MINELRES: RFE/RL Newsline on minority issues, August 9-13, 2004

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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 150, Part II, 9 August 2004

NATO ANNOUNCES NEW SECURITY SYSTEM FOR KOSOVA'S SERBIAN
SETTLEMENTS... KFOR spokesman Colonel Horst Pieper said in Prishtina
on 6 August that peacekeepers will soon introduce a new security
system for settlements of Kosova's Serbian minority, RFE/RL's South
Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. KFOR will post signs
outside those areas, saying the settlement is protected. Should a
tense situation arise, signs will go up announcing that the
settlement is off limits to outsiders; KFOR troops will have the
right to open fire on those who ignore the warning, Pieper said. He
said a recent survey shows that 83 percent of the local Serbs trust
KFOR, adding that NATO peacekeepers have a good working relationship
"based on trust" with the Serbian military across the border. PM

....AS DISPUTE OVER SERBIAN PARTICIPATION IN THE ELECTIONS CONTINUES
AMONG SERBS... Milan Ivanovic, who is a political leader of Kosova's
Serbian minority, said in Mitrovica on 6 August that there is
insufficient security for Serbs to enable them to participate in
Kosova's 23 October local elections, RFE/RL's South Slavic and
Albanian Languages Service reported. He argued that implementing the
Serbian government's plan for territorial autonomy is necessary to
ensure safety for Serbs, Hina reported. Rada Trajkovic, who is a
Serbian deputy in Kosova's parliament, said the UN Security Council,
which recently called on Serbs to vote on 23 October, should first
explain to Serbs why they do not enjoy freedom of movement in the
province. On 7 August, Nebojsa Covic, who is the Serbian government's
point man for Kosova and southern Serbia, said in Belgrade that
participation by Serbs on 23 October would be tantamount to
expressing satisfaction with the state of affairs in Kosova and with
the international community's policies that seem directed toward
obtaining independence for the province. PM

....AND ALBANIANS. In Prishtina on 6 August, a spokeswoman for
Kosova's government again dismissed the Serbian complaints as
politically motivated, saying that no preconditions are acceptable,
RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. She
recently argued that Serbs found nothing wrong with voting conditions
when they cast their ballots in the June Serbian presidential vote
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 and 30 July and 6 August 2004). Kosovar
officials and the UN have repeatedly rejected Belgrade's autonomy
proposal, which many Albanians regard as the first step toward an
ethnically based partition of the province (see "RFE/RL Balkan
Report," 16 April and 6 August 2004). PM

EU DEMANDS THAT TRANSDNIESTER RESTORE SCHOOLS STATUS QUO... In a
statement issued by the Dutch EU Presidency on 6 August, the European
Union insisted that Transdniester restore to their previous status
schools teaching Moldovan in the Latin script, Infotag reported. EU
candidate countries Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Turkey also
endorsed the declaration. The statement says it is imperative that
Transdniestrian authorities follow the Moldovan example and agree to
proposals made by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE) aimed at resolving the situation. The EU reiterates its
condemnation of the school closures as a serious infringement on
basic human rights and says it condemns the blocking by Transdniester
of rail links to and from Moldova and recent electricity cuts to
Moldovan villages. The statement says the EU is considering whether
to extend a travel ban imposed on the Transdniestrian separatist
leadership to other individuals responsible for the school closures
and weighing a dual control system for some categories of
Transdniestrian exports. The statement also confirms the EU's
readiness to participate in establishing more efficient controls at
the border between Moldova and Ukraine, calling on Ukraine to
cooperate in those controls. MS

....AND U.S. COOPERATES WITH EU FOR SIMILAR PURPOSE. U.S. Ambassador
to Romania Jack Dyer Crouch said in Cluj on 6 August that Washington
disapproves of the recent actions of the separatist authorities,
Mediafax reported. The Romanian news agency and Reuters quoted Crouch
as saying that Washington is in permanent contact with the EU and the
OSCE over the situation in Transdniester and is involved in the
process of seeking "an equitable solution" to the schools crisis. MS

TRANSDNIESTRIAN LOCAL AUTHORITIES ISSUE ULTIMATUM TO BENDERY-TIGHINA
LYCEUM. The Bendery-Tighina municipal authorities issued an ultimatum
to the local Alexandru cel Bun Lyceum on 6 August, demanding that it
register with Transdniestrian authorities and switch from teaching
Moldovan in the Latin script to teaching in Cyrillic, Infotag
reported. The municipal authorities said that unless the lyceum's
management complies by 15 August, the school will suffer the same
fate as the Eureka Lyceum in Ribnita, which was forced to close. 
Teachers, students, and parents have been maintaining a vigil inside the
lyceum since mid-July. MS


RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 152, Part II, 11 August 2004

SERBIAN COALITION WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN KOSOVA'S ELECTION. Leaders of
a three-party coalition representing Kosova's Serbian minority informed
election officials and representatives of the international community on
10 August that they will follow Belgrade's advice and not participate in
Kosova's 23 October parliamentary elections, RFE/RL's South Slavic and
Albanian Languages Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6, 9, and 10
August 2004, and "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 16 April and 6 August 2004).
Momcilo Trajkovic, who heads the Serbian Resistance Movement (SPOT),
which belongs to the coalition, said that he does not expect Belgrade to
change its position. Several leaders of the Serbian minority, backed by
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and some other Belgrade
politicians, have threatened in recent weeks to boycott the vote,
claiming that security is lacking. Ethnic Albanian leaders charge that
this is a ruse aimed at securing approval for ethnically based
administrative units. A government spokeswoman recently argued that the
Serbs had found nothing wrong with voting conditions when they cast
their ballots in the June Serbian presidential vote. Several
representatives of the international community have warned local Serbs
that they must participate in the elections if they want to help
determine their own future. PM
 
TRANSDNIESTER READY TO REOPEN MOLDOVAN SCHOOLS ON OWN TERMS. The
Transdniestrian "Education Ministry" said on 10 August that it is ready
to reopen the schools teaching Moldovan (Romanian) with Latin script
provided the schools use the separatist region's curriculum, Infotag
reported. "As a sovereign state, the Transdniestrian Moldovan Republic
is responsible for ensuring high-quality education, [while] observing
the students' rights and interests," the ministry said in a statement.
It also said the schools would have to register with the Transdniestrian
"Education Ministry" and to obtain licensing and accreditation in line
with Transdniester legislation. If these conditions are met, the
closed-down Moldovan schools would be able to resume teaching in time
for the coming school year, which starts on 1 September. Maria Robu,
director of the Bendery-Tighina Moldovan Lyceum, told journalists in
Tiraspol the conditions are unacceptable. "We cannot take our children
back to the previous century. The problem is not only that of the
Cyrillic script used in teaching Moldovan in Transdniester, but
primarily the fact that Transdniestrian schools use Soviet-era textbooks
dating back to the 1970s," she said. MS


RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 153, Part I, 12 August 2004

FIRST CASE OF RACIALLY MOTIVATED MURDER GOES TO COURT. The first-ever
trial in Russia on charges of ethnically motivated murder began in
Voronezh on 12 August, Interfax reported, citing Voronezh Oblast Judge
Nikolai Nikolaenko. Three local men aged 16 to 22 are charged with the
21 February murder of Amar Lima, an African student (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 25 February and 7 April 2004). Two of the three are believed
to be members of the nationalist organization Russian National Unity,
which has long been particularly active in Voronezh  Oblast. An unnamed
source at the oblast prosecutor's office told the news agency that
"racist literature" was found during searches of the residences of the
three suspects. If convicted, the three men could be sentenced to life
in prison. RC
 

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 153, Part II, 12 August 2004

MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS CONTROVERSIAL REDISTRICTING LAW. Late on 11
August, the Macedonian parliament approved the controversial Law on
Territorial Organization, which will cut the number of administrative
districts from 123 to 80 in 2005 and to 76 in 2008, MIA news agency
reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 and 26 July, and 6 August 2004, and
"RFE/RL Balkan Report," 2, 23, and 30 July 2004). The law is the
centerpiece of the government's plans to decentralize the state
administration by granting the local administration greater powers in
the spheres of regional and financial planning, education, and health
care. The decentralization was agreed upon in the 2001 Ohrid peace
accord, which ended the interethnic conflict between ethnic Albanian
rebels of the National Liberation Army (UCK) and Macedonian security
forces. Many ethnic Macedonians fear that the redistricting could lead
to the federalization of the country along ethnic lines. They consider
federalization tantamount to partition and hence totally unacceptable.
The conservative opposition Internal Macedonian Revolutionary
Organization (VMRO-DPMNE) and opposition Democratic Party of the
Albanians (PDSH) boycotted the parliamentary vote, Makfax news agency
reported. UB