The Macedonian Tendency: BIRN Stokes the Fires for War

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

BIRN Stokes the Fires for War

Macedonian Albanians ‘Ready to Fight for Kosovo’
BIRN: 10 07 2007 Skopje, Pristina _

A senior official from Macedonia’s main Albanian opposition party on Tuesday claimed thousands of former fighters in Macedonia could take up arms for the independence of Kosovo.

“We have at least five thousand volunteers in Macedonia that are willing to fight for Kosovo if necessary,” Fazli Veliu, a member of the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, presidency and head of the war veterans association of the National Liberation Army, NLA, the force that launched an insurgency in Macedonian 2001, told Balkan Insight.

In a statement published in daily Dnevnik, Veliu gave similar comments but talked of ten thousand former fighters.

A senior source in the DUI presidency criticised Veliu’s remarks as “not serious”, adding that they were “unnecessarily raising tensions”.

“After a serious warning in February, Veliu is again playing with his status in the party,” the source said. “The DUI cannot pay a price for the adventurous statements of people who did not really even have a serious role in the NLA but were just tagging along,” the same official said.

In February, the Democratic Union for Integration distanced itself from Veliu after he led a group of Macedonian Albanians to attend a protest in Pristina called by Kosovo’s radical nationalist movement, Vetevendosje.

Veliu said the fighters from Macedonia would help the struggle against all those who are stopping Kosovo’s independence, “First of all Serbia and then all its allies”.

He said that if Kosovo’s final status was not resolved soon, “I can say with full responsibility that we are going to fight. This will not be a classic war with one AK47, this will be a wide war that will include all Albanians,” he went on.

However, a representative from Kosovo’s war veterans association said aid from Macedonia was totally unnecessary. “We don’t need these 5,000 men from Macedonia, we have enough men of our own,” he said.

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