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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BELGRADE1360 2007-10-05 18:08:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Belgrade
Cable title:  

Reservists Protest Back Wages in South Serbia

Tags:   PGOV PREL PHUM SR KV 
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VZCZCXRO6854
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RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHBW #1360 2781808
ZNR UUUUU ZZH(CCY PARA MARKINGAD0171798 AMG5803-536)
R 051808Z OCT 07 ZDK CTG RUEHSD 0055W
FM AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1552
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
					  UNCLAS BELGRADE 001360 

SIPDIS

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y -- CORRECTED PARA 1 MARKINGS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM SR KV
SUBJECT: Reservists Protest Back Wages in South Serbia
SUMMARY
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1. (U) Military reservists in south Serbia continue protests, seeking
additional payments for their prior military service during the
Kosovo conflict. The protests grab headlines and inconvenience
regional travel, but pose no significant threat to order or
stability, and protesters will likely have their day in court. End
Summary.

On-Going Demonstration


--------------------------





2. (U) For almost a month a group of military reservists from
Kursumlija, a town in south Serbia near the Administrative Boundary
Line (ABL) with Kosovo have protested alleged irregularities of
wartime per diem payments. The protests include rallies, blockades
of municipal buildings, road blocks of the Nis-Pristina highway, and
a two-week hunger strike. The group, which numbers between 200 to
1500, claims that the Ministry of Defense owes them additional per
diem payments for their three-month service during the 1999 Kosovo
conflict. The group's dissatisfaction began after 200 other
reservists successfully collected extraordinary payments of wartime
per diems as a result of private legal action in the Kursumlija
municipal court.



3. (U) In response to the protests, the Serbian Government
established an inter-ministerial working group to investigate the
matter and propose appropriate measures. During the last week of
September, the MOD sent State Secretary Zoran Jeftic to meet with
the reservists and to hear their concerns. Protestors have met with
retired General Bozidar Delic, current Deputy Speaker of Parliament
and a Radical Party (SRS) member of the Parliamentary Security and
Defense Committee. After the meeting, Delic announced his support
for the protestors. The Ministry of Defense claims that the
Government has paid all wartime per diems and posted on its website
the signed receipts of all 26,000 reservists. In late September,
the MOD accused the 200 reservist who had previously managed to
collect additional payments through the courts of fraud and abuse of
legal procedure and announced it would file criminal charges against
them. Assistant Minister for the MOD, Bojan Dimitrijevic, told
Poloff on October 5 that the Ministry of Justice would likely now
take the lead in resolving this issue, and that the MOD considers
its role in the matter closed.

Comment


--------------------------





4. (U) Despite SRS support for the protestors, there are no
indications that this protest has any wider political connotations
and most likely the courts will resolve the matter. End Comment.

BRUSH