Fragile peace in FYROM

by G. G. de Lastic

(“Kathimerini”, English edition, August 16, 2001)

NATO, EU and US officials have congratulated themselves on the “historic” accord, as they characterized it, which they supposedly imposed on the Slavs and the ethnic Albanians living in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). This was a pact that was designed and signed in the absence of ethnic Albanian insurgents — those, in other words, who by rebelling against, and humiliating, the Slav-Macedonian troops on the battlefield by capturing entire areas of FYROM territory, actually constituted the main cause which forced everyone else to sign this accord. One rebel commander called upon rebels to respect the pact while another called it a “farce”.

Western diplomats rejoiced over the pact, formally signed by Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski, who just a few days ago condemned the signing of any accord so long as guerrilla forces occupy parts of FYROM territory. It is worth noting that Georgievski was upset and walked out when, immediately after the signing of the agreement, the moderate leader of the Albanian Democratic Party, Arben Xhaferi, spoke in Albanian at the joint press conference - which he is entitled to do, according to the accord. The agreement, whose parliamentary ratification was excluded by Parliamentary Speaker Stojan Andov, will anyway be rendered invalid if it is not ratified within 45 days.

In essence, this is a vacuous agreement. The chances of FYROM remaining a single state are minimal. When there was still time, the Slav-Macedonian side refused to recognize the legitimate rights of the country’s ethnic Albanians. It arrogantly deemed that steady US and EU backing was enough. Now that it has finally realized that external factors are not enough to ensure the integrity of a state, it is already too late. Streams of blood have permanently divided the two ethnic groups which make up the Balkan state.

FYROM’s course toward partition is now irreversible. Soon, the international community will also orient itself in that direction. Attempts to minimize bloody conflicts will be overcome by the anxious attempt to tackle the consequences of the geopolitical tremor caused in the Balkans by the disappearance of FYROM as a single state and other countries’ aspirations to absorb sections of its territory.


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