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<nettime> Briefing 22-03-01
ebalkan on 23 Mar 2001 07:49:19 -0000

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<nettime> Briefing 22-03-01

     [orig From: "geert lovink" <geert {AT} xs4all.nl>]



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

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

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


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")


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

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

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


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.


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
"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
"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."


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
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
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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