November 23, 1999

NYT - Kosovo Serb Bishop Seeks Protection

By The Associated Press

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) -- A leader of Kosovo's dwindling Serb minority appealed to President Clinton today to help protect Kosovo's Serbs and other ethnic minorities who face attacks and harassment by majority ethnic Albanians.

``We want to believe that the current tragedy in Kosovo is not what the people of the United States had in mind when they supported your intervention to protect the ethnic Albanians,'' Orthodox Christian Bishop Artemije said in an open letter to Clinton carried by Belgrade's Fonet news agency.

``Therefore we expect from you ... the same determination in protection of Kosovo Serbs and other ethnic groups who are now suffering because of the ethnic Albanians,'' Artemije said.

The bishop added that the ``repression of (President) Slobodan Milosevic's regime'' has been replaced with ``repression by ethnic Albanian extremists.''

``The multi-ethnicity in Kosovo, which survived ten years of Milosevic's repressive rule, is disappearing now. Not only Serbs are being expelled, but also Romas, Muslims, Croats and Turks,'' he said.

In remarks to the people of Kosov today, Clinton urged them to forgive the Serbs who had oppressed them and dedicate themselves to peace and building a new society.

Bishop Artemije said about 400 Serbs have been killed and 460 kidnapped since NATO deployed in Kosovo. About two-thirds of the Serb population has fled.

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