European Union foreign ministers called for a
smaller NATO-led force to remain in Macedonia to protect OSCE
observers when NATO’s “Essential Harvest” operations end on 26
September. The EU ministers rejected a proposal by the EU’s
special envoy to Macedonia, François Léotard, that
the EU should send in its own force to oversee the return of
over 70,000 displaced persons.
The foreign ministers supported the option of the
deployment of a NATO force with a mandate of the United
Nations Security Council in order to avoid “a security
vacuum” when NATO withdraws.
Only Britain opposed the idea of a UN
mandate. It shares Washington’s concerns over the potential
role of Russia and China in deciding a NATO mission in
Russia and Ukraine would be invited to
take part in such an operation.
The EU also agreed to maintain and
augment the presence of its observers in Macedonia.