March 18 - March 24 2002

Skopje, March 15th, 2002

Security and political situation

Laid-off workers during the conflict have been returned to their jobs.
On March 18, 13 employees-ethnic Albanians have returned to their jobs at the Kumanovo Medical Center. These persons stopped to go to work since the beginning of the crisis and they remained in the crisis areas. Because they did not go to work for a period longer then the one specified in the law, they were laid off. The other employees express dissatisfaction from their returning.

Persons who participated in the Bitola riots set free.
Following the adoption of the Amnesty Law, the Bitola public prosecutor's office asked for cancellation of the investigation for 102 persons who participated in last year's riots in this city, when about 80 shops owned by ethnic Albanians or Muslim Macedonians were demolished and set on fire. The criminal investigation was thereby stopped.

Re-entering of police in crisis regions.
On March 22, the villagers from Vaksince, a village in the Kumanovo area, stoned the vehicles of the ethnically mixed police patrols and of the journalistic teams that arrived in the village. The ethnically mixed police patrols were to patrol in the village.

On March 23, one police and one army checkpoint were removed from their positions near the city stadium. The citizens-ethnic Macedonians who live in this region, are concerned for the removal of the police posts.

Germany remains on the head of NATO in the next three months.
On March 22, the German Bundestag with majority of votes agreed the German troops within the NATO "Amber Fox" mission in Macedonia to continue with their mission in the next three months.

EU on the head of the peace mission in Macedonia.
On March 24, EU high representative of common foreign and security policy Javier Solana said that the Union would take over from NATO the peace mission in Macedonia in September. This will be the first mission of the European forces for rapid intervention.

Positions about the six election regions coordinated.
On March 22, representatives of the four parties - signers of the Framework Agreement, defined the boundaries of the election units from the new chart, according to which the fourth parliamentary elections will be organized. The entire country will be divided on six election regions with approximately the same population. According to some announcements, the next parliamentary elections will take place on September 15, 2002.


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