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Macedonia: NATO Urges Skopje Not To Use Force

Skopje, 1 March 2001 (RFE/RL) -- A NATO delegation in Skopje today urged Macedonia not to use force against ethnic Albanian gunmen occupying a village on the border with Kosovo. Daniel Speckhard, an aide to NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, said political means must be used to solve the situation because force would only be a short-term solution. Robertson sent the NATO delegation to Skopje in response to appeals by Macedonian officials, who say armed Albanians are attacking security forces near the village of Tanusevci, close to Kosovo. Macedonian officials have expressed fears the violence could destabilize the region.

NATO officials said yesterday that KFOR peacekeepers in Kosovo would strengthen border patrols in a bid to calm the situation.

NATO also sent a team to southern Serbia for talks with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic on details of the proposed reduction of the buffer zone between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia.