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Đurić: I will propose to the Government of Serbia to request an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council because of Trepča

October 08, 2016.

Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Marko Đurić stated today that the decision by the PISG in Pristina to confiscate "Trepča" is invalid for the Serbian government, its institutions, businesses and citizens.

Marko Đurić

At the press conference held today, Đurić announced that he would propose to the Government to, on Monday, request an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council about the seizure of the Serbian property and the violation of UNSC Resolution 1244 which underlies the peace and stability in the region.

"If they don't want to talk about it in Brussels, it will have to be discussed in the UN," Đurić said, noting that the decision of the so-called Kosovo Assembly represents an assault on the foundations of Resolution 1244, which established peace in the province.

"This decision is invalid and produces no legal effects or consequences whatsoever in terms of legal and labour relations, property, debtor and creditor relations, and any other relations concerning Trepča," said Đurić, underscoring that this decision by the Pristina authorities is invalid in our system.

Đurić recalled that this is not the first attempt to appropriate Trepča, evoking the fact that during World War II, the Nazi machine tried the same, acutely aware of the mineral resources, because Trepča is the beating heart of our people in the wider area, not only in Kosovo and Metohija but also in the Raška admnistrative district.

"Same as then, any attempt to steal Trepča in the future, and to take it away from where it belongs, will end in the same way. This isn't only an affront on a company, it's an aggression on the right of a people to exist," Đurić is convinced.

He stressed that on the land belonging to Trepča are built our settlements, houses, that thousands of our workers are employed in its mines, who put food on the tables for their families.

Trepča was, Đurić said, built and maintained by generations of not only Serbs, but of all those who worked there in harmony.

The decision of the authorities in Pristina, he said, represents an assault on the foundations of the UNSC Resolution 1244, which established peace in the province, given that the UNSC resolution itself refers to Trepča and its right to operate.

It is not without reason that Trepča was included in the resolution, given that life, existence and survival of our people depend on it, Đurić said.

"Anyone assaulting Trepča is assaulting the very foundations of the order that put a stop to everything that was happening in late 90s. This act constitutes an attempt to complete the ethnic cleansing of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija," said Đurić.

He also pointed to the fact the that all relevant assembly procedures have been infringed, and that this act has trampled on the coalition agreement by which the Serbian representatives have taken part in the the provisional authorities.

"The only thing now remaining of that coalition agreement are the decisions on appointments. Serbs have never been and will never be a mere decoration in these institutions, and to those who have unlawfully passed this decision I wish to clearly tell that they would never have Trepča, and may also very easily lose their mandate," Đurić underlined.

He stressed that for him personally it was unacceptable that the EU has remained silent on the issue of confiscation of Trepča, adding that Belgrade has officially addressed Brussels on several occasions already, but that the EU has remained silent on a subject of crucial importance for the Belgrade and Pristina relations, even though it is the EU who is responsible for the dialogue.

Đurić repeated that he would propose that the Government requests that a UN Security Council session be held on this decision of the Priština authorities, and that the Government formally annulls this decision, or that it be formally deemed unsanctioned.

"Our Government's decision should include an instruction to all the ministries and institutions of Serbia to facilitate the smooth functioning of Trepča, and for all the citizens to be able to enjoy all their freedoms, in reference to the attempted confiscation," said Đurić.

He said that this decision is an attempt "to pin the final neil into the coffin of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina," and that it is yet another act which makes it impossible to come to a success in the dialogue.

"What is there to talk about if someone is trying to unilaterally resolve fundamental issues without any talks?" Đurić said, adding that such behavior is irresponsible towards both the current and the future generations of all inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija.

"We are not assuming any of this responsibility. Our desire has always been to resolve all outstanding issues in a civilized way, but Priština has always acted differently," he added.

By attempting to confiscate Trepča, the Pristina authorities are trying to hijack not only Serbia's assets located in its province but also mineral resources of the Central Serbia, since 60-70% of those resources are on the territory of central Serbia.

This, he said, runs contrary to common sense, not just to politics and law.

Đurić pointed that the Trepča's balance reserves of lead and zinc amount to 51 million tons, which makes it an asset worth tens of billions of euros, whose exploitation can continue for generations to come.

"Only in the north of Kosovo and Metohija assets exceed several hundred million euros," he added, noting that the owners of Trepča include the Shareholders Fund of Serbia, Genex, Jugobanka, Proges, Dunavbanka, EPS, October 14 from Kruševac, Termoelektro Belgrade, Ratko Mitrović from Pozega, Luka Bar Belgrade.

Đurić stated his personal opinion that the dialogue about Kosovo and Metohija had been wrongly removed from the UN because it would be much easier to talk in a surroundings which would include more presence of those who are impartial, i.e. who have not recognized the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo.

He pointed out that Isa Mustafa sent a clear threat announcing that Trepča North will not exist.

"I daresay he was wrong because thousands of workers of Trepča will not cease to exist, nor will our support for them, and our struggle to persist and preserve what is ours will never end. Trepča will be there, the only one who won't be in Trepča is himself, either to visit or to seize. The people will be able to protect their property," Đurić said.

He also recalled that annual profit from excavations have been on the rise in the north, and every year it has increased by approximately 20 percent.

"In 2015 alone production amounted to 210,000 tons. This ore, placed on the world market, ensured livelihood of over 3,000 workers of Trepča, without any subsidy. Needless to say, this is a vital economic resource, "he explained.

Đurić said that owing to the decision of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic to furhter the development of Trepča was initiated a feasibility study for the development of a new factory for batteries and car batteries, which was announced during Đurić's visit to the north of the province a few months ago.

Last night Kosovo's assembly adopted the law on "Trepča" in the second reading.

Of the 93 deputies present, 79 voted in favor and 14 abstained. The deputies of the Serbian List left the assembly hall after the draft law had been adopted.

Ethnically motivated incidents in Kosovo and Metohija, 2021 Negotiation process with Pristina Operational Factsheet
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