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<nettime> briefing 20-03-01
geert lovink on 21 Mar 2001 13:09:15 -0000

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<nettime> briefing 20-03-01

From: <ebalkan {AT} soros.org.mk>
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 4:03 PM
Subject: briefing 20-03-01



Daily briefing from Macedonian press about Macedonian crisis
Daily briefing from international press about Macedonian crisis


Sixth day as the battles continue in Tetovo and the region
The sixth day of the armed confrontations between the Albanian terrorists
and the Macedonian security forces in Tetovo and the region were marked by
the contra-battle, response, of the forces of the Ministry of Internal
Affairs and the Macedonian Army. In the afternoon hours, as increased
support, four tanks T-55 arrived in the city together with several armored
vehicles and other weapons with greater caliber, as well as part of the
reserve police and army corpse. As a result, the terrorists experience great
losses, the number of casualties is about 100 dead and a great number of
injured, also they have retreated 1,5 to 2 km towards Shara. The extremist
groups are stationed in the forest area of the mountain, on the route from
the village Poroj to Belpete and above the municipality Drenoec. According
to some information, they are burying their casualties in haste and only in
the vicinity of Poroj 15 new graves are noticed. It is assumed that already
today the special army and police forces are going to undertake an action to
clear the territory and will force the terrorists to retreat through Shara
towards the Kosovo border. The fighting went on during the whole night
followed with detonations of artillery weapons which were most intense in
the neighborhood of the city stadium in the direction of Strmno. Yesterday,
the first returns to the city of Tetovo citizens who left their homes under
the intense fire were noticed. The curfew is still in force and the first
positive effects are noticed for the stabilization of the situation.
("Makedonija Denes")

Statement of the spokesman of the Ministry of Defense
Concerning the eventual coordinated action of the army and the police, the
spokesman of the Ministry of Defense, Trendafilov said that " Macedonia's
Army response will be in accordance with the situation and the commands of
the Macedonian State Government. ("Makedonija Denes")

Statement of the spokesman of the Macedonian Government
According to the spokesman of the Macedonian Government, Antonio Miloshoski,
the two-day offensive actions of the Macedonian Security forces have shown
satisfactory results. "The main stations of the extremists positioned on
Belpete are destroyed. They are now positioned in the underground premises
of the Old Tetovo Fortress, those who are unable to do this, retreat using
the side sections of the hill above Tetovo". ("Makedonija Denes")

Statement of the spokesman of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
Unlike the "political" spokesman, the police spokesman, Stevo Pendarovski,
responded more carefully. He decided that the intensity of the terrorist
assaults is decreased, but that after the projectile over the church "Sv.
Nikola", the extremists set as their target the mosque in Tetovo which was
struck by several rounds from automatic weapon. He confirmed that in the
battles, on the side of the terrorists, some foreign mercenaries are
included, but he didn't pinpoint from which country. Pendarovski didn't
either oppose the information about the forced mobilization conducted by the
terrorist gangs in Lipkovo. ("Makedonija Denes")

Interview with Arben Jaferi - president of DPA for the Macedonian State
"As a political party, based on all information that we have available, I
can say that this war crisis is of internal character. I can explain this
with several piled up problems. We have never demanded federalization, nor
have we demanded cutting off, but from 1994 we have requested that a
historical agreement is to be made for the mutual rights and
responsibilities in the state, an agreement that will heighten the loyalty
of the citizens towards the system and these turbulent moments, such as the
current ones, in the country will be avoided". Talking about the current
crisis, Jaferi explains that "it is a phenomenon that is not coming form
Kosovo", "that illegal movement of the Albanians dates from 1981 and is
conducted by Albanians from Macedonia who are spiritual leaders of that
illegal movement that is now trying to get legal status with various
political options". Asked whether he is familiar with the stations of the
extremists, Jaferi said that they are exposed and that the extremists have
their own structures and their own political intentions. "They are trying to
get legitimatised in a certain way, but I don't want to go into that issue".
Answering to the question concerning his forwarded statements by some
foreign media, Jaferi said that it is normal "to portray oneself in the
newspapers according to the newspapers' editorial politics". ("Nova

Statement of Menduh Tachi - vice president of DPA after the meeting with the
British Ambassador Mark Dickinson
"There is truth in the statements that DPA is seriously considering to leave
the Government. Part of the leaders and party authorities are deeply
unsatisfied. I don't want to give false hope, there is an atmosphere that we
are leaving the Government, but be sure that there are some individuals that
are fighting against that and that are going to fight against that till the
very end to prevent it from happening. Fortunately, among them is the
president Jaferi and myself", said Menduh Tachi. " There is common insisting
from Macedonia and the Western factor that DPA mustn't leave the coalition
... NATO and the Western factor will not allow integration with Kosovo
because neither Albania, nor the Albanians in Macedonia want to do that,
Macedonia is going to be a unified state and this is how it must be.
("Makedonija Denes")

Statement of Nikola Dimitrov - Counselor for National Security of the
Macedonian President
We don't expect any recommendations from the international community, nor do
we expect measures concerning the internal situation because there is no
reason for a war of this kind, stated Dimitrov. "What we expect and what we
get is full support to destroy the root of the problem - the entering of
terrorists from Kosovo, prevention of the supply of weapon and logistic
support from Kosovo". Dimitrov's explanation of the statements made by
Jaferi about the Albanians not having equal rights in Macedonia is that "the
democratic political representatives are loosing their strength compared to
the local population. ("Dnevnik")

The Minister of Foreign Affairs - Srdjan Kerim on the Ministers' Council of
EU in Brussels
Kerim stated before the press that he is satisfied with his mission in
Brussels. That is what Macedonia has been asking for in the past several
weeks - KFOR to control the border on the Kosovo side, and Macedonia, i.e.
its security and defense forces are capable to defend the country from the
extremists' attacks. According to the Macedonian Chief of Diplomacy, fact is
that NATO and the Ministers' Council of EU have accepted the conclusions
from the so called "Non-paper" document containing the conclusions of the
Macedonian Government from the session held on 15th March that concern the
measures for coping with the extremists. ("Nova Makedonija")

Macedonian Red Cross - 3.310 registered internally migrated individuals
Until noon yesterday, in three stations of the Home of Humanitarian
Organizations "Dare Djambaz", 3.310 internally migrated individuals are
registered. Most of them - 2.222 are now settled in Skopje.("Nova


Dispute among Albanians
The clashes are not just a dispute between Albanians and Macedonians, but
also a dispute among Albanians. The established Albanian politicians of
Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania have all condemned the gunmen. The Macedonian
government, a coalition of Macedonian and Albanian parties, has not fallen.
Apart from four Albanian and two Macedonian MPs, the entire parliament,
condemned the "armed groups of extremists" yesterday and called for foreign
military help. Albanian leaders must make an unequivocal declaration that
they do not want to split the state. They must also renounce federalisation,
at least for a 10-year period, in return for progress in opening public
service jobs to Albanians. The constitution needs to enshrine
multiracialism. Albanian must be recognised as an official language for
parliament, the courts and public service. A minority as large as a third of
the population, as the Albanians are thought to be, deserves no less.
(Excerpts from Guardian)

Bewildered Macedonians Point Finger at Kosovo Neighbours, Refugee Flight
Many Albanians blame their Kosovo counterparts for the unrest threatening to
rip this multi- ethnic state apart. "We had 10 people in our house during
the bombings, and now look what they are doing," said the father of an
Albanian family, referring to the hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians
who flooded the country during the war in 1999. "What is the government
waiting for, they should attack strongly. " said Salim, a 43-year-old
Albanian from Tetovo. By Monday afternoon, dozens of ethnic Albanian
refugees, the vast majority of them women and children, were coming across
the border at Qafa e Thanes in eastern Albania, some in cars, some on foot.
According to UN refugee officials, thousands of refugees have begun fleeing
Macedonia for neighbouring countries, many of them to Albania and then back
into predominantly Albanian Kosovo. (Excerpts from Agence France Presse)

Washington is condemning "Greater Albania" dreams
Washington is now condemning Albanians, even thought it launched a military
campaign only two years ago to protect them. Mr Boucher describes the
situation as different: then the Albanians of Kosovo were the victims of
ethnic cleansing, whereas those in Macedonia are living in what he described
as "a multiethnic, democratic country". (Excerpts from BBC) The main
Albanian party, the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) of Arben Xhaferi, is
a member of the coalition government, holding five ministerial posts.
Albanian political parties have to a greater or lesser extent said they
share the rebels' ambition for a federal system based on two constitutive
nations: the Macedonians and the Albanians. But many NLA supporters dream of
"Greater Albania", a country encompassing all Albanians -- those in Albania,
Macedonia and in the UN-run Yugoslav province of Kosovo -- a prospective
which frightens the West, fearful of new destabilisation in the Balkans.
(Excerpts from Agence France Presse)

NLA appealed for fight funding, Stuhl warns against minority autonomy
The National Liberation Army appealed for financial contributions from
"Albanians wherever they are", adding they had decided to create a fund to
support the fighting financially. (Excerpts from Reuters) OSCE High
Commissioner Hans van der Stuhl stated that he is against the total national
minority autonomy, stressing that it would increases the tensions in the
whole region. (Excerpts from BETA)

Politic and economic support to prevent the spiral of violence
"There is a very strong convergence between all EU member states, all NATO
states and all the countries of the region that we should not let a handful
of extremists provoke a spiral of violence," said French Foreign Minister
Hubert Vedrine. He commended Albania for distancing itself publicly from the
Tetovo guerrillas, suspected for "Greater Albania" aspirations. Solana said
he would urge ethnic Albanian leaders in talks on Tuesday in Skopje to help
isolate the guerrillas, concluding that the democratic countries must move
forward through dialogue and diplomacy, not violence. The EU offers
political and economic support, but refuses to help militarily. (Excerpts
from Reuters)

Bush Concerned by Macedonia Clashes, Putin advises military action if
"The president is concerned about the actions taken by Albanian extremists
and that's another reason why the president and NATO authorised stepped-up
patrols of ... KFOR. " said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "Only
decisive political and, if the need comes, military actions by the
international community can prevent the conflict from spreading over the
whole Balkan region." wrote Mr. Putin in a letter to Yugoslav President
Kostunica. In televised comments, Mr. Putin said,"The situation is gradually
getting out of control." (Excerpts from Reuters)

Macedonia ready for final assault
Macedonian reinforcements have moved into Tetovo for what the government
called a "final operation" against ethnic Albanian paramilitaries in the
hills above the town. The battle around Tetovo has raised fears of a new
Balkans conflict with the U.S., Russia, NATO, the European Union and UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan all voicing concern at the mounting conflict.
NATO has announced extra troops are to be sent to the Kosovo border
Macedonia to stop further infiltration of rebels from Kosovo. "We are
determined to starve this limited group of extremists ", Robertson told
reporters after a meeting with Macedonian Foreign Minister Srdjan Kerim.
"Macedonia will win this battle without giving up a single foot of our
territory. And after the victory, Macedonians and Albanians will continue to
live together -- as they must," Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski said.
(Excerpts from CNN)

Macedonian inter-ethnic model must be protected
"The message to all extreme groups is very clear, we do not accept violence
and our support for the (Macedonian) government is very clear."said Swedish
Foreign Minister Anna Lindh after the first round of EU talks with Kerim.
(Excerpts from CNN) "We need to show all the peoples of the Balkans that the
inter-ethnic model such as we have in Macedonia needs not only to be
protected but to be promoted," said Macedonian Foreign Minister Kerim.
(Excerpts from Reuters) Boucher stated that the United States "unequivocally
support(s) Macedonia's territorial integrity and the legitimate efforts the
Macedonia government to protect the rule of law." (Excerpts from Agence
France Presse)

U.S. Deplores Macedonian Violence But Doesn't Want NATO Troops Involved
White House national security spokeswoman Mary Ellen Countryman said "We are
considering with the Macedonian government how much help we could provide
bilaterally that would be non-military. We support the Macedonian
government's efforts to defend its borders against Albanian extremists." At
a joint NATO-EU meeting in Brussels, NATO Secretary General George Robertson
said KFOR would deploy more troops along the Kosovo border with Macedonia to
"interdict" ethnic Albanian rebels trying to enter Macedonia. European
foreign ministers said "The EU will not tolerate any support for insurgents.
" (Excerpts from Agence France Presse) Jacques Chirac in a telephone
conversation with Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski. NATO will do
anything to avoid the intervention in Macedonia, stated anonymous sources
form the French Ministry, and added that in order not to increase the
tension, non of the NATO-member countries asked for reinforcements.
(Excerpts from SENSE)

The aims of NLA
The aims of the "National Liberation Army" are unclear: enhanced rights for
the Albanian minority, some kind of autonomy or federalism in western
Macedonia, outright independence or a "greater Albania" territorial fusion
with Kosovo and perhaps the Presevo region and Albania proper, too? Nobody
seems to agree entirely, least of all the various self-appointed NLA
spokesmen. (Excerpts from Guardian)

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