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Macedonia: Solana To Show Support For Government

Skopje, 28 May 2001 (RFE/RL) -- European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana visits Macedonia today for talks aimed at showing support for the country's national unity government. Solana will meet President Boris Trajkovski and Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski. A spokeswoman for Solana says he will urge Macedonian political leaders to resume dialogue.

The ethnic Albanian and Macedonian Slav parties in the coalition strongly disagree over the use of force in the government's battle to oust ethnic Albanian fighters from villages in northern Macedonia.

Relations among coalition partners also are strained after reports last week of a secretly negotiated peace deal between ethnic Albanian politicians in the coalition and ethnic Albanian fighters.

The government opposes negotiations with the fighters and rejects including them in the political process.

Yesterday, the Macedonian army resumed attacks on ethnic Albanian rebels in the northern part of the country.

Government forces used helicopters and artillery to attack rebel positions just south of Macedonia's border with Kosovo and southern Serbia's Presevo Valley.