[10SKOPJE6] MACEDONIA: THE OHRID FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT

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Published by Wikileaks & Bivol.bg
date: 1/6/2010 12:56 refid: 10SKOPJE6 origin: Embassy Skopje classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY destination: 10SKOPJE414 header: VZCZCXRO1653 PP RUEHIK DE RUEHSQ #0006/01 0061256 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 061256Z JAN 10 ZDK FM AMEMBASSY SKOPJE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8796 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE 0587 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 SKOPJE 000006    SENSITIVE  SIPDIS    EUR/SCE    E.O. 12958: N/A  TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PHUM, MK  SUBJECT: MACEDONIA:  THE OHRID FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT    REF: SKOPJE 414    SKOPJE 00000006  001.2 OF 004      SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY    1. (U) Summary:  Though eight years old, the Ohrid Framework  Agreement (OFA) remains the key instrument for maintaining  interethnic harmony in Macedonia.  Even though it has been  imperfectly implemented, it is still an effective tool to  reduce the risk of another civil conflict.  This cable  contains background of the events leading up to the signing  of the OFA, a summary of the Agreement's contents, and an  overview of the Agreement's implementation to date. (End  Summary)    --------------------------------------------- ------------  The 2001 Conflict and Creation of the Framework Agreement  --------------------------------------------- ------------    2. (U) In the final months of 2000, tensions between the  ethnic-Albanian community and ethnic Macedonian community  began to rise in the primarily e-Albanian villages along  Macedonia's north-western border.  The e-Albanians  (comprising approximately 25% of Macedonia's population) were  angered by an environment of discrimination and a perceived  general deterioration of their rights in Macedonia since the  country's independence in 1991.  They specifically cited a  downgraded status under Macedonia's post-independence  constitution, which declared Macedonia to be a "national  state of the (ethnic-) Macedonian people.  Conversely,  Macedonia's previous, Yugoslavia-era constitution defined the  e-Macedonians, e-Albanians, and e-Turks as three equal  nationalities comprising the Socialist Republic of Macedonia.   In January 2001 the situation rapidly deteriorated when the  newly-formed e-Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA), (led  by current government coalition party leader Ali Ahmeti)  attacked a police station in the village of Tearce, killing  one police officer.  The fallout from that event led to a  clash between the NLA and Macedonian security forces in  February in the border town of Tanusevci that resulted in the  deaths of three police and one e-Albanian.  The clash in  Tanusevci launched the country into a wider armed conflict  that lasted into the summer of 2001 and resulted in an  estimated 100 to 200 deaths and more than 170,000 displaced  people.    3. (U) In June 2001, the two sides agreed to a cease fire and  began peace negotiations.  The e-Albanian and e-Macedonian  sides were each represented by the leaders of their two  largest political parties at the time: DPA and PDP on the  e-Albanian side, and VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM on the e-Macedonian  side.  The NLA did not participate in the talks directly.  The negotiations took place in the city of Ohrid, situated on  the shore of Lake Ohrid in southwest Macedonia, and focused  on establishing a legal framework and implementation plan for  improving ethnic equity in Macedonia.  Representatives from  the United States and the European Union mediated the  negotiations.  The OFA is the result of those negotiations  and was signed on August 13, 2001 by: then-president of  Macedonia Boris Trajkovski (VMRO), then-Prime Minister Ljubco  Georgievski (VMRO), then SDSM leader and future president of  Macedonia Branko Crvenkovski, DPA leader Arben Xhaferi, PDP  leader Imer Imeri, U.S. mediator James W. Pardew and EU  mediator Francois Leotard.  NATO played a key part in the  resolution of the conflict through Operation &Essential  Harvest,8 which disarmed the NLA, and the OSCE Spillover  mission in Macedonia assumed a central role in the  implementation of the Agreement.  The U.S., EU, NATO and OSCE  are widely considered to be informal guarantors of the OFA  based on their aforementioned roles in resolving the conflict  and implementing the OFA.    -----------------------------  The Ohrid Framework Agreement  -----------------------------    4. (U) The OFA consists of nine main sections and three  annexes which outline the terms of the cease fire, new laws  to be adopted, required changes to existing laws, benchmarks  to be reached for a successful implementation of the  Agreement, and a timetable for reaching those benchmarks.  The specific areas addressed by each section of the Agreement  are: decentralization of the Government, non-discrimination,  equitable ethnic representation in public institutions,  restructuring of Parliamentary procedures, the use of  languages, education, and permissible expressions of  identity.      SKOPJE 00000006  002.2 OF 004      A. Decentralization - One of the first tasks mandated by the  OFA is a new national census in order to accurately assess  the ethnic composition of the population.  Using the results  of the census the OFA then calls for Macedonia's municipal  boundaries to be redefined to rectify ethnic inequities  within the municipalities.  The Agreement also calls for a  legislative framework that delegates more power and financial  authority to local governments to ensure individual  municipalities have adequate levels of influence over local  policy and resources.    B. Equitable Representation - To address ethnic inequities in  the government and public administrations, the Agreement  mandates hiring policies that ensure all of Macedonia's  public institutions generally reflect the ethnic composition  of the population of Macedonia.    C. Parliamentary Procedures - Under the agreement, laws  pertaining to local-self government, culture, use of  language, education, personal documentation and the use of  symbols are all subject to a Badinter double-majority voting  system, which requires a majority of the ethnic minority  members of parliament in addition to an overall majority of  parliament to vote in favor of a law for the law to be  adopted.    D. Use of Language - The OFA states that in addition to  Macedonian, any language spoken by at least 20% of the  population is also considered an official language according  to terms specified by the agreement.  Languages not spoken by  20% of the population at the national level but spoken by at  least 20% of the population in any individual municipality  are also considered official languages within that  municipality.    E. Education - The Agreement mandates equitable school and  university funding, the availability of education in  languages spoken by more than 20% of the population, and the  application of positive discrimination in state university  enrollment.    F. Expressions of Identity - Under the agreement, majority  ethnic groups in any municipality are permitted to place  emblems representing their cultural identity alongside the  emblem of the State.  (Note - this was specifically included  to allow ethnic Albanian municipalities to fly the Albanian  flag in front of municipal buildings, an issue that resulted  in violent inter-ethnic clashes four years before the 2001  conflict.)    ---------------------------------  Implementation: A Mixed Bag  ---------------------------------    5. (SBU) Successive governments have successfully pushed  through virtually all the legislation and constitutional  amendments called for by the Agreement.  However, in the case  of the law on the use of languages, the GoM hastily adopted  legislation in Parliament in a form that international  observers and some within the GoM believe was poorly  formulated and more detrimental than positive.  In other  cases, working closely with the international community, the  GoM has drawn up relevant pieces of legislation more  meticulously and made efforts to obtain broad political  consensus for their approval.    6. (SBU) In the year following the signing of the Agreement,  the GoM also set up the Secretariat for the Implementation of  the Ohrid Framework Agreement, headed by the Deputy Prime  Minister for Framework Agreement Implementation.  However,  since its inception, the Secretariat has been granted little  power, left exclusively in the hands of e-Albanian  leadership, and the e-Macedonian leadership has shown little  sense of responsibility for the Secretariat's success or  failure.  Some e-Macedonian politicians (especially in the  ruling VMRO party) have even suggested that implementation of  the Agreement is an exercise solely for the e-Albanians and  that by providing them with the Secretariat and a Deputy  Prime Minister the Macedonian leadership has fulfilled its  end of the bargain, and they are aggravated by calls for  their continued involvement in the process.    7. (SBU) The weakness of the Secretariat combined with spotty  political will has made the successful real-world  implementation of the OFA challenging.  Some parts of the OFA  have been well implemented.  Performing a census in 2002 and  re-drawing municipal boundaries was done competently and    SKOPJE 00000006  003.2 OF 004      within the timelines set forth in the Agreement.  The  government has largely respected the use of the Badinter  voting system in parliament.  In the years since the  conflict, the display of cultural emblems (primarily Albanian  and Turkish flags) in non-ethnic-majority municipalities has  been widespread and sparks almost no controversy.  However,  the implementation of other laws has been sluggish.  While  appropriate legislation has been passed on government  decentralization, municipal governments still have  considerable financial constraints imposed on them by the  central government, limited power over state-owned land  resources, and receive a small percentage of their  citizenry's tax revenue compared with the central government.   Additionally, wide disparities along ethnic lines still  exist in tax revenue distribution to municipalities.  Achieving the Agreement's benchmarks for equitable ethnic  minority representation in public administration has also  proved challenging.  No reliable system for assessing  equitable representation statistics currently exists, and  where numbers do exist they show positive increases in ethnic  minority representation but continue to reflect overall  shortfalls compared with the ethnic composition of  Macedonia's population.  The tendency of the e-Albanian party  in power to create artificial jobs within the government  under the guise of improving equitable representation and use  those jobs to buy party support is an unfortunate byproduct  of equitable representation efforts as well.    8. (SBU) Evaluators of the OFA often refer to its &letter8  versus its &spirit8 when accessing the success of its  implementation.  This is another oft-criticized area of  implementation.  While the government has adopted much of the  legislation required under the agreement and taken some  strides to implement it, the implementation efforts are often  half-hearted and scoffed at by the e-Macedonian leadership as  unwelcome chores imposed by the international community and  by e-Albanian threats of renewed conflict.  One example is  the Agreement's guidelines on the use of languages.  Language  legislation has been adopted but it is not widely respected.  In many ethnically mixed municipalities the local  governments, without flagrantly violating the law, make it  bureaucratically impossible for ethnic minority groups  comprising more than 20% of the population to carry out  business with the local government in their native language,  a provision required by the law.  (However, a recent OSCE  survey found that only 4 percent of respondents had language  problems in dealing with their municipal governments.)  Additionally, small gestures that would illustrate a  commitment to the &spirit8 of the legislation, such as  dual-language signage in government buildings, is almost  non-existent.  In fact, much of the public signage displayed  in Skopje,s government buildings carry Macedonian with an  English translation, neglecting the Albanian language  altogether.    9. (U) On August 13 of this year, the 8th Anniversary of the  signing of the OFA, the principal officers of the four  "guarantors" the OFA (the U.S., EU, NATO and OSCE) presented  an assessment of its implementation to date to Prime Minister  Gruevski. (REFTEL)  The objective of the presentation was to  jump start new implementation efforts in areas that have  stalled.  The Principals cited education, decentralization,  equitable ethnic representation, non-discrimination, and use  of minority languages as areas for further implementation.  In early 2010, the Principals are planning a follow-up  meeting with the PM to assess what steps the government has  undertaken to remedy these implementation shortfalls since  the August assessment.    --------------------------------------------- -  General View of the Agreement within Macedonia  --------------------------------------------- -    10. (SBU) In general, senior e-Macedonian government  officials understand the International Community's  expectations pertaining to OFA implementation, and their  public statements reflect that understanding.  However, their  actions and private assertions about the Agreement often  betray those statements.  While International Republican  Institute polling shows that 52% of Macedonia's population  support the OFA and believe its implementation will make  Macedonia more stable, many e-Macedonians also believe the  OFA represents huge concessions to the e-Albanian community  and feel the Agreement is a symbol of the Macedonian security  forces, humiliating defeat at the hands of e-Albanian  &terrorists.8  Even though much of Macedonia's e-Albanian  population has resided within Macedonia's modern borders for    SKOPJE 00000006  004.2 OF 004      centuries or more, many e-Macedonians still view them as  outsiders.  On the other hand, the e-Albanian leadership  tends to over-invoke the OFA in their grievances, citing  virtually every perceived slight against the e-Albanians as a  violation of the Agreement.  E-Albanian leaders also have a  tendency to view the OFA as a means of furthering only their  constituency's interests, overlooking other minority groups  in Macedonia.  One formally powerful but now struggling  e-Albanian political party, DPA, (one of the signatories of  the OFA) has recently declared the OFA a complete failure and  is calling for a new agreement (which they have already  prepared).  This campaign has gained almost no traction  outside of DPA,s inner circle.  The international community  has publicly reiterated its support of the OFA and its  continued implementation as the only logical way forward.  The Embassy endeavors to highlight the OFA as exactly what it  is:  a framework, to guide citizens of this multi-ethnic  state to find strength and stability through diversity,  tolerance, and mutual respect.  NAVRATIL 
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