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NEWS FROM THE FORGOTTEN KOSOVO PROVINCE
by Brigader
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2004 4:26 AM
Remember the Yugoslav province of Kosovo? In 199, it made the news as Serbians drove its Albanian majority out. NATO intervened and now UNO rules the place, whose local politicians are no better than the 'Iraqi Council'. Here are some news from over there...
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A summary of this week’s top KosovaLive stories…
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Police Arrest 44 Former Railway Workers for Violating Public Order

PRISHTINA (KosovaLive) – The police arrested 44 former workers of Kosova railways today because they did not adhere to the order not to protest in front of the railway station in Fushe Kosova.

The police did not allow the protest. However, the dismissed workers did not take heed the police decision and decided to express their dissatisfaction regarding the decision made two months ago by the Kosova Railway managers. In the last protest held June 1, protesters entered the offices of the director and other managers by force, to assault whom they considered responsible for their dismissal.

The police did not authorize the protest, and ordered the protesters to disperse and leave the scene. However, the protesters did not obey police orders, resulting in many arrests.

Two weeks ago, Kosova’s railway workers at the station in Fushe Kosova, broke the doors and windows of the director’s office and the offices of other officials, whom they consider responsible for their dismissal. As a result, the Director of Kosova’s railways, Fitim Shala, and other managers were injured.

According to Rich, the problem lies in the number of railway workers, which was very large. Their number reached 607, and according to Rich, this number should be less than 200. He pointed out that HIFAB, an advisory company from Germany suggested that this number should not exceed 150.
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New York Issues Go-Ahead For Privatization Process

PRISHTINA (KosovaLive) – After talks in New York HQ, the UN has advised the KTA to resume privatization in Kosova with some minor changes, said the Chief of UNMIK Pillar IV Nikolaus Lambsdorff.

Meantime, the Deputy of the KTA Board, Minister of Trade and Industry, Ali Jakupi said that the Government and the Parliament will look into those proposals and then will come out with their stance.

After returning from New York, Lambsdorff convened the KTA board to brief them on the UN position on the process of privatization, which has been blocked for nine months now.

According to Lambsdorff there are three procedures that have minor changes. First, the KTA now has the right to negotiate with the bidder. Second, there will be two phases of tendering and the winner will be selected not according to offers the highest price, but which ever one the KTA thinks is the best. Third, there will be as many special spin offs.

Lambsdorff said that there is no obstacle to the resumption of privatization now.

Minister Jakupi was more restrained about the new proposals regarding the privatization procedures. Unlike Lambsdorff, he said that those are not small changes.

In a meeting with the Kosova Support Group, PM Bajram Rexhepi said that the end of June would be the last deadline for resumption of privatization. Privatization, according to the experts, is considered to be the main artery for economic development of the country.
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Brayshaw: CF is a Balanced Document –It Is Not a Priority

PRISHTINA (KosovaLive) – A day before the Parliament is expected to vote on the Constitutional Framework, the acting SRSG to Kosova, Charles Brayshaw said that this is a balanced document and not a priority for Kosova at this time. Brayshaw made those comments following a meeting with Parliament Speaker Nexhat Daci.

“We have talked in general about the CF and its important role in promotion of stability. It is a very balanced document compiled in 2001 as a result of consultations of many participants,” Brayshaw said.

Whereas according to Speaker’s Advisor, Tahiri, Daci made it known to Brayshaw that the Parliaments cannot remove this issue from the agenda regardless of UNMIK’s position, as it was preceded in regular manner. The Presidency decided for tomorrow to put the proposal amendment for the CF to a vote.

Daci did not make any comment for media, but according to his adviser Tahiri, he told Brayshaw that the Parliament has to fulfill its obligation it has to the people of Kosova and within its mandate to amend the CF. He also made sure that the amendments would not affect the ethnic balance.

“The amendments do not aim at restricting the rights of ethnic communities, because Kosova cannot function as a state of Albanians only, but also as a state of other ethnicities,” he said.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Lambsdorff Could Not Remove Doubt of Privatization From MPs

PRISHTINË (KosovaLive) – MPs are not optimistic that the changes, which Lambsdorff brought from New York, are enough to resume the privatization process. The MPs discussed privatization for the first time since it was blocked nine months ago. They have blamed UNMIK of being influenced by Belgrade. .

The head of the KTA Board, Nikolaus Lambsdorff also attended today’s session. Briefing the MPs on the recommendations of the UN Security Council, he said that he brought good news from New York.

He emphasized the position of the UN Security Council that privatization has no other alternative. “We have not made any decision yet, but some decisions will be made in the future,” he said.

According to Lambsdorff there are three procedures that have minor changes. First, the KTA now has the right to negotiate with the bidder. Second, there will be two phases of tendering and the winner will be selected not according to offers the highest price, but according to whichever one the KTA thinks is the best. Third, there will be as many special spin offs as possible.

Time is running out, Lamsdorff highlighted, adding that privatization should resume as soon as possible. “We have nothing to wait for, ” he said, calling on the locals to work for this process to resume

Calling for changing of operational polices, an MP from PDK, Ismajl Kurteshi said that the locals should run the process. “We call on the local institutions to address the Security Council with the request the government and the parliament of Kosova to be recognized as the owners of Kosova’s public and social property,” Kurteshi said.

“A plan should also be introduced on when the third round will start, and when it will be completed, and which SOEs will be included in it,” Haradinaj said.
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Police Investigating Their Response During March Riots

PRISHTINA (KosovaLive) – International investigators and investigators of Kosova Police Service (KPS) are discussing the March riots. Meanwhile, it is anticipated that in the end of these investigations, they would come up with an official report.

Kenneth Stica, Chief of UNMIK Police Information Office, told KosovaLive today that a number of investigators are dealing with the riots of March and the police reaction, adding that they are coordinating the investigations that are being conducted in all regions of Kosova. He said that they do not know when these investigations would be complete. However, in the end, they would come up with a report.

A high KPS official, who wanted to remain anonymous told KosovaLive that though the report has not been completed as yet, one of its parts will include the evaluations for the lack of proper control of police patrols during the riots, the bad commanding connections, the need for additional trainings for the KPS members regarding the use of their equipment and so forth.

The police have not yet established a central team for monitoring all serious crime investigations toward members of ethnic minorities and nor for improving coordination between investigating units.

UNMIK has officially confirmed that it has arrested 270 persons, suspected of being involved in the March riots. However, local or international judges have made no final decisions.
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International Prosecutors Handle Most Serious March Riot Cases

PRISHTINA (KosovaLive) – UNMIK Pillar I (Justice and Police) announced today that international prosecutors are handling 52 of the most serious cases of the March riots.

According to Neeraj Singh, spokesperson for UNMIK Pillar I, 19 cases involve deaths, there are also cases involving the burning of Serb houses, churches and monasteries, cases against the organizers or leaders of the riots, cases of aggravated inter-ethnic violence and cases involving significant violence against the police.

In 11 cases, international prosecutors have filed formal request with the court to initiate an investigation pursuant to the Provisional Criminal Procedure Code of Kosova. In four cases indictments have been filed, and the remaining cases assigned are under police investigation. According to Singh, these cases involve 26 defendants, of which 18 are in detention.

The local judiciary is handling over 200 cases, which relate to a range of offenses, including theft, arson, attacks on officials, etc.

In his last report on the situation in Kosova, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that certain extremists who do not wish the best for Kosova were responsible for organizing the March riots.
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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Jessen-Petersen to Head UNMIK

PRISHTINA (KosovaLive) – During the next few days UNSC days will ratify the proposal of the UNSG for the Denmark’s Soren Jessen-Petersen to assume the office of UNMIK chief.

“The secretary-general is informing the Security Council that he intends to appoint Soren Jessen-Petersen from Denmark as his new special representative for Kosovo and head of the U.N. mission there,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.Javier Solana, EU’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy welcomed Annan’s proposal.

Solana said that Jessen-Petersen has the capability and the experience necessary for these difficult times. According to Solana, the EU would fully support the new chief administrator.

First of all he will handle the Standards for Kosova strategy and at the same time prepare Kosova for discussions on the final status, which may begin during his mandate, given that they are scheduled for mid 2005. Once the new president of Serbia is elected, Jessen-Petersen will restart the dialogue with Belgrade.

Jessen-Petersen is expected to be the final UNMIK chief. When Harri Holkeri assumed the office of UNMIK chief he had stated that he would make efforts to complete the UN mission.

On the other hand, other independent groups, such as International Crisis Group say that economic problems would cause tensions in Kosova if the final status is not determined soon. As a matter of fact, Harri Holkeri in an interview with KosovaLive said “The sooner UNMIK can make itself unnecessary here, the better.”
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Prime Minister Skeptical of Future UNMIK Chief Mandate

PRISHTINA (KosovaLive) – Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi expressed today his skepticism regarding the mandate the person proposed for the new UNMIK Chief will have, regarding his decision-making competencies without the interference of the United Nations Organization. Meanwhile, he does not have any suspicions about the quality and the pragmatic position of diplomat Soren Jessen–Petersen.

“I am skeptical about the mandate he has been given by the UN Security Council, respectively the peacekeeping mission department, about how much power they would give him to decide himself about many issues that would change within the UNMIK mission,” said Rexhepi, in a declaration for the media.

The Prime Minister fears that the new administrator may have the fate of his predecessor, to accomplish a mission, where he would be a kind of a victim, just as the institutions of Kosova, according to him.

“I have respect for him. I think he is pragmatic and an adequate person for the post to which he has been appointed. I had the chance to meet him twice. He is a diplomat with the necessary experience, who knows the reality of the Balkans and Kosova,” he said.
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Women say Kosova Not Willing to Give Them Responsibilities

PRISHTINA (KosovaLive) – Kosova government, political parties and institutions have not done enough for Kosova women. The fact that Kosova is not ready to accept women in political decision-making process proves this, according to attendees of the Women’s Leadership – Strategy to Strengthen Women’s Participation in Political Decisions conference.

Kosova Women’s Lobby, Star World Learning Network, and United Nations Agency for International Development (USAID), organized the conference.

Igballe Rogova, representative of the Kosova Women’s Lobby said that Kosova women find it difficult to be involved in economy, politics as well as other fields.

According to Rogova, due to the lack of commitment by the Kosova politicians to give women more responsibilities, the international community decided that close-list system be applied in October elections. Rogova said that the international community made such decision, fearing that fewer women may be elected to participate in the parliament.

“Our organization supported the open-list system,” Rogova said. “But the international community did not allow this, because Kosova is not yet ready to give women more responsibilities.”

Jean Carnahan, former senator of the Missouri, U.S. said that the gap between men and women politicians is still huge… According to Carnahan, laws and repressive habits, which impact women’s lives, should be changed.

Yvana Enzler, Chief of Swiss Liaison Office in Prishtina said that women’s role depends on the society and politics. She asked the parliament of Kosova to include more women, who would be committed to solving many problems, especially those that challenge women.

Enzler said that Kosova women should participate in decision-making processes in politics, economy and health issues.

Gorani Sobo, head of Croatia’s Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality said that democratic changes and gender equality could be achieved only if political parties include more women in their structures. “Our political parties are the ones that can help women,” said Sobo. “There are parties which have included one or two women in their structures. But this is not enough in any place of the world.”
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Toxic Waste Discovered in Peja

PEJA (KosovaLive) – The NGO ‘Ta mbrojme natyren pa kufi’ (Let’s Protect Nature Without Borders), announced that they have discovered a deposit of toxic waste near the watering channel in Dardania III quarter in Peja.

The executive director of this organization, Xhevdet Belegu, said that the toxic waste came to the surface a week ago, during the work for constructing this watering channel, by Auremont Enterprise. The deposit is located about 40 meters along this channel, where dozens of tons of dye put in barrels and covered with soil were found. First, the workers thought that they were daily waste that had been thrown in this channel some time ago.

The deposited barrels, which according to Belegu are believed to have been deposited there in 1974-76, have rusted, and in high temperatures they melt and flow into the water of the channel which residents of Dardania quarter, and Loxha and Krstova villages use to irrigate their land.

Before the war in Kosova, Peja had two factories that used these materials a lot. They were ‘Ramiz Sadiku’ that produced vehicle equipment, and ‘Utfa’ – a metallic construction enterprise. According to Belegu, these two factories are suspected of depositing this toxic waste, adding that since the amount of this material is very large, their origin is also from other parts of the former Yugoslavia.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, the Municipal Assembly of Peja, and this association, all of these barrels have been transferred to a safer deposit. Belegu said he received information based on which similar deposits exist in villages Qyshk and Pavlan.
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Who drove out whom from Kosovo?Aaron SFriday Jun 25th, 2004 4:19 AM
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