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Surprise campaign visit to Kosovo

GRACANICA, Thursday - The secretary-general of the Socialist Party of Serbia, Gorica Gajevic, yesterday visited Kosovo, where she announced that the elections in Yugoslavia scheduled for September 24 would be held at 500 polling places in the province as well. "Federal parliamentary and presidential elections will be held in Serb enclaves in Kosovo, wherever it is possible," said Gajevic to a crowd of several hundred.

She promised that the Serbian authorities would build 200 houses for Kosovo Serbs who returned to the province. Associated Press reports that several hundred Serbs greeted Gajevic, cheering "Sloba, Sloba". Some carried posters of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Gajevic told the crowd that the victory of Slobodan Milosevic in the coming federal elections was "the only chance for peace and freedom in Kosovo, Serbia and Yugoslavia".

According to reports, the visit of Gorica Gajevic took moderate Serbs in Kosovo as much by surprise as it did UN officials.

London daily The Guardian today described the powerful Gajevic's visit to Kosovo as signalling Belgrade's intention to make the province an election issue and to exploit the province's ambiguous status for propaganda

The surprise visit had thrown down the gauntlet to the international community, wrote the paper, quoting a statement by UNMIK chief Bernard Kouchner that it was out of the question to hold elections in Serb enclaves.

The daily also writes that the Yugoslav army's new Kosovo unit, currently based in south Serbia, will be on manoeuvres tomorrow. It quotes Belgrade analyst Bratislav Grubacic as predicting that state media would cover the manoeuvres and probably announce that the unit was returning to Kosovo. "Elections for Serbs in Kosovo could be fertile ground for voting fraud," The Guardian quotes Grubacic as saying.

Source: B92

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