On the edge of the abyss

Editorial

(“Kathimerini”, English edition, June 12, 2001)

[...] Ethnic Albanian rebels have occupied positions less than 10 kilometers from Skopje and they threaten to attack the city with mortars and machine-guns [...].

More than 100,000 people have abandoned their homes because of the fighting while, according to the UN, 30,000 of them, obviously Albanians, have crossed into Kosovo. [...] The escalation of conflict fuels intransigence on both sides. On one hand, moderate Albanians are more inclined to support the armed extremists and, on the other, the Slav-led government, which has in the past shown signs of moderation and toleration, is undermining the dialogue between the two ethnic groups. [...]

The chances of reversing this state of affairs decrease by the day. The Slav-led government has to realize that a military solution is impossible while the EU has to mobilize in order to convince the two sides to enter upon a substantial dialogue. A potential disintegration of FYROM would unleash fresh evil on the Balkans. 

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