Monday, September 24, 2007

Balkan Reshuffling: Albanian village in Macedonia to be handed to Kosova

22 September 2007

Skopje -- The referendum about acceding the village of Tanusevci to Kosova might be held on November 28th – Albanian Flag Day, the Macedonian Dnevnik newspaper writes, citing the Albanian "Lajm" newspaper. The edition quotes people close former MP Xhezair Shaqiri.

Shaqiri told "Lajm" everything around the referendum was ready and added the only thing to do was to set the date. According to people close to him, the referendum might be held even earlier, reserving the date November 28th for marking Tanusevci’s accession to Kosova.

Tanusevci village is considered to be related to the start of the actions that led to the serious conflict in Macedonia in 2001 between ethnic Albanians and the Macedonian state, which ended with the Ohrid Agreement on August 13, 2001 and the establishment of greater Albanian rights.

In January 2001 the (Albanian) National Liberation Army (NLA) stated its existence by claiming responsibility for the attack against a police patrol in the village of Tearce near the town of Tetova, where a policeman was killed and another 2 injured. Clashes between the Macedonian security forces and armed groups of NLA followed in March and April in the mountain region in Northwestern Macedonia near the village of Tanusevci. In March, three Macedonian soldiers were killed near Tanusevci: one of them was shot, and the other two – by a mine explosion under their vehicle. In the end of February the administrator of the village of Debelde in Kosova, which is neighboring to the village of Tanusevci, announced that over 150 citizens of Tanusevci have searched asylum in Kosova “to get rid of the repressions of the Macedonian Army”. The Macedonian government then defined this migration as a well organized act with political goals.

In the first days of March 2001 Macedonia closed its border with Kosova and demanded the summoning of an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council, as well as the establishment of a buffer zone between Macedonia and Kosova with the presence of international forces in it. On March 5th Skopje declares mobilization of militaries from the reserve after new clashes in northern Macedonia which involved Albanian guerrillas.

The attack followed a demarcation agreement between Yugoslavia and Macedonia, ceding Tanusevci to Macedonia, which local people bitterly resented.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has been in charge of a project to rebuild Tanusevci homes damaged during the conflict so that refugees who mainly fled to Kosova can be repatriated. Out of a total of 1500 hundred people, only 800 (180) families opted for repatriation as many have now settled elsewhere.

Today people continuously cross the border with Kosova to see their relatives, which have been split with their families. They claim to have close ties with Debelde [a village across the frontier] and many fled to Kosova during the last conflict [in 2001].


Anonymous said...

How did this come about?

Anonymous said...

Macedonia: Ethnic Albanians storm Parliament building

Skopje, 26 Sept. (AKI) – Police blocked the Macedonian Parliament on Tuesday night after a fight broke out between ethnic Albanian deputies and members of an opposition party who tried to storm the building.

Local media reported the conflict occurred while the parliament was discussing changes to the election law that would offer additional seats to non-Albanian minorities.

The changes would increase the number of MPs from 120 to 133 and grant ten additional seats to MPs representing non-Albanians and three to MPs representing Macedonians living abroad.

Ethnic Albanians, who account for about 25 per cent of Macedonia’s two million people, have 29 seats in the present parliament and the increase in MPs aims to balance their representation in the Parliament in relation to other minorities.

Prime minister Nikola Gruevski formed a majority with the support of 11 deputies of the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) after July 2006 elections, but the biggest ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), has been trying to push out the DPA and join Gruevski’s cabinet.

Police said that DUI supporters blocked the streets around the parliament with six vehicles and tried to storm the building, but were stopped by police.

Local media reported that rifles and pistols were found in several vehicles and that an unspecified number of DUI supporters were arrested.

Ethnic Albanians rebelled in 2001, demanding greater rights and regional autonomy, but the dispute was settled by the Ohrid peace accord, which met most ethnic Albanian demands.