01, March-2001, Thursday.
PRESIDENT TRAJKOVSKI MET WITH FRENCH PRIME MINISTER JOSPIN
"In a military sense, the Kosovo conflict is over, but there are still ethnic tensions. We see no reason to allow certain groups to use methods which we have condemned, and by which we justified our intervention in Kosovo," French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said during today's meeting with President Trajkovski, who is in an official visit to France.
In that context, President Trajkovski expressed Macedonia's dissatisfaction from the inefficient engagement of KFOR troops for resolving the problems at the Macedonian-Yugoslav border in the part of Kosovo.
It was stressed that the goal of the incidents at the northern Macedonian border is to destroy what has been built for years in the Republic of Macedonia in regard to the interethnic tolerance. Both Trajkovski and Jospin stood against the ideas for construction of any new great countries.
"The dream of Great Serbia turned into a nightmare and we do not want dreams for Great Kosovo or Great Albania. They want to attract the attention of the international community, but they will not get support or assistance from us," Jospin said. President Trajkovski pointed out that Macedonia's integration into NATO would put an end to the dreams for construction of great countries.
In regard to the KFOR engagement in the region, Jospin stressed that both the Europeans and the Americans ought to discuss on firm application of the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and to fulfill their obligations.
The French Prime Minister also supported Macedonia's commitments for resolving the problems in the region, and stressed that France is aware that every incident can get wider proportions and therefore, it needs to be resolved at the beginning.
Jospin was also interested in the position of the Albanians in Macedonia in regard to the situation at the northern border.
As one of the positive impulses in the regional cooperation, President Trajkovski pointed to the Agreement for demarcation of the border between Macedonia and Yugoslavia, to which Kosovo opposes.
Besides the situation in the region, the bilateral cooperation, especially in the field of economy, was also discussed. The political relations between Macedonia and France were positively evaluated, but it was stressed that the economic cooperation would have to be intensified.
President Trajkovski stressed that a more intensive approach to the European Union will be of great help to Macedonia. In that context, France gave support for the signing of the Agreement for association and stabilization between Macedonia and EU, which is to be signed on April 10th.
Reporting on the Summit of the Process for Cooperation in the Southeastern Europe, President Trajkovski stressed that joint commitment of the countries from the region is to get closer to Europe and to enhance the regional cooperation, especially in the field of economy.
At the end of the meeting, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin referred to President Trajkovski as "politician with a modern vision for the Balkans.
02, March-2001, Friday.
15, March-2001, Thursday.
16, March-2001, Friday.
17, March-2001, Saturday.
18, March-2001, Sunday.
19, March-2001, Monday.
20, March-2001, Tuesday.
21, March-2001, Wednesday.
22, March-2001, Thursday.
ASSISTANCE FROM JAPAN.
Tokyo Pledges to Join Efforts to Stop Albanian Violence in Macedonia
TOKYO, Mar 22, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) Japan pledged Thursday to join international efforts to stop the violence by ethnic Albanian rebels on the borders of Macedonia.
The promise was made when Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono made a telephone call to his German counterpart Joschka Fischer, a foreign ministry official said.
In the 20-minute conversation, Fischer said European countries had agreed on the importance of attaining peace in Macedonia by restraining the Albanian guerrillas, the official said.
"It is necessary for the international community to make concerted efforts to convince ethnic Albanian leaders that changes to the national boundary by use of force will not be condoned," Fischer was quoted as saying.
Kono said Japan would deal with the matter "in a similar direction," according to the official.
The telephone call was made under an agreement on bilateral cooperation, which was made by the two foreign ministers when they met in Tokyo last October.
The accord covers areas of cooperation between the two countries such as concerted contributions to regional and global peace and stability.
23, March-2001, Friday.
4th Sunday THREE MACEDONIANS DEAD!
5th DEBELDE (Reuters) - Balkan governments and NATO (news - web sites) officers watched anxiously as Macedonia tried to snuff out a pocket-sized conflict on its border with Kosovo Monday, fearing it could ignite new turmoil in the region.
Gunmen were seen apparently pulling out of the ethnic Albanian border village of Tanusevci after exchanging fire with Macedonian troops, said U.S. peacekeepers across the frontier in Kosovo.
The gunmen headed toward Kosovo but stopped short of U.S. peacekeeping troops who reinforced their positions on the Kosovo border and vowed to detain anyone who tried to cross.
The retreat did not seem to mark an end to the crisis, which Macedonia's Slav-led government said was triggered when ethnic Albanian fighters in the isolated mountain village began attacking its forces a week ago. It escalated dramatically Sunday with the killings of three Macedonian soldiers.
Jim Marshal, spokesman for the U.S.-led contingent of KFOR, told reporters in the Kosovo village of Debelde, where U.S. troops are monitoring the trouble, that some of the gunmen appeared to be dumping their uniforms and weapons as they pulled out of Tanusevci.
Marshal said there were believed to be between 70 and 150 men in the group, armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. He said they may have a weapons cache inside Kosovo.
It was not clear how many had withdrawn.
Asked if he thought the gunmen were retreating, Macedonian Defense Ministry spokesman Georgi Trendafilov said: ``They may be just going for a holiday.''
Macedonian women comfort each other as they cry during the funeral of Macedonian Army officer Kirce Dimitriev in the town of Stip March 5, 2001. Dimitriev was among the three Macedonian army soldiers killed March 4 near the village of Tanusevci on the border with Kosovo, during clashes along the border. (Ognen Teofilovski/Reuters)
Monday Bulgaria offers troops to Macedonia
SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Bulgaria has offered to send troops to aid Macedonia as fighting continues along the tense border with Kosovo.
Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov extended the offer during a telephone conversation with President Boris Trajkovski, president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Three Macedonian soldiers were killed in the border region on Sunday -- which has seen an upsurge in guerrilla activity blamed on ethnic Albanians.
Stoyanov said he would raise the issue of using Bulgarian armed forces to secure stability in the region in parliament if requested by Macedonia or international organizations.
Journalist James Pettifer -- the author of several books on the Balkans -- said that roads to the border had been blocked creating potential supply problems for Kosovo.
He said that much of KFOR's supplies into Kosovo, from building materials to food, go through Macedonia.
6th Tuesday Croatia sharply condemned extremist attacks at the Kosovo section of the Macedonian-Yugoslav border and expressed concern about the possible escalation of conflicts which aim at subversion of security in Macedonia and which would paralyze the normalization of the situation in Kosovo.
The Croatian Government expressed its condolences for the human lives lost in the terrorist acts and condemned the incidents along the Macedonian border with Kosovo.
Defence Ministry spokesman Gjorgji Trendafilov denied Tuesday speculations over the Macedonian Army's undertaken actions in the Tanusevci area.
"This information is false and malicious. There is a media war against Macedonia," Trendafilov stated at the press conference.
Trendafilov presented several media reports with photos of military vehicles that Macedonia does not own and even soldiers from other countries and other conflicts.
"Such media propaganda is present ever since Macedonia got its independence and always follows after such situations, which endanger the Macedonian stability and security.
There were no shootings Tuesday in Tanusevci area. ARM engineering unit was engaged to detect and remove the land mines in Ramno and Tanusevci area.
According to the ARM Staff, the soldiers noticed a group of terrorists getting out of Tanusevci, which will probably scatter on Kosovo territory.
We assume that these terrorists will do the same but on other location along the Macedonian - Kosovo border. There are certain indications that dead bodies are gathered in the Kosovo hospitals and we would not be surprised even if the terrorists shoot women and children in order to transfer them on the Macedonian territory. This is a script that is already seen," Trendafilov explained.
In that respect it was stressed that ethnic Albanian women and children left their homes during the day.
Macedonian President's Security Counselor Nikola Dimitrov has appealed to the residents to return to their homes. "The Macedonian security forces are present in order to protect them," Dimitrov stated.
ARM troops are deployed along the border and they are prepared to react if the Tanusevci case repeats on other Macedonian location.
Regarding the information that ARM has no control over the Malina area, Trendafilov stated that Macedonian police controlled that region, as it is not in the border zone.
Trendafilov stated that there were no KFOR troops along the Macedonian - Kosovo border and added that KFOR arrested several persons for weapon possession
7th Wednesday HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT SENT A NOTE TO TRAJKOVSKI
President of the Republic of Macedonia Boris Trajkovski received today a note from Hungarian President Madl Ferenc, who expresses his sincere condolences for the death of three Macedonian soldiers, who were killed Sunday by the extremists in the region near the Tanusevci village.
"The Republic of Hungary condemns all forms of terrorism and all actions that aim to prevent finding of a peaceful solution for the problem. We put the emphasis on the significance of Macedonia's territorial integrity and sovereignty and support all measures undertaken for security of the Macedonian citizens," reads the note.
"We highly appreciate the patience and wisdom that you, as leader of the country, are showing at these moments. I am convinced that the international community and NATO will offer active and efficient cooperation for resolving of the situation in northern Macedonia," The Hungarian president says in the note sent to President Trajkovski.
President Trajkovski postponed his first official visit to Hungary, planed for tomorrow.
Cradling the baby she had carried across the snowy, heavily mined border, Rufadije Jakupi told me how she had huddled in a cellar with her children during a three-hour bombardment by the Macedonian security forces.
An American officer later told me he thought the Macedonians had been using Katjusha rockets against Tanusevci, the village the women had fled.
"The Macedonian army behaves worse than the Serbs ever did in Kosovo," Rufadije told me at the house just inside Kosovo where she is staying with her five children and a group of about 30 other refugees.
This was, according to MIA's special correspondent from New York, what the Chairman of the UN Security Council and deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Jelchenko, said to the head of Macedonian diplomatic corps today at their meeting in the UN building.
Jelchenko said that after consulting the representatives of member countries of the Security Council he would be ready to give a statement in relation to the situation at Macedonian northern border, which according to minister Kerim brings was the last step before the adoption of the Resolution.
Minister Kerim said after the meeting that "the essence of the talks was the common conclusion of the Security Council that it should undertake additional security measures and act preventively at the border to ensure that there would be no more incidents and destabilization in this part of the region in the future."
Jelchenko also expressed the readiness of Ukraine to offer its troops if the measure for involving additional troops for control of the Kosovo side of the border is adopted.
They also talked about the bilateral cooperation of Macedonia and Ukraine. "Jelchenko, as a deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine, expressed the determination of his country for full cooperation with Macedonia" Kerim said.
20th Tuesday 18:31 Rugova: Foreign Countries Involved in Macedonian Conflict
Representatives of ethnic Albanians in Temporary Administrative Council of Kosovo (PAVK) concluded today that Government in Skoplje should begin fulfilling demands of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia. At today's session at which the newest developments in Macedonia were discussed, it was concluded that the situation could not be solved by violence. The Council denied their involvement in Macedonian conflict, while the president of Democratic Union of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, accused Bulgaria of taking part in Macedonian internal affairs.
"We demand that NATO, UN Security Council, European Council and USA investigate Bulgarian involvement in arming (Macedonian) Armed Forces, but some other countries as well. If this is really true, it is very ugly," said Rugova.
Macedonia gives rebels 24 hours to leave territory
SKOPJE, March 20 (Reuters) - Macedonia on Tuesday gave ethnic Albanian rebels 24 hours to surrender or withdraw from its territory.
The ultimatum, signed by the interior and defense ministries, said Macedonian troops would not fire on rebel positions at the town of Tetovo from midnight on Tuesday to midnight on Wednesday unless attacked.
"After this deadline, Macedonian security forces will continue using all its means against positions of terrorists until they are completely destroyed," it said.