• Short Summary

    Tension in the Kosovo region of southern Yugoslavia has eased considerably since the violent Albanian nationalist riots there two years ago, but trouble still simmers below the surface.

  • Description

    PRISTINA: JUNE, 1981: GV & GV TILT DOWN Monument Square of Brotherhood and Unity and mosque (2 shots)

    SVs, CU GVs Road sign; university building and sign outside philosophy department; students on campus (5 shots)

    SV & CU Portrait of the late President Tito in shop window; woman in traditional dress with child (3 shots)

    JUS TURK: SEPTEMBER, 1983: PRISTINA: GVs Luxury five-star Hotel Pristina; University of Pristina buildings; university library, porcelain cupola design (3 shots)

    SVs & SVs Workers at automobile-parts factory (5 shots)

    OBILIC: SEPT 1983: Power plant; elderly Albanian man walks along roadway; woman walks past fruit and vegetable shop; attendant stands outside (2 shots)

    GLOGOVAC: SEPT. 1983: GV Nearly-completed ferro-nickel plate

    UROSEVAC, APRIL 3, 1983: GVs & SVs Ethnic Albanian students chanting in the streets; police charge demonstrators and break up crowd; demonstrators disperse; police move in again (8 shots) (Serbo-Croat Commentary)

    Initials KO'B/BB

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Tension in the Kosovo region of southern Yugoslavia has eased considerably since the violent Albanian nationalist riots there two years ago, but trouble still simmers below the surface. Despite purges which have put 600 people behind bars, the violence continues. Two policemen were gunned down in the troubled province in April this year. They were both ethnic Albanians, a group which makes up three-quarters of the Kosovo population. In the riots of April, 1981, thousands of ethnic Albanians marched through the streets of Pristina, demanding greater autonomy for Kosovo. They wanted its status upgraded to that of a republic, with the right to secede from the Yugoslav Federation and join neighbouring Albania. The roots of the problem form a tangled mixture of social grievance, strong nationalistic feelings and the historic rivalry between Albanians and Serbs.

    SYNOPSIS: Pristina...the capital of Kosovo, Yugoslavia's only non-Slavic region. Here, antagonism between the Albanian majority and the Serbs has always existed. Now, a growing exodus of minority groups, arson and bombing attacks have pushed the troubled province back into political prominence.

    Now the Serbs, who once held the balance in Kosovo, are emigrating in large numbers. Some 70,000 left the province in the past decade, ostensibly under the pressure of Albanian nationalism.

    The Yugoslav authorities appear acutely sensitive to the marked increase in nationalist stirrings since President Tito's death in May, 1980. Unrest is Kosovo has dealt the most serious blow to Communist Yugoslavia since it was established at the end of World War Two.

    Pristina is the architectural show-case of Kosovo. Magnificent buildings dot the city -- the porcelain cupola library is based on a Kuwaiti design. Pristina University was once seen as a hot-bed of Albanian nationalism. It was here that unrest started in 1981, leading to the riots which killed nine people and injured hundreds of others.

    In 1981, Albanian nationalists found fertile ground in the grim realities of life in Kosovo. The problems remain. Kosovo has the highest rate of unemployment in Yugoslavia. Only one in seven people has a job. With the high birth rate among the mainly Moslem population, there is little the authorities can do to ease unemployment. Yugoslavia's more prosperous regions have combined to boost the Kosovan economy by encouraging joint ventures and offering generous financial aid. The World Bank has extended several development loans. The equivalent of 550 million pounds will be spent in Kosovo this year to finish investment projects. Authorities are aiming at improved production of non-ferrous metals, mainly zinc and lead, and put greater emphasis on metal processing.

    Albanian nationalist took to the streets last year to mark the first anniversary of the 1981 riots. Their principal concern was Kosovo's upgrading to republic status, ostensibly to provide a better deal for its people. For the authorities, who could foresee such a republic exercising its constitutional right to secede and join Albania, upgrading was out of the question. In a move which showed obvious concern at the situation in Kosovo, leaders of the ruling Communist Party called a special meeting in June to study what they saw as a rapid deterioration in political stability in the southern province. Just as worrying for the leadership must be the increasing criticism by Serbs and Montenegrans of the party's apparent inability to deal effectively with the root cause of Kosovo's problems. The ethnic turmoil in Kosovo has origins that are centuries old. Efforts to improve the situation have had a limited effect so far on the old and complex issue. The search for a solution will not be an easy one.

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