Macedonia warned on peace pledges

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The Independent Online

Macedonia could slip back into violence unless its leadership fulfils promises made under a Western-engineered peace accord, senior officials from Nato and the European Union said yesterday.

Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, the Nato secretary general, and Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, were in the troubled country to revive a peace process that stalled after politicians failed to enact reforms to expand rights for the ethnic Albanian minority. "There could easily be in this country a return to violence unless everything that was agreed on is implemented," Lord Robertson said after landing in Skopje, the capital.

The accord, signed by rival Macedonians and ethnic Albanians in August, halted six months of clashes between ethnic Albanian rebels and Macedonian government troops. The rebels agreed to stop fighting and handed in more than 4,000 weapons to Nato, in exchange for promised reforms in parliament that would broaden rights for ethnic Albanians, who account for a third of Macedonia's 2 million people. But parliament has failed even to begin debating the measures.

Lord Robertson and Mr Solana were expected to talk with the leaders of both communities. They were also likely to press President Boris Trajkovski to delivering to parliament his drafts for 15 constitutional amendments inspired by the accord. So far, Mr Trajkovski has submitted plans for only nine amendments. "It is up to the Macedonian government and parliament to deliver on their part of the bargain, on promises solemnly made," Lord Robertson said. (AP)

* A former Yugoslav army general, indicted by the UN war crimes court for an assault against Dubrovnik during the Croatian war, plans to surrender to the tribunal this week, his lawyer said yesterday. Retired general Pavle Strugar, 68, would be the first Yugoslav citizen to surrender voluntarily to the Netherlands-based court. He and three others are accused of murders and the plunder and destruction of nearly 70 per cent of Dubrovnik.

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