The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 14, 2001

Statement by the President
Following His Telephone Conversation
with President Boris Trajkovski of Macedonia

This morning I spoke with my friend President Boris Trajkovski to congratulate him on his courage and leadership in negotiating the political settlement that was signed yesterday in Macedonia.

The settlement promises to strengthen democracy and avert civil war, while protecting Macedonia's territorial integrity and political unity. It addresses long-standing political aspirations of the citizens of Macedonia. It is now up to Macedonia's Assembly to adopt the constitutional amendments and legislation to implement the settlement.

As I have made clear from the outset of the fighting, the United States stands strongly against those armed extremists who have tried to take democracy hostage in Macedonia. President Trajkovski and I agree that their tactics are despicable and their methods undemocratic. The time has come for these armed groups to turn over their weapons to NATO and disband.

A political settlement has been signed, and we now need to ensure the peace and put Macedonia back on the road to Europe. The United States offers its strong support to President Trajkovski and to the democratic government of Macedonia as they move forward to achieve this goal.

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