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Macedonia: Officials Appeal For Action To Stem Violence

Skopje, 6 March 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Macedonia today appealed to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to take urgent action to help ease tensions along its border with Kosovo. Three Macedonian soldiers were killed by ethnic Albanian militants in the area over the weekend and fresh exchanges of fire were reported today. The commander of NATO-led forces in Kosovo, Italian General Carlo Cabigiosu, said his troops had already detained six suspected ethnic-Albanian militants on the border and were keeping a close eye on the situation. The Macedonian government has criticized NATO-led forces in Kosovo for being unable to stem the violence. France and Bulgaria appeared to back Skopje's calls for more determined NATO action. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau today called for KFOR patrols in Kosovo to ensure that extremist elements do not cross into Macedonia.

Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov also called for a strong international response.