30 October 2006

Glory To God! Congratulations Serbia!

Constitution supported by 51.46% of citizens
Belgrade, Oct 29, 2006 – The Serbian Electoral Commission stated on Sunday evening that, according to preliminary results, 51.46% of registered voters voted in favour of the new Constitution of Serbia.

Director of the Serbian Statistical Office Dragan Vukmirovic told a press conference that 53.66% of the total number of registered voters went to the polls. It is 10.6% of the processed electorate in Serbia, or 25% of polling stations, while there are still no data from Kosovo-Metohija. President of the Serbian Electoral Commission Mihailo Rulic said that the referendum passed without major irregularities that could influence its outcome. Rulic underlined that these are preliminary results, and that the final will be released within the deadline set by law. He said that a press conference will be held tomorrow at 11 am at which new data will be presented from the polling stations that will have been processed by that time.

Support to Constitution expressed at referendum Serbia’s victory
Belgrade, Oct 29, 2006 – Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said at a press conference on Sunday evening that the confirmation of the new Constitution at the referendum is Serbia’s victory, the victory of its maturity and strength because the Constitution protects its unity.

Kostunica congratulated all citizens of Serbia, and especially Serbs from Kosovo-Metohija, the adoption of the supreme legal act, and thanked them for having supported the adoption of the new Constitution. He said that this is the moment in which Serbia proves its legitimacy as a state before the entire world, by rounding off its statehood, making it clear that it protects its unity, showing that our orientation is that Serbia be a democratic and legal state, that Kosovo-Metohija is an integral part of Serbia, and finally, that this Constitution contains elements that will enable the country’s economic development and better life of citizens. We saw how people’s representatives at one moment showed unity and responsibility in Serbian parliament by voting for the Constitution, Kostunica recalled and added that the same thing has been repeated at polling places, which is a really big moment for Serbia. According to him, this is a historic moment and the beginning of a new period in Serbia’s development, this is a moment when Serbia celebrates with reason because of a big job that all of us have done together. Speaking about the turnout of voters, the Prime Minister said that that is a percentage that reflects the moment, lists of voters, their composition and the circumstances. I think that this result is more than satisfactory… It is more than encouraging, legitimate and it enables us to live a better tomorrow, the Prime Minister said.He said that there is no country which checked the mood of its public in the way Serbia has done with the new Constitution – first with the voting in parliament, and then with its confirmation at the referendum with a majority vote. He said that is something we could be really proud of and something that guarantees the Constitution’s quality and longevity. Kostunica said that the next big step is applying the Constitution in practice. That will happen when it is proclaimed in parliament, when the law on its implementation is adopted and when the institutions start to be created. According to him, that cannot happen overnight because the entire system starts to change and the new one is created. Kostunica said that the new Constitution will not be denied or ascribed to a political party, government or person, because it will have the support of the people of Serbia behind it. He added that Serbia is stronger with the new Constitution because it makes it clear that it is a democratic and legal state, and referring to international law, says once more that Kosovo-Metohija is an integral part of Serbia.

29 October 2006

Nearly 50% Goes To The Polls by 6PM

47.03% of registered voters cast their ballots by 6 pm
Belgrade, Oct 29, 2006 – By 6 pm, 47.03% of registered voters in Serbia cast their ballots at the referendum for confirming the new Constitution of Serbia, data from the Serbian Electoral Commission say.
The highest turnout was registered in Central Serbia 47.42%, in Belgrade 46.67%, while in Vojvodina the number was 39%.According to Director of the Serbian Statistical Office Dragan Vukmirovic, a high turnout has been recorded in Kosovo-Metohija – in Kosovsko-pomoravski district 85.7%, in Pecki district 96%, in Kosovski district 74.8%, in Kosovsko-mitrovacki district 60.1% and in Prizrenski district 95%. The Commission stated that all citizens who happen to be at polling stations at 8 pm when the voting is closing, or in front of a polling station, will be allowed to cast their votes.

28 October 2006

Almost 20% Vote The First Day

17.81% of voters cast ballots on the first day of referendum
Belgrade, Oct 28, 2006 - The Serbian Electoral Commission stated this evening that 17.81% of the total number of registered voters in Serbia, which is 6,639,385 excluding Kosovo-Metohija, has gone to the referendum today by 8 pm to confirm the new Constitution of Serbia.

The Commission representatives said at a press conference that the highest turnout has been recorded in Belgrade - 21.01%, and the lowest in Vojvodina, where 14.65% of registered voters cast their ballots. The turnout in Central Serbia has been 18.95%, and in Novi Sad 19.12 %.Citizens have voted today at 8,385 polling stations in Serbia and 40 polling places in 24 countries.There are 18,093 Serbian citizens abroad who have the voting right. The voting has been wrapped up today in the United States of America and Canada, where due to time difference polling stations were opened on October 27 and 28. In Kosovo-Metohija, the voting process is taking place at 265 polling stations in five districts. The voting will be continued on Sunday, October 29, when polling stations in the country and abroad will again be opened from 7 am to 8 pm, except for London and Algiers where they will be opened from 6 am to 7 pm. The Constitution will be confirmed if 50% of the total number of voters plus one vote in its favour, which is at least 3,319,693 citizens.

24 October 2006

Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid Subjected to Unusual Prison Conditions

KiM Info Newsletter 21-10-06
Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid subjected to psychological torture in Idrizovo Prison in Skoplje
Svetigora Press, SPC Info Service, October 2, 2006
His Beatitude Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid and Metropolitan of Skoplje has been imprisoned in Idrizovo Prison in Skoplje for almost two months now.
His Grace Bishop Marko of Bregalnica of the Autocephalous Archdiocese of Ochrid said that the condition of the imprisoned Archbishop Jovan remains unchanged. No one knows whether and when he will be issued a weekend pass to leave the prison let alone if he will be released. Bishop Marko says that the Archdiocese of Ochrid is hopeful that a change in the administration of Idrizovo Prison now in progress will result in improvement.
"We hope that the new administration replacing the current one will implement a more reasonable regime which will ease the living conditions of Archbishop Jovan, who is being subjected to a kind of psychological torture in this prison which, in my opinion, is being aimed solely at him. I think there is not one other prisoner in Idrizovo Prison who has not had at least one weekend pass in the past two months. Archbishop Jovan seems to be subject to special laws in the prison that apply only to him," said Bishop Marko.
He added that Archbishop Jovan periodically calls by telephone from prison - when he manages to take a turn because the entire prison has only one public phone. "The authorities only permit visits by immediate family members and they say we are not his family. A week ago he received a visit from his mother and she says that he has lost weight. However, the Archbishop is not complaining of his physical health, and he frequently says, 'God be praised, we are faced with challenges. They will pass,'" said Bishop Marko.
He emphasizes that the brotherhood manages, with some difficulty, to obtain the necessary medication for Archbishop Jovan, which is taken to him by his mother during visits. "Since the Archbishop is located in an enclosed section, there is a special search procedure during visits and all visitors, even children, are thoroughly searched. They even searched the children of Archbishop Jovan's sister before allowing them to visit their uncle," said the Bishop of Bregalnica.
Noting that everyone in the Archdiocese of Ochrid is pained by the present situation of Archbishop Jovan, the Bishop of Bregalnica said that they all take consolation in the words of the Holy Fathers that such difficulties are a blessing. "With the prayers of our brothers and sisters from other local (Orthodox) churches and most of all with the help of God, somehow we are struggling against these challenges. We will not yield because our strength comes from the knowledge that we are on the right path, and because we always see Christ before us. When Archbishop Jovan was imprisoned for the first time, he told us, 'now Christ will be your pastor, and He will lead you'. Remembering his words, we know we are in safe hands and we are not afraid of anything, although the challenges truly are serious. We have our joy in the Kingdom of God, which we hope to inherit by the grace of God," said Bishop Marko. He added that he does not doubt that Archbishop Jovan, too, will endure his present hardships.
"He is a great man, and the great ones of the Church only became so through trials and suffering. We hope and we believe that in the end this will be beneficial to the Church and to our people here, who are still in error. Most of them have been lost in this schism, some are neither here nor there and confused. But we hope that with God's help in the end we will succeed in all appearing together before the face of God," said His Grace Bishop Marko of Bregalnica.

22 October 2006

Serbian Army Depot Rocked by Bombs

Huge explosions rock Serbian army depot
October 19, 2006 7:14 AM
PARACIN, Serbia-A series of fiery explosions rocked a Serbian army ammunition depot early Thursday, injuring at least 20 people and damaging several buildings in a nearby industrial town, police and hospital officials said.
A Serbian Army helicopter battles a fire after a series of explosions in a military warehouse near the Serbian town of Paracin, some 120km (75 miles) south of the capital Belgrade October 19, 2006.
The explosions at the army barracks on a hill near Paracin, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of Belgrade, sent huge balls of flames into the sky, and state TV footage showed a cloud of gray smoke billowing from the site.
Hospital officials said about 20 people, mostly from Paracin, were treated for wounds caused by broken glass and flying shrapnel. One patient was hospitalized after suffering a shock, they said.
Many Paracin residents, who were woken up by the powerful blasts that shattered windows and damaged several houses, spent the night on the streets.
Interior Minister Dragan Jocic said there was "huge material damage in the whole area of Paracin in at least eight blasts of a range of different explosives." Ecology minister Aleksandar Popovic said there was no danger of a poison leak.
The cause of the blasts, which started at around 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) and lasted for hours, was not known, police said. Radomir Mladenovic, an investigative judge speaking in Paracin, said that the authorities were not ruling out a sabotage.
"The explosion was triggered by a smaller quantity of explosives that went off outside the indoor storage facility," he said.
Paracin residents said the area resembled a war zone.
"There was major panic in the town as people did not know what was happening," said Dragica Jovanovic, a Paracin resident.
"It was worse than during the NATO bombing," she added, referring to the alliance's air strikes against the same army compound in April and May of 1999 when NATO intervened in Serbia to stop a violent government crackdown against Kosovo Albanian separatists.
Because of the explosions, the authorities sealed off the industrial town and closed the main highway leading from the capital, Belgrade, to Serbia's second largest city of Nis that passes near the barracks.
Defense Minister Zoran Stankovic said the barracks, which stored large quantities of ammunition and explosives, were evacuated after the first blast which triggered a tremor felt several kilometers (miles) away.

19 October 2006

Ahtisaari Reckons With Constitution Referendum and Elections

UN Envoy: Kosovo Talks Won't Be
Delayed Beyond 2006
BRUSSELS (AP)--The U.N. envoy mediating talks on the status of Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo Wednesday dismissed suggestions by European Union officials the process may continue beyond its scheduled conclusion at the end of this year.
"My plan hasn't changed," former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari said, "2006 is still my target date."
Tuesday, E.U. foreign policy chief Javier Solana said it was likely the process could be delayed because Serbia plans in the meantime to hold a referendum on a new constitution and to have parliamentary and presidential elections.
Many in Kosovo oppose any delay in the negotiation process, saying it could negatively impact stability in the region. Although technically still part of Serbia, Kosovo has been run by the U.N. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since a 1999 war.
"I am not going to speculate on any elections," said Ahtisaari, who is due to submit his recommendations on Kosovo's future to the U.N. Security Council before the end of 2006.
The talks haven't yet produced results, with Serbia rejecting calls by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority for full independence.
"I am simply concentrating on my work, (the plans) are not yet ready," he said after meeting at NATO headquarters with representatives of countries participating in the international peacekeeping force in Kosovo.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer rejected suggestions Serbia could be inducted into the NATO's outreach Partnership for Peace - a program seen as a stepping stone toward full membership in the alliance - even if it doesn't arrest top U.N. war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic.
Belgrade has sought to move closer to NATO since the 2000 ouster of late ex-President Slobodan Milosevic, whose warmongering had pushed Serbia into international isolation. But this week, the chief prosecutor of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal accused Belgrade of making no effort to catch Mladic, whom many nationalists in Serbia regard as a hero.
"Serbia will have to decide," de Hoop Scheffer told journalists at a joint news conference with Ahtisaari.
He noted he "would very much appreciate" if Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica publicly called for Mladic and his helpers to be arrested.
"That is the only recipe for lasting security in the region," de Hoop Scheffer said.
October 18, 2006 08:14 ET (12:14 GMT)

18 October 2006

UN Expected To Adhere To Internation Standards

Serbia expects UN Security Council to protect inviolability of internationally recognised borders
Belgrade/New York, July 13, 2006 – Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said in his address to the UN Security Council’s session that Serbia expects with full right from the UN Security Council to fully protect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognised borders respecting the UN Charter.
Kostunica said that Serbia has been showing readiness to accept compromise and reach an agreement on Kosovo-Metohija with some elementary limitations, noting that Serbia resolutely rejects any attempt to snatch away 15% of its territory.According to him, Serbia’s stand is that a durable solution can be reached only through respect of basic principles of international law, which are explicit saying that sovereignty and territorial integrity of democratic states are inviolable. Within that frame, there are a series of possibilities to avoid something which is more than a dangerous precedent - of seizing a country’s territory in order to satisfy the expansionist aspirations of Albanian ethnic minority, the Prime Minister said. He explained that democratic Serbia cannot say yes to Kosovo-Metohija’s independence because it is committed to international law and respect of signed agreements, but also for reasons of self-respect, which is inseparable from respect for others. Kostunica said that a just, durable and stable solution can be found only by giving the widest, essential autonomy within the framework of Serbia’s internationally recognised borders. He stressed that Serbia is firm in its demand that survival and a dignified existence should be secured for Serbs and all other non-Albanians who are still living in Kosovo-Metohija.In demanding that, Serbia is in fact seeking the realisation of the principles of multi-ethnicity, right to freedom of movement, religion and education, explained Kostunica.He pointed out that the Serbian platform envisages a solution according to which Kosovo-Metohija with its majority population of ethnic-Albanians would get the highest possible degree of autonomy, guaranteed by the authority of the international community through an international agreement and international presence. Kostunica emphasized that Serbia is seeking nothing more and no less than basic equality and the assurance that there is a willingness to treat the Serb community in the province, in word and in deed, as any other nation which is represented in the international organisation.The Serbian parliament would without a doubt reject any imposed solution and declare it illegitimate and legally invalid, and Serbia would continue to consider Kosovo-Metohija a part of its territory, reiterated the Serbian Prime Minister. He added that such a development would certainly not contribute to peace, stability and advancement of the successfully initiated democratic process in the Balkans, but to put it accurately, would make it a source of instability for the entire region.

15 October 2006

Serbian Government Website Offers Documentary Videos

Serbian Government for Kosovo and Metohija

Destroyed Church of the Holy Apostle Andrej in Podujevo, torched and mined by ethnic-Albanian extremists on March 18, 2004 (see Real stream video)The Serbian government launches (Serbian) website with the aim of reminding the foreign public once more of the gravity of situation of human rights facing Serbian and other non-Albanian populations in Kosovo-Metohija.With the arrival of international forces and the establishment of institutions of international administration in the southern Serbian province on June 10, 1999, the problem of Kosovo-Metohija has not been solved. In the past six years, the remaining Kosovo Serbs and other non-Albanian ethnic communities have been forced from their homes while at the same time suffering the destruction of the property, graves and cultural heritage (churches and monasteries) that are symbols of the centuries-old presence of the Serbian people in this territory.The violence spurred by ethnic Albanian extremists and ethnic cleansing of the Serb population on March 17 and 18, 2004, have shown once again that the existing provincial institutions, as well as the institutions of the international administration in Kosovo-Metohija, have failed to complete their mission and have not secured a real functioning and existence of a multi-cultural society in the province.On this page, apart from information on the situation in which Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo-Metohija live and the Serbian government’s efforts to resolve problems in the province, visitors will also be able to view a number of documents and evidence that are not available in other media ,as well as a documentary on endangered human rights in Kosovo-Metohija.
top of the page

11 October 2006

Football Team To Promote Constitution

Campaign “For the Benefit of Serbia” positive and informative
Belgrade, Oct 11, 2006 - Director of the Serbian government's Office of Media Relations Srdjan Djuric said today that the campaign being conducted by this office is to promote the new Constitution of Serbia, and to explain to citizens which benefits the Constitution can bring and why they should vote at the referendum being held at the end of the month.
In a statement to the news agency Tanjug, Djuric said that the campaign being conducted under the slogan “For the Benefit of Serbia” is a reflection of what happened in parliament on September 30, and added that it is a unique campaign because this was the first time that all parliament members, regardless of their political views, voted for the text of the Constitution.We are acting as promoters of a good idea for the benefit of this country and a better life, due to that this campaign is special because it is intended for everyone, and is without any intention of promoting a person, to provoke or to be misused, said Djruic.He explained that the Office of Media Relations has therefore designed a positive and informative campaign, on several levels of communication, so that citizens can get to know what the new Constitution will bring and in which way it will be implemented. It is our wish that October 28 and 29 prove to be good days for Serbia, and even if some solutions offered are not the best and not suitable for all, they are certainly better than what we had earlier, stressed Djruic and added that the entire Office of Media Relations is working and will continue to do so until the end of the campaign.According to Djuric, the promotion campaign is based on communication through the print and electronic media, as well as billboards. There is also cooperation with television stations which have been forwarded the request to broadcast on the theme of the Constitution as much as possible, so that citizens can bring an informed decision regarding the supreme legal act.Djuric pointed to the fact that this campaign is also a kind of public debate, so that the first thing which was done, before any kind of promotion, was the publication of the text of the Constitution in daily newspapers, and that will be done also through other media by the end of the campaign.He said that the media, each in their own way, have joined the campaign and acknowledged the idea and the necessity to inform citizens as much as possible on what the Constitution offers which is new and good for Serbia, therefore this promotion will not be conducted as commercial or political advertising.Djuric stressed that the campaign will be unique also in the sense that it will not carry the brand of the government, nor will it focus on any political party, or politician because it is in the interest of all citizens. However, a number of people who are not from the political sphere are already engaged in the effort of calling upon the public to vote at the referendum, including members of the Serbian national football team who voluntarily offered to promote the supreme legal act through television appearances, said Djuric.He said that the promotion campaign will be intensified in the upcoming days through various activities and television commercials, and will be particularly focused on the young, so that it can be explained to them how the Constitution will be of great benefit in the long term.Similarly, he said, it has been left to the political parties which favour the Constitution to decide how they will organise the referendum campaign, for which purpose funds have been allocated through rebalancing the budget. The government has 120 million dinars at its disposal for conducting the campaign, and due to short deadlines it has been decided that the Office of Media Relations lead the campaign on its own and negotiates with the media, so no agency will be engaged, stressed Djuric. He added that at the end of the campaign the public will be informed on all contracts and expenditures made.

09 October 2006

Letters To The Editor in Manila: "Stealing Is Wrong"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On emancipating Kosovo:Stealing Is Wrong
WHAT a strange picture Mr. Mallonga paints of Kosovo. Perhaps the reason for this is the distance from the Philippines to Europe. The ruins he mentions are of Christian churches and monasteries dating from the 14th century, which the Albanians now use as car parks and urinals. The ethnic cleansing is of all other minorities by the Albanians who are aiming for a pure Albanian state. Kosovo and Metohija are Serbia’s Jerusalem and for this reason it will never be Albanian no matter how much Mr. Mallonga wishes for it to be taken from Serbia. We teach our children that stealing is wrong. Stealing Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia would be the wrong thing to do and the world would pay dearly for the creation of a rogue, failed state.
B. Perry London

PACE Does Not Recognise Kosovo-KIM info

The point of this story is that PACE did not recognise Kosovo as an independent state, and that Russia had a hand in influencing this decision. This story is not without its implied support of Kosovo independence or a certain western-influenced antagonism against the current Russian government's(i.e Putin and his like-minded supporters) motivations about its interests in Kosovo-Metojiha.
Council of Europe did not dare to declare Kosovo's independence
PACE discussed Kosovo's status during its session yesterday. Council of Europe prepared a resolution actually proclaiming Kosovo to be an independent state specially for the session. However, PACE did not dare to create the precedent of Kosovo's international recognition this time. Yet, Kosovo will not be affected by this indecisiveness. PACE members believe the UN will soon confirm Kosovo's independence.
A supporter of a group called "Self Determination" attends a protest in Pristina, Kosovo, Monday, July 24, 2006. Top Serbian and ethnic Albanian leaders met face-to-face in Vienna, Monday, in unprecedented talks aimed at resolving the dispute over the breakaway province of Kosovo. At issue is whether Kosovo will become independent, as demanded by its ethnic Albanian majority, or gain broad autonomy but remain within Serbia's borders, as the Serb leadership insists.
Former PACE president Lord Russell Johnston prepared a report on the current situation in Kosovo. PACE was expected to adopt a resolution supporting Kosovo's independence. So, if that had happened, the Council of Europe would have become the first international organization recognizing the necessity to give independence to Kosovo. PACE invited Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina Suleiman Tihich, and Serbian President Boris Tadic. Yet, it became known the latter would not arrive to the session in Strasbourg.
Boris Tadic is now in a very difficult position. On the one hand, he is pressed by the international community which calls for giving independence to Kosovo. On the other hand, Serbian public opinion cannot be reconciled to Kosovo's becoming a separate state. Serbia will hold parliamentary election in December, and it would be a political suicide for any Serbian politician to speak of Kosovo's independence now.
Russian delegation to PACE contributed greatly to deciding to discuss the situation in Kosovo without adopting a final resolution. In fact, Russian authorities will not mind at all if Kosovo becomes independent. Moreover, Moscow hopes that Kosovo precedent will later come in handy when struggling for the independence of Transdniestria, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.
However, Russia does not want to offend its ally by overtly supporting Kosovo's independence.
Unfortunately, there was no traditional PACE voting on the Kosovo issue, because PACE refrained from adopting the resolution. Thus, it is impossible to find out now how many members are for, and how many are against giving independence to Kosovo. Yet, the discussion in Strasbourg showed many PACE members believe the UN will have the last say in the issue, and that the UN will not hesitate to ratify Kosovo's independence.

08 October 2006

Russia Supports Serbia's Territorial Integrity

Russian position that international
law must be respected in Kosovo case
produce visible results
Belgrade, Oct 7, 2006 - Director of the Serbian government’s Office of Media Relations Srdjan Djuric said today that results of the Russian position that international law must be respected in solving the status of Kosovo-Metohija are visible.
Speaking to Beta news agency, Djuric repeated the statement of Russian presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky that recognition of Kosovo’s independence despite Serbia’s will create a very negative precedent in international relations. Djuric also said that confirmation of Serbia’s new Constitution would confirm international principles of inviability of Serbia’s territory. Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported that Yastrzhembsky said at a conference “Russia and Germany, Hopes and Misunderstandings” that Kosovo is a severe challenge to the international community and a very important acid test for the wisdom of the world community. Djuric said that there were ideas that UN Special Envoy for Kosovo-Metohija Marti Ahtisaari should come up with a plan for Kosovo during the UN General Assembly’s session saying that Kosovo is a unique case in which case international law needs to be severely violated to allow the province’s independence. The adoption of the new Constitution is an absolute democratic right of Serbian citizens to confirm with their sovereign will that borders cannot be changed in a sovereign state without its will, Djuric pointed out.

06 October 2006

Never Will Kosovo-Metohija be Usurped

Serbia will never accept
usurpation of its territory
Belgrade, Oct 5, 2006 - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica called on Serbian citizens today to go to the referendum in great numbers and vote for the new constitution, thus giving legal grounds to their state and affirming that Kosovo will forever be part of Serbia.

Kostunica told the Tanjug news agency that this year October 5 coincides with the efforts of the entire country to achieve a great state and national goal, and that is to get a new constitution of Serbia. Kostunica said that it is very important that citizens support the new constitution because that would show to everyone that Serbia confirms with its internal law the highest principles of international law, first of all the principle of inviolability of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the existing states. To put it simply, Serbia will never accept the usurpation of its territory, the Serbian Prime Minister said. He called on everyone who thinks differently to listen well to what the people will say at the referendum and added that they can be sure that the voice of the people will be the law for this and every other government of Serbia.Kostunica stressed that both the government and the citizens of Serbia highly praise the support we receive now when we fight the decisive battle to keep Kosovo-Metohija. We will not forget the support we receive from our friends around the world. When I say this, I refer to almost daily support we receive from Russia and its president Putin, the principled support from China, as well as the support expressed by neighbouring countries and countries in the region, Kostunica said. That support is especially important because it is based on the firm respect for the principles of international law and order and the respect for justice and democratic values, the Prime Minister concluded.

03 October 2006

Orthodox Faith and Serbia

Awareness of Kosovo’s importance preserved Serbian national identity
Oct 3, 2006 – Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said today following talks with Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov that Kosovo-Metohija has been Serbia’s defence line through its history because the awareness of the importance of Kosovo-Metohija has preserved the national identity of Serbs.

Kostunica presented the Serbian flag to Mikhalkov on the occasion, saying that this is the reason why Kosovo-Metohija is naturally woven into the symbols of Serbia – her coat-of-arms and her flag, adding that now again the time has come under different circumstances for Serbia to defend Kosovo-Metohija.The Serbian Prime Minister stressed that the plan is to prove with all possible arguments – legal, political, historical, moral and even artistic ones that Kosovo-Metohija’s place is only within Serbia, and added that Mikhalkov is in Belgrade precisely for that reason. We are encouraged by the official position of Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Kosovo-Metohija and the necessity of respecting the foundations of international order, territorial integrity and sovereignty of existing states. Today a friend is with us who will in another manner, through artistic expression will confirm that, said Kostunica. He also recalled that we have heard repeatedly from the Russian President that this is a rule that bears no exceptions.Mikhalkov said that for him, as an Orthodox Christian, Kosovo-Metohija represents in a certain sense one of the beating hearts of the Orthodox faith, and added that defending Kosovo-Metohija is not just defence of territorial integrity, but also defence of the future, of the Orthodox faith and panslavism as a whole.He stressed that he has no right to speak in the name of the Russian government because he is not an official representative of his country, nor can he interfere or in any way or influence the question of the referendum or the territorial integrity of other countries, but he can react as an “Orthodox Christian and Russian artist”.
The Balkan region was always the key to Europe. And Kosovo-Metohija, therefore, is the key to Europe. The Orthodox faith which is going through a renaissance also bothers many in Russia who want Russia to disintegrate. The world order cannot be liberal, it demands strict adherence in order to rule, and such an order is bothered by the very existence of the Orthodox faith, said Mikhalkov.He said that our understanding of the essence and depth of the problem is important, and added that Kosovo-Metohija is the first test for judging how real our understanding of this problem is.If their plan for Kosovo-Metohija becomes a reality, it will mean that they can go further. I think this is the beginning of the destruction of the international balance of power, not the economic or military one, rather the spiritual balance, and that is what is most terrifying, concluded Mikhalkov. Kostunica and Mikhalkov also talked about the works of the Russian Orthodox director, whose films, outside Russia, are most popular in Serbia.Mikhalkov said that currently he is working on two projects – a remake of the American film “12 Angry Men” by Sidney Lumet, but with a Russian theme, while the other project is a sequel to his well known film “Burnt by the Sun”, which will be finished by 2008.

02 October 2006

Referendum on Constitution the 28th and the 29th of October

Serbian parliament speaker signs decision on calling referendum
Belgrade, Oct 2, 2006 - Serbian parliament Speaker Predrag Markovic signed yesterday in parliament the Decision on calling a republic referendum for the approval of the new constitution of Serbia, which will be held on October 28 and 29.
On Saturday, Serbian parliament brought the Decision on calling a republic referendum, stipulating that citizens will declare themselves on the issue of the new constitution of Serbia, by saying whether they support it or not. The referendum will be successful if more than a half of the total Serbia's electorate vote in favour of the new constitution.The referendum will be conducted by the Serbian Electoral Commission.

Slovakia Against Succession of Serbia

Solution for Kosovo that will not threaten regional stability must be reached
Belgrade/Bratislava, Oct 2, 2006 - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico agreed today in Bratislava that a solution to the future status for Kosovo-Metohija should be one that will allow for latter changes, and not one that would negatively affect regional stability.

Kostunica, who is on an official visit to Slovakia, said after meeting with his Slovakian counterpart that Kosovo-Metohija’s independence would be a solution that could not be corrected adding that a final solution like that would affect stability in the region. Fico said that the Slovak government rejects a “black and white” way of seeing issues when Kosovo-Metohija is in question, adding that his government’s position is that for Kosovo-Metohija it is best to come up with a solution that is possible to change later if necessary. He explained that a solution that would not allow further corrections would do much more harm than good. Fico added that stability in the region and the respect for human rights of all communities in Kosovo should be priorities when resolving its final status and stressed that the Slovakian government will support such a solution. The Slovakian diplomatic service, which wants to be active in the resolution of Kosovo issue, is awaiting the report of Martti Ahtisaari impatiently after which it will take a final position, Fico pointed out and added that the western Balkans are the priority in Bratislava's foreign policy. The Serbian Prime Minister reiterated that the issue of Kosovo-Metohija cannot be resolved by violating international law which is based on the respect for the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty, but by respecting it and should be treated in the same way Europe resolves similar cases. The resolution of future status of Kosovo-Metohija in the form of substantial autonomy means that Kosovo and its institutions would get complete independence in the legislative, judiciary and executive branches, Kostunica explained and added that this entails the possibility of cooperation with international financial institutions, but without international legal subjectivity and membership in the United Nations, as well as without proper armed forces. Speaking about the new constitution of Serbia, Kostunica said that Serbia got a good, democratic constitution with which the democratic changes from 2000 have been given a democratic legal framework and pointed out that the new constitution enables the full democratic development of Serbia. Kostunica stated that Serbia, as well as Slovakia, has a stable coalition government. We have had good cooperation for years and we have made the first important step - towards the adoption of the new constitution. After the referendum on that issue, elections will ensue in order to form new institutions in line with the new highest legal act, the Serbian Prime Minister said. The Serbian Prime Minister added that Belgrade's cooperation with the Hague tribunal is in Serbia's interest and that the government is doing everything to bring it to an end. Fico thanked Kostunica for the care which Serbia shows to 60,000 Slovaks living in Serbia, stressing that it should serve as an example for the rest of Europe.The Serbian and Slovakian prime ministers expressed dissatisfaction with economic cooperation between the two countries which, according to them, is not intensive despite very good friendly and political relations between Serbia and Slovakia. The Serbian Prime Minister talked today in Bratislava with Slovakian president Ivan Gasparovic who said that the official Bratislava position is against the secession of Kosovo-Metohija. "I am very satisfied with the talks I had with the Slovakian president, and with his clear stance that he is against the secession of Kosovo-Metohija and that Slovakia will defend a just solution in the Security Council," Kostunica said after the meeting with Gasparovic. During the day, Kostunica will meet with Speaker of Slovakian parliament Pavol Pasko and Foreign Minister Jan Kubis. The Serbian government delegation led by Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica includes ministers of economy and capital investment Predrag Bubalo and Velimir Ilic and president of the national council of the Slovakian national minority Ana Tomanova-Makanova. Ministers Bubalo and Ilic will hold separate meetings with their Slovakian counterparts - Minister of Economy Lubomir Jahnatek and Minister of Transport, Posts and Telecommunications Lubomir Vazny.

01 October 2006

Parliament Adopts New Constitution

Belgrade, Sept 30, 2006 – Serbian parliament members have unanimously adopted the new Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and the Decision on holding a referendum to confirm the new Constitution on October 28 and 29 this year.

Parliament members voted in favour of the Constitution and the Decision on the referendum.The new Constitution specifies that Serbia is the country of the Serbian people and all citizens living on its territory and that it is based on the rule of law and social justice, principles of citizen democracy, human and minority rights and freedoms, as well as European principles and values. Serbian President Boris Tadic addressed the parliament at the beginning of the session and said that there are countries with a good constitution and poor politics, but there are no countries with poor constitutions and satisfactory politics because an inferior constitution inevitably restricts the politics.Tadic pointed out that the quality of life and the living standard of citizens depends on their country’s politics.“Before us is the draft of the new constitution which is, among other things, not only the supreme legal act but also the foundation of our country’s legal system and a tremendous opportunity to make a considerable step ahead in comparison with the Serbia that was legally defined by the 1991 Constitution”, said the Serbian President. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said at the session that the adoption of a constitution is a historical act for all states and especially for Serbia in this moment when two most consequential state and national interests have naturally merged into one.

The new Constitution first establishes Serbia as a legally ordered state and underlines the truth that Kosovo-Metohija has always been and will always remain a constituent part of Serbia’s territory, stressed Kostunica addressing the parliament.He invited Serbian citizens to vote at the referendum in favour of their country’s supreme legal act.The new Constitution states in the Preamble that the province of Kosovo-Metohija is a constituent part of Serbia’s territory.“Starting from the fact that Kosovo-Metohija is a constituent part of Serbia’s territory and that it has essential autonomy within the sovereign Serbian state, that all state organs are bound by the Constitution to represent and protect Serbia’s state interests in Kosovo-Metohija in all interior and foreign political relations, the citizens of Serbia hereby pass the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia”, reads the Preamble to the new Constitution. The sovereignty comes from the citizens who perform it through the referendum, people’s initiative or their freely appointed representatives.“No state organ, political organisation, group or individual shall claim the citizens’ sovereignty for their own or establish the rule in opposition to the freely expressed will of the citizens. The rule of law is the basic precondition of the Constitution and it rests on unalienable human rights”, states the Constitution. The flag of the Republic of Serbia exists and is used as the National Flag and the State Flag. The National Anthem of the Republic of Serbia is the song “The Lord of Justice”.The territory of Serbia is single and non-dividable.The official language in the Republic of Serbia is Serbian and the alphabet Cyrillic. The official usage of other languages and alphabets will be determined by law in line with the Constitution.State authority is limited by the right of citizens to provincial autonomy and local self-government. The state protects the rights of national minorities and guarantees special protection for minorities so as to achieve full equality and preserve their identity, states Serbia’s new Constitution.