Macedonia peace deal in doubt

The Macedonian government proclaimed a
unilateral ceasefire on 12 August in a bid to ensure that the
signing of a peace deal with Albanian guerrillas goes ahead.
However, renewed fighting between government forces and ethnic
Albanian guerrillas in the early hours of 13 August has called
into question the likelihood of the signing ceremony going

The peace deal aims to give the ethnic Albanian minority in
Macedonia a more equal status with the Macedonian majority.
Of particular concern to Albanians is the status of their
language and a say in the ethnic make-up of the police in
those parts of the country where they are in a majority.


The Albanian insurgency began in February when the Albanian
National Liberation Army (NLA) invaded the north of
Macedonia from Kosovo. That fighting has broken out shortly
after the declaration of a ceasefire in line with the
pattern that has developed since the conflict began.
Another feature of this pattern is that as each ceasefire
has been broken, so the level of violence in the conflict
has escalated.


The peace deal is due to be signed in the Macedonian
capital Skopje in the afternoon of 13 August. Further talks
will take place once the deal is signed before the
deployment of 3,500 NATO troops who will disarm the
Albanian guerrillas takes place.


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