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Kosova Daily Report #1345, 98-02-13

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

From: Kosova Information Center <kic_pr@zana-pr.ztn.apc.org>

Kosova Information Center

KOSOVA DAILY REPORT #1345

Prishtina, 13 February 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] Summary from President Rugova's Press Conference
  • [02] IHF Calls on the Head of OSCE "to End what is Arguably the Worst Human Rights Situation"
  • [03] Two Thousand Students Criticize UPS Leaders over Political Remarks
  • [04] Row over Stoel's Remarks, PPD Breaks off Contacts with Him in Protest
  • [05] "Rilindja" Newspaper Marks 53 Years of Existence
  • [06] LDK Activists Interrogated at Serbian Security in Peja
  • [07] Serbian Police Beat Severely Two Albanians in Podujeva

  • [01] Summary from President Rugova's Press Conference

    PRISHTINA, Feb 13 (KIC) - The situation in Kosova has continued to be extensively repressive and threatening amidst unremitting provocations of the Serb regime forces and armed civilians, President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova said in a press conference in Prishtina today.

    The President told reporters that the Kosovar citizens have been faced with a brutal campaign of repression and intimidation which has been underway for weeks now in several municipalities, central Kosova in the first place. He illustrated it with the names of scores of Albanians, both ordinary citizens and activists, who bore the brunt of Serb police oppression during the last week, including the chairman of the LDK branch in Gjakova Aqif Shehu and a lady, Sanie Islami from Gjilan. The former was harassed last Friday on the Prishtina-Peja road in Kijeva, while the latter was beaten by police in front of her children.

    Dr. Rugova noted with concern that apart from Serb police forces, armed Serb civilians have been likewise involved in campaigns of intimidation and oppression of Albanians. He recalled that in some villages of Klina, central Kosova, Serbs have imposed an actual curfew, whereas members of paramilitary units who were involved in the warfare in Bosnia and Croatia vowed to embark on retaliatory actions in Kosova. The President reiterated his call for local Serbs in Kosova not to provoke and, as he put it, 'do harm to their Albanian neighbors'.

    Given the very critical situation in the country, President Ibrahim Rugova pressed for urgent preventive measures by the international community. He reaffirmed that independence of Kosova, coupled with neutrality and guarantees for the Serbs in Kosova and Serb interests here, is a workable and the optimal solution. An interim international civil administration would be helpful in reaching a peaceful solution, he added.

    President Rugova expressed gratitude to a number of diplomatic crews and organizations who visited Kosova over the past week, including heads and officials of embassies of Germany, Austria, Belgium, as well as representatives of the US organization World Vision International, who promised assistance to Kosova.

    The Kosova leader praised the US President Bill Clinton for his "efforts to secure democracy in different countries of the world, as a part of American political philosophy since President Wilson".

    He said he hoped that in this respect President Clinton will help Kosova too.

    Dr. Rugova also expressed his acknowledgment to Mr. Alois Mock, and Austrian Parliament Speaker Hans Fischer for their engagement for a just settlement of Kosova, as well the State Secretary in the British Foreign Office who called for an early establishment of an EU office in Kosova.

    Asked by a reporter whether he thought that the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Kosova undermine the prospects for a dialogue with the Serb side, the President said he it was just the contrary. "The elections will only help the dialogue between the Albanian side and Belgrade in a bid for a just solution", he said.

    The reporter with the Prishtina Serb daily Jedinstvo said that in a meeting with the German Ambassador in Prishtina last week the Serb installed authorities have maintained that the elections would be an obstacle for a possible dialogue.

    Asked by another questioner if there was any progress in the talks between the 3+3 Kosovar and Serb commissions for the implementation of the Education Accord President Rugova said that "the international community and the great powers stand for an early implementation of the Accord".

    Commenting on this Dr. Fehmi Agani, LDK vice-chairman told the reporters that he met in Rome last week with representatives of the Sant' Egidio community who had mediated the Education agreement in 1996. Agani said he hoped that there will be soon a meeting of the 3+3 commission, but he was not optimistic about its success.

    [02] IHF Calls on the Head of OSCE "to End what is Arguably the Worst Human Rights Situation"

    Dialogue cannot take place between two manifestly unequal parties, in a situation in which one party is violently and systematically oppressing the other, reads an IHF letter addressed to OSCE CIO PRISHTINA, Feb 13 (KIC) - "We are writing to convey our serious concerns about the politically very dangerous situation in Kosovo," said the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights in an open letter addressed to Bronislav Geremek, Chairman- in-Office of the OSCE.

    8"The situation seems to be sliding out of control and heading towards large scale violence between Albanians and Serb police units. Every day, there are reports of more violent assaults and increased repression over Albanians in the form of Serbian reprisal expatiations," said Helsinki Federation.

    In addition, the IHF said there were also increasing numbers of armed assaults against Serbian police and other repression-related targets, assumed to be carried out by the so-called Kosova Liberation Army (KLA).

    A delegation of International Helsinki Federation visited Kosova recently, including regions reportedly under the control of Albanian armed resistance movements. IFH said it believed the policy of passive resistance will come to an end "if Serbian repression and reprisal campaigns do not stop and if the fundamental rights and dignity od the Albanians in Kosovo are not restored."

    "No political solution in Kosovo can be reached without an international mediation for negotiation between Serbs and Albanians and strong outside pressure and assistance," said IHF and proposed that such international mediation should take the form of a Dayton- like international conference on Kosova.

    "To call for 'dialogue' is not enough. Dialogue cannot take place between two manifestly unequal parties, in a situation in which one party is violently and systematically oppressing the other," IHF emphasized.

    IHF warns over suggestions about various partitioning scenarios of Kosova, which would likely lead to ethnic cleansing and further large scale suffering for Albanians, "they seem to have become acceptable solutions from official Serb viewpoint."

    The IHF called for an acute and strong need for much more clarity and coordination among international factors. Conflicting interests prevent certain World powers from making a decisive and timely contribution to the resolution of the conflict, "the main beneficiaries seem to be president Milosevic and serbian nationalists," said IHF.

    "A political solution requires a strong, internationally legitimate framework, negotiated on the basis of international standard."

    In the letter, heads of International helsinki Federation, Aaron Rhodes, Kosova Helsinki Committee, Gazmend Pula, Serbian Helsinki Committee, Sonja Biserko and Montenegrin Helsinki Committee, Slobodan Franovic, said OSCE provides a platform from which to mobilize political energy and suggested that the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE "publicly and forcefully insist on a new initiative to end what is arguably the worst human rights situation in the entire region, which threatens to degenerate into large-scale violence."

    [03] Two Thousand Students Criticize UPS Leaders over Political Remarks

    PRISHTINA, Feb 13 (KIC) - Around 2.000 Albanian students of the University of Prishtina (UP) have signed a petition to protest politically colored statements the leaders of the Independent Student Union (UPS) have been making in the past few months, thus "causing discontentment among the students", the Prishtina-based Bujku newspaper reported today.

    The petition - 1850 students have signed so far (the signing continues) - notes that the UPS is a nonpolitical organization. How can the UPS leaders allow to publicly ignore President Rugova of Kosova, and do this on behalf and in the name of some 20.000 students, the petition asks.

    The petition has been thus publicized because the UPS leadership has blocked efforts to present our views before the Assembly of the UPS, which convened February 11, the Bujku newspaper quotes the students as saying.

    The signatories of the petition said this was the statement they wanted to make before the UPS Assembly: "We, as students, are committed to continue with our peaceful protest manifestations calling for an unconditional access to our school and university premises. At the same time, we are supportive of the state bodies of the Republic of Kosova, elected by a free vote, whereas any other statement which contradicts this we will be considered an individual statement and against the will of the students".

    The UPS is the only student organization in the University of Prishtina. It organized three protest late last year calling for the return of Albanians to the university premises, occupied by Serb authorities since 1991.

    [04] Row over Stoel's Remarks, PPD Breaks off Contacts with Him in Protest

    PRISHTINA, Feb 13 (KIC) - The Party for Democratic Prosperity (PPD), the Tetova-based Albanian party in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said it will not accept further contacts and talks with the OSCE Commissioner for Minorities, Max van der Stoel, the Prishtina-based Koha ditore newspaper reported.

    The PPD is a junior coalition partner in the FYROM government.

    The Dutch diplomat was quoted as saying the FYROM government is not obliged to accredit the Albanian-language University of Tetova.

    In a statement, the PPD expressed outrage over these and other remarks Van der Stoel made.

    The party is breaking off contacts with the OSCE officials because in meeting with Albanians he speaks something, while saying something else in public statements, the Koha ditore quoted the party statement as saying.

    The Albanians in FYROM are entitled to higher level education in their mother tongue, pursuant to all international standards, the PPD said, concluding that "Max van der Stoel is abusing his office as representative of an international organization, such as OSCE".

    Mr. Stoel's recent remarks have caused indignation in the Albanian public opinion in FYROM, the party said. While Albanians are denied their basic rights, they are even ill-treated, arrested and killed, Stoel unhesitatingly states that the Republic of Macedonia has given substantial right to minorities living in the country, PPD said, wondering what those rights are.

    [05] "Rilindja" Newspaper Marks 53 Years of Existence

    Albanian journalists are the only ones in Europe who can be beaten, ill- treated, arrested and humiliated with impunity, editor-in-chief says PRISHTINA, Feb 13 (KIC) - Employees and journalists of the Albanian- language "Rilindja" newspaper marked Thursday in a solemn gathering in Prishtina the 53 anniversary of the newspaper's existence.

    Mr. Avni Spahiu, Editor-in-Chief, said that Rilindja journalists have been challenging diverse pressures and blackmails of the Serb regime for years now. "Kosovar Albanian journalists are probably the only ones in Europe today who do not enjoy any professional protection, who can be beaten, ill- treated, arrested and humiliated with impunity' he said.

    On 7 August 1990 Serbia banned and closed down the Rilindja newspaper in the wake of the illegal constitutional crackdown on the status of Kosova. The newspaper was the only Albanian-language daily in the former Yugoslavia. It was part of the huge "Rilindja" Publishing Corporation, which included a book publishing industry, a printing house and distribution network. The whole company was arbitrarily taken over by the Serbs and was renamed later into "Panorama".

    The closure of the only Albanian daily was preceded by a Serb police crackdown and closure of Albanian language broadcasting in the Radio and Television of Prishtina only one month earlier, on 5 July 1990 when Serb police broke into the studios of the radio and TV, discontinued broadcasting, kicked Albanian employees out.

    The Rilindja newspaper has later resumed publication in Switzerland. Since January 1991 "Bujku", formerly a monthly agricultural periodical, started its publication in Kosova as a daily newspaper in an bid to challenge the information blackout Serbia imposed in Kosova.

    Bujku and Rilindja are actually one and the same newspapers, appearing in different places and under different names.

    [06] LDK Activists Interrogated at Serbian Security in Peja

    PRISHTINA, Feb 13 (KIC) - Serbian security in Peja interrogated Wednesday Sokol Berisha, local LDK activist in Kashica village of Istog, LDK sources in Istog reported.

    Muharrem Turkaj, from the same village, was likewise interrogated at the Serbian security in Peja.

    Besim Podrimaj from Gjurakoc of Istog was interrogated by the Serbian security in Istog, and later in Peja, for over four hours.

    They questioned him about his political activities with the LDK Party, the existence of U^K, and the time spent abroad.

    He was held tied to the radiator during the whole period of interrogation. He was also told he would be summoned for interrogation in the future.

    Meanwhile, sources in Istog said Sk&nder I. Rexhaj from C&rca of Istog was ill-treated by the Serbian police at the police check- point in Kijeva Wednesday.

    [07] Serbian Police Beat Severely Two Albanians in Podujeva

    PRISHTINA, Feb 13 (KIC) - Last night at 8 p.m., the Serbian police stopped on the road brothers Nazif and Florim Makolli, from Hertica of Podujeva, while driving on their tractor, LDK sources in Podujeva said.

    The police asked them to get off the tractor, and began hitting Florim Makolli immediately as he stepped on the ground, without any warning.

    They were arrested after having been beaten on the road, and were taken to the police station in Lluzhan. They were held and beaten `severely at the police station until midnight, when they were finally released.

    Brothers Makolli were inflicted heavy body injuries and have been placed under medical treatment.

    Kosova Information Center


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