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[Nettime-bold] Briefing 22-03-01
"EURO-BALKAN" INSTITUTE ON MACEDONIAN CRISIS
Daily briefing from Macedonian press about Macedonian crisis
Daily briefing from international press about Macedonian crisis
Supplement 1: Conclusions from the last evening meeting of President Boris Trajkovski with the leaders of political parties
Supplement 2: Security Council resolution number 1345 from 21 March 2001 condemning extremist violence and terrorist activities
Supplement 3: Professor Reufer's analysis of the roots of Macedonian crisis: NLA is the paramilitary wing of the Albanian mafia
DAILY BRIEFING FROM MACEDONIAN PRESS ABOUT MACEDONIAN CRISIS
The situation in Tetovo is slowly settling
The special army forces, the popular “wolfs” and the special police “tigers”, the evening before yesterday, in several regions of Shar Planina, in the Tetovo region, cleared the terrain from which the terrorists attacked the city, “Dnevnik” is informed by high military sources. There is no official information for eventual casualties or wounded in the action for clearing the terrorists, but the calm situation in Tetovo yesterday speaks that the action was a success and that the terrorists have scattered away. Army – police sources and the local inhabitants from Tetovo speculate there were about 200 dead extremists in the hurricane fire that was showered over the terrorists’ positions. The terrorists, according to agency news, announced yesterday morning that they will renounce our Government’s Ultimatum, that they are capable to oppose the offensive of the Macedonian security forces and that they will turn to urban guerilla, relocating the terrorist actions in the cities. (“Dnevnik”)
Policeman brutally murdered
A policeman was killed and one was wounded yesterday about 2.20 p.m. in the cellular phone store “Bejmobil” in the shopping center “Chairchanka” in the vicinity of Jaja-Pasha in Skopje. The policeman died on the way to the City Hospital, and the wounded one is in stable condition and is hospitalized in the clinical center in Skopje. The police arrested 3 persons suspected for this killing. According to unofficial information, the policemen were shot at from behind by two people that fled immediately after the act. The policemen were sitting in the store “Bejmobil”, and the attackers got close to the store and fired three or four bullets at the policemen through the window. According to police sources, there was no contact whatsoever between the murderers and the policemen before the attack. (“Dnevnik”)
The terrorists collect “war tax”
It is being informed that leaflets with threatening contents are left under the doors of houses of Albanians in the Tetovo region. In the contents of the leaflets the terrorists make death threats to the families if the owner of the home does not pay 5.000 – 7.000 DM. (“Dnevnik”)
The President, Boris Trajkovski, meets with representatives of the political parties
The state president Boris Trajkovski after the newly occurred situation, yesterday at 6:00 p.m. met with the representatives of the political parties. Conclusions from this meeting were announced. The president and the vice president of PDP (Party for Democratic Prosperity) – Imer Imeri and Abduladi Vejseli left the meeting with the state President, Boris Trajkovski, only half an hour after its start. Reasons for this action are not given, but Imeri informed that the coordinator of the parliament member group, Naser Ziberi, remained at the meeting as a representative of the PDP. Unofficially, we are informed that the delegacy of the PDP, yesterday at 3:00 p.m. met with the state President. Before yesterday’s meeting with Trajkovski, leadership representatives of the DPA (Democratic Party of the Albanians) and VMRO- VMRO, Menduh Thaci and Boris Stojmenov, gave short statements on the current security situation. The Vice president of the DPA Menduh Thaci is against the Ultimatum set by the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Defense to the armed groups. Concerning the incident in the shopping center “Chairchanka”, it is undoubtedly a criminal act, stated Thaci. (“Nova Makedonija”)
The PDP will “freeze” its representatives if there is any attack after the Ultimatum
The undertaking of an “aggressive armed action” after the ending of the Ultimatum of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Defense will force the Party for Democratic Prosperity to “freeze” its participation in the Parliament, to review the signing of the common declaration between the PDP and the DPA signed with the mediation of Javier Solana and will support cooperation with the other Albanian parties for political action, it is said in the announcement of the PDP. That party believes that the Government has no legitimacy for governing the country and every command for the continuation of the armed attacks in which there will be civil casualties and destruction of inhabited areas, will be considered illegitimate. (“Dnevnik”)
Statement of Zoran Vitinov, spokesman of the Socialist Party of Macedonia
The Socialist Party of Macedonia, according to the spokesman Zoran Vitinov, evaluates the battle of the Albanian terrorists as an act for getting territory and ethnic cleansing of Macedonian’s, that is why the Party asks for a concrete action by NATO. Vitinov appealed to the political leaders, first of all to Arben Xhaferi, to be clear and stabile in their views and to be consistent in the making of terrain. Vitinov explained that they have information, confirmed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, that some City Mayors from the DPA are actively involved in the mobilization of Albanians in the terrorist groups. (“Makedonija Denes”)
Part of Mr. Bodo Hombach’s statement – Chief Coordinator of the Stability Pact, during his visit to Skopje
Asked whether he supports negotiations between Macedonia and the terrorists, Hombach denied explicitly that he has said or even implied that Macedonia should negotiate with the people from the mountains. On the contrary, he supports the opposite. He considers that, as politicians, it would be irresponsible if we undermine Arben Xhaferi at this moment. “We are fortunate that there are still such people with authority on all sides. If we now undermine his whole 10 years’ parliamentary work and think that it is right to throw stones or fire from “kalashnikov’s”, then we are really insensible. That is why I want to state very clearly that our dialogue partners are the representatives of the Albanian parties in the Parliament”, answered Hombach. (“Nova Makedonija”)
K-FOR insists that it doesn’t let armed groups from Kosovo to come over
K-FOR’s patrol, the day before yesterday in the vicinity of Debelde, arrested an individual suspected to be a member of an armed group of ethnic Albanians, informed the spokesman of the support headquarters of K-FOR, the lieutenant colonel Martin Tracy. According to him, the chances of guerilla groups crossing the Macedonian border are small, and in case the K- FOR patrols notice any armed groups on the Kosovo side, their measure will be the one of warning. He had no information on eventual attempts of illegal groups or refugees to cross the border. At the moment. Tracy doesn’t consider that the situation in Macedonia has escalated and that their measures have effect, but he does not say on which grounds this conclusion is made. What is important to them is the stabilization of the situation in Macedonia and they are working in this name together with the Macedonian authorities. (“Dnevnik”)
Haxhirexha explains why he refused to sign Sollana’s Declaration
‘PARTIAL SOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN OFFERED TO US’
NDP leader Kastriot Haxhirexha says that he did not sign the statement because the offered Declaration was biased, and the offered solution was more than partial. He says the statement aims to blame only the Albanians. “We are all aware of the fact that the generator of the crisis and of all that has been going on in Macedonia is the Constitution itself. If we are to open a dialogue between the Macedonians and Albanians, than the changing of the Constitution is the first issue on which we should negotiate.” The main remark regarding the offered document is that the document foresees to open a dialogue on issues that have already been opened. According to Haxhirexha, this means that after the relaxation of the situation, the dialogue will concentrate on some Third TV channel or the decentralization of the local governance. “This does not even match the main demands of the Albanians. Both Solana and other foreign diplomats consider the Constitution as a taboo, and still they prefer to discuss on other issue, and only after a certain time span to analyze the Constitution. My feeling is that the foreign diplomats think that if the discussion on Constitution opens, than the Macedonian side will be loosing. But it is the opposite.” (“Fakti”)
DAILY BRIEFING FROM INTERNATIONAL PRESS ABOUT MACEDONIAN CRISIS
Secretary General on the situation in the FYROM (Press Release excerpts)
The North Atlantic Council has today approved a further package of measures designed to enhance stability in the Southern Balkans and demonstrate its firm support for the multi- ethnic government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. NATO is absolutely committed in its support of the government in Skopje as it faces the challenge of extremist groups, whose violent activities we totally condemn. We reject any attempt at the forcible changing of borders. We stand fully behind the sovereignty, stability, and the territorial integrity of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. A further review has shown such activities can be further increased, and more troops will now be sent to the border area.
Simitis call for active NATO involvement, no sign of reinforcement
None of the NATO members is ready to send reinforcement to secure Kosovo-Macedonia border, even though General Secretary Robertson requested two additional battalions ten days ago. As Daily telegraph finds out, NATO allies are frustrated by the passive behavior of the American KFOR troupes, under whose control is the most endangered part of the border. (Excerpts from Tanjug) Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said the Alliance should not treat a situation created by its own actions with indifference. He categorically ruled out unilateral action and stressed that Greece would act within the framework of NATO and the European Union. Simitis also ruled out sending Greek troops to FYROM. (Excerpts from ANA)
Albanian rebels offer last-minute cease-fire
Ethnic Albanian rebels offered an unlimited cease-fire last night to permit talks on a peaceful solution to the conflict in Macedonia as Britain studied options to help FYROM to defeat the guerrilla fighters in the hills above the city of Tetovo. (Excerpts from The Times)
KLA is ready to fight in Skopje
A member of the UCK (KLA)'s general staff, Sadri Ahmeti, says there are around 2,000 fighters in Tetovo and around 6,000 in the country as a whole. "If we had wanted to capture Tetovo, we would already have done so, but we want to avoid a civil war that would turn into a bloodbath. We want only to negotiate." "La Repubblica" yesterday quoted Ahmeti saying the rebels have been training for at least six months in areas of Gostivar, Skopje, Kumanovo, and Kicevo. He said others are joining their ranks following a recent appeal by the UCK for all able-bodied men. "UCK is ready at any time to take the fighting into the streets of Skopje". He told Reuters that he favours annexing the Albanian- inhabited districts of western Macedonia to Kosovo, instead of introducing a federal system in Macedonia. (Excerpts from Radio free Europe/ Radio Liberty) "We want Macedonian forces to withdraw from our territories," he told the New York Times. In other words, the NLA seem to want political and territorial autonomy within Macedonia, a project that could lead to the break-up of the country. (Excerpts from IWPR)
Guerrilla groups act according to KLA playbook
Presevo Valley borders eastern Kosovo and northern Macedonia and falls inside a buffer zone created at the end of the Kosovo war, into which neither NATO nor Yugoslavia can send troops. That's created a vacuum into which Albanian nationalist guerrillas have moved, hoping to annex the territory, to Kosovo and ultimately into a "Greater Albania." In Macedonia, guerrilla groups with links to the KLA claim to be fighting to "liberate" territory for that country's ethnic-Albanian minority, which constitutes close to one third of Macedonia's population. Their strategy appears to be taken from the KLA playbook: mount small- scale attacks on government forces in order to goad the authorities into overreacting, in the hope that this will boost local and international support for the guerrillas (Excerpts from Time)
Jacques Rupnik, Balkan specialist analyses the Macedonia crisis
Opened issue of Kosovo status made the existence of SR Yugoslavia undefined. Albanian extremists saw it as a chance", said Jacques Rupnik, Balkan specialist in the International Studies Centre in Paris. In an interview for "Liberation", he says international community has only a week or two to prevent a war in Macedonia. "I'm not sure that "Greater Albania" dream defines their movement. More reliably we can talk of Greater Kosovo, the cradle of Albanian nationalism. The resolution 1244 is totally confronted with the reality - saying that Kosovo is a part of SRY, when in fact it is excluded from SRY with the exact resolution. The aim of protectorates is to postpone the answers of the tough questions," he concluded. (Excerpts from SENSE)
Albanian Students Ready to Fight
Saying they were ready to fight, thousands of ethnic Albanian University students marched through Pristina to show support for the rebel campaign in Macedonia. Asked if they were ready to take up arms, one of them said: "Of course, at any moment." "All that are here are saying stop the terror of Macedonian police against Albanians in Macedonia," said Blerim Arifi, a 20- year-old student who was leading the march with his body draped in the Albanian national flag. (Excerpts from Associated Press)
Macedonian weapons poor, the rebels unorganised
Most of the weapons they're carrying are of World War II vintage, although there are a few AK-47s. The rebel force probably numbers a few hundred, but they're getting new volunteers all the time. We saw a steady flow of young men moving into the rebel-controlled zone. They don't appear to be very organised at this stage, or to have the resources to open up new fronts. I don't think these rebels are going to go away or be eliminated, and with their cease-fire offer there is more pressure for the government to recognise them as a political entity. Up until now, it has refused to talk to the armed group. But mounting an offensive could also prove disastrous for the government. (Excerpts from The Time)
University is the Core of Macedonian Crisis Says OSCE
A festering dispute over university instruction in Albanian lies at the heart of the rebellion by guerrillas in Macedonia, the OSCE's Minority Rights commissioner said. Radical Albanians running an unrecognised university in Tetovo are backing rebels in the hills and some pupils have joined the fighters, said Max van der Stoel. Radicals, led by the rector Fadil Sulejmani, were unwilling to compromise, ignoring international efforts to address their complaint by paying for a private Albanian university that will be recognised by the Macedonian state. "Mr Sulejmani is well known for his extremist views and his dislike for Macedonia.There are close links between him and the new party that backs the rebels, the National Democratic Party (PDK)," said Van der Stoel. (Excerpts from Reuters)
SUPPLEMENT 1: CONCLUSIONS FROM THE LAST EVENING MEETING OF PRESIDENT BORIS TRAJKOVSKI WITH THE LEADERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES
1. The Macedonian President, Boris Trajkovski, and the leaders of the parliamentary political parties are for a quick and efficient neutralization of the armed extremist groups. The use of weapons for political goals is strongly condemned.
2. It is urgent that the Macedonian Army settles on the Macedonian border and ask K- FOR to take measures to reinforce the control on the other side of the border.
3. After the actions for neutralization of the armed extremist groups are conducted, the political dialogue of all legitimate political parties is to be intensified on all open issues in the inter-ethnic relations and the finding of adequate solutions. The dialogue is to be lead in the frames of the system institutions in the direction of building a clear civil concept. All political parties agree and give total support concerning the issue of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Macedonia.
SUPPLEMENT 2: SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION NUMBER 1345
The full text of resolution 1345 (2001) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its resolutions 1160 (1998) of 31 March 1998, 1199 (1998) of 23 September 1998, 1203 (1998) of 24 October 1998, 1239 (1999) of 14 May 1999 and 1244 (1999) of 10 June 1999 and the statements of its President of 19 December 2000 (S/PRST/2000/40), 7 March 2001 (S/PRST/2001/7) and 16 March 2001 (S/PRST/2001/8),
"Welcoming the steps taken by the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to consolidate a multiethnic society within its borders, and expressing its full support for the further development of this process,
"Also welcoming the plan put forward by the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to resolve peacefully the crisis in certain municipalities in southern Serbia, and expressing encouragement for the implementation of political and economic reforms designed to reintegrate the ethnic Albanian population as full members of civil society,
"Welcoming international efforts, including of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, the International security presence in Kosovo (KFOR), the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in cooperation with the Governments of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and other States, to prevent the escalation of ethnic tensions in the area,
"Further welcoming the contribution of the European Union to a peaceful solution to the problems in certain municipalities in southern Serbia, its decision substantially to increase the presence of the European Union Monitoring Mission there on the basis of its existing mandate, and its wider contribution to the region,
"Welcoming the cooperation between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the authorities of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in addressing the security problems in parts of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and certain municipalities in southern Serbia,
"1. Strongly condemns extremist violence, including terrorist activities, in certain parts of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and certain municipalities in southern Serbia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and notes that such violence has support from ethnic Albanian extremists outside these areas and constitutes a threat to the security and stability of the wider region;
"2. Reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act;
"3. Reiterates its strong support for the full implementation of resolution 1244 (1999);
"4. Demands that all those who are currently engaged in armed action against the authorities of those States immediately cease all such actions, lay down their weapons and return to their homes;
"5. Supports the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in their efforts to end the violence in a manner consistent with the rule of law;
"6. Underlines the need for all differences to be resolved by dialogue among all legitimate parties;
"7 Further underlines the requirement for all parties to act with restraint and full respect for international humanitarian law and human rights;
"8. Welcomes the efforts of the Government of Albania to promote peace in the region and isolate extremists working against peace, and encourages it, and all States to take all possible concrete steps to prevent support for extremists, taking also into account resolution 1160 (1998);
"9. Calls on Kosovo Albanian political leaders, and leaders of the ethnic Albanian communities in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, southern Serbia and elsewhere, publicly to condemn violence and ethnic intolerance and to use their influence to secure peace, and calls on all those who have contact with the extremist armed groups to make clear that they have no support from any quarter in the international community;
"10. Welcomes the efforts of KFOR to implement resolution 1244 (1999) in cooperation with the authorities of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and calls on KFOR to continue further to strengthen its efforts to prevent unauthorized movement and illegal arms shipments across borders and boundaries in the region, to confiscate weapons within Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and to continue to keep the Council informed in accordance with resolution 1160 (1998);
"11. Calls on States and appropriate international organizations to consider how they can best give practical help to efforts in the region further to strengthen democratic, multiethnic societies in the interests of all and to assist the return of displaced persons in the areas in questions;
"12. Calls on all States in the region to respect each other's territorial integrity and to cooperate on measures that foster stability and promote regional political and economic cooperation in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the basic principles of the OSCE and the Stability Pact for South East Europe;
"13. Decides to monitor developments on the ground carefully and remain actively seized of the matter."
e) SUPPLEMENT 3: PROF. REUFER'S ANALYSIS ON THE ROOTS OF MACEDONIAN CRISIS - NLA IS A PARAMILITARY WING OF THE ALBANIAN MAFIA
A leading criminologist said Wednesday that the rebels fighting in the hills of Macedonia and southern Serbia are the paramilitary wing of an Albanian mafia exporting drugs and trafficking in humans to Europe and beyond.
"Every mafia needs two things -- a safe home territory, and a diaspora. The Albanians now have the diaspora through the refugees from the Kosovo war. Their home base is in these areas," said Xavier Raufer, a researcher at the Paris Institute of Criminology and author of "The Albanian Mafia."
The guerrillas stated aim is to protect the ethnic Albanian minority in Macedonia, which they claim is oppressed by the Slavic majority, and although their latest offensive has been condemned around the world, international bodies have called on Skopje to do more to ensure equal rights.
But Raufer said that since NATO and the United Nations took over Kosovo it has become a lawless paradise for organized crime, and the latest guerrilla offensives on the margins of the province are a fight to control two key points on a smuggling route dubbed the "Balkans Golden Triangle".
Guerrillas based in a demilitarized zone on the Kosovo border last year seized control of the southern Serbian town of Veliki Trnovac, which experts regard as a key depot on the route bringing heroin and immigrants from Turkey and central Asia into Europe.
The rebel-held town, which Raufer describes as a Balkan "Medellin", a reference to the centre of Colombia's most notorious drugs cartel, is a prosperous settlement connected to Kosovo by forest tracks.
In January, armed rebels in the uniform of the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (LAPMB) were seen guarding the route and teams of civilian workmen were maintaining the forest roads.
Mercedes saloons and four-wheel-drive trucks kept a constant stream of traffic over the border and in a Kosovar village on the other side a taxi rank was kept busy by the flow of passengers and produce back and forth.
The rigorously enforced honour code of the Albanian clans -- the so-called "besa" -- is as strong an incentive to keep quiet as the Mafia's law of omerta but some Albanian Kosovars privately admit that Veliki Trnovac is a drug smuggling centre.
And one western intelligence expert, who requested anonymity, said of the town: "It is always one of the points marked in red in maps of the international drug routes."
For Raufer there is no question that much of the motivation for the rebel offensive was to secure control of the route to ease smuggling operations.
He said Italy's police intelligence service regard the LAPMB, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and Macedonia's National Liberation Army (NLA), as linked to a criminal conspiracy of Balkan clan-chiefs, gangsters in the diaspora and former members of the Albanian secret service, the SHIK.
Raufer said Tetovo, the northeast Macedonian town that is the scene of the latest fighting, is the power-base of a wealthy Kosovar Albanian identified by NATO as one of the leading crime figures.
"The guerrillas want to drive the police and the army from this territory to give them a free hand to pursue their business interests," he said.
Principally these interests involve smuggling of drugs and of people, both illegal immigrants and kidnapped sex-slaves, most of which end up being passed across the Albanian-speaking area of the Balkans to the Adriatic ports of Vlore and Durres, and thence to Italy where the gangs have alliances with the original mafia.
A British police officer told the BBC this week that thousands of women were arriving in Britain to work as prostitutes for Albanian pimps, a problem which has been reported by officials in Italy, France, Germany and Scandinavia.
Figures collected for Raucher's book suggest that up to 70 percent of the heroin consumed in Switzerland, Austria and Germany has been brought in by Albanian gangs, who are also active in burglary and money-laundering. (AFP)
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