16 - 22 July 2001

Skopje, 23rd of July 2001

Security situation

First serious cease-fire disruption. On the 22nd of July 2001, according to the officials, the extremists disrupted cease-fire attacking the security forces in the villages of Sipkovica, Gajre and Selce. The conflict lasted about an hour and two soldiers were wounded. The Albanian language media, according to NLA, claimed that the Macedonian Security Forces caused cease-fire disruption. According to the Macedonian Army information, one wounded soldier was reported in the conflicts with an armed group entering Macedonian territory, at the army border point Strezimir on the Albanian border. One of the forms of cease-fire disruption is by establishing checkpoints by the extremists. For example, on the 20th of July 2001, in the village of Poroj, near Tetovo, the extremists established checkpoint on the crossroad towards the village Germo, only few hundred meters from the Macedonian Army point.

Another emerging problem is kidnapping civilians. On 18th of July, near village Tearce (Tetovo area) the extremists kidnapped three ethnic Macedonians from the village Otusiste. The civilians were released the next day and taken to the Medical Centre in Tetovo, because of the inflicted physical injuries.

Protest of displaced Macedonians from the Tetovo villages. Nearly 200 displaced Macedonians from the Tetovo villages of Varvara, Jedoarce, Setole, Otunje, Brezno, Jelosnik, Neprosteno and Lesok, protested in front of EU, NATO and OSCE offices on the 16th of July 2001. Their demands were sooner return to their homes occupied by the extremists.

Three EU observers dead. Two observers of the EU Monitoring Mission (Norwegian and Slovakian) and their translator (ethnic Albanian) died near the village Bogovinje, Tetovo, after their jeep ran onto landmine. The EU team should have had activities on the Mazdraca - Novo Selo route. The EU Monitoring Mission in Macedonia has a task to observe the borders, interethnic relations, repatriation of refugees, as well as preparing analyses and reports for the situation.

Bombs exploded in Skopje. On 18th of July 2001, in the evening hours, three hand grenades "kasikari" exploded in Skopje. One of them exploded in the trade centre "Caircanka", damaging six shops, and the other two were placed under a vehicle. The owners are from different ethnic origin.

The political situation

EU Ministerial Council forbade entrance to EU to 38 persons. Ministers of Foreign Affairs of EU countries, on 16th July 2001 in Brussels adopted common statement by which the entrance to 38 persons is forbidden if they disobey the decision of the Albanian political party leaders in Skopje. This list will not wend into effect if political agreement in Macedonia is reached.

Council of Europe ad hoc commission. Members of the ad hoc commission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe visited Macedonia (16-19 July) in order to prepare situation report for Macedonia. Ad hoc commission is a form used by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in special cases and for specific issues.

Framework document talks continue. The last version of the framework document by the international representatives of US and EU, James Pardew and Francois Leotard, was under severe critics by the Macedonian public and media. The politicians consider that the suggestions from the facilitators digress from the basic principles defined in the Badinter's document. The proposal by which the Albanian language should become official on the whole territory of the country caused this severance. President Trajkovski tried to overcome the dialogue interruption. The Albanian parties returned to the dialogue process after two abstinences of the meetings. In order to overcome the differences, the two sides will not talk about the documents proposed by the international representatives, but only about the differences, or more precisely, the use of Albanian language.

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