f_0022599_18591 - Toward a More Perfect Union: Ten Years of...

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The Ambassadors REVIEW 35 Toward a More Perfect Union: Ten Years of the Ohrid Framework Agreement Philip T. Reeker United States Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia his year marks the tenth anniversary of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA), which ended the conflict between the ethnic-Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA) and Macedonian security forces. After NLA fighters attacked a police station in the village of Tearce in January 2001, killing a police officer, clashes quickly flared up in other areas across Macedonia. The potential of another Balkan war was averted when US negotiator James Pardew and his EU colleague François Léotard mediated an agreement between the ethnic-Albanian and ethnic-Macedonian sides. The OFA was signed on August 13, 2001. The OFA’s stated aim is to “promote the peaceful and harmonious development of civil society while respecting the ethnic identity and the interests of all Macedonian citizens.” Under the Agreement, the NLA surrendered its arms to NATO forces under Operation Essential Harvest , and has since integrated itself as a mainstream political party, the Democratic Union for Integration (currently part of the governing coalition). The objectives outlined in the OFA include cessation of hostilities, non-discrimination, equitable representation of all communities in the civil service, decentralization, greater parliamentary rights for non-majority communities, universal education standards, greater use of languages other than Macedonian in official contexts, respect of cultural emblems, and return of internally displaced persons. The United States, the European Union, NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are widely considered to be informal guarantors of the OFA, based on their roles in resolving the conflict and implementing the OFA. Today, the “Security Principals”—EU, NATO, OSCE and the US through their Missions in Skopje—continue to monitor progress on implementation. International assistance and development efforts, including ours, often have an OFA component. Despite its success in averting all-out civil war, today the OFA is often criticized as an imperfect instrument favoring one party or the other. There continue to be shortcomings in its implementation, not to mention a lack of political will on all sides to go beyond the OFA in spirit to promote greater ethnic harmony. Yet today it is largely thanks to the OFA that Macedonia can celebrate itself as a diverse, multi-cultural, interethnic, and inter- religious country. As partners in its creation, the United States and our European allies continue to have a vital interest in the success of the OFA as crucial to the long-term peace and prosperity of Macedonia and indeed the wider Balkan region. One need look no further than the recent history of the region to see the consequences of failure. T
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course COMM 321 taught by Professor Erinmcclellan during the Spring '11 term at Boise State.

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f_0022599_18591 - Toward a More Perfect Union: Ten Years of...

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