Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Demonstration planned for Washington, DC

Please be informed that all Albanians and supporters of human rights are invited to join the Albanian-American Diaspora at the White House and Embassy of Montenegro on MONDAY SEPTEMBER 10 in WASHINGTON DC USA as we protest the continuing criminal enterprise known as the Montenegrin Judicial and Law Enforcement System -- i.e., Government!

The demonstration will start at approximately 8:00 a.m. in front of the White House and thereafter proceed to the new Embassy of Montenegro where attention will be drawn to the Albanian political prisoners being held on bogus charges of "terrorism."

The demonstration calls upon all Albanian-Americans to gather and protest against the illegal arrests of innocent Albanians that have been jailed since September 9, 2006 and held in solitary confinement in Spuz. For nearly a year, the prisoners have been denied due process, equal protection, and basic human rights where they continue to be prey to acts of physical and mental torture, including callous acts that have led to forced confessions.
The date of this demonstration coincides with the anniversary of the detentions and is being held on the eve of the commencement of the trial, where the Chief Judge has purposely scheduled to fall on September 11 to symbolize terrorism and its applicability to the desired outcome of the case.
More information will follow in local and regional media.
The irony of the picture above shows an actual rubber bullet wound on the abdomen of Viktor Dreshaj just days after he was arrested, beaten, and detained in Spuz.

Monday, July 23, 2007

"No More Compromise on Montenegro's Constituion" says Vukovic

PODGORICA, Montenegro, July 23, 2007 -- There is no room for compromise on the new constitution and a referendum on the text could be held in September, Miodrag Vukovic, head of the parliamentary group of the ruling Party of Democratic Socialists (PDS) told Vjiesti newspaper on Sunday (July 22nd). He says the PDS wants the Constitution Board to complete its work by the end of this month, clearing the way for a debate by the whole legislature in September, followed by a voter referendum. The PDS insists that the official language should be Montenegrin, and that the state symbols under which Montenegro's statehood was restored should remain.

President Filip Vujanovic was quoted on Monday by Mina news agency as saying a referendum is highly likely, he wants parties in parliament to hammer out an agreement on all seven recommendations made by the Council of Europe.
Albanian members of parliament were not available for comment and have not voiced any objections to the current framework of the new Constitution. Promoting the Albanian language as part of the official language in Montenegro was not even a point of contention and there was no inclination that it will be deliberated on prior to any future referendum. The issues surrounding greater minority rights, including a clearer definition of the rights of national minorities -- where Albanians staunchly claim is a better depiction of their status -- is no where on the docket for further debate.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Albania elects BAMIR TOPI as new President

TIRANA, Albania: Parliament on Friday elected Bamir Topi, deputy leader of the governing Democratic Party, as Albania's new president, after some opposition lawmakers broke their coalition's boycott and took part in the vote.

Topi, 50, a biologist by profession and father of two, replaces President Alfred Moisiu, elected five years ago with a rare consensus between the two ever-bickering political groupings and whose term expires Tuesday.

Lawmakers cast 85 votes for Topi on Friday, one more than required in the 140-seat Parliament to elect a president in Albania.
Several opposition lawmakers broke rank with their own coalition to join the 80-member governing coalition in the vote.

"I will be the president of all Albanians... I will give my best for Albania's integration into the European Union and NATO," Topi told AFP after the vote.

As delays continue, KOSOVA will declare INDEPENDENCE

PRISHTINA, KOSOVA -- Kosova will declare Independence by the end of this year regardless of who supports it or not.
In light of the latest developments at the UN, tensions in Kosovo are rising as international negotiations over its status have headed into a dead end. Many Kosovars are demanding the Unity Team set a date when Kosova will declare independence by itself and not rely on the continued failures of the UN. Russia has rejected all previous versions drawn up by the United States and its European allies in the past few weeks and has threatened to block any resolution unacceptable to Serbia.

As a result, the people of Kosova have grown frustrated and are now demanding an immediate declaration of independence by their elected leaders. These demands have been coupled with speculative fears that Kosova's citizens will take independence by force if they are not allowed to rule themselves, something that has spread panic throughout the Balkans and the West, where a repeat of the Balkan wars can start once again.

The same frustration has also taken its toll from the elites. Prime Minister Agim Ceku suggested Friday that “Kosova should unilaterally declare independence from Serbia on November 28th”, arguing that Western efforts to put the province on the path to statehood through the UN have failed.

Veton Surroi, head of the opposition ORA party and one of the politicians negotiating Kosova’s status, suggests that “Kosova’s Assembly fulfill its obligation before Kosova’s citizens by declaring independence by Christmas”.

In the same vein, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said, "We are committed to an independent Kosova," … "We will get there one way or another."

Envoys of the Contact Group on Kosova -- the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Russia -- will meet next week to discuss launching another 120 days of shuttle diplomacy between Belgrade and Prishtina. However, this may be too late because the Kosova Unity Team has refused to meet with Belgrade saying that there are no other concessions to be made as independence is non-negotiable.

The Contact Group, where Russia has no veto, is believed to swiftly recommend independence for Kosova. Additionally, many experts believe that Kosova’s unilateral declaration of independence will be met with recognition from several states (including the U.S., Britain, and several EU and Mideastern states) and after that, the issue would go back to the United Nations with many more arguments, and Kosova would be officially recognized by the Security Council.

Monday, July 09, 2007

LEVIN and His Albanian Community Discuss Montenegro, Kosova and Immigration

WAYNE, MICHIGAN, Sunday July 8, 2007 -- Senator Levin was greeted with admiration and esteem Sunday where he met with the Albanian-American community of greater Detroit for an afternoon fundraising reception at the US-12 American Bar and Grill. Many in attendance had a unique opportunity to speak face-to-face with the senator and ask questions that concerned those most.

When the time came to address his constituents, Levin focused on three elements that he considers most salient to Albanians: (1) the defeated immigration bill and how it affects Albanian-Americans and other minorities in the United Sates; (2) The on-going resolution on Kosova’s independence and the U.S. role in its final status, and (3) the status of the Albanian political prisoners detained in Montenegro.

IMMIGRATION: Senator Levin expressed immense disappointment at the failure of the Immigration Bill. He stressed that aliens in this country need a path to citizenship and the Immigration Bill had languages within it that allowed for such a process to be conceived. He argued that Detroit’s immigration courts have the absolute worst record in the entire country when in comes to allowing Albanians to remain in the United States. He stressed that only 7% of Albanians win their cases in Detroit courts whereas the national average is 50%. Levin emphasized that he will continue to fight for new immigration law designed to help those in danger of being expunged and separated from their families. One solution, he pointed out might be found in the Defense Authorization Bill (An original bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2007 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe personnel strengths for such fiscal year for the Armed Forces, and for other purposes.) Levin proposed to insert language into the bill that would allow applicants for asylum to be considered for stay under conditions of the country at the time when the application was filled out, and not at the time of the decision of the court.

KOSOVA: Levin supports Kosova’s independence and was pleased that President Bush was well-received in Albania and acknowledges that his comments with respect to supporting Kosova’s independence were “the right thing to do.” He added that the Democratic Congress will continue to support an independent Kosova and looks forward to developments as they come.

MONTENEGRO: The senator assured everyone that he and his staff are closely monitoring the situation in Spuz with respect to the Albanian political prisoners and the trial proceedings. He has advocated for a “just and prompt” decision and is in constant contact with the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro. He stressed that his office is putting pressure on both diplomats and the Montenegrin government to find ways to speed the trial and ensure that the detainees are treated humanely. Levin said that he intends to contact the new Ambassador to Montenegro, Rod Moore, and personally meet with him to discuss the situation concerning (1) Albanians’ sociopolitical and economic status as national minorities, and (2) the case of the Albanian political prisoners.

The event raised approximately $20,000 and will go towards Levin's re-election campaign 2008 where he is the strong favorite to be re-elected for a 5th term in the Senate. Although he was urged to repeat the public service of the late senator Strom Thurmond, and retire at 100, he indicated that Thurmond's feat will not be interrupted, but with the blessing of his wife Barbara, Levin is charged for re-election and continued service for the Albanian community in Michigan and those abroad.
The moderators from FreeMalesia thank the senator and wish him luck in all his personal and political endeavors!