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FYR of Macedonia: thousands crossing to Kosovo

Briefing notes

FYR of Macedonia: thousands crossing to Kosovo

15 June 2001

Ethnic Albanians continue to flee the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for Kosovo and southern Serbia. On Thursday, 2,600 people crossed into Kosovo and a few hundred more into southern Serbia. Most of them are using the main border crossing at Blace where on Wednesday UNHCR workers saw a 103-year-old woman from Skopje being pushed across the border by relatives in a wheelchair. Some of those arriving complained that their male family members were barred from crossing the border by Macedonian border guards. Meanwhile arrivals from Macedonia are also reported in southern Serbia. UNHCR workers monitoring that stretch of the border say about 400 people cross the border daily. Most are ethnic Albanians who then head on to Kosovo but there are also ethnic Serbs and Macedonians among them. Over the past week more than 28,000 people have left Macedonia. Most (some 25,000) have gone to Kosovo. About 3,500 have also arrived in southern Serbia.