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Macedonia: Clashes Continue Despite Cease-Fire Agreement

Skopje, 6 July 2001 (RFE/RL) -- A cease-fire brokered by NATO went into effect today in Macedonia, but lower-level clashes were reported continuing early today in several areas of the country. As the midnight start of the truce approached, heavy fighting between Macedonian security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels raged around the city of Tetovo, with government forces using tanks, helicopter gunships, and artillery to counter rebel mortar and gunfire attacks. Reports said up to 11 people were injured in the fighting.

The cease-fire deal, negotiated by NATO officials, was signed separately by the Macedonian government and a political representative of the rebels.

The rebels have ruled out disarming until a political agreement is reached on constitutional reforms to significantly enhance the rights of Macedonia's ethnic Albanian minority.