09 July 2001

Text: Peace Corps Suspends Program in FYR Macedonia

(Program will be reactivated if future conditions permit)

The Peace Corps has suspended its program in the Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia because of safety and security issues, and has relocated 43 volunteers, according to the following announcement:
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Peace Corps
Washington, D.C.
July 5, 2001

INFORMATION REGARDING THE SUSPENSION OF THE PEACE CORPS PROGRAM IN MACEDONIA (FORMER YUGOSLAVIA REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA)

Washington, D.C., July 5, 2001 -- The Peace Corps announced today its decision to suspend the program in the Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia. The 43 currently serving Peace Corps Volunteers in Macedonia were relocated last week to Bulgaria. The U.S. Ambassador and U.S. State Department are aware of the decision to suspend. All Volunteers have been given several options to continue their service in other Peace Corps posts or to re-enter the Peace Corps at a later date.

The Peace Corps has been assessing the viability of its program because of the difficult security climate in Macedonia. Extensive attention has been given to safety and security issues and to strengthening Peace Corps/Macedonia's capacity to evaluate, to prevent and to respond systematically to security issues as they arise.

Trends over which the Peace Corps has no control, indicate that there are no longer enough viable Volunteer assignments with potential for coherent and effective projects in the country's safer areas to justify continuance of the program at this time.

We deeply regret the suspension of our activity in Macedonia after a 5-year partnership with the Government and people of that nation. Though we view the suspension as necessary at this time, we remain interested in Macedonia's future and would consider reactivating the program if future conditions permit.

Nearly 100 Volunteers have worked in Macedonia since the first group arrived in 1996. Initial projects focused on the teaching of the English language.

Contact: Ellen Field Phone: 202.692.2230, Fax: 202.692.2201, Email: efield@peacecorps.gov

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