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Macedonian: Military Chief Resigns

Skopje, 9 August 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Macedonia's army chief, Pande Petrovski, has resigned in the wake of yesterday's ambush of a military convoy by ethnic Albanian rebels. Officials in Skopje said he took responsibility for the disaster. Ten Macedonian soldiers were killed in the ambush.

Angry Macedonians stormed through the streets of Skopje after the ambush. The German news agency dpa said police had to stop them entering a hospital where wounded ethnic Albanians fighters are under treatment. In Prilep, a mob set fire to a mosque and Albanian shops.

Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski today appealed to both sides to support the peace accord announced yesterday.

Buckovski said that peace should be given another chance and the ambush should be seen as the beginning of the end of the war.

Fresh clashes between Macedonian forces and ethnic Albanian rebels are reported today in the northwestern city of Tetovo.

The fresh violence comes after the Macedonian National Security Council called early today for decisive military action against ethnic Albanian rebels. The council said there could be no question of implementing a peace deal before the ethnic Albanian rebels were pushed back from recently seized territory in the north and west.

The European Union's special envoy to Macedonia, Francois Leotard, told French radio today that the outbreak of fighting could endanger the peace accord just agreed yesterday to end the ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia. Yesterday, Leotard announced such an accord would be formally signed by all the country's main political parties on Monday (13 August).

(For more on the latest developments in Macedonia, please see: Macedonia: Even With Accord, Implementation Raises Doubts.)