|Updated: 27-Jun-2001||Week of 25 June - 1 July 2001|
NATO prepares for possible operation to disarm ethnic Albanian armed groups
The Operational Plan is the first step in a process that will prepare NATO for the possibility of entering the country to help disarm ethnic Albanian groups should the two conditions announced in last week's statement be fulfilled (successful political dialogue between the parties and satisfactory implementation of a cease-fire). At the same time, a Force Generation Conference provides the framework within which NATO member countries volunteer forces for the operation. Confirmation of these offers will be sought as soon as the Operational Plan is approved, which is expected shortly.
With the disarming and withdrawal of ethnic Albanian groups from the strategic village of Aracinovo on 25 June, NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, stated this " is an essential and encouraging step toward a wider cease-fire and a comprehensive solution to the crisis in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) ".
NATO and the European Union are continuing their close collaboration on developments in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1). Lord Robertson and the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy of the EU, Javier Solana, met on 26 June to discuss recent developments. Former French Defence Minister, François Léotard, has been appointed as representative of the EU, acting under the authority of the High Representative for the CFSP, Javier Solana.