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Kosova Daily Report #1521, 98-08-14

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 #1521
Prishtina, 14 August 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Rugova's Press Conference
  • [02] U.S., NATO Welcome Announcement of the Kosova Negotiating Team
  • [03] In Two Days, Serb Forces Killed 12, Wounded Over 50 Albanians in De^an Area
  • [04] Serb Forces Burned 1,208 Albanian Houses in Latest Offensive in De^an Area
  • [05] Dema^i Accepts to Represent U^K, Disassociate Himself from His PPK Party
  • [06] Serb Troops Pound with Artillery Fire Two Gllogovc Villages
  • [07] Serb Police Set Three-Day Deadline to Albanian Village to Surrender Arms
  • [08] Serbs Pillage Homes of Albanians in Gllogovc
  • [09] Serb Troops Parade Kosova Roads with Albanian Skullcap On Their Heads
  • [10] Growing Anxiety of Albanians over Their Missing Family Members

  • [01] President Rugova's Press Conference

    PRISHTINA, Aug 14 (KIC) - Ibrahim Rugova, the President of the Republic of Kosova, denounced today in the strongest terms the continued Serbian aggression in Kosova.

    Speaking at a press conference in Prishtina, Rugova said the ongoing Serbian military and police offensive is resulting in killed and wounded people, as well as destruction of settlements and property.

    The Serbian attacks have been concentrated in the De^an and Junik areas, while shelling of villages in Rrafshi i Dukajginit and Drenica region continued, President Rugova said.

    He touched on the extremely grave humanitarian situation of the displaced people, who have taken mountainous forests and have been living rough there.

    The return of Albanians to Rahovec, Malisheva and elsewhere is being obstructed, the Kosova President said, accusing the Serbian police for this. "The process of return should be observed by the international community".

    While the Serb offensive goes on in part of Kosova, the campaign of repression and prosection of Albanian political activists continues, Rugova said.

    President Ibrahim Rugova called for an immediate end to the Serbian military and police offensive in Kosova, reiterating his call for the US, EU, UN, and NATO "to protect Kosova and its people, who is facing a dangerous situation."

    Dr. Rugova said the best solution is for Kosova to be an independent state, with all guarantees for the local Serb community. He reiterated his call for an international protectorate as an interim stage pending a lasting solution in Kosova.

    President Rugova hailed the commitment of President Clinton, President Chirac, Chancellor Kohl and Prime Minister Blair to bring an end to the grave situation in Kosova, as well as the engagement of the Holy Father, John Paul II, on Kosova.

    Asked by the Guardian correspondent to say when the Albanian- Serbian talks will start, President Rugova said the Serbian offensive should be halted and a climate for negotiations created before they can start indeed.

    [02] U.S., NATO Welcome Announcement of the Kosova Negotiating Team

    PRISHTINA, Aug 14 (KIC) - The United States Government welcomed Thursday the formation of the Kosova negotiating team, which was announced earlier in the day by President Ibrahim Rugova.

    White House Deputy Press Secretary Colonel P.J. Crowley said during a briefing Thursday that "through the hard work" in Kosova of Chris Hill, the US Ambassador to FYROM, the Kosova leader Ibrahim Rugova formed his negotiating team, and that the U.S. awaited a similar response from President Milosevic of the 'FRY' regarding discussions on the future of Kosova.

    "The United States applauds this important step.", a statement by James B. Foley, Deputy Spokesman of the State Department said. By doing this, the Kosova leadership has "demonstrated its readiness to engage in a meaningful negotiation", and the Serb side "must do the same", Foley said.

    The statement reads further: "Resolution of the crisis in Kosovo can only be reached through a process of negotiation. Formation of this Kosovar Albanian negotiating team marks the beginning of a process, a new and a promising one, but there is much more to be done to reach settlement. The process will not be easy, especially while violence continues. The United States calls for a halt to current offensive actions, particularly in the Decani and Junik areas. It is critical that both sides sit down at the negotiating table and accept responsibility for ending this conflict. The United States and other Contact Group countries will immediately consult with the new Kosovar Albanian team in preparation for resumption of talks with Serbian authorities."

    Meanwhile, the NATO Secretary General, Dr. Javier Solana, welcomed the news that the Kosova negotiating team had been formed.

    "This is a tribute to the skilful leadership of Dr. Ibrahim Rugova.", Solana said in a statement issued Thursday.

    "It is very important that negotiations are taken forward quickly by both sides in a spirit of cooperation on the basis of the proposals developed by the Contact Group.", the NATO Secretary General said.

    "This is a window of opportunity that must not be allowed to pass by.", Solana concluded.

    [03] In Two Days, Serb Forces Killed 12, Wounded Over 50 Albanians in De^an Area

    PRISHTINA, Aug 14 (KIC) - On Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 and 12 August, Serbian military and police killed 12 Albanians and wounded more than 50 others in the De^an area, local LDK sources in De^an said.

    The following Albanians were reported killed: Nexhat Humaj (Baballo^), Enver H. Halilaj (Gllogjan), Orhan L. Halilaj (Gllogjan), Naim M. Nimanaj (Gllogjan), Xheladin Mushkolaj (Grama^el), G&zim D&rvishaj (Irzniq), Maxhun ^ekaj (Irzniq), Naser Idrizaj (Kodrali), Artan I. Hasani (Dubrav&), Arben Lan Ahmetaj (Gllogjan), Mal& Avdyl Zenaj (Irzniq), and a still unidentified man in the village of Shaptej.

    More than 50 Albanians were wounded on Tuesday and Wednesday alone in De^an area, the LDK sources said.

    [04] Serb Forces Burned 1,208 Albanian Houses in Latest Offensive in De^an Area

    PRISHTINA, Aug 14 (KIC) - Serbian military, paramilitary and police forces have burned 1,208 Albanian houses in the villages of De^an municipality during the most recent offensive, Osman Cacaj, head of the LDK Information Commission in De^an told the KIC today.

    Serbian forces have burned 36 houses in Dubrav& village; 131 in Irzniq; 63 in Shaptej; 37 in Lluk& e Ep&rme; 125 in Baballo^; 90 in Kodrali; 130 in Grama^el; 104 in Gllogjan; 187 in Prejlep; 197 in Carrabreg i Ul&t; and 108 houses in the village of Rastavic&, the LDK official said.

    [05] Dema^i Accepts to Represent U^K, Disassociate Himself from His PPK Party

    PRISHTINA, Aug (KIC) - Adem Dema^i, leader of the Parliamentary Party of Kosova (PPK), said today in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA) Albanian Section he would accept the offer by the U^K for him to have "a leading role in the creation of the institutions of Kosova".

    Just what this meant was not clear from the U^K "Political Declaration, NO. 7", where the offer was made publicly yesterday.

    [see Kosova Daily Report 1521].

    Does this mean that you will be the political representative of the U^K (the Kosova Liberation Army)? - the VOA asked. "Yes. In one way it is this. In one way, it means perhaps more than this, being the political wing of the U^K," Dema^i said.

    Asked whether he would accept the terms of the U^K, namely that he give up party activities, in order to align himself only with the U^K, the PPK leader said he would agree to that. "This is evidence to the high qualities our army possesses, having no ideological or party dimensions."

    "It is my honor to serve for the first time an army that is neither rightist nor leftist, but rather strives for the benefit of the people and sacrifices itself for the benefit of the people", Adem Dema^i told VOA.

    He said the Kosova negotiating team appointed by President Ibrahim Rugova on Thursday will fail. "This so-called negotiating team is only an alchemic effort of those who cherish hopes the tasks will be fulfilled by dreams. This group will fail, because behind it are not the concrete forces such as the U^K and the will of the people.", Dema^i concluded.

    [06] Serb Troops Pound with Artillery Fire Two Gllogovc Villages

    PRISHTINA, Aug 14 (KIC) - The villages of Kishnarek& and Nekoc, in the municipality of Gllogovc, came under heavy artillery fire late in the afternoon Thursday, sources said.

    Nekoc and Kishnarek& are located about four kilometers east of Komoran, a big village on the left side of the Peja-Prishtina roadway, which has been turned into a huge Serb base for three months now. The two villages were pounded yesterday from the Serb police checkpoint on the Prishtina-Peja- Gllogovc crossroads, as well as from a military base at a place called 'Quka e Zabelit', the LDK chapter in Gllogovc said.

    Considerable Number of Residents of Rahovec Have Returned Home, Senior LDK Official Says PRISHTINA, Aug 14 (KIC) - The greater part of the displaced Albanian population of Rahovec ('Orahovac') has returned in the town over the past couple of days, Mr. Eqrem Kryeziu, one of the three vice-chairmen of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) said today.

    Mr. Kryeziu, who is also leader of the LDK chapter in Prizren, said at least 5,000 residents of Rahovec had sought shelter in the town of Prizren alone in the wake of the Serb crackdown in Rahovec in mid-July, when dozens of Albanians were killed and many houses burned or destroyed by Serb troops.

    There have been press reports, based on some eye-witness accounts, circulated by some Western media indicating that mass graves existed in Rahovec suburbs interring perhaps the bodies of more than 500 Albanians killed in the Serb military and police onslaught.

    The town of Rahovec had a population of 20,000 in peacetime.

    While in Prizren, the uprooted population of Rahovec was sheltered in the homes of local Albanians, Eqrem Kryeziu said, whom he thanked on behalf of the LDK for the "hospitality offered to these hapless people".

    [07] Serb Police Set Three-Day Deadline to Albanian Village to Surrender Arms

    PRISHTINA, Aug 14 (KIC) - Residents of the Ozdrim village in Peja ('Pec') have been given a three-day deadline to surrender their arms or face harsh consequences, an all-out attack by Serb troops.

    The LDK chapter in Peja said that a local activist of the Ozdrim village, Halit Gashi, was held for a couple of hours at the Serb police station in Peja on Thursday. Serb police officers vowed they would crush the whole village unless his fellow villagers delivered every single piece of weapon in three days time, Mr. Gashi was quoted as saying.

    Meanwhile, the LDK Information Commission in Peja said the Serb campaign of violence and intimidation against the Albanian population in the town has continued with impunity. Scores of Albanians get harassed on a daily basis by Serb police and paramilitary forces, the LDK said.

    It named several Albanians who have been subject to Serb brutalities lately, including Aziz Sh. Pushk&n (75), a local Muslim cleric in Peja. Mr Pushka was held for 24 hours in the Serb police station in Peja, where he was brutally tortured. He sustained severe body injuries and had to be treated by doctors later.

    [08] Serbs Pillage Homes of Albanians in Gllogovc

    PRISHTINA, Aug 14 (KIC) - Serb forces have been breaking into houses and apartments of Albanians in Gllogovc, pillaging and demolishing them mercilessly, the local chapter of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms (CDHRF) said today.

    The CDHRF said that both uniformed Serb troops and armed civilians have been involved in looting the houses abandoned by local Albanians.

    Hundreds of houses in Komoran village of Gllogovc have been reported demolished and looted by Serbs.

    The local Albanian population has fled Komoran almost three months ago amidst a stepped up campaign of brutalities by Serb troops garrisoned in several places, both in the village and around it.

    [09] Serb Troops Parade Kosova Roads with Albanian Skullcap On Their Heads

    PRISHTINA, Aug 14 (KIC) - Over a dozen of truckloads of Serb forces drove Thursday evening along the Gjakova-Prizren road, provoking the local population in both towns.

    Witnesses said Serbs had on their heads traditional Albanian white skullcaps and sang chauvinist Serb ('chetnik') songs. While passing the "Bazhdarhane" suburb in Prizren, the Serbs on board the army and police trucks opened fire in the air and in direction of houses there.

    Witnesses said foreign reporters, presumably from Italy, were also harassed by the Serb police. The reporters who happened to be there attempted to take photographs of the Serbs wearing Albanian hats and shooting from their automatic guns.

    [10] Growing Anxiety of Albanians over Their Missing Family Members

    PRISHTINA, Aug 15 (KIC) - While the latest Serb offensives across central and south-west Kosova have been continuing, forcing many Albanians on the move for days, many others are suspected to have been massacred or in the hands of the Serb forces.

    The local chapter of the Human Rights Council in Gllogovc said dozens of citizens from the Drenica region have been inquiring about their family members whom they saw last during the Serb onslaughts against their villages. Syl& Shala from ^ikatova e Re said his ten-member family has been missing for two weeks now.

    Other people have said they know nothing about their entire families or one or more members. The human rights chapter in Gllogovc named some of them reported to be missing for days or weeks, such as Afrim Gashi (21) from Kryshec, Sadri Geci, Samir Geci, Mustaf& Geci from Llausha, Sefer Gashi, Gjylferie Gashi, Hyr& Gashi, Selman Gashi from Jashanica of Klina; Kujtim, Artan and Avni Bashota from Cerovik of Klina; Abdullah Duraku froma Buroja, his wife and three kids; Zeqir Tahiraj (70) from Shtarica, Bajram Shala froma Uj&mir of Klinas, Feriz Bislimi, and Ramadan Tahiri from Radisheva, etc.

    Kosova Information Center

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