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Macedonia: Government Grants Amnesty To Rebels

Skopje, 9 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Macedonia's government declared an amnesty today for disarmed ethnic Albanian rebels. The amnesty endorsed a statement of intent by President Boris Trajkovski to pardon rebels who willingly demobilized. Earlier, Macedonia's parliament again postponed debate on legislation for key constitutional changes after ethnic Albanian parties refused to take part. Speaker of the parliament Stojan Andov said the reform package was not discussed because two ethnic Albanian parties refused to debate a part of the package and are pushing to have all 15 bills on the agenda at the same time.

Trajkovski had on 5 October submitted for debate just six bills.

Under a peace plan signed in August, the rebels of the National Liberation Army (UCK) agreed to hand in an agreed quantity of arms in return for the constitutional reforms aimed at giving more rights to Macedonia's ethnic Albanian minority.

Yesterday, the European Union urged Macedonia to adopt constitutional and legislative measures without delay or face damage to its relations with the 15-nation bloc.