Peace Corps Temporarily Moves Volunteers from Macedonia; All Volunteers Are Safe, Now in Bulgaria

March 29, 1999

Washington, D.C., March 29, 1999—Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan announced today that the Peace Corps has temporarily moved all 33 Peace Corps volunteers out of Macedonia. Volunteers and American staff arrived in Bulgaria over the weekend, and are now in the town of Blagoevgrad, about two hours south of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. On Friday, the U.S. Department of State issued an authorized departure of American staff from Macedonia as the result of tensions rising from the conflict in neighboring Kosovo. The Peace Corps is monitoring the situation in Macedonia and will make a decision about the future of the program there in the next few weeks. "The Peace Corps is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our volunteers," said Gearan. "We are hopeful that future circumstances will permit our return to Macedonia." Currently, nearly 6,700 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 80 countries to bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, help start new businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 152,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.

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