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Macedonia: Breakthrough Expected In Peace Talks

Skopje, 12 July 2001 (RFE/RL) -- EU envoy Francois Leotard was optimistic that an end to the six-month Macedonian insurgency was in sight today, as he entered talks with Macedonian political leaders and U.S. envoy James Pardew. Leotard said there will be good news in the coming days.

President Boris Trajkovski hosted Western envoys and the leaders of the main Macedonian political parties in Skopje today.

But violence continued overnight. A Macedonian soldier was seriously injured in a clash with Albanian rebels on the border with Kosovo, marking the first time the security forces have admitted to returning rebel fire since the NATO-brokered cease-fire took effect last Friday (6 July).

The rebels hold several villages in the hills north of Skopje, and the army says the guerrillas have reinforced positions in villages around Tetovo.