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History of the Republic of Macedonia

History of the Republic of Macedonia

For history of the whole Macedonian region, see Macedonia.

After the First Balkan War[?] of 1912-13, Vardar Macedonia was made part of Serbia and subsequently the Yugoslav kingdom. In 1946, Vardar Macedonia was given status as a independent republic in the new Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia.

On September 17th 1991, the Macedonian republic declared independence from Yugoslavia. However, international recognition of the new country was delayed by Greece's objection to the use of what it considered a Hellenic name and symbols. To compromise, the United Nations recognised the state under the name of "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (F.Y.R.O.M.) Greece finally lifted its trade blockade in 1995, and the two countries agreed to normalize relations.

During the Kosovo War of 1999, FYROM co-operated with NATO, but managed to stay out of the conflict. Some 360,000 Albanian refugees from Kosovo entered FYROM during the war, threatening to disrupt the balance between the Slav and Albanian ethnic groups in the country. Many later returned to Kosovo, but ethnic tensions grew.

In the spring of 2001, Albanian rebels calling themselves the National Liberation Army (probably former KLA members) took up arms in the west of FYROM, demanding a re-write of the constitution to grant Albanians equal rights. The guerillas received support from Albanians in NATO-controlled Kosovo and the UCPMB guerilla in the demilitarized zone between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia. The fighting was concentrated in and around Tetovo[?], the second largest city in FYROM. After a joint NATO-Serb crackdown on UCPMB and NLA supporters in Kosovo, EU officials were able to negotiate a cease-fire in June. The government would give ethnic Albanians greater civil rights, and the guerilla groups would voluntarily relinquish their weapons to NATO monitors. This agreement was a success, and in August 3500 NATO soldiers conducted "Operations Essential Harvest" to retreive the arms. Directly after the operation finished in September, the NLA officially dissolved itself.

See also: Republic of Macedonia

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