Updated: 25-Jun-2001 NATO Press Releases


22 June 2001

Statement by the Secretary General
Concerning Renewed Fighting
in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1)

The resumption of hostilities in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is complete folly. The breach of the two unilateral declarations of military restraint put in place last week is deeply regrettable. The first and most urgent step must be to reinstate a cessation of hostilities.

New outbreaks of violence, from whichever side, are madness at this sensitive time. There is no military solution to this crisis and over-reactions at this moment simply deepen already critical divisions.

The only way out of the crisis is through political dialogue leading to realistic reforms, which address legitimate grievances. The international community is involved in helping the local political parties to get an agreed outcome but this help is being undermined and threatened by this unacceptable resort to violent action.

I want to make it clear beyond any doubt at all that NATO troops will not get engaged in establishing or policing any form of partition or demarcation lines inside the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. NATO will not collude in the slicing up of this country on ethnic lines that would be a blueprint for disaster.

On the other hand, when a political agreement is reached, NATO is willing to mount an operation to assist in the receiving and destroying of arms turned over by the armed groups.

I strongly urge the political leaders in Skopje to get serious about producing a political solution to the present crisis and to focus urgently on achieving an agreement. This is no time for half-measures on the political side or time-wasting posturing. The people need their leaders to immediately chart the way to a peaceful future.

I am in regular contact with the EU High Representative, Dr. Javier Solana, as he seeks to move this process forward. He has my full support in pressing all the parties to be realistic, flexible and bold in pulling the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia back from the brink of bloody civil war.

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.
+32 (0)2 707 50 41
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B-1110 Brussels/Bruxelles

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