ECMI Publications Database

#79: The Albanians in Macedonia: The Role of International Organizations in Empowering the Ethnic Albanian Minority
Christina Eva Griessler
Flensburg: European Centre for Minority Issues
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The paper analyses the measures taken by the agencies of the international community, i.e. EU, UN, OSCE and NATO during and after the 2001 conflict in the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to promote the integration of the Albanian minority into the political system of Macedonia. When in spring 2001 a violent conflict erupted between the Macedonian security forces and the Albanian paramilitary National Liberation Army (NLA), the international community was quick to bring the most important political parties of Macedonia, including two Albanian parties, together to negotiate an agreement and to end the violence. The negotiations of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA) with the support of the US and EU were successfully concluded in August 2001. This paper will analyse the methods used by the international community to de-escalate the conflict and the approaches applied to overcome the difficult inter-ethnic relations in Macedonia, which were the cause of the crisis. The paper starts with a short description of the sensitive relationship between Slav Macedonians and the Albanians which emerged during the founding years of the state in the early 1990s. Moreover, the paper will identify elements of power-sharing and anti-discriminatory policies established in the OFA and promoted by the international agencies. In 2001 the inclusion and empowerment of the Albanian minority in Macedonia aimed to prevent the dissolution of the state and avoided an escalation of the conflict.

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