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Macedonia: NATO Chief Urges Speeding Up Reform

Skopje, 7 November 2001 (RFE/RL) -- NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson said on a visit to Macedonia today that the government there must move quickly to enact civil rights reforms or risk plunging into civil conflict again. Robertson, who arrived with OSCE Chairman Mircea Goana in Skopje today, said the peace agreement in Macedonia is now six weeks overdue for ratification in parliament, bringing the "real" possibility of a return to the ethnic fighting between Macedonian Slavs and Albanians, which plagued the country earlier this year.

Robertson also criticized the Macedonian government's definition of war crimes, which he said is not in line with that of the international war crimes tribunal. The peace accord called for the government to pardon all guerrillas who voluntarily disarmed and were not indictable by the tribunal. Robertson said the amnesty decree issued by parliament on 8 October was full of loopholes, with ambiguous references to what constitutes a war crime.