Skopje, 19 July 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Macedonian leaders have bluntly rejected a peace plan backed by the United States and the European Union aimed at ending the armed rebellion by ethnic Albanians. Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski said the proposal supported by U.S. envoy James Pardew and the EU's Francois Leotard appeared designed to break up Macedonia.
Georgievski further accused the West of supporting the ethnic Albanian rebels in their fight against government forces.
This was categorically rejected by the U.S. State Department, which said Washington supports the territorial integrity of Macedonia and seeks a political solution in the country.
The Macedonian leadership's objections center on proposals that would upgrade the official status of the Albanian language in Macedonia and give the country's ethnic Albanian minority a greater say in the selection of police forces.
NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana are expected in Skopje today to try to revive the negotiations.