KLA Took Over Srbica
SRBICA - Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrillas summarily took over a north Kosovo town Srbica on Friday despite
their commitment to "demilitarize" and French peace troops rushed to the scene, Reuters reported referring
to unnamed French officer.
The French dispatched tanks from their base in the northern city of Mitrovica towards Srbica 20 kms (12 miles) away.
KLA guerrillas entered downtown Srbica, firing multiple rounds from their weapons into the air, French officer said.
Serbs Killed, 12 Kidnapped
PRISTINA - Albanian terrorists on Friday killed Blagoje Stankovic from the village of Strezovice and Novica
Vasic from the village of Oraovac, in Kosovska Kamenica municipality, local authorities confirmed to Media center. There
are still no KFOR members while several groups of armed Albanians were noticed in that town.
The members of KLA killed Stanojko Mihajlovic in front of his house in the village of Novo Selo, in Kosovska Vitina
municipality local authorities confirmed. 12 Serbs from that village were kidnapped during the last two days, while
all Serbs from Grabovo, Gusica, Pozaranje, Novo Selo, Drobes and Tankosic, in Vitina municipality left their villages.
On Friday morning, the group of terrorists violently fell into Medical center in Gnjilane and beat thoroughly director's
representative Vladimir Denica. KFOR intervened in the local post office and threw tyrants out of the building. During
the afternoon, peace forces put control points in mostly entrances to Gnjilane.
Zastava`s Chairman Milan Beko
Italians Seize Zastava`s Factory in Pec
BELGRADE - Chairman of Yugoslav only car maker, state-owned Zastava from Kragujevac, Milan Beko confirmed on
Friday that Italian KFOR soldiers had seized its chassis plant in Pec.
The Italian soldiers entered Zastava's premises on their own. I cannot tell what's going on in Pec, but we see one
good thing in this. The Italians can protect the factory for us until things get more clear," Milan Beko said.
"I am confident that the Italians will protect our factory conscientiously both from possible destruction and
a takeover," Beko said.
Action of German Troops in Prizren
15 Prisoners Release
BONN - German soldiers on Friday freed about 15 prisoners recently tortured in an abandoned police station in
Prizren, occupied by the Kosovo Liberation Army but came too late to save one who had died only hours earlier, German
agency DPA reported.
Captain Hans - Christian Klasing said that all the members of KLA (around 30) were immediately registered and disarmed.
The dead man, about 70 years old and not immediately identified, was found beaten and handcuffed to a chair. According
to the German officer, released prisoners were mostly gypsies, but three Serbs were among them.
Albanians Return to Pristina, KLA Members Walk Around
Life Returns to Normal, But Not For Serbs
Separatists harass and abduct people, confiscating their property. Unrest outside the Pristina Clinic Hospital
PRISTINA - Outside Pristina's Grand Hotel, which is under "siege" of more than 1,500 journalists from
the world over, several buses from Gostivar and other parts of Macedonia arrived shortly before noon on Friday. The
Albanians are on mass returning to their homes in Pristina. Late on Thursday, the Grand Hotel was also toured by a group
of members of the so-called KLA, wearing military uniforms. They did not carry arms, but they marched through the hotel
lobby, mingling with foreign journalists only to leave after that. Several KLA members in uniforms were also seen in
the streets of the Kosovo capital on Friday.
Gas stations in central Pristina were demolished late on Thursday and early on Friday morning.
Center for Peace and Tolerance press service issued a statement on Friday, saying that unidentified persons with emblems
on their T-shirts also appeared near the St. Nicolas Church, harassing Rev. Miroslav. Slobodan Acimovic from Urosevac
was robbed of his car in central Pristina, the statement said, adding that a group of Albanian civilians took to the
streets in Pristina's Suncani Breg suburbs, stopping cars and checking the residents. Branko Cukic disappeared in the
Devet Jugovica suburbs, Slobodan Stolic was abducted near Stimlje, and Branko Markovic disappeared in the residential
area of Vranjevac. Stanislav Kocic and Desimir and Nebojsa Stolic were also reported missing in this infamous Pristina
suburb, while Dragan and Milutin Dimitrijevic were abducted there.
KFOR Protects Patients in Pristina Hospital
Early on Friday, a group of Albanians put under siege the Clinic Hospital in Pristina.
They forced their way into the hospital building, claiming they worked there. As Clinic Hospital director Rade
Grbic and Dean Radica Radovic argued with a group of unidentified Albanians, led by a certain doctor Mazlum Belegu
who had allegedly returned from abroad, KFOR troops arrived. A senior KFOR officer told the group that they entered
a hospital with more than 700 patients, who needed peace, not unrest. Political scores cannot be gained outside
a hospital, the officer scolded them.
After that, the situation calmed down for a while, but the group of Albanian civilians,
including some individuals, who carried weapons, remained within the Clinic Hospital grounds.
On Friday, a large group of Albanians from Albania attacked the houses of ethnic Gorans in the area around villages
of Orcusa and Krusevo in the Dragas municipality, a Center for Peace and Tolerance statement said. The same source confirmed
that a large group of armed Albanians had opened fire at the Medical Secondary School in Pristina, the home of refugees
from Croatia, at about 1:00 p.m. on Friday. In the village of Gatnje near Urosevac, Novak and Zorka Kolarevic were reported
missing and the eighth-member family of Jokic was abducted in the village of Gusica near Kosovska Vitina. The abductors
demanded the release of a local policeman in exchange for the kidnapped family.
A large group of Albanians rallied outside the Dositej Obradovic elementary school in Pristina's residential area of
Ulpijana, rising an Albanian national flag on it.
Center for Peace and Tolerance said that a larger group of armed Albanians went down from the forests in the Lipljan
municipality and entered the village of Goles, a few kilometers from Slatina airport, which is under control of the
Russian KFOR troops. All Serb houses in the village were torched. Center for Peace and Tolerance also reported that
Zoran Raicevic was abducted in Pristina's residential area of Vranjevac, while Jovica Kordic was reported missing in
Clinton on US-Russian Talks in Helsinki
Almost All Issues Resolved
COLOGNE / HELSINKI - All issues concerning Russia's participation in the international peacekeeping forces
in Kosovo (KFOR) have been resolved, US President Bill Clinton said on Friday upon his arrival in Cologne for the summit
of seven industrialized world nations plus Russia.
However, US-Russian talks on Moscow's participation in KFOR continued in Helsinki on Friday morning. Russian foreign
and defense ministers Igor Ivanov and Igor Sergeyev, as well as their US counterparts Madeleine Albright and William
Cohen, took part in the meeting.
"Everything is going to be OK. We'll strike a deal," said Russian delegation member Boris Mayorski.
Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari on Thursday met US and Russian foreign and defense ministers. As reported, Ahtisaari
convened the meeting in order to get information about the progress of talks.
NATO Urges Serbs to Stay in Kosovo
KLA Cannot Become Army
BRUSSELS - On Friday, NATO urged the Serbs not to flee Kosovo and promised that KFOR would intensify its actions
to protect their rights and prevent attacks on the Serb population and their property.
NATO spokesman Jamie Shea also said NATO commanders late on Thursday "submitted for signing" to separatist
KLA leaders a technical agreement on procedures and deadlines for their demilitarization.
He said that the KLA could not become "an army or armed force with heavy weapons," but only one of the political
groupings in Kosovo, adding that it could be "partly incorporated into the future civil police, established on
Shea described the fact that the Serbian Orthodox Church head, Patriarch Pavle, had gone to Pristina on Thursday and
tried in his meetings with KFOR Commander Michael Jackson and UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello to influence the Kosovo
Serbs and Bishop Artemije of Prizren not to leave Kosovo, as "very important".
KLA Political Leader Appeals to Serbs
Hashim Thaqi Urges Serbs to Stay in Kosovo
TETOVO - The head of a self-styled provisional government of Kosovo has urged Serbs not to flee the Yugoslav
province, promising that its ethnic Albanian majority is not out for revenge.
"I appeal to the Serbs to return to Kosovo," said Hashim Thaqi, leader of the political wing of the Kosovo
Liberation Army (KLA), the separatist guerrilla movement that battled Serb forces until NATO forces entered last week
to impose peace.
Thaqi told Reuters in an interview on Thursday night that there would be a role for all ethnic groups in the future
of Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians made up 90 percent of the pre-crisis population.
"Albanian society needs the Serbs. They can make a great contribution to the stability of Kosovo," he said,
speaking through an interpreter in the Macedonian town of Tetovo.
Tens of thousands of terrified Serbs have fled Kosovo with retreating Yugoslav security forces, fearing retaliation
from ethnic Albanians for the killings and repression of past months.
Thaqi, named by various ethnic Albanian groups including the KLA as leader of a future government in the Serbian province,
said Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic carried most of the blame for the repression and ordinary Serbs had nothing
"We did not start the war to carry out our own ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. We started to fight because we wanted
equality...and to establish a democratic order."
"The massacres were not carried out by ordinary Serbs but by the regime. We have no plans to organise any repression
against the Serbs. They were also the victims of this war," he said.
The agreement between the major powers and Yugoslavia which cleared the way for the entry of a peacekeeping force says
nothing about the establishment of a provisional government.
Until elections can be called, the United Nations is expected to take over the effective running of Kosovo, which the
accord specifies will remain a province of Serbia, although with broad autonomy.
But at Rambouillet, France, in February the international community also agreed with ethnic Albanian leaders that the
status of Kosovo should be reviewed after three years, raising the possibility of full independence.
It was Milosevic's refusal to sign this accord, and his subsequent crackdown on ethnic Albanians, that triggered the
NATO air campaign which bludgeoned Belgrade into settling.
Around 1.5 million ethnic Albanians fled from the repression and NATO bombs into neighbouring Macedonia and Albania,
or hid out in the hills of the rugged province.
Thaqi urged the refugees to be patient about going home. "I appeal to the refugees not to become euphoric because
there are many mines in the villages and the cities. We are trying to organise their safe return with the Macedonian
and Albanian governments and international organisations," he said.
He reaffirmed that the guerrillas were ready to abide by the terms of the Rambouillet pact calling for them to demilitarise.
"Disarmament is not an issue. We will respect the accord signed in Rambouillet," he said.
Thaqi said he was preparing to travel to Pristina, capital of Kosovo, "within a matter of days" to start
work on setting up a political structure.
But the ethnic Albanian political leadership is still fragmented, with long-time leader Ibrahim Rugova so far refusing
to join the KLA inside the so-called provisional government.
Rugova, an apostle of non-violence, was twice elected president of a self-styled "Republic of Kosovo" in
the years after Milosevic stripped the province of autonomy in 1989.
Thaqi said he was willing to meet Rugova at any time but at the moment he had no idea where he was.
"I invite him to come to Pristina to meet me there. He has his place in the political movement in Kosovo,"
he said. "It is his responsibility to join us because he signed the Rambouillet accord."
Asked whether the KLA would be willing to wait three years for independence, he said the question of the province's
political status was not a priority at the moment:
"Three years, five years, it doesn't matter. The important thing is to re-establish normal life in Kosovo and
to recognise that we have the right to determine our own future," he said.
Alain Richard Proposes How to Save Integrity of Southern Serbian Province
Idea of Setting Up National Zones in Kosovo
PARIS - French Defense Minister Alain Richard advocates the deployment of members of different national communities
in Kosovo in separate zones, believing it could save the integrity of the southern Serbian province.
Cohabitation of various national communities in Kosovo would "undoubtedly become easier if they settled down in
different zones," Richard said.
According to a report published by the Senate, Richard expressed this view - which practically amounts to setting up
ethnically pure zones in Kosovo and Metohija - in Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Luxembourg Palace (the
Senate) on Friday.
Richard estimated that "deployment of the population is broadly much more desirable than a division" of Kosovo,
the same source said.
Montenegrin Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic Told a News Conferene
Relations with Serbia On New Principles
PODGORICA - (Reuters) - Montenego's Prime Minister on Friday reiterated a threat to hold a referendum on independence
from Yugoslavia and spelled out what it would take to stay with Serbia in the federation.
Premier Filip Vujanovic said Montenegro, the smaller of the two republics making up Yugoslavia, wants the federation
to agree to redefine its status within the federation or it would go ahead with the referendum.
"Rejecting Montenegro's proposal would confirm intentions of the government in Serbia to create a unitary state,"
Vujanovic told a news conference.
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said earlier this month that the country would hold a referendum on whether to
break away from Serbia when the time was right.
Vujanovic explained on Friday what Montenegro wanted in order to stay.
"The essence of our demand to redefine present relations with Serbia is made up of principles which will not allow
an abuse of existing (government) bodies to Montenegro's disadvantage and which will secure equality of Montenegro in
Measured by its territory and economic strength, Montenegro accounts for some five percent of Yugoslavia. It was given
equal representation with Serbia in the 40-seat Upper House of the Yugoslav parliament. But the delegates from Montenegro
are from the opposition party allied to the Belgrade regime instead of from Djukanovic's reform-minded coalition which
won 1998 elections in Montenegro.
Vujanovic said the republic wants to be sure its interests are properly represented in the Upper House and that the
Yugoslav justice ministry and the army do not abuse Montenegro. It also wants the Yugoslav Prime Minister to be elected
from the ranks of the Montenegrin ruling party.
Under the Yugoslav constitution, since President Slobodan Milosevic is from Serbia, the federal prime minister comes
from Montenegro. But the man chosen as Yugoslavia's Prime Minister, Momir Bulatovic, leads the opposition Socialist
People's Party in Montenegro, which is allied to Milosevic's ruling Socialist Party of Serbia.
"If Serbia does not accept our offer, then the people of Montenegro will have to decide, in a referendum, if they
want such a unitary federation, which I personally think they cannot accept," Vujanovic said.
He accused the Yugoslav government of deliberately keeping in force the State of War, declared when NATO began bombing
Yugoslavia on March 24, so as to maintain federal army control in the republic.
"They want to maintain a regime in Montenegro which gives the army powers of a civilian government, to keep in
place war criminal laws which restrict human rights and preserve censorship over the media to protect them from responsibility
for what they have done," Vujanovic said.
He saw Milosevic's position as being significantly damaged after being indicted for war crimes. Because of the indictment,
the Yugoslav leader could not travel to Kosovo, because "the international peacekeeping forces could arrest him
"What happened in Kosovo represents a capitulation of Milosevic's policy. I believe that his government cannot
last long because it has inflicted huge damage, to Serbia and Montenegro."
President Milosevic Receives Theodorakis
BELGRADE - Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on Friday received eminent
Greek composer, famous humanitarian and proven friend of Yugoslavia Mikis Theodorakis.
Exclusive Interview: Mikis Theodorakis on Politics, Love and Power of Music
My Zorba Believes in Freedom!
Music is powerful in a political sense, but I have never used it for that purpose. I judge people on the basis of
their culture. The Orthodox people are not bad believers at all.
Late on Thursday, Mikis Theodorakis, the greatest living Greek composer, arrived in Belgrade. As of early Friday, he
was patiently answering the questions of Yugoslav journalists. In a quiet corner of the National Museum Atrium, he gave
an exclusive interview to Glas Javnosti.
Apart from unforgettable works you created as composer, you have devoted a large part of your life to politics and
the struggle for freedom. How do politics and music get along?
Music is powerful in a political sense, but I have never used it for that purpose. I have never wanted to create music
to serve political activism. It is well known that music can express the feelings of freedom, love, democracy and that
is where its power lies… Today's Europe has disgraced itself; it is dominated by the American culture, so it would be
very difficult to change its image by means of music alone. What remains for us is to try to listen to the American
music to a lesser degree and not to lose our own roots, cultural traditions and historical memory. I judge people according
to their culture, not according to the amount of dollars they have.
Do you judge the Serbs in that way?
You have shown that a small nation can say "no" to a superpower and it is there where your victory lies. I
think all this was about an attempt by Clinton, who tried to set an example and use it in the future to scare off other
potentially "disobedient" nations. In this instance, the point was not in the religion. Catholics, Protestants
and Jews are much more zealous than the Orthodox. The Orthodox religion is warm and open-minded and it does not exert
pressure on people. But it does not necessarily mean that we the Orthodox are infidels or bad believers. Simply, we
are not under pressure as members of other religions are. However, there is something else: they think Catholics, Protestants
and Jews are on one side of the line, with barbarians on the other one. My Zorba the Greek is a believer in freedom
Even though it was announced that Theodorakis would conduct the orchestra at the humanitarian concert of "Zorba
the Greek" ballet piece at Kolarac Endowment at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday and hold a soloist concert in Artistic and
Cultural Society Lola Ribar hall, as well as another one in the open at the Republic Square, for the Greek composer
himself, obviously, this visit meant much more than a music event.
It is proved by the fact that Theodorakis, who came to Belgrade together with his family, was accompanied with eminent
Greek lawyer Likouresis, the one who had filed suit to the Hague-based International Court of Justice against NATO military
and political leaders, charging them of aggression against our country. They also brought in 15 tons of humanitarian
aid in food and medicines.
Blue Boys In France
Yugoslav national basketball team left for Toulouse on Friday, after the match against the Ukraine. A "rehearsal"
ahead of the start of the European Championship in France offered Zeljko Obradovic an ideal opportunity of solving his
"There are two days left before our first match in which we are meeting Israel. We will take advantage of them
to a maximum to adjust to the sports hall and playing conditions in Toulouse," Obradovic said.
Have you resolved the dilemma which two of the players will be the odd ones?
"It is a tricky question, the most difficult up to now. All our basketball players are here in France and tonight
I am going to make up my mind," replied Obradovic.
Obilic Director Zoran Petrovic on His Club's Elimination from European Soccer Scene
We Will Respect UEFA's Decision
"European soccer house" eliminated Obilic from international competitions and tournaments with an explanation
that the club's top officials were "unsuitable". UEFA also said that as long as these people remained in the
club, Obilic would not see European competitions at all!
"UEFA has proved again it is not a non-political organization but, unfortunately, Obilic is its victim,"
director Zoran Petrovic said. "As the decision went into effect and we were denied the right to file a complaint,
we were left with no option but to comply."
Petrovic also indicated that top officials of the so-called "Knights", who had led the club to the very top
of the Yugoslav soccer, planned to resign to spare Obilic of UEFA's wrath in the future!
"We are thinking about appointing a new leadership to avoid the same embarrassment in the next season," Petrovic
Rebraca Unhappy Because He Cannot Play for Yugoslav National Basketball Team in European Championship in France
I Really Suffered an Injury!
"I am close to signing for Panatinaikos since I did not want to take my chances with the NBA"
It took as much as 20 days to get in touch with Zeljko Rebraca. Innumerable phone calls, rumors, and half-truths marked
the past week. Many NBA clubs, plus European giants such as Panatinaikos, Barcelona, Teamsystem, Kinder, showed their
interest in Rebraca, but...
"I came from San Francisco here to Treviso on Friday," the voice of our famous center forward finally echoed
on the other side of the line.
After four years, you will not play for our national basketball team?
"All this is very hard for me. I am especially unhappy when I hear that my health is being questioned. There are
some rumors that I am safe and sound and that my contract in the US was more important to me than to play in the national
team. It hurts me deeply because I know it is untrue. I suffered an injury. Period!
Greek media reported that you had signed a contract with Panatinaikos?
"No, I have not yet. We have reached an agreement in principle but it is still far from a wrapped up contract.
We cut a 90 percent deal, but the remaining - and the most important - 10 percent include the biggest hurdles. We have
had some disagreements over defining these things. Today I will meet Panatinaikos top officials and, if we complete
the negotiations successfully, it is highly likely that I will sign the contract immediately after that."
Why did the NBA option fail?
"It did not fail. I simply did not want to wait any more. Clubs of the strongest world
league were very interested in me, but problems arose when I said I wanted to settle my status in the club in legal
terms. I asked for a decent playing time of more than 25 minutes in every match, but they could not give me such guarantees
in written… I have been told to wait, that everything will be OK. Overseas players who want to join the NBA can sign
contracts no earlier than on August 1. For me, it was too late… In Europe, all teams are completed by late July, so
I would be left in the lurch for the next season, namely without the right engagement," Rebraca says frankly.
Are you going to France to root for your fellow players in the Yugoslav national team?
"I will certainly go to
Paris to watch quarterfinal, semifinal and final matches. If I finish my business earlier, I will join the national
team even in Toulouse or Pau."
What do you think about the prospects of our national team in the forthcoming European Championship?
"We have the highest-quality national team in Europe and we are going to prove it in France. The forthcoming Championship
will be the most challenging one because many NBA players will take part in it," Rebraca concluded.