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22, March-2001.

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Thursday.

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ASSISTANCE FROM JAPAN.

Agence France Presse

Tokyo Pledges to Join Efforts to Stop Albanian Violence in Macedonia

TOKYO, Mar 22, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) Japan pledged Thursday to join international efforts to stop the violence by ethnic Albanian rebels on the borders of Macedonia.

The promise was made when Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono made a telephone call to his German counterpart Joschka Fischer, a foreign ministry official said.

In the 20-minute conversation, Fischer said European countries had agreed on the importance of attaining peace in Macedonia by restraining the Albanian guerrillas, the official said.

"It is necessary for the international community to make concerted efforts to convince ethnic Albanian leaders that changes to the national boundary by use of force will not be condoned," Fischer was quoted as saying.

Kono said Japan would deal with the matter "in a similar direction," according to the official.

The telephone call was made under an agreement on bilateral cooperation, which was made by the two foreign ministers when they met in Tokyo last October.

The accord covers areas of cooperation between the two countries such as concerted contributions to regional and global peace and stability.

U.S.-NATO occupation is colonialism.

Workers World Service

By John Catalinotto

The 21-month occupation of Kosovo by U.S. and NATO troops has turned the region into a Western colony without bringing it either economic progress or stability. Washington's support for the right-wing nationalist KLA army now threatens to unleash new wars in southern Serbia and in Macedonia as this group carries out its plan to fight for a "greater Albania."

Formerly part of Yugoslavia, Macedonia is now a small country of 2 million people with a large ethnic Albanian minority and a U.S. military base on its soil since 1992. Firefights there between KLA commandos penetrating the border and the weak Macedonian army have led to deaths on both sides and threaten a wider war.

Articles in a number of British newspapers and in the New York Times have raised fears that the NATO forces have "lost control" of the KLA. This group was originally financed by Berlin and Washington and then unleashed to provoke a war against Yugoslavia.

Like the reactionary Taliban in Afghanistan, the KLA would never have become an important factor in the life of this region had it not received the full backing of U.S. imperialism. The U.S. poured billions of dollars into the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden and other reactionary forces in the 1980s to bring down the progressive Afghan government and weaken its Soviet allies.

In response to this new crisis in the Balkans, NATO has even begun to discuss the use of Yugoslav troops with the pro-Western government of Vojislav Kostunica in Yugoslavia. They are to enter the "buffer zone" known as Presevo bordering Kosovo in southern Serbia. Belgrade is considering such use, though it puts Yugoslav troops under NATO command and could turn them into cannon fodder.

NATO's armies occupy Kosovo under a United Nations cover called K-FOR. According to the accord that ended the 78-day bombing attack on Yugoslavia in June 1999, Kosovo is still officially part of Serbia.

But the KLA-dominated local regime has driven out 250,000 Serb residents of the province plus another 100,000 Roma, Gorani, Turkish, Jewish and other peoples who lived there in 1999. The right-wing KLA carried out this ethnic cleansing of Kosovo without interference from the U.S., German, French, British or other occupation forces in K-FOR. The KLA lost local elections in Kosovo, but its armed force intimidates the civilian ethnic Albanian population.

Along with its right-wing nationalism, the KLA is known for running the illegal drug commerce in Europe and directing prostitution and other rackets in Kosovo.

Non-U.S. officers in K-FOR have complained that the U.S. military encouraged the KLA to make incursions into southern Serbia in order to destabilize the then Socialist Party-led government of Yugoslavia. More recently the U.S. has used the threat of the KLA to pressure the Kostunica government in Belgrade to persecute Socialist Party leader Slobodan Milosevic. It wants Kostunica to turn him and others over to the NATO-backed court in The Hague.

An article in the March 11 issue of the British newspaper The Observer quotes a European K-FOR battalion commander as saying, "The CIA has been allowed to run riot in Kosovo with a private army designed to overthrow Slobodan Milosevic. ... Most of last year, there was a growing frustration with U.S. support for the radical Albanians. U.S. policy was and still is out of step with the other NATO allies."

During the 1999 war all of the NATO allies backed the KLA against Yugoslavia. They used claims of "genocide" against the ethnic-Albanian population to justify the murderous air war against Yugoslavia and demonized Milosevic. Major media outlets like the ARD network in Germany have now exposed these claims as war propaganda, and this new crisis has obviously nothing to do with Milosevic.

Now there are differences among the NATO allies about how to handle the KLA's threat to bring a new round of war to the Balkans. What makes the situation especially dangerous is that the NATO allies are also imperialist rivals for economic and strategic control of the Balkans and the region to the East in what was the former Soviet Union.

If its KLA clients threaten U.S. interests in the region, Washington is perfectly capable of turning on them. But up to now U.S. forces in Kosovo have done nothing that really stops armed KLA forces from entering either Presevo or Macedonia.

In his latest article on Macedonia, Balkans expert and Belgian author Michel Collon points out that a vital oil and natural gas pipeline from sources in Central Asia to the Adriatic Sea is supposed to pass from the Black Sea port of Burgas through Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. Washington thus has strong interests in maintaining cooperation with the KLA gangsters.

The struggle among the imperialist powers over oil and gas from Central Asia gives added weight to any conflict in the Balkans. Combined with Washington's impulse to rely on its military predominance to enforce its authority on both enemy and ally, it raises the threat of new wars.

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