A new hospital but few patients
A nearly vacant
hospital in Kosovo epitomizes the divisions between
Sasa Ivic is an
anesthesiologist's assistant at a new hospital that
The hospital's operating
room, with its gleaming tiles and shiny new
"We have patients,
but we don't have doctors," complained Mr. Ivic.
Serb hospital is a casualty of
The Gracanica hospital
was meant to be part of
For political reasons,
a hospital is badly needed. In purely medical
Financed by the
Greek government and Doctors of the World, the
Serb doctors who
might have worked in the new hospital were
The hospital is
at the nexus of a struggle with at least three sides. On
They are opposed
in part by more defiant Serb leaders in northern
On the third side
are Milosevic and the Yugoslav regime. In February,
"We're all afraid," she says. "But we want to work here."
The Kosovo Serbs
have always been divided between those willing to
After the agreement,
a mob of more than 100 Serbs attacked the
The West is trying
to change this. It is importing opposition
The West also is
trying to help the moderates by showing Serbs that
For now, Milosevic
and the more defiant Kosovo Serbs have the
Committee for return of Kosovo Serbs launched
May 2 (AFP) - Kosovo's Serb leaders and
Fear stalks Kosovo's remaining Serbs
A diminishing minority,
guilty and innocent
in Kosovo Polje
Milan Jankovic and
his wife Todora rarely leave their
For the few Serbs
who remain in Kosovo, their
Of 200,000 Serbs
resident in Kosovo before last
were 15 Serb families in this block. Now
"One of my
sisters has been kidnapped and no one
As his wife patiently
mills coffee beans in a
Despite the presence
of tens of thousands of K-For
Last week a salvo
of mortar shells crashed into the
Across Kosovo, each
Orthodox church with its
There have been
a few, tentative signs of
a Kosovo Serb leader, is also
The charred rows
of ethnic Albanian homes in almost
Even the stone tower,
commemorating the battle of
Back in the town
of Kosovo Polje, Milan Jankovic
He knows who to
blame: "A child could have solved
who were guilty died, it wouldn't be a
His neighbour, Maria
Vlascevic, is packing up and
Bavaria expels 50 "criminal" Kosovars by charter plane
May 4 (AFP) - Fifty former refugees from Kosovo
May 4, 2000
SERBS SET FOR KOSOVO RETURN
Serb refugees disillusioned
with life in Serbia are being encouraged to
By Miroslav Filipovic in Kraljevo
Around 20,000 Kosovo Serb refugees could be repatriated under a plan drafted by Serb leaders in the province.
The Serbian National
Council, SNV, says its proposal, which has been
Under the plan,
refugees would return to the parishes of Istok and Klina,
Following the withdrawal
of Serbian forces last June, about 350,000
from Bice in Kosovo, lives with around fifty other Serb
we visited our villages in Kosovo. They are all destroyed, but
Before the exodus
from Kosovo, there were 34 villages in Istok and Klina in
The leader of Serbs
from Mitrovica and President of the Executive Council of SNV, Oliver
Ivanovic, said," The Serbs are facing a grave situation. Time is
not on our side. We are getting further away from a multi-ethnic Kosovo
According to the
SNV, the refugee return will take place in two phases. The
Ivanovic says the
weakness of the plan, which is said to have US backing, is
According to US
officials, the successful return of Serb refugees would
Ivanovic told IWPR that the US State Department has earmarked $5 million for the repatriation programme. "It is not even near our needs, but it is a good figure to start with," he said.
The programme, however, has not been welcomed by UNHCR. "We can hardly support something like this at the moment," said a senior UNHCR official, adding the agency could only back repatriation when key conditions, such asthe security of the refugees, their accommodation and access to public services, have been met.
NATO, however, is keen to see the process go-ahead, arguing repatriation can no longer wait for perfect conditions.
Meanwhile, The President
of SNV in Mitrovica, Dr Vuko Antonijevic, has
against the interests of the Serbian people, " he said. "We
Ivanovic wants Albanian
leaders to agree to the repatriation project in
At the same time,
more and more refugees are making it clear that they no
"There is no
life for us outside Kosovo," said Dragica Ruspic from Istok.
Morina from the Ministry of Refugees in Serbia says
It's clear that
the current instability in the north of Kosovo would make it
SERBS' PRISTINA MISERY
The remnants of Pristina's Serb population huddle together in a building guarded round-the-clock by KFOR troops.
By Petar Jeknic in Pristina
"Can this be
called a life? " sighs Sanja Nikolic, as six KFOR solidiers,
The troops stop
the traffic and the bus, sandwiched between armored
Sanja and her family
live in a building in the Pristina suburb of Ulpiajana,
The one hundred or so families, protected round-the-clock by KFOR soldiers, moved to the shelter after being forced out of their homes in other parts Pristina.
troops entered Kosovo last year, most of the region's
Sanja , though,
decided to stay in Pristina. The 31-year-old mother of three
Before she moved
there, she lived in a heavily guarded apartment in the
It's cold in her
one-bedroom apartment. She has a floor heater, but often no
"When the power
is back on I just don't know what to do first. I have to
Sanja's three month-old
daughter Tamara was born in the Russian hospital in
Tamara will never
meet her father. Sanja's husband was a locksmith. He was
Sanja was five months
pregnant. She buried her husband, then left for
were disturbing us all the time. They were kicking our door,
Arriving in Belgrade's
Dragise Misovic hospital, though, she was greeted
Sanja and her children
spent two months in Belgrade, knocking on doors and
They were staying
with relatives in a tiny flat, sleeping on the floor. Life
Her parents had
been subjected to verbal and physical intimidation. And
Sanja stayed in
Pristina, alone but for her three children. When she's not
The view is nothing
special: the building opposite, parked cars, garbage and
go shopping or visit the doctor, always escorted by armed
me most is how they treated me in Belgrade," Sanja says now. "
I didn't get any help from Kosovo Serb political representatives. And
May 5, 2000
Macedonia may have
been spared inter -ethnic violence, but it remains a
By Zeljko Bajic in Skopje
In Skopje, people
are on the move. The river Vardar divides the town, with
Nowadays it is rare
to find Macedonians and Albanians living next-door to
The war in Kosovo
has had a large part to play in this polarisation. While
On April 13, villagers
in Poroj, 100 per cent Albanian, erected a statue to
It is estimated
that around 1,000 young Albanians from Macedonia fought in
this will all lead to Albanian community demanding an
"You can see,
we are generous, they have all the rights, and yet they
who make up around one third of the population, argue
they are made to feel like second-class citizens. The
The formal separation
of school children has resulted in an entire
Research by the
Institute of Statistics calculated that out of the 15,000
A Macedonian man
said only the birth of his child brought his parents around
One young Albanian said, " We would rather chat on the internet with someone in Japan or America than to somebody from another community."
May 6 (AFP) - A burnt-out Serbian Orthodox
New Support to Help Serbs From Kosovo to Go Home
By CARLOTTA GALL
May 6 -- Ten months after they fled the
help hundreds, even thousands, of Serbs and Gypsies to
So far, Albanian
leaders have not opposed the planned returns, although
peacekeepers and the United Nations
"We are all
in favor of Serbs returning," he said, announcing the creation
The United States
and other Western nations have lent impetus to the idea,
The showcase project
favored by the Americans is for some 500 Serbs to
British troops are
undertaking a more discreet effort in central Kosovo,
The United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees plans to return
have accepted the plan for the Gypsies' return after their
The return of Serbs
is, however, far more explosive and Mr. McNamara
The newspapers are
full of memorial notices for Albanians killed last year,
"We would not
normally return refugees to an ongoing conflict situation,"
Mr. McNamara's agency
has been on the receiving end of significant
Local Serbs have
different reasons for pushing the returns. Bishop
in north Mitrovica broke with the bishop over his
Marko Jaksic, who
until recently worked with the bishop on returns, said
Four Serbs injured in shooting in southeast Kosovo
May 7 (AFP) - Four Serbs, including one
KFOR Commander Says Serbs Could Return To Kosovo
PRISTINA, May 8, 2000 -- (Reuters) The new commander of Kosovo's NATO-led peacekeeping force said parts of the province might be safe enough for displaced Serbs to return but that the process would have to be carried out with extreme care.
Juan Ortuno, in his first news conference since
While most of the
more than 800,000 ethnic Albanian refugees who fled Serb
The number of Serbs and members of other minorities who have fled since KFOR and the United Nations took responsibility for Kosovo last June is the subject of dispute but Yugoslav authorities put the figure at more than 200,000.
Asked if the province
was safe for the return of refugees, Ortuno replied:
"This is why
the return of the last refugees and... displaced persons should
The U.N. refugee
agency has said it does not believe the time is yet right
Despite the presence of around 40,000 KFOR troops and more than 2,000 UN police in Kosovo, attacks on minorities and violent crime in general are still reported daily.
Gunmen wounded three
Serbs, including a young girl, in the eastern town of
On Monday morning, Ekrem Rexha, a former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, an ethnic Albanian guerrilla group, was shot dead on his way to work in the southern city of Prizren, the United Nations said.
and co-existence are key words for the future of Kosovo. There
of the world is still on Kosovo but this will not last forever,"
horrors emerge from Kosovo's ashes
By Ronald Kim
(U-WIRE) PHILADELPHIA -- Where in Europe, in the year 2000, have the policies of the Western powers directly resulted in the vicious persecution and expulsion of an ancient Jewish community?
If you guessed Kosovo, you're right. One year after the aerial bombardment of Yugoslavia, the aims of NATO's military campaign are close to being realized. According to countless human rights observers and reports of European journalists, virtually all of Kosovo's non-Albanian population has been driven from the province by armed gangs of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Before the war, the Kosovar capital of Pristina was home to 40 Sephardic Jews. All have been forced to leave, their homes looted or burned.
Cedomir Prlincevic, former director of archives in Kosovo and leader of the community, had to be rescued by taxi via Macedonia. He made it out alive with his elderly mother to the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade, bringing only his Talmud.
Immediately following the end of the war, over 90 percent of Kosovo's already dwindling Serbian Orthodox minority fled attacks from the victorious KLA. In the U.S. press, this catastrophe was legitimized as the revenge of Kosovar Albanians, whose oppression under Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's army and paramilitary forces "justified" the expulsion of all Serbs.
But this mass exodus is hardly limited to the Serbs. Last June and July, 300,000 Kosovars of all backgrounds, including Roma (Gypsy), Turkish and Gorani (Slavic-speaking Muslims), left their homes, mostly for Belgrade or neighboring Montenegro. As the persecution of the latter two groups indicates, religious affiliation is no protection against the wrath of Muslim Albanian extremists.
Today, Serbs and Gorani are confined to six tiny enclaves in Kosovo. Ironically, their safety -- and that of hundreds of beautiful medieval Serbian Orthodox monasteries and cathedrals -- hinges on the dubious protection of NATO soldiers from the very powers that launched last year's war.
In this new KLA-controlled Kosovo, created by NATO aggression and cosmetically patrolled by "peacekeepers," no minority is safe.
The village of Lecnice had been home to a small group of Roman Catholic Croats since medieval times. Last October, only months before its 700th anniversary, the whole community of 300 fled to Croatia. An 86-year-old Czech man was found with a bullet in the back of his head in a park near Pristina.
One should not conclude, however, that the elimination of ethnic minorities is the only difference between the old and new Kosovo. Albanian "moderates" -- not to speak of intellectuals and those who felt no sympathy for the KLA -- have fled to Belgrade, joining earlier waves of ethnic Croatians and Bosnian Muslims who escaped war and fascism in their own republics.
Since the departure of Milosevic's army, the KLA -- long reputed to be major drug traffickers into Western Europe -- has swiftly imported all the worst evils of the outside world to its new domain. Stolen cars are now everywhere, just as in Albania. Trafficking in prostitutes from the rest of the Balkans and the former Soviet Union has become a serious problem, one which peacekeepers' limited resources simply cannot address. Vigilante justice, looting and smuggling bespeak a level of lawlessness that makes the rest of Yugoslavia look tame by comparison.
Surprised? In February 1999, just before the war, Robert Manning of the Council on Foreign Relations described U.S. objectives in the Balkans: "turning the former Yugoslavia into series of protectorates one province at a time." In other words, integrating them into the global economy as fodder for free-market racketeering and U.S. economic colonization.
Citizens of the U.S. cannot be blamed for their ignorance of these tragic developments, which have gone virtually unreported in the media. But ignorance does not forswear responsibility.
For three months last spring, hundreds of millions of Americans (and Canadians and Europeans) were once again whipped up into a frenzy of militaristic, patriotic rage. Believing every rumor, every tabloid headline of "mass graves" and "genocide," these professional patriots -- including supposedly liberal intellectuals -- saluted a policy of "bombing for peace." Drunk on hatred of the primitive, tribal, anti-Western and incorrigibly bad Serbs, their insatiable blood-lust applauded the murder of ordinary Yugoslavs, even on Orthodox Easter.
Once Milosevic capitulated and agreed to withdraw his troops, the media conveniently terminated their coverage. Those few reporters who dare to risk their lives in Kosovo have had a hard time being heard by a bored public in Western Europe, let alone the U.S.
After all, we won, didn't we?
Now, faced with the horrors of the New Kosovo, we excuse ourselves from the consequences of our actions, pleading that "we didn't know."
And where have we heard that before?
(C) 2000 Daily Pennsylvanian via U-WIRE
May 9, 2000
Going home again is difficult for Kosovars
The US plans to
return Serb refugees to the Osojane valley as early as June.
Little remains of this farming community in northwestern Kosovo. The houses are deserted, the windows smashed, the furnishings scattered or gone. Abandoned stoves sit rusting in the uncut grass. Last year's corn still stands in the fields, weathered gray as barn boards.
The 400 inhabitants, all of them Serbs, fled last June around the time NATO-led troops entered the province. Afterward, ethnic Albanians bent on revenge looted and burned their houses.
For miles along this valley, the view is the same. In two other villages and in the scattered houses in between, no one is left of the Serb families who lived here, farming the rich bottomland.
The United States government hopes to change this. For the past two months it has been working with Serb leaders in Kosovo on a plan to bring Osojane's inhabitants back, perhaps beginning as early as June. If the plan succeeds, it would be the first large organized return of Serbs since NATO-led forces occupied Kosovo 11 months ago. The Americans say it could prepare the way for other displaced Serbs to return to their homes.
But the plan is already running into resistance from people who think it is a bad idea. These include local Albanians, many of whom lost homes and family members in two years of fighting the Serbs. Some Western officials also believe it is too soon to bring Serbs back to Kosovo.
"Our great fear in these situations is always not to provoke a backlash," says Dennis McNamara, Balkan envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. "If you get a backlash, you always set things back."
Pressures of warmer weather
The pressure for Serb returns has been mounting as warm weather returns to the Balkans. About half of Kosovo's 200,000 Serbs are thought to have fled the province last year. Most settled in Serbia proper, where they have not been welcome. Many want to go home, and Serb leaders in Kosovo are eager to help them.
"The Serbs are facing a grave situation," says Oliver Ivanovic, a Serb leader in northern Kosovo. "Time is not on our side. We are getting further away from a multi-ethnic Kosovo every day."
The American plan dates to February, when the leader of the Serb Orthodox Church in Kosovo, Bishop Artemije, discussed Serb returns with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Washington. After that meeting, a State Department official who is also a Serb Orthodox priest visited Kosovo. He made a dozen trips through the province and looked at scores of Serb villages.
Osojane stood out for many reasons. One was that the valley makes it easier to protect; there is only one road into and out of the village. But also, local Albanian leaders seemed to welcome the idea. The Americans were especially impressed by the Albanian mayor of the Istok municipality, Januz Januzaj, an intelligent, soft-spoken lawyer who was a respected commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army. In recent months Mr. Januzaj has probably done more than any other Albanian leader in Kosovo to reach out to ethnic minorities. He has gone so far as to visit villages where Gypsies, Slavic Muslims, and even Serbs still live. Many Kosovo politicians would find this unthinkable.
"In principle, I'm for the return of people who haven't committed any crimes," Januzaj says. "They are citizens of Istok, of Kosovo. If they want a future here, they can live here."
But when other local people heard about the American plan, their reaction was swift and damning. "The people are completely against it," Januzaj grimaces. "This makes it more difficult for my position and the American position." He says local Albanians might accept Serb returns in "two or four years."
Albanian leaders also have imposed conditions on Serb returns that will be difficult to meet. One is that the Serbs apologize for crimes that Serbs committed against ethnic Albanians. They also want progress on one of the most emotional issues for Kosovo Albanians: the continuing imprisonment of more than 1,000 ethnic Albanians in Serbian jails.
In a few places in Kosovo, Serbs are already coming back on their own. But some Western officials say they are reluctant to encourage them to return to a situation where they need to be protected by armed troops. They say Serbs need enough security to move about safely and to have access to jobs, health care, education, and markets. This is lacking almost everywhere in Kosovo. Even the protection of Serb enclaves sometimes fails; two weeks ago, nine mortar rounds were fired into the Serb enclave of Gorazdevac.
US officials concede that bringing Serbs back to the valley will not be easy and that it may not be altogether safe. "There are risks attached to it," an official says. "But I think they can [return] .... I don't see that the average Albanian is going to object."
For now, political imperatives may be pushing other considerations aside. Serb leaders in Kosovo seem to be competing with each other to see who can bring back more people. The US hopes that the plan to return hundreds to Osojane will help Bishop Artemije and other moderate leaders win support among ordinary Serbs. At the same time, the bishop's rivals, including Mr. Ivanovic, say they have their own plan to bring back as many as 20,000 Serbs.
Recently, Spanish soldiers in the Osojane area have been trying to persuade local Albanians to accept the Serbs back. "They are very afraid, because they think Serb criminals will come here," says 2nd Lt. Jose Ortega, who was patrolling one afternoon in an armored troop carrier. "We're trying to tell them there will be no criminals."
He had already talked to Sabri and Beke Kelmendi, two brothers who have houses on one end of the valley, about three miles from Osojane. Last May, they say, Serbs killed both of their wives and one child in each family. Lately they have been working on their houses, which the Serbs burned. When the Spanish patrol passed, Sabri Kelmendi was replastering an inside wall. His brother's house was beyond repair, and workmen were digging the foundation of a new one.
"If the Serbs come back here, I won't stay," Mr. Kelmendi declared angrily as he paused from his work. "Not one Albanian person will stay here. All the Serbs in this region were paramilitaries. All of them were bandits. It's a bad idea."
May 9, 2000
Kraljevo Spurns (Kosovo Serb) Refugees
By Miroslav Filipovic in Kraljevo (BCR No. 138, 9-May-00)
"No entry to Kosovo Serbs" reads the sign on the door of a popular Kraljevo cafe. It reflects the volatile mood currently hanging over the southern Serbian town where resentment towards Kosovo refugees is rapidly reaching boiling point.
Around 25,000 refugees poured into Kraljevo in the wake of the Serbian army retreat from Kosovo last summer. But the town's 60,000-strong population -- depressed by economic conditions, which have grown steadily worse over the past 10 years -- sees the dispossessed Serbs as a crippling burden.
Already, there have been outbreaks of violence. Last month, an armed mob attacked an Audi with a Kosovo licence plate, loosing off a volley of pistol shots before completely demolishing the car. The vehicle's four occupants were later treated for serious injuries at the Kraljevo Health Clinic.
Meanwhile, in nearby Lazac, villagers staged angry protests when the authorities attempted to house 40 Kosovo refugees in the local cultural centre. And residents of Vitanovac have refused outright to connect refugee accommodation to the water supply, arguing that there would not be enough left for their own needs.
Since last September, people in Kraljevo and the surrounding region have been threatening to forcibly evict refugees from municipal buildings. Police were forced to intervene when locals sabotaged building projects aimed at providing emergency shelters.
Open conflict was averted last year when the authorities relocated thousands of Kosovars from school buildings to community centres and disused cowsheds. But locals in Mataruska Banja have since threatened to reclaim premises by force.
Mataruska residents say the once popular tourist resort has become a virtual ghost-town since the refugees arrived. One hotelier, Vladan Stojkovic, told IWPR, "People are keeping their distance because of the rude and dirty refugees. There aren't any factories or big firms here where people can earn a living. There is only tourism -- but now we don't even have that."
Stojkovic went on to say, "That's why we decided to take the law into our own hands. Blood will be shed, I'm telling you, if these people don't get out of Banja soon."
Kraljevo businessmen echoed the hotelier's resentment. One café owner commented, "Everything has changed since the Kosovars arrived. They're rude and arrogant. I've started losing my regular customers."
Particularly galling for most locals is the fact that some refugees appear to be comparatively well off. A few are even thought to have taken part in attacks on Albanian homes in Kosovo, bringing their spoils away with them.
Zvonko Obradovic, chairman of the executive committee of the Kraljevo Town Assembly, summed up the local mood, "The people here are in a really difficult position. Refugees who were government officials in Kosovo still get their salaries paid, even though they're unable to work. And they have a range of other benefits that the local population can't hope to enjoy. We're finding it more and more difficult to control the tensions that threaten to erupt into open conflict at the slightest provocation."
Residents claim the refugees often get preferential treatment - particularly over the fierce competition for stalls in Kraljevo's market place.
Around 3,000 factory workers, currently on unpaid leave from Kraljevo's ailing industries, make a living by selling goods at the market. This year, however, around 40 per cent of the prime pitches were allotted to Kosovars and the displaced stall-holders say they have been deprived of any source of income.
The situation in Kraljevo's schools has provoked widespread outcry. Around 1,300 refugee children have been placed in schools across the region, swelling classes by nearly 25 per cent.
Savo Veljkovic, headmaster of the Jovo Kursula primary school, said, "Hardly a day goes by without the refugee children breaking something. But the most disheartening thing is that they readily admit their vandalism and hand over money to pay for the damage. They treat school property as if it belongs to the enemy."
Kraljevo residents also complain that the refugees put enormous strain on local facilities. Visits to the town's health clinic have increased by 20 per cent while water consumption has soared by 25 per cent. Rados Trnavac, manager at the Vodovod water company, claims that supplies will be exhausted by mid-summer if the trend continues.
The refugees themselves remain defiant. A teacher from a secondary school in Pec, who now lives in a part of Kraljevo dubbed "Little Albania", says, "I feel intolerance and hostility at every turn. The locals look at us as if we were second-class citizens. We lived peacefully with the Albanians until the Serbian police arrived."
He went on to say that he had taken no part in the Serbian terror campaign in Kosovo. "Thousands of Albanians were killed and the paramilitaries piled their spoils on to trucks and fled for Serbia. Because of that, I had just two hours to leave the home, which my father and grandfather had built. And now you're asking me about a smashed window or a broken nose! It was you [the Serbs] who brought us here, so now you'll just have to put up with us."
Miroslav Filipovic is a regular IWPR contributor.
Three Kosovo Serb brothers injured in grenade attack
May 10 (AFP) - Three Kosovo Serb brothers
Four Serbs injured in armed attack in Vitina - KFOR is conducting investigation
Four Albanians arrested
Pristina - KFOR soldiers and members of UNMIK Police arrested four people suspected of committing an armed attack in Vitina in which three Serbs were lightly and one seriously injured. The three arrested people were kept for investigation in the American base "Bondsteel" near Urosevac.
The fourth person has been arrested somewhat later. UNMIK Police is conducting investigation.
"In this attack one girl and one middle-aged woman were lightly injured while Dobri Kojic /88/ was heavily injured. In an attack that followed later, another Serb trying to help the Kojic's was also injured. The attack was carried out by for persons" KFOR spokesman Anido said.
Serb sources reported
that at the moment of attack the Kojic's were at family
The evening before yesterday at about 11:15 p.m. in the village of Vrbovce a newly built house of Slavko Vesic was blown by the explosive. Nobody was injured.
Kosovo Serbs Rally for Information on their missing
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Yugoslavia Kosovo Serbs protested Wednesday in the province's most tense city and in the nation's capital, Belgrade, demanding swift trials for jailed relatives and information on missing Serbs.
Elsewhere in Kosovo,
a grenade and machine gun fire wounded five Kosovo
About 500 protesters
many of them wives, children or other relatives
conquer doubt," read one banner, while others pleaded: "Give
"We are aware
of the problems regarding Kosovo's judicial system," the
Relatives said the
37 Serb prisoners in Kosovska Mitrovica had not eaten
Local Serb representative
Oliver Ivanovic said the Serb side would
"This is a
unique legal case, with prison inmates protesting not over
which is capital both of Yugoslavia and its largest
Here the banners
shouted: "Where is my grandpa?" and "We want our
There is speculation
that some of the missing Serbs are alive and being
The protesters in
Belgrade directed their demands toward several
of the missing, the protesters marched past the
Meanwhile, at least
five Kosovo Serbs were wounded Tuesday night, when
NATO officials in
Pristina confirmed the attack, but said six people had
BLIC - Belgrade independent daily
Protest of families of the kidnapped Serbs in Kosovo
WHERE ARE OUR CHILDREN?
Belgrade - Several
hundreds of citizens having their family members
During the walk,
the protesters shortly paused in front of the federal
According to data
of the Association for kidnapped since 1998 1,200
Old Kosovo Foes Move Closer But Still Far Apart
Wednesday, May 10, 2000
By Andrew Gray
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (Reuters) - Kosovo's Albanians and Serbs drew closer on the political front Wednesday but out on the streets thousands of ethnic Albanians demonstrated against plans to resettle Serbs in their region.
In a move hailed
by a top international official as historic, Albanian and Serb
The leaders closed
ranks at a meeting of a multi-ethnic council set up by the
"This is the
most important meeting we've had," said Bernard Kouchner, the
The U.N. has been working for months to bring Serbs and Albanians closer after a decade of increasingly violent Serbian repression of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority, which has been followed by a post-war plague of revenge attacks on Serbs.
But a protest in
the western town of Istok showed how far the United Nations
NO SPIRIT OF RAPPROCHEMENT IN THE STREETS
marching just as the politicians in the capital Pristina
They were protesting
against plans floated by Kosovo Serb leaders and U.S.
"We say this
project should be stopped. Even talks about returning Serbs to
A figure estimated
at more than 200,000 Serbs and members of other
officials urge bringing the Serbs back to Kosovo quickly,
But others, including
officials from the U.N. refugee agency, have said Serbs
Despite the presence of around 40,000 peacekeepers from the NATO-led KFOR force since last June, attacks on minorities or cases of harassment against them are still reported daily.
Protesters at Wednesday's
rally, who appeared to number more than 2,000,
EMOTIVE PRISONER ISSUE
The issue of the prisoners is highly emotive for ethnic Albanians, who see it as unfinished business from the conflict. International agencies say at least 1,200 Kosovo Albanians are in Serbian jails.
by the Kosovo Transitional Council, agreed by all of
"We are determined that all the citizens of Kosovo should live equally under a law which treats people equally," said Xhavit Haliti, an ethnic Albanian member of the council.
"The declaration of the Serb representatives who condemn the Milosevic regime and crimes committed in Kosovo is a good step forward, as is the joint demand for the release of Albanian prisoners," he added.
Also Wednesday, the Balkans envoy for a major international organization said ethnic Albanian leaders were willing to put another contentious Kosovo issue -- the final status of the territory -- on the back burner for the moment.
Albanians overwhelmingly favor independence for Kosovo, which at the moment remains legally part of Serb-dominated Yugoslavia although under de facto international rule.
But Kosovo Albanian
leaders are now ready to settle for defining Kosovo's
by Edita Bucinca in Pristina and Mark Thompson in
Refugees based in the Kraljevo region visit their villages in Metohija
Berkovo, village that was wiped away from the face of the Earth
by Miroslav Filipovic
daily], Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia,
Kraljevo - The village
of Berkovo with 70 Serb houses,
Today, Berkovo is
a deserted village. Albanian houses
"We had been
told that the village had been burnt
In mid June of last
year all Serbs from Berkovo
"We had no
problems with our Albanian neighbors," says
"We are angry
with our Albanian neighbors, although we
Father and son Jevtic's
visit to their village was
"We paid 340
dinars for a ticket to Gorazdevac,"
However, the Jevtics
believe that there is a winning
"There is no
reason not to trust Oliver Ivanovic, but
Six Serbs Wounded in Kosovo Grenade Attack
PRISTINA, May 11,
2000 -- (Reuters) An attacker threw a
The attack took
place on Tuesday evening in the village of
Two of the victims
were flown to a military hospital at U.S. forces' Camp
Since KFOR and the United Nations took responsibility for Kosovo last June, ethnic Albanians angry at years of Serb repression have carried out numerous attacks on Serbs and members of other minorities accused of collaborating with them.
A 48-year-old member of the province's Torbesh community, an ethnic group which shares Albanians' Moslem faith but speaks a Slavic language, was found shot dead in his bed on Tuesday morning in a village near the southern city of Prizren, the UN said.
Kosovo Albanian Loyal to Serbia Dies
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- A Kosovo Albanian loyal to Serbia was killed today in his home in the Kosovo town of Djakovica, Yugoslavia's state-run Tanjug news agency reported.
Adnan Zerka, a member of the Democratic Reform Party of Albanians, died en route to the hospital after unknown attackers opened fire on his house and injured him, Tanjug said.
NATO or the United Nations had no comment on the attack, which occurred about 45 miles southwest of the province's capital of Pristina.
The Democratic Reform Party has represented a minority of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo who do not support secession from Serbia. Its members have come under increasing threats and attacks since Serbian authorities were forced to hand over the province to NATO-led peacekeepers and the United Nations after the 78-day NATO bombing campaign last year.
The party's president,
Sokol Cusa, condemned the killing, saying Zerka
Tanjug also said
that hours before the killing, more than 100 "raging ethnic
Nobody was injured in the attack, which was stopped by members of the NATO-led Kosovo Force, according to Tanjug.