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20 Nov 2015 description

Four Balkan nations shut their borders Thursday to migrants who are not coming from war-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq.

BELGRADE, SERBIA — Four nations along Europe's Balkan refugee corridor shut their borders Thursday to those not coming from war-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq, leaving thousands of others seeking a better life in Europe stranded at border crossings.

30 Mar 2012 description

Peace agreements brought the last Balkan conflict to an end more than two decades ago, but they didn't resolve ethnic tensions, which are rising to the surface again.

Read the full article in the Christian Science Monitor.

05 Nov 2003 description

By Arie Farnam, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

CAGLAVICA AND BELO POLJE, KOSOVO - When he was 5 years old, Yeton saw his grandmother gunned down by black-uniformed Kosovo Liberation Army soldiers. Then, his mother picked him up and ran out of the village toward the Montenegrin border.

"I wish we could go back to our house and our friends," he says, now standing on a road outside a refugee shelter.

26 Nov 2001 description

As an international alliance and the United Nations prepare for nation-building in Afghanistan, it's heartening to see some progress on a parallel project in another part of the world.

The recent peaceful legislative election in Kosovo showed that people harried by war and ethnic strife can take a step toward a more promising future. The chief vote-getter was a moderate Albanian party. It will have to form a coalition with other parties to govern the province.

28 Sep 2001 description

NATO said yesterday that 1,000 troops will stay as security while peace plan is debated.

By Arie Farnam | Special to The Christian Science Monitor

PRAGUE - With almost 4,000 weapons turned over to NATO, and rebel fighters slipping on civilian clothes and returning to their villages, Macedonia would appear to be headed for peace.

Yesterday, NATO announced that a 1,000-member force would remain in the country, as Macedonian politicians continue to debate constitutional changes that are part of a Western-sponsored peace plan. The Aug.

19 Sep 2001 description

Amid growing unrest, parliament is debating a referendum on the West-backed peace plan.

By Arie Farnam | Special to The Christian Science Monitor

SKOPJE, MACEDONIA - As the NATO mandate nears its scheduled close next week, parliament is to debate a controversial proposal today to put the country's peace accord to a public vote. Meanwhile, observers say the peace plan is undermined by reports of more clashes between government forces and ethnic Albanians.

11 Sep 2001 description

Macedonian paramilitaries fill an Army vacuum

By Elizabeth Rubin | Special to The Christian Science Monitor

SKOPJE, MACEDONIA - A meeting nearly two weeks ago between NATO Secretary-General George Robertson and Macedonia's government leaders erupted into a verbal jousting match that has exposed just how tenuous NATO's mission is here and how easily the country will slip into war if NATO forces withdraw as planned in two weeks.

04 Sep 2001 description

Returning Macedonian refugees find that a shaky peace accord has done little to ease tensions.

By Arie Farnam - Special to The Christian Science Monitor

TETOVO, MACEDONIA - As dusk falls in western Macedonia, Marina, too frightened to give her full name, stands shivering by a pile of belongings she has just salvaged from her ransacked house in the village of Tearce.

She fled the village a month ago as it was overrun by the ethnic-Albanian National Liberation Army, and returned last week to see if it was safe.

"There are terrorists crawling all over the place," she …

23 Aug 2001 description

Yesterday, NATO leaders began to dispatch 3,500 troops to Macedonia to disarm rebels.

By Peter Ford | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

PARIS - Twice in the past six years NATO has sent Western troops into the former Yugoslavia on open-ended missions to restore peace between ethnic factions.

17 Aug 2001 description

Today, 400 British NATO troops head to Macedonia to begin rebel disarmament.

By Elizabeth Rubin - Special to The Christian Science Monitor

LJUBOTEN, MACEDONIA - Two months ago a council of elders from the Albanian mountain village of Ljuboten, above the Macedonian capital, Skopje, gave a besa - a binding Albanian verbal oath - to their Macedonian neighbors in the village of Ljubanc: They would not attack. The Macedonian villagers vowed the same.

16 Aug 2001 description

By Violeta Petroska-Beska

WASHINGTON - Beliefs, expectations, and perceptions, no matter how distorted, motivate people. Militant leaders know this well, and use it to start and maintain armed activities.

Take Macedonia. So far, the international community and NATO haven't slowed down the growing division between ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians. But they have succeeded in unifying both communities around the belief that the ethnic-Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) enjoys NATO's support.

13 Aug 2001 description

Macedonian forces launched a new offensive ahead of today's scheduled signing of a peace accord.

By Elizabeth Rubin | Special to The Christian Science Monitor

SKOPJE, MACEDONIA - Sitting in a Skopje cafe Saturday morning, Branko Geroski, the editor in chief of Dnevnik, Macedonia's main daily newspaper, was in a relatively optimistic mood, given his enraged editorial a few days earlier and the fear that the country is on the verge of civil war. Normally a voice of moderation, at the end of last week Mr. Geroski exploded, and in essence, called for total war.

10 Aug 2001 description

Breaking the ancient bonds of ethnic rivalry is a rare sight in the Balkans these days. Most states of the former Yugoslavia seem destined to keep their ethnic enclaves, with little hope that democracy can ever melt down old antagonisms.

Macedonia, which is still racked by fighting between the Slav-dominated government and Albanian rebels, has just advanced a notch toward ethnic harmony.

11 Jul 2001 description

As national politicians negotiate a peace on paper, town mayors are working among the neighbors.

By Peter Ford Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

This bustling town in northern Macedonia could be a perfect petri dish for fermenting a culture of "ethnic cleansing."

The government has given arms to men of fighting age from the ethnic-Macedonian majority. Macedonians fear that ethnic Albanians - who make up a quarter of Kumanovo's population - harbor sympathies for the guerrillas battling government forces.

10 Jul 2001 description

The economy sliding, both sides yesterday resumed talks on a peace plan to end the conflict.

By Arie Farnam Special to The Christian Science Monitor

Dimo Bosevski is the picture of a stubborn Macedonian entrepreneur. It took him 25 years to collect the items in his gallery: African prints, American modern art, antique European furniture, and Macedonian artifacts dating back 2,000 years.

In that time, he has weathered a half-dozen major economic crises and still managed to come out on top. Last year, it finally looked like business was picking up, but then disaster struck.

09 Jul 2001 description

Government forces and ethnic-Albanian rebels agreed to a cease-fire early last Friday.

By Peter Ford Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

The three-day-old cease-fire in Macedonia has offered more than just breathing room for political leaders seeking to negotiate an end to the five-month rebellion by ethnic Albanians here. It has also given the struggling Macedonian Army and police a respite from guerrilla advances.

But if fighting resumes, Western military observers say, the government forces probably could not contain a concerted rebel assault.

06 Jul 2001 description

The Age of Enlightenment was supposed to help Europe rise above its religious and ethnic conflict and unite people on the primacy of rational thought. Today that outlook prevails. However, in two places on the continent's geographical edges, the seeds for nurturing an ideal society are barely clinging to the rocky soil of ancient antagonisms.

05 Jul 2001 description

In the past five months, thousands of ethnic Albanians have fled Macedonia.

By Arie Farnam Special to The Christian Science Monitor

Last week, as a Macedonian fighter jet buzzed her neighborhood, Sebanate Rahmani jumped into a taxi with her three young sons and headed for the Kosovo border.

An ethnic-Albanian woman from the Macedonian capital, Skopje, Mrs. Rahmani felt compelled to leave her home because she feared fighting between Macedonian security forces and ethnic-Albanian rebels in the nearby mountains would spread.

05 Jul 2001 description

A deal reached yesterday may give ethnic Albanians more rights.

By Peter Ford Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

If this country's ethnic-Macedonian and ethnic-Albanian political leaders still have a chance to pull their country back from the sort of bloodbath that engulfed their Balkan neighbors, they have only their voters to thank.

29 Jun 2001 description

By John K. Cooley

Yugoslavia's former province of Macedonia seems to be on a slippery slope toward a full-scale ethnic war that could involve Balkan neighbors. And it might require the kind of massive intervention by the West, including the United States, that we saw in 1999, when the US led NATO in driving Serbia out of Kosovo.

Macedonia needs serious help for peace right now in reaching first an armistice, then permanent peace signed by the majority Slavic and minority Albanian parties.