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[Nettime-bold] Briefing 23-03-2001





Daily briefing from Macedonian press about Macedonian crisis

Daily briefing from international press about Macedonian crisis

Supplement 1: The Macedonian Government Spokesman's Answers to the most often asked questions by foreign journalists

Supplement 2 (visual): links to photos showing yesterday’s incident in Tetovo:


In Tetovo, about 11:50 a.m., two persons are killed in an attempt to commit a terrorist act over the security forces
This happened before the cameras of about 10 domestic and foreign TV teams who registered how the police on the police checkpoint on the exit of the city, near the municipality Drenoec, stopped the gray “Suzuki Maruti” with register plates TE – 425 –AN. The driver, 57 year-old R.K. and the passenger, the 38 year-old R.K., in the search process, unexpectedly brought out hand grenades. The policemen, noticing what the searched persons were taking out from their pockets, shouted out that the objects are hand grenades and started retreating towards the colleagues on the other side of the road. The elder man, although he made an attempt, didn’t succeed to throw the hand grenades, while the younger one, the passenger, succeeded to throw the hand grenade towards the police checkpoint, i.e. towards the two policemen from the patrol that retreated towards the machine gun nest to the opposite side of the road Vratnica – Tetovo. Fortunately, the thrown hand grenade of Chinese origin did not explode, after that the security forces opened machine gun fire in which the two attackers were killed on the spot. (“Utrinski Vesnik”)

Statement of Menduh Thaci about the killed terrorists
“That is what happens when cellular phones become hand grenades”, with these words the vice president of the PDPA-NDP, Menduh Thaci, commented yesterday’s evening event in Tetovo. (“Utrinski Vesnik”)

Police killed two civilians in Tetovo
Two men (R.K.- born in 1941 and R.K. - born 1963) were shot dead yesterday at downtown Tetova by government forces when their car got stopped at a police check-point. The incident was taped by journalists and broadcasted later on TV. Authorities claimed later that one of the men, found to be ethic Albanian, had hurled a grenade at the police. No explosion occurred though, and eyewitnesses have said to Albanian media that the men were shot after one of them waived with his wallet, where his driving license was. The men were previously verbally abused by police officers, eyewitnesses said. "This murder has brought my city at the brink of the civil war", Murteza Ismalili, the mayor of the ethnic Albanian Tetova says. (FAKTI, the Albanian language daily, reports)

Grave situation in Shara hillside The situation in Shipkovice village of Shara hillside, near the city of  Tetova, appears to be tense, Zulqufli Ajvazi, head of Shipkovice commune informs. The population has been short of food, medicaments and short of electricity since five years ago. Shipkovice is one of the areas mostly pounded by the Macedonian police. There have been considerable damages but there have been no injured. The Secretary General of “El Hilal’ Charity NGO, Behixhudin Shehapi says that considerable aid has been gathered for this area. ”We have not yet received the confirmation of the Macedonian police to distribute aid, while the civilian defence headquarters of Shipkovice has undertaken to distribute the aid," he said.(“Fakti”-albanian language daily)

Statement of the Macedonian Government Spokesman on the military activities
Asked why the Macedonian security forces haven’t conducted any activities after the Ultimatum, as announced, the Macedonian Government Spokesman, Antonio Miloshovski, replied: “ The Macedonian Government, as given in the Ultimatum, will engage all available means of our security forces, but I can’t comment on the manner in which this will be done and on the timing”. (“Nova Makedonija”)

Solana postponed the offensive of the Macedonian Army against the terrorists
Pressured by the international community, the Macedonian Army postponed the announced offensive against the Albanian terrorists, “Dnevnik” was informed by government sources. Javier Solana, European Union Foreign Policy Chief, after yesterday’s short stay in Skopje, left for Pristina. We have information that Solana will try to pressure the Kosovo political parties. Officially, his message is that they should publicly disassociate themselves from the terrorists, and at the same time try to convince the terrorists on Macedonian territory to lay down arms. “No one should be allowed to provoke extremism on the other side by means of armed extremism. The extremists are surely to be defeated, and the people should keep their nerve and continue to try to solve the problems with dialogue and elections”, this was the official statement given yesterday by the three European representatives – Javier Solana, Anna Lindh and Chris Patten during their short stay in Skopje. (“Dnevnik”)

Arben Xhaferi for “Süddeutsche Zeitung”
“I have nothing against the ideals of the National Liberation Army, but I don’t approve their means for realization of their requests. Violence does not lead to resolving of the problem”, stated the leader of the DPA (Democratic Party of the Albanians), Arben Xhaferi, for the German newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. According to him, the Macedonian Government should respect the international norms, and “if it represses civilians, the DPA will not accept that”. According to Xhaferi, the National Liberation Army is a result of the breaking up of Yugoslavia with the Albanian issue left open. (“Dnevnik”)

NDP (National Democratic Party) appeal for dialogue
“We have to start negotiations because the problem must be solved with political means”, stated Kastriot Hadziredza, the leader of the NDP. He is categorical in his view that the Macedonian Constitution is a priority issue that is to be discussed. He denies that NDP has any connection with the Albanian terrorists, nor that this party is some kind of political wing for them. “If an agreement is reached, those individuals will be isolated”, says Hadziredza. (“Dnevnik”)

Statement of Chris Patten, European Union Foreign Policy Commissionaire
“The violence in Macedonia is going to stand in the way of all efforts to economically revitalize Kosovo. Every month I must explain to the European Union why the support for the reconstruction of the province must be increased. The political reality is that if the political party leaders in Kosovo don’t disassociate themselves from the violence, it will be extremely hard for me to ask for more money for reconstruction”, is the message given by the European Union Foreign Policy Commissionaire, Chris Patten, directed to the leaders of the Kosovo Albanians, after the stay in Skopje. (“Vest”)

Macedonian Red Cross on the refugee situation
More than 14.000 temporarily migrated people from Tetovo and its surroundings have been registered by the Macedonian Red Cross. 6.500 refugees from Macedonia are registered in Albania, 850 in Kosovo, and 400 Tetovo inhabitants headed for Croatia. There is enough humanitarian aid for the refugees in the country for one month. The first aid is supplied by the International Red Cross Committee, stated Ilija Cvetanovski, president of the Macedonian Red Cross on the press conference held yesterday. The number of refugees is greater because not all refugees register in the municipal organizations of the Red Cross. (“Dnevnik”)

Macedonian Gathering for Peace in New York
On Monday, in front of the United Nations building, a protest gathering will be held under the motto “The Macedonians abroad for peace in Macedonia”. The main message of the gathering is the condemning of the violence in Macedonia provoked by the Albanian terrorist groups. The messages from the gathering, in which the University “Sv. Kiril i Metodij” is also engaged, will be handed to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. (“Vest”)


Western Officials Expect Albanian Insurgency Will Be Neutralized

"The situation in Macedonia is getting better," Javier Solana, the European Union's top diplomat said Thursday in Skopje. European officials, while expressing surprise at the Bush administration's apparent lack of interest in resolving the conflict, said Washington had played a useful supporting role in warning leaders in Kosovo and in Albania against aiding the rebels in Macedonia. So far, Mr. Solana and his NATO counterpart, Secretary-General George Robertson, seem to have worked as a smooth partnership. Western objectives now have become "integrity and isolation," Western officials said. To do that, the Skopje government - which has already done much to improve the status of ethnic Albanians in comparison to the era when Macedonia was part of Yugoslavia - is relying on the political parties representing the Albanian minority to reject any separatist movement. (Excerpts from International Herald Tribune)

Macedonia Fighting Spreads as Skopje Vows No Compromise
On the back of EU support, the guerrillas in the hills above Tetovo came under heavy fire Thursday after failing to use a government- imposed 24-hour respite to meet with Skopje's demands to surrender or withdraw. In a separate attack about nine miles west of Skopje, another police officer was seriously injured in a shooting blamed on the rebels. One of two policemen shot in a Skopje market Wednesday was reported to have died of his injuries. (Excerpts from Agence France Presse) What started as a routine search by local police, waving down Albanian drivers with a traffic lollipop, ended in a suicidal lunge by two men in the car who tried to strike a blow at the heart of the enemy with a grenade. The incident was the culmination of a month of attacks on Macedonian troops by ethnic Albanian rebels whose tactics have ranged from sniper fire to rocket fire on the Town Square. The rebels, who include ethnic Albanians from Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania have been trying to provoke a military crackdown and ignite the ethnic conflict between Slavic and Albanian Macedonians, which the Government in the capital, Skopje, has sought to quell. (Excerpts from The Times)

Macedonia will intensify the political dialogue
The visit by the European Union security chief, Javier Solana, Chris Patten, the European commissioner for external affairs, and the Swedish foreign minister, Anna Lindh, was welcomed by all politicians here. Late Wednesday night, as an ultimatum to the rebels to disband expired, Mr. Trajkovski announced: "After the end of the operation to neutralise the armed terrorists, we have agreed to intensify the political dialogue with all legitimate political parties on the open questions in inter-ethnic relations." (Excerpts from New York Times) Patten told CNN: "I think it would be wrong to try to involve them in any sort of dialogue. "I think that dialogue has to be with those who have deliberately chosen a political cause - the ballot box rather than the bullet and the bomb.”(Excerpts from CNN) Asked if the Europeans think that dialogue should come first, Mr. Solana said carefully: "What we have to avoid is giving the impression that any political dialogue is done because there is violence. But I think the sooner we start talking the better, so I think with that I've answered your question." {PRIVATE}(Excerpts from New York Times)

NATO pays price for letting extremists off the hook, Moscow offers help Nato troops and international agencies in Kosovo should have done more to disarm Albanian extremists and bring them to justice, senior British defence officials admitted yesterday. The defence sources said they were disillusioned with ethnic Albanian political leaders in Kosovo for not taking a more aggressive stand against the extremists.(Excerpts from Guardian)"Should such a request be made, Russia is prepared to provide military assistance to the armed forces of Macedonia and help end the conflict, disarming the rebels," said General Leonid Ivashov, the defence ministry top foreign policy official. Ivashov failed to specify what type of assistance Russia was willing to provide.(Excerpts from The New York Times)

Albanian wolves have shed their sheep’s clothing
Western cooperation with Belgrade and Skopje is a wholly unintended consequence for the ethnic Albanian guerrillas. Revenge is likely to be the most direct measure of progress for them, as it usually is with ex-victims who can suddenly do unto their tormentors as they were done unto. They want to expand and internationalise their conflict in hopes of mobilising Western sympathy and ultimately support against their Slav "oppressors," as the guerrillas' Kosovo brethren did in 1999. The nasty big political secret that the 1999 air war on Serbia obscured was that Albanians and their ethnic kin in Kosovo and Macedonia are distrusted and feared throughout the rest of Europe. They are stereotyped by their neighbours as human harbingers of instability, crime and drugs. European powers, which have generally tilted toward the Serbs, will now be tempted to say that the Albanian wolves have shed their sheep's clothing to pursue the dream of a greater Albania. NATO did not drive Milosevic out of Kosovo to enable ethnic Albanians to destabilise their neighbours or abuse the Serbs still in Kosovo. (Excerpts from the Washington Post) The new administration is frustrated that these residual problems from the Clinton-Gore era are interfering with the Bush-Cheney domestic and foreign policy agendas. At the outset of the Balkan war, Clinton said we had a "moral obligation" to bomb Kosovo to "protect and defend" the resident Albanian population from "genocide" at the hands of Yugoslav security forces. Now, Bush administration plans to start a phased withdrawal of our troops in the Balkans have been complicated by "helpless" Kosovar Albanians who have virtually invaded neighbouring Macedonia. (Excerpts from Washington Times)

Macedonia is not Kosovo
Condemnation of the rebels has been almost universal. OSCE described the rebels as "Albanian extremists" and said the government's response had been appropriate. (Excerpts from CNN) Robin Cook and Javier Solana, described Albanian guerrillas as "terrorists", a term previously used by Russia. In an implicit defense of the KLA's activities during the Kosovo war - and NATO's support for it - Mr. Cook argues that there is a huge difference between the "brutal" government of the former Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, and the multi-ethnic democratic government of Macedonia. "This is not Kosovo," said a senior defense official. (The Guardian) German chancellor Schroeder said that Macedonian Albanian community deserved "more reasonable treatment". He added that pressure should be stepped up on the "Albanian terrorists", and insisted: "Macedonia's territorial integrity must not be tempered with". (Excerpts from AFP)

Kosovo Albanian leaders urged rebels to lay down arms
Chris Patten said, "violence in Macedonia will wreck any effort to rebuild the economy in Kosovo". Alongside these warnings about aid the NATO controlled KFOR force has done little about the fighting in Macedonia. This is the first major crisis to confront the EU's new foreign policy and security apparatus. (Excerpts from The Irish Times)
Kosovo Albanian political leaders have bowed to international pressure and urged rebels in Macedonia to lay down their arms immediately and return home. "We, the leaders of the political parties in Kosovo, call on the extremist groups which have taken up arms on the territory of Macedonia to lay them down immediately and to return to their homes peacefully," the statement said. They also urged the Macedonian government to show restraint and to resolve the grievances peacefully." It was signed by Ibrahim Rugova, the leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo, and two former leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Hashim Thaci and Ramush Haradinaj. Western leaders, including members of the European Union and the United Nations, had made clear to Kosovo's leaders that they risked losing international aid and support if they were seen to back instability in Macedonia (Excerpts from CNN)


 · The official data from the last census, carried out on June 20, 1994, says that 22,9 percent of the population in Macedonia are ethnic Albanians. The census was officially recognised by the Council of Europe and the OSCE.   · The total number of members of the Parliament of Republic of Macedonia is 120. Since the last parliamentary elections in 1998 in the Parliament there are 25 MP's that are ethnic Albanians - 11 of them are from the DPA and 14 from the opposition PDP.   · In the current Macedonian Government, there is participation of three coalition partners: VMRO- DPMNE, the Democratic Party of the Albanians and the Liberal Party. The Government of Macedonia is composed of 15 ministers, and five of them (i.e. one third of the total members of the Government) are Albanians. Also, five deputy ministers are ethnic Albanians. For the first time, two ethnic Albanians have been elected Deputy Ministers in very delicate ministries - the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Internal Affairs. Moreover, since the beginning of 1999, for the first time the head of the police in Tetovo is an ethnic Albanian.   · Since gaining its independence, Republic of Macedonia has been paying significant attention to the inter-ethnic harmonization, as well as sustaining and development of all the ethnic and cultural identities.   · The political parties of the ethnic Albanians have participated in all Governments with their ministers and deputy ministers, directors of public enterprises etc. The efforts and achievements of the current Macedonian Government, regarding the improvement of the inter-ethnic relations and protection of the rights of the minorities, through everyday activities for greater integrating of all entities in the spheres of the social life, represent an evident proof for that.   · The percentage of ethnic - Albanian citizens employed in the public administration is showing significant and permanent growth. Having in mind that the percentage in 1993 equalled only 3 percent, we can say that it has been growing ever since, and is still growing, considering the fact that today that number exceeds 10 percent. The Government and the Parliament are supporting and welcoming the growth of the participation of the ethnic Albanians within the institutions of the system.   · On the last local elections, held in September 2000, 26 ethnic Albanians were elected mayors of municipalities, and the total number of municipalities in Macedonia is 123.   · The Draft-Law on altering and annexing the Law on Local Self-Government is in parliamentary procedure. The Law is supported by Council of Europe and it is improving the functional decentralisation and it will significantly extend the authorities of the municipal representatives, their higher independence in the decisions - making process, as well as independence in managing the budget.   · The unique system of education provides education for the Albanian youth in Albanian language in all subjects of the education curriculum from primary to university education. 30,41 percent (77496 pupils) of the total number of pupils in the primary education of the Republic of Macedonia are ethnic Albanians. They are assigned in 2986 classes, in the school year 2000/2001, and are educated in Albanian language. The primary and the secondary education in Macedonia are funded by the state.   · There are 15302 students of Albanian nationality, i.e. 17 percent, attending the education in the secondary education i.e. the high schools. They are assigned in 450 classes, including all fields of vocational and general high school education.   · A raising number of young Albanians are educated in both state universities in Skopje and Bitola. The university administrations and the Ministry of Education pledge for involvement of bigger number of students from different nationalities. Both of the state universities are implementing an "affirmative action" for years - a special quota according to the census population, out of the quota of the regular students. By such an affirmative action it is ensured that there will be 22,3% Albanians within the new accepted students.

· The “Law on Usage of the Languages of the Nationalities in the Pedagogical Faculty in Skopje ”, passed 1997, anticipates a bigger number of students, who will be educated in the languages of the nationalities. At the moment the Pedagogical Faculty in Skopje produces a sufficient number of teaching personnel, including teachers in various kindergartens and teachers in the elementary schools that will meet the needs of the Albanian children. The head of the faculty, the dean, is of Albanian nationality, while the professors-Albanians, in accordance with the percentage, participate in the professors ’ council i.e. in the administration. Furthermore, a Department of Albanian Language and Literature has been established within the frameworks of the Faculty of Philology.   · The new Law on Higher Education, passed last fall, enables founding of a South-Eastern Europe Private University in Tetovo, which bridges the issue of the higher education of the Albanians in Macedonia. This University is due to commence its work with the first generation of students this fall. The adoption of the new Law on Higher Education was supported by the OSCE and the EU, and was supported by various political parties.   · The informative system includes a remarkable number of media in Albanian language. There are 64 newspapers, magazines and other periodicals in Albanian language registered in the Agency of Information, out of which 4 are daily newspapers, 12 weekly and 25 monthly newspapers. Albanians have also registered many electronic media – radio and TV stations, which are broadcasting in Albanian language. Furthermore, the second channel of the Macedonian National Television, as a public state owned national broadcasting service, broadcasts at least 6 programs in the languages of the nationalities every day - more than 70 % (at least 4 hours) is in Albanian language. In many occasions, the Macedonian Television also organizes and broadcasts festivals and other cultural events in Albanian language. The preparation of the third channel of the Macedonian Television is on its way. The purpose of this channel is to broadcast program only in the languages of nationalities, mainly the Albanian language.   Shortly, the Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia have everything that any other citizen has, regardless of whether he is Turkish, Macedonian, Roman or Serb.   Because Macedonia is a democratic country in which it is not forbidden talking openly and loudly concerning any particular issue. The doors of democracy are open for everyone, but there is not place for Kosovo ’s terrorists in our country.   In the Balkans and the wider region there is not a country that has such a democracy and inter-ethnic improvement like Macedonia does. When you compare the human rights and life conditions in this region, you can get a conclusion that an ethnic Albanian would rather choose to live in Macedonia than in Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo or even Albania.   If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am looking forward to answer your questions or to give you an assistance regarding the actual situation in Macedonia.  Respectfully yours,  Antonio Milososki,  Spokesman of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia  If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to { HYPERLINK "mailto:milososki@mail.com" } contact me { HYPERLINK "http://mailto:milososki@mail.com" } mailto:milososki@mail.com  source: Antonio Milosovski


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