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<nettime> "rectifying the demographic balance" in Kosovo
Andras Riedlmayer on Mon, 26 Apr 1999 17:50:05 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> "rectifying the demographic balance" in Kosovo


[Fwd. from <JUSTWATCH-L {AT} LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU>]

A year after the beginning of "ethnic cleansing" by Serb forces in Kosovo
and a month after the start of NATO's bombing campaign, Serbia's war aims
in Kosovo are being openly aired in Belgrade and Prishtina. 

      Officials in Kosovo, where all governmental power has been
      wielded by Serbs since President Slobodan Milosevic stripped
      the province of broad autonomy in 1989, say they hope to have
      about 600,000 Albanians living there when the war is over, [a
      foreign] diplomat [who recently toured Kosovo] said. That would be
      two-thirds fewer than was previously estimated living in Kosovo.

      But these Serb officials also seem to understand that they must
      do more "to help their image," the diplomat added, "now that
      they feel they have a roughly tolerable level of Albanians" [...]

      In general, he said, Serb officials say that "500,000 or 600,000
      Albanians are no problem for us." They are conscious that an
      Albanian-free Kosovo is both absurd and impossible, he said, but
      also believe that a sizable number of Albanians in the province
      will help protect the Serbs from a NATO ground attack.

The Serbian authorities' chosen means for "rectifying the demographic
balance" in Kosovo have involved not only the expulsion of hundreds of
thousands of people from their homes and the murder of thousands, but also
the confiscation of the expellees' personal documents and the systematic
destruction of local archives. The role of this attempt to obliterate
records is made chillingly clear: 

      The Serb position is that any Albanian with documents, who can
      prove that he or she is a citizen of Kosovo, can return, the
      diplomat said. He noted, however, that Serb officials carefully
      destroyed the documents of many refugees as they left Kosovo.

      Asked about a demographic remaking of Kosovo, Goran Matic, a
      Serb cabinet minister, denied it. "We would like all the Albanians
      to come back," he said, "all those who can prove that they were
      citizens of Yugoslavia."

      Matic, who belongs to the Yugoslav United Left party of Mirjana
      Markovic, Milosevic's wife, is a former information minister
      who is increasingly taking on a spokesman's role in Belgrade.

Andras Riedlmayer

See: Sunday New York Times, April 25, 1999, "Serbs Want Some Albanians in
Kosovo, Officials Say"

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