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26, Feb-2001.

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Monday.

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Albanian Exodus From Macedonia a Political Ploy, Says Skopje.

Agence France Presse

SKOPJE, Feb 26, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) The recent exodus of ethnic Albanians from northwestern Macedonia to Kosovo is a political ploy intended to mislead international public opinion on the situation in Macedonia, a government spokesman said Monday.

"The mass departures of Macedonian civilians toward the Yugoslav border, and particularly to Kosovo, are a well-orchestrated political ploy," Antonio Milososki told AFP.

"Their goal is to mislead public opinion about the situation in Macedonia and to lead people to reach mistaken conclusions," he added.

More than 150 ethnic Albanians from the village of Tanusevci fled to Kosovo on Sunday to escape abuse by the Macedonian army, according to Hamdi Hasani, administrator of the village of Debelde in southern Kosovo.

"This kind of well-orchestrated ploy has been used in several Balkans crises ... for political, propaganda or other reasons," Milososki said.

He confirmed that people had left Macedonia for the Yugoslav border. The Macedonian government "has no intention of reacting to this kind of provocation," he said, but added that it would try to resolve the issue politically.

The international community and Macedonian citizens all know that rights granted by law and the constitution are guaranteed for all, Milososki said.

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