Accessibility links

Breaking News

Kosovo Report: August 20, 1999

20 August 1999, Number 26, Volume 1

CEKU SAYS UCK MEETS DISARMAMENT DEADLINE General Agim Ceku, who is chief of the General Staff of the Kosova Liberation Army (UCK), said in Prishtina on 19 August that the UCK has met NATO's second deadline for its disarmament, an RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent reported. Ceku pledged to complete the UCK's demilitarization by 19 September, which is the scheduled end of the third and final phase of disarmament. An unidentified KFOR official told Reuters "I don't think there will be any problem with our saying that they have met the deadline, but we can't announce it officially yet." In June, the UCK pledged to hand in by 19 August all heavy weapons, all long-barreled weapons, such as Kalashnikov rifles, and 60 percent of all automatic small arms.

Ceku, however, criticized the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) for including only a small number of former UCK members among the first group of local police recruits. According to dpa, only three UCK members have been accepted in the first recruiting stage for the force. A total of 200 recruits will be trained in that initial phase. The recruits will undergo five weeks of training at a police academy scheduled to be inaugurated on 21 August. Ceku stressed that "since it was founded, the Kosova Liberation Army has made it very clear that it is determined to achieve a democratic society in Kosova, which will be multi-ethnic and based on tolerance and respect for diversity," Reuters reported.

KOSOVARS DISCOVERS MORE MASS GRAVES. Ethnic Albanians have discovered a mass grave site near Dragodan on 19 August, AP reported. Fadil Batalli, director of Prishtina's Forensic Institute, said that the bodies of up to 200 ethnic Albanians may be buried there. KFOR spokesman Roland Lavoie said KFOR troops will notify the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia about the site.

ALBANIAN TELECOM TO EXTEND LINES INTO KOSOVA. Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko said in Tirana on 19 August that the state-owned Albanian Telecom will invest $200,000 to establish a microwave telephone link between Albania and Kosova and to install 30 pay phones in Gjakova, an RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent reported. Majko made the remarks after a meeting of Telecom's board of directors. Majko recalled that in late July the governments of Albania and Montenegro agreed to link Shkodra and Podgorica with a fiber-optic telephone cable. He expressed hope that the two projects will promote regional integration. The Albanian government is planning to build similar links with Macedonia and Greece, Reuters reported.

ATTACKERS BOMB CHURCH IN GJAKOVA, INJURE KFOR SOLDIERS. Unidentified attackers threw two bombs at a Serbian orthodox church in Gjakova on 18 August. Two Italian KFOR soldiers, who were guarding the church, suffered injuries in the incident and there was minor material damage. In Prizren unidentified people set about 20 houses in the Serbian quarter on fire. Elsewhere, Russian soldiers cleared a school in a village near Malisheva of mines. A uniformed UCK soldiers was killed by a sniper near the UCK headquarters in Prishtina.

RUGOVA MEETS U.S. LEGISLATORS. Moderate Kosovar leader Ibrahim Rugova discussed the situation in Kosovo with legislators from the U.S. Congress in Prishtina on 18 August, QIK reported. After the meeting Rugova called on all political parties and institutions of Kosovo to support the efforts of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and KFOR.

BRITAIN, U.S. REJECT FRENCH CONDEMNATION OF UCK. Diplomats who asked not to be named told an RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent in Brussels that British and U.S. ambassadors rejected a proposal by French diplomats to issue a joint NATO Council condemnation of the UCK on 18 August. The French diplomats suggested to denounce the UCK for failing to stick to its commitments for demilitarization and for failing to put an end to violence against ethnic Serbs and Roma in Kosovo. The diplomats agreed, however, to convey their criticism directly to the UCK. The NATO council will meet again next week. Meanwhile, a high ranking Finnish delegation will visit Kosovo next week and present the EU's concern about the continuing violence to ethnic Albanian leaders.