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Kosova Daily Report #1416, 98-05-01

Kosovo Information Center: Kosova Daily Report Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Kosova Information Center <http://www.kosova.com/>

Kosova Information Center
KOSOVA DAILY REPORT #1416
Prishtina, 1 May 1998

First Edition: 15:00 CET
Second Edition 17:30 CET
Third Edition 20:00 CET

CONTENTS

  • [01] President Rugova's Press Conference
  • [02] Foley Speaks of 'Chilling Effect' of Sanctions on Serb Economy
  • [03] Killed Albanian Youngster Brought to the Gjakova Morgue by Serb Military
  • [04] Fresh Serb Troops Arrive from Serbia to Kosova
  • [05] Serb Protesters Smash Albanian-owned Property in Mitrovica
  • [06] Serb Forces Have Fired into Drenica Villages Today
  • [07] Many Alleged Terrorists Killed in Kosova, "No Terrorist Has Yet Appeared Before a Court", Robin Cook Says
  • [08] ICG Warns War Is 'On the Way' in Kosova unless the West Agrees More Effective Strategy
  • [09] Nato Council Concerned over Risk of Escalating Conflict in Kosova
  • [10] Kosova Albanian Prison Inmates Transferred to Jail in Serbia
  • [11] Albanians Beaten Up Brutally at Serb Police Check-point
  • [12] Serb Passengers Beat Albanian Students on Board of Bus
  • [13] Albanian Killed by Serb Forces in Drenica
  • [14] Heavy Serb Military and Police Forces Deployed at ^abrati of Gjakova
  • [15] Serbian Police Expedition Raids Several Albanian Families in Peja
  • [16] Serbian Police Beat Repatriated Albanian Severely
  • [17] Five Albanians Arrested at Gllareva Village in Klina

  • [01] President Rugova's Press Conference

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova welcomed today Wednesday's statement on Kosova of the six- nation Contact Group meeting in Rome and the imposition of new sanctions on Belgrade. He urged Russia to adopt a more constructive stand towards the Kosova issue.

    Speaking during a regular press briefing today (Friday) in Prishtina, President Ibrahim Rugova praised the "permanent efforts" on Kosova of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

    The President welcomed the sanctions and measures adopted by the European Union's Council of Ministers and remarks by German Chancellor Kohl on Kosova as a crisis that poses a danger to Europe. He welcomed remarks on Kosova by NATO Secretary General Javier Solana, and thanked all European and American diplomats visiting Kosova, especially the Foreign Norwegian Minister Knut Vollebek.

    On the current situation in Kosova, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova said it continues to be extremely grave and volatile in the wake of massacres in Drenica and the continued Serb siege of villages in this region. "A grave situation of terror is prevailing" in the municipality of De^an and the surrounding area in the Gjakova, after the killing of Kosova Albanians in the border area with Albania, he said. What we have in Kosova is daily-based repression and violence, besides the massacres, the President said, adding that some 6.000 displaced Albanians have found refuge in Gjakova having fled their homes in the De^an villages.

    Mr. Rugova singled out as a characteristic instance of Serb terror in Kosova the killing of the 26-year-old Albanian Bilall Mazrekaj during the funeral of other Albanians at Pejlep village of De^an.

    On his behalf as President of Kosova, Rugova conveyed his deepest condolences to families who have lost their loved ones in this week's Serb killings and massacres in Kosova.

    Reiterating his call for international preventative measures in Kosova, President Rugova urged the citizens of Kosova exercise self-restraint and "not to fall prey to provocations and manipulation by irresponsible individuals as well as disinformation, which are part of special warfare".

    "The Serbian violence and massacres in Kosova are part of Belgrade's schemes of ethnic cleansing of Kosova", President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosova said.

    He called on the FIFA and the International Olympic Committee to impose sanctions against Serb sportsmen, "who have never, in the past eight years, raised their voice against the [Serb regime's crackdown] on the Kosovar sportsmen, who have been forcefully kicked out if all terrains and sports facilities in Kosova".

    President Rugova reiterated the commitment of the Kosova leadership to a negotiated and peaceful settlement to the Kosova issue. The talks process should be mediated by a third international party and conducted in a third, neutral country, he stressed.

    Rugova reiterated that "the best solution" is an independent and neutral Kosova, on the basis of the national referendum, with all guarantees for the local Serbs. He pressed for an international civil protectorate in Kosova pending a negotiated settlement to The President of the Republic of Kosova used the opportunity to congratulate the people of Israel, President Weizman and Prime Minister Netanyahy, on the 50th anniversary of the birth of the State of Israel. He expressed his best wishes to the Jews over the world at this important anniversary in their ancient history as a nation.

    Asked by a reporter whether he was happy with the outcome of the Contact Group meeting, and whether he thought the measures will help the Kosova issue and calm down the situation here, President Ibrahim Rugova said he "expected more" from the meeting of the six- nation Group. "But, the constellation of the international powers is such, and in this mixed Group the decisions are adopted on a consensual basis. Be it as it may, we see these measures as effective, and they should be implemented to de-escalate the situation in Kosova".

    President Rugova dismissed criticism that the political parties have not been active in the crisis areas in Drenica and De^an. "Our activists are there, in the dangerous area. You, journalists, should be there, too.", he replied to the Koha Ditore reporter.

    The President dismissed also claims that there is no concerted action on behalf of the Albanians in Kosova itself, and with Albania, "that an internal offensive" is lacking at a time there is a diplomatic offensive by international fora, as a reporter put it.

    Rugova said there was contact between Kosovar and Albanian political forces, as well as with him as President of Kosova. "My Advisory Group is working to ensure a peaceful settlement to the Kosova issue", he added.

    Replying to critical remarks by the BBC Albanian section's correspondent that "50.000 Albanians in the De^an villages" had been left alone - with only "self-organization and self-defense" left to them - President Ibrahim Rugova said the situation in that part of Kosova is grave enough, but "the population has not been left alone". It is hard to operate there, he admitted.

    "I have influence all over Kosova", President Ibrahim Rugova said, replying to suggestions that he is losing support in Kosova, especially in the De^an region. The influence is shown by the electorate, "who voted for me in the last election", he concluded.

    [02] Foley Speaks of 'Chilling Effect' of Sanctions on Serb Economy

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - The United States is satisfied with the results of the six-nation Contact Group meeting on Kosova, which agreed Wednesday to an immediate freeze on the funds held abroad by the 'FRY" and Serbian governments, and the prospective investment ban in case of Belgrade's non- compliance, according to James B.

    Foley, the State Department spokesman.

    During the regular daily press briefing in Washington Thursday, Mr. Foley went through the main points of the Contact Group statement, which has been harshly criticized by Belgrade, but seen by Prishtina as not going far enough to make the Serb regime comply with international demands on Kosova.

    Foley spoke of "good atmospherics" in the Rome meeting, and referred to Russia's disassociation to the measures adopted by the five countries as "a disagreement over tactics".

    Replying to suggestions that the current sanctions on Belgrade will not make an 'awful lot of difference', the State Department spokesman said: "The prospective investment ban will probably have the most profound effect".

    As a general matter, both the asset freeze that was decided Wednesday and the investment ban that may eventually come into effect in ten days' time, "have a significant chilling effect on the Serb economy.", Mr. Foley concluded.

    [03] Killed Albanian Youngster Brought to the Gjakova Morgue by Serb Military

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - A 17-year-old Albanian, named Mark Zefi, has been killed under yet unsolved circumstances in the Gjakova area, in south West Kosova, LDK sources said.

    The LDK Information Commission in Gjakova said the Serb ('Yugoslav') army brought today morning the body of the dead Albanian to the Gjakova hospital morgue.

    The killed Albanian was later identified as Mark Zefi, resident of Pjetreshtan village of Gjakova.

    The Serbian army has placed a tight siege around the villages of Pjetreshtan, Ra^&, Moglic& and Dol Friday morning. The villages are in the town of Gjakova itself.

    An army helicopter was reported flying over the town of Gjakova and surrounding villages.

    The LDK branch in Gjakova could not say what the pretext of the Serbian army intervention in the Gjakova villages was.

    Heavy Serbian military and police troops were deployed in the town of Gjakova and neighboring villages, and in particular in the border area with Albania, in past ten days.

    On 23 April, the Serb military killed 19 Albanians, 9 of whom were residents of Hereq villages whereas one from Dujaka village of Gjakova.

    Three citizens of Gjakova have been wounded by Serb forces in the past few days.

    A large area of the Dushkaja and Reka e Keqe regions in the border area with Albania have been repeatedly attacked by Serb forces.

    At least 6000 Albanians of all ages have fled their homes and found refuge in the town of Gjakova the wake of armed Serb actions against Albanian villages in western and south-western Kosova, namely the municipalities of De^an and Gjakova.

    Situation in De^an Appears Calmer but Tense Friday PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - It was somehow calmer in De^an municipality during Thursday night and Friday morning, LDK sources said, but there were sporadic shootings in some parts.

    Meanwhile, the Serbian police have beaten up several Albanian old men who went to the post office to collect their pensions. Among them were Fadil Haklaj, Met& Haklaj, Abdyl Tahirsylaj, Beqir Bru^i and Isuf Mulaj.

    [04] Fresh Serb Troops Arrive from Serbia to Kosova

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - A convoy of 30 army vehicles with Serbian soldiers on board and high-calibre cannons trailed on them reached the town of Mitrovica Friday morning.

    The convoy came from Serbia and headed in different directions of Kosova and the roads leading to Montenegro, sources in Mitrovica said.

    [05] Serb Protesters Smash Albanian-owned Property in Mitrovica

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - Several hundred Serb protestors in Mitrovica Thursday chanted anti-Albanian slogans and smashed with stones a dozen of Albanian-owned shops in town, LDK sources reported.

    The following Albanian-owned shops were damaged: "Gurman","Adis com", "Rambo", "Riko", "Vesna", "Marlboro", "Ciciban", "Foto Zymi", "Ervo impex", "Meti", "Meti", "Top fashion", "Acern", "Europa", an others.

    [06] Serb Forces Have Fired into Drenica Villages Today

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - The Serbian military and police forces have since four o'clock in the morning today fired into villages of the Drenica region, local sources said.

    The chapter of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) in the town of Gllogovc said Serb forces opened fire from their positions on the villages of Kopiliqi i Ep&rm, Kopiliqi i Posht&m, Buroj&, Vojnik&, Jashanic&, A^arev&, Rakinic&, Tushill&, and Llaush&.

    Referring to sources in Skenderaj ('Srbica'), the CDHRF said the situation in the villages that came under heavy Serb fire is extremely grave.

    It is not known whether the local villagers -"who are trying to defend themselves in difficult circumstances" - have suffered casualties, the sources said.

    The family compounds of Dajakaj and ^arkaj at the Rakinic& village, neighboring on Llaush& village, have been shelled by Serb forces, Fadil Geci, LDK activist at Llausha said. A Bujku daily source said a woman was wounded around midday today at ^arkaj family compound amidst Serb attack.

    Mr. Geci told KIC by phone the Serb forces attacked with various weapons. Several houses at Rakinic& have been damaged, he said, and made mention of the houses of Syl& Syla and Jakup Syla of the ^arkaj family compound.

    [07] Many Alleged Terrorists Killed in Kosova, "No Terrorist Has Yet Appeared Before a Court", Robin Cook Says

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - "The crisis in Kosovo is a cause of deepening concern.", Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said Thursday in the House of Commons in London.

    He spoke of "reports of numerous incidents involving fighting between the Yugoslav Army and Kosovar Albanians" since the 25 March meeting of the six- nation Contact Group. The numbers of Yugoslav security forces in Kosova increases daily, he said.

    The reality is that 'FRY" President Milosevic "continues to choose violence and repression over dialogue", Foreign Secretary Cook said.

    Mr. Robin Cook went on to say: "The increase in the number of heavily armed soldiers, tanks and artillery pieces in the province, and the repression they are imposing on the Kosovar people, are a direct block to any political solution. It is difficult to have any confidence that the Yugoslav Army is acting proportionately and in observance of human rights. Although a large number of alleged terrorists have now been killed, no terrorist has yet appeared before a court. And Milosevic has still not offered a meaningful dialogue, including the international involvement requested by the Contact Group."

    The Foreign Secretary recalled that when the Contact Group first met to discuss Kosova on 9 March, it spelt out a ten-point action plan for a return to stability and also adopted four sanctions against the Belgrade Government.

    Although the European Union, the OSCE, and the United Nations "have fulfilled each of the measures recommended by the Contact Group, it is a matter of deep regret that President Milosevic has taken few of the steps demanded of him by the Contact Group.", Mr. Cook said.

    Milosevic has failed to meet most of demands of the Contact Group, he concluded.

    [08] ICG Warns War Is 'On the Way' in Kosova unless the West Agrees More Effective Strategy

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - The Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) - an agency that monitors world crisis zones - issued a stark warning Thursday that war is on the way in Kosova unless Western governments can overcome divisions and agree a more effective strategy to force a peace process on the parties in conflict.

    The ICG's warning followed the latest failure of the six-nation Contact Group to agree a package of tough new economic and military measures capable of dealing with the dispute that is now threatening to re-ignite ethnic warfare in the heart of South East Europe, said a press release issued by the ICG 30 April, 1998.

    The ICG - which is chaired by the Northern Ireland peace-broker Senator George Mitchell - believes the crisis will spin out of control unless the 'Yugoslav' government and ethnic Albanian leaders in Kosova are "pressured into taking part in internationally-brokered negotiations."

    Such a process "will not come about itself," the ICG argues, but only as a result of overwhelming military and economic pressure on the respective parties, in particular on the Yugoslav leadership which has so far ruled out such a process.

    "No one can be left in doubt that Kosovo is sliding into war", said ICG President, the Belgian Senator Alain Destexhe. "There has been no shortage of warning signals. The international community has already missed important opportunities to defuse the crisis by using its considerable leverage in the region to force parties into talks."

    Destexhe said months of meetings have produced little but statements of concern and a series of ad hoc half-measures. "The latest meeting of the Balkan Contact Group in Rome Wednesday did not go nearly far enough... (It) pulled back from imposing a full economic embargo and announcing a convincing military strategy of the kind needed to push Belgrade into serious negotiations", Alain Destexhe argued.

    The ICG calls for the international troop presence on Macedonia/Kosova border to be strengthened to prevent the Kosova conflict spilling over into neighboring Macedonia. The organization also believes planning should be urgently undertaken for the deployment of a new NATO force in Albania, close to the borders with Kosova, to facilitate a rapid military response should full- scale war break out.

    "It is not too late to grasp the nettle," said Senator Destexhe.

    "ICG has spelt out a coherent strategy to deal with this problem.

    We are calling on governments and NATO to reconsider their positions and agree a response before time runs out," Detsexhe said, according to an ICG press release issued on 30 April.

    Meanwhile, the ICG said it will release Tuesday, 5 May, its latest report on the Kosova crisis, entitled "Again the Visible Hand - Slobodan Milosevic's Manipulation of the Kosovo Dispute".

    [09] Nato Council Concerned over Risk of Escalating Conflict in Kosova

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - The North Atlantic Council issued a statement yesterday (Thursday) in which it said it was concerned by the "further deterioration of the situation in Kosovo with the risk of escalating conflict in the region.". The Council's statement is by and large a replica of the Contact Group statement on Kosova adopted in Rome a day earlier.

    The Council will continued to closely watch the situation "with regard to Kosovo', the statement concluded.

    Meanwhile, U.S. and French Defense Ministers said yesterday Nato presence in Albania now "does not seem to be the right answer".

    "We are trying to cooperate and find ways in which we can bring some stability and help encourage a stabilizing influence in the region, but not with talk of establishing a military line of protection in the Albanian border.", U.S. Secretary of Defense said, during a joint press conference with Mr. Alain Richard, the Defense Minister of France.

    "There must be talks (on Kosova). There must be negotiations to define an appropriate political status for Kosovo with an increased autonomy inside Yugoslavia.", the French Defense Minister said.

    [10] Kosova Albanian Prison Inmates Transferred to Jail in Serbia

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - Eighteen Albanian inmates of the "Dubrava" penitentiary of Istog, north-west Kosova, were transferred to Nis prison (Serbia) on Thursday.

    The LDK Information Commission in Istog said the following inmates were sent to the Nis jail yesterday: Hajzer Hajzeraj, Naser Husaj, Haradin Hyseni, Bajrush Xhemaili, Gani Xhambazi, Xhelal Canziba, Zejnullah Shala, Ismet Mahmuti, Remzi Tetrica, Raif ^ela, Sali Sokoli, Rexhep Oru^i, Avni Klinaku, Enver Dugolli, Liburn Aliu, Dilber Beka, Mehmedali Aliu and Eqrem Kastrati.

    Most them have been serving long-term prison terms. They were sentenced last yar for alleged membership with Albanian underground, "hostile" organizations.

    Today morning, Serb military equipped with armored vehicles and combat armament have been deployed in the compounds of the Dubrava penitentiary, LDK sources said.

    [11] Albanians Beaten Up Brutally at Serb Police Check-point

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - Two Albanians, brothers Sefedin Musa (1971) and Enver Musa (1976) from Dumnica village, were reported beaten up brutally at a Serb police check-point at Nedakoc village of Vushtrri Thursday.

    Sources in Vushtrri ('Vucitern') said the two brothers were passing by on a horse-drawn cart when halted by Serb police, who beat them with no pretext whatsoever.

    Sefedin and Enver Musa were kicked and hit with batons and gun butts. They have received grave body injuries, LDK sources in Vushtrri said.

    Over forty new Serb police check-points and road-blocks have been established in Kosova towns, villages and road intersections since end February.

    Albanians get routinely harassed, beaten up, and plundered by Serb police in these police road blocks or check-points.

    [12] Serb Passengers Beat Albanian Students on Board of Bus

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - Haki Gashi and Buletin Limani, secondary school students from Gushterica village of Lipjan, were beaten up brutally by Serb passengers on board of a bus on Thursday.

    LDK sources in Lipjan said the two boys got in the state-owned bus run by Serbs so as to go to school in the town. When realizing that the two students were Albanians, the Serbs on board pounced down on them brutally. They were beaten up severely and were forced off the bus.

    In addition, the two students were insulted on ethnic grounds and were told that Albanians should not be allowed to commute in the same bus with Serbs, the LDK Information Commission in Lipjan said.

    [13] Albanian Killed by Serb Forces in Drenica

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - Agim Emin Emini, a thirty-five-year old Albanian, native of Turi^evc village of Skenderaj ('Srbica') in the Drenica region, was killed by Serb forces today (Friday), an LDK source said.

    Fadil Geci, activist with the LDK at Llaush& village, quoted eye- witnesses as saying that Agim Emini had been murdered near his house, to be then dragged to a brook, some 150 meters away.

    The Serb police is reported to have entered Albanian houses, brutalizing many women and children.

    The Serbian forces launched early morning today a large-scale operation, attacking the villages of Kopiliq i Ep&rm, Kopiliq i Posht&m, Buroj&, Vojnik&, Jashanic&, A^arev&, Rakinic&, Tushill& and Llaush&.

    Mr. Geci told the KIC by phone at 19:00 hrs the attack was still going on.

    The Dajakaj and ^arkaj family compounds at Rakinic& were reported shelled by Serb forces today. A number of houses at Rakinic& were set in fire, local sources said.

    These Drenica villages have been under Serb siege since 5 March 1998.

    More than 80 Albanians - men, women and children - were slain by Serb forces in Drenica on 28 February and 5 March.

    [14] Heavy Serb Military and Police Forces Deployed at ^abrati of Gjakova

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - At 16:30 hrs today, heavy Serbian forces equipped with tanks and other armoured vehicles raided on the M&halla e G&r^ar&ve neighborhood near the ^abrati hill-top in Gjakova.

    Serb forces have reportedly entered several houses adjacent to the hill- top. Some families have abandoned their homes.

    Meanwhile, the LDK Information Commission in Gjakova reported that the Serb police started at 17:30 hrs raiding cafe's in the town. A number of young people, male and female, were arrested and taken to Serbian police in Gjakova.

    The LDK sources said a man and two young ladies who happened to be at the "Veranda" cafe, and several others at "Punti" cafe in the town.

    [15] Serbian Police Expedition Raids Several Albanian Families in Peja

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - Some 50 Serbian policemen and civilians surrounded Thursday evening the "Avni Rrustemi" neighborhood in Peja ('Pec'), LDK sources in Peja reported.

    The Serb policemen initially attacked Hasan Bushati on the street, hitting him badly with an automatic riffle butt, and then walked into his house for searching. They also raided on the homes of Isa Dreshaj, Xhem& Dreshaj, Shaban Ahmetaj, Xhevdet Ahmetaj, Rexhep Rexhaj, Osman Kelmendi, Bek& Dreshaj, Bek& Laj^i, Qazim Ali^kaj, Ham&z Demaku, Nazmi Demaku, Ismet Gashi and Xhevat Gashi.

    The Serb police were allegedly after some persons who had left a Yugo cabriolet car in the yard of Rexhep Rexhaj, without the knowledge of the latter.

    The car was eventually picked up by the police.

    [16] Serbian Police Beat Repatriated Albanian Severely

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - The German authorities rounded up Sk&nder Muzlijaj Wednesday and deported him to the Prishtina airport.

    Mr. Muzlijaj was held and questioned at the Prishtina airport until midnight, when the Serbian police decided to let him into Kosova.

    Skender Muzlijaj was again stopped by the Serbian police at Kijeva check- point Friday, while on his way home to Shaptej village of De^an.

    He was held by the Serbian police in Kijeva from 9 am until 1 pm.

    He was reported beaten up severely by the Serb police.

    [17] Five Albanians Arrested at Gllareva Village in Klina

    PRISHTINA, May 1 (KIC) - The Bujku daily's correspondent in Klina said five Albanians were arrested today at a food and supplies warehouse at Gllareva village of Klina.

    They were named as Haxhi Abazi and Blerim Abazi from Gllareva, Zeqir Gashi and Shaban Gashi (15) from Qabiq village, and Demush Millaku from Ujmir& village.

    The police seized all their supplies they and purchased and arrested them, the Albanian language daily's correspondent said.

    Kosova Information Center


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