Government threatens Albanian activist with expulsion

Veliu has been accused of fanning the flames of the Macedonian conflict Keystone

The cabinet has imposed a "restriction order" on a leading Albanian activist living in Switzerland. Fazli Veliu, who is the official representative of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), has been threatened with expulsion if he continues his outspoken attacks on the Macedonian government.

This content was published on June 15, 2001 - 22:35

Ministers said the move was designed to stop Switzerland being used as a base for stirring up the conflict in the Balkans.

Veliu, who has been living in Switzerland since 1987, is a fervent supporter of a "greater Albania". He headed Popular Movement for Kosovo (LPK) until 1998, before starting work as an adviser for the KLA.

According to the Swiss justice ministry, KLA leaders in Macedonia named Veliu as their official representative in Switzerland in May this year. Since then he has been a vociferous presence at demonstrations both in Switzerland and abroad where fundraising has taken place.

The KLA is said to have close links with ethnic Albanian guerrillas who are currently fighting Macedonian forces northeast of the capital Skopje.

According to the Swiss justice ministry, Veliu's political activities could compromise relations between Switzerland and Macedonia. Swiss officials also fear that they could lead to a rift with other nations who are striving to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Balkans.

Under the terms of the "restriction order", Veliu is banned from representing, supporting or fundraising for organisations which are involved in the violence in Macedonia, or which condone it. Veliu has also been banned from instructing any third parties to carry out his work.

The justice ministry insisted that it would not allow people living under its jurisdiction to threaten the security of other nations. As a result, the offices of the KLA in Switzerland have been ordered to maintain the peace.

The authorities have also revoked the refugee status of a number of Albanian militants and the Albanian language newspaper "Bota Sot", which is edited in Switzerland, has also come under fire.

swissinfo with agencies

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