In an interview with the Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA), President of the Republic of Kosova Dr. Ibrahim Rugova assessed achievements of the Albanian democratic movement in former Yugoslavia, namely in Kosova, Macedonia (FYROM), Montenegro and southern Serbia (Albanian-inhabited municipalities of Presheva, Medvegja and Bujanovc) and the prospects for promotion of democracy, freedom and independence within the framework of integration processes in the Balkans and wider in Europe.
Dr. Rugova called the situation in Kosova "a massive-scale repression which has risen tensions in Kosova and in the region" pointing out that Serbian repression has stopped up following the expulsion by Serbia of the CSCE mission to Kosova. President Rugova of Kosova praised the close observation and recording of human rights abuses in Kosova by Amnesty International, Vienna-based Helsinki Federation and the US-based Helsinki Watch.
Asked to comment about the nonviolent resistance of the people of Kosova and the dangers of a conflict break-out, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova said: "a possible conflict has been possible to avert owing to the policy we have been pursuing, a peaceful and political resistance, thanks to the people of Kosova which has not restored to provocations", Rugova, however,declined to call it a "passive resistance", as it is usually labelled, preferring to call it an "organized resistance" which has made it possible for the people to survive on its own by organizing and sustaining its [public] life. "Kosova has contributed to preserving a kind of stability [in the region] and the Albanian human substance in Kosova", said Kosova President.
Commenting on his call for an international protectorate over Kosova, President Rugova said the demand for an international civil protectorate, and civil administration, has been put forward a year and a half ago with a view to normalizing the life and facilitating talks with Serbs towards an eventual solution to the future of Kosova. "A protectorate or civil administration would not be the ultimate goal, but only a legal means within the framework of international law, pursuant to the UN Charter, so as to calm down a region and a territory, as is the case with Kosova, so as to ensure a settlement without war and conflicts", Dr. Rugova told ATA.
President Rugova reiterated his position on a possible confederation between Kosova and Albania, "if confederal links between Bosnian Serbs and Serbia are legalized", adding that this would be in complete harmony with option three of the Political Declaration of the Albanian Political Parties in the former Yugoslavia, adopted in October 1991, immediately after the September 1991 referendum of the people of Kosova for an indipendent Kosova, which was an act of declaration of the will of the people further affirming the independence drive in the short and the long terms. Such confederal ties would facilitate Albanian integrations within Balkan and European integrations, Dr. Rugova said.
Speaking to the ATA correspondent in Prishtina, Mr. Behlul Jashari, President Rugova spoke about what he called a "global Albanian policy" whose aspiration is, as he put it, "to tear down the wall between Albanians".
"We have been committed to pursuing the solution of the Kosova problem through talks and dialogue with Serbia" said President Rugova of Kosova, adding that Serbia has not responded positively. Dr. Rugova recalled that Kosova has tried to use international fora and institutions, such as the London Conference and Geneva Conference on former Yugoslavia, which has a special group on Kosova, to solve some urgent problems but the attempts have failed. "Two years ago, we had talks on concrete problems, such as education, mass media, health-care, but no results yielded", said Dr. Rugova, blaming the intransigence of the Serbian side.
Expanding on the prospects for a Kosova-Serbia dialogue, President Rugova told ATA: "The possibility of a dialogue has been talked about and with regard to this, I am grateful to the international community, the EU members, and other countries, such as Scandinavian countries, Austria, etc. In addition, the United States of America are interested to see talks, a dialogue, getting started. We have so far not had any indication from the Serbian side, but I hope that it will be one day be convinced and that we will have talks and find a solution, either within the framework of an international institution, such as the Geneva Conference, or some other forum. But we demand a third authorized party for the dialogue. When I say "authorized" I mean that this group or axis of states comprising currently the Contact Group of former Yugoslavia, for the time being concentrated on Bosnia, the USA, UN, EU, authorize a party which would guarantee both the dialogue and the results of the talks, and which, naturally enough, would conduct the talks. This is not a condition by the Albanian side, as Serbia interprets it in a bid to eliminate a third party, but it is rather a technique of dialogue, of talks, and nothing else. And we insist on this".
Referring to the recent developments within the Democratic Legue of Kosova (LDK), the main political force in Kosova, led by Ibrahim Rugova himself, Kosova President said the rounding off of the election campaign which culminated with the LDK Second Election Convention [July 1994] and the election of the LDK presidency was successful. "LDK has the burden of a power in Kosova", said Rugova, alluding to the fact that LDK is the most organized party not only in the Kosova but in the Albanian world in general, and that it has won most of the seats in the 1992 Kosova parliamentary elections. "The Political Declaration adopted by the Second LDK Convention outlines and further affirms the mode of the future organization of the state of Kosova - laid down in our [the Republic of Kosova] Constitution- a state of equal peoples and citizens, with a free market economy, and open to outside world" said Dr. Rugova, adding that none of the communities in Kosova would be treated a minority, and revenge would not be allowed.
Commenting on the recent developments in the Balkans, and the tensions between Greece and Albania, President Rugova of Kosova said he continuosly called on Greece to contribute to calming down the tensions in the region and better relations with Albania and the Albanian people in general. "Regrettably, Greece, besides Serbia, has for some time been a destabilizing factor in the Balkans", said Rugova, adding that, if the Greek behaviour is to be seen in direct or indirect relation with Serbia, the goal is to "minimize the issue of Kosova on the international level". Kosova has been recognized as a question which should find a solution based on the will of the people of Kosova, said Rugova, underscoring that by raising rows with Albania, "Greece is intent on minimizing the Kosova issue, thus playing in the hands of Serbia", said President Rugova in his interview with the Albanian Telegraphic Agency, the official news agency of the Republic of Albania, carried today also by the Bujku newspaper.