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Kosova Daily Report #1591, 98-10-23

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 #1591
Prishtina, 23 October 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Rugova Accorded Sakharov Prize by European Parliament
  • [02] Rugova Receives OSCE Mission Head Walker, UN Envoy Dienstbir
  • [03] Summary of President Rugova's Press Conference
  • [04] FOCUS: Hill's Plan Addresses Kosova Within Serbia, Djukanovic Says Approvingly
  • [05] Serb Forces Dig in around Villages of Gjakova and Vushtrii
  • [06] Volatile Situation in Malisheva, Repositioning Serb Troops Resume Fire
  • [07] Serb Forces Shell Lladroc Village Today
  • [08] Old Woman, Three Children Die of Dire Living Conditions
  • [09] Serb Military Police Arrests a Dozen Albanians at Railway Station in Plemetin
  • [10] Attorneys of LDK Activist Warn Over Deteriorating Health of their Client in Custody
  • [11] Serb Raids Refugee Homes

  • [01] President Rugova Accorded Sakharov Prize by European Parliament

    PRISHTINA, Oct 23 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr Ibrahim Rugova has been accorded the prestigious Sakharov Prize for 1998 by the European Parliament.

    The group of the Popular and Christian Democratic parties had put forward Rugova as a candidate, whereas the Liberals, the Greens, the Europe of Nations and UPE groups supported it in the plenary session of the Parliament in Strasbourg, the KIC sources said.

    There were two other candidates this year - Ukshin Hoti, a Kosovar teacher of the University of Prishtina, and Akin Birdal, a leading human rights activist in Turkey.

    The Sakharov prize is accorded to personalities committed to human rights and democracy.

    Dr. Ibrahim Rugova has been rewarded for his policies of non- violent struggle pursued by the Albanian people of Kosova against Serbian rule in Kosova.

    The Prize will be accorded Rugova in December. In the ceremony earlier laureates of the Sakharov prize will be invited, including Adem Dema^i, the first Kosovar to have won it, sources said.

    [02] Rugova Receives OSCE Mission Head Walker, UN Envoy Dienstbir

    PRISHTINA, Oct 23 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received today afternoon Ambassador William Walker, head of the OSCE Kosova Verification Mission, who is for a one-day introductory visit to Kosova.

    President Rugova described the situation in Kosova as grave and dangerous, as a consequence of the Serb military and police offensives against the Albanian people this year.

    The U.S. diplomat, Ambassador Walker, briefed President Rugova on the OSCE Verification Mission's mandate with regard to compliance with UNSCR 1199 and descalating the situation in Kosova in pursuit of a political resolution.

    The OSCE Mission is welcomed by the people, Rugova said, and pledged the support and cooperation of Kosovar institutions.

    Mr. Walker gave a press briefing today afternoon at the American Center in Prishtina.

    Meanwhile, earlier today President Rugova received Mr. Jiri Dienstbir, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in former Yugoslavia.

    The UN official said he had come to Kosova to see the situation first-hand and report to the UN General Assembly.

    Serbian forces have not been withdrawing, but rather repositioning in Kosova, President Rugova said, adding that such a huge presence makes it impossible for Albanian refugees to return to their homes and restore their lives.

    [03] Summary of President Rugova's Press Conference

    PRISHTINA, Oct 23 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova told reporters today (Friday) the situation in the country continued to be dangerous amidst continued Serb shelling of the villages of Malisheva, Gjakova area, and Drenica region.

    There have been new displaced Albanians in Malisheva area, Rugova said, recalling that thousands of people continue living rough in the open. Serb police has been prevented people from returning to their homes in a number of villages, he said.

    President Rugova, who is also leader of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), said Albanian political activists are being illtreated and arrested. The LDK chapter leadership in Gjilan, including its vice-chairman Lutfi Haziri, have been arrested this past week by the Serb police, he said.

    The Kosova President condemned in the strongest terms the killing Thursday by the Serb military of four members of a Kosovar Albanian refugee family returning back to their home village near the Kosova-Albania border. There should be international security in the process of the return of Albanian refugees, Rugova said, noting that the huge Serb police presence is a deterrent factor. "Serb forces are regrouping rather than actually withdrawing from Kosova", as demanded by the international community, he warned.

    President Ibrahim Rugova reiterated his call for international protection of the people of Kosova. The NATO activation order for air strikes against Serbian targets should be kept in place, and NATO ground troops committed to Kosova, he said.

    The best solution for Kosova is independence, with all guarantees for the local Serb community, and an interim stage international protectorate pending a lasting resolution, Ibrahim Rugova underscored.

    Dr. Rugova availed himself of the opportunity to thank members of the European Parliament who accorded him the Sakharov Prize 1998.

    The news of this Prize comes in "hard times for Kosova". It honours the people and citizens of Kosova, he said. "It is in recognition of the peaceful resistance of the people of Kosova towards peace, independence and democracy, and it honours the people's sacrifices".

    The European Parliament and the U.S. Congress are two institutions which have been speaking out for Kosova since the 1980s, this year's Sakharov Prize winner said.

    "I am delighted to be amongst the laureates of this Prize, including Mandela. It is of importance for Kosova that I am the second winner of the Prize, after Adem Dema^i. Besides, one of the candidates this year was yet another Kosovar, Ukshin Hoti, who is in (Serbian) prison", President Ibrahim Rugova said.

    Asked by a foreign reporter to comment on reported remarks in Brussels and elsewhere that there has been progress in Kosova with regard to Serb troop withdrawals, President Ibrahim Rugova said Serb forces are still in Kosova. "One cannot say there has been any progress. Therefore, I have demanded that the NATO activation order remain in place, as a leverage to pressure Belgrade, and that NATO establishes a ground presence in Kosova", the President of the Republic concluded.

    [04] FOCUS: Hill's Plan Addresses Kosova Within Serbia, Djukanovic Says Approvingly

    It is ironical and preposterous indeed that Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic feeds his vanity, one of a tiny ruler pampered by the West, with such an ambition: to have a critical say on what the status of a nation, Kosova, outnumbering his own by four to one, will be!

    PRISHTINA, Oct 23 (KIC) - "I know the importance of Kosovo to the Republic of Montenegro, and the importance of substantial consultation with the President of the Republic of Montenegro in light of what is happening,", Ambassador Chris Hill, the U.S. ambassador to Shkup/FYROM, and an envoy for Kosova, told independent media representatives in Montenegro on Tuesday, 20 October.

    "We [Hill and President Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro] also talked about the draft ideas for a political settlement" in Kosova, Ambassador Hill said in Podgorica.

    Asked to say what political options concerning Kosova he had discussed with Djukanovic that day, and whether one of the options for Kosova was to be a third republic of Yugoslavia (composed of Serbia and Montenegro), the U.S. diplomat said he did not discuss different options for Kosova. "I described to President Djukanovic the draft agreement that we have."

    Kosova Albanians would very much like that "Kosovo be taken out of Serbia", Chris Hill stressed. "That, however, is a position that we do not feel that we can achieve agreement on from the Serbs."

    The focus has been placed on international democratization in Kosova, "with the understanding that after three years there will be a comprehensive review of the agreement, with consideration of what additional measures should be taken," the U.S. envoy said."And of course the Albanians would like this consideration of next steps to include a new status for Kosovo. And certainly they would absolutely have the right to raise that," Hill said, implying that there would be no provisions in the interim accord which would stipulate that a new status be sought for Kosova, that the people of Kosova would decide in a referendum or in any other way as to what their wishes with regard to their status would be.

    Meanwhile, President Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro, served as Slobodan Milosevic's advocate on Thursday when he said Kosova should remain in Serbia, and even threatened that Montenegro would reconsider its position towards the Yugoslav Federation if Kosova's was to be upgraded to a third republic.

    Speaking at a press conference in Podgorica, Djukanovic said: "If there is any susbtantial shift from the political platform offered by Ambassador Hill, which treats the Kosova problem within the framework of the Republic of Serbia", then Montenegro would reconsider its position, because in that case, his argument goes, Montenegro's equality in the two-member federation would be endangered.

    As if to round off the "importance of Kosovo to the Republic of Montenegro"!

    There has been much rhetoric and myth about the significance of Kosova to Serbia. We are hearing now new talk on Kosova being important to Montenegro, this being affirmed by the leader of Montenegro. It is ironical indeed that Djukanovic feeds his vanity, one of a tiny ruler pampered by the West, with such an ambition: to have a critical say on what the status of a nation, Kosova, outnumbering his own by four to one, will be!.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. envoy for Kosova said Thursday afternoon in Prishtina he had brought with him a lawyer from the State Department, Jonathan Levitsky, to continue to work on the political agreement. "We are going to have a new draft very shortly", Chris Hill said.

    One should only hope the new draft is substantially more accommodating to the demands of the people of Kosova, not Serbia.

    For there can be no solution for Kosova within Serbia. Neither within Serbia-Montenegro federation, for that matter, unless for a short interim period and on a par with the two republics, rather than subordinate to them.

    Neither Serbia nor Montenegro are willing to accept Kosova as an equal partner in the 'FRY'. The best solution is for Kosova to be an independent nation. For all: Kosova, Serbia and Montenegro. And the rest in the region.

    [05] Serb Forces Dig in around Villages of Gjakova and Vushtrii

    PRISHTINA, Oct 23 (KIC) - Serb forces have resumed today repositioning around Albanian villages in the Hasi region, western Kosova, sources in Gjakova said today.

    Army and police troops have dug in around every village on the border zone with Albania. At the village of Goden, the Srebs have been garrisoned in the houses of the local Albanians as well, witnesses told the LDK chapter in Gjakova.

    LDK sources in Vushtrri ("Vucitrn') said that a Serb army convoy consisting of tanks and trucks trailing artillery pieces were deployed today morning at Brusnik village. Serb forces were reported deployed later today at another village in the area, at Bukosh.

    [06] Volatile Situation in Malisheva, Repositioning Serb Troops Resume Fire

    PRISHTINA, Oct 23 (KIC) - The Serb forces garrisoned near the Volljaka bauxite mine opened sporadic fire last night against several outlying villages in the municipality of Malisheva. The villages of Panorc, Rud and Llap^ev& were sprayed with machine-gun fire on several occasions, local sources said.

    The Malisheva LDK chapter said a large number of uprooted people were still last night in makeshift shelters, while the air temperature dropped nearly to the freezing level in the mountains.

    A 35-year-old refugee, Elmi Mazreku, resident of Malisheva, died lats night in a camping site. His family were unable to take him to a clinic for treatment, sources said.

    Serb military forces were deployed today morning in two locations in the area, at Mariachi and Pishat e Volljak&s (Voljaka Pinewood).

    [07] Serb Forces Shell Lladroc Village Today

    PRISHTINA, Oct 23 (KIC) - At midday today, Serb military and police forces positioned at a location called "Rreze" started shelling the village of Lladroc, local LDK sources said.

    Reportedly, Az& Krasniqi (33), resident of Carralluk& village Malisheva, was wounded by the shelling. She was staying in Lladroc as a refuge.

    [08] Old Woman, Three Children Die of Dire Living Conditions

    PRISHTINA, Oct 23 (KIC) - Four more Albanian civilians have died in the village of Kralan of Gjakova amidst dire living conditions, the LDK chapter in Gjakova.

    The 60-year-old woman, Faz& Aliaj, Hysen Feta's three-month infant, Shaban Zenuni's two-year-old child, as well as another 2-year-old child, have died, the LDK said, failing to offer other specifics on the circumstances they have been living in.

    [09] Serb Military Police Arrests a Dozen Albanians at Railway Station in Plemetin

    PRISHTINA, Oct 23 (KIC) - At least 12 Albanians were arrested in Plemetin village of Obiliq on Thursday, when the Yugoslav military police cracked down on the train in the local railway station.

    Witnesses told the KIC that the Albanians were forces off a train and were taken to places still unknown.

    The LDK chapter in Vushtrri said the Serb military police has cracked down on the railway station in Plemetin on several occasions on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, Serb police and soldiers halted every bus travelling the Prishtina-Obiliq-Plemetin- Prelluzha roadway from 9 a.m. through 3 p.m. Passengers on board the buses were subjected to strict checking and intimidation.

    [10] Attorneys of LDK Activist Warn Over Deteriorating Health of their Client in Custody

    PRISHTINA, Oct 23 (KIC) - Bajram Kelmendi and Nekibe Kelmendi, defending attorneys of the vice-chairman of the LDK chapter in Gjilan, Lutfi Haziri, have warned that the health condition of client was deteriorating after he was tortured in the hands of the Serb state security.

    Mr. Haziri has been held in Serb police custody in Gjilan since 15 October, when he was arrested at his home. He has been now facing terrorism-related charges. Only five days after his arrest, on 20 October 1998, Haziri was cross-examined by an investigating magistrate of the Gjilan District Court.

    The lawyers claimed that their client "was constrained to make the very confession the Security wanted from him and he has suffered body injuries from the torture". Lutfi Haziri confirmed in front of the investigating magistrate and the defending attorneys who attended his interrogation that he was tortured. The judge refused to include that part of his statement in the minute-book.

    Bajram and Nekibe Kelmendi insist that their client be taken to the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Prishtina in order to corroborate that force had been used against him, and to provide him adequate medical treatment. However, the Serb court authorities have been rejecting their demand.

    In a written plea addressed to the court, they said the their client needed urgent medical treatment. They noted that the court has been deliberately refusing to take him to a doctor "because as the times passes, marks of torture will fade".

    [11] Serb Raids Refugee Homes

    PRISHTINA, Oct 23 (KIC) - Early in the morning today, the Serb forces cracked down on several Albanian homes in Gjilan, intimidating scores of local residents.

    Sources in Gjilan said that the Serb police campaign today was focused in the "Dheu i Bardh&" suburb, raiding in particular houses in which refugees from other war-torn parts of Kosova have found shelter.

    Family member of Habib Shala from Fushtica (Gllogovc), who have been staying at Ramush Neziri's home, were maltreated by over 20 Serb policemen who raided the home.

    Habib Shala (1948) and his son Petrit were arrested subsequently, and both of them were reported still in custody in mid-afternoon.

    Kosova Information Center

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