Updated: 26-Jun-2001 NATO Press Releases


25 June 2001


by the Secretary General

The withdrawal of the ethnic Albanian armed groups from the village of Aracinovo is a major step forward in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) peace process. NATO and the international community welcome the successful conclusion of this evacuation today.

This is an essential and encouraging step towards a wider ceasefire and a comprehensive solution to the crisis in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which sets an end to all violence.

This is a victory for common sense. I commend all those who have taken this courageous step forward.

Now is the time to seize the opportunity and press forward with a political solution. The evacuation of Aracinovo demonstrates that where there is a will, a peaceful solution can be found. It is now vital that the dialogue amongst the political parties be resumed and a political conclusion reached as soon as possible.

I stress what I have said before: there is no military solution to the current crisis. The cessation of violence must now be made permanent. I have been in close touch with President Trajkovski who has shown tenacious and wise leadership throughout the process, and I commend him for his role and handling of the present situation.

The outbreak of violence from the ethnic Albanian armed groups in Tetovo today is inexcusable given their promised ceasefire. I strongly condemn the attack on the police and call on the extremists to stop this disgraceful violence now.

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.
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