24 June - 3 July 2001

Skopje, 4th of July 2001

Security situation

The extremists withdrew from Aracinovo. In Aracinovo, a village near Skopje, a cease-fire was proclaimed on the 24th of June 2001, after a three-day fight. The cease-fire was a result of the pressure of the international community. Javier Solana expressed his personal satisfaction of the cease-fire. Two days later, on the 26th of June, OSCE and KFOR evacuated around 500 (unconfirmed information) extremists with their weapons only about ten kilometres north in the area of Lipkovo. Angry citizens were interrupting the withdrawal by placing barricades on the roads. There is no information about any civilian casualties in the fights in Aracinovo. The extremists' losses are unknown, but the speculations are between 6 and 100 dead. On the Macedonian Security Forces side, four dead and 26 injured were reported. Macedonian Security Forces entered in Aracinovo on the 28th of June and started checking the potential danger of land mines and explosive gadgets. Because of this, the inhabitants could not enter into the village.

Riot in Skopje and vandalizing Parliament building. Couple of thousand citizens, among them armed members of the police reserve structures as well, protested in front of the Parliament in Skopje on 25th of June 2001. The protest was against the allowed withdrawal of the extremists together with their weapons in the Lipkovo area, wherefrom they can attack the Macedonian Security Forces again. In the late evening hours, a crowd of few hundred entered and vandalized the Parliament building. Risto Galevski, a police general addressed the citizens and calmed down the situation. He asked the members of the security forces to return to their positions on the defence line of the country. This riot, by many, was considered as probably the most violent in the Macedonian history. The cabinet of the President of the Republic and three cars (one of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, one police and one OSCE car) were destroyed, and 17 window shops in the city were smashed.

Pacification of the situation. President Trajkovski addressed the citizens the next day, 26th of June 2001. He appealed for unity in order to achieve the goal; defeating the terrorism and success of the political dialogue for the future of the country. The same night, the Prime Minister Georgievski made similar calm down addressing.

Another escalation of the conflicts. On 26th of June, the police station in Popova Sapka in the area of Tetovo was attacked. One member of the Macedonian security forces was killed and four wounded. The extremists from Aracinovo, drawn out in the area of Lipkovo, started attacks on Umin Dol, a village with ethnic Macedonians and Serbs. A new battlefield was established. Since the end of the month, a new battlefield near the village Radusa has been established, 30 kilometres northwest of Skopje, near the border with Kosovo. The fights escalated on the 2nd and 3rd of July 2001. During the Kosovo crisis, one of the refugee camps was located here. MCIC was the responsible organization for this camp. Ethnic Macedonian villages attacked for the first time since the beginning of the crisis. A significant change in the conflict is the extremists' entrance in the Tetovo villages of Brezno, Varvara, Setole, Otunje, Jedoarce and Jalosnik. The inhabitants, ethnic Macedonians were banished from their homes, threatened by weapon. The first civil victim of the extremists' actions. In the village of Brezno, Tetovo, a civilian was killed. Boris Magdenovski, a 58-year-old ethnic Macedonian is the first civil victim of the militant extremists' actions.

The political situation

US isolation of the extremists. The President of the USA, Mr. George Bush issued executive order for blocking the property of the persons who are a threat for the efforts of stabilisation of Macedonia. Among the twenty-three names of extremists on the list, the names of Fazli Veliu, Ali Ahmeti, G'zim Ostreni and Javid Asani, were also found. The entrance to these persons in the USA was prohibited. Swiss also. The Federal Council forbade any kind of political activity in Switzerland to Fazli Veliu, threatening with extradition to Macedonia.

International expertise of the Macedonian Constitution. Robert Badinter arrived in Macedonia. In the beginning of 1990's, he made the first expertise on the Macedonian Constitution (The Badinter Commission). His evaluation of the Constitution at that time was that it complies with all democratic standards. Badinter believes that the consensual democracy advocated by the ethnic Albanians' political party representatives in Macedonia is not an appropriate response to the crisis. He considers that it is much better if the reforms are directed towards the local democracy.

International representatives from the EU and US appointed. During the week, Francois Leotar (EU) and James Perdue (USA) were appointed as permanent representatives in Macedonia. Their engagement in Macedonia is in order to initiate and enable the political dialogue between the relevant political party representatives in Macedonia.

Political dialogue renewed. After a two-week break off, on the 2nd of July, a new meeting between President Trajkovski and the leaders of the four biggest political parties was held. The next day, another meeting was held, this time with the international representatives Leotar and Perdue, where the Badinter's proposal for Constitutional changes were considered.

Economic situation

A new, so-called, war tax implemented. Since 1st of 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.

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