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A Macedonian police officer approaches a car following an explosion that killed one person inside and injured three people nearby, in Macedonia's capital Skopje, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2001. Police said it was not immediately clear who was responsible for the blast or what caused it. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
A car burns in Macedonia's capital, Skopje, following an explosion that killed one person inside and seriously injured three people nearby Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2001. Police said it was not immediately clear who was responsible for the blast or what caused it. (AP Photo/Maja Zlatevska)
Investigators remove a body from a car following an explosion which killed one person and injured three people nearby in Macedonia's capital Skopje Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2001. Police said it was not immediately clear who was responsible for the blast or what caused it. (AP Photo/Nikolas Giakoumidis
Two people try to put out a fire in a car after an explosion in the vehicle parked in front of the OSCE offices in Skopje, October 3, 2001. One person was killed and three were injured. (MACEDONIA OUT) REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
DEPLOYMENT OF SECURITY FORCES IN CRISIS REGIONS TO START THURSDAY.
The Interior Ministry is to start the deployment of security forces in the regions of crisis on Wednesday in order to establish control on the entire Macedonian territory.
According to General of the police Risto Galevski the plan on deployment of security forces means that the police will enter the residential areas while the Macedonian Army will logistically support them.
The plan has three phases including the three regions of crisis - Kumanovo, Tetovo and Skopje region. Two phases, regarding the preparations and the activities of deployment have been already completed while the first part from the third phase will start Thursday.
"The first part includes deployment of the security forces in the areas of low risk level, while the second and the third part in the areas of medium and high risk levels," Galevski said.
As areas of low risk level he pointed out Gorno and Dolno Mojance, Ljuboten and Orlanci in Skopje region, Vaksince and Lojane in Kumanovo region and Lesok, Tearce, Slatina, Varvara, Brezno, Dobroste and Odri in Tetovo region. According to IM estimations areas of high-risk level are the following: Brest, Dvorce, Radusa and Tanusevci in Skopje region, Nikustak, Vistica, Lipkovo, Otlja, Matejce, Orizare and Slupcane in Kumanovo region and Bozovce, Vesala, Vejce, Germo, Sipkovica, Selce, Gajre and Lisec in Tetovo region.
According to the risk level the Interior Ministry will plan the number and the type of police forces that will enter the residential areas.
The security forces will be lightly armed and members from Albanian nationality will participate in the police patrols.
Macedonian Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski stressed that the plan on deployment of the security forces should be realized prior to the winter, as the displaced persons should return to their homes.
He also expressed his assurance that Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski was ready to accept this plan, as on contrary 'if the plan is not realized, more serious problems could occur in the future."
"The security situation in Macedonia is complex and we cannot wait someone from abroad to bring peace," Boskovski said.
Director of Public Security Bureau Goran Mitevski stated that the international organizations requested postponing of the plan, with explanation that they should wait until the training of the policeman from Albanian nationality, ends as well as to await the coming of the enraged OSCE mission.
Among the other reasons for postponing the plan, the international organizations state the necessity for adoption the Law on amnesty or signing the statement on amnesty as well as the adoption of constitutional changes.
In that respect, General Galevski stressed that the monitoring missions have no executive power and the Macedonian authorities should make the decision for beginning of the plan.
If during the deployment in the regions of crisis, the policemen meet armed persons they should act according to the positive Macedonian regulation, while if they encounter persons suspected of committing crimes they should be taken into custody for further investigation.
Mitevski announced that according to their findings some of the kidnapped civilians are kept by "NLA" members in Varvara village, stressing that at the last meeting with the representatives from the international organizations it was requested urgent measures to be undertaken for their release.
Minister Boskovski denied the speculations that he allegedly took provision from some kind of arms business and announced that he will press charges for libel against unknown persons.
"I am ready to kill myself publicly if it is discovered that I have taken at least one dollar of provision from arms, rice or anything else," Boskovski stressed.
MINISTER ILINKA MITREVA, PICULA MEET.
Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ilinka Mitreva met Wednesday her Croatian counterpart Tonino Picula, MIA's special correspondent reports.
The meeting focused on the integration of both countries in the Euro Atlantic structures and the bilateral cooperation especially in the field of economy. It was stressed that it would be very important to meet the quotas included in the already signed agreements.
Explaining the aspect of integration of Macedonia and Croatia in the European Union, Mitreva stressed that both countries are ready for internal reforms compatible with the European standards and they respect the international and bilateral cooperation as one of the main conditions for European integration.
She stressed that Croatia and Macedonia are countries that reject the initiatives for establishing institutionalised associations, as they are not in compliance with the spirit of the Euro Atlantic structures.
Minister Mitreva informed on the current political and security situation in Macedonia, the results from NATO's mission "Essential Harvest", the necessity for returning the refugees to their homes and the new mission of the Alliance code-named "Amber Fox."
In that respect Mitreva thanked to Croatia for their support of the Macedonian territorial sovereignty and integrity and the inviolability of the borders. She expressed her assurance that Croatia will continue to support Macedonia and its efforts for holding donor's conference.
"Eighty thousands refugees and displaced persons wait to return to their homes. I believe that Macedonia along with its friends and the international community should enable fast and safe return of these people, as that is one of the main conditions for establishing peace and stability in the country," Mitreva stressed.
They also discussed the latest terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, and they both condemned the terrorism as global evil and stressed the necessity for joining the international coalition for fight against the terrorism. Mitreva asked for Croatian support for the Macedonian initiative for establishing regional antiterrorist pact as part of the global coalition for fight against terrorism, the necessity of enhancing the cooperation in the fight against the organised crime, arms, drugs and human trafficking. In that respect it was also requested from Croatia to support the consistent implementation of the Macedonian initiative for collecting the light and medium weapons.
"The dialogue between Macedonia and Croatia is dialogue between two countries that made progress in the process of stabilisation and association with the European union," Minister Picula said after the meeting with Mitreva.
Minister Picula said that the satisfaction was expressed at the meeting as both countries have signed the Association and Stabilisation Agreement with EU, one year after the Summit in Zagreb, where Macedonia ratified the agreement and Croatia began the negotiations for signing such agreement.
He added that they confirmed at the meeting the important fact that there are no alternatives for the association and stabilisation process.
"We believe that association and stabilisation process is the final mechanism and the states included in that process will be EU member-countries. All other initiatives that will attempt to arrange the relations among the countries in the region will be carefully reviewed and Croatia will show restrain to most of them," Picula stressed.
Speaking of the problems of transition, some of them which are very serious, Picula said that the problems did not distance neither Croatia or Macedonia from resolving the problems together and the joint cooperation in that field.
"On contrary the resolving of complex problems arising from the tradition in this part of Europe stimulate Croatia and Macedonia for better and closer cooperation," Picula said, adding that the interests of both countries are clear and Skopje and Zagreb have joint goals.
Macedonia and Croatia have already signed 22 agreements such as the Free Trade Agreement and the Agreement on Property relations.
The both countries will cooperate in order to resolve the dispute on succession of former Yugoslavia on the grounds of the signed agreement as well as the demining, problem that both Macedonia and Croatia face.
Macedonian Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva met Wednesday with Croatian Prime Minister Ivica Racan, MIA's special correspondent reports.
At the meeting, Minister Mitreva informed Racan on the current process in Macedonia, which aim to resolve the crisis by political means.
Croatian Prime Minister Racan reaffirmed Croatian support for Macedonian territorial sovereignty and integrity and expressed his assurance that Zagreb will support the donor's conference for Macedonia.
During the meeting, it was stated that the instability in any country is a problem for the entire region and that there was no alternative for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.
Minister Mitreva also met Wednesday with Croatian President Stipe Mesic, and with Chairman of the Croatian Parliament Zlatko Tomic.
CONSULTATION ON LARGE POWER SYSTEMS IN MACEDONIA STARTS IN OHRID.
The consultation of the Macedonian Committee on large power systems MAKO - SIGRE on the development of these systems started Wednesday in Ohrid.
More than 200 representatives from the Committee, the power company, ministry of education and science and economy ministry, universities from Skopje and Bitola and other scientific institutions and enterprises as well as Hungarian representatives attended the meeting.
Hundred and thirteen scientific works on the current situation and the options for faster development of the power system in Macedonia will be presented at the meeting.
According to director of "Power Company of Republic of Macedonia" Lambe Arnaudov the current situation in the energy is not very good, and the best ways for maximal employment of the natural resources should be found, as that would contribute toward the Macedonian development.
"Regarding the development of the power systems, we face new challenges in the field of technology and organization that will increase the efficiency as well as the implementation of the latest technical achievements," Macedonian Minister of Education and Science Nenad Novkovski stressed.
Nikola Cerepnalkovski, Head of the Department of Energy and Mineral Raw materials speaking of the governmental activities in the field of energy, said that there is an ongoing legal procedure for establishing Independent commission for regulating the prices of energy. The adoption of the Protocol on energy transport that will determine the regulations for using the power systems is also in the final stage.
"The first part from the Strategy of energy development in Macedonia until 2020 was developed last year. The US Agency for International Development and the Japanese Government sponsored the development of special documents for promoting this important branch," Cerepnalkovski said.
Macedonians say they plan to retake rebel-held areas despite international warnings.
By Misha Savic, Associated Press, 10/3/2001 19:10
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) Macedonia's government said Wednesday it would launch a major operation to retake control of ethnic Albanian strongholds, ignoring Western warnings that the move could derail the peace process.
Interior minister, Ljube Boskoski, said police units would enter parts of the volatile, primarily Albanian region in the northwest of the country on Thursday ''to restore law and order'' after months of ethnic conflict.
''We don't have time for someone else to solve our situation,'' Boskoski said, a reference to calls by Western powers to move slowly to avoid damage to the Aug. 13 peace plan.
Although fighting has subsided in Macedonia since the deal was signed, the plan has only been partially enacted. Ethnic Albanian rebels have surrendered nearly 4,000 weapons as promised, but the Macedonian government has not honored its pledge to give ethnic Albanians broader rights.
Western diplomats expressed alarm at Boskoski's plans, in part because the government has failed to offer amnesty to rebels who handed in weapons to NATO troops last month.
Though the rebel fighters in the National Liberation Army have formally disbanded, it is unlikely they would fail to respond to a government military deployment into ethnic Albanian regions.
Boskoski said his police units will only enter villages considered ''low risk'' and that he expected no resistance from ethnic Albanian militants. Still, he said, the ''security situation remains complex,'' and ''not everything may develop as we plan.''
Leaders of the rebel movement could not immediately be reached to comment on the government announcement.
The Macedonian-dominated government is under pressure to open the way for thousands of Macedonian refugees to return home even at the risk of provoking fresh violence.
James Pardew and Francois Leotard, the U.S. and European Union envoys who brokered the peace deal, met with top leaders here Wednesday, cautioning against haste.
Local news reports said the talks with Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski ended with him asking Pardew and Leotard to leave his office.
A Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Pardew had ''raised a number of issues,'' but that the envoys ''left that meeting at a time they chose.''
Top EU officials Javier Solana and Chris Patten were to arrive Thursday with a warning that the government could forfeit substantial foreign assistance if it ignores outlines of the peace deal.
Western powers have tentatively scheduled a donor conference for mid-October.
President Boris Trajkovski, meanwhile, convened Madeconia's National Security Council, which includes Boskoski, the defense minister, army commanders, and the prime minister. A susequent statement from the council sought to soften Boskoski's remarks but did not reverse him.
''The Security Council ... recommends that security forces enter the crisis region in the next several days. This should be preceded by a coordination with the missions of NATO, the European Union,'' and other international organizations, the statement said.
NATO spokesman Mark Laity, however, told The Associated Press: ''We certainly have no agreement on this.''
Meanwhile, an explosion destroyed a car near the main square in Macedonia's capital, Skopje, killing the driver and injuring three people nearby. Police said it was not immediately clear who had been responsible for the blast.
Macedonia to retake rebel-held areas.
International mediators say fragile truce could collapse
MSNBC NEWS SERVICES
SKOPJE, Macedonia, Oct. 3 Macedonian government forces plan to retake control of areas held by ethnic Albanian militants, the countrys interior minister said Wednesday ignoring international officials warnings that such a move could derail the peace process.
SECURITY FORCES would move into ethnically Albanian areas considered low-risk on Thursday, said Ljube Boskoski, Macedonias hard-line interior minister and police chief.
Starting tomorrow, Macedonias security forces, with light arms and with (ethnically) mixed patrols will enter regions near Tetovo and Skopje, Boskoski said, referring to two contested areas populated primarily by the restive ethnic Albanian community.
He said it was up to parliament to enact an amnesty for guerrillas. We are cooperative but there is a limit to that. The security situation remains very complicated but we have no time to wait for someone else to bring back our freedom.
A Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Western officials were very concerned by the plans.
A premature return of Macedonian security forces to the sensitive areas could reverse the peace process, he told The Associated Press.
Though the West generally supports the governments claims to the entire country, they have warned that haste could spark violence.
Meanwhile, a car exploded at the main square in Macedonias capital, Skopje, killing one person and seriously injuring a woman bystander.
The car exploded while it was still in motion and the blast killed the driver. We are awaiting the initial results of the investigation, a police spokesman said.
Most probably we are talking about an explosive device, but its still unclear whether it was activated on purpose, a police source said.
EX-REBELS THREATEN WAR
The blast is likely to add further uncertainty to the overall security situation on the eve of Boskoskis incursion. He said he expected no problems with resistance from ethnic Albanian militants, but added that the security situation remains complicated, and that not everything may develop as we plan.
Risto Galevski, a senior police official, said the move was necessary because of enormous pressure by displaced Macedonians who now want to go home after having fled their homes in mainly ethnic Albanian-populated areas.
But a former high-ranking ethnic Albanian guerrilla officer reacted strongly to Boskoskis announcement, saying war would resume in Macedonia if state police re-entered areas where rebels have disarmed before an amnesty is declared.
I think there is no way something like that can happen but if tomorrow police do come into this area, war will resume, said a former National Liberation Army (NLA) brigade commander known only as Leka. He led rebels in the Tetovo Valley running north of the mainly ethnic Albanian city of the same name.
I wonder how Boskoski can decide something like that, because in all the meetings we have had with NATO, European Union and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe representatives, it was agreed no army or police will step into these regions until the amnesty is implemented, he said.
The NLA voluntarily surrendered its declared weaponry to NATO last month and formally dissolved under an August peace settlement that promised an amnesty and better civil rights for minority Albanians in return. But former rebels are believed to have hidden arms in case the peace accord broke down.
Boskoski claimed that the operation would be conducted in cooperation with and under the presence of NATO officers and civilian peace monitors.
The alliance, however, said it was surprised by the announcement. We certainly have no agreement on this, NATO spokesman Mark Laity said
Galevski said officers would arrest known offenders including former NLA commander Ali Ahmeti, if they came across them, but that his men would reappear first in villages where no disturbances were likely.
Ethnic Albanian militants took up arms in February, demanding broader rights and more political influence. Dozens have died since the fighting subsided after the August signing of a peace accord.
The rebels have surrendered nearly 3,400 weapons, but the Macedonian-dominated parliament has not enacted the requisite reforms. It has also ignored Western peace brokers calls for amnesty for the rebels a provision diplomats say is essential before forces move into rebel-held territory.
There have been several violations of a tense truce during the past several days. Macedonian police accused ethnic Albanian militants of scattered gunfire against police checkpoints in the volatile northwest of the country, populated mostly by the ethnic Albanians.
Beer to Cost 1 lev Next Year.
The beer ups by 15 to 20 percent at least and in the next year the Bulgarian beer will cost 1 lev. The reason is the double increase of the excises imposed by the Finance Ministry, said yesterday Dimitar Alexiev, president of the Brewers Union. The rising of the excises will result in upping of the average producers' prices by 15 to 20 percent, but if the increase of the fuels is added, the wholesale prices will grow by 15 to 20 percent. The result will be a decrease in consumption by some 800,000 hectoliters per annum, the brewers are flat. Currently the annual consumption in Bulgaria accounts for 4 million, or nearly 50 liters per capita. In the EU the same index is worth 80 liters.