Provisional Government of Kosova and Kosovar Serb Leaders Seek End To Violence

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Date: Sun, 4 Jul 1999 10:47:08 +0300 (EET DST)
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Subject: Provisional Government of Kosova and Kosovar Serb Leaders Seek End To Violence

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Provisional Government of Kosova and Kosovar Serb Leaders
Seek End To Violence

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Provisional Government of Kosova and Kosovar Serb Leaders Seek End To
Updated 2:39 PM ET July 2, 1999
By Michael Roddy

PRISHTINA, Kosova (Reuters) - Kosovar Albanian and Serb leaders
negotiating for the first time since the end of NATO bombing of
Yugoslavia issued a joint appeal Friday for an end to escalating
violence in Kosova.
"We urge all Kosova inhabitants, whether of civilian or military
status, to refrain and to actively discourage others from any acts of
violence against their neighbors," the statement said. "Such actions
are unacceptable... those responsible will be brought to justice."
The statement, signed by leaders of an Albanian rebel-led interim
provisional government, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Kosova
Serb opposition Democratic Movement, also strongly condemned Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic.
"Both sides condemn the crimes of the Milosevic regime in Kosova," the
statement said, adding that there was no such thing as a natural
hatred between the peoples of Kosova.
The statement came as the result of what the United Nations special
representative to Kosova, Sergio Vieira de Mello, said was an
"extraordinary and emergency meeting" that he called to bring the two
sides together to address the continuing arson, murder and harassment
in the turbulent southern Serbian province.
After talks lasting some seven hours - five more than expected - the
two sides agreed on a joint text which Vieira de Mello said would be
aired on local radio and Albanian television "repeatedly" to try to
scale down the violence.
Some of the flood of returning ethnic Albanian refugees have found
friends and relatives murdered and their houses and businesses burned.
Serbs have either left the province or are trying to carve out
The statement also said that the identities of prisoners who had been
transferred to jails outside Kosova should be made public immediately
and the prisoners should be returned to Kosova.
Ethnic Albanians fear that an estimated 3,000 of the province's men
arrested during the 11-week NATO bombing and believed to be held in
Serbia could be subject to torture or be killed.
In addition, the statement called for an end to the exodus of Serbs
and Montenegrins, thousands of whom have left fearing revenge attacks
by ethnic Albanians, saying: "Peace can only be built on justice, not
on revenge."

Archbishop Artemije, one of the signatories for the church, said the
talks had taken longer than expected because of the upheaval in Kosova
during the bombing.
"After everything that happened in Kosova, especially in the last
three months, and with what is going on now it was not quite easy to
reach a common text," Artemije said.
Hashim Thaqi, a Kosova Liberation Army (KLA) leader who is now the
prime minister of a KLA-dominated provisional government, said the
statement had sought to focus on Kosova's future and not to dwell on
the crimes of the past.
"Today we did not deal very much with the past, as you can see we
spoke more about the present and the future," he said.
"The fact itself that the regime of Milosevic is condemned by the
people of Kosova, not only by Albanians, says quite a lot about this
declaration," Thaqi said.

"And this means that he not only killed Albanians but he also brought
crimes and genocide against other people. Let us see that more than
80,000 Serbian people have left Kosova not under pressure of Albanians
but from the fear that has been created by Milosevic."

Thaqi, responding to questions after the meeting, said he thought
there could be a place for Serbs in Kosova, though ethnic Albanians
made up 90 percent of the population before the bombing and the Serb
authority in the province has been largely dismantled.
"Albanians and Serbs have always lived together in Kosova," he said.
"They knew how to live together and they will know how to live again.
They will have a prosperous future in Kosova but of course they will
have to have an internal democratization, to fight revenge and
hostilities and to come together and live together.
"This is the future of both Albanians and Serbs who live together in
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