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FYR of Macedonia: aid workers brace for more arrivals

Briefing notes

FYR of Macedonia: aid workers brace for more arrivals

26 June 2001

The flow of ethnic Albanians from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to Kosovo subsided on Monday but aid workers braced for more arrivals amid continuing tensions between FYROM's ethnic communities. Just over 800 people crossed the border from FYROM to Kosovo on Monday through the main border posts at Blace and Jazince, and only 10 crossers were reported by 8 a.m. today (Tuesday). The decline in arrivals followed the end of a tense stand-off over the presence of ethnic Albanian rebels in the village of Aracinovo, near Skopje. On Sunday, more than 8,300 people crossed the border into Kosovo - the highest daily figure since the beginning of May. But aid workers in Kosovo geared up for more arrivals amid reports of continued tension in Skopje and sporadic clashes in other areas of FYROM. Skopje was reported calm but tense on Tuesday, after violent anti-government riots late Monday. Many ethnic Albanians in the northern part of Skopje stayed up through the night fearing that their homes could be targeted by a violent crowd which had attacked the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's parliament building earlier in the evening. In all, more than 60,000 people have left FYROM for Kosovo since May 1. Another 6,000 have headed for southern Serbia. Today, (Tuesday) UNHCR asked donors for US $17.5 million to cope with the growing humanitarian consequences of the FYROM conflict.