11-24 June 2001, Skopje
In the week, which ended with 24 June 2001 many significant events happened. To the intensive political dialogue, Javier Solana and George Robertson who visited Macedonia before the beginning of the dialogue on 14 June 2001 made the initial input. Beyond closed doors and strong isolation from the public, the leaders of VMRO-DPMNE, Ljubco Georgievski, SDSM, Branko Crvenkoski, DPA, Arben Dzaferi and PDP, Imer Imeri negotiated for pack of political reforms for drawing out the country from the crisis. In the frames of this pack, the negotiations for adequate presence of minorities in public administration, decentralization and strengthening of local authorities, use of nationality's languages in communication with public institutions, empowerment of the rule of law and changes in the Constitution were to be made.
The political dialogue, which
started on 16 June 2001, was stopped on 21 June 2001. The reason
for that were requirements from leaders of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia.
Dzaferi and Imeri requested consensual democracy, change of the Preamble
of the Constitution, bicameral Parliament, and vice-president from Albanian
nationality with veto-right and official use of Albanian language. "Practically
the multiethnic society couldn't be clear ethnic society. We should find
the mechanism for protection of majorization" said Imeri, the president
of PDP. The leader of SDSM, Crvenkovski said " they will realize
that this requests are unsustainable because they have nothing in common
with the concept (citizen concept) that we are trying to reach anagreement
The Macedonian security forces, on 22 June 2001 started military actions against Albanian militant extremists in the village of Arachinovo. In the action military helicopters and artillery was used. The action lasted till afternoon on 24 June 2001.
The action was stopped under strong pressure of the international community. The commissar of EU, Javier Solana, on 23 and 24 June 2001, had intensive negotiations with Macedonian relevant politicians and diplomats of leading countries from the EU. The question of drawing out the terrorists from Arachinovo is still open.
Since the beginning of the crisis in Macedonia, 80,000 people have been displaced. According to the UNHCR, till now, there are 50,000 registered refugees from Macedonia in Kosovo. The number of refugees has still been increasing in the past few days, which is the result of the occupation of the village of Arachinovo by the militant extremist. The number of displaced people in Macedonia is more than 32,000.
One of the good news this week was the opening
of the Lake Lipkovo valves, an accumulation that supplies Kumanovo with
pure water. The valves were opened on 17th June and the water is expected
to be available in the city after ten days. Until then, the only water
sources for the city are the cisterns. On 25th June the citizens of Kumanovo
again obtained water from the city pipeline.
The situation with water supply of Tetovo is still the same. The reason for water reduces in Tetovo is the electricity shortage in Popova Sapka that caused problems with the four small hydropower plants and the pipeline. At present, the citizens of Tetovo have 200 litres per second available water, which covers only their minimum needs. Water restrictions have been made in order to provide water for the people in the higher parts of the city.
Since 1 July till the end of the year, a new tax will
be implemented that should help cover the budget deficit of 200 million
dollars, caused by the crisis in the country. The International Monetary
Fund has agreed with the Minister of Finance, Nikola Gruevski for the
implementation of the, so called "war tax" at the rate of 0,5%
on all financial transactions of the legal entities, transfers of the
legal entities and the citizens, excluding the financial transactions
of the citizens.
The exchange rate of the German Mark is still very high. The private exchange offices and banks are only buying, but not selling German Marks.