Kosovo briefing #42 - january 13, 1999

Di Partito Radicale Radical Party - 15 gennaio 1999

KOSOVO BRIEFING #42 - JANUARY 13, 1999

Kosovo Briefing, a bulletin on human rights, humanitarian and security

developments on Kosovo, is issued by the Open Society Institute (Washington

Office).OSI issues separately Serbia Watch, a bulletin on civil society,

political and economic developments in Serbia and Montenegro, Please

communicate any questions, comments or requests to receive Kosovo Briefing

or Serbia Watch to Jay Wise at (202) 496-2401, fax: (202) 296-5381,

or Note: Place names rendered primarily in Serbian spelling

“[The closing of the roads January 7 was] well prepared in advance. The

Serbian actions are being carried out under the very nose of the

international verifiers. Like it or not, Bosnia is happening in Kosovo

right now.”

Albanian Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo

January 8, 1999 — Pristina

“[NATO Secretary General Javier Solana] appealed to Yugoslav President

Slobodan Milosevic to ”withdraw the excessive military presence from the

northern part of Kosovo and to stop aggressive military action in that

region. ‘Kosovar Albanians should stop all provocative action,” he said in

a statement. ”Serb special police and army units should avoid

disproportionate violence.” Such violence, he said, ”only causes

destruction to the civilian population.”

Associated Press

January 9, 1999 - Brussels

“The monitors managed to get [the Yugoslav army tanks] to stop shelling

[ethnic Albanian villages in northwest Kosovo January 9] at about 5 PM. We

think this is a very positive development.”

OSCE-KVM spokesman Sandy Blyth

Quoted by The Guardian (London), January 11, 1999 — Pristina

“We are not going to permit a return to the humanitarian outrage of last

summer.”

NATO Supreme Commander US General Wesley Clark

Quoted by Reuters, January 8, 1990 - Lisbon

“[France’s Foreign Minister Hubert] Vedrine pointed out that France and

Russia have ‘very close positions, convergent aims and complementary

measures’ on the situations in Iraq and Kosovo.”

Agence France Presse, following Vedrine’s meeting with Russia’s Foreign

Minister Igor Ivanov

January 12, 1999 - Moscow

I. DISPLACED PERSONS/KILLINGS/ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS

Associated Press reported that “an aide to Kosovo’s top ethnic Albanian

leader [Kosovo “President” Ibrahim Rugova] was assassinated outside his

home Monday… sources…said he was hit by semi-automatic gunfire from

three assassins as he was about to leave his car.” Reuters noted that

Maloku — who was the editor of the Kosovo Information Center press agency

closely aligned with Rugova’s Kosovo Democratic League (LDK) — “narrowly

escaped an earlier attack last July.” Agence France Presse reported

yesterday that EU envoy to Kosovo Wolfgang Petrisch told Austrian

television that “there are many possibilities for who carried out this

murder’… He said the assassination ‘was apparently politically

motivated,’ and ‘the work of professional killers.’ ”

Radio Free Europe/Newsline reported that some 1,000 Kosovo Albanians

attended Maloku’s funeral Monday, and that “armed members of the UCK

[Kosovo Liberation Army] in uniform provided both security and a guard of

honor at the burial. A spokesman for shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova

said that the ‘killing is proof of what the Serbian regime may do to us if

we are journalists.’ ”

According to local independent and international accounts, at least

twenty-five people have been killed in Kosovo since January 1.

Mercy Corps International reported January 12 that “figures released by

the [humanitarian NGO] Mother Theresa Society at year’s end indicate that

the number of IDPs [internally displaced persons] has increased over the

past several weeks. This is due to increased fighting between government

forces and the KLA [Kosovo Liberation Army] in a number of

municipalities… At year’s end [the IDP count] has increased to 286,782,

an increase of 27,622 [from December 9].” The Mother Theresa Society noted

sharp increases in displaced persons in Srbica district.

The BBC reported Monday that “there are fears of a new refugee crisis in

Kosovo… Whenever fresh fighting flares up here, as it did over Christmas,

thousands more people are suddenly made homeless.”

Deutsche Presse Agentur reported that Yugoslav armed forces “bombarded

several villages in northern Kosovo Saturday.” The offensive followed an

announcement that “every deadline to release the [eight Yugoslav National

Army (JNA) soldiers captured by Kosovo Liberation Army forces] soldiers has

run out” [see section IV for a summary of the events surrounding the

capture and release of the eight prisoners].

Radio 21 reported January 9 that the attack targeted the villages of

Bradashi, Peranic, Obrance, Llapshtice and Glammnik, all in northeast

Kosovo. The Scotsman (Edinburgh) reported from Pristina that Fernando del

Mundo, UN High Commission for Refugees’ Pristina spokesman, said Sunday

that “a 15-year old ethnic Albanian was killed in Saturday’s shelling of

the village of Perane, north of Pristina, and another youth was wounded.

Mr. del Mundo said some 90 percent of Perane’s 1,000 inhabitants had fled

the shelling.”

The Center for Protection of Women and Children (Pristina) reported

January 9 that “women and children were coming from the Lupc village in

grave fear for their relatives who remained at the spot of the attacks.”

Reuters reported January 9 that “a UNHCR spokesman said the village of

Slappusane to the southwest of Pristina was shelled Friday afternoon and

some 800 villagers, mostly women and children, have fled.”

Independent Radio B-92 (Belgrade) noted a report yesterday by daily Kosova

Sot (Pristina) that civilians in the Decani area had fled their homes due

to fighting over the past four days. Radio 21 reported January 10 that

“eight Albanian families remained holed up in their homes” when the

shelling began in Perane.

Independent Radio 21 (Pristina) reported today that Albanian sources “said

three Albanians had been killed… Unknown persons this morning shot

Nexhmedin Sadiku, a Mitrovica resident. Whereas last night in Ferizaj

unidentified persons seriously wounded Sejdi Sahiti, who later died from

the wounds.” Radio 21 also noted one unidentified victim killed this

morning in Kriove village.

Radio 21 reported January 9 that 6 year-old Kujtesa Selman Bytyqi was

killed in Saturday’s shelling of Sllapuzhan; Radio 21 reported January 8

that “Serb forces today shelled Sllapuzhan village, during which one

Albanian, 13 year-old Nazlije Bytyq was wounded,” and another, 65 year-old

Osman Bytyqi, was killed.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported at a

January 11 press conference in Geneva that “tension runs high in Kosovo

following the killing of an Albanian journalist Monday and the capture last

weekend of 8 Serbian soldiers by Kosovo rebels. Shelling by government

troops during the weekend of villages near Podujevo and Suva Reka led to

fresh displacement of about 2,000 people. At the same time life appears to

return to normal in Malisevo, which had been a ghost town for months. A

third of Malisevo’s original population of 3,000 have gone back and more

are returning. Today, UNHCR is sending the first convoy to Malisevo

bringing warm clothes, blankets and repair material. The continuing

incidents in Kosovo are of concern and we could see full scale fighting and

a new wave of refugees if no political solution is found soon.”

Radio 21 reported January 9 that “last night unidentified people shot at

three Albanian youths in Bibaj village [near Ferizaj],” killing 20 year-old

Faruk Murseli.

The Kosovo Information Center (KIC) and state news agency Tanjug

(Belgrade) both reported that ethnic Albanian student Blerim Balaj was

found murdered January 7, after his abduction two days before by unknown

persons dressed in white.

Reuters reported “a grenade exploded outside an Albanian pool club [in

Pristina] early Sunday… ‘It was after midnight. My family and I were

sleeping and we woke up just to hear a grenade rolling above our heads [on

the roof] before it exploded,’ said Rasim Thaqi, the brother of the club’s

ethnic Albanian owner.”

The official Serbian Media Center (Pristina) reported January 9 that

“Albanian terrorists had fired from mortars, machine guns and assault

rifles at the police that were protecting the return of Serbs and

Montenegrins in Perane village, Podujevo municipality. Policemen Boban

Zdravkovic and Dejan Vidojevic, both from Pristina were lightly wounded in

the attack. The police fired back and the attackers withdrew toward a

nearby Bradas village.”

The Center for Protection of Women and Children reported that January 5

“the infant Milaim Kastrati died for lack of medical care in the village of

Turjake, municipality of Malisheve…[January 9] three Albanians [were]

reported killed in [Suva Reka] area. Four Serbs [were] wounded in the same

area. A grave situation is reported in [Suva Reka]. Only Serb forces and

Serb civilians are roaming the town…[an Albanian] from Trubuhovc village

of Istog has been killed under unknown circumstances; according to the

testimony of his family, the young man left his home on 7 January for Istog

to repair his bicycle; his bicycle has been found on the Prekale upland,

on the Gjurakovc-Peje roadway, and he was found killed in Drenovc village.”

II. POPULATION CENTERS UNDER SIEGE/ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS

Reuters reported January 9 that “in an apparent show of strength, the army

rolled two large convoys into Pristina late on Friday. The army and Serbian

police were patrolling the streets of the city in large numbers on Saturday

morning. ‘We did it to step up security,’ a source close to the army said

on Saturday. He did not elaborate.” The Kosovo Information Center reported

January 9 that Pristina “was under a heavy Serb military and police grip

Friday night, with between 300 and 500 soldiers and policemen keeping

a…number of villages under siege for several hours. They were

concentrated in the area near the students’ dormitories and on the Dragodan

neighborhood main road.” International media reported the troops returned

to barracks the following day.

Catholic Relief Services reported Monday that on January 6 “Prizren was

surrounded by 30-50 tanks. Staff in the Prizren office reported shooting of

artillery fire and mortars in and around the town throughout the night.”

Radio 21 reported Monday that Shaptej village “is blocked by large Serb

forces. The roads leading to Glodjane and Irzniq are [also] blocked.”

Radio 21 said January 9 that Albanian sources report the village of

Slivovo is “under siege by large police forces.”

Radio 21 reported January 9 that “large Serb police forces arrived in

Lumbardh village of Decan. Serb police required from the local residents to

surrender the weapons, although the residents told them that there were

none… Our correspondent also informed about new reinforcements in Babloq

and Grammacel villages. Because of ill-treatment by Serb police the

movement of residents in these villages is limited.”

Radio 21 reported January 9 that “about 15 buses full of Serb policemen

arrived in Kosovo from Serbia. The same buses went in the direction of

Pristina and from there continued” along the road to Pec.

Radio B-92 reported January 9 “Serbian sources have reported that a

Yugoslav Army convoy arrived in the Kosovska Mitrovica area from Urosevac.”

Radio 21 reported January 8 “increased movements of Serb and military and

police forces [in Urosevac and]…increased movement of Serb forces and

reinforcements” in Djakovica. [January 7]…Lez and Jeshkove villages of

Prizren are being held under siege…in Kline, area shooting from Volljake

forests…is continuing; villages of Sferke and Dush are being reportedly

shot at…shooting was reported in Malisheve right after the humanitarian

convoy to Lladrovc village left. Actually the humanitarian convoy is an

eye-witness to the paramilitaries and police forces on board heading

towards Malisheve…Villages of Okrashtice, Pantine and Oshlan of the

municipality of Vushtrri were fired upon.”

Radio 21 reported January 10 that “the situation in Stimlje continues to

be tense… Large Serb forces are being deployed in this town and the

surrounding villages… Serb police last night arrested several Albanians.”

Radio 21 reported January 8 that 40 armed Serbs in Nente Jugovic village

“yesterday afternoon for about two hours, beat the passersby.”

The Center for Protection of Women and Children reported January 7 that

“Rasim Rexha from Dobrosh village of Gjakove, staying in Gjurakovc village

as an IDP [internally displaced person], was shot and wounded in the leg by

police…police arrested Agim Thaci from the village of Skivjan, Haki

Idrizi from Ponoshec, Natyre Rama and Afrora Rama both from the village of

Jabllanice. Afrora was released after 4 hours being held in custody; others

are still being held. Hydajet Beqiri from the village of Rracaj was

arrested and sent to the Peja prison immediately…Police arrested Jetullah

Behrami from the village of Klina e Eperme of Skenderaj; no further

explanation was given and there is no information on his whereabouts.”

The Center for Protection of Women and Children said January 6 that

“scores of Albanians were harassed and ill-treated by the police in the

Tuneli i Pare suburb of Mitrovice…Some 30 policemen raided the house of

Bashkim Morina, allegedly in connection with arms searches, then the house

of Bexhet Ahmeti in Zhabar i Eperm village. Police arrested Lam Kurti’s

children, his daughters Sebahate and Resmije, together with their brother

Muhamet… the OSCE is trying to negotiate with police to release these

children, accused of being members of UCK [Kosovo Liberation Army].

Radio 21 reported January 8 that “three Serb civilians stopped a member

of the LDK [Kosovo Democratic League] leadership [Ramiz Bellanica] in

Djakovica and ill-treated him physically. Our correspondent informed that

Ramiz endured heavy bodily injuries. Serb civilians gave to Ramiz a warning

letter threatening Ramiz with death. The text of the letter…was signed by

the “movement for Serbia.”

The Center for Protection of Women and Children reported January 4 that

“some 40 policemen were involved in raiding Albanian houses in Mitrovice.

Family members (some 20 Albanians) were taken to the police station. They

raided the homes of Agim Hajrizi - trade union activist, Sahit H. Parduzi,

of Sherif Hajzeri - robbed him up of 1,000 DM, then they continued,

raiding the house of Avdyl Tmava, and afterwards they continued raid in the

village of Zhabar i Ulet and Suhodoll village”…over thirty Albanians were

arrested in Gjakove [January 4]. All of the arrested are young, and it

happened during a sweep on the town pubs.

The Center for Protection of Women and Children noted January 5 that

“Xhemail Sallauka from Budakove village of Suhareke is arrested; he was

taken to the police station while returning from Prizren together with his

sick mother; the motive of his arrest is not made known by police.”

Independent news agency BETA (Belgrade) noted January 6 that “Natasa

Kandic, director of the Belgrade Foundation for Human Rights, has stated

that the human rights situation in Serbia has deteriorated significantly…

‘What is particularly worrying is that rights are being violated by state

bodies and that the prosecutor’s offices and the judiciary have either

reacted to these only mildly or not at all,’ Kandic said in an interview

published in [the January 7] edition of NIN. The Foundation for Human

Rights’ annual report on the state of human rights last year says that 500

cases of torture and cruel or inhumane conduct by the police were

registered last year and that there are indications that six Albanians and

one Serb died in detention as a result of torture.” BETA noted that Kandic

drew specific attention to the involvement of Serbian forces in massacres

of ethnic Albanian civilians in several Kosovo locations.

The Center for Protection of Women and Children said January 10 that

“there is an evaluation that the Serb troops have retaken last summer’s

combat positions in Kosovo.”

III. FIGHTING/FORCE DEPLOYMENTS

Reuters noted January 8 that NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark “said

Milosevic had not honored all pledges given in October when he narrowly

avoided a NATO military strike against his armed forces. ‘The Serbs are not

living up to those promises and they need to do so,’ Clark said. NATO

officials say Milosevic has sent special police units back to Kosovo…in

defiance of the October accords. Army units supposed to be confined to

barracks were deployed without prior notice to NATO after the first clashes

in northern Kosovo before Christmas, they say.”

The Kosovo Information Center reported yesterday that “heavy arms shooting

was heard coming Monday night and Tuesday morning in the villages of

Zulfaj, Qafi e Prushit and Devi, situated in the Kosova-Albania border

area, LDK sources in Gjakova said. Fighting was reported Tuesday between

the UCK and the Serbian military and police in the villages of Shaptej,

Gllogjan, Ratish, Dashinoc and Mazniki of the municipality of Decan, the

Prishtina-based Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms

(CDHRF) said. There was no information on the casualty toll.” Radio 21

reported Monday that “shooting is continuing in Decan, said Albanian

sources. Shooting and detonations were heard today, in the direction of

Shaptej village.”

The Daily Telegraph (London) reported Monday from Pristina on an attack

Saturday by Serbian forces on villages in the Podujevo district: “A Western

observer serving with the Kosovo Verification Mission [KVM] near Podujevo

said: ‘They pushed really hard up that road yesterday, the KLA [Kosovo

Liberation Army] fought back but couldn’t hold their lines.’ Barely two

miles away at the local KLA command post, guerrillas said they had merely

retreated to their bases under a seven-hour-long barrage but had lost

neither men nor territory.”

The Daily Telegraph also reported Monday: “Tank and artillery emplacements

along the main road north of Pristina were reinforced, with no attempt made

to camouflage their positions. More than 20 tanks were deployed, all with

their turrets pointing at the hills to the west. In one long building on

the east side of the road there was frenetic military activity as soldiers

set up positions around armored vehicles…alongside the road, some of

which is still held by the KLA, armored troop carriers had been positioned

at intervals and watchful men carrying rifles, some in police blue, others

in army green, stood with their backs to the buildings… Yugoslav

President Slobodan Milosevic’s deployment of fresh troops has made a

mockery of his promise to reduce levels to those before the uprising last

year.”

Radio 21 reported January 11 that “from Serbia to Kosovo arrived about 100

vehicles [including] armored vehicles, APCs, lorries and other vehicles

with Serb soldiers and policemen. This convoy went in the direction of

Pristina.”

Reuters reported January 10 that “Podujevo was deserted except for

fast-moving, armored Serbian police vehicles carrying servicemen with

automatic rifles at the ready. Along the Pristina-Podujevo road, at least

50 other Yugoslav tanks and APCs were deployed, some camouflaged with hay,

others behind village homes with barrels aimed at the hills.”

Associated Press reported Monday that “the head of the Yugoslav army,

General Dragoljub Ojdanic, arrived yesterday in Pristina, said an army

statement, adding that forces have been put on a higher level of alert.”

Voice of America correspondent Phillip Smucker reported January 8: “Three

Serbian policemen were reported killed Friday in clashes with ethnic

Albanian guerrillas. A spokesman for the OSCE…confirmed that two Serbian

policemen had died instantly in a clash near the town of Suva Reka in

central Kosovo. A third died in the hospital of his wounds. He was driven

there by OSCE officials in Kosovo assigned to monitor the fragile truce.

OSCE spokesman Sandy Blyth says the shooting appeared to involve an

exchange between two armored vehicles. A spokesman for the ethnic Albanian

“Kosovo Liberation Army”…says that armed Serb civilians had provoked the

incident. The spokesman gave no further details. Western sources confirmed

that several civilians were wounded in the crossfire.”

Associated Press reported January 9 that the attack on the three policemen

was “apparently the first time that guerrillas have destroyed an armored

vehicle since fighting began in February [1998]. The attack confirmed

reports that they have obtained better weapons.” BETA quoted a KLA

commander saying “if something similar happens, the UCK [KLA] cannot

guarantee it will be able to restrain itself.”

A BBC report Monday noted “the KLA say they now have so many volunteers

they are turning them away. The latest recruits know they may be thrown

into battle within weeks.” Deutsche Presse Agentur reported January 10 that

“three Albanians were killed in a clash with Serbian police in…Kosovo,

the Belgrade news agency BETA reported Sunday. Three policemen were

seriously injured in the firefight, which erupted between security forces

and members of the KLA in the village of Dasinovac, the report added.”

The Serbian Media Center reported January 9 that “Albanian terrorists

attacked regular police patrol, using assault rifles and mortars, today at

1 PM, near Dasinovac village, Decane municipality. The police fired back

and three attackers, wearing camouflage uniforms with the insignia of the

separatist ‘Kosovo Liberation Army’ were killed in the clash. They were

armed with a grenade launcher, assault and sniper rifle of the U.S.A. make

‘Black Arrow.’ The OSCE KVM [Kosovo Verification Mission] team members

arrived at the incident spot, but the terrorists fired at the verifiers

also. In order to protect the verifiers, the police fired back and the

attackers ran away. No casualties were reported among the police members,

nor among the verifiers, the Pristina Police headquarters confirmed the

Media Center.”

When asked during a January 9 press briefing in Washington if he had “seen

an increase in the level of sophistication of [KLA] weaponry during the

winter,” OSCE-KVM mission chief William Walker said: “I have been told by

those who have been there longer than I that they are better dressed, they

are better equipped, their weaponry looks newer. But I don’t know how they

were six months ago or a year ago… Where are they getting it? God knows.”

Reuters noted January 8 that “a KLA commander…told the [KLA radio

station] Radio Free Kosovo that Serb military and police had attacked

ethnic Albanian villages in the area, wounding two ethnic Albanian men.”

The Center for Protection of Women and Children reported that “after the

big clashes near the Podujeva area, the UCK…reported that Xhavit Jusufi,

a UCK army officer, was killed January 3; he was ambushed near the place

called Te Varret e Smrekovnices.”

Associated Press reported January 8 that “Serb villagers took down

barricades they had erected on three main roads to Kosovo’s capital, but

continued blocking a fourth to protest the killing of a Serb security guard

by ethnic Albanian guerrillas.” Agence France Presse reported January 8

that “near Preoc…50 Serb civilians continued to block a road

linking…Pristina to the south of Kosovo. ‘Our action will last until

Slobodan Milosevic and Milan Milutinovic make up their minds to come to

Kosovo to guarantee our security,’ one of the protesters told journalists.

Talks overnight Thursday between the Serbs and Zoran Adjelkovic, head of

the provisional Kosovo government, ended in failure. Tanjug news agency

quoted him as saying he understood the Serbs’ anger over the murder but

that roadblocks were not a suitable method to solve the dispute.”

The Serbian Media Center reported January 9 that “the Pristina - Urosevac

road blockade was lifted this morning. During the night, Serbs from Preoce

village withdrew their guards and removed the blockade of the road that was

set as a result of the villagers’ revolt caused by the murder of Nebojsa

Denic, the resident of their village.”

Agence France Presse reported that “OSCE monitors in Kosovo to verify the

implementation of last year’s peace accords complained Thursday about the

roadblocks, saying they were being prevented from doing their work. The

OSCE said it held the Yugoslav authorities responsible for any threats or

risks to its staff.”

Associated Press also reported Friday “ethnic Albanian sources said

barricades remained on several side roads.” Reuters noted that “on Friday

police…were turning back cars with ethnic Albanians in on the southern

road, apparently to try to prevent a clash with the Serbs.”

Voice of America correspondent Phillip Smucker noted January 8 that many

of the Serbian civilians manning the road blocks were “already armed with

submachine guns.” Radio 21 reported January 8 that 40 armed Serb civilians

in Nente Jugovic village “stopped for two hours the German Ambassador in

Belgrade.”

Tanjug reported January 8 a two-pronged attack “in the area around the

Gorozup watchtower [in the evening]…at the same time an attempt was made

to smuggle terrorists from the Republic of Albania onto Yugoslav territory,

the information service of the Yugoslav Army’s Pristina command reported

today. Yugoslav border guards repelled the attack, forcing the terrorist

groups to withdraw deep into Albanian territory. The Yugoslav Army border

guards suffered no consequences.” Tanjug reported January 7 three

consecutive attacks “from the Albanian territory in the area of the Kosare

border post… The armed attacks from Albania served to back up a large

terrorist group that attempted to infiltrate the Yugoslav territory. There

were no casualties among the border guards.”

IV. CAPTURED YUGOSLAV ARMY SOLDIERS

Associated Press reported today that “Kosovo rebels today freed eight

Yugoslav army soldiers after holding them captive for five days…

[OSCE-KVM chief] Walker…said the release was part of a ‘fair and balanced

agreement.’ The army insisted in a statement that the release was

unconditional, but international officials and the rebels indicated the

release came only after last-minute assurances by the mediators. That left

open the possibility that KLA prisoners could later be let go in amnesty,

enabling Serbian authorities to save face.” Agence France Presse noted that

KLA spokesman Jakup Krasniqi “indicated that the rebels’ main demand - the

release of comrades taken prisoner by Serbian authorities - had been met to

some degree. ‘A time deadline was set for a release of Albanian soldiers,

and their number was decided,’ he said.”

Associated Press reported yesterday that the Yugoslav army “had warned the

soldiers must be released ‘unconditionally,’ saying otherwise it might have

to use force. ‘The case of kidnapping of Yugoslav army members by Albanian

separatists and terrorists is a flagrant example of an insane criminal

act,’ said the army.”

Agence France Presse reported January 8 that “Kosovo rebels captured eight

Yugoslav soldiers…this was the first time that the KLA had captured

soldiers from the Yugoslav federal army. [An OSCE spokesman said] the

soldiers were ‘captured’ by the KLA in an area to the north of Mitrovica

city.” United Press International reported January 10 that “both the KLA

and the KVM say heavy fog…coupled with the misreading of a road map, led

the eight into KLA territory while they were searching for a vehicle that

had been reported disabled.”

The Association for Independent Media [independent Balkans news agency

AIM], noted January 10 that “there is no reliable information how it

actually happened. [The] pro-government Media Centre claimed that a

truckload of soldiers was distributing food to their colleagues and that

they were “kidnapped” by “terrorists” along the way. The KLA claims that

the truck full of soldiers entered the territory controlled by it, that it

provoked the civilian population, and that there was shooting in which

soldiers were ‘taken prisoner.’ ”

The BBC reported that Bardyl Mahmuti, the KLA’s Geneva-based spokesman,

had Monday”called for the Serbian authorities to release some of the ethnic

Albanians they are holding in return. He said the eight officers were not

hostages: ‘This is a conflict between two armies. They are prisoners of war.”

United Press International reported January 10 that “Serbian officials and

KVM members appear convinced a simple release of those held is the best

solution. ‘A swap could set a dangerous precedent. There are so many people

missing, you could see kidnappings spring up everywhere in attempts to

recover them.”

AIM noted that “the UCK [was] not trying to conceal that through

negotiations on [the soldiers’ release] it is trying to achieve formal

recognition as a warring party.”

Reuters noted yesterday a statement by the head of Yugoslavia’s Army

Information Service carried by Tanjug said “we cannot rule out any form of

action to free [the soldiers] including the use of force… The Yugoslav

army servicemen who were kidnapped must be freed unconditionally.” Reuters

also noted that “in a reflection of the Yugoslav army’s simmering anger,

General Ljubisa Stojimirovic, chief of general staff of the Third Army,

which covers Kosovo, was quoted as saying the West was ‘extending maximum

support to ethnic Albanian terrorists.’ The Danas daily also said he had

urged new recruits to ‘train and prepare to defend our country, which faces

an immediate danger of war.’ ” However, a few hours earlier, student

activist Albin Kurti, described by Reuters as “an aide to Adem Demaci,”

said that “it could be that the international community is putting pressure

on the KLA for an unconditional release…but the KLA would stand firm in

its insistence that the prisoners of war be exchanged.”

Associated Press reported earlier yesterday that Vollebaek “who met with

Milosevic on Monday, said the Yugoslav leader had set a deadline for the

release and warned that Kosovo will explode in bloodshed unless the KLA

acts immediately. ‘There is very little time left, and we have to see an

immediate release of the hostages if we should avoid a major conflict… ‘I

think that it is very important that the KLA knows that we are very short

of time.’ Vollebaek did not say what Milosevic’s deadline was.”

Tanjug reported the talks “took place in an atmosphere of openness and

understanding” and that Milosevic told Vollebaek: “The authorities will not

tolerate any more terrorist activities… If, after hundreds of terrorist

attacks…world powers still cannot understand that this is terrorism, it

is clear that we are faced with open support for the criminal acts against

citizens and the state. OSCE members are obliged to urge security, which is

incompatible with tolerance of a terrorist group… The Yugoslav public and

authorities justly expect such objectivity from the new OSCE chairman. The

OSCE will continue to enjoy support and cooperation of state organs in the

realization of its mandate.”

Reuters noted Monday that Yugoslavia’s Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic

“said Yugoslavia’s patience ‘has its limits.’ He added Yugoslav officials

have shown ‘more than reasonable restraint,’ the official Tanjug news

agency reported.”

News agency TASS (Moscow) reported a January 10 statement from Russia’s

Foreign Minister: “Moscow demands that the Albanian gunmen release their

hostages immediately and unconditionally…we call on the authorities of

the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia to show as much restraint as

possible, as they have been able to do until now despite provocation. ”

Associated Press also noted yesterday that “Yugoslav Army tanks are

stationed close to Stari Trg…poised for action if talks on [the eight

soldiers’] release fail.” Associated Press reported Monday that “the

Yugoslav army pulled back its armor around Stari Trg by a half-mile on

Sunday and the rebels said they would respect the cease-fire ‘except when

we have to protect civilians and ourselves.’ ”

V. HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

The US Kosovo Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in Pristina noted

January 11 that “UNHCR and humanitarian relief organizations have scaled

back and/or halted operations in Kosovo due to an increase in tensions over

the past several days…On January 10 UNHCR advised NGOs to avoid the Suva

Reka area unless activities are closely coordinated with the OSCE Kosovo

verification mission.”

A United Nations inter-agency report on Kosovo noted that January 9 “armed

Serbian civilians seized medicines from Medecins du Monde outside Suva Reka

in central Kosovo. The medicines were taken to a local hospital. The four

members of the MDM staff sought refuge in the nearby woods and were

extricated by OSCE KVM later in the evening after UNHCR requested

intervention at its headquarters in Pristina and spoke to police

authorities” Belgrade official media statements and media have increasingly

accused international humanitarian NGOs working in Kosovo of helping the

KLA in the past few months.

The UN report also noted that following the January 7 closure of roads

into Pristina by armed civilians, “10 trucks in three convoys were unable

to return to Pristina and spent the night in Mitrovica and Malisevo. Other

aid workers were stranded. At nightfall, UNHCR negotiated with police to

allow 14 NGO vehicles blocked at Kosovo Polje just outside Pristina to

proceed to the capital.”

The January 11 DART report also stated: “On January 10, Catholic Relief

Services [CRS] informed the Kosovo DART that the security situation

constrained operations out of their Prizren field office during the week of

January 3-10. A CRS representative said that their Prizren operation was

unable to make deliveries or go to the field on January 6-8 and that they

had limited their area of operation to the immediate area around Prizren

for convoys on January 9, due to security concerns. (The Kosovo DART

reported in its update for January 6, 1999 that CRS was suspending their

humanitarian operations based in Prizren for January 6 after reports of

mortars and small arms fire within the town of Prizren.) The CRS

representative said that all of the international staff members from their

Prizren field office drove up to Pristina on January 10 for consultations

but operations would return to normal on January 11.”

Reuters reported January 8 that “the United Nations has sent four human

rights experts to monitor human rights violations in…Kosovo… Under an

accord signed last November by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary

Robinson and Yugoslav officials after lengthy negotiations, a total of four

monitors will be deployed in Kosovo, according to spokesman Jose Diaz.

Three other experts will be based in Belgrade, including one dealing only

with Kosovo, Diaz told a news briefing. ‘This will bring to seven the

number of international staff [deployed in Serbia]. We will try to send

more monitors, but it will take time,’ Diaz said.”

VI. OSCE KOSOVO VERIFICATION MISSION/NATO EXTRACTION FORCE

Agence France Presse reported Monday that speakers at a demonstration of

Kosovo Serbs Monday night “called for the expulsion of the Kosovo

Verification Mission… Milorad Jevric, a former member of the

ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party, said: ‘The situation has

deteriorated since the verifiers arrived and we should refuse them

hospitality… Those who permitted the deployment of the verifiers here

contributed to the loss of life.’ ”

According to a statement from Serbia’s Ministry of Information about the

meeting January 11 between OSCE chairman-in-office Vollebaek and

Yugoslavia’s Foreign Minister Zivodan Jovanovic, “Jovanovic said the talk

had been held at the right time because three months since the signing of

an agreement between Yugoslavia and the OSCE on mission deployment were

about to expire, and it was possible to review the mission’s results to

date and prospects for its further positive engagement in the province. He

voiced Yugoslavia’s stand that the mission is vital for the verification of

developments in the field.” In an October 13, 1998 press briefing, US

National Security Advisor Sandy Berger said that “there’s not a time limit

on the verification mission.”

Tanjug reported January 10 that Socialist Party board member Zivorad Igic

“estimated today that the international verifiers had been encouraging and

enticing Albanian terrorists and separatists with their attitude… actions

of the Albanian terrorists create the impression that terrorists have taken

OSCE verifiers as their patrons and verifiers have taken terrorists as

their proteges.”

Agence France Presse reported that a diplomatic source close to the OSCE’s

Kosovo Verification Mission said January 8 that “the OSCE is hoping to have

1,600 verifiers on the ground in Kosovo by mid-February… The OSCE said

these verifiers will be joined by 400 more ‘once a political settlement is

reached’… An OSCE spokesman declined to predict when the 1,600 would be

in place, but confirmed comments by German Defense Minister Rudolf

Scharping that the initial verification mission will not be 2,000.”

The Observer (London) reported January 10 that OSCE Chairman-in-office

Vollebaek “complained that three buses were sent to meet an aircraft

recently from which only 13 new observers disembarked. He has since revised

the planned force down to 1,500.”

During an October 26 press briefing, US envoy Richard Holbrooke said of

the number of verifiers to be placed in Kosovo: “I keep reading ‘up to

2,000’ or ‘maybe won’t reach 2,000.’ Read the agreement. It is ‘2,000 or

more’… 2,000 is a floor, not a ceiling.” As reported in Kosovo Briefing

#31, Deutsche Presse noted October 21 “that [US Ambassador Christopher

Hill]…said there had been firm commitments for the sending of 2,000

observers to Kosovo.”

TASS news agency (Moscow) reported January 9 the opening of another

OSCE-KVM regional center in Gniljane 30 miles southeast of Pristina, noting

that “Russian verifiers will make up the bulk of its staff.”

The TASS report also noted that “the OSCE mission is going to take a

census of the population in the Kosovo region, and to organize elections

there, if Belgrade and a delegation of Kosovo Albanians reach agreement.”

To date, the OSCE has not officially announced whether it will conduct a

census in Kosovo before the election.

Reuters reported January 8 that acting head of KVM Gabriel Keller said

“the mission faced many difficulties. Serbian forces prevented its access

to some parts of the region while the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation

Army closed other areas. ‘There were some signs of hostility against the

OSCE verifiers… After all, one could not expect sympathy towards someone

who is objective.’ ”

When asked at a January 8 Washington press briefing whether the KVM had

“the capacity to investigate” isolated murders and killings, OSCE-KVM

mission chief William Walker said: “Do we have the capacity to, you know,

go in and do investigations ourselves? Not in the terms you might be

thinking about, going in and doing a…fullflown police criminal

investigation, no….During the… more dramatic violence in Podujevo,

where the KLA was on one side of a row of ridges and on the other side the

VJ [Yugoslav Army] and the MUP [Serbian Ministry of Interior] was pretty

well dug in with some tanks and some armored personnel carriers and almost

it was kept localized, I think, by our efforts, but it could have gotten

much worse. We put people in both command posts and they stayed there

through the night, 24 hours a day, to determine if, in fact, someone

started shooting, who had started the shooting.”

At the same press briefing, Walker noted: “I think we can look to both

sides and say there have been

instances of noncompliance on both sides. In our view, the majority of the

instances of noncompliance have emanated from the government side, but that

is also perhaps a function of the fact that we have asked more of them.

When I say that they are not cooperating in terms of landing rights for

planes that might be bringing in supplies or quibbles at the border over

customs, this sort of thing, those are things you ask from a government,

you don’t ask that from the KLA. We have been quite upset, I would say, in

terms of the words of cooperation emanating from the government. Their

words are very ample in terms of they want to cooperate 100 percent with

our mission so that we can get on with our mandate, but in terms of

implementing those words, I think we would have to say we are less than

satisfied. There have been any number of areas in which we have made

requests of the government and the answer has been, ‘That is not in the

agreement, it is not specifically spelled out in the agreement; therefore,

you can’t have it.’ And if you want some details on that, I’d be glad to go

into it…”

“[After a shootout on the Yugoslavia-Albania border between Yugoslav Army

and KLA soldiers], it turns out there were, I think, nine or more prisoners

taken. A couple were taken in later action. We have asked for access to

those prisoners. Immediately we asked for it. The answer was essentially

no. You know, “It’s not in the agreement.” My answer to that was, “You told

us about the incident. You told that it was the KLA coming across in an

armed incursion. Fine, that’s your story. We went up and looked at the

scene. Now we would like to talk to the other side to see if there’s, you

know, another version. That’s how we’re going to get to the truth of what

happened.” They then said this is the government then said, “Well, you

know, there’s a judicial process that has to be gone through. You will have

to ask for permission through the Ministry of Justice or through the

prosecutor, and maybe we’ll give you access later.”

When asked at the press briefing whether American monitors in the KVM

would be allowed to be out in Kosovo past dark, Walker replied: ” ‘In by

dark’ is a U.S. KDOM [Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission] regulation, rule,

whatever you want to call it. We are as an international organization, we

are sort of designing our own rules as we go right now, and we are taking a

look at those rules that the various KDOMs operated under. I think we will

be more likely to let people be out after dark if the mission requires it.

We might have a rule that says you can be out after dark if you’re in a

stationary position, but not running up and down the road and maybe someone

won’t quite know what you’re doing out there and take a shot at you. But we

will be putting people in villages after dark and having them stay there,

which is a little different from the way the KDOMs have been doing it.”

The Los Angeles Times reported January 8: “The risks to the monitors are

especially high in an environment that Walker maintains has been poisoned

with Yugoslav propaganda denouncing the mission as de facto support for

ethnic Albanian guerrillas seeking independence for Kosovo. In addition,

virtually everyone in the province carries some form of weapon. ‘We must be

the only unarmed people in the country,’ said Walker.”

Radio B-92 reported yesterday that following a meeting with OSCE

chairman-in-office Vollebaek, Montenegro’s President Milo Djukanovic “told

media…that Montenegro had begun an initiative to expand the Kosovo

Verification Mission into Montenegro in order for Montenegro to have

logistic support for the successful implementation of the Kosovo peace

agreement.”

The Observer (London) reported from Pristina yesterday a senior British

official’s statement about the NATO extraction force based in Macedonia:

“It’s just a deterrent. If we’re in trouble we’ll have to get out of it

ourselves.”

VII. INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY

Agence France Press yesterday reported that France’s Foreign Minister

Hubert Vedrine “attacked the United States for its handling of the Kosovo

crisis, saying Washington’s ‘shuttle diplomacy’ in the troubled Yugoslav

province was not working. Vedrine, speaking during a visit to Moscow,

acknowledged that the US mediator in Kosovo, Christopher Hill, was ‘working

very hard’ to resolve the conflict… But, he added, ‘we are now forced to

conclude that this shuttle diplomacy does not work. ‘Time is passing and

tension remains high,’ Vedrine said… Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov

agreed, saying ‘it would be best to step up the role of the Contact Group

as soon as possible, as the current pause is being used by those seeking to

increase tension in Kosovo’… Vedrine pointed out that France and Russia

have ‘very close positions, convergent aims and complementary measures’ on

the situations in Iraq and Kosovo.” Agence France Presse reported January 8

that French President Jacques Chirac “warned in Paris that Kosovo was at a

‘dangerous impasse.’ He called on the Contact Group to take ‘vigorous

diplomatic action. Talks are blocked on both sides by the refusal of any

compromise and the temptation to resort to force.’ ”

Agence France Presse reported Monday that the UN Security Council “failed

to agree Monday on a Russian draft statement condemning the seizure of

eight Yugoslav soldiers by [the KLA]…the draft statement would strongly

condemn the ‘recent irresponsible actions’ by the KLA in Kosovo and demand

an ‘immediate and unconditional release of all hostages taken by the KLA.’

The council diplomats said the statement could not be agreed because the

Slovenian delegation objected to the description of the soldiers as

‘hostages’ rather than prisoners. The 15-member council also failed to

agree on whether Belgrade or the ethnic Albanian leadership was the primary

obstacle to the peace process [in Kosovo].”

OSCE chairman-in-office Knut Vollebaek met January 11 with Yugoslavia’s

President Slobodan Milosevic and Foreign Minister Zivodan Jovanovic.

According to Serbia’s Ministry of Information, the meeting with Milosevic

took place “in an atmosphere of openness and understanding…views were

exchanged on current issues of interest to regional security and stability,

and the development of relations and co-operation with the OSCE.”

The Ministry of Information report on the Vollebaek-Jovanovic meeting

noted that Vollebaek “said Yugoslavia must be enabled to participate in the

OSCE work… [he] underscored it was his personal goal that Yugoslavia take

its place in the OSCE, for which cooperation is important, and meeting

obligations stemming from Security Council resolutions and OSCE documents.”

Agence France Presse noted Monday that “early Monday, Vollebaek met

Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Pavle, who said his church was ready to

‘cooperate with the OSCE’ in a search for a peaceful solution of the Kosovo

crisis, the official Yugoslav agency Tanjug reported.”

Reuters reported January 9 that in a statement just prior to the shelling

of several villages in the Podujevo region by JNA tanks, “international

monitors in Kosovo blamed ethnic Albanian guerrillas on Saturday for

increased tension in the province and praised what they called the

restraint shown by Yugoslav government forces. A statement by the

KVM…said: ‘KVM wishes to state that irresponsible actions by the KLA

since yesterday (Friday) morning are the main reasons for a considerable

increase of tension in Kosovo.’ It said KLA guerrillas had staged ‘a

meticulously planned ambush’ against a Serbian police convoy on Friday,

killing three policemen… ‘KVM wishes to make it clear that it finds the

reaction by Yugoslav authorities to these KLA provocations has been to this

point very restrained … The representatives of the Yugoslav authorities

have shown a willingness to cooperate in the present situation.’ ”

Reuters noted a statement from France’s Foreign Ministry January 9 that

“said Paris completely agreed with a Kosovo Verification Mission statement

blaming KLA guerrillas for initiating the flare-up and praising what it

called restraint by Yugoslav forces.”

Reuters reported January 8 that “asked who bore the brunt of the blame -

something NATO allies appear to differ on - [acting chief of KVM Frenchman]

Keller said: “I would say both sides are to be blamed. Generally speaking,

I would say that the KLA is responsible for most provocations and the

Yugoslav authorities and Serb police are responsible sometimes for

exaggerated actions or are reacting heavy-handedly.”

During a January 8 press briefing in Washington, OSCE-KVM mission chief

Walker said that the conflict in Kosovo comes “from the events of last

summer and into the fall, from the way this government, which has

responsibility for treating the people of Kosovo, you know, equally and

indiscriminately, they do not perform those tasks very well. And I think

much of the genesis of the violence derives from that, that particular lack

of decent governance in Kosovo.”

Reuters said January 8 that after three Serbian policemen in Kosovo were

reported killed, NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark “said… ‘we call on

both sides to stop. This is a critical period in which diplomacy must take

charge…to resolve these issues peacefully’… But he made clear who he

believed was to blame for triggering the wave of violence that threatens to

bury the October truce. ‘The cycle of instability and violence began with

repression…that has led to a military response that in turn provokes

additional military reactions. It is a spiral of violence.’ ”

Reuters reported that NATO Secretary General Solana said in a January 9

interview with Paris daily Le Figaro: “We are in a difficult period… From

the military point of view, everything is in place. NATO cannot go any

further without resorting to force. The international community can hardly

be more mobilized. Now we must relaunch the political process. I hope the

Contact Group will take an initiative in the next few days.’ Solana

said…Milosevic bore the ‘historic responsibility’ for the crisis because

he took away the majority Albanian region’s autonomous status within

Serbia. ‘But the two parties share the responsibility to keep the

ceasefire,’ he added.”

News agency Interfax (Moscow) said January 6 that according to a Russian

Foreign Ministry statement, Russia’s Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, stressed

in a meeting with Yugoslavia’s ambassador to Russia Borislav Milosevic ”

‘how important it is for direct talks on the drafting of an interim

agreement on Kosovo to start as soon as possible between the Belgrade

authorities and representatives of the Kosovo Albanians’… The actions of

terrorists and extremists which destabilize the situation in the area must

not be allowed to wreck the process of finding a political settlement, the

minister pointed out.”

Radio B-92 reported January 8 that “European Union experts will meet on

Monday to discuss European policy on Yugoslavia and Kosovo, according to a

Brussels news agency. The meeting will discuss the position of EU special

envoy in Kosovo, Wolfgang Petritsch. Also on the agenda will be the

possibility of establishing a democratisation mission in Yugoslavia, to be

headed by former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzales.”

Agence France Presse noted Monday that “early Monday, Vollebaek met

Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Pavle, who said his church was ready to

‘cooperate with the OSCE’ in a search for a peaceful solution of the Kosovo

crisis, the official Yugoslav agency Tanjug reported.”

VIII. POLITICAL STATUS NEGOTIATIONS

Reuters reported Monday that “Pristina was buzzing with top-level

diplomatic activity. US mediator Chris Hill and the Austrian and Russian

ambassadors to Belgrade were there, having closed-door talks. Austrian

envoy Wolfgang Petrisch told reporters his meeting had discussed ways of

bringing the…ethnic Albanian side into talks on a future political

settlement.” According to Radio 21, yesterday Petrisch discussed

“completing a common negotiating team” with the current Kosovo Albanian

negotiating team, the opposition, and the KLA, and commented: “They are all

aware of the necessity of a broad-based negotiating team that would really

represent all political forces in Kosovo.”

Reuters noted January 9 that “in Paris, a Foreign Ministry statement said

the renewed fighting ‘again demonstrated it is absolutely necessary for the

opposing parties to begin talks as soon as possible to reach a political

settlement based on wide autonomy for Kosovo.’ ”

In an interview with OSCE-KVM chief William Walker, the Los Angeles Times

noted that “Walker said he is especially pessimistic about the progress of

negotiations between ethnic Albanians and Serbs… ‘the negotiating process

is moribund right now,’ Walker said.”

IX. REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

Agence France Presse January 8 cited Daan Everts, OSCE’s representative in

Albania: ” ‘The north of Albania serves as a training base for the KLA,

which is preparing for a war option in the event that political

negotiations break down… There’s no denying that the north of Albania is

a training base for the KLA, which is preparing for battle.’ He added that

the northern region was ‘completely out of the control of the government in

Tirana, which, even if it wanted to, does not have the police or military

force to patrol the border.’ ”

Deutsche Presse Agentur said Albanian state radio reported Monday that

“Albanian authorities have invited [Kosovo “President”] Ibrahim Rugova to

visit Tirana for unity talks… There was no immediate indication whether

Rugova had accepted the invitation. Acceptance would further indicate

Tirana’s growing role in patching up differences among Kosovo Albanian

leaders. State radio Tirana also reported the leader of the self-styled

government of republic of Kosovo Bujar Bukoshi was in Tirana for talks with

[Albania’s] Prime Minister Pandeli Majko and other government leaders…

According to state television, the visits have been made possible after the

Albanian government and opposition agreed jointly to support the right of

Kosovo Albanians to self-determination… Albanian president Rexhep Meidani

said last week that Albanian politicians on both sides of the border should

agree on a common platform for the future of the province.”

Albania’s state TV noted January 8 that Rexhep Qosja, chairman of the

United Democratic Movement of Kosovo (LBD - an alliance of six ethnic

Albanian parties opposed to the LDK) also visited Tirana, saying: “The

Albanian government considered it reasonable to hold talks here with the

representatives of the Albanian national and political parties and

organizations with the aim of uniting their political opinions so that they

speak in one voice on the Kosovo issue… I would like the Albanian

government…to continue its efforts so that Albanians in Kosovo are united

and speak with one voice.”

The Serbian Radical Party, junior member of Serbia’s ruling coalition, was

quoted by Tanjug January 8: “The separatist ambitions of Albanian terrorist

gangs are daily being stirred by the political like-minded people and top

officials in Albania, which has been a nest of terrorists from the very

beginning of the crisis in Kosovo and which has the role of the main

instigator and initiator of crimes committed by Albanian extremists against

Serbian civilians in Serbia’s southern province… provocative behavior by

the leadership of the Republic of Albania…represents an opportunity for

international institutions and organizations, especially the United

Nations, to regain trust by condemning these and taking specific measures.”

Reuters noted January 11 that “Albania accused Yugoslavia of violating its

airspace for a second time in three days, the state-owned ATA news agency

reported. An interior ministry spokesman told ATA that…on Sunday, a

Yugoslav plane violated Albanian airspace in the district of Kukes, 149

miles northeast of Tirana. ‘The Serb plane flew to Morine village entering

500 meters [1,640 feet] into our territory,’ ATA quoted the spokesman as

saying. Tirana had asked Belgrade for an explanation and officials from

both countries would meet soon to discuss the matter, the agency reported.

Last Thursday. Albania said Serb planes and helicopters violated its

airspace in the districts of Kukes and Has.”

X. POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN KOSOVO

Radio B-92 reported today that “about a hundred Serbs today attended a

protest rally held by the Serbian Resistance Movement in Pristina. Serb

leader Momcilo Trajkovic blamed the poor turnout on pressure on Serbs, who

were unable to leave their locked factories and offices. The organisers of

the protest gave up the idea of a protest march through the streets of

Pristina and announced that they would organise another protest soon.”

Radio 21 reported Trajkovic said: “We are not organizing protests against

Albanians. They are directed against the Serb regime, which is not ready to

solve the Kosovo problem in a democratic way.”

Agence France Presse reported that “around 500 Kosovo Serbs demonstrated

Monday against the Belgrade government… the demonstrators gathered in a

sports hall shouting “treason, treason,” and vowing to renew their

anti-Belgrade protest on Wednesday. Momcilo Trajkovic, leader of the

Serbian Resistance Movement - Democratic Movement, said: ‘The Serbs of

Kosovo have been abandoned [by the Belgrade authorities]… They have to

take charge of their fate and play a political role.”

BETA reported January 7 that Serbia’s former minister for family affairs,

Serbian Radical Party member Radmila Trajkovic (no relation), “said…that

the residents of Pristina are in the ‘state of preparedness’ to fight alone

against Albanian terrorists in Kosovo. ‘We are simply ready to fight

Albanian terrorists alone, for the sake of dignity and honor of Serbia,

regardless of whether it comes to our help or not,’ Trajkovic told Studio B

television… According to…Trajkovic, the residents of Preoce are

‘disgusted by the ineffective reaction by the state.’ They said that the

largest number of murders and attacks occured in the places visited by the

US verifiers and that most trenches were dug and preparations by Albanian

terrorists for new offences carried out in those areas, Trajkovic said.”

XI. BELGRADE ON KOSOVO

Radio B-92 reported a January 9 statement by the Serbian Renewal Movement

(headed by one-time Zajedno opposition coalition member Vuk Draskovic):

“The killings of policemen and soldiers carrying out their regular duties,

as well as of citizens loyal to their country, and other crimes inspired by

Nazi ideology, have been going on for months, and yet the international

community keeps the hands of our country tied, preventing it from striking

a final blow to terrorists. This goes far beyond any restrictions imposed

by international law and common sense.”

Radio B-92 also cited Democratic Party head Zoran Djindjic at a January 8

news conference: “A ray of hope is provided by the Kosovo Serbs’ attempt to

organize themselves, to represent their own interests, to do what the state

cannot do for them, to represent their interests in international

negotiations and to show that they are players and living human beings and

not chess pieces which Milosevic can move left or right.”

The Times (London) reported January 8 that “Patriarch Pavle, Serbia’s

Orthodox leader, in his sermon to the nation Wednesday night…said: ‘Who

has the most sheep in the field, that is his field.’ If the message had

been too oblique for some, he then added: ‘Multiply yourselves.’ The frail

85-year-old is no stranger to controversy… By raising the issue of

Serbia’s declining birth rate, he again runs the risk of falling foul of a

Government determined to bury the issue of the dwindling number of Serbs in

the country’s southern province.”