UN says security concerns slow down return of refugees from FYR of Macedonia
Kris Janowski, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said the 4,700-strong NATO contingent was completing its mission to collect firearms in the country, and NATO was expected to announce a transitional security arrangement soon. Discussions among its members indicated a small force would remain to secure international observers monitoring progress in the implementation of the 13 August agreement.
"UNHCR believes this is insufficient, and has warned that a security vacuum could trigger a new round of violence and displacement," Mr. Janowski said. In the meantime, the agency had stepped up its field presence and confidence-building programmes, and begun a bus service in the Tetovo region to allow all communities to cross ethnic lines and checkpoints.
According to UNHCR, more than 54,400 refugees have returned from Kosovo while 27,400 remain there. The Macedonian Red Cross has registered at least 70,000 people displaced within the country, 60 per cent of whom are ethnic Macedonians.