Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Kosovo Serbs agree with Kosovo PM that Mitrovica problem should be solved

Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has said that one of his government's priorities for the next year will be to solve the problem of Kosovska Mitrovica, where multiethnic gatherings will be organized with that aim.

Raska-Prizren Bishop Artemije told FoNet today that the problem of Mitrovica should be dealt with at the level of the whole of Kosovo.

"We do not want the glasses of those who see a problem in the Serb [northern] part of Mitrovica to be imposed on us. The problem of Mitrovica can be solved, as well as the problem of the whole of Kosovo, through respecting [UN] Resolution 1244, allowing all the refugees to return either to Mitrovica or Prizren or Pec or anywhere," he said.

"That is the only principle to solve the problem of Mitrovica. Then the town will not be divided, because we will live where we used to live, just as the Albanians will live where they used to live," Bishop Artemije said.

The Association of Serb Municipalities and Settlements chairman Marko Jaksic said that Albanians wanted to cleanse the northern part of Mitrovica of Serbs at any cost, which is why the solution to this problem was an easy one.

"Albanians live in the southern part of Mitrovica, Serbs in the northern [FoNet ellipsis] The problem of Mitrovica can be solved very easily Albanians will live in their part of town, and Serbs in theirs," Jaksic told FoNet.

The advisor to the Serbian president [Boris Tadic] for Kosovo issues, Branko Radujko, told FoNet that the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica was a cultural and political centre for Serbs and that they, given they have the majority, should be in charge of the local self-government.

"Northern Mitrovica should be one of the Serb municipalities with the biggest level of self-government within Kosovo society, which should have a high level of autonomy within our state," Radujko said.

The Serb List for Kosovo-Metohija bearer, Oliver Ivanovic, told FoNet that the problems of Kosovska Mitrovica can be solved, but only after power has been decentralized and the municipality of Northern Mitrovica's status has been made official.

"Mitrovica is divided and it will remain so for as long as the reasons for its division are not removed, which means a general lack of safety in the north and a fear of invasion and eviction of the remaining Serbs," he said.

"It is important to make the status of southern and northern Mitrovica official through decentralization, and then we will certainly have better relations with the southern part on the basis of interests and make joint plans for solving vital, communal and other issues," Ivanovic said.

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