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Friday, 27 July, 2001, 20:40 GMT 21:40 UK
Macedonia's peace plan
Macedonian soldier looks out on Nikustak
The ceasefire is the first signed by both sides
The first ceasefire deal applying to the whole of Macedonia and signed both by the authorities in Skopje and the ethnic Albanian guerrillas, known as the National Liberation Army (NLA), came into effect on 5 July.

Western mediators brokered the deal and have worked to restore the ceasefire when it broke down.

It is considered to be the starting point in negotiations over an international peace plan known as the Draft Framework Document.

Demonstration to support the rebels
Many rebel demands are met in the plan
The document envisages Macedonia as a unitary country with a multi-ethnic character, rejecting a federal system or autonomy for the western and north-western parts of the country where most of the sizeable Albanian community live.

But it seeks to meet many of the Albanians' demands for full equality both in constitutional provisions and in practice.

  • It calls for bilingual education within a uniform curriculum, and for a mix of state and private universities which should decide their language priorities. The ethnic Albanians' demand for a state-financed Albanian-language university is left for further discussions.

  • It also calls for greater use of Albanian language in official business.

  • It calls for greater powers for local authorities, as well as new local election laws, the redrawing of municipal boundaries after the census that is planned for the end of this year, and for Albanian municipalities to be able to display their own emblems, along with Macedonia's state flag.

  • Employment in public administration, in general, should reflect the ethnic balance across the country. Ethnic Albanians argue that in spite of accounting for at least a quarter of the population, their access to public service jobs remains limited.

  • On constitutional change, the document suggests that any amendments would need the approval of the Albanian minority.

  • But it does not go along with ethnic Albanian demands that their community should have an automatic veto on all legislation they believe affects their interests.

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See also:

05 Jul 01 | Europe
Macedonia truce raises hopes
04 Jul 01 | Europe
Viewpoint: Macedonian identity
29 Jun 01 | Europe
Nato approves Macedonia force
28 May 01 | Europe
The Albanian fund-raising machine
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