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Wednesday, June 17, 1998 Published at 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK

World: Europe

'Kosovo is ours'

Jakup Krasniqi: Serb withdrawal a precondition for talks

The newly-appointed spokesman for the Kosovo Liberation Army has given an exclusive interview to the BBC, which reveals the profound differences between the KLA and Kosovo Albanian political leader Ibrahim Rugova.

Jakup Krasniqi, a former political prisoner appointed as the KLA press spokesman, spoke to correspondent David Loyn, who travelled under armed guard to a remote area in Kosovo for the interview.

Below is a transcript from the interview:

Jakup Krasniqi speaks to the BBC's David Loyn
David Loyn: What are Nato exercises doing to help the cause?

Jakup Krasniqi: Of course we share the view that if Nato wants to help Kosovo, it should not only do so only with exercises in Albania and Macedonia. Nato can help Kosovo by intervention in Kosovo, and it should do so. No one can defend the people better than us, but the international community is right to take initiatives to stop the Serbian terror.

Q: The West doesn't support your campaign of violence. They want to protect civilians, yes, but what they really want is a negotiated settlement. How soon can there be negotiations?

[ image: Krasniqi: 'We want Kosovo to be free, democratic, pluralist']
Krasniqi: 'We want Kosovo to be free, democratic, pluralist'
A: We are not against negotiations but can't negotiate with Belgrade until three conditions are fulfilled.

Firstly, enemy forces have to be withdrawn from our land. Secondly, all political prisoners have to be released.

Thirdly, the international community has to be present at the talks.

Q: But withdrawal of Serb forces would then mean you would control all of Kosovo.

A: Kosovo is ours.

Q: How big an obstacle to independence, now, is Ibrahim Rugova? He has obviously led the freedom struggle up until now

A: Ibrahim Rugova and some of the people around him have been an obstacle to independence to Kosovo. By deceiving people, saying they can win independence without working for it. Now, more and more people think Rugova is defeatist.

Q: All that people know about you is that you are fighting for independence, but what kind of a Kosovo do you want to create?

A: We want Kosovo to be free, democratic, pluralist, we want Kosovo as its people want it, to fit into the modern world.

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