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[ALBSA-Info] Greece urges world intervention in Macedonia

Gazhebo at Gazhebo at
Tue Jun 26 23:06:59 EDT 2001

Greece urges world intervention in Macedonia

ATHENS, June 26 (Reuters) - Greece on Tuesday urged the world community to 
step in immediately in neighbouring Macedonia to stop an escalating crisis 
that would make later international military intervention futile. 

"I think it is imperative to have an international initiative for a final 
effort to end this vicious cycle of polarisation," Foreign Minister George 
Papandreou told a Greek radio station from Luxembourg during a meeting of EU 
foreign ministers. 

"If not, the extremist elements will take the upper hand...the more moderate 
voices will disappear," he said. 

Papandreou, who earlier this month proposed the deployment of a military 
peacekeeping force once a peace deal was brokered, said such an army would be 
useless if the world community waited too long and a full-scale civil war 
broke out. 

"It's not certain that an army of whatever stature could stop hostilities in 
neighbourhoods, among homes, among families," he said. 

Greece, itself locked in a long-running dispute with Macedonia over the 
country's name being the same as that of a northern Greek province, is 
worried that rising violence could spill over to other Balkan nations. 

The Macedonian army started shelling ethnic Albanian rebels in the northeast 
on Tuesday as the EU appealed for a political solution to the four-month 
guerrilla rebellion which has brought the country closer to a wider conflict. 

Papandreou warned that an international force must be preceded by political 
consensus in Macedonia. 

"A minimum political agreement, a ceasefire and disarming must exist before powers enter to stabilise the situation," he said. 

Macedonia's ethnic Albanian minority accounts for about a third of the 
country's population. Rebels say they are fighting for more rights. 

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