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20 Apr 2017 description

Migrants find shelter in old rusting carriages on the outskirts of Greece's northern city of Thessaloniki.

THESSALONIKI, Greece, April 19 (Reuters) - It was Mohamed Khaleuf's third attempt to cross the Greek-Macedonian border hiding in a freight train and he had no plans to give up trying.

Read more on the Thomson Reuters Foundation

11 Aug 2016 description

"The crisis is as big as ever, and as yet unsolved by governments"

  • Migrant arrivals to Europe up 15 percent on last year

  • Europe's 'silent crisis' simmers behind veil of invisibility

  • EU deal with Turkey remains fragile

By Michele Kambas and Antonio Bronic

14 Feb 2016 description

ZURICH, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Austria will start building new facilities to better protect its borders, notably the one with Italy, Chancellor Werner Faymann said in an interview published on Sunday, underlining efforts to limit admissions of migrants.

Austria recently built a 3.7 km (2.3 mile) fence at its busiest border crossing with Slovenia, Spielfeld, saying this would help manage the flow of new arrivals onto its territory.

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17 Oct 2009 description

PRISTINA, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The Kosovo and Macedonian parliaments on Saturday ratified an agreement ending an eight-year dispute between the two countries over a border region used by gunmen and smugglers.

The deal, signed late on Friday, was the culmination of months of negotiations under the auspices of the European Union and the United States, which has more than 1,000 soldiers patrolling the zone on the Kosovo side.

"The leadership of both countries has shown significant resolve and taken a major step forward to ensure regional stability", the U.S.

31 Oct 2007 description

By Kole Casule

SKOPJE, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Macedonia cautioned on Wednesday against the politicisation of "criminal" elements in the country, amid growing signs of tension between the authorities and the ethnic Albanian minority.

The killing of a policeman this month and a row over the use of the Albanian flag have fuelled fears of political instability in Macedonia, just as the West tries to resolve the fate of 2 million independence-seeking Albanians in neighbouring Kosovo.

Macedonia's highest security body, the National Security Council, blamed recent security …

25 Sep 2006 description

By Matt Robinson

MALA RECICA, Macedonia, Sept 25 (Reuters) - A decision by Macedonia's prime minister to keep former guerrillas out of government threatens progress made under a 2001 peace pact that ended an insurgency, the insurgents' leader said on Monday.

Ali Ahmeti, who is now leader of the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), said Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's move had dented public trust and that a lack of trust was at the root of the conflicts that tore Yugoslavia apart in the 1990s.

The DUI polled highest among Macedonia's 500,000 ethnic Albanians in …

13 Mar 2005 description

(Recasts, updates with vote ending)

By Matthew Robinson

SKOPJE, March 13 (Reuters) - Macedonia voted on Sunday in local elections which the West hopes will pave the way for full implementation of a 2001 peace deal with Albanian rebels.

Officials reported only a handful of irregularities and "minor incidents" as voters elected officials who will carry out a government-backed decentralisation deal which will give the 25 percent Albanian minority greater local autonomy.

The changes, which have stirred resentment, represent the final pillar of the Ohrid accord brokered by …

13 Sep 2002 description

By Fredrik Dahl

SKOPJE, Sept 13 (Reuters) - A political party led by a former ethnic Albanian guerrilla chief cancelled a major rally in downtown Skopje on Friday, reflecting fears it could spark violence ahead of Macedonia's weekend elections.

The Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) and its leader Ali Ahmeti took the decision under pressure from the West, which hopes Sunday's poll will help cement peace in the volatile Balkan country after last year's conflict.

Tension has increased in the weeks leading up to the election to the 120-seat parliament, with incidents …

08 May 2002 description

By Gordana Kukic

BELGRADE, May 8 (Reuters) - International organisations launched a regional centre on Wednesday to try to cut down the number of small arms in the Balkans, a region awash with weapons in private hands after a decade of warfare and chaos.

The new clearing house in Belgrade, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union's Stability Pact for southeast Europe, is to work with governments in persuading citizens to give up their arms.

"The problem is to create a secure environment in a post-conflict zone where civilians …

08 Feb 2002 description

By John Chalmers

CACERES, Spain, Feb 8 (Reuters) - A tentative European Union plan to take over the NATO peacekeeping mission in Macedonia appeared to run into trouble over objections from Finland and doubts about Germany's willingness to lead the force.

NATO Secretary General George Robertson was expected to be handed a formal request in Skopje on Friday for a three-month extension of NATO's Operation Amber Fox from the end of March.

Spain and France have suggested that the EU take over the operation from the 19-nation defence alliance when that mandate ends in …

06 Feb 2002 description

SKOPJE, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Macedonia's government asked NATO troops on Wednesday to stay on for a further three months to help cement a peace deal with ethnic Albanian rebels.

In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said the 19-member alliance was willing to "pick up the challenge" and said he would discuss the request during a visit to the Balkan state on Thursday and Friday.

Robertson also told reporters there were no plans for the European Union, vying for a bigger role in security policy, to take over from NATO when the three-month mandate of the …

30 Jan 2002 description

By Kole Casule

SKOPJE, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Fearful residents of several Macedonian villages formerly occupied by ethnic Albanian rebels barred entry to police patrols on Wednesday, dealing a setback to the Western-backed schedule for a stable peace.

Multi-ethnic police units were able to return to only a few villages out of 17 planned in the latest phase of a scheme to gradually restore state sovereignty following last year's seven- month-long insurgency.

12 Dec 2001 description

By Kole Casule

SKOPJE (Reuters) - Macedonians never imagined they would need earphones to understand debate in parliament or use a foreign language to buy food, but a new era distasteful to many looms as the price of peace with rebel minority Albanians.

A veritable constitutional revolution has been imposed by a Western-brokered peace accord with minority Albanian guerrillas, whose February-August uprising for better civil rights brought the tiny Balkan republic to its knees.

If the constitutional amendments recently ratified by parliament are carried out, Macedonian's …

05 Dec 2001 description

SKOPJE (Reuters) - Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski pardoned 11 jailed ethnic Albanian guerrillas on Wednesday, launching an amnesty seen as crucial to sustaining an August peace settlement.

The amnesty, aimed at defusing ethnic mistrust and enabling the return of police to rebel-dominated territory in coming weeks, was decreed under Western diplomatic pressure last month after weeks of nationalist obstruction.

It is to cover all rebels who are not indictable by the U.N.

30 Nov 2001 description

SKOPJE (Reuters) - The Macedonian parliament endorsed Friday Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski's seventh cabinet shuffle in three years, filling posts vacated by the breakup of a ''unity'' coalition formed during wartime last May.

The defection of the moderate SDSM party from the unwieldy broad coalition assembled under Western pressure in an effort to stop an ethnic Albanian insurgency raised concerns that nationalists would take over key security posts.

But the new ministers are seen as moderates or ''cautious'' nationalists that should balance …

04 Oct 2001 description

By Mark Heinrich

SKOPJE, Oct 4 (Reuters) - The EU's top foreign policymakers postponed an international donor conference for Macedonia on Thursday, accusing its government of breaking promises to enact reforms quickly to defuse an ethnic Albanian rebellion.

31 Aug 2001 description

By Andrew Gray

SKOPJE (Reuters) - Hundreds of Macedonian protesters blocked entrances to parliament on Friday, delaying the start of a debate on reforms which would give ethnic Albanians more rights under a NATO-backed deal aimed at averting civil war.

The protesters, who waved bright red and yellow Macedonian flags and called on the government to resign, said the peace plan was a sellout forced on Macedonians at gunpoint by Albanian guerrillas.

"This blockade will go on as long as necessary," said Straso Angelovski, the leader of a small nationalist party organizing the …

29 Aug 2001 description

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (Reuters) - NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo said on Wednesday a mortar bomb was fired into Kosovo from Macedonia after an exchange of fire with a group of people trying to illegally cross the border.

Captain Daniel Byer, spokesman for the U.S.

28 Aug 2001 description

SKOPJE (Reuters) - A blast went off at a primary school for ethnic Albanians in a suburb of the Macedonian capital Skopje in the early hours of Wednesday, police said.

A police official told Reuters a bomb was the suspected cause of the explosion, which went off in the courtyard of the school in the Jaja Pasa area around half past midnight (6:30 p.m. EDT).