March 22, 2004


Serbian PM receives Russian minister for emergency situations

21:23 BELGRADE , March 22 (Tanjug) - The situation in Kosovo is now a struggle for life itself and for the right for a roof over one's head, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said in Belgrade on Monday after talks with Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu.
The ethnic cleansing in Kosovo did not begin on March 17, but much earlier, with the fact that hardly one-third of the expelled persons have returned to the province, Kostunica said. Many crimes have been committed in Kosovo, including those which are tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), based in The Hague, he said.



Rugova says violence did not hurt prospects for independent Kosovo

20:24 PRISTINA , March 22 (Tanjug) - Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova said in Pristina on Monday that last week's violence against Serbs did not damage the prospects for independence, because, according to him, only independence can bring peace, agencies reported.

Kosovo needs independence in order to step up its democratic and economic development, Rugova told a press conference, denying that this aspiration was in jeopardy, and reiterating that independence was necessary and urgently needed.



SCG foreign minister demands explanation of UNMIK chief's statement

19:58 BELGADE , March 22 (Tanjug) - Serbia and Montenegro (SCG) Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic on Monday addressed a letter to United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the occasion of a statement by UN Special Representative to Kosovo and Metohija Harri Holkeri to National Public Radio that ethnic cleansing is too strong a formulation for the situation in the province, and that "a couple" of Christian Orthodox churches have been destroyed in the province.

Svilanovic pointed out the tragic toll of the latest wave of violence in Kosovo and Metohija, the Foreign Ministry said. He expressed resolute opposition to all attempts at softening the real picture of the developments in the province in order to calm the situation.



Groups of ethnic Albanians attempt to organize rally in Vitina

19:22 KOSOVSKA MITROVICA , March 22 (Tanjug) - Several groups of ethnic Albanians attempted to organize a mass rally at about 1300 hrs on Monday in downtown Kosovska Vitina, southeastern Kosovo and Metohija, the International Press Center in Kosovska Mitrovica said.
However, KFOR prevented the masses from rallying, but failed to prevent the ethnic Albanians from looting torched Serb houses and apartments in Kosovska Vitina, said Nenad Kojic, a representative of the few Serbs that remain in this municipality.


Rugova says solution formal recognition of independence

18:36 PRISTINA , March 22 (Tanjug) - Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova said on Monday the formal recognition of the province's independence would calm the people and that all speculation about possible changes of the Kosovo-Metohija boundaries are statements that could have unpredictable consequences.

"Kosovo's independence is the basic issue for us, and the formal recognition of that independence would calm the people of Kosovo and this part of the region," Rugova told an emergency press conference in Pristina.

Nuns of Pec Patriarchate Convent trust reason will prevail

18:31 PEC PATRIARCHATE , March 22 (Tanjug) - It has been quiet at the Pec Patriarchate Convent on Monday, but the nuns fear possible ethnic Albanian demonstrations in Pec and nearby places in southern Kosovo and Metohija. Mother Haritina told Tanjug that the nuns and several refugees who found shelter in the convent are now less apprehensive thanks to the care of the KFOR Italian troops securing the object, whose presence has been stepped up.

There is a sufficient food supply for now, but about 20 new refugees are expected to arrive soon, she said.

 Red Cross provides help in Kosovska Mitrovica for displaced persons

18:21 KOSOVSKA MITROVICA , March 22 (Tanjug) - About 300 persons, displaced in the wake of the Kosovo Albanian violence and torching of Serb houses, have been given elementary humanitarian assistance in the district of Kosovska Mitrovica, Red Cross municipal coordinators for displaced persons said on Monday.

Kosovska Mitrovica Coordinator Srba Milenkovic said all refugees have received emergency humanitarian assistance, but that finding accommodation is a big problem. Women, children, and ill or elderly persons have been placed in student dormitories, he told a press conference.

Violence in Kosovo - continuation of planned ethnic cleansing

18:09 BELGRADE , March 22 (Tanjug) - The Serbian parliament Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday asked for an emergency session of parliament to discuss the crisis in Kosovo and Metohija.

The Committee agreed the developments in the southern Serbian province are a continuation of the years' long planned ethnic cleansing of Serbs and other non-Albanians, and that the latest escalation of violence demonstrated that KFOR and UNMIK are unable and unprepared to oppose this, and protect the lives of property of Serbs and other non-Albanians.


Kosovo Albanian terrorist violence threatens Serbia, entire region, says Vojvodina parliament

17:42 NOVI SAD , March 22 (Tanjug) - Vojvodina parliament on Monday unanimously agreed the escalation of violence by ethnic Albanian terrorists and separatists in Kosovo and Metohija province has reached a critical level and threatens the security not only of Serbia, but of the entire region as well.

At an emergency session, MPs gave full support to the measures taken by Serbian and Serbia and Montenegro's state organs in acquainting the international community and the United Nations with the situation in the country.


Writers condemned Albanian terror in Kosovo-Metohija

17:03 BELGRADE , March 22 (Tanjug) - The international community is the greatest culprit for the latest developements in Kosooo and Metohija, and it must not hide behind local institutions because they are not doing anything, but must do everything so as to protect the peop,e and insitiions in that province, said on Monday writer Mirolsav Josic Visnjic.

At a news conference of the Association of Writers of Serbia (UKS) at Tanjug's International Press Centre, UKS President Slobodan Rakitic said that Serbian history was full of discontinuity, but that the perishing of our people in Kosovo and Metohija was one of the rare continuities.


Kosovo's "black Wednesday" changed everything, Bilt

16:49 LONDON , March 22 (Tanjug) - The international policy towards Kosovo-Metohija and a good part of international efforts since 1998 to achieve a stable compromise on the future of Kosovo-Metohija have disappeared in the flames of last week's clashes, assessed on Monday Carl Bilt, former UN and EU mediator for the Balkans.

Last week's clashes inflicted great political and physical damage, Bilt assessed for the British Financial Times newspaper, pointing to close to 30 dead and more than 600 wounded people, over a hundred destroyed houses and dozens of ravaged churches, great damage to UN property, as well as the fact that NATO was forced to evacuate the minority population it was unable to protect.

Holkeri either to resign or apologise to Serbs, Covic

16:41 GRACANICA , March 22 (Tanjug) - Coordination Centre for Kosovo and Metohija chief Nebojsa Covic called on Monday on UNMIK chief Harri Holkkeri to either resign or apologise publicly to the Serbian people, for his statement on Sunday that the word ethnic cleansing in Kosovo was "too strong" and that just a few churches had been burned down, the Coordination Centre said in a statement.

At a meeting in the monastery of Gracanica, attended also by UN office in Pristina chief Marcie Ries and by Bishop Artemije, Covic said that Holkeri could no longer head the UN Civilian Mission in Kosovo.

Evacuated villagers of Bica, Grabac in Italian base of Kfor

16:25 BELGRADE , March 22 (Tanjug) - Coordination Centre for Kosovo and Metohija said in a statement on Monday that, according to information received in the past 13 hours, 54 evacuated Serbs from the villages of Bica and Grabac (near Klina) were in the base of the Italian contingent with Ffor in Djakovica.

Among the evacuated are three babies and three women. They are all in good health and have medical attention.

Serbian houses in Vitina marked with white paint

16:18 BELGRADE , March 22 (Tanjug) - Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) municipal board president from Kosovska Vitina Nenad Kojic said that the houses from which Serbs were forced to leave were marked with white paint by the Albanians, who also wrote on them the names of their kinsmen who are to move in.

He, the DSS information service reported, said that over the night had been torched one more Serbian house in Vitina. About a hundred Serbs had left their homes in that town, while some 70 had stayed there.


Belgrade police chief dismissed

14:37 BELGRADE , March 22 (Tanjug) -Internal Affairs Secretariat chief in Belgrade Milan Obradovic and Stari Grad internal affairs department chief Vladan Lukovic have been dismissed for the errors made in ensuring the security of the Belgrade mosque, said on Monday Interior Ministry public security department chief Miroslav Milosevic.

Milosevic announced at a new conference that the decision on the new Belgrade chief of police would be made Monday evening at a special session of the Belgrade Internal Affairs Secretarit, after what a statement would be issued.


Russia should play special role in resolution of problems in Kosovo

11:13 MOSCOW , March 22 (Tanjug) - Serbia-Montenegro Ambassador to Russia Milan Rocen told the Itar-Tass news agency on Monday that Russia should play a special role in the resolution of problems in Kosovo.

He said that a three-day visit to Belgrade and Podgorica of Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu might be regarded as the "first step towards an active Russian position in the region."

Mosques in Belgrade, Nis were torched by hooligans - consul

11:08 ISTANBUL , March 22 (Tanjug) - The torching of two mosques in Belgrade and Nis must not be interpreted as an Eastern Orthodox declaration of war to the Islamic world, because this was done by hooligans against whom Serbia-Montenegro has already taken all judicial measures, Serbia-Montenegro Consul to Istanbul Ljubomir Milovanovic said on Sunday.

Speaking at a news conference, Consul Milovanovic informed the Turkish media that the top leadership of Serbia-Montenegro "in addition to apologising to the Islamic community, primarily that in the country, has pledged before the entire world that it will allocate funds from the state budget to restore mosques" and that "they will be restored much speedier than any of the destroyed and torched churches in Kosovo-Metohija."


Scores arrested in wake of Kosovo violence | 15:24 -> 15:46 – March 22, 2004| Reuters

PRISTINA -- Monday -- Police have arrested 163 people suspected of arson, looting, murder and other crimes during last week's explosion of ethnic violence in Kosovo, a United Nations police spokesman said today.

Police estimate 51,000 people were involved in 33 riots, spokesman Derek Chappell said, giving new details of the scale of the clashes between Albanian and Serb communities.

The violence was the worst flare-up Kosovo has seen since the United Nations and NATO took control of the Serbian province in 1999.

About 28 people from both communities were killed and 870 injured, as mobs of Albanians attacked Serb villages and churches last Wednesday and Thursday, clashing with NATO-led troops and police.

Serbs and Albanians traded gunfire in the northern flashpoint town of Mitrovica.

Attackers burnt down or blew up 30 Serb churches, vandalised or damaged another 11 churches or monasteries, and destroyed 286 houses, Chappell told Reuters. Seventy-two United Nations vehicles were destroyed.

Covic calls on Holkeri to apologise or resign | 12:27 – March 22, 2004 | Beta

BELGRADE -- Monday – The head of Belgrade’s Kosovo Coordination Centre, Nebojsa Covic, has called on UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri to apologise to Kosovo Serbs or resign.

Covic was responding to a statement given by Holkeri to US public radio in which he played down the wave of violence which swept Kosovo last week.

The Kosovo governor played down the violence which has erupted under his stewardship, dismissing NATO Southern Europe Commander Gregory Johnson’s assessment of it as ethnic cleansing and writing off the damage to dozens of Serbian church buildings as “a couple of Serbian Orthodox Churches have been set on fire”.

Covic called on all Serbian state bodies to demand that Holkeri be replaced in Kosovo, saying that thirty torched churches and monasteries and thousands of expelled Serbs and destroyed homes could not be described as anything but ethnic cleansing.

“I believe Holkeri is an experienced politician but I do not believe he has made his assessment of what has happened in Kosovo from experience.  I believe there is malice behind this statement,” said Covic.

Tadic demands UN chief resign | 18:52 – March 22, 2004 | Beta

BELGRADE -- Monday – Serbia-Montenegro’s defence minister has joined calls for the resignation of the UN’s governor in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, after he said that ethnic cleansing was “too strong” a word for the wave of violence against Serbs in the province last week.

Boris Tadic said that Holkeri’s statement, in which he said only “a couple” of Serbian orthodox churches had been set ablaze, was a “precursor to a new political offensive that the Albanians will launch with the aim of putting pressure on the international community to make relative the violence against Serbs.”

He accused the UN chief of playing down the violence because he himself is responsible for the situation in the province. Holkeri should resign over his failure to stop the attacks, Tadic told Beta.

The head of Belgrade’s Coordination Centre for Kosovo, Nebojsa Covic, earlier demanded Holkeri step down over his comments on US public radio.

Covic demands martial law in Kosovo | 16:12 – March 22, 2004 | B92, SRNA

GRACANICA -- Monday – The head of Belgrade’s Kosovo Coordination Centre has asked the US office in Pristina to use its influence in the UN Security Council to seek the imposition of martial law on Kosovo.

Nebojsa Covic and Bishop Artemije, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church diocese of Raska and Prizren said today that only under martial law can paramilitary groups be disbanded, the organisers of systematic ethnic cleansing be identified and conditions established for the resumption of political processes under firm international control.

Belgrade assembly pledges money for mosque restoration
| 20:03 – March 22, 2004| Beta

BELGRADE -- Monday – The Belgrade assembly has pledged two million dinars (29,000 euros) for restoration work on the city’s only mosque, which was damaged by arsonists on Wednesday night.

The assembly’s executive board said the money would be given to the Islamic Community of Serbia.



Russian aid for Kosovo victims | 19:42 – March 22, 2004 | Beta

BELGRADE -- Monday – Russia’s Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said today that Russia will send urgent aid for Serbs and other non-Albanians who were victims of last week’s violence in Kosovo.

Shoigu said that a team of Russian experts would begin work tomorrow with the authorised state bodies in Serbia on preparing locations at which Russia plans to set up two tent camps, each capable of holding 1,000 people. Each camp will be equipped with food and a first-aid centre, able to care for up to 600 people per day.

The minister, who met today with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, said the move represented only the first phase of Russia’s aid for those who have fled Kosovo since 1999.


Minister commends media coverage of Kosovo, criticises RTS | 17:33 – March 22, 2004 | Beta

BELGRADE -- Monday – Serbia’s culture and information minister has commended Serbian media coverage of the crisis in Kosovo.

But Dragan Kojadinovic criticised the state broadcaster, Radio Television Serbia (RTS), for continuing with its normal schedule on Wednesday night, despite the wave of violence sweeping the province.

“We had a part of the media which realistically covered events in Kosovo, while on the other hand we had television stations which behaved like nothing was happening, such as RTS,” the minister told a press conference as he presented a report on the media coverage of Kosovo last week.

The Serbian government claimed this weekend it had dismissed RTS general director Aleksandar Crkvenjakov because of the channel’s coverage of the crisis in the province.  

The ministry has postponed a discussion of the Broadcast Act for another 15 days, when, Kojadinovic claimed, the ministry “will have a list of problems in the field of culture and the media” as well as “a clear proposal for how to resolve them.”


Sporadic violence continues | 13:13 – March 22, 2004 | FoNet

VRANJE, KOSOVSKA VITINA -- Monday – An elderly man has been admitted to hospital in Serbia after claiming to have been beaten by Albanians in Kosovo.

Stanislav Stankovic told police he was beaten while tending his cattle near Gnjilane.

In Kosovska Vitina, a group of Albanians are reported to have set fire to a house abandoned by Serb Misko Mirkovic.

International peacekeepers have broken up a group of about twenty young Albanians who had gathered near abandoned Serb houses in the village.

Body found in basement of burned seminary | 13:02 – March 22, 2004| Beta

PRIZREN -- Monday – The body of a thirty-year-old invalid Serb woman has been found in the basement of the burnt-out Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Prizren.

Local journalists say that no one was aware that the woman was living in the basement.

All Serbian Orthodox churches and other buildings in Prizren were set on fire during last week’s violence.

They included two fourteenth century monasteries, one of which was under the protection of UNESCO.


Holkeri plays down violence | 00:08 – March 22, 2004 | B92

WASHINGTON -- Sunday – Kosovo governor Harri Holkeri said today that the situation in Kosovo has considerably improved. 

He told media in the US that “a couple of Serbian Orthodox churches” had been burnt down, but said that ethnic cleansing would be too strong a description.

Holkeri was responding to the use of the term “ethnic cleansing”, by NATO’s commander for south-east Europe, Gregory Johnson, Holkeri.

“Those words are too strong,” he said, adding that “There are plenty of Kosovo Serbs who have not accepted to move away from their home areas.”

“Unfortunately there has been a great deal of damage and a many Serbian houses have been destroyed, together with a couple of Serbian Orthodox churches,” said the governor.



Copyright 2004 Agence France Presse  
Agence France Presse

March 22, 2004 Monday 6:58 PM Eastern Time

SECTION: International News

LENGTH: 279 words

HEADLINE: Russian FM blames Western indifference for Kosovo crisis


The failure of Western leaders to make Kosovo's Albanians comply with UN Security Council demands have helped escalate the conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov charged in televised comments.

"The leaders of Kosovo's Albanians were far from always observing the UN Security Council's demands, and unfortunately some of our Western partners did not call them to task in time," Lavrov told Russia's Channel One on Sunday.

"The most recent events in Kosovo's Mitrovica confirm our old fears that coddling the Albanian leaders' ambition to cleanse the region of other ethnic minorities is harmful and dangerous," Lavrov said.

President Vladimir Putin reacted sharply Saturday to what he called ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, describing as "ethnic cleansing" the arson and rioting that has left 28 people dead and more than 600 injured.

The foreign ministry meanwhile said Moscow was ready to cooperate with Western partners to achieve an early normalisation of the situation in Kosovo, torn by its worst inter-ethnic violence in five years.

Lavrov pointed out that "the only way to settle the situation in Kosovo is to fully and comprehensively implement the UN Security Council's resolution 1244," which guaranteed the continued status of the majority ethnic Albanian province as part of Serbia.

Moscow has repeatedly accused NATO of encouraging independence for Kosovo and failing to protect the Serb minority.

Russia has historic links with the Serbs and strongly condemned NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia in 1999. It has remained sceptical about the international community's role in the province.



LOAD-DATE: March 22, 2004



Copyright 2004 Financial Times Information
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Global News Wire - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire 
Copyright 2004 BBC Monitoring/BBC  
BBC Monitoring International Reports

March 22, 2004

LENGTH: 72 words



Kosovska Vitina, 22 March: A group of (ethnic) Albanians this morning set fire to the abandoned house of Misko Mirkovic which is situated opposite the church in Kosovska Vitina.

Kfor (NATO-led Kosovo Force) members dispersed a group of 20 Albanian youths who had gathered around near the abandoned Serb houses in (Kosovska) Vitina.

Source: FoNet news agency, Belgrade, in Serbian 0824 gmt 22 Mar 04

) BBC Monitoring


LOAD-DATE: March 22, 2004



Copyright 2004 Financial Times Information
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Copyright 2004 BBC Monitoring/BBC  
BBC Monitoring International Reports

March 22, 2004

LENGTH: 201 words



(Presenter) This day has been proclaimed a day of mourning for the victims of ethnic violence in Kosovo. Russian Emergencies Minister Sergey Shoygu is arriving in the Balkans. He will be accompanied by a group of members of parliament headed by the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Valeriy Draganov. This is what Draganov told Ekho Moskvy about the aim of the visit.

(Draganov) We want to receive answers to many questions, and not only from the (Serb) officials but also from public organizations and individuals. Of course, we shall have a meeting with the president of the republic. We are planning to meet the head of the programme for refugees and leaders of religious communities. It is pitiful but evident that the international community must now acknowledge its inability to maintain peace in this area, despite the fact that the UN Security Council has the whole set of instruments and tools.

(Presenter) Draganov said that the most prominent members of the State Duma committee (on International Affairs) had not joined the group of MPs set for the diplomatic mission.

Source: Ekho Moskvy radio, Moscow, in Russian 0800 gmt 22 Mar 04

) BBC Monitoring


LOAD-DATE: March 22, 2004



Copyright 2004 Financial Times Information
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Global News Wire - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire 
Copyright 2004 BBC Monitoring/BBC  
BBC Monitoring International Reports

March 22, 2004

LENGTH: 127 words



Pristina, 21 March: Kfor (NATO-led Kosovo Force) arrested and then released Halit Berani, the chairman of the Council for Protecting the Human Rights and Freedoms in Kosovo-Metohija, Derek Chappell (UN police spokesman) has said.

Berani relayed information to journalists in Kosovo on 17 March that the death of three (ethnic Albanian) boys was "Serb revenge for the Caglavica incident where a Serb was wounded".

Kfor representatives, however, have not stated for now the reason for his arrest. (Passage omitted)

Halit Berani was active in the Kosovo Liberation Army in the Kosovska Mitrovica region during the conflict in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999.

Source: Radio B92 text web site, Belgrade, in Serbian 1927 gmt 21 Mar 04

) BBC Monitoring


LOAD-DATE: March 22, 2004



Copyright 2004 British Broadcasting Corporation  
BBC Monitoring Europe - Political
Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring

March 22, 2004, Monday

LENGTH: 75 words

HEADLINE: Hospitalized Serb says Kosovo Albanians beat him up

SOURCE: FoNet news agency, Belgrade, in Serbian 1008 gmt 22 Mar 04

Text of report by Serbian independent news agency FoNet

Vranje, 22 March: Stanislav Stankovic from the Kosovo Serb village Partes, near Gnjilane, has been taken to the hospital in Vranje after having been beaten up, it was confirmed today for FoNet.

The 65 year-old Stankovic maintains that he was beaten up yesterday while tending his cattle. He was unconscious for a long time and found only last night and then taken to Vranje.

LOAD-DATE: March 22, 2004


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