February 18 - February 24 2002

Skopje, February 25th, 2001

Security and political situation

The plan for return of the police in the crises regions continues with small difficulties.
fter being blocked by local population for several days, the police entered the following villages in the Gostivar region: Forino, Cegrane and Korito on February 18. On February 20, the ethnically mixed police units were supposed to enter 15 new villages in Tetovo and Gostivar, but were not allowed by the local Albanian population.

Problematic return of the displaced persons in Aracinovo.
The displaced persons from Aracinovo, ethnic Macedonians, do not wish to return to their homes after the incident in this village, when a villager was killed from a set bomb. They request location for temporary housing from the Government of Macedonia. The Mayor of the Aracinovo Municipality, Mr. Reshat Ferati, stated that the village was safe for living, but that he could not predict what might happen.

Five ethnic Albanians detained, two of them released later.
On February 20, the police arrested five ethnic Albanians in Skopje. According to the Ministry of Interior, the detainees had been preparing bomb attacks in Skopje for a longer time. During the arrest the police found and seized weapons and munitions. One 16-year-old boy is among the detained. According to the statements of the two detainees released later, reported by the Albanian language newspaper "Fakti", no weapons were found in their homes, as stated by the police.

Mandates of "Amber Fox" mission and EU Special Envoy Alain Le Roy prolonged.
On February 18, at the meeting in the NATO headquarters in Brussels, a decision was reached for prolongation of the mandate of NATO's mission in Macedonia "Amber Fox". The mission was prolonged for a period of three months, i.e. until June 26, with a possibility to extend the mission for additional three months after June. Germany accepted to further manage the mission in the period. Also, the mandate of Alain Le Roy, EU Special Envoy to Macedonia, was prolonged for additional four months.


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