on the ceasefires in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ª
The Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson
of Port Ellen
NATO Secretary General
Dr. Javier Solana
EU High Representative
for Common Foreign
and Security Policy
We strongly welcome the open-ended ceasefires declared by the military and police authorities of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ª, and by the armed ethnic Albanian extremists operating in the north of the country. As we have repeatedly stated, there can be no military solution to the present conflict - only a political solution can provide lasting peace and stability in the country and in the wider region. In this regard, the commitment to these open-ended ceasefires is a key step toward resolving the crisis.
We call upon all parties to respect fully these ceasefire declarations and to act with utmost discipline and restraint in avoiding incidents that could lead to a return to violence.
We urge all political parties to use the opportunity afforded by these ceasefires to make significant progress in the ongoing political dialogue. Now is the time for leadership and vision to chart the future of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ª.
The European Union and NATO each remain poised to assist the government in Skopje in the implementation of a settlement, including through EU financial assistance and the deployment of a NATO military force to assist in the disarmament of the ethnic Albanian fighters. The maintenance of a durable ceasefire - in which today's announcements are a vital step - as well as progress toward a political settlement are important conditions that must be met to pave the way for such EU and NATO assistance.
ª Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.