27 August - 2 September 2001

Security condition

Seven civilians set free; new kidnappings.
On the 27th of August, in the Tetovo region, seven kidnapped ethnic Macedonian civilians had been set free. Six of them are from Lesok, while one is from Skopje; they all have been transferred to Skopje thanks to the ICRC. Two ethnic Macedonian villagers have been kidnapped from villages Stence and Beloviste on the 31st of August. An ethnic Albanian kidnapped. The Coordination Crises Management Body condemned the kidnapping of an ethnic Albanian from Neprosteno, in order to provoke the release of three ethnic Macedonians from Celopek. According to the Albanian newspaper "Fakti", two uniformed persons kidnapped him while he was on duty, in the "Vero" supermarket in Tetovo.

The retreat of Macedonian Army's heavy armament halted.
On the 27th of August, ethnic Macedonians from the Koltuk town district in Tetovo and in front of Brvenica village, became a human shield, obstructing the retreat of the Macedonian Army's heavy artillery. They did so because the area is insecure, and because of possible infiltration of the extremists.

Additional six explosions in Skopje.
On the 29th of August, a bomb went off near the "Lirija" school, however not causing any material damage. On the 20th of August in Skopje and Tetovo, two bombs exploded in ethnic - Albanian owned buildings. One of the Albanians is an MP in the Parliament of The Republic of Macedonia. The explosions caused material damage, while two workers were injured in Tetovo. Two hand grenades exploded in the yard of a house and an automobile saloon on the 2nd of September. A Molotov cocktail was hurled at a tee shop, completely devastating the object. All of the aforementioned explosions happened in the North-western part of Skopje, a mixed ethnic community.

The border with Yugoslavia blocked.
Organized by the Macedonian World Congress, the displaced ethnic Macedonians from Matejce and Opaje villages of the Kumanovo region, blocked the border crossing of Tabanovce, bordering Yugoslavia. The demonstrators do not allow the NATO convoy and the other trucks heading to Kosovo. On the 2nd of August After talking to the president of the Coordination Crises Management Body, only the displaced people left the blockade, leaving the supporters of the Macedonian World Congress. The blockade of the Blace border crossing from the 18th of August, is still active. Only the personnel of the ICRC is allowed to go pass the border.

Road blocked with barricades.
On the 31st of August, the Coordination Crises Management Body, put the displaced people from Neprosteno, Lesok and Tearce into a convoy of six busses and 30 vehicles. The ethnic Albanian population from Ciglana and Drenovec 1 town districts in Tetovo prevented the convoy from returning to Skopje. They demanded the release of two imprisoned Albanians from Dobroste and the removal of the police checkpoint located in the stadium. As a response, the ethnic Macedonian inhabitants set barricades on the entrance of Drenovec town district. The convoy was allowed to proceed after the talks between the officials of the Coordination body and the ethnic Albanians.

Political situation

The first stage of operation "Essential Harvest" is completed.
On the 27th of August, in the checkpoint in Otlja village, the weapons started to be resigned by the NLA troops. The weaponry has been also collected from another two checkpoints, the one in Brodec, in the area of Tetovo, and the one in Tanusa, in the vicinity of Gostivar. Three MPs from the Macedonian Parliament have supervised the operation. According to major Johnson of the special forces of operation "Essential Harvest", the first stage of weapons collecting has been completed. One third, or 1400 (out of the 3300 planned) pieces of the NLA weaponry has been collected. The operation will continue this week. On the 29th of August, the Bundestag of the Federal Republic of Germany decided to send 500 soldiers in Macedonia, as a part of the NATO operation. In this moment, there are 4800 NATO soldiers from 13 different countries in Macedonia. George Robertson, NATO's Secretary General, visited Macedonia, and went to the Krivolak proving ground, where part of the weaponry is to be destroyed.

The Constitutional law expert Badenter in Skopje.
The French Constitutional law expert, Robert Badenter, visited Macedonia on the 29th of August, where he met the coordinators of the Parliament delegates' groups of the Republic of Macedonia. He said that the Framework Arrangement that anticipates Constitutional amendments encapsulates the basic principles that he postulated, and they are a predominant feature in the Constitution. Special emphasis has been given to implementing local democracy, the double-vote system that protects the rights of the community members, the principle of no discrimination, as well as equal engagement in institutions of the state.

The Parliamentary discussion for accepting amendments to the Constitution has begun.
On the 30th of August, President Boris Trajkovski informed the Speaker of the Parliament that one third of the weapons of the NLA has been collected. The Parliamentary session on the 31st of August was postponed because of the obstruction of its entrance, organized by the MAAK- Unique Macedonian Option Party and a number of displaced people from the Tetovo vicinity. The protests were organized to prevent amendments of the Constitution. On the 1st of September, the Speaker of the Parliament decided to end the session, saying that the normal procedures cannot proceed while the Tetovo-Jazince road has been blocked. After speaking to the President of State and the foreign diplomats Leotard and Pardew, the Speaker decided that the Parliamentary session will continue on the 3rd of September.

Budget readjustment accepted.
The Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia accepted this year's budget readjustment. The new sum is 2,36 billion DM. The major difference between the previous and the current budget is that 143 million DM, coming from the privatization of the Telekom, as well as additional 437 million DM for the police and the Army have been added to it. 256 million DM revenue from the privatization of Telekom, 20 million DM donated from abroad, 146 million DM as foreign credits and 184 million DM from the National Bank of Macedonia deposits will be utilized to cover the deficit.


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