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Kosova Daily Report #1584, 98-10-16

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 #1584
Prishtina, 16 October 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Rugova Receives Ambassador Chris Hill
  • [02] President Rugova Receives OSCE Chairman-in-Office Geremek
  • [03] Political Process Should Be Stepped Up, Ambassador Hill Says
  • [04] Serbian Troops Are Not Withdrawing, NATO ACTORD Should Remain in Force, President Rugova Says
  • [05] "Draft Paper for Interim Accord in Kosova Lacks Essential Elements"
  • [06] Albanian Killed, Another Seriously Wounded, During Serb Attack in Drenica Thursday
  • [07] Serb Troops Attack Jabllanica Village in Gjakova on Thursday and Friday
  • [08] Albanian Communities in Rahovec Still Inside a Serb Ring of Steel
  • [09] Several Malisheva Villages Come Under Serb Fire on Friday
  • [10] Serb Forces Camouflage in De^an Area, Open Fire on Albanian Villages at Night

  • [01] President Rugova Receives Ambassador Chris Hill

    PRISHTINA, Oct 16 (KIC) - Today, the President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received Ambassador Chris Hill, the U.S. envoy for Kosova, to discuss the recent situation in Kosova and the political process in pursuit of a resolution.

    Ambassador Hill briefed President Rugova on the agreement on the presence of OSCE and NATO verifiers in Kosova to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1199.

    President Rugova said he appreciated Holbrooke's and Hill's efforts to mediate on Kosova.

    The prospects to step up the pace of the political process for a negotiated solution to the Kosova issue were discussed in the meeting, which was attended also by Dr. Fehmi Agani, coordinator of the Kosova negotiating team.

    Meanwhile, Ambassador Hill addressed today the local LDK chapter leaders, who met in Prishtina for their regular meeting on Friday.

    The United States of America will work closely with Ibrahim Rugova and the Kosovar leadership as a whole until a rightful and lasting solution for Kosova is achieved, Mr. Hill stressed.

    [02] President Rugova Receives OSCE Chairman-in-Office Geremek

    PRISHTINA, Oct 16 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received today in Prishtina Bronislaw Geremek, the Polish Foreign Minister, who is the current Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE.

    Minister Geremek briefed President Rugova on the contents of the agreements signed in Belgrade on the establishment of an OSCE Kosova Verification Mission.

    Rugova said international presence in Kosova is appreciated. He added that in order to create the preconditions for a political solution in Kosova, the international pressure on Belgrade should be maintained.

    In this context, President Ibrahim Rugova demanded that the activation order for NATO strikes against Serb targets remain in place.

    After their meeting, Rugova and Geremek made statements to the press.

    [03] Political Process Should Be Stepped Up, Ambassador Hill Says

    "There is a lot of work ahead, there is very tough negotiating (on Kosova) ahead," the U.S. envoy said

    PRISHTINA, Oct 16 (KIC) - After his meeting with President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosova, Ambassador Chris Hill, the U.S. envoy for Kosova, spoke to the press in Prishtina today.

    He said yesterday he was in Paris, at the Contact Group, and in Vienna to address the Permanent Council of the OSCE.

    "I've just briefed Dr. Rugova on what this current status is. I told him that we now have an agreement on air verification system, which was signed last night between Mr Solana and the Serbs, and that we also have an arrangement for the OSCE verifiers to begin their work and that will be based in as quickly as possible.", Ambassador Hill said.

    In addition to discussing these two verification regimes, "we also talked about where we are in the political process", the U.S. envoy said. "We agreed that we need to step up the pace to move ahead, but we also agreed that there continued to be a lot of differences between the Serbs and the Albanians on this (the talks on an interim accord for Kosova)".

    The Serbs made unilateral statement and addressed some of the issues that they are prepared to see in a final settlement, Hill said, probably referring to a statement by the Serbian Government.

    "Needless to say, there are many other issues, many other elements that are going to need to be in a settlement and we've got to work on that. For that reason, I was very pleased that Dr. Agani, who is the head of the negotiating team, was there (in the meeting with President Rugova) and we were able to talk about many of the issues that his side wants to see in there."

    Work on a political settlement in Kosova will continue, Ambassador Hill said. "I want to emphasize we are by no means there yet. There is a lot of work ahead, there is very tough negotiating ahead."

    With respect to compliance issues, "we have insisted and we continue to insist that we are not looking for gestures (by Serbs)."

    We are not looking for initial compliance, but we are looking for full compliance, and we will now have a verification system in place which will be able to verify where we are in compliance.", the American diplomat said, referring to international demands that Belgrade has to meet.

    Asked to say whether the NATO deadline would remain in place, Hill said he does not want to discuss deadlines. "NATO is having meetings on this issue and they will decide how to proceed ahead.

    Mr. Solana and General Clark were in Beograd last night. They have, I am sure, reported to the NATO today, and there will be further decisions on it. I can assure you that we are looking for full compliance with UN SC Resolution."

    Asked to say whether police checkpoints are part of the compliance, U.S. envoy advised the questioner to read the UN SC Resolution 1199 to "see precisely what the compliance issues are."

    [04] Serbian Troops Are Not Withdrawing, NATO ACTORD Should Remain in Force, President Rugova Says

    PRISHTINA, Oct 16 (KIC) - The past several days saw Serb forces shelling Albanian villages in the municipalities of Malisheva and Gllogovc in Drenica, as well as the Mitrovica area, President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosova said during a press conference in Prishtina today (Friday). Several Albanians were killed this past week in Gjakova area, he added, referring to reports.

    The President of the Republic of Kosova said Albanian refugees living still up in the hills and in the open are in a desperate situation. "They do not feel safe enough to return", Rugova said, citing reports of people who died of the cold weather that has set in. There is need for them to be returned to their home under international security arrangements, because the people are threatened by Serb forces, he added.

    Serbian forces have not been withdrawing, but rather repositioning, and even digging up in certain strategic points, President Ibrahim Rugova said. "There have been fresh forces coming in from Serbia", he emphasized.

    Rugova reiterated his call for USA, NATO, EU, UN and NATO to provide international protection for Kosova, and pressed for a 'more constructive' engagement on the part of Russia. He welcomed the efforts of Ambassador Holbrooke to ensure an OSCE presence and a NATO aerial verification system, and demanded "the deployment of NATO ground troops in Kosova, as a guarantor of the security of the people of Kosova".

    "The activation order (ACTORD) for air strikes against Serbian targets should remain in force", the President said.

    President Rugova reaffirmed that independence for Kosova, with all guarantees for local Serbs, and an interim stage international protectorate, is "the best solution".

    The Kosova leader hailed the commitment of world leaders (Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Schr”der, Solana) to Kosova.

    Clinton is one of the most successful U.S. presidents, Rugova said, characterizing him as "a world leader with a new philosophy, who demonstrates that all peoples should be given the opportunity to live in freedom and enjoy international affirmation."

    President Rugova said his meetings with U.S. Ambassador Chris Hill are working meetings in preparation of negotiations for an interim accord for Kosova. "No agreement on this (interim accord) has been reached yet", he said, declining to comment on the negative reaction the proposed plan has attracted by political parties in Kosova.

    [05] "Draft Paper for Interim Accord in Kosova Lacks Essential Elements"

    Says Ms. Edita Tahiri, Kosova negotiator

    PRISHTINA, Oct 16 (KIC) - The draft document for an interim accord for Kosova, which has been offered by the U.S. envoy Chris Hill, lacks essential elements to make it acceptable to Kosovars, Ms. Edita Tahiri, member of the Kosova negotiating team, told the Informatori evening newspaper of 16 October. The idea for interim solution within Serbia is the most unacceptable thing of all, according to her.

    The Kosova negotiating team has worked to design such an interim arrangement, which is in accordance with the will of the people of Kosova for independence, Ms Tahiri said. The negotiating team has presented its remarks and objections in writing, she added.

    Edita Tahiri said the Kosova negotiating team has asked that the interim accord deal contain certain elements to make it acceptable for a three-year period. She said the plan should "define clearly the interim accord and outline a permanent accord", and also the role of a guarantor from the international community.

    "Independent institutions in Kosova should be created" on the basis of an acceptable plan for an interim period, Edita Tahiri said. She stressed a key thing provided by the accord should be "an internationally monitored referendum" for the people of Kosova to determine their future at the end of the interim accord solution.

    An interim and a permanent solution to Kosova should be based on the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, including the right to self- determination, Tahiri concluded, summing up the principles the Kosova negotiating team wants to see enshrined in any deal on Kosova.

    [06] Albanian Killed, Another Seriously Wounded, During Serb Attack in Drenica Thursday

    PRISHTINA, Oct 16 (KIC) - One Albanian died and a second one was wounded Thursday in Mak&rmal village of Skenderaj when the village came under Serb fire.

    The chapter of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) in Skenderaj ('Srbica') said Zymer Goxhuli (33) received fatal wounds and died shortly afterwards. His neighbor, Isuf Goxhuli (28), received life-threatening wounds.

    The village of Mak&rmal was pounded with machine-gun fire from a Serb police outpost located between the village and the neighboring Likoc.

    The human rights group noted that Serb forces have been beefing up their presence in the area, rather than withdrawing. At lest 14 bases manned by heavily armed Serb troops are still in place in Skenderaj municipality.

    The CDHRF chapter in Skenderaj, as well as other independent sources, confirmed that firearm shooting was heard in several places in the area overnight. A motorized convoy of 8 tanks and military trucks left the town of Skenderaj today morning and headed for the Likoc village.

    [07] Serb Troops Attack Jabllanica Village in Gjakova on Thursday and Friday

    PRISHTINA, Oct 16 (KIC) - The village of Jabllanica in Gjakova, western Kosova, came under heavy Serb fire both on yesterday and today (Friday), local sources said.

    The LDK chapter in Gjakova said Serb troops based near Kralan village unleashed a heavy artillery attack against Jabllanica at around 16:00 in the afternoon yesterday. The village came under fire from the same position today after 7 a.m. A local LDK activist told the KIC that the population of Jabllanica and the surrounding hamlets have been fleeing homes in panic.

    Several hundred of them crammed the Catholic Church in Gllogjan just before midday, he said.

    Two other villages in Gjakova municipality, Kralan and Rakovic&, were pounded with artillery fire on Thursday. Albanian communities were attacked from two bases in the area, Suka e C&rmjanit (the C&rmjani uphill) and Mrasor village, respectively, Sokol Dobruna, head of the Prishtina-based Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) branch in Gjakova said.

    [08] Albanian Communities in Rahovec Still Inside a Serb Ring of Steel

    PRISHTINA, Oct 16 (KIC) - Serb forces have been regrouping and digging in around Albanian villages in the Rahovec ('Orahovac') municipality, LDK sources and local villagers told the Kosova Information Center (KIC) today morning.

    Jahir Tha^i, a local LDK activist in ^ifllak village, said heavy Serb police forces have dug in over the past days around the villages of Kramovik, Gur-Kuq and Polluzh&. Serb troops have even been garrisoned in the local school premises in Kramovik. He described the situation in these three villages as highly volatile.

    The small number of local people who returned to their gutted houses is highly apprehensive of possible Serb forces' crackdown, he said.

    Serb troops backed up by heavy armament have been also camping in the village of Ratkoc. Serbs have occupied the farmhouse of a local Albanian, Sali Shabani, and the local school building, the LDK chapter in Rahovec said.

    [09] Several Malisheva Villages Come Under Serb Fire on Friday

    PRISHTINA, Oct 16 (KIC) - The villages of Dragobil, Marali, Bubavec, Llazic&, Carralluk&, Maxhar& came under renewed Serb forces' fire in the evening hours on Thursday, Isuf Bytyqi, head of the LDK Information Commission in Malisheva, said today.

    Albanian villages along the Malisheva-Kijeva roadway were attacked on Wednesday and Thursday morning, too.

    A 28-year-old Albanian, Adnan Pa^arizi, was wounded in Dragobil village on Wednesday evening, when his village was pounded with artillery fire.

    The Malisheva villages have been attacked from several Serb bases in the area, including the Rahovec wine-cellars where heavy Serb troops are reported garrisoned in.

    The LDK activist said that Dragobil, Marali, Bubavec, Llazic&, Carralluk&, Maxhar& were pounded with artillery on two occasions today (Friday), from 8:00 through 10:00, and around noon. At least two foreign reporter crews touring the area could witness the shelling of Albanian communities today, he said.

    Isuf Bytyqi could not confirm if there were casualties in these villages today.

    Yesterday afternoon, Serb forces set ablaze half a dozen houses of Albanians in Mle^an village, and at least two in Kijeva, the LDK activist said.

    [10] Serb Forces Camouflage in De^an Area, Open Fire on Albanian Villages at Night

    PRISHTINA, Oct 16 (KIC) - Serb forces based at Suka e Biteshit (Bitesh uphill) near De^an opened artillery fire both last night and today morning in the direction of Grama^el, Baballoq, Dubrav&, Sheptej&, Gllogjan and Ratish, the LDK Information Commission of De^an said.

    The few Albanians residing in these villages, mainly elderly people, have been moving out and seeking shelter in the village of Isniq, Strellc i Posht&m, Lluk& e Ep&rme and Prapa^an, the Commission said. It could not confirm if there were any casualties.

    Sources in De^an said Serb troops have been intensively repositioning in the area, moving in and out, the numbers remaining the same effectively.

    Kosova Information Center

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