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Kosova Daily Report #1350, 98-02-20

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 #1350

Prishtina, 20 February 1998


CONTENTS

  • [01] Summary from President Rugova's Press Conference
  • [02] President Rugova Receives British Diplomats
  • [03] Bugajsky: U.S. Should Monitor Kosovar Elections
  • [04] Senior LDK Officials Visit Sk&nderaj and Urge Local Population for Restraint
  • [05] Serb Security Officer Killed in Unsolved Circumstances
  • [06] Albanians in Klina Villages Living under Constant Repression and Threats

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

    PRISHTINA, Feb 20 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova thanked today the Chief of U.S. Mission to Belgrade, Richard Miles, for his visit to Kosova, stressing the "continued support of the U.S. for the Kosova issue".

    Speaking during a press conference in Prishtina, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova hailed the position of Morton Abramowitz, who, in an essay in the Washington Press published Monday, pressed for a massive U.S. diplomatic efforts on Kosova, as well as similar remarks by David Phillips of the Center for Preventive Action in New York.

    President Rugova of Kosova hailed Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini's engagement for Kosova, as well as Lord Russel Johnston and Christoph Liedetke, Liberal MEPs, who are supportive of Kosovar elections and the right to self-determination.

    Touching on the current reality in Kosova, President Ibrahim Rugova said the Serbian police has continued its large-scale campaign of violence against Albanians, especially in municipalities like Klina, Gllogovc, Skenderaj, Vushtrri. He noted that the newly set up check-points is where the Albanians bear the brunt of Serb forces's violence. "One of these check- points, at Komoran, has been obstructing the free movement of people, and even schoolchildren are being ill-treated there".

    The Serb campaign of violence and ill-treatment is highest in the villages of Klina, Gllogovc and Skenderaj municipalities, that is in the central part of Kosova - the Drenica region, the President recalled.

    Masked persons have been ill-treating people in villages of Klina, Vushtrri and Mitrovica, Dr. Rugova said, adding that there were increasing Serb police movements in Peja and Gjakova, whereas Serb military forces were drilling in Mitrovica villages as well as at Balltava (Podujeva).

    President Rugova condemned the killing by the Serb police of Avdullah Nika in his workplace last week.

    Commenting on reports about Serb civilians provoking Albanians in some villages of Klina, the President called for them to cease doing that. "They should not provoke their Albanian neighbors".

    President Rugova called on Albanians also "not to resort to the 2play with masks", as it happened in Istog last week, when an Albanian youth was wounded, having provoked, allegedly for fun, people in a caf‚.

    The Kosova President said the Albanian activists, first and foremost the LDK ones, are continuously targeted by the Serb regime. The leaders of four LDK branches were halted and threatened by Serb police last Friday, he recalled.

    All this campaign is aimed at intimidating people, the President said, calling for citizens to be cautious.

    The deteriorating situation amidst the increasing Serb police repressive campaign calls for international presence, as a way to prevent a further escalation in Kosova, President Rugova said.

    An independent and neutral Kosova, with the rights of local Serb community safeguarded, is the best solution, he said, reiterating his call for an international civil administration pending a negotiated settlement in Kosova.

    President Rugova, who is also leader of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), announced today the Third LDK Convention will take place Wednesday, 25th February. "This will be an assembly reconfirming unity, achievement and commitment of the LDK, the major political force in Kosova".

    Asked to say whether he expected progress, namely international pressure towards implementation of the Education Accord, the President said the Sant' Egidio Community's people have been in Prishtina. "They have worked with our Commission, and they should do so with the Serbian one", he added.

    If and when Robert Gelbard comes, "I will welcome him and discuss with a friend", President Rugova said, replying to a questioner about a possible trip to Prishtina soon of the U.S President and Secretary of State's personal representative.

    [02] President Rugova Receives British Diplomats

    PRISHTINA, Feb 20 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received today for talks Mr. David Landsman, Deputy Head of British Mission, and Mr. Julian Braithwaite, First Secretary in the British Embassy in Belgrade.

    The President and the British diplomats exchanged views about the current developments in Kosova and the prospects for a peaceful and negotiated settlement to the Kosova crisis.

    Dr. Ibrahim Rugova underscored the people of Kosova have been steadfast on their peaceful drive for independence, despite an increasing Serb campaign of violence and repression, which has targeted Albanians of all walks of life.

    President Rugova underscored that he has pressed for restraint on the part of the people in the face of this dangerously deteriorating situation.

    The British diplomats conveyed their government's concerns over the situation in Kosova, and reiterated the British and indeed the EU position on the need for a resolution of the Kosova issue by dialogue.

    [03] Bugajsky: U.S. Should Monitor Kosovar Elections

    PRISHTINA, Feb 20 (KIC) - Jonusz Bugajsky, a senior member of the prestigious Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said during an interview with the Rilindja/Bujku newspaper the United States of America should monitor the March 22 elections in Kosova.

    Asked whether the U.S. should be sending observers to the Kosovar elections, Mr. Bugajsky said the reason is the U.S. and other countries "do not recognize the legality of the Kosova government and the election process, because they recognize still Serbia and Yugoslavia as one country".

    This is wrong, he said.

    "In my opinion, this is a wrong policy, because we monitored elections in [the Bosnian Serb] Republika Srpska, which was created through the use of force, ethnic cleansing, genocide and massive- scale expulsion. The least we can do is to support the Albanian people in Kosova by observing the elections. If they want independence, they pursue it by peaceful and democratic means", Janusz Bugajsky said.

    There ate three reasons why the U.S. should do this, he added.

    Firstly, the presence helps the people keep their peaceful option in search of their aims. Secondly, the process of democratization in Kosova has a bearing in the entire region. Thirdly whatever kind of American presence there results in Milosevic's regime restraining from violence, Bugajsky maintains. "These are the three reason why the United States should be there, irrespective of what we think about the objectives of the Albanian leadership".

    The expert of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington made it clear in the interview he stood for a 're- federalization' of current 'Yugoslavia', namely that Kosova be a third federal unit in it.

    [04] Senior LDK Officials Visit Sk&nderaj and Urge Local Population for Restraint

    PRISHTINA, Feb 20 (KIC) - A delegation of LDK senior officials, Fehmi Agani, vice-chairman, Fatmir Sejdiu, secretary general, and Basri Musmurati member of Presidency, visited Thursday Sk&nderaj, a town in central Kosova mostly affected by the Serb police repression over the past weeks.

    In meetings with local LDK leadership and population, LDK officials called for maximum restraint, advising the people not to fall prey of various provocations.

    Idriz Reci, chairman of the LDK Branch in Skenderaj was quoted as saying that the situation in the area has rapidly deteriorating following the Serb police attack on Shaban Jashari's family in Prekaz i Ul&t village in late January. Beside police forces, arms Serb civilians who have been roaming in the area have added to the already grave situation, he said.

    Movements of the Albanian residents in the area has been limited drastically, and there is considerable shortage of food and other supplies in the shops, Idriz Reci said.

    [05] Serb Security Officer Killed in Unsolved Circumstances

    PRISHTINA, Feb 20 (KIC) - A Serb state security officer was reported shot dead in still unsolved circumstances near Luzhan village of Podujeva Thursday afternoon.

    The Serb media have named the security officer as Nebojsa Cvejic.

    The Belgrade-based daily "Dnevni telegraf" said Nebojsa Cvejic was was driving from Podujeva to Prishtina at around 16:00 hrs when was shot dead near Luzhan village. Failing to provide any further details surrounding the death of the Serb security officer the newspaper said "ambushed terrorists opened fire from automatic rifle at him".

    Sources in Podujeva said for over one hour heavy Serb police forces kept under tight control the area where the Serb state security officer was reportedly shot dead. A Serb police helicopter flew low over the Luzhan village during the whole time, sources said.

    Meanwhile reroprts from in Podujeva speak of a heavy blast in downtown Podujeva Thursday afternoon at around 16:00 hrs. The explosion caused by still unidentified devise was heard coming from the close vicinity of the town archives of Podujeva in which Serb refugees have been lodged for a couple of years now. No human casualties were reported, while Serb police forces were reportedly sent to the scene right after keeping the area blocked until late evening hours.

    For several hours on Thursday afternoon an evening the Serb police were stationed in all the key roads of Podujeva scrutinizing random passersby. An armored vehicle with Serb police on board drove the streets and lanes of the town during the whole time, sources in Podujeva said.

    [06] Albanians in Klina Villages Living under Constant Repression and Threats

    PRISHTINA, Feb 20 (KIC) - Scores of Albanians have been reported subject to Serb police brutalities at a recently set check-point at Pogragj& of Klina. The Bujku newspaper said that the additional police forces have been stationed there over the past days while the check-pint has been fortified with sand-bags.

    Albanians passing by the police check-point, secondary school students have been subjected to constant ill-treatment.

    Sefer Slivova from Jashanica was taken inside the police check- point on Thursday and was beaten brutally. He was inflicted serious heavy body injuries.

    Sefer Slivova was taken to the police station in Klina and was held there until 10 p.m where he was interrogated and harassed. He was ordered to report at the police station together with his 16-year- old son Ylber Slivova, and his 19-year-old nephew, the reporter from Klina said.

    The Serbian police arrested under the charges of alleged possession of arms Rifat Selim ^upevaj from Pogragj&, and beat him severely in one of the local shops. He suffered injuries from torture, and has been placed under medical treatment in the Peja town hospital.

    Bujku correspondent said the local Serbs in Grabanic& and Poter^ villages have been carrying night-watching.

    The free movement of the local population in the area has been endangered. They avoid travelling by bus or other means, while trains moving from Prishtina to Peja and Prizren have ceased moving, Bujku said.

    Kosova Information Center


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