BBC Monitoring International Reports - August 23, 2007 Thursday

Text of report by Macedonian newspaper Dnevnik on 23 August

[Report by "R.D.": "Kosovo Will Be Defended in Tanusevci"]

The fled Kosovo inmates will try to divert the international community's attention to Kosovo regarding the negotiations on the province's final status by provoking minor incidents in Macedonia and southern Serbia, senior security sources claim. Yesterday they confirmed to Dnevnik that the group was primarily hiding near Tanusevci. The MVR [Macedonian Interior Ministry] has denied having information on whether Kosovo resident Ramadan Shiti, who escaped from the Dubrava penitentiary with six other prisoners on Saturday [ 18 August], is hiding in Tanusevci.

The Tanusevci residents are not sure whether someone "has illegally entered the village," either.

"As far as I know, there are no newcomers in the village, but perhaps someone has entered illegally and is hiding, so we have not seen him," a Tanusevci villager says.

The only person who categorically denies that there are unwanted guests in Tanusevci is Xhezair Shaqiri, a former Assembly deputy and ONA [National Liberation Army, NLA - UCK in Albanian] commander.

"There is not a single person in the village from another place. If necessary, the residents will show their identification cards," Shaqiri, who comes from this border village, claims.

He complains that the police have been provoking him and that he is being "framed" to be accused of the recent attacks on the government's building and the Gosince border police station.

According to Dnevnik reports, the seven inmates' escape is neither accidental, nor naive. They claim that part of the group has been stationed in Tanusevci and part has been "mobile" in the Presevo Valley for organizational preparations.

"All our indicators point out that the escape from the prison was not accidental. It was by no chance that precisely these seven persons escaped and precisely at this point. By raising tension in Macedonia and southern Serbia, around Bujanovac, they should improve the Kosovo side's position in the talks, which, judging by the current state of affairs, are not to bring about anything new," political-security sources claim.

They stress that, following the changes in the negotiations on the province's status, when it comes to Macedonia, it is important to retain the current principles for the status determination set by [UN] mediator Martti Ahtisaari. This in particular refers to the principle of the province's inviolable external borders, which should remain the same as on 10 June 1999, when NATO entered Kosovo.

They warn that the armed groups will act if the option of Kosovo's partition is accepted. Their possible ways of operation may be a series of minor incidents or "occupying a village" in order to incite tension and attract the international community's attention.

President Branko Crvenkovski has convoked the National Security Council for today to review the announcements that Kosovo's division is one of the possible solutions for the province's future status. It is possible for the Council, consisting of the state's top leadership and the interior, foreign, and defence ministers, to seek that the mediators in the talks on Kosovo's status come to Skopje and explain the principles on the basis of which the new series of talks will be held.

Ahead of the Security Council's session today, the Macedonian security services have reiterated that they are closely monitoring the situation and that there is no threat to the country's security. Yet, no one officially either confirms or denies that the Kosovo criminals are in the country.

Source: Dnevnik, Skopje, in Macedonian 23 Aug 07, p2

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