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EU to Deploy Police Force in Macedonia

The European Union has authorized the deployment of a 200 member police force in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia later this year.

The police mission, approved Monday in Brussels, will help Macedonian authorities develop their own police service.

The mission will be operational in Skopje by mid-December, and will last one year. It will replace the current EU peacekeeping force when its mandate expires December 15.

The European Union took over security in Macedonia from NATO at the end of March. The peacekeepers have been protecting international observers who are monitoring compliance with an accord that halted seven months of violence in the Balkan country.

Ethnic Albanian gunmen launched an insurgency in Macedonia in February 2001, seeking more rights for members of their community. A peace accord signed in August of that year formalized many of those rights.