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Powell To Visit France, Balkans

April 4, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Secretary of State Colin Powell will visit Paris on April 11 for a discussion with European colleagues on the Balkans situation and will travel to Macedonia the next day for talks with regional leaders on the same issue.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the meeting in Paris will involve representatives of the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and Italy _ the so-called contact group of nations that plays a key role in Balkan diplomacy.

In Macedonia, Powell will attend a meeting of regional foreign ministers convened by Foreign Minister Srdjan Kerim, Boucher said.

Other officials said Powell may also travel to Kosovo and Bosnia.

The United States has offered strong backing for the Macedonian government in its efforts to deal with the uprising that ethnic Albanian rebels began last month.

Boucher said Powell will reaffirm his ``support for the efforts of the Macedonian government to calm the situation and to provide a political route and access for the ethnic Albanian population.″

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