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May 29, 1995
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 191
Interview: Hidayet Hiseni, LDK Vice-President

We Are Not A Minority

by Perica Vucinic

"The Kosovo Albanians faced unusual alternatives: either accept the forcibly imposed anti-Albanian authorities and give legitimacy to repressive and restrictive political practice against Albanians and its goal of ethnic cleansing and forcible Serbization or respond with force and turn Kosovo into the site of total and bloody war with unforeseeable, long-term consequences not only for the two peoples but wider," Hidayet Hiseni, vice-president of the Kosovo Democratic Alliance (LDK) said.

He added that despite objective difficulties, the political course known as Rugova Politics can do much more. "The most necessary internal and external conditions have been created for Kosovo's freedom and independence as well as a solid foundation for that holy and indestructible fortress," he said.

VREME: Your party chief Rugova is no longer setting conditions for talks with the Serbian authorities?

HISENI: "Rugova actually always advocated a peaceful solution to the Kosovo and Albanian problems as a whole which includes a dialogue. But he always stressed that the total repression against Albanians has to be stopped before the dialogue and, of course, international mediators brought in. We do not set conditions for negotiations but for them to be serious and successful we need to create at least basic conditions. We do want a real dialogue but we don't care about any diabolical games with the dialogue."

VREME: Will the dialogue with the Serbian authorities start soon?

HISENI: "It should. It's high time. But there are no serious indications of the true readiness of Serbian policy for a serious and fruitful dialogue. It's more a kind of fog, dust in the eyes of the foreign public, an effort to neutralize foreign pressure for a just and peaceful solution to the Kosovo knot. Whoever is interested in some kind of dialogue with the Albanians would not allow an escalation of violence and terror over them now. You can't urge a dialogue on one hand and shut the mouth of the other side at the same time."

VREME: Why Won't the Albanians accept the category of national minority?

HISENI: "Because they aren't a national minority. The opposite question should be asked: why so much insisting on categorizing them as a national minority? How can 90% of the population of Kosovo be a minority and less than 10% a majority? In any case, why the categories at all? For our part, we urged total equality for all citizens of Kosovo in their republic and we excluded the possibility of treating Serbs and Montenegrins as minority categories. The republic of Kosovo is an opportunity to prove the advantages of the policy of equality and respect for human and national rights. When you point out Albanians as a national minority you mean their participation in the population of the republic of Serbia and FR Yugoslavia.

Under the constitution of the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo had defined borders. I think that minority-majority relationship should be evaluated in relation to the territories they inhabit. Differing criteria cannot survive. You can't, in terms of Kosovo, speak of a minority and when you speak about Serbs then you don't speak of minorities regardless of their numbers in relation to the overall population of Bosnia or Croatia. In regard to the Albanians, there can't be two states and one nation and in regard to others two even more."

VREME: What do you think of the proposal for the republic of Kosovo to be part of the FRY (Mahmut Bakali interview)?

HISENI: "I think it's too late for that solution. That was possible in 1981 when the Albanians demanded that solution but the opportunity is gone. In the meantime, Yugoslavia broke up, the federation is gone, the multi-national state is gone, the Albanians proclaimed their independent and neutral state, organized a referendum, held elections. The war against all things Albanian deepened the wide gap between the two people. The best solution is Kosovo as a free, independent and neutral state towards Albania and Serbia. Only after that can we talk about future needed processes of integration in the Balkans. The Albanians are interested in integration processes but the integration of the free and equal."

VREME: International observers said they expect the Albanians to take part in the next elections in Serbia?

HISENI: A possible Albanian turnout at Serbian elections would only serve the greater Serbian and anti-Albanian policies.

Kosovo has its own elections and I believe that's how it will stay. Only those elections can be democratic."

VREME: What do you think the solution is for Kosovo?

HISENI: The solution for Kosovo and I would say for Serbia and future Albanian-Serb relations is a just and peaceful solution to the Kosovo drama.

That's why we insist on an international protectorate. In my opinion, the true national interests of Serbs and Albanians are not as opposed as they seem. On the Contrary. It's not in the national interest for you to wish to have an ear cut off just so your neighbor would have both of his cut."

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