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[ALBSA-Info] Solana rebukes Macedonia government "radicals"

Gazhebo at Gazhebo at
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 

"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." 


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 

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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