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.