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Macedonia: Unity Government Formed

Skopje, 8 May 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski announced early this morning that Macedonian leaders have agreed to form a unity government, including all main ethnic Albanian and Slav parties. Georgievski said that two main opposition parties -- the Slav-dominated Socialists and the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity -- will join the government.

He was speaking after marathon talks that included the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. He and NATO Secretary-General George Robertson traveled to Skopje yesterday to press Macedonia to put off plans to declare a state of war in their battle against ethnic Albanian fighters. Earlier in the day, Robertson likened the Albanian fighters to "murderous thugs" and warned that Macedonia was on the "brink of the abyss."

Georgievski said imposing a state of war was off the agenda for now because, "Macedonian security forces conducted a successful operation today (eds. Monday)." He did not elaborate.

The Macedonian army has been shelling ethnic Albanian rebel positions in two northwestern villages for the past five days to dislodge fighters who killed 10 Macedonian security force members in ambushes in the previous week.