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Belgrade Media Monitoring

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

April 8, 2000

  • KFOR soldiers opened fire on Momcilo Sekulic, Zivorad Igic's house in flame
  • Bishop Artemy: Serbs "may reconsider" joining temporary administration in Kosovo
  • UNIP: Difficult to Secure Return of Serbs to Southern Kosovska Mitrovica
  • Conference on Albanians and Their Neighbours Commenced: Kosovo is Condition for Peace in Region
  • Albanians meet their neighbours in Budapest
  • KFOR Spokesman on Momcilo Sekulic’s Receiving 8 wounds in Gracanica: Swedish Soldier Fired in Self-defence
  • KIAC member, Sokol Quse: KFOR Attempts to Justify Shooting at Serbs in Gracanica
  • Kosovo Still in Telephone Blockade
  • Trial of two ethnic Albanians charged with 'Klecka' massacre opens
  • President of Kosovo Democratic Initiative and KIEC member: KDI was always for Multiethnic Kosovo
  • German CDU deputy warns Europe against NATO machinations
  • Austrian paper says Kosovo-Metohia Albanians Jeopardise peace
  • Local socialist party of Serbia board condemns brutality of US KFOR troops

    (Serbia info, 8. 4. 2000)

    April 07, 2000 - Pristina, Obilic, April 6th - Tonight, about 6pm KFOR soldiers opened fire on Momcilo Sekulic (56), who was in his yard, which immediately provoked angry protests of Serbs from town and others from surroundings.

    Sekulic was shot in right shin, but the shot blew off blood vessels on his leg so doctors of the improvised hospital are fighting for his life.

    Attack on Sekulic was after the meeting indignant Serbs in the House of Culture in Gracanica, on which they expressed their protest because of the entry of representatives of the National Council of Serbia in Temporary Administrative Council of Kosovo and Transitive Council of Kosovo.

    After the attack, hundreds of citizens gathered in front of the Monument of fallen heroes from the First World War, so they could expressed discontent and revolt by actions of KFOR soldiers.

    As reporter from Tanjug said, Serbs are coming to Gracanica from all parts, but KFOR patrols are trying to stop and to prevent gathering on the checkpoint from Pristina and Kosovo Polje, also on the new formed checkpoint on the exit from Laplje Selo towards Gracanica.

    President of Serbs National Assembly in Gracanica Slobodan Ilic and president of Executive Committee of Serb National Parliament Veljko Odalovic, who headed to Gracanica to calm down indignant citizens of Gracanica, were brought back about 7pm from checkpoint.

    Tonight about ten o'clock in Babin Most, near the Obilic, Albanian terrorists torched the house of Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) Kosovo and Metohia Provincial Board President Zivorad Igic in Babin Most, near Obilic, amateur radio operators said.

    Extremists had looted Igic’s house in this village on previous occasions. The villagers had asked the international force KFOR to protect them from constant attacks by the terrorists, but the attacks continue, the report said.


    (B2 - 92, 8. 4. 2000)

    Pristina, Friday – Kosovo Serbs may reconsider last week's decision to join the Kosovo Interim Administrative Council after an incident yesterday in which KFOR troops shot and wounded a Serb in Gracanica. Kosovo Serb leader Bishop Artemy warned today that, while no decision had yet been made, the situation would have to be discussed.

    Momcilo Sekulic, who was wounded in the leg, was admitted to a Belgrade hospital after suffering a massive loss of blood. Beta quotes sources in Kosovo Polje Hospital as saying that Sekulic was transported to Belgrade for emergency surgery. His condition is reported to be stable.

    KFOR confirmed today that a Swedish solder had wounded a Serb last night, emphasising that minimum force had been used in accordance with regulations. Spokesman Philip Anido told media that the shooting occurred when Swedish KFOR troops arrested a Serb, who had attempted to attack them with a pitchfork.


    (Borba daily, 8. 4. 2000)

    UNMIK police representatives told a press conference on Thursday that 200 ethnic Albanians had returned to the three apartment buildings in the established confidence zone in northern Kosovska Mitrovica, but that no Serbs had returned to the southern part of this town in Serbia's Kosovo and Metohia province.

    We are now trying to bring or at least register the return of Serbs to two apartment buildings in a security zone established in the southern part of the town, the UNMIK spokesman said.

    International force KFOR spokesman Patrick Chanlieu said the KFOR was still conducting arms searches in certain parts of the town in order to prevent possible new unrest.

    Speaking about the objective and necessity of the census being prepared in the province by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the UN civilian mission UNMIK, OSCE spokesman Hans Christian Classing said everyone who lives in Kosovo and Metohia should participate so that they can get regular papers.

    Asked if the census would cover the 200,000 ethnic Albanians that have arrived from other states, while 300,000 non-Albanians have been exiled and Kosovo Serbs and Montenegrins have announced a boycott of the census, Classing said the criteria include people who are not present in the province.


    (Glas javnosti, 8. 4. 2000)

    Belgrade Budapest – Two-day conference has started at “Corona” hotel in Budapest. The conference is entitled “Albanians and their neighbours” and has been organised by American donor ‘Project for ethnic relationships’. Vice-president of Hungarian Parliament Defence Committee Istvan Simicko opened it by stating “the solution to the Kosovo crisis is crucial for peace in the whole region”.

    Among others, the conference is attended by representatives of Kosovo Serbs and Albanians- Momcilo Trajkovic, Ibrahim Rugova and Hashim Thaci, Chief of Albanian diplomacy Pascal Milo, from Serbia Zarko Korac, Vladan Batic, Dusan Janjic while Miodrag Vukovic came from Montenegro.

    Trajkovic stated he hoped “a democratic atmosphere” would prevail in order that anyone wishing to state his attitude may do so.

    “Today I want to hear and see what is, actually, wanted here. I came with a clear stance that the Kosovo issue, consequently both Albanian and the Serbian- as well as all other Balkan issues, presented primarily a question of democracy, not a nationality one. If this question is being raised as a nationality one, the problems inevitably occur”, explained Trajkovic.

    “I wonder what kind of answer would be given to those whose main objective presented Independent Kosovo, since they will have the opportunity to raise it aloud”, he emphasised.

    SZP co-ordinator and the president of DHSS Vladan Batic, emphasised the Albanians demonstrated a rather irreconcilable attitude, in which the idea of Independent Kosovo strikingly predominates.

    "We emphasised that the international community and Albanians did nothing to consolidate the Kosovo situation. Tachi equalled the regime and the opposition in his speech, and being given a chance to speak after him I particularly emphasised that democratic opposition’s stance: independent Kosovo and Great Albania were out of the question.

    I drew attention to the fact the opposition had a pretty clear solution, in which Kosovo stays within Serbia and FRY. It is interesting to notice that after my speech, the Chairman asked Albanians if they were really ready to practically show they wanted return of the Serbs, but demagogic and unpersuasive Tachi’s and Rugova’s replies ensued.

    Generally speaking, the international community does have a positive attitude, the Albanians remained pretty solitary”, concluded Batic. (*)


    (B2 - 92, 8. 4. 2000)

    Budapest, Friday – A two-day conference, "Albanians and their Neighbours", began in Budapest today, hosted by the US foundation Project for Ethnic Relations. Opening the conference, Hungarian Parliament representative Istvan Simicko described the resolution of the Kosovo crisis as the central issue for peace in the region. Serb representatives at the conference include Kosovo Serb leaders Bishop Artemy and Momcilo Trajkovic and opposition leaders Zarko Korac and Vladan Batic. Rival Kosovo Albanian leaders Ibrahim Rugova and Hashim Taqi are also attending the conference.


    (Danas, 8. 4. 2000)

    Pristina – KFOR spokesman Philippe Anido stated to SRNA Agency that Momcilo Sejkulic received eight severe wounds in yesterday clash between Serbs and Swedish KFOR soldiers. However, he is in stable condition now.

    In a telephone call he explained the incident occurred when “an angry Serb” went towards the Swedish soldiers with pitchforks.

    “KFOR soldiers fired warning shots, he lay down the pitchforks and KFOR soldiers arrested him and took to an hearing. Afterwards a group of Serbs gathered and the patrol let the Serb go, in order to calm down the situation. Another Serb from the group Momcilo Sekulic, as Anido stated, moved with pitchfork towards the KFOR soldiers who fired the warning shots.

    “Nevertheless, he continued moving towards them, with an intention to attack them. Then they fired and shot him in lower-leg”, explained the KFOR spokesman. The gathered Serbs withdrawn and Swedish soldiers took the wounded Serb to a Russian hospital in Kosovo Polje.

    Afterwards in the course of the day, another group of Serbs started throwing stones at the house where the Swedes reside. The Swedes threw tear gas at them, accordingly the Serbs withdrawn.

    “In case life of KFOR soldiers is endangered, in case the military equipment is endangered, the KFOR has a right to protect it and use the force”, Anido was very determined. (Srna) (*)


    (Politika daily, 8. 4. 2000)

    Gracanica, April 7th(Tanjug) – At 10.00a.m. this morning, KFOR handed out circulars to Gracanica inhabitants, attempting to justify last night KFOR intervention against Serbs, when they severely wounded Momcilo Sekulic (56)in his own house yard.

    According to KIAC member Sokol Quse, therein KFOR warned that each protest gathering is to be announced 72 hours in advance. If not, any gathering will be considered illegal, and all means at disposal shall be used to suppress them. (*)


    (Politika daily, 8. 4. 2000)

    Telephone lines in Kosovo has been cut off for five days, since the unknown men cut off the main telephone cable for the phone transmission to the inner Serbia and the line s abroad.

    Kosovska Mitrovica SNC has unofficially stated that the Danish soldiers cut it off when repairing the road Kosovska Mitrovica - Leposavic. The PTT system technicians, Albanians, being insufficiently skilled and ignorant, uselessly tried to mend it for 4 days. Liaison KFOR officers tried to help them, but they could do nothing either. Therefore the experts from the Nis “Telecom” will come out to the terrain. KFOR, UNIP and OSCE guarantee their safety. (*)


    (Borba daily, 8. 4. 2000)

    The trial of Luan Mazreku and Bekim Mazreku of Malisevo, two ethnic Albanian terrorists charged with capturing, massacring and killing at least 100 persons, mainly Serbs, in the village of Klecka, Kosovo and Metohia, in July 1998, opened in Nis, south-eastern Serbia, on Thursday.

    According to the indictments brought in against the two ethnic Albanian terrorists, they joined the Lumi terrorist gang, which operated within the ethnic Albanian terrorist organisation calling itself Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), in the spring of 1998.

    Together with Bekim Mazreku and a number of other ethnic Albanian terrorists, Ljuan Mazreku was responsible for the abduction, torture and massacre of Agim Thaqi and Faik Bitiqi; ethnic Albanians claimed to be Serbian spies, in Suva Reka.

    Bekim Mazreku is also charged with the capture and torture of Serb civilians in Orahovac and mass rape and murder of Serb women. They are also charged with hostile activity and terrorism.

    Ljuan and Bekim Mazreku, who are cousins, denied all charges making almost identical statements to the effect that they were not KLA members, that they had to leave Malisevo in late July 1998 because of rumours that war was in the offing and that they returned to their homes five days later when police arrested them.


    (Politika daily, 8. 4. 2000)

    Pristina, April 7th (Tanjug)

    “Every current, the so-called Albanian leader, escaped from their fellowmen during the NATO aggression, and sought refuge in the arms of the criminals who, actually, massacred the Albanian people at same time on Djakovica –Prizren road, in Korisa, on the bridge in Luzane village near Podujevo and many other places”, said Faik Jashari the president of Kosovo Democratic Initiative and Kosovo Interim Executive Council member.

    “The only political Albanian party who stayed with its people and shared their destiny during the NATO aggression was the KDI. We have always had a policy of multiethnic Kosovo, staying within Serbia and FRY.

    Republic of Serbia and FRY has always been for the peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis, which has been carried out in Rambouille talks also”; said Faik Jashari a member of the Rambouille talks delegation.

    He estimated the UN mission effects to be utterly negative and concluded the only solution was solely direct talk between Serbia and FRY and the Albanian forces, who are in favour of peaceful solutions, and not in favour of expulsion of non-Albanians from Kosovo. (*)


    (Borba daily, 8. 4. 2000)

    Wily Wimmer, a Christian Democrat Union (CDU) deputy to Germany's Bundestag (lower hose of parliament) said Thursday that new clashes between rival factions enjoying support by ethnic Albanian Mob chiefs, might soon break out in Kosovo and Metohia, saying that the West had no strategy to prevent that.

    Wimmer called Nato’s attention to results of last year's war goals that had been trumpeted around, stressing that the Yugoslav army had remained virtually intact.

    He speculated as to whether Russia's president-elect Vladimir Putting would just sit back in case of another conflict.

    Analysing the latest developments in the Yugoslav republic of Serbia's southern province, Wimmer said that Europe should learn its lesson from Nato’s aggression on Yugoslavia which had been basically aimed at ensuring the alliance's expansion and at boosting its credibility.

    These goals are best reflected in US efforts to set up the biggest army base since the end of the war in Vietnam, in Urosevac, in the Southeast of Kosovo and Metohia.

    Wimmer also pointed to a growing number of reports by Western media on ethnic cleansing practised in Kosovo and Metohia by the ethnic Albanian terrorist organisation calling itself Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).


    (Borba daily, 8. 4. 2000)

    An Austrian newspaper said on Thursday the majority of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo-Metohia wish to expel all Serbs from that UN-administered Serbian (Yugoslav) province, which constitutes a threat to peace.

    Der Standard newspaper went on to say that more than 300,000 Serbs have been displaced from Kosovo-Metohia, while those still remaining in the province are exposed to ethnic Albanian attacks against which they can hardly defend themselves.

    The most ordinary things, such as shopping or visiting the doctor, are impossible for the Serbs without an international KFOR force escort, according to the Vienna paper.

    Reports are pouring in daily of murders, abductions, torching, and the victims are mostly Serbs and Romanies, it added.

    The threat to the peace and development of Kosovo-Metohia does not come from the remaining Serbs, who live in enclaves, but from the wish of most ethnic Albanians to drive the last of the Serbs out of Kosovo-Metohia, Der Standard said.


    (Borba daily, 8. 4. 2000)

    The executive board of Serbia's Socialist Party (SPS) local board for Strpce has strongly condemned the brutal behaviour by international security presence towards Serbs in the nearby villages of Sevce and Jazince, in the south of Kosovo and Metohia.

    The Serbs in the two villages were for five hours the target of harassment by troops of the UN peacekeeping force KFOR who were allegedly searching for weapons, said a statement issued by the executive board.

    The action, in which about 100 combat vehicles and a dozen helicopters took part, was not at all aimed at searching Serb homes for weapons because KFOR troops discovered only two hand grenades.

    Its true objective was to intimidate more than 12,000 Serbs in the area in order to force them to flee their homes the way Serbs in other parts of Kosovo and Metohia have done, the statement said.

    This is reflected in KFOR's excessive use of force, shooting at Serb civilians with rubber bullets and beating them with rubber truncheons, which has caused revolt by more than 500 Serb families in the villages that were attacked, the statement said. It went on to say that scores of people were injured while trying to defend themselves barehanded from the attackers.

    The board also said that US KFOR troops had spearheaded the brutal treatment of Serbs, saying that a convoy of combat vehicles with more than 600 troops armed to the teeth had been sent to the villages from the US base Bondsteel at Urosevac, in the Southeast of the Yugoslav republic of Serbia's southern province.

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