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Kosovo Report: July 21, 1999

21 July 1999, Number 11, Volume 1

EU APPROVES AID PACKAGE FOR KOSOVO. The EU Commission has approved an aid package worth $98 million for refugees returning to Kosovo after the crisis. The funds will be used to purchase construction materials and other assistance. At the end of their two-day summit, the EU foreign ministers adopted a number of resolutions on the Balkan region and Kosovo in particular. They welcomed the quick establishment of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), expressed their readiness to cooperate with it, and called on all sides in Kosovo to cooperate with KFOR and the civilian UN administration. The ministers denounced ethnic violence and also called on the Kosovo Serbs not to leave the region.

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana, who has been appointed EU Commissioner for a Common Foreign and Security Policy, said that his work will have three priorities: the Balkans and Kosovo, Russia, and the near East. Solana will remain in his current position until the end of September. In the meeting, the foreign ministers also agreed to finance the Sarajevo summit of the Balkans Stability Pact that is scheduled for the end of the month in Sarajevo with 1.4 million euros (about $1.4 million). The U.S. will be in charge of security and transportation.

KFOR ARRESTS SERBIAN POLICEMEN. KFOR spokesman Louis Garneau has announced in Prishtina on 20 July that KFOR arrested four Serbian policemen near Gjilan, after they entered Kosovo from Serbia. The policemen were armed with automatic weapons. Garneau said that this incident is in violation of the Technical Military Agreement according to which no Serbian police forces are allowed to remain in Kosovo. Meanwhile, British KFOR soldiers arrested 13 people wearing uniforms of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) in Mihalic. The KFOR soldiers also found arms on these men. Louis Garneau said that this incident was a violation of the UCK's obligation to demilitarize.

CLARK REASSURES CITIZENS OF RAHOVEC. NATO Supreme Commander Europe General Wesley Clark told ethnic Albanians in Rahovec on 20 July that NATO will guarantee their safety. Clark called on the Albanians to show tolerance towards Serbs who have remained in Kosovo. Serbs in Rahovec have barricaded themselves in the southeastern part of the city for several weeks. Clark said that it is not important whether someone is Serbian or Albanian. He added that as long as one is not guilty of crimes, one must be welcome. More than 1,000 ethnic Albanians who turned out at the square shouted pro-NATO slogans. They also shouted slogans against the planned deployment of Russian soldiers in their city. Meanwhile, Western news agencies reported that NATO and Russian troops began joint patrols in Kamenica.

UNMIK RECRUITS POLICEMEN. The UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has opened a recruitment center for police officers in Kosovo on 20 July. International agencies announced that there is great interest in positions. UCK commander Agim Ceku said that about 4,000 UCK soldiers will apply to join the Kosovo police forces. International instructors will train these policemen under the mandate of the UN.

Ceku made the announcement during a visit by KFOR commander General Sir Mike Jackson to Isnic near Decani, where he inspected one arms depot at the end of the first phase of the UCK's demilitarization. Jackson expressed his satisfaction that the process of the UCK's demilitarization is proceeding according to schedule. He added that it is good to see such a large amount of arms in the depot. Ceku said that most of the arms had been taken from the Serbian police. He stressed that that NATO and the UCK are "allies" and "partners in creating security" in Kosovo.

CLINTON TO JOIN SARAJEVO SUMMIT. White House officials confirmed the participation of U.S. President Bill Clinton in the Balkans summit in Sarajevo on 31 July, which is dedicated to the reconstruction of the region. French President Jacques Chirac also confirmed his participation.

KFOR RESTARTS POWER PLANT. KFOR officials announced that they have restarted the operation of a thermo-electric power plant called Kosovo A near Prishtina on 20 July, with a capacity of 130 megawatts. They added that the capacity will be increased by an additional 40 megawatts in the coming 48 hours. Both a Serb and an Albanian sit on the board of directors of that plant, and 850 workers will work there initially. Of these, 600 are Albanians and 250 Serbs. The officials also said that another power plant -- Kosovo B -- will begin working in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, after a nine-year interruption, the first issue of "Rilindja" left the printing press in Prishtina on 20 July.

MONTENEGRIN PARLIAMENT LAUNCHES ALBANIAN-LANGUAGE WEEKLY. The Montenegrin Parliament voted on 20 July to launch an Albanian-language weekly called "Koha Javore" (Weekly Times).

BELGRADE WANTS ITS FORCES BACK IN KOSOVO. Yugoslav Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic requested from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan the return of the Yugoslav army, police and customs agents to Kosovo. Bulatovic sent a letter to Annan on 20 July arguing that KFOR does not have sufficient forces to ensure the security of the borders, the population and their property.

SERBIAN REFUGEE CHILDREN EXCLUDED FROM SCHOOL EDUCATION. The Serbian authorities have banned pupils from Kosovo from registering in Serbian schools, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Belgrade on 20 July. While this could not be confirmed officially and there is no published order, circumstantial evidence suggests the report is true. So far, not a single pupil from Kosovo has been registered in any elementary or secondary school class in Belgrade. The directors of the schools told parents that they had orders banning them from registering children from Kosovo.

The Serbian refugees are concerned about the future of their children because there are no conditions for their return to Kosovo and the school year is beginning, soon. The opposition Democratic Party called on the UNHCR to organize school education for Serbian children from Kosovo.

Meanwhile, officials of the UNHCR in Belgrade reported that Serbian refugees from Kosovo are living in very difficult conditions in Kraljevo, Kragujevac and other cities. The officials said that the first cases of diarrhea and tuberculosis have been noted near Podgorica, where about 7,500 Roma refugees have fled.

LDK OFFICIAL CRITICIZES LACK OF TRANSPARENCY. Interview with Fadil Hysaj, member of the leadership of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), by Melazim Koci:

Koci: "Why has the LDK not participated in the initial meeting of the transitional council for Kosovo?"

Hysaj: "I think that this was a scandal that happened without the guilt of the LDK. Indeed, the LDK -- meaning its leadership -- did not receive an invitation from [UN Special Representative Bernard] Kouchner to participate in that meeting. It is true that the invitation was given to people who were not legitimate LDK representatives, because they were not elected to any function of the LDK."

RFE/RL: "An agreement was signed at Rambouillet on the creation of a provisional government, who is respecting, and who is ignoring that agreement?"

Hysaj: "It is true that the agreement was signed, and I consider the boycott of it irrational. Many of the things that were decided then have not been implemented politically. In the leadership of the LDK and its central council, many things have remained undefined, unclear in a political sense. And I believe that the absence of the president [Ibrahim Rugova] has caused us great damage during the recent period."

RFE/RL: "You once said that the person who works against Rugova most, is Rugova himself. Can you clarify this?"

Hysaj: "I think that these actions [of Rugova] are typical. Avoiding dealing with important questions and the lack of discussion can return like a boomerang to the party itself. I think that there are many things to be clarified in the relationship of the president to his own party and these are not clear to me personally. And I do not know, whether anybody in the party leadership really understands this. At this point [the confusion] has passed a line, which is no longer tolerable. It is necessary that the president return as soon as possible so that the party leadership can meet, and it is probably necessary to prepare for the holding of a party congress. The people need this party...and we can not continue working in the same way that we have done in the past."

RFE/RL: "What is the perspective of the LDK?"

Hysaj: "We can say that there is a crisis in the party. But the events of recent weeks will force the party to reposition itself. The most vital part of that party will survive this crisis, and I believe that the council meeting and the party congress will take place very soon and will bring a new part of that party to the forefront, which is able to communicate with the world and within Kosovo. There can be no more politics of loyalty [to one particular person]. This policy has no future anymore. We have to think about the future of the party [as a whole] in which only capable people, who represent political dynamics, can survive [a political competition]."

RFE/RL: "Will the LDK participate in the Transitional Council of Kouchner, independently of the return or non-return of Rugova?"

Hysaj: "The absence from just one session has not yet created harsh reactions from the party membership and those who have authority to speak in the party. But if the party does not participate in that council, it may not even survive the coming month. The LDK has no other alternative than to participate, even if it is only as an observer. We must not allow the virus of boycott to spoil us. A boycott of the international community in Kosovo would be fatal, and I am convinced that the LDK will appear on the political scene again. The LDK never decided for such a policy of boycott. The problem is just that the invitation...did not reach the LDK leadership, but people who are advisors of the president, but who do not hold any party office. Such actions are scandalous and can definitely destroy the party. I call on these people to stop that behavior, because the party deserves better and these people know that the party has a right [to take its role]. The international community should know what the address is to communicate with this party."