The KosovaPress reports that follow in transcript record a Kosovar Albanian view of events from June 22 and June 23 as Kosovars returned to their battle scarred republic. (See earlier transcripts in KosovaPress - The KLA And The Path To Peace (2) and KosovaPress - The KLA And The Path To Peace (1))
KosovaPress news agency reported from inside Kosovo throughout the period of air-strikes and was almost the only source of news from inside Kosovo during the period. (See also…Scoop Gold -Category: Miscellaneous Option: Military and Defence Issues for Kosovapress transcripts during the war.)
KosovaPress is a Kosovar Albanian press agency and is aligned to the KLA. Interestingly the KLA's views on disarmament are not surprisingly a little different than NATO's.
KosovaPress is available at http://www.kosovapress.com/
Solana: Kosova will remain under International Administration for long as it is needed
Paris, June 23, (Kosovapress)
The Secretary General of NATO, Javier Solana declared at a press conference in Paris that Kosova will remain under international administration for a period of at least three years. He said this will last until Kosova can undergo a complete resurrection both structurally and morally.
June 23, (Kosovapress)
Kaçanik: KLA forces have begun to reorganize and engage in cleaning the streets and repair destroyed homes in and around the area. Meanwhile, specialized units are working continuously towards clearing Kosova of the hundreds of thousands of mines set by Serb forces.
Kaçanik: The district of Kaçanik is now being supplied by many humanitarian organizations, including, Jeta from Skopje, El-Hilall, and an aid convoy from Mother Teresa which arrived this morning.
Deçan: In Gramaçel, three days ago, a private clinic and a school opened. All teachers and pupils, in particular, are asked to come back as soon as possible to recommence their studies interrupted by the Serb offensive. Bus service along the Junik-Gjakova route has also started. It is now reported humanitarian aid is finally getting through to the area, which was on its own for most of the first week of KFOR intervention.
Statement from the KLA General Staff: Nr. 80
Prishtinë, June 23, (Kosovapress)
1) The informative service of the Drenica Operational Zone has received information of the involvement of Sami, Vehbi and Gani Lutani with the Yugoslav Secret Service until 1995 and then their direct assistance with the Yugoslav Military Secret Service in Kosova.
Since September of last year they actively participated in crimes committed by the Serb military and police forces against civilians in the Drenica region and elsewhere throughout Kosova as well as they spy the activities of KLA members.
Upon learning ofg their activities, these three were surrounded on June 19 by KLA forces and asked to surrender. After they refused and started to fire on KLA police units, Vehbi and Gani Lutani were killed while Sami managed to escape. Two KLA police officers were injured.
2) On the June 22, 1999 KLA and KFOR representatives held a meeting in Prishtina. On the KFOR side the participants were the NATO General Commander, Mike Jackson, and all multinational Commanders of the KFOR forces while the vice Minister of Defence, Fatmir Lima, the Chief of Staff, Agim Çeku and all the local commanders of the KLA were present as well.
They spoke on how to effectively implement the agreement signed on June 21 which was written and signed by the political leadership of the KLA and the Chief of Staff, Agim Çeku.
Albanian President likens Hillary Clinton to "Mother Tereza"
Shkup, June 22, (Kosovapress)
The first lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton, was called "Mother Tereza" by Albanian President Meidani today. In a ceremony which brought Rexhep Meidani and his wife together to express their appreciation for Ms. Clinton's efforts in Macedonia.
92,640 Kosovars have returned to Kosova
Tiranë, June 22, (Kosovapress)
According for a Emergency commission set up for Kosova, 92 640 Kosovars have returned to Kosova. Nearly 90 percent of those in Kukës and Krumë have left their camping ground and have made it to the border where 79,484 arrived to Has to wait to enter Kosova.
Anyone who had their own transportation, including tractors have successfully filled their vehicles with needed materials and have returned to Kosova. Some have been seriously injured by mines and have been reportedly brought to the hospital in Kukës.
Solana: NATO will have to work with Albanians and Kosovars in the future
Tiranë, June 22, (Kosovapress)
Javier Solana, Secretary General of NATO said that NATO will have to work in the future more closely with Albania and Kosova. Before an audience in Budapest and in private meetings with Pandeli Majko, Prime Minster of Albania, he disgust the importance of Albanians in the future of the region and that NATO is looking forward to working with them in the future.
Solana promised Majko that we will visit soon Tiranë and Prishtinë. Prime Minster Majko said that since Albanians did so much to help in this war in Kosova that Albania deserves to participate in NATO. Majko said that he welcomes, in facts, demands that NATO troops remain in both Albania and the area for only they can stabilze the area.
Public Protest in Prishtina for the Freedom of Prisoners in Serbia
Prishtinë, June 22, (Kosovapress)
Around a thousand Kosovars gathered around a Serb prison in Prishtina today. There are grave concerns that the international community, when negotiating with the Serb regime terms of a Serb withdrawal, ignored subject of political prisoners. Serb police have taken hundreds of Kosovar Albanians with them as they left Kosova and there is growing concern these inmates will simply be killed.
The citizens of Kosova are pleading with the International Community to demand the immediate release of these captives inside Serbia.
Another protest will be organized on June 25th and it will begin at 17:30 in front of the Grand Hotel in Prishtina where the international press corps and KFOR has an important liaison office.
Bill Clinton Speaks to Kosovar Deportees in Macedonia
Macedonia, June 22 (Kosovapress)
The first thing I would like to do is to thank all the staff of these camps that came from all over the world, to help you in this grave situation.
The second thing I would like to say is that I have brought with me a number of people who helped me make sure that the USA and NATO did the right thing for the people of Kosova and they are also very proud to be here, and I want to thank them and, I hope you will thank them, Mr. Berger and all the people on our team because we are proud of what we did, because we think it's what America stands for, that no one ever should be punished and discriminated against, or killed or brutalized because of their religion or their ethnic heritage and we are honored to be here with you.
I just wanna say a couple of more words before the rain comes down.The first thing is that we are committed not only to making Kosova safe but to helping people rebuild their lives, rebuild their communities and then to helping Kosova and all the countries of the region build a brighter, more prosperous future based on respect for the human rights of all people.
I promised to all these wonderful people from all over the world who are here working for you, that I would also say this: I know a lot of people are anxious to go home, many have already left, but you know there are still a lot of landmines, in the ground, on the routes into Kosova and in many of the communities. We are bringing in the best people in the world to take those mines up. Every year the United States does more than half that work all round the world. It is hard work, it is dangerous work, you have suffered enough. I do not want any child hurt, I do not want anyone else to lose a leg or an arm or a child because of a land mine, so I ask you please be patient with this, give us a couple of more weeks to take the land mines up. So the people asked you to do that because you are going be able to go back in safety and security. I wanna make sure it is a happy return.
You have given my family and me a day we will remember for the rest of our lives. All we want is for you to be able to live your lives, but I ask you to remember that the US did not act alone, all of our NATO allies felt the same way, in Canada and in Europe and the president of the US never acts alone, it is the American people who care about you, who believe in you who want you to be free, who want you to be able to go home. Thank you. God bless you!
June 22, (Kosovapress)
Shtime: In Shtima German troops from KFOR and local administrators are working together to address the needs of the civilian population.
Shtime: Three children from Shtima, Aziz Çerkini (aged 10), Mehdi Tafolli (aged 15), and Halil Nezir Qarri (aged 12) were injured when they stepped on mines. Mehdi Tafolli (aged 15) died from his wounds and Shera Dalip Syla (aged 10) from Reçak of Shtime, who died two days ago of starvation, was delivered to the hospital of Prishtina.
Hani i Elezit: 60 percent of the deportees have returned to the region of Hani i Elezit. They are facing problems of food and water shortage because a great number of wells have been filled with animals killed by Serb forces. They are having problems in finding shelter and electricity.
Authorities in the health sector have appealed to all doctors to return to their work as soon as possible. Otherwise new staff will take their position.
In Prishtina the fourth victim of Serb criminals dies
Prishtine, June 22, (Kosovapress)
In Prishtina today, Nezir Tafë Gashi, one of four victims of a Serb attack on the 15th of June in the neighborhood Bregu i Diellit died. Nezir joins Venet Bajrami, Arianit Berisha and Uran Ajeti.
He will be buried on June 23, at 12 in the Matiçan cemetery.
Armed Serbs block the return of Albanians to their homes
Mitrovicë, June 22, (Kosovapress)
In the northern part of Mitrovica, where the Ibri river separates the city, armed Serbs are maltreating Albanian citizens who are trying to return to their homes. The French forces which make up part of the KFOR units, have acted arrogantly towards those Albanians and have caused concern here among local community leaders. Local administrators have issued a direct protest to KFOR leaders about the behavior of the French troops.
It is reported that the representatives of the "World Food Program" visited the administrator in Mitrovica and secured a storage space at the "Sloga" ex- sewing enterprise.
French soldiers have checked the location for mines. It is believed that the preparation should start tomorrow so that food can be quickly delivered to the needy inhabitants of the area. The KFOR soldiers thanked the Albanians for their co-operation.
It is also reported that the KFOR forces were interested in knowing if there are any Serb or Albanian civilians imprisoned in the Shala Operational Zone, and received a response that there were none.
The KFOR forces are stationed at the "Migjeni" primary school in Mitrovica and as they were cleaning the grounds they threw out a great percentage of the school's documents which upset local Albanians. Eventually, after protests, KFOR and Albanian representatives met to resolve the problem.
The KFOR forces were informed of the problem of an Albanian population who live in the western part of Mitrovica. There are 25.000 Albanians who were living there before their Serb neighbors violently deported them. A small number of those who remain are being maltreated by Serb security and paramilitary forces who have taken civilian clothes. Such abuse has taken place in front of French KFOR troops. Serb forces are walking freely throughout Mitrovica. They are armed and are blocking the return of Kosovar Albanians to their homes.
The mines at " Trepça" mine in Mitrovica are considered functional and Albanian engineers and miners have asked to be allowed to work the mines in order to avoid further damage to the site.
KFOR forces clear mines
Malishevë, June 22, (Kosovapress)
KFOR forces are working towards clearing mines laid by Serb forces in the village of Lubizhda located in the municipality of Malisheva. Until now, Rasim Paçarizi (aged 60) fell into the minefield and was badly injured.
A group of the Albanian MPs visit the Provisional Government of Kosova
Prishtinë, June 22, (Kosovapress)
Today in Prishtina, a group of Albanian Government deputees visited the provisional Government of Kosova. They were welcomed by Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi and his assistants at the Government headquarters. They discussed the latest political situation created in Kosova and in Albania, stressing the relationship between the two countries.
"MAKEDONSKA ZORA" claims responsibility for bomb in front of NATO command in Skopje
Skopje, June 22, (Kosovapress)
"Makedonska zora"(The Macedonian dawn) has since yesterday added its name to terrorist organisations. This organisation has claimed responsibility for the explosion that took place in front of NATO Command in Skopje. A few trucks were destroyed but no confirmation on casualties can be obtained.
A member of "Makedonska Zora" made an anonymous call to the pro-serb TV SITEL of Skopje and claimed responsibility for the attack and threatened more attacks as the US president was set to pay a visit to Skopje.
According to a local newspaper, "Dnevik" woman caller posted a call which was recoreded ten days ago as well. The woman made a plea to citizens over the radio program not to walk in the presence of NATO forces and to ban using US air companies. She said her organisation was formed a month ago and it's members are Macedonians, Gypsies, Asians, Muslims and Buddhist, but she did not mention Serbs were members of this organisation. The unnamed woman requested to "permit the transmission of Yugoslav State TV, so the "suffering of Serbs can be shown" reported "Dnevnik."
Interview with the Prof. Walter Reese-Schafer, of Hamburg University: Kosova's separation from Serbia is Inevitable
Essen, June 22, (Kosovapress)
Walter Reese-Schäfer professor of Political Science at Hamburg University is author of several books on Political Science, including "What is Communitarianism," and "The Moral God,"a two volume study of over 700 pages. Reese-Schäfer first worked for ten years for the Hamburg journals "Stern"and "Die Zeit." From 1992 he has been engaged in rebuilding the institutions of higher education in Eastern Germany, especially Halle and Wittenberg. He worked for one semester as a professor at the University of Essen. Professor Reese-Schäfer studied the thirty year war of the 17th century and the Westfallen agreement from which he has been inspired by the concept of a just war.
Kosovapress: You support the concept of a just war. Concerning this issue, you have often made comments in a journal at University of Essen that the war in Kosova is a just war. Can you elaborate?
Walter Reese-Schäfer: In the case of Kosova, it could not be expected that the UN could legitimate this war because the Security Council is blocked by China and Russia. In this case, it was necessary to see this as a just war and carry it out unilaterally. One of the reasons to see this as a just war is the unilateral aggression of the Serb state, like we did in the case of Kuwait. It is natural that any society would react against aggression of Belgrade's nature.
Kosovapress: Hashim Thaçi visited Bonn and spoke with Joschka Fischer. What is the position of the German government on the Provisional Government of Kosova?
Walter Reese-Schäfer: The German government is still not clear on this. They do know that speaking with Rugova is no longer of any worth and that he has lost his popularity. They now realise that Thaçi and his allies articulate the concerns of Kosovars and therefore must deal with them.
Kosovapress: In light of the G-8 agreement, what do you think of the Serbs role in Kosova will be for it seems unlikely they will work with a local parliament while they are still under the control of Belgrade?
Walter Reese-Schäfer: Yes I think this will be a big problem, almost unresolvable. A number of Serbs will not leave, they will remain in Kosova, especially those who did not commit crimes. Naturally, they should be given the chance to have representatives in the government.
Kosovapress: Throughout the discussions on Kosova, Russians insisted on having their own sector. Is the partition of Kosova an acceptable solution?
Walter Reese-Schäfer: I do not know, there are also situations with intermingled populations where this kind of separation is made. I do not think separating Kosova, however, would be a just solution since there is no clear cut way of separating the populations since they lived intermingled in so many places.
Kosovapress: Thaçi's government is now in Prishtina, what do you think should be the government's first step?
Walter Reese-Schäfer: The first step is to establish a civil administration. The people should have someone to whom they can voice their concerns, and this civil organization can help distribute aid and help rebuild the country. The repatriation of deportees should be the job of this civil organization. To help establish the legal standards and confirm property rights because it is known that documents have been destroyed. This way normality can be established. Free elections would be the second task, in particular local government to help establish a reliable civil society.
Kosovapress: Everyone is talking of a Marshall Plan. Do you think this can have an immediate impact on Kosova?
Walter Reese-Schäfer: Yes, if the help can arrive quickly. They will send a great deal of money because so many places will participate in this aid program. The next step will be the development of the economy, industry etc. which will depend on the local population.
Kosovapress: Albanian President Meidani has told the Friedrich Ebert Foundation that he foresees a future in which Kosova and Montenegro will be independent countries. These countries would be integrated into the European Union, but in the UN resolution there is no provision for a referendum like in Rambouillet. What will be the solution to the Kosova crisis once this international protectorate ends?
Walter Reese-Schäfer: The Security Council resolution, at the same time, said all the provisions of the Rambouillet agreement remain valid. Practically, political developments will lead Kosova towards the situation calling for a referendum. Imagine for a moment Kosova as an autonomous region in Serbia, that would mean Kosova would send its representatives to Belgrade, that is clearly not possible and this contradiction will ultimately force NATO and the West to find alternative solutions. I think it is inevitable that Kosova becomes independent.
Sokol Nikçi found Dead
Pejë, June 22, (Kosovapress)
It is reported that yesterday, a KLA reconnaissance unit of the 136th Brigade found the body of Sokol Zeqir Nikçi, who was killed by Serb police month and a half ago.
This discovery was made in the region of Rugova and its villages which has all been burned and there is no place where civilians can find adequate shelter.
KLA Commander: Those who thought the KLA would be destroyed miscalculated
Prishtinë, June 22, (Kosovapress)
The commander of the Llapi Operational Zone, Rrustem Mustafa - Remi, held a press conference with journalists who wanted more information concerning the agreement signed by the KLA and NATO. Commander Remi informed the journalists that after some constructive discussions the two sides reached an agreement which will lead to the transformation and the demilitarisation of KLA forces.
"The agreement was signed by the KLA General Staff Commander, Agim Çeku. Present at the meeting were the spokesman of the American State Department, James Rubin, representatives of the Provisional Government of Kosova and some KLA zone commanders," said commander Remi.
In response to a question about whether the KLA will disarm after this agreement is signed, commander Remi explained that " the agreement does not demand that we give up our arms. The arms will be gathered at certain places and the KLA will take care of them while NATO has a right to observe them. Those who thought that the KLA will be destroyed miscalculated."
Responding to a question about the KLA's priorities in the future, commander Remi said " the priority will be the transformation of the KLA which is not an easy problem to solve. I hope that we are going to form very soon a regular army."