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Kosova Daily Report #1422, 98-05-07

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

From: Kosova Information Center <>

Kosova Information Center
Prishtina, 7 May 1998


  • [01] President Rugova Receives Italian Ambassador
  • [02] President Rugova Receives Russian Diplomats
  • [03] No Option Should Be Ruled Out in Kosova, Clinton and Prodi Say
  • [04] "Neither Side Should Be Asked to Abandon Their Positions in Advance of Talks", Gelbard Says of Prishtina-Belgrade Dialogue
  • [05] Serb Shooting Reported in Two Villages Overnight
  • [06] A Number of Albanians, Including Entire Families, Reported Missing in Gjakova
  • [07] Serbs Shell Villages of Klina Wednesday
  • [08] LDK in De^an Calls 'Sheer Lie' Serb Claims Dubbing Dead Albanians Loyal to Serbia
  • [09] Serb Soldiers Shoot at Albanian Houses While Driving Through Town of Istog
  • [10] Serb Forces Intimidate Albanian Students
  • [11] Albanian Student Disappears in Mitrovica Wednesday

  • [01] President Rugova Receives Italian Ambassador

    PRISHTINA, May 7 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received today in Prishtina Mr. Riccardo Sessa, Italian Ambassador to Belgrade.

    Ambassador Sessa delivered to President Rugova a message from Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini, and briefed him on the conclusions of the Contact Group Meting in Rome.

    Regarding the recent situation, Dr. Rugova said it has been grave and volatile amidst increasing Serb police and military actions against the Albanian population in parts of Kosova.

    The people of Kosova are committed to political and peaceful means in their struggle for freedom, independence and democracy, President Ibrahim Rugova said, reaffirming that an unconditional dialogue between Prishtina and Belgrade, under a third party mediation, in a neutral country, is critical to reach a peaceful resolution to the Kosova question.

    The Italian Ambassador reiterated the deep concern of the Contact Group, and Italy especially, over the deterioration of the situation in Kosova. He said his government is supportive of a nonviolent and peaceful resolution to the Kosova crisis.

    President Rugova appreciated the Italian government's concerns over Kosova, and the efforts Italy has been making to help reach a settlement in Kosova.

    [02] President Rugova Receives Russian Diplomats

    PRISHTINA, May 7 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received today in Prishtina Mr. Vladimir Ulasevich, Head of Political Division, and Mr. Leonid Leonidov, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Belgrade.

    The current situation and the prospects for a negotiated and peaceful settlement to the Kosova issue were discussed.

    The situation in Kosova is extremely grave and dangerous amidst continued actions by Serbian forces against the local Albanian population in some parts of Kosova, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova said.

    He called for increased international pressure to make Belgrade withdraw its special police and paramilitary units from Drenica and other parts of Kosova.

    The people of Kosova are committed to their peaceful struggle for freedom and independence of their country, the President said, adding that an independent Kosova, with all guarantees for local Serbs, would stabilize the entire region. Negotiations between Prishtina and Belgrade, under third party mediation, in a neutral country, are critical in pursuit of a just solution to the Kosova issue, Dr. Rugova underlined.

    The Russian diplomats conveyed the concern of their government over the situation in Kosova. Russia stands for a peaceful resolution to the Kosova crisis, which will be reached through dialogue between the parties, they said.

    The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova appreciated the interest of Russia over the conditions in Kosova and urged the Russian government to increase its engagement and support for a just resolution to the Kosova issue.

    [03] No Option Should Be Ruled Out in Kosova, Clinton and Prodi Say

    PRISHTINA, May 7 (KIC) - U.S. President Bill Clinton and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi expressed their deep concern over the situation in Kosova during a joint press conference in The White House yesterday after a meeting in which Kosova was on the agenda.

    In his introductory remarks, President Clinton said: "We also discussed our deep concern over the situation in Kosovo. The absence of genuine dialogue there is fueling a conflict that could threaten regional stability. We're working urgently to establish unconditional talks that can avert escalating violence. But we must and will be ready to substantially turn up the pressure on Belgrade should it keep blocking the search for a political solution, or revert to indiscriminate force."

    Prime Minister Romano Prodi also referred to Kosova in his introductory remarks during the joint press conference. "Kosovo is a source of worry for us.", he said, noting that Clinton and himself analyzed "the hot point" of the regional difficulties in the Balkan and Mediterranean area. "In this, we have not only to act together, but to have the continuous fine-tuning of our action."

    The last couple of questions a reporter addressed to both Clinton and Prodi concerned Kosova. "Mr. President, did you discuss the eventuality to send troops to Kosovo? And to Mr. Prodi, is our country available to send troops to Kosovo?" President Bill Clinton replied: "I suppose the literally accurate answer to your question is we did not discuss that. But I have made it clear, and I believe we have made it clear between us, that, at least from my point of view, no option should be ruled out. We do not want another Bosnia in Kosovo. Too many people have died there already in indiscriminate violence. And of course, it happened very quickly.

    Neither, however, do we want to get in the position where Italy has to send troops to every one of its neighboring countries, and the United States has to send troops every time there's a dispute in that part of the world.

    But I don't think we can rule out any option, because we don't want another Bosnia to happen and we don't want -- both in terms of the human loss of life or in terms of the regional instability. So I wouldn't rule out any option. But I think the most important thing is to keep the carrots and the sticks we have on the table, and for a genuine dialogue to occur.

    Look, this is not -- we have a saying in America sometimes, this is not rocket science -- you've got a part of Serbia which is 90 percent Albanian, and they want some kind of autonomy and to have their legitimate concerns addressed. The Serbs don't want to give up a big part of their country, which they believe -- and is legally part of their country. So they obviously need to sit down and talk through how the legitimate aspirations of the Kosovo Albanians can somehow be manifest in giving them some measure of self-government and decision-making authority over their lives within the framework of Serbia. There are 50 different ways this could be worked out in a humane, legitimate way. They do not have to kill each other to get this done, and they should not do that."

    Prime Minister Prodi had this to say on Kosova, in reply to the question put to him: "I completely agree [with Clinton, KIC], but probably the question was not put in the right way. The problem is not to send troops in the general way, but there is the problem of how to protect the border in order to avoid in the short-term the problem of smuggling weapons from one side to the other one. Even this option is dangerous, because in some ways, whenever you send troops, you send hostages, potential hostages, to the situation.

    But as President Clinton -- we didn't rule out any solution. We are just making an effort to arrive to a peaceful solution, and also we had a long conversation concerning the possibility of helping the civilian recovery of Kosovo in this difficult situation, in which Kosovo has been abandoned in some ways.

    But, of course, you can't rule out anything now.", Prodi said at the conclusion of the half-hour-long press conference in The White House Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, a joint statement issued by The White House said the United States and Italy they will strengthen their overall cooperation to enhance European security. "We will consult closely on the most effective ways to prevent new conflicts and address threats to security that do arise, as we have done in Bosnia and Albania and are doing now in Kosovo. We agree that the situation in Kosovo is increasingly serious. The decisions taken by the Contact Group in Rome must be implemented. Absent dialogue, the conflict will only deepen and spill over, threatening regional security. We will continue raising the pressure on Belgrade if it continues to obstruct a political resolution. We will also continue efforts under way to promote stability in Southeastern Europe through the Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative and other means."

    [04] "Neither Side Should Be Asked to Abandon Their Positions in Advance of Talks", Gelbard Says of Prishtina-Belgrade Dialogue

    PRISHTINA, May 7 (KIC) - Ambassador Robert S. Gelbard, Special Representative of the U.S. President and the Secretary of State for implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords, testified to the European Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee May 6 on the situation in Kosova, the Wireless File, USIS-Prishtina reported today.

    "Neither the Kosovar Albanians, the Serb people, nor the international community can afford another war in the Balkans. For that reason, the United States condemns the resort to violence by either side -- Kosovar Albanian extremists or Serb paramilitary police -- to seek to resolve the Kosovo question by force," Ambassador Gelbard said. "We continue to believe that the problems of the region can only be resolved through unconditional dialogue."

    He reiterated the U.S. position: opposition to independence for Kosovo or a continuation of the status quo. "Between these two extremes, however, we believe there is a wide range of possibilities which can only be developed and articulated through dialogue. We firmly support an enhanced status for Kosovo within the 'FRY' that would provide for meaningful self- administration.

    How this is done is for the parties to decide."

    Gelbard added, "Although the ultimate responsibility for improving the situation in Kosovo lies with authorities in Belgrade and the leadership of the Kosovar Albanian community, there is a significant role for the international community to play as well."

    He discussed the Contract Group's latest proposal, which urges the two sides in Kosovo to adopt a framework for dialogue and a stabilization package. "If President Milosevic begins this process, we are prepared to work closely with him to begin the process of reintegrating the 'FRY' into international organizations and institutions. The agreement to begin talking -- and concrete progress on key stabilization measures -- are the only clear evidence we can accept that Belgrade is serious about reaching a political outcome," Gelbard said.

    The long statement of the Statement of the Special Representative of the President and the Secretary of State for Implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Europe, on May 6, 1998, offers a comprehensive picture of what has happened in Kosova in the last couple of months, too.

    "I will focus the bulk of my remarks this afternoon on developments in Kosovo and our bilateral and multi-lateral efforts to stop the violence and get dialogue on a political solution for Kosovo started. Our interests in achieving these goals quickly are based not only on our concern for the people of Kosovo, but on the impact on the surrounding regions and the need to ensure that our substantial investment in the Bosnian Peace Process is not threatened by renewed inter-ethnic violence in the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" ("FRY")", Ambassador Gelbard said initially.

    Kosovo - Deteriorating Security Situation Following is the text of Gelbard's statement under this subtitle: "We remain deeply concerned about the situation in Kosovo and the potential for further violence there. The escalating conflict threatens wider regional stability. Albania -- which only recently returned from the brink of anarchy -- and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia) are particularly vulnerable.

    The United States and other members of the international community have made a significant investment in the stability of South- Central Europe. And, we are determined to see that these efforts succeed. Securing a political solution to the problem of Kosovo is a fundamental objective of U.S. policy toward the region. since the outbreak of serious violence in February, the level of tension, inter-ethnic hostility, and arms in the province of Kosovo have continued to rise. In late February, in retaliation for an ambush of Serb police by individuals believed to belong to the so- called "Kosovo Liberation Army," (UCK-Albanian) -- an attack which left a number of police dead -- ill-prepared, unprofessional Serb police retaliated immediately, attacking a village where the perpetrators were believed to live. They essentially went on a rampage, killing entire families in the Drenica region. Rather than attempt to locate and arrest the perpetrators of the ambush, Serb Special Police -- paramilitaries -- then were sent in to reinforce the local police with 20-millimeter cannon. The operation, supported by attack helicopters and heavy weapons, lasted for a day and resulted in the massacre of some 80 people, mostly non- combatants. Though the Serb and "FRY" Governments describe this as a "police action," no democratic country in the world would allow this kind of behavior by police to go unpunished.

    Since that time, there has been no attack of the same scale, but the Belgrade government has tripled the number of special police -- essentially paramilitary units -- deployed to Kosovo and has recently deployed Yugoslav Army (VJ) infantry, armor and artillery units, in depth, on the borders and to key hot spots in the interior. This is a substantial escalation in light of the signal it sends: that Belgrade is prepared to use the full force of the military against its own citizens.

    The deployments on the border with Albania are particularly troubling. We recognize the right of all nations to protect their borders. That said, it is hard to reconcile Belgrade's stated desire to prevent or stop cross- border smuggling of weapons -- most of which is reportedly carried out by small groups of men through remote mountain passes -- with the large-scale deployment of tanks and artillery to the border. This type of force is incompatible with the mission. Moreover, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belgrade has issued a threatening public statement accusing the government of Albania of conspiring to undermine the territorial integrity of the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."

    We, along with our Contact Group partners, have made clear to Belgrade that we consider this a dangerous provocation and warned the government in no uncertain terms against staging any cross- border operations into Albania or FYR Macedonia. In response to Belgrade's use of excessive force and the lack of movement toward unconditional dialogue, the U.N. Security Council adopted March 31 an arms embargo against the "FRY," blocking planned arms purchases by Belgrade. This embargo also prohibits the sale or provision of weapons or training for groups engaged in terrorist activities.

    Responsibility for enforcement lies with neighboring states and arms- exporting countries.

    The United States opposes introduction of further weapons into the region, either to Belgrade or to extremist groups, as increased violence will only make it more difficult to bring about negotiations and a political solution to the already bitter dispute over Kosovo's status.

    Even in the face of provocation, however, governments have a greater responsibility for ensuring that the rule of law is respected and the rights of its citizens protected than armed extremist groups. Belgrade's failure to uphold that responsibility has made Kosovo an international problem, and we and our allies have no intention of standing by and ignoring continued repression and escalation of violence into war.", the part of Gelbard's statement on the deteriorating security situation in Kosova concludes.

    Ambassador Gelbard spoke also about what he called Belgrade's tactics which produced "increased radicalization".

    Despite repeated warnings by the United States, our Contact Group partners, the European Union and many others, "Belgrade so far has blocked unconditional dialogue", Gelbard stressed.

    "Instead, internal security forces have been reinforced in ways that compound the sense of intimidation and insecurity on the part of the local Kosovar Albanian community. The violent activities of the Kosovo Liberation Army have heightened insecurity among Serbs, and the heavy-handed Belgrade resort to force rather than dialogue is producing increased radicalization. This trend will only serve to weaken, and ultimately undermine, the moderate Kosovar Albanian leadership, led by Dr. Ibrahim Rugova -- which traditionally has advocated non-violent, political solutions.", Clinton's envoy for the Balkans said "Belgrade's brutal tactics also have helped this formerly unknown group [U^K] gain world-wide notoriety and find an increasingly sympathetic audience in Kosovo, among the Albanian Diaspora in Europe and the United States" Gelbard said.

    He went on to reaffirm the U.S. position that it continued to believe that the problems of the region can only be resolved through unconditional dialogue. "Together with our Contact Group partners, the European Union and others, the United States has taken steps to increase the pressure on Belgrade to engage the Kosovar Albanian leadership in negotiations.", Gelbard said, and elaborated on the measures the Contact Group has adopted to ensure that the dialogue is initiated.

    Gelbard said the U.S. opposes independence for Kosova on grounds that "further atomization will not contribute to regional peace and security."

    "We firmly support an enhanced status for Kosovo within the "FRY" that would provide for meaningful self-administration. How this is done is for the parties to decide."

    In all of the repeated calls for dialogue, "the international community has made clear that it is not seeking to impose any particular outcome in negotiations. The future of Kosovo is for the parties themselves to determine. Neither side should be asked to abandon their positions in advance of talks.", Ambassador Gelbard pointed out.

    [05] Serb Shooting Reported in Two Villages Overnight

    PRISHTINA, May 7 (KIC) - The village of Reka e Keqe region of Gjakova came under Serb fire Wednesday evening, local sources said.

    The house of Muharrem Demiri at the village of Stub&ll was shelled, and all but ruined, the LDK branch in Gjakova said.

    Besides Stublla, another village, Morina, was reported fired into overnight. No reports about the damage or possible casualties still.

    Sources from Gjakova said Serb snipers have taken up position around border area villages. This is a threatening presence for the local population.

    [06] A Number of Albanians, Including Entire Families, Reported Missing in Gjakova

    PRISHTINA, May 7 (KIC) - Quoting field activists, the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) Information Commission in Gjakova reported of a significant number of Albanians missing in the wake of Serbian forces' attacks against the village of Ponoshec in the municipality of Gjakova, an area bordering on Albania.

    The LDK Commission said nothing is known about the fate or whereabouts of Qazim Ibrahimaj and his family; Milot Ibrahimaj and his family; the wife and children of Hasan (Idriz) Rama; Shaban Idrizi and his family; Muhamet Rama and his son. In addition, according to the LDK sources in Gjakova, information about the fate/whereabouts of the following people is lacking: Qamil Rama, Ibrahim Shabani, the servant in the (Dervish) tekke Nusha Abdyli and her daughter, Selman Zeqa, Uk& Rexhepi and Uk& Shabani, all of them from Ponoshec, as well as Uk& Sahiti from Dobrava, who was staying with relatives at Ponoshec.

    The news on the missing of so many residents of Ponoshec village has caused great alarm in the community. The missing people are suspected either arrested by Serb forces in their homes or even liquidated by them during the several-day-long attacks on the village.

    The Serb state-run media reported a few days back on the killing of ten Albanians by Serb forces in the area. The reports have not been confirmed to this day.

    The attack of Serb forces on the villages of Ponoshec and Morin& was indicated several weeks earlier, when Serb military troops and paramilitary police were building up in the area.

    Allegedly in response to an unsolved attack on a Serb police patrol, the Serb forces launched earlier this month a large-scale operation in the border villages. The village of Ponoshec has been blockaded and sealed off by Serb forces. Only a few reporters, rigorously selected by the Serb police, have been allowed access to the area.

    The casualty toll at Ponoshec villages has been known to be two so far: residents killed and two others wounded.

    [07] Serbs Shell Villages of Klina Wednesday

    PRISHTINA, May 7 (KIC) - Some 20 heavily armed Serbian police forces, masked and equipped with an APC, positioned Wednesday afternoon at the village of P&r^ev&, just off the Prishtina-Peja road, from there they shelled the Dob&rdol village which is some 3 kilometers away, LDK sources in Klina reported.

    An Albanian youth, whose name the LDK sources could not obtain, was wounded.

    The policemen stopped and beat severely Alush Gashi from the neighboring village of Qabiq. He was dragged out of his car and beaten brutally, said the report.

    Rexh& Merlaku from Gremnik village was also tortured.

    Heavy Serbian police forces, equipped with APCs and other vehicles, have been deployed daily at Gjurgjevik i Madh village (central Kosova), at the Prishtina-Peja road. They shoot in the direction of the village constantly.

    Meanwhile, on May 4, Serbian police and civilians kidnapped the Albanian student of "Luigj Gurakuqi" secondary school in Klina, Pjet&r Milcaj, in downtown Klina. They put a plastic bag over his head and forced him into a civilian car without license-plates and took him to unknown direction.

    He was again driven back to the place he was kidnapped and dropped out of the car with the plastic bag over his head.

    His family said their son was inflicted heavy injuries.

    The Milcaj family members told LDK sources he was locked in a house and was beaten severely for several hours.

    [08] LDK in De^an Calls 'Sheer Lie' Serb Claims Dubbing Dead Albanians Loyal to Serbia

    PRISHTINA, May 7 (KIC) - Two elderly Albanians, Hajdar Kuqi (77) and Bek& Cacaj (70), were found dead Wednesday morning in the Bistrica riverbed near De^an.

    A local doctor who examined the bodies of the two men claimed they were killed by drowning.

    Meanwhile, the Serb regime propaganda has dubbed the two Albanians as alleged 'loyal citizens to Serbia', who were killed by Albanians themselves.

    The LDK branch in De^an, in a statement today, called the Serb regime's allegations "sheer lies". Offering a bulk of evidence on the background of the two deceased Albanians, the local LDK chapter said they themselves as well as their families have been for years targeted by the Serb regime. The two men were both highly respected by the community.

    The Serb regime slanders aim at blaming Albanians for the crimes committed by Serb forces - police, military and paramilitary - in Kosova, and cause confusion and suspicion amongst the Albanians themselves, the statement said. It further said eye-witnesses had seen unknown Serb civilians moving all day long in the area where the two Albanians were killed. In addition, Serb paramilitary gangs have been reported stationed in the close vicinity of the Serb Monastery in De^an for days now.

    Relatives of the two Albanians had seen their bodies lying near the river with heads dipped in the water but could not have access to the scene, for Serb police opened fire in the direction of Albanians who attempted to do so, the statement said.

    [09] Serb Soldiers Shoot at Albanian Houses While Driving Through Town of Istog

    PRISHTINA, May 7 (KIC) - A Serbian army convoy driving Wednesday along the Istog-Rakosh road (North-west Kosova) fired from automatic rifles in the direction of Albanian houses at the Qapkunaj quarter of Istog, LDK sources in Istog reported.

    Serb army convoys have been driving along Istog-Rakish road on daily basis intimidating Albanian residents. The convoy has been stopping in the town center of Istog for several hours every day.

    [10] Serb Forces Intimidate Albanian Students

    PRISHTINA, May 7 (KIC) - Heavy Serbian police forces were deployed Thursday at Llazica village of Malisheva (Central Kosova). The police positioned next to the local primary school for several hours sources said.

    Several policemen entered the school grounds, ordered teachers produce ID's, and intimidated school kids. They halted passers-by on the road next to the school, an Albanian teacher in Llazica said.

    [11] Albanian Student Disappears in Mitrovica Wednesday

    PRISHTINA, May 7 (KIC) - The 16-year-old Arsim Ismaili, student with the "Arkitekt Sinani" technical secondary school in Mitrovica, left home for school Wednesday morning, but he never reached school nor he came back home, LDK sources in Mitrovica reported.

    His family members said they were very disturbed about his fate.

    Meanwhile, sources in Mitrovica said the Serbian police arrested Wednesday Rrahman (Beqir) Bek&n (63) and his son Najramin Beka (39), as well as the family guest Imer (Halit) Hoti (46), and Abaz (Sali) Deliu (36), Ismet (Raif) Pllana (36) and Dr Nuredin (Ajet) Fazliu (43). Besides that they were arrested no other information has been available.

    Wednesday midnight, unidentified persons tossed an explosive device on the yard of Xhemajl Kabashi, at Kroi i Vitakut quarter in Mitrovica. LDK sources said window glass was broken but no casualties were caused. Mr. Kabashi told LDK sources this was the fifth attack against his family.

    Kosova Information Center

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