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The BBC's Lucy Hockings
"The Government's dilemma sharpens day by day"
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Nato Secretary General George Robertson
"The tightening of the borders is very important"
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Saturday, 24 March, 2001, 18:45 GMT
UK troops head for Macedonia
US troops patrol near Tanusevci along the Kosovo-Macedonian border
US troops will boost existing border patrol efforts
British troops are to take part in intensified border controls to help stop arms being smuggled from Kosovo to ethnic Albanian rebels in Macedonia.

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook announced the plan after talks between Prime Minister Tony Blair and Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski at the EU Summit in Stockholm.

Although Britain has no plans to send extra troops to the Balkans, Mr Cook said British soldiers in the Kfor peacekeeping force in Kosovo would be switched to border patrol duties.


We are determined to win and that is why we have offered a partnership with President Trajkovski to work together to defeat the terrorists

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
He said Mr Trajkovski had been assured of Britain's "partnership" in the fight against the ethnic Albanian guerillas, who he described as "terrorists".

Mr Cook told Sky News: "We are determined to win and that is why we have offered a partnership with President Trajkovski to work together to defeat the terrorists.

"It is very important that we keep the terrorists isolated, which is why I and others encouraged him to continue to meet the legitimate political aspirations of the Albanian community, so that the terrorists cannot get support among them."

He also stressed the importance of working jointly "on practical measures".

He said Britain was "looking at how we can strengthen the Kfor presence on the border and perhaps take part in an increased number of ground patrols, so that we do stop the terrorists getting through".

EU support

Macedonia has repeatedly alleged that the guerrillas are getting supplies and support from Kosovo, and wants increased Nato border patrols in the Serbian province.

EU leaders have expressed support for the Macedonian Government's military action against militants.

Kosovo Albanian political leaders want the guerrillas to lay down their arms immediately and return home.

Mr Trajkovski has welcomed the EU's support and said there was no question of negotiating with the guerrillas.

Ethnic Albanians account for at least a quarter of Macedonia's two million people.

Despite a relatively trouble-free record of ethnic relations in the former Yugoslav republic, many Albanians complain that they are being treated as second-class citizens.

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See also:

24 Mar 01 | Europe
Macedonia gunships pound rebels
23 Mar 01 | Europe
In pictures: Death in Tetovo
22 Mar 01 | Europe
Macedonia advances against rebels
20 Mar 01 | Europe
Nato raises Macedonian profile
23 Mar 01 | Europe
Spies in the sky over Macedonia
19 Mar 01 | Europe
Analysis: Macedonia stands alone
18 Mar 01 | Europe
Greater Albania question
20 Mar 01 | Europe
Coalition under strain
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