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Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Macedonian Defense Ministry official told AP in Skopje on 17 February that six uniformed ethnic Albanian gunmen exchanged fire with Macedonian border troops in Tanusevci on the frontier with Kosovo. The source said that at least one of the Albanians appears to have been wounded in the exchange. The intruders subsequently returned to Kosovo.



Minister of Defence Ljuben Paunoski gave Saturday an exclusive interview for A1 TV station regarding the Friday incident near the village of Tanusevci at the Macedonian-Yugoslav border when a terrorist group encountered a journalist team. "The Defence Ministry has a complete control over the Macedonian territory. That is confirmed by the fact that the Macedonian Army is the most stable factor in this unstable region," Paunoski stated. "It is a very complex question and we can not give an immediate answer, but in the last ten years we are faced with similar pressures on the border," Paunoski answered the question whether the group was armed and whether it came from Kosovo.

According to the analysis and the incident indicators, we can conclude that the Macedonian - Yugoslav border demarcation is a big issue for every party in the Balkans. The public is aware that the Macedonian Government has a 100% success regarding this issue and the Agreement for border demarcation will be signed in a few days. I can announce that this is the success of the century. But it is obvious that certain structures are not satisfied with the Agreement, and these incidents are serious provocation for Macedonia, as answering to these provocations will mean opening a battlefield, which would rise a serious international issue," Paunoski explained.



"The Ministry of Defense has complete control over the territory of R.Macedonia, confirmed by the fact that the Army of the Republic of Macedonia is the most stable component related to the area of the northern and western border which is rather unstable region" said the Minister of Defense of R.Macedonia Ljuben Paunoski in his interview for A 1 -television. Referring to the event, when the journalist's team was met at Tanushevci village at our northern border, the question whether he could define who those people are, if they are armed or not, if they come from our territory or across the border (Kosovo) but act in Macedonia, the Minister Paunoski said that "it is a rather complex issue and can not be defined with certainty", adding that in the past 10 years we have been facing such type of pressure at the border site".

Based on the analyses and facts which show the pressure of such incidents, it can be concluded that in this period big problem for many on the Balkan is defining the border with our northern neighbor, FRY. The public knows that the success of this government in that field is hundred percent and the agreement that defines the border and the state of Macedonia is going to be signed in few days. I can even proclaim that for success of the century. But, obviously some structures are not happy with this type of an incident, which according to me is a serious provocation that Macedonia may respond to and accept a typical conflict area in this part of the territory which will open very serious international issue" stressed Minister Paunoski.

Therefore," I ask the public to stay calm although it is not an event to be underestimated, but ARM will carry the burden in the border belt within a scope of 100 meters while in the other parts of the territory, together with the Ministry for Interior Affairs", said Paunoski.

The goal of this structures, according to the Macedonian Minister of Defense is the political picture of Albanians, more precisely in relation to Kosovo, which after the political disintegration of the territory of former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia was characterized as not receiving enough rights, to reflect or to install with the Albanians in Macedonia, something that he considers as big" misconception" since" the international community will crack that strong attitude that there was or there is something like that".

Paunovski heralded to those as he called "exited or maybe rebelled armed structures who are entering the territory of R.Macedonia, from Kosovo side" to calm down their own excitement, because it is a way that makes damage to Albanians on the Balkan.

In his interview he referred to the response from the legitimate Kosovo political leaders, for the event such as the attack of the police station in Tetovo's village Tearce, including the last attack in the south of Serbia, that it is terrorists' attack." If we accept such an attitude, we should be aware that the terrorism doesn't pick up the means of action and it is usually combined with national interests as a cover, but always within the frame of its functioning there is maximum space for crime, abuse and personal interests" said Minister Paunoski.

It is a fact that hermetically sealed off border can not be expected" answered Minister Paunoski the journalists' question about the chances for other possible provocations, and confirmed this with other countries experience. As a reason for such claim he addressed the fact that the tactics of sealing off 50 or 100km long border and deploying 50 or 80 000 soldiers is not used" because you expose those people as a gun-flesh by which you have accepted the defeat in advance. Guarding the borders is something conducted with tactics and strategy and it is a method used by our border patrols which is a reason for such success."

The question why the patrol, if it had seen the reporters team didn't respond in the moment when the team had contacts with those armed groups, Macedonian Minister of Defense said that the border-post is at a longer distance then the meeting point, and because the configuration of the terrain makes if difficult to be seen." Our border-guards noticed their arrival with the vehicle and the moment when they stopped for few minutes, but the rules and regulations of behavior around and inside a border-post are exactly defined. If, any member of our army, members of the patrolling sections, is not on duty in those 24 hours, he is not allowed to enter the building. First, he must turn to the sentry at the main gate, who is then responsible to report to the border-post commandant regardless of his rank and then based on judgment of the person in charge of the border-post to be admitted inside the border-post. If he is admitted inside then the rules of work will be conducted", explained Paunoski.

Additionally, he said that the border-guards heard the shooting but they didn't respond referring to the TV team since they were supposed to report it to the main gate because the rules of service do not allow border-guards to leave the building and act within 100 or 200 m distance and check what is happening there. "Everyone can pass here and imagine if the border-guards get out all the time, and if there are some who want to cause a serious armed incident, then some of our border-guards can be hurt", stressed |Minister Paunoski, adding that those strict rules are applicable everywhere in the world including our country too.

It is a risky area and I don't understand why the journalists didn't call on the spokesman of our Ministry first who could have given them proper support in their intentions to observe one village, one area to see how people live there" said Paunovski.

The journalists' question whether the people who stopped the A-1 television team were not from Tanushevci but from Kosovo, the Minister of Defense Ljuben Paunovski said that it can not be confirmed since there are no "logistics bases in Tanushevci, but if there are concealers it is an issue that needs a deeper consideration".

According to Paunoski, the control is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, regardless of the fact that the village is in the border belt of 100km"Our border patrols when on duty go either above or under the village, since according to the ARM and MOD domain we can not go through inhabited area or identify citizens. If there are such situations we are going to be declared as a military country" stated Minister Paunoski in his interview for A1 television.

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