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International recognition of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 was delayed by Greece's objection to the new state's use of what it considered a Hellenic name and symbols. Greece finally lifted its trade blockade in 1995, and the two countries agreed to normalize relations, despite continued disagreement over FYROM's use of "Macedonia." FYROM's large Albanian minority and the de facto independence of neighbouring Kosovo continue to be sources of ethnic tension.

Update No: 067 (19/11/02)

A new multiethnic coalition government was formed in Macedonia on November 1st after elections in September. The US was in full support of the Western-brokered peace deal agreed in August 2001, which ended fighting and established greater rights for ethnic Albanians.

The profile of the new government
The new premier is Branko Crvenkovski, who heads the Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia. His former Communist party dominates the 18-member government, while members of the main ethnic Albanian party, led by Ali Ahmeti, the former rebel leader, were named to head the ministries of justice, health, education, transport and communications.
Although constitutional and other changes have taken place to honour the peace accord, the republic remains tense. There is violence in the northeast where Albanians predominate. But elsewhere the accord is holding.

Romania comes to town
Romania and Macedonia have agreed to come to terms to improve trade relations, the presidents of the two Balkan states said on November 6th. Ion Ilescu and Boris Trajkovski signed a deal expecting to lead to a free trade agreement.
The presidents discussed the common goal of joining the EU and NATO. Romania is likely to be invited at November's Prague NATO meeting. Macedonia is a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace programme for aspiring members.

Albanian and Macedonian presidents to meet late November
An even more important meeting is that of the Albanian president, Alfred Moisiu, and Trajkovski billed for late November. They are to discuss NATO membership in common, unlikely to be soon and not until further economic and military reforms are in place.
The better relations are between the two countries, the better for inter-ethnic harmony in Macedonia. There is real hope now with a moderate premier in government in which the former rebel leader's Albanian party is very well represented in key posts. Macedonia can enter a new era.

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New Macedonian finance minister promises to tackle budget problems honestly

"We are faced with many difficulties such as restoring of peace and stability on the entire territory of Macedonia," said the Macedonian defence minister after the election 31st October, MIA News Agency has reported . 
He expressed hope that he would help to restore trust amongst members of different ethnic communities in the country. 
"We will join our efforts to bring Macedonia closer to NATO," Buckovski
Macedonian Finance Minister, Petar Gosev, right after his election stated, "The hardest part of the work begins now - settling of the current situation in the state." 
"My task will be tackling of the financial problems and creating solid microeconomic policy, as this sector provides best lawful conditions for increasing the country's economy," said Gosev, and pledged to put his maximum efforts into this matter as he has committed to in the past period.
"Our sphere of working," Gosev said, will be "capital formation of the financial system in the country and eliminating the economic crises." The finance minister emphasized, "I will put all my efforts and knowledge into this matter.
"The results will of course depend on simultaneous realization of the three strategies that were discussed all this time - security, economic, and anti-corruption. The outcome of the results regarding the three strategies will influence the overall prosper of the citizens of Macedonia," Gosev stated. 
In addition he said, "We will handle the problem of emptied state budget with honest work and not abusing our positions." "The state fund will start growing, and we will control the way the finances are spent applying maximum control," said the finance minister. 
New Minister for Local Self-Government , Aleksandar Gestakovski, pledged to work on implementing the already existing Law on Local Self-Government. "In order to achieve this several important laws need to be passed first, the Law on Financing Local Self-Government Units, the Law on Territorial Division and the Law on Skopje Capital, also changes and supplements to around 80 systematic laws of all spheres of society," said Gestakovski after his election. He also pledged "local self-government that meets the needs of the citizens, respecting the specifics and traditions of the municipalities in the country also having in mind the European experiences". 
Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, Ljubomir Janev, after his appointment said that this ministry was pushed to the margins, adding, "The world has treated this sector with great respect, as the problems concerning environment issues are part of everyday existence of its citizens." "My responsibility is to raise the dignity of this ministry, and try to resolve the global problems in the country, first of all, problems with the solid waste, issues regarding public service, and finally the global projects concerning Ohrid and Dojran Lakes," said Janev. 

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