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Friday, 17 August, 2001, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Macedonia mission 'too short'
Smoke rises from ethnic Albanian village hit by Macedonian forces
The Nato mission is part of an agreement to end the six-month conflict in Macedonia
By Defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus in Washington

The planned 30-day Nato mission in Macedonia may not be long enough, a former senior Nato commander has warned.

General Wesley Clarke, who commanded the operation that eventually forced Serbian forces out of Kosovo, is concerned that Nato's mission in Macedonia may be too limited to achieve its desired results.

He raised his concerns in the New York Times newspaper on Friday, as the advance party of British troops and Czech paratroops headed for Macedonia.

General Wesley Clarke
Former Nato commander General Wesley Clarke has raised concerns
Thirty days

If a full scale Nato deployment does go ahead in Macedonia then the troops will have some 30 days to oversee the collection of weapons from ethnic Albanian fighters.

Once this is achieved, their mission will be done, and as currently planned they will return home.

Restricted

However, the former Nato supreme allied commander in Europe, General Wesley Clarke, believes that this mandate is far too restricted.

He said that a mission so limited in scope and time risks failure in the decade-long effort to bring peace to the Balkans.

'Pallid response'

General Clarke, who has already been strongly critical of the Nato strategy in the Kosovo crisis, argues that Nato's response to the crisis in Macedonia has been pallid.

He poses a question that many Balkan experts are asking; if at the end of the 30-day disarmament period the ceasefire remains shaky and ethnic tensions are rising, can the troops simply depart?

If Nato is serious about making democracy work in the Balkans, then General Clarke says that Nato troops must engage as broadly as possible and stay as long as is necessary to restore peace.


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16 Aug 01 | Europe
Macedonia: The mission
02 May 00 | Europe
Profile: General Wesley Clark
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