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Montenegro and Kosovo are two different issues, says Tadic

SKOPJE, June 29, 2006 (BETA) - Serbian President Boris Tadic stated in Skopje on June 28 that he was against the organizing of an independence referendum in Kosovo, like in Montenegro.

"Montenegro was a republic of the former Yugoslavia and had the right to define its status through the free expression of the will of its citizens. However, Kosovo is a different matter, because it used to be an autonomous province and is subject to different principles. A referendum about its status would work against stability in the region," Tadic stated.

Tadic, who paid a one-day visit to Skopje, pointed out that it was in the interest of the entire region for Kosovo to remain a part of Serbia. "Serbia can in no way have the same stand toward a possible independent Kosovo and toward other states that have emerged from the former Yugoslavia," the Serbian president said.

Tadic told reporters that Serbia's official stand is that it is against independence for the province of Kosovo and Metohija. "We are against an independent Kosovo because we believe it would jeopardize regional stability. We want a lasting solution which would contribute to the development of the region," Tadic said.

Sejdiu satisfied with Albania's support

PRISTINA, June 29 2006 (KosovaLive) - Kosovo's President Fatmir Sejdiu said an Wednesday upon his arrival in Pristina that he is extremely satisfied with the overall support of Albania.

Sejdiu, who was in a two-day visit to Albania, said that he and Albanian officials have inaugurated a facility at Shengjini Port.

Albanian gave on use the port to Kosovo, and the President described it of great significance. The President also said that Albania is committed to help the developments in Kosovo.

Independent Kosovo would mean acceptance of human rights' violation

LONDON, June 28, 2006 (BETA) - To grant independence to Kosovo would mean to accept the mass violation of human rights and of ethnic cleansing, as legitimate rights for obtaining independence, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said in London on June 27.

Holding a lecture at the Royal Institute for Defense and Security, Kostunica said Serbia would "most certainly not recognize an imposed solution and the independence of Kosovo and Metohija, and this act would be declared null and void, in accordance with the resolution of the Serbian Parliament, which would be supported by a huge majority of the citizens in Serbia."

He stated that negotiations on the status of Kosovo were not going in a good direction and that there has been no progress in the field of decentralization because of "complete absence of flexibility of the Albanian side." He warned about the danger of the changing of borders, which he compared with opening Pandora's box, which would "imminently happen if the Albanians' exclusive demands for independence are followed during the finding of a solution."

Ceku: Kostunica comes as ordinary citizen

PRISTINA, June 28, 2006 (KosovaLive) - Serbia's Prime Minster comes in Kosovo as an ordinary citizen of Serbia to attend a religious ceremony but he will not be able to provoke the security situation, Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku said.

Ceku said that his Serbian counterpart has asked for UNMIK permission to participate in an orthodox religious ceremony, whereas Kosovar institutions do not have powers to stop or allow his visit..

"The request has been addressed to UNMIK and international administration has allowed this visit. We neither had power to allow his visit not to block it, but all what we can say is that Kostunica arrives in Kosovo in a private visit, in a religious ceremony," said Ceku.

Ceku: There is no reason to dismiss any of ministers

PRISTINA, June 28, 2006 (KosovaLive) - Kosovo's Prime Minister Agim Ceku declared on Tuesday that he is not going to dismiss any of the ministers of his cabinet.

Ceku said that it was noticed that the ministers were committed to their work.

But Ceku's Government faced with a numerous accusations of corruption and mismanagement.

When taking over the Government, Ceku said that after 100 days they will analyze the work of every minister, and will remove all those who will not produce results.

"I do not see that any minister has abused the office or has not contributed to the Government success , and for the time being I do not see any reason to change anyone," he said.

Popovic in Pristina discusses privatization of Trepca mining complex

BELGRADE, June 28, 2006 (BETA) - During a meeting with representatives of the Kosovo Trust Agency on June 27, the chief of Serbia's economic team for Kosovo and Metohija, Nenad Popovic, fiercely condemned attempts to privatize the Trepca mining complex under conditions that are unfavorable for the Serb side.

During the talks in Pristina with the general director of the Kosovo Trust Agency, Jasper Dick, and his deputies for socially owned and public enterprises, Ahmet Shala and Illir Sallihu, Popovic said the Serbs have been allowed the right of only half of a vote in newly formed company boards.

The economic team's information service stated that Popovic recollected the stand of the World Bank, that one should wait for the solving of the future status of the province before large systems, such as Trepca, the Kosovo Energy Corporation and the Inex ski resort of Brezovica, are privatized.

Speaking about the privatization of the Kosovo Energy Corporation, Popovic condemned the attempt of bringing in non-affirmed foreign investors through the back door via qualification tenders, and called for the return of 8,000 Serbs to their jobs.

Vetevendosje says it will block entrance of Kostunica in Merdare

PRISTINA, June 28, 2006 (KosovaLive) - Vetevendosje Movement said that they were going to block Kostunica's arrival at Merdare border crossing point.

Glauk Konjufca, a Movement member said that this is one of the most provoking scenarios since 1999. "But we are determined not to allow that and we will use vehicles to block his entrance at the border crossing point at Podujevo."

Vetevendosje has also called other organizations to join them in blocking the entrance Konjufca said that many of them responded positively.

Konjufca accused the institutions of Kosovo of keeping silent. "Haziri and Ceku implies a yes answer, whereas President Sejdiu purposefully is visiting Albania those days," he said.

Patriarch Pavle holds liturgy in Gracanica Monastery

BELGRADE, June 28, 2006 (BETA) - Serbian Patriarch Pavle served holy liturgy in the Gracanica Monastery in Kosovo in the morning of June 28, dedicated to the Orthodox Christian holiday of St. Vitus' Day.

Patriarch Pavle then conducted a memorial service for the Kosovo Serb heroes of the battle at Gazimestan, where the Serb and the Turk army fought in 1389.

Although it has been announced earlier, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica did not attend the liturgy in Gracanica.

Electronic media in Pristina reported that activists of the Self-Determination movement blocked roads at administrative border crossings in Merdare and Bele Vode, near Kamenica, thus preventing Kostunica from entering Kosovo.

On June 26, UNMIK allowed Kostunica's visit to Kosovo on St. Vitus Day, explaining that the visit was religious in character and that they hoped it would remain within that scope.

Several hundred believers attended the liturgy in the Gracanica Monastery.

Kostunica conveys Belgrade's stands on Kosovo to Blair

LONDON, June 28, 2006 (BETA) - Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica stated on June 27, after his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, that Serbia was advocating a compromise solution for Kosovo, but that it was not prepared to accept "an imposed compromise."

"An imposed compromise is not a compromise and Serbia cannot accept it," Kostunica said at a news conference in London. He told reporters that he informed Blair about Belgrade's proposal, which envisaged "fundamental autonomy" for Kosovo.

Kostunica said the autonomy offered by Serbia would be at a higher level than all other autonomies in Europe, with the preservation of rights of the Serb minority. According to the media, the Serbian prime minister pointed out that a solution for Kosovo had to be found that would be acceptable for both Belgrade and Pristina.

Kostunica said the British prime minister "showed interest" for helping Serbia in the re-opening of negotiations with the European Union, but that this envisaged full cooperation with the Hague tribunal.

Contact Group: Kosovo near fulfillment of 13 points

PRISTINA, June 28, 2006 (KosovaLive) - The representatives of the Contact Group accredited in Pristina said on Tuesday that the Government and Kosovar institutions are very near to fulfillment of 13 points it has laid out recently.

The Head of German Office in Pristina Eugen Wollfarth offered further support to the Prime Minister Agim €eku, and said that the 13 points are very close to be fulfilled.

"They are near fulfillment, but even though the progress is large, the last centimeters are usually the most difficult ones. We wish you good luck and the Prime Minister knows that he enjoys our support. Still, restoring of interethnic confidence is a long effort, but I am confident that it will be reached," Wolfarth said.

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Speech by Don Shan Zefi, Chancellor

Opening of Interfaith Conference on Peaceful Coexistence and Dialogue
Monastery of Pec Patriarchate
Peja / Pec, May 2 - 3, 2006

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