Saturday, February 16, 2008

Macedonia 'Unprepared' Over Kosovo

Macedonia’s government is unprepared for neighbouring Kosovo’s independence, despite big implications for the region, the opposition Liberal Democrats said Thursday.

Macedonia must devise an immediate plan to tackle possible retaliation by Serbia over Macedonia's likely recognition of an independent Kosovo, the President of the Liberal Democrat Party, Jovan Manasievski told media.

The plan must contain “political, economic, energy and security measures to counter the negative effects” of possible Serbian retaliation, Manasievski advised.

On Thursday, Macedonia ’s parliament speaker, Ljubisa Georgievski, on a trip to Slovenia, the current European Union President, emphasised that in recognising Kosovo's independence, “Macedonia would follow the EU policy.”

But Manasievski insists Skopje has not done enough to ready itself for ties with the new state. He called for a settlement for good neighbourly relations, friendship and cooperation to be prepared and offered to Pristina.

“It should set guidelines for long term energy and infrastructure cooperation, and offer technical support for the forthcoming Euro-Atlantic integration of Kosovo”, Manasievski explained.

He added that precise dates for the technical demarcation of the Kosovo-Macedonia border must be set as soon as possible. The actual demarcation was postponed due to a dispute between Serbia and Kosovo over who has authority over the border line.

In January, Serbia's government adopted a so-called Action Plan to counter Kosovo’s independence. Media suggested that among others, retaliatory measures might be imposed against countries that recognise the new state.

With Macedonia ’s economy and infrastructure closely tied with Serbia , there are fears among the public that possible retribution from Belgrade could seriously cripple the small country of just over 2 million people.

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