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Kosova Daily Report #1724, 99-03-18

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 #1724
Prishtina, 18 March 1999


CONTENTS

  • [01] Kosovar Delegation to Sign Agreement in Paris Late Afternoon
  • [02] Around 40,000 Serb Forces In and Around Kosova
  • [03] Serb Military Offensive in Mitrovica and Vushtrri Area Continues
  • [04] Heavy Fighting in Zhilivod& Village, Serb Forces Burn Albanian Houses
  • [05] Serbian Forces Shell Four Podujeva Villages Today Morning
  • [06] Two Decomposing Bodies Found in Peran Village of Podujeva
  • [07] One Albanian Wounded in Sibofc, Two Kidnapped in Hamidi
  • [08] Unidentified Body Found in Biraq Mountains, Suhareka Area
  • [09] Two U^K Soldiers Found Killed in Ka^anik Highlands Area
  • [10] Shooting Reported in Bellacerk& Village of Rahovec
  • [11] Four Albanian Youths from Peja Missing for Three Days Now

  • [01] Kosovar Delegation to Sign Agreement in Paris Late Afternoon

    PRISHTINA, March 18 (KIC) - The delegation of the Republic of Kosova is to sign the Rambouillet Accords late afternoon today (Thursday) in the presence of U.S. and European Union, and possibly Russian representatives, sources from Paris said.

    The Kosovar delegation had announced Monday, at the start of the second round of the Rambouillet conference on an interim settlement for Kosova, that it agreed to sign the deal negotiated back in February.

    In show of increasing defiance to the will of the international community, which has been heavily engaged in efforts to secure a political solution to the Kosova issue, the Serbian side has adamantly refused to sign the agreement. One of their leaders even pretended such a thing did not exist, calling it a fraud!

    The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday it was inviting members of the Kosovar Albanian negotiating team at the peace talks in Paris to visit Washington.

    Secretary of State Albright asked James Rubin, her assistant and spokesman, to meet with the head of the Kosovar negotiating team, Hashim Tha^i, and "convey on her behalf an invitation to the members of the Kosovar Albanian delegation to travel to Washington, which we expect to happen at the close of this round of talks in Paris," said deputy State Department spokesman James Foley.

    White House Deputy National Security Adviser James Steinberg said NATO was "prepared to take actions" in response, as peace talks in Paris teetered on the brink of collapse, CNN reported.

    Steinberg and Foley said there were two triggers for NATO military action - a refusal by the Serbs to agree to a Kosova peace deal, and an armed offensive against the Kosova Albanians.

    "And on both scores, we are seeing increasing evidence that the Serbs are meeting the criteria for triggering a NATO response," Foley said.

    [02] Around 40,000 Serb Forces In and Around Kosova

    PRISHTINA, March 18 (KIC) - "There are probably now 16,000 to 21,000 Serb forces gathered around the perimeter of Kosovo," Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said Tuesday. Some 14,000 to 18,000 Serb troops are already in Kosova, he said.

    They (the Serbs) "are certainly bracing for war", Bacon told reporters.

    Meanwhile, the White House expressed grave concern Wednesday about large- scale Serbian troop movements in and near Kosova and warned the Serbs not to launch an offensive against ethnic Albanians, CNN reported.

    White House Deputy National Security Adviser James Steinberg said NATO was "prepared to take actions" in response.

    Steinberg and State Department Deputy Spokesman James Foley said there were two triggers for NATO military action - a refusal by the Serbs to agree to a Kosovo peace deal, and an armed offensive against the Kosova Albanians.

    "And on both scores, we are seeing increasing evidence that the Serbs are meeting the criteria for triggering a NATO response," Foley said.

    Significant troop movements have been reported along the Albanian border, on the road to the Macedonian border and near Prishtina, Kosova's capital.

    Most of the Serb reinforcements have been coming via the Nis- Podujeva- Prishtina highway.

    International monitors for the Kosova Verification Mission observed a train Tuesday bringing into Kosova a large Serb armored element, including seven T-72-type tanks.

    They also said additional tanks were positioned near Podujeva, indicating that two armored brigades had deployed in Kosova, said James Foley.

    [03] Serb Military Offensive in Mitrovica and Vushtrri Area Continues

    PRISHTINA, March 18 (KIC) - Early in the morning today, two lorryloads of Serb soldiers left the army barracks in Mitrovica hading for Pir^ village, where they deployed, while five heavy guns and three grenade-launchers were positioned in the hills between the Verrnic& village of Mitrovica and Oshlan village of Vushtrri.

    From this hill Serbs have been sporadically shelling the villages of Oshlan, Pantin& and Lkej, municipality of Vushtrri, and Lubavec village of neighboring Skenderaj ('Srbica').

    These villages were shelled yesterday also, while Serbian infantry units have reportedly moved into Verrnic& and Vaganic& villages and started digging in.

    Meanwhile, U^K positions in the Zmiq mountains were pounded by Serb forces last night.

    Shooting from small arms was reported Wednesday evening from a building where Serb police live in the town of Mitrovica.

    Paramilitary police forces left Mitrovica for Skenderaj today morning.

    Sporadic gunfire was reported in the village of Be^uk, Vushtrri municipality, last night. Albanians have fled the village.

    Serbian lorries with civilian license plates have been seen transporting goods, including domestic appliances, from abandoned Albanian houses in the Vushtrri municipality.

    At least five wounded Serb soldiers were taken to the Mitrovica hospital yesterday. A Serb helicopter with the first-aid sign flew several times from the Serb army barracks to the Mitrovica hospital.

    Meanwhile, local LDK sources said Ragip Bajrami (50), who was wounded in the blast at the market in Mitrovica on Saturday, died Wednesday in a Belgrade hospital. He is the sixth victim to have died as a result of the terrorist attack in Mitrovica. Around seventy others were wounded that day.

    [04] Heavy Fighting in Zhilivod& Village, Serb Forces Burn Albanian Houses

    PRISHTINA, March 18 (KIC) - Heavy fighting between U^K and Serbian military and police forces has been reported today (Thursday) in the village of Zhilivod&, local LDK sources in Vushtrri reported.

    The village of Strofc has come under heavy Serb attack, too.

    The Serb forces have been setting Albanian houses at Zhilivod& on fire.

    [05] Serbian Forces Shell Four Podujeva Villages Today Morning

    PRISHTINA, March 18 (KIC) - After sporadic gunfire overnight, Serbian forces shelled today morning, from 6:20 CET through 6:50 CET, the villages of Godishnjak&, Sallabaj&, Konushevc and Buric&, local LDK sources in Podujeva said.

    Fresh Serbian forces and armor - including three armored vehicles, and six lorries full of Serbian police - entered Kosova from Serbia just past 7 o'clock in the morning.

    Meanwhile, at 9 o'clock four Serbian tanks left the Dumosh airfield heading southward to capital Prishtina.

    [06] Two Decomposing Bodies Found in Peran Village of Podujeva

    PRISHTINA, March 18 (KIC) - Two decomposing bodies were found in Peran village, municipality of Podujeva, on Thursday evening, local LDK sources said.

    Serbian military has been deployed in the village, four km north of Podujeva, for a couple of months now.

    A number of Albanians have reported missing in the area since January, when Serbian military and police forces cracked down on Podujeva villages, sending the local population fleeing their homes.

    [07] One Albanian Wounded in Sibofc, Two Kidnapped in Hamidi

    PRISHTINA, March 18 (KIC) - During the Serbian shelling of the Sibofc village, Idriz T. Gashi (70), a local resident, was wounded, local LDK sources in Obiliq reported. He was taken out of the village by OSCE verifiers.

    Meanwhile, sources said two Albanian brothers, one of them named Halit Krasniqi, were kidnapped by Serbian forces in Hamidi village on Tuesday morning. They have been unaccounted for ever since.

    Another Albanian, Enver Osmani (1971), resident of Dardhisht& ('Krusevac') village, has been unaccounted for since 27 February when Serb police arrested him in Lajthisht& village of Obiliq.

    He was arrested while returning home from work with "Elektroekonomia e Kosov&s".

    [08] Unidentified Body Found in Biraq Mountains, Suhareka Area

    PRISHTINA, March 18 (KIC) - The body of an unidentified man, in his mid- thirties, was found today morning in the Biraq mountains, near the Suhareka- Duh&l roadway, local LDK sources said.

    The residents of Grejkoc and Korish& villages, who fled their homes yesterday amidst an increased Serb forces' activity, started trickling back today, sources added.

    [09] Two U^K Soldiers Found Killed in Ka^anik Highlands Area

    PRISHTINA, March 18 (KIC) - Two U^K soldiers, Milaim Gani Loku (1965), and Em&rllah Nexhip Ku^i (1965), both of them residents of Kotlin& village in the Ka^anik highlands, were found killed on Wednesday.

    They were killed on 9 March at Kotlin&, but their bodies had remained uncollected ever since.

    Eight U^K fighters have died and nine others have been wounded in the Ka^anik and Hani i Elezit area during the fighting earlier this month, Kosovapress reported.

    A heavy Serbian military and police presence has been reported in Hani i Elezit area.

    [10] Shooting Reported in Bellacerk& Village of Rahovec

    PRISHTINA, March 18 (KIC) - Shooting from small arms was heard in the village of Bellacerk&, municipality of Rahovec, just before noon today (Thursday), local LDK sources said.

    Serb police raided many Albanian families, and arrested members of the Kelmendi family.

    Many village residents fled their homes in fear.

    A police expedition headed towards Bellacerk& and X&rx& villages today morning.

    An Albanian youth, Bekim Uk& Popaj (18), was arrested Wednesday evening in his native Bellacerk& village and was held in police custody overnight, to only be released today at the intervention of the OSCE verifiers, local LDK sources said.

    Meanwhile, four Albanians were convicted yesterday on trumped up political ('terrorism') charges in the Serb-run court in Prizren.

    Nysret I. Hoti (1970) was sentenced to 4 years in prison, Isak H.

    Hoti (1974) to 5 and a half years imprisonment, Sokol H. Morina (1945) to five years, and Vehbi M. Muharremi (1968) to 8 years in prison. They are residents of Ratkoc and Drenoc villages, municipality of Rahovec.

    The Albanians had been arrested on 19 July, at the heat of the Serbian offensive in the Rahovec area.

    [11] Four Albanian Youths from Peja Missing for Three Days Now

    PRISHTINA, March 18 (KIC) - Four Albanian youths, students with the Middle Economics School in Peja ('Pec'), have been missing since 15 March, local human rights sources said.

    The missing students - D&frim R. Tigani (1983), Astrit M. Dreni (1983), Ylli M. Krasniqi (1983) and Artan C. Berish&s (1983) - are all residents of the town of Peja.

    It is not known who abducted the Albanian students.

    An Albanian from Raushiq village, Syl& Dinaj, has been missing since yesterday, when police raided the Radavc village of Peja, where he was staying as a refugee.

    Two Albanians from Radavc, Nezir S. Gjuraj (30) and Mehmet T.

    Gjuraj (60), were arrested by police during the raid yesterday.

    Kosova Information Center

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