Hope on the Balkans Kosov@ Crisis 2000
Joint statement of Serb opposition and Kosovo Serbs
Belgrade, January 19, 2000
Presidents of democratic opposition parties and representatives of the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija met on January 19, 2000. The meeting was organised by the Democratic Party of Serbia in the party offices. Participants in the opposition meeting unanimously adopted the following
1.The rallying of democratic parties and coalitions around a joint strategy for early democratic elections to be held at all levels in Serbia was greatly supported by the millions of Serbia's citizens and stirred up their hopes. This obliges us to persist in this struggle, and take a joint attitude towards regime's every move, including its announcement that it would schedule local elections only, in accordance with the new Law on Local Self-Government. All participants in the meeting have remained faithful to the stand that electoral conditions will be critical for making a decision on participation in the vote. Whatever that decision might be, it will be a consensual one.
2.Having endorsed the Law on Local Self-Government, the current regime excluded Kosovo from Serbia's legal system by postponing a local vote in Kosovo until the end of UNMIK's mandate. The participants of the meeting oppose the idea of separate elections to be held in Kosovo. Such elections would only legalize the exodus of Serbs and other non-Albanians from Kosovo. In Kosovo, like anywhere else, democratic elections are impossible unless terrorism and repression are eliminated and until all expellees and refugees are enabled to return to their homes or given given a possibility to decide on the fate of a community they were exiled from by casting their ballots in accordance with the OSCE rules. The participants will establish an expert group for Kosovo and Metohija, which would coordinate measures of effective support with Kosovo Serb representatives.
3.The participants unequivocally advocated that all our citizens living outside Yugoslavia should be given the right to vote, with proper and adequate control.
4.The participants have most decisively condemned further escalation of terrorism in Serbia and pressures on its judicial organs, which is the reason why crimes remained unsolved and culprits unpunished, a practice illustrated best by the crime on the Ibarska Magistrala highway. The participants also bitterly condemned the sabotage of the Studio B television's transmitter on the top of Mount Kosmaj, which made the TV channel invisible to two million citizens of Serbia. The participants also condemned the continuing assaults on the Studio B and other independent media, and warned the regime that such moves could provoke dangerous events for which it would have to assume sole responsibility.
5.Unlike the policy pursued by the authorities, the participants undertook to support transparent relations with the media, which have to be open to all political options. Full respect to the freedom of media, local ones in particular, will be sought in opposition-controlled communities. The participants also undertook that none of them, regardless of a level of power they may take, would influence the media's editorial policies. They reaffirmed their commitment to a new Law on Information to be adopted in collaboration with professional associations, the Independent Association of Journalists of Serbia in the first place.
6.The participants expect full support from non-governmental organizations, independent trade unions, university and student associations, expert teams and other organizations of citizens in the struggle for the early democratic polls at all levels, because such a vote is in common interest. At the same time, the opposition parties and coalitions have expressed their readiness to cooperate with anyone whose goal is a democratic Serbia.
7.The parties and coalitions whose representatives participated in the meeting will begin immediately with their joint public appearances and other actions throughout Serbia.
8.The participants have agreed that cooperation between the parties and coalitions that signed the Jan. 10 agreement should be carried out at regular meetings of their presidents or in some other way, about which the public will be informed accordingly. They have also agreed that only documents adopted by all can be presented as joint documents.
An agreement was made that the Alliance for Change should host the next meeting.
Source: Free Serbia
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