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Tuesday, April 20, 1999 Published at 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK

World: Europe

Macedonian Minister says KLA a threat to his country

The Macedonian Interior Minister, Pavle Trajanov, has accused the ethnic Albanian separatist group, the Kosovo Liberation Army, of planning an armed rebellion in Macedonia.

Speaking in an interview with the French news agency, AFP, Mr Trajanov said the recent discovery of several arms caches showed the KLA were preparing to fight in Macedonia once the Kosovo conflict was resolved.

He said the KLA wanted to annex his country's western districts, where there is a sizeable ethnic Albanian community, as part of a Greater Albanian state.

The Macedonian government says KLA fighters have been using the refugee influx as cover for arms smuggling. A find last week in a disused mine near the border village of Lojane was reported to include Chinese-made machine-guns originating from Albania.

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