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30 Fury in Skopje The talks started cordially. Beginnings are typically the happy times, but I knew from previous negotiations that the early stage was the most positive period, when all parties put forth their most cooperative and optimistic image to the international visitors. It would not last. It never does. Trajkovski announced at a major press conference on July 4 that a negotiating process had been agreed. Behind the scenes, the international experts were busily drafting the initial negotiating paper to present to the parties. A day later Pieter Feith achieved a cease-fire commitment from the NLA and the Macedonian army.1 Arben Xheferi asked for a private meeting with me on July 5, but I refused unless Leotard was present. That evening I was linked by secure telephone into a Principals Committee meeting in the White House Situation Room. The US-EU team had written a four-page first-draft framework proposal and then sent it to Washington and the Quint capitals for review before it would be delivered to Trajkovski.2 The US Principals Committee approved the approach Leotard and I proposed based on the draft framework paper. This principals meeting was to be my only participation in a high-level interagency discussion of the Macedonian crisis throughout the negotiations. In the first few days, we brought another international figure into the negotiations. Maximilianus “Max” van der Stoel, a former foreign minister of the Netherlands and Dutch ambassador to the UN, had been in Macedonia for some time as the OSCE high commissioner for national minorities. Specifically, van der Stoel was working on the recognition of a multilingual university in the predominantly Albanian city of Tetovo. He was a gently determined personality. His continued pressure for minority rights and for a recognized multilanguage university in Tetovo put him in bad graces with ethnic Macedonian leaders, but such was the fate of any international figure who told them what they did not want to hear. Van der Stoel, who was seventy-four years old at the time, became an 286 Macedonia: The Ohrid Agreement éminence gris of the negotiations, especially after the talks moved from Skopje to Lake Ohrid. His unassuming manner and wise countenance brought a calming influence to the discussions, and both Leotard and I listened to his advice. The Dark Force When Macedonia mobilized its reserve security forces earlier in the year to deal with the insurgency, it gave legitimacy to some rough, undisciplined nationalist paramilitary troops who were causing trouble in the countryside . I decided to visit Minister of the Interior Ljube Boskovski, who had operational control over these paramilitaries. Boskovski provided me with an armed police officer in civilian clothes, who rode with me in an armored SUV for my security in the early weeks of the talks. He was a nice man, but I presumed that he was there as much to collect intelligence as to protect me. The minister was late for the meeting. As I waited, I noted that his office was the nicest in the Macedonian government. After a while, his motorcade of Mercedes with blacked-out windows arrived. I also saw that he had the best cars in the government. These were bad signs, and I still had yet to meet the minister. Boskovski, with crew-cut hair and a suit over a black T-shirt, swaggered confidently into the room. This cocky guy clearly was enjoying the high life of his position. He looked and acted like a composite of every Balkan thug I had ever met, and I had met more of them than I could count. I complained that the police and paramilitary activities in Albanian communities were undermining the peace process. He protested and dismissed the complaint. I thanked him for the security officer he had provided to me and left. I noted in my journal later that night that Boskovski was going to be a problem. I did not realize then how much of a deadly threat to peace he would be. Life in the Goldfish Bowl Any US envoy in a crisis is the most important intelligence target for each of the parties in a negotiation. I knew that I had to be the top priority for the Macedonian government and others. I assumed that I lived in general transparency to them and that my hotel room, automobile, telephone, and other aspects of life were monitored. The only time I considered myself free from local monitoring was in the most secure...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813174365
Print ISBN
9780813174358
MARC Record
OCLC
1005921887
Pages
370
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Language
English
Open Access
N
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