Serbia

UN Security Council mission to determine level of fulfilment of standards in Kosovo

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Belgrade, April 26, 2007 - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica met today with a delegation of the mission of the UN Security Council, led by Belgian Ambassador to the UN Johan Verbeke and underlined that it is very important that the mission establishes the real level of fulfilment of standards in Kosovo-Metohija and implementation of UN SC Resolution 1244.

He said that Serbia participated in a constructive manner at the negotiations in Vienna and offered a proposal for the future status of Kosovo, based on fundamental principles of international law, the UN Charter, Resolution 1244 and the Serbian Constitution, and that is substantial autonomy within Serbia.

The Serbian Prime Minister said that the proposal of Martti Ahtisaari is not the result of the negotiations, but the UN Special Envoy took into consideration only the interests of the Albanian side -. He added that Ahtisaari's plan is illegitimate and illegal and that it violates the UN Charter and the Serbian Constitution.

Kostunica underlined that blackmail and threats of Albanian separatists if Kosovo-Metohija does not become independent are impermissible and stressed that the international community must immediately react in the harshest manner to blackmail.

The UN Charter guarantees sovereignty and territorial integrity to all states and Serbia cannot and must not be an exception.

The facts clearly speak that UN SC Resolution 1244 is not respected in Kosovo-Metohija, the Serbian Prime Minister said and added that two-thirds of the Serbian and other non-Albanian population has been expelled from the province, 200,000 Serbs cannot return to their homes, churches and monasteries are being destroyed although many of them are under the protection of UNESCO, and Serbian houses have been destroyed and looted.

Serbs live in isolated enclaves, they are victims of ethnically-motivated violence every day and the perpetrators of that violence are not being sought after and punished, Kostunica reiterated.

He said that 40,000 Serbs used to live in Pristina, while today there are only 87 of them and asked why Serbs, if they cannot return to some distant areas, cannot return to Pristina either. He underlined that there is no multi-ethnicity in Kosovo-Metohija and that the only multi-ethnic city in the province today in Northern Mitrovica.

The Prime Minister said that the real situation in Kosovo does not correspond to reports submitted by UNMIK chiefs to the SC and invited members of the mission to visit enclaves, Serbs in collective centres and talk with them.

Kostunica stressed that the Serbian government expects from the UN SC to take measures to provide return of 200,000 exiled Serbia and to create conditions for their normal life as well as to thoroughly examine application of all standards from UN SC Resolution 1244 and to start new and real negotiations.

The Prime Minister handed over the documents precisely listing all ethnically motivated crimes against the Serbs in the province and no investigation of those crimes. The documents also contain precise data on number of exiled Serbs living in collective centres.

Belgian Ambassador to the UN Johan Verbeke said that the aim of the visit of the UN SC mission is to get assured of the real situation in Kosovo-Metohija and to make a report on it.

Coordinator of the negotiating team for Kosovo-Metohija Slobodan Samardzic expounded on negotiations on the future status of Kosovo-Metohija in Vienna.

Samardzic recalled that only one of those meetings was organised on top level - on June 24, 2006, whereas 15 meetings referred to technical issues, noting that from September 2006 to February 2007 there was not a single meeting.

He added that after Ahtisaari presented his proposal, meetings referred only to six chapters of that plan whereas seven chapters were not discussed at all. Samardzic also said that amendments that Belgrade proposed were rejected.

Coordinator of the negotiating team for Kosovo-Metohija Leon Kojen presented Belgrade's plan for substantial autonomy of Kosovo-Metohija.

President of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Sanda Raskovic-Ivic told the mission members that according to UNHCR, only 5% of the exiled returned home, whereas the Serbian data shows that the percentage is even smaller than 2%.

Raskovic-Ivic recalled that since 1999 there have been 7,000 assaults against Serbs, 4,500 of which were firearm attacks. She added that 931 Serbs were killed while UNMIK is investigating only 90 cases.