Disarmament: Ohrid Agreement

2.1. The parties underline the importance of the commitments of 5 July 5, 2001. There shall be a complete cessation of hostilities, complete voluntary disarmament of the ethnic Albanian armed groups and their complete voluntary disbandment. They acknowledge that a decision by NATO to assist in this context will require the establishment of a general, unconditional and open-ended cease-fire, agreement on a political solution to the problems of this country, a clear commitment by the armed groups to voluntarily disarm, and acceptance by all the parties of the conditions and limitations under which the NATO forces will operate.

Implementation History

2001

Full Implementation

After signing a peace agreement, NATO officially started the operation "Essential Harvest" on 27 August 2001 for 30 days. This 30-day mission involved the sending of approximately 3,500 NATO troops, with logistical support, to disarm ethnic Albanian groups and destroy their weapons.1 But immediately after the deployment of the NATO troops, a spat on quantity of rebel arms to be collected emerged with government insisting at least 60,000 weapons were in the hands of the NLA, far more than the NATO estimate of less than 3,000. The Macedonian government had said in the past that the NLA had 6,000 to 8,000 light arms.2 On 24 August 2001, NATO and ethnic Albanian guerrillas agreed on number of arms to be collected, with alliance estimating 3,300 weapons, while Skopje insisted that the number was over 60,000.3

On 26 September 2001, NATO completed its 30-day mission to disarm ethnic Albanian militants. NATO forces collected a total of 3,875 weapons from the rebels, exceeding their stated goal of 3,300.4 On 27 September 2001, the leader of the National Liberation Army (NLA) Ali Ahmeti said in a press conference that the Ethnic Albanian rebels in Macedonia had formally disbanded and returned to their normal lives. He also invited the Macedonian police to enter former NLA-controlled areas.5

  • 1. "NATO’s role in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," NATO, accessed March 3, 2011, http://www.nato.int/fyrom/.
  • 2. "Debate heats up over rebel arms as NATO troops pour into Macedonia," Agence France Presse, August 23, 2001.
  • 3. "Timetable of seven-month conflict in Macedonia," Agence France Presse, August 27, 2001.
  • 4. "Macedonia:NATO Disarmament Mission Ends; Other Developments," Facts on File World News Digest, September 26, 2001.
  • 5. "Rebels in Macedonia officially disband," Agence France Presse, September 27, 2001.
2002

Full Implementation

Ethnic Albanian rebels were disarmed in September 2001. A total of 3,875 weapons were collected in a weapon collection program launched by NATO. No further information available.

2003

Full Implementation

The weapon collection target set by NATO was met in September 2001. Nevertheless, there was a fear that many weapons remained among ethnic Albanians and Macedonians as well as fears of a resumption of the ethnic conflict. Therefore, the government launched a 45-day weapon amnesty program by offering people who handed over guns to the authorities a chance to win a car in a lottery as well as no persecution for illegally possessing guns. By 15 December 2003, “officials had collected just 7,500 items, 6,400 of which guns. Some 100,000 pieces of ammunition and 165 kilograms of explosives were also turned over.”6

2004

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2007

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2008

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2009

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2010

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.