to that goal, Serbia has decided to ensure power supply this winter from its own resources to Kosovo's population.It is in the interest of Serbia that Kosovo be stable, prosperous, economically viable, multi-ethnic and democratic. Before determining its future status, it is of crucial importance to establish the rule of law and put an end to seven years of discrimination of the Serbs as well as of other non-Albanian communities, who suffer as the target of extremism and terrorism.The autonomy offered by Serbia to Kosovo Albanians is broader than any currently enjoyed by any region or a federal unit in Europe. In our view, that is a sustainable, stable and long-standing solution that would open a new chapter in the long and difficult history of Serb-Albanian relations. Among other things, it would enable Kosovo to have direct access to international financial institutions, necessary for its economic recovery and development which are in the interest of both Serbia and the region as a whole.Madam President,Serbia is genuinely committed to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, technological advancement, economic prosperity. Large-scale poverty which unfortunately still prevails, deeply affects human dignity.Today, on 21 September, we observe the International Day of Peace. It is important that it be observed each year in an effort to put an end to wars and violence in the world. Many crises have not been resolved yet, some continue to escalate dangerously while new challenges threaten to generate new conflicts, destruction and humanitarian catastrophes.An important aspect of preserving peace and security is efficient and timely deployment of UN peace-keeping forces. Serbia supports the efforts towards strengthening the effectiveness of UN peace-keeping, and my country is ready to make an active contribution to these operations. The mandate of peace-keeping operations is today more diverse than it used to be and includes conflict-prevention, peace-keeping, post-conflict reconstruction and assistance to long-term and sustainable development.Following several years of conflicts, the Balkans is slowly but surely turning into a zone of good-neighborliness and cooperation. Serbia is prepared to deal with the burden of its recent past in the interest of its Balkan and European future. The people of Serbia started doing this successfully and democratically in 2000 when they removed the regime largely responsible for the hardships that befell Serbia and the Balkans in the last decade of the 20th century.Precisely for that reason, we are firmly committed to successful completion of our cooperation with The Hague Tribunal. This is not merely our international obligation, it is also a question of moral values.Madam President, Excellencies,As a responsible State and a part of the international community, Serbia is truly devoted to honoring the Charter of the United Nations and building democracy in the world.Therefore, Serbia is firmly committed to making its full contribution to the strengthening of the role and mandate of United Nations, as well as to multilateral dialogue leading to equal cooperation among States and peoples, to the respect of human rights and freedoms, to tolerance and mutual respect.Thank you, Madam President.

PM counts on Russia's Veto

Errata: In posts past I mentioned that China was one of the five permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations. The five members are Italy, Russia, United States, Britain and France. There are ten other members, but they serve two year terms. The members of the Contact Group are Germany, Italy, Russia, United States, Britain and France. I apologise for any inconveniences. (xltw)

News Story
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Serbia PM counts on Russia's veto of Kosovo independence
September 21, 2006 8:14 AM
BELGRADE, Serbia-The Serbian prime minister said Thursday he is counting on Russia to prevent the possible independence of the province of Kosovo.
Russia and its President Vladimir Putin "in this historic moment for Serbia have a principal stand ... that there can be no unilateral changes of borders of sovereign states," Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said.
While formally still part of Serbia, Kosovo may become an independent state if the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Russia and Italy, which are overseeing U.N.-mediated talks on its future, agree to redraw Serbia's borders and accept the Kosovo Albanians' demand for sovereignty.
Once the so-called Contact Group reaches a conclusion on Kosovo's future status, a decision needs to be approved by the U.N. Security Council, where Russia has veto power. The Western states appear to be inclined to grant Kosovo's independence.
Kostunica, whose government rejects Kosovo's secession, said that Russia supports "an agreement over Kosovo that will be accepted by both sides and approved in the Security Council."
Kosovo, where independence-seeking ethnic Albanians comprise 90 percent of the 2 million people, has been an international protectorate since 1999 when NATO bombing forced Serbia to stop its crackdown on the province's ethnic Albanian separatists and hand over authority there to a U.N. mission and the alliance.
U.N.-mediated negotiations, which began in February, aim to settle the province's status by the end of the year.
Putin has repeatedly said that independence for Kosovo could set a precedent for other breakaway regions such as its own province of Chechnya. Russia is a traditional Serb ally.
"Serbia will know to remember and appreciate this Russian support for the preservation of justice, stability and peace," Kostunica said.
Kostunica also urged a quick adoption of a new Serbian constitution that would refer to Kosovo as an "integral" part of Serbia, whatever the outcome of the negotiations with the Kosovo Albanians.
Kostunica, a moderate nationalist, said that the adoption of the new constitution "would prevent those who want to grab Kosovo from us."

2006 Not A Certain Deadline

End of 2006 is not ultimate deadline for
solution to Kosovo’s future status
Belgrade, Sept 22, 2006 – Coordinator of the Serbian team for the future status of Kosovo-Metohija Slobodan Samardzic said today that the end of 2006 in not an ultimate deadline for the solution to Kosovo’s future status.
Samardzic told Beta that the statement from the Contact Group’s last meeting in New York expresses an internal compromise after an obvious crisis in this six-member body that emerged after some members tried to solve the Kosovo problem hastily. A hasty solution would mean to come up with an imposed solution in the form of some kind of independence for Kosovo-Metohija by the end of this year, he explained. According to Samardzic, it is obvious that there was a disagreement within the Contact Group, which resulted in a new agreement on “returning to original principles of the Contact Group”.He said that at one point, the one-sided, hasty and imposed solution was favoured, but that things have gone back to a path that promises a form of real negotiating. There is a deadline for the end of the negotiations, but it has not been given as an ultimatum like Marti Ahtisaari and some of Contact Group members said on some occasions. Samardzic said that the position of the Contact Group is “a step forward to reaching a solution to the problem”. In any case, Belgrade and Pristina have to reach an agreement. It will take some time, but it is important to come to an agreement that will guarantee stability and durability of the solution. I think that Russia's position in the Contact Group and China's official stance contributed to that, Samardzic said. Samardzic stated that Belgrade expected Martti Ahtisaari to be given the green light for working out a proposal for the final status of Kosovo, and the media mentioned November as the deadline perhaps because it coincides with the end of the UN envoy's mandate. Ahtisaari will probably give some proposal by that time, which does not mean that it will be accepted by the end of the year, Samardzic added. He said that it will be difficult to reconcile all guidelines given by the Contact Group for the resolution of the status - that it guarantees regional stability, to be acceptable to the people of Kosovo and to preserve Kosovo-Metohija as a multi-ethnic society.We expect that Ahtisaari will draft a proposal and then negotiations will begin. I hope that that process will be conducted much more objectively than so far and that after Ahtisaari's mandate expires they will be conducted by someone else because Ahtisaari has not achieved any success in the negotiations, Samardzic pointed out.He concluded that it is not known when the talks will be continued and underlined that it is Belgrade's position that talks on decentralisation should be continued, as well as on other questions discussed so far.

21 September 2006

Serbia Appreciates Russia's Support

Serbia appreciates Russia's support and advocacy for preservation of law, stability, peace

Belgrade, Sept 21, 2006 – Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said today that Serbia will know how to appreciate Russia's support in this historically decisive moment when Kosovo issue is to be solved, adding that Serbia should adopt a new constitution as soon as possible.
Photo: TanjugIn a statement to the Tanjug news agency, Kostunica stressed that Russia and its President Vladimir Putin are advocating that the principles of international law must be respected, that there can be no one-sided altering of borders of any sovereign state and that only a compromise solution to Kosovo issue, approved by both sides, can be accepted by the Security Council.He pointed out that Serbia will know how to appreciate and remember Russia's support and advocacy for the preservation of law, stability and peace.We must defend Kosovo-Metohija not only through international law, but also through Serbian legislation and that can be done if we adopt a new constitution, said the Serbian Prime Minister."I believe that all relevant political factors in the country will put the overall state and national interest above all individual issues and that we will promptly reach agreement on the constitution because otherwise we would be acting in the interest of those wishing to take Kosovo away from us", concluded Kostunica.

20 September 2006

Serbia Requests International Community Fulfill Its Mandated Duty

International community must immediately stop violence against Serbs in Kosovo
Belgrade, Sept 20, 2006 - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica requested late yesterday on behalf of the Serbian government that UN Special Envoy for future status of Kosovo-Metohija Martti Ahtisaari take all necessary measures to restrain the continuous terrorist rampage of ethnic Albanian separatists against the Serbs.
I warn that it is absolutely unacceptable that Serbs are being killed and that ethnic Albanian separatists publicly threaten violence and blackmail the international community, Kostunica said on the occasion of the most recent attack against the Serbs – a bomb attack on the Klina apartment of the four-member Pavlovic family who are returnees. That is definitely terrorism and the separatists have presented it as the only argument in favor of the independent Kosovo before the entire world. The international community must immediately stop violence or on the contrary it will become an accomplice in the crimes against Serbs, the Serbian Prime Minister warned.

19 September 2006

Fourth Attack In As Many Days

This is the fourth bombing incident in as many days. My personal opinion is that the first three were attempts to implicate Serbia in an infraction. I believe that this most recent attempt is to try and scare the remaining Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija from remaining as Martti Ahtisaari prepares the first draft of his suggestion to the Security Council. One would be surprised, given his recent behaviour and his past, whether he will be able to suggest a fair resolution that would maintain Serbia's territory integrity.
But all believers should pray especially now as these days are going to be very decisive for Serbia and for those who support her, and for those who oppose her.

KiM Info Newsletter 20-09-06
Four Serbs wounded in bomb attack in Klina
KIM Info ServiceKlina, September 19, 2006

This evening at about 7:30 p.m. unknown attackers tossed an explosive device at the house of the Serb returnee family of Pavlovic in Klina.

International sources have confirmed the attack occurred to the KIM Info Service. Four Serbs were wounded in the attack, two men and two women. The wounded have been transferrred to the hospital in Pec for medical treatment.

Grenade lobbed at apartment of Pavlovic family
KLINA, September 19 (Tanjug)
Four members of the Pavlovic family were wounded this evening in a hand grenade explosion that an unknown person lobbed into their apartment in Klina, Serb sources from Kosovo and Metohija told Tanjug. The news has been unofficially confirmed by Kosovo police.
The wounded are Milorad Pavlovic, his wife Rada, his wife Jela and a cousin, Dragica Raicevic.They have been transferred to hospital in Pec and according to initial reports are not in life threatening danger.
The attack occurred at 7:30 p.m. The grenade was tossed through a window on the Pavlovic's terrace. An investigation is in progress. The Pavlovic family is one of approximately 10 returnee families in Klina. On June 19 Dragan Popovic, also a returnee, was murdered. The perpetrator of that murder was never found.

No One Has The Right To Threaten Violence; But To Defend Oneself?

No one has the right to threaten violence and terror
Belgrade, Sept 19, 2006 - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said late yesterday that the statement that ethnic Albanian separatists will use violence if the international community does not impose to Serbia a solution for Kosovo-Metohija directly harms not only the negotiations on the status of Kosovo, but the regional peace as well.
Kostunica said in a statement to the Beta news agency that no one has the right to threaten violence and terror and that it is necessary that the international community reacts immediately to this, so far, the bluntest threat. According to the Serbian prime minister, it has never occurred so far that the international community gives way to public blackmails and threats with violence. Serbia wants peace and talks, and it is the duty of the international community to immediately stop the threats of the ethnic Albanian separatists, the Serbian prime minister said.

18 September 2006

Ahtisaari Wants To Suggest A Solution For Kosovo

Hua: Ahtisaari already working on proposal
18 September 2006 10:20 -> 16:37 Source: B92, Beta
VIENNA, HILANDAR -- Martti Ahtisaari has been instructed by the Contact Group to start work on the Kosovo final status proposal.
UN Special Envoy’s spokeswoman Hua Jiang told Beta in a phone interview that the Contact Group has “in one of the recent meetings already instructed Ahtisaari to start work on the Kosovo status proposal”.Hua would not specify which meeting she had in mind. NATO foreign ministers, Contact Group and the UN Security Council will discuss the future Kosovo status this week. All the meetings will be held in New York, during the UN General Assembly session, to be attended by Serbian President Boris Tadić and Foreign Minister Vuk Drašković. Russian ambassador to Serbia Alexandar Alexeyev said Russia will “confirm its position” on Kosovo status at the forthcoming Contact Group and UN Security Council meetings. “We wish to confirm our position in these meetings, in line with international law and the principles of European stability”, Alexeyev told Beta. Earlier, Financial Times reported Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying Russia does not rule out using its veto powers at the UN Security Council in case a Kosovo independence resolution was put up for a vote. Reuters reports that UN chief negotiation Martti Ahtisaari will seek to modify the way in which negotiations have been conducted so far. He will also ask for a green light to suggest the final status solution himself. 15 to 20 million, 6 to 7 years

PM Attends Divine Liturgy at Chilandar

Kostunica attends consecration of the Church of the Holy Archdeacon Stefan near Hilandar
Belgrade/Hilandar, Sept 18, 2006 – Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica who is staying in Hilandar monastery, attended today the morning liturgy in the monastery and the consecration of the Church of the Holy Archdeacon Stefan, near Hilandar.
Hilandar monasteryKostunica thus wraps up his visit to Hilandar, following which he will travel to Thessaloniki, where he will meet with Mayor of Thessaloniki Vassilios Papageorgopoulos to discuss the renovation of Hilandar, as well as cooperation between the businesspeople of Serbia and Thessaloniki.The delegation in Hilandar with Kostunica includes Metropolitan Amfilohije, academician Matija Beckovic, advisor to the Serbian Prime Minister Vladeta Jankovic, Serbian Minister of Interior Dragan Jocic and Serbian Minister of Capital Investment Velimir Ilic.
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Serbia PM pledges to military never to give up Kosovo
September 16, 2006 1:51 PM
BELGRADE, Serbia-Serbia's prime minister pledged at a military parade Saturday that his country will never give up Kosovo, describing the province as "the heart" of Serbia and vowing to prevent its possible secession.
Vojislav Kostunica spoke as fighter jets flew low over downtown Belgrade, where virtually the entire state leadership attended a grandiose graduation ceremony for about 200 cadets from Serbia's Military Academy.
Kostunica did not threaten the use of force, but said that "Kosovo has always been and forever will remain within Serbia."
Kosovo has been an international protectorate since 1999 when NATO bombing forced Serbia to stop its crackdown on the province's ethnic Albanian separatists and hand over authority there to a U.N. mission and the alliance.
U.N.-mediated negotiations, which began in February, aim to settle the province's status by the end of the year.
While formally still part of Serbia, Kosovo may become an independent state if the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Russia and Italy, which are overseeing the talks, agree to a redrawing of borders and accept the ethnic Albanians' demand for sovereignty.
A U.N. mediator warned Friday the talks were not making progress, raising the prospect of the U.N. Security Council possibly imposing a solution.
Reiterating Belgrade's offer that Kosovo should enjoy broad autonomy within Serbia's borders, Kostunica said, "We should all build a democratic Serbia together with all who live in Kosovo."
The province's population of 2 million is 90 percent ethnic Albanian. About 100,000 Serbs still live there, down from more 300,000 before the war.
"Serbia will defend Kosovo with all democratic and legal means," Kostunica said at the first military parade in the Serbian capital in nearly 30 years.
President Boris Tadic, considered moderate and pro-Western, also gave a speech, saying that Serbia's army is a "factor of stability in the region and beyond."
In a reference to disastrous military campaigns under former leader Slobodan Milosevic during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, Tadic vowed that the "army will never again be misused."
He also hinted at possible participation of the military in multinational deployments abroad.
"There is a need for security in various parts of the planet ... Serbia can help contribute to securing peace, which will also contribute to the credibility of our country."
He did not elaborate on the possible deployment of Serb forces, but added "the world has profoundly changed since the terrorist attacks in 2001" in the United States. "We must all adapt to that."

17 September 2006

Latest Round of Talks End In Stalemate

Kosovo talks near dead
September 15, 2006 1:37 PM
VIENNA, Austria-U.N.-brokered talks on the future status of Kosovo are in jeopardy, the deputy United Nations envoy warned Friday at negotiations clouded by a car bombing that targeted the interior minister of the ethnically divided province.
"We're approaching a moment where by talking alone we won't accomplish the goal," said Albert Rohan, the U.N. official overseeing Friday's latest round of talks in Vienna. "We could talk for another 10 years and not change anything."
Serbian and ethnic Albanian negotiators discussed how to decentralize power in Kosovo to give its minority Serbs more of a voice. But the session, like the eight others that have preceded it, ended in a stalemate, increasing the likelihood that an impatient U.N. Security Council will impose a solution by declaring Kosovo independent.
That could trigger a showdown with Serbia, which considers the province the heart of its ancient homeland and insists it should remain within Serbian territory.
Martti Ahtisaari, the chief U.N. envoy for Kosovo, heads to New York this weekend to brief key members of the Security Council on the progress, or lack of it, in talks that began in February to reach a negotiated settlement.
"The prospect of progress in these talks is increasingly slim," Rohan told reporters.
Asked when he would be prepared to call it quits, Rohan was evasive, but he conceded it was increasingly unlikely that a solution would be reached by the end of the year, the target when the negotiations began.
"We cannot extend this infinito," he said.
Underscoring the tensions and lawlessness that still plague Kosovo, a bomb exploded beneath the Kosovo interior minister's car in the province early Friday, but did not injure him. It was not clear whether the attack was meant to kill the recently appointed minister, Fatmir Rexhepi, or whether it was carried out by Serbs or by Rexhepi's ethnic Albanian political opponents.
Kosovo's parliament speaker, Kole Berisha, said he considered the explosion directed against the talks to undermine stability at a decisive moment.
Deputy Prime Minister Lufti Haziri, who led the ethnic Albanian delegation in Friday's round of negotiations, condemned the bombing but played down its impact on the talks.
The United Nations has administered Kosovo since 1999, when NATO air strikes drove out Serb troops who had carried out a bloody crackdown on its independence-seeking Albanian population, which accounts for 90 percent of Kosovo's 2 million population.
About 16,000 NATO-led peacekeepers still patrol the province.
U.S. and EU envoys who visited Kosovo this week pressed ethnic Albanian leaders to provide more guarantees that the Serb minority would be protected from violence and discrimination.
Lawmakers in Belgrade this week decreed that Serbia's new constitution will refer to Kosovo as a "historic and integral part of Serbia", even if the U.N. talks result in Kosovo's independence.
Rohan said the two sides deadlocked over how many new municipalities should be set up to give Serbs more influence in day-to-day affairs in areas where they form a local majority.
An estimated 200,000 Serbs fled Kosovo after the 1988-99 conflict, fearing revenge attacks. Today, only about 100,000 remain, most living in small, isolated enclaves scattered around the province.
Friday's talks bogged down over Kosovska Mitrovica, a divided city that was a flashpoint during the war and continues to breed interethnic strife. The Albanians said they resisted Serb efforts to incorporate the mostly Serb north of the town into a new district and to create nearly a dozen new municipalities that Haziri insisted would not be financially sustainable.
"We have reached our limits," Haziri said.
Slobodan Samardzic, leading the Serb delegation, said Kosovo's Serbs were intent on gaining more freedom of movement and guarantees that they would not be persecuted.
"We are faced with daily infringements of human rights," he said.

Kostunica: Hilandar Monastary asserts Kosovo-Metohija Part of Serbia According to God's and the laws of man that adhere to God's Justice

Hilandar most appropriate place to reiterate that Kosovo is heart of Serbia
Hilandar, Sept 17, 2006 – Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said today during his visit to Hilandar monastery that there is no better place than Hilandar to reiterate that Kosovo-Metohija is the heart of Serbia.
“It is because of what Kosovo-Metohija has meant throughout our history that Hilandar is today the most appropriate place for us to feel the truth in the words that Kosovo-Metohija is the very heart of Serbia and the soul of the Serbian people”, said the Prime Minister.He said that Serbia knows how to guard and cherish its values and Hilandar is one of the most beautiful pearls the Serbian people possess.Just as there is not a single Serb who does not know what Kosovo represents to Serbia, there is also no Serb ignorant of what Hilandar means to Serbia, he stressed.According to Kostunica, Hilandar is also the most appropriate place to reiterate and reconfirm that something that belongs to Serbia cannot belong to somebody else and in line with the law – both man’s and God’s – Kosovo will remain a part of Serbia.He reiterated that Serbia abides by justice and therefore claims the right to Kosovo which is why the province cannot be severed or seized from it and Serbia and its authorities will preserve Kosovo without resorting to forceful means.“It is our will, our mission to preserve what is ours and to keep building and the best example of this is Hilandar – we have preserved it, we will reconstruct it and the same goes for all that belongs to us, like Kosovo does”, stressed Kostunica.He explained that he also visited the monastery to see for himself what has been done to repair the damage and what can be done in the future, adding that the state will keep setting aside €1 million a year for the monastery’s reconstruction.The Serbian Prime Minister visited Hilandar together with Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Amfilohije, academicians Matija Beckovic and Vladeta Jerotic and ministers of interior and capital investment, Dragan Jocic and Velimir Ilic respectively.Head of the monastery Father Metodije welcomed the Prime Minister and said that Kostunica is interested not only in the physical reconstruction of the monastery, but the spiritual as well.Chief architect Mirko Kovacevic said that according to his estimates, the reconstruction of the monastery will cost between €15 and €20 million and that it will take up to 6-7 years to complete.According to Kovacevic, on the outside the monastery will look the same as before the fire. This year the Sinodik dormitory stretching over 800 square metres and dating back from 1814 was reconstructed. The works will now be performed on a 2,000 square metre dormitory dating from 1821.
This is Kostunica’s fifth visit to the monastery which is on UNESCO’s list of Cultural Heritage. He visited the monastery immediately after the fire on May 26, 2004. Last November Kostunica also visited the monastery on the last day of his official visit to Greece. The monastery’s patrons and builders were St. Simeon and St. Sava Nemanjic.Kostunica’s first visit to Hilandar took place in 1986. He visited it again as the President of Yugoslavia in 2000.The Hilandar monastery, over eight centuries old, was badly damaged in the fire in 2004 when more than half of its facilities were destroyed. Among them were three dormitories, one dating from 1640 and the other two from the 1820s.Immediately after the fire, the Serbian government decided to set aside €1.5 million a year in the course of the following nine years and thus collect €10 million for the monastery’s reconstruction.

14 September 2006

Rueker Pushes For Quick Solution

New Kosovo chief urges sides to keep up momentum
September 13, 2006 7:16 PM
UNITED NATIONS-The new U.N. administrator for Kosovo on Thursday backed a timeline that seeks to determine Kosovo's future by the end of the year, and urged the sides not to lose momentum despite slow progress between Kosovars and ethnic Serbs over the fate of the tiny province.
Joachim Ruecker warned that the lack of a solution could lead to frustration that would only worsen tensions between the two sides. U.N. mediators have been trying to find a compromise between the demand of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority for independence, and the demand of the Serb minority and Belgrade that Serbia retain some control over the province.
"Delay will not bring reconciliation," Ruecker told the U.N. Security Council. "Delay will not bring economic recovery. Delay will only prolong the existing tensions in Kosovo society which will feed frustration and make the new start, when it does come, even harder to get right."
The council was meeting to discuss a recent report from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan which said there had been some progress in implementing a raft of benchmarks for Kosovo, including establishing democratic institutions, protecting minorities and promoting economic development.
Yet significant problems remain, including the issue of minority rights, Ruecker said. In August, Kosovo's Serbs boycotted the negotiations, saying they would not accept being treated as a minority group.
Serbia's envoy Sanda Raskovic-Ivic painted a dire picture of the plight of ethnic Serbians there, saying they can be killed simply for speaking their own language. She said there had been dozens of attacks on ethnic Serbs and warned that it was unwise to go too fast on negotiations.
"Impatience and haste cannot contribute to a sustainable solution to the issue of Kosovo ... or to peace and stability in the region," Raskovic-Ivic told the council.
Even before her remarks, Ruecker said it was simply wrong to portray Kosovo as unsafe for ethnic Serbs, and that doing so was not helpful.
Kosovo's ethnic Albanians took up arms in 1998 to secede from Serbia, triggering a brutal government crackdown that led to NATO military intervention in 1999. The intervention eventually forced Serbia to hand over authority of Kosovo to a temporary U.N. administration and NATO peacekeepers.
Unresolved issues have already been discussed between the ethnic Albanian and Serbian delegations in U.N.-mediated talks held last month in Vienna, Austria, but no agreements have been reached.
The next round of talks will be held Friday in Vienna, Austria, and foreign ministers from several nations planned to meet during the annual U.N. General Assembly session in New York next week on Kosovo as well.

Parliament Puts New Clause In Preamble of Constitution

Government adopts Conclusion on amending preamble of new constitution
Belgrade, Sept 14, 2006 - The Serbian government adopted at its session today the Conclusion on amending the Proposal of the new constitution of Serbia and forwarded it to Serbian parliament.
In line with the decision of Serbian parliament that the new constitution of Serbia should be brought as soon as possible, which will confirm that the Province of Kosovo-Metohija is an integral part of Serbia, the government adopted the Conclusion according to which the preamble of the new constitution should be supplemented with the following paragraph:
"The Province of Kosovo-Metohija is an integral part of Serbia and has substantial autonomy within the sovereign Serbian state. Such a position of the Province imposes an obligation on all state bodies to advocate and protect Serbia's state interests in Kosovo-Metohija in all internal and external political relations."

Government fulfills obligation arising from parliament’s decision on Kosovo
Belgrade, Sept 14, 2006 – Serbian Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Zoran Loncar said that the government adopted today the Conclusion on amending the Proposal of the new Serbian constitution, (see above) following parliament’s decision that the new constitution should be brought as soon as possible to confirm Kosovo-Metohija’s status as an integral part of Serbia.
Zoran LoncarLoncar told a press conference after the session that this amendment refers to the 2004 draft of the constitution and expressed assurances that it will strengthen the Serbian position in further negotiations on Kosovo-Metohija, as it will bear witness to the full political unity of Belgrade authorities on that issue. He stressed that the government will do everything that is necessary for the constitution to be adopted quickly so that the Serbian people could vote in a referendum on Kosovo-Metohija as part of the Serbian state. Loncar said that the government also adopted a Conclusion on the adoption of an agreement on establishing special parallel relations between the Republic of Serbia and Republika Srpska, thus showing full commitment to respect and implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords. Serbia, being one of the signatories, is obliged to implement this agreement fully, the Minister explained and announced that the agreement will be signed by Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Serbian President Boris Tadic on September 26 in Banjaluka, when a number of other bilateral agreements will be signed as well. According to Loncar, the body in charge of implementation of this agreement will be the Council for implementation of the agreement, whose members will be signatories of the agreement, i.e. the two presidents and prime ministers.
Predrag Bubalo
Serbian Minister of Economy Predrag Bubalo said that the government today adopted two decisions referring to further privatisation process in oil company NIS, namely the Decision on giving consent to the initiative for privatisation in NIS’ oil and oil derivatives research, production, processing and distribution company and the Decision on percentage that will be sold off, that is, 25% of NIS. He also said that a Decision to sell state capital in Majevica Holding from Backa Palanka was adopted today. Speaking on special relations with Republika Srpska, Bubalo said that the programme of the leasing of Serbian agricultural machines has already been harmonised and recalled that on their last visit to Banjaluka, Serbian government’s delegation signed an agreement on delivery of 300 IMT’s tractors to Republika Srpska. Bubalo announced that first tractors will be delivered on September 26 and added that many businesspeople will accompany the state delegation on their next visit to Banjaluka. According to Bubalo, representatives of Telekom Srbija, Komercijalna Banka and Dunav Osiguranje will travel to Banjaluka. He said that an Agreement on social insurance between Serbia and Montenegro was adopted today as well as a Conclusion related to the Information on US government’s donation aimed at doing a feasibility study for building facilities for combined production of heat and electrical energy. The Minister explained that this facility with power of between 100 and 150 megawatts would be erected in the vicinity of Nis and would operate on natural gas. He also recalled that a gas pipe line is being constructed in cooperation with Gazprom from the Bulgarian border to Nis, where this energy plant will be built.

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13 September 2006

How You Can Help Serbia

Is your Congressional Representative or Senator on the Serbian Caucus?
Serbian Unity Congress
March 29, 2006

If your Senator or Representative has not joined the Congressional Serbian Caucus, your job as a Serbian American is to try to convince him or her to become one. To determine if your Senator or Representative is not on the Caucus, you can contact the SUC Washington office (202) 469-8643 and ask for assistance.
a. Send letters, faxes and be sure to follow up with phone calls to the member urging him or her to become a member by contacting Brian Fauls from Rep. Burton's office at telephone: (202) 225-2276 (email: (brian.fauls2@mail.house.gov). Ask your family, friends, and kumovi to do the same. If you need help in writing the letter, please contact the SUC Washington office (202) 469-8643, and we will provide you with one to help you draft the letter. You can call your Representative at the U.S. capital switchboard: (800) 839-5276.
b. Call your Senator and your Congressman's office and ask for a meeting. If you are meeting in your local district, you may only get to meet with an aide, this is still very valuable. Phone numbers will be in the front of your phone book, on the web at www.congress.org or you can call the U.S. capital switchboard at (800) 839-5276 or (202) 224-3121 or call the SUC Washington office (202) 469-8643 for assistance.
Face to face meetings will have the biggest impact, and it would be great is if you can take along several people who live in the same Congressional district. Community leaders – priests, parish leaders, heads of Serbian organizations, etc. -- are particularly good for these meetings, although every voter in the district is important.
c. One of you will host the meeting; this probably means you. You will open and close the conversation with the Senator, Congressman or Congressional aide, and all others in your group will have defined speaking parts that are no more than two minutes.
You can meet with a Senator, Representative or an office aide either in Washington D.C. during the 2006 Serb Day in Washington event this June or in a local office. These tips should be helpful.
1. Make a list of what you want to say to the Scheduler and have it with you when you make the call. It may sound silly, and you may never even look at it, but it will definitely boost your confidence. They will ask for the date, of course, what you would like to speak to the Senator or Representative about, and possibly who will be attending the meeting.
2. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Congress Member’s office or dial the number directly if you have it. If you don’t know who your senator or representative is, visit www.congress.org to find out. All you need is your zip code. Feel free to contact the SUC Washington office at (202) 463-8643.
3. Ask to speak to the Scheduler. If he or she is unavailable leave a message with your name and phone number requesting a meeting. Most likely they will return your phone call; however, if you do not hear back from the Scheduler by the next day, call again the following day. Remember that these people are very busy, but ultimately they work for you, and it is fully within your rights to ask to see and speak to your Member of Congress. Keep making follow up calls until you speak to the Scheduler directly. This could take eight or ten calls, so don’t get discouraged. If you end up with a no, ask to meet with an aide, who is working on international issues. Each office has their own assignments so this could be anyone. Also ask for a meeting in the district when your senator or representative it there. This will require equal persistence. Ask the D.C. Scheduler whom to talk to in the local or district office. They will also have the number if you don’t.
4. Be ready to tell the Scheduler what the meeting will be about. Inform the Scheduler you will be faxing a request for the meeting with all of the pertinent information they require. You may want to ask if they would like it emailed as well.
5. Congratulations! The hard part is over, and you have the meeting secured. The more Serbs who do their part, the stronger our Voice in Washington.

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Archbishop Artemije Request Orthodox American Assistance

The integral testimony of Bishop Artemije during his recently visit to USA in July 2006.
Thank you for your kind attention.
As the archpastor of the Christian of Kosovo and Metohija, I have come to America, once again, to bear witness to the agony that has befallen the Christian people of Kosovo and to warn against the path that lies before us.
I have also come to ask you to help change the current direction of American policy, which, if left as it is, will condemn my Christian people to extinction and create a new rogue state – this time in Europe.
As you may remember, since the 1999 war Kosovo has been under United Nations and NATO control. Here in America, it appears almost everyone assumes there has been a big success, and Kosovo has been forgotten.
But under the nose of the U.N. and NATO, Kosovo has become a black hole of corruption and organized crime, including trafficking in drugs, weapons, and slaves. The local Muslim Albanian administration is controlled by members of a terrorist organization, the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which is closely tied to the Muslim Albanian mafia, which runs drug and slave rackets across Europe.
Since 1999, - after the end of the war -, 220,000 Christian Serbs and non-Albanians have been forced to leave Kosovo, and more than a thousand Christians have been killed. Centuries-old churches and monasteries, more 150 of them, have been destroyed.
I cannot emphasize enough that the key element in all this is violence. A crime happens in Kosovo and Metohija every day. There is no end to it. Recently the church in Obilic was desecrated. When churches are attacked, particular targets for demonic rage are the crosses on top of the church, and images of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Mother.
The Muslim Albanians and their defenders like to claim that the security situation is improving – but in fact, any improvement in the crime numbers simply means there are fewer targets.
Murders continue. Just a few days ago there was a murder in Klina of a 68-year-old Christian who had returned to Kosovo on promises that the international community was going to be serious about security. So, now he too is dead.
But in Kosovo, even Christian dead to not rest. Recently the Christian cemetery in Staro Gracko was destroyed while the gentlemen representing Kosovo provisional institutions were touring Washington – and being received with honors at the White House and State Department – and telling everybody how the situation in Kosovo and Metohija has improved and how everything is just fine now. This is unprecedented and unbelievable hypocrisy on the part of the world toward everything that is happening in Kosovo and Metohija.
One of the men received in Washington was the so-called “prime minister” for the Kosovo Muslim Albanians, the man who would lead the government of a new state if Kosovo is detached from Serbia. This is a man who is an indicted war criminal in Serbia. According to the indictment, he bears command responsibility for the murders by KLA islamic terrorists of 669 Christians Serbs and 18 members of other ethnic groups, 518 counts of inflicting serious bodily harm (including torture) and wounding, and 584 counts of abduction, many of the victims of which are presumed dead. He was named military commander of the KLA in May 1999. The following month, after the end of hostilities between Serbia and NATO forces, KLA terrorists under his command intensified their attacks on civilian Christian Serbs, driving two-thirds of them from the province, as well as against Roma (Gypsies), Croats, Jews, Ashkalis, Gorani, and other non-Muslim or non-Albanians in Kosovo. This is the man who now comes to Washington to meet with Secretary Rice and have his picture taken. This is war on terror?
Among the characteristic jihad terror practices of the KLA is the beheading of victims, as seen in other countries with active jihad terror movements, such as Iraq (American soldiers and Iraqis alike), Indonesia (including some little girls), Israel, and Pakistan (American reporter Daniel Pearl), India (Kashmir), and Russia (Chechnya). On the Internet you can see photographs of uniformed KLA islamic terrorists – whose identities are known but who have never been brought to justice – with heads of their Christian Serb victims. In 1999, soon after the beginning of the international administration in Kosovo, the KLA kidnapped Hieromonk Hariton of the Holy Archangels monastery. His body, showing signs of torture, was found, but not his head. Why are jihad beheadings an outrage in the rest of the world, but not in Kosovo? This is jihad in Kosovo, which officially was launched in 1995 at a meeting in Tirana, Albania, between Osama bin Laden and two leaders of the KLA.
Every day, Kosovo more and more loses the aspect of a Christian land full of churches and monasteries and comes to look like a Muslim land full of mosques. This transformation is the direct result of violence and threat of violence. Meanwhile, hundreds of Wahhabi mosques have been built and continue to be built, mostly funded by Saudi Arabia and nations of the Persian Golf.
And now, carrying on a policy inherited from the past Administration, some officials in the American government demand, with more and more pressure, that my country, Serbia, must hand over part of its territory to this violent Islamic movement. Detaching Kosovo from democratic Serbia, of which it is an integral part, would mean a virtual sentence of extinction for my Christian people in the province and create a rogue state in which the terrorists are the government.
I can’t understand why American officials want this. Maybe they think they will impress the Muslim countries. This is not just our problem – it is your problem. At a time when America is leading the Free World in a global struggle against jihad terror, Kosovo must not continue to be an exception, where, for reasons we do not understand, American officials have taken the side of the criminal and jihadists. Sacrificing our land and our blood cannot buy protection from jihad.
The fact is, my country will say No to the demand that we give up Kosovo, whatever the pressure from Washington, or London, or Brussels. All politicians and parties say: not one Serbian hand will sign away Kosovo.
What I ask of you today, is that you raise your voice with your government to reassess this policy, which is bad for both America and Serbia. Please tell President Bush, and Secretary Rice – this is a policy that needs to be reconsidered.
The Bishop of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija +ARTEMIJE

Raskovic-Ivic's Remarks to the Security Council

Durable solution for Kosovo can be found only through systematic, responsible and gradual negotiations

Belgrade/New York, Sept 13, 2006 – Head of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo:

Metohija Sanda Raskovic-Ivic said today in New York that a lasting solution for Kosovo-Metohija can be found only through systematic, responsible and gradual negotiations.
At the UN Security Council’s session dedicated to Kosovo-Metohija, Raskovic-Ivic said that nervousness, irrational hastiness and arrogance will not contribute to finding a sustainable solution for Kosovo-Metohija nor to peace and stability of the Southeast European region. She repeated that only patience and eyes kept wide open to reality and the future can bring to a true compromise of the Kosovo-Metohija issue and also stressed that an imposed solution would not solve the problem, but would have fatal consequences. We are strongly assured that only by systematic, responsible and gradual negotiations on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija, with no superficial deadlines that only create additional pressure, is it possible to find a durable solution for this issue, she said and stressed that otherwise there may be new complications with fatal consequences that always take place when universal principles of the international community are disobeyed. Raskovic-Ivic stressed the importance of the Security Council as guarantor for preserving universal principles of international law and the whole international order and stressed that only through consistent respect of international principles, such as inviolability of sovereignty and territorial integrity of democratic countries, is it possible to preserve and improve peace and stability in the Balkan region. She pointed to the fact that since the previous session of the Security Council held three months ago, there have been 51 incidents of smaller or higher intensity in Kosovo-Metohija in which the lives and property of Serbs were targeted, while from October 24, 2005 to September 1, 2006 there were 260 such incidents. Raskovic-Ivic concluded that the implementation of principles and concrete solutions from the Platform of the Serbian negotiating team on Kosovo's future status in the longer term remains the only way for a satisfactory resolution of the grim situation in the province. She said that that can be achieved only by making steps towards the establishment of the rule of law, punishment of criminals and terrorists, their bringing to justice, as well as towards the creation of safety and all other conditions for a normal life Political steps should include convincing the ethnic Albanian side to give up extreme, exclusive requests and accept a rational and compromising solution - autonomy with broad, substantial powers stated Raskovic-Ivic.

12 September 2006

Parliament Accepts New Constitution

By MISHA SAVIC, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 39 minutes ago
BELGRADE, Serbia - Serbia toughened its stand on
Kosovo' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Kosovo Tuesday as parliament decided that a planned new constitution would refer to the disputed province as an "integral" part of Serbia, regardless of U.N.-led negotiations on whether to grant it independence.
The parliamentary vote effectively ruled out Belgrade's consent if the international talks decide in favor of the majority ethnic Albanians who want the province to be independent.

The talks began this year to try to resolve the future of Kosovo — a province about the size of Connecticut that has been run by the
United Nations' NATO launched a bombing campaign to end a Serb crackdown on independence-minded ethnic Albanian rebels in 1999.
The Serbian lawmakers voted 219-5 in favor of declaring Kosovo a "historic and integral part of Serbia" in a planned new constitution. They also overwhelmingly adopted a report by Serbia's negotiators in the talks, who warned that independence for Kosovo would risk creating a precedent that would encourage separatist movements beyond the Balkans.
Serbia's government has offered Kosovo a broad autonomy, instead of independence.
Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica told the assembly "we are requested to give up Kosovo ... we are being asked to humiliate ourselves as a state." He did not name countries pressing for Kosovo's independence.
Tomislav Nikolic, leader of the extreme nationalist Serbian Radical Party, urged Kostunica to prepare Serbia's army for a war over Kosovo.
"I want to know what our armed forces will do," Nikolic said in the parliament. "If we don't have enough motivation and weapons (to go to war), then don't tell us that Kosovo is part of Serbia."
Both Kostunica and pro-Western President Boris Tadic have ruled out new armed conflicts over Kosovo, pledging to defend it only by legal means.
Most Serbs consider Kosovo their heartland and the cradle of their history and culture. About 100,000 Serbs still live in Kosovo. Twice as many have fled from the ethnic Albanian-dominated province since 1999.
Also Tuesday, the government announced it would invest $41.4 million in Serb enclaves in Kosovo over the next 15 months to help the embattled minority living among the ethnic Albanians.
The funds are to create jobs for the dwindling Serb community, build roads and other infrastructure, and to improve their education and health care.

Righteous PM Kostunica Addresses Parliament

Serbia must resort to law, justice and confront every attempt to impose Kosovo independence

Belgrade, Sept 12, 2006 – Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica addressed the Serbian parliament today and stated that the unanimous belief of the entire people, which is to fight for a just and truthful cause, leaves the government with but one choice – that today, more than ever, it is under obligation to confront with law and justice every attempt to impose Kosovo independence.
The Prime Minister's speech in full:

"Honourable members of Parliament,At the beginning of the year, you unanimously entrusted this executive authority and its negotiating team with the task of representing the interest of the people and the country at the talks on Kosovo future. We took the obligation upon ourselves to inform you on the course of the talks and all our decisions on a regular basis, which, as you can see, we have fulfilled. You, as well as all Serbian citizens, must be aware that in the period behind us, there was not an argument we did not put forward, a possibility we did not consider, doors we did not knock at, that we missed nothing and cringed before nobody. We remained patient and composed and stuck to the framework which was determined by the Resolution adopted by you, that is parliament. Faced with terrible prejudice, predilections and impartialities on behalf of the other side which, however, lacked counterarguments and was not prepared to compromise, we strove, and I believe that we managed, to remain steadfast and reasonable. These are the reasons why the Serbian government has asked that this session be called and that you give it an opportunity to stand before you with a report on what has been done, as well as with proposed future steps.Honourable members of parliament, in this historical moment it has befallen us and our entire generation to jointly state our opinion and make the decision regarding Kosovo-Metohija. We are not the first in the history of our people and our state to declare ourselves on Kosovo, but we know that in the course of our entire history there has been only one possible answer. Ever since those who lost their lives in Kosovo six centuries ago and during all the generations that lived fought and died for Kosovo, this answer has been that Kosovo has always been and will always remain the constituent part of Serbia. This both facilitates our position at this moment and makes it more difficult. On one hand, it is even more difficult because we must be aware of our responsibility and worthy of our answer, whereas on the other hand, it is facilitated because of the very fact that the answer to the Kosovo issue cannot be new, because as long as there is Serbia there will be no other answer. It is thus even more so because none of our predecessors was asked this question the way we are today and none of them was demanded to do what we others demand from us. It is demanded, honourable parliament members, no more no less than that we give up Kosovo-Metohija and concede to the outrageous intention that another independent ethnic Albanian state be formed on our territory.Serbia has to declare itself on Kosovo status once again and we must do this fully aware of the gravity and far-reaching consequences of the historical issue we are faced with today. When it comes to Kosovo-Metohija, nothing can remain unsaid, vague, hazy or unclear. On the contrary, while looking straight in the eyes of those who are to decide the fate of Kosovo and thus of entire Serbia, we must with all our democratic forces defend our sovereignty and make our stance legal before the whole world. Ever since Serbia came to be, every member of our people comes and goes from this world with an awareness that Kosovo has been and will always be a constituent part of Serbia. It has been given to us, who represent Serbian citizens at the moment, the supreme obligation that we reiterate this truth by inscribing it in capital letters into the new Serbian constitution. This means but one thing: for the state of Serbia, Kosovo will never be independent. It also means that for Serbia, even if it is seized through legal violence, Kosovo-Metohija will always be a part of Serbia according to its constitution. If we decide today to put into the new constitution the undisputable truth that Kosovo is a part of Serbia, we would make a fatefully important and only possible decision. We will thus send everyone an unambiguous message that as for Kosovo-Metohija, the state of Serbia is obliged solely and only by that which is stated in its constitution. In other words, the world must know that as long as there is Serbia, Kosovo will for us be its inseparable province.In light of all this, it is in Serbia's utmost interest that the new constitution is adopted in which unanimously, through the will of all the parties, and most importantly, through the will that the entire people and all citizens will state at the referendum, we will underline that Kosovo-Metohija is simply Serbia. If there were any more or less justified objective obstacles to the new constitution, then now, when Kosovo is at stake, we must subdue everything to this task of supreme state and national interest. We can discard any thought that the referendum on the new constitution might fail, because I firmly believe that we all share the belief that there is no citizen in Serbia who will refrain from voting at the referendum on the new constitution solely because the constitution will claim that Kosovo belongs to Serbia and will for ever remain its constituent part. Honourable members of parliament, you know that on July 24 we talked in Vienna with ethnic Albanian representatives from Kosovo-Metohija. Everything they said (and for some of them our country has reasons to suspect of having Serbian blood on their hands) in the presence of international mediators comes down to the fact that they would like to have another ethnic Albanian state and that this new state should be on Serbia's territory. The strong will and eager wish to be given 15% of Serbia's territory so they can have another state they did not manage to back or explain by even a single argument or the slightest rational reason. I wish to tell you that at the talks, our arguments were by far superior since they were based on the principles of justice, international law, democratic values and European standards. Since we were deprived of hearing at least one argument in favour of Kosovo independence, both on that occasion as well as all the previous ones, at the next round, held on August 8, international mediator Martti Ahtisaari took it upon himself to put forward the only argument in favour of independence so far. This outrageous argument for taking away the territory from our people is known to the entire world today and it says that "Serbs are guilty as a nation". If anyone in Serbia or international community still wonders whether Ahtisaari actually said that "Serbs are guilty as a nation", the answer is categorical. Yes, he did say that and in these exact words.We reacted to Ahtisaari's stance calmly and on principle, and not excessively as some said. The least we expected was that Ahtisaari apologizes to the Serbian people. However, it turned out that the diplomat found it more difficult to apologize than to insult an entire nation. He not only failed to do what was in itself natural and just, but soon stepped forward with new accusations against Serbia. Be as it may, Serbian parliament is under obligation to clearly and unambiguously condemns Ahtisaari's statement that Serbs are guilty as a nation. Whether the Special Envoy has retained the authority of an international mediator after all this and whether we can trust his impartiality and objectivity, at least when it concerns Serbia, it is needless to say. Serbian parliament must find a permanent and comprehensive answer to all the problems we are yet to face concerning Kosovo. I firmly believe that our best answer, both by its far-reaching consequences and its strength needed to survive all the pressure and temptations that may lie ahead, is that Serbian parliament passes the new constitution and thus unanimously and within the shortest possible period, that is by end-December, confirms our unanimous and steadfast position that Kosovo is a constituent part of Serbia. On the other hand, any imposed solution based on the use of force and legal violence would be nothing but clear and brutal seizure of our territory. When almost a sixth of the territory of a free, sovereign and democratic country is seized, then all foundations crumble and all democratic values are destroyed, principles of international law and order are violated, and in fact the very structure of the modern world is brought into question. And of course – all of that seriously jeopardizes the stability of our entire region. Our position is perfectly simple. When it comes to the issue of Kosovo-Metohija, Serbia speaks of its Constitution, of the principles of international law upon which the UN and the entire international order rest, of the universally accepted values of democracy and it speaks of European standards for solving minority issues. Serbia speaks of compromise and a historically just solution. Serbia says that Serbs have lived with ethnic Albanians for centuries and we want that this co-existence in the province, for the first time in history, be founded on democratic principles through substantial autonomy for Kosovo-Metohija. What can be controversial about that? What is wrong regarding Serbia’s position on the issue? Is it wrong that we advocate respect of international law upon which today’s international order rests or perhaps we are mistaken when we seek a compromise solution?In any case before it occurs to anyone to say to us that we should give up a sixth portion of our territory, a territory where our country originated and which is the birthplace of the spirit of our nation and culture, they should consider the fact that such an event, more precisely, such an experiment has never taken place before in the history of Europe. Those countries which might favour the idea of an independent Kosovo-Metohija should think what 15% of their territory means to them, in order to better understand what is being demanded of Serbia. It is difficult to find a better argument than the unquestionable truth that such a seizure of territory has never occurred anywhere, and no country has ever accepted that, or could possibly do so.If a country steps forward, ready instead of Serbia, to give 15% of its territory as a gift, it might be possible to meet the demands being made by ethnic Albanians to create another country of their own. As far as Serbia is concerned, Kosovo-Metohija is our territory and no one may give away as a gift that which belongs to us. The same rules and principles applied to the rest of democratic European countries must also be applied for a 21st century Serbia and any attempt at enforcing a precedent just when Kosovo-Metohija is in question would mean that we are being asked to humiliate ourselves as a country and a nation, to give up our dignity and to trample underfoot the honour of our entire nation.We all know more than well that one man alone cannot defend Kosovo-Metohija, just as one man alone cannot lose it. Kosovo-Metohija can be defended only by the entire nation or the entire nation, if it decides to, can lose it. Ever since Kosovo-Metohija came into being it has belonged to and has been cherished by the entire nation and will always be a matter that concerns all of Serbia and the entire Serbian nation. A firm and well guided national will, if it seals the referendum on a new constitution which will confirm that Kosovo-Metohija is the very heart of Serbia, will become the most reliable guarantee that we have given a dignified answer to the question we are faced with in this new test in the history of Kosovo-Metohija.The Serbian government considers that the parliament's decision to approve the participation in talks on the province's future status, initiated by the UN Security Council, is exceptionally good and wise. Serbia has thus proved that it is capable of taking its share of responsibility for finding a compromise solution, which would serve the essential interests of Serbs and the ethnic Albanians in the province. Our position is objectively made easy by the fact that all relevant arguments favour the Serbian side. We are opposed by very dangerous, though more or less concealed, ideas about an ethnically cleansed and independent Kosovo-Metohija, which are based on nothing but the use of aggression. Our negotiating team was most seriously prepared to discuss any subject and any form of talks in negotiations conducted so far. We defended our position with responsibility and reason at every step, and it is the force of our arguments which is most probably the reason why there has been no progress whatsoever in the talks. Ethnic Albanians are simply not interested in serious negotiations, and are arrogantly secure in their belief that they have been given in advance something that does not belong to them, an independent Kosovo-Metohija.When Kosovo-Metohija is in question, Serbia cannot afford any arbitrariness or trifling. That is why we will not permit a single punctuation mark to be put on the wrong place, whether the matter at hand is decentralisation, economy or any other subject. Criticism regarding the allegedly non-constructive behaviour of Belgrade in the negotiations held so far was heard several times from various sides. We must be open and say that this criticism in fact means that Belgrade is considered to be non-constructive just because it refuses to accept an independent Kosovo. The actual truth is that, precisely by deciding not to accept and never to accede to the seizure of part of its territory, Serbia has chosen to take the most constructive and most responsible role when the stability, peace and prosperity of our region are viewed in the long run, which undoubtedly represents the highest and most lasting of values. Everyone should know that Serbia will not support any thoughtless and hastily brought solution which could set a precedent and worsen the already more than complicated Kosovo-Metohija issue. We want to remind in time all those rushing to solve this issue one way or the other that we, and not they, live in this region, and we would especially like to stress that those whose lives are in question know the true value of a good and viable solution compared to any premature, nervous and forced decision.This is also the proper place and time to emphasize that the fact that our country is participating in the talks on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija with responsibility does not mean that Serbia, just by its participation in the talks could give legitimacy to an imposed solution. Serbia can, is ready and certainly will give legitimacy to a solution which is the result of agreement and represents a compromise. Our proven determination to find a compromise gives us the right, in accordance with the Resolution adopted by this house, to firmly reject and declare invalid any solution which is not a result of an agreement reached with Serbia.Honourable members of parliament, even though every single one of our arguments is superior and uncontroversial, they must be made more powerful, substantiated with the confirmation given by the unwavering will of the Serbian nation that we are to defend, with all political and legal means, that which is ours, namely Kosovo-Metohija. The unanimous conviction of the entire nation to fight for justice and truth leaves us without any other option: today more than ever, we are obliged to oppose, with law and justice, any attempt at imposing an independent Kosovo-Metohija. If we do as much as we can and should for Kosovo-Metohija and Serbia, then our nation and history will never forget us. I thank you for your attention."

11 September 2006

Synaxis of the Saints of Serbia

Chosen ones of God, Serbian saints,
Teachers wise and enlighteners,
Princes spiritual, glorious heroes.
Of the flock of Christ, most good shepherds,
God you served, denied themselves
And beacons you were to your people:
Of divine characteristics, God-bearing men,
From the Holy Trinity, the light you received,
Generously you received and everywhere dispersed it,
And from your labors, miracles sprouted.
In the footprints of Sava, all walked straight
Throughout the Serbian land, holiness you raised,
Faith in the Word of God, you confirmed,
In the new garment, you clothed the souls,
With beautiful churches, you adorned the land,
O men of God, "equal to the angels!"
Of the Serbian people, you were angels,
To glorify God, you taught the Serbs,
To worship the Savior, the living Christ,
And faithfully served the Holy Gospel.
In heaven, that is why the Lord glorified you
And, as candles before the Serbian people, placed you
That living in heaven you shine on earth
To lead your people to truth and justice.
As long as the Serbian people, your example admire
By your prayers until then, the people will live.
--st. nikolai velimirovic

10 September 2006

Popovic Suggest Former Serbian Workers Return to KEK

Serbia comes up with new proposal to solve energy crisis in Kosovo-Metohija
Belgrade, Sept 7, 2006 – Head of the Serbian government’s economic team for Kosovo-Metohija and south of Serbia Nenad Popovic said that with a view of solving the energy crisis in Kosovo-Metohija it will officially request that UNMIK allow Serbian experts to join the management of the Kosovo Energy Corporation (KEK).
Popovic stressed that he will propose a mixed team of experts which will include Serbs who worked for the Kosovo energy company prior to 1999 and who are familiar with the situation in the Kosovo energy sector. Serbian experts must form part of KEK's management because they know every metre of the electrical network and every square metre of the open-pit mines and thermoelectric power plants of Kosovo A and B, the head of the Economic team pointed out. It has become clear to everyone that inadequate capacities are not the only reason for the energy crisis in the province, but poor management as well, which is confirmed by resignations of KEK chief executive officers John Ashley and Sean McGoldrick, he said. Popovic expressed hope that this, third consecutive initiative of the Economic team for the resolution of the electrical crisis in Serbia's southern province will be accepted.

Accounts Open For Those Who Want to Help Kosovo-Metohija

Fund for Kosovo-Metohija Payment Accounts
The Serbian Ministry of Finance has opened foreign currency accounts at the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) with the aim of collecting funds from the Diaspora for aid to Kosovo-Metohija:- for payments in EUR, account number 54119-978-706, at the NBS’s international correspondent bank DEUTSCHE BANK AG F/M- for payments in USD, account number 54119-840-706, at the NBS’s international correspondent bank DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST CO. AMERICAS, NEW YORK- for payments in CAD, account number 54119-124-706, at the NBS’s international correspondent bank BANK OF MONTREAL, TORONTO- for payments in AUD, account number 54119-036-706, at the NBS’s international correspondent bank NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED, MELBOURNEThe ministry also reminds donors that it has opened a dinar account, number 840-1267721-44, at the Serbian Administration of Public Payments for the same purpose.
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08 September 2006

Pristina and Belgrade Work to Protect Churches

Serbs, Albanians agree on Kosovo churches
VIENNA, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Serbian officials and ethnic-Albanian leaders say they are satisfied with Friday's talks in Vienna on the protection of churches in Serbia's Kosovo province.
The session on establishing protection zones around Serbian churches and monasteries was one of very few successful rounds of the U.N.-led talks, begun in February in Vienna on the final status of the predominantly ethnic-Albanian Kosovo province.
Serbian and Albanian negotiators were positive about the round of talks on the protection of religious and cultural sites in Kosovo, Belgrade's Beta news agency reported.
Kosovo is formally part of Serbia, but since 1999 ethnic hostilities the province has been under the U.N. administration and NATO troops' protection.
The ongoing talks should decide who will govern Kosovo once U.N. and NATO personnel leave.
Ethnic-Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's 1.8 million population, insist on Kosovo independent of the Serbian government in Belgrade. Serbia's leaders, who represent some 100,000 Serbs in Kosovo, reject any independent status and offer a high degree of autonomy for the province.Story Tools: -->

Albanians Frustrate Negotiations

Two-day round of talks on religious and cultural heritage ends
Belgrade/Vienna, Sept 8, 2006 – Belgrade and Pristina negotiating teams ended the two-day round of talks that mainly focused on jurisdictions of future Serb municipalities in Kosovo, the number of protected zones of religious and cultural monuments, supervision of the agreement on the return of historically important items, human rights issues and rights of ethnic communities.
Serbian President’s Advisor Aleksandar Simic told a press conference he was surprised with the rigid position of Kosovo Albanians on issues where agreement was so close as well as with rejection of Serbian proposal with no valid argument. He said that the talks could have failed as Kosovo Albanians presented their document with a subtitle “Overall Vision of Rights of Communities in the Independent State of Kosovo”. Therefore, the Serbian team symbolically handed over the Albanian delegation the valid Serbian Constitution, he said. President of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Sanda Raskovic-Ivic said that the main problem in the talks between Belgrade and Pristina occurred because the Kosovo Albanians did not allow for enhanced and additional jurisdictions to be given to municipalities with a majority Serb population. Raskovic-Ivic said that from the very beginning of talks on decentralisation it was clear that the idea of broadened powers in the fields of education, health, social security, culture, cultural heritage and church issues referred only to Serbian majority municipalities. Now the ethnic Albanian delegation tried to completely relativise that principle with the position that all municipalities in Kosovo-Metohija should enjoy those special rights. That would annul our idea of special protection of the Serbian community in Kosovo, through the concept of decentralisation. We turned down that proposal of the ethnic Albanian delegation and now we have to continue the talks on this issue, Raskovic-Ivic said. As for the relations between Serbian municipalities and Belgrade, the ethnic Albanian side tried to reject any form of cooperation of Serbian municipalities with institutions and agencies of the Serbian government, Raskovic-Ivic said. They have reduced the cooperation between Serbian municipalities and Serbia to cooperation with non-governmental organisations, more or less. In that respect, we have to point to the very fair reaction of the mediators who warned the ethnic Albanian side that they are returning the talks to the very beginning, the head of the Coordinating Centre said. This time, talks on decentralisation have been much more objective and less biased than before, she said. We see that as a positive step forward and a chance to reach a solution that will secure conditions for a decent life of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija, Raskovic-Ivic concluded. When it comes to the protection of cultural and religious heritage, Belgrade proposed the formation of 39 protection zones around churches and monasteries, Raskovic-Ivic said, adding that the Serbian side has already made a concession by reducing the size of protection zones from 6,500 to 5,500 hectares. In addition, the formation of a commission that would deal with the implementation of the agreement on protection zones and its supervision was also discussed at the meeting.