Thursday, October 29, 2009

Medvedev on Serbia-Russian Relations

Prior to his official visit to Serbia, President Dmitry Medvedev gave an interview to the Serbian newspaper Evening News.

Yahoo StumbleUpon Google Live Digg Reddit Mixx PropellerEvening News: The Serbian leadership is already calling your visit to Belgrade historic. You are the first Russian president to go to Serbia as an independent state. What do you view as important in your talks in Belgrade, and what prospects are there for the relations between the two countries?

Dmitry Medvedev: The upcoming visit to Belgrade is indeed very important for me. I count on further promoting our intergovernmental cooperation and improving brotherly relations between our peoples.

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This visit is timed to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Serbian capital from fascist occupiers. This is an event of huge significance, because it’s filled with our common historical memory and pride for the courage of our fathers and grandfathers who defeated fascism.

This is the first visit of a Russian president to Serbia after its return to the international arena as an independent, sovereign state. At the same time, we are not building our relations from scratch. We have accumulated very rich experience of cooperation, based on the centuries-old traditions and mutual sympathy of our peoples. We are united by similar goals and mutually pragmatic interests.

In our upcoming contacts we hope to be able to discuss, in detail, plans for the implementation of huge joint projects, including those in energy, transport, cultural, humanitarian, science and technology cooperation. In other words, we have serious work to be done, not only to fortify the foundations of cooperation through our joint efforts, but also to help realize its huge potential to a fuller extent.

E.N.: Russia’s leadership and people have lent efficient and sincere support to the Serbs in the past decades in their struggle for maintaining the integrity of their territory, Kosovo and Metohija. Both Belgrade and Moscow share the opinion that the struggle for preserving Kosovo should be done within international law. What prospects do you see for the Kosovo problem when the big Western powers are ignoring international law?

D.M.: Unfortunately, the past decade – which has critical in the story of settling the Kosovo problem – has seen many tragic mistakes made. Some of them were made deliberately as part of the plan of intruding into the international practice of unilateral relations.

Despite the efforts by the champions of Kosovo independence, it appears impossible to present it as an irreversible process and to close the case. We believe it’s crucial to prove, step by step, that there is an alternative to unlawfulness. Without Serbia’s final word, no one will argue that the Kosovo question is settled.

It is up to Belgrade to put forward an initiative and it is up to us to back it consistently. This approach – with adjustments, given that the problem is very complicated – has proven efficient.

E.N.: Not long ago you said in New York that the period of a unipolar world was over. Obviously, President Barack Obama does realize there should not be a single “master” in the world. However, this process is not promising to be either fast or easy. What do you think should be done to bring more justice to the world and make it so that less force will be used? Can a reformed UN regain the respect it lost in the world?

D.M.: No one calls into question the fact that the world is undergoing profound transformation. Quite a new geopolitical situation is being developed and defined by the emerging multipolarity, new points of economic growth and political influence.

It became obvious that the strategy of unilateral relations only destabilizes the international situation, provokes tension and an arms race and aggravates interstate differences, as well as brings about more tension in inter-civilization relations. International security and cooperation will no doubt only gain from our US partners’ becoming aware that one country’s domination is unacceptable – which is what Obama told the UN General Assembly.

Adaptating to the new reality will not be fast by any means. The important thing, though, is that the US administration is inclined toward multilateral diplomacy and is realizing the necessity of relying on the UN’s potential.

Such a unifying agenda is being formed in international relations on a wide range of issues, which is caused by global challenges common to all the states. They are seeking ways out of the world financial crisis, and ways to counteract the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and means of their delivery, and to fight international terrorism. This trend increases the significance of so-called network diplomacy and a multilateral mechanism to the secure involvement of all states into the global processes.

Today the need for the expanding authority of informal collective leadership, such as in the case of G20, is higher than it has even been before. Demand is also growing for the United Nations as a time-tested tool of balancing the interests of different nations in compliance with the international laws and regulations. The significance of the UN in addressing such global issues as overcoming the economic crisis and settling conflicts has by no means decreased. The UN Charter was in fact originally developed in view of a multi-centered world. Recent years have supplied us with abundant examples proving that bypassing the UN Charter and Security Council is not only inefficient in terms of problem solving, but in fact can expand the conflict zone.

Certainly, the changing world requires the United Nations as a global organization, together with all of its institutions, to adjust to the new reality. Yet we should bear in mind that UN reform (including the expansion of Security Council) is not an objective itself. Any reforms and changes should be targeted at increasing the UN’s efficiency and securing its central role in international affairs. Reform-related decision-making should be governed by the task of maintaining the unique international nature of this organization. Achieving this is conditional on obtaining as wide a consensus as possible among the member states on all aspects of reform.

E.N.: Russia’s success is always good news for the majority of Serbians. The progress is striking compared to the times of Boris Yeltsin’s rule. Yet you and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin believe that Russia should upgrade manufacturing plants and move away from relying on the proceeds from the export of raw materials. How do you plan to encourage upgrading the manufacturing facilities on the federal level? How realistic are your plans to have the manufacture output volumes dramatically increased and the volumes of import significantly decreased by 2020?

Today we are working on the transition from raw materials-oriented economics to economics relying on innovations, upgrading and technological progress. This should secure Russia the place it deserves in the modern world, the world of the 21st century.

D.M.: As much as the political, social and economic changes in the 1990s were painful and dramatic, they laid the groundwork for the market model of economic development in Russia. Throughout the following years, we pursued measures to strengthen the private property institution, encourage entrepreneurship, and improve the conditions for business activities and investments.

We have recently defined five key priorities which are being developed under direct presidential control. These priorities are the energy-saving and efficient energy use issues (which includes development of new types of fuel), nuclear technologies, pharmaceutical and medication production industry, cutting-edge information and software technologies, as well as outer-space development and telecommunications. I am chairing the relevant commission in charge, whose staff includes state officials, representatives of big and medium-sized business, prominent scientists and researchers, experts, and public representatives.

I’d like to add that we are alert to any incoming signals and feedback indicative of the necessity to introduce changes to institutional, tax, depreciation, and budget policies. And I think we are quite capable of achieving significant progress in terms of upgrading and modernization within the next 5 to 10 years.

E.N.: In many of your interviews you and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin admit quite honestly that you have achieved little results in fighting Russia’s biggest evil, corruption. What is the major obstacle in the way of eradicating bribery?

D.M.: It is well known that all states, even the most developed ones, face the problem of corruption, to a larger or smaller degree. In Russia, it is indeed a very acute problem. According to polls, over half of the country’s population considers corruption to be the major hurdle in the way of Russia’s economic advancement.

It may seem unexpected at first glance that one of the major difficulties in fighting corruption is technological underdevelopment. The state of things can be dramatically changed by building an informed society, and by increasing the quality and transparency of public services (many of which should be conducted in electronic format). Wide public access to information about the state institutions’ activities and minimizing the necessity of direct personal contact between a citizen and a public official will not let the “corruption links” build up. So it is not accidental that computerization of public affairs and economy, together with implementing the “electronic government” principles on all levels of power, are among our top priorities in drive for modernization.

Of course, it is by no means the only way of fighting corruption. The main measures are captured in our “National Anti-corruption Action Plan,” which primarily focuses on preventive measures. We have already developed the required legal framework using international best practices.

I am sure that all these measures will be successful, including those that we introduced recently – I mean controlling the income and property records of state officials.

The political will of the country’s leadership is quite clearly stated. Fighting corruption should not deteriorate into red tape or a fanatical campaign. The results cannot be achieved immediately, so the major thing for us is to follow consistently all the planned actions, not to give up and to promote intolerance to corruption in our society.

E.N.: When you were in the government, you were in charge of one of the most important issues of Russia’s future: demography. Before the beginning of the financial crisis there were a lot of ideas regarding birthrate stimulation plans, as well as fighting alcohol addiction. What are you going to do in the next years to resolve the problems, to prevent the situation in which many Russia’s regions will be deserted in several decades?

D.M.: Really, the problems of demography are among the most complicated for our country. The population increase ceased to grow at the beginning of the 1990s, and then the death rate began to exceed the birth rate.

Two years ago the Russian Federation adopted a demographic policy for the period up to 2025, including principles and priorities, as well as the main working guidelines in that sphere. Apart from birthrate stimulation and fighting alcohol addiction, which you’ve mentioned, there are also measures aimed at mortality reduction (including citizens of working age). Moreover, the concept provides for measures regulating the migration process.

This is a long-term document, well prepared and well thought. Our task is to follow its guidelines and fulfill all the previously made decisions; first and foremost, the social obligations taken by the state. And we are to do it in spite of the economic crisis and reduction of the budget income.

Just a year after the beginning of the demographic program’s implementation, we received the first results. The demographic results for the year 2007 reveal that in Russia, 1.6 million children were born, which is 8% more than in 2006. It was the highest rate since 1991.

The birth rate increase continued in 2008 and 2009. For the period of January-August of this year, the mortality has decreased by 4%, and the birth rate has grown by 3.6%. I admit, these rates are not very high so far, but they do demonstrate a positive trend. Today we are working on fixing it and developing the support system – first of all for young families.

Over a million young mothers yearly use “birth allowance certificates” to choose medical institutions which would provide the most qualified assistance. Unemployed mothers – about 1.2 million – started receiving allowance for baby care for children aged up to one and a half. The system of maternity (family) capital became a strong stimulus for birth rate growth. When the second child is born into a family, the boy or girl is eligible for an allowance that can be used for the child’s education, improvement of the living conditions, or it is possible to transfer the money to the cumulative part of the mother’s pension. All in all in 2007, about 1.5 million such certificates were issued.

An important practical solution was the implementation of the “Residential Property for Young Families” sub-program within the framework of the “National Residential Property Program for the Years 2002–2010.” Thanks to this sub-program, thousands of young families moved into new, modernized and comfortable apartments.

The following number speaks in support of the fact that we are on the right track: this August, the natural population increase has reached 1,000 people.

Our experience tells us that positive results are achieved when very specific and clear measures are undertaken. The key things here are consistency and a systematic approach, as well as alignment in actions of all levels of power.

E.N.: Recently you were very optimistic in one of your interviews about the possibility of reaching agreements with the Americans on missile defense and reduction of nuclear arms. Many Russian generals say that at present, significant reduction of nuclear potential is more beneficial for the US than for Russia, because the US is already testing new types of arms. According to your experts, how many nuclear warheads are necessary to provide undisturbed sleep for your citizens?

D.M.: Let’s proceed from the fact that unfortunately there is no treaty on missile defense with Americans so far. However, I gave a positive assessment of President Barack Obama’s decision to abandon the plan of strategic missile defense deployment on the territories of Poland and the Czech Republic.

As for the new American project of creating a global missile defene (including its European segment), here we will have detailed negotiations on the level of experts. We need to assess it from the point of view of Russia’s national security interests.

When we speak of nuclear disarmament, we assume that nuclear arms cannot be applied in practice. And we remember that its existence has been serving as a guarantee for strategic stability and security in the world for many decades. At present we think it necessary to keep the balance of forces with the US. On our part, we are geared to keep nuclear arms at the minimum level necessary to provide Russia’s and our allies’ national security.

We announced several times that we are ready to reduce the number of strategic offensive arms bearers more than threefold. At present, negotiations are held in Geneva to work out a new legally binding Russian-American treaty for reductions and limitation of strategic offensive arms, and to fix that level. We are doing the utmost to sign the corresponding document in December.

I am sure that resolving the issues of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament are among our mutual interests. That would be a strong factor for formation of a favorable international atmosphere.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Albanian Leading Push for UNESCO Renaming of Kosovo

Serb heritage in Kosovo renamed
Apr 23, 2009
Over thousand years of Serbian heritage in Kosovo has been deliberately renamed as “Kosovan” by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee who is, says Serbia, being pressured by Western powers to falsify history in order to support the claim that Kosovo is not the integral part of Serbia and that it must be independent.

“This scandalous and outrageous attempt of mistaken cultural identity has never before happened within this organization and we will not allow it to happen now,” Serbia’s foreign minister Vuk Jeremic told the reporters in Paris.

Certain countries, led by Albania, are leading an initiative for the Committee in Seville, Spain, to be held from 22-30 June, to re-register Serbian heritage as non-Serb.

“These are the holy objects not of Kosovo, but of the Serbian Orthodox Church,” Jeremic said.

Jeremic called on the international community, in particular UNESCO, to prevent attempts at re-writing the cultural history of that province.

“The Republic of Serbia, in a recent exchange of letters, signaled to UNESCO our commitment to the use of funds collected during and subsequent to the donors’ conference to the tune of 5.5 million dollars. This reaffirms the traditional, good faith partnership between UNESCO and the Republic of Serbia in the area of cultural heritage, to the benefit of all,” said Jeremic.

Jeremic warned that using culture and falsifying it in order to force Serbia to accept the illegal declaration of independence made by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian extremists does not bring the region closer.

“I fervently believe that only when we come to look at diversity as a source of strength only when we embrace the view that individual cultures genuinely prosper and progress when they come into contact with other cultures can we say that the tide has inexorably turned in favor of peace and a common sense of destiny,” Jeremic said.

UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to rule on the illegality of Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence proclaimed in 2008. Since 1999, Serbian heritage along with ethnic Serbs have been targeted for eradication by ethnic Albanian extremists in Kosovo.

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin has asked the international community not to repeat the mistakes made in mediating in the resolving of the conflict in Kosovo and Metohija.

“Unilateral solutions should not be enforced during mediation, and no cause should be given to suspect a mediator of being biased or inclined in favor of one of the sides,” Churkin said.

Jeremic said he could not imagine a 21st century in which an act of secession is left to the free will of ethnic communities which maintain that their human rights are treated in an unsatisfactory manner by the state in which they live.

“That would be a very unstable world. That is why I believe the Court will decide in favor of the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a sovereign democratic state,” Jeremic said.

No matter what the ICJ decides, says Jeremic, Serbia will never recognize Kosovo.

April 23, 2009

Tags: Kosovo

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pascha on Network Television

ABC Network to Air Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ
Apr 3, 2009

NEW YORK – The video presentation of “Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ,” a program highlighting Orthodox Christian Pascha, or Easter, will broadcast on ABC affiliates nationwide this month. The program, produced by Greek Orthodox Telecommunications and sponsored by FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, highlights Holy and Great Week, focusing on the deeply moving and ancient services that recount the Gospel narrative leading to the Death and Resurrection of Christ. Archbishop Demetrios of America leads a procession of the faithful around the church and outside where, following the reading of the Gospel of the Resurrection, they proclaim the joyous hymn “Christ is Risen!”

ABC Network has released broadcast dates and times, with additional coverage information to come in the coming week. Below you will find a listing (as of April 3) of ABC affiliates by state. Please check the listing for exact date, time and station. Please contact the Department of Communications if you need assistance.

You may also log on to or for a complete listing.

DVD copies of the program available for pre-sale ($25, plus $6 shipping). To pre-purchase please contact the Department of Communications at 212.774.0244 or email

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Church Ask That Quarrel Between Archbishop Artemije and Bishop Teodosije End

Serbia: Church calls for end to Kosovo monastery quarrel

Belgrade, 26 August (AKI) - The Serbian Orthodox Church on Tuesday called for a quarrel between two of its senior officials in Kosovo to cease, saying unity was vital at a moment when Serbs there were going through difficult times.

A Synod of all archbishops convened in Belgrade after hardline Kosovo archbishop Artemije dismissed bishop Teodosije, the head of the Kosovo monastery Visoki Decani last week.

The monastery's monks violently resisted Teodosije's dismissal, turfing Artemije's secretary, Simeon out of the monastery and reportedly injuring his foot in the process.

Artemije claimed Teodosije and his allies were undermining his position at the request of the United States and spreading lies about his alleged business ventures.

The archbishop is the staunchest opponent of Kosovo's independence, declared by majority ethnic Albanians in February. He would like Serbs to cut all cooperation with foreign and local officials in Kosovo.

The more moderate Teodosije, on the other hand, argues the the church should work with any authorities to ensure the protection of Kosovo's tiny Serb minority and its shrines.

But Belgrade daily Politika and some analysts said that behind the quarrel was actually a power struggle for the successor to ailing patriarch Pavle, who has been hospitalised since last November.

Artemije and rival archbishop Amfilohije have emerged as the main candidates to take over the spiritual leadership from Pavle of some eight million Orthodox Serbs.

After a four-hour meeting, the Synod said: “The key decisions on this and other urgent matters will by taken by the highest Church body, the Holy Church Assembly in a foreseeable period of time."

It pleaded for the Kosovo quarrel to stop in the meantime.

Some reports have however quoted unnamed church sources as saying Artemije is seeking to retain control over the lucrative business of the reconstruction of Serb shrines in Kosovo.

A large work amound of the work was carried out by a Belgrade-based firm under his control, the sources said.

Kosovo independence was recognised by the United States and over 40 countries including most other western powers.

But Belgrade continues to oppose the move and to wage a diplomatic battle to retain Kosovo.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

There Goes Kosovo

January 31, 2008There Goes Kosovo
January 31, 2008.Source: The American Spectator
There Goes Kosovo
By Doug Bandow

Kosovo is preparing to declare independence with American support. Although the Bush administration apparently expects nothing much to happen, the process is likely to be both divisive and destabilizing.
Relations among Europe, Russia, and America could sour. Serbian politics may lurch further to the nationalist right; the Radical Party's Tomislav Nikolic led the first voting round for president Sunday before last. Another Balkans war is possible, though thankfully unlikely.
Friends of Kosovo's independence argue that stability isn't everything. The U.S. has no intrinsic interest in Kosovo's status and would be best served to stay out of it, but that ship sailed long ago.
Washington spent most of the 1990s working overtime to break up Serb-dominated Yugoslavia while forcing ethnic Serbs to remain in the newly independent states. The new countries Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Slovenia were allowed to form, but Serbs locked in Bosnia and Croatia, in particular, were expected to cheerfully accept their fate.
The U.S. applied the same policy to Kosovo, a constituent part of Serbia. In 1999 Washington led NATO in a military campaign to aid the ethnic Albanian forces, eliminating Serb authority over the territory.
The Bush administration has built on the Clinton administration's policy. After presiding over unproductive faux "negotiations" predicated on Kosovo's ultimate independence, the administration now plans to recognize the new nation even if it fails to win United Nations approval.
Of course, Washington insists that all ethnic Serbs living in Kosovo must remain in the new state. As before, secession from Serbs is okay, but secession by Serbs is prohibited. Sound fair?
GRANTED, SORTING THROUGH the conflicting claims involving Kosovo ain't easy. Once Serbian heartland, it hosts the site of the Battle of the Blackbirds, where the Serbs lost to the Ottomans in 1389 (the loss probably shaped Serbian consciousness more than would have a victory -- such is the way of the Balkans).
Over time the population shifted to an ethnic Albanian majority, in part due to Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito's efforts to dampen Serbian nationalism in the multi-ethnic communist state.
In the 1980s it was Serbians who complained of misconduct by the ethnic-Albanian majority in Kosovo. In 1982, the New York Times reported on "almost weekly incidents of rape, arson, pillage and industrial sabotage, most seemingly designed to drive Kosovo's remaining indigenous Slavs--Serbs and Montenegrins -- out of the province."
That all changed after Slobodan Milosevic used an appearance in Kosovo in 1987 to ignite Serb nationalism and leapfrog into national leadership. With his rise, Belgrade reasserted Serb control over Kosovo.
When Yugoslavia broke up, the secession of Bosnia and Croatia produced particularly gruesome conflicts, since both of those provinces contained many ethnic Serbs who wished to remain independent if not in Serbia.
Although ethnic Serbs may have been responsible for the bulk of atrocities, Bosniacs and Croats also freely murdered Serbs and each other. The largest single episode of ethnic cleansing prior to the Kosovo war was conducted against ethnic Serbs in Croatia's Krajina region, where the battle damage remained evident for years. Most of Krajina's ethnic Serb residents have yet to return.
Serb-Albanian relations in Kosovo also deteriorated as the 1990s proceeded. Serb rule was heavy-handed; Albanians, who made up the vast majority of the population, created alternative government and social institutions; the Kosovo Liberation Army (labeled a "terrorist" group by the U.S.) began attacking Serb officials and Albanian "collaborators"; the Serbian government responded brutally; fighting expanded and casualties increased.
EVEN AS 1999 dawned, the war, though tragic, was minor as ethnic and sectarian conflicts go, costing perhaps two thousand lives over a couple of years. About the same time a quarter of a million people were slaughtered in Sierra Leone. But the Clinton administration, led by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, decided to go to war against Serbia, and American bombers forced a quick surrender.
Since 1999 the territory has been run by the UN and NATO, more or less. After the allied victory ethnic Albanians kicked out 200,000 or more Serbs and other minorities, such as Roma. Kosovo's guerrillas took over as leaders -- of both the political system and abundant criminal enterprises. Three years ago ethnic Albanian mobs arose to murder and displace ethnic Serbs, and to burn and wreck Serb homes, churches, and monasteries.
Perhaps it's no surprise, then, the U.S. and Europeans want to be done with the mess that they helped to created. Desultory negotiations over Kosovo's status occurred over the last two years, but the outcome was never in doubt. The allies made clear to the ethnic Albanians that independence would result if no accord was reached, so no accord was reached.
The Serbs refused to be bought off with the promise of European Union membership and the Russians said no to another Western fait accompli. So now Kosovo plans to declare independence, perhaps in days, and the U.S. and most Europeans say they will recognize the new state.
The most sensible policy for Washington would be to step back and indicate that there will be no recognition without genuine negotiations, that is, talks without a predetermined outcome, between Kosovo and Serbia.
On the table should be all options, including overlapping citizenships (Kosovo, Serb, EU), and secession within secession, that is, allowing the ethnic Serbs concentrated to Kosovo's north, principally around Mitrovica, to remain in Serbia.
THE U.S. SHOULD halt the independence bandwagon, though not because Washington has an intrinsic reason for objecting to Kosovo becoming a separate nation. In principle the status of this particular piece of real estate should not matter much to America. Whether the ethnic Albanians or Serbs rule in Pristina is intrinsically irrelevant to U.S. interests.
However, Washington has spent more than a decade unbalancing the Balkans. By accelerating the break-up of Yugoslavia with the early recognition of Slovenian and Croatian independence, the allies short-circuited negotiations, most importantly over the status of minorities within the breakaway states. U.S. diplomats also discouraged early settlement of the Bosnian conflict, further bloodying allied hands.
Washington and Brussels have done the same in Kosovo. Starting in 1998 the allies took the side of the ethnic Albanians, encouraging their intransigence in ensuing negotiations. Maybe a peaceful outcome was never possible. We will never know because of U.S. and European intervention.
After the 1999 Kosovo war, the allies essentially promised the ethnic Albanians independence and dismissed any compromise, such as allowing ethnic Serbs to secede from Kosovo. All the while the West blamed Belgrade for refusing to accept the ethnic Albanian position. Now those same allies are greenlighting a declaration of independence by Pristina.
The outcome of this strategy is not likely to be pretty. There will be a new, violent, and unstable state, permeated by crime and possibly open to terrorists, in the Balkans.
This will push Serbia away from Europe, conceivably leaving a large economic and political hole in the Balkans. The allied approval of Albanian self-determination will encourage other secessionist movements in the Balkans and elsewhere as ethnic and political minorities demand the same "right" of independence. Western dismissal of Russia's interests will make Moscow more antagonistic and assertive. Failure to resolve the status of Serbs within Kosovo risks triggering conflict between ethnic Albanians and Serbs, and possibly Kosovo and Serbia.
Nice work all around.
Washington still has time to say no and mitigate some of the consequences of its past meddling in the Balkans. But, at this point, the odds aren't good.
Doug Bandow is the Robert A. Taft Fellow at the American Conservative Defense Alliance. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is the author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire (Xulon Press).
Relics of St. Tsar Lazar
Please call Pres. Bush 202 456 1111
tty 202 456 6218 (for the deaf).
Secretary Condoleeza Rice 202 647 4000
Personal Assistant Laura Lineberry 202 647 9572
Regional Director Europe/Eurasia Dan Roseblum 202 647 5222
Please tell them that you do not support the United States endorsement and recognition of Kosovo as an Independent State.
Also if any of you are fans of Michael Bolton who happens to be cousin to John Bolton, please call him and ask him to, if he supports John Boltons stance on Kosovo-support our cause. IF we organize a protest--the people like Bolton who supports us will come.
IN Christ,

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Diplomat Forced to Quit Upon Being Exposed that Orders Were Being Received for U.S. Government--Christian Phobia in Europe

EU BUSINESS (UK)Slovenian diplomat quits after report of US meddling in EU presidency29 January 2008, 19:33 CET(LJUBLJANA) - The Slovenian foreign ministry announced the resignation of atop Slovenian diplomat Tuesday who press reports claimed had taken ordersfrom the United States about Slovenia's EU presidency.The Foreign Ministry announced on its website that political director MitjaDrobnic had resigned and would be replaced by state secretary MatjazSinkovec during Slovenia's six-month term as EU president.Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel "has accepted the resignation of politicaldirector Mitja Drobnic", the ministry said in a statement.The resignation comes after a report in the daily newspaper Dnevnik lastweek which said that Slovenia had been taking orders from the US.According to the newspaper, which quoted an internal foreign ministryreport, Drobnic had met in December with US Assistant Secretary of StateDaniel Fried, who allegedly suggested to the Slovenian side what theirpriorities should be during the EU presidency.Fried encouraged Slovenia to be among the first to recognise theindependence of the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo, the newspaperclaimed.Fried had also reportedly told Drobnic that there was "no need to worry"about the recognition of Kosovo's independence by all EU members, but thatthe most important thing was for an EU mission of police and lawyers to besent to the province "despite critical positions of Russia and Serbia," thenewspaper said.Following 18 months of failed negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina,the majority ethnic Albanian province has vowed to declare independence.The United Nations has run Kosovo since 1999, when a NATO bombing campaigndrove out Belgrade's forces waging a crackdown on independence-seekingethnic Albanians who make up 90 percent of the population.Foreign Minister Rupel has not so far denied the existence of the internalreport, nor its content, but said earlier this week that an investigationhad been launched to find the source of the leak.In view of the leak, "we are having some difficulties with ourinterlocutors, especially from the US," Rupel told Slovenian statetelevision late Monday.Slovenia, a former Yugoslav state that declared independence in 1991, is thefirst new EU member to take over the EU presidency and it has made Kosovoone of its priorities during its six-month term.

Institute on Religion and Public Policy News Update

JANUARY 29, 2008
JANUARY 29, 2008
Russian bishop concerned about Christianophobia in Europe

Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in European international organizations, has drawn the attention of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to the increase in the crime against Christians in Europe."We often hear about anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and very little is said about Christianophobia, which is gaining strength in many European countries," Bishop Hilarion said during a meeting between Barosso and representatives of the Orthodox Churches to the European Union.Among the forms of Christianophobia in Europe, Bishop Hilarion mentioned the removal of Christian symbols from the public sphere, the denigration of Christianity and refusal to recognize the Christian heritage of Europe, the persecution of people who openly express Christian convictions and who choose to live according to Christian moral standards."Mentioning the recent discussion of the matter in the British parliament, Bishop Hilarion called for a similar discussion in European international organizations and called on representatives of the European churches to take part in it.He also informed the European Commission president on the recent initiatives by the Russian Orthodox Church regarding the human rights debate.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Serbia's Choice

January 26, 2008.Source: Chronicles

Serbia's Choice

by Srdja Trifkovic

The political consequences of the first round of presidential election in Serbia, held on January 20, are significant, and they will remain that significance regardless of the outcome of the second round on February 3. President Boris Tadic lost the first round last Sunday to Tomislav Nikolic of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) by almost five percentage points and is fighting an uphill battle to retain the presidency.
The voters have given overwhelming support-over 55 percent-to the candidates who are adamant that there can be no compromise over Serbia's fundamental position on Kosovo. Those three candidates, Tomislav Nikolic (the Radical Party, SRS), Velimir Ilic (Our Serbia, NS) and Milutin Mrkonjic (the Socialist Party, SPS), say that there can be no compromize over the status of Kosovo in exchange for some vague promise of Serbia's eventual "European integration."
It appears that Boris Tadic and his followers have badly overestimated the President's popularity. They may have mecome the victims of their own peopaganda, which is easier to understand in view of the fact that all the mainstream print and electronic media in Serbia-which are either financed or owned Western corporations, governments and quasi-NGOs-are openly pro-Tadic. Such unfounded self-confidence had prompted the pro-Western camp to force this election prematurely, and without any regard for the views of their coalition partners, the Democratic Party of Serbia of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. Accordingly, on December 12 of last year Speaker of the Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Oliver Dulic-a ranking official of Tadic's Democratic Party (DS)-called an early presidential election for January 20.
This decision was made with prior approval of Brussels and Washington but, let us emphasize, without any previous consultation with Prime Minister Kostunica. He and the DSS were opposed to the poll, arguing that it was highly inappropriate to call an early presidential election at a time when the threat of unilateral secession of Kosovo is real and ought to take precedence over domestic political squabbles. The turmoil of an election campaign, it was argued from Kostunica's camp, could threaten unity of the country and the coherence of the shaky ruling coalition at a vulnerable moment.
The result of the first round makes Kostunica's position decisive for the outcome of the second. The Prime Minister set his terms on January 23, when he asked Tadic to formally commit himself not to sign the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union if the EU decides to dispatch a civilian administrative and police mission to Kosovo-a key move that is viewed as an implicit go-ahead for independence. Kostunica favors a resolution stating that the EU mission would violate UN resolution 1244 as well as the Serbian Constitution, which would mean that the EU has voluntarily cancelled the agreement initialled last November.
Tadic would be loath to accept such terms, because he claims that the association process should proceed regardless of the Kosovo issue. On the other hand, without Kostunica's endorsement he will find it haerd to garner an additional 15 percent of votes necessary for victory. In other words, things are becoming uncomfortably complicated for Tadic. He and his supporters had wanted this election to be held as early as possible because they feared that the unilateral proclamation of Kosovo's independence (UDI)-which is certain to be be supported by most key Western powers-would fuel Serbian anger and work to the detriment of "pro-Western, moderate reformists." The timing of the election was accordingly chosen by the European Union (EU), the United States, and the leaders of the DS, as a means of getting Tadic re-elected before the unilateral declaration of independence in Pristina.
In this manner Serbia has been subjected to the repetition of a sordid scenario we have witnessed just over a year ago. Last January the unveiling of the Ahtisaari plan was deliberately postponed by a month, so that the Serbian parliamentary election could be held on January 21st before its terms were known. At that time the ruse had the same objective as today: to help Tadic by not burdening his party with the mortgage of Ahtisaari's disastrous plan supported by all major Western powers.
Both then and today, Tadic's rhetoric promised the squaring of the circle: saving Kosovo on the one hand, but getting ever closer to Europe on the other. This is palpably an impossibility. All key Western leaders have stated, in one form or another, that Serbia would have to chose between retaining its claim on Kosovo and getting closer to the EU. Such statements have come from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his predecessor Tony Blair, from French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and a veritable array of American bureaucrats.
Most Serbs are not a priori Euro-skeptics. A Gallup Poll conducted a year ago shows that, generally speaking, the majority looked favourably on the EU. Thdere is a catch, however: an even greater majority is adamant that Kosovo is an inalienable part of Serbia. In subsequent polls, most Serbs have said that they would not give up the title to Kosovo in return for the accelerated prospect of EU membership. Furthermore, in the same Gallup poll, they said they viewed Russia-which has said it would veto a Western-backed UN Security Council plan for Kosovo's statehood-even more positively than the EU: 63 percent of those polled approved of Russia's leadership.
On January 20, Serbia responded to this Euro-dilemma with greater clarity and decisiveness than Tadic and his sponsors had ever expected. Over 55 percent of Serbia's voters supported three candidates (Tomislav Nikolic, vise-president of the Radical Party; Velimir-Velja Ilic who leads "Our Serbia," a DSS coalition partner; and Milutin Mrkonjic of the Socialist Party) who are uncopromizing in their rejection of any "deal" with the West over Kosovo. The voters' message was clear: if Serbia is forced by the West to choose between preserving the title to Kosovo and joining "Europe" on Western terms-which evidently demands the amputation of Kosovo-Serbia will opt for the former. If the EU sends the illegal mission to Kosovo-and it is almost certain that this will happen shortly after the second round-that would be a clear sign for Serbia that time has come to say that further aspirations to the membership of the EU are not only futile but so demeaning and degrading.
The tables have been turned: it is now up to Washington and Brussels to choose between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians. Do they wants an illegally constituted Kosovo that is going to be a black hole of jihad-terrorism, ethnic cleansing, unprecedented corruption, institutionalized criminality, drug peddling and white slave trading? Or do they want a solid partnership with Serbia-the key country in the Western Balkans and a civilized country, which the Albanian controlled Kosovo never will be-on the basis of the recognition of her territorial integrity?.
In the run-up to the second round on February 3 the media in Belgrade, which is overwhelmingly pro-Tadic, will exert massive pressure on the Serbs by invoking the ghosts of sanctions and economic collapse, if not yet another war, if Nikolic is successful. They will insist that Tadic's defeat would mean further isolation. But before making their choice the Serbs will look at the outside world and see what the supporters of Kosovo's independence abroad are hoping for, who do they want to win in Serbia. The supporters of Kosovo's independence want Boris Tadic to be the winner on February 3 because they see in him the embodiment of the kind of "pro-Western reformist" now prevalent all over post-Communist Eastern Europe. They are pleased that Tadic keeps repeating-strictly for the domestic consumption-all the right patriotic platitudes, without believing them for one moment. While parroting "Serbian" rhetoric for the popular consumption, Tadic & Co. are sending messages to Brussels and Washington, sotto voce, that when the time comes they will be cooperative and do what needs to be done. Tadic and his protégé, Serbia's current foreign minister, have been winking and nudging to their Western interlocutors throughout the Kosovo negotiating process. If Tadic can appoint a man of so uncertain personal loyalty and so dubious moral qualities such as Vuk Jeremic to the post of Serbia's foreign minister, he is not to be trusted on any other front.
By re-electing Boris Tadic the Serbian voters would provide the supporters of Kosovo independence with the sure signal that Serbia is effectively reconciled to the amputation of the Province, and resigned to the endless continuation of never-to-be-completed "European integrations" that will always entail new conditions to be met, ever higher prices to be paid, and ever more brazen blackmails.
In the second round of the Serbian election the name of the eventual winner is perhaps less significant than the fact that the nation has displayed a remarkable level of unity and spontaneous determination. Whoever wins, he will have to take account of the fact that a small yet proud Balkan nation has had enough humiliation and that it will bend no more to either Washington or Brussels.