Ethnic Albanian guerillas in Macedonia agreed on
14 August to disarm following promises of an amnesty from
President Boris Trajkovski thereby removing the last formal
obstacle to the deployment of NATO troops. The North Atlantic
Council will meet today in Brussels to decide whether the
deployment of NATO troops in the disarmament mission, codename
Operation Essential Harvest, should commence.
If NATO leaders are satisfied that the ceasefire is stable
then they will decide to launch Operation Essential
Harvest. This calls for the deployment of 3,500 troops from
several countries under the leadership of the UK, who will
also provide the bulk of the force. Operation Essential
Harvest’s main aim is the peaceful disarmament of ethnic
Albanian guerillas in a 30 day operation. NATO does not
want to get involved in a peace-keeping mission of the
types it currently runs in Bosnia and Kosovo.