Greece proposes international conference on Macedonia

EU considers Greek proposal for
Rambouillet-style international conference to avert civil war
in Macedonia

The Greek foreign minister has discussed the proposal with
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski. However, Mr
Trajkovski has not warmed to the idea. The Macedonian
government fears that the conference could boost the ethnic
Albanian guerrillas, in the same way as the Rambouillet
peace conference on Kosovo in 1999 that led to NATO’s
bombing of Yugoslavia.

Mr Trajkovski has announced “an imminent
breakthrough” in talks with the political leaders of the
ethnic Albanian community in Macedonia that would bring the
four-month Albanian insurgency to an end. The Macedonian
Slav and ethnic Albanian parties have also considered a new
draft constitution proposed by French constitutional expert
Robert Badinter.

The French proposal excludes the most
radical Albanian demands that could break up the country
along ethnic lines. The proposed deal rejects the demand
for a new post of an Albanian vice primer minister who
could veto all key government decisions. However, ethnic
Albanias demand more rights than the French deal


Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou proposed that the
European Union organises an international peace conference
in an effort to restore peace in Macedonia and find a
lasting solution for inter-ethnic tensions. Mr Papandreou
said that Britain, France, Germany, Greece and other EU
countries are considering the idea of multilateral talks
somewhere in Europe, possibly France.


The fighting between the Albanian National Liberation Army
(NLA) and the government forces started in February this
year when armed Albanian guerrillas attacked the north of
Macedonia across the border from neighbouring Kosovo and
Southern Serbia. The insurgents say they are fighting for
greater rights for the Albanian minority that accounts for
nearly a third of Macedonia's population. However, there
are widespread fears that their aim is to grab parts of
Macedonian territory and annex it to Kosovo and ultimately
to Albania.


NATO has pledged to send 3,000 troops to Macedonia to
disarm the Albanian guerrillas, who invaded Macedonia from
Kosovo and call themselves the "national liberation army".
However, NATO will only send in troops once a peace
agreement has been agreed.


Subscribe to our newsletters