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Thursday, 30 August, 2001, 14:36 GMT 15:36 UK
Macedonia: fears of a new Balkan conflict
Hopes of an end to the conflict in Macedonia are pinned on a political agreement giving greater rights to the ethnic Albanian minority. The role of Nato troops is restricted to disarming ethnic Albanian rebels but it's hoped their presence will help cement the shaky ceasefire and move the country towards lasting peace. BBC News Online follows the course of the conflict which has seen dozens of people killed and thousands more lose their homes.


29 August 2001

Lord Robertson (right) examines collected weapons with Nato forces
Nato soldiers show weapons to Lord Robertson

Nato secretary-general Lord Robertson on a visit to Macedonia said he was pleased with the progress of the weapons collection programme and urged the Macedonian parliament to start ratifying constitutional changes agreed in a deal struck with ethnic Albanian leaders.

 Click here to watch Paul Adams' report

 Click here to watch Lord Robertson


27 August 2001

Sapper Ian Collins killed in Macedonia
Sapper Ian Collins killed in Macedonia

The Macedonian government has promised to find the youths responsible for the death of 22-year-old British soldier Ian Collins. He died from head injuries after a lump of concrete was thrown at his vehicle. Paul Adams reports from Skopje.

 Click here to watch


24 August 2001

Czech soldiers on a military exercise in Macedonia
Czech soldiers on a military exercise

Nato announces it has finalised plans for disarming Albanian rebels in Macedonia including an agreement on the number of weapons to be collected, a sticking point between rebel groups and the Macedonian government.

 The BBC's Philippa Thomas reports


23 August 2001

British troops arriving in Macedonia
British troops arriving in Macedonia

Nato troops begin arriving in Macedonia in a deployment expected to take between 10 and 14 days. The full force is projected at over 3,500 troops who will have just 30 days to complete their mission to disarm ethnic Albanian forces.

 The BBC's Richard Lister reports


22 August 2001

British soldier Natalie Murphy waiting to go to Macedonia
A British soldier on her way to Macedonia

Nato member states approve the immediate deployment of 3,500 troops in Macedonia. Their mission is to collect weapons from ethnic Albanian rebels and then to depart after just 30 days. NATO says the conditions for the mission are right with a ceasefire holding between government and rebel forces.

 The BBC's David Shukman reports


20 August 2001

General Joseph Ralston at a news conference in Skopje
General Joseph Ralston

The commander in charge of operation Essential Harvest arrives in the Macedonian capital Skopje to assess the situation. American general Joseph Ralston will decide what action is required to ensure ethnic Albanian rebels surrender their weapons.

 The BBC's Jeremy Bowen reports


17 August 2001
Czech troops arrive in Macedonia
Czech troops land in the Macedonian capital Skopje

Foreign troops begin to arrive in Macedonia as part of a Nato operation to collect weapons from ethnic Albanian rebels. The first units of Czech paratroops are part of a 400-strong British-led vanguard, who will attempt to assess a shaky ceasefire. As fresh bloodshed on the ground casts doubt on the mission's chance of success, Nato's ruling council delays a final decision on deployment of the full 3,500-member force.

 The BBC's Paul Adams reports


16 August 2001
Macedonian troops in a trench
Macedonian troops in a trench

Four hundred British troops are poised to fly out to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to see if Albanian rebels are sincere about handing over their guns. The weapons surrender is part of the peace deal signed on Monday. The advance party paves the way for a Nato force to oversee the disarmament of the rebels.

 The BBC's Paul Adams reports


14 August 2001
Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski said the peace deal must be turned into reality
Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski said the peace deal must be turned into reality

Fighting has again broken out in northern Macedonia between ethnic Albanian rebels and Macedonian Government troops. Nato experts are on their way to Macedonia to determine when they can begin disarming the rebels in line with the peace deal agreed on Monday.

 The BBC's Paul Adams reports


13 August 2001
This week has seen the worst fighting since the conflict broke out
This week has seen the worst fighting since the conflict broke out

Macedonian and ethnic Albanian leaders sign a peace accord designed to improve the rights of ethnic Albanians. The Albanian language is given official status in parts of the country and there are measures to make the police force more representative.

 The BBC's Chris Morris reports






13 August 2001
Ljuboten has come under repeated bombardment from rebel positions
Ljuboten has come under repeated bombardment from rebel positions

Shelling was heard around the villages of Ljuboten and Ljubanci, 10km (six miles) north of Skopje, from 0030 local time (2230GMT Sunday), in defiance of a unilateral ceasefire announced by the government. It was not clear whether Albanian rebels or government forces were responsible for the shelling.

 The BBC's Paul Adams reports


10 August 2001
The tentative peace plan is in jeopardy following the landmine blast
The tentative peace plan is in jeopardy following the landmine blast

Eight Macedonian soldiers are killed in a landmine explosion. An army spokesman says the troops died when the vehicle in which they were travelling struck three mines near the village of Ljubanci. The incident places further strain on a tentative peace plan.

 The BBC's Jonathan Charles reports


9 August 2001
The mosque in Prilep was burnt down
The mosque in Prilep was burnt down

Ten Macedonian soldiers are killed in a rebel ambush, and there is unrest in the town of Prilep. Similar scenes occur in Skopje as Western diplomats condemn the killings. The National Security Council announces that the brokered peace accord cannot be implemented while the rebel threat remains.

 The BBC's Linda Duffin reports


8 August 2001
A Macedonian army tank
Macedonian armed forces may finally be able to stand down

A peace deal is back on track. There is renewed optimism among western mediators in Macedonia that they are on the brink of a peace deal to end the six-month ethnic Albanian rebellion. Diplomats believe agreement could be reached on Wednesday.

 The BBC's Jonathan Charles reports


5 August 2001
Javier Solana has played a major role in the ongoing talks
Javier Solana has played a major role in the ongoing talks

Negotiators make a major breakthrough in the week-long talks aimed at avoiding civil war in Macedonia. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana says the two main stumbling blocks to peace - the police and the use of the Albanian language - have now been resolved.

 The BBC's Jonathan Charles reports


28 July 2001
Demonstrators want tougher action against the rebels
Demonstrators want tougher action against the rebels

Peace talks resume between Macedonian government officials and ethnic Albanian leaders. However, the talks are overshadowed by protests in Skopje from displaced Macedonians demanding safe passage back to their homes.

 The BBC's Chris Morris reports from Skopje


25 July 2001
Protesters in Skopje attack UN property
Protesters in Skopje attack UN property

Tension runs high in Skopje as supporters of the government take to the streets to protest against the West's perceived support for Albanian rebels. In the northern city of Tetovo, meanwhile, a two week ceasefire comes to an end following a rebel attack an army barracks.

 The BBC's Chris Morris reports


19 July 2001
The western mediators are accused of trying to break up Macedonia's institutions
The western mediators are accused of trying to break up Macedonia's institutions

Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski launches a fierce attack on the two international mediators attempting to broker an end to the country's bitter conflict. He accuses US envoy James Pardew and EU representative Francois Leotard of caving in to Albanian demands, describing their blueprint for a settlement as "brutal interference".

 The BBC's Paul Adams reports from Skopje


8 July 2001
Imer Imeria and Arben Xhaferi say the new proposals are inadequate
Imer Imeria and Arben Xhaferi say the new proposals are inadequate

Leaders of ethnic Albanian political parties reject constitutional changes put forward by the West as a basis for new peace talks. Arben Xhaferi, leader of the Democratic Party of Albanians, says the proposals will not stop the fighting and vows to press for a better deal when negotiations resume.

 The BBC's Paul Anderson reports


6 July 2001
The ceasefire must hold before Nato will deploy its troops
The ceasefire must hold before Nato will deploy its troops

Despite isolated clashes, there is uneasy calm in Macedonia as a Nato-brokered ceasefire seems to be taking hold between government and rebels.

 The BBC's Paul Welsh reports


5 July 2001
A Macedonian army officer observes rebel positions
A Macedonian army officer observes rebel positions

A Nato-brokered ceasefire is due to come into effect at midnight local time (2200GMT) raising hope that an end to the conflict is in sight. The government agreed to the deal after receiving guarantees that ethnic Albanian guerrillas had signed a separate ceasefire with Nato.

 The BBC's Linda Duffin reports


2 July 2001
A US soldier in Macedonia
A US soldier in Macedonia

Heavy fighting erupts around Tetovo in northern Macedonia after ethnic Albanian rebels cature four nearby villages.

 The BBC's Nick Thorpe reports




30 June 2001
The tax will help to support the Macedonian war effort
The tax will help to support the Macedonian war effort

The Macedonian government introducing a special war tax, intended to raise around $30m towards the cost of fighting ethnic Albanians rebels in the north of the country. It will be levied at the rates of either 0.5% or 1% on most private-sector transactions.

 Click here to listen to a report from the BBC's Nick Thorpe


28 June 2001
Nikustak comes under heavy bombardment
Nikustak comes under heavy bombardment

The European Union's new peace envoy arrives in Macedonia to try to help end fighting. Former French Defence Minister Francois Leotard was appointed resident EU representative to Macedonia - a job created to try to revive stalled peace talks.

 Click here to watch a report from the BBC's Paul Welsh


27 June 2001
Sporadic clashes continue despite the ceasefire
Sporadic clashes continue despite the ceasefire

Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski publicly defends his decision to remove armed ethnic Albanian rebels from a village near the capital Skopje. The deal to evacuate Aracinovo was "the most efficient way to get rid of the terrorists without any victims," Mr Trajkovski said on television.

 Click here to watch a report from the BBC's Nick Thorpe in Skopje


26 June 2001
Soldiers join civilians in the Skopje demonstration
Soldiers join civilians in the Skopje demonstration

Several thousand Macedonian nationalists demonstrate outside parliament in the capital Skopje, angry at what they see as the government's leniency towards the ethnic Albanian rebels.

 Click here to watch a report from the BBC's Jonathan Charles


23 June 2001
Solana: 'There is a ceasefire'
Solana: 'There is a ceasefire'

Reports from Macedonia say the government and rebel ethnic Albanians holding a village close to the capital Skopje have agreed a ceasefire after three days of fighting. The BBC's Malcolm Brabant reports from Skopje.

 Click here to watch


22 June 2001
Helicopter gunships were used in the assault
Helicopter gunships were used in the assault

The Macedonian army is carrying out a ferocious offensive against a key village held by ethnic Albanian rebels, bringing an abrupt end to a fragile 11 day ceasefire and drawing threats of retaliation against Skopje. The BBC's Paul Anderson reports.

 Click here to watch


21 June 2001
Lord Robertson says there will be no Nato involvement without an agreed peace plan
Lord Robertson says there will be no Nato involvement without an agreed peace plan

While EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana attempts to restart negotiations between Macedonian and eethnic Albanian politicians, Nato pledges to send 3,000 troops to the region. The BBC's Paul Anderson provides an update from Skopje.

 Click here to watch


14 June 2001
A four day ceasefire is extended to allow talks to continue
A four day ceasefire is extended to allow talks to continue

Macedonia asks Nato to be ready to help it disarm ethnic Albanian rebels if the guerrillas agree to new terms on offer from the government. The move comes after a peace plan is drawn up by Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski. The BBC's Paul Anderson reports from Skopje.

 Click here to listen


11 June 2001
Ethnic Albanians continue to flee the country
Ethnic Albanians continue to flee the country

About 1,000 ethnic Albanian rebels threaten to attack the capital, Skopje, unless the government meets their demands. The BBC's Paul Anderson follows the plight of the thousands of refugees trying to escape the violence.

 Click here to watch


9 June 2001
Mr Solana says the government should use
Mr Solana says the government should use "politics, diplomacy and dialogue"

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana says leaders of all the parties forming Macedonia's national unity government have accepted the president's plan for an end to the four-month conflict. But despite the talks, government troops continue their onslaught against the ethnic Albanian rebels, as the BBC's Paul Anderson explains.

 Click here to watch


21 May 2001
Helicopter gunships are used in the government attack
Helicopter gunships are used in the government attack

A five-day lull in fighting ends as ethnic Albanian rebels and Macedonian forces clash in one of the heaviest exchanges since the upsurge of violence in the region. The Macedonian army launches artillery, tank and helicopter attacks on Albanian-held villages, saying they are responding to rebel shooting. The BBC's Jonathan Charles reports.

 Click here to watch


15 May 2001
The Macedonian army is put on high alert following the ultimatum
The Macedonian army is put on high alert following the ultimatum

Macedonia's new government of national unity orders ethnic Albanian rebels to end their uprising within 48 hours, or risk a major military assault. The government says the ultimatum - ordering the rebels to lay down their arms or leave the country - is a final warning. The BBC's Nick Thorpe reports from Skopje.

 Click here to listen


14 May 2001
Prime Minister Ljupco Georgievski says the rebels must be crushed
Prime Minister Ljupco Georgievski says the rebels must be crushed

A new government of national unity in Macedonia begins efforts to end the ethnic Albanian insurrection in the north of the country. Prime Minister Ljupco Georgievski's government receives overwhelming support from parliament, giving it a mandate to restore peace to a country teetering on the brink of civil war, as the BBC's Nick Thorpe reports.

 Click here to watch


3 May 2001
The village comes under heavy attack from government forces
The village comes under heavy attack from government forces

The Macedonian army launches an offensive on rebel positions around the village of Vakcince where two of its soldiers have been killed in an overnight ambush. Civilians are ordered to leave the village, but helicopter gunships are seen firing rockets at the village before the deadline for evacuation passes. The BBC's Nicholas Wood reports.

 Click here to watch


29 March 2001
K-For soldier with injured Albanian
A K-For soldier gives first aid to an Albanian inijured by shelling

Three people including a British cameraman are killed and more than 10 injured in Kosovo as shelling strays across a disputed border area. The attack came as Nato-led international peacekeepers stepped up their patrols of the Kosovo-Macedonia border. The BBC's Colin Blane reports

 Click here to watch


28 March 2001
US soldier in Kosovo
US soldier on K-For patrol in Kosovo

The uncertain diplomatic relations between the member nations of KFOR and a steady influx of refugees from Macedonian are causing problems in Kosovo, In a special report for BBC News Online Jonathan Marcus looks at a delicate local situation exacerbated by international tensions.

 Click here to listen


27 March 2001
Ethnic Albanina refugees bound for Kosovo
A refugee and her child flee Macedonia for an uncertain future in Kosovo

As an uneasy calm is restored to the Macedonia Kosovo border as hundreds of ethnic Albanians continue to flee to Kosovo. Most of them face a very uncertain future. The BBC's Ian Pannell reports from Kosovo.

 Click here to listen


26 March 2001
Ethnic Albanians crossing from Macedonia into Kosovo
Ethnic Albanians flee Macedonia for the Kosovo border

Britain has pledged 400 troops to join a multi-national force patrolling the Kosovo Macedonia border. A major offensive by Macedonian forces has succeeeded in flushing ethnic Albanians out of their villages. Many of the refugees claim they have done nothing wrong. The BBC's Ben Brown reports.

 Click here to watch


25 March 2001
The armoured column heads for the hills
The armoured column heads for the hills

A ground assault on rebel positions around the northern city of Tetovo is forcing ethnic Albanian guerrillas back, but Macedonian forces are encountering return fire. The BBC's Bridget Kendall reports.

 Click here to watch



22 March 2001
A soldier struggles with one of the Albanian men
A soldier struggles with one of the Albanian men

Two ethnic Albanians are killed at an army checkpoint in Tetovo as the Macedonian army resumes its bombardment of rebel positions. This report from the BBC's Bridget Kendall includes some disturbing images.

 Click here to watch



21 March 2001
Thousands of people have become refugees
Thousands of people have become refugees

Macedonian troops prepare for an all-out assault on Albanian rebels who are ignoring a call to surrender or withdraw by midnight.

 Click here to watch a report from the BBC's Neil Ross






Macedonian forces fire on rebels
Macedonian forces fire on rebels

20 March 2001

The Macedonian army has joined special police in a heavy bombardment of ethnic Albanian rebels holding strategic hilltops above the city of Tetovo. The BBC's Ben Brown was there.

 Click here to watch




Macedonian tanks, Tetovo
Macedonian tanks roll into Tetovo

19 March 2001

Macedonia reinforces its forces with tanks ahead of what it says is a "final operation" against ethnic Albanian rebels. The BBC's Ben Brown reports on fears of a wider conflict.

 Click here to watch




Rebel roadblocks have been springing up around Tetovo
Rebel roadblocks have been springing up around Tetovo

18 March 2001

Clashes intensify between ethnic Albanians and Macedonian forces, as Nato delivers a tough warning to the rebels.


 Click here to listen to a report from the BBC's Peter Biles who was in the thick of the battle



Gunfire sends people running for cover
Gunfire sends people running for cover

17 March 2001

The United Nations warns of new refugee crisis in the Balkans if fighting between ethnic Albanian rebels and Macedonian security forces gets worse.


 Click here to watch a report from the BBC's Paul Wood in Macedonia



Macedonian special police
Macedonian special police
The Macedonian elite special police units are battling to crush the rebels as the BBC's Paul Wood reports from Tetovo.



 Click here to watch





The conflict escalates
The conflict escalates
As a civilian is killed in Tetevo - the second city of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia - the OSCE's Deputy Head Robin Seaword says "We are trying very hard to calm public opinion".


 Click here to listen



A Macedonian resident of Tetovo runs with his dog
A Macedonian resident of Tetovo runs with his dog
The escalating violence prompts renewed fears of Balkan instability. Macedonian presidential spokesman Nicolas Dimitrov: "We have to also protect the Macedonian Albanians"


 Click here to listen



The funeral of a man killed by a sniper outside his Tetovo home
The funeral of a man killed by a sniper outside his Tetovo home
Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leader, Ibrahim Rugova, declines to condemn the rebels. He says Macedonia's government should do more to improve living conditions for its minority community. The BBC's Rob Broomby is in Berlin.


 Click here to listen


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