14 August 2001
Dear Mr Feith,
The NLA renews its commitment as expressed in its cease-fire declaration of 4 July and commits in this document to fully disarm and co-operate with the NATO Operation Task Force Harvest (TFH) for this purpose as well as to disband its organisation. The NLA’s disarmament and disbandment is part of the peaceful resolution of the current crisis in the Republic of Macedonia (RM).
The NLA welcomes and supports the Political Framework Document and its three Annexes concluded at Ohrid and signed at Skopje on 13 August 2001 by the political parties for securing the future of Macedonia’s democracy and permitting the development of closer and more integrated relations between the RM and the Euro-Atlantic community.
The NLA welcomes NATO’s intention to deploy Task Force Harvest (TFH) with a mission to conduct limited operations in the RM in order to collect and dispose of weapons, ammunitions, mines and explosives from the disarming NLA as part of the process to resolve the crisis in the RM.
The NLA wishes to benefit from the opportunities offered by the Government for re-integrating into society in accordance with President Trajkovski’s Plan and Programme for Overcoming the Crisis. In this context, the NLA welcomes and accepts President Trajkovski’s written statement to the NATO Secretary General of 13 August 2001 that the Government of the Republic of Macedonia will offer immunity from penal proceedings for all former members of NLA who have voluntarily disarmed, with the exception of those suspected of having committed crimes for which the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia is competent.
The NLA agrees to hand in its weapons, ammunitions, mines and explosives voluntarily to TFH at collection points to be determined by COMTFH and to dispose of uniforms, emblems and badges, and undertakes to follow the directions of COMTFH for the speedy completion of the mission of the TFH as envisaged within 30 days from the beginning of the operation. This period will run broadly parallel to the adoption of legislative amendments by the Macedonian Parliament as foreseen in the Political Framework Document. In particular, it undertakes to provide full freedom of movement in the crisis areas, including by removing mines and unexploded ordnance. It understands that NLA members who hand in their weapons, ammunitions, mines and explosives to TFH will not be detained, except incidental to taking measures for force protection or self-defence or for the efficient and effective execution of the mission.
The NLA accepts that the ammunition and explosives it hands in will be destroyed by TFH in the RM, and the weapons will be destroyed in a third country, unless deemed unsafe to do so by COMTFH.
It notes that NLA members may choose to hand in their weapons, ammunitions, mines and explosives to KFOR troops on the border with Kosovo. Those who do will not be detained unless there are grounds to do so under the KFOR mandate. Conversely, NLA members apprehended with weapons inside Kosovo will be dealt with in accordance with current UNMIK/KFOR regulations.
The NLA understands that TFH will be authorised to use force in self-defence and for force protection.
The NLA accepts and understands that if it fails to co-operate with TFH, breaks the cease-fire, or otherwise endangers the permissive environment under which TFH is to operate, NATO will reassess its position.
The NLA understands that NATO shall establish liaison arrangements with the government of the RM in order to provide full transparency on the conduct of the operation.
Following the completion of the operation and the voluntary disarmament and disbandment of the NLA, the Macedonian security forces, with the participation of ethnic Albanian policemen, are expected to conduct normal peacetime law enforcement duties in all parts of Macedonian territory, without opposition or hindrance; in doing so, the security forces shall strictly abide by international humanitarian standards and general principles of human rights and accept appropriate monitoring by the EUMM and the OSCE. Irregular forces or armed civilian groups will not be authorised to operate in the crisis areas.
On this basis the NLA will agree to a detailed military collection plan, to be developed by TFH. The attached general concept for the collection plan has been developed by TFH, and is agreed to by the NLA.
(Original signed Ali Ahmeti)
For the NLA
(Original dated 14.08.2001)