NATO will have to extend its peace operation in Macedonia up to December because Turkey is still blocking the EU-NATO deal, needed for the EU to take over the NATO-led operation.
The EU was expected to take the command of the peace
operation in Macedonia on 1 October. It would have been its first
mission under its new European Security and Defence Policy, whose
ultimate aim it is to set up 60,000-strong military forces in 2003
for European operations.
The NATO-led “Amber Fox” operation in Macedonia
consists of 800 soldiers, most of whom are European. It has a
mandate to protect international monitors, overseeing the
implementation of a peace agreement between the Macedonian majority
and an ethnic Albanian minority, concluded in 2000 after an
insurgency by ethnic Albanian guerrillas.
The EU cannot take over the mission without a
unanimous agreement from the 19 NATO member states on the terms for
European access to NATO’s assets and planning. Turkey has been
blocking the EU-NATO agreement since 2000.