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Kosova Daily Report #1349, 98-02-19
From: Kosova Information Center <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Kosova Information Center
KOSOVA DAILY REPORT #1349
Prishtina, 19 February 1998
 President Rugova Receives Italian AmbassadorPRISHTINA, Feb 19 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received today in Prishtina Mr. Riccardo Sessa, Italian Ambassador to Belgrade.
The current situation and the prospects for a peaceful and negotiated settlement to the Kosova issue were discussed.
On the subject of the most recent situation, Dr. Rugova said it has been grave and volatile amidst an increasing campaign of repression and violence instituted by the Serbian regime against he Albanian people of Kosova.
The people of Kosova are committed to political and peaceful means in their struggle for freedom, independence and democracy of Kosova, the President said. He reasserted that an independent Kosova, with all rights for local Serbs safeguarded, is the optimal and viable solution for Kosova.
The Italian Ambassador said his government is supportive of the nonviolent policies advocated by Dr. Rugova and pursued by the people of Kosova in the past several years.
Italy stands for an equitable solution to the Kosova issue, Ambassador Sessa said.
President Rugova of Kosova said he appreciated the Italian government's concerns over Kosova.
 President Rugova Discusses Kosova with Max van der StoelPRISHTINA, Feb 19 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova met today in Prishtina with Max van der Stoel, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office for Kosova.
Mr. Max van der Stoel is on an informal visit to Kosova, accompanied by his aides, Stefan Vassilev and Marek Jeziorsky.
President Rugova and Mr. Stoel exchanged views about the current situation and prospects for a peaceful and negotiated settlement in Kosova.
The people of Kosova is committed to its peaceful policies in pursuit of a resolution to the Kosova issue on the basis of the will of the people for independence, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova said.
In view of and increasingly repressive situation in the wake of the Serb police and military build-up, President Rugova underlined the need for timely action on the part of international community to preventing an escalation of conflict in Kosova. A talks process between Prishtina and Belgrade, under an effective international mediation, is the way to pursue a political solution, the President said.
The Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office for Kosova, Mr. Stoel expressed the concern of his organization over the increasing tensions in Kosova, urging for restraint and caution from all the parties concerned.
 PPK Refuses to Meet with Stoel, 'OSCE's Minorities Commissioner'PRISHTINA, Feb 19 (KIC) - The Parliamentary Party of Kosova (PPK) said it refused to meet with Max van der Stoel, "who is OSCE's Commissioner for Minorities", because he cannot be an intermediator for Kosova in that capacity, Bajram Kosumi, vice-chairman of the party said.
Mr. Stoel is indeed OSCE Minorities Commissioner, but also Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office for Kosova.
The OSCE has some principles which favor a partial, rather than comprehensive approach, to the Kosova issue, while status of Kosova is the generator of all problems, PPK leader said.
Mr. Stoel is here on a private visit, Mr. Bajram Kosumi told the press, noting that "the OSCE could not secure a single entry visa from the Belgrade authorities". How can one expect that this organization, or its representative, can mediate in settling the Kosova issue?, the PPK vice- chairman asks.
He cited alleged ('scandalous') remarks by Max Van der Stoel in FYROM (over the University of Tetova), as a further reason why he is unacceptable.
The two Albanian political parties in FYROM have said they are breaking contacts with Stoel, for "he says one thing in the meeting, and something else" elsewhere to the public, as the Party for Democratic Prosperity (PPD) said in a statement.
 Serbian Military and Police Build-up in Kosova, Admonition of a Crime ForetoldPRISHTINA, Feb 19 (KIC) - Communications from the Kosova capital Prishtina towards Peja and Mitrovica and other parts of Kosova is a devilishly bad experience for Albanians. The ordeal of going through Serb forces' check- points is something thousands of Albanians have to experience on a daily basis for a month now. (The human rights groups and the Kosova Information Center have been hardly coping with the influx of information amidst this repressive situation. The Kosova Daily Report updates in English can only give an incomplete, representative as it may be, account of what is happening.) Check-points have been newly set up at Komoran (Gllogovc), Kijeva (Malisheva), at Dollc, Ujmir and Jashanica (Klina), at Gjurakovc (Istog), at Klin& e Ep&rme and Runik (Skenderaj) and Nedakovc (Vushtrri). Hundreds of Albanians have been reported ill-treated and robbed of their money, scores of others detained, some kidnapped. Two Albanians have been killed and two others wounded in Skenderaj and Malisheva.
The establishment of fresh check-points, with heavily armed Serb personnel, produces the image of a territory militarily isolated from the rest of Kosova.
Heavy shooting during the night, and raids on Albanian villages, as well as the fact that Serb military hardware and personnel being deployed in and near the Drenica region are all bad omens.
It should be recalled that the steely ring around Drenica was started being built in the wake of January 22 incident, when Serb police forces attacked an Albanian family at Prekaz i Ep&rm village in Skenderaj.
Latest press reports (see Bujku, 19 February) speak of Albanian families in the near vicinity of Serb check-points having started evacuating children. The increase in the level of Serb presence and violence and in Kosova is seen here to be in connection with the coming Kosovar parliamentary and presidential elections, as well as new international initiatives, both utterly despised by the Milosevic regime. Yet the Serb establishment has been keen on selling a different story as a cover-up for the building up of forces in Kosova.
*** For almost a month now, there has been an increasing Serbian police and military build-up in the Drenica (Drenitza) region - whose main urban center is Skenderaj (in Serbian 'Srbica') - but also the adjacent area in north-western and central parts of Kosova. The region, inhabited by a 98-99 percent Albanian population, has found itself under a real dawn-to-dusk curfew, although daytime is no much better experience for the local population.
Will the much feared eruption in Kosova become a self-fulfilling prophecy amidst this ubiquitous Serb might and propaganda war which has preceded and is accompanying it?
Belgrade has been redeploying troops in Kosova and sealed off the Drenica region allegedly in a bid to fight the underground Ushtria ^lirimtare e Kosov&s (U^K, the Kosova Liberation Army), namely Albanian militants who have labelled themselves the 'U^K'. The campaign is inching towards an undeclared war on the Albanian population. For Serbian occupation authorities see in Albanian farmers, students, teachers, young and old, men and women, people who resist their rule, and accordingly sympathetic to the U^K.
The Serb propaganda was happy enough to initially recognize some 'success' on the part of the U^K, inferring that parts of Kosova had slipped out of the (military and police) control of Serbia.
This was aimed at galvanizing the Serb public opinion against the 'Albanian terrorist campaign'. It aimed also at persuading the world into believing this forged reality. For, to fight terrorism is what the world ('no reasonable people', as the Serbs put it) can object to. This is the sort of propaganda pattern Serbia has been employing, in a bid to cover up its own terror against an entire nation, whose only guilt is that it does not want to live as a subjected race in its own land.
While not denying the existence of small groups of militants, who have chosen to call themselves the Kosova Liberation Army and claimed responsibility for a number of violent incidents against Serb regime targets, one would court folly to maintain that a war is imminent because we have a levelling field, namely two parties - the Serbian military/police and the U^K. This kind of 'even- handedness' in viewing the Kosova crisis is what, after all, the U^K may stand for, at least in the eyes of Belgrade.
The expansion of the Serb build-up (along the Prishtina-Peja line) portends also some fiendish Greater Serbia designs, namely partitioning of Kosova into more or less two parts. Taking portions of Kosova, rich in minerals, but which would include also a few Serb medieval churches/monasteries, has been the idea advocated by Serb chauvinistic circles, and never firmly denied by the Serb Communist-turned-Socialist establishment. The 90 percent Albanian population would be swept away, namely ethnically cleansed, in such an operation.
What we have here in Kosova is a sheer Serbian occupation, and a growing number of Albanians who have been frustrated after eight years of suffering in Serb hands. The committed non-violent policies of the Kosova leadership and the Albanian people at large have been met by a fierce Serb crackdown, and international "sermons on nonviolence", as Morton Abramowitz put it this week.
You can't have continued Serbian rule and peace in Kosova.
Serbia knows it. Therefore, it might feel like pacifying the Drenitza region to ensure 'peace' here.
For this crime foretold to be averted, there should be an increased awareness that the world should act.
It may soon be too late.
 Dozens of Albanians Suffer Serb Police Brutality in KlinaPRISHTINA, Feb 19 (KIC) - LDK sources in Klina has recorded dozens of new cases of Serb police brutality against Albanian residents of this municipality over the past days.
The Serbian police has been exercising brutal torture particularly at the check-point established at the Klina-Prishtina-Gjakova juncture. The Serbian police stopped and searched thoroughly the bus of "Benita" company, ordered Arben Hoti, student at the secondary school, to step out of the bus and beat him ruthlessly, just because he came from Jashanica, a place where an attack on Serbian police was staged couple of days ago.
At the same place the Serbian police beat severely Ahmet Gashi from Balinc& village.
LDK sources in Klina told Bujku newspaper that a convoy of Serbian army stationed recently at the vicinity of the agricultural airport of Budisalc. Armed local Serbian residents have began patrolling over the last few days there who stop and search every passerby.
Anton Ndreca, student of law at the Prishtina University was arrested on the bus together with his aunt Kate Berisha (f) and cousin Arb&resh& Berisha (f). Without any explanation they were taken at the police station in Kijeva where they were held for one hour where from they were transferred to the Serbian police station in Klina. They were provoked of being linked to the so-called U^K (Kosova Liberation Army). After two hours at the police station the police released the two women, but drove Anton Ndreca and Bardhec ^upeva, apparently arrested elsewhere, to the police station in Peja. They were held there for four hours and subjected to outrageous torture.
Serbian police arrested also Anton's cousin Pashk Ndrecaj, who went to inquire for him at the police station in Klina. He was beaten severely by five Serbian policemen. He told LDK sources that while he was inside the police station the Serbian police beat severely four members of the Kabashi family in Klina.
 Scores of Secondary School Students Beaten SeverelyPRISHTINA, Feb 19 (KIC) - Gazmend Hoxhaj, Agim Prenaj, Ruzhdi Kryeziu, Gazmend Kryeziu and G&zim Kryeziu, students of the secondary school "Lasgush Poradeci" in Kijeva, were stopped Tuesday evening by the Serbian police at a check-point in Kijeva, and were beaten severely, today's Bujku newspaper reports.
They were on their way home from school.
Whereas, at the Serbian police check-point in Pogragj& of Klina, the Serbian police beat Blerim Veselaj from K&rnic& village, and Lutfi and Bahri Bajraktari from Jashanic&, students of the secondary school in Klina. They were beaten because they did not salute the police. They police gave them a "lecture' how to greet the policemen, Bujku newspaper says.
In Klina the Serbian police beat in downtown Klina students Valdrin Krasniqi, Valmir Krasniqi and Adem Shala, from Klina. They were beaten for, as the police put it, having laughed when they passes by them.
 Gangs of Armed and Masked Civilians Intimidate School ChildrenPRISHTINA, Feb 19 (KIC) - Local Albanian residents of Gurrakoc of Istog reported yesterday of armed and masked civilians driving on vans without license plates, provoking people on the road, Bujku newspaper writes.
Witnesses said that when driving by the school in Veri^ village, they terrified children of the local primary school. One student was reported to have fainted of fear.
Sources in Istog reported for the newspaper that the Serbian police in Mitrovica tortured severely Gani Sadikaj at the bus station of this town and seized 2100 DM from him.
He was put under medical treatment after having arrived home at Rakosh village of Istog.
 Albanian Heals Wounds Inflicted on Him by Serbian PolicePRISHTINA, Feb 19 (KIC) - Sources in Gjakova reported that the Serbian police arrested under the pretext of arms possession Shk&lzen Jaha from Babaj i Bok&s village of Gjakova, at his home Tuesday.
He was taken at the police station and beaten brutally. Following the torture Shk&lzen Jaha was taken in very bad health condition to the town hospital in Gjakova.
Today's Bujku says that his father Bajram Jaha was also beaten at the police station in Gjakova for the same reason few days ago. He was ordered to report again.
Meanwhile, LDK sources in Gjakova said there was an increase in movements of Serbian police and army forces in this municipality.
 Kosova Albanian, on His Way to Hungary, DisappearsPRISHTINA, Feb 19 (KIC) - Asllan Imer Qenaj (66), left his home at Ramaj e Hasit village Saturday morning, and travelled to Hungary to meet his son there.
His friend Dervish Krasniqi told KIC yesterday that Mr. Qenaj took a bus to Hungary, but disappeared on the way, and they have no knowledge of him so far.
He said he had not arrived in Hungary where his son was waiting to meet him.
Kosova Information Center