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[ALBSA-Info] Solana rebukes Macedonia government "radicals"Gazhebo at aol.com Gazhebo at aol.com
Tue Jun 26 23:00:21 EDT 2001
Solana rebukes Macedonia government "radicals" By Douglas Hamilton BRUSSELS, June 26 (Reuters) - European Union foreign affairs chief Javier Solana warned on Tuesday of the dangers of radicals within Macedonia's government, insisting that Albanian rebels could not be defeated militarily. "Look. There's radicals on both sides. One has to work with those who are not radicals," he said, appearing with NATO Secretary-General George Robertson after talks on the Balkan country's crisis. Without naming Prime Minister Ljbuco Georgievski or Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski, Solana said that last week "somebody advised the government that they could go on a military operation and in three hours they could solve the problem." "At the end of the third day they had to call in the international community to solve the problem through dialogue," Solana said, referring to a failed army offensive last week to drive ethnic Albanian rebels from Aracinovo, near the capital. "I think that's a good lesson that everybody has to learn, even those members of the government who thought they could solve the problem in three hours," Solana said. Deliberately playing down Monday's assault on parliament by an angRy mob of Macedonians and gun-toting police demanding weapons to kill Albanians, Robertson and Solana stressed that political dialogue was the only solution. Macedonian leaders from both camps, plus international envoys despatched to facilitate their talks, must work urgently and intensively to come up with a peace settlement, they said. Monday's protesters were angered by the NATO and EU role in evacuating the guerrillas from Aracinovo, along with their weapons, in an operation seen as vital to removing their threat to the capital and lowering the temperature. "The success yesterday in evacuating and demilitarising Aracinovo was a very subStantial success," Robertson said. "The action was taken with the full agreement of the government in Skopje and it was achieved with professionalism and skill," he went on. "It was an important first step to achieve a cessation of all the violence." NATO MISSION Robertson said NATO was working at "historic speed" to prepare for a mission to collect guerrilla arms -- a mission NATO insists will only take place "in a benign environment" once there is a ceasefire and a firm political agreement. Both side-stepped a question on how long they could collaborate with a government including radicals. "The president of the republic, Mr (Boris) Trajkovski, has been my interlocutor normally," Solana answered. "And he has today made a very clear statement of where he wants to lead that country...the direction is Europe...and Europe does not resolve problems by use of force." After introducing Francois Leotard, the newly appointed EU resident envoy to Macedonia, Solana obliquely addressed concerns heard in diplomatic circles that Leotard was thrust on him by French President Jacques Chirac and might not be suitable. "The fact that we are going to have somebody under my authority there permanently -- because I cannot do it every day -- I think, with the cooperation of both sides, I hope we will move THE process forward rapidly," he said. "He is representing the European Union and without any doubt both sides would like to be part of the European Union and they will accept the representative. But I will be there too, don't worry."
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