28 December 2006

UNMIK Official Mislead Public On Illegal Activity Near Decani Monastery

KIM Info ServiceDecember 28, 2006
Following yesterday's statements by UNMIK spokesman Neeraj Singh that there is no illegal construction in the UNMIK-defined protected zone around Visoki Decani Monastery and that claims of such construction are not based on fact, the administration of Visoki Decani Monastery issued a communiqué, which the KIM Info Service is forwarding to all media.


Decani, December 27, 2006

It is with great surprise that we received the statement of UNMIK spokesman Neeraj Singh who, according to Beta news agency, stated that "claims of illegal construction in the protected zone around Visoki Decani Monastery are not based on facts" and that the protection of cultural heritage is "one of the highest priorities for Kosovo institutions".

According to Singh's statement "every construction project in this zone is deliberated by local authorities by permission of the Ministry for Spatial Planning and Environment" and adherence to the provisions for the special zone is supervised by a special local committee, which approved three requests for economic and other projects.

Unfortunately, this statement by an official UNMIK representative not only rationalizes and covers up the fact that UNMIK executive decisions regarding the protected zone around Visoki Decani Monastery are being openly violated but also gives a completely warped picture of the actual situation in the municipality as well as with respect to Serbian spiritual and cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija as a whole. Therefore, we are forced to present several facts which demonstrate that the UNMIK spokesman is either unconsciously or intentionally deceiving the public, which does not contribute in the least to the resolution of existing problems and the establishment of an atmosphere of trust and confidence.

1. An official Kosovo police document dated December 9 confirms the violation of the executive order regarding the protected zone. The conclusion of the report, which is signed by the local police chief, Police Captain Bekim Avdijaj, and prepared on the basis of a complaint filed by UNMIK representatives for the district of Pec, Mr. Luis Perez, states:

"This case is evidenced case in violation of the Executive Decision of SRSG, for the Special Zoning Area. All necessary measures and procedures are undertaken regarding this violation. Case is completed and referred to competent Prosecutor’s office for further proceedings."

Unfortunately, the fact is that police undertook nothing and this illegal construction continued and was finally halted only after an intervention from the UNMIK leadership a few days ago after construction of the building was already completed.

2. UNMIK chief Dr. Joachim Ruecker spoke by telephone a few days ago with Visoki Decani Monastery and conveyed his firm assurances that illegal activity would be halted. The UNMIK chief also said he would be visiting the monastery in the near future.

3. The monastery received a visit today from representative for political and economic issues with the U.S. Office in Pristina, Mr. Tomas Yezdgardi, who upon learning of existing problems and plans for further illegal construction in the protected zone visited Decani municipality to speak with the mayor. Yezdgardi conveyed the firm position of the U.S. Office that UNMIK decisions must be respected, and that the illegal construction is unacceptable.

4. Finally, confirmation of illegal construction was given to Beta news agency on December 26 by Decani mayor Nazmi Selmanaj himself, who confirmed that "the municipal inspection has interrupted works being done without a license by a private businessman in the protected zone around the monastery, and it has ordered the building destroyed".

These four facts clearly speak about the problem of illegal construction, and the question really must be raised on the basis of what facts and in whose behalf the UNMIK spokesman is giving irresponsible and inaccurate statements to the press.
With respect to Singh's other claims, we feel it is necessary to explain that decisions about construction work in the protected zone, according to the executive order of the UNMIK chief, are not being considered by local institutions nor by the Kosovo Ministry for Spatial Planning but exclusively by UNMIK. According to existing legal provisions Kosovo institutions do not have the ability to make any sort of decisions contrary to the executive order of the UNMIK chief. Despite this, Decani municipality chose to ignore the illegally constructed restaurant where representatives of the municipality were regular visitors. Moreover, although informed about the expansion of the illegally built building in timely fashion, municipal officials again did nothing until pressed by international authorities. It remains to be seen whether the decision to remove the illegally constructed building as the mayor promised in his statement will actually be done.

By order of the UNMIK chief a local committee was formed to implement the protected zone around the monastery which includes representatives from UNMIK, the monastery, the municipality, the Kosovo Police Service and KFOR. The committee has only met once so far because for the past two years the municipality has been avoiding putting up signage marking the beginning and the end of the protected zone. The monastery has not approved any construction within the protected zone. Mr. Singh was probably thinking of one instance of using gravel from the river and two instances of controlled use of firewood from privately owned lots in the zone, none of which represented a threat to the environment or the monastery and UNMIK representative Mr. Perez approved in informal communication.

As far as the idea of a highway toward Plav Lake (Albanian inhabited part of Montenegro) and the construction of a mineral water factory by an Arab-Albanian company, the monastery has not given any sort of approval for this. Moreover, it is the firm position of the monastery that according to UNMIK regulations such activities are not legal, and that any sort of construction of highways and factories in the protected zone is unacceptable and represents a danger to the monastery and the natural ambiance. The unrelenting determination of the municipality to push these projects through without consulting with the monastery and contrary to UNMIK decisions shows that Decani municipality is obstructing UNMIK decisions, and the monastery has already informed diplomatic representatives in Pristina and the office of Mr. Ahtisaari in Vienna of this problem. The municipality's insistence that all industrial activity in the municipality be developed near the monastery has a clear political agenda with the goal of making it impossible for the monastery, the only Serb community on the territory of the municipality, to function normally.

The further attitude and handling of this and similar issues by Kosovo institutions will be a direct test of the sincerity of Kosovo representatives officially claiming that the protection of the heritage in Kosovo is their priority.

27 December 2006

Not Hikers, But Terrorists Roam Monastary Protected Zones

Decani: Smuggling drugs and weapons through Monastery protected zone
"The stories about development of tourism are nothing more than fairy tales because everyone knows there is no rule of law in this area and that the surrounding mountains are swarming with armed smugglers, not hikers and mountain climbers," concluded Fr. Sava.
KIM Info ServiceDecani, December 21, 2006
Despite the latest protests against illegal construction near Visoki Decani Monastery, the situation around this Serbian Orthodox holy shrine has not changed in the least. Moreover, during a meeting yesterday, Decani municipality openly announced construction of a highway to Plav passing right next to the monastery, which is completely against UNMIK restrictions applying to the protected zone around the monastery. As indicated in a previous KIM Info Service newsletter, the news was published in the Pristina Albanian language daily "Koha Ditore".

"This represents flagrant institutional terror implemented by local municipal officials belonging to the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo with the support of government circles in Pristina. From all that has transpired it is crystal clear that the promises of the Kosovo government with respect to their purported readiness to ensure the protection of Serbian Orthodox holy shrines are not sincere," said Protosingel Sava Janjic, commenting on the most recent decisions of Decani municipality. "We are deeply concerned by the increase in extremist activity on the territory of Decani and Pec," said Fr. Sava, adding that since 1999 Decani municipality has failed to enable the return of Serbs because this is opposed by local extremists headed by an ultra-radical organization of Kosovo Liberation Army veterans. "The stories about development of tourism are nothing more than fairy tales because everyone knows there is no rule of law in this area and that the surrounding mountains are swarming with armed smugglers, not hikers and mountain climbers," concluded Fr. Sava.

According to international police sources the Decani-Plav route has become one of the main channels for smuggling of weapons, drugs and white slaves. The intent of extremist circles is to build a better, wider road so that when the time right the violence can be expanded to nearby Montenegro. The triangle between Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo has already become a sort of El Dorado for organized crime and mafia, as Montenegrin police reports confirm (see article from the Podgorica daily "Dan" below). Until April this year all vehicles passing by Decani Monastery were searched by KFOR troops; however, after demonstrations and political pressure coordinated by KLA veterans under the leadership of Abdyl Mushkolaj and activists of Albin Kurti's "Self-Determination" an agreement of sorts was reached for vehicles not to be searched during the day. This represents a further security threat in proximity to the monastery.

Recently a significant weapons cache was found and confiscated near Pec which was intended for the use of Albanian paramilitary gangs in Montenegro which have already attempted to organize terrorist activities in this republic. The smuggling channels and accumulation of illegal weapons by extremists near Pec and Decani are well know to both international police and military experts who are following extremist activities on the territory of Metohija.

Arab money for a factory near Decani Monastery

KIM Info-serviceDecani, December 22, 2006

After the news on continuation of illegal construction in the vicinity of Decani Monastery no concrete actions have been taken by the Municipality yet. In fact the monastery has been officially informed that the Municipality is planning another "project" in the area withing few hundred meters from the Monastery with the money of United Arab Emirates. An UAE Consortium is planning to open a factory of mineral water although no industrial activities in the area of the monastery are allowed by the executive decision of UNMIK administration. The representatives of the monastery rejected the meeting with municipal authorities and the Arab investors on this issue yesterday because such a request is considered a most blatant provocation.

At the same time the Monastery has learned that the local Kosovo police service failed to react against the illegal construction because the owner of the illegaly built restaurant has a brother who works in local police. "Decani area is like a feudal medieval society and everything functions on the basis of family links and the power of weapons. Institutions are just a facade behind which lawlessness rules", confirmed Fr. Sava. "At the same time the illegal restaurant is known as a hangout for local mafia and no one dares stop the illegal activities. Black jeeps with darkened windows are regularly passing near the monastery and no one knows where they are heading", said Fr. Sava expressing serious concern that institutional arrangements for protection of Christian sites in Kosovo would hardly work in the existing security situation. "To implement such an arragnement one needs stable institutions and the basic rule of law. Here, you can achieve something only making deals with criminal structures which is nothing but legalizing racket", concluded Fr. Sava.

Beside the already built illegal restaurant and a planned Arab factory near the monastery there are several other pending projects which would turn the area around the UNESCO World Cultural heritage site into an idustrial area which would completely block the life in the monastery and destroy its surrounding. An Albanian businessman who became a US citizen Florin Krasnici is pushing very strongly building af a new hydropower station with a dam and an artificial lake. Despite very clear restrictions his engineers have been seen in the area of the monastery taking photos and preparing documentation for the project. Florin Krasnici is known to wider public as one of most important weapons smugglers both during and after Kosovo war. In a documentary "Brooklyn Connection" Krasnici openly boasted of importing sophisticated anti aircraft guns to Kosovo despite KFOR check-points.International police sources suspect that extremist circles are already accumulating illegal weapons in Decani Mountains using the existing mountain road which goes to Albanian inhabited part of Montenegro and further to lawless North Albania. Various economic projects and the development of tourism are seen just as a handy cover.

Decani Monastery has been attacked three times after the war in 1999 by mortar grenades. In February and June 2000 extremists from the former KLA fired several grenades on the monastery compound. In March 2004 the mortar attack in which 7 grenades landed 50 meters from the church was stopped after the direct intervention of the NATO Headquaters in Naples and high diplomatic circles. Last year the chief of local war veterans of KLA openly threatened the monastery and Italian KFOR and in April 2006 they staged protests requesting KFOR protection of the monastery to be lifted.

Increasing numbers of smuggling channels between Montenegro and Kosovo
Smuggling knows no borders
Serbian original athttp://dan.cg.yu/index.php?nivo=3&rubrika=Drustvo&datum=2006-12-15&clanak=80633
Dan, Podgorica, December 15, 2006
Near the administrative crossing of Kula (between Kosovo and) Montenegro, police confiscated 5,438 cartons of cigarettes, and a few days later at the same crossing a truck was discovered illegally transporting one ton of fuel, Kosovo police advised. In mid-November a police patrol confiscated 3,283 cartons of cigarettes, which were confiscated and turned over to the customs service. In the village of Ponosec while searching an automobile police confiscated 20 metal boxes containing 10,800 7.62mm caliber bullets in a larger box hidden with bags containing animal feed. According to respected experts, the primary reason for the increase in smuggling from Kosovo to Montenegro in the last two years is poor security and porous borders.
Military-political analyst Milovan Drecun believes that the problem began when the army, the only organization able to confront the problem logistically and in terms of manpower, was withdrawn from the borders. "It's completely clear that the Montenegrin Ministry of Internal Affairs is unable to prevent the smuggling of weapons and other good and the infiltration of terrorists. The few cases revealed since the police assumed border security is just the tip of the iceberg of what is happening in reality. The smuggling triangle Kosovo-Albania-Montenegro has been functioning since 1999 when weapons, cigarettes, fuels and other goods entered by way of Montenegro. Now this has boomeranged on Montenegro," said Drecun.According to Drecun, all relevant international organizations are aware of this route and Montenegro will have serious problems in the future because of it."In a comprehensive UNMIK study on organized crime in Kosovo and Metohija that I saw there is information about well established and well organized channels for smuggling dutiable goods, drugs and humans, as well as that those channels include individuals close to Montenegrin political structure. As well, according to confidential NATO and KFOR information to which I have access, it is evident that one of the main drug smuggling channels runs from Turkey by way of Kosovo and Montenegro," emphasized Drecun.He emphasized that "there is no question that the Montenegrin regime has failed to do anything serious to secure the state border with Serbia toward the territory of Kosovo and the border with Albania out of practical political considerations."On the contrary, the Montenegrin regime has intentionally allowed a porous border for illegal transistors and smugglers. This danger to Montenegro will become very acute in the future because of plans by Albanian separatists to destabilize the state by injecting weapons. Finally, for years no one from the Montenegrin regime has cared to explain information that is constantly being circulated about joint illegal dealings by Albanian terrorists and criminals from Kosovo with individuals close to the top of the Montenegrin regime. This criminal business connection resulted in Albanian terrorists securing the dismissal of then director of the Military Security Agency, General Momir Stojanovic. All this should remind the regime of the old adage "he who plants squash with the Devil will find it bruises his head" - except this time around the citizens will pay the bill, not the regime."
KIM Info-service ARCHIVE
2004 Archives: March April May June July August September October November December 2005 Archives: January February March April May June July August September October November December 2006 Archives: January February March April May June July August September October November December
More News Available on our:Kosovo Daily News list (KDN)

22 December 2006

Weapons Seized In Kosovo, Goverment Official Involved

Kosovo officials arrested after huge weapons haul
REUTERS, Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:35 AM ETBy Fatos Bytyci
PRISTINA, Serbia (Reuters) - Two officials of Kosovo's governing coalition have been arrested after police found a minibus packed with heavy weapons and ammunition.
A police source said the haul included a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft gun and more than 100 rocket-propelled grenades.
Local media reports said the find, made late on Wednesday in the Drenica region of central Kosovo, was the largest in Kosovo since the 1998-99 war and the deployment of NATO peacekeepers.
Three men were arrested, including a senior adviser to the Kosovo labor minister and a member of the governing Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), which emerged from the guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army.
The find sharpened fears of unrest in the U.N.-run province, where major powers have delayed a decision on the demand of 2 million ethnic Albanians for independence from Serbia.
The Kosovo government issued a statement expressing regret for what it said was an isolated case. The AAK, a junior member of the governing coalition, said it was "surprised" that two of its members were involved.
The breakaway province, run by the United Nations since 1999 and patrolled by 17,000 NATO-led peacekeepers, is braced for possible violence after the major Western powers and Russia let slip a year-end deadline to decide its fate until Serbia holds a general election on January 21.
An influential Brussels-based think-tank on Wednesday warned against further delay.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) said the temptation to avoid a tough decision on independence must be avoided, or there could be a "major new crisis".
Some Kosovo Albanian leaders have warned of unrest, which would almost certainly target the remaining 100,000 Serbs. Groups of armed men have appeared over the past year, and rioters last month lobbed stones and bottles at the U.N. headquarters in the capital, Pristina.
NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days in 1999 to force out Serb forces accused of causing a bloodbath in a two-year conflict with separatist guerrillas. Ten thousand Albanian civilians died and almost a million were expelled.
Diplomats say the United States and its major European allies favor a form of independence supervised by the European Union. But Russian support for Serbia, which opposes independence, is hardening and could scupper efforts to solve the problem in the U.N. Security Council.
According to Kosovo's leading daily in Albanian language KOHA DITORE Ministry of Labor which is lead by one of Ramush Haradinaj's closest aides was involved in riots of November 28 this year when the UNMIK and Kosovo Govenrment building were attacked. Vehicles of the Ministry of Labor assisted in bringing stones to the rioters (Comment by KIM Info)
NATO peacekeepers, police seize weapons cache in Kosovo
Associated Press: Thursday, December 21, 2006 6:21 AM
PRISTINA, Serbia-NATO peacekeepers and police seized a large weapons cache during a raid in Kosovo and arrested three suspects, a police official said Thursday.
Police raided locations in the village of Stutica, in central Kosovo, after receiving information on weapons smuggling late Tuesday, said police spokesman Veton Elshani. The weapons, which were being examined by NATO-led peacekeepers, included rockets and ammunition. Police did not have further details on the size of the cache.
Two suspects were arrested at the scene and police also arrested a suspect in eastern Kosovo, Elshani said.
Local media identified one of the suspects as a member of the Alliance for Future of Kosovo, part of the province's ruling coalition government, and the other as an adviser to the Ministry of Social Welfare.
The alleged involvement of a government official in the weapons seizure drew condemnation by Kosovo's government, which distanced itself from the official and commended law enforcement agencies for the seizure of illegal weapons.
Kosovo has been administered by United Nations mission since mid-1999, when a NATO air war halted a crackdown by Serb forces on separatist ethnic Albanian rebels. The province is patrolled by some 16,000 NATO-led peacekeepers, who are in charge of the overall security in Kosovo.
Tensions in the province have been increasing as U.N.-mediated negotiations are under way to resolve the province's future status. Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority wants full independence, but Belgrade wants to retain some control over what it considers a crucial part of Serbia.
The U.N. envoy facilitating months of so far inconclusive talks between the bitterly divided sides is due to make a final recommendation early next year on the province's future.
Weapons seized, officials arrested in Kosovo
21 December 2006 14:19 Source: Beta
PRISTINA -- Kosovo police (KPS) and KFOR confiscated a large amount of weapons in Glogovac last night.
KPS spokesman said that a significant amount of arms and ammunition was found in a van in the village of Stutica, Glogovac municipality, and confirmed that three people were arrested.
However, he did not disclose the identities of those placed in police custody. The media for its part speculates that a Kosovo government official is among those arrested last night.
"We are still uncertain about the amount of weapons in question, since the search of the location continues. KFOR is involved in the investigation, since the weapons cache contained a certain amount of explosives, which falls under their jurisdiction", the police spokesman said.
Meanwhile, the Pristina media report that two members of Kosovo's ruling coalition are among those arrested, one of whom is allegedly a government official.
Radio Kosovo names the pair as Skenderbej Habibi and Naim Bazaj, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo members.
The government in Pristina issued a statement in effect confirming the speculation, expressing "strong condemnation of the involvement of one of its officials in illegal activities.
"The prime minister and the government condemn any illegal action regardless of who perpetrates it in the strongest terms and remains convinced that such people have no place in Kosovo's government", the statement says.
It goes on to congratulate the security forces on carrying out a successful operation of discovering and confiscating the illegal weapons.
KIM Info-service ARCHIVE
2004 Archives: March April May June July August September October November December 2005 Archives: January February March April May June July August September October November December 2006 Archives: January February March April May June July August September October November December
More News Available on our:Kosovo Daily News list (KDN)KDN Archive
Earlier Newsletters can be found at: http://www.kosovo.net/erpkiminfo.html Photo Galleries of the March pogrom are available at: http://www.kosovo.net/pogrom.html
Our Information Service is distributing news on Kosovo related issues. The main focus of the Info-Service is the life of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian community in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. Disclaimer:The views expressed by the authors of newspaper articles or other texts which are not official communiqu

06 December 2006

Petitions To Sign to Call For The Release of Archbishop Jovan In Macedonia

KiM Info Newsletter 06-12-06
Primate of Orthodox Church in America calls for release of Imprisoned Archbishop Jovan
It has been 120 days since His Beatitude the Archbishop of Ochrid and Metropolitan of Skopje Jovan (John) has been imprisoned for second time in the state prison “Idrizovo” in Skopje, FYR Macedonia. The terror which the FYROM government, in interaction with the state-sponsored and self-proclaimed "Macedonian Orthodox Church", has been conducting over its own citizens, not only does it not cease, but it increases in force. Archbishop Jovan is the only Christian cleric in Europe who is imprisoned as a prisoner of consciousness under disguis of false accusations of money misappropriation. Blatant violation of basic religious rights in FYR Macedonia is a sad indication of absence of basic democratic standards in that country.
Metropolitan Herman calls for release of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid
SYOSSET, NY December 1, 2006Orthodox Church in America In a letter dated December 1, 2006 and addressed to Nikola Gruevsky, Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, expressed his deepest concern for His Eminence, Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid, who recently was imprisoned for the second time.
In the 1960s, the Orthodox Church in the Macedonian Republic unilaterally declared itself autocephalous, thereby breaking communion with the Serbian Patriarchate and the world's Orthodox sister Churches. The schismatic Macedonian Church has maintained a bitter dispute with the Serbian Church over the patriarchate's presence in the republic.
The patriarchate's Archbishop Jovan, who broke ties with the schismatic Church in Macedonia and returned to the patriarchate a several years ago, has been the target of anti-patriarchate parties and civil authorities. He was first arrested in July 2005 and sentenced to 18 months in prison in Skopje for allegedly "inciting national, racial, and religious hatred, schism, and intolerance." He was subsequently released until his most recent imprisonment.
The text of Metropolitan Herman's letter, a copy of which was also sent to His Holiness, Patriarch Pavle of Servia, reads as follows.
"Dear Mr. Prime Minister:
"My letter to you is motivated by deep respect for you and your office as Prime Minister and by feelings of good will for your nation of Macedonia and its citizens.
"As the Primate of The Orthodox Church in America I write to you in order to intercede on behalf of Archbishop Jovan, who is imprisoned for the second time. I appeal to you to extend your good offices to secure the reconsideration of the sentence imposed on Archbishop Jovan.
"That a hierarch is judged and imprisoned for speaking and acting in accordance with his conscience is a serious violation of both the freedom of conscience and the freedom of religious faith and practice. These freedoms represent the ideals of human rights characterizing the values of all civilized peoples. I encourage you to lead your government and nation in pursuing ways of settling disputed issues that are more appropriate than the imprisonment of religious leaders.
"We are also well aware that the Archbishop's physical health is precarious, and we trust that he is receiving all the medical attention and care necessary for his condition.
"I urge you as the head of a government that has asserted its desire for all citizens of Macedonia to be free and equal citizens to adhere to the international standards of human rights and religious freedom. By doing what is honorable and just in the case of Archbishop Jovan you will reveal before the international community that you stand by these principles in practice.
"The prayers of the hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and faithful of The Orthodox Church in America are offered to God for the health, well-being, and release of Archbishop Jovan. We hope that our prayers for you and your nation will guide your government to a just resolution of the most grievous situation of Archbishop Jovan – a situation which is grievous not only for him, but also for the Republic of Macedonia."
5000 signatures for liberation of Archbishop Jovan on the ongoing petition
At the beginning of November, in the United States of America, an Internet petition was started for liberation of His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, kyr kyr Jovan from the prison in Idrizovo (http://www.petitiononline.com/3001sd/petition.html).
Republic of Macedonia is the only country in the civilized world which displays rigid violation of the religious freedoms of its own citizens. Archbishop Jovan is still in prison and the state refuses to register the existence of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.
However, people from around the world, who care about the most basic principles of the free and democratic world, with the voice of reason, peace and good will, sign the Internet petition for liberation of Archbishop Jovan and reinstatement of the violated religious freedoms in the Republic of Macedonia.
So far the petition has been signed by nearly 5000 citizens (with different religious and national origins, among which there are Bishops, doctors, priests and eminent intellectuals), from different countries: the United States of America, Bulgaria, Sweden, Brazil, Canada, Australia, China, Serbia, Great Britain, Greece, Russia, Macedonia, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia…
Links to the petition have been published on several web sites. After completion of the Petition signing, the Petition together with the request for the Republic of Macedonia to cease the persecution and imprisonment on religious basis of its own citizens and to register the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, will be sent to the American State Department, to the seat of the European Union in Brussels, to the Government of Germany as forthcoming President of the European Union, to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia and the other relevant international institutions.
The petition is ongoing.
Respecting the religious freedoms of all citizens – one of the conditions for the Republic of Macedonia to integrate in the Euro-Atlantic institutions
Recently, the deputy of the assistant secretary in the American Bureau for European and Euro-Asian questions, Rosemary di Carlo, was staying in a working visit in Republic of Macedonia.
She pointed out unambiguously that the obligations which Republic of Macedonia should fulfill so as to become a candidate for membership in NATO are the following: judicial reforms, fight against corruption, fight against human trafficking, and respecting the religious freedoms and rights of all citizens.
This information has been broadcast by all Macedonian media (for example, A1 TV, News, 25. 10. 2006; Dnevnik, 27. 10. 2006…).
The weekly Macedonian magazine with the biggest circulation”Fokus”, in its newest issue (number 591), has published its attitude about the incoming obligation of Republic of Macedonia:
“One of the conditions for entering NATO, was the guarantee for religious freedoms. The whole farce in the organization of MOC and Macedonian politics connected with the image and work of bishop Jovan is contained in this poor information…

Macedonian judiciary gave him a prison sentence on the base of his neighbors’ conviction that the building’s entrance smelled like incense instead of sauerkraut, which is interpreted as sowing religious and racial hatred. Meanwhile MOC was “enlightened” and announced defrosting of the dialogue with SOC since the way to autocephaly lead through Belgrade, and which is identical to what Jovan had claimed, for which in the public harangue he has been proclaimed a traitor.
As it comes to the state, it still refuses to register his religious organization, despite the pressure made by the deadlines. Thus the state has been caught in its trap and built the newest case against Macedonia. Now, if we want in NATO, we have to recognize Jovan. And, normally, we are all playing fools. We do not comment on the “condition” that Rosemary di Carlo has announced again. We do not comment on the decision made by MOC, neither. We hope that this shame will be forgotten…”
Problems cannot be solved by postponing them endlessly. On the contrary, they multiply.
It is a fact that in the Republic of Macedonia there are citizens, who belong to Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, and whose religious freedoms are fully taken away. Is it possible that the state forces those citizens to belong to the favourized religious community - MOC, to which they do not wish to belong!
Due to the insistence by the bishops of MOC, after many releases by the Principal Court Veles, Archbishop kyr kyr Jovan is in the prison “Idrizovo”. The reforms in the judiciary, the interruption of the political trials and imprisonments of Archbishop kyr kyr Jovan, and the registering of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, are in fact acts compatible with the European Convention for respecting human rights and freedoms, whose signer is Republic of Macedonia. Such efforts effectively, not only declaratively, will accelerate the integration of our country in the desired Euro-Atlantic institutions, thus putting it in the line of countries which cherishes the values of a civilization.

04 December 2006

Ceku Rebuffed By Moscow

KiM Info Newsletter 01-12-06
Kosovo: Ceku Gets Cold Shoulder in Moscow Over Independence
Moscow, 30 Nov. (AKI)
Kosovo prime minister Agim Ceku got a cold shoulder from Russian leaders on Thursday in an effort to rig support for independence of the province which has been under United Nations control since 1999. Ceku's visit got a low profile treatment, aimed not to offend Belgrade, which opposes independence of the province in which ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs by 17 to one. He met with deputy foreign minister Vladimir Titov and president of the foreign policy committee of the Russian parliament, Konstantin Kosacov, but failed to get Moscow's commitment for independence.
Kosacov suggested that the dispute should be solved in direct negotiations with Belgrade and offered Moscow's support in "establishing direct dialogue". He said unilateral proclamation of independence, without Belgrade's consent, would be a "dangerous precedent, contrary to European standards established after the Second World War". Kosacov told journalists, after meeting with Ceku, that these standards don't allow the change of state borders without the consent of all involved.
He actually echoed Belgrade's stand that any change of borders, or unilateral recognition of Kosovo independence, would destabilize the entire region and violate the UN Charter. "Russia could help in establishing such a dialogue which would lead to a compromise that would satisfy the Serbian and the Kosovo side," he said.
Belgrade has no authority in Kosovo since its forces were pushed out of the province by NATO bombing in 1999 and is offering ethnic Albanians a large autonomy. But ethnic Albanian leaders have said they would settle for nothing short of independence, hinting they might even resort to violence to achieve that goal.
Kosacov said Ceku has repeatedly stated the interest "to maintain open and constructive relations with Serbia, but only as two sovereign states". Titov said the search for a compromise solution, based on the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 should remain the basis for solving the Kosovo dispute.
Resolution 1244, which put Kosovo under UN control with strong international civilian and military presence, states that Kosovo is officially a part of Serbia. But the international community has been gradually moving towards granting Kosovo independence and, after eight failed rounds of negotiations, it is expected to make a final status decision early next year.
Russia is the only member of a six-nation Contact Group for Kosovo that has openly opposed.
Russia stresses need for negotiated, mutually acceptable solution on Kosovo's status
Associated Press: Thursday, November 30, 2006 1:34 PM
MOSCOW-Russian diplomats and lawmakers told Kosovo's Prime Minister Agim Ceku on Thursday that Moscow wants an agreement on the breakaway Serbian province's status to be carefully negotiated and acceptable to Serbia.
Ceku's visit to Moscow came amid a U.N.-mediated effort to determine the status of the province and Russian warnings that independence could set a precedent for Russian-backed separatist regions in the former Soviet Union.
In a meeting with Ceku, Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov emphasized that Belgrade and Pristina must seek "an effective, negotiated solution" to the dispute and stressed he need for continued international efforts to find "mutually acceptable outcomes," the Foreign Ministry said.
Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since 1999, when NATO bombing ended a crackdown by Belgrade on separatist ethnic Albanian rebels. The majority ethnic Albanians want independence, but its Serb minority and Belgrade want Kosovo to remain part of Serbia.
Russia, which shares Serbia's Slavic, Orthodox Christian background, sharply opposed the bombing and has stressed the need for a solution on status that suits Serbia. It has also paid close attention to the treatment of Kosovo's Serb minority.
Titov told Ceku that Pristina must abide by international norms on the treatment of ethnic minorities, provide for the return of Serb refugees to Kosovo and prevent extremist violence in the province, the Foreign Ministry statement said.
Ceku also met with members of the lower parliament house's international affairs committee. Its chairman, pro-Kremlin lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev, said legislators called for direct talks between Pristina and Belgrade and offered to mediate in "a dialogue to negotiate promises acceptable to both sides," the Interfax news agency reported.
President Vladimir Putin and other officials have said the determination of Kosovo's status could set a precedent for separatist regions in former Soviet republics, suggesting that the international community could not ignore the independence claims of regions such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which broke away from control of the central government in Georgia in wars in the early 1990s.
Kosovo Albanian PM says no Serbia accord
MOSCOW, Nov. 30 (UPI)
Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian prime minister says no compromise can be reached with Belgrade on a future status of the Serbian province.
Kosovo interim Prime Minister Agim Ceku, in Moscow for talks with Russian Foreign Ministry officials, Thursday said though Belgrade claims Kosovo is an integral part of Serbia, the arrangement is impossible, the Serbian news agency Tanjug reported. Ceku told reporters ethnic-Albanians do not want Belgrade govern Kosovo any longer, Tanjug said.
However, a Russian statement on the talks with Ceku said it is essential Serbian authorities in Belgrade and leaders of ethnic-Albanians work toward a compromise on Kosovo's future.
Martti Ahtisaari, the U.N. envoy chairing the Kosovo talks, is expected to announce early next year a decision on who will govern Kosovo once U.N.
administrators and NATO troops leave the province.
The Belgrade government, representing 100,000 Serbs who live in Kosovo, says the province will always be part of Serbia, while leaders of ethnic-Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's 1.8 million population, insist on independence from Belgrade.
Kosovo Premier Leaves for Moscow Carrying Albanian Passport Pristina, 30 Nov. (Tanjug)
Kosovo Premier Agim Ceku has left for Moscow carrying an Albanian passport, the media in Pristina reported on Thursday, adding that a group of Kosovo journalists, who accompanied the premier, had been returned from the airport in the Russian capital because of their improper papers.Russia does not accept the documents issued by UNMIK, stated Ceku’s spokesperson Ulpiana Lama. Ceku has a Croatian citizenship, and receives Croatian retirement, and has Croatian passport, but he applied and obtained Albanian passport.