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Updated: 27-Jun-2001 Week of 25 June - 1 July 2001

27 Jun 2001

NATO prepares for possible operation to disarm ethnic Albanian armed groups

Further discussions have taken place at NATO HQ following the statement made by the Alliance on 20 June, promising conditional assistance to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) to disarm the National Liberation Army (see "Skopje requests NATO assistance"). On 27 June, the North Atlantic Council - NATO's top decision making body- discussed the Operational Plan drawn up by the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and subsequently approved by the Alliance's Military Committee.

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.

Additional information:

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