Calm along Kosovo-FYR of Macedonia border slows flow of refugees: UNCHR

Calm along Kosovo-FYR of Macedonia border slows flow of refugees: UNCHR

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Thanks to relative calm along the border between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo, fewer people are fleeing their native lands and some are returning home, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today.

UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told the press in Geneva that the rate of arrivals in Kosovo has slowed "to a trickle" after a record 25,000 new arrivals over a 10-day period beginning 22 June.

At the same time, renewed peace talks and reports that reservists were disarming in Skopje have prompted the return of refugees to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Redmond said, estimating that some 3,500 refugees went back over the weekend. "While these returns are regarded as a positive development, UNHCR and its partners remain extremely cautious and continue to be on alert," he said.

Also over the weekend, 500 people from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia crossed the border into Kosovo, according to UNHCR. Since fighting began in February, 73,818 people from the country have arrived in Kosovo, while another 34,546 people have been displaced within the country.