Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pseudo Albanian propaganda to declare themselves

Census begins on October 1, religion and ethnicity not "obligated"

Only two days ago, the chief foreign policy in the Greek parliament, Costas Giolekas accused Tirana, that the process of declaring them as fake as forcing the Albanian citizens, to refer to the Albanian statistical data and not declaring their consciousness, the questionnaire on religion and nationality.

TIRANA-Population and housing census otherwise called, starts on October 1.Questions are divided into two groups, those who are forced response and dealing with the type of building and housing, as well as individual questions.

While questions related to religious and ethnic affiliation, which in recent months have caused no little debate, are specified as a declaration of free and optional.To realize the census INSTAT survey employed about 12 thousand and having collected the data, by November we will have preliminary results of the census.

"The institute is only for this period, the period of the census field will engage approximately 15 thousand, 12 thousand will be the survey, about 2400 will be the tester, while the rest will be supervising. "We Will have control groups and all work will take about 3 weeks and every Albanian will answer him, "said Director of INSTAT Nurja Ines.

From this questionnaire for the first time accurate statistics on immigrants. This is the second time since 1989 that Albania is the population and housing census. The outcome of the answers will have full statistics on the demographic realities, economic and social development.

Only two days ago, the chief foreign policy in the Greek parliament, Costas Giolekas accused Tirana, that the process of declaring them as fake as forcing the Albanian citizens, to refer to the Albanian statistical data and not declaring their consciousness, the questionnaire on religion and nationality.

'Our man in Albania' accused of granting visas to mates is cleared

By Daily Mail Reporter

Cleared: Diplomat Mark Griffiths leaves Southwark Crown Court

Cleared: Diplomat Mark Griffiths leaves Southwark Crown Court

A British diplomat accused of granting visas to his Albanian ‘mates’ was cleared yesterday.

Mark Griffith, 45, was acquitted of failing to scrutinise work permit applications when he granted Albanian immigrants visas allowing them to work in Britain.

Mr Griffith was alleged to have allowed preferred candidates to ‘jump the queue’ for visas while working as an entry clearance officer for the British Embassy in the Albanian capital of Tirana.

He was cleared of two counts of misconduct in a public office.

But a crooked businessman who submitted dozens of bogus work permit applications for Albanians to work in British care homes was convicted.

Samuel Fongho, 40, used false paperwork to convince officials his clients could take jobs that could not be filled by British or EU nationals.

Southwark Crown Court heard Fongho, who ran a recruitment consultancy, made fraudulent applications for up to 68 Albanians, providing them with a ‘passport to come and live here forever’.

Fongho was found guilty of conspiring to use false instruments and will be sentenced on September 9.

Charges that Cameroon-born Fongho improperly influenced Mr Griffith to grant visas negligently were thrown out during the seven-week trial due to lack of evidence.

Griffith, 45, was based in the Albanian capital Tirana where he was alleged to have allowed visa candidates to jump the queue

Griffith, 45, was based in the Albanian capital Tirana where he was alleged to have allowed visa candidates to jump the queue

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bulgarians Arrested in Albania for Online Fraud

Albanian authorities arrested five Bulgarians on charges of electronic fraud and theft at banks in the coastal city of Durres, 35 kilometres west of Tirana.

According to a spokesman of the Albanian police, the perpetrators were cloning credit cards. The authorities gathered evidence prooving that the members of the gang had managed to collect about 150000 euros in the last six months.

The Bulgarians were arrested in a seaside hotel in Durres, where several machines were in their possession, prooving their illegal activity.

The police spokesman said the detainees had used a microcamera, after having installed it at the site, in order to record details of credit cards.

Serbia fears from Turkey

Recently, Serbs fear Turkey. They have begun to worry though Turkey is building the largest mosque in Mitrovica, Kosovo. They consider Turkey as their main enemy.

According to the Serbs it is done in order to remove them from the northern city.
Turkey′s involvement in Kosovo has raised tensions between Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo.

Since Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, Turkey has developed a more active foreign policy towards the country. It was among the first to recognize Kosovo′s sovereignty.

Since the time of the Ottoman Empire, Albanians have had strong cultural ties with Turkey. However, the Serbs see these connections just as the main reason why Turkey should not be involved in Balkan policy.
Dragan Krstic, a journalist from Mitrovica, says that Turkey is now the enemy of Serbia and has been so for centuries. /albeunews

Balkan War Redux

Ethnic violence is back in the Balkans. And once again, it has taken the West by surprise. This time the focal point is northern Kosovo, the region north of the Ibar River. Formally under Kosovar sovereignty, the area is claimed by Serbia and treated by the West as a de facto part of Serbia, where Serb paramilitaries profit from smuggling to the Albanian mafia while enforcing obedience among the area’s overwhelmingly Serb population. NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) units—which include some U.S. troops—and the EU’s rule of law mission (EULEX) tread gingerly around this reality. Belgrade exploits the paramilitaries to reinforce Serbia’s territorial claims. Officials from Pristina rarely step into this international shadowland. The United States, European Union and Belgrade all regard Pristina as a distant and inconvenient landlord, a silent partner in their tripartite understandings. Kosovo is expected to abide by the status quo and not fuss over the disjunction between Western professions of Kosovar sovereignty (albeit with close ties to Belgrade) and the reality of dominating Serb paramilitaries on the ground. These arrangements were upended recently when Kosovo’s prime minister—finally, in the view of his countrymen—sent police units to two northern border posts to enforce a trade-policy decision by the Kosovo government. As Kosovar officials have frequently complained to the EU and the United States (to no avail), Serbia freely exports its goods into Kosovo but blockades Kosovar goods headed north. Kosovo’s deputy prime minister publicly warned Belgrade that unless it lifted the blockade within thirty days, Pristina would block Serbian goods entering through the north. On July 25—after informing EULEX of its intentions, according to the prime minister—he sent Kosovar police units to take charge of two northern crossing points along the Serbian border. The action led to a confrontation with armed Serbs, and one Kosovar police officer was killed in the shooting. What followed were scenes reminiscent of Croatia and Bosnia in the early 1990s: Barricades went up throughout the north and began restraining KFOR movements; Two leading officials from Belgrade responsible for relations with Kosovo crossed into the north to show solidarity with fellow Serbs manning the barricades, underscore Belgrade’s claim over the territory and try to restore the status quo ante by negotiating with the KFOR commander; Serbs threw Molotov cocktails into a KFOR camp and set the two border posts ablaze. KFOR, as part of a compromise solution to tamp down the violence, took over control of the two destroyed border gates. By Thursday a deceptive calm had returned to the area and the Kosovar forces had withdrawn. But the violence may have created a new reality. With emotions running strong on both sides, positions seem to be hardening. The Kosovars have united behind their prime minister, who condemned an already-unpopular EULEX for doing nothing to aid the police unit. Another casualty may be the EU-sponsored Serbia-Kosovo bilateral talks on small but practical technical problems. Just weeks ago, the EU proudly announced agreement on three such issues and hoped to build momentum for further limited dialogue. But pictures of the Serbian leader of those talks meeting with paramilitaries at the barricades cast the negotiating process into a new and less benign light. The events also stirred nationalists in Belgrade. In Pristina, Kosovars now see the talks as a sideshow in which their negotiators are used as props by Brussels to help make Serbia more presentable to governments deciding soon on the country’s EU-candidacy status. The greater damage may be to a fundamental US policy assumption: that it is better to delay grappling with the undiscussed core issue of the status of northern Kosovo—the claim in Belgrade that Kosovo be partitioned along the Ibar River and the equally firm insistence by the Kosovars that the north belongs to Kosovo. It may well be that the West’s preference of restoring the status quo ante in the north will not be possible, though diplomats in Pristina, Belgrade and Brussels are working assiduously to achieve that. If so, Washington will have to decide whether to reexamine long-held assumptions about keeping final-status negotiations over the north in a diplomatic deep freeze and consider whether events are now forcing its hand. If this were to happen, it would require the United States to play a major role in the present negotiations and the overall Serbia-Kosovo divide. Clearly Washington would prefer not to take on this set of headaches—far easier to kick the can down the road. Once violence, however, enters an issue, it can outrace the efforts of diplomats to contain it, as we learned in the Balkans in the 1990s. Washington now faces two broad policy choices: follow the EU in attempting to restore the old situation by coaxing Pristina to accept the status quo ante in the north and convincing both parties return to their limited talks. Or it could try to shape a new reality, either by changing the nature of the talks and focusing on the fundamental question of the future of the north; or by leading the EU in establishing Western control over northern Kosovo and the border with Serbia. Almost certainly, if history is any guide, short-term considerations will prevail over long-term ones. (The National Interest, written by: Morton Abramowitz, James Hooper)

Change of situation in north through force "unacceptable"

WASHINGTON -- Defense Minister Dragan Šutanovac on Thursday met with U.S. Assistant Defense Secretary Alexander Vershbow, Tanjug news agency reported.

Dragan Šutanovac (file)
Dragan Šutanovac (file)

According to this, Šutanovac said that any unilateral measure which would change the situation in the field in northern Kosovo through force was "completely unacceptable".

During the visit to the U.S. Defense Ministry, Šutanovac and Vershbow discussed the Kosovo and Metohija issue after the unilateral action of the Kosovo Albanian authorities over the checkpoints in the north, said the reports, and Šutanovac voiced Serbia's stands regarding the current situation.

According to a release issued by the U.S. Defense Ministry, Vershbow "agreed that the solution to the Kosovo crisis should be sought by diplomatic and peaceful means, and he backed the activities of Serbian top government officials aimed at resolving the crisis by continuing the Belgrade-Priština dialogue".

Šutanovac underscored that cooperation with KFOR in the field would continue, adding that "this situation shows that Serbia opposes a reduction of KFOR forces".

During the visit to the U.S. Defense Ministry, Minister Šutanovac also conferred with Chief of the U.S. National Guard Bureau General Craig McKinley and Commander of the Ohio National Guard Adjutant General Deborah Ashenhurst.

Šutanovac informed the U.S. officials about the current political and security situation in Kosovo and Metohija and underscored the importance of reducing tensions, reaching an interim agreement and re-opening of the dialogue, and underscored that unilateral actions are not in the interest of either side nor are they conducive to preserving peace in the region.

General McKinley assessed that the Serbian side "did good when it used all available peaceful and diplomatic means because this is the only way to find right solutions", said Tanjug. The talks also covered military cooperation between the U.S. and Serbia.

Ex-UN official says partition is realistic solution

BELGRADE -- Partition of Kosovo is a realistic solution if the two sides cannot reach an agreement any other way, says former UN official Gerard Gallucci.

“Something like ‘Antisaari plus plan’ – autonomy for north Kosovo – could be a solution,” he told daily Blic.

He added, however, that Priština was unfortunately trying to resolve issues with force, making partition less likely.

“I know that people are talking about bad effects this could cause in other parts of the world, Kosovo Albanians regularly play that card, but in 21st century Europe borders need to be adjusted and they should not serve as an excuse for a new war to anybody,” Gallucci explained.

He pointed out that conflicts in the field would continue if the Quint countries (the U.S., Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy) did not support Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in his attempt to find a compromise regarding customs seals with EU facilitator in the Belgrade-Priština talks Robert Cooper.

“If Priština refuses to abandon its extreme position and KFOR continues to make mistakes, things could get out of hand,“ the former UN official said.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Macedonia is "afraid" for the border with Kosovo

The situation in the crossing points with Kosovo in Macedonia is stable, but otherwise Macedonia will react if it is necessary. This statement comes from the Ministry of Interior of Macedonia, which emphasizes the it is prepared for any situation which may bring risks.

"There are indications that there may be more serious risks, but if necessary we are prepared to react," said the spokesman of the Interior Ministry, Ivo Kotevski.

This statement comes right after the head of DUI, Ali Ahmeti, who said that if it is compromised the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Kosovo, no one can take responsibility that no one can guarantee peace in Macedonia.

"Sides close to solution to north Kosovo crisis"

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA -- Serbian government representatives in Kosovo today announced that a deal on resolving the crisis in the north was "at hand".

KFOR in Zvečan (Beta)
KFOR in Zvečan (Beta)

Borislav Stefanović and Goran Bogdanović late on Thursday finished their several-hour long meeting with KFOR commander Erhard Buehler near the town of Leposavić, to tell reporters afterwards that they would not be making any statements tonight.

Stefanović only explained that "all will be known on Friday".

Earlier today, the Kosovo Albanian government in Priština led by Hashim Thaci softened its stance on a preliminary agreement announced by KFOR late on Wednesday, to announce that a meeting with KFOR commander Erhard Buehler was "fruitful", and that "agreement was reached".

Yesterday, the NATO-led force in the province announced that an agreement was drafted that envisaged for KFOR to maintain control over the Jarinje and Brnjak administrative line checkpoints, allowing vehicles, trucks of up to 3.5 tons, and trucks carrying humanitarian aid to go through after passing security checks.

After rejecting the announced deal
on Wednesday, Hashim Thaci today said that the "newly created situation has been explained after the latest events", as well as that agreement was reached "on the next steps".

Thaci asserted that his government was last night "upset" because the preliminary agreement mentioned a humanitarian crisis in Kosovo.

"There is no humanitarian crisis in Kosovo... politicians are the ones to determine whether there is a humanitarian crisis," Thaci was quoted as saying by news agencies.

Meanwhile, Serbian government representatives Goran Bogdanović and Borislav Stefanović on Thursday held a meeting with heads of Serb municipalities in the northern part of Kosovo.

Stefanović said that "complete unity" was established at the meeting held with municipal leaders of Leposavić, Zvečan, Kosovska Mitrovica and Zubin Potok.

The Serbian official added that the public would learn the details of the deal once it had been "completely agreed on", and added there were "a few minor issues left".

Albania, Security News

Albanian criminal groups, threatening the Hellenic population in Himara Region

It happened more than once, when
"anonymous groups", threatening citizens with Greek origin, "requesting money"

We have said several times the fact that, Albanian criminal groups, have increased threats to the population in Himara with Hellenic origin, not only ethnically motivated, but also to cause incidents at the height of tourist season.

Incidents may have linked to the fact that many elements of the Albanian nationalists, want to cause unrest on the anniversary of the murder of Aristtotel Guma ceremony.

Very strange is the fact that, having a large presence of Albanian security authorities in Himara Region, criminal groups, are courageous to provoke incidents, for which SManalysis, is investigating directly at some incidents, for which the Albanian authorities, are informed.

Those days, the Prime Minister Sali Berisha, is passing holidays at the Drymades residence. Only few days ago, he meet the Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci, tolking about ulterior situation i Northern Kosovo.

Red & Black Alliance: Greece, is the author of the registration law. Volfarth of OSCE: Albania must be registering

Black & Red Alliance has reacted with respect to Greece's request to send observers to the census process. According to the Alliance, it shows that behind the law of the census stands Greece.

"Greece just launched its territorial claims. If confirmed allegations that Greece is the author of the law on ethnic census, "said the head of the executive of the Black & Red Alliance, Redi Ramaj.

He asked the responsible minister, Genc Pollo, as initiator of this law, not to remain silent, but to react and respond to the Greek parliament.

In this debate is including the OSCE ambassador in Tirana, Eugen Volfarth, from the town of Permeti who stated that the census is a necessity.

"Citizens participate in the census, as it has value to their development. Registration is an important process for developing of the country, "the ambassador said during a meeting with the mayor of Permet, and yesterday had meetings in Himara.

Albania Muslims protest over nude exhibition near mosque

Workers hoist an Albanian flag in Tirana, Albania on March 24, 2009.

Workers hoist an Albanian flag in Tirana, Albania on March 24, 2009.


TIRANA - Muslims in an Albanian coastal town have protested against the opening of an exhibition of nude photographs and sculptures in a gallery a few metres from the local mosque, media reported Wednesday.

"This exhibition is unacceptable. It should not be opened next to the mosque of the town" of Durres, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) northeast of the capital Tirana, local mufti Redi Quku was quoted by media as saying.

Quku said the opening of the exhibition of works by Albanian artist Mustafa Biduli was offensive to Muslims, in particular as the show takes place during the holy month of Ramadan.

The local Muslim community has said it will file a complaint against local authorities who have "severely provoked believers" with the exhibition.

Most of Albania's population are Muslims, but the country also has a significant Christian minorities, both Orthodox and Catholic.


Greece, the opposition: Albania prevents the registration of minority
Greece, the opposition: Albania minoritetit

ATHENS-The registration prevents the census process in Albania has sparked opposition from the Greek. Chairman of the Department of Foreign Policy of the New Democracy Party, Konstantinos Gioulekas MP, calls unacceptable the fact that exactly Albania, which according to him seeking help Greece to enter the EU, in turn prevents the registration of the Greek minority.
In a statement the Foreign Department of the party "New Democracy" said:

"it with an unprecedented legislative initiative by the Albanian government, has implemented methods that do not allow residents of Northern Epirus, to express their national identity and religious in the next census. It is unacceptable that Albania, which requires the support of Greece to assist entry into the European Union, follows the policies of the Cold War, blackmails for Northern Epirus and violates the rights of its residents. "
Further the statement follows: "How to apply laws that impose sanctions to all Albanian citizens during deklarimimit nationality and religion, if the latter are different from those that appear in the records?" He noted that "this law includes the period before 1990, when the dictatorial regime of Enver Hoxha and Ramiz Alia had changed nationality to thousands vorioepiriotë arbitrarily and without the will of the people."

According to the statement, "Implementation of this law prevents thousands of Northern Epirus to declare their Greek origin in the next census."
Greek official, stated that the procedure for future population census in Albania raises many questions, to ensure transparency and objectivity of the census in Albania, among other things, he asks:

Presence of foreign observers during the registration, but also during the counting and publication of results
Results of the census data included in the records, to replace residents who had been arbitrarily removed the Greek citizenship To inventoried all Albanian citizens living inside and outside the country, asked the relatives of older people to record their Inventory can take more than a month, in order to be included in as many Albanians as possible This statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs of New Democracy, was after a trip to the Greek opposition lawmaker Konstantin Gioulekas made in Gjirokastra and other nearby areas.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tirana is preparing to send troops to Kosovo

Berisha: Albania can increase the contribution to KFOR units

Prime Minister Sali Berisha was explained at the meeting of ministers of his government and meeting with Kosovo counterpart, Hashim Thacci. Berisha said that the north can not be left in the hands of some smugglers. He expressed willingness to Albania to increase its number of troops in KFOR.
I think a handful of smugglers, adventurers, or the phalanx of Greater Serbia, threaten the constitutional order of a free country and independent is a very serious thing, Berisha said.

Therefore, the Kosovo government in a legitimate way interfered with its right to national and international customs control located on the northern border.
This after the Kosovo authorities in discussions in Brussels have agreed on these points, in a transitional period, the seal reads 'Kosovo customs'. Smugglers and delinquent interest not seal any contact, but their transformation zones in regional smuggling centers he said We have welcomed the government's position, have welcomed the determination of KFOR.

These phalanx fired on ground and air units of KFOR.
By supporting the Kosovo government in full control of borders, we call these developments do not indicate a blockage in the negotiations process, the process of Brussels. Not excluded the possibility to have links with Albanian smugglers, but they have inspired in Belgrade and is in the best interest of the two countries engage in the fight against smuggling. I believe that the situation is under control of the Kosovo authorities. KFOR's presence is a major factor of peace and stability. Albania can increase our contribution to KFOR, of course not in problematic areas. We are ready to increase our contribution to KFOR units, "said Berisha

Head of the OSCE in Albania Wolfarth, facing complaints in Himara, registration of property

Non-governmental organizations of Himara Region, called OSCE, that might boycott the registration process, as it serves the Albanian mafia

During a meeting in Himara Municipalit with the new Mayor George Goros, the ambassador Wolfarth, expresed historical desire for a much better commitment to the OSCE for the registration of property.

During the meeting, representatives of OSCE, faced with complaints of non-governmental organizations to Himara Region, which asked no explanations regarding transparency and bureaucracy that characterizes the process of registration of property in Ionian coast.

Representatives of organizations of Himara, the OSCE called the "registration process, to serve the Albanian Mafia, for until this process is introduced by the communist law of the land division with No. 7501.

Also the Himara organizations asked the new Mayor Goros, for that a new re negotiate with the OSCE and the relevant of the registration property, to register an unlimited ancestral lands of residents of Himara Region without the Law 7501.

Albanians, Serbs Divided Over Turkey’s Role In Kosovo

Written by:

August 3, 2011

By Muhamet Brajshori

Turkey’s increasing involvement in Kosovo has elevated tensions between the country’s ethnic Albanian and Serb populations who maintain different viewpoints on Turkish engagement.

Since Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, Turkey has developed a more active foreign policy towards the country. Turkey was among the first to recognise Kosovo’s sovereignty, and has been lobbying for its recognition in other Muslim countries.



Stretching back to the Ottoman Empire, Albanians have shared strong cultural links to Turkey. However, the Serbs see these ties as the very reason Turkey should not involve itself in Balkan politics.

According to Dragan Krstic, a journalist from the Serbian-dominated northern Mitrovica, “Turkey is currently [Serbia's] enemy and has been for centuries. They supported the split of [Serbia] and now want to support corrupt politicians in Pristina through the development of highways and airports.”

Bayrampasa, a district in Istanbul, has joined efforts with the city of Mitrovica to build the largest mosque in Kosovo — a move welcomed by Albanians but opposed by Serbs.

“The old mosque was destroyed during the war, and the new one would be warmly received,” says Bajram Spahiu, an ethnic Albanian from southern Mitrovica.

However, not all Mitrovica residents like the idea of a new mosque.

Sasa Nadjelkovic from the north says, “The Ottomans came here centuries ago by building mosques and now they want to build the new one to remove the Serbs from Kosovo and Mitrovica.”

Tensions run high in the ethnically divided city of Mitrovica. Last year, clashes erupted between Serbs and Albanians after Turkey’s defeat of the Serbian national basketball team in the World Championship semi-finals.

Experts believe that Turkey’s engagement in Kosovo stems from its desire to act as Kosovo’s protector — a similar role that it served in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

“Engagement in Mitrovica is strategic for Turkey. Sooner or later Turkey will try to foster co-operation between Kosovo and Serbia, but it will play the protector role for Kosovo as it has done in other cases,” says Hysni Gashi, a PhD candidate who studies Turkish foreign policy towards Kosovo.

Krstic, however, thinks Turkish engagement in Mitrovica will lead to future confrontations between the Albanians and the Serbs.

“If Turkey takes an active role in Pristina instead, Mitrovica will never find its peace and we will have more clashes,” he says.

Krstic argues that Turkish and Albanian investments in Kosovo are often politically motivated and do not serve the interests of the Serbs.

“Serbia’s interest in Mitrovica is to make [Serbs'] life easier. Turkey, Albania and any other groups who support the Albanians do not serve this interest by investing in the city without Belgrade’s permission,” says Krstic.

However, now that Belgrade and Ankara have improved relations, Gashi sees Serbian resistance to Turkish policy in Kosovo and the region as short-lived. It’s mainly the Serbs in Kosovo and BiH that fear their existence in the case of Turkish intervention.

More than anything, Gashi worries that construction in Mitrovica — viewed as partial to either the Albanians or Serbs — could bring conflict, especially a religious building.

“For the northern Serbs, construction of a mosque would be interpreted as Turkey financing the Albanians to take [Serbs'] homes,” he says.

“Time for UN to take over northern Kosovo”

BELGRADE -- Ex-UN regional representative in Kosovska Mitrovica Gerard Gallucci said sending UN peacekeepers to the Kosovo north might be the only way to preserve peace.

Gerald Galucci
Gerald Galucci

“It is time perhaps for the UN to take over the north and send its peacekeepers back, because this is maybe the only way to keep peace until there is a political settlement,” he stressed.

He said that Priština's attempt to impose its full control of the Brnjak and Jarinje administrative checkpoints was a provocation and added that the act of Priština and the NATO mission in northern Kosovo made the partition of Kosovo much more likely as the line dividing Serbs and Albanians had become clearly marked.

He said the provocation was aimed at frustrating diplomatic efforts and negotiations.

“It was a provocation, a way to prevent diplomacy and negotiations. It probably had some sort of quiet support from the major international supporters of Kosovo," he said, adding that “it was a mistake.”

“I can’t say for sure, and see that the U.S. ambassador in Serbia denied that the US encouraged this move,” Gallucci pointed out.

"But it is hard to believe that PM [Hashim] Thaci would move in such a provocative manner without some sort of encouragement or a blind eye from the U.S. Ambassador in Priština,” the former UN representative said in an interview posted on the website TransConflict.

Asked from which countries Priština could have got some “green light” for such an act, Gallucci recalled that at the UN Security Council, the U.S. and the UK had tried to prevent Serbia from taking the issue to the UN Security Council.

“So, it makes me wonder what Washington and London have to hide,” he said.

He pointed out that for some reason, the U.S., UK and Germany had consistently been of the opinion that with some strong use of force in the north of Kosovo, the local Serbs would surrender to Priština.

“They tried that in 2008, they try it now again and it is not working and it is making the situation difficult,” he was quoted as saying.

Gallucci believes we might see an escalation of the violence in the near future.

“This provocation has forced Serbia to stand up and take this to the UN, and on the other side you have Thaci not backing down, making difficult for any negotiation in the near future,” Gallucci concluded.

Kosovo Border Attacks Could Destabilize Macedonia

The leader of the largest Albanian party in Macedonia has warned that future challenges to Kosovo’s borders could lead to uncontrollable unrest in Macedonia.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Ali Ahmeti, the head of Macedonia’s largest Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration, outlined his views on the present situation in the north of Kosovo, during an interview with Kosovo’s state broadcaster RTK.

"If there are attempts to change the [Kosovo] borders, I can not take responsibility to be the keeper of the peace in Macedonia because people may organize themselves like in 2001 and noone can control that” he told the broadcaster.

“If such things happen and if the situation got out of control, one can not take responsibility or guarantee that the Albanians will not organize a common front in case they are threatened as a whole” he added.

Ahmeti, whose party is now the junior partner in the government of Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, said he supported the government in Kosovo regarding its attempts to maintain control over its northern border with Serbia.

The latest crisis in the north of Kosovo started on Monday night last week, when Kosovo special police took over two checkpoints in a move to enforce a recent order from Pristina, banning the import of goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The special police encountered resistance from local Serbs, culminating in the torching of one of the border crossings on Wednesday night. One Kosovo policeman was also killed in a fire fight.

“Kosovo authorities acted properly and they have support from the Albanians in Macedonia,” Ahmeti added. “Their actions were aimed at ensuring the territorial integrity and law and I think that Kosovo authorities should be encouraged not to retreat.”

He added that Macedonia could profit from the trade embargo by increasing its role as an importer and transit country for goods entering Kosovo. But he said steps should be taken to prevent any possible re-branding of Serbian products as Macedonian products in order to dupe the trade embargo.

Ahmeti was head of the Albanian rebels during the short-lived Macedonian armed conflict of 2001. The conflict ended the same year with the signing of a peace deal that granted greater rights to Albanians in Macedonia.

In exchange for loyalty towards Macedonia, Albanians who make up one quarter of the country’s population received greater local autonomy, the right to official use of their language and flag and proportional participation in state administration, the police and military.

In 2002, Ahmeti and former rebel leaders formed the DUI . Since then, the party has maintained its position as the strongest Albanian party in the country.

According to Ahmeti, relations between Macedonia and Kosovo are very good.

Macedonia recognized Kosovo’s independence in 2008. This move was partially attributed to DUI’s influence in the government.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thaci: Every state has a "Mitrovica"

After the meeting with the European Union mediator, Robert Cooper, Kosovo Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci has gathered the government to discuss recent developments in the country.

Kosovo Prime Minister has rejected any division or negotiation for northern Kosovo and stressed that there will be no talks for the partition of Kosovo.

"Internal regulation will not be part of any dialogue with anyone. We have made ​​clear even to Cooper, that Kosovo will protect its sovereignty" said the prime minister.

"There is no turning back before July 25. There will not have any partition of Kosovo, neither de jure, nor de facto. Opening the issue of borders would mean to open the same issue for other states in the region. Every state has a Mitrovica," Thaci said.

PM calls on KFOR, UNMIK to "remain neutral"

BELGRADE -- Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković has stated that Serbia did not bear responsibility for the current situation in northern Kosovo.

Mirko Cvetković (Tanjug, file)
Mirko Cvetković (Tanjug, file)

He blamed the Kosovo Albanian authorities in Priština and international institutions active in the province for the flare-up.

The prime minister spoke on Tuesday in Belgrade to call on international representatives to engage in talks with Serbian government officials in order to bring back calm and return to the situation that existed before the crisis.

Cvetković also stated that he believed the Belgrade-Priština dialogue should be "renewed".

"Representatives of the international community, KFOR and EULEX, must remain neutral, and not take sides - as they are doing right now by refusing to talk to legitimate representatives of the Republic of Serbia, and by blocking food convoys, which could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe," concluded the Serbian premier.

NATO Sends Troops To Relieve Soldiers at Kosovo Border

A battalion-sized number of NATO-led KFOR troops have been sent to the northern border in Kosovo to relieve existing KFOR troops who are there, KFOR has told Balkan Insight.

Maryrose Fison

Ralph Adametz, deputy spokesman for KFOR, said “What we will do now is relieve our forces.” He said the size of the battalion deployed to the border was approximately 500-600 people.

The decision had been made yesterday and the additional troops would be expected to arrive at the border within the next few days, he added.

Serbian media has reported that trucks and passenger vehicles carrying food and supplies have been turned away from the Jarinje border. Serbian media reports also said medical supplies had not been allowed into Kosovo through one of the borders by KFOR soldiers.

Metz said media reports which claimed KFOR soldiers were rejecting food and medicine supplies at the border were untrue.

Four Albanians arrested in connection with kidnapping case

Source: ANA

The Greek Police Crimes Against Life Department on Monday announced that they had cracked a kidnapping case that took place in Attica last May when a 67-year-old doctor was taken and held for ransom.

The Greek Police Crimes Against Life Department on Monday announced that they had cracked a kidnapping case that took place in Attica last May when a 67-year-old doctor was taken and held for ransom.

They said that five suspects had been identified, of which four had been arrested in neighbouring Bulgaria and were due to be extradited to Greece.

The four men arrested were all of Albanian nationality, aged 20, 22, 23 and 28 years old, respectively.

The 67-year-old was taken captive while cultivating a plot of land in Stamata and taken to a remote location deep in a forest at Agios Merkourios where his captives had set up a space where he would be kept hostage.

The kidnappers left him there and he was found by police after his family had paid a ransom of 1,360,800 euro that had been left in another remote, uninhabited location in Attica.

A police investigation quickly uncovered the identity of the suspects, who had fled to Albania on the day after they released their victim. International arrest warrants were issued and Greek police officers went to Albania, where in collaboration with local police forces they continued their search.

They tracked the suspects and discovered that they had left on a charter flight to Turkey on July 8, on holiday at a luxury hotel on the Turkish coast. They did not return to Albania as planned but continued their holiday by visiting Istanbul, where they stayed at more luxury hotels.

The four suspects were finally arrested on July 30 as they crossed the borders of Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The process for their extradition to Greece has already begun.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Serbia-Kosovo Mediated Talks to Resume

An icon and Serbian flag cover a barricade on the road near the village of Zupce, northern Kosovo, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011
Photo: AP
An icon and Serbian flag cover a barricade on the road near the village of Zupce, northern Kosovo, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011
Serbian officials have met with a European Union mediator to discuss the latest bout of ethnic tensions in northern Kosovo.

The head of Belgrade's negotiating team, Borislav Stefanovic, and Serbian Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovic met Monday with EU envoy Robert Cooper in the southern Serbian town of Raska.

Stefanovic told reporters after the closed-door meeting that there would be more discussions, but he did not say when. Serbian news media report that Cooper returned to Pristina to convey Serbia's demands.

Serbia's government announced Monday it is sending trucks with food aid for Serbs in northern Kosovo, including 30 tons of flour, 20 tons of sugar and cooking oil each and five tons of powdered milk.

The region has experienced food shortages after special forces of Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian authorities a week ago seized two border crossings in Serb-dominated northern regions to enforce a ban on imports from Serbia. ......................................


The Greek Consul General in Korca, Theodoros Economou - Kamarinos, is honored for outstanding services to the Northern Epirus of Hellenism, for the protection of Universal Human Rights, recognizing the dynamics of supply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by the Foundation of Hellenes of America.

The Foundation through its President Mr. Michael Servo awarded to Mr. Economou for the medal merit "The Kleistheneio Award".This is an award established in honor of the founder of the Greek Republic and awards to individuals for their contribution to Hellenism and Humanity.

Interesting was the fact that, the political forces of Albanian extremists, and called Consul, Ikonomu as non grata in Albania, after he was found to support the Greeks in Northern Epirus, calling them not to fear to declare themselves ethnicity and religion, that will take place this autumn in Albania.

EULEX appreciates the cooperation with Albania and Kosovo


EULEX has praised cooperation with the Albanian government regarding the allegations raised by Dick Marty for the organ trafficking in Albania and Kosovo.

The head of the European Union mission to the rule of law in Kosovo, EULEX, Mr. Xavier Bout de Marnhac, in a letter to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Edmond Haxhinasto appreciates the support of Albanian government for a full investigation of the allegations, raised by Senator Dick Marty in his report to the Council of Europe, dated on January 7, 2011.

Kosovo Politician Orders Arrest of Serb Officials

Kosovo’s Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi has ordered the arrest of two Serb officials who entered Kosovo to attempt negotiations on a recent trade import ban.

Petrit Collaku

Kosovo’s Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi has ordered the arrest of two Serb officials who have entered Kosovo.

Rexhepi told Balkan Insight this morning that Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo, Goran Bogdanovic, and the head delegation for negotiation, Borislav Stefanovic, had entered Kosovo illegally.

“Kosovo police have been ordered to arrest them as soon as they meet them,” Rexhepi said.

He added that every Serb official entering the country was required to inform the International Civilian Office, ICO, and await the Kosovan government’s consent, before entering.

Bogdanovic and Stefanovic reportedly entered Kosovo last night without prior permission from Kosovo’s government.

“We will not send a special police team because the police are over there,” Rexhepi said. He declined to comment on whether Kosovo Serb police in the north would obey the order.

Earlier, Stefanovic reportedly told Radio Free Europe that he was not trying to provoke the situation but rather to help it. But Rexhepi said that Stefanovic and Begdanovic were not helping improve the situation in the north.

“They [Stefanovic, Bogdanovic] have encouraged the local population there to block the roads and are not contributing to improve the situation,” Rexhepi said.

Initially, Stefanovic and Bogdanovic were not allowed to enter Kosovo via the Jarinje administrative crossing border, Kosovo media reported. But they entered through secondary roads during late Sunday.

Earlier today media reports indicated that Stefanovic had managed to agree with KFOR Commander Erhard Buehler on the opening of two administrative crossings at Jarinje and Brnjak. Stefanovic was reported as saying he wanted to find ways to reopen talks about the remaining border points.

Bogdanovic reportedly announced that the government would send food and medical supplies to citizens in northern Kosovo on Monday, and expressed belief that the package would enter Kosovo on the grounds of it being humanitarian aid.

The latest crisis in the Serb-run north of Kosovo started on Monday night last week, when Kosovo special police took over two checkpoints in a move to enforce a recent order from Pristina, banning the import of goods from Serbia.

The special police soon encountered stiff resistance from local Serbs, culminating in the torching of one of the border crossings on Wednesday night. One Kosovo policeman was killed in a fire fight.

Border crossings of Jarinje and Brnjak were closed for three days after NATO declared them a restricted military zone and authorized the use of deadly force in case KFOR troops come under attack.

Minister: Barricades in north won't be removed

ZVEČAN -- Goran Bogdanović says barricades on the roads in north Kosovo will stay where they are until the problem of the Jarinje and Brnjak checkpoints has been solved.

Serbian Orthodox priests join people at the barricades (Tanjug)
Serbian Orthodox priests join people at the barricades (Tanjug)

After a meeting with representatives of local Serbs in Zvečan, northern Kosovo, the minister for Kosovo urged peace and confirmed that he is scheduled to meet with EU mediator Robert Cooper in Raška, a town in the southern area of central Serbia.

“The problem of administrative crossings in northern Kosovo must be resolved through dialogue, and under no circumstances it should involve force. I call on all to restrain from unilateral moves and give a chance to dialogue,” Bogdanović said.

Bogdanović and Head of Belgrade's negotiating team in the talks with Priština Borislav Stefanović arrived at the barricades in Rudare, municipality of Zvečan, but heavy rain prevented them from addressing journalists.

The meeting between Bogdanović and Stefanović and Serb representatives in northern Kosovo in Zvečan began at 11:00 CET and ended three hours later.

The talks were led behind closed doors, and the meeting was also attended by head of Kosovska Mitrovica District chief Radenko Nedeljković and mayors of northern Kosovo municipalities.

After the meeting, government representatives were scheduled to issue a statement for reporters at the barricades in Rudare.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The situation in Northern Kosovo, Berisha-Thaci meeting in Dhërmi, Himara Region

Albania in NATO, a potential implication for Kosovo

Sources, say during the meeting that between Berisha and Thaci, is also discussed Albania's position as a member of NATO, which is prepared to start a resolution by the Albanian Parliament, to guarantee the Albanian citizens in Kosovo.

The Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha met today at the beach in Drymades, Himara Region his Kosovo counterpart Hashim Thaci. According to albanian press, the two prime ministers have consumed together a working lunch, where they discussed the situation in northern Kosovo.

Premier Berisha expressed Taqi personally once again supporting of Albania to Kosovo and decisions has recently received his government, setting the embargo against Serbia, and establishing control in the two border points, the Bernjak Jarinje.

While at a press conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Berisha condemned the attacks in northern Serbia, and accused of undermining stability in the region.

"The Government of Albania is following with concern the dangerous provocations of gang serbs in the northern border of the Republic of Kosovo. While fully supporting the right decisions and the government of the Republic of Kosovo to guarantee the constitutional order, integrity and complete control of its territory, the government of the Republic of Albania condemns the criminal acts of gangs serbes crossings on the northern border of the Republic of Kosovo the murder of special forces officer in Kosovo, torching buildings and customs of armed attack yesterday against ground and air units of KFOR in the scene, all supported, inspired, paid by ultra-nationalist circles in Belgrade "Berisha said.

On his part, Prime Minister Thaci stated determined to keep control in the north, warning the Serbs that is withdrawn from the north

, say during the meeting that between Berisha and Thaci, is also discussed Albania's position as a member of NATO, which is prepared to start a resolution by the Albanian Parliament, to guarantee the Albanian citizens in Kosovo.

Warlick: Kosovo Government's operations not coordinated with U.S.

Source: Tanjug

The top priority task now is that all the parties in the region begin working on the pacification of the situation. We are concerned about the situation and we will support both KFOR and other international institutions so that this task could be realized, Warlick said in an interview with the Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS).

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Mary Warlick voiced huge concern Wednesday over the situation in northern Kosovo and called on all sides to refrain from violence.

She expressed her regret over the actions of the Kosovo government in Pristina aimed at taking control over the customs check points in northern Kosovo, which, as she underlined, had not in any way been coordinated with the U.S. and the rest of the international community.

The top priority task now is that all the parties in the region begin working on the pacification of the situation. We are concerned about the situation and we will support both KFOR and other international institutions so that this task could be realized, Warlick said in an interview with the Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS).

The U.S. ambassador urged the governments in Belgrade and Pristina to establish the principle of positive reciprocity so that the situation could get back to normal. We call on the governments in Belgrade and Pristina to establish the so-called principle of positive reciprocity that means a normalization of the situation in which people and goods will normally flow between Kosovo and Serbia, she underlined.

Warlick added that the U.S. backs the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina with the mediation of the EU as the best means for the resolution of the problem.