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SRSG Inaugurates Serb Clinic in Gracanica

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PRISTINA -- Bernard Kouchner, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, today opened an emergency health clinic for the Serb community living in Gracanica.

"Access to health care is a universal right and all people in the community are entitled to safe and quality access to health services. We cannot accept discrimination on such an essential issue," said Dr. Kouchner before cutting the ribbon inaugurating the new clinic.

The clinic was set up after Serbs in Gracanica made the request for a hospital since they were unable to seek medical treatment outside of their community.

"The opening of this clinic is full of deep symbolism," said the Serb leader, Bishop Artemije. "This is the first ray of hope in months for the Serbs in this region, where we have lived for centuries. It is a symbol of hope for Serbs throughout Kosovo."

The clinic, which will offer free health care to the local community, will be run by Medicins du Monde Greece and is funded by the Greek government, with additional donations from UNMIK and NGOs.

"We are opposed to people who wish to divide this region We therefore offer respect and gratitude to those of this community here in Gracanica, who have fought hard to establish this hospital, which demonstrates in a very practical way that this community wishes to remain here and continue living in Kosovo, "said Alex Rondos, who represented the Greek government at the event. "It reminds us that the Hippocratic oath, which was also once begun in the Hellenistic world, reigns supreme and must reign supreme, irrespective of who one is or where one is".

The opening of the clinic is part of UNMIK's agenda of coexistence, a confidence measure meant to improve living conditions and protect all communities living in Kosovo.

Dr. Kouchner said the facility was made possible through a combined, systematic effort by the international community to provide assistance to all the people living in Kosovo. He said that the opening of the clinic was a necessary, but he hoped temporary, measure to provide services to the local population.

"The opening of this clinic in Gracanica is a tangible proof of the commitment of UNMIK and KFOR to ensure safe access to all Serb communities for all health service", the SRSG said.

For information only-not an official record