In hopes of maintaining the fragile cease-fire between Macedonian troops and ethnic Albanian guerillas, NATO announced Wednesday, August 15, that it is sending 400 British troops to Macedonia. On Friday, August 17, a small contingent of British troops -- about 50 members -- will arrive in the capital Skopje to study the military situation on the ground. The remaining British troops are to follow over the weekend. Violent conflict erupted this past February when members of Macedonia's ethnic Albanian minority took up arms in order to fight for rights they say are denied them by the Slavic majority. NATO has become a familiar presence in the Balkans, which have been the site of four wars since 1988. NATO says it does not want this Macedonian mission to be open-ended and therefore set four conditions to be met before sending troops. First, a political agreement to end fighting had to have been put in place. Second, the guerillas had to relinquish their weapons. Third, Macedonia and NATO were to sign a "status of forces" pact describing the specific role of NATO troops and the laws that would be applied to them. Fourth, an enduring cease-fire had to be in place. the first three conditions were all met earlier this week. As for the cease-fire, Macedonian government troops have continued to fire on Albanian rebel-held villages, and rebels have ambushed army convoys and shot a policeman. Nevertheless, NATO is sending in the Brits to try to keep peace. To follow developments in NATO's involvement with the Macedonian situation, refer to the sites in this week's In the News.
(no comments available yet for this resource)