Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

High Commissioner due in Skopje this afternoon

Briefing notes

High Commissioner due in Skopje this afternoon

28 September 2001

High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers is scheduled to visit Skopje this afternoon. He will be meeting with President Boris Trajkovski and Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski and with representatives of the international community there. His visit is aimed at reaffirming UNHCR's commitment in supporting the peace agreement in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), specifically to help create conditions for the safe return of all refugees and displaced people to their original homes. A press release on this visit will be issued from Skopje later in the afternoon.

UNHCR this week delivered six truckloads of relief packages (mattresses blankets, plastic sheeting, tools, jerry cans, kitchen sets and hygiene kits) for 360 families who returned to the villages of Lesok, Slatino, Gajre and Sipkovica in the Tetovo region. We will continue with the distribution to cover over 8,000 people who returned to these four villages. Some 50 ethnic Macedonians returned to the village of Lesok, which is surrounded by ethnic Albanian villages - of the original population of about 400, only about a dozen remained during the conflict.

In a bid to facilitate free movement for all communities, UNHCR this week expanded its bus services in the Tetovo region. In addition to two bus lines connecting both Albanian and ethnic Macedonian mixed villages between Tetovo and the border town of Jazince, a new bus now runs from the border village of Jazince to the village of Odri, allowing children to go to school. Another bus runs from Tetovo to the mountain village of Sipkovica, across ethnic lines and security check points. UNHCR plans to expand its bus lines also to areas around Kumanovo, linking conflict-affected villages east of Skopje.

More than 55,000 refugees have returned to FYROM, leaving another 27,000 remaining in Kosovo. The [former Yugoslav Republic of] Macedonian Red Cross recorded another 70,000 displaced within the country, 60 percent of whom are ethnic Macedonians.