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Nato fears US will abandon Balkans.
By Ben Rooney, Defence Staff
NATO allies fear Washington will use events in Afghanistan to back out of peacekeeping in the Balkans.
An unnamed Pentagon official was quoted yesterday as saying that troops for any operation in Afghanistan would almost certainly be pulled out of the 10,000-strong US peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Kosovo.
The suggestion caused concern at Nato HQ in Brussels. An official said: "We would not expect it to be an excuse to get out of the Balkans."
Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, is known to want to reduce America's contribution in the Balkans.
Macedonia arms cache fuels unease.
October 11, 2001 Posted: 1336 GMT
SKOPJE, Macedonia -- Rocket launchers and anti-tank mines are among a cache of arms found by police in Macedonia.
The find, in rebel-held territory, adds uncertainty to a peace process that has already ground to a halt.
Army and police officials uncovered buried weapons on Wednesday in the village of Tanuse, near the Albanian border, about 50 miles southwest of the capital, Skopje.
Police spokesman Vasko Sutarov said the cache included rocket launchers, more than a dozen anti-tank mines, several machine-guns and Kalashnikov rifles, about 60 hand grenades and a "substantial quantity" of explosives.
The find also calls into question the success of NATO's recent Operation Essential Harvest which was supposed to collect rebel-held arms.
While the operation yielded over 4,000 weapons, the Macedonian Government maintained that many more weapons were unaccounted for.
NATO spokesman Major Timothy Dunne said despite the cache find the alliance was "happy that there are fewer weapons that can kill people now in Macedonia."
He declined to comment on any political implications of Macedonian troops venturing into rebel-held land.
According to the peace deal, Macedonia was to pass increased rights for the ethnic Albanian minority in return for the weapons' surrender.
Earlier this week, Macedonia granted amnesty to disarmed ethnic-Albanian rebels as part of the peace accord.
But there are concerns that the amnesty may contain loopholes that risk increasing distrust in the troubled peace process.
"The amnesty was supposed to be a major step forward to reconciliation. But when you take a closer look, it sows doubt and confusion, like a lot of the behaviour here with respect to the peace plan," a senior Western diplomat told Reuters.
"The international community here has its hands full trying to carry the whole country -- bobbing and weaving, kicking and screaming -- to the other side of the abyss."
The general pardon was supposed to encourage guerrillas to reintegrate peacefully in Macedonian society by releasing them from fear of arrest or persecution for fighting the state.
"This supposed amnesty does not make us feel safe. It seems to have the opposite aim," a prominent former NLA brigade commander known only as Leka told Reuters.
PRESIDENT TRAJKOVSKI'S ADDRESS ON OCTOBER 11, NATIONAL UPRISING DAY.
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski addressing the Wednesday's festive session of the Macedonian Parliament on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of October 11, National Uprising Day said "today we celebrate an event, which represents the foundation in the history of our state and nation."
"October 11, 1941 is a symbol of the continuity of the century long struggle of the Macedonian people for national freedom and independence. The uprising in 1941 in its essence was a follow-up of the Ilinden uprising 1903 and the struggle for the realisation of the ideals of Macedonia revolutionaries from previous decades and centuries. In the short period between these two historic events, during the Balkan wars and the Second World War, the Macedonian people have gone through most tragic periods in its history. Macedonia became an object of foreign interests, divisions among neighbours following momentary interests of Europe in those times," Macedonian President said.
"At the same time, the Macedonian people were subject to the most cruel denationalisation, assimilation and genocide. At the same time the resistance of the Macedonian people was being conducted in a divided homeland, over the borders and under enemy regimes," President said.
According to him however, a significant part of the national and state founding movement in this period, entered the antifascist movement, and preparing itself for probable world war, has clearly stated the prime goal of the future struggle of the Macedonian people which is the achievement of an independent state. "This goal was shared by all other minorities in Macedonia, who also gave their contribution to the common struggle," President said.
"At the beginning of the Second World War Macedonia was again divided, becoming again an object of different Balkan calculations. This is why October 11, 1941 was another strong message that this nation, which sacrificed so many lives for its freedom and wants nothing more than live in freedom and equally to other Balkan nations, will not allow others to decide for its fate. The conclusions from the first session of ASNOM for the constitution of the Macedonian state and the national symbols, which include the Macedonian language and its Cyrillic alphabet, are foundations on which our history will continue to be built. Those universal values put October 11th, on the top of our history as achievements that must be highly respected and defended," Macedonian President stressed.
"With the commitment one decade ago to build its future as an independent and sovereign state, the Republic of Macedonia has committed itself to adopt and respect all achievements and principals of modern democracy. We have adopted and respected the principal of inviolability of existing borders, although Macedonia has been the most divided territory in more recent history on the Balkans," President said.
"We have opted for the respect of minority rights, surpassing the required international standards, believing that our neighbours would see as a democratic and civilising obligation the recognition of these same rights. We have opted for establishing good neighbourly relations rejecting the burden from the past, and with the vision for new relations among Balkan nations and for a different future in the region. In brief, we have opted for a modern, democratic state, common home to all the citizens. Our strategic goal was and still is integration in European and Euro-Atlantic structures. We know that the path we have to follow is neither nor easy, but we see no alternative. Thanks to its determination to carry out these orientations even in most difficult circumstances, for a decade the Republic of Macedonia has been pointed out as a model of stability and cooperation in the region."
"As a result of its principled policy, the Republic of Macedonia was the first country in the region to sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union. We resolved long-standing issues in the relations with our neighbours. The demarcation of the border with the FRY is of crucial importance. On economic level, the reforms that were conducted began to produce the first results. It was in these moments, though without having internal cause, that we faced the most serious challenge since the independence of our country. Macedonia became a target of terrorist attacks from outside. Anti civilising forces have attacked one of the strongholds of the Macedonian stability - the century-long multi ethnic tolerance. They skilfully covered their criminal interest, greater state ideas and racist orientations for ethnically clean territories, under the mask of the fight for human rights."
By taking advantage of the situation in the region and in the Republic of Macedonia, as well as of the previous involvement of the international community in Kosovo, terrorist groups partially achieved their goal to destabilise our country by destabilising interethnic relations. "Facing this challenge, we have decided to find a way out from the crisis based on three main objectives: Protection of the unitary character, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia and democratic development with the respect of human and minority rights; To avoid a bloody interethnic war; Insure international support in the resolution of the crisis," President stressed.
"All this is being done in function of the rapprochement of the Republic of Macedonia to the family of European nations. We have signed the Framework political agreement, in order to strengthen interethnic trust, tolerance and cohabitation as well as enhance the European character of the state in which the protection of individual rights will be a priority. We have prepared the disarmament plan and we have expressed our will to restrain from prosecuting those who voluntarily disarmed and did not commit any crimes. We did all this in the interest of peace and stability of the state and all its citizens. But we also did this in order to unveil all excuses of men of violence, in the eyes of the Macedonian Albanians and in the eyes of the international community," Macedonian President said.
"Essential priority at this moment should be given to the return of the refugees to their homes and putting an end to the process of farther ethnically motivated displacements. All our efforts will be directed to the achievement of these goals. The goal we wanted to achieve had no alternative: to preserve full integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia, its unitary character, which will be centred on the citizen as an individual not on ethnic collectivities, to keep strong statehood continuity since Ilinden, ASNOM and the historic day of September 8, 1991.
We are ready to defend these essential values of our state, with any means. I assure you that if terror continues even after the adoption of the Framework Agreement and the reforms, than the men of violence-terrorists will face the strongest possible response from our state. In this regard we will expect full support from the international community."
Today, when the world is uniting in the war against terrorism, we expect the international community to apply same standards to terrorism on the Balkans. The Republic of Macedonia will also contribute to this global effort in fight against terrorism by passing the Ohrid Agreement, allowing NATO troops currently in our state to return to their homes so that they can fight the war on terrorism from there. We rightfully expect from the international community to find the strength to give a real assessment of the situation in the Republic of Macedonia and give true contribution to its stability that will entail certainly a contribution to the stability of the region. In this context the factors in the Republic of Macedonia will show utmost cooperation and principals in their efforts for a way out to the crisis.
We also expect from the international community to act in accordance with justice and law for a full recognition of the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia in international relations. This will represent a clear support to the identity and sovereignty and a true step in the right time that will contribute to put an end to the crisis in the Republic of Macedonia and prevent wider possible complications related to the crisis.
"We expect farther support to our integration in NATO and the European Union, which also means free movement of our citizens in member countries of these friendly structures. This includes also the obligation by the Republic of Macedonia to fulfil the conditions as well.
"By celebrating this 60th anniversary of October 11, we have the obligation to pay tribute to all fighters that gave their lives for freedom as well as to today's defenders of the sovereign Republic of Macedonia. We will eternally remember the names of the heroes and fighters that sacrificed their lives for their fatherland. I extend my congratulations on this Day to all the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia and to all our compatriots from the Diaspora, faithful and hopeful that we will be celebrating in peace the next October 11th.
Central Election Commission announced the numbers of the bulletins of the candidate presidential couples.
Central Election Commission cast a lot to arrange the numbers of the bulletins for the candidates for President. Petar Beron - Stoyan Andreev, Petar Stoyanov - Nellie Kutskova, Bogomil Bonev - Atanas Zhelezchev, Zhorzh Ganchev - Veselin Bonchev, Georghy Parvanov - Angel Marin, and Reneta Injova - Krastry Ilov assumed first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth place respectively. The couples will make their 7-minute introductory election appeals according to the following order: Petar Stoyanov - Nellie Kutskova, Petar Beron - Stoyan Andreev, Reneta Injova - Krastju Ilov, Bogomil Bonev - Atanas Zhelezchev, Zhorzh Ganchev - Veselin Bonchev, and Georghy Parvanov - Angel Marin. The order of the concluding appeals is as follows: Petar Stoyanov - Nellie Kutskova, Georghy Parvanov - Angel Marin, Reneta Injova - Krastju Ilov, Petar Beron - Stoyan Andreev, Bogomil Bonev - Atanas Zhelezchev, and Zhorzh Ganchev - Veselin Bonchev.