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LOPATE, Macedonia (AP) _ The Macedonian government on Monday declared a cease-fire in its fight against ethnic Albanian insurgents, saying it wanted to alleviate water and food shortages in villages cut off by the fighting.

Government adviser Nikola Dimitrov did not say how long the cease-fire would last but said it came at the urging of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The government hoped to re-establish water service in the city of Kumanovo, where rebels took control of the water reservoir more than a week ago and left its 100,000 residents dry. It also hoped to end food shortages in other villages.

The rebels threatened Sunday to strike Skopje airport, police stations and other targets in or near Macedonian cities unless government forces stopped their assaults.

The airport continued operating Monday, but at least two airlines, British Airways and Yugoslavia's JAT, stopped flights as a precautionary measure. Swissair diverted its Skopje flight to Ohrid, to the south.

Asked Monday about his threat to attack cities, an insurgent leader known as Commander Hoxha said: ``Our artillery is in position.''

Hoxha said a civilian was killed and four others were wounded in government shelling before it stopped Monday afternoon.

Dimitrov said nothing about the rebel threat, saying only that the army had stopped its assault to permit international organizations to deliver humanitarian aid to thousands of civilians in the area as well as work on attempts to reconnect Kunamovo to it water source.

In Kosovo's capital, Pristina, Astrid van Genderen Stort, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said Monday that more than 33,000 refugees have crossed into Kosovo since the eruption of the ethnic Albanian insurgency in Macedonia in February. That included more than 12,000 over the past three days from the Skopje-Aracinovo region, she said.

The ethnic-Albanian majority province of Serbia, a republic of Yugoslavia, has served both as refuge for those fleeing the fighting and a supply base for the insurgents, despite attempts by NATO troops there to stop fighters and weapons from crossing into Macedonia.

U.S. peacekeepers in Kosovo said Monday that they detained 12 ethnic Albanian rebels over the weekend.

The threat to Aracinovo, an ethnically mixed town near the capital, also drove out thousands of Macedonian Slavs. Locals said a few thousand people remained in the town, where the normal population of about 13,000 had grown to 20,000 recently due to an influx of refugees from other embattled areas.

The militants say they are fighting for broader rights for ethnic Albanians, who make up between a quarter and a third of Macedonia's 2 million people. The government contends the rebels are separatists bent on seizing territory.

Locals said only a few thousand people remained in Aracinovo, where the normal population of about 13,000 had grown in recent weeks to 20,000 due to an influx of refugees.

The fighting west of Kumanovo focuses on a strategically important rebel-held region near Lipkovo _ insurgents there control a reservoir that normally supplies Kumanovo with water. For more than a week, the population has been forced to rely on tanker trucks.

The International Red Cross has tried to help end the shortages by mediating between the authorities and the rebels, with little success.

The militants say they are fighting for broader rights for ethnic Albanians, who make up between a quarter and a third of Macedonia's 2 million people. The government contends the rebels are separatists bent on seizing territory.