Macedonia (NLA/ANA)


Conflict Summary

Ethnic tension between the Albanian minority and the Slav majority in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has been the main driving force behind this conflict. Regional instability, economic stagnation and fear of ‘Balkanisation’ have combined to aggravate inter-communal resentment. The National Liberation Army (NLA) launched its campaign in 2001 as a response to the perceived political and economic marginalisation of ethnic Albanians in FYROM. Its agenda centres on the need for constitutional reform and supposed greater equality. With links to external militant groups, training and weaponry were easily available. Consequently, fighting between the NLA and Macedonian government forces quickly escalated to a potentially destabilising level. With the mediation and support of the European Union (EU), Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), a ceasefire was negotiated in 2001 culminating in the Ohrid Peace Agreement signed on 13 August 2001. Following the Ohrid Peace Agreement the NLA disbanded and the majority of its leaders formed a mainstream political party, the Democratic Union for Integration (BDI). Despite the emergence of another paramilitary Group, the Albanian National Army (ANA), Macedonian politics are now primarily concerned with NATO and EU entry.