Albanian rebels hold Skopje at gunpoint as Russian foreign ministry set to welcome use of force by world community to curb extremists
Albanian terrorists may transfer hostilities to the area of Macedonia’s capital city, Skopje, Macedonian military experts think. A large base of Albanian militants is located in the region of Gracani, 10km west of Skopje. Gracani is inhabited exclusively by Albanians. It is the most likely point from which the rebels can launch an attack on the Macedonian capital, experts say. According to RIA Novosti, a threat of shifting of hostilities to the Skopje region exists from the eastern side, as well. There, the Albanian town of Aracinovo is located. In the meantime, Russia says it cannot rule out use of force by the international community to resolve the conflict on the Balkans – this can be learned from a statement issued by the Russian foreign ministry devoted to the 2nd anniversary of NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia. “As never before, a concerted political will of the world community is needed to prevent a large-scale new conflict on the Balkans,” the statement says. As for the NATO aggression, it was stopped largely thanks to a diplomatic effort exerted by Russia, and the Kosovo settlement was returned to the grounds of a political process based on the resolution 1244 of the US Security Council, according to the statement. Given the complex and dangerous situation developed in the region, the active role of the US Security Council is needed as well as the vigorous international backing of the Yugoslav and Macedonian authorities as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity.