Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
July 26, 2001 Thursday
Domestic, non-Washington, General News
"US troops placed on
alert after violence in Macedonia"
By MAXIM KNIAZKOV
WASHINGTON, July 25
An unspecified number of US troops in Europe were on
alert Wednesday after attacks by irate protesters
threatened the US and other Western embassies in
Macedonia, a US defense official said.
"We do have units which have been alerted," the
official said on condition of anonymity, refusing to
Any decision whether to seek extra protection rests with
US ambassador to Macedonia, Michael Einik, the official
said, though the State Department was unaware of any such
request late Wednesday, an official with that agency told
AFP. The troop alert follows attacks late Tuesday by
violent protesters on embassies in the Macedonian capital
of Skopje. A mob of angry Slavs, incited by allegations
NATO tacitly supports ethnic Albanian rebels, damaged the
US and other embassies with hurled projectiles, State
Department officials said.
Despite the attacks, the United States remained
determined in its efforts to help bring peace to
Macedonia, though US officials and Balkan experts
privately voiced concern the escalating strife and
emergence of anti-NATO sentiment could complicate
facilitating any settlement.
"We continue to reach out to all the political
parties in the multi-ethnic Macedonian government to
continue promoting their working together to find a
peaceful solution to this," State Department
spokesman Philip Reeker told reporters.
Reeker added that US special envoy for the Balkans, James
Pardew, met earlier Wednesday with Macedonian President
Boris Trajkowski to discuss the situation.
The mob violence came as clashes between Macedonian
security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels flared anew,
while refugees streamed out of the contested northwestern
town of Tetovo as rebels advanced across northern
The Slav-dominated Macedonian government neither
condemned the violence nor appealed for restraint
Meanwhile, the government of Prime Minister Ljubco
Georgievski, an opponent of Trajkovski's, has accused
NATO of siding with the rebels and of seeking to turn
Macedonia into an international protectorate under the
control of the Western alliance.
The State Department refuted the charge.
"These kind of irresponsible press reports...
irresponsible, immature statements from certain political
leaders, are not helpful to the situation," Reeker
said, denying that the United States or other NATO
countries backed Albanian rebels.
The administration of President George W. Bush supported
Macedonia "in its territorial integrity, in its
sovereignty and in a future as a multi-ethnic state,"
Washington has become all too-aware that the feud between
Georgievski and Trajkovski is increasingly compromising
the search for peace, with a top administration official
warning that "political agendas aren't going to have
anything to do when they are in the midst of a civil war
and fighting for their lives."
Former National Security Council Balkans analyst Ivo
Daalder directly accused Georgievski of trying to extract
political mileage from the conflict.
"He has no interest in negotiating because he thinks
he can win through the use of force," Daalder told
"He doesn't want a compromise," making a
settlement in Macedonia "more difficult but not
(C) 2001 Agence France
Presse * Posted for educational purposes only
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