restricted access 32. The Long Struggle

From: Peacemakers

The University Press of Kentucky colophon
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32 The Long Struggle Peace agreements are just words on paper until they are implemented. Implementation is usually a struggle when agreements are reached in a confrontational negotiating atmosphere. After the signing of the Ohrid Agreement, Macedonia was no exception. Reaching the agreement took forty-four days from my arrival in Skopje on July 1, 2001, until it was signed on August 13. Full implementation, very intense in the beginning, could take decades, maybe generations, to be absorbed into Macedonian society. Implementation of such agreements requires the full attention and support of the nations and international organizations with an interest in the outcome. Opponents of an agreement usually try to block or stall implementation unless the agreement’s sponsors apply pressure to complete agreed actions. Further, implementation often is subject to interpretation of the agreement’s language and intention, and the parties may not have the resources to carry out key aspects of the agreement without external help. In the case of Macedonia, the EU and its member nations, NATO, and OSCE were directly engaged in implementation. The United States also contributed significantly to Ohrid implementation, but events on September 11, 2001, jolted the nation’s attention away from the Balkans. Leotard remained in his residence in Skopje for a few months to assist with implementation for the EU. From August to November, I flew back and forth from Washington to help with implementation when required . These trips became increasingly confrontational with the Macedonian leaders as my obvious frustration with resistance to implementation by the prime minister and the minister of interior agitated them more with each visit. The implementation tasks for the Ohrid Agreement required difficult political actions by the parties. The early burden of implementation fell to the Macedonian National Assembly, dominated by the nationalist VMRO coalition and led by Stojan Andov, Speaker of the Assembly. The National The Long Struggle 315 Assembly was required to pass the amendments to the Macedonian Constitution and the laws agreed to in the settlement. The Macedonian government tried to set conditions before advancing agreed parliamentary actions. It demanded the NLA be disarmed and withdrawn from sensitive areas, a durable cease-fire be in place, and displaced persons be allowed to return as preconditions for implementation.1 The international parties involved in implementation never accepted these conditions, but we met them as implementation proceeded. Nonetheless, Prime Minister Georgievski and Speaker Andov continued to stall the parliamentary process. The nature and timing of the return of government police into Albanian areas vacated by the NLA constituted the most delicate issues. The Albanians had no trust in the unreformed Macedonian police, but NATO had no mandate for a large security force to remain in Macedonia. In a cable sent to the State Department on September 2, I recommended an extension of a small NATO force to ensure security for implementation into 2002, but Washington did not support it.2 Leotard pushed Brussels to create an EU security force to do the job, but he also ran into resistance. A Terrible Day The violent attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, immediately concentrated US foreign and national security attention on the threat to the nation presented by al Qaeda. “A terrible day in American history. . . . This is one of those historic events which change the nature of our country in unforeseen directions,” I wrote in my journal on the morning of September 11. The surprise attacks by al Qaeda on the United States less than a month after the parties signed the Ohrid Agreement had a serious effect on the atmosphere for implementation of the agreement in Macedonia. Prime Minister Georgievski made public statements in Skopje that after the September 11 attacks, the United States would change its policy in Macedonia by opposing the Albanian terrorists. He wrote a letter to President Bush on September 12 expressing condolences for the September losses, but his letter also linked the attacks on the United States to Macedonia’s experience with terrorism over the past several months.3 I raced to Skopje to bluntly tell Georgievski that the use of the attacks in the United States to further his political agenda in Macedonia and to undermine the agreement he had signed was unacceptable. I then made public 316 Macedonia: The Ohrid Agreement statements to the Macedonian media that there was no change to US policy toward Macedonia based on the September 11 attacks. I made it clear that the United States stood completely behind the Ohrid...


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