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Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK

World: Europe

Macedonia complains over Nato aid

Solana and Gligorov: All smiles for the camera but criticism in private

Nato and the European Union are not delivering on their promises to help the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia cope with the massive influx of refugees from Kosovo, according to the Macedonian Government.

The BBC's Nened Sebek: Macedonians are disappointed by Nato's actions
That message was given in person by Macedonia's President, Kiro Gligorov, to visiting Nato Secretary General Javier Solana in the Macedonian capital, Skopje.

During the talks, Mr Solana expressed his gratitude to Macedonia for all the help it was giving both Nato and the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians fleeing Kosovo.

'Slow and inadequate'

But President Gligorov expressed his dissatisfaction with the level of support from both Nato and the EU.

'The aid so far has been slow to arrive and has been inadequate', said Mr Gligorov said.

The complaint applied both to humanitarian aid and to offers of taking the refugee burden off Macedonian shoulders by transferring the refugees to third countries.

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, says 234,000 people are now living in refugee camps in Macedonia.

Javier Solana, seeking to address Macedonia's concerns, announced a joint Nato-EU programme to develop south-east Europe, to be launched later this month.

But the Macedonian Government's complaints have been echoed by the local media, who say Skopje has made far too many promises that haven't been followed up by specific action.

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