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 
Saturday, 8 September, 2001, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
Macedonia marks tense anniversary
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski
Mr Trajkovski wished Nato troops a speedy departure
By the BBC's Paul Anderson in Skopje

The mood in Macedonia is sombre as it marks the 10th anniversary of the referendum which led to independence from Yugoslavia.

The streets of Skopje are festooned with the bright red and yellow flags of Macedonia.

The flags symbolise a burst of sun but seven months after the violent conflict with Albanian rebels broke out, no one here feels there is much to cheer about.


Happy celebrations, if you have anything to celebrate

Macedonian newspaper

"Happy celebrations, if you have anything to celebrate," read the headline in one newspaper.

Another said Macedonia was gaining a new political system but had lost its confidence, its faith and its love.

The President, Boris Trajkovski, in a dark and threatening address on the eve of the anniversary, warned the Albanian rebels they would be destroyed if they returned to arms after the current peace deal.

Shared fate

Ten years ago, 75% of the ethnic Macedonian majority voted for independence. The Albanians boycotted the process.

Six months later, all Yugoslav federal troops had withdrawn from the country, thus signalling Belgrade's acceptance of its sovereignty.

A Skopje street decked out for the holiday
It has been a quiet day in the Macedonian capital

Over the coming years, Macedonia managed to avoid the bloodshed seen in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Even Slovenia, which with Croatia led the break-up of Yugoslavia, did not escape some violence.

But eventually the Macedonian people's brewing differences with the Albanian minority caught up with them.

The hope now is that, by the end of September, the peace deal signed last month will have been ratified by parliament.


Eventually the Macedonian people's brewing differences with the Albanian minority caught up with them

Nato forces currently overseeing rebel weapons collection are planning to leave in less than three weeks but there is a long way to go before the deal is accepted by sceptical politicians.

And it will be even longer before the peace is secure in Macedonia.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Angus Roxburgh
reports on the prospect that NATO may remain after their current mission
The BBC's Paul Anderson
"The Macedonians have made it abundantly clear they do not want NATO to stay"

Key stories

Features

Viewpoints

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

07 Sep 01 | Europe
Nato: No Macedonia mission creep
01 Sep 01 | Europe
Macedonia's landscape of fear
31 Aug 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Macedonia: Wobbling Balkans domino
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