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Kosova Daily Report #1525, 98-08-18

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 #1525
Prishtina, 18 August 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Rugova Receives Ambassador Hill
  • [02] Ambassador Hill's Statement on the Kosova Negotiating Process
  • [03] Dr. Agani Calls for Serb Side to Stop Propagandeering over Negotiations
  • [04] Heavy Artillery Explosions in Gjakova Area Reported
  • [05] Serbs Carry On Campaign of Torching Albanian Homes in Peja
  • [06] Killed and Wounded Serb Policemen Reported in Kosova
  • [07] Serb Troops Resume Attacking Village in Suhareka
  • [08] Serbs Hold Hostage Son of LDK Activist in Ka^anik

  • [01] President Rugova Receives Ambassador Hill

    Rugova discussed Kosova yesterday with Canadian Ambassador, Raphael Girard PRISHTINA, Aug 18 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received today in Prishtina Ambassador Chris Hill, the U.S. Ambassador to FYROM, and a mediator on Kosova between Prishtina and Belgrade.

    In the meeting, the most recent developments in Kosova and the modes to create an appropriate climate for the establishment of a process of negotiations between Prishtina and Belgrade were discussed.

    President Rugova pressed for an immediate halt to the Serbian offensive, which has caused the displacement of a great number of Albanians.

    An early establishment of a process of dialogue is necessary, but a climate conducive to a talks process should be created first, President Ibrahim Rugova said.

    He said he appreciated highly the work of Ambassador Hill in meditating between Prishtina and Belgrade.

    Meanwhile, President Rugova received yesterday afternoon in Prishtina the Canadian Ambassador to Belgrade, Raphael Girard.

    The current developments in Kosova, the prospects for a resolution, as well as the role Canada can play in it, were discussed in the meeting, President Rugova's office said.

    [02] Ambassador Hill's Statement on the Kosova Negotiating Process

    PRISHTINA, Aug 18 (KIC) - Ambassador Chris Hill, the U.S. diplomat mediating between Prishtina and Belgrade, held a press briefing in the U.S. Center in Prishtina today afternoon.

    Following is an unofficial transcript of his remarks: "We've been here in Prishtina today working with the Albanian negotiating team. Let me say, the process has just begun. We have a long way to go, but it has begun. We have been discussing some ideas here over the weekend. We took some of those ideas to Beograd yesterday. And we are back here this morning to discuss some of the ideas we got in Beograd, and then we will be going back up to Beograd this afternoon.

    Let me say, it is going to be a long process. It is not an easy one. We are looking at probably going at a sort of a two-phase process. First of all, looking at some initial steps that can be taken to get the institutions here working again, try to democratize the situation here, and, maybe at a later date, discuss some of the broader proper issues related to the status. We had some discussions here, not only with the negotiating team, but I met with Dr. [Ibrahim] Rugova, and I want to emphasize he takes responsibility for moving this process ahead. This is one of the key things that needed to be done. We needed someone here to be taking responsibility for the process. We also briefed some other people, including Mr. [Adem] Dema^i, to try to keep other people informed. As Dr. Rugova said Thursday afternoon when he announced the delegation - when he announced the negotiating team - the door was open to other people who want to join in. And we intend to make this a very open process, and we hope others will also participate."

    Ambassador Chris Hill then took a few questions.

    Asked to elaborate on what the 'long process' meant ("Does this mean that during this time Kosova will be without Albanians?"), Hill said he was not sure as to what was implied in that. "I don't to say this is going to drag on for years or something, but it is a difficult process. There are some substantial disagreements between the parties. It is not an easy process, but we are not going to stay out of it; we will work very hard at it. As I've said many times, an I'll say it again, to most of you who have just returned from your summer vacations, that we believe very strongly this is going to be a process solved through negotiations, no one is going to resolve the problem of Kosovo by arms. It is a problem that has to be solved at the table, through peaceful and political dialogue, and that's what we are working on."

    Asked to say when the next meeting between the Albanian and the Serbian sides would be, and whether he would be participating in it, Ambassador Hill said: "Right now, we are shuttling between the two sides. I am sure there will be meetings, when meetings are necessary, and when meetings will produce results. But right now we are shuttling, we are exploring ideas. Again, it is not easy, but are going to stay at this, and we are going to stay at it until we succeed."

    Asked whether the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA) was needed really on board, the U.S. Ambassador said for Kosova negotiating process to be durable, for this process to show results, there was need for a lot of different people to be on board. "We feel the best way to get them on board is to show that this is the process, that is a process supported by the international community, and perhaps most fundamentally and most importantly, we need a process that yields results. We understand the challenge of trying to get others on board."

    A reporter asked about the concrete plan of resolving the political status of Kosova. "We are discussing a whole range of issues. And obviously that will have to be addressed as well.", Ambassador Hill concluded.

    [03] Dr. Agani Calls for Serb Side to Stop Propagandeering over Negotiations

    PRISHTINA, Aug 18 (KIC) - On behalf of the Kosova negotiating team, Dr. Fehmi Agani sent a second letter in two days to the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Ratko Markovic.

    In it, the chief Kosova negotiator calls on the Serb side to stop propagandeering over the negotiating process.

    Dr. Fehmi Agani recalls initially that in his yesterday's letter, he had expressed the wish for talks to resume as soon as possible.

    He said he reconfirmed it today, but reaffirmed also the need for an end to the Serbian violence against the civilian population and the demand that the Serbian police and military units involved in repression be pulled out.

    "If you have nothing to add, perhaps it would be useful for you to end the whole game with calls for meetings, which are obviously timed and designed for propaganda purposes", Dr. Fehmi Agani said in his letter to the Belgrade's chief negotiator.

    The manner and the timing of the meetings will be arranged by Ambassador Hill, who last evening was in Belgrade and today in Prishtina, the Kosova negotiator reaffirmed.

    [04] Heavy Artillery Explosions in Gjakova Area Reported

    10,000 Albanians living rough in the hills and forests, in appalling conditions PRISHTINA, Aug (KIC) - Heavy explosions from Serb artillery guns targeting villages in the municipality of Gjakova were heard since the early in the morning today (Tuesday), LDK sources in Gjakova said. They failed to mention targeted villages by name.

    Gunfire was reported in the border area with Albania overnight.

    The body of a killed Albanian, still unidentified, was taken by the police to the Gjakova morgue yesterday. He was presumed killed in the village of Stub&ll of the Reka e Keqe region.

    LDK sources in Gjakova said the Serb security has embarked on a large campaign of arrests of Albanians. Some 30 Albanians, who had found refuge in Gjakova, were arrested last night alone, they reported. Their identity or indeed the motive for their arrest is unknown.

    Meanwhile, reports said the displaced Albanian population - around 10,000 - scattered about the hills and forests in Dushkaj& and Drini river area is appalling.

    Local humanitarian organizations have made efforts to deliver some aid to them, but they have failed since all roads leading to the area are sealed off by Serb police.

    The people who are living rough may starve soon if international NGOs do not intervene urgently, LDK sources in Gjakova said.

    There are even people in the town of Gjakova who have not yet been offered shelter, the LDK said, adding that it is hard to cope with so many new arrivals at a time the population has been swelled with more than 50,000 refugees.

    [05] Serbs Carry On Campaign of Torching Albanian Homes in Peja

    PRISHTINA, Aug 18 (KIC) - Serb forces have resumed today torching the remaining houses in the Loxha village of Peja ('Pec'), local sources said.

    Many Albanian houses in the village of Loxh& as well as Dardania suburbs were set ablaze by Serb troops on Monday.

    Witnesses said the houses that have not been destroyed or burned during the Serb shelling over the weekend are now being doused with gasoline and set ablaze.

    Sources have said lately that Serbs have brought truckloads of bottles filled with gasoline, which have been used for dousing and burning property and houses of Albanians in Kosova.

    [06] Killed and Wounded Serb Policemen Reported in Kosova

    Serb press says the bodies of two Serb policemen were found in Loxh& PRISHTINA, Aug 18 (KIC) - The Serbian police has found in the village of Loxh&, near Pej&, the bodies of two Serb policemen who were wounded and taken hostage on 6 July by the members of the U^K (Kosova Liberation Army), the Serb Dnevni Telegraf daily reported.

    It added that another Serb policemen died yesterday in a Belgrade hospital of wounds he had received.

    Meanwhile, a Serb policeman was killed and another wounded yesterday by automatic fire in the village of Duh&l, in the municipality of Suhareka, the Serb press reported.

    On Sunday evening, on the Prizren-Gjakova roadway, near Landovica, two Serb policemen were wounded, one of them seriously, the press said, adding that the traffic police patrol was attacked from a Golf-made car.

    An armed group of Albanians attacked yesterday Serb policemen in Stant&rg ('Stari Trg'), near Mitrovica. A policeman was reported wounded according to the Serb press.

    [07] Serb Troops Resume Attacking Village in Suhareka

    PRISHTINA, Aug 18 (KIC) - The village of Sllapuzhan in Suhareka was pounded again for over one hour with heavy artillery on Monday evening from 9 through 10 p.m., the KIC field sources said.

    The village was attacked with machine-gun fire as well as a couple of heavy missiles. The echo of detonations was heard in the town of Suhareka itself, the local LDK Information Commission reported.

    The Commission said it had no immediate reports about possible casualties.

    Sllapuzhan and three other villages in the municipality of Suhareka - Duhla, Bllaca and Maqiteva - were attacked on several occasions by Serb troops last weekend. Two of them, Duhla and Bllaca, were turned into rubble on Saturday, when Serb infantry set afire whatever had been left in the wake of continued shelling.

    [08] Serbs Hold Hostage Son of LDK Activist in Ka^anik

    PRISHTINA, Aug 18 (KIC) - Arben Berisha (19) from Doganaj village of Ka^anik has been reported held as hostage by Serb police since Monday afternoon. The Serbs threatened they would not let the boy free until his father, head of the local LDK sub-branch, shows up himself in the Serb police station in the town.

    The LDK chapter in Ka^anik said three Serb policemen asked for Hamit Berisha at his place in Doganaj village.

    As Mr. Berisha was not at home, Serbs apprehended his son Arben instead.

    Serb Supreme Court Extends Imprisonment Term for 12 Albanians PRISHTINA, Aug 18 (KIC) - The Serbian Supreme Court ruled last week that 12 Albanians from Rahovec and surrounding villages would have their pre-trial detenttion extended for two additional months.

    The detainees - Hazir Krasniqi, Osman Kastrati, Gani Morina, Qemajl Byty^i, Sali Byty^i, Hidajet Morina, Nehat Byty^i, Arsim Morina, Besim Kastrati, Ramadan Morina, Zenel Rrustemi and Agim Morina - were rounded up by Serb forces about one month ago.

    The Serb court authorities have accused them for alleged hostile activity and terrorism.

    According to the defending attorney, Mr. Syl& Hoxha, they were not apprehended in the fighting, but rather while working in the fields and on their way back home. The court lacks evidence in support of the charges and all the defendants have denied involvement in alleged hostile activities, he said.

    Dozens of Albanians have been indicted by Serb court authorities over the past months, facing terrorism-related charges.

    According to the Serb media charges were brought against at least 140 Albanians from Rahovec, Suhareka and Malisheva municipalities last month alone.

    Kosova Information Center

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