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Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski Killed in Plane Crash - 2004-02-26


Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski has been killed in a plane crash in Bosnia.

Macedonian officials say Mr. Trajkovski's plane went down in bad weather near the Bosnian city of Stolac.

Bosnian police said they found the plane's wreckage about 80 kilometers south of Sarajevo. There were no survivors.

The 47-year-old president was on his way to attend a two-day economic conference in the city of Mostar in southern Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Irish Primer Minister Bertie Ahern, whose country holds the rotating European Union presidency, called the death tragic. He noted the late president's role in dealing with the ethnic violence that shook Macedonia three years ago.

He expressed condolences to Macedonian Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski, who was in Ireland at the time to formally submit Macedonia's application for eventual EU membership. Officials canceled the ceremony and Mr. Crvenkovski cut short his visit.

Mr. Trajkovski, an ordained Methodist minister who studied theology in the United States, was elected Macedonia's president in late 1999. He was praised for taking a neutral stance in a country where tensions persist between Macedonians and minority ethnic Albanians. He was a frequent advocate of including ethnic Albanians in the Macedonian government.

Before becoming president, Mr. Trajkovski served as Macedonia's deputy foreign minister.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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