The conflict in Macedonia may become a second Chechnya. This is a real threat to the security of the entire Balkan region. This opinion was expressed in an interview given to RIA Novosti by Mary Keldor, a leading expert on problems of regional conflicts in the London School of Economics and Political Science. According to her, the measures taken by the international community can lead only to a temporary weakening of the tension in Macedonia. But in the future the conflict may grow again and become a second Chechnya. The expert believes that in this case it is necessary to expand the peacekeeping contingent in the region by including in it peacekeepers from other countries. This contingent should be deployed in Macedonia in such a way as to really ensure the protection and safety of both the Macedonians and Albanians. There is no other way to stop armed clashes between the Albanian militants and the Macedonian army, said the expert. In the opinion of Mary Keldor, it is also necessary that Macedonia should take actions that would lead to a political settlement of the arisen contradictions. The Macedonian government should render greater support to the university in Tetovo and grant more opportunities for the normal life and the participation in governing the country to the Albanian part of the population. Apart from that, the government should initiate a broad dialogue between the Macedonians and the Albanians. This dialogue, in the opinion of the expert, is necessary for lessening mutual enmity in conditions of the corruption of the Macedonian authorities whose promises and assurances are not trusted very much by the population. Mary Keldor believes that it is also necessary that the international community should give greater economic assistance to Macedonia. This aid should be aimed at supporting stability of the Macedonian budget. It should be granted with the aim of creating an infrastructure in the country and assisting education, that is, it should be appreciable for the people from the point of view of the real improvement of their living standards. The international community, and first of all the USA, European Union and Russia, should come to the understanding that both Macedonians and Albanians live in one country and therefore the support of only one of the sides will not settle the conflict between them, pointed out the expert.
On Wednesday, April 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his Address to the Federal Assembly. In the speech, Putin annually expresses his assessment of the state of affairs in the country and his vision of the main tasks for the future