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The Albanian American Civic Leagues Calls For An Immediate Ceasefire In Macedonia

CeaseFire In Macedonia


For Immediate Release

Contact: AACL (914) 671-8583


THE ALBANIAN AMERICAN CIVIC LEAGUES CALLS FOR AN IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE IN MACEDONIA TO PREVENT A FIFTH BALKAN WAR


OSSINING, NEW YORK, MAY 7, 2001—The Albanian American Civic League applauded the European Union today for opposing Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski’s and President Boris Trajkovski’s call for a declaration of war in Macedonia. Former Congressman Joe DioGuardi, the volunteer president of the Civic League, said that “we stand firmly behind the efforts of EU Security Chief Javier Solana, who wants to ensure that the ruling coalition is expanded to include the major opposition parties and that negotiations begin before he leaves Skopje.”The Albanian American Civic League applauded the European Union today for opposing Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski’s and President Boris Trajkovski’s call for a declaration of war in Macedonia. Former Congressman Joe DioGuardi, the volunteer president of the Civic League, said that “we stand firmly behind the efforts of EU Security Chief Javier Solana, who wants to ensure that the ruling coalition is expanded to include the major opposition parties and that negotiations begin before he leaves Skopje.”


Since Friday, when the Macedonian military intensified their attacks on the Albanian villages believed to be National Liberation Army (NLA) strongholds, the Civic League has called on the U.S. government to demand an immediate ceasefire on both sides of the conflict. The Civic League is committed to stopping the killing of innocent civilians, which will only escalate if the Macedonian government continues to follow the advice of Defense Ministry spokesperson Gjorgji Trendafilov ” to use all available means to eliminate the terrorists.” The Albanian American Civic League applauded the European Union today for opposing Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski’s and President Boris Trajkovski’s call for a declaration of war in Macedonia. Former Congressman Joe DioGuardi, the volunteer president of the Civic League, said that “we stand firmly behind the efforts of EU Security Chief Javier Solana, who wants to ensure that the ruling coalition is expanded to include the major opposition parties and that negotiations begin before he leaves Skopje.”Since Friday, when the Macedonian military intensified their attacks on the Albanian villages believed to be National Liberation Army (NLA) strongholds, the Civic League has called on the U.S. government to demand an immediate ceasefire on both sides of the conflict. The Civic League is committed to stopping the killing of innocent civilians, which will only escalate if the Macedonian government continues to follow the advice of Defense Ministry spokesperson Gjorgji Trendafilov ” to use all available means to eliminate the terrorists.”


In order to prevent civilian casualties and to resolve the crisis, the Civic League agrees with Solana, that “rather than talking about a state of war, what we have to do, among all of us, is to make efforts to declare a state of peace.” This is the same position that Arben Xhaferi, chairman of the Democratic Party of Albanians in Macedonia, has taken from the onset of armed conflict in March, and he has made it clear that, if the military option is chosen over diplomacy, he will have no choice but to leave the government. And if the moderate and democratic Xhaferi withdraws from the government, as one Albanian politician told The New York Times correctly, “the whole house will burn.” The Albanian American Civic League applauded the European Union today for opposing Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski’s and President Boris Trajkovski’s call for a declaration of war in Macedonia. Former Congressman Joe DioGuardi, the volunteer president of the Civic League, said that “we stand firmly behind the efforts of EU Security Chief Javier Solana, who wants to ensure that the ruling coalition is expanded to include the major opposition parties and that negotiations begin before he leaves Skopje.”Since Friday, when the Macedonian military intensified their attacks on the Albanian villages believed to be National Liberation Army (NLA) strongholds, the Civic League has called on the U.S. government to demand an immediate ceasefire on both sides of the conflict. The Civic League is committed to stopping the killing of innocent civilians, which will only escalate if the Macedonian government continues to follow the advice of Defense Ministry spokesperson Gjorgji Trendafilov ” to use all available means to eliminate the terrorists.”In order to prevent civilian casualties and to resolve the crisis, the Civic League agrees with Solana, that “rather than talking about a state of war, what we have to do, among all of us, is to make efforts to declare a state of peace.” This is the same position that Arben Xhaferi, chairman of the Democratic Party of Albanians in Macedonia, has taken from the onset of armed conflict in March, and he has made it clear that, if the military option is chosen over diplomacy, he will have no choice but to leave the government. And if the moderate and democratic Xhaferi withdraws from the government, as one Albanian politician told correctly, “the whole house will burn.”


The only way out of the conflict, stated Shirley Cloyes, the Civic League’s Balkan Affairs Adviser, is “to stop the fighting on both sides and to address the century-old problem of racism, repression, and institutionalized discrimination against Albanians in Macedonia.” She added that the ethnic Macedonian leadership is “afraid that granting equal rights to all citizens will lead to the nation’s disintegration, when, in fact, the opposite is true. The failure of the coalition government over the past two months to enact any concrete changes in response to legitimate Albanian grievances is only aiding the NLA and the growing number of ethnic Macedonian paramilitary groups, while putting countless innocent civilians in danger.”

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