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[ALBSA-Info] Greece urges world intervention in MacedoniaGazhebo at aol.com Gazhebo at aol.com
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 the...international 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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