Kalina Bunevska Isakovska on 26 Mar 2001 08:41:14 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Briefing 24-03-2001 "EURO-BALKAN" INSTITUTE ON MACEDONIAN CRISIS


a)	Daily briefing from Macedonian press about Macedonian crisis
b)	Daily briefing from international press about Macedonian crisis
c)	Supplement 1: U.S. President's Statement On U.S. Joining Allies And UN In Condemning Violence In Macedonia
d)	Supplement 2: Chronology of the Macedonia Conflict
e)	Supplement 3: Statement by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Severin on Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo


The tension in Tetovo continues  
An Albanian terrorist sniper nest was destroyed in the fire yesterday at about 3:00 p.m. from the side of the Macedonian security forces located in the neighborhood of the City Stadium. After the occasional gunshots in the early afternoon hours, the police forces noticed two snipers on the hill Beltepe when immediate action was taken. The conflicts ended at about 2:00 a.m. the evening before yesterday after midnight, after that only occasional conflict occurred. In the period between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., a round of mortar shellfire was noticed from several positions in the city. The target of the grenades were locations of the terrorists behind the Old Tetovo Fortress and Beltepe, i.e. the region of the villages Gorno Balchishte, Selce and Jermo. Several grenades struck the top of the Old Tetovo Fortress. ("Dnevnik")

Albanian terrorists in the village Grachani in the neighbourhood of Skopje
A few dozen heavily armed Albanian terrorists are stationed in the houses of the village Grachani, that is 7 km from Skopje. The terrorists, from this position the day before yesterday at about 5:00 p.m., opened mortar shellfire at the Macedonian police in that region of the Macedonian-Yugoslav border in the part towards Kosovo. The attack of the Albanian terrorists from Grachani was supported from several positions of guerrilla formations from the territory of Kosovo, so again the Macedonian security forces were caught in crossfire. The inhabitants of the nearby village Kuchkovo, only 2 km from Grachani complain that there are not enough policemen on the terrain. ("Dnevnik")   

The Macedonian Government appeals to the civilians from the region where the terrorists' positions are
"We appeal all civilians and citizens not to leave their homes and become hostages of the terrorists that act against the Macedonian security forces from their villages", stated the spokesman of the Macedonian Government, Antonio Miloshoski. He said that Macedonia is prepared to find accommodation for all, as well as food and to guarantee them safety."This is the first case in world history that a sovereign state is under aggression from a territory under international protection", said Miloshoski. ("Vest")

Vahid Saiti from the PDP (Party for Democratic Prosperity) caught with two hand grenades in his car
The presidency member of the PDP, Vahid Saiti, was arrested by the police two days ago, not as a suspect for the murder of the two policemen in the shopping center "Chairchanka", but for illegal possession of two hand grenades, as we are informed by sources from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. As they say in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, two days ago in the afternoon, on the road near the Kumanovo village, Lipkovo, Vahid Saiti was stopped and his car searched by the police. The police found two hand grenades in his car. Saiti was immediately arrested, and the Kumanovo police filed two complaints for illegal possession of firearms and explosive devices. The president of the PDP, Ymer Ymeri and the parliament member Naser Ziberi, in the name of the party, two days ago, strongly protested against Saiti's arrest to the Macedonian authorities. The PDP spokesman, Zahir Bekteshi, stated yesterday that the party still doesn't have any official information from the ministry of In!
ternal Affairs on Saiti's arrest. He considers this to be "a form of pressure to the PDP", and added that someone has something against the activity of this party. PDP requested the arrested Saiti to be immediately released. ("Dnevnik")

A peaceful protest in Pustec - Mala Prespa, Republic of Albania
In Pustec, Mala Prespa, two days ago, a peaceful protest was held, on which more that a thousand Macedonians expressed their support to the Macedonian Government concerning the latest events in the country. "We have gathered with great responsibility because of the concern that we feel about the difficult situation in our native country and to raise our voice against the Albanian terrorism in Macedonia", said, among other things, the president of the association "Prespa", Edmond Temelko, in his speech before the gathered. According to Temelko, for the practice of their rights in Albania, the Macedonians have chosen dialogue and peaceful solving through the state institutions in accordance with the laws and the Constitution of the Albanian State. "The Albanians in Macedonia have schools, even an university in Albanian, as well as an Albanian party in the Government Coalition. It is clear to us that there are no theoretical chances to compare the rights that we have, with their !
rights, but our way to achieve our rights is dialogue and tolerance", stated Temelko. ("Dnevnik")

Appeal of the Islamic Community in Macedonia
The Islamic Community in Macedonia makes efforts with all available means to keep the peace and stability. Justice and stability are reached with dialogue and mutual understanding, not with arms. This was stressed by reis ul ulema Arif effendi Emini after his meeting with Vatican's ambassador for Slovenia and Macedonia, Edmond Farhat. On the meeting, the guest showed special interest in the view of the Islamic Community on the situation in Macedonia and its opinion on the overcoming of this crisis. ("Dnevnik)

Permanent Council decides to strengthen OSCE mission to Macedonia
Because of the escalation of violence in Macedonia, OSCE decided to temporarily strengthen the monitoring mission of OSCE in Macedonia. In the passed document it is stated: "In this way the number of OSCE mission members in Skopje will be doubled from 8 to 16. The additional members will work on the border region with the intention to improve the mission's position for monitoring and reporting on the events in that area. They will also have other duties in accordance with the missions mandate". ("Makedonija Denes")


Holbrooke: "If necessary-with force" 
A new Balkan war is threatening from Tetovo, "and the detonation cord is an old dream called 'Great Albania'. The attempt to realize it can provoke regional explosion", says the representative of USA's former president for the Balkans and one of the creators of the Dayton Agreement, Richard Holbrooke, in the interview with the publisher and head editor of the renown German weekly Die Zeit". Holbrooke recommends the Albanian leaders to revise the situation "of what we have done for them in Kosovo and what they are now doing to the Macedonians". "The former leaders of the Liberation Army of Kosovo", "must be taken responsible for the doings of their relations in Tetovo". German NATO troops around Tetovo must be strengthened and "if necessary use force". Asked if the West is really prepared to risk human lives, because they can't bomb the Albanian extremists from above, but must use military troops, Holbrooke replied "Ones own casualties are not law". (Excerpts from SENSE)

Macedonia today reminds us of developments in Chechnya
"What is happening in Macedonia today reminds us of developments in Chechnya... We're witnessing absolutely the same thing in Macedonia," said Russian President Vladimir Putin at a new conference after talks with European Union Leaders. (Excerpts from Reuters) Putin suggested that unless ethnic Albanian insurgents in Slav-dominated Macedonia are dealt with "in a robust manner" - much as Russia did with Chechen rebels - unrest in that country "will create the conditions for shaking Europe in its very heart. I am not confident that other countries in the region are secure" (Excerpts from Associated Press)

Separatist aim to confront the ethnic groups
The Chief of German Diplomacy Joseph Fisher stated on the press conference that now "it is evident that the strategy of the Albanian extremists and the leaders of the Liberation Army of Kosovo is not to occupy or disintegrate part of the Macedonian territory with military action, because they neither have the strength nor the knowledge". "Their aim is to confront the largest ethnic groups in Macedonia and to in a long run realize their separatist ideas about the namely impossible coexistence", stated Fisher. (Excerpts from SENSE)

Nothing can be solved with war in Macedonia
"The presence of hope and danger is in the same proportion for Macedonia and Kosovo", stated Bernard Kouchner on a meeting in Lyon as Health Minister in the French Government. "The current conflict, which I hope will be resolved in a few days, witnesses the Albanian population's mistrust in Macedonia, in Serbia and in Kosovo in the future. There are 30% Albanians, and only 3% are in administration, police, judicial authorities, educational institutions." In his opinion, changes in that direction is a political endeavour that Macedonia must make. "Macedonia should receive unreserved support, as well as the Albanian parties who are against violence and whoa are reasonable enough to take actions for a place in the Government and peaceful, democratic solving of all open issues. The extremists should in no respect triumph". (Excerpts from SENSE)
Macedonia Annans biggest concern
NATO secretary-general George Robertson said Macedonia had succeeded in isolating the armed ethnic Albanian rebels. "This country is still on a knife-edge but in the last three days the government has regained confidence, regained ground and regained the initiative. They are surrounded both in the political and in the military sense," he added. "I do not think there is going to be another Balkan war, nor need there be." (Excerpts from CNN) UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned that the crisis in Macedonia could escalate to other countries in a degree, which no one wants unless "we are able to control the situation." Annan told a press conference in New York that currently Macedonia is his biggest concern. (Excerpts from Tanjug) The Albanian foreign minister Pascal Milo has called on both sides in Macedonia to lay down their weapons and start negotiations. (Excerpts from Srna)

NATO questions Macedonia's ability 
Macedonian President Trajkovski said his armed forces were able to cope with the insurrection without outside help, provided NATO kept to its pledge to secure Macedonia's mountainous northern border with U.N.-administered Kosovo. (Excerpts from Reuters)Senior British officials in London expressed concern that the army was not capable to contain and dislodge the NLA guerrillas. The officials said there was a danger the government will overreact to the activities of the NLA, which had an absolute maximum of 800 men and, while hard to dislodge, was not posing a particularly aggressive threat. "The Macedonian army is not the most sophisticated army and is not capable of carrying out a sophisticated counter-insurgency campaign. We are concerned there might be a backlash." (Excerpts from LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Albanians Urged to stop 
Friday's statement represents a victory for Western efforts to pressure the rebels by showing that Kosovo's leadership did not support their struggle. It was signed not only by Ibrahim Rugova, known for his peaceful struggle against Serb repression in Kosovo, but also by Hashim Thaci and Ramush Haradinaj. Thaci was the head of the KLA that fought Serbian forces, and Haradinaj was a senior commander of the now formally outlawed guerrilla army. (Excerpts from Associated Press) Ali Ahmeti, the only identified leader of the National Liberation Army which has been operating in Macedonia, was a local commander under Haradinaj in western Kosovo and a key figure in organizing the KLA' s gun-running and logistics. (Excerpts from The Guardian)

Macedonian president at EU
Trajkovski insists the guerrillas are former fighters from Kosovo, seeking to foment tensions in ethnically fragile Macedonia. His government ignored a unilateral guerrilla cease-fire, called on Wednesday. But a Skopje daily said Macedonia had delayed a threatened army offensive under pressure from EU security chief Javier Solana, who visited the capital on Thursday. Western diplomatic sources said the EU was pressing for restraint in hopes of calming the situation. French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said on Friday: "We must do everything to avoid letting this turn into a real war. We cannot accept that the means some groups of Albanian terrorists use can put a question mark over the borders, because that will never stop," he told French RTL radio. (Excerpts from Reuters)

More than 22,000 Macedonians Have Left Home 
Over 22,000 Macedonians have fled their homes since security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels began fighting in the northern flashpoint town of Tetovo a week ago, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday. The figures for internally displaced within Macedonia and for those who have gone abroad have doubled since Tuesday. (Excerpts from Reuters)

Nato pulls out troops to avoid Balkan fighting
The German contingent had been concerned that the Macedonian government wanted to suck them into the fighting. Macedonian tanks firing into the rebel positions in hills around Tetovo were positioned close to the Kfor base, and Capt. Hans Gunther Bender accused the Macedonian government of deliberately trying to provoke Nato casualties. A Nato officer near the fighting said: "The Macedonian army knows that it would take a great number of casualties if it tried to capture the high ground where the NLA is positioned. At the moment the rebels possess much of the territory between the villages on this side of the mountains to the Kosovo border." (Excerpts from Daily Telegraph)

Macedonia leader wins total EU support at summit 
European Union leaders, anxious to avert a wider Balkan conflict, gave Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski their unqualified support on Friday in his efforts to crush ethnic Albanian guerrillas. Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, chairing a European Union summit, said EU leaders and Trajkovski had agreed on the need for a broad political dialogue with elected representatives from the ethnic Albanian community. "We will stand by Macedonia at this critical moment in its history. It must be made clear that extremism has no place in 21st century Europe," Persson said the EU would further signal its support for a democratic and multi-ethnic Macedonia by signing a stabilisation and association pact with Skopje next month -the first formal step on the road to eventual membership of the Union. Trajkovski ruled out negotiating with the rebels, whom he repeatedly described as "criminals" and "terrorists," but conceded his country still had some way to go to integrating its Albanian!
 citizens, who make up about a third of the population. "We are not allowed to negotiate with terrorists because terrorism breeds terrorism," he said. (Excerpts from Reuters)

c)	Supplement 1: U.S. President's Statement On U.S. Joining Allies And UN In Condemning Violence In Macedonia 

The United States joins its allies and the United Nations in strongly 
condemning the violence perpetrated by a small group of extremists determined to destabilise the democratic, multi-ethnic government of Macedonia. The United States and its allies have a long-standing commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Macedonia. 
The insurgents in Macedonia claim to be advancing the cause of the Albanian minority. They are not. In fact, their violent methods are hurting the long-term interests of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia, Kosovo and throughout the region. We support instead those political leaders in Macedonia and the region who have rejected violence and terror in favour of democracy and dialogue as a way to achieve political change.
I strongly support the efforts of President Trajkovski and the Macedonian government to uphold democracy and the rule of law. We encourage the government to act with restraint and to work closely with elected representatives of the Albanian community to address legitimate concerns, while taking the necessary steps to prevent further violence. 
The United States is working with its allies and friends in the region to assist the Macedonian government in countering the violence perpetrated by the extremists. We support NATO's effort to assess Macedonia's immediate security needs. We are already providing surveillance information to the Macedonian government, and our Defence Department is dispatching Predator unmanned aerial vehicles to assist in this effort. KFOR patrols have been increased along Kosovo's border with Macedonia in order to improve border security and curtail the insurgents? Activities. 
Macedonia is a close friend, a partner country of NATO, and a successful example of a democratic, multi-ethnic state in the Balkans. As the United States knows only too well, perfecting such a state -- and addressing the legitimate concerns of minorities -- is a continuous process. It can only be done through dialogue and democracy -- and never through violence. That is why we call on all those who seek political change in Macedonia to work through the democratic political process. 

d) Supplement 2: Chronology of the Macedonia Conflict 

1991 - Macedonia declares independence from Yugoslavia and secedes, the only republic to do so peacefully. Members of the ethnic Albanian minority join the first government. Their first demands for equal rights are voiced - and generally ignored. 
1993 - A new government is formed, again with ethnic Albanian participation. Ethnic Albanians are appointed to the ministries of labor and welfare. But demands for equal rights are again ignored. Radicals start pushing for more: cultural and political autonomy. 
1994 - Police announce the discovery of an "attempt ... to form an Albanian paramilitary," complete with bunkers, weapons depots, maps and 0other intelligence material. Twelve people are arrested in Tetovo and nine are sentenced to prison for conspiracy and related charges. 
1995 - Ethnic Albanians proclaim the formation of an Albanian-language university in Tetovo. The government declares it illegal, and clashes follow. Three Albanians are killed and 10 policemen wounded in a village close to Tetovo. President Kiro Gligorov survives an assassination attempt. One theory is that Albanian criminal elements were involved. 
1997 - Ethnic Albanians take down the Macedonian flag and raise the Albanian flag above public buildings in Tetovo and Gostivar. Police are sent in. Clashes ensue in Gostivar, and the mayors of the two cities are temporarily detained. 
1998 - A series of bomb attacks rocks Macedonian police stations and court buildings and the National Liberation Army makes its presence known for the first time by claiming responsibility. Six Albanians are arrested and sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison for terrorism. The Supreme Court later orders them retried. 
1999 - The Kosovo crisis sends 360,000 ethnic Albanians fleeing the Serbian province and into neighbouring Macedonia. Ethnic tensions rise, with the Slavic majority fearing a huge increase in the ethnic Albanian population if the refugees stay. Most end up going to third countries or returning home. 
2000 - Isolated attacks on police continue. Fraud and violence mark local elections in western, ethnic Albanian parts of the country, leading to lack of final results in some areas, despite multiple reruns. 
2001 - Rebels attack police in the border village of Tanusevci on Feb. 18, triggering the conflict that is now in its fifth week.
("The Associated Press") 

c) Supplement 3: Statement by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Severin on Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo 

After a four-day visit to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and to Kosovo Mr. Adrian Severin, President of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly, made the 
following statement: 
1. The international community and its institutions are present in some countries of Southeastern Europe in order to contribute to the construction of modern state and administrative institutions. This means building up civic institutions for multi-ethnic societies, to promote democracy, prosperity, human rights and the rule of law. This international aid and solidarity must not be offered to those who may use it to promote policies of hatred and confrontation, or who use 
violence to promote their goals. As long as the political and democratic process is in place and the international community 
is present there are no excuses for violence. 
2. The legal authorities in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Presevo and Kosovo must act to restore peace and security. At the same time they must refrain from such action which might aggravate relations between different sections of society. I urge all sectors of the Macedonian society to co-operate peacefully and to pursue constructive dialogue to build inter-ethnic confidence. 
3. The future regional elections in Kosovo will be an important 
event in the construction of stability in Kosovo and in the 
region. The elections must take place in a clear legal framework 
and be a multi-ethnic event. They are needed for the 
construction of a multi-ethnic civic society. I appeal to all 
communities in Kosovo, to the Albanians and Serbs in particular, 
to participate constructively in the electoral process. 

Press and Public Information Section OSCE Secretariat Kaertner

Kalina Bunevska Isakovska
Visual Arts Program Coordinator
CAC - Skopje, Macedonia
Address: Orce Nikolov 109, 1000 Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
tel./fax: ++389.91/133-541; 214-495
e-mail: kalina@scca.org.mk

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