3 - 9 September 2001

Skopje, September 10th , 2001

Security situation

Existence of military formation in Prilep.
For ten days already, there is a military formation called "Poskok" present in Prilep, which forcefully collects finances for its needs and "for maintaining of integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia." Numerous enterprises from Prilep complain already that some of them were forced to give certain amount of money. The Ministry of Interior claims that this is a case of a criminal-racketeering formation.

Three civilians kidnapped and then released.
The Macedonian media reported that on September 5th, in the Block 82 district, three civilians, ethnic Macedonians, were kidnapped and few hours later released by the extremists.

The border crossing to Kosovo unblocked.
The road to Kosovo, which was blocked by the World Macedonian Congress and displaced persons from the Tetovo villages on August 18th, was unblocked by the Macedonian police on September 6th. A day earlier, on September 5th, the border crossing near Tabanovce at the border with Yugoslavia was also unblocked.

Political situation

President Trajkovski's proposal for starting a process for constitutional changes accepted.
On September 6th, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia with vast majority voted out the initiative by the President for starting a process for changes to the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia. 91 deputies voted in favor of the proposal, 19 were against and two were abstained. The decision was put in force immediately and in the next ten days the submitter of the proposal is obliged to develop draft-amendments with his associates. Later on, the deputies will vote on these amendments.

Second phase of the "Essential Harvest" operation continues.
The second phase of the operation "Harvest" continued on September 7th. In the village of Radusa in Skopje area, the members of NLA surrended 160 pieces of weapons. On September 9th, the operation continued in the village of Brodec, where on the first day 100 pieces of weapons were collected, as well as 20 antitank mines and 5,000 pieces of ammunition. Due to security reasons, NATO will not reveal the locations of the other posts for collection of voluntarily surrended weapons from the NLA. On September 3, in the military polygon of Krivolak, part of the ammunition and mines collected so far was destroyed.

Possible returning of the UNPREDEP soldiers in Macedonia.
The President of the Republic of Macedonia launched an initiative for re-activating of the UNPREDEP mission in Macedonia. This mission was established in Macedonia in 1995 and ended in 1999. The request should be submitted to the UN Secretary General, but its realization will depend on the position of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

Western diplomats pay a visit to Skopje.
Numerous western diplomats, among whom German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, EU High Representative of Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Euro-Commissioner Chris Patten, German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping paid a visit to Skopje last week. At the meetings they realized with the Macedonian state leadership they positively evaluated the decision of the parliament members to launch a process for making constitutional changes.

Increased number of OSCE monitors.
On September 6th the OSCE permanent council reached a decision to expand the mission in Macedonia from 26 to 51 member.

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