Kosovo protests at Serb standstill

September 5, 1997

ETHNIC Albanian students in Kosovo are planning a campaign of peaceful protests against the continuing Serbian "occupation" universities and schools.

For the past six years children and students from the Albanian community, which makes up 90 per cent of the population of Kosova, have been taught in private homes and other makeshift premises.

The Albanians withdrew from educational facilities in 1990/91 in a protest over the imposition of Serbian teaching programmes and the Serbian language A student delegation from the ethnic-Albanian University of Pristina last week outlined their plans to Kosovar Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova. Last year Dr Rugova signed a deal with then Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic on the "unconditional" return of pupils and students to the classrooms.

The agreement was brokered by an Italian lay Catholic organisation, the St Egidio Foundation. It envisaged a staged return to the classrooms. It was welcomed by the international community, including United States president `Bill Clinton as a step forward.

However, no progress has been made in implementing the accord and Serbian members of a special commission have not shown up for meetings.

Dr Rugova said that international efforts are still being made to implement the accords.

The protests are scheduled for the start of the university academic year on October 1. A short peaceful protests took place outside schools on September 1.

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