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Macedonia: Parliament To Resume Debate On Reforms

Skopje, 3 September 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The Macedonian parliament today is to resume debate on a key package of reforms to end the bloody conflict with ethnic Albanian rebels. The discussion of greater rights for ethnic Albanians started Friday (31 August) but was suspended one day later, after parliamentary speaker Stojan Andov issued a new set of conditions to be met by the rebel National Liberation Army (UCK).

Andov scheduled today's session after pressure from international officials and assurances by President Boris Trajkovski that conditions will improve for displaced persons to go back to their homes.

The U.S. and EU envoys, James Pardew and Francois Leotard, said the suspension of the parliamentary session disrupted discussion on the framework agreement, which needs to be ratified by the parliament for the reforms to be implemented.

According to the framework plan, the UCK will continue disarming as the ratification process moves along.

Meanwhile, Pardew said today that NATO troops, on a weapon-collecting mission in Macedonia, may have to stay beyond the 30 days originally agreed.