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UNHCR concern on FYROM negotiations stalemate

Briefing notes

UNHCR concern on FYROM negotiations stalemate

20 July 2001

UNHCR is concerned about the stalemate in negotiations in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) between the government and the country's ethnic Albanian community. We are urging all concerned to make every possible effort to avoid more confrontation which would inevitably cause more suffering and displacement of civilians. UNHCR believes that it is crucial that an agreement be reached soon so that the people uprooted by the conflict are able to return home. The longer they remain uprooted, the greater will be the mistrust between FYROM's ethnic communities and the more difficult their possible return. UNHCR is ready to help with confidence-building measures and return arrangements as soon as there is an agreement.

The confusion surrounding the possible outcome of negotiations in FYROM has influenced the behaviour of FYROM's ethnic Albanians. Some of them continue to flee FYROM, fearing a resumption of fighting, while others return to their homes, hoping for peace.