Epilogh OMRI Daily Digest, No. 36, Part II, 20 Feb 95 [*]

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No. 36, Part II, 20 February 1995


  • ALBANIAN DIES IN ARMED RIOT IN MACEDONIA. One ethnic Albanian died and 28 people were wounded, including nine policemen, when shots were exchanged during clashes between ethnic Albanians and Macedonian police in Mala Recica, near Tetovo, on 17 February, Nasa Borba reported on 20 February. The riots followed a police crackdown on the self-proclaimed Albanian-language university in Tetovo, which opened on 16 February. The riots began the next day when some 200 ethnic Albanians tried to force their way into the university building. Witnesses and official reports say the first shots were fired by the protesters. The rector of the university, Fadil Sulejmani, and a leader of the Forum for the Defense of Human Rights were arrested the same day. The funeral of 33-year-old Abduseljan Emini on 19 February was attended by about 10,000 people and took place without incident. After the funeral, a group of youths marched to the police station to demand the release of Sulejmani, but they dispersed after one of their leaders appealed to them to avoid excesses, international agencies reported on 17 and 18 February. Sulejmani had warned of armed clashes before the university opened. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

  • ETHNIC ALBANIAN POLITICIANS ON TETOVO RIOT. Following his meeting with Macedonian Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski on 18 February, the leader of the Party for Democratic Prosperity (the largest ethnic Albanian party in Macedonia) said a compromise over Albanian-language higher education can be found. But Menduh Thaci, an independent parliament deputy and leader of a group that split away from the PPD, denounced the police violence, saying neither the government nor the Macedonian intellectuals have "a minimum of understanding" for the Albanians' demands. Thaci called on Albania and international organizations for assistance. In an interview with Deutsche Welle's Albanian-language service on 19 February, he claimed that pro-Serbian forces were behind the clashes. Flaka on 20 February reported that policemen painted the symbol meaning "only force saves the Serbs" on the university building during the raids. The Interior Ministry, however, denied Albanian claims at a press conference on 18 February that Serbian police were involved in the clashes. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

  • INTERNATIONAL REACTIONS TO TETOVO CLASHES. The UNPROFOR representative in Skopje, Hugo Anson, said the UN peacekeeping forces deeply regretted the violence in Tetovo and urged ethnic Albanians and the Macedonian government "to continue the path of dialogue, goodwill, compromise, and restraint," AFP reported on 18 February. He added that the UN Security Council is committed to ensuring respect for the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Macedonia and asked all citizens to regard themselves foremost as Macedonian citizens "and only afterwards as members of various ethnic groups." The Albanian government condemned the shooting as a "criminal act of violence . . . which does not serve the too-fragile stability in the region," Reuters reported, citing a declaration read on Albanian Television and Radio Tirana. "The terror exercised against Albanians and the killing of a demonstrator shows the existence of an anti-Albanian police state [in Macedonia]," the statement said. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

  • MILOSEVIC REFUSES TO TRADE BORDER RECOGNITION FOR SANCTIONS LIFTING. Nasa Borba on 20 February reports that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, during three-day talks with Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, categorically refused to recognize Croatia's and Bosnia and Herzegovina's borders in exchange for the suspension of most UN-imposed sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. Kozyrev, for his part, had arrived in Belgrade openly sympathetic to the president's position. The two leaders issued a statement on 19 February saying "the lifting of sanctions is the first essential step that needs to be taken toward a definitive solution to the Yugoslav crisis." Kozyrev openly criticized Western nations for what he called their "haggling" over peace in the former Yugoslavia. He urged that Milosevic's peace initiatives be rewarded with the prior lifting of economic sanctions, AFP reported. Kozyrev and Milosevic met in Karadjordjevo, about 100 km north of Belgrade, from 17-19 February, following proposals by the Contact Group that the economic boycott against rump Yugoslavia be suspended if Belgrade recognizes Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in their present borders. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

  • LOCAL MEDIA ON KOZYREV-MILOSEVIC MEETING. Serbian authorities on 18 February slapped a media blackout on the Milosevic-Kozyrev talks. But Reuters reported the same day that Serbia's state-run media openly scorned any suggestions that Belgrade extend recognition to Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in exchange for the suspension of sanctions against rump Yugoslavia. The state-run daily Borba rejected outright the idea that recognition could be the first step toward solving regional problems, noting that "the diplomatic table is burdened with problems that would have to be solved in advance [of recognition]." Reuters also reported that the Bosnian Serb leadership on 17 February was planning to propose that Milosevic press ahead with the "unification of all Serbs." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

  • OTHER DIPLOMATIC DEVELOPMENTS IN THE YUGOSLAV AREA. News agencies reported on 18 February that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, at a meeting with U.S. Contact Group representative Robert Frasure, said fears of new fighting are unfounded, despite Croatia's decision that UNPROFOR must leave by 30 June. Frasure repeated American warnings that Zagreb's policy is foolhardy since it places too much hope on a deal with Milosevic and excessive confidence in the Croatian military. Meanwhile, at the U.S. Air Force base at Ramstein, Germany, the UN commander in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lt.-Gen. Rupert Smith, participated in NATO exercises to simulate the possible evacuation of UNPROFOR from Bosnia. On a more optimistic note, Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic told an international audience about his plans for the economic development of his embattled republic. His government has given priority to foreign backing for some 400 private and state enterprises dealing with infrastructure and basic necessities. The goal is to replace relief aid as soon as possible. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

    [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Jan Cleave