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Kosova Daily Report #1684, 99-02-05

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 #1684
Prishtina, 5 February 1999


CONTENTS

  • [01] JUST IN: Serb Authorities Obstructing Departure of Kosovar Delegation to Paris Conference
  • [02] US "Is Seriously Considering" Taking Part in a NATO Peacekeeping Force in Kosova, Clinton Says
  • [03] The People of Kosova Must Ne Able to Govern Themselves without Interference from Belgrade, Albright Says
  • [04] Bodies of Re^ak Massacre's Victims Remain Unburied
  • [05] Rugova's Press Advisor
  • [06] Albanian Found Killed in Bishtazhin, Gjakova
  • [07] Heavy Explosion in Front of Cafe n Peja
  • [08] Serb Regime Court Sentences Group of Albanians to 287 Years Imprisonment
  • [09] Wounded Albanian Taken out of Hospital by Police
  • [10] Albanian, Shot and Wounded a Week Ago in Prishtina, Dies
  • [11] Belgrade Names Delegation to the Rambouillet Conference

  • [01] JUST IN: Serb Authorities Obstructing Departure of Kosovar Delegation to Paris Conference

    PRISHTINA, Feb 5 (KIC) 17:00 CET - Serbian authorities have been obstructing the departure of the Kosovar delegation to the Rambouillet conference on an interim settlement for Kosova, the Kosova Information Center (KIC) has learned today afternoon.

    The Kosovar delegation was due to fly mid-afternoon from Sllatina (Prishtina) airport, 16 km south of the Kosova capital.

    Under international auspices, the Rambouillet talks between Prishtina and Belgrade have been scheduled to start tomorrow (Saturday).

    The Kosova delegation includes also President Ibrahim Rugova of the Republic of Kosova, as well as U^K (Kosova Liberation Army) political representatives.

    The KIC has learned that French authorities and international observer missions in Kosova have been involved in facilitating the trip of the Kosovar delegation to Paris.

    [02] US "Is Seriously Considering" Taking Part in a NATO Peacekeeping Force in Kosova, Clinton Says

    PRISHTINA, Feb 5 (KIC) - U.S. President Clinton appealed to both sides in the Kosova conflict to use the talks scheduled to begin February 6 in Rambouillet, France, as a chance to end the violence, The Washington File, the daily bulletin of the American Center in Prishtina, reported.

    "I would like to give a message, I believe on behalf of all Americans, to both sides," Bill Clinton said February 4 in a speech at a Washington hotel where following his remarks on Kosova, he presented this year's Malcolm Baldrige quality awards.

    "For the Kosovar Albanians, I would like to say that this is a chance not just to stop your people from getting killed, but to take control of your destiny, where your rights, your faith and your culture are respected and you have the autonomy you have been promised by law," Clinton said.

    "For the people of both [Albanian and Serbian] communities, this is a chance to stop wasting your energies and your lives on a useless war and to start conserving them for building a more open and prosperous future for your children. I hope that the people will take this chance. The United States will do what we can to support you," the President said.

    The United States and its allies have "agreed on a strategy that we believe can bring peace" and have agreed "to back that strategy with the threat" of NATO airstrikes if both sides don't reach an agreement, said Clinton.

    If the parties reach a settlement, he said, the United States "is seriously considering" taking part in a NATO peacekeeping force in Kosova.

    But the President made clear that America's European allies and partners "will have to contribute a substantial majority of the troops" to such a force.

    The President outlined US conditions for contributing its own troops to a post-implementation force: "Number one, a strong and effective peace agreement. If both parties haven't committed to stop killing each other, there's no point in our sending Americans and other NATO forces and other allied forces into a situation where we can't succeed.

    "Number two, the parties must demonstrate a commitment to implementing the agreement and to cooperating with NATO and any other people who go in with us. Number three, we have to have a permissive security environment, with the withdrawal of enough Serbian security forces, and an agreement restricting the weapons of the Kosovar paramilitaries", Clinton said, referring to the U^K.

    "And finally, we have to have a well-defined NATO mission with a clear exit strategy. Our European allies and partners will have to contribute a substantial majority of the troops, but NATO is a partnership, and they have a right to expect the United States, which has been the leader of NATO for 50 years now, to be a part of that. For now, we don't have to reach that question because the peace talks will begin on Saturday in France," President Clinton concluded.

    [03] The People of Kosova Must Ne Able to Govern Themselves without Interference from Belgrade, Albright Says

    PRISHTINA, Feb 5 (KIC) - U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the United States "has a fundamental interest in strengthening democratic principles and practices in the Balkans and throughout Europe."

    "Developing a real democracy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is crucial," Albright told the U.S. Institute of Peace February 4, according to The Washington File.

    She noted that "Yugoslavia's collapse and descent into violence and brutality began in Kosovo." One of the first acts of then President of Serbia Slobodan Milosevic, in 1989, was "to strip Kosovo of the autonomy it had enjoyed under the Yugoslav Constitution."

    Milosevic's "policies of ethnic polarization and hate-mongering in Kosovo ushered in a decade of police repression and human rights abuses throughout Yugoslavia," Albright said. "These policies led to the breakup of Yugoslavia and to the devastating conflict in Bosnia."

    Milosevic "understands only the language of force. Nothing less than firm American leadership will ensure decisive action," Albright said.

    Regarding Kosovar independence, Albright said there is "no guarantee that independence would lead to peace in Kosovo, and ample reason to fear that it could undermine stability elsewhere in the region."

    The United States has learned from past experiences in Bosnia that the longer it delays exercising its leadership, "the dearer it will eventually be - in dollars, in lost credibility, and in human lives," the Secretary said.

    She said Belgrade must end offensive operations, give its full support to the Kosova Verification Mission and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and it must bring those responsible for the Re^ak massacre to justice. "The people of Kosovo must be able to govern themselves democratically, without interference from Belgrade," Albright said.

    If Milosevic, the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" President, refuses to accept the Contact Group proposals or allows repression in Kosova to continue, "he can expect NATO air strikes," Albright warned. She also said that if the Kosova Albanians obstruct progress at the talks, "they cannot expect the NATO and the international community to bail them out."

    She noted that "this morning [see news item above, KIC], President Clinton announced that we are seriously considering the possibility of American participation in a NATO-led peace implementation force for Kosovo." The US contribution to a peacekeeping ground force "would be no more than several thousand troops, while our European allies provide the lion's share," Albright said.

    "The bottom line of this agreement is that the two parties have to agree to it," the Secretary said in reply to a question.

    The Contact Group is studying ways to get Serbian forces to leave Kosova "so that what can happen during this interim period is that the OSCE mission can continue to do its work," Albright said. "The whole thing will be internationally supervised."

    Local Kosovar police forces "can begin to take hold, so that ultimately this is an area that would be ... under control of the new interim self- government," Secretary Albright concluded, The Washington File, the daily bulletin of the American Center in Prishtina, reported today (Friday).

    [04] Bodies of Re^ak Massacre's Victims Remain Unburied

    KVM condemns "actions by all sides" that deliberately delay a proper and dignified burial of the Re^ak victims

    PRISHTINA, Feb 5 (KIC) - The bodies of 40 Albanian civilians killed by Serbian forces in Re^ak on 15th January remain unburied, the OSCE Kosova Verification Mission (KVM) said in a press release today.

    The KVM deeply deplores the unresolved issue of the transference of the bodies from the FRY authorities to the families in Re^ak, and their timely internment, it added.

    "The failed attempt to hand-over the bodies on 3rd February ended in an undignified spectacle witnessed by the international media", the KVM said, adding that the lack of organisation and co-operation between the FRY authorities and representatives of the families was evident to all observers. "Further postponement of the transfer of the bodies is deeply deplorable and serves only to add to the anxiety of the grieving families".

    The KVM condemns "actions by all sides" that deliberately delay a proper and dignified burial of the Re^ak victims. Attempts by either side to seek advantage over the timing of the release are to be condemned, it said in the statement. "Political manipulation and exploitation of the mourning families' grief is insensitive and unacceptable to the watching world".

    "The KVM calls upon all sides to co-operate and quickly resolve this issue to avoid further distress to the families", the KVM press release concluded.

    [05] Rugova's Press Advisor

    PRISHTINA, Feb 5 (KIC) - In the absence of Ibrahim Rugova, the President of the Republic of Kosova, who was about to depart for the Rambouillet conference on Kosova, due to start Saturday, Mr. Xhemail Mustafa, Rugova's press advisor held the regular press conference in the Kosova Presidency today.

    The Rambouillet conference is evidence that the Kosova issue has been internationalized to the highest possible level, Mustafa said, adding that it cannot be solved without an "energetic political and military" engagement by the international community.

    The Kosova delegation departs for France "fully convinced that independence for Kosova is the only just and lasting political solution that would satisfy all Albanians and stabilize southern European region, Rugova's aid said. The Kosovar political and military (U^K) leaders have, nevertheless, expressed their readiness to negotiate with Belgrade on a three-year-long interim settlement, Mustafa stressed.

    An acceptable, interim solution for Kosova should include the building of democratic Kosovar institutions, independent from Serbia, as well as the provision of an internationally-guaranteed independence referendum at the end of the three-year-period, Xhemail Mustafa said.

    In reply to a question regarding the chairmanship of the Kosovar delegation to the Rambouillet conference, Rugova'a side said Kosova has a hierarchy of institutions, and the delegation includes political and military representatives who have "unified their political stand".

    Asked to say whether Rugova will go to Rambouillet in the capacity of the President of the Republic or as leader of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), Xhemail Mustafa said: "President Ibrahim Rugova for the people of Kosova is the President of the Republic of Kosova. Therefore, wherever he goes, he represents Kosova".

    Meanwhile, Dr. Alush Gashi, President Rugova's advisor for health and humanitarian issues, said Serbian crimes against humanity that are being committed here are aimed at ethnic cleansing of Kosova.

    "I hope that the France conference will bring an end to war here, and oppose ethnic cleansing".

    In these "tragic circumstances" for Kosova, fortunately enough, there are many specialized international organizations - such as the UNHCR and others - operating here to help cope with the desperate humanitarian situation, including the one prevailing in the northern Llapi region, the scene of Serbian offensives against Albanian villages in the last six weeks, Dr. Alush Gashi said. "We are aware that the needs of the displaced Podujeva population are much greater - and this is part of our tragedy", Rugova's aide said in reply to a question regarding the response to the grave humanitarian situation facing the Albanian population in Llapi region.

    [06] Albanian Found Killed in Bishtazhin, Gjakova

    PRISHTINA, Feb 5 (KIC) - Early in the morning today, the body of a killed Albanian, in his mid-sixties, was found in Bishtazhin village, on the road leading to Marmull village, LDK sources said.

    The Albanian, still unidentified, was shot in the head, and had his eyes extricated from the sockets.

    The victim was carrying a nylon bag and a loaf of bread.

    [07] Heavy Explosion in Front of Cafe n Peja

    PRISHTINA, Feb 5 (KIC) - A powerful device exploded just before midnight on Thursday in front of the "Sao Paolo" cafe in Peja ('Pec'), local sources said.

    The windows of the cafe were damaged, but no injuries were reported.

    [08] Serb Regime Court Sentences Group of Albanians to 287 Years Imprisonment

    PRISHTINA, Feb 5 (KIC) - The Serbian-run District Court in Prishtina sentenced today 26 Albanians to a combined 287 years in prison on trumped- up political, allegedly terrorism-related, charges.

    Only nine of the Albanians, from Ferizaj area, were present in the courtroom. Others were tried in absentia.

    Enver Topalli was sentenced to 15 years in prison, Sylejman Byty^i 15, Besim Zymberi 14, Sk&nder Ferizi 14, Agim Re^ica 13, Xhavit Zariqi 3 (released pending appeal), Ahmet Hoxha 5, Ylber Topalli 4, Haxhi Byty^i 2 (released pending appeal), Ismet Sadiku 8, Xhabir Morina 13, Ilmi Re^ica 15, Shaban Vi^a 15, Emrush Xhemajli 15, Hajdin Abazi 9, Sami Hajrullahu 15, Milaim Jashari 13, Imri Ilazi 14, Xhavit Gashi 13, Abdurrahman Oru^i 3, Sinan Azemi 13, Ekrem Jashari 12, Bashkim Re^ica 10, Mentor Morina 10, and Remzi Azemi 11.

    Two Albanians, Cen Dugolli and Rexhep Bislimi, also detained and accused as members of the group, were tortured to death in Serb custody last year.

    Xhavit Zariqi, who was released pending appeal, told the press he and other Albanian detainees were tortured and forced to make self- incriminating confessions.

    Fazli Balaj, a defending lawyer, said the trial was a 'farce' staged by the Serbian regime. There was no material evidence to substantiate charges, he added.

    Six Albanians were sentenced to twelve years in prison in Peja yesterday, again on similar trumped up charges, local sources said.

    [09] Wounded Albanian Taken out of Hospital by Police

    PRISHTINA, Feb 5 (KIC) - Muhamet Ki^ina (22), resident of Baica village of Gllogovc, who was hospitalized in Prishtina, was taken out by Serb police yesterday, sources said.

    Muhamet's uncle, Sejdi Kli^ina, said his nephew was shot and wounded by police in Gllogovc on 25 January 1999. He had been taken to hospital in a critical condition by the OSCE verification mission.

    [10] Albanian, Shot and Wounded a Week Ago in Prishtina, Dies

    PRISHTINA, Feb 5 (KIC) - Selman Konjusha, a local writer from Prishtina, died today in the Prishtina hospital of wounds he had received when he was shot by unknown assailants in front of his home in Prishtina on 29 January.

    Konjusha will be buried Saturday at 13:00 CET in the Prishtina cemetery.

    [11] Belgrade Names Delegation to the Rambouillet Conference

    PRISHTINA, Feb 5 (KIC) - Belgrade has named today its delegation to the Rambouillet peace conference on an interim settlement for Kosova.

    The following are the members of the 'FRY'/Serb delegation: Ratko Markovic, Vladan Kutlesic, Nikola Sainovic, Vladimir Stambuk, Vojislav Zivkovic, Djulbehar Sabovic, Refik Senadovic, Zejnelabedin Kurejs, Ibro Vait, Faik Jasari, Sokol Cuce, Luan Koka and Qerim Abazi, Radio Belgrade reported.

    Kosova Information Center

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