14 August 2001
in response to President Trajkovski's letter of 14 June requesting NATO's assistance in the disarmament of the extremist ethnic Albanian armed groups, I have the honour to inform you that they have provided me with an Undertaking to fully disarm, which would constitute one of the elements for a NAC decision for NATO to provide assistance to this end in close co-ordination with your authorities. The authorities of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) will be briefed on a detailed military collection plan developed by the Task Force Harvest commander. This plan will be executed by Task Force Harvest, once the North Atlantic Council decides to authorise the deployment of the force. As you are aware, the following are preconditions for such a deployment:
The mission of TFH will be to conduct limited operations
in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in order to collect and dispose
of weapons and ammunitions from the disarming ethnic Albanian. armed groups
as part of the process to resolve the crisis in the country. The force
will deploy for a limited period, with the weapons collection operation
itself not to exceed 30 days. It will be a multi-national Brigade-size
As you are aware, Legal Advisers from NATO and your side have been working on a formal agreement to define the status of TFH and TFH personnel, including understandings regarding the required host nation support. TFH forces are authorised to use force in self-defence and for force protection and for the execution of the mission, including the power to detain persons interfering with the execution of the mission as set out here above.
Task Force Harvest will carry out passive collection of weapons from the ethnic Albanian armed groups and co-ordinate the movement and destruction of the weapons and ammunition. Ammunitions and explosives collected will be destroyed in-country. Weapons collected will removed and destroyed in a third country unless deemed unsafe to do so by COMTFH. Representatives of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be invited by COMTFH to observe the operation.
Members of the armed groups who hand over their weapons and ammunitions 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.
Members of the ethnic Albanian armed groups may chose to hand over their weapons and ammunitions to KFOR troops when crossing the border into FRY/Kosovo. Concurrently, but separately, KFOR will continue its enhanced operations inside Kosovo to interdict supply routes and to confiscate weapons; members of the ethnic Albanian armed groups apprehended with weapons inside Kosovo will be dealt with in accordance with current KFOR/UNMIK Regulations.
In carrying out its mission, Task Force, Harvest will
establish liaison arrangements with your central and local authorities
in order to co-ordinate, as appropriate, and to provide full transparency
on the conduct of the operation. During the period of the weapons collection
operation, the state security forces will not be present in those areas
designated as weapon collection areas. Representatives of the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia authorised by COMTFH will be invited to observe
You are invited to accept responsibility for the security and freedom of movement of NATO forces and international personnel involved in the disarmament process in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and to take all feasible measures to minimise risk to their security outside the weapon collection areas and, to include acceptance of such temporary relocations of and/or limitations on its security forces as NATO may specify in order for it to carry out the collection of weapons.
I believe that there are a number of measures that your government must take for the success of the operation. Firstly, as a confidence-building measure, you are required to cease all military air operations for the duration of the operation, except for regular logistical needs of the security forces of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and any emergency casualty evacuation which shall be co-ordinated with COMTFH. Further, you are required to re-deploy heavy weapons and extraordinarily deployed forces to the garrisons concurrent with the collection of weapons from the ethnic Albanian armed groups while taking into account the force protection requirements of the security forces of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Secondly, following the completion of the operation, the state
security forces, with the participation of ethnic Albanlan policemen,
shall conduct normal peacetime law enforcement duties in all parts of
the country, 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 monitoring by the EUMM and
the OSCE. Your authorities shall ensure that no irregular forces or armed
civilian groups are to operate in the crisis areas.
I would appreciate receiving your written confirmation that the contents of this letter constitute the basis for the conduct of the operation.
Personal Representative of the NATO Secretary General
(1) Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.