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Belgrade Media Monitoring

Compilation from Belgrade daily newspapers, prepared by editorial staff of the Voice of Kosovo and Metohia

August 14, 2000

  • KFOR troops seize Kosovo lead smelter
  • KFOR seized lead smelting plant in Zvecan
  • Trepca seizure “will force Serbs out of Mitrovica”
  • Serbs resist mine seizure
  • Serb National Council warned of Trepca seizure
  • Lead pollution claim political: Kosovo Serb doctor
  • Kosovo Serb radio station closed down
  • Vujovic: Serbs denied right to information
  • Ethnic Albanian bandits stole about 250 wagons of Yugoslav Railway
  • 30 hectares of Serb maize was destroyed
  • KFOR gets reinforcements on Serbian border

    (B2-92, 14. 8. 2000.)

    Kosovska Mitrovica, Monday - KFOR troops have taken over the lead smelter in the Trepca mine complex near Kosovska Mitrovica. Troops moved in at about 4.30 a.m. today seizing the main smelter buildings and entrances to the Serb-controlled mine. A KFOR spokesman said the international forces had taken over the complex at the request of the UN civilian mission, which claims that stepped-up production at the lead works had raised the level of lead pollution in the air to two hundred times the acceptable level.

    Hundreds of Serbs gathered in nearby Zvecani to protest over the seizure, local Otpor member Dragan Perovic told Radio B2-92. Perovic reported seeing KFOR troops burst into Trepca before taking over the Trojka Hotel in Zvecani and the building housing Radio S. About fifty Serbs were involved in conflict with soldiers in the town centre, he said, adding that the British KFOR troops were firing rubber bullets and that there had been injuries on both sides.

    Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic told B92 that there had been few workers in the mine this morning and they had put up no resistance. He described the UN mission’s claim of lead pollution as an excuse to seize control of the Trepca mine complex from Serbs.


    (Serbia Info, 14. 8. 2000.)

    Zvecan, August 14 (Tanjug) - At about 4.30am this morning some 3,000 KFOR soldiers carried out helicopter-borne assault and seized lead smeltering plant of the Trepca mining complex in Zvecan near Kosovska Mitrovica, to which some 250 Serb workers opposed. Strong KFOR forces consisting of French, Italian, British and Pakistani soldiers used the force and attacked the workers, tied down some of them and took them to "Three Hotel" where Trepca's administration is temporarily located. Tanjug learnt that one worker has suffered severe injuries. Tanjug's correspondent from Kosovska Mitrovica has learnt that Trepca mining complex general manager Novak Bijelic, who was outside the province, was denied access to Kosovo and Metohija by international forces this morning. At 6.30am Pakistani KFOR soldiers closed down the broadcasting of Radio S from Zvecan which broadcasts in Serbian and took part of equipment. KFOR tanks and armored vehicles blocked Zvecan-Kosovska Mitrovica Highroad.


    (B2-92, 14. 8. 2000.)

    Belgrade, Monday - The Yugoslav Committee for Cooperation with the UN Mission in Kosovo has expressed severe protest to UNMIK chief Bernard Kouchner over this morning’s pre-dawn raid on the Trepca lead smelter. The protest, which is also addressed to KFOR Command, expresses grave concern over what it describes as the violent seizure, adding that the takeover will force Serbs to leave Kosovo. The Committee also claims that the KFOR action violates UN Security Council Resolution 1244.


    (B2-92, 14. 8. 2000.)

    Zvecan, Monday - About 250 Serbs came into conflict with French KFOR troops during this morning’s seizure of the Trepca lead smelter, a KFOR spokesman said today. The spokesman told media that the Serbs had thrown stones at the international troops but that the situation was quickly brought under control. He added that about thirty or forty Serb staff in the Trepca complex were still refusing to leave the administration building. Serb sources report that heavy smoke can still be seen coming from the Trepca area. The UN mission said this morning that all employees of the mine complex would receive salaries while the facility was not working. About ten thousand workers, most of them Albanian, had worked in the Serb-controlled mine before the arrival of international forces. All entrances to Kosovska Mitrovica have remained closed, leaving the residents of Zvecani and the northern section of Kosovska Mitrovica without bread, milk and newspapers, Beta reports.


    (B2-92, 14. 8. 2000.)

    Kosovska Mitrovica, Monday - The Serb National Council in Kosovska Mitrovica yesterday warned that a KFOR take-over of the Trepca mine was imminent. SRNA reports today that all foreigners, members of international organisation, UN police and journalists were evacuated from the area yesterday. Albanians living in the “trust zone” in the northern part of Mitrovica were also evacuated to the south of the town, and the KFOR and police presence in the streets of Mitrovica and Zvecani was stepped up. The tension over Trepca, the only enterprise in Kosovo run by Serbs had increased in recent weeks.


    (B2-92, 14. 8. 2000.)

    Kosovska Mitrovica, Monday - Claims of lead pollution in Mitrovica and Zvecani are false and a political manoeuvre, a doctor at the Kosovska Mitrovica hospital said this morning, as quoted by Serbian state news agency Tanjug. Tanjug quotes Marko Jaksic, who is also a senior official of the Serb National Council as saying that residents of the area did not have high blood levels of lead. Jaksic also denied that levels of lead pollution in the area were 200 per cent normal level, adding that such levels had never occurred even when the mine had worked at full capacity.


    (B2-92, 14. 8. 2000.)

    Zvecan, Monday - UN civilian police this morning closed down a Serbian radio station in Zvecani. Beta reports that the UN police entered the premises of Radio S and ordered the station of the air. The UN administration had previously ordered the station to stop broadcasting. Staff at Radio S told Beta that the Jordanian police had confiscated transmission equipment and surrounded the building which houses the station’s premises.


    (Serbia Info, 14. 8. 2000.)

    Kosovska Mitrovica, August 13 - Secretary of the Kosovo-Metohija Provisional Executive Council, also vice chairman of the Yugoslav Committee for Cooperation with UNMIK's Subcommittee for Information, Milorad Vujovic, expressed profound indignation at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) ordering a local Serbian-language radio closed. OSCE transitional media commissioner Simon Haffelack has issued a closure order to the Serbian-language Radio S, broadcasting out of Zvecan, over a license problem. "I express the most profound indignation at the brutal and flagrant denial of the right to work to Serbian-language media in Kosovo-Metohija", the Council's Secretary for Information Milorad Vujovic told Tanjug. Before the closure of Radio S, the Serbian-language Jedinstvo newspaper was expelled from the Press Hall in Kosovo-Metohija's chief city of Pristina, and Pristina Radio and Television was shut down, Vujovic said, adding that was another unacceptable move giving ultimatums to electronic media to stop work. "This denies the right to information to the Serb community, which is already daily exposed to brazen pressure and persecution at the hands of ethnic Albanian terrorists", he said, adding that "Mr. Haffelack alone knows by what criteria he was motivated in taking this drastic measure". "Isn't this decision by the most responsible OSCE media representative yet another measure taken by representatives of this organization and the alleged international peacekeeping mission in order to discipline unsuitable Serbs who are exposed to daily terror of ethnic Albanian separatists and unprecedented ethnic cleansing since the arrival of UNMIK to this Serbian province?", Vujovic said.


    (Serbia Info, 14. 8. 2000.)

    Kosovo Polje, August 13 (Tanjug) - Ethnic Albanian robbers collaborating with KFOR chiefs have already been towing wagons from Kosovo Polje towards forge in Skoplje, where they will probably delivered them as scrap iron, damaging Yugoslav Railway's property, according to the Amateur Radio Operators from flashpoints of Kosovo and Metohija. More than 450 old wagons which are out of order, in other words unregistered, had been placed at section of railroad from Dobrevo towards mine Kisnica, so convoy of wagons extended as far as Laplje selo, but more than half wagons from that number had already been towed away. Since KFOR members control border crossing with Macedonia, members of international peace forces bear the biggest responsibility for this big theft and robbery.


    (Serbia Info, 14. 8. 2000.)

    Gnjilane, August 13 (Tanjug) - In the area of multiethnic village Pones, near Gnjilane, ethnic Albanian cattle breeders destroyed 30 hectares of maize forcing their cattle towards Serb fields, according to Committee for Protection and Human Rights of Gnjilane. Everyday, local ethnic Albanians force the whole herd of fifty heads of horses and cows towards those fields or cut corn stems with ax and feed domestic animals with it. In that way, fields above village, towards Livocko jezero, where Momcilo Stojanovic, brothers Dimitrije, Dobrivoje and Zarko Cvejic, Petar Savic, Stajko Stajic, Traja Paunovic, Stanko Simic and many other Serbs have their fields of maize, were the most damaged fields. In the same way, about ten hectares of oats and barley were destroyed in Pones. On the other side, woods with 500 hectares of oak forest is being cut and destroyed.


    (B2-92, 14. 8. 2000.)

    Leposavic, Monday - International management in Kosovo will today transfer about sixty U civilian police from Kosovska Mitrovica to the administrative border with Serbia, SRNA reports. The agency quotes a source within the UN civilian mission as saying the troops will be deployed in the village Donje Jarinje near Leposavic. They will be used to reinforce the KFOR border patrol in the period leading up to the Yugoslav elections next month and the Kosovo local government elections in October.

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