Situation in Macedonia Being Closely Monitored by Peace Corps

Washington, D.C., June 11, 2001—The current insurgency by ethnic Albanians in northern Macedonia relates to the war in Kosovo in 1999 and 2000. In that war, ethnic Serbs and ethnic Albanians fought over the rights of ethnic Albanians in the area. Recent fighting was limited to the border areas which Macedonia shares with Albania.

The hostilities of most concern currently are in the mountains not far from Skopje, the capital city of Macedonia. Here, ethnic Albanian rebel forces are said to be in a position to shell some key strategic points. The proximity of their position to the capital city and the nature of their threats are of concern to Peace Corps.

Peace Corps is in touch with all Volunteers and trainees and all are safe. All are in a “standfast”—the first stage of alert during a potential crisis. Standfast is a recognition that Peace Corps may shortly take additional measures to protect the safety and security of Volunteers, trainees and staff.

The Peace Corps has 28 Volunteers, 28 trainees and several Peace Corps staff members spread throughout a large portion of the country, predominately in the South and East, away from the Albanian and Kosovo borders with Macedonia. We are watching the situation carefully and are in continuous contact with United States Ambassador Michael Einik and the security functions of the U.S. Embassy in Skopje.

The Peace Corps is monitoring the situation very closely in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy. This announcement will be updated as new information warrants. In the meantime, please know that all Peace Corps Volunteers, Trainees and staff in the Republic of Macedonia are safe and sound. Peace Corps will make decisions about the program in Macedonia with the safety and security of our Volunteers and Trainees foremost in priority.

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