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Prime Minister Ljubcho Georgievski Wednesday evening opened the new icon gallery at the Museum of Macedonia in Skopje.

The Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, g.g. Stefan, Minister of Culture Ganka Samoilovska - Cvetanova, representatives of the diplomatic corps and numerous admirers of art, the Head of the EU delegation, the Ambassador Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira, the academician Cvetan Grozdanov and director of the Museum of Macedonia Dragi Mitrevski attended the opening ceremony.

"Only one week after signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement of the Republic of Macedonia with EU, we have an opportunity to promote one great cultural event which is an expression of the integration process of the Republic of Macedonia in the European family. Not only because the project 'Icon Gallery' has been supported by the EU but also it speaks for permanent presentation of cultural values created on Macedonian soil," Prime Minister Ljubcho Georgievski said opening the gallery.

Macedonian Prime Minister said that the Government would allot DEM 2,5 million for protection of our cultural inheritance, i.e. protection of the Old Bazaar in Bitola and the ten most important archaeological projects in our country.

"Opening of the gallery represents the hope that good will win over the ugly and the peace will prevail over terror," Prime Minister said.

The Head of the EU Delegation, the Ambassador Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira said that the gallery presenting some of the valuable icons which are important part of the cultural inheritance of Macedonia. "The value of this collection of icons clearly shows the cultural treasure of this region and also shows the support of the Ministry of Culture and the international community. He said that the Museum of Macedonia has achieved impressive standards in exhibiting cultural treasure, expressing hope that the international community will continue to acquaint with the rich history of Macedonia.

The Academician Cvetan Grozdanovski expressing gratitude to the Prime Minister Ljubcho Georgievski and Minister of Culture Ganka Samoilovska - Cvetanova for realisation of the gallery, said that it is a crown of the previous efforts for marking of the 2000th anniversary of the Christianity.

Director of the Museum of Macedonia, Dragi Mitrevski, said that all criteria for modern presentation of icon gallery have been fulfilled.

The icon collection in the Museum of Macedonia is the richest in the country. The beginning of its formation dates from 80 years ago, consisted of 400 icons from 14th and 19th century.

According to chronological organisation of icons, the collection dates from post Byzantine and late medieval period. It gives possibility for getting a clear vision of the paining and carving on the icon and the vital presence of the religious picture in the orthodox everyday.

The project is financed by the EU and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia.

Former Ethnic Albanian Rebel Leader Sentenced to 13 Years in Jail.

Agence France Presse

SKOPJE, Apr 19, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) A Macedonian court sentenced Wednesday a former ethnic Albanian rebel leader from Kosovo to 13 years jail for attempted murder and the illegal possession of arms and explosives.

Xhavit Hasani, one of the hi-profile leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), was sentenced in absentia. The court ordered that his bail money be seized and said it would issue a warrant for his arrest.

Hasani fired on police and a group of workers, injuring one, in the suburbs of Skopje in 1997. He fled to Albania, then Kosovo where he joined the KLA and became one of its commanders.

The Macedonian media says he is living in the town of Vitina in Kosovo where he has a restaurant and three large houses.


Macedonia: NLA fighters trained in camps set up in northern Albania.


Skopje, - The members of the so-called National Liberation Army (NLA) are being trained in camps located in northern Albania. Roughly 10 training camps are set up near the Albanian city of Peskopeja, the local daily Vecer says.

Anonymous sources in Tirana claim the training camps are set up in the region covering Peskopeja and Kukes, near the border with Macedonia. The members of the so-called National Liberation Army are getting ready for new offensives on Macedonian security forces, to be launched after Easter.

Vecer daily says the anti-Macedonan mood is very present in Albania. The anti-Macedonian mood that prevails in Albania, was reconfirmed by the former Albanian President, now the leader of opposition, Sali Berisha, who held a meeting with reporters. A reporter of Skopjes daily Vecer attended the meeting. Vecers reporter says Berisha made clear that he has no intention of talking with Macedonian enemies.

Sali Berisha met in Tirana the so-called political leader of the National Liberation Army (NLA), Ali Ahmeti. Ahmeti threatened Macedonian reporter not to come to Tirana and to go back to defend his country. Ali Ahmetis bodyguard said there are many young people in Tetovo who are very angry at DPAs leading figures Arben Xhaferi and Menduh Thaqi, for not keeping their pre-election promises. Both Xhaferi and Thaqi held out promises of job creation, more money and passports for ethnic Albanian population in Macedonia. The Albanian young population in Macedonia will ignite new unrest much stronger and much longer than the previous one, Ali Ahmetis bodyguard told Vecers reporter.

Macedonia: VMRO-DPMNE supports the initiative for wide government coalition.


Skopje, - VMRO-DPMNEs leading figures gave the Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski a free hand to proceed the talks with major opposition parties for creation of a wide government coalition. The Spokesman for VMRO-DPMNE Igor Gievski said late on Tuesday that the major opposition parties, SDSM and PDP, are likely to join the ruling colaition.

Macedonian Prime Minister, Head of VMRO-DPMNE, Ljubco Georgievski, said late on Tuesday that he will meet the Head of largest opposition party SDSM, Branko Crvenkovski, on Friday.



Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski Wednesday received the US Congressmen, William Young and Ralph Regula, who are paying a visit to our country.

Gen. Joseph Ralston, commander in chief, US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO, and Michael Einik, the US Ambassador to Macedonia, attended the meeting. The aim of the visit is reviewing of the possibilities and ways for realisation of the US support on political, economic and military sphere, which has been explicitly presented by the US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

President Trajkovski said that all kinds of support that the Republic of Macedonia receives from the USA are of exceptional importance for entire development of the country. It has been mutually concluded that the basic requirement for entire and permanent stability is the economic development supported by direct foreign investments, for which the US party showed special interest.




Macedonian Minister of Finance Nikola Gruevski and Chief of the IMF mission for Macedonia Bishvaxit Banerjee completed Wednesday the one-week long talks, focused on the influence of the security situation on the macroeconomic process in the country.

"The security situation from the past two months will cause potential long-term consequences on the macro-economy," Banerjee said, adding that: "it did not put the things out of control but still we will redesign the program you have with the Fund."

He stressed that if the situation had gone out of control the IMF program would have been cancelled.

He added that the talks will continue by the end of April during Minister Gruevski's visit to Washington.

"We hope that we will be able to complete the redesign of the program by the end of June," he stated, adding that the goal of the IMF arrangement will be maintaining of the macroeconomic stability.

Minister Gruevski stressed that after the arrangement is redesigned, we will receive the second part of the funds.

He underlined that the Government will continue with the reforms.

Macedonia: Macedonian Ministers of Culture to be brought to the Hague Tribunal.


Skopje, - The Association of Albanian Publishers pressed charges against four Macedonian Ministers of Culture, Gjuner Ismail, Slobodan Unkovski, Ljuben Paunovski and Ganka Samoilova-Cevetanovska. This association blames the mentioned above persons, for having committed cultural genocide on Albanians in Macedonia over the past 10 years. The charges were submitted to the Hague Tribunal as well as to a number of international institutions, the local daily Makedonija Denes says, adding that the former Ministers of Culture Eshtref Aliu and Dimitar Dimitrov are excluded from the indictment.

Special indictment was raised against the perpetrators of actions against Albanian scholars within the period from 1990 to 2001. This indictment includes President Boris Trajkovski, the Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski, the former Defense Minister Nikola Kljusev, the former Education Minister Dimitar Dimtrov, the former Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski, Dimitar Bajaldjiev, Sofija Todorova, Gale Galev and Pavle Petrov. Ljubomir Frckovski is indicted as physical perpetrator of such actions.

Albanian publishers call for full take-over of Albanian-language schoolbooks publishing based on synchronized curriculum with Tirana and Pristina, Makedonija Denes daily says.

Suspected Albanian Rebels Kidnap Macedonian Police Official.

Agence France Presse

SKOPJE, Apr 18, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) A senior Macedonian police officer was recently kidnapped and interrogated by an unidentified group wearing the uniforms of an ethnic Albanian rebel group, the private TV Sitele reported Tuesday.

The detained official was identified as Nasi Abazi, the number two of police in the northeastern Macedonian town of Kumanovo. The report said he was released after several hours.

It said the kidnappers, wearing uniforms of the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA), interrogated the officer over police operations in the area, which was the scene of heavy fighting last month between the rebels and Macedonian forces.

Macedonia's interior ministry confirmed the incident, which it said took place on Friday, and in a statement added that the officer was released unharmed but stripped of his pistol and rifle.

Croatia: Draft agreement on dividing up assets belonging to Former Yugoslav Federation.


Zagreb, - The officials of the rump Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia will be holding talks in Vienna. They will review a draft agreement on dividing up the assets belonging to the Former Yugoslavia. This draft agreement will set out the basic principles on dividing up assets as well as the modalities for implementation of such principles, the Head of Croatian negotiation team Bozo Maredndic said in an interview with Croatian daily Vjesnik.

Marendic confirmed that during the last meeting in Brussels, the representatives of the successor states had initiated a debate over 15 embassies and assets in foreign countries. They all agreed not to disclose any details as long as the ultimate agreement is reached. As far as the assets belonging to companies or individuals, they are to be returned or adequately compensated in line with the international law, Marendic said.


Czar Simeon II is a Forest King as a type of conduct, Lyuben Dilov Jr. said.

Gergyovden Movement delivered to President Petar Stoyanov results from sociological survey carried out by the National Center for Surveying Public Opinion, according to which, as one of the movement leaders Petar Kurumbashev said to the Agency, 83 percent of the people that would vote for Gergyovden Movement would also vote for Petar Stoyanov. The survey also revealed that those people are between 19 and 59 years old and are showing criticism towards all of the others political leaders. Commenting behavior of Czar Simeon II as the political leader of the National Movement Simeon II, the Gergyovden Movement leader Lyuben Dilov Jr. said that Czar Simeon II is a kind of a Forest King not only because he lives in the forest, but also because the way he behaves.


Luan (L) and Bekim (R) Mazreku, ethnic Albanian brothers jailed for terrorism, torture and murder of Serb civilians in Klecka, smile while the court reads out its verdict in Nis. REUTERS

Kosovo Albanians jailed for war crimes.


A court in Yugoslavia has found two ethnic Albanians from Kosovo guilty of terrorism, rape and murder, and sentenced them to twenty years in prison.

The two men Luan Mazreku and his cousin, Bekim were accused of killing more than forty Serb civilians from the town of Orahovac, in Kosovo, in 1998.

Both were said to have been members of the ethnic Albanian separatist guerrilla force, the KLA.

They denied the charges; one said during the trial that he had been beaten until he agreed to make a confession of guilt.

Their lawyer said they would appeal.

Albanians seize thousands of grenades near Kosovo.


Wednesday, 18 April 2001 21:50 (ET)

TIRANA, Albania, April 18 (UPI) -- Albanian police said Wednesday they discovered an abandoned truck loaded with 1,050 grenades, 1,090 detonators and more than 83,000 bullets, close to Morini, a Kosovo check point some 300 km (186 miles) north of Tirana, and arrested Kosovo Albanians for possessing and transporting the weapons.

Police sources said they believe the intended destination of these weapons was Kosovo and they have started an investigation.

On Monday police arrested two Kosovo Albanians, Zaim Myftari, 30, and Hatim Ibrahimi, 17, for possession of illegal guns and a grenade launcher, which the two allegedly hid in a cargo van destined for Macedonia. They were charged with illegally transporting weapons.

Ten days ago Albanian police also arrested also two Albanian citizens in north Albania, who were allegedly transporting guns and ammunition to Kosovo.

Yugoslav authorities have complained several times that the Albanian government is not controlling weapon smuggling in the north. Highlighting the violence from smuggled weapons, a car bomb exploded Wednesday in Pristina, killing a Serbian policeman and injuring three other, who were working with the Yugoslav visa office.

The Albanian government has said it committed to preventing weapon smuggling that started after the crises of 1997 when people looted more than 600,000 weapons from military depots.

Albania has strengthened the border area with Macedonia, setting up several police road blocks on the national and secondary roads linked to Macedonian destinations to prevent illegal trafficking of weapons.

But weapon smuggling to Kosovo has been difficult to stop because the mountainous northern district of Tropoja has been mostly out of the government control.

In the middle of March, Macedonia suffered an insurgency by extremist ethnic Albanians who threatened the security and stability in this Balkan multiethnic country.

The U.N. administrator, Hans Haekerup, urged Albanian Premier Ilir Meta early this week to set up a cooperative investigation into existing links between extremist elements in Kosovo and Macedonia.

Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo asked Haekerup to open two other border check points with Kosovo to decrease smuggling, but improve the movement of trade and people between Kosovo and Albania.

NATO troops use explosives to seize Bosnian Croat bank records.


SARAJEVO, April 18 (AFP) -
NATO-led troops used explosives and torches Wednesday to seize records of a bank suspected of funding Croat separatists in Bosnia, a spokesman said.

Officials from the Office of the High Representative (OHR) ordered the raid to collect evidence as part of an investigation into allegations of "fraud and money-laundering" at the Hercegovacka bank, a spokesman for the Stabilisation Force (SFOR) told AFP.

SFOR "assisted by providing overall security", Lieutenant Lars Anderson said, adding that SFOR had also escorted OHR officials taking part in the raid and sealed containers of material seized by them.

Bosnia's top envoy, Wolfgang Petritsch, took control of the bank on April 6, suspending management and clerks and naming a temporary administrator.

Petritsch accused the bank's owners of funding a breakaway Croat movement in Bosnia, seen as a serious threat to the Dayton peace agreement which ended the country's bloody 1992-1995 war.

"One should view this not as isolated action but as part of a strategy which is intended to try to get at the illegal source of funding of illegal activities," Petritsch's deputy, Ralph Johnson, told a press conference.

Explosives and torches were used in order to get hold of the bank records, he said.

"It was necessary to use technical means of force to get access to the records," Johnson said, who also expressed regret for the damage caused.

No injuries were reported during the raid which was necessary because the bank's suspended director had not cooperated with the temporary administrator, Johnson said.

The last attempt to get hold of the bank's records in Mostar provoked violent riots in Bosnian Croat-dominated areas in which 25 people, including 21 peacekeepers, were injured.

"We felt we had no choice but to take action immediately in order to safeguard the interests of legitimate clients," Johnson said.

Eyewitnesses in Mostar said the operation took place between 2 am and 6 am (0000 and 0400 GMT), as SFOR helicopters overflew the town.

Local police blocked access to the bank later on Wednesday.

Bosnian Croat nationalist parties, grouped around the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ), proclaimed "temporary autonomy" for Croats within Bosnia in early March.

Local media have frequently speculated that the HDZ kept secret accounts at the Hercegovacka bank, headquartered in Mostar, to help finance the Croat bid for self-rule.

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