Belgrade, 19. 02. 2008.
C O N T E N T :
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA – PROCLAMATION OF INDEPENDENCE
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SERBIA – REACTIONS ON KOSOVO’S PROCLAMATION
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RUSSIA - REACTIONS ON PROCLAIMED INDEPENDENCE OF KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
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CONSULATTIONS ON KOSOVO AND METOHIJA AT THE SC UN
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REACTIONS IN THE WORLD
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SERBIAN OFFICIALS VISIT SERBS IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
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PROTEST IN BELGRADE
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KOSOVO AND METOHIJA – PROCLAMATION OF INDEPENDENCE
PROVINCIAL ASSEMBLY DECLARES INDEPENDENCE OF KOSOVO
PRISTINA, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - The Kosovo and Metohija provisional Assembly has adopted a declaration of independence of the southern Serbian province. The declaration on the self-proclamation of independence of Kosovo, shortly after 16.00, was adopted by acclamation by 109 Albanian deputies.
INDEPENDENCE OF KOSOVO ACCORDING TO ATHISAARI PLAN
PRISTINA, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - In the declaration on independence, by whose adoption Kosovo parliament unilaterally declared on Sunday the independence of the Serbian province, it is said that the state was "formed on the basis of Martti Ahtisaari's plan." "By this declaration Kosovo is declared an independent and sovereign state," said the text, read to deputies on Sunday by provisional Kosovo government Premier Hashim Thaci. The 12-point declaration says that the independence of Kosovo would be supervised by the European Union. The declaration envisages that independent Kosovo "guarantees (the protection of) the cultural and great heritage." Serbian deputies, who according to data of the Kosovo Assembly Internet site have ten seats, did not attend the Kosovo Assembly session. The greatest part of the Serbian population in Kosovo boycotted the latest parliamentary elections last autumn. The independence of Kosovo was declared despite the strongest opposition of Serbia's state leadership. The European Union decided on Saturday, also despite the opposition of Serbia and without a UN SC decision, to send its mission to Kosovo.
UNMIK AWAITS INSTRUCTIONS FROM NEW YORK
PRISTINA, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - UNMIK spokesman Alexander Ivanko said in Pristina on Sunday that UN special representative for Kosovo Joachim Ruecker was presenting his report on the situation in Kosovo-Metohija to UN Secretary General Ban Kid Moon. Ruecker is currently presenting a report to UN Headquarters in New York about the latest developments in Kosovo, including the declaration of independence and we are waiting for the instructions for further steps from our seat, Ivanko told Tanjug. He did not want to comment on the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo by the province's parliament.
IVANKO: RESOLUTION 1244 STILL FRAMEWORK FOR UNMIK MANDATE
PRISTINA, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - UNMIK will continue, until further instructions from the UN Security Council, to consider Resolution 1244 as the legal framework for its mandate, said on Monday spokesman for the international mission Alexander Ivanko.
We have to fulfill our mandate under Resolution 1244 except if told otherwise, Ivanko told Tanjug. He also said that a UNMIK representative would not be present Monday evening at the special UN Security Council session devoted to Kosovo and Metohija. We will not be present at the UN Security Council session, the UNMIK spokesman said and added that UNMIK chief Joachim Ruecker had informed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the developments in the southern Serbian province.
SERBIA – REACTIONS ON KOSOVO’S PROCLAMATION
STATEMENT BY SERBIAN PRESIDENT BORIS TADIC
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - At this difficult moment for the state and for us all, I wish to appeal to all the citizens of Serbia, our fellow nationals in Kosovo and Metohija, that we should be guided primarily by reason in the course of these days, while the state of Serbia will make responsible moves and it will do everything in its power to annul the arbitrarily and illegally proclaimed independence of Kosovo, Serbian President Boris Tadic said in an address to the nation on Sunday. Serbia will never recognize the independence of Kosovo. Serbia has reacted and will react using all peaceful, diplomatic and legal means toward the annulment of this act adopted by the interim institutions of Kosovo. Serbia demands from the international institutions in Kosovo immediately to annul this act, which runs contrary to the elementary principles of international law, Tadic underscored. In a direct address to the nation, the Serbian President also said: "Esteemed citizens, "At this point, the lives of the people and their safety are the most important things for us. KFOR and UNMIK are obliged to ensure security for all Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo, to protect their homes and all our holy places. The responsibility for every life in Kosovo and Metohija rests with them. "I have asked KFOR and UNMIK for the highest degree of security for our people. Nevertheless, we are also obliged to be concerned. We will best demonstrate this by not making any hasty moves that could produce circumstances in which the security of our fellow nationals in Kosovo and Metohija would be jeopardized. "Serbia will continue doing everything that is necessary to secure safety for our fellow nationals in Kosovo and that their life is made easier in every sense. I once more appeal to all state officials and the leaders of all parties in Serbia to act responsibly in this situation. "I ask of all politicians, in their statements, to urge their followers to demonstrate peace, seriousness and restraint. Party promotions should immediately be put aside so that the state, in this situation, which is pregnant with challenges, could act with responsibility and in unity. "I also appeal to the media in Serbia, in the days to come, to do their jobs with the maximum of responsibility and without resorting to sensationalism. "Serbia will overcome this situation peacefully, with dignity and in a civilized manner. Serbia will not resort to violence, and that is the only approach that can enable us to continue our legitimate struggle for the preservation of the state integrity, and Serbia will be persistent in that diplomatic battle, defending both its own interests and international law, as much as it is necessary, and until the illegitimate act on independence is rendered completely null and void."
TADIC ASKS BAN THAT UNMIK ANNUL DECLARATION
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic on Sunday called on United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to order the UNMIK chief to annul the illegitimate decision on the proclamation of the independence of the southern Serbian province and to dissolve the interim parliament of Kosovo. In the letter, Tadic informed the UN secretary-general about Serbia's decision to annul today's secessionist act carried by the interim parliament of Kosovo, which violates the sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Serbia, the Office of the Serbian President announced. The letter of the Serbian president to the UN secretary-general reads as follows (official translation): "Excellency, the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of our southern province of Kosovo and Metohija, currently under the interim administration of the United Nations, have unilaterally declared independence from the Republic of Serbia, in clear violation of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)."I ask you to recall that Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) explicitly reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia, which by a plain reading of its text unambiguously includes Kosovo and Metohija. This Resolution further defines the principles by which the issue of Kosovo and Metohija is to be resolved, one of which is defined as a 'political process towards the establishment of an interim political framework agreement providing for substantial self-government in Kosovo, taking full account of the Rambouillet accords and the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia' (emphasis added). It is thus clear that the future status of Kosovo and Metohija, according to Resolution 1244 (1999), can only be reached by an agreement of both sides, and that it must ensure substantial self-government for the province of Kosovo and Metohija within the sovereign framework of the Republic of Serbia, as the so le successor to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Any such solution would, moreover, have to be approved by the Security Council. In light of the above, it is evident that the secessionist move by the Assembly of Kosovo is an attempt to bypass the Security Council and unilaterally impose a solution, in violation of said Resolution. “In the wake of this illegal attempt to establish a fait accompli, the Republic of Serbia has adopted a Decision to abrogate the unilateral secessionist acts and activities of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo and Metohija and their infringement of the Republic of Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. This Decision is based on a prima facia reading of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the Charter of the United Nations, Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999), as well as other Security Council resolutions, and other documents of international law. The Decision reads in part, 'these acts represent a forceful and unilateral secession of a part of the territory of the Republic of Serbia, and therefore are null and void. These acts do not produce any legal effect either in the Republic of Serbia or in the international legal order. Unilateral secession of a part of the territory of a sovereign state constitute legal violence against the Republic of Serbia and violence against international law.’ “The Republic of Serbia reaffirms by this Decision that the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija is an inalienable part of the integral and indivisible constitutional and legal state framework of the Republic of Serbia, on the basis of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and the Charter of the United Nations."The Republic of Serbia demands that the Special Representative of the Secretary General take all necessary measures, in accordance with Resolution 1244 (1999) and other Security Council decisions, as he has on previous occasions, to abrogate, without delay, all acts and actions by which unilateral independence has been declared, as well as prevent any further violation of said Resolution, and all other Security Council documents, the UN Charter, and all other existing norms and regulations of international law. I, therefore, call upon you to ensure that your Special Representative in Kosovo exercise his powers and responsibilities by immediately declaring this illegal act null and void. I also expect him to act pursuant to the Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government in Kosovo (UNMIK/REG/2001/9 of 15 May 2001, para 8.1 b)) and dissolve the Assembly of Kosovo, since its 'declaration of independence' is not in conformity with Security Council Resolution 1244 ( 1999)."By the said Decision, the Republic of Serbia also requests that the Security Council declare this unilateral act of the Assembly of Kosovo legally invalid. We insist that the Security Council fully protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia, as is called for in the UN Charter. We also rightfully expect the Security Council to take urgent and effective action to ensure that all provisions of Resolution 1244 (1999) are fully respected. "The Republic of Serbia demands that in securing the implementation of its own Resolution, the Security Council call for the continuation of the political process leading towards a solution of the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. The Republic of Serbia reiterates its willingness to remain to be engaged actively and constructively in a new process of negotiations so that an agreement on the future status of Kosovo and Metohija based on the principles laid down in Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) may be reached at the earliest opportunity.” The Republic of Serbia firmly believes that the Security Council will unambiguously reconfirm that the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law have universal validity and that its Resolutions must be respected, for only by so doing, will the system of international security based on these precepts be preserved. Otherwise, a dangerous precedent allowing for the unilateral secession of a breakaway region, province or administrative entity from any UN member-state, would be established. "Finally, the Republic of Serbia demands that all Members States of United Nations fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia, in accordance with their obligations under international law, the UN Charter, and Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999), and thereby reject the so-called independence of the Republic of Serbia's southern province of Kosovo and Metohija."
KOSTUNICA: FALSE STATE OF KOSOVO DOES NOT EXIST FOR SERBIA
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said on Sunday, following the unilateral proclamation of the independence of the southern Serbian province in Pristina, that "as long as the Serbian people exist - Kosovo is Serbia" and that "the false state of Kosovo in its territory" created through unprecedented lawlessness does not exist for Serbia and will never exist. Wider excerpts from Prime Minister Kostunica's statement follow: "Today, on February 17, the false state of Kosovo has been illegally proclaimed in that part of the territory of Serbia which is under the military control of NATO. This unprecedented lawlessness is a result of the destructive, crude and immoral policy of force implemented by the United States of America (USA). This action has made it clear to the whole world that America places force above the United Nations (UN) Charter and that it is ready arbitrarily, ruthlessly and flagrantly to violate international order for the sake of its military interests. "Placing violence above the principles of international law, the USA, using blind force, has humiliated and compelled the European Union (EU) to trample the principles on which the EU itself is founded. America has forced Europe to join it in the unprecedented violence it is demonstrating against Serbia. "Europe has today bowed its head and that is why it will also be responsible for all the far-reaching consequences that this violence will have for the European and the world order. This has primarily humiliated the European Union, and not Serbia. Serbia has refused to be humiliated, firmly abiding by the law and refusing to knuckle down before force. "The unilateral proclamation of a false state under auspices of the USA and the EU presents the final act in the policy of force which began with the aggression and senseless bombardment of Serbia and that subsequently continued with the arrival of NATO troops in Kosovo and Metohija. Never before, as today, on February 17, has the truth been more clearly revealed - why Serbia was savagely devastated under NATO bombs," Kostunica said. "We are only too familiar with how dangerous, crude and blind is the policy of force that is being implemented by the USA. But even with that knowledge, Serbia has annulled, with determination and once and for ever, all the decisions on the proclamation of unilateral independence, and all future acts that would stem from this illegal decision. "Serbia has also annulled the EU decision on the illegal sending of a mission to this province, which was also passed due to the impotence of Europe. This decision of the Serbian government determined the foundations of the state and national program of Serbia for Kosovo and Metohija following February 17. "Citizens of Serbia, for Serbia there is not and there never will be a false state of an independent Kosovo in its territory. For Serbia, all Serbs and all citizens in the province who respect our state are legal and equal citizens of Serbia. That is why the laws and the institutions of the Republic of Serbia are valid for all of them. "As of today, we must demonstrate even greater concern and solidarity with our people in Kosovo and Metohija. All the ministries have orders to work and secure significantly better living conditions, to secure new jobs and to launch investments in the province. The State of Serbia will take the greatest possible care about every one of its citizens in Kosovo and Metohija. On this day also, our ministers are with their people in the province," the Serbian prime minister said. "Citizens of Serbia, we must demonstrate, together, to the whole world that we are opposed to the fragmenting of our state and that we do not recognize the forcible creating of a false state in our territory. Opposing the policy of violence that is being implemented against Serbia, we must raise our united voices in a sign of support to our fellow nationals and citizens in Kosovo and Metohija. "The government and parliamentary parties will jointly organize peaceful protests throughout Serbia and reach agreement on a date for the first big protest rally that will be held in Belgrade. At these protests, our dignity must be above the force against which we are fighting," Prime Minister Kostunica said.
DJELIC: MOMENT OF INJUSTICE FOR SERBIA, INTERNATIONAL ORDER
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Serbian Deputy Premier Bozidar Djelic said on Sunday that the unilateral declaration of the independence of Kosovo was for Serbia, but also for the entire international legal order "a moment of injustice." "This is a moment of injustice that is done not only to the Serbian people and to those who are loyal to Serbia in our southern province, but also injustice to the international order that has been built with great difficulty since WW II," Djelic told Tanjug. According to him, politicians in Serbia at this moment need to be united, and also to show wisdom in choosing the most effective way of defending state interests in Kosovo and Metohija. "It is best to fight with all legal means, first by invalidating this decision, as the Serbian government did on Thursday, and as we will do on Monday in the National Assembly, and also by finding out ways to further strengthen our country. Only a strong Serbia that is integrated into international systems is capable in all places and in all forums to defend state interests, and by the strength of its economy and institutions to defend our Kosovo," Djelic said. Serbia must not react to the injustice it is faced with by self-isolation, he added. "It would be very wrong to decide in this moment of injustice to choose the road of isolation, as it would weaken Serbia and its institutions, and make impossible any form of support to our compatriots who are loyal to Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija," Djelic underlined.
DJELIC STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF PRESERVING STABILITY IN SERBIA
BELGRADE, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Serbian Deputy Premier Bozidar Djelic has said that it is in Serbia's deepest national interest to preserve stability in the country following the unilateral proclamation of the independence of Kosovo, and that protests by citizens should take place without any violence or incidents.
"The few unrests that took place in Belgrade were transformed into a scene on CNN, in which our city is depicted as a place where a form of civil war is taking place. We must be aware of that," Djelic warned late on Sunday, speaking on the occasion of the unrests in the streets of Belgrade, Novi Sad, and some other towns and places. Taking part in a broadcast by Radio Television Serbia (RTS), Djelic underscored the importance of the present moment for the country, when everyone must maintain their dignity, even though the society and the state are passing through an extremely difficult period. In spite of all this, "we must continue to fight for the survival of Kosovo and Metohija within the state of Serbia," Djelic told RTS.
JEREMIC INFORMS AMBASSADORS ON SERBIA'S STAND
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - At urgent consultations on Sunday, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic informed the ambassadors and chiefs of diplomatic missions in Belgrade about the Serbian government's official stand not to accept the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo and called upon their governments not to recognise the decision of provisional authorities in Pristina, the Serbian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Jeremic indicated the possible consequences, which such an illegal act could cause in the field of security, and stressed that a unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo-Metohija represented a violation of international law, the statement said.
JEREMIC: SERBIA DEMANDS EMERGENCY UN SC, OSCE, CE SESSIONS
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - The Serbian authorities, immediately after the unilateral declaration of independence of its southern province, requested emergency sessions of the UN Security Council, OSCE Permanent Council and of the Council of Europe ministerial committee, which will be held early next week, Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told Tanjug Sunday evening. Only several minutes after the illegal declaration of independence of the so-called independent state of Kosovo, an act that clearly violates the Constitution of Serbia, clearly violates UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the UN Charter and all other acts of international law, Serbia called an emergency session of the Security Council and it will be held Monday afternoon (local time), Jeremic said. In the session, he said, Serbia will be represented by President Boris Tadic, who will set out to the Security Council a demand for the illegal decision of Pristina provisional institutions to be overturned, invalidated, and request the support of the Security Council and of the world organization as a whole to protect its territorial integrity under the UN Charter, under any positive act of international law. Jeremic pointed out that Serbia "will fight with all diplomatic means against this illegal act, or against its international legalization." Serbia has requested also an emergency session of the OSCE Permanent Council for Tuesday, and for Wednesday of the Council of Ministers ministerial committee, the Serbian foreign minister said.
JEREMIC: SERBIA TO BLOCK "STATE OF KOSOVO" UN MEMBERSHIP
BELGRADE, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said late on Sunday that "as long as Serbia is a member of the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe, which is a measure of the international sovereignty of one country, the self-proclaimed 'state of Kosovo' will not have access to international institutions." In an interview with the Serbian Radio Television (RTS), Jeremic said there were great chances that the self-proclaimed "state of Kosovo" would not gain membership in international organizations, and reminded that a recommendation of the Security Councl was reguired for UN membership. "I am absolutely convinced that there can be no recommendation of the Security Council, because the Russian Federation, which as its member has the right to veto, is not ready to do something like that." Jeremic said that there was a whole series of countries that were not willing to back the illegal proclamation of Kosovo independence.
JEREMIC: BREAKING AWAY OF KOSOVO ETHNICALLY MOTIVATED
NEW YORK, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Serbia is against the illegal and ethnically motivated breaking away of Kosovo and Metohija and will continue to do everything in its power to oppose it, said on Sunday Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic. Jeremic, speaking on American TV network CNN, underlined that Serbia will act only within international law and that he was "absolutely sure" that the majority of UN member states will not recognise "this illegal act." We would like to accommodate the legitimate demands of the inhabitants of Kosovo for the right to autonomous government, but we will not recognise independence, Jeremic said, and pointed out that the international legal order is very clear on the issue - "there can be no secession from an internationally recognized state."
SERBIAN AMBASSADOR PRESENTS TADIC MESSAGE TO MESIC
ZAGREB, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Serbian Ambassador to Croatia Radivoj Cveticanin presented to Croatian President Stjepan Mesic a message from Serbian President Boris Tadic in connection with the proclamation of the independence of Kosovo.
As announced by the Office of President Mesic, Tadic's message contains the familiar stands of Serbia on this development, in fact its opposition to any form of independence and the secession of the southern Serbian province from Serbia.
In his earlier statements, President Mesic criticized the announcements of the Croatian government that, on the issue of the recognition of Kosovo, it will follow the majority of European countries, which have not decided yet if and when they will recognize an independent Kosovo. While Zagreb is waiting for the moves of European countries, the Croatian government has said that it will announce, during the day, when it will adopt a decision about the recognition of Kosovo. According to unofficial sources, the decision could be adopted at the government session on Thursday.
SERBIAN PARLIAMENT HEAD APPEALS FOR PEACE AND SOLIDARITY
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Serbian Parliament President Oliver Dulic on Sunday appealed to all citizens and political subjects in the country to preserve the peace and not to react to provocations. "I appeal to everyone in Serbia to preserve civil order and not to provoke, with their reactions, any problem that the citizens might have in Kosovo and Metohija," Dulic said in an address to the public. Dulic appealed to all political subjects and institutions to demonstrate great solidarity and reason in this difficult moment and not to contribute to the complicating of the situation in the country in any way. Dulic stressed that today's decision by the interim organs in Kosovo and Metohija on the unilateral proclamation of independence is an action that runs deeply contrary to the domestic and international law. "I trust that we will, in these difficult times, demonstrate harmony and solidarity and that we will help those who need help the most, and they are our people in Kosovo and Metohija and all the citizens who recognize Serbia as their state," Dulic said.
PONOS SAYS NOBODY HAS RIGHT TO BE SURPRISED
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - The Serbian Army Chief of the General Staff Zdravko Ponos said on Sunday that nobody in Belgrade and Pristina, let alone Brussels, had the right to be surprised by developments in Kosovo-Metohija, which might result from the unilateral declaration of independence of the province. "The Army is not used to react to political declarations and decrees," Ponos said and added that what had happened in Kosovo was a case of "political and legal violence" and that this could be neither prevented nor annulled by any military operation, but that this could be done only in the way done by Serbian authorities, through the annulment at the Serbian parliament. In an interview for the RTS, Ponos said that "our military engagement is limited by our international obligations, Resolution 1244 and Kumanovo agreement" and stressed that Serbia opposed developments in Kosovo-Metohija by observing international law. "I would say that Serbia has learned through history that the problem of Kosovo is not resolved either through political decrees or by military force. I'm afraid that the international community has still not learnt this lesson in the way that Serbia has," Ponos said. Voicing his belief that KFOR had the sufficient force to keep the security situation in Kosovo-Metohija under control, Ponos said that any loss of control would be a result of "something else" and not the impossibility of international forces to control the situation on the ground. He added that the "Serbian Army and KFOR cooperate as partners" and that Resolution 1244 and Kumanovo agreement gave the Serbian Army the legal basis to have partnership cooperation with KFOR on the basis of mutual understanding and trust.
SPASOJEVIC: SITUATION IN SOUTH SERBIA STABLE
BUJANOVAC, PRESEVO, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - State secretary in the Defence Ministry and Coordination Body for South Serbia vice-president Dusan Spasojevic told Tanjug on Sunday that the situation in south Serbia was stable, but that all state bodies are ready to react and prevent possible provocations and incidents. "We have obtained assurances from the political leaders of Albanian parties and from the mayors of Presevo, and Bujanovac Magip Arifi and Ragmi Mustafa that in these municipalities there will be no mass rallies following the unilateral decision on the secession of Kosovo," Spasojevic said. "In the meeting of the Team for Security Issues, the Coordination Body for the South of Serbia, in Vranje, we assessed that the situation in the municipalities of Vranje, Bujanovac and Presevo was stable, with potential for possible incidents, but that all state bodies are ready to react and prevent possible provocations," Spasojevic said.
SPC: KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE - ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST LAW, JUSTICE
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) met in session on Sunday and proclaimed null and void the decision on the independence of Kosovo and Metohija and called on the people of Kosovo and Metohija, the monks and the priests, to remain in their land. "The Holy Synod of Bishops and our entire Church, trusting in the imminent victory of justice and the true human law, appeals to His Eminence, Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren and all those placed in jeopardy with this lawless deed, to remain in their homes and with their holy places, keeping the peace and faith in the final victory of God's justice," the Synod said. "We expect of the United Nations and the Security Council, in the spirit of the UN Charter and (UN Security Council) Resolution 1244, and their international obligations, urgently to stand in the defense and the protection of the violated human, religious and state rights of the Republic of Serbia," the SPC Synod members said.
PARLIAMENT TO MEET SHORTLY, BIG PROTEST ON THURSDAY
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - The Serbian president and prime minister and leader of the largest opposition party, the Serbian Radical Party, agreed at an urgent meeting on Sunday that the Serbian parliament meet as soon as possible and that a big protest be held on Thursday in the organization of the government and parliamentary parties, Tanjug was told at the Serbian government. The government sources told Tanjug that President Boris Tadic, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and SRS leader Tomislav Nikolic had met on Sunday and agreed that a parliament session should be held as soon as possible, reaffirming the Serbian government decision to annul the illegal declaration of independence of Kosovo-Metohija. The government and parliamentary parties will organize a big protest rally against the secession of Kosovo-Metohija in Belgrade on Thursday, Tadic, Kostunica and Nikolic agreed.
CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED AGAINST TACI, SEJDIU, KRASNICI
BELGRADE, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - The Serbian Interior Ministry has filed criminal charges against Hasim Taci, Fatmir Sejdiu and Jakup Krasnici, who organized the proclamation of a false state in the territory of Serbia in Pristina on Feb 17, and in that way committed a grave criminal act against the Constitutional organization and the security of Serbia. Hasim (Hadzija) Taci, born on April 24, 1968, in Srbica, Republic of Serbia, Fatmir (Nehmija) Sejdiu, born on Oct 23, 1951, in Podujevo, Republic of Serbia, and Jakup (Janez) Krasnici, born on Jan 1, 1951, in Glogovac, Republic of Serbia, organized the proclamation of a false state in the territory of Serbia in Pristina on February 17, the Serbian Interior Ministry statement said.
With this action, they committed a grave crime against the Constitutional order and security of Serbia, in keeping with Article 321, Para 1, relating to the criminal act of jeopardizing territorial integrity under Article 307, Para 1, of the Penal Code of the Republic of Serbia. Under Article 8 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the territory of the Republic of Serbia is inseparable and indivisible, and the border of the Republic of Serbia is inviolable and is changed exclusively in keeping with the procedure envisaged for changing the Constitution, the Ministry statement said.
PROPERTY GRABBED FROM SERBIA WORTH DLRS 220 BILLION
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Real estate in Kosovo and Metohija, according to official estimates of Serbian state institutions and domestic experts, is worth around 220 billion dollars, of what the estimated value of private property of more than 30,000 Serbian families driven away after the arrival of international troops in 1999 is at least four billion dollars.
By unilaterally declaring the independence of Kosovo, the state of Serbia is denied the right to dispose of agricultural and construction land, forests, official business and residential edifices and special purpose facilities in state ownership. Military property should not be forgotten, with the value of military airport Slatina near Pristina alone estimated at around 85 million euros. Enterprises from Serbia have in the province 1,358 facilities, and the property of Serbia's power company alone is estimated at close to three billion euros or around 4,2 billion dollars.
According to World Bank estimates, the value of mineral reserves in Kosovo and Metohija is put at over 19 billion dollars. It should not be forgotten that the state of Serbia in the period from 1980 to 1990 invested around 17 billion dollars, and to this day still unresolved is the issue of Kosovo's foreign debt to creditors put at around 1.2 billion dollars. The debt has been serviced by Serbia regularly for years and it has repaid around 217.69 million dollars in the past years, while at the same time no taxes were collected and no contributions paid by enterprises in Kosovo and Metohija for health insurance and pension and disability benefits.
RUSSIA - REACTIONS ON PROCLAIMED INDEPENDENCE OF K&M
RUSSIA CALLS FOR UN SECURITY COUNCIL CONSULTATIONS
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Russia on Sunday asked the United Nations (UN) Security Council to call consultations on the occasion of the proclaimed independence of Kosovo province, UN Russian Mission Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said. "Russia just called for Security Council consultations,"Zakharova was quoted as saying by news agencies.
RUSSIA CALLS FOR ANNULMENT OF DECISION
MOSCOW, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Russia on Sunday announced that it expects of the United Nations Kosovo Mission UNMIK and the international peacekeeping forces in Kosovo KFOR to launch immediate action in keeping with their mandates given to them by the UN Security Council, including to annul the decision by the Pristina organs of self-administration and to adopt severe administrative measures against them. The unilateral proclamation of independence has violated the sovereignty of Serbia, the UN Charter, UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, the Kosovo Constitutional Frameworks, the high-level agreements at the Contact Group, Moscow announced in a statement by its Foreign Ministry released following the adoption of a declaration on independence by the Kosovo parliament in Pristina.
CHURKIN SAYS BAN TO PRESENT REPORT TO UNSC ON SUNDAY
MOSCOW/NEW YORK, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - The UN Security Council will hear out on Sunday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's report on the situation in Kosovo-Metohija, whose parliament on Sunday declared the independence of Serbia's southern province, Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said. Ban will address the closed consultations of the UN Security Council, called at Russia's initiative, Itar-Tass reported. Churkin said that the UN Security Council would review the situation in Kosovo-Metohija in two stages - with the secretary-general on Sunday and at an urgent session on Monday. Churkin said he hoped that the Monday session would be open to public.
RECOGNITION OF KOSOVO ILLEGITIMATE, RUSSIA FOLLOWS SITUATION
MOSCOW, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - The unilateral recognition of the independence of Kosovo and Metohija is under international law an illegitimate act and Russia will be guided by its well know consistent position and will no doubt activate all possible international mechanisms, above all the United Nations and its Security Council, said Sunday evening first deputy press secretary to Russian President Vladimir Putin - Dmitry Peskov. Peskov after the adoption on Sunday of the declaration of independence of Kosovo in Pristina, said that Moscow in the coming days would watch very carefully whether there will be recognitions of the independence of Kosovo "by other states." According to the official representative of Putin's administration, unilateral recognition goes against the provisions of UN SC Resolution 1244, the Helsinki Final Act and agreements within the Contact Group.
CHURKIN: EU GIVES UP ON PUSHING UN MISSION OUT OF KOSOVO
NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Thanks to the diplomatic efforts of Russia, the European Union member countries have given up the idea of ousting the UN mission from Kosovo, Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin said in New York late on Sunday. The "Sunday discussion at the UN Security Council showed that the Russian side managed to defend the stance against the UN ousting from Kosovo," Churkin said, reminding that the European Union's decisions said that the EU member states intended to expel the UN from Kosovo within 120 days "in order to totally control the situation there," Itar-Tass reported. "Now the EU officials have modified their approaches, now they proceed from respecting the UN presence in Kosovo," the diplomat added, saying that this was important because it showed that the "struggle around the legality or non-legality of that of other decisions made in Pristina will be continued." At the same time, Churkin underlined that none of UN Security Council members had contested the statement made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that UN SC Resolution 1244 remained in effect. "The UN chief made an important statement to the effect that the chief of the UN Mission in Kosovo would exercise general control over the situation there," Churkin said.
ROGOZIN: GROTESQUE DECISION
MOSCOW, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Russia's permanent envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin qualified late on Sunday as grotesque the decision of Kosovo authorities on the unilateral declaration of independence, adding that it would burden the entire system of international law. I see this as a grotesque decision, which will burden the entire system of international law, Rogozin told the Russian news and information agency RIA Novosti. Asked what diplomatic measure he would personally undertake in regard to the Sunday declaration of Kosovo parliament, Rogozin answered that he was waiting for Moscow's reaction.
CHIZOV: UN SC DECISION NECESSARY FOR EU MISSION
MOSCOW/BRUSSELS, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - A corresponding resolution adopted at the United Nations (UN) Security Council is necessary for the sending of a civilian-police mission of the European Union (EU) to Kosovo and Metohija province, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the EU, Ambassador Vladimir Chizov, said in Brussels on Sunday evening. Russia would not be opposed if the EU would assume responsibility for what is taking place in Kosovo, and it would not even be against the mission if it were sent on the grounds of a UN Security Council resolution, he said, but there is no such thing yet, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on the occasion of the decision by the Kosovo interim authorities to proclaim the independence of this southern Serbian province. Chizov pointed out that UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 1999 envisages the sending of a UN civilian mission and a military mission KFOR, comprising international peacekeeping forces under auspices of NATO. Any changes in that format require a new resolution, the Russian ambassador pointed out.
RUSSIA DEMANDS FROM UNMIK TO ANNUL DECLARATION
MOSCOW, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Russia demands from the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to proclaim null and void the declaration on Kosovo-Metohija independence which was adopted in Pristina on Sunday and backs Belgrade's demand for the territorial wholeness of the country, official of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko said on Monday.
We are closely following the situation in Kosovo and up to now, our estimations have proved as correct and the situation (in KiM) continues to be potentially explosive, the head of the Balkan Countries Department Russian Foreign Ministry told Itar-Tass. The Russian diplomat said that a session of the UN Security Council was expected and that Resolution 1244 would continue to be in effect regardless of the fact that Pristina had violated it. We will try to get the situation back on the Resolution track, Botsan-Kharchenko said, adding that Russia backed Belgrade's demand for the restoring of the country's territorial wholeness.
CONSULATTIONS ON K&M AT THE SC UN
BAN KI-MOON: RESOLUTION 1244 REMAINS IN EFFECT
NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said late on Sunday that UN Security Council Resolution 1244 on Kosovo remained in effect and had to be fully observed. Following consultations at the UN Security Council, which were held upon the demand of Russia after the proclamation of Kosovo independence, Churkin told journalists that UNMIK would continue its presence in Kosovo in scope of the mandate it had according to Resolution 1244. During the consultations, Ban informed the members of the Security Council of the situation in Kosovo after the authorities in Pristina unilaterally proclaimed the independence of the southern Serbian province, news agencies have reported. The UN Secretary General called on the Serbs and Kosovo Albanians to restrain from violence or any possible statements that might threaten peace. At the same time, seven Western member states of the UN SC have stated that at its late Sunday consultations, the Security Council failed to reach an agreement on the future of Kosovo, whose temporary authorities proclaimed independence, pointing out that the European Union and NATO have to assume responsibility for the security and stabilization of the region. None of UN Security Council members have contested the statement made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that UN SC Resolution 1244 remains in effect, Russian permanent representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin said after the consultations. "The UN chief made an important statement to the effect that the chief of the UN Mission in Kosovo would exercise general control over the situation there," Itar-Tass quoted Churkin as saying.
SC CONSULTATIONS SUNDAY, TADIC TO ADDRESS MONDAY SESSION
NEWYORK/BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - The UN Security Council will hold Sunday evening urgent consultations about Kosovo and Metohija, and for Monday at 13.00 local time has been scheduled a session of the UN body, at the request of Russia, it was confirmed to Tanjug in the United Nations. Serbian President Boris Tadic will address the Security Council session on Monday, Tanjug was told in the press service of the Serbian president. Kosovo parliament adopted on Sunday a declaration on the independence of Kosovo.
REACTIONS IN THE WORLD
US - INDEPENDENCE TO ENABLE SERBIA, KOSOVO TO GO FORWARD
WASHINGTON, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - The United States said on Sunday that Kosovo's independence enabled Serbia and Kosovo to move forward and invited all sides to refrain from violence and provocations as much as possible. US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that the United States welcomed the clear commitment of the Kosovo government to implement UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari's plan on the protection of minority communities. McCormack said that the United States was currently reviewing the issue of a new independent state and discussing this with its European partners. The State Department said that Washington had long believed that the Ahtisaari plan was the "best way" to promote regional stability, news agencies reported. The United States will maintain its support to the rights of all ethnic and religious communities in Kosovo, the statement said.
CHINA: GRAVE CONCERN OVER PROCLAIMED KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE
BEIJING, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - China, a permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council with the right of veto, on Monday expressed grave concern over yesterday's proclamation of the independence of Kosovo from Serbia, and called on both sides to resume negotiations.
China expressed grave concern over Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao said on Monday, as announced on the Chinese Government's Official Web Portal. "Kosovo's unilateral act can produce a series of results that will lead to seriously negative influence on peace and stability in the Balkan region and on the realization of building a multiethnic society in Kosovo, which China is deeply concerned about," the Foreign Ministry announced, pointing out that the international community should create positive conditions for the peace and stability of the region.
SOLANA APPEALS FOR PEACE, RESPONSIBILITY
BRUSSELS, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - European Union (EU) High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana said in Brussels on Sunday that the stability of Kosovo and the entire Balkans is of key importance, and appealed for peace and responsibility. The EU Council of Ministers will discuss Kosovo tomorrow, Solana said.
VATICAN WISHES COMMON SENSE, PEACE TO PREVAIL
ROME, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - On the occasion of the declaration of independence of Kosovo, the Vatican invited politicians in the Western Balkans to implement common sense and peace and to refrain from violence. The Holy See addresses its wish to the people and politicians of Serbia and Kosovo that peace and common sense prevail over any force and extreme reactions, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said. He said that the observation of all ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in Kosovo had to be ensured and urged the preservation of the local Christian cultural and artistic heritage.
NATO INVITES SIDES TO REFRAIN FROM VIOLENCE
BRUSSELS, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - NATO said it would carefully monitor developments after the declaration of independence of Kosovo and invited all sides to refrain from violence, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said on Sunday, reacting to news from Pristina. NATO will meet on Monday to assess the situation, Scheffer said in a press release.
TOP PRIORITY - PRESERVATION OF PEACE IN BALKANS, STEINMEYER
BERLIN, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Foreign Ministers of Germany, Serbia and Slovenia Frank Walter-Steinmeyer, Vuk Jeremic and Dimitrij Rupel, agreed on Sunday, following the declaration of independence of Kosovo, the preservation of stability in the Balkans as their top priority. The German Foreign Ministry said that Steinmeyer discussed over the telephone with Jeremic and Rupel the developments in Kosovo. The ministers agreed the preservation of stability in the Balkans as their top priority, the statement said.
GERMANY SAYS STEPS TOWARDS KOSOVO TO BE ADOPTED IN BRUSSELS
BERLIN, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - The German government will decide on its further steps towards Kosovo on the basis of the Monday meeting of the EU foreign ministers, German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said on Sunday. The EU foreign ministers will on Monday discuss the new situation and the federal government will decide on its further steps on the basis of this discussion, Wilhelm said after the declaration of independence of Kosovo. He said that long negotiating rounds of UN mediator for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari and intensive efforts of the so-called Kosovo troika had shown that a unified solution for the Kosovo issue was not possible.
PLASSNIK: RACE NOT ON WHO WILL RECOGNISE KOSOVO FIRST
VIENNA, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik expects a common line and united engagement of the EU with respect to Kosovo. There is no race who will recognise Kosovo first.
We will act in coordination with out partners in the European Union, while understanding that each state individually, in keeping with its own national process, takes a decision on recognition," she explained responding to the question when Austria will recognise Kosovo, ahead of a session of the Council of the European Union.
RUPEL BELIEVES MANY EU MEMBERS WILL RECOGNIZE KOSOVO
BRUSSELS, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - European Union (EU) Council of Ministers Chairman, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel said in Brussels on Monday that he believes many EU members will recognize Kosovo's unilateral secession from Serbia. It is his understanding that many EU members will recognize Kosovo, Rupel said ahead of the beginning of a meeting of the Council of Ministers. Every member-state of the EU is free to decide whether it will recognize this secession or not, he pointed out. Rupel said that he does not see any rift within the EU over the issue of Kosovo. The EU was united when it was most important, when the sending of the EU mission was the issue, the Slovenian foreign minister said.
MORATINOS: SPAIN WILL NOT RECOGNISE BREAK AWAY KOSOVO
BRUSSELS, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said in Brussels on Monday that Spain will not recognize the unilateral breaking away of Kosovo from Serbia.
We will not recognise a unilateral act that was passed by the Kosovo Assembly on Sunday, said Moratinos ahead of a meeting of the Council of the European Union. Spain will not recognise the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo because, Moratinos explained, that act does not respect the principles of international law.
MORATINOS: SPAIN TO ASK EU TO ACCEPT ITS STAND
BRUSSELS, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said in Brussels on Monday that he will insist, at today's meeting of the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers, that the conclusions of that meeting should take into consideration the stands of Madrid, which has announced it will not recognize the secession of Kosovo because it considers that act illegal.
"The government of Spain will not recognise the unilateral act proclaimed yesterday by the assembly of Kosovo," Foreign Minister Moratinos said ahead of the EU Council of Ministers meeting, explaining that this act "does not respect international law." Moratinos explained that Spain could agree to the independence of Kosovo only if it were reached in agreement with the Serbian government or a decision of the United Nations Security Council. All major countries of the region that surround the Western Balkans - Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Cyprus - will not recognize the secession of Kosovo, because they know the local situation well, Minister Moratinos pointed out. For Spain, which is geographically more distant, the question of Kosovo is one of respect for international law, the minister said.
LEFT WING IN EP URGES EU CONTRIES NOT TO ACCEPT SECESSION
BRUSSELS, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - The parliamentary group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament and the Council of Europe urged on Sunday the EU member states to reject Kosovo's secession from Serbia and endure the pressure of the US Administration. After the unilateral proclamation of Kosovo independence from the part of Kosovo Albanian leaders, the twenty-seven member states will have to assume responsibility, leader of the United Left Tiny Kox and deputy of that parliamentary group in the EP Francis Wurtz have said. We call on the EU not to create a precedent just like that, since there are innumerable risks for destabilization - all the way from BiH and Macedonia to Montenegro, from Moldova to Georgia and Azerbaijan, from Cyprus to Romania or even Spain, they warned. Do not open a Pandora's box, they cautioned. Kox and Wurtz underlined that that together with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe they had called for a continuation of the dialogue so that a way out could be found from the present dramatic situation.
DODIK:RS DOES NOT EXPECT SELF-PROCLAIMED KOSOVO INDEPENDENCE
BANJA LUKA, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Prime Minister Milorad Dodik said that Republika Srpska (RS) does not accept the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo, adding that in case that a majority of the UN accepts such a manner and procedure of self-determination, it will mean a collapse of international law and introduce a practice of the setting up of new states. "It will be very difficult to explain to anyone in future that things cannot be done in the way that they were done in Kosovo. This will create a completely new political and legal reality in the world," Dodik said in an interview for the Monday issue of the Banja Luka daily Fokus. "Most of the people in RS want stability and peace, but it is clear that BiH, with its current way of functioning, does not represent a sustainable long-term or lasting frame for RS, because it is mostly being ignored and belittled in BiH," Dodik said. He warned that "in time, the people in RS will no longer be willing to tolerate this."
CLARK: NEW ZEALAND WILL NOT RECOGNISE INDEPENDENET KOSOVO
WELLINGTON, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark told a news conference on Monday that her country would not recognise independent Kosovo. Clark said that the stand of the government in New Zealand had never been to offer diplomatic recognition in such circumstances. "We neither recognise nor not recognise" it, she told reporters, adding that the New Zealand government would not make a formal statement.
INDONESIA NOT TO RECOGNIZE INDEPENDENT KOSOVO YET
JAKARTA, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - The biggest Muslim country in the world, Indonesia, announced on Monday that it is not yet in a position to recognize Kosovo as an independent state. The Indonesian government will carefully follow developments in Kosovo, and it is not yet in a position to recognize the unilaterally proclaimed declaration of the independence of Kosovo province, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said. Indonesia fully respects the sovereignty of Serbia as a member of the United Nations (UN), but the Indonesian government is open to looking at Kosovo within the context of the ethnic problems that had faced parts of the former Yugoslav federation, the Ministry statement said.
SERBIAN OFFICIALS VISIT SERBS IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
DJELIC: ALL ELEMENTS OF SERBIA ADMINISTRATION PRESENT IN KIM
STRPCE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Serbian Deputy Premier Bozidar Djelic said on Sunday that by his visit to Strpce, the largest Serbian enclave in Kosovo, he wanted to express solidarity with the inhabitants of the municipality and tell them that all elements of the Serbian administration are present and accessible in the territory of the southern province. "We wanted to show solidarity with the citizens of our southern province who are loyal to Serbia, to show that we are standing by them and that in this predicament they can count on our concrete support," Djelic told Tanjug. According to him, visits by representatives of the Serbian authorities to environments where Serbs live in Kosovo will be continued and intensified in the coming weeks and months.
SAMARDZIC TELLS SERBS , NON-ALBANIANS TO STAY IN KIM
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Minister for Kosovo and Metohija Slobodan Samardzic on Sunday called on Serbs and non- Albanians to stay on to live in the province, despite the announcement by provisional Kosovo institutions that they will declare independence, and told them Serbia will stand by them. Serbia will never recognise the independence of Kosovo and Metohija, and as of Monday Serbian government ministers and representatives will be in the province on a daily basis, so as to ensure a normal life for Serbs and other non-Albanians who consider Serbia as their state, Samardzic said in Kosovska Mitrovica. Samardzic, who was speaking at an extremely well attended press conference in the Ministry premises, reiterated that Serbia will never recognise the decision of the provisional institutions of Kosovo and Metohija to declare independence, nor the EU mission, because they are illegal and illegitimate. Samardzic pointed out that the declaration of independence, announced for Sunday afternoon, violates international law and the UN Charter and that thanks to that, in the future, every secessionism in the world will be a normal occurrence. All secession processes in the world will as of today be enveloped and ready to be implemented depending on the favorable moment, Samardzic said in conclusion.
ILIC: STATE TO HELP SERBS IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
GRACANICA, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Infrastructure Minister Velimir Ilic said on Sunday that the state will continue to help Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and announced the forming of funds for additional aid. He said that the funds would be replenished with taxes on products such as tobacco and alcoholic beverages. Ilic and representatives of the office for implementing the National Investment Plan, Branko Jankovic and Mladjan Djordjevic, promised that from the funds for NIP would be set aside 8,000 euros for the purchase of a machine needed for a women's sewing workshop in Laplje village. Praising the private entrepreneurship of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, Ilic said that the state would continue to help Kosovo Serbs, because if sources of livelihood are not secured there will be no more in the province." Ilic laid the foundation stone for the building of 70 houses for internally displaced persons in the village of Badovac in the vicinity of Gracanica.
BUBALO: SERBS IN OSOJANE RESOLVED TO REMAIN IN KOSOVO
OSOJANE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Minister of Trade and Services Predrag Bubalo on Sunday conveyed the determination of Serbs of Osojane village, near Istok in Kosovo and Metohija, that none of them would move out of the southern province, in spite of Kosovo Albanian announcements that they will unilaterally proclaim the independence of this Serbian province. "Therefore, they are firmly resolved to remain," Bubalo said in a statement for Tanjug after his visit and talks with around 300 Serb returnees to Osojane. He said he had promised them help on behalf of the state, both institutional and economic. "The people are indeed determined in their intention. We found them here, both today and yesterday, working their fields. They are sowing barley, and sowing some other crops as well, so that this is the best indicator of their intention to remain permanently in their homesteads," Bubalo said.
LONCAR - KOSOVO PARLIAMENT DECISION IS ILLEGAL, ILLEGITIMATE
STRPCE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Serbian Education Minister Zoran Loncar told Tanjug that he had informed Serbs in Strpce about the Serbian government's stand that the Sunday decision of the Kosovo parliament was illegal and illegitimate and that the Serbian government had put it out of force. Loncar announced that the Serbian parliament would on Monday adopt this decision and stressed that this meant that, regardless of the Sunday decision to declare independence, Serbia's southern province of Kosovo-Metohija would forever remain in the Constitutional and legal order of the Republic of Serbia. "We gave assurances to numerous representatives of the Serbian people in this enclave that the Republic of Serbia will be present in the territory of Kosovo-Metohija every day, not just legally, but also materially and physically," Loncar said. He said that there was a great readiness and determination of the "Serb people not just to stay, but also to survive in this Serbian ancestral land." The special Kosovo parliament session, where the declaration of independence was adopted, was held in Pristina on Sunday afternoon.
REPRESENTATIVES OF MONTENEGRIN PRO-SERB PARTIES IN MITROVICA
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Representatives of Serb and pro-Serb political parties and association of Montenegro said in northern Kosovska Mitrovica on Sunday that Kosovo and Metohija province is an integral part of Serbia and that international law, the United Nations (UN) Charter and UN Secruity Council Resolution 1244 must not be violated. "We can convey the determined stand of Serbs of Montenegro that the fate of Kosovo and Metohija is the joint fate of the Serb people wherever they live, and that we will defend the territorial integrity of Serbia in the same way as the Serbian government," Serb People's Party official Gojko Raicevic said, addressing a press conference. Representatives of Montenegrin pro-Serb parties rallies at the headquarters of the Serb National Council of Northern Kosovo, whose President Milan Ivanovic said that Serbs of this province are united and determined to do everything in order to preserve the integrity of Serbia.
PROTEST IN BELGRADE
PPROTESTERS SMASH WINDOWS AT SLOVENIAN EMBASSY IN BELGRADE
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Windows at the Slovenian Embassy in Belgrade were smashed and the Slovenian and EU flags were removed from the building on Sunday. The incident, in which, according to the RTS, three police officers were injured, was staged by some of the participants in a protest held outside the US Embassy on Sunday afternoon who later rallied outside the Slovenian Embassy. The protesters threw stones at the police protecting the Embassy building and fled after the police intervention. Strong police forces are securing central Belgrade streets where groups of people who protested the declaration of Kosovo's independence on Sunday afternoon have dispersed. Strong police forces are at the Republic Square in the centre of Belgrade elsewhere in the centre. Traffic is normal. Strong police forces are also deployed outside the Bajrakli Mosque, where the situation is calm.
RUPEL SENDS NOTE OF PROTEST TO JEREMIC
LJUBLJANA, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Slovenia's Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel sent late on Sunday a note of protest to his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic due to the incursion of demonstrators into the premises of the Slovenian Embassy in Belgrade, who protested over the proclamation of Kosovo independence, the Interior Ministry in Ljubljana has said in a statement. In the statement, which the Slovenian press Agency STA reported on, Rupel demanded that Serbia ensured safety for Slovenia's diplomats and other citizens who were in the country at the moment. It is specified that Minister Jeremic has promised to undertake the measures that were required to that effect and that the Slovenian Interior Ministry has invited Serbia's Ambassador in Ljubljana Predrag Filipov for talks.
UNREST IN CENTRAL BELGRADE
BELGRADE, Feb 17 (Tanjug) - Participants in a protest against the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo clashed with police in central Belgrade on Sunday. Windows of shops in the Terazije Square and those of the McDonald's restaurant were smashed in the commotion. The protesters are throwing stones at police officers, who dispersed them on several occasions. Police have used teargas. A larger number of gendarmes are securing the centre of the city and protesters are withdrawing before police. Eighteen persons have so far been treated for minor injuries at the Belgrade Emergency Medicine Centre, Tanjug was told. The injured in the protests, which started because of the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo-Metohija, include 10 police officers.
STREETS LITTERED WITH STONES AFTER PROTESTS
BELGRADE, Feb 18 (Tanjug) - Members of the Gendarmerie managed to disperse demonstrators who, protesting against the unilateral proclamation of the independence of Kosovo province, headed toward the Albanian Embassy in Belgrade's Dedinje district on Sunday evening, Radio Television Serbia (RTS) reported on Monday. After the demonstrators, numerous stones littered the streets of residential districts of Belgrade and other locations, as well as overturned garbage containers and floral containers. Around 35 persons were injured in the unrests caused by the participants in the protest, Tanjug was told at the Belgrade Emergency Medical Service.