Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Macedonia President Warns Of Risks Ahead Of UN Kosovo Proposals

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP)--Macedonia's president warned Tuesday that stability in neighboring Kosovo is still at risk as the U.N. prepares to unveil its plans for the future of the disputed province, with extremists still at large.

"The capacity of Kosovo institutions is weak. We must not underestimate the risks and our institutions will remain vigilant and will closely monitor the developments in the region," said President Branko Crvenkovski.

Many extremists and criminals were still at large in Kosovo, he said.

Crvenkovski was speaking after a National Security Council meeting, convened ahead of a report by U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari on the future of Kosovo. The province of 2 million people has been under U.N. administration since 1999.

The proposals, due to be unveiled early next week, are widely expected to propose conditional independence for Kosovo. Serbia wants to keep Kosovo as part of its territory and has offered broad autonomy to its citizens, 90% of whom are ethnic Albanian and want independence.

Macedonia wants to settle an ongoing border dispute before Kosovo's final status is determined. Kosovo claims more than 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) of land in Macedonia.

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