Agence France Presse, April 24, 2001
Albanian Rebels Spell out Demands to Macedonia
PRISTINA, Apr 24, 2001 - Ethnic Albanian rebels in Macedonia have listed out their demands in a letter sent to the UN Security Council and other international organizations, including changes to the constitution to give greater rights to ethnic Albanians.
Details of the letter by the political representative of the self-proclaimed National Liberation Army (NLA), Ali Ahmeti, were made known to AFP Monday.
Ahmeti said negotiations must be held between the two sides in the conflict, mediated by the international community, and all Albanians in Macedonia should be allowed Macedonian citizenship.
He said the constitution should state that Albanians and Macedonians are separate peoples, that Albanian is an official language and outlaw all forms of discrimination.
Finally, the NLA called for a national census, carried out by a neutral international organization, the return of political refugees and the release of all political prisoners.
Intense clashes erupted last month between Macedonian troops and Albanian rebels in the northwest of the country. The guerrillas were eventually forced to withdraw from their positions.
The European Union condemned the rebel attacks, but called on the Macedonian government to engage in a dialogue with the ethnic Albanian minority.