Thursday, July 21, 2005

Kosovo minister calls on Serbs to "quit self-isolation", return to Mitrovica

Text of report in English by independent internet news agency KosovaLive

Mitrovice [Kosovska Mitrovica], 20 July: Culture, Youth, Sports and Non-residential Affairs Minister Astrit Haracia called on the Serbs from the village of Svinjare in Mitrovice "to return to their homes and to quit self-isolation".

Haracia made this comment during a visit to this village, accompanied by the representative of the [UNMIK, UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, chief] Jessen-Petersen's Office for Return, Kilian Kleinschmidt and UNMIK police Deputy Commissioner Hans Martin Zimmermann.

Milorad Radivojevic told guests that the Serbs from Svinjare were not satisfied with the construction process, or with the compensation provided for reconstruction of other premises. He also said that security conditions have not been created for the return to the village.

"We had cases of cattle being stolen, and recently someone even stole trucks provided to the returning families. Not a single person has been unveiled [discovered] that participated in last March riots when homes in the village were ruined nor have thieves of cows and the trucks been arrested," said Radivojevic.

A total of 37 families, numbering 70 persons, have returned, according to him, but 26 of them left the village again after recent robberies, returning to collective shelters in the northern part of Mitrovice and in Zvecan.

Minister Haracia told Serb representatives that he visited village of Svinjare in order to identify problems related to the reconstruction of houses and the return of the displaced citizens to their properties.

"So far I have visited 20 villages of Kosova [Kosovo], where Serbs, Ashkali and so on live. Statistical data indicate that the Inter-ministerial Committee has finished the construction of 879 houses for Serbs and families of other communities, whose houses were damaged in last March riots, and owners of 90 per cent of the houses have signed trilateral contracts," said Haracia.

Minister Haracia told the Serbs in the village Svinjare that they can discuss any of their problems, but there is no reason whatsoever for this village to be privileged from other villages in Kosova. He has guaranteed them that the directions for the reconstruction of the homes given by the Commission headed by former minister Brajshori have been fully respected.

Source: KosovaLive web site, Pristina, in English 20 Jul 05


Anonymous said...

I doubt the robberies were ethnicaly motivated, but it does show that there is a growing problem with theft (sign that unemployment is extremely high). Maybe it is not a bad idea for the whole of Kosova to ask for these security guarantees.

Anonymous said...

Svinjare was torched and ethnically cleansed by Albanians in March 2004, in full view of KFOR peacekeepers. I'd be nervous about "going home" too.

Chris Blaku said...

Kosova was torched by Serbians dozens of times since 1912, that hasn't stopped the Albanians from returning.

Maybe it's not a problem for the Albanians, because they are not guests on the land as the Serbians are. Maybe it's not a problem for the Albanians, because they, in fact, belong there.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, no shit? That why they fled i large numbers in '99? (Europe only responded reluctantly because we feared being drowned in unwanted refugees)

Chris Blaku said...

They fled because they were forced out of their homes at gunpoint by the Serbian Paramilitary and irregular militia.

The fact of the matter remains, they returned. The Serbs have yet to. Europe did not respond, the United States did.

The expulsion of Albanians in Kosova is an extension of the 20th century behavior of the Serbian fascists towards Albanians.

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