Friday, March 17, 2006

Russia and China 'pledge not to block new Kosovo


By Guy Dinmore in Washington and Daniel Dombey in LondonPublished:

March 14 2006

Russia and China have told the US that they will not block the independence of Kosovo, the breakaway Serbian province, according to western diplomats.
Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, discussed the issue with Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, in Washington last week and was told Moscow would not stand in the way of independence, the officials said. Russia and China would probably abstain in a proposed UN resolution that would grant independence.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Two injured in explosion in front of HSBC branch in Turkey

The Article


DIYARBAKIR, Turkey -- Two people were injured when a bomb went off Wednesday (15 March) in front of an office of the British bank HSBC in Diyarbakir. In November 2003, HSBC's headquarters in Istanbul was targeted during an al-Qaeda bombing campaign, along with the British consulate and two synagogues in the city. The blasts killed a total of 61 people and injured more than 600. (Irish Examiner - 16/03/06; BBC, AP, Reuters, Bulgarian Government Web site, BNR, Mediapool - 15/03/06)

Mustafaj Says No Border Guarantees Upon Division Of Kosovo

Tirana, 14 Mar 2006 (Makfax) - Albania cannot guarantee inviolability of borders with Macedonia and Kosovo if the Serbian province undergoes division, Albanian Foreign Minister Besnik Mustafaj said on Tuesday.

"Tirana stands ready for any contingency, and if Kosovo is divided, Albania could not guarantee inviolability of the borders", Mustafaj told Alsat TV station, as commenting the thesis of Kosovo-Albania merge upon granting province's independence.

"As soon as last October, I said in front of high officials in Brussels that if division of Kosovo takes place, Albania could no longer guarantee inviolability of borders with Kosovo, but with Albanian part of Macedonia as well", Mustafaj said in Alsat's TV program.

"We keep a close eye on the current developments, and I assure you, Albania would not be caught without contingency plan for any given situation", said the Albanian Minister.

In the same TV program, the Vice-President of DPA Menduh Thaci said "establishing an independent Kosovo and national identity of Kosovars raises the issue of the identity of Albanians living in Macedonia".

"I am against forming new identities. As we grow accustomed to the identity of Kosovars we will start forgetting that they are Albanians. Personally, I can accept that compromise, since 90 percent of Kosovo's citizens are Albanians and the official language in all institutions is the Albanian. However, such a move gives no answer as to what will be the identity of the Albanians living in Macedonia", said Thaci.

American Soldiers To Move From Monteith To Bondsteel

Gjilan, 14 Mar 2006 (Radio Kosova) – Majority of American KFOR soldiers will be transferred from Camp Monteith in Gjilan to Camp Bondsteel near Ferizaj.

“Only a small number of American soldiers will remain in Monteith by the end of this month,” stated Major Dobrovksi in a meeting of the municipal council for the security of communities. He added that regardless of this movement within the American sector, American soldiers will continue their presence in this region through patrols and will provide the same security.

Camp Monteith was opened since the KFOR troops entered Kosova in June 1999. Before this time this camp was used by the former Yugoslav Army.

Thaci To Lead Kosova Delegation In Vienna Meeting

14 March (RTK) – The opposition leader, Hashim Thaci is going to lead the Kosova delegation in the Vienna talks on the 17th of March. He is going to replace Lutfi Haziri, who led the delegation last time. This time Lutfi Haziri, Blerim Shala, Skender Hyseni, Isa Mustafa, Sadik Idrizi, Ylber Hysa and Adrian Gjini are going to be the members of the delegation. After today’s meeting of delegation team, the Kosova leader, Fatmir Sejdiu justified the changes in the delegation by saying: “We have some small changes in our formation, changes that are in full consensus. Hashim Thaci is going to lead the team. We are Kosova and we work as Kosova delegation”.

Thaci stated that there are no differences between the ruling party and the opposition when it comes to the solution of Kosova status particularly to its independence.

“You know that we are all determined to work with great responsibilities and stable unity for the issue of political status in order to implement the will of the citizens for independent and sovereign state and there isn’t any difference between the ruling party and opposition as far as the solution of political status”.

The Kosova delegation with the new composition is going to talk with the officials of Belgrade for the second time. The last time, the Kosova delegation was convinced that they beat the Serbian delegation.

EC urges Bulgaria to step up fight against organised crime, corruption

The Article


Bulgaria must show tangible progress in the implementation of judicial reform and in the fight against organised crime and corruption in the coming months, a senior EU enlargement official said in Sofia on Monday.

Weeks before the European Commission (EC) is due to publish a crunch report on Bulgaria's preparedness for EU membership, a senior Brussels official urged Sofia on Monday (13 March) to step up efforts in dealing with issues of serious concern for the Union.

"The EC does find certain progress in Bulgaria following the October monitoring report, but there are still areas raising serious concerns," said EC Director General for Enlargement Michael Leigh.
About 150 people have been killed in Bulgaria since 2001 in a string of bombings and contract murders, with no convictions to date.......(continued)

PKK claims responsibility for suicide bombing

The Link


DIYARBAKIR, Turkey -- The terrorist organisation Kurdistan Workers Party claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb attack that killed three and injured 19 people in Van, southeast Turkey, last week, according to a statement sent to the media Sunday (12 March). It claimed the bombing was in response to the "unfair" process being waged against its jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

Also Sunday, local media reported that Turkish security forces detained four people in connection with an ambush on police in Batman earlier last week. Four police officers died in the attack. (Reuters - 13/03/06;, AP - 12/03/06)

BiH court to hold Srebrenica trial in early May

The link


SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) -- The trial of 11 Bosnian Serbs, charged with genocide in the Srebrenica region during the war, will begin at the BiH Court on 4 May, according to an announcement Friday (10 March). The 11 are charged in connection with the murders of over 100 Bosniaks in the villages of Kravica and Sandici on 13 July 1995. The BiH court confirmed the indictment -- the first domestic case dealing with genocide -- last December. (PBS BiH, NTV Hayat, Fena - 10/03/06)

2 Bosnian Muslims found guilty

The Associated Press


AMSTERDAM Two Bosnian Muslim army commanders were convicted of war crimes on Wednesday for failing to rein in foreign Muslim volunteers who murdered and tortured Bosnian Croats and Serbs in the early 1990s.

A United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague sentenced a former Bosnian Army chief of staff, Enver Hadzihasanovic, to five years in prison and gave his deputy Amir Kubura a 2½-year sentence.

It was the first time the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia had dealt with the so-called mujahedeen, or holy warriors, who came mainly from North Africa and the Middle East to fight on the Muslim side in the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Hadzihasanovic and Kubura were acquitted of the most serious allegations related to the massacre of non-Muslim Bosnians. They also were cleared on most of the other charges related to cruelty meted out toward prisoners and the wanton destruction of villages and churches by the mujahedeen.

But the two officers were convicted in relation to several incidents in which Bosnian soldiers also were involved.

In one incident at the Zenica music school in western Bosnia, where more than 100 civilians were held, prisoners were beaten with wooden shovel handles as they ran a gantlet of soldiers. One man was ordered to beat his mentally handicapped son, then beaten himself when he refused, the judgment said......(continued)

Politicised Islam grows in Serbia's Sandzak

Link for the Excerpt:

14 March 2006

The strategic Muslim-majority Sandzak region of Serbia and Montenegro, which borders Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, has seen a marked increase in politicised Islam over the past few years. The trend is due to a variety of social and economic factors including political marginalisation, poverty and crime. Religious schools and an Islamic university are educating increasing numbers of young people, filling a vacuum left by failing republican and municipal administrations. There are also growing numbers of so-called Wahhabis who follow Islamic practices imported from Saudi Arabia.

This group of predominately young men operating outside the traditional Islamic community, Islamska Zajednica (IZ), played a leading role in orchestrating February's flag-burning demonstrations in the region's capital, Novi Pazar, protesting against newspaper cartoons of the prophet Mohammed first published in Denmark. Political and social marginalisation is nothing new in the Sandzak, an ethnically mixed Bosniak-majority region that is considered along with Kosovo to be one of the few potential sources of conflict left in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

While Islamic radicalism remains largely a chimera for now, imams, international observers, Bosniaks (Muslim Slavs) and Serbs alike warn that disaffection with spiralling unemployment, crime and corruption could result in foreign forms of Islam gaining ever more adherents among a disillusioned younger generation.

The strategic Muslim-majority Sandzak region of Serbia and Montenegro, which borders Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, has seen a marked increase in politicised Islam over the past few years. The trend is due to a variety of social and economic factors including political marginalisation, poverty and crime.

[End of non-subscriber extract.]

208 of 2,064 words

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tests show Milosevic took wrong drugs before death

The Article part 1-3

Mar 13, 2006 — By Nicola Leske

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Blood tests showed Slobodan Milosevic took drugs to worsen his health and bolster his case for treatment in Russia, a Dutch medical expert said on Monday.
Groningen University toxicologist Donald Uges was speaking to Reuters as the Yugoslav ex-president's body was due to be released to his family.

A preliminary autopsy report on Sunday showed the 64-year-old Milosevic died of a heart attack, but toxicology tests were still ongoing to establish its cause.

Uges said tests he conducted two weeks ago on Milosevic's blood showed traces of rifampicin — a drug against leprosy and tuberculosis that would have made other medicines ineffective.
"I don't think he took his medicines for suicide — only for his trip to Moscow … that is where his friends and family are. I think that was his last possibility to escape the Hague," Uges said. "I am so sure there is no murder."

Last month, the tribunal rejected a request by Milosevic — branded the "Butcher of the Balkans" over the conflicts in the 1990s — to go to Moscow for specialist medical care. His widow, brother and son all live in Russia. A verdict was expected in months.
Milosevic's lawyer said the funeral was to be held in Belgrade and that Milosevic's son Marko would pick up the body on Monday or Tuesday. Milosevic's widow faces arrest if she returns to Serbia.

The autopsy on the body of Milosevic, who suffered from a heart condition and high blood pressure, was conducted by Dutch scientists and attended by Serbian pathologists. Serbia said the autopsy was very professional. The whole procedure was filmed.......(continued)

Milosevic Took Medication To Worsen His Health Condition

13 Mar 2006 (Radio Kosova) – The Hague Tribunal confirmed that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic died of a heart attack. Milosevic’s body will be handed over to his family. The Serbian government stated that there will be no state ceremonies for the Milosevic’s burial even if it is decided that he will be buried in Serbia.

A Netherlands medical expert, Donald Uges, stated that Milosevic’s blood analysis proved that he was taking medications to worsen his health condition in order to support his request for receiving treatment in Russia.

“I do not believe he was taking the wrong medication because he wanted to commit suicide. He did that so he could travel to Moscow, where his family is staying. I believe that this was the only possibility to escape from The Hague,” Uges said.

UNMIK Is Reviewing Hague’s Decision On Haradinaj

13 Mar 2006 (Epoka E Re) – UNMIK officials confirmed for “Epoka E Re” that the Hague Tribunal has sent the decision according to which Haradinaj is allowed to deal with politics during while he is on probation.

The UNMIK’s spokesman, Neeraj Singh said for “Epoka E Re” that UNMIK has received the decision about Haradinaj’s case and that UNMIK is reviewing this decision”, said Singh without giving any further details. Otherwise the Hague Tribunal on Friday declined the request of Carla Del Ponte for not allowing Haradinaj to deal with politics.

Great Powers Will Support Kosovo’s Independence

PRISTINA, March 13, 2006 (KosovaLive) –The prestigious American daily the New York Times considers the statement of British Foreign Minister in recent meeting in Salzburg as the clearest statement so far in support of Kosovo’s independence.

Under the headline ‘The sings of independence’, The New York Times quotes British Foreign Minister Jack Straw as saying that independence for Kosovo is almost unavoidable.
The paper also reports about election of Agim Ceku in the post of Kosovo’s Prime Minister. Ceku is also quoted as saying that the road towards independence goes through respecting of minorities.

The Washington Post, another US daily quote Ceku as saying that everything less than independence is unacceptable, and that minorities will be a high priority of his Government.

Book Of Condolences Opened In Gracanica, Serbs Believe Milosevic Is Innocent

GRACANICA, March 13, 2006 (BETA) - The Socialist Party of Serbia municipal chapter in Gracanica opened a book of condolences for former Yugoslav and Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic in Gracanica, on March 12. People can also light candles in memory of Milosevic outside the town's central monument.

The people who signed the book of condolences believe Milosevic was innocent. "The world's power mongers couldn't prove their own allegations, which is why Milosevic was killed at The Hague," they say.

The news of Milosevic's death caused disbelief among Serbs of Kosovska Mitrovica. Regardless of their political affiliation, they claim that Milosevic was denied the basic human right -- the right to life.

Association of Serb Municipalities and Settlements in Kosovo chairman Marko Jaksic, who is also one of Belgrade's negotiators for the Kosovo future-status talks, openly blamed the tribunal for Milosevic's death.

"It is difficult not to get the impression that the tribunal turns Serb politicians into criminals, and Albanian criminals into politicians, which is one sad story," Jaksic said.

Milosevic 'had drugs and alcohol'


THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- A U.N. war crimes tribunal official said Tuesday that the court was informed on several occasions that Slobodan Milosevic had regular access to unprescribed medication and alcohol smuggled into his prison cell.

The official, requesting anonymity because of the tribunal's strict confidentiality rules, told The Associated Press that the unit's prison warden had told the court that he could therefore no longer guarantee Milosevic's health.

The prison warden, Timothy McFadden, refused interview requests and U.N. tribunal spokeswoman Alexandra Milenov said the court could not comment "because the investigation into Milosevic's death is ongoing."

The tribunal official, who has access to confidential documents on Milosevic's medication use, said two doctors concluded that the former Serb leader was intentionally taking drugs that undermined the prescribed medication for his heart ailment.

Medical reports from August 2004 concluded that Milosevic was violating doctor's orders and that he was on unprescribed medication, tribunal transcripts show. On occasion, he also refused to take his heart medication, prosecutors have alleged during the course of the trial based on medical reports........(continued)

UN court closes Milosevic trial

Brussels, March 14, 2006 (Xinhua)

The UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague formally closed the four-year trial of Slobodan Milosevic Tuesday following the weekend death of the former Yugoslavian president. According to reports, presiding judge Patrick Robinson said at a short hearing "His (Slobodan Milosevic) death terminates these proceedings." The hearing lasted only two minutes." An order will be issued shortly terminating the proceedings," Robinson said before leaving the chamber.

Milosevic had faced charges of genocide and war crimes in relation to the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The 64-year-old former president was found dead Saturday morning in his cell at The Hague-based UN court. UN war crimes tribunal spokeswoman Alexandra Milenov said Sunday that an autopsy revealed Milosevic had died of a heart attack.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Russia says Milosevic complained of "inadequate treatment" in letter

The Article link

MOSCOW The Russian Foreign Ministry says it has received a letter from Slobodan Milosevec (sloh-BOH'-dahn mee-LOH'-shuh-vich) complaining about inadequate treatment at the prison where he was being held for war crimes, and seeking treatment in Moscow.The ministry says the letter asks for Russian support in getting treatment. Meantime, the ministry also says a group of pathologists is ready to fly to The Hague to take part in Milosevic's autopsy.

Officials say they were asked to participate by relatives of the former Yugoslav leader. A spokeswoman for the U-N war crimes tribunal says the a preliminary report reveals Milosevic had been suffering from two heart conditions. She doesn't name the conditions, but says doctors determined they might have caused the heart attack. She also said toxicological tests still haven't been carried out.

Milosevic was found dead in his cell Saturday.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Rest Easy, Bill Clinton: Milosevic Can't Talk Anymore

by Jeremy Scahill

Slobodan Milosevic is characterized in the obituaries as the "Butcher of the Balkans." If that is the story you want to read about, please go to almost any other media outlet and read it again and again. Some are now suggesting that death is Milosevic's final revenge, that he "ended up cheating history" by dying before judgment was passed. But the world has already passed judgment on Milosevic, and what is being cheated by his death is history itself.

What the corporate media overwhelmingly ignores in Milosevic's death is what they ignored in his life as well – his intimate knowledge of U.S. war crimes in Yugoslavia. While Milosevic was undoubtedly a war criminal who deserved to be tried for his crimes, he was also the only man in the unique position of being able to expose and detail the full extent of the U.S. role in the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. In fact, that is precisely what he was fighting to do at his war crimes trial when he died.

Milosevic took wrong medicine to escape UN court: expert


Slobodan Milosevic gave himself a drug that neutralised his heart medicine, an expert who examined his blood alleged as the former Yugoslav president's family pushed for a state funeral in his homeland.

"I am sure he took the medicine himself because he wanted a one-way ticket to Moscow" for treatment, Dutch toxicologist Donald Uges told AFP, a day after an official autopsy concluded Milosevic died of a heart attack. "That is why he took rifampicin," he said, although he could not prove his claim.

Kosova Government Gathers For The First Time Under Çeku’s Leadership

Prishtina, 11 Mar 06 (Radio Blue Sky) – Kosova government gathered for the first time under the leadership of the new Prime Minster Agim Çeku on Saturday. The government’s spokesperson Ulpiana Lama said that Çeku made clear to all the ministers that the next 100 days will be a test for their work. Çeku also requested all the government staff to maintain discipline, commitment, transparence and respect for the citizens.

Speaking about criticism of opposition for a part of Çeku’s government, Lama said that the government cannot function based on rumors, but respecting the law is very important.

After the meeting was completed, Prime Minister Çeku paid tribute to the grave of former President Ibrahim Rugova and later on went to pay tribute to the grave of the legendary commander Adem Jashari in Prekaz.

Reactions Of Kosovo Serbs On Ceku’s Election

Kosovska Mitrovica, 10 Mar 06 (Radio Srbija i Crna Gora) – Representatives of Kosovo Serbs negatively estimated election of former KLA commander Agim Ceku as a president of provincial government. Member of Belgrade negotiation team Goran Bogdanovic said that it could not be good prerson accised for war crimes to be head of the government. He estimated that certainly disturb Serbian-Albanian relations.

Vice-president of Serbian National Council of Central Kosovo Rada Trajkovic said, Ceku regardless of his problematic past, was chosen as a favorite of the of international community, which considers that he could control extremists in the province. Similar stance expressed leader of Serbian List for Kosovo and Metohija Oliver Ivanovic, estimating that international community will demand from Ceku fulfillment of tasks of the plan of standards implementation in the province.

Ceku: Only Independence Is Acceptable

Pristina, 11 Mar 06. (Radio Srbija i Crna Gora) – Everything that Belgrade proposes, but it is not full independence of Kosovo, is out of question, security and freedom of movement of Serbian minority in the province will be priority of new the government, stated new Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku.

According to him, independence is the only solution that guarantees stability in the province. He denied allegations from some Belgrade officials of his responsibility for war crimes and noted that he never issued orders that would violate rules of warfare.

Non-Prescribed Drug Found in Milosevic

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A Dutch toxicologist said Monday he found traces of an unprescribed antibiotic in Slobodan Milosevic's system earlier this year after the former Yugoslav leader did not respond to blood pressure medication given at the U.N. detention center. Donald Uges said he found traces of rifampicin, an antituberculosis drug that "makes the liver extremely active" and thus breaks down other medications very quickly, possibly taking away their effectiveness.

The Article

Timeline: The Political Career Of Slobodan Milosevic

The link is a chronology of the last years of Slobodan Milosevic's life, from his rise to power in Serbia to his death in a jail cell while on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.