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Kosova Daily Report #1669, 99-01-20

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 #1669
Prishtina, 20 January 1999


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Rugova Receives Italian Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs
  • [02] Serbian Forces Open Machine-Gun and Artillery Fire on Llapashtic& Village
  • [03] Serbian Forces Crack down on Mitrovica Neighborhood and Nearby Villages
  • [04] LAST REPORT: Serbian Forces Shell Mitrovica Neighborhood, Villages
  • [05] Decapitated Albanian Found in Rahovec Village
  • [06] Body of Killed Person Lying on Prishtina-Peja Roadside
  • [07] TEXT: U.N. Security Council Statement on Kosova

  • [01] President Rugova Receives Italian Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs

    PRISHTINA, Jan 20 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova, Ibrahim Rugova, received Tuesday evening the Undersecretary in the Italian Foreign Ministry, Mr. Umberto Ranieri, and his aides.

    Attending the meeting was also Italian ambassador to Belgrade, Mr. Ricardo Sessa.

    The very grave and dangerous situation in Kosova, and the possibilities to de-escalate it by creating an environment conducive to negotiations towards a political resolution of the Kosova issue were discussed in the meeting.

    The Italian Undersecretary for foreign affairs, Umberto Ranieri, conveyed his government's indignation over, and condemnation of the massacre in Re^ak, where at least 45 Albanian civilians were slain by Serbian forces last Friday.

    President Rugova said the Re^ak massacre has come on top of an already grave and volatile situation in Kosova. "The massacre of scores of Albanians is additional proof that the people of Kosova needs urgent international protection", Rugova said, pressing Italy to work with other Western allies for a comprehensive intervention in Kosova so as to prevent further tragic developments here and wider in the region. Such an intervention would create the preconditions for a political resolution in Kosova, the President said.

    Regarding the OSCE Kosova Verification Mission (KVM), President Ibrahim Rugova said the people of Kosova has welcomed it in the hope that it will calm the situation, and highly appreciated the work of Ambassador William Walker, the KVM head. "Belgrade's decision to declare Walker a persona non grata is unacceptable", the Kosova President said. "Kosova is an international problem, and Belgrade cannot impose its own policies on Kosova", he added.

    During their meeting in Prishtina, President Rugova and Undersecretary Ranieri discussed also about the prospects to intensify the political process in pursuit of a settlement in Kosova.

    [02] Serbian Forces Open Machine-Gun and Artillery Fire on Llapashtic& Village

    Reportedly, one Albanian was wounded in this northern Kosovar village today

    PRISHTINA, Jan 20 (KIC) - For half an hour today (Wednesday) afternoon, Serbian military forces stationed at 'Tabet e Llapashtic&s' opened today machine-gun and artillery fire in the direction of the village of Llapashtic&, southwest of the town of Podujeva, 30 km north of Podujeva, local LDK sources said.

    The sound of shelling was heard around 15:00 hrs in the town of Podujeva itself, they added.

    An eye-witness told the LDK chapter in Podujeva an Albanian had been wounded in the village of Llapashtic&. No other details were provided.

    Early in the morning today, four Serb army tanks and two APCs left the Dumosh airstrip and were stationed at the entry to the roadway leading to the village of Bellopoj&, near the house of Isak Sfar^a, local sources said. Three more tanks were deployed in the woods near Bellopoj&. The Albanian population of the area fled their homes in fear of Serb army operations.

    A huge Serb police presence, including snipers, has been reported today in Podujeva, a 99 percent Albanian-inhabited town.

    Since the Christmas Serbian offensive against a number of Albanian villages in the Podujeva area - when 18 Albanians, most of whom noncombatants, were killed - heavy Serbian military and paramilitary police forces and tanks and other combat equipment have been massed in the Llapi region, in clear violation of the October 1998 cease-fire agreements.

    [03] Serbian Forces Crack down on Mitrovica Neighborhood and Nearby Villages

    Heavy artillery fire reported also. As many as 14,000 Albanians displaced

    PRISHTINA, Jan 20 (KIC) - Heavy Serbian military and paramilitary police forces besieged today (Wednesday) morning the Ura e Gjakut neighborhood of the town of Mitrovica, and the Shipol and Vaganic& e Poshtme villages near the town, less than 40 km northwest of Prishtina.

    Shooting from arms started at Vaganic& village at 9 a.m., whereas two hours later two Albanians were wounded, LDK sources said. A third was reported wounded later.

    Automatic weapons and artillery fire was reported in the three settlements before noon, and continuing in the afternoon today.

    Scores of Albanian houses were reported raided by Serbian forces today, some 40 in Ura e Gjakut alone today. Many Albanians have been reported arrested. Serb police raided 83 Albanians in this neighborhood yesterday, arrested 25 Albanians, and looted many houses, local sources said.

    In the last three days, thousands of Albanians fled their homes in Ura e Gjakut, Shipol and Vaganic& villages and sought refuge in other parts of the town of Mitrovica and outlying villages.

    As many as 14,000 Albanians have been displaced by this latest Serb crackdown in Mitrovica area, Halit Berani, a local human rights activist told the KIC today afternoon.

    [04] LAST REPORT: Serbian Forces Shell Mitrovica Neighborhood, Villages

    PRISHTINA, Jan 20 (KIC) - Heavy Serbian military and paramilitary police forces have sealed off and been shelling the Ura e Gjakut neighborhood, the Shipol and Vaganic& villages in the outskirts of the town of Mitrovica, since 14:00 hrs today (Wednesday), local sources said.

    Serbian forces have been firing machine-gun and artillery fire against these Albanian settlements from the waterworks in Shipol and the upland of Bair neihgbourhood, where Serb military depots are situated.

    Latest reports said three Albanians have been wounded so far, one of them being Avdyl Muzliukaj (65), resident of Shipol.

    The casualty toll is feared to be higher.

    The KIC was told by a local source in Mitrovica at 15:30 hrs the sound of shelling and machine-gun fire could be heard in the town center of Mitrovica.

    At around 14.00 hrs, Serb armoured vehicles trailing heavy guns left the Mitrovica garrison heading for Vaganic&, Pir^ and Verrnic& villages.

    Today was the beginning of the spring term in Albanian-run elementary and secondary schools in Kosova.

    Resumption of classes in two elementary and four secondary schools in Mitrovica has been postponed till Monday amidst the Serbian crackdown in the area.

    [05] Decapitated Albanian Found in Rahovec Village

    Remains of old Albanian missing for six months found in Malisheva village

    PRISHTINA, Jan 20 (KIC) - The mutilated body of Vehbi Byty^i, 42, was found today in the courtyard of his home at Denj& village of the municipality of Rahovec ('Orahovac'), the Prishtina-based Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) reported. The Albanian had his head cut off and his lungs pulled out, the CDHRF added.

    The late Vehbi, an unarmed civilian, is presumed to have been killed on Monday, 18 January, by yet unknown persons and in still unsolved circumstances.

    Meanwhile, the skeleton body of Vesel Gashi, 70, was found in his native Balinc& village of Malisheva yesterday.

    The old Albanian man had been missing since late July 1998, when Serbian military and police forces mounted an offensive in the Malisheva area, in central Kosova.

    [06] Body of Killed Person Lying on Prishtina-Peja Roadside

    PRISHTINA, Jan 20 (KIC) - The body of a killed person, around 30 years of age, was lying by the roadside on the Prishtina-Peja highway, just up the place where the turn for Malisheva is, an eye- witness told the KIC today afternoon.

    Serbian forces are deployed on both sides of the highway in the area where the killed person was lying, the source said, adding the man might have been shot dead in mid-afternoon today.

    [07] TEXT: U.N. Security Council Statement on Kosova

    PRISHTINA, Jan 20 (KIC) - Following is the text of the U.N. Security Council statement on the massacre of 45 Albanian civilians Kosova. It was read by Council President Celso Amorim of Brazil at a formal meeting late on Tuesday after agreement by all 15 members, Reuters reported.

    (Begin text) "The Security Council strongly condemns the massacres of Kosovo Albanians in the village of Racak in southern Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, on 15 January 1999, as reported by the Organisation for Security and cooperation is Europe (OSCE) Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM).

    "It notes with deep concern that the report of the KVM states that the victims were civilians, including women and at least one child. The Council also takes note of the statement by the head of the KVM that the responsibility for the massacre lay with Federal Republic of Yugoslavia security forces, and that uniformed members of both the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia armed forces and Serbian special police had been involved.

    "The council emphasises the need for an urgent and full investigation of the facts and urgently calls upon the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to work with the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and KVM to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice," the statement said.

    "The Security Council deplores the decision by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to refuse access to the prosecutor of the International Tribunal and calls upon the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to cooperate fully with the International Tribunal in carrying out an investigation in Kosovo, in line with the call for cooperation with the International tribunal in its resolutions 1160 (1998) of March 31, 1998, 1199 (1998) of September 23, 1998 and 1203 (1998) and October 24, 1998.

    "The Security Council notes that, against clear KVM advice, Serb forces returned to Racak on 17 January 1999 and that fighting broke out.

    "The Security Council considers that the events in Racak constitute the latest in a series of threats to the efforts to settle this conflict through negotiation and peaceful means.

    "The Security Council condemns the shooting of personnel of the KVM on January 15, 1999 and all actions endangering KVM and international personnel. It reaffirms its full commitment to the safety and security of the KVM personnel. It reiterates its demands that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanians cooperate fully with the KVM.

    "The Security Council calls upon the parties to cease immediately all acts of violence and to engage in talks on a lasting settlement.

    "The Security Council also strongly warns the 'Kosovo Liberation Army' against actions which are contributing to tensions.

    "The Security Council considers all of these events to be violations of its resolutions and of relevant agreements and commitments calling for restraint.

    "It calls upon all parties to respect fully their commitments under the relevant resolutions and affirms once again its full support for international efforts to facilitate a peaceful settlement on the basis of equality for all citizens and ethnic communities in Kosovo. The council reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

    "The Security Council takes note with concern of the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that five and a half thousand civilians fled the Racak area following the massacre, showing how rapidly a humanitarian crisis could again develop if steps are not taken by the parties to reduce tensions.

    "The Security Council will remain actively seized of the matter."

    (End text)

    Kosova Information Center

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