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Kosova Daily Report #1520, 98-08-13

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 #1520
Prishtina, 13 August 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] Serbian Offensive in Border Area Continues, Intensity Lower Today
  • [02] U^K Says Dema^i Should Chair the Work for "Creation of the Institutions of Kosova"
  • [03] Serb Police Wages Brutal Campaign of Violence in Mitrovica
  • [04] Serb Paramilitaries Attack Albanian Village in Vushtrri
  • [05] Serbs Open Machine-gun Fire on Obiliq Villages
  • [06] Serb Police Shuts Down Warehouses of Kosovar Aid Organization
  • [07] Armed Serb Burglarizes Bakery in Prishtina, Beats and Bullies Workers
  • [08] President Rugova Announces Kosova Negotiating Team
  • [09] Statement by Ambassador Christopher R. Hill
  • [10] Remarks by Austrian Ambassador on Behalf of EU Presidency

  • [01] Serbian Offensive in Border Area Continues, Intensity Lower Today

    PRISHTINA, Aug 13 (KIC) - Gunfire was reported continuing in the villages of the Reka e Keqe region and in the huge hill village of Junik, but its intensity was lower today (Thursday), local LDK sources in Gjakova said. They referred to the latest developments in the border area with Albania, where a strong Serb military offensive, involving scores of tanks and heavy artillery pieces, totalling 250 vehicles, has been going on for days.

    Heavy Serb attacks went on yesterday well into the evening in the villages of Gjakova, such as Hereq, Dobrigj& and Firaj&. The main target and the scene of heaviest fighting between Serbian troops and local Albanian resistance forces was in the villages of De^an, though, sources said.

    The villages under Serb attack have been reported smoldering today, smoke billowing from them.

    Against this background, the heavy intensity of the fighting in the past four days, many casualties and an immense material damage are presumed to have been suffered by both sides.

    Serb helicopter gunships flew over the town of Gjakova, and they are presumed to have been operating yesterday in the villages that have been the scene of armed conflicts.6 As a result of Serb military and police operations in the past several months, over 30 Albanian villages in the municipality of Gjakova have been deserted, whereas most of them have been turned into scorched earth, local LDK sources said.

    In the evening hours Wednesday, Serb convoys of military and paramilitary forces paraded the streets of Gjakova, exhibiting as their war trophy uniforms of the U^K (Kosova Liberation Army) and U^K insignia. Serbs engaged in a shooting spree and sang chauvinist songs addressed to the Albanians.

    Meanwhile, there have been worrying reports that Serb military engineering units have been involved in construction works of an unknown nature in the Kodra e ^abratit, adjacent to the town of Gjakova.

    The humanitarian situation in Gjakova is catastrophic, the swelled population being threatened by starvation and epidemics, local sources said.

    A certain amount of humanitarian aid supplies reached Gjakova yesterday and today, largely inadequate to meet the needs of the population, the LDK chapter in Gjakova said.

    [02] U^K Says Dema^i Should Chair the Work for "Creation of the Institutions of Kosova"

    PRISHTINA, Aug 13 (KIC) - The General Staff of the Ushtria ^lirimtare e Kosov&s (U^K, Kosova Liberation Army) issued today (Thursday) afternoon a statement, entitled "Political Declaration, No. 7", in which it referred to its latest set-backs in Kosova as "a tactical retreat", and publicized the names of six people, "the political representatives of the U^K", while naming a seventh, Adem Dema^i, as the man who should lead the work for the "creation of the institutions of Kosova".

    "The tactical retreat aimed at protecting the civilian population has proven to be successful", the statement said, adding that the retaking of "war positions is proof of this".

    Having faced also what it calls a "special warfare", the U^K has emerged out of this situation "stronger than ever", the statement said. "This is the best evidence of our determination to press ahead with the struggle till independence is achieved."

    Speaking about the new political and military conditions in Kosova, the U^K said "institutions that will represent a wide spectrum of the political scene" should be created.

    Against this background, and "to bring an end to manipulation regarding the creation of these institutions", the General Staff publicized the names of its political representatives. They are Jakup Krasniqi, Xhavit Haliti, Bardhyl Mahmuti, Haxhi Tha^i, Faton Mehmetaj and Sokol Bashota, the statement said.

    The U^K said "speculation on the formation of the institutions" represents "one of the forms of the special warfare against the vital interests of the Albanian people".

    "We herewith call on the proponents of such speculation to bring an end to actions that bring disunity. If they fail to do so, we will strike unmercifully", the statement said.

    The statement said that "in order to expedite the process of the creation of the Kosova institutions, the General Staff of the U^K herewith entrusts wholeheartedly Adem Dema^i with a leading role in this process".

    Being as it is, "outside any party umbrella, the U^K demands that Adem Dema^i give up his party activity", the statement of the General Staff concludes.

    Adem Dema^i is currently leader of the Parliamentary Party of Kosova (PPK).

    [03] Serb Police Wages Brutal Campaign of Violence in Mitrovica

    PRISHTINA, Aug 13 (KIC) - Scores of Albanians, passersby and ordinary citizens, were reported brutalized in the town streets of Mitrovica during a large-scale campaign of violence waged by the Serb police on Wednesday afternoon.

    The LDK chapter in Mitrovica reported that several Serb patrols manning over 60 police officers sealed off both ends of the main street in the town at around 13:45 yesterday, brutalizing dozens of Albanians for over two hours. Random passersby and customers in shops and cafs were attacked indiscriminately and beaten with no reason whatsoever by the outraged Serb forces.

    Many received serious body injuries and had to seek medical treatment later. Others were taken to the Serb police station and subjected to additional torture. At least one Albanian, Shemsi Ferizi from Qab&r village, received gunfire wounds. Serb police opened fire in the direction of Mr. Ferizi when he attempted to avoid the unprovoked brutality.

    The local LDK chapter in Mitrovica said it could identify some of the Albanians beaten by the Serb police, including Akif Zeqiri (38), Behxhet Abdullahu (47), Beqir Sahiti (36), brothers Tafil and Aziz Salihu, Fadil Veseli (31), Ismet Beka (54), Kemal Greci (43), Naim Deva (41), Avni Zasella (27), brothers Ujkan (36) and Abedin Asllani (40), Nexhmedin Rexha (43), Ramiz Beqiri (35), Bekim Bajrami, Hasan Deliu (47) and his son Xhevdet Deliu (12), Avni Muharremi (40), Bashkim Hasani (40), Muhamet Zeka (51). Identity of at least a dozens others could not be established as they have failed to report their cases with the LDK or human rights organizations in the town.

    The following Albanians were arrested in the streets in Mitrovica yesterday according to the local LDK chapter: Aziz Misini (52), Sk&nder Sadiku (36), and Hysen Hasani, techesr with the local secondary school in the town, Bahri Isufi, owner of a restaurant and Abit Avdiu, proprietor of a tea-shop called "Lisi". They were all subjcted to brutal ill-tratment while incustody.

    [04] Serb Paramilitaries Attack Albanian Village in Vushtrri

    PRISHTINA, Aug 13 (KIC) - The village of Gllavotin in Vushtrri ('Vucitrn') was fired upon for several hours from a neighboring Serb village of Prilluzha last night, local villagers said.

    Residents of Gllavotin told the LDK chapter in Vushtrri that their farmhouses were attacked for over four hours with machine-guns and snipers. Damage was caused on many houses in the village and several haystacks were burned, they said.

    The Gllavotin villagers spent the night in the basements or other safer places in their houses. The village was attacked on several occasions earlier during then past weeks from the neighboring village of Prilluzha as well as other Serb bases in the area, local sources said.

    Meanwhile, the LDK Information Commission in Vushtrri said a convoy of Serb army tanks drove along the villages of Okrashtica and Pantin& yesterday. Local residents were intimidated and provoked by Serb soldiers on top of the tanks who simulated machine-gun attacks against them.

    [05] Serbs Open Machine-gun Fire on Obiliq Villages

    PRISHTINA, Aug 13 (KIC) - Four villages in the municipality of Obiliq - Graboc i Ep&rm, Shipitull&, Siboc, Lajthisht& and Hamidi - were targeted with machine-gun fire by Serbs both on Wednesday night and toady morning, sources said.

    These villages were attacked from the villages of Babimoc, Janovod&, and Milloshev&, as well as Serb police positions at "Kosova B" power plant, the LDK Information Commission in Obiliq reported.

    Several village around the power plant in Obiliq and the open-pit coal mine in Bella^evc have been targeted almost every day by the Serb troops over the past two months. The area has been sealed of by Serb forces and local Serbs armed to the teeth in the wake of a huge offensive by the Serb troops to regain control over the mines from the U^K.

    Most of the local Albanian population left the area ever since, unable to return amidst campaigns of intimidation and intermittent firearm attacks agaisnt their homes.

    [06] Serb Police Shuts Down Warehouses of Kosovar Aid Organization

    PRISHTINA, Aug 13 (KIC) - The Serb police shut down Wednesday warehouses of the Council for Emergency Aid in Prishtina.

    A statement issued by the Councils today said the Serb police raided its warehouses, carried out a stock registration and closed them down.

    The Council for Emergency Aid of the Republic of Kosova was founded last spring in the wake of the Serb crackdown on Drenica villages, central Kosova, when thousands of Albanians were made homeless. The Serb police has raided its offices and depots in Prishtina on a couple of occasions last and this month.

    "The serious obstruction to the Council by the Serb occupying regime will further deepen the prevailing humantarian crisis in Kosova", the statement of the Council for Emergency Aid said amongst others.

    [07] Armed Serb Burglarizes Bakery in Prishtina, Beats and Bullies Workers

    PRISHTINA, Aug 13 (KIC) - The Prishtina-based Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) said and armed Serb civilian broke into the "Dardania" private bakery in Prishtina on Tuesday night, terrorizing and beating employees and robing of its owner, Muhamet Berisha, 1800 Deutsche marks.

    The CDHRF said that the first name of the Serb was Dragan, failing to learn his secons name. He fired a volley of bullets from an automatic rifle on the bakery before breaking into it through a window.

    Employees of the bakery were forced at gunpoint to walk to a nearby railway road where they were beaten and intimidated, the human rights council said.

    [08] President Rugova Announces Kosova Negotiating Team

    PRISHTINA, Aug 13 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova announced today (Thursday) afternoon the Kosova team for negotiations with Belgrade.

    In a press availability in Prishtina, in which American and European diplomats were present as well as political party representatives of Kosova, the President of the Republic of Kosova said: "I am honored to announce - in the presence of the Contact Group and Ambassador Chris Hill, who has been working with us - the Kosova negotiating team.

    The situation in Kosova is grave and extremely dangerous. We have to press ahead with the negotiating process, to create a climate conductive to negotiations, to protect the people of Kosova and to bring an end to the dramatic developments in Kosova.

    I have designated a negotiating team from the political parties represented in the Parliament of the Republic of Kosova. The team consists of Dr. Fehmi Agani, Fatmir Sejdiu, Tadej Rodiqi, Edita Tahiri and Ilaz Kurteshi. There are some vacancies, which can be filled if need arises.

    We have asked to join this team also Bajram Kosumi from the Partia Parlamentare e Kosov&s (Parliamentary Party of Kosova) and Mehmet Hajrizi from the L&vizja Demokratike Shqiptare (Albanian Democratic Movement). Sadly, they have not accepted to be members of the team.

    We call on them to reconsider their decision and to join efforst to bring an end to this situation in Kosova.

    I urge all the citizens of Kosova to support my decision."

    [09] Statement by Ambassador Christopher R. Hill

    PRISHTINA, Aug 13 (KIC) - The U.S. Ambassador to Shkup/Skopje, Chris Hill, who has been serving as mediator for Kosova, who was present when President Rugova announced the new negotiating team today afternoon, said there was a pressing need for negotiations on Kosova to resume.

    Following is the text of his statement read out to reporters: "I am here, together with representatives of the Contact Group, the EU Presidency, and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to express our full support for the new negotiating team that has been announced today.

    This team is prepared to resume the process of negotiations despite the fact that violence is continuing on the ground. It is precisely because of the violence that it is so important to restart negotiations.

    With the formation of this team, Albanians are demonstrating their readiness to engage in meaningful negotiations. The other side must do the same. Without negotiations, the people of Kosovo will continue to suffer. With negotiations, we can end the conflict and allow people to resume their lives and build a new future.

    I know that the international press corps is here today in large numbers, but for a moment I want to speak through the local press to the Albanians in Kosovo. This negotiating team has been created to represent your interests. It is responsible to you. This team will have the critical task of negotiating agreements that end the violence, foster democracy, and establish the basis for a fair solution to the overall problem of Kosovo.

    These are tasks that cannot wait even one more day, because with every passing day, people lose hope that Kosovo can be a safe and secure place in which to live. We must restore this hope and look to Kosovo's future.

    These are tasks that cannot wait even one more day, because with every passing day, people lose hope that Kosovo can be a safe and secure place in which to live. We must restore this hope and look to Kosovo's future.

    Let me be very clear - the violence must stop, and it must stop immediately. There is no military solution to Kosovo. The only result of continued fighting will be continued suffering. Sadly, it is ordinary people - the residents of each town and village - who suffer the most from this conflict. They don't deserve this. Those who are displaced deserve to come home in safety and security. They deserve a political negotiation that will quickly yield concrete results.

    We hope and expect that all elements of your community will come to support this process. To those who - for whatever reason - do not, I ask that they reserve their judgment and allow the process to go forward.

    The U.S. will remain an active partner in finding a resolution to the Kosovo problem. We will not abandon the search. Together with our colleagues in the Contact Group, we will do all we can to encourage the peace process. In the coming days, we will work hand in hand with the negotiating teams to push ahead. Anyone who has spent any time in Kosovo over the recent weeks and months understands that there is simply no alternative."

    Ambassador Hill took two questions.

    Asked about what the next steps would be, he said the next step is to have some people from the U.S. team coming here and beginning to work with the negotiators immediately, "to go over various ideas".

    "We would like to build momentum quickly, to get some early success. And we hope that with early success we can get additional participants to the process. As Dr. Rugova said, the process is very much open. We very much look forward to additional people to come in.", Hill said.

    Asked to say whether the U^K (Kosova Liberation Army) has been ignored, the U.S. envoy said: "No one has been ignored. The door is open."

    [10] Remarks by Austrian Ambassador on Behalf of EU Presidency

    PRISHTINA, Aug 13 (KIC) - Following are the remarks by the Austrian Ambassador to Belgrade, Wolfgan Petrisch, after the announcement of the new Kosova negotiating team in Prishtina today: "I represent the European Union Presidency here in Prishtina today.

    I would jus like to reiterate what Ambassador Hill just said, that is the European Union Presidency supports the negotiating team that was just presented to you by Mr Rugova. We hope that it will help to stop the violence which has been the goal and what the European Union has called for in the past couple of weeks. We hope that the basis for negotiations are now set and that all the people from Kosova as well as the political groups will support this negotiating process. We appeal to the Yugoslav side to take this chance and to immediately return to the negotiating table and start negotiations and a substantial dialogue with the Kosovo Albanian people. Thank you."

    Kosova Information Center

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