20 March 2001


NEW YORK, 19 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of a statement issued today by the Office of the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is gravely concerned at the escalation of violence and renewed fighting in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. He condemns the acts of violence by Albanian extremists which constitute a threat to the territorial integrity of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and a threat to stability and security in the entire region. The Secretary-General is particularly concerned at the regional dimension of the recent escalation of violence and at the fact that the continuing activities of the extremists have received outside support.

The Secretary-General is encouraged by the efforts by the authorities of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to stabilize the situation and to isolate the extremist armed groups, as expressed in the resolution by the Parliament supported by all major parties and all ethnic groups. He emphasized the importance of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as a functioning multi-ethnic society, where efforts to address different economic, social and national concerns have been handled through the common democratic institutions.

He expressed the sincere hope that the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia would succeed in its efforts to end the violence and to establish conditions conducive to solving all problems through political means.

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