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Kosovo Report: August 6, 1999

6 August 1999, Number 16, Volume 1

THACI, RUGOVA MEET WITH KOUCHNER. The two Kosovar rival leaders Hashim Thaci and Ibrahim Rugova met on 4 August in the residence of UN Special Representative Bernard Kouchner. The three discussed the situation of Kosovo and forms of cooperation between political parties and groups in the civilian UN administration.

Bilal Sherifi, who is the chief of cabinet of Thaci's government, told RFE/RL that Thaci, Rugova, and Kouchner "discussed the activities of the political parties and the contribution that they can give to the stabilization of the situation and the role they can play in the provisional government of Kosovo. They also discussed the agreement signed in Rambouillet among the Albanian delegates about the creation of provisional government." Sherifi added that Thaci and Rugova agreed to create a joint commission that will administer financial resources that have been collected by the fund administered by the LDK's shadow-state Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi.

LDK officials on 5 August told RFE/RL that they have appointed their representatives to the UN transitional council. This is a body in which Kosovar Serbs, Albanians, and other minorities are represented along with representatives of the international community. Rugova will represent the LDK along with Fatmir Sejdiu, another senior LDK leader. Furthermore Mark Krasniqi, chairman of the Christian Democratic Party, will participate in the council. On 16 July the council met for the first time, but Rugova then refused to attend, arguing that the former shadow-state did not have enough seats on the council.

KFOR DETAIN SENIOR PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER. KFOR spokesman Jan Joosten said in Prishtina on 5 August that British soldiers detained the interior minister of Thaci's provisional government Rexhep Selimi briefly after he pointed a gun at them from his car. Besides Selimi there were two other people in the car. Joosten said that this incident was a serious violation of the demilitarization agreement signed by the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK). He added that KFOR commander General Sir Mike Jackson will discuss this incident with UCK commander Agim Ceku.

Meanwhile, a Serb and an Albanian died in a shootout on 4 August near the village of Dobercan, according to KFOR spokesman Jan Joosten. Before the exchange of fire, a group of Albanians attacked a convoy of Serbs with rocks. The Serbs were on their way to Serbia. Subsequently someone fired from the convoy and killed an Albanian man. Another Albanian then fired at the convoy, killing a Serb. In a separate incident a Serb was killed in Viti and his mother beaten up by unidentified attackers, believed to have been Albanians.

ALBANIANS PROTEST AGAINST RUSSIAN TROOPS. A group of 1,000 Albanians went to the Russian military base in Kamenica on 4 August to protest against the presence of Russian soldiers in Kosovo. According to KFOR officials, the protesters left by the early morning of 5 August.

KOSOVAR AND SERBIAN POWER GRID DISCONNECTED. Serbia will not receive any more current from Kosovo. Previously Serbia received 12.5 percent of its electric power from the region. According to officials from the power company of Kosovo, the power grid is now linked up with Macedonia and Albania only, but not with Serbia.

MORE PROTESTS FOR RELEASE OF KOSOVAR ALBANIAN PRISONERS. Activists from the Prishtina based Council for the Liberation of Political Prisoners called on 5 August for weekly protest demonstrations for the release of ethnic Albanian prisoners from Serbian jails. The demonstrations will take place every Friday in different cities in Kosovo. The Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms and the independent University Students' Union have also decided to join the protests.

SERBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST URGES OPEN DEBATE. Natasa Kandic from the Humanitarian Law Fund demanded an open debate between Albanians and Serbs about crimes committed in Kosovo before the deployment of NATO troops, and about the killings of Serbs committed in revenge. Kandic told Reuters on 5 August that the investigations of the fund have produced evidence that special forces participated in the war in Kosovo and received their orders from the highest leaders of the country. Inside these units there were also Russian and Bulgarian mercenaries, according to Kandic.

MONTENEGRIN GOVERNMENT DEMANDS CHANGE OF FEDERAL CONSTITUTION. The Montenegrin government approved a platform for a new democratic structure of the Serbian-Montenegrin federation on 5 August. Government officials announced that Montenegro will hold a referendum for independence if Serbia rejects the Montenegrin proposal.

SERBIAN INTERIOR MINISTER THREATENS FORCE. Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic announced on 5 August that police will intervene against pro-western protests. He argued that these protests aim to destabilize the state. Stojiljkovic has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, along with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

ALBANIAN PREMIER ORDERS SPECIAL POLICE TO GUARD HARBOR. Prime Minister Pandeli Majko on 5 August ordered special police forces to take charge of the harbor in Durres to curb corruption and smuggling. Majko said the special forces will remain at the harbor as long as it is necessary.