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Kosova Daily Report #1527, 98-08-20

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 #1527
Prishtina, 20 August 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Rugova Receives EU Commissioner Bonino and UNHCR Official
  • [02] 380,000 Albanians Displaced from their Homes in Kosova, LDK Says
  • [03] Overnight Artillery Fire Reported in Gjakova and De^an Areas
  • [04] Serb Forces Shell Rahovec and Suhareka Villages
  • [05] Serb Troops Pound with Artillery Fire Vushtrri Villages
  • [06] Humanitarian Activists Tortured in Serb Custody
  • [07] Serb Police Detains "Koha Ditore" Correspondent in Gjakova
  • [08] Serb Police Raids "Mother Teresa" Premises
  • [09] 1,500 Albanian Refugees Arrive in Overcrowded Mitrovica Today
  • [10] Four Young Albanian Refugees Arrested in Mitrovica
  • [11] Police Arrests Albanian in Prishtina
  • [12] The Case for an Independent Kosova

  • [01] President Rugova Receives EU Commissioner Bonino and UNHCR Official

    PRISHTINA, Aug (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received yesterday afternoon in Prishtina Ms Emma Bonino, the European Union (EU) Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner, and her aides, accompanied by Austria's ambassador to Belgrade, Wolfgang Petritsch.

    The grave situation in Kosova, with particular emphasis on the humanitarian aspect and the plight of displaced people, was discussed in the meeting.

    President Ibrahim Rugova said the Serbian offensive should be stopped, and called for an urgent international intervention to protect the people of Kosova.

    He urged for humanitarian action to relieve the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of Albanians displaced from their homes in the wake of the Serbian military and police offensive.

    The EU Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Emma Bonino said she followed closely the situation in Kosova and expressed her readiness to assist the displaced population. Preventative measures should be taken in Kosova so that we do not end up dealing only with the consequences, she stressed.

    President Rugova appreciated her visit to Kosova and called for EU to step in urgently with humanitarian operations here.

    Meanwhile, the Kosova President received yesterday the deputy of the UN High Commissioner, Soren-Jensen Petersen, to discuss the humanitarian situation and ways to address it.

    [02] 380,000 Albanians Displaced from their Homes in Kosova, LDK Says

    PRISHTINA, Aug 20 (KIC) - As a result of the Serbian military and police shelling, destruction and looting of Albanian homes and property this year, 380,246 have been displaced from their homes in Kosova, the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) said in a statement today.

    17 municipalities of Kosova with a total of 346 villages have been affected by the Serb aggression, which has turned so many Albanians into internally- displaced persons (IDP) and refugees, according to the LDK.

    Some 50,000 Albanians are living rough in the open in hills and fields, unable to get out of rings of steel enforced by Serbian troops, the Presidency of the LDK, the main political force in Kosova, said today.

    [03] Overnight Artillery Fire Reported in Gjakova and De^an Areas

    PRISHTINA, Aug 20 (KIC) - Serb artillery fire was reported last evening and overnight in wester Kosova, in the border area with Albania and in the villages straddling the De^an-Gjakova roadway, from Prejlep to the villages just outside the town of Gjakova.

    Local LDK sources said there was artillery fire launched last evening from Serb positions on Suka e Biteshit in the direction of the villages in the De^an area.

    An Albanian, whose name has not been made known, was reported wounded near Prejlep.

    A motorized convoy of Serb military and police troops left today Gjakova for the Qafa e Prushit, near the Kosova-Albania border, whereas Serb snipers have been positioned along the Gjakov&-De^an roadway.

    The humanitarian situation of the displaced population scattered about the hills in the region of Dushkaj& is appalling, reports said.

    LDK sources in Gjakova said Hasan Rama, resident of Ponoshec village of Gjakov&, has been transferred to the Prishtina hospital in a state of coma. His family members, who have been prevented from contacting him in the past few days, fear for his life. Hasan has been reported beaten up severely in Serb custody.

    Meanwhile, Serb police arrested the Koha Ditore correspondent, Musa Kurhasku, yesterday afternoon at his place in Gjakova. He had his home raided, and was held for several hours in detention. He was ordered to report back to the Serb police on 21 August.

    [04] Serb Forces Shell Rahovec and Suhareka Villages

    One killed and eight wounded Albanians PRISHTINA, Aug 20 (KIC) - Serbian forces resumed today shelling the villages of Zo^isht& and Opterush&, municipality of Rahovec, and Samadraxh& of Suhareka municipality, local sources said.

    Today's intensity of the shelling was lower today compared to yesterday's.

    LDK sources in Suhareka said the shelling is being done from Serb positions in Ho^& e Madhe and Landovic&.

    Reports said Bekim Dalip Bekteshi (27) from Samadraxh& was killed yesterday, whereas eight other Albanians wounded - Bajram Bekteshi, Selim Kusha, Ibrahim Mamaj, Nexhat Cika^i, Fatmir Bala, Osman Cika^i, Visar Bala, and Muharrem Kryeziu.

    Serbian paramilitary units torched the village of Zo^isht& last evening. Flames and smoke could be seen billowing from the village.

    Meanwhile, three Albanians, Hazir Selimaj (44), Zenel Curraj (25) and Sabit Lushaj (23), who were killed two days ago at Gorozhup near the Kosova- Albanian border, were buried last evening in their native village if Grejkoc of Suhareka.

    [05] Serb Troops Pound with Artillery Fire Vushtrri Villages

    PRISHTINA, Aug 20 (KIC) - The Serbian police/army troops pounded with artillery guns the Pantina village and adjacent hamlets in the municipality of Vushtrri ('Vicitrn') today (Thursday) morning.

    The LDK Information Commission in Vushtrri said the Albanian settlements were attacked for about one hour, from 5:30 through 6:30 a.m., today. The Commission could not say anything about possible casualties by midday.

    It reported, however, about a continued campaign of provocations and intimidation by armed Serb civilians in the area.

    Yesterday afternoon, a group of Serb civilians from Prilluzha village set afire four haystacks belonging to two local Albanians in Stanoc i Ep&rm, Nebih Duraku and Abdullah Duraku, local LDK sources said.

    [06] Humanitarian Activists Tortured in Serb Custody

    PRISHTINA, Aug 20 (KIC) - Four local humanitarian workers in the Kamenica municipality, southern Kosova, were reported detained and subject to severe torture by the Serbian police on Wednesday.

    The LDK chapter in Kamenica said Refik N. Kryeziu, dr. Faredin Sh.

    Kryeziu and Ibrahim D. Shurdhani in Roga^ica village, and dr. Izet H. Keka in Mu^iv&rca village, had their homes raided by Serb police before actually being detained. They were taken to the police station in the town, where they were held for several hours and subjected to questioning and beating.

    The four activists received grave body injuries and had to be seek medical treatment, the LDK said.

    [07] Serb Police Detains "Koha Ditore" Correspondent in Gjakova

    PRISHTINA, Aug 20 (KIC) - Musa Kurhasku, the Gjakova correspondent with the Prishtina-based Koha Ditore newspaper, was held in Serb custody for several hours on Wednesday afternoon.

    The LDK chapter in Gjakova said Serb policemen searched thoroughly the house of Musa Kurhasku and seized his equipment and materials, including a camera and a fax machine he needed to report to his newspaper and the Albanian Television.

    According to the Koha Ditore, Musa Kurhasku had been summoned to the Serb police station in Gjakova earlier on Wednesday, to intervene about the release of a Serb allegedly captured by members of the Kosova Liberation Army (U^K).

    He refused to go there, saying that it was not a journalist's responsibility to act as a broker, because such offices are commonly done by the Red Cross.

    [08] Serb Police Raids "Mother Teresa" Premises

    PRISHTINA, Aug 20 (KIC) - The Serbian police broke Wednesday afternoon into a warehouse of the "Mother Teresa" Charity Organization in Kodra e Trimave neighborhood in Prishtina.

    Ismail Gashi, in charge of the organization's warehouse, was summoned to show up in the Serb police station in the neighborhood today.

    There were some 130 sponge mattresses in the warehouse, dedicated to the uprooted people sheltered in Prishtina. The Serb policemen reportedly told the activist that they would face consequences if they actually distributed the mattresses to the refugees.

    [09] 1,500 Albanian Refugees Arrive in Overcrowded Mitrovica Today

    PRISHTINA, Aug 20 (KIC) - At least 1,500 Albanians displaced from their home villages in Skenderaj municipality arrived in the town of Mitrovica today (Thursday) morning, sources reported.

    The LDK chapter in Mitrovica said they were mostly from the villages of Prekazi i Ep&rm, Mikushnica, Lubavec, Galica and the villages along the ^i^avica footmountains.

    According to estimates of the local LDK chapter and human rights workers in Mitrovica, at last 30.000 Albanians from war-torn areas in central Kosova have sought shelter in the town and adjacent villages in the wake of the latest Serb offensives in the area.

    Local Albanian structures said food and medical supplies are desperately needed in the town, which has 21,000 Albanians already dependent on the Kosova welfare system. If such supplies are not delivered in a couple of days time, a humanitarian catastrophe is in the making, they warned.

    [10] Four Young Albanian Refugees Arrested in Mitrovica

    PRISHTINA, Aug 20 (KIC) - Four young Albanians from the villages of Skenderaj ('Srbica') were arrested by the Serbian police in Mitrovica on Wednesday.

    The LDK chapter in Mitrovica said Behxhet Sejdiu (23) and Bekim Sejdiu (21) from Runik of Sk&nderaj, Zekim Istogu (25) from Polluzha, and Bahri Hyseni (25), a student from Izbica, had fled their homes earlier and were sheltered with their relatives in the town.

    [11] Police Arrests Albanian in Prishtina

    Albanian arrested on obscure charges of collaboration with the U^K PRISHTINA, Aug 20 (KIC) - Serbian police arrested today Salih Zariqi in the Bregu i Diellit neighbourhood in Prishtina, a family member told the KIC.

    He said three days ago the police arrested Salih's brother, Vehbi Zariqi, as well as Salih's sons, Gazmend and Shk&lzen, and their relatives, Albert Shala and Ekrem Krasniqi.

    Salih Zariqi has been arrested on obscure charges of collaboration with the U^K (Kosova Liberation Army). His house has been reported raided after his arrest today.

    A senior Serbian security officer announced earlier in the week that a huge campaign of arrests of Albanians ('terrorists') would be carried out in Prishtina, Podujeva and Mitrovica.

    [12] The Case for an Independent Kosova

    Janusz Bugajski, associate director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, in The Christian Science Monitor, August 19, 1998

    PRISHTINA, Aug 20 (KIC) - If Kosova ever slips out of Serbia's grip, the international community will need to weigh the regional impact of the region's independence, with most policymakers still believing that a sovereign Kosovo will destabilize the Balkans, Janusz Bugajski notes at the very outset of his article, echoing what he calls 'conventional wisdom'. "But an alternative scenario must now be seriously considered: that without independence the unresolved Albanian question will traumatize Europe for many years to come."

    The director of East European studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington and a frequent visitor to the Balkans said conventional wisdom contends that statehood for Kosova will ignite a series of ethnic and territorial conflicts in the south Balkans, radicalizing the large Albanian minority in Macedonia and precipitating the disintegration of this linchpin state.

    "The destabilization of any state bordering Kosovo would have wider ramifications. Analysts worry about the unraveling of the Dayton accords through the revival of Serb separatism in Bosnia.", Bugajski writes, adding that a conflict in Macedonia could embroil Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, Greece, and Turkey in a replay of the Second Balkan War. "In order to avoid such scenarios, NATO leaders have adamantly opposed Kosovo's independence. The main fear in any planned NATO bombing campaign is not the Yugoslav military reaction but the political impact on Kosovo's status if Belgrade withdraws its security forces from the province.", concludes the 'conventional wisdom' argument.

    "But an alternative view on the Kosovo crisis must now be seriously weighed: the independence option.", Janusz Bugajski writes. He argues that Kosova's detachment from Serbia could deal a fatal blow to President Slobodan Milosevic of 'FRY' and "unleash potentially more constructive forces in Serbian politics."

    "It is the absence of Kosovo's statehood that can be seen as destabilizing the region by providing opportunities for militant gunmen and criminal organizations to prosper.", he stresses, adding that Milosevic manipulates the Kosova question to keep himself in power and to stifle any chances for political or economic reform throughout rump Yugoslavia.

    Milosevic bears "primary responsibility for four wars in the past decade and if left unchecked he could spark further conflicts in Montenegro and Macedonia by manipulating the Albanian question.", Bugajski points out, adding that the loss of Kosova and the collapse of the moribund Yugoslav economy could provoke an internal conflict in Serbia. "This would weaken Belgrade's expansionist pretensions and may bring new democrats or pro- Western figures to the forefront. Even if this fails, then a truncated Serbia will remain a weak pariah state that no longer threatens its neighbors."

    The legal arguments for maintaining an integral Yugoslavia are "reminiscent of our [U.S.] obsolete policies in 1991 when four of the eight federal units declared independence.", the CSIS associate director says. Kosova is simply the fifth unit that has opted for sovereignty, and Montenegro may be the next in line, particularly as President Milo Djukanovic has already threatened to hold a referendum on secession, he notes.

    Milosevic's Yugoslavia is not "the successor to the Titoist state and cannot be treated as a normal legal entity", Bugajski writes.

    "Kosovo's statehood, if handled adroitly by the international community, could help resolve the simmering Albanian question in the south Balkans. Instead of provoking calls for a Greater Albania it could actually pacify Albanian demands and allow Europe to increase its influence in the region. But in order for Kosovo to become a source of regional stability, NATO must control the process from the very beginning.", the CSIS associate director sums up his idea, the 'case for an independent Kosovo'.

    He goes on to elaborate, noting that once Belgrade is forced to withdraw its forces from Kosova through some combination of NATO intervention and Albanian resistance, "then Kosovo should be declared an international protectorate. Washington and London must take charge in overseeing the creation of any new Kosovar administration and this must be accomplished in a much more resolute manner than in Bosnia-Herzegovina."

    Under international supervision, "the Prishtina government would need to commit itself to ensuring a full range of minority rights for Serbs, Montenegrins, Muslims, and Romas. It would have to renounce any potential territorial claims to Macedonia, Serbia, or Montenegro, and indeed sign treaties with its three Slavic neighbors to that effect. It would also need to commit itself to democratic pluralism, the rule of law, a market economy, and European integration."

    Janusz Bugajski maintains the Ushtria ^lirimtare e Kosov&s (KLA) could then develop into a Kosova Security Force under a NATO arm and train program similar to the one in Bosnia. NATO itself would disarm any rogue units and help patrol the Macedonian and Serbian borders, whereas the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Union could dispatch teams of monitors to the country. "Their long-term presence under a NATO umbrella would help ensure Pristina's compliance with democratic norms in a range of arenas."

    In Macedonia a "multi-ethnic polity" must be promoted with expanded rights for the Albanian population that would undercut the demands of militants for unification with Kosova, Bugajski argues.

    The international Contact Group has failed to come up with a credible plan for Kosova, the director of East European studies at the CSIS in Washington says. "Instead, its empty statements have simply encouraged both Belgrade and the KLA to continue the war."

    Now is the time to lay the foundations for a lasting political and regional solution, one that will guarantee self-determination for the Albanian majority while simultaneously pushing Milosevic toward a long-overdue political suicide.", Janusz Bugajski concludes his 'case for an independent Kosovo" in the Christian Science Monitor.

    Kosova Information Center

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