ebalkan on 30 Mar 2001 04:28:48 -0000
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[Nettime-bold] Briefing 29-03-2001
"EURO-BALKAN" INSTITUTE ON MACEDONIAN CRISIS
- Daily briefing from Macedonian press about Macedonian crisis
- Daily briefing from international press about Macedonian crisis
- Supplement: NATO's role in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Facts and Figures
a) DAILY BRIEFING FROM MACEDONIAN PRESS ABOUT MACEDONIAN CRISIS
THE ARMY AND POLICE ENTERED THE VILLAGES BREST, GOSHINCE AND GRACHANI
The Macedonian army and police, yesterday morning started a big search and sweep offensive of the terrorists’ nests along the North border in the area of Skopje and Kumanovo. The results of the offensive are that the terrorists’ gangs fleeing Macedonian territory towards Kosovo are neutralized. The latest information is that the Army in one stage cleared all points where there was information of presence of terrorists. On the “Western Front” the search and sweep action in the surrounding of Shara Mountain yesterday continued with the same intensity. Today it is expected the special forces of the “tiger” and “wolf” units to enter the Tetovo villages, Shipkovica and Vejce. Yesterday the Macedonian security authorities entered the villages Grachani, Malino Maalo, Brest, Goshince and the entire region around Lipkovsko Ezero (lake). There were no dead or wounded on the side of the Macedonian security forces. The special forces of the Macedonian Army together with the soldiers of the Border Brigade acted against the terrorists in two directions. One lead to the village Ramno, towards Lipkovsko Ezero, and the other lead to Kodra Fura, through Brest to the village Lipkovo. The two wings, by the end of yesterday, joined in the Lipkovo region. The Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed that until now, only one dead person is registered wearing a National Liberation Army uniform in the Shara Mountain region, and that it does not want to announce the number of dead terrorists. The Government will announce the number of casualties on the side of the terrorists after the end of all military actions. (“DNEVNIK”)
K-FOR OPERATION ON THE MACEDONIAN – KOSOVO BORDER
“K-for increased its presence on the border between Kosovo and Macedonia with the aim of insuring greater security of the border and it is certain that its latest actions had great effect”, it is pointed out in yesterday’s announcement of the K-for Command on the border activities of the Multi-national security forces in Kosovo. “K-for has completely understood the worries of the Macedonian Government and in the past few weeks has conducted large and successful military operations along the border. With a large number of infantry forces, with high-tech surveillance equipment stationed along the border, these actions have decreased the number of attempts for illegal entering across the border. The significant in number presence of K-for means that the Kosovo border region is not an area from which the Albanian extremists trying to destabilize the situation in Macedonia, receive support”. The collaboration between K-for and the Macedonian Government is strengthened with the constant flow of information between them, and the common work group made up of representatives of K-for and Macedonia discusses the operative actions along the border. K-for, from the Multi-national Brigade – East, appointed a team for communication with the Macedonian border authorities. This team has direct communication with the Multi-national Brigade – East stationed in the border region and the intention is to achieve improved communication in the border region. (‘NOVA MAKEDONIJA”)
STATEMENT OF HISNI SHACIRI OF DPA (DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF THE ALBANIANS)
In the statement given yesterday for “Kosovapress” by Hysni Shaqiri, Macedonian Government member, one reads: “I, Hysni Shaqiri, born 1.3.1949 in the village Hotle, Lipkovo Municipality, member of the current Macedonian Government, member of the Central Presidency of the DPA based in Tetovo, state the following: Aware of the current situation that the Albanian people are undergoing in Macedonia, and now, when the liberation battle between the National Liberation Army and the Macedonian Military – Police Forces has already begun, I have decided to freeze all party and parliamentary functions and to join the troupes of the National Liberation Army. I appeal to the electorate of the zone that has voted for me, to pass over to the side of the fighters for freedom. At the same time, I appeal to the high officials of DPA and the other Albanian members of the Macedonian Parliament, to join the fighters for freedom! Whoever wishes to contact me, can find me on the first front line”, it is said at the end of Mr. Hysni Shaqiri’s statement. (“NOVA MAKEDONIJA”)
THE CHIEF OF DIPLOMACY OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC, YORGOS PAPANDREU, IN SKOPJE
“Macedonia’s problem is not a problem emerging from only two groups, the Albanians and Macedonians, but from two concepts: the concept of an one-ethnic society opposed to the concept of an multi-ethnic society. The creation of an one-ethnic environment must not be allowed, it is an entirely fascistic and undemocratic way. We support a multi-ethnic society. There are many peoples living in the Balkans, and the only way to resolve the crisis is not to disrupt the inter-ethnic collaboration and to stick to the principle of border integrity. I am pleased that the leaders of the Albanian political parties support this concept”, stated the Foreign Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Yorgos Papandreu, during his visit in Skopje. In Papandreu’s opinion, the change of the Macedonian Constitution is an internal issue, and “no one from the outside has the right to change it or to evaluate it”. (“VEST”)
A LETTER FROM HIS BEATITUDE STEFAN, ARCHBISHOP OF OHRID AND MACEDONIA, TO THE UN FOR HELP AND SUPPORT OF MACEDONIA
The Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, His Beatitude Stefan, in the name of the Holy Archbishopric Synod of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the cleric body, the monastic body and the followers of the Orthodox faith, addressed a letter to the United Nations Organization. In the letter, His Beatitude, among other things, underlines that as people of faith, we are deeply distressed that hatred, arms and all evils of war threaten the peaceful Macedonian people. For this reason, the Macedonian Orthodox Church warns, while there is still time, that if this bloody speech of arms continues in this extremely sensitive region both in with respect to religion and ethnicity, there is a chance for deep, bloody wounds to be opened both in aspects of the spiritual and the material, wounds that will not heal for a very long time. That is why, as spiritual shepherd of our people, we feel as our first responsibility the need to appeal to you as an institution of the people and to point out the seriousness of the situation and also to the possible unpredictable impacts on the peace, stability and inter-ethnic relations in Macedonia”. (“NOVA MAKEDONIJA”)
b) DAILY BRIEFING FROM INTERNATIONAL PRESS ABOUT MACEDONIAN CRISIS
KOSOVO LEADERS URGE MACEDONIA NEGOTIATIONS
Kosovo politicians are urging the Macedonian government to sit down and negotiate with ethnic Albanian rebels. They say the authorities in Skopje have no hope of defeating the insurgents in the long run. "It's like trying to shoot flies with a pistol," said ex-KLA officer Naim Maloku, who's now a member of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK. At the same time, Kosovo politicians appear to be urging the NLA to curb its military activities and work towards an accommodation with the Skopje authorities. Maloku's party, headed by former KLA leader Ramush Haradinaj was one of the three main Kosovan parties to sign a declaration last week condemning the violence in Macedonia. This came as something of a surprise in Kosovo, because NLA leaders Ali Ahmeti and Amrush Xhemajli, along with Haradinaj, were founding members of the KLA. Some have suggested that their condemnation of the violence in Macedonia is merely an attempt to appease the international community. Postponement could also further isolate the Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA, a member of the ruling coalition in Macedonia, or the party may well be forced to leave the government if the fighting continues. DPA chief Arben Xhaferi has been blamed for failing to redress ethnic Albanian rights. (Excerpts from IWPR)
MACEDONIAN PARTIES GET READY FOR TALKS
"That is the only way because otherwise it would seem that we were pushed to the negotiating table by the terrorists," the official said. "It is impossible for a multi-ethnic state to be claimed only by one nation", said Arben Xhaferi, the leader of the main ethnic Albanian DPA party and a key coalition partner in Prime Minister “Ljubisa” Georgievski's government. To avoid antagonizing majority Slavs the constitution would be changed to describe Macedonia as a "civil society", without detailing its ethnic make-up, and be revamped to address other deficiencies that do not touch upon inter-ethnic relations. The majority Slav population, who worry that Macedonia, which only gained its independence from socialist Yugoslavia in 1991, would lose its identity may resist concessions. Macedonia has dropped its objection to international mediation in its domestic affairs by agreeing to talks outside the country, although outsiders would not necessarily mediate the government official said negotiations. With the support of its European allies the government has categorically refused to negotiate with "extremist groups" which it says imported the insurgency from Albanian-dominated Kosovo. But National Liberation Army (NLA) rebels insist they must be a part of the negotiations. "If we negotiate, we should negotiate without conditions", an NLA spokesman, known as commander Sokoli, told the Kosovan daily Koha Ditore. (Excerpts from Reuters) While the government claims victory, the rebels suggest they have regrouped elsewhere in the rugged and largely inaccessible hills. “We have more volunteers,” said Sokoli, contacted by mobile phone. (Excerpts from Associated Press)
PROMISE OF EU MEMBERSHIP COULD LURE MACEDONIAN PLAYERS TO TALKS
"I pointed out that the union had offered the FYROM a clear European perspective... being the first country to sign a Stability and Association Agreement," Solana said on return from a lightning tour of the region. "The ambition of joining the union is a powerful uniting force in Macedonian politics," he added. "This perspective could only be realized... if all sides clearly distanced themselves from violence and committed... to settle their political problems through dialogue," said Solana" I also suggested that it would be a good idea to bring all the relevant parties to the signing ceremony, thus symbolizing the unity of FYROM on its way to Europe," That operation was "remarkably successful," he said. "All military objectives have been reached, practically without any civilian casualties." It was, "overall, a limited and proportional response to the military threat which helped to stabilize the situation," he said. "The time had now come to concentrate on the political agenda," said Solana. "I stressed they must stay within the state institutions... the message had some impact. He believes he could convince the Macedonian leaders "that a clear political gesture towards the Albanian community would be required," if the Albanian parties were to be kept on board. He said he proposed the idea of forming a "European commission" of the main party leaders from both communities for "dialogue purposes." "The disintegration of the FYROM," he added, "remains every Balkan expert's worst nightmare." (Excerpts from Agence France Presse)
MACEDONIA ATTACKS TO FINISH OFF INSURGENTS
President Trajkovski argued yesterday in an interview that the military's offensive had restored confidence among Macedonian people and proved the country was able to defend its fragile democracy. "This is a victory for all citizens of Macedonia, regardless of their ethnic background." Mr. Trajkovski claimed no one suffered discrimination in Macedonia on the basis of religion or ethnicity. However, he promised to discuss the possibility of revising the Constitution to "recognize equal participation of all citizens based on individual rights". Nikola Dimitrov, the presidential security adviser, said "urban terrorism" remained a threat. The leading Albanian politician in Macedonia, Arben Xhaferi, has warned that political leaders may have no more than a month to show they can improve the lives of Albanians through political means, before more young Albanians in the republic turn to the gun. "There is a big risk that the ethnic divisions in the society will grow more extreme," he said. "But we are stressing only more rights for the Albanians; we want to take away nothing from the Macedonians." (Excerpts from Associated Press, The New York Times)
APTN PRODUCER KILLED IN KOSOVO
An Associated Press Television News producer was killed Thursday near the Kosovo-Macedonia border as he arrived to cover the deployment of NATO- led peacekeepers monitoring fighting between Macedonian troops and ethnic Albanian rebels. Kerem Lawton, 30, a British national, died of shrapnel wounds he suffered when a shell hit his vehicle as he arrived in midmorning in the village of Krivenik, 1,200 yards inside the Kosovo border. At least two other civilians were killed and 10 others wounded in the assault. Their identities were not immediately known.
Syllejman Klokoqi, an APTN cameraman who was working with Lawton but had left the car moments before it was struck, was uninjured. Both the Macedonian army and the rebels denied that they were responsible for the Krivenik attack. Commander Sokoli, a regional rebel commander, said the insurgents lacked the military capability to strike the village from their positions in Macedonia. A Macedonian military spokesman, Blagoja Markovski, said the shell that killed Lawton "was not fired from the Macedonian side" but that the army was conducting an investigation to be certain. (Excerpts from The Associated Press)
ALBANIANS HELD FOR MASSACRE OF SERBS
SAS soldiers in Kosovo have seized a group of ethnic Albanians suspected of being involved in the mass killing of Serbs, it was confirmed yesterday. Four of those detained are believed to have been identified as members of the Kosovo Protection Corps, which grew out of the Kosovo Liberation Army and is headed by the KLA's commander, Agim Ceku. KLA members were trained by the SAS before it was disbanded after the Kosovan war, and the arrests are likely to embarrass Nato, the UN, and other international agencies trying to impose law and order in the Serbian province. (Excerpts from Guardian)According to a paper titled "Potential Struggles in Macedonia" by the Turkish Research Center, Albanians living in Macedonia are exposed to discrimination. Although rights and freedoms are guaranteed before law they are violated in daily lives of the Albanian people. Albanians, who form 22.9 % of total population, have only 2.9 % of administrational positions and 87 % of Albanians see themselves subject to discrimination. (Excerpts from Cumhuriyet)
MACEDONIAN MINISTER URGES NATO TO SHOW ITS TEETH Macedonian Foreign Minister Srgan Kerim urged NATO in an interview on Thursday to "show its teeth" to Albanian guerrillas and stop them entering his country from Kosovo. "NATO must fulfill its obligations in Kosovo and secure the border with Macedonia," he told Austria's Die Presse newspaper. (Reuters) “We should have had many more Albanians in national structures. That would have been important not only politically but socially," said Kerim ahead of talks Wednesday with Austrian counterpart Benita Ferrero-Waldner in Vienna. "If Albanians are not part of national structures, they can't identify with the country," he added. (Excerpts from Agence France Presse)
DEAL WILL LET NATO FORCES USE BULGARIAN TERRITORY Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mikhailova said on Thursday an agreement with NATO now before parliament would allow alliance forces to use Bulgarian territory in the event of a Balkan crisis. Ratification is expected on Friday or early next week. It does not directly mention the crisis in neighboring Macedonia, where government troops are fighting ethnic Albanian guerrillas, but Asen Agov, chairman of the parliamentary foreign policy commission, told Reuters there was a direct link. (Excerpts from Reuters)
c) SUPPLEMENT: NATO's ROLE IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA(1) FACTS AND FIGURES the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia(1)
NATO firmly supports the sovereignty, stability and territorial integrity of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. We condemn extremist violence and reject any attempts to change borders by force. We call on all parties in the region to speak out against violent extremism.
NATO fully backs the focus of the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on including the established ethnic Albanian leadership and the broadest possible spectrum of political parties in the fight against extremism.
It is important to address the legitimate aspirations of the ethnic Albanian population as such, which will in turn ensure the isolation of extremist groups.
The Secretary General has appointed Ambassador Hans Jörg Eiff as NATO's Senior Civilian Representative to Skopje. His principal task is to foster communications and coordination between NATO and senior members of the government in Skopje on issues regarding the recent violence in the country and along its borders.
Ambassador Eiff already held such a position from April 1999 to February 2000 and was pivotal in maintaining a close contact between the authorities in Skopje and NATO during the Kosovo crisis.
NATO's Senior Representative will also establish contacts with political leaders and representatives of civil society, keeping them informed of NATO's policies and initiatives in support of the authorities of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in order to preserve peace and stability.
NATO is undertaking continued political efforts to support the government in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia through frequent high-ranking visits to Skopje and invitations to Brussels. Secretary General Lord Robertson has been in touch with President Trajkovski, Prime Minister Georgievski and Defence and Foreign Ministers to consult on the evolving situation.
NATO supports the moderate ethnic Albanian political leaders and will be maintaining increased contacts between senior NATO officials and these leaders.
NATO encourages local level programmes that promote multi-ethnic cooperation and work to develop consensus against violence.
COMKFOR is conducting robust operations to strengthen the security along the Kosovo border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:
KFOR has increased ground and aerial patrols in Kosovo along the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
MNB East has been mounting robust cordon and search operations.
Additional assets needed have already been requested from nations by SHAPE.
KFOR will be enhancing its support of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia authorities by sharing surveillance and intelligence information and KFOR has provided a tactical ground liaison team to coordinate with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia forces, establishing procedures for sharing surveillance.
NATO supports efforts to integrate ethnic Albanians in the armed forces and police units, increasing the number of ethnic Albanians involved in security in the ethnic Albanian areas.
BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL ASSISTANCE IS ALSO BEING PROVIDED SUCH AS:
The United States will be providing Special Forces Training to 40 soldiers of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, including border guards and other nations are being encouraged to do the same.
The number of international advisers to the Ministry of Defence will be increased.
MEASURES IN THE CONTEXT OF PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE
In the context of PfP, a number of short-term measures have been agreed in order to help the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia improve its border security, including the exchange of liaison officers between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior and between the border units of the armed forces and the police at the operational and tactical level.
A team of operational planners from NATO and NATO countries will deploy shortly to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in support of the border forces. These planners will aim to help the border forces improve their operational planning, help establish a Joint Operations Centre between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior, advise on liaison arrangements at the Ministry, Command and unit level between forces of the Ministry of Defence and of the Ministry of Interior and identify urgent training requirements.
NATO will identify logistics, equipment and training support that can be provided to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in order to enable it to deal better with the threat, and will encourage nations to provide it.
A focused and coordinated effort of Allies on the equipment programmes for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be launched with the aim to validate and prioritise requirements.
In addition there will be medium and long-term measures to support former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's border control capabilities. These will include:
1) assistance to enable the border brigade to improve its border security operations
2) assistance for the development of a concept of operations for the border forces
3) measures to improve cooperation and coordination between the Armed Forces and the police on border security
Special mobile training teams will be deployed to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to provide training to the border guards on required training areas in the medium and longer term.
NATO will be assisting the authorities of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to develop more effective threat assessment procedures and an autonomous capability for border control.
NATO will also encourage a regional approach to the issue of border control, contributing to the efforts of the international community to help the countries of the region to develop autonomous capabilities for the surveillance and security of their borders.
On the request of the authorities in Albania, NATO intends to send an Advisory Mission on Border Security to Albania to help establish adequate level of control of its borders with particular focus to the borders with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
1. TURKEY RECOGNISES THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA WITH ITS CONSTITUTIONAL NAME.
This text is not a formally agreed NATO document and, therefore, does not necessarily represent the official views of individual member governments on all policy issues discussed.
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