KOSOVO: SERB LEADERS ACCUSE WEST OF ETHNIC CLEANSING

Published on May 31, 2007, adnkronos international

Category: Violence Against Christian Serbs and Their Holy Places

Belgrade, 31 May (AKI) - Serb leaders in the breakaway Kosovo province Thursday accused four European countries and the United States of assisting ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo by handing them immigrant visas. Marko Jaksic, president of the Alliance of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo, said the US, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland were among the countries which helped Kosovo minority Serbs to emigrate, paving the way for Kosovo independence, demanded by majority ethnic Albanians.

“What is happening now is just a perfidious continuation of ethnic cleansing,” Jaksic said. Referring to the fact that over 200,000 Serbs have fled Kosovo since it was put under United Nations control in 1999, he said the international community would do better to rebuild their destroyed homes and facilitate their return, if it really wanted to live up to its declared goal of a multi-ethnic Kosovo.

Jaksic claimed that representatives of non-governmental organizations “have been touring Serb villages for months, luring young people and quickly providing them immigrant visas”. If one knows that Serbian citizens wait “in long lines, day and night” to obtain even tourist visas for European countries, it is easy to conclude “what are the intentions of these international brokers”, Jaksic pointed out.

He said that only during the past year up to 300 young Serbian couples were granted immigrant visas to northern European countries and that NGO emissaries were targeting major Serb communities like the villages of Plemetina, Priluzje, Oblic, Gorazdevac and Osojane. “If we know that every Serb in Kosovo is a voice against independence, it becomes clear what damages such a population emigration does to the national interests of Serbs and Serbia,” Jaksic said.

In the four northern European embassies in Belgrade, contacted by Adnkronos International (AKI), no one was available for comment on Jaksic’s accusations, which Belgrade papers Kurir and Press reported under identical headline “Perfidious!”

Another Kosovo Serb leader, Momcilo Trajkovic said that Western powers bombed Serbia in 1999, allegedly to preserve multi-ethnic society in Kosovo, but were now indirectly assisting ethnic cleansing. “Today these rich countries deliberately and systematically help Serbs to emigrate so that Albanians could achieve independence,” said Trajkovic. “There is no other word for it but ethnic cleansing,” he added.

Serbian forces were pushed out of Kosovo in 1999, following NATO raid on Serbia, amid reports of gross human rights violations and mass exodus of ethnic Albanians. Some 220,000 Serbs have fled the province since then and the remaining 100,000 live in isolated enclaves.

Western powers are pushing for Kosovo's independence, which Serbia opposes though it has no authority there since 1999, and Belgrade’s only hope to preserve Kosovo within its boundaries is that Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, might use its veto power within the UN Security Council to block the independence move.


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