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FYR of Macedonia tells UNHCR it will keep the border open to refugees

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Geneva, 6th May 1999 - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees today said it received renewed assurances from the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia that refugees from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's Kosovo province will be allowed into the country.
UNHCR had sought clarification from the Macedonian authorities after UNHCR staff late Wednesday witnessed an estimated 1,000 Kosovo refugees being prevented from entering the FYR of Macedonia. They were subsequently forced to re-enter Kosovo.

During a meeting in Skopje late Thursday, the FYR of Macedonia's Interior Minister told UNHCR that the border would remain open. UNHCR welcomes the verbal assurances from the government and trusts this policy will be honored on the ground.

UNHCR said it appreciated the FYR of Macedonia's generosity in receiving more than 200,000 refugees from Kosovo.

UNHCR continues to urge accelerated humanitarian evacuation of refugees from the FYR of Macedonia, and appeals for international aid on scale with the current crisis.