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Belgrade Media Monitoring

Compilation from Belgrade daily newspapers, prepared by editorial staff of the Voice of Kosovo and Metohia

March 23, 2000

  • Ethnic Albanian extremists torch Romany house in Orahovac
  • A year after NATO intervention Clark said: NATO is not responsible for Kosovo
  • Explosion in Kosovo
  • Lukin says U.S. wants to blame Europe for Kosovo and Metohia fiasco
  • Greece for Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244
  • KFOR Closed Administrative Border Between Serbia and Kosovo
  • Kosovo Protection Corps: Albanian Must not Lose Victim Status
  • Igic: KFOR has to leave Kosovo
  • A bridge destroyed in an explosion
  • Gnjilane Human Rights Protection Committee: Serbian Families Leaving Novo Brdo Region
  • Security of Serbs in Gnjilane area reported to be improving
  • Solana defends slow progress in Kosovo
  • Germany Expunged 50 Albanian Criminals
  • Pentagon on "Negotiations" with Albanian Forces: There is no Agreement
  • Obilic, Albanian Terrorists are Restless: Serb Abduction Attempt, House Burnt
  • Vitina: Albanians Attempted Deception by Putting False "Kosovo Republic" Stamp

    (Borba daily, 23. 3. 2000)

    Ethnic Albanian extremists set fire to a house belonging to a Romany in Orahovac, Kosovo and Metohia, at around 3 a.m. local time on Tuesday, local radio enthusiasts reported.

    The house was located on the line separating Orahovac's Serb- and ethnic Albanian-populated sections.

    According to local Serbs, the torching of the house shows that ethnic Albanian extremists oppose proposals by the newly-formed security committee on ways of how to ensure peaceful coexistence of the three ethnic communities in the town.

    A year ago, ethnic Albanian terrorists had abducted this Romany's son.


    (Blic daily, 23. 3. 2000)

    Prague - NATO supreme commander in Europe, General Wesley Clark said that NATO and KFOR did not bear any responsibility for the present situation in Kosovo.

    "NATO is not responsible for what happened after air strikes. NATO handed over that responsibility to UNMIK. KFOR role is only to assist UNMIK, among other things, in return of the refugees, including Serbian. Serbian extremists in Mitrovica do not allow them to return, however, we shall gladly help them to return to their homes", General Clark said.

    The main threat in stabilization of the Balkans Clark sees in the first place in "Albanian extremists that are obviously trying to cause conflict in the southern Serbia".

    A year after NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia, louder than ever is criticism against the Alliance because it acted without approval of UN Security Council and turned the spring of refugees into a flood, giving additional reason to Serbian paramilitary formations for ethnic cleansing, yesterday`s "Times" of London writes.


    (B2 - 92, 23. 3. 2000)

    Kosovska Mitrovica, Wednesday A massive explosion this morning damaged a railway overpass on the Mitrovica-Raska highway near the village of Laziste in northern Kosovo. The blast blocked traffic on the road for about three hours and broke the windows of most of the twelve houses in Laziste. Beta quotes villagers as saying they had seen a group of people in green uniforms near the blast site.


    (Borba daily, 23. 3. 2000)

    Deputy Speaker of Russia's State Duma (lower house of parliament) Vladimir Lukin said Tuesday that the Western countries' proposal that the six-nation 'Contact Group' resume its work had been prompted by Washington's wish to shift the blame for serious problems that had arisen in Kosovo and Metohia to Europe.

    Lukin told Russia's Itar-Tass news agency that the U.S. policy was faced with a fiasco at the point when presidential election was approaching. Consequently, the U.S. task is to pin the blame for everything on Europe and, to a certain degree, on Russia, he said.

    The United States wants to withdraw from the scene in an elegant manner before coffins with bodies of U.S. troops start arriving in the country, he said adding that this was the last thing that U.S. President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore needed at this point.

    Lukin said that, if it were not for the conflict in Chechnya, he would propose that Russia considerably reinforce its peacekeeping contingent in Kosovo and Metohia and protect the Serb population and Serbian holy places.

    He said, however, that by keeping its contingent in the Yugoslav republic of Serbia's southern province, Russia was practically covering with its authority the turning of the province into an ethnically pure region independent from Yugoslavia and into one of Europe's most notorious crime zones.

    On the other hand, it would not be good to withdraw the Russian contingent from the province because it would mean to leave the few remaining Serbs even without this protection, he said.


    (Borba daily, 23. 3. 2000)

    Greece remains true to its original stand and insists on the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 on Kosovo and Metohia, which envisages the preservation of the existing borders of Yugoslavia, Greek Foreign Minister Iorgos Papandreau said in a statement to Net TV on Tuesday.

    Speaking about Monday's meeting of E.U. foreign and defense ministers in Brussels, Papandreau said Greece had once more reminded its partners of the seriousness of the latest developments in the southern Serbian province, and that the most recent tensions were all the more reason to persevere in the due implementation of this resolution.

    Papandreau reiterated that Athens urges a multi-ethnic concept of life not only in Kosovo and Metohia, but in the entire region as well, and that the European Union should intensify economic and trade relations with the Balkans.


    (Glas javnosti, 23. 3. 2000)

    Pristina (FoNet) - British KFOR soldiers closed several border crossings along the administrative Kosovo- Serbia border-line, "Reuters" reports.

    Engineering units dug out tank hindrances and set up the blockades on the mountain crossings.

    KFOR spokesman Major Demienne Plantes stated:

    "The reason we did it is the responsibility we have for the Kosovo situation; at the same time we have to take care that violence and tension do not extend outside Kosovo", stated Plantes for Reuters. (*)


    (B2 - 92, 23. 3. 2000)

    Pristina, Wednesday The Kosovo Protection Corps today warned that it was the victim of an internationally orchestrated campaign of vilification, Kosovo media report. The headquarters of the corps, a civil defence force consisting mainly of members of the former Kosovo Liberation Army, said in a statement that certain circles in the international community were trying to apportion equal responsibility to Albanians and Serbs for the problems of Kosovo. The Corps complained that these circles were trying to strip Kosovo Albanians of their status as victims and to present them as Chauvinists. The Kosovo Protection Corps emphasised that it would take steps against any of its members proven to be involved in illegal activity but would not take responsibility for individual offenders..


    (Blic daily, 23. 3. 2000)

    Kraljevo - President of SPS board for Kosovo and Metohia Zivorad Igic said at the meeting with Kosovo Serbs presently housed in Raski District that KFOR and UNMIK have to leave Kosovo, information service of this board informed.

    "Their presence led to anarchy, violence and numerous victims. If they stay that would lead to even larger anarchy, violence and number of the victims", Igic said.


    (Blic daily, 23. 3. 2000)

    Pristina - Yesterday at 5 a.m. in a strong explosion a railway bridge above Kosovska Mitrovica-Raska highroad was destroyed. Engineering units of French KFOR soldiers removed concrete elements and iron construction from the railway tracks and highroad, while KFOR started investigation.

    Local residents said to have seen yesterday people in green uniforms they could not identify.

    Three masked Albanians tried on Monday at about 9 p.m. to kidnap a Serb Sasa Todorovic. The same evening they burnt the house of Misko Todorovic.

    KFOR spokesman reported that KFOR soldiers from Morocco yesterday stopped a Serb in Mitrovica and found a hand bomb with him. At later search of his house in Suvi Do, about 30 Serbs were throwing stones at KFOR soldiers. According to the spokesman the soldiers found two guns, ammunition and two uniforms.


    (Politika daily, 23. 3. 2000)

    Novo Brdo, March 22nd (Tanjug)

    Gnjilane Human Rights Protection Committee stated today the Serbs moving-out-wave continues.

    Frequent KFOR's patrolling the Gnjilane area might prevent the Albanian terrorist activities, but surely cannot prevent Serbs' leaving this region.

    The same source states Milorad Stojanovic and Vojislav Stojkovic with their six-member families have already left Trnicevac, while Vlastimir Jovanovic i Stojan Jovanovic with their ten-member families are about to evacuate themselves.

    Each member of Peric families' have left Todorci hamlet together with more than twenty -members.

    The Culjkovci hamlet has been left without the three families of Svetozar, Slobodan and Stojan Stankovica. Their neighbours are about to leave - the families of Stanoje Djordjevic and Zoran Mirkovic.

    Tomislav Jovic has left the village of Zebince together with his spouse Zagorka, his sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. The village of Manisince has been left without 85-year-old Zivko Danailovic with six and Miodrag Jovic with the same number of family members.

    The village of Gornji Makres has been a target for the Albanian persecutors lately and 33 house-holds left it, while 23 families remained consisting of 100 members. (*)


    (Borba daily, 23. 3. 2000)

    Representatives of Serb villages in the Gnjilane area, in the east of Kosovo and Metohia, noted in a regular meeting with UN peacekeeping mission officials that local Serbs felt safer following recent successful actions by the UN peacekeeping force KFOR against ethnic Albanian terrorists.

    The Serb representatives said, however, that KFOR and the UN civilian mission (UNMIK) must do more in ensuring security in the town of Gnjilane where only 800 Serbs had remained of the town's once 12,000-strong Serb community because of unprecedented terrorising by ethnic Albanian extremists.

    Gnjilane's committee on protection and human rights said Tuesday that the peacekeeping mission officials had listed security in the area as KFOR's and UNMIK police's priority.

    Last week, KFOR successfully completed its action of capturing ethnic Albanian terrorists in villages south of Gnjilane, while on Sunday, the force arrested seven ethnic Albanian terrorists in villages west of the town, seizing a considerable amount of automatic weapons.

    Three more ethnic Albanians were arrested north of Gnjilane for threatening local Serbs.

    The Serb representatives welcomed KFOR's actions proposing that the force set up checkpoints in village areas in order to make it possible to carry out spring sowing as well as round-the-clock patrols in Serb villages in order to counter pressure exerted by ethnic Albanian extremists.


    (B2 - 92, 23. 3. 2000)

    Brussels, Wednesday The EU's high representative for foreign and security policy, Javier Solana, said today that he regretted the fact that little progress had been made in Kosovo in the year since NATO began bombing Yugoslavia. Solana, speaking to Spanish media, said that the it was unreasonable to believe that people who hated each other and didn't want to live together would begin loving each other within 24 hours of international forces arriving. However, he added, there was now water and power in the province and a million refugees had returned to their homes, although not all of them had jobs. More people, said Solana, were dying because of ethnic hatred in Los Angeles or Chicago than in Pristina, but effort should be invested in Mitrovica where this was not the case.

    NATO Secretary General George Robertson also spoke to Spanish media today, saying that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, like all dictators, would in the end be ousted by his own people. Robertson, who was British Defence Minister at the time to NATO's attempt to oust Milosevic with bombs, noted that army reservists in Serbia were refusing draft notices, the opposition was uniting and televisions and newspapers opposed to Milosevic were being closed.


    (Danas, 23, 3. 2000)

    Bonn (Beta)

    German Federal Province of Baden-Wirtemberg has expunged 50 Albanians to Kosovo. The men in question have been accused of criminal acts by the German government.

    This is the first case of "the Kosovo Albanians" being expulded

    Kosovo. Nemacka savezna pokrajina Baden-Virtemberg proterala je na Kosovo 50 Albanaca koji su u Nemackoj optuzeni za krivicna dela. Ovo je prvi put da su kosovski Albanci proterani u "pokrajinskoj reziji". Vlada Baden-Virtemberga iznajmila je avion kojim su u Pristinu vraceni jedna zena i 49 muskaraca osudjeni u Nemackoj za ubistva, silovanja, oruzane pljacke, trgovinu drogom i sverc ljudi. Prema navodima predstavnika MUP u Minhenu, samo u Bavarskoj na proterivanje ceka 600 kosovskih Albanaca osudjenih za razlicita krivicna dela.


    (Danas, 23. 3. 2000)

    Washington - Pentagon denied information the American KFOR was close to signing some agreement with military forces of Kosovo Albanians.

    "I could not find anyone being familiar with any of the kind. As far as I know, the issue is not any similar agreement" stated Pentagon official Kenneth Bacon.

    As western media reported, according to this agreement, the Albanians were to stop provoking and attacking Serbian security forces at the south of Serbia, and the Americans were to stop carrying out investigations on their secret military cargoes for firearms and to stop arresting their members.

    "KFOR is only being persevering in attempts to dissuade Kosovo Albanians from attacking Serbs, neither in Kosovo, nor in Serbia", underlines Bacon.

    "However, we are not going to cease operations similar to the one performed last week We found large quantities of firearms, which were to be brought back, according to former promises on disarmament", concludes Bacon. (Srna-Itar-Tass) (*)


    (Politika daily, 23. 3. 2000)

    Obilic, March 22nd(Tanjug)

    Three masked Albanians attempted to abduct Sasa Todorovic at 9.00 p.m. on March 20th, and set on fire the house of Misko Todorovic around 11.30 the same night.

    The three Albanians have tried to drag Todorovic into a blue terrain vehicle, but he managed to escape running towards the Serbian part of Orahovac by jumping over a fence of some yard.

    Machinegun burst could be heard around 11 p.m., only to be followed by the flames coming from the house of Misko Todorovic. His family fortunately remained unharmed since they were at the neighbour's at the time.

    KFOR and UNMIK were informed about the incident about 11.45 but meanwhile the house was burnt to ashes.

    Human Rights Protection Committee has directed a letter of protest to Civil Administrator Dolce Laura and one to the Obilic Norwegian KFOR commander Major Anderson.

    Albanian terrorists targeted at Todorovic family for several times;e the president of Human Rights Protection Committee comes from this family. The attack is justly believed to be an intimidation act in order to break the Serbs' resistance and make them leave Obilic. (*)


    (Politika daily, 23. 3. 2000)

    Vitina, March 22nd(Tanjug) - Two Albanians, directors of Vitina's primary and secondary school, have attempted to deliver a list of their teachers verified by a false stamp during the joint session of Serbs and Albanians with KFOR and UNMIK representatives. The stamp was the one of the non-existing "Kosovo Republic".

    Having seen the list with such a stamp, Vitina chief civilian administrator a Swiss Jacque Debouque strongly protested saying that no such an incident would be allowed to occur in the future; next time he would order that those submitting such documents be immediately put behind bars.

    Despite one of the director's justifying "these stamps had been used before", Debouque discarded it as a lie, since it was not possible that such a stamp could be used during the Serbian administration.

    "The Albanians have obtained the international community's trust and engagement by a deception and now they are trying to form a new country behind our back. That is not gong to happen", underlined Debouque. (*)

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