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Belgrade Media Monitoring

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

March 24, 2000

  • Terrorists blew up the overpass
  • Committee for Protection and Human Rights: Albanians forcibly took over 27 Serbian Flats
  • Momcilo Trajkovic, SNC EB President: I will Invite Rugova
  • Patrick Shanliot: Trust zone only when Serbs return to the southern part
  • William Nash, UNMIK Mitrovica Regional Administrator: For Security and Return of Serbs
  • US sends in the marines
  • Madeleine Albright: USA against Kosovska Mitrovica Division
  • Incident near Tetovo: Albanians Beat up Soldiers of Western Alliance
  • Germany Expelled 50 Criminals to Kosovo
  • Ogata: Ethnic Albanian leaders oppose return of Serbs, other non-Albanians
  • Moscow Dissatisfied with Kosovo Situation: UNMIK Left without Russians
  • Russia calls off agreement to send police troops to Kosovo
  • Belgrade still provoking conflict: Albright
  • Ivanov: NATO aggression brings Kosovo crisis into deadlock
  • International operation in Kosovo a total fiasco
  • UN civilian, military missions siding with ethnic Albanian terrorists
  • Dienstbier: International operation in Kosovo total fiasco
  • Author text of German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer for "Blic" daily: Kosovo - challenges and chances
  • Moscow again criticises Kouchner
  • Kosovo situation deteriorating: Russian Defence Ministry
  • Yugoslav official Vukicevic visits Prizren, Orahovac, and Velika Hoca

    (Serbia info, 24. 3. 2000)

    March 23, 2000 Politika, March 23rd 2000

    Kosovska Mitrovica, March 22nd - Today, around 5.00 a.m. in the village of Loziste, Albanian terrorists blew up the overpass on the Kosovska Mitrovica-Raska road. The railroad was damaged, but, fortunately, there were no casualties.

    According to the KFOR investigating officers, the explosive hand-made device was planted on a power-line pole next to the overpass. The road traffic was normalised after the KFOR engineer units removed pieces of concrete and steel from the roadway.

    Some 60 Serb houses in the immediate vicinity were seriously damaged by the detonation - windows were shattered and tiles broken. According to the locals, a jeep and three persons in camouflage uniforms with no insignia on them were spotted last night on the scene of the crime. They were, allegedly, measuring something and observing the site. The local villagers believe that they belong to the KLA and that they came from the neighbouring village of Vlahinje, two kilometres away from the overpass. Two days ago, the extreme Albanians set several hectares of forest in the area of the village of Loziste owned by the Serbs, on fire. Some ten days ago, from the direction of Vlahinje, the terrorists shelled "Izvor" motel in the Serb populated village of Grabovac, several kilometres away from the village of Loziste.


    (Politika daily, 24. 3. 2000)

    Gnjilane, March 23rd (Tanjug) - Gnjilane Committee for Protection and Human Rights stated today 27 Serbian flats had been forcibly taken over in Vojvode Stepa St.

    Each flat has been plundered and afterwards the Albanian families moved into the flats. According to Zivko Arsic's statement, he lives in the building; the occupation of these flats had been carried out two weeks ago in an organised manner.

    The KFOR soldiers, who hold a control-post in front of the very building's entrance, did not react in whatever way.

    The flats mentioned have been the Albanian extremists' targets for several months. Few tenants that remained to live there have been keeping round-the -clock sentries and managed to prevent incessant attacks and provocation. The turnabout occurred a month ago when two Serbs sold their flats to Albanians who made their own copies of the entrance doors' keys. This was followed by "quiet moving into" of other Albanian families and the plundering of the flats.

    Cvetko Vasic a teacher is the only Serbian inhabitant left: he still resists the pressure. (*)


    (Glas javnosti, 24. 3. 2000)

    Novi Sad (Beta) - Momcilo Trajkovic, president of SNC Executive Board has announced on Thursday that he would invite Ibrahiam Rugova, the leader of Democratic Kosovo Alliance for further talks in order that the "national blocks" in the Province be overcome.

    At the press conference in Novi Sad, Trajkovic stated that the international community representatives had previously advised him it was not the right time to talk with Rugova, explaining it by a claim DKA leader would thus lose the political points.

    "Democratic political forces do exist among Kosovo Albanians, but the international community have set them to be the margin ones. Instead, they chose Hashim Taci, who is very responsible for the current Kosovo crisis", explained Trajkovic.

    Today he also discussed the platform called "Republic of Vojvodina" with presidents of LSV and Reform Democratic Party of Vojvodina, Nenad Canak and Miodrag Isakov. (*)


    (Serbia info, 24. 3. 2000)

    March 23, 2000 - Kosovska Mitrovica, March 23rd - The KFOR spokesman, Colonel Patrick Chanliau, stated today that KFOR would form a Trust zone in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica when Serbs return to their homes, and Serbian workers to their working positions in the southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica.

    At the press conference he added, "if anyone tries to prevent the return of Serbs, force will be applied".

    Chanliau repeated that, in this zone, demonstrations, meetings, use of radio links and binoculars will be forbidden, as well as, as in other towns of Kosmet, possession of arms.

    Affirming the yesterday's information on the planting of mines on the Railway Bridge located 6km from Zvecane on the Kosovska Mitrovica - Raska road, Chanliau stated that 200m north of this bridge, on the Road Bridge, a time bomb was discovered and deactivated.

    "This was done by somebody with excellent knowledge of explosives, it is hard to say who, but it is certain that the person at stake belongs to extremists who do not like what we are doing in Kosovska Mitrovica", stressed Chanliau.


    (Glas javnosti, 24. 3. 2000)

    Kosovska Mitrovica

    "As a regional UNMIK administrator for Kosovska Mitrovica I shall be open to co-operate. I am a civilian here, neither a retired General nor State Department representative", said William Nash, while talking to Oliver Ivanovic.

    He promised to work on the return of the Serbs to the Province, providing them safety and making possible that they find employment there. "The newly appointed administrator will take over his post in mid April. Till then, it is expected, the Serbian side will have made the precise plan on the return of the Serbs, with new safety measures being proposed. The number, dynamic of the return and the places where they would come back", Ivanovic said.

    "To appoint the American General to be the regional administrator is the thing we least expected, but w e will give him a chance", added Ivanovic.

    Bernard Kouchner also participated in the talks. He demanded from Mitrovica SNC consent so the Serbs may enter the Interim Council at least, as observers, since they are against of actual entering the Interim Kosovo Administrative Council.

    However, the SNC Regional Board will reach the decision concerning the issue, concluded Ivanovic. (*)


    (B2 - 92, 24. 3. 2000)

    Orahovac, Thursday About eight hundred US marines this morning arrived in the Kosovo town of Suva Reka. The troops are in the province to take part in NATO's Dynamic Response 2000 manoeuvres.


    (Glas javnosti, 24. 3. 2000)

    Geneva - American State Secretary Madeleine Albright stated in Geneva that:

    "The USA are against division of Kosovska Mitrovica, since it will be directly opposite to everything that has been tried to settle the Kosovo problems".

    Albright was also against any "cantonisation" of the Province, suggesting that KFOR and UNMIK should work jointly".

    "Many a good thing has happened in Kosovo, 800. 000 refugees has returned to their homes, but there is still much to be dealt with". (*)


    (Politika daily, 24. 3. 2000)

    Skopje, March 23rd (Tanjug) - Two Albanians, Saubi Rakipi (22) and Orhan Ibrakimi (23) the nationals of Macedonia, have robbed and then beaten up NATO soldiers Shandor Balog (35) and Lajosh Beri near Tetovo, western Macedonia. The attacked soldiers are the Hungarian NATO representatives.

    As Skopje's "Nova Macedonia" reported, the incident occurred in front of "Trskara" restaurant, which the Hungarians left after having had dinner. The Albanians attacked them with guns pointed at them, threatening to kill them unless they gave their money. Dissatisfied with the prey, the Beri's 120 and Balog's 100 DEM, they started beating them with obtuse objects and "boxers".

    After the Hungarian soldiers had fallen to the ground, the guests from the nearby "Hilton" hotel exited in large numbers which saved their lives, since the Albanians escaped in their car.

    The NATO soldiers suffered major physical injuries and have been transported to Emergency Centre, where they were kept for further medical treatment. (*)


    (Danas, 23. 3. 2000)

    Bonn (Beta)

    German Federal Province of Baden-Wirtemberg has expelled 50 Albanians to Kosovo. The persons in question were charged with various criminal acts that were committed in Germany.

    This is the first case of expulsion of the Kosovo Albanians, directed by "regional authorities".

    Baden-Wirtemberg Government has rented a plane to transport back the convicted to Pristina: one woman and 49 men. The crimes involved are murders, rapes, armed robberies, drug trafficking and white slavery.

    Munich Ministry of Interior has stated, only in Bavaria, 600 Kosovo Albanians convicted of committing various criminal acts are waiting for the expulsion. (*)


    (Borba daily, 24. 3. 2000)

    UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Sadako Ogata said on Wednesday that among ethnic Albanian leaders there is no willingness to support the return of Serbs and other non-Albanians to Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia province.

    During a press conference in the Hyatt Hotel, Ogata said that ethnic Albanian leaders for the last year have shown no desire to support the return of Serbs and other non-Albanians. On the contrary, there is a tendency to expel even those who remained, she said.

    Ogata added that such an attitude is in contrast with the UNHCR principle that all refugees and displaced persons should return to their homes, and that the UNHCR mission in Kosovo and Metohia is doing everything to convince the remaining Serbs that they should not leave the province.


    (Glas javnosti, 24. 3. 2000)

    Moscow (FoNet) - Moscow withdrawn its troops from UN Kosovo Civilian Mission on Thursday.

    Russian Foreign Ministry points out that Moscow has been repeatedly expressing its concern for the tension between t Serbs and Albanians being raised in Kosovo, Reuters reports.

    - On one hand, the critical insufficient number of policemen is the fact that special attention was constantly being drawn to. On the other, the reception of Russian Ministry of Interior workers into special UNMIK forces has been, under various excuses, delayed for months, reads the statement.

    "Under the circumstances, we are forced to cancel our agreement with UN that concerns the special Russian contribution within the special UN Police".

    UNMIK is the sole subject responsible for dissatisfying security situation within Kosovo. (*)


    (Borba daily, 24. 3. 2000)

    Russia said today that it is forced to call off an agreement to send a special police unit to Kosovo and Metohia, due to the doubts raised by the attitude of the UN secretariat and the UN Civil Mission in this southern Serbian province.

    In a special statement released on the government decision, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the negative tendencies in the province have gone too far, that the security situation of non-Albanians was deteriorating and that there were growing activities of Kosovo Albanian separatists, terrorists and criminal structures.

    The UN secretariat and UN Civil Mission leaders have an ambivalent stand on the urgent deployment of the international civil staff in province the Russian Foreign Ministry stated.


    (B2 - 92, 24. 3. 2000)

    Washington, Thursday Belgrade authorities were continuing to instigate conflicts in Kosovo and using all means possible to prevent the peaceful coexistence of Serbs and Albanians in the province, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said today. Albright told media that there were extremists on both sides in Kosovo, adding that Albanians who committed crimes against Serbs should be sternly condemned because they were working against the expectations and wishes of their people.

    Despite her assessment of the province's problems, the US secretary of state insisted that NATO's intervention in Yugoslavia had been successful, saying that the situation would stabilise completely step by step, adding that after all that had happened the opposed ethnic communities could not be expected to hold hands and sing national songs together.

    NATO Secretary General George Robertson said today that he would send a strongly worded message to Kosovo Albanian leaders, warning them that they would lose the support of the international community unless they brought a halt to extremist violence and retaliation. He described the Alliance, a year after beginning its air war against Yugoslavia, as still being on the verge of both success and failure.

    Asked whether NATO planned to intervene in Montenegro if Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic attempted to oust Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, Robertson declined to comment, saying only that NATO manoeuvres in Kosovo were intended to show Milosevic and others that the Alliance was capable of responding swiftly and robustly.


    (Borba daily, 24. 3. 2000)

    It is completely obvious that the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia has led the resolving of the crisis in Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia crisis into a deadlock, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in an article published on the occasion of the anniversary of the onset of this aggression by Nezavisimaya Gazeta on Thursday.

    Analysing the consequences of the aggression, Ivanov said this act was the strongest attack on the United Nations Charter and the basic principles of legal order and international stability in general.

    Ivanov underscored that any long-term solution for the situation in Balkans is impossible without including Belgrade in that process.


    (Serbia info, 24. 3. 2000)

    March 23, 2000 - Prague, March 23rd - The UN Special Reporter for Human Rights in former Yugoslavia, Jiri Dienstbier said that the international operation in Kosovo-Metohia has proved to be a total fiasco. Representatives of international organisations are also aware of that, and are afraid of a possible conflict with so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) members, he said.

    After his ten-day tour in Yugoslavia, Dienstbier told reporters Wednesday that according to what he had heard from Head of the UN Civil Mission in Kosovo-Metohia, Bernard Kouchner, and other international community representatives, they were reluctant to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1244


    (Borba daily, 24. 3. 2000)

    Unless it takes energetic action to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and arrests the deterioration of the situation in Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia province, the council will lose confidence at international level, Kosovo and Metohia Temporary Executive Council President Zoran Andjelkovic said in an interview to the Chinese news agency Xinhua on Wednesday.

    Andjelkovic warned that neither mission acts in keeping with the resolution, but in fact sides with ethnic Albanian terrorists who are conducting ethnic cleansing of Serbs.

    Andjelkovic pointed out that about 1,000 civilians have been killed in Kosovo and Metohia in the presence of the missions UNMIK and KFOR in the past nine months, 860 people have been kidnapped and 360,000 non-Albanian citizens of the province have been forcibly expelled from their homes.


    (Borba daily, 24. 3. 2000)

    UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in ex-Yugoslavia Jiri Dienstbier said that the international operation in Kosovo and Metohia has proved to be a total fiasco. Representatives of international organisations are also aware of that, and are afraid of a possible conflict with so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) members, he said.

    After his ten-day tour in Yugoslavia, Dienstbier told reporters Wednesday that according to what he had heard from Head of UN Civil Mission in Kosovo and Metohia Bernard Kouchner and other international community representatives, they were reluctant to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1244.


    (Blic daily, 24. 3. 2000)

    Street fights between the Serbs and Albanians in Mitrovica, assassinations of the Serbs and Gypsies in far mountain villages, armed conflicts between the Albanian extremists and Serb Police in Presevo in the southern Serbia - has the international community in Kosovo failed?

    In autumn 1998 the refugees dominated on our television screens. Hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians ran into mountains running away from Milosevic`s army. Only thanks to the engagement of the international community it was possible to prevent even worse development of the situation.

    Government in Europe and America were energetic in persuading Milosevic that solution had to be achieved in negotiations. Presence of OSCE representatives in Kosovo was a short period of false easing of tensions. After that Milosevic continued his policy of systematic terror. Special forces of Serb Police and volunteer units were killing and robbing throughout Kosovo. Yugoslav Army took positions in the Province at the borders with Macedonia and Albania. The images of the massacre in Racak in 1999 were the worse in our memory. It is extremely cynical to claim today that there was no massacre at all. The terrible reality is the experts in forensic medicine of the International Tribunal found not only 42 dead bodies from Racak, but also 2100 dead bodies so far. Hundreds of other mass graves have been founded.

    After Racak negotiation efforts were intensified once again. However negotiation in Rambouillet and Paris did not have the chance to end successfully because Milosevic simply did not want a peaceful solution. In March 1999 we had to realise that all diplomatic efforts were in vain. There was no other solution but to make a bitter decision about application of military force.

    After one year since that decision has been made I am still of the opinion that it was inevitable. Ethical reasons did not let us sit with our hands crossed. The security of Eastern Europe and the whole Europe was brought into question.

    NATO air strikes lasted 79 days. All that time we never stopped our activities for political settlement of the crisis. Russia had to be included in these efforts. As a result of one German initiative a peace plan was elaborated and it became the basis of UN Security Council resolution 1244. Moscow and Peking also agreed about this resolution. On the basis of it NATO air strikes were suspended, Yugoslav Army completely retreated from Kosovo, and international military /KFOR/ and civil /UNMIK/ forces came in the Province. During three months 50,000 people were in Kosovo, among them 5,000 German soldiers. Since then and under difficult circumstances numerous results have been achieved: almost all expelled people returned to their homes. Thousands of people in need were supplied with bare necessities, schools began to work again. The international Police was improved and it includes more than 250 German policemen.

    Kosovo Serbs still have not found the strength to join the supreme body of the provisional administration. However, their co-operation is necessary in making new democratic Kosovo. We shall do everything to encourage them.

    The hatred, however, has deep roots here. The results are threats, killings and forcing of Serbs to leave. In the mean time approximately half of Serb population left Kosovo. In many cases the victims turned to criminals and vice versa.

    This vicious circle of violence is the biggest challenge for the international community. We shall not allow that our engagement in protection of the Albanians turn against the Serbs, Gypsies and other minorities. KFOR and UNMIK are determined to prevent extremism on both sides. Our mutual target is to preserve multiethnic Kosovo. That is why we most energetically require the soonest return of Serb refugees.

    The problems in Kosovo that we are faced with are exceptionally complex. In spite of that there is no reason for resignation. The security situation is considerably better than the last autumn. Industrial renewal has also begun.

    The key issue is coexistence of the Albanians, Serbs, Gypsies, Ashkals and other minorities. First democratic local elections in Kosovo are expected this autumn. Participation of the Serbs and other minorities is necessary.

    Three things will be important for permanent peace in Kosovo:

    1. The real dialog between Kosovo Albanians and Serbs about mutual future. It has not begun yet, but it is possible and can be very fruitful. France and Germany can serve as an example.

    2. Solution worked out by the people of Kosovo will be successful only if accepted by the neighbours. Stability Pact started according to German initiative can be of use. The final aim of this pact is that all countries of Southeast Europe, including democratic Serbia are integrated in Europe.

    3. Democratic changes in Serbia are of key importance not only for stabilisation of Kosovo but of the whole region. As long as Milosevic is in power, peaceful solution is not possible. With him, the whole region cannot begin its way towards the 21st century.

    Germany and European Union shall continue to support democratic forces in Serbia. These forces in return are expected to show a higher degree of unity. There is hope that the political process in Croatia will positively influence the events in Serbia.

    The road to peace in Kosovo is a long one. However, the international community has already made the first steps. It is not possible during one year to solve all problems that have been accumulating for decades. The example of Bosnia and Herzegovina shows that only long-term approach can lead to success.

    Permanent stabilisation of southeast Europe remains one of the priorities of German and EU foreign policy. In Europe there is only mutual security.


    (Serbia info, 24. 3. 2000)

    March 23, 2000 - Moscow, March 23rd (Tanjug) - Russia has again criticised Head of the UN Civil Mission for Kosovo-Metohia Bernard Kouchner for violating the UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

    This time, the accusations were provoked by his decision to impose a change of numberplates on vehicles. The new documents for the registration of vehicles, allegedly in line with basic international standards are now being introduced in Kosovo and Metohia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Wednesday.

    The alleged need to regulate the data and to register all the vehicles in the province, is in reality a cover up for something else - the attempt to introduce a non-existent state entity of Kosovo and Metohia on an international level, by using the new registration symbol KS, the statement said.


    (B2 - 92, 24. 3. 2000)

    Moscow, Thursday The situation in Kosovo is deteriorating and there is a danger of international peace forces being dragged into the conflict, the Russian Defence Ministry's Leonid Ivashov said today. Ivashov, who heads the ministry's International Military Co-operation Committee, said that Russia had no doubt that Belgrade would go into the demilitarised zone with armed forces in response to Albanian guerrilla activity there. This, he said, could lead to a direct conflict between the Yugoslav Army and NATO troops. In such a case the Russian contingent would follow its own orders, not those of NATO command. The Russian presence in Kosovo, added Ivashov, was preventing the most radical Serb forces from returning to Kosovo.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry today revoked its agreement with the UN to send a special police unit to Kosovo. A ministry statement said that while there had been constant focus on the critical lack of police in the province, the inclusion of Russian police in the UN civilian police force had been delayed for months. Under such circumstances, the statement continued, Moscow was forced to withdraw its consent to the UN's demand for a Russian contingent of special police.


    (Borba daily, 24. 3. 2000)

    President of the Yugoslav Committee for Co-operation with the UN Mission in Kosovo and Metohia Stanimir Vukicevic visited Prizren for talks with UNMIK regional civil administrator Lennart Myhlback, and Orahovac and Velika Hoca, the committee said on Thursday.

    In the talk with the administrator, Ambassador Vukicevic spoke about the bad security situation in this region and in other places of Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia province since the arrival of the international forces KFOR.

    Vukicevic acquainted Myhlback with Yugoslavia's priorities, stressing the issue of the return of temporarily displaced Serbs and other non-Albanians to their homes and farms. Yugoslavia expects that the KFOR and UN civilian mission UNMIK ensure conditions for their complete security and safe life, Vukicevic said.

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