|Updated: 07-Apr-2003||March 2003|
Operation Allied Harmony ends
A ceremony held in Skopje today marked the end of NATO’s peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1 and its handover to the European Union.
The decision to terminate Operation Allied Harmony as of 31 March was taken by the North Atlantic Council – NATO’s top decision-making body - on 17 March. The handover has been made possible following the agreements reached by the EU and NATO on access by the EU to the collective assets and capabilities of NATO for EU-led operations.
The handover has the full agreement of the authorities in Skopje, and underlines the considerable progress achieved during Allied Harmony and previous NATO-led operations.
“By taking on its first military mission, the EU is demonstrating that its project of a European Security and Defence Policy has come of age. Based on new institutional ties with NATO, the EU can now even more effectively bring to bear its full range of political, economic and military tools,” said NATO Secretary Lord Robertson at the handover ceremony.
NATO remains fully committed to helping the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to become fully integrated in Euro-Atlantic structures. To that end NATO will maintain a Senior Civilian Representative and a Senior Military Representative in Skopje, who will continue to assist the authorities in the development of security sector reform and adaptation to NATO standards.
Allied Harmony was NATO’s third operation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, following Operation Essential Harvest from August to September 2001 and Task Force Fox from September 2001 to December 2002.