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Kosova Daily Report #1704, 99-02-26

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 #1704
Prishtina, 26 February 1999


CONTENTS

  • [01] "An Important Event in the Modern History of Kosova", President Rugova Says of Rambouillet Conference
  • [02] Serbian Forces Shell Villages in Vushtrri and Drenica Area
  • [03] Serbian Forces Shell Mitrovica Villages Saturday Afternoon
  • [04] Serb Authorities Detain Eight KVM Vehicles and Staff in Kosova- Macedonia Border
  • [05] Serbian Troops and Weaponry Building Up in Different Parts of Kosova
  • [06] Serbian Forces Encircle Rezhanc& Village of Hani i Elezit

  • [01] "An Important Event in the Modern History of Kosova", President Rugova Says of Rambouillet Conference

    PRISHTINA, Feb 26 (KIC) - The Rambouillet peace conference is of great importance for Kosova and all its citizens, the President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova said at the outset of his press conference in Prishtina today (Friday).

    The interim settlement for Kosova is aimed at stopping the bloodshed, putting in place functioning instituions in Kosova and opening up prospects for all the Kosova citizens, President Rugova said. The agreement will be politically and militarily guaranteed, he said, recalling that NATO will implement it.

    President Ibrahim Rugova availed himself of the opportunity to thank the co- chairmen of the Rambouillet conference, French and British foreign ministers, Hubert Vedrine and Robin Cook, as well as the negotiators headed by Ambassador Chris Hill, and Ambassadors Petritsch and Mayorski.

    The Kosova leader thanked the United States of America and the EU countries for their engagement on the conference, singling out Presidents Bill Clinton's and Jacques Chirac's unfailing efforts, and Secretary of State Albright's "committed and energetic" work and her participation in the conference's deliberations.

    Rugova said the Serbian military offensive in Kosova is continuing, and pressed for an unimpeded work of the OSCE Kosova Verification Mission, as well as an international intervention in Kosova.

    Asked whether a stepped up Serbian military crackdown can destroy the peace accords of Rambouillet before they have actually been signed, President Rugova acknowledged such a danger exists. The agreement would be destroyed and a new catastrophe and tragedy created in such a case, he said. "The international community should watch this closely", he pointed out.

    Asked to speak about the benefits of the interim settlement for Kosova, Ibrahim Rugova said it would in the first place create peace and security here, as well as pave the way for the establishment of functioning institutions at the Kosova and local levels. "It is an important event in the modern history of Kosova", because it has been mediated and will be implemented by the international community, he said.

    The agreement will be put to the people and the political organizations for consultations and approval, President Ibrahim Rugova said. The majority of the people of Kosova and all the political forces here are in favour of a three-year-long interim settlement, which leaves the door open for the people of Kosova to determine their future, he said in reply to a question.

    We are keen to have the agreement as soon as possible in place, so that NATO troops are deployed in Kosova and create security for all the people in Kosova and wider in the region, President Ibrahim Rugova concluded.

    [02] Serbian Forces Shell Villages in Vushtrri and Drenica Area

    PRISHTINA, Feb 26 (KIC) - At 14:45 CET today (Saturday), Serbian forces positioned at Bukosh village started shelling the village of Oshlan as well as in the direction of neighboring villages in the Drenica region, the LDK chapter in Vushtrri ('Vucitrn') reported.

    The sound of heavy detonations was being heard in the town of Vushtrri, they said.

    On Thursday evening, at 18:30 CET, Serbian forces shelled the villages of Bukosh and Oshlan.

    [03] Serbian Forces Shell Mitrovica Villages Saturday Afternoon

    PRISHTINA, Feb 26 (KIC) - Today (Saturday) afternoon, at around 16:00 CET, Serbian forces launched artillery and machine-gun fire against the villages of Pir^, Oshlan, Pantin&, Vernic& and Vaganic&, LDK sources in Mitrovica said.

    The Serbs are shelling from their positions in Frash&r i Vog&l village, where more than 30 Serbian vehicles, including 7 army tanks, have been deployed.

    Most of the Albanian people living in the area have fled their homes. Those who have not been evacuated have found shelter in the cellars of their family homes.

    [04] Serb Authorities Detain Eight KVM Vehicles and Staff in Kosova- Macedonia Border

    PRISHTINA, Feb 26 (KIC) - The Serbian border authorities stopped four KVM vehicles and their staff on Thursday evening at the Kosova-Macedonia border crossing in Hani i Elezit, and a further four vehicles today (Friday) morning in what amounts to a diplomatic incident in breach of Geneva conventions governing diplomatic immunity.

    Two armoured vehicles coming from Shkup/Skopje (Macedonia) passed through the Macedonian side and the Serb-controlled police border procedures before being stopped by the Serbian customs authorities at 18:30 CET on Thursday, OSCE KVM spokespersons said.

    A British verifier protested the Serb authorities' move to open the car trunks, because it was in breach of the diplomatic immunity the verifiers and their cars enjoy, Beatrice Lacoste, a spokeswoman for the KVM told the KIC by phone today.

    Twenty minutes later, a KVM Pajero car, with one Italian and two local staff members based in Brezovica, also coming from Shkup to Kosova were stopped at the customs area of the border crossing from the Kosovar side. Five persons, two internationals and three locals were thus stuck in there, Ms Lacoste said.

    The KVM headquarters were informed, and then sent a Pajero car with two customs experts, a Russian man and a Swedish woman, and a local interpreter, the KVM spokeswoman said. Four vehicles with eight staff members were thus stuck in the border, with Serbian authorities holding them up there all night.

    A KVM liaison officer informed the Serbian police authorities and the 'FRY' Foreign Ministry, pressing for the detainees to be released. A telegram was sent late Thursday to the 'FRY' Foreign Ministry in an attempt to resolve the situation.

    The KVM staff, detained by the Serb border police, spent the night of Thursday in the two armoured vehicles stuck there in the border crossing area, Beatrice Lacoste said.

    The Serbian police, carrying weapons, seemed to be under "alcoholic influence, very aggressive verbally and with their body language", Lacoste told the KIC.

    One of the KVM customs officers, who was walking around, was pushed physically into the KVM car, the OSCE spokeswoman said.

    At around 10:30 CET today (Saturday), four more KVM vehicles travelling from Kosova to Macedonia were stopped by the Serb authorities at the border.

    Negotiations were going on at different levels to resolve the situation.

    "We have informed Vienna (the headquarters of the OSCE), Norway (the country holding the OSCE presidency), and NATO" about all this, Beatrice Lacoste told the KIC just past noon today.

    [05] Serbian Troops and Weaponry Building Up in Different Parts of Kosova

    Serb troops and armaments massed in Mitrovica, Vushtrri, Suhareka, Hani i Elezit, Malisheva, Istog, Skenderaj

    PRISHTINA, Feb 26 (KIC) - Early in the morning today (Saturday), heavy Serbian military and police forces were stationed in several settlements in the municipality of Suhareka, local LDK sources said.

    The Serbian forces have taken up the very same positions they had during the last year's offensive against the Albanian population in the area.

    Just past noon, Serbian forces were heading towards Prizren, in what seems to amount to preparations for a fresh Serbian offensive in the area, sources said.

    Serbian forces have been reportedly redeploying in the Mitrovica area, in Frash&r i Vog&l ('Svinjare') village and the outlying area towards Vaganic& e Poshtme, Vaganic& e Ep&rme, Pir^, and Oshlan villages.

    In Frash&r i Vog&l, the Serbian military has entered Albanian family house courtyards, whereas police was housed last night in the house of Gani R. Ahmeti (45).

    The Albanian population of the villages of Frash&r i Vog&l, Pir^, Vaganic& e Ep&rme, Vaganic& e Poshtme, as well as part of the population of Verrnic& village, have fled their homes. Part of them spent the last night rough in the open in the "Ura e Gjakut" neighborhood of Mitrovica.

    A number of Serbian tanks and lorries have been deployed near the village of Zhabar i Ep&rm of Mitrovica, with their barrels aimed at the villages of Lusht&, Vaganic&, Verrnic& and Pir^ between Vushtrri and Mitrovica.

    Serbian police has been reported arbitrarily stopping and ill- treating Albanians in mounting checkpoints in the town of Mitrovica.

    Seven Serbian army lorries with soldiers on board as well as a number of APCs and jeeps left Mitrovica for Skenderaj ('Srbica') today morning.

    Fresh Serbian police and military forces, backed up by armoured vehicles and APCs, arrived in the town of Rahovec today morning.

    Later on, some of them headed towards Ho^& e Madhe, the rest in the direction of Suhareka, local LDK sources said.

    Serbian paramilitary forces backed up by an armoured car and four other vehicles headed towards the village of Trubuhovc, municipality of Istog, in northwestern Kosova, in mid-morning today, local LDK sources said.

    Serbs have redeploying and digging in in the Malisheva area, in central Kosova, sources told the KIC.

    [06] Serbian Forces Encircle Rezhanc& Village of Hani i Elezit

    PRISHTINA, Feb 26 (KIC) - At 8:00 a.m. today (Saturday), shooting was heard in the villages of Pustenik and Rezhanc&, municipality of Hani i Elezit ('General Jankovic'), local LDK sources in Ka^anik reported Serbian troops and armaments have been concentrated recently in the south- eastern border area of Kosova with Macedonia.

    A column of Serbian forces consisting of a dozen motorized vehicles arrived from Ferizaj in Hani i Elezit just before noon today.

    At noon, Serbian forces besieged the village of Rezhanc&. The local Albanian residents started fleeing their homes.

    Kosova Information Center

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