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Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic requested discontinuation of transfer of competences from the international to the provisional administration in Kosovo-Metohija as well as the introduction of a firmer protectorate in the province. The transfer of competences onto non-democratic and unbuilt provisional institutions, I may as well say - onto Albanians, is a move that has certainly left bad consequences, and one of them is the murder of the Stolic family - stated Zivkovic to the press, after his talks with the delegation of Serbs from central Kosovo. Zivkovic expressed expectation that tomorrow’s session of the UN Security Council would pay a more significant attention to the security problem in Kosovo-Metohija.
During the last 2 months about 11.000 jobs out of planned 20.000, have been legaliyed in Montenegro, stated Branimir Gvozdenovic, Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro. During the presentation of the project entitled LEGALIYATION OF THE EXISTING AND OPENING OF NEW EMPLOYMENT PLACES, he has said that until now over 40 % of the program has been realized as has been anticipated by the Government’s Agenda of Economic Reforms. Montenegrine Deputy Prime Minister has pointed out that new jobs are opening thus creating realistic conditions for the reduction of taxes as well as for the reduction of unemployment rate from 23-25 % in 2002, to 19 % in 2003.
As of today, the Central Bank of Montenebgr, the EUROMARKET, Montenegrine Commercial Bank and the OPPORTUNITY Bank, are members of the SWIFT international monetary institution, located in Brussels. Tijana Radusinovic, in charge of payment operations with foreign countries at the Montenegrine Central Bank, stated to Podgorica media that all technical details related to operations through SWIFT networking had been harmonized. This network was organized by banks with a view to facilitating inter-bank eschange of not only payment-orders but also of other financial transactions.
Natasa Micic, Acting President of Serbia and speaker of the republican parliament, received representatives of the Initiative Board of Serbs from Kosovo-Metohija, headed by Raska and Prizren bishop Artemije and Kosovo district head Dragan Velic. Members of the delegation have requested president Micic that the state exerts all its efforts with the aim of final creation of a unified strategy for Kosovo-Metohija, as the only way of assisting Serb community in this region. This has been announced from the presidential cabinet. Micic has reiterated severe condemnation of the crime in Obilic, where members of the Stolic family were brutally murdered, and assessed this as a strong impact not only for the family but for the entire Serb community in Kosovo-Metohija.
The three members of the Stolic family have been killed in an utterly professional manner and traces of murder well covered-up, so that after 6 days, UNMIK police investigation into the murder of 3 Serbs from Obilic, has not moved a bit forward than the beginning, said Michael Steiner in his telephone statement to TANJUG. He denied writings of some media that UNMIK and KFOR were not ready to additionally secure Serbs from Obilic. Steiner promised that in the future, UNMIK police would enforce control in Obilic and that KFOR troops would re-establish check-points, in order that Serbs in that small town in the central part of Kosmet would feel safe and secured.
Beside UNMIK Head Michael Steiner, Kosovo delegation that will travel to Thessalonica to attend the European Union Summit on June 21, will consist of the president and the prime minister of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova and Bairam Redzepi and the minister-coordinator for the return, Milorad Todorovic, electronic media in Pristina have reported. Todorvic stated to TANJUG that, prior to deciding whether he would take part in possible Thessalonica talks on Kosovo, he would ask for the POVRATAK Coalition’s green light, as well as for official Belgrade’s one. He has assessed that after the crime, which occurred in Obilic, the Serbian POVRATAK Coalition is not ready to talk, but that there is still time until the Thessalonica summit, and therefore, there is time to think this over.
Serbia and Montenegro Defence Minister Boris Tadic assessed that the state union could not be satisfied with the level of protection of non-Albanians in Kosovo-Metohija and that UNMIK and KFOR were the most responsible for the situation. Talks on the status of Kosmet cannot commence until elementary standards of the protection of human rights in the Province have been protected, Tadic said following talks with his Romanian counterpart, Joan Mirce Pashku. Speaking of the status of Serbia and Montenegro’s forces in Kosmet within Resolution 1244, Tadic reminded that the peace agreement had specified their engagement in the protection of cultural heritage on border crossings with Albania and the deactivation of minefields.
South-East European states expect of the EU to send a clear message from the forthcoming EU summit in Thessaloniki that Europe will not be complete without the western Balkans, Serbia and Montenegro Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic said at the conference of the foreign ministers of the eight member-states of the Process of Cooperation of South-East Europe in Sarajevo. Svilanovic said that the joint aim of states participating in the Sarajevo conference is to secure a European future. He voiced the proposal that west Balkan states be included in talks on the future of Europe and expressed his support to the idea of the establishment of a European integration partnership for the West Balkans.
Representatives of Serbs from Obilic, near Pristina, said that they would not leave their homes as they have reached an agreement with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic whereby a team from the Coordination Centre for Kosovo-Metohija will visit the Obilic municipality on Tuesday where last Wednesday a three-member Serb family was murdered. The team will request UNMIK and Michael Steiner to increase the level of security and the freedom of movement for Serbs on the territory of Obilic, Covic said after the meeting. It has been agreed that leaving Kosovo would be welcomed by Albanian extremists and terrorist organizations. Covic reiterated that some 500 Serb-owned houses had been burned and 36 people of Serbian nationality from the Obilic municipality have been killed since June 1999.
Romanian Defence Minister Joan Mirce Pasku said, following talks with his Serbian counterpart Boris Tadic in Belgrade, that he supported the State Union’s joining of the Partnership for Peace Programme. Tadic assessed Pasku’s support for the Union’s association with the Project of Defence and Regional Cooperation in southeastern Europe as very important. In order that the aim be met, it is necessary to obtain support from other countries within the programme by defence ministers of southeastern Europe, said Tadic. During talks with Serbia and Montenegro Assembly Speaker Dragoljub Micunovic and Vice-Speaker Milorad Drljevic, Romanian Defence Minister emphasized that the State Union has met all prerequisites and stands a chance to be invited to become a member of the Alliance together with Croatia, Macedonia and Albania.
The first ministerial conference of eight countries, members of the Process of cooperation in Southeastern Europe, also attended by Serbia and Montenegro foreign minister Goran Svilanovic, has begun in Sarajevo. Opening the meeting, BiH foreign minister Mladen Ivanic emphasized that the conference provides opportunity for exchanging opinions prior to the EU-West Balkan Countries Summit in Thessalonica, scheduled for June 21.
Albanians in Kosovo-Metohia, as officially estimated by UNMIK, have usurped some 75.000 flats and other facilities, mostly Serb owned, while 30.000 houses have been plundered and destroyed by fire. Kosovo population numbers between 1,8 and 2,4 million people, the majority being Albanians who, with 27 newly born babies per 1000, have the highest birth rate in the region, UNMIK sources report. In 1999, the capital city of Kosovo had 250.000 people, out of which 40.000 were Serbs while today their number is merely 170. The Kosovo Assembly recently adopted a law on the census and registration of property, which will be carried out between 1-15 April, 2004. Kosovo Serb representatives claim that the act will legalize the exodus of Serbs which has been taking place over the past four years.
Following the murder of three members of the Stolic family in Kosmet and an announced collective migration of Serbs from Obilic, the press carries the statement given by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and the head of the Coordination centre for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic as saying that their leaving the area would be welcomed by Albanian terrorists.
Montenegrin daily PUBLIKA, under the heading "Covic understands the fear of Serbs but calls on them to remain in the area" carries the suggestion that Serbian deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic offered to the Serbs in Obilic, urging them not to take the move although it is a known fact that people in Kosovo are loosing their heads and UNMIK is doing almost nothing to secure their safety and the freedom of movement. Covic announces that he will do his utmost to help the Serbs from Obilic, reiterating that competences that Serbia has in the southern province are limited. Covic believes that an agreement will be reached which will help Serbs stay enable their survival in Kosovo-Metohija. He pointed out that Serbs would not be returning to Kosovo if there were no other Serbs there. Covic thinks that collective migration of Serbs form Obilic would be welcomed by Albanian extremists and terrorists who had killed the Stolic family. Deputy Prime Minister repeated that state officials in Belgrade will have to address all international institutions and reiterated that it has been four years now since the international community sent its representative to Kosovo-Metohija, mentioning that some progress had been made but not for the Serbian community. It is not enough that the international community condemns crime, and lets another one happen the following day, at the time when the international community is responsible for the situation in Kosmet. Covic criticized reactions of the international community, which is calling on perpetrators being found, at the same time supporting the politics of the head of UNMIK, Michael Steiner. Steiner is the man who failed greatly at his performing his tasks and implementing his competences, Covic was adamant. It is unthinkable that a man with such authority does not understand that with them he also has responsibility. The head of UNMIK has done almost nothing in Kosovo, expect for making everybody foes, Serbs within their community and Albanians within theirs, concluded Covic.
The daily VECERNJE NOVOSTI carries the interview by Michael Hartman; UNMIK’s first international prosecutor who said he was at the seat of the UN in New York when he learnt of the tragedy in Obilic. Hartman said that his collocutors at the UN know about the murder of the Stolic family and are very concerned. Many suspect that the killing was provoked by ethnic hatred and that a likely motive could be to discourage the return of the displaced. If that is the case, than I think international judges and prosecution have a job to do. As trying cases of inter-ethnic disputes is extremely important it is vital that impartiality in the procedure be applied, Michael Hartman told the daily VECERNJE NOVOSTI.
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