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A Macedonian army soldier observes the village of Vakcince, some 40 km (30 miles) north-east of the capital Skopje on May 10, 2001. The soldiers at this position did not fire a single shot at suspeceted ethnic Albanian rebel positions in Vakcince while politicians in the capital were trying to form a broad government coalition which would inculde an Albanian party. REUTERS/Oleg Popov
Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski (L) and his Yugoslav counterpart Zoran Djindjic pose for photographs prior to their meeting in Skopje, May 10, 2001. Djindjic arrived for an one-day visit in Macedonia to discuss the security situation on the Macedonia-Yugoslavia border. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
Yugoslav Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic (L) looks to his Macedonian counterpart Ljubco Georgievski as he talks to journalists during a news conference, after their meeting in Skopje, May 10, 2001. Djindjic arrived for an one-day visit in Macedonia to discuss the security situation on the Macedonia-Yugoslavia border. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
PM GEORGIEVSKI MEETS HIS SERBIAN COUNTERPART GJINGJIC.
Today's visit to Macedonia is an expression of Serbia and Yugoslavia support to the Macedonian Government efforts to defend the state's sovereignty, resisting any kind of terrorism, and opening political process for resolving of all problems by the political system of an internationally recognized country, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Gjingjic said Thursday after a meeting with his Macedonian counterpart Ljubcho Georgievski.
Gjingjic extended his gratitude for the Macedonian Government's support to Belgrade at the beginning of the crisis in southern Serbia in November 2000. He also expressed satisfaction with the good relations between Skopje and Belgrade.
"We have also talked about the economic cooperation and agreed to form a joint commission for the project Corridor 10, which is connected with the Olympic Games in Athens. We will also hold a joint meeting with the Greek Government, focused on establishing of consortium of businessmen, interested to invest in this project," Gjingjic said.
This project would prove the commitment of both countries to carry out reforms, Gjingjic said, adding that any attempts for raising of the old topics, such as steering of national conflicts and creating of new ethnic countries would fail.
"The Macedonian and Serbian Governments are committed to integrate this region with Europe, to restore peace and security, and to develop the economy," Gjingjic said.
Both Governments also agreed on intelligence cooperation, as the terrorist in Kosovo-southern Serbia-northern Macedonia were well organized and coordinated, he said.
"Therefore, we have agreed that Skopje and Belgrade should cooperate in combat against terrorism and all kinds of the regional crime. In that respect, both governments intend to establish a special commission, within their interior ministries, which will be engaged with these matters," Gjingjic said.
"We have agreed that the current crisis in Macedonia and southern Serbia originates from Kosovo, which is becoming a center of instability, spreading terrorism in Southeastern Europe, Georgievski said.
If terrorists could coordinate and operate from one center, there were no reasons for Macedonia and Yugoslavia to do the same, particularly in exchange of information between the intelligence services and governments of both countries in their combat against terrorism, Georgievski said.
He stressed that the Macedonian Government would continue its activities to break up the terrorist groups in the country, as well as the political dialogue with the legally elected representatives of the Albanians in Macedonia.
Georgievski also supported the Yugoslav Army efforts to take over the sector "B" of the buffer zone at the administrative border between Serbia and Kosovo, expressing hope that deployment of Yugoslav forces in this part of the zone would contribute to stabilization of the region.
After today's meeting, both countries would keep intensifying their political, economic, cultural and security cooperation, as the goal of the Macedonian and Serbian Governments is to bring prosperity to their people, Georgievski said.
GEORGIEVSKI: FINAL CONSULTATIONS FOR THE NEW COALITION ON FRIDAY.
"The final consultations for the new coalition with the leaders of the political parties will be made Friday afternoon. We have settled all problems with SDSM, and now we wait for the Party of Democratic Prosperity (PDP) and the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA) to reach an agreement. On Friday we will know whether PDP is ready or not to join the coalition, and we can schedule a session of the Macedonian Parliament for Saturday" Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski said after his Thursday meeting with Yugoslav Prime Minister Zoran Gingic.
Asked about the possibility of forming a new coalition without the participation of PDP, Georgievski said, "the Macedonian Government has received a clear message of the international community that all possibility of influencing this party".
"The international community thinks that there is a strange process going on within PDP, and points out to the fact that if PDP does not join the coalition, pretty soon it will be politically isolated by the whole international community, and no one will consider PDP to be a serious political party. This is the last chance for PDP to remain a political factor in Macedonia" Georgievski said.
PRESIDENT TRAJKOVSKI RECEIVES TURKISH FM CEM.
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski had a meeting late Thursday with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, expressing satisfaction with the development of good relations between both countries.
At the meeting, Cem reiterated the Turkish support to Macedonia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Trajkovski informed his guest about the security situation in the region, stressing Macedonia's determination to keep on with political talks on all open issues in the country, but also to decisively deal with the terrorist attack on the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
FM KERIM MEETS WITH HIS TURKISH COUNTERPART CEM.
Macedonian Foreign Minister Srgjan Kerim met late Thursday with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem, who reiterated his country's support to Macedonia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
For Kerim, the visit of his Turkish colleague is part of the permanent dialogue between both countries.
"Turkey fully supports Macedonia's territorial integrity and sovereignty and the cooperation in the region," Kerim said.
The Ministers agreed that the entire region should take measures for dealing with the crisis, namely to collect and destroy the weapons, disabling the activities of terrorist groups.
Cem considered that today's meeting was a proof for Turkish solidarity with Macedonia.
"We have also discussed on peace in the Balkans, its prosperity and contribution of Turkey in this respect, Cem said.
Asked about an initiating of some kind of a Dayton conference on the situation in Macedonia, Kerim said that such idea was not discussed with the European Union.
FOUR TERRORIST GROUPS DESTROYED IN KUMANOVO AREA.
"In the operations undertaken last night and today morning, the Macedonian security forces destroyed four terrorist groups and one bunker in the Kumanovo area," spokesman of the Ministry of Defense Gjorgji Trendafilov said at todays press conference. He added that currently the Macedonian security forces are making efforts to locate and evacuate two Danish journalists who, as he said, got lost in the mountains.
Reporting on the activities undertaken buy the Macedonian security forces in the Lipkovo area, spokesman of the Macedonian Army General Staff, Colonel Blagoja Markovski said that this morning one bunker was destroyed near the Otlja village.
At about 12.00 p.m. the terrorists opened fire on a Macedonian Army post. No one was injured in the incident.
Today afternoon the Macedonian security forces temporarily ceased their operations in order to enable the evacuation of the civilians. Unfortunately, as Trendafilov and Markovski said, there was no response to the appeal for evacuation, and the terrorists used the cease-fire to regroup their lines.
Colonel Markovski said that the Macedonian Army noticed grouping of terrorists near the villages Visnica and Nikusani, adding that it was not a serious threat, because the Macedonian security forces constantly monitor the situation.
Trendafilov denied the speculation that the Supreme Commander of the Security Forces, President Boris Trajkovski, ordered helicopters not to be used in the operations.
Bulgaria is ready to respond adequately to any change of the situation in Macedonia, the President said.
National Security Consultative Council to the President gathered in full strength today. Commenting the purpose of the meeting, President Petar Stoyanov expressed to News.bg Agency his conviction that the main purpose of the National Security Consultative Council should be to inspire confidence in Bulgarian society. He added that the Council should inspire confidence also in the outside world factors, that in spite of the start of election campaign, there are institutions and political factors in Bulgaria who are ready to respond adequately to any change of the situation in Macedonia.
A youth movement National Movement Simeon II was established today.
National Youth Movement Simeon II will announce its establishment tomorrow, the Managers Board Chairman of the newly established movement Katerina Gramatikova reported.
What political force you would cast your ballot for if the general election was in the next few days?
The data is from nation-wide survey of NCPOR (National Center for Public Opinion Polls) (April 28 - May 3)
U.S. seeks travel ban for Balkan rebel backers.
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, May 10 (Reuters) - People who are actively backing or involved with ethnic Albanian rebels will be banned from travelling to the United States, a senior American official said on Thursday.
The United States opposes ethnic Albanian rebel groups in Macedonia and nearby southern Serbia as "destructive to all," U.S. Balkans envoy James Pardew said. "Anyone involved with extremists or actively supporting them will not be allowed to travel to the U.S.," Pardew said. The United States would ask its European friends to make a similar travel ban, he said. Pardew did not specify how the United States would determine someone was supporting the rebels.
Pardew was visiting Pristina, the provincial capital of the ethnic Albanian-dominated Yugoslav province of Kosovo, as Macedonian forces continued to shell rebel-held villages in neighbouring Macedonia for an eighth day. A similar rebel movement is based in Serbia's volatile Presevo Valley. Both groups say they fight against government discrimination of local Albanians.
The Serbian and Macedonian governments have said the rebels come from Kosovo and accuse them of seeking to dismember their respective countries.
Pardew, echoing the views of other Western officials, said legitimate complaints of Albanians should be addressed through the political process. "We condemn violence by extremists," he said. "It is quite clear there's discrimination against the Albanian community, but that is not right for them to resolve it with violence." U.S. and European diplomats have met with Kosovo leaders many times in recent months asking them to publicly denounce the rebel groups.
Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since NATO's 11-week bombing campaign in 1999 to halt Belgrade's repression of the province's ethnic Albanians. Most Albanians in Kosovo see the United States as their biggest friend and ally. The conflict ended with the withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from the province.
Macedonia rebels held in Kosovo released - U.N.
By Beth Potter
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, May 10 (Reuters) - The U.N. mission in Kosovo on Thursday said 42 detained members of an ethnic Albanian guerrilla group fighting Macedonia's forces had been released after a procedural glitch.
NATO-led peacekeepers detained the suspected members of the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army in late March as they crossed into Kosovo with refugees fleeing clashes in the mountains of northwestern Macedonia.
New fighting erupted this month with government forces pounding rebel-held villages in northeastern Macedonia since last Thursday. Shelling on rebel-held villages continued this Thursday as Western diplomats pressed the Albanian Party of Democratic Prosperity to join an emergency coalition government.
A U.N. spokesman said the 42 men, many of them ethnic Albanians from Macedonia, were released on Wednesday because of what he called a procedural glitch in Kosovo's fledgling justice system.
"No decision to prosecute the (men) had been filed by the investigating judge within the time stipulated," U.N. spokesman Andrea Angeli said. "There were some juridical procedures which were not properly fulfilled."
A United Nations official, who declined to be named, said most of the men detained did not go in front of an investigating judge, causing the legal problem.
NATO-led peacekeepers detained a total of 44 men on March 29 for transporting weapons and explosives illegally across the border into Kosovo, a separatist Yugoslav province with an ethnic Albanian majority.
Two of them were released late last month. A Supreme Court panel of two international judges and one ethnic Albanian judge decided to let the rest go on Wednesday.
The Skopje government has often said the Macedonian insurgency was exported by Kosovo Albanian extremists bent on dismembering the country, and has in the past repeatedly accused the peacekeepers in Kosovo of failing to secure the border.
Rebel leaders say they are fighting for equal rights for the country's large ethnic Albanian minority.
A spokesman for the NATO-led peace force declined to comment on the release of the suspected guerrillas. "KFOR is in no position to say anything," said Lieutenant Colonel Manfred Junk. "If some mistakes are made then we have to live with that."
Kosovo, still technically part of Yugoslavia, has been run by the United Nations as a de facto protectorate since the end of NATO's 11-week bombing campaign in 1999 to halt Belgrade's repression of the province's ethnic Albanians.