|Albin Kurt has been released from Serbian prison on
7 December 2001,
but 203 Kosova-Albanian prisoners remain, detained in Serbia since June 1999.
"The worst thing has happened," Kurti told reporters on his release. "I've been freed alone. My friends are still in prison in Serbia," he added after arriving by Red Cross jeep in the town of Merdare on the Kosovo border.
On the RECORD
Your independent electronic link to Civil Society in Kosovo
The Advocacy Project has decided to start issuing excerpts of this email traffic to our subscribers in the form of our Electronic newsletter (E-letter), On the Record. The Advocacy Project was established last year to help civil society with information. This, combined with the personal involvement of two of our members in Kosovo, makes this entirely consistent with our work. We hope you agree. This first issue starts with the disturbing news that Dr. Flora Brovina, a well known female activist in Kosovo, has been kidnapped from the apartment where she lived in Pristina and Albin Kurti, former leader of UPSUP and former secretary of Adem Demaci, was arrested in Pristina along with his father and two younger brothers -- proof of the terror that has been wrought against civil society in Kosovo. But it also illustrates the dynamism and determination of Albanian Kosovo. One can only be both inspired and appalled by what is taking place in the Balkans.
The Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade issued the following report of Albin Kurti's arrest.
On 28 April 1999, Albin Kurti, the former leader of the Albanian Students Union and spokesman to the former political representative of the KLA, was arrested in Pristina. Adem Demaqi. Albin's father and an official with the Kosova Parliamentary Party, was also arrested at this time, as well as Albin's two brothers, Nazmi Zeka, the owner of the house where the Kurtis were temporarily residing, and Nazmis son. Witnesses claim that the arrest was conducted in an extremely brutal manner. Twenty-four hours later, Albin's fifteen-year old brother and Nazmi Zeka were released; they both had visible signs of beating.
The day before Albin Kurti was arrested, on 27 April 1999, the brother of a prominent soccer player Fadil Vokrri, Adil, was arrested. No information has been available about the destiny of the arrested persons.
Betreff: IWPR'S BALKAN CRISIS REPORT, NO. 65
Datum: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 16:49:41 +0100
Von: Tony Borden <Tony@iwpr.net>
WELCOME TO IWPR'S BALKAN CRISIS REPORT, NO. 65, 10 August 1999
FOR KOSOVO'S POLITICAL PRISONERS, THE WAR CONTINUES
While most Kosovo Albanians celebrate an end to the war, the agony goes on for more than 2,000 Kosovo Albanians held in Serbian jails.
By Laura Rozen in Pristina
Albin Kurti knew he was in danger. The 24-year-old student activist took precautions, varying his route to the unheated brick offices of the independent student union of Pristina's underground university where he was co-president, speaking in code on his mobile phone, and frequently sleeping away from home. But he always suspected that if the Serbian security service wanted to get him, it would.
He was right. Kurti, his father, Zaim, and brothers, Arianit and Taulant, were arrested by Serbian special police in the Pristina home where they were hiding on April 21. His father and brothers were eventually released after being beaten. But Albin, after serving time in the Lipjan prison, was moved to a prison in the Serbian city of Krusevac, where it is reported he is currently being held.
Albin Kurti made a powerful impression on the dozens of human rights' activists, diplomats, students and journalists he met. His long dark dreadlocks, gentle smile, and treasured library of books by Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Carnegie Commission on International Peace reflected his passionate and articulate commitment to pacifism and social justice. But his pacifism and personal gentleness were challenged by the conflict overtaking Kosovo.
In the summer of 1998, the war raging in Kosovo's rural Drenica and western regions was drawing Kurti closer--not without some reservations--to the political wing of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), then led by the long-time dissident politician Adem Demaci. Fluent in English, Kurti served as Demaci's spokesman, and by extension, as spokesman for the KLA's political wing.
By the end of the failed Rambouillet peace talks, Demaci was replaced as KLA political leader by 30-year-old Hashim Thaci, who in his student days in the early 1990s had also led the underground university's anti-Milosevic protests. But by the end of Rambouillet, Serbian forces were already moving reinforcements into place in Kosovo, and subtleties and job titles no longer mattered. Kurti's name was on a list of key Albanians to be detained.
Another name on the Serbs' list was that of pediatrician and human rights' activist Flora Brovina. Like Kurti, Brovina was arrested on April 21, by Serbian special police who, her neighbours say, were waiting outside Brovina's Pristina home when she came back from her parents' house. A friend says that Brovina spent the war running an emergency medical centre for displaced people and women in labour. Brovina is now believed to be held in a prison in Pozarevac, Serbia. Her son Nick Brovina says she has become partially paralysed as a result of her treatment.
Brovina and Kurti are two of more than 2,270 Kosovo Albanians held as political prisoners in Serbia, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Another 1,500 Kosovo Albanians are still missing after the conflict, including 800 from the south-western Kosovo town of Djakovica (Gjakova) alone. Many of their families suspect they are being held in Serbian jails.
For the families of Kosovo's imprisoned and missing, the agony of the Kosovo war goes on. Crowds of relatives gather outside the UN headquarters in Pristina almost daily, to appeal for help in freeing their loved ones. But watching their lonely vigil outside the UN offices, it often seems that no one is listening to their pleas.
Officials in international agencies say that they are aware of the problem and are working on it. But to date they have failed to explain to the relatives what exactly they are doing or how long they will have to wait.
Brovina's friend, fellow doctor and human rights activist, Vjosa Dobruna, head of Kosovo's Centre for Protection of Women and Children, has been working to get international officials to take up the case of Brovina and the thousands of other Kosovo Albanians transported out of Kosovo as Serbian forces were withdrawing and taken to Serbian prisons.
"I dont think there are any avenues I haven't pursued," Dobruna said in a telephone interview, en route from Washington to Pristina. "I have talked to US Under-Secretary for Human Rights Harold Koh and NATO secretary general Javier Solana. I have contacted all the agencies, the ICRC, Human Rights Watch, for months since the beginning."
Dobruna and other human rights' activists are angry that international officials signed a peace agreement with Belgrade that failed to grant amnesty to the thousands of Kosovo Albanians imprisoned by the Serbs for political reasons--a clause included (but not honoured) in last October's Holbrooke-Milosevic cease-fire agreement.
But in the past week there has been some progress. Three Kosovo Albanian lawyers were able to meet with several of the political prisoners in Serbian jails. The lawyers report that conditions for the prisoners, who have been denied contact with their families, are "bad", but not as brutally terrible as those under which Serbian forces held Kosovo Albanian prisoners during the conflict.
Natasa Kandic, head of the Humanitarian Law Centre in Belgrade, organised the lawyers' visits.
"My lawyers from Kosovo have succeeded in tracking and finding some 30 to 35 Kosovo Albanians from the missing list in the prisons. All of them are from Djakovica and were arrested in April and May," Kandic said by telephone from Belgrade. "It is good news. But the list of the missing is long. From Djakovica alone, some 800 are missing. And I believe that maybe we shall find more people from the missing list in the prisons."
In addition to the 1,500 missing Kosovo Albanians, and 2,270 in Serbian jails, the Humanitarian Law Centre has complied a list of more than 250 missing Kosovo Serbs. Despite the fact that no provisions were made for the missing and imprisoned in the Military Technical Agreement signed between NATO and the Yugoslav Army at Kumanova, Macedonia, Kandic believes the Serbian authorities may be willing to negotiate a post-war deal.
"Based on some rumours here, I believe that the Serbian authorities will say, the people arrested during the NATO bombing, should have the status of prisoners of war. But after the arrival of KFOR, the missing Serbs and Romas and Albanians should have the status of disappeared. I think the Serbian authorities and the UN civil administration should begin to clarify now the issue of prisoners and missing persons."
What leverage the international authorities have over the Belgrade government to negotiate the release of the imprisoned Kosovo Albanians is unclear. But Kandic said the fate of those missing and not in Serbian prison is worse.
"You know, everybody in Serbian prisons is good news for their relatives," Kandic said. "Because, unfortunately, those on the missing lists who are not in Serbian prisons, are probably dead."
Laura Rozen has been covering the Balkans for English-language media since 1996.
IWPR'S BALKAN CRISIS REPORT, NO. 65
Betreff: [balkanhr] YU NGOs: Appeal for Albanian Prisoners
Datum: Wed, 07 Jul 1999 22:03:20 +0300
Von: Greek Helsinki Monitor <email@example.com>
July 3, 1999
YU ACTION GROUP & INDEPENDENCY
Dr. Flora Brovina, human right activist from Kosovo, was arrested and imprisoned on 22 April 1999, by the soldiers of the Serbian intelligence service. According to the U.N. investigators` records, Dr. Flora Brovina has been transferred to Serbia, along with other 3000 Albanian political prisoners. The latest information is that now, she is in the prison hospital of Pozarevac, in a very bad state of health. Contact to a lawyer, family members or humanitarian workers, has been forbidden to her.
There is a reasonable fear that the Albanian political prisoners, among whom are also Albin Kurti, Halil Matoshi and Ukshin Hoti, will become victims of the Serbian forces` revenge.
We demand that the official republic and federal authorities immediately release the human right activist Flora Brovina, as well as other Albanian political prisoners who were transferred from Kosovo to Serbian prisons. Also, we call for the Yugoslav and international democracy-orientated individuals and institutions to make pressure on Serbian politicians, in order to achieve our above noted demand.
Betreff: [ALBANEWS] IMPRISONMENT: Concern Rises for Prominent Albanian Jailed by Serbs
Datum: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 17:57:57 -0400
Von: Haxhi Haxhaj <hhaxhaj@IDT.NET>
IMPRISONMENT: Concern Rises for Prominent Albanian Jailed by Serbs
July 5, 1999
By CARLOTTA GALL
PRISHTINA, Kosova -- Ajri Begu is well known in this city, an economist and banker, an author and poet, a gentle man with thinning white hair and smiling eyes. But when people greet him on the street, their faces screw up with concern and their questions are anxious.
They are asking about Begu's wife, Flora Brovina. In Kosova, she is more famous than her husband. Arrested by Yugoslav special police two months ago, during the war over the province, she is said to be in prison in Serbia, and is reportedly gravely ill.
Dr. Brovina is president of the League of Albanian Women and, as a qualified pediatrician, ran two centres for women and children that residents say sheltered dozens of people during the NATO bombing. She is by all accounts a fearless campaigner for peace and human rights, a dynamo organizer.
"She organized many demonstrations in Prishtina," her husband said, running down a list that started with the 1981 protests by Kosova Albanian students against Serbian rule, and extended to the eruption of last year's battles between the Kosova Liberation Army and Yugoslav security forces in the Drenica region of central Kosova.
Dr. Brovina is just one of the hundreds, maybe thousands of Albanians imprisoned all over Serbia. The Council for Human Rights in Prishtina, an Albanian activist group, considers the vast majority of them political prisoners, since most, like Dr. Brovina, have been charged under article 136 of the criminal code with terrorism and separatism.
The council has a list of 1,200 Albanians held in prisons even before the violence of the last few months. Since March, the list has swelled to as many as 5,000 people, although Pajazit Nushi, president of the Council for Human Rights, suspects that many of them were probably killed rather than detained.
Dr. Brovina has joined several well-known Albanian political prisoners from Kosova. Among them is Ukshin Hoti, leader of the Party of National Unity. He was serving a four-year sentence in the prison in southern Serbia's main town of Nis, and should have been released on May 17. The council has been unable to trace him, however.
Also arrested during the war were Albin Kurti, a student leader and spokesman for maverick Albanian dissident and opposition leader Adem Demaçi, and Halil Matoshi, a journalist and writer.
Dr. Brovina was arrested on April 20, during the height of the Yugoslav offensive, by eight plainclothes special policemen, at the entrance to her apartment in Prishtina. The policemen had visited her neighbour earlier looking for her, and the neighbour saw the arrest occur, watching from her apartment on the intercom camera placed in the entrance hall.
Dr. Brovina was taken to Lipjan prison, south of Prishtina, and a few weeks ago was transferred to a prison in Pozarevac in Serbia.
Her family has not seen her since March. Her two sons are studying at the University of Texas in Dallas. Her husband was in Belgrade, the Yugoslav capital, when NATO began its bombing campaign on March 24, and was unable to return to Kosova. He spent the 11 weeks of the bombing in Macedonia and Albania, unable to make contact with her.
He came back as soon as NATO troops moved into Kosova but has been unable to gain permission to see her or get medicine to her. He now sits in his living room in Prishtina, smoking heavily and drinking tiny cups of strong coffee, surrounded by pictures of his wife.
Her slim volumes of poetry are propped up against the table lamps, turned to show the back cover, which bears her photograph. A vital woman in her 50s, with blond hair and in a summer dress, laughs at the camera.
Her husband is desperately worried. A month ago he received a letter from her. It was written in block capitals and in Serbian, presumably so the prison guards could check the contents.
The letter gives the bald details of her arrest and detention and says simply, "I am fine."
"She asked for medicine, clothes, toothpaste and soap," her husband said. What troubled him most was the drug brands she named: "Trentol and Enalapril, and some vitamin E."
"They are drugs for the heart," her husband said, adding that she had never before suffered heart trouble.
Prisoners since released from Lipjan have said they saw her in early June walking around the exercise yard twice a day, according to Ariana Zherka of a human rights organization, the Centre for Humanitarian Law, who spoke with the released prisoners.
Dr. Brovina has not yet been brought to trial, and her case remains "under investigation," according to the Yugoslav authorities. She has been charged with terrorism and with supporting the separation of Kosova from Serbia. She has also been accused of planning to build hospitals for the outlawed Kosova Liberation Army. The charges carry a 10-year sentence.
Was she a terrorist? "Well, we all support the separation of Kosova," her husband said with a smile. "But they called someone a terrorist who organized demonstrations."
He opened a diary written by a woman staying in one of the centres she ran. It describes a visit by Dr. Brovina. "She lifted our spirits with her humour and energy," it reads.
When Belgrade accepted a deal with NATO and allowed the United Nations to take over in Kosova, Beku hoped it would bring an end to his wife's imprisonment. Yet the uncertainty remains. "The question is why are they still holding her, especially after the peace agreement?" he said. "What do they want to do with all these people?"
Betreff: [ALBANEWS] Press: Fwd: Bassuener/Witte Op-Ed
Datum: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 12:26:36 -0400
Von: Besnik Pula <besnik@ALB-NET.COM>
Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 10:48:41 -0400
From: Balkan Action Council <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Balkan Action Council <email@example.com>
Subject: Bassuener/Witte Op-Ed
THE BALKAN ACTION COUNCIL
July 2, 1999
We commend the following article to your attention, written by Kurt Bassuener, Associate Director of the Balkan Action Council and Eric A. Witte, Program Coordinator at the International Crisis Group, published in the July 2 issue of the Christian Science Monitor.
Don't forget the Kosovar prisoners
For thousands of Kosovars and their families the war is not yet over. As the West debates what aid to provide to Serbia, their plight should not be forgotten. These are the Kosovo Albanians arrested during the course of the 16-month war as well as those transported to Serbian prisons "for their own safety" during the Serb troop withdrawal.
The Milosevic regime now denies access by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to these prisoners - estimated variously from an official Serb count of slightly more than 2,000, to 5,000 estimated by a UN official in the British newspaper The Guardian. As evidence from Serbia's torture centers in Kosovo emerges, concern increases for these people still imprisoned.
Among them are: Albin Kurti, a student leader; Flora Brovina, a doctor, poet, and human-rights activist; Halil Matoshi, a magazine editor; and Ukshin Hoti, a professor. As in Bosnia, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and his henchmen have devoted special efforts to destroying Kosovo's elites.
The illegal arrest and detention of these Kosovo Albanians, and their transfer to Serbia proper, is described by one Western official as "Milosevic's last card."
Before NATO bombing began, Serbian forces had already arrested thousands of Kosovar Albanians, especially fighting-age men, for political crimes. During the war, they arrested and incarcerated thousands more Kosovo Albanian men, most of whom have not been accounted for.
Unlike the Rambouillet accords and the October Holbrooke-Milosevic agreement before it, the deal brokered by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott with Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari includes no amnesty provisions for those detained for alleged association with the Kosovo Liberation Army - a widely used Serb pretext for mass imprisonment.
This may already have proved to be a deadly omission. In their effort to eliminate potential leaders of Kosovo's Albanian community, the forces of the Milosevic regime murdered and dismembered human rights leader Bajram Kelmendi immediately before the NATO bombing, and later killed politician Fehmi Agani and other leaders.
Without immediate access to these prisoners taken to Serbia, their fate, like those of thousands of Bosnians once held by Bosnian Serbs and reputed to have been transferred to Serbia, may never be known. The resolution of their status will be crucial if there is to be any hope of reconciliation and cohabitation of Kosovo's Serbs with the Kosovo Albanian majority. It is truly a life and death issue for these people and their families.
Against this background, the West must decide whether to provide humanitarian aid to Serbia. President Clinton and other Western leaders have rightly ruled out reconstruction aid to Serbia so long as indicted war criminal Milosevic remains in power.
While a willingness to provide humanitarian aid seems reasonable, such aid should not be given unconditionally. Given the withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo, there are few remaining levers to bring pressure to bear upon Belgrade.
Milosevic is desperately trying to showcase reconstruction as a way to prove to his people he has indeed "won" the war.
Donor countries should use their leverage to demand a full accounting for, and the release of, all Kosovar prisoners held in Serbia. Until these prisoners are visited by ICRC officials and freed, there should be no further humanitarian aid disbursements to Serbia, let alone other forms of aid.
This condition can be fulfilled by Belgrade without difficulty. Given the number of lives in the balance, such an aid ban should be instituted without delay. If the world forgets these Kosovars, evidence suggests they are as good as dead.
THE BALKAN ACTION COUNCIL
P.O. Box 27392
Washington, DC 20038-7392
Tel.: (202) 737-7720
Fax: (202) 737-7721
Betreff: From Adem Demaçi's office
Datum: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 19:27:35 +0100
Von: "Adem Demaçi" <Demaci@albanian.com>
The opening word of the Secretary of the office Mr.Albin Kurti in the Press Conference held on February 23, 1999
Ladies and Gentlemen, journalists and representatives of Albanian and foreign media, with Your permission I would like to say something on the current prevailing situation in general, especially the latest events, which took place in Kosova.
Since its existence, for 121 years now, Serbia was governed by hegemonist and anti-Albanian regimes, which permanently exerted violence and terror against the Albanian population. The generator of these regimes was the colonial attitude toward Kosova by Serbia. Such an attitude was and is the priority of the Serbian regime. On the other hand, this regime supports itself by enormous military forces, crisis and wars. The existence of the military machinery and triggering of the crisis and wars are interlinked. They match each other. The wars, resistance, uprisings and the liberation wars of the oppressed nations were represented as ethnic conflicts by the Serbian regimes in order to justify the terror and genocide. This is happening nowadays, too. During the last decade, there were no wars and ethnic conflicts in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, but there were liberation wars of the oppressed peoples by the Serbian regime. This criminal regime is fought by the Albanians, but we are not the last ones. The Milosevic's mentality is a sophisticated symbiosis of the fascist and stalinist mentalities. That mentality cannot become democratic, as it is determined as a killing technology.
Albanians have realized that there is no success, results or anything without confrontation. They are a part of the incessant process of the liberation war and they do not want to avoid the enemy as it happened several years ago. They feel it necessary to confront it. Several years ago, we, Kosovar Albanians, used the power of argument, whereas today, we also have got the argument of force, because we realized that the power of argument weakens in front of the Serbian artillery.This can be proved every day by their heroic war, warriors organized in the KLA units. In all battle fields, they defeated the enemy, caused him a lot of damages and defended their taken positions. KLA elected Sylejman Selimi-as its General Commander-in-Chief, who contributed to the further upgrading of the KLA.
Regarding the talks in Rambouillet of France, it is clear that they would not bring any peace to the Balkans, as they are not based on justice. Consequently, they cannot bring neither freedom to the Albanian people nor the possibility to enjoy their rights. The offered draft-project, show that there is no aim to solve the Kosova problem, but to get rid of it once for ever. This was proved in Rambouillet with the fact that the Albanians were not given duly the documents and materials in advance, which were published in the Albanian media in Kosova, with the only aim to be deceived. Such approach and procedures, if they can be called so, do not restore peace to Balkans but unjustly attempt to drag out the just solution to the Kosova issue and so make concessions to the Serbian regime. Within this context, the attitude of the Russian diplomacy is absolutely unacceptable. It cannot be an advocate to a terrorist regime for the sake of the overpassed idea of panslavism, moreover, when we know the elegant way the former USSR solved the problems with its republics.
The international community must attack and bombard the aggressor and occupier - the terrorist Serbian regime and its criminal forces. With this, International community would help itself, would implement its decisions and would ensure the respect of international norms and conventions. Once the enormous Serbian military machinery is destroyed, there will be possibilities for political solutions.
The Kosovo Liberation Army, today, is a state army and defender of the Kosova population and Kosova itself. It wages war for freedom and independence. Tomorrow, it will be a state army again, but it will defend the borders of the free Republic of Kosova, its sovereignty and territorial integrity. No disarmament or transformation of the KLA will be considered. KLA is the guarantee of security of the Kosova population and its victory. The Albanian population does not feel safe without the KLA presence. The KLA was not created and it does not exist in order to be disarmed. The gaining of the aim, the freedom and the independence of Kosova, justifies the creation and existence of the KLA.
The General Political Representative of the KLA, Mr.Adem Demaçi, met the General Commander-in-Chief of the KLA, Sylejman Selimi, and the General Headquarters of the KLA. He got the full authorization and complete competencies from the General Commander-in-Chief and the General Headquarters to represent politically the KLA. No political decision can be adopted without the agreement and approval of the General Political Representative of the KLA, Mr. Adem Demaçi. Within this context, he urgently traveled to Lubjana today in order to meet the of the highest rank officials of the international diplomacy and politics. The aim of this meetings is the finding of a just solution to the Kosova issue, pursuant to the fundamental principles of the KLA and its liberation war, pursuant to the expressed will of the Kosova population for the freedom and independence of the Republic of Kosova.
Përfaqësues i Përgjithshëm Politik i Ushtrisë Çlirimtare të Kosovës (UÇK)
General Political of the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA)
Tel&Fax : ++ 381 38 534 Tel&Fax : ++ 381 38 30 E-mail : Demaci@albanian.com
Betreff: [kosovo highlights] B92 NEWS February 23
Datum: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 03:20:33 +0100
Von: "Fr. Sava" <decani@EUnet.yu>
Firma: Decani Monastery
B92 Open Yugoslavia, Belgrade Daily News Service
Open Yugoslavia, News by 13.00, February 23, 1999
UCK: NO POSSIBILITY OF DISARMAMENT
PRISTINA, Tuesday -- UCK spokesman Albin Kurti today ruled out the possibility of the organisation disarming, according to FoNet. Kurti told a regular press conference in Pristina that any kind of transformation or disarmament of the UCK was out of the question. He described the Rambouillet negotiations as unfair, adding that they would not resolve the Kosovo crisis as they failed to offer Kosovo Albanians their freedom.
Meldung vom 16.02.1999 18:12 http://seite1.web.de/show/36C9A677.AP1/
Kosovo-Vermittler spricht mit Milosevic
Albright telefonierte mit jugoslawischem Präsidenten - Nato-Truppe offenbar Haupthindernis für Einigung
Rambouillet (AP) Der US-Vermittler bei der Kosovo-Konferenz in Rambouillet, Christopher Hill, ist zu einem Gespräch mit dem jugoslawischen Präsidenten Slobodan Milosevic nach Belgrad geflogen. Er wollte ihn noch am Dienstag abend über den Stand der Gespräche informieren. Zuvor telefonierte US-Außenministerin Madeleine Albright mit Milosevic und gab ihm zu verstehen, daß die serbische Seite eine politische Einigung bislang verhindert habe. Damit spielte sie offensichtlich auf die Weigerung Belgrads an, die Stationierung einer Nato-Truppe zur Friedenssicherung im Kosovo zuzulassen.
Albrights Sprecher James Rubin sagte: «Sie machte ihm die Wichtigkeit eines Fortschritts bei den Gesprächen deutlich.» Albright habe Milosevic erklärt, daß die Kosovo-Albaner zu einer Unterzeichnung des Friedensplans bereit seien und die Probleme vor allem auf serbischer Seite lägen. Die Atmosphäre bei dem Telefonat bezeichnete Rubin als «geschäftsmäßig».
Hauptstreitpunkt bei den Gesprächen zwischen Serben und Kosovo-Albanern in der französischen Kleinstadt bei Paris scheint die geplante Stationierung der Nato-Truppe zu sein. Im US-Fernsehsender ABC sagte Albright, die Nato-Truppe sei Teil des Friedensabkommens. Sie nicht zuzulassen, «ist aus unserer Sicht ein Vertragsbruch». Belgrad müsse dann mit einem Militärschlag rechnen, betonte sie. Serbien hat die Stationierung einer solchen Truppe wiederholt abgelehnt. Präsident Milan Milutinovic bekräftigte dies am Montag noch einmal, während er in anderen Punkten Kompromißbereitschaft signalisierte.
Ein Kommandeur der Kosovo-Befreiungsarmee (UCK) verweigerte unterdessen die Entwaffnung seiner Kämpfer, selbst wenn dies in Rambouillet so vereinbart würde und ausländische Soldaten zur Friedenssicherung in die Provinz geschickt würden. Das sagte der Leiter der OSZE-Mission im Kosovo, William Walker, nach einem Treffen mit dem Kommandeur Remi. Diese Haltung bekräftigte ein Sprecher des politischen Beraters der UCK, Adem Demaci, in Pristina. «Die UCK ist eine Armee mit militärischen Strukturen», sagte der Sprecher Albin Kurti. «Sie wird das Kosovo befreien. Eine andere Lösung gibt es nicht.»
Rußland, das sich zunächst auch gegen die Nato-Stationierung ausgesprochen hatte, revidierte seine Haltung offenbar inzwischen. Wie aus Diplomatenkreisen am Rande der Kosovo-Konferenz verlautete, billigt Moskau einen solchen Einsatz nicht, will ihn aber auch nicht verhindern. Dies habe Außenminister Igor Iwanow bei dem Treffen der Balkan-Kontaktgruppe am Sonntag in Paris signalisiert.
Serben und Kosovo-Albaner, die seit dem 6. Februar in Rambouillet verhandeln, haben noch bis Samstag, 12.00 Uhr, Zeit, sich zu einigen. Hauptstreitpunkt ist neben der Stationierung der Nato-Truppe der künftige politische Status der südserbischen Provinz. Bei einem Scheitern der Verhandlungen drohen Militärschlage der Nato.
AP-Nachrichten - The Associated Press News Service, Copyright 1999 The Associated Press, alle Rechte vorbehalten. Die in AP-Nachrichten enthaltenen Informationen dürfen ohne vorherige ausdrückliche schriftliche Erlaubnis von Associated Press weder veröffentlicht, noch gesendet, umgeschrieben oder weiterverbreitet werden. Die Nutzung dieses Dienstes unterliegt den Nutzungsbedingungen.
Betreff: From Adem Demaçi's office: Press Conference held on February 9, 1999
Datum: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 10:36:18 +0100
Von: "Adem Demaçi" <Demaci@albanian.com>
The Press Conference of Mr. Albin Kurti, Secretary of the office of the General Political Representative of the Kosova Liberation Army, held on February 9, 1999.
Ladies and Gentlemen, representatives of Albanian and international media, through the Secretary of the office of the General Political Representative of the Kosova Liberation Army, Mr. Adem Demaci, we will elaborate on the situation in Kosova with concentration on the last happenings.
The terror of the Serb regime in Kosova has no visible end. The Serb terrorist actions are increasing daily. The targets of these terrorist acts are Albanians. They are targets because they are Albanians, that have decided to live in their land of Kosova, to live free, independent, in peace and democracy. The terrorist acts taken by the criminal forces of the Serb regime aimed at the Albanian civil population, are a revenge of the Serb forces that have been caused a lot of damage in direct battles with the forces of KLA. The Serb regime and its terrorist forces do not posses any moral backbone to honorably accept the suffered losses. They try to compensate their losses with miserable massacres. The Serb misery has no limits; a perfect example is the abduction and the so-called examination of the victims of the Reqak massacre, by the so-called Serb, Russian and Bellorussian experts that exerts a second massacre upon the same victims of Reqak. Over all, banning the public and humane burials, with high honors and respects, that the victims of Reqak massacre fully deserve, shows a culmination of barbarism by the Serb regime. However, the determination, dignity, and bravery of Albanians have and still are overcoming all this. The fascist Serb regime is in the last phase of losing its colony; Kosova. Decrease of the military morale of the Serb forces has caused many desertions of Serb soldiers and officers. This is very natural since most of these soldiers come to Kosova for the first time during their military service, that at the same time means an anti humane mission against the Albanian struggle for freedom and to maintain Kosova as a Serb colony. Also, the number of Serb regime manipulated Serbs in Kosova is falling daily. They understand that their loyalty to Belgrade brings them no security. They realize that they can not any longer take advantage of their positions in the colonialist administration. Continuously, they understand the truth - the just liberating fight of KLA, a war against the Serb terrorists and in service of, not only Albanians, but also all people living in Kosova. KLA defends the democratic principles and the desires of the majority, which are being violated daily by the Serb regime. On the other hand, only through KLA, have Albanians been able to become a significant side in the conflict.
As far as the political solution of Kosova is concerned, it can not be achieved until the Serb regime becomes honestly interested in a political solution; however, it is hard to assume that they will be interested since they continue their terror and systematic repression in Kosova daily. The retreat of the Serb forces from Kosova and the amnesty of all Albanian political prisoners and those kidnapped have shown continuous negative trends. The Serb forces come to Kosova ceaselessly. They group, reposition and prepare for new offensives and battles against the Albanian nation in Kosova. On the other hand, arrests and arraignments intensify, while the ones kidnapped, when found, get repositioned to the list of people murdered. Since its existence it has been proven that the Serb regime does not respect any signed agreements or international norms and conventions.
Unfortunately, the international community has not taken the adequate punishments against the Serb regime with its head criminal Mr. Milosevic. The international community has not taken full advantage of the mechanisms it has in realizing the requests that come out of their decisions. This way, we have many times encountered cases where the Albanians and the KLA have respected the decisions of the international community more than the international community itself. The fact that the Serb regime does not want a political solution has been proven in the Rambouillet talks in France. The representatives of the Serb regime are trying to sabotage the talks. This was proven with their claim of not being able to represent or sign an agreement. Also, their unwillingness to sign a cease-fire agreement shows that they don't want a cease-fire, stability or peace in this area, but they want to use terrorism and military to press down the Albanian resistance. They want to do an unnatural thing that can not be done. The signing of the cease-fire is conforming with the base concept that negotiations can not go parallel to the massacres and terrors happening at the same time. As far as the Serb regime delegation it is necessary to state that we are in conflict with the Serb regime and not with the gypsies, Turks, and Egyptians. Especially knowing the fact that they too are enslaved by the Serb regime. Serbs, Turks, gypsies, and Egyptians will be free, secure and will enjoy all possible rights in the independent Republic of Kosova. Albanians have no interests in treating them as minorities and to sanction their rights and liberties. While at the topic of a political solution for Kosova, it is important to say that they can not be achieved with limitations on what Kosova can and will be in the future. The Kosova issue can not be solved justly until the terms "autonomy" and "nationality" are taken out of the international community's project-proposals. Terms ethnic community, ethnicity, etc., eliminate the right of the Kosova people for independence.
Self-determination is a democratic right that fully belongs to the people of Kosova. The nation of Kosova has to decide on its future. No one else should have the right do so instead. Also, Kosova has no federal or confederate system with the multi-ethnic territory for the notion "ethnic community" to be used. 90% of the Kosova inhabitants are Albanians, 8% Serb, and 2% others. Actually, there are less Serbs in Kosova than there are Albanians in Serbia. In this contexts, in the solution of Kosova, the status of Serbs in Kosova and the status of Albanians in Serbia, should also be incorporated.
Autonomy for Albanians will mean a step back, a return to a semi-colonial condition that promises nothing but sufferings for Albanians. Albanians do not feel secure in Kosova, except in an independent Kosova; Albanians can not achieve their rights in Kosova, except in an independent Kosova; Albanians do not feel free in Kosova, except in an independent Kosova. Conclusively, the independence of Kosova is a secure issue, an issue of Albanians rights and liberties.
Question: Is there a certain reason why Mr. Adem Demaci is not holding this Press Conference? And the other question is, it is speculated that, all sides in Rambouillet including the Albanian one, with KLA incorporated, have been offered with some limitations, that are incorporated in the proposed project for a transitional solution to the Kosova issue. What can you say in case the self-determination request does not come true and about the stand of KLA in this case?
Answer: As far as the first question is concerned, I would like to say that the General Political Representative of the KLA, Mr. Adem Demaci, is the one that decides who gives the Press Conferences. As far as the limitations presented with the projects and proposals of the international community, it is imperative to state that the trip of the KLA representatives to Rambouillet negotiations was an act of good will. This was an act that has shown that KLA is willing to somewhat sacrifice, so they can give a chance to the political solution of the Kosova issue, however the issue can only be solved politically if it leads toward independence, since the independence of Kosova is what the Albanians declared as their choice. So, regardless of the limitations presented in different drafts, there can be no solution achieved without the recognition of the declaration of the people of Kosova, and any solution achieved should be in function of the people of Kosova.
Question: The KLA delegation in Rambouillet, proposed the cease fire agreement to be signed by the both sides in the conflict, ambassador Hill rejected this KLA proposal. Could you please elaborate on that?
Answer: Well, I must say that cease-fire is a precondition for a political process. Without cease-fire, we can not have a negotiation process. Having negotiations in one hand and Serb offensives, terror and massacres in Kosova on the other, can not lead to any substantial outcome or agreement. The negotiations also depend on the ground situations since parallel to the negotiations, Serbs are continuing their terror and massacres in Kosova. This is why these two processes cancel each other out and can not exist at the same time. The request of the Albanians representatives in Rambouillet for a cease-fire to be signed will not only be a sign of good will, but also a mark of interest in a political solution by both sides. This could possibly lead to an agreement that could eventually precede a solution.
Question: Do you think that the process will fail, because of this rejection?
Answer: Well, I know that simply these two processes can not go together. How things will continue, we'll see in a very near future.
Question: In the last press conference, Mr. Demaci, declared that the KLA participation in Rambouillet will be a capitulation. What is your comment on this and what do you think about Mr. Hashim Thaqi being selected the leader of the Albanians delegation in Rambouillet?
Answer: First, it is necessary to state that Mr. Adem Demaci has agreed with the representatives of the General Headquarters of the Kosova Liberation Army. Mr. Adem Demaci is always in contact with the GH of KLA and in correlation with the political directory of the GH of KLA, whose director is also the leader of the Albanian delegation in Rambouillet. The participation of the Albanian delegation, including the representatives of the GH of KLA, shows the many dimensions of Albanian politics, and the willingness of KLA to sacrifice in order to find a political solution to the Kosova issue. In actuality, Mr. Demaci thought that non-participation in Rambouillet would cause the Serb side to sit down and negotiate directly with the representatives of the General Headquarters of KLA, this way they would meet the KLA politicians who not only think healthy but also have led the liberating war.
Question: You know that you said that two words must be taken out, the autonomy and national community, but according to the 10 principles, that both the Albanians and the Serbs have agreed, the autonomy is part of the 10 principles. So would you accept, would KLA accept a kind of autonomy and than have a referendum after 3 years? Is there going to be a compromise or you want this word to be removed from these 10 principles?
Answer: First, labeling Albanians as a national community is not right, because they are 90% of the population in Kosova. Kosova does not have a federation or confederation system, or is not a multiethnic territory. So, ethnic community or national community has to be removed because that is not adequate and that is eliminating the right, of Albanians in Kosova, to self-determination. Self-determination is main democratic principle, because people will decide about their own future. When discussing autonomy, we must remind you that Albanians used to have autonomy. They had autonomy since 1945 and there was some kind of a positive evolution of this autonomic process. The highest level of autonomy was achieved in 1974, however, regardless of this achievement, 80% of all political prisoners in former Yugoslavia were Albanians. Discriminatory laws against Albanians existed. That is why the 1981 demonstrations happened. These factors led to great dissatisfactions among Albanians, especially when their autonomy was violently taken away from them on March 23,1989. This made Albanians realize that they can not achieve their rights this way and that they can not be safe in autonomy. This was also proven in Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia. All of the former members of the Yugoslav federation realized that the only way to integration in Europe was by annihilating this thing called Yugoslavia.
Question: Today, when the future of Kosova is being decided in Rambouillet, the Albanian delegation, the political and military factors, have never been more unified. Some people, who are giving statements to different radio stations, in coffee shops, are calling these people Marxists, Leninists, or Tito-ists. Can you, as clerk of the General Political Representative of KLA, comment on this?
Answer: I will answer the question about the unity first. We need many more proofs that this has been achieved, especially knowing the fact that the only way complete unity will be achieved is if they join KLA, put themselves in service of KLA, and gather around KLA. Another unity can not exist and can not be established in Kosova. For those in Rambouillet, participating in the conference, only time can tell if they will overcome the hurdles presented to them. Their symbolic readiness will be the first test in seeing if it is temporary or something more. In order to be something more, they have to prove themselves. This remains to be observed.
Përfaqësues i Përgjithshëm Politik i Ushtrisë Çlirimtare të Kosovës (UÇK)
General Political of the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA)
Tel&Fax : ++ 381 38 534 Tel&Fax : ++ 381 38 30 E-mail : Demaci@albanian.com
Betreff: [kosovo highlights] B92 NEWS February 9, 1999 (1&2)
Datum: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 02:19:26 +0100
Von: "Fr. Sava" <decani@EUnet.yu>
Firma: Decani Monastery
B92 Open Yugoslavia, Belgrade Daily News Service
Open Yugoslavia, News by 13.00 CET, February 9, 1999
Issue ID: 0209991e.asc
UCK: IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE A CONDITION FOR TALKS
PRISTINA, Tuesday -- UCK spokesman Albin Kurti today told media that the signing of a truce was a condition for the continuation of negotiations at Rambouillet. Kurti said that the UCK had sent its delegation to France as a sign of good will, but that the Serb refusal to sign a ceasefire was sabotage of the negotiations. Kurti, who is a close associate of the UCK's political representative Adem Demaqi, said that Demaqi was in constant contact with the Albanian delegation in Rambouillet. He also described the Serb delegation as consisting of incompetent members, adding that it included Egyptians, Turks and Romanies, with whom the Kosovo Albanians were not in conflict. Kurti also emphasised that Albanians were not in conflict with Serbs, but with the Serbian regime.
Betreff: From Adem Demaçi's office: Integral text from the Press Conference held on January 26, 1999
Datum: Mon, 01 Feb 1999 10:38:48 +0100
Von: "Adem Demaçi" <Demaci@albanian.com>
The Press Conference was held by Mr. Albin Kurti - Secretary of the office of the General Political Representative of the Kosova Liberation Army (UÇK)
Ladies and Gentlemen, journalists, and representatives of the international and Albanian media, in the name of the General Political Representative of the Kosova Liberation Army, Mr. Adem Demaci, we will initiate this conference with a congregation of the last week's developments.
Two nights ago, in the village of Rakovine of Gjakova, the Serb terrorist forces committed a barbaric massacre in which they killed five Albanian civilians, among which two children and a woman. They were murdered for the sole reason of them being Albanian, being proud to be Albanian, and their choice of having Kosova as their motherland. These last massacres together with the new offensives, new terrors, bringing of more forces from Serbia to Kosova, new Albanian arrests showed that in the past week the Serb criminal regime, has not given up in their old terrorist and repressive politics. On contrary, this regime has intensified their terrorist mission against the Albanian nation in Kosova; a mission that has become a strategy, program and mechanism of the politics of the Belgrade regime. This is very important for the Serb regime since they have institutionalized and constructed crisis, institutionalized and constructed wars, because according to their definitions these elements are essential for their existentialism. The wars of the 90s caused by the Serb regime, lead by their head criminal Mr.Milosevic, are a result of hegemonic and fascist politics that had previously even set the goal of maintaining the borders of the former Yugoslavia with the use of force. Similarly now in Kosova, the military and police forces of the Serb regime are attempting, with the use of force, to "protect" the imaginary borders of an imaginary country. Same as in the previous wars, including the present war in Kosova, the tendencies of the Serb regime will fail, especially knowing the fact that it has been proven that the process of splitting up of former Yugoslavia has given nations prosperity and freedom through independence.
Responsibility for these wars and their consequences fall directly on Mr.Milosevic. Occupation, aggression, terror, massacres, massive executions, arrests, kidnappings, ethnic cleansing, massive poisonings, war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, ethnocide, all these were done by Mr.Milosevic and his regime. Consequently, the indictment of Mr. Milosevic in the International Courts of the Hague Tribunes has to become a major priority of the international community. The enlightenment of justice is a precondition to the creation of peace, stability, and freedom for the people and the establishment of democracy. The justice prevails when the criminals get persecuted accordingly, especially criminals that fall in the same category as Milosevic.
Today in Kosova, after these offensives and battles of the Serb forces, the situation is very similar to that in October of last year. In many villages the civil population has been forces to move, whereas the artillery attacks have no signs of stopping. This is another proof that the measures taken by the International Community, against the Belgrade regime, last October, were neither adequate nor sufficient. In solving the Kosova issue, the military intervention of NATO troops has no alternative in halting the Serb regime and their offensives. The NATO intervention in compliance with the indictment of Milosevic in the International Court would have a positive affect in another dimension as well: they would serve as a preventive measure for the future arousal of other nazi-fascist regimes around the world. Otherwise, the International community will face the fall in their credibility and insignificate the existence of its mechanisms. The major contribution to this fall has been made their unwillingness to intervene in cases when their intervention was more than necessary. At the same time, this back up of the international community will cause their reactivity involve great inertia.
On the other hand, Milosevic creates new problems, he scandalizes them, and then creates a new situation that it virtually appears as if he has backed up a bit; or he creates situations that result in ultimatums, which unfortunately has, until now, caused hesitation of the International community in taking the adequate measures. These hesitations help Milosevic to practice his terrorist politics. This is the last chance for the international community to give Milosevic and his forces the impact they deserve, this way not allowing any room for his above mentioned maneuvers.
The Kosova Liberation Army has, in all battles and battle places, protected the Albanian nation of Kosova, and has been able to organize it against the terrorist offensives of the Serb criminal regime. KLA with its heroic war, in all cases, has fought against the forces of the enemy forcing them to retreat with major damages in men and military technology.
Massive desertion of the Serb soldiers and their mandatory trips to war areas, is another proof of the unjust war of the Serb regime; a war that in one side has set a goal of using Kosova as its colony and on the other side the murdering and massacring of the Albanians. Therefore, the war of the Albanian nation in Kosova, carrier of which is KLA, is not only a liberating war, but an anti-colonial war that besides fighting for freedom and independence, it also struggles for the establishment of a positive, civilized, and humane system of democracy. This way Kosova and its people would once and forever disassociate themselves from the Serb mid-evil and barbaric system, whose philosophy is based upon occupations, aggressions, and oppression of the desire for freedom and upon the oppression of nations.
The release of the 9 KLA soldiers this past Saturday, does not only represent a simple realization of second part of the agreement between the General Political Representative of KLA and the representatives of USA, EU and the VM of OSCE in Kosova, and with their guarantees for the war prisoner exchange, but this is a legitimization of KLA, with which military Albanians of Kosova identify, as an equal side in this conflict in the military aspect and that political.
At the end we would like to annihilate the roomers and declarations about the kidnapping of 5 members of the Serb nationality. KLA does not kidnap people; it is the Serb regime that kidnaps Albanians. During this less than a year period, over 700 Albanians have been kidnapped and they are now considered disappeared. For example, no one knows anything about Dr. Hafir Shala, kidnapped by the Serb regime on April 10 of last year, or for Xhavit Haziri, an excellent activist of the Council for Human Rights and Liberties in Prishtina, kidnapped on September 17 of last year. Stopping, disarming, and the arrest of the 5 members of the Serb nationality in the village of Novolan of Vushtrri, was performed in accordance with the international conventions and norms, and for the reason of public security and order in that village. In the case of arresting these 5 members of the Serb nationality, they were found to have been carrying 2 machine guns, 3 automatic weapons, and 1500 bullets.
In this occasion we would like to warn the members of the Serb nationality in Kosova, not to allow themselves to become tools and become manipulated by the Serb regime. It is very clear that the Serbs in Kosova have been systematically and fully armed and organized by the Serb regime, so with this they have identified themselves with the Serb regime and are giving up their civilian status. The Serbs should not allow themselves to fall in this trap, especially knowing that the Serb regime does not represent and protect the Serb interests. The Serb regime is in a decline and is willing to take down with him anyone that identifies with him. And at the end, this regime is willing to take as many people with it, to its journey to destruction.
Question: Is the KLA ready to participate in the direct negotiations with the Serb side, the way the Contact Group countries even if the independence of Kosova is not on the agenda?
Answer: We should restate our stands that there can not be any parallel political process with the massacres and terrorist offensives of the Serb regime in Kosova. These two neutralize each other and can not take place at the same time. For the political process to begin, the Serb regime has to be let know that he can not continue with his offensives, massacres and terrorism in Kosova. In order for the political process to begin, the Serb regime has to comply with all of the demands of the Security Council of UN Resolutions, has to retrieve all of its military and police forces form Kosova, has to release all of the Albanians political prisoners, all the kidnapped Albanians, and those that are considered missing. This will create an atmosphere that will allow for the initiation of the political process and negotiations. The General Political Representative of the Kosova Liberation Army has declared, many times, the willingness of the KLA to participate in all of the political processes, but only if those political processes lead toward the realization of the wish of the Albanian nation expressed in the 1991 Referendum for the independence of Republic of Kosova.
Question: According to the NATO officials, KLA will become abandoned if it continues to fight for independence. How do you comment on this?
Answer: First of all, it is imperative to declare that all of Albanians are for independence. Albanians have declared their wish for independent Kosova in the Referendum of September 1991. So, every Albanian is for the independence of the Republic of Kosova. Independence of Kosova is a matter of security. The population of Kosova does not feel secure in any autonomy; they only feel secure as independent. Albanians had autonomy for 15 years, from 1974 to 1989, however, even during those times, over 80% of the political prisoners of the former Yugoslavia were Albanians. Even during these times there were discriminatory laws against Albanians. So, when the autonomy was taken away by the Serb regime, the positive evolution of the increased autonomy of Kosova, that had increased throughout the years 53, 63,68 and 74, halted. In one single day, March 23, 1989, this process was halted with force. This is when the Albanians understood and publicly declared that the only way for them to prosper and get integrated in Europe would be outside of the so-called Yugoslavia.
Question: But, is KLA ready to accept a temporary agreement and if so, under what conditions?
Answer: It is important to state that there are some preconditions that have to be fulfilled in order for the political process in Kosova to begin. First, the massacres, terror and offensives of the Serb regime that are happening now in Kosova can not go parallel with the political process and negotiations. The Serb regime has to be forced to halt its terrorist politics in Kosova, and only then can an atmosphere be created for the true negotiations that could possibly lead to a permanent solution. I would like to repeat the statement of the General Political Representative of KLA, Mr. Adem Demaci, that we are ready to enter those processes that directly lead toward the realization of the desire of the Albanian nation in Kosova for independence, and that the independence of Kosova is the only thing that guarantees freedom for Albanians. For these negotiations to begin, the Serb regime has to fulfill all of the demands of the Security Council of UN Resolutions. Than, this regime has to retrieve all of its military and police forces from Kosova, which are responsible for the destruction that happened during one year of fighting in Kosova. Also, all the political prisoners and those kidnapped this past year have to be released. When this is achieved, than we can discuss the political process and the negotiations.
Question: Mr. Kurti, in your opinion, how has the massacre in Recak affected the stands of KLA in the urgency of finding a political solution?
Answer: The massacre in Recak should not be considered as an isolated massacre. The Recak massacre was not the first of its kind committed by the Serb regime. These kinds of massacres have been committed by this regime since the beginning of this war. This regime is responsible for the massacre in Likoshan, Cirez, Prekaz, Abri te Eperme, and lastly Recak. This has happened regularly as a doctrine of the Serb regime that commits this kind of massacres and terror every day. This means that the Serb regime not only that wants Kosova as its colony and occupied, but also empty of Albanians.
Question: However, don't you think there is more urgency now in finding of a political solution?
Answer: I think that the urgency has risen these last months, because the politics, terror, and massacres of the Serb regime have intensified. But this urgency for finding a solution to the Kosova problem has existed beforehand. We have been trying for a while to attract the attention of the International community in solving the Kosova problem, because if it continues ignoring it, than this will escalate into a much greater conflict. While this urgency for solving the Kosova problem is rising daily, and the earlier the international community comprehends this, the closer we will be to finding a solution that will be permanent.
Question: What do you think about the abductions of the bodies from Recak and the last accident that happened in Rakovine?
Answer: The massacre that happened in Rakovine, Gjakova municipality, is not an isolated massacre. This is Serb regime politics. This is the strategy used by the Serb regime in Kosova. This is a program based upon usage of force. The massacre in Recak is another proof that the Serb regime is not interested in the political solution of Kosova problem. While the Serb regime has these enormous forces present in Kosova, in one aspect it expresses no interest in solving the Kosova problem in a political way, and in the other aspect it will be a permanent threat to the peace and stability in the region. As far as the massacre in Recak is concerned, I think it is not right, that simply put the regime that committed this massacre and crime against community, now has the opportunity to perform the autopsies in these bodies. There is no doubt about the committed massacre in Recak since even the International verifiers confirmed that and consequently we have been able to see the international media that has completely recorded this massacre. This was a clear case of execution, and afterward the bodies were mutilated, eyes were gauged out, heads and legs were cut off, etc. There is no doubt about how horrifying this massacre was, but I also believe that is not just at all that the same people who committed the massacre are now performing autopsies and are trying to have experts from other countries such as Russia and Belorussia comply with their stories. This is absolutely unacceptable since we all know how bias these two countries have been in supporting the Serb regime and that, from personal experience, we can conclude that these countries can not be neutral.
Question: What is the KLA stand on the last meetings in Tirana, that the delegation of the Republic of Kosova Parliament is participating in, and after these meetings, according to your own judgment, how much more unified are the Albanians?
Answer: First, I have to declare that the General Political Representative of KLA, Mr. Adem Demaci, is extremely satisfied with his meetings with the highest officials of the Republic of Albania, and that Albania will have a great impact in the future true unification of Albanians. As far as the self declared members of the self-declared Parliament are concerned, we think that they have been brought down to earth by the Albanian officials and have been convinced to join KLA. That joining KLA, joining in it, gathering around the KLA is the only true unity, a unity that implies joining the nation itself and its liberating war, joining the nation's sacrifices.
Question: In this moment when most of the international community is waiting for the unification of Albanians, some declarations of a representative, respectively the political director of KLA, Hashim Thaqi and Bujar Bukoshi, they are declaring statements against each other. Secondly, in case of national unification, than wouldn't it be better if it was done in Kosova rather in other countries, in which case it becomes international unification?
Answer: I have to repeat again some stands and goals. The ideal is that if not unity exist in Kosova than unification has to be done in Kosova. This is very clear, logical and natural. As far as those that you call arguments, you have to understand one thing. The only unity possible is if the political forces join the Kosova Liberation Army. If they join with the KLA than, in actuality they join the nation, because our nation is the Kosova Liberation Army. It is the people that are fighting against the Serb regime, terror, and occupation. This is the only way this unity can be achieved, can be long lived and serious and adequate in this historical moment we have found ourselves to be in. I repeat it again that the declaration made by the director of the Political Directory of the General Headquarters of KLA was magnificent. Things stand as told, while as far as this government of Mr. Bukoshi is concerned, they are existing only as quasi-institutions, and it was formed for two purposes. First, to plant divisions within our nation, and secondly, to prevent the establishment of the real institutions of Republic of Kosova, that would at the same time make our national goal come true with a liberating fight for independence.
Question: How do you comment on the last statements released in the last meeting of the Contact Group in London, respectively in Brussels, when it comes to the Kosova Liberation Army, in actuality the measures they are willing to take against the KLA?
Answer: KLA is a very well organized military, which runs a liberating war against the Serb regime, against occupation, against the treatment of Kosova as a Serb colony. Therefore, this war that KLA is participating in is a just fight to make the national goals come true, and our nation declared the independence of Republic of Kosova as our goal. As far as the political solution to the Kosova problem, it is imperative to state that the Kosova Liberation Army supports all of the international initiatives and efforts, but a few things have to be taken under important consideration in order to reach solution. First, the Serb regime has to comply with the Resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations, and also all the Serb military and police forces have to be retrieved and all Albanian political prisoners and those kidnapped last year have to be released. Then, and only then, would the conditions, necessary for a beginning to the political process and negotiations, be achieved that would also lead toward a solution. Without these preconditions, the Kosova Liberation Army and its General Political Representative, Mr. Adem Demaci, have hinted that it is not possible for the political process to be long lived and can not lead toward a solution. There is another fact necessary to mention that has been told to the international community and to all the envoys that came to Kosova, that the political process and these massacres and offensives, that are happening in Kosova, are processes that cancel each other out and can not exist at the same time in Kosova. And, only when the Serb regime stops these massacres and offensives, we can talk about an atmosphere that could potentially lead toward a solution to the Kosova problem. Otherwise, we are only ready to enter those negotiations and political processes that lead toward the realization of the declared national goal of independence for the Republic of Kosova in the 1991 Referendum.
Question: The General Headquarters and the office of the General Political Representative are calling for the people and the politicians to join KLA. I am interested to know that from over 50 thousand university educated intelligence incorporated in these networks and processes, how many of them and what kind of contribution do they give?
Answer: As far as this call to join KLA is concerned, that has been repeated many times, is a historical call that would positively contribute to our national goals. But it is important to state that the population has already joined Kosova Liberation Army, and in actuality the call is not for the people to join Kosova Liberation Army because the people are the KLA itself. When considering the politicians, they were called upon to stop basing themselves on the privileges given to them by their fictional positions on the fictional subjects. The sooner the political and national subjects join with Kosova Liberation Army, gather around it, in its service, to help and support it, the sooner we will come closer to the solution to the Kosova problem. As far as the people are concerned, they have already joined the Kosova Liberation Army in all possible ways, because in fact, they represent the Kosova Liberation Army. The Albanian nation in Kosova identifies today with the Kosova Liberation Army.
Përfaqësues i Përgjithshëm Politik i
Ushtrisë Çlirimtare të Kosovës (UÇK)
General Political Representative
of the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA)
Tel&Fax : ++ 381 38 36 032
Tel&Fax : ++ 381 38 34 051
E-mail : Demaci@albanian.com
Betreff: [kosovo highlights] B92 NEWS (1) ë (2) January 26, 1999
Datum: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 14:29:22 +0100
Von: "Fr. Sava" <decani@EUnet.yu>
Firma: Decani Monastery
B92 Open Yugoslavia, Belgrade Daily News Service
Open Yugoslavia, News by 13.00 CET, January 26, 1999
Issue ID: 0126991e.asc
UCK: PRISONER EXCHANGE DEMONSTRATES LEGITIMACY
PRISTINA, Tuesday -- UCK spokesman Albin Kurti today said that the release of nine UCK members from prison had given legitimacy to the organisation as a military and political force in the Kosovo conflict. Kurti told a press conference in Pristina today that massacres, new offensives, arrests and the deployment of new security forces in Kosovo showed that the Belgrade regime had not given up on terror and systematic repression.
Betreff: [kosovo highlights] KOSOVO NEWS - JANUARY 27, 1999
Datum: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 07:15:13 +0100
Von: "Fr. Sava" <decani@EUnet.yu>
Firma: Decani Monastery
Kurti: UCK Has Gained Legitimacy
Albin Kurti, the head of the UCK political reperesentative's office, told reporters Tuesday that releasing nine UCK members from the Nis prison has given the UCK legitimacy as a military and political factor in the Kosovo conflict, the Belgrade daily Blic writes on Wednesday.
Kurti denied claims that the UCK had kidnapped five Serbs from the Nevoljane village, adding that their arrest and disarming was "in the interest of securing public peace". He qualified the murder of five ethnic Albanians in the Rakovina village as a barbaric massacre.
He said the massacres in Rakovina, Racak, Likosane, Cirez and Prekaz, as well as numerous arrests, fresh Serb attacks and deploying arms meant the Belgrade regime still hasn't renounced its policy of terror and opression. According to Kurti, the Belgrade regime's moves imply that NATO military action is the only option.
Meldung vom 26.01.1999 15:44 http://seite1.web.de/show/36ADE294.AP1/
Rebellen stellen Bedingungen für Friedensgespräche
Gefangenenfreilassung und Beendigung von Gewalttaten verlangt -
Untersuchung der Bluttat von Racak stößt auf Schwierigkeiten
Pristina (AP) Die Kosovo-Befreiungsarmee (UCK) hat für ihre Beteiligung an Friedensverhandlungen Bedingungen gestellt. Die Regierung in Belgrad müsse alle Gewalttaten im Kosovo einstellen und alle politischen Gefangenen freilassen, sagte Albin Kurti, ein Berater des UCK-Sprechers Adem Demaci, am Dienstag auf einer Pressekonferenz in Pristina. Nur dann könne eine Atmosphäre geschaffen werden, in der Gespräche für eine politische Lösung des Konflikts in der mehrheitlich von Albanern bewohnten serbischen Provinz möglich seien, sagte Kurti.
Unterdessen stößt die Untersuchung des Massakers von Racak, bei dem am 25. Januar 45 Albaner getötet wurden, auf unerwartete Schwierigkeiten. Die Leiterin des Teams finnischer Gerichtsmediziner, das die Leichen untersucht, erklärte dazu am Dienstag, es werde möglicherweise nie mehr völlig zu klären sein, ob es sich bei den Opfern um unbewaffnete Zivilisten oder um im Kampf gefallene UCK-Kämpfer handelt. Ein an den Leichen vorgenommener Paraffintest sei zwar in einigen Fällen positiv verlaufen, doch beweise dies nicht endgültig, ob diese Personen auch eine Waffe abgefeuert hätten, sagte Helena Ranta.
Möglich sei, daß die Beweise bewußt gefälscht oder die gefundenen Schmauchspuren auch auf andere Ursachen wie Kontakt mit Tabak oder Kunstdünger zurückzuführen seien. Der Verdacht auf Manipulation gründe sich in erster Linie auf dem Umstand, daß die Leichen sich zuerst von den albanischen Dorfbewohnern in eine Moschee geschafft worden seien und dann tagelang in den Händen serbischer Polizei befunden hätten, bevor sie der finnischen Kommission übergeben worden seien, sagte Ranta. Die Albaner machen serbische Sicherheitskräfte für die Bluttat verantwortlich. Der Hauptanklägerin des Haager Kriegsverbrechertribunals, Louise Arbour, verweigerten die jugoslawischen Behörden die Einreise in das Kosovo. Am Dienstag sagte der jugoslawische Justizminister Zoran Knezevic, Frau Arbour könne Belgrad besuchen, doch eine Untersuchung komme nicht in Frage.
UCK-Sprecher Kurti machte die serbischen Sicherheitskräfte unterdessen auch für den Tod von fünf Albanern verantwortlich, deren Leichen am Montag bei Rakovina, 60 Kilometer südwestlich der Provinzhauptstadt Pristina gefunden worden waren. Obwohl die Leichen in einem Gebiet lagen, das von der UCK beherrscht wird, erklärten Bewohner der Gegend, die fünf, darunter zwei zehn und zwölf Jahre alte Jungen, seien von serbischen Polizisten erschossen worden.
Naumann erwartet deutsche Truppen bei Nato-Einsatz im Kosovo
Die seit Wochen wieder zunehmenden Gewalttaten im Kosovo, die einen am 12. Oktober vereinbarten Waffenstillstand weitgehend unwirksam werden ließen, hat die Nato zu neuem Druck auf die Regierung in Belgrad veranlaßt und den Ruf nach militärischen Maßnahmen verstärkt. Der Vorsitzende des Nato-Militärausschusses, General Klaus Naumann, erwartet nach eigenen Worten, daß sich deutsche Truppen in vollem Umfang an einem Einsatz im Kosovo beteiligen, wenn die Nato sich dazu entschließt. Im ZDF-Morgenmagazin sagte Naumann am Dienstag, die Signale der deutschen Bundesregierung in dieser Richtung seinen «ausgesprochen förderlich», den Konsens im Bündnis herzustellen und Gemeinsamkeit und Entschlossenheit zu zeigen.
Betreff: [kosovo highlights] KOSOVO NEWS - January 25, 1999
Datum: Mon, 25 Jan 1999 04:49:59 +0100
Von: "Fr. Sava" <decani@EUnet.yu>
Firma: Decani Monastery
Tirana Tries to Unite Kosovo Albanians
The Albanian Foreign Ministry is organizing a meeting of political representatives of Kosovo Albanians in Tirana which should define the joint platform on Kosovo, the Pristina Albanian-language daily Koha Ditore wrote on Friday. Koha Ditore carried the statement by Albanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Sokol Qjoka that there was still no confirmation of the date of the meeting.
Fehmi Agani, head of the Kosovo Albanians' negotiating team, confirmed that a Kosovo parliament delegation would be in Tirana on Monday as guests of the Albanian Parliament, Blic reported on Saturday. He said that no other meetings had been announced.
Agani and other Kosovo Albanian representatives had left for Tirana on Sunday and that they would meet UCK representatives there. Local sources in Pristina say that this should be one of a series of meetings supported by the US and Western countries and aimed at achieving unity within the Albanian political and military movement in Kosovo.
Agani said that the meeting of Kosovo Albanian representatives scheduled to be held in Vienna on January 25 would be postponed until a further date. According to Agani, Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova had told EU representative Wolfgang Petritsch he was ready to attend this meeting but that Albin Kurti had said on behalf of the office of Adem Demaqi, the UCK 's political representative, that they were not planning on going to Vienna. Kurti said that the UCK believes that such a meeting should be held in Kosovo or Albania.
The United Democratic Movement of Kosovo, headed by Rexhep Qosja, also dismissed the proposal for political representatives of Kosovo's Albanians to meet in Vienna and form a negotiating team there. Its explanation was that the Albanian negotiating team should be set up in Kosovo, not abroad.
Betreff: [kosovo highlights] Balkans Chronology (Kosovo Events) 11-17 January 1999
Datum: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 16:11:25 +0100
Von: "Fr. Sava" <decani@EUnet.yu>
Firma: Decani Monastery
Balkans Chronology Executive Summary Event Summary for the Week of 11 - 17 January 1999
On Tuesday, Albin Kurti, spokesman for KLA political representative Adem Demaci, ruled out unconditional release, as sought by international mediators, of the eight Yugoslav soldiers, and reiterated the guerrillas' demand that the soldiers be swapped for nine KLA fighters taken prisoner when trying to cross into Kosovo from neighboring Albania last month.
Kurti told a Pristina news conference, "It could be that the international community is putting pressure on the KLA for an unconditional release ... but the KLA will stand firm in its insistence that the prisoners of war be exchanged."
Kurti said the KLA offer to swap the soldiers was a gesture of good will designed to create a more convenient situation for a political solution to the Kosovo issue. Kurti said, "Now it is up to the Serbian side to make a gesture of good will and to solve the problem, but they have shown no sign of good will so far.''
In a reflection of the Yugoslav army's simmering anger, General Ljubisa Stojimirovic, chief of general staff of the Third Army which covers Kosovo, was quoted as saying the West was "extending maximum support to ethnic Albanian terrorists.'' The Danas daily also said he had urged new recruits to ''train and prepare to defend our country, which faces an immediate danger of war.''
news from ARTA (Koha ditore)
KOSOVA (Independent Students’ Union of the University of Prishtina)
During the cease-fire, we could have new protests
Prishtina, 27 November (ARTA) 1745CET --
Albin Kurti, was one of the leaders of the students’ peaceful movement about a year ago, however, he now stands by the KLA general political representative.
The walls of the offices of the Independent Students’ Union were covered with posters of the protests of 1 October "Peaceful, Nonviolent Protests", photos of Mother Theresa. There, the students were not organizing protests; they were making badges, gathering clothes for the dislocated and blood for the wounded.
The front page of the students' newspaper "Bota e Re", instead of the poster of the "peaceful students' strolls", now has the photos of armed warriors, fighting for the independence of Kosova.
The first civilian victims of the war, starting from Halit Geci, the teacher in Llaushë, the killing of whole families in Likoshan, Qirez, and Prekaz, created a new situation, in which the people sought protection and not protests.
"With the first protests, we achieved our aim, we broke the status quo, although our requests were not fulfilled, we still request the release of the buildings", said the chairperson of the Independent Students’ Union of the University of Prishtina (ISU UP), Bujar Dugolli.
"The times of protests have passed, every situation has its forms of resistance", he added.
"There was no opportunity for holding protests since the beginning of war. The present engagement of the ISU, is the continuation of work at the University and supporting the students, which is accomplished by gathering clothes, blood etc", said he.
After one year, during which many people died and as much were arrested, many houses were destroyed and hundred of thousands of people were dislocated, there comes a cease-fire that is still not certain.
"The cease-fire could create a new situation in which there could be room for new protests", said Dugolli. "It depends on the cease-fire. We have reason to protest - there are thousands of arrested people", he added.
Besides the nine arrested members of the UPS UP, sentenced in Prizren, three of which were released to defend themselves in freedom, thousands of other students were arrested, including the chairman of the UPS UP in the Architecture Faculty.
"He was arrested while travelling with a bus to Prishtina, two months ago. We have no contact with him or his family, which has now been dislocated. We only know that he was arrested and that no charges were brought against him. All the information we can get is through other students. We have no precise information as to how many students are arrested, but we most surely have to deal with thousands here", stated Dugolli.
Many analysts claim that the protests set forth a new situation, and destroyed the status quo. Then, the students’ leaders, made headlines, they were visited by the highest-ranking European and American officials and were simply given all the attention. Now, since the union is not active any more, the leaders are engaged in other political activities, as well. Such is the engagement of Albin Kurti, in the office of the KLA general political representative, that according to Dugolli does not affect the independence of the union.
"ISU UP has its own independence and the engagement of its members in other activities does not affect it. Every student can contribute elsewhere as well. Getting active in other organizations, such as the KLA, does not affect the independence of the union at all, since they work for the same interests", he said.
Kurti stands by the KLA general political representative in most press conferences and "Bota e Re" has changed its image, just as Kosova did.
""Bota e Re" is putting special emphasis to the KLA. Our program includes the protection of the students and they have joined the KLA", said Dugolli.
news from ARTA (Koha ditore)
KOSOVA (US Ambassador to Macedonia – KLA)
Written objections - in ten days?
Dragobil, 17 November (ARTA) 1700CET --
"Discussions concerning the project document for the status of Kosova, will continue between KLA political representatives and the American mediator Christopher Hill" -- was stated today after the meeting between these two sides, in the village of Dragobil, municipality of Malishevë.
Jakup Krasniqi, the KLA spokesman, Ramë Buja, head of the directory for Administrative and Civilian Issues and commander "Çeliku" and Sokol Bashota, representative of the KLA political directory, met with the American Mediator in Kosova, Christopher Hill, on Tuesday. The American mediator was escorted by Shawn Burns, head of the Kosova Diplomatic Observing Mission and the American observing staff.
The meeting that was held -- in an Albanian owned house, borrowed earlier by the American KDOM, intended for such destinations - was also attended by Albin Kurti, member of the Independent Students’ Union of the University of Prishtina, steering board. As it seemed, Kurti came to the meeting for the mission of handing over the notes made by the office of the KLA representative in Prishtina, Adem Demaçi.
Same as the first time, the meeting was held behind closed doors. The many journalists gathered in front of the gates of the KDOM house in Dragobil, had no means of even peeking - not to mention, asking the American representative, Hill, whose behavior remained a "mystery in itself".
Nevertheless, same as the first time, the KLA representatives were ready to give statements and short answers to journalists' questions.
"KLA's objections will be handed in written, within ten days" stated the KLA spokesperson, Jakup Krasniqi. He stressed that the meeting held on Tuesday, according to all odds, remained of a formal nature - where the main issue was the contemplation of the document proposed for an interim settlement for Kosova, by the KLA.
"Of course we had our remarks", answered Krasniqi, asked about the nature of objections presented to the American envoys. "They were general comments concerning the project document. Discussions will continue. We, in the meantime, we will offer our stands and Asked whether the presented objections could be evaluated as "essential", the KLA spokesperson answered that "this time, they were general remarks, mainly political".
Unconfirmed sources in Prishtina later claimed that the participants of the meeting also discussed the possibility and the way to withdraw the Serb police and military forces from Malishevë, because of the clear indication that their staying continues to utterly deteriorate the security situation in the region.
KLA soldiers guarded the KDOM house during the meeting that was held.
Betreff: [ALBANEWS] NEWS: KOSOVA UPDATE, JULY 15, 1998
Datum: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 08:47:04 -0400
Von: Sokol Rama <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tuesday July 14 5:15 PM EDT
Kosovo Guerrillas Recruit in City
ADAM BROWN Associated Press Writer
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (AP) - After gains in the rugged countryside, Kosovo's ethnic Albanian guerrillas are now recruiting youth in the provincial capital with cryptic phone calls and whispers in sidewalk cafes.
"You know who we are. We will need you soon," a recent high school graduate quoted an anonymous caller as saying.
Another young ethnic Albanian said callers asked him what he could contribute to the struggle between the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Serb-led government.
"They called a lot of people in my neighborhood," he said.
Both spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing arrest or harassment by Serb authorities.
On the surface, this provincial capital of concrete apartment blocks, coffee bars and flirting teen-agers appears far removed from the conflict between KLA guerrillas and Serb forces, even though some of the fighting is as close as five miles away.
Except for a July 3 bombing in a Serb neighborhood that caused no injuries - which police blamed on the KLA - the city has been spared from the violence.
But some young Albanians say the KLA is trying to build an underground network in the capital - their ultimate target in the battle for independence from Serbia, the dominant of two republics that make up the remainder of Yugoslavia.
The United States and the other five nations that coordinate international policy in the Balkans support significant autonomy but not independence for Kosovo. The so-called Contact Group has called for an immediate cease-fire between the Serbs and the ethnic Albanians.
It is impossible to determine how many young Albanians have been approached by the KLA, or how many have joined the urban underground.
There are no known incidents of retribution against those who received a call from the KLA but did not commit themselves. How long that relative tolerance would last was unclear.
A Serb crackdown on Albanian militants that began in February has caused hundreds of deaths and a surge in support for the militants among ethnic Albanians, who outnumber Serbs in Kosovo 9-to-1.
Reflecting that support, the Albanian-language Koha Ditore newspaper reported Tuesday that 2,000 people attended a swearing-in ceremony for new KLA members in Malisevo, 25 miles south of Pristina.
The recruits, whose numbers were not reported, took an oath to "fight for the liberation of occupied territories of Albania and their unification ... regardless of the danger to my life."
Despite the KLA's growing strength, many Pristina residents doubt the guerrillas can threaten the capital without a clandestine network among the city's 200,000 residents.
"There will never be KLA soldiers from the countryside marching on Pristina," said Albin Kurti, a nonviolent representative of the 23,000-member Kosovo Albanian students' union. "The KLA can only conquer Pristina with people from Pristina."
The city's 12,000 students appear to be the main target of guerrilla recruiters. Kurti estimates 2,000 students, mostly from Kosovo's strife-torn west, have joined the KLA since the crackdown began.
In recent weeks, self-styled KLA spokesmen have been boasting of capturing the capital.
"The day when the KLA will be present in Pristina is not far," Jakup Krasniqi was quoted by Koha Ditore as saying.
In case the war does come to Pristina, the students' union recently organized a first-aid course, including how to treat bullet and land-mine wounds and how to cope psychologically with death and devastation.
A young Albanian doctor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the guerrillas are closer than many people think.
"I fight with my neighbor because he keeps playing loud music," he said. "But then it seems ridiculous in this situation. It's not so loud that I can't hear gunfire."
Betreff: [ALBANEWS] NEWS: KOSOVA UPDATE- JUNE 24, 1998/B
Datum: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 17:31:24 -0400
Von: Sokol Rama <email@example.com>
BOSTON - WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 1998
Kosovo Peaceniks Hear Call: 'Guerrilla Army Needs You'
• Even Pristina youths see passive resistance as fading. US prodded Belgrade yesterday.
Special to The Christian Science Monitor
It's just after noon on June 22 and there's hardly an empty seat in Pristina's cafe row.
American music thumps from speakers. Nattily dressed waiters bustle around. And hundreds of young men and women pass the time chatting.
One would hardly know it, but there's a war being waged just 15 miles down the road.
"Sure," says Edi, a customer who just finished high school, "I feel guilty that I'm in the cafe now," he says. "If I were in the village, I'd probably have a gun in my hands. But what can I do?" As the guerrilla war in Kosovo steadily escalates, young men all over the provincial capital of Pristina are asking themselves the same question.
They say they feel strong pressure to join the struggle for independence - maybe even join the Kosovo Liberation Army. But how?
"I heard that the KLA won't take you if you're an only son," says Riki, another teenager, with a shrug. "So it's not fair to criticize me.... There's nothing I can do."
The general feeling of confusion among young men in Pristina underscores a greater lack of direction among Kosovo's 2 million ethnic Albanians, who outnumber Serbs 9 to 1 in Serbia's southern province. As the stakes grow higher, so do doubts.
"I would put the blame on the political leaders," says a young journalist in Pristina, who asked that his name not be used. "They're not telling the people what to do."
Most of the 200,000 people in Pristina, the provincial capital, have never seen a KLA soldier in person. They have neither touched a gun nor buried a relative. Although they sympathize with the independence movement, they have little understanding of their brethren in the villages, who see little choice but to bear the load of a high-risk guerrilla war.
Close to 300 have died in the last four months and as many as 70,000 refugees have fled their homes.
Already there is friction between the de facto ethnic Albanian President Ibrahim Rugova, a US-backed pacifist, and the armed members of the KLA.
A spokesman for the KLA, Jakup Krasniqi, last week criticized Mr. Rugova for leading people astray with years of passive resistance.
Rugova responded by urging the KLA to "be responsible with regard to the political situation.
"I am confident that the KLA would honor my orders, too. Anything else would be fatal for Kosovo," he told the German magazine Der Spiegel.
Western diplomats say such rifts among the ethnic Albanian leadership could make international intervention more difficult, as it is no longer possible to define a single voice of the people.
So, the more directionless the KLA appears, the more difficult it becomes for the international community to persuade Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his special troops from the region.
US diplomat Richard Holbrooke arrived in the Balkans June 23 with what could be a final warning for Mr. Milosevic - with whom he was scheduled to meet last night - before NATO takes steps to try to end the fighting in Kosovo. But it may be difficult for Milosevic to comply with any demands.
"The KLA has guns and they're causing a hell of a lot of trouble," says a Western analyst in the Balkans. "How can the Serb politicians be asked to withdraw their forces when the KLA is setting up roadblocks all over the place?" For its part, the KLA continues to impress militarily. They have sustained heavy hits, but seem to be gaining strength with each week.
In some villages it's difficult to find fighting-age men who don't identify themselves as KLA. The same cannot be said of Pristina.
In an interview with the independent ethnic Albanian daily Koha Ditore, a KLA fighter quipped, "Life is good there [in Pristina], isn't it?" Albin Kurti, a student leader at the underground ethnic Albanian University of Pristina, says the student union is no longer organizing demonstrations the way it did last fall because the struggle has moved to the front lines. Instead it's focused on helping students from the war zone who have been separated from their families.
"People in the war don't care about political leaders, student leaders, or newspapers - just the KLA," he says. "In the short term, the only thing that matters is the KLA. They are the people."
By Balkan standards, Pristina is a city bustling with intellectual activity.
Artists, actors, musicians, and students fill the cafes at night. For them, peaceful resistance is still a viable option.
"I feel guilty a little bit," says Shpend, as he sits at a cafe with a group of his friends. "Maybe I'm here to forget what's happening. Maybe all of us here are pretending.
Betreff: Emergency Funding for Macedonia training
Datum: Fri, 19 Jun 1998 13:59:02 -0700
Von: Peaceworkers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Following is a letter from Albin Kurti, one of the key leaders of the nonviolent student movement requesting support for this workshop.
We are in urgent need of assistance for our nonviolent movement in Kosova. We have asked David Hartsough from Peaceworkers to provide an urgent workshop for our leaders. We would like to hold a one week workshop beginning July 6, in Macedonia. I don't need to tell you that the situation is critical and that the civil war is spiraling out of control. This workshop will attempt to revitalize the active nonviolent movement in Kosova before the whole country is destroyed by war. I can guarantee important representatives from many of the most relevant organizations will participate. Macedonia is much needed place for us to hold a serious week long consultation. It is safe and gets people out of Prishtina to avoid distraction. We will need financial support for travel and stay in Macedonia. Please help us during this emergency time.
With Peace and Justice,
Betreff: [ALBANEWS] NEWS: KOSOVA UPDATE, JUNE 19, 1998
Datum: Fri, 19 Jun 1998 08:44:27 -0400
Von: Sokol Rama <email@example.com>
THE IRISH TIMES
WORLD Thursday, June 18, 1998
Albanian students get more radical
Students are now more concerned about Kosovo's independence than on their university rooms, Mark Brennock reports from Pristina
As violence continues throughout Kosovo, Lulezon (24) is about to sit his final exams in computer science and telecommunications.
However, as one of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians who make up 90 per cent of the province's population, his university education has been far from ordinary.
As large parts of Pristina's official university campus lay idle, Lulezon has been attending lectures in private houses in the town for the past three years. In 1991 up to 1,000 Albanian professors and teaching assistants, 200 administrative workers and 27,000 students were forcibly expelled from the university buildings by Serbian police. The same happened in schools.
Their offence had been to continue teaching and studying through the Albanian language, ignoring Serbian President Milosevic's 1991 edict that from then on teaching at the university would be conducted in SerboCroat (they call it Serbian since the break-up of Yugoslavia). Constantly alarmed by the massive Albanian majority in his southern province, Mr Milosevic sought to advance Serbian culture there and repress the Albanian culture as much as possible.
However, since the 1991 mass expulsion the teachers and students have continued their classes in private houses, styling themselves as the University of Pristina while campaigning to be allowed return to the old premises. Only Serb students, many from outside Kosovo, have been using the official university buildings.
In September 1996, responding to international pressure, an agreement was signed between Mr Milosevic and Mr Rugova, the Kosovan Albanian political leader, to allow Albanian students back in to learn in their own language.
The agreement was not implemented, but was signed again in March as Mr Milosevic attempted to appease international concern at his latest crackdown on the ethnic Albanians. To date, however, just one building has been opened to Albanians - that housing Lulezon's faculty, electrotechnology.
Officially made available to Albanian students on May 15th, it stands now as testimony to Serb resistance to such compromises. All the equipment has been removed from laboratories which are now empty, unused rooms. "They took it all with them," says Lulezon. "They decided they would rather take the laboratory apart than allow us to use it."
The deal was to create an extraordinary educational apartheid, with the Albanian students using the premises in the morning and the Serbs in the afternoon. The hours were to be reversed every six months.
Serb students set up a student resistance movement to oppose the changes on the grounds that education in Serbia should be conducted in Serbian. It is exam time now, and none of their representatives could be contacted in Pristina yesterday.
Mihane (25) is studying to be a teacher. Before that she also studied electrotechnology and hopes to go on to study psychosexuality. The university grossly overproduces graduates - few find employment locally and so many move from course to course. Funds from the Albanian diaspora help keep the university and individual students financially afloat.
She agrees that the standards at the university are questioned by some, but says universities in Berlin, Vienna, Tirana, Ljubljana and elsewhere have agreed to admit its graduates into post-graduate courses, thus giving them more internationally recognised qualifications. She does not need high-tech facilities for her studies, but says the issue has moved beyond the demand for the return of the university buildings. "The whole military situation makes it very difficult to learn. It affects us too much."
Many students say the situation has changed radically in the last few months since the latest Serb crackdown. Students have been to the fore in daily demonstrations by ethnic Albanians in the streets of Pristina.
"Our level of education is at around 80 per cent of what it was before," claims Albin Kurti, an officer of the Students' Independent Union of the University of Pristina. "But the war is spreading fast and whether we get more buildings back is less important now."
He insists that the students' union has a policy of non-violence, but renders his statement fairly meaningless by adding that the problems in Kosovo can no longer be solved by non-violence.
Posters from last year in the student union offices demand simply a "University of Kosova [the Albanian spelling of the province's name]". Recent posters say "Drenica [the area where recent Serbian killings took place] we are with you". The double-headed black eagle, the symbol of the Kosovan independence seekers, is on the wall. There is a picture of a Kosovo Liberation Army man posing with a gun.
"There is now a huge empathy with the KLA," says one student who does not want to be named. "We are concerned about Kosovo's independence now, not our university rooms."
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 21:18:07 -0100
From: ata <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [ALBANEWS] news:24ata2
Consultative group of President Rugova defined for talks with Belgrade
PRISHTINE, March 24 /ATA correspondent Behlul Jashari reports:
The President of the Republic of Kosova, Ibrahim Rugova, today declared the composition of his consultative group, which will prepare a platform for talks with representatives of president Milosevic.
The group is composed of Fehmi Agani, Mahmut Bakalli, Bujar Bukoshi, Adem Demaci, Hydajet Hyseni, Rexhep Ismajli, Bajram Kelmendi, Mark Krasniqi, Shkelzen Maliqi, Pajazit Nushi, Blerim Shala, Esat Stavileci, Veton Surroi, Edita Tahiri and the representative of the Students' Independent Union of the Prishtine University (UPSUP), (Dugolli, Kurti or a representative elected by UPSUP, itself).
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 10:10:37 -0500
From: Nick <email@example.com>
Subject: [ALBANEWS] News: AP
Serbs press diplomatic solution in Kosovo after latest offer
Copyright c 1998 Nando.net
Copyright c 1998 The Associated Press
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (March 20, 1998 08:42 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net)
-- The Yugoslav government pushed Friday to stave off international sanctions over violence in Kosovo province, following up on last-minute concessions by President Slobodan Milosevic. But no end to the friction between Kosovo's Serbs and ethnic Albanians was immediately in sight Friday a day after rival rallies erupted in scuffles.
A delegation from Serbia, the dominant republic in Yugoslavia, invited ethnic Albanian leaders to talks for a seventh day. The Albanians again rejected any negotiations in which an international mediator is not present.
"International mediation is ... indispensable and critical in helping to bring the two sides closer," Ibrahim Rugova, the ethnic Albanians' leader, told a news conference.
More than 80 people have died this month in Kosovo, a province in southern Serbia, in a Serb police crackdown aimed at increasingly violent ethnic Albanian militants. The Albanians, who outnumber Serbs in Kosovo 9 to 1, are seeking independence for the province.
Milosevic agreed late Thursday to pull back his special police, as demanded by world powers, and appeared to have won his government a reprieve as it seeks to avoid toughened sanctions. Because of his concession, sanctions won't be seriously considered until Wednesday when members of the so-called Contact Group meet formally in Bonn, Germany.
The Contact Group, comprised of the United States plus five European nations, was holding consultations in Brussels on Friday.
The six nations had set a Thursday deadline for Belgrade to withdraw its special police from a besieged region of Kosovo and meet other requirements.
Russia, a traditional ally, strongly endorsed Milosevic's promised withdrawal and new offer of talks aimed at autonomy for Kosovo, and said new penalties -- including an arms embargo -- are not necessary.
"The ball is now much in the Albanian court," Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov said in Bosnia on Thursday. "And the international community should now put pressure on the Albanians to accept the proposed formula."
The German and French foreign ministers, Klaus Kinkel and Hubert Vedrine, announced Milosevic's agreement after talks with him in Belgrade, presenting it as a strong step toward breaking the diplomatic impasse.
Milosevic even named an envoy for proposed talks with Kosovo Albanians -- lawyer Vladan Kutlesic, a constitutional expert who is considered a hard-liner.
The top U.S. envoy for the Balkans, Robert Gelbard, was unimpressed. "It falls quite short of what we feel is necessary to start in a serious way," he said Thursday.
Ethnic Albanians greeted the development cautiously, especially since Milosevic acknowledged that not all special police had been pulled back by the Thursday deadline. It wasn't clear Friday how many police had been withdrawn.
While diplomats try to prevent further bloodshed, public emotions were rising on both sides.
Separate throngs of ethnic Albanians and Serbs demonstrated Thursday in the provincial capital, Pristina. An Albanian protest erupted into brawls between the two sides.
"The situation is getting more tense and ... is on the verge of escalation," warned Albin Kurti, an Albanian student leader and rally organizer.
More Serb demonstrations were planned Friday in the towns of Klina and Djakovica.
<>By KATARINA KRATOVAC Associated Press Writer _
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 08:59:58 -0500
From: Nick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [ALBANEWS] Press: Gazeta Albania March 20
Albanians elect the team to talks with FRY
PRISTINA, March 19, /ENTER/ - The Albanians elected Thursday the team that will present them in talks with the Serbs. Reliable sources in Pristine said that members of the Albanian group are Ibrahim Rugova, chairman of the DLK, the biggest party of the Albanians in Kosova and candidate for president in the new elections, Bukoshi, premier Adem Demaci, chairman of the parliamentary party, Fehmi Agani and Hydajet Hyseni, former vice chairman of DLK, Rexhep Ismaili, professor, Pajazit Nushi, chairman of the Council on Human Rights, Sabri Hamiti, professor, Blerim Shala, publicist, Edita Tahiri, former member of the presidency of DLK, Bajram Kelmendi, lawyer, Albin Kurti, representative of the students and Veton Surroi, publicist.
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 18:06:31 +0100
From: Edmond Hajrullaaga <edihaga@EUnet.yu>
Subject: [ALBANEWS] News:Kosova Daily Report #1370b
Tens of Thousands Turn Out in Prishtina to Protest Serbian Violence
PRISHTINA, March 13 (KIC) - Tens of thousands of Albanians turned out today afternoon in Prishtina, capital of Kosova, to protest the increasing Serbian violence and terror in Kosova.
The protest was staged in the Dragodan neighbourhood in Prishtina, where the American Center is situated.
The Independent Student Union of the Albanian-language University of Prishtina (UPS), in cooperation with the political parties, the trade unions, and the human rights council (CDHRF), staged this protest, whose motto was "For peace, against violence, war and Serbian terror".
The people started gathering two hours ahead of schedule for the protest rally which was set for 15:00 hrs.
The UPS vice-chairman Driton Lajçi asked the crowd observe a minute of silence for the Albanian victims of Serbian terror in Drenica.
The UPS chairman Bujar Dugolli addressed the crowd from an improvised platform, whereas Albin Kurti read a letter in English.
The protesters held up the Albanian national flag, and the flags if the United States, the European Union, Germany, etc, as well as placards in both Albanian and English reading "Stop the violence in Kosova", "Drenica, Drenica", "Drenica - we stand by you", "Stop Serbian terror in Kosova", "USA, USA" etc.
The crowd of protesters chanted slogans in support of President Ibrahim Rugova of Kosova, "Rugova, Rugova", "Rugova, Kosova", "Freedom, Independence", "Drenica, Drenica", "Prekaz", "USA, USA", "We are not terrorist!". The refrain "Besa, besë..." [I give my word of honor...].
The crowd dispersed peacefully, holding up placards and chanting slogans.
In the vicinity of "Qafa" the Serb police chased some of the protesters, who were dispersing.
This was the second big protest manifestation in Prishtina this week. Tens of thousands rallied Monday to protest the Serbian bloody crackdown in Drenica, leaving over 80 Albanians slain, including women, children and elderly.
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 17:04:01 -0500
From: Nick <email@example.com>
Subject: [ALBANEWS] News: Enter Feb 20
USA AND VAN DER SHTUL IN KOSOVW, SERB POLICEMEN KILLED
PRISHTINE, 20 FEB /ENTER/- USA think that the application of the education agreement must be a condition for the Albanian Serb dialogue.The chief of the American mission in Belgrade, Riúard Majlls, declared to an Albanian paper of Pristine said that he hopes that the political Albanian Serb dialogue must begin but this depends a lot on the Education agreement, which will be the first step in this direction.
Riúard Majlls met the leaders of the Students Union of the University of Pristine Driton Lajúi and Albin Kurti, who informed him on the future protests of this union planned for march 13.The American official said even in the future the protests and the students movement will be supported and they ask the Serb part not to use force against them.
The statement of the American official was published while Maks van der Shtoel, high commissioner of OSCE, on the minority questions is on visit in Pristine.
Van der Shtul met the Albanian leader of Kosova, Ibrahim Rugova, But gave no details on these talks. Adem Demaci refused the invitation to meet him, because he stressed the Albanians in Kosova are not a minority , but a population.
On Thursday a Serb policeman named Nebojsha Cvejiú, was killed by three unidentified Albanian terrorists" as the Serb interior Ministry informed. The killing happened near Podujeves, 40 km north of Pristine. Nebojsha Cvejiú, 24 year is member of the Serb security forces.
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 14:03:24 -0800
From: "Ibrahim Sh. Makolli" <ibro@EUnet.yu>
STUDENTS' PROTESTS, 30 DECEMBER 1997
Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms in Prishtina has available information on 121 ill-treated persons in Prishtina, Peja, Gjakova, Mitrovica and Gjilan. We have estimated that the number of ill-treated persons is much higher.
THE LIST OF PHYSICALLY ILL-TREATED PERSONS:
69. Albin Kurti, member of the Board of the SIU
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 09:58:55 -0800
From: "Ibrahim Sh. Makolli" <ibro@EUnet.yu>
Subject: [ALBANEWS] News: Weekly Report 386
On 30 December, large police forces intervened during the peaceful protests for the unconditional release of school and university facilities in Prishtina, Peja, Gjakova, Mitrovica and Gjilan. Many students were subjected to physical ill-treatment and suffered injuries.
PRISHTINA: On 30 December, at about 11 a.m., large police forces brutally intervened against the peaceful protesters in the "Mother Theresa" city promenade and other parts of the city. Many citizens were ill-treated and suffered body injuries. Since the early hours of the morning, all streets leading to the centre of the city were blocked. On the roofs of the National Theatre, Assembly of Kosova, "Rilindja" Publishing House and the National Bank of Kosova, snipers were situated. Police stopped buses preventing passengers from travelling to Prishtina.
During the police intervention, the following were physically ill-treated:
Bujar Dugolli, chairman of the Students' Independent Union (SIU); Driton Lajçi, vice-chairman; Albin Kurti and Ernest Luma, members of the Presidency of SIU;
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 15:17:39 -0500
Subject: [ALBANEWS] News: U.S. Backs Kosova Students (Illyria)
U.S. Backs Kosova Students
After Their Talks in the U.S.
Illyria, Nov. 3, 1997
By Isuf Hajrizi
The U.S. has reiterated its support for Albanian students in their campaign to gain back Kosova school buildings confiscated by the Belgrade regime seven years ago.
Two student leaders, Bujar Dugolli, president of the Students Independent Union of the University of Prishtine, and Albin Kurti, who met with State Department officials on Monday, said Washington is fully behind their peaceful protests.
Another student leader, Driton Lajci, was scheduled to visit Washington, but was denied a passport by Serb authorities. No reason was given for Belgrade's action.
The two students also met with aides of Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.) and are scheduled to return to Kosova over the weekend after a visit to Worcester, Mass., where there is a large Albanian-American population. It was not clear why the U.S. has not slated a visit for them to the New York area, the center of the largest Albanian community in the country.
"We expressed our determination to continue our peaceful protests and Mr. [Robert] Gelbard reiterated the support that he and the U.S. [government] have for our issue," said Dugolli after meeting with Gelbard, who is President Clinton's envoy responsible for the implementation of the Dayton peace agreement for Bosnia.
Clean-cut, but with facial scars still evident from a Serb police beating during the Oct. 1 rally in Prishtine, Dugolli said the students will continue their peaceful fight until they get their schools back. He announced that another rally will take place around Christmas. No date has been set.
"He [Gelbard told us he was going to meet with members of St. Egidio, [the Italian-based humanitarian group which mediated the education agreement signed last September between Serb and Albanian leaders] to urge them that the issue be resolved as soon as possible," he said. Gelbard allegedly told the student leaders that he will urge the so-called Contact Group to hold on meeting on Kosova.
Last week, Germany and France -- both members of the Group -- asked Belgrade they be given a bigger role in resolving the Kosova impasse, but Serb leaders responded negatively, saying the Kosova problem is an internal matter for Serbia that no outsider will be allowed to meddle in.
Meanwhile, the international community, including the U.S., believes Kosova needs international attention. The U.S. is so far the only country to have opened an information office in Prishtine, Kosova's capital, although European Union has announced it will follow suit.
Asked if the U.S. will itself get involved in helping to implement the education agreement, Dugolli responded: "The U.S is already involved in this process and is working so we can have our rights back."
Dugolli said the student movement will continue to grow and get stronger but said a bigger international presence is needed to avoid a conflict.
For those who fear that the protests may lead to an open conflict, Dugolli said "our protests will not radicalize the situation because they are non-violent and peaceful." But the 28-year-old leader warned that if the Serb police intervened with force to crush the students, the possibility of "other forces" -- supportive Albanians -- getting involved to defend the students could not be excluded.
Dugolli was expelled from the university in 1989 because his brother was sentenced to 11 years in prison for helping organize the 1981 demonstrations in Prishtine that demanded more freedom from Serbia. The same brother, Dugolli said, was again arrested this year and sentenced to another five years. This time, he said, police found on him copies of a "radical" newsletter that called for Kosova's independence.
Dugolli himself was beaten by police during the Oct. 1 rally . He was kicked in the face and kidneys, which left him urinating blood and suffering deep cuts above and below his right eye. He spent several days in one of the Prishtine's clinics before he could travel to Belgrade to meet with Gelbard as part of a student delegation. A Kosova daily newspaper, Bujku, showed photos of Dugolli in the clinic bandaged and bruised.
A radical group called the Kosova Liberation Army has surfaced in the last two years and claimed responsibility for several killings of both Serb officials and Albanian "collaborators." Last week some members of the organization, wearing masks and carrying arms, attended a funeral and urged the Albanians to join them in their struggle, saying, "We are the only people fighting for the independence of Kosova."
Many Albanians say power is slipping away from Kosova President Ibrahim Rugova, who has urged peaceful resistance on his people since 1990, vowing this was the best way to gain independence for Albanians who make over 90 percent of the population but are ruled by a small minority of Serbs.
In a recent meeting with other leaders of the Democratic League of Kosova, the largest party in Kosova, Rugova came under intense criticism for not doing enough to move the issue of independence forward.
A tape recording of the heated LDK meeting was leaked to the Kosova weekly magazine Zeri. The transcript of the tape showed Rugova being impatient with his colleagues in the party, often cutting them off and telling them to make their comments brief. He did not make any attempt to address any of the questions they put to him.
LDK and Rugova in particular came into conflict with the students when they refused to abide by Rugova's recommendation not to rally. The Kosova president later expressed support for the "well-organized rally," criticizing the Serb police for using force.
The students say their rallies are being held in the context of the nonviolent movement in Kosova.
"Between war and giving up, there is room to act, and that's what we are doing," Dugolli said.
Both Dugolli and Kurti said they were particularly upset with the Rugova-Milosevic education agreement "because it was confusing and did not include the specific date of when it would be implemented and did not specify whether the University of Prishtine was part of the agreement."
"But the thing that we were most annoyed with was the exclusion of the people of the university from the agreement," Dugolli said.
Rugova had nominated three people from his party to negotiate with the Serbs but did not offer any role for the university leadership. As a result, several months later, the students declared the agreement invalid.
"We asked to meet with Rugova to discuss the agreement before we decided to rally, but the president refused," Dugolli complained. He said there is a general feeling in Kosova now that the belief in Rugova's peaceful policies is quickly diminishing.
"People now seem to have pinned their hopes on two main groups," Dugolli said. "On the students and on the more radical groups."
Asked if they would feel responsible if the student rallies ignite an open conflict, which some analysts believe would be worse than the one in Bosnia, Dugolli responded: "Yes, we have thought of the worst, but the responsibility will not only fall on us but everybody who has ignored the Kosova issue until now." He said the student leaders have not forced anyone to come out and rally.
"The students have never been more united," he said. In the October rally, a small group of students, reportedly closer to Rugova, split from the main group.
"But after the first rally, they came and apologized and now they are on our side," Dugolli said.
Asked what do they expect the U.S. to do, in addition to giving verbal support, Dugolli said they want Washington to come out with a "specific project" to make it clear to Milosevic that there is no negotiation on the school agreement and that it must be enforced immediately. He said the students do not have "the slightest trust" in organizations like St. Egidio.
The reason: "The university and the schools are not a humanitarian issue, and St. Egidio is a humanitarian organization and has no political muscle."
Accusations by some in the LDK that the student demands might be "compartmentalizing" the Kosova independence issue, Dugolli says, "Look who's talking."
"If anyone has compartmentalized the issue, it is Rugova who signed the agreement with Milosevic to begin with. We are only asking for our rights. Tomorrow the workers who lost their jobs on ethnic grounds should do the same and then others should follow suit."
His friend Kurti agreed.
"The political parties and Rugova were elected through an independence referendum and they still have that to accomplish. They still have to answer to the people for their promises. We are only asking for education," Kurti said. The long-curly-haired, 22-year-old student of electrochemistry who was seen in photos in Albanian newspapers being dragged through the streets of Prishtine by the police at the Oct. 1 rally, said the students are aware of the dangerous road they have embarked on in rallying for freedom of the education. But that, he added, is not going to stop them.
"If we are beaten up and killed in the street doing something that we consider noble, then we are not victims. But if we get beaten and killed while doing nothing, which has happened systematically in Kosova, then we are victims."
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 14:59:14 +0100
From: Edmond Hajrullaaga <edihaga@EUnet.yu>
Subject: [ALBANEWS] News:Kosova Daily Report #1291
Student Leader Visiting Washington Says Protests Will Resume around Christmas
PRISHTINA, Dec 2 (KIC) - Leaders of the Independent Students Union (UPS) of the University of Prishtina, Bujar Dugolli and Alban Kurti, met Monday in Washington D.C. with Robert Gelbard, President Clinton's envoy for the Balkans.
In an interview with the Voice of America (VOA) Albanian Section after the meeting in the State Department, UPS chairman Bujar Dugolli said student protests will resume later this month, around Christmas.
One of the student leaders, Driton Lajçi, had announced earlier last month new protests would be staged by the end of November. There has been no word as to the reason of this postponement. On October 1 and 29, respectively, huge manifestations to protest continued Serbian occupation of the University of Prishtina premises were held in Prishtina and several other towns in Kosova. Students demanded an unconditional return of Albanians to the public school buildings and the UP. Students and University leaders were arrested and beaten up by Serb police October 1, alongside scores of others ill-treated on both October 1 and 29.
Robert Gelbard supported our peaceful manner, the peaceful demonstrations, Bujar Dugolli said. The U.S. official promised he would meet with Monsignor Paglia to press for the resolution of the demands, the UPS leader said in response to a question regarding to the kind of support the Americans have given students. "They suggested that we continue with peaceful protests", Bujar Dugolli said.
Ambassador Robert Gelbrad, the U.S. President and Secretary of State's personal representative for the implementation of the Dayton Accords, will probably visit the Balkans in tens days' time, the stops including Belgrade and Prishtina, according to reports.
updated on January 05, 2000
RELEASE THE KOSOVAR POLITICAL PRISONERS FROM
(Currently detained in Pozarevac)
Albin Kurti was born on March 24, 1975 in Prishtina. He finished primary school (1981-1989) and high school (1989-1993) in Prishtina with excellent success. In the academic year of 1993/94, he began his studies at the Electrical Faculty of the University of Prishtina. He was an eminent (honors) student.
In August 1997, he became involved in the Students Independent Union of the University of Prishtina (SIUUP) as a member of the presidency. He was the international officer. Albin was also a member of the Organizing Board (at University level) of the student’s peaceful protests for the release of University’s buildings, which were then held by Serb professors and students. This Board organized four student peaceful protests (1 October 1997, 29 October 1999, 30 December 1997 and 13 March 1998).
During this time, he was invited to meetings in Washington, New York, Brussels, Copenhagen, and the European Parliament in Strasbourg with the purpose of informing the international community about Albanian students’ legitimate demands.
He also met with numerous highly placed individuals in international politics, including: Robin Cook (foreign minister of UK), Klaus Kinkel (ex-foreign minister of Germany), Hubert Vedrine (foreign minister of France), Robert Gelbard (special envoy of President Clinton for the Balkans), and with all the ambassadors and embassy representatives of western countries present in Belgrade.
In August 1998, Albin began working in the office of the General Political Representative (GPR) of UÇK, Adem Demaçi, where he served as a translator.
In early March 1999, he quit all activities at SIUUP and at the office of GPR of UÇK in order to continue his university studies.
During the NATO bombing, he remained in Prishtina until April 27, 1999, when Serbian police arrested him. From April 27 until May 1, he was held in Prishtina prison. On May 2, he was transferred to Lipjan prison where he was held until June 10. During this time, he was barbarously tortured for being a "terrorist". He was accused of meeting with Richard Holbrooke (in fact, Albin had never met him) and of meeting with Christopher Hill.
On June 10, he and many other Albanian prisoners were transferred from the prison in Lipjan, Kosova to Serbian prisons. His family had no information about where he was. On July 12, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) informed the family that Albin Kurti was being held in Požarevac prison. On July 27, 1999 the family was informed by Franklin De Vrieze (Pax Christi Vlaanderen) about his visit to Požarevac prison where he met with Albin. After this, during September and October, the family received two letters from Albin. The first letter was written September 13 and received on September 30. The second letter was written September 22 and received on October 18. Both letters were communicated through ICRC.
As of November 10, no further information has
been forthcoming about the condition of Albin Kurti.
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