02 April 2006

Aid to Kosovo Serbs will have to be "smuggled" past new customs - official

BBC Monitoring European. London: Feb 11, 2006. pg. 1


Text of report by Serbian independent news agency FoNet


Kosovska Mitrovica, 11 February: The director of the [Serbian] Care for Children Centre, [Strength of Serbia Movement - PSS official] Boris Stajkovic, has told FoNet that this organization's humanitarian aid was not delivered today to the Serb population in Kosovo Pomoravlje [County], because UNMIK [UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] had imposed customs obligations on non- governmental organizations for this purpose.


Stajkovic said two vehicles carrying clothes and around 400 hygienic and 200 school packages with books for children and inhabitants of Silovo and Gnjilane had been stopped at the administrative line with Kosovo, because UNMIK had demanded 2,000 euros in customs duty.


He added that the Care for Children Centre today did not know about this UNMIK decision because this information had not been made public anywhere in Serbia.


"This is a new tragic fact for Serbs in Kosovo, following the fact that they have been barred from having access to electricity and their jobs, and this stops us from delivering to the children everything which they need most in order to survive," Stajkovic said, adding that this was "yet another horrible form of pressure against the Serbs who live in Kosovo under exceptionally difficult circumstances".


As he put it, the only thing they could do was to unload the aid in Raska and then, using private cars, "smuggle" it bit by bit and this way deliver to places where it is needed most.


"We have to deliver even humanitarian aid in various illegal manners, but, really, we are not left with anything else to help people survive such a situation in various ways," Stajkovic concluded.


Credit: FoNet news agency, Belgrade, in Serbian 1449 11 Feb 06