SERB PATRIARCH AND CROWN PRINCE KARADJORDJEVIC TO HEAD COUNCIL OF DEMOCRATIC
FORCES OF SERBIA
Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, as well as representatives of the Serbian democratic opposition, Serb Orthodox Church, the Diaspora, students and non-governmental organizations participated in the assembly where they agreed to form the Council of Democratic Forces of Serbia, which would be made up of representatives from the democratic opposition, the Diaspora, G-17 group of economic experts, and students.
"After an agreement signed by the democratic opposition on Jan. 10 and a mass rally held on April 14 in Belgrade, the conference in Athens has proposed the founding of the council to further weld together the democratic opposition's unity," the declaration said.
Serb Patriarch Pavle and Aleksandar Karadjordjevic or their authorized representatives were proposed to head the council. "The council would adopt decisions of strategic importance for the united opposition's activities and it would agree beforehand that the chairmen are the final arbiters in harmonizing the council's decisions."
The seven-point declaration said, "These demands from all sides show that the time for democracy in Serbia has come."
"Free democratic elections, under international supervision, and a change of the system must be the first steps on the path of Serbia's return to the community of European nations, Yugoslavia's return to the U.N., the OSCE, and the Stability Pact for South-East Europe, as well as the country's return to European and world organizations," the declaration emphasized.
"The Church's and Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija's struggle for the rights of Serbs in these holy territories must be supported, because they represent a symbol of moral courage and political wisdom which indicate the path of survival and a way for the refugees to return."
In a closing speech, Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic declared that not the entire world was against the Serb people, even though the West was making some serious mistakes.
"The Serb people have suffered much in the past ten years. We no longer live in one country, we are divided," Karadjordjevic said and added, "Serbia, Montenegro and Republika Srpska must act as one. The Diaspora is there to help."
"We have suffered defeats in the past, but we have always recovered. The same will happen again," Karadjordjevic said.
He reminded that a year ago "NATO bombs were hitting civilian targets" and stressed that, "the NATO bombing is to be condemned in every way; there are no excuses for it."
"But, the policies of the regime which caused this situation are also to be condemned. The regime's only desire was to remain in power and it does not care for the people. This is why it must be removed! The sooner the better," Karadjordjevic said.
SERBIAN OPPOSITION REPRESENTATIVES, PAPANDREU MEET. Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreu met on April 22 with Serbian opposition representatives with whom he discussed the democratization of the country, Kosovo, and the return of Serbs to Croatia.
Papandreu told Zoran Djindjic, the leader of the Democratic Party, that the united opposition would enjoy Greece's support in its efforts to re-establish Serbia as an active part of Europe.
Papandreu also met with Alliance for Change coordinator Vladan Batic, Nis Mayor Zoran Zivkovic, Democratic Christian Party of Serbia Vice-President Milorad Savicevic, Independent Serb Party of Croatia leader Milorad Pupovac, and student Otpor organization representatives.
BATIC SAYS ATHENS BEST PLACE FOR MEETING ANNOUNCING DEMOCRATIC CHANGE.
At a press conference, Batic said that no better place could have been chosen for the gathering than Athens, the cradle of democracy, nor could there have been a better moment, shortly before Easter, or a more proper person to initiate the meeting - Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic.
PAPANDREU, KOSOVO SERBS MEET. Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreu has expressed support to Serb representatives from Kosovo and added that the Greek government wished to "strengthen the intents of the international community in regard to the return of Serbs to Kosovo."
After meeting with Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija representatives in Athens on April 22, Papandreu said his government had offered concrete proposals in the EU for resolving the "crisis in Kosovo," and announced that he would "work out a new strategy for the Balkans" at a meeting with his colleagues from the EU on May 6 and May 7.
The Greek foreign minister met with Serb National Council president and bishop of the Raska and Prizren diocese Artemije, the president of the Council's executive board and a member of the council, Momcilo Trajkovic, and Rada Trajkovic, in Athens. The meeting was attended by Bishop Artemije's secretary, father Sava (Janjic), and UNMIK representative Aleksandar Jani.
"Artemije was not invited to Athens by accident," Papandreu said, adding that he wanted to show his "support for Artemije's efforts, his support to moderate Serb forces who truly want a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kosovo problem, in compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244."