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AHI Sends Letter To President Bush Regarding Ethnic Albanian Violence In The FYROM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
May 15, 2001 No. 26/01 (202) 785-8430

AHI Sends Letter To President Bush Regarding Ethnic Albanian Violence In The FYROM

On May 15, 2001, AHI General Counsel Gene Rossides sent a letter to PresidentGeorge W. Bush regarding the recent surge of violence between ethnic Albanian guerrillas in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and security forces of the FYROM. While a recent trip made by European Union (EU) envoys to Skopje was commended as it helped prevent violence from escalating into a formal state of war, Mr. Rossides urged the United States to consider taking an active role in the situation by putting greater political and military pressure on the Albanian guerrillas.

Included among the recommended actions to be taken by the U.S. were:

  • to send a strong and unequivocal message to the Albanian government, the Albanian leadership in Kosovo and the FYROM, and to the KLA directly to halt support for Albanian guerrillas operating in the FYROM or else the U.S. will seek joint action against them; and
  • to insist that whatever rights Albania demands for minorities in the FYROM should also be granted to its own ethnic minorities, particularly the thousands of Christian Greeks who live under the threat of ethnic violence perpetrated by Muslim Albanian extremists.

The recommended actions were urged primarily as the violence perpetrated by the Albanian rebels risks dividing the FYROM and plunging the nation into civil war. On a wider scale, the U.S. has a strategic interest in actively helping government forces to avert a greater Balkan conflict. Such a conflict will cause countless political and economic problems for Greece, a key NATO ally, who will shoulder some of the burden of any resultant refugee crisis and potentially experience threats to its territorial integrity. Mr. Rossides concluded by asserting that it is in the U.S.'s strategic interest to support measures that will halt the violence by Albanian guerrillas in the FYROM and ensuring full human rights for the minorities in Albania.

For a copy of Mr. Rossides' letter, please visit the AHI web site atwww.ahiworld.org/press2001.html, or contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected] for additional information.