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Macedonia: Ukrainian, Bulgarian Presidents Warn Against Ethnic Division

Sofia, 4 September 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The presidents of Ukraine and Bulgaria said today that Macedonia must not be divided by ethnic lines and called for a full disarming of ethnic Albanian rebels in the country. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said the whole world must respect Macedonia's territorial integrity. He made the comment while on a two-day visit to Sofia, which includes talks with Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov.

Stoyanov said Macedonia's sovereignty is important for stability in the Balkans. He said the only way to bring peace to the country was by giving ethnic Albanians more rights and disarming the rebel force there.

After the two presidents' meeting, government officials signed seven bilateral accords, including one on fighting crime.

Kuchma is expected to address the Bulgarian parliament and to meet with Bulgarian business leaders before returning to Kyiv tomorrow.