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Macedonia: Premier Urges Peace Plan Ratification

Skopje, 4 September 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski has called on parliament to ratify the Western-backed peace plan aimed at ending the ethnic-Albanian uprising in the Balkan country. However, Georgievski, in an address to parliament, also denounced the peace deal and Western pressure on Macedonia.

Georgievski said the peace plan rewards military aggression by ethnic Albanian rebels and sends a message to terrorists that terrorism can bring results.

But he said Macedonia could not defy the West because the country faces a military and economic embargo that would be catastrophic. Georgievski said Macedonia cannot afford to gamble with the authority of NATO.

The Macedonian parliament is expected to vote within the next few days to start the process of changing the constitution, in line with the peace deal reached last month, to give more language and other rights to the ethnic-Albanian minority. NATO troops are expected to resume collecting some 3,300 weapons voluntarily surrendered by the ethnic Albanian rebels after the parliament votes.