Belgrade, 18 June: Representatives of the [Brussels-based] International Commission on the Balkans, including [former Serbia-Montenegro foreign minister] Goran Svilanovic, are causing panic amongst Serbs in Kosovo by trying to convince them that the province is already independent and that they should take their children away, a report by Kosovo Ombudsman Marek Nowicki has said.
The report says that representatives of the commission went to the Serb village of Gojbulje near Vucitrn and did more "investigating" than talking to Serbs there.
It is pointed out that the former Serbia-Montenegro foreign minister asked his interlocutors to tell him how many children they had.
"When the reply came that they had three, he said: `What are you waiting for, why don't you leave Kosovo? Kosovo is already independent and you have to take your children away from Kosovo'," the report says.
This was confirmed for [Belgrade-based daily] Blic by Gojbulje village president Bratislav Krstic.
"Its true that Svilanovic said during our meeting: `[Ethnic] Albanians have become a strongly armed force. Kosovo will be independent. What are you doing here with your three children? Think about it'," Krstic said.
Svilanovic maintains he did not try to persuade Serbs in Gojbulje to leave Kosovo or that he said the province would be independent.
"I asked them what were they expecting and they replied: `For the Serbian army and police to arrive.' I told them this would not happen and that they were irresponsible parents for allowing their children to live in impossible conditions," Svilanovic said.
He relayed that he said that in the case of Kosovo being partitioned they would remain on [ethnic] Albanian territory and he advised them to seek protection from the international community and the Kosovo government.
Source: Mina news agency, Podgorica, in Serbian 0600 gmt 18 Jun 05