|Thursday, 23 January 2020|
Kosova Daily Report #1351, 98-02-22
From: Kosova Information Center <email@example.com>
Kosova Information Center
KOSOVA DAILY REPORT #1351
Prishtina, 22 February 1998
 President Rugova Receives Senior U.S. DelegationPRISHTINA, Feb 22 (KIC) - The President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova received for talks a senior American delegation, headed by Ambassador Robert Gelbrad, special representative of President Clinton and secretary of State Albright. Participating in the meeting were General Brigadier George Sasey, from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, James Swigerte, director, Office of South Central Europe, Department of State, Rich Betsavage, Bosnia Task Force, Department of Defense, and Ms Beth Sanner, from Ambassador Gelbard's Office, Richard Miles, chief of Mission of U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Nicholas Hill, First Secretary, and Richard Huckaby, director of U.S. Center in Prishtina During a frank meeting, the President of the Republic of Kosova and the U.S. delegation discussed issues of common interest for Kosova and the U.S., the current situation as well as prospects for a negotiated and peaceful settlement to the Kosova issue.
Regarding the current situation, President Ibrahim Rugova said it has deteriorated amidst an increasing campaign of violence and repression by Serb forces. The large-scale police operations targeting Albanians in some municipalities in the north-western and central parts of Kosova have added to the already tense and volatile situation, he said.
President Rugova said the people of Kosova is committed to pursue its drive for independence by peaceful and democratic means. An independent Kosova, with safeguards for all rights of the local Serb community, is the optimal and viable solution, he added, calling for an equitable Prishtina-Belgrade talks process, under the mediation of the United States and the assistance of the European Union. Heavier pressure should be put on Belgrade to get it involved in such a dialogue, the President underscored.
President Rugova of Kosova recalled that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on March, 22nd. He noted that Kosova in this way maintains and promotes further the democratic order and civic society in the country. He urged for the U.S. to monitor these elections.
President Clinton's special representative for the Dayton Implementation, Ambassador Robert Gelbard expressed the Administration's deep concern over the developments in Kosova. He said U.S. is supportive of the moderate and pragmatic leadership in Kosova and stands for a settlement of the Kosova crisis by peaceful means and dialogue. Further, he stressed the U.S. condemns all acts of violence and terrorism, irrespective of where they come from.
The senior U.S. diplomat pointed out that an early implementation of the Education Accord would pave the way for a broader dialogue on Kosova. The outer wall of sanctions on Belgrade will be maintained, Gelbard added.
Expressing appreciation for the continued U.S. support for Kosova, President Ibrahim Rugova reiterated the crucial role the U.S. is to play here, as well as the significance of friendly ties between Kosova and the United States.
 Statements to the Press after Rugova-Gelbard MeetingPRISHTINA, Feb 22 (KIC) - President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosova and U.S. envoy for the Balkans Robert Gelbard talked to the press after the conclusion of their meeting in Prishtina today.
This is what Ambassador Gelbard had to say: "President Rugova and I had a very good opportunity to renew our dialogue. We most recently spoke about a month ago when, unfortunately, the weather prevented my arrival here. But, we feel very strongly that the moderate, pragmatic leadership of the Kosovar Albanians needs to continue to be followed. The United Sates, of course, strongly condemns the violence which has been escalating here in Kosovo, the great majority of which we consider responsibility of the police and of the government authorities, but we also condemn the terrorism of the U^K.
We feel it's absolutely important for here to be a strong, positive dialogue between the Kosovar Albanian leadership and government of the FRY directed towards lessening tensions and building greater trust, and we feel that this has to be done with great urgency starting with the implementation of the Education agreement geared to the reopening of the University. We made that very clear to all the sides concerned".
In his statement to the press, President of the Republic Dr. Ibrahim Rugova said he was delighted to meet Ambassador Gelbard, President Clinton's special representative. "I am grateful for the continued U.S. engagement on Kosova", the President said, adding that Gelbard had conveyed Madame Albrights's concern over the situation in Kosova. "The U.S. is and should continue being engaged in the resolution of the Kosova issue, of course together with the allies, so as to help the people of Kosova realize its aspirations for freedom, independence and democracy".
The recent situation in Kosova is very tense, Dr. Rugova said. "We are cautions, and condemn acts of violence and terrorism in Kosova.
We take much pain in these moments to avoid splits in the people of Kosova, but all must be aware that the majority of the people of Kosova is committed to achieve the political aims by peaceful and political means", the President stressed.
"All we have done in the past seven years - the civic society and all - is opposition to the acts of violence. We do not want anything to happen in Kosova, for it would pose a danger to the entire Balkans", President Rugova of Kosova said, echoing Gelbard's words about the urgency for circumstances for dialogue to be created.
Kosova Information Center