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Kosova Daily Report #1315, 98-01-08
From: Kosova Information Center <email@example.com>
Kosova Information Center
KOSOVA DAILY REPORT #1315
Prishtina, 8 January 1998
 President Rugova Receives Albania's DiplomatPRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received today in Prishtina, Mr. Florian Nova, the newly-appointed Charge d'Affaires of Albania in Belgrade.
The situation in Kosova and Albania was discussed at length.
President Rugova noted that the situation in Kosova has been grave as a result of the systematic Serbian regime oppressive policies.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the people of Kosova to independence through peaceful means.
 Kosova Is An Area of Great Concern to U.S.A, Ambassador Gelbard SaysWe consider Kosovo to be an issue of very, very high priority and tremendous concern to our government, Gelbard says PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - "Kosovo is an area of great concern to us, as are all the other issues," said the Special Representative of the President Clinton and Secretary of State, Ambassador Robert Gelbard in a news conference in Washington on Tuesday (source ISIS).
"We are tremendously concerned about it, first the developing violence which is taking place in Kosovo; the lack of dialogue between Kosovar Albanian leaders and the federal government, particularly including President Milosevic; the failure to implement the education agreement, in which the Catholic Church officials from Sant' Egidio group, Monsignor Vicente Paglia (ph), has been playing a key role," Gelbard said.
Ambassador Gelbard said he had spent a great deal of time talking with "Kosovar Albanian leaders, both in FRY and here. Most recently we had some student leaders from Kosova here, whom I knew already.
I have visited Kosova before, and I expect to visit it again. And we consider Kosovo to be an issue of very, very high priority and tremendous concern to our government".
Speaking about the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, Ambassador Gelbard said "we have made it very clear - I personally and the others in the American Government - on repeated occasions that we firmly and totally oppose any resort to violence on this or any other issue. The so-called Kosova Liberation Army is a group which needs to be extremely careful in what it does and what it alleges it does. It is running the risk of being labeled a "terrorist organization" by the United States government", he said.
Ambassador Gelbard explained that one of his previous responsibilities was running U.S. counterterrorism policy and that he had been a target for terrorist attempts, in the past, on several occasions.
"We do believe that it is incumbent upon Slobodan Milosevic, it is incumbent upon other leaders of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to begin a serious dialogue, a productive dialogue, with Kosovar Albanian leadership," said Mr. Gelbard and added "if they don't, this is only going to produce radicalization in Kosovo."
Ambassador Gelbard said the failure to implement the education agreement is a very good example of this. "I think the university students have shown remarkable restraint and great creativity in the peaceful demonstrations, which they have undertaken in recent months. They have discussed these demonstrations with me frequently. I have told them, very clearly, there is a long and fine tradition in the United States of peaceful demonstrations. But I have warned them, in the strongest possible terms, to avoid any recourse to violence, or they will immediately lose our support."
Ambassador Gelbard said he met with all Kosovar Albanian leaders he could find, starting from President Rugova, Adem Demaci and others, journalists and individuals. "We are urging all parties concerned to use restraint. But we want to try to assure that there are ways found to assure that there will be greater dialogue as a way of bringing people together, as opposed to using violence."
Mr. Gelbard spoke also about The United States government's economic assistance in Kosova, "basically disaster relief assistance," and added, "we are considering other kinds of assistance, too, to try to help democratic organization in the region."
Speaking of the readiness of Albanians for a dialogue Ambassador Gelbard said "if you talk to 10 Albanians, you get 12 options. I think it's important that they begin to try to work together to develop some common positions, common understanding, that will work toward dialogue."
Mr. Gelbard explained that the United States maintains an official presence in Prishtina. "Through that office and a U.S. diplomat, we maintain a very active dialogue on a permanent basis with all the parties concerned in Kosovo," said Gelbard.
Ambassador pointed out that he has invited his colleagues in the Contact Group for a meeting Thursday and that one of the things they will be discussing is Kosovo.
 The Senate of the University of Prishtina Appoints Acting RectorPRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - The Senate of the University of Prishtina in a meeting today appointed Prof. Dr. Ahmet Geca as the Acting Rector of the Prishtina University.
The Senate announced that the new Rector of the University of Prishtina should be elected in an open election process until 15 March, 1998.
While the independent candidates for the rector of the University should submit their candidacy until 1 February 1998, the Faculties may submit their proposal for the new rector until 15 February.
 "U^K" Claim Responsibility for a Number of Armed Attacks in Kosova and MacedoniaFYROM authorities rule out possibility of U^K's involvement in armed attacks in this republic PRISHTINA, Jan 8 (KIC) - An underground organization calling itself "Ushtria ^lirimtare e Kosov&s" (Kosova Liberation Army - U^K) has claimed responsibility for several armed attacks against the Serbian police in Kosova and Macedonian police in a couple of towns in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) during last December and this January.
A fax message sent to the media said on 25 December 1997, "pursuant to a decision of the Central Headquarters, units of U^K carried two armed attacks against the Serbian police in Podujeva. The first one was carried at Zakuta village where a police vehicle was attacked, while the second one in downtown Podujeva were the Serb police station was attacked," read the message, and added "material damage was cause on both the occasions."
The message further said that similar attacks were carried in Macedonia, or "operation zone 2" as the alleged army has put it.
"On 16 December 1997 explosive devise was thrown at the anti- Albanian Court in Gostivar, causing material damage. On 4 January 1998, explosive devise was likewise thrown at police [FYROM] stations in Kumanova and Prilep. Several police vehicles were destroyed and material damage was caused", the U^K statement, carried in the today's issue of the Prishtina- based daily Koha Ditore.
The FYROM police authorities have refuted the climes of "U^K" related to armed attacks against the Macedonian police in December and January. Quoting a statement of the FYROM Interior Ministry, the Macedonian state television has said that "the U^K statement is a sheer speculation".
The FYROM television further said that the Shkupi/Skopje-based magazine "Plus" in a dossier published in its new years issue said that there are three underground Albanian organizations in FYROM but the U^K is not one of them.
Meanwhile, the former Serb Minister of Interior, Radmilo Bogdanovic, currently a high-ranking official of the Milosevics SPS party has told the Belgrade-based daily Dnevni Telegraf that the Kosova Liberation Army does not exists."It's only individuals who over-estimate themselves, and the police has been ignoring its" the Telegraf quoted today Bogdanovic.
Over the past couple of years the alleged "Kosova Liberation Army" has claimed responsibility for a number of armed attacks against Serb police personnel and installations in Kosova, as well as several Albanians labelled as collaborators of the Serb regime.
The U^K has commonly sent fax message to media in Kosova and abroad, undersigned by the U^K headquarter, bearing neither the date nor the place they were sent from. Many annalists have designated it as "the fax organization".
The Kosova leadership has continuously expressed doubts over the existence of the alleged organization.
Kosova Information Center