FYR of Macedonia: Annan calls on parties to honour ceasefire agreement

FYR of Macedonia: Annan calls on parties to honour ceasefire agreement

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called upon the parties to the crisis in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to fully honour the ceasefire agreement and "to reinvigorate their efforts" towards a political settlement.

"[The Secretary-General] is convinced that there cannot be a military solution to the present crisis and emphasizes the heavy responsibility that now rests on political leaders and others concerned for the future of their country and for peace in the region," a spokesman for Mr. Annan said today in a statement.

The Secretary-General expressed support for the ongoing efforts of the European Union (EU) and welcomed the recent ceasefire negotiated by the EU High Representative, Javier Solana, the spokesman said, adding that "every effort must be made to avoid further violence and any form of provocation," and to resume the political dialogue and prevent the country from sliding further towards war.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today appealed to governments for urgent financial support to cope with the growing humanitarian consequences of the conflict.

According to the UNHCR Pristina office, the agency is seeking $17.5 million to provide emergency assistance over the next six months to more than 65,000 refugees in Kosovo, some 6,000 refugees in Serbia and thousands more who are internally displaced within the FYR of Macedonia.

Eric Morris, UNHCR's special envoy for the region, said the continuing displacement had now affected more than 100,000 people. "UNHCR must be prepared for a worst-case scenario, even though it is not too late for a peaceful solution," Mr. Morris said.

The funds requested would enable UNHCR to support the many thousands of host families in Kosovo who have taken in the refugees, Mr. Morris said. It would also provide food and other assistance, and prepare the groundwork for expected continued movements throughout the region. Yesterday the agency opened a full-service registration centre in Kosovo that could be expanded to hold up to 14,00 refugees.