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8, March-2001.

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Thursday.

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TRAJKOVSKI-HAVEL PHONE CONVERSATION.

MIA

Skopje, March 8 (MIA) - Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski had a phone conversation Thursday with his Czech counterpart Vaclav Havel.

The Czech President condemned the recent terrorist attacks on the Macedonian-Yugoslav border. Havel stressed that the Czech Republic supports Macedonia completely in its efforts to perceive the integrity and sovereignty. He also expressed his respect on the Macedonian peaceful policy and its continuous contribution towards the stabilization in the region.

Trajkovski informed Havel about the Macedonian diplomatic activities, including the country's expectations from the North Atlantic Council meeting, scheduled for tomorrow in Brussels.

POLICE CONVOY ATTACKED NEAR THE VILLAGE OF BREST.

MIA

Skopje, March 8 (MIA) - Sources from the Macedonian Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that fire from grenade launcher was opened today on a police convoy near the village of Brest located at the border with Yugoslavia, MIA reports.

One of the police vehicles was directly hit by a "Zolja" missile, and there are information that one policeman was killed. The Macedonian police officers responded to the fire. The Macedonian Army and ministry of interior deployed additional troops to pull out the people from the convoy.

So far, the Ministry of interior did not issue official announcement regarding the incident.

Macedonian Policeman Dies After Gunmen Pressured.

Reuters

By Philippa Fletcher
SKOPJE (Reuters) - U.S.-led peacekeepers in Kosovo drove ethnic Albanian gunmen from a hamlet they had used to attack Macedonia, but the gunmen appeared to strike back inside the country where a policeman was killed by a grenade.

In Brussels, NATO allies directed another blow at the gunmen, agreeing to let Serbian security forces into a buffer zone adjoining Kosovo and Macedonia to stop guerrillas in the zone linking up with those harrying Macedonian forces.

Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica accepted NATO's plan to let Serb troops into the zone along the Macedonian border but accused the alliance of sending his forces into the crossfire instead of dealing with the problem itself.
Russia said it was sending its foreign minister to the region soon and neighboring Bulgaria also stepped in, promising ''hundreds of tons'' of military supplies to help Skopje in its fight against the shadowy group that has threatened to bring a decade of Balkan ethnic conflict to a hitherto peaceful country.

Macedonia raised the alarm two weeks ago after a clash between its security forces and ethnic Albanian gunmen who had occupied Tanusevci on the border with majority Albanian Kosovo, under international protection since 1999.

A week later the crisis escalated when three Macedonian troops were killed, two of them by a land mine well inside the country. Thursday night brought a fourth victim, a policeman said by a police source to have been blown up in his jeep by a shoulder-launched grenade as he led a convoy of officials through the border area.

Gunmen Move Out

On Thursday the NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo moved right to the border with Macedonia, into a part of the village of Tanusevci it called upper Mijak, where it found the gunmen's hastily-abandoned headquarters in a school building well stocked with food and explosives.

``We have just concluded a successful operation by eliminating a safe haven for armed groups here in Kosovo,'' U.S. Brigadier General Kenneth Quinlan, commander of Kosovo's Multinational Brigade East, said in nearby Debelde.

As far as the confused local Albanians were concerned, the peacekeepers had crossed into Macedonia.

``I don't want to be a citizen of Kosovo. I am a citizen of Macedonia,'' said 55-year-old villager Bajram Sinani.
Unlike their ethnic kin in Kosovo, most of Macedonia's Albanians feel their future lies in improving their position inside the state, rather than breaking away. But the gunmen could stir a revolt if the violence spreads.

Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski said at first officials thought the Tanusevci group were criminals but then realized it was ``more complex.''

The peacekeepers said they had wounded two gunmen on Wednesday after taking control of most of Mijak and had detained seven, of whom two had been freed after checks.
But the skirmishes continued.

The Macedonian Defense Ministry said several dozen men had come out of Tanusevci and attacked its watchtower during the night from the direction of Malino to the east. The Macedonian forces returned fire and suffered no casualties.

Mountain Borders

Diplomats say the main problem is preventing the guerrillas operating freely across the unmarked mountain borders between Kosovo, Macedonia and southern Serbia.

Three Yugoslav soldiers died on Wednesday north of Presevo in southern Serbia, just outside the buffer zone running from the Macedonian border in the east around Kosovo's boundary with the rest of Yugoslavia.

Barely two years after fighting Yugoslavia to defend ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, the West is this time lining up with Belgrade -- under a new, reformist leadership -- to limit ethnic Albanian nationalism.

``France and Germany condemn the extremists' violent action on the northern border with Macedonia and the Presevo valley, which is aimed at destabilizing the region,'' the two countries' foreign ministers said in Paris. Russia's U.N. ambassador Sergei Lavrov also condemn the violence.

``Russia's leadership is worried about the growing wave of extremism spreading from Kosovo into neighboring regions of Serbia and now into Macedonia,'' he said, announcing that Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov would visit the region soon.
NATO Secretary General George Robertson said a ``controlled return'' of some Serb forces would be permitted to a zone they were expelled from by NATO when Slobodan Milosevic was in power.

NATO said only police and army border guards would be allowed in, not regular army troops. Kostunica accepted the plan, but accused KFOR of ``stimulating instead of curbing'' aspirations of a Greater Albania because it was too concerned for its own troops' safety.

``KFOR is abandoning protection of the border and is inviting our army to be in the crossfire,'' he told a news conference.

SECURITY COUNCIL GIVES SUPPORT TO MACEDONIA'S EFFORTS.

MIA

New York, March 8 (MIA) - UN Security Council the Security Council strongly condemned violence by ethnic Albanian extremists on norther border of the Republic of Macedonia especially the murder of the three soldiers in the region of the village of Tanushevci. Expressing deep concern at the recent developments it called for an immediate end to the clashes.

In a Presidential statement after the meeting, where Macedonian Foreign Minister Srgjan Kerim briefed the initiative of our country for resolving of the situation on northern border for undertaking additional measures, a deep concern at the recent developments was expressed that posed a threat to the stability of the entire region.

The Council called on all political leaders in the Macedonia, Kosovo and the FR of Yugoslavia, who were in a position to do so to isolate the forces behind the violent incidents and to shoulder their responsibility for peace and stability in the region.

The Security Council underlines the responsibility of the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for the rule of law in its territory and it supports actions by the Macedonian Government to address the violence with an appropriate level of restraint and to preserve the political stability of the country and foster harmony between all ethnic components of the population.

Recalling the need to respect the territorial integrity of Macedonia, the Council underscored the importance of the border demarcation agreement signed in Skopje last February and ratified by the country's Parliament on 1 March.

The Security Council also welcomed the steps taken by KFOR to control the border between Kosovo, FRY and Macedonia in accordance with a June 1999 military-technical agreement.

The Council welcomed the ongoing dialogue between Macedonia and KFOR on practical steps to address the immediate security situation and prevent crossing of the border by the extremists, as well as the efforts of all relevant international organisations in co-operation with the Macedonian government to promote stability and to create conditions for a return of the inhabitants to their homes.

Presidential statement at the end reads that the UN Security Council will continue to follow the developments on the ground closely, and requested to be briefed regularly on the outcome of the efforts.

MACEDONIA: SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS VIOLENCE BY ALBANIAN EXTREMISTS.

MIA

New York, March 8 (MIA) - Expressing deep concern at the recent developments in the north of the Republic of Macedonia, the Security Council today strongly condemned violence by ethnic Albanian extremists there and called for an immediate end to the clashes that posed a threat to the stability of the entire region.

The Council's reaction came in a statement by the body's current President, Volodymyr Yel'chenko of Ukraine, which was read out at an open meeting of the Council late Wednesday evening. Earlier, the Council heard a briefing on the situation in the area by the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Srdjan Kerim, as well as statements by representatives of over 20 countries.

In the statement, the Council called on all political leaders in the Macedonia and Kosovo, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, who were in a position to do so to isolate the forces behind the violent incidents and to shoulder their responsibility for peace and stability in the region.

"The Security Council underlines the responsibility of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia for the rule of law in its territory," the statement said. "It supports actions by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia to address the violence with an appropriate level of restraint and to preserve the political stability of the country and foster harmony between all ethnic components of the population."

Recalling the need to respect the territorial integrity of the Macedonia, the Council underscored the importance of the border demarcation agreement signed in Skopje last February and ratified by the country's Parliament on 1 March.

The Security Council also welcomed the steps taken by the international security presence (KFOR) to control the border between Kosovo and Macedonia in accordance with a June 1999 military-technical agreement. The Council welcomed the ongoing dialogue between Macedonia and KFOR on practical steps to address the immediate security situation and prevent crossing of the border by the extremists.

NATO TO ALLOW YUGOSLAV TROOPS INTO BUFFER ZONE.

MIA

Brussels, March 8 (MIA) - NATO has decided Thursday to allow Yugoslav forces to move into the military buffer zone at the administrative Serbian-Kosovo border, on the Macedonia's part, NATO diplomatic sources said.

According to same sources, KFOR Commander Carlo Cabigiosu will decide how much freedom of movement the Yugoslav forces will have inside the 5 km-wide zone, and what kind of weapons they will be allowed to use.

The demilitarized zone was created after the NATO campaign to drive Yugoslav troops out of Kosovo.

But the growing threat from ethnic Albanians -who have carried out cross-border attacks against Serbia and Macedonia-military planners have decided to work with the Yugoslav army.

"This is the first step in a phased and conditioned reduction in the ground safety zone," NATO Secretary General George Robertson said.

OSCE: ALBANIAN EXTREMISTS SHOULD BE ISOLATED.

MIA

Vienna, March 8 (MIA) - The Romanian Foreign Minister and current chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Mircea Geoana, said Thursday that Albanian extremists at the Macedonian border should be isolated.

In the OSCE announcement, Geoana called for an urgent termination of violence, as well as for all countries in the region to isolate the Albanian extremists, who are responsible for the crisis.

Geoana extended his support to Macedonia's integrity and sovereignty.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA CONDEMNED THE ATTEMPTS FOR DESTABILIZATION OF MACEDONIA.

MIA

Skopje, March 8 (MIA) - President of the Republic of Macedonia Boris Trajkovski had a telephone talk today with the holder of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zivko Radisic.

In behalf of the Bosnian presidency, Radisic expressed his condolences to the families of the killed Macedonian soldiers and fully supported the activities of Macedonia's leadership for dealing with the terrorism.

Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina condemned all attempts for destabilization of the Republic of Macedonia and expressed belief that Macedonia will manage to maintain stability of the interethnic relations.

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