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The BBC's Paul Anderson
"Ceasefires have come and gone in Macedonia's four-month conflict"
 real 56k

Macedonian home affairs spokesman Stevo Panderovsky
"We are on the brink of total inter-ethnic war"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Macedonia truce holds despite attack
Macedonian artillery bombardment
The army had bombarded the villages early on Monday
Ceasefires declared on Monday by Macedonian forces and ethnic Albanian rebels appear to be holding, despite an overnight gun battle outside the northern city of Tetovo.

Nine police officers were wounded, two of them seriously, during the exchange which lasted until dawn. They are now said to be better.

Macedonia refugees being received by Red Cross workers in Kosovo
30,000 refugees have now fled Macedonia
The attack came only hours after the Macedonian army announced its temporary ceasefire in its shelling of rebel-held villages in the north of the country.

Ethnic Albanian rebels have apologised for the attack, describing it as a "mistake".

But people have continued to flee the area to neighbouring Kosovo. The United Nations refugee agency says around 18,000 civilians have arrived in the province since Friday.

Water supply

Humanitarian agencies have been using the lull in the fighting to deliver aid to thousands of ethnic Albanian civilians caught up in the conflict, and to restore the water supply to the city of Kumanovo.

The supply has been cut off since the city's reservoirs fell under rebel control last week.


Early on Monday, the army began shelling the villages in defiance of a threat by the ethnic Albanian guerrillas that this would provoke an attack on the capital, Skopje.

About 1,000 rebels, who have been in control of the village of Aracinovo - less than 10km (6 miles) from Skopje - since last Friday had given the government until 0200 GMT on Monday to stop its attacks.

The decision to halt the bombardment was made jointly by the country's top political and military leaders, including the president and prime minister.

Click here to see map of the region

"They decided to make an effort to stop two humanitarian catastrophes," said Nikola Dimitrov, President Boris Trajkovski's national security advisor.

He said it "had nothing to do with the ultimatum" which the rebels had set.

In a faxed statement the rebels said they would also hold their fire until 1200 GMT on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.



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31 May 01 | Europe
Macedonia's road to peace?
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