Thursday, September 22, 2005

Serbia President: Need To Take Care Of Serbs In Kosovo

NEW YORK (AP)--Serbia has no ambition to rule again over ethnic Albanians in its southern Kosovo province, but cannot just give up its historic territory that is still home to some 100,000 Serbs, Serbian President Boris Tadic said while on a diplomatic offensive ahead of looming talks on Kosovo's future.

Shuttling between a series of meetings in New York with U.S., European Union and Russian diplomats who will have a key role in the likely negotiations, Tadic says he is well aware of the mess left in the province by Serbia's former strongman, Slobodan Milosevic.

Milosevic's military crackdown on the ethnic Albanian separatists in 1999 led to NATO airstrikes to break the Serb assault. After thousands lost their lives - most of them Kosovar Albanians - the province became a U.N.-run protectorate whose final status may be resolved if a U.N. report, due in a few weeks, recommends that talks begin.

"Serbia does not want at all to arrange political relations among ethnic Albanians in Kosovo," Tadic said. "But we need to take care of Serbs in Kosovo," the dwindling community living in enclaves amid the occasionally hostile ethnic Albanian majority of 1.7 million.

Floating an idea of "decentralization" of Kosovo that would give the Serb enclaves some autonomy and the right to closer links with the government in Belgrade, Tadic declined to elaborate, saying only "a unique, flexible solution is needed, with considerable political creativity."

He also claimed that "Serbia has the international law on its side ... due to investments, remaining private property and Serb heritage in Kosovo, including ancient churches and monasteries."

"Serbia is a democratic country today," said Tadic, who was elected in 2004 amid Serbia's efforts to recover from the dark days under Milosevic.

Milosevic was ousted in 2000 and later extradited to the U.N. war crimes court in The Hague to answer for his role in several Balkan wars.

Milosevic's legacy, however, still haunts Serbia on many issues, including its unresolved relationship with tiny Montenegro.

The two republics used to be part of the former Yugoslavia and opted to stay together when four other republics broke away in the early 1990's. But the heavy-handed Milosevic alienated many in Montenegro, where an independence drive now persists even after Milosevic is gone.

An EU-brokered arrangement in 2003 established Serbia-Montenegro as a loose partnership of virtually sovereign republics that share only a small central administration to jointly run defense and foreign affairs.

But that deal may fall apart as early as next year as Montenegro's pro- independence leadership plans an independence referendum. This, in turn, complicates the Kosovo issue.

"There's this legal technicality," Tadic said with a sigh, explaining that a U.N. resolution, which introduced the international protectorate in Kosovo in 1999, refers to the province as geographically part of Serbia-Montenegro, not just Serbia. If Serbia and Montenegro split up, it would bolster the Kosovo Albanians' cause for their independence.

"A disintegration of Serbia-Montenegro could cause a chain reaction and destabilize a wider region," Tadic warned.

The real issue everyone should be focusing on instead, is economic development, the president said.

"Independence per se does not bring food on the table," he said, citing statistics that say that 63% of ethnic Albanians and 95% of Serbs in Kosovo are jobless.

It is particularly tough for Serbs and other non-Albanians, he added. "They lack freedom of movement, they can't even go look for jobs."

One thing the rival sides agree upon is their common desire to one day join the European Union. This would render the border issues irrelevant, but the feeble economies do not exactly propel either to membership in the bloc, Tadic acknowledged.

Serbia's particular problem is the outstanding Western demand for extradition of top war crimes suspect, Bosnian Serb wartime commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic.

"We are working very hard on that issue," Tadic said, only reiterating that Serbian authorities are trying but cannot find the fugitive.

Extradition of Mladic has emerged as the key obstacle for Serbia's membership in NATO's Partnership for Peace program as well as for closer ties with the EU.

-Edited by Paul Baylis

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Albanian citizen wanted for al-Qaeda jihad

September 22 --The Treasury Department ordered U.S. banks on Monday to freeze any bank accounts or other financial assets found in this country belonging to Abdul Latif Saleh, who holds Jordanian and Albanian citizenship. The order also prohibits Americans from doing business with him.

The Bush adminitration alleges that Abdul Latif Saleh worked with Osama bin Laden and others to provide support to terror networks in Albania.

"The mission of the Albanian jihadist group has been to destabilize the internal situation in Albania by fomenting conflict among the different religious groups in the country,'' the department said in a statement. "Al Haramain recruited members from this organization, which Saleh directly assisted in vetting.''

According to the Department, bin Laden provided Saleh with $600,000 to encourage the creation of 'extremist groups'' in Albania. The network of all these varios Islamic groups was eventually linked to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group connected to al-Qaida.

Saleh also is believed to be associated with Yasin Qadi, a Saudi businessman that the US accused of being a terrorist in October 2001. The department said Qadi was an active fund-raiser for Saleh’s jihadist group.

The Albanian government has seized the assents of Qadi, who is also being investigated for alleged money laundering for al-Qaida. He left Albania at least three years ago.

Albania’s opposition Socialist party will call for an investigation into how thousands of foreign citizens, including some suspected of being associates of Osama bin Laden, have been given Albanian citizenship, the party said on Tuesday.

"Our party will ask (President Alfred Moisiu) to start an investigation to check how Albanian citizenship has been given to some 12,000 foreign citizens, most Kosovo Albanians but also some Arabs, since 1992," said Erjon Brace, a Socialist parliamentarian.

Recently, Albania has tightened border controls for citizens from Islamic countries and has stepped up monitoring of the extremist Islamic elements inside the country. But this tightening is in jeopardy under the newly elected president Berisha under whose watch Islamic terror cells were established in Albania in the 1990s.

Islamic terror networks were used in Albania in the 1990s to foment Islamic violence in neighboring Kosovo.

Muslim faith predominates in Albania as well as in neigboring Kosovo that seeks independence from Serbia.

Anonymous said...

<<"There's this legal technicality," Tadic said with a sigh, explaining that a U.N. resolution, which introduced the international protectorate in Kosovo in 1999, refers to the province as geographically part of Serbia-Montenegro, not just Serbia. If Serbia and Montenegro split up, it would bolster the Kosovo Albanians' cause for their independence.>>

Oops!!! 1244 doensn't refer to Serbia-Montenegro but to Yugoslavia, which doesn't exist anymore, does it?

And on the issue of jobs for Serbs, he is lieing unscrupulously. I think Minister Bogdanovic of KSGOV answered it best, "let Serbs from Gracanica come see me if they can't find a job."

Serbs isolate themselves in ghettos so that they can protect their war criminals and then expect jobs to go to them. Here is a clue, 30% of trade of Kosova is done with Serbia and most of the employed are in the public sector. You want jobs, pick government or trade. Otherwise you'll have to make do with 30E that every senior Kosovar cetizen gets from the government when one hits 60, if smoking or god forbid Al Qaeda torrists haven't killed you by then :).

Anonymous said...

"Serbia is a democratic country today"

This a paradox but it is also a lie that fits well with Serbian propaganda.
How can it be democratic when Milosevic's people and Sesejl's people
according to the latest polls by Gallup have the backing of the great majority of people in Serbia.
How can it be democratic when the government needs the votes from the Milosevic's party to stay in power.
How can it be democratic when the prime minister is killed on orders given by the highest Serb priest and the current prime minister in broad daylight.

Anonymous said...

To the Serb blogger above read the first sentence. He had lots of money in the USA. Now what does that make the USA according to your little brain?

Anonymous said...

NewsFLASH - Serbs jump on the latest band wagon

Belgrade, Serbia - Recent reports coming from Serbia indicate that Serb authorities and brainwashed zombies (known as ultranationalist facists citizens that make up 50% of the population) have recently embarked on the latest bandwagon of "hate the muslims". In reality, this train of though has been present among the Serbs for over a few hundred years but only recently has it manifested itself in English language form.

The recent developments in Serbia again indicate that the overall majority of its popullation lacks basic education. To prove this we have to bring up the often used "attacks" where Albanians are described as Taliban and Islamic Jihadist Militants but special in the sense that they are helped by USA, United Kingdom and NATO.

We have only to pray to Alah, Jessus, Krishna as it all is said in the Talmud that this nation of unhappy people rises above its depression and starts livin a life of love, as preached by Christ.

Amen.

indigenous said...

In fact UNSC 1244 does say Yugoslavia then Serbia & Montenegro in brackets, thats why Solana was so into keeping the two together. The important thing is that Kosovo was never constitutionally part of Serbia as it was annexed by Serbia into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1918.

Anonymous said...

If Kosovo was never part of Serbia then how the fuck do you explain over 350 sacred serbian churches, estates and sites that date as far back as the 11th Century? You lying scum. Kosovo is Serbia. It's Christian land.

Anonymous said...

Kosovo is Serbian land as Corsica is French land.