Macedonia calls for local elections in Kosovo

TALLINN, Feb 23, 2000 -- (Reuters) Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski called on Tuesday for local elections in Kosovo as a step to securing prosperity and democracy there.

"We need to establish local elections in Kosovo as a way to let local government function and to build the economy. Without this there is no chance for future prosperity and without that no chance of developing democracy," he told a news conference.

Trajkovski was speaking after a meeting with his Estonian counterpart Lennart Meri and a day after NATO-led peacekeeping troops battled to prevent riots between ethnic-Albanians and Serbs in the town of Mitrovica.

Trajkovski said KFOR peacekeepers must "curb extremist Albanians and Serbs and work more to secure Kosovo's borders." He rated Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic as the biggest obstacle to regional stability.

"There will be no stability in Montenegro, Kosovo or the whole region with Milosevic (in power). Once he is overthrown, then I think we will be able to see security (return)," he said.

Macedonia serves as a base for several thousand NATO troops supporting the 40,000-strong KFOR force in Kosovo and cooperated with NATO during its bombing of Yugoslavia last year.

Original article