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Serbia agrees to UN census in Serbian communities in Kosovo-Metohija

24. March 2011. | 10:16

Source: Emg.rs

Minister for Kosovo-Metohija Goran Bogdanovic stated in an interview for today’s issue of Vecernje Novosti daily that Serbia will continue insisting that the census in Serbian communities in the province be carried out by the UN, in line with Resolution 1244.

 Minister for Kosovo-Metohija Goran Bogdanovic stated in an interview for today’s issue of Vecernje Novosti daily that Serbia will continue insisting that the census in Serbian communities in the province be carried out by the UN, in line with Resolution 1244.

The government’s official website gives the interview in full

Serbia’s stance on the upcoming census in the province:

Since the authorities in Pristina did not agree that the census south of the Ibar River be supervised by the UN, which has so far agreed to conduct the population census in north of the province only, we are of the opinion that Kosovo institutions cannot conduct a census of population and housing of Serbs. Apart from not having confidence in these institutions, we also wonder how will around 250,000 displaced persons be recorded and a considerable portion of Serbian property that has been damaged or usurped. This is why we will keep insisting on a UN conducted census in Serbian communities, in line with Resolution 1244.

Possibility of manipulation with the census:

The recent election fraud in the province is a message that the Albanian authorities are endeavouring hard to display the situation in the field in their favour and with the upcoming census they want to reduce the number of Serbs in the province. This is why the Serbian government believes that Serbs south from the Ibar River should not participate in this census, unless it is conducted by the UN.

Topics for the second round of talks between Belgrade and Pristina:

We are still deciding which topics to include in the agenda, as this does not depend on Belgrade alone, but also on Pristina and the international community. Nevertheless, it is beyond doubt that the topics will include issues important for the everyday life of the people, such as electricity and telecommunications.

The issue of driving plates will also be discussed. However, I do not wish to predict any solution to it.

Are you optimistic about the outcome of the talks?

The beginning of the talks is optimistic, which is apparent from the statements by all three sides – the Albanians, Serbs and EU representatives. This indeed gives hope that compromise solutions will be reached in order to improve the lives of Serbs and all other residents in the province.

About the Pristina team’s stance that the talks are merely technical and not status-related:

Any issue that is put forward, starting from the seemingly simple ones to those more complex, is encumbered by the status issue. This is why it is inevitable to discuss the status which, as far as the Serbian side is concerned, has not yet been resolved, and without our consent there can be no lasting solution to it.

On recent arrests of persons accused of war crimes in Kosovo-Metohija, including a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army Fatmir Ljimaj:

I believe that we should commend EULEX on having finally started on tasks it was given a mandate for. It is good that investigation into crimes against Serbs has begun and I believe it is encouraging that all perpetrators will be processed and punished. Therefore, we will not stop demanding that perpetrators of the most hideous crimes against Kosovo Serbs be uncovered, starting from those who murdered the children in Gorazdevac, killed harvesters in Staro Gracko, mined a Nis-Express buss, to those who killed the Solic family from Obilic...

Investigation into Dick Marty’s allegations on human organ trafficking:

We will not let anyone cover up this issue or sweep it under the carpet and I am certain that the international community will not allow the accusations from Marty’s report to remain unprocessed. Therefore, I believe a special court body should be formed to deal with this case, especially bearing in mind that despite EULEX’s claims to the contrary, the EU mission does not have the necessary capacity to deal with this issue and investigate such serious crimes on its own. Apart from not having a mandate to act in Albania, the EU mission in Kosovo faces another obstacle, and that is witness protection.


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