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Kosova Daily Report #1528, 98-08-21

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 #1528
Prishtina, 21 August 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] President Rugova's Press Conference
  • [02] COMMENTARY: The Sinister, Distorted Semantics - Paris, Bonn Offer Assistance to Milosevic to Return Kosova Refugees!
  • [03] Chris Hill: "We Are Continuing Indirect Talks and We Are Moving along Well"
  • [04] Gunfire Reported in Western Kosova over the Past 24 Hours
  • [05] Two Albanians Receive Life-threatening Shrapnel Wounds in Skenderaj
  • [06] Albanian Killed in Vushtrri, as Serb Police Opens Fire on the Crowd
  • [07] Displaced People from Has Region Are Streaming Towards Gjakova
  • [08] Body of Albanian Brought to Gjakova Town Morgue
  • [09] Fresh Serb Army Troops Deployed in Komoran
  • [10] Serb Court Brings Criminal Charges Against 25 Other Albanians
  • [11] Unidentified Gunmen Attempt Assassination of Local LDK Activist in Gjilan
  • [12] Albanian Teachers Denied Access to Their School in Mitrovica

  • [01] President Rugova's Press Conference

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova denounced today the continued Serbian military and police offensive against the Kosova villages.

    The vandalist attack against the town of Junik last week resulted in the flight to Albania of 1,000 Albanians as well as destruction of property, Rugova told a press conference today. "Serb air jets and gunships were used in the attack and tens of people killed and many more others wounded".

    Serbian troops continue shelling Albanian villages in Dukagjin and Drenica regions, the President said, noting that a campaign of fierce Serb repression goes on unabated all across Kosova. "Three Albanians died as a result of police torture" this week, he added.

    Regarding the plight of the over 300,000 displaced Albanians inside Kosova, and 16,000 and 30,000 refugees in Albania and Montenegro, respectively, Ibrahim Rugova said they can only return home under "international monitoring", accusing the Serb police of obstructing their trickling back home.

    President Ibrahim Rugova called on the U.S., UE, UN, and NATO to place Kosova under their protection, and impose a no-fly zone over Kosova. "An international intervention is needed to stop the Serbian war machinery."

    Independence for Kosova, with all guarantees for local Serbs, is the best solution, Rugova reaffirmed, hailing the 'case for an independent Kosova" Janusz Bugajski, an associate director of the Institute for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, presented in the Christian Science Monitor two days ago.

    President Ibrahim Rugova told reporters the formation of a new Government of the Republic of Kosova will be announced soon.

    [02] COMMENTARY: The Sinister, Distorted Semantics - Paris, Bonn Offer Assistance to Milosevic to Return Kosova Refugees!

    Why not help President Rugova do that?

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - France and Germany on Thursday offered their assistance to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in helping refugees from Kosovo return to their home region, the Paris foreign ministry said, Reuters news agency reported August 20.

    Ministry spokeswoman Anne Gazeau-Secret told a news briefing that French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and his German counterpart Klaus Kinkel wrote to Milosevic offering to arrange the return of refugees to the Orahovac [Rahovec] region.

    She said Orahovac was chosen because tens of thousands of people who had fled the fighting there could return home as their villages were not too badly damaged, Reuters reported.

    What does this initiative, what does the semantics behind it, mean to those who have a basic knowledge of the situation in Kosova, the record of the Milosevic-orchestrated Serb military and paramilitary police offensive in Kosova in the these past six months?

    Bonn and Paris offered 'assistance to Milosevic' to return Albanians displaced from the Rahovec ('Orahovac') area, where 'villages were not too badly damaged', as the French spokeswoman put it. Is not this too much to swallow?

    Did the two capitals ask at all who destroyed the villages and towns of Kosova, who killed more than 500 Albanian civilians, who turned 380,000 Kosovar Albanians - 20 percent of the Kosova population - into refugees and displaced persons?

    It was Milosevic, no doubt, the man who masterminded the Kosova military crackdown and the ethnic cleansing campaign and destruction of Albanian settlements and property.

    So, why assist him, Milosevic, in returning refugees that he has created, the people he despises so much? Is it not the case that Milosevic's troops interned at least 50 Albanians - some reports put the number at over 500 - in a garbage dumping place near Rahovec?

    They might argue in Paris and Bonn they would only be instrumental in helping relieve the suffering of the Albanians in Kosova. So far so good.

    They should be aware, though, that it is but offensive for Kosovar Albanians, the Milosevic victims, to have their fate be pegged to foreign assistance to Milosevic.

    The physical and psychological scars of the Albanians will take a long time to heal.

    The Milosevic government's offers of help to rebuild the houses of Albanians it has itself destroyed and burnt in the offensive this year was the kind of sinister publicity stunt the Kosovars have known too well. What they cannot understand is why was there need for this to be redesigned in an assistance package to Milosevic by Paris and Bonn.

    The distorted semantics - assisting Milosevic to return Kosovar Albanian refugees to their homes - is too sinister to swallow even for those who may be the targeted beneficiaries of this, the displaced Albanians from Rahovec region.

    The leader of Kosova, the leader of 2 million Albanians, including the 380, 000 people displaced by Milosevic and his cohorts this year, is President Ibrahim Rugova.

    Bonn and Paris, and the rest for this matter, should assist President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosova to return refugees to their homes in Kosova.

    [03] Chris Hill: "We Are Continuing Indirect Talks and We Are Moving along Well"

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - Ambassador Chris Hill, the U.S. envoy for Kosova, told reporters in Prishtina yesterday (Thursday) the negotiating process on Kosova was 'very active'.

    He said he had a meeting with Dr. Rugova and the head of the negotiating team, Dr. Agani, yesterday "to discuss the progress of the negotiations and ideas for accelerating the negotiating process".

    The negotiating process "is moving ahead", he said, adding that it was an "indirect negotiation", that is he was "shuttling between both parties".

    Hill said he had a meeting with the deputy prime minister of Yugoslavia, Mr. Sainovic, too, "a very good discussion about the need to create better conditions for the return of displaced people".

    Ambassador Hill then went on to say those people should come home as soon as the conditions warrant. "We very much, the international community very much want to assist in every way that we can. We are prepared to visit these villages, diplomatic observers teams make regular visits to many of the villages. And we hope that people will consider coming home if the conditions warrant that".

    The people who are "remaining out in the woods and mountain sides are very much at risk, and we would hope that as soon as conditions warrant it they would be back in their homes, safely in their homes", Chris Hill said.

    Asked about why there were no direct talks between Prishtina and Belgrade, the U.S. envoy said "we may need at some point direct talks. For now we feel pursuing talks through indirect means is working. There may be a time when we need to bring the parties together, and when that time comes we will certainly do that. But for now, we are continuing indirect talks and we are moving along well."

    [04] Gunfire Reported in Western Kosova over the Past 24 Hours

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - Gunfire has been reported in the past 24 hours in the border area with Albania and the villages in Gjakova and De^an, the areas targeted by the latest Serb military and police offensive, local LDK sources said.

    In the afternoon yesterday, there was a higher intensity of gunfire. For two hours, Serb artillery positioned on Suka e Biteshit pounded the De^an villages.

    Serb military and police troop movements have been reported today, too. A convoy of Serb military with heavy artillery guns left Gjakova for De^an today at 10 a.m. Meanwhile, local medical services reported symptoms of diverse diseases amongst the displaced population in Gjakova area.

    This is especially acute amongst unsheltered people living rough in the open, local sources said.

    The medical services in Gjakova called on international institutions to bring in medical teams and supplies, pinpointing the Dushkaj& region as the area in desperate need for delivery of such services.

    [05] Two Albanians Receive Life-threatening Shrapnel Wounds in Skenderaj

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - Two local Albanians were wounded yesterday in the village of Prekaz i Ep&rm of Skenderaj ('Srbica') during a Serb forces artillery attack on the village.

    The LDK chapter in Mitrovica named the two wounded Albanians as Hajrullah Ramadani (42) and Hilmi Qerimi (40), both residents of Prekaz village. The men reportedly received life-threatening shrapnel injuries.

    Sources said that besides Prekazi i Ep&rm, other villages in the municipality, including Lubavec, Galic& and Mikushnic&, were pounded with Serb artillery guns on Thursday.

    LDK sources in Skenderaj said many houses were destroyed during yesterday's shelling of Albanian settlements in the area, but it failed to confirm if there were other human casualties.

    [06] Albanian Killed in Vushtrri, as Serb Police Opens Fire on the Crowd

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - A 29-year-old Albanian, Avni Saraqi, resident of Bivolak village of Vushtrri ('Vucitrn') was shot dead today morning when Serb police opened fire on citizens following an incident in the street.

    Lcal LDK sources in Vushtrri said the incident began at around 9 a.m. today, when a Serb police patrol was checking the IDs of passersby in a street of the town. Meanwhile, there was a verbal dispute between the police and an Albanian. who grabbed one of he policeman's gun and run away.

    Witnesses told the LDK chapter that the police opened fire in the direction of the man running away, fatally wounding at least one passerby. Heavy Serb police forces sealed off the area around the spot where Avni Saraqi was gunned down, denying access to anyone for a couple of hours.

    [07] Displaced People from Has Region Are Streaming Towards Gjakova

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - The population of Gjakova has been further swelled in the past two days with new arrivals, Albanians displaced from the Has region, local LDK sources said.

    Tens of thousands of Albanians from Gjakova and De^an villages have found refuge in the town of Gjakova in the past several months.

    Local sources said most recently people from the villages of Rogov&, Lipovec and elsewhere, have been displaced in the wake of Serb military and police threats to hand in allegedly possesses weapons or face reprisals.

    Reports said half a dozen thousand Albanians have been displaced from the village of Rogov& alone, most of them women, children and the elderly. They have gone to Gjakova, the villages of Anadrini region, and Prizren.

    [08] Body of Albanian Brought to Gjakova Town Morgue

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - Serb police brought the body of an Albanian to the town morgue in Gjakova yesterday, LDK sources said.

    The identity of the Albanian, around 60 years of age, is still unknown. His body was brought from the Reka e Keqe region, where he is presumed to was killed.

    [09] Fresh Serb Army Troops Deployed in Komoran

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - A huge convoy of Yugoslav army troops of 34 tanks and other combat vehicles was reported deployed Thursday in Komoran village and adjacent hamlets in the municipality of Gllogovc.

    The village of Komoran village straddling the Prishtina-Peja highway has been for months now turned into a huge base of the Serb police and army troops.

    Sources in Gllogovc said part of the Serb troops and combat equipment was dug in Komoran, while the rest in the hamlets of Vukovc and Zabel. The echo of four heavy detonations coming from Komoran was heard in the town of Gllogovc overnight, the local LDK chapter said, failing to specify the exact location or possible targets.

    [10] Serb Court Brings Criminal Charges Against 25 Other Albanians

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - The Serb court authorities in Peja have instituted criminal proceedings against another 25 Albanians from Gjakova and De^an areas, accusing them for alleged 'terrorist activities'.

    Dozens of Albanian have been indicted by the Serb regime lately on terrorism-related charges. According to the Serb media, criminal charges were brought last month alone against 140 Albanians of Prizren, Rahovec and Malisheva, municipalities in central and south-west part of Kosova.

    The office of Serb-run Public Prosecutor in Peja said investigations have been introduced against the following Albanians: Muhamet Arifi (44), Sahit (53) Thaqi, Remiz Thaqi, Murt Murtaj (39), Elmi Mirtaj (33), Zog Lulaj (55), Sadik Delaj (38), Hasan Isufi (44), Ramiz Bajrami (44), Rustem Lokaj(59), Ali Himaj (57), Muhamed Mesaj (33), Pren Bajrami (40), Afrim Lulaj (24), Ali Thaqi (26), Islam Arifaj (38), Bashkim (32), Muharrem (49), Sali Gashaj (44), Sadik Thaqi (34), Naim Lulaj (20), Hisen Lokaj (49), Hagji Gashi (36), Arima (30), Avni Lulaj (27).

    Most of the indicted Albanians area being held in pre-trial detention, according to the Serb press.

    [11] Unidentified Gunmen Attempt Assassination of Local LDK Activist in Gjilan

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - Still unidentified gunmen attempted to kill the chairman of the local LDK chapter in Llashtic& village of Gjilan on Wednesday night.

    Isuf Ismajli told the LDK Information Commission that he was ambushed by two men who opened fire in his direction from a distance of about 30 meters. He said he made a narrow escape while his assaulters left in an Opel Ascona car.

    Isuf Ismaili, a teacher with the his local village school, is a hard- working activist and determined supporter of the Kosovar elected institutions, the LDK said.

    Witnesses said that automatic fire was head on several occasions in the village of Llashtica following the assassination attempt against the local LDK leader.

    [12] Albanian Teachers Denied Access to Their School in Mitrovica

    PRISHTINA, Aug 21 (KIC) - Albanian teachers with the "Nonda Bulka" primary school in Mitrovica were denied access to the school building by the Serb- installed authorities today.

    Latif Hajrizi, the school principal said a Serb calling himself a new principal told the Albanian teachers that Albanian classes will no longer be taught there.

    Meanwhile, the Serbs have removed the original inscription from the facade of the school and have put instead another one in Serb Cyrillic reading 'teachers training faculty'.

    The LDK chapter in Mitrovica said that Albanian teachers in other schools in the town have been warned by the Serb not to go to schools as they would be used by Serbs only.

    Kosova Information Center

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