U.S. Names Envoy to Macedonia

From Times Wire Services

The United States on Saturday announced the appointment of a special envoy to Macedonia, beefing up international efforts to prevent a new war from engulfing the Balkans.

The U.S. Embassy in Skopje, the capital, said James Pardew would arrive today and work alongside European Union envoy Francois Leotard, who began work Thursday.

The appointments reflect growing international involvement in Macedonia, where an ethnic Albanian rebellion threatens to unleash a civil war and a wider Balkan conflagration.

As the State Department's senior advisor on the Balkans, Pardew was involved in pacifying the Presevo Valley in Serbia, Yugoslavia's main republic, where another ethnic Albanian guerrilla group confronted Serbian troops before agreeing to disarm.

Meanwhile, Macedonia introduced a war tax to cover a widening budget deficit caused by the worsening security situation, the MIA news agency said.

Macedonian Finance Minister Nikola Gruevski said the government was planning for a budget deficit of at least $200 million.

The tax is expected to add about $30 million to the state coffers.

Clashes Saturday shattered a lull in fighting between Macedonian troops and ethnic Albanian rebels.

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