BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Friday, 24 August, 2001, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
Putin warns on Macedonia
Russia's President Putin and Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski
Putin said disarming rebels could take years
By the BBC's regional analyst Steven Eke

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has spoken out strongly against what he called "confusion and misconception" over events in Macedonia.

Speaking after a meeting in Kiev with the Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski, Mr Putin warned against the break-up of Macedonia along ethnic lines.

He also reiterated Russia's view that Nato's actions in Kosovo lie at the heart of Macedonia's current difficulties.

The two presidents stressed their common view of who is responsible for the latest Balkan conflict.

"Terrorists"

Mr Putin said that the Macedonian leadership was "confronted with terrorists, whose true objective is to redraw the borders in Europe".

Russia's President Putin and Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski
Trajkovski thanked Russia for its approach
The Kremlin rejects the ethnic Albanians' assertions that civil rights issues lie behind the conflict.

Russian policy was welcomed by Macedonia's President Trajkovski, who publicly thanked Russia for its approach.

Officially, Russia backs Nato's operation Essential Harvest to collect weapons from the rebels.

Kremlin warning

But the Kremlin warns that disarming the rebels may take many years, a far cry from Nato's up-beat assessments of its chances of success.

Mr Putin's own view is more pessimistic. He says he does not believe the rebels will surrender their weaponry voluntarily.

And he repeated Russia's view that Nato should not become involved in military action against the rebels without the approval of the UN Security Council.

Russia links the bombing campaign Nato conducted against Yugoslavia two years ago with Macedonia's fraught security situation.

The Macedonian leadership believes that Nato's presence in Kosovo has done little to curb ethnic Albanian separatists. That view is backed by Moscow, where officials say Nato's intervention spurred on militants committed to building a greater Albania.


Key stories

Features

Viewpoints

AUDIO VIDEO
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories