`We will fight until our last soldier dies'
Thursday 18 March 1999
He was chosen for the top job as his old friend Hashim Thaci, known as commander "Snake", was being chosen to lead the Albanian delegation to the Rambouillet peace talks and again in Paris, where the KLA has agreed to sign the two-part peace deal.
The situation, Mr Selimi admits, is bad for the KLA. Recently it has been forced out of several villages in the Shala region, east of the its Drenica stronghold. But he does not seem unduly worried by the losses. "We are going to keep our positions and we are going to look after the civilians who have left those hills," says Mr Selimi, who is known as commander "Sultan".
Sultan is no intellectual but he is revered by the KLA for his bravery. He says that, despite the dissent of a senior KLA commander - known as "Remi" - in the northern Podujevo region, the Kosovo rebels are united in support of the Western-backed peace plan for the province.
"There will always be someone who behaves as an extremist, but it's a small group and I don't see it as a problem," he says.
Asked about the proposed disarmament of the rebels, which worries many junior KLA officers, Sultan is sanguine. "If the Serb forces withdraw, we will not need our weapons any more," he says. "It was never our desire to take up weapons and fight."
And Mr Selimi, who was a student at the University in Mitrovica before taking up arms, has no desire to hold office in an autonomous and peaceful Kosovo. "When I started to fight, I didn't know I would live for so long," he says. "I have been in danger many times, and I thought I was not going to survive."
In a free Kosovo, "I am not going to hold any post. I want to be a free civilian, and for my people to have full human rights."
The KLA chief believes that the Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, will eventually sign the peace deal. "If they see Nato is serious, they are going to accept everything in the end," he says. But, "We are going to stay here and if they come, we will fight. And we will fight until our last soldier dies."
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer (WPF...
£45000 - £65000 per annum + London: Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA Eng...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Year 6 Teacher - Gilli...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Teacher of English - S...