NATO preparing to intervene in Macedonia?

NATO preparing for deployment in Macedonia to
help disarm Albanian guerrillas and put in place a peace

Defence sources said that NATO is drawing up contingency
plans to send up to 10,000 troops to Macedonia whose
president, Boris Trajkovski, made an official request for
NATO forces to help disarm Albanian guerrillas and end a
four-month insurgency.

Several Western countries are said to be
putting together “stabilisation forces” to prevent the war
from spreading, and are preparing the ground in southern
Kosovo by preventing the Albanian separatist National
Liberation Army from supplying and reinforcing the
insurgents in Macedonia.

The purpose of possible Western military
intervention against Albanian separatist guerrillas would
be to put in place a peace plan, proposed by Macedonia’s
government. The National Liberation Army of Albanians also
demanded the presence of NATO troops as a precondition for
their disarmament, which reinforces the probability of an


Representatives of the top five NATO countries - USA, UK,
France, Germany and Italy - are reported to have met to
discuss putting troops into Macedonia to stop a rebel
offensive threatening the integrity of the country and the
stability of the region. However, NATO Secretary General
George Robertson ruled out military intervention following
his visit to Skopje on 14 June.


Clashes in Macedonia began in February this year when armed
Albanian guerrillas attacked the north of Macedonia across
the border from neighbouring Kosovo. Macedonian officials
believe that the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army
(NLA) is using terrorist methods to grab part of
Macedonia's territory and annex it to Kosovo and Albania to
form a greater Albania, an all-Albanian ethnic state.

Macedonia was the only former
south-Slavic republic to leave Yugoslavia on peaceful terms
and has since joined NATO's Partnership for Peace and
signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the
EU. However, the country's integration into Europe is
blocked by the explosion of ethnic violence.


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