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Macedonia: President Seeks Support Against Albanian Insurgents

Skopje, 30 April 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski travels to Washington later today to seek "strong support" from the United States for his country's fight against ethnic Albanian insurgents. On Saturday, ethnic Albanian fighters killed eight Macedonian commandos in an ambush near the border with Kosovo. It was one of the deadliest incidents since clashes between government troops and ethnic Albanians flared in February. The EU, NATO, Russia, and the United States all condemned the attack.

At an emergency government session yesterday, the Macedonian cabinet called the assault in the town of Vejce a "vicious terrorist attack" and called on NATO in Kosovo to increase control of the borders.

In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson said the Kosovo peacekeeping force was doing everything it can to control the border with Kosovo.

In related violence, three Yugoslav soldiers were reported wounded when their vehicle ran over a land mine north of the Macedonian border in southern Serbia. Late yesterday, the Yugoslav government said ethnic Albanian fighters had attacked Serbian police near the town of Vranje.

Macedonian public television has said it will drop its evening news broadcast in Albanian.

The general director of Macedonian Radio Television said the decision, which takes effect today, was prompted by the editorial policy of the Albanian news broadcast team. Ljupco Jakimovski said the Albanian news broadcast on Macedonian public television was not encouraging integration, but rather disintegration. He accused the broadcast of fomenting "interethnic intolerance" and "Albanian militant extremism." The broadcast will be banned "as long as there is no coordination of editorial policies" between the Albanian- and Macedonian-language services.