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Macedonia: Fighting Threatens Peace Deal

Skopje, 10 August 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Continuing fighting in Macedonia is threatening a peace deal aimed at ending the six-month-old armed insurgency by ethnic Albanian militants. Government forces yesterday used tanks and heavy artillery in battles against rebel fighters around Macedonia's second-largest city of Tetovo. Reports said government Sukhoi Su-25 jets also flew into action near Tetovo.

European Union envoy Francois Leotard warned that the continuing fighting threatens the Western-mediated peace deal due to be signed Monday (13 August). The deal is intended to boost ethnic Albanian rights, but ethnic Albanian rebels did not directly take part in the negotiations.

Ten Macedonian soldiers killed on 8 August in an ambush by ethnic Albanian rebels are due to be buried today.

Army chief of staff Pande Petrovski has resigned over the ambush, which triggered anti-Albanian protests and violence in three cities.